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Dean Thomas: "Auror?"
Ron Weasley: "Dark wizard catcher"
— An explanation of what an Auror is.[src]

An Auror is a member of an elite unit of highly-trained, specialist officers. They are trained to investigate crimes related to the Dark Arts, and apprehend or detain dark wizards and witches. This makes them, essentially, the wizarding world equivalent of police officers and military (as they serve in both roles).

In Great Britain, Aurors work for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic while, in North America, they answer to the Magical Congress of the United States of America.

Auror training is extremely difficult and intensive, so there are few qualified applicants. According to Minerva McGonagall, no Auror had been taken on for three years prior to 1995, though Nymphadora Tonks stated that she qualified the year before, meaning she was probably one of the last candidates taken on. The head of the British Auror Office, as of 2007, is Harry Potter.


First Wizarding War

"Half the cells in Azkaban are filled thanks to him."
Charlie Weasley regarding Moody's track record during the First Wizarding War[src]

Former Aurors Alice Longbottom, Frank Longbottom, and Alastor Moody; all orginal members of the Order of the Phoenix

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, in the war during Lord Voldemort's first rise to power, Aurors were authorised to use the Unforgivable Curses on suspected Death Eaters and criminals. This means that they were given the licence to kill, coerce, and torture. It is unknown if, following the return of Lord Voldemort, this power was re-issued in the second war.

It was also stated the former Auror Alastor Moody (one of the most famous Aurors of modern time) put away a vast number of criminals during this time period and that half the cells in Azkaban were full thanks to him.

Some Aurors were also members of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization created by Albus Dumbledore. This organization was founded in order to fight Lord Voldemort and his supporters.Frank and Alice Longbottom were members of the Order who were tortured into insanity by four of Voldemort's most loyal followers: Bellatrix LestrangeRodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, and Bartemius Crouch Junior. The attack on them caused permanent damage and they were sent to the Janus Thickey Ward for incurable spell damage at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where they still remain.

Between the wars

"In fact, I don't think anybody has been taken on in the last three years."
—McGonagall stating that no one had been taken on for three years prior to 1995[src]

It can be assumed that after the First Wizarding War the Auror office went back to usual procedures and practices, as the methods used in war time are most likely different then when in times of peace.

Also during this period Alastor Moody took Nymphadora Tonks as his protégée. Undergoing three years of Auror training under the tutelage of Alastor Moody, Tonks's natural metamorphic abilities allowed her to easily pass the Concealment and Disguise portion of the training, without doing any work for it at all. However, her clumsiness gave her trouble with the Stealth and Tracking portion of the course, which she almost failed. Tonks qualified fully as an Auror in 1994. At some point Moody retired from active service, though by this time he was considered the greatest Auror of all time.

Stated by Professor Minerva McGonagall, no Auror had been taken on for three years prior to 1995, though Nymphadora Tonks stated that she qualified the year before.

Second Wizarding War

Tonks: "I'm stationed in Hogsmeade now, to give the school extra protection,"
Harry: "Is it just you who's stationed up here, or — ?"
Tonks: "No, Proudfoot, Savage, and Dawlish are here too."
— Tonks and Harry discuss the additional security stationed at Hogwarts[src]

After the return of Voldemort had been made public, Rufus Scrimgeour, hitherto the head of the Auror Office, became Minister for Magic, as the wizarding world placed more trust in him as a war leader than his heavily disgraced predecessor, Cornelius Fudge.

Aurors GreatHall

Open warfare, Aurors guarding Hogwarts against Dark forces

However, the most famous Auror in recent times is Alastor Moody, who came out of his retirement to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, and was a long time member of the Order of the Phoenix, but ultimately died in battle. Most of the other Aurors have followed Voldemort's regime when he took over the Ministry, due to them being blindly loyal to the Ministry, and Voldemort acting discreetly to prevent potential mutiny. Other Aurors, such as Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks, continued to fight against the Death Eaters, which led to Tonks' death, but after the war ended, Shacklebolt became the new Minister for Magic.

After the Battle of Hogwarts

"Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department. They are now the experts. It doesn't matter how old they are or what else they've done."
J.K. Rowling post Battle of Hogwarts[[src]]

In 1998, after the destruction of Lord Voldemort and the end of the Second Wizarding War, Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic and led a massive reform of the Ministry.[2] Harry Potter and Ron Weasley revolutionized the Auror department. The office was reshuffled and corruption was weeded out. Harry and Ron are now considered to be the "experts". Harry also became the youngest Auror in history, taken on at the age of seventeen and later in 2007 became the youngest head of the department at age twenty-six.


British Auror headquarters are located on Level Two of the Ministry of Magic. It consists of a series of open cubicles, each Auror being given a place to work. Pictures of known Dark wizards, maps, clippings from the Daily Prophet, and various other things line the cubicles.  

American Auror headquarters are located within the Magical Congress of the United States of America.

Becoming an Auror

"You'd need top grades for that... They ask for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade, I see. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It's a difficult career path... they only take the best"
—Minerva McGonagall regarding the process of becoming an Auror[src]


Alastor Moody Profile

Alastor Moody, one of the most famous Aurors of modern time

It is very difficult to fulfill the requirements to get into Auror training. Applicants must first have excellent academic credentials before they are accepted into a rigorous training program. To be accepted, one has to have a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s in challenging subjects, highly recommended are; Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Charms with top grades of either 'Outstanding' or 'Exceeds Expectations' in the students chosen subjects.

Dolores Umbridge stated in 1996 that the Ministry also looks into the criminal records of the applicants, and those without a clean one will not make it through the cut. It is not known if Herbology is required, though it is possible as Harry continued to take it to the N.E.W.T.-level. It Is also possible that any other subject could be substituted as the five as long as the grade meets the requirements.


Kingsley Shacklebolt, former Auror and current Minister for Magic

The requirements for applicants into becoming Aurors were temporarily relaxed following the end of the Second Wizarding War. With many Aurors destroyed by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and the need to restrengthen the Auror Department to combat the remaining Death Eaters, the new Minister for Magic and former Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt permitted any participant in the Battle of Hogwarts to begin Auror training if they were interested, on the grounds that having fought and survived in such a battle and not changing sides against such odds more than satisfied the character and skill requirements. At least some of these recruits, including Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, and Ron Weasley, did not achieve any N.E.W.T.s (they had not attended their final year at Hogwarts).


Main article: Auror training
"I got top marks in Concealment and Disguise during Auror training without any study at all, it was great... Nearly failed on Stealth and Tracking."
Nymphadora Tonks regarding Auror training[src]
It is incredibly difficult to fulfill Auror training; if accepted into Auror training, prospective Aurors are required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests to show they react well under pressure. Applicants are then required to train extensively in advanced magical combat and other elements of practical defence, as well as, presumably, methods of criminal investigation.

Two of the disciplines included are "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking", while poisons and antidotes essential studies. As mentioned by Tonks in 1995, she stated to Harry that she passed without any difficulties on the transformation test, but nearly failed the stealth tests. Training lasts for three years.

The job

An Auror's job is to hunt down and capture Dark Wizards, once a criminal is captured they are generally handed over to the authorities. It is not uncommon for criminals to resist arrest; some choose to fight to the death rather than let themselves be captured, such as Death Eater Evan Rosier. The Ministry also enlists them to guard high profile targets such as, Harry Potter during the 1996-1997 school term and the British Prime Minister had an Auror bodyguard, posing as his secretary, to protect him against the possibility that Lord Voldemort might take control of him to gain access to various Muggle resources at the highest level.


Ron: "Well, it'd be cool to be an Auror,"
Harry: "Yeah, it would,"
Ron: "But they're, like, the elite,... You've got to be really good."
— Harry Potter and Ron Weasley discussing future careers[src]

The job is seen as glamourous by some, as there is a great deal of danger involved and it is extremely difficult to join the ranks of the Aurors. Harry Potter became increasingly interested in becoming an Auror as his schooling came to an end, since he has had to fight against Dark Wizards his whole life.

Though Auror training is very taxing, and means an additional three years of studying even after graduation from school, they seem to be very well respected in the wizarding community, and the higher members are potential candidates for Minister for Magic. For example, Rufus Scrimgeour was a leader for the Auror Office, but replaced Fudge after the call of his resignation.

Known Aurors

British Aurors

Known Heads of the Auror Office

Person Notes
Gawain Robards


Formerly the head until Scrimgeour took over in 1996.
Rufus Scrimgeour Retired, became Minister for Magic in 1996, murdered by Lord Voldemort on 1 August, 1997
Harry Potter Auror from 1998-2007, promoted to the Head of the Office in 2007, at the young age of 26.[4]


Person Notes
Venusia Crickerly Became Minister for Magic in 1902
John Dawlish Auror between the wars and during the Second Wizarding War.
Hesphaestus Gore Became Minister for Magic in 1752
Alice Longbottom Mentally incapacitated by a group of Death Eaters via the Cruciatus Curse in the final days of the First Wizarding War in 1981
Frank Longbottom
Ronald Weasley Retired, works at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
Neville Longbottom Resigned position to become professor of Herbology at Hogwarts.
Alastor Moody Retired, murdered by Lord Voldemort in the Battle of the Seven Potters on 27 July, 1997
Proudfoot Auror that was stationed in Hogsmeade along with others during the 1996-1997 school year at Hogwarts.
Kingsley Shacklebolt Became Minister for Magic in 1998, presceeding the Battle of Hogwarts.
Nymphadora Tonks Murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of Hogwarts on 2 May, 1998.
Williamson First Auror to see Lord Voldemort just before he fled the Ministry of Magic in 1996 after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.

American Aurors


"Auror" may be derived from "aurora", meaning "the dawn", from the Latin word "aurum", meaning "gold", or from the Hebrew word "Arur" (ארור), meaning someone who is cursed.

Most likely, however, it is derived from the Latin word for ear, 'auris' and the related adjective, 'aural'. Since aurors are detectives (among other policing and justicial roles), they are those who listen for and receive information.

Behind the scenes

  • Aurors can easily be comparable to elite Muggle national law enforcement officials, intelligence operatives, or military units such as the MI5, MI6, SAS, SBS, RAF Regiment, etc. Some require excellent academic credentials (but not all), have an exhausting selection process to weed out the weak, undergo extensive advance training (sometimes up to a year or two to be operationally ready in the field), and are employed for the most dangerous missions/criminals. And like many units in real-life, the Auror office is very selective based on character traits. An example would be how the American agency known as the CIA has often taken into account a potential candidate's personal history and moral compass through a series of intense psychological screening processes. Given this, there is likely a Wizarding equivalent of such screening in the process of becoming an Auror.
  • Harry Potter is the youngest Auror in history as being 17 when taking the job, and also the youngest Head Auror at 26. He has been a regular Auror for nine years and then Head Auror (2007) for eight years, but it is unknown when he will retire.
  • Harry's goal to be an Auror is only briefly mentioned by Minerva McGonagall in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, despite the Careers Advice scene being omitted from the previous film.
  • In the films, Aurors tend to wear brown trench coats, possibly as a uniform. Kingsley Shacklebolt is the only Auror seen on-duty without one.

See also


Notes and references

Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Level 2, Ministry of Magic
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Auror Office · Department of Intoxicating Substances · Improper Use of Magic Office · Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office · Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects · Magical Law Enforcement Patrol · Hit Wizards · Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers · Department of Magical Equipment Control · Administrative Registration Department · Wizengamot Administration Services · Department of Security · Animagus Registry · Misuse of Magic Office

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