In The Deathly Hallows Hermione says this about destroying Horcruxes:

“It doesn’t have to be a basilisk fang,” said Hermione patiently. “It has to be something so destructive that the Horcrux can’t repair itself. Basilisk venom only has one antidote, and it’s incredibly rare—"

"That’s a problem we’re going to have to solve though, because ripping, smashing, or crushing a Horcrux won’t do the trick. You’ve got to put it beyond magical repair.

Mad-Eye Moody from The Goblet of Fire tells us this about Avada Kedavra,

...there's no countercurse. There's no blocking it.

but also that,

Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it - you could all get your wands out now and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed.

Harry is also seen once attempting to use Crucio on Bellatrix Lestrange in The Order of the Phoenix out of anger at the death of Sirius, but he fails. She tells him,

"You need to mean [Unforgivable Curses], Potter! You need to really want to cause pain - to enjoy it - righteous anger won't hurt me for long - I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson -"

Even if Harry and company are not powerful enough to perform the curse themselves, they know several powerful wizards (Kingsley, Lupin, et al.) who could likely perform the curse.

Lastly we know that Voldemort himself destroyed the last bit of his soul that was inside Harry with Avada Kedavra.

Could the Horcruxes be destroyed with Avada Kedavra as well?

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    Funny... But the same thought occurred to me. I think the soul in the horcrux could be AK'd, but it would take some other magic to break through the protections on the container that held the soul.
    – TGnat
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 13:58
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    Unrelated, but I think saying "So perhaps Harry and company are not powerful enough to perform the curse themselves" is incorrect - it's not a matter of power so much as a matter of intent. Harry couldn't kill (I honestly thought he used Cruciatus, not Avada Kedavra, but I'm probably misremembering) Bellatrix because he didn't truly have it in him to kill somebody, not because he wasn't a powerful enough wizard. Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 14:01
  • @AnthonyGrist You're right it was Crucio not Avada Kedavra. Also you're right I think in the fact that they should be powerful enough, I really put that in there to dissuade people from answering with "Harry and company were not powerful enough to use the Unforgivable Curses". I edited to reflect that. Thanks :)
    – NominSim
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 14:09
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    Well, AK removes life, and based on various things people have said (Dumbledore, Hagrid even: "don't know if there was enough human left in him to die"), a Horcrux is something lesser and meaner than a life, so couldn't really be affected. Just my guess, since the world of HP magic does seem to rely on such subtle differences. Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 23:25
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    Poorest question I have ever seen. AK kills only living things... That's also without doing any physical damage.
    – user931
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 9:34

8 Answers 8


Per se, they couldn't. At least most of them. Avada Kedavra kills. Horcruxes are the opposite of a human being, so foremost they can't be killed as that's a rather obvious fact about humans. BUT the container can be destroyed and if the container is a living thing, say, a snake or Harry, Avada Kedavra would destroy the container beyond magical repair as AK can neither be blocked, countered or even undone.

So AK doesn't destroy all Horcruxes, just those with a living container.

Edit, further thought: It would be interesting if AK's rushing noise can still be heard if the spell doesn't connect with a living being. I think I only ever read about the noise when the spell actually killed something. That would indicate that spells work differently when used for ... auxiliary purposes. If they do work differently in such cases AK cannot be considered be assumed as harmful when used on something like a horcrux.

At any rate, the curse cannot kill just the piece of enclosed soul. The container has to be destroyed.

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    This makes the assumption that AK doesn't affect anything that can't be killed, but I believe canon proves otherwise.
    – NominSim
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 3:16
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    I'm not sure. I thought missing spells that shatter things on impact was only in the movies. Even though, this would be magic discharging and evaorating into some kind of non magic (!) energy, especially not having the cast spells effect. For instance, you wouldn't be able to stun or torture a brick wall. Consequently even when canon proves spells can affect other subjects than they were intended to it is the far greater assuption that their specific characterisics (no blocking, no counter, no undoing) hold for the magic discharging when not killing. Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 17:37
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    During Dumbledore and Voldemort's duel, AK glanced off one bronze statue without affecting it, and completely destroyed another, so even in that chapter canon contradicts itself.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 15:20
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    Yes, but I'd rather not think of it as contradiction but as proof that performing magic is more than just releasing some kind of energy when thinking or speaking a phrase and waving some object to channel that energy through. :-) This allows for two same spells have slightly different side effects and even characteristics ... like a ping pong ball can have a spin and bounce off in different directions even though one is always hitting it with a paddle. Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 18:23
  • Well, AK leaves the soul intact (it can move on freely), it just separates it from the body (which is how I choose to interpret the rushing sound - the forced departure of the soul from the body). So it does the precise opposite of what you need to destroy a horcrux.
    – orion
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 9:59

Yes the Horcrux can be destroyed, as is evidenced by Voldemort destroying the piece inside of Harry Potter towards the end of Deathly Hallows.

As for why Harry never did it, I suspect he would have had to practice the curse considerably more than he had to make it work. This seems like something Harry would not want to do. There was only one Horcrux that he had for any length of time, and it seems to not have occurred to him, so...

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    More to the point, it's not an option Harry would generally take. Not because there's some good reason, but because he intends to be a good-guy hero, if he has to be the hero at all.
    – rsegal
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 14:55
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    Harry was not a "real" Horcrux. So it's a good databpoint but not an ironclad proof for real Horcruxes Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 15:04
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    In addition to what @DVK said, "it was easier to use the items he had available to destroy them" seems wrong. For much of the book they keep the locket around because they have nothing to destroy it with. After they do destroy it they end up losing the sword they destroyed it with, and only by chance are in Hogwarts close to the supply of Basilisk fangs. It seems like it would have been easier to as soon as they got the locket, AK it to pieces.
    – NominSim
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 15:10
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    I think you are pretty close here. He would have to practice the spell. To practice he would have to kill things which professor Slughorn says does damage to your soul. There is no point in doing in voldermort if you are just going to replace him as the bad guy... well unless that is your goal. So even if it were technically an option this would not be an option for Harry.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 18:56
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    Also, we have no idea how exactly magic works in such a situation - remember Goblet of Fire where AK and (as Hermione would say) Expelliarmious met and such random things happened. Magic just doesn't behave the way it should when Harry's around. Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 23:27

You need to destroy the vessel irreparably. Avada Kedavra just sets things aflame if they're not alive. I guess Basilisk Venom and FiendFyre are potent enough that their effect on things cannot be reversed completely.

Only in the case where the Horcrux is in another living organism would Avada Kedavra work, since a dead body is, well, irreparable.


I believe that Avada Kedavra can destroy a torn soul; however, it is a very case sensitive scenario applying only on Harry and Voldemort. And actually, in Harry's case, it is even reversable spell, since it causes serious damage to the piece of Voldemort's soul inside Harry while Harry can decide whether he wants come back to life. I'm refering to the piece of soul as seriously damaged on purpose, because the creature that represents it at Kings Cross is not dead -it is just harmless. If it "dies" later is unknown. As to Voldemort and why he couldn't have been revived after being hit by his own reflected AK spell (again - reflected since being used under a specific circumstances): Voldemort was "de facto" a horcrux himself - a body that carried only a piece of torn soul inside it. Unlike Harry, he didn't have an untouched soul that stands for the most powerful magic. Eventually, it seems that Voldemort was very unsuccessful with the use of the AK spell against Harry; and this was because of himself consciously accepting Harry as his deadly arch enemy.


No it can't, Horcruxes, as we know, can only be destroyed by very powerfull magic. And even though AK is not an easy spell to perform, it also isn't powerfull magic, as almost every wizard with a bit of experience can do it. Why Voldemort could kill the Horcrux within Harry? Because Harry wasn't a standard Horcrux. To make a Horcrux you have to do other spells to protect it from things like AK or any other dangerous thing that could destroy it (J.K. Rowling said that in an interview, but i can't find it now - Future Pottermore content I imagine). Voldemort didn't made those spells in Harry. Harry was a "raw" Horcrux, just him and the bit of Voldemort's soul. So yes Harry was the only of the 7 Horcruxes that could be destroyed by Avada Kedavra. And i believe that if any other thing killed harry before the war, the horcrux would also be destroyed.

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    -1 Sorry but this is wrong, the quote from my question: "Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it" directly refutes your statement that AK "isn't powerful magic".
    – NominSim
    Commented May 18, 2013 at 20:18

Why did Dumbledore say that Voldemort had to be the one who cast the AK curse on Harry (in the forest)? Perhaps it is because only the creator of a horcrux can kill the part of their soul via AK. Just a thought.

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    Do you have anything in any book or supplemental material to back up this idea?
    – phantom42
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 2:58
  • Voldemort had to do it because of the blood protection. Remember Dumbeldore's gleam of triumph when Harry stated Voldemort used Harry's blood for his resurrection? He effectively extended Harry's blood protection (unknowingly because Voldemort doesn't understand such things) through himself. Harry's blood (and thus also Lily's) was there. Harry, who selflessly sacrificed himself for everyone, much the way his mother did for him, rendered Voldemort's powers ineffective on those fighting at Hogwarts.
    – user17674
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 6:45

In my opinion, no. The fragments of soul living in Horcruxes depends on the body it is attached to. Avada Kedavra, from what I've seen, destroys the soul. Thus the Horcrux would not be destroyed, it would be a piece of soul flitting around with no owner. In Voldemort's case, it might retreat to Albania. Avada Kedavra would--and did--destroy the piece of Voldemort's soul in Harry because it latched onto his soul, not his body. For example, if you used Avada Kedavra on Nagini, the snake would die but the soul would not. The corpse of Nagini would still be a Horcrux. If you used it on the locket or one of the other ones, it is shown that it would burst into flame, and the ashes--or lump of molten metal--would be a Horcrux.


I would say they can't be created by Avada Kedavra, since that's what they're basically created from. You make a horcrux by killing someone, and tearing apart your soul. Since Voldemort was a wizard, he used Avada Kedavra to kill people, so I doubt the same curse could kill what it created :) Also, a horcrux is just an object with a bit of a soul in it, it's not a living person. Avada Kedavra is used to kill people

  • I think this answer is reasonable in essence, but you got to revise it as to make clear what you mean.
    – 11684
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 15:08

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