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"Don't be silly, Dawlish. I'm sure you are an excellent Auror — I seem to remember that you achieved 'Outstanding' in all your NEWTs — but if you attempt to — er — bring me in by force, I will have to hurt you."
Albus Dumbledore's warning to Dawlish[src]

John[8] 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.[8]


Early life

"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 before 1975 and attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he would achieve an impressive academic record by finishing his education earning at least five N.E.W.T.s,[9] all of them with 'Outstanding' marks.[4]

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 proscribed for the applicants of the Auror Office.[10] Having successfully passed the skills and character requirements, in the years that followed, Dawlish fought and captured Dark Wizards alongside Kingsley Shacklebolt, Gawain Robards, Nymphadora Tonks and others under the command of Rufus Scrimgeour.

Under Minister Cornelius Fudge

"Enough of this rubbish! Dawlish! Shacklebolt! Take him!"
— Cornelius Fudge orders Aurors to seize Albus Dumbledore[src]

John Dawlish with Dolores Umbridge, Cornelius Fudge, and Kingsley Shacklebolt in Dumbledore's office

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.[4]

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.[4]

Dawlish alongside Cornelius Fudge and Percy Weasley, after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries

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 the 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.[6]

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.[11]

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, Dawlish was overlooked as his successor as Head Auror and instead assigned to a task force of Aurors stationed in Hogsmeade to provide Hogwarts Castle with extra security, which also included Nymphadora Tonks, Proudfoot and Savage.[12]

Intrigued by Albus Dumbledore's activities outside his school, Minister Scrimgeour assigned Dawlish to follow Dumbledore, only to be discovered and jinxed by the headmaster to stop his pursuit.[13]

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.[14]

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[15] as Minister Rufus Scrimgeour was killed and replaced by Pius Thicknesse, who was under the Imperius Curse.[16] Following this event, the Aurors was decommissioned, and many of Dawlish's colleagues were stripped of their wands and jobs.[17] while he himself were reassigned to the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, in which capacity he was required to assist the Death Eater-controlled Ministry with the capture of Muggle-borns for the purported crime of "stealing magic", as well as with transporting them to Azkaban.[7]

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.[7]

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.[18]

Later life

What happened to Dawlish after the Battle of Hogwarts is unknown. 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, and unless there were sufficient evidence to implicate his guilt as having served Voldemort's Ministry of his own volition, it is possible that he was never charged with anything. Indeed, if his chosen career as a Dark Wizard catcher were any indication, it is safe to say that Dawlish was not a likely sympathiser of the Dark witches and wizards that had briefly risen to dominance of the wizarding community and presumably somehow coerced into helping them.

Physical appearance

Dawlish was described as looking very capable and self-assured, a "tough-looking wizard" with "very short, wiry" grey hair.[5] When hesitant or unsure of himself, he would blink and look "rather foolish".[4]

Personality and traits

A dedicated and hard-working individual already in his youth, John Dawlish was a man of diligence, as shown by the fact that he completed his magical education with top marks on all of his N.E.W.T. exams[4] and successfully passed the highly demanding character and skill requirements needed to join the Auror Office.[10] His conscientiousness in this regard was further reflected by how even Albus Dumbledore, quite possibly the greatest wizard of all time, considered him to be an excellent Auror.[4] He was shown to carry out his career duties diligently from his superiors.[19][6]

As a general rule, however, in his capacity as an Auror, Dawlish was appeared to be tough-minded man of action who took his duties very seriously. His unflappability was particularly evident during the Ministry's attempt to arrest Albus Dumbledore in 1996, after the headmaster falsely confessed to having conspired against the Ministry and planned to use Hogwarts to rise an army to overthrow the Ministry: not only did he not hesitate to step forward to challenge him single-handedly on this occasion,[19] something not even Lord Voldemort wanted to do if it could be avoided,[8] but showed no reluctance in pursuing after the Professor's escape when he believed it was still possible to catch him.[19]

For all his good intentions in joining the ranks of the wizarding world's best defence against the practitioners of the Dark Arts, however, it was nevertheless the case that John Dawlish ultimately owed his allegiance to a bureaucratic and corrupt institution whose directives frequently placed him in morally questionable situations. He dutifully assisted Dolores Umbridge with the arrest and forced removal of Rubeus Hagrid, despite said professor having done nothing to warrant the unceremonious eviction from a place that had been his home since childhood.[6] And while he was originally stationed in Hogsmeade to provide extra security to Hogwarts following the discovery that Lord Voldemort had returned and at large once again, he was known to have briefly abandoned his post at the behest of Rufus Scrimgeour to spy on Albus Dumbledore, which led the latter to jinx him a second time in as many school years.[13]

While he was a wizard of skill, however, Dawlish was still vulnerable to attack from people who was aware of and knew how to exploit them: One such person was Albus Dumbledore,[8] who knew them well enough to effortlessly best him on at least two occasions, and allowed the Order of the Phoenix to take advantage of his susceptibility to the Confundus Charm to lay a false trail for the Death Eaters regarding the relocation of Harry Potter. Dawlish became the "favourite punching bag" of the Order of the Phoenix in the time that followed the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, to the point where, when he was sent to apprehend Augusta Longbottom as a way of trying to force her compliance, he got severely injured by the elderly witch and ended up in St Mungo's, underestimating her.[20] Dawlish was described as having been a bit punch-drunk and no longer firing on all cylinders when she hospitalised him.[8]

Magical abilities and skills


  • Wand: Dawlish owned a wand, which was of unknown length, wood and core material. He used his wand in his career as an Auror.[4][6]
  • 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.[7]


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".

"Dawlish" is the name of a seaside town in Devon. It's name comes from a nearby stream, once called "Deawlisc", meaning "devil water".

Behind the scenes

"Jo, [John Noe] idolises a man, an Auror, who got pwnd by an old lady wearing a dead bird on her head. You know, on her hat. Now, come on!"
Sue Upton on John Noe's obsession with Dawlish.[src]
  • Dawlish is portrayed in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by British actor Richard Leaf.
  • 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.[8]
  • In the video game adaptations of the Harry Potter series, there is a recurring Ravenclaw student by the name of Helen Dawlish. Given the unlikelihood of there being two unrelated families with the same name due to the relatively small size of the magical community in Britain, if Helen was a close relative of John's, such as a daughter or niece, her mandatory attendance at Hogwarts during the 1997–1998 school year where she was at the mercy of the Carrows presumably played a part in his cooperation with the new regime.
  • 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.[8]
  • 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.


The Harry Potter Wiki has 13 images related to John Dawlish.

Notes and references

  1. 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)].
  2. 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.
  3. "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  5. 5.0 5.1 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."
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Anelli, Melissa, John Noe and Sue Upton. "PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one." PotterCast #130, 17 December 2007 on Accio Quote
  9. 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.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  17. See this image
  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 27 (The Final Hiding Place)
Department of Magical Law Enforcement employees
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Heads of Department
Justus Pilliwickle · Torquil Travers · Bartemius Crouch Senior · Amelia Bones · Pius Thicknesse · Corban Yaxley · Arthur Weasley · Harry Potter
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Heads: Theseus Scamander · Rufus Scrimgeour · Gawain Robards · Harry Potter
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Improper Use of Magic Office
Heads: Travers · Dolores Umbridge
Mafalda Hopkirk · Honoria's fiancé · Mafalda Hopkirk's Ministerial Superior · Rufus Fudge · Orabella Nuttley · Chester Davies · Linderina Crane
Other personnel
Leta Lestrange · Minerva McGonagall · Elphinstone Urquart · Alastor Gumboil · Arnold Peasegood · Arthur Weasley · Perkins · Cerberus Langarm · Hermione Granger · Bob Ogden · Tulip Karasu's mother · Tulip Karasu's father · Dempster Wiggleswade · Amelia Bones's assistant · Arthur Weasley's ten subordinates · Unidentified Hit Wizard · Unidentified Wizengamot clerk
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
Founder Mungo Bonham
Alchemy Room · 'Dangerous' Dai Llewellyn Ward: Serious Bites · Entrance dummy · Janus Thickey Ward · Poisoning Department · Purge and Dowse, Ltd · St Mungo's Admissions Department · St Mungo's Certified Healer Insignia · St Mungo's student programme
Positions Healer · Mediwizard · Trainee Healer · Welcome Witch St Mungo's emblem.webp
Healers Omar Abasi · Eustace Burke · Dilys Derwent · Lancelot · Rutherford Poke · Augustus Pye · Hippocrates Smethwyck · Helbert Spleen · Miriam Strout · Wiggins · Talbott Winger's mother
Katie Bell · Bilton Bilmes · Bitten St Mungo's patient · Barnabus Blenkinsop · Philbert Chivers · Herbert Chorley · John Dawlish · Fugitive werewolf · Grubby-looking St Mungo's patient · Rubeus Hagrid · Penny Haywood · Gordon Horton · Jacob · Minerva McGonagall · Eloise Mintumble · Montgomery · Esme Page · Miriam Strout · Laura Thorn · Nymphadora Tonks · Unidentified dragonologist · Unidentified St Mungo's patient · Unidentified werewolf · Arthur Weasley · Winged St Mungo's patient · Winifred Warrington
Long-term residents Agnes · Alice Longbottom · Broderick Bode (deceased) · Frank Longbottom · Gilderoy Lockhart · Zenith Xeep
Death Eaters
Dark Mark Pottermore.png
Leader: Lord Voldemort
Death Eaters

Avery (II) | Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Crabbe | Bartemius Crouch Junior (deceased) | Antonin Dolohov | Gibbon (deceased) | Goyle | Gareth Greengrass's brother | Jugson | Barnaby Lee's father | Barnaby Lee's mother | Bellatrix Lestrange (deceased) | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Walden Macnair | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Pyrites (possibly) | Augustus Rookwood | Rosier | Evan Rosier (deceased) | Thorfinn Rowle | Selwyn | Merula Snyde's father | Merula Snyde's mother | Travers | Wilkes (deceased) | Corban Yaxley | Unidentified Death Eaters

Death Eater defectors

Regulus Black (deceased) | Igor Karkaroff (deceased) | Draco Malfoy | Lucius Malfoy | Peter Pettigrew (deceased) | Severus Snape (deceased)

Death Eater allies

Borgin | Vincent Crabbe | John Dawlish | Delphini | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | Fenrir Greyback | Mafalda Hopkirk | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) | Ismelda Murk (unofficially, supposedly) | Nagini | Mr Padgett | Mrs Padgett | Pansy Parkinson | Quirinus Quirrell | Albert Runcorn | Stanley Shunpike (Imperiused) | Scabior | Serpent of Slytherin | Pius Thicknesse (Imperiused) | Dolores Umbridge

Other affiliations

British Ministry of Magic (under Voldemort's control) | Daily Prophet (Under Voldemort's control) | Dementors | Draco Malfoy's gang | Kreacher (formerly) | Tom Riddle's gang | Gang of Slytherins | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Inferi | Charmed skeletons | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Theodore Nott (possibly) | Snatchers | Werewolf army | The Unforgivable

Death Eater establishments

Abandoned nuclear power plant | Borgin and Burkes | British Ministry of Magic Headquarters (under Voldemort's control) | The Cave | Chamber of Secrets | Forbidden Forest | Gaunt Shack | Lee family house | Lestrange Vault | Little Hangleton graveyard | Malfoy Manor | Misty Dell | Riddle House | Snatcher Camp | Spinner's End | The Abandoned Substation | The Ruins | The Quarry