The Unforgivables

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 | Author: Christine
Avada Kedavra’s a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it—you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I’d get so much as a nosebleed.
—Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Alastor Moody. Goblet of Fire

The Unforgivable Curses are very powerful, and are introduced to us in the Goblet of Fire by Barty Crouch Jr pretending to be Alastor Moody in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class.  As Barty explains, they need powerful magic behind them in order for them to work. Bellatrix Lestrange said “You really need to mean them.”

Avada Kedavra is the opposite of the phrase “Abra Cadabra”, which means “From nothing, life”. So Avada Kadavra means “From life, nothing.” It causes instant death, with no counter curse or blocking spell available.

Crucio is Latin for “I torture”, and inflicts excruciating pain.

Imperio is Latin for “I command”, and causes the victim to do whatever the caster of the spell bids them to do. It is resistable, but extremely difficult to do so.

It came up in Episode 19 whether the DADA class should have been subjected to learning about the Unforgivable Curses so early. The Ministry of Magic rules that you should not learn about them until the age of 16. Dumbledore, however, overruled this order and thought that with the return of Voldemort upon them, it would be wise for the students have the knowledge under their belt. After all, they weren’t learning how to do the Curses, they were learning about them.

The problem with this is that Dumbledore gave Alastor Moody the okay to teach about the Curses, not Barty Crouch Jr. Dumbledore didn’t know at the time that Barty was posing as Moody, so he couldn’t have known how the Curses would be taught. If it were Moody teaching about the Curses, he probably would have done it in a more acceptable way. So I think Dumbledore had the right idea with Voldemort on his way back to power and the Triwizard Tournament happening with all of these new foreign people staying at Hogwarts, to just teach the students about what these Curses can do in case they run into them. Which was completely possible.

Category: Blog Post, Canon
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  1. Katherine says:

    I think that they should have learnt about them too, although maybe not in that way. I was confused about the sex ed argument in the episode because in England it is taught from age 7, but I guess this isn’t the case elsewhere.

    Which do you think is worst?

    • Christine says:

      Between sex ed and the Unforgivable Curses? I’m not sure really. It’s a good comparison. They’re both things that are “forbidden” or “taboo” to learn about when you’re too young..except of course in England apparently but then it’s not taboo because you don’t as a country think that 7 is too young. So we’ll say around 5 for you guys. Then maybe it’s taboo?

      But yeah, they’re both forbidden subjects if you’re too young to learn about them, and they both could be considered giving too much information that could cause younger people to go down the wrong path (i.e. young teens to start having sex too young with sex ed since they’ve learned all about it or start throwing Unforgivable Curses around since they’ve learned about and know how to do them). But it could be the opposite as well – now that these kids are armed with knowledge about the subjects, maybe they’re less likely to use the curses or start having sex too early.

      I think they’re both important subjects to learn about at the appropriate age, but I’m really not sure which one would be “worse” for those that are “too young”

      All that, and I didn’t even answer your question … ;)