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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 29)

I interpret that scene with the three missing eaters differently:
The cowardly one was Crouch Jr.-- why did he not find a way to slip away and return undetected once Harry and Cedric arrived at the graveyard and his arm burned with the mark. He was full of questions when Harry was in his office, as if he were uncertain of his reception.
The one who left forever was Karkaroff -- he s later
The one who was faithful and is at Hogwarts is Snape, who is believed to be loyal by Voldemort. Snape returned 2 hours later on Dumbledore's orders.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on March 24, 2007 10:47 AM

I have been thinking about it and I would have to agree with Barbi about Snape asking Voldemort to spare Lily's life. We know straight from Voldemort that he tried to spare Lily. He gave her the chance to move aside so he could Harry. However, he ed James without a second thought. He did not give James the same chance that he gave Lily. We know that Voldemort is not merciful towards his enemies(and obviously niether is Snape), so there had to be a reason he offered Lily the chance to live. One of his most faithful eaters must have begged him. When Lily was ed, Snape switched sides. He turned on his master out of anger and grief. When Voldemort ed Lily, Snape probably berrated himself for wearing his heart on his sleeve. He did not want Harry to do the same thing. This is why I found it ironic for Harry to learn Occlumency. For Occlumency you need to let go of all emotion but Dumbledore has always emphasized that Harry's ability to love and show such grief(referring to the meeting following Sirius's ) was his greatest strength. Oh well.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on March 25, 2007 4:53 PM

Wait a sec. Wasn't Voldemort LYING when he told Harry that his mother needn't have d? He was trying to convince Harry to give him the stone...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on March 25, 2007 5:15 PM

Apart from Voldemort telling Harry in PS/SS that Lily needn't have d, which could well have been a lie, in POA when Harry hears his parents' last moments because of the Dementors and Lupin's Boggart, he hears Voldemort saying, "Stand aside, you silly girl." So, yes, it seems likely that Voldemort didn't intend to Lily Potter. I'm not convinced though that it was because Snape asked Voldemort to spare her. Unless Voldemort has been unbelievably stupid about the power of love, surely that would be enough to blow Snape's cover? Unless of course Snape managed to disguise the request as something else. His revenge on James? But that seems a little out there for a children's book.
But still, why on earth would Voldemort not have just ed Lily anyway? It does sound like he didn't plan to her. It can't be that he discounted her for being female - just look at Bellatrix - possibly he discounted her for being muggle born. Seems unlikely though. There's something there. And yes, it could be that Snape asked him to spare her. Maybe Voldemort really is that stupid about love. And Snape is an even better Occlumens than we thought. If we assume that Snape was the Eater that Voldemort believed had left him forever (GOF graveyard scene), then there must have been something Voldemort believed had turned Snape against him. So maybe it was Snape asking for Lily to be spared.
Maybe Harry needs to meet another Dementor/Boggart, NOT do the Patronus Charm and find out more about what happened that night?

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 25, 2007 8:49 PM

I dont know if Voldemort was lying to Harry about that. I know he lied about being able to bring them back if Harry gave him the stone. I think he was trying to through in his face the fact that his mother could have lived. As for finally ing her, she was probably getting annoying to him and in the way. He didnt want to bother with any extra trouble. What else would a ruthless er with a mangled soul do when someone gets in his way.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on March 26, 2007 11:25 AM

"I was comin' outta the forest the other evenin' an' I overheard 'em talking -- well, arguin'.... I jus' heard Snape sayin' Dumbledore took too much fer granted an' maybe he -- Snape -- didn' wan' ter do it anymore... Dumbledore told him flat out he'd agreed ter do it an' that was all there was to it." (HBP pg 405/380)

This clue comes right out and tells us that Snape is following the orders of Dumbledore, although we now see whatever Snape has promised to do for Dumbledore is difficult or unpleasant.

what Snape has promised to do for Dumbledore, of course, is Dumbledore. It doesn't get any less pleasant than that.

Dumbledore hasn't pulled a Gandalf, he's pulled a Obewan Kenobe. The master must fall away such that the pupil can emerge from his shadow and shine.

Snape's a good guy with a tough role to play. (Though no 30 pieces of gold are required.)

Dumbledore's cleverly clear on this, "I trust Snape with my life." Indeed.

Posted by Jonathan from Silver Spring, MD on March 27, 2007 11:55 AM

Maybe Snape didn't so much ask Voldemort to spare Lily but somehow suggest that she could be turned to the Dark Side (sorry, just watched The Empire Strikes Back again).
Snape could have convinced him that Lily would be a ing eater and her talents would be useful to Voldemort.
We all know Snape is an expert liar and Legilemens. Voldemort would believe it in the way all egomaniacal leaders fall for the supposed adoration of their followers.
An added incentive would be the subversion of the mother of his fallen enemy.

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 27, 2007 12:16 PM

What about Snape when he confronted Quirrell/Voldemort in SS? If Snape was trying to find out what side Quirrell was on, and also did counter charms against Quirrels incantations, wouldn't Voldemort have known that Snape was not one of his followers, but working against him? (He was part of Quirrell, to say the least) And so how could Voldemort not know that Snape was a "double agent" all along? Voldmort must know that Snape is not one of his followers, so how can he trust him?

Posted by Sharon from Michigan on March 27, 2007 6:23 PM

Doesn't Snape tell Bellatrix and Narcissa in HBP that, at that time, everybody thought Voldemort was , and Snape was just acting as he needed to act and doing what he needed to do to protect his position at Hogwarts.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on March 27, 2007 7:08 PM

My inital reaction when reading HBP was "Snape's good, Dumbledore trusted him and that's good enough for me" and up until today, I have firmly believed it.

It has been nagging at me though that it is just too OBVIOUS, and JKR is too full of twists and turns, that a part of me thinks, despite all the "evidence" that Snape is good, that he must be bad.

What if Snape wants Voldemort , not because he is good, but because he wants Voldemort's power? He's done the double agent thing to keep both sides at bay, and has keep Harry alive as Harry is the only one who can Voldemort. Snape wants to be the new Voldemort.

I guess we won't really know until DH, but something to throw into the mix anyway!

Posted by Meredith from Sydney, Australia on March 28, 2007 12:28 AM

In the Spinners' End chapter of HBP Snape claims that he had no idea that Quirrel had anything to do with Voldemort because Voldemort, believing Snape had turned traitor against him, chose not to reveal himself.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 28, 2007 03:42 AM

Phew! That's quite some theory, Meredith from Sydney. It bears some thinking about. I'm not sure about how obvious it is though that Snape is good. I can think of any number of people I've mentioned that theory to, and they just look at me blankly and say, "But he ed DUMBLEDORE!" And I just slide back into my corner and shut up. For once. Most of the evidence could fit your theory as well. The only thing that I have a hitch with would be Dumbledore trusting Snape. Actually trusting him. And he apparently had an ironclad reason for doing so. Dumbledore was no fool. I don't think he gave absolute trust lightly. But yes, there is definitely the possibility that Snape is out for himself, which because there is that doubt about his motives, makes the whole thing that much more exciting. If Snape IS on the side of light and goodness, then Rowling has simply left enough ambiguity in the whole thing that we can't be sure until the last minute. Which do nicely for me! I haven't been this excited about the release of a book since HBP. And my husband and kids are just as bad.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 28, 2007 6:19 PM

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