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All Harry Potter fans know the Death Eaters. They’re comprised of the most ruthless wizards and witches who do Voldemort’s bidding. If you don’t understand the Death Eaters, read our comprehensive guide!
Bottom line up front: Death Eaters were a group that was loyal to Lord Voldemort. Death Eaters had to protect Lord Voldemort and prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy. They also wanted to rid the Wizarding World of half-blood and Muggle-born wizards.
The Death Eaters all had a brand called the Dark Mark, which was a symbol depicting a serpent coming out of a skull’s mouth. During a battle, Death Eaters wore black robes and masks to conceal their identities.
What Are Death Eaters?
The Death Eaters are a radical group of wizards and witches led by Lord Voldemort. Their goal is to purity the wizarding community, ridding any Muggle-born Wizards. Death Eaters will murder those who speak out against their beliefs and they’re feared throughout the wizarding community. They want to create a new order in the Ministry of Magic.
Death Eaters hide their identity from the public. When they gather, they all wear black robes and masks. Yet they can recognize each other with the Dark Mark. The Dark Mark is Lord Voldemort’s symbol branded into their left forearms. The symbol is a serpent with a skull on top. Voldemort can summon his Death Eaters via this symbol.
History of the Death Eaters
The earliest accounts of the Death Eaters were when Lord Voldemort, as Tom Riddle, was in school. In House Slytherin, he gathered a group of kids and pretended to be their friends. Riddle had no interest in making friends; instead, he sought after those who also sought glory in addition to the weaker students and anyone who needed a leader. Not all, but most became the first Death Eaters.
Voldemort was an expert manipulator and persuaded these wizards to do his bidding. This consisted of nasty incidents. However, Riddle was a model student and used his relations at Hogwarts to not link back any crimes to him or his Death Eaters.
After Hogwarts, Riddle formed a similar group called Knights of Walpurgis. He later renamed this group the Death Eaters. Their ultimate goal is to overthrow the Ministry of Magic and purify the wizard community. Receiving the Dark Mark proved you were faithful to Voldemort.
Their opposition is The Order of the Phoenix, a group formed by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Their goal was to fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters, to ensure they don’t take over the wizarding world. However, the Death Eaters outnumbered the Order by 20 to one.
What Do Death Eaters Look Like?
Most of the time, you can’t tell a Death Eater apart from a normal human. That’s because they stay in hiding. But they all have the same branding — a skull with a serpent coming out of its mouth. It’s branded on the left forearm of all members. But when they gathered or were in fights, they wore black robes with masks. The masks had snake-like eye slits to completely conceal their faces.
What Do Death Eaters Do?
In order to be accepted as a Death Eater and prove your faith to Lord Voldemort, you had to follow specific rules:
- Receive the Dark Mark
- Keep the bloodline pure (no mating with Muggles)
- Never say Voldemort’s name
- Call Voldemort if you find Harry Potter (but don’t kill him)
- Tell Voldemort the truth
- Obey orders without question
- Put your life on the line
- Murder if needed
- Wear the appropriate black robes and masks
- Put up with Voldemort
- Come when called upon
- Have kids and induct them into the organization
- Infiltrate the Ministry of Magic
- Spread fear
- Eliminate anyone who rejects Voldemort
Were Death Eaters Dangerous?
Death Eaters have an agenda. First and foremost, the Death Eaters aimed to throw over the Ministry of Magic. This was to purify the wizard community of Muggle-borns and half-bloods. In order to do this, the Death Eaters fight and attack — specifically those in the Order of the Phoenix.
Lord Voldemort also wanted the deaths of specific people. Voldemort wanted Harry Potter dead because of a prophecy that predicted one wizard of extraordinary powers would kill Voldemort. He first tried to kill Harry’s parents, but he survived the attack as a baby.
Most Death Eaters only want to follow Voldemort’s orders. But others are more dangerous. Let’s tale Bellatrix Lestrange as the perfect example. She enjoys torturing and killing people. She will also go to any ends to get information for her Lord.
Most Famous Death Eaters
Voldemort had countless Death Eaters, but some are more famous and powerful.
Bellatrix Lestrange is not only one of the most powerful Death Eaters but she’s one of the most frightening characters in the book.
She has a fanatical devotion to Lord Voldemort, which makes her go to extremes to prove her faith and find information for him. She’s cruel and sadistic; she loves causing pain and has no problem murdering people. She’s one of the strongest fighters in all of the Death Eaters. She even killed her cousin, Sirius Black, and she also killed the house-elf, Dobby.
Severus Snape started off as a loyal companion to Voldemort. He was the one who first delivered Harry Potter’s prophecy to Voldemort. As a Death Eater, he was powerful and was a gifted wizard.
During the series, Snape ended up switching sides, becoming a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He assisted Voldemort and started protecting Harry. However, Snape still stayed within the Death Eater organization, though other members started becoming suspicious of the Hogwarts professor. Still, he fooled nearly everyone, including Voldemort.
Barty Crouch, Jr.
Barty Crouch, Jr. had two sides. On one side, he was almost innocent. On the other, he was an extreme Death Eater and was loyal to Lord Voldemort. He kidnapped and imprisoned Mad-Eye Moody, impersonating Moody so no one detected that Moody was missing. In general, he was a powerful wizard and gained the trust of many people, including Harry Potter at one point.
While Antonin Dolohov was known as a background Death Eater, he was still very dangerous. He was a skilled wizard and defeated many members of the Order of the Phoenix during battles. He’s best-known for killing Remus Lupin.
Corban Yaxley was a member of the Ministry of Magic. While he didn’t battle often, he showed his power in the Ministry. He had an iron fist and would hunt down Muggle-born wizards. As a Death Eater, he did participate in duels and some major battles. Since he was a force to be reckoned with, Voldemort would often assign dangerous tasks to him, such as recruiting Horace Slughorn.
Lucius Malfoy is the first Death Eater that readers meet. He’s the father of Harry’s school rival, Draco Malfoy. Lucius is also the character who continued putting Voldemort’s plan in motion when Voldemort loses his physical form and escapes to the forests of Albania. Until Voldemort gains enough power to re-emerge, Lucius commands the other Death Eaters. He also leads all battles during this time.
However, Voldemort blamed Lucius for the fall at the Ministry of Magic. He spent the rest of the series fearing for his life and his family’s safety.
Thorfinn Rowle was one of Voldemort’s premiere Death Eaters. That’s because he was one of the most feared ones. He can hold his own dueling powerful wizards. His dueling powers not only refer to his spells and curses but how he thinks fast at the moment. This is why Voldemort often called upon Rowle to capture Harry Potter and his friends. Harry was only able to defeat Rowle because he used the invisibility cloak.
Peter Pettigrew may seem like one of the most pathetic Death Eaters. He doesn’t have true loyalty to Lord Voldemort, but he gives in to his will because Pettigrew fears the Dark Lord.
However, he was still a valuable Death Eater. He’s the one who found Voldemort in Albania, overseeing his transformation to his normal form. He also served as a spy; his Animagus ability disguised himself as Ron Weasley’s pet rat so he could report back to Voldemort about Harry Potter and Sirius Black. This helped Pettigrew become Voldemort’s main assistant.
Books That Feature the Death Eaters
We first discover the term “Death Eater” in The Goblet of Fire. Harry discovers the Dark Mark and Hermoine explains the significance of the symbol. In The Order of the Phoenix, the Death Eaters who are prisoners escape Azkaban. The end of the book leads to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
The Death Eaters don’t have as much of an appearance in The Half-Blood Prince, though the Ministry now accepts that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters have returned. However, the Death Eaters do invade the school at the end during the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower.
Voldemort takes over the Ministry in the Deathly Hallows, so the actions of the Death Eaters become more open.
Pivotal Events With the Death Eaters
The Death Eaters were a major part of the Harry Potter series but didn’t make a true appearance until the end of the book. Still, there are several important events that featured the Death Eaters.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
During the Order of the Phoenix, this was the first major conflict that spawned the Second Wizarding War. Voldemort lured Harry Potter to the Department of Mysteries in an attempt to capture him. Joining Voldemort were his Death Eaters, specifically Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, and more. The Death Eaters’ goal was to capture Potter, killing off his friends and Order members if necessary.
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
In The Half-Blood Prince, the Battle of the Astronomy Tower took place at the highest tower in Hogwarts, the Astronomy Tower.
This battle is pivotal for many reasons, but this is when we discover that Draco Malfoy became a Death Eater. The goal of the battle was to kill Albus Dumbledore and the Death Eaters ordered the young Malfoy to carry out the sinister deed. Dumbledore did die but at the hands of Snape. Snape killed Dumbledore because he was already dying and killed him as an act of mercy. Malfoy couldn’t build up the courage to kill him.
Meeting at Malfoy Manor
In the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort called a meeting with all of his Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor when they nearly gained control of the Ministry. The meeting took place the week before the Battle of the Seven Potters. The meeting covered a complete takeover of the Ministry while also Snape sharing information that was useful in murdering Harry Potter.
Battle of the Seven Potters
In the same book, Harry Potter and his Muggle family, the Dursleys, had to escape their home. The Order of the Phoenix was protecting all of them. The Death Eaters ambushed the Order in the air as they were protecting Potter. The Battle was another attempt to end Harry’s life. However, Harry was safe and the Order managed to get him out. Unfortunately, Alastor Moody and Harry’s owl, Hedwig, did die in the battle.
Battle of Hogwarts
The Battle of Hogwarts was the major battle in the Deathly Hallows. The goal was to take over all of Hogwarts. Even though Voldemort called all Death Eaters in fighting shape to duel in this battle, this is where the Death Eaters experienced true defeat. After destroying all of his Horcruxes, Harry Potter defeated Voldemort when his spell dominated over his. 50 others fell in total, such as Remus Lupin.
Answer: First, you had to prove your efficiency in the Dark Arts. This included certain curses, specifically the ones that could cause murder. You also have to prove your loyalty to Lord Voldemort. While most Death Eaters were pureblood, I also heard many half-bloods and even Muggle-borns becoming Death Eaters. Still, this was rare. Then, you would receive the Dark Mark
Answer: Everyone says different things, but I personally think it’s Bellatrix Lestrange. She’s the most powerful, beyond her skill as a wizard. She was insane and went to all lengths to prove her loyalty to Lord Voldemort. Still, she was an extremely skilled witch and could block nearly all attacks — even ones from Dumbledore himself!
Answer: Absolutely! If you were found to be a Death Eater, you were imprisoned in Azkaban. It is interesting to wonder how the Death Eaters covered up their status. Not only did they have that massive brand on their forearm but they also disappeared whenever Voldemort called on them.
Death Eaters became some of the most recognizable characters in the last few Harry Potter books. The Death Eaters were a group of radical wizards led by Lord Voldemort, who wanted to eliminate half-bloods and Muggle-borns. Before he became Voldemort, Tom Riddle started the Death Eaters while he was still at Hogwarts. His group stayed loyal to him and helped him attempt to reverse the prophecy.