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

Defence Against the Dark Arts (sometimes written as D.A.D.A.) is a mandatory subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in which students learn how to magically defend themselves against Dark Creatures and the Dark Arts.

The curriculum of the class varies greatly depending on what the professor at the time deems appropriate; due to the jinx on the teaching post, a great many teachers were appointed.

The class is mandatory from the first year until the fifth year, with the option of N.E.W.T. classes for those who qualify to take it.jjn


1991-1998 Curriculum

"You have had five teachers in this subject so far, I believe. Naturally, these teachers will all have had their own methods and priorities. Given this confusion I am surprised so many of you scraped an O.W.L. in this subject. I shall be even more surprised if all of you manage to keep up with N.E.W.T. work, which will be much more advanced."
—Professor Snape on the curriculum's instability.[src]

Due to the constant changing of teachers, the curriculum of Defence Against the Dark Arts varies from year to year. Each teacher has their own priorities, their respective efficiencies proportional to their beliefs and methods. Such as Quirinus Quirrell and Dolores Umbridge believing that theories are enough (which is, in fact, more hindering), while the more effective Remus Lupin, "Alastor Moody" and Severus Snape have a more balanced belief in theory and practical defence. Gilderoy Lockhart, fraudulent and incompetent, is one known teacher who has taught nothing to the classes of his respective tenure, aside from nonsensical and unrelated materials. In the 1997-1998 school year, the class was changed to Dark Arts.

Second Year

Third Year

Fourth Year

Fifth Year

Sixth Year

Known O.W.L.s

File:Defence Against the Dark Arts Book.JPG

Defence Against the Dark Arts book.

Behind the scenes

  • Sixth years are supposed to be given demonstrations on what illegal curses look like; it was only in the 1994-1995 school year that this was changed to the fourth year.
  • 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, a belief that was popularly spread throughout the school.
  • 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.
  • 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 much of importance he could have been, and was, in the long run). Despite Dumbledore's fear, however, Snape did not truly return to his old ways when granted the position he sought for, though he did teach the lessons with a sense of passion for the Dark Arts.
  • 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 had previously sent Dementors to attack him, though this was before she taught the subject), 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).
  • In the 1995–1996 school year, the Ministry believed that Albus Dumbledore would use the students as part of his private army to overthrow the Ministry. As such, Cornelius Fudge implanted Umbridge as the professor, and so-claimed to have rectified the unstable syllabus by teaching theoretically, which is in truth a way to prevent the students from being trained in combat (i.e. defensive spells).
  • The six professors of this subject 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.
  • 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
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Tower · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Verdimillious (uno, duo & tria) · Wand-Lighting Charm · Glacius · 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
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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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