“Welcome, Death Eaters,” said Voldemort quietly.
Goblet of Fire brings the Death Eaters into the spotlight, which means they get an entry all to themselves.
So I’ve been trying to figure out the motivation behind the Death Eaters, beyond the easy go-to assumption that they are just flat out evil. While this is obviously a Good vs. Evil story, I think it’s unfair to lump all the Death Eaters into one psychotic group. There’s depth there, which I guess is to be expected when there’s 4,000+ pages in which to establish it.
First off, what is the goal of the Death Eater organization? What is their platform? If you were to make a bumper sticker showing your support of the Death Eaters’ rise to power, what would that bumper sticker say? From what I can tell, the Death Eaters are interested in obtaining total power through any means necessary, and subsequently ridding the wizarding world of unpure Muggle blood. So the Death Eaters…are Nazis…with wands.
Kidding! Sort of…
I’m not trying to trivialize a historical atrocity by comparing it to a children’s book about magical people. I’m just noticing the architype – one of many that appears in the series. And yes, I can relate anything back to WWII if you give me enough time. Could you imagine Saving Private Ryan with wands?!?!
So we have the Death Eaters’ motivation. Good! Okay, so what makes a wizard become a Death Eater? What inspires this particular life choice? For Voldemort, I think it’s a massive case of “My parents never loved me” gone horribly ary. Maybe he’s the only actual psychopath. There can be one – just not a huge group. Again, it would be a cop-out to assume that all of the Death Eaters are psychopaths. Not only is it a broad assumption, but it makes for a dull story. So let’s call an evil crazy spade and evil crazy spade, until more details are provided to prove otherwise. Well done. Moving on.
Wormtail is clearly a Death Eater cause he’s too scared not to be. He’d weasle (weasley?) his way into whatever situation looked most benificial. He’s like me with the Phillies – a complete Fair Weather Fan.
Lucius Malfoy, on the other hand, is a Muggle-hater with a superiority complex and the intelligence to combine the two into a Maltov cocktail of “Awww…crap!”. He’s potentially the most dangerous of the bunch. The only wizard who may out-flank Mr. Malfoy is Snape himself, but he hasn’t fully turned coat yet.
This leaves Draco, a character I feel worse for as the series progresses. He’s a product of his surroundings, born into a family of Death Eaters and told throughout his life about the greatness of Voldemort and how folks like the Potters and Dumbledore will polute the old wizarding ways. Now he finds himself at the world’s most awkward age, stuck in a Dumbledor/Harry Potter sandwich. It’s not easy being the bad guy. This is why I still hold out hope for this little mop-headed albino. I know he joins the Death Eaters in later books, but I don’t think he’s a complete wash. The ultimate moment for me would be Draco joining forces with Harry in some way, shape, or form. I have a hard time accepting that the series would let one child go bad without redemption.
Then there’s the issue of the abscent Death Eaters - I kind of want to keep track of them, because I know there will be a major Azkaban breakout (I’m remembering more big moments from upcoming books as we get closer to the films I’ve seen recently). But right now, it’s all just a scramble of names. The Lestranges are in Azkaban, Macnair works for the Ministry, Crabbe and Goyle are alive and free and present (surprise) – not to mention the names that came up during the trial – Dolohov, Travers, and Mulciber are in Azkaban, Rockwood probably ended up there after the trial, and Rosier is dead. As for Snape? Well, Voldemort doesn’t mention him, so…
Okay, I know he kills Dumbledore. But I find the whole thing really confusing. Was he keeping Harry alive earlier so that Voldemort could kill him, or because he didn’t know Voldemort was gaining power? Is Snape bad throughout the entire series, or does he go back to being bad? Does he ever become good again?
Is Dumbledor actually not killed, but instead Snape kills someone under the influence of Polypotion Juice who looks like Dumbledore?
Yeah, I don’t believe that last one either.