Dumbledore tells us that DADA professor job at Hogwarts was cursed - no teacher lasted for more than a year - ever since Voldemort was denied the position.

"Oh, he definitely wanted the Defence Against the Dark Arts job. The Aftermath of our little meeting proved that. 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." - HBP.

Is it known from canon what year that event happened? In other words, how many years was the job cursed for?

(we know the curse ended in Year 7, after Voldemort's death, with Carrow being the last 1-year-termer).

2 Answers 2


According to the Harry Potter Lexicon, it is estimated that Voldemort cursed the Dark Arts position in 1957:

1957 (Y-23) [Voldemort] resurfaces and applies to teach [Defence Against the Dark Arts] Ten years after the death of [Hepzibah Smith], [Voldemort] returns to [Hogwarts], where Dumbledore] refuses to grant him a teaching job. He then curses the [Defence Against the Dark Arts] position, and since that day, no professor has stayed for more than one year in that post. Again we don't know exactly when this happened, but since most evidence points to [Dumbledore] becoming headmaster in 1956 [[Y-24]], [Voldemort] couldn't have come looking for a job much sooner than this. (HBP20)

This is an approximation. I have never been able to find specific dates regarding Voldemort, except for his attack on Harry on October 31, 1981, in canon.

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    I'm a bit leery about their precision. They way it sounds to me was "Any year between 1957 and 1975", the latter being my random estimate when the First Wizarding War began. Nov 18, 2012 at 1:38
  • It's definitely an estimate, but as long as 1957 - 1975. In Dumbledore's memory, Harry notes that Voldemort is no longer the handsome Tom Riddle, and that Voldemort's features are not yet as damaged as they would become. In PS/SS, Dumbledore notes there has been precious little to celebrate for the past eleven years, which suggests Voldemort came to power in 1970; the Lexicon notes that Hogwarts was one of the safe places away from Voldemort and the Death Eaters, so it seems unlikely that Voldemort would have been allowed in the castle to speak to Dumbledore about the DADA position (cont.) Nov 18, 2012 at 2:27
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    Here is the timeline for the rise of Voldemort (and, again, I'm not claiming it's perfect). When Voldemort came to interview for the DADA position, Dumbledore told Voldemort he was aware Voldemort was engaging in the darkest magic. As well, Dumbledore correctly identified Mulciber, Avery, Nott, Lestrange, and perhaps a couple more as waiting for Voldemort at the Hog's Head, and DD was aware this small group were the first Death Eaters. As Voldemort finished Hogwarts in 1945, and these men (cont.) Nov 18, 2012 at 2:36
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    had been part of Tom Riddle's rather elite gang of friends, that would put the small group of original Death Eaters at around the same age as Tom Riddle. The rise of the Dark Lord began in the 60s and really escalated starting in 1970. I think 1957 is a sensible approximation of when Voldemort went to Hogwarts to ask Dumbledore for the DADA position. What triggers it for me is the presence of the original Death Eaters coming along with Voldemort as Voldemort asks for a job. There were not leagues of Death Eaters, but around six. That would've been early on, as I interpret it. Nov 18, 2012 at 2:41
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    And one correction: the first line of the first comment should read "It's definitely an estimate but not as long as 1957-1975." Check out chapter 20 in HBP - Lord Voldemort's Request; I kind of tried to synopsize it. :) Nov 18, 2012 at 2:43

Actually, there are more definite dates than that. We know the Chamber of Secrets was last opened in 1942. (Fifty years before 1992, as stated in Chamber of Secrets, ch.13.) We know that Hagrid was blamed for that, and expelled (CoS ch.13). We know that Hagrid was expelled in 3rd year (CoS ch.17). And we know that Riddle was a prefect (therefore 5th year) when he "caught" Hagrid (CoS ch.13). Therefore, Riddle was in 5th year in 1942-1943, which means he was at Hogwarts from 1938-1945.

Since Dumbledore tells Harry that Riddle's second application for the DADA post was 10 years after his first, which was on leaving school (Half-Blood Prince, ch.20), Riddle's second application was therefore in 1955.

And, of course, we also know he was born on New Year's Eve (HBP ch.13), placing his birth as 31st Dec 1926 (in order to make him 11 years old when arriving at Hogwarts in September 1938).

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    This is a good answer but always include evidence/source of your information in the answer.
    – HBhatia
    Oct 30, 2018 at 8:36
  • Fifth Year is only the minimum age for prefects.
    – Alex
    Nov 5, 2018 at 0:02
  • Also, depending on how long it was from when Voldemort graduated until he killed Hepzibah Smith, and depending on how precise "ten years" is, it may have already been the next school year by the time Voldemort reapplied to teach (i.e. the 1956-1957 school year according to your timeline).
    – Alex
    Nov 5, 2018 at 0:36

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