Environmentalists are asking Harry Potter fans to stop leaving socks at the real-life beach where Dobby's grave was located as its harming the local environment.
Controversy may follow J.K. Rowling everywhere she goes, but that doesn’t stop those who love the wizarding tale from separating her from the memorable story and characters who stole our hearts. In Wales, one character in particular has received his own shrine from fans as Harry Potter enthusiasts are flocking to the beach where Dobby took his final breath and are leaving socks for the gentle and sweet house elf. According to EW, Harry Potter fans have been treating the area at Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales as a memorial for the character, littering the sandy land with socks in honor of the elf’s selfless decision to protect the titular character at all costs, and it may end up spoiling all the fun, as environmental factors may soon weigh in on a decision whether or not to keep the location publically accessible.
As sweet as the gesture is, it’s causing quite a disturbance to the wellness of the beach with the National Trust of Wales begging fans to stop dropping the article of clothing as it’s becoming an environmental concern. In fact, things have gotten so bad that the National Trust is planning to conduct an eight-month review of the site, gathering information on the possible damage that’s already been done. The good news for Harry Potter fans is that, as of right now, if their requests are listened to, the National Trust will allow the Dobby memorial to carry on at Freshwater Beach.
In a statement, a spokesperson said that the shrine will stay “in the immediate term,” adding that at this time they’re begging visitors to only snap photos during their visit. Explaining the reasoning behind their now banning of “socks, trinkets, and paint chips from painted pebbles,” the representative said that the items could have incredibly harmful effects on both the environment and the animals that call the waters and area surrounding the beach home.
Upon his introduction in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby was a bit of a nuisance, but the house elf would soon find himself as a favorite among the franchise’s fans. Through thick and thin, Dobby always showed up for Harry and his friends when they needed him the most and was freed by Harry when he outsmarted Lucius Malfoy into giving Dobby a sock. Dobby met a tearful end in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 when he was killed saving Harry and co., and fittingly dying in Harry’s arms.
Even though years have passed since the story of Harry Potter came to a conclusion, fans still love celebrating it and learning about behind-the-scenes secrets that made the movies the massive successes they came to be. While we may mourn the passing of characters like Dobby and the real-life actors behind many of them including the recently departed Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Helen McCrory, and many others, it’s important to have these memorial stops to keep the magic alive. Just remember, if you’re stopping by the Freshwater West Beach to keep your socks firmly planted inside your shoes and respect the natural area around you.