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Harry Potter Wiki

"Then he realised it was a colossal skull, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As they watched, it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation."
Harry Potter viewing the Dark Mark in the sky, summoned with this spell[src]

Morsmordre was the incantation of a dark charm used to conjure the image of the Dark Mark, the skull-and-serpent sign used by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, in the sky.[1] The Death Eaters cast their mark over the homes of anyone they killed as their calling card.[1] It was said to have been created by Lord Voldemort himself.[2]


First Wizarding War[]

Ron Weasley: "I don't get it. I mean ... it's still only a shape in the sky...."
Arthur Weasley: "Ron, You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed. The terror it inspired ... you have no idea, you're too young. Just picture coming home and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you're about to find inside. ... Everyone's worst fear ... the very worst ..."
Arthur Weasley informing his son Ron about this spell's history and usage[src]

In the First Wizarding War, Morsmordre became something of a signature move for the Death Eaters.[1] After a murder, the spell would be cast in order to both claim credit for the attack, and to further terrify the wizarding community.[1]

After Voldemort's first defeat, the Mark was no longer seen since the method for casting it was known only to the innermost circle of Death Eaters. If these individuals had escaped death or Azkaban, they had done so by lying about their membership in the organisation, and therefore casting the spell would have been something of a give-away. It was noted that precious few wizards knew how to perform this spell.[1]


Barty Crouch Senior: "Which of you did it? Which of you conjured the Dark Mark?"
Harry Potter: "We didn't do that!"
Ron Weasley: "We didn't do anything! What did you want to attack us for?"
Barty Crouch Senior: "Do not lie, sir! You have been discovered at the scene of the crime!"
Bartemius Crouch Senior accusing Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger of having used this spell at the Quidditch World Cup riot[src]

The Dark Mark over the Quidditich World Cup

Barty Crouch Junior cast the spell after witnessing a number of disloyal Death Eaters engaged in Muggle torture of the Roberts family and rioting after the Quidditch World Cup. His motive in casting this spell was primarily to terrify the former Death Eaters, as opposed to the other spectators.[3] This caused a widespread panic, as seeing the sign after 14 years made people think Voldemort had returned,[1] and Death Eaters feared the possibility of Voldemort's return more than the civilians due to their fear that their disloyalty to the Dark Lord may bring retribution from him.[3]

At first, the house-elf Winky was blamed for the act due to the fact that both she and the wand used to cast the spell were found together at the location from which the spell was apparently cast. After it was remembered that only a former Death Eater would have had the knowledge to cast the spell, both Winky along with Harry, Ron and Hermione were cleared of any involvement.[1]

Voldemort later used his knowledge of this event to contradict Lucius Malfoy's claim that he was on the alert for any sign of Voldemort's return, and would have immediately rejoined him, upon his return at the Little Hangleton graveyard.[4]


Dark Mark Over London

The Dark Mark over Tower Bridge, following the attack on London

Igor Karkaroff was killed in 1996 by Death Eaters for betraying Lord Voldemort, and the Dark Mark was cast over the shack in which his body was found.[5]


"There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building... wherever they had murdered...."
— The Dark Mark over Hogwarts, before the Battle of the Astronomy Tower[src]
Dumbledore defeated

Dumbledore dying under the light of the Dark Mark, by Snape's hand

It was cast over the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts by Gibbon when the Death Eaters invaded the castle in 1997, in order to lure Albus Dumbledore to the tower so that Draco Malfoy could kill him. In this case, the Mark was cast before, rather than after, a murder.[6] Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and Madam Rosmerta witnessed the Dark Mark over the school from Hogsmeade, and Rosmerta gave Albus and Harry brooms so they could travel to the castle as quickly as possible.[7]

Known practitioners[]


The incantation of this spell appears to be derived from the Latin mors, "death", and mordere, "to bite". This alludes to the name of Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters.

Another derivation may come from French mort, "death", and mordre, "to bite". The English word murder could also contribute. The literal translation of the Norwegian word "morsmodre" would be "mothers killers".

It may also be a reference to the word "mord", which means "murder" in Icelandic, German, Norwegian, Danish Polish and Swedish, since the spell is cast after someone has been murdered, and sounds like "mass murder" and "mortal".

Behind the scenes[]

Morsmordre bellatrix

Bellatrix triumphantly casting Morsmordre in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


The Harry Potter Wiki has 15 images related to Morsmordre.

Notes and references[]