In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, the Dark Mark is the dreadful tattoo bestowed upon Voldemort's closest soldiers, as well as the mark that appears in the sky as a summons. The serpent entering the mouth of a skull is considered one of the most terrifying sights a witch or wizard could ever see... but is it really?
The Dark Mark doesn't make sense in a lot of ways, from who is allowed to wear it to who isn't, what it's used for and what it even looks like. While Rowling is revising a few things for the latest Fantastic Beasts movie, maybe we'll discover a few details that further explain the mark.
10 Sirius Black Didn't Have One
Anyone who knew that Voldemort's followers all bore the Dark Mark should have also known that Sirius Black wasn't one of them, due to the absence of the magical tattoo. If both the movie version of Sirius and the one many fans illustrate in fan art are to be believed, the wizard had plenty of tattoos all over his body, but a Dark Mark wasn't among them.
Even if the Ministry of Magic was clueless about these marks, Albus Dumbledore certainly wasn't and should have investigated it further, not to mention the appearance of Peter Pettigrew on the Marauder's Map that went unnoticed for so many years.
9 It's The Name Of The Tattoo And Its Sky Summons
The Dark Mark gets confusing because the name refers to both the snake and skull tattoo that wizards get in order to signify their Death Eater status as well as the actual symbol summoned in the sky through the use of the curse known as Morsmordre. One should really have a different name, particularly the symbol in the sky, as it's not even a mark but a conjured, billowy thing. The Dark Cloud might be more efficient here, or even the Dark Signal.
It's even more confusing if you hear someone shriek that they just saw the Dark Mark. Well, was it on a person? Was it in the sky? Either could have a very different meaning and require a different course of action, if any at all.
8 It Was Fine For Snape To Ignore Its Summons
It makes no sense for Voldemort to punish anyone who ignored the summons of the Dark Mark, except Severus Snape. The magic of the mark should be compelling enough to force any of the Dark Lord's followers to pay it heed and arrive promptly at his command. Voldemort himself said that anyone not in Azkaban who failed to answer his summons would be punished.
Voldemort ensured this fate for Igor Karkaroff, but he didn't care that Snape was delayed for two hours. Snape claimed it was to ensure Dumbledore's trust, but in reality Voldemort should have seen through the ruse.
7 Draco Didn't Have One In The Book... Or Did He?
Draco Malfoy clearly has a Dark Mark in the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is the chapter of the saga in which Malfoy is tasked with taking out Albus Dumbledore as punishment for his father's failure. In the book, however, J.K. Rowling didn't make it clear if Malfoy had officially become a Death Eater or not, and although his father bore the Dark Mark, his mother didn't.
It makes no sense for Draco not to have the mark and be given this task as his initiation into the Death Eaters. Voldemort would want to know right away if Malfoy succeeded in his terrible mission, which would require the mark.
6 It's Totally Visible
It's hard to do undercover work for the Dark Lord in broad daylight when you're wearing his symbol right on your arm. Some argue that the Ministry didn't really know about or understand the Dark Mark since it wasn't involved in trials or used to identify Sirius Black. When Voldemort returned, Snape pretty much had to wizardsplain it all to a baffled Cornelius Fudge.
Then again, Fudge always was a daft Minister, and even if he didn't understand it, Dumbledore and other wizards certainly did. Why not make an invisible mark instead in order to offer the Death Eaters better means to spy for Voldemort?
5 It's Used Like A Serial Killer Calling Card
It's kind of stupid that the Death Eaters used to conjure the Dark Mark into the sky to signify a life they'd taken. It points to the ultimate act of hubris, which mirrors a muggle serial killer's calling card. This seems like it would be beneath dark and powerful wizards who would want to be nothing like the muggles they despise.
It's also counter-intuitive to their mission, particularly when they aim to be stealthy and blame their dark acts on other wizards and witches. In most cases, dark witches and wizards are proud of their kills, but in some instances it's helpful to frame others.
4 It's Pretty
While the Dark Mark is meant to instill complete fear and dread into the muggle-borns who see it, it's actually quite pretty in the films. Even in the books it's described as "a colossal skull, composed of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue." It also "rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation."
Come on, it has glitter. That's not scary at all. In fact, it sounds like a fantastic firework or Halloween decoration many people would pay to have over their house rather than the symbol of a terrorist group.
3 It's Supposed To Represent Immortality And Power
It's ironic that the Dark Mark represents immortality and power, considering how many of You-Know-Who's followers bit the dust serving for him or lost power just by associating with him. It's like any other symbol used by zealots throughout history — it stands for what they aspire to have yet never can seem to obtain.
It's also related to the Slytherin House, which really isn't fair. Everyone brands the Slytherins as evil witches and wizards, but they're not all bad and it's branding like this that makes them appear to be. It may also stand for being a Parselmouth, which is also ironic since dark or not, most witches and wizards can't speak Parseltongue because it's hereditary.
2 It's Reserved For The Inner Circle
It's silly for the Dark Mark to be limited for use under Voldemort's inner circle alone, not only because branding werewolves, giants and other monsters with it would inspire more terror and help accomplish their goals, but because many of the people who wear the mark seem rather incompetent. These lackeys are really his "inner circle"? Why not brand every follower to spread the hate and fear further?
This makes even less sense if Voldemort really did brand Draco Malfoy, as was evidenced in the films. Why would a teenager be a part of his inner circle, let alone one who hasn't really even done anything for the Dark Lord yet?
1 It Doesn't Live Up To Its Potential
Given that there are Unbreakable Vows, Imperius Curses and, according to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, "Blood Oaths," the Dark Mark should be much more powerful than it is. It's Voldemort's branding and it really should compel its bearer to do whatever he wants them to do, especially since he actually does stoop to using the Imperius Curse on people like Stan Shunpike.
Why isn't the Dark Mark much more powerful? Given all of the power the Dark Lord possesses and the means through which he has acquired it, his branding should require more of its bearer than to just show up.