An Auror is a dark wizard catcher who works within the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. As employees of the Ministry of Magic, it is their duty to find and capture any witch or wizard practicing the Dark Arts. Aurors are only briefly mentioned in the films. Mad-Eye Moody is introduced as the “dark wizard catcher” as well as Kingsley Shacklebolt and other members of the Order of the Phoenix.
In the books, Harry’s ambition to become an Auror plays a large roll in how he develops. Fans of the film aren’t privy to much of this information or the steps Harry takes in order to become one. As a result, not much is really known about Aurors. So, here’s a brief breakdown of everything from the skills it takes to become an Auror to their unprecedented obligations to the Ministry of Magic.
10 Early Years
The Auror office was established in the 17th century by the British Ministry of Magic. By the mid-20th century, the office had spread to the Magical Congress of the United States. Some British Aurors were sent overseas to help aid in the global wizarding war.
One such wizard was Theseus Scamander, who would later become the Head of the Auror office at the Ministry of Magic. Aurors typically stayed within their own jurisdiction, but those who showed promise were granted permissions to present their skills on the front line battles within other countries.
We learn from Harry Potter’s days as a student at Hogwarts that it takes an immense amount of work and dedication to become an Auror. During a career discussion (yes, they have those), McGonagall warns Harry that they only take the very best and that he will have to improve his grades if he really wants to become an Auror.
Regarding academic grades, wizards must have five N.E.W.T.s and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade in Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Charms. This is briefly a problem for Harry who has always struggled in Potions class, much to Snape’s enjoyment.
8 Training Takes Three Years
The role of an Auror is comparable to that of a police officer or, more fittingly, a special agent within a program like the FBI. So training to become an Auror is a rigorous endeavor. If prospective witches and wizards meet the academic qualifications, they move on to background checks. If they pass, they can be accepted into Auror training which starts with a series of aptitude tests. They have to prove their skill in magical combat and even criminal investigations.
Aurors have to be able to perform well under pressure, which will be evaluated during their three-year training program. Any outperforming abilities such as being able to produce a Patronus or Animagi skills are taken into consideration as well. However, as noted by McGonagall, they don’t accept many people. At the time of Harry’s inquiry, there had not been anyone admitted into the program for over three years.
MACUSA stands for the Magical Congress of the United States, which is the American equivalent to the Ministry of Magic. It became necessary to establish this secret government around 1693 during the Salem Witch Trials. During this time, the Auror office at MACUSA was handed the duty of finding and convicting Scourers: a group of rogue wizards who tortured muggles and wizards alike.
Some Aurors that eventually came to work for the U.S.’s Department of Magical Law Enforcement include Tina Goldstein who audiences see in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. American Aurors are known to be more calloused and aggressive than their British counterparts and their team is bigger than any others in the world.
6 Umbridge Tried To Prevent Harry From Becoming An Auror
During their fifth year, Hogwarts students have to take their O.W.L exams which determine their overall academic grade. They also set prerequisites for the type of careers they can have after leaving school. Harry had previously spoken in awe of Aurors, eventually deciding to become one.
During his career consultation meeting with Professor McGonagall, Professor Umbridge (who is, naturally, monitoring the meeting) questions “whether Mr. Potter has quite the temperament for an Auror?” This enrages McGonagall who knows of Harry’s potential. After a heated argument, McGonagall states that she will not rest until Harry becomes an Auror.
5 Frank and Alice Longbottom
Neville’s parents are two notorious Aurors. During the First Wizarding War, they were well-respected members of the Order of the Phoenix and used their training as Aurors to take on Voldemort’s Death Eaters. They eventually went up against Bellatrix Lestrange, who tortured them with the Cruciatus Curse.
This caused Frank and Alice to lose all of their memories and take on irreparable spell damage. Neville frequently visits the two former Aurors at St. Mungo’s Hospital even though they can’t remember their son. Neville followed in his parent’s footsteps after the Second Wizarding War and became an Auror for a time before settling on being a Herbology teacher at Hogwarts.
4 Nymphadora’s Role
Nymphadora Tonks is also an Auror. She was one of the last ones accepted into the program before 1995. Alastor Mad-Eye Moody acted as her mentor and she frequently spoke about her training to Harry.
Tonks mentions that she excelled at her Concealment and Disguise training, but being the klutz that she is, her Stealth and Tracking training needed a bit of work.
3 Barty Crouch Led The Aurors
In the 1970s following the first war, Barty Crouch was Head of Magical Law Enforcement, which oversees the Auror department. Crouch’s tactics were unconventional, though they did help with catching more than half of Voldemort’s Death Eaters.
We see his rule during the fourth Harry Potter installment when Harry sees Crouch’s court proceedings through the Pensieve. With his lack of judgment, Crouch lets Igor Karkaroff go free and fails to realize that his own son is one of Voldemort’s biggest advocates.
2 Sweeping Powers
Another misguided step under Crouch’s rule was granting Aurors the ability to enact sweeping powers. This gave Aurors the right to use whatever forces necessary in order to repel their opponent.
This included using Unforgivable Curses, which was not a typical strategy. Aurors were also granted permission to kill first, ask questions later. Crouch's mantra was "kill rather than capture.”
1 Harry and Ron Become Aurors
After the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry and Ron were immediately inducted as Aurors for the Ministry of Magic.
At the ages of just 17 and 18, the two of them were said to have "revolutionized the Auror Department” according to J.K. Rowling. Harry went on to become the Head of the Auror Office ten years later.