Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Charity Burbage
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Charity Burbage is a Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts; she has been since at least Harry's third year, and possibly for some period of time before that. She is a strong believer in Muggle rights.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
Although her name is never mentioned, Professor Burbage is apparently teaching Muggle Studies. Hermione Granger takes this course and passes her exam with a mark of three hundred and twenty percent. Hermione, however, decides to drop the course at the end of the school year so she can return to a normal class schedule.
Professor Burbage affronts Voldemort and his Death Eaters by teaching that Muggles are not so different from wizards, and by daring to publish "an impassioned defence of Mudbloods" in the Daily Prophet. As a result, she is kidnapped by Death Eaters and summarily executed by Voldemort. Nagini, Voldemort's snake, then eats Professor Burbage's dead body. A story about her "resignation" from Hogwarts appears in the Prophet, but members of the Order of the Phoenix discount it, as they are unable to locate her anywhere after that.
Burbage is later replaced as Muggle Studies teacher by Alecto Carrow.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
Charity Burbage shows courage and determination in refusing to back down from what is right and just. As a teacher at Hogwarts and a decent, educated person, she knows that Lord Voldemort and other Dark wizards are once again at liberty in the world. Yet even during the most trying times, she persists in pursuing the right and noble cause. Moreover, as she is bound and slowly rotated upside down above the hearth at Malfoy Manor, doomed to death, she repeatedly pleads to Severus Snape, and Snape alone, to help her. This indicates that Burbage suspected that Snape was on the good side, or might, at least, have enough pity to try and spare her.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Charity was captured and killed by Voldemort, but since he was very strong by this point and had an army of Death Eaters at his command, this does not indicate any weakness on her part.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
We must assume that she has some professional contact with Professor Snape, as she refers to him by his first name (as well as the other teachers at Hogwarts). We believe Hermione took a class with her, in Harry's third year. As we only see her for about fifteen minutes in the course of the entire series, and as she is unconscious for all but about two minutes of that time, we cannot form any serious conjectures about relationships.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Charity's murder at the beginning of the seventh book proves to highlight a few aspects: that Voldemort is once again delighting in cold-blooded murder; that his hatred for Muggles is still very much a factor; that even Snape, a colleague, would not stir to save her.
The murder itself is callous and cruel, and completely unnecessary. The fact that it is performed in front of a large group of people, including a child at that point, reminds the reader that Voldemort is a cold, merciless killer, and most definitely a villain.
Questions[edit | edit source]
- Do you think Charity may have been a Muggle-born witch or not?
- How long do you think Charity may have been teaching Muggle Studies for before her death?
- Why did her plea to Snape for clemency go unanswered?
- Did Draco recognise her before he was asked, since he didn't give an answer either way?
- Why did Voldemort feed her to Nagini after killing her, as opposed to just disposing of the body?
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
Charity is never mentioned in any teaching capacity throughout the course of the books, not even getting the cursory mentions that Professors Sinistra, Vector and Babbling do. She is introduced to us as an innocent party for Voldemort to kill, which also serves as a dramatic introduction to the final book.
However, her appearance here also serves as a prudent reminder that Hogwarts is a large, functioning educational establishment with numerous subjects and teachers, well beyond the core staff that we see more regularly throughout the series.