As early as Book 4 we've seen that the Killing Curse is a beam of light that can be dodged. If it impacts a solid object, it destroys it and dissipates (presumably, the object has to be very solid and thick, e.g. a grave stone).

Now, conjuring large stones during a fight is a feat worth of Dumbledore, but what about summoning insects? It can be accomplished by a charm probably (Hermione has summoned birds to attack Ron in Book 6, and insects could be even more simple).

Moreover, we've seen that a single insect is enough to 'contain' a Killing Curse from a powerful wizard ('Moody' / Barty Crouch Jr in Book 4).

Is there evidence in canon for or against the idea that summoning (or conjuring) a large swarm of insects on the path of a Killing Curse will block it?

  • 2
    Swarms have lots of clear space through them and instinctively avoid incoming objects. This is very unlikely to be an effective defense! Maybe a swarm that was gigantic enough to actually be opaque would work, but that sounds hard to summon and might not even fit between you and your opponent.
    – user12616
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:20
  • 4
    Fact is: Hedwig blocked an Avada Kedavra curse sent at harry in the Deathly hollows. If a living shield would indeed block the killing curse, then a defense is conceivable. Engorgio would increase the size of the living creature making it serve as better cover. Imperious can be used to make the creature protect the caster or simply fly toward the green light.
    – RedOculus
    Sep 12, 2016 at 19:35
  • There is no evidence that conjured animals (and insects) are 'actually' alive, more likely they are enchanted to appear normal. This would mean a conjured animal would not work. Magic can transform objects and give the 'illusion' of being alive but be no more alive than a chatbot. Plus if an animal summoning spell would stop it, then this directly contradicts the 'unblockable' part (it would be a direct counter spell as opposed to just moving out the way/ducking behind a statue)
    – Matt
    Sep 5, 2017 at 16:48
  • @Matt On the other hand, the snake that Malfoy produced with Serpensortia in CoS was able to understand and obey instructions given to it in Parseltounge. Whether this was conjured, or a real snake summoned from elsewhere, is not made clear though. Feb 12, 2019 at 12:44

2 Answers 2


Summoned insects should block it.

It’s very likely that summoning a swarm of insects should be able to stop a Killing Curse. As mentioned in the question, the Killing Curse can be absorbed entirely by one spider.

Avada Kedavra!’ Moody roared.

There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air – instantaneously the spider rolled over onto its back, unmarked, but unmistakably dead.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14 (The Unforgivable Curses)

Summoned insects would be as alive as that spider, so there’s no reason to think that one wouldn’t absorb the Killing Curse in the same way as the spider did. Blocking with other animals should work as well, since the Killing Curse works on animals as well.

Less clear is if conjured insects can.

However, it’s not clear if conjured insects (or other animals) would be able to absorb a Killing Curse - they may not be ‘alive’ enough to. It’s not clear how much conjured animals are like actual animals. Rowling stated that conjured objects don’t tend to last. Therefore, it’s unlikely conjured animals are truly alive, so it’s not clear if they’d be alive enough at the time they’re conjured to block a Killing Curse.

Q: It seems that the wizards and witches at Hogwarts are able to conjure up many things, such as food for the feasts, chairs and sleeping bags. . .if this is so, why does the wizarding world need money? What are the limitations on the material objects you can conjure up? It seems unnecessary that the Weasleys would be in such need of money. . . (Jan Campbell)

A: Very good question (well done, Jan!!). There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't. Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last. This is a rule I set down for myself early on. I love these logical questions!
- South West News Service Interview with J.K. Rowling (July 8th, 2000)

However, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of conjured animals being able to absorb a Killing Curse either - though they’re impermanent, it’s possible that they’re ‘alive enough’ when conjured to block a Killing Curse. Also, inanimate objects can physically block a Killing Curse, and it’s not clear how large an inanimate object is required to physically block one. Therefore, it’s theoretically possible as well that a conjured animal (particularly a larger species) could provide a big enough physical barrier to block one.


The insects don’t need to be summoned. They could kept transfigured into beads kept in a pouch. Then when necessary, the beads could be taken out to be reversed into an insect and then use Engrorgio and Imperio to force the creature to defend.

There would ways around this, of course. Like any spell that uses wind, but then the fact the light side didn’t lose so long ago would make sense. And that would be only one possible measure.

  • A lot of this answer was completely unrelated to the question at hand so I have edited it out. This is a question and answer site and not a discussion forum so try and focus on answering the question only.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 10, 2020 at 9:05

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