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Happy Birthday Severus Snape


birthday cake
As expected, the WotM calendar on Jo’s site is displaying happy birthday wishes for January 9th to Severus Snape.

Since birthdays began showing up on the site, with Neville Longbottom being the first on July 30, 2004, and over the course of the next year, much speculation has gone into the significance of which characters are mentioned. Are they all on the “good” side? Will they all survive? are they Jo’s favorites?
And what about the characters that have not been wished a happy birthday? Albus Dumbledore, Tonks, Mad-eye, Luna? Well, we now know that Dumbledore was probably no longer alive in Jo’s mind that first year. Some of the others I mentioned were introduced in OP which Jo was hiding behind the Spoiler Dark Mark on her site at the time. So can we take this to mean Snape survives? Is he “good”?
The significance of his inclusion on the calendar could simply be because he was Head of Slytherin House, and each of the four Heads of Houses were included, Flitwick, Sprout, and McGonagall.
Still it is hard to know, and it’s another one of the mysteries Jo continues to weave for us.


Pensieve (Comments)

  • I’m on the side that thinks that Snape will ultimately turn out to be Dumbledore’s man–whether he has always been or not, is still not at all clear. But that being said, I could be totally wrong.

    I have noticed that we now know Tom Riddle’s birthday, but he didn’t show up on the birthday calendar, did he? So maybe that exclusion tells us more about Snape than Snape’s inclusion.

    I also think it’s interesting to note that those two birthdays are in “mid-winter”, and the description that Trelawney gives of a dark young man (in GOF?) (well, Voldemort wouldn’t be considered young any more, I wouldn’t think) and later in HBP of the one who dislikes her could apply to Snape as well as to Harry. It could be a very clever misdirection on Rowling’s part that we assume that both times Trelawney is making some sort of prediction about Harry, when it may refer to Snape instead.


  • Pat Pat

    I am with Eeyore. I believe that Snape will ultimately turn out good. Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I am of the opinion that we STILL do not know the entirety of Dumbledore’s reasons for trusting Snape. He does have a tendency to seek the good in people, but he is also the most clever wizard that we know. He must have had some rock solid reasons for his belief in Severus.

    There is no doubt that Snape hates Harry, but I believe he is also trying to teach him to protect himself and defeat the Voldemort. If you read the battle between Snape and Harry at the end of HBP very carefully, it almost comes off as a lesson. Some of his anger may be due to the fact that he knows that Harry will have a difficult time dealing with Voldemort if he doesn’t learn Occlumency and nonverbal spells.

  • Reader2

    Not that I know the answer to either of these questions, but I don’t think that Snape has to be “good” to survive. Rowling books are not typical fairy tales.
    Killing all the bad guys in the end is not a requirement.

  • Severus

    PatPat, I agree. The Duel at the end of HBP was almost like a lesson. Notice that the worst Snape did was disarm Harry? Even if Harry was “for the Dark Lord”, what was there to stop him from the Cruciatus Curse or Stunning him? And note the bit of advice before he left “Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!” Also, who could forget Hagrids account of Snape telling Dumbledore he felt “over-worked and unapprieciated” in the Forbidden Forest?

  • I’m on the side that thinks Snape is just really really evil and I’m also on the side that gets the feeling that JKR’s birthdays on her site may be a sign of who survives. As much as I would love Snape to get some serious whoopin’ from Harry (especially if he is proven evil), I get the feeling Harry may have to let him go for some bigger reason.

    But that’s just me.

  • Ada

    Happy birthday Severus! We love you and hope you will survive!!!!!

  • LadyOfThePensieve

    Happy Birthday Half-Blood Snape! I honestly believe that Trelawney was talking about you in GoF when she talked about mid-winter. She said born IN mid-winter From January), not AT mid-winter (December 21).
    Anyway. I am a TRUE Canon Snape Fan.

  • Olivier

    I’m with PatPat and Severus. Snape also prevented Harry from using Dark Art that night. No wonder he didn’t appreciate being called a coward… Happy Birthday “Snivellus”!

  • Elizabeth

    Harry birthday snivvelus

  • Will Orwont

    JKR has often warned about seeing Snape in a rosy light. Snape, that foremost Slytherin, will turn out to simply be on his own side. All along he may have been scheming to take out Voldemort for killing Lily Potter, with the single-mindedness that cut down Dumbledore without warning or remorse. This certainly explains his extreme ambivalence towards Harry — expressed in intense loathing, on the one hand, and practical help, on the other (mirroring his feelings for Harry’s parents). What we can’t know yet is where Harry fits into Snape’s plan or whether Harry, being the loose cannon that he is, will screw it up.

    As for who else survives (or doesn’t), I suppose Moody and Luna Lovegood qualify as ‘major’ characters, though barely. It must have been especially hard for JKR to off Luna — perhaps she’s one of those characters who wasn’t initially slated for a sticky end. That would explain Jo trying to share her feelings about this with us ahead of the book’s release, although in such a marvellously roundabout way that only those in the know will get it.

  • I don’t know if I should wish happy birthday to Snivellus, I’m to confused about whether ornot he’s good or bad!

  • silos

    Its strange, isnt it, her wishing Severus? She also wished Draco Malfoy didnt she? And we all know that he’s not on the good/light side. I think one should ask her this someday.Or maybe we’ll know when the final book comes out.

  • Hollycat

    I’m a firm believer that those whose birthday appears will survive. I also think Snape is not Voldemort’s man and that he has appeared to be so in order to rescue Draco, who will come good in the end.

  • Pavel

    I would say, maybe Tom Riddle was not wished a happy birthday because he is now dead as well as Dumbledore is.

  • recklesscatlover

    I am with HOLLYCAT: those who are given birthdays survive. (hope we get Tonks soon…) Reason: simply, JKR gives not just day/month (that would be enough) but also the year (current one). For instace, as book 7 is ‘happening’ in 1997-98, then Snape would need to survive (10 years at least) in order to get a happy birthday on 09/01/07…

  • pam

    I, too, believed that Snape will be proved to be Dumbledore’s man. I love the way Jo has developed him, through the course of the books. He is turning out to be the most complex and interesting charactor of all.
    I am not convinced that he will survive. I believe that he will fall in the final battle, perhaps saving Harry.

  • John D.

    maybe some characters(luna, tonks,moddy) aren’t wished happy bday because jk doesn’t know when their bday is. I believe snape will redeem himself somehow and will survive.

  • Bethany

    I don’t know…I don’t think Snape will make it through the last book. Evil or not. And happy birthday, Snape!!!

  • iszi

    Yeah – harry will kill him and then regret it later – ‘all a misunderstanding’ type jape. Bet Snape saves Harry’s life again as well. So maybe you know who kills him in anger.

    S’tuff being in love with Lilly Evans, eh, sev?

    (Even so, part of me wishes he’s on neither side, just doing what he can to survive, but methinks that such a bitter man must have a moral streak. He’s such a bloomin’ martyr.)

    Happy birthday

  • Severusisn’tveil

    Severus is not evil. He just isn’t. I believe he was in love with Lily. That’s why he came back and Dumbledore knows and that’s the reason Dumbledore trusted him. Also, as already somewhat mentioned, if Severus WERE evil, which he’s not, he would have either killed Harry in their duel after he killed Dumbledore or immobilized him somehow—Stupefy, Pertrificus Totalus—- and brought him to Voldemort if he feared the Dark Lord’s wrath for killing “Voldemort’s prey”. Just think how honored he’d have been then, having just eliminated Dumbledore and then also bringing Harry Potter, the Dark Lord’s greatest enemy to Voldemort for Voldemort to do with as he pleases— torture, and then inevitably murder— Also, Dumbledore was pleading with Severus. Dumbledore’s not afraid of death. i think that Severus and Dumbledore had already decided that Severus should do it if necessary, especially because of the Unbreakable Vow. I think Dumbledore knows that he would die anyway. Better fior Severus to do it than break his Vow and die too. What good would that do the Order, having two of their most important figures— the Leader and the Spy— permanently out of action. Also, there is the argument between Severus and Dumbledore in the middle of the year, the one we know about from Hagrid. I think Severus was trying to refuse to fulfil his Vow. I think he was willing to die, buut Dumbledore refused to let him cop out. The Order need Severus desperately. Also, of course, there is Severus’s reaction to being called a coward. He wouldn’t have exploded like that if he wasn’t going through the pain of having killed the only one who trusted him—not to mention the guilt he feels for putting them all in that situation in the first place. I really hope he is not killed off. Also, by the way, I’ve already had my favorite character killed off once— Sirius— I don’t want it to happen again. JKR had just better keep her Word Processor Ax off of Severus, Remus, and by association Tonks.

  • Pavel

    I think Snape has to be on the good side. Why would just Dumbledore ask him: “Severus, please,” to kill him. He was not surprised at that moment at all. I think that the both of them must have had known something more. Now Snape is going to be very close to Voldemort and he will be able to spy on him very easily without any doubt from Voldemort’s side. Though, it is gonna be up to him what he will turn out to be in the end. But I expect him to be good. His usual behaviour seems to be just a mask, at least to me. A mask, but still this mask mixes with some of his old bad memories and he sometimes does not seem to have forgiven those think to people who did them to him – like Sirius, Harry’s father, … and then there is still the love for Lilly that was never fulfilled. He just simply cannot forgive, but he knows what is good and what is evil. He is a pretty good Occlumen – so we just cannot see inside him like other characters in the books. Maybe except for Dumbledore – but he wouldn’t say what Snape really was. Just: “I trust him.”

  • Pavel

    And I have just read the thoughts of Severusisn’tevil and that seems to be pretty right, what is written there in his (or her) article.

  • Severusisn’tveil

    I think Severus is like a foil for Voldemort, in a way, because you could almost forgive Voldemort for the things he does after you learn about his childhood— his past warped him— except that he gets suchh obvious enjoyment from the evil he does. Severus, on the other hand, was warped by his childhood but will still come out good in the end. Maybe JKR means to have him show the message that Voldemort does not— that people from horrible backgrounds don’t have to be evil to the core like Voldemort. Also, I wish Severus woooould find someone living to fall in love with because I think the two people most in need of love at the moment are Severus and Remus. Remus has a good prospect, but JKR actually said in some interview or other that she finds the idea of Severus in love “terrifying” and she says she wonders “who would want Snape in love with them.” Tghere has to be someone out there. Also, on the subject of Severus and Remus:
    I think that Remus will be the one to speak up for Severus when he has to face the Order. In a twisted and confusing way, they are kindred spirits. I think Remus is ready to forgive Severus, or he will be soon. Also, isn’t it interesting that Severus ridiculed Sirius for being an accused murderer who has to hide away at headquarters when the chances are good he will soon find himself in just that position.

  • clck_maker

    I was under the idea that it was possible that the birthday calander on Jo’s site was for the survivors?! Does this mean Severus will survive?
    Hmm… can’t decide if this is good or bad.

  • Reader2

    I hope no one is under impression that “evil” means “on the side of Voldemort”.
    I also would like to point out that the best case we can build for Snape is that what looked like a murder was in fact an assisted suicide.
    We might be satisfied with this explanation, but I doubt Harry Potter would approve of Dr. Kavorkian.
    And another thing, wheather Snape is good or evil, I don’t think he will allow the Order to judge him.
    If he does survive, he will probably flee the country never to be seen again.

  • Fonzman

    I don’t believe Severus is evil. I was mad when he killed Dumbledore, but I eventually got over it. I’m going to have to agree that he will survive, turn out good and help Harry along the way. I’m not to sure that everyone in the order will be to happy about him though. I don’t think he will be visiting them for a while. I believe he and Wormtail will get together later in the book and side with the Order, but this is a wild guess. The two people that have done a lot of damage to the order and Harry already.

  • Pat Pat

    I disagree, Reader2. Harry, himself, has been in a similar position as Snape (assuming that we are correct that Dumbledore’s death was planned and Snape killed him on D’s orders). Recall that Harry had to force feed the horcrux potion to Dumbledore because he had agreed to do exactly as Dumbledore asked. And because, in the end, it was supposed to be for the greater good. I think Harry, more than anyone, will understand Snape’s position. Dumbledore’s death served the purpose of allowing Snape to remain in his spy role and most likely become Voldemort’s most trusted “follower.”

    Compare the description of Snape before he kills Dumbledore in HBP27 “Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face,” with the description of Harry in HBP26 as he force feeds the potion to Dumbledore, “Hating himself, repulsed by what he was doing, Harry forced the goblet back toward Dumbledore’s mouth . . .”. Yes, I believe Snape and Harry are in the same boat in these two situations and that Harry will be able to understand why Snape did what he did.

  • Reader2

    You might be right, but remeber, after the forced feeding, Dumbledore asked Harry to kill him, and Harry ruled it of as crazy-talk.
    The difference between Harry and Snape is also the difference between Griffindore and Slytherine ways of thinking.
    They see such an extreeme situation very differently.
    If Harry does manage to understand Snape, it will be a very difficult choice for him to make, and it sertainly wont lead to the two of them becoming good friends.
    The best we can hope for is that they will part ways without killing each other.
    Then again, we might be wrong about the situation entirely:
    Those who believe that Snape was in love with Lilly sound conviced that this would make him good, and fail to see that loving Lilly would give Snape the best of motives to kill Dumbledore. Snape switched sides in hope that Dumbledore will protect Lilly, but Dumbledore failed to do so.
    How is that for a murder motive?

  • Willow

    First off. Happy Birthday Severus. (okay, belated, but only by a couple of hours.)

    In my opinion, Snape is neither evil nor good. Both of those terms bug me anyway. *shrugs* In all seriousness, I feel Severus is on Dumbledore’s side, even though he was the one to kill him. In the beginning of the book, there was a distraught Narcissa and a deranged Bellatrix convincing him that he had to protect Draco, thereby entering into an Unbreakable Vow. If neither Draco nor Severus killed Dumbledore, Severus would have died. Unless it’s for your own child or close relative, the foremost thought in your mind is self-preservation. There also comes the arguement that Severus should have just died then. Well, if Draco is unable to do it, and Snape dies because of it, there were still three or four DEs out there just as willing to kill Dumbledore. *shrugs* There was no way out of that situtation. I also agree that it could be viewed more as an assisted suicide. Dumbledore was dying because of that potion he drank. Harry doesn’t see it that way, but he’s on the path to seriously growing up now. Will Severus die? I doubt it. We still haven’t found out what caused Dumbledore to trust him so implicitly.

    I do like the idea that the birthdays are for the survivors, but that would completely ruin my theory that Harry will not survive the end of Deathly Hallows.

  • Will Orwont

    Maybe Harry could find the truth by using a pensieve to revisit the moment of his parents’ death. They’re handy things have around — as JKR let us ponder in the last WOMBAT. But then, if someone was wearing an invisibility cloak at the time, a pensieve trip still may not give the whole story…

    We’ve never heard Slughorn’s birthday either. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s high on the Death Eaters’ hit list, so that he won’t share any more compromising memories. If these website birthdays indicate who survives, Deathly Hallows will sure live up to its name.

  • Theodore

    he is good… i hate it but he has to be… and i also think is good ( for himself ) so he turns out to be another lucius after the war? i mean.. harry will always like someone to hate after voldemort..

  • Pat Pat

    Reader2, You’re correct that Snape and Harry definitely see things differently and I agree that, even if Harry is able to understand Snape, they will never be good friends. Just too much bitterness there. I also agree with you that loving Lily would not make Snape good. I don’t know why people think that those two must be linked. In my opinion the greatest evidence for Snape’s goodness is Dumbledore’s trust in him. Dumbledore had a reason, we know. Maybe it was an unbreakable vow, who knows. But, though Dumbledore can make mistakes, he IS the cleverest wizard we know. I have a hard time believing that he would have trusted Snape without some rock solid reason.

  • Lindsay

    Perhaps Snape loving Lily, cannot explain why Snape would suddenly turn “good,” but it would explain why he join sides against the person who killed her.

    Snape continuing to be in love with Lily could also explain why he’s been protecting Harry but loathes him. We know that Snape hated James Potter for many reasons, and that Harry looks like James. Perhaps the very sight of Harry reminds Snape of what he could have had. Even more telling is Rowling’s insistence that the fact that Harry has Lily’s eyes will be very important. Perhaps Snape overcomes his loathing of Harry by virtue of his eyes?

  • jensenly

    Ahhh….recklesscatlover, you make a very logical argument for why the birthdays may be a clue as to who survives. Great deduction and I now am firmly behind your theory!

  • Reader2

    So, the majority here says that birthdays mark survivors.
    I believe that the Lexicon staff had already pointed out that characters who made an appearance only after GoF do not get a “happy birthday”, even if they are ment to survive.
    I’m glad to hear that since I wouldn’t want Luna or Tonks to get killed.
    In that respect, the fact that Slughorn did not get a “happy birthday” is a comforting proof to me, since I have no doubt in that he survives.
    Cockroaches and slugs can survive anything.

  • Acacb

    Maybe AD planed EVERYTHING…but something went wrong…SS knows what…but he kept AD secret…this mistake kills H’s parents…AD knows SS hates LV… before entering DE’s group…something related to his (SS) mother(50 years ago, isn’t it?). So…Snape is neither evil nor good…SS wants to kill LV as much as Harry…why?what? I don’t have a clue.

  • I don’t think that Dumbledore really WANTED/intended Snape to kill him. There’s even plain evidence for that. Remember, after HP and AD found that wannabe-Horcrux, they were in Hogsmeade. AD was dangerously ill and Harry wanted to bring him to Mme Pomfrey. But AD wanted SS to heal him -> yes, he even PLEADED for him. But at this point of time he had NO IDEA what was going on in the castle, i.e. he had no idea that Malfoy was about to fulfill his task. And if Malfoy didn’t have to kill AD (that night), why then would AD want Snape to kill him – without any reason?!?

    To Will Orwont: that’s a great idea!! I bet Harry’s going to do that.

    To Severusisn’tveil: about Snape and love – yes, JK said this but in an elderly interview. In a newer one she said that “Snape had been loved by someone before”, though we don’t know whether this person loved him parentally or as a “boyfriend” (wow, that sounds weird *smirks*).

  • Reader2

    Sorry, but your evidence is not convincing.
    Dumbledore was pleading for Severus at Hogsmead – true.
    But that’s right after he drank that cursed potion, plus he was still suffering from the curse on his arm.
    The curse, or the potion, or both could have doomed him to a slow and painful death.
    He could very well be asking for Severus, who could provide him a quick and painless one instead.
    How is that for a reason?
    Gruesome scenario, I know, but the whole story is turning gruesome at this point.

  • Pat Pat

    Lisa Marie, sorry but I have to agree with Reader2 here. Even if you are correct that Dumbledore wanted Snape to heal him at that moment in Hogsmeade, that doesn’t mean that he had not ordered Snape to kill him if the time came. Perhaps the time came sooner than he expected, but it still could be true.

    In addition, this quote from Dumbledore says a lot: “No, Draco . . . It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.” To me, this quote indicates that Dumbledore was showing Draco mercy by allowing himself to be killed by Snape, thus saving Malfoy from being a murderer and allowing him to avoid being killed by Voldemort.

  • I still don’t think Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him (at least not at this moment) without any particular reason! That’s just not Dumbledore.
    And I’m PRETTY sure that Snape could’ve healed him!

  • Antoon

    I think that some link between Snape and Lily does exist – they might have had some discussions about potions, for instance. But the fact that Snape has been loved doesn’t necessarily mean that this was by Lily. I would rather guess that Lily was the link between Snape and his love.

  • Pavel

    Well, I think there is, and we will the seventh book learn about it, something that we do not know about the origin of Harrys mother and also Severus Snape. There is also Aunt Petunia, who knows more about magical world much more than we all expected. There are certain thing that we can at the moment only argue about and I expect some important things to come from these three people. Because we do know only too little about their origin.

  • Yeah i think that snape is actually good and he only killed Dumbledore because it was all part of a plan.

  • Pat Pat

    Lisa Marie,

    If we are correct that Dumbledore’s death was part of a plan (and we could all be wrong.), then it wasn’t “without any particular reason.” When the time came for Draco to kill Dumbledore, only two things could happen there. Either Dumbledore dies or Snape does. Dumbledore’s death accomplished the purpose of allowing Snape to remain in his spy role and most likely to become the most trusted advisor of the Dark Lord. Of course, this is all just opinion and speculation based on the clues that JKR gives.

  • Reader2

    On the other hand,
    if Lisa Marie is right, and Snape killed Dumbledore on his own accord, that does not make Snape Voldemort’s man.
    He still shows signs of disloyalty.
    If Snape has his own agenda (and especially if he was in love with Lilly), he has quite a hit list.
    All three of the world’s most powerful wizards (one down, two to go) and all four of his childhood tormentors (two down, two to go), and possibly a few competitors at the ministry and among Death Eaters.
    The only way he can destroy that many powerful wizards is by playing them against each other, and he’s been doing a good job so far.
    Right now Harry is safe from him, since Snape needs him as a weapon against Voldemort, but once Voldemort is down, Harry might have to deal with Snape.

  • Marco

    You can surely remember OP/Ch.2, as Aunt Petunia had let slip knowledge about Dementors.

    “I heard – that awful boy – telling her about them, years ago.”, she said jerkily.

    Petunia refers to Lillys companion as “that awful boy”, not as “your father”. Since Harry is almost a copy of James Potter, Petunia should have recognised, that Lillys companion was James Potter, if he was it actually. So Lillys companion might have been any other person than James Potter, possibly Snape.

  • will orwont

    If no character who debuts after GoF gets a birthday, that could simply be because they don’t survive. There was already a fast-growing body count in HBP (though mostly reported second-hand). We have been told to expect much worse in DH.

    In OOTP the Order’s Aurors are already well aware that they are prime targets. I don’t think Moody, Shacklebolt, Tonks and other “good guys” don’t get birthday greetings just because they appear late in the series. And surely JKR would wish Luna, who is one of her favourite characters, a happy birthday if it was appropriate.

  • ImmortalGold

    Snape is on the side of the Order so he gets his birthday mentioned.Here’s my theory why.
    I think Snape is just a very nasty and evil person working for whats good in the world (theres no pre-requisite saying that all heroes have sweet, mild mannered and kind).Dumbledores death was never part of the plan, but in the situation that came about I think a Snape within the Death Eaters ready to help Harry will turn out to be more important to Harry’s success than a Dumbledore on the outside (as unlikely as that may seem)Whether Snape will be redeemed, scapegoat or martyr (I doubt anyone will ever accept him as a hero or friend after Dumbldore) only time will tell…
    As to why Snape hates Harry, I think Snape loved Lily, hated James for getting Lily and picking on him, hates Lily for loving James back.Imagine what must go through his head when he sees Harry (if im right).The face he hates most, with the eyes he would die to have………..

  • beauxbatons

    Being on the side of the Order cannot be the only criterion to get one’s birthday mentioned. In that case, Mad-eye (!), Tonks (!!!), Dumbledore (!!!!), Luna (!!!!!) would all be traitors, wouldn’t they ?

  • To ImmortalGold: I like your last part (“As to why Snape hates Harry…”) and I totally agree.
    To Marco: Well, I was thinking about this, too. I always thought it could be a different boy, but it never occured to me that this boy could actually be SNAPE!
    Did you read the essay “The Tragedy of Petunia Dursley”? I think it’s great, and after reading it I rather thought that “awful boy” WAS actually James because…well, maybe Petunia liked James and ergo had another reason to hate/be jealous of her sister.
    Very interesting though!

  • Torill

    Snape did not kill Dumbledore to be safely placed as a spy in the Order. That makes no sense at all. In no way does the Order need Snape “desperately” as a spy more than they need Dumbledore to lead them, physically crippled or not. If you compare it with chess, this would be like killing the King to protect the Queen.

    And place him safely near Voldemort? The time when Snape could have needed something like this kind of Grand Plan to convince Voldemort of his loyalty, was when he first returned to the DE’s at the end of book four. Then he had every reason to believe he might not be able to convince Voldemort to trust him again. But no plan existed then; no murder scene was staged in order to secure Snape; both he and DD seemed to have thought his Occlumency ability was enough – as it did prove to be. So why is it suddenly different now?

    Snape was placed safely near Voldemort already – read the Spinners End chapter and see how it is clear that Snape was then higher in the DE hierarchy than she was!

    If they still should think such a cynical plan was necessary, perhaps (ab)using the fact that Dumbledore was dying from the effects of the ring after all – then the stupidity of the plan really becomes too much – because why on earth did they not involve the Order members – Harry included – in that plan? Then Snape could have continued to feed the Order with information, plus secretly assist them. Instead of having them all wasting their energies by trying to hunt Snape down and kill him, which is what will happen now. Abysmally poor planning, if you ask me.

    (and why do you assume Dumbledore would believe it is better for a person to kill than to die? I would assume his ethical principles would have it the other way around.. killing in the Potterverse rips the soul apart, remember?)

  • Sierra

    I’m on the side that thinks Snape is good. I dunno, I just think he’s a great charactet. It seems to me that Jo has to show us, that not everyone who hates Harry is on the Voldemort`s side. Last days in case of Jo’s interview i’ve read i’d changed my opinion ’bout the characters that will die in the book 7. Now i think if Snape’s good (and about 80% he is:)) he will die. It’s a pity, cause i really like him like a character for his many-sidedness) and mystery and strangeness.

  • Sierra

    Toril, I disagree bout chess. If you compare them all its like that: this would be like killing the Queen (Dumbledore) to protect the Horse (Snape) who will protect the King (Harry, cause he’s more imortant than Dumbledore).

  • Torill

    Sierra, my chess metaphor was in answer to another poster above, who claimed that the Order needed Snape desperately as a spy for them more than they needed Dumbledore to lead them. I disagree with this, obvioulsy. But I agree that if you take the chess metaphor and apply it on the books as a whole, then Harry is the King, yes.

    My chief argument against the implication of your metaphor (sacrificing the Queen(DD) in order to protect the Horse(Snape) who must protect the King(Harry)) was that this makes absolutely no sense. Before Dumbledore was killed, Harry had both the Magical powers of the Greatest Wizard who ever lived on his side, plus Snape safely placed as an agent for the good side near Voldemort (assuming Snape is on the right side, that is.) How exactly is Harry better off now, with Dumbledore dead?

    I do not believe that Snape is more able to protect Harry now than Dumbledore was before he was killed. There is no evidence for this in the books, and no one that I know of has yet come up with any theory why this should be the case – what it is exactly that Snape can do now that he couldn’t do before, that will help Harry more than it would have helped him to have Dumbledore on his side. Harry’s inherited Quest now that Dumbledore is dead, is to destroy the remaining potentially lethal Horcruxes all by himself. Dumbledore can’t have planned for Harry to handle the rest of the Horcruxes alone. And if Dumbledore thought Snape could replace him and assist Harry equally well, or better, than he could have done himself, then the Grand Plan appears even more stupid. Because there is no way Harry is going to accept any help whatsoever from Snape now. If this Grand Plan existed, Harry at least should have known about it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense.

    But this discussion is maybe for the Snape thread in the forums? As for the mystery of who is included in the Birthday wishes and who not – does a list exist anywhere of who is included? My theory was that the ones included were the ones alive in the “here and now” time of the books. Not our time. The “now” time of the series at this point, is the end of Harry’s sixth school year. At this time, Snape is alive of course. But Sirius has been dead for a year, so we will never see him get a birthday wish on Jo’s site. But I admit I don’t remember everyone who has been remembered with a Birthday wish on Jo’s site, and everyone who has been left out, so don’t know if this theory holds. Anyway, I would assume that not every single character in the books will be mentioned, whether they live or die – only the ones Jo considers major or important one way or the other..

    But if Luna is omitted, that seems sort of strange, yes….

  • beauxbatons

    Let’s not forget that if Dumbledore had planned to die/be killed, it was probably because of Snape’s Unbreakable Vow. This would not be an Ideal Grand Plan, just a plan to deal with the new data, i.e. the Vow.

  • Torill

    That would be a bit less stupid beuxbatons, yes – but not less cynical. And there would still be no reason to not let Harry and at least one or two key persons in the Order in on the plan – if what we are dealing with here is “damage control”. To be murdered by Order members instead of dropping dead when the consequenses of the Vow kicked in, is not a very much better fate for Snape, is it? This outcome could even be considered worse, as it would not only do away with Snape, but also make members of the Order murderers for no reason.

    In my opinion, Snape should have refused to take that Vow – the third fatal one, that is – with any excuse. He could have claimed that it wouldn’t have helped Draco against Voldemort’s wrath at all, if Snape had done Draco’s assigned job for him. If Bella’s had still been suspicious after that, and if she eventually had been able to persuade Voldemort not to trust Snape any more (because Voldemort did trust him at that point,) Snape could have been safely hidden from Voldemort in the Headquarters of the Order, like Sirius was. Snape was not in a position where he had to take the Vow.

    Even after he had been cowardly enough to do so (if cowardice is what it was…), killing Dumbledore was not his only option. He could still have been heroic if he had taken it upon himself to suffer the consequenses of his own actions, and died instead of killing his leader and protector. But if he both chose to take the Vow and afterwards chose to kill Dumbledore just to protect his own skin, then Harry was right in calling him a coward.

    I do not accept that Dumbledore believed it would be better for Snape to be forced to kill against his own will (assuming this is the explaination for Snape’s look of loathing in the tower scene) than to die heroicly, bravely taking the consequences of his own choices upon himself. Because if the series ends with that kind of message implied in a major plot point: – it is better to kill than to die – this would seriously undermine one of the series’ main themes: The roots of Voldemort’s evil lies in his fear of death, his notion that anything is better than to die. But that death is not the worst is stated over and over in the books. Only people afraid to die come back as ghosts. “You should have died rather than betray your friends” “To the well organised mind…” etc. The core values of the good side couldn’t be stated very much clearer I think. So to assume that the story of someone as central as Snape will undermine this, is not very likely in my opinion.

  • There is an explanation that shows that Dumbledore’s death was inevitable–actually had already happened–and that Snape wasn’t killing him on the Tower, but releasing him from the “Stoppered Death” that had happened when Dumbledore destroyed the ring Horcrux.

    Here’s a link that explains it more fully: http://quoththemaven.blogspot.com/2005/08/stoppered-death.html

    It was also discussed at the Leaky Lounge, though I don’t think quite as in depth as the Barnes and Noble class that I was part of the July and August after Half-Blood Prince came out. Basically, Cathy Liesner’s idea was that Snape was able to do something to prevent Dumbledore’s death when he destroyed the ring Horcrux, but that it didn’t heal him–it only delayed his imminent death. All of that goes back to the first Potions lesson where Snape tells the class that he can teach them to “bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death–if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.” (PS/SS, US version p. 137)

    We’ve seen other things from that lesson become very important–that bezoar keeps showing up–but we haven’t seen or heard any more about stoppering death.

    One of the things that makes this theory so plausible is the drastic change in Dumbledore’s approach to Harry. He spends most of Harry’s 6th year teaching him and showing him all that he knows, as if his time is limited. He can’t seem to wait for Harry to figure all this out on his own–likely, because he won’t have unlimited time. That withered hand is prominent throughout the book–I think it’s there to remind us that Dumbledore is mortal and there are some injuries even beyond Dumbledore’s power to heal or change.

    When Harry and Dumbledore returned from the Cave, Dumbledore insisted that Harry find Severus–no one else. Why? Because Dumbledore knew that he was near death and wanted Severus to try to prolong his life a little bit. However, he hadn’t counted on Draco mucking things up by actually lettin Death Eaters into the castle. And the agreement that Dumbledore had with Severus (not the formal Professor Snape), was that if the time came that Snape had to fulfill the Unbreakable Vow that he would do it–Dumbledore wanted very much to protect his students, even one as disloyal as Draco. If Snape merely released Dumbledore from a spell that was buying him some more time, then Snape didn’t murder him either. and by preventing Draco from doing the killing, Draco’s soul is not damaged.

    Yes, Dumbledore is important to Harry, but if you remember, there were other times when Dumbledore was not at Hogwarts and Harry muddled through. He is now much better prepared, thanks to Dumbledore having had nearly a year to teach him a lot about Tom Riddle, the Horcruxes, how to trust his own abilities and instincts.

    Torrill, you are right–Dumbledore doesn’t fear death as the worst thing out there, but he did what he could to buy some time to give Harry the information that he is going to need. I don’t think that Dumbledore really expected that whatever Snape did when that hand was damaged and he nearly died was going to last a long time. I agree that Snape and Dumbledore didn’t want things to unfold the way they did on the Tower, but that the look of revulsion was because Snape had promised that if it became necessary, Snape would release the spell that would then allow Dumbledore to die.

    Dumbledore was dying from the potion he drank in the Cave, and he knew that. What would have been the point of having both Dumbledore AND Snape end up dead, which would have happened had Snape refused to kill (or appear to kill) Dumbledore with the Death Eaters right there, willing to do the killing themselves. Draco had the chance and couldn’t do it (much to his credit, and possibly his ultimate redemption), but Greyback would have relished the opportunity to kill Dumbledore.

    So rather than Dumbledore pleading for his life, that “Severus please” was a plea for Severus to let him go–something that must have been so painful as Dumbledore was the only one who really trusted Snape, and the only one who knew why Snape left Voldemort in the first place.

    As for the Unbreakable Vow, I don’t think that Snape did have any other choice. Perhaps if he had had a day or two to think about it, he could have come up with some reason not to take it, but Bellatrix was just waiting for him to show that he wasn’t trustworthy after all. She would have run straight to Voldemort with news of that one–any opportunity to show LV that she was his most loyal follower and not Snape would have given her the greatest satisfaction. I don’t think that Narcissa really had any idea of the trap that the UV set for Snape, though–only Bella could see that one. But once the Vow was made, Snape didn’t have any other choice.

    Someone else mentioned that it would take something very powerful for any of the Order, and especially Harry, to ever trust Snape again. I know I’m not the only one to come up with this, but isn’t it possible that if Harry sees Fawkes, who was so loyal to Dumbledore, show loyalty to Snape that Harry would finally get it? I actually don’t think it can be anything less than that. Fawkes may very well spend his time with the two people who showed Dumbledore the strongest loyalty–Harry and Severus Snape.

  • Pat Pat

    You make some good points, and, of course, we are all just speculating here. It’s always possible that NONE of us are correct and that something else entirely is going on that we haven’t even considered.

    However, I must disagree with you on a few things. First, as someone else pointed out, the two “kings” in this situation would be Voldemort and Harry, if we are to use the chess metaphor. The end is the death of ONE of them as stated by the prophecy, “neither could live while the other survives.” In chess, many other pieces may be sacrificed to protect the king. If Snape had refused to take the unbreakable vow, his spy role would probably have been over. Bellatrix was already mistrustful and this action would have clearly confirmed her beliefs. Dumbledore ABSOLUTELY believes that Snape’s role as a spy is a VERY important one. It places an Order member in a position that no one, including Dumbledore, has. In Voldemort’s inner circle. This may very well turn out to be a better position to protect Harry than even Dumbledore has. Remember, even in chess, a pawn can become the most powerful piece on the board if it makes it clear across to the other side.

    In additon, there was another result from Dumbledore’s death, the protection of Draco Malfoy. Dumbledore has shown in the past that the protection of his students, even in situations where they may have worked against him (Remember Marietta Edgecombe) is his top priority.

    Also, there could be MANY reasons why Dumbledore would not have wanted anyone else to know of the plan. Two reasons spring to mind readily. One, the more people who know, the less likely a plan is to come off without a hitch. Certainly if anyone else in the Order knew of this, they would have tried to talk Dumbledore out of it, and Harry, for one, would probably have tried to stop it if he could.

    Second, the less people that know, the less likely it would be that Voldemort would find out about it. Remember what happened last time Voldemort got ahold of someone that had extremely important information (Bertha Jorkins).

    Again, this is just speculation. I just think there are arguments for both cases, Snape being good or Snape being evil. Maybe this is what makes him such a complex and interesting character.

  • I don’t know whether Snape is “evil” or “good”. The question is WHY. Why the hell did Snape (if he did so) change allegiance??? Was it because he was in love with Lily? Do we have a proof he actually DID love her?
    Someone posted this before and I think it very interesting:
    “As to why Snape hates Harry, I think Snape loved Lily, hated James for getting Lily and picking on him, hates Lily for loving James back.Imagine what must go through his head when he sees Harry (if im right).The face he hates most, with the eyes he would die to have……..”
    As i read this, I remembered the first time Snape EVER seeing Harry:
    “It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell’s turban straight into Harry’s eyes – and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry’s forehead. […]
    The pain had gone as quickly as it had come. Harder to shake off was the feeling Harry had got from the teacher’s look – a feeling that he didn’t like Harry at all.” (PS p.138 – British edition)
    Well, I think if Snape REALLY loved Lily, then he wouldn’t feel HATRED for her only child the first time he set eyes on him. More like CURIOSITY, wouldn’t he? So, maybe we’re all wrong and he had no feelings for Lily at all. Who knows? Then Snape must have had a different motive to change allegiance…or he didn’t change at all and is through and through evil. What d’you think?

  • Pat Pat

    Lisa Marie,

    I think you have a good point. What evidence is there that Snape loved Lily? The only situation we’ve seen them in (the pensieve), Snape was insulting her.

    Even so, I’m still not sure that his love for or lack of love for Lily makes any difference as to whether he is good or evil. Love does not necessarily equal good. Unless he did love Lily and her death and his own guilt over it is what caused him to come back to the side of good.

  • It could be that Lily was Snape’s only friend–and for a kid who was such a loner and so picked on by the bightest stars in the school, that could have been enough. Yes, he hung around with Bella and her crowd, but whether they were really friends of Snape’s or whether they just found him useful because of his extensive knowledge of the Dark Arts is questionable–my guess is that they didn’t really consider him a friend either.

    I’ve thought for a while that Petunia was referring to Snape as “that awful boy”. Snape, after all, is a half-blood, and would have had no trouble figuring out how to visit a fellow classmate who was muggle born–and if Lily had been nice to him in Potions class, or they had become friends, it’s possible he might have wanted to talk to her over the summer. Whether it was a romantic attachment or just a friendship, it doesn’t much matter; finding out that he (Snape) had betrayed the one friend he had might have been enough to make him go to Dumbledore.

    When Snape first looked at Harry, the pain was from the back of Quirrell’s head facing him where Voldemort was residing. The reason that Harry felt Snape looked at him with hatred probably had a lot more to do with Harry looking just like his father–a topic which always seems to send Snape off the deep end. Harry would be a constant reminder of the student who made his life miserable and the one who made his life tolerable.

    Friendship or love of Lily must make Snape’s feelings very conflicted everytime he sees Harry, who seems to Snape to act more like his father. Too bad the two of them can’t ever seem to talk about what they are really thinking, as we’re guessing that Harry is really more like his mother–especially after Harry’s foolish entry into Snape’s memories in OP–if Snape had only let him apologize, as he seemed about to do, a lot might have been cleared up between the two of them. At some point, I really hope that they are both able to forgive one another, and that Snape is able to forgive the marauders. There’s a lot of need for redemption before Harry can use that power of love to defeat Voldemort–and most of it involves Harry coming to terms with his feelings for Snape–whenever Harry is blinded by his hatred, he makes some very poor choices. He needs to come to terms with Snape, who he now hates more than Voldemort, before he can face the task of defeating Voldemort.

    Well, that’s water under the bridge now. We can only wait to see what happens with all of them in Deathly Hallows. But I still think there is much more to Snape’s tortured response when Harry called him a coward out on the grounds. Imagine being called a coward for doing the thing that Dumbledore wanted him to do, made him promise to do.

  • Jayni D.

    I just want to point out to Eeyore and others that if a powerful wizard like Dumbledore was dying from destroying the ring and drinking the liquid in the cave, (which didn’t even destroy that horcrux–the horcrux that wasn’t)… how on earth is Harry supposed to live through destroying four horcruxes???!!! I don’t have any theories, I’m just throwing it out there.

    I also agree with Eeyore that Dumbledore would have ended up being killed by someone on that tower anyway. If Snape had refused to kill him, it would likely have been Greyback, as he was rather impatient to get the job done and would have relished it. Given a choice, I’m sure anyone would opt for a quick death over being torn to pieces by a werewolf. So I can see Dumbledore pleading for Snape to kill him rather than one of the nasty others.

    I personally don’t like Snape at all, so he doesn’t get any happy birthday wishes from me. He is a nasty piece of work, whether on the side of good or not. I’m very much afraid he is Dumbledore’s man, but I didn’t want to believe it for a long time. Ah, well. Can’t wait to find out the real story in Deathly Hallows.

  • Pat Pat

    Jayni D.,

    Good question, but remember that Harry is young and healthy. Dumbledore mentions several times throughout HBP that he is old and that his reflexes are slower than they used to be. Brilliant or not. The greatest wizard we know or not. Old age takes its toll on anyone.

  • Cherry

    Pat Pat, I think there is more evidence of Snape’s love of Lily. I believe it explains his change of allegiance from Voldemort to Dumbledore. Dumbledore must have had a good reason to believe in Snape’s loyalty and I think it was Snape’s love of Lily – see my essay ‘Snape’s Change of Allegiance’

  • beauxbatons

    Jayni, remember that Harry has already destroyed a Horcrux, in CS (the diary). And he was just twelve. It was probably the first Horcrux ever created by Tom/Voldemort, which makes me think that the most dangerous part of it is not the Horcrux itself but the magical protection around the Horcrux (the later the Horcrux, the more experencied Voldemort was, the more dangerous the protection…).
    An interesting thing is that Harry used Tom’s own weapon (the Basilisk) against the Horcrux.

  • Sierra

    Lisa Marie,
    If Snape really loved Lilly that makes sence. Snape was always telling Harry bad things bout his father, but nothin about Lilly. I remember that Snape wasnt really polite with her in Pensive, but Lilly hated James that time too. Maybe later Snape fell in love with her. Thats why Jo said someth bout a big role that Harry’s eyes will play in the book 7.
    Torill, i thought, maybe Dumbledore knew he was dying. That makes sence: DD knew he had not much time to live, so he shared his thoughts with Harry bout Voldemort, he told Snape to spy on Voldemort as though he was on his side, but what could better show Vm that Snape was with him than killing the leader of the Order? DD could sacrifice to himself if he knew he was dying and that his life could help Snape to get all of Voldemort’s trust.
    I think Snape’d told DD that he regreted bout Lilly’s death, maybe DD had known Snape loved her, thats why he believed Severus.
    I think if Snape is not good – he is not bad neither. Maybe he’s just for himself?.. I dunno. What do u think?

  • olivier

    Sierra, I’m certain that Severus us mainly for himself; after all that is one of the points on being in Slytherin. On the other side, Love will play a big role in several ways. Dumbledore tells Harry in the end of GoF of a room in the Ministery (JKR did not tell us anymore of this room afterwards) and that L.V. does not understand this force, and that he therefore underestimates it. I also remember that JKR said after the PoA Film that it contains a scene (or more than one?)that surprised her being true without her telling so. In my opinion that is when Remus Lupin said that Lily was very kind to him when nobody else was. (It does not say so in the book).
    I believe that a lot of boys other than James loved/liked her… and she seemed a very gentle girl. As for the comments of Severus and James… in French we say “qui aime bien chatie bien” (who loves likes to taunt)…

  • Jayni D.

    PatPat and Beauxbatons: Very good points about the horcruxes, especially that it’s the protection around them that are dangerous. I never thought of that.

    Also, I think JK has told us that Harry knows more than he thinks he knows, which will undoubtedly come in very handy in the horcrux hunt.

    My belief is that Snape loved Lily. He probably insulted her (in the pensieve) because he didn’t want anyone to know he had a crush on someone he figured would never care about him the same way.

  • I just read some of the thoughts of the other people in the Pensieve. A fabulous theory that intertwines with the other theories of the pensieve are as follows:

    Snape is actually good. He was forced to perform an Unbreakable Vow to protect his cover for the Order. He immediately told Dumbledore afterwards. Dumbledore knew that he would die so he had the lessons with Harry to give him all of the information regarding Voldemort that he knew. Dumbledore knew his time had come when he arrived back to the school met by many Death Eaters. When he saw Severus he said, “Severus, please.” He asked Snape to kill him. He was already in agony from the potion and knew his life would end soon anyways.
    And Snape does truly loved Lily Evans(now Potter). his childhood rivalry with James made it unbearable to see Lily marry him. He was already with the Dark Side at this point and he eagerly told his master the prophecy. When his master interpreted the prophecy as having to do with Lily’s son, he pleaded for his master not to kill her. Hence Voldemort would have allowed her to live. (During Harry’s dementor attacks, he heard the voices and sounds of the murders that occurred. He heard Voldemort telling Lily that she could live.

    Here ends my theory.

  • Antoon


    Of course you could be right, but frankly I would be disappointed if Snape has been pleading to spare Lily’s life and, even worse, if Voldemort has been listening to him. I prefer to think that when Voldemort offered to spare Lily’s life, he had a rational reason for doing so, although I cannot see what that reason could be. Perhaps there is a connection with the fact that Voldemort attacked the Potters at Halloween, but I have the feeling this is very difficult to guess at this point.

  • Everyone just talks about Snape loving Lily. I have another question: Why did Lily go out with James in the end? I mean, I believe she DID love him then but why did she change her mind anyways? Pro:
    1) We know she didn’t REALLY hate him according to Sirius and JK herself, who responded to exactly this question in an interview to the (female) interviewer like this: “Oh, come on, you’re a woman. Did she really hate him?!”
    2) Olivier, *g* there’s the same proverb in german too “was sich liebt, das neckt sich” -> “the quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love” it is in English, I believe (?). Ok, maaaaybe she had a crush on James all the time and just didn’t (want to) admit it.
    But Contra:
    Lily had (I believe) SOOOO many admirers, why would she choose James, of all people??? James, the bully, the troublemaker, the rulebreaker, the good-for-nothing(according to Petunia)? I mean, even if she just went out with it’d be surprising. But that’s not enough, as we know she married him and had his baby in the end.
    I just think it’s weird…..really. Because bullying someone is just against Lily’s moral soooo much. And James was a REAL bully. Maybe he was even worse than Dudley.

    But I do believe Snape was in love with Lily, although there’s much to be said against it. D’you think Snape told Lily (perhaps in year 7) about it?
    Comments please.

  • Reader2

    You know, Lisa
    A few episodes from my childhood tell me that the situation with Lilly, James and Snape is not uncommon.
    Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a high school bully walk around dateless. A guy who gets bullied, walking around without a date – now that I had seen plenty of times.
    I’m sure that female fans will be able to explain that phenomena.
    As for the after-school stage, I had seen it happen that high school bullyes grow up into OK guys.
    In fact, it actually happened once, that a former classmate of mine had walked up to me and appologized for all the greef he ones caused me.
    I had gladly accepted his appology, but deep within I could understand why some people (like Snape) wouldn’t.
    I keep running into fan fics, where fans keep coming up with various excuses for James and Sirius to bully Snape.
    To these fans I recommend that they simply accept the fact that people have a way of changing.
    They were bad once, but they became good later, there is nothing impossible about that.

  • Pat Pat

    James was certainly a bully, yes. At least to Snape. But worse than Dudley?? According to Sirius and Lupin, Snape was a “special case. . . he never lost an opportunity to curse James, so you couldn’t really expect James to take that lying down.” (OP29). He may have been a little arrogant (which he grew out of, according to Sirius and Lupin), but I don’t think James ever intended any harm to anyone.

    As for Snape loving Lily. it’s certainly possible. It would explain certain things, such as Snape’s pure hatred of James (although there are other reasons for that too.) And it MAY explain why Snape came back to Dumbledore’s side. As far as hard evidence, though, there isn’t any.

  • Acacb

    Hi, Jo …if you read this…I really hope you don’t…forgive us all going sooo bananas about your books. They are really good. Never mind our thoughts and theories…and all…please just enjoy writing and we will surely enjoy reading…whatever it will be! Thank you for your books! And again sorry for the pressure…its not on purpose! We just love the possibilities and the mystery under your simple but full of complexity way of writing! By the way…Is SSnape…just kidding… Love!

  • Nannette

    I think Snape is obnoxious and don’t care if he has a happy birthday or not. I also feel he is on what he thinks will be the winning side at the time. He is a Slytheron and looks after himself. He changed sides when Voldemort went down after trying to kill Harry when he was a baby. He says on page 32 of my paperback copy of HBP that he had believed him (Voldemort) finished. He did not want to finish up in prison. I also feel that his own dignity does not make it easy for him to crawl on his belly to anyone and he may have been relieved.

    I think he got himself into the Unbreakable Vow through his own stupidity or he is definitely on the wrong side. On page 37 of HBP he said ‘If he has forbidden it, you ought not to speak…The Dark Lord’s word is law.’ That was OK but then he put his foot in it by saying, ‘It so happens that I know of the plan,’ …
    From here on it would have been hard to get out of it. Bellatrix had earlier told Narcissa to hold her tongue about the situation.

    I had wondered if he had feelings for Narcissa and that was why he let Draco get away with so much over the years and was prepared to take this on.

  • Reader2,
    I agree with you. And I actually think she did have a crush on him back then already. You can tell from the way she shouts at him and is annoyed about him. Besides, I’m a girl and I’m 15 too and..well..I just think she was (perhaps a little)stuck on him but didn’t want to admit it since thereby he’d have got again what he had wanted and his ego would have increased even more. The strange thing about it is though, that even after telling Lily he’d “never touch Snape again if she went out with him”, she still rejected him. He must have already felt very much for her then!
    (God, I hate these “already-phrases”, I know I put the alreadys in the wrong place, didn’t I?)

    Pat Pat,
    I’m sorry but I must disagree. To me James wasn’t only a LITTLE arrogant and he DID harm Snape. Maybe not physically, but mentally. And mental pain (can) hurt much more and is more profound than physical. And it wasn’t only Snape he jinxed. As we know from teenage-Lily, he jinxed anyone who got in his way or who annoyed him just for the fun of it. And to hurt somebody just for the fun of it, excuse me, but that’s just terrifying and cruel to me.
    Of course, I understand that he only wanted to impress Lily, as boys always try, TRY (and often fail) at this age.

  • Pat Pat


    Actually, Snape returned to Dumbledore’s side BEFORE the “downfall” of Voldemort. At least according to Dumbledore. He stated in GoF that Snape returned to the good side and turned spy BEFORE Voldemort’s downfall. Now, of course, this could still have been a ploy, but it certainly does raise some interesting questions.

    Lisa Marie,
    I am certainly not defending James’ actions. He was certainly being a bully to Snape in that instance, but we know that Snape often attacked James and teenage boys, as you know, will very rarely put up with that. ESPECIALLY if they are trying to impress a girl, as you state yourself. James was certainly arrogant and a bully in his teenage years, but I think his actions need to be put into perspective.

  • Bowtruckle

    Dumbledore believed the sincerity of Snape’s regret for having reported Trelawney’s prophecy to Voldemort. I take that to mean he believed Snape to have been motivated by a true and strong positive reason – and following Dumbledore’s way of thinking that would have been unconditional love for Lily.

    Snape knew this love never be realized, because of that time when James had provoked him into lashing out against her, insulting her in the worst way he could have. This loss of control for which he had to pay so dearly was something for which he felt lasting regret and shame, causing him to want to hide that memory in the pensieve before occlumency lessons, lest Harry see it if he managed to break into Snape’s mind (I wonder if the memory of transmiting the partial prophecy to Voldemort was also to be found in the pensieve?)

    Despite all that, Snape still cared for Lily and did not want her to be killed. Therefore upon learning of Voldemort’s plan he turned to Dumbledore in order to try to prevent it from being carried out. Dumbledore recognised caring for the safety of a beloved that Snape could never hope to have as the ultimate indicator for unconditional love, the power Dumbledore cherished and admired over all others. Thus he trusted Snape and accepted that he was now working for the Order.

    In contrast Voldemort despises love and views it as a weakness to be used in order to control people to do his bidding. Thus he had planned to spare Lily in order to gain a tool with which to control Snape. Lily’s sacrifice however, overturned Voldemort’s plans in more than one way: The killing curse backfired, leaving Harry alive, Voldemort bodiless and reduced to surviving on his Horcruxes alone and with nothing with which to control Snape upon Voldemort’s eventual return. Moreover, Snape’s love now turned into a wish for revenge. This takes him a step further than any Slytherin we know, as he is now motivated by something that is beyond his personal survival.

    Despite all that, I do not consider Snape ‘good’ in any accepted sense of that word. His motivation to rid the world of Voldemort is personal and not a matter of principle. Snape still admires powerful magic, regardless of the purpose for which it is being put to use. However his ability to love unconditionally does make him redeemable.

  • Bowtruckle

    If the birthdays represent central characters appearing in books 1-4 that were meant to survive, let’s not forget that Rowling said that 2 characters die which she had not intended to kill originally. Thus there might be 2 characters receiving birthday wishes who die nonetheless.

  • Nannette

    Pat Pat
    I agree that Snape went to Dumbledore before the “downfall” of Voldemort and he told the Death Eaters it was because Voldemort told him to. I think he was sitting on the fence for a while waiting to jump over to the winning side. Snape is a Ratbag but a clever one and did know how to look after himself before he got tied up with that Unbreakable Vow. He would have been useful to either side as long as he was really on it. He will be in a spot now as he has broken the law and will not be accepted in decent wizard circles again.

  • Ellha David

    as anyone of us noticed, Severus is a really complicated character. what you write is exactly what appear at first sight, but…remember that Severus shielded Harry, Hermione and Ron when Lupin become a wherewolf in front of them; and again, he tried to teach Harry instead of kidnapping him the last time he faced him “Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!”. Severus is not a coward as Pettigew is. Severus masters the ability of beeing invisible in his intentions. You can see what he does but you can’t guess why he is doing it. So you can’t really say you know the man. Hints about the ehtical nature of Severus lie in what he doesn’t do more than in what he actually does.

  • Have you ever done a search on the Lexicon for “Snape”? It’s clear, when there are so many links to him, that we all find him to be the one character that is the most interesting–and the one that we cannot figure out.

    I think, Nannette, that your assessment of Snape at Spinner’s End is just what we see on the surface, and it is what Snape wants Narcissa and Bellatrix to see (and where Rowling tries to mislead us into mistrusting him after she brilliantly made most of us trust him after OP).

    But he is a spy, afterall–I tend to think he is loyal to Dumbledore and to the Order. But it is the job of a spy to get the enemy to trust him and to give him information that he can’t get any other way. That comment that Snape made that he already knew the plan was a way of getting the sisters to go ahead and say more than they might have otherwise–and it worked on Narcissa. She didn’t give him all the information (as to who Draco was supposed to kill), but enough. However, Snape is good enough at reading other people to know that he still had not won Bella’s trust. He had no way of knowing that Narcissa would come up with the Unbreakable Vow or what conditions she would impose. So when he agreed to it, I don’t think he ever intended it to go that far. But once they had started and he had agreed to the first two, he was trapped into the third one of completely the task if Draco could not–saying yes was his only way of ensuring that Bellatrix would not run to Voldemort with evidence that Severus Snape wasn’t loyal after all–which is exactly what she wanted to do. After all, Snape seems to have replaced her in being the “Dark Lord’s” favorite–at least, that’s what Snape led her to believe.

    When he looked out of the window after the sisters arrived, I think he was likely looking to make sure there weren’t a whole host of Death Eaters out there waiting–or could there have been some members of the Order, keeping watch, and that was a signal?

    The point is, that everything the man does and says can be taken either way, and that’s the job of a spy, to appear loyal to whatever side he is dealing with at the time. One other odd thing about that scene at Spinner’s End, is that at one point Snape refers to himself in the third person, something about the Dark Lord knowing that he could trust Severus Snape. I heard once that when politions do that, it’s a sign that they shouldn’t be trusted–it’s a way of detaching oneself from the persona that they put forth. And I wondered when I first read HBP if Snape said it that way intentionally, to call attention to who Voldemort thinks he is, rather than who he really is.

    I do think that our best clues are in the things that Snape hasn’t done–he didn’t provide Umbridge with real Veritaserum when she tried to get information out of him and he did get the clue from Harry about Sirius and the Ministry, cryptic as it was. All he had to do in that instance was absolutely nothing. How easy would it have been to let Harry and the others trundle off to the Ministry to the waiting arms of Lord Voldemort, with no one the wiser. All he would have had to do later was to say that he had no idea what Potter was talking about.

    He did try to protect the trio from Lupin, the werewolf–by going to the Shrieking Shack. But that image of him standing in front of them once they were back out and Lupin transformed was from the movie, not the book. However, he had another opportunity to get rid of Harry, while Harry was still unconscious (and so was everyone else) after all the dementors showed up. It was Snape who came to and transported them all back to the castle–were he truly evil, he could have got rid of Harry and Sirius at that point.

    And of course, as Ellha David points out, Snape is still trying to teach Harry what he needs to do to protect himself–and there was another opportunity when he could have either harmed Harry or kidnapped him for the “Dark Lord”. Yet he didn’t–by fleeing, he got the Death Eaters away from the castle and all the rest of the students, he will be able to protect Draco (maybe), and Harry is still alive and out of the clutches of Voldemort.


    The whole question of bullying is one that I think Jo has included intentionally. We are set up to admire and like James and Sirius–the stars of the school. Why do other people ignore their awful behaviour? Well, that’s what happens with bullies very often. As long as someone isn’t their target, they don’t try to stand up to them, feeling that if they don’t make them mad, then they won’t be on the receiving end of the bullying–and there’s Snape, the loner, getting picked on. Most teens don’t want to risk their own popularity or acceptance by standing up for the person who is the target of the school heroes. It’s to Lily’s credit that she at least tried. But I agree with Lisa Marie, that Lily probably did have a crush on James even then. Once he seemed to be better behaved, then she wouldn’t have found him so irritating. Many people who are bullies do finally grow up and turn out to be fairly decent people.

    The question, really, is what happens to the victims of the bullies. Some of them are able to put it in their past and move on, and others are so deeply scarred that it affects everything they do for the rest of their lives. And I think that is what we see with Severus. There is also some indication in the memories that Harry saw of his childhood that Snape may have been abused as a child. Perhaps that’s the reason he knew so much about the Dark Arts before he came to Hogwarts–either he was taught by his mother or he learned it on his own to defend himself against his father. I rememember when I was teaching there was a little 7 year old boy who would fight anyone over anything. He did come from an abusive home, and it was his way of protecting himself–strike first, at the slightest provocation, before the other kids had a chance to get the upper hand. That’s very much what I see in Severus Snape.

    I can’t quite get to the point of saying that he loved Lily romantically. Though, if she did befriend him–perhaps in 6th year Advanced Potions–Snape might have felt the love of friendship for her or even had a crush on her. There was so much mention of Lily being so good at Potions, and being Slughorn’s favorite, that I just think that Snape, who we know is also very good at Potions, may have been thrown together with Lily, and they became friends. That could have been the reason he went to Dumbledore–finding out that his best friend, perhaps the only true friend he had at school, had been betrayed on his information.

    There is a bitterness and cynicism in Snape’s admonitions to Harry during Occlumency about fools wearing their hearts on their sleeves being prey to the Dark Lord that have always made me think that it is just that sort of thing that trapped him into joining the Death Eaters in the first place. And as others have mentioned, in all the times that Snape lashes out at or against any of the marauders, and especially against James and Sirius, there is not one time that he includes Lily. Harry is the one who makes the assumption that Snape hated his mother as well–Snape never says that. Lupin was so distraught at the end of HBP that he let that comment go by, but I’d guess that when he really thinks about it, he knows that Snape didn’t hate Lily either.

    Sorry for the length, but you all brought up such interesting things about our enigmatic Severus Snape.

  • Bowtruckle

    Harry thinks Snape had hated Lily because of the ‘mudblood’ insult, which Lupin had also witnessed. Harry has no other knowledge of interaction between Snape and Lily, so he has no reason to think otherwise. Lupin may have been able to recognise it as the provoked outlash that it was, or he may have thought like James appears to have – that anyone using the M word against anyone can’t possibly think anything nice about that person.

  • Torill

    Sorry to come back so late to answer you here – real life challenges…

    To those several of you who point out that Dumbledore may already have been dying in the tower – and therefore was willing to sacrifice himself to get Snape off the hook: This does not solve the problem of why they did not involve Harry in this version of the Grand Plan.

    Ok, it would maybe have been too risky to tell everyone in the Order. But it is unheard of in any organisation utilising undercover agents, that NO ONE in the organisation in need of their help knows about the agent’s role. One will always keep a thing like that on a strict “need to know” basis, of course, but according to your theory, DD and Snape has planned it so that once Dumbledore is dead, NO one will know that Snape is working for the good side! Instead, they have planned for everyone on the good side to be wasting their energies by hunting down their own agent as the worst of the bad guys – he killed our leader! I still claim that this makes no sense. It amounts to poor plot-writing in my opinion.

    And not tell because they would have tried to talk him out of it?? No – the Order members all trusted DD, and if they had been told he was going to die anyway, why should they want to talk him out of it?

    Harry is the one who would have NEEDED to know in my opinion, considered his crucial role in bringing Voldemort down. Harry did not need the trauma of seeing Dumbledore killed in front of his eyes. If he had known what was coming, this would not have been yet another major trauma in his young life. And even if he was never meant to have actually seen it happen, the sudden news that Dumbledore was murdered by the Dark side would have been shock enough!

    In all their lessons during the school year, Dumbledore would have had ample time to prepare Harry for what was coming, and advice him on how he was goinng to be able to hunt down the Horcruxes on his own, backed up by Snape, who could have helped to heal him of the Dark wounds he is sure to get. Think about it, if it had been Harry all alone in the cave, with no one to go to for help after he had drunk the potion, he would have been dead by now, for sure. Dumbledore can’t have planned for Harry to tackle all the remaining Horcruxes all alone. You made a very good point here, Jayni D.

    This is also the answer to why DD needed Snape and no other to come to him after he was harmed by the potion in the cave: Snape was the only one with enough knowledge of the Dark Arts to come up with a countercurse. We are told clearly that this was what happened earlier, when Dumbledore hurt his hand from destroying the ring.

    If DD knew he was dying all the school year, where is his back up plan to help Harry? If there is such a plan, involving Snape – why doesn’t Harry know about it? Now Snape will be the absolutely last person Harry will go to when he sets out to destroy the Horcruxes…

    I don’t see Snape’s remarks to Harry as he fled as teaching. Sounded like his usual taunting and put downs to me, pointing out to Harry how stupid he is, right after he has insulted his father… Also, I don’t think Harry needs to learn how to close his mind. Jo has described Occlumency as a less than healthy thing, and that it is no accident in the books that Draco and Snape, but not Harry, are good at it. At this point, Dumbledore had long abandoned any plan to teach Harry how to close his mind..

    As for the situation with the Vow: Bellatrix couldn’t have gone to Voldemort to tell on Snape – because what they all did when they set up the Vow was against Voldemort’s orders. Initially, Bellatrix was happy with Snape for once when he refused to help Narcissa. Then she got too curious to see if Snape really meant to go through with it. Now she can’t tell what happened without incriminating herself.

    Haven’t we all been talking for years about how brave Snape is to be a double agent, risking his life for the Order. Then we see him in the first situation of this kind, where he is challenged to show his true colours. And then we rush to say – he had no choice, he had to kill his leader to keep his cover??? But isn’t this the kind of situation he must have been prepared for all the time? That he maybe would have to die to protect the Order and Dumbledore? Isn’t that what is involved in undercover work in a warlike situation of this kind? To say that ok, maybe there was no Grand Plan involved, but he just had no choice if he was to keep his cover – that is like saying that a spy for the British side during the Second World War should have been excused and still called a good guy if he had killed Churchill, only to “keep his cover” and avoid being killed by the Nazis….

    I also have a lot to say about James the “bully” – but this is getting too long as per usual, so will have to come back to that..

  • Bowtruckle

    Harry is the one person to whom Dumbledore cannot possibly reveal Snape’s entire role, as he is hopeless at occlumency and Voldemort can, if he wants, have direct access to his mind at any time. All Dumbledore could do with Harry is teach him what he knows about Voldemort and insist that he trusts Snape, in hope that at some point Harry will understand. When one’s enemy is one of the best leglimenses in existence one has to be very careful with what one reveals to whom.

    For Dumbledore to survive the attack at the astronomy tower Snape had to fight off all the death eaters single handedly, as Dumbledore had been disarmed. The likely outcome would have been the death of both Dumbledore and Snape. Not as good for the order as only Dumbledore dying while Snape gets to keep his cover.

  • Bowturckle

    Of course Harry still has some access to Snape’s Dark Arts knowledge – via his potions textbook. Now that Hermione knows who the Half Blood Prince was she might agree to look in there too, and will be able to find countercurses for Harry.

  • Reader2


    What do you think Harry would do if he was told that Dumbledore is dieing and ordering Snape to finish him off?
    Do you really think he would just stand there and watch it happen?
    I am betting he would thraw anything aside to stop it.
    He would refuse to believe that Dumbledore is a dead man walking, as long as he is alive ther is hope.
    He would forget everything:
    hocruxes, Voldermort, the war – none of that will matter to him.
    Save Dumpbledore – that’s all that matters.
    If self-sacrifice was indeed Dumbledore’s plan, he had to hide it from Harry, or it would all go down the drain.
    As for vasting energy on hunting Snape:
    Harry himslelf gave you an answer in the last chapter. Just reread the last page.

  • Pat Pat

    Torill, I must disagree with you that no one would try to talk Dumbledore out of his plan. Harry, for one, has shown over and over that, despite his utmost respect for Dumbledore, he is more than willing to disagree with him and even try to talk him out of the plans. Look back on the many arguments they have had in the past. I agree with Reader2 completely that Harry would do whatever possible to stop Dumbledore from going through with his plan.

    Also as Reader2 points out, Harry is not going to waste his energy hunting Snape. He is perfectly well aware that his job is to hunt down the Horcruxes and then go after Voldemort. He says so at the end of HBP.

    As far as telling anyone else in the Order, I mentioned before, and Bowtruckle reiterates, that Voldemort is the greatest legilimens that ever lived. There is no doubt that he has the means to discover details of the plans from anyone’s mind, ESPECIALLY Harry as we have seen.

  • karlii

    Let me start out by saying that I am “all about Snape”, and that I “totally dig” that character. That said…

    Several years ago, I remember hearing that Britain was doing some ‘public awareness’ training on the issue of bullying. Does anyone else remember that? I have no idea when it was, other than I remember hearing it was a problem. Much like the awareness levels that were raised when people were “going postal” or what the profiles might be for troubled teens who turn violent.

    Anyhow, so I think that that could be one reason of Jo utilizing the bully theme so prominently in these books. It was/is apparently prominent in British society.

    *disclaimer*.. I am a mere American.. who only has vague peripheral notions of what may or may not go on in British society. No offense is intended, so please take none. 🙂

    It has been stated that the four heads of houses had their b-days listed. But no.. Slughorn was made acting head of Slytherin, and we have not seen his date. Yes, the four original heads of houses were listed.

    Bowtruckle wrote:

    If the birthdays represent central characters appearing in books 1-4 that were meant to survive, let’s not forget that Rowling said that 2 characters die which she had not intended to kill originally. Thus there might be 2 characters receiving birthday wishes who die nonetheless.

    — January 17, 2007 @ 12:51 am

    I am afraid of this.. and I think it could very easily be true. *sigh*

    *off topic* I wonder why Greyback didn’t smell Harry under the cloak?

    And I agree that Dumbledore was going to die. And yes, better a quick AK, than torture and crucio.. or being ripped to shreds… I also agree that he was a ‘dead-man walking’ even at the start of the book. I remember thinking that he was behaving rather out-of-character all along, except that he can’t be OOC, if Jo is writing it.

    So Happy Belated Birthday, Sev! *live long and prosper* (yes, he’s a closet trekkie) 😉

    Have a good one, ya’ll!

  • Nannette

    Ellha David
    If you read POA again (chapter 19) you will see that Snape went to the Shrieking Shack for revenge, not to save Harry, Hermione and Ron. As a death eater he would have known that Sirius had never been one but Peter had. He would have known about Peter but kept quiet about it. When he took the Potion to Lupin’s room (on Dumbledore’s orders) he saw the map. He followed Lupin out but did not take the Potion with him. If he had wanted to help he would have taken the Potion with him and given it to Lupin. So that is what he did not do that he could have done.

  • Rhiannon

    OK, call me naive or just wishful thinking or whatever, but I don’t think Dumbledore is dead, and I think he and Snape worked out the plan ahead of time. Dumbledore’s “death” puts both himself and Snape in perfect positions to work against Voldemort. Snape is in the best position to spy on Voldemort because he just killed the only person who Voldemort ever feared. Dumbledore can work to bring about Voldemort’s downfall without Deatheaters coming after him. They aren’t going to be looking for him, they think he’s dead. As for this breaking the Unbreakable Vow, perhaps it technically isn’t broken yet – there was no time limit so Draco actually hasn’t failed to kill Dumbledore, he just hasn’t done it yet. Or perhaps it won’t be broken until Narcissa and Bellatrix realize Snape hasn’t actually killed Dumbledore, since they were the only ones present when the unbreakable vow was made. I don’t know it Snape will make it to the end of book seven, but I do agree that he is one of the most complex, interesting characters in a book full of interesting characters!

  • Pat Pat


    Sorry, but JKR stated herself at “An Evening with Harry, Carrie, and Garp,” that “Dumbledore is definitely dead.” We would all like to believe that he’s alive, but I think, with Jo’s assurance here, we have to move through the other four stages of grief and get to acceptance. Just as Harry, himself, has had to do several times.

  • Antoon

    Has Sybill Trelawney ever been wished a happy birthday? She’s more than a background person (I mean more important for the story than, say, Professor Vector or Madam Hooch). I wouldn’t want to be in her place in Book 7. Voldemort knows it was her who made the Prophecy, and if she isn’t careful, she could end up like Bertha Jorkins. I guess she has survived for so long only because Dumbledore made her stay at Hogwarts all the time, but with him gone… careful, Sybill, please…

  • I don’t think Voldemort does know that Trelawney made the prophecy–I think that’s what Dumbledore said, that only he knew, and Sybil didn’t remember it. However, she’s such a loose cannon, that he was afraid to have her out where she might go blabbing about anything she does remember, just as she did to Harry when he found her in the corrider after Draco tossed her out of the ROR. And she still has no clue why that bit of information upset Harry so much.

    Hopefully, McGonagall will see to it that Dumbledore’s wishes are carried out with regard to keeping those in the castle that he was trying to protect–Trelawney and Firenze–and possibly more.

  • Pat Pat

    Dumbledore states that only he and Harry know the FULL CONTENTS of the prophecy. That doesn’t mean that no one else knows who MADE the prophecy. We know Snape, for one, does, and I think we have to assume that Snape would have told Voldemort, not only what he had heard when he was listening at the door, but WHO he heard it FROM. Dumbledore states in HBP20 that Trelawney would be in grave danger were she to leave the castle. He indicates that the reason for this danger is that she made the prophecy, even though she doesn’t remember it. This implies that he believes that Voldemort is aware of the identity of the person who made the prophecy.

  • Reader2

    Whatever makes you think that Snape knew about Petegrew?
    Dubledore did say the Voldemort does not ever reveial a full list of Death Eaters, even to Death Eaters themselves.

    What makes you so sure that Snape would report on who made the prphecy?
    We do not know his agenda for sure.

    To everyone who thinks that if Snape was eveil he would’ve abducted Harry at the end of the book,
    Only in fannon wizards are free to take passengers as they apparate, in the book it was only done by Dumbledore, Voldemort and, only recently, Harry. Only the most powerful ones, the rest had to rely on other means to travel in groups. It sounds very likely to me that although Snape is very powerful, he is not in the same league as the Big Three, so there was no way to kidnapp someone by apparition.

    Let’s face it, we are extremely short on clues, there is no way for us to solve this puzzle until the last book comes out.

  • Pat Pat


    I DON’T know for sure that Snape told Voldemort who made the prophecy. However, all evidence we have to this point (INCLUDING Dumbledore) says that, at the time the prophecy was made, Snape was Voldemort’s man. He ran directly to Voldemort afterwards to make a report. At that point in time, what would he have to gain by keeping Trelawney’s identity secret? At that time, he wanted to help Voldemort destroy his enemy and knowing the identity of the seer would be an important piece of information.

    Also, why else would Dumbledore be so insistent upon keeping her in the castle? He feels she would be in grave danger if she leaves BECAUSE she was the one who made the prophecy. I don’t agree with Eeyore’s assessment that it is simply because she might blab about stuff. Yes, she has a tendency to blab, but she also has a reputation as a fraud. Dumbledore implies that the source of the danger is the fact that she is the seer that made the fateful prophecy.

    However, I do agree with you that we are very short on clues for A LOT of things. Snape, Lily, James, the invisibility cloak, and on and on and on. Fun as it is to speculate, you’re right that we won’t know anything for sure until the last book. Hopefully soon!

  • will orwont

    So Trelawney is another one who doesn’t get a birthday? She must be high on the hit list as well. Not only did the prophecy actually have her name (initials, at least) attached to it in the MoM, but that information could be probed in Harry’s mind at any time. (Let’s assume nobody who was in the MoM battle uses a pensieve to go back and try to hear the prophecy properly…)

    Sounds like she’s a goner, along with Slughorn, the Order’s Aurors and all the others who’ve caused problems and don’t get any more birthdays. (The Patil twins didn’t get them either.)

  • Bible Spice

    I honestly can’t decide what’s what with Snape. What I do think is interesting is that JKR has made him a Capricorn. Given how much arcana she uses elsewhere, I think it’s relevant. It’s worth perusing some of the bazillion websites on astrology about this. What I have seen so far suggests to me that he *was* Dumbledore’s man through and through, but at some point around the murder (before or during, I don’t know) he’s simply his own man. I don’t see him returning to the Order. I don’t think he cares what they think of him, I think he would simply be unwilling to put up with people he thinks are inferior/incompetent (which may be what he comes to think of Dumbledore at the moment of the murder). He was in the Order for Dubledore, not because he liked the Weasly’s company.

  • Reader2

    Don’t be so quick to judge. Trelawny is not THAT important. And I would be surprised if Patil twins did get a birthday, they were clearly introduced only to arrange a disastrous double date, their role is pretty much played out. As for Slughorn – he was intoduced way after the birthday wishes started. I had mentioned before how confident I am in his survival.
    The only character whose case is truly bleack here is Moody. He was introduced in OoP, he made a significant impression, and yet he did not get a birthday. Also, he simply does not look like the kind of guy who dies in bed.

    We are even shorter on clues than you think.
    Do we know for sure that Snape stopped being Voldemort’s man the moment he heard the prophecy?
    Would it make Trelawny completely safe if Voldemort didn’t know who made it?
    In fact, we can not even be sure that Snape really knows only part of the prophecy. Dumbeldore’s and Trelawney’s accounts of that day simply don’t match.
    Something is really missing there.

  • Pat Pat


    I have thought the exact same thing as I have read and re-read the two accounts of the meeting between Dumbledore and Trelawney. They don’t match. According to Dumbledore, Snape was discovered only a short way into the prophecy and “thrown from the building.” If this is the case, why does Trelawney remember Snape being caught outside the door? She should have no memory of that incident if she was still in the middle of her prophecy. You’re correct. This is yet another situation where we are missing a large, and apparently important, part of the story. JKR certainly has a lot to wrap up in book 7.

  • will orwont

    Trelawney is an important character in three books, certainly more important than say, Bill Weasley (who gets a birthday). It seems that nobody at all in the Ministry gets a birthday, apart from the Weasleys, and nor do any of the Triwizard entrants apart from Harry (and we know that Krum and Fleur are supposed to come back).

    Here’s what I propose about the birthdays: they’re given to anyone who makes it to the Epilogue (or final chapter) of Deathly Hallows. So Snape and Draco get one just for surviving, and whether they are really ‘good’ or not is something we’ll have to wait to see.

    People who don’t get birthdays bite it in book 7 or earlier, or they are no longer considered worth mentioning.

    I agree that book 7 has a lot to get through; every major character arc must be wrapped up. But I do hope JKR leaves open the possibility of more adventures in Harry’s world, even if Harry’s personal journey through it will be complete.

  • Torill

    I promised I would come back here with my view of James the bully, and I am sorry it took a little longer than I expected. I will write what I have to say about that now, then go back and read all your comments since I was here last, to see if anyone has adressed anything I said earlier. I promise I will answer you if anyone has!

    I think it is very likely that Snape was an abused child – as I think it is also very likely that Sirius was one, given what we are shown of his home and his mother…. I definitely believe Jo gave us those glimpses of Snape’s memories to give us a background to understand why Snape turned out the way he did. But the idea of poor innocent Snape picked on daily by the cruel bullying Marauders… I don’t really think this is the story. What we saw in the ”worst memory” pensieve scene was ONE scene from a conflict we know had lasted since Snape’s and James’ first year at school. This scene is Snape’s worst memory, so we see a situation where he is the victim. Then everybody jumps to the conclusion that this was how it always was, Snape never really hurt anyone, and we are led to construct this bullying as a reason and excuse why he turned a Death Eater….

    But first impressions are so powerful! What do you think would have happened if Jo had given us our first “live” glimpse of the Snape/Marauder conflict where James was the victim of one of Snape’s curses, sent at him only because Snape saw a chance to do it? As Lupin told us Snape did all the time? Not only would many of us in all likelihood have been excusing James in the pensieve situation we do see, as many now excuse Snape for everything from turning a Death Eater to bullying Neville, based on what the cruel James did to him in that one scene. But also: none of us would have thought twice about what happened at the tower. We wouldn’t have had enough grey area to keep the discussion going. But that is exactly what Jo wants us to do, and one of the means she uses to achieve this, is to show us this carefully selected pensieve scene from the many years long conflict between James and the Marauders. Even when we afterwards learn that the Levicorpus James used was Snape’s invention – and that Snape had also invented the awful Sectumsempra spell at the age of fifteen already – we still hold on to our first impression: Snape was the poor loner and James the bad bully…… This is brilliant writing, actually!

    Remember, if we are to believe Lupin as a source – and I don’t think Jo has written Lupin to be a liar – Snape cursed James whenever he had the chance. Cursed, not hexed. And “whenever he had the chance” does not mean “only when he needed to defend himself.” So James was attacked without provocation too, on a regular basis. When he answered Lily in the pensieve scene that he had attacked Snape not because of anything Snape had done, but because of what he was, he was talking about the particular situation they were in at the moment. He was not sitting down with Lily to give her a full acount of the conflict between himself and Snape, it was not that kind of situation.

    So whatever can be said about James’ conduct, I think it is probably fair to assume that Snape gave as good as he got. If anyone had asked him why he constantly attacked James, he probably would have answered in the same vein – that James deserved it for being a snotty arrogant jerk, not for having done anything in particular each time Snape attacked him…

    I believe that what we have is a conflict which started in their first year already, probably with nothing more than snide remarks and scowling – and then escalated by each of them giving the other back just a little worse than they got, until it all got completely out of hand. Until at the age of 15 and 16 none of them sees the other one as worthy of any respect or decent behaviour whatsoever anymore, until one of them is willing to use both curses and potentially lethal spells against the other, or the friend of one is willing to send the other to a dangerous werewolf… The shocking thing is that the teachers at Hogwarts allowed this to develop, that they never did anything to stop it earlier. But the Hogwarts faculty does seem a bit lax when it comes to supervision and care for the students, to put it mildly…

    I see one major reason why this conflict became so violent. These were the days when Voldemort was at the height of his powers the first time. The worshipping of the Dark Arts by some wizards, had the rest of the wizarding community living in terror, with the possibility for anyone to be subjected to murder, torture, evil curses, inferi and angry giants any time and anywhere. A student coming to school in those days with a deep investment in the Dark Arts, would run the risk of being seen by his fellow students as not worthy of respcet or any decent behaviour whatsoever. It is as if someone shortly after 9/11 should come to an American school and say that they thought the methods of the terrorists where brilliant! Imagine how they were able to sneak by airport security, I wish to learn how to do that! If that student got involved in violent conflicts with other students as a result of this, it wouldn’t be good, it wouldn’t be patriotic and it should certainly be stopped by teachers – but it would hardly be fair to describe those students involved in the conflict as bad people, forever responsible for the conduct and choices of the terrorist-admirer…

    As for hexing people in the corridors just because he could, as Lily put it. First – it is hexing, not cursing, which is what Snape did. Second: this seems to have been more of a rule than an exception at Hogwarts in their days. Lupin says that in a period of several months in their fifth year, you could hardly walk the corridors without being levitated by your ankle. (So more or less everyone who watched Snape dangling upside down had themselves been subjected to the same thing…a “thing” that was Snape’s invention..) Even in Harry’s days, people are subjected to things like the Bat Bogey Hex or candy that turn them into canaries, and Harry himself wonders whether he is going to try a toenail-growing hex on Crabbe one of these days – just because he can. A hex that was also invented by our very own Snape…

    Hexing people in the corridors in a school environment where everybody have their own wands and can fix most mild hexes pretty easily, and also give the same back just as easlily – hardly makes a real bully in my opinion, and I doubt very much it was seen like that by James’ fellow students. I see this more as James’ way of showing off. And this was what irritated Lily to no end, having this major crush on him as she did. Remeber – it was James and only James she took on in that scene, she did not include Sirius, she did not even look at him, even though Sirius was just as responsible as James – and when James dangled Snape upside down, her first impulse, which she controlled, was to laugh…

    I think it is clear that James in many ways was an arrogant jerk in his teen days – or, to use Sirius’ words – an arrogant little berk. But this was not all he was about – his animagus form was a noble stag, after all, even in those days! – and he grew out of that. I really do not believe he is written to be the bad bully responsible for Snape’s later bad choices. And this story is all about making the right choices, not about the inescapable fate of a hard background. That is not the function of the Marauders in Rowling’s story! Sirius – who, like Snape, was probably abused at home – came from the darkest, most horrible of places and still turned out to be Harry’s hero, willing to risk everything for him, death included – and it was Harry’s Love for Sirius that saved him from Voldemort’s posession. That cannot be meant to be the function of one of the bullies responsible for Snape’s bad choices in the series….

  • Pat Pat


    Very well said. I am in complete agreement with you regarding the view of James as a bully. There is plenty of evidence that James grew into a courageous and honorable man. He gave his life for his son, as well. We all talk about the fact that Lily gave her life for Harry because that brings so much more to the story later on, but never forget that James, in that instant, was trying to hold off Voldemort long enough for Lily and Harry to get away. As Sirius says in OoP, “A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it.” I think most of us can probably think of instances from our teenage years that we are not particularly proud of. That doesn’t mean that we are bad people. It’s life. It’s part of growing up and becoming the person you want to be, a major theme of the Harry Potter books.

    We have to keep James’ actions in perspective. As Torill points out, we are in a world where the students all have the ability to hex each other. These situations are similar to Muggle teenagers playing practical jokes on each other. And never forget that the more powerful and popular a kid is, the more the power tends to go to his/her head a little bit. But we grow up.

    And Torill is correct. We must remember the times that the kids were living in. Snape, we have been told, was deep into the Dark Arts. It’s no wonder he was not very popular, in a time that you had to be afraid to go home and find the Dark Mark above your house.

  • Torill

    Ok, now I have read what you all wrote since I was hear last, I will try and answer some of it.

    Bowtruckle: In book five, Dumbledore did maintain a distance to Harry for fear of what Voldemort might pick up through his connection with Harry, yes – but he had clearly abandoned this strategy in book six. He even told Harry at the end of book five that this strategy had been a mistake!

    In book six, Dumbledore believed Voldemort has now closed his mind against Harry, because he sees the connection as dangerous to himself. This is DD’s explanation of why Harry’s scar is no longer hurting in book six.

    If Dumbledore was wrong about this, if Voldemort still reads Harry’s mind without Harry noticing it (which is not very likely, because so far, Harry has noticed Voldemort’s presence) it may be to Harry’s peril. But this will not alter the fact that Dumbledore thought that this particular danger is now over, and planned accordingly.

    If Dumbledore really did think Voldemort could still have picked up the secrets he told Harry – then he couldn’t have told Harry about the Horcruxes either. Dumbledore believed that Voldemort has told nobody about them, and that Voldemort doesn’t know that some of them are destroyed. The fact that Harry knows this, while Voldemort doesn’t know that he knows, actually constitutes Harry’s only advantage over Voldemort! Now Harry can try and destroy them before Voldie finds out, and have a chance in their final confrontation – where Voldemort will be too arrogant and possibly expose himself, because he will believe he still has his soul protected by several Horcruxes…

    So, I maintain: if DD could risk telling Harry about the Horcruxes, there was no reason why he could not also risk telling him about the Grand Plan involving Snape!

    Could Snape have been able to fight off the DEs at the tower? He could certainly have tried – he had the advantage of surprise, because they all clearly thought he was on their side (another reminder that a Grand Plan, with no other purpose than to make Snape trusted among the DEs, was completely redundant…) We saw in the Shrieking Shack scene in book three that the Expelliarmus spell can be used to desarm more than one person at a time – Lupin managed three at a time back then. Snape is a no less accomplished wizard than Lupin, so I do believe he could have managed to desarm four, if they were taken by surprise, yes. There would have been no need to desarm Draco – I doubt very much that Draco would have tried to attack Snape, and I don’t think Snape would have expected him to. After that, Snape could have thrown one of the DE wands to DD; together they could have stunned everyone, then Snape could have escaped with DD on one of the brooms, and taken him to safety to try and cure him. I do not see that tower situation as impossible – if Snape had been on the right side at the time that is… which I think he no longer was.

    I do not believe Snape’s old Potion textbook will turn out to be sufficient for Harry when it comes to the level of knowledge of the Dark Arts he will need in his Horcrux quest. No matter how brilliant those notes were, they were after all written when Snape was only sixteen. The Dark Magic protecting the Horcruxes Voldemort made much later in life, at the height of his powers, will in all likelihood surpass any knowledge Snape had at that age…

    Reader2: If Harry was told that DD was dying and planning for Snape to finish him off, so that Snape could be safely placed to do – something – Harry would maybe have tried to talk him out of it at first, yes. But they would have had the whole of the school year for Harry to grow accustomed to the thought, and to prepare himself for the worst. DD could have insisted on the importance of doing what is right over what is easy and appealed to Harry’s courage – and when the worst came to worst, DD could just have done exactly what he did now: stunned Harry under the invisibility cloak to prevent him from intervening. Which I do not think Harry would have done, had he been given one year of emotional preparations and talkings-through of that very situation. Harry has a lot of courage when it comes to facing the inevitable and the worst I really do not see the problem here.

    Yes, Harry does plan to go after the Horcruxes in the last chapter, not start out by searching for Snape. He also says that if he meets Severus Snape along the way “so much the better for me, so much the worse for him.” Which certainly does promise a major distraction, should Snape actually be on Harry’s side. Because here it definitely sounds like Harry really wants to take a major revenge on Snape. And if Snape should manage to flee from a situation like that, chances are high that Harry would then go after him in a fit of fury…

    But the point is not what Harry finally resolves to do. The point is how wise Dumbledore’s alleged “Grand Plan” was. My point is that Dumbledore would have run a terrible risk had he set up a plan like this, to the point of being reckless and irresponsible – and yes, stupid. Because the risk that his hatred for Snape will now distract Harry in fatal ways is very high indeed, at a point in the story where he needs to concentrate all his forces on the Horcruxes – and be able to accept Snape’s help, if Snape is on his side. Instead he may now try and kill Snape when they meet again. Why should Snape and Dumbledore be willing to run this entirely unecessary risk? Hope that Harry will figure it all out on his own after they have tricked him to believe Snape to be Dumbledore’s murderer?

    I still think this is an abysmally stupid plan – and I do not believe Dumbledore was abysmally stupid, even though he did have his blind spots.

  • Reader2

    Were we reading bout the same Harry?
    For the Harry I could see not a year, not a decade, not even a lifetinme would be enough to convince him that he should stand back and watch a friend die. On the other hand, it would be enough time to prepare for the fact that Dumbledore and/or Snape might try to freeze him to keep him out of the way and block their attempts.
    As for what might happen if he runs into Snape -it’s not going to happen. Snape will be smart enough to stay out of Harrys way until Voldemort is down.
    After that, but the rest of the world will be safe, so the fact that Harry and Snape will switch to wanting each other dead, but on the great scale it will be an acceptible loss.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this theory is the correct one, but for now it is not going anywhere.

  • Torill

    No, Harry would not stand back and watch a friend die just like that if the death was for no reason and something could be done to stop the friend from dying. But if Dumbledore convinced him that nothing could be done, because Dumbledore was going to die anyway, no matter what Harry did, then Harry would learn to accept that fact. It is a matter of accepting what is right over what is easy, and yes, I definitely believe Harry has the courage to do that, and has proved as much in the past. He is not an immature kid anymore. If DD thought he was that, I can’t see how he could have had any faith in Harry’s ability to bring down Voldemort all on his own, without DD to be there for him.

    It doesn’t add up, it must be either the one or the other. Either DD believed Harry was not mature enough to accept the inevitable, and therefore could not have trusted him to be able to shoulder his horrible quest alone after DD’s staged death, so therefore would have been a fool to plan for it – or DD trusted Harry to be mature enough, and then would have had no reason to hide the Grand Plan from him. Which in both cases makes it highly unlikely that any Grand Plan exists….

    What it comes down to, is that Harry is supposed to be the hero in this story, not Snape, and by book six, Dumbledore has come to respect Harry enough to include him in all his plans. He does not see Harry as just the pawn to be used by the real players – himself and Snape. Dumbledore is not lying when he says to Harry: now I have told you everything I know and everything I believe. Any idea of a Grand Plan that is kept a secret from Harry, comes down to an idea of Dumbledore as deceitful, deliberately lying to Harry. This I am not willing to believe.

    And Harry is not going to meet Snape again until after Voldemort is down? Then how is Snape supposed to be able to help him, which after all must be the meaning of the Grand Plan? Snape cannot be meant to kill Voldemort, that is definetely for Harry to do, if anyone is going to do it at all. He cannot pass on any information to Harry. Neither Harry, nor anyone else on the good side Snape could have sent the information through, is going to believe one word of what Snape has to say after the incident on the tower. And if Snape appears at Voldies side in the final confrontation, with the hidden intent of helping Harry, Harry is definitely going to be dangerously distracted, as he will believe Snape to be his enemy.

    To reiterate: If Snape is going to keep away until Voldie is brought down – then, really – what is the Grand Plan supposed to be about anyway? What is Snape supposed to be safely set up to do?

  • Reader2

    To answer your question, how Snape can help Harry. Well, how did Harry learn all of Snape’s toughest spells without being actually taught by Snape?
    Harry does tend to rely on his gut, so if in his search for Hocruxes he receives a few annonymous tips, he will explore them, adn if he later finds out that those tips caem from Snape, he will be dispointed, but once the tips serve their purposes it wont matter.
    As for choosing between what’s right and what’s easy:
    One of the issues presented in the book, is that sometimes it’s simply unclear what is right.
    Do you really believe that refusing to sacrifise one friend for the greater good is immature?
    Do you really think that finishing off someone who is dieing is easy to accept as the right thing to do?
    Those are not the kind of questions that can be answered instantly.
    To me it seems like Harry would consider defending his friend at all cost as the right thing to do, and letting others deside it for him as the easy way out, even if on the greater scale it seems the other way around.

  • Pat Pat

    Torill, I’m sorry but I must agree with Reader2 here. I am not saying which theory is correct for sure. I don’t think we can possibly know. There’s just too much missing information. However, I certainly don’t think that the theory that Dumbledore’s death was part of a plan can be dismissed as “abysmally stupid.” You are correct that Harry has matured greatly in the past couple of years. But Maturity does not mean that right and wrong suddenly becomes as clear as crystal. Harry has shown over and over that he is willing to try to save his friends at all costs. Put yourself in his place. Do you honestly believe he could be convinced to sacrifice the person who has been mentor, friend, teacher, and surrogate parent? He is human and he would try to believe that there would be another way. ESPECIALLY if he discovered that one of the reasons for Dumbledore’s death would be to keep Snape alive and in his spy role. I don’t believe he would ever be able to choose Snape over Dumbledore.

    Also, why do we all think that Dumbledore being dead means that he can no longer be a help to Harry? This is a magical world and many things are possible. Maybe he can’t be brought back to life, but there are certainly ways that his spirit can be felt. The portrait in the headmaster’s office is just one example of this. Fawkes is another.

  • Bandersnatch


    You make some very good points about how a Grand Plan seems unlikely. I prefer to come at this from another angle, however. Forgive me if this has been addressed already in this thread; it is late where I am.

    Suppose that Snape really was working for the Order, spying on Voldemort and the Death Eaters. At Spinner’s End, he is suavely keeping his cover, parrying Bellatrix’s questions. Narcissa asks Snape to take the Unbreakable Vow, and he agrees, thinking that all she will ask of him is to watch over Draco and try to keep him from harm.

    But mid-Vow, Narcissa asks her third question: if Draco fails to kill Dumbledore, will you do it instead? Snape did not forsee this. He would not have started the Vow if he had known this was coming. But now, with Bellatrix standing over him, and tongues of flame connecting him to Narcissa, he has no choice — so he agrees. (I wonder what happens if you interrupt an Unbreakable Vow? Given the consequences of breaking the oath, maybe you can’t stop in midstream without something horrible happening to the participants.)

    Snape goes to Dumbledore and informs him of what happened. Both men now realize that there is a potential danger: if Draco is in a position to kill Dumbledore, but cannot bring himself to do it (and Dumbledore believes that Draco will indeed not be able to), and Snape is there when it happens — then Snape must either kill Dumbledore to fulfill the Vow, or not kill Dumbledore, and die himself for breaking the Vow. One of them must die, either Dumbledore or Snape. If that terrible choice presents itself, which should it be?

    You can imagine the argument that would ensue about what to do in that situation. Snape (assuming, again, that he is on the side of the Order) would no doubt declare that he would rather break his Vow than kill Dumbledore — after all, with Dumbledore gone, what hope is there? (And if Snape really does want repentance for his misdeeds, what better way to achieve it?)

    On the other hand, Dumbledore might insist that Snape fulfill his Vow, if it came to that. I am old and you are young, he might say. Why is my life worth more than yours? (He said both of these things to Harry in the cave, more or less.) To the prepared mind, death is merely a new adventure, et cetera.

    After arguing this back and forth, the weak solution arrived at by the two men might have been to simply hope that Draco would not be able to get Dumbledore at wandpoint. Then perhaps, at some point, Draco could be quietly persuaded to go into hiding with his family, protected from Voldemort’s wrath.

    Why would Dumbledore and Snape not tell anyone else in the Order, or Harry, about this situation? Because the lives of Draco and his parents were in danger if Voldemort got word that anyone knew about Draco’s mission. The less people knew, the better. (That was, after all, why Dumbledore refused to discuss the matter of Draco with Harry during their lessons together, and why Dumbledore did not take stronger action against Draco all year.)

    Now, we reach the Lightning-Struck Tower, and something happens that neither Dumbledore nor Snape foresaw. There is Draco, trying to work up the courage to kill Dumbledore. But now, there is a new wrinkle: Dumbledore is already dying from the poison he drank in the cave. Snape comes on the scene. What should he do?

    If Snape fulfills his Vow, Dumbledore dies. If Snape breaks his Vow, then Snape dies — and Dumbledore dies *anyway*, from the poison. No longer is the situation: one must die, which should it be? Now it is: one must die, should the other die as well? Should one person or two people be killed?

    Dumbledore’s answer: my death is unavoidable now. Your death, Snape, can still be averted. Kill me, and let there be only one death tonight.

    Could Snape have turned on the Death Eaters as you suggested, disarmed them? Certainly — but then the broken Unbreakable Vow would strike him down dead, before he had a chance to save Dumbledore from his poisoning. The result would be that both would die.

    So, in the end, Snape is checkmated in this horrible game of bad and worse options, and he acquiesces to Dumbledore’s wishes, hating himself all the while.

    Please note that in this scenario, Snape is not being saved in order to carry out some Grand Plan. Rather, when the dust settles from the horrible volley of terrible choices and consequences, he is left standing. Whether he will now try to help Harry defeat Voldemort in some way, or just sit the rest of the battle out and lick his wounds — only time and Book Seven can tell.

    Your solution, Torill — that Snape was in fact working for Voldemort — is of course also possible, and certainly requires fewer assumptions. I do not think there is much book evidence that I can marshall to prove you wrong at this point. We shall just have to see.

  • Bandersnatch

    And please accept my apologies for misspelling your name in my last post, Torill. As I said, it’s late where I am. You may address me as Bannersnitch, if you like.

  • Cricket

    The chess analogy is interesting, as the queen, the single most powerful piece on the board is sacrificed to protect the king. Being a military brat
    as well as a chess player, I would say that there are other pieces on the board with their powers combined, have the power of the queen. And the knight has one advantage the queen doesn’t; he can jump over players to make a capture, plus it moves in two different directions to do so.

    So, we have one rook and two bishops plus a knight and some pawns that can still protect the king. While DD won’t come back to life, the powers of the queen can be vested in a pawn once the pawn makes it to the queen square on the other side. We know that Dumbledore’s portrait is hanging in the Headmistress’s office, sleeping. We also know that all the portraits are honor bound to help the current head of the school. So, what will it take to wake the portrait?

  • Sierra

    Torill, i still think Snape is good. I dunno but i think DD wasnt wrong bout him. And if Snape is against the Order then he’s against Voldemort. Maybe he’s got his own Great Plan))). But i dont think that Voldemort should trust Snape.
    Snape is too difficult character:)….

  • Bowtruckle

    We can be pretty sure that on the night when Dumbledore came to pick Harry up from Privet Drive, merely some 2 weeks after the end of OP, Dumbledore knew, or had reason to believe, that by the end of the coming school year he would be dead and Snape’s teaching career would be over. This is why he discussed with the Dursleys the importance of their receiving Harry to their home in the following summer (whether the intended audience had been indeed the Dursleys or Harry), his coming of age, and told them of the location of the Order headquarters – the knowledge might come in handy, and he, as secret keeper for the Order, won’t have another chance to transmit it to them. His looking for a potions master that night and not a DADA teacher (as the position was already promised to Snape) serves as evidence that he knew Snape would be gone, so he might have finally given him his desired job as a parting gift. We know from ‘Lord Voldemort’s Request’ that Dumbledore believed the job was indeed cursed. From Dumbledore’s words to Harry in ‘A Sluggish Memory’ after the latter tells of his suspicions regarding Snape and Draco I conclude that Dumbledore was aware of Draco’s assignment, though just like Snape, he did not know how he had been planning to carry it out (because Draco had been hiding information from Snape). And of course the many absences from Hogwarts while Dumbledore had been chasing horcuxes and the private sessions with Harry, often immediately after returning to Hogwarts support the notion that Dumbledore felt time was short.

    So my conclusions are that Dumbledore had come to believe his death was impending – either directly as an after-effect from the damage suffered during the inactivation of the ring horcrux, from possible future damage he had been expecting to endure as a result of the horcrux deactivation campaign (with 4 more to go that kind of damage should be expected), at Draco’s hands, or at Snape’s. Of all these, being killed by Draco was the least desirable, because of Dumbledore’s obligation to a student as headmaster. Being killed by Snape had a chance of achieving something for the order, while protecting the purity of Draco’s soul. There might be the problem of the status of Snape’s soul, unless he had already killed in his Death Eater days. (I’m not sure he had, though; someone who has the capability to invent something like sectumsempra as well as its countercurse should be able to wiggle out of quite a few soul-endangering situations.) But then, had Dumbledore miscalculated and ended up killed by the potion in the cave, what about Harry’s soul?

    On the other hand, the original ‘plan’ may have been as minimalist as – Dumbledore would ask for Snape’s help whenever he suffered serious damage from curses, would tell him whether he wants healing or killing, and Snape was to follow through either way (similar to Dumbledore’s demand that Harry forcefeed him the potion). Then Draco’s assignment with the accompanied Unbreakable Vow added another situation in which Snape would be asked to kill Dumbledore. Thus Snape’s killing of Dumbledore would fall under either euthanaesia or assisted suicide, not first degree murder. And if indeed Dumbledore was already dying and Snape was aware of that, there may even be no consequences whatsoever to his soul.

    Now, regarding practical considerations for the Order’s plans and the future of the Wizarding World: Would it have been better to tell the Order members? With the Death Eaters’ capability and total lack of hesitation with use of the Imperius curse and Voldemort’s leglimency – the fewer people knew the better. Should Harry have been told? What would Harry have done had he received clear information that Draco was attempting to kill Dumbledore, but he should sit back and let events unfold? Can you imagine him sitting back? He would have tried to come up with some plan of his own and exposed Snape. (And I don’t think this is a matter of insufficient maturity, I can see others try the same thing, though Harry would be more passionate.) How would Harry have reacted to the knowledge that Dumbledore was a dying man (regardless of the reason for the impending death), so shortly after the shock of Sirius’ death?

    The question of right vs easy – what to do when it isn’t clear what choice is right and what is the easy one? Harry is the person most loyal to Dumbledore. Is the right and loyal thing to save him or to follow his orders and let him die? Not a trivial dilemma. Harry had enough trouble in the cave, during one night. Repeating such situations over the year would have just made things difficult (possibly reflected in Dumbledore’s argument with Snape).

    So how useful is Snape to the order now that nobody trusts him? Well, he can’t contact them safely, but he can still sabotage Voldemort’s act, making sure that he arrives compromised in some way to the final confrontation, or intervening in the confrontation somehow.

  • Reader2

    There is one detail that I’d like to call to the attention of everyone who wants to clear Snape.
    Remeber the Harry-hocrux theory?
    What do you think Snape will do if he suspects that Harry is a hocrux?
    I am just bringing this up to point out that even if Snape is “good” he might still be a threat to Harry.

  • Bowtruckle

    That’s a big if. I don’t expect him or anyone but possibly Harry himself, with his tendency for feeling excessively guilty, to go that way.

  • karlii

    Alas.. I doubt Severus is long for the world, regardless whether he’s working toward the same goal as Harry or not. (I hesitate to say they are on the same side exactly… and certainly not ‘light and dark’)

    Way back when, Trelawney made a small prediction, which caused Harry to laugh at her, and thereby, attempt to lead all of us to believe she is a fraud. She talked about the dark young man being under the baleful eye of Saturn. But no, Harry laughed, he was born in July.

    It could have been Sev she was talking about.

    And when she keeps pulling all the cards, in HBP, I always figured she was talking about Harry, beings he was right by her, but maybe that was Sev too…??

    I agree with Bowtruckle. I think Dumbledore knew he was dying. I think he and Severus had made a couple of contingency plans for the next year (year7)… and indeed, Albus believed the DADA job to be cursed. Perhaps he intended for Snape to go back to teaching Potions.

    Maybe, in his will, or when his portrait wakes up, we will find out what was really going on.

  • Richard

    I say Snape is evil. Early in HBP, Dumbledore says that because he is extremely smart, he can also make huge mistakes (I know I’m paraphrasing). Trusting Snape is one big mistake–the early comment is foreshadowing. I think that JKR also wants to knock Dumdledore off his (our) pedastel–he’s not divine; he’s not infallible–and whether or not everyone who behvaes badly can theoretically be turned around, Riddle couldn’t and I don’t think Snape can eiher.

    I don’t know if Snape didn’t kill Harry out of loyalty to Riddle or out of fear (he screams that he’s not a coward awfully loudly), but I don’t think it’s a sign of goodness on Snape’s part.

    It would be ironic if Snape were evil but had sworn an unbreakable vow to Lily years and years ago–as in to protect his offspring–and is stuck with it (I don’t know if this is an original idea–if it, you heard it here first), which would explain a lot, wouldn’t it–but I say he’s still bad news.

  • Antoon


    I think you are really missing an important point here. The one villain who represents evil is Voldemort, and even in his case I would not say that he IS evil; doing evil things is a choice he made. Many of the characters in the books are faced with a similar choice between `right’ or `wrong’, whatever that may be under the circumstances. For some, like Harry, the right choice is obvious; for others, like Draco, less so. Surely, most people will agree that we can’t label, for instance, Draco, Wormtail and James als either crystal clear or pitch black, at least not yet. That is simply not the message of the books, if there is such a thing.

    Snape is a character we can’t and shouldn’t label yet either. Each of us has suspicions about his intentions, but saying that he is evil is, I think, not appropriate in any case.

  • bowtruckle

    Richard, Snape is definitely a person with a very twisted moral system. I wouldn’t want him as my next door neighbor, nor as my teacher. In his everyday life he is often unfair and dishonest, and if you find yourself on his black list he would go out of his way to make your life miserable. But all this does not mean that his ultimate goal in life is an evil one. Although he had been on the side of evil for a few years – probably due to the recognition that his talents got there or out of wishing to avenge torments of his youth, not out of identification with the evil ideology – his goals did change, and I think the reason for that was again something personal, something that Dumbledore could recognise and understand as a very strong motivator. Again, I don’t think Snape has strong moral convictions either way regarding which side is right in this war, but one side has become impossible for him to support, while the other is acting in line with his own personal agenda.

    Since we know what kind of things Dumbledore values and what he appreciates in people, I suspect Snape’s motivation has to do with something very emotional to him. Considering how Dumbledore talks of Snape’s deep regret over passing on the contents of (half of) the prophecy to Voldemort, I strongly suspect it has to do with his feelings about Lily (though his life debt to James may also have been a factor).

    James reformed from his bullying days while still a student, Snape abandoned the Death Eaters in his early 20s, Wormtail is just sinking deeper and deeper.

  • Torill

    Hi there Bandersnatch, no – I don’t carry grudges, especially when people apologise! ;-)I will come back to your arguements later. I can’t say it all in one post, because you know how long my posts tend to get anyway….

    Let me say right away that I am very sorry for giving anyone the impression that I think their theories are “abysmally stupid”. I don’t think that at all. What I have tried to say, is that if Dumbledore has made this Grand Plan involving his own murder by Snape – then Dumbledore is abysmally stupid. But it is not abysmally stupid to assume that Dumbledore has been abysmally stupid regarding this particular plan, if you follow me…

    There are many stories out there where the hero must face the fact that his leaders are stupid, incompetent, corrupted – or simply mistaken, misguided or misled for some reason – so he is forced to abandon their guidance and trust no one but himself. The Potter series could turn out to be that kind of story too. I don’t believe they will, but hey, what do I know?

    Let me sum up my chief arguments:

    1) Dumbledore has said to Harry that he has now told him everything he knows and everything he believes. To assume that a Grand Plan existed all through the school year when Dumbledore had his tutions to prepare Harry, and Harry was not told about this, is to assume that Dumbledore was lying to and actively deceiving Harry. I do not believe this, I see this as seriously out of character for Dumbledore.

    2)When there was no need for a Grand Plan to safely place Snape close to Voldemort when he risked everything to go back to him at the end of book four – at a point when Voldemort was sure Snape had left him forever – then it was certainly no need for this kind of plan now. Snape was safely placed next to Voldemort, as safe as anyone can be, that is. It doesn’t really matter whether Bellatrix likes or trusts Snape or not. The only thing that matters among the DEs is to have Voldemort’s trust – or be seen as useful by him, that is. Because no one goes against Voldemort’s orders. And as far as Voldemort is concerned, killing Dumbledore when he did not order it will not help Snape. Nothing will make anyone forever safe against Voldemort’s suspicions. Voldemort does not trust anybody, ever, he will not watch Snape any less now than he did before. The possibility of treason is always on Voldemort’s mind. He does not understand loyalty. Snape’s only protection against Voldemort, if he is still loyal to the Order, is his Occlumency abilities. A Grand Plan is therefore redundant. Therefore stupid.

    3)If absolutely no one in the Order, except Snape, can be trusted with dangerous secrets, like a plan to save the Malfoys – then there really is no point in having a secreet Order at all! Most of their activities are dangerous, and will involve the risk of death for somebody if found out by the other side. The Dark Side can always use the Imperius, Veritaserum, Legilimens on captured Order members to try and find out the Order’s secrets, but this has not stopped them in the past from sharing secret plans to fight Voldemort. This Grand Plan is no exception. Of course you will still have a “need to know” consideration and graded secrets – not everybody should know everything. But the staged death of their very leader is definitely something I would say all of the members need to know! Not all of them need to know all the details, of course. The knowledge of Draco’s role could very well be limited to only DD and Snape. But to deprive the whole organisation of their leader without giving them time to prepare for this and adjust their organisation accordingly – I am sorry, but that is an abysmally stupid plan! There is a reason why an army in a war very often will try and take out the other side’s leader – the desorganisation that will follow is always to the advantage of the attackers!

    4)No matter his concern for Draco, or his worries about Snape’s soul – the war against Voldemort is Dumbledore’s first priority. When he kept important information from Harry too long, because of his love for him, he knew this was wrong. And he has told Harry this. This strategy is now abandoned. There is no way I can see Dumbledore leaving Harry now, without telling him, without helping him to prepare for the shock. He does not need a weak and traumatised Harry, he cannot have planned for this to happen.

    5) While I grant that there could be some ways to pass some information anonymously to Harry, I do not see why it should be necessary to make it that difficult. Harry needs a lot more help now than just bits of information passed to him through other links, where his reception and understanding of the information cannot be controlled. If he follows what seemed to be Dumbledore’s plan, and goes after the Horcruxes one by one, facing things equal to the potion in the cave, he will need someone with Snape’s knowledge of antidotes. And Snape will not be able to pass him this kind of information – because Voldemort is not going to tell Snape about his Horcruxes or the Dark Magic protecting them! He has not told this to anyone, as he would be a real fool to do that. And if Snape could have found out through his own Legilimens abilities, he would have told Dumbledore about them long ago. I think our Voldie is a greater Occlumens than Snape…

    Finally – because of all of the above, I think that the risk of Harry not being able to face Dumbledore’s death, but do all he can to work against it – would be a far far lesser risk than the destruction of the Order and Harry’s nervous breakdown from trauma that could have been the result of not telling anybody. The least that could have been done, should they really not trust Harry with this – would have been to ask the Order members to keep it from Harry, but have someone he trusted – like Lupin – tell him immediately afterwards. Don’t worry, he was already dying, this was all part of a plan and you are not abandoned without help. We have the back up plan ready, discussed through with Dumbledore, here, you can watch it all in this pensieve…..

  • Reader2

    Well Torill,
    If this can make you feel any better, we don’t really know how much the rest of the Order members know, may be someone among them is in on a secret plan, and the scene that you had just described might still occur.
    (The one I would suspect is Aberforth.)
    As for the Harry needing help, well he does have plenty of help, even the kind of help Snape can provide, does not have to be unique to him. After all, Snape did spend six years sharing his knowledge with Harry and Co.
    Also, you don’t have to be so worried about Harry’s emotional state.
    This is not the first time he had suffered loss of a friend.
    Each time he looses a friend he greaves, but then he reagins his strength and goes on with his mission.
    That is what heros do.

  • karlii

    Harry will grieve for Dumbledore, but Dumbledore’s death will only serve to make Harry’s resolve stronger. Harry isn’t likely to break down and lose time due to that death. It isn’t in his nature. He probably would have nightmares, as that seems to be something that happens to him.

    Harry will now move forward with a resolve that has been focused by the murder of his mentor. His will to suceed will be driven by the death of the people he knew. Not that I think Dumbledore made a sacrifice for the greater good, no… but that is the person who Harry became, isn’t it?

    Left alone and friendless, unloved in his day to day life, only to be thrust into limelight and danger. Forced to kill when he was eleven. He’s had his friends let him down (but then, who hasn’t?). Luckily, he’s responded to affection and people who’ve reached out to him. He isn’t inherently dark.

    But Harry hasn’t been particularly close to those who died. Sirius to an extent, yes, but hardly. And Albus, certainly as a mentor, but not as family. Harry would have a harder time, in my opinion, if Ron or Hermione or Ginny died. Even if Molly died, he’d have a harder time with it, I think, because he has allowed himself to actually get to know them, to FEEL something in return.

    No, while I think there was discussion of this eventuality, (snape having to kill Albus), I don’t think Dumbledore sacrificed himself purposefully. I DO think he will trust Harry to move fwd. He has worked to ensure that.

    I think Sev will be somehow exonerated to the Order, but I think his life is still forfeit. I hope Harry realizes what Sev has done for him all along, Ba—rd or not, he’s helped him.

    Ah well, we’ll find out in good time… *raises coffee cup* Here’s to sooner than later! 🙂

    *listens to clapping* *hears: “We believe! We believe!”*

    *sets cup down to type*
    No, no, no….. that’s for Tinkerbell, people! I don’t think that will work here! 😉

  • Bible Spice

    karlii mentioned when Trelawney made a small prediction about the dark young man being under the baleful eye of Saturn. She says to Harry,”I was saying that Saturn was surely in a position of power in the heavens at the moment of your birth… I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in mid-winter?”
    Midwinter is when Capricorn (Snape’s Sun sign) begins. I don’t know enough about Astrology to be very deep about this, but I think Karlii may be on to something here, and that Snape being a Capricorn may matter to JKR.
    I notice that there is a detailed work up of Harry’s chart here by Witherwings. Has anyone considered doing something similar for Snape?

  • Pat Pat

    When Dumbledore told Harry he had told him everything, I believe he meant everything he knew about Voldemort and the prophecy. That doesn’t necessarily mean he told Harry EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. In fact, we know for SURE that Dumbledore has withheld certain information from Harry. He KNEW that Draco was behind the attacks on Katie Bell and Ron and that Draco was trying to kill him. Yet, when Harry brought up is suspicions about Malfoy, Dumbledore did not admit to him that he knew this. This doesn’t mean Dumbledore was being stupid. Just that he had his reasons for not wanting Harry to know. IF there was a plan for Dumbledore to die, (and I am not saying there is), Dumbledore may have had good reasons for keeping the plan from Harry.

  • Richard

    First, regarding eveil…JKR said, in defenfding killing two main charcters, “A price has to be paid, we are dealing with pure evil here.” I think we can mark Riddle as being evil; you want to leave that label off Snape, OK (but I’m not done with his actions).

    It seems to me that one of the main points of HBPO is that Dumbdledore is not God–Dumdledore is neither omniscient nor omnipotent.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved for him to have been right about Snape, but Dumdledore’s silence after he discoveres just how involved Snape was in telling Riddlke about the prophecy and Snape’s look as he killed Dumdledore makes it clear–at least to me–that Dumdledore was mistaken about Snape.

    As for why Snape spared Harry at the end of HBP, I will repeat my guess that Snape took an Unbreakable Vow that had the unexpected result of making him Harry’s guardian. I am not at all sure, by the way, that Riddke will reward Snape for killing Dumdledore–if Snape survives Riddle’s wrath, maybe that will spin him back towards Harry.

  • karlii

    Bible Spice! 🙂 Thanks for noting what I said about Trelawney! I am really beginning to think we need to go back and review what Trelawney has talked about. If she isn’t a fraud.. we have a lot of valuable info sitting around that we have been coerced into ignoring!

    With that in mind, I even reviewed her infamous entrance to Christmas dinner, when she announced that beings there was thirteen at the table, the first to rise would be the first to die….?

    Well, I know it is splitting hairs, but IF you take it to mean that she joined them when she arrived in the room for the meal… then the first to rise was Dumbledore. Sure, Harry and Ron got up from the meal at the same time and left, but Dumbledore rose when Trelawney walked into the room.

    Anyway. If the dark young man is Severus, it might answer a few things! In these books, we ought to have learned by now, that we have the knowledge, but she certainly tries to twist our viewpoint!!!

    I will never forget the first time I read Sorcer’s Stone. I had to go on a business trip, so I bought it for some light reading in the hotel room in the evenings. I thought it was a children’s book. When I read the beginning, I was appalled at the abuse depicted! And as I read through it, I didn’t look for plot twists and misdirections. When I found out it wasn’t Snape… I was shocked! I was actually annoyed that I missed something, and had to go back through it right away and see just what the heck I missed. Sure.. THEN I could see how she led us(me) around by the nose. What a genius!! 🙂

    Even knowing that is how she writes, we learn more and more with each book just where our assumptions are leading us astray! I think it safest in these works… to trust nothing! CONSTANT VIGILANCE! (is that an anagram?)

    Anyhow. I got to looking at each of the characters. Why do I think Trelawney is a fraud? Because Harry thinks so. He takes nothing she says seriously. But are we once again wrong? I think so. What would be the point of having Trelawney around three different times when Harry went to see Dumbledore? (HBP) Why her? Why not Flitwick once?

    What exactly IS the message in the cards?

  • Bible Spice

    Just to reinforce what you’re saying, Karlii, recall that Trelawney’s famous seer great-great-grandmother is _Cassandra_ Trelawney…get it? Cassandra of the Trojans whom no one ever believed because of Apollo’s curse? So we believe Sibyll when she falls into a trance, but we dismiss her otherwise in the same way that the Trojans dismissed Cassandra.

    I am now convinced of two things…1) Snape being a Capricorn is useful information and 2) Trelawney is chock full of useful informtion I want t go look up! I’m off to peruse http://www.hp-lexicon.org/wizards/trelawneysez.htm

  • ImmortalGold

    Why is everyone thinking that DD PLANNED to die??????I dont think he PLANNED to die anytime.I just think he had to die to save Snape at that moment (Sacrifice the Queen [DD] to protect a King [Harry]+Knight[Snape] combo which COULD be more powerful.Its not what anyone wants but its what happened).A master plan (if it ever was there) would DEFINTIELY have a LIVING Dumbledore.It just got screwed up by Draco Malfoy when he let the Death Eaters in.Dumbledore would have told Harry about any plans he had involving Harry, only he got killed first.And as for not tellin the Order, maybe the nature of the plan (again, if there is one) needed needed a deep trust in Snape which the Order just doesnt have in Snape??? I know Dumbledores word is good enough for everybody, but really….Everyones human and theres got to be some nagging doubts somewhere.
    If I sound like I believe in a plan, then Im sorry, cos i dont.I was just ranting on about “IF there was a plan…..”.I think Dumbledore wanted things to go on as they were happening.Harry+Dumbledore destroying Horcruxes and learning as much about Voldie leading up to a final showdown while Snape feeds info to the Order and Dumbledore and while the Order stops as much of the Daeth Eaters activities as possible.

    Just throwing out something here.Will Fawkes play a bigger role this time??At the VERY least as a personal messenger to Harry in some way, maybe bringing some kind of messages or information or prophecy or whatever that Dumbledore left Harry in case he died???(I definitely think something much bigger is there for our beloved phoenix, just cant think of anything BIG enough)

  • karlii

    From: http://astrology-numerology.com/keywords.html

    Capricorn is ambitious (power, position, money), organizational, self-disciplined, rigid, thrifty, prudent, security-conscious, conservative, responsible, practical, persistent, political, business oriented, methodical

  • karlii

    Here are a couple of examples from HBP:

    Harry proceeded through deserted corridors, though he had to step hastily behind a statue when Professor Trelawney appeared round a corner, muttering to herself as she shuffled a pack of dirty-looking playing cards, reading them as she walked.
    ‘Two of spades: conflict,’ she murmured, as she passed the place where Harry crouched, hidden. ‘Seven of spades: an ill omen. Ten of spades: violence. Knave of spades: a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner –‘.
    She stopped dead, right on the other side of Harry’s statue.
    ‘Well, that can’t be right,’ she said, annoyed, and Harry heard her reshuffling vigorously as she set off again, leaving nothing but a whiff of cooking sherry behind her. (HBP10)

    This all very easily points to Sev’s situation… especially the part about the conflict.

    ‘If Dumbledore chooses to ignore the warnings the cards show –‘
    Her bony hand closed suddenly around Harry’s wrist.
    ‘Again and again, no matter how I lay them out –‘
    And she pulled a card dramatically from underneath her shawls.
    ‘– the lightning-struck tower,’ she whispered. ‘Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time …

    In hind sight, it certainly looks as if she was on the right track with this one…

    There are a couple good sites on cartomancy, if you google it. Here are two of my favorites:

    There is definitely more than meets the eye with her.. but do we have enough facts yet to untangle the web? Or should I say… Unfog the Mystery?

  • Antoon


    I understand your shrugging response, but I’m sure I do have a point here. I was told once that doctors never label the patient, but the disease. Not ‘John is a schizophrenic’, but ‘John suffers from schizophrenia’. Rowling also knows this. Some quotes by Dumbledore (without looking it up, but I’m sure I’m not too far off):

    “Quirrell, full of hatred and greed, couldn’t touch you.’’
    “Voldemort sank deeply into the dark arts.’’
    “Voldemort is immersed in evil.’’

    As far as I can remember, DD never says that Voldemort, or anyone else, is evil. Of course, there are limits to this kind of political correctness. Even Hermione would say that Draco is foul or that Umbridge is horrible, rather than that Draco suffers from foulness or that Umbridge shows horrible behaviour. But when it comes to real evil, Rowling makes the calm old gentleman choose his wording carefully.

  • Richard


    DD is inside the story; you, I, and JKR are outside it. Rowling speaks about evil, not just bad actions. My point was simply that the unqualified use of the word “evil”, judg(e)mental as it may seem to many is part of Rowling’s understanding of the world she has imagined. Disagreeing is your right.

    It seems to me that DD erred when he assumed that Snape’s old “wound” could be healed and he says so in HBP. Whether Snape (or even Riddle) is evil or just badly behaved, it seems that the old insult cannot be addressed, either due to Snape’s nature, his choices, or simply the fact that James is dead, most likely due to Snape’s actions.

    What interests me at this point is whether the humiliation we know about (“Snape’s Worst Memory”) is the driving insult here or whether there is something else–say a James-Snape-Lily triangle.

  • Torill

    How I wish I could come here on the Lexicon to read and write every day! I love all your comments, so many intelligent and thought-provoking posts..

    Before I go and read up on all the wonderful thoughts written here since I was here last, let me clear up one thing, though. I realise that some people may have taken offence by my characterisation of a Grand Plan as “abysmally stupid” on Dumbledore’s part. I realise now that this may be taken to mean that I regard any theory that implies a Grand Plan to be “abysmally stupid”. I have been very careless by not being precise here, so I do apologise sincerely if this clumsiness on my part has offended or hurt anyone.

    Of course I do not think that anyone’s theory involving a “Grand Plan” is necessarily stupid! Far from it. I think Dumbledore would have been abysmally stupid if he had set up a Grand Plan of the kind we have been discussing here. That is one of my chief reasons for not believing it – because I believe that DD might have had his blind spots, but he was never abysmally stupid. That, and the fact that this Grand Plan would also involve a deceitful Dumbledore, lying to Harry.

    But perfectly intelligent and reasonable people, like the ones visting this site, may of course assume that Dumbledore has allowed himself to be involved in a stupid plan together with Snape; and that to discover and have to deal with this fact will be part of Harry’s quest now. Maybe part of what is facing him is indeed having to realise that he is entirely on his own in dealing with Voldemort. Having to realise that the person he looked up to the most was actually seriously flawed and misguided, even deceitful. I don’t believe this will be the case, but hey, I am not JKR, what do I know….

    Also, perfectly intelligent people may believe that a Grand Plan is not stupid, and try to convince me and others of this. As some of you have tried to do here. I do not disrespect your opinion, and I do in no way think you are stupid if you disagree with me. One of my chief reasons for choosing the Lexicon site for my Potter discussions these days, is precicely because this place is one of the places in the fandom where you find the most intelligent and friendly discussions.

    Again, if anyone has been offended by my blunt characterisations of Dumbledore, my sincere apology!!

    Now, off to read what you have all written since my last entry….

  • Torill

    Wow! This comment section is amazing! On January25th, I sat here cursing it like the worst of the Death Eaters, because it seemed like my long comment with the apology and the summing up of all my arguments just hadn’t gone through. Refreshing the page didn’t help. And I had spent hours drafting that comment!

    And then, hey presto, as I was reading up on the comments now – there it was, with apology and all! Hooray!!! This does of course make the above comment somewhat redundant, and it may have confused some of you – so sorry!! But – an apology is a good thing, and you can’t have too much of a good thing, so… 🙂

    Off to read the rest of your comments…

    (and thanks a lot to however on the Lexicon staff who cleared up my HTML-mistake – you’re the best!!)

  • Torill

    You know, I really cannot see why the likes of McGonagall, Lupin, the Weaslys shouldn’t know about the Grand Plan involving DD’s immediate death, as all in the Order would have needed to know…. They really do not need all the grief, confusion and desorganisation that they face now at this point of the war. Only Aberforth would be too few, can’t see any good reason for that… As I cannot see any good reason for the Order member in question, Aberforth or someone else, to not have revealed this knowledge immediately after the death, to stop any such possible weakening of the Order from happening… I am not saying this damage on the Order’s organisation is inevitable and will happen now; I am merely saying that any leader of such an organisation in a warlike situation, which is what we have now, would be a fool to risk it.

    The knowledge and help Harry will need in his Horcrux quest if he goes on about it as Dumbledore planned it, will not be of the kind Snape has been teaching in his potions class for six years. It is not about undergraduate knowledge. It is not even about Master knowledge of potions. Dumbledore stated specifically that it was Snape’s deep knowledge of the Dark Arts that saved his life after his encounter with the Ring Horcrux, not Snape’s potions knowledge. There is a reason why Dumbledore wanted no one but Snape after he was poisoned in the cave, not Madam Pomfrey, not Slughorn the Master Potioner who once taught Snape, not anyone else in the Order who were on duty in the castle that night. Who else in the Order has Snape’s level of knowledge of the Dark Arts and of Voldemort’s methods? Snape is the only one who ever was a DE and close enough to Voldie…..and it is a disaster that Harry is now cut off from his help. I personally believe that the destruction of the Horcruxes will now happen in a way that is different from Dumbledore’s original plan, which I believe was to assist Harry in their location and destruction. But this is probably for the Lexicon forum threads….

    As for Harry the hero who will always bounce back from any trauma – maybe. But the question is not whether he actually will or not – I, too, think Harry will eventually be able to do what he has to do even after the trauma of watching DD’s murder. (By the way, Karlii, I do not believe that Harry was ”hardly” close to Sirius – I believe that their relationship went very deep – deeper at some levels than the one he had to DD – but all my many arguments concerning this is probably also for the forum threads, lol) The question is whether Dumbledore has been cynical and callous enough to count on Harry’s resilience, if he actually did think, oh well, never mind, Harry is strong, one more trauma is nothing for him… This does not sound like the Dumbledore who in book five admitted that he had not told Hary about his harsh fate until it was almost too late, because he wanted Harry to be happy…..

    The only way Dumbledore would ever do something like this to Harry, would be if it was absolutely necessary, completely unavoidable. As far as I am concerned, Pat Pat, any good theory of a Grand Plan will have to include a really good reason for keeping Harry in the dark about it. After all, that secrecy would have maximised Harry’s already great difficulties in trusting Snape. So far, no one has been able to convince me that any such good enough reason exists.

    Especially as, as I tried to point out in my last post, the Grand Plan itself was not necessary at all, because Snape was already safely placed close to Voldemort as agent for the Order at the time of the Tower Incident. As safe as anyone can be. To have killed Dumbledore against Voldemort’s specific orders – this murder was for Draco to attempt, by way of vengeance on Lucius – will proably have made Snape’s position with Voldemort, worse than it was before. He will have some explaining to do now…

    This is also one plausible reason why Snape did not harm Harry or bring him to Voldemort – the orders from Voldemort did not include that. (But I also believe an unbreakable Vow to protect Harry’s life is an interesting idea…) Those orders were: – Draco will kill Dumbledore, you may assist him, but if he does not succeed, then bring him back to me, and…. *shudders as she contemplates Draco’s fate* After his earlier horrible failures when attempting to kill Harry in front of his followers, Voldemort is not going to let anyone else do it for him now, or even help him too much to achieve it. Voldemort fears his followers will leave him if he appears weak or not clever enough. His rule is through fear and admiration of his might, not through loyalty or trust. Voldemort expects no pity the day his followers decide he is no longer the greatest wizard of all.

    Pat Pat,
    I have answered some of your concerns above – but to your point about Dumbledore not telling Harry everything: I agree that this ”everything” Dumbledore insisted – twice – that he has told Harry, does not include everything possible that Dumbledore may have ever planned. Of course not. It is obvious that Dumbledore felt the full reason why he trusted Snape was not for Harry to know, for instance, and he definietely thought information about Draco’s plight was not for Harry’s ears, yes. I too, believe that what Dumbledore was talking about was only the ”everything he knew” that had any consequence for Harry’s quest against Voldemort, only what Harry needed to know to prepare himself in order to survive. That was the focus of Dumbledore’s teachings and conversations with Harry. What I have tried to do, is to establish an argument for Harry’s needto know about the Grand Plan, if it exists – and that if Dumbledore was teaching Harry all through the school year in way of preparing him, yet never told him that you better listen carefully because soon you will have to handle all this without my guidance – then he was indeed being deceitful. Also, when Dumbledore knew how much Harry will now need the help of Snape and his knowledge of the Dark Arts, just as Dumbledore himself had desperately needed it to survive the attack on only one Horcrux – it amounts to almost cruelty to deliberately set up a scenario that has now alienated Harry from Snape completely, made Snape the last one Harry will ever seek for help. I can’t believe Dumbledore, as he has been portrayed in the books, would want to play Harry like this, for any reason.

    my dear friend, once again, I have meandered into this overlong post, and my time has run out. I am so sorry, but I will come back to your earlier arguments against my theory about Snape having returned to Voldemort at the time of the tower. Promise!

    Yes, returned, because I do not think Snape has been a DE all the time. I believe he was genuine when he came to Dumbledore, even though it was on Voldemort’s orders. But I believe he has falled again, again succumbed to the lure of the Dark Arts; and that Dumbledore failed to realise this, not suspecting him because he knew he was genuine back then… If Dunbledore thought teaching the Dark Arts over some length of time would be too tempting for Snape, imagine what it has been like for Snape to be among Death Eaters and pretend to be one of them for two years…

    I also believe/hope that Snape will come back with one last redeeming act before he dies… that the reason why he changed sides will come into play again. Very possibly, Harry will learn about it and be the one who calls him on it. We’ll see… but now I have to go, sorry!

  • Reader2

    I actually see plenty of reasons why Order members should not know about a plan that invloves self destruction. Lupin, who knows so much about living with pain, would never approve of a suieside, not matter the cause. McGonagall, who had dedicated her life to following rules, would see the plan as inexcusably wrong. As for Weasleys – I can not believe you actually brought them up. Those guys seem to have a legacy of hot-headedness (that must be why they all have red hair). Even a hint toward sucrifising someone other than themselves is bound to make them explode.
    We don’t know much about other members, but if the ones we have met are typical representatives, it would be hard to pick even one who would go along with a plan.
    If you want more than one candidate, how about Moody. That guy had gave up a big chunck of his body and most of his sanity for a good cause. He wouldn’t judge a friend for giving up his life.
    I am with you, however, on not believeing that some of Dumbledore’s plans will not work out.
    Plans are meant to be adjusted.

  • Pat Pat

    Torill, I, like Reader2, can see many reasons why Dumbledore may have felt that a planned suicide would need to be kept secret. For one thing, we don’t know the details of the plan, if there was one. It clearly wasn’t set in stone. I sincerely doubt that Dumbledore and Snape knew that the situation was going to turn out exactly as it did, with a severely weakened Dubledore atop the highest tower, a wand pointed at him by Draco. Most likely the plan would have involved Snape trying to find out more about what Malfoy was up to. Clearly, Malfoy wasn’t talking and perhaps this is part of what Snape and Dumbledore were arguing about. They may have been caught a little bit by surprise and so had to put forth a plan that was not yet fully developed. This would explain why they had not told anyone yet, as they were not yet sure how it would play out.

    Secondly, you mention that a plan would not be needed because Snape was already placed close to Voldemort, but you are forgetting about the unbreakable vow Snape made with Narcissa. If he fails to carry out the plan, he dies and Dumbledore probably dies too, leaving no leader and no spy.

    I also have to disagree with you that Voldemort will be unhappy with Snape for killing Dumbledore. Snape says in HBP2, “He intends me to do it in the end, I think.”

    Finally, far from Harry being distracted or losing his resolve, Dumbledore’s death has only strengthened his resolve. Yes, he hates Snape, but he realizes that Voldemort is the one behind all of the evil. The death of his mentor, friend, and father figure will only push him harder to finish off Voldemort.

    By the way, I do completely agree with you about Sirius. Harry was very close to Sirius (sorry karlii). Just because he had not known him for very long does not mean it was not an important relationship. As Dumbledore says in OoP Sirius represented much to him that he had never known.

  • Reader2

    I’d like to point out one interesting detail.
    The two, currnetly most likely, theoryes (that is “Snape playing Dr. Kavorkian for Dumbledore” and “Snape is evil with his own agenda”) are leading us in the same direction.
    In either case, Snape needs Harry alive for now, Snape needs Harry to successfully destroy all the Hocruxes and Snape needs Harry to face off against Voldemort. Although, we can not be sure whom Snape wants to survive in the final battle. Best course of action for Snape is pretty much the same in both cases.
    Snape will not get involved into the battle until Voldemort is down, only then he will show his true collors (whatever they might be).
    In other words, the solution to the best puzzle will be saved for the very end of the book.
    Are you all shaking with impatience yet?
    I know I am.

  • severusisn’tevil

    I think a lot of you bring up good points. I am a girl, by the way. And while my bias is well-known, I am sure, just from my screen-name thingy, I would like to say that SEVERUS ISN’T EVIL. I have already given my reason. Yes, he and Remus are my favorite characters— interesting combination, huh— but I just, all theories aside don’t see the reasoning for making Severus LV’s man. There are plenty of villains, and Severus being another just seems an awfukl waste. He is written to be hated. He is continually shown to be as selfish, arrogant, and somewhat dishonorable person, but he RETAINS HONOR. if you read the HP series without trying to read between the lines, you find yourself hating Severus, that’s the way it’s meant to be, so I think it would give JKR all the more satisfaction to say at the end, He’s good, even though you all hate him so much. Severus is a contradiction.

  • sam

    mabye they all die thoose how do not get celebrate, cause who would celebrate a dead persons b-day she just gave a clue.

  • sam

    she did not celebrate there b-day,cause they did in the book#7

  • priya ashok

    i think that severus is definitely on the good side and the hate he has towards Harry is is something he has consciously developed to avert suspision from him as he also probably knew from AD that Voldemort was comming back. i also think he killed AD on his own orders according to the clues given in HBP like the conversation AD had with Hagrid and AD “begging?” snape in the end and snape giving Harry a quick lesson in wordless casting and occumency.

  • Torill

    We are not talking about suicide or selfdestruction as such here, are we? Because I do agree that no one in the Order would probably approve of that. As I certainly would not either. What we are talking about is the Grand Plan theory where DD is dying anyway from the Horcrux wound, therefore using this to set up a scenario where Snape may be safely placed as an agent close to Voldemort.

    Setting aside the redundancy of such a plan which I discussed in my earlier posts here, yes, I do believe that each and every member of the Order, Lupin, McGonagall, the Weaslys and the rest of them, are able to appreciate a willingness from other members than themselves to sacrifice their own lives in the war against Voldemort. I believe that they even count on this to a certain extent; that this knowledge of how each and everyone of them is willing to sacrifice their life for the others, is part of the reason why they trust each other so much.

    (I do not see the Weasly members of the Order, Arthur, Bill, Charlie – as such red-haired hotheads as you do here, either. Fred and George are possible exceptions, but they are not Order members. The only Weasly member who would maybe make a fuss would be Molly – but I am not sure whether even she would do that when we are talking about adults and not the underaged)

    Perhaps we have different ideas of what the Order is meant to represent in the series. I see them as similar to the resistance movements against Nazi rule in the European countries during the Second World War. Coming from Norway, I grew up with stories about these movements. In my country, important members of the resistance carried cyanid pills with them at all times. In case they were arrested they were expected to kill themselves right away rather than risk breaking under torture and give away crucial information. No one, neither during the war nor afterwards, has seen this as a suicide that should have been stopped. On the contrary, it has been considered a necessary duty in order to save others from being exposed and arrested.

    I think what Jo has written about the Order in the books suggests that she sees this secret resistance movement in a similar vein. In book five, Moody shows Harry the picture of the old Order members, and tells him how many of them were killed in the fights back then. Yet they did not hesitate to reestablish the Order when Voldemort returned, all of them fully aware of the risk involved. When Arthur was bitten by Nagini and the Weasly children wanted to storm to St.Mungos right away to be with him, Sirius tells them that they can’t, because that would risk the exposure of the Order. Fred and George yells that they don’t care about the dumb Order when their dad is dying. Then Sirius replies with the following: (Book 5, UK Ed, page 421)

    >”Your father knew what he was getting into and he won’t thank you for messing things up for the Order!’ said Sirius, equally angry. ‘This is how it is – this is why you’re not in the Order – you don’t understand – there are things worth dying for!’

    Pat Pat
    Like I said earlier, I, too, believe that Harry will be able to set out on his quest to destroy the Horcruxes with firm resolve; he will not suffer a nervous breakdown now. But the discussion from my side is not really about what Harry will actually be shown to do in the next book. I am talking about whether the Dumbledore we know from the books really will turn out to have taken such a cynical risk concerning Harry’s mental strength. Whether Dumbledore really will be shown to have used Harry as a mere pawn, cynically thinking that he is strong enough anyway, so what does it matter if he suffers a bit more… I believe the canon Dumbledore would never choose such methods if he could avoid it (and my whole argument is trying to show that he could indeed avoid it) but here we must maybe agree to disagreee..

    If Dumbledore was indeed dying anyway from the Horcrux wound, there would be no reason why he should have hidden this particular fact from Harry and his faithful Order members, deprived them of a whole year’s worth of time to prepare for the inevitable. Even if he did not tell them all about a half-formed plan of how to maybe put his death to some use for the Order. He can’t have condsidered all of them except Snape to be mere children. The Order members are all worthy of more trust than this. And yes, in particular, I do not believe that he saw the sixteen year old Harry as such a child anymore.

    Yes, Snape said to Bellatrix that he believed Voldie had meant for him to kill Dumbledore ”in the end” . Assuming he is not lying just to taunt Bella, – which he is perfectly able to do – this did not necessarily mean killing Dumbledore to save Draco’s neck! Voldemort is the one who decides when his DEs are going to do what; his organisation is not such that it is ok for its members to show their own initiative and be praised for it afterwards….

    What Voldie will do to Snape now is a bit unpredictable. Voldemort is an opportunist, at all times choosing what he sees as useful at the moment, he does not rule by moral principles. So he may accept what Snape did, happy that DD is dead, yes. Or, he may choose to punish Snape, because he may think that Snape was exposed as an agent for the Dark Side too early in the war. Voldemort, too, appreciates the usefulness of an undercover agent placed close to the leader of the other side, you know… If the only reason why Voldemort chose to accept Snape back as a DE, and forgive him his earlier treason, is because he saw him as a useful agent next to Dumbledore – then Snape may be in serious trouble now!

    I have not forgotten about the Unbreakable Vow. I have used so much energy and space to try and shoot down the Grand Plan theories that I have never been able to come round to that point in my post. I promised Bandersnatch many days ago that I would definitely do so, and I will. I have to go now, but I will come back later today and address this point

  • Torill

    Ok, Bandersnatch, Pat Pat and several others, here I go – Snape and the Unbreakable Vow…

    I do feel tempted here to cite my own comments from way back up on this thread, where I have spread out over several posts some arguments for why Snape was not facing a situation without choice when he took that fatal Vow.. But that would be boring wouldn’t it.. 😉

    It is my firm opinion that if Snape had been Dumbledore’s man through and through, he would have refused to take that last, fatal third Vow, where he promised to kill Dumbledore should Draco seem to fail. Period. Most people defending Snape says he had to agree to that Vow in order to ”keep his cover”. But I really don’t understand this line of argument. Because – what could Bellatrix actually have reported back to Voldemort if Snape had refused to take the Vow?

    ”I know my Lord that you meant for Draco to attempt this murder all on his own. I know that you had actually forbidden Narcissa to tell anyone about it. But this poor woman did tell both me and Snape anyway, even though Snape told her she would commit a great treachery to you if she did! And then she cried so much that it was a pity to watch. So I agreed to mediate an Unbreakable Vow for her, where she tried to make Snape swear he would commit the act if Draco failed. But you know what happened? Snape said he would not promise to kill Dumbledore because you had ordered Draco to do it! He actually refused to go against your orders! Now you understand that Snape is not loyal to you, don’t you?”

    To Voldemort, this story would have made Bellatrix appear the disloyal DE member, of course, and Snape would have appeared the loyal one! Bellatrix knew they were disobeying Voldemort’s direct orders when she agreed to mediate that Vow. Therefore, she must also have known that she could never tell Voldemort about it without risking the lives of both herself and her sister. Snape, being the clever man that he is, knew this too.

    I think your version is a little more intriguing Bandersnatch, I haven’t heard that one before. What if it is impossible to stop in the middle of the Vow-taking, without risking the lives of the people involved in the taking? So that when Snape was taken by surprise by the third Vow, he literally had no choice but to go through with it?

    I agree that Snape probably didn’t see the third one coming. He probably thought there were few risks involved in taking a Vow to help Draco. Even Dumbledore could have approved of such an oath. I do doubt the above theory, though. The way Jo writes it, it sounds like Snape did have a choice:

    ’And should it prove necessary … if it seems Draco will fail … ’ whispered Narcissa (Snape’s hand twitched within hers, but he did not draw away), ’will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?’

    The content of the paranthesis here does make it seem as if Snape had a choice, as if he could have drawn his hand away, but did not. The next two paragraphs also make it seem as if Snape could have broken it off:

    There was a moment’s silence. Bellatrix watched, her wand upon their clasped hands, her eyes wide.
    ’I will,’ said Snape
    (Both quotes HBP, UK ed, page 41)

    Why this silence, why is Bellatrix staring wide-eyed, if not waiting with baited breath to see whether Snape is actually willing to go through with a Vow like that or not? To me, it does seem as if the possibility existed for Snape to draw his hand away and refuse the last Vow, and as if Bellatrix was not sure what he would choose to do before he said ’I will’.

    This is not a one hundred percent canon proof, of course, it does depend on how you read the above. But to me, a reading where Snape had a choice seems the more likely one, by far. This is both because of how the scene appears on face value to me, and because of the overall emphasis of choices in the series. I really doubt that this very central plot point about the Vow to kill Dumbledore will turn out to be about Snape having been tricked to take it, with no possibility at all of getting out of the situation, with no involvement whatsoever of his free will!

    Also, if the Vow worked like that, it would be far too easy to trick anyone into promising anything, so no one would ever volunteer to take such a Vow…. At least not someone like Snape; he would never have agreed to take any Unbreakable Vow at all, if he had known that the magic involved in it would have prevented him from stopping the process should the other party ask something very different from him than what he had agreed upon beforehand. It would be seriously out of character for Snape to give up all control in a situation where his very life was at stake!

    Even so, even if you are right and the results would indeed have been disastrous had he ended the Vow-taking before agreeing to the third promise – I still believe it would have been his duty to do so, rather than committing himself to killing the leader of the Order.

    Here I cannot resist the temptation to quote myself from earlier in this thread: ”Haven’t we all been talking for years about how brave Snape is to be a double agent, risking his life for the Order? Then we actually see him in the first situation of this kind, where he is challenged to show his true colours. And then we rush to say – he had no choice, he had to kill his leader to keep his cover??? But isn’t this the kind of situation he must have been prepared for all the time? That he maybe would have to die to protect the Order and Dumbledore? Isn’t that what is involved in undercover work in a warlike situation of this kind? To say that ok, maybe there was no Grand Plan involved, but he just had no choice if he was to keep his cover – to me, that is like saying that a spy for the British side during the Second World War should have been excused and still called a good guy if he had killed Churchill, the British Prime Minister during the war, only to “keep his cover” and avoid being killed by the Nazis….”

    So – let’s say he lost his nerve then. That he knew what his duty was, but could not bring himself to do it, and that this is the reason why we see his hand twitch. I am not saying this necessarily makes him horrible, even though it would make him a coward – I am not sure what I would have done in a situation like that, for instance. Which is a situation I do hope I will never experience the equivalent of!

    Then two questions come to mind.

    First – from the clues in book 6, does it seem like Snape did tell Dumbledore about the Vow he took? I would say no. At the tower Draco tells Dumbledore how Snape is on his side, because he has promised Narcissa to help Draco. We know this is the truth, but Dumbledore says: ”of course, that is what he would tell you Draco, but”

    Would Dumbledore really lie to Draco here? Why should he? What he wants in this situation, is to make Draco understand that Snape was not working for Voldemort, but for him, Dumbledore. It would have been more convincing even to Draco, wouldn’t it, if Dumbledore had just said, yes, I know Snape told you that, Draco, because Snape has told me all about it, and it is all part of an agreement between Snape and me…

    But he doesn’t say this – and I believe that is because this was not part of any agreement between Snape and Dumbledore. Dumbledore did not know about the Unbreakable Vow, Snape never told him.

    Second – If Snape had told DD – which I do not believe – would DD then have let the whole year go, with what would have amounted to the procrastination of the century, without any clear idea of what to do to avoid disaster? It would have been clear from the beginning of the school year already, that either Snape or Dumbledore would have had to die. Dumbledore does not see death as the worst. I think he would have said to Snape: I am sorry, but now that you have landed yourself in this unfortunate situation, you have no choice but to go through with it, if you really are loyal to me. We must watch over Draco so he does not become a murderer, and neither must you. The moment Draco decides to come over to our side, you will die if you do not kill me, but there is nothing we can do about that now… This is how I perceive Dumbledore’s morality, he would never plan murder as a solution to a problem, any more than he would stage a deceit of his loayl follewers….

    The argument between Snape and DD that Hagrid overheard? Well – how do we know it has anything to do with this at all? If it has, maybe it simply had to do with watching over Draco. Maybe what Hagrid overheard was Snape’s twisted kind of way to try and warn DD that he could not take Snape’s loyalty for granted anymore. Because I do not believe Snape was happy with the way things had turned out for him at this point….

  • Reader2

    You are really on the roll, aren’t you, Torill?
    I’m with you in believeing that the Order relies on each ones willingness to die for others. I remember how Moody was proudly listing his dead friends. IN fact, this goes beyond the Order itself. Remeber how Augusta Longbottom was proud to annouce that her son and daughter-in-law took a shot for the cause.
    This is exactly why I believe that if nearly any of Order Members heard about Dumbledore planning to sacrifise himself, they would set out to follow Dubmbledore around whereevrer he goes, with an intent to cover him with their own body, when Snape (or anyone else) tryes to send a curse at him.
    NO, I am not talking just about kids. This includes Arthur, McGonogall, Lupin…
    No, the fact that he is dieing anyway would not make any difference. Their attitude what be: “one more day of life for Dumbledore is worth decades of my life”.
    After all, Dumbledore does reprsent the cause.
    This is also why informing them about the plan after Dumbledores death would be out of the question. They would not feel any less broken up about Dumbledore’s death, they would not feel any less hate for Snape, they would, however, start hating themselves for not noticing what’s being planned and not stopping it.
    This would be unacceptible.

  • Antoon


    Your point that Snape would show loyality to Voldemort by refusing the third vow is well taken. But Snape said he also knew of the plan, so Voldemort might have given him a certain role in it, even though this was apparently not an explicit order to kill Dumbledore if Draco should fail. I think we know too little about this to be sure, but I agree with you that the situation is quite curious.

    Then, your reasoning is that Snape can’t do just anything in order to keep his cover if he is Dumbledore’s spy. I think we have to grant you this fact. But it is possible that Snape has a job that only he can do, one that is more important than Dumbledore’s life… or what is left of it. Rowling has written many things that can be either clues or irrelevant details. What are we to think of, for instance, “It will take unusual skill and power to kill a wizard like Voldemort’’? We can trust Dumbledore when he says that Harry has love, the power Voldemort has not. But does Harry have unusual skills? He may be brave, loyal, whatever, but what skills does he have apart from being good at catching snitches? Do you think it is conceivable that the unusual skill mentioned by Dumbledore comes from Snape?

  • Pat Pat

    Torill, you make some valid points, and, as I have said before, I’m not completely convinced one way or the other here. But, I think we cannot dismiss the possibility that Snape is on the side of good. And, if DUmbledore planned to die, I do not think this would make him stupid. Many of your arguments assume that we have all of the information, which I can say with almost complete certainty, we don’t. JKR gives us clues and red herrings all over the place, but never gives us the complete story. That is what makes the Harry Potter series so compelling. What is going on behind the scenes that we are not aware of? As the 147 posts here show, we are unable to resist trying to figure it out.

    As Antoon points out, we do not know the full contents of Voldemort’s instructions to Snape. Snape says he believes Voldemort intends him to do it in the end, but why does he believe this? Is he just speculating or has there been a conversation between him and Voldemort regarding that very issue? We just don’t know. We also are forgetting that there is one more person that could have reported this situation to Voldemort. Wormtail was present in the house when this was all going on. We are told that Snape sent him away with a hex, but do we know for sure he wasn’t listening at the door? I strongly believe that, had Snape refused to finish the Unbreakable Vow, his cover may not have been blown but would have been seriously threatened.

    Now the question is whether Dumbledore would have sacrificed himself in order to keep Snape in his spy role and to stop Draco from becoming a murderer. As Antoon says, we do not know the whole of Snape’s assignment as a spy. In fact, we know very little. There may be a very important role that he is meant to play. I do not agree, Antoon, that Harry is not as powerful, however. Yes, his main power is love, but remember many other wizard powers come from within, from emotion. His power of love is able to translate into physical powers. Remember, during the duel with Voldemort in GoF, Harry was able to force the beads of light on their connected wands back into Voldemort’s wand. This power came from within himself. I believe there is power and skill within Harry that we have not yet seen.

  • Bandersnatch

    Very clever, Torill. I thank you for opening my eyes to new possibilities. We could sit here and spin words until the cows come home, but I would like to raise a few more points before I lay this aside:

    *Narcissa would not have been in trouble with Voldemort for speaking of the plan with Bellatrix. Both of them were present when they were told of the plan. (Bella to Narcissa at beginning of Ch. 2: “In any case, we were told not to speak of the plan to anyone.”) And although Narcissa (and Bellatrix) would probably be punished for speaking to Snape and gambling that he, too, knew of the plan — in the end, no confidences were really broken, so perhaps the Dark Lord’s wrath would not have been quite so terrible. What I mean to say is, Bella perhaps did not stand to lose so much by reporting to Voldemort Snape’s refusal to Narcissa’s third request.

    *I hear your arguments for an interrupted Unbreakable Vow ceremony not being mortally dangerous to the participants. I will postulate that had Snape refused the third request, the other two agreements might have dissolved, leaving a distraught Narcissa, a crowing Bellatrix, and a gaping anticlimax. (“A three-part cord is not easily severed” — Ecclesiastes — so perhaps all Unbreakable Vows must have three parts to which both parties agree, forming an unbreakable, firey, tripartite cord around the participants.)

    *Is it my imagination, or does Snape seem moved to… is it pity?… regarding Narcissa. Although we know that he feels that people who wear their emotions on their sleeves are weak, he never loses his temper or patience with Narcissa’s tears. Some people postulate something romantic (past or present) between the two of them; I won’t go that far. Is he perhaps struck with a parallel between Narcissa, weeping for her son, and his own mother somehow? It is hard to say. I will not excuse all of Severus’s unpleasantness on one brief look into his childhood (his parents arguing as he hid, his father perhaps verbally abusing his mother), but we (as readers) must have received that glimpse for some reason.

    *Is the third request of the Vow necessarily so simple as: if Draco doesn’t kill Dumbledore, then Snape must do it or die? Had Draco been persuaded to go into hiding rather than carry out Voldemort’s orders, would that part of the Vow be activated? Or is there a difference between Draco actively trying to kill Dumbledore and failing, and Draco choosing to abandon the plan?

    Alas, I must leave this discussion now. I remain frumiously yours.

  • Pensievelover

    I love reading all of your theories and thoughts on Snape and the rest of wonderful plotlines JK has given us. I’d really like to see more additions, since all of you are much smarter than I. I think I’m more exited for DH after reading all your thoughts than I have been for any of the other books. Keep it up!

  • Torill

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Pensievelover! But I think I will take the rest of my thoughts over to theSnape thread in the forums, and develop them in the discussion over there – here: http://wc6.worldcrossing.com/webx/.1de114df
    I just need to read up on all the discusion there since I was there last… it’s a huge thread!:)

    I will sign off with a few answers though, before I go.

    Reader2, you wrote:
    I’m with you in believeing that the Order relies on each ones willingness to die for others. I remember how Moody was proudly listing his dead friends. IN fact, this goes beyond the Order itself. Remeber how Augusta Longbottom was proud to annouce that her son and daughter-in-law took a shot for the cause.
    This is exactly why I believe that if nearly any of Order Members heard about Dumbledore planning to sacrifise himself, they would set out to follow Dubmbledore around whereevrer he goes, with an intent to cover him with their own body, when Snape (or anyone else) tryes to send a curse at him.

    I think you missed my point. I wasn’t making an argument for why anyone in the Order would be willing to sacrifice themselves and take the bullet for Dumbledore, if they thought that was necessary. I know we agree on this, they all would, with Snape as a very possible exception…

    What I tried to get across, is that in an organisation like the Order, written to be a secret underground movement in a warlike situation, it would be highly unlikely to find members who cannot tolerate that anyone else but themselves should sacrifice their lives for the Cause. In an organisation like that, you cannot have members who would scream NOOOOOOO I don’t care if this plan is good for the Order and for the greater Cause that I after all joined up to fight for; I don’t care if it is necessary for our side to win! Because I cannot stand it if YOU die!! That is only for me to do!!!! So I will sabotage your plan no matter what, and no kind of argument will stop me!!!!!!!

    An organisation with members like that wouldn’t last very long against Voldemort and his DEs I think. People like that would have to be content with writing pamphlets, they could not be involved in an organisation where everybody means to fight an it is understood that everyone is at risk at all times.

    That was the point of bringing up the members of the Norwegian Resistance who carried cyanid pills on them at all times, under the order of committing suicide should they get caught – nobody screamed and wailed and protested back then. Nor did anyone try to take those cyanid pills away from them and flush them down the toilet, because they couldn’t stand the idea of their leaders or important members committing suicide. It was accepted by all as a necessity.

    My Sirius quote above was to suggest that it seems to me as if Jo sees her underground organisation the same way – its members do think like this too. The twins said they didn’t care about the stupid Order when their father was dying – much like you claim all Order members would react if it was Dumbledore who was dying – but Sirius, who was a member of the Order, told them that this was exactly why they were not members: they don’t understand what it takes. He stated very clearly that their father would not have thanked them if they had messed things up for the Order just to be at his side, dying or not….

    So what it takes to be a member of the Order, among other things, is to sometimes have to accept that another member is dying and you cannot do anything about it. Because if you did you would expose or harm the Order…

    This whole argument is more about the concept we have for an organisation like the Order of the Phoenix, though, not so much about canon clues, so I think we will probably have to agree to disagree on this one…

    It is possible that Snape has a job only he can do that is more important than anything Dumbledore could do. I doubt it, but it is possible. What I find very hard to imagine, though, is any reason why Harry should not know about this, why he should be forced to hate and mistrust Snape for no reason. If this turns out to be the case, I think it would amount to poor plotconstruction on Jo’s part, of the kind: I need to keep the readers in the dark, so then I must keep Harry in the dark too, and just hope that they will buy that fact….. But I have spent so much space on this thread to develop this point about not telling Harry, so I will not rehash any more of that now, for the benefit of you all…. 😉

    Pat Pat
    Of course I am arguing from the information we do have, plus from the reasons we can think of, things we can imagine to be the case, given what we know now. I am trying to imagine reasons why Harry should not be told, for instance, that we haven’t heard of, but I cannot come up with anyone that seems good enough, and no one suggested by any of you has convinced me yet….

    Of course Jo can turn the whole story around for us in book seven, and give us completely new information that will change everything – Dumbledore is evil, Snape and Sirius made a bodyswitch so it was actually Snape who fell through the veil, and Sirius who killed Dumbledore – but it is impossible to discuss from that point of view, isn’t it? Until the book is out, any theory that is not based in or deduced from the canon evidence that we do have, will be fanfiction. Fun, yes, but not really debatable. It has happened before though, that fanon has turned canon – the Lupin/Tonks ship did happen for instance, so… who knows?

    About Wormtail – it wouldn’t matter whether it was Peter or Bella who told Voldemort about Snape refusing to take the third vow – Snape would still appear to Voldie as the one being loyal to him, while Bella and Narcissa would seem the rebellious ones. I can’t see how this changes anything…

    It is possible that it wouldn’t be so dangerous for Narcissa and Bella to tell – but I am not sure I would have risked it if I were them – with an explicit order not to tell anyone… But anyway – if Bella tells, taking her chances, saying, but my Lord I thought it obvious that Snape knew.. Snape would still not be the one to appear disloyal. Bella’s greatest disobedience wouldn’t be to tell Snape, it would still be the Vow itself – because Draco’s mission to kill DD on his own was Voldies punishment of Lucius – he didn’t mean for anyone to interfere to rescue Draco. That kind of softness from a mother and an aunt will not impress him! So, I reiterate: Snape was in no danger of “blowing his cover” – and he knew this, he was the one who told Narcissa that it would be treason to involve him at all…

    Maybe the whole vow would have come to nothing had he broken it before the third. Kind of an anticlimax in the story, yes, seen from the point of view of the writer and the reader. But it would have been evidence that Snape was still Dumbledore’s man at this point..

    You know – I believe that Snape did pity Narcissa. I don’t believe in a romance between them either – a little bit of friendliness between two people of the opposite sex doesn’t automatically have to mean romance in these books! But I do think Snape sees her as a friend. I also believe he genuinely feels for Draco and wants to help him too. I don’t see Snape as a total monster, devoid of any human emotion. That is Voldemort, and one of his kind is enough for the series!

    Snape also sees Lucius as a friend, I think. When Harry named Lucius as one of the DEs at the graveyard in book four, we saw Snape show a reaction, he moved suddenly. He didn’t want his friend exposed – and maybe, at that time, he, too, had believed in Lucius’ stories of reform? Or wished that they were true… Because I do think he was loyal to Dumbledore back then, when he went back to the DEs in book four. I also think he was loyal through much of book five as well. But he got corrupted,and the Vow was his final fall.

    I think he will come back one last time, though, like I said before – because we really do not need another all black villain in the series. I believe Snape’s function in the story is to show us up close someone struggling with the lure of the Dark Arts. That is not a nice show, because the Dark Arts are not nice, and if you involve yourself in them too deep for too long, they will have an effect on you. They are dangerous! That is what Snape is meant to show us in the books. At least, that’s what I think.

    And now, off to the Lexicon forum threads. It’s been great folks.

  • Antoon

    I, too, have been enjoying reading all your ideas and arguments.

    Pat Pat: Forcing beads of light to Voldemort sounds more like a power than like a skill, doesn’t it? But I also think that Harry will develop certain skills, including Occlumency.

    Torill: With all respect, I think your statement that Harry is forced to mistrust Snape is quite undefendable. Snape doesn’t like Harry very much, true. I suspect he has a reason for this that we will learn about in book 7. But Dumbledore has said often enough that he trusts Snape. The last time he said so was directly to Harry: “I am sure. I trust Severus Snape completely.’’ In the course of the story, starting with book 1, Harry is not forced to mistrust Snape, but to trust him. Only once, in Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape got it wrong, but only because he got carried away by his prejudice against Sirius.

  • Torill

    Couldn’t resist checking back in, you know…

    Antoon, you misunderstand – let me try to say it clearer:

    I didn’t mean to say that Harry has been forced to mistrust Snape in all the previous books. Not at all – at least not by anything else than Snape’s bullying behaviour… We actually agree on this point.

    But should the Grand Plan theories turn out to be true, then Harry has been misled, on purpose, by Dumbledore and Snape, to believe that Snape killed Dumbledore because he is Voldemort’s man. While all the while this was planned in advance between Dumbledore and Snape, because it was somehow necessary in the war against Voldemort…

    So, if Harry has never been told about this Grand Plan, but has been deceived along with the rest of the Order and the wizarding world, tricked to believe that Snape deserves to be everyone’s number one hate object from now on..then he will have been forced to mistrust Snape for no reason…. Mistrust him as Dumbledore’s killer, you know.

    But as you have probably understood if you have read all my long ramblings on this thread, I don’t believe in any of these Grand Plan theories. My statement that they imply Harry being forced to mistrust Snape, is actually one of my chief arguments against them!

    So I agree with you, Harry has not been forced by anyone to mistrust Snape. You are right about that. Dumbledore has tried to do the opposite, yes, exactly. (You can definitely make a case for how Snape has done his best to impersonate someone Harry should not count on as a friend, though – but this is a different discussion…)

  • Reader2

    OK, I can’t resist the earge either.
    May be you are right, and my view of the Order members is somewhat exagerated, but I do rely on the facts when I say that none of them would vote “not guilty” on the Kavorkian trial.
    They hate Bartemius Crouch Sr., even though he was an aliy to them in the first war. They refuse to work with Rufus Srimgeor, even though he could be helpful to them in the second war. Their concept of “good and evil” is stronger than realization of what’s needed to win the war.
    If they found out that Snape killed Dumbledore at Dumbledore’s order, they would hate Snape just as much as they do at this instance in the book.

    You keep bringing up Sirius’ statement about “knowing what it takes”, but let me point something out:
    The kind of plan we are talking about goes beyond any other sacrifises the Order members had to make, and even if they were up to playing along with it (and that’s a very big IF) it would troumatize them extremely, far more than just loosing Dumbledore in battle.
    Would you really blame Dumbledore for freeing them from that kind of burden?

  • Torill

    We don’t agree on this one Reader2, I think we have to agree on that… Because yes, I would blame Dumbledore for not giving his organisation time to prepare (we are talking one year here..) for the loss of their leader. And I certainly do not agree that a death planned for one year in advance, a death everyone would know was accepted by the one dying, would be more traumatizing to the Order members than the sudden devastating news of a murder committed by someone they thought was one of their own!

    And if DD really did think of his Order members that they did not have the strength to bear the necessity of Snape killing DD – assuming it was necessary, as you know I do not believe it was – the very least he could have done would have been to tell them: I am dying, because that Ring wound cannot be healed by anyone or anything, so we need to decide who shall be leader after me, and how things will be done without me…. To tell them nothing, not even this bit, approaches cynical, even cruel, to my eyes.

    Where in canon do you find support for the idea that they would have hated Snape as much as they do now, if they had known he killed on DD’s orders? I can’t see that, that sounds completely irrational to me, and I don’t think anyone of them are that. Neither do I believe Dumbledore saw his Order members as irrational.

    I don’t agree that they hated Barty Crouch sr. either, or refuse point blank to work with Scrimgeour. I don’t think there are any canon evidence for this.
    Dumbledore did not approve of the idea Scrimgeour had that he could parade Harry as working for the ministry, to soothe the public, while the Ministry in fact did nothing very efficient, but instead arrested the innocent, like Stan Shunpike. This does not mean, however, that the Order means to never work together with Scrimgeour and the Ministry on anything at all. That is an exaggeration, I think.

    As for Barty Crouch sr., Sirius tells us that he turned less popular after Voldemort’s first downfall, when he sent his own son to prison – then people started to think he was too hard. There is also every reason to believe that Dumbledore and the Order did not approve of all his methods in the war, like Aurors killing without warning and sending people to prison without trial. But again, we have no evidence that this meant they refused to work with Barty at all, on things they agreed on and thought wise! After all, Frank Longbottom, who was in the Order was an Auror and worked under Barty. Again, I think saying that they “hate” Barty is an exaggeration – which Order member has ever declared this in the books? Disagreement over methods does not mean hatred.

    If Dumbledore was dying anyway from being wounded by the Horcrux, and a plan was made to get some benefit out of this fact for the Order, I cannot see at all how this would mean a sacrifice from Order members far beyond anything they had ever done before.

    If, however, we are talking about a plan where DD was not dying, a plan that would mean no other benefit for the Order than to keep Snape alive instead of Dumbledore, because Snape had been coward enough to make that fatal vow – then I agree with you, there would have been a chorus of violent protests from the Order members. Because such a plan would really not have been in the interest of the Order – I have spent some time on this thread calling such a plan abysmally stupid, so I assume the Order members would have wanted to say that about such a plan too…

    Unless Snape has some hitherto unknown powers that will make it possible for him to do something essential to hurt Voldie that no one else, Dumbledore included, could do, that is. If this proves to be the case, I do think that at least some of the Order members should have known about it. They would have hated Snape for having made that vow when he shouldn’t have, yes – for good reasons – but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have agreed to some necessary damage control…

    I don’t believe Snape has any such very special powers we haven’t heard of yet, that would make him more essential in the war against Voldemort than even Dumbledore. This is not so much because of canon evidence, not even about refusing to realise that Jo has sprung surprises on us before.

    It has more to do with literary reasons: Harry is set up to be the hero of this story, he is the one who is supposed to have “the power to vanquish the Dark Lord” – not Snape. Snape is not going to make a surprise entry at the end and steal Harry’s thunder. I don’t believe this. Instead, I do believe the surprise will be that Harry has more going for him than both we and he have realised so far – and maybe the vanquishing of the Dark Lord will happen in ways not even Dumbledore foresaw.

  • severuslove

    I just wonder what people think would have happened on the astronomy tower if snape hadn’t stepped in as he did? DD had frozen harry and was without his wand. Harry was therefore very vulnerable to any random curses flying around! As Draco spotted the second broomstick on the tower, I think Snape probably would have done too – so he would have guessed Harry was hidden up there under his invisibility cloak. So, how does Snape get the crowd of blood thirsty DEs out of there without them harming Harry. I do think it was agreed for Snape to AK Dumbledore… and then Snape gets them all the hell out of there – no attacking other Order of the Phoenix guys – just out of there. This not only saves Draco’s life, but also Harry’s.

  • Reader2

    Actually, Torill,

    If we are talking baout the case when Dumbledore is not dieing, than I agree with you 100%, the plan is abismally stupid.
    On the other hand, if Dumbledore WAS dieng, that’s a whole other story.
    I see three reasons why Dumbledore would keep his condition a secret:
    1) I hope you wont disagree that the Order members tend to cling to hopes and never give up without a fight.
    Normally, it’s their strength, but in this case it would play against them.
    If they were told that Dumbledore is dieing their reaction would be: “Got to save him, Got to find a cure. There’s got to be a cure. Snape says there is no cure. Do we like Snape? Do we trust Snape? Should we give up hope beacause of somehting Snape says? Dumbledore says there is no cure. He is under a curse. May be he does not know what he says. Isn’t that enough to keep our hopes up? Dumbledore represnts the cause. As long as he is alvie there is a hope. We got to find a cure. Forget everything else, fidnign the cure is more important.” You see the point.
    2) The kimicadze plan wopuld only work if the fact that Dumbledore was dieing was kept a secret. Voldemort trusts no one, granted, but, at least for a while, he will have to be good to the man who killed the-only-one-he-ever-feared. It would send the wrong message to his servants if he was not showing any gratitude. However, why would he ever be grateful to someone who killed a dead man?
    3) There is such a thing as a public opinion. As far as the wizarding world is concerned, Dumbledore died heriocly defending their children. At the moment they are pulling their kids out of Hogwarts in fear, but let them read a few teary articles, and most of them will be comeing back with an opology. On the other hand, tell them that Dumbledore was dieing, and the aura of a hero will fade.
    You might say that the secret would stay within the Order, but may I remind you about the secret of the Godrics Hollow, that one was also meant to stay within the Order.
    Now to explain what made me think that some (not all) of the Order members are somewhat irrational.
    The rift between the Order and the ministry is causeing a lot of trouble, and it is strongly encouraged on both sides:
    Remember how Sirius was telling the trio the story of the Crouch family. He never said that he hated Crouch, granted, but his story positively horryfiued the trio, and they immediately went on comparing Percy to Crouch and wondering if Percy will become capable of throwing his own family to dementors. The trio came to believe that some of the aurors are as bad as Death Eaters, and Sirius appeared to be all right with that.
    Order does include aurors, granted, but those aurors are unsatisfied with the ministry ways. Percey, on the other hand, is kicked out of the family for choosing ministry ways over the Order ways.
    The Order in general did not declare Scrimgeor an enemie, granted, but Harry did refuse to work with Scrimgeor and did not even try to negotiate any kind of deal. May be Scrimgeor would release Stanley if Harry suggested that this will get him to help the ministry, but instead Harry as good as told Scrimgeor to get lost. The Order supported Harry at that.
    In Harry’s book the father who condemned his own son and the minister who puts away innocent people are classified as evil and no excuse will ever clear them. Some of the Order members might be willing to give the ministry a benefit of a doubt, but the man who kills his friend and mentor as just because he is close to dieing and declared himself expandable goes even farther than any of the previous cases, he will be condemned by most of the Order, or at least enough of them to cause a serious tention within the Order, the kind of tention Dumbledore would really want to avoid.

  • Jayni D.

    I just want to clear up a point, Reader2: Percy was NOT kicked out of the Weasley family…he left of his own accord. HE chose the Ministry over his family and when he was proven wrong about Voldemort being back, his pride kept him from going back to his family. If he did go home, his mother, at least, would welcome him with open arms. If he apologized for the way he acted during OP, his father would likely welcome him back. Fred, George, & Ron might not, but they never liked him much anyway. :^)

  • Pat Pat

    Torill, Reader2, et al.,

    I couldn’t resist either. I agree 100% with both of you that, if Dumbledore was not dying already, it was not the world’s smartest plan. UNLESS of course there is some pertinent piece of information that we don’t know, which is always possible.

    I have to agree with Reader2 that there are many reasons why a plan such as this would have to be kept secret. Torill, you have mentioned Sirius’ statements to the boys many times, but, remember, this is not just ANY Order member that we are talking about here. This is their leader. A person they felt was nearly indispensible. In my mind, there is no way that the Order members would allow a plan like this to go forth EVEN if Dumbledore was dying anyway. They, as Reader2 points out, would do EVERYTHING in their power to save him. Think how many times they have been willing to protect Harry at all costs, a person they also see as indispensible.

    But, unfortunately, I think we may have debated this issue to death. We may just have to agree to disagree for now and wait to see how JKR resolves the issue.

  • Torill

    Severuslove – I don’t believe Snape killed Dumbledore just because a sudden, unforeseen situation happened at the tower. He took the Unbreakable Vow to kill his leader one year before any of those events happened. It is his taking of this Vow that gives him away as a traitor at that point. Unless there existed some reason to excuse him – at that point in time, the summer before any of the events on the tower happened.

    I hardly believe the Unbreakable Vow is going to turn out to be insignificant, a red herring in the plot, and that it was only the seemingly impossible situation on the tower that forced Snape to kill DD…

    Also, I can’t see that without Snape, the DEs would have gone on a rampage and killed left and right – they were clearly under orders to see to it that Draco did his kill, then go out – they were not there to do a heroic kamikaze stunt. Just because it is Snape who says “out of here quickly” to the others right after the kill, it doesn’t follow that without him, none of the others would have thought of fleeing…. I assume they would have expected to be fought down eventually, had they stayed too long at Hogwarts – they weren’t that many, not like the Grand Army of Voldie coming to take over…

    Reader2, we do see matters very differently, yes. I do not see any of the disagreements over methods between the Ministry, represented by Crouch and Scrimgeour, as irrational in the least! On the contrary, I see these differences of opinion as very significant and important discussions of means and ends, bearers of the ethical principles Jo wants to convey in her series. Sirius telling the trio of Crouch’s methods can be seen as important lessons to learn about how far you are allowed or not allowed to go, even when fighting the “Good Cause”. As for Harry not being willing to be a parade figure for the Ministry, thus helping them to cover up that they are not really doing anything – again, not at all irrational or irresponsible. Of course, choices of this kind: when is it wise to refuse, when is it wise to negotiate – can always be debated. But I don’t see how Harry’s choice in the matter is irrational, and evidence for how Harry would not be able to accept the fact that Dumbledore was dying because he had suffered a curse for which there was no cure. To me, these to cases are miles apart..

    As for how the wizarding community wouldn’t accept DD as a hero if they knew he died from a wound he took while fighting Dark Magic – that I don’t see at all. Sorry. A staged murder, with the universal condemnation and hatred towards Snape they would know it would result in, and with the risk involved for Snape’s soul – if that was done for no other reason than to preserve Dumbledore’s image to the public, then I really think that would be horrible! Cynical and as morally wrong as you could get….

    As for Voldemort being nice to the man who killed DD – I have said before that this is not necessarily what Voldemort will be, given that he had planned for Draco to attempt to murder DD on his own, and possibly die in the attempt, as a punishment for Lucius…

    But that aside, I have also pointed out several times that I see such a plan as completely redundant. Snape was already well placed next to Voldemort, and had his trust, as far as Voldemort’s trust of anyone will go. This huge drama of pretended murder will be truly ridiculous, if kindness to Snape from Voldemort is all it is supposed to achieve..

    Pat Pat
    As for the Order members not giving up hope, but do everything in their power to try and find a cure, as both you and Reader2 point out – yes – but where is the problem in that? A cure would be wonderful, even Dumbledore must have thought that – because we do agree that if Dumbledore had lived, there would be no reason at all for this Grand Plan?

    What I do not agree with, though, is that they would totally forget the war against Voldemort, cast aside everything, cease trying to resist the Death Eaters at all, in their search for a cure. I don’t bellieve this at all – but as I said earlier, we may have a very different view of what kind of organisation the Order of the Phoenix is, and what kind of responsibility and realisation of the harsh realities of war its members are capable of facing…

    Yes, I do think we have all paraded our chief arguments several times now – so perhaps this is the time where we agree to respectfully disagree, and wait for the next book to solve the riddles for us….

    Unless some of us comes up with a brilliant, brand new argument, that is! 🙂

  • Ashwinder

    Are we really sure that Snape knew what Draco was ordered to do? He never says so. What if Snape (and maybe Dumbledore)had a reason to believe that Draco’s task was only to repair the Vanishing Cabinet? I think this may have been their big mistake, thinking that he just was to help the Death Eaters getting inside Hogwarts. At the moment at the Tower, with all the DE:s around them Dumbledored may have considered Snape killing him the least bad alternative.

  • Jayni D.

    Ashwinder, I think it’s possible that Snape really didn’t know what Draco was supposed to do, but unlikely. However, NO ONE but Draco knew that he was trying to fix the vanishing cabinet. Draco purposely kept Snape in the dark, thinking he wanted to steal Draco’s glory. He certainly didn’t tell Crabbe & Goyle, who would have been only too easy for Snape to get that information from. And Dumbledore definitely didn’t know, as evidenced by his surprise when Draco told him on the tower. If he HAD known, I don’t think he would have left Hogwarts that night, especially after Harry had told him about hearing Draco crowing in the Room of Requirement.

    Yes, we have done the whole Snape-killing-Dumbledore thing to death, but I have found everyone’s ideas interesting. No doubt, Jo will surprise us all with something none of us has thought of. lol

  • Torill

    Interesting thought, Ashwinder. But I don’t really believe it. First – why should Narcissa be so totally, utterly devastated by this assignment from the Dark Lord? She is lying on the carpet sobbing: my son, my only son, is clinging to Snape’s robes etc. etc. – and with Bellatrix going: you should be proud, if I had sons, I would be glad to give them up for the Dark Lord! If repairing a cabinet was all this was about, these reactions seem vastly over the top to me – at the verge of being insane!

    Second – I see it as extremely out of character for Snape to agree to commit himself to an Unbreakable Vow he knew nothing about. After all, his life is at stake here!

    And he told Bella and Narcissa that he did know about the plan. He says he thinks the Dark Lord has intended for him to do it in the end, but is determined that Draco should try first. Because in the unlikely event that Draco should succeed, Snape would be able to stay on at Hogwarts a little longer as a spy.

    Again, it seems hardly likely that what Snape is talking about here is repairing the vanishing cabinet. This would hardly have put him at any risk – it wouldn’t have been so hard for him to hide the fact that he was the one who did it – he could easily say to Voldemort, no matter, I can easily blame it on Draco anyway, and Dumbledore would trust me over Draco any day, so no risk involved…

    Besides, at the Tower, I think it is crystal clear from the conversation between Dumbledore and Draco that Dumbledore knew exactly what it was Draco was about to do, and that he had ordered Snape to watch over him all year. Who else did Dumbledore have that information from, if it was not Snape?

    So I definitely think Snape knew what it was all about, when he took that Vow..

  • Reader2

    You see Torill,
    We can aggree on some things.
    Even if Snape did not know what he was aggreeing to, he had to at least suspect it.
    However, I’d like to clear out a few things from my explanation:
    1) If Dumbledore died in his own bed from a long-time curse no one would ever find out how he got that curse. His reputation would be majorly ruined. Remeber, the trio and possibly Snape were the only ones who knew about the hocrux hunt.
    2)You seem to be of the lowers opionion about the ministry. It’s understandable, but I happened to believe that most fans are being too hard on them. The ministry is not “doing nothing”. They are trying to scare people out of joining Death Eaters. Don’t get me wrong, I too feel sorry for Stanley, but anyone who “claims to be a Death Eater” because that’s the new cool thing is endorsing Voldemort. So, ministry is showing the world that if you support Voldemort you go to jail.
    Not an admirable method, true, but the Order could have made the ministry improve their methods if they were willing to negotiate. Harry’s actions, so far, seem like he is not waiting for the right time to negotiate, but simply outrules the ministry as good for nothing, and yes, I do consider that irrational.

    Still, we had been going in circles. I’m willing give the Kavorkian!Snape theory a rest.
    I am very willing to consider the Evil!Snape.
    In this case, the big question would be:
    Why would Snape save Harry’s life?
    The answer I suggest would be that Snape needs Harry alive in order achieve his own agenda.
    This would make Snape kind of the Luthor of potterverse.
    He is evil but can be reasoned with and can be drive to fight on the side of good for a while. Would this be interesting enough?

  • severusisn’tevil

    Does it really matter what Dumbledore is dying of where the plan is concerned? What I mean is, what it comes down to is this:
    If Severus had not killed Dumbledore, someone else would’ve and Severus would have died as well for breaking his Vow. Both Severus and Dumbledore are far too smart to overlook this. If Severus had not killed Dumbledore, both the Leader/Founder of the Order AND the Spy would have been eliminated. If using a chess analogy, it is true that killing Dumbledore may be like killing the queen to save a rook or bishop, BUT, if you have ever played chess, you may have found yourself in the positiopn where you are forced to cut your losses. Where, for example, the Queen cannot be saved, but the Rook can, so you move the Rook out of the way and accept the consequences. If you dislike the Grand Plan Theory, then think of it this way, if you like: Dumbledore and Severus both knew DD was dying, though what of we readers may not be certain. He would be dead very soon anyway, AND he is surrounded by several DEs (Amycus, Alecto, Greyback, have I missed anyone?) all of whom would have relished the opportunity to do away with him. Severus had the Vow to fulfill. In Dumbledore’s maind, cornered as he is, it is bettr, to return to the chess analogy, to sacrifice himself, seeing as there is no hope for his own escape, and mooove the Rook, thereby CUTTING THE ORDER’S LOSSES. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all. DD considered it better, in my way of thinking, to have one die instead of both of them, so the Order would not be blind to Voldemort’s movements. Particularly now that Vodemort has returned to the open and will continue his reign of terror, having a spy in V’s inner circle will be paramount.
    Meaning no disrespect,
    PS I hope you actually read this, seeing as I though you mentioned switching to the forum thread. All I can say is, this page will be poorer for it.

  • Pat Pat

    Yeah Ashwinder, I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Reader2 and Torill here. I see it as VERY unlikely that Snape did not know what Draco’s assignment was. There are several pieces of evidence that he DID know or at least suspect it.
    1) At the top of the tower, Dumbledore indicates to Draco that he knows he has been trying to kill him, “with increasing desperation” to kill him all year. Dumbledore is CLEARLY aware of Draco’s assignment, so Snape most likely is as well. He was, however, surprised about the vanishing cabinet.

    2) Snape’s statement, “He intends me to do it in the end, I think.” does not sound like “He intends me to repair the cabinet in the end.” It sounds much more sinister than that.

    Torill, I’m not sure I agree with you that the Death Eaters would have fled and not done any unnecessary killing without Snape. Recall that Snape had to stop a death eater from cursing Harry, and had to remind them several times that they needed to leave. Snape was clearly in charge.

  • Ashwinder

    Ok, maybe the cabinet is not the matter, but to me it (in HBP ch 2) sounds like Snape is fishing for information by pretending that he knows more than he does.
    You will probably not agree, but that is all right 🙂 I love to read all this different opinions in the Pensieve and I do hope they will not be removed before DH is edited.

  • karlii

    This is actually one of the more interesting threads around right now… so I’m with Ashwinder… 🙂

    Hmm… I don’t know if I should jump in, but I think I will sit and dangle my feet on the edge….

    I do think Snape knew that he might have to kill Albus. I believe Albus and he had discussed it, and that that is what they were arguing about, that Hagrid overheard.

    Other people (like Minerva.. or Remus or Moody) COULD have known, and been sworn to secrecy too. We will know in July one way or the other.

    BUT.. Sev did not know what Draco was planning. I don’t know how he thought he’d thwart it.. but he did try several times to get Draco to tell him what the plan was.

    If Snape was Voldy’s man through and through.. he’d have kidnapped Harry.. at the very least at the end of bk6. That would be the peace offering to Voldy for interfering with Lucius’ punishment.

    Draco is a skilled occlumens, taught by Bella. It isn’t much of a stretch to think that Cissy is also relatively skilled in this arena.. (not at Spinner’s End).. (or she was playing Sev).

    Given skills by these people, Voldy need never know that there was a vow, and that Snape did it to save Draco. Voldy could be led to see Snape as an opportunist, and thereby be given some great glory..

    If he hadn’t done it, one of the others would have.

    So… if he were Voldy’s man….

    He had disarmed Harry. He told the others to not harm Harry. So why didn’t he just stun him? They could have carried him off somewhere..

    I’m sure.. they aren’t strong enough for alongside apparition or something.. but I’d bet if they hid him, Voldy would have sent a portkey back or something.

    In any case… the end of the flight from the tower is enough to make me say that Sev could be redeemed yet. He is an intelligent man. If he were truly a DE.. why hasn’t he kidnapped Harry?

  • Kacky Snorgle

    My best guess runs about like this….

    Snape is Dumbledore’s man. At Spinner’s End, Snape knew exactly what the plan was, and thought he could convince Bellatrix of his loyalty to Voldemort by taking the Vow. He didn’t see the third clause of the Vow coming, though–and when Narcissa asked it, Snape made a split-second decision to go through with the Vow, FULLY INTENDING TO BREAK IT when/if the time came.

    Snape, of course, reported all of this to Dumbledore soon after. Dumbledore would have thought it very unfortunate that Snape had got himself into such a situation, but even he couldn’t have done anything to get Snape out of the Vow at that point. So they agreed that they’d have to work together to stop Draco, even at the risk of Snape’s life.

    (That’s the plan that Snape later told Dumbledore he didn’t want to go through with any more–the plan that would lead to his own death! But he finally decided that loyalty to Dumbledore and the Order was, for once, more important than self-preservation….)

    So even as Snape ran up the Tower with the DEs on that fateful night, he was intending to try to find some way to help both Dumbledore and Draco to survive. But the situation on top of the Tower wasn’t at all what he expected: Dumbledore was weakened and wandless, and in that state was no match for even Draco, let alone three other DEs. In order to save Dumbledore now, Snape would’ve had to fight off four DEs single-handed–and even if he was a good enough duellist to do it, the Vow would’ve killed him before he finished the job anyway.

    That’s when both Snape and Dumbledore realised that the only reasonable course of action was for Snape to kill Dumbledore right then. Any other action would’ve led to both of them dying on the Tower. It wasn’t planned in advance–the plan had in fact been quite the opposite–but at that moment, it was all that either one of them could do. And even then, Snape could barely force himself to do it; hence Dumbledore’s pleading with him.

    Dumbledore had apparently never shared with anyone his true reasons for trusting Snape; why not, we can only guess, but he probably had an excellent reason which shall be revealed in due course. Anyway, as a result, the Order members who’d trusted Snape only uneasily all along (i.e., pretty much the whole Order) will now be convinced that Dumbledore was wrong about him, and that he’s really Voldemort’s man. So while he COULD still be a very useful spy for the Order, nobody will now be willing to believe anything he’ll say, least of all Harry.

    This could make life very interesting in book seven. Snape will have to do something very dramatic against Voldemort’s side–on par with killing Dumbledore–in order to regain the trust of anyone in the Order. He can’t kill Voldemort, since only Harry can do that; but he may end up defeating Bellatrix or Lucius or someone similarly high-up in the ranks of the dark side. If Snape were to kill or capture Bellatrix in particular, the one who killed Sirius, then Harry might just be persuaded, reluctantly, to hear him out….

  • Reader2

    Kacky Snorgle,
    There is just one gap in your theory:
    Dumbledore’s strange behavior throughout the book since chapter one.
    It’s sounded way to much like he saw his end coming.
    How do you account for that?

  • Torill

    I think this thread is too much fun too, so I can’t resist coming back – although I do have a post hanging in the forum Snape thread – from way back on New Year’s Eve – that I haven’t found the time to follow up on yet! Sigh. The day doesn’t have enough hours..

    Ok – great, Pat Pat and Reader2, to have you on my team for at least some things, lol!

    But – we still do not agree about irrational!Harry Reader2 – If you think that the Ministry’s methods are at least debatable, then you can’t really think that to disagree with said methods is to be irrational, can you? Even if you think the Ministry’s methods are better than those of the Order’s at some points, and that the Order should re-evaluate their decisions re Ministry cooperation… There is more than one way to fight a war, and no choice of method to do it is beyond discussion and criticism.

    Besides, after the detour to Slughorn’s place at the beginning of book 6, Dumbledore has to leave immediately, because he has an urgent meeting with Scrimgeour.. I find it likely that the Order works with the Ministry whenever they can, they just don’t see eye to eye with them in everything – like using Harry as a parade figure..

    And why learning that DD was dying in bed from an unknown curse should be so devastating to the general wizarding public that a horrible pretended murder had to be staged just to give him a better image – that is still beyond me. I still think this would be a horrible idea, very morally wrong… and I can’t see Jo write Dumbledore to be quite as cynical as this – after all, according to what she has told us, he is supposed to channel her values in the series. But if this argument of mine does not convince you, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one too…

    You said, among other things: “Severus had the Vow to fulfill.”

    This adresses exactly the point I tried to make in my earlier post. To me, this is the weak spot in your theory. (Apart from the fact that I strongly disagree with the idea that it doesn’t matter whether Dumbledore dies from Snape murdering him or from something else – but this is for strictly moral reasons…)

    If Snape had still been Dumbledore’s man at Spinner’s end, he should never have made an unbreakable vow to kill his leader in the first place. Then the crisis you describe at the tower would never have happened. Snape would have been perfectly free to rescue Dumbledore without dying on the spot as the vow set in. And this is what I believe Dumbledore thought too. I don’t believe Dumbledore knew about the vow, see my above posts…. His “Severus, please” was where he discovered that he was about to be betrayed. No, I don’t believe he begged for his life out of fear of death, I believe he was pleading with Snape to stay on the good side – for Snape’s sake, and for the sake of the war against Voldemort.

    There was no honourable reason for Snape to take that Vow, he was in no danger of “blowing his cower”, he was in no need to be seen by Voldemort as an oppportunist and thereby be given some great glory, as you put it karlii. In order to be able to serve the Order as their agent close to Voldemort, Snape was as well placed as they could ever have wished for at the point in the story when he made the fatal vow.

    Because it is clear from even Bellatrix’ reactions that at this point, Snape was far more trusted by Volemort than she was, and although Bella and Narcissa had been told not to tell anyone about Draco’s assignment, Voldemort had confided in Snape….

    Yes, Snape says that some DEs are whispering behind his back – but this is always going to happen among the DEs as I see them. Their organisation is built on fear of and admiration for the Strong Leader – a “Führer”. On lust for power and invinciblility. On the credo that there is no good or evil, only power and those too weak to use it, to quote Quirrell from book one.

    In an organisation like that, members will always scheme against each other to be their leader’s first and most trusted member – and should they find another leader that seems stronger and even more evil than the one they have already, they will not hesitate to abandon the old one and rally around the new.

    So Voldemort trusts no one either, and will always look out for treason…. and Snape will never be one hundred percent safe as an agent at his side. No kind of Grand Plan will ever achieve this for him.

    For the above reasons, I do not believe that just because Snape has now killed Dumbledore, he will be above all suspicion from the DEs, be wholeheartedly hailed by all as their hero and most worthy member…

    On the contrary, in fact. I would expect them to be even more jealous of Snape now, should Voldie give Snape praise instead of punishing him for acting against orders…

    There is no room for oppurtunists in Voldemort’s organisation, karlii. Either you follow orders, or you are punished, possibly killed. If Voldemort does not think he may still use you after you have disobeyed him, or acted outside his orders, that is. He is the only opportunist among the DEs, the others are his slaves. Or, as Snape puts it to Narcissa: the Dark Lord’s words are law.

    Ok, I am beginning to repeat myself on this one too, I can see that.. for further development of these arguments, see my collected works above, lol.

    So – why Snape did not kidnap or kill Harry is probably not a very interesting question. Because the answer will simply be: because Voldemort never ordered him to. If Voldemort had given Snape a direct order to use Snape’s position at Hogwarts to bring Harry to Voldie – then Snape would have been in a real danger of “blowing his cover” and some desperate measures would have been necessary.

    (No, this is not another argument for why Snape may have killed Dumbledore and still be on the good side: to divert the Dark Lord’s attention from the fact that he wanted Harry to be delivered to him!! That would hardly work. If Voldie wanted to eliminate the only one he believes capable of vanquishing him, he would hardly be pleased or appeased by having DD killed instead!!)

    No desperate measure appears to have been taken yet, though, so the interesting question is not: “why did Snape never kidnap/kill Harry” – but rather: “Why did Voldemort never order Snape to kill or kidnap Harry?”

    I can think of a few answers, the most important one is this: Voldemort has now tried – what – four times – five if you count the Riddle soul fragment in CoS – but V is not aware of that one – to kill Harry. And Harry has survived each and every time. He even got away when Voldemort had set up that elaborate plan to impress his newly returned DEs at the end of GoF. If Voldemort is going to try again, he is going to be dead certain that there are no glitches in his plans, no opportunity left for Harry to escape yet again – or turn around and kill Voldemort instead! Voldemort has still not heard the whole of the prophecy, and may believe there is something there that will tell him how to kill Harry, and that without knowing this, it may be dangerous for him to try. I think it is actually safe to say that at this point in the story, Voldemort is mortally afraid of sixteen year old Harry…

    So if he is going to try and kill him once and for all now, it is going to be according to a plan that does not rest on any of his minions, like earlier, unsuccessful plans have done – and he is going to be sure that he has covered all the bases.

    Besides, like I said above – Voldemort doesn’t trust anyone. He doesn’t trust Snape either. He knows about Occlumency, he knows Snape may betray him yet. I believe Voldemort is biding his time, first trying to gain as much power and as many followers as he can, then destroy as many of Harry’s supporters and protectors as he can – and only then will he go directly for Harry himself, without the mediation of any of his followers. Not even Snape..

  • liv parkinson

    i just can’t agree with anyone that says that snape will turn out to be good, but that’s just me. i have never liked him and never will so even if he does turn out to be a good guy (which i doubt) i will still hate him!

  • Kacky Snorgle

    Reader2 said:
    There is just one gap in your theory:
    Dumbledore’s strange behavior throughout the book since chapter one.
    It’s sounded way to much like he saw his end coming.
    How do you account for that?

    I don’t think this is much of a problem, really. Dumbledore knows that there’s a war going on, that the other side is getting stronger all the time, and that they’d like very much to have him out of the picture. He’d be a fool NOT to think that his end might come soon and plan accordingly. I think that’s all the explanation we need for Dumbledore’s increased absences from Hogwarts and such like: Whatever he’s doing on behalf of the Order is all the more critical, and haste is all the more essential, now that Voldemort and the DEs are on the offensive.

    With regard to Harry in particular, I don’t think it’s Dumbledore’s behavior in book six that’s strange–it’s book five where he was behaving oddly. And we heard the reasons for that at the end of book five, where Dumbledore explains that he was avoiding Harry so that Voldemort wouldn’t try to use Harry to get to him. He also says, at that same time, that he regrets having done so; if he’d not kept Harry in the dark so much during book five, then Harry wouldn’t have fallen for the trick that led to Sirius’s death.

    Therefore, in book six, we see a much changed relationship between Dumbledore and Harry. Harry now knows about the Prophecy, and Dumbledore now fills him in on much other information that may soon help him to fight against Voldemort. But Dumbledore isn’t doing this because he thinks/knows he’ll be dead very soon; he’s doing it because he’s now realised that he should’ve done it much earlier.

  • Jayni D.

    I agree, KackySnorgle. Dumbledore hopefully did learn his lesson about keeping Harry in the dark. I also think he WANTED to tell Harry about the reason he trusts Snape, but because it’s Snape’s story, DD didn’t feel he had the right to divulge it, especially if some fans are right about Snape loving Lily. He no doubt wouldn’t want Harry to know about that. Dumbledore is aware that he can’t force people to like each other.

    Anyway, I agree that his behaviour in OP was strange, especially to Harry, but I don’t think it was strange in HBP. And we know what his absences meant–he was looking for horcruxes!

    I hope he’s left some memories in the pensieve to help Harry along. I’m sure he must have somehow left instructions for the Order in the event of his death. If he WAS dying from the curse of the ring, he surely would have had some sort of contingency plan to pass on whatever knowledge he had for Harry and the Order.

    It’s interesting to speculate anyway.

  • Pat Pat

    I, too, find this to be the most interesting discussion going on right now. Every time I insist to myself that I am finished with this thread, I have to come back to it to write something else.

    As far as the question of whether Snape should have taken the Unbreakable Vow if he really is on Dumbledore’s side, my opinion is, Why wouldn’t he?? Surely Dumbledore wanted Snape to do whatever possible to protect his cover. It is, also, clearly, important to Dumbledore that Draco is protected. It is even a strong possibility that Dumbledore knew about Draco’s assignment before the Unbreakable Vow was even taken. So, given his instructions, maintain your cover and try to protect Draco, why WOULDN’T Snape agree to the Vow? He had absolutely no way of knowing what Narcissa’s third question would be. There is evidence that he was surprised by it: “Snape’s hand twitched within hers but he did not pull away.” We have all had years to consider what should have happened at that point. Snape had a mere second to make a decision, do I pull away (if it is even possible to stop a vow in the middle) or do I continue and hope that Dumbledore and I can come up with a plan? Do you honestly think Bellatrix would not have run straight to Voldemort to report what happened had Snape refused or stopped the vow in the middle? I don’t see that she has any risk of Voldy being angry at her. She can honestly say that she followed Narcissa to try to prevent her from revealing the Dark Lord’s plan. Certainly the fact that Snape is refusing to kill Dumbledore (even if it was not his explicit order to do so) would create some doubt in Voldemort’s mind about Snape’s loyalty.

    By the way, Torill, a small point of order. Voldemort is almost certainly aware of the events in the Chamber of Secrets. Dumbledore tells Harry in HBP that, when he discovered his horcrux had been destroyed, Voldemort’s “anger was terrible to behold.” I think it unlikely that Voldemort was told that the diary was destroyed but not how it happened.

  • karlii

    It was mentioned that Dumbledore was acting differently in bk6. I agree with this.

    In many ways, he was the same, or similar, in his manner of being an administrator. He was still a bit high-handed from time to time, but overall, he was more down-to-earth.

    He was certainly more forthcoming with Harry:
    *Starting with Slughorn..
    *Telling Harry he could/should share the prophecy with his friends….
    (which by the way, is a HUGE departure from his original reasons for keeping it sooooo secret all those years).
    *Also the horcrux stories.

    I think Albus was an elderly, sick man, who knew he only had a year or two to live. He was badly injured. It was a wasting injury, I’m sure.. but for all he told Harry, he never got around to telling him about that hand.

    Albus acted like a man with time running out. He didn’t seem to worry so much about things that weren’t a priority with him, like… why he was sick.. or why did he trust Snape. Those were not critical to him. He was verrry focused on one thing.. getting as much information about the horcruxes and Tom, to Harry as quickly and as thoroughly as he could. Albus didn’t want to, nor did he, waste time talking about things that weren’t top of his list. In other words.. “if I die tomorrow, it won’t matter if Harry knows why my hand is black, but he’d damned well better know what he’s looking for!”

    now.. that said, I don’t see what a few extra minutes one day to tell Harry about the hand would have mattered.. But it does lend to Albus being focused on teaching Harry the horcruxes.

    Why did he, after 17 years of hiding that prophecy.. decide to let Harry tell his friends, who certainly don’t know occlumency.. ? Does it matter if Voldy knows it now? kinda odd…

    So yeah, Albus knew he would die relatively soon, througout the book.

    Sev… Sev, Sev, Sev… *sigh*
    I think.. that if Sev was a DE.. or even just a truly nasty evil git, like Umbridge, that he would have done something to harm, or try to harm Harry. It certainly didn’t hold her back, now did it?

    Snape could have done sooo many things over time, if he really wanted to get rid of Harry. Yeah…. I guess the argument could be made that the DE are afraid to do anything without a direct order, but I’d think a ~true~ DE would be an opportunist.

    Moody had to create a deep cover and infiltrate the school. He had an elaborate plan, to get Harry to a specific location, at a specific time.. but I think he could have taken him whenever he wanted.

    Sure, Harry is actually probably pretty well guarded, given his celebrity status, but I think Moody could have gotten him away. And what would he care about it, if they figured out he did it? He’s already an escapted convict. He’s murdered many people.. he isn’t likely to hang around Fortescues’.. so what difference does it make? He would be staying with the Dark Lord anyhow.

    Same with Snape. If he really WANTED to.. he could have done Harry in.. and in the later years, he could have just left and stayed with the DE..

    I dunno.. it just strikes me that he missed a few good chances to really put a dent in the Light Side..

    ok.. ’nuff rambling this time! 😉

  • karlii

    escapted.. *snort* three glasses of wine with dinner.. sorry 😉

  • Nannette

    Hi Karlii
    It was not Moody who you were talking about above. It was Barty Crouch Junior who was impersonating Moody. As you say, he had nothing to lose. Snape was horrible to Harry from the start and of course Harry retaliated but he was also nasty to Neville who did not. Snape also tried to get Harry expelled from the school several times, which would have made him an easy target for other DEs.

  • karlii

    Good point about it being Crouch Jr, not Moody. I usually remember to call him Moody!Crouch or something, to differentiate him from the real Moody.

    I’m not saying Snape wasn’t a jerk toward Harry. He did some very nasty things to him.

    He did say out loud that he thought Harry (and Ron) should be expelled. Severus “is” an intelligent character. He had to understand that Albus would not expell the ‘boy who lived’. Even IF there was some way to get that to occur, Albus would have spirited that kid away, and locked him up like happened to Sirius. I say that, because that is exactly what Albus DID do, when there was no other altenative. Albus was not overly concerned with mental health or emotional comfort… just physical safety. (up through bk5 anyway).

    Yes, Snape was a jerk, but if you look at it objectively, there is a lot of ‘opinion’ in the books that is purely Harry’s take on things. There is a lot of “seemed to be”, not “did”.

    This goes for the other characters as well. We see Hagrid, Minerva, and all of them, through Harry’s perspective. His assumptions and prejudices are what we get from the author. Several times, we have to go back at the end of the book, and realize that Harry was just wrong about someone. (or seemed to be wrong.. it could be a double-blind)

    Just think! In just about five months, we’ll know!! 🙂

    Also, I wonder if we ought to make note of who all Snape was nasty to… besides Neville and Harry. Is there some sort of pattern or message in what he says? Can we read between the lines to discover anything about his character? hmm…

  • severusisn’tevil

    Okay, to those whos say who don’t like Severus very much, I completely understand. Really, even with my bias being as well-known as it is. The solemn truth is, Severus is not written to be liked. For a long time, I disliked him as much as the next person. It is just true that Sevrus is written to be seen in a certain way just as Harry, Voldemort and all the others are written to be perceived in a specific way. As an author JKR can easily manipulate the situations to color Severus in a cetain way, and in this case, she means for him to be disliked. I mean, Severus being evil/on the side of LV is one of the biggest questions being debated. Just look at the size of this Pensieve page if you need proof. The Severus-Harry confrontation that’s coming is going to be one of the climactic moments. JKR has cleverly made sure that Severus’s sctions can be interpreted either way, depending on your point of view, and has just as carefully written Severus as one of the “bad” and “dislikeable” characters because she wants you to wonder and doubt to the very last. It seems to me that this is because she is planning on of the best fake-outs in modern fantasy: she is going to take an “awful” character like Severus and make him good just because it is unexpected (among other things, of course). I by no means mean to imply that she would totally hinge this decision on shocking her readers. But I do think that it will give her a great deal of satisfaction.

    Also, as I think i may have mentioned, two evil villains makes a crowd. You can’t get a worse character than Voldemort. It seems almost wasteful to have another one.

    In response to your response: Do you think then, that DUmbledore would prefer that Severus die beside him and leave the Order bereft in the spy department? You say those in the Order were very ready to die for their cause, and so they are (DD, Sirius, half of the members of the former Order of the Phoenix, etc.). But does that mean that DD would want Severus dead? Perhaps we will just never agree and one of us will be eating our words in a few months when the last book actually comes out. Well, I think that’s everything.
    PS Severus was also nasty to Remus and the other Marauders, of course, and he generally looathed Gryffindors. But I don’t remember repeated mentions of harrassment of any ohter one person. Odd, isn’t it that the two boys he makes a point of harrassing are the two who were “born as the seventh month dies” to “parents who had thrice defied Voldemort”? Just a thought. Five months is a long time.

  • severusisn’tevil

    Good point about Umbridge. I will add that to my list of proofs with which to persuade all those in my vicinity of Severus’s lack of loyalty to the Dark Lord. I think i may be getting a bit obssessed though. I get supremely annoyed with those who call Severus evil when thay have either a)not read the books and have only see the movies or b)have read the books but refuse to back up their opinion. A boy in my class got a twenty minute lecture. Ah, well. Perhaps I should start a HPAA (Harry Potter Addicts Annonymous).

    Uh, Torill. Thanks for answering my question, by the way. I have another for you.

  • Reader2

    severusisn’tevil and KackySnorkle,

    I wouldn’t use any disagreements between Snape and Umbridge as a proof of Snape’s goodness.
    Most readers refuse to believe it, but Umbridge is not what you call “evil”.
    Don’t get me wrond, I dislike her just as much as everyone else does, but the fact is she is not a suporter of Voldemort.
    If Snape was in fact on Voldemorts side, he would still have no reason to cooperate with Umbridge.
    At that moment the ministry in general and Umbridge in particular were palying right into Voldemorts hands, granted.
    Still, Voldemort would not benefit from the ministry catching Sirius, for example, they would just end up one scapegoat short.

  • karlii

    hehehe.. I love this thread right now.. I actually check it first these days! 😉

    I think that the fact that Severus didn’t HELP Umbridge speaks pretty loudly. No, she isn’t a DE, but she was completely despicable. Draco and company jumped right on her bandwagon, and I think that anyone else, who could use her platform to further their own agenda, would have gone along for the ride as well.

    (Now, we only have certain people’s word for it, but…) Sev didn’t give her real veritaserum… He could have turned Harry over to her for detention….

    When Sev failed to adequately teach Harry occlumency.. maybe The Scar and The Dark Mark sort of counter-acted each other……

    I always figured Sev was just being ornery.. even though I like him, I figured there was more to it.

    See, we can see it clearly in Bk6… Sev was always helpful to Harry. All the things Sev questioned Harry about in Bk1, came into play… Plus, Sev has saved Harry many many times. But we know that.

    So it would figure, that Sev should have been working to really teach the boy the occlumency. What could have made it go so darned poorly?

    If it is a given that Sev was really trying to help, something definitely got in the way and hindered things.

    I don’t think it is a stretch to think that Harry’s bond to Voldy, through The Scar, didn’t respond well to Snape.. who has a bond with Voldy via The Dark Mark.

    As I am writing this.. I am starting to also think.. well, if The Dark Mark is a type of ‘soul-bond’.. (is it?).. and Harry has a kind of soul-bond….

    I am not saying Harry is a horcrux. that is a topic for another venue.. but I think the Infamous Gleam having to do with Voldy using Harry’s blood, certainly will be a big clue in Bk7. We’ll have to take this conversation up to that topic!

    Back to occlumency. That was always a stumbling block for me. I believe in Sev being a good guy.. and now, I have resolved for myself how he was really working toward occlumency, and the One True Bad Guy really was to blame, because of both bonds. *nods head* I like it. 🙂

  • Reader2

    You seem to have missed my point.
    I was saying that helping Umbridge would not be in Snapes best interests.
    If he had given her real vertaserum, it would cause Snape nothing but trouble.
    Harry would not be able to reveal the location of the Order headquarters, baecause fidelius would overun vertaserum. He did not know where Dumbledore is, so the only valuable information Harry could give away would be the whereabouts of Sirius.
    As I said before, Voldemort did not want Sirius captured by the ministry at that time, he wanted him running around taking the blame for all of Voldemorts crimes.
    Thus if Snape had helped Umbridge, it would count against him with both of his masters.
    The only way Snape could benefit from Harry taking veritaserum would be Harry’s own embarrassment, but what good would that be if Harry was embarrassing himself in Umbridge’s office, insetaed of Snape’s class, or better yet Great Hall.
    Why would Snape want Umbridge to have all the fun?

  • karlii

    Ahh… I see what you were getting at now. Thanks for clarifying that! 🙂

    Alas, it’s late… and I have to work early.. 🙂

  • will orwont

    This dragging on a bit… but anyway, there’s another thing that could decide Snape’s allegiance. How did Slughorn get hold of Snape’s textbook, which enabled Harry to survive year 6? It’s pretty weird that we hardly ever (at all?) see Snape & Slughorn talking. Given that they are/have been heads of Slytherin, you’d think they’d have a few things to chat about.

    By the way, McGonagall has control of Dumbledore’s pensieve at the end of HBP, so if for some reason Dumbledore was indiscreet enough to preserve his discussions with Snape, this is one device that will let us find out what passed between them. We know that pensieves can preserve memories of the deceased (but maybe only if the pensieve’s owner is alive?).

  • Antoon


    I’ve been wondering about that too. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Snape’s book ended up with Harry. After finishing the book, at first I thought that this was Snape’s doing – secretly trying to teach Harry some useful things. But if this is true, then Snape’s reaction after the Sectumsempra incident with Draco is difficult to explain. Someone else must be behind this.

    Slughorn is quite an intriguing character for other reasons as well. I wonder what he was thinking when Dumbledore showed him the ring. But I’m wandering away from Snape.

    Karlii, you ask why Snape wasn’t successful when he was trying to teach Harry Occlumency. Maybe this is because I am a teacher myself, but I can vividly imagine that Snape loathed Harry’s attitude. Let’s face it: Harry doesn’t always behave himself very well. People keep repeating how mean Snape is to Harry, and I’m not saying this is unjustified. But Harry is usually not polite to Snape either. I think his entering Snape’s memory in his absence is an outrageous impertinence. I don’t blame Snape at all for throwing Harry out of his office.

  • Pat Pat

    Antoon, I, too, am a teacher, and I see exactly what you are saying. Certainly Snape started the conflict between them. He was nasty to Harry from the moment he saw him in his first class in SS. BUT Harry certainly has never tried to be polite to Snape. He, constantly, needs to be reminded to call him “Professor Snape” rather than just “Snape”, and I agree that the invasion of Snape’s privacy through the pensieve was a serious act of disrespect. Unlike his first entrance into the penseive in GoF when he did it accidentally and really didn’t know what the pensieve was, this time he knew EXACTLY what he was doing and knew it was wrong. But that is what is so wonderful about JKR’s world. Her hero is not written as a perfect little angel, but as an ordinary teenager with some extraordinary abilities. Her characters are human, and, as humans, they have human emotions. This is what, I believe, got in the way of Harry’s learning occlumency. Dumbledore indicates it is Snape’s resentment that caused the lessons to fail, but, in reality, I think the MUTUAL resentment between them made the lessons impossible.

  • Reader2

    Will and Antoon,
    No disrespect, but I think you are reading too much into the deal with the book.
    There are much simpler explanations how the book could end up in Slughorn’s cabinet. Snape taught in that same class for fifteen years, why wouldn’t he leave any of his books lieing around?
    I doubt that he treasured that book in any way, since, after fifteen years of teaching, he probably remebered all the spells and recepies in it by heart.
    Also, considering that Harry had no intention of taking the class until McGonogall suggested it, and that Slughorn was finding TWO old books at the last moment, and that Slughorn later asked to take the book back, and Snapes reaction after the book started causing a mess…
    You see where I am heading with it?
    I understand if you want Snape to be a good guy, but you will still have to aggree that his hatred for Harry is genuine, and even if he is on the side of good, he is no friend to Harry.

  • karlii

    Wow! Go, Teachers!!! 🙂 I totally think teachers deserve WAAAAYYY more of everything! I can say this.. because I have raised up four kids of my own.. and have worked with elementary and teens in the past. I will only say that teachers rock! And more power to you!!!!!!!

    That said. Harry certainly IS a rather umm… ‘headstrong’ lad. I wouldn’t say incorrigable, but maybe leaning a bit that way in Snape’s case.

    Harry doesn’t want to be a celebrity, but he IS, none-the-less. I am sure it was a disruption, especially in the beginning.

    I agree that Severus doesn’t LIKE Harry. And that Harry did NOTHING to help forward the situation….

    But I like the antithesis of marks…. I think about it.. and if those two soul-bonds interact at all, or REACT to each other…. it certainly could have exasperated the situation.

    Snape must have SOME redeeming quality as a teacher, after all these years. For him to totally LOSE it like he apparently has.. *shrug*

    I know, I know… there isn’t really any evidence that he was any nicer before. Certainly the Gred and Forge had warned Ron about him.. but still. If he was that horrible of a teacher, then I’d think the governors would have sanctioned him or something. Especially during the years without Voldemort.

    In any case. Harry has culpability in the pensieve incident, no question about it.

    Snape has culpability, in that as a teacher and an adult, he should have acted more appropriately.

    I wonder though.. if Snape absolutely HATED Harry soooooo much, what MADE him continually help him? Did he have an unbreakable vow with Lily or Albus??

    We’ll see soon enough. Obviously, she will tell us something that will make us go back to book 2 and find an obscure sentence that everyone has ignored all these years, and it will be the key to the whole thing. And we will wonder how it has been right in front of us all this time, and we didn’t figure it out!! LOL

    I think I am going to go with the theory that the two marks created static or interference with each other. At least as it relates to occlumency.
    Disruptive.. sort of like getting aluminum foil in your mouth when you had silver or amalgam fillings.. 😉

    Have a good one! 🙂

  • will orwont

    karlii: That’s one sure way for Dumbledore to have trusted Snape — get him to make an Unbreakable Vow. So it is possible to magically show Snape’s hand, as long as he agrees to it and has time to figure out a way out of it 🙂

    Reader2: OK, Harry getting Snape’s textbook may not have been what Snape wanted. On reflection, I don’t think Snape was terribly keen to see Harry doing well in Potions 🙂

    Pretty clearly Snape’s feelings for Harry are ambivalent. I wouldn’t put it past Snape to be setting him for up for something though. I suppose we’ll know soon enough. But isn’t it funny that JK said that there would still be lots of room for debate after book 7? The mind boggles.

  • Antoon


    I don’t claim to be sure. I express my doubt that it was a coincidence that that book ended up with Harry (or Ron). I agree: not everything in the books is a clue. When Madam Maxime says her horses drink single malt whisky, I don’t think she reveals information that is crucial to the main plot line. But this book is more than a detail. It saved Ron’s life, for one thing. I’m pretty sure Harry will visit the Room of Requirement again and get the book back, and he might learn useful things from it. Coincidence? Let me put it again from the teacher’s point of view: if I were Snape, I would never leave that book lying around.

  • Jayni D.

    I would like to say something in defence of Harry’s behaviour toward Snape. With all due respect to you teachers out there, being a teacher does not automatically qualify you to get respect. Respect needs to be earned, even by adults from children. Teachers like Snape, who hinder education rather than help the students to learn (remember that both Harry and Neville did better on their potions OWLS than they expected, because Snape wasn’t sneering over them while they wrote it), are not deserving of respect just because they are teachers. Children are people, too, and have a right to feel their feelings.

    Yes, Harry could have made more of an effort to be polite to Snape, but consider this…Snape was nasty to Harry from the moment he walked into his class. Harry had no clue what he was supposed to have done to earn this unjust hatred. He was 11 years old, a child who had been treated with callousness, disrespect, and loathing his whole life with the Dursleys. It’s amazing he turned out as well as he did!!!

    Yes, he did wrong by going into Snape’s memory, but not so wrong as some of you think. Snape had been witness to many of Harry’s horrible memories as well while trying to teach him occlumency. He made no effort to really teach this properly, as he continually goaded Harry into temper. Like I said, Snape is a really, really bad teacher, so I for one, don’t blame Harry for having the curiosity to check out Snape’s memory, wrong or not.

    Well, that’s my opinion anyway. :^)

  • Antoon

    Jayni, what you are saying is: Snape is a bad teacher, therefore, Harry has the right to enter his memory. I don’t agree with this kind of reasoning. There is simply no connection between these two things. I hope that tomorrow, my students don’t think along the same lines… Professor Antoon still hasn’t been able to make me understand Pythagoras’ theorem, so it is all right to deflate his tyres and steal his mobile phone…

  • Pat Pat

    I’m sorry, Jayni, but I agree with Antoon. Certainly you are right that children need to be treated with respect, and I have already aknowledged that Snape started the conflict between them. But to say that Harry has a right to do whatever he wants simply because Snape is a bad teacher is simply not true. Where do we draw the line then? Who decides what makes someone a bad teacher? If every single one of my students does not understand the material, does this automatically make me a bad teacher? I’m with Antoon. I hope my students don’t suddenly decide that I’m a bad teacher because they didn’t understand today’s lesson and, therefore, they have a right to steal my journal (which is, in effect, what Harry did in magical terms.) I’m afraid too many people go along with this way of thinking these days and this is why teaching is becoming a more difficult profession every day.

    Yes, respect is earned. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. But, if there is not a certain amount of respect given to someone because they have done what needs to be done to attain the level of “teacher,” then we may as well all just give up and start schooling our children over the internet.

  • severusisn”tevil

    I think it’s interesting that, after Severus’s treatment of Sirius for having “unlimited leisure time” and constantly needling him about not being abloe to do anything useful for the Order, Severus will likely be in the same position. If, as I believe, Severus did what he had to do in a horrible situation and manages to win the Order’s grudging trust once more, he will still be forced to remain “underground” because he is now the second most wanted wizrd in the world. And I really don’t see how he can get off. It’s gonna be really difficult. He might request Veritaserum at his trial to attempt to clear himself, but he is, after all a Potions Master. None of the judges will trust him not to counteract the potion. Unless he makes an Unbrakable Vow to tell the truth, perhaps? But he’s gonna have a tough time for a while, especially if the Order decides not to trust him.

  • Jayni D., I have to agree with you.
    In my opinion the Teacher-Student relation is a big problem at Hogwarts in general. And it has (always) been. Let’s face it, when James and Sirius taunted Snape, the teenager, (and the other way round, too) during their Hogwarts time the teachers didn’t CARE!!! It didn’t matter to them at all, as we know. But I daresay it mattered to Snape. Now Snape, the teacher, taunts students – and again, the other teachers don’t give a damn about it. There are 2 problems here: a) as Jayni said correctly, the “teachers” don’t have a teaching training, thus they don’t have a pedagogical training (or whatever you call it) either. And I think that’s VERY important. But obviously Dumbledore doesn’t – and that’s a big mistake of him. Dumbledore appears to me, as if he doesn’t really care about people’s mental health. Take Sirius as an example. Dumbledore just cared about Sirius’ physical safety when locking him up in Grimmauld place. Honestly, I think that’s the worst thing he could’ve done to Sirius, condidering what that man had made through (Azkaban -> loneliness -> no love).
    Now back to Snape as a teacher. I think, Dumbledore (just like Reader2) thinks, the students are at Hogwarts to learn things from their teachers, no matter how they learn it or in which way – no matter they are treated well or are being bullied. And that’s my point b) as I am a student myself I totally understand both Neville’s AND Harry’s reactions. On the one hand there’s Neville, hasn’t any self-confidence, is easily intimidated. And if I were him, I’d be intimidated, too. And if a student is intimidated by his/her teacher it’s not very likely the student will like this subject very much. I know this from own experiences!
    On the other hand there’s Harry, much more self-confident than Neville, defends himself. If I had been in Harry’s postion, I’d have done the same. I’d have as much respect for Snape as he has. And I had certainly entered his memory, too. I TOTALLY understand Harry. And honestly, I think Snape makes rather a fool of himself when taunting Harry. Considering that Snape is a grown-up man, his behaviour towards Harry is ridiculous and childish. Just because Harry is James’ son (and I think a totally different person than James) he taunts him the first time they ever meet, without even KNOWING Harry. Sorry, but I think that is NOT how a teacher should behave! And I, too, think he’s a very bad teacher (though NOT stupid of course).

  • Reader2

    I hope it will comfort you to remember that Snape is not hyperactive like Sirius, he will have no trouble sitting alone in the dark doing nothing. In fact, that might be his idea of heaven. However, it is very likely that someone like Wormtail will be constantly lurking by his door, that might be Snape’s biggest complaint.
    Also, I find it very unlikely that Snape gets caught and put on trial by the end of the book (possible, but not likely), he is smart enough to see what’s comeing in advance and stubborn enough to go down fighting if he does get cornered.
    I find it equally likely for Snape to get killed or to survive and skip the country.

  • Jayni D.

    PatPat & Antoon,
    My apologies if I didn’t make myself clear. I DO think Harry was wrong to look at Snape’s memory; I just understand WHY he did it. I also don’t think that what he did was as bad as the way Snape has constantly treated him.

    Harry is a teenager with more negativity in his life than any child should ever have to deal with and Snape, rather than making any effort to understand him, hates Harry simply because he was born the son of Snape’s enemy. HE’S old enough to know better.

    And PatPat, Snape isn’t a bad teacher because his students don’t understand his material…he’s a bad teacher because he intimidates and ridicules his students, plays favourites, and generally treats most of them (not just Harry and Neville) as if they were complete morons.

    As far as being somewhat deserving of respect just by virtue of becoming a teacher, that makes sense in the muggle world, as teachers do have a fair amount of schooling to become a teacher. But in the wizarding world, they only need to get really good marks on their NEWTS and they’re qualified to teach! Jo has said there is no college or university after Hogwarts and the only profession she’s mentioned that needs more schooling is that of auror.

    Therefore, Snape hasn’t really been taught how to teach and his obvious antipathy to children in general makes him, in my humble opinion, undeserving of respect.

    That said, however, I do believe children need to SHOW respect even to bad teachers, even if they don’t feel it. But I still UNDERSTAND why Harry doesn’t.

  • Reader2

    I’m not so sure that Snape is a bad teacher.
    Note, after all the agony children went through in his class, the students did learn a lot. According to Umbridge (not the best surcse, granted, but all we’ve got) they actually exceeded standards.
    Also, they did get high marks on their OWLs because they discovered that taking tests is actually easier than surviving Snape’s lessons.
    I’d say that’s a good thing, if you believe that learning is more important than enjoying yourself that is.
    If you believe that having fun in class is more important than actually learning, Snape is definitely an in-basket case.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for balanse, a class where one can learn something without earning an emotional traume, but let’s face it, those are not easy to built, sometimes schools and students have to settle.

  • karlii

    Comparatively, it’s hard to say whether Severus is adequate compared to the other teachers. Minerva was very ‘removed’ or disassociated from her pupils. It clearly states in Cos (?, or PoA) that Harry couldn’t remember her even having been in the common room before. Then, in that book, it was like three or four times. Everytime the kids came to her with earth-shattering problems, she just blew them off.

    Probably after years and years of listening to the angst of these teens and pre-teens, EVERYthing sounds like a crisis. Even though, in my opinion, she needed to listen more closely to content and context than how dramatically they told it to her.

    Snape isn’t a nice guy, but he actively took part in Harry’s life. He tried to discipline him. He saved his life… each several times. It could be said that he was working to improve Harry, albeit in a rather twisted way, sometimes.
    Minerva, on the other hand, did NOT become involved in Harry’s life. She rather tended to ignore him.

    Now, which is a better teacher?

    I had a teacher, in high school, who gave people detention for being in the halls between classes without a pass. He caught me a few times, while I was even still in 8th grade, even. (small school).. which also means, what? Third year?

    I couldn’t STAND that guy. But you know what? In the end, he is one of the ones I most respect, because he is one of the only ones who actually CARED about what we were doing, and what we were going to DO with our lives. The ones who let us get away with things, or ignored us? I barely remember their names. But,.. I sure do remember Mr. Delin! And I am glad today, that he was as strict as he was.

  • Antoon

    Thank you, Pat Pat, we should get together some time.

    The last comments show that Snape is not dismissed as a bad teacher by everybody. Clearly there is room for different interpretations. Closing our eyes for his good sides might be an oversimplification.

    In response to remarks by Jayni and Lisa Marie: we still don’t know why Snape is so harsh towards Harry. There must be more to it than the mere fact that Harry is the James’ son. There are other questions, raised in the books, which are probably related. Why did Snape come back to the good side? Why did Dumbledore appoint him? Another question, not raised in the books: what does Snape know about the Department of Mysteries? I think that these questions are impossible to answer, but I suspect that the relation between Harry and Snape has a dimension we haven’t seen yet.

  • Jayni D.

    It will be interesting indeed to see how the relationship between Harry and Snape is played out. There may or may not be a reason why Snape loathed Harry on sight, Antoon, but I am hard-pressed to think of one. I believe anyone who judges someone (particularly a child) without having met him or knowing anything about him, simply because of who his father was (or for any other reason), is being completely unfair. But…when was Snape ever fair, eh? My prejudice against prejudice is showing. *rueful grin*

    Poor Snape, the one we love to hate. I know he had a rough childhood, but I still find it impossible to like him and think it’s amazing that so many people do!

    Ah, well, different strokes for different folks. That’s one of the things that makes our world, and Potterverse, so interesting.

  • Pat Pat

    Sure, Antoon, we teachers have to stick together!

    I don’t think anyone would dispute that Snape is unnecessarily harsh to Harry and a bully to Neville. Clearly, there are some strong emotions there, and I’m not convinced that we know the whole story either. But, his students DO seem to learn the material. Remember Harry received an E on his potions OWL even though the subject is clearly not one of his best.

    I think part of Snape’s attitude toward Harry may be jealousy as well. Harry was popular before he could even talk. Yet, according to Sirius, Snape was always something of an outcast. There is evidence that Snape was abused as a child. As a teacher, I have seen abused children and they almost always have low self esteem. Snape spent his childhood envious of James, who was popular and good at almost everything he did. Then James’ son comes along and who is an instant celebrity while Snape is still unpopular and one of the most hated teachers on the school. This may explain some of his feelings toward Harry.

  • Antoon

    Jayni, just to make this clear: I never said I liked Snape. In one of the recently collected quotes on this site, JKR calls Snape a sadistic teacher. And, like you, I think Snape has been unfair towards Harry. He is definitely not a role model for a teacher, no disagreements there. When I said there may be a reason why Snape dislikes Harry, I didn’t mean to say he had a good excuse for bullying him.

  • Pat Pat

    Exactly. I don’t think anyone would say that Snape is the model that all teachers should follow. The point was simply that students shouldn’t be given a free reign to be as disrespectful as they like just because someone may not be a great teacher.

    Like Antoon, I believe it possible that there is more to Snape’s behavior towards Harry than simply the fact that he is his biggest childhood rival’s son. I believe jealousy is an issue. I also think it interesting to note that the 2 main objects of Snape’s bullying are Harry and Neville, the two possible “Chosen Ones.” This can’t be a coincidence.

  • severusisn’tevil

    Of course he isn’t a horrible teacher. Honestly, if he were a truly horrible teacher, DD wold have fired him. Just because a teacher is a bit twisted and very strict doesn’t mean he should be written off as a bad teacher. My Chemistry teacher (or Potions teacher, I guess you could say) is something of a nutcase, and anytime he catches me reading during class he makes me knock it off, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t wish him a pleasant weekend. he doesn’t allow you to turn in labs late, but that doesn’t mean I have the right to steal his diary or break into his most private memories.
    I also think it’s overlooked that the vast majority of things Severus punishes Harry for are punishable offenses — disrespect, tardiness, fighting, etc. Often his punishments are a little extreme, and he is a little detention-happy; he likes a reason, however small to punish Harry, but usually the rules ARE on Severus’s side. He doesn’t, like Filch would so dearly love to do, hang Harry by his ankles in the dungeons (not that I necessarily think Severus would miss the opportunity if it presented itself).
    In conclusion, Severus is not a bad teacher. He is more strict than most, and a little nit-picky, but that can actually help his students by making them more attentive to detail.

  • Jayni D.

    Okay, okay, I concede! LOL Maybe Snape isn’t a bad teacher (he’s not a particularly good one either, though). But I maintain that he is a nasty person. And I don’t believe that favouring some students over others (and not necessarily because his favourites are better students), as well as belittling and humiliating students (I was going to give instances here, but there are so many…how to choose?) will win him any Teacher of the Year awards.

    He may not be evil, but I, for one, would not want him teaching my children. He doesn’t set a very good example of a mature, fair-minded professor.

    I had a teacher like him in fifth grade. I had moved to a different city in the middle of the school year and my new teacher seemed to dislike me on sight. She constantly belittled me because I was behind what they had been studying (I had moved from another province where the curriculum was different). She acted toward me as if I had done this on purpose to cause her problems. I was 10 years old and had always been a very good student. That was the worst half-year of my entire schooling. The only thing I learned in her class that I remember is NEVER to treat people like she treated me.

    So, I guess I have a prejudice against Snape, having had a Snape-like teacher. All you teachers out there, be kind and fair to your students, okay? :^)

  • redskinmaniac7392

    Right now, I hate Snape, ’cause of the double-agent thing. Ugh. And killing Dumbly. 🙁 So sad. But w/e. Hope Snape has a happy deathday soon.

  • I was thinking that what happend If lily was dead then james was killed/

  • Emma

    I think that snape didnt really kill dumbledore and that he and dumbledore made a plan that noone knows about

  • Dumbledore

    I really do believe there was something strange about the night in which Dumbledore has been killed
    by Snape. It seems to me that Dumbledore has, in a sense, predisposed his death (had he not, indeed, he would not have realised so quickly that there were Death Eaters at Hogwarts). And, what is more, he immobilized Harry immediately (too fast, I daresay), as if he did want to prevent Harry from saving his life.

  • Twilight Gust

    Personally, I believe that Snape was on Dumbledore’s side all along. I think that the only reason why Snape raised his wand to Dumbledore was to recognize the promise he made to Mrs. Malfoy.

  • I think that Snape isn’t Evil, if you think about it, He’s saved Harry’s skin more than once, and helped Dumbledore multiple times with Voldemort, then again, J.K. is really good at decieving us into trusting someone too, I mean, look at Mad-Eye in the forth book, and Quirrel!