The North Tower #30: The New DADA Teacher
Hello again. Since everybody seems to be taking a stab at this particular subject, I thought I’d do so myself. But let’s not start with a going-through of possible candidates at the end of OotP. Lets start by looking back and see what the position has been used for so far.
The main question I think most people asked themselves when reading CoS was whether Lockhart would turn out to be a new Quirrell. After all, they followed the same pattern and seemed utterly harmless and quite ridiculous. Even now, after Phoenix, we dont know where Lockhart stands on the Voldemort support scale (going from “No Voldy” to “Very Voldy”), though having no memory and being at St. Mungo’s is keeping him out of harm’s way for now.
If you take a look at all the DADA-teachers, you get the following:
|Teacher||Seems to be||turned out||DE?||secret|
|Keeping Vapormort in his turban|
|a fraud, dangerous||no clue||Had faked all his books|
|Lupin||competent, nice||much the same||no||Member of OotP, Werewolf|
delusional and was actually paranoid
not too bright
generally evil, after Harry
|probably not||Sent the Dementors|
It’s difficult to see a pattern here. We have two seemingly harmless and quite ridiculous individuals. One is controlled by Voldemort, one isn’t. Two seemingly nice ones, where one is controlled by Voldemort and one isn’t. And then Umbridge, who’s an appalling teacher and a horrible person but who doesn’t seem to be a Voldemort supporter at all. (She reminds me of Crouch Sr. actually) The only thing I can see here is that they all have a secret and that they seem to come in twos: the ones you laugh at, the ones you respect and the ones you fear.
This reading would favour one specific candidate for book 6: Severus Snape, to make the other part of the “the ones you fear” couple. After all, he and Umbridge are quite similar when it comes to sadistic teaching methods and liking to belittle the students. We know that Snape certainly used to be a DE and we’re unsure of his current sympathies. And we know that he has a secret, a big one, that we’ve been waiting for it for a long time. Snape would undoubtedly fit the pattern.
But… I don’t think it’ll be him. Firstly because he’s already the Potions Master and if he’d get the job teaching DADA, Dumbledore would have to find a new man to teach Potions (which might be a way for Harry to take the subject at NEWT level even if he doesn’t get an O in his OWL). If you look as Snape’s first speech to the class in PS/SS, it seems weird that he’d even want to change. He obviously loves dealing with potions and is extremely good at it. His classes are advanced for their level (Umbridge, OotP) and one does learn from hardship, so I don’t see why Dumbledore would want to replace him. I actually don’t even think that Snape really wants the DADA job (despite the rumours). I think he originally applied for it and kept applying for it because that’s where Voldemort would want him to work. Just like Fudge placed Umbridge in the DADA position to stop the Hogwarts students from learning to defend themselves and being used against the MoM, Voldemort would probably want Snape in a position where he’s able to teach not only DEFENSE against the Dark Arts, but also some ACTUAL Dark Art theory and be able to influence his students’ attitudes towards the Dark Arts (and eventually get new followers for him). Voldemort wants Snape to teach DADA, which is precisely why Dumbledore refuses to give him the job. Also, Snape wouldn’t want it because that would make his situation as double-spy extremely complicated: he’d have to teach the students enough to please Dumbledore but little enough to please Voldemort. Difficult and dangerous, and very similar to the situation in OotP, where Snape is put to the task of teaching Harry Occlumency, a skill Harry’s not allowed to master for Voldemort’s sake. Luckily for Snape, Harry hates him enough not to take the matter seriously and Snape could thereby tell both his masters that he did everything he could but that Harry just didn’t want to learn (although the version would change quite a bit between the two reports).
So, Snape probably doesn’t want the DADA job, and Dumbledore doesn’t want him to have it either, so unless the two of them cook up some new plan to fool Voldemort, Snape will not get the position.
The way I see it, JKR could either choose to keep up her DADA pattern, inserting an Umbridge-like teacher who will last just the one year, or simply break it and put somebody completely different there. She basically has the choice between three different types of character:
- A new character that we’ve never met before. This would follow the general pattern, since all of the previous DADA teachers have been in this category.
- A character that we know from before but who havent taught DADA at Hogwarts. Possible candidates: Dumbledore, Kingsley, Tonks, any other Order member.
- A returning teacher that we’ve seen before in the series. Possible candidates: Lupin and Moody (the real one this time)
Alternative number one is certainly the one that’d follow the previous structure the best. But I also think that, as the war is going on and Hogwarts will soon be under attack (I’m quite sure that this attack will be in book 7 though), Dumbledore can’t afford to get another useless teacher for this important subject. Of course, Dumbledore could have a trusted friend somewhere (he sure seems to have a lot of those) who’ll be willing to step in and do the job.
Alternative number two is only likely for one single character: Dumbledore. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the other Order members are busy with the Order and with their respective careers. Kingsley or Tonks wouldn’t give up their jobs as Aurors to come teach DADA at Hogwarts. It just wouldn’t be good for the Order, seeing as they need as many people inside the Ministry as possible, and people working as Aurors will be especially valuable because they’ll get information on DE activity. So let’s just strike everyone in the Order who actually has a job off the list shall we? (That leaves basically Molly Weasley, Dumbledore, Lupin and Moody) Secondly, Harry will need as much preparation as possible and he’ll need a teacher that he both trusts and who’s extremely powerful. In DADA, Harry’s probably already achieved the level (or close) required for NEWT and he’ll need someone who’s clearly much better than him to really advance his magic. From the demonstration Dumbledore gave when fighting Voldemort in the Atrium, I think we can all agree that he would be very well suited for this job.
Alternative number three would work story-wise, as both Lupin and Moody are free to take a job. It probably wouldn’t do too much for the actual storytelling, though, as it would risk repeating either book 3 or book 4. Possibly, those two could bring some more background story in with the—Lupin about James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew and everything that happened in their time at Hogwarts and Moody about VoldWar I, Dumbledore, the DE’s and so on. JKR might choose to go there too.
I personally see Dumbledore as the new DADA teacher, just because he’d be really good and it’d give JKR the opportunity to write some really cool lessons. I also think that Dumbledore will start giving Harry extra lessons to prepare him for the end, probably both in Occlumency and in DADA. Harry might also get to do some extra History of Magic, concerning the period from Tom Riddle’s birth until his fall at Godric’s Hollow.
Then there’s the little snatch about the DADA teacher only staying for one year. JKR might very well choose to break this pattern as well, but I’ll still be a bit worried if a character I like ends up as the new teacher. Especially if that character is Dumbledore, who already has the entire literary tradition of “mentor dying so that the hero can step into his role as the true leader, which he needs to do to fulfill his destiny” working against him. But I hope we won’t come to that, even if I fear we probably will. Oh well, I’ll cry my eyes out on that bridge when I get there… 🙂
See you next time