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    About Azkaban

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    1 About Azkaban on Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:03 pm


    Azkaban, based on the real life Alcatraz prison, is the wizard prison. Wizards who violate the laws of the British wizarding world are sent there. Only one other such prison, Nurmengard, is known to exist. According to Half-Blood Prince, Azkaban is located "in the middle of the North Sea". Sirius Black mentions that when he (as a dog) swam to Britain from Azkaban, he then travelled northwards to get to Hogwarts. This implies that Azkaban is located at a lower latitude than Hogwarts, which is in Scotland. Although Azkaban's appearance is not described in detail in the books, it is mentioned to have grounds outside the prison where prisoners who have died are buried. n the movie adaptations, it appears to be a tall, triangular building, somewhat hollow in the middle.

    Generally, only very severe crimes are punished with a term in Azkaban. Many of the prisoners were supporters of Voldemort, though some misunderstandings have resulted in others' imprisonment. Hagrid, for example, was sent there in Harry's second year at Hogwarts because of a crime he did not commit, and Harry himself is threatened with Azkaban after performing the Patronus that in fact saved both his and Dudley's life. Performing any of the Unforgivable Curses on a human is punishable by a mandatory whole life tariff in Azkaban, but that ban has been lifted for aurors during war time. Several characters throughout the series have performed the curses and not been punished accordingly. Other crimes which merit imprisonment here include assaulting the Ministry (for example, the Death Eaters detained in Order of the Phoenix), being an unregistered Animagus and impersonating an Inferius.

    Azkaban has a reputation of evil and fear throughout the series. By the start of the series, Azkaban is guarded by the Dementors, working under the British Ministry of Magic. The large presence of Dementors renders the inmates incapable of happiness and forces them to relive their worst memories, as they become gradually helpless and often severely insane. According to Sirius, many inmates simply stop eating and eventually die of starvation. As Dementors are extremely difficult even to injure — the only spell effective against them is the Patronus Charm — Azkaban was long considered impossible to escape, until Sirius escaped (although Barty Crouch Jr had previously broken out with the help of his parents); however, Dumbledore claimed he could break out of Azkaban if he wished to do so.

    In Order of the Phoenix, ten of Voldemort's most dangerous and loyal followers escape, including Bellatrix Lestrange. Dumbledore was always vocal in declaring that it was a mistake to guard Voldemort's greatest supporters with Dementors, who have the most to gain if Voldemort returned to power. He is proven right as the Dementors leave their posts at Azkaban and join ranks with Voldemort. The prison is still in use, but greatly weakened by the revolt of its wardens. By the start of Deathly Hallows, there had been another mass breakout from Azkaban, and several Death Eaters escaped. Upon Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry, many political prisoners are sent to Azkaban by Ministry traitor Dolores Umbridge, including Xenophilius Lovegood and Muggle-borns persecuted under Voldemort's implementation of anti-Muggle legislation. Such victims are released following Voldemort's downfall, and Umbridge herself is imprisoned there, along with whichever Death Eaters survived the Battle of Hogwarts.

    Following Voldemort's ultimate demise, Kingsley Shacklebolt sees to the end of use of Dementors at Azkaban, their use having always been a mark of the underlying corruption of the Ministry.

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