I didn’t read the books so my image comes from the movies. We see that sucking out the souls take some time, so if Dementors can’t do it completely, it’s like nothing happened? No permanent effect? (Like losing good memories for example.)

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    Well, it causes your teacher to give you chocolate. And that chocolate will spend a year on the hips, if what my granny said is any guide.
    – Valorum
    Oct 17, 2018 at 18:55
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    PTSD seems likely...
    – Jenayah
    Oct 17, 2018 at 19:10

3 Answers 3


Nearly getting a Dementor’s kiss doesn’t show permanent effects.

Almost getting the Dementor’s kiss doesn’t seem to have any permanent effects. Harry was nearly kissed by a Dementor before the Patronus he cast using the Time-Turner saved him - it had gotten hold of him and was close enough to giving him the Dementor’s Kiss that he felt its breath on him.

“But a pair of strong, clammy hands suddenly wrapped themselves around Harry’s neck. They were forcing his face upwards … he could feel its breath … it was going to get rid of him first … he could feel its putrid breath … his mother was screaming in his ears … she was going to be the last thing he ever heard –

And then, through the fog that was drowning him, he thought he saw a silvery light, growing brighter and brighter … he felt himself fall forwards onto the grass –”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor’s Kiss)

Though Harry does faint from the effect of his encounter with the Dementor, he doesn’t show any permanent negative effects after that caused by nearly having gotten the Dementor’s kiss.

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    Agree to slightly disagree: while Harry indeed got back up, he's got "title character" advantage for him; it was unlikely he would suffer some kind of long-lasting effect from the near-kiss on top of having a piece of Voldemort inside him, his godfather dying etc. (though it might have been interesting) Other characters faced with Dementors, such as Dudley, definitely have some kind of (legit) fear from the experience. So, no "physical" effect but obvious psychological ones.
    – Jenayah
    Oct 17, 2018 at 22:52
  • Probably applies for some Azkaban prisoners too. I don't think Dementors would've kissed them, but they might've played a bit with the food. And not everyone came out very healthy in their heads after Azkaban, so... y'know
    – Jenayah
    Oct 17, 2018 at 22:53
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    @Jenayah Your first comment does not seem to be an effect of the almost-dementor's-kiss per se; it's the effect of the traumatic experience (as indicated by your PTSD comment to the question). In your second comment, the reason why Azkaban prisoners go mad is not necessarily because there is a permanent effect; it might be because there is a prolonged temporary effect.
    – Alex
    Oct 17, 2018 at 22:58
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    @Jenayah What I meant by the distinction between "prolonged temporary" and "permanent" is that there's no permanent effect from an almost-dementor's kiss. However, if you are exposed to a dementor for long enough you will go mad simply from going so lonng without happy thoughts.
    – Alex
    Oct 17, 2018 at 23:09
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    @Jenayah Harry spent a large part of his third year fainting whenever a Dementor got near him, so there's clearly a physical effect on people due to the proximity of Dementors that has absolutely nothing to do with them (attempting to) administer the Kiss. Oct 19, 2018 at 20:54

The movie visuals do not accurately describe what we know of a Demenor's Kiss in the books.

Nobody knows exactly what a Dementor's Kiss entails (except those who have experienced it, and they're in no condition to say). It's implied to require actual physical contact with whatever is under a Dementor's hood.

The kiss itself is extremely brief - Barty Crouch Jr is kissed in the presence of Professor McGonagall, and it happens too fast for her to prevent it.

That said the mere presence of Dementors causes negative affects in those nearby. Their presence in Azkaban causes most prisoners to waste away, kill themselves, or go insane.

The movie seems to conflate the negative affects of their presence with the kiss itself. It's a very effective visual, but not technically accurate.


My impression was that once the Dementor actually locked on, the process couldn't be stopped...Harry is saved by a fraction of a second. The Dementor's breath is right in his face, but it (barely) fails to complete the circuit. Now, one might wonder: what would happen if a Dementor (which has no real loyalty nor sense of self) were to lock onto Voldemort?

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