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Published: 09/21/2004
Updated: 01/14/2005
Words: 139,369
Chapters: 38
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Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion


Story Summary:
Year 6 - The goblins are threatening rebellion: Now that Fudge acknowledges Voldemort's return, he is pushing wartime policies, which oppress the goblins. Voldemort is seeking the secret in an ancient Egyptian magical site. Harry is being drawn into these two seemingly-unrelated developments. At the same time, he must train students in the schoolwide DA, while the burden of the Prophecy is filling him with visions, which cause Harry to pull back from his friends. But love has a way of arising whether it is welcome or not. For Harry, the course to resolution is never smooth, but if Harry can thwart Voldemort's plot, he can gain access to the secret which could enable him to use the 'Power the Dark Lord knows not.'

Chapter 15

Chapter Summary:
Harry finally gets to talk to Professor Weasley at Hogwarts during his morning run. He has Potions class and Professor Snape informs him they must resume occlumency lessons. Harry, Ron and Hermione are held after Charms class, where they are informed along wiht Dobby of the true nature of elves generally and Dobby specifically.

Chapter 15 - The Truth About Elves and Goblins

As the Hogwarts Express and the Opening Feast had been on a Thursday, Harry had his Friday classes to look forward to: double Potions in the morning, then double Charms and Care of Magical Creatures in the afternoon. Sirius' portrait had counseled patience and a stiff upper lip concerning Potions. Before going to sleep Harry pulled a sheet across the portrait. The only place in the dorm he could hang the portrait was over his bed. Sirius even insisted on the sheet "I'm always here for you, Harry, but you should have at least that much privacy. Besides, it'll give me a chance to nip off and get to know the other portraits around Hogwarts."

Harry set his alarm for 5:00, but at 4:55, another alarm went off. He heard Neville stretching and groaning, then the stirrings of the other three boys he roomed with.

"Wake up, sleepyhead!" called Dean, "I thought this morning run thing was your idea."

Harry popped out and pulled on his running shorts and t-shirt. It was still summer, so it would be warm enough not to wear a warm-up suit.

"You're all joining me?" said Harry, with obvious pleasure.

"Me Mum wouldn't have it any other way," said Seamus, with a wink, "now that she knows what's up, we're going to get prepared."

"We don't have to like it though," said Dean, with a laugh.

They all headed down the stairs, where they ran into well over half of Gryffindor house heading out in their running clothes. The Fat Lady seemed quite incensed to be getting such a work-out at this hour of the morning. As they got down to the steps of the castle, they merged with another two hundred or so students. Many had already started running around the lake. Harry was just about to start when he heard the voice of Arthur Weasley.

"Mind if I join you, Harry?" he asked.

"Please do, Professor Weasley - wow, that sounds odd," said Harry with a laugh.

"Yeah, Dad," said Ron, "Why didncha tell us?"

"The Headmaster wanted to keep it quiet," said Professor Weasley, as they set off. "By the way boys, this is my first day running in years. If I slow down, don't wait for me. I'll have to build up to it."

"Ah, then you weren't sent to do this?" asked Harry.

"Well, Molly kind of prodded me, but just because she said it was good for me," answered Professor Weasley, "and I figured, if students are doing this to improve their self-defense, then the defense professor ought to be out here as well. But no, I'm not here to keep an eye on you."

"Glad you came, Dad," said Ginny, taking a pinch at his love handles, "it'll do you a lot of good."

"It might even make me friskier when I get back to The Burrow," said Arthur.

"Dad!" said Ginny.

"Great, now that image will be in my mind all day," said Ron.

But Harry thought the open expression of affection, which he had never seen or heard at the Dursleys, was simply beautiful. He ran out ahead of the others so they wouldn't see him getting emotional.

Harry got a knot in his stomach as he took his place in Potions, which included the sixth-year Potions students from all four houses, as the majority of students had either not achieved the grade needed to continue or chose not to take Potions any further. Harry felt he couldn't blame them.

"Welcome to the first year of NEWT-level Potions class," hissed Snape as he shut the dungeon door with an ominous thud, "Now that you have completed your OWL tests, let me assure you that the fun-and-games side of Potions is over. The subtleties which must be observed for the most exquisite of Potions is extraordinary. This class is only for the most dedicated, the most skillful, the most diligent, the most disciplined of sorcerers. Indeed I am most surprised to see some of you here (he looked at Neville) and dismayed at others (he looked at Harry). I am afraid that the OWL graders must have applied some sort of compensatory points based on the uproar the school was in last year. That would be a shame, as disruption and distraction are no excuse for doing something incorrectly. When your life depends on accomplishing something, one does not have the luxury of complaining that conditions were not sanguine. I am also afraid that I have been too subtle in intimating which students have no business in my classes (again he looked at Harry and Neville). I shall endeavour to be more direct in the future, for those of you who lack the subtlety for either potion-making or communication. We begin today a series of truth serums of various characteristics. The potion whose recipe on the board is Persuasium - it should be flavorless, so that it can be given surreptitiously; and is not affected by most foods and drinks, except head cheese and uncooked blood. Properly prepared and administered, it will make most weaker people reveal all but the most hidden secrets and will be undetectable after three hours. Please observe the requirements as to airflow, temperature, titration and stirring. Begin."

Harry and Ron read the recipe and set to preparing their ingredients. As Harry looked around, he was again struck by visions of death and destruction. He caught himself on the desk.

"Are you okay?" Ron asked.

Harry glanced up and saw Snape peering suspiciously at him.

"Yeah," Harry said, "another vision. Listen, don't think me rude. I have to shut everything else out to block these visions. I'm just going to think of nothing else but this potion."

"I'd better do the same - this is the hardest one we've seen yet," said Ron.

"Well, you didn't think NEWT-level work would be easier, did you?" whispered Hermione, who turned to her ingredients and started humming happily to herself.

"Mental," muttered Ron.

At the end of the class, which had proceeded uneventfully, Harry scooped a sample of his potion into a bottle and corked it carefully, then placed the bottle on Snape's desk.

"Potter, are you ill?" said Snape.

"No, sir, why?" responded Harry.

"Your potion looks like it ought."

Draco Malfoy approached the desk with his sample and as he placed his sample on the desk, his hand bumped Harry's off the desk. "Oops," he said in feigned surprise, "Too bad."

But Harry's potion didn't fall to the ground, but gently settled like a feather.

"I was going through too much glass, so I decided to learn a few useful charms to protect my things," Harry said with satisfaction as he picked the bottle up and placed it again on Snape's desk.

"Potter," said Snape, "you are to stay after class. There is something we must discuss."

"Must be more remedial classes," Malfoy sniggered as he toted his book bag - considerably lighter than in years past - along with him and the rest of the class cleared. Hermione and Ron lingered as if they expected Harry to be able to leave immediately.

"You two may go. If you cannot live without Potter's company, you may wait on the other side of the door. Please refrain from bickering with each other while you wait," Snape oozed, pointing them to the door. When it was closed, he continued, "Now, Potter, it has been impressed upon me that you have a need to resume Occlumency lessons."

"But, Professor Snape, I thought, perhaps, Professor Dumbledore would be able to teach me this year."

"As before, he has more obligations than any of us, and must delegate the task to me. Furthermore, he expressed the idea that your training would prepare you best against the Dark Lord if it came from someone you regard as hostile. Somehow that made him think of me," Snape replied.

"Sir, you told me that I was never to enter your office again," objected Harry.

"Circumstances change," replied Snape, "and the Headmaster explored the entire set of circumstances and has suggested I consider whether I might not share some blame in the unfortunate events. In any case, while I am as delighted to have you in my office as you are to be there, I have been asked to undertake this chore again."

"Professor, I asked Sirius and Professor Lupin about the behavior I observed and they confirmed that their group of friends had often treated you that way, and yet you did not place all the occasions of humiliation in the pensieve - just that one. From that I can only conclude that you either wanted to tempt me into viewing my father in that light or there was something else you wanted to hide, which would have to be the way you responded to my mother. If we are to continue the lessons, I have to ask which it was."

Snape regarded him for a number of seconds before replying, "And you have done so, but I will decline to answer. You will have to accept that I am again willing to teach this to you and that you are in need of learning."

"If Professor Dumbledore wants me to do so, then I will," replied Harry.

"Three things make me hope for better results this year, Potter: you acceded to the Headmaster's authority, your question shows you are starting to actually use your mind, and in Potions class today, you showed the kind of focus on the task at hand needed to develop whatever talent you might prove to have. You may go."


"What is it, Potter?"

"I am not my father. I may look like him, and I may have some of his talents, but I am a different person."

Harry left, without hearing any response from Snape. Once outside, Harry found Ron and Hermione waiting for him and told them all that had happened.

"Whoa, Harry, that's the closest to a compliment that I've heard Snape give anyone he wasn't kissing up to," said Ron.

"Yes, that's very odd, isn't it?" said Hermione.

"What? You think there's something up? You just can't accept a good turn of events without spreading a little manure, can you?" Ron groaned.

Harry listened to them fussing at each other all the way to the gym which had been installed, or more likely, conjured. They had time for over an hour's workout before they needed to get some lunch and still make it to Charms.

Charms class, which also had sixth years from all four houses, went well. But then every class with Professor Flitwick was pleasant. Professor Flitwick praised the class on so many good OWL results, and noted his pleasant surprise at the results achieved by quite a number, with an especial wink and nod toward Neville. Neville beamed and when Professor Flitwick turned, looked at Harry and gave him the thumbs-up. At the end of class, Professor Flitwick asked Harry and Hermione to stay, and then, seeing Ron hesitate, added that Ron should stay as well.

"I believe you three have an hour until your next class," began Professor Flitwick, "Some matters have come to my attention which I feel must be addressed. But first, we must invite the house elf named Dobby to the conversation."

Using the school Floo system, Professor Flitwick summoned in the kitchens for Dobby, who Apparated to the classroom before Professor Flitwick could pull his head out of the fireplace.

"Now then, I believe there was an unfortunate incident at Gringott's involving Dobby a few days ago, was there not? Please tell me all you remember."

Harry and Dobby proceeded to describe the whole situation, finishing each other's sentences like two old close friends. Professor Flitwick appeared especially keen on hearing Dobby's reaction to seeing and spending time with Melony. When they were done, Hermione spoke up first.

"Professor, why do the goblins hate the elves so much? Apparently the goblins said they were related, but what does that matter?"

Professor Flitwick nodded. "It's an important question. You must understand just how closely related elves and goblins are: they are the same species!"

"What!" cried Hermione, Ron, Harry and even Dobby.

"Professor," continued Hermione, "I'll grant there are some similarities - similarly-shaped ears, enormous eyes, the same height, magical ability - but there are also huge differences - the elves are much lighter, gracile, and submissive, and their dispositions are so much ... sunnier"

"That last word hits it on the head," said Professor Flitwick. "Goblins can't tolerate the sun. If they are raised in a sunny environment, like a wizard home, they look like this (pointing to Dobby), and they remain quite childlike. Let me explain the origin of house elves as wizards' servants. You see, goblins are by comparison to humans, very intensely tribal. Independence is quite unthinkable: the tribe is everything. It's similar to wolves, the way they are so intensely loyal to the pack. A goblin is just as completely submissive to the needs of his tribe, his family, as elves are to their human family. In fact, it is not thought of as slavery at all by them: nobody has to force them to be loyal, it's their instinct. It goes beyond the instincts of non-magical creatures, however. Their loyalty is an enchantment which makes them completely loyal to their families, their Hullabaloos, as they call them. For them freedom is found in serving their family. The most evil thing a goblin can say to another is an old word that means 'go live by yourself.' Now as to elves, back when the goblins were first making the step from wild packs to semi-civilized living, they would sometimes get beaten in skirmishes with people and all but the very young would be killed. The goblins would have killed human babies in such circumstances, but humans react differently. It is one of the laudable traits of humans that most often they will preserve the young of other species given the opportunity. When people did this with baby wolves, they soon had the family members we now call dogs. When wizards did this with baby goblins, the young developed into elves. You see, goblins are magical creatures of the dark, and sunlight affects them in strange ways. The young can tolerate it, but it will prevent them from developing the goblinlike gravity - instead they remain quite childlike in personality. You may have noticed this trait in Dobby."

"So what happens to an adult goblin exposed to sunlight, Professor?" asked Ron.

"Aah, that's even more dire. They develop sunsickness - heliopathy's the formal term. They lose their magical powers, depending on the strength of the sunshine. They become as vulnerable as rabbits."

"That's awful," said Hermione, "Do they recover?"

"Oh, yes, quite quickly, if they get out of the sunlight. Otherwise they soon die. But that's not the issue here. I wanted you to understand why the goblins hated Dobby so. To them he is a degenerate from of goblin - a half-blood, a weakened, diseased, pitiful thing, and worse, to them, is that he is a reminder of what they all could have become."

"Half-blood?" asked Harry, "it sounds like they are fully goblin by blood."

"No, Harry," said Ron, "in the magical world, it's not just breeding. If a being's nature has been significantly altered, he's also called a half-blood. Professor Lupin is called a half-blood because he's a werewolf, even though both his parents were purebloods. The werewolf bite tainted him - by the reckoning of those who count 'bloodedness' so important."

"It sounds like that includes the goblins," said Harry, "They seemed so nice other wise, except for being kind of abrupt and stiff."

"That's a fair assessment, except when it comes to the topic of house elves. They become quite irrational on that. I prefer to think of it as a blind spot."

"Professor, do I understand that goblins and elves share the instinct and enchantment which makes them completely loyal to their families?" asked Hermione.

"Yes, that's right," answered Flitwick.

"Then why should Dobby have sought freedom, even from as terrible a family as the Malfoys," continued Hermione.

"I've been pondering that myself and it is one of the reasons I wanted to talk to all of you. I may have an answer. Dobby, how old are you?"

Dobby looked like he was searching his mind, and then said "Dobby does not know for sure, sir. Dobby remembers only back to being a young elf in the Malfoy house about twenty years ago. I believe my memories go back to when I was about 4 or five years old."

"Do you have any other memories, older than that?"

"No, sir, Dobby doesn't think so."

"Yes, you do, Dobby," said Ron, "you have those nightmares about green lights."

"And you said you vaguely remembered other faces and places," added Hermione.

"Yeah, and you said several times that holding Melony's hand and looking into her eyes was like being home," added Harry.

Professor Flitwick paced and nodded. "It was just about twenty years ago that an entire hullabaloo was wiped out by Death Eaters. The hullabaloo was excavating a Merlin-era site and rumor got out that they had acquired an object identified by Merlin himself as the key to acquire a thing of great importance in a faraway land. It was supposedly brought to this land by Joseph of Arimathea at the same time he brought the Grail. The Death Eaters attacked. They used a collection of large mirrors to flood the hullabaloo's home with sunlight to cause heliopathy; it left the goblins unable to defend themselves and vulnerable to the killing curse. However, the object was no longer there. Rumor had it that it had already been placed in a vault in Gringott's. During the whole course of the First War, Voldemort tried to turn the goblins to his side so he could get that object, but the memory of the slaughter ran deep. Now, however, I'm afraid that memories are getting weak, and the Ministry is creating new resentments which may tip the goblins toward Voldemort."

"Sir," said Dobby timidly, "you said this had something to do with me?"

"Yes, Dobby," said Flitwick, looking at Dobby sadly, "I said that the entire hullabaloo had been wiped out, but that's not entirely true. One goblin was unaccounted for - a youngster of about three and a half. I believe one of the Death Eaters who murdered those goblins decided he could make a house elf out of that youngest goblin. I believe that youngest goblin is you."

Dobby just stared for several seconds, dumbfounded. Then he threw his arms around Harry's neck.

"Oh, Harry Potter, we is both orphans because of those bad wizards. We must beat them. We must."

Harry held and patted Dobby to comfort him, hugging him like a long lost sibling, which in spirit he was.

"But Professor, how does that explain Dobby's desire for freedom?" asked Hermione.

"Well, you see," continued Flitwick, "he had grown enough as a goblin that he was not entirely submissive to his wizard family - he was like a wolf cub taken out of the wild. He might be okay for a while, but with the right triggers, harsh enough conditions, the wildness asserts itself. Conditions had gotten enough better for house elves after Voldemort lost his powers that Dobby's goblin character was suppressed. But when Lucius Malfoy plotted to use that diary to recreate Voldemort's young self, the goblin side of his character expressed itself. Of course, all he would have remembered of the time before the Malfoys took him was vague recollections and the bright green light of the killing curse. That is, until he held a young woman goblin's hand and looked into her eyes. It must have been just like getting tucked into bed by his own goblin mother."

Dobby was sobbing now, and the others were not dry-eyed either. Even Professor Flitwick took out an enormous handkerchief and blew his tiny nose.

"Well, that explains why he fell in love with her. But why did she want to date him?" asked Harry.

"What!!?" squeaked Professor Flitwick.

"The next day we went back to Gringott's to get Ginny Weasley's new broom. Dobby wanted to see Melony but Grishnack wouldn't allow it. He was quite adamant. But while we were talking to Bill Weasley outside, Melony came to the alley and called Dobby over. They made arrangements to have a date - tonight at midnight."

"Oh, no, this will not do. If the goblins learn of this, they will be in rebellion for sure," fretted Flitwick.

"Can Dobby never see the beautiful Melony then?" said Dobby, "this is a most sad day - Dobby becomes an orphan and loses his chance at love in fifteen minutes."

Professor Flitwick held up a finger and then said, "Never let it be said that Filius Flitwick stood in the way of young love. What you need is a goblin chaperone. Her glamdring Grishnack would not even expect to know who the suitor is so long as an acceptable goblin chaperone vouches for him," said Flitwick.

"Well, great, Professor, but where are we going to get a goblin to be a chaperone, particularly one who would accept Dobby?" asked Ron.

"Right here, of course - me," said Professor Flitwick with a delighted smile.

Three jaws dropped like they never had before. Hermione was the first to recover enough to respond.

"You, Professor Flitwick? You seem like the most ungoblinlike person I've ever known!"

Professor Flitwick tittered. "In many ways, of course, but look at me - do I look like a normal human?"

"Well, we knew you used to be a champion duelist: we kind of reckoned you got hit by a few too many spells while dueling," explained Ron.

"I'm three feet tall, I have light green skin, and I have pointy ears. Ah, well, I guess my personality belies my heritage. My mother was a young goblin who, like Melony, came to feel she wanted to break away from the confines of her hullabaloo. As with any natural trait, the instincts are stronger or weaker in various individuals. My father was a great and kind wizard, and he was the one who had been hit with too many spells, till he took on an appearance something like a gnome. No witch would have him, but my mother thought he was quite handsome, and he was very much the exciting mold-breaker. My mother stayed indoors except at night, and my father took me out for long walks, which helped him recover from the spells. This suppressed my goblin side, except the skin and height and ears. And oh, yes, I have been told that I have quite the elfin personality, although I have a human's appreciation for the sadness in life. I am recognized among the hullabaloos as a goblin, since my mother was a goblin and I am not a house slave, as they describe it. If I speak to Grishnack, he will let me chaperone Melony to meet Dobby, without telling him who she is meeting, so long as I can vouch that he is goblin born and no slave. Dobby looks, and acts, too much like a house elf for us to let him meet the other goblins yet, but on my word, they will allow me to bring her here."

"But, Professor, I still don't understand why Melony would like someone who looks and acts like a house elf," said Harry.

"But he doesn't, not entirely. He breaks the rules," replied Flitwick, "He shucked off his human family and serves those he admires. He's a free-spirit, a rule-breaker. He's a bad boy."

Dobby looked shocked. "Dobby is not bad boy!"

"I don't mean it like that," apologized Flitwick, "I mean you're out of the ordinary. By seeking freedom, you upset things. Young women, and older ones if they don't mature, often are attracted to the wild, untamed loner."

"Like international Quidditch stars," muttered Ron to Hermione.

"Shut up," hissed Hermione.

"Professor, do you mind if I ask," said Harry, "what hullabaloo you would have been a part of if your mother had stayed with her kind?"

"Not at all," said Professor Flitwick, "my grandfather had been the glamdring of the hullabaloo killed by the Death Eaters."

Hermione gasped and put her hand over her mouth. "Then that means that you're ..."

Flitwick nodded "Yes, Dobby's sole remaining family - his great uncle to be precise."

Dobby stepped cautiously over to Professor Flitwick and looked him in the eye, pointing with one hand toward himself, and with the other toward Flitwick, "family?"

"That's right, Dobby, we are family. Although you must realize my hullabaloo enchantments have long been connected to Hogwarts. I should imagine your attachments to Hogwarts have grown quite strong by now."

"Yes, sir, and to Harry Potter."