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Some people have suggested that the Dark Lord has invented the three Unforgivable curses. I don't think this is true, but there are certainly some good arguments to suggest it.

  • None of the curses were mentioned in the prequel film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which plays before the Dark Lord's time.
  • The Dark Lord and his followers have used all three in the war significantly. The killing curse even counts as the signature spell of the Dark Lord.
  • People have pointed out that singling out these three spells as “Unforgivable” seems arbitrary and possibly politically motivated. What better argument is there to ban certain spells can there be than to just choose the ones the most evil wizard ever have invented?
  • The Dark Lord was powerful, talented, and smart, which are useful for inventing new spells.
  • He has “travelled far and wide” after he graduated from Hogwarts (according to Chamber of Secrets chapter 18), and he has killed lots of people. I take this as meaning that he has gained a large amount of experience, which he could then possibly spend on researching spells.

Do we have proof that the Dark Lord has invented none of the three Unforgivable spells?

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No. DVK points out that Tales of Beedle the Bard mentions that the three curses were classified as “unforgivable” in 1717.

(So typical of JKR, always giving unbelievably early dates for every wizarding historical event.)

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    I'm curious why you think 300 years is "unbelievably" early. That's not so long ago in the grand scheme of things. – Alarion May 24 '17 at 21:20
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    @Alarion It is long ago when it comes to politically motivated terminology and the sliding scale of what crimes count as how bad. – b_jonas May 24 '17 at 21:23
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    @b_jonas - Is it? Some aspects of, say, Jewish religious law have easily been around two millennia basically unchanged. It’s just as illegal to (say) chop wood or light a fire on the Sabbath as it was in ancient Babylon. Looking at our more boring secular legal systems, a lot of people in the U.S.A. these days are quoting a definition of treason from 1789, some 228 years ago, that is still very much in force, and still regularly quoted in the (very rare) cases of treason that come up. – Adamant May 25 '17 at 2:13

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