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

Morsmordre is the incantation of a spell used to conjure the Dark Mark, the skull-and-serpent sign used by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The Death Eaters cast their mark over the homes of anyone they killed.[2]



First Wizarding War

In the First Wizarding War, the Morsmordre curse was somewhat of a signature move for Death Eaters. Upon committing murder, they would cast it over the locations as a declaration of their crimes. This led the wizarding community to fear the mark's appearance, as it would usually mean death is found when it is present.

After Voldemort's first defeat, the mark became absent when Death Eaters were either rounded up or evaded justice, and due to very few wizards knew how to cast it, almost exclusive to Death Eaters. The casting of this curse is considered illegal.


Dark Mark

The Dark Mark over the Quidditich World Cup.

Barty Crouch Jr. witnessed Death Eaters torturing the Roberts family for entertainment, which awakened him from the Imperius Curse his father placed on him. He took Harry Potter's wand, which was sticking out of the boy's pocket in front of him, and cast the curse to set off the Dark Mark during the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, in order to scare the Death Eaters there for being disloyal to Voldemort. This caused mass panic to both the audience and Death Eaters alike, causing the former to run around in hysteria and the latter to Disapparate in fear of facing their master's wrath.

At first, the house-elf Winky was blamed for the act due to the culprit wand was found in her possession and the record showed it had performed the curse. Much later, the truth was revealed by Crouch himself under the influence of Veritaserum.


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


It was cast over Hogwarts' Astronomy Tower by Gibbon when the Death Eaters invaded the castle in 1997, in order to lure Albus Dumbledore to the tower so that Draco Malfoy could kill him. However, it was Severus Snape who committed the murder, and Dumbledore's corpse was described to have fallen off the tower under the Mark's eerie green light like a great rag doll.


The incantation of this spell appears to be derived from the French mort, "death", and mordre, "to bite". This alludes to the name of Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters. The English word murder could also contribute. In Norwegian, Morsmordere directly translated means "mothers killers".

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

Behind the scenes


The hand movement

Morsmordre bellatrix

Bellatrix casts Morsmordre

  • In the book version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Dark Mark was cast over the Astronomy Tower by Gibbon in order to lure Dumbledore there. However, in the film adaption, the Mark was non-verbally cast by Bellatrix Lestrange in celebration after Dumbledore was killed. Furthermore, in the film the Mark was dispelled by the mourning residents of Hogwarts as a sign of respect for the late headmaster.
  • This is the only spell that Barty Crouch Jr. casts onscreen, in his true form, before becoming Alastor Moody by means of Polyjuice Potion.



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