Death Eaters – Part 4: The Azkaban Ten
This is the fourth part of a series about the Death Eaters – here’s Part 1 if you’d like to start from the beginning.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is unusual in that we are given specific numbers for the Death Eaters – twelve in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries (all named too) and ten who broke out of Azkaban. It is the latter category that is so intriguing – the Azkaban Ten, as I call them – and I do wish we could have gotten all ten names. But we are granted six in this book and can deduce a seventh through a lot of sleuthing.
The incredible part is that none of the Ten are new to us when they break out of Azkaban – we already know of all seven by the time of the breakout, and Jo does not take the opportunity to introduce us to any new ones. There could be a lot of reasons for this, having to do with an already gargantuan cast of characters and a book so big that it didn’t fit in mailboxes.
But I think it’s a very cool and subversive way of Jo making us empathize with the characters. I touched on this in one of my earliest essays here on MuggleNet over nine years ago (and while we’re at it, you young whippersnappers can get off my lawn!). Jo is great at making us feel what the characters feel, even things like anger and impatience during a long camping trip. And this is yet another example.
When the Azkaban Ten break out, everyone is horrified. These ten Death Eaters are among the elite: “The names of these Death Eaters [were] spoken with almost as much fear as Voldemort’s; the crimes they had committed during the days of Voldemort’s reign of terror were legendary” (OotP 549). The incredible thing is that these Death Eaters and their crimes are also legendary to the reader – we have learned their names and heard of their infamous deeds during the preceding book and a half. Karkaroff told us about four of them in his trial, along with their associated misdeeds, and we got to see the three Lestranges on trial for what they did.
So we viscerally understand how scary it is to have them loose in the world. This isn’t the time for Jo to drop a line, “Oh, and also Barry, Oliver, and John were among the Ten; they’re also really bad dudes.” Much as the scholar in me wishes we had a complete roster, I think the emotional impact of what Jo achieved here matters more.
The Death Eaters’ Legendary Crimes
Not only did we previously know all the names of the Azkaban Ten that are given, but we also knew all the crimes that are mentioned.
Much earlier in the book, Moody discussed the Death Eaters’ victims when he showed Harry a photo of the original Order of the Phoenix (OotP 173–74). This provides some much-needed context for how awful the Death Eaters can be and builds up their infamy.
- Marlene McKinnon “was killed two weeks after this was taken, they got her whole family.” We already have a culprit for this from Karkaroff – Travers, who is currently in Azkaban, “helped murder the McKinnons” (GoF 590).
- Frank and Alice Longbottom were tortured into insanity by the Lestranges.
- Benjy Fenwick “copped it too, we only ever found bits of him.” We never learn who was responsible for Benjy Fenwick’s demise.
- Edgar Bones, “they got him and his family too, he was a great wizard.” We know it was one of the Azkaban Ten but frustratingly never learn which one it was.
- “Gideon Prewett, it took five Death Eaters to kill him and his brother Fabian, they fought like heroes.” We later learn, in the news article about the Azkaban breakout, that it was Antonin Dolohov who actually murdered them (OotP 543).
Also in the early pages of Order of the Phoenix, we finally get names for the three Lestranges (once again courtesy of Sirius): “Bellatrix and her husband Rodolphus came in with Barty Crouch, Junior. […] Rodolphus’s brother, Rabastan, was with them too” (OotP 114). The Lestranges have been mentioned every single time multiple Death Eaters are being discussed, so when we finally meet them in this book, they have been well and truly hyped.
The Azkaban Ten
Enough beating around the Flutterby bush, let’s get to the names! We are given half of them right off the bat (OotP 543–44).
- Antonin Dolohov, “convicted of the brutal murders of Gideon and Fabian Prewett.” – Per Karkaroff, he also tortured countless Muggles and non-supporters of Voldemort (GoF 589).
- Augustus Rookwood, “convicted of leaking Ministry of Magic secrets to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” – Rookwood was the one name of Karkaroff’s that was actually valuable to the Ministry.
- Bellatrix Lestrange, “convicted of the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom”
- Rodolphus Lestrange – Not listed directly but was sent to Azkaban with Bellatrix and is present in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries
- Rabastan Lestrange – Not listed directly but was sent to Azkaban with Bellatrix and is present in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries
In Order of the Phoenix, Jo provides enough information to ID a sixth member of the Azkaban Ten.
6. Mulciber – He is present in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, but Crouch, Sr. said Mulciber was in Azkaban during Karkaroff’s trial (GoF 590). That means he was broken out with the others. Per Karkaroff, he specialized in the Imperius Curse.
We also know that one of the Ten (it’s not specified who) was the one who killed the Boneses (OotP 550). It may have been Mulciber, or it may have been one of the three unnamed Death Eaters – I’d love to ask Jo and find out since the murder of the Boneses comes up several times in the series.
The Question of Travers
A lot of this who’s who of Death Eaters is spelled out quite neatly for us… and then there’s Travers.
Travers is one of the Death Eater names that cropped up in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with all the others, yet we don’t get to meet him properly until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – first in passing at Xeno Lovegood’s house, then in Diagon Alley during the trio’s Gringotts heist. And there was a little mystery surrounding him that I’ve been puzzled by for years… until now, when it appears that two mysteries may cancel each other out.
We first hear about Travers during Karkaroff’s trial, where Karkaroff says, “He helped murder the McKinnons!” Crouch, Sr. says that Travers is in Azkaban (GoF 590). What’s notable is that all the other living Death Eaters Karkaroff mentions come into play: Rosier is dead; Snape is a whole thing of his own; Dolohov, Mulciber, and Rookwood are all members of the Ten and are present in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Yet Travers is not present at the Battle of Department of Mysteries (the only named Death Eater who used to be in Azkaban who wasn’t there).
We are reminded of his victims, the McKinnons, by Moody’s Order photo (OotP 173). And then we never hear of him until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the Order is doing a postmortem on the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Kingsley uses him as evidence that “there’s obviously been a mass breakout which the Ministry has hushed up. [Travers is] supposed to be inside too” (DH 73), which means Travers was in Azkaban as of July 1997 when Voldemort staged his second mass breakout.
Of course, it’s possible that Travers was just left in Azkaban while Voldemort was liberating the Ten, but that seems highly unlikely. Travers is a formidable Death Eater, having murdered a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Why would Voldemort go to all the trouble of staging a breakout and leave a valuable Death Eater behind?
But if he broke out as one of the Ten, how did he end up back in Azkaban in 1997? The only times we see Death Eaters getting carted off to Azkaban after the breakout of the Ten are after the two battles: the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of the Tower. We have a complete roster of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, and Travers wasn’t there. So the only time he could have been recaptured and sent to Azkaban would be the Battle of the Tower; otherwise, he couldn’t be one of the Azkaban Ten.
And this is where our two mysteries meet. Recall from Part 3 that there were at least two unnamed mystery Death Eaters present at the Battle of the Tower. Now we can safely infer that Travers was one of the Death Eaters at the Battle of the Tower and got recaptured into Azkaban before being broken out the following month. Therefore…
7. Travers – The seventh member of the Azkaban Ten, who fought Lupin or Ron at the Battle of the Tower and was captured
This is such a relief because it always seemed so perplexing to me that Travers couldn’t logistically be a member of the Ten given he perfectly fits the pattern of introduction the others received. From a writing standpoint, it makes no sense for Jo to meticulously build up all the other Death Eaters and make Travers a throwaway name. But if he’s one of the Azkaban Ten, then everything about his character’s establishment fits Jo’s pattern. This also jives better with Travers’s sudden omnipresence in Deathly Hallows. We get to spend time with him, and while he seems a foppish fellow – snobby about everything from foreigners (like Dragomir Despard) to goblins – he is also among the sharper Death Eaters we meet.
At Xeno Lovegood’s house, while Selwyn loses his temper with Xeno and cruelly hexes him, Travers has a cooler head on his shoulders. He considers the building’s structural integrity and has the presence of mind to use Homenum Revelio to verify Xeno’s claims (DH 420–21). He is also unafraid of Bellatrix, bold enough to make some pointed remarks to her (DH 527). And he seems very well attuned to Death Eater gossip, questioning Bellatrix!Hermione about her wand and Voldemort’s displeasure after the Malfoy Manor skirmish. He’d be a good source to ask who the other members of the Ten are – he’d probably know all the juicy tidbits about them.
The Other Three Members
We can rule out a great many of the Death Eaters from being members of the Azkaban Ten: obviously, all the Death Eaters who are dead before 1996 (Rosier, Wilkes, Crouch, Jr., Regulus, Karkaroff), newly recruited (Draco, Imperiused Stan Shunpike, Imperiused Pius Thicknesse), or among the Respectables.
We are given enough information to rule out Thorfinn Rowle. At the Skirmish of Tottenham Court Road, we get a line from Ron: “’That’s Dolohov,’ said Ron. ‘I recognize him from the old wanted posters. I think the big one’s Thorfinn Rowle’” (DH 166). That quote suggests that, unlike Dolohov, Rowle is not familiar to Ron through the wanted posters – otherwise he’d say, “I recognize them.” So we can confirm Rowle is not among the Azkaban Ten – he’s either a Respectable or a new recruit in Vold War II.
The only three Death Eaters we cannot rule out are Gibbon, Selwyn, and Jugson just because we know so very little about them.
Gibbon is the fellow who was killed by Rowle’s friendly fire in the Battle of the Tower, and that’s the only time he’s mentioned. (That said, if he were one of the Azkaban Ten, that would make Voldemort even more furious with Rowle.)
Selwyn is the very last Death Eater we’re introduced to in Deathly Hallows, and we only meet him in passing at the Battle of the Seven Potters and at Xeno Lovegood’s house.
Jugson is only ever mentioned in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, after which he is carted off to Azkaban. A very slight point against him being one of the Ten is symmetry: Of the 12 Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, we know six are members of the Ten, and five are Respectables. If Jugson were a Respectable, that would make it a nice and even team of six and six.
Alas, that is as far as research can take us. We have seven confirmed members and three potential candidates for three mystery Death Eaters. The Azkaban Ten, in particular, illustrate the point I was trying to make: Jo did such a great job developing what could have been faceless and nameless henchmen into formidable and distinct adversaries. Heck, any of them could make for good antagonists in post-DH fanfics since only Bellatrix is confirmed to be dead (though Rodolphus is heavily implied).