The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom felt strangely barren to anyone who had seen it last year, when it had been occupied by one of the greatest wizards ever to teach at Hogwarts. It certainly was physically set up precisely as the previous instructor had done, with a massive combined-section class (though, this time, it was all first and second year Slytherins and Ravenclaws, not all first years from all Houses) and enchanted panels throughout the room acting as monitors that would reflect Professor Lockhart's face when the lesson begun. But, though Professor Lockhart had shown no signs of incompetence yet, he was filling shoes far larger than his own, and this could be felt from a mile away.

"You're not Professor Quirrell!" cried a particularly foolish second year Slytherin student. Professor Lockhart simply nodded gravely without speaking a word. Three minutes later, there was a quick hum throughout the room as the monitors activated, and the Defense Professor began to speak. Ginny took note of one addition to the classroom that she remembered from no description of Monroe's class: some enormous object covered in shapeless cloth, behind the desk and Lockhart himself.

"Good evening, Hogwarts," said Professor Lockhart. "I trust that you have all already attended your first lesson from the seventh year generals?"

"Yes!" said Ginny, and so did all of her classmates, or at least all of them who felt like responding. It had been a particularly life-changing lecture, and it had excited her at least for the army-based portions of the Defense class. She wished she could have heard it from David Monroe directly, but the seventh years did quite a good enough job.

"Then you have already heard Professor Quirrell's introductory lecture," said Professor Lockhart. "'One Killing Curse Will Bring It Down'. Am I correct?" Another general shout of affirmation. "I read his notes on that lecture. He was a fantastic man and a fantastic Professor, and that lecture was fantastically composed. However..." The class nearly gasped. Who was this man, to append a 'however' to praise of Professor Quirrell?

"However, for all of its wisdom, the lecture accidentally implied things that are outright false and dangerous," said Professor Lockhart. "One Killing Curse will not always bring it down. Who can name a situation where you are in mortal peril and the words Avada Kedavra will not save your life?" Hands shot up. "Yes, Mr. Potter?"

"If you're facing the Wizengamot," said Harry. Professor Lockhart laughed, surprised.

"Mr. Potter has cut straight to the point," said Professor Lockhart. "Absolutely correct, though you're jumping a bit ahead. I've had my run-ins with the law-"

"I know," said Harry. "Last year I heard-"

"-but I'd prefer not to discuss them in public, Mr. Potter," said Professor Lockhart, making Harry feel very stupid. "I would like to clarify that I have never been indicted for anything and I even have the pleasure to truthfully say that I never saw Azkaban while it was an operational prison. Anyway, Mr. Potter is absolutely correct; if you are outnumbered and outgunned, the Killing Curse will not be of much help. At best you will take one of your enemies with you in death, and that is doubtful. Can anyone name another deadly scenario, preferably one related to combat, where the Killing Curse will not save your life? Yes, Miss Lovegood?"

"If you're breaking into Gringotts to save the love of your life from Minister Fudge and suddenly he jumps out from behind a rock and sends Fiendfyre at you," said Luna.

"A very specific situation," said Professor Lockhart, "and I must admit that I cannot imagine why the Minister of Magic would do such a thing. But correct. Fiendfyre is a very Dark curse that behaves like a living being but is not technically alive and is not responsive to the Killing Curse in the least. However, it dies out shortly after the death of its caster, and therefore the Killing Curse might be useful in such a situation, so perhaps it is not a good example. Does anybody else have any ideas? Yes, Miss Granger?"

"If you personally cannot cast it," said Hermione.

"Absolutely correct," said Professor Lockhart. "Many of you will never be able to cast the Killing Curse in your life; that is simply an inherent quality of your being. That does not make you a non-player in combat, and it does not make you unable to kill. A Dark Lady in the nineteenth century, a hundred years ago, thought the only tactically significant offensive spell was the Killing Curse, and foolishly neglected to put up any shielding Charms. The distraught mother of one of her victims hit her with a one-two punch, a Temporary Freezing Charm followed by Repulso, a Charm equivalent to a hard kick in the chest. She was later interviewed and it was determined that she was not capable of casting the Killing Curse – and yet the Dark Evangel was just as dead. She shattered."

"The Boggart is a Dark creature that hides in dark places," said Professor Lockhart. "It is rarely known to be deadly, but it is invariably frightening to those unaware of its nature, and may thus be used as a guardian to keep Muggles and particularly inexperienced wizards away. One Killing Curse will not bring it down; the form of the Boggart that you perceive is not its true form, and its true form is an adept dodger. Only the specialized curse Riddikulus will bring down a Boggart." Somewhere in the room, Harry was laughing about something.

"Professor Quirrell described the Hungarian Horntail to you," said Professor Lockhart, "but failed to mention a critical detail of its anatomy that undermined his point. As with all dragons, only small parts of the fully-grown Hungarian Horntail's neck are truly alive. Its head and the rest of its body are a mechanical construct, assembled over the course of its life by magical forces. One Killing Curse will not bring it down, not unless you hit it in the correct area, which comprises an indescribably tiny percentage of its volume. If you have ever seen a baby dragon, realize that that is your true target, when you try to attack an adult dragon with the Killing Curse."

"The Cornish pixie," said Professor Lockhart, sweeping the sheet off of the object behind him, revealing it to be an enormous birdcage full of thousands of tiny blue winged humanoids, all rather sleepy, "is a magical creature that shows some mild degree of intelligence. It is, however, generally found in groups, and as the size of the group increases, so too does its aggression. In quantities of a dozen or more, they can easily be deadly. If I released the hive that you see before you from their magical bindings, all of you would probably die; even if I were teaching a class of Aurors there would likely be some casualties. One Killing Curse will not bring it down, if by 'it' you mean the hive as a whole rather than the single unlucky specimen that happens to cross the Curse's path." Lockhart set the sheet down on his desk, and as he continued to speak, the buzzing of the pixies slowly increased in volume as the light woke them up, though it never overpowered Lockhart's own voice. "And in case you are unaware, the Killing Curse may not be fired rapidly enough to pose a threat to that hive by taking them out one by one; no curse that targets individuals may do so. Only an area-of-effect spell is a viable strategy here."

"The Dementor is a Dark creature thought to be extinct outside of captivity," said Professor Lockhart, "but this is a foolhardy and misleading way to refer to it. There is a well-known ritual to produce a Dementor from nothing, and over time, vast numbers may be bred from a single specimen. Any new, rising Dark Lord would be likely to have an army of Dementors! A Dementor is the opposite of life, and so one Killing Curse will not bring it down; instead it will thrive on it, and grow stronger and more inclined to reproduce! It was once thought that nothing could kill a fully-grown Dementor, and that it could only be repelled with a Patronus Charm. There are now two wizards in the world who have devised a means to kill a Dementor, and they are both sitting in this room. But I would not count on one of them coming to your aid if you happen to be set upon by a Dementor. The Kiss of a Dementor is invariably fatal to humans and animals and, according to some theologians, denies the recipient their place in Heaven." Ginny balked at that. No omnibenevolent God would permit such a thing. The pixies were truly beginning to stir, now; Lockhart quickly turned around and applied a Quieting Charm to their cage.

"The Lethifold is an infant Dementor," said Professor Lockhart. "It is exceedingly rare, as Dementors mature quickly and remain in the final stage of their anti-life indefinitely. It may be killed by a unicorn, which you are also unlikely to have handy when one is sicced on you, and, though it too may be repelled by a Patronus, you will not have much time to cast one; a Lethifold is undetectable by any science or magic until it has closed in for its kill; you will be at arm's length when you first notice it. The creator of a Lethifold may command it as a weapon. The only way to truly insulate your home against an assassination attempt involving a Lethifold is to seal it completely, so that not even air may enter or exit. That, or have the perimeter patrolled by unicorns twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, who will attempt to inform you of the Lethifold's presence even if they do not manage to kill it themselves. But one Killing Curse will not bring it down." Ginny thought she had heard something about the Peverell Family Hospital having a regular unicorn patrol; she wondered why neither Hogwarts nor the Ministry of Magic had one.

"The Nundu," said Professor Lockhart, and he was getting so emotional that he was visibly struggling to maintain his composure, "is a communal organism that occasionally forms from forty or more Dementors. One Killing Curse will not bring it down! One Patronus will not send it away! One wizard will not overcome it! The existence of a single Nundu anywhere in the world at any given time is a disaster beyond imagination! A Nundu is fully autonomous, and may not be commanded by anybody, regardless of their relationship to its creation! It debilitates and kills simply by proximity, and proximity is defined here in terms of miles! In times immemorial, a single Nundu could wipe out an entire nation and leave no record that it ever existed! The only known way to defeat a Nundu is through the simultaneously-cast Patronuses of at least eighty wizards – in a real-world situation, the number of Patronuses required is inevitably greater than a hundred – which decompose the Nundu into Dementors, which are comparatively very manageable! We are all very lucky that the Nundu has been kept out of the developed magical countries entirely; the creation of a Nundu in Magical Britain would be a horror on par with the detonation of an atomic bomb in London! The atomic bomb is a Muggle weapon that uses no magic at all but destroys an entire large city in a single blast! One Killing Curse will not bring it down, either!" Professor Lockhart took a deep breath, to restore his calm.

"The history of humanity," said Professor Lockhart, "and not just the history of wizardkind, but the history of humanity, is the history of tools. Tool creation and tool use are among the features of our intellect that separates the being from the beast. The Killing Curse is a particularly effective tool in combat, because the only counter to it is to dodge, but it would be foolhardy to select a single tool from your kit to use in all situations!" Lockhart paused a bit longer than he had originally intended. "When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail, but that does not mean everything is a nail, and the Killing Curse is not always the best attack! Sometimes the tool to use is Apparition. Sometimes, the tool to use is Frigideiro-Repulso. Sometimes, the tool to use is a Lethifold. Sometimes, as the Dark Lord Voldemort, He-Who-May-Now-Be-Named, demonstrated last year using Miss Granger, the tool to use is even a mountain troll, and it is completely vulnerable to the Killing Curse! Anybody, whether they are a Muggle or a wizard or a goblin or something else, should have as diverse of a toolkit as possible, to cover as many scenarios as possible. As wizards, none of you have any excuse not to learn a wide variety of distinct spells with distinct applications. If one seems particularly generically useful, take note of that, but do not allow yourself to write off other, more specialized techniques that might someday prove necessary." The pixies' cage was beginning to vibrate worryingly.

"One last note," said Professor Lockhart, apparently, "before we begin a hands-on activity. I bet you thought we wouldn't have hands-on activities in this class, because of the system of armies. That is incorrect; though lecture is a worthwhile component of this class, I would not be a worthwhile instructor if it was the only component with which I provided you. I want to keep you all on your toes at all times, so: I am not actually here. About a minute ago, I invisibly left the classroom, in the middle of my lecture, and seamlessly replaced myself with an illusory duplicate delivering a prerecorded message, which should be ending shortly. On my way out, I sealed the classroom doors shut. The cage behind me is Charmed to open when this message ends." The false Lockhart began to flicker, and the entire class panicked. "Do not panic; the pixies have been enchanted to do no significant damage to anybody or their belongings. What precisely is meant by the word 'significant' is for you to decide. Your objective is to use any and all appropriate tools at your disposal to minimize harm to you and yours. In an indefinite period of time, I will return and resolve the situation. Good luck!" Lockhart vanished before everyone's eyes, a tiny door made of golden metal bars swung open, and if it weren't for the Battle Magic room's soundproofing, you would have been able to hear the screams clear across the castle.


"Peskipiksi Pesternomi!" were the first words out of Professor Lockhart's mouth when he returned to his class. Immediately, most of the pixies froze in midair, and began to drift back into their cage. The few that didn't were dead; they had been smashed or beaten to death by crazed students using their textbooks. "A simple anti-pixie spell I invented that I didn't expect any of you to know. No need to memorize it; it is exceedingly unlikely to help you in the real world. I trust that you're all alright. Or fainted." He paused, to allow those in the class who were still conscious to readjust to the pixie-free room.

"So, let's review what you all did," continued Professor Lockhart, now standing back at his podium. "Yes, I was watching, using a monitoring device lent to me by the school. So, first, to most of you, who became so flustered that you did nothing of meaning, attempting and failing to run and hide or simply flailing around swatting at pixies futilely, you have failed this first exercise. Don't feel too bad, though, because you formed a majority both of this class and of humanity, so at least you're not alone. And to those students who spiraled into complete exhaustion by casting too many spells, I will inform you what you did wrong when you wake up; the simple answer is 'you did not listen properly to my lecture and apparently forgot that taking out pixies one at a time with magic is not a viable strategy'."

"To Miss Lovegood," said Professor Lockhart, "I do not know what the blinking device you summoned was, but judging by your condition, it was not very effective." At this point, Luna vomited on her desk; it was quickly Charmed away.

"To Mr. Malfoy," said Professor Lockhart, "your attempt to cast the Concussive Stunning Curse, Immobulus, would have been the best solution presented in the class, had it succeeded. If you would like, I can try to coach you to successfully cast it, but I cannot guarantee that you will learn it quickly. It is not generally considered a second year spell."

"To Mr. Goldstein," said Professor Lockhart, "if your lives were actually in danger, your attempt to contact Headmistress McGonagall using your Patronus would have been the correct thing to do. However, your lives were not in danger, and I had already cleared this activity with the Headmistress, so your solution was of no use to anyone."

"To Miss Granger," said Professor Lockhart, "I'm afraid that you suffered from a rather graver form of Mr. Goldstein's problem. If you had actually been in danger, your solution of hiding yourself and Mr. Potter under the True Cloak of Invisibility would have been a good one. However, in the true situation you faced, where you were in no real danger, this was entirely unnecessary, and, actually worse: the entire class and myself are now aware that you possess one of the most sought-after unique magical artifacts in the world." There were some gasps. Ginny was mostly just thinking that it wasn't at all fair that Hermione got to hide under a cloak with Harry-

"Obliviate," said Professor Lockhart. "Obliviate Maxima." The entire class, Harry and Hermione excluded, blinked simultaneously. "I have taken the liberty of erasing your error, but I hope the lesson is understood." Ginny was not certain what she had just been thinking, except that she had been jealous of Hermione for some reason or another. Well, that was a simple puzzle.

"Yes, Professor," said Hermione.

"Good," said Professor Lockhart. "My mastery of that particular spell, by the way, nearly earned me a high-paying job in the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, but I found the role of the Hogwarts Defense Professor more... appealing."

"Finally, Miss Weasley," said Professor Lockhart. "You had the winning strategy, and a very Slytherin one, too, even if I do not expect it to make you many friends. Please explain what you did, Miss Weasley." Ginny took a deep breath.

"First, I remembered that pixies are enraged by bright lights and the color red, and are drawn to targets exhibiting these qualities," said Ginny.

"Professor Quirrell would likely have called that useless trivia, but it proved quite useful to you," said Professor Lockhart.

"Then, I remembered the spell Luminos, which causes its target to flash red," said Ginny. "And I cast it on as many of my classmates as possible, to draw the pixies towards them and away from me."

"Very good," said Professor Lockhart. "Miss Weasley has taught the class a valuable lesson today. As the saying goes, if you are being pursued by a mountain troll, you do not need to outrun it, only your companions. I might add that it helps if you trip them. Miss Weasley has demonstrated a vast power over the others in this room in a disaster situation, and that is the power of intelligent betrayal. Ten points to Slytherin. I would like to note that she also had the lucky advantage of possessing the trivia that she did, but this models the unpredictability and unfairness of real life. Class is dismissed, though you may stay behind here for some time if you wish to rest and recover further."

A few minutes later, Professor Lockhart met Ginny on her way out of class.

"Ginevra?" said Professor Lockhart. Ginny nodded. "It's funny. You look exactly like a younger version of your mother. Except for your eyes; they're a different color." Ginny nodded again.

"They're my father's," she said. Professor Lockhart smiled.

The last two to leave class were Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, both of whom had private matters to discuss with Professor Lockhart.