Igor Karkaroff
Biographical information

Before 31 July, 1996

Blood status

Pure-blood or Half-blood[1]

Physical information




Hair colour

Silver[2] (formerly black)

Eye colour



Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute

Karkaroff: "It's happening again, like before, and soon neither you nor anyone else will be able to deny it... You don't fool me, Severus. You are scared. Admit it!"
Snape: "I have nothing to be scared of, Igor. Can you say the same?"
— Igor Karkaroff and Severus Snape when their Dark Marks begin to burn[src]

Professor Igor Karkaroff (d. before 31 July, 1996) was a wizard and Highmaster of Durmstrang Institute. During the First Wizarding War, he was a Death Eater who served Lord Voldemort. After being captured and briefly imprisoned in Azkaban following his master's defeat, Karkaroff turned in several of his fellow Death Eaters to the Wizengamot in exchange for his crimes being pardoned. He later went on to become Durmstrang's headmaster, leading the school's delegation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the 1994 Triwizard Tournament. There, Karkaroff did everything he could to get his school's champion, Viktor Krum, in the lead, and flew into a panic when his Dark Mark began to burn. When Voldemort returned, Karkaroff fled. For his treachery, Karkaroff was hunted down and killed by his former comrades in 1996.

Biography[edit | edit source]

First Wizarding War[edit | edit source]

File:Karkaroff denounces Snape.jpg

Karkaroff gives information about other Death Eaters.

Karkaroff: "You must understand that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named operated always in the greatest secrecy…we never knew the names of every one of our fellows — He alone knew exactly who we all were —"
Moody: "Which was a wise move, wasn't it, as it prevented someone like you, Karkaroff, from turning all of them in."
— Karkaroff turns in his fellow Death Eaters[src]

In his younger days, Karkaroff was a Death Eater and acquaintance of Severus Snape. It was reported that Karkaroff helped Antonin Dolohov torture Muggles and non-supporters of Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War. He was eventually captured by Auror Alastor Moody and spent a short period of time in Azkaban.

In time, shortly after Voldemort's first downfall, Karkaroff appeared before the Council of Magical Law, offering information in exchange for leniency. Among the names he gave were Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, Mulciber, and Snape. He became increasingly desperate as it was revealed that these names were worthless; the Death Eaters he mentioned had already been captured, killed, or, in Snape’s case, had switched sides. Karkaroff then offered the name Augustus Rookwood, an Unspeakable who was spying on the Ministry of Magic for Voldemort. This information was new to the Ministry, and he was sent back to Azkaban for a review of his case. From Sirius Black's comment that Karkaroff "put a load of other people into Azkaban in his place", it can be assumed that he named other Death Eaters in addition to Rookwood after his initial hearing.

As Headmaster of Durmstrang[edit | edit source]

At some point after his release from Azkaban, Karkaroff became Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute. The school became notorious for its detailed teaching of the Dark Arts; however, it is possible that this reputation existed to some extent even before his highmastership.[4]

Triwizard Tournament[edit | edit source]


Karkaroff arriving at Hogwarts.

Mad Eye Moody (Barty Crouch Jr.): "The hell he is! The Goblet of Fire is an exceptionally powerful magical object. Only an exceptionally powerful Confundus Charm could have hoodwinked it! Magic way beyond the talents of a fourth year."
Karkaroff: "You seem to have given this a fair bit of thought, Mad-Eye!"
Mad Eye Moody (Barty Crouch Jr.): "Well, it was once my job to think as Dark Wizards do, Karkaroff. Perhaps you remember."
— Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Alastor Moody) and Karkaroff after Harry is selected[src]

In the 1994–1995 school year, the Triwizard Tournament was held for the first time in many years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Karkaroff ventured to Hogwarts to supervise his students and to prepare Durmstrang’s champion for the Tournament, as well as to serve as one of the five judges. From the moment of his arrival at Hogwarts, it was obvious that Karkaroff was biased towards the champion from his own school, Viktor Krum.

During Karkaroff's first evening at Hogwarts, he encountered former Auror Mad-Eye Moody (who was actually Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise), who was Hogwarts’ new Defence Against the Dark Artsprofessor. It was apparent that Karkaroff and Moody not only knew each other, but had an unpleasant history. Karkaroff unsuccessfully tried to avoid Moody after that first evening.


Igor Karkaroff during the second task.

Like Madame Maxime, the Headmistress of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Karkaroff was outraged when Harry Potter’s name was chosen from the Goblet of Fire, giving Hogwarts two champions instead of one. While he had to accept Harry’s presence in the competition, he consistently gave Harry lower scores on the tasks and blatantly favoured Krum over the other champions. He also sneaked around to gather information on the tasks in hopes of giving Krum an advantage. He also ruthlessly insulted Dumbledore when Crouch attacked Krum in the shadows and accused him of foul-play, going as far as spitting at Dumbledore; furious,. Rubeus Hagrid smashed him against a tree and yelled at him to apologize to the Hogwarts Headmaster. Dumbledore, however, ordered Hagrid to let him go, to which he complied reluctantly.


Karkaroff with Professors Snape, McGonagall and Dumbledore at the Yule Ball.

About halfway through the school year, Karkaroff's actions became increasingly suspicious. At the Yule Ball, which he attended with Professor Aurora Sinistra, and again after a Potions lesson, he confronted Professor Snape about a secret matter. His agitated and increasingly apprehensive state aroused the suspicions of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, told him to be wary of Karkaroff because he was a former Death Eater.

Return of the Dark Lord and death[edit | edit source]

Snape: "Karkaroff’s Mark is becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much help he gave the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell. Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns... I am not such a coward."
Dumbledore: "No. You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff."
Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore on Karkaroff[src]

Karkaroff fled for his life on 24 June, 1995, the night of the Third Task of the Tournament, and the night of Lord Voldemort’s restoration to his body and power. Snape admitted that Karkaroff had come to him, concerned about the Dark Mark on his left forearm, a mark Snape also bore as a former Death Eater. The Mark had been growing darker throughout the school year, signalling Voldemort’s growing strength. Karkaroff feared Voldemort’s return because he had betrayed too many of the Dark Lord's servants to be allowed back into the fold, but Barty Crouch Jr. doubted he would get far, as the Dark Lord had "ways of tracking his enemies".[4]


A 1996 Daily Prophet article: "Former Durmstrang Headmaster Found Dead".

Contrary to Crouch's belief, Karkaroff was able to stay alive for a whole year, fleeing to parts unknown. Inevitably, however, Karkaroff was finally tracked down to a shack in the north of Britain. He was killed by his former Death Eater comrades, as the Dark Mark had been cast into the sky above it, and Karkaroff's body was found in the shack itself for his disobedience to the Dark Lord. This was revealed to the assembled guests of Harry Potter's sixteenth birthday party by Remus Lupin, who, among others, were surprised Karkaroff had survived for so long.[5]

Physical appearance[edit | edit source]

File:Karkaroff Close-Up.jpg

Igor Karkaroff

Karkaroff is described as having an unctuously cheerful demeanour, but his smile "didn't reach his eyes", which were blue and remained cold and unmoving.[4] This made him slightly unnerving. His weak chin was not completely covered by his goatee, which ended with a small curl. His teeth were yellow.

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"One, too cowardly to return...he will pay...."
Lord Voldemort[src]

Karkaroff was ruthless, having been a Death Eater in his youth and a turncoat when it suited him, as well as showing blatant favouritism as a judge of the Triwizard Tournament to increase the chances that his school's champion, Viktor Krum, would win. Karkaroff’s betrayal of his Death Eater comrades to avoid Azkaban, as well as his going into hiding following Lord Voldemort's return, indicate that he was not at all a brave nor loyal man. During his trial, Igor feigned regret and flattery to the judges. His membership in the Death Eater organisation and implementation — or, at least, continuation — of a policy of refusing to admit Muggle-borns to Durmstrang[4] indicate that Karkaroff was prejudiced against those of different blood status. Karkaroff seems to have been a reasonably skilled wizard, as it is mentioned that it was impressive he remained hidden from Voldemort for so long after the latter's rebirth.

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Severus Snape[edit | edit source]

File:Severus Snape (HBP promo) 1.jpg

Severus Snape.

Karkaroff: "You don't fool me, Severus. You are scared. Admit it!"
Snape: "I have nothing to be scared of, Igor. Can you say the same?"
— Karkaroff and Severus Snape after their Dark marks begin to burn.[src]

In his younger days, Karkaroff was a friend and comrade of Severus Snape. After Voldemort's first downfall, Karkaroff was caught by Aurors and briefly imprisoned in Azkaban. He betrayed many Death Eaters in order to avoid remaining in Azkaban. One of them was Snape, which might have indicated a strained relationship after Snape's betrayal. Karkaroff learned that Snape had abandoned the Death Eaters and become a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and therefore Karkaroff was dismayed to hear yet another one of his names was useless.

File:Karkaroff showing Snape his mark.png

Karkaroff showing Snape his burning mark.

Karkaroff met Snape again in 1994, during the Triwizard Tournament. When his Dark Mark began to burn, Karkaroff told Snape about it, because he knew that Snape had felt it too. Snape told him that he himself had nothing to be afraid of, and asked him if he (Karkaroff) could say the same. During the Yule Ball, Snape also told Dumbledore that Karkaroff was planning to escape if Voldemort returned. Snape added that he wasn't "such a coward", and Dumbledore replied that Snape was "a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff". After Voldemort's return, Karkaroff, unlike Snape, escaped Hogwarts and went into hiding. He was killed by Death Eaters some time in the next year or so. It is unknown how Severus Snape reacted when he learned of this.

Albus Dumbledore[edit | edit source]


Albus Dumbledore during Karkaroff's trial.

"Treachery! It is a plot! You and your Ministry of Magic have lured me here under false pretence, Dumbledore! This is not an equal competition! First you sneak Potter into the Tournament, though he is under-age! Now one of your Ministry friends attempts to put my champion out of action! I smell double-dealing and corruption in this whole affair, and you, Dumbledore, you with your talk of closer international wizarding links, of rebuilding old ties, of forgetting old differences — here's what I think of you!"
—Karkaroff spitting at the ground of Albus Dumbledore's feet.[src]

Albus Dumbledore was a participant of Karkaroff's trial. When Karkaroff stated that Severus Snape was a Death Eater, Dumbledore declared that Snape had changed sides before the downfall of Voldemort. However, when Alastor Moody told Dumbledore that it was a good idea to take information of Karkaroff and send him to the Dementors, Dumbledore disagreed.

Karkaroff and Dumbledore met again during the Triwizard Tournament, as they both were headmasters of their respective schools. It is possible that Karkaroff and Dumbledore knew each other better than they appeared to, as Karkaroff said "the good old Hogwarts" when he visited the school, and this may imply that Karkaroff had his education at Hogwarts. He and Dumbledore seemed happy to see each other as they laughed and hugged in greeting. It is also probable that Dumbledore believed that Karkaroff was a coward, or at least weak. After the Return of the Dark Lord, Karkaroff escaped Hogwarts and was killed by Death Eaters, few months before Dumbledore's death.

Despite their initial greetings, when Harry was selected to be the second champion of the Triwizard Tournament, Karkaroff lost his veneer of civilisaton towards Dumbledore. When Krum was attacked by who they thought was Barty Crouch Sr., Karkaroff flew into a rage and spat at Dumbledore's feet. This resulted in Rubeus Hagrid, who is loyal to Dumbledore, brutally pinning Karkaroff against a tree and demanding an apology.

Lord Voldemort[edit | edit source]


Lord Voldemort after his rebirth.

"I have nothing to be afraid of, Igor. Can you say the same?"
Severus Snape to Karkaroff about Voldemort's return.[src]

Karkaroff served Lord Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, but was one of the Death Eaters who attempted to avoid being imprisoned in Azkaban. In order to manage this, he betrayed many Death Eaters, such as Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood and Severus Snape. He was also one of the Death Eaters who didn't try to find Voldemort after his downfall. This made him fear the return of Voldemort and his loyal Death Eaters. After Lord Voldemort's rebirth, Karkaroff left Hogwarts and hid in a shack. However, Voldemort and the Death Eaters found him and killed him.

Death Eaters[edit | edit source]

Death Eaters

Karkaroff betrayed many Death Eaters during his attempt to avoid imprisonment in Azkaban. These Death Eaters included Antonin Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, Mulciber and Augustus Rookwood. It is most likely that he had betrayed many other Death Eaters, as Sirius Black stated that Karkaroff had "put a load of other people into Azkaban in his place". After Voldemort's rebirth, Karkaroff didn't return to Voldemort. He was eventually caught and killed by Death Eaters in 1996.

Alastor Moody[edit | edit source]

File:Alastor Moody Profile.JPG

Alastor Moody.

Alastor Moody was the Auror who captured Karkaroff after Voldemort's downfall. He also participated in Karkaroff's trial, and told Dumbledore that they should take information from Karkaroff and then send him back to the Dementors. However, Dumbledore refused. Moody and Karkaroff met again in 1994, during the Triwizard Tournament. In fact, he wasn't the real Alastor Moody, but Barty Crouch Jr, a Death Eater. After Harry Potter was chosen for the Tournament, Karkaroff got very angry, because Hogwarts had two champions. When Barty (disguised as Moody) told him how the Goblet of Fire might have been fooled, Karkaroff told him that he thought like a Dark Wizard. Barty answered that it was his job to capture Dark Wizards, as Karkaroff should know, implying that Moody was, in part at least, responsible for Karkaroff's capture. Not knowing it was really Crouch, who hated Karkaroff as much as the real Moody, though for very different reasons, Karkaroff was careful around him not to give Moody a solid pretext for attacking him, backing off when the Auror showed signs of readying for battle, and pointing out Moody's paranoia to others around.

Durmstrang students[edit | edit source]

Karkaroff: "Viktor, how are you feeling? Did you eat enough? Should I send for some mulled wine from the kitchens?"
Poliakoff: "Professor, I vood like some vine"
Karkaroff: "I wasn't offering it to you, Poliakoff... I notice you have dribbled food all the way down the front of your robes again, disgusting boy --"
Karkaroff scolding Poliakoff, an example of how Karkaroff treated his students.
File:Hp4gf 029Durmstrang.jpg

Durmstrang students.

Karkaroff was the Headmaster of the Durmstrang Institute. He treated his students like servants, making them steer the Durmstrang ship while he stayed in his cabin. The only student Karkaroff seemed to respect and care about was Viktor Krum, most likely because Krum was a famous professional Quidditch player prodigy, and Karkaroff thought that he would win the Triwizard Tournament for him. Karkaroff doted on Krum when he felt unwell after their journey to Hogwarts, although he expressed no such concern for his other students. Karkaroff also didn't allow Muggle-born students to study at Durmstrang, and seemed to disapprove of Krum's relationship with Muggle-born Hermione Granger.

Harry Potter[edit | edit source]

Harry Potter.

"Yeah, that's Harry Potter."
Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Moody) when Karkaroff stares on Harry Potter's scar.[src]

Karkaroff was surprised when he met Harry Potter at Hogwarts. However, after Barty Crouch Jr. put Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry was chosen for the Triwizard Tournament. This made Karkaroff very angry, thinking that Harry and Dumbledore had cheated in order to win the Tournament. Harry, in turn, thought that Karkaroff was the one who put his name into the Goblet of Fire, because he wanted to kill Harry. Karkaroff, after failing to even things out due to Harry's selection, gave the fourth champion low scores while giving his own champion full marks, showing an incredible level of biased judgement. After Voldemort's return, Harry learned that Karkaroff was innocent (of putting his name into the Goblet), and that the responsible party was Barty Crouch Jr. Harry also learned that Karkaroff had left Hogwarts and fled into hiding. A year later, Harry heard from Remus Lupin that Karkaroff had been killed by Death Eaters.

Media[edit | edit source]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

  • Igor is a Slavic name derived from the Scandinavian name Ingvar, meaning "protected by Ing"; Ing was another name for the Norse god of agriculture and weather, Freyr. Igor is also a stock character of horror literature and films, usually acting as a servant to the villain.[6]
  • Karkaroff is unknown, but off/ov (or ev) is a common Russian name ending. It originally was used by sons who took their father's name (females took eva or ova). Both suffixes mean "belonging to." Kark may be from the Polish karac, "punishment." Also, "kar" is a Slavic onomatopoetic word for a crow's caw. Karkaroff could also be derived from the Finnish verb karata, "to flee" or "escape". The verb in 1st person singular is 'karkaan', 'I flee'. Another possibility could be the Finnish noun karkaus "escape". This theory fits beautifully with JKR's tradition of ominous and descriptive character names. Another source for the name Karkaroff may also be Carcaroth, a werewolf which served the Dark Lord Morgoth in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]


Igor as a LEGO mini-figure.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

The Harry Potter Compendium has 0 images related to Igor Karkaroff.

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Based on the fact that Durmstrang does not admit Muggle-borns as students, which makes it unlikely that they would admit them as professors or headmasters either. Karkaroff was also a member of the Death Eaters organisation, which was dedicated to eliminating Muggle-borns.
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 17
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  6. WP favicon.PNG Igor (fictional character) on Wikipedia
Death Eaters
Lord Voldemort
Death Eaters:
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes | Yaxley
Death Eaters who Defected:

Draco Malfoy | Igor Karkaroff | Lucius Malfoy | Peter Pettigrew | Regulus Black | Severus Snape

Category:Death Eater allies:
Vincent Crabbe | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | Fenrir Greyback | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) |
Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Dolores Umbridge
Other affiliations:
Dementors | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves
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