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Visitor's Guide to Hogwarts

Defence Against the Dark Arts Class

by Parker Nesbit

"The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.

"Your defences must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the Arts you seek to undo."

    - Severus Snape (HBP9)

Defence Against the Dark Arts classes:
1st through 7th years

Classroom:
Located on the first floor [1]. It has windows, since the pixies broke them to escape. It also has an iron chandelier, or did until it fell from the ceiling under the weight of Neville hanging by his ears.

Curriculum and classroom activities:
The teacher for the first year was Professor Quirrell. Hagrid said (paraphrasing) that he was all right until he took a year off to get some practical experience. The classroom smelled strongly of garlic, said to be protection against a vampire he'd met in Romania and feared was coming back to get him. The turban was supposedly given to him by an African prince because he'd gotten rid of a zombie. When Seamus asked him to tell them how he fought off the zombie, he changed the subject. There was a funny smell hanging around the turban, too. It was said to be garlic, but...

The Curse of the Bogies, which he supposedly taught them has an effect that's unknown.

Lockhart was the 'teacher' in Harry's second year. He brought Cornish Pixies to class, but couldn't handle them (the spell 'Peskipiksi Pesternomi' was not really a spell). He talked (and wrote!) a lot about the things he'd done, but when it came right down to it, he was just a sham. They did cover the Homorphous Charm, which turns a werewolf back into a person, and the Babbling Curse (effects are not given), but how much they learned is dubious, since he really didn't do anything he claims to have done.
Professor Boggart Snape
Remus Lupin taught them Harry's third year, and from the beginning, he proved himself to be a different breed. They studied Dark Creatures their third year. The first class was hands-on as they battled a boggart. He also brought a grindylow to class so that they could observe it. They covered hinkypunks, kappas, Red Caps, vampires and werewolves in the year. Their final exam was a practical one, an obstacle course with some of the creatures they'd studied.

The fourth year brought yet another teacher, Alastor Moody (ok--Barty Crouch, jr. Polyjuiced). Although they were only supposed to be learning counter-curses (per MoM regulations), Moody covered the Unforgivable Curses, demonstrating with spiders. This is not normally taught until sixth year, but he said that Dumbledore wanted them to learn what they were like. He put the Imperius Curse on each of them in turn until they could fight it off.

In their fifth year, Harry and his fellow students were taught by Dolores Umbridge, who taught theory only with no practical training whatsoever. The book used was Defensive Magical Theory and it discourages anyone from ever using any form of offensive magic spell. The chapters of the book instead focus on negotiation and states that there is no good use for a jinx. Umbridge did not allow the students to discuss the material and certainly not to disagree with it. The class was a sham and if it weren't for the fact that Harry taught a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts group that year, no one would have learned a darn thing.

Assignments given out:

  • reading a chapter on boggarts and handing in a written summary (assigned on a Thursday, due Monday) (PA6)

  • essay on vampires (PA14)


NOTES:
[1] From CS6:

"(Lockhart) set off back to the castle with Harry, who was wishing he knew a good Vanishing Spell, still clasped to his side. "A word to the wise, Harry," said Lockhart paternally as they entered the building through a side door...Deaf to Harry's stammers, Lockhart swept him down a corridor lined with staring students and up a staircase...They had reached Lockhart's classroom and he let Harry go at last."
They were entering from the courtyard where the students spend their break, so they were on the ground floor. They went down a corridor, then up a staircase, so they were on the first floor when they get to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.

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