Killing curse spider

A spider is used to demonstrate the Unforgivable Curses

"At once, the spider's legs bent in upon its body; it rolled over and began to twitch horribly, rocking from side to side. No sound came from it, but Harry was sure that if it could have given voice, it would have been screaming. Moody did not remove his wand, and the spider started to shudder and jerk more violently-"
—"Moody" demonstrating the Cruciatus Curse on a spider[src]

At the beginning of the 1994–1995 school year, Barty Crouch Jr, impersonating Alastor Moody through the use of Polyjuice Potion, demonstrated the Unforgivable Curses to Harry Potter's Defence Against the Dark Arts class using three spiders. He kept the three spiders in a glass jar together.[1]

The first spider was placed under the Imperius Curse, and was made to dance and perform acrobatics. Everyone in class were laughing, especially when Crouch had it jump onto students, until he suggested it to commit suicidal acts, as well as putting the curse on them.[1]

The second spider was tortured by the Cruciatus Curse, much to the discomfort of Neville Longbottom as his parents were tortured into insanity with this curse by Death Eaters (unknowingly, one of those Death Eaters was standing right in front of him), and only stopped at Hermione Granger's behest. The Engorgement Charm was used on the spider beforehand to have a better visualisation of the spider's sufferings on the curse. He then shrank it with the Shrinking Charm and placed it back in the jar.[1]

The third spider was struck by the Killing Curse, and died instantly. Somehow knowing its impending doom, the third spider even tried to avoid Barty's grasp in the jar and even tried to scuttle off the table to survive. The use of this heinous curse had a profound effect on Harry, as he was aware that both his parents were murdered with that very curse by Voldemort the night he got his scar. Ron was also very startled with the sudden use of this curse, and many girls in the glass even stifled cries, having witnessed such a disturbing demonstration of the Dark Arts.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, only one spider is used to demonstrate the three curses. Furthermore, the spider in the film is actually an Amblypygi. Also, the Engorgement Charm was used when the Imperius Curse was performed, as opposed to the Cruciatus Curse. At that point, the spider remained larger for all three curses.[2]
  • Also in the same film, the spider is shown to be squealing when tortured with the Cruciatus Curse. In the book, it remains silent. Although in the book, Harry thought that it would have screamed if it would have had a voice.[2]
  • In the film, Barty quips that her bite is lethal. In reality, amblypygi (or tailless whip spiders) are completely harmless to humans, and are quite good-natured. So, this is possible that he merely wanted to scare the students.[2]
  • The spider in the film is referred to as a female by Barty.[2]


Notes and references

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