We know that they suck out the person's soul, but what happens beyond that is anyone's guess. One could argue the soul is the basis of life, that without it, your body would die while what makes you your own unique individual is destroyed and you cease to be. Yet Lupin states that you still live after being kissed by a dementor, that as long as your heart and brain are still unaffected, your body endures. That makes no sense.

  • What happens when your body dies once your soul is sucked out?
  • Are you condemned to an eternity of endless suffering, or do you literally cease to exist?
  • Can you still access the vague afterlife Harry Potter implies to exist?
  • To use TV Tropes terminology, is it The Nothing After Death, or Cessation of Existence? Or some combination?

1 Answer 1


The rest of the quote you've referenced is very clear on the consequences of the Dementor's Kiss.

"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self any more, no memory, no...anything. There's no chance at all of recovery. You just - exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever...lost."

It looks pretty clear that a human without a soul will endure in a coma, a form of persistent vegetative state.

As to the state of the soul within the Potterverse, it seems likely that an otherwise undamaged soul rent wholesale from a body would end up in Limbo, at least until the Dementor was otherwise starved or diminished to the point of nothingness, at which point the soul could then (presumably) travel beyond the veil.

  • 3
    Can you elaborate on why an empty shell implies coma or PVS, where a person is helpless? I took the quote to mean there's a complete lack of self-awareness, such as what you would get with a perfectly healthy amoeba.
    – Muqo
    Feb 10, 2015 at 3:31
  • @muqo - I'm not sure what you mean. What would be the distinction in your eyes?
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2015 at 9:13
  • 4
    A person in a coma or PVS is physically unable to do anything and will die of dehydration or starvation at the very least. My interpretation is that the soulless existence in question would be more like living purely by reflex, mindlessly accomplishing the basics required to live, like an amoeba. Everything about the person would be normal, except there would be no thoughts about anything.
    – Muqo
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:25

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