'Well, it'd be cool to be an Auror ... But they're, like, the elite ...You've got to be really good.'
-- Ron Weasely (OP12)
The Aurors are an elite group of witches and wizards who battle the Dark Arts. They operate in some ways as soldiers but more often as intelligence agents, seeking out Dark wizards and defeating them, often in fierce wizard duels. Alastor Moody and Frank and Alice Longbottom were famous Aurors, and after leaving Hogwarts Harry Potter and Ron Weasley became Aurors. Aurors are sometimes refered to as Dark Wizard catchers.
When the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA) was founded in 1693 after the Salem Witch Trials, they needed Aurors to track down those responsible for persecuting witches and wizards and bring these “Scourers” to justice. Then President Josiah Jackson hired twelve original Aurors for Office of Magical Law Enforcement for MACUSA with , only two of whom lived to old age due to the hazards involved in the job. They both found and executed Scourers, while also searching out criminal wizards who had fled Europe and elsewhere to hide in uninhabited North America (Pm:MACUSA).
The Aurors were responsible for bringing to justice many of the Dark wizards who supported Voldemort during the 1970s. They also battled the giants, killing many and driving the rest from Britain. Under the leadership of Bartemius Crouch senior, who headed the Department of Magical Law Enforcement after Voldemort's defeat, the Aurors were given sweeping powers. These powers allowed the Aurors to bypass the normal channels of justice and kill or capture enemy wizards using means nearly as vicious as those used by the Dark wizards they fought. Sirius Black was imprisoned during this time without a trial because of these policies (GF27).
Barty Crouch junior, disguised as Moody, told Harry (GF25) and Hermione (GF29) that they had what it took to be Aurors. When he heard of Harry's ambition, Slughorn also said that Harry would make a good Auror (HBP15). Harry told McGonagall during his careers consultation that he wanted to be an Auror and she vowed to help him along that path (OP29). After the Battle of Hogwarts and the final defeat of Voldemort, Kingsley Shacklebolt made both Harry and Ron Aurors (BLC).
Historical note: the first Auror recruitment programme was established by Minster for Magic Eldritch Diggory (1733-1747) (Pm: Ministers for Magic). It is unclear if this marked the actual beginning of the Aurors. However, since Hesphaestus Gore, listed as "one of the earliest Aurors," became Minister for Magic in 1752, it does seem likely.
Training to be an Auror takes three years after leaving Hogwarts; the Aurors ask for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, with nothing under "Exceeds Expectations" grade. Apart from Defence Against the Dark Arts, the recommended N.E.W.T.s include Charms, Potions (particularly the study of poisons and antidotes), and Transfiguration (OP29).
If a candidate for Auror training has the required academic qualifications, he or she must pass a background check for a criminal record, and must pass "a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office." These tests assess skill in practical defence, perseverance and dedication, and the ability to react well to stress (OP29).
Once accepted into the program, an Auror trainee is taught (among other things), "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking" (OP3).
Known Aurors, past and present - Ministry of Magic
- Hesphaestus Gore (Pm: Ministers for Magic) one of the earliest Aurors c. 1750
- Venusia Crickerly (Pm: Ministers for Magic) second Auror to become Minister for Magic, c. 1900
- Dawlish, John (OP27)
- Longbottom, Alice (OP23)
- Longbottom, Frank (GF30, OP23)
- Moody, Alastor "Mad-Eye" (retired, deceased) (GF11)
- Proudfoot (HBP8)
- Robards, Gawain - Head of the Aurors after July of 1996 (HBP16)
- Savage (HBP8)
- Scrimgeour, Rufus - Head of the Aurors until he was named the new Minister for Magic in July of 1996 (HBP1)
- Shacklebolt, Kingsley (OP3)
- Tonks, Nymphadora (OP3)
- Williamson (OP36)
- (unnamed) witch with eyepatch (OP7)
- (unnamed) wizard with a pony tail longer than Bill Weasley's (may be the same as Williamson) (OP7)
- Harry Potter, joined 1998, became head of the Aurors in 2007 (BLC)
- Ron Weasley (BLC)
Original Twelve Aurors of MACUSA Department of Law Enforcement
- Wilhelm Wilhelm Fischer
- Theodard Fontaine - Ancestor of Agilbert Fontaine, Headmaster of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Pm:MACUSA)
- Gondulphus Graves - from an influential political family in America (Pm:MACUSA)
- Robert Grimsditch
- Mary Jauncey
- Carlos Lopez
- Mungo MacDuff
- Cormac O’Brien
- Abraham Potter - Discovered to be distantly related to Harry Potter (Pm:MACUSA)
- Berthilde Roche
- Helmut Weiss
- Charity Wilkinson - Became third President of MACUSA (Pm)
It is not canon that Amelia Bones ever worked as an Auror during her career, but she may have had some knowledge of the job to become Head of Magical Law Enforcement and a Wizengamot Interrogator when Harry had his hearing for using a patronus in Little Whinging. Her office was on the same floor as the Auror office, according to Nymphadora Tonks. However, Arthur Weasley implied that regular Magical Law Enforcement was for trivial pursuits such as regurgitating toilets, while Aurors dealt with more important Dark magic (OP7). Cornelius Fudge told the Muggle Minister that Amelia Bones was hunted down and killed personally by Voldemort, probably due to her role in helping to convict his Death Eaters in the past (HBP1).
Possibly from "aurum" Latin for Gold, symbolized in alchemy as the sun (as opposed to silver = moon/Luna). Therefore connected to Latin "Aurora" = goddess of Dawn, the sun coming up, perhaps to express how Aurors cast light on the Dark Arts to catch Dark Wizards.