Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Anatomies

There are a lot of evil characters in the Harry Potter franchise. While most people consider Voldermort the ultimate of evil in the universe, and the new Fantastic Beasts franchise is setting up Grindelwald as the big bad, there are some creatures that are as evil as those two dark wizards combined. These creatures are the Dementors, which are magical beings that suck the joy and happiness out of an individual and are much of the reason why Azkaban was considered such a foul and terrible place -- even for the worst of the prisoners. For many years, these evil and despicable creatures served as the prison guards of Azkaban and were only known to inhabit that dark and distressing location.

However, after the Dementors aligned with Lord Voldemort in the Second Wizarding War in 1998, the Ministry of Magic banished them from Azkaban and promised to never use them again, as they set out to become more humane. However, as fans of the Harry Potter franchise know, during the time when Lord Voldemort came back, the Dementors did everything in their power to take Harry Potter and his companions down. They made their first appearance in Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban after Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban and made life terrible for anyone they touched until the final book in the series. However, not a lot is known about their bodies and what powers they have, except for the Dementor's Kiss, which sucks the soul out of their victims.

With that said, here are the 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Anatomies.

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Dementors at Azkaban in Harry Potter
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Dementors at Azkaban in Harry Potter

While it seems that Dementors are soulless monsters that prey on humans, they are also sentient beings that are able to communicate with others when the need arises. They obeyed the Ministry of Magic for many years, serving as guards in Azkaban. They served food and even burned the body of the mother of Barty Crouch Jr. when she perished. They also joined forces with Voldemort when he returned and waged war, choosing to seek out his victims and do his bidding.

They also have openly communicated with wizards, as they revealed what they heard Sirius Black saying in his sleep to the Ministry.

They even attacked Harry at his home at the orders of Dolores Umbridge, which means that they are not mindless monsters preying on the innocent. Instead, they are amoral monsters that can follow orders.


Harry Potter Harry Blocks Dementor Boggart

Remis Lupin stated in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that if a wizard is in close contact with a Dementor for too long of a time, the Dementor will not only suck the positivity and soul out of a person, but it will also eventually drain the wizard of all his powers. This is one of the only known things that can actually drain a wizard of all his powers.

Remis did not expand on this, or explain how the wizard would lose his powers, but it is thought that without a soul and without any hope of positivity in their life, the wizard would be unable to conjure up a successful spell to defend themself, since intense depression can be detrimental to a wizard's ability to successfully cast spells.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

There is a major difference between the Dementors that J.K. Rowling created in her Harry Potter books and the way that the creatures were shown in the movies, starting with Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie.

In the books, they are described as human-shaped figures that wear long dark hooded cloaks.

These Dementors also have skin on their bodies that resembles that of a grey rotting flesh. When the first Dementor appeared on the Hogwarts Express, it was described as a figure that hid its face under its hood and had a grey hang that protruded from its cloak. It was also glistening and slimy-looking with scabs, like something that had "decayed in water." This appearance was slightly changed into something a little less grotesque for the movies


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

Dementors are genderless. This means that they cannot mate nor reproduce. As a result, there have been some questions about how the Dementors came to be and how they continue to grow in number. J.K. Rowling said that Dementors grow like a fungus wherever there is decay, which fits with the idea that they are foul and dirty creatures with no souls.

With that said, Cornelius Fudge claimed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that there has been a breeding of Dementors in the city, but it's unclear what he meant by that. One thought that was brought up in the book A Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter was that Dementors were created by magical enhancements in order to create guard dog like creatures to fulfill the darkest tasks.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

In the Harry Potter movies, the first time that a Dementor is seen is on the Hogwarts Express when the kids are on their way to school. Harry sees this creature, and unlike in the book, where the Dementor is described as a humanoid character with decayed rotting skin, we instead see a skeletal figure wearing a black robe. When one of the Dementor's hands reaches into the compartment that the kids are in, it is more skeletal than the rotting and scabby fleshy hand that J.K. Rowling describes in the books.

This change also makes them a lot more sleeker.

They move with a deft silence and make anyone who is nearby cold, and while they are still incredibly frightening, they are not grotesque. Instead, it is purely their powers and presence that bring fear to their victims.



One big difference between the Harry Potter books and the movies is that Dementors in the movies can fly. In the novels, they are unable to fly. Instead, they simply glide over the ground. This created some major changes in the movies, since the Dementors could fly to Hogwarts. There was also a major moment in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where they showed up during the first Quidditch match in the movie.

These Dementors were able to fly after Harry as he was soaring in the sky on his broom. To protect himself, harry used the Patronus charm to take down the threatening Dementors, instead of charging to the ground to blast them as he did in the novel.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

In the Harry Potter books, whenever a Dementor showed up, the are was covered with a cold mist. This was a sign that the dread that these creatures carried with them was close by, as the cold mist signifies the absence of hope that these evil beings cause with their touch. However, in the movies, the Dementors' presence created a more intense effect.

Instead of just creating a cold mist, the Dementors in the movies made a thick layer of ice surround the area around them.

The windows in the train car iced over when they first showed up. Later in the movies, plants in the area are shown to instantly wither in the cold presence of the creatures.


Dementor on Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter

Because of their skeletal forms in the movies, the Dementors have telekinetic abilities that allow them to move things that they normally might not have the strength to budge. Dementors have the ability to open doors with their hands, as they did in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when they first approached Harry on the Hogwarts Express. However, they have also shown the ability to attack with only their minds.

The most obvious instance of this happened in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the Dementors joined forces with Lord Voldemort and attacked Hogwarts. Due to all of the casualties, Harry had almost given up when a Dementor pinned him against a wall using its telekinetic abilities. Thankfully, Harry finally snapped out of it and fought back.


Harry Potter Battling a Dementor in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

According to author J.K. Rowling, the Dementors were inspired by the depression that she felt before she reached great success with her stories of the Boy Wizard. In an interview after her success, Rowling remembered her depression as the "absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling." Rowling then said that this is different from feeling sad, which is actually healthy. According to Rowling, it was the most "unpleasant thing" that she ever experienced.

Because of this, the Dementors in the Harry Potter franchise don't try to actively make their victims sad.

Instead, their power is to make a person feel like there is no hope whatsoever and to destroy any chance that that person has of believing that they can find happiness.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

No one has ever come up with a way to destroy a Dementor, whether through regular or magic  means. Even the Avada Kedavra spell, which can eliminate anyone it is aimed at (with the exception being the Boy Who Lived), has no effect on the Dementors. The only thing that a wizard can do to stop a Dementor attack is to cast the Patronus charm to keep them at bay. Even then, the Dementors can return at a later time.

However, this does not mean that Dementors can live forever -- it just means that their passing will come naturally and has nothing to do with anyone or anything attacking them. According to Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter, it might be possible to herd them into an area that they could not escape from, which could cause them to starve. However, this is purely speculation.


Sirius Black Animagi in Harry Potter

There is one way that a person can guard themselves against a Dementor's attack. Sirius Black did this in Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban when he transformed into his Animagus form. To put it simply, an Animagus is a wizard or witch who can transform themselves into an animal. Examples in the Harry Potter world include Professor McGonagall, who could take the form of a cat, and Sirius Black, who became a black dog.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black escaped from prison and got past the Dementors because he was able to turn into a dog.

Since the Dementors are blind, they couldn't see that he had changed and believed that Black was simply losing his mind. Because of this, they could not sense his emotions or realize that he was escaping.


The most devastating weapon in the Dementors' arsenal is the Dementors' Kiss. This is the act where the Dementor takes an individual and then sucks out their soul. This was used legally at times by the Ministry of Magic on certain criminals and is considered the harshest punishment.

Remus Lupin described the Dementors' Kiss in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. According to Lupin, a person can exist without their soul because their heart and brain are still working. However, a person without a soul no longer has any sense of their self, no memories of happiness or joy, and there is no chance for that person to ever recover. Their soul is gone forever.


There is only one way to stop a Dementor who is set to perform the Dementors' Kiss on victim and this is through a spell -- the Patronus charm. Patronuses are spirit guardians and are the only defense against Dementors and Lethifolds. It is an extremely difficult spell to master, but it is a very important one if a person wishes to survive a Dementor attack.

The Patronus charm can call upon the hidden but necessary parts of a person's personality.

This awakens the secret self, the part of a person that remains dormant until that person needs it to survive. Dementors feed on happy memories and the Patronus acts as a shield, since it only consists of positive feelings and no negativity, which effectively drives the Dementors off.


The Dementors immediately affect those who are close to them whenever they enter an area. Once they arrive, the people in the area suddenly begin to feel negative emotions -- not sadness, but an absence of hope. This is because Dementors feed on the positive emotions of their victims. According to Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Dementors will suck every good feeling out of a person.

Lupin went on to call them the foulest creatures to ever walk the Earth and said that they seek glory in both decay and despair. Anyone who is left alone with a Dementor long enough will have every happy memory sucked out of them until they are reduced to only a shell, remembering only the worst experiences in their lives.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

All Dementors are blind. Dementors have no eyes. Instead, they seek out and find their victims using their other senses. Their face has empty eye sockets, which are covered with scabbed skin. As a result, a person can only hide from them using various forms of trickery, such as turning into an animal or using a Patronus charm to ward off an attacking Dementor.

The fact that Dementors are unable to see can put innocent lives at a risk, since the creatures are unable to differentiate between two people who have similar spirits, fears, and emotions.

With that said, even though they are blind, their single-minded task of feeding on the positive emotions of others makes them almost impossible to hide from and they are relentless in the pursuit of their intended target.


Because Dementors are blind, they find their victims by sensing their emotions. The way that these creatures track and attack their intended targets is by sensing a person's the unique emotions and their physical and mental health. This is not a precise method, as Barty Crouch Jr. was protected from a life in Azkaban when his mother disguised herself as him by using a Polyjuice Potion and went in his place. This was able to trick the Dementors, as they didn't notice the intruder.

Dementors also cannot sense the emotions of animals, so when Sirius Black turned himself into a dog, they just assumed that he had finally gone insane. As shown in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Dementors were searching the Hogwarts Express for Sirius and came upon Harry Potter. They could not see him or anyone else on the train. Instead, they lingered because they could sense everyone's emotions.


A dementor attacks Dudley Dursley in a scene from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Muggles are unable to see Dementors, but they are still affected by the creatures. This was clearly shown in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Dementors attacked Harry and his cousin Dudley while they were outside. The two ran and one of the Dementors trapped Dudley -- a Muggle teenager -- in a tunnel and began suck out his soul with the Dementors' Kiss.

While Muggles can't actually see the Dementors, they can feel their presence.

However, they are unaware of what is causing them to suddenly feel cold and hopelessness. The Dementor that had Dudley pinned down could have sapped him of all of his happiness if Harry hadn't saved him with the Patronus charm. Later, the Dementors were used to punish Muggles when they were brought in by the Ministry of Magic when Voldemort rose back to power.


Harry Potter Dementors

Dementors cannot differentiate between similar people due to their blindness. The most obvious example of this came in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when we discovered the fate of Bartemius Crouch Jr. He was originally one of Voldemort's Death Eaters, but when he was found guilty for his crimes, his family found a way to keep him out of Azkaban. His mother drank some Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as her son, while Barty Jr. evaded his arrest.

The Dementors could not tell the difference between Barty and his mother, as they were both sick and close to passing at the time. Barty Jr. was able to remain free. However, his father used the Imperius Curse to keep him imprisoned and hidden while his mother passed away in prison under the watch of the Dementors.


Harry Potter: 20 Strange Details About Dementors’ Bodies

When describing the Dementors, Albus Dumbledore called them vicious creatures that don't care if they hurt the person they are hunting or anyone else who gets in their way. They have no problem sucking the soul out of an innocent Muggle like Dudley, despite the fact that they were obviously sent to take down Harry Potter.

This is partly due to the fact that the Dementors have no soul of their own and will thus seek out the best soul they can find to feed upon.

When the Dementors were looking for Sirius Black, they chose Harry Potter because he was a better source of energy at that time. Barty was helpless and they fed on him because he was a positive energy source. They followed Voldemort because he freed them from Azkaban and therefore gave them a larger source of food.


In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remis Lupin said that the only people who knew what existed under a Dementor's hood were soulless and couldn't reveal what they had seen. However, we finally caught a bit of a glimpse of part of a Dementor's face in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix .

While this was likely a stylistic change based on the filmmakers, it also allowed the audience to see what the creatures looked like -- at least a bit. Their faces have empty sockets where their eyes should be, which is covered with scabbed skin. There is also a large gaping hole where their mouth should be, which is what they use to suck the soul out of their victims.


Are there any other interesting facts about Dementors' bodies in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments!

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