Inspired from How could a memory (Tom Riddle) have performed Avada Kedavra?, is Avada Kedavra the only way to kill a wizard in a one-on-one duel?

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    I have a theory that it is the only surefire way of doing it (save Dumbledore cramming a statue in the way). Incendio could set a wizard on fire, but they or someone else could instantly douse it with augementi. Imperius could influence a wizard to kill himself in a duel but that spell can be resisted. You can lift a wizard way high and drop him, but they can use magic to slow their fall. Basically, I think, Avada Kedavra cannot be reversed, so is a very good way of doing it, but there are other ways, incl spells above and eg manipulating surroundings such as charming a boulder to land on them – Mac Cooper May 5 '14 at 15:46
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    Bellatrix Lestrange might disagree. – Xantec May 5 '14 at 15:46
  • @Mac Cooper Well, disapparate (flee) before Avada Kedavra..... – Tom Lynd May 5 '14 at 15:48
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    Are you specifically referring to magical means? Personally, I'm with Vlad Taltos on this one: “No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style.” – Clockwork-Muse May 6 '14 at 1:04
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    @rlb.usa I've a feeling it was just in the films -- eccentric and liked to experiment. I'll see if I can find reference in the book now – Mac Cooper May 7 '14 at 15:31

Based on what we've seen in the books, no, Avada Kedavra is not the only way to kill a wizard (or for that matter a witch or muggle).

There are spells that directly cause death: Sectumsempra, for instance. There are also spells that can be used to cause death, though that is not the primary use: Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa (lift a guy and drop him). There are charms that can influence the surroundings to cause death: lifting a boulder and dropping it on somebody's head will do some damage. And finally, the Imperius Curse can influence someone else to bring about their own death (or used to make a third party murder someone).

However, these spells can be rectified. A skilled wizard, when caught on fire, can likely put themselves out. Snape reverses Sectumsempra and the Imperius Curse can be fought.

It seems, therefore, that Avada Kedavra is almost a surefire way. I say almost because Harry survived (special case, I know) and Dumbledore blocked the spell once -- with this, though, it wasn't a one on one and based on the description Harry gives when the curse is used on him it does not appear there is time to react. Indeed, it seems Avada Kedevra is inescapable on a one-to-one duel unless you're Harry potter.

To summarise: No, it's not the only way, but is the least possible to negate the effect.

EDIT: As Xantec pointed out, Molly's curse against Bellatrix was an instant kill, meaning Avada Kedavra is not the only spell that cannot be repelled or in some way negated, assuming, as he said, Molly wouldn't use that spell: it's not in character, plus the spell wasn't identified and if it was the familiar flash of Green Light it's likely it would have been named. This means there are instant-kill spells that aren't Unforgivable: the Ministry should get to work, me thinks.

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    Well, we also know that Fiendfyre can kill and it doesn't seem to have any other purpose. It can also destroy powerful magical artifacts (see the Ravenclaw Diadem horcrux). Though it can be controlled, it is very difficult to do so and can quickly become uncontrollable and even consume the caster. – ssell May 5 '14 at 16:18
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    Can you give us canon examples of Sectumsempra, Incendio, and Wingardium Leviosa having caused death? I'm not talking theoretical death. I'm talking actual deaths in the books due to those spells. – Slytherincess May 5 '14 at 17:26
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    Off the top of my head, there are three instances of Fiendfyre being used: (1) Cast by Voldemort against Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic in OotP (Movie only?); (2) Cast by Dumbledore to clear away the Inferi in HBP (Book and Movie?); (3) Cast by Crabbe to disastrous effect in the Room of Requirement in DH (Book and Movie). In the (1) Dumbledore successfully defends against it; (2) Dumbledore creates a path through it; (3) Harry & Co escape via broomsticks. – ssell May 5 '14 at 17:35
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    @Slytherincess, no, but just because Rowling didn't explicitly say it doesn't mean we should ignore what's clear. Rules have been set down: Incendio burns things, and people burn. Sectumsempra rips someone's chest open -- let's be honest, if it weren't for Snape, Draco would be dead. We haven't seen any wizard burn to death -- that doesn't mean they're fireproof. If a boulder falls on my head it's gonna do damage whether it was charmed or not (to be fair we see W. L can do damage due to the troll in HP1). We cannot ignore what's clear just because there's no precedent of incendio killing – Mac Cooper May 5 '14 at 20:33
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    “Molly wouldn’t use that spell: it’s not in character.” citation need – Adamant Mar 14 '17 at 6:15

Well, I figure being hit straight in the chest with a blasting curse or Dolohov's Purple fire wouldn't be so good for your life span. There must be dozens of lethal curses we never heard about in the canon. No need for sectum sempra; a simple Diffindo at the throat would be deadly:

"D-diffindo, " she said, pointing her wand at Ron, who roared in pain as she slashed open the knee of his jeans, leaving a deep cut.

A spell violent enough could crush your skull, or stop your heart. AK is simply the fastest and most efficient way to kill with magic. As fanfiction writers like to call it, there must be the whole branch of "Battle Transfiguration" spells to conjure knives, arrows, and suchlike.


Diffindo, if aimed at the heart or head, could kill a wizard/witch, but can be reversed (possibly) by Vulnera Sanentur, as can Sectumsempra. Petrificus Totalus could kill somebody (causing them to fall from a great height). But, remember, Avada Kedavra didn't kill Harry Potter, because it was blocked by the simplest charm, love. So The Killing Curse doesn't always kill people...

  • Welcome to the site, thanks for your first post! Do you have any evidence you could edit in that diffindo could kill, a quote from JKR perhaps, or one of the (companion) books? – Au101 Mar 13 '17 at 19:24
  • Hermione hit Ron accidentally with Diffindo in Deathly Hallows and it just gave him a cut to the knee. – The Dark Lord Mar 13 '17 at 20:02
  • @TheDarkLord, if aimed at the heart or head, I mean he's covered that basis well enough. – Edlothiad Mar 14 '17 at 9:25
  • @Edlothiad. Sure, if you hit a major artery or something the person could bleed to death. You'd have to discapacitate them somehow, though. Cuts and scrapes seem pretty easy to heal with dittany in HP. – The Dark Lord Mar 14 '17 at 9:44
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    Saying that Killing Curse doesn't not always kill people is the same as saying that 'not having sex' sometime fails as a contraception, because Jesus. – dna Oct 19 '17 at 11:40

What about Confringo, the Blasting Curse? It can blow up things and humans as Harry uses it on the Death Eaters by blasting Nagini, and then it is deflected onto the Death Eaters and it blows up things like that.


I assume it is not the only way, i could imagine a spell like sectumsempra could also be fatal depending on where it landed. But it certainly is the most direct method. being that magic is flexible i would bet based on the creativity of a Torquemada-esk evil wizard there would be many ways to kill another wizard in a duel.


Doesn't seem like anyone has even mentioned the most insane spell of them all, "reducto" you can basically turn someone into dust... which is btw the spell Molly used on Bellatrix.

  • Are we sure of that? Just watched the scene again and all spells were non-verbal. – Jenayah Sep 25 '18 at 22:29
  • It appears this spell can only be used on objects, not people. harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Reductor_Curse – DrSheldon Sep 25 '18 at 23:36
  • That can't have been the spell Molly used on Bellatrix because Bellatrix didn't turn into dust. She (IIRC) suffered cardiac arrest. – F1Krazy Sep 26 '18 at 5:42

Is Avada Kedavra the only way to kill a wizard in a one-on-one duel?


  • Shoot him in the chest with a gun.
  • Stun him then slit his throat.
  • Stun him then Wingardium-Leviosa him to a height and then let go. (Hedwig)
  • Just stun him and do anything else. :P
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    Sure. There are other lethal curses, though. – Adamant Mar 14 '17 at 6:16

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