Are the Unforgivable Curses Unforgivable?

Themes:
Examine the CanonQuestions of the Wizarding World
What:
Panel
When:
10:15 AM, Friday 11 Oct 2019 EDT (1 hour)
Where:
Seaport World Trade Center - Waterfront Ballroom
Are the Unforgivable Curses really unforgivable? Mad-Eye Moody says that using an Unforgivable Curse on a fellow human being is punishable by a life sentence in Azkaban. Yet during the series, we often see Order members using the Unforgivable Curses: Professor Dumbledore lets Moody put the Imperius Curse on Hogwarts students, Harry uses the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, Professor McGonagall puts the Imperius Curse on Amycus Carrow. Do these Order members deserve a life sentence in Azkaban?

In our presentation, we will debate the legal and ethical questions raised by these uses of the Unforgivable Curses. Can you put the Imperius Curse on someone if you’re teaching them to fight it? Does wizarding law include an insanity defense, and if so, does that justify Harry’s use of the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix? Can you use the Killing Curse in self-defense?

We will also explore what, if anything, makes the Unforgivable Curses different. Did Molly use the Killing Curse on Bellatrix and, if not, does that make Molly’s actions more defensible? Is Harry right that stunning Stan Shunpike off his broom would have been the same thing as using the Killing Curse? We’ll debate these questions and more.

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