It seems that the only officially known way to instantly kill someone with a curse was "Avada Kedavra".

So, (spoilers):

considering that was definitely NOT what Molly Weasley used to kill Bellatrix Lestrange at the end of Battle for Hogwarts, how did she kill Bellatrix?

  • 3
    Bare in mind that the Ministry has authorized Aurors to use unforgivable curses in the past, so it's not exactly a "definite" that the Weasley's wouldn't use Avada Kedavra against a Death Eater.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 12, 2011 at 23:12
  • 11
    I personally don't think it matters which spell Mrs. Weasley used, just that Bellatrix died a very tragic death. You can think whatever you want about which spell killed her but it's not going to change the fact that she's gone.
    – user4686
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 3:08
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    Why do you say that AK was "definitely not" what she used? Where is this certainty coming from? Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 14:18
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    How do you know it was definitely not Avada Kadavra? Leaving aside the Mother's Love angle which is a good enough excuse for Mollys actions, they are also literally at war. Throwing bullets seems pretty unforgivable during peace time, yet we seem to throw those aroung willy nilly during war.
    – user20155
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 1:28
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    @DVK Where do you get the notion that you have to hate, IIRC all we know from Bellatrix' talking about Cruciatus in the Minstry and FakeMoody during class is that you have to mean them. And Molly means to stop/kill Bella. Cruciatus is probably a bit different, because as Bella says "rightous anger" won't do it, you have to have joy in causing the pain, but Snape AK'ed Dumbledore without hating him, he just meant´to kill the man. That being said, you make an excellent point of Bella not having her life snuffed out instantly, so most likely not AK.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:33

17 Answers 17


From the wikia page,

This battle ended in the death of Bellatrix, who continued laughing derisively at the efforts of her opponent until the moment she realised Molly had defeated her.

Hence, it can be clearly inferred that Bellatrix treated Molly as a weak opponent and her overconfidence led her to death. On the other hand, Molly was highly angered as Bellatrix was torturing Ginny at that moment and the motherly love gave her the courage to face a death eater.

I can see only psychological reasons behind Bellatrix's death as it was difficult to overpower her when she was in a sane state of mind.

An extract from the wiki page:

... fires a curse that hits Bellatrix right over the heart, killing her.

Though the exact curse used is unknown, I believe she used a legal curse(such as the Stunning curse) and the placement directly over the heart is what killed Bella.

If you remember back to OotP, someone (perhaps Madam Pomfrey) remarks that it was a wonder that McGonagall did not die from so many Stunning spells. So, perhaps it is possible for one to die from a well placed Stupefy or some other type of Stunning Spell, and this is what I believe happens here.

  • 22
    I always assumed that other curses could easily kill. Reducto seems one of the more obvious ones, making me think Avada Kadavra was all show and no use.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 22:41
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    I can easily imagine "stunning" someone's heart killing that person (as it would cause the heart to stop beating).
    – user2952
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 18:14
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    I'd like to point out the Motherly Love idea. It might be possible that a simple non-lethal-yet-injurious curse could be heightened into a lethal one by that Motherly Love in the same way that Lily's Protetction is so strong and so potent.
    – gelolopez
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 1:46
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    @Pureferret It's stated several times that there's no way to counter AK other than through sacrificial love. Presumably that means that other spells can be countered, making AK superior in this respect.
    – Rag
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 22:53
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    "the motherly love gave her the courage to face a death eater." - this is a massive misrepresentation of Molly's character. The books have always implied that she's a very powerful and fierce witch, but never shows it as she prefers to live as a housewife. The idea that she would be afraid to take on a Death Eater until her children were threatened does her a massive disservice.
    – DavidS
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:38

I believe that the only way to kill someone so that they cannot be revived or cured is with Avada Kedavra. It also has no counter-curse, so you cannot deflect it.

However, without immediate medical attention, there are plenty of other things that would kill wizards or witches. You could cut their throats (Sectumsempra), throw stuff at them that breaks bones, poison them, etc. A skilled mediwitch or mediwizard could cure them if they got treatment in time, but they're not going to be getting that treatment during the middle of a battle.

There are probably also spells that have counters to nullify them -- but that would require someone to cast that nullifying spell.

  • 7
    And according to the Harry Potter wiki, in the film she did cast Avada Kedavra. (harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Molly_Weasley#Battle_of_Hogwarts)
    – Martha F.
    Commented Jun 12, 2011 at 19:54
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    can you substanciate the film specific info (Wikia doesn't actually have any info to confirm their statement). If you can, please provide that as an answer, it's a great one! Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:51
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    as far as your answer, both the book and the movie IIRC show that the killing was instantaneous and didn't involve a wound. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:54
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    @MarthaF.: The wiki doesn't (currently) say that. Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 7:25
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    This does not seem to address the question of which spell was used here.
    – user1786
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 15:45

Avada Kedavra is a sure way of killing someone, and illegal, but is hardly the only way someone can be killed using a spell.

There are a few examples of this over the series:

  • When Filch's cat is assumed dead in Book 2, Lockhart names some obscure spell (the *Transmogrifian Torture) as the one to have killed her.

  • When McGonagall is attacked by Aurors in Book 5, Hermione says that she was hit straight in the chest and she's not young, showing how even a stunner may cause damage.

Avada Kedavra is highly illegal because -

  • It's meant only to kill.
  • It has no counter.
  • 3
    Well, it has one counter... Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 4:00
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    Lockhart could very well have been making it up...
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 11:42
  • @HorusKol-I trust Hermoine to know whether there's actually only one way to kill somebody. Snape, McGonangall and Dumlberdore were there as well.
    – apoorv020
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:48

The book doesn't specify what spell was used. I see no reason to rule out Avada Kedavra though. The curse killed Bellatrix almost instantly which implies Avada Kedavra. The book also notes that

Jets of light flew from both wands, the floor around the witches' feet became hot and cracked; both women were fighting to kill. (emphasis added)

Molly was outraged that Bellatrix was attacking her daughter; everybody was under the impression Harry was just murdered (he hadn't made his reappearance yet). Could it have been something other than Avada Kedavra? Of course - but I see no reason to rule it out especially given the circumstances.


The answer does lie in the fact that death by the brute force of other spells must have done the job. In the movie, it seems Molly hit Bellatrix with a Petrificus Totalus (body binder) rendering her absolutely and totally vulnerable and the force of a general explosive spell like bombarda or reducto gave her the works.

  • It looked different than that; the spell seemed to pull Bellatrix' insides together into a unified point in space, almost like Molly opened a black hole inside of Bellatrix' stomach.
    – TylerH
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:48

In the book, the author did not specify the curse used. However, in the film, if you'll take a close look at Molly Weasley's wand (watch a clip of it on youtube), the light coming from it is green, which means, Avada Kedavra is being cast nonverbally, and the reason for Bellatrix's body to tear into pieces might be reducto, which is being casted nonverbally.


Molly DID use Avada Kedavra

This question was just answered by Pottermore today:

There’s no dearth of magical talent among the Weasley brood, but Molly and Ginny each have impressive and specific magical skills. Molly’s, of course, tie in with her own personal preferences – so she’s not only marvellous at the magical assembly of feasts fit to feed five hundred, she’s also a dab hand at the killing curse if there’s a witch-gone-wrong in need of offing.

Avada Kedavra is the only spell referred to as "the killing curse"

‘Ah,’ said Moody, another slight smile twisting his lop-sided mouth. ‘Yes, the last and worst. Avada Kedavra ... the killing curse.’

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    That's a good find. "How was this character killed without Avada Kedavra?" - Well, it was Avada Kedavra.
    – Voronwé
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:13
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    The Pottermore article says Molly was good at using the killing curse - so what? It doesn't prove in any way that she used it on Bellatrix. On the contrary, Harry's thoughts at that moment ("Bellatrix laughed, the same exhilarated laugh her cousin Sirius had given as he toppled backwards through the veil, and suddenly Harry knew what was going to happen before it did.") imply she was killed by a stunning curse (red jet of light), and not by a killing curse. Besides, it's a frequently brought up point here that those posts aren't written by J. K. Rowling unless noted otherwise. Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:24
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    @Gallifreyan That's possible, but I'm not convinced of that implication. I had always interpreted it to mean Harry knew she was going to be killed. The Pottermore article also even more heavily implies that Molly's expertise at the killing curse was used on Bellatrix, the only "witch-gone-wrong in need of offing" that Molly is shown to encounter.
    – Bishop
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:43
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    Anything posted here is possible to some extent, but the fact that something is written on Pottermore doesn't make it canon (they had their goofs before). As far as I'm concerned, it's just one interpretation, and not word of god (and not in line with Molly's character). Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:52
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    +1 to @Gallifreyan - unless an article says "by J.K. Rowling" on Pottermore, it's second-tier canon at best, a bit better than a wiki but not much imo
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 21:13

Molly used Petrificus Totalus, the body binder spell, hence the fact Bellatrix was frozen, then she used a strong exploding spell, probably Reducto or Diffindo, whch destroyed Bellatrix.


I believe that Molly used some sort of body binding curse, but it could have been a curse of her own creation, or simply a spell she did not even know and cast out of anger, the spell that made her explode was most definitely reducto and not diffindo. But the correct answer has not been stated by the author, so we shall never know for sure.


From what I saw in the movie, it seems that Molly hit Bellatrix with Petrificus Totalus, and then finished her off with Reducto.


Since when is a movie a reliable source? Apparently Molly used Duro to make Bellatrix solid, then used Reducto to break her into pieces. In the book, Molly struck Bellatrix in the chest using a lethal curse. Kind of a big difference isn't it. I believe Molly's curse was a well placed stupefy (exactly like Bellatrix's spell which killed Sirius, or the aurors' spell which nearly killed McGonagall)

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    Bellatrix's spell didn't kill Sirius. Falling through the Veil did. Also, my question was about the book, not a movie :) Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 12:28
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    @DVK I think Dan mentioned movie vs book as a complaint against the other answers that were using the movie as a source. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 14:17

At this point, the Ministry was under Voldemort's control and the Cruciatus Curse, the Imperius Curse, and Avada Kedavra were all legal! So it may as well have been a killing curse.


In the movie, Molly probably used some kind of very strong mummification or drying spell, and by that time bellatrix was already probably dead, but she wanted to be 100% sure she was dead so she then cast reducto to smash her to pieces. I don't think she used petrificus totalus as that is a very basic spell students learn at first year. If there was risk of someone turning into stone and then die by, let's say, falling from the stairs and breaking in halves, i don't think it would've been taught at such a young age. I remember Ron having to use some kind of drying spell to stop the rain at the ministery's office.Also, Molly may have learned the mummification curse during their trip to Egypt, or the drying spell from her usual housework as i think it would be pretty useful.


Molly Weasley most like used Stupefy or Petrificus Totalus to make Bellatrix Lestrange freeze, then shot her over the heart with Reducto or Diffindo, I think it was Reducto. She was angry at her for almost hitting Ginny with Avada Kedavra. After she killed her she gave a grin. HAHA Bellatrix, you got yours.

  • 1
    Accurate so far as the movie is concerned, but the question is focused primarily on the book. The movie isn't always accurate so far as curses are concerned--witness how Harry and the others cast nonverbal spelled in HBP, when, according to the book, they hadn't yet learned to cast spells nonverbally.
    – E. J.
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 20:19

In one of the movies you hear about molly's recent trip to Egypt where she learned a "mummification spell". So that must have been what she used. But if you pay close attention she was already dying. You could see her stomach and arms pressing into her body as if she were becoming a skeleton. If she used the Avada Kedavra curse she would've fallen on the ground and died instantly instead of standing there and you could hear her wheeze.

When Molly Weasley killed her she wouldn't have used the Avada Kedavra spell. When Bellatrix exploded, Mrs. Weasley probably did use an exploding spell like reducto. But nothing is for sure.


Simple: Bellatrix was killed by her own killing curse that she sent toward Molly Weasley. There are lots of examples of curses "rebounding" in the books, often as a result of a counter-spell. Example, Harry kills Voldemort when Voldemort's killing curse rebounds off of the Elder wand & Harry's simultaneous disarming curse.

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    Adava Kedavra can't be countered or blocked. There was much deeper magic at hand between Harry and Voldemort. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 15:26
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    But what if Molly Weasley was using the same "love for your children" that worked to Harry's protection?
    – aVeRTRAC
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 19:21
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    She would have had to sacrifice herself for that to work. As I recall Molly Weasley is still alive ;P Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 19:38

Maybe just strong feelings can create spells. Maybe anger or hatred just made this happen to Bellatrix. When Molly used the odd liquid sucking spell on Bellatrix she probably thought that Bellatrix was dead, came to her senses and used Reducto. In the end she probably used a well aimed offensive spell.

  • 1
    This needs a little more canon support Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:56
  • 1
    @DVX: I find your lack of faith disturbing. Commented May 5, 2014 at 17:07

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