The Death Eaters was the name given to the most ardent followers of Lord Voldemort. The group primarily consisted of wizards and witches who were radical pure-blood supremacists who practised the Dark Arts with reckless abandon, malevolence and without regard to or fear of wizarding law.
Lord Voldemort used this select group of wizards and witches during both the First and Second Wizarding Wars, employing them as his elite force. They often wore black hoods and masks with snake-like eye slits to cover their faces. The Death Eaters were considered Lord Voldemort's inner circle and had the Dark Mark burned into their left forearms. When Voldemort touched one of them, each of the Death Eaters felt it, signalling for them to Apparate to their leader's side.
Before the Death Eaters themselves came to be, Tom Riddle, as Voldemort was known in his childhood and early adulthood, gathered a gang of Slytherin students who considered themselves his friends, though in truth, he felt no real attachments to any of them due to his lack of desire for a true friend.
According to former Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, they were a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking glory, and the thuggish seeking a leader who could show them more refined cruelty, and were considered to be forerunners of the Death Eaters since most (if not all) indeed became the first Death Eaters. He manipulated them to do his bidding, and though this led to several nasty incidents over the years, with Riddle's strategic discretion, none was linked back to the group, much less the model student Riddle himself.
- "Voldemort... this wizard, about twenty years ago now, started lookin' fer followers. Got 'em, too –– some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o' his power, 'cause he was gettin' himself power, all right."
- —Voldemort gaining his many followers[src]
First Wizarding War
- "Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves."
- —Voldemort's undetermined Death Eaters at the height of the war[src]
Death Eater activity during the First Wizarding War consisted of stealth attacks, espionage, torture and mass killings of wizards, witches, and large numbers of Muggles. These were initiated by the Death Eaters, often, but not always, on the orders of Voldemort. Part of the Death Eaters modus operandi was to cast the Dark Mark over every house where they committed murder. This inspired much terror in the wizarding community. However, the Death Eaters remained opposed by the Order of the Phoenix, founded by Albus Dumbledore and the Ministry, in retaliation for these heinous crimes and spearheaded by the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Thirteen years of chaos
After Lord Voldemort attempted to circumvent a prophecy written by Sybill Trelawney during the height of the war, he fell out of the picture following his attack on Godric's Hollow that resulted in the murder of James and Lily Potter. His primary target, the infant Harry Potter, was mysteriously credited for Voldemort's fall and surviving with nothing but a scar, thus sealing his fate as the "Boy Who Lived" as well as starting the destiny forced upon him. Being none the wiser to what had become of their master, the Death Eaters largely fell into chaos. Many were rounded up and imprisoned in Azkaban without trial as part of the hard line taken by Ministry official Barty Crouch Snr, who had legalised the Unforgivable Curses against those suspected to be among the enemy's ranks. Sirius Black, whom Pettigrew framed for his crimes, was among the prime suspects of Death Eater activities imprisoned without a trial. Soon afterwards, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jnr tortured the Longbottoms into insanity while trying to procure information about Voldemort's whereabouts: this attack was considered one of the most atrocious crimes in recent history. They were captured and sentenced to Azkaban, but Bellatrix proudly proclaimed that the Dark Lord would rise again. On the other hand, Barty Crouch Jnr proclaimed his own innocence, begging for his father to believe him: his father ignored his pleas for leniency and sentenced him to prison, a sentence that led the entire court to roar with triumph.
Some Death Eaters managed to elude justice by claiming the Imperius Curse had been used on them, such as Lucius Malfoy, or by turning in other Death Eaters, as Igor Karkaroff did. Due to many trying to escape by claiming they were bewitched, the Ministry assigned specialists to find out who was lying, although this did not work out to the fullest since Malfoy and several others were found innocent. Most followers hid their allegiance to Voldemort and therefore did not try to find him, although a handful of Death Eaters, such as the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jnr, remained fiercely loyal to their fallen master and sought him out. They were supposedly rewarded by Voldemort for their loyalty. Some, such as Evan Rosier, chose to resist arrest and fought to the death. Sirius Black believed that if the rogue Death Eaters got wind of Peter Pettigrew is still alive, they would seek to kill him for it was his information that led to Voldemort's downfall. It was for this reason that Pettigrew hid in his unregistered Animagus form as a pet rat, stationed near Harry in an attempt to bide his time to turn the boy in should the Death Eaters start to regain momentum, in which nobody would dare say he betrayed Lord Voldemort. However, Pettigrew was ousted by Sirius and Remus Lupin, thus forcing him to seek out the weakened Dark Lord for shelter, assisting him in his regeneration.
Receiving a sign
Thirteen years later, at the four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup in 1994, a group of Death Eaters attacked the camp of wizards and witches and a nearby Muggle family. The Death Eaters seemed to consider torturing and humiliating Muggles a form of entertainment. When Crouch Jnr launched the Dark Mark into the air out of rage for his comrades not seeking out their fallen master, the Death Eaters fled in fear of Voldemort's retribution for their disloyalty.
Second Wizarding War
The Dark Lord's return
- "Welcome, Death Eaters. Thirteen years... thirteen years since last we met. Yet you answer my call as though it were yesterday.... We are still united under the Dark Mark, then! Or are we? I smell guilt. There is a stench of guilt upon the air I see you all, whole and healthy, with your powers intact — such prompt appearances! — and I ask myself... why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?"
- —Voldemort letting his disappointment in his Death Eaters be known[src]
On 24 June 1995, Lord Voldemort finally returned to a physical body through a Dark potion created by Peter Pettigrew (the potion required a bone from Voldemort's father, flesh from the servant and blood from the enemy — that being Harry). The body was human-shaped, though hairless and with many unusual features such as serpentine nostril slits and feline-esque eyes.
Moments after Lord Voldemort had finally regained his body, he summoned his followers to him by touching Peter Pettigrew's Dark Mark. Some proved too afraid to return to him, such as defector Igor Karkaroff, while others who were dead or imprisoned remained absent. Severus Snape did not return on the claim that he had to appear more loyal to Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix: Snape returned two hours later, under the claim that he was trying to maintain the cover of a double agent, which the Dark Lord found satisfying.
Despite several absences, there were many who returned the call, including Walden Macnair, Lucius Malfoy, Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle, and Avery. Avery went to beg for forgiveness, but Voldemort told the band of Death Eaters who did not try to find him that he wants thirteen years of repayment before he could forgive them for their wavered loyalty: Snape would later comment that had the faithless Death Eaters not been forgiven, then Voldemort would have very few followers left.
Harry Potter was present for Voldemort's return to power, and even duelled him, resulting in a spectacular display of Priori Incantatem, revealing that the cores of Voldemort's and Harry's wands were related. Harry managed to escape and tell Headmaster Albus Dumbledore of Voldemort's return.
Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and most of the Ministry of Magic originally refused to believe that Voldemort had returned. Though Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore served as dissenting voices, the majority of the public chose to believe in the Ministry and its wider propaganda and smear campaign against Potter and Dumbledore, which would be printed in news outlets such as the Daily Prophet. Finally in 1996, the Minister for Magic witnessed Voldemort and Dumbledore's duel in the Ministry of Magic and was forced to admit his mistake.
Bid for the Prophecy
- "The Ministry of Magic announced late last night that there has been a mass breakout from Azkaban. Speaking to reporters in his private office, Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, confirmed that ten high-security prisoners escaped in the early hours of yesterday evening, and that he has already informed the Muggle Prime Minister of the dangerous nature of these individuals. “We find ourselves, most unfortunately, in the same position we were two and a half years ago when the murderer Sirius Black escaped,” said Fudge last night. “Nor do we think the two breakouts are unrelated. An escape of this magnitude suggests outside help, and we must remember that Black, as the first person ever to break out of Azkaban, would be ideally placed to help others follow in his footsteps. We think it likely that these individuals, who include Black’s cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, have rallied around Black as their leader. We are, however, doing all we can to round up the criminals and beg the magical community to remain alert and cautious. On no account should any of these individuals be approached.”"
- —Announcement of the 1996 mass Azkaban breakout[src]
Armed with the advantage of the Ministry's denial, the Death Eaters kept a low profile in order to maintain their standing in the wizarding world and slowly but surely rebuild their forces without detection or hindrance. Due in part to the Ministry's refusal to remove the Dementors from Azkaban, a proposition Dumbledore supported immediately following Voldemort's return, the Death Eaters informally recruited the Dementors to their cause. Similar progress was made with the giants. The quiet revolt of the Dementors fostered a mass breakout of imprisoned Death Eaters from Azkaban in early 1996.
In early summer of 1996, Voldemort sent a group of twelve Death Eaters, led by Lucius Malfoy, into the Department of Mysteries in order to steal the prophecy concerning himself and Harry Potter. Having originally attacked Harry Potter based upon a partial recounting of it, Voldemort now desired to hear the full version in order to understand entirely the nature of the connection between himself and Potter. Harry was lured there, along with five other members of Dumbledore's Army, when Voldemort used their connection to give Harry a false vision of his godfather being tortured.
However, Harry and his friends managed to elude the Death Eaters, and the prophecy was accidentally destroyed by Neville Longbottom during the struggle. A battle ensued between the Death Eaters and several members of the Order of the Phoenix. Eleven of the twelve Death Eaters were captured, and Sirius Black was killed: Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange fled but not before Ministry officials witnessed the return of the Dark Lord, which thus signalled the start of open warfare.
Start of open war
The raid was a failure for the Death Eaters because their reactivation was no longer a secret and the captured Death Eaters were then sent to Azkaban. Additionally, Voldemort failed in his objective to seize the prophecy concerning himself and Harry, infuriating him. Revealed at last to the wizarding community, the Death Eaters proceeded to resume their earlier lifestyle and behaviour. Kidnapping, torturing, and murdering of wizards, witches and Muggles began anew as the Second War began, which included the capture of wandmaker Garrick Ollivander, the murder of Order Of The Phoenix member Emmeline Vance, and the murder of Amelia Bones, who was until that point the head of the Department For Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic. Due to the Ministry's failure to accept the reality of Voldemort's return early on, the Death Eaters' forces had already grown to the point where the Ministry had a very difficult time keeping them in check, made only worse when the Minister for Magic still cared more about the bureaucracy's reputation than actual security.
Victory at Hogwarts
During the Second Wizarding War, Voldemort plotted to be rid of Albus Dumbledore. At the close of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry year in June 1997, Dumbledore and Harry obtained a locket that they believed to be one of the Horcruxes of Voldemort from a cave filled with Inferi. They Apparated into Hogsmeade and through the assistance of Madam Rosmerta, they saw a Dark Mark hanging in the sky above Hogwarts Castle. Dumbledore and Harry borrowed broomsticks and flew to Hogwarts' highest tower in the castle, the Astronomy Tower.
Dumbledore encountered Draco Malfoy and performed the Full Body-Bind Curse on Harry, who was hidden under the Invisibility Cloak. Draco revealed how he successfully used a Vanishing Cabinet to help the Death Eaters enter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore then informed Draco that he already knew about the assassination plot, the cursed necklace, and the poison intended to kill him. He also delayed Draco in his plans to murder him until several Death Eaters, including Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Fenrir Greyback, and Corban Yaxley, arrived at the scene.
Severus Snape successfully cast the Killing Curse on Dumbledore in front of the four Death Eaters, Fenrir Greyback, Draco, and Harry, who was still hidden under his Invisibility Cloak and frozen in place by Dumbledore's spell. After the latter's death, the jubilant Death Eaters retreated on Snape's orders. Harry, free from Dumbledore's Full Body-Bind Curse, quickly chased after the Death Eaters and cast several unsuccessful spells at Snape when they reached the grounds. One Death Eater, Thorfinn Rowle, set fire to Rubeus Hagrid's hut, and the Death Eaters disapparated when they reached the gate.
Also present were Rowle and Gibbon, who was accidentally killed by a stray Killing Curse from the former, the only casualty on the Death Eater's side. In addition to Dumbledore's death, Bill Weasley was attacked by Fenrir Greyback and received scars on his face but lived without becoming a werewolf because Greyback was not fully transformed at the time of the attack. However, Bill sustained minimal lycanthropic symptoms, including a taste for raw meat. Overall, the mission was a great success for the Death Eaters as they had destroyed their master's most powerful enemy, striking a devastating blow to the morale of those who remained standing against Voldemort.
Plottings and tactics
- "Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of Wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defence of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the pure-bloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance... She would have us all mate with Muggles..."
- —Lord Voldemort ridiculing Charity Burbage before mudering her[src]
Now that Dumbledore had been killed, the Death Eaters became even bolder in their campaign of terror against the British wizarding world. Voldemort, with his Death Eaters, planned several courses of action following the successful assassination of Dumbledore. One was the overthrowing of the Ministry of Magic so that Voldemort would have absolute power. Another was capturing Harry Potter and killing him. While Voldemort went on his own personal quests and stayed out of sight of the wizarding community's eye, he worked through others, including Corban Yaxley at the Ministry working in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Severus Snape and the Carrows at Hogwarts working as professors.
The meeting place for the Death Eaters was Malfoy Manor. At this place, the Death Eaters would make reports, and the Dark Lord would give them orders. On one occasion, Voldemort heard Yaxley's reports concerning events at the Ministry of Magic, though he was more impressed with Snape's reports regarding the Order of the Phoenix's plans to move Harry Potter. Voldemort also ridiculed Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys for the marriage of Remus Lupin (a known werewolf) to Nymphadora Tonks, their niece. At this meeting, Charity Burbage, a professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts, was murdered by Voldemort and then fed to Nagini. Voldemort also took Lucius Malfoy's wand to fight against Harry Potter, believing his own to be inferior.
Attempt on Harry Potter
- "That's him, it's him, it's the real one!"
- —Death Eater after Harry Potter cast Expelliarmus, his "trademark" spell[src]
Still opposed by the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, who knew it was not safe to trust the Ministry of Magic, Voldemort knew through Snape that Harry Potter would be moved from the house of his aunt and uncle a few days before his seventeenth birthday, which is when Lilly's Potter's charm protecting him would have broken if Harry had continued to call the place home until that point. The exact details of this move were unknown to the Death Eaters at large, though Snape manipulated Mundungus Fletcher with magic and knew the plans, he only told the Dark Lord enough to display loyalty.
As a congregation of members of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, including Alastor Moody, Arthur Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Rubeus Hagrid, Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Fred and George Weasley, Mundungus Fletcher, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, along with Harry Potter himself, left the home of the Dursleys, the Death Eaters attacked immediately. They could not tell right away which pair included the real Harry Potter because six of the congregation had used Polyjuice Potion. It was assumed that Harry would be with the strongest members, so Shacklebolt and Moody were attacked most fervently at first, leading to Voldemort, who himself was present in the air without aid of magical transportation in any shape or form, personally killing the latter. During the ensuing battle, numerous Death Eaters were injured, including Rodolphus Lestrange, and one was supposedly killed. However, they inflicted noticeable casualties of their own, even by accident: George Weasley lost an ear and Hedwig was killed.
When Harry Potter used Expelliarmus, which they had come to consider his trademark spell, against Stan Shunpike, who was under the Imperius Curse, the Death Eaters knew the real Harry to be with Hagrid. Despite their attempts to capture the boy, they were thwarted by Harry's spell-work, Hagrid's selfless courage, and finally, when Harry crossed into a protective spell over the home of Ted Tonks. Lucius' wand was disintegrated by a spell cast by Harry's wand, infuriating Voldemort even more.
The Death Eater-controlled Ministry
The Fall of the Ministry of Magic
In spite of their most recent failure to terminate Harry, the Death Eaters' plans of overthrowing the Ministry of Magic and taking a huge step towards reigning supreme were still underway. On 1 August 1997, they stormed into the complex, killing Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. Then Pius Thicknesse was installed in his place, controlled by the Imperius Curse placed on him by Yaxley and effectively Voldemort's thrall, and several Death Eaters became employees of the Ministry, most notably Corban Yaxley. The Death Eaters used the Ministry's resources to eliminate the Order of the Phoenix's defences, attacking the Burrow and other homes of Order members, as well as those of some of their allies, such as Ted and Andromeda Tonks. While no one was killed, many were hurt under questioning about the whereabouts of Harry Potter, and all were subsequently put under surveillance.
With the Ministry's resources all but absolutely in the hands of the Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort stationed Nagini at Godric's Hollow and left them to run the Ministry in his name until he could seek out the fabled Elder Wand. The Death Eater-controlled Ministry continued to flourish in his absence. They created the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, an instrument for the humiliation and persecution of Muggle-borns, who were falsely accused of having "stolen" magic and consequently imprisoned in Azkaban. Propaganda against Muggle-borns and Harry Potter was spread: Harry was considered "Undesirable Number One," and there was a 10,000 Galleon reward for his capture. The Taboo curse was also placed upon Voldemort's name as a method of locating anybody who was brave enough to say it.
- "Severus Snape, long-standing Potions master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardry, was today appointed Headmaster in the most important of several staffing changes at the ancient school. Following the resignation of the previous Muggle Studies teacher, Alecto Carrow will take over the post while her brother, Amycus, fills the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor."
- —Death Eaters are appointed positions in Hogwarts[src]
Attendance at Hogwarts became mandatory during the 1997-1998 school year since Voldemort wanted all members of the magical population under his control which among other things was another way to weed out Muggle-borns. Students were required to prove blood status, and any Muggle-born children were sent to the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and then to Azkaban.
Severus Snape was appointed Headmaster, though he faced fierce opposition from Minerva McGonagall and other professors, as well as the remaining members of Dumbledore's Army, including Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley. They encouraged rebellion, saved students from detentions that now involved corporal punishment with one known means being the Cruciatus Curse, and eventually stopped attending classes and took up residence in the Room of Requirement.
The Carrows were also there at the school, with Amycus Carrow teaching the Dark Arts, although the class' name remained as Defence Against the Dark Arts. There were many favoured students, such as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, who were at home performing black magic. His sister, Alecto, took over the now mandatory Muggle Studies, though the course became a brainwashing of the superiority of wizard-kind over Muggles.
Skirmish at Malfoy Manor
- "The Dark Lord is coming, Harry Potter! Your death approaches! Now… Cissy, I think we ought to tie these little heroes up again, while Greyback takes care of Miss Mudblood. I am sure the Dark Lord will not begrudge you the girl, Greyback, after what you have done tonight."
- —Bellatrix Lestrange sadistically taunting the trio[src]
During Harry Potter's time hidden from the Death Eaters, he accidentally said Voldemort's name and thus triggered the Taboo placed upon the name. He, Ron and Hermione were captured by a group of Snatchers led by Fenrir Greyback and brought to Malfoy Manor, where they were confronted by Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys. Bellatrix spotted Godric Gryffindor's Sword among the trio's possessions and interrogated Hermione using the Cruciatus Curse to find out where they got the item, but Hermione lied, claiming it was only a copy.
In the meantime, Dobby the house-elf came and rescued Harry, Ron, Garrick Ollivander, Luna Lovegood, and Dean Thomas from the basement, along with Griphook, who had reluctantly supported Hermione's lie. Together, they took various wands from the house's occupants before fleeing, but Dobby was killed by Bellatrix, who had finally had time to summon the Dark Lord, in the process. Upon his arrival, Voldemort was enraged that he had been summoned for nothing and cruelly caused physical harm to all present and placed them under house arrest. Having recently interrogated the leader of the forerunners of the Death Eaters, who was Gellert Grindelwald of the Alliance, he proceeded to complete his quest and steal the Elder Wand, at which point he could lead the Death Eaters directly and further tighten their iron fist around Great Britain.
Destruction of Voldemort's Horcruxes
Unknown to anyone even vaguely associated with the Death Eaters, Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, was out seeking to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes and finish what Regulus Black had started in the seventies that Albus Dumbledore, thanks to the destruction of Marvolo Gaunt's ring in 1995, could not finish. One Horcrux, Tom Riddle's diary, had already been destroyed by Harry four years prior, the first Voldemort would learn of. From Bellatrix's behaviour at Malfoy Manor, Harry Potter concluded that a Horcrux was in her safe at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. With the help of Griphook, Harry, Ron, and Hermione entered the bank and took Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, escaping on a dragon. The cup was later destroyed by Hermione Granger.
Although the three companions were successful in locating and destroying Slytherin's Locket and now had a second Horcrux in their grasp, Voldemort learned of Harry's mission from the bank's protectors. In panic, he wiped them out an went to the places the Horcruxes were hidden, leaving Hogwarts last, but in the process revealing to Harry Potter that Hogwarts was indeed the last place to go.
- "I command my forces to retreat immediately. You have one hour... I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you... I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour."
- —Voldemort's ultimatum during the final battle[src]
Voldemort, along with his Death Eaters and other allies, attacked Hogwarts and those defending it in May 1998. During this battle, Harry, Hermione, and Ron managed to find Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem in the Room of Requirement. It was accidentally destroyed by Vincent Crabbe's out of control Fiendfyre curse. In the meantime, Death Eaters and their allies were storming the castle: Colin Creevey and Fred Weasley were murdered, Lavender Brown was fatally wounded by Fenrir Greyback, and Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks were murdered in duels with Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange, respectively. Voldemort had Nagini kill Severus Snape, believing it would make him the true master of the Elder Wand, and then issued an ultimatum to the other side: Harry turns himself over within an hour, or everyone in Hogwarts will be killed.
It was then revealed to Harry that he himself had accidentally been turned into a Horcrux. He willingly took a Killing Curse from Voldemort in order to destroy it, but because his mother's sacrifice lived on in his blood, the blood Voldemort took in himself in order to regain a body, Harry was not killed. He found himself in limbo, the plane between life and death and was given the choice to move on.
Goaded by Harry's apparent demise, an entire army of reinforcements stormed the castle, at which point Neville Longbottom beheaded Nagini with the sword of Gryffindor, and the final Horcrux was destroyed. Thanks to Harry's sacrifice that lived on in the blood of his allies, the Death Eaters were defeated, with Antonin Dolohov notably being defeated by Filius Flitwick and Bellatrix Lestrange notably being slain by Molly Weasley.
With the Death Eater forces silenced and the battle all but lost, Harry Potter destroyed their master once and for all thanks to his mastery of the Elder Wand. Without their master, the surviving Death Eaters fell. Nevertheless, a select few, such as the Malfoys, were pardoned. In fact, Lucius had given much information on his former comrades and assisted the Auror Office in their capture, and many Death Eaters were permanently imprisoned. After Voldemort's death, the Dark Marks on the Death Eaters' forearms faded into scars.
Following the outbreak of The Calamity on December 14, 2018, whereupon a powerful piece of Chaotic Magic was unleashed upon the world and resulted in one of the most massive breaches of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in the history of the wizarding world, several magical communities around the world saw a sudden resurgence of Dark Wizards adorning the black robes and masks of the original followers of the Dark Lord. Capitalising on the troubles of the day, these individuals would be sighted both in Great Britain as well as overseas, presumably trying to expose the wizardkind and provoke war between the magical and non-magical worlds as a pretext to re-establishing their prior reign of terror. They were known to have had numerous violent encounters with Aurors, Professors and even Magizoologists counted among the ranks of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force. It is unknown if these were a fraction of Lord Voldemort's old supporters that were still loyal to the cause, family members of former Death Eaters that shared their kin's ideology on a quest for revenge for their defeat at the Battle of Hogwarts, a group of disaffected anarchist wizards that were unrelated to the Death Eaters who enjoyed the chaos and used their public image as a type of scare tactic, or all of the above.
- "Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time. You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest... And in your family, so in the world...we shall cut away the cancer that infects us until only those of the true blood remain..."
- —Lord Voldemort on his goals in Malfoy Manor[src]
There are hints that a long-standing dispute had existed in the wizarding world regarding the relationship between Magic and Muggles, and the status of magically talented people born to Muggle parents. These disputes clearly date back to at least the time of the founding of Hogwarts, as the Sorting Hat described the rift between pure blood-valuing Slytherin and the other three founders, who were enthusiastic to admit any young witch or wizard of talent.
There are also hints in The Tales of Beedle the Bard and other legends, to the point of even Muggle ones, that once upon a time witches, wizards and Muggles were known to each other and interacted. The International Statute of Secrecy was the solution settled upon in the 1600s to end these relationships, preventing misunderstanding, miscommunication, and cruelty by enforcing the hiding of magic and bringing about the obliviation of any Muggle aware of magic. Probably not coincidentally, the Scientific Revolution began in the Muggle world around this time.
But this remained a controversial choice. There were many in the magical world to whom it occurred that, united, the wizarding community had enough power to openly take control of governments worldwide. For some this was just a means of power, wealth, or fame; but to others, such as Dumbledore, who flirted with the idea of a wizard-led society with Grindelwald in his youth, this was an opportunity to improve the world, to use power responsibly and prevent tragedies based on xenophobia and secrecy like the one that had torn apart his own family.
As for Muggle-born witches and wizards, it seems that their status had been the subject of sometimes violent dispute for centuries. At the time of Harry's first year, and perhaps due to the influence of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff long before that, it was considered gross and impolite to openly disparage Muggle-borns or use slurs like 'mudblood'. But clearly, prejudice and belief in the superiority and supremacy of a long-suffering aristocratic class persisted in many corners of the magical community, to the point of it being centred in England around Hogwarts' Slytherin house, just as Slytherin himself had intended.
In many ways, this form of racism was delusional comparable to Nazi white supremacism, relying on a romanticised, imaginary history of wizarding genealogy, and conveniently ignoring realities such as the partial or total Muggle origins of most witches and wizards, the existence of Squibs, and the lack of real differences in talent between pure-bloods and others. And like Germany in the time of the Nazis, while most people were not openly prejudiced, only a few were really courageous enough to stand up to it as well. Most government officials were content to ignore the problems of classism in magical society, and many participated without complaint when the new Voldemort-backed regime began to persecute Muggle-borns.
The Death Eaters were an organisation of pure-blood supremacists that coalesced around Voldemort, the Dark Lord himself, a man who offered a lightning rod for their hatred and bloodlust and especially those who sought to enforce pure-blood supremacy or establish New World Order for both wizards and non-magics. He found them very useful, as their ranks included wizarding aristocrats that could accomplish his goals through government and money, and deadly, remorseless thugs of all stripes. However, Voldemort's single-minded pursuit of power was unpopular and he merely preyed on prejudice to obtain followers to unwittingly bring him to worldwide dominion. Though he allowed them to establish purification policies when they took over the Ministry of Magic, he busied himself with seeking power for himself while never bothering to help them with these goals.
Death Eaters followed their leader's commands first and foremost, and he treated them ruthlessly, often sending them on virtually impossible missions and punishing them horribly if they failed him, even due to bad luck rather than incompetence. At his command, they worked against Voldemort's opponents, the Order of the Phoenix, through espionage, murder, and battle, and also infiltrated and undermined the Ministry of Magic. When he needed tasks done to increase his own power, he often sent them if he considered the task trivial enough to not warrant his personal attention, such as retrieving the prophecy from the Department of Mysteries and visiting the werewolves and the giants. The Death Eaters' other, more spontaneous activities included Muggle torture and murder for fun, property crime, and conspiracy against the world powers, beginning with Great Britain. Upon their success in taking over the Ministry during the Second Wizarding War, they began a campaign to identify Muggle-born witches and wizards and strip them of their wands, or even imprison or kill them, on the trumped-up premise that they must have 'stolen' their magic from a 'real' witch or wizard.
Although some Death Eaters appeared to have been fanatically loyal to Voldemort, such as Bellatrix Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jnr, several only aligned with him for the ideals of purification and shared glory, such as Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black, while many others seemed to serve him largely out of fear, such as Peter Pettigrew. As soon as he was defeated in 1981, many immediately renounced their loyalty and did not attempt to find Voldemort in the intervening years. Also, due to maltreatment from Voldemort, some who joined him would come to regret it later on, such as Lucius, Draco, and Regulus, when they either suffered his abuse or witnessed the true extent of his diabolical means. Those who rioted at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup also fled when the Dark Mark was cast. Bill Weasley speculated then that those Death Eaters were “even more frightened than the rest of us to see him come back”. However, most Apparated to his side if they were able to when Voldemort called them upon his return, claiming that they had been loyal all along.
Although Voldemort's standard recruitment seems to be centred around Slytherins, the Dark Wizard-inclined house which he was sorted into and thus the easiest to gain followers, he sometimes gained Death Eaters from other locations such as Peter Pettigrew of Gryffindor and Igor Karkaroff of the north. Valuing their loyalty over their social statuses or ages, Voldemort recruited Regulus Black and Draco Malfoy, both of whom were sixteen years old at the time of induction. This was beneficial to him because it, at least in Malfoy's case, gained him the latter's respect and anticipation for Death Eater-related duty.
In turn, even though Voldemort valued the services they provided, and spoke as though they were a family, he saw them as no more than dispensable servants. Voldemort was willing to sacrifice even the most loyal of them if it would increase his power, the most prominent example being Severus Snape, who he thought to the end was faithful. Some Death Eaters deluded themselves to thinking that they alone knew and understood Voldemort, or were even close to him, but Voldemort never desired friendship. Voldemort had some commons with several Death Eaters (such as a disappointing father like Barty Crouch Jnr, or trying to cover his Muggle heritage like Severus Snape), and even sharing such facts to garner the loyalty of such people, making it seem as he understand them in return, taking advantage of their inner feelings without gaining any attachments to them in return. Coupled with either disloyalty or constant failures, Voldemort lost faith in some of the once-highly revered servants such as Lucius and Bellatrix. As a sign of distrust-based precaution, the Death Eaters did not have knowledge of all their colleagues' identities: Voldemort alone knew who they all were. This was done in order to prevent any traitors from turning all the others in.
- "...why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?"
- —Voldemort stating the obligations of Death Eaters[src]
Becoming a Death Eater meant a lifetime service to Lord Voldemort. Death Eaters were denied the right to resign under any circumstances, under penalty of death. Sirius Black thought his younger brother was killed for attempting to quit after being given an exorbitantly taxing assignment, even though later this turned out to be the opposite. Igor Karkaroff deserted the Death Eaters after turning many of them over to the Ministry, and even though he went into hiding after his former master was revived, he was eventually caught and killed for his disloyalty. However, Voldemort did forgive the servants who did not attempt to find him but returned when he touched Wormtail's Dark Mark since Snape claimed that, if otherwise, Voldemort would be left with very few followers. Because of his diminished military forces at the time of his rebirth ceremony, Voldemort only punished those who returned to him by mild torture and demands: he let Wormtail suffer the pain of severing his hand as punishment for years of disloyalty, and demanded that Avery suffer thirteen years of pain as repayment for thirteen years of disloyalty before truly being forgiven.
Voldemort's most senior Death Eaters, most of whom were old chums from Slytherin house or younger Slytherin alumni, mostly pure-bloods, and people highly useful to Voldemort for their wealth, skill, or ruthlessness, were bestowed with the Dark Mark on the inside of their lower left arm. These were his inner circle, those he summoned to his side upon his rebirth in Harry's fourth year, and who sat around his high table at Malfoy Manor. Being branded with the Dark Mark was a symbol of the highest status and honour in Voldemort's social order, but was also something of a dangerous burden, as it allowed the Dark Lord to track, communicate with, and summon his chosen few. Some associates, such as relatives of Death Eaters, are also on par with the actual members, prominently Narcissa Malfoy. On the other hand, Peter Pettigrew was branded a Dark Mark as well, though he was considered to be lower ranked than any other Death Eater, as Voldemort disdained his disloyalty and only saw him occasionally useful, thus assigning him to menial tasks most of the time. Age plays little influence on one's induction into the group, as both Draco Malfoy and Regulus Black became Death Eaters at age 16, their devotion being more important than their social qualifications.
The next level down were allowed to wear Death Eater garments in order to command the respect they engendered, but were not Marked. These seem to included those that Voldemort found useful but did not prefer to associate with. Genuine Death Eaters also regard these faux members with disrespect, as they did not hesitate to speak down on them, nor outright attack them. The most notable example was the werewolf Fenrir Greyback, notorious for his savagery and cannibalism.
On the lowest rung was a mass of supportive rabble, loyal to Voldemort but not useful enough to him to deal with him directly. They were given orders and opportunities to commit crimes or advance themselves through the senior Death Eaters. On the same tier were witches and wizards under the Imperius Curse (subtly implied to disproportionately constitute the weak-willed, like Pius Thicknesse, the slow-witted, like Stan Shunpike, and the dubiously loyal), and non-humans of different degrees of sentience such as Werewolves, Giants, Dementors and the Inferi. These were pressed into service by the Death Eaters, and sentient groups that would have ordinarily remained neutral like the Dementors, Giants, and Werewolves were brought into the fold with false promises that their grievances would be avenged upon victory in battle. This entire mass was mobilised for Voldemort's attack on Hogwarts, though before then, they were only used to maintain the new regime, or else roam uncontrolled, sowing chaos and demoralisation as they sought individual gain. During Voldemort's assault on Hogwarts, they were used as expendable cannon fodder meant to overwhelm the students and teachers through shear force of numbers or test Hogwarts's formidable magic defences.
Death Eaters affiliates
|Alecto Carrow||Fought in the First Wizarding War and managed to avoid Azkaban. Returned to the Dark Lord's side after his rebirth and fought in the Second Wizarding War, during which she participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Became Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts when the Ministry of Magic came under Voldemort's control, using this position to spread anti-Muggle propaganda and abuse students. Participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, in which she was defeated by Luna Lovegood at Ravenclaw Tower.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Amycus Carrow||Fought in the First Wizarding War and managed to avoid Azkaban. Returned following the Dark Lord's rebirth and fought in the Second Wizarding War, during which he participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Became Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts when the Ministry of Magic fell under Voldemort's control, using this position to abuse students. Placed under the Imperius Curse by Minerva McGonagall and tortured with the Cruciatus Curse by Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts.|
|Antonin Dolohov||Fought in the First Wizarding War, in which he was involved with the brutal murders of Fabian and Gideon Prewett. During the Second Wizarding War, Dolohov participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries. After escaping Azkaban, Dolohov failed to capture Harry Potter on Tottenham Court Road and was subsequently punished by his master. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he killed Remus Lupin and was later defeated by Filius Flitwick.|
|Augustus Rookwood||Served as Lord Voldemort's spy within the Ministry of Magic, as an Unspeakable of the Department of Mysteries, during the First Wizarding War. Imprisoned in Azkaban when betrayed by Igor Karkaroff in exchange for his freedom, but escaped during the 1996 mass breakout. Re-incarcerated after participating in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries. In 1997, and escaped once again during another mass breakout and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Presumed imprisoned|
|Avery Jnr||Fought in the First Wizarding War and avoided Azkaban by claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse. Was later one of the few present at the Dark Lord's rebirth. He also participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War. Avery, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout of Azkaban.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Barty Crouch Jnr||Served as Lord Voldemort's prize rookie at the height of the First Wizarding War, during the aftermath of which he participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom. Smuggled out of Azkaban by his father (at his mother's request) and imprisoned in their home under the Imperius Curse in between the wars. Secretly attended the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, during which he used Harry Potter's wand to cast the Dark Mark over the violent Death Eater riot at the stadium grounds. Was rescued from imprisonment shortly afterwards by Voldemort, and assisted in the Dark Lord's rebirth by sabotaging the Triwizard Tournament while impersonating Alastor Moody at Hogwarts via Polyjuice Potion; these actions included entering Harry Potter into the Goblet of Fire, murdering his own father using the Killing Curse, placing Viktor Krum under the Imperius Curse in order to torture Cedric Diggory, stunning Fleur Delacour, and turning the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey designed to deliver Harry to Voldemort himself. Subsequently suffered the Dementor's Kiss.||Soul removed|
|Bellatrix Lestrange||Served as Lord Voldemort's right-hand witch throughout the First Wizarding War, during the aftermath of which she participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom with the Cruciatus Curse. Fought in the Second Wizarding War, during which she participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries, killing Sirius Black, and was the only Death Eater who escaped Azkaban following that battle. Tortured Hermione Granger and killed Dobby at Malfoy Manor. Killed Nymphadora Tonks and attempted to kill Ginny Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts. Subsequently killed by Molly Weasley in the same battle.||Deceased|
|Corban Yaxley||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Yaxley was able to avoid Azkaban. During the Second Wizarding War participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Placed the Imperius Curse on Pius Thicknesse. Participated in the persecution of Muggle-borns with the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Participated in the Battle of Hogwarts and was defeated by George Weasley and Lee Jordan.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Crabbe Snr||Fought in the First Wizarding War and avoided Azkaban following Lord Voldemort's downfall. Was present when the Dark Lord was reborn. He later participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Crabbe, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Draco Malfoy||Served as one of Lord Voldemort's youngest recruits during the Second Wizarding War, during which Forced to commit two failed assassination attempts on Albus Dumbledore under direct threat, but managed to corner and disarm him on the third attempt before deciding not to kill him. Placed the Imperius Curse on Madam Rosmerta to pass on a cursed necklace, with which he unitentionally poisoned Ron Weasley and cursed Katie Bell. Repaired the vanishing cabinet which allowed various Death Eaters to breach Hogwarts defences prior to the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Tried to capture Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts. Participated reluctantly in Death Eater activity.||Defected|
|Evan Rosier||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Killed by Alastor Moody after resisting capture following Lord Voldemort's downfall.||Deceased|
|Fenrir Greyback||Had the Dark Mark unlike the other werewolves. He became cannibalistic in the Second Wizarding War, and his duty was to scare, kill, and infect the opposing side. Was a part of the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, where he scarred Bill Weasley, and was present at the death of Albus Dumbledore. He was involved with the Snatchers and brought Harry Potter to Malfoy Manor. Fenrir participated in the Battle of Hogwarts. He savaged Lavender Brown and presumably many others. He was eventually brought down by Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Gibbon||Fought in the Second Wizarding War. Conjured the Dark Mark over Hogwarts during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. During that battle, Gibbon was struck by a Killing Curse intended for Remus Lupin by Thorfinn Rowle.||Deceased|
|Goyle Snr||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Having avoided Azkaban following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Goyle was present when the Dark Lord was reborn.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Hedwig's killer||Killed Hedwig during the Battle of the Seven Potters.|
|Igor Karkaroff||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Avoided Azkaban by betraying several Death Eaters to the Ministry of Magic following Lord Voldemort's downfall, and became Headmaster of Durmstrang in between the wars, but was killed for his disloyalty during the Second Wizarding War.||Deceased|
|Jugson||Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Jugson, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Lucius Malfoy||Served as Lord Voldemort's right-hand wizard for a majority of the First Wizarding War, during which he was entrusted with Tom Riddle's Diary until given consent from his master to smuggle said Horcrux into Hogwarts and use it to reopen the Chamber of Secrets. Avoided Azkaban by claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse following his master's downfall, and became Chairman of the Hogwarts Board of Governors in between the wars, using this position to campaign for Albus Dumbledore's suspension from the school for poor Headmastership and render Harry Potter vulnerable to the Dark Lord. In 1992, he planted the diary on Ginny Weasley in order to sabotage her father Arthur's Muggle Protection Act, whilst threatening the other school governors into signing an Order of Suspension for Dumbledore's dismissal. Participated in the violent riot and torture of a Muggle family at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, and was one of the first present at the Dark Lord’s rebirth. Placed Department of Mysteries employee Broderick Bode and possibly Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse in an attempt to commit theft on Voldemort's behalf. Led the break-in of the Department of Mysteries. After escaping Azkaban, his home was used as the Death Eater headquarters. Defected and did not fight in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Defected|
|Mr Lee||Served Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, eventually visited in his home by the Dark Lord.|
|Mrs Lee||Served Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War.|
|Mr Snyde||Served Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, imprisoned in Azkaban along with his wife.|
|Mrs Snyde||Served Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, imprisoned in Azkaban along with her husband.|
|Mulciber Snr||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters. Fought in the First Wizarding War.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Mulciber Jnr||Served as Lord Voldemort's Imperius Curse specialist at the height of the First Wizarding War, during which he placed said curse on many people and forcing them to do horrific things. Later unable to avoid Azkaban after his master’s downfall. Following the Dark Lord's rebirth, Mulciber escaped in 1996 during a mass breakout. During the Second Wizarding War, he participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently re-imprisoned. However, Mulciber later escaped once again during the 1997 mass breakout.|
|Nott Snr||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters, Nott fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Voldemort's downfall, Nott was able to avoid Azkaban and was later present at the Dark Lord's rebirth. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Nott, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.|
|Peter Pettigrew||Served as Lord Voldemort's spy within the Order of the Phoenix at the height of the First Wizarding War, during which he betrayed James and Lily Potter's whereabouts as their Secret-Keeper and murdered twelve Muggles on a London street with a single Blasting Curse whilst faking his own death, framing Sirius Black for both crimes. Went into hiding in his Animagus form of a rat following his master's downfall, and became the pet rat of Percy and Ron Weasley in between the wars, using this position to keep track of news regarding Voldemort's whereabouts and stay close to Harry Potter at Hogwarts until the time came to deliver him to the Dark Lord right under Albus Dumbledore's nose. In 1993, he was exposed during Black's escape from Azkaban and revelation of the truth, but escaped again to fulfil the prophecy regarding his return to Voldemort. Captured Bertha Jorkins in Albania and brought her before his master in 1994, and assisted the Dark Lord with his rebirth, murdering Cedric Diggory in the process. Participated in the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, where he tried to strangle Harry but hesitated when the latter reminded him of a life debt. Strangled to death by his own enchanted silver hand.||Deceased|
|Pyrites (possibly)||Accompanied Lord Voldemort to Godric's Hollow the night he murdered the Potters. Met Sirius Black outside of the Potter's home following the attack.||Unknown|
|Rabastan Lestrange||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters. Participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom using the Cruciatus Curse during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Rabastan, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Regulus Black||Served as a foot soldier at the the height of the First Wizarding War, during which he volunteered Kreacher to assist Lord Voldemort in hiding Salazar Slytherin's Locket. Changed sides and attempted to destroy said Horcrux, but was killed by Inferi in the process.||Deceased|
|Rodolphus Lestrange||Participated in the torture and the permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom via the Cruciatus Curse during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Rodolphus escaped in the 1997 mass breakout and participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters.||Unknown (was imprisoned after the Battle of Hogwarts, but has escaped as of 2020)|
|Rosier Snr||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Selwyn||During the Second Wizarding War, participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters. Along with Travers, tortured Xenophilius Lovegood about the whereabouts of Harry Potter.|
|Severus Snape||Served as Lord Voldemort's volunteer for monitoring Albus Dumbledore around Hogwarts at the height of the First Wizarding War, during which he passed information about a prophecy foretold to Dumbledore by Sybill Trelawney at the Hog's Head Inn. Reformed out of remorse for the welfare of his childhood friend Lily Potter, and was thus exonerated by Dumbledore following his master’s downfall. Became Potions Master of Hogwarts and Head of Slytherin House in between the wars, using this position to keep a close eye on Harry Potter and his friends. Returned to the Death Eater ranks two hours after the Dark Lord’s rebirth, and served as Voldemort's right-hand wizard throughout the Second Wizarding War, though secretly acting as a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix. Participated in a plan of Dumbledore's resulting in his death and himself becoming Headmaster of Hogwarts, a position he used to covertly assist Harry Potter and his friends. Killed by Nagini during the Battle of Hogwarts, under Voldemort’s belief that he was the master of the Elder Wand.||Deceased|
|Thorfinn Rowle||During the Second Wizarding War, participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and accidentally struck Gibbon with a Killing Curse intended for Remus Lupin. He was later punished by the Dark Lord having failed to capture Harry Potter on Tottenham Court Road. Rowle later participated in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Travers||Participated in the murder of the McKinnons during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters and intimidated employees of Gringotts bank during the Second Wizarding War.|
|Walden Macnair||Served as one of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War. Avoided Azkaban by claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse after his master's downfall, and bacame an executioner for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures in between the wars. Participated in the violent riot and torture of a Muggle family at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, and was one of the at the Dark Lord's rebirth and fought in the Second Wizarding War, during which he was sent to recruit the giants to join Lord Voldemort's side. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Macnair, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout and participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, in which he was knocked unconscious after Rubeus Hagrid slammed him into a wall.|
|Wilkes||Fought and died in the First Wizarding War.||Deceased|
The Death Eaters seem to have a hierarchy, with Voldemort at the top, followed by top ranking members, who were often his most powerful and trusted Death Eaters. Arguably, his topmost Death Eaters were Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy (until he lost favour), Bellatrix Lestrange, Barty Crouch Jnr, Antonin Dolohov, Peter Pettigrew, Augustus Rookwood, Corban Yaxley and Fenrir Greyback.
|Name||Other loyalty(ies)||Information||Current Status|
|Narcissa Malfoy||Malfoy Family||Draco Malfoy's mother. Supported Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War but defected in order to protect her family later.||Defected|
|Pansy Parkinson||Slytherin, Draco Malfoy's gang||
Was included in Draco's gang. During the Second Wizarding War, she attempted to capture Harry Potter to turn him in to the Dark Lord. After Lord Voldemort's downfall, she most likely resumed her education in Hogwarts.
|Vincent Crabbe||Was included in Draco's gang. During the Second Wizarding War, he tried to catch and kill Harry for the Dark Lord. Accidentally killed himself when he conjured a Fiendfyre he could not control.||Deceased|
|Gregory Goyle||Was included in Draco's gang. Served as a protector of Draco due to his physical size.||Alive|
|Mafalda Hopkirk||Ministry of Magic (under Lord Voldemort and Pius Thicknesse)||Continued to work in her position in the Improper Use of Magic Office after He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named overthrew the Ministry.||Unknown|
|Dolores Umbridge||Ministry of Magic, Inquisitorial Squad||The corrupt Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Headmistress of Hogwarts (1996), and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. She is not a Death Eater, but she shared their pure-blood supremacy belief, so she was not arrested after the death of Rufus Scrimgeour. After the Second Wizading War, she was imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns.||Imprisoned|
|Golgomath||Giants||A giant who allied with the Death Eaters and told his clan to do so as well.||Unknown|
|Dementors||Azkaban||Allied with the Death Eaters during the Second Wizarding War.||N/A|
|Albert Runcorn||British Ministry of Magic||Investigated Muggle-borns during the Second Wizarding War.||Presumably deceased or imprisoned|
|Nagini||Voldemort himself||A Maledictus cursed to transform into a snake, became Voldemort's pet and one of his seven Horcruxes. She had more favour from Voldemort than any Death Eater. The killer of Severus Snape. She was killed by Neville Longbottom by the Sword of Gryffindor.||Deceased|
|Quirinus Quirrell||Never officially made a Death Eater but directly served Voldemort and even provided himself as a host for the Dark Lord.|
Death Eaters' influence
|Victim(s)||Killer(s)||Cause of Death||Reason||Notes|
|Moaning Myrtle||Tom Riddle||Slytherin's Basilisk||For being Muggle-born; to turn T. M. Riddle's Diary into his first Horcrux.||Riddle unleashed the Basilisk in Hogwarts in 1943, and it killed Myrtle in the bathroom near the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.|
|The Riddle family||Killing Curse||To kill Tom Riddle's Muggle lineage; revenge for his mother being abandoned during pregnancy; to make Marvolo Gaunt's Ring his second Horcrux.|
|Hepzibah Smith||A lethal poison||To steal Helga Hufflepuff's Cup and Salazar Slytherin's Locket from Smith's safe; to make Helga Hufflepuff's Cup his third Horcrux.||Riddle killed Hepzibah Smith while working for Borgin and Burkes and framed Smith's house elf, Hokey for the crime.|
|A Muggle tramp||Unknown, but possibly the Killing Curse||For being a Muggle; to make Salazar Slytherin's Locket his fourth Horcrux.|
|An Albanian peasant||Unknown, but possibly the Killing Curse||To make Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem his fifth Horcrux.|
|Edgar Bones and his family||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||During the First Wizarding War|
|Benjy Fenwick||A curse that blasted him to pieces|
|Fabian and Gideon Prewett||Antonin Dolohov and four other Death Eaters||Unknown, but described as "brutal"|
|Marlene McKinnon and her family||Multiple Death Eaters, including Travers||Unknown|
|Dean Thomas's father||Unknown Death Eaters||Killed for refusing to join the Death Eaters.|
|Dorcas Meadowes||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||Reason unknown|
|James and Lily Potter||To kill Harry Potter because of the prophecy that states he could kill Lord Voldemort.||This murder resulted in the first defeat of Voldemort on 31 October 1981, as Lily Potter's sacrifice for her infant son caused the Killing Curse Voldemort directed at him to rebound.|
|Twelve Muggles||Peter Pettigrew||Blasting Curse||To frame Sirius Black and for being Muggles.||Caused while Pettigrew was fleeing Sirius Black; Pettigrew then faked his own death.|
|Bertha Jorkins||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||To make Nagini into a Horcrux.||Riddle used this murder to make Nagini his what he thought was his sixth (but actually his seventh) Horcrux.|
|Frank Bryce||For supposedly trespassing on the Riddle House.|
|Barty Crouch Snr||Barty Crouch Jnr||Unknown, possibly the Killing Curse||Killed before he could expose his son and Voldemort's plans.|
|Cedric Diggory||Peter Pettigrew||Killing Curse||For accompanying Harry Potter and being a "spare".||He accompanied Harry Potter to the graveyard in Little Hangleton, and was murdered on Voldemort's orders to "kill the spare".|
|Broderick Bode||Walden Macnair||Strangled by Devil's Snare||To prevent him from talking about the Death Eaters' planned break-in of the Department of Mysteries.|
|Sirius Black||Bellatrix Lestrange||Curse that pushed him through the Veil in the Death Chamber||For being a Blood Traitor and member of the Order of the Phoenix.||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Emmeline Vance||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown, possibly the Killing Curse||For being a member of the Order of the Phoenix.||Killed in July 1996|
|Amelia Bones||Lord Voldemort||For defending Harry Potter in trial.||Killed in July 1996|
|Florean Fortescue||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||Kidnapped from his shop in Diagon Alley in July 1996, was later killed|
|Mrs Abbott||Found dead in her home|
|Igor Karkaroff||For betraying the Death Eaters at the end of the First Wizarding War.|
|Gibbon||Thorfinn Rowle||Killing Curse||Rowle was aiming at Remus Lupin during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, but missed and accidentally struck Gibbon.|
|Albus Dumbledore||Severus Snape||Killed as part of his own plan to spare Draco Malfoy from becoming a murderer and himself from a more painful death.||Lord Voldemort plot to get Draco Malfoy to assassinate Dumbledore|
|Charity Burbage||Lord Voldemort||Killed for promoting pro-Muggle values||Fed to Nagini|
|Hedwig||Unknown Death Eater||For being Harry Potter's pet||Battle of the Seven Potters|
|Alastor Moody||Lord Voldemort||For being the leader of the Order of the Phoenix|
|Rufus Scrimgeour||Unknown Death Eaters or Lord Voldemort||Unknown, possibly the Killing Curse||For not providing information about Harry Potter's whereabouts.||As part of the 1997 coup of the Ministry of Magic|
|Bathilda Bagshot||Most likely Lord Voldemort||Unknown, but bearing signs of Dark Magic||To place Nagini inside her body as a trap for Harry Potter in Godric's Hollow.|
|German family||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For not having information on Gregorovitch's location.|
|Mykew Gregorovitch||For not providing information about the Elder Wand.||During his search for the Elder Wand|
|Gellert Grindelwald||After interrogation about the location of the Elder Wand|
|Peter Pettigrew||Silver hand made by Voldemort||For stopping his attempt to kill Harry Potter.||During the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Dobby||Bellatrix Lestrange||Stabbed through the chest with a thrown dagger||For claiming to be a free house elf and disappearing members of Dumbledore's Army from the Malfoy Manor.||Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Unidentified goblin killed by Voldemort||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||After the report that the trio stole Helga Hufflepuff's Cup from the Lestranges' vault at Gringotts.|
|Fred Weasley||Unknown||An explosion in Hogwarts||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Remus Lupin||Antonin Dolohov||Unknown, possibly the Killing Curse|
|Nymphadora Tonks||Bellatrix Lestrange|
|Unidentified female Hogwarts teacher|
|Severus Snape||Nagini||Multiple bites||To gain the Elder Wand||In the Shrieking Shack, after Lord Voldemort came to the conclusion that he needed to do so to gain control of the Elder Wand|
|Victim||Death Eater(s)||Description of Injury||Notes|
|Harry Potter||Lord Voldemort||Lightning Scar caused by a failed Killing Curse||Resulted in the end of the First Wizarding War|
|Alice and Frank Longbottom||Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Rabastan Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jnr||Insanity caused by repeated and prolonged infliction of the Cruciatus Curse||Resulted in the Longbottoms remaining in St Mungo's for the rest of their lives|
|George Weasley||Severus Snape||A Sectumsempra curse that Snape was actually aiming at another Death Eater severed George’s ear||Battle of the Seven Potters|
|Victim(s)||Death Eater(s)||Description of Injury||Notes|
|Several Muggle-born students of Hogwarts, Nearly Headless Nick, and Mrs Norris||Slytherin's Basilisk, under Tom Riddle’s command||Petrified||This was carried out via the possession of Ginny Weasley in the 1992–1993 school year by a Horcrux slipped to Ginny by Lucius Malfoy|
|Ginny Weasley||Lucius Malfoy and the memory of Tom Riddle||Possessed and nearly killed through use of Tom Riddle's Diary, a Horcrux||Lucius Malfoy slipped Ginny the diary, and she was saved from Riddle by Harry Potter in 1993|
|Mr Roberts and his family||Unknown Death Eaters (likely includes Lucius Malfoy)||Levitated and humiliated publicly||At the Quidditch World Cup in 1994|
|Harry Potter||Lord Voldemort||Briefly tortured with the Cruciatus Curse, attempted murder||In the graveyard of Little Hangleton in 1995|
|Arthur Weasley||Voldemort/Nagini||Multiple snakebites, severe blood loss||December 1995|
|Ginny Weasley||Unknown Death Eater||Broken ankle||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Hermione Granger||Antonin Dolohov||Severe internal injury caused by an unnamed curse|
|Neville Longbottom||Broken nose and wand|
|Luna Lovegood||Unknown Death Eater||Stunned and thrown across a room|
|Neville Longbottom||Bellatrix Lestrange||Briefly tortured with the Cruciatus Curse|
|Katie Bell||Draco Malfoy||Placed under the Imperius Curse: cursed when she touched a Dark magic opal necklace||Collateral damage of Draco Malfoy's attempts to assassinate Albus Dumbledore|
|Ron Weasley||Poisoned by drinking mead intended for Albus Dumbledore||Collateral damage of Draco Malfoy's attempts to assassinate Albus Dumbledore: Harry Potter saved his life by feeding him a bezoar|
|Harry Potter||Nagini||Received venomous bite on his arm||Attack at Godric's Hollow (1997)|
|Hermione Granger||Bellatrix Lestrange||Tortured with the Cruciatus Curse for information: threatened with a short knife at neck||Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Various Hogwarts students, including Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, and Michael Corner||Amycus and Alecto Carrow||Subjected to assault and the Cruciatus Curse||Occurred while Voldemort was in control of Hogwarts for the 1997–1998 school year|
|Victim||Death Eater(s)||Description of Disappearance||Found?|
|Caradoc Dearborn||Unknown Death Eaters||Disappeared during the First Wizarding War: body was never found, and is presumably dead||No|
|Garrick Ollivander||Fenrir Greyback and unknown Death Eaters||Kidnapped from his own shop in Diagon Alley in 1996||Yes, he escaped from Malfoy Manor along with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Griphook, and Dobby.|
|Octavius Pepper||Unknown Death Eaters||Disappeared in early spring of 1997; disappearance was reported by the Daily Prophet||unknown|
|Florean Fortescue||Unknown Death Eaters||Kidnapped from his shop in Diagon Alley in 1996, was later killed||No|
|Bertha Jorkins||Peter Pettigrew||She was brought to Lord Voldemort by Peter Pettigrew during a holiday in Albania in 1994, and was later killed by Voldemort. Voldemort used her murder to make Nagini a Horcrux.|
|Luna Lovegood||Unknown Death Eaters||Imprisoned in Malfoy Manor||Yes, she escaped from Malfoy Manor along with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Garrick Ollivander, Dean Thomas, Griphook, and Dobby.|
Behind the scenes
- In the films, the Death Eaters (and Voldemort himself) are given a lot of spectre-like attributes, such as the ability to transform themselves into a black smoke-like figure and fly, often crashing obstacles in their way. In addition, once a Death Eater is killed, he will mostly explode or disintegrate, like a spectre, rather than leaving a body like an ordinary human.
- The Death Eaters may at some point have been titled The Knights of Walpurgis.' This name seems to be a play on Walpurgis Night, the evening of 30 April when, according to legend, witches and demons gather.
- Walpurgis Night is the day before the feast day of St Walpurga on the first of May. 1 May, 1998 was the last full day of Voldemort and the Death Eaters' reign of terror. They were finally destroyed on 2 May.
- It is possible that Tom Riddle had formed the Death Eaters under the inspiration of the army of Gellert Grindelwald.
- The hoods worn by the Death Eaters in their first film appearance bear a resemblance to those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. For later films, the design was changed to one with a full mask and no point on the hood.
- There is an individual named Pyrites who appears in a cut chapter of the series. This character is described as a "servant" of Lord Voldemort. It is most likely that Pyrites is a Death Eater though it's possible that he is merely an ally. It's unknown if he actually exists in canon however.
- Because of his extreme allegiance with Voldemort, Fenrir Greyback was allowed to wear Death Eater robes even though that he was a werewolf. Nonetheless, Voldemort saw Greyback as too valuable an accomplice not to have in his ranks, and allowed him to accompany the group and wear their robes. However, he was not branded with the Dark Mark.
- While true Death Eaters were supposed to be only those who are in Voldemort's inner circle, via their talents, wealth, influence, and loyalty, Peter Pettigrew was also given the Dark Mark despite his status as a lowly soldier and his cowardly disposition, an honour that not even the valuable ally Fenrir Greyback received.
- Narcissa Malfoy was not officially a Death Eater, never having been branded with the Dark Mark, even though she was married to Lucius Malfoy and is the sister of Bellatrix Lestrange, both very high-ranking Death Eaters. However, she was an ally of the Death Eaters, as she may have participated in the tormenting of Muggles the night of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, relayed information to Voldemort which led to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the murder of Sirius Black, sat in on Death Eater meetings (though this may simply have been because they were held in her home at the time, much to her discomfort), and was given the duty of finding out whether or not Harry Potter was truly dead. However, she was not known to have participated in any battles, and she ultimately lied to Voldemort about Harry's death and thus helped bring about his fall.
- Pius Thicknesse and Stan Shunpike were both dressed as Death Eaters when they fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and Battle of the Seven Potters, respectively. However, both were under the Imperius Curse at the time, and it is highly unlikely that either was ever an actual Death Eater as they both lacked any form of free will.
- Quirinus Quirrell was loyal to Voldemort, but he was not a Death Eater as the organisation was inactive during Voldemort's years of disembodiment.
- Several Death Eaters with the same last name have been mentioned in the series (e.g. Lestrange, Avery, Mulciber), which suggests that fealty to Voldemort may not end with the person themselves, and extends to their children. It is equally possible, however, that the children have similar ideological views to their parents.
- Dolores Umbridge was never explicitly mentioned to be a Death Eater; however, she was a sympathiser who committed crimes against Muggle-borns at the Ministry of Magic while it was under Voldemort's control. She also participated in her own punishment for Harry Potter with a cursed quill for his outcry in Defence Against the Dark Arts, permanently carving I must not tell lies on the back of Harry's hand.
- While the majority of the Death Eaters were males, two explicitly mentioned female Death Eaters were Bellatrix Lestrange and Alecto Carrow. Another unnamed woman was described in the first chapter of the Deathly Hallows, but it may have been Alecto. It's likely however that there are many more that we just never see. In the films however we see plenty of unknown female Death Eaters, though they aren't named.
- Unlike their fathers, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Theodore Nott do not appear to have ever been official Death Eaters, though Crabbe and Goyle were sympathisers who tried to capture Harry Potter for Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, resulting in the destruction of Ravenclaw's diadem, the death of Crabbe and the ruin of the Room of Requirement.
- Bellatrix was referred by J. K. Rowling as Voldemort's lieutenant, suggesting that she may be the second-in-command of the Death Eater organisation. Indeed, she has demonstrated great talent in combat and leadership skills and has been, in the past, trusted with many important things by her master. Similarly, Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape seemed to be lieutenants of Voldemort. Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy were entrusted with Horcruxes. All three were allowed to give subordinate Death Eaters orders. However, Malfoy lost favour with Voldemort shortly before his demise.
- The Death Eaters do not wear hoods or masks during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but they do sometimes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This may actually be due to the fact they had no reason to hide their identities from the authorities.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 we see the largest amount of Death Eaters yet at around 200. The end of the Battle of Hogwarts had over a hundred standing in the courtyard. Though the books never say how many there are, the numbers seem closer to dozens rather than hundreds. It's possible that many of these wizards and witches were merely allies and not actual Death Eaters, though it's also possible that some of them were imperiused wizards or workers of the Ministry of Magic.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance) (First identified as Death Eaters)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Harry Potter Prequel
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Dimensions
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Motorbike Escape
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9 (The Dark Mark)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Writing by J.K. Rowling: "The Malfoy Family" at Wizarding World
- ↑ Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (See here)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
- ↑ HP Lexicon: Death Eaters
- ↑ CBBC Newsround - FULL transcript of JK's OOTP interview