The magical world of the Harry Potter book and film series is one of the most rich and vibrant fictional universes around, and it's easy to see why these stories captured the hearts and minds of so many readers and viewers around the world. This fictional world (which is supposed to coexist with our own) is full of unique kinds of magical animals, creatures, and beings.
One of the most mysterious and terrifying creatures in the Harry Potter universe is the Dementor. These strange beings appear to be sentient, but they don't speak or communicate, and their sole motivation in life is to find any victim they can and drain every ounce of joy, love, and happiness out of them. Their horrifying 'Dementor's Kiss' can even suck out someone's soul. These silent terrors are surprisingly complex and dynamic beings, though, and there are plenty of fascinating details about them littered throughout the narrative that you just may have missed.
10 Even Muggles Can Sense Their Presence
One of the most significant ways in which magical creatures are distinguished from the other animals and sentient beings that live in the world is that while witches and wizards are typically aware of them, Muggles are not.
While Muggles cannot see Dementors, their draining power is so strong that non-magical people can still sense them. Of course, a human can be attacked by a Dementor too (as we see with Dudley Dursley), but the mere presence of a Dementor near any living person, whether they're witch, wizard, or Muggle, will have a negative effect on them.
9 Their Name Is Self-Explanatory
J.K. Rowling, the author of the entire Harry Potter book series, is a big fan of giving everything and everyone names that are significant and that can relate to their backstory or mythology in some way. Of course, the Dementors are no different.
The word 'Dementor' obviously comes from the word 'demented,' and it's easy to see why they may have earned that name. The immediate effect of a Dementor's presence is a feeling of misery, but prolonged exposure to Dementors will quite literally drive anyone to derangement and even insanity.
8 They're Team Voldemort
This is something that most people could conclude even if the films and books didn't state it directly, as Voldemort and the Dementors seems like a natural alliance. For a long while there was a uncomfortable allegiance between the Dementors and the British Ministry of Magic that employed them, but once the opportunity to really feed their appetites presented itself, they unsurprisingly defected and joined Voldemort.
It's only natural that Voldemort would be a fan of Dementors. Anything that can gain him more power and control as well as hurt the people he's trying to subjugate would have been right up his alley.
7 Leaving Azkaban Affected The World
As a part of their deal with the Ministry of Magic, the Dementors stand guard at Azkaban, the wizard's prison. Azkaban is a prison on an island in the middle of the North Sea, and it is supposed to be impossible to escape from.
Once Voldemort returned and gained power, the Dementors abandoned their post and returned to the mainland, which actually had a marked affect on the world. It's not a coincidence that the later films are so dark and gloomy all the time. The return of the Dementors literally casts a pall over everything.
6 It's Not Just A Patronus That Can Fend Them Off
As any casual or hardcore Harry Potter fans will know, a fully-formed Patronus charm is the best way to ward off a Dementor. However, it's not the only way. A Patronus that is strong enough can instantly repel an attacking Dementor, but there are other ways to mitigate their effects.
When Harry is undercover in the Ministry of Magic he can't use his Patronus to protect himself, so instead he just thinks of the happiest thoughts and memories that he can. Also, when Harry's loved ones briefly 'return' because of the Resurrection Stone, he can't feel the effects of the Dementors, even though they're nearby.
5 J.K. Rowling Created Them As A Symbol Of Depression
The symbolism of the Dementor is pretty clear, but J.K. Rowling has said that she created these dark and depressing creatures as a literal corporeal representation of depression. J.K. Rowling has openly discussed her experiences with clinical depression, saying that it was the most unpleasant experience that she had ever had and that it was a feeling that was entirely different from any kind of normal sadness she had experienced before.
It's a heavy metaphor to be sure, but a monster that literally sucks every ounce of happiness out of you and can even suck out your soul seems like an apt representation of depression as an illness.
4 It's Not A Coincidence That They're Prison Guards
In terms of the in-universe explanation for why the Dementors guard Azkaban, it's a decision that does make some sense. Dementors are frightening and dangerous enough that the wizards really want no part of them, and having a horde of Dementors surrounding the prison certainly means that most prisoners couldn't escape even if they tried.
Of course, it's an agreement that provides the Dementors with a constant source of happiness to devour. The surprising thing, though, is that the Dementors have been on this island in the North Sea for some time. Before the prison opened, Azkaban was a fortress owned by the dark wizard Ekrizdis. The unspeakable horrors he inflicted on Muggle sailors he lured there caused the infestation in the first place.
3 They Might Be The Darkest Creature In The Harry Potter World
Within the magical world of Harry Potter, there are many different kinds of magical creatures with all sorts of powers and connections to the dark or light sides of magic. It's quite possible, though, that the Dementors are the darkest magical creatures that exist on earth.
They're arguably the closest thing to a demon that exists in the Harry Potter universe, and they're beings that solely subsist on the positivity that they rob from their victims. They don't seem to have any redeeming qualities, and their entire purpose for existing is to make the world a darker, scarier, and more miserable place.
2 Even The Ministry Won't Cross Them
Although the wizarding world is clearly rife with its own unique set of problems, it would seem that their collective power is great enough that they can handle and control any problem that they ever come across. Wizards and witches have managed to coexist with most other magical creatures, but Dementors are one line they seem unwilling to cross.
Dementors are completely concentrated around Azkaban, but the torment that they inflict on their prisoners is something that many witches and wizards have found inhumane. There have occasionally been members of the Ministry who have wanted to do something about it, but overall, the Ministry has been too afraid to upset the status quo and risk dementors returning to the mainland.
1 Azkaban Is A Dark Deal Between Wizards And Dementors
The Ministry of Magic as a whole is either repulsed by or terrified of the Dementors, and the Dementors care about nothing besides draining the world of as much happiness as they can, which makes the fact that the Dementors willingly work with the Ministry a kind of confounding agreement.
However, the benefit for both sides is what kept their working relationship going. The Ministry was more than keen to keep Dementors out of sight and mind, and having the scariest creatures in the world as your prison guards is definitely a plus. Meanwhile, Dementors essentially had a permanent all-you-can-eat buffet with the prisoners they guarded.