When Voldemort initially summons his Death Eaters to the graveyard following his resurrection in Goblet of Fire, he uses his wand and presses it into Wormtail's Dark Mark, which calls his Death Eaters instantly to his side.

What kind of magic is this?

It's not a Portkey because each Death Eater has their own Dark Mark, and the Dark Mark isn't an item someone can grasp onto (unlike, say, a manky old boot!) Not to mention that presumably Voldemort is summoning his Death Eaters from all over the UK, so they can't come together as a group.

It doesn't seem (to me) to be a summoning charm, like Accio Deatheaters.

When the Death Eaters are summoned to Voldemort's side, they do Apparate there, but how do they know where to Apparate to when they are summoned?

This leads me to wonder if the Dark Mark works similarly to Dumbledore's Deluminator? Voldemort summons. The Death Eaters on their ends receive some kind of signal. They must Apparate to Voldemort. How do they know where to Apparate to?

If it is the same magical principle behind both the Dark Mark and the Deluminator, it does seem an interesting contrast between different applications of the same magic source, i.e. the light versus the dark implementation of magic.

So, yes. Does the Dark Mark act in the same way as Dumbledore's Deluminator?

2 Answers 2


I don't think it's ever clearly stated HOW Voldemort created it, but it's suggested that it's some form of Protean charm. In effect, he gives them each a copy of the tattoo he has, and when he sends a sensation along his, they all feel it on theirs. Hermione used the same idea (in fact, the Dark Mark is where she got the idea) for the coins used to summon Dumbledore's Army. Later, Draco used the same idea to communicate with Rosmerta.

As to how they know where to go, I would guess a component of the spell is that when it is activated, the Copies are drawn toward the Original, and the wizards simply dis-apparate, allowing the sensation from the mark to draw them to it's location. Technically speaking (in a magic sense), the spell is probably a bit more complex than that, but it's not unreasonable to assume that items linked via Protean charm may have some strong connection, and thus, be readily triggered to try to come together.

From the Harry Potter wiki page on the Dark Mark:

The spells used to brand and conjure the Dark Mark were likely invented by Lord Voldemort. He may have based the spell on the Protean Charm, as Hermione Granger mentioned in 1995 that the Dark Mark inspired her to use the Protean Charm to create the method of communication used by Dumbledore's Army.

One thing to remember; JKR tried to make magic reasonable, but repeatedly we see examples where we simply are not told all the details. Part of this is most likely an attempt to keep magic feeling.. well... Magical. :) That is likely the case for this item/spell.. We can easily hypothesize many ways that it can be done, so the suspension of disbelieve has been taken care of. So could Harry. Providing more detail one the reader has accepted the idea can work in some cases, but JKR usually sticks to doing so when the protagonist has a reasonable way to work it out himself -- in this case, he has no real way to know HOW it was done, but doesn't really question the details. Since the stories commonly put us in Harry's place, I think the intent was that we do the same.

  • So. . . your point being that I shouldn't have asked this question? Jan 2, 2012 at 4:22
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    "JKR tried to make magic reasonable, but repeatedly we see examples where we simply are not told all the details." -- I'm pretty unimaginative, but this is one place I felt a bit let down by HP. It seems the way JKR sets it up, this sort of spell-creation class is not taught at Hogwarts and so is either a) picked up on your own, b) taught by the Ministry of Magic, or c) taught in the next series, Harry Potter goes to College (known in some circles as Hermione's Awakening) Jan 2, 2012 at 4:43
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    @Jerry -- Well, that's one failing we've seen.. That there is much more sophisticated magic that we never see any training ground for.. It's annoying, but it's true. I'd love to see info on Wizard College, or something.. But the closest we've seen is some work study kind of stuff.. There's a gap, that hasn't yet been explained, between what they learn in school, and all that adults know. Now, to really bake your noodle... How did Fred & George learn to make all the stuff they make? :)
    – K-H-W
    Jan 2, 2012 at 5:08
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    @Slytherincess No, not at all.. Just that JKR was writing with a specific target audience in mind, and they basically are along for the ride, but don't analyze things that much. There's nothing wrong with wondering and speculating, but since the stories are written to have us 'step into Harry's shoes' mentally, they often gloss over stuff he didn't / wouldn't pay attention to / think about. (Now.. had it been written with Hermione as the main character...) Ask away, though; of such questions are expanded universes born.
    – K-H-W
    Jan 2, 2012 at 6:05
  • I think your suggestion of the Protean Charm is a very good one. I actually thought of the DA coins as I was writing up this question (and forgot to include them), but what I still wonder is how the Death Eaters -- and the DA members, for that matter -- knew where to go. With the DA, they always met in the same place, so that's easily explainable. But with the Death Eaters, Voldemort could be anywhere. Does that make sense? Jan 2, 2012 at 9:40

I don't think they act the same way.

Dark Marks are keyed onto a specific person - they act more like recievers of a beacon or GPS clients.

Deluminator guidance on the other hand is keyed to Ron's hearts' wishes - e.g. it was more of a radar. There was no summoning/signal from Herminone.

Also, deluminator seemed to have established a sort of mental contact, as Ron could hear Hermione's voice saying his name. That's not known to happen with Dark Marks.

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