Up until recently I thought that the night Voldemort went to kill baby Harry, Lily had stepped in front of the killing curse aimed at Harry. I now realise that Voldemort cast separate curses on Lily and Harry and that it was a direct Avada Kedavra curse which Harry survived.

This made me wonder: wouldn't Harry survive every other direct killing curse made by Voldemort in the future due to Lily's sacrifice?

If this is the case then looking at it from Voldemort's point of view, how did he think he could kill Harry? If Lily's sacrifice prevented him from dying once, what changed since then? The protection still lived on in Harry so if that saved him as a baby surely it would save him during any other attempt on his life by Voldemort?

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    how did he think he could kill Harry? - I do believe that was the entire point of what he did at the end of Goblet of Fire...
    – Izkata
    May 27, 2014 at 1:04
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    You are correct in thinking that no future attempts on Harry's life would work; because we saw in multiple instances that they didn't. What you're missing is as @Izkata and DVK point out; after the events of Goblet of Fire, the [love sacrifice] protection was overcome.
    – Möoz
    May 27, 2014 at 2:52
  • Are you asking if Voldemort could kill Harry, or if he thought he could kill Harry?
    – Konerak
    May 27, 2014 at 6:37
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    I think he had same chance as anyone else. Accidents happen (tree fall, car crash, random lightning, slip in shower, ...). It's the mean of killing Harry that failed.
    – jnovacho
    May 27, 2014 at 8:29

4 Answers 4


'You know, of course, that they have called this boy my downfall?' Voldemort said softly, his red eyes upon Harry, whose scar began to burn so fiercely that he almost screamed in agony. 'You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill him. His mother died in the attempt to save him – and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen – I could not touch the boy.'

Voldemort raised one of his long white fingers, and put it very close to Harry's cheek. 'His mother left upon him the traces of her sacrifice – this is old magic, I should have remembered it, I was foolish to overlook it – but no matter. I can touch him now.'


... I wanted Harry Potter's blood. I wanted the blood of the one who had stripped me of power thirteen years ago, for the lingering protection his mother once gave him, would then reside in my veins, too –

... and most important to understand why Voldemort thought he could kill Harry:

'You see, I think, how foolish it was to suppose that this boy could ever have been stronger than me,' said Voldemort. 'But I want there to be no mistake in anybody's mind. Harry Potter escaped me by a lucky chance. And I am now going to prove my power by killing him, here and now, in front of you all, when there is no Dumbledore to help him, and no mother to die for him.

All the quotes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 "The Death Eaters"

In short, he considered the protection that Lily's sacrifice provided Harry to have been worth only a single Avada Kedavra; and nullified now that he had Harry's blood in his new body.


By taking Harry's blood to regrow himself, Voldemort bypassed Lily's protection by forcing himself within it... so that part was fixed.

Now moving on to the Elder Wand. The wand belonged to whoever rightfully defeated it's previous master, as it bows to strength.

Remember that the wand's allegiance transferred to Draco when he disarmed Dumbledore in HBP, and was then transferred to Harry when he disarmed Draco in DH. So in the final battle, when Voldemort's spell reaches Harry, the wand immediately recognizes its true master and turns on Voldemort.

This leaves the question... Why didn't it do the same thing in the forest when Harry willingly went to die?

I believe the answer lies with the fact the Voldemort had inadvertently made Harry a horcrux left a shard of his own soul within Harry. When the elder wand was used to kill Harry in the forest, it detected 2 targets, 1 being its rightful master, so it directed it's power to the other one (Voldemort's spirit shard).

Could Voldemort actually kill Harry? Sure, had he known the series of events and their consequences leading up to his demise, he probably would have done things differently.

I suspect, given all the things stacked against him, that Voldemort could not directly kill Harry with magic, but...

  • When he was a baby, if Voldemort had decided to just stab him or throw him out the window, that would have been the end.
  • If he had one of his followers 'pull the trigger' on the killing curse, I think that would have killed him just fine.
  • At any point in Harry's life, if Voldemort used non-magical means, I believe he could have easily killed Harry. However, I also think the use of non-magical means would have been perceived as being 'below' Voldemort.
  • In the forest, if Voldemort used a different wand, I think the killing curse would have worked. Or if Voldemort was the true master of the wand, or if the true master of the wand was anyone else other than Harry. And the same thing goes for the final duel.
  • if I may contradict you on 1 point. When Harry went to die, it is mentioned several times in the book that he left his wand inside his clothes - so effectively that was a simple murder and not a duel; so a) wand will not change allegiance and b) will not offer any protection This would also explain why Dumbledore wanted HP to accept his destiny rather than try to duel LV Jun 14, 2015 at 17:28
  • Terence Agius, at the time Harry went to the forest to die, the elder wands elegance was already to Harry. Jun 15, 2015 at 0:02
  • +1 for what is to me a new way of seeing the Forest killing. Entirely possible. Jul 25, 2015 at 14:37

By using Harry's blood to regenerate, he though he now shared the protection, and then perhaps thought he could circumnavigate the effects.


I am not very familiar with the stories or movies. But they depict a secret society of magic users hidden from ordinary people or "muggles". Unless you think that it is possible the world of Harry Potter is our world with wizards hidden from us every well, you will think of it as a parallel or alternate universe.

Thus it is possible while suspending disbelief in the Harry Potter stories to imagine that they are in a parallel universe where magic works. But since real world "muggle" science and technology seem to work pretty much the same in Harry Potter as in our world, perhaps magic would work in our world if someone had discovered how to work magic.

So maybe the world of Harry Potter is an alternate universe where people with wizard genes discovered how to work magic thousands of years ago, while in our alternate universe people with wizard genes died out many thousands of years ago and nobody can perform magic.

And if there are two alternate universes very probably every time something can happen or not happen a new alternate universe splits off. Thus gazillions of alternate universe might diverge every second. So for every alternate universe in which the stories began with one set of events, there would be millions and billions of resulting alternate universes, each one with an ending vastly or slightly different from every other one and from the canonical one.

Thus I suppose that Voldemort killed Harry in many alternate universes, and other people may have murdered Harry in some universes, and Harry may have died in accidents in some universes (which his friends would wrongly suspect were caused by Voldemort) and Harry may have died of various diseases in some universes, just as those kinds of fates may have happened to Voldemort in some alternate universes.

If the world of Harry Potter is not an alternate universe to ours, but some kind of parallel universe with different laws, it might possibly - repeat POSSIBLY - be that alternate universes branching off every second would also be part of the natural laws of that magical fantasy universe. After all, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics has not been proven false in our universe yet, and so it might be true in the world of Harry Potter where "muggle" science and technology seem to work the same as in our universe.

Only J.K. Rowling, the "creator god" of the Harry Potter universe, can say if alternate universes exist in Harry Potter.

But what seems certain to me is that if at the end of along and epic story of deadly conflict, the readers or audience is told that the hero was never inany danger because he was secretly protected by an unbeatable magic spell against dying, the readers or audience will be very annoyed with the author for the unnecessary suspense she created. Thus I highly doubt that J.K. Rowling did that at the end of the Harry Potter series and made the fans feel that they had been cheated and tricked into feeling suspense about Harry' fate.

Thus there should be a way, possibly very difficult, for Voldemort to break the protective spells and kill Harry, and the necessary information should be in the books for observant readers to put it together and figure out how Voldemort might have killed Harry and to show that Voldemort was trying to break any protective spells or curses that protected Harry.

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    I really don't see how your ramblings about parallel universes is at all relevant to the question being asked, but worse than that the reason I'm downvoting is because your answer is essentially "read the books and figure it out for yourself"
    – childcat15
    Jun 14, 2015 at 20:05
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    If you're not familiar with the movies or books, why would you try to answer a question requiring fairly intimate knowledge of at least one or the other franchises?
    – JohnP
    Jul 27, 2015 at 18:12

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