When Voldey returns, he names several Death Eaters by name.

Voldemort: Crabbe! MacNair! Goyle! Not even you, Lucius!

Lucius is the father of Draco Malfoy, and I believe the other two men are the fathers of Draco's friends, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.

Did those students, or any other students at Hogwarts, know their parents were Death Eaters? They almost certainly knew after Voldemort returned and began terrorizing the wizarding world, but what about before that? Did they know their parents were followers of a murderous megalomaniac when they were growing up?

Please provide links from canon sources.

  • 19
    By "murderous megalomaniac", I assume you mean "visionary wizard rights activist"
    – Valorum
    Jun 8, 2018 at 6:34
  • 1
    I don't know about Crabbe and Hoyle (and I doubt there's really a lot of cannon material for these two), but for Malfoy, this question kind of answers it.
    – Jenayah
    Jun 8, 2018 at 8:49
  • I seem to remember mention of certain students with convicted death eater parents receiving some kind of backlash from other students in the books. I will consult the books and answer with some quotes if I find any!
    – ZenLogic
    Jul 14, 2018 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


It’s very likely that some of them knew, or at least suspected.

The only children of Death Eaters we really see throughout the series are Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle. Of them, the only one that there’s evidence he might have known about his father being a Death Eater is Draco. There’s nothing that indicates how much Crabbe and Goyle knew. At the Quidditch World Cup, Harry accuses Draco’s parents of being Death Eaters, and Draco just responds that he wouldn’t tell him if they were. This may imply that Draco did know his father was a Death Eater, but he could also be hinting at it to sound impressive without actually knowing.

“Where’re your parents?’ said Harry, his temper rising. ‘Out there wearing masks, are they?’

Malfoy turned his face to Harry, still smiling. ‘Well … if they were, I wouldn’t be likely to tell you, would I, Potter?”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9 (The Dark Mark)

In addition, the J.K. Rowling writing on Pottermore about Draco said he was brought up thinking the Dark Lord should have ruled the wizarding world. He certainly knew they support the Dark Lord.

Draco was raised in an atmosphere of regret that the Dark Lord had not succeeded in taking command of the wizarding community, although he was prudently reminded that such sentiments ought not to be expressed outside the small circle of the family and their close friends ‘or Daddy might get into trouble’. In childhood, Draco associated mainly with the pure-blood children of his father’s ex-Death Eater cronies, and therefore arrived at Hogwarts with a small gang of friends already made, including Theodore Nott and Vincent Crabbe.
- Draco Malfoy (Pottermore)

He also knew enough to know that those in favor of the Dark Lord were hoping Harry would turn out to be like him, and the phrasing somewhat implies that he knew they were Death Eaters.

Draco realised, correctly, that the wild hopes of the ex-Death Eaters – that Harry Potter was another, and better, Voldemort – are completely unfounded, and their mutual enmity is assured from that point.
- Draco Malfoy (Pottermore)

Lucius probably let Draco know some things, but not everything. He wouldn’t have wanted his son telling his secrets, but he also wanted him to grow up supporting the Dark Lord and knowing that pure-bloods were superior. This was probably the case for most people who supported the Dark Lord (whether they were Death Eaters or not) who had children attending Hogwarts.



Draco appears to know at least as early as the summer between his first and second years at Hogwarts. I'm not sure if there's any evidence that he knew earlier than that, but it's likely. He probably wouldn't be told when he was very young as he couldn't necessarily be trusted to keep it a secret, but perhaps would have been told before starting at Hogwarts.

In Chamber of Secrets, Lucius takes his son to Borgin and Burkes to sell some "items". The implication is that there are at least some dark magic artefacts among them, as well as other items that would give the impression that he has anti-Muggle and/or pro-Voldemort views.

"You have heard, of course, that the Ministry is conducting more raids," said Mr. Malfoy, taking a roll of parchment from his inside pocket and unraveling it for Mr. Borgin to read. "I have a few — ah — items at home that might embarrass me, if the Ministry were to call..."
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter Four - At Flourish and Blotts

During the same visit to Borgin and Burkes, he also warns Draco that it's not wise to be publicly critical of Harry when he's regarded as a hero for bringing about Voldemort's fall, implying that this isn't a view that the Malfoys share.

"... everyone thinks he's so smart, wonderful Potter with his scar and his broomstick -"

"You have told me this at least a dozen times already," said Mr. Malfoy, with a quelling look at his son. "And I would remind you that it is not - prudent - to appear less than fond of Harry Potter, not when most of our kind regard him as the hero who made the Dark Lord disappear - ah, Mr. Borgin."

Even without that, Draco isn't an idiot. He's not the best student in his year at Hogwarts, but I believe it's stated in one of the books that he's one of the best. Between the rumours about Lucius that he might hear, and all of the information he'd have access to at home, I think it's likely that he'd work it out for himself even if he wasn't told by his parents.

There's a lot less information on Crabbe and Goyle, but it seems likely they would also know. Their relationship with Draco is never portrayed as one of actual friendship, and instead much more like they're Draco's servants and protectors. Draco enjoys lording his family's status and wealth over others; if he knew that Lucius was a much more important Death Eater than their fathers, I doubt he would let them forget it.

  • 5
    Calling him the Dark Lord seems like a very Death Eatery thing to say. From that alone I'd assume Draco either knew or could work it out.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 8, 2018 at 9:12
  • 1
    @TheLethalCarrot It is. I think Harry even asks Snape in Order of the Phoenix why he calls him "the Dark Lord" when it's only Death Eaters that do so. Though I think Trelawney also refers to him as the Dark Lord in one - if not both - of the prophecies she makes concerning Voldemort, so it's not strictly limited to Death Eaters. Jun 8, 2018 at 12:48
  • @AnthonyGrist Then again, fortune tellers do tend to go for dramatic effect. She could have used that name because she thought people would take her more seriously. Jun 8, 2018 at 18:31
  • 1
    @DCOPTimDowd Except we're talking about the two real prophecies she made, which she had no recollection of making, so any conscious concerns such as dramatic effect or wanting to be taken more seriously wouldn't be relevant. Jun 8, 2018 at 20:31

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