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{{Spell infobox
 
{{Spell infobox
 
|name=Killing Curse
 
|name=Killing Curse
|image=[[File:Avadakedavra.png|250px]]
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|image=[[File:Tumblr lth8u7IhCZ1qa9jn1o7 r1 250.gif|250px]]
 
|incantation=''Avada Kedavra''<br />(a-VAH-dah ke-DAH-vra)<ref name="GOF">{{GOF}}</ref>
 
|incantation=''Avada Kedavra''<br />(a-VAH-dah ke-DAH-vra)<ref name="GOF">{{GOF}}</ref>
 
|light=Green<ref name="DHpt2">{{DHF2}}</ref>
 
|light=Green<ref name="DHpt2">{{DHF2}}</ref>
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|effect=Instantaneous, painless death<ref name="GOF"/>
 
|effect=Instantaneous, painless death<ref name="GOF"/>
 
}}
 
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{{Quote|There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air -- instantaneously the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead|Description of the Killing Curse being used by [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] disguised as [[Alastor Moody]]|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
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{{Quote|There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air instantaneously the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead|Description of the Killing Curse|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
The '''Killing Curse''' (also known as the '''Avada Kedavra Curse'''<ref>{{HBP}}, ch.3</ref>) is a [[spell]] that causes instantaneous [[death]] and is one of the three [[Unforgivable Curses]]. Its incantation is ''Avada Kedavra''.
 
   
The only known [[counter-spell]] is [[sacrificial protection]], which uses the [[magic]] of [[love]]. However, one may dodge the green bolt or block it with a physical barrier. The Killing Curse, as an "unblockable" Curse, cannot be intercepted by another spell, except in circumstances of Priori Incantatem, where the caster and his opponent's wands and spells are locked together. An explosion or green fire may result if the spell hits something other than a living target.
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The '''Killing Curse''' (also known as the '''Avada Kedavra Curse'''<ref>{{HBP}}, ch.3</ref>) (''Avada Kedavra'') is a tool of the Dark Arts and one of the three [[Unforgivable Curses]]. It is one of the most powerful and sinister spells known to wizardkind. When cast successfully the curse causes instantaneous [[death]].
   
Only two wizards are known to have survived blows from this deadly curse: [[Harry Potter]] and [[Tom Riddle]]. Harry survived two direct attacks: once in [[1981]] after [[Lily Evans|his mother's]] self-sacrificing love protected him from Lord Voldemort, and once in [[1998]] after the curse, cast again by Voldemort, failed to kill Harry, as he was tethered to life by Voldemort himself, due to Lily's blood protection which he took inside himself during his rebirth. Lord Voldemort remained alive after the aforementioned curse from [[1981]] rebounded and struck him because of his [[Horcrux]]es. [[Tom Riddle|Voldemort]] was notorious for using this curse regularly and indiscriminately.
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The only known [[counter-spell]] is [[sacrificial protection]], which uses the [[magic]] of [[love]]. However, one may dodge the green bolt, block it with a physical barrier or by the use of [[Priori Incantatem]]. The Killing Curse is an "''unblockable''" curse, thus [[Shield Charm]]s won't defend against it. An explosion or green fire may result if the spell hits something other than a living target.
   
 
==History==
 
==History==
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===Creation===
 
===Creation===
The Killing Curse was invented during the early middle ages, by Dark witches or wizards. The curse was created primarily as a means of quickly and efficiently slaying one's opponent in a duel.<ref name="TOBTB">''[[The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)|The Tales of Beedle the Bard]]''</ref>
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{{Quote|The Cruciatus, Imperius, and Avada Kedavra Curses were not made "unforgivable" until 1717.|[[Albus Dumbledore]]|The Tales of Beedle the Bard}}
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The Killing Curse was invented during the early Middle Ages, by Dark witches or wizards. The curse was created primarily as a means of quickly and efficiently slaying one's opponent in a duel.<ref name="TOBTB">''[[The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)|The Tales of Beedle the Bard]]''</ref>
   
 
===Legal status===
 
===Legal status===
{{Quote|The Cruciatus, Imperius and Avada Kedavra Curses were not made "unforgivable" until 1717.|[[Albus Dumbledore]]|The Tales of Beedle the Bard}}
 
   
[[File:Avada Kedavra Curse - Spider.JPG|thumb|250px|Avada Kedavra being cast on a spider]]Along with the [[Cruciatus Curse|Cruciatus]] and [[Imperius Curse|Imperius]] curses, the Killing Curse is known as one of the most terrible curses in the wizarding world. After the [[Wizards' Council]] was reformed into the [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] tighter restrictions were placed on the use of certain kinds of magic. The Killing Curse was deemed by the Ministry to be [[Dark Arts|Dark magic]], and, along with the [[Cruciatus Curse|Cruciatus]] and [[Imperius Curse|Imperius]] curses, were declared "unforgivable" in [[1710s|1717]], with the Killing Curse considered to be the most deadly of the three. Cursing another human with the Killing Curse would carry the punishment of a life sentence in [[Azkaban]].
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Along with the [[Cruciatus Curse|Cruciatus]] and [[Imperius Curse|Imperius]] curses, the Killing Curse is known as one of the most terrible curses in the wizarding world. After the [[Wizards' Council]] was reformed into the [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] tighter restrictions were placed on the use of certain kinds of magic. The Killing Curse was deemed by the Ministry to be [[Dark Arts|Dark magic]] and along with the [[Cruciatus Curse|Cruciatus]] and [[Imperius Curse|Imperius]] curses, were declared "''unforgivable''" in [[1710s|1717]], with the Killing Curse considered to be the most deadly of the three. Cursing another human with the Killing Curse would carry the punishment of a life sentence in [[Azkaban]].
   
However, the [[First Wizarding War]], when [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.|Barty Crouch Sr.]] was in charge of the [[Department of Magical Law Enforcement]], he fought violence with violence, legalising the three Unforgivable Curses for [[Auror]]s against the [[Death Eaters]] in order to win the war. This was repealed once the war was over as it was no longer necessary, though, in the [[1994–1995 school year]], [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] (under the [[Polyjuice Potion|disguise]] of [[Alastor Moody]]) showed these three curses to his [[fourth year]] classes on [[Alastor Moody's spiders|spiders]] despite the Ministry's disapproval.
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[[File:Killing_curse_spider.gif|frame|left|"''[[Moody]]''" demonstrating the [[Killing Curse]] on a spider]]
   
When [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]] [[Fall of the Ministry of Magic|took over]] the Ministry, the three curses were once again legalised: this time every wizard and witch had the right to use them as they please. In fact, they were practiced in [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]] as part of the curriculum of [[Defence Against the Dark Arts|Dark Arts class]] under the tutelage of [[Professor]] [[Amycus Carrow]]. After Voldemort's death and the revolutionising of the Ministry under [[Minister for Magic|Minister]] [[Kingsley Shacklebolt]], the three curses were once again forbidden.
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However, the [[First Wizarding War]], when [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.|Barty Crouch Sr.]] was in charge of the [[Department of Magical Law Enforcement]], he fought violence with violence, legalising the three Unforgivable Curses for [[Auror]]s against the [[Death Eaters]] in order to win the war. This was repealed once the war was over as it was no longer necessary, though, in the [[1994–1995 school year|1994-1995 school year]], [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] (under the [[Polyjuice Potion|disguise]] of [[Alastor Moody]]) showed these three curses to his [[fourth year]] classes on [[Alastor Moody's spiders|spiders]] despite the Ministry's disapproval.
   
It should be noted that despite the curse being illegal, references have been made to [[Auror]]s using deadly force against opponents, though whether this means they were authorized to use the killing curse specifically is unclear. Despite the circumstances, it is unknown whether the Killing Curse was used by anyone but Voldemort and his Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts. It is also known that use of this curse may go unpunished if there is sufficient evidence that the caster did so under the influence of the [[Imperius Curse]].
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When [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]] [[Fall of the Ministry of Magic|took over]] the Ministry, the three curses were once again legalised: this time every wizard and witch had the right to use them as they please. In fact, they were practised in [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]] as part of the curriculum of [[Defence Against the Dark Arts|Dark Arts class]] under the tutelage of [[Professor]] [[Amycus Carrow]]. After Voldemort's death and the revolutionising of the Ministry under [[Minister for Magic|Minister]] [[Kingsley Shacklebolt]], the three curses were once again forbidden.
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It should be noted that despite the curse being illegal, references have been made to [[Auror]]s using deadly force against opponents, though whether this means they were authorised to use the killing curse specifically is unclear. Despite the circumstances, it is unknown whether the Killing Curse was used by anyone but Voldemort and his Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts. It is also known that use of this curse may go unpunished if there is sufficient evidence that the caster did so under the influence of the [[Imperius Curse]].
   
 
==Nature==
 
==Nature==
The Avada Kedavra curse is recognisable by the flash of green light and the rushing noise emitted from the caster's wand. When the curse hits a living, organic target it invariably kills them without injury. However, when this curse hits an inanimate target the effect varies: it can produce small fires,<ref>{{OOTP}}, ch. 36</ref> small greenish explosions,<ref>{{GOFF}} and {{OOTPF}}</ref> or explosions of such intensity that can blow up an entire story of a cottage.<ref>{{DH}}, ch. 17</ref> It is known by most wizards as [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]'s signature spell. Presumable, it kills it's target by tearing the victim's soul from their body.
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[[File:Godric_flash.PNG|thumb|240px|The flash of green light that indicates the Killing Curse]]
   
However, certain objects, such as the [[centaur]] statue of the [[Fountain of Magical Brethren]], managed to block the curse without any visible damage to itself.<ref name="OTP"/>It should be noted that curse did not terminate the animation of (i.e. "kill") the statue, however, the statue was only animated by magic and so presumably had no real life in him for the curse to take away.
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The Avada Kedavra curse is recognisable by the flash of green light and the rushing noise emitted from the caster's wand. When the curse hits a living, organic target it invariably kills them without injury. However, when this curse hits an inanimate target the effect varies: it can produce small fires,<ref>{{OOTP}}, ch. 36</ref> small greenish explosions,<ref>{{GOFF}} and {{OOTPF}}</ref> or explosions of such intensity that can blow up an entire story of a cottage.<ref>{{DH}}, ch. 17</ref> It is known by most wizards as [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]'s signature spell. It is possible to intercept the curse with other spells, but this is extremely difficult as it requires the energy jets of the two spells to collide. As the energy jets of virtually all spells are very small and fast, this has only ever been recorded as occurring by accident.
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However, certain objects, such as the [[centaur]] statue of the [[Fountain of Magical Brethren]], managed to block the curse without any visible damage to itself.<ref name="OTP" /> It should be noted that curse did not terminate the animation of (i.e. "kill") the statue, however, the statue was only animated by magic and so presumably had no real life in him for the curse to take away.
   
 
===Performance===
 
===Performance===
{{Quote|Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it - you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed.|[[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch, Jr.]] as [[Alastor Moody]]|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
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{{Quote|Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed.|[[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch, Jr.]] as [[Alastor Moody]]|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
The curse requires a great deal of magical talent to perform correctly. In [[1994]], [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch, Jr.]], disguised as [[Alastor Moody]], claimed that, if all of the students before him were to get out their wands and perform it on him at one time, he would probably get nothing more than a nosebleed. However, as his loyalties were with [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]], it is unknown to what extent his words were accurate. It is possible to cast the curse [[Nonverbal spell|non-verbally]], as [[Bellatrix Lestrange|Bellatrix]] killed a fox without incantation. However, the lack of the incantation may have been for suspense. Whether this is true or not is unknown.<ref name="HBP"/> Large amounts of concentration is likely required to cast the Killing Curse, which is probably why Death Eaters don't use it as their primary offensive spell (although [[Thorfinn Rowle]] did launch the curse repeatedly all over the place during the [[Battle of the Astronomy Tower]]).
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The curse requires great skill in order to be performed correctly. In [[1994]], [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch, Jr.]], disguised as [[Alastor Moody]], claimed that, if all of the students before him were to get out their wands and perform it on him at one time, he would likely be completely unaffected. However, as his loyalties were with [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]], it is unknown to what extent his words were accurate. However, in 1997 [[Severus Snape]] also stated that to cast [[Unforgivable Curses]] you need nerve and ability. It is possible to cast the curse [[Nonverbal spell|non-verbally]], as [[Bellatrix Lestrange|Bellatrix]] killed a fox without incantation. However, the lack of the incantation may have been for suspense. Whether this is true or not in Bellatrix's case is unknown.<ref name="HBP" /> However, during his duel with Dumbledore, Voldemort used this spell several times without an incantation. Intense concentration is likely required to cast the Killing Curse, which is probably why [[Death Eaters]] don't use it as their primary offensive spell (although [[Thorfinn Rowle]] did launch the curse repeatedly all over the place during the [[Battle of the Astronomy Tower]]).
   
 
===Signs===
 
===Signs===
[[File:Avada Kedavra Curse.JPG|thumb|right|200px|[[Peter Pettigrew]] casting the killing curse on [[Cedric Diggory]]]]
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[[File:Cedric's_Death.gif|frame|left|[[Peter Pettigrew]] casting the killing curse on [[Cedric Diggory]]]]
   
The Killing Curse is described as a jet or flash of blinding green light that "illuminates every corner of the room"<ref>[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]</ref> followed by a rushing sound, which causes the victim instant death. Victims of the Killing Curse are identified by the fact that they simply appear to have dropped dead for no biological reason. Indeed, victims seem "perfectly healthy" apart from the fact that they are dead.<ref name="HBP">{{HBP}}</ref> This lack of visible injuries is one that had confused Muggles throughout the years of its use, requiring many [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] officials to modify memories.
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The Killing Curse is described as a jet or flash of blinding green light that "''illuminates every corner of the room''"<ref>[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]</ref> followed by a rushing sound, which causes the victim instant death. Victims of the Killing Curse are identified by the fact that they simply appear to have dropped dead for no biological reason. Indeed, victims seem "''perfectly healthy''" apart from the fact that they are dead.<ref name="HBP">{{HBP}}</ref> This lack of visible injuries is one that had confused Muggles throughout the years of its use, requiring many [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] officials to modify memories.
   
 
===Sensation===
 
===Sensation===
Presumably, the Killing Curse does not inflict any pain on its target, since it causes instantaneous death. However, Harry Potter, awaking after a Killing Curse cast by Lord Voldemort hit him, describes the sensation as an "iron-clad punch."
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Presumably, the Killing Curse does not inflict any pain on its target, since it causes instantaneous death. However, Harry Potter, awaking after a Killing Curse cast by Lord Voldemort hit him, describes the sensation as an "''iron-clad punch.''"
   
 
==Survivability==
 
==Survivability==
{{Quote|Not pleasant. And there's no countercurse. There's no blocking it. Only [[Harry Potter|one known person]] has ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me.|[[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]], disguised as [[Alastor Moody]], on the survivability of the Killing Curse (E.g-[[Harry Potter]]) |Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)}}
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{{Quote|Not pleasant. And there's no countercurse. There's no blocking it. Only [[Harry Potter|one known person]] has ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me.|[[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] (disguised as [[Alastor Moody]]) on [[Harry Potter]] surviving the curse|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)}}
[[File:VoldemortmurdersLily.JPG|thumb|250px|left|[[Lily Evans]] being murdered by [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]].]]
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The Killing Curse can be dodged or physically blocked by an object, such as [[Fountain of Magical Brethren|the statues Dumbledore animated]] to protect Harry Potter during his [[Duel in the Ministry Atrium|duel]] with Voldemort after the [[Battle of the Department of Mysteries]].
 
The Killing Curse can be dodged or physically blocked by an object, such as [[Fountain of Magical Brethren|the statues Dumbledore animated]] to protect Harry Potter during his [[Duel in the Ministry Atrium|duel]] with Voldemort after the [[Battle of the Department of Mysteries]].
   
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===Sacrificial Protection===
 
===Sacrificial Protection===
The most effective method of surviving the Killing Curse is through [[Sacrificial Protection]]. The sacrifice of one's life for another, a manifestation of the powerful [[magic]] of [[love]], is the most potent defense against the "''unblockable''" Killing Curse. [[Harry Potter]], was saved by his mother, [[Lily Evans]], [[love|lovingly]] [[Sacrificial protection|sacrificed herself]] when she shielded her son with her body<ref name="PS">{{PS}}</ref>, making him the first known survivor of this Curse. [[Harry Potter]] was the only person known to have survived ''Avada Kedavra'' with no ill effects, aside from attaining a [[Harry Potter's scars|scar]].
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[[File:VoldemortmurderingLily.JPG|thumb|240px|[[Lily Evans]] being murdered by [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]], when she refuses to stop shielding Harry]]
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The most effective method of surviving the Killing Curse is through [[Sacrificial Protection]]. The sacrifice of one's life for another, a manifestation of the powerful [[magic]] of [[love]], is the most potent defense against the "unblockable" Killing Curse. [[Harry Potter]], was saved by his mother, [[Lily Evans]], [[love|lovingly]] [[Sacrificial protection|sacrificed herself]] when she shielded her son with her body,<ref name="PS">{{PS}}</ref> making him the first known survivor of this Curse. [[Harry Potter]] was the only person known to have survived ''Avada Kedavra'' with no ill effects, aside from attaining a [[Harry Potter's scars|scar]].
   
 
===Horcruxes===
 
===Horcruxes===
[[File:The Horcrux.jpg|thumb|220px|Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes.]]
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[[File:The_Horcrux.jpg|thumb|185px|left|Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes.]]
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Another defense employed against the Killing Curse is the creation of at least one [[Horcrux]]. The creation of Horcruxes is a preventive measure, created by a wizard long before he faces an actual Killing Curse attack. However, this is less effective than Sacrificial Protection, since it only allows a little more than the soul of the target to live, while the target's body still dies. If one has Horcruxes, they will not be dead, but they will barely be alive and will be reduced, as Voldemort was when the Killing Curse backfired with his attempt to kill Harry in [[1981]]: to [[Professor Quirrell|living off another]], drinking [[Unicorn Blood]], using the [[Philosopher's Stone]] (before it was destroyed), and creating a rudimentary body from Unicorn Blood and [[Nagini]]'s venom.
 
Another defense employed against the Killing Curse is the creation of at least one [[Horcrux]]. The creation of Horcruxes is a preventive measure, created by a wizard long before he faces an actual Killing Curse attack. However, this is less effective than Sacrificial Protection, since it only allows a little more than the soul of the target to live, while the target's body still dies. If one has Horcruxes, they will not be dead, but they will barely be alive and will be reduced, as Voldemort was when the Killing Curse backfired with his attempt to kill Harry in [[1981]]: to [[Professor Quirrell|living off another]], drinking [[Unicorn Blood]], using the [[Philosopher's Stone]] (before it was destroyed), and creating a rudimentary body from Unicorn Blood and [[Nagini]]'s venom.
   
Voldemort's Horcruxes tethered his soul to life. The Curse drove his mangled soul from his body and split his unstable soul, leaving him to roam only as a shadowy spirit, unable to move on to death but is a less-than-alive life form. If possible, one can make a [[Regeneration potion]] to came back to life, but it requires the bone of the father, the flesh of the servant, and the blood of an enemy.
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Voldemort's Horcruxes tethered his soul to life. The Curse drove his mangled soul from his body and split his unstable soul, leaving him to roam only as a shadowy spirit, unable to move on to death but is a less-than-alive life form. If possible, one can make a [[Regeneration potion]] to came back to life, but it requires the bone of the father, the flesh of the servant, and the blood of an enemy. Because Voldemort required a servant to perform the rites of his rebirth, he was forced to spend thirteen years in hiding as he had no one who would come to his aid for such time.
   
 
Upon the destruction of all his Horcruxes, Voldemort had no more defence against death, and was finally killed by his own deflected Killing Curse.
 
Upon the destruction of all his Horcruxes, Voldemort had no more defence against death, and was finally killed by his own deflected Killing Curse.
 
===Other===
 
The following are speculations on why only the Horcrux inside Harry Potter, and not Harry himself, had been killed by the Killing Curse in the Forbidden Forest.
 
 
====Blood within Lord Voldemort====
 
{{Dialogue a-b-a-b|Harry|But if Voldemort used the Killing Curse, and nobody died for me this time -- how can I be alive?|Dumbledore|I think you know. Think back. Remember what he did, in his ignorance, in his greed and cruelty.|He took my blood.|Precisely! He took your blood and rebuilt his living body with it! Your blood in his veins, Harry, Lily's protection inside both of you! He tethered you to life while he lives ''[...]'' He took your blood believing it would strengthen him. He took into his body a tiny part of the enchantment your mother laid upon you when she died for you. His body keeps her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survives, so do you and so does Voldemort's one last hope for himself.|Dumbledore explaining the bond of blood to Harry.|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows}}
 
During his resurrection, Lord Voldemort used Harry's blood in reconstructing his body. According to Albus Dumbledore, since Harry's blood contained Lily's protection, and Voldemort took this blood for himself, Voldemort had unknowingly tethered Harry to life as long as he himself lives.
 
 
[[File:Harryblood.png|thumb|292px|[[Peter Pettigrew|Wormtail]] cutting Harry's arm and using his blood to regrow Voldemort]]
 
 
As such, the Sacrificial Protection lingering in Harry's blood, which Voldemort took, is similar to but superior to that of a Horcrux's. While a Horcrux requires the preservation of a piece of the soul within an object, blood with Sacrificial Protection required the preservation of the blood within another living entity. While a Horcrux protects the soul from death, blood with Sacrificial Protection is almost as good as Sacrificial Protection; it had the little side effect of Harry feeling an "iron-clad punch" after awakening.
 
 
During a discussion with Severus Snape, Dumbledore had specified that it is essential to the plan that Voldemort himself must [kill Harry]. Whether this is because only Voldemort can kill his own Horcrux within Harry, or whether the blood protection would only work specifically with Voldemort (Voldemort being the one from whom Lily had been protecting Harry) is unknown.
 
 
====Mastery of the Elder Wand====
 
[[File:Elder Wands.jpg|thumb|The Elder Wand]]
 
Another thing that helped Harry survive when Voldemort tried to kill him in the Forbidden Forest was that Harry was the true master of the [[Elder Wand]], a wand fabled to be unbeatable. Despite Voldemort physically possessing the Elder Wand (having removed it from the tomb of its last master, Dumbledore), he never truly conquered the Elder Wand from its previous owner. Harry, however, ''did'' gain its loyalty much earlier: [[Draco Malfoy]] "won" the wand from Dumbledore unknowingly, so it was loyal to him, but Harry beat Draco at the [[Skirmish at Malfoy Manor]], so Harry was the true Owner of the wand despite both of them never touching it. The wand wouldn't kill its own master, so when Voldemort tried to murder Harry, the curse only destroyed the part of Voldemort's soul living in Harry and then, when Harry and Voldemort [[Duel in the Great Hall|duelled]] for the final time, the wand backfired and killed Voldemort himself.
 
   
 
==Blocking the Curse==
 
==Blocking the Curse==
 
===Priori Incantatem===
 
===Priori Incantatem===
[[File:Priori_Incantatem.jpg|thumb|Priori Incantantem occuring between [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]] and [[Harry Potter]]]]The [[Priori Incantatem]] effect is when two wands that share the same cores are put into battle against each other. One wand will then force the other wand to repeat its previously-cast spells.
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[[File:Tumblr_lq90540gqt1qedoxoo5_250.gif|frame|Priori Incantantem occurring between [[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]] and [[Harry Potter]]]]
   
Because of this, an Avada Kedavra Curse can be blocked if a wand that shares the killer's wand's core fires a spell at it: both spells will connect and thus the wizard has been spared by the Killing Curse. However, since wands with twin cores are extremely rare, this method cannot be employed "at will".
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The [[Priori Incantatem]] effect is when two wands that share the same cores are put into battle against each other. One wand will then force the other wand to repeat its previously-cast spells.
   
Priori Incantatem occurred in the [[Duel in Little Hangleton|duel between Harry and Voldemort in the graveyard]] during Harry's fourth year <ref name="GOF"/>. Voldemort cast the Killing Curse and Harry cast the [[Disarming Charm]], and because their wands had twin cores, Priori Incantantem occurred; Harry was not killed and was able to hold Voldemort off to give him time to escape.
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Because of this, an Avada Kedavra Curse can be blocked if a wand that shares the killer's wand's core fires a spell at it: both spells will connect and thus the wizard has been spared by the Killing Curse.
   
[[File:Phoenix.jpg|thumb|[[Fawkes]] the [[Phoenix]] ate the Killing Curse meant for Dumbledore, bursting into flames and then regrowing from the ashes]]
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Priori Incantatem occurred in the [[Duel in Little Hangleton|duel between Harry and Voldemort in the graveyard]] during Harry's fourth year.<ref name="GOF" /> Voldemort cast the Killing Curse and Harry cast the [[Disarming Charm]], and because their wands had twin cores, Priori Incantantem occurred; Harry was not killed and was able to hold Voldemort off to give him time to escape.
   
 
===Phoenixes===
 
===Phoenixes===
[[Phoenix]]es are semi-protected from the Killing Curse, due to them being immortal. In [[1996]], [[Fawkes]] swallowed one intended for [[Albus Dumbledore]], causing him to burst into [[Fire|flame]] and die instantly. However, he then was reborn from his ashes.<ref name="OTP">{{OOTP}}</ref>
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[[File:Fawkes_rebirth.gif|frame|left|[[Fawkes]] the Phoenix bursting into flames and then regrowing from the ashes]]
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[[Phoenix|Phoenixes]] are semi-protected from the Killing Curse, due to them being immortal. In [[1996]], [[Fawkes]] swallowed one intended for [[Albus Dumbledore]], causing him to burst into [[Fire|flame]] and die instantly. However, he then was reborn from his ashes.<ref name="OTP">{{OOTP}}</ref>
   
 
===Stunning Spell===
 
===Stunning Spell===
 
The spell can be directly countered using a [[Stunning Spell]], in which case red and green jets of light will meet and create multi-coloured sparks. Since neither spell is able to reach its intended target, neither will have any effect.
 
The spell can be directly countered using a [[Stunning Spell]], in which case red and green jets of light will meet and create multi-coloured sparks. Since neither spell is able to reach its intended target, neither will have any effect.
   
===Other Targets and Dodging===
+
===Other targets and dodging===
 
If another target is placed between the caster and the targeted individual, then the new target will take the hit of the Killing Curse, which may simply result in an object being destroyed or damaged. One can also avoid the effects simply by dodging or if the caster has poor aim, as with many attacking curses of this type, the spell must be directly targeted at the intended victim.
 
If another target is placed between the caster and the targeted individual, then the new target will take the hit of the Killing Curse, which may simply result in an object being destroyed or damaged. One can also avoid the effects simply by dodging or if the caster has poor aim, as with many attacking curses of this type, the spell must be directly targeted at the intended victim.
   
==Known practitioners==
+
==Known practitioners and victims ==
[[File:Voldemort trying to force the Killing Curse on Dumbledore.jpg|thumb|right|300px|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]] casts the Killing Curse in a [[Duel in the Ministry Atrium|duel]].]]
 
 
*[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
 
*[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
 
*[[Bellatrix Lestrange]]
 
*[[Bellatrix Lestrange]]
Line 108: Line 92:
 
*[[Peter Pettigrew]]
 
*[[Peter Pettigrew]]
 
*[[Severus Snape]]
 
*[[Severus Snape]]
  +
*[[Gregory Goyle]]
 
*[[Thorfinn Rowle]]
 
*[[Thorfinn Rowle]]
 
*[[Vincent Crabbe]]
 
*[[Vincent Crabbe]]
 
*[[Lucius Malfoy]]
 
*[[Lucius Malfoy]]
*Other [[Death Eaters]] and [[Dark Wizard]]s
+
*[[Alastor Moody|Alastor "Mad-eye" Moody]]
+
*Other [[Death Eaters]] and [[Dark Wizard]]s<!-- Do not add that Bellatrix used this to kill Sirius. In the books, Sirius does not die instantaneously, and thus it cannot be this spell. -->
==Known victims==
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" width="100%"
<!-- Do not add that Bellatrix used this to kill Sirius. In the books, Sirius does not die instantaneously, and thus it cannot be this spell. -->
+
|- bgcolor="#cccccc"
{|width="60%" border="1" class="wikitable"
+
! align="center" width="20%" |
|-bgcolor="#cccccc"
 
!width="20%" align="center"|
 
 
Victim(s)
 
Victim(s)
!width="20%" align="center"|Caster(s)
+
! align="center" width="20%" |Caster(s)
!width="20%" align="center"|Dates
+
! align="center" width="20%" |Dates
 
|-
 
|-
|[[Tom Riddle Sr.]]
+
|
|rowspan="7"|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
+
[[Tom Riddle Sr.]]
|rowspan="3"|[[1940s|1943]]
+
| rowspan="7" |[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
  +
| rowspan="3" |[[1940s|1943]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Thomas Riddle]]
 
|[[Thomas Riddle]]
Line 129: Line 114:
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[James Potter I|James Potter]]
 
|[[James Potter I|James Potter]]
|rowspan="2"|[[31 October]], [[1981]]
+
| rowspan="2" |[[31 October]], [[1981]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Lily Evans|Lily Potter]]
 
|[[Lily Evans|Lily Potter]]
 
|-
 
|-
|[[Harry Potter ]]<br />(survived both)
+
|[[Harry Potter]]<br />(survived both)
 
|[[31 October]], [[1981]]<br />[[2 May]], [[1998]]
 
|[[31 October]], [[1981]]<br />[[2 May]], [[1998]]
 
|-
 
|-
Line 157: Line 142:
 
|[[Gibbon]]
 
|[[Gibbon]]
 
|[[Thorfinn Rowle]]<br />(curse meant for [[Remus Lupin]])
 
|[[Thorfinn Rowle]]<br />(curse meant for [[Remus Lupin]])
|rowspan="2"|[[June]], [[1997]]
+
| rowspan="2" |[[June]], [[1997]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Albus Dumbledore]]
 
|[[Albus Dumbledore]]
Line 163: Line 148:
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Charity Burbage]]
 
|[[Charity Burbage]]
|rowspan="2"|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
+
| rowspan="2" |[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
|Summer of [[1997]]
+
|Summer of [[1997]] - Before July 27
  +
|-
  +
|[[Unnamed German-speaking family]]: [[German woman|a woman]] and [[German children|two children]]
  +
| rowspan="2" |[[1 September]], [[1997]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Alastor Moody]]
 
|[[Alastor Moody]]
|rowspan="2"|[[27 July]], [[1997]]
+
| rowspan="2" |[[27 July]], [[1997]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Hedwig]]
 
|[[Hedwig]]
Line 174: Line 159:
 
|
 
|
 
[[Gregorovitch]]
 
[[Gregorovitch]]
|rowspan="2"|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
+
| rowspan="2" |[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]
 
|[[2 September]], [[1997]]
 
|[[2 September]], [[1997]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Gellert Grindelwald]]
 
|[[Gellert Grindelwald]]
 
|[[March]], [[1998]]
 
|[[March]], [[1998]]
  +
|-
  +
|[[Unnamed Goblin]]
  +
| colspan="1" rowspan="2" |[[1 May]], [[1998]]
  +
|-
  +
|[[Several Death Eaters]], Gringotts Guards and [[Goblins]]
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]<br />(his own curse backfired)
 
|[[Tom Riddle|Lord Voldemort]]<br />(his own curse backfired)
Line 191: Line 181:
   
 
==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
''Avada Kedavra'' is either based on the Aramaic עַבְדָא כְּדַברָא, ''avda kedavra'', meaning "what was said has been done", or on the Aramaic אַבַדָא כְּדַברָא, ''avada kedavra'', meaning "be destroyed at this word". [[J. K. Rowling]] seemed to support the second theory as the source, during an audience interview at the [[Wikipedia:Edinburgh Book Festival|Edinburgh Book Festival]] on [[15 April]], [[2004]], where she had this to say about the spell's etymology: "Does anyone know where ''avada kedavra'' came from? It is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of ''abracadabra'', which means 'let the thing be destroyed.' Originally, it was used to cure illness and the 'thing' was the illness, but I decided to make it the 'thing' as in the person standing in front of me. I take a lot of liberties with things like that. I twist them round and make them mine."<ref>[http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=80 Edinburgh Book Festival interview]</ref>
+
''Avada Kedavra'' is based on the Aramaic אַבַדָא כְּדַברָא, ''avada kedavra'', meaning "''let the thing be destroyed''". [[J. K. Rowling]] confirmed this during an audience interview at the [[wikipedia:Edinburgh Book Festival|Edinburgh Book Festival]] on [[15 April]], [[Between 2010 and 2017|2004]], where she had this to say about the spell's etymology: "Does anyone know where ''avada kedavra'' came from? It is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of ''abracadabra'', which means 'let the thing be destroyed.' Originally, it was used to cure illness and the 'thing' was the illness, but I decided to make it the 'thing' as in the person standing in front of me. I take a lot of liberties with things like that. I twist them round and make them mine."<ref>[http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=80 Edinburgh Book Festival interview]</ref>
This phrase is also the origin of ''[[Wikipedia:Abracadabra|abracadabra]]'', which, like ''[[Wikipedia:Hocus Pocus (magic)|hocus pocus]]'', is used by [[Wikipedia:Magic (illusion)|magicians]] as a [[Wikipedia:Magic word|magic word]] when they perform tricks.<ref>"[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/abracadabra Abracadabra]" on Wiktionary</ref>
+
This phrase is also the origin of ''[[Wikipedia:Abracadabra|abracadabra]]'', which, like ''[[Hocus Pocus]]'', is used by [[magician]]s as a [[Incantation|magic word]] when they perform tricks.<ref>"[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/abracadabra Abracadabra]" on Wiktionary</ref>
   
 
"Kedavra" also sounds very similar to the English word ''cadaver'', which means "corpse," and derives from the Latin ''cadere'', "to fall."<ref>"[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=cadaver&searchmode=none Cadaver]" on The Online Etymology Dictionary"</ref>
 
"Kedavra" also sounds very similar to the English word ''cadaver'', which means "corpse," and derives from the Latin ''cadere'', "to fall."<ref>"[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=cadaver&searchmode=none Cadaver]" on The Online Etymology Dictionary"</ref>
   
 
==Behind the scenes==
 
==Behind the scenes==
*The biological reasons for the victim's death have never been fully explained. It is possible that the victim's internal organs cease function, or that once the spell hits a person's body, it simply kills every living cell in the victim's body. It could also cause sudden brain death, simply stopping the progress of every electrical synapse in the brain simultaneously by draining all potential energy there. In addition to this, it is possible that it causes a person's soul to "pass on", and leave the body, similar to when the body dies naturally, and the soul passes on into whatever afterlife there may be. In any case, it is something that does not affect the health of the victims, as Muggle autopsy show that there is no change aside from outright death.
+
*In the movies the curse has been seen as a jet, a flash, or a burst of green or turquoise light.
  +
*The biological reasons for the victim's death have never been fully explained. In any case, it is something that does not affect the health of the victims, as Muggle autopsy show that there is no change aside from outright death.
 
*In [[Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)|PC version]] of [[Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone]], Quirrell frequently shoots Harry with a green mist-like spell that may be Avada Kedavra though it doesn't kill instantly. Harry deflects the "Avada Kedavra" spells back to Voldemort later with the [[Mirror of Erised]], eventually killing him.
 
*In [[Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)|PC version]] of [[Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone]], Quirrell frequently shoots Harry with a green mist-like spell that may be Avada Kedavra though it doesn't kill instantly. Harry deflects the "Avada Kedavra" spells back to Voldemort later with the [[Mirror of Erised]], eventually killing him.
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)|film adaptation]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]]'', [[Lucius Malfoy]] says "''Avada''" at [[Harry Potter]] after he unwillingly frees [[Dobby]]. Dobby knocks Lucius backwards with magic to protect Harry, and he does not finish the incantation. The part of the incantation shown, for plot reasons, was not represented in the subtitles. However, on the DVD if the audio is set to Spanish, Lucius says what it sounds like "''Arara''" in a more of a shouting way than hissing. It should be noted that Lucius Malfoy saying "''Avada''" was an ad-lib by his actor Jason Isaacs, as the script did not specify which curse he was supposed to use in the scene, so he used the first curse that came to his mind.{{fact}}
+
[[File:AvadaLEGO.png|thumb]]
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)|film adaptation]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]'', [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] is shown using the Killing Curse to murder [[Sirius Black]] in a scene fundamentally different from that of the novel, in which Sirius was pushed through the [[Veil]] by an unidentified curse cast by Bellatrix. The effect of the curse is also not shown to be instantaneous in the film.
+
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)|film adaptation]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]]'', [[Lucius Malfoy]] says "''Avada-''" at [[Harry Potter]] after he unwillingly frees [[Dobby]]. Dobby knocks Lucius backwards with magic to protect Harry, and he does not finish the incantation. The part of the incantation shown was not represented in the subtitles.
  +
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)|film adaptation]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]'', [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] is shown using the Killing Curse to murder [[Sirius Black]] in a scene slightly different from that of the novel, in which Sirius was pushed through the [[Veil]] by an unidentified curse cast by Bellatrix. The effect of the curse is also not shown to be instantaneous in the film.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban]]'', Sirius Black and Remus Lupin intended to kill [[Peter Pettigrew]] for his betrayal of James and Lily Potter. It is unknown how they wanted to do it, possibly by the use of this curse. If it would have been used, Peter would have died the same way as his former friends.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban]]'', Sirius Black and Remus Lupin intended to kill [[Peter Pettigrew]] for his betrayal of James and Lily Potter. It is unknown how they wanted to do it, possibly by the use of this curse. If it would have been used, Peter would have died the same way as his former friends.
 
*Out of the three, the Killing Curse is the only Unforgivable Curse that Harry did not use.
 
*Out of the three, the Killing Curse is the only Unforgivable Curse that Harry did not use.
 
*After [[Harry Potter]] survived a second killing curse, he described it as having left a bruise that felt like an "iron-clad punch."
 
*After [[Harry Potter]] survived a second killing curse, he described it as having left a bruise that felt like an "iron-clad punch."
  +
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)|film adaption]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]'' Barty Crouch Jr. uses not [[Alastor Moody's spiders|three spiders]] but one special kind of spider, an [[Wikipedia:Amblypygi|Amblypygi]].
  +
*In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, After being warned by Kingsley's patronus and the Death Eaters arrive, an unidentified death eater appears and immediatly attacks an unidentified Auror with what appears to be a Killing Curse, which causes the auror to be blasted off his feet and into the wedding cake.
 
*In the [[LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4|Harry Potter LEGO game]], Frank Bryce is replaced by a [[Little Hangleton milkman|milkman]]. However, his death by this curse cannot be considered canon as no echo of him appeared during the [[Duel in Little Hangleton]].
 
*In the [[LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4|Harry Potter LEGO game]], Frank Bryce is replaced by a [[Little Hangleton milkman|milkman]]. However, his death by this curse cannot be considered canon as no echo of him appeared during the [[Duel in Little Hangleton]].
*In [[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2|''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'']], Voldemort kills [[Pius Thicknesse]] with the Killing Curse after the latter interrupts the former's thoughts. It is unknown if Pius survived the Battle of Hogwarts in the book, but it is certain that Voldemort did not kill him.
+
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', Voldemort kills [[Pius Thicknesse]] with the Killing Curse after the latter interrupts the former's thoughts. It is unknown if Pius survived the Battle of Hogwarts in the book, but it is certain that Voldemort did not kill him.
*While the curse is noted to be unblockable, in Part 2 of the final film [[Harry Potter|Harry]] is seen blocking it many times from [[Voldemort]], and [[Bellatrix Lestrange|Bellatrix]] blocking it from [[Molly Weasley]] four times despite it being unblockable with a Shield Charm. Therefore the films portray it as blockable. Additionally, the seventh book describes a scenario in which jets of red and green light intersect and form multi-coloured sparks, suggesting that there was in fact a method of blocking. It is possible that the fake Moody was referring to specific defences, such as a Shield Charm or protecting one's mind.
+
*While the curse is noted to be unblockable, there are many exceptions listed: the seventh book shows jets of red and green light colliding and shooting off into multi-coloured sparks, much like fireworks, while the films show it being blocked with a [[Shield Charm]].
*The Killing Curse is not the only spell that can cause death to a living creature. Other spells may cause grievous injury, such as [[Fiendfyre]], [[Sectumsempra]], [[Antonin Dolohov's curse]], the [[Blasting Curse]], or an overuse of the [[Stunning Spell]]. Furthermore, it's likely that many spells can potentially cause death under certain circumstances, such as [[Impediment Jinx|Impedimenta]] off a cliff, [[Diffindo]] across the throat, etc. However, this is the only spell whose sole and primary application is to cause death.
+
*This is not the only spell that can prove fatal; [[Fiendfyre]], ''[[Sectumsempra]]'', ''[[Blasting Curse|Confringo]]'', ''[[Severing Charm|Diffindo]]'' or even ''[[Stunning Spell|Stupefy]]'' in exceptional circumstances. [[Antonin Dolohov]] invented an [[Antonin Dolohov's curse|unnamed curse]] that also proved fatal. However, this is the only known spell whose sole and primary application is death.
 
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)|video game]] of the [[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1|first part film adaption]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]'', [[Cadmus Peverell]] uses the Killing Curse to commit suicide.
 
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)|video game]] of the [[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1|first part film adaption]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]'', [[Cadmus Peverell]] uses the Killing Curse to commit suicide.
[[File:Avada_Kedavra.png|thumb|A green spell cast by [[Ron Weasley]] in an attempt to kill [[Nagini]].]]
+
[[File:Avada Kedavra.png|thumb|A green spell cast by [[Ron Weasley]] in an attempt to kill [[Nagini]].]]
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', [[Ron Weasley]] casts a green spell in an attempt to kill Voldemort's snake [[Nagini]] (one of his [[Horcrux]]es). It is unknown if it is Avada Kedavra or not, although it was unsuccessful.
+
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', [[Ron Weasley]] casts a green spell in an attempt to kill Voldemort's snake [[Nagini]] (one of his [[Horcrux]]es). Though if this was indeed the Killing Curse that Ron used against Nagini she would have been destroyed as horcruxes can be destroyed by being hit with a Killing Curse. This is proven when Harry surrenders to Voldemort and he is hit with the curse, while Harry was "killed", Voldemort simultaneously destroyed the horcrux that resided in Harry's body.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', the Killing Curse rebounds on Voldemort during his [[duel]] with Harry by the green light of the curse emitting through the crack in the Elder Wand, causing Voldemort's hand to turn black and spread, leading to his death.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', the Killing Curse rebounds on Voldemort during his [[duel]] with Harry by the green light of the curse emitting through the crack in the Elder Wand, causing Voldemort's hand to turn black and spread, leading to his death.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', the rebounding Killing Curse affects Voldemort by causing him to disintegrate into ashes instead of leaving his physical body dead.
 
*In ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2]]'', the rebounding Killing Curse affects Voldemort by causing him to disintegrate into ashes instead of leaving his physical body dead.
* The curse's incantation was Voldemort's last words in life in the novel.
+
*The curse's incantation was Voldemort's last words in life in the novel.
   
 
==Appearances==
 
==Appearances==
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[[Category:Curses]]
 
[[Category:Curses]]
 
[[Category:Horcrux destruction methods]]
 
[[Category:Horcrux destruction methods]]
  +
[[Category:Death-related magic]]
  +
[[Category:Murder]]

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Killing Curse
Incantation

Avada Kedavra
(a-VAH-dah ke-DAH-vra)[1]

Type

Curse, Dark Arts

Hand Movement

Killing-curse

Light

Green[2]

Effect

Instantaneous, painless death[1]

"There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air — instantaneously the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead"
—Description of the Killing Curse[src]

The Killing Curse (also known as the Avada Kedavra Curse[3]) (Avada Kedavra) is a tool of the Dark Arts and one of the three Unforgivable Curses. It is one of the most powerful and sinister spells known to wizardkind. When cast successfully the curse causes instantaneous death.

The only known counter-spell is sacrificial protection, which uses the magic of love. However, one may dodge the green bolt, block it with a physical barrier or by the use of Priori Incantatem. The Killing Curse is an "unblockable" curse, thus Shield Charms won't defend against it. An explosion or green fire may result if the spell hits something other than a living target.

HistoryEdit

CreationEdit

"The Cruciatus, Imperius, and Avada Kedavra Curses were not made "unforgivable" until 1717."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

The Killing Curse was invented during the early Middle Ages, by Dark witches or wizards. The curse was created primarily as a means of quickly and efficiently slaying one's opponent in a duel.[4]

Legal statusEdit

Along with the Cruciatus and Imperius curses, the Killing Curse is known as one of the most terrible curses in the wizarding world. After the Wizards' Council was reformed into the Ministry of Magic tighter restrictions were placed on the use of certain kinds of magic. The Killing Curse was deemed by the Ministry to be Dark magic and along with the Cruciatus and Imperius curses, were declared "unforgivable" in 1717, with the Killing Curse considered to be the most deadly of the three. Cursing another human with the Killing Curse would carry the punishment of a life sentence in Azkaban.

Killing curse spider

"Moody" demonstrating the Killing Curse on a spider

However, the First Wizarding War, when Barty Crouch Sr. was in charge of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, he fought violence with violence, legalising the three Unforgivable Curses for Aurors against the Death Eaters in order to win the war. This was repealed once the war was over as it was no longer necessary, though, in the 1994-1995 school year, Barty Crouch Jr. (under the disguise of Alastor Moody) showed these three curses to his fourth year classes on spiders despite the Ministry's disapproval.

When Lord Voldemort took over the Ministry, the three curses were once again legalised: this time every wizard and witch had the right to use them as they please. In fact, they were practised in Hogwarts as part of the curriculum of Dark Arts class under the tutelage of Professor Amycus Carrow. After Voldemort's death and the revolutionising of the Ministry under Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt, the three curses were once again forbidden.

It should be noted that despite the curse being illegal, references have been made to Aurors using deadly force against opponents, though whether this means they were authorised to use the killing curse specifically is unclear. Despite the circumstances, it is unknown whether the Killing Curse was used by anyone but Voldemort and his Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts. It is also known that use of this curse may go unpunished if there is sufficient evidence that the caster did so under the influence of the Imperius Curse.

NatureEdit

Godric flash

The flash of green light that indicates the Killing Curse

The Avada Kedavra curse is recognisable by the flash of green light and the rushing noise emitted from the caster's wand. When the curse hits a living, organic target it invariably kills them without injury. However, when this curse hits an inanimate target the effect varies: it can produce small fires,[5] small greenish explosions,[6] or explosions of such intensity that can blow up an entire story of a cottage.[7] It is known by most wizards as Lord Voldemort's signature spell. It is possible to intercept the curse with other spells, but this is extremely difficult as it requires the energy jets of the two spells to collide. As the energy jets of virtually all spells are very small and fast, this has only ever been recorded as occurring by accident.

However, certain objects, such as the centaur statue of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, managed to block the curse without any visible damage to itself.[8] It should be noted that curse did not terminate the animation of (i.e. "kill") the statue, however, the statue was only animated by magic and so presumably had no real life in him for the curse to take away.

PerformanceEdit

"Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it — you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed."
Barty Crouch, Jr. as Alastor Moody[src]

The curse requires great skill in order to be performed correctly. In 1994, Barty Crouch, Jr., disguised as Alastor Moody, claimed that, if all of the students before him were to get out their wands and perform it on him at one time, he would likely be completely unaffected. However, as his loyalties were with Lord Voldemort, it is unknown to what extent his words were accurate. However, in 1997 Severus Snape also stated that to cast Unforgivable Curses you need nerve and ability. It is possible to cast the curse non-verbally, as Bellatrix killed a fox without incantation. However, the lack of the incantation may have been for suspense. Whether this is true or not in Bellatrix's case is unknown.[9] However, during his duel with Dumbledore, Voldemort used this spell several times without an incantation. Intense concentration is likely required to cast the Killing Curse, which is probably why Death Eaters don't use it as their primary offensive spell (although Thorfinn Rowle did launch the curse repeatedly all over the place during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower).

SignsEdit

Cedric's Death

Peter Pettigrew casting the killing curse on Cedric Diggory

The Killing Curse is described as a jet or flash of blinding green light that "illuminates every corner of the room"[10] followed by a rushing sound, which causes the victim instant death. Victims of the Killing Curse are identified by the fact that they simply appear to have dropped dead for no biological reason. Indeed, victims seem "perfectly healthy" apart from the fact that they are dead.[9] This lack of visible injuries is one that had confused Muggles throughout the years of its use, requiring many Ministry of Magic officials to modify memories.

SensationEdit

Presumably, the Killing Curse does not inflict any pain on its target, since it causes instantaneous death. However, Harry Potter, awaking after a Killing Curse cast by Lord Voldemort hit him, describes the sensation as an "iron-clad punch."

SurvivabilityEdit

"Not pleasant. And there's no countercurse. There's no blocking it. Only one known person has ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me."
Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Alastor Moody) on Harry Potter surviving the curse[src]

The Killing Curse can be dodged or physically blocked by an object, such as the statues Dumbledore animated to protect Harry Potter during his duel with Voldemort after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.

The Killing Curse is known to be unblockable, as once it strikes the living victim, it almost always results in immediate death. There is "no counter-curse" since it is not possible to revive the dead. However there are some exceptions:

Sacrificial ProtectionEdit

VoldemortmurderingLily

Lily Evans being murdered by Lord Voldemort, when she refuses to stop shielding Harry

The most effective method of surviving the Killing Curse is through Sacrificial Protection. The sacrifice of one's life for another, a manifestation of the powerful magic of love, is the most potent defense against the "unblockable" Killing Curse. Harry Potter, was saved by his mother, Lily Evans, lovingly sacrificed herself when she shielded her son with her body,[11] making him the first known survivor of this Curse. Harry Potter was the only person known to have survived Avada Kedavra with no ill effects, aside from attaining a scar.

HorcruxesEdit

The Horcrux

Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes.

Another defense employed against the Killing Curse is the creation of at least one Horcrux. The creation of Horcruxes is a preventive measure, created by a wizard long before he faces an actual Killing Curse attack. However, this is less effective than Sacrificial Protection, since it only allows a little more than the soul of the target to live, while the target's body still dies. If one has Horcruxes, they will not be dead, but they will barely be alive and will be reduced, as Voldemort was when the Killing Curse backfired with his attempt to kill Harry in 1981: to living off another, drinking Unicorn Blood, using the Philosopher's Stone (before it was destroyed), and creating a rudimentary body from Unicorn Blood and Nagini's venom.

Voldemort's Horcruxes tethered his soul to life. The Curse drove his mangled soul from his body and split his unstable soul, leaving him to roam only as a shadowy spirit, unable to move on to death but is a less-than-alive life form. If possible, one can make a Regeneration potion to came back to life, but it requires the bone of the father, the flesh of the servant, and the blood of an enemy. Because Voldemort required a servant to perform the rites of his rebirth, he was forced to spend thirteen years in hiding as he had no one who would come to his aid for such time.

Upon the destruction of all his Horcruxes, Voldemort had no more defence against death, and was finally killed by his own deflected Killing Curse.

Blocking the CurseEdit

Priori IncantatemEdit

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Priori Incantantem occurring between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter

The Priori Incantatem effect is when two wands that share the same cores are put into battle against each other. One wand will then force the other wand to repeat its previously-cast spells.

Because of this, an Avada Kedavra Curse can be blocked if a wand that shares the killer's wand's core fires a spell at it: both spells will connect and thus the wizard has been spared by the Killing Curse.

Priori Incantatem occurred in the duel between Harry and Voldemort in the graveyard during Harry's fourth year.[1] Voldemort cast the Killing Curse and Harry cast the Disarming Charm, and because their wands had twin cores, Priori Incantantem occurred; Harry was not killed and was able to hold Voldemort off to give him time to escape.

PhoenixesEdit

Fawkes rebirth

Fawkes the Phoenix bursting into flames and then regrowing from the ashes

Phoenixes are semi-protected from the Killing Curse, due to them being immortal. In 1996, Fawkes swallowed one intended for Albus Dumbledore, causing him to burst into flame and die instantly. However, he then was reborn from his ashes.[8]

Stunning SpellEdit

The spell can be directly countered using a Stunning Spell, in which case red and green jets of light will meet and create multi-coloured sparks. Since neither spell is able to reach its intended target, neither will have any effect.

Other targets and dodgingEdit

If another target is placed between the caster and the targeted individual, then the new target will take the hit of the Killing Curse, which may simply result in an object being destroyed or damaged. One can also avoid the effects simply by dodging or if the caster has poor aim, as with many attacking curses of this type, the spell must be directly targeted at the intended victim.

Known practitioners and victims Edit

Victim(s)

Caster(s) Dates

Tom Riddle Sr.

Lord Voldemort 1943
Thomas Riddle
Mary Riddle
James Potter 31 October, 1981
Lily Potter
Harry Potter
(survived both)
31 October, 1981
2 May, 1998
Frank Bryce August, 1994
A spider Bartemius Crouch Jr. disguised as Alastor Moody 1994-1995 school year
Cedric Diggory Peter Pettigrew 24 June, 1995
Fawkes Lord Voldemort
(curse meant for Albus Dumbledore)
18 June, 1996
(burst into flames and reborn)
A fox Bellatrix Lestrange Summer of 1996
Gibbon Thorfinn Rowle
(curse meant for Remus Lupin)
June, 1997
Albus Dumbledore Severus Snape
(planned ahead of time by Dumbledore)
Charity Burbage Lord Voldemort Summer of 1997 - Before July 27
Unnamed German-speaking familya woman and two children 1 September, 1997
Alastor Moody 27 July, 1997
Hedwig Hedwig's Killer
(curse meant for Harry Potter)

Gregorovitch

Lord Voldemort 2 September, 1997
Gellert Grindelwald March, 1998
Unnamed Goblin 1 May1998
Several Death Eaters, Gringotts Guards and Goblins
Lord Voldemort
(his own curse backfired)
both times by himself 31 October, 1981
(survived due to his horcruxes)
2 May, 1998
(did not survive)

Several unknown during the:
Revolution
First Wizarding War
Second Wizarding War

Numerous 1940s to 1998

EtymologyEdit

Avada Kedavra is based on the Aramaic אַבַדָא כְּדַברָא, avada kedavra, meaning "let the thing be destroyed". J. K. Rowling confirmed this during an audience interview at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 15 April, 2004, where she had this to say about the spell's etymology: "Does anyone know where avada kedavra came from? It is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of abracadabra, which means 'let the thing be destroyed.' Originally, it was used to cure illness and the 'thing' was the illness, but I decided to make it the 'thing' as in the person standing in front of me. I take a lot of liberties with things like that. I twist them round and make them mine."[12] This phrase is also the origin of abracadabra, which, like Hocus Pocus, is used by magicians as a magic word when they perform tricks.[13]

"Kedavra" also sounds very similar to the English word cadaver, which means "corpse," and derives from the Latin cadere, "to fall."[14]

Behind the scenesEdit

  • In the movies the curse has been seen as a jet, a flash, or a burst of green or turquoise light.
  • The biological reasons for the victim's death have never been fully explained. In any case, it is something that does not affect the health of the victims, as Muggle autopsy show that there is no change aside from outright death.
  • In PC version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Quirrell frequently shoots Harry with a green mist-like spell that may be Avada Kedavra though it doesn't kill instantly. Harry deflects the "Avada Kedavra" spells back to Voldemort later with the Mirror of Erised, eventually killing him.
AvadaLEGO
Avada Kedavra

A green spell cast by Ron Weasley in an attempt to kill Nagini.

  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Ron Weasley casts a green spell in an attempt to kill Voldemort's snake Nagini (one of his Horcruxes). Though if this was indeed the Killing Curse that Ron used against Nagini she would have been destroyed as horcruxes can be destroyed by being hit with a Killing Curse. This is proven when Harry surrenders to Voldemort and he is hit with the curse, while Harry was "killed", Voldemort simultaneously destroyed the horcrux that resided in Harry's body.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the Killing Curse rebounds on Voldemort during his duel with Harry by the green light of the curse emitting through the crack in the Elder Wand, causing Voldemort's hand to turn black and spread, leading to his death.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the rebounding Killing Curse affects Voldemort by causing him to disintegrate into ashes instead of leaving his physical body dead.
  • The curse's incantation was Voldemort's last words in life in the novel.

AppearancesEdit

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Notes and referencesEdit


Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
TDF-AGTS-P
Professors: Galatea Merrythought · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape ·
Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
Textbooks: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls ·
Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Freezing Spell · Seize and Pull Charm · Patronus Charm · Killing Curse · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Impediment Jinx · Reductor Curse · Stunning Spell · Shield Charm · Nonverbal spells · Hex-deflection ·
Hex-Breaker · Hex Zapper
Creatures covered under the subject: Vampire bats · Iguanas · Cornish Pixies · Werewolves · Vampires · Hinkypunks · Boggarts · Red Caps · Kappas · Grindylows · Inferius

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