"Dobby is free!"
Harry tells his story to Dumbledore, McGonagall, Arthur Weasley, and Molly Weasley, Ginny and Lockhart are sent to hospital, Lucius Malfoy arrives with Dobby, and Harry tricks Lucius into freeing Dobby.
Calendar and Dates
The scenes in McGonagall's office and the corridor outside take place immediately after the events of the previous chapter. The rest of the term is summarized in a paragraph, and the closing scenes take place on board the Hogwarts Express and in King's Cross Station at term's end.
Interesting facts and notes
This chapter wraps up various loose ends, by explaining who Dobby's wizarding family is and what their involvement with the diary was. Dobby also receives his just reward.
Ignoring the elf bobbing apologetically around his ankles...
This arrogant, unconscious dismissal of servants - in particular, of an enslaved servant whom Lucius believes lacks the ability to resist his bondage - is one of the greatest weaknesses in the security precautions taken by the Malfoys and their like. This is why Dobby was able to find out so much: Lucius simply didn't think to take into account that Dobby was a witness to his activities.
The same applies, of course, to Sirius Black's relationship with Kreacher, though the tenor of that relationship differs from that between Dobby and the Malfoys.
Exceptional character moments
Lucius Malfoy's arrogance in ignoring Dobby throughout his encounter with Dumbledore and Harry.
"Ginny!" said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?"
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." [Dumbledore]
"We'll be needing a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher...Dear me, we do seem to run through them, don't we?" [Dumbledore]
...or Dumbledore announcing that, unfortunately, Professor Lockhart would be unable to return next year, owing to the fact that he needed to go away and get his memory back. Quite a few of the teachers joined in the cheering that greeted this news.