Tons of people die by this spell, the premise of the books is that Harry is the one person to survive it, ever. This is explained by saying his mother loved him so much that he was shielded. I can't imagine no other wizard ever has been in the same situation. Voldemort killed many many people and the situation in the Potter house, a mother refusing to give up her son, must have been something he saw quite often.
What was so special about this situation that caused the spell to backfire, because if simply loving your son (a lot) is enough to shield him from death a lot more people should've survived. Even if wanting to sacrifice yourself for your son (like Lily) is required, that must've happened before...

I don't think the linked question's answers answer my question. I'm assuming the exact same situation as with Lily and Harry must've happened before with other people. There has to be something more that sets it apart, simply wilfully protecting someone until the end even though you can choose to step aside is not a unique situation, think about two lovers being threatened by Avada Kedavra.

Edit: I understand that it's the sacrifice that triggered the protection, not the dying. My point is that Lily responded like any mother would and that death-eaters are the types of people who like to give mothers the chance to give up on their son to stay alive.

  • I can't find any quote now or anything, but I think he was shielded because his mother sacrificed herself immediately before Voldemort cast Avada Kedavra. I would think that before he mostly killed adults that were in his way, not children. Maybe this has something to do with mothers loving their little children somewhat fiercely, and when they get older their mother kind of has to 'let go'. I'm not really saying that you can 'grade' love, but who knows maybe that is the reason. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 7:52
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    If you’re assuming that the exact same situation must have occurred before, I’d say it’s up to you to prove that. As it is, canon basically specifically says that it hadn’t, and that’s that. I see no reason why it should, either. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:30
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    Also, I think you’re missing an element here: if you have two lovers being threatened by Avada Kedavra and one of them runs in to try and save the other, that wouldn’t trigger the protection. What matters is actually being given a choice—being offered the chance to leave—and choosing rather to die without a fight. If Lily had charged at Voldemort and tried to disarm him (unarmed), there would have been no protection: she would have died fighting, rather than sacrificing herself for him. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:31
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Where does canon state that the same situation never happened? It only states that nobody ever survived the curse. And just because canon doesn't state that some wizards have bad breath, should we just assume no wizards do? Seeing as the people who cast Avada Kedavra are pretty nasty individuals with a taste for torture and malice, I'd say the chance that one threatened two people, giving one the chance to let the other die is pretty significant.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:38
  • @Kevin Well, exactly: it states that nobody ever survived the curse, which they would have, if the exact same situation had ever occurred before. Ergo, the exact same situation never occurred before. I also don't think Lily reacted the way any mother would at all. Most mothers would, I think, be taken over by their maternal instinct and lunge at the attacker in a desperate attempt to get them away from their child, which Lily did not do. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


The important part is not only to be loved by his mum. She died protecting him although she had the oppurtunity to live (by letting Voldemort kill Harry).

Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone":

Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. Love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves it's own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.

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    Yes, but that's not so special. In fact, most mothers would do the same, the exact same situation must've happened before.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 7:58
  • Apparently it hadn’t—not that anyone knew of, at least. Willingly giving up your own life to save your children from Avada Kedavra isn’t really something you’d expect to happen too often. Even in the Muggle world, though most mothers would probably sacrifice their own lives for their children’s, it’s exceedingly rare that any of them have to. And dark wizards probably didn’t generally try to kill others with their mothers standing by and giving them the chance to sacrifice themselves. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:25
  • Specifically: a mother's willing sacrifice can protect against Avada Kedavra.
    – user32390
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 8:38
  • It's not enough to be willing to sacrifice yourself, you actually have to do it. Presumably if Lily had simply been elsewhere this would not have happened. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 15:50

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