Why did Snape kill Dumbledore?

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
SnarkologyMajor said:
Something I'm trying to sort out is the fact that Snape started teaching about a year after Lily and James were killed and he told Umbridge that he applied for the DADA job(and every yr. since) Now Snape had to have known that the position was cursed-it feels like it was done for his cover but..can't quite figure this out?? It seems important though...I'm also terrible with timelines! Any thoughts on this?:confused:

Snape actually began teaching at Hogwarts prior to the Potters death. The school year begins in Sept, and he told Umbridge in OotP that he had worked at Hogwarts for fourteen years, so that would have put him there at the beginning of the school year, almost two months before the Potters died.

The fact that Dumbledore knew the DADA job was cursed is interesting! If he knew it was cursed, why then did he give it to Snape that particular year? Was it as an excuse to show what Dumbledore and Snape wanted everyone to think were his true colors? Notice how Harry excelled at DADA every year, even the year that Umbridge taught the class, but only because of the DA and their private lessons. But, he went through an entire year in the class with Snape and couldn't learn to cast spells without saying the incantations??? It seems right along the lines of his not being able to do Occlumency because of the stress Snape created around Harry.

And that goes along with all of Harry's sixth year. Why was it that Dumbledore only taught Harry about Voldemort's past and Horcruxes when he was supposed to be the most powerful Wizard in the world? Then there's the potions book - the most informative potions book there probably ever was with all the notes and spells from the HBP himself - was it really just by chance that Slughorn gave Harry that particular book? First, Dumbledore knew Harry wouldn't buy a potions book because he didn't get the proper grade for Snape's level, so he would of course come to school unprepared for the class and just happen to fit into Slughorn's grade level for NEWT's. Second, would Snape leave his own potions book in the store cupboard where anyone could get it as he seemed awfully upset that Harry was using the spells he had made up. Was that just a stupid oversight on Snape's part, or did it all happen for a reason???

Was Dumbledore's death something the two of them had planned for a long time? Possibly since Harry first came to Hogwarts or before? Look at how many years Harry was at Hogwarts before Dumbledore told him how he truly felt about him? I think Harry's fifth year was Dumbledore's final chance to tell Harry how much he cared, because maybe he knew he wouldn't live to see the end of his sixth year!
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
First Forte, I like the idea of it being Dumbledore teaching Snape Occlumency. That would make perfect sense of why he asked Snape to teach harry, because he had taught him himself, and expected that Snape would teach Harry int he same way.

I don't think Dumbledore's death had been planned for a long time, I think it had been worked out as soon as Snape heard of Draco's job. I think Snape finaly getting the DADA job was just that Dumbledore and Snape knew that since Snape would have to kill DD at some point in the year, That Snape wouldn't be teaching the next year anyway, and it would just seem that the curse continued. It was possibly Dumbledore's belief that tthe position was cursed, that kept him from putting Snape in the position in the first place, he wanted Snape to stay at the school, so he couldn't give him the DADA position untill he knew that he wouldn't be able to return the next year.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
OK - last point is the killer point and also explain the answer to many things ...
So - Dumbledore gives Snape the job he so wants - knowing that the curse wont allow Snape to do more than a year ...
Makes perfect sense!
Snape would have come to Dumbledore straight after he made the unbreakable vow - Dumbledore knew that he would have to die at some point - Snape wouldnt be around because he had a large hand in it - so gives him the job as his final tribute to Snape ... might even sweeten the deal which will see Snape have to kill him!
He then sets about making preparations for his death - well organised mind and all he had months to set in month any plans he wanted to make before the fateful moment.
See he knew he was going to have to die - he knew Snape wouldnt be around in a year and might have even been a great test of Voldemort - will Voldemort allow one of his spies to die by the curse he placed on the position - like forcing Voldemort's hand!
The killer point is that before the school year commenced - Dumbledore knew he was going to have to die in order for Snape to live and continue in the quest - all it did was give him time and we know that he was missing for large parts of the year and the explanation was he was Horcrux hunting - I think he was organising things for the next great adventure!
 

SnarkologyMajor

Time Turners
Yes-this is starting to make sense! I knew you guys would grasp that timing thing better than me-I wasn't even thinking of when the school yr. started:eek: This does seem like it was planned all yr. that Snape may have to kill Dumbledore in the end. When you consider that Voldemort now knows that there was more to the prophecy than what he heard and Snape was the one who left out the pertinent part that led to his downfall-Why on earth should he trust Snape without question! Snape's great at covering his tracks-but Voldemort is not stupid. What better way to prove his loyalty than by killing Dumbledore?Or by Dumbledore giving him the DADA position he himself cursed?Dumbledore and Snape must have at least made plans when they found out about Voldemort's plan w/Draco. Of course this doesn't really clear up the matter of whether or not Albus's death was faked. On one hand I feel that Dumbledore was well prepared to die for the greater good-he certainly didn't fear death! And if you think about it- Dumbledore's mishandling of young Tom from the beginning sort of created this whole mess! When you see what happens to Dumbledore in the cave-it makes you realize the pain he must feel at carrying that weight. It fits with what he says to Amycus-
pg. 594 "Oh, weaker resistance, slower reflexes, Amycus," said Dumbledore."Old age in short...One day, perhaps, it will happen to you...if you are lucky..."
If by his death he could right some of the wrong-that would be a sacrifice he wouldn't hesitate about.Combined with everything else happening on that tower-I think I just convinced myself that he's really dead:( I still cling to the hope that he was already gone when Snape cast his Avada Kedavra.
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
SnarkologyMajor said:
When you consider that Voldemort now knows that there was more to the prophecy than what he heard and Snape was the one who left out the pertinent part that led to his downfall-Why on earth should he trust Snape without question!

I don't know if this might mean anything, but remember at the beginning of HBP at Snape's house when Pettigrew was there with him. The two people who had given Voldemort information that lead to his downfall were together!

Snape told him the bit of the prophecy that Voldemort could garner no useful information from, possibly fed to Voldemort directly from Dumbledore.

Pettigrew gave Voldemort the information of where the Potters were hiding and when he went there to kill them, well, you know what happened. (This makes me think of the thread where we discussed other things that might have been done to Harry, 'spells, potions, etc.' in order to assure he lived through any curse Voldemort shot at him!)

Is there a significance to the two of them being together after Voldemort had no need of Pettigrew anymore? I mean, why would the only two people who had given Voldemort incomplete information have been together when all these things came together? Could Wormtail be a bit more involved with all this then we have been lead to believe?

When I think about the sacrifice Dumbledore made to ensure that Harry could go on with his destiny, it makes me wonder if there wasn't a bunch more people who made great personal sacrifices for the same reason! The Potters, Sirius, etc...
 

Seeker615

Ghosthunter
I have always loved Snape's character. JK did an amazing job at writing this character and he is always a great read whether youlove or hate the guy.

I personally feel that Snape is on the good side.

Right from the Spinner's End chapter when he was explaining himself the Bellatrix you could see the lies in his story. He tells Bella that Harry has no special powers. Snape knows Harry is gifted. He has seen Harry do some amazing things. Also Snape says Dumbledore was wounded from his last encounter with Voldemort. not true. He was injured getting the horcrux.( Which also has me wondering... Snape could have killed Dumbledore while he was wounded getting that horcrux. It would have looked like an accident)There were a few other stories in that chapter but I don't have my book with me at the moment.

There is the matter of Hagrid overhearing the arguement with Snape and Dumbledore. He was saying he didn't want to do it anymore. Do what? I don't thik he was telling Dumbledore he wanted to stop being on the good side. I think he was trying to back out of a pact he made with Dumbledore. (possibly about having to sacrifice Dumbledore if the time came?)

Now we come to that tower chapter. Do we know for sure that Snape even really stunned Flitwick? Flitwick never said he was stunned. Maybe he was already injured when he went to get Snape and really did collapse in his office. If he was so evil why didn't he just off Flitwick and the girls to get them out of the way. I really can't see any reason for him to stun Flitwick.

Now Snape gets to the tower and sees Draco and the DE's surrounding a helpless Dumbledore. Dumbledore is dying. It is too late to save him. (I think if these events didn't play out Snape would have been able to save him) Now Snape goes to the front of the pack and a moment is exchanged between the two men. Dumbledore utters those words "Severus Please" and Snape kills him. Dumbledore would not plead for his life. He was reminding Snape that he made a promise and for the good of this mission Dumbledore will need to make this sacrifice as well as Snape.

Lastly- When Harry and Snape exchange words in the forest Snape is clearly hurt when harry calls him a coward. I really think that Snape was upset over what he needed to do. He killed a man who gave him respect and trust. Also even though Snape does not like Harry he was in a way teaching him by telling him he needs to learn to close his mind.

Sorry about my rambling...
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
Alz said:
He then sets about making preparations for his death - well organised mind and all he had months to set in month any plans he wanted to make before the fateful moment.

Okay, I read through all this again and this sort of jumped right out at me. Remember when Dumbledore destroyed the Sorcerer's Stone and told Harry that Flamel had enough elixer left to set his affairs in order. So Dumbledore's partner knew he was going to die and had time to make plans to tie up loose ends before his number was up.

Dumbledore knew he was going to die, and like his partner, made his plans. It makes sense that regardless of how long Dumbledore knew he would die, the fact is that he knew the entire year at least. He didn't just get shot over the edge of the tower by Snape. He knew what was going on. He might not have known of the exact second, or even the exact way he would die, but considering all that was going on, Dumbledore had to know that Voldemort would try and make a major move before the school year was up. With Snape's vow, Dumbledore's burned hand, the supposedly, deadly potion in the basin and the fact that there had been two assasination attempts on Dumbledore's life that year, the man had to know his time was drawing short.

So he planned and schemed. Remember Scrimgeours question to Harry about where Dumbledore was all year and what he was up to.....we were lead to believe that he was only out seeking the location of Horcruxes - but was he?
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Both those last posts are excellent - thanks for Seeker and Forte - I think between the both of you, you have captured the essence of the situtation perfectly!

The ultimate answer to this question is simple - why did Snape kill Dumbledore - because he promised Dumbledore he would ... but the real genuis and also the facts so well bought out in this discussion is the really subtle undertones that spins the situation - in natural, uninformed reading it would suggest Snape is evil and kills Dumbledore dead ... it is only understanding what happened to get there that you see the real motivations - great posts Seeker and Forte!
 

Seeker615

Ghosthunter
Thanks Alz!

I have been spending a lot of time since HBP came out trying to find out why Snape did what he did. I just know there is so much more to the story then what we initially see.

I keep thinking in the end Snape will be the one to help Harry with the Horcruxes.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Well in support of that last comment - who did Dumbledore call for after his two horcrux endeavours?
Thinking logically - he asked for Snape on both occasions - doesn't this have to be more than magic strength, because I would have Dumbledore above Snape in strength and power - yet he calls for Snape for him hand and also after he consumes the potion.
Is it because of potions - well second time around maybe but why the ring as well?
I think there is a link between Snape, and the Horcrux powers - could lend weight to he knows a little more than most about these things.
 

Weasleyfanforever

Time Turners
Well, we know that Snape is a potions master, so that might be the reason that Dumbledore called on him the second time, but you guys are right I think about there being a link between Snape and the powers of the Horcruxes. It might have something to do with his apparent skills in the area of Defense against the Dark Arts. In order to defend yourself against the Dark Arts, you have to know them, inside out. I think Snape, whether knowing it at the time or discovering it later, helped Voldemort with the Horcruxes, and I think he told Dumbledore that during the time he was working at Hogwarts. It would make sense that Dumbledore would call on him in that case.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
It did seem like Snape really went deep as well - I remember when he is describing them that Harry remarks how much Snape really feels about the subject. I think he saw it as his way to equal the wrongs - he was diminished in school towards the latter years - he was also seen crying as his father screamed at his mother - I think the power and control of the Dark Arts facinated him.
Dumbledore calling on him each time does make me wonder - I mean if he wasnt able to heal himself, if he could have anyone to go to - why Snape?
That trust element runs really deep - if Dumbledore was the slightest in doubt over Snape he wouldnt present himself in a vunerable and weakend state right?
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
Snape is obviously a very intelligent wizard. Look at how JKR showed him in the Pensieve memory - he was a geeky sort of kid, but very concerned about his grade on the test. Like Hermione, we saw Snape reviewing the questions after the test was over. The point has been stated several times after exams when Ron tells Hermione not to go over each question as it was bad enough the first time. So we see that Snape is smart - he spends all his years at Hogwarts in relative seclusion - we don't even see him with other Slytherins. So, if he were so smart, Dumbledore would have seen that, he would have also seen the loner Snape was and possibly knew about Snape's home life with the small glimpse we saw of Snape and his parents relationship and his lonliness, spending his time alone in his room shooting flies with his wand.

So I think the best senario would seem to be that Snape was a loner and very intelligent, Dumbledore saw that in him and took him under his wing. A bond grew between them and Snape became loyal to the only person who had ever shown an interest in him. He has been loyal to Dumbledore for many years and he was never loyal to Voldemort, but would do anything for Dumbledore and has thoughout the years of their relationship, even going as far as to let Voldemort give him a Dark Mark.

As has been stated before, Dumbledore and Snape made their plans. They both knew what had to happen and Snape was hesitant about fulfilling his part of the pact, thus the discussion that Hagrid overheard. It seems that all the evidence points to the fact that Dumbledore and Snape were in it together up to their necks and they were the only two who knew the true depth of their relationship and that is the reason that no one really knows why Dumbledore trusts Snape. Harry is mistaken in his theory that it's because Snape was the one who overheard the first part of the Prophecy and felt regret that he told Voldemort.

Snape killed Dumbledore because he was fulfilling Dumbledore's wishes as he always had. They both needed to do what they did and Snape was the one who had to be strong and go on with the plans alone after Dumbledore was gone to his next great adventure. The evidence that Snape was still trying to teach Harry by telling him to close his mind etc. etc. is to profound to mean anything else. Snape is not the evil monster we are lead to believe even though he did fire the fatal spell.
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
I like your thinking there Forte. It makes sense when you think about it. The things that have me convinced, are:

the fact that he does the deed imediately after ariving and finding Dumbledore still alive. He does not taunt or torment the injured and dying Dumbledore, he doesn't say to Dumbledore for instance, "you always thought you knew it all, just see how wrong you were!" He doesn't torture him with the crucatious saying "Thats for fifteen years of denying me the DADA job" Snape arives, Avada Kedavra, and leaves. I believe that if he had stayed or waited long enough to "torment" Dumbledore that he may have lost his nerve, hence Dumbledore's "Please", not begging to spare his life but to have the courage (which most Slytherins lack) to do what must be done for the good of all.

The look of disgust on his face. He was not disgusted with Dumbledore, otherwise I think he would have done the above, but he was either disgusted with the job he was forced to do, or possibly with Draco for not doing this deed and thus forcing him to do it himself.

A relationship that "goes way back" just makes more sense as a basis for trust than deep regret at causing the potter's death . . . For one, had he regretted the potter's deaths, he would not have continued to hold a grudge against james after his death, and would instead have wanted to make it up to Harry for the loss of his family.

The bond of a long continuous relationship makes more sense. Good one Forte!
 

HeleneB

Time Turners
Plus Snape did not act like a man who had just done a great thing for his real boss (LV). He was extremely emotional as he fled the school--and I do not think it was because he was leaving a cushy job. And then Harry calls him a coward--with Snape now on the run from previous collegues, aurors, and always on the edge of discovery by LV.

Now I personally believe there's a good change Snape did not actually kill DD on the tower. But even if DD was successful in faking his death that does not mean Snape was in on it. He certainly didn't act like he did.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I tend to agree that if Snape was in an all out evil killing mood - he would have taken the final moments to tourment Dumbledore - make him look like a trusting fool who just found out that he was really wrong - I didnt get that.
Snape, as pointed out, seemed to falter - to hesitate - then Dumbledore prompted him - at this point he knew there was no way around it and that is where the look on his face come from - he was left with no choice and had to kill off possibly the only person that took a chance on him ...
 

Angelis

Time Turners
i think dumbledore had asked him to kill him, i think it's all part of there plan,like snape bein a 2 sided spy,but dumbledore had to die (or fake it i hope) in order for the plan to work,so voldemort thinks snapes on his side, i still dont like snape even if he does turn out good in the end. but it was always wierd why dumbledore trusted him.he will proberly turn out to be pure evil he did give him self a title too
 

HeleneB

Time Turners
See, this just doesn't sit well with me. I'm trusting that JK is going to explain this in a satisfactory way. First off, I think Snape is DD's man. In another forum, we were discussing the possibility of DD faking his death with a dragon scale shield cloak specially designed by the twins for DD. Poster Filksinger said this:

So, into the middle of this battle between good and evil, where the greatest of good magics and the greatest of evil magics are compared so directly, your theory would give a third great magic: the Weasley Shield Cloak. And the power behind this great magic, equal to loving self-sacrifice and self-serving human sacrifice?

Being really really clever.

Somehow, it just doesn't measure up.
Part of my response:

The nobility of sacrifice coming from an act of murder seemingly forced upon an unwilling perp doesn't resonate for me.
I have a really tough time with the good guy asking another good (I know that term is relative in relation to Snape) guy to murder him.
 

SnarkologyMajor

Time Turners
I have a tough time with that one too-and I'm not really buying it...I'm convinced that Snape is one of our good guys and I can't see Dumbledore asking Snape to do that. I sense that Dumbledore truly cares about Severus and that to ask him to murder him if all else fails-well that doesn't seem to fit at all. I mentioned in the start of the thread the possibility that Dumbledore was already dead when Snape used Avada Kedavra-that's what Dumbledore was telling Snape w/his very last (literally) breath. I still think this is one possibility-Dumbledore was blasted into the air and we haven't seen that happen before w/Avada Kedavra. Dumbledore's soul may have already departed leaving only a very old and frail body.
Another idea is that Dumbledore was already essentially dead ever since he tried to destroy the ring horcrux. Snape's "stopper in death" is never far from my thoughts and Dumbledore said in Ch. 23-
pg. 503 "The ring, Harry. Marvolo's ring. And a terrible curse there was upon it too. Had it not been for my own prodigious skill, and for Professor Snape's timely action when I returned to Hogwarts, desperately injured,I might not have lived to tell the tale."
How exactly do you put a stopper in death? Is it like putting a cork in a bottle? Is it only a temporary fix? These are questions that I've pondered over and it seems like w/all the references to Dumbledore's blackened and dead hand, and his comment to Harry-Dumbledore was living on borrowed time. Now I don't know if that would mean he had a certain time limit or that the potion he drank did him in, but this is how I'm reading the clues. I could be wrong though as I've been wrong before:eek:
 

HeleneB

Time Turners
Well, based upon Snape's highly emotional state while fleeing the castle, whatever happened up there, I believe Snape THINKS he killed DD. I've read discussions about the possibility of it really being a mercy killing or that DD died just before the AK hit him. I'm not sure how JK feels about the first, and the second would take excellent timing to spare Snape the tear in his soul. I prefere DD not to have died because of the implications. I would not mind DD pulling a phoenix--at the very least it would fix his hand!
 
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