As confirmed by this question, Dumbledore knew that the Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) position was cursed by Voldemort so that no professor would hold the position for more than one year. That means that when he finally decided to give Snape the job in the sixth book, he would have known that Snape wouldn't last as DADA teacher more than a year.

This seems like a pretty big risk to take given Snape's value to Dumbledore, and that in the past, DADA teachers had ended up in pretty bad shape (one attacked by a herd of centaurs, one locked in a trunk for 9 months, one fired, one lost his memory, one dead).

My question then is: did Dumbledore plan out, in any rough way, how Snape should lose the DADA position? Obviously if you've read the books, the way it worked out was pretty convenient for Dumbledore's overall plan, but did he know that would happen? Did he take any steps to ensure it would work out that way? Or did he just decide it was about time Snape taught DADA, and whatever happens after, "meh"?

I have the feeling this is in the books somewhere and that I'm just missing it.

  • 4
    @aSlytherin I looked at that question before asking this one, and I think it in fact answers the converse of my question, i.e. "why did Dumbledore not give the job to Snape before." It does not, however, answer my question of "what was Dumbledore's plan when he did eventually give Snape the job?"
    – commando
    Mar 21, 2013 at 3:01
  • @aSlytherin Unless what you're implying is that Dumbledore meant to bring out the worst in Snape in book six... which doesn't sound right.
    – commando
    Mar 21, 2013 at 3:02
  • 1
    "one locked in a trunk for 9 months" is not the right thing but "one got his soul sucked out by a Dementor". By the way, it reminds us that it is the person who actually does the teaching that is affected by the curse, and not the person whom the Headmaster thinks he has appointed. May 23, 2014 at 18:33
  • 1
    @NUnnikrishnan There is no evidence whatsoever for that. The only example of the two not being one and the same person is Crouch and Moody, and in their case the curse affected both equally. Neither held the position for more than a year, whether nominally or practically. The list given here, incidentally, is more or less verbatim from OotP where Harry says, “One sacked, one dead, one lost his memory, and one was locked in a trunk for nine months”. Dec 9, 2016 at 9:17

3 Answers 3


I feel that since after wearing the cursed ring with the resurrecting stone Dumbledore knew he didn't have much time left. And he had planned on dying by the hands of Snape. So most probably he had to appoint him because he understood that it was time that Snape would have to return to Voldemort's side. This made it easier on his plan.

He put Snape in that position because he needed Slughorn, who was important too. When Snape was dying he gave his memory to Harry. In that the sequence of events turning was that his hand was cursed and that he was to die soon. Then that Snape was to kill Dumbledore instead of Draco. Snape did make the unbreakable vow at the beginning of the book and so Dumbledore had to know all this before he appointed Snape to DADA. so i feel that it had to be the reason behind all. He knew that there was very less time before Voldemort came out and so if Snape was to join him then he had to leave them. Hence the DADA position

Excerpts :
Book : 6

Page 42 :

The duel with the Dark Lord last month shook him. He has since sustained a serious injury because his reactions are slower than they once were.

Page 49:

"And, should it prove necessary... if it seems Draco will fail..." whispered Narcissa (Snape's hand twitched within hers, but he did not draw away), "will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?" There was a moment's silence. Bellatrix watched, her wand upon their clasped hands, her eyes wide. "I will," said Snape.

Book 7: Page 275 :

“You have done very well, Severus. How long do you think I have?” Dumbledore’s tone was conversational; he might have been asking for a weather forecast. Snape hesitated, and then said, “I cannot tell. Maybe a year. There is no halting such a spell forever. It will spread eventually, it is the sort of curse that strengthens over time.” Dumbledore smiled. The news that he had less than a year to live seemed a matter of little or no concern to him.
“Well, really, this makes matters much more straightforward.” Snape looked utterly perplexed. Dumbledore smiled. “I refer to the plan Lord Voldemort is revolving around me. His plan to have the poor Malfoy boy murder me.”
“Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?” “He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.” “And if it does fall into his grasp,” said Dumbledore, almost, it seemed, as an aside, “I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students at Hogwarts?”
Snape raised his eyebrows and his tone was sardonic as he asked, “Are you intending to let him kill you?” “Certainly not. You must kill me.”
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    I don't think Dumbledore planned on dying to the hands of Snape in the beginning. It was quite a genius plan really, and I don't think even Dumbledore would have come up with it as soon as his lifespan became capped. His plan simultaneously gave the Order a completely trusted double agent, saved Malfoy's life, and gave the students and staff of Hogwarts of the following year some covert protection because Snape was headmaster. I think that he put Snape in that position without having the full scope of the plan figured out, because he needed Slughorn, who was more immediately important.
    – Sheph
    Mar 21, 2013 at 5:29
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    Dumbledore did mean to die by hands of snape so that he would be the owner of the eldest wand
    – Ajo Koshy
    Mar 21, 2013 at 5:33
  • Yes. Good call on the elder wand. That too was another part of the genius plan. Undoubtedly, Dumbledore's eventual plan was to have Snape end up with the elder wand. However, I don't recall any evidence suggesting that he planned this before he appointed Snape to DADA, so I don't think that it can be said that that was part of his original intentions in appointing Snape.
    – Sheph
    Mar 21, 2013 at 5:40
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    When Snape was dying he gave his memory to Harry. In that the sequence of events turning was that his hand was cursed and that he was to die soon. Then that Snape was to kill Dumbledore instead of Draco. Snape did make the unforgiveable vow at the beginning of the book and so Dumbledore had to know all this before he appointed Snape to DADA. so i feel that it had to be the reason behind all.
    – Ajo Koshy
    Mar 21, 2013 at 6:04
  • 1
    You should add a couple of small quotes from HP6 showing that Dumbledore had the cursed ring issue before the year started; and from memory scene in HP7 that he planned to be killed by Snape. Mar 21, 2013 at 18:30

I would expect that Dumbledore, knowing about the curse, would know that since Snape was a Death Eater, and Voldemort thought he was a reliable and trustworty Death Eater, Dumbledore would know that Voldemort would want Snape to have the curse put on him, but in reverse effect, and it allowed something good to happen to him?

I'm not sure. I am really guessing here.


Given the haphazardness of so many of Dumbledore's other plans/moves, it seems far more likely that he just didn't consider the issue.

  • Dumbledore seemed to have a reason (his guesses if nothing else) for everything he did
    – user13267
    May 6, 2018 at 3:21
  • If you look at many of the critiques of the book series, they highlight that Dumbledore's plans look more like random guess and hope than calculated stratagems when subjected to analysis. In fact, many times there were better options that were available to him, but he went with "let the kids work it out" for narrative, rather than in-character reasons.
    – JKreft
    May 7, 2018 at 2:41

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