My question is simple. We know that a patronus can take the form of a magical animal (Dumbledore's phoenix patronus for example). So, can it take the form of a dementor? It would be a little bit ironic.

Perhaps there isn't any canon answer, but I'd like to know.


8 Answers 8


In a word, no. The patronus must take the form of something that creates positive feelings (a dementor is by definition the embodiment of unhappy feelings, primarily fear) and the shape of an animal with whom they share an affinity. Not only would someone who had an affinity for a dementor be unable to create a patronus, it's also fairly questionable whether a dementor qualifies as a 'animal':

"This ancient and mysterious charm conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings. The Patronus Charm is difficult, and many witches and wizards are unable to produce a full, corporeal Patronus, a guardian which generally takes the shape of the animal with whom they share the deepest affinity" - Wonderbook : Book of Spells


"A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a very happy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up... lose yourself in it... then speak the incantation " Expecto Patronum " HP:PoA (Film)

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    Likewise if someone had an affinity with dementors he/she would not be casting a patronus anyway. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:21
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    "someone who had an affinity for a dementor would be unable to cart a patronus" Dolores Umbridge is able to. I don't know that she'd necessarily have an affinity with a Dementor, but she's generally a pretty unpleasant person.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:22
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    @phantom42 - Apparently her ability to cast a corporeal patronus is because she's a) delusional and b) not a true death eater (and c) because JKR mucked up and had to retcon a reason why a baddie could cast a patronus).
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:25
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    "The patronus must take the form of something that creates positive feelings" -- and yet the possibility of a truly psychotic wizard remains, someone for whom the concept of the dementor is positive. The possibility seems remote (and such a person would probably be unlikely to cast the charm in the first place), but I feel the possibility is there.
    – Brian S
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 14:19
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    @NUnnikrishnan - Per pottermore; "This Ancient Greek is alleged to be the only known wizard to have produced a Patronus the size of a giant.". The form of the patronus is unclear other than that it's large.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:45

This would be a bit ironic. It would be hard, but I personally don't see a reason why it wouldn't be possible. As @Richard said, a dementor is the embodiment of unhappiness, but there are some people who feel happy when they are depressed. There are stranger ways people can feel/behave.

Another issue with a Patronus being a dementor is why the person creating this Patronus would need to create one, if he/she had an affinity with dementors. In this case, I would imagine he/she wouldn't have many happy memories to draw on, though, again, there are stranger things in this world than a person being happy and depressed at the same time. Also, there are other creatures that get repelled by Patronuses, so even if the person didn't need to create one to battle dementors, he/she may need one for these creatures. Also, there is the matter of creating one for fun/training, as Dumbledore's Army did in Order of the Phoenix.

Regarding a dementor being an animal, I'm not sure, but as they are (slightly) intelligent, I don't think they are "merely" animals, in the same way humans aren't "merely" animals. That being said, I don't believe J.K. Rowling ever said a Patronus has to be an animal. I don't see why, for example, a Patronus couldn't be a human, or a giant, etc. For narcissists, like Gilderoy Lockhart, I imagine they could have a Patronus in the form of themselves.

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    Unless their happiest memory was watching a dementor destroy their abusers. A sad life, but certainly possible...
    – Izkata
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 16:36
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    The very idea of Gilderoy Lockhart's patronus being Gilderoy Lockhart is making my day. Thanks for this answer!
    – tkolar
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 7:32
  • 'but there are some people who feel happy when they are depressed.' Give me one documented example of a person with major depressive disorder or similar who is actually happy during an episode. If they feel that then they don't know what happy means (and that's arguably the case at the time anyway) in which case they can't really say they're truly happy. 'Content' in the sense that they accept it isn't the same thing as happy.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:29
  • I want to also add that it only adds to stigma which is a serious problem as it is. It's one of the reasons people don't speak up and get help. The statement that they're happy is ludicrous, ignorant and it's harmful. There is a huge difference from appearing or feigning happy and actually experience happiness. Besides that Rowling herself likens the effect of the dementors as depression. That pretty much dismisses your reasoning. Depressed and conjuring a Patronus. Well maybe if they have a happy memory but that doesn't mean they're actually happy. Big difference.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:46

Dementors aren't animals so the answer is probably no.

To clarify they are amortal non-beings. They are not animals or humanoids but spirts that are manifestations of despair.

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    Note that while a person with an evil heart cannot cast a patronus according to legend without getting eaten by maggots, an affinity for a dementor does not mean they are nessesarily evil. I could imagine an unlikely emo slytherin kid who idolizes voldemort and dementors for their power (but not actually want to kill) having an affinity for dementors (though he still wouldn't enjoy hanging out with them). He only has to be as pure of heart as Umbridge after all. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:33
  • In which case they would fail the "competent but unworthy" test.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 15:16
  • @Richard "competent but unworthy" test? I know death metal fans who a teddy bears at heart. That is what I am talking about. Dementors belong on an 80's album cover. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 19:52
  • @anotherguest Not sure I'd say death metal but say rather thrash metal and keep the other part and I'm a great example of it. Hell, to add to it I even have a teddy bear. It was given to me by someone I cared for very much. I no longer look at it or hold it but I would never get rid of it either.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:37

In the book Patronus Charms are only Animals, And since Dementors are non-animals because of their sentience they would not be a shape found in a patronus.

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    The Pottermore Team did feature Dementors as part of their "Beast of the Week" promotion for the FB movie. (This of course does not mean anything.)
    – ibid
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 6:10
  • Would you call a Phoenix an animal then? Or the documented case of a giant (or was it just giant in size?)? Clearly more than just animals can be a Patronus. And the Phoenix is even mentioned in the HP books.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:39
  • @Pryftan im not sure what your asking here, a phoenix is undoubtedly an animal, and it has no bearing on my answer here. As far as the books are concerned Dementors are A, not animals, B. All patronuses are animals.
    – Himarm
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:46
  • @Himarm I was suggesting the fact that a Phoenix isn't really the same as an animal (in my mind) and so it can't be that it's only animals. I was pretty sure there were other instances where a Patronus doesn't take the form of an animal in which case it'd be wrong to say only animals too. I was only suggesting that a Phoenix isn't an animal but perhaps you view it as such.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:54
  • @Himarm On Pm Rowling had this to say: Most uncommon of all possible Patronuses are magical creatures such as dragons, Thestrals and phoenixes. Which directly contradicts that it's only animals. Because dragons aren't animals and yet she says clearly it's possible only very rare.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:56

Reading the previous answers, it should be possible. Although I believe that it would be rare to the point of being so rare to survive the killing curse.

There are several answers above that state the patronus is the creature it is because it is something that the person has a AFFINITY with. This does not mean that the wizard/witch has to have memories with the dementor, but rather has similar traits as a dementor. If one was to decribe a dementor, soulless is a good one. To have less soul someone would need to make a horcrux, but with the horcrux come with less morals for the original soul. If one was able to create a dementor patronus that wizard/witch would most likely have a horcrux. The part that might deny this idea is 'can someone with less morals create a patronus at all?'

I believe so if they could before. If the person did not know their happy memory, then created a horcrux, they most likely would never be able to create a patronus. Let's say Ermac the Evil (the only other known person to create a horcrux) was able to create a patronus before making a horcrux, there is a chance it would be a dementor. Earlier someone said the Death Eaters don't use Expecto Patronum because they don't need to, not that they can't. While it is most probable that Voldemort doesn't have a happy enough memory, doesn't mean other wizards/witches with horcruxes can't. Another that could shoot it down would be 'can a dark wizard or witch use a patronus?" Again yes, because Severus Shape , a known dark wizard, can. Even if he is on the light side he still has the taint of dark magic, hence dark wizard. And yes I saw that POTTERMORE says a dark wizard will conjure maggots that eat him/her. But PotterMore is written by fans that INTERPRET the movies, books, and interviews. People mess up and they make mistakes. Even when Snape repents and goes good he still has the taint of dark magic. If Shape had no taint on him he most likely would not be able to kill Dumbledore with the killing curse later that year. Also he cast the patronus after casting the killing curse at Dumbledore to guide Harry to the forest to get the sword of Gryffindor.

Snape has dark magic taint. Snape can use patronus before killing Dumbledore. Snape can use patronus after killing Dumbledore.

There is a possibility that a dark wizard with a horcrux can create a dementor patronus.


  • Hmm texts on Pottermore are written by JK herself... pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/patronus-charm
    – T2o
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 9:07
  • FIN. Makes me think of TCP FIN. I hope that's it. I like your way of analysing things but as for Severus he isn't exactly a normal DE and he had a very strong positive emotion namely love. In other words he's not a good example of whether a DE could conjure a Patronus. Just because he created dark magic and just because he's done dark things doesn't mean he's a horrible person; he's a complicated person but he as far as I am concerned morally well enough. Let's remember he didn't want to kill Dumbledore; it was requested and Dumbledore begged him to follow through with it.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:34

Given how a wizard in canon made a Patronus that was a giant, and then Dumbledore's own is a Phoenix it's possible, just unlikely. Now what I want to know is could a non-existent thing could be a patronus? The rules just say it has to give a feeling of happiness, emphasized textnot that it has to be a real or mythological animal.

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    If you have another question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:51
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    Only the first part of this answer is actually an answer, and it would improve it if you could cite sources.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:54
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    If you have a new question you should ask it here, rather than in the body of an answer. Your answer would also be better if it contained some quotations from canon which back up your argument that a Dementor Patronus is possible. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:55

Why not, I think it could be possible. Maybe the person in question is friends with some Dementors or has some other reason for Dementors being part of their happiest memory. Maybe, as some other people have said, the Dementors saved them from something.


Someone said that some people are happy when they are depressed and that seems a plausible reason for a patronus to take the form of a dementor but also, dementors aren't the only thing a patronus wards off. A patronus is also the only spell effective against a lethifold. So keeping this fact in mind I really don't see why a patronus couldn't be a dementor, though I do think that if it were possible it would be an extremely rare occurrence.

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    Is there any evidence from the books to back this up?
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 1:39
  • 'Someone said that some people are happy when they are depressed' That someone doesn't know what true depression is. They should consider themselves lucky rather than saying things like that. And claims like that and you repeating it only contributes to stigma which is already a huge problem. It's shameful at best.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:43

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