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Death Eaters in Harry Potter explained - secrets of Voldemort’s goons

Voldemort's trusted followers wreak havoc on the best Harry Potter characters throughout the series. So let's learn more about the devilish Death Eaters.

Death Eaters in Harry Potter explained

Every great baddie worth their salt has a gang of disconcertingly loyal followers. Voldemort, the snake-faced villain of the Harry Potter stories, is no different, and he’s flanked at all times by his Death Eaters. Besides having an absolutely terrifying name, they’re powerful and ruthless sorcerers with a mean streak wider than a Hippogriff’s wingspan.

Harry Potter and his friends, of course, have plenty of clashes with the Death Eaters, and if you’ve watched the Harry Potter movies in order as many times as we have, you’ll know that the best Harry Potter villains make for formidable foes. To be honest, the Harry Potter cast could have used this guide to help them out. If only it had been available during the Wizarding War.

What is a Death Eater?

Any follower of Voldemort who has been tattooed with the Dark Mark to signify their loyalty can call themselves a Death Eater. 

Not all Voldemort sympathizers earned the title of Death Eater, with the honor of wearing the Dark Mark reserved for those in the malevolent patriarch’s inner circle.

Draco Malfoy became a Death Eater when he was tattooed with the Dark Mark

These were his most trusted lieutenants and the people he would send out to work on his behalf. He invited them to his resurrection in the graveyard at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If you got that particular “save the date,” then you could consider yourself one of the core Death Eaters.

The roster of Death Eaters, of course, varied in number and exclusivity over the years. While the group was very small when Voldemort first returned, it subsequently grew in the lead-up to his defeat at the Battle of Hogwarts.

It’s also important to remember that not all of the Death Eaters were willing, with some coerced into joining the ranks via threats or even Harry Potter spells, such as the Imperius Curse. Spare a thought for the Knight Bus conductor Stan Shunpike, who ended up cursed into fighting alongside the more malicious bad guys in the Battle of the Seven Potters.

Stan Shunpike became a reluctant Death Eater in Harry Potter

Do the Death Eaters have special powers?

The Death Eaters are mostly just very strong witches and wizards, though they do have the nifty added ability of being able to summon Voldemort by pressing the Dark Mark tattooed on their arms.

Put simply, the core Death Eaters are selected for their raw power and ruthlessness. And look, we can’t deny that Voldemort did great work on that part. The likes of Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, and Barty Crouch Jr. have the magical skills to match their commitment to being utterly evil.

In terms of special powers, they’re limited to the ability to summon Voldemort using the Dark Mark, like pinging him on WhatsApp. The movies appear to give the Death Eaters the ability to fly around like vaporous smoke creatures, but we’re pretty sure that’s just a slightly more cinematic way to show them Apparating. In the books, only Voldemort and Severus Snape have the gift of unassisted flight.

The Death Eaters might not have many particular skills, but they are among the only Harry Potter characters willing to deploy the three Unforgivable Curses. When our good guys are only firing off Stunning Spells, someone who doesn’t mind torturing or killing is always going to have the edge. Fighting dirty is awful, but it can be horribly effective.

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Who are the Death Eaters in Harry Potter?

As we’ve explained above, it’s a little difficult to conclusively determine who was actually a Death Eater in the best movies of the series and who just loved Voldemort.

The loathsome Dolores Umbridge, for example, is definitely Death Eater-adjacent, but she always remained in the political arena rather than at the Dark Lord’s side. As far as we know, here are all of the Death Eaters from the series…

Every named Death Eater in Harry Potter:

  • Alecto Carrow
  • Amycus Carrow
  • Antonin Dolohov
  • Augustus Rookwood
  • Avery Sr. and Avery Jr.
  • Barty Crouch Jr.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Corban Yaxley
  • Crabbe Sr.
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Evan Rosier
  • Gibbon
  • Goyle Sr.
  • Igor Karkaroff
  • Jugson
  • Lestrange Sr.
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Mulciber Sr.
  • Mulciber Jr.
  • Nott Sr.
  • Peter Pettigrew
  • Rabastan Lestrange
  • Regulus Black
  • Rosier Sr.
  • Selwyn
  • Severus Snape
  • Stan Shunpike
  • Thorfinn Rowle
  • Travers
  • Walden MacNair
  • Wilkes

Voldemort was always flanked by his Death Eaters in Harry Potter

Who are the most powerful Death Eaters?

Bellatrix Lestrange is definitely the strongest and most devoted of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. The only one who can match her is Severus Snape, but he’s not a true devotee of the Dark Lord.

Given his power and dueling skill, Voldemort would have been super pissed when he learned that Snape was never really on his side and was batting for Dumbledore the whole time.

However, the Dark Lord’s ranks were stacked with badasses. Lucius Malfoy was as manipulative and cunning as they come, while Barty Crouch Jr. was the only wizard with the intense power and maddening unpredictability to match Bellatrix.

There should be honorable mentions for Corban Yaxley and the Carrows, who were appointed to key roles when Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic. The Carrows asserted their influence over Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons at Hogwarts, with less defending and more darkness, while the ruthless blunt instrument of Yaxley was Head of Magical Law Enforcement.

The most powerful Death Eaters in Harry Potter are:

  • Severus Snape
  • Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Barty Crouch Jr.
  • Corban Yaxley
  • Alecto and Amycus Carrow

Yaxley was among the most powerful Death Eaters in Harry Potter

Who are the weakest Death Eaters?

Unfortunately, poor Peter Pettigrew and Draco Malfoy have shown themselves to be the least gifted of the Death Eaters despite their loyalty to the cause.

Pettigrew was unfailingly committed to the Dark Lord but was a vastly inferior wizard to everyone around him. Malfoy, meanwhile, couldn’t complete the job of killing Dumbledore and even wavered somewhat amid the chaos of the Battle of Hogwarts. As always, the Malfoys were rats fleeing a sinking ship.

It’s also worth mentioning the cowardly Avery, whom even Voldemort saw fit to torture and criticize, as well as the luckless, Imperius-addled Mr Shunpike again. That dude just can’t catch a break.

The weakest Death Eaters in Harry Potter are:

  • Peter Pettigrew
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Stan Shunpike
  • Avery
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That’s everything we know about the Death Eaters, but you’ll be shocked to read this Harry Potter fan theory linking Neville Longbottom to a major villain. Elsewhere, find out about another deadly Potter baddie in our guide to Grindelwald and learn what his future holds as we look into the Fantastic Beasts 4 release date.

Finally, look ahead to new movies with the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release date, or change tack for more magic with House of the Dragon season 2.

The creator of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, has made a number of transphobic remarks on social media in recent years. If you’d like to learn more about transgender equality or lend your support, here are two charities we encourage you to visit: the National Center for Transgender Equality in the US and Mermaids in the UK.