Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Questions and Answers
by J. K. Rowling

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Why didn't Harry kill the women who killed his godfather in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? Was he too scared? Explain in detail.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Let's get a few plot points straight.  Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, is still alive.  He was put into Azkaban for a time because the Ministry of Magic thought that Sirius was James Potter's secret keeper who betrayed him.  That was not so.  It was Peter Pettigrew who betrayed the Potters.  This led directly to the Potters' deaths and the fact that Harry was "the boy who lived."  After quite a while in Azkaban, Sirius escapes.  (However, we spend most of the third book thinking that Sirius is the "bad guy" until we learn the truth by the end.)  The Ministry, of course, refuses to believe that Sirius had not betrayed the Potters, so Sirius has to remain on the run (keeping in touch with his godson, Harry, while in hiding).  The fourth book in the Harry Potter installment (The Goblet of Fire), involves Sirius only in regards to his correspondence with Harry.  Sirius is finally revealed to fellow wizards in the final scenes, however, in order to precede the next novel.

In regards to the "women" you are speaking of, there certainly ARE female villains in the Harry Potter series; however, there isn't much of a focus on them in The Goblet of Fire.  The female villains appear in their full glory in later installments of the series.  Thus, considering that Sirius Black is still alive, there is no such set of characters as "the women who killed his godfather."

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Wiggin42 | Student

In book five, at age 15, Harry is not yet a killer. In book 3 we see Harry's inability to kill when he doesn't kill Peter Petigrew and instead says to send him to the Dementors. Killing Petigrew would have a kindness over what the Dementors would do to him. So although Harry isn't exactly merciful, he is not a killer either. Two years later nothing has truly affected him enough to make him a killer. 

StephanieRR | Student

As a couple people have pointed out, Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, is killed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is book five in the series. However, I would still like to answer your question. Throughout the series, Harry has a few different opportunities to kill or inflict pain upon an enemy. The first major opportunity is in the third book, when Harry chooses to have Peter Pettigrew taken prisoner rather than allow Sirius Black and Remus Lupin to kill him on the spot. Of course, this act of mercy results in Pettigrew escaping, which means Sirius is still a wanted murderer and therefore has to remain on the run instead of being able to provide a loving home for Harry. The next major opportunity is the one to which you are probably referring, which is when Bellatrix Lestrange hits Sirius with a spell and sends him into a mysterious void, and Harry runs confronts her afterward. 

"Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before. He flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed 'Crucio!'

Bellatrix screamed. The spell had knocked her off her feet, but she did not writhe and shriek with pain as Neville had- she was already on her feet again, breathless, no longer laughing...her counterspell hit the head of the handsome wizard, which was blown off and landed twenty feet away, gouging long scratches into the wooden floor.

'Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?' she yelled... 'You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain- to enjoy it- righteous anger won't hurt me for long- I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson-'"

Even though Harry is angrier than he has ever been before and despite the fact that he wants to cause Bellatrix pain, it is only out of his grief over Sirius rather than an actual desire to inflict suffering. The fact that he uses any of the Unforgivable Curses shows how upset he is, but even when he decides to use a strong curse he passes on one that will kill in favor of one that will only hurt her. This spell isn't even very effective, because as Bellatrix explains, he needs to really want to hurt her. He wasn't too afraid to do so; he simply couldn't find enough hatred and murderous intent within himself to cast a spell that would kill her.

I know this is an old question and you might have already read the rest of the series, but if you have not, you should stop reading here. If you have, please continue.

Harry has the opportunity to engage Lord Voldemort in battle twice, once in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and again in the final battle at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Both times, he never uses anything more than Expelliarmus, the disarming spell. Even Lord Voldemort, the man responsible for every hardship in Harry's life and the enemy to all decent human beings, cannot make Harry Potter raise his wand with the intent to kill. He faces his numerous enemies and obstacles and comes out at the end of it without blood on his hands. When it comes down to it, Harry simply had too much compassion in him to cast an effective killing curse.

jessieh16 | Student

Dude have you even read the book?

Are we talking about book 4 or another book??!!


brenduucha | Student

The question you're asking is not from this book. Is from the fifth book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I think that JK, the author, doesn't want to have Harry as a killer, so she makes him not kill Bellatrix, the woman who killed Sirius.


robie12 | Student

he was about to he was chasing after her when voldemart showed up and he probably got scared and decided to turn and fight him insted, and belatrix gose and uses the fire place to escape.