Dark Mark

The Dark Mark was the emblem or symbol used by Lord Voldemort. It was used frequently as a call for his Death Eaters to assemble somewhere, or even as a victory mark when some gruesome crime had been committed.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

The Dark Mark was a symbol that consisted of a skull out of which a snake protruded. There were two types of the Dark Mark; one of them was a sign that was tattooed into the inner left forearm of every Death Eater and was used as a summoning call by anyone who wanted to alert the other Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort or vice-versa. The second type of Dark Mark was a large symbol cast in the sky by using the incantation Morsmordre. It was usually used for celebrating a murder committed by a Death Eater in the vicinity of where it is cast. 

The Dark Mark cast on the sky was glittering green in color and was covered in a haze of greenish smoke, and the serpent and the skull looked a bit basic in design. However, the Dark Mark tattooed into the hands of Death Eaters were all black in color and were more intricate, and had a longer snake protruding from the mouth of the skull. The Dark Mark was meant to incite the feeling of terror and was an essential symbol to represent Voldemort’s inner circle.

Inspirations for the Design of the Dark Mark

There are several possible inspirations for the Dark Mark, but the most obvious one is the strong relationship between Lord Voldemort and snakes. The colossal skull coupled with the serpent are both clearly symbols that strike fear in an onlooker. It is probably because Voldemort was Tom Riddle before and knew of his heritage as the descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Salazar Slytherin himself was a Parselmouth and could speak with snakes. Furthermore, most of the students from Hogwarts who later turned into Death Eaters were from Slytherin house. So, the chances of the Dark Mark being inspired by the general fixation that Lord Voldemort had with serpents is very high. 

Furthermore, Lord Voldemort himself was a Parselmouth and could quite easily speak to snakes. Furthermore, he also had a pet snake named Nagini that accompanied him wherever he went and one of his Horcruxes.

The Appearance of the Dark Mark in the Harry Potter Series

The first appearance of the Dark Mark in the Harry Potter universe was observed in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the place where the Quidditch World Cup was held. It was a very peculiar incident as it was later found out that Harry’s wand was used for casting the Dark Mark. In the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Jr is shown casting the Dark mark using the incantation Morsmordre. Barty Crouch Jr disappears from the venue immediately and later enters Hogwarts disguised as Mad-Eye Moody. In this movie, Barty Crouch Jr is played by the British actor David Tennant and has the habit of putting out his tongue like a snake after speaking. This is the reason that Barty Crouch, his father, recognizes him.

Before the Dark Mark was cast, several Death Eaters were seen setting fire to random camps and using magic to hoist some Muggles into the air. After the Dark Mark is cast, and it is found out that it was cast with Harry’s wand, the house elf Winky is held responsible for the casting of the Dark Mark. This marks the beginning of a set of sinister events that eventually lead to the return of Lord Voldemort. As the Dark Mark continues to shine in the black sky, people disperse, and the Weasley family, Hermione, and Harry leave the place too by Portkey.

The Dark Mark is later seen on the hand of Igor Karkaroff, the Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute and former Death Eater, who shows it to Severus Snape. The Dark Mark is also seen on the hands of Lord Voldemort when he takes birth at the cemetery of his father, and he uses it to summon his Death Eaters. Due to his immortality from the Horcruxes, he is capable of attaining a body despite not having it once. However, Cornelius Fudge does not accept that Voldemort is back, and this starts a small civil war between Harry’s believers and the Ministry of Magic. Peter Pettigrew was also known to have a Dark Mark.

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixthe Dark Mark is seen on the hand of Bellatrix Lestrange before she escapes Azkaban prison

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Dark Mark is cast beside the emerald stars and other heavenly bodies directly above the Astronomy Tower of Hogwarts. This happens on the same night that Albus Dumbledore is killed by Severus Snape after Draco Malfoy fails the mission of assassinating Dumbledore. Other Death Eaters present at the tower include Corban Yaxley, Bellatrix Lestrange, the Carrow twins, and the werewolf Fenrir Greyback.

Edible Dark Marks with the tagline “they’ll make anyone sick” is sold in the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, the joke shop belonging to the Weasley twins.

Dark Marks in the Muggle World

Funnily enough, Dark Marks are a common occurrence in the Muggle world. They, too, are seen as an undesirable sign in Muggles. Dark Marks are commonly used as a term to refer to discoloration or abundance of pigment in some places on the skin. While every person has an almost homogenous skin color throughout their body, there are sometimes inconsistencies. These are usually in the form of dark marks or dark spots. 

The cause of the dark spots is usually a wide range from skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and acne to an insect bite and inflammation. The appearance of dark spots can also be attributed to age spots, hormonal changes, and exposure to the sun without appropriate sunscreen. Most of the causes of dark marks can be easily evaded with the help of a dermatologist, unlike in the wizarding world, where getting rid of Dark Marks required an entire war to be fought.


Can the Dark Mark be removed?

It is most likely that the Dark Mark cannot be removed despite the death of Voldemort. This is because the Dark Mark was etched into the skin of every Death Eater by Voldemort using Dark Magic, and despite it being a sign of initiation, it was also used for communication and summoning the Death Eaters for meetings and other important situations. However, it is possible that they faded into a scar after Voldemort’s death. As Igor Karkaroff mentioned, the Dark Mark likely brightened whenever Lord Voldemort was in a stronger form.

Does Snape have a Dark Mark?

Yes, Severus Snape has a Dark Mark because he was a Death Eater. He hid the Dark Mark for most of his time in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but he had to use it towards the end when Voldemort returned to communicate with him and other Death Eaters.

When did Draco get the Dark Mark?

Draco Malfoy was initiated into becoming a Death Eater after his father, Lucius was arrested and sent to Azkaban. Lucius Malfoy was captured by the Aurors and the Order of the Phoenix during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Draco probably got the Dark Mark when he was initiated into being a Death Eater before his Sixth Year at Hogwarts commenced.

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