Throughout the events of the books, Harry faces many grave dangers as a teenager that could put shivers in the spine of the most powerful adult wizards.
One such danger is an incredibly formidable form of terror that takes a great amount of skill and courage to contend with. Yes, we are talking about the gliding hooded terrors that know no mercy, no forgiveness, and no master: the Dementors.
What Are Dementors?
The Dementors are black, hooded, ghostly figures that haunt the Wizarding world. They are described as being without mercy and inflicting great suffering on humans, Muggles or Wizards.
They feed off of happy thoughts and memories while inflicting pain on their victims by having them relive the worst memories inside their heads. Done often enough, and this could lead a person into a great state of depression or insanity.
These creatures were once allied with the Ministry of Magic and served as guards for Azkaban. However, during Voldemort’s return, they switched sides and fought for the Dark Lord with the promise of greater freedom and a bigger population to feed off of.
What is the Dementor’s Kiss?
The Dementor’s Kiss is these creatures’ most terrifying ability, allowing them to suck out a person’s soul completely. It occurs when the Dementor latches its mouth onto its victim until it completely sucks out the latter’s soul leaving it in a vegetative state – alive but no longer present.
It is repeatedly referred to as a punishment worse than death as the victim can no longer enter the afterlife after their death due to the lack of a soul.
What Is The Origin of a Dementor?
J.K. Rowling created Dementors during her own battles with severe depression. It was her way of personifying her pain. It was said during this time that she didn’t necessarily feel sad but had lost hope and felt like she would never be happy again, inspiring the power of the Dementors.
How do Dementors Breed?
Despite Cornelius Fudge blaming the uncharacteristic mist that covered the city on Dementors’ increased breeding, J.K. Rowling, herself, stated that these gliding hooded figures cannot breed.
Instead, Dementors emerge from places filled with tremendous amounts of decay. This was emphasized during Voldemort’s reign in the Second Wizarding War, where areas of great decay gave rise to larger amounts of Dementors.
Can a Dementor Be Killed?
No witch or wizard has attempted to kill a Dementor, thus suggesting that killing a Dementor was physically impossible. However, one can ward off a Dementor through a Patronus Charm.
A Patronus may start in an incorporeal form that acts as a temporary shield. While this will not completely deter the Dementor, it can slow it down so that the caster can run away. More skilled wizards may create a more effective corporeal Patronus in the form of an animal that chases the Dementor away.
While certainly less popular, there are more ways to keep a Dementor’s effects from affecting a person. For starters, Dementors cannot feed on a person if they are experiencing a state of true and complete joy. If a Dementor cannot make a person experience negative emotions, it cannot control the person, thus rendering it powerless.
Another method is to think of thoughts that don’t necessarily make you happy but keep you focused and distracted. Sirius Black used this method during his time in Azkaban to ward off the effects of the Dementors keeping watch over him. He was also known to transform into his dog Animagus form to confuse the Dementors who could not comprehend his animal thoughts.
If Dementors have overcome one at some point, they can trust that chocolate is the best way to reverse the effects temporarily. It is due to the release of endorphins triggered by the consumption of chocolate. It is a trendy “cure” known to the Wizarding and Muggle world.
Can a Muggle See a Dementor?
Muggles cannot see Dementors. However, they are not immune to their effects. During Voldemort’s reign in the Second Wizarding War, Dementors were allowed greater freedom to roam around and went off to various Wizard and Muggle territories.
It was apparent through an uncharacteristic mist they experienced as well as the increase in dissatisfaction, unrest, and feelings of depression during this time.
Are Dementors Real?
While Rowling insists that Dementors are creations sprung out of her imagination, there have been sightings of “Dementors” in different areas of the world.
One of the most popular sightings was in Mukuba Mall in Kitwe, Zambia. Other sightings were also reported in Southwick, West Sussex, England, among others. However, since Muggles seemingly reported most of these sightings, it is doubtful that these experiences were true Dementors.
Dementors are extremely dangerous creatures that no wizard would dare willingly face due to the terrifying effects they have on a person. While the existence of Dementors in our world remains debatable, their effects are authentic and undeniable.
It makes it doubly important that even Muggles do as their wizard counterparts and arm ourselves (with chocolate and maybe licorice wands for added effect) and fight against our own “Dementors.”