In Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry uses the Pensieve to see Dumbledore's memory in which Barty Crouch Jr. is accused of using the Cruciatus Curse and being a Voldemort supporter. We see him vehemently deny this and beg his father for mercy to no avail.

At the end of the book though, we see Voldemort praise him as one of his greatest supporters. We also see Barty Jr.'s disgust at the other Death Eaters for denying their own involvement with Voldemort and how he considers himself better than them because he was willing to go to Azkaban for his master.

My question is, why the disconnect? Barty Jr. now claims to hate the people who did exactly what he tried to do (and failed at).

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    I think the issue is that they denied all involvement with Voldemort and then went about their lives, rather than using their freedom to go and search for Voldemort, though I'd need the book to check the relevant chapters. Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:31
  • @AnthonyGrist is right - his crowd was caught trying to bring Voldemort back, so it's very likely he was trying to get free so he could continue the work. It's the one's like Malfoy he hates, the ones who really did abandon Voldemort after he fell.
    – DavidS
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:34
  • Thanks for the edit Jason, I wasn't sure if putting "Death Eater" in the title would be considered spoilers or even if spoilers are considered an issue still for HP.
    – wearebob
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


I'm not entirely convinced that was what Crouch hated them for; consider what he says to Harry near the end (emphasis mine):

"I asked you," said Moody quietly, "whether [Voldemort] forgave the scum who never even went to look for him. Those treacherous cowards who wouldn't even brave Azkaban for him. The faithless, worthless bits of filth who were brave enough to cavort in masks at the Quidditch World Cup, but fled at the sight of the Dark Mark when I fired it into the sky."

"You fired... What are you talking about...?"

"I told you Harry... I told you. If there's one thing I hate more than any other, it's a Death Eater who walked free. They turned their backs on my master when he needed them most. I expected him to punish them. I expected him to torture them. Tell me he hurt them, Harry..." Moody's face was suddenly lit with an insane smile. "Tell me he told them that I, I alone remained faithful... prepared to risk everything to deliver to him the one thing he wanted above all... you."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Chapter 35: "Vertiaserum"

Crouch's ire seems more directed at people like Lucius Malfoy and Igor Karkaroff, who bribed their way out of Azkaban and then basically abandoned Voldemort, more-or-less assimilating into polite society.

It's worth noting that Voldemort himself levels similar criticisms at the other Death Eaters during his rebirthing party:

"I smell guilt," [Voldemort] said. "There is a stench of guilt upon the air."

A second shiver ran around the circle, as though each member of it longed, but did not dare to step back from him.

"I see you all, whole and healthy, with your powers intact - such prompt appearances! And I ask myself... why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?"


"It is a disappointment to me... I confess myself disappointed..."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Chapter 33: "The Death Eaters"

While I agree with Rand al'Thor that, at the time of his trial, Crouch was likely scared out of his wits, by the time of Goblet of Fire I suspect he's rationalized his behaviour to himself; in his mind, he was presumably using every resource available to him to remain free, so that he could continue the search for Voldemort.

I'm sure it all makes a great deal of sense to him, which frankly is the most damning thing I can say about it.

  • The Barty Crouch Jr. we see at his trial doesn't seem to be the same kind of hardened killer as the one who kidnaps and impersonates Moody. Admittedly he could be just putting on an act at his trial, but I find it more likely that the ordeals he went through later changed and toughened him.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:54
  • @Randal'Thor I agree. I think your answer is an accurate assessment of his state of mind at the trial itself, while I'm focusing on how he rationalizes the disconnect after the fact. Both are valid answers, depending on how you look at the question Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 16:10
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    @Ellesedil But I don't think Lucius gave the diary to Ginny to be loyal to Voldy. In fact I think it was the opposite. I don't have the book in front of me, but I seem to remember a passage where Lucius actually says he disobeyed direct orders by getting rid of the diary and only got rid of it because he was scared to be caught with it.
    – wearebob
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 21:13
  • 2
    @Ellesedil scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/112931/… Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 22:33
  • 1
    @wearebob Or just see that link ^ Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 22:33

Barty Crouch Jr.'s experiences changed his outlook on life.

Consider that he'd been in captivity for what could have been a long time, and guarded by Dementors. In such an atmosphere, even the most loyal of loyalists might be driven by terror and panic to deny what they believed in, clinging to the vain hope that they might be able to escape.

Here's the scene from the book (emphasis mine):

The Dementors placed each of the four people in the four chairs with chained arms that now stood on the dungeon floor. There was a thickset man who stared blankly up at Crouch; a thinner and
more nervous-looking man, whose eyes were darting around the crowd; a woman with thick, shining dark hair and heavily hooded eyes, who was sitting in the chained chair as though it were a throne; and a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing short of petrified. He was shivering, his straw-colored hair all over his face, his freckled skin milk-white. The wispy little witch beside Crouch began to rock backward and forward in her seat, whimpering into her handkerchief.

Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face.


“Father, I didn’t!” shrieked the boy in chains below. “I didn’t, I swear it, Father, don’t send me back to the dementors —”


“No! Mother, no! I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t know! Don’t send me there, don’t let him!

The Dementors were gliding back into the room. The boys’ three companions rose quietly from their seats; the woman with the heavy-lidded eyes looked up at Crouch and called, “The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!”

But the boy was trying to fight off the Dementors, even though Harry could see their cold, draining power starting to affect him. The crowd was jeering, some of them on their feet, as the woman swept out of the dungeon, and the boy continued to struggle.

-- HP and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15: The Pensieve

What we see here could genuinely be a young and frightened boy, who's spent most of his life with a doting mother if not a loving father, and is facing the prospect of sending the rest of his life in Azkaban. That's enough to make anyone scream and beg for mercy.

Then his time spent in Azkaban, and in captivity at his father's house, changed him even more than he had already been changed by siding with Voldemort. He had no hope of being accepted back into the normal wizarding world; the only person who might accept him was Voldemort, and only if he truly proved his loyalty. He might have been less loyal to Voldemort before his trial, perhaps cozened into being a Death Eater by his older 'friends', and only became such a rabid supporter when it was the only option left open to him.

The ordeals he went through hardened him, and he ended up being contemptuous of those who were unwilling to go through such ordeals in order to prove themselves. How could anyone else claim to be a supporter of Voldemort if they hadn't proved themselves as utterly as he had?

  • 1
    While I don't disagree that fear might have played a small role, it seems like the height of hypocrisy to me that he would have so much disdain for people like Lucius when he himself turned into a blubbering child to escape his punishment.
    – wearebob
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:54
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    @wearebob Barty Crouch Jr. is a murderer, a traitor to his family, a kidnapper, and a liar. Why not add hypocrite to the list?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:55
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    Perfectly valid interpretation… but I completely disagree with it. During the half-a-dozen times I’ve read the books, it has never once occurred to me that his blubber may have been real. He already hated his father enough as a teenager to join Voldemort as a Death Eater, and participate in heinous crimes with them. Sure, being sent back to the Dementors is probably not something he’s eager for, but the whole spiel seems more likely to me to be a deliberate ploy, using his respectable background as its basis, to send him back into society where he can more discreetly continue his Voldy-search. Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 6:57
  • 4
    I gotta agree with @JanusBahsJaquet here - this is a kid who just helped torture a father and mother into insanity. He's also among a band of Voldemorts most powerful and most evil supporters, and we know from later experiences that he's a superb actor. i find it very hard to believe he's being genuine.
    – DavidS
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 9:04
  • 1
    → head, it seems unlikely that he was still in the phase of realising this when he was arrested. An additional point: the other Death Eaters do not seem to react to his repeated protests of innocence, which to me implies that they are in on the plan. If there had been no plan, someone of Bellatrix’ disposition would surely have done what she could to make sure that a blubber like that was sentenced along with her, rather than just sit back and ignore it and risk the blubbering actually having the effect of getting the coward off. Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 12:40

He likely wanted freedom so he’d keep looking for the Dark Lord.

Barty Crouch Jr. is a very convincing actor. He was able to convince many skilled wizards, including Dumbledore, that he was really Moody. It seems most likely that his reaction at the trial was at least somewhat of an act. The Dementors undoubtedly affected him, but his claiming he was never a Death Eater wasn’t necessarily, or even likely, an attempt to forsake the Dark Lord - he could have been acting in the way he considered most likely to get him free so he could seek the Dark Lord.

“Then I packed up Moody’s clothes and Dark detectors, put them in the trunk with Moody, and set off for Hogwarts. I kept him alive, under the Imperius Curse. I wanted to be able to question him. To find out about his past, learn his habits, so that I could fool even Dumbledore.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

Barty Crouch Jr. seemed to be focused mainly on finding the Dark Lord, so it seems likely he may have wanted his freedom specifically so he could continue that. When he’s broken out of Azkaban, once he recovered from its effects, he’s intent on seeking out the Dark Lord and returning to him.

“Then I had to be concealed. I had to be controlled. My father had to use a number of spells to subdue me. When I had recovered my strength, I thought only of finding my master … of returning to his service.’

‘How did your father subdue you?’ said Dumbledore.

‘The Imperius Curse,’ Crouch said. ‘I was under my father’s control.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

In addition, he mentioned how the other Death Eaters who had gotten out of spending any time in Azkaban were free to seek the Dark Lord, but they didn’t.

“We heard the Death Eaters. The ones who had never been to Azkaban. The ones who had never suffered for my master. They had turned their backs on him. They were not enslaved, as I was. They were free to seek him, but they did not.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

It seems likely that finding the Dark Lord was also on his mind at the trial, and he may have been trying to avoid a conviction with the goal of continuing his search for the Dark Lord.

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