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The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis



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  #41  
Old November 12th, 2011, 12:33 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Replying to this quote from the Snape thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by slytherin001 View Post
Personally, I think implying that Snape was perhaps hoodwinked into becoming a DE lessens not only his character, but the heinous crimes he possibly committed during his stint with the DE's. Just my opinion.
I think the stories of the other young DEs give credence to the fact that even if Snape wasn't hoodwinked, he might have been fooled by false promises from the biggest and most evil villain in the series.

It's my understanding from what Sirius says in OotP that a large part of society didn't know what Voldemort's total agenda was in VWI. Sirius says his parents were proud of Regulus for joining the DEs, but of course we know both the Blacks became disillusioned, and Regulus tried to destroy Voldemort's horcrux himself.

It's also canon that while the Malfoys (or at least Lucius) believed they would receive some kind of reward for cooperating with Voldemort. Even Draco bought that hook, line, and sinker by the time he was on the Tower with Dumbledore. But we also know he suffered greatly and thought he and his parents were going to be killed if they didn't cooperate, and by Deathly Hallows they were completely beaten down to the point of surrender.

The one thing Draco, Regulus, and Severus all have in common is that they were attracted to the Death Eaters at a certain age in their lives when they were still young and naive. We know from JKR that even the Potters were "recruited" while still in school. Why did Voldemort target people in their late teens? Personally I think it's because they still respected authority but were easily drawn in with promises he never intended to keep.

What the Dark Lord made out to be the "honor" of working with him turned out to be no better than enslavement based on fear of. I think the canon leans towards that as an explanation for why someone as intelligent as Snape or Regulus or Draco became DEs and then regretted their choices.


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  #42  
Old November 12th, 2011, 3:23 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
Replying to this quote from the Snape thread:



I think the stories of the other young DEs give credence to the fact that even if Snape wasn't hoodwinked, he might have been fooled by false promises from the biggest and most evil villain in the series.

It's my understanding from what Sirius says in OotP that a large part of society didn't know what Voldemort's total agenda was in VWI. Sirius says his parents were proud of Regulus for joining the DEs, but of course we know both the Blacks became disillusioned, and Regulus tried to destroy Voldemort's horcrux himself.

It's also canon that while the Malfoys (or at least Lucius) believed they would receive some kind of reward for cooperating with Voldemort. Even Draco bought that hook, line, and sinker by the time he was on the Tower with Dumbledore. But we also know he suffered greatly and thought he and his parents were going to be killed if they didn't cooperate, and by Deathly Hallows they were completely beaten down to the point of surrender.

The one thing Draco, Regulus, and Severus all have in common is that they were attracted to the Death Eaters at a certain age in their lives when they were still young and naive. We know from JKR that even the Potters were "recruited" while still in school. Why did Voldemort target people in their late teens? Personally I think it's because they still respected authority but were easily drawn in with promises he never intended to keep.

What the Dark Lord made out to be the "honor" of working with him turned out to be no better than enslavement based on fear of. I think the canon leans towards that as an explanation for why someone as intelligent as Snape or Regulus or Draco became DEs and then regretted their choices.
I think that Voldemort promised a Pureblood agenda, but was really self-serving. So, yes, I would agree that that was what the people who joined up with him were fooled over. I don't think that they were unaware of the murder, torture and terrorism aspects of the agenda they signed up to support, though-- I think that they were fooled into thinking that those things wouldn't touch them. Regulus, for example, came from a Purebloodist family that had an Aunt that wanted to make Muggle-hunting legal, so I think he knew just what measures against the non-Purebloods he was supporting by signing up with Voldemort. I don't think Regulus was adverse to violence as long as it was used against Muggles or Muggleborns. It is when Voldemort's violence interfered with Regulus's homelife that he objected. I'd say the same thing occured with the Malfoys. Lucius wasn't above trying to murder school children to stop a Muggle protection act, but he wasn't too happy when Voldemort invaded his home and treated him like dirt. Snape signed on to it to, until someone he had feelings for was threatened. I think that was the thing that Voldemort's disillusioned followers came to realize, that Voldemort served only himself-- not the cause-- and expected his followers to serve him, too.


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  #43  
Old November 12th, 2011, 3:39 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

I doubt that Sirius' family, while blood purists at their worst, would send their favorite son off to be a murderer. IMO, Voldemort had honed the skills he had developed as a young Tom Riddle, charming and deceiving the people he wanted something from, then, ZAP! He lured his followers in by promising them whatever they wanted and then, once they were in his clutches it was too late. There was no going back. I think Draco in the Astronomy Tower is a prime example. He feared for his own life and those of his parents if he didn't carry out his charge. But, earlier in HBP, he was strutting around like a peacock, all proud and self-assured. Big change once he got a taste of reality.

I think your question, SIP, of why Voldemort recruited at the ages he did brings up a good point. I think that time is a very vulnerable one, hanging somewhere between childhood and adulthood, and people are very impressionable at that age. Look at the way cults recruit members -- they seem to target that age group, many of whom are away from home on their own for the first time, many are lonely or have a low sense of self worth, and the recruiters work on those weaknesses and lead the potential members right along before they know what hit them. I see the DEs as much the same: looking for vulnerable young (and not-so-young) people who would think that Voldemort was working toward the same ideal as they were: separating Muggles and Muggleborns from the pure bloods. But he was into more than that and IMO was able to keep that hidden until he'd trapped his potential new DEs. Then, they did what he said because they knew if they didn't they'd meet the same fate as the Muggles or Muggleborns he despised.


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  #44  
Old November 12th, 2011, 11:21 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I doubt that Sirius' family, while blood purists at their worst, would send their favorite son off to be a murderer.
But, why not? They seem likely to have approved of Muggle hunting. I think it was more that they didn't count it as murder if it was Muggles being killed. And they way well have thought with Muggleborns being murdered not counting, either. And perhaps those that oppose those actions against Muggles and Muggleborns being eliiminated also. I think they were well awate that the Death Eaters were a murderous organization, but would have substituted a more sanitary word for the "murderous" because they approved of those actions and saw the victims as subhuman.

Quote:
But he [Voldemort] was into more than that and IMO was able to keep that hidden until he'd trapped his potential new DEs. Then, they did what he said because they knew if they didn't they'd meet the same fate as the Muggles or Muggleborns he despised.
Exactly what I was thinking. Although many of his Death Eaters seemed happy with their situation as long as they could do whay they wanted, even the most brutal and murderous of Voldemort's followers showed terror of their boss. even when they approved and followed the Death Eater agenda-- for example, the Carrows were terrified of falling into Voldemort's displeasure. So. I don't think it was the Death Eater agenda that the recruits were unaware of, but Voldemort's agenda to have the Death Eaters serve him like slaves.


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  #45  
Old November 12th, 2011, 2:48 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I doubt that Sirius' family, while blood purists at their worst, would send their favorite son off to be a murderer. IMO, Voldemort had honed the skills he had developed as a young Tom Riddle, charming and deceiving the people he wanted something from, then, ZAP! He lured his followers in by promising them whatever they wanted and then, once they were in his clutches it was too late. There was no going back. I think Draco in the Astronomy Tower is a prime example. He feared for his own life and those of his parents if he didn't carry out his charge. But, earlier in HBP, he was strutting around like a peacock, all proud and self-assured. Big change once he got a taste of reality.
And Narcissa said she believed that turning Draco into a murderer was Voldemort's way of punishing their family for the failure of Lucius at the Ministry.

So if murder was the only thing DEs were supposed to do, then why would Narcissa be (a) surprised and (b) upset to the point of hysteria?

In fact, now that I think about it, that confirms my own belief that different DEs had different jobs, and only a small minority were the sadistic criminals - Fenrir and Bellatrix, for example - who are the two that Dumbledore was most concerned about in Prince's Tale. Narcissa didn't want Draco to turn out like Bellatrix, which is why she cornered Snape with the Unbreakable Vow. What's interesting is that Dumbledore was pretty sure that Draco had never murdered anyone before either, although he had been a DE all year.


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  #46  
Old November 12th, 2011, 3:25 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow View Post
I think that was the thing that Voldemort's disillusioned followers came to realize, that Voldemort served only himself-- not the cause-- and expected his followers to serve him, too.
I think you've got a good point. They all thought there was something in it for them. Without exception, all the DEs/DE sympathisers who turn against Voldemort did so because he did something that hurt them/someone they cared for. I think they realised that they were as disposable and irrelevant to Voldemort, as much like objects to him as the people they were oppressing.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I doubt that Sirius' family, while blood purists at their worst, would send their favorite son off to be a murderer.
From what's known of them, I doubt they would consider killing Muggles and Muggle-borns to be murder.

Quote:
But he was into more than that and IMO was able to keep that hidden until he'd trapped his potential new DEs.
I don't think it was that well-hidden. People feared to say Voldemort's name about six years into the war at the latest. And the very term "war" in relation to the DEs' campaign of terror implies to me that they were carrying out attacks, that the wizarding world was in peril from these criminals, and that they knew it. The war lasted eleven years, which says that the DEs were carrying out attacks for that long by the time it ended. People knew what Voldemort and his followers were doing - Arthur Weasley said in GoF that people dreaded coming home to find the Dark Mark outside and their families murdered inside - which was why it provoked such a strong reaction thirteen years after it was last seen.

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow View Post
But, why not? They seem likely to have approved of Muggle hunting. I think it was more that they didn't count it as murder if it was Muggles being killed. And they way well have thought with Muggleborns being murdered not counting, either. And perhaps those that oppose those actions against Muggles and Muggleborns being eliiminated also. I think they were well awate that the Death Eaters were a murderous organization, but would have substituted a more sanitary word for the "murderous" because they approved of those actions and saw the victims as subhuman.
I agree - they are the family who blasted Andromeda off of the tapestry for marrying a Muggleborn, but left on a sadist who tortured two people to insanity. And Araminta Meliflua, the cousin who wanted to make Muggle-hunting legal was also left on the tapestry - that suggests that they viewed Muggles and Muggle-borns as inferior and as animals to hunt down.
This means that they wouldn't consider the killing of Muggles and Muggleborns to be murder, IMO.

Quote:
Exactly what I was thinking. Although many of his Death Eaters seemed happy with their situation as long as they could do whay they wanted, even the most brutal and murderous of Voldemort's followers showed terror of their boss. even when they approved and followed the Death Eater agenda-- for example, the Carrows were terrified of falling into Voldemort's displeasure. So. I don't think it was the Death Eater agenda that the recruits were unaware of, but Voldemort's agenda to have the Death Eaters serve him like slaves.
I agree. They expected to have power, and to gain something from being DEs. They didn't expect to be treated almost as badly as they treated others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
And Narcissa said she believed that turning Draco into a murderer was Voldemort's way of punishing their family for the failure of Lucius at the Ministry.

So if murder was the only thing DEs were supposed to do, then why would Narcissa be (a) surprised and (b) upset to the point of hysteria?
I don't think turning Draco into a murderer was the punishment, nor do I think that was what was worrying Narcissa. It's suggested in the text that the punishment was that Voldemort expected Draco to fail, and to die or be imprisoned in the attempt, or be punished for his failure. It was to be a slow punishment for his parents waiting for him to fail and face the consequences. Narcissa speaks of that being her fear - that Draco will be killed, she mentions nothing about not wanting him to be a killer.

Quote:
In fact, now that I think about it, that confirms my own belief that different DEs had different jobs, and only a small minority were the sadistic criminals - Fenrir and Bellatrix, for example - who are the two that Dumbledore was most concerned about in Prince's Tale.
I don't think that Fenrir and Bellatrix were in the minority as DEs. They were dreaded by the wizaridng community for good reason. While only a few of them took as much delight in inflicting harm as Bellatrix and Fenrir, they were there to cause harm. That was their use to Voldemort.
Lucius Malfoy enjoyed Muggle-torture during the first war and had no qualms about using a child to attempt to murder other children, to prevent a law being passed that would protect Muggles from people like him.

Quote:
Narcissa didn't want Draco to turn out like Bellatrix, which is why she cornered Snape with the Unbreakable Vow.
Narcissa wanted Draco safe and alive, that was why she asked Snape to make the Vow. IMO, morality came much further down the list.


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  #47  
Old November 13th, 2011, 11:15 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
And Narcissa said she believed that turning Draco into a murderer was Voldemort's way of punishing their family for the failure of Lucius at the Ministry.

So if murder was the only thing DEs were supposed to do, then why would Narcissa be (a) surprised and (b) upset to the point of hysteria?
Draco was going up against Dumbledore, someone who even Voldemort couldn't beat. With the exception of Draco himself, nobody thought he'd be able to do it (with good reason) and the price of failure was death. That was what Narcissa was worried about.


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Old November 13th, 2011, 1:05 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat
I doubt that Sirius' family, while blood purists at their worst, would send their favorite son off to be a murderer. IMO, Voldemort had honed the skills he had developed as a young Tom Riddle, charming and deceiving the people he wanted something from, then, ZAP! He lured his followers in by promising them whatever they wanted and then, once they were in his clutches it was too late. There was no going back.
I think this is more or less correct, based on what Sirius says in OotP:
OotP, Ch. 6, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black“Were - were your parents Death Eaters as well?”

“No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge. They weren’t alone, either, there were quite a few people, before Voldemort showed his true colors, who thought he had the right idea about things… they got cold feet when they saw what
he was prepared to do to get power, though. But I bet my parents thought Regulus was a right little hero for joining up at first.”

Thus, it does seem like there was a discrepancy for what potential Voldemort followers thought they were supporting and what Voldemort actually intended/was willing to do. Voldemort does not appear to have hidden his goals (i.e. Pure-blood supremacy, purification of the wizarding race), but - at first - he seems to have hidden his intended means of obtaining those goals.

This being said, though, I think a distinction must then be drawn between those Death Eaters/Voldemort supporters who continued to support Voldemort after seeing "his true colors" (e.g. the Lestranges, Crouch Jr., etc. - the active Death Eaters, at least) and those who "got cold feet" (e.g. Regulus). And a further distinction with those who continued supporting Voldemort after seeing his true colors, but second-guessed themselves when Voldemort threatened them personally (e.g. the Malfoys and Snape - in my opinion - and possibly Regulus, though I would still place him in the former category).


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  #49  
Old December 1st, 2011, 11:41 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

From the Snape thread...and this is probably going to be a jumbo post.

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
Apart from the question of whether or not a true DE is even capable of casting a patronus (we know they don't; I have always assumed that they can't)
I actually have something of a problem with this idea, and possibly with the JKR quote itself. The DEs may not feel they need to learn/cast the Patronus charm, since the Dementors were on their side, but the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus if they knew the charm really rubs me the wrong way.

My thinking is, a Patronus can represent three things: one's inner nature (as, I suppose, Minerva's does), one's motivation or love (Severus' Patronus), and what protects the caster (Harry protected by his father/stag). With the notable exception of Voldemort, all the DEs are likely to have one if not all of these things. They probably have a self-identity (even a complete jerk like Umbridge has that forming her Patronus), a loved one (a mother, a child, a spouse, a pet), and a protector in that loved one.

The way I see it, Patronuses are symbols of love, from self-love to love for another. Although their master is entirely loveless, the DEs themselves I believe entirely capable of loving their families and being loved by those families in return.

An additional point I'd like to bring up is this hypothetical scenario: what if, in previous decades, a Hogwarts student learned to cast the Patronus charm and then joined the DEs after graduation? Would they suddenly lose the ability? What's the dividing line that determines when they'd lose it?

I therefore think it would make sense for the DEs to be able to create a Patronus. Most everyone has been loved by someone or loves someone, and I think even violent fanatics like the DEs are included in this. For me, the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus suggests that they lack humanity, and I think the DEs are very human-- driven by human weaknesses, greed, fear, and hatred to commit terrible acts.


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  #50  
Old December 1st, 2011, 11:57 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I actually have something of a problem with this idea, and possibly with the JKR quote itself. The DEs may not feel they need to learn/cast the Patronus charm, since the Dementors were on their side, but the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus if they knew the charm really rubs me the wrong way.
Perhaps doing such damage to the soul as DEs do interferes with the ability to cast a Patronus?

Quote:
My thinking is, a Patronus can represent three things: one's inner nature (as, I suppose, Minerva's does), one's motivation or love (Severus' Patronus), and what protects the caster (Harry protected by his father/stag). With the notable exception of Voldemort, all the DEs are likely to have one if not all of these things. They certainly have a self-identity (even a complete jerk like Umbridge has that forming her Patronus), a loved one (a mother, a child, a spouse, a pet), and a protector in that loved one.
In a way, the DEs give up their own identity when they become branded objects of Lord Voldemort. They may not figure this bit out when they're imagining what they think they will gain from their crimes, but I do think that they're little more than objects to Voldemort. Once they join him, they're kidding themselves if they think they still have their own identity. What they choose to become has defined them, in more ways than one, IMO.

Quote:
I therefore think it would make sense for the DEs to be able to create a Patronus. Most everyone has been loved by someone or loves someone, and I think even violent fanatics like the DEs are included in this. For me, the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus suggests that they lack humanity, and I think the DEs are very human-- driven by human weaknesses, greed, fear, and hatred to commit terrible acts.
I don't think the DEs lack humanity, but I think their actions are a prime example of "man's inhumanity to man". I think they plumb the very depths of human behaviour and show the very worst of what human beings do to each other. I see many, many characters whom I would consider far more human and with far more human actions and motivations than the DEs.


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  #51  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 12:13 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I actually have something of a problem with this idea, and possibly with the JKR quote itself. The DEs may not feel they need to learn/cast the Patronus charm, since the Dementors were on their side, but the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus if they knew the charm really rubs me the wrong way.

My thinking is, a Patronus can represent three things: one's inner nature (as, I suppose, Minerva's does), one's motivation or love (Severus' Patronus), and what protects the caster (Harry protected by his father/stag). With the notable exception of Voldemort, all the DEs are likely to have one if not all of these things. They probably have a self-identity (even a complete jerk like Umbridge has that forming her Patronus), a loved one (a mother, a child, a spouse, a pet), and a protector in that loved one.

The way I see it, Patronuses are symbols of love, from self-love to love for another. Although their master is entirely loveless, the DEs themselves I believe entirely capable of loving their families and being loved by those families in return.

An additional point I'd like to bring up is this hypothetical scenario: what if, in previous decades, a Hogwarts student learned to cast the Patronus charm and then joined the DEs after graduation? Would they suddenly lose the ability? What's the dividing line that determines when they'd lose it?

I therefore think it would make sense for the DEs to be able to create a Patronus. Most everyone has been loved by someone or loves someone, and I think even violent fanatics like the DEs are included in this. For me, the idea that they couldn't cast a Patronus suggests that they lack humanity, and I think the DEs are very human-- driven by human weaknesses, greed, fear, and hatred to commit terrible acts.
I agree with pretty much everything you've said here- it's not fair to generalize the Death Eaters like this. Their master may be completely loveless but that doesn't lead to every single one of them to being the same by any means. Lucius was one of Voldemort's biggest supporters but I think it's clear that he loved his family very, very much.

I do disagree slightly about the Patronuses being symbols of love. I think rather that they are just powerful bits of magic, with a powerful positive emotion behind them. Lupin never tells Harry that he needs love to cast a Patronus- just a lot of magical ability and a happy memory. It is completely Harry's choice that he thinks of his family to cast it. I think any positive that doesn't involve a loved one would suffice as well if it's powerful enough.

So by that logic, I think all of the Death Eaters- and Voldemort- were surely capable of casting a Patronus. We know Voldemort is, and it seems like all his Death Eaters are very competent magically as well. It makes sense to me that if they had any positive memory then they could cast one. What makes Voldemort happy is probably not the same as what makes most of us happy- but it's him casting the Patronus.



I also had a problem with the suggestion that Death Eaters are incapable of casting a Patronus, because it implies that they lacked the positive human emotions required to do so. Remember, nearly everything in the series is told from Harry's perspective, so IMO a certain open-mindedness is helpful when analyzing characters whose heads we don't get to see into.



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Old December 2nd, 2011, 8:39 am
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
Perhaps doing such damage to the soul as DEs do interferes with the ability to cast a Patronus?
I don't know if the DEs self inflicted damage their souls would prevent them from casting a successful Patronus, after all Umbridge had a pretty impressive one during her 'nonwitchhunts' at the Ministry. I think the DEs felt they didn't need them and itprobably never occured to them, there could be another use for them.



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In a way, the DEs give up their own identity when they become branded objects of Lord Voldemort. They may not figure this bit out when they're imagining what they think they will gain from their crimes, but I do think that they're little more than objects to Voldemort. Once they join him, they're kidding themselves if they think they still have their own identity. What they choose to become has defined them, in more ways than one, IMO.
I do agree with this, the DEs certainly surrendered their humanity when they became terrorist criminals. I don't think because that many of them had 'feelings' for family members ect., they simply couldn't apply those feelings to anybody outside their self-imposed circle . The commandant of Auschwitz had his family with him during his tenure, his wife and kids were tended to by the prisoners. The fact that he had his wife and kids there, did't stop him from doing his job.


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I don't think the DEs lack humanity, but I think their actions are a prime example of "man's inhumanity to man". I think they plumb the very depths of human behaviour and show the very worst of what human beings do to each other. I see many, many characters whom I would consider far more human and with far more human actions and motivations than the DEs.
What IMO makes what the DEs did so despicable is the fact that they didn't stop being human beings when they became DEs. They didn't become 'inhuman' monsters when they got branded. IMO they became human monsters, and that was much worst. They were still human beings who probably still kind of loved their families (as long as the families toed the line, probably), but that love didn't stop them from killing and torturing their fellow human beings. That was their greatest crime IMO. The only human beings who were allowed to live were the human beings they said had the right to live. It's a very distilled bigotry I think, one designed to make them feel justified in committing such terrible, inhumane crimes.


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Old December 2nd, 2011, 4:10 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

I agree that's it's a little unfair to generalize all DEs by saying none of them could produce a patronus. I think many probably could have, probably more than we think, because, as said before and in the books by Lupin what you need to cast the charm is a very happy memory. Don't DEs have happy thoughts? Something that brings them joy? I'm sure even Voldemort might have one happy memory- perhaps his might be something along the lines of having killed his mudblood father and used his death to create a horcrux (perhaps, that supposition on my part since I can't remember if that's really what happened) or even the moment he learned he was leaving the orphanage to go to hogwarts - whether the first is the right kind of happy memory is what's up for debate (can a memory of a murder that made the murderer happy be enough to conjure a patronus?) but I don't doubt that it made Voldemort happy in some sense of the word. And we even have examples in the books of Voldemort feeling happy because Harry feels it.

But I digress...

A DE's happy memory could include things like their marriage or their children's births (just like any other wizard), their induction into the DEs or any number of other potentially joyful moments in their individual lives. As we see in the books it's the strength of the memory, perhaps how much joy or happiness it can pull out of you, that's what counts. I think, again, the real question lays in whether the content of the memory is restricted to things we would consider "good" or "innocent" and therefore wouldn't include things like Voldemort's first murder.

For my part I think content counts but there you go.


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Old December 3rd, 2011, 5:46 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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I agree with pretty much everything you've said here- it's not fair to generalize the Death Eaters like this. Their master may be completely loveless but that doesn't lead to every single one of them to being the same by any means. Lucius was one of Voldemort's biggest supporters but I think it's clear that he loved his family very, very much.
I think the DEs can be generalised, in some ways - I think they all lacked a functioning moral compass. I think they all lacked empathy, to differing degrees. I think they were all selfish and callous individuals. I'm basing this on what they participated in, and on what they were willing to do to their fellow human beings, for their own gain. Many, but not all, were also bigots - some, such as Wormtail, may not have been racists, but just sought to save their own skin, no matter who got hurt along the way.

Lucius love for his family means little when he lacks the empathy to see what he is doing to other families. I think it means nothing that he loves Draco, when he is evil enough to try to murder other people's children, to put other people's children in horrible positions, to put other parents in the position of seeing their children in danger.

It strikes me that what Lucius did to Ginny in CoS was almost exactly like what his master did to Draco in HBP, with the difference that Draco was conscious of what he was doing and was proud to attempt murder, at first, whereas Ginny was possessed and forced without any idea of what she was doing to attempt murder. Both Lucius and his master used a child as a pawn to attempt murder, partly for personal gain, and partly to make that child's parents suffer.
I think that their love for their families makes it even more horrific that the DEs lack the slightest bit of empathy to see what they are inflicting on other individuals and families. Did they stop to think about how they would feel if it was their parent, partner, child or friend who was tortured? Or murdered? Or who disappeared without a trace? I very much doubt it, or they wouldn't have been capable of such deeds.


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I also had a problem with the suggestion that Death Eaters are incapable of casting a Patronus, because it implies that they lacked the positive human emotions required to do so. Remember, nearly everything in the series is told from Harry's perspective, so IMO a certain open-mindedness is helpful when analyzing characters whose heads we don't get to see into.
I don't know what Harry's perspective has to do with it. Personally, I think the DEs actions and goals speak for themselves - that's why I have a low opinion of them, not because of Harry's opinions. They are power-crazed bigots, who seek to oppress an entire section of the population, who murder and torture for fun and/or personal gain. They force people to do dreadful things under the Imperius curse. None of that is to do with Harry's opinion - these are the things the DEs themselves did.
I can't extend open-mindedness to thinking anything positive about such amoral characters.

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Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
I don't know if the DEs self inflicted damage their souls would prevent them from casting a successful Patronus, after all Umbridge had a pretty impressive one during her 'nonwitchhunts' at the Ministry. I think the DEs felt they didn't need them and itprobably never occured to them, there could be another use for them.
Good point, Umbridge was truly malevolent, though not a Death Eater.
Did JKR say that the DEs don't use a Patronus or that they can't use a Patronus?


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I do agree with this, the DEs certainly surrendered their humanity when they became terrorist criminals. I don't think because that many of them had 'feelings' for family members ect., they simply couldn't apply those feelings to anybody outside their self-imposed circle .
I don't think they surrendered their humanity, but I think they surrendered the goodness of humanity, and retained the very worst of what humans are capable of.


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They were still human beings who probably still kind of loved their families (as long as the families toed the line, probably), but that love didn't stop them from killing and torturing their fellow human beings.
Good point on expecting their families to toe the line - Sirius' mother blasted people off the tapestry if they opposed prejudice, but were proud of violent individuals like Bellatrix, and the aunt who wanted to make it legal to hunt other human beings.
How would Lucius have reacted if Draco had not been a bigot, too? If Draco had chosen to open his eyes and think for himself at Hogwarts?


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Old December 3rd, 2011, 8:15 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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Did JKR say that the DEs don't use a Patronus or that they can't use a Patronus?
In her first interview about DEs and patronuses JKR said the DEs couldn't use a patronus to communicate because it was an exclusive Order charm, but in a later one she said they couldn't produce patronuses at all.


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  #56  
Old December 5th, 2011, 7:01 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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I think the DEs can be generalised, in some ways - I think they all lacked a functioning moral compass. I think they all lacked empathy, to differing degrees. I think they were all selfish and callous individuals. I'm basing this on what they participated in, and on what they were willing to do to their fellow human beings, for their own gain. Many, but not all, were also bigots - some, such as Wormtail, may not have been racists, but just sought to save their own skin, no matter who got hurt along the way.
I always thought that DEs could be quantified as being out for themselves. Their moral compass seems to me to be aligned along what they thought was best for them and to a very warm place with the rest of the Wizarding World

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Lucius love for his family means little when he lacks the empathy to see what he is doing to other families. I think it means nothing that he loves Draco, when he is evil enough to try to murder other people's children, to put other people's children in horrible positions, to put other parents in the position of seeing their children in danger.

It strikes me that what Lucius did to Ginny in CoS was almost exactly like what his master did to Draco in HBP, with the difference that Draco was conscious of what he was doing and was proud to attempt murder, at first, whereas Ginny was possessed and forced without any idea of what she was doing to attempt murder. Both Lucius and his master used a child as a pawn to attempt murder, partly for personal gain, and partly to make that child's parents suffer.
Yeah, Lucius did find out what it was like to be on the other end of the kind of treatment he was so very good at dishing out. I wish ~I could think that he learned to use what he he was forced to learn but I kinda think that he probably got over it. The fact that Jo said that he wiggled out out of punishment tells me at least that he didn'tlearn that much. The problem with Lucius IMO is that he loved being a Death Eater right up till he landed in Azkaban and he did his best afterwards to try and get back into the top dog position.

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I think that their love for their families makes it even more horrific that the DEs lack the slightest bit of empathy to see what they are inflicting on other individuals and families. Did they stop to think about how they would feel if it was their parent, partner, child or friend who was tortured? Or murdered? Or who disappeared without a trace? I very much doubt it, or they wouldn't have been capable of such deeds.
I don't think that worrying about the agony they were putting other families through was high on the Death Eaters list of priorities. Empathy and kindness would have got in serious way of pleasing Voldemort and let's face it, pleasing Voldemort was what was important to the DEs, not having scruples about murdering children and causing grief and pain to the decent ordinary Wizarding population.



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I don't know what Harry's perspective has to do with it. Personally, I think the DEs actions and goals speak for themselves - that's why I have a low opinion of them, not because of Harry's opinions. They are power-crazed bigots, who seek to oppress an entire section of the population, who murder and torture for fun and/or personal gain. They force people to do dreadful things under the Imperius curse. None of that is to do with Harry's opinion - these are the things the DEs themselves did.
I can't extend open-mindedness to thinking anything positive about such amoral characters.
I can't think of one positive thing to say about the DEs. I just don't think being a callous murderer and terrorist is something that any reason could be proffered for. This, I admit is rather harsh but I am not one for trying to understand why they did the terrible things they did. For me personally, it's enough that they committed the crimes, I don't want to know that maybe their parents weren't perfect, their parents did not committ the crimes, they did. I would make a terrible therapist.



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Good point, Umbridge was truly malevolent, though not a Death Eater.
Did JKR say that the DEs don't use a Patronus or that they can't use a Patronus?
I don't think any DE is mentioned as using a Patronus. I suppose they would have known about the spell but I don't think we ever see one cast one.



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I don't think they surrendered their humanity, but I think they surrendered the goodness of humanity, and retained the very worst of what humans are capable of.
Yeah, they didn't stop being human beings, they simply became pretty despicable ones IMO.

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Good point on expecting their families to toe the line - Sirius' mother blasted people off the tapestry if they opposed prejudice, but were proud of violent individuals like Bellatrix, and the aunt who wanted to make it legal to hunt other human beings.
How would Lucius have reacted if Draco had not been a bigot, too? If Draco had chosen to open his eyes and think for himself at Hogwarts?
Draco, open his eyes and think for one moment that the world did not owe him for existing? I don'tthink he could ever have managed it so IMO, Lucius would have never needed to worry about Draco turning out decently. But that's just me. I just think there is no depth that Draco would not explore of his own free will.



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Old December 5th, 2011, 7:34 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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In her first interview about DEs and patronuses JKR said the DEs couldn't use a patronus to communicate because it was an exclusive Order charm, but in a later one she said they couldn't produce patronuses at all.
Thanks! Are they on Accio Quote?

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Yeah, Lucius did find out what it was like to be on the other end of the kind of treatment he was so very good at dishing out. I wish ~I could think that he learned to use what he he was forced to learn but I kinda think that he probably got over it. The fact that Jo said that he wiggled out out of punishment tells me at least that he didn'tlearn that much. The problem with Lucius IMO is that he loved being a Death Eater right up till he landed in Azkaban and he did his best afterwards to try and get back into the top dog position.
I agree - like all of the other Death Eaters who had second thoughts, it had nothing to do with morals and everything to do with looking out for number one.

I think the best that can be said about what Lucius learned from the experience was that he would stay away from the next genocidal megalomaniac to show up in the wizarding world, because he would have seen just how quickly a person like that can turn on their minions, too.

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I don't think that worrying about the agony they were putting other families through was high on the Death Eaters list of priorities. Empathy and kindness would have got in serious way of pleasing Voldemort and let's face it, pleasing Voldemort was what was important to the DEs, not having scruples about murdering children and causing grief and pain to the decent ordinary Wizarding population.

If one had empathy and kindness they wouldn't have wanted anything to do with such a cruel group in the first place, IMO.

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I can't think of one positive thing to say about the DEs. I just don't think being a callous murderer and terrorist is something that any reason could be proffered for.

I think they had their reasons - power, racist delusions of superiority, self-preservation. However, I don't see any of these reasons as mitigating factors or making their actions in any way understandable. I see a difference between understanding what the reasons were and finding the actions themselves understandable. It's like knowing that someone killed their partner for money - you understand what the motive for the crime was, but it's not the same as saying the crime was understandable.

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I don't think any DE is mentioned as using a Patronus. I suppose they would have known about the spell but I don't think we ever see one cast one.
As the best defence against Dementors, I think it would be known to them - I imagine it would have been taught at NEWT level - we see witches and wizards who know of it who are not Order members - like Madam Bones, the OWL examiner, members of the DA. However, knowing of a spell and knowing how to use it are very different things, as Fake Moody explains with regard to the Unforgivables.


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Draco, open his eyes and think for one moment that the world did not owe him for existing? I don'tthink he could ever have managed it so IMO, Lucius would have never needed to worry about Draco turning out decently. But that's just me. I just think there is no depth that Draco would not explore of his own free will.
While the Draco in canon did not do so, I was wondering, hypothetically, what Lucius would do if his son had had the strength and morals of his cousin, Sirius, and turned his back on the family prejudices? It may be too much in the line of speculation, but I do wonder what Lucius would do if his son wasn't what Lucius wanted him to be.


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Old December 5th, 2011, 10:48 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

1. What attracted them to Voldemort/Tom Riddle and/or his "cause"?
There are a number of factors that contributed to whether someone joins the Death Eaters or not. Among them are ideological harmony with Voldemort's idea that Magical Blood is superior in every way to Nonmagical Blood, and that a higher "Purity" meant better breeding and thus a better person, fear of what would happen if Voldemort actually won, a quick way to power, fear of what would happen if Voldemort actually won, the chance to do some allegedly fun things, and fear of what would happen if Voldemort actually won.
2. What is their motivation for staying? For leaving?
The only people who left the Death Eaters for good and survived the action were the Malfoys, and that was because Voldemort died before he realized that they were traitors. For the most part, you stay because you value your own hide above that of other people. If you tried to leave, it was largely because someone precious to you (Kreacher, in RAB's case) was directly put in jeopardy by Voldemort's actions.
3. What do any of them have in common? Is there anything they all have in common?
The one thing they all have in common is the idea that Magic is superior to non-magic. Clearly, they've also all never faced a muggle with enough awareness of them and the means to fight back.
4. Obviously Fenrir wouldn't give a hoot about Purebloods that weren't werewolves, so his motivation to be on the side of the DEs/Voldemort may be different from the others. What motivates the DEs who are still on Voldemort's side of the war?
Fenrir Greyback was never branded, though; I got the impression that Voldemort was treating him as more of a mercenary than an actual Death Eater. In any case, Voldemort saw all his supporters as a means to an end, and I'm guessing that a lot of his supporters (less the ones motivated by fear) saw him as the means to an end as well.
5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of a group like the Death Eaters?
Strengths: Numbers, Leadership, Political Influence, Fresh Ideas
Weaknesses: Lack of Sub Leaders, Unclear Chain of Command, Lack of supportive behaviors towards one another, An Insane Boss.


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Old December 15th, 2011, 6:16 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

So many people have already given excellent answers to these questions, but I will try to add some fresh ideas.

1. What attracted them to Voldemort/Tom Riddle and/or his "cause"?
Plenty have people have already covered the basics: power, beliefs, etc, but the point I really wanted to expound upon was his technique of making them feel "special." I don't think it would be much of a secret that Voldemort was trying to recruit the most gifted magical masters of the era (more on this in question 3). The truly brilliant witches and wizards that would come to join him would likely feel that their magical prowess had been validated, and those that he recruited for other reasons (again, more in question 3) would mistakenly believe that Voldemort considered them brilliant as well and would feel "special," as was previously suggested.

2. What is their motivation for staying? For leaving?
I agree with most others that some, like Bellatrix genuinely wanted to stay because of the ideals and her love for Voldemort (even though it was a love that was not returned. I also wonder if he knew that she loved him. I am inclined to think that he did, being accomplished at legilimency, and he would have surely used this to his advantage). Others would have stayed purely out of fear, as previous responses have mentioned, but I think something that has not been addressed is that others might have just been along for the ride. Once a Death Eater, I assume it was made painfully clear that it was a stay or die situation, so most would not have chosen to leave and would have decided to simply ride out the storm so to speak the best they could. I see it as almost an indifference sort of thing, and that they were neither overly motivated to be defiant nor felt obligated to be as zealous as Bellatrix, just sort of somewhere in the middle. Surely thoughts of leaving might have crossed some of their minds, but after Dumbledore's death they might have reasoned that Voldemort was sure to win after that. As some have said before, the Death Eaters really weren't much of a group without Voldemort. It seems likely to me that they viewed Dumbledore as the figurehead of the opposition and foolishly thought that the Order, etc would be nothing without him, just as they would be nothing without Voldemort.

3. What do any of them have in common? Is there anything they all have in common?
Really, to me, I sort the Death Eaters into two categories: truly gifted witches and wizards, and pawns. Of course, they were all really pawns to Voldemort, but I think that he most likely attempted two types of recruitment. The first was a sort of "collection," not unlike that of Professor Slughorn (something Voldemort learned from him perhaps?). He tried to recruit the brightest witches and wizards for his cause (Is it not known that James and Lily had defied him three times? Perhaps I am mistaken on that account, but we also see other instances of Voldemort attempting to recruit brilliant wizards during the second war. Slughorn is a prime example.) I also see him as attempting to recruit others who were quite a bit more expendable: that were not as talented, but either had tendancies toward cruelty and pureblood supremacy or a simple enough mind that he could easily manipulate and frighten them, possibly both. As was mentioned before in an earlier response, the Carrows were not fantastically brilliant, but they were genuinely cruel and seemed to prescribe heavily to Voldemort's beliefs. Long story short, I don't necessarily see the Death Eaters as ALL having things in common, but in my opinion, they can be categorized in some ways.

4a. Obviously Fenrir wouldn't give a hoot about Purebloods that weren't werewolves, so his motivation to be on the side of the DEs/Voldemort may be different from the others.
I chose to divide question 4 into two parts to address them seperately.
Fenrir is interesting to me. He seems to me like the sort of person who not only could care less about wizards, but who really would not care about anyone but himself. Don't get me wrong, he is one of my personal favorites, but he comes off to me as almost narcissistic at times. He has a preoccupation with biting others, but I don't see this as out of concern for werewolf-kind. ( I may very well be wrong in this, and if there is evidence against this statement, please share it.) I view it as him wanting to make others suffer, and biting them is absolutely his greatest tool. Not only does he get the chance to physically harm them at the time of the biting, but also has the satisfaction of knowing that they will suffer the remainder of their lives (Werewolves are generally looked down upon, as can be evidenced through Lupin's situations and his constant attempts to conceal his "condition.") Knowing all of this, I think it is safe to say that Fenrir joined Voldemort's cause simply because it is the most convenient pathway for getting what he wants.

On a side note, do muggles who are bitten by werewolves enter the wizarding world, or do they simply stay in the muggle world as a werewolf? To elaborate, I mean once they become a werewolf do they also become aware of wizards, magic, and other magical creatures, or does secrecy still apply?

4b.What motivates the DEs who are still on Voldemort's side of the war?
I touched on this briefly in previous questions, but just to reiterate, I think it is a combination of thirst for power, fear, and belief in the cause. These might be in combination with each other, but I think each Death Eater has a different mix of motivation.

5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of a group like the Death Eaters?
Several strengths and weaknesses have been listed in previous responses, but one weakness in particular I have not seen among them. I personally think that one of the greatest weaknesses of the group was the belief that they could not fail (by some of the Death Eaters at least, Bellatrix in particular comes to mind, and certainly on the part of Voldemort himself.) I think that especially after Dumbledore's death, they began to think that it was only a matter of time and that all they really had to do was tie up a few loose ends and they were home free. I think in some ways the fact that the Order, DA, and the trio had an uphill battle to fight helped them. They knew that to defeat Voldemort they would have to work hard, whereas I can see Voldemort and the Death Eaters becoming almost a bit complacent.


Another side note about the use of the term "inner circle" as was discussed earlier: The term is used in the Deathly Hallows ( page 453 is the example I found), but it seems to be used synonymously with the term Death Eater. The quote from the book states, "Harry thought he knew why Greyback was not calling Voldemort. The werewolf might be allowed to wear Death Eater robes... but only Voldemort's inner circle were branded with the Dark Mark: Greyback had not gained this highest honor." This makes me wonder what Voldemort's other followers were called. I know that there were the Snatchers that had a seperate title, but were there other specific group names or were they just sort of free-floating, general "followers?"


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Last edited by always_33_687; December 15th, 2011 at 11:28 pm.
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Old December 20th, 2011, 1:38 pm
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Re: The Death Eaters: Group Character Analysis

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If you tried to leave, it was largely because someone precious to you (Kreacher, in RAB's case) was directly put in jeopardy by Voldemort's actions.
This was the only reason for any DE who turned on Voldemort to do so. None of them were shown doing so because they suddenly developed a conscience.

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The one thing they all have in common is the idea that Magic is superior to non-magic. Clearly, they've also all never faced a muggle with enough awareness of them and the means to fight back.
And/or possess the profound ability to delude themselves that they've been wronged/cheated or it's an anomaly if a Muggleborn does better than them.


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Weaknesses: Lack of Sub Leaders, Unclear Chain of Command, Lack of supportive behaviors towards one another, An Insane Boss.
Possibly Voldemort felt that having sub-leaders would threaten his supreme ego. Although, he did appoint people to be in command of certain outings - Lucius was in charge of the Ministry fiasco.


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Originally Posted by always_33_687 View Post
Others would have stayed purely out of fear, as previous responses have mentioned, but I think something that has not been addressed is that others might have just been along for the ride. Once a Death Eater, I assume it was made painfully clear that it was a stay or die situation, so most would not have chosen to leave and would have decided to simply ride out the storm so to speak the best they could.
For those, I see it as a nice case of karma. They knew they were going to be hurting others, they knew that their master was feared by all, but they didn't figure that Voldemort was just as willing to hurt his followers as he was to hurt "filthy" Muggles, Muggleborns and "blood-traitors".


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As some have said before, the Death Eaters really weren't much of a group without Voldemort. It seems likely to me that they viewed Dumbledore as the figurehead of the opposition and foolishly thought that the Order, etc would be nothing without him, just as they would be nothing without Voldemort.
I think that shows the big difference between the Order and the Death Eaters. Twice, the Death Eaters, for the most part, crumpled into uselessness when their leader fell. Three times, the Order remained strong and continued to fight when a leader or leader figure was lost to them - when Dumbledore died, they continued fighting, when Moody died, they didn't give up, and when they believed Harry dead, they refused to bow to Voldemort.

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Long story short, I don't necessarily see the Death Eaters as ALL having things in common, but in my opinion, they can be categorized in some ways.
I agree that there were differences in the types of people Voldemort recruited, and I like your description of the categories they fit into. However, I think they all had some things in common - I think they all lacked a conscience, compassion and basic human decency. Whether they were acting out of fear, sadistic tendencies or desire for power/recognition/attention, or a combination of these, the DEs were willing to harm and destroy others to get what they wanted. I think, that whatever their reasons, they represent the very worst that human beings are capable of.



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On a side note, do muggles who are bitten by werewolves enter the wizarding world, or do they simply stay in the muggle world as a werewolf? To elaborate, I mean once they become a werewolf do they also become aware of wizards, magic, and other magical creatures, or does secrecy still apply?
I imagine that someone in the wizarding world would have to fill them in on what was going on so they wouldn't be a danger to others at full moon. Someone would have to let them know they need to lock themselves away one night a month. Of course, that depends on someone in the magical community knowing someone has been bitten.


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Another side note about the use of the term "inner circle" as was discussed earlier: The term is used in the Deathly Hallows ( page 453 is the example I found), but it seems to be used synonymously with the term Death Eater. The quote from the book states, "Harry thought he knew why Greyback was not calling Voldemort. The werewolf might be allowed to wear Death Eater robes... but only Voldemort's inner circle were branded with the Dark Mark: Greyback had not gained this highest honor." This makes me wonder what Voldemort's other followers were called. I know that there were the Snatchers that had a seperate title, but were there other specific group names or were they just sort of free-floating, general "followers?"
IMO, inner circle was simply the term JKR used before she introduced the term "Death Eaters" along with the actual Death Eaters, just as was the case with Azkaban guards = Dementors.
I think Greyback was simply a glorified Snatcher. I think that Voldemort branded most of his followers, apart from the Snatchers, who may have been recruited by his corrupt Ministry, rather than taken on by Voldemort himself.


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Last edited by FurryDice; December 20th, 2011 at 1:41 pm.
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