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Snape's Worst Memory

- Chapter 28

"One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...."
-- Remus Lupin (OP28)

OP28: Snape’s Worst Memory

Dolores Umbridge replaces Albus Dumbledore as Head of Hogwarts, the students (with the help of Fred and George’s inventions) rebel while the staff sit back and watch, and Umbridge tries to get Harry to tell her where Dumbledore is hiding.  Harry confronts Cho Chang about her friend Marietta’s betrayal, continues his Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape and, while poking around in Snape’s Pensieve memories, discovers that his father may have been every bit as arrogant as Snape had previously told him.

Calendar and Dates

All we know is that, since the previous chapter took place on a Monday in April, this chapter must take place Tuesday and Wednesday of the same week. Hermione also says that the Easter holiday begins Friday, but since the calendar doesn't align to a real-world calendar, it still doesn't help determine exact dates.

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter covers the general feeling and events since Albus Dumbledore's departure and Dolores Umbridge's take-over.

"The Fat Friar told me.... – that Umbridge tried to get back into his office last night after they'd searched the castle and grounds for him. Couldn't get past the gargoyle. The Head's office has sealed itself against her."

It is very interesting that Umbridge's appointment as Headmistress isn't recognised by the physical space that is the Head's Office inside the school. It is unlikely that every Headteacher would be able to hand over the role to the next each time a change is made. You wonder what gives the room the right to close itself against what seems to be a lawfully appointed wizard or witch. Someone - or something - has made this decision, but we are in the dark about the process.

Dragons comprised entirely of green and gold sparks were soaring up and down the corridors, emitting loud fiery blasts and bangs as they went; shocking-pink Catherine wheels five feet in diameter were whizzing lethally through the air like so many flying saucers; rockets with long tails of brilliant silver stars were ricocheting off the walls; sparklers were writing swear words in midair of their own accord; firecrackers were exploding like mines everywhere Harry looked, and instead of burning themselves out, fading from sight or fizzling to a halt, these pyrotechnical miracles seemed to be gaining in energy and momentum the longer he watched.

As Hermione says, "They were wonderful fireworks". Fred and George have been very inventive with their fireworks, and could probably give Tolkien's Gandalf (Lord of the Rings Wiki) a run for his money - as well as putting local competition Dr Filibuster in the shade. Umbridge and Argus Filch are unable to cope with them.

Harry stopped in front of the desk and gazed down at his fifteen-year-old father.

Except that he has his mother's eyes, everyone says that Harry and James Potter look very alike.

....this was Snape's memory and Harry was sure that if Snape chose to wander off in a different direction once outside in the grounds, he, Harry, would not be able to follow James any further.

But Snape stays outside and bad things start to happen when he is noticed there by the two ringleaders of the Marauders.

Pink soap bubbles streamed from Snape's mouth at once; the froth was covering his lips, making him gag, choking him –
"Leave him ALONE"

And here comes Lily Evans, his mother with the green eyes.

James whirled about: a second flash of light later, Snape was hanging upside-down in the air, his robes falling over his head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and a pair of greying underpants.

This first time that Harry sees Severus Snape's memories in the Pensieve it is just the one extended incident, where his father James and Sirius Black bully Snape after an O.W.L. exam. It is only when he sees the rest of Snape's memories in DH33 that Harry finally understands Snape's life and motivations.

Exceptional character moments

Argus Filch, a Squib, agreeing - "Right you are, Headmistress!" - not to perform any magic on the out-of-control fireworks.

The teaching staff being "unable" to deal with any of fireworks.

The string of jinxes and hexes reeled off at Severus Snape by the young James Potter and Sirius Black.

The (justified) anger of Severus Snape finding Harry looking at these childhood memories in the Pensieve. Pushing Harry away onto the hard dungeon floor is wrong, but (possibly) understandable.

Memorable lines

Harry overheard one second-year girl assuring another that Fudge was now lying in St. Mungo's with a pumpkin for a head.

"Dear, dear," said Professor McGonagall sardonically, as one of the dragons soared around her classroom, emitting loud bangs and exhaling flame. "Miss Brown, would you mind running along to the headmistress and informing her that we have an escaped firework in our classroom?"

"Thank you so much, Professor!" said Professor Flitwick in his squeaky little voice. "I could have got rid of the sparklers myself, of course, but I wasn't sure whether I had the authority...." Beaming, he closed the classroom door in her snarling face.

Harry could still hear the distant bangs of escaped firecrackers when he and Ron went up to bed an hour later, and as he got undressed a sparkler floated past the tower, still resolutely spelling out the word POO.

"Did you like question ten, Moony?" asked Sirius as they emerged into the entrance hall. "Loved it," said Lupin briskly. "'Give five signs that identify the werewolf.' Excellent question." "D'you think you managed to get all the signs?" said James in tones of mock concern. "Think I did," said Lupin seriously,k as they joined the crowd thronging around the front doors eager to get out into the sunlit grounds. "One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...."

What was making Harry feel so horrified and unhappy was not being shouted at or having jars thrown at him - it was that he knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers, knew exactly how Snape had felt as his father had taunted him, and that judging from what he had just seen, his father had been every bit as arrogant as Snape had always told him.

Words and phrases

OP 28 — Snape's Worst Memory
Abbreviation OP28: Snape's Worst Memory
Canonicity Primary Canon


Related images:

Snape hanging upside down with James and Lily. 

Pensieve (Comments)

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