Defensive Magical Theory was a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry textbook written by Wilbert Slinkhard. Released in, or prior to 1995, it was used by Dolores Umbridge in Defence Against the Dark Arts classes to ensure the students were taught defensive magic in a "secure, risk-free way."
- "It was desperately dull, quite as bad as listening to Professor Binns. He felt his concentration sliding away from him; he had soon read the same line half a dozen times without taking in more than the first few words."
- — Defensive Magical Theory's boring content[src]
In Chapter 15, the author expressed his opinion that counter-jinxes were not named properly, because he believed that "counter-jinx" was a term simply used to make jinxes seem more acceptable. Apparently, Slinkhard disapproved of the use of jinxes in general. From this opinion, as well as from the chapter titles and the fact that Dolores Umbridge approved of the book, it can be assumed that Defensive Magical Theory discouraged the use of any defensive magic that could be used aggressively. Hermione Granger strongly disagreed and expressed her opinion in one of Professor Umbridge's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, which annoyed Umbridge.
Although Umbridge was initially impressed that Hermione had read the entire book and was able to quote it, she was quickly irritated when Hermione critiqued the text and coldly deducted points from Gryffindor for "disrupting her class with pointless interruptions." It is unknown how Hermione spent her time in Umbridge's classes after this. Possibly she was forced to re-read the book, though given her brainpower, it is likely she spent the time pretending to read while instead engaging her mind in other activities.
The contents of this book were deemed extremely boring by most students, as Harry Potter compared reading it to listening to the History of Magic teacher, Professor Cuthbert Binns, whose droning was enough to put most students to sleep. Harry found himself re-reading the first line half a dozen times, while Ron Weasley was staring at the same spot for a long time.
It is heavily implied that there were enough chapters in the book to keep them reading through the entire year's lessons. Harry almost checked the contents page early in the year, wondering if there could possibly be enough chapters to keep them reading this long, but got distracted. Much later in the year, the class opened their books to Chapter 34, "Non-Retaliation and Negotiation".
- Chapter One: "Basics for Beginners" (page 5)
- Chapter Two: "Common Defensive Theories and their Derivation" (page 19)
- Chapter Three: "The Case for Non-Offensive Responses to Magical Attack" (page 34)
- Chapter Fifteen: (unknown name) chapter concerning counter-jinxes
- Chapter Thirty-four: "Non-Retaliation and Negotiation"
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners book is used for Umbridge's classes, rather than this book. It has the same level of contents of theories on Defence, rather than practical information on countering the Dark Arts. However, it was constructed and produced by the Ministry of Magic and distributed by Umbridge herself.
- Also the latter title of the textbook in the film Basics for Beginners is the name of the first chapter of Defensive Magical Theory.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 12 (Professor Umbridge)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)