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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 34)

so i was just thinking about the whole half-blood prince thing. could it be possible that Voldemort is the half-blood prince? because snape could have very well been lying about him being the half-blood prince, and harry says the book was from about 50 years ago, and when the chamber of secrets was opened the first time, harry is told, in his second year, that it had been opened for the first time about 40 years ago. so given time inaccuracies, would voldemort have been at the school at the same time the book was? i realize that his pride might refrain him from merely calling himself a "prince" but the book also introduces levicorpus, a spell which seems to be of very large popularity among the eaters, therefore, maybe its popular because voldemort invented it?

Posted by Levi from Olathe, KS on May 21, 2007 2:01 PM

Another clue is in the handwriting and the dark spells like sepumsempra. You would think Harry had seen enough handwriting of Snape's (like potion instructions and ingrents on a chalkboard, parchment, etc.) to be able to pick it out as his. I bet we can all remember the handwriting of several teachers we once had, both good and bad.

Posted by Dave Porter from New Mexico on May 21, 2007 7:02 PM

Levi - I don't agree that Severus was lying about being the Half-Blood Prince. I thought it must be him due to that 1) it's a Potions book, and 2) the cramped writing in the margins compares to Severus' writing on his DADA O.W.L. exam paper. Hermione says that she found out the book belonged to his mother, though, and Eileen could definitely have been at Hogwarts while Tom Riddle was there.

As I recall there are no time discrepancies in Chamber of Secrets. "A date some fifty years previous" is on the cover of the diary. Further, Levicorpus was introduced in Goblet of Fire, and appears in Order of the Phoenix, and it is only in Half-Blood Prince that we are supplied with its name.

Posted by Monkeeshrines from Orlando FL on May 22, 2007 06:19 AM

I think Snape has now chosen the Dark side. I think he wanted to stay on the good side but struggled too much with all this personal hatred and loathing of Harry Potter, and some others. Seriously, someone who so delights in bullying and "torturing" students, particularly one student, i.e. Harry, cannot be good. He seems to have not an ounce of sympathy for Harry's situation, being both parentless - partially thanks to Snape! - and guardian-less as well.

Maybe Snape stayed on Dumbledore's side for a while because he owed him, but if he's now paid his due, there's no reason for him to stay in the Order of the Phoenix. I think, ultimately, Snape is just out for himself. I don't think he's beyond redemption, though.

Posted by Frauke from London, UK on May 22, 2007 10:19 AM

Why was Snape the only one to respond to Harry using the sectumsumpra curse and how did he respond so fast? Is he watching over Harry, Malfoy, or both?

Another thing is the first DADA lesson of the year they are practicing nonverbal spells. When Snape criticizes Ron's abilities he goes to give an example. He turns on Harry so fast that Harry instinctively shouts out a counter curse. Snape is furious but DOES NOT PUNISH HARRY AT ALL. I think he was secretly impressed and pleased that Harry's reaction time was so good. Naturally, he did frown upon Harry shouting the spell instead of doing it nonverbally.

Snape is truly teaching them how to defend themselves against Voldemort and his army of eaters and magical creatures. Everyone says Lupin was a great teacher and he was. But the best thing he taught them was how to deal with boggarts (or in Harry's case, dementors). But he went on to cover Hinkypunks and grindylows and other pointless creatures. He was not preparing them for real dangers like Snape was.

Posted by Marc Silverman from Arizona on May 22, 2007 11:12 AM

Marc - Great observations! I, too, wondered about Severus' reaction time to the Sectumsumpra scene, but I had completely overlooked the fact that he didn't punish Harry for "disobeying him" as he has done before. He may have simply been too furious and intent on punishing Harry for his cheek, though.

Yes, Severus does teach them more advanced defensive spells and Remus pretty much only has them study dark creatures, but keep in mind the differences in the two time frames:

Remus taught Harry & co. in the third year, Severus teaches them in a sixth year NEWT class. Since we really don't know what Remus taught to his older students, nor do we know what Severus was authorized to teach to his younger students, it is unfair to compare them. Would you teach the same level to a high school class and a college class? I would hope that the college students would find a high school curriculum too trivial and simplified, and the high schoolers would find a college level class too hard to understand.

Furthermore, when Remus taught, the worst that was going on was Sirius Black being at large, and at that time the only one really in trouble was Harry. It would not be prudent to dedicate an entire lesson plan for the whole class when there is no danger to them. ("Moody" was brought in the next year because Albus feared that the students would need to protect themselves in the near future.) By the time Severus finally got the DADA job, the wizarding world was in a state of open warfare. Basically, there was no "real danger" to protect themselves from when Remus was teaching, but there was definitely a threat, especially with student's parents being found here and there (poor Hannah Abbott), when Severus was teaching.

Posted by Monkeeshrines from Orlando FL on May 22, 2007 4:05 PM

Until I read HP6 I just thought Snape was one of those horrible teachers some people get stuck with, needless to say I was shocked at certain moments in HP4 and HP6. I then thought Snape was evil, until I found this site and its great articles. Over the last few weeks, however, there seems to be a swing in peoples beliefs to Snape's true allegience, and just as I'm convinced he's good, I'm not so sure. Whatever the outcome in HP7, I've enjoyed reading everyones thoughts.

Posted by mmc from sa, australia on May 23, 2007 04:05 AM

The reason Snape responds so fast to the sectumsempra curse is because of the unbreakable vow. He has to protect Malfoy. If Malfoy had d as a result of sectumsempra, Snape would have d as a result of the unbreakable vow...this is why Snape is so angry...Harry nearly destroys the whole plan by accident.

Posted by Joe from England on May 24, 2007 4:44 PM

I believe Snape was ordered by Dumbledore to him. I also believe with Joe about why Snape reacted so quickly to the sectumsempra. Dumbledore knew that Snape would , and being the generous and kind man he was, letting someone him for a purpose would have been "a great adventure". Snape's face was full of hatred because of what Dumbledore told him to do, not that he hated Dumbledore.

Posted by Tazkia from London, England on May 28, 2007 12:11 PM

Apart from agreeing with Tazkia, I think Snape is a very tragic hero. Fighting a good course, filled with love, but not recognized as such before he s. This implies that I expect him to in part 7.

I got to this conclusion by combining the following facts:
1) Dumbledore trusts Snape. 2) The power Voldemort does not know is love. So the only reason Dumbledore must trust Snape is because Snape experiences or experienced a strong love for somebody else. Now, we know that (3) Snape regrests that Harry's parents are ed.

My thought is that Snape was badly in love with Harry's mother, Lily Evans. This explains maybe why the memory of Lily saving Snape was in the pensieve. There must have been hundreds of memories where James and Sirius were teasing Snape, but Snape chose this one as the one that Harry should not find out. Of course, Snape is jelling in that scene that he does not want support from a Mudblood, but people in love may not want to disclose their true feelings.
Other clues for my view:
a) Lupin remarks, when discussing Lily with Harry, that she had the power to see beauty in something/somebody very ugly. (I forgot the exact phrasing). The reader is lead to believe at that time that this refers to Lily appreciating Lupin. I, however, think it refers to Lily appreciating Snape.
b) Slughorn remarks on Lily's mother something like 'who could not love her'. And he keeps repeating that Lily was good at potions. Snape must have at least liked her for that.
c) Dumbledore keeps repeating that love is a very powerful magical force, but he does not explain exactly how this force would work. My guess is that is protects people from ing each other. Lily's love protects Harry, for example. Now, Harry has Lily's eyes and somehow, despite all his dislike and hate for Harry, Snape does not seem to be able to Harry. I guess that Harry's eyes, which are Lily's eyes, stop him from doing this.
d) All these great magical powers leave traces behind. In that view, it would be impossible to grow over a strong and deep puppy love, like Snape must have experienced.

So, concluding it all, I think Dumbledore is on his own orders ('To a well organized mind, is but a new adventure', or something like that, wasn't it?). But Snape did not enjoy ing him. And Snape is unable to Harry, because Snape was in love with his mother.

Posted by Marieke from Netherlands on June 3, 2007 2:11 PM

Another snape-clue?

This clue is from when Voldemort has failed ing Harry Potter in the 4th book book, and Barty Crouch (apearing to be Moody) tries du take the matter into his own hands, and drags Harry into his office, but is stopped from ing Harry by Snape, McGonnagall, and Dumbledore.

"Harry, still staring at the place where Moody's face had been, saw Albus Dumbledore, Professor Snape and Professor McGonaall looking back at him out of the Foe-Glass."

and not much later:

"Snape followed him, looking into the Foe-Glass, where his own face was still visible, glaring into the room."

and even once more, when they give Barty Crouch ruth Potion:

"Dumbledore got up, bent over the man on the floor, and pulled him into sitting position against the wall beneath the Foe-Glass, in wich the reflections of Dumbledore, Snape and McGonnahall were still glaring down upon them all."

Is Snape being showed in Barty's Foe-Glass, a clue for Snape being on Dumbledoores side? Might not be, because Barty is angry with all the Eaters who havent tried finding Voldemort, or because the Foe-Glass might not necceseraly show the ones that ARE the owners enemies, but the ones the owners think are his foes. But it's worth thinking over, isn't it?

Posted by Tor from �s, Norway on June 4, 2007 1:47 PM

I've been considering Snape's memories in the Pensieve, and while we've only been shown one of the three, I think I can guess what the other two may be. At first glance, it would seem apparent that Snape intended to hide the memory which Harry sees from Harry himself, given that it concerns Harry's parents, among others. But that doesn't give much to go on for figuring out the remaining memories. However, if you focus NOT on the content but on WHY Snape was hiding the memories, the three memories could work out like this:

I believe that the memory that Harry sees is not necessarily hidden specifically from Harry; Snape would have concealed that memory from ANY student he happened to teach Occlumency to, since Hogwarts is not known for keeping secrets: if one person knows, the whole school know. For any student to accidentally blunder into that memory in Snape's mind would seriously undermine his reputation as the most feared authority figure at Hogwarts.

Secondly, if Dumbledore had Snape make an Unbreakable Vow with him as a condition for offering his protection to Snape and giving him a teaching position at Hogwarts, Snape couldn't risk Harry's accessing that memory, in case Voldemort "saw" it while infiltrating Harry's mind. (As we see in the Spinner's End scene, Snape can explain away everything Bellatrix asks him [which he says Voldemort has already asked him], but witnessing an Unbreakable Vow with Dumbledore would prove Snape is actually working against Voldemort.)

If the first memory is something hidden from students in general, and the second must be concealed from Voldemort, then it stands to reason that the third memory WOULD be hidden specifically from Harry. Even if Snape himself didn't choose to hide it, Dumbledore probably ordered him to do so, because the one thing Dumbledore NEVER wanted Harry to know was that Snape was the person who overheard the prophecy and took it to Voldemort, resulting in Lily's and James' s. Based on the information in the first six books, these are my three best guesses!

Posted by Nancy from Virginia on June 4, 2007 3:56 PM

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