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This question already has an answer here:

Three unforgivable curses are as follows:

1. Killing Curse

2. Imperius Curse

3. Cruciatus Curse

I just wanted to know if what are the standards of classifying a curse as unforgivable.

marked as duplicate by Ward, Adamant harry-potter Jan 20 '17 at 16:44

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    For the downvoters: can you please make it a habit to leave a message of the reasons you downvoted posts? (Because it seems nonsense that you downvote someone's post without a tip or advice) Especially to us whose reputations are not yet that high. – Invoker Jan 20 '17 at 14:45
  • Murder, torture and body-capture are pretty bad. What other spells would merit being on the list? – The Dark Lord Jan 20 '17 at 14:53
  • I don't know, really. But I am sure that there are certain spells or curses that are bad enough – Invoker Jan 20 '17 at 14:56
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    It says that the standard has been defined by a certain decree in 1717 to fit 3 specific curses, which is the same thing as the accepted answer here is saying. – Gallifreyan Jan 20 '17 at 15:21
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    @TGar - fine, we can dupe-hammer the other way around. Closing as duplicates isn't actually closing, it's simply linking two questions, so that further questions about this with different wording don't pop up. – Gallifreyan Jan 20 '17 at 15:31
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Those aren't just three known Unforgivable Curses; they are by definition the three Unforgivable Curses. If you like, the standards for classifying a curse as unforgivable are "to be one of those three".

From when they're first introduced in the series, in HP and the Goblet of Fire:

"Now ... those three curses – Avada Kedavra, Imperius and Cruciatus – are known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban. That’s what you’re up against. That’s what I’ve got to teach you to fight."

And according to Tales of Beedle the Bard:

The Cruciatus, Imperius and Avada Kedavra Curses were first classified as Unforgivable in 1717, with the strictest penalties attached to their use.

  • I don't get the point 'to be one of those three' – Invoker Jan 20 '17 at 14:44
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    @BookStriker The point is, you're putting the cart before the horse. I don't think "Unforgivable Curse" has some well-defined criteria which those three spells happen to satisfy; it's that those three spells were classified under a special law, and the simple name for them is "Unforgivable Curse". – Rand al'Thor Jan 20 '17 at 14:51
  • Oh sorry if I misunderstood it. I get it now. So the point is the unforgivable curse are well defined as the three curses only and that term is made to classify those three dark magics? – Invoker Jan 20 '17 at 14:55
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    @BookStriker Yes. I don't think it has any deeper meaning than that. – Rand al'Thor Jan 20 '17 at 14:57
  • Well, I think this answers my question. Thanks – Invoker Jan 20 '17 at 14:58
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If the question is really 'why those three, and not others', then I think the (unspoken) within-canon answer may be that those three curses uniquely imperil the soul - both for the victim and for the caster. For the victim: (1) Flings the soul out of the world altogether, (2) Damages the soul by overriding free will, and (3) Damages the soul though unbearable pain [e.g witness the insanity of the Longbottoms]. For the caster, effective use of the curses requires the taking of pleasure in evil acts: (1) Murder, (2) Domination, and (3) Torture.

  • Well-reasoned. I like it! – Gallifreyan Jan 20 '17 at 16:23

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