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Defence Against the Dark Arts

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"Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom. No cursing allowed."
—Notice outside the classroom.[src]

Defence Against the Dark Arts (aka D.A.D.A.) is a core class taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that teaches its students how to magically defend themselves against dark magic.

Class Information

D.A.D.A. broadly focuses on preparing the student so that they may be able to—if such need arises—magically defend themselves against things pertaining to the Dark Arts. This may include: Learning how to block unfriendly spells; and learning how to defeat dark, magical beasts (like the Boggart). However, as D.A.D.A. teachers came and went at Hogwarts annually it produced inconsistent learning from year to year, as the quality, style of teaching and exact choice of subject matter (depending on what was deemed appropriate) varied widely from teacher to teacher.

It is taught to Hogwarts students from the first year to the fifth as a core class, with the option of N.E.W.T. classes in the sixth and seventh years for students who qualify.

Defence Against the Dark Arts professors

"You see, we have not been able to keep a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor for more than a year since I refused the post to Lord Voldemort."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

Galatea Merrythought

"Defence Against the Dark Arts. It was being taught at the time by an old professor by the name of Galatea Merrythought, who had been at Hogwarts for nearly fifty years."
Albus Dumbledore.[src]

Professor Galatea Merrythought was employed over a hundred years ago, possibly by Headmaster Scamander, and was given an office on the sixth floor, which she owned for fifty years. It is likely that she taught Albus Dumbledore and Elphias Doge. During Tom Riddle's sixth year, Galatea decided to retire and left the year after. Riddle attempted to take her place, but Headmaster Dippet refused him the position.

Quirinus Quirrell

Quirrel DADA

Professor Quirrell teaching in D.A.D.A. class in 1991.

Quirrell was the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. After some time in the position, he travelled throughout Europe for a full term. After his return to the school, he was appointed as D.A.D.A. teacher, receiving little respect from students for his stuttering and jittery behaviour, supposedly from encountering vampires somewhere in Romania. He taught first years about the Curse of the Bogies, the Knockback Jinx, and the Wand-Lighting Charm, while he taught fifth years about vampire bats and iguanas. At some-point during the year, Quirrell lectured his first year class about how to cure a werewolf bite. Quirrell was killed at the end of the year after attacking Harry, sustaining excruciating pain while supporting the fragmented soul of Lord Voldemort in his own body. It is shown that Voldemort is the other part of Quirrell's turban.

Gilderoy Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart: "Books can be misleading."
Harry Potter: "You wrote them!"
Gilderoy Lockhart: "My dear boy, do use your common sense! My books wouldn't have sold half as well if people didn't think I'd done all those things."
Harry Potter: "You're a fraud. You've just been taking credit for what other wizards have done."
— Lockhart and Harry Potter[src]

Gilderoy Lockhart, D.A.D.A. professor from 1992-1993.

Lockhart's tenure ended when he attempted to attack Harry Potter and Ron Weasley outside the Chamber of Secrets and was hit by a backfiring Memory Charm from Ron's malfunctioning wand. Lockhart was admitted to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries with amnesia. Lockhart was presumably hired due to his reputation as an author, despite the fact that the more qualified Severus Snape wanted the position. As Snape was never a candidate in Dumbledore's eyes, Gilderoy got the post. Hagrid showed disdain over the decision, saying that Lockhart only received the position due to his celebrity status, and that he was the only applicant at the time due to the jinxed position making everyone else fear it. Despite his inflated reputation due to having published respected books on Defence Against the Dark Arts, Lockhart was a fraud, and failed to fool the students of Hogwarts for long. By year's end, Lockhart was regarded by the students and teachers largely as a joke, and the majority of the school was elated to see him go. He taught his second year students about the creatures he supposedly defeated, but all he really did was cause pandemonium in his first lecture by releasing Cornish pixies, and then reading passages from his books in subsequent classes, and reenacting them like a theatre play, often dragging Harry forward to help out against his will; all this had made them unable to learn anything aside from, as Ron Weasley puts it, "not to let pixies loose", The class probably did learn a little on Defence Against the Dark Arts as the events in Lockhart's books did happen, just by other witches and wizards, not Lockhart. Most of the classes usually revolved around Gilderoy and Harry, so therefore the class learned a lot about Lockhart.

Remus Lupin

"You're the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher we've ever had! Don't go!"
—Harry, pleading with Remus Lupin[src]
Remus Lupin at Defence Against the Dark Arts class

Remus Lupin as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor in 1993.

Lupin resigned after being revealed as a werewolf by Severus Snape, out of fears that the students' parents would not accept a werewolf as a Hogwarts teacher. Nevertheless, Lupin was enormously popular with the students and teachers, widely regarded as an effective, competent, and fair instructor and perhaps the best Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, particularly during Harry's school years; Hermione Granger even commented in fifth year that Lupin's exam was the only occasion where she and Harry both took a Defence exam from a teacher who knew what he was doing (exams were cancelled in second year, and Harry was exempt due to his status as a Triwizard Champion in fourth year). Severus Snape stood in for Lupin as D.A.D.A. instructor for one of his third year classes when it was full moon, in which most of the students were very unhappy about Snape's strict and unfair methods. Lupin taught the third years about various Dark creatures. Possibly Lupin's most significant piece of instruction was in teaching Harry Potter the Patronus Charm. When Professor McGonagall and Harry had their career advice session, she would reference Professor Lupin in regards to Harry's marks in Defence Against the Dark Arts.

Alastor Moody, impersonated by Barty Crouch Jr.

Barty Crouch Jr. impersonated as Alastor Moody at Defence Against the Dark Arts class

Barty Crouch Jr. impersonated Alastor Moody at D.A.D.A. class in 1994.

Bartemius Crouch Jr

Barty Crouch Jr.

Moody, a retired Auror with the Ministry of Magic, was brought out of retirement to replace Lupin at Hogwarts and keep a protective eye on Harry Potter. As an Auror, Moody possessed many special magical devices, including a Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, Foe-Glass, and other Dark detectors. He later turned out to be an impostor; Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise; having abducted the real Alastor Moody shortly before the school term began, using Polyjuice Potion to take on Moody's appearance. Crouch (as Moody) was nonetheless a very effective instructor, teaching the students true defensive skills and actively demonstrating the power of the Dark Arts, although an in-class presentation of the three Unforgivable Curses early in the year was controversial. After the discovery of Crouch's secret, Moody was released from captivity and returned to retirement; while Barty Crouch Jr, as an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, received the Dementor's Kiss. Moody was a teacher for the last couple of weeks in the 1994-1995 year. An interesting thing to note about Moody's period as teacher was that he briefly mentioned that he was only hired for the year anyway; whether this was truly the case or whether Crouch was lying at the time is left ambiguous.

Dolores Umbridge

Dolores Umbridge

Dolores Umbridge

Umbridge was assigned to the position by the Ministry of Magic to act as a means for the Ministry to interfere at the school. She was later named Hogwarts High Inquisitor and gained an unprecedented control over the students and the teachers. As D.A.D.A. instructor, Umbridge taught only theoretical aspects of defence and topics like conflict avoidance and fleeing, in stark contrast to practical combat and resistance teachings of the previous two D.A.D.A. instructors, and merely by making the students read from their textbooks, rather than teaching them herself.

During Umbridge's tenure, Harry, along with Ron and Hermione Granger, provided clandestine D.A.D.A. instruction for their fellow students, based in part on some of the experiences Harry gained in his conflicts with Voldemort and others. They formed Dumbledore's Army, a secret club dedicated to training interested students in the practical elements of wizarding combat that Umbridge refused to teach; when the organisation was discovered, Umbridge claimed that the spells Harry taught were inappropriate for students due to their age.

Dolores Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher

Dolores Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in 1995.

Umbridge was known to impose harsh punishments on Harry during her term, such as writing lines in his own blood during detention, as a way of forcing Harry to renounce his belief that Voldemort had returned to power. She challenged Dumbledore for his position as Headmaster, due to his support for Harry. Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts after Voldemort and his Death Eaters attacked Harry and his friends at the Ministry of Magic, which proved that he had returned to power and also proved the need for practical D.A.D.A. instruction for Hogwarts students. Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts immediately after the return of Lord Voldemort was announced by the Ministry.


Severus Snape

Severus Snape

Snape assumed the post of D.A.D.A. instructor, unexpectedly by most of the students because he had wanted the job for at least 5 years and had been refused it repeatedly by Dumbledore, and was replaced as Potions master by Horace Slughorn. Snape was assigned the post as Dumbledore finally relented, as there were no other teachers for the post. Little is said about Snape's tenure as D.A.D.A instructor other than that he seemed to focus on non-verbal spells, defence against creatures and spells used by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and was looking after Draco Malfoy, who was acting enigmatically, for much of the term.

Snape taught about nonverbal spells in his first class with the sixth years, in which only Hermione showed any talent in at that time, though Snape ignored the accomplishment; later, he requested an essay on resisting the Imperius Curse, which he found the class did unsatisfactorily and he had the very displeasure of reading them, and then an essay on Dementors that he expressed different methods in defending against from Harry's experience, and then having the class read about the Cruciatus Curse.

He also decorated the classroom to fit his own personality: closed windows with candles lighting the room made it dimmer than usual, and adorning gruesome pictures of victims of the Dark Arts, all the while expressing clearly his love for the Dark Arts, despite it being his duty to teach the students to defend against them. Snape and Malfoy eventually fled the school after the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, during which Snape killed Albus Dumbledore. The next year when Voldemort took over the Ministry, Snape was appointed headmaster of the school.

Amycus Carrow

Death Eater-Amycus Carrow-02

Amycus Carrow

In September of 1997, Carrow became the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts, although for that school year it was simply a class teaching the Dark Arts. Students were made to practice the Cruciatus Curse on other students who had received detention, as well as potentially teaching other forms of Dark Arts, such as Vincent Crabbe learning how to conjure Fiendfyre. Anyone who refused to practice the Cruciatus Curse on students, as Neville Longbottom did, were subjected to injurious punishments. Carrow himself, as deputy headmaster, would use the Cruciatus Curse, amongst other torturous methods, to punish students that he saw fit to. He was presumably arrested after Voldemort fell.

Amycus Carrow's successor and Harry Potter

After the death of Voldemort, the jinx on the Defence Against the Dark Arts position was lifted, and a permanent professor was hired for the job. They were known to invite Harry Potter, who had previously shown himself to be adept at teaching the subject as the leader of Dumbledore's Army, to occasionally give guest lectures on the subject.


First Years

The Curse of the Bogies, how to treat werewolf bites.

Second Years

Cornish Pixies, how to fight numerous creatures.

Third Years

Dark creatures: Boggarts, Kappas, Red Caps, Grindylows, Werewolves, Vampires, Hinkypunks.

Fourth Years

Curses, with emphasis on the Unforgivable Curses.

Fifth Years

Defensive theory.

Sixth Years

Nonverbal spells.

Known O.W.L.s

Defence Against the Dark Arts Book

Defence Against the Dark Arts book.

Behind the scenes

  • When J. K. Rowling was asked for the reason Dumbledore would not give Severus Snape the Defence Against the Dark Arts job, the author responded that Dumbledore believed that teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts would bring out Snape's worst side, though Dumbledore finally relented in Harry's sixth year. [1]
  • J.K. Rowling has also revealed that after Amycus Carrow was the Dark Arts teacher, a permanent teacher took the post, because Voldemort's curse over the job was lifted.
  • Each Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher attacked (or attempted to attack) Harry. Quirrell tried to strangle Harry and jinxed his broom during a Quidditch game, Lockhart attempted to erase his memories, Lupin went after him as a werewolf (although he alone out of all the others would never have attacked Harry had he been in his human form), Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Moody) attempted to kill Harry, Umbridge physically assaulted him, and Snape attacked Harry in retaliation for the latter trying to curse him during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Ironically, Amycus Carrow—who taught Dark Arts instead of Defence Against the Dark Arts—was attacked by Harry Potter after the former had insulted Minerva McGonagall.
  • Dolores Umbridge was the only female Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in the series, besides Galatea Merrythought (the latter of whom was not actually seen throughout the series, only mentioned).
  • The six D.A.D.A. professors who taught Harry each had a dark secret that he didn't learn until near the end of their respective school years:
    • Quirrell was serving Voldemort and was possessed by him.
    • Lockhart was a cowardly fraud who covertly stole the achievements of others.
    • Lupin was a werewolf.
    • Moody was actually Barty Crouch Jr., an escaped Death Eater.
    • Umbridge was the one who sent the Dementors that attacked Harry and Dudley.
    • Snape was the one who had reported the Prophecy to Voldemort, and was the Half-Blood Prince.
  • During his tenure as Potions master, Severus Snape only accepted students who achieved an Outstanding on their O.W.L.s into his N.E.W.T.-level Potions classes. However, when Snape became the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in the 1996–1997 school year, students who only achieved Exceeds Expectations were still allowed to take the N.E.W.T.-level D.A.D.A classes
  • The only book to have twice been assigned for this subject is: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection.
  • Tom Riddle twice applied for the Defence Against the Dark Arts position, the first time shortly after graduation from Hogwarts when he was turned down by Headmaster Armando Dippet, who claimed he was too young but invited him to re-apply a few years later. Many years later, after becoming steeped in the Dark Arts and starting to use the title "Lord Voldemort", he visited the school and applied again, this time to Dumbledore. He was refused again. According to Albus Dumbledore, after the second refusal, no Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher held the post for more than one school year. Dumbledore believed that this was due to Voldemort placing a curse on the position.[2]
  • Whilst it is known that Dumbledore did not wish Professor Snape to teach D.A.D.A. for fear of relapsing into his Death Eater ways it is also possible that (since the subject had been jinxed) he was also thinking of Snape's physical well-being (not least of all because of how useful he could have been—and was—in the long run).
  • Most of the D.A.D.A. teachers in Harry's six years at Hogwarts followed a similar pattern: each (with the exception of Quirrell and Snape) was an entirely new teacher, each was chosen out of necessity, due to the loss of the previous instructor and the absence of other applicants, each meets Harry before he arrives at Hogwarts in the respective year (with the exception of Mad-Eye Moody, who was only mentioned in passing - although Harry had unknowingly encountered Barty Crouch Jr at the Quidditch World Cup), and each physically (or magically) attacks Harry during school term, either intentionally, or accidentally as in the case of Remus Lupin.
  • In "Order of the Phoenix", when discussing who their new D.A.D.A teacher would be, Harry said that the teachers didn't have much luck as "One sacked, one dead, one lost his memory and one was locked in a trunk for nine months", referring to Lupin, Quirrel, Lockhart and Moody respectively; this isn't true. However, as Lupin wasn't sacked. Rather, he resigned.


Notes and references

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Professors: Galatea Merrythought · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape ·
Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
Textbooks: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls ·
Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Freezing Spell · Seize and Pull Charm · Patronus Charm · Killing Curse · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Impediment Jinx · Reductor Curse · Stunning Spell · Shield Charm · Nonverbal spells · Hex-deflection ·
Hex-Breaker · Hex Zapper
Creatures covered under the subject: Vampire bats · Iguanas · Cornish Pixies · Werewolves · Vampires · Hinkypunks · Boggarts · Red Caps · Kappas · Grindylows · Inferius

Wizarding Education
Beauxcrest Hogwarts shield DurmstrangCrest
The Eleven Schools: Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
Core classes: Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes: Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extra-curricular classes: Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy

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