Welp, fellow Potterheads, gather ye round the creep-tastic fire, because this is about to give you some Feelings with a capital F. The Huffington Post recently unearthed a fan theory about the Killing Curse in Harry Potter that was posted to Reddit by users divsky and jodatoufin, and it will change the way you think of the relationship between the Muggle and Wizarding world forever. Brace yourselves, guys — the the theories are coming.
So for a long time, it has been universally acknowledged that the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, closely resembles the stereotypical "Abracadabra!" which performance magicians declare when they do things like pull bunnies out of hats. The Killing Curse is unique in its resemblance to a Muggle nonsense word — most others, the theorizers point out, derive from Latin roots. (J.K. Rowling herself said in 2004 that this resemblance was intentional from the start.) They go on to explain that this might be an indicator of a troubled history between ancient Muggles and Wizards, wherein Wizards used the Killing Curse on Muggles themselves before the International Statute of Secrecy was put into effect in 1694. Over time, as the idea of wizards faded into fairy tales and folklore, the chilling words and the horror that came with them were still so ingrained that they stuck around, and were eventually reduced to the "Abracadabra" that we so often hear today.
But the theories don't end there. Redditor canvaverbalist weighed in with yet another idea: It might be that Avada Kedavra was originally meant as a spell not to kill, but to heal. The words "abracadabra" derive from Aramic, or "let the thing be destroyed." Canvaverbalist took this a step further by putting forth the idea that, at first, the curse was meant to kill viruses and bacteria, not people themselves. That being said, it is emphasized again and again that the power of Avada Kedavra comes from its intentions — and once wizardkind discovered its killing capabilities, the spell was, understandably, made Unforgivable to prevent it from being used.
Redditor aalamb claims the books might even support this idea. Mad-Eye Moody (er, well, Barty Crouch Jr.) explains the necessary intent behind the curse, saying to the kids that they could try to use it on him untrained, but that "I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed." BUT WAIT. It gets even weirder: The Huffington Post unearthed the first origins of the word "abracadabra," tracing it back to 3rd-Century Roman physician Quintus Serenus Sammonicus, who used the words for its healing properties — in fact, it was once thought to help cure the Bubonic plague.
This weirdly historically and fictionally supported theory, then, seems to imply that if wizards and witches were taught right off the bat that Avada Kedavra was a healing spell, and only used it with good intentions, it might be a very powerful cure. Of course, that would basically make anyone lose their faith in humanity, so ... there's that.
Anyway, all this is super interesting and informative and mind-boggling, but at the end of the day, it's not going to bring all of our faves back from the dead. Let's just hope that Harry and his pals were able to make a ~new wizard generation~ that will eventually make it a safe world for Avada Kedavra to be used the way it was intended. Then we can finally let good ol' Madame Pomfrey retire the way she deserves.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy