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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It

Post  Lady Arabella Thu May 26, 2011 8:57 pm

The following is an archive of material originally posted on the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum, hosted by World Crossing, which ceased operations on April 15, 2011

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Last edited by Lady Arabella on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:27 pm; edited 14 times in total
Lady Arabella
Lady Arabella

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 1 to 25

Post  Lady Arabella Thu May 26, 2011 8:58 pm

The Unbreakable Vow ... and Why Snape Took It

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Abracapocus - Aug 23, 2005 2:00 pm

Edited by Kip Carter May 21, 2007 8:13 am

Based on the information we have, I have personally ruled out a few ideas, but we have not with any degree of certainty come up with why Snape took the Unbreakable Vow. Even when looking at each possible reason, each one has its own questionable aspects.

*How does the Unbreakable Vow work?

*What is the purpose of the bonder?

*What determines whether the vow taker has succeeded or failed?

*Why did Snape allow (or guide) the conversation toward the Unbreakable Vow?

*Did Snape know what he was agreeing to do when taking the vow?

*What made his hand twitch?

*Did Dumbledore know about the vow?

Did he take it in support of Voldemort? or for Dumbledore and the Order? or for Draco or the Malfoys? or did he have his own agenda?

“Oh no, not another Snape thread!” Well, yes and no. This thread is for discussing all things related to the Unbreakable Vow.

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Puck - Aug 23, 2005 6:09 pm (#1 of 398)

Had to come here when I realized I would have the first post!

Okay, I actually wonder whether Snape really knew what Draco's assignment was when he agreed to make the vow. That would make his hands twitch, not knowing what it was he was agreeing to do. I'm sure Bella's presence had something to do with it. He needed to prove his loyalty, especially if he WAS really working for the Order.

I'm guessing that he said he knew what Draco's mission was although he didn't in an attempt to get Narcissa to say what the mission was. He had already stated that Narcissa should not tell anything LV had asked her not to say. (Clever move, asking her NOT to tell, then trying to trick her into doing the same.) He made the vow to get the information, as well as to look good for Bella. Making this vow also gives him an excuse to be looking over Draco's shoulder.

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Madame Librarian - Aug 23, 2005 6:35 pm (#2 of 398)
Edited Aug 23, 2005 7:40 pm

When I first read that Draco had an "assignment" from Voldemort, I immediately thought it was to kill Harry. When Snape takes the vow is it possible that's what he assumed the mission would be? I mean, it's really a stretch for anyone to think a 16-year old boy, not known to be anything extraordinary when it comes to magical ability, could take on someone of the stature and brilliance of DD.

I've always felt that Snape's hatred of Harry is not an act. Whether Snape is good or bad, his feelings for Harry (and James, etal.) are not in any way put on. So, if he figures that the special task Draco has is to get Harry out of the way, he could take that vow. Evil? Sure. But, there would be a certain hate-driven logic to Snape thinking that he would still be true to DD (if indeed he was on the good side). Maybe in his own mind he could separate Harry and DD, see them as two distinct targets, obscuring the obvious truth that DD would never see it that way.

Snape could rationalize taking the vow with the idea that even though Harry might be gone from the big picture, there still would be the struggle between the DEs and the Order, DD and Voldemort. And he could further rationalize that Draco was most likely quite capable of defeating/killing/eliminating a rival of the same age and approximate skill so Snape's intervention would not even be necessary.

It is possible that Snape does not realize the actual task Draco must accomplish till nearly the end. At that point he's in too far and DD knows it. There is silent communication (legilimency or code, something like that) between the two that forces Snape into the action he takes, if, that is, you think he was still on the good side. Or, in the Snape-is-evil scenario, he realizes what Draco's real task was, and, though shocked at the stupidity of such an assignment, takes steps to both live up to the vow and effect the outcome to the advantage of the Dark side.

Sorry, a bit muddled on my part.

Ciao. Barb

EDIT--Just realized that Snape probably did know that DD was the target earlier than the very end. He and Draco did have a number of sessions together in private, didn't they? It would be surprising if Draco had not let out what his task was. I guess it's remotely possible that they spoke and plotted with one thinking "DD," and the other thinking "Harry." Thin ice, there, though. I suppose the real point is that when Snape made the vow, he was thinking Harry=target.

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septentrion - Aug 23, 2005 11:33 pm (#3 of 398)

Snape must have realised early what Draco's task was, at least after the necklace incident.

I think Snape didn't have any enthusiasm at the idea to make an unbreakable vow but Bella's presence, and perhaps genuine affection for Narcissa, convinced him to. Remember his impassive face when Narcissa asked for the vow : why would he be so caring as to show no feeling, no emotion at that precise moment ? Then Bella mocked him, saying he was going to slither out of the vow. Snape made a bet, did the vow and lost. He sure knew he lost when Narcissa asked her last question, and the impassive Snape couldn't help but twitch his hand.

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Abracapocus - Aug 24, 2005 3:29 am (#4 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2005 4:31 am

Madam L, Now I remember briefly thinking that Draco was supposed to kill Harry in my first read, but something quickly changed my mind and I forgot the idea. I can see Snape thinking that Draco could perform that task even if others believed he would probably fail. I can see others thinking he may fail due to Harry's actions during the battle at the Ministry.

I think he would have changed his mind about the target once Katie Bell was cursed by the necklace though. Do you think if Snape believed Harry was the target that Snape shared this information with Dumbledore? In this theory, did he tell Dumbledore about the vow?

My current thoughts do agree somewhat with septentrion's in that I think that it had to do with caring for Narcissa and the Malfoy family. I believe, as Narcissa and Bellatrix pointed out, that Voldemort trusts Snape. I beleive Voldemort did not let Snape know of the plan because of his association with the Malfoys.

I am not so sure that Bella's taunting would have influenced him though. He had LV's trust. Her opinion really wouldn't matter to him. I could be really wrong on that one though.

I think Snape’s hand twitched because he knew that no matter what the deed was, Voldemort wanted Draco to do it. If Draco failed and Snape did it, the deed actually having been carried out would have no bearing on the consequences Draco would face in his next little chat with Voldemort.

Was Dumbledore the target, as the Death Eaters on the tower implied, or was Draco's real purpose getting the Death Eaters into the school?

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haymoni - Aug 24, 2005 3:40 am (#5 of 398)

I think he was more than willing to vow to watch over Draco and to protect Draco, but twitched when he realized what Narcissa was going to ask of him next.

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loopy4loopin - Aug 24, 2005 4:50 am (#6 of 398)

Thats what I think too, and I think he started off doing it partly out of affection for Narcissa, partly to prove himself to Bella and then couldn't stop half way.

I see the sequence of events as:

1. The unbreakable vow

2. Snape tells Dumbledore

3. DD gets Harry who convinces Slughorn to become potions master, realising the end is near

4. Snape becomes DADA teacher

5. DD tries to convince Snape to carry out the vow and kill him

6. Snape tried to find out HOW Draco plans to kill DD in order to thwart his plans and thus protect Draco without having to kill DD

etc until when Draco could not kill DD, Snape had to according to his vow. Hence we see him walk in, take in the situation and realise that if HE does not kill DD then someone else will and the last person apart from DD who can take on LV (Snape) will be dead as well as DD.

Basically, I think that the terms of the vow are such that unless Snape personally carries out the task that Draco fails to, he will die.

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Good Evans - Aug 24, 2005 4:52 am (#7 of 398)

I agree with haymoni, I thought that Snape genuinely wants to ensure that Draco does not fall to the dark arts, perhaps he sees himself in Draco?? who knows. And he was keen to help protect him and maybe help him to see the right thing to do, but it would take great stealth, he could hardly say to Draco, you dont have to do this you know, you could side with DD.

Draco was seduced by the power and it is redemption that Snape was hoping to achieve. I also beleive that DD had guessed this might happen, and had discussed with Snape the tactics. "If they come to you, agree to it, yes even if it means that you will agree to kill me to save him". I had assumed all along that malfoy's target was DD and I am sure DD knew it would be the case. LV would want him out of the way, adn would send someone, Malfoy seemed quite an obvious target, this year or next. DD thinks through and plans in advacne. he may have been surprised it happened so quickly.

LV will not send another after Harry, of that I am most sure. He has heard at least part of the prophecy and is following it. He will want to be the one to destroy "the chosen one". So I don’t think that DD really thought that would happen, and therefore Snape knew the target all along even if Draco did not confide.

I agree that in Bella's presence the vow has even more tactical advantage. She does not trust Snape and she is thrown by this. DD needs Snape in the DE mix, he is acting out his orders from DD and the order. Deep undercover and having to prove this to the DE in order to blow them from inside.

He has two missions - one concerns Draco - bring him back if yu can - it is possible - We have now seen Draco is no killer, he could not finish DD, and also bring about the end of LV by spying for the order. Both were served by the vow.

The wording is quite clear and I suspect that they are broken by magic if a clear breach of the vow occurs. IE - it would need to be very clear that Snape has acted against the protection of Daco in order for the vow to be broken, interpretations - "well that may have been against Draco, depends on how you look at it" I don’t think are enough to break it.

I am keen to know who else has taken these and who's are still in force. I believe there may have been one between Snape and DD already, hence the trust issues.

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wynnleaf - Aug 24, 2005 5:32 am (#8 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2005 6:32 am

I don't think Snape would have thought at first that Draco's mission was to kill DD. That would be an almost ridiculous mission for a teenager against such a powerful wizard. Nor would Snape have thought the mission was to kill Harry, because LV wants to do that, although he could have thought it was a plan to get Harry near enough for LV to kill him. As I read the chapter, I thought he was doing a lot of fishing for clues. But Narcissa turned the focus away from Draco's actual mission to her concern over his safety. When Snape first says that he might be able to "help" Draco, Narcissa immediately interprets "help" to mean protect. All of her begging to Snape is focused on protecting Draco.

I was impressed that Snape was so unhesitatingly (oh, those adverbs!) willing to take on an unbreakable vow -- risking his life -- to protect Draco. But then, Narcissa starts to add the final part of the vow and it's clearly going in a somewhat different direction from her earlier pleas -- don't just protect...finish the job if Draco doesn't. And Snape hesitated, but there was no real way out by then.

You know, I don't actually believe this -- Snape's likely too good at legilimency as well as occlumency to be fooled -- but one might almost wonder if Narcissa was trapping Snape on purpose. Anyway, even if inadvertently, she definitely trapped him.

I agree with loony4lupin's order of events except for 5, because I don't think DD would have explicitly planned out his actual death and ordered Snape to do it. He might have discussed it as a possibility if worst came to worst, which could still have lead to 6.

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LooneyLuna - Aug 24, 2005 5:57 am (#9 of 398)

When Snape mutters, "I think he means for me to do it in the end" the assumption is that Snape is talking about Voldemort and Voldemort expecting Snape to kill Dumbledore.

What I take Snape's muttering as Dumbledore expected Snape to kill him in the end. I'm sure that Dumbledore had talked about this outcome with Snape before the Unbreakable Vow was invoked. Killing Dumbledore is something that Snape does not want to do, which is why they argued about it.

Toddle's off to St. Mungo's for tea....

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Puck - Aug 24, 2005 8:02 am (#10 of 398)

If Snape did think Harry the target and was willing to help, that places him firmly on the side of the DE. He heard the prophecy, or at least part of it. He knows Harry IS the chosen one. Killing Harry, then, would be securing LV into power.

I believe that DD was right about Snape, that he is on the side of good. So, therefore, I do not think it possible he thought Harry the target. Actually, he may not have even realized the task was a murder. Draco could have been asked to break security to get DE in the castle, hatch a new basilisk in the Chamber, etc.... It may have been right after the vow was taken the Narcissa talked openly and Snape learned of the true task.

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Paulus Maximus - Aug 24, 2005 8:11 am (#11 of 398)

If Snape did think Harry the target and was willing to help, that places him firmly on the side of the DE. He heard the prophecy, or at least part of it. He knows Harry IS the chosen one. Killing Harry, then, would be securing LV into power.

And if Snape was willing to kill or capture Harry, then his actions after killing Dumbledore are completely out of character...

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Paulus Maximus - Aug 24, 2005 8:11 am (#12 of 398)

If Snape did think Harry the target and was willing to help, that places him firmly on the side of the DE. He heard the prophecy, or at least part of it. He knows Harry IS the chosen one. Killing Harry, then, would be securing LV into power.

And if Snape was willing to kill or capture Harry, then his actions after killing Dumbledore are completely out of character...

Unless he changed (or lost) his mind after killing Dumbledore...

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 24, 2005 8:19 am (#13 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2005 9:28 am

I think Snape knew of Voldemort’s plan to kill Dumbledore. Three reasons: 1) I believe that Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to Dumbledore to do what he could to keep Harry safe. This is why Dumbledore trusts him. Other people may argue that Dumbledore would never require anyone to do such a thing, but I think Snape insisted on it to prove to Dumbledore he was serious about changing. Lily could very well have been the Bonder. Granted the only proof of this is that Snape has never allowed any harm come to Harry. Therefore it's unlikely that Snape would make an Unbreakable Vow that counteracts his previous one.

2)The second reason is more logical. Both Narcissa and Bella concede that it has (the task Draco is about to do) never been done before. Yes no one has killed Harry before but it isn't inconceivable that 16 year old Draco couldn't AK Harry in a deserted hallway and then escape. On the other hand no one really knows where Dumbledore is most of the time and it's more likely that a 16 year old would fail. Neither Grindalwald nor Voldemort have succeeded in killing Dumbledore. Narcissa would know this.

3)The third reason is what Snape says himself: “If Draco doesn't do it, then I must do it, but if Draco succeeds I will be able to stay longer at Hogwarts and spy.”

Therefore I think Snape knew from the beginning what was going on. I believe he was moved by Narcissa's plea to help Draco. I think there is genuine affection between him and Narcissa and Draco. He did not want Draco to make the same mistake that he made. So he willingly made the Unbreakable Vow to protect him.

When it came to the third part of the Vow -to carry out the deed should Draco fail to do this, he obviously had no idea this was coming. But he accepted it.

By this I mean it was Snape's intention (and Dumbledore's) to weaken Voldemort by getting the Malfoy family to defect and perhaps cutting off Voldemort's money. It was not Snape's intention to kill Dumbledore. He was willing to die as a result of not doing the third part of the Vow.

Dumbledore knowing this gave him the post of DADA figuring it was quite obvious that Snape wouldn't have this job for more than a year.

I believe plan A was to give Draco a way to attempt to kill Dumbledore, realize he couldn't do it and then be offered the Wizard Protection Program. Draco, his mother and father would be "killed" by Snape. Then Snape would die because he broke part 3 of the Vow. Voldemort would have lost 4 Death Eaters like that.

But because Draco wouldn't tell Snape that he was letting in Death Eaters or any other information about what he was doing, plan B had to be held in reserve in case it was impossible to get the Malfoy's safely hidden away.

Snape had to kill Dumbledore because if he didn't (and it must have been obvious to Snape that Draco couldn't kill) Draco was as good as dead.

This was why Snape was so upset that Harry called him a coward at the end of the book. Harry didn't know that Snape was willing to die to begin with.

Another bonus to plan A was that if Snape died he would no longer have to help Harry.

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septentrion - Aug 24, 2005 9:00 am (#14 of 398)

Dumbledore knowing this gave him the post of DADA figuring it was quite obvious that Snape wouldn't have this job for more than a year.

The DADA's job as a condemned man's last wish ?

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Choices - Aug 24, 2005 9:40 am (#15 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2005 10:41 am

What a tangled web JKR has woven for us. First, would Voldemort, who failed at killing Dumbledore at the MOM battle, really think an inexperienced 16 year old could accomplish what he himself could not? No, I think setting Draco that task was punishment for Lucius failing to get the prophesy. Voldemort figured Draco would fail and possibly end up dead as a result. Secondly, why would Narcissa single out Snape, of all the DE's, to look after Draco? Is there some connection here we don't know about? If Snape were to fail the Unbreakable Vow, who makes the judgement that he failed and who does the killing? (As big jokesters as Fred and George are, would they really endanger the life of their little brother with an Unbreakable Vow? How did they learn of such a thing anyway? They were not but two years older than Ron - practically babies themselves.) Sorry, I have far more questions than answers.

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Sparrowhawk - Aug 24, 2005 9:48 am (#16 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2005 10:49 am

Hi Choices, when you wrote "secondly, why would Narcissa single out Snape, of all DE's, to look after Draco", I think that you forgot the very simple answer: because Snape is the only Death Eater in any position to look after Draco, because he is the only one inside Hogwarts...

Concerning the Unbreakable Vow, I think it's magic: nobody makes the judgement, the person who broke it (knowingly) just dies, instantaneously! And this is precisely the reason why Arthur was so angry: Ron had a very narrow escape (because Fred and George were too young to understand what death means)...

And judging from chapter 2 in HPB, the unbreakable vow doesn't look like a very intricate piece of magic, most unfortunately...

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haymoni - Aug 24, 2005 10:19 am (#17 of 398)

I think Narcissa was absolutely right - Voldy set up Draco.

If he fails in the attempt and Dumbledore kills him or Voldy kills him for failing, it definitely is to punish Lucius for messing up.

If he, by some miracle, succeeds, bully for Voldy!

Whoever said Snape sees himself in Draco has hit it on the head. This kid is in deep & needs help to get out. Keep Draco alive and maybe Snape can save him from going to Azkaban later.

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wynnleaf - Aug 24, 2005 12:04 pm (#18 of 398)

Abracapocus said: “I think Snape’s hand twitched because he knew that no matter what the deed was, Voldemort wanted Draco to do it. If Draco failed and Snape did it, the deed actually having been carried out would have no bearing on the consequences Draco would face in his next little chat with Voldemort.”

I’ve wondered if this might put a Catch-22 into the vow. Since Draco was supposed to do the deed, is he “off the hook” now that Snape did it? If LV wants to punish Draco for not killing DD when he had the chance, wouldn’t Snape still have to protect him?

Puck said: “If Snape did think Harry the target and was willing to help, that places him firmly on the side of the DE.”

Narcissa interpreted “help” as protecting Draco. If loyal to the Order, Snape would presumably have done that anyway, since DD clearly wanted Draco protected. It was the last part of the vow – to complete the task if Draco failed - that had he known going into it what was going to be asked, he would be much more culpable for accepting the vow at all.

“Both Narcissa and Bella concede that it has (the task Draco is about to do) never been done before.” No one has been able to do it thus far. I’ll have to look up the exact language. After all, supposedly you can only kill DD once. There’s also the getting a group of DE’s into Hogwarts which has not, that we know of, been done before. Note I mean a group, not Crouch, Jr.

I’m still struck by Snape’s readiness to put his life on the line to protect Draco. DD was also willing to do this.

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Madame Librarian - Aug 24, 2005 3:21 pm (#19 of 398)

Ramb stated a few posts back--

Three reasons. I believe that Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to Dumbledore to do what he could to keep Harry safe. This is why Dumbledore trusts him. Other people may argue that Dumbledore would never require anyone to do such a thing, but I think Snape insisted on it to prove to Dumbledore he was serious about changing. Lily could very well have been the Bonder. Granted the only proof of this is that Snape has never allowed any harm come to Harry. Therefore it's unlikely that Snape would make an Unbreakable Vow that counteracts his previous one.

If that's true, and I think there's a strong possibility it is, what happens if the vow taker then takes another vow that is in direct conflict somehow? Now in this case, keeping Harry safe (Vow #1, let's say), and helping Draco (Vow #2) are not directly opposed. One involves Harry; one involves helping someone accomplish something. But if Snape knew that Draco's task, whatever is is, will ultimately harm Harry, is one of the vows broken? Is the second one not really valid?

It sure would be nice to have some Wizarding Law guidelines about vows, loyalty oaths, bonds of service (think House Elves) and such. Maybe JKR would write a nice thick book for charity answering all these questions.

Ciao. Barb

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Ginerva Potter - Aug 24, 2005 7:09 pm (#20 of 398)

I thought that the reason why Snape twitched at the end of the vow was because he did know what Draco's task was and he thought it unlikely that he or Draco could carry it out. What are the odds that Snape would find Dumbledore in a position of weakness? If Dumbledore was not weak, and if he had had his wand, there is no way that Snape could have killed him. I just don't think it's possible. Dumbledore was too strong. JM2K....


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Weeny Owl - Aug 24, 2005 8:43 pm (#21 of 398)

I would like to know exactly what deed Draco was supposed to perform... it was singular - deed and not deeds.

It's never spelled out unless it's all part of the same thing... get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts and kill Dumbledore. If each task is separate then we would have to know which one was covered in the vow.

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TwinklingBlueEyes - Aug 24, 2005 9:03 pm (#22 of 398)

I think that Snape made the vow because he suspected it was a trap. His hand twitched when he knew for sure the trap was sprung. Set by none other than Voldie. As much as Bella claims to be the most faithful, I think "Cissy" is the most powerful. "But then, with a very faint pop, a slim, hooded figure appeared out of thin air..." (Cissy), then, "With a second and louder pop, another hooded figure materialized.". Remember the twins come and go with a loud crack, DD is soundless. LV holds Lucius over her head, also Draco. ""In any case, we were told not to speak of the plan to anyone. This is a betrayal of the Dark Lord's--"

A trap to judge Snape's loyalties. Snape, either on the good or evil side is cool, calculating, and LOGICAL wizard. (Logic not being common to wizards) He knew just what he was letting himself in for.

The Half-Blood Prince is head of Slythern house for a reason...

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kage - Aug 25, 2005 12:03 am (#23 of 398)
Edited Aug 25, 2005 1:13 am

I first thought Snape might have been able to avoid the UV had it not been for Bella. She's gotta make up for the desaster at the MOM and might have run straight to Voldemort with that proof of not Snape being reliable.

But a well set up trap, yes, very convincing. I had already wondered why that chapter was there at all. Snape being possibly a DE has been well established before. But to show us more clearly how Voldemort works, that makes a lot of sense to me now.

Snape must have had a pretty good idea about what Draco's task was about. Because Narcissa asked him, not Bella or anybody else, the target must have been at Hogwarts. There are two targets at Hogwarts and Voldemort is not about throwing dungbombs. Protect Draco and help him - if Snape is not a true DE he might find a way with DD's help. But actually doing it (whatever, but certainly nothing that DD would tolerate). But actually doing it? Ouch. Trapped. Seems like your running out of choices once you got business with Voldemort...

And I'm pretty sure Snape told DD about the vow as DD later states that he let Draco do what he did to protect him from Voldemort.

That were my initial thoughts.

While reading through this thread two things (espascially in combination with the trap) set me off:

No one has been able to do it thus far. A hint for Snape to determine what the task was about (not dungbombs)

I think he wants me to do it in the end Snape fully realizes what's going on. Hence the impassionate face as he can't possibly let show what he's really thinking now. Catch two flies or however it says, test Snape's loyalties and maybe get rid of Dumbledore, who has a nasty habit of standing in the way every time Voldemoert tries to get at Harry.

Yes a trap, and I will have to eat some of my words on the Snape/Dumbledore-Puzzle thread: Voldemort will be happy about the outcome of the events! And he scored an own goal (I hope that's really what you say if someone kicks the ball into their own goal?) - how great is that!

Thank you Twinkling Blue Eyes and everybody, you just made my day perfect

Edit: I'll go and have some more of Trelawny's sherry, really good stuff indeed! Or have I had too much it? [bounces off, a little swaying maybe, but definitely happy]

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Abracapocus - Aug 25, 2005 3:28 am (#24 of 398)

I’ve wondered if this might put a Catch-22 into the vow. Since Draco was supposed to do the deed, is he “off the hook” now that Snape did it? If LV wants to punish Draco for not killing DD when he had the chance, wouldn’t Snape still have to protect him? – Wynnleaf

I hadn't thought of Snape still having to protect Draco after the fact, but it makes perfect sense. Snape wouldn't help Draco all the way to the deed then abandon him.

Snape did push Draco out of the way, and the other Death Eaters witnessed this. He could convince Voldemort that Draco was actually just about to do the deed when he, pushed him out of the way and AK'ed Dumbledore himself. If LV knew that Snape knew about the mission, this would place him in Voldemort's hot seat, but at least he would be fulfilling the vow.

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haymoni - Aug 25, 2005 4:08 am (#25 of 398)

Had to get my book to see what the wording was for the 3 promises.

“Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes?”

1.) Does this mean Snape has to watch over Draco while he performs this task or ALL of the Dark Lord's wishes over time?

“And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”

2.) Does protect him from harm mean until he kills Dumbledore or protect him from harm in general - i.e. if Voldy tortures him for failing does Snape have to step in? Or will protect him from harm mean that he has to protect Draco from Voldy overall - from being a Death Eater?

I'm not even touching the "to the best of your ability" part - we know Snape is talented. His ability is great.

“And, should it prove necessary... if it seems Draco will fail...” whispered Narcissa (Snape's hand twitched within hers, but he did not draw away), "will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?"

This is the most specific part of the Vow. She is very clear - THE deed. This makes me think that Dumbledore is dead or Snape would be dead now. Although, if Dumbledore is still alive, Snape may be off the hook for now, since he really has the rest of his life to actually fulfill the promise. If he didn't kill Dumbledore on the tower, he could always kill him later.

As I was typing this, I started to wonder if Narcissa wasn't ask by Voldy to do this. Voldy doesn't trust anyone. It looks like Narcissa was going to go to Snape on her own, all alone. She was willing to blast Bella to get where she needed to go.

Some may say she was going to Snape behind Voldy's back to help Draco, but what if Voldy wanted to be sure of Snape's loyalty? What if Narcissa was sent there to test Snape? Maybe this is part of her "There is nothing I wouldn't do anymore!" statement.

If Snape said no, he wouldn't help Draco in his task, then is he truly loyal to Voldy's ultimate goal? He HAS to say yes.

The first 2 parts of the vow are very vague, but the 3rd request is very specific and the most dangerous.

Narcissa may be just a mom trying to protect her son.

I may be reading into this way more than I need to.

Last edited by Lady Arabella on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 26 to 50

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 3:45 pm

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Ann - Aug 25, 2005 4:52 am (#26 of 398)
Edited Aug 25, 2005 5:54 am

I originally thought that Snape must have known what Draco's task was, since to claim he knew it when he didn't would mean Bella could easily check it by asking Voldemort. But, of course, she can't. She's not his most favorite DE any more after the Ministry disaster, and they've clearly been told not to discuss it with anyone, so if she brought it up with him, she would betray her own (or at least her sister's) violation of his orders. And Snape would have known this, so if he didn't know what they were talking about, he would realize he could safely pretend that he did, and perhaps worm it out of them.

On the other hand, he may have known. For one thing, he is very quick to assume that Narcissa would want the Dark Lord to change his mind about the plan. Admittedly, it's a good assumption that she's not happy with it, since she's weeping and has asked him for help, but if Snape were truly in the dark (lower case, of course) there might be some particular aspect of the plan that would endanger her or her family or property, and she might be asking for protection or some other kind of help, rather than his help in changing Voldemort's mind. Nonetheless, it’s a good assumption on his part, and of course a correct one.

The moment Narcissa mentions Draco ("Why my son? It's too dangerous), Snape says "If Draco succeeds, he will be honored above all others." That does seem to indicate that he has some idea of the magnitude of the task--killing the only one the Dark Lord ever feared. There are all sorts of things that Voldemort might have asked that would be extremely dangerous, and yet not bring such honor. Narcissa might have been even more upset if it were some trivial task for which he was being asked to take a horrible risk. This, to me, is the strongest argument that Snape knows and is not guessing.

Another thing he reveals, when Narcissa says "You could do it instead of Draco, Severus," is that he knows that it would mean the end of his career at Hogwarts, since he says that if Draco did it, he would be able to be a spy at Hogwarts a little longer. Again, there are various dangerous and even highly important tasks that he might be able to do secretly and without consequences to his job at Hogwarts. Even if Harry were killed, he might be able to make it look like an accident or the work of someone else. But Dumbledore's death clearly means the end of his time at Hogwarts (and his role as a spy on Harry at school), since only Dumbledore trusts him enough to let him teach there.

There are also several references throughout the book that Snape is in a favored position with Voldemort already. Narcissa says "he trusts you so"; and Draco says even more explicitly on the tower: "He's going to wake up tomorrow morning and it'll be all over and he's not the Dark Lord's favorite anymore!" This implies that, after the Ministry, Snape has been the favorite. So why wouldn't he know about the plan, particularly since it's his own boss who's the target and it's supposed to take place at the school where he teaches? It seems logical that Voldemort would discuss it with him.

But, as I say, it's possible he doesn't know. He certainly has not been told Draco's plan, but Voldemort may not know that either--he may have left the details up to Draco. But if Snape hadn't been told anything at all about it what would he have been able to figure out before he's asked to take the Vow?

First, it's something Voldemort has ordered Draco to do. So it can be done by someone of his age; so it's not something requiring years and years of magical practice. And it can probably be done at Hogwarts, since that's where he's going. If it had to be done at Hogwarts, that would explain why Voldemort might ask Draco to do it.

Secondly, it's something that Voldemort has tried to do and failed.

:But he won't succeed!" sobbed Narcissa. "How can he when the Dark Lord himself...." Bella gasped; Narcissa seemed to lose her nerve. "I only meant...that nobody has yet succeeded..."

This narrows things down considerably. There aren't many tasks that Voldemort has tried to do that he has failed at and would ask someone else to do. Killing Dumbledore, of course, is one; killing Harry would be another. But have others tried to kill Harry as well? That seems to be implied by Narcissa's being able to cover her slip plausibly by saying "nobody has yet succeeded." It's true that Quirrellmort tried, but to me that line sounds more like a reference to a longer history than that--Grindlewald, for example, and maybe other enemies.

I can't think of anything besides the killing of Dumbledore that would meet those criteria, and since Snape, we're told, is brilliant, he would probably have worked it out, too. But even if he'd only narrowed it down to Dumbledore and Harry, he'd have known by the time of the necklace that it wasn't Harry, for the same reasons Harry explains.

And I'm sure he told Dumbledore about the Unbreakable Vow, because when Harry tells him about the conversation in which Snape tells Draco about the Vow, Dumbledore merely says "let me reassure you that you have not told me anything that causes me disquiet." If he hadn't known about the Vow before, I think it would have caused him considerable disquiet.

(Sorry to go on for so long!)

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haymoni - Aug 25, 2005 5:02 am (#27 of 398)

Narcissa was very emotional.

I think Snape could read her like a book when she was like that.

He constantly warns Harry about keeping his emotions in check.

I doubt it was very difficult for Snape to see what Narcissa was asking him.

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rambkowalczyk - Aug 25, 2005 6:06 am (#28 of 398)

Even if Snape knew about Voldemort's idea to kill Dumbledore (Ann makes a more compelling case than I did), what Snape didn't know was how Malfoy was going about it. He had no idea that Malfoy was trying to fix the vanishing cabinets, or that he had Rosmerta under the Imperious curse.

In answer to Barb's question, "what happens when someone makes a second contradictory Unbreakable Vow?" I just think that at some crucial moment that person dies. I don't think the person necessarily dies at the moment of making the Vow, but death waits for that point where there is a choice and the wrong one is taken.

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popkin - Aug 25, 2005 7:17 am (#29 of 398)

We don't specifically know what Lord Voldemort asked Draco to do. Snape might have been privy to the exact wording of the task. It could be that it was worded in such a way that Snape could interpret it so that he didn't actually have to kill Dumbledore.

Maybe Voldemort said something like, "I want you to take the life of Albus Dumbledore", and Snape could have the ability to extract Dumbledore's life and put it in a potions bottle, and then later he could put the life back into Dumbledore's body.

As far as why Snape took the Unbreakable Vow, I think he was protecting his status in the DE circle. There were rumors circulating, and had been since Voldemort's rebirth, that Snape was a traitor to the DEs. The Unbreakable Vowin Bella's presence would put an end to that.

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wynnleaf - Aug 25, 2005 7:27 am (#30 of 398)
Edited Aug 25, 2005 9:27 am

Regardless of whether or not Snape knew what Draco's task was -- and if so, I don't understand why he appears so strongly to be "fishing" for information -- this does not change the original request that Narcissa made. The entire focus of Narcissa's pleas, up until the moment of the 3rd part of the vow, was "protect Draco." Everything she said expressed anxiety about Draco -- not about whether or not the task would be accomplished. When Snape agrees to help Draco, she interprets that as "protect" and watch over Draco. So when she asks for an Unbreakable Vowand Snape agrees, it seems that her vow requests are going to be just what she'd been talking about -- watching over and protecting Draco. No problem. The 3rd part of the vow deviated from her earlier pleas to focus on the outcome of the task rather than Draco's safety and did, I'm sure, take Snape off-guard.

Why would Snape be so willing to get involved in the vow in the 1st place? To protect his "cover" with the DE's? I don't think so. Narcissa and Bellatrix aren't in high favor with LV. They aren't even supposed to be talking to him about this, so they can't exactly go and report to LV about it. I do not see a willingness to risk his life to protect Draco as self-serving.

As to whether or not DD knew about the vow -- well, of course, it's more when he knew, not if -- I think that would be very early on. DD knew from the start of school that Draco was trying to kill him (so DD said). And he also knew he couldn't say anything about it to Draco because that would have gotten Draco in trouble with LV. The only way DD could know that is if he knew about the conversation at Spinner's End. In other words, DD told Draco that he knew Draco was doing this under threat of his life and his families lives. How did DD know that except to find out from Snape?

DD gave the Defense against Dark Arts class to Snape, even though he knew if would mean Snape would have to be gone by the end of school. Why would he accept putting Snape in a cursed job unless he knew it wouldn't make any difference? The time table is so close.

End of term in OotP, Snape sends the 2nd message to 12GP sending the Order members to the MoM. He doesn't send it because anyone knows for sure anything is going on there because there's no evidence anything's going on that night. Harry's warning about Sirius had already been discovered to be a false alarm (Sirius was really safe at home). But when Harry, Hermoine, and Umbridge don't return from forest, Snape reasons that maybe, just maybe, there really is something going on at the MoM, even if Sirius is okay, so he sends the Order and tells them to alert DD, too. Because of these actions, the DE's fail in their mission to get the prophecy and LV is furious -- as we learn at Spinner's End. Somewhere, can't find it, I think DD says that he had heard that LV was furious about not getting the prophecy - I suppose he heard that from Snape.

Anyway, a very few short weeks later, Narcissa and Bellatrix go to Snape, who taunts them considerably for the MoM failure (not letting on he sent the Order of course). But he agrees to the Vow, originally to protect Draco, and gets trapped by the last part.

Only about 1 month after the MoM night, DD shows up to get Harry and, among other things, recruits Slughorn for the Potions Class. So DD already knows that it will be okay for Snape to take the cursed Defense Against Dark Arts class.

It looks fairly clear to me that Snape, trustworthy enough to send the Order to the MoM, thereby thwarting LV's bid for the prophecy, also told DD about the Vow as soon as it happened. DD began immediately to make plans, part of which included giving Snape the DADA job, since he'd be gone anyway by the end of the year.

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haymoni - Aug 25, 2005 8:16 am (#31 of 398)

I hope it isn't self-serving. I hope it's Order-serving.

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Ann - Aug 25, 2005 2:14 pm (#32 of 398)
Edited Aug 25, 2005 3:15 pm

wynnleaf, an excellent summary. One quibble: I'm not so sure that the Vow was a trap. After all Narcissa has already suggested that Snape could do it, and it would win him unparalleled honor. I think Snape knows what's coming, and feels he has to do it. Bella may not be the Dark Lord's favorite at the moment, but she's tremendously influential (you can see that at the MOM, despite her being practically frothing at the mouth). So he knows he can't afford to deny Narcissa's request--and perhaps it's already been decided upon anyway: either Dumbledore and Snape have already discussed the possibility, or Snape himself comes to a decision that it will have to be done to save Draco (though he's probably already had some indication that it's what Dumbledore would want, if he'd been told the plan).

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kage - Aug 25, 2005 11:24 pm (#33 of 398)

wynnleaf, you're so much better at pointing things out than I am!

Ann, same goes for you, and: "After all Narcissa has already suggested that Snape could do it, and it would win him unparalleled honor. I think Snape knows what's coming, and feels he has to do it." Right, I found that little bit on a re-read of that chapter last night.

What gives me a headache is that she seems to be flattering Snape a lot, especially when saying "...you are the Dark Lord’s favourite, his most trusted advisor, ...". I just don't quite belief that's true. And after a good night's sleep I'm not sure whether we see a loving mother messing up Voldemorts plans or a well-set-up trap.

A mother’s love messing up Voldemort’s plans is intriguing, really. Narcissa asks a lot, but it might well be just the thing a loving DE mommy might do...hm. And it's not only Draco, but the whole family - including herself - that is at stake.

On the other hand it seems to make at least some sense for Voldemort to punish/test Draco and test Snape's loyalty in one strike. He might have told Narcissa to get Snape involved. But that would mean, that Narcissa is a hell of a good actor, and the longer I think about it, the less likely it appears to me.

I still think we see a plan of Voldmort's backfiring at him big time (assuming that Snape is with DD and the Order). I just love it!

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wynnleaf - Aug 26, 2005 5:30 am (#34 of 398)

I just noticed that, if you consider the timeline, not only would the Spinners End meeting take place maybe 2-3 weeks after the MoM battle, it would also have to take place in the days preceding or following DD's coming to Snape gravely injured after the ring horcrux incident. DD meets Harry about 4 weeks after the MoM battle, and his hand is already injured, but he's mostly otherwise healed from his grave injury.

I just thought I'd point this out since I think it has bearing on how we interpret what's going on with Snape taking this vow, whether or not he told DD, etc. Either days preceding or following the vow, he saves DD's life. Interesting.

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septentrion - Aug 26, 2005 6:17 am (#35 of 398)

I think DD got injured destroying the ring horcrux after the end of term (his hand isn't injured at the leaving feast on June 29th) and before Spinner's End events. Snape alludes to DD's injury as a consequence of his duel with LV but I don't remember that any spells of LV reached DD and he didn't seem that hurt when he told about the prophecy to Harry. But the evening Snape makes the Unbreakable Vow, Snape isn't DADA teacher yet (he says DD never let him get the job). I believe Snape being the DADA teacher is the outcome of his taking the vow, allowing the hiring of Slughorn (or maybe DD wanted Slughorn, so he put Snape on the DADA position ?). So, in an attempt to be clearer, here is my suggestion of a time line :

-June 30th : end of term, Harry returns to the Dursleys, Fudge is still minister.

-soon after that, DD finds and destroys the ring horcrux, is healed by Snape, loses his hand. Fudge is also sacked at that time.

-3 days after Fudge is sacked, Scrimgeour meets the Prime Minister. The way the beginning of Spinner's End is written : "Many miles away the chilly mist that had pressed against the Prime Minister's windows drifted over a dirty river...", suggests the meeting between Narcissa, Bellatrix and Snape takes place the same night. We know we are in July because Snape speaks of LV and DD's duel as taking place last month. Snape makes the Unbreakable Vow. And the way Snape speaks of his dream job (DADA teacher), he still hasn't been given the position. I suggest that scene takes place before July 10th.

-DD fetches Harry at the Dursleys before his birthday and asks him for help in convincing Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts. Slughorn is a potions master, so Snape has to leave his current position at Hogwarts. If DD wanted to keep Snape for long term, he wouldn't give him the DADA position, yet he just does it. And if DD knows about Snape's vow, it all makes sense : DD wants Slughorn desperately enough to take Harry with him, he gives Snape a cursed position as if he knew Snape would be gone at the end of year whatsoever, kind of last wish of a condemned man (plus Harry would have at least a competent teacher). I suggest DD fetches Harry around July 15th, or even before, but after Scrimgeour has been chosen as Minister (see the newspapers in Harry's bedroom in Privet Drive).

Hope it helps !

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Weeny Owl - Aug 26, 2005 9:28 am (#36 of 398)

Harry received the letter from Dumbledore three days before Dumbledore came by Privet Drive. (Will and Won't)

Harry said that he had been there a mere fortnight (two weeks). (Will and Won't)

Dumbledore told Harry that the injury occurred a few days before he came to fetch Harry from his aunt and uncle's. (House of Gaunt)

I agree with your basic timeline, septentrion... end of term, Spinner's End, Dumbledore's injury, picking up Harry, talking Slughorn into becoming potions teacher.

It makes sense that Snape told Dumbledore about the vow, and due to the vow, Dumbledore made him Defense teacher and needed a new potions teacher.

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septentrion - Aug 26, 2005 10:10 am (#37 of 398)

Thanks weeny Owl for your precisions! I wondered where I got the idea that Harry left the Dursleys mid-July. Just a difference between our timelines : I put DD's injury before Spinner's End, and you seem to put if after.

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wynnleaf - Aug 26, 2005 10:53 am (#38 of 398)
Edited Aug 26, 2005 11:54 am

Weeny Owl, thanks for the timeline info! I think it’s very, very important here. I don’t have the books with me, so I’m trusting you’re correct on those references.

According to Weeny Owl’s points about the timeline the following becomes important:

At Spinners End, Snape reports that DD had recently been weakened or injured. DD sustained his grave injury only days before coming to get Harry. Snape saved him.

This means the Spinners End conversation and vow takes place after DD's injury, but before DD gets Harry, that is, only 2-3 days prior to DD going to get Harry and getting Slughorn to become Potions master. Slughorn knew DD was looking for him, so DD had already tried to get in contact – perhaps the day before at least??

It also means that Snape took the vow within 1 or 2 days of helping DD recover from a grave injury.

Okay, so within the space of maybe about 4 days (I’m guessing based on “a few”) – DD sustains grave injury and destroys horcurx. Snape saves DD’s life. One to two days later Snape talks with Narcissa and Bellatrix. Taunts them about MoM fiasco (that he helped thwart about 2 weeks prior). Snape takes vow to help/protect Draco and finish the task if necessary. One day, maybe two days afterward DD is in contact with Slughorn about the potions class. So DD knows within a day of the Spinner’s End vow that Snape will be DADA teacher. One more day and DD gets Harry and meets directly with Slughorn.

This is waaaay to close in time for JKR to make this “coincidental” timing. It has to all fit into a scenario of DD and Snape working together. I already thought this, but the timing is too perfect for it to be otherwise.

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Paulus Maximus - Aug 26, 2005 11:48 am (#39 of 398)

Dumbledore might not have known that he would employ Slughorn as Potions Master. He did not specifically say which position Slughorn would fill (except perhaps to Slughorn himself, but he could have done that AFTER convincing him to take the job...)

All he knew was that he was one staff member short. His initial plan might have been to hire Slughorn for DADA, but then realise (for whatever reason) that it would be better for Snape and Slughorn to switch jobs...

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T Brightwater - Aug 26, 2005 11:55 am (#40 of 398)

Frankly, I can't imagine Sluggy teaching DADA, unless he was going to concentrate solely on evasive action!

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MuggleBorn79 - Aug 26, 2005 6:15 pm (#41 of 398)

Snape is not evil, he did not know about the vow until right before he made because he had used legillimency on Narcissa to find out Voldemort's plan for Malfoy. He then took the Unbreakable Vow and also told Dumbledore about it and I think he and Dumbledore came up with a plan for Sanpe to kill or pretend to kill Dumbledore and Hagrid overheard them arguing about their plan when Snape started to have 2nd thoughts, this also accounts for the reason Dumbledore froze Harry in the tower, so harry wouldn't interfere and foil" the plan" Just my opinion, what do you all think?

Oh yea also,when Dumbledore was pleading to Snape before he killed him, he wasn't pleading for him to stop he was pleading for him to follow through with their agreement.

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Weeny Owl - Aug 26, 2005 7:32 pm (#42 of 398)

I put DD's injury before Spinner's End, and you seem to put if after.

No, no, no! I put it before Spinner's End... I just got carried away and typed quicker than my brain could work. Not that that isn't a regular thing, mind you. Excuse me while I go iron a wing.

Let me try again... end of term, Dumbledore's injury, Spinner's End, Dumbledore picking up Harry, taking Harry to meet Slughorn.

Sorry about that.

I like how wynnleaf put it on the next-to-the-last paragraph.

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septentrion - Aug 26, 2005 10:51 pm (#43 of 398)

No problem Weeny Owl, and please don't iron yourself, it's not worth it

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Weeny Owl - Aug 27, 2005 12:58 am (#44 of 398)

Thanks, septentrion.

It is a rather tight timeline, though. All of that happened within a two-week period.

Of course it still doesn't explain WHY Snape agreed to the Unbreakable Vow. Most of it isn't a problem, and that was probably what he thought he was agreeing to, but Narcissa just had to throw in that last part and muck up the whole thing.

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Hawthorne - Aug 27, 2005 10:31 am (#45 of 398)

For Kage post #33—“A mother’s love messing up Voldemorts plans is intriguing, really.”

A mother’s love did mess up Voldemort’s plans once before. In fact, that event is what set Harry on this long journey. So, why not again, and this time because of Narcissa's love for her son? (After all, our author is a mother too.) Very intriguing indeed.

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Madam Pince - Aug 27, 2005 10:51 am (#46 of 398)
Edited Aug 27, 2005 11:51 am

Love the timeline, guys!

Muggleborn79, welcome to the club! Quite a few people share your scenario, although there are a few who see it through the wrong another end of the glass... (Just kidding, constant vigilance and nu9p!)

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Ann - Aug 28, 2005 5:19 am (#47 of 398)

About the timeline--I'd always assumed that the first three chapters all took place the same night. If, as I think, Snape knew what Draco's task was before Narcissa showed up, and Dumbledore had already discussed with him the possibility that he might be asked to kill Dumbledore instead of Draco, Dumbledore might already have made him DADA professor. (If you'll notice, everything he says to Narcissa about that is in the past tense.)

Kage & Hawthorne, I really like the Lily/Narcissa parallel. Mothers who screw up the plans of evil overlords. (Rowling said there was no reason Narcissa had a flower name rather than a constellation name like the other Blacks, but perhaps her subconscious was helping.)

Love the new avatar, Weeny Owl!

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septentrion - Aug 28, 2005 7:28 am (#48 of 398)

Ann, your idea the 3 first chapters happened the same night has merits but I have to disagree : Fudge is sacked after his resignation has been claimed for a fortnight, supposedly the fortnight following the battle in the DoM (around June 18th). Three days after, he meets the Prime Minister. But when Harry leaves Hogwarts, Fudge is still minister for magic, so the first chapter can't take place before July 3rd, but not much after that date too. To put some orders in the events :

-June 18th : battle in DoM
-15 days after : July 2nd/3rd : Fudge resigns
-July 5th/6th : Scrimgeour meets the Prime Minister
-the same night, Narcissa and Bellatrix meet Snape. The beginning of Spinner's End suggests it's the same night : "Many miles away the chilly mist that had pressed against the Prime Minister's windows drifted over a dirty river..."
-Harry spends a fortnight with the Dursleys before DD fetches him, and as the end of term if June 30th, Harry leaves the Dursleys on July 14th/15th.

So, Spinner's End's night might very well be later than what I suggest, however, the meeting with the Prime Minister can't have taken place the same night than Harry leaving the Dursleys.


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wynnleaf - Aug 28, 2005 12:04 pm (#49 of 398)
Edited Aug 28, 2005 2:06 pm

septentrion, I didn't know the date in June to start with, although I did know the day of the week. I used your date of June 18 as the Thursday of the MoM battle. Hermoine and Ron are in the hospital on June 21, reading the Sunday Prophet where LV's return is announced. The get out of the hospital 3 days before end of term and Harry goes home the day after term's end. So Harry almost certainly goes home on Friday, June 26. The strange weather would start after that, probably immediately afterward.

I put the PM visit on July 4th or 5th, in part because it's a weekend (natural to talk of the week they've been through as "this week" rather than "last week"), and it's almost exactly 2 weeks since the WW learns of LV's return in the Sunday Prophet, and begins to demand Fudge's removal.

Another point to keep in the time line logic puzzle mix is that when Harry and DD approach Slughorn's house Harry notices the weather is the same chill strange weather of the past "two weeks." Since at the PM meeting, they discuss this weather as having been about 1 week in duration (they speak of the week they've just been through), that puts DD coming to Harry about a week later, maybe slightly less.

The problem with Harry leaving the Dursley's later than 6 days from the PM visit and Spinner's End is that we know that DD's injury is before Spinner's End, but only "a few days" before DD comes for Harry. I put "a few days" as definitely less than a week, so 6 days at most.

So basically, I tend to agree with much of your timeline, but I put the PM and Spinner's End visits on July 4 or 5 (Sat./Sun), with DD's injury either the day before (DD injured on Sat., PM/Spinner's End on Sun.), or earlier on the same day (less likely since Snape has to be there to help DD). Then Tuesday, July 6, DD sends the letter to Harry and meets him on Friday, July 10. DD definitely comes on a Friday.

Edit following Madam Pince's comment below: Even with the interviews being on a Friday, the Big News seems to be in the Sunday Prophet, which doesn't indicate an earlier edition having already "broken" the story.

Edit to answer septentrion's comment below: Yes, I suppose the time between the MoM battle and the end of term could be longer. I just thought that Fudge saying the WW started demanding his removal a fortnight previously, would be referring back to a point 2 weeks previously, probably when the first article in the Sunday Prophet came out.

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Madam Pince - Aug 28, 2005 12:13 pm (#50 of 398)

Just a quickie that probably doesn't impact anything, but I think it was said that the interviews Fudge gave to the papers about the MOM battle were on "Friday evening," so that would be one more event to note on the calendar -- it would be the Friday immediately after the Thursday MOM battle, I'm assuming.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 51 to 75

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 3:57 pm

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septentrion - Aug 28, 2005 1:02 pm (#51 of 398)

Isn’t the end of school year always June 30th? Then departure of the students would be July 1st? BTW June 18th for the MoM battle is from the lexicon, and we're never told how many days Hermione and Ron spend in the hospital wing, so they can very well leave it on June 27th. Well, why not a question for Jo?

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Weeny Owl - Aug 28, 2005 1:58 pm (#52 of 398)

You're right, Madam Pince... the interview with Fudge was on Friday night, and it mentioned Death Eaters in the Ministry on Thursday evening. Harry visited the hospital wing on Sunday, and that was when Hermione read the interview out loud.

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Ann - Aug 28, 2005 2:32 pm (#53 of 398)

I think the way I've made them all come out as being on the same day is that I assume that people didn't begin clamoring for Fudge's resignation instantly. He says they clamored for a fortnight, and that he resigned three days ago. If his conversation with the Prime Minister is on a Friday (and I agree that it sounds like the end of a week), That means he resigned on Tuesday. So I'd assume that the clamor started two Tuesdays before that, which was presumably the Tuesday after the Prophet story came out. Also, Bellatrix says at the time of the meeting that the incident at the Ministry was "a few weeks ago," which I don't think you'd say if it had only been two weeks. That sounds like three or more to me.

So I assumed that those three weeks for Harry were: a week at Hogwarts between the end of the OWLs and the end of term; two weeks at the Dursleys before Dumbledore's arrival.

But I neglected to notice that at Harry's last class before OWLs (presumably a Friday) he's told they'll get their grades in mid-July, and he thinks, that's in six weeks. And they get them the day after he leaves the Dursleys. So, this means that there are two entire empty weeks after the end of OWLs where the students have nothing to do but hang around the school waiting for the term to end. This sounds very peculiar to me. Does it fit with standard practice in British public schools? (This seems to be the number that the Lexicon is using.)

Also, it doesn't work with what she's said about students beginning to panic about their OWLs. She describes a change in the classes at the beginning of June: (teachers don't assign homework, and focus on an intensive review). But when does this review take place, if there are two weeks of OWL exams and then two weeks of leisure before the end of term on June 30? There are only 30 days in the month after all! I think the six week figure has to be wrong. If it is, my all-at-the-same time theory works; if not, it would be more of a stretch (requiring a much slower-building clamor), but still possible. But in that case, I suppose it would be more likely that Dumbledore's visit to Harry is a week later.

If they are all three the same day, by the way, that would mean that Fudge's resignation occurs at almost exactly the same time as Dumbledore's injury. Is this significant?

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Ann - Aug 28, 2005 8:07 pm (#54 of 398)

Much too late to edit, but yet another indication that the first three chapters happen on the same day: the Prime Minister talks about the mist being very peculiar weather for mid-July, which I don't think he'd say only one week in. OWL results are also supposed to be sent at mid-July.

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septentrion - Aug 28, 2005 10:25 pm (#55 of 398)

That time line looks more and more like a logic problem...I must say I have much fun trying to sort it out. Now Ann you've given me something to ponder, I'll review my own time line considering the elements you've given.

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Weeny Owl - Aug 29, 2005 12:27 am (#56 of 398)
Edited Aug 29, 2005 1:31 am

In OotP McGonagall said an owl would be sent sometime in July. She didn't say mid-July, but only sometime in July.

Right before the O.W.L. results come in at The Burrow, Ron said it had been a month. That was the morning after Harry arrived.

If the first two chapters happen the same night, there's no reason the next two chapters couldn't happen a few days later. If Harry is taken from 4 Privet Drive on July 14 or 15, then going a few days is still basically mid-July, especially if the days are divided up equally. The 1st through the 10th is early July, the 11th through the 21st is mid-July, and anything after is late July.

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Puck - Aug 29, 2005 4:47 am (#57 of 398)

Hmmm, lots of things to ponder. I can't decide which I like better, the idea of a Narcissa setting a trap for Snape, or the idea of a mother's love once again putting a crimp in LV's plans.

I do like the theory of the first chapters taking place on the same night.

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kage - Aug 29, 2005 7:40 am (#58 of 398)
Edited Aug 29, 2005 9:30 am

Don't know if this has come up somewhere already, but it's been bothering me for a couple of days now and I haven't found it yet:

EDIT! (What if Snape has been ordered to kill Voldemort, too?!) Should have been

What if Snape has been ordered to kill Dumbledore, too?! of course END EDIT

I mean, after the events at the MOM Voldemort

-is furious about not getting the prophecy, as Malfoy has failed big time

- certainly wants to punish Malfoy - this nasty pleasure of Voldemort has been introduced to us before

- realizes just how much DD gets in his way - he might well want to get rid of him before he finally goes for Harry

- has to be wondering why all the Order members and DD turned up at the MOM

- therefore should get suspicious of Snape (if he isn't already), and feels he's got to test him

- doesn't need to operate secretly anymore, as everybody knows he's back now

So on the case DD, Voldemort now decides to a) order Draco to kill DD (as a punishment, no real chance of success) and b) order Snape to kill DD (for real, if Snape doesn't he will be another item on the” bombs-for-christmas-presents”-list)

Like "three birds with one stone"!?

Edit (Sorry, forgot to add):

This would explain Snape saying "I think he wants me to do it in the end" pretty well. He could easily agree to the Vow, except for the last bit, which (today) I believe to have come as a surprise. His hand is twitching, because now he really has to do it.

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Paulus Maximus - Aug 29, 2005 7:48 am (#59 of 398)
Edited Aug 29, 2005 8:50 am

We know that Snape betrayed the Death Eaters to Dumbledore, but only because we have all the evidence. (Harry saying "He's got Padfoot" and Snape passing along the message.) Voldemort does not know that Harry told anyone about his "vision"...

...unless Draco told him... Only he and Snape could have known what Harry meant, and it would be suicide for Snape to tell him...

Of course, Voldemort went after Harry because he was afraid that the half-blood would become another Dark Lord... so Snape probably wasn't above Voldemort's suspicions anyway, being a half-blood and a powerful Dark Wizard himself...

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Ann - Aug 29, 2005 9:55 am (#60 of 398)
Edited Aug 29, 2005 10:59 am

I agree with kage that Voldemort probably ordered Snape to kill DD, too. He must have very much wanted Dumbledore out of the way after the MoM fiasco (as Snape calls it--is it a coincidence that Dumbledore uses the same word for the occlumency lessons? Perhaps JKR just likes it). Lucius is in the clink, and even Voldemort isn't nuts enough to want Bella as his right hand man, so perhaps he saw this as a test of loyalty for Snape. And I think he'd probably already told Snape this by the time of the Spinner's End visit and the Vow. Even if Snape had discussed the scenario with Dumbledore and Dumbledore had insisted that he go ahead (assuming Draco failed), I think his hand would shake as he confirmed it with the Vow.

New idea: Could it have been Snape that suggested that Voldemort let Draco try? He must have known that Draco couldn't do it. (How else would Dumbledore have been so sure? I suspect he didn't have frequent little talks with Draco.) It might have been a way of forcing Draco to realize that he couldn't kill--that he wasn't really as Dark as he thought he was. Snape seems very fond of Draco, and Dumbledore's sacrifice was in large part for Draco's sake. Snape and Dumbledore also probably thought that they could control Draco better than they did.

New query: Narcissa says, just before the Vow, that Snape is the Dark Lord's most trusted advisor--a thought that Draco echoes on the tower. Why was he the Dark Lord's favorite before he killed Dumbledore? Just because he wasn't involved in the failure at the ministry? Or had he always been a favorite? We've never seen them together, since he didn't show for the rebirthday party; I hope we will in Book 7.

Oh, and I don't think Snape has much to worry about with the Padfoot line. Even if Draco tells Voldemort about it (and why should he? He has no idea who Padfoot is), Snape can always say that he didn't hear or understand it. After all, he seemed unaware of these school nicknames in PoA. And Harry hates him--why would Draco or Voldemort think Harry would ask him for help?

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wynnleaf - Aug 29, 2005 5:59 pm (#61 of 398)

The most crucial part of the time line is between the PM and Spinner's End visits and DD coming for Harry. DD got injured before the Spinner's End visit (and therefore probably the PM visit, too), but only "a few days" and therefore almost certainly less than a week before coming to get Harry. Harry notices the weather at Slughorn's house has been around "two weeks," but in the PM meeting, Fudge and the PM discuss the weather as having been 1 week in duration. Neither Harry nor Fudge must necessarily mean exactly 7 days, but I'd think that puts the PM/Spinners End visits no closer than 5 days from each other. That means the letter DD sent to Harry had to be sent about a day or so after the Spinner's End meeting.

Anyhow, on to Kage's idea about maybe Snape was ordered by LV to kill DD. It certainly sounds plausible. After all, LV would probably think that someone must have alerted the Order and DD to show up at the MoM. Who could it have been and why? Most likely someone who knew that Harry might go to the MoM. A little judicious questioning of Draco on the events the night of the MoM battle could bring to light several basic facts -- DD wasn't at Hogwarts that evening, so he probably didn't know Harry might go to the MoM that night. Snape knew Umbridge, Harry and Hermoine had gone off into the forest. Harry said something strange to Snape. That could easily be enough to get LV suspicious.

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Puck - Aug 29, 2005 7:09 pm (#62 of 398)

Although we must remember that LV does not know who all the members of the order are. For all he knows Hagrid, or any of a number of other professors could have run into one of the kids after they got away from the Inquistorial Squad.

I wonder if Snape's closeness with LV has to do with his mom. Remember, that textbook had once been hers, 50 years before. That would put her, if my math is correct, as a first year when Riddle opened the chamber. Both were in Slytherin. He may have known her, perhaps she had even been one of his original followers.

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T Brightwater - Aug 31, 2005 8:09 am (#63 of 398)

Puck, she had to have been at least a sixth year; that was an O.W.L. textbook. And it's even possible that the book was secondhand when she got it.

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kage - Aug 31, 2005 8:49 am (#64 of 398)

wynnleaf, I'm of not much help concerning timetables, I'm afraid. They just make my head spin.

Ann - "New idea: Could it have been Snape that suggested that Voldemort let Draco try?"

What makes you think that Snape would put Draco in such peril? He's got other methods to teach, I should think. Unless...he himself originally wanted to kill DD and suggested that as a punishment to Voldemort, so he would have an excuse for a) making the vow and b) kill DD when reporting to DD. - pause - Oh god, what am I saying! But I don't think it possible, even and especially for Snape, to lie to DD. Uff

(nervously takes another sip of Trelawny's Sherry...)

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Ann - Aug 31, 2005 5:56 pm (#65 of 398)

kage, I thought that, once it was a foregone conclusion that LV was ordering Snape to kill DD (leaving him, you understand, the options of either doing it or abandoning his spying) he might think about adding Draco into the mix. Suppose Draco had already taken the Dark Mark after his father's capture. Snape might think that this would be a good way to dissuade LV from assigning him some of the more petty destructive tasks of being a DE, tasks that might seduce him into more horrific acts. By starting him out with the ultimate evil task (kill someone whom you know, who had offered you only good things, and who has perhaps helped you), he would show Draco what being a DE was really about, rather than letting him be seduced more slowly into its more evil aspects. I just keep coming back to the fact that it must have been Snape who told Dumbledore that Draco was not a killer--and both Dumbledore and Snape wanted to ensure that he never became one.

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kage - Sep 1, 2005 1:10 am (#66 of 398)
Edited Sep 1, 2005 3:31 am

Ann, "...or abandoning his spying"? Or rather "...he will be killed, of course...", I should think.

Snape might think that this would be a good way to dissuade LV from assigning him some of the more petty destructive tasks of being a DE ff

Like nudging LV to give Draco a task Snape thought he would be able to control and a much less dangerous, too? Draco already is in mortal peril anyway, right and, knowing DD, Draco attempting to kill DD is certainly much less dangerous for Draco than trying to kill the Minister for Magic, for example - he'd be put away and have his family killed almost instantaneously.

Makes it look like Snape indeed has a soft spot for Draco or the Malfoys unless he hasn't developed an almost dumbledorish need for saving people - which would nicely contradict my accidential 'proof' of Snape being a truly bad guy.

edited for cosmetic reasons

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Puck - Sep 1, 2005 4:29 am (#67 of 398)

I find the idea of Snape making the suggestion to use Draco to go after DD intriguing. Draco may have talked callously about death in past books, but he had never actually seen it (as he couldn't see the thestrals.) He may have talked a good game, but I suspect Sanpe would know there were limits to how far Draco could go, and showing him the worst of the DE from the start would be a smart plan.

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kage - Sep 2, 2005 1:05 am (#68 of 398)
Edited Sep 2, 2005 2:06 am

I was trying to put together the Slughorn case, Snape getting the DADA job and Narcissa demanding the Vow anew. Well, here's the outcome: (whether Snape had orders to kill DD or got Draco on the job deliberately doesn't matter much here, although I think it possible if not likely)

Slughorn is in hiding, seemingly from Voldemort, for about a year at the beginning of HBP. Hence he went into hiding at the beginning of OOtP, before the WW got aware of Voldemorts return. So he would have got this information from DD. DD might have tried to get the Horcrux memory at this point and Slughorn might have wanted to hide from DD as well as from Voldemort, not wanting to get involved at all.

After the battle in the MOM Voldemort starts to act in the open, DD is getting older, Harry will come of age next year, there will only be one more book - time to hurry up. DD needs Slughorns memory urgently and decides he has to come to Hogwarts. DD would put Snape on the DADA job now to make way for Slughorn. But Slughorn is reluctant for above reasons. So DD has to pronounce his wish a little more clearly and decides to lure Slughorn to Hogwarts with Harrys help. DD could be pretty sure of succeeding, he seems to know Slughorn quite well.

Next thing that happens is Narcissa coming to Snape, pleading for help, no way to slyther out, and -oops- Snape involuntarily ends up vowing to kill DD. Another reason for Snapes hand to twitch. That stupid jinxed DADA job messing up whatever plan DD might have had... by the way, that would qualify for one of Dumbledore’s mistakes, I think.

[Is there a thread 'St. Mungos - shelter for those who've gone insane about HP'? And do they serve Sherry there?]

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rambkowalczyk - Sep 2, 2005 6:38 am (#69 of 398)

Kage, Are you saying that Dumbledore gave Snape the position of DADA before Narcissa came to visit? This would mean that Snape was lying when he said he didn't have the DADA position. But since he was lying about other things to Narcissa it would be in character. It would also mean that the curse Voldemort placed on the position was begining to activate.

(goes back and notes the last paragraph on previous post) Yes you are. Yes very possible.

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kage - Sep 2, 2005 8:35 am (#70 of 398)

rambkowalczyk, that's what I'm saying, yes. And as Snape is a professional liar I don't bother much about what he says except when speaks to DD or Harry.

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wynnleaf - Sep 2, 2005 8:42 am (#71 of 398)
Edited Sep 2, 2005 9:42 am

as Snape is a professional liar I don't bother much about what he says except when speaks to DD or Harry.

Kage, I love that line!

Okay, DD could have decided prior to Spinner's End to give Snape the DADA position. Then the added piece of the vow would be, as you say, like the curse on the DADA position fulfilling itself. On the other hand, because Spinner's End seems to fall immediately (couple of days at most?) before DD sent the letter to Harry in which he mentions what turns out to be a visit to Slughorn -- well, it seems awfully circumstantial, doesn't it? To me it sounds more like DD wanted a way to get Slughorn and Snape's vow provided the motivation to move Snape to DADA, opening up the potions position. I don't think DD would have wanted to loose Snape from Hogwarts at the end of the year if he could help it, but the vow took the option of Snape's staying out of the picture. I think it could easily work either way, and I'm not sure that it matters too much which way it came about.

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kage - Sep 2, 2005 9:06 am (#72 of 398)

wynnleaf, I'm flattered, but have to dissent ;-)

and I'm not sure that it matters too much which way it came about.

Well, I think it might matter if the curse on the DADA job crossed a plan of DD’s. They could have planned to fake DD’s death e.g., but after taking the vow Professor Snape had to do it for real. I'm nowhere near settling on this, though, could be anything. Anything to make Professor Snape rise in Voldemort’s esteem, perhaps.

As I've mentioned before somewhere I'm no good with timelines, but I think it works.

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haymoni - Sep 2, 2005 9:15 am (#73 of 398)

I'm wondering if Dumbledore told Snape he had the DADA job conditionally.

If Slughorn had dug in his heels and resisted the allure of teaching the famous Harry Potter, would Snape still have been the DADA teacher?

It's possible that in Chapter 2, Snape does NOT have the job. But once Slughorn agrees to take the position and Dumbledore drops Harry off at the Burrow, he then could have told Snape that the cursed position was his.

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T Brightwater - Sep 2, 2005 5:00 pm (#74 of 398)

haymoni, that sounds right - I think Snape would tell the truth where he could because it would make his lies that much more effective.

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septentrion - Sep 3, 2005 4:24 am (#75 of 398)

That's why I think Spinner's End takes place before DD fetches Harry.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 76 to 100

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 5:26 pm

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kage - Sep 3, 2005 7:12 am (#76 of 398)
Edited Sep 3, 2005 8:12 am

I still think DD was sure about getting Slughorn. He knew him well enough to be certain, so no problem in giving the DADA job to Severus before Slughorn actually agrees. DD can be very er...persuasive, I'd say. If Slughorn managed to 'escape' DD, he still could have put Severus back to potions. Maybe the curse never had obvious effects so quickly before. The DADA teacher always (all kinds of) left at the end of the year - and so does Severus.

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christina - Sep 3, 2005 2:57 pm (#77 of 398)

I do not really believe that Draco was told to kill Dumbledore. I think his only job was to "mend that broken Vanishing Cabinet...". I want to believe that DD is still alive. I think Snape took the vow because he believed that Draco might have been told to kill DD. If Snape took the vow then he would have to kill DD instead. I think Snape and DD had some vow of their own. You can read more about the Unbreakable Vow on this site (I think) or I saw it on JKR's site. I really think it was this one. It tells how the vow works. Also if DD is dead then why didn't the phoenix use his tears to bring DD back to life?

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Weeny Owl - Sep 3, 2005 7:35 pm (#78 of 398)

Fawkes couldn't bring Dumbledore back to life because death is permanent in the Wizarding world. An essence of a person can remain in a portrait, or someone can become a ghost, but JKR said that dead is dead.

I'm more inclined to believe Draco was told to kill Dumbledore because of what Narcissa said to Harry in Madam Malkin's... that Dumbledore wouldn't always be around to protect him.

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kage - Sep 7, 2005 6:27 am (#79 of 398)

I just took the extreme effort to look up 'spinner' at Merriam Webster's:
1 : one that spins
4 : a movable arrow that is spun on its dial to indicate the number or kind of moves a player may make in a board game

And here are some results for 'to spin':
2 : to form (as a web or cocoon) by spinning
3 a : to stretch out or extend (as a story) lengthily : PROTRACT -- usually used without b : to evolve, express, or fabricate by processes of mind or imagination <spin a yarn>

This is, of course my personal selection, meant to undermine my theory that it was the jinx on the DADA job that forced Mr. Snape to make the Unbreakable Vow...;-)

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T Brightwater - Sep 7, 2005 10:20 am (#80 of 398)

What I'd like to know is, what is the role of the Bonder? It sounds like Bellatrix had to cast some sort of spell. Is she, therefore, the one who decides if the Vow is fulfilled, or does it take on a life of its own after being made? What happens to an Unbreakable Vow if the Bonder dies?

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wynnleaf - Sep 7, 2005 10:29 am (#81 of 398)
Edited Sep 7, 2005 11:30 am

T Brightwater,

Wow! That's a question! And of course, Narcissa, Snape and Bellatrix would know the in's and out's to those questions when they made the Vow. Added to that is the question of how long the Vow actually lasts -- each piece, not just the final one. If Bellatrix dies, is Snape released? Or if Narcissa dies? Though I really don't think Narcissa is going to die in the series.) I'd assume that neither Narcissa or Bellatrix can voluntarily release Snape. If it was that easy, Arthur Weasley wouldn't have had so much to worry about with Fred and George getting Ron to make an Unbreakable Vow-- just get one of the twins to "release" Ron and the problem is over.

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 8, 2005 6:16 am (#82 of 398)

My intuition tells me that Snape had no problem taking the Unbreakable Vow because Dumbledore had already foreseen how the whole scenario would end.

I believe that Dumbledore accepted and understood that in the end, Snape would be the one who would kill him, and that this "killing" is part of the overall plan to destroy Voldemort. And furthermore, that Snape was doing exactly what he had been instructed to do by Dumbledore.

Do you recall how many times Dumbledore pleaded with Snape, before Snape cursed him?

Is he asking Snape to save him, or is he imploring Snape to do what they both know must be done?

I find it extremely difficult to believe that Dumbledore, a wizard of such great power and intelligence, would leave himself so unprotected and so vulnerable at the end of the Half Blood Prince.

There is a good chance that Dumbledore is not actually dead. Or that he provided a means for himself to return from the dead before he took Harry on the fatal mission.

So, in conclusion, it is my opinion that taking the Unbreakable Vow was not a problem for Snape because he already knew how events would transpire.

P.S. I think Snape is most likely the key to the final defeat of Voldemort. Snape was a very unhappy, lonely and sad little boy growing up and he most likely harbored a secret adoration for Lily. Perhaps Lily showed him some kindness at one point and this act won a piece of Snape's heart. Snape caring for Lily somewhere in the deep recesses of his heart may also be a contributing factor toward his deep resentment of James. In the end I think Snape will be the catalyst that will allow Harry to achieve ultimate victory. Perhaps Snape will die in the end, but not before Harry realizes how badly he has misjudged Snape.

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T Brightwater - Sep 8, 2005 8:26 am (#83 of 398)

I'd just like to point out that there is no evidence in canon for Snape being in love with Lily. The only time we see the two of them interact, he calls her a "filthy little Mudblood." No one who knew both of them has said anything about them. Not hinted, not started to say something and been interrupted, nothing. I would have thought that if it were an important item in the backstory, somebody would have said something in the first six books.

Snape not saying anything about Lily is not evidence; there are lots of people he doesn't say anything about. Jo dodging the question is not evidence, because she's said several times that she gets a kick out of reading all our theories.

I'm not saying it's impossible, or that it wouldn't explain certain things - just that I would be very hesitant about basing any theories about Snape on it.

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rambkowalczyk - Sep 8, 2005 9:17 am (#84 of 398)

T. Brightwater,

What can't be denied is that there is an unknown relationship between Snape and Lily. Don't you think it is odd that every time Harry used one of the suggestions from the HBP (in potions) that Slughorn would say "Just like Lily" never “Just like your former potions teacher.” They could have been lab partners sharing ideas, or every time Lily got complimented for her ingenuity Snape took notes, or Lily was stealing his ideas as her own. Whatever it is Snape feels about Lily, he doesn't want anyone to know.

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wynnleaf - Sep 8, 2005 9:57 am (#85 of 398)
Edited Sep 8, 2005 11:00 am

T Brightwater, I think I understand what you're getting at. I, too, don't like to get to "into" theories that really don't have any evidence in the books that specifically backs up the theory. After all, MPISM as wacky as it sometimes seems, has loads more evidence. Even DIGS.

The main thing we have about a Lily/Snape connection is what isn't said and how important that may be. Snape is very quick to make a cutting remark to Tonks (a person we hadn't seen him spiteful to in the past), as soon as he realizes that her patronus relates to Lupin. He doesn't have anything in particular against Tonks that we know -- just that she's romantically connected to Lupin. How much more would we expect him to make at least some kind of remark about Lily.

Further, if the betrayal and subsequent deaths of the Potter's is Snape's "greatest regret of his life," how can that possibly make sense when we know he hated James? I mean, he could just "greatly regret it," or "sincerely regret it," maybe -- just because it was two human beings, one whom he hated and one who he was indifferent to. But "greatest regret of his life?" He's got a lot of other things to regret, after all. Becoming a DE in the first place, who knows what sorts of deeds he did under LV. Just working for and supporting someone who killed so many people. Why is it the Potter's betrayal and deaths that he regrets to this huge extent, when we know he hated James?

Yes, the life debt may play a part. But without some real emotional loss, the life debt problem is mainly just a frustration.

The only thing I can really see that could make the Potter's betrayal and deaths the "greatest regret of his life," is if at least one of their deaths was truly painful to Snape -- something that meant a great loss. Since we know that wouldn't be James, it seems to only leave Lily as the connection to his "greatest regret."

Oh, far off topic...

By the way, as an example of the potion's ability thing...my daughter is a gifted artist. Nobody ever says, "wow, you're just as talented as your teacher," but they often say things like, "you must take after your dad." People often comment on the connection of a parent's and child's talent, but rarely attribute the talent of a kid to their teacher.

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[Bates, Mattew]Mattew Bates - Sep 8, 2005 10:04 am (#86 of 398)

Just to back up what rambkowalczyk is saying, T. Brightwater, it's worth noting that Snape only ever compares Harry to his father, insultingly or otherwise. It is very likely that Lily was outshining Snape in Advanced Potions classes, he's called her a F.L.M., yet he never brings her up while insulting Harry. If nothing else, it's food for thought.

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JILL HUBER - Sep 8, 2005 10:24 am (#87 of 398)

Okay, I quit reading the posts, but I think we might be reading too much into things. The main point of the Unbreakable Vow was to protect Draco and keep him from being killed by Voldemort. Snape, I am sure, knew what Draco's task was beforehand and knew he would be the only one able to protect Draco and at the same time, help the order. Remember what Bellatrix said in OOP about unforgivable curses? You have to mean them for them to work. All it said in the third, "IF IT SEEMS DRACO WILL FAIL, WILL YOU...". If it only seems he will fail and the only thing he has to do to protect him from harm is make it appear as though Dumbledore is dead, that is all that really matters. Since Snape is a master Occlumens, he is the only one that could possibly get away with it. Also, remember that Dumbledore freezes Harry under the invisibility cloak after he got him out of harm's way...DD did this on purpose. I think it was planned all along. Usually, you will notice, when someone dies, it seems to sink in a bit more in Rowling's writing. This seemed to only go through the motions. I think the way it was approached was to throw off the reader. Dead or alive, he can still talk to Harry and help him however he needs to to find the horcruxes and defeat Voldemort. It may be even safer now that he is a picture to do this, I think that if Dumbledore had Snape kill him, they won't tell Harry until after Voldie is dead...they do not want to jeopardize Draco

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T Brightwater - Sep 8, 2005 11:06 am (#88 of 398)

I hope none of you are ever charged with a crime, or even made the object of a harmless rumor, on the basis of what you didn't say about someone. :smile”

The people that Snape reviles in front of Harry (James and Sirius) are people for whom he had an obsessive hate, and with some reason. I would expect Snape to taunt Harry about Lily only if he hated her too, and also with some reason. Snape seems to have the policy that if you can't say something bad about a non-Slytherin, don't say anything at all.

Slughorn thought very highly of Lily, which was mentioned on several occasions, and has proved to be important. Slughorn looks at Harry and sees Lily and her knack for Potions, just as Snape looks at Harry and sees James and his arrogance. Slughorn doesn't say anything about James other than that Harry looks like him, except for his eyes. Are we supposed to draw some conclusion from that?

Snape and Lily may have been rivals, friendly or unfriendly. They may have respected each other but not particularly liked each other. They may have been best buddies at muggle school, or from the same neighborhood, who drifted apart at Hogwarts. They may have scarcely been aware of each other. And it's possible that Snape had a secret crush on her and was ashamed of it. But I can't help thinking that if their relationship was important to the story, we would have heard something about it in the books by now - some offhand remark by Sirius, Lupin, Hagrid (who can always be counted on to spill awkward information that everyone else is too discreet to mention) or even Wormtail.

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 8, 2005 12:33 pm (#89 of 398)
Edited by Sep 8, 2005 1:34 pm

I seem to recall some reference to Lily being annoyed with James when he and his mates would pull pranks or make fun of Snape.

It could be that Lily did not approve of this behavior, or perhaps she expected better from James and his friends.

I agree that there is no evidence of a Snape/Lily connection; however one who like to assume that Lily had a heart filled with compassion for others, and that she might have shown him some small kindness or consideration at some point.

To a miserable child like Snape, a brief smile from Lily, or a word of kindness would be enough to warm his cold heart.

But alas, there is no evidence only theory.

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Sparrowhawk - Sep 8, 2005 1:54 pm (#90 of 398)
Edited Sep 8, 2005 2:57 pm

T Brightwater, I believe that you made good points, but at the same time you have to take into account the fact that Snape is an exceptionally secretive person who, through the use of occlumency, is more than able to hide his feelings.

Therefore, IF Snape was in love with Lily (in a one-sided sort of way, nobody seriously believes that she returned him the favour, ever!), it is not surprising at all that neither Sirius, nor Lupin (or Hagrid, for that matter), would know anything about it. The only person who would have been aware of his feelings is DD, because if this were the case it would explain why he knew (or believed) that Snape had truly changed sides.

And IF this were the case, it would also explain why DD was so reluctant to explain to Harry the reason why he trusted Snape. It would have been something that he felt to be entirely between Snape and himself (not the kind of secret that he would have wanted to betray, knowing what Harry felt about Snape), as well as something very, very difficult or even impossible to tell a teenager, anyway!

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T Brightwater - Sep 8, 2005 5:08 pm (#91 of 398)

I agree, Sparrowhawk; IF it's true it explains quite a few things. However, I can think of other theories that would fit the facts equally well, and I'm sure that others on the Forum could come up with many more. It just seems as though we've gotten a bit stuck on Snape's feelings for Lily as his main motivation for changing sides (if he did) and the only evidence that has been offered is negative - that no one has said anything about it. This seems a little weak. Heck, we have more indication of his feelings about Professor McGonagall, and that's only one sentence in OotP!

Also, I think people aren't giving enough weight to "Mudblood" as an insult. From the way Ron and Hagrid reacted to Malfoy using the word, for example, it seems to be roughly equivalent to the "n-word" for a person of color, especially in the mouth of a Slytherin. In a Muggle context, if someone who hung around with white supremacists called a black girl a "n-word" to her face, would you assume he was concealing a crush on her? I wouldn't.

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wynnleaf - Sep 8, 2005 7:42 pm (#92 of 398)

Well, strange as it seems, people within ethnic and racial groups do often use racial or ethnic slurs against each other, both in anger and in fun. I have heard the one you mentioned used in just such ways on numerous occasions. I know that seems strange, but it's true.

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T Brightwater - Sep 9, 2005 9:05 am (#93 of 398)

wynnleaf, you're quite right, and that's why I put in the qualifying "someone who hangs around with white supremacists." It's one thing if a member of the ethnic/racial group uses it, or a very good friend who is an honorary member of the group, but said by a member or hanger on of, say, the KKK, it's a different story.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "Mudblood" only used for Muggle-borns? It could technically apply to half-bloods, but I think it's only used for those with no wizard ancestry.

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Paulus Maximus - Sep 9, 2005 11:45 am (#94 of 398)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "Mudblood" only used for Muggle-borns?

I'm pretty sure it is. It is interesting that as much as Draco hates Harry, he has never stooped to calling him a Mudblood...

...even though JKR has mistakenly referred to Harry as a Muggle-born...

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popkin - Sep 10, 2005 6:34 am (#95 of 398)

If Snape was infatuated with Lily, I don't think it is too unthinkable that Lily could have returned the same kind of feelings for him. She had the unique ability to see past outward appearances to the good in people. She almost certainly appreciated Snape's intellect, innovation, and wit. If Snape were able to put aside his bitterness when they were together, they might have been pretty good friends.

I did think that her retaliatory slur was less spiteful than a spurned (secret) girlfriend would have used, though. It was designed to hurt, but not too deeply.

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Puck - Sep 13, 2005 8:40 am (#96 of 398)

Would Snape's feelings about Lily (whatever they may be) have an impact on him making the Unbreakable Vow?

I expect the bonder works like a judge/minister at a wedding ceremony. The party is needed to officiate the bond, but plays no role in the keeping of it, as that is up to the parties involved. I don't think the death or Bella would release Snape, but what about if Narcissa had died? I believe Snape would still be bound to the magical contract.

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 14, 2005 8:39 am (#97 of 398)
Edited by Sep 14, 2005 9:45 am

I think it is important to remember that Dumbledore had the utmost confidence in Snape. And repeatedly Snape is directly (or indirectly) responsible for saving Harry's life. Dumbledore has a reason for everything he does, and he does not place his trust lightly in people.

No doubt Snape's full background and role will be fully divulged in the final book.

Snape was raised in an abusive household and there seems to be no one in the world who loved him or cared about him. When James was cursing and jinxing him, and making fun of him for the amusement of his classmates; Lily demands that James should stop.

She stands up for Snape even though he rewards her efforts by calling her a mudblood.

The fact that Lily stood up for him when he was so unpopular at school may have touched Snape's heart. Remember he was only a child.

There is so much more to Snape then we have been allowed to learn.

I would like to think, that a noble heart beats in his breast although it is well hidden beneath years of anger, resentment, hate and abuse.

One thing that always stands out for me when it comes to Snape, occurred in the POB movie. Lupin turns into the werewolf and advances toward Harry and his friends.

Snape, after being knocked unconscious by Harry, turns and faces the werewolf and he puts out his arms to shield Harry, Ron and Hermione.

I do not recall if this is described in the book, but in the movie Snape's first instinct is to put himself between the werewolf and the children. Even though he was royally cheesed off at Harry for attacking him and letting Sirius Black escape from the Shrieking Shack.

The act of putting the children behind him and putting out his arms to protect them, tells me that Snape is a noble man under all the layers of blackness that seems to surround him.

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Madam Pince - Sep 14, 2005 9:18 am (#98 of 398)
Edited Sep 14, 2005 10:22 am

Unfortunately, that scene from the movie isn't in the book, Patrick. Snape was unconscious throughout.

But I agree -- it would've been super-cool if it was! And a lot of people have speculated that that scene could possibly be the one JKR was referring to when she said in an interview that "something" in the PoA movie (that apparently wasn't canon) startled her because it was an eerie foreshadowing of things to come -- so maybe Snape will step in front of Harry again at some point in the future! (Other possibilities that I recall being discussed for the "foreshadowing" include seeing Sirius in the crystal ball in Trelawney's classroom, and Buckbeak protecting Harry/Hermione from the werewolf, which we've already seen in HBP when he protects Harry from fleeing Snape...)

Anyway, welcome to the Snape-Lovers Club!

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wynnleaf - Sep 14, 2005 11:17 am (#99 of 398)
Edited Sep 14, 2005 12:18 pm

Puck, I don't know that it's an entirely rational idea, but my gut feeling is that Narcissa is one of those characters who absolutely won't die -- with the possible exception of if she died to save Draco herself, which I'd suppose would release Snape, but maybe not. I just can't see JKR killing off Draco's mom unless she does a "Lily," kind of move. Nobody on the good side is going to kill her. And she doesn't get around LV much either.

Anyway, I just don't see that as a possible way out of the vow for Snape. On the other hand, Bellatrix's death could possibly release the vow, since she's the bonder. Bellatrix seems to be one of those highly likely to die in Book 7.

I wish we knew more about how that vow works!

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T Brightwater - Sep 14, 2005 1:06 pm (#100 of 398)

Another non-canon incident in the PoA movie is Buckbeak saving H&H from wolf-Lupin - I wonder if that was foreshadowing Buckbeak's attack on Snape?

I'm with you, wynnleaf: we need more information. Has Jo got an interview scheduled for anytime soon?

I have a theory that Snape really wants to kill Voldemort himself, for any of a number of reasons. His way of doing that is to worm his way into Voldemort's confidence as thoroughly as possible, and certainly taking that vow (with Bella, the one who doesn't trust him, as Bonder!) would reinforce his position. I think he expected to find a way out of it.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 101 to 125

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 5:51 pm

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 15, 2005 3:19 am (#101 of 398)

Just to edit my previous post, I meant to write POA, not POB

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 15, 2005 3:22 am (#102 of 398)

This is a bit confusing; Harry was born to a witch and a wizard, how can he be muggle-born?

Hermione and Seamus have one parent who is a muggle.

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haymoni - Sep 15, 2005 4:13 am (#103 of 398)

Both of Hermione's parents are Muggles.

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 15, 2005 8:15 am (#104 of 398)

Ahh, that’s right

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 16, 2005 11:11 am (#105 of 398)

Well, I know that this thread sort of went off kilter. The subject is Snape can often do that, I suppose.

In any event, in my opinion Snape took the Vow because he knew that he would be forced to carry out Draco's task if he failed.

He also knew that he would have no problem trying to protect Draco.

So Snape really did not take any risks, or place himself in a compromising position by taking the vow.

This is all theory of course, but in my opinion Dumbledore allowed himself to be killed.

A wizard of Dumbledore's skill would never allow himself to become so weak or vulnerable unless it was on purpose.

Most likely, since Harry is going to lose all of the magic that has been protecting him when he turns 17; Dumbledore had to do something to protect Harry once more.

He most likely sacrificed himself, in the same manner that Lily sacrificed herself in order to pass on the power and the protection that Harry would need to defeat Voldemort in the end.

Dumbledore pleads with Snape repeatedly before Snape delivers the fatal curse.

In my opinion, he is pleading with Snape to do what needs to be done.

Dumbledore loves Harry, as he would love his own son. Think of all the times Dumbledore becomes overwhelmed with emotion when Harry declares his loyalty to him. Or when Harry does something to demonstrate his trust and loyalty in Dumbledore.

Dumbledore makes a sacrifice of love for Harry, and as we all know; this is the most powerful and undeniable magic in the universe.

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Matrona - Sep 16, 2005 6:28 pm (#106 of 398)

Patrick Mullan: A wizard of Dumbledore's skill would never allow himself to become so weak or vulnerable unless it was on purpose.

I think you're right, although I suspect that when Dumbledore was disarmed, he wasn't really all that helpless--hasn't he done wandless magic before, with much greater capability than most wizards without their wands? Even if Dumbledore was significantly impaired without his wand, surely he could have mustered up "Expelliarmus" for every DE. Dumbledore knew, though, that if he didn't die, Snape and Draco would be killed. Narcissa would lose her only son on top of losing her husband. And Dumbledore's just the kind of guy to sacrifice himself for others. Whether or not it was all planned that way, Dumbledore had to have known about the vow, and possibly suspected that this was all coming.

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rob - Sep 28, 2005 10:58 am (#107 of 398)

I've only got one thing to say on this subject and that is for everyone to focus extremely careful on what Hagrid said to Harry about the argument he overheard between Snape and Dumbledore. When Dumbledore returns with Harry after finding the Horcrux gone at the end of the book, Dumbledore is very insistent on getting to Snape as soon as possible; hence, he wanted Snape to kill him rather than Draco.


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wynnleaf - Sep 28, 2005 4:25 pm (#108 of 398)


I agree that Hagrid's story of DD and Severus' argument is crucial and I think it can be compared with DD pushing Harry to agree to follow his directions/commands regardless how much Harry might want to do things differently. And I further think that DD and Severus were acting together on some mutually agreed upon plans.

But I don't get how you came to this:

When Dumbledore returns with Harry after finding the Horcrux gone at the end of the book, Dumbledore is very insistent on getting to Snape as soon as possible; hence, he wanted Snape to kill him rather than Draco.

Yes, DD was asking for Severus, but couldn't that be because of needing him to help with the various potions DD had in the cave? I'm not sure that just because DD was insistent on getting Severus, that it necessarily follows that he wanted Severus to AK him.

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rob - Sep 28, 2005 8:57 pm (#109 of 398)

I'll agree that initially it was because of the potion that Dumbledore drank in the cave; however, once he seen the Dark Mark over the tower, he knew that the time had come at last where Draco is going to make his move. His insistence upon Snape was merely a way that Dumbledore could save Draco's life and quite possibly in Book 7, could play a major part in just how dedicated Draco may be to Lord Voldemort. We very well could see a possible good side to Draco, siding with Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort. After all, Draco hasn't committed an Unforgivable Curse, has he? Draco definitely had second thoughts about Dumbledore's offer, didn't he?

Not for sure what you mean by "AK"?

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Patrick Mullan - Sep 29, 2005 4:49 am (#110 of 398)

I really think Dumbledore is alive. In another thread, the Wandless Wizard mentions how one of the potions presented in the potions class is the Potion of Living Death. A potion that gives the appearance of death.

Dumbledore most likely drank the potion right after he finished drinking all the potion surrounding the horcrux. He asks Harry to get him some water and while Harry is bumbling around trying to get water Dumbledore drinks the potion.

Dumbledore wants to see Snape right away so that Snape can appear to kill him.

Snape took the Unbreakable Vow because he knew in advance he would kill Dumbledore or appear to kill him, and he also knew that he could protect Malfoy.

Just my humble opinion.....

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wynnleaf - Sep 29, 2005 5:02 am (#111 of 398)

Rob: Not for sure what you mean by "AK"?

Avada Kedavra

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Weeny Owl - Sep 29, 2005 7:43 am (#112 of 398)

AK = Avada Kedavra, Rob. The Killing Curse.

We don't know that Draco has cast an Unforgivable... we know he tried to cast one on Harry in the bathroom, but he never completed it. Chances are he's fairly proficient at it since he is the son of a Death Eater, but that's just speculation.

As noble as Dumbledore can be, I'm not sure he necessarily would sacrifice himself merely for Draco because Dumbledore's main objective is Harry and the end of Voldemort. He might WANT to save Draco, he might WANT to save Snape, but what happened on the tower seems, at least to me, more of ensuring Harry's safety than anything else.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 1, 2005 10:43 pm (#113 of 398)
Edited Oct 1, 2005 11:44 pm

Dumbledore tends to take the long view of things. He also is quite good at 'seeing the whole picture' and trying to kill two birds with one stone... as he did in PoA when he mentions to Hermione that should she use her time turner should could perhaps save more than one life that night.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Dumbledore was trying to kill (or save!) two (or more!) birds with one stone that night. He was trying to stall Draco until Snape could get there. He was trying to save Draco (and his soul) by his mercy, because he knew that should Draco succeed, he would have really immersed himself in the 'dark side' ...after all, if Draco had succeeded, he would have been held in the highest esteem of Voldemort & the death eaters. I think Dumbledore was trying to prevent that. I also find it interesting that JKR has said that Draco would NOT have killed Dumbledore! Very interesting indeed.

I know that the conversation Dumbledore & Snape had at the edge of the forest is going to be part of the key to solving this mystery. The key to exactly what Dumbledore & Snape’s relationship was. It seemed to go beyond that of Headmaster & teacher. For whatever reason, Dumbledore had a strong amount of trust in Snape. More than in anyone else that I can tell.

The only reason for this is that they both had to have the very strongest of beliefs in the fact that the 'good' side had to win. And unless Snape is/was a really, really nasty spy... his conviction that the good must overcome must be just as strong.

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Michael Franz - Oct 2, 2005 1:04 pm (#114 of 398)

We don't know that Draco has cast an Unforgivable...

I think Madam Rosmerta might disagree there, because Imperio is one of the Unforgivables.

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Choices - Oct 2, 2005 4:24 pm (#115 of 398)
Edited Oct 2, 2005 5:25 pm

Good catch Michael!!

I have been wondering if Dumbledore's death, if it is real, is anything like Lily's? Did he die to invoke the old magical protection over someone? Harry, Draco,???? I say Harry because maybe if Voldemort tries to AK Harry it will backfire again, or Draco because if Voldemort decides to kill him he will be protected. I don't know - it was just a wild thought.

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Weeny Owl - Oct 2, 2005 11:31 pm (#116 of 398)

We don't know that Draco has cast an Unforgivable...

I think Madam Rosmerta might disagree there, because Imperio is one of the Unforgivables.

But did Draco actually cast it on her or did someone else? He may have and probably did, but with all the sneaky things he's done over the years, I'm not sure I'd believe him. That's just my Draco prejudice coming through most likely, but unless we actually see him do something, I take his comments mostly with a grain of salt. I just cannot stand the little snot.

Rose, I think you're right about Dumbledore having more than one objective that night. He had quite a few variables to work with, and he probably would want to ensure the best outcome for everyone.

Choices, that's been discussed elsewhere, and it's sort of a dilemma, isn't it? On the one hand, Dumbledore could have made a sacrifice that would ensure protection for someone, but on the other hand, JKR said that the reason Lily's sacrifice worked and it wasn't the same for James was that Lily had a choice. Voldemort gave her a choice between living and dying and he didn't do that with James.

Now that doesn't mean, at least to me, that he wouldn't have killed her anyway, but he did give her a choice.

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Choices - Oct 3, 2005 9:07 am (#117 of 398)

Is it possible Dumbledore had a choice? As powerful a wizard as he is, surely he could have chosen not to die - to defend himself in some way? Maybe he chose to let himself be killed? I don't know - I'm just throwing out possibilities.

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wynnleaf - Oct 3, 2005 4:11 pm (#118 of 398)


You should look at the Albus Dumbledore thread. That's what's been discussed the past few days.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 3, 2005 9:13 pm (#119 of 398)

Well, I will put it very briefly here, but if you want to read in detail go to the Albus Dumbledore thread as wynnleaf says.

Yes, Dumbledore had a huge choice to make that night. Because of Snape’s Vow, one of them were going to die up on the tower that night. Either Dumbledore had to die, or Snape would die because he did not follow through on the promise of the vow to fulfill Draco's task. I think Dumbledore's 'Please' was a request that it be him . . . his choice . . . to be the one to die that night - and not Snape.

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Phlegm452 - Oct 4, 2005 4:33 am (#120 of 398)
Edited Oct 4, 2005 5:34 am

I'll just add a little thought. After reading Ch.2 of HBP over again, I thought it odd that Snape says he didn't kill Harry immediately because he thought Harry might become a new Dark Lord to which the DE could rally. Somehow, I don't see Snape calling Harry 'master' in any case.

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wynnleaf - Oct 4, 2005 5:21 am (#121 of 398)

That was an obvious lie, wasn't it? Severus was mean to Harry from his first day of classes at Hogwarts.

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haymoni - Oct 4, 2005 5:28 am (#122 of 398)

He was mean, but he was also testing him.

I thought it was strange - his interrogation of Harry - certainly Snape knew that Harry Potter had been raised by Muggles - how could he possibly know that information?

Yes, Hermione knew it, but who else but her would read all the books before school started? Nobody else seemed to know the answers.

I think he just needed to confirm that Harry was nothing special.

It also put Harry in his place, just in case he DID think he was special because he was The Boy Who Lived. It also let Snape get another dig at James.

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Choices - Oct 4, 2005 8:32 am (#123 of 398)
Edited Oct 4, 2005 10:06 am

RoseMorninStar- "Either Dumbledore had to die, or Snape would die because he did not follow through on the promise of the vow to fulfill Draco's task."

To believe that, we have to assume that the Vow Snape made did indeed concern Draco killing Dumbledore. But what if Draco's job was something else? Maybe his job was to kidnap Trelawney or just get the DE's inside Hogwarts? Maybe killing Dumbledore was something Draco decided to do on his own to please his master. I am just playing devil's advocate here - Draco's main job probably was to kill Dumbledore. I'm just thinking about other possible scenarios..

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Patrick Mullan - Oct 4, 2005 9:15 am (#124 of 398)

I think that Voldemort surely would have wanted Draco to kill someone in order to prove his worth to the Death Eaters.

Draco would have to make his "bones" so to speak.

And it has been established that Draco would have used an Unforgiveable curse against Harry if Harry had not sliced him up good.

I think that part of Draco's task was to kill Dumbledore. He had already made half-hearted attempts to do so with the cursed necklace and the poisoned drink. Unfortunately Katie and Ron got the brunt of those failed attempts.

But Draco either does not have the courage, or the inclination to murder Dumbledore, so he lowers his wand at the end.

Snape completes the task most likely because it has been planned out well in advance by Dumbledore and himself.

Either Dumbledore is really dead, or he drank the Draught of Living Death in order to appear dead.

Then at the funeral Dumbledore is either entombed or he transformed into a phoenix and flew away.

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Muggle Doctor - Oct 4, 2005 4:37 pm (#125 of 398)

Haymoni said:

I thought it was strange - his interrogation of Harry - certainly Snape knew that Harry Potter had been raised by Muggles - how could he possibly know that information?

Let us take a more positive spin on that: when he doesn't get the answer and says "Clearly, fame isn't everything," he is putting Harry down, true, but is he also issuing a warning to Harry and to the other members of the class (including Draco, I might add)? Fame isn't everything, and to rely on it can be disastrous.

And then, a year later, someone came to Hogwarts who proved that point.

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 126 to 150

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 5:53 pm

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 5, 2005 2:06 am (#126 of 398)
Edited Oct 5, 2005 3:32 am

Choices, yes, I guess you are correct. I do assume that the 'Unbreakable Vow' that Snape made was to follow through on the task of killing Dumbledore if Draco was unable to. One of the reasons I presume this is because Draco, on the tower does say, "They thought I'd die in the attempt, but I'm here...and you're in my power...I'm the one with the wand...You're at my mercy..."

Dumbledore also acknowledges that he knows Draco has been trying to kill him all year and Draco affirms that he has been working on it all year and his heart has been 'in' the task. So, we do know that this is the task that was set before Draco, even if it was ambiguous in the beginning of the book.

Wynnleaf and Phlegm, yes, I do think Snape was lying that he thought that perhaps Harry was a new Dark Lord that they could all rally behind. But I also think that Snape has a bit of a chip on his shoulder because Harry was not placed in Slytherin house. Now, wouldn't THAT have been interesting?

An interesting thing to note, as I was scanning some text before I posted, I noticed that the first time Harry looks at Snape... it is in the great hall.. the feast after the sorting...

'Professor Quirrell, in his absurd turban, was talking to a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin. It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell's turban straight into Harry's eyes---and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry's forehead. "Ouch!" Harry clapped a hand to his head. "What is it?" asked Percy. "N-nothing." The pain had gone as quickly as it had come. Harder to shake off was the feeling Harry had gotten from the teacher's look--a feeling that he didn't like Harry at all. "Who's that teacher talking to Professor Quirrell?" he asked Percy.

Oh, I'd say a HUGE chip on his shoulder. Harry didn't stand a chance as far as Snape was concerned. The question is... Why? He couldn't possibly be so vindictive (to get back at James) that he would spend all of these years to get back at James via Harry..could he?

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Diagon Nilly - Oct 5, 2005 11:56 am (#127 of 398)

I just thought of this, but: wouldn't Voldy be just a little PO'd at Bella and Narcissa for getting Snape to take the vow? Sure, it enabled the death of Dumbledore - a definate thorn in Voldy's side. But now Voldy lost the only person who was able to spy on the rest of the Order. The Order is still a threat to Voldy and the DE's and now the inside man is gone. Seems a bit shortsighted...

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Paulus Maximus - Oct 5, 2005 2:42 pm (#128 of 398)

The inside man is gone, but so is the "definite thorn in Voldy's side". I'm pretty sure that Voldemort would be satisfied with the tradeoff.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 5, 2005 6:43 pm (#129 of 398)

Diagon Nilly, I think Snape was a spy for so long for the safety of his own hide...with a little mutual assistance... but for which side...who knows?

Once the 'war' has started (and it has started) it would have been difficult to maintain spy status anyway. Dumbledore probably recognized that by finally allowing Snape to have the DADA job. He knew that it would probably be his last year at Hogwarts (and if he is on the 'good' side, it would at least be his last year until the war is over & everything has been sorted out.)Everything points to the fact that both Dumbledore & Snape knew that his years at Hogwarts were limited.

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Saracene - Oct 5, 2005 11:19 pm (#130 of 398)

It's likely IMO that LV is never going to find out about the Vow. The only three people that know about Snape's third promise to finish Draco's job are Bellatrix, Narcissa and Snape himself. They don't really have to tell him anything if they don't want to.

Whether LV is going to be really miffed about losing his spy I think depends on whether he had really told Snape anything about the whole plan and LV's order to Draco. If he hadn't and Snape was supposed to be unaware of the whole thing all that time, then I think Snape can explain that he unknowingly put himself into a situation where he couldn't maintain his cover anymore and had to take sides.

I was thinking also, wouldn't it be rather hard for Snape to remain a spy even if Draco did kill DD and there was no proof of Snape's involvement? I mean, the one and only reason why the rest of the Order are prepared to trust Snape is DD and his word. Once DD is gone, would they be prepared to continue to trust him?

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wynnleaf - Oct 12, 2005 5:49 am (#131 of 398)
Edited Oct 12, 2005 7:33 am

I was thinking last night of how little we know about the Unbreakable Vow. The different reactions people have to it are interesting.

1. The only real "facts" we have about the vow are Ron's memories of when he was 5 years old. No one else offers any real facts about how the vows work.

2. Bellatrix seems to think it's really important that Severus would agree to the Vow with Narcissa.

3. On the other hand, Lupin doesn't seem particularly concerned at all to hear that Severus made an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco with whatever is mission is. Why isn't Lupin thinking "wow, how could Severus make this deadly Unbreakable Vow to help Draco on a mission given him by LV?"

4. DD doesn't seem to think it's important either. Why not?

At first I thought that maybe Lupin assumed that Severus hadn't really made such a Vow. But that doesn't work. No way would Severus tell Draco something that Draco would go back home at Christmas and complain to mom about -- "Why did you go and make a Vow with Snape to help me? I'm doing this by myself!" If Severus told Draco he'd made the vow, then Lupin should realize that he wouldn't be lying about it.

Same goes for DD. Yet neither seems concerned.

I don't get this Unbreakable Vow. Bellatrix placed a lot of importance on it, but neither Lupin or DD get particularly excited about it.

Edit: I went back and read A Very Frosty Christmas again. Arthur and Lupin both hear about the unbreakable vow. So why don't they get upset? They should know that as a spy, Severus should never tell Draco he'd made an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa if he hadn't -- Draco could so easily ask her about it, and probably would ask her. So why aren't either one that concerned? This makes me wonder if when you know what you're doing, there are ways to deal with unbreakable vows that Fred,George and Ron wouldn't have known or used at 5 and 7.

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me and my shadow 813 - Oct 12, 2005 8:21 am (#132 of 398)
Edited Oct 12, 2005 9:33 am

wynnleaf - I agree we don't know enough about this vow to make anything more than speculation. But there's been postings that make sense to me in answering this.

Perhaps members of the Order know that Snape had already made an Unbreakable Vow to DD. It could be like bigamy. You can't make conflicting/duplicitous vows and the initial vow is the binding vow.

This idea makes the most sense to me because it would reinforce Snape killing(?) DD for the benefit of the Order and not for his own gain. It also secures Snape's position as a LV devotee without him actually having anything binding him to LV or DE's. Just an illusion that satisfied even Bella. And whoever was responsible for killing DD would be LV's most treasured follower.

Yet, he has DD's unwavering trust do to first vow.

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Madame Pomfrey - Oct 12, 2005 3:49 pm (#133 of 398)
Edited Oct 12, 2005 4:52 pm

I think the vow was taken by Snape in order to gain the DE trust( he was questioned by Bella about his loyalty and Wormtail was possibly sent to watch him.)I think Snape going over to LV full time was set up by Albus Dumbledore.This is why Snape was hired for the DaDa job(they both knew he wouldn't be around for another year anyway) and why Snape pretended (my opinion) to fire an AK at Dumbledore in front of DE witnesses.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 12, 2005 9:52 pm (#134 of 398)
Edited Oct 12, 2005 10:55 pm

The only really good reasons I can think of why Lupin, Mr.Weasley, Dumbledore, etc.. might not have reacted to the information about the Unbreakable Vow is that they perhaps already knew about it (Snape told them) or suspected something like this might happen and it had already been discussed at an OotP meeting what one should do in such a situation. The other reason I can think of is that perhaps they just don't want the 'kids' getting worried or wrapped up in the situation more than they already are. Perhaps they were modeling 'good' team behavior of what is expected from Order members. And that would be ... Dumbledore is the conductor..we trust him and follow his orchestration.

Madam Pomfrey...I agree that Dumbledore must have known something was up because of that very reason...giving Snape the DADA job. That definitely tells us something.

I have read & re-read that 'AK'ing scene. It seems like a 'real' Unforgivable curse to me...but then JKR sometimes pulls something out of her bag of tricks that we cannot anticipate . . . like the horcruxes. And since this is 'her' world...she gets to make the rules!

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Muggle Doctor - Oct 14, 2005 4:58 am (#135 of 398)

Maybe Snape has already taken another unbreakable vow: "Do You, Severus, vow to follow my orders, however bizarre or unpleasant an outcome they may be seen to lead to?" He took it with Dumbledore, although we can't say who was the third person to seal it. And when Hagrid caught them arguing, he might have been asking to be released from it.

(JKR, IS there a way you can release someone from their unbreakable vow??)

Just a theory...

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Paulus Maximus - Oct 14, 2005 6:02 am (#136 of 398)

Dumbledore didn't force Harry to take an Unbreakable Vow(although what he did was quite similar to an Unbreakable Vow) before they went after the locket. I have trouble with the idea that he put Snape under an Unbreakable Voweither.

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wynnleaf - Oct 14, 2005 7:58 am (#137 of 398)
Edited Oct 14, 2005 8:59 am

Bellatrix and Narcissa wanted the Unbreakable Vow specifically because of a lack of trust. DD said repeatedly that he trusted Severus, therefore I do not think he ever asked for an unbreakable vow. Besides, the penalty for breaking such a vow is death. So the only real hold it has over someone is to the extent that the person fears death.

It doesn't make sense to ask someone to take an Unbreakable Vow and then force that person - through the vow - to continuously risk his life. In other words, if the person is so afraid of death that the penalty of the vow holds them to their word, why would they be so willing to risk their life?

Oh, I'm being confusing I think! More or less what the recipient of the vow would be saying is, "promise me, on pain of death, that you'll put your life in a lot of extremely life threatening situations." If you need the "penalty of death" to get somebody to dramatically risk their life for your purpose, then the vow is really either useless (because the person doesn't care about the risk of death) or irrelevant (because they already desire to endure the risk requested for the sake of the purpose).

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HungarianHorntail11 - Oct 14, 2005 9:11 am (#138 of 398)

I don't know if this has been discussed, but I was wondering why the Unbreakable Vow bound them by fire rather than water when fire is supposed to represent Gryffindor (i.e., DD) and water, Slytherin? Could this be a hint regarding a previous game plan with DD?

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Saracene - Oct 14, 2005 5:10 pm (#139 of 398)

I honestly can't see DD holding a threat of death over anyone's head; the Unbreakable Vow, IMO, is way too nasty for good guys to use it.

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Choices - Oct 14, 2005 5:22 pm (#140 of 398)
Edited Oct 14, 2005 6:24 pm

I always wonder how Fred and George knew about Unbreakable Vows at age 7 ???? Ron said he was 5 when they tried to make him take a vow, and they are about 2 years older. Just seems rather advanced (and questionable) magic for 7 year olds to know about....but then we are talking about Fred and George. LOL

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HungarianHorntail11 - Oct 14, 2005 5:35 pm (#141 of 398)
Edited Oct 14, 2005 6:36 pm

Not necessarily a bond, more like a foreshadowing, Saracene.

Yes, that is young, but I guess that is where older siblings would come into play.

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Madame Pomfrey - Oct 15, 2005 3:22 pm (#142 of 398)

Being the jokesters they are, what if Fred & George just told Ron he'd die if the vow was broken? I mean, what if the consequences for a broken vow is still serious, enough for buttocks to be hexed, but not death?

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wynnleaf - Oct 15, 2005 3:57 pm (#143 of 398)
Edited Oct 15, 2005 4:57 pm

Madame Pomfrey,

That's a good point. All we have as confirmation of Ron's description of the Unbreakable Vow is his description of Arthur's reaction -- that is, that Arthur was really angry at the twins about it. But that doesn't necessarily really mean that Ron's memory of it, or his understanding is precisely correct. You know, as talented as Fred and George are, I can't exactly picture them knowing at 7 years old the bit of magic that Bellatrix does in bonding the vow. Was Arthur really concerned that they were about to get Ron killed? Hard to tell. Also, sometimes parents will make a really big deal out of something to the child when they mostly want to make a point, but aren't actually all that distressed about. I remember being sort of stunned as an adult to realize that my dad hadn't really been as upset about some mischief we kids got into as we thought he was at the time. He had wanted to impress on us some things, but hadn't actually been as concerned as we thought he was.

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Madame Pomfrey - Oct 15, 2005 4:43 pm (#144 of 398)
Edited Oct 15, 2005 5:48 pm

That’s true, Wynnleaf. Also, if by chance the twins did know about the Vow, who had they seen perform it? I doubt parents would tell such young children about "death" vows so I would think they had spied on someone taking the vow (sounds like the twins ) and either made up what would happen or didn't know what would happen if the vow were broken.

If a broken vow does not mean death, that would put a different light on some of the theories concerning the events that took place on the tower.

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Muggle Doctor - Oct 16, 2005 11:36 pm (#145 of 398)

Maybe Arthur went ballistic not because Fred and George could actually have bound Ron with the Unbreakable Vow, but because the Unbreakable Vow was so serious (and its consequences so potentially dire) that he didn't even want them thinking about it again; much as in David Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy, Garion's aunt - or was it grandfather? - goes ballistic when the child Garion mentions the full name of the evil god which he is (unbeknownst to him) fated to destroy one day.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 17, 2005 9:15 am (#146 of 398)

Maybe they have Wizarding World radio serial 'soap' programs (I don't think they have TV)or Wizarding adventure/comic magazines where they picked up on something like the Unbreakable Vow.

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Blots - Nov 12, 2005 4:02 pm (#147 of 398)

Ok here is a Book 7 prediction concerning Snape and the Unbreakable Vow. We will discover that, once an Unbreakable Vowis deemed to be fulfilled, the bonder can release the parties to the Vow. Narissa and Bellatrix will release Snape, believing that he has fulfilled his Vows of protecting Draco and killing Dumbledore. Once this is accomplished, Snape will be free to awaken Dumbledore from the state of Living Death.

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Choices - Nov 12, 2005 6:19 pm (#148 of 398)

An interesting prediction Blots - I hope you are right!!!

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me and my shadow 813 - Nov 12, 2005 8:46 pm (#149 of 398)

Absolutely positively, now that the darn vow is fulfilled and Snape is at Vold's right hand, DD can be the puppet string puller from behind the curtain. It's actually much easier this way, being thought of as dead. You're no longer a target. I bet mob bosses do it all the time.

Off topic (again) but I wonder about Harry running from the tower thinking "he had to get to DD and he had to catch Snape...somehow the two things were linked...he could reverse what had happened if he had them both together..."

Could this be for real? Is Harry the one who will revive him?

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wynnleaf - Nov 12, 2005 8:55 pm (#150 of 398)

he had to get to DD and he had to catch Snape...somehow the two things were linked...he could reverse what had happened if he had them both together...

me and my shadow -- so cool! I hadn't thought much about that before, because without the notion that Severus is crucial in "reviving" DD, it wouldn't have any particular meaning. But if DD is "dead" with Draught of Living Death, and it takes Severus to revive him, then that would make Harry's thought very prescient, even though he hadn't realized it.

This should be posted down on the thread about whether or not DD's death is real.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 151 to 175

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:32 pm

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frogface - Nov 13, 2005 3:29 am (#151 of 398)

But what would the point of releasing someone from a vow they've already fulfilled? Surely by fulfilling a vow you've released yourself from it? I'm not sure I really understand!

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Blots - Nov 16, 2005 5:43 pm (#152 of 398)

I've joined the” DD is NOT Dead” club, frogface. So the question is, if Snape has not in fact fulfilled the Vow, is there a way out for him? Does the Vow "collect" magically, independent of human intervention? Then, if DD is alive, and we accept Ron's assertion that the cost of breaking the Vow is Death, Snape appears to be a goner. (Ignoring slippery "outs" over the precise wording of Lord Voldemort's assignment to Draco.) Will we find Snape in his next scene being "rewarded" by LV for his service at the wrong end of an AK curse?...(LV: "Never believed a word that Snape was saying...Traitor from the start.")

If people have to intervene to bond and unbond parties to the Vow, then the possibility of error and deception enter, and Snape might well survive. I think that would be a better construction than Snape slipping out on the basis of quibbles over wording, though of course, that is always a possibility.

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Vaughn - Nov 17, 2005 2:25 pm (#153 of 398)

I posted this on the thread about the forest conversation between Snape and DD, but I thought it might fit in here. If someone has already talked about this please disregard.

The question that really remains is did DD know about the final part of the vow? I think that he did based on the plea. If he knows about the vow he knows that Severus has to either kill or be killed because Draco is unable to complete his task, so Snape must complete it for him or die. DD knows that without a wand and with Harry frozen and himself somewhat incapacitated by the potion, he probably will not be able to get all of the death eaters. DD is always thinking about his students and I think that he looks at his options, knows that Snape must either kill DD or die from the vow. DD also knows that he cannot guarantee the safety of his students as a whole or Draco or Harry, in his current state. So he sees that his only option is to sacrifice himself, save both Draco and Snape, and allow Snape to save the rest of the school and Harry by getting the DE out of there. Hence the "Severus...please" and the look of disgust and hatred on Snapes face.

I think that this also explains Snape’s response to Harry and all his actions when leaving the castle. He doesn't hurt anyone else, his goal is to get everyone out of the castle as quick as possible to keep the rest of the people safe. This is why he goes nuts when Harry calls him a coward. Harry is once again letting his emotions rule whereas Snape's actions are based not on emotion but duty. I cannot think of any other scenario that explains how Snape treats Harry at the end.

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Honour - Nov 17, 2005 3:50 pm (#154 of 398)

I like it! Bravo Vaughn :-)

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frogface - Nov 19, 2005 4:56 am (#155 of 398)

I'm sorry Blotts but I don't really see how that’s answered my question. What I'm trying to establish is this: If you fulfill a vow (in this case Snape completing Draco's task) then you have released yourself from the consequences of not fulfilling the vow (Which would be Snape dying). If Narcissa, or Bellatrix observe that Dumbledore is dead then and were to release Snape, then he effectively would have been released twice....there’s no point in that.

If say, Narcissa changed her mind before the assassination went through and released Snape from the debt BEFORE Snape had killed Dumbledore, then that would make sense. That itself is a possibility. Personally I believe Dumbledore is dead and that he planned it but if he and Snape were able to convince Narcissa to release Snape from the Vow so that both Snape and Draco will be spared having to kill someone and Snape will not have to die. THEN Dumbledore could fake his death. But it only works if Snape is released from the vow before the deed is done, not after.

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RoseMorninStar - Nov 19, 2005 11:15 am (#156 of 398)

Vaughn, I agree with you. Roughly, what you have posted was my first impression of the situation. The only thing I would add is that I think that Dumbledore foresaw a time when this might become necessary and had previously discussed what to do in such an event with Snape.

I think Dumbledore knew his time would come and that the 'glint in his eye' back in GoF has something to do with his plan. Of course, this still does not answer why Snape took the vow. I would think Snape was taken off guard by Bellatrix & Narcissa's surprise visit and he was left with very little choice. Take the vow and deal with its consequences later... or blow his cover and die on the spot. I have no doubt Bella would have been only too happy to kill Snape.

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Honour - Nov 20, 2005 3:09 am (#157 of 398)

O.K., on the predictions for book 7 thread I floated an idea that could probably be inserted here ... Bear with me guys ...

I too think that Severus was caught off guard about participating in the Vow, I think that he knew, or had a fair idea to expect a visit from Narcissa, and that she would ask him to watch over Draco, which is what he was prepared to do ... So when he did consent to the vow he was prepared for the first two pledges and his hesitation on the third proves that he was not willing to fulfill the last. Now this is where we enter the realm of pure speculation on my part - so here goes, I think that DD who was invisible at the time placed his hand over Severus' so that the third part of the vow would be his (DD's) pledge. I think the placement of DD's hand over Severus' made Severus' hand move so (like when someone grabs you when you are not quite expecting it), I think that Narcissa would not have taken notice of this because she was too distraught ... I think that when DD spoke to Severus on the tower he actually said "Sever us please" meaning to sever / cut the vow connection between them ... or, I could be totally w-a-y off the mark, but there it is! Do with it what you will :-)

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Good Evans - Nov 20, 2005 9:43 am (#158 of 398)

I've been a bit off this thread for a while, so forgive me if this has been raised, I felt that in the GOF movie, there was a huge inference to the binding magical contract and how it could not be broken (they did not say it but my inference was failure to comply would mean death by magical means).

This made me think instantly of the Unbreakable Vow and how it is a magical binding contract. I think that the references in GOF were foreshadowing in order to bring the principal of the Unbreakable Vow in to play in the later books. I do hope that Snape has fulfilled his vow and is now released, otherwise I suspect that should he have to turn on Malfoy later we could find that the deep magic comes to the fore and this may be the end of Severus. (I am a bit of a Severus is a good guy champion!)

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RoseMorninStar - Nov 20, 2005 3:34 pm (#159 of 398)

Honour, that is an interesting hypothesis. I like the idea, but that would have to be an uncanny coincidence that Dumbledore could have been there at Spinners end (with Wormtail and all) and have known exactly when Bella & Narcissa were coming. I also think the 'sever us' is a stretch. BUT, I still like the idea.

I wonder if a vow like that can be transferred from one person to another? I get the feeling that Dumbledore felt that either he could be just as much help dead (or faked dead) as he could alive, and that in some way Snape was more 'valuable' alive in the War against Voldemort. I think that it is only too obvious that there was some type of plan.

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Honour - Nov 20, 2005 4:28 pm (#160 of 398)

Thank you RosemorninStar, I can't take all the credit for this wee idea, as I said on another thread, I borrowed a bit from here, a bit from there, threw it all together and watched where the pieces fell.

Yes, it would have been quite a coincidence to have DD be present when the sisters arrived at Spinners End, maybe it was DD (in invisible mode) that Bella sensed, but she instead killed the fox?

Maybe DD and Severus have some kind of contacting system, (if Hermione can set up a system for the DA, then surely Severus can set up one), one part there I think Severus even glanced out the window, was he expecting someone?

How about this for a stretch? What if it was DD under the influence of Polyjuice potion we saw, and not Wormtail? (Yes, I know it's been done before, but hey it’s a winner!) Oh the possibilities are endless! And to think we have 2 more years before we are put out of our misery!

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Blots - Nov 24, 2005 11:52 am (#161 of 398)

It has occurred to me that most of the potions in JKR’s world wear off. In fact, off-hand I can’t think of one that does not. The Polyjuice Potion wears off in one hour. The Felix wears off in an evening. So, it stands to reason that I’m totally off the mark saying Snape must revive DD. (Though I am far from alone on this point.) If the potion just wears off, DD would probably be taking more periodically to maintain his semblance of death.

This leads me to place a lot of credence in the idea that has been floated on the Snape/Dumbledore threads that the Phoenix, Harry imagines he glimpses rising from the funeral bier, was Dumbledore. (My apologies for being lazy and not crediting this idea...It is not mine.)

I rather like this, because, when combined with my idea that DD blocked the AK curse and TVrana’s that DD was wearing a shield cloak, Snape need not directly know that he has not killed DD.

The scenario I'm imagining is Snape informed DD of LV’s plot to involve Draco in an attempt to kill him (DD.) The expectation LV has is that Draco will die in the attempt, giving him revenge at Lucius. Moreover, Voldemort had commanded Snape to kill DD when Draco fails. Clearly, if Snape refuses to follow through, he is exposed as a fraud. DD could contemplate this, and then order Snape that, if need be, Snape must kill him. Snape might suspect DD has a plan, but it would make sense that DD would insulate and protect Snape by allowing him to know nothing more. This would make sense of Snape’s, “Don’t call me a Coward!” riposte to Harry. Snape must put his complete faith and whole life in DD’s hands, even to the point at being hunted as a murderer and taking an Unbreakable Vowto perform the task.

Frogface, (#155) “If you fulfill a vow (in this case Snape completing Draco's task) then you have released yourself from the consequences of not fulfilling the vow (Which would be Snape dying).”

I’m sure you are making a good point, frogface, but you are not giving me enough information to understand it. If Snape and DD are conspiring to fake DD’s death, how are you asserting he has fulfilled the Vow? Most people have argued that he does, on the basis of ambiguity over what he was vowing. I have stated above, that I agree this is the most likely “out” for Snape, I just don’t like it, because it seems excessively contrived to me.

The “Binding Magical Contract” is one of my (several) pet peeves about GoF. The terms are never spelled out. Does the wizard die, get a bad case of hives for a week,...what? I think a good set of terms would have been a wizard’s powers would be eliminated or seriously reduced until the next Tournament or four years, whichever is less. (The subject of the satire, the Olympics, is every four years) The “or” does not relate to alternative suggestions, I mean the ability of the spell to take away the wizard’s power would depend to some degree on the power of the wizard. Were that the cost and it was clear it applied regardless of the “circumstances,” I think DD would have had much stronger motives for allowing Harry to compete.

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frogface - Nov 24, 2005 12:44 pm (#162 of 398)

What I'm trying to say, Blotts, doesn't apply to just Snape’s vow, but any Vow. Let me try and explain with some other examples. Imagine Narcissa were to say "Snape, go get me an apple" and then asked Snape to make the Unbreakable Vow. i.e. "Vow you will get me an apple". So, then Snape goes off and gets the apple and brings it back, therefore fulfilling his Vow. Therefore releasing himself from it. It would be unnecessary for Narcissa to release him from the vow because he would have done so himself by fulfilling it. The same applies to Vow to complete Draco's task, whatever it was. Do you understand what I'm getting at now? I'm not trying to argue that he HAS fulfilled the Vow. I'm saying that from Narcissa's point of view, there would be no point in releasing him from it if she believed he had fulfilled the terms, because he would have done that for himself.

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me and my shadow 813 - Nov 24, 2005 1:03 pm (#163 of 398)

Hi frogface, I've been observing your posts/point, and have given my two knuts on it earlier. I can see how you feel misunderstood, but I think I get what you're saying. However, I feel it's important to realize something:

# We can assume that Bella and DE squad will find out Snape has "fulfilled" the vow.

# But, let's assume for a moment that DD is not actually dead and at some point in book 7, the DE's find this out.

# Then we have a situation where Snape "fulfilled" the vow, thus releasing himself from the consequences (dying) but in actuality he did not "fulfill" the vow.

# Will he die at the instant Narcissa/etc. find out? Will she have the power (of the vow) in believing it is not fulfilled?

# Further, if they never find out until it's too late (Vold "finished" and DE's in Azkaban forever) is Snape off the hook?

So your statement, "It would be unnecessary for Narcissa to release him from the vow because he would have done so himself by fulfilling it" may or may not be correct. If Narcissa finds out DD's death was a hoax, even after the DE's have thrown Snape a party congratulating him, she would be right in believing he was still bound by it...

This, I feel, is important to keep in mind for book 7.

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Rea - Nov 25, 2005 4:03 am (#164 of 398)

I think we are forgetting a crucial point: "Why did Narcissa took the Vow?". She took it because Bella doesn't trust Snape, so the vow’s main function was to gain a protection against Snape's lies. If Snape made to look like he fulfilled the vow, in order to avoid its consequences, the vow would be, IMO, completely not useful, as it didn't shelter Narcissa from the risk of being cheated by her vow partner.

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Weeny Owl - Nov 25, 2005 4:05 am (#165 of 398)

I see the binding contracts as something bound with magic, and that it wouldn't matter one way or the other if someone tried to release another from a vow.. the magic involved would know if the vow had been fulfilled just as magic allows witches and wizards to see Hogwarts where Muggles see ruins.

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me and my shadow 813 - Nov 25, 2005 9:00 am (#166 of 398)

EDITED--Thanks, Rea and Weeny Owl for your thoughts. I agree with you both, however I've been assuming there's a loophole in the Vow or in the wording which makes it otherwise. To use frogface's metaphor, what if Bella demanded an apple from Snape. Snape conjured an orange to look like an apple and gave it to her, because giving her an apple is the last thing he wanted to do. She is satisfied and everyone feels the vow has been fulfilled. A week later, Bella bites into the apple, and finds out it's an orange. Does Snape die at that instant? Or do Bella and Snape (unconsciously) agree the vow is fulfilled at the moment he hands her the apple, and that's how the vow is released, end of story?

I guess this is basically asking if a vow has a mind of it's own, and knows that the apple is an orange. The vow would know if DD's death was not real...

So, that leads us back to "Was the Death of DD real?" In order for your ideas to be true, DD must be dead. Of course we don't know. Many (including me) have been trying to gather clues which imply DD is in hiding somewhere, as he offered to Draco and Narcissa...

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wynnleaf - Nov 25, 2005 9:10 am (#167 of 398)

The real problem here, as I see it, is that we don't know exactly how the vow works or what the DoLD does.

We have no way of knowing whether the vow is fulfilled based on a magic that knows whether DD is really dead, or fulfilled by Narcissa or Bellatrix being satisfied that he's dead. I agree that it would make more sense for it to be a magic that knows whether or not DD is dead, because otherwise Narcissa could easily be cheated.

But that brings us to what the magic of the vow could really sense. Surely such a magic would "know" if Severus did a fake AK, while DD simply pretended to be injured/weak, gently let himself down from the tower, and later pretended to be dead while lying on the ground.

However, JKR spent a lot of time re-acquainting us with the Draught of Living Death. Yet with all the ingredients that we read about, the instructions for brewing it, etc., we were never really told what the effects were (convenient, eh?). Is the DoLD a death that just isn't "properly" dead? Or a life that isn't properly alive? My bet is on a death that's just not "properly" dead.

So since we aren't told what exact requirement the vow would need to "sense" the death of DD, and nor are we told exactly what the DoLD actually does, we are left with the strong (in my opinion) possibility that JKR could arrange for the DoLD to fulfill the requirements of the Vow.

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Blots - Nov 26, 2005 4:30 pm (#168 of 398)

Since I now believe Snape needn't have been involved in any deception in order for DD to have faked his own death, I don't believe there is any need for Snape to have an "out." Snape will have completed the terms of the Vow. So I think I'm with you, frogface. No need to release Snape. There won't be any contrivance. Snape really did it...It will turn out he failed, but he did everything he was asked and could have been asked to do.

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virginiaelizabeth - May 21, 2006 4:04 pm (#169 of 398)

This thread hasn't had any post for a while now so I'm gonna post some of the questions I've had.

Does the vow have a time limit? What if Draco never completes the task, but forgets about it and ignores it after time, would this mean Snape would have to take over and complete the task otherwise die?

How specific does the UV have to be when stated? When Snape and Narcissa make the UV, they are VERY vague about it. Did Snape know exactly what he was agreeing to? My thoughts are that he did, but if he's really on Dumbledore's side, then why would he do it? He could have told Narcissa that he would not interfere with the Dark Lord's plans, yet he still took the vow. Is there a way to trick the vow, in other words, can you think you are agreeing to something totally different than what the other person thinks they are agreeing to? Would the UV still work if the two people are each agreeing to something different? my guess would be no, but then again, there's no proof to that at all.

Sorry if some of these have been asked before..waaayy too many posts to read!

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wynnleaf - May 21, 2006 4:53 pm (#170 of 398)

A few other questions I wonder about. What role does the bonder have once the vow is made? Who decides, or how is it decided when the vow is completed?

I wonder about Ron's information, which are his memories of almost getting into a vow with a couple of 7 year olds, and their father's comments at the time. I don't think this necessarily gives us precise information about the UV.

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geauxtigers - May 21, 2006 6:27 pm (#171 of 398)

Yeah I wonder about that too! This is the kind of stuff that I lay awake thinking about at night! The only time we've seen a UV made was with Snape and Cissy and like you said Ginny, it was extremely vague. I'm not sure that we can judge Ron's comment to seriously after all we all know he has a tendency to exaggerate slightly. Not to mention that all he says is that you break it you die... hmmmmmm guess I'll lay awake thinking about this too!

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Saracene - May 22, 2006 1:01 am (#172 of 398)

My thoughts are that he did, but if he's really on Dumbledore's side, then why would he do it? He could have told Narcissa that he would not interfere with the Dark Lord's plans, yet he still took the vow.

But Snape's problem, I think, was that he himself freely offered to help Draco, and therefore he already has indicated that he was willing to interfere with the Dark Lord's plans. Once Snape showed willingness to go behind Voldemort's back, he couldn't really use that excuse anymore - it would then simply look as if he's saying, "yeah I'll promise to help but oh no, I won't commit". And maybe he could still wriggle out of it if Bellatrix wasn't present - but she was there and pounced like a tiger on what looked like hesitation on Snape's part to take the Vow. If he said no, then he'd look precisely the sort of person Bellatrix jeeringly accused him to be, all empty promises and no action, and I think that Snape wanted to preserve Narcissa's goodwill and trust.

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virginiaelizabeth - May 22, 2006 12:46 pm (#173 of 398)

That's a great point Saracene, I'll have to think on it a little more before posting again...

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Paulus Maximus - May 22, 2006 2:04 pm (#174 of 398)

Snape knew that if he didn't take the Unbreakable Vow, he would blow his cover, and Dumbledore would not have thanked him for blowing his cover. So even if he was Dumbledore's man, he had a pretty good reason to take the Vow.

I wonder what further use Snape would have been to the Order if he HAD blown his cover?

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virginiaelizabeth - May 22, 2006 4:23 pm (#175 of 398)

I'm not so sure it would have blown his cover. Refusing to help Draco or die isn't the same as declaring his position in the Order. It would have made him suspicious but it certainly wouldn't have completely blown his cover.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 176 to 200

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wynnleaf - May 22, 2006 6:11 pm (#176 of 398)
Edited May 22, 2006 7:12 pm

From the conversation, it sounded like a number of DE's were becoming more and more suspicious of Snape. If she could, it sounds like Bellatrix would like to be able to convince LV that Snape isn't trustworthy, and it seemed like she might have had other DE's to back her up.

Snape willingly offered to help protect Draco. He probably wanted to do that anyway, as he seems to have at least a bit closer relationship with Draco than other students. So this was something he could offer Narcissa that would sound like he was supporting her, supporting LV, but not doing anything that -- even as a DD supporter -- he wouldn't do anyway.

But then Bellatrix scoffs at the offer -- it's only an offer, he won't really follow through. So Narcissa asks for a UV. Okay, it still could be fine for Snape to do that, because he's still being told that the focus is on his protecting Draco.

But if he refused to make the UV about protecting Draco, then all the sudden he starts sounding even more suspicious than previously. This gives Bellatrix something more concrete to take to LV. After all, protecting Draco while he did LV's bidding isn't going against any particular order of LV. Bellatrix could use this with LV as "evidence" that Snape really isn't trustworthy -- "look he said he'd protect Draco, but he wouldn't really commit to it."

So at that point, I think he had to take the vow. When the third part was put in, he had to make a very quick decision. And we don't know that he was clear on what the mission was. After all, I've seen a lot of readers say that they didn't guess it was to kill DD at first. So I don't think we can assume that Snape should have figured it out. In any case, once he was into the vow, he couldn't very well back out of it part way through when it came to completing Draco's mission. After all, he'd already told Bellatrix and Narcissa that he thought that LV wanted him to do it in the end. If he backed out at that point, it would be fairly clear that at some points in the conversation he'd been lying to them.

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Niciodata - May 23, 2006 4:59 pm (#177 of 398)
Edited by Catherine May 24, 2006 5:39 am

I think it's possible that Snape knew what Draco's task was. If he knew or not, DD was begging please...I feel for these reasons. 1)Save Draco from ruining his life 2)Tick off Harry so he will have total purpose 3)Harry would have unknown help from inside the DE

Notice how Snape kept him alive, didn't kill anybody but DD, and I felt was giving him hints, last minute instructions as he was fleeing "Blocked again and again until you learn how to keep your mouth shut, and your mind closed, Potter!" I also feel he stopped him from doing an UFC "cru" not as he said ((you don't have the nerve or ability)paraphrase), but so he would be saved from such a thing, as was Malfoy

I edited this post to include punctuation and upper-case "I" as Forum policy requires. I also changed a word that is not included in the HP books and substituted a more acceptable word. Any questions you have about my edit can be taken to email at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]--Catherine

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So Sirius - May 23, 2006 8:39 pm (#178 of 398)
Edited by Catherine May 24, 2006 5:40 am

I don't think Snape would have blown his cover by not taking the vow, because who'd have told LV? Bella, Cissy? They weren't supposed to be there asking for help. Although it is true, if he backed out, through some excuse he could have hatched, they would have had a good argument for thinking he was DD's boy. Still, I think LV will be upset Draco didn't fulfill his request and Snape had to do it in the end, even not knowing of the vow. Who'd Snape rather tick off then, LV or Bella and Cissy? Seems like there's more there to ponder. Thus, I agree, he didn't know the mission, or I think he would have backed out.

I changed a word that does not appear in the HP books and substituted a word that is more acceptable.—Catherine

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Paulus Maximus - May 24, 2006 9:29 am (#179 of 398)

Bella and Cissy might not have told LV, but they would have spread the rumor among the other Death Eaters, and Voldemort would have found out anyway. Many Death Eaters were there when Voldemort said that Snape had left him forever and at least a few of them found it odd that Voldemort would have revised his opinion of Snape only a few hours later.

Bella can't be the only Death Eater who thinks that Voldemort is mistaken to trust Snape.

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So Sirius - May 24, 2006 3:00 pm (#180 of 398)

Bella and Cissy might not have told LV, but they would have spread the rumor among the other Death Eaters, and Voldemort would have found out anyway.

Paulus, what rumor would they spread?? The one where they went to Snape’s house and asked him to do something to save Draco? lol Do you really think they'd tell anyone they were there, knowing LV would be more angry at them for being there, than at Snape, for declining their request? And let’s say they just spread the word that they feel, for some reason, that Snape wasn't loyal, then again, they'd have to spill the beans of why or just have no proof at all, but their feelings on the matter. Sorry, just don't see it.

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virginiaelizabeth - May 24, 2006 3:19 pm (#181 of 398)

So Sirius, I completely agree, they definitely wouldn't have spread that around!

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wynnleaf - May 24, 2006 7:33 pm (#182 of 398)

Yes, but what about after Draco wasn't able to do it? Then they'd really spread it around. "Oh yes, we had hoped that Severus would help Draco, but he refused." Cissy weeping, "I begged Severus to protect Draco, but he refused." Bella, "Severus told me he knew all about Draco's mission and he refused to even lift his hand to help."

Of course, they needn't ever say anything like, "Me and Bella visited Severus in the dead of night last summer and begged him to interfere in the Dark Lord's orders for Draco." Of course not. But it would be easy to say that Severus had already known what the mission was, but refused to help.

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virginiaelizabeth - May 24, 2006 8:17 pm (#183 of 398)

Yes but speaking about the Dark Lord's plans, is basically like asking him to tourture you. It doesn't matter when or how they spoke to him and begged him to to do it, only that they did. Even if Draco had failed, I don't think that Bella and Cissy especially would talk about it, seeing as she and Draco'd be on the run from Voldie. Bella probably wouldn't tell for fear of admitting that she betrayed LV's trust by not telling him what was going on. She would have been ashamed. If LV ordered them not to speak of it to anyone, then begging Snape to protect Draco, was going against LV's orders and then that outs both of them in a vulnerable position because not only are they in for the crucio of their lives, but LV probably won't trust them as much anymore, or maybe not even at all.

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wynnleaf - May 24, 2006 9:11 pm (#184 of 398)

Yes but speaking about the Dark Lord's plans, is basically like asking him to torture you. It doesn't matter when or how they spoke to him and begged him to do it, only that they did.

I'm not sure that we really know that from canon. Yes, some DE's certainly feel his wrath, but we don't know to what extent or how frequently he does that.

Snape told Bella and Cissy that not only did he already know of the plan, but LV wanted him to do it "in the end." It really wouldn't be hard for a person used to deception and manipulation to find ways to drop that in front of LV. Like I said, they'd not have to mention how it all came about, just pieces. Even if she mentioned going to see Snape, Bella could always blame Cissy for going to Severus in the first place and being the one to start talking about Draco's mission. Bella may have some concern for Cissy (really??), but I doubt she'd mind getting Cissy in trouble with LV, in order to reveal some suspicious behavior by Snape.

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Laura W - May 25, 2006 12:40 am (#185 of 398)
Edited May 25, 2006 1:43 am

I don't know, wynnleaf, Voldemort sure does seem to be fond of that Cruciatus Curse. I'd have to go with virginiaelizabeth here.

#1 He certainly did not hesitate to use Crucio on Harry in the graveyard in GoF, as well as Crucio-ing the DE Avery in that same scene (Chapter thirty-three).

#2 Then there was the time in OoP when V punished Avery - again! - with the Cruciatus Curse because Avery incorrectly told LV that Bode would be able to get the prophecy out of the MOM. From Chapter twenty-six, p.518 (Raincoast): "Harry's scar began to burn; he bit hard on his pillow to stop himself making a noise. Somewhere, he knew, Avery was being punished."

#3 Third example. HBP, chapter Horcruxes, p.474 (Raincoast), Dumbledore speaking about V, "... but he was not aware, for instance, that the diary had been destroyed until he forced the truth out of Lucius Malfoy. When Voldemort discovered that the diary had been mutilated and robbed of all its powers, I am told that his anger was terrible to behold."

Forced the truth out of slippery Lucius? Based on the modus operandi (excuse the spelling: I don't write Latin) of the former Tom Riddle, I think it's pretty safe to say how he did that.

To paraphrase virginiaelizabeth, displeasing the Dark Lord *in any way* is basically like asking him to torture you.

That's my opinion anyway.


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virginiaelizabeth - May 25, 2006 12:51 pm (#186 of 398)

Yes Laura, that's the way I feel about it, Avery was crucioed for not being able to carry out LV's orders, even though there wasn't anything he could have done to get the job done, so I'd say that if Cissy and Bella spilled the beans about what they did, trying to get Snape in trouble, then they'd be in just as much pain as Snape. I don't think that LV would sit there and listen to explanations or feel for Cissy (and her worries about her only son) he's just not that kind of person(or thing!) who would do that, it'd be straight to the crucio for dis-obeying him.

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wynnleaf - May 25, 2006 4:17 pm (#187 of 398)
Edited May 25, 2006 5:21 pm

I'd say that if Cissy and Bella spilled the beans about what they did, trying to get Snape in trouble, then they'd be in just as much pain as Snape. – virginiaelizabeth

Thing is, I don't think they'd have to say much of anything about what they did that went against any orders from LV. All they'd have to say is that Snape had told them that he knew LV's plan and that LV probably wanted him to do it "in the end," but when asked to help protect Draco, Snape hadn't been willing to commit to it -- or worse, that he'd been willing to commit to protecting Draco, but refused to commit to finishing out the mission if Draco couldn't. It would be relatively easy to make it look like Snape had made the first move in bringing up the subject. Bella could say she came by to visit and challenge him about her suspicions on his loyalties in general and that Snape had brought up discussing what kinds of orders LV had given Draco. And that he'd led the conversation to make them think he knew all about it, while trying to get more information out of them (that part being true). She's a good Occlumens and might be able to get the right memories across to LV to make it stick.

Why would they have to tell LV anything else? If LV went to Snape for "his side" he'd probably want to use legilimency to find out what happened. Snape would have to let him see something, otherwise it would look terribly suspicious. It would be very risky that LV would find out that indeed Snape had said he knew about the plan (which he probably didn't, so that would look bad), but had refused to commit to help (which would look terrible). At that point, I wouldn't think LV would care a rip about what Bella had done in the face of Snape's obvious lying (about knowing the plan), his trying to pry more info out of Bella and Cissy, and then refusing to commit to helping. He'd have looked exactly like a spy.

Basically, I just think all those possibilities would make it too risky to "just say no" to Bella and Cissy.

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virginiaelizabeth - May 25, 2006 5:41 pm (#188 of 398)

Ok, you got me now wynnleaf!! I see what you are saying, I just never looked at it as Bella and Cissy blaming Snape for starting up conversation.

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So Sirius - May 26, 2006 7:09 am (#189 of 398)

I'm sorry, as much as I appreciate what you're saying, I think it's a reach. I also still cannot see for the life of me, Bella or Cissy telling LV that they went to Snape's house, for any reason, especially to question his loyalties, when in fact, they already know that LV either trusts him or is pretending too.. thus questioning LVs judgement.

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wynnleaf - May 26, 2006 7:46 am (#190 of 398)

The question for Snape would be not whether or not it was a reach, but whether or not it was an acceptable risk. Would he be willing to risk Bella or Cissy somehow revealing what he'd said to LV? Would the possible outcomes be worth the risk, even if it was a "reach?" That's the question.

Either way Snape chooses he's likely betting his life on the outcome. If he refused the vow and Bella somehow told LV about it, then it would be revealed that he'd lied about knowing about the mission, that he'd been "fishing" for more info, but had refused to commit to help. That could reinforce any suspicion that LV might still have of him and blow his cover as a spy -- possibly ending his life, plus tainting any "information" he'd previously fed to LV, plus loosing the Order their access to LV's planning.

On the other hand, if he took the vow, he was definitely putting his life on the line. But at the moment, it appeared that he was only putting his life on the line to protect Draco -- which he probably hoped to do anyway. After all, "protection" could be in the eye of the beholder, so to speak -- or in this case, in the eye of the protector. So ultimately, the risk would look much less to take a vow to protect Draco, because Snape wanted to do it anyway.

Once they got to the third point in the Vow, I think Snape had to follow through. At that point, to not take the last point in the Vow would be damning evidence of disloyalty. Bella would almost certainly take that to LV, regardless of it showing her disobeying orders. Anyway, it was really Cissy that disobeyed LV's orders, not Bella. And bringing that kind of evidence to LV would probably make Bella look like a proactive extremely loyal servant looking out for her master. Why would LV care about Bella trailing along with Cissy while Cissy begged for Snape's help, when faced with the far more important evidence of Snape's disloyalty?

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Saracene - May 30, 2006 12:32 am (#191 of 398)

After all, protecting Draco while he did LV's bidding isn't going against any particular order of LV.

Actually, I think that LV definitely wouldn't want Snape to protect Draco. Snape is LV's double agent; I very much doubt that he'd want Snape to meddle into something that could potentially blow his cover. If LV wanted Snape to have anything to do with Draco's mission, Snape would have been briefed on the mission's details - and if his conversation with Draco is anything to go by, Snape knew nothing about those details.

And yes, LV might have intended for Snape to assassinate DD in the end, but "in the end" is a very vague deadline and I'm sure that Snape, like any DE, is supposed to jump when he's told to jump. After all, LV let him hang around DD for a whole year before that obviously without giving him an order to eliminate DD.

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geauxtigers - May 30, 2006 9:21 am (#192 of 398)

I think that there is something to say for Snape's hand twitching in Cissy's. Why would JKRput that in if there were nothing to it? I dunno might be nothing but I just reread that chapter last night and I don't think Snape knows the plan enough to fulfill it. It appears he did some legitimacy to get the overview. Its just all too fishy for me. I've stated this before: I think I'm going mad...

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wynnleaf - May 30, 2006 9:35 am (#193 of 398)

Actually, I think that LV definitely wouldn't want Snape to protect Draco. Snape is LV's double agent; I very much doubt that he'd want Snape to meddle into something that could potentially blow his cover.

You may be right. My primary point though is that with all of the "ifs, ands, and buts" of what LV might or might not get angry at Snape for, supposing Bellatrix ever decided to reveal what went on at Spinners End, to not agree to the Vow would have been more risky than to agree to it. Remember that at the time he agreed to the Vow, the whole focus was on protecting Draco, something that he probably would have done anyway.

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Weeny Owl - May 31, 2006 11:16 am (#194 of 398)

I don't see Snape's hand twitching as anything other than trepidation at committing himself to something he really doesn't know about. He said he knew what Draco's task was, but I don't think he did.

To me, it seems as if JKR was leading us to suspect Draco was tasked with either killing Harry or kidnapping him, and the drama built up in Diagon Alley in Madam Malkin's and built up even more on the train when Harry overheard the conversation Draco was having with Blaise, and then it built up to its crescendo when all Draco did was stomp on Harry's face.

Then we think (or at least I thought), hmmm... so Draco didn't kill or kidnap Harry, so what really is his task? It can't have too much to do with Harry specifically since there were no taunts on the train, Draco isn't making his usual threats or snide remarks, and the rivalry in Quidditch isn't there since Draco didn't even play.

So after that we (or at least I) have to think of what else Draco's task could have been, and when Snape drags Draco out of the Christmas party, it sure sounds (to me at least) that Snape has absolutely NO idea what the task is, and is trying to get Draco to give something away. Snape even tried Legilimency on Draco, but to no avail.

Granted, Dumbledore did say that he suspected Draco all along, but he doesn't specifically say that he knew it for a fact. Snape suspected Draco of the necklace, but it was just speculation at that point since if Snape had actually known from the summer on that Draco was supposed to kill Dumbledore, then there would have been no hesitation in Snape accusing Draco of the necklace incident.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a twitch is just a twitch.

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Potter Ace - Jun 2, 2006 8:39 am (#195 of 398)

Weeny Owl,

I don't know, your explanation is well thought out but I have to agree with geauxtigers, the hand twitching must mean something, after my last re-read, I would almost go so far as to think that Snape threw out some kind of counter curse, sort of like crossing your fingers on a promise. This seems like many of the other things in the past books where an item or action seems or ordinary or mundane that we the readers simply pass over it and when the "truth" is revealed, we all mutter "should have seen that coming"

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wynnleaf - Jun 2, 2006 8:57 am (#196 of 398)

The thing about the twitch is that JKR wrote it, and the question is why. Either she wanted to truly hint about something, or she wanted to confuse us.

I think the chapter is confusing enough without needing to add the twitch to add to it. The twitch leans toward the "Snape's on the good side" evidence. Not much reason for a "Snape on the bad side," to twitch, unless it was "just a twitch" and nothing more.

So either she put it in as one of the hints for the "Snape on the good side" camp, after having all the supposed evidence in the chapter for the "Snape's on the bad side" camp. Or she put it in to falsely give evidence to the "Snape on the good side" readers, in other words -- to confuse the issue.

I don't think she needed any more confusion. If Snape was really on the bad side, I don't think she needed more evidence to show he "might" be on the good side. So that mostly just leaves her putting in as evidence for Snape really being on the good side.

Confused? Right. Sorry. Wink

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journeymom - Jun 2, 2006 9:58 am (#197 of 398)
Edited Jun 2, 2006 10:58 am

The twitch doesn't necessarily belong in the 'good side' column. It could also belong in the third column, the Snape-is-out-for-himself column. The Snape is Playing Both Dumbledore and Voldemort column.

ETA, I'm voting 'good side', though.

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Laura W - Jun 3, 2006 4:01 am (#198 of 398)

Interesting discussion, guys. But journeymom, what or who is ETA? Please enlighten.

(I tried putting my cursor on "ETA" in your post and saying "Lumos" but, alas, it didn't work.)


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Madam Pince - Jun 3, 2006 7:03 am (#199 of 398)

You may want to check out Honour's post #157 earlier in this thread for yet another very interesting theory on the "twitch." Personally, I like it a lot, but then I'm a conspiracy theorist at heart...

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geauxtigers - Jun 4, 2006 4:03 pm (#200 of 398)

The thing about the twitch is that JKR wrote it, and the question is why. Either she wanted to truly hint about something, or she wanted to confuse us.

That’s the point I was trying to make, why even put it there? Confuse us or give us a clue those appear to be the only two options so I dunno....

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 201 to 225

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:37 pm

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geauxtigers - Jun 4, 2006 4:03 pm (#200 of 398)

The thing about the twitch is that JKR wrote it, and the question is why. Either she wanted to truly hint about something, or she wanted to confuse us.

That’s the point I was trying to make, why even put it there? Confuse us or give us a clue those appear to be the only two options so I dunno....

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haymoni - Jun 5, 2006 5:13 am (#201 of 398)

I've asked that about the whole chapter - why is it there?

The whole book would have been fine whether we heard Snape's answers to Bella's questions or not. Whether we saw the Unbreakable Vow or not.

I don't think any of us would have been more or less shocked than we already were to see Snape zap Dumbledore without having seen The Vow.

What was the real purpose of that chapter???

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TomProffitt - Jun 5, 2006 5:31 am (#202 of 398)

What was the real purpose of that chapter??? --- haymoni

The chapter introduces the plot line to the reader. It answers the questions posed by readers on this forum and in other places regarding Snape's ability to continue as a spy for the order. It gives the reader potential villains to watch for.

The chapter makes the reader question whether the real bad guy is Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape or both. Jo always has alternate bad guys, this chapter is a way to achieve that goal.

Good, bad, or middle of the road I still can't understand why Snape would take the Vow, whether he knew what the task was or not. That makes no sense to me, but I do understand why the chapter is there.

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haymoni - Jun 5, 2006 6:42 am (#203 of 398)

I guess I'm saying that the book would stand without this chapter.

Chapter 1 is a mini history lesson that lets us know the connection between the 2 Ministries.

But we could have gone straight to Chapter 3 and Harry's "fug" and the book would have held water.

I agree with you in that I think Chapter 2 was written for us - do we the readers honestly think that Voldy would not have asked Severus all the same questions that we have asked??? Does the introduction of the Unbreakable Vow now answer our questions about whether Snape is truly evil?

I'd like to know if Chapter 2 was planned all along or if she added it as more & more questions surfaced.

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TomProffitt - Jun 5, 2006 7:07 am (#204 of 398)

I'm not sure if the Chapter was planned all along or not, haymoni. I think a lot of things were added in this book that were unnecessary, but done to answer questions that the loyal fans have posed to her.

She's had a red herring villain in every book so far, so I feel that she put this chapter in for the sole purpose of furthering our doubts and questions about Severus Snape. I've never had a reason to describe Severus as "good," but I've likewise never been positive that he's Tom Riddle's man through and through.

Could the book have held water without the chapter? Yes, I think so. Does it heighten our confusion about Severus Snape? Yes, I think it does, which I think was Jo's goal. I'm completely baffled by the Severus Snape character and look forward to having that resolved by the conclusion of book 7.

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haymoni - Jun 5, 2006 7:14 am (#205 of 398)

I still go back to the use of the word "redemption" in the Melissa/Emerson interview.

Someone can't redeem themselves if they weren't doing the wrong thing in the first place.

I'd like to think the chapter is there to confuse us, but I could also see JKR using the chapter to tell younger readers that Snape truly is a DE and she seals it with a vow that will kill him.

Sorry, Gina.

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wynnleaf - Jun 5, 2006 8:11 am (#206 of 398)
Edited Jun 5, 2006 9:12 am

Good thoughts from all....

Additionally, the book is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I think she wanted to show us more about the HBP and Spinners End gave us an opportunity to see Severus in some circumstances that readers have wondered about. We get to see him interact with Death Eaters without any other good guys around. We get to see him interact with adults without any students around. We get to see him in his home (we mostly assume), the location and description of which is revealing.

So even aside from whatever plot development this chapter provided -- or didn't provide -- we do get a lot more hints about the character.

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Magic Words - Jun 5, 2006 9:07 am (#207 of 398)

I definitely think JKR meant to raise suspicions with this chapter. I know if I hadn't read it, my attitude through the whole book would be "we have to trust Snape, he's done all these things to help so far" (Quidditch match in PS/SS, etc.) Dumbledore's murder would have come as a bolt out of the blue and left me more confused than shocked. But the fact that there could be a logical explanation for a DE doing everything Snape has done, despite the fact that I didn't quite believe all of it, left enough doubt in my mind that I genuinely believed (for a while) that he'd betrayed Dumbledore.

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geauxtigers - Jun 5, 2006 10:40 am (#208 of 398)

Yeah this I think I agree with everyone here, if that’s possible. I, like haymoni, think that it seems odd that the chapter was necessary, but when I think about it more, I agree with Tom and Wynnleaf, yes it could stand on its own, but JKR did put it there to confuse us and make us question Snape's loyalty. I also think that taking out a chapter like Spinners end would be the same as taking out any chapter in the series and I don't think I'd ever want it to be taken out. The UV does play a role in the book and we get Snape's view and HRH's views on it too. Am I making sense?

I also agree with what Magic Words has said, because all we've been hearing sine PS was that DD trusted Snape, and I think this was planted to make us not trust him, them when he kills DD at then end it seals the deal and everyone is in disbelief that DD could ever trust Snape. This makes a good shock value in the 7th book when we find out that Snape really is good... If he is in fact good, which I think he is, but thats a matter of opinion. Just my opinion though...

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TomProffitt - Jun 5, 2006 12:11 pm (#209 of 398)

But "good" is such an imperfect word to use in describing Severus Snape, geauxtigers.

Severus Snape is not a person bound by the type of ethics and morality that people who use words like "good" and "evil" would use. Snape himself would snort in disgust at someone who espoused such ancient and mundane concepts of morality. Even if he turns out to be fully behind the Order of the Phoenix. I think I understand this aspect of Severus rather well, what I don't understand is why he took that Vow.

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Laura W - Jun 5, 2006 11:56 pm (#210 of 398)
Edited Jun 6, 2006 1:27 am

I'm serious. Could you please tell me what the "ETA" in your post 197 means, journeymom? Thank you

Now ... Guess I'm the only one who loved the Spinner's End chapter. I *hated* Chapter One of HBP, but Chapter Two allowed me to see some of the adult characters without any children around which I appreciated. Also, it gave me further insight into Narcissa, Bellatrix and Snape "at home." The interaction between the four characters in that chapter was somewhat thrilling for me, in terms of both plot and character development. For example, didn't we see a more human Narcissa Malfoy? I even saw another side of Severus; a compassionate side (towards Cissy). How and where Snape lived outside of Hogwarts really interested me: the dirty mill town, the tiny room lined with books, even the elf-made wine. And then there was the fact of Peter being sent to live with Snape by Voldemort. How intriguing! Maybe it's strange that that was one of my favourite chapters in a book I had several other problems with, but maybe I'm ... well, you know ... (shrug)

As to the Unbreakable Vow, I think it is VERY GERMANE to the rest of Book Six and probably to Book Seven as well. I think it shows to what extent Snape will go to convince the DEs and Voldemort that he is on their side. Bella knew it was the ultimate test, as did Snape - thus the twitch -, and, had he refused for any reason she could say, "Aha, I was right about him not being as loyal as he says he is" (read, as loyal as I am). It was agreeing to the vow or being found out; or, at least, being seriously suspect.

On the other hand, if you are in the camp that believes Snape really is working for Voldemort - which I'm not -, I can see where the twitch would be more puzzling or not terribly relevant.


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rambkowalczyk - Jun 6, 2006 3:15 am (#211 of 398)

I think the Unbreakable Vow is crucial to the story. If you believe that Snape was Dumbledore's man, the Unbreakable Vow gives you a reason as to why Snape "betrayed" Dumbledore-- his love for Draco. Furthermore this is something that Dumbledore would understand, putting the needs of an individual over that of the cause. As Laura W said it also allows us to see Snape without the Harry Filter. What we see a loyal deatheater who takes credit for Vance's death, and who thinks Potter is unremarkable. But we also see a deatheater who is compassionate. (When do those two words go togehter?) He is not indifferent to Narcissa's pleas. There were no lines of how the Malfoy (and Black) family have fallen into disgrace and now have to ask a lowly halfblood to save their sorry you-know-whats. Granted we always knew that Snape favored Draco, but to risk his life when he clearly didn't have to. This is a revelation.

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TomProffitt - Jun 6, 2006 3:47 am (#212 of 398)

Laura W, my main reasons for disliking the first two chapters of HBP were that they were a change of Point of View from the rest of the series. Here in these chapters, Jo provides us with helpful exposition, but at the cost of giving the reader knowledge unavailable to Harry.

My view on the Unbreakable Vow is that what Severus said about Riddle asking the same questions that Narcissa and Bellatrix posed to him negates the threat Bellatrix puts to him.

I imagine that if we knew just what the "Task" was and whether or not Severus really did know himself we would be much closer to knowing where his true loyalties lie. I think the clues to answering those questions are much more sparse than the evidence on Severus's true allegiance (and I don't know the answer to that either).

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Magic Words - Jun 6, 2006 4:36 am (#213 of 398)

Did anyone else notice that "Spinner's End" didn't seem to have a point of view at all? We don't get Snape's, Wormtail's, Narcissa's, or Bellatrix's thoughts, just how they acted. Even in GOF during Harry's dream, the reader saw through Frank Bryce's point of view.

And Laura, I loved that chapter too.

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haymoni - Jun 6, 2006 6:50 am (#214 of 398)

The Narcissa in Chapter 2 is completely different from what we see of her at Madame Malkin's.

She's the Ice Princess with dung under her nose.

That's what makes me think that Chapter 2 may have been added later because of the readership.

If she was truly that upset about Draco's task and "The Chosen One" just happened to walk into the same shop, I think we would have seen more of a reaction than the usual bigotry.

I agree with you, Magic Words - in Chapter 1, we were privy to what the Minister was thinking and feeling. Chapter 2 was just an accounting of what happened at Spinner's End. It was kind of like watching a drama on TV. You can SEE and HEAR the emotion, but you don't know what's really going on inside the characters' heads.

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wynnleaf - Jun 6, 2006 8:10 am (#215 of 398)

I would expect Narcissa to be very different between Spinners End and in Madame Malkin's shop. Narcissa in Diagon Alley is sort of "on display," in that the public can see her. She has to appear a certain way. Any DE's that see her have to see nothing suspicious in her, regarding her complete loyalty to LV, and any MOM people seeing her (or anyone else, for that matter), can't see any big hints that she is directly following LV. After all, she can't afford to get arrested by the MOM, now that Lucius is in prison, nor can she afford LV's displeasure as he's already angry enough at their family. So however she acts toward Harry or anyone else while out in Diagon Alley, I don't think we can consider that the "real Narcissa."

However, at Spinners End, she clearly considers Severus as someone she can trust. And Bellatrix, even if she disapproves of what Narcissa is doing, is still her sister and probably knows most of her weaknesses anyway. So I think the desperate woman at Spinners End is the "real" Narcissa.

Not that she may not enjoy the Ice Princess persona, but at the time of HBP, she's under a lot of stress and that Ice Princess demeanor is probably more a mask than anything.

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Saracene - Jun 9, 2006 1:42 am (#216 of 398)

I tend to believe that Snape making the Unbreakable Vow is the most important reason for the inclusion of the second chapter. I'm not completely sure why Snape agreed to it, but if we look at it from a more "external" point of view, I think a more interesting question is why would JKR place Snape in this do-or-die situation? I don't think that JKR wrote UV in just for the heck of it and I'm sure that it influenced the later events of the book somehow, but how? Would we get exactly the same chain of events if Snape never made the Vow?

And also, another intriguing thing about the Unbreakable Vow, IMO, is the fact that, by the end of the book, neither Harry nor his friends know anything about the Vow's third clause. Which I think is the first time in the series when the readers know more about the important plot device than the characters do.

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Avery B - Jun 15, 2006 3:15 pm (#217 of 398)

Hi all,

I'm new here; I hope this post is appropriate for this thread. These are some of my thoughts written after I finished “Half-Blood Prince” a few months ago, specifically regarding Snape killing Dumbledore. (Originally posted in my livejournal; edited here for grammar and clarity.)

...I'm certain that Dumbledore knew *exactly* what he was doing, and that Snape did *not* betray him! I may be wrong about the details, but that much I know. If Dumbledore was wrong to trust Snape, then everything he ever said about magic, the soul, and human nature was wrong as well. But I think that Snape is "Dumbledore's man, through and through."

Snape killed Dumbledore, and Dumbledore *probably* doesn't have any horcruxes hidden away somewhere. But I think Snape was acting on Dumbledore's direct orders when he killed him. We know that Dumbledore is capable of giving such an order. He gave Harry such an order in the cave, where they were trying to uncover the locket horcrux: he told Harry to make sure that he (Dumbledore) drank *all* the potion, even if it killed him.

I may be wrong about the details and reasons; but among other things, I believe that Dumbledore deliberately sacrificed his life to protect Draco on several levels.

On a mundane level...Voldemort had ordered Draco to kill Dumbledore, and was threatening to kill Draco and his family if he failed. Voldemort probably didn't care who actually killed Dumbledore, but Draco was expected to prove himself as a Death Eater or die. So Snape killing Dumbledore (when Draco was hesitating) ensured that Voldemort will not suspect Snape or Draco of being double agents, or of being disloyal. They're "in" with Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

But MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY...Dumbledore has said, many times, that there are far worse things than death.

One thing that's at the top of Dumbledore's "worse than death" list would be watching one's friends or students being tortured-- and he apparently saw visions of just that when he drank the potion in the cave. He even screamed "KILL ME!" while he was having that vision. And Voldemort would probably torture and/or kill Draco if he thought Draco *or Snape* was disloyal, a failure, or a double agent. (And we know that Snape was a double agent; I think he still is, even if the Order Of The Phoenix thinks he's a traitor). Dumbledore would rather die than see Draco tortured and murdered because of him.

Another thing Dumbledore would probably consider worse than death is being forced to become a cold-blooded murderer when you're only sixteen years old-- the fate that Voldemort and his gang were trying to force upon Draco. This holds true especially given what we've learned in this book about how committing murder maims and shatters the soul of the murderer. So Dumbledore sacrificed his life to keep his agent, Snape, in the Death Eaters; and to save Draco's soul from being mutilated in a horrible way; and to save Draco and his family from being tortured and/or killed if Draco had refused to become a killer.

So Draco may be the most important double agent in the Death Eaters, even though he doesn't yet realize it. If Dumbledore sacrificed his life for Draco, then Draco has magical protection.

If-- like Harry Potter-- you're an innocent baby, and your loving mother dies to save you from an instant death by "Avada Kedavra," it gives you very powerful magical protection. That's the magical power of love and sacrifice-- it leaves a mark that "lives in your very skin." So, if-- like Draco Malfoy-- you're a bratty, prejudiced, teenage apprentice Death Eater, and you're about to commit murder, and your intended victim makes other arrangements to willingly die in order to save you from having to choose between soul-mutilation and death...wouldn't that give you magical protection of a similar kind? Is it possibly even more powerful protection in this case, because Dumbledore's sacrifice was arguably even more selfless?

Dumbledore has often talked about this kind of magic *and* about how Voldemort doesn't recognize it even when it's right under his nose.

So, for all these reasons and more, and again with the qualification that I could easily be wrong about the particulars and details, I am nevertheless certain that Snape is trustworthy and that Dumbledore knew exactly what he was doing.

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Magic Words - Jun 15, 2006 3:33 pm (#218 of 398)

Whoa, I just had an entirely new thought and I should probably find a better thread but something Avery B said is making me wonder... what happens if you owe a life-debt to someone who's died?

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virginiaelizabeth - Jun 15, 2006 5:11 pm (#219 of 398)
Edited Jun 15, 2006 6:14 pm

I think you have some very interesting points there Avery, I agree with you, Snape is not evil and all of the events that happened the night DD died, were planned. There has been a lot of debate over this on other threads. I think it would better to move this to the "Was the major death in HBP real?" thread I'll try to link it for you.

Magic Words, I wonder how that works. Is there a thread for it?

Edit: Ok I can't figure out how to link, something I've been needing to learn for a while now! But you shouldn't have trouble finding it, it's on the main page!

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Choices - Jun 15, 2006 5:19 pm (#220 of 398)
Edited Jun 15, 2006 6:21 pm

Magic Words - "....what happens if you owe a life-debt to someone who's died?"

Like Snape owed James? I don't think JKR has chosen to tell us if the debt passes down to the survivors or not. I think Dumbledore tells Harry that he believes Snape wanted to honor the debt just so he could go back to hating James' memory in peace.

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TomProffitt - Jun 15, 2006 5:20 pm (#221 of 398)

virginiaelizabeth, I replied to your post on the "Was the major death in HBP real?" thread.

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Avery B - Jun 15, 2006 7:59 pm (#222 of 398)

Thanks. I'll see if I can copy and paste my post to the "Was the Major Death in HBP Real?" thread.

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virginiaelizabeth - Jun 16, 2006 10:50 am (#223 of 398)

A new idea just occured to me (at least I think it's new). What if the original plan for Draco was to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts so that they could kill Dumbledore. And later along in the game, Voldemort sees Draco struggling with the task and decides it would be even better to try and get Draco to kill Dumbledore himself. It would out even more pressure on Draco and it may just end up happening. So Snape vows to help Draco get the DE into Hogwarts and what not. Then the plan changes slightly to see if Draco can do it himself, while still bringing in the DE's to be witnesses to the death. Is this far fetched?

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Catherine - Jun 16, 2006 2:42 pm (#224 of 398)

I'm confused why there is mention of an "original plan." What in HbP did I miss?

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virginiaelizabeth - Jun 16, 2006 3:38 pm (#225 of 398)
Edited Jun 16, 2006 4:41 pm

There isn't - you just mis-read my theory. In it I said that originally, Voldemort gives Draco the task of getting the DE into Hogwarts so that they could try to kill Dumbledore. Then at some point, Voldemort decides to change it and make Draco do the actual killing. Just a theory!

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 226 to 250

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Ponine - Jun 21, 2006 9:53 pm (#226 of 398)

I always thought that Snape (unintentionally?) actually upped the ante and practically caused DD's supposed death (I am convinced Snape is DD's man, and that the latter is still alive). It seems to me that Draco's assignment in reality had little, if anything at all to do with Dumbledore. I saw it as LV being flailingly miffed at Lucius and decide to punish him most effectively, even as Lucius was 'safely' tucked away. I don't think LV even considered the fact that Draco could succeed in even remotely harming DD. But that he could toy with the Malfoys for quite some time, getting out some pent up aggression, messing things up for DD at Hogwart and ultimately having Draco killed in a ridiculous attempt at killing the next most powerful wizard after himself -- many birds with one little stone. LV is then in a godlike position (his rightful place, of course), dishing out punishments and rewards as he sees fit, people living and dying at his whim.

In my opinion, Snape was able to pick up on the gist of what Narcissa wanted, but as any skilled witch would feel and know when their minds are invaded, I believe that he didn't see the last part of the UV coming. In true Severus style, nothing but a twitch gave it away. I don't for a minute believe that Snape has any particularly warm feelings for Draco -- on the contrary, I think that Draco is nothing but a pureblooded, rich, spoiled, talentless brat to him, with parents Snape has been forced to grovel for all these years. I see Snape as a chess player -- always planning and strategizing many, many moves ahead. This time, the opposing queen cornered his king in a move he didn't see coming.

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Weeny Owl - Jun 22, 2006 9:29 am (#227 of 398)
Edited Jun 22, 2006 10:30 am

There is no evidence in canon that Snape groveled where the Malfoys are concerned, and in fact, there is some slight evidence that the opposite is true. Narcissa herself said Snape and Lucius were friends. In OotP Umbridge said that Lucius always speaks highly of Snape. Speaking highly of someone is a bit different than indicating that Snape is nothing more than a servant.

Equally, there is some slight evidence that Snape actually either likes Draco or at least doesn't dislike him. That slight bit of evidence begins in OotP where Snape calls Draco by his first name. That would indicate at least a small amount of social intimacy.

I don't believe that Snape had any idea what he was agreeing to in the last part of the Unbreakable Vow, but at that point he really had no choice.

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Choices - Jun 22, 2006 9:34 am (#228 of 398)

.....then there is the comment about Snape being Lucius Malfoy's lap dog.

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Magic Words - Jun 22, 2006 9:55 am (#229 of 398)

Yes, but would Sirius know or care how accurate that comment was?

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wynnleaf - Jun 22, 2006 10:27 am (#230 of 398)
Edited Jun 22, 2006 11:28 am


I agree with all of your comments except that I think Snape does care about Draco. I think he was willing to go the Vow direction because he was already desiring to protect Draco and was already willing to commit even to risking his life toward that end. Given the direction of Draco's life at the time, the willingness to risk his own for Draco is quite a testimony to his care for him.

Weeny Owl, I also agree with your statements. Plus there's the Sectumsempra chapter where Snape actually seems very gentle or tender with the injured Draco. Not dramatically so, it's just an impression I got from the descriptions of Snape with Draco.

As to the "lapdog" comment, I have a feeling that goes back to their days as students at Hogwarts when Lucius' age difference would have been something others would note. Lucius was 6th or 7th year when Snape was a 1st year. Even up through Snape's teens, it might seem to others like his friendship with Lucius was a sort of subservient one, if only because of the age difference. And then there was the fact that Lucius came from a wealthy pureblood elite family, as did Sirius, so Snape's half-blood, working-class background might have seemed vastly inferior. Much younger, socially inferior, yet some close association with Lucius -- yes, I can see how Sirius would assume the "lapdog" explanation.

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Weeny Owl - Jun 22, 2006 8:31 pm (#231 of 398)

What I thought was most interesting about that encounter, wynnleaf, was that Snape didn't seem to be offended or bristle at it at all. It was as if Sirius was so far off that it made no difference.

I do like what you said about Snape being gentle with Draco but not dramatically so. I also feel that Snape genuinely cares for Draco. Some theories are that Snape is Draco's godfather the same way Sirius was Harry's. It isn't canon, of course, but I could see it being true.

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Ponine - Jun 22, 2006 9:09 pm (#232 of 398)

Thanks, Wynnleaf that's awesome -- It's always cool when other people perceive things the same way as yourself Some of what I said in my previous post, including the groveling, is my perception of Snape's take on the matter. It seems to me that he is an incredibly proud person.

Based on what we know as canon, do you think that Lucius Malfoy would ask a halfblood like Snape (who at that point in time was considered a traitor, by the DE's, no?) to be the godfather of his firstborn (as far as we know) son? Assuming that he is Draco's godfather, do you think this was given to him because of his close relationship with the Malfoys, or for tactical reasons? My take on Snape's reaction in the bathroom is that it was probably the most professional behavior I have seen from him yet, reaffirming the notion that when it REALLY matters, he will pull through and do what needs to be done.

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Weeny Owl - Jun 23, 2006 12:28 am (#233 of 398)

Why would Snape be considered a traitor? He didn't do anything to stay out of Azkaban that the other Death Eaters didn't do. Voldemort was the one who told him to be at Hogwarts to spy, so when Dumbledore vouched for him in front of the Wizengamot, to Voldemort, it would appear that their plan worked.

Voldemort wasn't too pleased with his slippery friend, Lucius, right after the rebirthing, and was even more displeased later, and while Bella may be trying to spread rumors about Snape's loyalty, she's not exactly Voldemort's favorite these days.

I don't think Snape is Draco's godfather. I just said that I've seen theories that the reason why Snape isn't as harsh with Draco is because they're either blood related, half-blood or not, or that Snape is something closer than just a teacher. Maybe a godfather, a family friend, or a blood relative, but those are basically the theories I've heard about.

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haymoni - Jun 23, 2006 4:07 am (#234 of 398)

Perhaps he pities Draco.

Here is a child born into a wealthy family that can give him everything, but if he actually follows in his father's footsteps, it will lead him to disaster.

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cindysuewho45 - Jul 15, 2006 3:56 am (#235 of 398)

Hi all, Well I have to say that I feel that Snape took the Unbreakable Vow, because he had or felt compassion for Narcissa. I think that we may find out that Snape loved her at one point in his life. I do not feel that a man that has been dealing with both DD and LV, and playing one or both of them, felt he had to prove anything to Bella. I may think that he is a bad boy, but he is good at what he does. This could also be why he has always liked Draco. Yes, Draco's dad and Snape have always been good friends. But I feel it would have taken a lot more than old friendship for him to make that vow! His only love in need of him and looking in her eyes could not say no. Love is a powerful thing, and it would take something powerful for Snape to risk all, after all this time.

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zelmia - Jul 20, 2006 3:26 am (#236 of 398)
Edited Jul 20, 2006 4:27 am

So now we have a "Snape loved Narcissa" Theory. What happened to the "Snape loved Lily" version? Well maybe he loved them both at different times, who knows. Personally, I am withholding judgment entirely on Snape's love life - either realized or unrequited.

It seems clear from the "slight twitch" of his little finger that Snape was surprised by the last verse of the Unbreakable Vow. Still, in for a penny in for a pound, eh? And really, he couldn't suddenly recant - especially not in front of Bellatrix. I confess that I am still not entirely certain whether Snape actually knew what "The Mission" was or not. He certainly gave a good imitation of it if he didn't. But his answers were frustratingly vague.

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cindysuewho45 - Jul 24, 2006 3:04 am (#237 of 398)
Edited Jul 24, 2006 4:06 am

Hi all, I know, back in the day, Narcissa went out with Snape on the side. And Draco is Snape's son!!!!!!! And only Narcissa and Snape knows about it. This is why Snape has always liked Draco the best, and why Snape took the vow! Not!, But it was fun, just thinking about it. Ha Ha Ha

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Soul Search - Jul 24, 2006 10:19 am (#238 of 398)
Edited Jul 24, 2006 12:03 pm

And Draco really has black, greasy hair. Narcissa has been bleaching it every day since he was born.

All that bleach has been leaking into Draco's brain. That is what makes him so nasty.

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Mediwitch - Jul 24, 2006 10:22 am (#239 of 398)

And Draco is a metamorphmagus so he can look just like Lucius.

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Choices - Jul 25, 2006 11:43 am (#240 of 398)
Edited Jul 25, 2006 12:43 pm

No, no, no - ya'll have it all wrong. Snape was married to Lucius Malfoy's sister, Voldemort killed her and Snape, in his grief, vowed to stop Voldemort. Knowing he can't take care of his son (Draco - who looks like his Uncle Lucius), Snape asks Lucius and Narcissa (who are childless) to raise Draco as their own while Snape becomes a spy and works for Voldemort's downfall. LOL Just kidding!

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Honour - Jul 25, 2006 1:45 pm (#241 of 398)

Just a couple of questions about the Vow ...

Would it be the bonder's job (in this case Bellatrix) to kill Severus if he did not fulfill the vow?

...and why does Severus display loyalty, gentleness, honour, vowing to protect, surely these are not Slytherin traits! Aren't they supposed to run a mile when trouble looms?

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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 25, 2006 1:53 pm (#242 of 398)
Edited Jul 25, 2006 2:59 pm

I have a question, could the Unbreakable Vow have presented personal and professional opportunities that Severus Snape found irresistible? In the sense end result could affect the entire outcome of the war as well as providing opportunities to wound Remus Lupin a person Severus detests almost as much as he loathes Sirius, James, Harry, and Neville.

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timrew - Jul 25, 2006 3:07 pm (#243 of 398)

I can hear Voldemort saying, "I am you father, Draco"...................Very Star Wars

I can also hear Dumbledore saying, "I am your father, Harry"......................

And could swear I heard McGonagall saying, "I am your mother, Sybill!"

And was that the Welsh Dragon saying, "I am your father, Hagrid, or I could be your step-father, or I could be your second cousin twice removed.............oh bugger! I don't think I know who I am........................

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Laura W - Jul 25, 2006 11:33 pm (#244 of 398)
Edited Jul 26, 2006 12:34 am

Nathan, I'm a little confused. Regardless of what glory or personal revenge or whatever Snape might reap by fulfilling the terms of the Unbreakable Vow (i.e. - to watch over Draco, to protect Draco from harm, and to carry out the deed that Voldemort ordered Draco to perform if the boy fails to do so); if he takes that vow and breaks it, he dies. *I* wouldn't like the all-or-nothing odds on that one.

And how could carrying out the Unbreakable Vow hurt Lupin specifically? I mean, killing DD hurts the whole wizarding - and Muggle - world potentially by making it easier for Voldemort to perpetrate his reign of terror unheeded. But why would Lupin especially be wounded?


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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 26, 2006 6:56 am (#245 of 398)

Laura W.

First, would assert that Severus Snape is not afraid of death. The only thing he desires is to make his mark on the wizarding world.

Second, if Severus fulfilled the terms of the Vow following a plan of Dumbledore's and with Dumbledore's full consent then Albus Dumbledore would have ensured Dumbledore's status as a martyr who died saving both the lives of Severus and Draco, and it subsequently revealed to be the case. I would argue that Severus actions could merit some form of recognition.

Third, if Severus died while attempting to follow Dumbledore's instructions he would be seen by the Wizarding World as martyr.

Concerning the point I made on Remus Lupin. Given the reaction of Remus Lupin to the news of Dumbledore's death. I would argue that Remus viewed Albus Dumbledore as being akin to a second father figure. So the news that Severus Snape killed Albus Dumbledore would wound him quite deeply.

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So Sirius - Jul 26, 2006 9:25 am (#246 of 398)

Is it possible that Snape made a vow with DD as well? Perhaps the reason DD "trusts" Snape, isn't trust in his demeanor but trust in a vow they took that cannot be broken. And, if they did make a vow, maybe he made this other vow with Cissy because he knew that something in the other vow would override the other.

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Laura W - Jul 26, 2006 6:04 pm (#247 of 398)

Got it, Nathan. Thanks.


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Pamzter - Jul 28, 2006 5:32 pm (#248 of 398)

Yes, So Sirius! That has been my theory from the very beginning: that an earlier Unbreakable Vow takes precedence over any future vows. "First come, first served." However, I'm still not convinced that the Spinners End vow was about killing Dumbledore.

AND it brings up another interesting thought - who was the bonder between DD and Snape???

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So Sirius - Jul 28, 2006 7:58 pm (#249 of 398)
Edited Jul 28, 2006 9:00 pm

Pam, I think the vow at Spinners End was to protect Draco at all costs, or to allow Draco to achieve his goal, which would mean that if he couldn't do what he was supposed to, Snape was supposed to make sure it got done and that would ensure Draco's life wasn't in jeopardy with LV.

I also do not think that Snape knew the goal was to kill DD.

The original vow that I think might have taken place between Snape and DD might have had something to do with never revealing the prophecy and possibly to never harm Harry. The bonder, if there was one, might have been the brother, Aberforth, or someone who's memory could have been erased.

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cindysuewho45 - Aug 5, 2006 12:42 am (#250 of 398)
Edited Aug 5, 2006 1:46 am

Hi all, Where to start? Here are some thoughts on a few things. I know that some of you feel that DD and Snape took a vow with each other. I just do not feel that this is what happened. Someone else, in a different post said, DD's greatness was not just his power, but his belief in people, other wizards and the good in them. His ability to see good in things. And to want and work for good things to happen for the good of all mankind, this is a large part of what makes DD a great wizard. The way they said it was better, but you get the idea. So if this is the case, I do not feel that DD would have ever asked Snape to take a vow with him. Also I feel that DD did know alot of Dark Arts, but he chose not to use them, to bring himself to that level or tempt himself. That is, what he has always been fighting against, Dark Arts. LV was not the first DD ever fought with on the dark side. So I cannot see DD ever use Dark Arts, or ask someone else to use them for him or on him. As for Snape I think that back at the start of book 6, he says something about, LV always wanting he to do it, as in kill DD when the time came. And I do not feel that LV ever thought that Draco could kill DD. He himself was leery of DD and did not go out of his way to confront him. I feel that Draco's Mom was right in thinking that LV was doing this with Draco as a punishment, for what all his Dad had done wrong.

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 251 to 275

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:39 pm

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Pamzter - Aug 5, 2006 7:09 am (#251 of 398)

I guess I'm just not a subscriber to the "greatness" of DD, he's too deceptive for me (which was a very argumentative thread a while back, don't mean to restart it here).

It's also possible that DD didn't initiate the Unbreakable Vow with Snape.

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So Sirius - Aug 5, 2006 11:54 am (#252 of 398)

Pam, I have conflicting feelings about DD, myself. Just when I'm convinced he cannot be trusted and there's something to be wary of, he goes and does something that makes me feel that I was way off base for assuming that. I do believe he's great though. Both, in terms of ability and in terms of humanity. I think he sees a bigger picture than most and tries to do what he feels best, based on that. He himself admits, that he can get it wrong... and has.

So, if there was an initial vow between DD and Snape, I think that DD knew this was something he must do to protect many interests involved.

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cindysuewho45 - Aug 7, 2006 9:57 pm (#253 of 398)

Hi all, I found something in book 1, page 11. That talks about DD not using Dark Arts." "You flatter me," said DD calmly, "Voldemort had powers I will never have." "Only because you're too-well-Noble to use them." This was DD and McGonagall talking. Again this is just one of the reasons that I feel DD would not have ever used Dark Arts. And he was so into trust and believing in the good of others that I just cannot see him asking Snape to do a Unbreakable Vow with him.

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Potter Ace - Aug 8, 2006 8:47 am (#254 of 398)

Are those of you who are saying that DD would not ask Snape to take a vow, is because you feel that the vow is a Dark Art? I can't see how the vow would be considered a Dark Art. Is there any canon on it being one?

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haymoni - Aug 8, 2006 8:51 am (#255 of 398)
Edited Aug 8, 2006 9:52 am

I'm still clueless on what exactly is a Dark Art.

Lupin was basically teaching the kids about creatures - sounds more like Hagrid's job.

Is any type of jinx a Dark Art?

If you use the jinx to save yourself, are you practicing the Dark Arts?

I would guess forcing someone to take an Unbreakable Vow would be criminal, evil, but does that now make it a Dark Art?

It seems as though if a good person uses magic for a good reason, then it's OK. But if a bad person uses magic for a bad reason, it becomes a Dark Art.

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Choices - Aug 8, 2006 9:22 am (#256 of 398)

I think any spell, hex, jinx, potion or charm that is used for an evil purpose - to seriously harm someone, or to cause them to do something against their will, to make them sick, to kill them, etc. would be considered Dark Magic.

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Pamzter - Aug 8, 2006 4:16 pm (#257 of 398)
Edited Aug 8, 2006 5:17 pm

So Ginny, Hermione, Draco, Harry, et al are performing Dark Magic every time there is a bat bogey curse, a petrificus totalis, or a beaver tooth curse, or ton-tongue toffee, etc.

Or if the Order is throwing the same kind of "stuff" as DEs in a fight, is it Dark Magic? Or does it become okay because it's in self-defense?

That may sound nitpicky - but I think it is worthy of discussion. When does magic cross the line to Dark?

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Magic Words - Aug 8, 2006 5:14 pm (#258 of 398)

There doesn't seem to be a line so much as a gradient. In OotP, Umbridge's textbook claims that all curses and jinxes are unacceptable (which I take to mean Dark), but Hermione argues that self-defense makes them acceptable. You can apply the same argument to Muggle forms of violence: certain forms are considered acceptable, such as spanking a child to enforce discipline or causing more serious harm in self-defense.

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Saracene - Aug 9, 2006 4:17 am (#259 of 398)

The reason I don't believe that DD would ask a UV from Snape is not really because I think it's Dark Arts - I've no idea if it is. I just don't believe that DD would put a threat of death over someone's head (because that's what the Vow amounts to, basically), and call it "trust".

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wynnleaf - Aug 9, 2006 6:37 am (#260 of 398)

The reason I don't believe that DD would ask a UV from Snape is not really because I think it's Dark Arts - I've no idea if it is. I just don't believe that DD would put a threat of death over someone's head (because that's what the Vow amounts to, basically), and call it "trust".

I absolutely agree. In addition, I don't think Dumbledore's knowing that Snape had taken a Vow with someone else which put him under a threat of death, would constitute the basis of a "trust" relationship for DD. I therefore think that DD neither depends on a vow between himself and Snape, nor between Snape and another person, as an explanation for his trust.

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Choices - Aug 9, 2006 8:37 am (#261 of 398)

I agree. I do not see the Unbreakable Vow as Dark Magic. I think it could be used for dark purposes, but in and of itself it is not Dark.

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cindysuewho45 - Aug 9, 2006 10:36 pm (#262 of 398)

Hi all, I do not believe that the Unbreakable Vow is Dark Arts. I do believe that DD would never use the Unbreakable Vow, because of his belief in love, trust, and all that is good. I also do not believe that DD would ever use or ask someone else to use Dark Arts, because he has been fighting against them (Dark Arts) since before LV. And like McGonagall has said, DD will never use them, (Only because you're too-well-NOBLE to use them).

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Deb Zawacki - Aug 10, 2006 5:02 pm (#263 of 398)

I don't know why it seems so impossible to believe that Dumbledore made him take a vow--after all he had betrayed Dumbledore once--so, what Dumbledore trusts the kid who spent seven years perfecting his DA skills, becomes a Death Eater and tells Voldemort the prophesy? Trusting or not, that's MORE than naive of DD to just say well hey guy, I trust you--but don't make me regret it.

I think it would have been entirely appropriate for DD to say, I must insist we do this....I have to think of the larger picture of the wizarding world and I need to insure their safety. Snape was a grown-up for God'sake, not a surly kid with a bad attitude who "just needed a chance."

You know what they say in business CYA (Cover your assets!)

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Magic Words - Aug 10, 2006 7:17 pm (#264 of 398)

On the other hand, Dumbledore is famous for giving second chances.

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So Sirius - Aug 10, 2006 7:26 pm (#265 of 398)

So most of you think DD trusts Snape because of something other than doing something magical? Perhaps the theory that Snape, after being caught listening at keyholes for his Lord and master, had a change of heart, or perhaps he truly had genuine feelings for Lily or even Petunia or maybe it's the theory that Snape wanted his beloved mother protected for some reason and DD was the only one who could do this, thus creating Madam Pince and this is the bond that keeps Snape in DD's confidence. But, I've seen DD be fallible before. As great as he is, as much as he knows, he still makes mistakes. Only, he never really did trust Snape, in my opinion, cause he didn't give him the Dark Arts job when he started teaching. This was before he knew the job was cursed, wasn't it? Maybe DD even knew that, somehow and was sparing Snape or maybe he really didn't trust him. Or, maybe he or someone close to him like his brother, did make a vow with Snape, to ensure he would be trusted with the prophecy and Harry.

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Potter Ace - Aug 21, 2006 8:52 am (#266 of 398)

I have to agree with Deb Z. for all his high morals, DD was extremely confident of Snape’s loyalty. What better way to be confident of that loyalty than a UV. The UV is the only way that we have been shown to "guarantee" a promise thus far, until shown otherwise I have to believe that they made one (exactly for what, I'm unsure). Everything else points to the frailty of an old man making a bad choice and being fooled to death (no pun intended).

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wynnleaf - Aug 22, 2006 6:07 am (#267 of 398)

DD was extremely confident of Snape loyalty. What better way to be confident of that loyalty than a UV.

That might be the way to be confident of loyalty, but that's not what DD says. He says he "trusts" Snape. The reason Bella and Cissy ask for the UV is because Bella at least does not trust Snape. Trust is not the same as confidence in forced loyalty. I have yet to see any argument of DD's trust in Snape due to a UV explain how the UV creates trust. JKR didn't write that word "trust" so many times for no reason. Trust is what DD had -- not confidence in a person forced to loyalty.

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So Sirius - Aug 22, 2006 10:44 am (#268 of 398)
Edited Aug 22, 2006 11:47 am

You said yourself that DD is a trusting person, the other 2 are not. Therefore the words might be different, but the means to get the result, could be the same. There's obviously a reason DD trusts Snape. I, personally, do not think it's above DD to make a vow that cannot be broken with Severus Snape. Perhaps the name JKR gave him, Severus, is a clue in itself. So far we know of one bond he's made, I don't think it's farfetched to think there may have been more. And he just may have severed one bond in book 6.

But, as you point out, DD looks at the good in people, trusts where others don't. I also think that he's smart enough to know when you must take extra measures, where needed. As much as he's trusting and kind, there must have been an added protection that he took, like the protection of leaving Harry with horrid relatives for his safety, the same sort of protection with Snape, in order to ensure that his trusting nature wouldn't be taken advantage of.

Whether it's a vow or something else, I do believe DD did something to take these measures where Snape was concerned.

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Steve Newton - Aug 22, 2006 10:51 am (#269 of 398)

Perhaps holding his mother would keep him in line. (I'm a believer in the MPISM theory.)

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haymoni - Aug 22, 2006 10:58 am (#270 of 398)

There's the next T-shirt!

I believe in MPISM!

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Choices - Aug 22, 2006 4:45 pm (#271 of 398)

I just don't believe that Dumbledore would engage in anything that might end in the death of a person, except perhaps in warfare. If he made Snape take an Unbreakable Vow and Snape failed to do whatever he vowed to do, he would die, and I can't see Dumbledore being involved in that. That would make his trust too easy and I believe Dumbledore's trust is on a whole other level. I think his trust is based more on honor and "gut feeling" about a person, and perhaps on other knowledge we know nothing about....yet.

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So Sirius - Aug 22, 2006 6:24 pm (#272 of 398)

I see your point. Perhaps that's why the talk in the forest was so relevent, he was making it clear that he needed Snape to fulfill the agenda. I understand why people would feel strongly regarding DD making such a vow, but as DD himself has pointed out, he's made mistakes. I can take the doubts about the vow into consideration, but I do believe something was done, other than DD's deep love of mankind and trust of human beings, in the case of Snape, to allow him to feel as he does and be as secretive as he was, about it.

I don't know what MPISM means, but I'm going to assume it's Madam Pince is Snape’s mom? I agree that's a very compelling argument for a case regarding DD's "trust" in Snape. But, now that Snape has gone back to LV, even seemingly, does that break that bond that DD and Snape created regarding his mom? Or do you think it was a verbal thing between them and now that DD is gone, it won't hinder her hiding?

Personally, I don't think hiding the mother is strong enough to trust Snape. If DD wouldn't harm anyone, then whatever Snape would have done, in protection of his mother, he must have known that DD wouldn't have put her life in danger. So, again, I think there's more to this.

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wynnleaf - Aug 22, 2006 7:33 pm (#273 of 398)

Quote from JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004

“Ali: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape?

JK Rowling replies -> Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.”

While JKR doesn't really answer the question, she at least says that it's something to do with Snape's "story" -- something that Snape told DD. That doesn't sound anything at all like it could be an unbreakable vow.

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So Sirius - Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am (#274 of 398)

I reiterate, DD, although extraordinary, was fallible. DD could have simply trusted this man listening at keyholes for LV (his master) or he could have used a little nudge and done something to protect himself, with the hopes that Snape’s story was honest and true. He may not have used an UV, there may be other ways we don't know about, but I do believe there was another reason DD was so adamant and secretive regarding his trust of Snape, something we don't know about, that we'll come to find out, other than the simplicity of the story we've been given.

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wynnleaf - Aug 23, 2006 4:53 am (#275 of 398)

He may not have used an UV, there may be other ways we don't know about, but I do believe there was another reason DD was so adamant and secretive regarding his trust of Snape, something we don't know about, that we'll come to find out, other than the simplicity of the story we've been given.

So Sirius, I definitely agree with that! Just the simple explanation that Snape really regretted what happened to the Potters isn't enough. Harry thinks that DD is too trusting and he thinks that the reason DD gave him is all there is to it. But that's easy for Harry. He doesn't believe DD in the first place and almost wants to think that DD's trust is misplaced. So it suits his preconceived ideas to accept a simple and flimsy reason from DD because he can then disregard it. But I think it's fairly obvious to the reader (generally more objective than Harry, as well as able to re-read) that DD does have further reasons which he just wasn't willing to tell Harry.

However, I think it's clear from JKR's quote above that it's something that Snape has related to DD -- something in Snape's "story" -- that causes DD to trust him. Of course, I'd imagine DD has more than Snape's simple word for it, there's probably some hard evidence to back up whatever Snape's story is. But JKR's comment does not point to an Unbreakable Vowor any other form of binding agreement as the reason for the trust.
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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 276 to 300

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:40 pm

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Madame Pomfrey - Aug 23, 2006 8:14 am (#276 of 398)
Edited Aug 23, 2006 9:22 am

I don't think they made an UV for the same reasons Choices listed, but there could have been some kind of verbal agreement based on trust. While we are discussing trust I thought I'd mention something. In GoF Snape knows that it is Harry that is stuck in the stairs after seeing both the egg and the map. Moody tells Snape that he would be glad to tell Dumbledore how quickly Snape was to blame Potter when Dumbledore is very interested in knowing "who's got it in for the boy." Snape being mere inches from discovering Harry under the invisibility cloak, lowers his hands and say's something about being concerned for Potters safety. Now, if Snape really believes that Dumbledore trusts him, why did he back off? I always thought this to be odd. Does Snape have something to hide? If he is so sure Dumbledore trusts him why wouldn't he just go to him and tell him of his suspicions if he was so worried about Harry's safety (yeah, right!) or that he was wandering the castle after curfew. It seems to me that Snape doesn't want to upset that trust.

I agree with Harry - Dumbledore's trust is misplaced. I have believed that since Snape saw himself in the foe glass.

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legolas returns - Aug 23, 2006 12:54 pm (#277 of 398)

I don’t think Dumbledore would automatically take it that Snape was trustworthy to begin with when he first employed him. He may have given a convincing story-I agree the biggest regret is too flimsy an excuse on its own. There must be something else. I think by giving him the potions job and keeping a close eye on him the level he trusted Snape increased as the years went on as he showed loyalty. He showed loyalty by saving Harry etc.

By the end of Goblet of fire Dumbledore’s really trusts Snape. I don’t think that he would feel the need to make and unbreakable vow. Making an Unbreakable Vow restricts your choices. You do what’s quickest rather than best decision.

Madam P. -Snape was Barty Crouch Junior’s enemy in the foe glass not Dumbledore’s. Dumbledore and McGonagall were in the mirror as well.

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Magic Words - Aug 23, 2006 1:03 pm (#278 of 398)

Yes, Snape, McGonagall and Dumbledore were all seen together in Moody's foe-glass. Interesting, though, that Dumbledore and McGonagall's reflections aren't mentioned again while Snape is shown looking at his... almost as if he's his own worst enemy... but that would fit better on the Snape thread. Moving on.

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Choices - Aug 23, 2006 3:21 pm (#279 of 398)

Yes, but doesn't the foe glass have to belong to a person and it shows only their enemies? (Like it magically knows who owns it?) The foe glass did not belong to Snape, but to Barty, Jr., so it showed only Barty's enemies. Snape looked into it and saw himself as one of Barty's enemies along with Dumbledore and McGonagall.

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Magic Words - Aug 23, 2006 5:03 pm (#280 of 398)

Maybe. Sure. Could be symbolic, could mean nothing, not a big deal. I do think that when Harry saw the three shadowy figures in the glass, it confirmed Snape's position as an ally of Dumbledore and McGonagall.

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Madame Pomfrey - Aug 24, 2006 6:45 am (#281 of 398)
Edited Aug 24, 2006 7:47 am

I thought that whoever was looking in the mirror saw their own enemies. I thought it reflected Snape being his own worst enemy (double spy) as Magic Words suggested. Was it Barty's mirror or the real Moody's? That would make a big difference. Wasn't the same mirror in the RoR when used by the DA?

Back on topic . . . Does it strike anybody odd that Snape seemed to know exactly how to make an unbreakable vow, I mean like he's done it or witnessed it before?

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haymoni - Aug 24, 2006 6:56 am (#282 of 398)

If Fred & George knew how to do it, it must not be so uncommon.

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Madame Pomfrey - Aug 24, 2006 10:34 am (#283 of 398)

Yes, I thought about that after I posted. I find it hard to believe that something that carries the penalty of death to be a common practice. Gee, I wonder if the W.W. marriage vows are such?

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Magic Words - Aug 24, 2006 10:50 am (#284 of 398)

Snape didn't have to do anything other than agree to whatever Narcissa asked him. It seemed very simple to me.

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zelmia - Aug 25, 2006 10:53 am (#285 of 398)

Going back to Madame Pomfrey's comment about the "Moody"-Snape conversation that Harry overhears while stuck in the stairs:

I actually thought (on re-reading, of course) that Snape was attempting to warn "Moody" that he suspected Moody was the one who stole the potions ingredients - on the pretext of searching Snape's office. Though I don't think Snape quite knew why, exactly.

But Crouch-as-Moody quickly and effectively turns the tables on Snape and threatens to reveal his Death Eater status, Dark Mark and all. For once, the usually calculating Snape finds himself in the extremely uncomfortable position of being at someone else's mercy.

So what does this have to do with the Unbreakable Vow? Well perhaps Snape learned something from this little mistake. Once it was revealed that Moody was really Crouch Jr, Snape's position - in fact his very life - was doomed. How much had Junior revealed to Voldemort about Snape and his relationship with Dumbledore? Had Snape slipped up somewhere?

When Bellatrix and Narcissa arrive on his doorstep, Snape does not seem very surprised to see them. In fact, his response to Bellatrix's accusations has a very well-rehearsed quality to it. Of course, the pressure is more or less off, now that Voldemort himself has accepted Snape back into the Dark fold. But I suspect that Snape made a mental note that night with Junior-as-Moody not to let his guard down so easily again.

Snape suggests the Unbreakable Vow- I think - primarily to placate Bellatrix (who knows where her accusations might lead, after all?), partly because of Wormtail's eavesdropping, and partly because of a sincere... I guess I'll use the word fondness... for Narcissa.

Whether he knew what precisely would be asked of him or not, I think Snape did know that the Vow would at least stave off any further suspicions of his duplicity until such a time when he (with the assistance of Dumbledore) could formulate a better plan for the protection of everyone concerned.

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Deb Zawacki - Aug 26, 2006 3:45 pm (#286 of 398)
Edited Aug 26, 2006 4:49 pm

I've got to think about British vernacular in the use of some words--- seems like DD uses trust in the way of

I TRUST you had a great summer? You are returning to Hogwarts by train, I trust?

or less genially "I trust there won't be any more pranks from the lot of you."

So we are talking about words that can mean "believe" or more of a warning or reprimand nature.

In the movie characterization, the two Dumbledore's rarely raised their voices and always spoke in even tones.... almost poker-faced.

So if DD says that he trusts Snape without any real inflection that doesn't necessarily mean he does or he doesn't.

In my mind the UV would also be a form of protection for Snape--because if he took it, and Voldemrt found out about his double agent status, he could not force Snape to go against his promise. If Snape took a vow to protect Harry, Voldemort could not force him to hurt or kill Harry, no matter how much torture he endured.

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wynnleaf - Aug 26, 2006 5:57 pm (#287 of 398)

Yes, but doesn't the foe glass have to belong to a person and it shows only their enemies? (Like it magically knows who owns it?) The foe glass did not belong to Snape, but to Barty, Jr., so it showed only Barty's enemies. Snape looked into it and saw himself as one of Barty's enemies along with Dumbledore and McGonagall.

I thought that whoever was looking in the mirror saw their own enemies.

Madame Pomfrey, Harry did not see his own enemies in the foe-glass, but Barty Jr's enemies. Therefore, Snape should not have been expected to see his own enemies, but also the enemies of Barty -- Snape included.

Snape being mere inches from discovering Harry under the invisibility cloak, lowers his hands and say's something about being concerned for Potters safety. Now, if Snape really believes that Dumbledore trusts him, why did he back off? I always thought this to be odd. Does Snape have something to hide?

Interesting question. I think the answer may be many layered. Fake-Moody was pretty threatening to Snape. We have to remember here that it wasn't Alastor Moody being suspicious of Snape, it was a DE. We don't really know what the Moody of Harry's day thinks of Snape -- whether he retains the suspicions of the Moody of years before or not. We don't know whether fake-Moody's manner was expected by Snape or not.

My personal "take" on Snape's reaction to fake-Moody is this: I think Snape knew that he was highly dependent on Dumbledore's trust and goodwill for practically everything -- his avoidance of Azkaban, his job, his generally good standing in the WW, and ultimately his partial protection from LV in that DD is the only one LV feared. He knew that Moody (the real one) was a friend of DD's. Would he worry that Moody could ruin the trust DD has in him? I tend to think Snape is probably a lot less secure and confident than he acts. He asserted to fake-Moody that DD trusted him, but I always thought it sounded like more hopeful thinking than absolute confidence.

If Snape took a vow to protect Harry, Voldemort could not force him to hurt or kill Harry, no matter how much torture he endured.

Deb Zawacki, Are you suggesting that the UV forces a person to comply, like Imperius? I don't think that's the case. You die if you don't do it. So Snape could take an UV to not hurt Harry, LV could force him through Imperius to hurt Harry, and then he'd die, but he'd still have hurt Harry. Hypothetically anyway.

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Choices - Aug 26, 2006 6:16 pm (#288 of 398)

I think Bella and Barty, Jr. see Snape in the same way - they don't want to trust him because they are jealous of his position in Voldemort's inner circle. They each want to be Voldemort's most trusted servant and they fear Snape has slithered into that choice position. (Past tense for Barty, Jr. of course.)

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Deb Zawacki - Aug 26, 2006 8:35 pm (#289 of 398)

I don't know--that UV seemed to be a mighty powerful spell--and an Imperius curse MIGHT be able to force you to do something for which the only possible outcome is your own death. Seems like there would be a real conflict for the person.

Yeah you're under the Imperius Curse but if you do what you're told to do you'll die? I might fight hard against that one.

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wynnleaf - Aug 26, 2006 9:32 pm (#290 of 398)

Deb, my point was simply that an UV doesn't technically force a person to do something. The penalty for not fulfilling the vow is death -- but it is completely possible (as far as we can tell) to simply not fulfill the vow and die.

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zelmia - Aug 26, 2006 10:57 pm (#291 of 398)
Edited Aug 27, 2006 12:01 am

I think Bella and Barty, Jr. see Snape in the same way - they don't want to trust him because they are jealous of his position in Voldemort's inner circle.

Except that while Barty Jr. was still walking around of his own accord, Snape was not in Voldemort's inner circle. In fact later, Voldemort refers to Snape as "One who has left me forever. He will be killed of course."
Unless you are referring to Snape's status before Voldemort's downfall, I don't think Junior is jealous of Snape. By his own admission, he hates any Death Eater who walked away. He feels that the truly loyal would have good looking for Voldemort, as he did. Snape not only didn't look for Voldemort, but has enjoyed his freedom due solely to Dumbledore's largesse for the past 13 years.

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Magic Words - Aug 27, 2006 3:19 pm (#292 of 398)

This may be just movie contamination, but in the movie Moody says he can make the spider drown herself.

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Snortimer - Sep 8, 2006 9:17 am (#293 of 398)

Zelmia said "Voldemort refers to Snape as "One who has left me forever. He will be killed of course."

No, that reference was to Karkaroff, who had already fled.

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Mezzanine - Sep 9, 2006 2:57 am (#294 of 398)
Edited by Sep 9, 2006 3:58 am

So... I'm slightly confused.

Snape's the one who has left Voldemort forever and who's going to be killed, and Karkaroff is the one too cowardly to return and he'll pay for his lack of courage ? Or is it vice-versa ?

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TwinklingBlueEyes - Sep 9, 2006 3:12 am (#295 of 398)


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Magic Words - Sep 9, 2006 7:11 am (#296 of 398)

No, I'm with Mezzanine. We know for a fact Karkaroff fled because he was frightened. I'm sure Voldemort would have figured he was more cowardly than Snape, if he knew them both. And Snape says in HBP "the Dark Lord thought I had left him forever, but he was wrong."

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zelmia - Sep 9, 2006 8:56 am (#297 of 398)

Exactly, Magic Words. That is why I assumed Voldemort was referring to Snape when he said "left me forever". But it doesn't really matter. The point is that Snape was no longer a(n active) Death Eater in GF - the time when Jr.-as-Moody was around. Therefore Junior couldn't have been "jealous" of Snape's relationship with Voldemort.

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Choices - Sep 9, 2006 9:31 am (#298 of 398)

Snape himself tells us in HBP (Spinner's End).....

“Yes, the Dark Lord thought that I had left him forever, but he was wrong.”

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Mezzanine - Sep 9, 2006 1:17 pm (#299 of 398)

Ok, then it's not vice=versa. Got it now (I think).

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Laura W - Sep 10, 2006 11:53 pm (#300 of 398)

"This may be just movie contamination, but in the movie Moody says he can make the spider drown herself."

He says it in the book too, Magic. "I could make it jump out of the window, drown itself, throw itself down one of your throats ..." (GoF, p. 188, Raincoast)


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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 301 to 325

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rambkowalczyk - Sep 11, 2006 6:43 am (#301 of 398)

Snape's the one who has left Voldemort fo ever and who's going to be killed and Karkaroff is the one too cowardly to return and he'll pay for his lack of courage ? Or is it viceversa ? Mezzanine

I think the jury is still out on this only because we don't really know the full story.

consider the possibilities.

1. Karkaroff coward, Snape left him forever. I think this was everyone's initial opinion at the end of book 4, and Snape confirms it in book 6. But Snape was alive and healthy in book 5 making us wonder. Of course in book 6, Karkaroff is killed.

2. Karkaroff left him forever, Snape coward. Because Karkaroff was killed it can be assumed that he did leave him forever. This makes Snape the coward. But in book 6, Snape refers to himself as the one who left him forever. But at the end of book 6 when Harry calls Snape a coward, Snape goes ballistic. Perhaps Snape doesn't want to admit he is a coward especially to Bella.

3. If you want to get into tangled plots, there is a third possibility. Karkaroff left him forever and Bagman is the coward. The only evidence for this is the pensieve memories Harry saw in GOF, Crouch, Bagman, and Karkaroff being related to the three that Voldemort mentions at the gravyard scene: faithful servant, left me forever, coward. This would mean that Snape would have been there at the graveyard but Harry didn't know it. It had been suggested that when Dumbledore sent Snape to Voldemort, Snape had a time turner to go back in time to be there. This of course doesn't explain why Snape says that he was at Hogwarts to Bella.

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haymoni - Sep 11, 2006 7:24 am (#302 of 398)

I'm going with Karkaroff as the coward because he ran. (How Voldy knew this, I don't know.) Snape would be the one lost forever (to Dumbledore) because he did not automatically appear with the rest. Barty Jr. is the most faithful servant.

I'm still holding out for Otto Bagman to be the Death Eater, while Ludo is just stupid.

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wynnleaf - Sep 11, 2006 8:47 am (#303 of 398)
Edited Sep 11, 2006 9:48 am

I agree with haymoni (well, not the Bagman part, but the rest). Also, I thought in Spinners End when Snape identified himself as one LV thought was gone forever, it was sort of JKR's way of letting us know that it really was Snape LV had been talking about.

After all, Snape did not hear LV's words in GOF, nor did Harry relate them to Dumbledore. Yet Snape used the same basic wording of "gone forever," that LV used in the graveyard. So I thought JKR had Snape use those words so we'd get the idea that he was the one LV had thought was "gone forever."

Just my assumption.

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rambkowalczyk - Sep 11, 2006 10:46 am (#304 of 398)

Just out of curiousity, if Karkaroff is the coward why did Voldemort kill him? (I am more inclined to go with #2 or 3)

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Steve Newton - Sep 11, 2006 11:04 am (#305 of 398)

To encourage the others?

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legolas returns - Sep 11, 2006 11:43 am (#306 of 398)

I was under the impression that it was Karkaroff who had left him forever. He snitched on fellow death eaters and ran for it.

Snape was the coward-He was "in Dumbledore’s pocket" and did not come immediately because he was scared of Voldemort’s wrath-In Voldemort’s opinion. He stopped Quirrell getting the stone etc.

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Choices - Sep 11, 2006 4:51 pm (#307 of 398)

I don't see Snape as the coward - he had the courage to stay and then go to Voldemort later and explain why he was not able to come immediately when Voldemort called the DEs. Karkaroff was the one who ran for it - too cowardly to stay and face the music.

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haymoni - Sep 11, 2006 6:15 pm (#308 of 398)

Doesn't Snape say Karkaroff felt the Mark burn and ran for it? Sounds cowardly to me.

So you don't like my Bagman (Bagmen) theory, wynnleaf????

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wynnleaf - Sep 11, 2006 7:52 pm (#309 of 398)


Yes, that is what Snape said in GOF about Karkaroff.

On Bagman -- nothing wrong with the theory except that I tend to think that JKR won't be taking a character out of three books previously and giving him a good dusting off to become her traitor for book 7.

Besides, the idea of a good surprise traitor isn't that they come out of nowhere -- or out of the far off past of 3 books previous -- but that you can do a re-read and see the thread of their "real self" all the way through.

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zelmia - Sep 11, 2006 9:06 pm (#310 of 398)

After all the back and forth discussion on the matter, I don't think it's really important whether Snape "left [Voldemort] forever" or was "too cowardly to return".

Either way, Snape obviously made sufficient amends to Voldemort that he was not only forgiven, but given a place of relatively high esteem from Voldemort. That's really all we need to know or care about - particularly as it was revealed that Karkarov is now out of the picture entirely.

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Mezzanine - Sep 12, 2006 3:52 am (#311 of 398)

Zelmia, I agree.

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haymoni - Sep 12, 2006 6:15 am (#312 of 398)

I just wondered if the big, blonde Death Eater was Otto. It may turn out to be nothing.

I agree - at this point it doesn't matter who was what - Karkaroff is dead and Snape is in.

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wynnleaf - Sep 12, 2006 6:45 am (#313 of 398)


Who is Otto?

I also have wondered about the big blond Death Eater in HBP. His spells seemed to help the Order more than hurt them, and almost seem to "cover" for Snape as he escaped. And his spell broke the opening to the staircase to the tower that dropped the magical barrier. So I started to wonder if he was really a DE. I know -- too many theories. He was probably just a really incompetent DE.

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Steve Newton - Sep 12, 2006 7:12 am (#314 of 398)

The only Otto that I know of is Otto Bagman, brother to Ludo, the disgraced head of magical games.

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haymoni - Sep 12, 2006 8:14 am (#315 of 398)

Yep - that's my big theory. The big blonde Death Eater is Otto Bagman. Arthur helped Otto out and Ludo gave him those tickets in the top box - quite a reward for an enchanted lawn mower.

But back to Snape & the Unbreakable Vow.

Snape really has nothing to lose. If he's evil - he kills Dumbledore and all is well. If he's good - he kills Dumbledore, but there has to be a safety net - he & Dumbledore agreed to this earlier and somewhere there is proof of his innocence.

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Soul Search - Sep 12, 2006 8:25 am (#316 of 398)

I think the "big blonde" death eater is Avery.

We saw in OotP that Avery mis-directed Voldemort in his attempt to get the prophecy. And got punished for it.

Avery shows up in the graveyard scene in GoF, and gets punished.

In PoA, we learn that Dumbledore had spies, plural.

Avery is the only known death eater that fits even a little.

Avery is Dumbledore's man, in deep cover.

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wynnleaf - Sep 12, 2006 8:34 am (#317 of 398)

Oh, gosh -- I'm stupid!! Sorry, I just wasn't thinking. Yes, of course -- Otto Bagman. wynnleaf = dunderhead.

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 20, 2007 3:36 pm (#318 of 398)

I posted this tangent on the Dumbledore's Death thread and thought I'd copy it here in case anyone wishes to discuss.

Bellatrix doesn't have any leverage. Severus has already convinced Riddle he is worth keeping alive. Riddle doesn't trust anyone, so there is nothing Bellatrix could possibly bring forward that would have any impact. – TomProffitt

I understand your view, Tom. Looking at from Severus’s view, however, I would not feel at all confident that it’s my word against Bella’s and Vold will not take her word into consideration. I feel he most certainly would.

I suppose I consider them like an organized crime type mentality - Why would Vold feel more comfortable with Severus’s word than Bella when she spent all those years sitting in a cell in honour of Vold? She is a Devotee if there ever was one. It’s all about the loyalty. At that point (chapter 2) Severus, to me, had yet to display such loyalty as Bella and he knows it. It doesn’t matter to me that Severus discounted her action of staying in prison, that he made it out to be a fine and admirable “gesture”. Obviously he was trying to cut her down, as are most of his and her remarks in that chapter. I just cannot believe that a double agent would be confident at any point during their masquerade, especially if they're as smart as Severus.

It's more of a no win situation for Narcissa & Bellatrix, or else Narcissa wouldn't be (literally) begging him.

I feel Narcissa was literally begging because her husband screwed up and Vold is taking it out on her son, who it seems she sincerely cares about. She has nowhere else to turn when Vold is determined to punish Lucius. I don't think Bella cared a bit about why Narcissa was there. She said she thought Draco's task was an honour.

Basically, I feel Severus was not Vold's favourite, there is no favourite, never was a favourite, but now with such a monumental War Badge on his chest that he killed the only wizard Vold ever feared, Severus *now* can be confident. He's at Vold's right hand for book 7 and will be the first ever to be trusted, in my opinion. I am not expecting to convert you, Tom, I just wanted to respond.

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 20, 2007 5:43 pm (#319 of 398)

If anyone is interested in this discussion, here was a reponse to above post from other thread -

I don't think Bella had much leverage for three reasons:

1) She was not supposed to be at Snape's discussing his task to begin with.

2) She was part of the crew that lost the Prophesy

3) She seemed a little stung that Snape knew about the task, and when Snape insinuated that LV no longer confides in her. - T Vrana

I'll try to be clear in my response (it's not easy with the ultimate "whodunnit") -

1) If Bella wasn't totally convinced of every bit of Severus's list of "excuses" at Spinner's End, I think she wouldn't have hesitated to take them to Vold. If Vold then asked why they were discussing the Vow, I don't think Bella would think twice about blaming it on Narcissa (which is true) and that Bella was tagging along trying to prevent it happening (which is true). Vold knows a liar and Bella has nothing to hide. This goes a long way to Vold's graces, so it seems, as does loyalty for loyalty's sake rather than Peter's fear-based loyalty.

2) Totally agree.

3) I'd be stung too if I were her, as a completely blinded disciple that wants to be acknowledged. But I don't think it bears any weight on whether or not Vold would listen to her gripes about Severus. I don't know of anything truly substantial that Severus did prior to the Vow that would have solidified his loyalty to Vold (after overhearing Trelawney). That Vow was a test beyond all tests in that situation, I feel. And he passed with flying colors in Vold's eyes. Now on to Severus's real test, that of deceiving and helping to destroy Vold while under his constant watchful eye.

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T Vrana - Jan 20, 2007 7:37 pm (#320 of 398)

Does LV know he took the Vow? Who would tell him? I agree Bella would rat on Narcissa if she had something to gain, but to rat her out just to admit Snape is loyal would risk Cissy for no gain. Would LV be pleased that Snape decided on his own to do this? I thought the Vow was more to satisfy Bella and the other doubting DEs, and that Snape was completely confident in LV's trust.

Could be wrong...

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 20, 2007 8:05 pm (#321 of 398)

T Vrana, I wanted to repost but didn't want to post three times in a row -- but in my response to you in (1) I meant to say if Vold then asked why they were discussing the Task, I don't think Bella would think twice about blaming it on Narcissa.

Does LV know he took the Vow?

No. The test to which I was referring is completely within the walls of Spinner's End, and he shuts Bella up unconditionally because, after her accurate assumption that Severus is a fraud, his agreement to the Vow would pass with flying colors in Vold's eyes. She now has no ammunition against Severus.

agree Bella would rat on Narcissa if she had something to gain, but to rat her out just to admit Snape is loyal would risk Cissy for no gain.

I'm not clear on your statement. I feel Bella would have everything to gain regarding taking Severus down by ratting out Narcissa, if (without the Vow) Bella sensed in any way that Severus's "excuses" were bogus. She'd go to Vold in a heartbeat. But with the Vow, how can she argue? He's done her *one better*.

I don't see why we should believe Severus was at that time completely in Vold's trust. All he keeps falling back on in their word games is 'The Dark Lord isn't complaining so why should you?' when in actuality, I think she is the one speaking the truth - and he knows it.

Edit - I think Narcissa's fawning over Severus with "you are the Dark Lord's favourite... his trusted advisor" is simple desperate manipulation on her part.

~edited for clarity, of course

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T Vrana - Jan 21, 2007 6:10 am (#322 of 398)

M & M shadow- I'm not clear on your statement. I feel Bella would have everything to gain regarding taking Severus down by ratting out Narcissa, if (without the Vow) Bella sensed in any way that Severus's "excuses" were bogus. She'd go to Vold in a heartbeat. But with the Vow, how can she argue? He's done her *one better*.

I thought that you thought LV knew about the vow from Bella. So, I was saying I didn't think he knew because Bella had no reason to tell him. (Hope that makes sense).

I don't see why we should believe Severus was at that time completely in Vold's trust. All he keeps falling back on in their word games is 'The Dark Lord isn't complaining so why should you?' when in actuality, I think she is the one speaking the truth - and he knows it.

Could be, but that is not the sense I had from the scene. She is beside herself and Snape is incredibly calm and confident. The exchange below seems, to me, to indicate there has been a shift in trust and Bella is worried becasue she wants to be number one and she does not trust Snape.

“My information has been directly conveyed to the Dark Lord,” said Snape. "If he chooses not to share it with you--"

“He shares everything with me!” said Bellatrix, firing up at once. "He calls me his most loyal, his most faithful--"

“Does he?” said Snape, his voice delicately inflected to suggest disbelief. "Does he still, after the fiasco at the Ministry?"

'That was not my fault!" said Bellatrix, flushing. "The Dark Lord has, in the past, entrusted me with his most precious..."

For me that suggests that Snape does have LV's trust (not complete, no one does), at least more than Bella does. And it seems to be more than the word game. Snape implies he has passed very valuable information. It is my hope that he has passed information on DD's orders and the deaths he mentions were staged.

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Soul Search - Jan 21, 2007 6:50 am (#323 of 398)

I think too much importance is being placed on Voldemort's "trust" of any particular death eater. Voldemort trusts no one.

We have Dumbledore's assessment that Voldemort neither has, nor wants, any friends. The death eaters are only around to serve him. If Voldemort tells Bellatrix she is his favorite, it is only to manipulate her.

Snape understands this; Bellatrix does not.

Snape is in a very precarious position. The double agent role is very difficult to maintain. Even a suggestion that Snape doesn't worship Voldemort could get him killed. Having Bellatrix forever casting doubt on Snape's actions could cause Voldemort to also start having doubts, or more doubts than he has already.

Snape will never win Bellatrix over, it is not in her nature, but he does show her that disparaging him is the same as disagreeing with Voldemort, and therefore, would risk Voldemort's favor. This is a more convincing argument for Bellatrix. I thought Snape handled her rather well in "Spinner's End."

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 21, 2007 5:30 pm (#324 of 398)

I thought that you thought LV knew about the vow from Bella. So, I was saying I didn't think he knew because Bella had no reason to tell him. (Hope that makes sense). - T Vrana

Yes, makes perfect sense.

She is beside herself and Snape is incredibly calm and confident. The exchange below seems, to me, to indicate there has been a shift in trust and Bella is worried becasue she wants to be number one and she does not trust Snape...

I do agree the quote you cited shows her flushing with perhaps shame about her neediness, or the beginnings of doubt about her being *confidante* to Vold.

I guess my main point is, and my feeling remains, that Severus is a double agent and an intelligent man and would not be calm and confident around a DE (i.e. Forest Conversation). Although he seems calm and confident, that is his acting. He has stated to Bella and Draco how good an actor he is. I do not sense him *acting* as in pretending to be nice to the right people (I think he was genuinely happy to see Narcissa) and since I believe in Severus's redemption I don't believe he requires *acting* with DD. The calmness to me is an act - he's really on pins and needles, as he should be.

Soul Search, that's basically what I feel as well. Your last statement, which agrees with T Vrana's comments about Bella being *cut down*, does seem to be what occurred. I do feel, however, that with Severus's current position, he might indeed become someone Vold trusts (Vold's version of trust, which to me would be conversing and trading secrets on how to get more power over others). After all, I believe Severus will be *extremely* respected by Vold now.

I feel that if the Vow hadn't occurred, both Severus and Bella would have left from that evening shaken by it. But as weird as it sounds, they both got something they wanted: Severus has a test that will prove him the *best* DE, and Bella is more comfortable that Severus isn't trying to take down the entire operation.


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Soul Search - Jan 22, 2007 7:48 am (#325 of 398)

No doubt, the events of HBP will put Snape in a better position with Voldemort. While I would hesitate to use words like "trust," Voldemort has to be viewing Snape as someone who is dedicated to Voldemort's domination cause and who can be given any task. Snape, now, has to be viewed as Voldemort's BEST death eater.

What I haven't been able to figure out is how Snape's new role will play in the DH storyline. JKR used a whole book to set up Snape with Voldemort, but at the same time alienated Snape from Harry and the wizarding world. How can this help Harry?

I am not sure how much Snape knows about horcruxes. Finding out about Voldemort's horcruxes could really help Harry, but even with Voldemort's increased "trust" of Snape, can Snape really reveal that he knows about multiple horcruxes (if he does?) I think that would get him killed instantly.

Could Voldemort assign Snape a task involving his horcruxes? There can't be much to do, and even if Voldemort gave Snape a horcrux task, he would probable kill him afterward. His horcruxes are Voldemort's biggest secret; no one can know about them.

If Snape learned of a Voldemort plan to attack Hogwarts or snatch Harry, who in the Order could he tell about it? Unless Dumbledore confided in someone about the possible events on the tower, no one will trust Snape.

What would happen if Voldemort gave Snape the task of leading the attack on Hogwarts or of kidnapping Harry? How could Snape cause the task to fail, yet still retain his favored position with Voldemort?

Could Snape kill Voldemort? Snape's an exceptional wizard, but I doubt he is good enough to best Voldemort in a fight. Snape would have to know about Voldemort's horcruxes and only try to kill him after Harry had eliminated them all. Besides, it wouldn't fit the prophecy if Snape killed Voldemort.

I just can't come up with any plausible scenarios. Any ideas?

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 326 to 350

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:42 pm

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MickeyCee3948 - Jan 22, 2007 9:38 am (#326 of 398)

Soul Search - If Snape was to lead an attack on Hogwarts or attempt to kidnap Harry, Snape could just let down his guard for a moment and allow a small curse to catch him off guard thus being captured by Harry and the DA gang. Or he might even let off a curse or two of his own which accidentally go astray and disable a couple of other DE's. Snape then can blame their incompetance for the failure of the attack. Given the competance shown by the DE's so far I don't see how they have gotten as far as they have.


Edit: If he was captured he could talk to Harry about Voldemorts plans and then using his superior wizarding skills escape.

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 22, 2007 5:26 pm (#327 of 398)

If Snape learned of a Voldemort plan to attack Hogwarts or snatch Harry, who in the Order could he tell about it? Unless Dumbledore confided in someone about the possible events on the tower, no one will trust Snape. - Soul Search

Every time I have a thought similar to your quote above, I remind myself about DD's portrait in the Headmistress's office. This will be handy about setting the record straight with the Order, the Ministry, etc.

I'm also assuming there will be a way McGonagall can relax security momentarily in order to receive a message from Severus via Patronus/Dobby/Forest-helper/etc.. Or, by then 12GP will be up and running again and the message could go there...?

`edited for clarity and to say the above is probably off topic. I'm going to copy this to the Predictions for Book 7 thread if anyone is interested in commenting...

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TomProffitt - Jan 24, 2007 2:31 pm (#328 of 398)

Part one of the Vow:

“Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes?”

implies that Snape needs to help Draco complete the Task. So, even though Snape doesn't have to directly complete the Task he would still be in deep trouble if he attempted to prevent Draco from fulfilling the Task.

Part Two:

“And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”

implies the same even more strongly. Draco will most definitely be harmed should he fail to complete the Task.

So the Third Part, Snape taking over the Vow is irrelevant. If anything it makes things somewhat easier on Snape, it gives Snape the out of doing the Task for Draco in order to "watch over" and "protect from harm."

If Snape is the theoretical "Good Snape" he must know the Task before undertaking the Vow. He should at least have a very good idea of what it is, because under most circumstances it can be a very good bet that it is something Dumbledore and the Order don't want to happen.

I don't see how Snape can complete parts One & Two of the Vow without making certain that the Task is completed by someone.

I also posted this idea on Draco' Task Thread. I'm not sure where it best fits.

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painting sheila - Jan 24, 2007 7:23 pm (#329 of 398)

TomProfitt - Would the second part of the vow "protect him from harm" also include protecting Draco from the Dark Lord if he failed?

That would make Snape a triple agent wouldn't it?

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TomProffitt - Jan 25, 2007 5:08 am (#330 of 398)

Would the second part of the vow protect him from harm" also include protecting Draco from the Dark Lord if he failed?" --- painting Sheila

I strongly believe this to be the case. Or better said, to keep him from getting in more trouble with Riddle in the first place.

Edited for clarity.

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T Vrana - Jan 25, 2007 9:36 am (#331 of 398)

Would the second part of the vow protect him "from harm" also include protecting Draco from the Dark Lord if he failed?" --- painting Sheila

I have a different take on this. Cissy asked Snape to protect Draco, to the best of his ability, while Draco was trying to accomplish his task. If Draco failed, or stopped trying, he would no longer be attempting to accomplish his task, and Snape would not be required to protect him from LV.

Just MHO...

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haymoni - Jan 25, 2007 9:48 am (#332 of 398)

But then Snape would have to do the task himself.

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T Vrana - Jan 25, 2007 9:49 am (#333 of 398)

Yes, but only because of #3, but not because of #2, which is why Cissy added #3.

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TomProffitt - Jan 25, 2007 4:06 pm (#334 of 398)

Narcissa's goal was to help her son survive. She believed that for this to happen Draco's task had to be completed.

Severus would not have been able to guess the exact wording that Narcissa would choose for the Vow but he would have had to have been incredibly stupid to think that "Completing the Task" in some form would not be included.

Severus is not stupid, therefore he had to have been willing to see the Task taken to completion before agreeing to the Vow.

If we have "Good Snape" he had to have a degree of confidence in both his knowledge of what the Task was and that it was something that Dumbledore and the Order could allow to take place.

If we have "Bad Snape" he would still have to have confidence in his knowledge of the Task in order to believe that it could be realistically accomplished.

I don't see anyway to rationalize (that makes good sense) Snape not knowing the Task and not being prepared to see it completed.

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 25, 2007 4:07 pm (#335 of 398)

Good one, T Vrana. That's my sense as well. Severus was more than willing to take a vow to watch over and protect, but to do it? Twitch.

Edit: TomP - Severus is not stupid, therefore he had to have been willing to see the Task taken to completion before agreeing to the Vow.

Yes, a Vow to see it completed by Draco, not a death vow to do it himself. After all, if he senses Vold wants him to do it in the end, why would he stake his life on doing it himself straight away? Why not stake his life on watching Draco die trying. Much easier Vow in my opinion. Then, if and when Draco fails, make an *easier* deal with Vold if he has to.

Edit again (trying to conserve posts...) - TomP., I read your posts on the Malfoy Vow thread and I understand more of your interpretation now, I believe. Your feeling is points 1 and 2 require Severus to make sure Draco fulfills his task, and if Draco doesn't fulfill his task then Severus will die. Further, you see point 3 as helping Severus from dying because if Draco fails (which would mean Severus would die) at least Severus can fulfill the task to keep from dying.

Is this correct?

This isn't the way I interpret it. Oh well. Good discussion...

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HR]T Vrana - Jan 25, 2007 4:28 pm (#336 of 398)

M & M shadow- Thanks, obviously I agree.

Tom- I don't think either of us can convince the other.

Narcissa's goal was to help her son survive. She believed that for this to happen Draco's task had to be completed.

Agreed, that's why she added clause #3.

Severus is not stupid, therefore he had to have been willing to see the Task taken to completion before agreeing to the Vow.

Not really. Up to the moment he agreed to take the vow, all Cissy asked for was protection for Draco while he tried to complete the task. This applies to the rest of your post as well. Protection during the task does not imply Snape will see it through. For instance, without step #3, Draco could have gone into DD's witness protection program and Snape would not have failed steps #1 and #2, even though the task was not completed (if the task was to kill DD).

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rambkowalczyk - Jan 26, 2007 12:29 pm (#337 of 398)

In response to part 3, Snape could have said to Narcissa "Even if I do it, it doesn't mean that Draco is safe from the Dark Lord. Draco may still die because he didn't do it." Perhaps he figured Narcissa wouldn't understand cool logic and be convinced by Bella that he was just worming out of the deal.

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T Vrana - Jan 26, 2007 12:59 pm (#338 of 398)

Plus the drama of the moment would have been lost! The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It 464751818

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TomProffitt - Jan 26, 2007 4:42 pm (#339 of 398)

Yes, a Vow to see it completed by Draco, not a death vow to do it himself. --- me and my shadow 813

What difference does it make? Help Draco murder Dumbledore or do the killing himself? The end result is what matters. If Snape isn't willing to see that or a similar action completed he can't be banking on the Vow being worded so poorly he has a way to get out of it.

Now I don't know what the Task was, and I'm certainly not ready to make a guess at it either, but I believe that Snape had to have been committed to the fact that the Task would be completed before he agreed to take the Vow. Anything else consigns Snape to a level of stupidity I find unreasonable to his established character.

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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 26, 2007 4:59 pm (#340 of 398)

I should have used a different phrase than "see it completed" as I do not view the agreement of parts 1 or 2 of the Vow to be "make sure Draco completes the task or you'll die". We've gone in circles about this, so I'll leave it at that.

I find it interesting that only after Bella taunts him with "Aren't you listening, Narcissa? Oh, he'll try," etc. etc., does Severus agree to taking the Vow.

However, I also find it interesting (and TomP this is where I agree with you) it is mentioned a few times that Severus and Narcissa were locked in eye contact. This tells me almost certainly that Severus successfully used Legilimency on her. He was feeding her wine so her mind would not be guarded, and with direct eye contact on several occasions I am sure he would have known exactly what her son's task was. The thought did not leave her mind the entire visit and he was, to me, obviously trying to use Legilimency. I don't believe Severus when he tells them Vold informed him of the task.

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TomProffitt - Jan 26, 2007 5:23 pm (#341 of 398)

I don't think, for my argument, that it really matters what exactly the different parts of the vow implied. In my view Snape would have had to have expected the Vow to be worded in such a way that the Task would have to be done. Any other expectation is a very foolish chance.

Refusal to take the Vow is not a death sentence, for even at the worst (unless Bellatrix attacks Snape then and there) Snape would have been able to retreat to the sanctuary offered by Dumbledore and Hogwarts. All spies are eventually discovered, because the information they gather is acted upon thus giving them away. Snape would had to have known that sooner or later his charade would end.

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Thom Matheson - Jan 26, 2007 5:42 pm (#342 of 398)

So right Tom! As a spy your world is full of lies and deception, Snape has had a good run. Granted Voldemort was gone for 13 of them, but regardless, they will catch up to you. At some point, as you say, someone will act on the information.

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T Vrana - Jan 27, 2007 6:11 pm (#343 of 398)

Tom-If Snape isn't willing to see that or a similar action completed he can't be banking on the Vow being worded so poorly he has a way to get out of it.

But it seems he was. The only thing discussed before taking the vow was to watch over and protect as Draco tries to complete the task. No mention of assuring success. Everyone agrees that he is unlikely to succeed. And, he didn't succeed. If Snape had not taken the third part of the Vow, and Draco took DD up on his offer to hide him, no problem, at all, for Snape. The task would not have been completed, Draco would have failed, but Snape would not be in any trouble for Draco's failure. He would have watched over and kept him safe.

DD said 'we' can hide you Draco. I assume 'we' means the Order, and I further assume that Snape knows that the Order hides people. So, Snape could easily agree to keep Draco safe and watch over him, without ever assuming he would have to do his task, or see that Draco completes it. Just watch over and protect. DD's wizard protection program works for me.

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TomProffitt - Jan 27, 2007 7:43 pm (#344 of 398)

But it seems he was. The only thing discussed before taking the vow was to watch over and protect as Draco tries to complete the task. --- T Vrana

I disagree with this interpretation. I think Snape is smarter than this. Discussed or not Snape could not have banked on such an easy out. I believe Snape either strongly suspected what the task was and knew that either it would not bring Riddle the desired result (good Snape) or believed it something within his power to accomplish regardless of the consequences (bad Snape).

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T Vrana - Jan 28, 2007 1:00 pm (#345 of 398)

I beleive we are at an impass, as the flinch implies, to me, surprise or unwillingness to go the extra step and complete the task. I think Snape was trying to be clever and get closer to Draco, while putting an end to Bella's doubts, and he got caught. Intelligent or not, we all make mistakes.

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journeymom - Jan 28, 2007 11:27 pm (#346 of 398)

Well, there's the title of the chapter. Severus has been spinning tales for LV and/or Dd for 17 years and with that Vow his luck ran out, the spinning ended.

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Mrs Brisbee - Jan 29, 2007 3:48 am (#347 of 398)

Well, there's the title of the chapter. Severus has been spinning tales for LV and/or Dd for 17 years and with that Vow his luck ran out, the spinning ended.

Ooh, nice observation, Journeymom!

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mona amon - Jan 31, 2007 9:00 pm (#348 of 398)

I agree with TomProffitt about one thing, that Snape must have had a pretty good idea of what he was getting himself into,right from the moment he agreed to make the vow,and not just when Narcissa threw in clause #3.

He is the one who first offers to help Draco, and Narcissa seizes on this and suggests the UV. Snape must have guessed that she'd atleast make him promise to help Draco,so although clauses #1 and #2 only asked that he watch over Draco,he couldn't have been all that surprised at clause #3.

So when his hand twitched it must have been due to some emotion other than surprise.

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morticia - Feb 1, 2007 2:58 am (#349 of 398)

If you assume that Snape was telling the truth and that LV had in fact shared his plans with Snape (he would have needed to know, being Lv's 'spy' at hogwarts so it is possible) then Snape would probably already have discussed with DD the possibility that he would have to kill DD.

This being the case, he was ready to agree to the vow as he would have watched over Draco in any case and he knew full well that LV would expect him to kill DD eventually anyway.

The twitching I believe was a symbol of what was to come later where Snape cannot bear the thought of doing what he knows he must do (kill DD). He can intellectualize it and talk about it but his actual feeling is horror and it is the horror of doing the deed that makes him twitch.

Which begs the question: why is LV believing Snape to be faithful, more important than DD's life?

Is it the information that he can provide (who would trust him now anyway?) or is there another reason that Snape MUST be by LV's side when Harry finally comes looking for him?


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journeymom - Feb 1, 2007 10:21 am (#350 of 398)

Snape could have told the truth, but he didn't get the information from LV. Perhaps he gleaned the information from Narcissa via legilimency, perhaps he guessed. But it looked to me as though he wasn't expecting Narcissa to include the third requirement of the Vow. Or maybe he gambled she wouldn't, and lost.

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 351 to 375

Post  Lady Arabella Fri May 27, 2011 8:44 pm

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HR]lunalovegood4perfect - Feb 1, 2007 5:19 pm (#351 of 398)

Is it possible that Snape already had a UV with DD for an event such as the fight at the top of the tower, where if forced Snape would have to take DD life.

And so Snape wasn't as worried about taking the UV with Narcisaa?

The only worry could have been that Wormtail overheard them taking it and thus told his master, causing Snape & the Malfoys to have suffered the rath of LV.

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TomProffitt - Feb 1, 2007 5:24 pm (#352 of 398)

Is it possible that Snape already had a UV with DD for an event such as the fight at the top of the tower, where if forced Snape would have to take DD life.

Dumbledore would never ask for, require, or accept an offer of an Unbreakable Vow. He would consider it "Dark Magic." Which it is, really, seeing as it has a magical death penalty to it.

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lunalovegood4perfect - Feb 1, 2007 6:12 pm (#353 of 398)

It could have explained the reason why DD trusted Snape, that they did take an UV. Though what you say does follow his reasoning and morals in the wizard world.

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T Vrana - Feb 1, 2007 6:57 pm (#354 of 398)

I agree with Tom. DD would never alllow Snape to take an Unbreakable Vow. Also, DD said he trusted Snape, implying that Snape has earned trust, not that he has taken an ironclad vow.

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TomProffitt - Feb 1, 2007 7:08 pm (#355 of 398)

On the other side of the coin, I can see Unbreakable Vows being almost standard practice among the Death Eaters.

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morticia - Feb 1, 2007 10:19 pm (#356 of 398)

Snape could have told the truth, but he didn't get the information from LV

Journeymum, how do you know?


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mona amon - Feb 2, 2007 2:54 am (#357 of 398)

I think its very likely that Snape did get the information from LV, because he was part of the plan - he had to do it in the end.

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Soul Search - Feb 2, 2007 8:27 am (#358 of 398)

In HBP, "Spinner's End," speaking of Draco's task from Voldemort, Snape says to Narcissa, “He intends me to do it in the end, I think." Of course, we don't quite know what "it" is, but I thought the wording a bit strange.

It sounds like "it" has come up in conversations between Voldemort and Snape. Yet, Voldmeort hasn't told Snape to do "it." He might, at a later date, but, at the time of "Spinner's End," Voldemort wants Draco to have first shot at "it." Voldemort may have implied that Snape should do "it" if Draco fails.

It might also mean the Snape has had the opportunity to discuss "it" with Dumbledore, prior to "Spinner's End."

What ever "it" is, Narcissa knows and addresses "it" in the unbreakable vow.

If "it" is killing Dumbledore then Snape and Dumbledore have already discussed the matter.

So, Snape taking the vow may not have required anything more of Snape than what Dumbledore had already asked.

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wynnleaf - Feb 2, 2007 9:26 am (#359 of 398)

Narcissa also commented that "it" was something that even Voldemort had tried and failed to do. We have seen him fight Dumbledore, but it looked a lot more defensive to me. All the death eaters also knew that Voldemort had tried to get the prophecy as well, and failed. And he'd tried to kill Harry and failed. And possibly to get something out of Hogwarts.

It sounds like "it" has come up in conversations between Voldemort and Snape. Yet, Voldmeort hasn't told Snape to do "it." (Soul Search)

His comment however, is one that could be easily made not having any idea what Narcissa was talking about. There could be several things that Voldemort had tried and failed to do, which he might send Draco to help accomplish. Snape can say, "he means me to do it" without creating suspicion. He even words his comment in a way to sound not completely certain, never saying "the Dark Lord means for me to do it," or "he told me to do it," etc. Only that Snape thinks he means for him to do it in the end. That's pretty ambiguous and Snape isn't claiming the Dark Lord actually told him anything. So the comment can easily apply to several different possibilities, and can even prove wrong without making Snape look suspicious.

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journeymom - Feb 2, 2007 10:42 am (#360 of 398)

Morticia, my comment wasn't clear.

Snape could have told the truth, but he didn't get the information from LV. Perhaps he gleaned the information from Narcissa via legilimency, perhaps he guessed

I don't know that Snape didn't get the information from LV. I should have said 'Snape could have told the truth without getting the information from LV, and this is how I think it could have happened.'


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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 20, 2007 5:51 pm (#361 of 398)

In OoP, DD tells Harry about Kreacher going to Narcissa when Sirius ordered him "OUT!". DD said, "He gave Narcissa information of the sort that is very valuable to Voldemort..."

I'm trying to make a connection between what Kreacher could have told Narcissa about the Order and Severus and her wanting him to take the Vow. If Kreacher overheard anything beyond normal "double agent" type speech coming from Severus, perhaps there's more to the Vow than a simple mother's love and concern? Could it have been a test from Vold, using Narcissa? Just a thought...

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MickeyCee3948 - Feb 20, 2007 6:10 pm (#362 of 398)

Well we can realistically assume that he told her the Order was meeing at #12 which almost makes it useless for Harry and the order in my opinion. Assuming they can find it of course.


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T Vrana - Feb 20, 2007 7:52 pm (#363 of 398)

Snape can't tell her can he? He's not the secret keeper.

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virginiaelizabeth - Feb 20, 2007 9:07 pm (#364 of 398)

Nope, only the secret keeper can reveal the secret to others. That's why Moody couldn't tell Harry that headquarters was at 12GP, that's why he gave him the slip of paper written by Dumbledore as he's the only one who can reveal the location of the OoP.

Perhaps there's more to the Vow than a simple mother's love and concern? Could it have been a test from Vold, using Narcissa? Just a thought...

It's an interesting thought. Very possible that LV would do that. Snape afterall is a very suspicous person. I doubt Voldemort truly trusts him, he doesn't trust anyone. I'll have to think on this idea a bit more, but I like it. **wanders off to the Lex for ideas**

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Laura W - Feb 20, 2007 10:27 pm (#365 of 398)

What Kreacher told Narcissa that was valuable to LV was how important Harry was to Sirius and how important Sirius was to Harry. Or, as DD put it, "that the one person for whom you would go to any lengths to rescue was Sirius Black." That bit of information gave Voldemort the ammo he needed - planting the vision of Sirius being tortured in the Hall of Prophecies (or whatever it's called) - to lure Harry to the Dept. of Mysteries to get the prophecy ball to be handed over to Lucius Malfoy.

And you're right, virginiaelizabeth. Kreacher is not the Secret Keeper for the Order. That is undoubtedly the only reason Bellatrix has not stormed the place ages ago. She tried to get that information from Snape in the Spinner's End chapter of HBP, saying, "And, while we are on the subject of the Order, you still claim you cannot reveal the whereabouts of their Headquarters, don't you?", to which Snape replied, "I am not the Secret Keeper, I cannot speak the name of the place."


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Soul Search - Feb 21, 2007 7:45 am (#366 of 398)

me and my shadow 813, good thought on Kreacher and Narcissa.

I have some thoughts on how this might relate to the Vow, but some background first.

We know Snape is, in some way, friends with the Malfoys, especially Lucius. Narcissa confirms it with her statements in "Spinner's End."

In HBP, Harry gives Kreacher very specific instructions about following Draco. Kreacher tries to find a loophole, but finally admits Harry has covered all the bases. We see here that Kreacher can take instructions very literally and, if he finds a loophole, feels himself free to violate the spirit of those instructions.

In OotP, Kreacher takes Sirius' "Out" to leave #12 Grimauld Place and go to Narcissa. He is gone a long time. Narcissa has plenty of time to quiz Kreacher about Sirius, Harry, and anything else that goes on at #12. Sirius doesn't much like Snape. I would not be surprised to learn that Sirius neglected to include Snape in his instructions to Kreacher.

No doubt, Narcissa learned some things about Snape from Kreacher. Snape's double agent role allows him some leeway in what he does for the Order, but there must be limits. Narcissa reports that information useful to Voldemort, but withholds a few things she learned about Snape, since they are friends.

However, when Draco is in trouble and all the Malfoy's lives are at risk, she does not hesitate to blackmail Snape with her knowledge of him. Obviously, Snape must know she learned something, and that is why he took the vow. Narcissa never said anything, since Bellatrix was there, but Snape understood.

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wynnleaf - Feb 21, 2007 8:20 am (#367 of 398)

However, when Draco is in trouble and all the Malfoy's lives are at risk, she does not hesitate to blackmail Snape with her knowledge of him. Obviously, Snape must know she learned something, and that is why he took the vow. Narcissa never said anything, since Bellatrix was there, but Snape understood. (Soul Search)

The theory sort of works, except that when I read that chapter I don't get any feeling that Narcissa is holding anything over Snape. It all seems to be pleading, as though she's trying to come up with the right arguments -- not like she's got a power over Snape that she's wielding.

By the way, I had a thought on Snape's knowledge of Draco's task.

Snape said that he thought that LV wanted him to "do it in the end" (not an exact quote). That seems to imply that Snape really knows what the task is. But in fact -- if LV really did want Snape to do it in the end, and if, as Cissy and Bella believe, LV doesn't really think Draco will succeed, why didn't LV make sure Snape was included in the attack on Hogwarts?

The night DD is AK'd, the catalyst for Snape's involvement is an Order member sending for him, not one of the DE's. If Snape had been right about LV expecting Snape to do it in the end, wouldn't LV have made sure Snape was brought into the action that night?

After all, LV ultimately committed quite a few DE's to the action that night. While he may have thought DD was weakened, he had no idea DD would be drinking those Cave potions that night. Surely LV knew he was committing a group of DE's to a dangerous action, against a formidable foe (DD). If he really didn't expect Draco to succeed, and if Snape knew what the task was and that LV wanted him to do it in the end, then why didn't LV make sure Snape was involved?

My point is that by LV not making sure Snape was involved in the attack in some way, I think we can disregard Snape's Spinners End comment about LV wanting him to do it in the end. And if Snape was wrong or lying about that, then chances are he didn't really know what the task was in the first place.

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Thom Matheson - Feb 21, 2007 8:59 am (#368 of 398)

I think that Snape thought that Voldemort wanted him involved, but Draco was the one to cut him out of the proceedings. Draco doublecrossing Snape to capture the glory and ultimately save his own family as repayment from Voldemort for doing a good job. That is why I think that Snape was eventually backed into the corner of doing the job. Of course this thought flys in the face of any other DD Snape conspiracy but there you go.

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Soul Search - Feb 21, 2007 9:02 am (#369 of 398)


... I don't get any feeling that Narcissa is holding anything over Snape.

I agree. With Bellatrix there, Narcissa had to be careful. My thoughts are that previously, in some way, Narcissa hinted to Snape that she knew something so she didn't have to say anything in "Spinner's End."

I guess I can't overlook the idea that, when interrogating Kreacher, Narcissa would have learned more than Harry was fond of Sirius. A lot went on at #12 Grimmauld Place. Kreacher didn't consider Sirius his right and true master, so might have really stretched any loopholes he could find in Sirius' orders.

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Mrs Brisbee - Feb 21, 2007 9:12 am (#370 of 398)

But in fact -- if LV really did want Snape to do it in the end, and if, as Cissy and Bella believe, LV doesn't really think Draco will succeed, why didn't LV make sure Snape was included in the attack on Hogwarts?—wynnleaf

I don't know if Snape actually knew what Draco's task was or not, but I think this question has a simple answer: Dumbledore trusted Snape, and Snape is already an inside man, so Snape didn't need to be part of a big invasion of DEs to get close enough to kill Dumbledore. He could have done it at any time should Draco fail. Another good reason not to drag Snape into it prematurely is that if Draco succeeded, Snape could have stayed on at Hogwarts and the Order as a useful spy.

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wynnleaf - Feb 21, 2007 10:02 am (#371 of 398)

Mrs Brisbee,

It that's the case, then any way you look at it, Snape AKing DD on the tower would not have been LV's wish, because why AK him there and be immediately uncovered as a traitor, rather than kill him secretly later and no one know who did it?

But my primary point is that I think Snape's comments about LV wanting him to do it in the end are simply a ploy to get more info from Cissy and Bella, convincing them he already knows the task, even though he doesn't. Because even if he was truly serving LV, he wouldn't want to get stuck in a position of having to AK DD in such a way as to mess up any plans of LV's.

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Esther Rose - Feb 21, 2007 10:06 am (#372 of 398)

Okay, just throwing out a thought here, and it probably will not help with the "Snape" good or "Snape" bad theory but here it is.

If Snape thought that Draco's task was to kill Dumbledore, he may have taken the vow to relieve Draco the pain of splitting his soul from killing Dumbledore.

So, very similar to Dumbledore sacrificing his life (blood) so that Harry survives. Snape sacrifices his own soul to spare Draco splitting his.

Just a theory. I know, I am probably wrong.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 21, 2007 11:29 am (#373 of 398)

Sirius doesn't much like Snape. I would not be surprised to learn that Sirius neglected to include Snape in his instructions to Kreacher. - Soul Search

That was my thinking as well. For what it's worth, this is my train of thought. Although DD tells Harry at the end of OoP that Kreacher told Narcissa about Sirius only, in chapter 6 it states-- "We can't set him free, he knows too much about the Order," said Sirius curtly. "And anyway, the shock would kill him. You suggest to him that he leaves this house, see how he takes it." The second part of this statement proved false.

Kreacher could not disobey a direct order from his master, Sirius. But, as we know, Sirius and Severus loathe each other. When DD tells Harry "Professor Snape requested that Sirius remain behind, as he needed somebody to remain at headquarters to tell me what had happened, for I was due there at any moment. In the meantime he, Professor Snape, intended to search the forest for you."

I can just imagine Sirius's compounded hatred towards Severus. Then, Harry says, "Snape g-goaded Sirius about staying in the house -" I could see Sirius leaving Severus's secrets out of his *direct orders*.

Who knows, but I'm wondering if Severus isn't going to be Vold's Golden Boy for long in DH.

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Soul Search - Feb 21, 2007 12:52 pm (#374 of 398)

me and my shadow 813,

Good support for Kreacher revealing something about Snape to Narcissa.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 21, 2007 1:59 pm (#375 of 398)

Thanks, Soul Search. Upon reading your post #366 more carefully, I would add that even if Narcissa didn't care about Severus being a double agent (which I doubt), it's possible she went to Spinner's End with the intention of getting a Vow out of him so that it wouldn't matter if he was loyal to Vold or not -- breaking a Vow is absolute. I'm just not sure if Narcissa is as fanatical about DE stuff as her husband and sister, rather she was being a mother first and foremost. Something about Narcissa lends to her *perhaps* being more benign, or indifferent, than the others. But I agree with your thoughts.

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The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It Empty Posts 376 to 398

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Laura W - Feb 21, 2007 2:11 pm (#376 of 398)

I guess I can't overlook the idea that, when interrogating Kreacher, Narcissa would have learned more than Harry was fond of Sirius. A lot went on at #12 Grimmauld Place. Kreacher didn't consider Sirius his right and true master, so might have really stretched any loopholes he could find in Sirius' orders (soul search)

Dumbledore specifically says to Harry re Kreacher, "... he could not give the Malfoys our whereabouts, or tell them any of the Order's confidential plans that he had been forbidden to reveal."

Interesting wording, that. Had he said simply, "any of the Order's confidential plans," that would have covered everything concerning the Order of the Phoenix and it's members. But he did not. Still, the one and only thing DD pointed to that Kreacher told Narcissa which would have been valuable to LV was about the feelings Sirius and Harry had for each other.

And, based on their conversation at Spinner's End in HBP, obviously Bellatrix considered the location of the headquarters of the Order to be the most important bit of information that she/LV did not have. She asked Snape no other questions about the Order, its plans, its activities or its members during that conversation, note. (And there was plenty she *could* have asked him - as a test of his loyalty to LV or just for her to get the info to give to her master - about that organization.) Stuff that would have proved to be very valuable to her side. But the only thing she grilled Severus about was the location of the headquarters.

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MickeyCee3948 - Feb 21, 2007 9:33 pm (#377 of 398)

I believe we have been told that once the secret keeper is dead then the charm ends. Am I correct on that? If that is the case then possibly Narcissa and Cissie can go home to the house again.


P.S. Hope they don't invite Voldie over for tea and crumpets.

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virginiaelizabeth - Feb 21, 2007 11:26 pm (#378 of 398)

From Jo's web site:

“What happens to a secret when the Secret-Keeper dies?

I was surprised that this question won, because it is not the one that I'd have voted for… but hey, if this is what you want to know, this is what you want to know!

When a Secret-Keeper dies, their secret dies with them, or, to put it another way, the status of their secret will remain as it was at the moment of their death. Everybody in whom they confided will continue to know the hidden information, but nobody else.”

Just in case you have forgotten exactly how the Fidelius Charm works, it is

“an immensely complex spell involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find -- unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)”

In other words, a secret (eg, the location of a family in hiding, like the Potters) is enchanted so that it is protected by a single Keeper (in our example, Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail). Thenceforth nobody else – not even the subjects of the secret themselves – can divulge the secret. Even if one of the Potters had been captured, force fed Veritaserum or placed under the Imperius Curse, they would not have been able to give away the whereabouts of the other two. The only people who ever knew their precise location were those whom Wormtail had told directly, but none of them would have been able to pass on the information.

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rambkowalczyk - Feb 22, 2007 7:23 am (#379 of 398)

If Snape thought that Draco's task was to kill Dumbledore, he may have taken the vow to relieve Draco the pain of splitting his soul from killing Dumbledore. Ester Rose

I think Snape genuinely wanted to help Draco, that he did not wish Draco to become a Death Eater. I might question whether Snape actually thought to himself that he would be willing to harm his own soul to save Draco's.

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wynnleaf - Feb 22, 2007 8:28 am (#380 of 398)

I don't think Snape knew what the task was. In fact, we have no real evidence that he did know. Sure he said that LV had told him, but since we have no particular reason to believe in Snape's veracity during this entire conversation with Bella and Cissy (except where they could and would easily disprove him), then we have to look for some sort of confirmation that he indeed did know the task. Yet he never mentions anything to them that really indicates he knew the task. After all, if they all three knew exactly what they were talking about, why not speak openly -- "you know, the Dark Lord knows Draco can't possibly kill Dumbledore!" or something like that.

The way Bella and Cissy continue to discuss it, leads me to believe that regardless what Snape actually says, they aren't completely confident that he does know the task, and therefore still guard their tongues. On the other side, Snape says he knows what it is, but never directly mentions the task, even though he has no reason to keep it a secret from two people that already know about it.

If Snape doesn't know what Draco's task is, then he'd have not been thinking about preventing Draco from committing murder. On the other hand, he would be concerned about Draco's safety, especially if Bella and Cissy think Draco has been set up by LV to fail, so that he can then be punished and maybe killed.

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Thom Matheson - Feb 22, 2007 8:46 am (#381 of 398)

I agree with that as well. What's Bella going to do? Ask Voldemort why he confided in of did he confide in Snape? Who is she to question the motives of the Dark Lord? No one in there right mind would do that. Snape is pretty much free to say what he wants.

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virginiaelizabeth - Feb 22, 2007 11:52 am (#382 of 398)

I totally agree with that as well. I feel like if Snape did know what the task was exactly, he would have spoken about it a lot more openly. Though there is the arguement that Wormtail could have overheard them, but I don't think that's the case. Snape did show us that he knew when Wormtail was listening in, and he made sure that he had left the room.

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MickeyCee3948 - Feb 22, 2007 4:09 pm (#383 of 398)

Thank you virginiaelizabeth


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mona amon - Feb 23, 2007 2:52 am (#384 of 398)

After all, if they all three knew exactly what they were talking about, why not speak openly -- "you know, the Dark Lord knows Draco can't possibly kill Dumbledore!" or something like that.(Wynnleaf)

But if they did that, we the readers would have heard it too.And it is something that we are not supposed to find out till the end.

Moreover, since the penalty for failure is death, why would Snape make such a desperate gamble, not even knowing what he was agreeing to, when there was no real need for him to do so?

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Soul Search - Feb 23, 2007 8:47 am (#385 of 398)

A possibility:

Snape knew Draco's task was to kill Dumbledore. Snape also knew Dumbledore was living on borrowed time and was not likely to survive the school term, because of the injuries he received from the ring horcrux.

So, Snape was safe in making the vow.

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Mattew Bates - Feb 23, 2007 12:33 pm (#386 of 398)

After all, if they all three knew exactly what they were talking about, why not speak openly -- "you know, the Dark Lord knows Draco can't possibly kill Dumbledore!" or something like that.

That might not be something they want to risk the Rat overhearing, wynnleaf.

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wynnleaf - Feb 23, 2007 1:57 pm (#387 of 398)

After all, if they all three knew exactly what they were talking about, why not speak openly -- "you know, the Dark Lord knows Draco can't possibly kill Dumbledore!" or something like that.

That might not be something they want to risk the Rat overhearing, wynnleaf.

Yes, I thought of that, but it doesn't make sense. Snape knew that Wormtail might eavesdrop and took action accordingly. If any of them were still concerned that Wormtail might be listening, surely they wouldn't continue (Bella and Cissy) with a conversation which was supposedly going outside of LV's orders -- to share info with Snape and request his help? This seems to indicate that they were either no longer concerned that he'd hear -- either because they were sure he wasn't listening, or because it wouldn't matter anyway.

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Steve Newton - Feb 23, 2007 1:59 pm (#388 of 398)

I suspect that there were oodles of distrust in that room. (I can't believe that I used 'oodles.') Trixie and Severus definitely don't trust each other and a wrong word could conceivable have one running to Voldemort looking to get the other fried.

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totyle - Mar 6, 2007 5:41 pm (#389 of 398)

Hi all, I have actually posted here before but it was a loooong time ago...just had to pop in again as I've just had a lightning struck moment upon one of my rerererereads of HBP. If it has been covered and discussed at length my apologies, the search I did did not return anything significantly relevant.

Page 37 HBP Bloomsbury UK edition..."But Snape had got to his feet and strode to the small window, peered through the curtains at the deserted street, then closed them again with a jerk."

This is just before he reveals that he knows of the plan ..does anyone think that he is actually signalling to someone out there...it just struck me that it could be significant...but in exactly what way I dont know...!!!!! Im in the Snape is a good guy after all camp and I think the curtain jerk was a sign to DD or someone monitoring the events from outside..

The more I read at this stage there just seems to be clues poking out of every sentence....!!

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Thom Matheson - Mar 7, 2007 1:07 am (#390 of 398)

I just thought that it was because he was checking to see if the sisters were being followed.

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HR]mona amon - Mar 7, 2007 3:14 am (#391 of 398)

“Rerererereads” is a nice word, totyle. The Unbreakable Vow - and Why Snape Took It 2752390508

I think it was just Snape taking some time before coming to an important decision. Wish we knew what was passing through his mind at that moment!

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Soul Search - Mar 7, 2007 7:56 am (#392 of 398)

Snape going to the window has been mentioned before, but nothing came of it. It does seem a little out of place and not in Snape's character, so it might be worth addressing again.

Snape's greeting suggests Narcissa and Bellatrix came unexpectedly. He could have been expecting someone else. All sorts of possibilties here. Could mean the curtain jerk was a pre-arranged signal.

Snape wouldn't be meeting anyone from the Order at Spinner's End. Too risky. Although, with #12 Grimmauld Place temporarily unavailable, Spinner's End could be the alternate headquarters Dumbledore referred to in "Will and Won't." Wormtail would present a problem, though.

I have had the notion that Snape's real job with Voldemort is fomenting disention among death eaters. Some death eaters could be meeting secretly with Snape. Again, Wormtail presents a problem.

JKR is so careful and provides so many "back-hints" that I am compelled to look for hidden meanings, even where there aren't any.

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wynnleaf - Mar 7, 2007 11:27 am (#393 of 398)

JKR is so careful and provides so many "back-hints" that I am compelled to look for hidden meanings, even where there aren't any. (Soul Search)

And I don't think we're to be blamed for it, either! I think JKR puts those hints in on purpose, whether they mean anything or not, just to keep us guessing.

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totyle - Mar 7, 2007 6:19 pm (#394 of 398)

Just finished the rererereread(!)...

The curtain jerk thing was a signal in one of Isaac Asimov's short stories, he didn’t write many “who dun its” but there's a book with a compileation of all his mystery short stories and it was in one of those....but I can’t remember the title. I guess that's what got me thinking...

And, does anyone else think Snape's summation of Harry in the Spinner's End chapter just absolutely brilliant? Page 36 Bloomsbury Uk edition. I think it’s a brilliant summation of Snape's point of view regarding Harry. Clarifies a lot on why he treats Harry the way he does. Whatever else was said to the two women, this bit I am sure is the exact truth on how Snape feels towards Harry.

Out of topic I know...till later

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MickeyCee3948 - Mar 7, 2007 8:01 pm (#395 of 398)

Steve - "oodles" is one thing but referring to Bellatrix as "Trixie". Chesssse. That is almost as bad as referring to Voldemort as "Tommie". LOL


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Steve Newton - Mar 8, 2007 4:18 am (#396 of 398)

Well, I figure that if Narcissa's childhood name was Cissy than Bellatrix' must have been Trixie. God knows what they would have called Andromeda. I think that Andi would be far too normal.

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haymoni - Mar 8, 2007 6:03 am (#397 of 398)

I had hoped for "Trixie", but in HBP she is called "Bella".

Trixie & tricks - that sounds more like her than "beautiful".

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Thom Matheson - Mar 8, 2007 7:19 am (#398 of 398)

Andromeda would be Pixie, or perhaps Dixie?

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