Dumbledore’s Army: Still Recruiting
Dumbledore’s Army wasn’t just a teenage gang (as Molly Weasley called it); it was created with the purpose of self-defense in a turbulent time for the wizarding world. The members of the DA formed life-long friendships and forged the bond that would help them become the future victors of the Battle of Hogwarts. For Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood, the DA was similar to the camaraderie that many of us find in the Harry Potter fandom. The common interest of the group helped them burst out of their shells. The adult-less environment allowed their classmates to get to know them without the interference of the social constructs of Hogwarts.
For Ginny, the DA was instrumental in letting Harry Potter see her skills and confidence, therefore laying the groundwork for their future relationship. Ginny becomes prevalent in the story and transforms from a little girl into an independent female character. She helps Harry get into Umbridge’s office, thrives in Quidditch, and holds her own in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
The DA gave Neville an outlet for his frustrations when Bellatrix Lestrange and other Death Eaters responsible for torturing his parents escaped from Azkaban. Neville shows his true potential for the first time during DA meetings. Before this, the intense adult figures in his life only fueled his lack of self-esteem. His grandmother constantly pointed out his inadequacies in comparison to his parents, Severus Snape belittled and humiliated him every chance he had in Potions class, and although Minerva McGonagall meant well, her stern nature discouraged an already insecure boy. The only place Neville thrived was in Herbology, where the good-natured Pomona Sprout offered a different teaching style. In the DA, Neville finally overcame the only obstacle present – himself. He learned spells that many students at Hogwarts were oblivious to. He proved himself capable of anything he desired to achieve while learning valuable skills that saved his life multiple times. The DA affected Neville in many positive ways and brought him closer to his future wife, Hannah Abbott.
‘D’you mind not offending the only people who believe me?’ Harry asked Hermione as they made their way into class.
‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, Harry, you can do better than her,’ said Hermione. ‘Ginny’s told me all about her, apparently she’ll only believe in things as long as there’s no proof at all. Well, I wouldn’t expect anything else from someone whose father runs The Quibbler’” (OotP 262).
Before the DA, Luna was just “Loony Lovegood,” a ridiculed student who was heavily judged by everyone, including the trio. She may have had some abstract beliefs and a quirky sense of fashion, but the DA helped people see past that. Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood continue to clash due to their contradicting personalities, but Hermione certainly grows to respect her as a person. Luna’s capacity to understand others and believe in the impossible influences her new friends in positive ways. Luna is someone who deserved friends much earlier in her life. She’s amazingly creative and open-minded. She also makes heartbreaking friendship murals. We all got a little emotional during that scene in Deathly Hallows.
Luna, Ginny, and Neville kept the DA alive in Deathly Hallows during an incredibly dark time for the students. Their acts of rebellion and friendship gave people hope in a desperate situation. Their friendship helped the remaining DA members build a safe space where students could seek refuge from the Carrows in the Room of Requirement. Without Dumbledore’s Army, who knows what would have happened when Death Eaters infiltrated Hogwarts in Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows? The heroic deeds of the DA led to many successful careers and friendships. Each member of the DA was altered for the better by exposing themselves to a diverse group of people they may not have met otherwise. The formation of a Defense Against the Dark Arts club gave teenagers agency over their learning and instilled in them a confidence that was pivotal to the outcome of the series. We all need a DA in our lives. Whether it’s a club or fandom, a lot can be gained by meeting new people who may share similar interests. Ten points to Dumbledore’s Army!