Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Creature Feature - Dementors

“[Dementors] infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.” --Remus Lupin (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Gliding into the Harry Potter universe part of the way into Prisoner of Azkaban, we learned a lot about the foul dementors as the book progressed and throughout the remaining installments of the series. Still so much is unknown, but let’s take a peek at what we do know (the non-book details gleamed from the Harry Potter wiki).

We don’t know where dementors come from. They were first found in Britain on the island of Azkaban, before it was eventually used as the wizard prison. As they sucked the joy and hope out of their victims, they were the wardens of choice for Azkaban prison for centuries. The Ministry of Magic just kept them fed with weary souls and they were “happy”. Unfortunately, their dark nature also led them to Voldemort’s side of the Second Wizarding War.

Hogwarts was a temporary “home” for them, as they searched for the escaped Sirius Black. After Dumbledore banished them from the school grounds, we didn’t see them again until a year later, the Dementor’s Kiss was used to suck out the soul of Barty Crouch Jr. After Umbridge secretly sent a couple after Harry Potter and his cousin, it was suspected they’d joined Voldemort’s army. 

After joining Voldemort’s army for real, the dementors were known to patrol the Ministry courtrooms, as Muggleborns were persecuted, and Hogsmeade. During the final Battle of Hogwarts, they fought for Lord Voldemort and nearly took Harry and his friends. Finally after the war ended, newly-appointed Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt removed them from Azkaban. We can only hope that after that the numbers of dementors started to dissipate as they “died” off.

Behind the scenes, it’s pretty well known that the dementors were based on JK Rowling’s depression (and I found a source for it this time). “It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different,” she said. For those of us who’ve dealt with depression, the analogy to dementors is amazingly accurate. 

So as this month is Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to reach out to any of you dealing with depression. There is hope. Don’t let the dementors win. Hold onto your happy, patronus memories. Focus on the positives. See a professional. We all need help and (speaking for all of us here at Latter-day Saint Geeks) we’re here for you.

For more on dementors and depression, check out this post from a couple years back.

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