The Killing Curse is depicted as one of the most corrupt spells in the entire Harry Potter universe. Its purpose is to kill your opponents quickly and as such with few exceptions, we have never seen someone survive it. During the battle in the room of requirement, Hermione gets hit by the Killing Curse but doesn’t die and the series never explains why is that so. How exactly did Hermione block the effects of the Killing Curse?
Hermione didn’t actually block the curse since the Killing Curse is unblockable. The answer has more to do with the wizard who shot it. The most logical explanation is that Crabbe wasn’t a powerful enough wizard to produce such a demanding curse.
The history of the Killing Curse is quite vague and there is only a handful of information regarding it. If you would like to learn more about it and how to protect yourself from it in case you ever stumble upon a spiteful witch or a wizard make sure to read this article all the way through.
What is a Killing Curse?
The Killing Curse or Avada Kedavra is one of the three unforgivable curses. It is the most sinister out of the three unforgivable curses and even out of all spells in the wizarding world, as it kills your victim immediately.
The death is instantaneous and painless, leaving the victims died without any physical signs of harm.
This was confirmed in the books when the murder of the Riddle family members is described. The officers present at the scene described them as seeming as if they were in perfect health, except they were dead with a look of terror on their faces.
The most popular user of the curse was Lord Voldemort himself. He was a known proponent of it and encouraged his followers to use it as well. He used the curse to kill a part of his family, the Potters, the legendary wand maker Mykew Gregorovitch and Gellert Grindelwald, just to name a few.
The curse was invented in the Middle age presumably by dark witches and wizards. The curse was regarded as any other spell prior to its prohibition in 1717. It was commonly used prior to that since it was the most efficient way to quickly slay your opponents if the need arose.
The Ministry tightened the restriction on the usage of the Killing Curse, prohibiting witches and wizards from using it. Alongside Imperio and Crucio they were deemed unforgivable curses.
After the prohibition, any witch or wizards who used it would be punished by a life sentence without the chance of parole in Azkaban. They were only used by Dark witches and wizards and later on Lord Voldemort and his followers.
The curses stayed prohibited until the First Wizarding War. During that time Barty Crouch Senior who was in charge of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement passed a law that allowed the Aurors to use the three curses while fighting the Deatheaters.
This was a display of his belief that the war can only be won by fighting the Deatheaers with the same amount of violence they used. However, despite this tendency, once the war was over the law was repealed since it was no longer useful.
Despite the curses being made illegal again, the series makes a few references that suggest that Aurors were still allowed to use the Killing Curse and go unpunished since they were allowed to use deadly force against their opponents.
The only other mean of using the Killing Curse which will not warrant punishment is claiming a witch or a wizard using it were under the influence of the Imperius Curse.
Lucius Malfoy avoided getting punishment for his time as a Deatheater through this specific method. Given his position in the wizarding society and many connections he made in the Ministry, it is easy to see why he was freed from his charges despite many people actually not believing his story.
Can you block the Killing Curse?
The Killing Curse is one of the few spells which cannot be blocked. The only way to avoid it is to physically avoid getting hit by it. This means that hiding behind a physical object, such as a wall will successfully save you from the effects of the Killing Curse while using any kind of shield charms won’t work.
The only known ways of avoiding the curse besides physical protection are sacrificial protections and the use of Priori Incantatem.
A known case of sacrificial protection stopping the effect of the Killing Curse is the protection put on Harry by his mother Lilly the night Voldemort killed his parents.
In order for sacrificial protection to work the person placing the protection must be given the chance to live but actively choose to die. This is why that same night James’ death id did not put sacrificial protection on Lilly.
On the other hand, Lily could have chosen to live because Voldemort promised Severus Snape that he will spare Lilly’s life if she doesn’t get in his way. The moment she chose to ignore Voldemort’s request and act in a way that would protect Harry a strong bond was formed between the two.
The bond between the two people paired up with the sacrificial act creates an extremely strong form of magic.
The same thing happened during the Battle of Hogwarts when Voldemort gave Harry an hour to surrender himself promising him he wouldn’t hurt anyone else if he surrendered.
Since Harry willingly chose to go to Voldemort instead of trying to find a way to run away, his death created the same protection when it came to his friends.
From this instance, we can also conclude that the protection works even if the opportunity for self-preservation was circumstantial and not only explicitly given by the person causing harm.
The other way is creating a Priori Incantatem effect. Dis occurs when two wands of the same core duel. The effect causes the wand which ends up overpowering the other to cast so-called echoes.
The echoes are the remaining of the recently performed spells. In the movies, this is portrayed as “shadows” of the most recently cast spells in the reverse order from the one they were cast in.
These echoes, in the case of the Killing curse, caused the murdered people to show up the way they were at the moment of their death. Although they appeared similar to ghosts they are in fast not ghosts but rather lingering mortal planes.
This happened during the duel between Harry and Voldemort in the Little Hangleton graveyard, during the last task of the Triwizard Tournament. Both Harry’s wand and Lord Voldemort’s original wand had a Phoenix feather as the core.
Once Voldemort’s Killing Curse and Harry disarming charm collided it created the rare effect of Priori Incantatem. After the echoes left Voldemort’s wand the two were left in a duel of wills rather than their spells.
Who shot the Killing Curse at Hermione Granger?
While the trio was in the Room of Requirement during the events of the Battle of Hogwarts they were confronted by Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle. While Draco did all the talking the two stood not engaging until Draco told them to do so.
A dynamic duel ensued and at that point, they all cast some sort of spell. Hermione shot a Stunning Spell which almost hit Crabbe, who only avoided it because Draco pulled him out of the way. To retaliate for this he fired the Killing curse at Hermione with every intention of killing her.
How did Hermione block the killing curse in Harry Potter?
Since Hermione had none of the means of the protection we mentioned previously, how did she manage to survive the attack? The answer to this question comes during a scene taking place a few books or movies prior, depending on which one you prefer.
During the Defense against the Dark Arts in the Goblet of Fire, Mad-Eye Moody was teaching Harry’s classmates about the unforgivable curses. Although the movie doesn’t explicitly show him talking about the Killing Curse the book does so.
After talking about it shortly, Mad-Eye Moody challenges all of the students to try it, saying that because of the amount of powerful magic need to produce such a curse he doubts he would get more than a nosebleed.
From this point, we can conclude that the curse did not have an effect on Hermione because Crabbe wasn’t a wizard powerful enough to produce such a curse.