Is the same type of magic being invoked when a basilisk kills its victim by its stare and a wizard kills his victim with avada kedavra? We know that avada kedavra does not leave any mark and the victims of the curse look perfectly fine other than the fact that they're dead.

The only description of murder-by-basilisk-stare we know of happens in book two when Myrtle describes what happened to her when she saw the two eyes. The description does not convey a great detail of what really happened, but from what I can make of it, it does not seem like this leaves any kind of mark on the body left behind, and possibly a basilisk stare victim also looks perfectly fine other than the fact that he's dead. Further, we know from book two that the petrified victims also did not have any other signs of damage on their bodies, other than the fact that they were petrified. In this regard the basilisk stare seems to be more subtle, as in book 4 the avada kedavra victims (Riddle family) are at least described to have a look of abject terror on their faces, as if they had been scared to death, but this might also be because Voldemort scared them somehow before performing the curse on them.

So the question is, other than the mode of operation of the two (basilisk stare requires two way line of sight visual contact while the avada kedavra victim need just be touched by the curse) is the basilisk stare and Avada Kedavra fundamentally same? Is there any information in canon to support or reject this?

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    Avada Kedavra leaves no mark. A basilisk stare leaves the person petrified, suffering from extreme rigor in a way that's instantly detectable.
    – Valorum
    Jul 29, 2015 at 12:21
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    @Richard An indirect stare leaves the person Petrified. Do we know in any way whether the only person mentioned in the series to actually take a full-on basilisk stare and die from it (Myrtle) showed any signs of Petrification or not, apart from her statement that her body “sort of seized up”? As far as I can recall, the only time we ever see her physical body is in the movie, where an arm is hanging over the edge of the bier they're carrying her out of the castle on. Aug 2, 2015 at 0:13
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    I find it incredibly coincidental that four different characters happened to look at the basilisk indirectly, while no one actually looked directly at it.
    – Nick B.
    Aug 2, 2015 at 4:17

2 Answers 2


They are not the same. There is one major difference:

  1. The killing curse -> Green Light

A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: “Avada Kedavra!”

A blast of green light blazed through Harry’s eyelids, and he heard something heavy fall to the ground beside him; the pain in his scar reached such a pitch that he retched, and then it diminished; terrified of what he was about to see, he opened his stinging eyes.

Cedric was lying spread-eagled on the ground beside him. He was dead.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32, Flesh, Blood, and Bone

Harry fighting Voldemort:

Voldemort was ready. As Harry shouted, “Expelliarmus!” Voldemort cried, “Avada Kedavra!”

A jet of green light issued from Voldemorts wand just as a jet of red light blasted from Harry’s - they met in midair - and suddenly Harry’s wand was vibrating as though an electric charge were surging through it; his hand seized up around it; he couldn’t have released it if he’d wanted to - and a narrow beam of light connected the two wands, neither red nor green, but bright, deep gold. Harry, following the beam with his astonished gaze, saw that Voldemort’s long white fingers too were gripping a wand that was shaking and vibrating.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32, Flesh, Blood, and Bone

  1. Basilisk -> People just die

Myrtle swelled importantly, her face shining. “I died.”

“How?” said Harry.

“No idea,” said Myrtle in hushed tones. “I just remember seeing a pair of great, big, yellow eyes. My whole body sort of seized up, and then I was floating away...” She looked dreamily at Harry.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16, The Chamber of Secrets

  • A blast of green light blazed through Harry’s eyelids Its not Cedric's eyelids, The Big yellow eyes is reference given by Myrtle who died by facing Basilisk. So you can't say that Avada Kedavra causes green light. You can say that if a person who died due to the killing curse describes it.
    – axelonet
    Aug 1, 2015 at 12:32
  • Updated the answer for you. There are many more instances where Harry sees green light. One of them is the famous fight in the grave yard in Goblet of fire.
    – Vishvesh
    Aug 2, 2015 at 0:00
  • Even in the second instance which you explained, Harry saw the Green light when Lily is being cursed or probably himself, we can't conform that it's his own experience with the killing curse.
    – axelonet
    Aug 2, 2015 at 2:03
  • No it was from when Voldemort tried to kill Harry. Harry does not remember his mother's death till the Prisoner of Azkaban.
    – Vishvesh
    Aug 2, 2015 at 4:18
  • I hope this update will solve your confusion regarding green light.
    – Vishvesh
    Aug 2, 2015 at 4:20

Basilisk stare causes instant death same as The killing curse, but it has more chances for a person to escape.

A person who indirectly sees into the fifty feet yellow eyed basilisk gets just petrified instead of killing, they can be treated by mandrakes.

Although classified as an XXXXX creature, meaning it is a known wizard-killer that cannot be domesticated due to its immense powers, because the Basilisk is still a serpent, a Parselmouth may place a Basilisk under his or her control.

A killing curse can only be escaped by following ways:

  1. Survivability:

    Sacrificial Protection: The most effective method of surviving the Killing Curse is through Sacrificial Protection. The sacrifice of one's life for another, a manifestation of the powerful magic of love

    Horcruxes: Another defence employed against the Killing Curse is the creation of at least one Horcrux.

  2. Blocking the Curse:

    Priori Incantatem: The Priori Incantatem effect is when two wands that share the same cores are put into battle against each other. One wand will then force the other wand to repeat its previously-cast spells. Because of this, an Avada Kedavra Curse can be blocked if a wand that shares the killer's wand's core fires a spell at it: both spells will connect and thus the wizard has been spared by the Killing Curse.

    Phoenixes: Phoenixes are semi-protected from the Killing Curse, due to them being immortal. In 1996, Fawkes swallowed one intended for Albus Dumbledore, causing him to burst into flame and die instantly. However, he then was reborn from his ashes

    Stunning Spell: The spell can be directly countered using a Stunning Spell, in which case red and green jets of light will meet and create multi-coloured sparks. Since neither spell is able to reach its intended target, neither will have any effect, as the jets of light basically explode on each other. However, this is particularly tricky, as it requires both jets of light to collide with one another. It is unknown whether this is limited to the Stunning Spell or if it is possible to reflect the Curse with other spells, although during Harry and Voldemort's final duel a similar thing happened when Harry's Disarming Charm collided with Voldemort's Killing Curse, although the Elder Wand's allegiance to Harry must be taken into consideration in this particular situation.

    Other targets and dodging: If another target is placed between the caster and the targeted individual, then the new target will take the hit of the Killing Curse, which may simply result in an object being destroyed or damaged in an explosion of green flames. One can also avoid the effects simply by dodging or if the caster has poor aim, as with many attacking curses of this type, the spell must be directly targeted at the intended victim.

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    Phoenixes are not protected as such—Fawkes is killed by the Avada Kedavra curse that he ‘eats’—they just happen to resurrect when they die. If Fawkes had looked into the basilisk’s eye before/while gouging it out, he would have died and been reborn, so clearly he must have been smart enough to close his eyes when doing the deed. Aug 2, 2015 at 0:16
  • There are couple of other options of survive killing curse. Move out of the way like Ginny Weasley did in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or using some other object as a shield like Dumbledore did to save Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
    – Vishvesh
    Aug 2, 2015 at 4:30
  • @Vishvesh Edited the answer, included your point. Thanks
    – axelonet
    Aug 2, 2015 at 5:01
  • The stun spell part is completely wrong, that is not a way of blocking it: it only worked because of Priori Incantatem in one case and the elder wands allegiance to its true owner in the other. No spell can directly block it (other than putting something in the way)
    – Matt
    Sep 12, 2017 at 17:31

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