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<   No. 684   2004-12-10   >

Comic #684

1 Ron: I wonder who our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher will be this year.
2 Hermoine: Remember the sequence, Ron. Evil, incompetent, good. Evil, incompetent, good.
3 Harry: But Crouch and Umbridge were both evil!
4 Hermione: So this year we need someone twice as incompetent as Lockhart.
4 Harry, Ron: Professor Steve!

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For those who came in late, this refers back to the infamous former Care of Magical Creatures teacher.

And for those who don't know this particular theory about the Harry Potter books (warning: major spoilers follow):

At this point, many people in the Harry Potter fan community formulated the theory that this evil-incompetent-good cycle was a real feature of the series, and ended up expecting the DADA teacher in book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to be incompetent. Dolores Umbridge was, however, more than merely incompetent, as she actively attempted to thwart Harry's attempts to warn the wizarding community of the return of Lord Voldemort and inflicted ever more severe and unjustified punishments on him.

Some readers claim that Umbridge was merely misguided and hence fits the incompetent label, but it's easier (at least to my mind) to consider her evil and the whole cycle thing to be an unintentional artefact of dealing with a small sample of only four books.

* Retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States, to make it more obvious to religious fundamentalists that the book is about magic and therefore dangerous.

2014-01-04 Rerun commentary: Looking back with the fullness of time and a completed 7-book series, we now have:

(SPOILER WARNING for anyone who still cares after all these years.)

So yeah, the theory pretty much fell through a hole and was never heard from again. In fact, I just tried to search for any remnants of this theory on the web and the top Google hit for both "dada teachers evil incompetent good" and "defence against the dark arts teachers evil incompetent good" are both this comic.

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