Stan Shunpike is one of only a couple people who are arrested under Rufus Scrimgeour's term in the Ministry of Magic; both Dumbledore and Harry Potter lobbied to have Stan released from Azkaban, saying he couldn't possibly be a Death Eater. However, during the flight from Number 4 Privet Drive in Deathly Hallows, there's Stan, apparently under the Imperius Curse, fighting alongside the Death Eaters.

My question is: Was the ministry actually right about Stan being a Death Eater, and were Dumbledore and Harry wrong?

4 Answers 4


The Wikia says: [,,,] the interrogation with Stan has revealed that he has absolutely no link with the Death Eaters, but the Ministry kept him in order to put up a façade of progress.

ETA: Verification of the wikia quote:

‘They’re not still holding Stan Shunpike, are they?’ asked Harry.

‘I’m afraid so,’ said Mr Weasley. ‘I know Dumbledore’s tried appealing directly to Scrimgeour about Stan ... I mean, anybody who has actually interviewed him agrees that he’s about as much a Death Eater as this satsuma ... but the top levels want to look as though they’re making some progress, and “three arrests” sounds better than “three mistaken arrests and releases” ... but again, this is all top secret ...’

Half-Blood Prince - page 310 - UK - chapter 16, A Very Frosty Christmas

This bit from Goblet of Fire demonstrates that Stan is at least susceptible to magic that takes away one's free will or consciousness.

A third young wizard, whose pimples were visible even by the dim, silvery light of the Veela, now cut in, ‘I’m about to become the youngest ever Minister for Magic, I am.’

Harry snorted with laughter. He recognised the pimply wizard; his name was Stan Shunpike, and he was in fact a conductor on the triple-decker Knight Bus.

Goblet of Fire - page 113 - British Hardcover - chapter 9, The Dark Mark

And the Veela incident comes up again when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are discussing Stan's arrest and the likelihood of Stan being a Death Eater.

‘“Stanley Shunpike, conductor on the popular wizarding conveyance the Knight Bus, has been arrested on suspicion of Death Eater activity. Mr Shunpike, 21, was taken into custody late last night after a raid on his Clapham home ...”’

‘Stan Shunpike, a Death Eater?’ said Harry, remembering the spotty youth he had first met three years before. ‘No way!’

‘He might have been put under the Imperius Curse,’ said Ron reasonably. ‘You never can tell.’

‘It doesn’t look like it,’ said Hermione, who was still reading.

‘It says here he was arrested after he was overheard talking about the Death Eaters’ secret plans in a pub.’ She looked up with a troubled expression on her face. ‘If he was under the Imperius Curse, he’d hardly stand around gossiping about their plans, would he?’

‘It sounds like he was trying to make out he knew more than he did,’ said Ron. ‘Isn’t he the one who claimed he was going to become Minister for Magic when he was trying to chat up those Veela?’

‘Yeah, that’s him,’ said Harry. ‘I dunno what they’re playing at, taking Stan seriously.’ ‘They probably want to look as though they’re doing something,’ said Hermione, frowning.

Half-Blood Prince - page 208-209 - British Hardcover - Chapter 11, Hermione's Helping Hand

Frankly, this gives argument for either way: Stan could have been a Death Eater or he could have been trying to look important to his friends. I tend to err on the side that he wasn't a Death Eater. He didn't particularly stand out as gifted with magic. And in Deathly Hallows, during the Seven Potters fight with the Death Eaters, Stan is described by Harry as having a blank, unknowing look on his face.

He shot another blocking jinx at them: the closest Death Eater swerved to avoid it and his hood slipped, and by the red light of his next Stunning Spell, Harry saw the strangely blank face of Stanley Shunpike – Stan –

Deathly Hallows - page 55 - British Hardcover - Chapter 4, The Seven Potters

As far as I know, J.K. Rowling hasn't released any info about Stan; however, her website is currently down, so I can't check the FAQ.

  • 7
    Yes, but none of that really clearly says Stan was not a death eater during HBP...what does Wikia state as proof of that first claim? And then, if Stan was not a death eater but captured as such, why did the death eaters (apparently) Imperious him in DH? Seems like an odd choice...was it the 'well he's already been marked as one, might as well use him' argument? Seems that would be a good reason NOT to pick him...
    – morganpdx
    Apr 18, 2012 at 0:35
  • 1
    It's in Half-Blood Prince, chapter 16. I went ahead and edited in the relevant passage. Canon simply doesn't have the answers to your other questions; I noted the facts could be interpreted either way in my original answer. To answer the first question, the reason why anyone -- Death Eaters or Dumbledore alike -- uses the Imperius Curse is to take control of another and have them do their bidding. As for your second question, why Stan was picked, canon simply doesn't say. I mean, I could theorize, but that's not preferred on SE. :) Apr 18, 2012 at 0:57
  • Right. Just the facts, ma'am. :)
    – morganpdx
    Apr 23, 2012 at 14:10
  • 2
    "Harry saw the strangely blank face of Stanley Shunpike" Blank face could mean he was under the Imperius Curse perhaps?
    – Möoz
    Mar 20, 2014 at 20:12
  • 3
    @mooz I'd say that's definitely what it's supposed to mean, there's no reason to include the "strangely blank" part otherwise.
    – DavidS
    Dec 4, 2017 at 14:19

In Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry is fleeing on the Knight Bus, Stan explains to Harry about the bus. Harry asks why the Muggles don't notice anything, Stan replies, "Them? They don't notice nothin'." The text states that he said the word "Muggles" with contempt. So it's possible he is sympathetic with Voldemort's aims.

In all likelihood, he's far too big of an idiot to be a Death Eater, but I have no doubt he would've tried to cozy up to some of them and would've joined if they would've accepted him.

  • 1
    Ooh good catch there. That's an interesting insight that Stan may have had Death Eater leanings...
    – morganpdx
    May 2, 2013 at 17:13
  • 4
    "he's far too big of an idiot to be a Death Eater" aren't most of them? I know I'm thinking more of snatchers here, but Crabbe and Goyle sr. became Death Eaters, so intelligence clearly doesn't matter that much when joining Lord Voldemort's minions.
    – Mikasa
    Dec 4, 2015 at 18:28

In Deathly Hallows, Ron pretends to be Stan Shunpike before the snatchers take them to Malfoy Manor. The snatchers then say “Like hell you are! We know Stan, he’s put a bit of work our way.” The fact that he is actively giving work to the snatchers after the ministry has fallen (therefore Voldemort being in command and no need to be imperious’d) surely shows he must be acting of freewill by once we get to that stage of the book. Maybe.

  • 2
    Can you support that giving work to the snatchers happened after Voldemort took over? It may be there, but it's not clear in your quote.
    – DavidW
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:04

Obviously Shunpike was not a Death Eater. He was imprisoned in Azkaban on trumped-up charges. When the real Death Eaters broke out of Azkaban a few weeks after Dumbledore's death they took Stan with them, placing him under the Imperius curse. They clearly thought he'd be a useful pawn due to his weak will and limited intelligence. That's why he has a blank look on his face when Harry sees him in the Battle of the Seven Potters.

So, no. Stan Shunpike was not in league with the Death Eaters and only served them because he was magically enspelled by them to do their bidding.

  • 2
    Have you got any sources for your claims? It would help strengthen your answer.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 4, 2017 at 14:19
  • I do, though not readily available. When you say sources, do you mean quotes from the books?
    – Caedus
    Dec 5, 2017 at 0:08
  • 2
    Exactly, something to support your claims.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 5, 2017 at 6:07
  • @Caedus, Can you please add some sources? It can also be from some trusted website, but quotes from the book are nicer. :) Feb 16, 2021 at 11:34

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