- "Rowle was an authoritarian who had risen to power on an anti-Muggle agenda, capitalising on the anger felt by much of the wizarding community at being forced to go underground. Sadistic by nature, Rowle scrapped the plans for the new prison at once and insisted on using Azkaban."
- —Rowle's rise to power and his nature[src]
Minister Damocles Rowle was an anti-Muggle wizard politician who had risen to the rank of Minister for Magic from 1718 to 1726. Damocles was responsible for the creation of the wizard prison known as Azkaban and for utilising the Dementor colony living on the island as the prison's guards.
He was elected on a platform of being "tough on Muggles". At the time, plans for a purpose-built wizarding prison, located on some Hebridean island, had been made. However, Rowle scrapped the plans and insisted on using Azkaban instead, which had previously been a Dementor-infested fortress used by the insane dark wizard Ekrizdis in the 15th century and was now abandoned. He claimed that the Dementors populating the island could be harnessed as guards, saving the Ministry time, expense and trouble, and thus being an advantage. Rowle carried out his plan, in spite of protests from experts on both Dementors and buildings with a dark history such as Azkaban. Many prisoners were placed there, and even those who had not been mad and dangerous when they came to Azkaban, swiftly became so. Yet none of them ever emerged while Rowle was the Minister.
His actions as Minister led to him being censured by the International Confederation of Wizards, and he was therefore forced to step down, turning over the office to Perseus Parkinson. Despite Rowle being forced to step down however, the island still remained infested with Dementors, and the creatures were still used as guards until the outbreak of the Second Wizarding War.
Damocles is an anecdotal figure from Sicily. Supposedly a courier of Dionysius II of Syracuse, Damocles commented on his king's fortunate position. Dionysius offered to switch positions with Damocles and offered to let him sit on the throne. Dionysius then arranged for a heavy sword to be suspended above the throne by only a single tail hair of a horse. This allegory is meant to illustrate that with great fortune comes great peril and anxiety. Damocles Rowle can be said to exemplify this allegory, as he was censured and forced to retire as Minister.
Notes and references
- According to Pottermore, The Rowle family was one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, as Damocles had already been alive by that point he was likely a Pure-Blood or Half-blood, as was common with other Pure-Blood families such as the Malfoys.
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Azkaban" at Wizarding World