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Cuthbert Binns, also known as Professor Binns, was the History of Magic teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He originally got the job while he was alive, but continued to teach after death, as a ghost.
Professor Binns must have taught at the school as a living teacher for many years as he was very old and wrinkled when he died. But one day, sometime before the 1970s, he died from the staff room fire.
However, the next day, his ghost got up from his body and continued teaching. It is unclear whether Professor Binns even realized that he had died.
Reportedly his lessons did not change very much between life and afterlife. They are well known as the most boring lessons at Hogwarts. Professor Binns simply reads off his notes in a droning and reedy voice, barely noticing or caring if anyone is paying attention.
We only hear of him breaking his pattern on one occasion, during Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts. Hermione surprised Professor Binns by asking him about the Chamber of Secrets. At first, Professor Binns did not want to address the matter, stating that it is pure legend with no basis in fact. But Hermione convinced him to continue, reminding him that most legends have a basis in fact.
Professor Binns and the Chamber of Secrets
Cuthbert Binns tells the student the factual story that conflict broke out between Salazar Slytherin and the other founders of Hogwarts. Slytherin wanted to limit the teaching of magic to all-magic wizarding families, due to his distrust of muggles. When the other founders disagreed with him, Slytherin left the school.
Legend then says that Slytherin created the Chamber of Secrets to hide a monster that could be called forth to rid the school of undesirables. But the Chamber was created in such a way that only Slytherin’s true heir would be able to command the monster.
Cuthbert Binns tells the student that he is convinced that this cannot be true. If it existed, one of the many headmasters or headmistresses of the school would have located the Chamber. When the students argue that it must be hidden using dark arts, he reminds them that just because a wizard chooses not to use the dark arts does not mean that they cannot.
We do not hear if Cuthbert Binns changed his tune on the subject following the events described in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We also do not know if he played a part in the war against Voldemort, or what happened to him later.
Presumably, Cuthbert Binns will go on teaching the History of Magic at Hogwarts for all eternity, making it the most boring and dreaded class for many years to come. Though we do know that the school did try to improve the lessons, as we hear of a visiting History of Magic professor, Jakub Gorski, visiting in 2009.
About Cuthbert Binns
|Born||Unknown – sometimes before the 1970s|
|Blood Status||Pure-Blood or Half-Blood|
|Zodiac Sign||Capricorn (speculative)|
Cuthbert Binns Personality Type & Traits
Both living and as a ghost, Cuthbert Binns seems to have had a very “flat” personality with little sense of humor or charisma. We do know that he prizes truth and facts above all things. He only believes in things that can be proven.
While his passion might not be obvious, Professor Binns is clearly passionate about his subject, not wanting to leave it even in death. This suggests a serious stubborn streak. He is also self-involved, droning on about his subject without really noticing if anyone else is paying attention or cares.
Cuthbert Binns Zodiac Sign & Birthday
We do not know when Cuthbert Binns was born or his birthday. We only know that he died sometime before the 1970s. He was already a ghost when James, Lily, Sirius, and Lupin were at school. Nevertheless, fans suggest, based on his personality traits, that his zodiac sign may be Capricorn.
Capricorns are analytical and methodical, and likely to enjoy a subject like the History of Magic. They are also very focused and single-minded, and not overly concerned about what other people think. They are stubborn enough that they wouldn’t let death stand in the way of their plans.
Why is Professor Binns a Ghost?
Professor Binns is one of the many ghosts that we encounter at Hogwarts. But while the other Ghosts all seem to be self-aware ghosts “haunting” the castle, Professor Binns is a teacher at Hogwarts and, despite floating through walls, may not be aware that he is dead.
Ghosts are imprints of the souls of a once-living wizard or witch left behind in the world. They tend to “live” a pale shadow of their previous life, choosing not to pass on due to unfinished business.
In the case of Cuthbert Binns, he seems to have been so singularly focussed on his task of teaching History of Magic at Hogwarts that he simply missed the signs that it was time to move on. He continued with his daily routine as if nothing had changed.
Why did Professor Binns leave in the Staff Room Fire?
We are told that one day, a very old Professor Binns was sitting in front of the fire in the Hogwarts staff room. He fell asleep, and died naturally. However, his soul does not seem to have realized that he had died. So, the next day continued with his daily teaching routine as normal.
This suggests that Professor Binns had become so entrenched in his teaching schedule that it had become second nature, and his soul was drawn to it, even after death.
This may explain why his classes are so monotonous and boring. His ghost is unable to break his existing routine or create anything genuinely new. It is unclear if he was already like this before he died.
Does Professor Binns know he’s dead?
It is unclear whether Professor Binns knows that he is dead. He carries on as though he is still alive. We never see him have a conversation with anyone about his life status.
He must have noticed that he no longer needs to eat and can walk through walls. But whether he has figured out what this means is uncertain.
What did Professor Binns tell his class?
Professor Binns covers various topics about the History of Magic in his classes. These are conducted in Classroom 4F on the first floor, while he has an office on the fifth floor. He seems to have been particularly interested in the conflicts between wizards and other magical beings, such as goblins and giants.
We know that he taught first-year students about important historical figures such as Uric the Oddball and Emeric the Evil.
Binns expects second-year students to write essays on subjects including the Medieval Assembly of European Wizards and the International Warlocks’ Convention of 1289. Over the holidays in preparation for their third year, students wrote on Witch Burning in the Fourteenth Century and why it was completely pointless.
Fourth-year students write weekly essays on the goblin rebellions of the 18th century, and fifth years study the giant wars.
We also know that some students approached Professor Binns specifically to learn about dragons and Portkeys. This suggests that he had some notable knowledge in this area.
Cuthbert Binns Magical Abilities
While ghosts have paranormal abilities, they do not seem to retain the magical abilities that they possessed when they were living. Thus, we never hear of Cuthbert Binns casting a spell or even using a wand.
We also do not know the level of his magical ability when he was alive. For example, we do not know if Cuthbert Binns could cast a Patronus. It is likely that he always enjoyed the academic topic of Magical History more than the practical application of magic.