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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Chapter Thirty-Three:
The Prince's Tale

"I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket..."

Notes by Michele L. Worley
Page editor Belinda Hobbs

U.K. hardcover edition: pages 529 - 553
U.S. hardcover edition: pages 659 - 690
Timeframe: ?+1, May, 1998

In which Harry, using the Pensieve, learns of his mother's childhood friendship with Severus Snape, that Snape's worst memory was of how they became estranged, of how Snape became Dumbledore's agent, and that he himself was accidentally made a Horcrux on the night his parents were murdered.

illustration by Mary GrandPré

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

Snape looked no more than nine or ten years old

Since he was Sorted in the same year as Lily, and she was born in 1960, that would make this about 1969 or 1970.

the younger of the two girls

So Lily was younger than Petunia. Since Lily was born in January of 1960 (DH16), the latest possible date for Petunia's birth would be in the early months of 1959.

They live down Spinner's End by the river.

So the town in which the Evans family lived is the same in which Snape lived.

Petunia, hiding behind a tree

So now we know where Petunia had heard of Azkaban and the dementors when she mentioned them just before Harry's fifth year, and it would seem that 'that awful boy' was not James Potter after all (OP2).

a thin, sallow-faced, sour-looking woman who greatly resembled him

This would be Eileen Prince Snape, Severus' mother.

"I saw his reply. It was very kind."

And this explains when and how Petunia had previously corresponded with Dumbledore - he was Headmaster by this time, then.

he couldn't believe a Muggle could have contacted Hogwarts, that's all! He says there must be wizards working undercover in the postal service who take care of -

Very interesting. Perhaps such wizards intercept correspondence with a Hogwarts address. Or perhaps Petunia managed to find out how to do this when her parents were contacted about her sister?

'"Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!" Like my dad.'

So Harry is a third-generation Gryffindor on his father's side.

Harry watched Lupin, Pettigrew, and his father join Lily and Sirius at the Gryffindor table.

So this settles it - Pettigrew was a Gryffindor who went bad.

Lucius Malfoy, a prefect badge gleaming on his chest

So Lucius would have been in his fifth, sixth, or seventh year at this point in order to be a prefect.

I detest Avery and Mulciber!

Igor Karkaroff was to name Mulciber as a Death Eater years later during his trial (GF30) while Avery was one of the Death Eaters who attended Voldemort's rebirthing party (GF33).

D'you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?

If this is the same Mary that Lily refers to later on, she seems to have been a Gryffindor (see below).

'I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here.'

So Mary is another of the girls living in Gryffindor Tower, since Lily spoke to her before coming out.

Keep an eye on Quirrell, won't you?

So this conversation (since Harry is already a student) is taking place sometime during Harry's first year.

His right hand dangled over the side, blackened and burned.

So this conversation is taking place after the end of Harry's fifth year but before Dumbledore's visit to Privet Drive.

'Tempted by what?'

Dumbledore must have recognized it as the Resurrection Stone he had sought so long.

accidental victims of whatever schemes might occur to the boy

Such as Madam Rosmerta (placed under the Imperius Curse), Katie Bell (who almost died), Ron Weasley (likewise), and very nearly Horace Slughorn, not to mention everyone who fought the Death Eaters during the battle of the Tower.

Fawkes the phoenix was gnawing a bit of cuttlebone.

This is an awful joke, and I mean that in the way I'd react to puns - cuttlebone, ground up, is a dietary supplement for ordinary cage birds.

According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, phoenixes are vegetarians, so it seems a little out of place for one to eat fishbones. Cuttlebone is more shell than bone, though, I understand, so that may make a difference.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:


Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • 'Would you like me to do it now?' asked Snape, his voice heavy with irony. 'Or would you like a few moments to compose an epitaph?'

  • 'as surely as the Chudley Cannons will finish bottom of this year's league'

  • 'Or dear Bellatrix, who likes to play with her food before she eats it.'

  • 'I prefer not to put all my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort.'

Strictly British:


The present day action of the chapter takes place on the same night as the action of the preceding chapter.

From the gravestone in Godric's Hollow, we know that Lily Evans Potter was born on 30 January 1960, so she would have gone to Hogwarts for the first time and been Sorted in September of 1971.


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