Why did Dumbledore hire Gilderoy Lockhart?

Dumbledore hire Gilderoy Lockhart

Hogwarts had its fair share of teachers being hired and then leaving. The position needed to hire many different teachers was the Defense Against Dark Arts. Every year we see new faces as teachers for that position.

The position also created many controversies. One of them was Dumbledore hiring Gilderoy Lockhart as a professor at Hogwarts. We all know that in the movie, Lockhart was a bad teacher and lacked the qualifications a teacher should have.

What he lacked was the knowledge that he was about to teach, Dark Arts. He didn’t know how to cast any defense magic. He was also a selfish person with narcissistic characteristics. He loved himself more than anyone and craved attention.

This makes us wonder why would Dumbledore hire such an incompetent person as a professor at Hogwarts. Wasn’t he aware of Lockhart’s lack of talent and qualification to teach? Or did he hire him on purpose?

We know that Dumbledore is the best Headmaster out there. Most of his decisions were always backed by logical reasons. We might not get it at the beginning, but the reason unfolds later.

So, was there any logical reason behind hiring Lockhart as a teacher in Hogwarts?

The answer is- yes there was. In this article, we will talk about all those reasons. But first let us get to know who Gilderoy Lockhart was, what his achievements were, and his personality in more depth.

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Gilderoy Lockhart – The Narcissistic Liar

Lockhart was a half-blood wizard. His father was a muggle and his mother was a witch. He also had two older sisters who were Squibs. Among three children he was only the one able to show the magic ability.

With magical ability, he was also clever and good-looking. This made him his mother’s favorite. His mother also didn’t hide the fact that he was her favorite kid. Due to his very good look, great smile, and great praise from his mother, he thought he was special and better than others.

He joined Hogwarts in 1975. Since he didn’t stand out as he used to in the Muggle world. So attending school made a harsh realization that he was not the best and it made his ego hurt. This lack of attention from the teachers and other students made him desire success more.

Lockhart was later sorted into the Ravenclaw house. In school, he loved to brag about different things just to inflate his ego. He used to boldly lie just to make people change their perception of him. You see, what Lockhart desired most was to be noticed as someone special by others.

His carving for fame was so deep that he lied to people as if it was the truth. It seemed like he himself believed it was true.

So, how did the pathological liar end up becoming a Hogwarts teacher?

After graduating from Hogwarts, Lockhart started to travel all around the earth. He also became an author writing books about the feats that he achieved during his travels. His book contained the tales of his false heroism. He called himself a dark wizard catcher, dragon tamer, a tell hunter, and many more.

He claimed that he vanquished all the dark and powerful entities all by himself. The catch of the whole tale was that he was the only one to witness it. There was no other than himself to claim what he wrote was true. He wrote a total of twelve books describing his journey. They were:

  • Break with the Banshee
  • Gadding with Ghouls
  • Gilderoy Lockhart’s Guide to Household Pests
  • Holidays with Hags
  • Magical Me
  • Marauding with Monsters
  • One Hundred One Practical uses for Bertie Box Every Flavor Beans
  • Travels with Trolls
  • Voyages with Vampires
  • Wandering with Werewolves
  • Who Am I
  • The year with the Yeti

Despite proof, all his books began to gain positive recognition. He was loved by many and even achieved the Order of Merlin Third Class. He was seen as a hero and a very skilled wizard in the wizarding world. So, later he was also invited by the Minister of Magic to join the Dark Force Defense League.

Were the heroic feats achieved by Lockhart true?

There is a saying, “Once a liar is always a liar.” The same can be said for Lockhart. All the things that he had mentioned in the books, where he claims to defeat different dark beings and to achieve heroic feats were all a lie.

The only thing Lockhart was good at was the Memory Charm. He was a memory charm master. He spends his time mastering that particular spell and used it to fuel his lies.

How was he able to make such a believable story?

When Lockhart was traveling, he would hear the stories of genuine wizards. Those wizards have shown heroism in real life and accomplished many things. He would collect all the stories for himself to write and wipe their memory.

Then he would return back and pretend to write books as if he was writing his own travel story since the memory of the real wizards were wiped. No one was there to say it wasn’t true.

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Reasons Why Lockhart is hired by Dumbledore


Dumbledore is a powerful wizard and an intelligent one as well. It is not surprising for him to notice the lie Lockhart is telling everyone. It seems foolish of Dumbledore to hire Lockhart as a teacher in Hogwarts.

Don’t worry, Dumbledore is not foolish to do so. He had some logical reasons behind it.

To Expose Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart was a celebrity in the wizarding world. His autobiographical books were sold all over the wizarding world. Despite all the lies and fraud in the book, it was selling massively.

Even the book geek Granger and Ron’s mother are seen fancying him. Dumbledore, knew that all the things mentioned in the book were a lie. He also happened to know two wizards whose life work credit had been taken by Lockhart. They were his close friends.

So, to expose him to all of his lies, he planned to hire him as a school teacher. Since as a teacher he had to show his magical skills to all the students. This would also show how unskilled he is and his lack of ability in other spells.

No One wanted to be Defense Against Dark Arts Teacher

After being rejected for the position of Defense Against Dark Art teacher for the second time. Tom Riddle aka Voldemort cursed the position. He jinxed the position to ensure that no application for the Defense Against Dart Art position could last for more than a year

Accepting the offer was Lockhart’s own decision. At first, he was not interested in returning to Hogwarts seeing how his stolen glory was flourishing. He also wouldn’t want to risk his cover by exposing his lack of talent in magic. He might have also been aware of that.

So, there were not many applicants who accepted the job. When the position was offered to Lockhart, he accepted the position.

But why did he accept the offer then?

“Nice big smile Harry, together you and I rate the front page.”- Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

It was because of Harry. At that time Harry was also famous for being The Boy who Lived. Lockhart thought that Harry was a great tool for him to boost his fame. If he is known as the Professor who teaches the famous kid then it would surely make him more famous and fuel his ego as well.

Downfall of Lockhart

“There is plenty to be learned from a bad teacher. What not to do, how not to be.” – Dumbledore when asked about hiring Lockhart by McGonagall

After being recruited to Hogwarts as the teacher, we slowly see the downfall of Lockhart. By the time he returned to Hogwart his all magical abilities were rusty from lack of practice. We see how all the things mentioned in his “autobiography” came out to be all a lie.

During his stay in Hogwart as a teacher, there were different scenes that showed his incompetence of Lockhart. The only ability he excelled in was the Memory Charm. Let us see what really happened:

Biasing his Way to every Teacher’s Business

After arriving at Hogwarts, Lockhart started giving his unrequired suggestions to the teachers as if he knew everything.

He tried to give advice to Hagrid, and Professor Sprout but they were more annoyed than grateful. When Sprout followed his tips on fixing the whomping willow, she was injured and had to put bandages on her hands. Not only that he also continued to annoy her by claiming he was better in Herbology.

He not only annoyed the teachers but the students as well. Especially Harry, claiming he was looking out for him but only using him further to boost his fame.

Failed First Lesson

For the first lesson, he focused on freshly caught Cornish Pixies. The student just laughed at him. To counter the humiliation he released the Pisces just to cause further uproar in the class.

The uproar caused all the students to panic. Lockhart himself panicked at the situation and was unable to cast a simple spell to stop the chaos he had created. He later escaped from the situation and told Harry, Ron, and Hermoine to handle the situation.

After that messed-up class, he decided to take a different approach. He just focused on the teaching in the book.

Lack of Judgement

“Headmaster, this cat is dead! I remember a similar event in one of my books, where there were a series of attacks,” said Lockhart, “At the time, I gave the common people a variety of amulets to solve the problem.”

“Professor, she is not dead, she’s just petrified,” said Dumbledore

When Filch’s cat was found hanging without movement everyone was in shock. Lockhart gave his opinion that the cat was dead. But he was corrected immediately by Dumbledore saying the cat wasn’t dead but it was petrified.

Hearing that, Lockhart looked like an idiot in front of everyone. He tries to recover his idiocy by saying, “ Ah! I thought so.” He kept on digging his grave of humiliation.

Later, Lockhart was proved to be more of an idiot, when Harry, Ron, and Hermoine made him sign the paper to let them get to the restricted section of the library.

Messed up Magic

Lockhart proved to be more incompetent more and more when he tried to come to the rescue during the quidditch match. Harry had broken his arm, so Lockhart offered to heal his arm.

When Lockhart tried to fix Harry’s bone, he made the situation worse. Instead of healing it, he got rid of all the bone. He tried to justify his messed-up spell by saying, “Well that can happen sometimes, but the point is you can no longer feel any pain. Very clearly the bones are not broken.”

Later Lockhart started a dueling club, where he made Snape his assistant. He had to face another humiliation. Snape sent Lockhart flying off the stage in the demonstration performed for the students. He tried to brush off the humiliation saying he knew what Snape was about to do. 

At this point, I feel bad for Lockhart just trying to brush off humiliation with more humiliating comments from himself!!!!

His Lies Backfired

At last, Lockhart’s lies backfired. In the Chamber of Secrets, he had bluffed to the teachers about how he can single-handedly handle every situation and how he also knew where the door to the secret chamber was.

All the teachers left the situation telling him to solve it. The expression on his face is seen to change immediately and escapes the situation saying he would start the preparation. His preparation was to run from Hogwarts.

But to his dismay, his lies and fraud were discovered by Harry and Ron. They saw him trying to run from the situation. He also tried to erase their memory but he was not successful in doing so.

Then he was taken to the chamber of secrets and Harry and Ron forced him to enter the chamber. Upon entering the chamber, Lockhart seemed scared and pretended to fall to his knees. He cunningly took this opportunity to take Ron’s wand.

He tried to erase their memory again but it backfired. Ron’s broken wand caused an explosion causing Lockhart to fly backward and lose his memory permanently. So, in the end, he is affected by the only spell he has mastered.

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Dumbledore’s Plan Works

Dumbledore and Gilderoy

This proves that Dumbledore was an intelligent wizard. The final outcome was what he had predicted. The Headmaster successfully exposed Lockhart. In the course of the plan, Lockhart also got what he deserved. He was humiliated and at last, he had to pay the price of his scene.

After that incident, Lockhart ended up in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and injuries. He never got his memory back. Despite not having any memory, he still signed autographs and received mail from the fans.

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Final Thoughts on Lockhart

The story of Harry Potter portrays Lockhart to be a narcissistic character. He desired attention and fame. This led him to do different bad things. Dumbledore hiring him at the school to expose him seems like a cruel idea. But if we are to consider what he did to other wizards, he deserved that.

The only specialty he had was his lies, and the ability to make people believe those lies. He was also lazy. If he had tried then he also could have one of the famous wizards. Instead of investing his time in cheating others, he should have used that to improve his skill and magic spells.

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