Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
The Death Eaters was the name given to followers of Lord Voldemort. The group primarily consisted of wizards and witches who were radical pure blood supremacists, who practised the Dark Arts with reckless abandon and without regard to or fear of wizarding law.
Lord Voldemort used this select group of wizards and witches during both the First and Second Wizarding Wars, employing them as his elite force. They often wore black hoods and masks with snake-like eye slits to cover their faces. Only the members of the inner circle of the Death Eaters had Dark Marks burned into their left forearms. When Voldemort touched one of them, each of the Death Eaters felt it, signalling for them to Apparate to their leader's side.
Before the Death Eaters themselves came to be, Tom Riddle, as Voldemort was known in his childhood and early adulthood, gathered a gang of Slytherin students who considered themselves his friends, though in truth, he felt no real attachments to any of them due to his lack of desire for a true friend.
According to former Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, they were a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking glory, and the thuggish seeking a leader who could show them more refined cruelty, and were considered to be forerunners of the Death Eaters since most (if not all) indeed became the first Death Eaters. He manipulated them to do his bidding, and though this led to several nasty incidents over the years, with Riddle's strategic discretion, none was linked back to the group, much less the model student Riddle himself.
- "Voldemort... this wizard, about twenty years ago now, started lookin' fer followers. Got 'em, too –– some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o' his power, 'cause he was gettin' himself power, all right."
- —Voldemort gaining his many followers[src]
First Wizarding War
- "Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves."
- —Voldemort's undetermined Death Eaters at the height of the war[src]
Death Eater activity during the First Wizarding War consisted of stealth attacks, espionage, torture and mass killings of wizards, witches, and large numbers of Muggles. These were initiated by the Death Eaters, often, but not always, on the orders of Voldemort. When the Ministry did not suffer an ostensible collapse in the eleven years of Voldemort's reign, the Death Eaters began to attack prominent wizarding families. As a result, fear gripped the wider wizard community, but the Death Eaters remained opposed by the Order of the Phoenix, founded by Albus Dumbledore. The Ministry, in retaliation and spearheaded by the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Barty Crouch Sr, legalised the usage of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects, and ordered kill rather than capture, attack first and question later, and imprison without trials.
At the height of the war, Severus Snape reported to Lord Voldemort the part of a prophecy he had heard, while listening in on a conversation between Dumbledore and Sybill Trelawney, which predicted that either Harry Potter (son of Order members James and Lily Potter) or Neville Longbottom (son of Order members Alice and Frank Longbottom) would be the one to destroy Voldemort. Voldemort chose to attack the Potters, seeing Harry as a greater danger to him. Despite being under the protection of the Fidelius Charm, Voldemort was able to gain entry into their home because James had entrusted his old friend Peter Pettigrew to be Secret-Keeper, and Pettigrew subsequently betrayed the secret to Voldemort.
Snape failed to overhear the entire prophecy, including the announcement that Voldemort himself would mark his own equal. Although Voldemort killed James and, as a promise to Snape's pleas that she be spared, Lily was offered a choice to step aside but she refused and thus Voldemort murdered her as well. When Voldemort next tried to kill Harry, the Killing Curse rebounded off Harry and hit Voldemort, destroying his living body. However, due to his extensive performance of Dark magic, Voldemort's soul survived and escaped, while a bit of his soul attached its self to Harry (as he was the only other living thing present within the cottage) giving the boy a scar in the form of a lightning bolt and thus sealing his fate as the "Boy Who Lived" as well as starting the destiny forced upon him.
With their leader's disappearance, the Death Eaters largely fell into chaos. Many were rounded up and imprisoned in Azkaban without trials, as part of the hard line taken by Ministry official Barty Crouch Sr. Sirius Black, whom Pettigrew framed for his crimes, was among the prime suspects of Death Eater activities imprisoned without a trial. Soon afterward, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr tortured the Longbottoms into insanity while trying to procure information about Voldemort's whereabouts: this attack was considered one of the most atrocious acts in history. They were captured and sentenced to Azkaban, but Bellatrix proudly proclaimed that the Dark Lord would rise again. On the other hand, Barty Crouch Jr proclaimed his own innocence, saying that he was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time: his father disregarded it all and sentenced him to prison, a sentence that led the entire court to roar with triumph.
Some Death Eaters managed to elude justice by claiming the Imperius Curse had been used on them, such as Lucius Malfoy, or by turning in other Death Eaters, as Igor Karkaroff did. Due to many trying to escape by claiming they were bewitched, the Ministry assigned specialists to find out who was lying, although this did not work out to the fullest since Malfoy and several others were found innocent. Most followers hid their allegiance to Voldemort and therefore did not try to find him, although a handful of Death Eaters, such as the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jr, remained fiercely loyal to their fallen master and sought him out. They were supposedly rewarded by Voldemort for their loyalty. Some, such as Evan Rosier, chose to resist arrest and fought to the death.
Outbreaks of Death Eater activity did occur, although rarely and sporadically, during the thirteen years of Voldemort's absence. Perhaps the most notable event was the riots at the four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup in 1994, during which a group of Death Eaters attacked the camp of wizards and witches and a nearby Muggle family. The Death Eaters seemed to consider torturing and humiliating Muggles a form of entertainment. When Crouch Jr launched the Dark Mark into the air out of rage for his comrades not seeking out their fallen master, the Death Eaters fled in fear of Voldemort's retribution for their disloyalty.
Second Wizarding War
The Dark Lord's return
- "Welcome, my friends. Thirteen years it's been, and yet, here you stand as if it were only yesterday. I confess myself... disappointed. Not one of you tried to find me... Crabbe! Macnair! Goyle! Not even you, Lucius."
- —Voldemort letting his disappointment in his Death Eaters known[src]
On 24 June 1995, Lord Voldemort finally returned to a physical body through a Dark potion created by Peter Pettigrew (the potion required a bone from Voldemort's father, flesh from the servant and blood from the enemy — that being Harry). The body was human-shaped, though hairless and with many unusual features such as serpentine nostril slits and feline-esque eyes.
Moments after Lord Voldemort had finally regained his body, he summoned his followers to him by touching Peter Pettigrew's Dark Mark. Some proved too afraid to return to him, such as defector Igor Karkaroff, while others who were dead or imprisoned remained absent. Severus Snape did not return on the claim that he had to appear more loyal to Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix: Snape returned two hours later, under the claim that he was trying to maintain the cover of a double agent, which the Dark Lord found satisfying. Despite several absences, there were several who returned the call, including Lucius Malfoy, Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle, who had sons at Hogwarts School; Avery went to beg for forgiveness, but Voldemort told the band of Death Eaters who did not try to find him that he wants thirteen years of repayment before he could forgive them for their wavered loyalty: Snape would later comment that had the faithless Death Eaters not been forgiven, then Voldemort would have very few followers left, indicating many deserters compared to surviving loyalists.
Harry Potter was present for Voldemort's return to power, and even duelled him, resulting in a spectacular display of Priori Incantatem, revealing that the cores of Voldemort's and Harry's wands were related. Harry managed to escape and tell Headmaster Albus Dumbledore of Voldemort's return.
Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and most of the Ministry of Magic originally refused to believe that Voldemort had returned. Though Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore served as dissenting voices, the majority of the public chose to believe in the Ministry and its wider propaganda and smear campaign against Potter and Dumbledore, which would be printed in news outlets such as the Daily Prophet. Finally in 1996, the Minister for Magic witnessed Voldemort and Dumbledore's duel in the Ministry of Magic and was forced to admit his mistake.
Bid for the Prophecy
- "We have confirmed that ten-high security prisoners in the early hours of yesterday evening had escaped. And of course the Muggle Prime Minister has been alerted to the danger. There is convincing evidence that the escape was engineered by a man with personal experience in breaking out of Azkaban, notorious mass murderer Sirius Black, cousin of the escapee, Bellatrix Lestrange."
- —Announcement of the 1996 mass Azkaban breakout[src]
Armed with the advantage of the Ministry's denial, the Death Eaters kept a low profile in order to maintain their standing in the wizarding world and slowly but surely rebuild their forces without detection or hindrance. Due in part to the Ministry's refusal to remove the Dementors from Azkaban, a proposition Dumbledore supported immediately following Voldemort's return, the Death Eaters informally recruited the Dementors to their cause. Similar progress was made with the giants. The quiet revolt of the Dementors fostered a mass breakout of imprisoned Death Eaters from Azkaban in early 1996.
In early summer of 1996, Voldemort sent a group of twelve Death Eaters, led by Lucius Malfoy, into the Department of Mysteries in order to steal the prophecy concerning himself and Harry Potter. Having originally attacked Harry Potter based upon a partial recounting of it, Voldemort now desired to hear the full version in order to understand entirely the nature of the connection between himself and Potter. Harry was lured there, along with five other members of Dumbledore's Army, when Voldemort used their connection to give Harry a false vision of his godfather being tortured.
However, Harry and his friends managed to elude the Death Eaters, and the prophecy was accidentally destroyed by Neville Longbottom during the struggle. A battle ensued between the Death Eaters and several members of the Order of the Phoenix. Eleven of the twelve Death Eaters were captured, and Sirius Black was killed: Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange fled but not before Ministry officials witnessed the return of the Dark Lord, which thus signalled the start of open warfare.
Start of open war
The raid was a failure for the Death Eaters because their reactivation was no longer a secret, and several members were deported to Azkaban. Additionally, the return of Voldemort was proved to the sceptical Ministry officials. Revealed at last to the wizarding community, the Death Eaters proceeded to resume their earlier lifestyle and behaviour. Kidnapping, torturing, and assassinations of wizards, witches, and Muggles began anew as the Second War began. Due to the Ministry's failure to see the danger at hand in time, the Death Eaters' forces had already grown to the point where the Ministry had a very difficult time keeping them in check. They also kidnapped Wandmaker Garrick Olivanders.
Victory at Hogwarts
During the Second Wizarding War, Voldemort plotted to be rid of Albus Dumbledore. At the close of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry year in June 1997, Albus Dumbledore and Harry obtained a locket that they believed to be one of the Horcruxes of Voldemort from a cave filled with Inferi. They Apparated into Hogsmeade and through the assistance of Madam Rosmerta, they saw a Dark Mark hanging in the sky above Hogwarts Castle. Dumbledore and Harry borrowed broomsticks and flew to Hogwarts' highest tower in the castle, the Astronomy Tower.
Dumbledore encountered Draco Malfoy and performed the Full Body-Bind Curse on Harry, who was hidden under the Invisibility Cloak. Draco revealed how he successfully used a Vanishing Cabinet to help the Death Eaters enter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore then informed Draco that he already knew about the assassination plot, the cursed necklace, and the poison intended to kill him. He also delayed Draco in his plans to murder him until Severus Snape and four other Death Eaters arrived at the scene. Severus Snape successfully cast the Killing Curse on Dumbledore in front of the four Death Eaters, Fenrir Greyback, Draco, and Harry, who was still unnoticed and hidden. After Dumbledore's death, the jubilant Death Eaters retreated on Snape's orders. Harry, free from Dumbledore's Full Body-Bind Curse, quickly chased after the Death Eaters and cast several unsuccessful spells at Snape when they reached the grounds. One Death Eater, Thorfinn Rowle, set fire to Rubeus Hagrid's hut, and the Death Eaters Disapparated when they reached the gate.
Among the Death Eaters present were siblings Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Yaxley, Thorfinn Rowle, Gibbon, Fenrir Greyback, and Bellatrix Lestrange. Draco Malfoy later became a Death Eater and was branded with the Dark Mark in 1996. Bill Weasley was attacked by Fenrir Greyback and received scars on his face but lived without becoming a werewolf because Greyback was not fully transformed at the time of the attack. However, Bill sustained minimal lycanthropic symptoms, including a taste for raw meat. On the Death Eaters' side, the only death was that of Gibbon, killed by a stray Killing Curse.
The final year
Plottings and tactics
- "Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of Wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defence of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the pure-bloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance... She would have us all mate with Muggles..."
- —Lord Voldemort ridiculing Charity Burbage before mudering her[src]
Now that Dumbledore had been killed, the Death Eaters became even bolder in their campaign of terror against the British wizarding world. Voldemort, with his Death Eaters, planned several courses of action following the successful assassination of Dumbledore. One was the overthrowing of the Ministry of Magic so that Voldemort would have absolute power. Another was capturing Harry Potter and killing him. While Voldemort went on his own personal quests and stayed out of sight of the wizarding community's eye, he worked through others, including Yaxley at the Ministry working in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Severus Snape and the Carrows at Hogwarts working as professors.
The meeting place for the Death Eaters was Malfoy Manor. At this place, the Death Eaters would make reports, and the Dark Lord would give them orders. On one occasion, Voldemort heard Yaxley's reports concerning events at the Ministry of Magic, though he was more impressed with Snape's reports regarding the Order of the Phoenix's plans to move Harry Potter. Voldemort also ridiculed Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys for the marriage of Remus Lupin (a known werewolf) to Nymphadora Tonks, their niece. At this meeting, Charity Burbage, a professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts, was murdered by Voldemort and then fed to Nagini. Voldemort also took Lucius Malfoy's wand to fight against Harry Potter, believing his own to be inferior.
Attempt on Harry Potter
- "That's him, it's him, it's the real one!"
- —Death Eater after Harry Potter cast Expelliarmus, his "trademark" spell[src]
Still opposed by the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, who knew it was not safe to trust the Ministry of Magic, Voldemort knew through Snape that Harry Potter would be moved from the house of his aunt and uncle a few days before his seventeenth birthday, which is when spells protecting him would have broken. The exact details of this move were unknown to the Death Eaters at large, though Snape manipulated Mundungus Fletcher with magic and knew the plans, he only told the Dark Lord enough to display loyalty.
As a congregation of members of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, including Alastor Moody, Arthur Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Rubeus Hagrid, Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Fred and George Weasley, Mundungus Fletcher, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, along with Harry Potter himself, left the home of the Dursleys, the Death Eaters attacked immediately. They could not tell right away which pair included the real Harry Potter because six of the congregation had used Polyjuice Potion. It was assumed that Harry would be with the strongest members, so Moody and Shacklebolt were attacked most fervently at first.
During the ensuing battle, Snape used Sectumsempra to attack a Death Eater who was aiming to hit Remus Lupin in the back but Snape missed and slashed George Weasley's ear off. Bellatrix Lestrange tried very hard to kill Tonks, but she did not succeed, while Tonks herself managed to injure Rodolphus Lestrange. Alastor Moody was killed by Voldemort himself. However, numerous Death Eaters were injured, and one was supposedly killed.
When Harry Potter used Expelliarmus, which they had come to consider his trademark spell, against Stan Shunpike, who was under the Imperius Curse, the Death Eaters knew the real Harry to be with Hagrid. Voldemort himself was present, flying without the aid of a broomstick, and led the charge against Harry. Despite their attempts to capture the boy, they were thwarted by Harry's spell-work, Hagrid's selfless courage, and finally, when Harry crossed into a protective spell over the home of Ted Tonks. Lucius' wand was snapped by a spell cast by Harry's wand, infuriating Voldemort even more.
The Fall of the Ministry of Magic
On 1 August 1997, the Ministry of Magic was overthrown, and Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour was killed by Death Eaters. Pius Thicknesse was installed in his place, controlled by the Imperius Curse placed on him by Yaxley and effectively Voldemort's thrall, and several Death Eaters became employees of the Ministry. The Death Eaters used the Ministry's resources to eliminate the Order of the Phoenix's defences, attacking the Burrow and other homes of Order members, as well as those of some of their allies, such as Ted and Andromeda Tonks. While no one was killed, many were hurt under questioning about the whereabouts of Harry Potter, and all were subsequently put under surveillance.
Under the control of the Death Eaters, the Ministry created the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, an instrument for the humiliation and persecution of Muggle-borns, who were falsely accused of having "stolen" magic and consequently imprisoned in Azkaban. Propaganda against Muggle-borns and Harry Potter was spread: Harry was considered "Undesirable Number One," and there was a 10,000 Galleon reward for his capture. The Taboo curse was also placed upon Voldemort's name as a method of locating anybody who was brave enough to say it.
- "Severus Snape, long-standing Potions master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardry, was today appointed Headmaster in the most important of several staffing changes at the ancient school. Following the resignation of the previous Muggle Studies teacher, Alecto Carrow will take over the post while her brother, Amycus, fills the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor."
- —Death Eaters are appointed positions in Hogwarts[src]
Attendance at Hogwarts became mandatory during the 1997-1998 school year since Voldemort wanted all members of the magical population under his control, and a way to weed out Muggle-borns. Students were required to prove blood status, and any Muggle-born children were sent to the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and then to Azkaban.
Severus Snape was appointed Headmaster, though he faced fierce opposition from Minerva McGonagall and other professors, as well as the remaining members of Dumbledore's Army, including Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley. They encouraged rebellion, saved students from detention, and eventually stopped attending classes and took up residence in the Room of Requirement.
The Carrows were also there at the school, with Amycus Carrow teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, though in reality he taught the Dark Arts. There were many favoured students, such as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, who were encouraged to practise the Cruciatus Curse on rule-breakers. His sister, Alecto, took over the now mandatory Muggle Studies, though the course became a brainwashing of the superiority of wizard-kind over Muggles.
Skirmish at Malfoy Manor
- "The Dark Lord is coming, Harry Potter! Your death approaches! Now… Cissy, I think we ought to tie these little heroes up again, while Greyback takes care of Miss Mudblood. I am sure the Dark Lord will not begrudge you the girl, Greyback, after what you have done tonight."
- —Bellatrix Lestrange sadistically taunting the trio[src]
During Harry Potter's time hidden from the Death Eaters, he accidentally said Voldemort's name and thus triggered the Taboo placed upon the name. He, Ron and Hermione were captured by a group of Snatchers led by Fenrir Greyback and brought to Malfoy Manor, where they were confronted by Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys. Before either Lucius or Bellatrix could summon the Dark Lord, Bellatrix spotted Godric Gryffindor's Sword among the trio's possessions and interrogated Hermione using the Cruciatus Curse to find out where they got the item. She lied, claiming it was only a copy, a story Harry convinced the goblin Griphook to support. In the meantime, Dobby the house-elf came and rescued Harry, Ron, Garrick Ollivander, Luna Lovegood, and Dean Thomas from the basement. He, Harry and Ron saved Hermione and Griphook and took various wands from the house's occupants before fleeing: Dobby was killed by Bellatrix in the process.
As punishment for summoning him without successfully holding Potter, Voldemort caused physical harm to all present and forbade them to leave the manor.
Destruction of Voldemort's Horcruxes
Unknown to Voldemort or his Death Eaters, Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, was out seeking the Horcruxes of Voldemort. Regulus Black had already removed Salazar Slytherin's locket from its hiding place, though he had been unable to destroy it. Albus Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo Gaunt's ring with Godric Gryffindor's sword, and Tom Riddle's diary had been destroyed by Harry in his second year with a basilisk fang. Thanks to Snape's help through his doe Patronus, Ron Weasley was able to find the sword of Gryffindor and destroy the locket Horcrux.
From Bellatrix's behaviour at Malfoy Manor, Harry Potter concluded that a Horcrux was in her safe at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. With the help of Griphook, Harry, Ron, and Hermione entered the bank and took Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, escaping on a dragon. The cup was later destroyed by Hermione Granger using a basilisk fang when she and Ron entered the Chamber of Secrets.
Though the three companions were successful, Voldemort learned from hearing about Harry's venture into the bank that they were seeking his Horcruxes. In panic, he went to the places the Horcruxes were hidden, leaving Hogwarts last, but in the process revealing to Harry Potter that Hogwarts was indeed the last place to go.
- "If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one. I do not wish this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste... I command my forces to retreat immediately. You have one hour... I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you... I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour."
- —Voldemort's ultimatum during the final battle[src]
Voldemort, along with his Death Eaters and other allies, attacked Hogwarts and those defending it in May 1998. During this battle, Harry, Hermione, and Ron managed to find the final Horcrux, Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, in the Room of Requirement. It was accidentally destroyed by Vincent Crabbe's out of control Fiendfyre curse. In the meantime, Death Eaters and their allies were storming the castle: Colin Creevey was murdered, Lavender Brown was fatally wounded by Fenrir Greyback, Fred Weasley died in an explosion, and Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks were murdered in duels with Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange, respectively. Voldemort had Nagini kill Severus Snape, believing it would make him the true master of the Elder Wand, and then issued an ultimatum to the other side: Harry turns himself over within an hour, or everyone in Hogwarts will be killed.
It was then revealed to Harry that he himself had accidentally been turned into a Horcrux. He willingly took a Killing Curse from Voldemort in order to destroy it, but because his mother's sacrifice lived on in his blood, the blood Voldemort took in himself in order to regain a body, Harry was not killed. He found himself in limbo, the plane between life and death and was given the choice to move on. Before Harry tried to sacrifice himself, he warned Neville Longbottom to kill Nagini. Neville retrieved the sword of Gryffindor and beheaded Nagini with one precise swipe of the blade.
An army of reinforcements stormed the castle, and the Death Eaters were defeated until only Bellatrix Lestrange (killed by Molly Weasley) and Voldemort himself were left. Harry and Voldemort then faced off in one last confrontation. Because Harry was the true master of the Elder Wand, Voldemort's Killing Curse rebounded off his Disarming Charm and upon Voldemort himself, killing the dark wizard once and for all and ending the Second Wizarding War, signalling the final defeat of the Death Eaters.
With the death of their master and the battle lost, many of the Death Eaters who survived were arrested, while others went into hiding. A few, such as the Malfoys, were pardoned. In fact, Lucius had given much information on his former colleagues and helped capture as many as possible. After Voldemort's death, the Dark Marks on the Death Eaters' forearms faded into scars.
- "Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time. You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest... And in your family, so in the world...we shall cut away the cancer that infects us until only those of the true blood remain..."
- —Lord Voldemort on his goals in Malfoy Manor[src]
There are hints that a long-standing dispute had existed in the wizarding world regarding the relationship between Magic and Muggles, and the status of magically talented people born to Muggle parents. These disputes clearly date back to at least the time of the founding of Hogwarts, as the Sorting Hat described the rift between pure blood-valuing Slytherin and the other three founders, who were enthusiastic to admit any young witch or wizard of talent.
There are also hints in The Tales of Beedle the Bard and other legends, to the point of even Muggle ones, that once upon a time witches, wizards and Muggles were known to each other and interacted. The International Statute of Secrecy was the solution settled upon in the 1600s to end these relationships, preventing misunderstanding, miscommunication, and cruelty by enforcing the hiding of magic and bringing about the obliviation of any Muggle aware of magic. Probably not coincidentally, the Scientific Revolution began in the Muggle world around this time.
But this remained a controversial choice. There were many in the magical world to whom it occurred that, united, the wizarding community had enough power to openly take control of governments worldwide. For some this was just a means of power, wealth, or fame; but to others, such as Dumbledore, who flirted with the idea of a wizard-led society with Grindelwald in his youth, this was an opportunity to improve the world, to use power responsibly and prevent tragedies based on xenophobia and secrecy like the one that had torn apart his own family.
As for Muggle-born witches and wizards, it seems that their status had been the subject of sometimes violent dispute for centuries. At the time of Harry's first year, and perhaps due to the influence of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff long before that, it was considered gross and impolite to openly disparage Muggle-borns or use slurs like 'mudblood'. But clearly, prejudice and belief in the superiority and supremacy of a long-suffering aristocratic class persisted in many corners of the magical community, to the point of it being centred in England around Hogwarts' Slytherin house, just as Slytherin himself had intended. In many ways, this form of racism was delusional just like Nazi white supremacism, relying on a romanticised, imaginary history of wizarding genealogy, and conveniently ignoring realities such as the partial or total Muggle origins of most witches and wizards, the existence of Squibs, and the lack of real differences in talent between pure-bloods and others. And like Germany in the time of the Nazis, while most people were not openly prejudiced, only a few were really courageous enough to stand up to it as well. Most government officials were content to ignore the problems of classism in magical society, and many participated without complaint when the new Voldemort-backed regime began to persecute Muggle-borns.
The Death Eaters were an organisation of pure-blood supremacists that coalesced around Voldemort. He found them very useful, as their ranks included wizarding aristocrats that could accomplish his goals through government and money, and deadly, remorseless thugs of all stripes. But he did not really share their passion for pure-blood supremacy. It is hinted at in 1995 that he openly shared his origins with them, and did not try to hide that he saw no shame in his half-blood status, though he held his Muggle parent in contempt. Though he allowed them to establish purification policies when they took over the Ministry of Magic, he busied himself with increasing his own dominion and stamping out opposition while never bothering to help them with these goals.
Death Eaters followed their leader's commands first and foremost, and he treated them ruthlessly, often sending them on impossible missions and punishing them horribly if they failed him, even due to bad luck rather than incompetence. At his command, they worked against Voldemort's opponents, the Order of the Phoenix, through espionage, murder, and battle, and also infiltrated and undermined the Ministry of Magic. When he needed tasks done to increase his own power, he often sent them if he considered the task trivial enough to not warrant his personal attention, such as retrieving the prophecy from the Department of Mysteries and visiting the werewolves and the giants. The Death Eaters' other, more spontaneous activities included Muggle torture and murder for fun, property crime, and plotting the eventual overthrow of the British Muggle government and replacing it with a wizard-dominated system. Upon their success in taking over the Ministry during the Second Wizarding War, they began a campaign to identify Muggle-born witches and wizards and strip them of their wands, or even imprison or kill them, on the trumped-up premise that they must have 'stolen' their magic from a 'real' witch or wizard.
Although some Death Eaters appeared to have been fanatically loyal to Voldemort, such as Bellatrix Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jr, several only aligned with him for the ideals of purification and shared glory, such as Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black, while many others seemed to serve him largely out of fear, such as Peter Pettigrew. As soon as he was defeated in 1981, many immediately renounced their loyalty and did not attempt to find Voldemort in the intervening years. Also, due to maltreatment from Voldemort, some who joined him would come to regret it later on, such as Lucius and Regulus, when they either suffered his abuse or witnessed the lengths he was willing to sink. Those who rioted at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup also fled when the Dark Mark was cast. Bill Weasley speculated then that those Death Eaters were “even more frightened than the rest of us to see him come back”. However, most Apparated to his side if they were able to when Voldemort called them upon his return, claiming that they had been loyal all along.
In turn, even though Voldemort valued the services they provided, and spoke as though they were a family, he saw them as no more than dispensable servants. Voldemort was willing to sacrifice even the most loyal of them if it would serve him well, the most prominent example being Severus Snape, whom he thought to the end was faithful. Some Death Eaters deluded themselves to thinking that they alone knew and understood Voldemort, or were even close to him, but Voldemort never once desired a friend. Coupled with either disloyalty or constant failures, Voldemort lost faith in some of the once-highly revered servants such as Lucius and Bellatrix. As a sign of distrust-based precaution, the Death Eaters did not have knowledge of all their colleagues' identities: Voldemort alone knew who they all were. This was done in order to prevent any traitors from turning all the others in.
- " [...] why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?"
- —Voldemort stating the obligations of Death Eaters[src]
Becoming a Death Eater meant a lifetime service to Lord Voldemort. Death Eaters had no opportunity to "hand in their resignation" if the situation looked grim: deserters would be marked for death. Sirius Black thought his younger brother was killed for attempting to quit after being asked to do something hard, even though later this turned out to be the opposite. Igor Karkaroff deserted the Death Eaters after turning many of them over to the Ministry, and even though he went into hiding after his former master was revived, he was eventually caught and killed for his disloyalty. However, Voldemort did forgive the servants who did not attempt to find him but returned when he touched Wormtail's Dark Mark since Snape claimed that, if otherwise, Voldemort would be left with very few followers. Because of his diminished military forces at the time of his rebirth ceremony, Voldemort only punished those who returned to him by mild torture and demands: he let Wormtail suffer the pain of severing his arm as punishment for years of disloyalty, and demanded that Avery to suffer thirteen years of pain as repayment for thirteen years of disloyalty before truly being forgiven.
Voldemort's most senior Death Eaters, most of whom were old chums from Slytherin house or younger Slytherin alumni, mostly pure-bloods, and people highly useful to Voldemort for their wealth, skill, or ruthlessness, were bestowed with the Dark Mark on the inside of their lower left arm. These were his inner circle, those he summoned to his side upon his rebirth in Harry's fourth year, and who sat around his high table at Malfoy Manor. Having been branded with the Dark Mark was a symbol of very high status in Voldemort's social order, but was also something of a dangerous burden, as it allowed the Dark Lord to track, communicate with, and summon his chosen few. Some associates, such as relatives of Death Eaters, are also on par with the actual members, prominently Narcissa Malfoy.
The next level down were allowed to wear Death Eater garments in order to command the respect they engendered, but were not Marked. These seem to included those that Voldemort found useful but did not prefer to associate with, such as the 'half-breed' werewolf Fenrir Greyback.
On the lowest rung was a mass of supportive rabble, loyal to Voldemort but not useful enough to him to deal with him directly. They were given orders and opportunities to commit crimes or advance themselves through the senior Death Eaters. On the same tier were witches and wizards under the Imperius Curse (subtly implied to disproportionately constitute the weak-willed, like Pius Thicknesse, the stupid, like Stan Shunpike, and the dubiously loyal), and non-humans of different degrees of sentience such as werewolves, dementors, giants, Acromantula, and Blast-Ended Skrewts. These were pressed into service by the Death Eaters, and sentient groups that would have ordinarily remained neutral like the dementors, giants, and werewolves were brought into the fold with false promises that their grievances would be avenged upon victory in battle. This entire mass was mobilised for Voldemort's attack on Hogwarts, though before then, they were only used to maintain the new regime, or else roam uncontrolled, sowing chaos and demoralisation as they sought individual gain. During Voldemort's assault on Hogwarts, they were used as expendable cannon fodder meant to overwhelm the students and teachers through shear force of numbers or test Hogwarts's formidable magic defences.
Known Death Eaters
|Alecto Carrow||Female||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Alecto managed to avoid Azkaban. After the Dark Lord's rebirth, Alecto fought in the Second Wizarding War. She participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and became Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts since the Ministry of Magic was under Voldemort's control. Alecto used her position to spread anti-Muggle propaganda and abuse students. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Alecto was defeated by Luna Lovegood at the Ravenclaw Tower.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Amycus managed to avoid Azkaban. After the Dark Lord's rebirth, Amycus fought in the Second Wizarding War. He participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and became Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts since the Ministry of Magic was under Voldemort's control. Amycus used his position to abuse students. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Amycus was placed under the Imperius Curse by Minerva McGonagall and tortured with the Cruciatus Curse by Harry Potter.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Antonin Dolohov||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Dolohov was involved with the brutal murders of Fabian and Gideon Prewett. During the Second Wizarding War, Dolohov participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries. After escaping Azkaban, Dolohov failed to capture Harry Potter on Tottenham Court Road and was subsequently punished by his master. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he killed Remus Lupin and was later defeated by Filius Flitwick.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Augustus Rookwood||Male||Worked as an Unspeakable at the Ministry of Magic, using this position to spy for Lord Voldemort. Rookwood was imprisoned in Azkaban, having been betrayed by Igor Karkaroff in exchange for his freedom. Rookwood later escaped during the 1996 mass breakout but was re-incarcerated after participating in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries. In 1997, he escaped once again during another mass breakout and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Presumed imprisoned|
|Avery Snr||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's very first Death Eaters. Attended Hogwarts with Tom Riddle.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Avery Jr||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Avery was able to avoid Azkaban by claiming he had been under the Imperius Curse. He was later one of the few present at the Dark Lord's rebirth. He also participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War. Avery, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout of Azkaban.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Barty Crouch Jr||Male||Participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom during the First Wizarding War. During the events leading up to the Dark Lord's rebirth, Crouch kidnapped and impersonated Alastor Moody using Polyjuice Potion. Whilst impersonating Moody at Hogwarts, Barty murdered his own father using the Killing Curse. Furthermore, he placed Viktor Krum under the Imperius Curse during the Triwizard Tournament, and through him tortured Cedric Diggory and stunned Fleur Delacour. Crouch subsequently suffered the Dementor's Kiss.||Soul removed|
|Bellatrix Lestrange||Female||Participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom with the Cruciatus Curse during the First Wizarding War and was unable to avoid Azkaban following Lord Voldemort's downfall. Fought in the Second Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries, killing Sirius Black, and was the only Death Eater who escaped Azkaban following that battle. Tortured Hermione Granger and killed Dobby at Malfoy Manor. Killed Nymphadora Tonks and attempted to kill Ginny Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts. She was subsequently killed by Molly Weasley in the same battle.||Deceased|
|Crabbe Snr||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Having avoided Azkaban following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Crabbe was present when the Dark Lord was reborn. He later participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Crabbe, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Draco Malfoy||Male||Two failed assassination attempts on Albus Dumbledore but managed to corner and disarm him before deciding not to kill him. Placed the Imperius Curse on Madam Rosmerta to pass on a cursed necklace. Unintentionally poisoned Ron Weasley and cursed Katie Bell. Forced to commit crimes under direct threat from Lord Voldemort. Repaired the vanishing cabinet which allowed various Death Eaters to breach Hogwarts defences prior to the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Tried to capture Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts. Participated reluctantly in Death Eater activity.||Defected|
|Evan Rosier||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Evan was killed by Alastor Moody after resisting capture.||Deceased|
|Gibbon||Male||Fought in the Second Wizarding War. Conjured the Dark Mark over Hogwarts during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. During that battle, Gibbon was struck by a Killing Curse intended for Remus Lupin by Thorfinn Rowle.||Deceased|
|Goyle Snr||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Having avoided Azkaban following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Goyle was present when the Dark Lord was reborn.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Igor Karkaroff||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Karkaroff was able to avoid Azkaban by betraying several Death Eaters to the Ministry of Magic. During the Second Wizarding War, Karkaroff was killed for his disloyalty.||Deceased|
|Jugson||Male||Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Jugson, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Lestrange Snr||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Lucius Malfoy||Male||Gave Tom Riddle's old school diary to Ginny Weasley under Lord Voldemort's orders, hoping to sabotage Arthur Weasley. Lucius later threatened school governors and committed numerous counts of bribery. Participated in a violent riot and torture of a Muggle family at the Quidditch World Cup in 1994. He was present when Voldemort was reborn. Placed Department of Mysteries employee Broderick Bode and possibly Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse in an attempt to commit theft on Voldemort's behalf. Led the break-in of the Department of Mysteries. After escaping Azkaban, his home was used as the Death Eater headquarters. Defected and did not fight in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Defected|
|Mulciber Snr||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters. Fought in the First Wizarding War.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Mulciber Jr||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War and placed the Imperius Curse on many people, forcing them to do horrific things, and was later unable to avoid Azkaban after Lord Voldemort's downfall. Following the Dark Lord's rebirth, Mulciber escaped in 1996 during a mass breakout. During the Second Wizarding War, he participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently re-imprisoned. However, Mulciber later escaped once again during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Nott Snr||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters, Nott fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Voldemort's downfall, Nott was able to avoid Azkaban and was later present at the Dark Lord's rebirth. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries during the Second Wizarding War and was subsequently imprisoned. Nott, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Peter Pettigrew||Male||Betrayed James and Lily Potter to Voldemort, framing Sirius Black for the crime, whilst killing twelve Muggles in the process and faking his own death. Present at the Dark Lord's rebirth, assisting him in doing so, murdering Cedric Diggory in the process. Prior to these events, he led Bertha Jorkins to her death. Pettigrew tried to strangle Harry Potter in Malfoy Manor but hesitated when Harry Potter reminded him of a life debt, which resulted in him being strangled by his enchanted silver hand.||Deceased|
|Pyrites(possibly)||Male||Accompanied Voldemort to Godric's Hollow the night he murdered the Potters. Met Sirius Black outside of the Potter's home following the attack.||Unknown|
|Rabastan Lestrange||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters. Participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom using the Cruciatus Curse during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Rabastan, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Regulus Black||Male||Volunteered Kreacher to assist Lord Voldemort in hiding Salazar Slytherin's Locket. However, Regulus later changed sides and attempted to destroy the Horcrux and was killed by Inferi in the process.||Deceased|
|Rodolphus Lestrange||Male||Participated in the torture and the permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom via the Cruciatus Curse during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle of the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Rodolphus escaped in the 1997 mass breakout and participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters.||Unknown (was imprisoned after the Battle of Hogwarts, but has escaped as of 2020)|
|Rosier Snr||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Selwyn||Male||During the Second Wizarding War, participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters. Along with Travers, tortured Xenophilius Lovegood about the whereabouts of Harry Potter.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Severus Snape||Male||Gave information to Lord Voldemort about the prophecy leading to the death of James and Lily Potter during the First Wizarding War. He then reformed out of remorse for Lily's death and worked as a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix against the Death Eaters. Participated in a plan of Dumbledore's resulting in his death and Snape becoming Headmaster of Hogwarts, a position he used to covertly assist Harry Potter and his friends. Was killed by Nagini under the command of Voldemort, who believed Snape was the master of the Elder Wand.||Deceased|
|Thorfinn Rowle||Male||During the Second Wizarding War, participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and accidentally struck Gibbon with a Killing Curse intended for Remus Lupin. He was later punished by the Dark Lord having failed to capture Harry Potter on Tottenham Court Road. Rowle later participated in the Battle of Hogwarts.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Travers||Male||Participated in the murder of the McKinnons during the First Wizarding War. Participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters and intimidated employees of Gringotts bank during the Second Wizarding War.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Walden Macnair||Male||One of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters, Macnair fought during the First Wizarding War. Following Voldemort's downfall, he was able to avoid Azkaban by claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse. Present at the Dark Lord's rebirth. Recruited giants to join Lord Voldemort's side during the Second Wizarding War. Participated in the illegal break-in and battle at the Department of Mysteries and was subsequently imprisoned. Macnair, along with other Death Eaters, escaped during the 1997 mass breakout and participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, in which he was knocked unconscious after Rubeus Hagrid slammed him into a wall.||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Wilkes||Unknown||Fought and died in the First Wizarding War.||Deceased|
|Corban Yaxley||Male||Fought in the First Wizarding War. Following Lord Voldemort's downfall, Yaxley was able to avoid Azkaban. During the Second Wizarding War participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Placed the Imperius Curse on Pius Thicknesse. Participated in the persecution of Muggle-borns with the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Participated in the Battle of Hogwarts and was defeated by George Weasley and Lee Jordan.||
Presumed imprisoned or deceased
Death Eaters' allies and other affiliations
The Death Eaters seem to have a hierarchy, with Voldemort at the top, followed by top ranking members, who were often his most powerful and trusted Death Eaters. Arguably, his topmost Death Eaters were Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy (until he lost favour), Bellatrix Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr
|Name||Other loyalty(ies)||Information||Current Status|
|Narcissa Malfoy||Malfoy Family||Draco Malfoy's mother. Supported Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War but defected in order to protect her family later.||Defected|
|Fenrir Greyback||Snatchers||Did not have a Dark Mark. He became cannibalistic in the Second Wizarding War, and his duty was to scare, kill, and infect the opposing side. Was a part of the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, where he scarred Bill Weasley, and was present at the death of Albus Dumbledore. He was involved with the Snatchers and brought Harry Potter to Malfoy Manor. Fenrir participated in the Battle of Hogwarts. He savaged Lavender Brown and presumably many others. He was eventually brought down by Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom||Presumed imprisoned or deceased|
|Pansy Parkinson||Slytherin, Draco Malfoy's gang||
Was included in Draco's gang. During the Second Wizarding War, she attempted to capture Harry Potter to turn him in to the Dark Lord. After Lord Voldemort's downfall, she most likely resumed her education in Hogwarts.
|Vincent Crabbe||Slytherin, Draco Malfoy's gang||Was included in Draco's gang. During the Second Wizarding War, he tried to catch and kill Harry for the Dark Lord. Accidentally killed himself when he conjured a Fiendfyre he could not control.||Deceased|
|Gregory Goyle||Slytherin, Draco Malfoy's gang||Was included in Draco's gang. Served as a protector of Draco due to his physical size.||Alive|
|Mafalda Hopkirk||Ministry of Magic (under Lord Voldemort and Pius Thicknesse)||Continued to work in her position in the Improper Use of Magic Office after He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named overthrew the Ministry.||Unknown|
|Dolores Umbridge||Ministry of Magic, Inquisitorial Squad||A student in Slytherin House. She later became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Headmistress of Hogwarts (1996), and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. She is not a Death Eater, but she shared their pure-blood supremacy belief, so she was not arrested after the death of Rufus Scrimgeour. After the Second Wizading War, she was imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns.||Imprisoned|
|Golgomath||Giants||A giant who allied with the Death Eaters and told his clan to do so as well.||Unknown|
|Dementors||Azkaban||Allied with the Death Eaters, but after their downfall they resumed their original positions as guardians of Azkaban.||N/A|
|Albert Runcorn||British Ministry of Magic||Investigated Muggle-borns during the Second Wizarding War.||Presumably deceased or imprisoned|
|Nagini||Voldemort himself||Voldemort's pet and one of his seven Horcruxes. The killer of Severus Snape. It was killed by Neville Longbottom by the Sword of Gryffindor.||Deceased|
|Quirinus Quirrell||Voldemort himself||Never officially made a Death Eater but directly served Voldemort and even provided himself as a host for the Dark Lord.||Deceased|
Deaths, disappearances and injuries
Deaths caused by Death Eaters
|Victim(s)||Killer(s)||Cause of Death||Reason||Notes|
|Moaning Myrtle||Tom Marvolo Riddle||Slytherin's Basilisk||For being Muggle Born |
To turn Tom Riddle's diary into a Horcrux
|Riddle unleashed the Basilisk in Hogwarts in 1943, and it killed Myrtle in the bathroom near the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.|
|The Riddle family||Tom Marvolo Riddle||Killing Curse||To kill Tom Riddle's Muggle Lineage |
Revenge for his Mother being abandoned during pregnancy
to make Marvolo Gaunt's Ring his second Horcrux.
|Hepzibah Smith||Tom Marvolo Riddle||A lethal poison||To steal Helga Hufflepuff's Cup and Salazar Slytherin's Locket from Smith's safe. |
To make these into Horcruxes
|Riddle killed Hepzibah Smith while working for Borgin and Burkes and framed Smith's house elf, Hokey for the crime.|
|A Muggle tramp||Lord Voldemort||Unknown||For being a Muggle |
To make Salazar Slytherin's Locket his fourth Horcrux.
|An Albanian peasant||Tom Marvolo Riddle||Unknown||To make Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem his fifth Horcrux.|
|Edgar Bones and his family||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||During the First Wizarding War|
|Benjy Fenwick||Unknown Death Eaters||A curse that blasted him to pieces||During the First Wizarding War|
|Fabian and Gideon Prewett||Antonin Dolohov and four other Death Eaters||Unknown, but described as "brutal"||During the First Wizarding War|
|Marlene McKinnon and her family||Multiple Death Eaters, including Travers||Unknown||During the First Wizarding War|
|Dean Thomas's father||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||Killed for refusing to join the Death Eaters|
|Dorcas Meadowes||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||Reason unknown|
|James and Lily Potter||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||To kill Harry Potter because of the prophecy that states he could kill Lord Voldemort.||This murder resulted in the first defeat of Voldemort on 31 October 1981, as Lily Potter's sacrifice for her infant son caused the Killing Curse Voldemort directed at him to rebound.|
|Twelve Muggles||Peter Pettigrew||Blasting Curse||To frame Sirius BlackHouse of Black and for being Muggles||Caused while Pettigrew was fleeing Sirius Black, who then faked his own death|
|Bertha Jorkins||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||To make Nagini into a Horcrux||Riddle used this murder to make Nagini his what he thought was his sixth (but actually his seventh) Horcrux.|
|Frank Bryce||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For supposedly trespassing on the Riddle House|
|Barty Crouch Snr||Barty Crouch Jr||Unknown||Killed before he could expose his son and Voldemort's plans|
|Cedric Diggory||Peter Pettigrew||Killing Curse||For Accompaning Harry Potter and being a "spare"||He accompanied Harry Potter to the graveyard in Little Hangleton, and was murdered on Voldemort's orders to "kill the spare".|
|Broderick Bode||Walden Macnair||Strangled by Devil's Snare||To prevent him from talking about the Death Eaters' planned break-in of the Department of Mysteries|
|Sirius Black||Bellatrix Lestrange||Curse that pushed him through the Veil in the Death Chamber||For being a Blood Traitor and member of the Order of the Phoenix||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Emmeline Vance||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||For being a member of the Order of the Phoenix||Killed in 1996|
|Amelia Bones||Lord Voldemort||Unknown||For defending Harry Potter in trail||Killed in the summer of 1996|
|Florean Fortescue||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||Kidnapped from his shop in Diagon Alley in 1996, was later killed|
|Mrs Abbott||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||Found dead in her home|
|Igor Karkaroff||Unknown Death Eaters||Unknown||For betraying the Death Eaters at the end of the First Wizarding War|
|Gibbon||Thorfinn Rowle||Killing Curse||Rowle was aiming at Remus Lupin during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, but missed and accidentally struck Gibbon.|
|Albus Dumbledore||Severus Snape||Killing Curse||Killed as part of his own plan to spare Draco Malfoy from becoming a murderer and himself from a more painful death||Lord Voldemort plot to get Draco Malfoy to assassinate Dumbledor|
|Charity Burbage||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||Killed for promoting pro-Muggle values||Fed to Nagini|
|Hedwig||Unknown Death Eater||Killing Curse||For being Harry Potter's pet||Battle of the Seven Potters|
|Alastor Moody||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For being the leader of the Order of the Phoenix||Battle of the Seven Potters|
|Rufus Scrimgeour||Unknown Death Eaters or Lord Voldemort||Unknown||As part of the 1997 coup of the Ministry of Magic|
|Bathilda Bagshot||Most likely Lord Voldemort||Unknown, but bearing signs of Dark Magic||To place Nagini inside her body as a trap for Harry Potter in Godric's Hollow|
|German family||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For not having information on Gregorovitch's location|
|Gregorovitch||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For not providing information about the Elder Wand||During his search for the Elder Wand|
|Gellert Grindelwald||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||For not providing information about the Elder Wand||After interrogation about the location of the Elder Wand|
|Peter Pettigrew||Lord Voldemort||Silver hand made by Voldemort||For stopping his attempt to kill Harry Potter||During the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Dobby||Bellatrix Lestrange||Stabbed through the chest with a thrown dagger||For claiming to be a free house elf and disappearing members of Dumbledore's Army from the Malfoy Manor||Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Unidentified goblin killed by Voldemort||Lord Voldemort||Killing Curse||After the report that the trio stole Helga Hufflepuff's Cup from the Lestrange's vault at Gringotts|
|Fred Weasley||Unknown||An explosion in Hogwarts||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Remus Lupin||Antonin Dolohov||Unknown||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Nymphadora Tonks||Bellatrix Lestrange||Unknown||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Colin Creevey||Unknown Death Eater||Unknown||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Unidentified female Hogwarts teacher||Possibly a Death Eater or two||Unknown||Battle of Hogwarts|
|Severus Snape||Nagini||Multiple bites||To gain the Elder Wand||In the Shrieking Shack, after Lord Voldemort came to the conclusion that he needed to do so to gain control of the Elder Wand|
Permanent injuries caused by Death Eaters
|Victim||Death Eater(s)||Description of Injury||Notes|
|Alice and Frank Longbottom||Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Rabastan Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jr||Insanity caused by repeated and prolonged infliction of the Cruciatus Curse||Resulted in the Longbottoms remaining in St Mungo's for the rest of their lives|
|Harry Potter||Lord Voldemort||Lightning Scar caused by a failed Killing Curse||Resulted in the end of the First Wizarding War|
|George Weasley||Severus Snape||A Sectumsempra curse that Snape was actually aiming at another Death Eater severed George’s ear||Battle of the Seven Potters|
Non-permanent injuries caused by Death Eaters
|Victim(s)||Death Eater(s)||Description of Injury||Notes|
|Several Muggle-born students of Hogwarts, Nearly Headless Nick, and Mrs Norris||Slytherin's Basilisk, under Tom Marvolo Riddle’s command||Petrified||This was carried out via the possession of Ginny Weasley in the 1992–1993 school year by a Horcrux slipped to Ginny by Lucius Malfoy|
|Ginny Weasley||Lucius Malfoy and the memory of Tom Marvolo Riddle||Possessed and nearly killed through use of Tom Riddle's Diary a Horcrux||Lucius Malfoy slipped Ginny the diary, and she was saved from Riddle by Harry Potter in 1993|
|Mr Roberts and his family||Unknown Death Eaters (likely includes Lucius Malfoy)||Levitated and humiliated publicly||At the Quidditch World Cup in 1994|
|Harry Potter||Lord Voldemort||Briefly tortured with the Cruciatus Curse, attempted murder||In the graveyard of Little Hangleton in 1995|
|Arthur Weasley||Voldemort/Nagini||Multiple snakebites, severe blood loss||December 1995|
|Ginny Weasley||Unknown Death Eater||Broken ankle||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Hermione Granger||Antonin Dolohov||Severe internal injury caused by an unnamed curse||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Neville Longbottom||Antonin Dolohov||Broken nose and wand||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Luna Lovegood||Unknown Death Eater||Stunned and thrown across a room||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Neville Longbottom||Bellatrix Lestrange||Briefly tortured with the Cruciatus Curse||Battle of the Department of Mysteries|
|Katie Bell||Draco Malfoy||Placed under the Imperius Curse: cursed when she touched a Dark magic opal necklace||Collateral damage of Draco Malfoy's attempts to assassinate Albus Dumbledore|
|Ron Weasley||Draco Malfoy||Poisoned by drinking mead intended for Albus Dumbledore||Collateral damage of Draco Malfoy's attempts to assassinate Albus Dumbledore: Harry Potter saved his life by feeding him a bezoar|
|Harry Potter||Nagini||Received venomous bite on his arm||Attack at Godric's Hollow (1997)|
|Hermione Granger||Bellatrix Lestrange||Tortured with the Cruciatus Curse for information: threatened with a short knife at neck||Skirmish at Malfoy Manor|
|Various Hogwarts students, including Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, and Michael Corner||Amycus and Alecto Carrow||Subjected to assault and the Cruciatus Curse||Occurred while Voldemort was in control of Hogwarts for the 1997–1998 school year|
Disappearances caused by Death Eaters
|Victim||Death Eater(s)||Description of Disappearance||Found?|
|Caradoc Dearborn||Unknown Death Eaters||Disappeared during the First Wizarding War: body was never found, and is presumably dead||No|
|Garrick Ollivander||Fenrir Greyback and unknown Death Eaters||Kidnapped from his own shop in Diagon Alley in 1996||Yes, he escaped from Malfoy Manor along with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Griphook, and Dobby.|
|Octavius Pepper||Unknown Death Eaters||Disappeared in early spring of 1997; disappearance was reported by the Daily Prophet||No|
|Florean Fortescue||Unknown Death Eaters||Kidnapped from his shop in Diagon Alley in 1996, was later killed||No|
|Bertha Jorkins||Peter Pettigrew||She was brought to Lord Voldemort by Peter Pettigrew during a holiday in Albania in 1994, and was later killed by Voldemort. Voldemort used her murder to make Nagini a Horcrux.||No|
|Luna Lovegood||Unknown Death Eaters||Imprisoned in Malfoy Manor||Yes, she escaped from Malfoy Manor along with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Garrick Ollivander, Dean Thomas, Griphook, and Dobby.|
Behind the scenes
- The Death Eaters may at some point have been titled The Knights of Walpurgis.' This name seems to be a play on Walpurgis Night, the evening of 30 April when, according to legend, witches and demons gather.
- Walpurgis Night is the day before the feast day of St Walpurga on the first of May. 1 May, 1998 was the last full day of Voldemort and the Death Eaters' reign of terror. They were finally destroyed on 2 May.
- It is possible that Tom Riddle had formed the Death Eaters under the inspiration of the army of Gellert Grindelwald.
- The hoods worn by the Death Eaters in their first film appearance bear a resemblance to those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. For later films, the design was changed to one with a full mask and no point on the hood.
- There is an individual named Pyrites who appears in a cut chapter of the series. This character is described as a "servant" of Lord Voldemort. It is most likely that Pyrites is a Death Eater though it's possible that he is merely an ally. It's unknown if he actually exists in canon however.
- Despite his allegiance with Voldemort, Fenrir Greyback was not an official Death Eater due to the fact that he was a werewolf. Nonetheless, Voldemort saw Greyback as too valuable an accomplice not to have in his ranks, and allowed him to accompany the group and wear their robes.
- While true Death Eaters were supposed to be only those who are in Voldemort's inner circle, via their talents, wealth, influence, and loyalty, Peter Pettigrew was also given the Dark Mark despite his status as a lowly soldier and his cowardly disposition, an honour that not even the valuable ally Fenrir Greyback received.
- Narcissa Malfoy was not officially a Death Eater, never having been branded with the Dark Mark, even though she was married to Lucius Malfoy and is the sister of Bellatrix Lestrange, both very high-ranking Death Eaters. However, she was an ally of the Death Eaters, as she may have participated in the tormenting of Muggles the night of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, relayed information to Voldemort which led to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the murder of Sirius Black, sat in on Death Eater meetings (though this may simply have been because they were held in her home at the time, much to her discomfort), and was given the duty of finding out whether or not Harry Potter was truly dead. However, she was not known to have participated in any battles, and she ultimately lied to Voldemort about Harry's death and thus helped bring about his fall.
- Pius Thicknesse and Stan Shunpike were both dressed as Death Eaters when they fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and Battle of the Seven Potters, respectively. However, both were under the Imperius Curse at the time, and it is unlikely that either was ever an actual Death Eater.
- Quirinus Quirrell was loyal to Voldemort, but he was not a Death Eater as the organisation was inactive during Voldemort's years of disembodiment.
- Several Death Eaters with the same last name have been mentioned in the series (e.g. Lestrange, Avery, Mulciber), which suggests that fealty to Voldemort may not end with the person themselves, and extends to their children. It is equally possible, however, that the children have similar ideological views to their parents.
- Dolores Umbridge was never explicitly mentioned to be a Death Eater: however, she was a sympathiser who committed crimes against Muggle-borns at the Ministry of Magic while it was under Voldemort's control. She also participated in her own punishment for Harry Potter with a cursed quill for his outcry in Defence Against the Dark Arts, permanently carving I must not tell lies on the back of Harry's hand.
- While the majority of the Death Eaters were males, two explicitly mentioned female Death Eaters were Bellatrix Lestrange and Alecto Carrow. Another unnamed woman was described in the first chapter of the Deathly Hallows, but it may have been Alecto. It's likely however that there are many more that we just never see. In the films however we see plenty of unknown female Death Eaters, though they aren't named.
- Unlike their fathers, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Theodore Nott do not appear to have ever been official Death Eaters, though Crabbe and Goyle were sympathisers who tried to capture Harry Potter for Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, resulting in the destruction of Ravenclaw's diadem, the death of Crabbe and the ruin of the Room of Requirement.
- Bellatrix was referred by J. K. Rowling as Voldemort's lieutenant, suggesting that she may be the second-in-command of the Death Eater organisation. Indeed, she has demonstrated great talent in combat and leadership skills and has been, in the past, trusted with many important things by her master. Similarly, Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape seemed to be lieutenants of Voldemort. Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy were entrusted with Horcruxes. All three were allowed to give subordinate Death Eater orders. However, Malfoy lost favour with Voldemort shortly before his demise.
- The Death Eaters do not wear hoods or masks during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but they do sometimes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This may actually be due to the fact they had no reason to hide their identities from the authorities.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 we see the largest amount of Death Eaters yet at around 200. The end of the Battle of Hogwarts had over a hundred standing in the courtyard. Though the books never say how many there are, the numbers seem closer to dozens rather than hundreds. It's possible that many of these wizards and witches were merely allies and not actual Death Eaters, though it's also possible that some of them were imperiused wizards or workers of the Ministry of Magic.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Indirect mention only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance) (First identified as Death Eaters)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- 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)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Harry Potter Prequel
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Motorbike Escape
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Dimensions
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9 (The Dark Mark)
- ↑ HP Lexicon: Death Eaters
- ↑ CBBC Newsround - FULL transcript of JK's OOTP interview
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Corban Yaxley | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Pyrites (possibly) | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes
|Death Eaters who Defected:|
|Death Eaters' allies:|
Albert Runcorn | Borgin | Delphini | Dolores Umbridge | Fenrir Greyback | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | John Dawlish | Mafalda Hopkirk | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) | Pansy Parkinson | Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Vincent Crabbe
Dementors | Draco Malfoy's gang | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves