Death Eaters – Part 2: Voldemort’s Resurrection

That is the second installment of a series about the Death Eaters; if you want to start at the beginning, go to Part 1.

The Death Eaters are first introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In that book, Jo performs a lot of the hard lifting in developing these characters (among a billion other things she did in Goblet of Fire. The more time passes, the more I marvel at Jo’s accomplishments in that book). We are heard of Death Eaters until page 142 when the word has introduced and explained. Jo populates a scene with them after barely 500 pages, and despite dropping a dozen names, one of them is new to us at that point. It’s incredible.

A Numbers Issue

Jo’s strength is minor characters, although numbers are still one of her weaknesses. One of the Potter books‘ most vexing numerical puzzles is how many Death Eaters were thereupon Voldemort’s rebirth. Within the book, we find various contradictory sources. Harry believes himself “outnumbered by at least thirty to one” (GoF 660) during the scene in question, implying that there is 30 Death Eaters present.

The notion that the Respectables were joined by citizen wizards who wished to fulfill their sadistic tendencies was brought to my notice by my editor Sophia. But I believe the text suggests differently. “I assume they had a few drinks tonight and couldn’t resist reminding us that many of them are still at loose,” Arthur Weasley remarks (GoF 143). It would be strange to use word “many” if Arthur thought there were only a dozen Respectables. Let’s see how many we can name now that we’ve established 30 Respectables, give or take. We’ll go over all of the terms mentioned in Goblet of Fire.

Sirius’s Intel

Throughout the novel, Sirius reveals to be a wealth of Death Eater knowledge. “‘Karkaroff,’ Sirius stated first. ‘He was a Death Eater, Harry’ (GoF 332). One day, this will make a great trivia question: Who was the first Death Eater to be officially named? But that’s only the beginning of what we’ll learn in “Padfoot Returns.” Sirius states that Barty Crouch, Jr. “was caught with a gang of Death Eaters” however he refuses to say whether Junior was a Death Eater himself (GoF 527). In this episode, Sirius also refuses to call Snape a Death Eater, which is admirable given their mutual hatred and the simplicity with which the students could have concluded. Sirius mentions a few Death Eaters from “a band of Slytherins who practically all turned out to be Death Eaters” (GoF 531). This does not imply that they attended school simultaneously as Snape; given the dates on the Black family tree, this would be anachronistic for Bellatrix. That always made me think of a school gang with a changing membership over time, calling it a Voldemort Youth Club. (We’ll go over the gang’s timeline in more detail later.)

“The year before Voldemort died, both Rosier and Wilkes were killed by Aurors.”

“The Lestranges are in Azkaban – they’re a married pair.”

“Avery – he wormed his way out of problems by claiming he was acting under the Imperius Curse, according to what I’ve heard — he’s still at large.

The Pensieve

The Death Eater list is then expanded by delving into Dumbledore’s memories of the trials that followed Vold War I. Igor Karkaroff proposes the following names to the Ministry of Magic (GoF 589–90): “My name is Antonin Dolohov. I’ve seen him torture many Muggles and – and Dark Lord detractors.” — Dolohov had already arrived in Azkaban, having been apprehended shortly after Karkaroff. “Evan Rosier,” he says. “Rosier is no longer alive. […] Rather than coming calmly, he chose to fight and was slain in the process.” — The first Death Eater we hear about is Rosier, who was killed by Mad-Eye Moody (and took a part of Moody’s nose in the process). “Travers, he assisted in the murder of the McKinnons!” – Travers has already been apprehended and is being held in Azkaban. “Mulciber — he specialized in Imperius Curse and compelled numerous people to commit atrocities!” – Mulciber has been apprehended and imprisoned in Azkaban. “[Augustus] Rookwood, who was a spy and gave important information to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from within the Ministry!” – This is the priceless name Karkaroff offers: Rookwood works for the Department of Mysteries as a spy (which proves highly relevant in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). “Severus Snape is a Death Eater!” exclaims the narrator. – Karkaroff verifies this, but Dumbledore backs up Snape’s newfound allegiance.

We can see how Jo slowly but steadily creates her Death Eater army. Except for Avery and Wilkes, most of the names Sirius listed pop up again, and we get four new ones.

Voldemort’s Rebirth – The Respectables

The Death Eaters are first seen en masse in the chapter “The Death Eaters,” suitably titled. The Respectables are the only Death Eaters there, having escaped Azkaban despite their guilt. It’s also worth noting that everyone here is a full-fledged Death Eater with a Dark Mark, as Voldemort summons them this way.

Avery – The Death Eater who begs Voldemort’s forgiveness on behalf of the Respectables (bravely?). He could be the closest the Death Eaters have to an HR department or a union representative. His contributions are critical (GoF 648).

Macnair: We met Macnair as a minor antagonist in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, so it’s no surprise that he’s a Death Eater. (Wormtail knows this because he escaped the same night Macnair was swinging his ax around Hogwarts.) Wormtail informs me that Voldemort is currently “killing dangerous monsters for the Ministry of Magic” (GoF 651). Nott (GoF 651), Crabbe (GoF 651), Goyle (GoF 651) (GoF 651)Avery was mentioned as a Death Eater in “Padfoot Returns.” We’ve seen Lucius and Macnair before as adversaries, but this is the first definitive proof that they’re Death Eaters. Although Crabbe, Sr., and Goyle, Sr. has never named previously, the reader can easily imagine Crabbe’s and Goyle’s dads as Dark Marks goons. So, Nott, Sr. is the only new Death Eater we meet here.To his credit, Harry can name all six of the Respectables when they are referenced by name later that evening.

‘Lucius Malfoy

Lucius was the Respectables’ highest-ranking member, is entrusted with the diarycrux, but his lofty position won’t last long. Voldemort refers to Lucius as “my slick friend” and admits that he was part of the crew who ran amok at the Quidditch World Cup (GoF 650). Lucius has also said to “take the lead in a spot of Muggle-torture,” which fits with what happened at the World Cup.

‘It’s also evident!’ ‘I’d now employed with the Ministry!’

‘Avery, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle —’ (706 GoF)

Voldemort’s Rebirth – The Unnamed Attendees

In Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, we learn about three additional Respectables, including Snape, who justifies his status as a Respectable by pointing out that he isn’t alone. You question why I didn’t look for him when he went missing. For the same reason that Avery, Yaxley, the Carrows, Greyback, Lucius, […], and a slew of others failed to locate him.” (HBP No. 26) All of the names listed are Respectables.

The Gaps in Voldemort’s Rebirth

At Voldemort’s rebirth, all of the Death Eaters we encounter in person are Respectables, but Voldemort helpfully speaks about the Death Eaters who aren’t there. And there are a lot of things we can learn here.

Voldemort continued, pausing to stare at the gap between Malfoy and the next man, which was huge enough for two persons.

Voldemort “believe[s] has left me forever” Severus Snape. The essential word is “believe” – Voldemort isn’t sure if Snape has genuinely abandoned him at this point. Snape has executed if it turned out that he was leave, but happily, a few hours after this speech, Snape is able to persuade Voldemort differently.

Barty Crouch, Jr. is the “most faithful servant.”

This phrase could allude to a variety of Death Eaters (Slughorn? Regulus?). Perhaps Snape is the obedient one?). However, I believe in Occam’s razor and will accept the basic explanation as right in this case. We know two of the three people who died in Voldemort’s service. Jo mainly refers to the previously stated Death Eaters in this scenario to avoid overwhelming the reader. It just so happens that we already know about two dead Death Eaters. Sirius had mentioned Rosier and Wilkes, two of the three Aurors killed. (Rosier has brought up again during Karkaroff’s trial.) So now the only question is who is the third Death Eater who has died.

So the guest list is lacking one dead Death Eater and 21 living Death Eaters (17 living ones if all the Maybes showed up). But, as someone who sees the glass half-full, I’ll marvel at how much we already knew about the Death Eaters after just one novel.

Part 3 will look at who was there at the Battle of the Tower.

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