It seems to me that the wizarding community in the harry potter books has made out Voldemort to be more of a danger than he really was. One reason is they’ve convinced themselves that he’s some sort of super being who nobody stood any chance against. Another problem is they all learn a few dozen hexes and curses and then use them in their duels when you only really need one: the avada cadavra (killing) curse.

This is sort of a problem I have with a lot of tv and literature where the hero and the villain are looking at each other (or even worse the hero has snuck up on the villain) and nobody starts shooting.

Do you think soldiers in WWII saw a bunch of Nazis and waited for anything before they started firing? No because otherwise they’d die.

Or really, just a gun. I bet I could pull the trigger a couple times in the time it takes some wizard to say 6(?) syllables.

Well, if they are really good wizards the don’t have to say it, they can just think it and you are disarmed. Harry & co. learn that in school but don’t really get to that advanced level in the books. Dumbledore, McGonagell, Voldemort and the rest of the adults are at that point so disarming a Muggle with a gun would be rather easy for them.

Seeing as they did nothing when the Ministry of Magic essentially turned into a fascist dictatorship, my conclusion is that the wizarding community are, as a whole, a bunch of pathetic cowards. Of course they’re afraid of Voldemort - they’re afraid of their own shadows.

OK, a gun and a lanyard :wink:

You can get much farther with a spell word and a gun than you can with a spell word alone. -Al “Voldy” Capone

I guess you guys skipped the last few books in the series, but neither the Killing Curse nor conventional weapons could have killed Voldemort until all of his horcruxes were destroyed.

We’re also told in the books that Avadra Kedavra is difficult to cast, and since it’s also illegal in most circumstances it’s not taught to ordinary wizards. Aurors presumably learn to use it as part of their training, but even by the loose safety standards of Hogwarts teaching a bunch of teenagers to kill others instantly probably seemed like a bad idea.

First of all the number of wizards who knew about the horoceuxes could be counted on one hand so nobody avoided killing him because of them. Also if he was killed while the horocruxes were still around presumably he would go back to his barely alive state that Harry left him in the first time. At that point it should be easy to take care of the horocruxes which with Voldemort’s ties to the mortal relm severed should finish him off.

It’s a story written for children and as such not meant to stand up to the tortured world of geek logic arguments. the books have a plot hole about every other page which is what happens when the subject is magic (anything is possible) with it’s own set of restrictive rules.

They can only disarm what they’re aware of. Get a SAS team to sneak up on Voldemort and fire 50 cal shots from a mile away with a sniper rifle.

More to the point when Voldemort is in the shrieking shack and Harry is sitting under his invisibility cloak finish off the snake with an (unblockable) killing curse and then do the same to Voldemort before he realized what was happening.

Anyone actually interested in a discussion of this sort is highly encouraged to read the truly awesome fan fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

It would be interesting to see how long Dumbledore would last against a modern SWAT team who knew who and what he was and had orders to take him down however they could. I kind of thought that was the point of keeping themselves secret from the Muggles.

I was also under the impression that Voldemort, in addition to being a very powerful wizard, had himself a secret posse of Death Eaters, a network of secret and powerful assassins and allies and such, and as such, was a shadowy spooky threat, particularly when he got his hooks into the wizarding government. THIS was what made him such a threat…

Dumbledore knew, or at least very strongly suspected, about the horcruxes, and he’s the only character I can remember ever being in a position to cast the Killing Curse on Voldemort but not doing so (during their duel near the end of the 5th book).

That’s because the books are all written from Harry’s Perspective meaning that if harry wasn’t there (or in Voldemort’s mind) it didn’t get written about. However every time Voldemort goes and kills someone there is a chance they could fight back. It’s like if you had the literal “fastest gun in the west”. Lets say he has a 90% chance of winning any showdown he got in regardless of his opponent. So he goes to his 1st duel and wins. He then has an 81% of winning two duels in a row. Then a 73%, 66%, 59%, 53%, 48% and so on. Point is eventually he’s going to lose.

Also two obvious folks who could have tried to kill him but didn’t is lily and james potter.

Why are you assuming they didn’t? As you say, we don’t get the details of much that Harry didn’t personally witness. There were presumably plenty of wizards who tried to kill Voldemort during the first war, they just didn’t succeed. In the real world there were multiple attempts to assassinate Hitler but none of them succeeded, and Hitler didn’t even have magical powers.

Voldemort did eventually lose, but this talk about his dueling odds is missing the central premise of the entire series. It was predestined that Harry (or possibly Neville) would be the one to defeat Voldemort. No one else was going to manage to kill him before they did. Even Harry/Neville couldn’t kill him until the horcruxes were all destroyed, which didn’t happen until shortly before his final showdown with Harry.

There are plenty of holes to be poked in the Harry Potter series, if that’s the sort of thing one enjoys, but I don’t see that you’ve managed to come up with anything that’s not explained by the “rules” of the fictional world.

Voldemort caught both of them unarmed, so they didn’t have much chance to put up a fight.

Going from memory here…

‘There’s one more trick mom taught me that she didn’t teach you.’ [BLAM!] ‘The old Luger up the sleeve trick.’ -Wizards (1977)

I always thought Voldemort was such an evil baddie was because he actually used the bad magic. All the wizards knew about the killing curse but none would stoop to that level of dickery. They had a morale code to use magic wisely. Voldemort said F that, gimme power.

Al Capone died of syphilis, which if left untreated, can make your nose fall off. Just saying.

The Ministry of Magic was always a fascist dictatorship. It just changed from benevolent to less so.

Part of the problem is that we actually know very little about the workings of the Potterverse.

For example, we all know that the Elder Wand is a big deal. There’s a whole book about the Deathly Hallows. But what does the wand actually do? Other than Weasly’s malfunctioning wand, I don’t think the book ever discusses the role the wand plays in magical duels. They make a big deal about matching a wand and a wizard, too, but without ever making it clear why that matters.

There’s also a lot in there about prophecy and foretelling, but other than extremely rare prophecies (like about Harry), all we see is a silly and likely wrong professor reading tea leaves. Surely there’s more to it than what we see in the books. So maybe it’s feasible for someone like Voldemort to see an attack coming.

And dueling instruction? Most of what the kids learned was reluctantly taught by Snape, eagerly taught by the incompetent Lockhart or figured out through their own experimentation. I refuse to believe Harry knows the first thing about dueling, no more than I know about football because I watch the Superbowl.

So, anyway, there are two ways to go with this if you want to analyze it. Either

  1. go the HPMOR route and assume that wizards are idiots and Harry is really smart or
  2. ask yourself what an 11 year old abused and isolated child knows about anything, and why we should take his word for how the world works. Even by the last book, he’s only 18 and any of us over 30 can look back and realize how little we knew about anything at 18.