Over the series, there have been many teachers who have taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Like Professor Minerva McGonnagall who took Transfiguration or Professor Filius Flitwick who was the Charms master. Most subjects have had one teacher teaching it through the series. The most notable exception to the rule is the subject Defence Against The Dark Arts, which has had a different teacher handling it each year. The first teacher that Harry meets in the series is one handling the subject.
When Harry is brought to London, and to the pub famously known to wizards as The Leaky Cauldron, the wizarding world is stunned and happy to see the return of The Boy Who Lived and who ended the darkness that had once been cast upon it by Lord Voldemort. Among those who meet Harry at the pub is a teacher who Hagrid introduces as the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher. His name is Quirinus Quirrell, though his first name is not mentioned in the books. He is seen then as a stuttering, nervous teacher who has had bad experiences while battling the Dark Arts. Indeed, he looked to Harry as one who was terrified of the thought of buying a book on vampires. The students think that he has put garlic under his turban, which is always on his head. We later come to know that it was not garlic, but Lord Voldemort himself who was behind Quirrell’s head, sharing his body and controlling Quirrell.
Quirrell’s character is one that is quite true to life, I feel. It serves a purpose. It shows that there are people in the world who are two-faced, that what is portrayed may not be the true character of the person, that those who at first glance seem innocent and soft may be the most cunning. Quirrell is an expert at disguise too, for he tricks Hagrid into thinking he’s a stranger when he meets Hagrid at the Hog’s Head. Perhaps his character is also one that helps us to think that Severus Snape might not be the bad character he’s portrayed to be.
(© 20th April 2016)