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Complete, detailed, and amazing Reader's Guides
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter Eight:
Snape Victorious

Notes by Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley
Synopsis and links by John Kearns

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 155-170
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 148-162
Timeframe: Sunday, 1 September, 1996 [Y16]

In which Tonks rescues Harry from the train and Snape leads Harry in to the feast, criticizing Harry all the way.  Once inside, Harry discusses his status as 'The Chosen One' with those around him and Dumbledore gives his opening speech, announcing that Slughorn will be teaching Potions and Snape teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts.  On the way out of the hall, Harry and Ron discuss Malfoy and run into Hagrid, who tells them about Grawp and leaves them feeling guilty for not taking his class.

Snape Victorious

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

"I think you were better off with the old one," said Snape, the malice in his voice unmistakeable. "The new one looks weak."

On a first reading, if the reader takes Tonks' Patronus to be an image of Sirius, this dovetails with Snape's malice towards Sirius' memory - and suggests that it carries over onto anyone close to him. The same holds true for Remus Lupin, of course, with an even nastier suggestion of anti-werewolf bigotry (see Snape's behaviour toward Lupin in PA19, and various remarks throughout the series about Lupin's characteristic appearance of being tired and ill).

the long Gryffindor table (which, inconveniently, was the furthest from the Entrance Hall)

A nice tidbit of information to supplement our floor plans for the layout of the Great Hall.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • none

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:

  • "You know, I don't believe any House has ever been in negative figures this early in the term: We haven't even started pudding. You might have set a record, Potter."

  • He hoped very much that they would all assume he had been involved in something heroic, preferably involving a couple of Death Eaters and a Dementor.

  • "...and Mr. Filch, our caretaker, has asked me to say that there is a blanket ban on any joke items bought at the shop called Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes."

  • The last time he had met Hagrid's half-brother, a vicious giant with a talent for ripping up trees by the roots, his vocabulary had comprised five words, two of which he was unable to pronounce properly.

Strictly British:


The entire chapter takes place the night students arrive at Hogwarts, which is Sunday, 1 September for two reasons: first, this is the case in every book in the series; second, this aligns with the first hardfast date we have - Ron's birthday on Saturday, 1 March the following year (HBP18).


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