Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Igor Karkaroff
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
Role in the Books
We first meet Igor Karkaroff when the representatives from Durmstrang Institute arrive at Hogwarts to take part in the Triwizard Tournament. After disembarking from their ship which has surfaced in the lake, Karkaroff greets Albus Dumbledore civilly enough, but his smile doesn't reach his eyes, which stay cold and watchful. He asks if they could proceed indoors as one of his students, Viktor, seems to be catching a bit of a cold.
As they depart after dinner, Karkaroff happens to bump into Harry Potter. He is evidently quite taken aback to realize who he has run into, and as he has halted in the doorway, he is preventing anyone from getting past him. The logjam is broken up by Alastor Moody, who Karkaroff evidently recognizes; they quite plainly don't like each other, and Karkaroff seems to be somewhat afraid of Moody.
When Harry's name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, making him the fourth of the three Triwizard Champions, Karkaroff is angry, saying that either Durmstrang (and Beauxbatons) should be allowed to submit additional names, until each school has two champions, or he will depart from the contest with all his school. Moody again interrupts him, saying that just as Harry is bound to compete, so is Viktor Krum, the Durmstrang champion; and Ludo Bagman, one of the two Ministry judges, says that the Goblet has gone out and will not re-ignite until the next Tournament.
Harry overhears Karkaroff talking to Snape in the Rose Garden at the Yule Ball. Karkaroff says that something is getting darker, more distinct, and Snape asks if he is planning to run. Karkaroff does not directly answer, but instead inquires Snape's plans. Snape says he has nothing to fear. Harry wonders how Snape and Karkaroff came to be on first-name terms. (As a side note to US readers: Traditionally, in the UK, you would not use someone's first name until you knew them quite well. Throughout these books, we see people speaking to other people in personal conversations using last names only; though this is most common with teachers speaking to students, it appears with teachers talking among themselves as well. Whether this is common practice in the UK at present or not, we do see that the wizarding world in many ways is somewhat archaic, and may have kept this tradition.)
Karkaroff appears one day in Harry's Potions class, apparently trying to corner Snape, who he believes has been avoiding him. Harry deliberately spills some armadillo bile to give him an excuse to stay late and eavesdrop. As soon as the other students have gone, Karkaroff indicates something on his forearm and says it is getting more distinct. Snape notices Harry and sends him away before he can overhear anything else.
When Harry looks into the Pensieve, the first of Dumbledore's memories that Harry experiences is Karkaroff attempting to bargain his way out of Azkaban. Before the full Wizengamot, he names several people as Death Eaters: Travers, who he also accuses of the death of Marlene McKinnon and her family, Mulciber, and Antonin Dolohov, each time being met with the statement that the Wizengamot has already arrested them. He also names Severus Snape, though Dumbledore refutes this, saying that Snape had turned against the Death Eaters before Voldemort fell. He does eventually name Augustus Rookwood, the first name which the Wizengamot is not aware of.
On Voldemort's return, he summons his Death Eaters. Karkaroff is evidently one of the ones who has left his service and will need to be disposed of. When Harry returns to Hogwarts, Karkaroff is nowhere to be found. Ron asks how the Durmstrang students are going to get back to school if Karkaroff is missing, and Viktor Krum says that the students had done most of the work on the outward trip anyway.
On Harry's birthday, we hear that the body of Igor Karkaroff has been found in a shack in the North, with the Dark Mark floating over it.
In Snape's memories, we learn that Karkaroff's plan to run away, should Voldemort return, had been voiced to Snape at Christmas of Harry's fourth year, the year of the Triwizard Tournament, and that Snape had passed this information on to Dumbledore.
Relationships with Other Characters
Karkaroff and Severus Snape were evidently Death Eaters together under Voldemort in his first rise to power. Despite Dumbledore's testimony that Snape was working on the Ministry side, Karkaroff continues to trust him, coming to him for counsel when the Dark Mark begins to reappear in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Snape's counsel seems ineffective, as we learn later that Karkaroff had planned, as early as December, to run away if Voldemort returned; and he actually did run when Voldemort returned in June.
- Where did Karkaroff's loyalties lie? Was he still loyal as a Death Eater, or had he turned to the good side, like the Malfoys had claimed about themselves? Or is there a third alternative? What does his death at the hands of the returned Death Eaters suggest?