11

Throughout The Half-Blood Prince it seems accepted wisdom that Stan Shunpike is not a genuine Death Eater at all. Indeed, the suggestion that he might be a Death Eater is treated as a laughable prospect. It's assumed that he is merely being held for political reasons to make it look like the Ministry of Magic is making progress in arresting suspects.

"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, Chapter 16, A Very Frosty Christmas)

I was rather surprised, therefore, when Shunpike appears in the Death Eaters' ranks in The Deathly Hallows. He escaped from Azkaban as part of a mass breakout over the summer. If he were not a real Death Eater then I would've expected him to do on the run, to get as far away as possible from both Voldemort and the Ministry. His presence there might suggest that he was actually a true believer all along.

However, Harry vehemently believed that Shunpike was under the Imperius curse and was therefore unaccountable for his actions in the battle.

“I saw Stan Shunpike...You know, the bloke who was the conductor on the Knight Bus? And I tried to Disarm him instead of - well, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, does he? He must be Imperiused!”
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5, Fallen Warrior).

Is it likely that he was under the Imperius curse in that battle? Or was Stan Shunpike a for-real Death Eater the whole time?


Note that this question differs from the previous one, which asks about Shunpike's motivations in the previous book.

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From the beginning of The Deathly Hallows:

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 –
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 4 (emphasis mine)

This 'strangely blank' face is seen other places as evidence of the Imperius curse (or other types of spells; it could be a Confunding spell, as below):

Now Snape was head to head with Mundungus in an unfamiliar tavern, Mundungus’s face looking curiously blank, Snape frowning in concentration.
“You will suggest to the Order of the Phoenix,” Snape murmured, “that they use decoys. Polyjuice Potion. Identical Potters. It is the only thing that might work. You will forget that I have suggested this. You will present it as your own idea. You understand?”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 33

I'd say that's proof he was Imperiused/under some other spell.

  • 6
    Just to note that Barty Crouch Snr and Rosmerta were "Imperiused" as I recall and managed to pass suspicion (except for Crouch where he occasionally had bouts of lucidity but he still managed to do what he did). Also, I believe Snape used a memory charm of some sorts on Mundungus...Having said all that - if Stan was a Death Eater - he was a boomin' good undercover one at that - but I don't buy he was acting of his own free will... Just not 100% sure this answer is proof enough though. – Jon Clements May 29 '17 at 16:20
  • 2
    @JonClements Just asked a question about how someone under the Imperius Curse can manage to pass suspicion if they have a telltale blank look about them. – Thunderforge May 29 '17 at 20:21

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