For using the Cruciatus Curse, the caster must really feel hate towards the recipient.

Is there such a requirement for using the Imperius Curse? Is it available to only dark and powerful wizards?

  • I don't really understand what you're asking? What's preventing school students from making what a public menace?
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:44
  • 1
    @Edlothiad I think OP refers to these teachers that you can't help but hate with all your heart. If you're on a really bad day and said teacher adds up to it, you might want him to feel pain. Kind of like what Harry did to Carrow in Deathly Hallows, but more casual.
    – Jenayah
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:49
  • 4
    Perhaps because it's an unforgivable curse and using it sends you directly to Ascaban!? Its like asking: Why does not every student in real world treat his teacher with a knife / shoots them with a gun...
    – Tode
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:50
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    Well, @Jenayah, I don't think anyone hates their teachers more than Harry hates Bellatrix, especially after she just killed his uncle. You'd evidently need quite a lot of hatred, not just be whiny that your teacher gave you a C
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:52
  • 2
    In the title you talk about imperio, that is used quite casually in the bank for exemple, but in the question, you ask about crucio.
    – dna
    Jul 25, 2018 at 10:59

3 Answers 3


No, Imperio doesn’t seem to have any emotional requirements.

Harry casts Imperio twice in Gringotts, without particularly strong emotions against the victims. It’s also important to remember, these are his first and second times ever casting the Imperius Curse, so he had no practice or experience casting it. He’s fairly successful, despite that.

“Act now, act now,’ whispered Griphook in Harry’s ear, ‘the Imperius Curse!’

Harry raised the hawthorn wand beneath the Cloak, pointed it at the old goblin and whispered, for the first time in his life, ‘Imperio!’ A curious sensation shot down Harry’s arm, a feeling of tingling warmth that seemed to flow from his mind, down the sinews and veins connecting him to the wand and the curse it had just cast.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

Harry casts it without thinking one of those times. He certainly wasn’t channeling any strong emotion then, he was acting on reflex - and it worked fairly well, though it was only his second one.

“Harry acted without thinking: pointing his wand at Travers, he muttered, ‘Imperio!’ once more.

‘Oh, yes, I see,’ said Travers, looking down at Bellatrix’s wand, ‘yes, very handsome. And is it working well? I always think wands require a little breaking in, don’t you?”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

He does later think the reason his Imperio wasn’t particularly strong might be because he didn’t ‘mean it’ enough, but we don’t know if that’s true and Harry certainly isn’t an expert in the Dark Arts. There’s no other reference to needing to ‘mean’ the Imperius Curse, and Harry being able to cast it fairly successfully his second time using it suggests this probably isn’t true.

It does take a certain amount of skill, and likely a strong will.

Though it’s unclear exactly how much skill is required to cast the Imperius Curse, it presumably would take a certain amount of skill to cast it properly. In addition, casting it effectively may also involve strength of will somewhat - having a stronger will may help in casting it, since the Imperius Curse involves subverting another’s and replacing it with your own.

Imperio!’ Harry said again; his voice echoed through the stone passage as he felt again the sense of heady control that flowed from brain to wand. Bogrod submitted once more to his will, his befuddled expression changing to one of polite indifference, as Ron hurried to pick up the leather bag of metal tools.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

The exact level of magical skill required isn’t known. Though it’s considered Dark magic, casting it successfully isn’t limited to “Dark” wizards, since we know Harry casts it fairly successfully on his first try, and McGonagall casts it as well. The wizards we see casting it (the Dark Lord, Barty Crouch Jr., Barty Crouch Sr., McGonagall, Harry) all seem to be somewhat above average in skill.

  • 1
    Agreed for the emotional part, but I'd distinguish that from the willpower (rightly) mentioned above. These two examples show Travers unsuspecting of being Imperiused ("shot in the back", if you want) while IIRC all Imperio victims in GoF either knew it was coming (class) or heard the caster beforehand (Voldemort).
    – Jenayah
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:41
  • But immediately thereafter Harry notes that he might not have done it strongly enough, and remembers Bellatrix's statement about needing to mean them, which implies that it wasn't strong enough precisely because he didn't mean it enough.
    – Alex
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:44
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    @Alex wasn't strong enough for what? IIRC Travers and the goblin didn't rebel or something, did they? (Maybe the waterfall did something, but that things overrides all enchantments anyway right?)
    – Jenayah
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:47
  • @Jenayah Thanks, I think I’ll add that in! :)
    – Obsidia
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:49
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    @Alex well as Bellatrix edited into her answer, just because he says it doesn't mean it's true, as it was his first time casting it. Nobody ever really knows if they do things properly on the first try - [insert "see my mom and her new car/computer" joke here] :)
    – Jenayah
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:55

It seems likely that the same requirement exists for the Imperius Curse that exists for the Cruciatus Curse. When Harry uses the Imperius Curse for the first time in Gringotts, we see the following:

Deathly Hallows Chapter 26

“We’re in trouble; they suspect,” said Harry as the door slammed behind them and he pulled off the Invisibility Cloak. Griphook jumped down from his shoulders; neither Travers nor Bogrod showed the slightest surprise at the sudden appearance of Harry Potter in their midst. “They’re Imperiused,” he added, in response to Hermione and Ron’s confused queries about Travers and Bogrod, who were both now standing there looking blank. “I don’t think I did it strongly enough, I don’t know....”

And another memory darted through his mind, of the real Bellatrix Lestrange shrieking at him when he had first tried to use an Unforgivable Curse: “You need to mean them, Potter!”

Here Harry seems to apply the same standard to both curses.

This makes sense, as Bellatrix's statement itself referred to the Unforgivable Curses in general:

Order of the Phoenix Chapter 36

"Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?" she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. "You need to mean them, Potter!

Similarly, a comment from Snape at the end of Half-Blood Prince seems to equate all the Unforgivable Curses:

"No Unforgivable Curses from you, Potter!" he shouted over the rushing of the flames, Hagrid's yells, and the wild yelping of the trapped Fang. "You haven't got the nerve or the ability –"

  • Another argument to support this answer: in GoF Moody says that "Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it — you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed." He only mentions power, not motivation, but I think some of the students (like Harry) would be powerful enough, and the reason they wouldn't hurt him is just that they don't mean it. This would confirm that what Bellatrix said applies not only to the Cruciatus curse, but also to Avada Kedavra: why not to the Imperius curse, then? Jul 26, 2018 at 0:39

in Goblet Of Fire, when Mad Eye Moody

impersonated by Barty Crouch, Jr.

attempted to cast Imperio on Harry, Harry managed to resist the curse. Later in the same book we find out that other characters also managed to resist and even break Imperius curse.

Thus the only requirement mentioned in the books (indirectly) is the willpower of the caster. Finally, it all comes down to a willpower combat between the caster and the victim.

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