Welsh officials have warned fans of the Harry Potter franchise to stop leaving socks at a memorial grave created over a decade ago for Dobby the elf. In the series, the cherished fictional character tricks his master, Lucius Malfoy, into granting him lifelong freedom by giving him a sock. Dobby wears the sock until he dies on a beach. The films picturized this scene at Freshwater West Beach in Wales, where the real-life memorial stands today.
Authorities warned that the socks offered as tributes over 12 years have caused harm to the local ecosystem. Environmental officials conducted an eight-month review, in which they considered tearing down the memorial for the safety of the beach. Ultimately, they decided to keep the memorial, but warned that fans should no longer leave gifts at the gravesite.
Such real-life locations memorial sites for fictional characters are not uncommon. In 2016, after the death of actor Alan Rickman, fans began leaving flowers and memorials at Platform 9¾, the Harry Potter attraction at King’s Cross Station, London. Until July 2021, fans of Breaking Bad could visit the grave of Walter White in a cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, after complaints from bereaved families, those involved in the fake funeral processions shifted the headstone to a strip mall across town.
Meanwhile, The Wizarding World is also making headlines for another reason. David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros Discovery, shared that he is open to creating more Harry Potter content with author JK Rowling at the company’s Q3 earnings call on Thursday. The revelation could come as a disappointment to many fans who are attempting to distance themselves from Rowling after she published a transphobic letter on her website, and continues to advocate for that stand. The last Harry Potter film released 15 years ago, and it is uncertain how fans will react to a potential new installment in the franchise following the backlash Rowling received.