If there was one group of characters in all of fiction that you knew was evil right away, it has to be the Death Eaters from the Harry Potter franchise. There has never been an organization with a less ambiguous name. The Death Eaters hardly need an introduction, but in the universe of Harry Potter, they are the devoted followers of the evil Lord Voldemort. Their entire reason for existence is to serve Lord Voldemort and to make sure his plans come to fruition. They began as basically a glorified school club when Lord Voldemort was still at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (and still going by Tom Riddle) and then expanded into a full-blown fanatic following as the members grew up and started to permeate the Wizarding World.
The atrocities that the Death Eaters committed in the name of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter books are strange to behold. They almost mirror the real-life regime from the 1930s and 1940s in Germany, and their ideals are also somewhat similar, feeling like they are the superior race to normal Muggles, or people who cannot do magic. Their main goal was the subjugation and domination of anybody who was not a “pureblood” wizard.
As with all organizations, there is actually a hierarchy and a set of rules that all Death Eaters must follow. They don’t just let anyone join. In this list, we will look at some of these rules and why each Death Eater had to follow them.
20 A Term Of Respect
One of the main rules of Lord Voldemort’s regime, and especially of the Death Eaters, is that they must call Lord Voldemort by the title “Dark Lord.” You never hear any Death Eater call Lord Voldemort “Voldemort” to his face. They always use the title of Dark Lord, even to each other, when Voldemort isn’t anywhere around! Now that’s respect.
Even Severus Snape, who was a double agent for Albus Dumbledore, and was spying on Lord Voldemort as a Death Eater, still called Voldemort “the Dark Lord” in the presence of the Order of the Phoenix. This was a habit that was remarked on by Harry and it definitely didn’t go unnoticed. Dark Lord to Voldemort is similar to “King,” or “Your Highness.” It is a term of respect and all Death Eaters must abide by it.
It seems weird, though, that Lord Voldemort went to all the trouble of changing his name from Tom Riddle to Voldemort, and he doesn’t even want his followers to use it! As a tactic of bringing him down to our level, Dumbledore always called Voldemort “Tom Riddle” to his face, probably to remind him that he was not above anyone else. The Death Eaters, however, had no such luxury.
19 Flowing Robes
Another rule that the Death Eaters must follow at all times is that they have to wear dark robes and masks. As if they weren’t evil looking enough, the dark, flowing robes and “skull” masks give the Death Eaters a horrific aura. They almost look like demonic entities floating around. This is most likely done to cause a sense of dread and to intimidate anyone who might try to stand against them.
The dark robes and masks that the Death Eaters wear for the most part can be considered their official Death Eater uniform. And I would have to say, most Death Eaters probably loved wearing this particular uniform. It can also be practical, as most Death Eaters are active at night and their dark robes and masks can help them blend in when they are trying to surprise an unsuspecting witch or wizard.
It could also be a double-edged sword, because the robes and masks pretty much make any Death Eater instantly recognizable, which would not be a good idea if they need to not be seen. The masks can also help with anonymity, which can be a very dangerous thing. So if you’re thinking about signing up to be a Death Eater, keep that in mind!
18 Pureblood Supremacy
One of Lord Voldemort’s main goals in the vast Harry Potter universe is that he wants pureblood witches and wizards to have supremacy and dominance over mixed blood witches and wizards, as well as muggles. Therefore, in order to join the Death Eaters, you have to agree with this agenda. Voldemort’s regime heavily mirrors the regime that occurred in real life during the 1930s and 1940s in what was one of the most tragic parts of World War II.
In Germany, some people were considered by some to be a master race of people, superior in many ways.
This is extremely similar to Lord Voldemort’s view of pureblood witches and wizards being the superior race to mixed blood witches and wizards, and muggles. Although Voldemort himself acknowledges that he is not a pureblood wizard, he still believes purebloods should have dominion over the world, and tirelessly works to achieve that goal.
In order to become a Death Eater, you must either be a pureblood witch or wizard as well as agree with the ideal that purebloods are much more superior to anyone else. This is pretty much the main rule of the Death Eaters, and everything they do is to further this goal.
17 Slytherin Or Bust
Once you start to really look through all of the members of the Death Eaters, you will start to notice one main thing. Every single Death Eater, apart from one, was in Slytherin house at Hogwarts. Slytherin was founded by Salazar Slytherin, an extremely famous and powerful wizard who was a founder of Hogwarts along with Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff.
Salazar Slytherin was also an ancestor of Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, which is also probably a big reason that all Death Eaters are from Slytherin. The only known Death Eater who was not in Slytherin at Hogwarts was Peter Pettigrew, who was in Gryffindor. However, Pettigrew definitely did not fit the mold of a standard Gryffindor, only being put in that house to stay by the side of much more powerful wizards.
Slytherin also favored pureblood wizards and was a pureblood supremacist, similar to Lord Voldemort. This was actually one of the main reasons for a huge fight between Slytherin and the other founders of Hogwarts. Slytherin only wanted to allow pureblood witches and wizards to attend the school, whereas the other founders wanted to admit everyone who was able to attend. Being a Slytherin is a main rule of the Death Eaters.
16 It's All In A Name
Another interesting thing you may notice while looking through the list of Voldemort’s Death Eaters is the Death Eaters’ names. Pretty much every single Death Eater has an evil sounding name, so we can only surmise that Voldemort requires his servants to sound evil, as well as look the part.
Just listen to these names of Death Eaters, and you can tell that they are supremely evil.
Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, Igor Karkaroff, Fenrir Greyback, Antonin Dolohov, Alecto Carrow, Amycus Carrow, Mulciber, Scabior, Thorfinn Rowle, and Severus Snape. One look at those names lets you know the kind of people you are dealing with. This is a common thing in novels, however, and is not just present in Harry Potter. Usually, evil characters have evil sounding names so that the reader knows they are evil.
Obviously, Lord Voldemort loves his evil sounding names, as he changed his own name from the boring Tom Riddle to the evil Lord Voldemort. It’s no wonder that anybody with an evil sounding name would be able to join up with the Death Eaters. I wonder why the Aurors (dark wizard catchers) didn’t just start keeping tabs on people with creepy names. It probably would have saved them a lot of time and trouble.
15 Voldemort's Rage
One main rule that every Death Eater must follow, is that they must be extremely cavalier with their own personal health. We all know that Lord Voldemort is prone to fits of rage, and usually, these fits of rage are directed at none other than the Death Eaters themselves. Most of the time this is because one of the Death Eaters let Harry Potter through their fingers, or just didn’t complete some task that Lord Voldemort had given them.
Voldemort cares for nothing but himself, so ending the life of his followers is of no consequence to him. Therefore, each Death Eater knows going in that their life could be ended for something trivial, such as being in the room at the wrong time! This doesn’t seem to dissuade many Death Eaters though, as there are still quite a bit of them even when they know this kind of thing might happen to them.
Perhaps the fear of Lord Voldemort taking over the Wizarding World and them being on the wrong side of it, is stronger than the fear of their lives being ended. Also, maybe joining the Death Eaters gives them free reign to be evil, which is what they really want.
14 The Dark Mark
Many of the other entries in this list are more or less suggested rules that the Death Eaters have to follow. However, this next entry is a hard and fast rule that is explicitly stated in the Harry Potter books. Every single Death Eater must be branded on their arm with a “dark mark.” The dark mark is a sort of magical tattoo that each Death Eater must have on their arm. It is darkest when Lord Voldemort is at full power.
The dark mark is generally used to by Death Eaters to identify each other. It also has the very useful ability for Voldemort to use it to summon all of his Death Eaters to his side at the same time. This is the main reason that Lord Voldemort makes his Death Eaters get the dark mark magically branded on their skin.
It is usually reserved for the more important followers of Voldemort, the ones who are fully fledged Death Eaters. It is also seen as a badge of honor among Lord Voldemort’s elite. And it is also said to be a very painful spell to endure, which makes sense because that’s just Voldemort’s style. Some people in the real world have even gotten this as a real tattoo!
One main aspect of Lord Voldemort’s regime is that they use certain magical curses to intimidate people and make people do what they want. These curses are called the Unforgivable Curses, because the use of them is supposed to give the witch or wizard who casts the curse, a one-way ticket to the wizard prison, Azkaban. However, it is pretty much a rule that the Death Eaters must know these curses, and actively use them as much as they want.
There are three Unforgivable Curses in the Harry Potter universe. They are the Avada Kedavra, Crucio, and Imperio. Avada Kedavra instantly ends the life of anyone who is hit by the curse. Crucio is used to inflict excruciating pain on the victim, which is very useful for extracting information. And Imperio causes the victim to follow the orders of the caster without question, basically mind control.
Obviously, these curses are pretty evil, so it makes sense that they would be a big part of Death Eater culture. Death Eaters use these curses on anyone they want to, which causes massive panic and fear of Voldemort and his followers. It’s no wonder that it’s a rule that each Death Eater must know and use these magical curses.
12 Voldemort's Past
For someone who is so sure that pureblood witches and wizards are superior to all others, Voldemort doesn’t quite fit his own ideal. Voldemort is a mixed blood wizard, also known as a half-blood. His mother was a witch, but his father was a muggle, someone who cannot use magic. Voldemort is actually the very thing that he is trying to eradicate from the Wizarding World.
With all of that being the case, and with what we already know about Voldemort’s temper, it should come as no surprise that one of the main rules of being a Death Eater is to never question Voldemort on his background. He ends people’s lives with absolute impunity, and bringing up his half-blood status is surely a recipe for disaster.
Most Death Eaters probably do not even know this little tidbit about Lord Voldemort, as Harry Potter only found out because Dumbledore told him, based on rigorous research that Voldemort had done. This research came in the form of looking through other’s memories, and piecing together Voldemort’s past. If it took Dumbledore that long to figure out that Voldemort was a half-blood, the Death Eaters probably have no idea. Still, it’s best to avoid the subject.
11 I Spy...
This next rule that Death Eaters must follow should really go without saying. And that is, no Death Eater shall be a spy for Dumbledore. I mean, come on guys. Dumbledore is pretty much the one wizard in the entire world who is on par with Lord Voldemort as far as magical power is concerned. You would think it wouldn’t be too much to ask for his followers to not spy for his one nemesis.
Well, apparently this obvious rule was too hard for one Death Eater to follow. And that Death Eater was Severus Snape. Snape turned into a double agent spy for Dumbledore after Lord Voldemort ended the life of his “true love” Lily Potter, who also happened to be Harry Potter’s mother.
This caused Snape a massive amount of guilt and regret and also caused him to jump over to the other side, and spy for Dumbledore.
I suppose it is Voldemort’s own fault for causing this particular Death Eater to become a spy. If he had just shown some restraint and not ended the life of Lily Potter, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Needless to say, it should have been an easy rule to follow for his Death Eaters.
10 Get Over Here
As I stated in a previous pick in this list, each Death Eater must be branded with a magical “dark mark” tattoo on their forearm. This not only helps Death Eaters recognize each other, but it also lets Lord Voldemort summon each Death Eater to his side. All he has to do is press the dark mark on his own arm, and each Death Eater who also has a dark mark will feel a sensation on their arm as well. Then, if they disapparate, they will appear wherever Voldemort is at the time.
It is a main rule of the Death Eaters that whenever Lord Voldemort uses the dark mark as a summoning tool for his followers, they must immediately disapparate and show up wherever Voldemort is at the time. If they don’t do this, it is pretty much paramount to treason. The only person who does not always have to immediately show up next to Voldemort’s side is Severus Snape, as he is a spy for Dumbledore and could be in a compromising position at the time of the summons, causing him to disapparate later.
Imagine having to drop everything you’re doing for the summons of an evil megalomaniac dark wizard. That would not be fun!
9 The Final Solution
One of Lord Voldemort’s main ideals for his new regime is to eliminate muggles, or people who cannot use magic. Voldemort views wizards, and especially pureblood wizards, as superior to muggles in every way. His main goal is to eliminate muggles altogether from the world, but in the meantime, he is fine with wizard dominance over muggles.
This viewpoint is very similar to the real-life German party that was present in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. These people viewed themselves as superior to all other races, and set about on a campaign to eliminate others.
It comes as no surprise, then, that in order to be a Death Eater you must agree with this policy of the elimination of muggles. Some people would no doubt argue that they were forced to serve Voldemort, or that they were under mind control, but for his true followers, his close-knit Death Eaters, it is pretty much a rule that you must agree with total wizard supremacy. If not, there would really be no reason to join the Death Eaters in the first place, unless, like Peter Pettigrew, you were just scared of Voldemort and joined out of fear.
8 Follow The Leader
In order to be a Death Eater, there’s really only one rule that you absolutely HAVE to follow, if you find the other rules too ridiculous. And that rule is to serve Lord Voldemort without question. Anything he says to do, you must do it. If he gives you a mission, you can’t complain about it all, you just have to complete it, and preferably in a timely fashion. If you do not do this, you risk terrible repercussions against your wellbeing.
Generally, throughout the Harry Potter novels, Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters were not very productive in accomplishing the goals and missions that he assigned to them. Nobody could ever seem to catch Harry Potter, which was his main obsession for the better part of his second rise to power.
This most likely did not have a great effect on his already fiery temper.
The Death Eaters really treated Lord Voldemort like he was some kind of god, and with the powers that he had at his disposal, it’s not hard to see why. The man could fly for goodness sake! Most Death Eaters were so scared of him that blindly following his orders was definitely not a hard rule for them to follow.
7 Give Me Harry Potter
It goes without saying that in order to become one of Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters, you also have to dislike the same thing Voldemort himself dislikes. Whether that’s muggles, or mudblood wizards. But the main thing you need to dislike to become a Death Eater, is Harry Potter. Harry Potter becomes Voldemort’s obsession during his second rise to power in the novels, and it’s no wonder why.
Just when Voldemort was on the cusp of achieving his goals, he tries to end the life of a child and everything goes downhill from there.
Throughout the course of the novels, it is Voldemort’s main goal to eradicate Harry Potter from existence, and he heavily relies on his Death Eaters to try and make this goal a reality. Luckily for us, and for Harry Potter, the Death Eaters are pretty inept at this. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is an absolute rule that Death Eaters must actively dislike Harry Potter and wish for his demise.
What would be the point, really, to becoming a Death Eater if you didn’t dislike the same things that Lord Voldemort, your leader, dislikes? To do your job well, Harry Potter would need to be very high up on the list of people whose lives needed to end.
6 Just Be Useful
Lord Voldemort doesn’t just let anyone join the elite ranks of his closest followers. His only reserves the right to becoming a Death Eater to those that he feels can be extremely useful to him, and his goals. An example of this can be seen with Severus Snape. He knows that Snape is a professor at Hogwarts and is incredibly close to Albus Dumbledore at all times. He uses this to his advantage, to use Snape to get information about his greatest rival, Dumbledore. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize Snape is a double agent for Dumbledore… but the idea is a good one.
Another example is Pius Thicknesse. Pius is very high up in the wizarding government, the Ministry of Magic. Voldemort uses this position to make Pius the new Minister of Magic, effectively taking over the British government as a puppet regime.
In order to become a Death Eater, you must have some quality that can be useful to Lord Voldemort. Even the werewolf Fenrir Greyback was made a Death Eater because of his intimidation factor. Greyback was extremely adept at scaring people into following Voldemort. As long as you are useful to Lord Voldemort, you can look for your place next to his elite followers.
5 No More Mudbloods
As I have continuously stated in this list, one of the main rules of becoming a Death Eater includes believing in Lord Voldemort’s ideals with little to no equivocation. This includes agreeing with Voldemort about the domination of mudblood witches and wizards. Voldemort believes that his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin, was correct in his views that pureblood wizards are superior to all other peoples, including mudblood wizards and muggles.
He doesn’t exactly go as far as his belief that muggles should be eliminated, but he still thinks that pureblood witches and wizards should rule over everyone else. His Death Eaters, of course, need to help him make this dream a reality. It is one of the main missions of all Death Eaters, after obeying Voldemort unquestioningly, and finding and ending Harry Potter.
Therefore, to become one of Voldemort’s elite Death Eaters, it is a rule that you agree with the domination of pureblood wizards. Even though you may find it strange that Voldemort, a mudblood himself, thinks that all mudbloods are inferior to pureblood wizards, you need to keep that to yourself and just do your job. If you do this, you will be a Death Eater in no time at all!
4 Interrogation Techniques
One thing Lord Voldemort definitely likes out of his Death Eaters, is for them to be adept at interrogation. This can be extremely useful in a variety of ways. It helps Death Eaters get information that can be useful for Voldemort. It also helps Death Eaters be intimidating to others, which in turn either makes people join up with Voldemort or makes them give up any information that they were trying to keep a secret.
An example of this rule can easily be seen in Fenrir Greyback. Greyback was a werewolf, and in the Harry Potter universe, werewolves are not treated kindly. They are looked down on almost to the level of muggles, especially by people who are a part of Voldemort’s regime. How then did a werewolf like Greyback become such a high ranking Death Eater? It is because he was extremely good at getting information out of people, or threatening them in order to turn them over to Voldemort’s side.
This just goes to show that no matter your background, if you can prove that you are useful to Lord Voldemort and can get information out of people, a main rule that his Death Eaters must follow, you will find yourself right by his side in no time.
3 Acting With Integrity
Have you ever seen a Death Eater act with integrity? Nope. That’s because it is against the rules of being a Death Eater to do so. Seriously, it goes without saying that you just need to be an evil person in order to join the Death Eaters. I mean, come on, the name of the group is Death Eaters. That alone should let you know what kind of people are joining up.
Some people might argue that since Severus Snape was actually a double agent for Dumbledore, he was acting with integrity.
But I am going to refute that point. Snape was still an awful person, even though he turned on Lord Voldemort and became a spy for Dumbledore. He still bullied children. He only turned because Voldemort ended Lily Potter’s life. And he didn’t care at all about James or Harry. That doesn’t count as acting with integrity in my eyes.
If Voldemort even whiffs a scent of any of his Death Eaters beginning to act with integrity, he would snuff that out so quick it would make your head spin. The whole point of the Death Eaters is to be evil! You can’t be a Death Eater if you have any integrity.
2 The End Justifies The Means
To Lord Voldemort, there is nothing he wouldn’t do to gain absolute power over the Wizarding World. I mean, he even ended people’s lives and split his soul into seven pieces to try and become immortal. That’s some serious supervillain evil-type stuff! It should come as no surprise, then, that his followers, the Death Eaters, must abide by the same rules.
Nothing is off limits to the Death Eaters to accomplish the goals of Voldemort’s regime. The end justifies the means in Lord Voldemort’s view. The Death Eaters have ended people’s lives, used unforgivable curses such as crucio, imperio, and avada kedavra on people freely, kidnapped people, blackmailed, intimidated, and even used magic on other wizards to drive them to insanity.
To be a Death Eater, you must be willing to delve deep into evil acts to get your goals accomplished.
There is no room in the Death Eaters for anyone who even feels the slightest bit of remorse for what they are doing to other people. The only thing that Lord Voldemort cares about is bringing his vision of pureblood supremacy to reality, and making himself the leader of this new world. That means his Death Eaters must follow in his footsteps.
1 Say Bye-Bye To The Order Of The Phoenix
If there was a group in the Harry Potter universe that is the exact opposite of the Death Eaters, it would have to be the Order of the Phoenix, led by Albus Dumbledore. The Order of the Phoenix’s main goal was to stop Voldemort, and by extension, his Death Eaters, at all costs. In Harry Potter, the Death Eaters were the bad guys, and the Order of the Phoenix were the good guys.
Since this was the case, it’s pretty obvious that one of the main goals of the Death Eaters would be to stop and destroy the Order of the Phoenix. Lord Voldemort’s nemesis is Albus Dumbledore, so anyone who is following him would need to be eradicated. This is a rule that you must follow if you are to become a Death Eater.
It’s actually kind of funny, then, that one of Lord Voldemort’s main Death Eaters was actually a secret member of the Order of the Phoenix. Severus Snape was a double agent, working as a Death Eater and secretly spying on Lord Voldemort for the Order of the Phoenix and Albus Dumbledore. Snape broke this rule and many other Death Eater rules right under Lord Voldemort’s nose.