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"I – I think everybody should write their name down, just so we know who was here. But I also think that we all ought to agree not to shout about what we're doing. So if you sign, you're agreeing not to tell Umbridge or anybody else what we're up to."
Hermione Granger presenting the parchment to the newly-established Dumbledore's Army[src]

A parchment was signed by most members of Dumbledore's Army when the organisation was founded in October of 1995.[1] It served largely as a security measure designed by Hermione Granger, who secretly placed a jinx on it that would detect and identify anyone who betrayed the D.A.[2]



"Fred reached out for the parchment and cheerfully wrote his signature, but Harry noticed at once that several people looked less than happy at the prospect of putting their names on the list… When the last person – Zacharias – had signed, Hermione took the parchment back and slipped it carefully into her bag. There was an odd feeling in the group now. It was as though they had just signed some kind of contract."
— Description of the parchment being signed[src]

In October of 1995, Dumbledore's Army was founded by Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley in order to learn practical Defence Against the Dark Arts, oppose Dolores Umbridge’s dictatorial rule of Hogwarts, and prepare to fight Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.[1]

The meeting of Dumbledore's Army in the Hog's Head

Although student organisations had not been banned by Umbridge when the D.A. was initially formed, it was expected that she would oppose the group’s existence, thus secrecy was paramount. Hermione informed the group that gathered in Hog's Head of this, and presented them with a parchment to sign. She told them that it meant they had to keep the group secret,[1] but did not inform them that she had placed a jinx on the parchment that would cause anyone who signed the parchment and betrayed the D.A. to break out in boils that spelled “SNEAK” across his or her face.[2]

Fred Weasley signs his name on the parchment

Fred Weasley signed first and without hesitation, followed by George, but the others were more reluctant. Ernie Macmillan was the only one to voice his objection, arguing that the list would be incriminating if it were found and worried for his Prefect position. Harry reminded Ernie that he had previously argued that the D.A. was the most important thing they could do that year, and Hermione assured him that she would protect the parchment. Ernie finally signed, and everybody else followed; Marietta Edgecombe gave Cho Chang a scornful look before signing, and Zacharias Smith was the last.[1]


Cho: "That was a really horrible trick of Hermione Granger's. She should've told us she'd jinxed that list -"
Harry: "I think it was a brilliant idea."
Cho Chang and Harry Potter arguing about the jinxed parchment[src]

Fudge holding the parchment Umbridge handed him

Later in the school year, Marietta Edgecombe betrayed the D.A. to Umbridge, triggering the jinx on the parchment. The Inquisitorial Squad raided the Room of Requirement, and Pansy Parkinson found the parchment, which Hermione had pinned onto the wall of the room since the first meeting and did not take off, and Umbridge attempted to use it as evidence and to weed out all members. However, most D.A. members managed to escape punishment, since Albus Dumbledore took the blame by using the title "Dumbledore's Army" to redirect Fudge's attention away from Harry, and secret Order of the Phoenix member Kingsley Shacklebolt used a Memory Charm on Marietta, preventing her from confessing truthfully.[2]


Most of the members of Dumbledore's Army in the Room of Requirement

Behind the scenes

Dumbledore’s Army Sign-up Sheet as seen on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Brilliant Dumbledore’s Army Sign-up Sheet as seen on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

  • Seamus Finnigan did not sign the parchment because he did not attend the original meeting of Dumbledore's Army at the Hog's Head, but became a member of the D.A. eventually.
  • Despite Hermione assuring Ernie that she would not leave the list lying around for Umbridge to see, this is exactly what happened when the group fled from the Room of Requirement, Hermione too hasty that she left the list pinned to the door, and Umbridge taking it as evidence.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it was Cho Chang who betrayed the organisation, under the influence of Veritaserum. However, her betrayal did not trigger the jinx, nor did Hermione ever mention that she placed one on the parchment in the first place.
  • In the novel, Fred was the first to sign, followed by George, and Zacharias being the last. In the film, based on the order of the names, the first to sign was Hermione, followed by Ron, then Harry, and then George was the first outside of the founding leaders to sign, followed by Fred, and Zacharias the twelfth. Also, they were already calling themselves "Dumbledore's Army", as opposed to creating the name in their first official meeting.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)