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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 30)

[Note: page numbers refer to the US editions]

During the later Occlumency lessons, when Snape appears to DIRECT Harry's mind farther and farther into the past (OotP 589-590), is he hoping to access Harry's memory of his parents' , possibly to discover if a "mystery Eater was in Godric's Hollow with Voldemort? Could Snape suspect someone who isn't already a known Eater, someone presumed to be on the good side, above and beyond suspicion? One character who fits the profile of the perfect double-agent working ultimately for Voldemort is Remus Lupin. While Lupin couldn't betray the Potters, not being their Secret-Keeper, as a member of the Order he was positioned to pass secret information to Voldemort. Even Sirius had suspected Lupin was the spy, until Wormtail betrayed Lily and James (POA 469).

A noteworthy detail in the Shrieking Shack scene shows Lupin and Sirius rolling up their sleeves, preparing to Wormtail (POA 469). When Lupin bares his arms, no Dark Mark is visible, but rather than proving his innocence, the absence of the Dark Mark actually raises a question about Lupin's loyalties, since the PERFECT spy would be completely undetectable as Voldemort's. In contrast, Snape, branded with the Dark Mark, is considered suspect by BOTH sides. What better foil than Snape to distract the Order's attention from the true double-agent in their midst?

Lupin's motivations could be as simple as those of other werewolves who hope for "a better life" under Voldemort's rule (HPB 334). When even Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of the age, can't guarantee reasonable job security to a highly-educated, extremely competent werewolf, you feel Lupin's desperation, living under the Ministry's restrictions, a victim of perpetual discrimination. Although bitten, psychologically Lupin remains HUMAN, subject to any human weakness, including choosing to side with Voldemort to destroy the system which punishes him unjustly. The insult Snape levels at Tonks' new werewolf Patronus, calling it "weak" (HBP 160), could be a CLUE concerning Lupin. Lupin himself tells Tonks that he's "too dangerous" for her (HBP 624)--he might well be referring to something beyond his werewolf condition. And to Harry, about working underground among his fellow werewolves, Lupin says, "Dumbledore wanted a spy and here I was...ready-made" (HBP 334).

The closer you examine Lupin, the more clues surface which indicate there could be a darker side to his character, though when taken at face value, these same "clues" appear totally innocuous and arouse no suspicion. Now, heading into the final battle against the Dark Side, with Wormtail outed and Snape gone AWOL, the Order may believe that their secret plans are safe, but if Lupin (unlike Snape) is the TRUE double-agent, Voldemort remain a step ahead of the Order, even as they work to defeat him.

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on March 29, 2007 11:37 AM

Hi Elizabeth, I agree, the biggest hitch is that Dumbledore trusted Snape. I am to know what the iron clad reasoning behind this trust is, we all have our theories, but am sure JKR throw us a curve ball. And I do ultimately trust Dumbledore�s judgement. Although, I found it interesting that in OOP JKR showed us for the first time that Dumbledore wasn�t infallible. He did have an error in judgement. I think a big reason that the disaster in the Department of Mysteries happened was because of Dumbledore�s lack of disclosure to Harry. He himself confesses that he acted as a �fool who loves would act� and protected Harry from the truth, had Harry known the truth, he wouldn�t have rushed off to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius, and it was for the first time I thought �Dumbledore isn�t perfect�, so maybe this is a small pathway to Dumbledore being wrong about Snape? I personally don�t think so, I think there is a massive reason that DD trust Snape, but I think it�s interesting to ponder about anyway.

I haven�t re-read HBP yet, but I thought (referring back to the idea that Snape wants Voldemort�s power) that Snape�s title of �Prince� could perhaps not only refer to his mother's maiden name, but also his aspirations of grandeur and power? Who would believe that the greasy haired, Potions nerd could be the �greatest wizard of all time�? Perhaps Snape has been biding his time and is seeking to reek his revenge on all those that have taunted him all his life?

Just a theory�I still think Snape is good�

Nancy, love the Lupin theory. Am certain that JKR have one more Order betrayal for us to deal with!

Posted by Meredith from Sydney, Australia on March 29, 2007 5:41 PM

What if Mundungus Fletcher is the other spy? What if Voldemort found out his horcrux was in the Black's house and offered Mundungus a lot of money to get the locket back for him. Mundungus would not be able to tell Voldemort where No. 12 Grimauld Place is but he can tell Voldemort that he, Mundungus, is able to get in. Just as Snape did with Bella and Narcissa. He was able to tell them, and Voldemort, that he had access to the place but could not say where it was as he is not the secret keeper. This is going off the brilliant idea that there may be another traitor in our midst.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on April 3, 2007 06:19 AM

I don't have my HBP book in front of me, Marc, but I think I remember Harry telling Dumbledore about Mundungus stealing Sirius' stuff, and Dumbledore said he'd deal with the situation. I don't recall if he had the chance to follow up on it, but Dumbledore might have worked some sort of magic to deny further entry of 12 Grimmauld Place to Mundungus, even if he couldn't retrieve the stolen items.

Further to my post about Lupin, I've noticed a couple of new clues: In POA in the Shrieking Shack, Sirius states TWICE that he'd before betraying his friends, but Lupin NEVER does. Also, in OotP in the battle in the Department of Mysteries, we NEVER see Lupin engaged in active combat against named Eaters, as we do other Order members. Lupin comes in with the Order, and he restrains Harry from pursuing Sirius through the veiled archway at the end. However, in the middle of a HIGHLY-DETAILED battle scene, the only other reference to Lupin is when he jumps between Lucius Malfoy and Harry and Neville to shield the boys.

Snape, as the presumed double-agent, had the easy out: Dumbledore ordered him not to go. But whom does Lupin fight, if he is actually Voldemort's spy? We're not shown--a DELIBERATE OMISSION!

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on April 3, 2007 4:21 PM

Lupin is not on Voldemort's side. There is evidence to support this. If Lupin is in league with Voldemort, why would he teach Harry the Patronus charm? Wouldn't he want Harry to suffer at the hands of a dementor? And in the third book Lupin refers to Voldemort by his name.

On page 593 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (US edition), Harry asks why Snape refers to Voldemort as the Dark Lord. Harry says that he has only heard Eaters call him the Dark Lord. Before Snape could answer Harry they were interrupted by the sacking of Professor Trelawney. So this could be a clue that Snape is not on the good side. However I hope that he is on the good side though.

Because of Harry's claim that only Voldemort's followers refer to him as the Dark Lord wouldn't Lupin have refered to Voldemort as the Dark Lord as well? Has there ever been an instance when a follower of Voldemort called him by his name?

And if Lupin is a follower of Voldemort why did he want to Wormtail in the Shrieking Shack? Or was it by Voldemort's request that Lupin the cowards that deserted Voldemort?

So Lupin is truly on the good side.

Posted by Robert from California on April 4, 2007 8:39 PM

Here's some more:

After captured by Umbridge when Harry attempts to talk to Sirius through her fireplace, she calls in Snape for a bottle of Veritaserum. Snape says he doesn't have any. Umbridge goes on to tell him that Lucius Malfoy always spoke highly of Snape. Now why would Malfoy speak highly of the enemy? Surely he must know that Dumbledore trusts Snape and that Snape is on Dumbledore's side.

Posted by Robert from California on April 5, 2007 12:15 PM

I think Robert's arguments reflect exactly the way JKR WANTS us to read the series. She's set up the greater picture so we wouldn't suspect Lupin could be anything but good and completely loyal to Dumbledore. However, once I began looking for evidence to prove Lupin wasn't a double-agent, I kept finding evidence which indicates that he really COULD be one. The scene where he teaches Harry the Patronus Charm is one of those. If you read it believing Lupin is good, a scene unfolds where his concern is for Harry's welfare alone. However, if you read it from the viewpoint that Lupin is on the Dark Side, you can see he hesitates to continue the lesson for fear of what Harry MIGHT REALLY REMEMBER about the night his parents d-- he hear something indicating Lupin himself was present?

I actually don't believe Lupin wants Harry ; in fact, he says so in the Shrieking Shack, as "an odd shiver" passes over his face. (The odd shiver might be interpreted as his remembering seeing Voldemort's attempt to Harry.) He does all he can to repeatedly help and protect Harry through several books. But that alone doesn't mean he can't be a spy for Voldemort.

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on April 5, 2007 2:20 PM

I think that snape was on both sides. i think that he might of been staying at hogwarts so he could save his skin and vice versa (him spying for voldemort). But if that is true like some one mentioned earlier you have to mean the curses for them to be affective. if snape was good then the curse wouldnt work, unless he meant it because of the unbreakable vow he made with narcissa. but again if he was good he wouldnt have made the vow in the first place.

Posted by shawnna from chillicothe ohio on April 8, 2007 11:40 AM

OH NO! I'm reading HBP for the fourth time and I just came across something that REALLY spoils many of my expectations for DH--namely, I'd anticipated seeing Harry having to work (however hostilely) with Snape to locate, de-curse, and destroy the Horcruxes. I just didn't see how Harry would be able to manage all that, even with help from Hermione and Ron. (Think about Dumbledore's hand.) The situation begs for the talents of a Dark-savvy wizard. However, JKR seems to have established a way for our favorite underage, unqualified, high-school-dropout wizard to CHEAT his way to finding the Horcruxes: Filch's Secrecy Sensor. Look how it's described: "Secrecy Sensors detect jinxes, curses, and concealment charms... They're used to find Dark Magic and Dark Objects. They'd have picked up a powerful curse, like the one on that necklace, within seconds" (HBP 307). Based on what we saw Dumbledore do in the cave, the Secrecy Sensor seems qualified to do just about everything to locate the Horcruxes.

I have to admit, I'm seriously DISAPPOINTED! Given the well-established dynamics between Harry and Snape, I could see their working relationship as tense, dramatic, and exciting. But using a Secrecy Sensor to locate Horcruxes is the equivalent of Harry's using the Prince's Advanced Potion-Making textbook to succeed in Slughorn's class. Whatever JKR may toss into the mix to make it SEEM exciting, it FEELS more like Harry using a metal-detector to find pennies on a playground. Of course, the Secrecy Sensor can't de-curse or destroy the Horcruxes, so Snape may play a small role in that respect, but I'm so TICKED on the whole! I was expecting--HOPING for--so much more.

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on April 10, 2007 10:16 AM

If snape is indeed acting on Dumbledore's orders when he s him, and is still undercover as a -eater, then 2 possibilities exist:

1) SNAPE ALONE KNOWS THE TRUTH: in which case, snape must be working pro-actively (as RAB had done) to counter Voldemort. This means that he must, as well as keeping his cover, go on missions to expose -eaters, or destroy horcruxes or something. If he alone knows that he is good, and he is not working pro-actively to destroy voldemort, there is no point in him actually being "good" beyond dumbledore's .

2)SNAPE IS PASSING ON INFORMATION ABOUT VOLDEMORT AND THE DEATH-EATERS: in which case, who is running him; who knows the truth? If he is maintaining cover, and passing on information, then someone must be receiving this information and acting on it (and they must therefore know snape's true allegiance). who?!? I very much doubt whether it is Tonks, McGonagall, Lupin or Bill, as they seem genuinely surprised and fought against the -eaters. If i were dumbledore i would not be able to trust hagrid not to let something slip to harry etc (as he has so frequently done). I cannot see it being the Weasley parents either. It is possible that it is Moody or Shaklebolt, as they seem to be highly accomplished Aurors, with mysterious features. they are however, mentioned very little in HBP and so i cannot see it being them either. Aberforth is a possibility. I don't know... any suggestions?

I did (and still do believe) that Snape is working for the forces of good, and that he ed dumbledore on D's orders. I do however, feel that finding the nature of Snape's current masquerade (alone or reporting?) is the key to determining the possibility of his true allegiance.

Posted by Jim from LEICS, England on April 10, 2007 3:33 PM

I don't think that Snape is on both sides and playing for himself. I think that there can only be one person on both sides, and this person is Harry. Of course, Harry choose the good side: he remain fidel to Dumbledore, as much as he is at the end of HBP. But the prophecy is clear: Harry is the only one who can decide by himself if Voldemort's future is triumph or defeat.

If Snape was on both sides, with the choice of helping or betraying Voldemort, Snape would be the Chosen One, the one who can vainquish Voldemort.

SO, I think that for some good reason (and I incline to think it has to do with Lily's eyes, and maybe somehow with a life towards Harry or James), Snape must be on the good side.

When did Snape betrayed Voldemort? Wasn't it a short time after Harry's birth? For sure, it was after the prophecy was released (less than one month before Harry's birth) and before Harry was attacked.

If Snape betrayed just after Harry's birth, then it probably has to do with Harry. And the reason why he betrayed is the reason why he has to remain fidel to Harry and protect him.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on April 11, 2007 02:41 AM

I think snape is on the good side, i think dumbledore found snape more important than dumbledore because he could provide harry with inside information as to what is happening with the eaters and voldemorts plans. That is why when snape told him what he had to do, which was to dumbledore, dumbledore said that he has to do it and that is why snape and dumbledore are fighting in the woods when hagrid hears him and says that snape could not do such a task.
But he had to do it as he was left with no choice, but i think dumbledore would have told snape not to tell this to harry but convey messages to him in a different way. I think snape keep encountering Harry in the seventh book pretending to battle him but indirectly preparing him for the future and indirectly giving him hints of what is to come. I think snape provide as a messenger in a different manner and teach harry new things without him realising what snape is doing. I personally feel snape would be more handy than dumbledore because of this reason and because of this he was forced or compelled to dumbledore and the theory of Severus please explains it all Dumbledore is requesting snape to him because he is more of help to harry than dumbledore is now and he would not want to risk Snape's life at that point of time.

Posted by Arjun Srivastava from Mumbai, Maharashtra on April 13, 2007 11:25 AM

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