We know that Death Eaters call Voldemort "The Dark Lord" (Harry confronting Snape in one the occlumency lessons, Order of the Phoenix).

In the seventh book, the Death Eaters jinx the name "Voldemort" to trace the ones who dare to use it, because the ones who use the name are people who are not afraid of Voldemort, like Harry or Dumbledore. I personally think they could do that after gaining power at the Ministry. The Ministry already has a tracing mechanism to catch people who use magic under 17 so they can modify it.* At which point did Death Eaters start being able to track people who say you-know-who's name?

So the Question is: after the mass breakout from Azkaban in Prisoner of Azkaban couldn't the Ministry of Magic use the same magic to trace Death Eaters like Bellatrix by jinxing the phrase "The Dark Lord"? I know that they didn't believe that Voldemort would be back, but still, Death Eaters escaped from Azkaban.

*Even though Voldemort himself did the Taboo magic, Dumbledore would knew the spell.

I haven't read the books in their original language so I don't know when "The Dark Lord" or "Dark Lord" was used, please consider them as they have the same meaning (I know they don't) and consider the one with the narrower meaning (the one that is used to define specifically Voldemort).

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    the ministry is stupid, and jkr has no plot consistancy
    – Himarm
    Jul 3, 2016 at 23:11
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    Because it would have resulted in hundreds of false-positives. The term "The Dark Lord" is used by loads of non-Death Eater characters; Dobby, a singing Dwarf, Percy Weasley, Ernie Prang, Professor Trelawney, Harry Potter, Barty Crouch Sr, Karkaroff, Moody, Snape, Malfoy Jr, etc etc
    – Valorum
    Jul 3, 2016 at 23:11
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    @Pharap - If your AV kicked up a warning every time it encountered the word "virus", you'd uninstall it within a day.
    – Valorum
    Jul 4, 2016 at 7:00
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    @Pharap Investigating Dobby is the best thing the Ministry can do. He probably learned the phrase from his ex-masters (Malfoys) who turn up to be... guess what... Death Eaters. Jul 4, 2016 at 9:01
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    Something tells me Dumbledore would never agree to perform that spell. Besides, the Taboo on "Voldemort" serves a greater purpose than surveillance - after all, it's easily thwarted by just changing the phrase. It's a fear tactic, an Orwellian style removal of a concept, and while the Ministry is definitely corrupt, it's not actively a dictatorship.
    – DavidS
    Jul 4, 2016 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


There are two very good reasons why this plan wouldn't work

False positives.

Within the novels we see loads of characters who aren't Death Eaters using the term "The Dark Lord". If we widen that to just "Dark Lord", that number goes up even higher. Dobby, Harry Potter, Moody, Ernie Prang, Barty Crouch Sr and even a singing dwarf Valentine all use the expression. If the Auror Dept was charged with investigating all of these, they'd be run ragged. The term is simply too widespread to be used as a useful measure of where Death Eaters are congregating

The wizarding world isn't a fascist dictatorship

The reason the whole "Voldemort's name is taboo" thing works is because the Death Eaters took the time to take over the reins of power and establish a climate of fear in which they can operate freely. If the Auror Dept was to use the same techniques (surprise apparation, snatcher squads, kidnapping and torture) they'd soon find themselves facing a rebellion.

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    They are not fascist dictators but they do not hesitate to send more than 100 hundred soul eating creatures to a school of teenagers to catch one criminal in PoA. But this will be the correct answer probably if nothing more satisfying comes Jul 3, 2016 at 23:43
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    If you look closely, the whole wizarding world we see (in other words, England) is a horribly run facist dictatorship. Think along the lines of North Korea, and then it becomes Nazi Germany under Voldemort.
    – GreySage
    Jul 4, 2016 at 2:25
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    "The wizarding world isn't a fascist dictatorship" - Uhhhh, the wizarding world is one with a whole bunch of invasion of privacy, little to no due process that gets easily bent, flimsy evidence-gathering to sentence someone for crimes often without even a trial, no real sentencing option beyond Azkaban, sentences all criminals to torture, no real checks and balances on the government, and operate as a superpower with blatant disregard for "inferiors/beasts" and nationalistic/superiority-based ideology. "Fascist Dictatorship" is basically the only accurate way to describe the wizarding world.
    – DariM
    Jul 4, 2016 at 6:03
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    @GreySage The UK, thank you very much. The vast majority of the books take place in Scotland ;)
    – DavidS
    Jul 4, 2016 at 9:03
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    @zaibis - I've made reference to both "The Dark Lord" and "Dark Lord" because that's what's in the question.
    – Valorum
    Jul 4, 2016 at 12:09

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