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Anyway, the reason I think Hermione's attitude towards the elves is bad writing isn't because she thinks they deserve freedom and I think they don't want it. I think it's bad writing because Hermione is shown in every other respect to be highly intelligent and a thorough researcher of subjects that catch her interest. But in this single case, her position is a simple minded pushing of a political agenda that isn't being accepted. Why isn't she trying to talk to the elves about their point of view? If she can see the Ministry of Magic meddling in Hogwarts on the first day of class, why can't she see that the house elves issue is more complicated than simply fooling them into accepting liberation for their own good?

Was Hermione trying to fool the house elves into freedom? I read it more like she was hiding the hats and socks and whatever from the other wizards so that the house elves would be able to find them and claim them. None of the elves other than Dobby were willing to clean the Gryffindor common room because they were *offended.* I took this to mean that they weren't worried about being accidentally freed against their will but were offended at the thought that they would want freedom. Hermione would still do much better if she really got to know some house elves rather than relying on her image of what they must really be like, but I don't think she's so disrespectful as to be tricking them into freedom. I'll have to take another look at that.

As for Hermione seeing the house elves issue as too simple, I agree with you there, and we just have to remind ourselves that she is *fifteen* after all. Athena (known as Minerva to the Romans -- hence Minerva McGonagall) was the Greek goddess of wisdom and sprang from the head of Zeus fully grown. She couldn't have grown up from childhood because children by definition are not wise. They can be awfully intelligent, but wisdom is a different ball of wax. Hermione can pick up on spells awfully quickly and knows "Hogwarts, A History" backwards and forwards, but she's still got some learning to do, 'cause after all she's still a kid. So far, Hermione hasn't had to realize that she still has a lot to learn. I would expect that she will have to come to grips with this in Six and Seven.

KrissyLou
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