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Snape Clues

by David Haber

These are the clues contained in the pages of Harry Pottter and the Half-Blood Prince which support the possibility that Snape is not really a Death Eater, has remained loyal to Dumbledore, and all through the book, Snape is working on Dumbledore's Orders.

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Reader Comments: (Page 27)

I doubt that Snape would have asked Voldemort to spare Lily. That would have sealed his own warrant and done her no good at all. I do think that once Snape realised where his information about the prophecy had led, that he was horrified at having put Lily so directly in the firing line. That was what made him go to Dumbledore and turn spy against Voldemort. Dumbledore says quite clearly that Snape changed sides before Voldemort fell. Snape had to have a motivation that Dumbledore could trust. Loving Lily would qualify. It's the one thing that Snape would not be able to fake well enough to fool Dumbledore. He could obviously hide it though from Voldemort. At some point he says something to Harry about fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves being easy prey for the Dark Lord. Slughorn says in relation to the love potion Amortentia, that it only create an obsession, that love cannot be imitated or faked. He also says that love can be dangerous.
I'm not entirely sure that Snape is directly out for revenge though. That's part of it, but more importantly I think he blames himself for Lily's , and desperately wants to redeem himself, to somehow make up for what he did.

As for Eileen and Voldemort - it's possible they knew each other at school. We know they were at school at about the same time. At the same time as Hagrid in fact. I'm working that out from the chronology. CS happens about fifty years after the first opening of the chamber. Harry discovers in HBP that the potions book is about fifty years old. Given that Eileen would have had it in sixth year we can assume she is only 3-4 years younger than Voldemort. Chances are she was in Slytherin. They probably knew each other, and I'm sure Tom would have used her quite happily despite her being younger. Given that Snape's father was a muggle, and he still came to the school already full of the Dark Arts it's reasonable to assume that he learnt them from his mother. I do wonder though what might have happened to Tobias Snape when his young son was old enough to do something about the way his mother was treated... I'm really hoping we find out a LOT more about Snape in ly Hallows. He's twisted and bitter, but in the end I'm sure he'll prove to have been deserving of Dumbledore's trust.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 16, 2007 04:29 AM

However, if Snape were to have asked Voldemort to spare Lily, then there would have been more motivation for Snape to turn against Voldemort. Voldemort also asked Lily that she could save herself, however she didnt. This however, hardly qualifies as sparing Lily!

Posted by Yash on March 16, 2007 11:38 AM

There is the possibility Snape loved Lily. I think she had a lot of the "love" force that Harry has and that is why there are so many references to Harry having "Lily's eyes", which are the mirror of the soul. That is also why she stood up to James to protect Snape, because she couldn't stand to see him bullied - the same way Harry felt. So Snape would have been mortified that he set Voldemort after Lily when he revealed the prophecy to him.

Snape also should have had some repercussion from the life- he owed James. To send Voldemort after James, too would have been a mortifying problem. Only Dumbledore seems to understand and recognize the power of the ancient magic that the life- represents. I think that is why JKR's writing is so universally understood. We all recognize the power in a mother sacrificing herself for her son (Lily), a boy endangering himself to save a classmate (James), a man risking his life today to enable someone in the future to truimph over an enemy (R.A.B.) In JKR's world these universally understood truths evoke a magical power that is triggered at the act and linger until the spell is broken.

So it be interesting to see if Lily's sacrifice ends when her baby becomes a man or if it last throughout his life (remember Dumbledore's gleam of triumph?). Would Snape's life- to James have ended with his life? Would it have ed Snape if Dumbledore hadn't intervened? So Snape might have had two very compelling reasons to go to Dumbledore for help when he saw the effect of his action - 1 to save Lily and 2 - to avoid the repercussion of his life- to James. And yes, Elizabeth he probably does blame himself, with good reason, for both of their s.

Posted by Raow from Petaluma, CA, USA on March 16, 2007 2:14 PM

Raow, I have no doubt that Snape loved Lily. I think that brief interaction between the two of them that we see in the pensieve in OOTP is very important, but it is deliberately overshadowed by Harry's reaction to James being less than perfect.
Snape loving Lily explains so much about the man's character. First there is the violence of his loathing of James - a mixture of sexual jealousy over Lily and guilt. Then there is his reaction to Harry. Every time he sees Harry he sees James - with Lily's eyes. He'd feel guilt, shame, the lot. It's an explosive mix. And yes, Dumbledore does understand all this. When Harry challenges him with the knowledge that it was Snape who overheard the prophecy and demands to know why Dumbledore trusts Snape, Dumbledore hesitates, before deciding not to tell Harry. I can well imagine that he would have hesitated to explain his reasoning to Harry for a couple of reasons. One, Harry probably would have reacted badly to that piece of information, and two, if Voldemort tried to pick information from Harry's mind again, that snippet would blow Snape's cover.

About the protection from Lily's sacrifice perhaps ending when Harry reaches adulthood - no, I don't think so. At the end of PS/SS Dumbledore says to Harry; "... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, give us some protection forever." The spell which Dumbledore invoked to make the Dursleys' house a safe haven for Harry end, but not this more elemental protection. That may have something to do with Dumbledore's gleam of triumph at the end of GOF - he knows Voldemort has made a mistake. It occurs to me that this is a major difference between Dumbledore and Voldemort. Dumbledore instinctively understands this elemental power based on love and loyalty. Voldemort doesn't. He has to operate with spells and incantations - things he can control. That's why he didn't take into account Lily having d for Harry. From what he says in Goblet of Fire he'd known about the possibility of that and had forgotten. I suppose we do tend to forget things that are unimportant to us, and also tend to underestimate them. I think Voldemort having used Harry's blood to regenerate may well backfire on him just as the original curse he used to try and Harry as a baby. Actually I have this weird idea that the failed curse is still bouncing about trying to work. The AK curse is supposed to be unblockable - it bounced off Harry, hitting Voldemort, but couldn't really him because of the horcruxes. Logically then, it's still out there trying to do its job... Okay, I did say it was a weird idea!

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 17, 2007 05:51 AM

Your comment about Tobias Snape's treatment of his wife made me wonder was it really Tobias in the memory that Harry saw, or was it Voldemort/Riddle.
If indeed it was Tobias, was there some reason having to do with Voldemort that Tobias was angry. Did Voldemort use Eileen and then cast her aside, sparking Severus' anger and desire for revenge against the Dark Lord. His beloved mother taken from him regardless of her dedication and talent in the service of evil, could motivate Severus to turn to Dumbledore in the interest of paying back Voldemort in her name.
We see how precarious is Bella's position with Voldemort, maybe she is the successor to Eileen, who did not measure up to Voldemort's judgement.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on March 17, 2007 08:29 AM

I am pretty sure that it was not Voldemort having a shouting match with Eileen. I dont believe Eileen would have the guts to shout at the dark lord no matter how mad she is. She would be just like all the other eaters. And one thing we know for sure is that Voldemort doesnt argue with or have shouting matches with anyone. If he is angered, someone s. If Eileen did something wrong or even Voldeomort did something wwrong and Eileen yelled at him, she would have been blasted to pieces.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on March 17, 2007 2:24 PM

I find it hard to believe that Eileen Prince was a Eater at all- let's remember who she was. Eileen Prince was Captain of the Gobstones Team. How many Eaters were on the Gobstones Team, let alone the Captain? Not very many, I would assume. So I don't think she was a Eater. I think that Snapes miserable life, (what with his parents always fighting, their neglection, and James and Padfoot didn't make it any better Im ashamed to say) was what sparked his Eater-ness; he didn't inherit it like Draco Malfoy did

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on March 17, 2007 7:15 PM

Patty, I chased up that scene. The man yelling at Snape's mother is described as hooknosed, as is Snape. So I think it probably is Snape's father. Also, Voldemort wouldn't waste energy yelling when he can use something like the Cruciatus curse, I suspect. Still, that was a great idea.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 17, 2007 8:56 PM

An anagram for Severus Snape is: Up Averseness
In the dictionary, it says averseness means "having a strong feeling of opposition, antipathy,"
Could this be the feeling that Snape had as he ed Dumbledore?

Posted by Dumbledore's Fan on March 18, 2007 07:25 AM

Thanks to everyone who helped clarify that scene with the Snape family.

Don't you think that someone who was underappreciated and in a loveless,difficult marriage would be flattered if the charming and powerful Tom Riddle came to her for her s with potions? Not only could she have been a Eater, she could have formulated the poison in the cave which Dumbledore drank.

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 19, 2007 05:56 AM

Patty, you are a genious. I do not believe she is a eater but I never even thought about her making the potion that Dumbledore drank. We all know how J.K. Rowling likes to link everything together. I think maybe Riddle had her under the imperius curse and made her make the potion. Kudos to you.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on March 19, 2007 07:51 AM

Elizabeth, I love the idea you posted about the ing curse bouncing around. I doubt it happen but that be a funny twist to put in there. I think it did its job on Voldemort. The thing is, he still bits of his soul outside of his body so he continued to live.If his sole was whole and inside of him he would have d like any other creature. But since he save his own life with the horcruxes he was able to live long enough for the biggest piece of his soul, the one inside his body that WAS destroyed by the curse, to be regenerated. Wormtail helped him restore that piece back to life. If the book and ring werent blown to pieces or torn or whatever, they would probably be repaired too. But they dont have every single piece to either to put it back together.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on March 19, 2007 11:26 AM

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