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Severus Snape v. The Ministry of Magic

by J.K. Rich

After reading Book Six in the Harry Potter saga, millions of Harry Potter fans were devastated to learn that after it all�after all the warnings and signs�Severus Snape is, in fact, evil. And, even more devastating�he had killed Professor Dumbledore right in front of The Boy That Lived. Or did he?

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Reader Comments: (Page 15)

Which side is Snape on? Voldemort's or Dumbledore's? Neither! Snape is on Snape's side! In support of this theory, consider these points. One, Snape is not, and has never been, in support of the Order of the Phoenix. Two, he may still have the Dark Mark on his arm, but he's not a Eater either. Remember when Harry and Hermoine led Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest, Snape "alerted certain members of the Order and 'intended' to go into the forest to find Harry." However, he doesn't go into the forest. He doesn't contact Sirius. Either one of those actions would have averted the eventual ending of OotP. Meanwhile, Ron, Luna, Ginny and Neville, overpower the Inquisitorial Squad and catch sight of Harry by simply looking out the window.

I think Snape's ultimate goal is to be the last one standing when Voldemort and Harry take each other out. Then he can take the place of Voldy, without the worry of Harry standing in his way. He already has his first (reluctant) servant in Wormtail.

The way Snape acts towards Harry when they are alone is, I feel, the truest test of Snape's attitude. Snape hated James, so he hates Harry because he is so forcefully reminded of his old nemesis. When Snape is alone with Harry, Snape is a cruel, hateful bully. Snape is also a particularly BAD teacher. He teaches by frightening his class, similar to the way Voldemort commands his followers. Everything Snape says is right - in his eyes. Notice how Snape doesn't tell Harry how to repel legilimens, just attacks him again and again. When, in the two instances that Harry fights him off (the stinging curse and the Protego charm), Snape actually admonishes him for it! Also, Harry takes Occlumency lessons for two months from Snape to no avail. Meanwhile, in GoF, Eater Barty Crouch Jr (diguised as Moody) teaches Harry how to fight off the Imperious Curse in ONE CLASS SESSION.

Finally, my biggest clue to the real Snape comes from the end of GoF. When Crouch Jr is caught by Dumbledore, Snape looks into the Foe Glass, he sees a reflction of himself. What this means is: Snape's worst enemy is... SNAPE! He has been playing both sides of the fence, in his own self interest, in true Slytherin fashion. It ultimately be his downfall.

Posted by Bobby from Los Angeles, CA on May 30, 2007 7:13 PM

Yes it's true that Snape could not have enjoyed ing Dumbledore unless he was truly evil. But what if Dumbledore was already condemned to ? What if the curse of the ring was like a terminal illness that gripped Dumbledore and he would actually a slow painful ? or maybe drinking the potion could have sealed Dumbledore's faith to a slow and painful . Perhaps then Snape would have enjoyed ing Dumbledore because in doing so he would be freeing Dumbledore from a far more painful . Furthermore by ing Dumbledore he would have gained Voldemort's trust and would probably be able to get close enough to find out more about the remaining horcruxes to help Harry later on. He may have enjoyed the thought that ing Dumbledore would help him get information that could help destroy voldemort. So it's possible that he ed Dumbledore with Avada Kedavra and actually enjoyed doing it as well.

Posted by Abhay Doshi from India Mumbai on May 30, 2007 10:38 PM

Sadly, if you could do Verbal and Non-verbal spells at the same time wouldn't Dumbledore have been able to have done so on the tower? (perhaps a review of spells in use in the duel at the Ministry in OOP prove me wrong)

I seem to recall that you can begin to apparate (which must be a non verbal spell involving the 3 d's) while casting verbal spells but I do not recall spells being concurrently generated.

Posted by Charlie Tarbox from Gettysburg, Pa on May 31, 2007 06:21 AM

Sidney from Colorado,

Snape was not only keeping Harry alive, but was still teaching him. As Severus blocked again and again each and every course and hex that Harry sent him, Snape tells Harry that he would not be a match for the Dark Lord until he learnt to keep his mind closed and his mind shut, in other words, Snivelus was telling our hero to learn and master both Oclumency and Silent Spells, in order to be ready to face Voldemort.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on May 31, 2007 09:14 AM

Its true it can be interpreted that Snape was trying to keep Harry alive and teach him that he needs to strengthen his Occlumency and Non-Verbal abilities to be a match for Voldemort. But to me it reads just as well that Snape is ensuring Potter is left alone/undamaged for Voldemort in keeping with a standing order to Eaters. (�one must at the others hand� remember). And the other as just taunting someone that he despises and can finally rub their face in it.

Posted by Seyah from SLC, Ut on May 31, 2007 11:40 AM

Charlie - I was under the impression that it was not two spells at the same time, but rather one being performed while the incantation to different one was being said (but not performed). Albus also did not have his wand, so it would seem that he would not be able to perform most spells. I acknowledge that this is Albus Dumbledore we're talking about, and he would probably have a few non-wand spells up his sleeve, but he was also in a heightened state of weakness, maybe he did not have the energy to perform one of them. Or maybe the whole thing is a ruse and he didn't fight back because his plan (whatever it may be) would have been ruined.

In addition to Sydney and Emilio's comments, I wonder who it was that stunned Fenrir Greyback when he attacked Harry. It never says who was cast that spell; we are simply left to assume it was Harry or an Order or DA member. Severus seems to still be in the room, albeit running from it, and probably would have given himself away by protecting Harry then. But he's also clever enough to talk his way out of trouble like he was able to cover when other Eaters tried to attack or him.

Posted by Monkeeshrines from orlando fl on May 31, 2007 12:16 PM

I think that Snape definitely is evil. But, I think that because the effects of the Avada Kedrava curse are different than what happened to Dumbledore when he got hit by the curse. Also, at Dumbledore's , Hagrid was carrying a bundle of cloth that was supposed to be Dumbledore's body, but J.K. never told us what it really was. It could have been a bundle of firewood for all we know!

Posted by Bob Frankfurt Silas from Montgomery, Alabama on June 2, 2007 11:20 AM

During the chapter Spinners End, in the HBP, Bellatrix is questioning Snape about why he never ed Harry Potter. Snape said that he would never do it while Harry is under the protection of Dumbledore. But, in the first book when Quirell is trying to Harry in the Quiditch match by jinxing his broom, Snape is muttering an incantation to save Harry. Now why would he have not let Harry there? It couldve never have been traced back to him. And he didnt try to save him for the Dark Lord because he even said he thought Voldemort was .

Posted by Landon Hampton from sikeston mo on June 2, 2007 5:53 PM

Well, james saved snape once, and maybe he wanted to pay him back by saving harry.

Posted by Claudia on June 3, 2007 11:14 AM

Maybe Dobby cast the spell that stunned Fenrir Greyback...if he was still following Malfoy.

Interesting point about the foe glass and Snape's reflection. Is it because it still technically belongs to Barty Crouch and would only show his foes?

Posted by Joe from England on June 3, 2007 4:20 PM

Hmm...just a slight correction to the article.

Leaving aside the matter as to whether Rowling knew this information or not, Gandalf really did ''. Concrete evidence for this is in the timeline at the back of the Lord of the Rings:

"(January) 25 - (Gandalf) casts down the Balrog, and passes away. His body lies on the peak.

(February) 14 - The Mirror of Galadriel. Gandalf returns to life, and lies in a trance."

It's rather complicated to go into the details, but to give a shortish background:

Gandalf is not human like Dumbledore, but rather of an order somewhat akin to angels or minor deities. In Tolkien-lore, these beings are called the Maiar; spirits that were created before the beginning of the world. They are of the same order as the Valar, the 'gods', only weaker and less powerful. Gandalf was one of these beings bound to a human body, with severe limits placed on his powers.

After his battle with the Balrog, his body was actually slain, and he thus 'd'. However, due to his status as a Maia, he was granted the right to return, with the limitations on his powers somewhat lessened. Thus he appeared to have grown more powerful.

Okay...maybe I was a bit more detailed than I wished to be, but that's the general story. Gandalf really did .

Posted by Tolman from England on June 4, 2007 11:18 AM

This article really cleared up my mind and helped me understand things a lot better. But there is one thing that is a little unclear to me. Could Dumbledore have, perhaps, not given Snape the DADA job for more than the reason that he was afraid of Snape going back to his 'old ways'? A number of times, Dumbledore has said to Harry, 'I trust Severus Snape completely." He did NOT say 'partly', or 'sort of'. He said 'completly' and that would mean that he COULD have given Snape the job. However, the job was jinxed, as we know, and so that might be why he did not give Snape the job because he did not want Snape gone by the end of the year. But then why did Dumbledore give him the DADA job, at the more crucial point in time, while Voldemort was gathering his followers once more and spreading chaos and destruction all over the place?

Posted by Lizzy on June 4, 2007 5:04 PM

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