To protect the wizarding world from the Dark Arts and those who practice them
An Auror is a member of an elite unit of highly-trained, specialist officers within the Department of Magical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic 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 dual serve in both roles).
Auror training is very 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 Auror Office as of 2007 was Harry Potter.
First Wizarding War
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.
Second Wizarding War
After the return of Voldemort, 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.
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
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. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley revolutionized the Auror department, the office was reshuffled and corruption was weeded out. Harry Potter 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.
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.
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[src]
It is very difficult to fulfil 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.
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).
It is incredibily difficult to fullfill 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.
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.
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.
Heads of the Auror Office
- Harry Potter (auror from 1998 to 2007, Head of the Office since 2007.)
- Gawain Robards (formerly)
- Rufus Scrimgeour (retired, became Minister for Magic in 1996) †
- Venusia Crickerly (became Minister for Magic in 1902)
- John Dawlish
- Hesphaestus Gore (became Minister for Magic in 1752)
- Alice Longbottom (mentally incapacitated by the Cruciatus Curse in 1981)
- Frank Longbottom (mentally incapacitated by the Cruciatus Curse in 1981)
- 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, 1997) †
- Kingsley Shacklebolt (became Minister for Magic in 1998)
- Nymphadora Tonks (murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of Hogwarts, 1998) †
"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 and 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.
- Harry Potter is the youngest Auror in history as being 17 when taking the job, and also the youngest Head Auror at 26. As he was a normal Auror for nine years and then Head Auror (2007) for ten 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.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- 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
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book (Mentioned on a poster included as an extra)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
Notes and references