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What Dementors Really Look Like Under Their Cloaks

Beyond being able to feed off of emotions and evoke terrible memories, dementors have a power that makes them into one of the scariest magical creatures in the entire “Harry Potter” universe. Namely, they can steal your soul.

As Remus Lupin (portrayed in the movies by David Thewlis) explains to Harry in “Prisoner of Azkaban,” dementors can “kiss” victims, thereby removing their very soul from their mouth. When Harry asks if that kills the victim, Lupin reveals that it doesn’t, but it’s actually worse. 

“‘You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working,” Lupin tells Harry (in a quote also featured in the same Wizarding World article on dementors). “But you’ll have no sense of self any more, no memory, no … anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just – exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone for ever … lost.’

Under what circumstances would dementors feel compelled to “kiss” someone? It’s not seen that frequently within the “Harry Potter” books, but when it is, it’s used as government-sanctioned punishment (the dementors are ostensibly “employed” by the Ministry of Magic and guard the wizard prison Azkaban, but end up turning on the Ministry when dark forces come calling later in the series). When Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a falsely imprisoned wizard, emerges during “Prisoner of Azkaban,” the Ministry plans to have the dementors steal his soul (but the plan is thwarted by Harry). In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” a dementor kisses Barty Crouch Jr. (David Tennant), a confirmed evil Death Eater, before the Ministry can hear his confessions.

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