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Magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable

by David Haber

At the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore describes the life that Peter Pettigrew owes Harry as "magic at its deepest, it's most impenetrable". But who else the in Harry Potter books might owe Harry a life ? And are life and Unbreakable Vows related?

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Reader Comments: (Page 13)

Regarding my last suggestion that perhaps Lily and Snape made and unbreakable vow as childhood friends. I wondered who would be their bonder. I doubt it was Dumbledore. Would he have been around (and consented) to an unbreakable vow of children? NO. I think it would be another friend of theirs? But who would have been in their neighborhood? Was it Petunia?

Posted by Heather from NJ on March 1, 2007 7:43 PM

Heather: I'm up to the same question, about the bonder. Maybe Lupin? He's the one who tells Harry in PoA movie. Lupin seemed to be very fond of Lily, but he certainly couldn't engage to her, and he respected Snape more than James, Sirius or Peter.

The vow could be something like "I promise to stay for ever fidel and protect the one who has such beautiful eyes". A vow seems to be like a written contract: wording is more important than intentions.

If he said that, Snape would have to remain fidel to Harry and protect him, because of his eyes. The bonder would know it, and perhaps Dumbledore as well.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on March 1, 2007 11:17 PM

As always Herv�, you have given me food for thought, "I promise to stay for ever fidel (fateful?) and protect the one who has such beautiful eyes" is something that just might be the answer to JKR writing so many times about Harry having Lily�s eyes, and Snape�s hate/protection of Harry.

Tr�s bien!

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 2, 2007 10:35 AM

Herve, always enjoys your comments. I feel like you and I are onto something. I really do think that Snape and Lily made an Unbreakable Vow (I am glad I am not alone), but because of Ron's comments about his potential Unbreakable Vow with his brothers, I am thinking that Snape and Lily's Unbreakable Vow may have been made before they were at Hogwarts. Do you agree? You bring up a good point about Lupin--he certainly seems to have more faith in Snape than others. But do you think that he knew then both early on. Before Hogwarts even?

I figure that Lily and Snape grew up in a Muggle neighborhood. Is there anyone else their age approximately that we know of who may have lived near them, and who could have been their bonder? any other Half blood wizards?

Herve, you may be correct when it comes to the wording of Snape and Lily's Unbreakable Vow. Lily's eyes have been mentioned far tooo often. If the Unbreakable Vow did mention her eyes specifically--it may transfer to Harry.

Posted by Heather from NJ on March 3, 2007 8:38 PM

I know that Dumbledore said that Wormtail had a life to Harry, but I'm not sure I agree...Yes, Harry prevented Remus and Sirius from ing wormtail, but aren't we all forgetting what Harry wanted to do? He wanted to give Peter to the dementors! Had this happened successfully, he would have suffered a fate worse than (according to Hermione) by having his soul sucked out. So yes, Harry ultimately saved his life, but only to prevent his father's best buds from becoming s. This then, ties into Snape's half to James based upon intent...did he save him to save himself or just because it was the right thing to do. If intent matters and James was saving his own skin, then Snape owes nothing to harry.

I don't believe Liliy's sacrifice protection was on purpose, I think it just happened, much like a life just happens. I think when a life is called in, it is more or less involuntary...If it were somehow forced, wormtail couldn't have helped Voldemort try to harry (but again, I'm not sure I believe he owes harry a ). I think it is more based upon a person processing why the life is owed over time in their life and then deciding (perhaps on a subconscious level) to 'do the right thing'.

I dig the idea of Dumbledore sacrificing himself as a protection to harry...this seems very much in his character and, having observed the effect of Lilly's sacrifice, he could easily do it intentionally. However, as much as I don't want to admit it, I think Harry ultimately. I think Voldemort as well...JK said that two main characters are going to ...based upon the prophecy, these two make perfect sense.

Posted by Tim from Flagstaff, AZ on March 4, 2007 9:53 PM

Heather from NJ

I doubt that Lilly could be involved in an unbreakable vow BEFORE Hogwarts as she was Muggle born, and not likely to meet anybody from the wizarding community. Petunia just learnt about the wizarding world when Lilly got her letter of acceptance from Hogwarts.

Does anybody know which house Lilly was in?

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 5, 2007 10:50 AM

Lily was in Griffindor House. And I don't buy this either about the unbreakable vow before Hogwarts, with Snape.

I think that Wormtail DOES owe Harry a life , and I think that having Harry's blood in Voldemort prove to be something that is very helpful to Harry later. Remember we have not seen Voldemort invading Harry's mind since he tried in OotP and it went badly for him when Harry felt feelings of love for Sirius. I think Wormtail knew already that Voldemort would not be able to Harry in that Graveyard too, because of the Bond of Blood protection with Petunia and all. I think Wormtail has been a double agent for Dumbledore for a long time. The big picture is still coming here.

Posted by karen from texas on March 8, 2007 10:27 PM

Karen from Texas,

I do agree with you about Wormtail owing Harry a life , but disagree in him being a double agent, he is too much of a coward to do that, I also disagree with your statement about him knowing that Voldemort could not Harry in the Graveyard, but I do think he repay his to Harry by saving him from Fenrir Greyback, the Warewolf (ing him with his silver hand) in a huge battle, maybe while Greyback is trying to get to Harry whilst he battles Lord Voldemort.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 14, 2007 10:02 AM

Ginny Weasley could also owe Harry a when he saved her from within the Chamber.

Posted by Karina from ItalY on March 15, 2007 7:32 PM

Emilio, I agree with you---I just don't see Wormtail as a double agent. He seems too cowardly and pathetic. Besides, if he were working for Dumbledore, wouldn't Dumbledore have known that Peter was alive and that Sirius was not a criminal from the beginning of the story. He (Dumbledore) would not have needed to learn this from Harry in PoA.

Wormtail definately has a life to be owed to Harry. According to Dumbledore this is deep magic---I don't think that Wormtail be able to avoid it. Lucky for us...and Harry!

Posted by Heather from NJ on March 15, 2007 8:46 PM

I believe that when Snape made the Unbreakable Vow Snape was acting as double agent for the Order, to not make the Vow would have placed his supposed loyalty to Voldemort in question. Note the moment of hesitation when Narcissa states the final term of the Vow, that Snape must complete Draco's duty if Draco should fail.
When he fulfilled the Vow he was simply continuing to uphold his role as double agent. The purpose of the Order was not to protect Dumbledore, it is to defeat Voldmort. Snape's role in the Order requires him to continue acting as though he is an agent for the Eaters, i.e. fulfilling the Vow, ing Dumbledore, and escaping. None of these actions prove that he has betrayed the Order.
Note Snape's explanation to Bellatrix about his reasons for remaining at Hogwarts rather than suffering in Azkaban or searching for Voldemort. By lying low he claims he was able to be of more use to Voldemort than any other Eater. Similarly by seeming to remain loyal to Voldemort he is able to be of most use to the Order.
I believe Snape is the least understood, most well developed and interesting character in the series. And as the most accomplished occlumens in the world (an assumption I make from the fact that he has routinely lied to the most accomplished legillimens in history) I believe that his total role remain inscrutable until he decides to reveal it.

PS Snape is often right when he criticizes Harry and sometimes when he seems cruel he is, in his own twisted way (which no doubt arises from his own troubled youth), encouraging Harry to excel. Though he has seemed critical and cruel he has always acted to protect Harry when it was needed.

Posted by Mac the Badger from New Orleans, LA on March 23, 2007 10:22 AM

Mac the Badger,
I agree that Snape seems to act uningly with Harry's best interest at heart. My conclusion about this is that when Snape informed Voldemort of part of the prophecy, this lead to the of James Potter, violating the life Snape owed James. This was the reason he had remorse after their s. Not just because he knew the victims. This reason never made sense to me. If you are a eater, why would you care who d at the hands of Voldemort? I do believe that Snape was working for Dumbledore and told of the prophecy on Dumbledore's orders. When James and Lily d Snape came to Dumbledore with the problem of the life he had broken. I think it was Dumbledore that convinced him to transfer the life to Harry, and this is the ironclad reason to trust Snape. For Harry to survive, Voldemort must be defeated, so Snape is on the side of the good guys, whether he likes it or not.

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 23, 2007 5:27 PM

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