I have read the books a while ago and reading some questions here I have seen two mentions:

  • Avada Kedavra is not an easy spell, it requires some bit of powerful magic.
  • Moody (Barty Crouch Jr.) says in his lesson that every student in class could point a wand at him and cast the spell, and it would possibly only give him a nose bleed.

Was Draco skillful enough to successfully kill Dumbledore (a way more powerful wizard) using Avada Kedavra if he tried?

I know Snape's spell worked because he was way more experienced than a kid that hadn't finish Hogwarts yet.

3 Answers 3


Skill yes, Intent probably not.

While it takes a fair bit of magical prowess, by the end of year 6 we can be reasonably sure Malfoy is skilled enough that he could have killed Dumbledore.

Malfoy was shown to be similarly skilled as Harry when it came to curses and jinxes during their multiple engagements, while Crabbe and Goyle are shown to be complete lack-wits possessing little to no skill. Yet just the next year they are shown to be able to cast Avada Kedavra easily.

Crabbe wheeled round and screamed, ‘Avada Kedavra!’ again. Ron leapt out of sight to avoid the jet of green light. The wandless Malfoy cowered behind a three-legged wardrobe as Hermione charged towards them, hitting Goyle with a Stunning Spell as she came.

Malfoy also was shown to be able to handle the imperius curse earlier that year which is part of the trio of unforgivable curses.

Another note is that intent is most likely required, as it is for Crucio and imperius.

And another memory darted through his mind, of the real Bellatrix Lestrange shrieking at him when he had first tried to use an Unforgivable Curse: ‘You need to mean them, Potter!’

As we saw in the book, in the end Malfoy did not kill Dumbledore because he didn't really want to, despite being pressured by the other Death Eaters and knowing his own life was at stake should he fail.

‘We’ve got a problem, Snape,’ said the lumpy Amycus, whose eyes and wand were fixed alike upon Dumbledore, ‘the boy doesn’t seem able –’

TLDR; Malfoy's most likely able to cast a working killing curse in general. At the scene on the tower, Malfoy's Curse may or may not have worked due to his extreme hesitation and apparent lack of desire to kill Dumbledore.

  • 2
    How about the motivation? He wasn't motivated enough to kill Dumbledore. (I forgot to mention that in the question). Harry's Crucio didn't work well on Bellatrix because he wasn't motivated enough. She said he needed to mean it.
    – Phiter
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 12:31
  • 2
    @OrangeDog crucio and imperius both require intent, so avada kedavra "Probably" does as well. and intent is shown to strengthen other spells as well. summoning, stunning, disarming, all seem to have varying degrees of potency increased or decreased by intent.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 12:43
  • 5
    I would add that Dumbledore was very weak at the time as well, both from his long-term curse from the ring and from his temporary weakness after drinking the potion protecting the Horcrux. I can't imagine it would have taken anything more than a stiff breeze to end him in that state, never mind a killing curse. Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 16:12
  • 2
    Eh, I'm not sure if Dumbledore's state has much bearing on it, mainly because I don't think he was weak enough to be bested by a student. If I recall, he had just apparited both himself and Harry back to the school, right? He then immobilized Harry so he couldn't interfere with the events about to take place. I think the biggest factor with Dumbledore in this "battle" is more of his willingness to let it play out, knowing it will ultimately result in Draco unable to pull the trigger, so to speak, and Snape fulfilling his promise.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 17:42
  • 6
    @Ellesedil Harry performed the apparation that took them out of the cave and into Hogsmead, not Dumbledore. Dumbledore was too weak at that point to do it himself. And no one apparated back into the school (Seriously, aren't you EVER going to read "Hogwarts, a History"? :-P). They flew on Madam Rosmerta's brooms.
    – Paul L
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 20:47

Draco was a 16 year old, with an education at the finest school of magic in history, so he had to have been able to do the curse. Dumbledore wanted to die, and was weakened from the potion and the ring, but he didn't want to die from Draco. He needed Snape to kill him though, and Draco was much too scared to, so he could have, but didn't want to.

  • 2
    No, yes, no, yes, no. Is it a yes or a no, I got a little lost reading your answer, maybe you could edit and use bullet points to make it a little clearer
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:12

This isn't really a simple answer and while Himarm's answer is a good one, it's not really adequate for the response in my opinion. Yes, anyone can kill anyone with the killing curse, but that's also true when it comes to guns, or cars. Basically, the answer, at it's simplest form is "Yes."

But it's not really a simple question. There are a lot of factors. For instance:

Could Malfoy kill Dumbledore with Avada Kedavra...if Dumbledore were aware   
of him and didn't want to die?

Answer: Not a chance.

Could Malfoy kill Dumbledore with Avada Dedavra...from behind?

Answer: Depends on how lucky he was. Probably no, maybe yes.

Could Malfoy kill Dumbledore with Avada Dedavra...if he didn't really want to?

Answer: Absolutely not.

etc. etc. 

Basically, my point is that it's not really that simple. I don't think even Voldemort could have killed Dumbledore with Avada Kedavra. Evidence? He didn't even try in their confrontation. An argument could be made that he didn't really want to kill Dumbledore at that time, but that argument would be wrong. Especially if you've read the books instead of seen the movies. Voldemort tried very hard to kill Dumbledore at that time, but didn't even bother with the killing curse.

  • 3
    Voldemort did try to use Avada Kedavra during the battle at the ministry in OoTP. At least twice IIRC, first was blocked by the statue and second by Fawkes.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 13:43
  • Not anyone can kill with a killing curse. A gun won't require any skill. If you can point and pull the trigger, the person is dead (or at least with a new hole somewhere). But the killing curse... no. Not anyone can cast it. 1st years could never kill with it. They lack the required skill, as said by Moody.
    – Phiter
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 13:44
  • And yeah Voldy tried killing Dumbledore with AK during the battle of the ministery of magic.
    – Phiter
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 13:46
  • Those were meant for Harry iirc. I KNOW the one that killed Fawkes was meant for Harry. If the other one wasn't then I apologize for remembering incorrectly.
    – todd.pund
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 13:46

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