In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Dumbledore teaches DADA. But from the books we always heard about him as of a Transfiguration teacher (say, in Tom Riddle's days).

It is stated in the movie that Dumbledore was prohibited to teach DADA by the Ministry, though the limitations seemed to be canceled at the end of the movie together with the removal of his handcuffs (not completely clear about the teaching though).

The strange thing is, however, that Dumbledore was a Transfiguration teacher and even the Head of Transfiguration Department in Hogwarts before Newt's days, as we learn from Pottermore:

Under the guidance of her [McGonagall] inspirational Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore, she had managed to become an Animagus

She [McGonagall] sent an owl to Hogwarts, asking whether she might be considered for a teaching post. The owl returned within hours, offering her a job in the Transfiguration department, under Head of Department, Albus Dumbledore.

That is of course if we accept that Minerva McGonagall in the movie is the same Minerva we know.

So it seems that he taught Transfiguration, then for some reason switched to DADA and then to Transfiguration again. While it is possible in general, is there any explanation for the reasons?

  • 3
    Child Soldiering: 101
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2018 at 9:49
  • 3
    JKR should really hire some of us HP nerds as creative consultants to catch these sort of things. Nov 28, 2018 at 11:43
  • 1
    Meh. Movie canon has never been exactly the same as book canon, this is just another example. Nov 28, 2018 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Minerva's time at Hogwarts (year unknown)

As you note in your question Minerva became an Animagus because of her Transfiguration teacher's guidance.

By the end of her education at Hogwarts, Minerva McGonagall had achieved an impressive record: top grades in O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s, Prefect, Head Girl, and winner of the Transfiguration Today Most Promising Newcomer award. Under the guidance of her inspirational Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore, she had managed to become an Animagus; her animal form, with its distinctive markings (tabby cat, square spectacles markings around eyes) were duly logged in the Ministry of Magic’s Animagus Registry.

Pottermore, Professor McGonagall By J.K. Rowling, School Career

Newt and Leta's time at Hogwarts (around 1910)

Newt and Leta would both have been 13 during 1910 (TCoG takes place in 1927 and the flashback occurs 17 years previously). Dumbeldore's occupation at this time is unknown though McGonagall was already on the teaching staff.




Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay

Newt and Leta's time at Hogwarts (around 1913)

We then know that 3 years later Dumbledore is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts as we see him with the students taking the Boggart lesson.


It is Boggart time. DUMBLEDORE supervises the line of teenagers advancing to try their luck. “Riddikulus”—“Riddikulus”—gusts of hilarity as a shark becomes a flotation device, a zombie’s head turns into a pumpkin, a vampire turns into a buck-toothed rabbit.

DUMBLEDORE All right, Newt. Be brave.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay

During Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (1927)

Dumbledore is of course teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, however, it is unclear if he is still the DADA teacher at the end of the film, though I would say it is implied he is.


DUMBLEDORE is teaching. A space in the middle of the room, all students enjoying the spectacle. A large boy—MCCLAGGAN—is braced for attack, his robes covered in dust, his tie knotted around his ear. He and DUMBLEDORE circle each other.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay

Tom Riddle's time at Hogwarts (1939 - 1946)

Assuming we can trust Tom Riddle's diary we see that Dumbledore was the Transfiguration teacher during his time there.

"Only the Transfiguration teacher, Dumbledore, seemed to think Hagrid was innocent. He persuaded Dippet to keep Hagrid and train him as gamekeeper. Yes, I think Dumbledore might have guessed…Dumbledore never seemed to like me as much as the other teachers did..."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17, "The Heir of Slytherin"

For some speculation as, as far as I know, we don't have any concrete information for why Dumbledore changed teaching roles. He initially started out as Transfiguration teacher during Minerva's time at Hogwarts, once she joined the team he felt like she could "take over" from him and so moved to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Sometime during the Fantastic Beasts series he can then no longer teach this... maybe he wasn't reinstated at the end of TCoG. At this point he then goes back to teaching Transfiguration as that is where he came from.

I've also seen speculation that Dumbledore could have been a substitute teacher during these flashbacks and the present day in TCoG but seeing as it happens on both cases during the film I would assume he actually was the DADA teacher.

It's worth noting that Jude Law has confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he does not teach Transfiguration during the film and so the theory of him being a substitute teacher seems unlikely.

So he teaches Transfiguration, right?

He doesn’t teach Transfiguration, actually, not at this stage.

Oh! Because in Potter lore, it was said he used to be a Transfiguration teacher before becoming headmaster…

At this stage in his career, he’s not. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say what he teaches…

Entertainment Weekly, Jude Law breaks silence on playing young Dumbledore

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