Every Time Harry Potter Used Unforgivable Curses


The Unforgivable Curses were three of the most deadly spells within the Harry Potter universe, and here’s when the central character used them.

The Unforgivable Curses were three of the most deadly spells within the Harry Potter universe, and the central protagonist used them on a few occasions. Well connected to the Dark Arts, the trio of spells included the Cruciatus Curse, the Imperius Curse, and the Killing Curse. While Harry and his friends were taught about the spells at Hogwarts, Harry had no choice but to turn to them after he was thrust into the Second Wizarding War. Despite his knowledge of the Avada Kedavra incantation, Harry refused to use the Killing Curse.

The three dangerous curses were classified as “Unforgivable” nearly 200 years before the events of the Harry Potter series. By the time Harry started his journey at Hogwarts, any use of the Unforgivable Curses on a Muggle or another wizard would result in a life sentence in Azkaban. While many of Lord Voldemort’s followers continued to use them illegally, Aurors were granted permission to cast the spells during both Wizarding Wars.

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Related: Harry Potter: What Dudley Saw When The Dementors Attacked

Harry actually was the victim of all three curses, becoming the only known wizard to resist the effects of the Unforgivable Curses. Whereas the Cruciatus Curse inflicted excruciating pain through the use of the “Crucio” incantation, the Imperious Curse through “Imperio” placed a victim in a dreamlike state, giving the caster control over the victim. The Killing Curse was pretty straight forward as it instantly caused a painless death on the victim. Over the course of J.K. Rowling’s books and the subsequent movie adaptations, a number of significant characters cast the Unforgivable Curses. Here’s every time that Harry used Crucio and Imperio, but never considered Avada Kedavra.

Harry Failed With His First Two Crucio Attempts

Harry Potter


Also referred to as the Torture Curse, Crucio caused unbearable writhing pain throughout the victim’s body. In some cases, the pain resulted in permanent mental damage if the victim was exposed to the curse for too long. While multiple figures tried to hit Harry with the Cruciatus Curse over the course of the series, Voldemort hit him with the spell in the Little Hangleton graveyard during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. According to Harry, it made him feel like his head was being split open.

Not long after, Harry attempted the spell twice, but he failed during the attempts. First was in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the boy wizard tried using Crucio on Bellatrix Lestrange after she killed Sirius Black. The next incident came during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry aimed the spell at Severus Snape but the professor blocked it before he could finish saying the incantation.

Harry’s Successful Use of The Cruciatus Curse

Harry finally found the ability to use the Crucio spell in all of its power in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. While Harry and his friends were on the Horcrux hunt, Voldemort sent Death Eaters to check the Ravenclaw Tower. Dark Wizard Amycus Carrow was among the followers who demanded entry into the Tower from Professor McGonagall. After she called Amycus a coward, the wizard spit in her face, which Harry witnessed. To punish his disrespectful act, Harry used the Cruciatus Curse and slammed him against the wall. McGonagall followed up Harry’s action by using the Imperius Curse on Amycus before tying him up with a net, rendering him useless during the Battle of Hogwarts.

Related: Harry Potter: How The Battle of Hogwarts Repeats Each Previous Book & Movie

Harry Used The Imperius Curse Multiple Times During The Gringotts Heist

Death Eaters had a history of using Imperio to make innocent victims do their bidding. Harry, however, turned the tables by casting the hypnosis spell three times on two different figures in Deathly Hallows. On the search for Horcruxes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione traveled to Gringotts Bank to find Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. As the trio was in danger of being seen, they were forced to use a variety of spells to break-in undetected. In order to get inside, Harry and the group disguised themselves with Hermione as Bellatrix since they needed to get to the Lestrange Vault.

While getting to the vault, the trio ran into Bogrod, a Goblin bank teller, and Travers, a Death Eater. To get them to participate in the heist as accomplices, Harry used Crucio on both figures. Bogrod briefly regained consciousness when they passed through one of the many security enchantments in the underground section of the bank. To keep the mission going as planned, Harry cast a second Imperius Curse on the Goblin before he realized what they were doing. Even with various charms placed within the vault, the trio managed to escape with the Horcrux unharmed.

Why Harry Didn’t Cast Avada Kedavra

Harry Potter using his wand against Voldemort

Throughout the Harry Potter series, the titular character never used the Killing Curse for several reasons. Avada Kedavra was Lord Voldemort’s signature spell. In fact, the Dark Lord directly killed multiple notable figures, including Lily and James Potter, with the Killing Curse. There was no known counter-spell except for sacrificial protection, which was how Lily saved baby Harry before part of the spell backfired, leaving the young boy with the lightning bolt scar. Though Harry encountered plenty of opportunities that deemed Avada Kedavra necessary, the wizard never cast the specific spell. For one, he viewed the spell as an immoral practice commonly used by users of the Dark Arts. Harry refused to sink to that level of violence because Voldemort was the epitome of evil, as was the Killing Curse.

There was also a belief that the caster of Avada Kedavra needed the willingness to commit murder for the spell to work. While it was difficult enough to master the Unforgivable Curses, Harry might not have had to power to use the Killing Curse since he valued all living things. Voldemort simply didn’t show any remorse for those he killed, so regret was never an issue when another opportunity to murder arose. By the time he faced Harry in their final duel, both wizards could have used the Killing Curse. Instead, Harry entered the fight with a clear mind while Voldemort was driven by rage. When the Dark Lord used Avada Kedavra for the final time in the Harry Potter series, the spell deflected as a result of Harry’s ownership of the Elder wand, killing Voldemort with his own signature spell. Following Voldemort’s demise, the Unforgivable Curses were strictly deemed illegal by the Ministry of Magic.

Next: How Harry Potter Survived The Killing Curse in The Deathly Hallows

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Updated: October 24, 2020 — 10:31 pm

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