I am asking this question based on Harry's actions in the 6th book and beyond.

His first target was Malfoy, he saw devastating effects that this spell can cause. At that point, the book led me to believe that Harry could've as well sworn to never use that spell again.

However, he used it on Inferi, and tried to use it on Snape. I can't recall if there were any other instances of Harry using it.

Which led me to believe that Harry came to like this spell somewhat. Maybe not for everyday use, more of a dark horse to keep in a pocket if the need ever rises.

Harry's signature was Expelliarmus, so I am curious if my assumption was correct: Did Harry ever hold high regard to Sectumsempra as any sort of trump card? (Partially to avoid using Unforgivables)

I'm asking because this is what I was led to believe after finishing the books. I simply want to know whether this is likely to be right or wrong. (I like unraveling psychology of characters from books.)

  • 4
    I don't think this is provable one way or the other, thus my close vote as primarily opinion based. As it is the most damaging spell we've ever seen Harry cast, it makes sense he would try it against the undead (because how would Avada Kedavra re-kill something? Better to try and rip them to shreds). As for trying it on Snape - the book does say that at the moment Harry cast it against Snape, Harry hated Snape as much as he hated Voldemort.
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 21:30
  • 7
    You know, the thing about being an impulsive youth is that you end up saying the first thing that comes into your mind. Harry cast the Sectumsempra spell because it was the first 'bad' spell he could think of that wouldn't immediately kill the opponent.
    – Möoz
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 21:46
  • 9
    In regards to Snape, Harry tried five different spells before falling back to Sectumsempra. He had gone through his entire repertoire of offensive spells and fell all the way back to Levicorpus. If he "liked" the spell he would have used it well before he ran out.
    – Kevin Fee
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 21:53
  • 4
    @VadzimSavenok I would like also note that two of those spell attempts against Snape were Crucio, but Snape said, "No Unforgivable Curses from you, Potter! You haven't got the nerve or the ability ---". So he hadn't sworn off that curse, either.
    – Kevin Fee
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 22:00
  • 4
    This has a canon answer and should not be closed as primarily opinion based.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


Knowing his character, it's likely he didn't grow to 'like' it.

Although occasionally Harry has attempted to use "worse" spells, Harry's general style of dueling and fighting tends to be nonlethal and causing minimal harm like Stupefy or Expelliarmus, including against opponents like Death Eaters and the Dark Lord himself. Even at the height of the wizarding war, when Harry understands how serious the situation is and is at his most mature during the series, he still largely avoided using any spells that actually cause harm.

“Hagrid swerved, but the Death Eaters were keeping up with the bike; more curses shot after them, and Harry had to sink low into the sidecar to avoid them. Wriggling round, he cried, ‘Stupefy!’ and a red bolt of light shot from his own wand, cleaving a gap between the four pursuing Death Eaters as they scattered to avoid it.” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)

Expelliarmus is considered Harry's signature spell since he often uses it in battle, so much so that Lupin warns him, and he's discovered by the Death Eaters when he used it despite that warning.

“I saw Stan Shunpike … you know, the bloke who was the conductor on the Knight Bus? And I tried to Disarm him instead of – well, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, does he? He must be Imperiused!’

Lupin looked aghast. ‘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!” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)

Lupin is shocked at Harry's insistence on using nonharmful spells.

“Yes, Harry,’ said Lupin with painful restraint, ‘and a great number of Death Eaters witnessed that happening! Forgive me, but it was a very unusual move then, under imminent threat of death. Repeating it tonight in front of Death Eaters who either witnessed or heard about the first occasion was close to suicidal!” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)

However, Harry remains strongly morally opposed to using harmful spells, as says so when Lupin suggests the time for them is past.

“I won’t blast people out of my way just because they’re there,’ said Harry. ‘That’s Voldemort’s job.” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)

Each time he goes up against the Dark Lord, his go-to spell is Expelliarmus, which simply removes the opponent's wand from their hand.

After using it on Snape, that was the last time we saw him use it - though he used both Crucio and Imperio.

Once he finds out Snape invented Sectumsempra, Harry never attempted to use it again throughout the series. That may be because he associated it with Snape from then on, who he hated for killing Dumbledore.

After the series, he may have used it out of necessity, but it's unlikely he'd ever grow to like it.

It's entirely possible that, especially after his opinion of Snape changed, he may have used the spell out of necessity, like he did with Crucio and Imperio. However, he would almost certainly never grow to like it since he's shown a clear moral objection to any spell that does harm. In addition, Sectumsempra, when used against a person, can cause more lasting damage to them than either Crucio and Imperio, unless the specific countercurse is used. So, Harry might consider it worse to use Sectumsempra, especially as almost no one knows the countercurse.

  • He didn't strictly need to use Crucio. He used the Imperius Curse out of a clear necessity (coercing the goblin to go along with them robbing Gringott's), but he uses (or attempts to use) the Cruciatus Curse only in revenge (e.g. after Bellatrix killed Sirius Black). Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 16:10
  • You've got to mean it Harry. You know the spell. She killed him, she deserves it. Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 17:01
  • @EJS Well, I certainly don't think she deserved it! :P
    – Obsidia
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 17:05
  • You disagree with Voldemort? (At this point, the correct answer is "You dare to speak his name? You filthy half-blood!" or something to that effect :).) Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 17:06
  • 1
    @EJS You dare speak the Dark Lord's name?! You stand there... you dare... Filthy half-blood!!
    – Obsidia
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 17:27

I'm not sure that we have to assume that he necessarily liked the spell.

The Inferi and the time that he tried to use it on Snape were unique circumstances.

With the Inferi, he panicked and was desperately trying every spell he could think of because he forgot that he needed to conjure fire.

In terms of Snape, he had just seen Snape kill Dumbledore. At that point, he was willing to do whatever foul curse came to mind in revenge.

Keep in mind that Harry had also attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange in revenge for killing Sirius (even though doing so could've resulted in a life prison sentence at that point) and on a Amycus Carrow in revenge for spitting in McGonagall's face (which was technically legal at that point, but still...) - he didn't do that because he had any great love for the Cruciatus Curse, but rather because he was sufficiently enraged at the person to apply it.

  • 1
    Also Harry using Sectumsempra gives a dramatic way to reveal Snaps as the HBP... "You dare use my own spells against me!"
    – Skooba
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 16:05

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