JK Rowling has issued another apology for killing one of her much-loved characters in the final book of the Harry Potter series.
Each year on 2 May, the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, the author says sorry for a death that hurt fans particularly hard.
On Wednesday, she apologised for killing Dobby, the house-elf freed after a trick by Harry Potter who went on to save him, Luna Lovegood, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, before they were turned over to Voldemort.
Unlike other characters covered in previous apologies, Dobby was not killed during the Battle of Hogwarts, the climactic war between good and evil on the school’s grounds, but earlier in the Deathly Hallows novel.
Rowling tweeted: “It’s that anniversary again. This year, I apologise for killing someone who didn’t die during the #BattleofHogwarts, but who laid down his life to save the people who’d win it. I refer, of course, to Dobby the house elf.”
Last year, the author apologised for killing Professor Severus Snape, whose true allegiance on the side of good or evil kept readers guessing throughout the seven books, and for Fred Weasley and Professor Remus Lupin.
Dobby first met Harry in the wizard’s second year, when he tried to warn him not to return to Hogwarts. Harry eventually came to appreciate the house-elf’s help and tricked his master, Lucius Malfoy, into freeing him.
Dobby went on to work in the kitchens at Hogwarts for several years.
He died as he rescued Harry, Hermione, Luna and Ron, as well as Dean Thomas, Griphook, and the wandmaker Garrick Ollivander after they had been caught by snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor.
Death eater Bellatrix Lestrange hurled her knife at Dobby and Harry as they “apparated”, hitting him and fatally wounding the elf.
He was buried without magic, in a grave marked “Here Lies Dobby, A Free Elf”.
Rowling’s apology had a mixed reaction on Twitter, with many calling it the saddest death they had ever encountered in literature.
Several fans told her it was “about time” she apologised, or confessed they were still not over it.