I just finished The Goblet of Fire for the fourth time, but this time I read it while watching out for "Professor Moody"s behavior during school. One piece that stands out is the Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson where Barty Crouch Jr. shows all of the students the Unforgiveable Curses.

This alone wouldn't be weird, as we know it was important that Barty played the eccentric/paranoid character of Mad-Eye well. However, he makes it a point during the lesson to continue using the Imperius Curse on Harry until Harry can resist it. Ignoring the fact that Harry learned to resist one of the most dangerous curses in the magical world in an hour-long class (Aurors should sign up for that, huh?) - what possible motivation would Barty have to teach/train Harry Potter how to resist a very useful Dark spell? Voldemort, later in the same book, even tries to use the Imperius Curse on Harry and can't (one would assume this is due to the earlier training).

The argument of "fitting in" doesn't seem to apply here, as merely demonstrating the curses at all was already straining the limits of Mad Eye's eccentric reputation; plus he only repeatedly targeted Harry. He could just as easily have not aroused suspicion by showing them the curses, or Imperius-ing all of the students equally. The only thing Barty accomplished was strengthening Harry's chances against Voldemort.

There's also the possibility that he simply hated the boy who defeated his master, and as such, wanted to torture him. But in that case, why not "teach them to resist/experience" the Cruciatus Curse? It has just as flimsy of an excuse (i.e. "showing them how it works") but with far more effective results. Furthermore, making a student jump on top of a desk would hardly qualify as torture, even someone as loony as Barty.

  • 5
    Because he's an evil schmuck
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2016 at 18:33
  • 4
    You get an upvote, but we also would have accepted "timey-wimey." Feb 10, 2016 at 18:35
  • 3
    (I suppose he didn’t think there’d ever be a need to Imperius Harry—he was supposed to be dead by the end of the school year, after all—but it’s still not very sensible, careful planning to just discount the possibility like that.) Feb 10, 2016 at 18:51
  • 3
    I doubt Jr. is really that concerned with that and was just getting his jollies off on the power-trip over his master's sworn enemy.
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 10, 2016 at 18:52
  • 2
    Maybe he just wanted to make sure Harry's competitors in the TriWizard Cup (or their teachers) don't use it on him and make him lose the cup. (Remember Moody imperioused Krum in the maze)
    – RedBaron
    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:56

7 Answers 7


"...demonstrating the curses at all was already straining the limits of Mad Eye's eccentric reputation".

Actually, no. It was Dumbledore's idea.

"Dumbledore wants you taught what it feels like," said Moody

Given that it's Dumbledore's lesson plan it wouldn't surprise me at all if he asked Moody about it later on. What a nice little bonding exercise, to talk about the wonderful Harry Potter and how he's showing an aptitude at fighting the Imperius curse. Convince Dumbledore you're sticking to his plan AND put yourself above suspicion by connecting with HP. Two birds, one curse.

Plus, Crouch was in deep, deep cover for a year. He had to act, talk and think like Moody, so convincingly that even Dumbledore wouldn't suspect. The real Moody would absolutely have pushed his students to their limits, especially when Harry-freakin'-Potter showed an aptitude.

  • 6
    Although it wouldn't be beyond him to lie about that. Remember he told Snape that he was searching his office on Dumbledore's orders?
    – Aegon
    Feb 11, 2016 at 13:12
  • 2
    @NSNoob Still seems unlikely he'd come up with the whole lesson without at the very least informing Dumbledore. Also, looking back at that exchange, it's a lot more vague. "Moody" never claims Dumbledore told him to search Snapes room, just that Dumbledore said to "keep an eye (out)". "Moody" states it's his "Aurors privilege" to perform a search, implying that he basically took Dumbledores word as authorisation to police Hogwarts as he saw necessary.
    – DavidS
    Feb 11, 2016 at 13:55

I think Crouch is, in his own way, an honourable man. Note that when Malfoy attacks Harry Potter from behind Crouch turns him into a ferret and says:

“I don’t like people who attack when their opponent’s back’s turned,” growled Moody as the ferret bounced higher and higher, squealing in pain. “Stinking, cowardly, scummy thing to do. …”

It's a long time since I read the book, but my impression was that Crouch/Moody quite respected Harry. His training of Harry was in his (somewhat warped) view the right way to make it a fair fight.


Some good points have been made in the comments, but I've just reread the relevant bit of the book and it says:

Moody had insisted on putting Harry through his paces four times in a row, until Harry could throw off the curse entirely

DavidS argues in his answer that:

The real Moody would absolutely have pushed his students to their limits, especially when Harry-freakin'-Potter showed an aptitude.

but Crouch could easily have watered down his curse and made it look like he was pushing Harry Potter while still leaving him vulnerable to the curse. The fact he deliberately trains Harry to resist the curse suggests to me that he wanted to do it, for some reasons of his own. I can't think of a reason for this other than the one I've suggested.

I'm not saying Crouch is a nice man, or an honourable one outside the confines of his own mind.

  • 23
    I think he transfigured Malfoy into a ferret because he HATES the whole family since they chickened out after Voldemort fell.
    – vap78
    Feb 11, 2016 at 9:57
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    Yeah, the real Moody might say those words and mean it, but Crouch was part of a gang that jumped a husband and wife and tortured them until they went insane. Not much honour in that.
    – DavidS
    Feb 11, 2016 at 13:58
  • 2
    Moody quite respected Harry. Crouch did not. Feb 11, 2016 at 15:02

I don't think he did. As I recall, he was putting every student under the Imperious curse. It does not say if he could have avoided it, or only chose a few examples (though it is suggested that Dumbledore was the one to make that decision).

Even if it had been his decision, he had no way of knowing that Harry could resist even partially, and little reason to refuse to target him - and both Voldie and Dumbles would be interested in his reaction. Harry was not given instructions or lessons in fighting off the curse, as I recall he partially resisted the first time, and learned to throw it off himself the next few times.

The only thing Crouch did was throw the curse at him a few times in a row. I think he told the other students what was happening, and to watch ("look at his eyes"), but I don't think he actually gave instructions in how to resist, just says "we'll try that again". He might have been doing so in character as Moody, letting him work the method of resistance out, or even as himself (as other answers suggested) respecting an enemy or indulging in a power play. But it is also quite possible that he was testing the limits of the partial resistance to report back on, and Harry managing to teach himself to resist completely was unexpected. It's even possible that Crouch might have hoped for the opposite, that being subjected to it several times in a row would wear down the resistance and make him more vulnerable.

  • I was going to add my own answer, but it seems better as a comment here; Crouch Jr might have been doing it for fun; he hated Harry for defeating Moldybutt and getting him Imperioused, so he was indulging in a small measure of revenge and humiliating Harry at the same time. May 20, 2017 at 14:56

This is only a theory, but Crouch Jr. was held under the curse for years, controlled by his father. I feel like he might have wanted to force Harry to learn how to throw it off because he wanted Harry to have a fair fight as his father never allowed him to. Not saying that this was because of any kindness he had, more likely he was "seasoning" Harry to be killed in a battle he wanted to happen in a certain way. It's also possible that he just wanted to see someone else throw off the curse as he had learnt to, he was insane after all.


I think Megha makes a point that is most plausible. Being a teacher at Hogwarts puts Crouch close to Harry, and thus puts him into a position to gather intel on Harry. Voldemort has already been stymied by Harry's unexpected resistance to an otherwise irresistible spell, and therefore he wanted to be 110% certain which spells he can use without backfiring and which he cannot.

So under the auspices of teaching Harry, Crouch tests Potter's capacity for resisting the Imperius Curse, and pushes Harry to the limit in order to find out what exactly that limit is; he then reports this to Voldemort.

And later we see Voldemort use the Imperius Curse on Harry; he was not particularly surprised that it doesn't work.

  • 3
    On the contrary, I’d argue Voldemort was surprised.
    – chirlu
    Oct 2, 2016 at 19:10

Interesting points have already been raised in the other answers, but I think the main reason why Crouch Jr did it was to gain the complete trust of Harry Potter. Voldemorts elaborate plot in the fourth book seems ridiculously complicated at times to us readers, but we should remember that, just like Dumbledore, Voldemort also has his own way of doing things, and much of his methodologies are highly influenced by his own arrogance. I dont believe Voldemort would have cared at all how good of a fighter Harry became through his training at Hogwarts(remember that he doesnt consider Harry his equal upto the end of the final battle, when its apparent to us readers that he has already lost), and consequently,neither would Crouch Jr, as he would only do what Voldemort told him to do. The whole point of the convoluted plot in the fourth book was to make sure Harry trusted the fake Moody enough to follow all his leads and ultimately touched the Triwizard cup in the centre of the maze at the end. Everything Moody did up to that point, whether good or bad, were solely for gaining Harry's trust.

  • 2
    “The whole point of the convoluted plot in the fourth book was to make sure Harry trusted the fake Moody enough to follow all his leads” — Well, yes, but mostly, that consisted of Croody conceiling the fact that he was the one helping. Harry didn’t really need to trust Moody (more than any other teacher), because Harry didn’t know that it was Moody helping him along and prodding him in the right direction. And Voldemort was a Slytherin (I don’t think we know what Crouch Jr was)—even if he didn’t see Harry as his equal, voluntarily giving him weapons to fight would very much not be his style. Feb 11, 2016 at 17:02

Sorry if I am seriously Necro'ing this thread, but I had to share this...

Going through the fourth book again recently, something occurred to me. If Dumbledore had designed or even just guided how he wanted the curriculum to play out, which I believe he did, then this makes total sense that it would be required specifically for Harry.

In the third book, the reason nobody believes Harry, Ron, and Hermione about Sirius' innocence is because Snape claimes they had no idea what they were talking about and were under the Imperius Curse. Having the three of them, (especially Harry) be shown this specifically and in-depth would add validity to his testimony in the future concerning Sirius and Wormtail. If he could definitively say that he not only knew what the Imperius Curse was, knew what it felt like, and could resist it then everything he says from that point forward concerning Sirius' innocence would carry much more weight!

It could be that Dumbledore assigned this specific part of the curriculum so Harry could one day use it to clear his godfather's name. Dumbledore was always playing chess 50 moves ahead of everyone else - it would make sense that he'd arrange this now so that in the not-too-distant future it would provide a way for Harry not only to be able to better fight the dark arts but also to reunite him with his godfather!

That's my theory at least.

  • Confundus, actually (what Snape thought Harry/Hermione/Ron was under) Dec 11, 2018 at 18:27

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