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"You see, we have not been able to keep a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor for more than a year since I refused the post to Lord Voldemort."
Albus Dumbledore explaining Voldemort's jinx to Harry Potter[src]

This jinx (incantation unknown) was cast by Tom Marvolo Riddle, who was by the time known exclusively as Lord Voldemort, to curse the Hogwarts school's Defence Against the Dark Arts class to ensure that none of its applicants could hold their post for more than one year.[1] It is unknown what the requirements and incantation of this jinx were, or if it could be used for other school subjects or other establishments and careers. The jinx could only be lifted once the caster had died.[2]


Tom Riddle's request[]

"You have had five teachers in this subject so far, I believe. Naturally, these teachers will all have had their own methods and priorities. Given this confusion I am surprised so many of you scraped an O.W.L. in this subject. I shall be even more surprised if all of you manage to keep up with N.E.W.T. work, which will be much more advanced."
— Snape on the curriculum's instability due to the jinx's effect[src]

Upon his graduation from Hogwarts, Tom Riddle asked the then Headmaster, Armando Dippet, for the post as Professor for the Defence Against the Dark Arts class, due to his love for Hogwarts and passion for the Dark Arts. Professor Dippet cordially rejected Riddle's application because Riddle was too young at eighteen years old but offered him to reapply after a few years if he was still interested.[1]

Over two decades later,[3] when Riddle resurfaced as the mysterious Lord Voldemort, he returned to Hogwarts to ask for the job once again. At this time, Albus Dumbledore had taken over as Headmaster, and, knowing of Voldemort's dark intentions, rejected his application. Although Voldemort was merely using the application as an excuse to return to Hogwarts to do research into dark magic, recruit more followers, and hide his diadem Horcrux, he was still infuriated that his return to the school had been denied despite also knowing that Dumbledore would never hire him. In revenge, Voldemort jinxed the position to ensure that no applicant of the Defence Against the Dark Arts post could keep it for more than one year.[1]

"That job's jinxed. No one's lasted more than a year... Quirrell actually died doing it. Personally, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for another death..."
Harry Potter regarding the jinx[src]

A secondary and more strategic reason for jinxing the post could be Voldemort's wish to reduce the quality of the teaching of the subject, as its purpose was directly opposed to his personal goals. Disrupting the teaching by an annual change of staff would make future students less capable of self-defence. After a certain amount of times of this jinx's effects, the subject has fewer willing applicants as many came to fear of being jinxed, resulting in the necessity of Dumbledore going out to seek for a new teacher and give them offers to persuade them to take the job.[1] In 1995, Dumbledore actually failed to find a replacement due to the jinx's reputation, enabling the Ministry of Magic to implant their own teacher, Dolores Umbridge.[4]

Throughout the time between Voldemort's career interview and death, the jinx continuously claimed a teacher per year. The potency of the jinx was so great that nobody seemed to be able to remove it,[1] not even Albus Dumbledore enhanced with the Elder Wand, until the caster's demise.[2]

Known victims of the jinx[]

"I've decided to accept Dumbledore's offer to become the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. They say the position is cursed, but curses were made to be broken."
Patricia Rakepick[src]

Once Voldemort placed his jinx on the post, around the end of each school year, the teachers of the class were forced to leave due to one reason or another from the effects of the jinx.[1]

Wizard(s) Time Notes
Undentified witch or wizard 1984–1985 school year The incompetent teacher left the job by the end of the year for unknown reasons.[5]
Undentified wizard 1985–1986 school year The teacher proved to be more incompetent than the previous year's teacher, rarely showing up to teach, which probably contributed to their resignation.[6]
Undentified witch or wizard 1986–1987 school year Far from an improvement of the previous year's teacher, they left for yet-unknown reasons.[7]
Undentified witch or wizard 1987–1988 school year Considered to be an inept teacher, even by famous Curse-Breaker Patricia Rakepick. Left for unknown reasons.[8]
Patricia Rakepick 1988–1989 school year Accepted the position at Dumbledore's request. Fled after revealing her affiliation with R in the Buried Vault.[9]
Undentified witch or wizard 1989–1990 school year Considered to be so useless that William Weasley stepped in to tutor students after daily classes were done.[10]
Undentified witch or wizard 1990–1991 school year Was not very competent as Bill Weasley continued to tutor students.[11] Ran off without a word in the middle of the year, after being spooked terribly during a night.[12]
Olivia Green Employed in the middle of the school year.[12] She had Jacob's sibling investigate the existence of the jinx for her.[13] She resigned for unclear reasons to return to work at the British Ministry of Magic.[14]
Quirinus Quirrell 1991–1992 school year Died when he suffered excruciating pain from Harry Potter's love-protection and Voldemort's fragmented soul left his body.[15]
Gilderoy Lockhart 1992–1993 school year Lost his memory due to a backfiring Memory Charm with a broken wand.[16] Sent to St Mungo's Hospital for recuperation but never fully recovered.[17]
Remus Lupin 1993–1994 school year Revealed by rival teacher Severus Snape to be a werewolf and forced to resign due to parents' protests about the safety of the school.[18]
Barty Crouch Jnr 1994–1995 school year Alastor Moody claimed to be only teaching a year before retiring: turned out to be Barty Crouch Jnr in disguise.[19] Barty received the Dementor's Kiss,[20] Moody was imprisoned in his own magical trunk for almost one year and did not teach at all, hinting that the fact that he was appointed made him a victim too.[19]
Dolores Umbridge 1995–1996 school year Removed when Cornelius Fudge was forced to accept that Lord Voldemort had indeed returned,[21] leading to the abolition of all of Umbridge's Educational Decrees.[22]
Severus Snape 1996–1997 school year Escaped when he reluctantly killed Albus Dumbledore, which was secretly planned with the Headmaster to spare him the pain of a deadly curse, abandoning the post in the process.[23][24][25]
Amycus Carrow 1997–1998 school year Incapacitated with the Cruciatus Curse by Harry Potter before the Battle of Hogwarts [26] and presumably arrested after Voldemort's death for his crimes committed as a Death Eater.

The jinx lifted[]

After Voldemort's downfall, the jinx was broken and Hogwarts was able to keep a permanent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.[27]

Behind the scenes[]

  • This jinx was never mentioned or referenced in the films since Dumbledore never mentions that Voldemort wanted to be a D.A.D.A. teacher. However, in the sixth game, Ron claims that the D.A.D.A. post was jinxed.
  • In the films, several of these teachers suffer a slightly different fate.
    • Quirinus Quirrell, instead of being burnt raw and red by Lily's protection, was burned completely to ash upon being in contact with Harry and crumbled to death.
    • Barty Crouch Jnr was not noted to receive the Dementor's Kiss, but he certainly fell into the custody of the authorities.
    • Dolores Umbridge was suspended for suspicions on her activities in school, with an impending investigation (but then apparently removed later).
    • Amycus Carrow was simply struck down by a stray spell while Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall duelled in the Great Hall instead of being knocked unconscious by Harry's Cruciatus Curse for being vulgarly offensive to Minerva. No further actions were shown to be used to restrain the unconscious Amycus.
  • It is uncertain if Amycus Carrow ever would have been affected by this jinx since the subject was replaced with the Dark Arts.
  • Tom Riddle put the jinx on the post to ensure no one would keep the place of D.A.D.A teacher. Coincidentally, three of his followers suffered the jinx which prevented him from getting his plans into action.
  • The concept of having the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher suffer a horrible fate every year was inspired by the semi-fictional metal band Spinal Tap, which has a quantity of fictional past drummers who all died in various ridiculous ways such as choking on vomit or spontaneously combusting.[28] Incidentally, one of the drummers died by being eaten by their pet python, mirroring Snape's eventual fate of being killed by Nagini. One of the band members also died while falling off a train in King's Cross.
  • When Severus Snape was announced to be the next Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher during 1996, Harry Potter made a rather spiteful remark that he is glad that "Snape will be gone by the end of the year" and "keeping [his] fingers crossed for another death", after Quirrell died on the job four years back due to this jinx. Ironically, Harry got his wish when Snape killed Dumbledore (i.e. "another death") and abandoned his post.
    • Unlike every other known teachers affected by the jinx, all of whom either left Hogwarts or died in duty, Snape was able to remain (or rather, return) to the school the following year, albeit at a different position.
  • Voldemort finished school in 1945, and applied to Armando Dippet, the then-headmaster, for the DADA post. Dippet refused on the grounds that Riddle was too young. Riddle's last attempt at getting the position was not long after Dumbledore became headmaster, sometime before Remus Lupin's eleventh birthday in 1971. This means that at least twenty-seven witches and wizards were subjected to its effects before Voldemort's final death.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Accio Quote!
  3. Dumbledore became Headmaster sometime between March 1965 and March 1971, as explained on Albus Dumbledore page.
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
  5. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 8 (Preparing for the Room)
  6. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Chapter 6 (Bill Weasley)
  7. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 7 (Jacob's Room)
  8. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 4 (Curse-Breakers)
  9. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 30 (Into the Vault)
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 5 (Wherefore Art Thou, Weasleys?)
  11. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 3 (On the Case) - Defence Against the Dark Arts Lesson "Chameleon Ghoul"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 40 (Family Matters)
  13. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 41 (That's Awkward) - Assignment "The DADA Jinx"
  14. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 58 (The End of an Era, the Start of Something New)
  15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
  20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
  21. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  24. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  25. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
  27. Vieira, Meredith. "JK Rowling One-On-One: Part One." Today Show (NBC) , 26 July 2007
  28. J.K. Rowling answers questions at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 5 April 2010. Archived on Accio Quote!