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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 33)

wikipedia says Alan Rickman (Snape) is one of the few who JKR has spoken to in regards to the direction of their character. If he knows more about Snape than us, though not his true allegence, surely this be reflected in his acting, giving us a hint.

Posted by mmc from sa on May 2, 2007 5:10 PM

I'm sorry but all of these clues could be interpreted the exact opposite way.

The exchange with Narcissa is not evidence that Snape is lying to them. He closes the shade because he doesn't want anybody listening in. Legilimency requires eye contact, so why would he walk over to the window if he wanted to read Narcissa's mind.

The only real clues, and perhaps he is lying, but the clues that are in this chapter all scream out that Snape is evil. In fact, this chapter answers all of the questions you asked in Snape's own words.

He explains that he didn't help Quirrell, because he thought he was just being greedy and didn't know about Voldemort.

I think we can accept Dumbledore's explanation of why he helped Harry: that he wanted to repay his to James and go on hating Harry.

He does in fact think that Harry is weak and lucky. He has not once said anything that would make us think that "Snape knows that Harry is a powerful wizard." He might know this in one sense, but his hatred of Harry is perfectly good enough reason to dismiss Harry's abilities and are not an example of his dishonesty to Narcisssa and Bellatrix.

Finally, every Snape supporter finishes with there sematical argument about Dumbledore's final words. As you claim, Dumbledore is not "someone who would beg to save his own life." I agree but of course there is another interpretation that goes along with these words and explains the hatred in Snape's eyes.

Could it be that Dumbledore was neither begging for his own life, nor asking Snape to him? I believe that he was asking Snape to live up to the forgiveness and trust that Dumbledore had put in him. He wanted Snape to be worthy of that trust. He probably realized at that moment what Snape had decided and he was begging him to reconsider, not to save himself, but to save Snape.

Finally, you didn't say this, but many have. If Dumbledore was wrong about Snape that doesn't make him any less trustworthy. In fact, Dumbledore is more admirable in my eyes, becuase he trusts when no one else , when everyone else would second guess. Snape's loyalty or treachery are of no consequence in my view of Dumbledore.

Look at an example from Christianity, is Jesus less trustworthy, because he hand picked the person who would betray him? In fact there are a lot of similarities between Judas and Snape, including a desire to revisit the question of where Judas' true loyalties lay.

Posted by Steve K from Chicago, IL on May 2, 2007 9:28 PM

People have mentioned that there might be a Narcissa/Snape relationship. However, I believe there is an age discrepancy. Narcissa is Bellatrix's sister and Bellatrix married Lestrange. But Lestrange was at school at the same time as Voldy.

(in Slughorn's memory regarding Horcruxes) "Good gracious, is that the time already?" said Slughorn. "You'd better get going, boys, or we'll all be in trouble. Lestrange, I want your essay by tomorrow or it's detention. Same goes for you, Avery.

This means that Bellatrix's husband was at school at the same as Voldy. We can therefore assume that she is aproximately the same age as Voldy (within about five years). We can also assume that Narcissa is approximately the same age as her sister and that she is within about 10 years of Voldy. People have deduced that Eileen Prince (Snape's mom) was about 3 years younger than Voldy. So she was, at most, 7 years older than Narcissa. Unless she gave birth to Snape before age 15, there is no possible romance between Narcissa and snape.

Posted by Geoffrey Martin-Noble from Seattle, WA on May 6, 2007 7:14 PM

Wow, the sketch of Prof. Snape is just as I've imagined him -- looking like Alice Cooper.

Posted by silent blythe from Mountaintop AZ on May 10, 2007 8:58 PM

Geoffrey Martin-Noble: There could be a Narcissa/Snape relationship. Lestrange, who was Voldemort's contemporary, could be the father of Bellatrix's husband; OR Bellatrix married a much older man (think Anna Nicole Smith and her 89-year-old oil tycoon husband); OR there's a large age difference between Bellatrix and Narcissa (Narcissa being a menopause baby).

There's a new book on the market, called "The Great Snape Debate". It gives arguments on both sides. Personally, I like the one that says Snape is on the good side, immature, and has a mean streak.

Posted by Linda from Fort Wayne, IN on May 11, 2007 10:59 AM

There is explanation that explains all 5 Snape Clues; Severus Snape is JAMES POTTER! He is using Polyjuice Potion to take the form as a master plan by Dumbledore to protect the true subject of the Prophecy, Neville Longbottom. Due to the Prophecy, Dumbledore knew that it the target was Neville and that he would not be able to survive to confront Voldemort until he was old enough. So he would need a diversion to survive long enough. That is where Harry comes in. Dumbledore, James and Lilly come up with a plan to make Voldemort (and everyone else) think Harry was the Chosen one; thereby, increasing Neville's odds of survival. As part of this plan Lilly and James fake their s (or use a Horcrux to restore their life). James takes Snape's place and Lilly is Crookshanks. With all three of these very powerful wizards around to help the young Harry, the decoy should be able to survive.

As to the 5 Snape Clues:

1. Snape Lies to Narcissa and Bellatrix... Twice. Snape/James is a spy and acts like one. He also acts like a father whose son's life is in danger when he is stunned by the news of Draco's plan.

2. What Hagrid Overheard. If you substitute James Potter for Severus Snape, this conversation makes more sense. The conversation is about Snape having to Dumbledore. As a Slytherin, the real Snape would need little convincing to do something hurtful for the fulfillment a plan.

3. No DADA Teacher Has Lasted More Than 1 Year. Since the job is cursed. Dumbledore would not want to give the job to Snape/James until it was time for him to go deeper undercover. That way he could look for an opportunity send Snape/James off with the best possible cover story.

4. Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover. In the scene described Snape/James is acting like father whom just found his son using an evil curse, Sectumsempra, on a classmate.

5. Severus... Please... Again this scene makes more sense if you substitute James for Severus. The anger on James/Snape's face is from the outrage of a friend that has been asked by another friend to him.

I believe that James/Snape did Dumbledore. But it was planned, just like James and Lilly's "s." I believe Fawkes the phoenix is Dumbledore's Horcrux and he be revived.

I can't wait until July to see if my theories hold water.

Posted by Steve Olson from Defiance, Ohio on May 11, 2007 9:26 PM

JKR has stated on her website that James is not alive!

Posted by mmc from sa, australia on May 12, 2007 6:42 PM

steve, though your idea has some merit and quite a lot of, uhh whats the word... originality? i have never heard this theory, and if JKR hadnt stated that James is not alive, then i might agree with your theory, except for one fact which is the making of the horcruxes by Dumbledore, James and Lily. as we learn, the making of a horcrux is not evil only because you have to someone (which can be done for a noble or good cause) but that it is also evil because it goes against nature to split a soul. i dont believe that any of them would do something like that.

Posted by Levi from Kansas, USA on May 14, 2007 6:46 PM

Another added wrinkle for Steve's idea: Based on the fact that Barty Crouch, Jr. had to keep the real Mad-Eye Moody alive (imprisoned in his own trunk) for 10 months to keep cutting his hair for Crouch's Polyjuice transformation, it would appear that Polyjuice requires the hair of a living individual. Otherwise, Crouch could simply have ed Moody, scalped him, and disposed of the rest of his body. So, if Polyjuice requires a living hair donor, where is the real Severus Snape? It stretches the imagination to believe that Dumbledore would have imprisoned Snape in order to perpetrate the Snape/James fraud upon the wizarding world. I certainly can't see Snape voluntarily wanting to help James to that extent!

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on May 16, 2007 4:16 PM

Does anyone else find it interesting that Snape is plying Bellatrix and Narcissa with "elf-made wine" from the time they arrive, and also drinking it himself... they all drain their glasses, he refills them, and later in the scene he pours still more for Narcissa and "forces the glass into her hand." Might this be some sort of potion that somehow negates or protects against the Unbreakable Vow, and maybe Snape isn't in fact held to it at all? Surely the wine has some relevance, as it's mentioned repeatedly throughout the chapter, does anyone agree?

Posted by christy from illinois on May 19, 2007 10:30 PM

Very good point, Christy! His being the potions master, I, personally, would be very suspect of any drink that Severus Snape handed me...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on May 20, 2007 3:49 PM

Why did Lily marry James when she really really disliked him? Could it be possible that Snape concocted a love potion for James so he could give it to Lily? Is that why Snape is so always so angry with Harry? Maybe it has something to do with tricking Lily when they were younger? Love potions play at big part in HBP and this must come in somewhere other than the current students testing them.

Posted by Sharon from Michigan on May 21, 2007 1:04 PM

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