Although the Unbreakable Vow spell is done voluntarily, it is possible that it results in one's death.

Based on that - is the spell legal in the magical world? Consciously endangering one's life is considered a crime no matter whether the person agreed with it or not.

For example if you make a bet with someone, that he/she can dodge an arrow that you fire, you will sill be charged at least with attempted murder (or actual murder).

  • 7
    My Lord, is that...legal?
    – Adamant
    Oct 24, 2016 at 8:49
  • 2
    The Ministry of Magic allow a lot of things that are deadly. Oct 24, 2016 at 8:51
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    Most likely that the triwizard tournament cup uses some kind of unbreakable vow. we dont know exactly what it does if someone opts out, but probably something nasty - and is perfectly legal, not only in the UK but also in the continent. The only condition to participate is being 'of age' that is 17+ old.
    – user68762
    Oct 24, 2016 at 10:53
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    @Neeshka risk taken under certain laws or in contract with the State is a different thing. Soldiers going to war know that there is a risk to be killed. But ad-hoc contracts between two people where one of them might die is usually illegal (at least in western cultures).
    – vap78
    Oct 24, 2016 at 11:03
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    @vap78 still, if the MoM uses such a binding contract for entretaintment purposes on seventeen year olds it means they have much less qualms about it than OP. Also, there is Forge playing Unbreakable Vow with Ron. Children often imitate adults, so it is possible they even saw or heard about such a spell conducted. i think the UVow is neat as it makes lawyers obsolete. if someone drops dead after making one that means he violated his contract and that's it.
    – user68762
    Oct 24, 2016 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


No Official Canon Answer, But Probably (even if they are uncommon)

Wizards and Witches seem to be more cavalier with the ideas of 'personal safety' and 'lives' than Muggles (see: Love Potions being legal, despite the fact that Muggles would consider them... uh, certainly not granting 'consent'). An Unbreakable Vow seems pretty impossible to actually force someone to do- i.e. if someone knowingly makes an Unbreakable Vow then breaks it, it's entirely their fault.

Obviously I imagine (but there is no evidence) that tricking someone into making an Unbreakable Vow that you know is impossible to complete will probably still constitute murder, just as the act of casting Stupefy isn't illegal, but you can still kill someone with it if you hit them off a broom or something (as stated by Harry).

It's entirely possible that the Vow won't even work if the task is actually impossible to complete.

That said it's entirely possible it's not a thing ordinary wizards just do. Clearly marriages would be a lot more stable if the wedding vows were Unbreakable, for instance ("I will never cheat on you because if I did I would literally drop dead.").

So why waste time legislating it? If someone wants to risk their life it's their business. If you don't want to make the Vow, just don't make it.

  • 1
    This is a good answer, +1. The one thing I'm not sure about is "but you can still kill someone with it if you hit them off a broom or something (as stated by Harry)" -- I don't recall Harry ever saying this in canon? Although that is my only quibble with this part of your answer, the point you make is obviously a good one
    – Au101
    Oct 24, 2016 at 16:24
  • @Au101 Harry said that as he explained why he used Expeliarmus instead of Stupify in the Battle of the Seven Potters.
    – vap78
    Oct 24, 2016 at 16:28
  • @vap78 Oh yes! Now I see where you were going with that - good spot, I was imagining some more academic conversation about the dangers of Stupefy
    – Au101
    Oct 24, 2016 at 16:35
  • I accept the answer as the main point is "no canon answer". However common law considers even indirect participation in someone's death as a crime and it is unlikely that the magical law is very different.
    – vap78
    Oct 27, 2016 at 11:28
  • Re "what happens if the vow can't be fulfilled" - this is now a separate question.
    – Kevin
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:25

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