Dobby is one of the most beloved characters of the Harry Potter series. The life story of the brave, dedicated, and quirky house-elf has touched millions of readers over the years.
Despite the fact that his ideas were often far from reasonable and actually dangerous, we all know Harry wouldn’t have made it without him. Dobby is always there to come to the rescue in a true Deus Ex Machina fashion.
He achieved so much in his short life. Or was it a long life? Have you ever wondered how old Dobby was?
What the Books Say About Dobby
There is no clear mention of Dobby’s age anywhere in the series. In fact, only a few years ago, we learned from J.K. Rowling that his birthday was on 28th June. However, the year of his birth remains unknown. We know for sure that he was older than Harry.
He experienced the horror of Lord Voldemort’s regime: in the Chamber of Secrets, he talks about how things changed after Harry Potter defeated the Dark Lord and how terribly house-elves had been treated before then.
Dobby had already been working for the Malfoy family at the time, which means he was at least a teenager or older.
Could Dobby be Young?
Dobby’s general energy seems very juvenile. He reacts to new tasks with sheer enthusiasm, for example, working at Hogwarts for Dumbledore or spying on Malfoy. He’s curious and always willing to learn new things.
Additionally, he is the first free house-elf who demands payment for his work, which indisputably makes him an emancipation symbol, living ahead of his times.
Dobby’s unapologetic sense of style and a particular taste for mismatched socks is also something we could associate with a modern fashion icon, even though most house elves wouldn’t admit it. This kind of progressive and rebellious way of thinking is usually attributed to the young.
Could Dobby be Old?
Despite his youthful spirit, Dobby can be serious and mature as well. He is determined to stop Lord Voldemort from gaining his power back and we can see that he does it out of genuine fear that comes from years of mistreatment. Dobby has enough wisdom to recognize the danger of the situation and learn from the past.
He also shows a great amount of responsibility taking care of Winky, often acting as if she was younger than him, taking the role of her protector. And since we know that Winky raised Barty Crouch Jr. who died at the age of 33, we can assume she was at least in her late forties at the time.
How Long Do House-Elves Live?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about the age of any of the house elves who appear in the series. We can speculate, that house-elves live up to about 200 years.
What we know for sure is that house-elves can serve their families for generations and they heal faster and easier than humans do. It would be hard for a human to survive decades of daily torture and hard work while elves manage just fine.
The only clue we have about how long house-elves can live doesn’t come from the books directly: in 2017, J.K. Rowling shared on Twitter that Kreacher died at the age of 666. It could be just a rouse, though. We think it is just an annoyed answer of someone, who likes to prank their readers.
One thing we are certain, Dobby was much younger than Kreacher.
Although it is not clear what the life span of house-elves is exactly (mainly if we stick to the canon) and how much time they need to grow up and start working for their families, there are some ways in which we can estimate Dobby’s age.
At first glance, Dobby might seem relatively young with his quirky socks and progressive opinions. He never shares any memories of historical events from hundreds of years ago either, and his spirit hasn’t been broken yet, which means he hasn’t been subjected to centuries of abuse.
However, we need to keep in mind that elves are magical creatures that age differently than humans. Their bodies are harder to damage, therefore less prone to injuries.
As youthful as Dobby seems, the minimum we can determine is that he is at least in his fifties when his story comes to an end, though we can speculate that he could be considerably older as there is no definitive answer as to when he was born.