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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 14)

Mmm... Snape did his part of the vow... He did protect Malfoy. And he did finish Malfoy's duty...
but he never said what duty he would fulfill... and he never said when... think about it. Do you think Malfoy had just one duty? Snape could've do one of all duties Malfoy had... And with doing one of all his duties he fulfilled one part of his part of the vow.;)
so i don't think dumbledore is ... there's just too many diferent things in Dumbledore's than in all the others.

Posted by eddy from Monterrey,NL, Mexico on March 23, 2007 6:13 PM

Patty from Quincy,
The idea of the life is interesting, but it seems to me that if Snape had turned spy before James and Lilly's he would have already provided the "iron clad" reason to be trusted. I don't think a life seems so iron clad when Snape apparently betrayed his to Lilly and James. Why would transferring the to Harry mean that he was going to fulfill his this time? And to answer your rhetorical question: sometimes eaters do care about who s at Voldemort's hands. Some eaters are crazy or at least heartless, but they are all still human and some seem to regain their conscience along the way.

Eddy from Monterrey,
I think it is clear that Draco's one duty was to Dumbledore, and that Snape's vow has been fulfilled since he completed the duty for Draco. I agree that Dumbledore's was a major blow to those who oppose Voldemort, but I don't think that's a reason why he "must" come back to life. I think it simply serves to make us appreciate his life all the more. I mourn Dumbledore and I let him go.

Posted by Mac The Badger from New Orleans, LA on March 24, 2007 06:32 AM

Mac the Badger,
I'm not completely sure on the nature of life s, but I think if you violate one, you suffer consequences, probably for the rest of your own life. For this selfish reason it is in Snape's best interest to transfer the to Harry so he has another chance to make good on it.
I don't see Snape as the type of eater to sob over a victim, unless he was in love with Lily as others have commented on. But to my reading, it is more likely there is another reason than the one Dumbledore gave Harry about why Snape changed sides after the attack.
Maybe Snape was not working for Dumbledore before he snitched to Voldemort, but I tend to think he was and he was using the invisibility cloak to spy. In this scenario I think Dumbledore had a qualified trust in Snape, and when the life was transferred to Harry the trust became ironclad.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on March 24, 2007 10:23 AM

I am not sure that I agree that it "was obvious that Draco had one duty - to Dumbledore" as someone else suggested. I have often wondered about the Spinners End chapter. We saw Bellatrix and Narcissa enter Snape's house. We saw them talk; Narcissa with much sobbing and pleading. We then saw Snape head to the window. I think he may have been using legillmecy against the sisters in order to figure out what they wanted. It isn't until after he comes back from the window that he says he knew of the plan. But the plan is never mentioned out loud so we don't really know what the true plan was, do we? We all assume it was to Dumbledore because at the end he s. As someone else suggested, it could have been to figure out how to let the Eaters into the castle. Draco seemed to be spending and innordinate amount of time in the Room of Requirement fixing the vanishing cabinet. I think the plan of Snape ing Dumbledore was an alternate plan only between Snape and Dumbledore.

Posted by Kim from Manchester on March 25, 2007 6:01 PM

Kim from Manchester,

I have just finished re-reading all the books, and to me, Draco's task is, without a doubt, to Dumbledore. Albus mentioned to Draco that he knew he (Draco) had tried to him with the necklace, which landed Katie bell in St Mungo�s, and with the bottle that Slughorn was going to offer Dumbledore, but opened with Harry and Ron instead, nearly ing Ron.

So it is clear that Dracos intentions where to Dumbledore, and the "vanishing cabinet" in the room of requirement was going to be used to bring Eaters in as a diversion and also as a means for Draco to escape, but did not count on the DA�s and Aurors to be blocking their retreat to the "room of requirement".

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 26, 2007 4:31 PM

Does anyone agree to the theory that maybe Dumbledore with a knowledge of impending at the hands of the Eaters yet saves Harry by "giving his own life" and by doing so "s for Harry", so wouldn't his protection linger on in Harry's Blood, remember all that he says about Harry's Blood being 'Precious' in the sixth book. He could have Disarmed Malfoy at the time of freezing Harry as Harry was already Invisible, but why voluntarily choose if not with an ulterior motive? So could be that foreseeing that this is a power again meant that the Dark Lord knows not about.. and in essence is a form of Dumbledore's Love for Harry that protects him.

Posted by Aayush Mohata from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India on March 29, 2007 11:50 AM

Dumbledore confesses to Harry that he did not tell him what he needed to know because he cared for him, that it had become Dumbledores weeknes, that he did not want to add annother burden to him, thus it lets us know that he does love him.

Aayush Mohata from Ahmedabad,

I disagree with you about Dumbledore feeling that was coming to him, he could have fought the Eaters and vanquish them, but I totally agree that he did give his life in order to offer some other protection to Harry.

By ing, Dumbledore gives a false sense of triumph to Voldy, and allows Snape to go back to the Dark Lord, giving him a better position to be of service to Harry and the Order, and hinder Voldy�s possibilities to vanquish Harry.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 29, 2007 12:08 PM

One thing, Emilio. In the book it says Dumbledore was pleading right before he d. Why? It really goes against Dumbledore's character to plead to Snape to spare his life. These are the possibilities I can think of:
1. He was an old man, weakened by a terrible potion and the knowledge that Eaters had found access to his school, and lost his grip. But he seemed strong and smart just moments ago. Could it be the shock of realizing Snape wasn't on his side after all that made him finally break?
2. He was acting, part of a show to convince the Eaters this was for real. But it was a little too much. He had already been acting too calm, serene in the face of his own , to try to fool the Eaters with a suddenly display of fear. Although it would also have been designed to fool Harry.
3. He was pleading with Snape to remember the plan, whatever it may be. He wasn't saying, "Please, spare me," he was saying, "please, remember your job and follow through." I think this one is the most plausible, how about you?

Posted by Connor K from Rigby, ID on March 29, 2007 6:30 PM

I dont know if anyone has mentioned this but dumbledore said that it was his fault sirius had d, Sirius was Harrys godfather and as good as a parent, if dumbledores not maybe he owes harry something?

Posted by Jacob Loaring from Devon UK on March 30, 2007 08:15 AM

Connor K from Rigby,

The first time I read the book I was shocked and could not believe that Snape had ed Dumbledore, but after reading some comments in this site I re-read the six books and am inclined to think that your third point is the correct one, remember that Hagrid tells Harry that he heard Dumbledore and Snape arguing in the forest, and it seamed that Snape was backing down on some agreement, which I believe it was that Snape had to Dumbledore.

We only have to wait three and a half months to find out.

I don't know about you, but I have already pre-ordered my book and have it on the fist day it comes out, my wife is not going to see me much that weekend.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 30, 2007 10:12 AM

Emilio, I think you and I are on the same page. I do think that Snape ing Dumbledore was Dumbledore's plan. I am sure that Voldemort wanted Draco to try and dumbledore. (That is where the wine and the locket came in.) But I am also sure that Voldemort knew that Dumbledore would figure it out. He knows that Dumbledore knows everything. Because of this, I think that Dumbledore ordered Snape to do it. I believe he wanted to protect Draco. But, I still think Dumbledore is alive.

Posted by Kim from Manchester on March 30, 2007 5:17 PM

Kim from Manchester,

Sorry, but I really think that Dumbledore is truly and completely , and won't come back as he was. I do think that we see more of him in DH, but as memories in the pensive, accounts by other members of the order, and maybe, just maybe as something that we have not yet seen, but not as the old flesh and blood Dumbledore we all loved.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City Mexico on April 2, 2007 09:17 AM

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