The Death Eaters

chapter thirty-three of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Lord Voldemort recalls his Death Eaters and then tells them the story of his rebirth as Harry listens. Finally, Voldemort tortures Harry, and informs him of his intent to duel and then kill him once and for all.

Voldemort, by Sebastian Theilig

Voldemort turned his scarlet eyes upon Harry.


The Dark Mark, by pojypojy

The scar on Harry’s forehead seared with a sharp pain again, and Wormtail let out a fresh howl; Voldemort removed his fingers from Wormtail’s mark, and Harry saw that it had turned jet black.


Lord Voldemort, by Laurence Peguy

“I smell guilt,” he said. “There is a stench of guilt upon the air.”


DE Mask, by Heather Campbell

“My Lord, I was constantly on the alert,” came Lucius Malfoy’s voice swiftly from beneath the hood. “Had there been any sign from you, any whisper of your whereabouts, I would have been at your side immediately, nothing could have prevented me-“


Crucio, by MartinTenbones

It was pain beyond anything Harry had ever experienced.


Cruciatus Curse, by Sanna Lorenzen

He wanted it to end… to black out… to die….


The Dark Lord, by Victor Cagno aka: Mudgutts

“Now untie him, Wormtail, and give him back his wand.”


about the chapter


For years before the release of the Half-Blood Prince, this scene was the subject of as much speculation as almost any other in the series. Who exactly are the three unnamed Death Eaters – “one too cowardly to return,” “one who I believe has left me forever,” and the “most faithful servant?” We’ll find out the faithful servant before long, but the others? There are certainly candidates – we’ve seen Karkaroff, Bagman, and Snape all named as Death Eaters, for a start, and we don’t know that any of them come to the graveyard this night. But figuring out who the others are takes a little bit more time, and raises a whole lot of interesting possibilities.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Another thing that’s fascinating about watching Voldemort with his Death Eaters is the fact that he names so many of them outright: Lucius Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, and Avery are all named in front of the full group, while other Death Eaters Voldemort “passed in silence.” Remember that Karkaroff mentioned in his trial that Voldemort made a point of operating in secrecy, and ensuring that his Death Eaters didn’t know who their comrades were. And it’s fair to guess that Karkaroff wouldn’t have known any of these names, or he’d have outed them in his trial. So why is Voldemort suddenly naming them all now? It seems almost like punishment; after all, they’re far more vulnerable to exposure now than they were before. So why would Voldemort want to punish this particular group? There could be lots of reasons, but I can think of one good one: what if they were the ones torturing the Roberts family at the Quidditch World Cup, who then fled at the sign of the Dark Mark?

Something to Remember

The story that Voldemort weaves about his parents is both interesting and curious. Given the fact that he was an orphan, it makes you wonder how he knows the things he does, not to mention wonder just how many of them are accurate. It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t explain any of this to his Death Eaters – he stops the story abruptly when they begin arriving, so that only Harry and perhaps Wormtail (though he’s sobbing the whole time) even hear the story of Voldemort’s parents, and of why Voldemort is in this particular Muggle graveyard….

37 Responses to “The Death Eaters”

  1. This chapter always leaves me shaking but it is really a great preparation for the events in the next three books too.
    Sanna Lorenzen’s picture here amazes me. I love it.

  2. Hm, is pojypojys picture flipped vertically?

  3. Kim: It’s posted the same way it was posted on pojypojy’s website. Isn’t the idea that the person’s arm is being held down?

  4. What I meant is that it shows a right arm, but I believe the Dark Mark to be on the left one.

  5. Ahh, understood! I hadn’t even thought of that, but you’re right. Well, since this is how pojypojy posted it, and I promised artists that I would only post their work unaltered… I’m going to call it creative license. ;)

  6. *SPOILER*
    Are these right for those Death Eaters?
    My guesses are:
    The one too cowardly to return- Karkaroff
    The one that has left Voldemort forever- Snape

  7. I would have said the other way around.

  8. *Spoiler alert*
    Eliza, what about RAB?

  9. I always liked how Voldemort told his story about his parents to Harry. When the whole “marks him as his equal”-thing comes out, it always made me remember that Voldemort may not see Harry as his equal, but he accidentally let things slip to make him as his equal…
    also SPOILER:
    Kim, wouldn’t Voldemort know that RAB left him forever and is in fact, already dead? If so, wy didn’t he just say ‘dead’? My guess was with Eliza and ‘just’ Karkaroff.

  10. At the time, he didn’t know Snape had left him.

  11. kim, if Voldemort knew RAB was dead, wouldn’t he also know why? Karkaroff and Snape do make sense, but I wonder what Voldemort knows about RAB. Maybe he simply thinks he had left him before his downfall, but then he should have hunted him like he did Karkaroff.

    Josie, I was also wondering why Voldemort now mentioned those names and like your idea for the reason.

    “They, who knew the steps I took, long ago, to huard myself against mortal death?” – Really? I’m sure Voldemort didn’t actually tell his Death Eaters about his horcruxes. So what did they think those steps were?

    Something to keep in mind: “May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail,” said Voldemort.

  12. Kim, wow I had never noticed that line, “May your loyalty never waver again.” Interesting.

  13. Me neither. Good one.

  14. In the *about the chapter,* Was Ludo Bagman ever confirmed as a Death Eater? I know he was shown on trial in the Pensive, but did he just accidentally pass secrets TO a Death Eater because he was an idiot? And why do they have to wonder, anyway? Just pull up the sleeve and check.

  15. I am fairly convinced that Voldemort is referring to Karkaroff as the one too cowardly to return and Snape as the one who was lost forever. He thought of Snape as “lost” because he knew Snape now worked for DD. Think traitor, not coward. Karkaroff named his fellow Death Eater’s so he could get out of prison, an action more likely to be considered cowardly. Don’t forget, its Karkaroff who runs away, not Snape.

  16. Pam, I’m certain you’re right. Don’t forget, Snape also admits in HBP2 that the Dark Lord “thought that I had left him forever,” or something along those lines.

    I remember having a lot of fun trying to figure out who these people were, though. For a long time I was completely convinced that Snape had snuck out of Hogwarts and was there in that graveyard.

  17. Josie, i agree and was convinced that Snape was at the graveyard, but alas we’ll never truly know, he never showed Harry that memory but i can imagine him cloaked, silent and taking everything back to Dumbledore

  18. Snape is definitely the one that had “left him forever”. And Karkaroff is obviously the coward. Bagman was never a Death Eater; he accidentally passed information to Rookwood, who was a Death Eater.

  19. Emily, we definitely know that now; my point was that before book six came out and established Snape as “left him,” we couldn’t be sure.

  20. It’s interesting to examine how the DEs act towards Voldemort, how they treat him as though he is a God and following him is their religion.

    Perhaps the DEs Voldemort named were the ones in his inner circle, and all the DEs know about them. Karkaroff may not have named them because they had already been cleared before he was arrested and he didn’t see the point. Maybe he would have named them if they’d let him carry on longer.

  21. Then, I kind of assumed that the inner circle were a select group of DEs, but I may be wrong and ‘inner circle’ refers to all of them. But we know Voldemort seems honour some more than the others, e.g. Snape and Bellatrix, and that’s what I meant.

  22. Is Wormtail’s dark mark on his left arm? I’ve never paid attention but since he was in the Order and was a spy it would be stupid to put it on the arm that everyone would expect it to be on. If Dumbledore said alright everyone show your left forearm so we can see none of us is a spy it would make more sense anyway for it to be on the other arm. Not that it matters because as you say, creative license in the artwork

  23. Also on the point of the one too cowardly and the one who has left forever, I think Snape is the cowardly one because he would have to leave in front of everyone and Dumbledore to declare his allegiance to Voldemort and Karkaroff runs almost as soon as the dark mark burns bright.
    of course Snape later explains away his susposed cowardice in a way that make Voldemort forget that its cowardice (but doesn’t SPOILER Bellatrix refer to him as a coward in book 6 and say he didn’t come immediatley to call when she questions him?)

  24. Emma, the main reason I have for thinking that Snape is the one who “left him forever” is just that Snape uses those exact words in HBP when talking to Bellatrix – “yes, the Dark Lord thought that I had left him forever.” To me that’s a pretty big indication of the author’s intent.

  25. elizabethauthor, I think your remark about Death Eater-ism as a religion is spot-on, and that the impression is quite deliberate. It is surely one of JKR’s many Christian references.

    Jesus rises from the dead and announces a warm forgiveness to all His friends (and enemies, should they want it).

    Voldemort rises from near-death in a mockery of resurrection. His first messaage to his disciples is an announcement of non-forgiveness for their shoddy servanthood. They will have to earn his favour and live out a hopeless task of salvation by works. He casts himself quite blatantly in the role of an Anti-Christ; the mockery of the real Christ in this scene really is very offensive.

    That, of course, is Rowling’s point. Voldemort is the villain, and his behaviour is intended to offend us.

  26. Wow, Grace, I had never thought of those connections to Christianity, but they make total sense. Nice work!

    And pre-book 6, I also thought Snape had somehow escaped to the graveyard that night, and he was merely one of those Voldemort passed by. At that point, whether it was under Dumbledore’s orders or on his own wishes, it was up in the air.

  27. Karkaroff is certainly the cowardly one. He acted cowardly in almost every scene he was in. He’s one of those men who try to act big and tough but when it comes down to it, he has no bravery in him. The court scene, when he was heard talking with Snape those two times and how he acts in general is very cowardly.
    Snape on the other hand is very brave, especially considering what we learn from the next three books. Think about what Harry tells his son! Also, that quote Josie gives fairly well proves who JK meant was the one who left him forever.
    RAB could be one of those three that died. Tom might think that he did die in service to him. Or maybe he was in another empty space that he just didn’t mention. Possibly because he didn’t want to let the DE’s know that he doesn’t, in fact, know all!

  28. Ari, I think it’s unlikely that RAB is one of the “three dead in my service”. RAB was killed by the Inferi in the Horcrux lake, so he essentially just disappeared, as far as the outside world is concerned. Perhaps Sirius’ impression of what happened to him was based on the idea that he simply deserted Voldemort, which Voldemort is likely to have come up with himself, and maybe LV spread the rumour he’d had him killed for it in order to hide the fact that somebody had successfully deserted him without being tracked down. Rosier and Wilkes are two of the 3. The third: who knows?

  29. @Emma, Wormtail’s mark is on the left arm, just as everyone’s is.

    (“Voldemort bent down and pulled out Wormtail’s left arm; he forced the sleeve of Wormtail’s robes up past his elbow, and Harry saw something upon the skin there, something like a vivid red tattoo–a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth–the image that appeared in the sky at the Quidditch World Cup: the Dark Mark.” – GoF, Ch. 33)

    >>It’s quite easy, just with the knowledge we have up to this point, to know who the coward and the deserter are (the most faithful we find out by the end of the book). Karkaroff has, as others have pointed out, been shown to be cowardly through out the book so far, even having Snape telling him to flee. The deserter has also clearly been painted as Snape (“‘Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.'” – Dumbledore, GoF, Ch. 30)

    Any other speculation at this point, of course, requires knowledge we get from further chapters and books, though (SPOILER) Dumbledore orders Snape to resume his position of spy by the end of this book, and, in the Spinner’s End chapter of HBP, explains to Bella and Cissy how by not appearing in the graveyard immediately, but by waiting one hour, and allowing Dumbledore to believe he was ordering Snape to go back to Voldemort, he would be able to remain as a spy within the Order of the Phoenix. Each side believes he is a spy for them, but only one is correct. (END SPOILER)

  30. Here are my thoughts.

    The one too cowardly to return is Karkaroff. The one Voldemort believes left him forver is Snape. The most faithful servant who has already reentered Voldemort’s service.

  31. Sorry, Jeremy. The one who had faithfully re-entered Voldemort’s service is Bart Crouch Jr. Snape has not yet come back, as he will not go “back” to V until after Harry returns to Hogwarts, which is after this scene.

  32. On the topic of recognizing a Death Eater by their Dark Mark: no one but a Death Eater knew about the branding until Harry returned to Hogwarts and told Dumbledore and Sirius. When the trio met Sirius in the cave outside of Hogsmeade earlier in the book, Sirius doesn’t know what Karkaroff showing Snape his forearm was all about. Although Snape might have told Dumbledore…and with DD being so trusting…
    I never thought Snape was one of the DEs that arrived on cue, partly because it would have been difficult for him to leave the Quidditch pitch and the grounds discreetly before Apparating (he had to be watching the task, it’d be too suspicious if he didn’t).
    As for RAB, I forgot he was missing from the reunion until I read this! Yes, he is definitely one of the three that are dead. But I also never realized that he is the only DE to defy Voldemort without him knowing and not suffer at his hands! Incredible.
    Somehow I originally expected Voldemort to have hundreds of DEs, but you can really only refer to them in the dozens in this chapter.

  33. Hmm, after re-reading rtozier’s and Ari’s thoughts on RAB, I’m second guessing mine on whether he was the one of the dead three. Interesting ideas. Either way, there is definitely some sidestepping from the truth happening on Voldemort’s part…
    Sorry for double posting!

  34. Ayeda, Snape does tell Dumbledore, because a couple of chapters earlier we see his memory briefly in the Pensive, telling Dumbledore that the Mark is getting darker. But you’re probably right that others didn’t know; it seemed to be news to Fudge, anyway.

  35. I’m sorry if someone has alredy said this (there were so many comments and I haven’t read all of them carefully), but with the Dark Mark, I think it has been fading since the fall of Voldemort, and when he grew stronger it also grew clearer – as we see Karkaroff say to Snape. That would mean maybe the Mark is very faded when it’s not “in use” so to speak. In chapter 33 Voldemort himself says “It is back” when talking about the Mark, indicating that it has been gone or at least very faded before. So the longer time has passed since being summoned, the harder to recognize a DE by the Mark, I guess.
    Still, it is a pretty clear sign and it’s surprising that Aurors and members of the Ministry wouldn’t know of it…

  36. If anyone has an answer, I would really appreciate it—-does Voldemort carry the mark? If he doesn’t, does he have another way to call his DEs because he would always have to have someone near by so he could signal?
    Then only light spot in these chapters is trying to imagine the DEs reaction when their mark burned — Holy Moly!!!!!

  37. I don’t think it has been stated anywhere about Voldemort having the mark himself. I always thought he just put it on his followers, as he had to press the one on Wormtail’s arm to summon the others. I think he always had one or more of his followers around him until he lost his power, so he could use their mark. It is possible he had the ability to summon deatheaters via a spell or other magical means. (As DD seems to have invented the talking patronus as a means of communication.) Somehow I can’t believe he would put it on himself. Just my thoughts though.

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