Why was there no Dumbledore's Army in the Half-Blood Prince?

In this year Snape is appointed as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts (DADA) teacher, and teaches, if my memory doesn't fault me, difficult non-verbal spells. It seems strange to me that Harry didn't recreate the DA. At first I thought he didn't want to annoy Snape, or to meet his anger, but Harry doesn't seem particularly frightened by Snape.

I just thought that, had the DA continued in Harry's sixth year, many of the former members could have greatly improved their dueling skills (as Neville did) and maybe the Battle Of Astronomy Tower could have been less bloody (Dumbledore would have died anyway).

I thought Harry didn't have the time, but thinking about that, he managed to successfully lead it in his previous year, with the OWLs, a couple of classes he eventually dropped before HBP (Care of Magical Creatures and Divination), and with the whole Voldemort-scar thing that gave him a hell of a year.

In the OoTP he didn't have the Quidditch training because he'd been banned, but in HBP he had more time he could use to tutor his friends. Maybe with several Death Eaters in Azkaban he relaxed a little, but he did know that Voldemort wasn't in prison. He almost seems to forget this.

He didn't even have to worry about being discovered, with no sneaks or Umbridge standing in his way. Maybe Dumbledore didn't want him to continue because he was afraid he could use his army to thwart Malfoy's plan? But Dumbledore had already arranged his death with Snape and had already told Harry several times not to worry about Malfoy. Harry, anyway, asked Dobby and Kreacher to keep watch on Draco.

I'm relatively new to the Harry Potter franchise, I've read the books a couple of times (I have seen the movies, but I don't particularly like them after Goblet of Fire) and I apologize if my question is stupid.

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    Why would there be? The DA was for learning practical Defence Against The Dark Arts when such things were banned in Hogwarts. In HBP Snape it the teacher and has no problem teaching practical spells. So why would anyone need the DA?
    – DavidS
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 16:53
  • I see your point,but I think it could have been at least,useful(personally I think that with Snape as a teacher,someone could have had trouble with the subject(Harry and Neville in the Potions class)). I just thought Harry could have used the DA as a way to help other students,and train them,preparing them to a war which is going to start.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:01
  • 4
    Snape is a bit of a dick, but he also appears to be a fairly competent, if unpopular, teacher where Harry isn't involved. Although he doesn't appear to suffer fools (Neville) gladly, and seems a little reluctant with his praise for muggle borns (Hermione, although that could be reflected proximity to Harry).
    – Jon Story
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 15:42
  • 3
    @john story i would say extremely competent not just fairly competent.
    – user428517
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 22:36
  • I agree with @sgroves; Severus was extremely competent. And although he could be quite cruel I at least understand where he was coming from (even though I wouldn't have bullied Harry in return). But even that is difficult: he was extremely complicated; perhaps that's part of what I like so much about him (that and it fits me quite well).
    – Pryftan
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 2:19

4 Answers 4


Snape was a good DADA teacher. At least when you consider the content of the lessons. He didn't do stuff that was unusual for that year because in transfiguration and charms they did non-verbal spells as well.

Nonverbal spells were now expected, not only in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but in Charms and Transfiguration too.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Hermione's Helping Hand

The reason for DA in OotP was that they only acquired theoretical knowledge in DADA, no practical experience with charms. So to counter that they founded a club where they learned the practical aspect of defending oneself.

She paused, looked sideways at Harry, and went on, “And by that I mean learning how to defend ourselves properly, not just theory but the real spells —”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: In the Hog's Head

There was simply no need for this anymore, because the foundation of lacking practical use didn't exist anymore.

We have no reason to believe that Snape's classes in lower years had unreasonable content.

  • I'm not saying Snape is a bad DADA teacher. But with his behavior,I thought that some students could have had trouble(Neville's fear of Snape reflected on his potion making,and Harry managed to get an E in the OWLs without Snape wandering near him). I agree with you on the DA,but the battle of DoM meant,at least to me,that there was a war and I don't think It would be wise to take a gap year in fight-oriented training. I accept your answer,but I still have doubts.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:31
  • 13
    @Luke no, the reason there was a DADA in OotP was not because Umbridge was mean. It was because they had no practical training in class, which they had with Snape. And Harry wasn't the almighty DADA powerhouse anymore. He had trouble with nonverbal spells as well, so he couldn't advice Neville even if he wanted to...
    – Armin
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:34
  • 1
    I didn't want to say mean,but incompetent. If you think about that,there are several students who got Lockhart or Umbridge in one of their school years. Or even Quirrell,whose classes are described as a joke,and I don't think their education was good enough(at least in those years),this proved by the DA's success in OoTP. Continuing the DA could have also made the members closer and more vigile(for the battle in the astronomy tower only Luna and Neville kept watch on the charmed Galleons).
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:51
  • 2
    I think Luke raises good points - Harry would have done well to train students up even further. Snape was a good teacher, but having run of the mill defence sessions when they know war is coming and that the enemy is growing stronger does raise a few questions in my eyes. Ultimately, though, I don't think JKR wanted to have the same thing happening again in this book. This book is so much more about Dumbledore and Harry coming to understand Voldemort.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 19:08
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    DA was more about: its better to have a useless student teach us practical spells than nothing, but with Snape teaching things well above Harrys skill/knowledge level DA its pointless. If someone needs practice they can practice after Snapes lesson (in their rooms). DA was a student trying to teach stuff that he hadnt fully learned himself yet. With Snape teaching advanced stuff well beyond Harrys knowledge, why would the need the 'crappy student' teaching DA when they could just read their class notes and practice anytime. DA wasnt needed at that point because of Snapes superior knowledge
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:28

Harry answers this himself when asked by Neville and Luna. There's no point in continuing because they're no longer following a Ministry approved syllabus that emphasises lack of practical experience with casting defensive spells.

With Voldemort's return now confirmed as fact, the whole Wizarding world in a state of panic, and a paranoid Fudge no longer Minister for Magic, there's no reason they wouldn't receive proper teaching in a DADA class from a competent teacher. It's possible that lessons would have been even more rigorous than in other years.

'Are we still doing DA meetings this year, Harry?' asked Luna, who was detaching a pair of psychedelic spectacles from the middle of The Quibbler.
'No point now we've got rid of Umbridge, is there?' said Harry, sitting down. ...
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter Seven - The Slug Club

  • 5
    No wonder Luna is in Ravenclaw. No Fudge as minister of magic,but Scrimgeour isn't going to win this war. Harry points out the lack of progress of the ministry several times(for instance,Stan Shunpike's arrest) and I think it's strange he doesn't want to continue the DA which by this point could be more than a practical DADA class. It could have made things easier for Neville,Ginny and Luna in their year with Snape as headmaster. I'm not saying they should have predicted everything,but they could have at least thought at the worst scenario.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 18:00
  • 3
    @Luke Harry's not exactly the brightest person in the world, to be fair. He was also 16. Looking in from the outside there's really no reason not to continue with Dumbledore's Army, but Harry didn't consider it necessary because Umbridge wasn't around and the Ministry was no longer actively preventing Hogwarts students from learning practical defensive (and offensive) spells in their regular lessons. Not sure what else you want us to tell you. That's the reason that's given in the book, whether it's a good one won't change things. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 18:12
  • You're right,and I don't want things to be told to me so I can be happy ignoring what's written in the books. Maybe I was overanalyzing it,but I just couldn't explain this fact. The answers you all gave me are very good.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 18:27
  • 2
    @Luke when you were 16 could you teach a degree to others, Snape WAS teaching them more than Harry ever could. If the students needed more practice they can read their notes and practice alone. DA was only because it was better to learn from a crap student than not learn at all. Harry was essentially 'reading a book' and then trying to teach others. Snape was teaching advanced stuff anyway. Imagine this: if you wanted to be good at 'French' would you read your notes (from a good teacher) or ask a student to read the next page in a text book and try to teach you (without knowing it themselves)
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:54

I'm going to throw this in as an answer folks, but it is pure speculation. However, I feel it answers the other side of the coin in relation to this question:

I think that Order of the Phoenix is a book where Harry knows war is coming and wants to fight. Umbridge gets in the way and just generally supresses open war, and Harry and co are determined to be prepared for a large-scale wizarding war.

However, by the end of Order of the Phoenix, Harry has heard the prophecy and discussed it with Dumbledore. He now knows, throughout Half Blood Prince, that it all comes down to Harry vs Voldemort, one must kill the other. So he throws himself into his own preparation for a mano-a-mano confrontation, and is less focused on war. The reason given in the other answers is highly accurate, said by Harry himself, but I think this point, this shift in tone, helps explain his thinking.


In my opinion, Harry should have continued with D.A lessons. Granted that the group was formed just to practice defensive spells but most of the members of the group were preparing themselves for all the dangers that lied beyond the walls of Hogwarts. Not only would re-formation of group have benefited everyone with regular practice of defensive spells but even prepare them against direct conflict with death eaters. Had D.A been active during Harry's sixth year, Harry could have put more students in charge of protecting Hogwarts when he was away with Dumbledore. Neville, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Luna would have got a better chance to defeating the death eaters. By the end of OOTP and even their involvement in climax scene of HBP, D.A have proved itself equivalent to younger version of Order of Phoenix group. The active members have shown that, if given the chance, they can protect Hogwarts against Death eaters.

  • While not untrue, this doesn't answer the question asked.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:45

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