When Professor Umbridge becomes Hogwarts High Inquisitor, she proceeded to hold inspections of all the other Hogwarts teachers to assess whether or not they are 'up to scratch'. However, despite the fact that Harry, Ron and Hermione mentioned several times that they looked forward to seeing Professor Binns' class being inspected ('Bet Umbridge is in History of Magic,' said Ron grimly, as they set off for Binns's lesson. 'She hasn't inspected Binns yet ... bet you anything she's there ...'), it appears that Professor Umbridge never bothered. I was curious why? Seems interesting to have the main characters mention it twice and then give no reason why it never occurrs.

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    What makes you think that she didn't? Not every teacher was inspected during Harry's lessons with them, and it likely wouldn't have been interesting enough for any of the other students to talk about it. Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 9:07

4 Answers 4


You have to remember that Hogwarts has 7 different years worth of students, from 4 different houses. Each class seemingly is taken by 2 houses at once, though it is possible that some are taught to more or less depending on attendance (i.e. when the students get older and can select their own courses). Assuming Professor Binns' teaches at least one course to each of the 7 years, this gives us (approximately) 14 courses total that he will be teaching (7 * 2). Harry had already witnessed Umbridge inspecting several teachers, and it seems unlikely that he would end up witnessing all of the inspections.

Also as @AnthonyGrist pointed out in his comment, it is unlikely that an inspection of Binns' class would be interesting in the least. He is known to be a bore, and teaches History. Professor Umbridge was more concerned with dispelling rumors about Voldemort and the present rather than facts about the past.

So in conclusion, it is safe to assume that Umbridge did inspect Professor Binns' class, but that it was (as expected) dull and uneventful, and therefore unworthy of discussing in the books. Especially since it seems unlikely that Harry even witnessed the inspection himself.

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    My question was more in relation to the fact that JKR wrote about the main characters twice wondering about that particular inspection, and yet she did not follow up with any mention of it beyond that. I wasn't referring to the odds of it happening when the main characters were there. Although your point about Umbridge's desire to dispel rumours in the present is interesting...
    – morganpdx
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 17:51
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    @morganpdx I am not sure that I understand, the odds of them having her inspect as many of their classes as she did were already pretty low. So it seems likely that she inspected Binns' during some other class period. Are you saying that because JKR mentioned that something as insipid as an inspection of Professor Binns' might happen she is required to then mention it again?
    – NominSim
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 18:01
  • Of courses she isn't required to mention it again. I just thought it was interesting that the main characters would mention it not once, but twice, and then never have Professor Umbridge shown inspecting the class. I wondered if there was a reason behind this from the author's perspective.
    – morganpdx
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 21:05
  • I thought part of Umbridge's reason for being at Hogwarts was to keep an eye on the trio as well (not specifically, but as potential "troublemakers") so she would make a point of inspecting the classes when they were in attendance?
    – NiceOrc
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 23:15

I guess Binns doesn't matter because he doesn't do anything but teaching. He doesn't oppose her, he doesn't criticise her and most importantly he is not a follower of Dumbledore.

I mean come on. That guy is so indifferent he couldn't care less about his own death. :-)


Nobody has yet mentioned the reason why Umbridge is at Hogwarts in the first place, and why she was made High Inquisitor. She is there to stop the students from learning self-defense or any spells that could be used against the Ministry. Classes such as Transfiguration, Charms, and especially DADA would likely be teaching spells that can be used offensively. History of Magic does not teach spells at all, which greatly decreases Umbridge's interest in it.

Additionally, as mentioned in other answers, Binns is not a great ally of Dumbledore like McGonagall or Flitwick. Umbridge does not see History of Magic or Flitick as a threat to the Ministry. She more likely sees Binns as a model teacher. He does everything by routine, he teaches straight from the textbook, there are no wands at all, and everything in his class is cold, hard fact.


I think probably she did inspect him, but with a different class, like in Flitwick's case. Another thing I think is that since Professor Binns is a ghost, it is probable that even if she did find dirt against him, it is unlikely she could do anything.

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    Whilst a nice theory do you have any evidence to edit in that you could back this up with?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 12:42

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