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"Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now: students. If they can do it, why not us?"
Harry Potter

Dumbledore's Army (or the D.A. for short) was a secret organisation formed by Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley in order to teach their fellow students Defence Against the Dark Arts in defiance of an incompetent teacher, Professor Umbridge.

Founded by Hermione Granger and taught by Harry Potter, it began teaching around 28 students in 1995. In around April 1996, the group were betrayed by Marietta Edgecombe and shut down. However, the group continued to support each other and a few members took part in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.

In the 1997-1998 school year, acting leaders Neville Longbottom, Ginevra Weasley and Luna Lovegood restarted the organisation when the school fell under the power of Lord Voldemort, who made Defence Against the Dark Arts simply the Dark Arts. Many of the members had important roles in the Second Wizarding War and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. The group achieved legacy status and their members achieved fame for being part of the later well-known organisation.

History

Founding

In around the end of September 1995, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley were fed up of Professor Umbridge's incompetent teaching of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Umbridge would not teach any student how to practically defend from the Dark Arts and taught them theory only because of the Ministry of Magic campaign to deny that Lord Voldemort was back (a fact only Harry knew for certain, but supported by Albus Dumbledore).

Knowing the students needed better training in Defence Against the Dark Arts because of their acceptance that Voldemort was back and they would need to combat him and the Death Eaters, Hermione proposed the idea of Harry teaching other students in a secret practical Defence study group, since Harry had learned advanced magic over the years and had successfully combated Voldemort. Harry had good experience of defensive and offensive magic but he was uncertain about teaching.[1]

He was finally persuaded when Umbridge had been promoted to High Inquisitor of the school and began restricting students even more. Hermione arranged a secret student meeting in the Hog's Head in Hogsmeade but Harry thought no-one would show up because many fellow students had also denied he was telling the truth about Voldemort and even thought he was simply lying or insane. However, many students from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff attended but Harry thought a few of them (including Zacharias Smith) only wanted to hear him tell the supposed story of how Cedric Diggory actually died.

However, Harry managed to persuade them of the truth in telling the story and the students began to think of Harry's many achievements in defence of the Dark Arts - from Harry's survival the night Voldemort killed James and Lily Potter, saving the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort, defeating the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, fending off Dementors with the Patronus Charm and winning the Triwizard Tournament. They knew he would be able to teach them the advanced magic Umbridge was denying them, and they signed up for the study group.[2]

Both the owner of the Hog's Head, Aberforth Dumbledore and Mundungus Fletcher who was spying on Harry for the Order of the Phoenix, informed the Order of Harry's plan to teach. However, a spy for the Ministry of Magic also informed the Ministry and Umbridge implement Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four, banning every student organisation that she had not approved. Ron thought that a member of the organisation had betrayed them, but at the meeting, Hermione had secretly bewitched the paper they signed their name on which would write the word "SNEAK" on their head if they ever betrayed the D.A. and pointed out that had not happened.[3]

Training

Even though Umbridge had banned student organisations she had not approved, Harry wanted the study group to happen and informed members the study group would go ahead once he found a suitable location in the school. Dobby the House-self informed him of a secret room in the school, the Room of Requirement and when they found out how to summon the room, they held their first session.

In that session, the students thought of a name for the organisation, and Cho Chang thought of the Defence Association and the D.A. for short. Ginevra Weasley thought the D.A. was a good name but that it should stand for Dumbledore's Army instead, because the Ministry was afraid of Albus Dumbledore's power. They also learned the Disarming Charm and when Zacharias mocked him for starting with such a simple spell, Harry informed him that it was the spell that saved him the night he duelled Voldemort in Little Hangleton.[4] b

Knowing they were being watched by Umbridge and that speaking in order to communicate when the next session would be was not safe, Hermione bewitched coins with the Protean Charm to give each member of the D.A. which would change the number on the coin to the date and time of the next meeting when activated by Harry. In the next few sessions, Harry taught them the Impediment Jinx, Reductor Curse, Stunning Spell and many other unknown spells until they broke up for the seasonal school break in December.[5][6]

In early 1996, the sessions began again, now further encouraged by the outbreak of many Deaths Eaters from Azkaban. Harry taught them the Shield Charm and began teaching the Patronus Charm by February 1996 when he gave an interview to The Quibbler. He defended the claims he had made about Voldemort and persuaded many witches and wizards that Voldemort was actually back and he was not insane. The wizarding world finally began to understand Harry instead of the image the Ministry of Magic had painted of him, and they sent him fan-mail. Seamus Finnigan joined the D.A. having denied Voldemort was back and arguing with Harry at the beginning of the school year.[7][8]

Betrayal

Umbridge knew that a secret organisation was taking place in the school and tried many times to find them in order to prove had made the organisation and punish them. In March or April 1996, a member of the D.A. named Marietta Edgecombe betrayed them to Umbridge when she informed Marietta her mother would otherwise lose her job at the Ministry of Magic. Marietta only joined the D.A. because her friend Cho Chang wanted her to. Dobby found out and let Harry know.

Marietta's head then had the word "SNEAK" wrote across it because of the bewitched parchment Hermione had made that Marietta signed, and Dobby found out and informed the D.A. of the betrayal. At the time, they were a study session and many members escaped but Harry was apprehended by Umbridge and when she searched the room, they found the bewitched parchment with their names under the heading of "Dumbledore's Army".

The parchment was proof for Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic that the secret organisation existed. However, she and Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge also thought that Albus Dumbledore had founded the organisation in order to build an army to challenge them and confronted Dumbledore. To Harry's surprise, Dumbledore acted responsible for the organisation in order to protect Harry and the other members from complete punishment.[9]

Kingsley Shacklebolt, an Auror and member of the Order of the Phoenix, placed the False Memory Charm on Marietta in order to tally her story with Dumbledore's which Fudge took to be further proof that Dumbledore had indeed started the organisation, but Dumbledore escaped being imprisoned with the help of Fawkes and went into hiding. In Dumbledore's absence, Umbridge became the new Headteacher of the school, but many never accepted her promotion to be legitimate.[10]

Time during Umbridge's promotion

Members of the D.A. began to rebel the promotion of Umbridge to Headteacher and Fred and George Weasley staged many pranks and even the other teachers supported them by looking the other way and not helping Umbridge to solve the problem. Then following the Easter holidays, they made part of the school a swamp, summoned their brooms, mocked Umbridge and jinxed her supporters, and then flying away from the school and leaving their final year of education to open a joke shop instead.[11]

Other students then began to take over pranks in their place, from dungbombs, Skiving Snackboxes and in the case of D.A. member Lee Jordan, letting Nifflers loose in Umbridge's office. During their O.W.L. examinations, members of the D.A. in the 5th year impressed examiners with the skills they had learned during their study sessions together. Marietta still had the word "Sneak" across her face and members of the D.A. now hated her for her betrayal. Cho was the only one who defended Marietta.

In June 1996, Voldemort planted a false idea in Harry's mind that he had took Sirius Black to the Department of Mysteries, and that he was torturing him for information. Harry wanted to go to the Ministry of Magic to save him but Hermione pointed out they needed proof. Joined by other members of the D.A., Neville Longbottom, Ginerva Weasley and Luna Lovegood, Harry, Ron and Hermione broke into Umbridge's office to contact 12 Grimmauld Place through the Floo Network.[12][13]

Umbridge found them and was about to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry when Hermione staged a breakdown and persuaded Umbridge that Dumbledore had the D.A. make a dangerous weapon. Umbridge was then persuaded to go to the Forbidden Forest with Harry and Hermione to find the weapon, and was dragged off by centaurs. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Ginny then went to the Department of Mysteries.[14]

The six members of the D.A. fought the Death Eaters in the Ministry of Magic joined eventually by members of the Order of the Phoenix. Their efforts finally proved that Voldemort was back, but he had tricked them by faking the capturing of Sirius Black, and he was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.[15][16] At the end of the school year, the D.A. was stopped because they no longer had any need to continue secret study groups when Umbridge was sacked. However, the D.A. defended Harry when Draco Malfoy and two friends bullied him, and they transformed them into giant slugs.[17]

Second Wizarding War

The D.A. was not formed again the 1996-1997 school year, but many members benefitted in Defence Against the Dark Arts because they knew many of the spells thanks to Harry's teaching.[18] In June 1997, Harry, Ron and Hermione called for members of the D.A. to help defend the school when Death Eaters broke in and killed Dumbledore. Only Neville, Luna and Ginny would answer the call and only Neville was hurt because Harry gave Ginny and Luna what was left of the Felix Felicis that Slughorn had given him, which made spells sent by Death Eaters miss them.{{HBP25[19][20]

In the 1997-1998 school year, Harry, Hermione and Ron would not attend in order to find Voldemort's final Horcruxes. The school was taken over by Voldemort who employed two Death Eaters to teach the Dark Arts (which was no longer about Defence). Neville thought it was a good idea to form Dumbledore's Army again and he, Luna and Ginny became acting leaders.

They rebelled the new leadership to the point of sneaking out at night and painted slogans on the walls. Neville, Ginny and Luna also attempted to steal the Sword of Gryffindor to give to Harry, but they were found and sentenced to detention in the Forbidden Forest with Rubeus Hagrid. However, in around March 1997, Luna was kidnapped by Death Eaters because her father wrote magazine pieces in favour of Harry Potter.[21] The D.A. then began scaling back their rebellion, but Luna later escaped and sent word through the D.A. coins.[22][23]

When Michael Corner was subjected to torturing by the Carrow siblings for trying to save a first year from imprisonment, Neville scaled back their rebellion and it began to die down because he was worried about the well-being of the students in the D.A. Later on, the Death Eaters found out that Neville was leading the D.A. and he had to go into hiding in the Room of Requirement. Many other members of the D.A. later joined him. They found a link between a painting which led to the Hog's Head and Aberforth sent them food to help them survive.[24]

Then in May 1998, Harry, Ron and Hermione went back to the school to search for one of the final Horcruxes and Voldemort knew, heading to the school with an army. Harry needed time to find the Horcrux and knowing a fight was heading their way, Neville called for old members of the D.A. who had to go into hiding or had graduated to join them in the fight by sending a call through the D.A. coins. Harry led a group of D.A. students with Luna Lovegood and four teachers to get the school back from Death Eater control for a short time.[25]

Many students of the D.A., both present and old fought in the Battle of Hogwarts on the front lines. Former members Fred Weasley and Colin Creevey were killed and many others wounded, but the fight ended in victory for Harry and the death of Voldemort, and the effort and actions of the Dumbledore's Army left not in vain, but in success.[26][27]

Legacy

At the end of the Second Wizarding War, the former D.A. students kept their coins which were now badges of honour.Anyone who fought in the final fight were invited by the new Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt to be an Auror without the normal exams to be accepted. Harry, Ron and Neville took the offer and Harry later became Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[28]

In the summer of 2014, a small Dumbledore's Army reunion took place at the final of the Quidditch World Cup: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny and Hannah Abbott attended and it was noted by the media and commentators. The same year, Rita Skeeter wrote a book about the D.A. named "Dumbledore's Army: The Dark Side of the Demob", probably another one her fictional "truth" books.[29]

Members

Notes and sources

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 30
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 33
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38
  18. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27
  20. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 20
  22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23
  23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24
  24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29
  25. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31
  27. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36
  28. Bloomsbury Web Chat
  29. New Writing by J.K. Rowling
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