Welcome to Tattoodo's Harry Potter Week! We kicked things off by sorting all of our employees into houses, which went about as poorly as expected. Then we shined the spotlight on Harry himself! Now we turn to the pure nightmare fuel that is the Dementors. Be sure to check back all week for a slew of Hogwarts-centric tattoos.
There are some fates worse than death, like getting the joy sucked out of your life until you feel completely dead inside. The Harry Potter movies aren’t horror films by any stretch, but dementors — the wraith-like spirits that feed on happiness — are scary as hell. Because of its PG rating, parents unwittingly let their children watch the third film, and now these malevolent entities are responsible for countless nightmares. Beyond just being scary, it is widely believed that dementors are a metaphor for the author’s clinical depression. Regardless of the dark theme they embody, a surprising number of fans have gotten tattoos of these grim apparitions.
The ghastly appearance of dementors is largely a product of the films, in which they are depicted with skeletal bodies and draping black robes like the Grim Reaper. Swarming in packs through a mysterious white mist, the visual is intensely visceral, so it’s no wonder that it left a lasting impression on viewers. I nearly shat my pants watching the part of The Prisoner of Azkaban when the creatures attack the Hogwarts Express, making all of the windows ice over before creeping up to Harry and his companions.
There are multiple echoes of depression through the first three books of the Harry Potter franchise — such as Harry obsessively visiting a magic mirror to gaze upon his dead parents — but none of them are quite as powerful of a manifestation for the disorder as dementors. These horrifying spirits feed on people’s happiness, leaving them with nothing but crippling despair. Rowling describes the feeling like this: “You’ll just — exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever... lost.” The emotional state that dementors represent is dark, but it’s also what makes images of them so powerful and a popular tattoo choice for the hardcore Pottermanics out there.
To see more unsettling body art, make sure to follow these artists on Instagram. If you’d like a tattoo to show that you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series’ darker themes, have one of them design a dementor for you.