Title says it all: Voldemort is cruel to them, treats them like garbage, tortures them for insignificant mistakes, and once you join you can't back out or not follow Voldemort's instructions to the letter, or you'll be killed.

I find it hard to imagine why anyone would sign up for that kind of life... any other takes?


1 Answer 1


A few reasons come to mind:

  1. Fear: If you believe that inevitably, Voldemort will come out in power and your choice is torture and death now or surrvival (at least for a little while longer), you might choose surrvival. Pettigrew is an example of this.
  2. To be near power and the resulting gifts: This is kind of like women and rockstars - Stereotypically, they cheat, make a mess, are drunk or high all the time . . . these are not pleasant things, yet some women are drawn to them. In Voldy's case, the prospect of being considered a member of the inner circle while he rises, can mean power and rewards for oneself. We see an example of Voldy trying to convince Harry to join him for just such a reason, "think of the things we could do together. . . " in the beginning of the series in the chamber where the stone was hidden. Voldy even offers (if I recall) that he knows how to reunite Harry with his parents. Anyone with any intelligence will see right through Voldy's promises, but there are those that fall for it (Snape seems to be one of these, he was drawn to the idea of Voldy's ability to protect him from classmate bullies/get revenge on Potter and Black - just by the reputation he would gain from being part of Voldemort's club). He and Regulus, both seem to have joined and realized the consequences later - then they had a hard time leaving.
  3. To Belong: Kids with a less than loving home-life, on the outskirts with peers . . . kids that don't feel they fit in or belong anywhere can be desparate to "fit in" Voldemort himself was one of these kids at one time. Dumbledore did try to make Hogwart's feel like home and Voldy did develop some relationships with peers - unfortunately, he became the leader of what turned out to be a pretty horrific gang and I think was far more violently inclined and angry than Dumbledore ever anticipated. Snape fits into this category of kids too - doesn't really belong anywhere, so when the DE's welcome him, it is just too much to refuse - No one else had ever made him feel accepted (except perhaps, Lily - until she chose James). One could argue a little of this was going on for Pettigrew too. Although he was part of the Marauders, he was a bit of a hanger-on and even if the other three were very loving and inclusive, if Pettigrew didn't believe he was up to snuff, nothing they did would have mattered - he didn't feel he was a full member.
  4. Finally, because you were a believer: Some of Voldy's followers were friends with him in school when he was still more normal. Initially, they probably just had some things in common - such as being in Slytherin, wanting only pure-bloods to be at Hogwart's, etc. etc. It probalby started out a bit like Crabbe and Goyle's relationship with Draco Malfoy. They were drawn to him because of the same two reasons listed above and as naive boys/girl (Bellatrix?) the consequences of "bullying" others didn't really occur to them. As Riddle turned into Voldemort, they were already part of the circle and stayed despite reservations and maybe wanting to leave.

None of these reasons are a draw for me, but that doesn't mean they aren't a draw for others.

  • Also, see my answer on a duplicate question: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2608/… Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 1:33
  • Yup. Obviously, I agree with your answer DVK!! My ideas plus. Guess I'll vote for a close - hadn't seen that one. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 1:49
  • "Voldy even offers (if I recall) that he knows how to reunite Harry with his parents." -- can you give a reference to this? I think you're confusing it with Star Wars.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 8:43
  • In the chamber with the stone - the hint is that he would use the sorcerer's stone. I know he does so in the movie, I'd have to look up to find out if that is consistent with the book though - can't today, will try to shortly. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 13:32
  • @balancedmama - if you got extra ideas not in my answer - I didn't check - feel free to re-post this one into original Q :) Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 14:36

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