Things You Didn't Know About The Unforgivable Curses

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The Harry Potter series went fully dark in the fourth installment, which is when the Unforgivable Curses are introduced. Used by Voldemort to maximum effect, they are the Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra), the Cruciatus Curse, and the Imperius Curse. The Unforgivable Curses are the go-to spells for dark wizards that have brought about a lot of pain and destruction. There's a larger history that has gone into the creation of these spells that predate Voldemort.

It's also worth noting that these unforgivable spells have many other details attached to them that are either hidden in the Harry Potter books or have been delivered through other sources like J.K. Rowling herself and supplementary works.


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    Anger And Pleasure Are Primary Factors In The Execution Of The Cruciatus Curse

    Anger And Pleasure Are Primary Factors In The Execution Of The Cruciatus Curse
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The use of the Cruciatus Curse requires a great level of ruthlessness, yet it isn't effective when cast by someone with a cold personality. The most powerful Cruciatus Curses are done by those who are either angry or carry a sadistic pleasure; it can be a mix of both, as well.

    Harry's Cruciatus Curse on Amycus Carrow is extremely painful because Harry is enraged at the latter but feels satisfaction in the torment he's doling out. Bellatrix Lestrange's mastery with the curse comes down to her total willingness to use it - she finds great joy in harming people, which makes her Cruciatus Curse so effective.

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    Legilimency Can Be Used To Break The Imperius Curse

    Legilimency Can Be Used To Break The Imperius Curse
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Barty Crouch Jr. is under the Imperius Curse for over a decade after his father breaks him out of Azkaban. Crouch periodically fights the curse but is repeatedly placed under his father's thrall with stronger curses.

    Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew attack the Crouch household to overpower Crouch Sr., and Voldemort proceeds to place the latter under his own Imperius Curse. Voldemort's extreme mastery of Legilimency is such that he uses these powers to break into Crouch Jr.'s mind and free him of his father's control.

     

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    Barty Crouch Sr. Legalized The Use Of Unforgivable Curses For Aurors

    Barty Crouch Sr. Legalized The Use Of Unforgivable Curses For Aurors
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Unforgivable Curses briefly made a return to legality during the First Wizarding War, which is when Bartemius Crouch Sr. made them free for use by Aurors. Crouch was the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as well as a ruthless politician who argued that the Ministry had to hit back hard against Voldemort and his followers.

    Crouch legalized all three Unforgivable Curses, but unfortunately many Aurors used excessive force that resulted in casualties. Moreover, the Ministry began to attack innocent people with the Unforgivable Curses, so kill counts increased to the point where the Ministry became as bad as the Death Eaters.

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    There Are Meanings Behind All The Unforgivable Curses' Incantations

    There Are Meanings Behind All The Unforgivable Curses' Incantations
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The incantations for each of the Unforgivable Curses contain specific meanings that allude to what they accomplish. Avada Kedavra stems from "adhadda kedhabhra," which is Aramaic for "let the thing be destroyed."

    The Cruciatus Curse's incantation of "Crucio" is Latin for "torment" or "torture." The Imperius Curse is derived from "Imperiosus," whose meaning is "commanding, mighty, and powerful." The "Imperio" incantation translates as "to rule."

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    Death Eaters Attempted To Overthrow The Prime Minister By Using The Imperius Curse On His Junior Minister

    Death Eaters Attempted To Overthrow The Prime Minister By Using The Imperius Curse On His Junior Minister
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Death Eaters' primary mode of infiltrating places is to place people in authority under the Imperius Curse. Voldemort decides to go straight for the prime minister of England but finds his security too tight.

    Voldemort has the Death Eaters use the Imperius Curse on Herbert Chorley, the junior minister, with hopes that he will assassinate the prime minister. Chorley is caught by the Ministry of Magic first and sent to St. Mungo's to remove the Imperius Curse, but he tries to take lives there, too, by attempting to strangle healers.

    Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt becomes the Muggle prime minister's personal bodyguard to ensure he isn't subjected to the Imperius Curse or the Killing Curse. 

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    The Unforgivable Curses Were Invented During The Middle Ages

    The Unforgivable Curses Were Invented During The Middle Ages
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    It's unknown who came up with the Unforgivable Curses, but they were created during the Middle Ages. This era is generally thought to begin around the fifth century, so the Unforgivable Curses existed for several hundred before they were banned.

    Albus Dumbledore mentions in The Tales of Beedle the Bard that a group of dark witches or wizards invented the curses together, so there must have been a specific reason they had to resort to such cruel methods.