Before the Death Eaters themselves came to be, Tom Riddle, as Lord Voldemort was known in his childhood and early adulthood, gathered a gang of Slytherin students whom he claimed to be and acted out as his friends, though in truth, he felt no real attachments to any of them due to his lack of desire for a true friend. According to former Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, they were a mixture of weak seeking protection, ambitious seeking glory, and thuggish seeking a leader who could show them more refined cruelty, and were considered to be forerunners of the Death Eaters since most (if not all) indeed became the first Death Eaters. He manipulated them to do his bidding, and, though this led to several nasty incidents over the years, with Riddle's strategic discretion, none was linked back to the group, much less the model student Riddle himself.
Origins and First Wizard WarEdit
By 1970, the Knights of Walpurgis (later renamed the "Death Eaters") was an organisation that included people that Tom Marvolo Riddle, who became Lord Voldemort, knew from his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as well as their relations. Nearly all of those recruited were from Slytherin House (however, there may have been recruits from Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and even from foreign schools within the ranks as well, primarily Peter Pettigrew and Igor Karkaroff). Actively gathering an army of Dark Wizards and creatures, with the belief that his hidden Horcruxes granted him immortality, Voldemort and his followers planned to overthrow the Ministry of Magic.
Death Eater activity during the First Wizarding War consisted of attacks on wizards, witches, and large numbers of Muggles. These were initiated by the Death Eaters, often, but not always, on the orders of Voldemort. When the Ministry did not suffer an ostensible collapse in the eleven years of Voldemort's reign, the Death Eaters began to attack prominent wizarding families. As a result, fear gripped the wider wizard community, but the Death Eaters remained opposed by the Order of the Phoenix , founded by Albus Dumbledore. The Ministry, in retaliation and spearheaded by the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Barty Crouch Sr., legalized the usage of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects, and ordered kill rather than capture, attack first and question later, and imprison without trials.
At the height of the war, Severus Snape reported to Lord Voldemort the part of a prophecy he had heard, while listening in on a conversation between Dumbledore and Sybill Trelawney, which predicted that either Harry Potter, son of Order members James and Lily Potter, or Neville Longbottom, son of Order members Alice and Frank Longbottom, would be the one to destroy Voldemort. Voldemort chose to attack the Potters, seeing them as a greater danger to him. He chose Harry over Neville because Harry was a half-blood, like himself. Despite being under the protection of the Fidelius Charm, Voldemort was able to get into their home because James had entrusted his old friend Peter Pettigrew to be Secret-Keeper, and Pettigrew subsequently betrayed the secret to Voldemort.
Snape failed to overhear the entire prophecy, including the announcement that Voldemort himself would mark his own equal. Although Voldemort killed James and, despite Snape's pleas that she be spared; Lily, the Killing Curse rebounded off Harry and hit Voldemort, destroying his living body. However, due to his extensive performance of Dark magic, Voldemort's soul survived and escaped.
With their leader's disappearance, the Death Eaters largely fell into chaos. Many were rounded up and imprisoned without trial, as part of the hard line taken by Ministry official Barty Crouch Sr.. Sirius Black, whom Pettigrew framed for his crimes, was among those imprisoned in Azkaban without a trial.
Soon afterward, Bellatrix Black, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jr. tortured the Longbottoms into insanity while trying to procure information about Voldemort's whereabouts; this attack was considered one of the most atrocious acts in history. They were captured and sentenced to Azkaban, but Bellatrix proudly proclaimed that the Dark Lord would rise again. On the other hand, Barty Crouch Jr. pleaded to his father of his own innocence, that he was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that evidence of his crimes were at best very vague; his father disregarded it all and sentenced him to prison, a sentence that led the entire court to be roaring with triumph.
All information on this group was taken from the story The Boy No One Knew and Evil Little Follower. All images shown on this Wiki for this group were taken from the Harry Potter movies.
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