#AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z #HarryPotter – U is for Unforgivable Curses


The magical world that Harry Potter series is set in has many spells that are memorable and prominent. The most memorable of them for me was the Patronus Charm, and the Disarming Spell that becomes the signature spell for Harry Potter. Then there’s the spell to open locks (Alohomora) and to make objects fly (Accio) and levitate (Wingardium leviosa). There are lots of jinxes and counter jinxes, like Tarantalegra, which is the jinx to make the person’s feet dance uncontrollably, or Locomortor Mortis, which locks freezes the legs of the person it is directed at. However, there are three curses which are said to be unforgivable, the usage of which lands the person in Azkaban, the wizarding prison.

These are first mentioned to us in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher Alastor Moody not only tells the fourth year students about them, but also puts the class through one of the three curses, in order to see how strong they are at shaking the curses off.

The first one is the Imperius Curse. The curse incantation, Imperio, is used to control the victim and make him/her do whatever is commanded without questioning. In the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ron Weasley reveals the curse and how it had caused his father some trouble at the Ministry. The fourth year students witness how Moody (or Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise) makes a spider do his bidding. The students, unaware of the circumstances, laugh. Moody also reveals that many did Voldemort’s bidding only under the power of the Imperius Curse. It is possible to throw off the curse if the victim is vigilant and tries to rebel it. Harry throws it off when Moody puts him and the rest of the class under its spell. The Death Eaters used it to control Pius Thicknesse and also make the Muggles levitate and torture them for entertainment. If incorrectly or powerfully performed, the spell addles the brains of the victim, causing damage that can be permanent.

The second one is the Cruciatus Curse. The curse incantation, Crucio, is used to torture the victim, causing intense, excruciating pain. Neville Longbottom reveals the curse, much to everyone’s surprise, as Neville usually provides answers only in Herbology. We are given an idea of how deeply the curse affects Neville when he turns white as chalk seeing Moody use the curse on a spider in the Defence Against The Dark Arts class. The spell doesn’t cause physical damage, but its intensity can be such that the mind, even the strongest one, cannot handle it. It is the reason why Neville is affected that much, as his parents lost their minds when they were tortured using the curse by the Lestranges.

The last one, and the most dangerous one, is the Killing Curse. The curse incantation, Avada Kedavra, quite simply kills the victim. Through the series, the most known user of this curse is The Dark Lord, who kills quite often. We are told that he killed many of the initial Order of the Phoenix, including Harry’s parents. It is Voldemort’s signature spell. The curse has no way to be stopped and has no counter-curse. But it can be stopped by solid objects, even if only a temporary solution. The curse rebounded when it was attempted to kill Harry, and almost killed Voldemort instead.

Each of these curses needs to be meant to be effective. If the spell caster doesn’t have a strong will to cause damage to his victim, then the damage is temporary or minimal.

But, I wonder which of the three the ultimate unforgivable curse is? Would it be crueler to kill the victim at once? Or to torture the victim so much that they lose their mind for good, and push them live a life without knowing what they are doing, who their loved ones are? Or to hold a person under your control and make them to do your will instead of theirs? Each of these curses are reminiscent to situations in life as well, if you look at them closely. For my money, I feel the Cruciatus Curse is the most unforgivable of the three, for the reason that Neville, who was as young as Harry, never felt the love of his parents either, but had to see them going through the after effects of the Cruciatus Curse. In this way, the curse affected not only the victim, but victimized their family too, for perpetuity.

How fast time seems to fly by. I remember taking part in the first ever April A to Z Challenge, where for the month of April (except for Sundays) we write on themes around the 26 alphabets. This year marks the 7th Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my 7th as well. I’ve successfully completed 4 of the 6 years before, so hoping for a fabulous 5th year of blogging success. You can go here if you want to know more about what the challenge is. My theme this year is ‘The World of Harry Potter’.

(© 25th April 2016)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

12 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z #HarryPotter – U is for Unforgivable Curses”

    • It’s taken from abracadabra, so maybe that familiarity is what makes you like it, Shalzzz. I can relate to that lump, that was there in my throat too. 🙁

  1. The killing one is plain evil. There is no limit to the number of people who will suffer if you could just kill by waving a wand and have enough of a strong mind to do it. But then there is the Imperius, where the caster looks for complete sensory control and could make their victims die of their own accord. So in the end both these curses could acquire the same result. One, in a painless way and the other probably in any way the caster decides. Be it embarrassing or painful or public shaming or a million other ways.

    Then there is the cruciatus. I, like Harry, feel that one really HAS to mean it. Inflicting pain upon others is one thing. But deciding by yourself that they deserve it and enjoy causing someone else so much pain that they may die or become insane, thereby drinking in a misplaced sense of power – that’s plain sadistic.

    The three curses are unforgivable for a reason. because they take on the basic idea that a single human could decide the fate of other humans just by the knowledge they have to do certain spells. Festering hatred is easy. But of the three, Cruciatus is the worst because it gives a vindictive, sadistic pleasure to the caster to see the slow torment and the pain of their victim. While it remains to be seen if people ever recover fully from the imperius, I would say no one really forgets pain that easily. Imperius at least creates a blissful feeling – much more dangerous and softer.

    • Yep. I feel the torture curse is worst for that reason too, Dhivya. It’s like killing the person, without actually killing them. And by doing so, torturing the people who love that person.

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