We know Avada Kedavra affects a person's metaphysical soul. It rips the spellcaster's soul apart.

Are there other curses that can affect one's soul, say the other unforgivable curses? Is Avada Kedavra the only curse that affect the caster's soul?

  • harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Horcrux-making_spell
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 0:10
  • @Valorum that seems to work after the soul has separated and encloses it into an object. It doesnt seem to affect the actual soul any more than storing a candy in a box.
    – TheAsh
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 0:45
  • 5
    My understanding is that it's isn't the spell that rips the soul apart, it's murder. Any murder, spell or otherwise. Avada Kedavra does it by killing a person, not by being a special soul-ripping spell type.
    – Misha R
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 5:19
  • Related, possible dupe? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/240670
    – fez
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 6:52

1 Answer 1


Casting the spell Avada Kedavra is not, in itself, what rips the soul in the world of Harry Potter. What does that is murder. See: Is murder a necessity to detach your soul? Logically, therefore, any spell that was used to murder someone could have the same effect.

Dumbledore even suggests that it might not damage Snape's soul to use Avada Kedavra to kill Dumbledore according to his plan. Presumably, Dumbledore thinks this because he thinks that it would not morally constitute murder:

“That boy’s soul is not yet so damaged,” said Dumbledore. “I would not have it ripped apart on my account.” “And my soul, Dumbledore? Mine?” “You alone know whether it will harm your soul to help an old man avoid pain and humiliation”

(see Did Albus Dumbledore ask Severus Snape to kill him?)

Per the answers to the first question, there doesn't seem to be an known alternative to murder as a means of splitting the soul, but after it is damaged, the Horcrux-making spell is what separates an already-torn soul piece and encases it in some external object.

And on the other hand, remorse can repair the soul:

“Remorse,” said Hermione. “You’ve got to really feel what you’ve done. There’s a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you. I can’t see Voldemort attempting it somehow, can you?”

The wizardingworld.com article What is the story behind each of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes? indicates that each horcrux contained a soul fragment that was split by a single specific murder that Voldemort had carried out relatively recently prior to the horcrux's creation. Several of these murders were not performed by means of Avada Kedavra. E.g. the article states that the diary horcrux was created after Riddle's soul was split by murdering Myrtle, who died from seeing a basilisk, not from Riddle casting Avada Kedavra on her.

  • 3
    "I'm not sure the following is ever established in the text of the 7 main Harry Potter books" Half-Blood Prince establishes it through Dumbledore in the 'Horcruxes' chapter. "He seems to have reserved the process of making Horcruxes for particularly significant deaths. ... After an interval of some years, however, he used Nagini to kill an old Muggle man, and it might then have occurred to him to turn her into his last Horcrux."
    – Au101
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 12:04
  • 1
    The quote "You alone know whether it will harm your soul" is very telling. Dumbledore isn't saying it won't rip Snape's soul, he's saying that it might not. Dumbledore may think it isn't murder to spare him from pain and humiliation, but what actually matters is whether Snape thinks of it as murder. Euthanizing a person may be seen as either murder or mercy, and that affects the result. This means that even murder might not damage the soul, as long as the murderer believes (correctly or mistakenly) that the reasons for it were righteous.
    – Misha R
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 13:08

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.