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Horcrux creation

Tom Riddle creating a Horcrux — the "darkest art"

"The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible."
Severus Snape's description of the Dark Arts[src]

The Dark Arts,[1] also known as Dark Magic,[2][3] or the Dark Side[4] was a term that referred to any type of magic that was mainly used to cause harm to, exert control over, or even kill people and creatures.[5][1] Common examples included dark spells such as the three Unforgivable Curses,[5] brewing dark potions,[6][7] and breeding dark creatures.[8] These acts were often illegal in the wizarding world, or at least heavily discouraged.

Practitioners of the Dark Arts were referred to as Dark wizards or witches.[9][10] Most people who practised what was known as the Dark Arts were evil, but not all. The most prominent and powerful of these was Lord Voldemort, who was widely considered to be the most evil Dark wizard in all of history.[11][12][13][14] His followers, known as Death Eaters, also heavily practised the Dark Arts.[15][6]

Nature of the Dark Arts[]

Tom Riddle: "I have experimented; I have pushed the boundaries of magic further, perhaps, than they have ever been pushed —"
Albus Dumbledore: "Of some kinds of magic. Of some. Of others, you remain... forgive me... woefully ignorant."
Tom Riddle: "The old argument. But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your famous pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore."
— A serious discussion regarding the nature of the Dark Arts[src]

Tom Riddle after his transformation by the Dark Arts

The Dark Arts were generally regarded as corrupting to those who use them (which is part of the reason they are called "dark"). Quirinus Quirrell was interested in dark magic, initially by a theoretical view to gain recognition, but his curiosity turned to avarice, and eventually he was completely drawn in and corrupted.[13][16]

Albus Dumbledore, in particular, suggested that engaging in any of the Dark Arts that involve murder was damaging to the soul;[17] for instance, he told Severus Snape that Draco Malfoy's soul was "not yet so damaged" that he was probably capable of murder, but that if he did go through with murder, his soul would be "ripped apart".[18] This suggested that using very dark magic, such as the Killing Curse, damaged an individual's soul. The dark art of creating a Horcrux involved literally splitting the soul for the unnatural purpose of achieving immortality.[17]

After engaging in the Dark Arts extensively for many years, even Tom Riddle's physical appearance demonstrated his corruption — he lost his former handsomeness, eventually taking on serpentine physical qualities such as red eyes, and no nose.[17]

Voldemort crucio harry

Voldemort's desire to cause Harry Potter pain allowed him to cast the Cruciatus Curse effectively

Just as all spells required intention to be cast properly, powerful dark spells required malicious intent in order to be successful.[5][19][20] For example, according to Bellatrix Lestrange, to cast the Cruciatus Curse, one had to truly desire to cause pain in and of itself and enjoy doing so. Even if the caster genuinely hated the victim, righteous anger would not work.[19] The Dark Arts could also be difficult to control; Vincent Crabbe lost control of the cursed fire he created in 1998 during the Battle of Hogwarts and was killed by it.[21]

Injuries caused by dark magic sometimes never fully healed, such as George Weasley's ear after it was cut off by the Sectumsempra curse (he was struck with during the Battle of the Seven Potters).[22] Furthermore, some curses could remain in one's genes, being passed down through generations as recessive, or could reemerge in a descendant that could lead to frail health. For example, Astoria Malfoy was one such victim of her ancestor's curse.[23]

Dark creatures could also have lasting impacts that were deadly or incredibly harmful to those who came into contact with them. Basilisks had deadly venom in their fangs, as well as the ability to instantly kill anyone who looked the directly in the eye. Although, indirect eye contact, such as seeing its reflection, would only result in petrification.[24][8] While petrification could be cured by the Mandrake Restorative Draught,[3] and wounds from Basilisk fangs healed by phoenix tears, these treatments were quite difficult to prepare or obtain.[14]

Dementors had the ability to literally devour all the happiness from the world around them, leaving people with only their worst experiences, resulting in a state of misery and hopelessness. Furthermore, Dementors could consume human souls with their kiss.[25] There was no cure for someone who has had their soul removed, as they spent the rest of their lives in a vegetative state which is even considered worse than suffering a painful death.[26][27]



Wands made with dragon heartstring was better suited to the Dark Arts

According to wandlore, the suitability of a wand to perform dark magic depended, at least partly, on its core;[28] dragon heartstring, phoenix feather,[28] and rougarou hair[29] had reputations for being suitable for it, while it was hard to perform dark magic with unicorn hair wands.[28]

The type of wood the wand was made from might have also played a part in its suitability for the Dark Arts. Wands made of applewood for example mixed poorly with dark magic. On the other hand, Yew retained a particularly dark and fearsome reputation in the spheres of duelling and curses.[28]


"You are protected, in short, by your ability to love! The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort's!"
— Explanation of the best type of protection against the Dark Arts[src]

Defence Against the Dark Arts was taught as a Core class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In this class, students learned about a variety of dark spells and creatures and how to effectively defend themselves against them. It should be noted that D.A.D.A. required a practical approach, and that just teaching books and theories would have only hindered the learning process. According to Professor Snape, the Dark Arts were pragmatic in nature, where every time a branch was defeated, it only came back "fiercer and cleverer" than before. It is therefore imperative that one's defences had to be as versatile as these foul arts themselves.[1]

There was a wide variety of sophisticated magical devices known as Dark Detectors, all of which made for effective weapons against Dark wizards. One such device was the Sneakoscope, resembling a spinning top, it spun around, lit up, and sounded a whistle if someone was doing something untrustworthy nearby. Another was the Foe-Glass, resembling a mirror, it showed its user a visual of their enemies. The closer those enemies got, the more clearly the could be seen in the Foe-Glass. When made to work together, the different kinds of Dark Detectors could improve upon each other's function.[30] However, these devices could be fooled, so it was advisable to not rely on them too much.

Similarly, more proactive preemptive measures could have been taken against potential enemies, such as by placing an Admonitor on them, so as to monitor any spells they cast.

Lily murder

Lily Potter bodily shielding infant Harry from the Killing Curse

According to Albus Dumbledore, the only power strong enough to enable a person to resist the temptation of the Dark Arts, and to defeat them, was pure love.[13][17] He was perhaps referring to the act sacrificial protection, which was invoked when someone sacrificed their life out of love to protect someone else, creating a powerful magical protection around the loved one in question against the enemy they sacrificed themselves to. Lily Potter inadvertently used to protect her infant son Harry Potter,[13][31] and which Harry himself later used to protect the defenders of Hogwarts by willingly letting himself be hit by a Killing Curse from the Lord Voldemort.[32]

Of course, Harry was not actually killed by this curse; since Voldemort had used Harry's blood (the magic of his mothers sacrifice still in his veins) to restore his physical form three years prior, he had inadvertently linked Harry's life to his own. The curse only destroyed the part of Voldemort's soul inside him. Although, Harry did spend a brief time in limbo before returning to the land of the living.[33]

The Dark Arts and the law[]

"Now... those three cursesAvada Kedavra, Imperius, and Cruciatus — are known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban."
Bartemius Crouch Junior explaining the consequences of using the Unforgivable Curses[src]
B4C30M1 Wizengamot trial Pensieve memory

Four known Death Eaters standing trial in front of the Council of Magical Law

Although many members of the wizarding world appeared to frown upon the Dark Arts, they were mostly not prohibited. The three Unforgivable Curses were punishable by an automatic life sentence in Azkaban prison when used on fellow humans, wizard or Muggle.[5] However, some types of magic could have more benign uses as well as Dark uses, and thus were presumably not always illegal.

Under certain conditions, the Dark Arts may have even been encouraged.[34] For example, during the height of the First Wizarding War, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement of the day, Bartemius Crouch Senior, authorised the use of killing instead of capture and granted the Aurors permission to use the Unforgivables against the Dark Wizard who followed Voldemort.[34] Given this, it can safely be assumed that if the situation was dire enough, the Dark Arts were ironically encouraged by the Ministry to combat the problem.

Borginandburkes pottermore

Borgin and Burkes

Moreover, shops like Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley openly traded in Dark artefacts, and were patronised by "hundreds of people",[35][36][37][38] which suggested that at least some aspects of the Dark Arts were somewhat socially acceptable, or at the very least legal among parts of the wizarding population. Though, with all businesses related to the Dark Arts collected together in one place, Knockturn Alley, it would have been easier for the Ministry to keep track over all of them, which may have influenced the governments policies on the matter.

Of course, the law may have differed from country to country. For example, while Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry taught only Defence Against the Dark Arts, Durmstrang Institute taught the Dark Arts itself.[39] In Japan, witches and wizards were not permitted to practise the Dark Arts in any capacity; to do so was a violation of the Japanese wizard's code, and anyone who did so would face trial in front of the Japanese Ministry of Magic. Furthermore, if the offender was a student at Mahoutokoro School of Magic, said offender would be immediately expelled, in addition to facing legal repercussions.[40]

When Lord Voldemort was in control of wizarding Britain in late 1997 to mid-1998, every aspect of the Dark Arts was legalised and taught at Hogwarts by Death Eater professor Amycus Carrow.[41] However, since Voldemort was controlling the Ministry at this time, it was not standard protocol.

Ethical considerations[]

While the Dark Arts had earned a bad reputation overall, dark magic was not, by definition, "evil" magic, as reflected in some of the people using them not being evil. The only known exception to this rule was the spell which created a Horcrux; this was an entirely selfish act — taking another person's life in order to prolong one's own. The act of genuine remorseless murder was so reprehensible that the caster's soul became fragmented, allowing the creation of a Horcrux. The soul could only be restored by complete remorse for the murder, or repentance, which was actually painful enough to cause death.[17]

That aside, dark magic could be used for good as well as evil. Even the Killing Curse could be used for good, as Albus Dumbledore requested that Severus Snape use it to kill him, mercifully saving him from a far worse way to die. A mercy kill did not count as a murder, so Snape's soul went undamaged by the act. Using the Dark Arts in an act of true mercy in and of itself contradicted the very stark moral view that many such as Bartemius Crouch Senior publicly espoused regarding them. Killing for self-defence or to protect someone else was also different from murder and left the soul unharmed.

Apart from the metaphysical ramifications, it was possible to use the Dark Arts to achieve great good in the long run. Snape killing Dumbledore ultimately served to help Snape fool Voldemort into thinking he was a loyal Death Eater, allowing him to work behind the scenes and lead Voldemort to his destruction.[18]

At the same time, dark magic was not the only type of magic that could be used with the intent to kill. For example, the Severing Charm could kill if used irresponsibly or maliciously.[42] The Fire-Making Spell could be used to burn someone, and the Levitation Charm could be used to drop someone from a great height.

Known Dark Magic[]

Dark charms[]

Main article: Dark charm
"A wizard who's about to put an illegal curse on you isn't going to tell you what he's about to do. He's not going to do it nice and polite to your face. You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful."
Bartemius Crouch Junior (disguised as Alastor Moody) regarding curses[src]
Barty Crouch Junior kills spider

An Unforgivable Curse, the Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra)

A dark charm was primarily defined as any charm that consistently affected the object in a negative manner, usually associated with varying levels of discomfort.[43]

Dark charms could be classified into three groups: jinxes, hexes, and curses.[43] These groups form a hierarchy, with jinxes at the base, hexes in-between, and curses at the top. The further one ascended up this hierarchy, the more wicked, the stronger, the longer-lasting and the less reversible the Dark spell's effects appeared to be. The Unforgivable Curses were the strongest known Dark spells in existence, as their effects were very powerful and their use required skill.[5]

B4C14M1 DADA Unforgivable Curses

Bartemius Crouch Junior (disguised as Alastor Moody) demonstrating these curses to fourth-years

The Unforgivable Curses were shown to Hogwarts students in Defence Against the Dark Arts class in the sixth year, but Bartemius Crouch Junior (disguised as Alastor Moody using Polyjuice Potion) in the 1994–1995 school year showed these curses to fourth-years instead.[5]

Other dark spells could be used not physically on their intended targets, but could cause great harm to them nonetheless. The Taboo was a jinx that allowed the caster to track anyone who said a certain word or name. This gave the caster a great deal of power over people's speech, which spread great fear. It was notably used by Death Eaters to track their enemies during the Second Wizarding War, when they made name "Voldemort" taboo.[44][45][46][47] Lord Voldemort himself placed a powerful jinx on the position of the Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in revenge after he was refused the position himself, which resulted in every hired teacher of this subject being forced out of their job at the end of each school year, in various unfortunate circumstances.[38]

The following are examples of dark spells and what hierarchy they belonged to:

Type Spell Incantation

Minor dark magic, caused a small inconvenience to the target. Its effects were irritating but amusing, almost playful.[43]

Knockback Jinx[43] Flipendo[43]
Oppugno Jinx[42] Oppugno[48]
Revulsion Jinx[44] Relashio[49]

Moderate dark magic, caused a major inconvenience and/or a low level of harm to the target.[43]

Bat-Bogey Hex[42] Unknown
Knee-reversal hex[42]
Toenail-growing hex[50]

The worst kind of dark magic, caused extreme harm to the target, or otherwise effected them in a strongly negative manner.[43]

Cruciatus Curse[5] Crucio[5]
Imperius Curse[5] Imperio[5]
Killing Curse[5] Avada Kedavra[5]

Dark potions[]

"Undoubtedly, this potion must act in a way that will prevent me taking the Horcrux. It might paralyse me, cause me to forget what I am here for, create so much pain I am distracted, or render me incapable in some other way."
Albus Dumbledore regarding the effects of the Emerald Potion[src]

These potions caused negative effects on those who drank them, or caused harm in some way or another. Dark potions may have also included ingredients that were not common in regular potions, or possessed usual properties. Some Dark potions included the following:

Potion Notes
Rudimentary body potion A potion used, alone or in combination with other magic, to create a rudimentary body that can be inhabited by a non-corporeal wizard. Its ingredients consisted of unicorn blood and potent snake venom.[6]
Regeneration potion A potion noted by Lord Voldemort to be "an old piece of Dark Magic".[6] Its ingredients included a bone from the father unknowingly given, flesh from the servant willingly given, and blood forcibly taken from an enemy of the one for whom it was intended. It created a new body for a Dark witch or wizard who has used Horcruxes and lost their original body, as Voldemort did. This new body was a replica of the old one and had its former powers too. It apparently required that the Dark wizard existed within a rudimentary body that could be placed within the cauldron after all the ingredients were added.[51] If the blood of the enemy contained protections or infections, like a love sacrifice, it would also affect or protect the wizard or witch reborn with it.[33]
Drink of Despair An emerald green potion used in a stone basin in which the locket Horcrux was hidden. Its consumption caused the drinker to see "terrible things", dehydrate, and experience excruciating burning in one's insides. Because of the 'terrible things' it subjected its victim to, it had an effect similar to the presence of a Dementor.[7][52]

Dark items[]

"Of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction —"
— The introduction of Magick Moste Evile[src]

Some items could be bewitched with Dark Magic for various purposes. They then became known as Dark Magic artefacts (or simply Dark items). The following items were associated with Dark Magic:[53]

Object Notes
Bewitched books Books could be bewitched with dark charms to cause harm to anyone who attempted to read them. Examples included Sonnets of a Sorcerer, which caused the reader to forever speak in limericks, an unnamed book that a person could never stop reading it, as well as one that would burn the reader's eyes out.[54] Tom Riddle's Diary was both a bewitched book and a Horcrux.[14][55][17]
Hand of Glory A severed human hand with a candle placed within it. It provided light only to the holder, and was commonly attributed to catching thieves and plunderers.[35] It was also able to penetrate Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder and Light-creation spells.[56][57]
Horcrux An object (or living being) that contained a fragment of a Dark wizard's divided soul. It was used to provide protection against death, thus providing immortality, and was considered to be the darkest of all objects.[17]
Opal Necklace A cursed item which turned up in Borgin and Burkes,[35] was apparently purchased by Draco Malfoy,[56] and almost killed Katie Bell.[50] It was cursed very heavily, to the extent that merely touching it caused nearly instant death.[50][37] It had killed at least nineteen Muggles.[35]
Objects in the Black house Various objects belonging to the House of Black could be classified as Dark, such as an enchanted music box that would put people to sleep,[58] ancient purple robes that would strangle those who get close,[58] a Grandfather clock that would shoot heavy bolts at passers-by,[58] spider-like tweezers that would puncture somebody's skin,[58] a silver snuffbox that would bite an individual,[58] and a highly dangerous locket Horcrux that contained Voldemort's mutilated soul.[52]
Black Quill An enchanted quill that did not require ink, as it wrote with the blood of the person using it. What the user wrote would be carved onto the back of his or her hand, and the blood from the words sliced into the hand would be magically siphoned and used as ink on the parchment. It was used as a torture device.[59]
Unidentified relic Could summon Inferi and heal people provided it received a dark sacrifice.[60][61]

Dark creatures[]

"Seems you've had a pretty thorough grounding in tackling Dark creatures — you've covered boggarts, Red Caps, hinkypunks, grindylows, Kappas, and werewolves, is that right?"
Bartemius Crouch Junior (disguised as Alastor Moody) mentioning different dark creatures to fourth-year Defence Against the Dark Arts students[src]

Many magical creatures were considered Dark, all of which were deeply feared and/or despised by numerous wizards and witches as a result of the danger these creatures posed to all living things. Some of those creatures included the following:

Creature Notes

Acromantulas were a species of giant spider with a taste for human flesh. There was a large colony of them living in the Forbidden Forest on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[62] It was implied that most wizards stayed clear of them, due to how dangerous they were. Breeding Acromantulas had been made illegal by the Ministry of Magic and were included in the Ban on Experimental Breeding.[8]

Banshee PM

The Banshee was a dark creature native to Ireland. They were malevolent spirits who assume the form of skeletal women with green skin and black hair, with a high-pitched scream which was fatal to the ears.[63] The Banshee could be effectively combated with the Laughing Potion.[64][65]

Basilisk - FBcases

A Basilisk was a giant serpent, and was also known as the King of Serpents. Looking a Basilisk directly in the eye would immediately kill the victim, but indirect contact would merely render them petrified. It was known as one of the foulest beasts on Earth, and was also the mortal enemy of all spiders.[24] Breeding Basilisks had been made illegal by the Ministry of Magic and were included in the Ban on Experimental Breeding. The punishment for breeding this monstrous creature depended on the ruling of the Wizengamot.[8]

Boggart Shapeshifting

Boggarts were amortal shapeshifting non-beings who had the ability to assume the form of an individual's worst fear. Their true appearance was unknown due to their shapeshifting ability, and they usually preferred to inhabit dark or confined spaces. Boggarts enjoyed feeding off the human emotion of fear and could sense the fear of anyone nearby to use to their advantage. They could be easily combated and restrained with the Boggart-Banishing Spell (Riddikulus), a simple charm which caused the Boggart to assume a humorous, non-threatening form, rendering it no longer frightening.[63][66]


Dementors were widely considered to be one of the foulest creatures to inhabit the world (along with Basilisks). Dementors fed on human happiness and thus generated feelings of depression and despair in any person in close proximity to them.[67] They could also consume a person's soul through the process known as the Dementor's Kiss.[26][25] The Dementor's Kiss was considered a fate worse than death, leaving the victim in a permanently vegetative state.[26][27]

Gorgon The Gorgon was a serpentine dark creature that resembled a female with snakes for hair. Like the Basilisk, its glare was capable of causing petrification.[42]

Grindylows were small, horned, pale-green water demons. They have long, strong (albeit brittle) fingers which they use to strangle their prey.[68][49][8] Students at Hogwarts were taught to defend themselves against them in their third year of Defence Against the Dark Arts education.[68]

Hag WU

Hags were savage beings that looked like ugly, old witches but had more warts than the average witch.[69] They possessed rudimentary magic, similar to that of a troll.[70] They prefer to eat human children and raw liver,[69] and some even advertise themselves as babysitters to trick their prey.[71] Many Muggles tended to think that hags were what witches looked like, and were therefore popular in Muggle literature. [72]

Inferius (Concept Artwork)

An Inferius was a dead body, reanimated by a Dark wizard's spell.[73][74][7] The spells used to reanimate the corpse were complex and difficult to perform. There was a large difference between an Inferius and a ghost.[75] Voldemort was known to have an army of Inferi, mostly consisting of homeless Muggles that the Dark Lord had murdered.[73]

Belby - Lethifold attack - FB2017

A Lethifold was a carnivorous and highly dangerous magical creature. It was also considered a Dark creature because of its extremely aggressive and violent nature. The only known spell that would work against it was the highly advanced Patronus Charm.[8]

Credence's Obscurus unleashes FBF

An Obscurial was a young repressed witch or wizard who had developed a dark and parasitic energy force known as an Obscurus. The Obscurus was developed through the forced repression of a young witch or wizard's magic, usually through both physical and psychological abuse. When the Obscurus became powerful and lost control, it manifested itself as a floating black cloud, which was both extremely unstable and destructive in nature. Most Obscurials died before they reached the age of ten, and the only documented case of an Obscurial surviving past this age was with the American wizard Credence Barebone.[76][77]

Red Cap
Red Cap

The Red Cap was a small, dwarf-like magical beast that is attracted to places where human blood had been spilt, and would bludgeon the unwary to death with a club.[78][8] They could be repelled with the Beautification Potion.[64]

Rougarou A Rougarou was a dangerous dog-headed monster that inhabited the swampy regions of Louisiana in the United States.[29]
Vampire Pottermore

A vampire was a dark magical humanoid that was famed for biting people on the neck and sucking their blood. They were part of the family of beings known as the Living Dead.[69] Vampires had a very strong aversion to garlic and could be kept at bay by its presence.[79] They drank blood, though they were apparently also able to eat other foods such as pasties,[80] and Honeydukes was known for selling lollipops that tasted like blood, presumably for vampires to indulge in.[81]

RemusLupin WB F3 Concept of Lupin In Forest As A Werewolf Illustration

A werewolf was a human-being who, upon the complete rising of the full moon, became a fearsome and deadly near-wolf. This condition was caused by infection with lycanthropy.[68] Werewolves were unfairly treated and discriminated against within the magical community, and were looked down upon and despised by witches and wizards who did not have the condition. The Ministry of Magic had introduced legislation in regards to werewolves, as a means of controlling them.[82]

Zombie The zombie was a dark creature which was a member of the Living Dead, that dwelled in the southern regions of the United States of America. They were identifiable by their greyish, decomposing skin and foul rotting smell.[69]

Dark practices[]

Some other practices that would be considered dark included: breaking the Ban on Experimental Breeding by hatching a Basilisk,[8] consuming the blood of a unicorn,[83] and Necromancy, the Dark Art of raising the dead.[7][84]

Known practitioners[]

"When a wizard goes over ter the Dark Side, there's nothin' and no one that matters to 'em any more..."
Rubeus Hagrid regarding Dark wizards[src]

The following wizards and witches were known to have heavily used and practised Dark Magic. Note that as above, the Dark Arts encompassed many different types of spells and practices, including many that seemed to be in everyday use by most wizards — this section was limited to those who had used strong dark magic at least once, with malicious and selish intent.

Dark wizards[]

Wizard(s) Notes
Ackley Barnes A prominent member of the Rookwood Gang.[85]
Ailsa Travers A member of the Ashwinders and a particularly close friend of Victor Rookwood.[85]
Bardolph Beaumont A coerced member of the Rookwood Gang who was executed and reanimated as an Inferius.[85]
Barnabas Deverill (likely) Possibly the most dangerous dark wizard of the early 18th century, notorious for using the Elder Wand to carve himself a reputation as a fearsome warlock, until his reign of terror was ended.[84]
Catrin Haggarty A gifted member of the Ashwinders.[85]
Delphini The illegitimate daughter of Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange, who attempted to reverse the result of the Second Wizarding War through Time travel in the 21st century.[23]
Dolores Umbridge A British Ministry of Magic bureaucrat who served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic in the 1990s until 1998, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor and "High Inquisitor" of Hogwarts School during the 1995–1996 school year, and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission at the height of the Second Wizarding War; credited for inventing the Black Quill,[86] as well as giving unauthorised and malicious tasks to Dementors.[87]
Dunstan Trinity A member of the Rookwood Gang who had been largely friendless at Hogwarts due to his habit of thieving.[85]
Egbert the Egregious (likely) Mastered the Elder Wand after killing Emeric the Evil in a ferocious duel.[84]
Ekrizdis A dark wizard of unknown nationality and the original inhabitant of the fortress of Azkaban.[88]
Emeric the Evil A short-lived but exceptionally aggressive dark wizard who terrorised the south of England in the early Middle Ages; first recorded master of the Elder Wand.[84][89]
Eunon Blackwood A dark wizard who erected mazes that could trap people inside. He is notable for being one of the few known Hufflepuff dark wizards.[85]
Gellert Grindelwald The most dangerous Dark wizard of the early 20th century, notorious for initiating the For the Greater Good revolution that terrorised Europe from 1910 to 1945; regarded as an accomplished Seer and believer in the Deathly Hallows, having mastered the Elder Wand from Mykew Gregorovitch. Eventually defeated by Albus Dumbledore and imprisoned within his own fortress of Nurmengard.[90]
Godelot An "unpleasant character" who once owned the Elder Wand.[84]
Gormlaith Gaunt A pure-blood supremacist and the aunt of Isolt Sayre.[91]
Gwendolyn Zhou A master thief and a well-respected member of the Ashwinders.[85]
Hereward (likely) Mastered the Elder Wand after murdering his own father Godelot to acquire it.[84]
Herpo the Foul Regarded as the first dark wizard to successfully hatch Basilisk, create a Horcrux and speak Parseltongue.[8]
Iona Morgan A member of the Poacher Pack.[85]
Loxias (likely) Master of the Elder Wand after Barnabas Deverill and gave it the name of "the Deathstick".[84]
Merwyn the Malicious Credited with the invention of many unpleasant jinxes and hexes.[92]
Morgan le Fay Antagonised her half-brother King Arthur and Merlin in many Arthurian legends; regarded as a proficient healer and bird Animagus.[92]
Narcissa Malfoy Not officially a Death Eater herself, believed in the importance of blood purity and supported her husband in following Lord Voldemort. Was stated by her former House-Elf Dobby as being a practising dark witch.[93]
Niko Nenad A former Beater for the Romanian National Quidditch team, who was infamous for jinxing an entire forest in Siberia with the assistance of local Dark wizards near a Quidditch pitch before a game during the 1809 Quidditch World Cup, resulting in the Attack of the Killer Forest.[94]
Patricia Rakepick A former Curse-Breaker for Gringotts and Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, who was highly proficient with the Unforgivable Curses and other dark spells.[95][96][97][98]
Quirinus Quirrell A timid child prodigy,[16] who served as Muggle Studies Professor of Hogwarts from the 1980s to 1990, and later as Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor of Hogwarts during the 1991–1992 school year, aiding Lord Voldemort in his attempt to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Died in vain trying to murder Harry Potter on his master's orders in the Skirmish in the Underground Chambers.[13][16]
Raczidian Attacked a wizarding village near his Dementor-infested castle in an attempt to abduct and marry the young witch Eliana, only to be foiled by the Patronus of her orphaned lover Illyius.[42]
Salazar Slytherin One of the four founders of Hogwarts School and most notorious champions of pure-blood supremacy, who secretly built the Chamber of Secrets for the purpose of housing his Basilisk until the time came for it to purge the school of all Muggle-born students; also regarded as one of the earliest known Parselmouths, accomplished Legilimens, and notable ancestor of the House of Gaunt.[3]
Sebastian Sallow A student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the late 19th century. He became obsessed with the Dark Arts, including Unforgivable Curses, as he enjoyed the sense of power he received from them. He was also desperate to find a cure for his cursed sister, Anne, through a dark relic.[85]
Silvanus Selwyn A lieutenant of Victor Rookwood and a member of the Ashwinders.[85]
Tempeste Thorne A member of the Poacher Pack.[85]
Theophilus Harlow The right-hand man of Victor Rookwood, the leader of the Rookwood Gang in the 19th century.[85]
Unidentified Dark wizard Attempted to take over the British Ministry of Magic using an army of Chinese Chomping Cabbages.[85]
Victor Rookwood Leader of the Rookwood Gang, a gang of Dark wizards who terrorised the Highlands of Scotland in the late 19th century. An ally of Ranrok, a Goblin rebel.[85]
Victor Rookwood's father Leader of the Rookwood Gang prior to his death under suspicious circumstances. He was succeeded by his son.[85]
Voldemort (Tom Riddle) A former shop assistant at Borgin and Burkes,[38] who became the most powerful and dangerous dark wizard of all time, ill-famed for initiating the two Magic is Might insurrections that terrorised Great Britain from 1970 to 1981, then again from 1995 to 1998; also regarded as a Parselmouth and the sole dark wizard to ever create several Horcruxes.[17] Eventually defeated and killed by Harry Potter at the Battle of Hogwarts.[99]
Walburga Black[100] A pure-blood supremacist and believer in Voldemort's cause.[58]

Death Eaters[]

Wizard(s) Status Notes
Alecto Carrow Incapacitated, possibly imprisoned Former professor of Muggle Studies; she taught the hateful ideology that Muggles were inferior to Wizardkind, and punished students with the Cruciatus Curse who rejected her authority.[101]
Amycus Carrow 1997, Amycus was made Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. This class, which for all intents and purposes simply became "Dark Arts", and punished students with the Cruciatus Curse who rejected his authority.[101]
Antonin Dolohov Killed or imprisoned Fought in the First Wizarding War, during which he tortured many Muggles as well as wizards and witches who were not supporters of the Dark Lord.[102]
Augustus Rookwood Spy who worked as an Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries.[102]
Avery I Member of Tom Riddle's gang when they attended Hogwarts.
Bartemius Crouch Jnr Dementor's Kiss A loyal follower who helped ensure Voldemort's return to power in 1995.[103]
Bellatrix Lestrange Deceased Voldemort's most loyal follower and best lieutenant.[102][104] She was the last of the Death Eaters standing during the Battle of Hogwarts.[99]
Corban Yaxley Possibly imprisoned Since Voldemort was in control of the Ministry of Magic, Yaxley became the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[105]
Draco Malfoy Defected Was made a Death Eater as a means to punish his father and given the task of assassinating Albus Dumbledore.[56]
Evan Rosier Deceased After graduating from Hogwarts, he became a Death Eater.[102]
Crabbe Possibly imprisoned Participated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.[104]
Avery II
Goyle Returned to Lord Voldemort when he rose to power again in 1995.[6]
Gregory Goyle Fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.[21]
Igor Karkaroff Deceased Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute and was murdered for defecting.[36]
Lestrange Member of Tom Riddle's gang and one of the earliest Death Eaters.
Lucius Malfoy Defected He joined the Death Eaters, who shared his views on blood purity, and participated in the First and Second Wizarding War.[6]
Mulciber I Possibly imprisoned Member of Tom Riddle's gang and one of the earliest Death Eaters.
Mulciber II After graduating from Hogwarts, he became a Death Eater.
Nott Member of Tom Riddle's gang and one of the earliest Death Eaters.
Peter Pettigrew Deceased Betrayed the Potter family to Voldemort during the First Wizarding War.[106]
Rabastan Lestrange Possibly imprisoned Brother of Rodolphus and brother-in-law of Bellatrix. He fought in the First and Second Wizarding Wars.
Regulus Black Deceased Discovered the location of Voldemort's locket Horcrux and was drowned in his lake of Inferi.[52]
Rodolphus Lestrange Possibly imprisoned Brother of Rabastan and husband of Bellatrix. He fought in the First and Second Wizarding Wars.
Rosier One of the earliest Death Eaters of Lord Voldemort. He fought in the First Wizarding War.
Severus Snape Defected, deceased Became a spy for the Order and was instrumental in the defeat of Voldemort.[18] Despite this, he invented and utilised several Dark charms in his lifetime.[107]
Travers Possibly imprisoned He fought in the First Wizarding War, during which he helped murdered Marlene McKinnon and her family, and was imprisoned for committing this crime. He also fought in the Second Wizarding War.
Vincent Crabbe Deceased Died during the Battle of Hogwarts attempting to murder the trio, after conjuring Fiendfyre during the Skirmish at the Room of Requirement and perishing in the cursed flames.[21]
Walden Macnair Possibly imprisoned He managed to avoid Azkaban, and worked for the Ministry of Magic as Executioner. He fought in the First and Second Wizarding Wars.[108]
Other Death Eaters

Non-Dark wizards[]

" Imperio" Harry said again; his voice echoed through the stone passage as he felt the familiar sense of heady control that flowed from brain to wand."
Harry Potter casting the Imperius Curse[src]
Wizard(s) Status Notes
Alastor Moody Occasional user Capable of performing the Unforgivable Curses and many other curses, hexes, and jinxes.[102]
Albus Dumbledore Capable of performing many curses, hexes, and jinxes.
Bartemius Crouch Senior Capable of performing the Imperius Curse, despite his intense hatred and opposition to the Dark Arts, ironically.[103]
Ginevra Weasley Capable of performing a highly powerful Bat-Bogey Hex[58][109] and could perform other curses, hexes, and jinxes.
Harry Potter Capable of performing two of the three Unforgivable Curses and many other curses, hexes, and jinxes.
Hermione Granger Capable of performing many curses, hexes, and jinxes.
Isolt Sayre
Minerva McGonagall Capable of performing the Imperius Curse,[20] along with other dark spells, such as the Deterioration Hex,[110] Knockback Jinx[111] and Oscausi.[77]
Molly Weasley Capable of performing many curses, hexes, and jinxes. This includes a powerful and lethal curse that killed Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of Hogwarts.[99]
Pius Thicknesse Imperiused While Imperiused, he performed numerous dark charms under the Death Eaters malign influence.
Viktor Krum While Imperiused, he performed the Cruciatus Curse.[112]
Durmstrang students Durmstrang is infamous for teaching its students the Dark Arts.[39]
Hogwarts students (1997–1998 school year) Threatened Forced to perform the Dark Arts, including the Unforgivable Curses. The members of the D.A. refused and were punished for it.[20]

Known texts[]

The following texts were known to discuss the Dark Arts:

In wizarding fiction[]

The Warlock in the wizarding fairy tale The Warlock's Hairy Heart, found in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, utilised a piece of Dark Magic to remove his heart from his body to ensure he would never fall in love, while keeping himself alive without this vital organ within his body.[118]

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Dark Arts are similar to magic known as maleficium, which is used in a similar manner.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14 (The Unforgivable Curses)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
  12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9 (The Dark Mark)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Professor Quirrell" at Wizarding World
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior). Also in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret), Harry mentions "the injuries from Dark Magic... You can't repair the damage."
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Wand Woods" at Wizarding World
  29. 29.0 29.1 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "1920s Wizarding America" at Wizarding World
  30. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite SOS Task Force Appraisal: Calamity Essentials I.
  31. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
  32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)
  33. 33.0 33.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
  34. 34.0 34.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  36. 36.0 36.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 6 (Draco's Detour)
  37. 37.0 37.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  39. 39.0 39.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)
  40. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Mahoutokoro" at Wizarding World
  41. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 42.5 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 43.4 43.5 43.6 Pottermore - The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1
  44. 44.0 44.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
  45. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
  46. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
  47. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
  48. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 14 (Felix Felicis)
  49. 49.0 49.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
  51. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
  53. Harry Potter Lexicon: Dark Magic Items
  54. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  55. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  57. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.5 58.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 6 (The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black)
  59. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  60. Hogwarts Legacy (In the Shadow of Time)
  61. Hogwarts Legacy (In the Shadow of the Relic)
  62. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 15 (Aragog)
  63. 63.0 63.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
  64. 64.0 64.1 Wonderbook: Book of Potions
  65. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 24 (Return to the Forest) - Defence Against the Dark Arts Lesson "Banshees"
  66. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Boggart" at Wizarding World
  67. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9 (Grim Defeat)
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 Pottermore - The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
  70. J. K. Rowling's official site
  71. Daily Prophet Newsletters
  72. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  73. 73.0 73.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)
  74. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Inferi" at Wizarding World
  75. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 21 (The Unknowable Room)
  76. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  77. 77.0 77.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  78. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
  79. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  80. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow) - “Here, have a pasty,” said Worple, seizing one from a passing elf and stuffing it into Sanguini’s hand before turning his attention back to Harry.
  81. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  82. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Werewolves" at Wizarding World
  83. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
  84. 84.0 84.1 84.2 84.3 84.4 84.5 84.6 The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Tale of the Three Brothers"
  85. 85.00 85.01 85.02 85.03 85.04 85.05 85.06 85.07 85.08 85.09 85.10 85.11 85.12 85.13 85.14 85.15 Hogwarts Legacy
  86. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Dolores Umbridge" at Wizarding World
  87. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  88. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Azkaban" at Wizarding World
  89. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 2 (More Questions Than Answers) - History of Magic Lesson "Emeric the Evil"
  90. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
  91. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World
  92. 92.0 92.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  93. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 21 (The House-Elf Liberation Front)
  94. History of the Quidditch World Cup from Pottermore (via The Internet Archive)
  95. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 19 (The Unforgivable Curses)
  96. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 30 (Into the Vault)
  97. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 18 (Into the Forest)
  98. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 42 (The Final Vault)
  99. 99.0 99.1 99.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  100. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  101. 101.0 101.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 102.3 102.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)
  103. 103.0 103.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
  104. 104.0 104.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  105. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  106. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
  107. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  108. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 20 (Hagrid's Tale)
  109. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 33 (Fight and Flight)
  110. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  111. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Chapter 3 (The Black Quill)
  112. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31 (The Third Task)
  113. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
  114. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  115. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  116. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
  117. 117.0 117.1 117.2 117.3 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act One, Scene Nineteen
  118. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Warlock's Hairy Heart"

See also[]