Dementors and Water


Pops in randomly
When reading over the chapter in PoA when the first dementor is introduced, I noticed that each time it is mentioned, it is in connection with water . . .

**Their hands are described as "glistening, grayish, slimy-looking, and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water."

**When the dementor draws a breath, Harry can't see and feels he is drowning in cold.

**When the dementor breathes, Harry feels like there is a rushing sound in his ears like water and he feels he is being dragged down, the roaring getting louder.

This is all within a few paragraphs. I'm not sure if there are other mentions of dementors in relation to water or using water-related terms (like drowning). However, I think it worth examining further, especially since when JKR uses the same descriptors so close to one another, she is usually trying to show us something.

Is it possible the dementors are formed by someone drowning? Is it possible they originally formed in the underground lake? Or in Slytherin's Chamber? When Harry goes down the pipes, he notes that it is slimy and wet and that they are probably really close to the underground lake (where the first years come in every year).

Another interesting note is that, in traditional literature, water is usually associated with rebirth. A sort of cleansing and renewal. Obviously the dementors are not clean/renewed, but is it possible JKR is using this traditional metaphor of water to indicate to us that the dementors used to be dead? Or are creatures that were reborn somehow and turned into dementors?

Any other thoughts on the possible connection between dementors and water?

Padma Patil

Dumbledore's Girl
hmm, very interesting theory. I don't think I ever really noticed that before. But since you posted it, I seem to remember it.

I like your idea of the dementors once being another creature, dying, then coming back to life. Perhaps they were wizards who had gone down the path of using dark magic, like the unforgivable curses. They drowned and they made a deal with like the devil or something and became dementors.

Just some thoughts. :)

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
Wow Boing! you are really hot today! :D You also forgot to mention, that it was raining when the dementors atacked Harry on the train, raining when the atacked him durring the quidditch match, it was near lake when they atacked Harry and Sirius. The only time I think we have seen them without the presence of water was at the begining of OotP when they attacked in the alley way! WOW! What a connection! It was there all along and we just missed it. JKR put them in hooded robes, startlingly like what we think of as the "grim reaper" so she obviously wanted us to connect them with death. JKR also mentions that they "glide" they don't walk, that has been emphasized as well. in the directors comments on the PoA DVD when he was trying to make them look like the descriptions in the book, he had to put them underwater to film them :eek: .

One thing that your suggestion had brought to mind, is the phrase. . . "Drowning in you sorrow" Perhaps they are what people like Voldemort, who don't love, become. . . creatures "starving" for happy emotions, to the point that they must suck them away from others, but still never satisfied. creatures so jealous of anyone who has love or hapiness that they can't stand to let anyone else have it, so they feed on it.

this could also tie in with the other thread on "what is he" the suggestion that there was a dementor present at Voldemort's birth. Would tie in completely. The dementors created him to be like them. Some of the steps Voldemort took to preserve his life may have had to do with the dementors, remember, we don't know of a way to kill them, the patronus charm just drives them away. . . a charm that has the thought of your happiest moment to create it.


Um - I'd always been under the impression that dementors were what those victims of the Dementor's Kiss would eventually become..

This is a quite interesting relation to water here though - I really like SPF's mention of "drowning in your sorrow", because obviously when you are around the dementors you remember only bad things..

However, I dont really think theres all that much more to this than descriptive writing by JKR and, dare I say it, coincidental use of phrases that happen to have a bit of a connection.. :eek: Knowing me ill be wrong though ;)


Totally Potterfied!
I guess I always noted the association with Dementors and cold. I went through each instance of PoA in which the Dementors appeared and in every instance, as Harry began to build his defences against them, it seemed that the voices of his parents grew louder and his reference to the cold became less. I would assume that the cold could be a reference to how happiness is a human emotion and as long as you can feel happiness you know you're still human and alive. Dementors suck the happiness out of you and along with that, part of your existence as a human leaving behind only bad feelings and memories. That is the reason that Voldemort can control the Dementors is because he doesn't share the emotions other humans do, which makes him less than human, and the Dementors can't feed off him and don't affect him.

One thing that could go along with the Dementors and water references is the fact that if the Dementor administers its "kiss" then you basically are no longer human as you can't feel emotions as humans do and all the person is left with is his/her body - and the human body is 98% water :D :p
Oooooh I have thoughts of just sheer brillance in my brain, now the trouble is communicating them to you without making my head explode.

In book 3, every time there was a citing of a dementor there was mention of both cold and water. The cold, wet quidditch match; the rainy, chilly night on the Hogwarts Express; and the cool night by the lake are a few examples.

In book 5, there is no mention of water phsyically in the scene. There is mention of feeling icy and cold, and the night being cool. Is this may be because of the different setting, dementors in a Muggle setting, instead of a magical one.

There is significant here because of the symbolism of dementors. Most of you know that JKR intented for them to symbolize depression. But perhaps we have slightly misread this, perhaps the dementors are only one peice of the illness. I think they symbolize not the depression part of the illness, but the struggle.

Now think deeper of meanings of cold and water. When I think of water, I think of life and how it is needed to sustain life. Cold takes lifes, it is something that must be fought off. There are exceptions to this (drowing and heat exposure) but perhaps it is the dementor that is the embodiement of the struggle of depression and it is played out in symbolism between these two elements.

In the 3rd book, the water makes the ground soft when Harry hits it. Some one comments, "Lucky the ground was so soft". The patronus is composed of vapor (a form of water) and it drives off the dementor).

In essance water is the cure, cold is the depression. The dementor is the illness, the struggle to get through it.


Up to No Good
Hm... I must have water on the brain today.

Can water, traditionally seen as healing and cleansing, be connected with Dementors who are clearly the opposite?

Sure it can! Dementors are described as rotten-looking, slimy, encrusted creatures. This is a feature of *stagnant* water -- water that has stopped moving forward and become contaminated and corrupt. Dementors are associated with intense cold (think of the depth of winter wherein animals hibernate, rivers freeze over and stop flowing, even the days themselves become shorter.) They are associated with depression, which anyone who's ever been severely depressed will tell you is characterized by the worst form of stagnation and loss of ability to move forward.

So we may conclude that dementors, like all of us, are water creatures. Could it be that for some reason they are beings that have somehow become "stuck" in a corrupt and stagnant reality and must steal positive energy from others in order to survive? Are they simply parasites who are supposed to be this way by nature, or are they manifestations of other creatures who have somehow *become* stagnant through their actions? wonder they're so nasty... :rolleyes:

Yet another pedantic-ish opinion from Le Verbose Blaque Dawg


Staff member
Wow - that is a pretty hot observation!
And not to be too gross - but anyone who has been left in the water deceased for a while - well they prolly look something like a dementor as far as skin tone etc.
So yeah - wondering on here ....

I'm with Tonky - I think Dementors are spawned by the victims of the kiss - they seem souless and hungry for emotion - like they have none of their own - as in a Dementor sucked it out.
They have no soul but arent dead as such - just souless.
But I like all the references to water and dementors - I wonder if there really is a link here and that is where they are spawned from?
If so - I wonder if we have ever seen the pools these creatures emerge from?

BTW - CheirNoir - loved the 'comparison' paragraph above - it is somewhat symbolic of the creatures and their demenour :)

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
Blaise said:
I'm with Tonky - I think Dementors are spawned by the victims of the kiss - they seem souless and hungry for emotion - like they have none of their own - as in a Dementor sucked it out.

This could solve one question I have, is why the Dementors don't seem to have any little dementors gliding around. *wonders to self if the dementors tried to give the kiss to Harry under voldemort's (or the minister's) order, or if they need "young" dementors from time to time?* Perhaps we have a clue to dementor "reproduction?


Up to No Good
Dementor loyalty?

Sirius Potter Fan said:
This could solve one question I have, is why the Dementors don't seem to have any little dementors gliding around. *wonders to self if the dementors tried to give the kiss to Harry under voldemort's (or the minister's) order, or if they need "young" dementors from time to time?* Perhaps we have a clue to dementor "reproduction?

Well, if, as has been suggested, dementors are what's left after someone receives "the kiss," anytime a person is smooched by a dementor for whatever reason, another dementor is created from what is left of that person's being.

Personally, I am of the opinion that some high muckety-mucks in the MoM are in Voldemort's back pocket, so "reasons" no doubt include some rather crooked motives. Voldemort would have acces to pretty much any Ministry resources he wants, including its prison guards.

My question is, to whom do these new dementors answer? Do they answer to the Ministry as their employer, or do they answer to whoever ordered the kiss, such as Voldemort?

If the latter, then Voldemort would have a virtually endless supply of deadly dementors at his disposal by turning his enemies into dementors.


Le Blaque Dawg


Staff member
Re: Dementor loyalty?

The whole communication and also the hierachy is something we are yet to establish - pretty much any wizard or witch that comes into contact with them feel a little down after the experience - unless Dementors can supress the need to suck the happiness out of the room (I am seeing HR people again) then I think it makes for pretty bad communication but something has to be in place and that is how they got the gig from the MoM in the start ...

Hoggy Warty Hogwarts

Outside Playing Quidditch
Also in reference to the water the prison of azkaban is place on a little isle in the middle of water and there is a reference to them sporning (i think) in HBP in the beggining of the book and i think it was described as being moisty to the muggles or something like that i have to check on that im a bit rusty at the moment because i havent read it in quite some time but i think it went like that.

Morfin Gaunt

dumbledores army
i no this is a bit of chicken or the egg! but im not buying the whole kissed by a dementor - become a dementor. who kissed who to make the first dementor, i can see a big connection with the water, they remind me of a ship wreck the way they are decribed its possible they are born in the sea...rotting maybe 4 a while till they where dicovered lol


Time Turners
Some interesting observations. I was checking for some information on dementors and found the following two quotes. I think that the first, from HBP, shows that Dementors do, in fact breed, and the second shows that even when dementors have done their work that what remains, whilst closer to the existence of a dementor is, nevertheless, distinct from a dementor.

Fudge. HBP said:
"But," said the Prime Minister, with a sense of dawning horror, "didn't you tell me they're the creatures that drain hope and happiness out of people?"
"That's right. And they're breeding. That's what's causing all this mist."

Profesor Lupin. PoA said:
"Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They 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. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself... soul-less and evil.

I think that if dementors breed, with each other, that shows that they are a distinct species and are unlikely to be created of formed by any other process.

Morfin Gaunt

dumbledores army
hi iv just been re-reading hbp i havent got it with me so wording will be vague sorry it made me think of this thread.
in their first lesson with snape teaching DADA snape a a variety of pictures on the wall he points out whats wrong with each person reaching one saying 'dementors kiss( a wizard slumped blank eyed in the corner) along them lines basicaly expresionless and empty. so in answer to the theroy if you get kiss by a dementor you become a demtentor this would not be true, as the picture show s anyway:)


Supreme Mugwump
I was thinking about the breeding and the mist too Glumbumble, I wonder what the mist has to do with anything though, I donno this thread kind of grosses me out :O thinking about how these things breed....and knowing that they can get close to humans and make them feel depressed and even give the kiss..creepy. :S