In the Order of the Phoenix, when Bellatrix kills Sirius Black, Harry was in terror. Harry uses the spell "Crucio", thus incapacitating Bellatrix. Now, why didn't he just kill her?

I have only watched the movie and so haven't read the books yet, but I don't mind answers from the books.

  • 4
    Because Harry isn't a murderer? Even using Crucio is showing the stress he was under. Jul 19, 2017 at 18:42
  • 8
    For the unforgivable curses to work, it seems that you need to really want them to work - meaning Harry really needed to see Bellatrix dead right there. He wasn't even able to cast the Cruciatus curse properly - how would he be able to cast the Killing Curse? Jul 19, 2017 at 18:43
  • 12
    He didn't kill Voldemort, Voldemort died of his own curse backfiring. May I ask if you've read the novels? It's all clear there. Jul 19, 2017 at 18:44
  • 2
    Because Bellatrix is awesome! :P
    – Obsidia
    Jul 19, 2017 at 22:10
  • 2
    Bruh, people don't just going around killing people, especially if they're supposed to be the hero!
    – Möoz
    Jul 19, 2017 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


Harry isn't the type to actually kill someone.

Harry, king of Expelliarmus, isn't the type to kill anyone if he can avoid it. He doesn't kill. He believes in doing as little harm as possible. When Ron asks him what to do with Thorfinn Rowle and Antonin Dolohov, who were both Death Eaters convicted of serious crimes, he rejects the idea of killing them.

“What are we going to do with them?’ Ron whispered to Harry through the dark; then, even more quietly, ‘Kill them? They’d kill us. They had a good go just now.’

Hermione shuddered and took a step backwards. Harry shook his head.

‘We just need to wipe their memories,’ said Harry. ‘It’s better like that, it’ll throw them off the scent. If we killed them, it’d be obvious we were here.’

‘You’re the boss,’ said Ron, sounding profoundly relieved.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)

When Lupin suggests he use more aggressive spells, he defiantly rejects the idea, and still prefers using spells that won’t cause lasting harm.

“Harry, the time for Disarming is past! These people are trying to capture and kill you! At least Stun if you aren’t prepared to kill!’

‘We were hundreds of feet up! Stan’s not himself, and if I Stunned him and he’d fallen he’d have died the same as if I’d used Avada Kedavra!”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)

Even in his final battle with the Dark Lord, his most dangerous and most deadly enemy, he uses Expelliarmus. The only reason he even tried to use Crucio was because he was upset that Sirius died. Even so, he wasn't able to summon up enough anger to cast an effective Cruciatus Curse.

  • 1
    And yet he uses it successfully on the male Carrow in Ravenclaw tower, in the Deathly Hallows. And of course he uses Imperio on in the break-in of Gringotts. But true - he's not a killer; I don't think it's in his blood though certainly high emotion can cause people to do all sorts of things they would never do otherwise.
    – Pryftan
    Jul 19, 2017 at 22:26
  • So Harry let Bella escape and probably continue her succesful career as killer and torturer for Voldy's cause. Smart. I am happy he kept his hands clean. Of course i am also not sad Molly is a killer.
    – user68762
    Jul 19, 2017 at 22:31
  • 4
    Listen, I think she'd know guys!
    – Möoz
    Jul 19, 2017 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Pryftan no, he isnt, Harry tends to try torture ppl he is really angry at, not murder them. It's arguable which is worse, C or AK, but for the same reason Neville would probably never torture anyone so Harry won't go AK ppl. those spells took away their parents, so they won't use them.
    – user68762
    Jul 19, 2017 at 23:32
  • 2
    @Pryftan Hurting someone is a lot different than killing them, and the Imperius Curse causes no pain. I'd much prefer to have the Crucio used on me than Avada Kedavra, I'd be in pain for a bit but I'd live. Permanent death is a lot worse than one Cruciatus Curse. It's not like it was even prolonged torture, it was a short amount of unbearable pain but it would end.
    – Obsidia
    Jul 20, 2017 at 0:52

Because of what Sirius said:

I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You're not a bad person. You're a very good person, who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.

People are saying that Harry couldn’t use the killing curse because he needed to mean it, but he could have used Reducto or Diffindo with the intention to kill her. He could even look away, possibly, if he didn't have the heart to look at her while doing so. But Harry knew he would be disgracing Sirius.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.