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In all the books, Snape is the only Death Eater who can produce a Patronus charm. Why can't any other Death Eaters produce a Patronus? Considering that they all went to Hogwarts, and would have learnt to produce it in NEWT classes, it seems surprising that Snape remains the only Death Eater to produce one until the seventh book.

marked as duplicate by Slytherincess harry-potter Nov 10 '14 at 12:35

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    The assumption that the Patronus charm is taught at the N.E.W.T. level at Hogwarts is not supported by canon. JKR explains on Pottermore that the Patronus charm is an immensely complex spell that only few witches and wizards ever learn, much less master. I can't think of any examples of a Death Eater producing a Patronus in book 7 -- did you mean Snape? Unrelated, but I encourage you to give some time for multiple people to answer your questions instead of immediately choosing the first answer that comes in (no offense to AnthonyGrist, of course). You'll see a lot more diverse answers. :) – Slytherincess Nov 10 '14 at 12:58
  • Yes, I actually consider doing that, but AnthonyGrist's answer was spot on with JKR's convo with a fan. It was exactly what I was looking for so it felt right to mark it off. – SandyShores Nov 10 '14 at 13:02
  • IIRC, Harry was asked to produce a Patronus because the proctor had heard he was capable of it, not because it was a standard part of the exam. – Brian S Nov 10 '14 at 15:18

JKR explained in a web chat that Death Eaters couldn't produce Patronuses because they didn't need them.

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.

Essentially, they're allied with the Dementors so they don't need a way to defend themselves from the effect they have on them, apparently. It's possible (though this is entirely speculation) that even if they were to attempt to learn, the experiences that led to them wanting to become Death Eaters might mean they don't have a sufficiently happy memory to make the spell work. Snape's extraordinary love for Lily is the exception; it seems like it's probably the only (very) bright spot in an otherwise miserable life.

All of that said, I'm not sure they would have ever been taught. Patronuses may not be part of the syllabus at Hogwarts, even at NEWT level. Harry learnt how to conjure a Patronus in his third year, and he taught a number of other students during sessions with Dumbledore's Army in his fifth year, but there's never a point where they actually learn the spell during a regular lesson.

They cover the theory of it and what it's used for, but there's never any practical sessions on casting the spell. There's also repeated mention of how extremely difficult it is to produce a corporeal Patronus, how impressive it is that Harry's able to conjure one, and how many (most?) qualified witches and wizards aren't capable of doing so. Seems counter productive to attempt to teach a spell that a large percentage of the students may never be able to perform adequately.

  • 1
    JKR's words make sense in the exact narrative of the books, only because of the alliance between the Death Eaters and the dementors. Problem is that all of the Death Eaters went to Hogwarts long before that alliance was made (end of OotP). Also, a bunch of Death Eaters were imprisoned by dementors. Seems like a Patronus charm of sufficient power would have been a great way to do a mass prison break. Also, no leader of an army would ally themselves with a group of beings that he had no way to fight if they turned on him. Voldemort was no fool. – Red_Shadow Nov 10 '14 at 15:39

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