Did the Dementors affect the Death Eaters in Azkaban?

Samantha: Was Snape the only Death Eater who could produce a full Patronus?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, because a Patronus is used against things that the Death Eaters generally generate, or fight alongside. They would not need Patronuses.


It seems as if the Death Eaters who went to Azkaban for extended periods of time came out as fairly functional. For example, many of the DEs who were at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in Order of the Phoenix had been recently broken out from Azkaban and they were lucid and able to follow Lucius Malfoy's directions. I'm not suggesting that Bellatrix Lestrange is the epitome of psychological stability, but she was fervent in her service to the Dark Lord and her belief in his eventual return before going to Azkaban; it seemed to empower her. Barty Crouch Jr, on the other hand, was terrified of Azkaban and begged his mother and father to not send him to the prison. He was like a little boy.

The boy [Barty Crouch Jr] began to scream.

‘No! Mother, no! I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t know! Don’t send me there, don’t let him!’

The Dementors were gliding back into the room. [Barty Crouch Jr's] three companions rose quietly from their seats; the woman with the heavy-lidded eyes [Bellatrix Lestrange] looked up at [Barty Crouch Sr] and called, ‘The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban, we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!’

Goblet of Fire - page 517 - Bloomsbury - chapter 30, The Pensieve

Did the Dementors have any affect -- positive or negative -- on the Death Eaters in Azkaban? If Death Eaters naturally affiliate with Dementors, would that mean Death Eaters in Azkaban would have an easier time coping there than a regular prisoner?

  • 6
    Food Is Food. I don't care what moral qualities the stake I'm eating holds. Dec 1, 2012 at 12:25
  • True, true. But were the Dementors allowed to suck out souls whenever they wanted, or were they required to wait until an order came down from the Ministry? Dec 1, 2012 at 18:23
  • 1
    "I'm not suggesting that Bellatrix Lestrange is the epitome of psychological stability" made my day.
    – Kalissar
    Jul 10, 2013 at 13:54
  • @Kalissar -- Heh, yeah Bella was a bit of a nutter! :P Jul 10, 2013 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


I'd say yes, the dementors did affect the Death Eaters in Azkaban.

First of all, during these times, the dementors were working for the ministry. In exchange, they were allowed to "suck happiness" from the prisoners. During these times, there really was no reason for a dementor to help a death eater at all: sure, they used to be allies, but that was long ago and the death eaters were totally powerless the many years Voldemort was gone. It was certain for everybody that Voldemort would not return - it was certain that such death eaters were prisoners like any other.

The fact that the death eaters came out lucid proves nothing, actually. It is known that a well-determined wizard is capable of resisting madness. For instance, Sirius was stuck for many years and is fairly lucid. Bellatrix too (well, she was crazy to begin with, but she remained the same, always determined to serve the returning lord Voldemort).

Other death eaters, perhaps less determined as Sirius or Bellatrix, may have indeed fallen into madness. But as soon as the prison break occurs, they see Voldemort. They may be crazy, but Voldemort inspired them the greatest of fears, enough fear to forget those horrible years at Azkaban and just serve Voldemort back.

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    +1 for a good start. I'd like to see another specific example, as the two you mention are atypical - Sirius was using his animagus abilities, and Bellatrix was crazy before entering Azkaban.
    – Tynam
    Dec 1, 2012 at 22:13
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    @Tynam: You're right about Bellatrix. However, Sirius only used his animagus abilities the moment he escaped. Had he used them before to prevent madness, the dementors would have thought that he "is gone" and two things would then happen: An "alert" triggers and actual ministry wizards come to investigate, and when they come, they discover that Sirius is an animagus. If such had happened, the prison would now have knowledge of his animagus skills - but it didn't know at all until he actually escaped.
    – Saturn
    Dec 1, 2012 at 22:17
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    @Omega, huh? No, the books very clearly state that Sirius did use his Animagus abilities in Azkaban. "...so when it all became... too much... I could transform in my cell... become a dog. Dementors, can't see, you know [...] They could tell that my feelings were less -- less human, less complex when I was a dog... but they thought, of course, that I was losing my mind like everyone else in there, so it didn't trouble them." (PoA ch19)
    – Joe White
    Dec 2, 2012 at 4:28
  • @JoeWhite: Really? Didn't remember at all XD! Anyway, I guess that it won't matter at the end: the prisoner death eaters did follow Voldemort's command nonetheless (not that they had a choice anyway).
    – Saturn
    Dec 3, 2012 at 6:09
  • Also, Umbridge used a Patronus to protect herself from dementors. Jun 3, 2019 at 20:28

A word of caution: Dementors are vicious creatures. They will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way. Therefore I must warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. It's not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving.

~ Dumbledore, The Prisoner of Azkaban

Dementors have no morality when it comes to their meal; In Azkaban they had an all-you-can-eat-buffet laid out, conveniantly penned up, and no one telling them no (just shy of the Kiss). They had no reason to hold back from the Death Eaters at Azkaban.

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