In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we see that it is possible to train yourself to resist the Imperius Curse. How is it that Harry, a 14 year old boy, was able to resist Barty Crouch Jr. after about an hour, but Moody, the paranoid, experienced, always prepared Auror was trapped for a whole year?

  • 12
    Harry was well-fed and healthy. Moody was half-starved, wandless, probably sleep-deprived and who-knows-what-else. And even if he did sometimes manage to overcome the Imperius and recover his self-awareness, he was still wandless and locked in a trunk. Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 23:58
  • We also know that the effectiveness of the Unforgivable Curses depends on the conviction of the caster -- I wouldn't be surprised if Crouch did the bare minimum to put Harry under the Imperius, but went all-out for Moody. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


Moody was kept in a trunk so it might not matter if he had fought it.

It seems like Moody was placed under the Imperius Curse after he was already captured using other methods.

“We journeyed to his house. Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion. We managed to subdue him just in time. Forced him into a compartment of his own magical trunk.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

Moody was kept in a trunk and tied up, so if he had moments of clarity where he fought the Imperius Curse, it wouldn't have likely helped him much. Unlike both Barty Crouches, he wasn't allowed much freedom and was kept not just confined to a house but actively tied up and locked away.

He had been Stunned as well - and captivity had also greatly weakened Moody.

When Dumbledore sees the real Moody in the trunk, he described him as being Stunned as well as Imperiused. Stupefy, the Stunning Spell, would keep Moody unconscious when it was used on him and it wasn't the type of spell that could be resisted, no matter the strength or willpower of the wizard it successfully hit. It could be used to keep Moody captive without chance of him resisting its effects.

“Stunned – controlled by the Imperius Curse – very weak,’ he said. ‘Of course, they would have needed to keep him alive. Harry, throw down the impostor’s cloak, Alastor is freezing.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

In addition, being held captive by Barty Crouch Jr. for so long had worn down Moody.

“He was looking down into a kind of pit, an underground room, and lying on the floor some ten feet below, apparently fast asleep, thin and starved in appearance, was the real Mad-Eye Moody. His wooden leg was gone, the socket which should have held the magical eye looked empty beneath its lid, and chunks of his grizzled hair were missing.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

When Harry, Barty Crouch Jr. and Barty Crouch Sr. had been placed under the Imperius Curse, none of them had been Stunned, or held captive and starved.

Also, a competent wizard being unable to resist the Imperius Curse isn't unprecedented.

Barty Crouch Jr. was kept under the Imperius Curse by his father, and while he was very closely supervised by Winky, he was kept in much better conditions than Moody had been.

“Then I had to be concealed. I had to be controlled. My father had to use a number of spells to subdue me. When I had recovered my strength, I thought only of finding my master … of returning to his service.’

‘How did your father subdue you?’ said Dumbledore.

‘The Imperius Curse,’ Crouch said. ‘I was under my father’s control. I was forced to wear an Invisibility Cloak day and night. I was always with the house-elf. She was my keeper and carer. She pitied me. She persuaded my father to give me occasional treats. Rewards for my good behaviour.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

Though it's unclear what his relative skill level is compared to Moody, Barty Crouch Jr. seemed to be a competent wizard. He could cast the Unforgivable Curses and Confund the Goblet of Fire into accepting Harry as a Triwizard Champion. However, he had been held by his father under the Imperius Curse for years before escaping at the Quidditch World Cup.

“Tell me about the Quidditch World Cup,’ said Dumbledore.

‘Winky talked my father into it,’ said Crouch, still in the same monotonous voice. ‘She spent months persuading him. I had not left the house for years. I had loved Quidditch. Let him go, she said. He will be in his Invisibility Cloak. He can watch. Let him smell fresh air for once.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

What's more, Barty Crouch Jr. was only able to actually use these moments of resistance to escape because he had the opportunity at the Quidditch World Cup.

“But Winky didn’t know that I was growing stronger. I was starting to fight my father’s Imperius Curse. There were times when I was almost myself again. There were brief periods when I seemed outside his control. It happened, there, in the Top Box. It was like waking from a deep sleep. I found myself out in public, in the middle of the match, and I saw a wand sticking out of a boy’s pocket in front of me.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)

Moody was kept in a trunk, with no way to go anywhere or fight back. If he had moments of resisting the Imperius Curse while captive, this might not really help him much since he was already rendered basically helpless.

  • In regards to Jr.'s skill, we know he received 12 O.W.L.S. ("Yes, my son has recently gained twelve O.W.L.s, most satisfactory, yes, thank you, yes, very proud indeed."), but he also spent the vast majority of his adult life either in Azkaban or under the Imperius curse. So while he probably had great potential skill, he never got the chance to hone it. And I suppose he did manage to capture Moody (with Wormtail's help) after all, which is quite the accomplishment in itself.
    – ssell
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 18:12

This question implies that Moody was under the effects of the Imperius Curse for most of a year. If that were the case, then Moody would not have been locked inside a magic trunk. If Crouch Jr. needed anything from Moody, like information, then Crouch most likely used a combination of the Imperius Curse and the Cruciatus Curse to get what he wanted. You're right, it would have been impossible to keep Moody under that curse for an entire school year, but the fact is he didn't need to.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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