Dobby the house-elf, best known for his complicated relationship with Harry Potter and his work with the Order of the Phoenix, died this week after receiving a fatal blow during a skirmish with infamous Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. His date of birth and age, like most house-elves, is undetermined.
Little is known of Dobby's early life, although records indicate that he was born into servitude and spent much of his life as a servant in the household of the Malfoy family, where cruelty and harsh treatment were everyday occurrences.
However, it is here that he became privy to Lucius Malfoy's scheme to open the Chamber of Secrets and chose to defy commonly understood house-elf law and actively work against the wishes of his master, doing everything in his power to protect Harry Potter from the trouble that awaited him back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Dobby's methods to save the Boy Who Lived, particularly his use of an enchanted bludger that would only target Potter during a Quidditch match, remain controversial, and there is still debate over whether or not Dobby's actions did more to help or hinder Potter in the early stages of his war against He Who Shall Not Be Named.
Either way, it was the start of a friendship between Dobby and the young wizard, with Potter returning the favor by tricking Lucius Malfoy into freeing Dobby through a well placed pair of socks.
Having received the gift of clothing, the traditional method through which a house-elf is relieved of his duties, Dobby became the first of his kind: a free house-elf. For most house-elves, freedom is a mark of shame and a sign of duties poorly performed, but for Dobby, it was an opportunity to escape the Malfoy family and find his place in the world.
After a year of searching, Dobby was granted a position at Hogwarts, where, under a contract with the late, great headmaster Albus Dumbledore, he became the first house-elf to earn a paid salary.
The next few years were among the happiest in Dobby's life. In addition to his normal duties at Hogwarts, he continued to assist Harry Potter, providing a helping hand during the ill-fated Tri-Wizard Tournament and acting as the Order of the Phoenix's spy in the halls of the school.
His final mission, undertaken with full knowledge of the personal risk involved, was a rescue mission in the home of his old masters, the Malfoys. Although Dobby did not survive, his heroic actions saved the lives of Harry Potter, Hogwarts students Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, renowned wandmaker Ollivander and the goblin Griphook.
Dobby was buried in a private ceremony on the shores near Shell Cottage. He is remembered as a brave, resourceful ally and and a one-of-a-kind friend who laid down his life not only for an important cause, but for the lives of the friends he loved so dearly.
He will be missed.