Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Interviewing for a new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, as they do every year, the Hogwarts hiring committee are unimpressed with an overly nervous candidate who seems unusually afraid of his own subject area. His turban smells of dead things. Already fighting a losing battle with one of their tenured professors about hygiene and self-presentation, the committee unanimously decide not to hire Quirrell. Meanwhile, Dumbledore is aware that the Philosopher’s Stone might be at risk. Instead of hiding it in a school full of kids, he has a chat with his old friend, Nicholas Flamel, during the summer holidays. They agree to destroy the stone. The school year has not even started. Lord Voldemort does not return.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
While Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts, the Chamber of Secrets was opened. Hindsight is 20/20: after Tom’s evil rise to power as Lord Voldemort, it became clear to everybody that he must have been the one opening it. The student expelled for the crime at the time, who had always maintained his innocence, received a public apology from Hogwarts twelve years ago. Now, sightings of Lord Voldemort are proliferating. Somebody may have reopened the Chamber. Concerned for his students’ safety, the headmaster tells them there’s a risk Voldemort might be active again and in the process of attempting a power grab at the school. Dumbledore implores the students to report anything anomalous. Ginny Weasley, who has received actual pastoral care from her concerned teachers and the student welfare team during her difficult first months at Hogwarts, immediately hands in Riddle’s diary. The diary is destroyed. It’s early October. No exams will be cancelled. Lord Voldemort does not return.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
After escaping from prison, Sirius Black sends a letter to Dumbledore in which he explains everything. Dumbledore immediately travels to the Weasleys’ house. Here he forces Peter Pettigrew to transform back to his human form. Peter agrees to tell the Ministry the truth about his murderous crimes in exchange for the promise that he will not be subjected to the Dementors’ Kiss. (This punishment should never have been inflicted upon anybody in the first place, but we’re talking about the Ministry of Magic here—a bureaucratic dictatorship both brutal and revered—so all bets are off.) Sirius Black is pardoned. The school year has not even started.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Successfully posing as Alastor Moody, a homicidal police officer and secret agent turned teacher, Death Eater Crouch Jr. invites Harry for tea in his study. The tea mug is a portkey. Lord Voldemort returns three days after the beginning of the school year. Harry, who has not yet learned how to perform the “Accio” spell, dies at his hand.