"Oh no, sir, no ... Dobby will have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this. If they ever knew, sir --"

I am not quite sure if I understand the phrase "shut his ears in the oven door". Is it he cut his ears off and put it into the oven or he cut his ears off by shutting the oven door?

How should we understand the phrase?

-- Excerpted from Harry Potter.

  • Dobbie speaks Dobbie-speak in any case. The language is odd on purpose. That's the whole point of it. Basically, everything he says is slightly off in terms of the normal way of saying things.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


The phrase is not "in the oven" but "in the oven door".

The oven door would pinch his oversize ears. He would do this intentionally. He must "punish himself".

Ouch! I accidentally shut my finger in the door.

  • Oh, I see. I think I was confused by the usage of the prep word "in". It's not actually in. Maybe it's more between. But that's just part of the idiomatic way to put it I guess.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 12:00
  • 1
    It depends on whether you consider the jamb part of the door.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 12:05

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