Now we all know that J K Rowling has herself struggled with depression and suicidal ideation. She is a strong advocate of mental health awareness and dementors are her magical version of depression. But how much more of her experience with depression is depicted in the novel? Loss of parents is also an important theme of the book along with the love of a mother. However, there are much darker aspects of her thoughts that she has shared through Harry Potter books, one of which is suicide. Did you know she sneaked in not 1 or 2 but 7 suicides in the Harry Potter plot? Let’s read about them all.
1. Cadmus Peverell
The second brother in “the tale of three brothers” who asked the death for resurrection stone. Or according to Dumbledore’s version of the story, he was an extraordinary wizard who created the stone himself. Nevertheless, he used the stone to attempt bringing his love of life back to life. Unable to fully revive her back to life, finding her sad on cold frustrated he ended his own life so he can be united with her. Here I will like to point out that Resurrection stone is actually a “death trap” in a very literal sense. Only those who want to be united with their deceased loved ones are attracted to it and it can escalate depression real quick leading the bearer towards suicide. This is backed up by the scene where Harry Potter revives his own deceased elders (or death’s version of them all) and they all encourage him towards death (which they never would have in reality) making it seem convenient and desirable.
2. Bloody Baron
Bloody Baron the Slytherin Ghost committed suicide after killing Helena Ravenclaw
He was the first generation of Hogwarts student who fell in love with Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw. Helena rejected all the advances of Baron. Later Helena steals her mother’s diadem which was believed to enhance wisdom and escapes to Albania. Baron is sent after her by Rowena who fell ill, to bring her back. After Baron successfully traces her, two had a heated argument as Helena did not intend to go back but Baron was insistent to take her along with him. In a fit of rage, he stabs her and she dies. He is horrified at his own action and grief and remorse overcomes him. He stabs himself with the same weapon he used on Helena Ravenclaw. Two later returned to Hogwarts as ghosts, and we knew them as Bloody Baron the ghost of Slytherin house and The Grey Lady.
3. Warlock (The Warlock’s Hairy Heart)
Warlock committed suicide after killing the maiden
Now you will know about this one only if you are a hardcore Potterhead. Warlock was the protagonist of a story ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’ in the children’s storybook ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’. Warlock was a rich and talented wizard who lived in his castle alone and believed that love is a humiliation and weakness, which can drain a person emotionally and materially. Obsessed with this belief he employed Dark Arts and physically removed his own heart and kept it in a casket. Detached from his owner the heart gained beastly appearance and Warlock found comfort in solitude. His servants ridiculed him that no maiden will take him despite his riches. This wounded his ego and he sets upon himself to find himself a maiden. He found a maiden that he fancied but she demanded proof that he has a heart. Thus he takes her to the dungeons where he kept his heart locked. The maiden is horrified to see the shriveled and hairy heart and insists that he puts his heart back in his chest. Determined to win the maiden he places the monstrous heart in his chest but the heart has grown wicked and compels him to kill the maiden. After the maiden is dead, determined not to let the heart overpower him he cuts upon maiden’s chest and attempts to swap his heart with hers. He proceeds to cuts upon his own chest and ripped his own heart. He died holding a heart in each hand. A crazy story I know! Not a good choice for a bedtime story for young children, but hey wizards are a little off if you ask me.
4. Albus Dumbledore
Why Dumbledore gave Time-Turner to Hermione Granger_
Now some might argue that Dumbledore’s was murdered but that’s what it only appears to be. In reality, it was a well planned and rather dramatic suicide (just like every other thing about him, seriously Dumbledore and Sirius Black are the biggest contestants for the title of drama queens). Knowing fully well that Marvalo Gaunt’s ring was a Horcrux he unwittingly wore it upon discovering it was a Resurrection stone. This cost him dearly and he was injured badly, had it not for his own extraordinary magical powers and Severus Snape’s mastery at the magic he would have died right there. After destroying the Horcrux Dumbledore decided to keep the ring on himself and he was seen wearing it too. Was it a new style statement? I don’t think so. We have already established that resurrection stone attracted those who wished to be reunited with the deceased loved one and escalates depression. Undoubtedly it had the same influence on Dumbledore who later requested Severus Snape to kill him as his days were already numbered and it would have looked humiliating if he was killed by young Draco Malfoy who was obviously no match for his skills and wouldn’t have managed to kill him even after disarming him. Escaping the gang of Death eaters or defeating them would have been no problem. He has done that before. Everyone knows Dumbledore was capable of doing powerful magic even without a wand. He could have easily escaped the situation, instead, he chose to die at hands of Severus Snape because his days were already numbered and being killed by Snape would earn him some serious trust points in Voldermort’s ranking system. A self-planned death like this is no different than assisted suicide (mercy killing, or if you prefer euthanasia) for terminally ill patients and henceforth Dumbledore’s death must be considered as suicide. I rest my case here.
5. Peter Pettigrew
Peter Pettigrew committed suicide by choking himself to death
Ah! We all know this one. Peter aka Wormtail and Scabbers who sold out his friends in exchange of his own safety and switched sides quicker than you can say Quidditch. During the first wizarding war he was a member of Order of Pheonix but he later became a Death Eater and ratted out Potters which lead to them getting killed and Sirius Black being sent to Azkaban. At the same time, he managed to kill 12 innocent muggles just for the sake of creating a scene and framing Sirius Black.
Later he spends 12 years as a mouse, pet owned by Weasley family but when Sirius Black and Remus Lupin expose him, he pleads to Harry saying his father would never want his best friends to become killers. Harry intervenes on that note and planned to hand him over to dementors but instead taking the chance Peter escaped. However, this created a life debt, which means Petter owed his life to Harry and such is strong impenetrable magic. Therefore when Harry and his friends were imprisoned in the cellar of Malfoy’s Manson, and Peter was sent to check on them he was unable to kill him. When Peter was about choking Harry, he envokes that life debt and a brief moment of hesitation caused his own silver hand (which was a gift from Voldermort in exchange for his services) turned on him and strangled him to death. Now it is unclear if the silver hand did so due to life debt or because it was a tool of Voldemort and Peter betrayed him momentarily by letting Harry go, but I will regard it as a suicide.
6. Pandora Lovegood
Pandora Lovegood reading to little Luna Lovegood
Pandora Lovegood was the mother of Luna Lovegood and wife of little eccentric but loving Xenophilius Lovegood. Now I know you are saying that hey we know how she died, Luna told Harry that her mother died when one of her spells backfired! But that’s what Luna told Harry and there is nothing else to confirm it. We do not know much about her, Jk Rowling never talked much about her but we do know that Qubiler was never doing well and Lovegoods were obviously struggling financially. Considering their circumstances and Xenphilius’ odd outlook towards life, it is also very much possible that their marriage was also going through a rough patch. It is likely that she was struggling with depression. Drawing on those assumptions I believe that Pandora Lovegood committed suicide or she had one of those magical outbursts (similar to emotional outburst in muggles leading to heart attacks) which lead to her death. But what do you tell a 9-year-old who witnessed such a horrific scene? You tell her that her mother was a very intelligent and extraordinary witch and one of her experiments backfired. Luna pretty much believed everything and anything her father told her without questioning it no matter how bizarre it was.
7. Regulus Arcturus Black
Regulus Black embraced a terrible death for the noblest cause
Yes, the famous R.A.B younger brother of Sirius Black is probably one of my favorite death eaters, and that’s why I saved him for the last. Now I will not cut him slack for his choices excusing that he was influenced by the upbringing of his parents, his extended family, and his Slytherin peers. Sirius had very same parents and extended family but he had a mind of his own and therefore was sorted in Gryffindor which made all the difference. But just like Dumbledore said for Severus Snape ‘we sort too soon” this stands true for R.A.B too. He showed a lot of wit and courage going against Voldermort and sacrificing his own life to give a better chance to someone else to take the Dark Lord down.
When Voldermort asked Regulus to borrow his house-elf, Regulus and Kreacher agreed eagerly. However, Voldermort tested the security of the cave that contained his Horcrux forcing Kercher to drink the potion, causing him torture and left him to die. Luckily, unbeknown to Voldermort Kreacher was able to escape due to his house-elf magic and told everything to Regulus Black. This new knowledge made Regulus to rethink his loyalties as he figured out that Dark Lord has created a Horcrux. He asked Kreacher to take him back to the cave and drank all the potion emptying the sink to get the locket. He gave the Horcrux to Kreacher, replaced it with a fake one, and told Kreacher to leave while he embraced the death bravely. This heroic suicide deserves some applause.
What do you think about these suicides? Were you aware of them all? Since the Harry Potter series influenced an entire generation do you think these deaths might have left a mark in some way? Please let me know in the comment section.