- "You realise that I am on my way downstairs to interrogate your wife, Cattermole? In fact, I'm quite surprised you’re not down there holding her hand while she waits. Already given her up as a bad job, have you? Probably wise. Be sure and marry a pure-blood next time... But if my wife were accused of being a Mudblood — not that any woman I married would ever be mistaken for such filth — and the Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement needed a job doing, I would make it my priority to do this job, Cattermole. Do you understand me?"
- — Yaxley cruelly threatening "Reginald Cattermole"[src]
Corban Yaxley was a Dark Wizard and a Death Eater who fought during the First Wizarding War. Yaxley did not search for Voldemort after his first downfall, but this was forgiven after Voldemort's return in 1995.
Yaxley also fought at several battles of the Second Wizarding War, such as the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. When Voldemort was in control of the Ministry of Magic, Yaxley became the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He went on to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, where he was subdued by George Weasley and Lee Jordan.
His fate after Lord Voldemort's final defeat is uncertain. He was most likely imprisoned in Azkaban for his crimes against Muggle-borns.
First Wizarding War
Corban Yaxley was one of the many Death Eaters who fought in the First Wizarding War. After Lord Voldemort's first downfall, Yaxley managed to avoid imprisonment in Azkaban. Like many others, Yaxley believed Voldemort had been finished and, thus, did not attempt to find him.
Second Wizarding War
On 27 June 1995, three nights following Voldemort's return, Yaxley arrived at Slughorn's house under cover of dark, intending to recruit him or take him by force to Voldemort. Transfiguring himself into an armchair, Slughorn successfully evaded the Death Eater's detection. A few days later, Slughorn locked up his house and went on the run, often squatting in Muggle dwellings while the owners were away, where he felt undetectable.
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
- "We've got orders. Draco's got to do it. Now, Draco, and quickly."
- — Yaxley pressures Draco to murder Dumbledore[src]
In June of 1997, Yaxley was among the group of Death Eaters who led an assault at Hogwarts Castle. Along with Alecto Carrow, Amycus Carrow, and Fenrir Greyback, they managed to overpower the Aurors who were assigned to guard the castle, reaching the Astronomy Tower where he pressured Draco Malfoy to do the deed Voldemort ordered him to perform: murder Albus Dumbledore. Yaxley was determined to follow the orders, attacking Greyback when he moved forward to attack Dumbledore. Before Draco could bring himself to kill him, Severus Snape arrived and, seeing Draco unable to do it, murdered the Headmaster himself, blasting the body from the tower. The Death Eaters had stood aside due to a fear/respect for Snape's presence, as Yaxley did not try to argue.
The Death Eaters proceeded to flee from the castle before any of the Order of the Phoenix summoned Ministry of Magic reinforcements. While getting down from the Astronomy Tower, Yaxley was hit with a Full Body-Bind Curse by Harry Potter.
- "Yes — my Lord, that is true — but you know, as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse has regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments. It will, I think, be easy, now that we have such a high-ranking official under our control, to subjugate the others, and then they can all work together to bring Scrimgeour down."
- — Yaxley elaborates on the plan to overthrow the Ministry[src]
A few weeks later, Yaxley had already broken out of Azkaban and instigated his master's plan to subjugate Ministry officials to begin the silent coup. Yaxley attended the Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor in July of 1997. During that meeting, he reported that he had placed Pius Thicknesse, then head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, under the Imperius Curse as part of Lord Voldemort's plan to take over the Ministry of Magic.
Many of his fellow Death Eaters were impressed, though Voldemort believed Snape's estimate of when Harry Potter would be removed from his relatives' home over Yaxley's. Yaxley fell for the trap set by Alastor Moody on that count, whereas Snape knew the true date, setting the stage for the Battle of the Seven Potters.
As Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- "But if my wife were accused of being a Mudblood — not that any woman I married would ever be mistaken for such filth —and the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement needed a job doing, I would make it my priority to do that job, Cattermole. Do you understand me?"
- — Yaxley using his power to intimidate other employees[src]
On 1 August, 1997, Voldemort's plan and Yaxley's efforts succeeded when Minister Rufus Scrimgeour was murdered and Pius Thicknesse became the puppet Minister for Magic. The Ministry fell under Voldemort's control and Yaxley, as an inner-circle Death Eater, was made the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
In this role, he participated in at least some of the interrogations and harassment of Muggle-borns, along with Dolores Umbridge, Head of the new Muggle-Born Registration Commission, while using his cruelty and new authority to intimidate lower-ranking employees such as Reginald Cattermole. The Ministry also designated Harry Potter as "Undesirable No. 1", under the excuse of him being wanted for questioning of Dumbledore's death. Snatcher groups were then dispatched to capture any Muggle-borns who refuse to register, along with Order of the Phoenix members and Harry himself.
Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic
Yaxley played a major role in this infiltration alongside Dolores Umbridge. During Umbridge's interrogations of Mary Cattermole, as part of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, Yaxley sat next to her observing the case. He refused to pity her children, while mocking her questionnaire answers, and having intimidated the man who disguised as her husband earlier to get his office dried in time. When Harry and Hermione reached the courtroom, they saw Umbridge, whom had the locket around her neck. Harry (under the Invisibility Cloak) stunned Umbridge and Yaxley. When Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley freed the Muggle-born prisoners, Yaxley woke up and pursued angrily.
Yaxley madly began to chase the trio as he ordered all Floo Network transportation to be sealed. At the last moments he grabbed Hermione's arm as the trio Disapparated. Hermione managed to evade him by using a Revulsion Jinx, but not before revealing the location of 12 Grimmauld Place. Thus, the house was no longer a safe hideout for the trio while leaving Ron splinched. After this the trio had to go to their tent in the forest. Harry speculated that Yaxley was bringing fellow Death Eaters into the house via Apparition.
- Yaxley: "Definitely heard something. Animal, d'you reckon?"
- Antonin Dolohov: "That head case Hagrid kept a whole bunch of stuff in here... Time's nearly up. Potter's had his hour. He's not coming."
- Yaxley: "Better go back. Find out what the plan is now..."
- — Yaxley and Dolohov guarding the Forbidden Forest[src]
On 2 May, 1998, Yaxley participated in the Battle of Hogwarts. During the first wave of the battle he can be seen duelling against Filius Flitwick a short distance away from Kingsley Shacklebolt and a masked Death Eater. It's unknown what the outcome of the duel was, but both Yaxley and Flitwick were seen unscathed shortly after.
He and Antonin Dolohov stood guard in the Forbidden Forest during the brief interlude that followed Voldemort's ultimatum to Harry Potter. They were followed back to the Death Eater camp by Harry under his Invisibility Cloak. During the final moments of the battle, Yaxley was defeated by Lee Jordan and George Weasley. His ultimate fate is unknown, though if he survived, he was most likely captured and sent to Azkaban along with the rest of the surviving Death Eaters.
Yaxley was described as having hard, blunt features and an unpleasant smile. He was relatively tall, and has long, pale blond hair tied in a neat braid that hangs down to his lower back. In spite of his snide comment about Lucius Malfoy's fondness for luxury upon seeing a peacock on his property, he shared Malfoy's sense of superiority over the rabble surrounding him, attiring himself in long, magnificent flowing robes to set himself apart from his fellow Ministry officials and highlight his position of power and authority.
As a Death Eater, he bore the Dark Mark on his left inner forearm, which faded to a mere scar upon Voldemort's death.
Personality and traits
Haughty, blunt, and domineering, Corban Yaxley was a proud, ambitious man with little patience for the feelings and the problems of others, instead choosing to devote his energies towards the fulfilment of the Dark Lord's plans and the fruition of the peaceful society he and his comrades had been promised would follow their master's triumph. Like many other Death Eaters, he subscribed very strongly to the ideology of Pure-blood supremacy, and had no qualms whatsoever in using demeaning phrases when referring to Muggle-borns. Upon becoming the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in 1997, he worked alongside Dolores Umbridge and the newly established Muggle-Born Registration Commission to imprison innocent Muggle-borns in Azkaban on false charges of having stolen their magic from "real" witches and wizards.
Indeed, during one Muggle-born trial, Yaxley highlighted his immense cruelty through his apparent enjoyment of using his new authority to intimidate and verbally abuse the lower-ranked employees, and even laughed at Mary Cattermole and contemptuously dismissed her worries for her children, responding that "the brats of Mudbloods [did] not stir [his] sympathies". This also indicated that he despises even half-bloods, despite Voldemort permitting them to continue living in the Wizarding community. He also showed a lust for power and prestige, reflected by how he described in detail on how he subdued Thicknesse and eagerly spoke of the plan to move Harry, in hopes of attracting more praise from Voldemort and fellow Death Eaters. Even so, while he did display a rather ruthless streak, he lacked, or at least overtly lacked, the sadistic and bloodthirsty nature of such comrades as Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange, being intelligent enough to weigh political reality against a desire for personal, petty revenge.
Whereas this shrewdness would've been a necessity in regard to maintaining his role of as an agent of the Dark Lord in the Ministry of Magic, it was perhaps best shown through his participation in the plot to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, during which, once they had the Headmaster cornered, wandless and alone, he contrasted Alecto and Amycus Carrow's gleeful enjoyment of seeing their enemy in such a compromising position by impatiently demanding that Draco Malfoy killed him so they could flee the area before the school got the chance to notify the Ministry of Magic, as every Death Eater captured in the wake of Dumbledore's death would mean the Dark Forces became a little weaker.
While his loyalty was questioned during the Return of Lord Voldemort in 1994, it would appear that Yaxley's decision not to search for his master came, rather than a wish to not compromise his freedom and social status after avoiding Azkaban, from a genuine belief that the Dark Lord had met his demise when he failed to kill Harry Potter on Hallowe'en in 1981. This was shown by how he could be rather harsh with his fellow Death Eaters whenever they went against the Dark Lord's orders, such as when he violently blasted Fenrir Greyback away from Albus Dumbledore for trying to kill him without letting Draco Malfoy, to whom Voldemort had given the task, have a chance.
However he did subside when Snape stepped silently forward to accomplish the deed, showing that Yaxley may have a certain level of feared respect for him, or that he might just have been aware that in the event of Draco failing to complete the task at hand, the Dark Lord would naturally have turned to Snape to do it and hence simply let him. Despite this seemingly pragmatic choice of life self-well-being over loyalty to a fallen Voldemort, according to Nymphadora Tonks, Yaxley appeared to be prepared to fight to the death during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, resulting in aggressiveness that overwhelmed the Order of the Phoenix.
Magical abilities and skills
Evidently an accomplished wizard, the fact that Lord Voldemort sent Yaxley on missions such as collecting Horace Slughorn (whose own magical prowess he respected) and capturing the parents of Hermione Granger (a good friend of Harry Potter's whose house thus were not unlikely to be under the protection of the Order of the Phoenix) single-handedly speaks for the faith the Dark Lord had in his abilities.
- Dark Arts: Being a Death Eater, Yaxley was presumably skilled in all manner of dark charms, including the Unforgivable Curses. Yaxley was skilled in the use of the Imperius Curse (which requires genuine ability to perform), being able to keep Pius Thicknesse under his control throughout the entire war, despite the fact that Thicknesse was actively trying to resist him. He also was also able to cast a powerful jinx that blasted Fenrir Greyback across the room.
- Nonverbal magic: Yaxley hit and knocked back Greyback with a powerful spell without speaking an incantation, which is highly advanced magic, given the difficulty of casting spells non-verbally, and proof of his superior magical skills.
- Duelling: Yaxley was a very proficient duellist, having fought in both the First and the Second Wizarding Wars. He was able to hold his own against former duelling champion Filius Flitwick and fight him to a stalemate while Antonin Dolohov, one of Voldemort's most sadistic and feared Death Eaters, was defeated by said opponent. Yaxley also took part in the Battle of Astronomy Tower where he likely had to fight off both Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members and was only defeated when Harry hit him from behind. He also showed no fear in attacking the savage werewolf Fenrir Greyback when the latter attempted to disobey orders, nor did he back down when Greyback expressed anger. Yaxley was amongst the Death Eaters who managed to last until the end of the Battle of Hogwarts and it took George Weasley and Lee Jordan to finally take him down. He was also single-handedly sent to recruit or capture Horace Slughorn who was regarded as a very skilled wizard.
- Apparition: Being an accomplished adult wizard, Yaxley was capable of apparating. Yaxley apparated to Lord Voldemort's side upon his rebirth. He also apparated to the Malfoy Manor to report his progress.
- Wand: He owned a wand of unknown length, wand wood and core. He used this wand throughout his life as a Death Eater, and during many battles, such as the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, Infiltration of the British Ministry of Magic and the Battle of Hogwarts, and was capable of performing powerful dark magic with his wand, including the Unforgivable Curses.
- Pocket watch: He owned a golden pocket watch, which we wore during his tenure as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Yaxley became a Death Eater and served Lord Voldemort around the First Wizarding War. When Voldemort met his first downfall at the hands of Harry Potter, Yaxley was not loyal enough to try to find him, as he managed to feign his way out of the Ministry's search by claiming to be under the Imperius Curse. Thirteen years after this, Yaxley returned to his master's revival, and was forgiven for his loss of faith.
Following this, Yaxley was imprisoned into Azkaban during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, but was released during a breakout. Despite this, he managed to remain in Voldemort's confidence, and was praised by Voldemort for being able to subdue Pius Thicknesse. After the takeover of the Ministry, Voldemort placed Yaxley as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, showing great faith in him despite the past lack of faith and the imprisonment. This contrasts how Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange were treated, whose past failures had led to a loss of faith and respect amongst the ranks of Death Eaters despite the latter's unyielding loyalty.
Amongst his fellow Death Eaters, Yaxley has some mixed relationships. He reacted violently against Fenrir Greyback for trying to kill Albus Dumbledore when it was assigned to Draco Malfoy, though in all fairness Fenrir was not an official Death Eater, and therefore received little respect amongst them. Yaxley, at the very least, respected Severus Snape with a sense of fear, as he backed down when Snape stepped forward to kill Dumbledore. He received many praises from the Death Eaters when he went into detail in subduing Thicknesse, though he seemed a little envious when Snape was receiving slightly more attention and praise from Voldemort. He also appeared to be on good terms with Antonin Dolohov who patted him on the back during the meeting and were seen conversing together while on the lookout for Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts.
He seems to have a sarcastic opinion on Lucius Malfoy's extravagance and show off attitude on his wealth. When he and Snape encountered an albino peacock on a hedge in front of Malfoy Manor, he sneered that Lucius always did himself well. He was also present when Lucius's son, Draco cornered Albus Dumbledore. He grew impatient when Draco was hesitant to kill the headmaster, and aggressively ordered him to do so quickly. When Voldemort humiliated the Malfoys during the first meeting, he joined his fellow Death Eaters in their mocking and sneering laughter.
Ministry of Magic Employees
During his tenure as the Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Yaxley abused his position by intimidating the less-ranking employees, such as Reg Cattermole, especially for marrying a muggle-born, and threatened him to have his office dried out within one hour or have his wife face even more dire consequences. He also ignored a wizard's greeting, showing little respect for those he did not deem worthy. However, he did nod approvingly at Albert Runcorn, showing respect for a fellow pure-blood supremacist. Seeing Yaxley scold and intimidate the trio in disguise, other employees refrained themselves from entering the same lift as them, as though in fear of infection.
Muggle-borns and half-bloods
As a Death Eater who believed in blood purity, Yaxley shows hatred and contempt for Muggles and Muggle-borns alike. During his time in assisting Dolores Umbridge in prosecuting the captured Muggle-borns, he ruthlessly sneered at their despair and ignored their pleas. He made it clear that he would never marry any woman who would be even mistaken for a "Mudblood", nor cared about the children of such a marriage.
Behind the scenes
- Yaxley is portrayed by Scottish actor Peter Mullan in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- It is likely that Yaxley is related to Lysandra Black (née Yaxley), wife of Arcturus Black II and maternal grandmother of Arthur Weasley, and thus to the Black, Crouch, Longbottom, and Weasley families, albeit distantly.
- At one point Yaxley mentions having a wife to Reginald Cattermole (really a disguised Ron Weasley), though it's possible that he was only speaking hypothetically. Though he makes it clear that he would never be married to anyone who would even be mistaken for a muggle-born.
- When Yaxley first appears he is unnamed, only being referred to as the "Brutal-Faced Death Eater" until he is properly identified in the next book.
- In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 never appears at all, and except for his name having been mentioned in passing, his role during the Infiltration of the British Ministry of Magic (1997) is taken instead by a senior Ministry official (who takes "Reginald Cattermole" and "Mafalda Hopkirk" into a meeting) and by a masked, unidentified Death Eater (who grabs Ron Weasley at one of the fireplaces).
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Consoles and Windows versions)
Notes and references
- Yaxley fought in the First Wizarding War, which ended in 1981. He was not neccessarily of age during that period, as Voldemort allowed underage wizards to join his Death Eaters.
- The Yaxley family was part of the Pure-blood Directory published in the 1930s. If Yaxley was born after the 1930s, there is a possibility that he descended from a member who had a relationship with a non-pureblood, but still claimed to be pure-blood.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- July 30, 2007 Web Chat with J. K. Rowling
- Pottermore Presents - Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Chapter 3 (Horace Slughorn)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
- Black family tree
|Level 10 employees|
|Amelia Bones · Elphias Doge · Albus Dumbledore · Cornelius Fudge · Griselda Marchbanks · Tiberius Ogden · Ralston Potter · Henry Potter · Dolores Umbridge · Two elderly witches · Dumpy, heavily-moustached wizard · Frizzy-haired witch|
|Council of Magical Law members|
|Albus Dumbledore · Alastor Moody · Bartemius Crouch Senior · Female juror · Male member · Clerk|
|Muggle-Born Registration Commission members|
|Dolores Umbridge · Yaxley|