John Dawlish was a British wizard who worked for the Auror Office in the 1990s. Noted by Albus Dumbledore as an "excellent Auror", he accompanied Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge on assignments, and also worked under Ministers Rufus Scrimgeour and Pius Thicknesse. During the course of the Second Wizarding War, however, Dawlish's powers were diminished somewhat as he was incapacitated and attacked quite frequently.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Magical abilities and skills
- 5 Possessions
- 6 Etymology
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Notes and references
- "I seem to remember that you achieved 'Outstanding' in all your NEWTs..."
- — Dawlish's impressive N.E.W.T. results[src]
John was born somewhere in the British Isles, into the wizarding Dawlish family at some point between a hundred year period of 1875 and 1975. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he would finish his education earning at least five N.E.W.T.s, all of them with 'Outstanding' marks.
Career as an Auror
Sometime after his seventeenth birthday, Dawlish joined the Ministry of Magic, and completed a stringent series of character and aptitude tests to be accepted into the comprehensive, three year long programme subscribed to potential applicants for the Auror Office. He ultimately served directly for Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and would accompany him on his travels.
Under Minister Cornelius Fudge
On 20 April, 1996, after Marietta Edgecombe denounced the illegal Dumbledore's Army to Dolores Umbridge, Minister Cornelius Fudge travelled to Hogwarts Castle in an attempt to expel Harry Potter, who was leading the outlawed student group. Kingsley Shacklebolt and John Dawlish escorted the Minister there, and were positioned on either side of the door to the Headmaster's office.
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore took the blame instead, with a false confession. After Fudge accused him of treason and sedition against himself and the Ministry of Magic, Fudge made a small choking noise, and then looked round at Kingsley and Dawlish. Dawlish nodded reassuringly and moved forwards, his hand drifting towards the wand in his pocket. Dumbledore warned him not to be foolish, saying that he would have to hurt Dawlish if he attacked him, and the Auror blinked rather foolishly, without a clue as to what to do next. Fudge ordered the Aurors to seize Dumbledore, but the Headmaster easily defeated the Ministry officials, leaving Fudge, Umbridge, Kingsley and Dawlish unconscious on the floor as he escaped. Dawlish was the first to come to, stirring on the floor. When the wizards noted Dumbledore's absence, Dawlish fruitlessly tried to intercept him by wrenching the door to the office open and disappearing down the stairs, followed closely by Kingsley and Umbridge.
In the early minutes of 17 June, just after midnight, Dawlish was among the number of Ministry officials who, led by Umbridge, attacked Rubeus Hagrid in order to arrest him and sack him from his positions of Gamekeeper and Professor. While trying to stun him, Dawlish pleaded Hagrid to "be reasonable". It is unclear whether Dawlish was one of the Aurors physically knocked-out by Hagrid, or the one who, like Umbridge, was left unharmed, but tripped over one of his unconscious colleagues and fell over. In th course of the battle, Dawlish and his colleagues were also responsible for the near-fatal injury of Minerva McGonagall as she came running from the castle to try and prevent the attack on Hagrid, hitting her with four simultaneous Stunning Spells that resulted in her being committed to St. Mungo's for treatment.
After the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Dawlish was one of the Aurors who arrived with Cornelius Fudge into the Ministry Atrium. Fudge sent Dawlish and Williamson down to the Department of Mysteries to see if there were, as Albus Dumbledore told him, escaped Death Eaters in the Death Chamber, bound by an Anti-Disapparation Jinx.
Second Wizarding War
Under Minister Rufus Scrimgeour
- Harry Potter: "Scrimgeour wanted to know where you go when you're not at Hogwarts."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Yes, he is very nosy about that. He has even attempted to have me followed. Amusing, really. He set Dawlish to tail me. It wasn't kind. I have already been forced to jinx Dawlish once; I did it again with the greatest regret."
- — Dawlish was ordered by the Minister to tail Dumbledore[src]
When Rufus Scrimgeour succeeded Cornelius Fudge as Minister for Magic, due to his failure to announce the return of Lord Voldemort, a number of Aurors were stationed at Hogsmeade to provide Hogwarts Castle extra protection. Dawlish was among these Aurors, as were Nymphadora Tonks, Proudfoot and Savage.
In the summer of 1997, Dawlish was put into the Confundus Charm by someone in the Order of the Phoenix, in order to provide the Death Eaters with a false trail as to when Harry Potter would depart from 4 Privet Drive. Sure enough, Yaxley extracted information from him, and he told him that he would be moved on 30 July, escorted by an entire party of Aurors. Severus Snape, however, knew this was a false trail (even noting that Dawlish was especially susceptible to the Confundus Charm) and told Voldemort the Order of the Phoenix would move Harry on 27 July.
Under Minister Pius Thicknesse
- "But we were still fighting, doing underground stuff, right up until a couple of weeks ago. That's when they decided there was only one way to stop me, I suppose, and they went for Gran... Thing was, they bit off a bit more than they could chew with Gran. Little old witch living alone, they probably thought they didn't need to send anyone particularly powerful. Anyway, Dawlish is still in St Mungo's and Gran's on the run."
- — Dawlish was no match for Augusta Longbottom[src]
On 1 August, 1997 the Ministry of Magic was taken over by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters as Minister Rufus Scrimgeour was killed and replaced by Pius Thicknesse, who was under the Imperius Curse.
Dawlish continued to serve as Auror under the new regime, helping in the imprisonment of Muggle-borns and assisting the Death Eater-controlled Ministry. He was charged with transporting Muggle-born wizards tried by the Muggle-Born Registration Commission to Azkaban.
Still under the effects of the Confundus Charm, Dawlish was Stunned by Dirk Cresswell halfway on their flight to Azkaban. Cresswell was not sure if he was left alright, but took Dawlish's broomstick and went on the run.
When Neville Longbottom stepped over the line in rebelling against Alecto and Amycus Carrow at Hogwarts, Dawlish was sent to take Augusta Longbottom as a hostage to get Neville to cooperate with the new regime. However, the Ministry had heavily underestimated Augusta, and she caused him sufficient injury to merit admittance into St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
What happened to Dawlish after the Battle of Hogwarts is unknown. It is possible that he was arrested and tried for complying with the Death Eaters and for crimes against Muggle-borns, and if he were and if he were found guilty, he would have been sentenced to a term of unknown length in Azkaban.
However, a Confundus Charm had been placed on John Dawlish the previous July, and he continued to act "not quite right" for some time thereafter; it is possible that he was not loyal to Voldemort's Ministry of his own volition, in which case charges against him would have been dismissed. Whether Dawlish continued to work for the Ministry, as an Auror or otherwise, cannot be determined.
Dawlish was described as looking very capable and self-assured, a "tough-looking wizard" with "very short, wiry" grey hair. When hesitant or unsure of himself, he would blink and look "rather foolish".
Personality and traits
John Dawlish was a dedicated individual, performing exceptionally well at school and passing the stringent requirements to become an Auror. By the 1990s, he served under Rufus Scrimgeour and accompanied the Minister for Magic himself. Even Albus Dumbledore himself voiced his belief that John Dawish was an excellent Auror.
Dawlish served the Ministry and appeared willing to execute more or less any order handed to him by higher-ranking officals, even when such course of action was morally questionable, such as the attack on Rubeus Hagrid and Minerva McGonagall on the behest of Dolores Umbridge in 1996, or his work following the Death Eater take-over of the Ministry when he was tasked with capturing Muggle-borns and with attacking Augusta Longbottom, which he attempted without protest.
He was unflappable during conflicts and remained calm and generally unfazed by threats from his criminal enemies and intrepidly confront them when such a course of action was necessary — this was particularly evident during the Ministry's attempt to arrest Albus Dumbledore in 1996, when not only did he not hesitate in stepping forward to challenge him single-handedly with the intent of arresting him (when Dumbledore's presence alone was enough to make several Death Eaters flee in fear), but he also showed no sign of reluctance in attempting to pursue him upon the Professor's escape when he believed it was still possible to catch him.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical mastery: John Dawlish was a wizard of considerable ability, excelling in his studies and ultimately achieving an impressive academic record by earning top marks on all of his N.E.W.T.s. Sometime after his graduation from Hogwarts, he went on to become an Auror, which by all accounts served as a further testament of the fact that he was an unusually accomplished wizard, as only the best and brightest could ever have passed the highly demanding training programme. As an official Dark Wizard catcher, he was more than proficient in at least Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Charms, as well as a very capable investigator trained extensively in specialised areas such as Concealment and Disguise and Stealth and Tracking.
- Auror skills: By the mid-1990s, Dawlish was regarded as an excellent Auror. Ultimately, he proved to be reputable enough to perform assignments of great responsibility: he served as bodyguard on at least one occasion to Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, he was stationed in the village of Hogsmeade to guard Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from potential Death Eater attacks during the height of the Second Wizarding War, and he was sent to tail Albus Dumbledore when he was under suspicion by the Ministry of Magic.
- Martial magic: As a professional Dark Wizard catcher, Dawlish's ability in combative magic was considerable, but by the height of the Second Wizarding War, a combination of unfamiliar situations, far superior opponents, sheer bad luck, and Confundus Charms effectively meant that Dawlish was prevented from exercising the full extent of his skill. His two encounters with Albus Dumbledore aside, both of which predictably enough ended in him being easily defeated, even when Dumbledore had already maimed his hand, which was also attributable to Dumbledore knowing and thus effectively exploiting Dawlish's weaknesses, the rest of his subsequent failures came about from various unforeseen factors rather than any actual ineptitude on Dawlish's part: during the attempted dismissal of Rubeus Hagrid from Hogwarts, the magical resistance that came with Hagrid being a Half-Giant, made the task significantly more difficult; when he was knocked unconscious by Dirk Cresswell while he transporting the former to Azkaban, Cresswell himself attributed his escape to Dawlish having been Confunded beforehand; by the time he was sent to St Mungo's by Augusta Longbottom, he had been the "favourite punching-bag" of the Order of the Phoenix for some time and was somewhat "punch-drunk", in addition to being often put under the effects of the Confundus Charm.
- Flying: Dawlish was also shown be a competent broomstick flyer, as whilst working for the corrupt Muggle-Born Registration Commission, he transported falsely convicted Muggle-born individuals to the prison Azkaban via broomstick flight, meaning he was accomplished with this method of wizarding transportation.
- Wand: Dawlish owned a wand, which was of unknown length, wood and core material. He used his wand in his career as an Auror.
- Broomstick: John Dawlish owned his own broomstick, which was of an unknown make and brand, to transport Muggle-borns to Azkaban via broomstick flight. However, he was stunned and had his broomstick stolen from him by Dirk Cresswell, who subsequently escaped and took it with him instead.
The name "John" is the English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "Yahweh is gracious".
Behind the scenes
- Dawlish is portrayed in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by British actor Richard Leaf.
- Dawlish's frequent injuries and incapacitations are somewhat of a running joke in the last three instalments of the series. His role is largely omitted in the Harry Potter films, and his appearances are diminished to two background appearances with no lines in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and a brief mention in the first part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J. K. Rowling stated that "there's no dishonour to Dawlish", as anyone would have been in trouble going up against Dumbledore and that he was "punch drunk" by the time that he faced Augusta Longbottom, who was nevertheless a powerful witch.
- He was named after John Noe, co-host of PotterCast after a friend of John's asked J. K. Rowling what Dawlish's first name was, and displayed an obsession with the character throughout the podcast.
- He was occasionally the subject of a joke saying that he would have some real significance in the last book. An example of this joke can be seen at the poll on The Leaky Cauldron.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
Notes and references
- Albus Dumbledore says in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak) that he "[seemed] to remember that [Dawlish] achieved 'Outstanding' in all [his] NEWTs". This means that Dawlish sat his NEWTs no earlier than the 1892-1893 school year (as Albus Dumbledore was born in the summer of 1881 to begin in 1892). Also, in April of 1996, Dawlish had to be 21 or up, as he was a fully fledged Auror [graduated from Hogwarts at age 17 and Auror training takes a further three years, as revealed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)].
- As Dawlish was not imprisoned in Azkaban by the Muggle-born Registration Commission in 1997 and even worked for them, this means that he was not Muggle-born.
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak) - "He made a small choking noise and then looked around at Kingsley and the man with short grey hair, who alone of everyone in the room had remained entirely silent so far. The latter gave Fudge a reassuring nod and moved forward a little, away from the wall. Harry saw his hand drift, almost casually, toward his pocket. “Don’t be silly, Dawlish,” said Dumbledore kindly."
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)
- Anelli, Melissa, John Noe and Sue Upton. "PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one." PotterCast #130, 17 December 2007 on Accio Quote
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice), Minerva McGonagall establishes that Aurors require a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s in order to be elegible for training to join the Auror Office.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)