Given that Dumbledore knew the DADA position was cursed not to last more than 1 year, couldn't he just hire DADA professors with a 1-year, non-renewable, contract?

I mean, he knew that wasn't going to last, so if he pretended to hire them "for life", the curse would automatically have made something happen to that teacher, possibly something bad.

However, if they were just hired with a 1-year contract, they still had to go after 1 year, but at least nothing bad would happen to them as the result of the curse. I.e. the curse wouldn't trigger, since they would have gone anyway before it had to trigger.

I only care about in-universe explanations, though I suppose that, sadly, there isn't one.

  • 3
    How do you know they'd be any safer just because they only had a one-year contract. The curse seems to be that a DADA teacher can only keep the post for one year; any additional injury is incidental and not necessarily down to the curse. Lupin isn't injured, he voluntarily leaves the post; Moody (who initially took the post, though he never actually got to take it up himself) isn't permanently damaged, either, and not is Umbridge or Slughorn. Commented May 9, 2015 at 9:57
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Well, Slughorn wasn't a DADA teacher; he replaced Snape teaching Potions, who took the DADA job (and look how things ended up for him, even if it took an extra year). Commented May 24, 2015 at 19:04
  • @AnthonyGrist Huh, that was an odd brainfart. That should have said Snape, obviously. At the end of the school year, he left his post as DADA teacher, just like all the others before him, but he wasn't injured or killed—his reputation was just damaged. Commented May 24, 2015 at 19:07
  • @JanusBahsJacquet You don't consider the Dementor's Kiss permanent damage? You mean of course the real Moody but it didn't apply to him did it because he wasn't teaching. Unless of course it applies to them after they accept the position but possibly before term starts?
    – Pryftan
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 1:23
  • @Pryftan That was what I meant, yes: the real Moody who did take the post, though he never got to actually teach it. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 6:08

2 Answers 2


If one would think about it more, the curse is not phrased where the professor would only last for an entire school year, but that the professor won't last the school year.

It's not even a whole year, but just the school year. So a 1-year contract won't do.

The professor wouldn't even retain the position for the entire school year.

Quirell died before the school year ended. Lockhart got improperly obliviated before the school year ended. Lupin quit before the school year ended. Crouch got kissed before the school year ended. Umbridge got driven out before the school year ended. Snape needed to leave before the school year ended.


I can think of a few reasons:

  • It draws attention to the curse, and makes the job unappealing.

    It seems to be reasonably well-known that the job is cursed – look at the trouble Dumbledore has hiring teachers in later books. Making it a 1-year contract would all but confirm that bad things happen to people who teach DADA, and add fire to an already troublesome rumour.

    If you’re implicitly saying to your new staff, “There’s a curse on the job; you won’t last the year”, who’s going to take it up?

  • I don’t think the curse is that subtle.

    The curse prevents a DADA teacher from continuing into a second year of teaching. You’re trying to get around this with a non-renewability clause, but the curse doesn’t know that, or that you won’t renege on that clause.

    Of the six DADA teachers we see, every one is struck down before the teaching year finishes. It’s simpler just to incapacitate anybody who takes up the DADA post before the year is up, and I think that’s all it does. I don’t think the curse is interested or aware of law or contracts.

  • 1
    I interpreted as "it shifts entropy so that 'somehow' it happens that you can't teach it for more than 1 year". In that case, the curse works "automagically", and if you limit the contract duration without intending to change idea, the curse would do nothing. Of course, if the curse works with some other pattern, my line of reasoning would not work.
    – o0'.
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 10:16
  • I would actually say the curse doesn’t seem that well-known. We only start to hear of difficulties finding new DADA teachers in the last few books (OotP onwards), by which time the thing keeping applicants at bay is probably more that previous teachers have been rather hard done by (dead, obliviated, locked in a trunk for a year). The curse had already been in effect for 35 years before that, though, and there didn't seem to be that much trouble getting teachers earlier on, so presumably previous ones just taught for a year and then had to leave for one reason or another. Commented May 9, 2015 at 23:25
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I prefer to imagine that the curse, instead, started on the year of the first book, or the one before that. Because only a complete retard would not notice such a thing if it went on for 35 years…
    – o0'.
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 9:01
  • 3
    @Lohoris But that is not how it goes. Dumbledore specifically says that he has not been able to keep a DADA teacher for more than one year since Voldemort was denied the job, which is commonly accepted to have been in 1957. Presumably, the wizarding world is just full of complete retards. Commented May 11, 2015 at 9:14
  • Yes but if something makes zero sense, I have to either pretend it didn't exist, or stop reading at all.
    – o0'.
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 9:16

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