When it comes to house elves, Hermione Granger is Harry Potter’s number one social justice warrior. In the fourth book, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Hermione makes it her mission to free all of Hogwarts’ tiny staff members by gifting them clothing—the only way to free a house elf from its magically enforced servitude. And now Harry Potter fans are taking a page from Hermione’s book and trying to free Dobby from his own imprisonment at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
While most house elves genuinely love their servitude (an odd and oddly common trope in sci-fi and fantasy), Dobby actually wants to be free. In Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Harry helps him earn freedom by tricking his owner Lucius Malfoy into handing Dobby a sock. Once freed, Dobby becomes a crucial player in Harry’s journey, so it does seem a little cruel for Warner Bros. to trap him in a small glass prison for all eternity (although arguably less cruel than his fate in the series).
Now fans have taken it upon themselves to drape their socks near Dobby in hopes of freeing him once and for all. It’s unclear if people are bringing socks for this express purpose or simply taking off one they’re wearing that day in a fit of altruism. For what it’s worth, DigitalSpy reports the socks are “smelly.” Regardless, S.P.E.W. (The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) is no doubt thrilled by their efforts.