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Why don’t Death Eaters always use Avada Kedavra?

If Lord Voldemort and his henchmen (Death Eaters) can so easily conjure up the Avada Kadevra curse? Why doesn't he just kill all the good wizards, knowing that they cannot conjure up this same curse and rally everyone to his side?

I know this is possibly a question that would interfere with the fact that if this should happen, the Harry Potter series would not exist because Harry was one wizard whom survived the curse, but why not use the killing curse to hold the wizarding world hostage and have them all turn on Harry to where Harry is the last wizard standing?

  • That question is specifically around Battle of Hogwarts and answer there isn't answer to this question. That's why I have nominated this question for re-opening.
    – user931
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 23:59
  • Although the answers to the other question are specific to a certain event, they are still relevant in general. If you asked why didn't V just kill everyone in the MoM Foyer? the same answers would be given.
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 5:44
  • Also, Voldemort did use Avada Kedavra like almost every single time he met an enemy! and he did hold the world hostage with his threats, but people's belief in Harry and ultimately the cause against Voldemort overpowered the threats...
    – Möoz
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 21:52
  • Mooz: Coming back to this, due to someone bumping it; however, it still would not make sense. Unless every person was like Harry, Voldemort could have gotten away with killing other wizards, if they did not join him. Do not tell me they all had the same protection that Harry had, which only allowed him to get the scar from it. Additionally, it would not just be him, doing the killing. La Strang seems like she is evil enough to help Voldemort do his bidding and all the other death eaters. They could easily kill every good wizard that went against them due to just using that same curse. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


"Good" wizards can use Avada Kedavra just as the Death Eaters do. Avada Kedavra is not a curse or spell that has to do with anyone's internal "goodness," as is, conversely, the Patronus Charm. Mad-Eye Moody teaches Harry's year about the Unforgivable Curses in Goblet of Fire:

‘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 nose-bleed. But that doesn’t matter. I’m not here to teach you how to do it.'

Goblet of Fire - page 192 - Bloomsbury - chapter 14, The Unforgivable Curses

Moody doesn't say that the curse needs a powerful bit of dark magic behind it, but rather just magic.

The reason Voldemort doesn't use Avada Kedavra to eradicate the "good" wizards is that, with training and the internal will to perform the curse, any witch or wizard can perform Avada Kedavra.

Case in point: Snape killed Dumbledore using Avada Kedavra, and Snape was firmly on the good guys' side. While we don't know for sure, it's possible Dumbledore may have killed his own sister Arianna during his boyhood duel with Grindelwald, and it's further possible the curse he used to do it may have been Avada Kedavra.

‘The argument became a fight. Grindelwald lost control. That which I had always sensed in him, though I pretended not to, now sprang into terrible being. And Ariana ... after all my mother’s care and caution ... lay dead upon the floor.’


'You see, I never knew which of us, in that last, horrific fight, had actually cast the curse that killed my sister. You may call me cowardly: you would be right. Harry, I dreaded beyond all things the knowledge that it had been I who brought about her death, not merely through my arrogance and stupidity, but that I actually struck the blow that snuffed out her life.'

Deathly Hallows - pages 574-575 - Bloomsbury - chapter 35, King's Cross

  • "Avada Kedavra is not a curse or spell that has to do with anyone's internal "goodness,"...are you sure? There definitely is evidence that Cruccio requires the conscious desire to cause pain, and Mad-Barty-Eye-Crouch-Moody-Jr didn't specify that either.
    – NominSim
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 20:11
  • Conscious desire to cause pain does not mean a good wizard can't experience those feelings. Think Harry in the atrium in the Ministry of Magic trying to perform Crucio on Bellatrix Lestrange after she killed Sirius. Also, in Deathly Hallows, not only do both Ron and Harry perform the Imperius Curse in Gringotts, but Harry successfully casts Cruciatus on one of the Carrows in the Ravenclaw common room after whichever Carrow it was spit in McGonagall's face. Harry's hardly a bad guy. Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 20:19
  • 1
    You're right of course, I was a little unclear in my comment. What I meant was that it seems from your answer that you're indicating that Avada Kedavra doesn't require the conscious desire to kill someone, but by its very nature it does require that. So when the OP says that "good wizards cannot" use the curse he is in error, but it isn't too far fetched to assume that some, or even most of the "good" wizards would choose not to use it. Also just nit picking here but you don't have to be a "good" guy to cast a Patronus do you? Umbridge certainly wasn't a "good" girl.
    – NominSim
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 20:26
  • @NominSim - the canon says so IIRC. Barty Crouch authorized the use of Unspeakables for all Aurors during First Wizarding War. A.K. included, as far as I could tell. Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 21:36
  • @DVK Not sure what you are referring to, I misspoke in the first comment and tried to clarify in my second comment. I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that some if not most "good" wizards would choose not to use the Unforgivable curses (Dumbledore certainly would choose not to). I was just making a point of clarification that the OP wasn't entirely off base by saying they "cannot", more likely they just "would not". Aurors are a different story, they are trained to fight, the normal everyday "good" wizard/witch would be less inclined to kill people IMO.
    – NominSim
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 21:42

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