We’ve all seen that the Death Eaters flew in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie. But how did they do it? Was that even flight or not? Well, today’s article is going to answer that question for you.
No, Death Eaters cannot fly. The “flight” seen in the movies is actually Apparition, but the filmmakers decided to be more liberal when it came to interpreting that kind of magic on the screen.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is one of the most popular and lucrative franchises in modern history. The story of Harry Potter, a young wizard whose parents are killed by the evil Lord Voldemort, but he survived the encounter, and his adventures have inspired generations of children and have spanned a multi-media franchise consisting of additional books, several high-grossing films and a series of video games for different platform.
Despite Rowling changing some details over the years, the Harry Potter canon is one of the better-established fictional universes with a lot of details generally known and unchanged. Still, people ask questions and we are here to answer them for you.
Who are the Death Eaters?
The Death Eaters are a fraction of dark wizards and witches in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They are loyal followers of Lord Voldemort and have participated in the First and Second Wizarding War.
The Death Eaters have been formed during the 1950s and were officially disbanded in 1998, after Voldemort’s demise. Their enemies are the Ministry of Magic and the Order of the Phoenix. All Death Eaters share Voldemort’s goal of conquering both worlds and establishing the supremacy of Pure-bloods within the magical community.
Some notable members of the group were Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, Igor Karkaroff, Fenrir Greyback, Antonin Dolohov, Amycus and Alecto Carrow, Barty Crouch Jr. and Severus Snape (but he was a Death Eater for a short time only, later serving as a double agent for the Order).
The Death Eaters are usually depicted as a dangerous group of criminals and murderers, who would stop at nothing to please the Dark Lord and do his bidding. Some of them were less loyal (like Narcissa and Draco Malfoy), while some would do absolutely anything for Voldemort (like Bellatrix Lestrange). A lot of Death Eaters died during the two wars and the majority of those that survived ended up in Azkaban, while only a small number went into hiding.
The Death Eaters usually have a Dark Mark on their inner left forearm. It is a skull with a snake coming out of its mouth. The Dark Mark is a symbol of identification and a sign of loyalty; every Death Eather has a Dark Mark. A larger-scale Dark Mark is also the symbol used by Death Eaters to show their presence in a scene and is conjured using the spell Morsmordre.
Flight in the Harry Potter universe
Flight is a very important feature in the world of Harry Potter. It is a form of transit, but also a skill taught at Hogwarts, which means that every wizard and witch should know how to fly using a broom.
So, in short – there is no known way to fly without using support in the Wizarding World. As Kennilworthy Whisp, the author of Quidditch Through the Ages, states:
“No spell yet devised enables wizards to fly unaided in human form… Levitation is commonplace, but our ancestors were not content with hovering five feet from the ground. They wanted more. They wanted to fly like birds, but without the inconvenience of growing feathers.“– Kennilworthy Whisp, author of Quidditch Through the Ages
As you can see, a wizard can levitate, but levitation is not flight. Flight is not possible unless you have a on object that will help you fly. There is no flying spell.
But, there seem to be a couple of exceptions to this rule, them being Lord Voldemort and Severus Snape. As J.K. Rowling confirmed on Twitter, the most gifted witches and wizards might be able to fly without any support (so-called unsupported flying), but no details have been revealed. It is only known that the only two wizards who’ve achieved that are Lord Voldemort and Severus Snape, although it is not known how they did it.
What about the Death Eaters?
Well, as we explained it – Death Eaters cannot actually fly. Their leader, Lord Voldemort, learned the trick and so did Severus Snape, but no other Death Eater is skilled enough to fly without the use of a broom or some other magical object.
So, where did the question come from?
We assume that most people got confused after watching the movies. Namely, in the movies – it really does seem like all Death Eaters can fly, instead of just Voldemort (who demonstrated this skill during the Battle of the Seven Potters). But that just isn’t true.
Namely, the Death Eaters actually Apparate and that is a completely different form of magic. It allows people to travel from one place to the other, but it is not like flying, more like teleportation. But, what happened was that the filmmakers decided to approach the Apparition process rather freely, making it visually seem like the Death Eaters were actually flying.
Although a similar technique was used in the fifth movie, when the Order appeared in the Ministry, but it was more prominent in scenes featuring the Death Eaters, where the filmmakers visually reinvented the scene. In the books, the Apparition of Death Eaters was described as follows:
“The air was suddenly full of the swishing of cloaks. Between graves, behind the yew tree, in every shadowy space, wizards were Apparating. All of them were hooded and masked. And one by one they moved forwards … slowly, cautiously, as though they could hardly believe their eyes. Voldemort stood in silence, waiting for them. Then one of the Death Eaters fell to his knees, crawled towards Voldemort, and kissed the hem of his black robes.“– Goblet of Fire, Chapter Thirty-Three (The Death Eaters), p. 561
So, as you can see – there is no talk of flying. The smoke, mist and the impression of flying is just a description of Apparition and nothing more. The book is more precise there, but as we said – the filmmakers took some liberties and reinvented the whole scene so that it leaves the impression of flying.
It really looks cool, we cannot deny it, but you have to be careful not to confuse it with actual unsupported flying, which was demonstrated by Voldemort and Snape only.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!