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I'm wondering if Crabbe and Goyle were teenage Death Eaters, like Draco Malfoy was.

It's not explicitly confirmed in canon if they were or not, but two canon passages in particular, from Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows respectively, keep cropping up for me which imply it might have been a possibility.

First:

‘And here,’ Voldemort moved on to the two largest hooded figures, ‘we have Crabbe ... you will do better this time, will you not, Crabbe? And you, Goyle?’

They bowed clumsily, muttering dully.

‘Yes, master ...’

‘We will, master ...’

Goblet of Fire -- page 565 -- Bloomsbury -- chapter 33, The Death Eaters

Clearly Crabbe and Goyle's fathers were Death Eaters. Being minions of Draco Malfoy, whose father was also Death Eater, would Crabbe and Goyle have wanted to emulate either Draco or their fathers (or both) by following down the same path? J.K. Rowling seems to enjoy the trope in the Harry Potter series of children closely modeling their parents in looks, interests, and destinies.

Second:

‘So how come you three aren’t with Voldemort?’ asked Harry.

‘We’re gonna be rewarded,’ said Crabbe: his voice was surprisingly soft for such an enormous person; Harry had hardly ever heard him speak before. Crabbe was smiling like a small child promised a large bag of sweets. ‘We ’ung back, Potter. We decided not to go. Decided to bring you to ’im.’

‘Good plan,’ said Harry in mock admiration. He could not believe that he was this close, and was going to be thwarted by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle.

Deathly Hallows -- page 505 -- Bloomsbury -- chapter 31, The Battle of Hogwarts

Crabbe, at least, wanted to physically harm Harry, to essentially facilitate Harry's death by the hand of Voldemort. As well, Crabbe was interested in actually delivering Harry to Voldemort in turn for a reward. It seems to me that Voldemort might have had conversations with Crabbe and Goyle directly, but, Ginny Weasley and Tom Riddle's diary aside, would Voldemort deign to have a conversation with mere students unless there was something in it for him, tangible or strategical?

Crabbe -- again, at least -- used the Cruciatus and Avada Kedavra Curses against Hermione and Harry in the Room of the Requirement. He then goes on to cast Fiendfyre. Goyle is also present and seems to be involved, although J.K. Rowling doesn't detail Goyle as being as excited by engaging in violence as Crabbe was.

So were Crabbe and Goyle more likely bona fide Death Eaters or Voldemort sympathizers who clumsily tried to grab a bit of the action for themselves? Were Crabbe and Goyle Death Eaters?

  • When Death Eaters are first mentioned it is only said that the name is what "followers of Voldemort called themselves". Certainly Crabbe and Goyle fit the description of followers of Voldemort. What are you considering as "bona fide" Death Eaters? – NominSim Jun 8 '12 at 18:49
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    @NominSim -- "Bona fide", meaning Death Eaters who were branded with the Dark Mark. There were DEs who had the Dark Mark and were in Voldemort's inner circle, and there were DEs who were, for lack of a better word, affiliates, meaning they did Voldemort's bidding, but weren't allowed to get the Dark Mark (i.e. Fenrir Greyback). Then there were Voldemort sympathizers. :) – Slytherincess Jun 9 '12 at 0:09
  • Ok, just making sure, because the books never explicitly state that Death Eaters are only those branded with the Dark Mark. – NominSim Jun 9 '12 at 3:41
  • Maybe you can distinguish between wanting to know if they were 'Affiliate' DEs or 'Inner-circle' (Dark Mark bearing) DEs? – Möoz Apr 7 '14 at 3:20
  • Since they have not been given any specific mission (that we know), I highly doubt they were death eaters at this point (but in their hearts) – David Banner Feb 3 '16 at 8:57
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I don't think that they were. I simply can't see Voldemort making teenagers Death Eaters, no matter how committed to the cause they may be. Draco is, obviously, an exception; he was a fully fledged Death Eater, assumedly even having a Dark Mark. However, Voldemort intended for him to die in his attempts to kill Dumbledore. It costs Voldemort nothing to dangle the possibility of glory and acceptance in front of Draco while giving him a nearly impossible task - kill a wizard powerful enough that Voldemort himself failed to do so - in order to achieve it. His status as a Death Eater was almost certainly to prevent him from realising he was completely expendable.

Crabbe and Goyle are depicted as being stupid and thuggish, essentially acting as nothing more than Draco's bodyguards/servants whilst at Hogwarts. Even at the end of Deathly Hallows I think it would have been Malfoy's idea, rather than their own, to hang back and attempt to capture Harry for Voldemort - I just can't see them being smart enough to think of doing so. Draco, on the other hand, was highly intelligent, and by that point almost certainly aware that he had to do something incredible to earn back Voldemort's favour, both for himself and his parents.

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    What about Regulus Black and (possibly) Severus Snape? Deathly Hallows notes that Regulus Black was sixteen years old when he joined the Death Eaters. It's likely Snape joined up while still a teen. He was part of a gang of Slytherins at Hogwarts who almost all became Death Eaters, according to canon. And there's Peter Pettigrew, possibly. Lily and James were only twenty years old when they died, so any same-aged Death Eaters as they could very well have joined up as teens. I truly don't have a position on this, but I did want to point out the existence of another teenage Death Eater. :) – Slytherincess Jun 8 '12 at 1:06
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    Also, I don't think canon supports Draco having encouraged Crabbe and Goyle to try and take out Harry and being the catalyst for Crabbe and Goyle's actions and the end of Deathly Hallows. Crabbe turned on Malfoy with undisguised ferocity. ‘Who cares what you think? I don’t take your orders no more, Draco. You an’ your dad are finished.’ Do you have a canon citation verifying your statement that Draco Malfoy is "highly intelligent"? I know he made it into N.E.W.T. level Potions, but other than that ... ? :) – Slytherincess Jun 8 '12 at 1:22
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    @Slytherincess Draco singlehandedly came up with the idea for Vanishing Cabinets as a transport mechanism in Dumbledore's assassination plot, had a command of Occlumency that even Snape couldn't break, and then there was that whole scene in CoS where Lucius gets mad at Draco for underperforming compared to Hermione, showing that he was set high standards and expected to maintain them. – thegoose Mar 11 '14 at 20:13
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It doesn’t seem like Crabbe and Goyle were Death Eaters.

Neither Crabbe nor Goyle are mentioned as being at the Death Eater meeting (which Draco was at, the Hogwarts year hadn’t started yet), nor are they mentioned as participants in any of the other Death Eater activities. Of course, most of the time they’d be at Hogwarts even if they were, but there’s nothing that really suggests they were made full Death Eaters. Their fathers don’t seem to have been high among the Death Eaters’ ranks, and are in fact not mentioned after the Dark Lord is re-embodied at the graveyard.

Neville would have been around Crabbe and Goyle while at Hogwarts, since he mentions them enjoying the Carrows’ classes, and he doesn’t mention them being full-fledged Death Eaters either.

“Yeah,’ said Neville. ‘That’s how I got this one,’ he pointed at a particularly deep gash in his cheek, ‘I refused to do it. Some people are into it, though; Crabbe and Goyle love it.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 27 (The Lost Diadem)

Lastly, though this is just circumstantial, it seems like the sort of thing that Crabbe and Goyle would have bragged about when trying to bring Harry to the Dark Lord if they did have full Death Eater status.

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    The last paragraph makes the most sense – DCOPTimDowd Apr 13 '18 at 18:50
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    @DCOPTimDowd Thanks! :) Personally, I couldn’t imagine Crabbe and Goyle being full Death Eaters and not taunting Harry about it. – Bellatrix Apr 13 '18 at 18:53
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I've changed my mind. I think it is a possibility.

The age at which one is allowed to become a death eater is 16. I'm not looking for quotas, but Sirius says his brother signed up as soon as he was old enough. We latter find he was 16. We know Draco was marked. Now does Voldemort think he needs death eaters forever? I don't know maybe with control of the ministry he won't. What ever the case his other death eaters are getting old. Training some one from when they are young is always good, they'll be most loyal and brain washed. So if Voldemort wanted to have an army in the future, I think he could have made the Death Eaters.

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