In Harry Potter:

“But why don’t you leave? Escape?”

“A house-elf must be set free, sir. And the family will never set Dobby free . . . Dobby will serve the family until he dies, sir. . . .”

Why does he say "he dies" but not "they die" since I think "the family", which is the Malfoy family, is plural?


You have misunderstood. Dobby, and other house elves always talk about themselves in the third person. They don't use the word "I". Dobby says "Dobby is happy". In normal English you would say "I am happy".

The word "He" means "Dobby". In normal English:

"And the family will never set me free . . . I will serve the family until I die, sir. . . .”

This use of the third person is a quirk. It makes Dobby sound odd, and as if he doesn't have an "ego". Don't use it in your own speaking

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