Death Eaters – Part 6: The Battle of Hogwarts
This is the sixth part of a series about the Death Eaters – here’s Part 1 if you’d like to start from the beginning.
We’ve spent a lot of time delving into how Jo built up the ranks of the Death Eaters throughout the course of four books. All that work results in a glorious payoff at the Battle of Hogwarts. It’s easy to miss things during that passage given the emotional roller coaster of that entire book, but it’s fascinating to zero in on the Death Eaters during that battle.
In the final battle, all Death Eaters who are still alive and in a fit condition to duel are present. True to its climactic nature, almost all the reasonably prominent Death Eaters are mentioned – 15 total, exceeding the number of named Death Eaters in any other scene. Jo makes sure to tell us what became of the henchmen we’ve loved to loathe as the battle rages on. Here are the Death Eaters in order of appearance.
The Battle of Hogwarts – Confirmed Combatants
- Alecto is taken out of commission before the battle begins by Luna (DH 589).
- Amycus is taken out of commission before the battle begins through the combined efforts of Harry and McGonagall (DH 593–95).
- Snape duels McGonagall and flees Hogwarts through a Snape-shaped hole (DH 600). He’s murdered by Voldemort via Nagini in the Shrieking Shack (DH 656).
- Dolohov duels Remus (DH 626) and – per the apocrypha – is the one who kills him. We see Dolohov dueling Dean Thomas, but when he gets distracted, he’s hit with a Body-Bind Curse by Parvati (DH 644–45). He’s revived at some point and is partnered with Yaxley to keep a lookout for Harry in the Forbidden Forest during the ceasefire (DH 701). In the final battle in the Great Hall, Harry sees him “fall with a scream at Flitwick’s hands” (DH 735). Hopefully, that’s a more permanent solution than all the Body-Bind Curses.
- Draco shows up to try getting his wand back from Harry (DH 628), then has to be rescued from a fellow Death Eater by an invisible Harry later on (DH 645).
- Pius Thicknesse, the Imperiused Minister of Magic, duels Percy Weasley (DH 636). Percy hits him with a neat jinx that makes tiny spikes erupt all over him. Thicknesse recovers, but in the final battle in the Great Hall, he is “floor[ed]” by Arthur and Percy (DH 735).
- Rookwood is seen pursuing a couple of students. A grief-stricken Percy Weasley goes after him (DH 640). He is Stunned by Aberforth in the final battle in the Great Hall (DH 735).
- Lucius is chilling with Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack at first, begging to go find his son (DH 641). In the forest during the ceasefire, he looks “defeated and terrified.” He doesn’t even attempt to fight in the Great Hall but rather looks for Draco (DH 735).
- Travers must have finally stopped hiding in the bowels of Gringotts (where the trio left him earlier that day) because we see him dueling Parvati Patil (DH 644).
- Yaxley is seen “in combat with Flitwick” (DH 645). He’s partnered with Dolohov to keep a lookout for Harry in the Forbidden Forest during the ceasefire (DH 701). In the final battle in the Great Hall, he is “slammed to the floor by George and Lee Jordan” (DH 735).
- Fenrir Greyback attacks Lavender Brown (Fatally? Probably not!) before being taken out by a magical blast from Hermione and a crystal ball from Trelawney (DH 646). He’s back in the forest during the ceasefire, “skulking, chewing his long nails” (DH 702). He is brought down by Ron and Neville in the final battle in the Great Hall (DH 735).
- Rowle is “dabbing at his bleeding lip” during the ceasefire (DH 702). He silences Hagrid just before Voldemort tries killing Harry (DH 703).
- Narcissa is in the forest during the ceasefire (DH 702), where she does the most badass thing ever and lies to Voldemort about Harry being dead (DH 726). She doesn’t even attempt to fight in the Great Hall but rather looks for Draco (DH 735).
- Bellatrix killed Tonks off-screen per the apocrypha. By the time of the ceasefire, she’s “disheveled, her face a little bloody but otherwise unharmed” (DH 702). She duels Hermione, Ginny, and Luna all at once (DH 735) until she’s taken out by Molly Weasley.
- Macnair is “thrown across the room by Hagrid” and “slide[s] unconscious to the ground” during the final battle in the Great Hall (DH 735), in some poetic justice for his role in executing Buckbeak.
The Battle of Hogwarts – Masks and Mysteries
“Death Eaters, both masked and unmasked, dueled students and teachers” (DH 644). In addition to the 15 Death Eaters mentioned above, there are instances where we encounter a masked Death Eater during the battle and never find out who it was. We can safely assume it wasn’t any of the 15 who are mentioned since Harry seems to have no issue identifying them throughout the battle. (Though it’s possible that Rowle or Macnair was masked during the first round of fighting and unmasked for the final round.) So here is the tally of “masked Death Eaters” we see in the battle and what they were doing:
- Duels Fred Weasley, gets hit with three separate Stunning Spells (DH 636)
- Two Death Eaters who spot Harry; the trio escapes through a super effective combo of Hermione’s (Glisseo and the Hardening Charm) that sends the Death Eaters crashing into a stone wall.
- Same as above
- Sees Snargaluff pods hit an invisible trio, gets Stunned by Dean Thomas while distracted (DH 645)
- Unconvinced that Draco is on the Death Eater side, gets Stunned by Harry in passing (DH 645)
- “Dueling Kingsley” (DH 645), presumably the same one being reeled in by Neville’s Venomous Tentacula
Meanwhile, there are only a few named Death Eaters who aren’t mentioned in the Battle of Hogwarts. Assuming our running tally of incapacitated Death Eaters is correct (Crabbe, Nott, Rodolphus), there are only seven named Death Eaters who are unaccounted for:
- Goyle, Sr.
- Rabastan Lestrange
- Stan Shunpike under the Imperius Curse
It’s easy to see why this lot didn’t merit a mention in the climax. Four of them are never seen again after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Goyle, Sr. never appears after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Stan Shunpike isn’t really a Death Eater, and Selwyn is a Johnny-come-lately to the whole scene.
We should also keep in mind that there were likely casualties during the Battle of the Seven Potters beyond Rodolphus – the other Order members and Weasleys wouldn’t have been as conscientious as Harry was with his Disarming Charm, and some of the missing Death Eaters above could have died in that battle (with the exception of Selwyn, who’s seen abusing Xeno Lovegood months later).
If anyone is looking for a fun exercise, maybe match the missing Death Eaters with the masked ones – which one was formidable enough to duel Kingsley, and which ones crash into Hermione’s stone wall? It would be a neat way of ensuring all the Death Eaters had something to do during the battle!
Lastly, note that the 20-odd Death Eaters we enumerated were nowhere near the whole force. In order for the dynamics of the battle to make sense (50 Hogwartians dead, etc.), there would have to be approximately 100 Death Eaters at the battle. (I think this is another point in favor of the 30 Respectables scenario. Even allowing for a LOT of recruiting and Imperius Curses, it’s more plausible if there’s a larger contingent to start with.)
Whew! We’ve discussed quite a lot about Death Eaters across this series of essays, and if you’ve managed to keep them all straight in your mind, you’re to be congratulated. I hope all this research will prove helpful, and I welcome your comments on any assumptions you want to challenge or any names I may have missed. We are not done discussing Death Eaters at the Three Broomsticks – there is a lot more that can be uncovered, and I hope to present a complete and detailed roster soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the newest episode of Alohomora!, where I discuss all things Death Eater with fans who are just as obsessed with this stuff as I am!