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As the title says, Why didn't Harry feel the Cruciatus curse at the end of Deathly Hallows?

‘You see?’ screeched Voldemort over the tumult. ‘Harry Potter is dead by my hand, and no man alive can threaten me now! Watch! Crucio!’

Harry had been expecting it: knew his body would not be allowed to remain unsullied upon the Forest floor, it must be subjected to humiliation to prove Voldemort’s victory. He was lifted into the air, and it took all his determination to remain limp, yet the pain he expected did not come.

Deathly Hallows - page 582 - Bloomsbury - chapter 36, A Flaw in the Plan

Is there a canonical explanation as to why Harry did not feel the pain from the Cruciatus curse? Was it due to some kind of protective enchantment, adrenaline, a shift in Voldemort's powers ... Was Harry able to mentally block the pain? Why did this happen?

I prefer an answer based in canon and not answers from the HP Wiki/Wikia

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I would theorize it was the Elder Wand not harming its master... –  Izkata Jun 25 '12 at 2:43
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I'll have to go look, but I thought it was the same reason Neville didn't get burned, and none of the curses on the students, after Harry's sacrifice, 'took'; Harry had inadvertently provided the same protection his mother had given him (by sacrificing her life) to the entirety of Hogwarts and all of it's defenders, by sacrificing his own. As a nice bonus, he was one of the people protected, due to the unusual aspect of his death/not-death. I don't think he mentioned HIS protection, but he mentions the protection of the other students in his final duel, as I recall. –  KHW Jun 25 '12 at 3:57
    
@KeithHWeston - sorry, I disagree. It's an elegant theory, but I don't think self-sacrifice protects that self later on. Though, admittedly, I don't have a canon proof either way. –  DVK Jun 25 '12 at 14:01
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@dvk - I can see your point, which is why I posted it as a comment instead of an answer.. It's my personal interpretation, but I really have not way to justify it, except for gut feeling. (Self sacrifice requires the sacrifice, so can't protect the enactor.. but this was a freak circumstance.) It's odd that JKR actually drew our attention to it, but then never explained... She often leaves side details unexplained, but when she specifically draws our attention to something, an explanation is usually forthcoming. Perhaps it's meant to be obvious, and we are just not getting it :) –  KHW Jun 25 '12 at 22:22

7 Answers 7

up vote 61 down vote accepted

That isn't the only case of one of Voldemort's spells not working near the end of the book. Consider how Neville was frozen to the spot, with a burning Sorting Hat on his head, and then

In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him...

The answer to this puzzle is in the book:

"You won't be killing anyone else tonight," said Harry as they circled, and stared into each other's eyes, green into red. "You won't be able to kill any of them ever again. Don't you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people--"

"But you did not!"

"--I meant to, and that's what did it. I've done what my mother did. They're protected from you. Haven't you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can't torture them. You can't touch them. You don't learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?"

Harry made the same kind of sacrifice his mother made (even though Harry's didn't result in his death, at least not permanently). Just as Harry was protected by his mother's sacrifice, now all of Harry's friends and loved ones were protected by Harry's sacrifice.

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+1 for a good quote answer. –  Gabe Willard Jun 25 '12 at 22:46
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+1 for a well-substantiated answer –  Aerik Jun 25 '12 at 23:21
    
superawesome... –  Ajo Koshy 2 days ago

It happened for the same reason that Harry did not die. The Elder wand simply wouldn't work on Harry, as Harry was its master.

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this does make sense –  prometheuspk Jun 25 '12 at 11:29
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-1 But it's not substantiated –  Pureferret Oct 27 '12 at 2:02
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THIS is the right answer. The Elder Wand belonged to Harry and, therefore, refused to harm him. Harry's self-sacrifice protected everyone he loved, not himself. He, himself, was protected by the allegience of the Elder Wand. –  Arachno-Sapien Jan 31 at 1:54
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The reason Harry didn't die was not because of the Elder Wand: Was Harry Potter killed and then brought back to life? –  FGreg Mar 17 at 20:31

He did not experience the pain he expected. I would like to think that he braved it. And a part of Harry did die by the doing of Elder wand. How else would you explain the horcrux inside him which did die? The Elder wand would not harm it's master in a contested duel. It does bend its allegiance if it were a simple disarming (Isn't that how Malfoy owned it?). The history of the deathstick does point to the same conclusion as well. To add to that, Harry could resist the unforgivable curses in the past as well. Not just Avada Kedavra, but Imperius curse as well( Goblet of Fire).

I would like to theorize that he was able to simply withstand it.

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+1 for mentioning other Unforgivables resistance and the fact that Harry did feel pain, just tolerated it. –  DVK Jun 25 '12 at 14:02
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Hmm, that makes Harry The Boy Who Resisted All 3 Unforgivable Curses. –  naxa Jun 28 '12 at 20:17

Well, I've read all of the previous written explanations. All of them are good, some better than others. A lot of them (especially those speaking of Lily and Harry's sacrifices and protections making this possible) are grounded on the canon books and make a lot of sense. Though, one thing that no one has mentioned yet (even if someone talked about Harry's expectations), is what Voldemort believed. Voldemort spoke of how something dead cannot feel pain.

‘You see?’ screeched Voldemort over the tumult. ‘Harry Potter is dead by my hand, and no man alive can threaten me now! Watch! Crucio!'

He casts the Cruciatus curse to prove Harry's death. Which means that he believed that Harry was dead. And if you look to the magic theory all through the books you see that one must believe, expect and feel enough for some charms and spells to work (see Harry's failed "Crucio" on Bellatrix). It is my belief that, in addition to Harry's sacrifice, the Cruciatus didn't work cause Voldemort didn't expect it to. He believed Harry was dead and wouldn't feel anything, therefore it did not happen.

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I think it's most likely the fact that it was because y'all are forgetting one vital piece of the story: Harry's body was inhabited by two souls.

"You were the seventh Horcrux, Harry, the Horcrux he never meant to make."

Both Voldemort's Horcruxed soul and Harry's were within his body when the curse was cast. Harry originally withstood the Killing Curse once due to the sacrifice of his mother, thus causing the curse to rebound upon Voldemort, killing him and forcing him to find the other portions of his soul.

When Harry went forward to allow himself to die, Dumbledore explains to Harry why his soul survived.

"Precisely!" said Dumbledore. "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!"

With Harry living for as long as Voldemort is alive, it would stand to reason that Voldemort's killing curse would not affect him but rather the OTHER unprotected soul within him: Voldemort's last Horcrux.

With this last bit of perversion gone from Harry's soul, his mother's protection is no longer perverted by the corrupt soul of Voldemort. This purified enchantment laid upon Harry by his mother allows him to no longer fear the magic of Voldemort. I say this because Dumbledore explains the connection between the two:

"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..."

I make this claim because the only major difference between Voldemort and Harry in Goblet of Fire (Where Voldemort successfully used the Cruciatus Curse on him) and this last scene, is that Voldemort's soul is no longer within Harry. Voldemort was able to torture Harry because his Horcrux was latched on to Harry, weakening the enchantment his mother laid upon him. With this contaminant gone, Harry now had the full undiluted protection of his mother's sacrifice (at least from Voldemort).

On a quick aside: I would assume that he is still susceptible to the magic of others but no others cast magic at him for the rest of the book.

So, to wrap this all up:

Harry didn't feel the Cruciatus Curse cast by Voldemort because he was, once again, fully under the protection of his mother's enchantment. An enchantment which was being sustained by some of Harry's blood within Voldemort.

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Interesting theory. A few things: Lily's enchantment expired on Harry's 17th birthday, except for the small portion of Voldemort's soul Harry retained. When Voldemort "killed" Harry in the forest, he destroyed the portion of his own soul in Harry, which held Lily's enchantment. Lily's enchantment still existed in Voldemort. It seems when the piece of Voldemort's soul was killed, by Voldemort himself, Harry was left with no protective enchantments. One, he was too old, and, two, Voldemort killed the only remaining enchantments. How could Harry retain any of Lily's enchantment, given this? –  Slytherincess Jan 15 '13 at 15:42
    
I also wanted to add that it seems Dumbledore was pretty specific about who had the enchantment: *'[Voldemort's] body keeps her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survives, so do you and so does Voldemort’s one last hope for himself.’ –  Slytherincess Jan 15 '13 at 15:45
    
@A Slytherin Both of your issues are answered in my original post. 1) The enchantment surpasses his 17th birthday because it was maintained within Voldemort's body which was created using Harry's blood and 2) the enchantment wasn't destroyed when Voldemort killed his Horcrux because it wasn't his Horcrux that maintained the protection, it was Voldemort's body. –  user11948 Jan 16 '13 at 2:56
    
And I don't understand what you mean about it being specific? It specifically states Harry was under the protection of the enchantment and implies that Harry was Voldemort's one last hope. Their last duel together lends credence to this when Harry speaks to Voldemort: "It's your one last chance," said Harry, "it's all you've got left... I've seen what you'll be otherwise... Be a man... try... Try for some remorse..." Harry is the only person who knows that Remorse can reverse the effects of a Horcrux. –  user11948 Jan 16 '13 at 2:58
    
The enchantment protected Harry from being killed by Voldemort. If you could point me to any example in canon, besides the one in this question, where it definitively states that Lily's enchantment prevented Voldemort from hurting Harry, or causing him pain, I believe that would help me understand your theory better. –  Slytherincess Jan 16 '13 at 16:25

I think it was because the Elder Wand couldn't hurt it's true master and when Voldemort fired it at Harry, the curse from the wand hit the Horcrux inside Harry (Voldemort's soul) as it was unable to kill it's true master. Wands have feelings as suggested by Ollivander and that supports the reason why the wand did not hurt it's master. Just an opinion!

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Moody (well, not really Moody, but Mr Crouch's son) taught Harry to fight against the curse in the 4th book, remember?

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No, I think Moody taught Harry to fight against the Imperius curse only. –  b_jonas Jan 25 '13 at 9:51
    
Oh ok I thought it was that curse as well. Been a while since i read them haha –  Jourdie Jan 26 '13 at 8:10
    
I can't believe Community edits like that as well! –  Awal Garg May 11 at 6:36

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