From GoF scene where Death Eaters are returning after Voldemort's return, there seems to be VERY few of them (don't recall exact # but my impression was between a dozen and two dozen).

Also, Order of Phoenix seems to have fairly few members as well.

These are probably the "officer/elite corps" of the bigger fight. Is there any estimate of how many actual participating fighters were there on both sides in the original conflict? I'm fine with either human-only totals, or overall (e.g. count giants on Voldemort's side).

On the Death Eater side, you can count/not count Imperioused people if any info like that is available.

  • This is somewhat related to recent "how many wizards are there" question but was actually triggered by my re-read of GoF. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 9 '11 at 18:40
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    do you include demi or sub human populations in this question? because according to the books there were a number of non-human magical creatures involved as well. – Xantec May 9 '11 at 19:40
  • @Xantec - I am OK with either answer, see "I'm fine with either human-only totals, or overall (e.g. count giants on Voldemort's side)." part. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 9 '11 at 20:30
up vote 18 down vote accepted

First of all, I'm going to use the estimates from this question, they should be good enough for the number of wizards. This will remain somewhat in the background. Also, I'm only going to count human wizards, I'm not going to try and figure out the rest.

The best estimate for the number of inner circle death eaters in the first war comes from the resurrection scene in Goblet of Fire. When all of the death eaters return, there is a dialog of several pages, but I recall that there were about 12 missing, and about 30 or so present, giving the total number to be 40.

Assuming this number for the inner circle, we can speculate that there would be at least 5 outer circle for every inner, quite possibly more. So, the total number of death eaters should be between 250-300.

The best clue to the number of people fighting is the photo in Order of the Phoenix. There are 26 people who are in the photograph or mentioned as being original members of the Order. I think we can assume that there are at least 4 others for every one we know about who fought Voldemort, so maybe around 125. We know that the order was seriously outnumbered, as is stated at the end.

So, given my rough guessing, there were around 400-500 wizards actively participating in the war. Probably only 20% of the population of wizards of England. No doubt there were others who were neutral, trying to keep Muggles from finding Wizards and the like, but probably not all that many.

  • @Pearsonartphoto - may I inquire what the 3:1 and 2:1 ratios you cited are based on? (e.g. are they totally random guesses, or based on some in-universe/canon info, or based on real life guerilla or military ratios)? – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 9 '11 at 20:31
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    @DVK: They are educated guesses, and the education doesn't really have much to do with anything... I wouldn't be surprised if they are higher, but I would be surprised if they were lower. – PearsonArtPhoto May 9 '11 at 20:38
  • @Pearsonartphoto - I would expect them to be higher, possibly significantly so. IIRC the numbers were something like between 4 and 6 direct reports as far as optimal efficiency, but it's a very vague memory. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 9 '11 at 20:46
  • @DVK: I'll revise my estimates accordingly. – PearsonArtPhoto May 9 '11 at 21:31
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    @Peasonartphoto I like your estimates. Historically, the American Revolution would back your numbers up. I've read that around 5% of the population were responsible for starting the American Revolution and around 10% participated in it. Even if there is 10,000 wizards in England, your numbers would still be accurate. – Ryan May 9 '11 at 22:29

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