As with the human characters, where there are few who are the cynosure of the plot of each books, even among the magical creatures, some rule the roost while a few others slip under the radar. While the house elf Dobby, who comes in to save Harry Potter in the second book, gets the attention of the readers because of that and also how devoted he is to Harry, another house elf goes somewhat away from the limelight. That, of course, is Kreacher.
House elves usually serve one wizard family their entire life unless they are freed by giving clothes. Kreacher was the house elf of the Black family. And he is devoted to that family, as can be seen from his despise toward those who he feels are against the family, and that devotion is in particular strongest to his former mistress, Warburga Black, Sirius’ mother.
Though not much is known about the Black family, it is known that they were particularly loyal to Slytherin. Professor Slughorn mentions that with the exception of Sirius, the Black family had been taught by him. And that loyalty is shown in their attitude which is oriented toward purebloods. This attitude had also seeped in to Kreacher, who shows despise for Hermione, the Muggle-born too. It is that loyalty, in addition to his dislike for Sirius who mistreats him, that pushes him to go to the Malfoys, closest relatives of the Blacks, and reveals information that ends up with Sirius’ death.
Kreacher’s character for me serves as a way to indicate the importance of kindness. He didn’t take Sirius seriously, nor did he respect Harry Potter who became his master after Sirius died, since both of them at first had been unkind to him. However, after Harry gives Kreacher the useless locket that was supposed to be one of the horcruxes, and spoke kindly to him, Kreacher begins to change. He serves Harry more willingly, and even becomes kind to Hermione. Servant or not, that change in attitude because of kindness is very touching. He even turns against the Dark Lord, leading the house elves of the Hogwarts kitchen in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Having been introduced as a main character only in the fifth book of the series, Kreacher’s is a character that doesn’t get a lot of time to make a big impact on the reader, especially with Voldemort back to strength and the impending battle between Harry and Voldemort being built up in those books. But looking back, his is a character that feels as important as Dobby’s in certain ways.
(© 13th April 2016)