I’d like to politely disagree with something that has been said on the podcast about SPEW. I don’t believe that the idea of SPEW is completely wrong. I actually think that the cause is pretty valid.
At the Quidditch World Cup, Hermione gets very shocked when she sees Amos Diggory addressing Winky as ‘elf’. She also gets upset when she sees Barty Crouch Senior’s treatment of Winky, although she doesn’t know the real circumstances that lead to that treatment. She dislikes the fact that house elves believe that they are inferior to human beings. So I think her real cause in making SPEW is to make sure that house elves are treated with kindness and respect and are given importance in the wizarding world. This cause is completely justified especially at the end of the Order of the Phoenix with Kreacher’s betrayal of Sirius. When Sirius lived at Grimmauld Place, he didn’t treat Kreacher with kindness and didn’t give him any real importance, which Bellatrix and Narcissa did when Kreacher went to the Malfoys. Thus, Kreacher had no qualms about betraying Sirius.
However, Hermione did make mistakes with her method of working where SPEW was concerned. Going into the kitchens and trying to convince the house elves to rebel was not a good idea at all. She failed to understand the mindset of the house elves and their belief that getting freedom is one of the worst possible things that could happen to them.
JK Rowling said in an interview about Hermione and SPEW-“…a growing-up thing is that in fact she [Hermione] blunders towards the very people she’s trying to help. She offends them.” “She thinks it’s so easy. It’s part of what I was saying before about the growing process, of realizing you don’t have quite as much power as you think you might have and having to accept that. Then you learn that it’s hard work to change things and that it doesn’t happen overnight. Hermione thinks she’s going to lead them to glorious rebellion in one afternoon and then finds out the reality is very different….”