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Sectumsempra is pretty good at killing unless specifically healed, but that's pretty extreme.

I could probably kill someone by Petrificus Totalus-ing them into a lake. I would imagine Accio books could be quite painful to a target standing in the way. Could do Accio knives for a rather more deadly effect.

So... why bother with Avada Kedavra when such relatively simple "solutions" exist for killing?

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Accio Knives! And then they all hit the target with their handles, or on their sides. :P –  The Dragon Rider who Lived Apr 29 at 12:42
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@TheDragonRiderwhoLived Or worse, they all miss the interceding target, but reach YOU just fine. –  Zibbobz Apr 29 at 13:07
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@Zibbobz Since you're the one who summoned them, they would arrive in a suitable way for you to receive them - imagine if Accio Firebolt resulted in Harry getting a faceful of twigs moments before being burned to a crisp... –  Niet the Dark Absol Apr 29 at 13:10
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I just imagined it, and it was hilarious. –  Zibbobz Apr 29 at 13:12
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You sound like a sneaky psychopath with this question :P –  John Odom Apr 29 at 14:02

3 Answers 3

Avada Kedavra cannot be countered; this is why it is used by evil people so much. You also cannot cure someone who has been struck by AK. The only known counter is sacrificial magic (AKA how Harry survived).

Throughout the HP series it is demonstrated how easily usual muggle illnesses, afflictions and wounds are cured in a matter of moments.

Lockhart hadn’t mended Harry’s bones. He had removed them.
Madam Pomfrey wasn’t at all pleased. “You should have come straight to me!” she raged, holding up the sad, limp remainder of what, half an hour before, had been a working arm. “I can mend bones in a second — but growing them back —”

It would be foolish to think they don't have a more prudent manner of extracting water from lungs or healing a knife wound (A knife wound also would not be a dark magic inflicted wound, and so would be easier to heal than Sectumsempra).

"Will George be okay?" All Lupin's frustration with Harry seemed to drain away at the question. "I think so, although there's no chance of replacing his ear, not when it's been cursed off –"

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That is fairly accurate. People could be revived from lungs full of water and knife wounds and sword slashes.. E.g - Arthur Weasely fully recovered from being mauled and bitten over and over by Nagini... –  ash_k29 Apr 29 at 10:27
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I could be wrong, since I've only read Deathly Hallows once (as opposed to a dozen times for the earlier books), but didn't one of the Weasley twins have his ear blown off? Wasn't that unhealable? –  Niet the Dark Absol Apr 29 at 10:28
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"Unforgivable Curse" Just refers to it's status in society really. Like when referring to a murderer and saying "what he did is unforgivable". Prudent to mention that the Cruciatus Curse cannot kill. The Imperius Curse can kill via command the victim to drown him/herself etc. –  Simon Apr 29 at 10:29
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@NiettheDarkAbsol I mentioned albeit briefly that some wounds inflicted by dark magic are unhealable. Basically if you lose a limb to dark magic it cannot be regrown. –  Simon Apr 29 at 10:30
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@human you can heal wounds made by dark magic but you cannot regrow limbs severed via dark magic. –  Simon Apr 29 at 21:29

I think the question is really “Why bother with Avada Kedavra?”

Both the Imperius and Cruciatus curses can also be used to inflict death indirectly (curse somebody in such a way that they can’t or don’t stop a 16-ton weight falling on them, say).

The advantage of Avada Kedavra as a tool for killing is that it’s instantaneous.

Almost no protection can stop it, it complete its work in seconds, and once it’s done, there’s no recourse.

The indirect methods you describe could all be deflected or reverted, but a blast of Avada Kedavra is absolute. As we see in canon, Sectumsepra can be healed (albeit partially), flying objects could probably be diverted with Protego (or just duck!), somebody could lift Petrificus Totalus or fish you out of the lake. I wouldn’t call any of those as “simple” as a quick blast of the death curse.

Of course, that’s also why you’d want to be sparing in using it. If you hit the wrong person with a creative method, you could undo the damage. Won’t work so well with Avada Kedavra. See Why don't Death Eaters always use Avada Kedavra? and Why were the Death Eaters so lenient during the fight at the Department of Mysteries? for more discussion of that.

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Although; Avada Kedavra's still not as bad as fresh fruit, right?... –  leftaroundabout Apr 29 at 20:29
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@leftaroundabout: We've done the passion fruit! –  Tim Pietzcker Apr 30 at 7:23
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At six syllables in two words, it's also fast to cast -- If you're not already moving by the 'va' sound you aren't going to get clear no matter what you try, and almost any possible counter curse will take longer to cast than you have time left to try to do so. –  Shadur Apr 30 at 9:36

What about a simpler solution: just seco on the neck?

Two more versions on "why using unforgivable" from me: a) avada is ensuring death. So, one someone is hit with it, the attacker can immediately do something else, "fire and forget". b), probably more importantly, it is a dark curse. So, using it a few times (as bad guys would do) sort of forces one to continue using it. Insert Ro's "corrupting souls" voodoo here.

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