At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Hogwarts Legacy, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
- "Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life."
- — Remus Lupin's description of Dementors[src]
A Dementor was a gliding, wraithlike Dark creature, widely considered to be one of the foulest to inhabit the wizarding world. Dementors fed on human happiness and thus generated feelings of depression and despair in any person in close proximity to them. They could also consume a person's soul, leaving their victims in a permanent vegetative state, and thus were often referred to as "soul-sucking fiends", rendering a person an "empty-shell". Dementors were closely associated with Azkaban, as they were formerly employed by the British Ministry of Magic as the prison guards, and were not known to permanently inhabit any other location.
The Dementors of Azkaban were under the employ of the Ministry until mid-1996, when Lord Voldemort was sighted in the Ministry, and their defection to the Dark Lord's cause became undeniable. After the end of the Second Wizarding War in 1998, the Ministry was re-formed, and newly-appointed Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt ensured that they were not used by the government again, presumably due to their changing allegiance and support of Voldemort, and due to ethical reforms in the Ministry and Wizarding society at large.
There were certain defences one could use against Dementors, specifically the Patronus Charm. Dementors held no true loyalty, except to whoever could provide them with the most people to feed on. They seemingly could not be destroyed, though their numbers could be limited if the conditions in which they multiply were prevented from forming, implying that they did die off eventually.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Protection from Dementors
- 5 Etymology
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 See also
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Notes and references
The history of Dementors in relation to Wizarding society in Britain was inextricably tied up with one location: Azkaban. The island in the North Sea on which the wizard prison was built had never appeared on any map, wizard or Muggle. Perhaps its first resident, or even creator, Ekrizdis, practised the worst kinds of Dark Arts and constructed a fortress on the island, luring Muggle sailors there to torture and murder them. After his death, the various concealment charms placed on the island faded, and the Ministry became aware of the mysterious site's existence.
Those who entered the deserted fortress to investigate discovered, among other horrors, an infestation of Dementors. Fearing the reprisal of these dark entities should anyone try to evict them, the Ministry decided to let the sizeable colony remain, unmolested and unchecked.
When Damocles Rowle was elected Minister for Magic in 1718, he insisted on utilising Azkaban's dark pedigree, seeing the Dementors as a potential asset: putting them to work as guards would save expense, time, and lives. This plan was eventually put into motion and, despite protests, Azkaban remained the prison of the wizarding world right up until the Second Wizarding War, mostly because of its near-zero breakout rate. From that point on, the Dementors served the Ministry of Magic as the guards of Azkaban, as the arrangement allowed them to feed on the emotions of the prisoners within its walls. Somewhere between 1733 and 1747, Minister Eldritch Diggory visited Azkaban and was horrified at the sheer despair and insanity that the Dementors induced within the prisoners. He formed a committee to find alternative solutions, the least of which was to remove the Dementors, which met opposition from those who feared a mainland invasion by the dark creatures if they were deprived of their food source. Alas, Diggory died of Dragon Pox while in office, and thus the campaign to find an alternative to Azkaban's Dementors stalled. Though their primary function was to guard Azkaban, Dementors also performs other services for the Ministry, such as being sent to guard other locations, escort prisoners to trial or even hunt down certain criminals.
Although many in the wizarding world felt that the Dementors were necessary to keeping the wizarding world safe from Voldemort's supporters and other dangerous criminals, some believed the Dementors to be inherently fickle and untrustworthy. Albus Dumbledore, in particular, thought it was a mistake for the Ministry to ever ally with such creatures, though Alastor Moody thought violent criminals such as Death Eaters deserved such treatment.
During the 1993–1994 school year, a legion of Dementors were sent to guard Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry against "mass murderer" Sirius Black, who had recently escaped from Azkaban in 1993. The Dementors were stationed at Hogwarts because of the Ministry believing (incorrectly as it turned out) that Sirius was wanting to kill Harry Potter out of retribution for his "master's" defeat. The Dementors searched for Sirius on the Hogwarts Express and Harry Potter had his first encounter with a Dementor during which he was protected by the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin. Whenever brought into close proximity with one, Harry was forced to relive his worst memory: hearing the last moments of his parents' lives before they were murdered by Lord Voldemort.
While the Dementors were at Hogwarts, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore refused to let them enter the School Grounds but was unable to prevent their presence entirely, and so warned his students to give the Dementors no reason to harm them. So dangerous did Dumbledore consider them to be that, even when Sirius Black was found to have entered the school, he refused to let them search or enter the castle.
Harry endured a second encounter with a group of Dementors during a Quidditch match, causing him to lose consciousness and suffer a fall from his broom. He was that time rescued by Dumbledore, who slowed Harry's fall and then drove the Dementors away with a Patronus. They had a particularly bad effect on Harry due to his miserable childhood and plentiful bad memories. Professor Lupin later claimed that the atmosphere of excitement during a Quidditch Match would be like a feast to the Dementors, which they were unable to resist.
To overcome the Dementors, Harry asked Lupin for assistance. Lupin began teaching Harry the Patronus Charm, using a Boggart, which transformed into a Dementor in front of Harry. During the next Quidditch match Harry competed in, four Slytherins, Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and Marcus Flint, disguised themselves as Dementors to distract Harry. Although not yet capable of producing a fully formed patronus, Harry was able to perform the spell well enough to thwart their attempts and won the match, after which Professor Minerva McGonagall sentenced the offending students to detention and deducted fifty House Points from Slytherin.
Harry's next encounter with the Dementors came when he, Hermione, and Sirius were attacked by a group of them in the Forbidden Forest; the three were saved by the intervention of a powerful and fully formed Patronus before the Dementors were able to take their souls via the Dementor's Kiss (defined below). Though initially believed (by Harry) to be the Patronus of his deceased father, this Patronus had in fact been conjured by Harry himself, who had travelled back in time with Hermione Granger using her Time-Turner (this technically counts as both Harry's third and fourth encounter with the Dementors, since, due to his time travelling, he experienced this same encounter twice). Harry's Patronus took the form of a stag, which was both the form his father's Patronus took and the form his father took as an Animagus. Because the Dementors tried to Kiss Harry during this encounter in the Forest, it was enough to convince the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge to have the Dementors removed from Hogwarts at the end of the school year. Dumbledore seemed very happy about this.
Harry met an apparent Dementor in the Triwizard Tournament; thinking that it was a real Dementor he conjured the Patronus Charm, and soon the Dementor stumbled and then Harry knew it was a boggart and soon cried "Riddikulus". That same evening, Fudge brought along a Dementor when he was notified that the Death Eater, Bartemius Crouch Junior, responsible for the activities that occurred was captured, for his own security, disregarding Minerva McGonagall's protest; said Dementor attacked the prisoner, who was also an escapee of Azkaban, on sight, sucking his soul out, which Fudge claimed it was no loss as he saw Crouch as a raving lunatic unworthy of bearing testimony. Dumbledore, who disapproved of this move, suggested Fudge to remove the Dementors from Azkaban to deprive Voldemort of their services, which Fudge thought to be absurd, as he did not believe Voldemort's return and by even suggesting the Azkaban guards to be removed will result in him being impeached.
Harry's fifth encounter was in an alley near his home on Privet Drive, when he and his cousin, Dudley Dursley, were ambushed by two Dementors sent secretly and illegally by Dolores Umbridge. He successfully used the Patronus Charm and was subsequently guided home by a Squib named Arabella Figg. Harry was put on trial for his use of underage magic, but ultimately was not punished, as it was recognised as having been self-defence. Nearly a year later Umbridge admitted the plan to attack and undermine Harry using the Dementors.
By June 1996, all of the Dementors of Azkaban collectively rebelled against their employers to join Lord Voldemort, who offered them more victims and free rein across the country. This aided the 1996 and 1997 escapes of Death Eaters from Azkaban. By mid-1996, the Dementors who had joined Voldemort were multiplying in such quantities as to generate an "unseasonal" July mist, noticeable to both the Muggle and wizarding worlds alike. Cornelius Fudge also admitted they were factors in the British Prime Minister's recent decline in terms of public approval, as they were making people less happy in general.
- "The air around them had frozen: Harry's breath caught and solidified in his chest. Shapes moved out in the darkness, swirling figures of concentrated blackness, moving in a great wave towards the castles, their faces hooded and their breath rattling...."
- — Dementors join the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
During the 1997 infiltration of the Ministry of Magic, while Harry Potter was disguised as Albert Runcorn, he encountered the Dementors in the Muggle-Born Registration Commission courtroom, where they were used to take away convicted Muggle-borns after interrogation and to terrorise them during interrogation. Dolores Umbridge protected herself and the other questioners with a cat Patronus, which dissipated when Harry stunned her. Without Umbridge to control them, a Dementor attempted to give the Kiss to Mary Cattermole, the Muggle-born being interrogated at the time. Harry saved Mary with his own Patronus which drove all of the Dementors in the courtroom into the corners due to its greater power than Umbridge's. Hermione cast a Patronus of her own, and Harry and Hermione used their Patronuses to keep the Dementors in the courtroom and the hallway outside at bay so that they could rescue all of the remaining Muggle-borns. As the group left the area, Harry and Hermione left their Patronuses in the hallway to hold the Dementors at bay for as long as possible while they made their escape.
After Apparating to Hogsmeade, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off a Caterwauling Charm and hid under Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Unable to find them the Death Eaters dispatched Dementors to attack the trio, as Dementors sensed the presence of others and did not rely on sight. Harry was forced to cast his Patronus to protect the trio from being kissed. They could not Disapparate due to an Anti-Disapparition Jinx placed on the village and were stuck (caterwauling charm). Harry drove away the Dementors, but almost gave the three away, as his patrounus was very distinctive, Aberforth Dumbledore saved them and passed off Harry's stag as his own goat Patronus and ushered the trio into his pub.
Later, during the Battle of Hogwarts, the Dementors fought on the side of Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley were attacked by large numbers of Dementors, and due to the horrific events they had experienced and witnessed, including the recent death of Fred Weasley, they all had difficulty summoning their Patronuses. In fact, Harry welcomed the fate that came with a Dementor's kiss, but Seamus Finnigan, Luna Lovegood, and Ernie Macmillan attacked the Dementors with their own Patronuses holding them at bay and encouraged Harry to do the same, allowing him to finally summon his Patronus, which caused the Dementors to scatter. Later, Harry encountered more Dementors in the Forbidden Forest, but the presence of James, Lily, Sirius and Remus, summoned through the Resurrection Stone, shielded him from them.
After the Second Wizarding War, the Ministry of Magic became headed by former-Auror and Order of the Phoenix member Kingsley Shacklebolt. Due to their actions during the war (allowing Death Eaters to escape back to Voldemort and joining forces with him themselves), Shacklebolt disbanded the Dementors as guards of the wizard prison. It is unknown where they went or what they did without their only known application. After the Dementors were removed from the prison, Aurors were placed in the prison as guards.
In one of the alternate realities in which Scorpius Malfoy found himself, the Dementors were near the Great Lake at Hogwarts. The student saw these creatures on 22 October when he was caught by Dolores Umbridge, who was the headmistress of the school.
A week later, when Scorpius, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Severus Snape returned after making a change in the past, they were found by Dementors. Since Hermione and Ron were wanted by arrest warrant, they decided to stay to give the remaining time to save themselves. Ron tried to conjure a patronus, but Hermione stopped him to sacrifice herself and keep these creatures there. The Dementors quickly found them and drained their souls.
Snape left with Scorpius and encouraged him so that the boy would not give in to the despair spread by these creatures. Soon they met Umbridge, who recognised that Snape was working against her and Voldemort, but was rejected by his spell. Then the Dementors attacked, but Severus conjured up a Patronus and promised to keep them as long as possible to ensure that Scorpius could escape. Malfoy ran in the trail of a silver doe, and Snape was deprived of his soul by these creatures. The Patronus kept Scorpius safe long enough to reach the Great Lake and set things right.
Dementors had a humanoid shape, approximately three metres, or 10 feet high, and were covered in dark hooded cloaks of long ripped black cloth, making them closely resemble wraiths. Its body was greyed and decayed looking, like a decomposing corpse, and its breath sounded rattling, like it was trying to "suck more than air" out of a room. Its hands were "glistening, greyish, slimy-looking, and scabbed". They seemed to exude cold.
A Dementor's face had empty eye sockets, covered with scabbed skin. There was a gaping large hole where the mouth should've been, which was used for sucking the soul out of the victim in a process called the Dementor's Kiss, leaving victims in a state generally considered worse than death. The Dementor pulled back its hood and sucked out its victim's soul, leaving the person an empty shell, alive but completely, irretrievably "gone". They were described as being able to glide over the ground only, and in any case, they couldn't pass through solid obstacles.
Dementors were also known to be blind, as they did not have eyes. However, they could sense whether a presence was near them or not, by sensing the victim's emotions.
Nature and behaviour
- "He felt the unnatural cold begin to steal over the street. Light was sucked from the environment right up to the stars, which vanished... The cold was biting deeper and deeper into Harry's flesh... Then, around the corner, gliding noiselessly, came Dementors, ten or more of them, visible because they were of a denser darkness than their surroundings, with their black cloaks and their scabbed and rotting hands. Could they sense fear in the vicinity? Harry was sure of it: They seemed to be coming more quickly now, taking those dragging, rattling breaths he detested, tasting despair on the air, closing in —"
- — Description of Dementors as they close in[src]
Dementors seemed to suck all the light and happiness from the air as they drew long rattling breaths, and caused darkness to close in everywhere and the victim to feel incredibly cold. They could glide towards a victim without sound.
Their sapience was heavily debated: they were sentient enough to taste and sense fear, being drawn to it and the promise of positive memories that it could feed off of. They were also intelligent enough to be greedy: they obeyed the British Ministry of Magic for years because, in guarding Azkaban, they were provided with the sustenance of any remaining hope or happiness in the prisoners. They could understand and follow at least simple instructions, which allowed Dementors to act as a bodyguard to Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge in 1995, to bury dead prisoners in the prison grounds, and to escort prisoners in and out of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission courtroom in 1997. They could also communicate what they had heard Sirius Black saying in his sleep to the Ministry in 1993, and comment on his "less human, less complex" state of mind (in his Animagus form), implying that they could speak or otherwise communicate with wizards.
On the other hand, Albus Dumbledore described Dementors as savage creatures unable to differentiate between who they chased after and who stood in their way. He also informed the students to give Dementors no reason to harm them, saying that forgiveness and mercy were "not in a Dementor's nature". Moreover, they reportedly had no soul of their own (though it could be argued that "soulless" is merely figurative in this instance).
Outside of Azkaban, Dementors appeared to hunt for prey in groups of variable size, from as small as two to as large as greater than twenty. They appeared to attack by first surrounding their targets, cutting off any escape, then descending upon them all at once to feed.
Being blind, Dementors sensed and fed on the positive emotions of human beings in order to survive, forcing their victims to relive their worst memories over and over again. The very presence of a Dementor could make the victim's surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and as the number of Dementors increased, so did the effects. Those that were kept in the company of a Dementor for too long tended to become depressed, and were often driven insane, which was the main source of Azkaban's well-deserved horrible reputation when they still guarded its prisoners. After spending only a few months there, Rubeus Hagrid claimed he wished he would die in his sleep. For this reason, they were considered some of the foulest creatures on Earth.
Dementors relied fully on their ability to sense emotion and physical and/or mental health to track the movements of the prisoners in their care, and were generally unable to distinguish one person from another if both were in similar physical or mental condition. They were unable to identify Mrs Crouch being sneaked into Azkaban disguised as Bartemius Crouch Jnr using Polyjuice Potion, or Barty Crouch Jnr being sneaked out disguised as his mother, since both were ill nearly to the point of death, as divulged by Bartemius Crouch Jnr under the influence of Veritaserum in 1995 (though it may be that they simply did not care whom they were sucking happiness from so long as they were "fed").
They were genderless and didn't mate, and they grew like fungus where there was decay.
Dementors seemingly didn't feel and recognise animal emotions in the same way as human emotions. When Sirius Black, an Animagus, was imprisoned in Azkaban in his dog form before his eventual successful escape also as a dog, his emotions were less human. The Dementors could feel there was a difference in his emotions when he changed his form, but they didn't understand why there was such a difference; they simply thought he was losing his mind.
Although Muggles couldn't see Dementors, they were affected in a way similar to wizards and witches, becoming depressed when near them. It was under debate, if Squibs were able to see Dementors. While Arabella Figg had claimed in the Wizengamot court room to have seen the Dementors that had attacked Harry and Dudley in Little Whinging, it was later confirmed that she had lied. It was unclear if she was unable to see the Dementors or if she was merely arriving late at the scene.
After Morfin Gaunt and Bartemius Crouch Jnr's mother died in Azkaban, Dementors buried their bodies, which shows that Dementors are capable of physical labour, such as grave-digging. Also, Sirius escaped when the Dementors came to give food, another sort of labour.
It was stated by Remus Lupin that, if a wizard remained in close contact with Dementors for an extended period of time, a Dementor could drain a wizard of his powers. This fact was not expounded upon, so the truth to this statement was unknown. If this was the case, however, it would make Dementors the only known being to permanently render a wizard without magic. Lupin might also have meant this metaphorically, as severe depression, which was caused by prolonged contact with Dementors, could be really detrimental to a wizard's ability to cast spells.
In addition to feeding on positive emotions, Dementors could perform their last and most dangerous ability: the Dementor's Kiss, in which a Dementor latched its mouth onto a victim's and sucked out the person's soul. The victim was left as an empty shell, incapable of thought and with no possibility of recovery. It was believed that existing after a Dementor's Kiss was worse than death: as a person's soul was their true self, to be "kissed" by a Dementor was to cease to exist, and yet also remain. The British Ministry of Magic occasionally allowed this as a punishment, before Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic. It was unknown what effect a Dementor's Kiss would have had on a person who had split his or her soul through the use of a Horcrux. It was also possible that the soul was trapped inside the Dementor, thus the victim was unable to pass on. This was probably what "worse than death" meant.
The only known named victim of the Kiss is Barty Crouch Jnr. From 1994 to 1995, Crouch had been using Polyjuice Potion to pose as Alastor Moody, and had been teaching at Hogwarts in his stead; he was detained at the castle, awaiting trial, after his ploy was discovered, and it emerged that he had been working in secret for Voldemort. He was subjected to the punishment by a Dementor accompanying Cornelius Fudge as a bodyguard. The unfortunate consequence of this act was that it rendered Crouch unable to testify about his master's return, allowing Voldemort almost a full year to gather strength while the Ministry continued in its denial.
Protection from Dementors
- "Well, when it works correctly, it conjures up a Patronus, which is a kind of anti-Dementor — a guardian that acts as a shield between you and the Dementor. The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the Dementor feeds upon — hope, happiness, the desire to survive — but it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the Dementors can’t hurt it."
- — Remus Lupin telling Harry Potter what a Patronus is[src]
No one had ever demonstrated the ability to kill a Dementor, by Avada Kedavra or otherwise, implying that they couldn't be killed through physical means, but could only be driven away or temporarily kept at bay. One of the few ways to shield oneself from Dementors was by the very difficult Patronus Charm. The charm summoned a Patronus, a magical manifestation of good will and happiness, providing varied levels of protection against the Dementors' influence, based on the caster's strength as a wizard. With sufficient ability, a single wizard could hold off dozens, if not hundreds, of Dementors with a single corporeal Patronus, as Harry Potter demonstrated during his third year at Hogwarts when he drove off a horde of Dementors seeking to consume Hermione Granger, Sirius Black, and Harry's past selves.
As the Patronus was not alive, the Dementor couldn't feed on it. Only when summoned by an experienced caster would the Patronus take the form of an animal significant in some way to the individual. While the lower level Patronus was more amorphous and ephemeral, corporeal Patronuses chased down Dementors and forced them to flee the vicinity. An incorporeal Patronus only slowed a Dementor down, as if the creature was walking through quicksand, and tended not to last long, but could eventually give the caster time to escape.
Since Dementors couldn't properly sense the less complex thoughts and emotions of a person when they took on an Animagus form, doing so allowed some, such as Sirius Black, to temporarily avoid feeling the effects of the Dementors' presence. When they sensed the less-than-human thoughts of his Animagus form, the Dementors simply thought Sirius was losing his mind.
The effects of a Dementor's happiness-draining powers could also be resisted if one focused not on happy thoughts, but on obsessions, or other things that gave one strength without exactly making one feel better. For example, Sirius managed to avoid going mad in the Dementors' custody and eventually plan an escape by focusing on the fact that he was innocent and didn't belong in Azkaban, and later that Peter Pettigrew was at Hogwarts and that Harry was in danger. However, this feat was mostly attributed to the fact of him being an Animagus who was able to temporarily avoid feeling the effects of the Dementors' presence in his animal form.
Though clearly not a common method of repelling Dementors, the enigmatic form people took after being brought back by the Resurrection Stone appeared to function much like a Patronus, as the "resurrected" forms of Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and James and Lily Potter were able to shield Harry Potter from the Dementors that Voldemort had stationed in the Forbidden Forest in 1998. And also, after Harry returned from the brink of life and death, he was so overcome with joy at being alive that the Dementors had no effect on him, showing that if a person was truly happy as he could be, the Dementors main weapon was rendered useless.
There may have been another, more common way of repelling a Dementor, aside from the Patronus Charm, as Harry Potter disagreed with Professor Snape on the best method for confronting one when it was the subject of a report in his sixth year. This implies that there were, indeed, other methods. Probably one of them was reducing the effects and conditions of the habitat that Dementors preferred, which would cause them to be driven away. Other methods might include the use of Felix Felicis to increase a wizard's luck, or with the use of Occlumency to neutralise thoughts and emotions to keep calm and confident. Both methods would eventually lead to the point that a wizard could easily cast the Patronus Charm to fend off Dementors.
The mood-enhancing properties of chocolate were well known in both the Muggle and wizarding worlds. Chocolate was the perfect antidote for anyone who had been overcome in the presence of Dementors, which sucked hope and happiness out of their surroundings. Chocolate could only be a short-term remedy, however. Finding ways to fight off Dementors — or depression — were essential if one was to become permanently happier. Excessive chocolate consumption couldn't benefit either Muggle or wizard.
Dark Wizards couldn't commonly produce Patronuses. However, they did not need to do so in the first place, as they were like-minded in evil. Voldemort even stated that they were natural allies. This did not, however, prevent Dementors from imprisoning dark wizards in Azkaban.
Behind the scenes
- J. K. Rowling has revealed that the inspiration for Dementors came from her bout with severe depression before her phenomenal success. She described the feeling as an "absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad."
- In an attempt to sabotage Harry during a Quidditch match in 1994, Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and Marcus Flint dressed up as Dementors to scare him. Malfoy was standing on Goyle's shoulders. Considering how tall Dementors are (they are described in Prisoner of Azkaban as reaching from the floor to the ceiling on the Hogwarts Express), the foursome appear to account for two Dementors, when just a few pages earlier, Harry saw three Dementors. (Although Marcus Flint, as an older student — in his seventh year — may have been tall enough to pass as a Dementor without someone on his shoulders.) However, their attempt failed when Harry cast a Patronus Charm at them.
- Animatronic Dementors appear in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, chasing the riders' flying bench through the Chamber of Secrets and around the skeleton of the Basilisk. The Dark Mark appears along with them, suggesting that a Death Eater summoned them to Hogwarts.
- While Dementors are original creatures J. K. Rowling specifically developed for the series, they nevertheless often compared with following creatures;
- Nazgûl: The Nazgûl from The Lord of the Rings are hooded, cloaked beings surrounded by an aura of terror, which affected all living creatures; their aura called the Black Breath could be toxic to those hapless and close enough to them, much like the Dementors presence having negative effects on living beings, rendering them unconscious or in a comatose like state that required unique forms of healing to deal with the effects.
- Spectre: Spectres from His Dark Materials are wraith-like, misty, vaguely humanoid entities that feed upon the Dust that makes up a person's soul, rendering said person in vegetative state in the process, similar to Dementors that could subject their victims to the same fate through Dementor's Kiss.
- Ra'zac: Ra'zacs of The Inheritance Cycle in that the foul breath of the Ra'zac engenders terror and lethargy in humans, though the Ra'zac cannot be repelled by a simple charm, and they are not immortal spirits that cannot be truly destroyed. However, The Ra'zac are described as being the natural predators of the human race and feed upon their flesh, much like how Dementors naturally rely on humans as a food source, though the Dementors feed upon the souls and emotions of humans rather than their anatomy.
- Sluagh: Sluagh are creatures from Irish Folklore said to be the spirits of people so evil, that Hell rejected them. The Sluagh come in from the west like a flock of birds and try to find a house where a person is dying. They will try to snatch the soul of the dying person. The Irish often kept their windows shut to ward off the Sluagh. Like the Sluagh, the Dementors are ghostly, shadowy, evil creatures that try to steal the souls of their victims.
- It is possible that chocolate is used to ward off the effects following meeting a Dementor as it has chemicals inside it that stimulate the release of endorphins, which are chemicals produced by the body to combat stress and pain; often leading to feeling of increased happiness.
- According to W.O.M.B.A.T., Dementors may be unknown in tropical regions.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, a large Dementor serves as the final boss of Year 3.
- There are doubts about whether Dementors are born or made. In a non-definitive version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a phrase appeared that could explain it: "If they can, they feed on someone so much that they reduce it to something like themselves... soulless and evil". The phrase was withdrawn for the final edition, but it could mean that the Dementors were humans transformed by other Dementors. Even so, this information can't be considered reliable since J.K. Rowling did not include it in the final version. The phrase became known because the owner of one of these test editions commented on some of the changes. In respect to that, J.K. Rowling has said that Dementors don't breed, but grow like fungi where there is decay, and are functionally immortal in terms of age. However, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Cornelius Fudge tells the Prime Minister that the breeding of dementors in the city has been causing a mist.
- The Dementors' appearances (tall corpse-like beings wearing tattered black cloaks) is very similar to popular depictions of the Grim Reaper. Because of this, some readers assumed Dementors were incarnations of death rather than depression; the concept was very notably used in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Aberforth repels the attacking Dementors in the Battle of Hogwarts with a wave-like Patronus, similar to the one cast by Harry in the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a Dementor that was pinning Harry Potter against a wall by the neck while feeding on his emotions and soul was briefly repelled when Harry touched his wand to the Dementor causing red sparks to fly off and to make the Dementor release him, similar to the Revulsion Jinx, implying that the spell could work on Dementors.
- Dementors and the Dementor's Kiss exhibit interesting parallels to Lord Voldemort and the spell that creates a Horcrux:
- The Dementor's Kiss sucks out a victim's soul, while the Horcrux spell allows part of the caster's soul to be broken off. Total soul removal results in something similar to a Persistent Vegetative State and is irreversible, while creating a Horcrux reduces the humanity of the caster, both in terms of morality/behaviour and appearance (evidenced by the once handsome Tom Marvolo Riddle becoming monstrous and snake-like in appearance over time). The damage of creating a Horcrux may be undone through remorse, but the process is so painful it can be fatal.
- The victim of a Dementor's Kiss cannot become a ghost since the soul has been lost. Presumably, the victim also cannot enter the afterlife, or possibly even Limbo. Similarly, the maker of a Horcrux cannot die, while the Horcrux(es) is/are intact, and if an unrepentant Horcrux maker is killed, he or she is trapped in Limbo and cannot enter the afterlife.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin states "the only people that know what's under a Dementor's hood are in no state to tell us" (being soulless) but from the fifth movie and onward, they are shown without any hood at all. This is likely due to change of directors.
- A species of wasp, Ampulex dementor, is named after the Dementor. This name was chosen to reflect the fact that the wasp uses a toxin to neutralise the neural behaviour of cockroaches and make them docile, as if their souls had been sucked out.
- For the films they initially created puppets for the Dementors which were operated underwater to give them their floating on air effect. Ultimately these did not appear in the final edit and CGI Dementors were used instead.
- Interestingly despite being considered natural allies to dark wizards, the Dementors did not side with the Death Eaters in the First Wizarding War nor did Voldemort appear to try and recruit them.
- Some weeks before the release of the first film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Pottermore Featured "Beasts of the Week" The Dementor was the "Beast of the Week" on 21st September 2016, though Dementors are Non-Human Spiritous Apparitions. Later, a trailer analysis of the launch trailer of Hogwarts Legacy incorrectly refered to them as beings.
Portrayal in the film series
In the film series, Dementors are portrayed differently compared to how they were described in the books. In the books, they were described as tall hooded humanoid figures, whereas in the films, they appear as skeletal creatures wearing black robes.
Another notable difference is that the Dementors in the films can fly freely. This aspect was completely absent from the books, where they were merely gliding over the ground. This is most noticeable when the Dementors were intruding the first Quidditch match in the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the book, the Dementors were described as standing in the stadium, while in the film, they were purposefully pursuing a broomstick-riding Harry Potter. Because of this, the corporeal Patronus Charm in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban seems to work differently by sending a pulse at the Dementors flying in the air rather than charging at them on the ground.
Furthermore, the Dementors from the films appear to have a much more drastic effect on the environment compared to their book counterparts. In the films, the nearby surroundings of a Dementor are immediately covered by a layer of ice and any plant in the vicinity almost instantly withers away. The only explicit effect the book described Dementors were having in the environment is that they are accompanied by a cold mist. The first Dementor Harry encountered in the third film was able to open the Hogwarts Express without touching it, causing it to slide open with a wave of its hand, with some wizards and witches in the films also being able to perform similar feats. Also, the first Dementor seen in the fifth film was able to effortlessly lift Harry off the ground by the neck and pin him to a wall, showing great strength.
Translations of the name
- Albanian: Marroses
- Bulgarian: Диментор
- Catalan: Demèntor (pronounced duh-MEN-toor)
- Chinese (Simplified): 摄魂怪 (shèhúnguài) ("take soul monster")
- Chinese (Traditional): 催狂魔 (cuīkuángmó) ("drive-mad devil/demon")
- Croatian: Dementor (plural Dementori)
- Czech: Mozkomor (lit. "Brain plague")
- Faroese: Varðmaður
- Finnish: ankeuttaja (from ankeus, "drearyness")
- French: Détraqueur ("that which makes (things) go wrong or break down")
- Georgian: დემენტორი (dementori) (plural: დემენტორები (dementorebi))
- Greek, Modern: παράφρων (plural: παράφρονες (Parafronas)) (from Greek παράφρων "mentally ill")
- Hebrew: סוהרסן (Soharsan) (plural: סוהרסנים (Soharsanim)) (from סוהר "prisoner" and הרסן "destructive")
- Hindi: तम्पिशाच (tampiśāc) (from तम (tam) "darkness" and पिशाच (pishāch) "a type of Hindu demon, pishacha")
- Icelandic: Vitsuga ("the one who sucks out your mind, or sense of anything")
- Indonesian: iblis ("demon of death and happiness remover"; Iblis)
- Italian: Dissennatore ("that makes you lose your mind"; from senno "mental sanity")
- Japanese: ディメンター (dimentā) (gairaigo of "Dementor") or 吸魂鬼 (kyūkonki) ("intake/suction soul demon"; modelled after East Asian words for "vampires")
- Lithuanian: Psichas ("Mental/Psycho")
- Latvian: Atprātotājs
- Macedonian: Дементор
- Norwegian: Desperant ("One that brings out despair")
- Persian: دیوانه ساز ("Maddening")
- Portuguese (Portugal): Dementor (plural: Dementores)
- Portuguese (Brazil): Dementador
- Russian: Дементор (plural: Дементоры)
- Serbian: Дементор (Dementor) (plural: Дементори (Dementori))
- Slovenian: Morakvar
- Thai: ผู้คุมวิญญาณ (Poo-khum-win-yarn) ("Soul Warden")
- Turkish: ruh emici ("Soul Sucker")
- Ukrainian: Дементор (Dementor) (plural: Дементори)
- Vietnamese: Giám ngục Azkaban ("Warden of Azkaban"; Giám ngục "warden")
The following languages are the same as the original:
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (First identified as Dementor)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Seen as Boggart) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Disc 2)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game) (Mentioned only)
- 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 (Mentioned only)
- 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 (Appears in alternate reality)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Appears in alternate reality)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Harry Potter: Find Scabbers
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- 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 Dimensions
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
- Hogwarts Legacy
- The Art of Harry Potter Mini Book of Graphic Design
Notes and references
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Boggart" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- 30 July 2007 Bloomsbury WebChat with J. K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Two, Scene Twenty
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Three, Scene Nine
- Extra Stuff: Squibs at J. K. Rowling's official site
- 30 June 2000 interview from The Times
- "Inside the Magical World of J.K. Rowling" from ABCNews.com
- "The Soul-Sucking Wasp by Popular Acclaim – Museum Visitor Participation in Biodiversity Discovery and Taxonomy" - PLOS ONE
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Remus Lupin" at Wizarding World