We know that the Imperius curse works against non-human animals as well as humans, so it should work on transfigured humans. A werewolf could probably be considered a transfigured human so it should work on them.

If so, why not use the Imperius curse to keep them in check?

Is it just because using the Imperius curse on a human can earn you a life sentence in Azkaban? Isn’t it still better than killing somebody? If both, the possible victim and the werewolf, for example, someone like Lupin) is willing to the idea, is the only reason stopping an arrangement like this from happening is a legal technicality?

In Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin would never have been hired without Dumbledore, so Dumbledore was already willing to take risks. If Dumbledore would do it himself without bringing in the authorities no one would even know about it. We also know that it is possible for a powerful enough wizard to cast an Imperius curse on someone then just leave them alone to go about their daily life, in such a way that they will till be subservient to the caster. Why wouldn't Dumbledore do something like this with Lupin (just for the duration of his transformation, since Lupin would probably consent to it as well)?

We know that forgetting to drink the potion didn't turn out well for Lupin. If an arrangement like this had been made since the beginning, they would never have had to worry about not being able to drink the potion. Also it might be easier to keep the werewolves in the wild in check this way, which is still better than killing them (if imperious curse on a werewolf is illegal because it is technically being done on a human being, then killing a werewolf should also be illegal since it technically still a human being.

So why isn't this done with werewolves?

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    Simple of mind probably does not matter much, because Moody (fake Moody) demonstrates it on a spider
    – user13267
    Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 12:03
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    Don't fantasy-werewolves often have total or at least increased magical resistance? I don't think we know definitively about HP, but if that wasn't true, even letting alone something potentially controversial as the imperious why not just put a sleep spell on the werewolves / make them drink a sleep potion and let them just sleep the night off? or stun them. Or put a full body bind on them. That nobody seems to be trying that and Sirius didn't try that on Lupin in PoA - does make magical resistance seem really likely explanation (whether intended by JKR or not).
    – Shisa
    Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 15:17
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    The basic issue here is that JKR's world is extremely poorly built, rife with these sort of inconsistencies. Whereas real authors (such as Tolken) build their worlds first, leaning on one or more college degrees to generate beleivable languages, governments, and technology, Harry Potter was built ad-hoc to facilitate the books' plot. Any consistency is little better than coincidence. Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 18:14
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    @MacCooper In addition to what Valorum points out about suicide legalities it was a lot more complicated than jail: www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14374296 And although I'm uncertain I want to say in some places (US? I wouldn't be surprised but I'm not claiming it either) the penalty of attempted suicide was execution. Ridiculous as that is I'm sure they believed it was reasonable though how I do not know (same for any other punishment). But as you'll see family was also punished and their body was also defiled.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 21:35
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    @AJMansfield Technically Tolkien created his world (and races) for the languages he invented. He also noted that maps were a prerequisite to creating his stories. And you're forgetting - or are unaware - that Tolkien's world was changed drastically when Sauron manipulated the Númenóreans to attack the Undying Lands. Eru Ilúvatar did this as well as bringing Gandalf back as well as making Gollum trip and fall into the fire. Meanwhile in HP you can't truly bring someone back from the dead. Your comparison is unfair even without all the mythology he also created.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Likely Explanation: No. Because Werewolves Are Immune to normal Magic

1. Potions that could help werewolves are a recent invention

In the second half of the twentieth century, several potions were devised to soften the effects of lycanthropy. The most successful was the Wolfsbane Potion ... a relatively recent discovery that allows werewolves to remain safe during the full moon.

Wolfsbane in the real world is a very toxic plant that was often used to kill wolves (hence the name); in HP it's a magical plant that's best known as an important ingredient of the Wolfbane Potion, which makes it a likely assumption that the ability to affect werewolves is one of its magical properties.

It also mentions that all these are very recent inventions. Werewolves have been around for centuries - and most of them have been adult Witches and Wizards when bitten.

If simple non-specialized potions could affect Werewolves the same way they do humans, it is hard to believe that the only option in front of generations of werewolves was to barricade themselves best as they could - instead of brewing a Sleeping Potion for themselves when they were human, and taking it just before Full Moon hit.

But they don't do it. Why? Maybe because normal potions don't affect werewolves in their transformed state?

2. Neither potions nor spells could help Remus as a child

Lyall did all he could to find a cure, but neither potions nor spells could help his son....

... While Remus was small, his containment during his transformation was not difficult; a locked room and plenty of silencing spells usually sufficed. However, as he grew, so did his wolfish self, and by the time he was ten years old, he was capable of pounding down doors and smashing windows. Ever more powerful spells were needed to contain him and both Hope and Lyall grew thin with worry and fear.

Now the first sentence could mean that nothing would cure Remus permanently, but it seems unlikely, that parents as protective of Remus, as the Lupins became, would only be willing to find an all-or-nothing solution. So the implication that potions and spells had no effect on Remus's 'problem' aka 'wolfing' out, seems a much more likely reading of the sentence.

Lyall, a competent wizard, could surely brew a decent Sleeping Potion himself, or know where to get some if he couldn't, or cast a Sleeping Spell - but apparently potions and spells don't help.

The second paragraph is also revealing: The only thing that could help was keeping Remus locked up, and the spells used were only those that helped in containment, and even those spells needed to be ever more powerful as Remus grew.

This seems to be implying not just a resistance to direct magic, but possibly also an ability to 'break through' magical bonds / shields. Since the bonds and barriers are themselves magical in nature, being able to break them via pure brute strength seems a bit odd - so the possibility of an 'ability' to overcome/'break' magic becomes implicit.

All this falls neatly into the pop cultural expectation of extreme resilience to anything but the most specialized weapons that Werewolves enjoy in large swathes of fiction, which makes this unconscious assumption, not very far-fetched. Even if it's fairly likely that this is something that JKR just didn't think about, there is enough evidence in the canon to put together this theory, and none to contradict it, as far as I am aware.

  • I suspect that the Killing Curse could kill a werewolf, but that isn't helpful here.
    – Demi
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 4:48
  • I like your reasoning. I see lycanthropy as a curse in the blood that cannot be lifted or changed (any more than a person's blood type can be changed for example) but merely contained: and containment doesn't mean preventing the transformation (here containment breaks the other analogy of course but I wasn't using it for the whole thing). It's arguable perhaps that Bill Weasley - after the attack by Greyback - could be forced to not eat raw meat but that wouldn't change his liking to it because that's in his blood too (which might sound odd since liking of raw meat is taste).
    – Pryftan
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 22:00

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