Why did Snape kill Dumbledore?

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
Just a small tad of an addition here . . . There may have even been a plan for Snape to take the time to pretend to "gloat" over the chance to kill DD. But I think circumstances were a little more dire at the key moment than they had anticipated. Dumbledore was near death as it was from the potion. I think the pleading may have been a cue to Snape (possibly non verbaly as well) that he better get it done now or he was going to die anyway, and they would have lost any "show" for the surrounding DE's to strengthen Snapes position with Voldemort. I think that someone else in the order may have been informed of the arrangement between DD and Snape, and that will likely come out at some point early in book 7 to put Harry right . . . but . . . he may likely still reject it. Harry will likely find out when perhaps Moody (suspiciously absent in HBP) gives Harry some info on Voldemort's plans and must explain where the info is coming from . . . OK straying off topic here LOL.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Once again I agree - I think that he was most certainly going to die anyways - maybe longer and drawn out than the quick dispatch Snape was offering - and indeed by being witness as the person that killed Dumbledore for his master, Snape has elevated himself in usefulness to both Dumbledore and the Order - Snape will be rewarded above all others for what he did that night - Voldemort believed that Harry without Dumbledore was a Harry he could triumph over - and that is why he didn’t go after Harry in book 6 - he removed what he considered to be his greatest chance of stopping him succeed!
I think there is enough there to show that this wasn’t just a random act of Snape getting his revenge on Dumbledore ... that is the way JKR was looking to have us think and on first reading she scored that - but when you look at it on reflection of the events leading up to that moment and what happens just after - you see the real story behind the killing.
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
I still believe JKRs little hint that we shouldn't think Snape too nice of a guy was to sidetrack us. Maybe she got nervous when someone figured out who Aberforth was and didn't want anyone to see too deeply into her planned plot regarding Snape. After all the anomosity Snape has shown toward Harry, maybe she thought that it would lessen the impact of her final bang if everyone thought Snape was actually on Harry and Dumbledore's side the entire time, yet she had to leave his character open so the doubt would remain there in our minds for what she really has in store for us.

I think there is more evidence there that Snape is indeed a good guy. Maybe it's just easier for me to deal with Dumbledore's death to think that he willingly sacrificed himself to help the cause then to think that he was murdered by one of Voldemort's henchmen!
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
You see it could also be a sweet double, double twist though right?
She makes him look bad, then good and then bad - so we scramble towards him being good overall given all the badness surrounding him - only for her to be as good as her word and he was an evil little toe rag!
I still remember one of the interviews going way back when someone asked JKR if Snape was redeeming - she was shocked when she replied and caught off foot - I think that is telling in this little debate!
I guess the real class of JKR comes in the fact it isnt black and white - but still great arguments from both sides of the fence ... personally I think he is good and killing Dumbledore was all part of the bigger plans!
 

AMRMedic

Time Turners
I just re-read HBP.

Did anyone pick up on the fact that Snape actually gave hints to Harry as he was running away with Draco and Harry was attacking him? He told Harry to use non-verbal incantations? Could this be a jab at Harrys' wizarding ability or a hint for Harry? Also, Snape was telling Harry no, to stop following and attacking. It was written to seem like Snape was not being mean, but was trying to tell Harry that there was more going on than he knew? Snape prevented the other DE's from killing Harry. Also, did Dumbledore really know about the attacks? Why did he not stop them? He knew that other students would get hurt by them, but did not stop Draco. Why?

Also, what part does Fawkes fit inot this?

A Phoenix dies only to be reborn. And at the funeral, Harry saw a phoenix rise from Dumbledores body. Maybe Dumbledore will rise again?

And finally will Harrys' need/want of revenge be his downfall? In many novels besdies Harry Potter, revenge has been the motive and ended up causing the downfall of the hero.

Some thoughts. I know I went off topi a little.

Sorry.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Wow - some good questions there ..

First one I want to pick up on because it made me go umm - Did Dumbledore know what was going to happen?
If so - is he guessed or even knew Draco was planning to get DE's into the school - he was remarkably blasé about the safety of the students inside.
This would suggest even he didn't know that Draco planned to get DE's into the school - he knew he was Draco's target but don't think he knew how Draco planned to do it in the end ... so could this be a strike against Snape?
No, because he also wasn't fully aware - when he tried to push Draco for details around Christmas time - Draco stormed out ... so this then come to did Voldemort know of the plan Draco was hatching - and if so why did he not tell Snape?
Just a few off the bat thought - relevant in so much as we all assume Dumbledore and Snape were in cahoots over this whole deal - well seems like something broke down somewhere!

To try and tackle a few of the other points ...
Fawkes - Fawkes is most important because it is widely speculated he provided the feathers for the brother wands ...
JKR seemed to write it such that Fawkes left Hogwarts for good after he lamented and then disappeared end of HBP ... now not sure I believe we will never see Fawkes again but that is the drift JKR seemed to be eluding to.

As far as Snape trying to help Harry - once again no issues from here - it has been said over and over that Snape is trying to help Harry and this would tend to follow that same pattern - help in a way Harry never really understands but instead almost looks sneaky and underhand - concealed almost by JKR ...

The last point - I think that could almost be a thread on it's own to do it justice if you could oblige - but I think you could be right - Harry hates Snape equally if not more than Voldemort now - I think he knows if he finds Snape now he will find Voldemort - the question is will Harry keep Snape alive enough to really find out what this is all about - because as a few people have pointed out the series seems to have flipped somewhat and it is more about Harry and Snape than anything else - how woven into the tapestry is Snape ... he is like the main running thread ... he is around and in the middle of all major events in Harry's life!
 

greenwitch

Time Turners
I agree partly with Snarkologymajor and Dribrats re: the reason Snape killed Dumbledore. Dumblebore was close to death and would have died in a couple of minutes even without any help from Snape and the Death Eaters. But I believe people are too obsessed with Harry Potter. THis is not about saving Harry Potter it is about saving Draco Malfoy - remember that Dumbledore called him an innocent? If Snape had not killed Dumbledore or pretended to, the Death Eaters would have forced Draco to do it or they would have killed Draco and Dumbledore on You-Know-Who's orders. I believe, Dumbledore explained the fact that he was dying to Snape (they are both mind readers) and begged him to finish him off. There is no doubt that Snape was furious at having to do this - after all it meant sacrificing his comfortable life as a DADA teacher for the life of a fugitive! I also agree that Snape probably had feelings for Lily Potter and secretly renounced his allegiance to LV because of that.
 

HeleneB

Time Turners
I think Draco was certainly a part of what happened, but I don't think he was all of it. I still have issues with DD letting a wannabe killer running around the school and endangering the students. I think he would have been hard pressed to explain to the Bells or the Weasleys that Draco's life of was more valuable than Katie's or Ron's (or anyone who had the misfortune to get in the way). DD had to have other reasons for letting Draco continue--like finding out the way Draco had he thought would get DEs into the school, when ALL the students would have been in danger.
 

tobias

Time Turners
Fawkes - Fawkes is most important because it is widely speculated he provided the feathers for the brother wands ...
JKR seemed to write it such that Fawkes left Hogwarts for good after he lamented and then disappeared end of HBP ... now not sure I believe we will never see Fawkes again but that is the drift JKR seemed to be eluding to.

I vote for Fawkes transferring his alliegiance to Harry now that DD is dead.
Fawkes and Harry have worked together in the past, and with Harry's strong ties to DD I could see Harry being able to "call" Fawkes again.

It would be an incredible bonus to have Fawkes on your side- think DD in the fight with Voldy in OotP- Fawkes pops out of the air to swallow a curse saving DD...

This would be another reason for DD to allow Snape to kill him- to transfer Fawkes' loyalty to Harry for Harry's protection.
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
Very interesting ideas there tobias . . . I hadn't thought of the possibilities of Fawkes intervening in a duel of two wands both containing his own feathers . . . I can see it making sense that he could absorb any spell cast from either wand . . . giving Harry a definate advantage. And, Fawkes doesn't have to return to Hogwarts to help Harry, since Harry has planned to leave Hogwarts on his quest. (still hoping he will return however) However . . . I don't see it entirely being necessary for DD to be dead in order for Fawkes to become loyal to Harry; we have already seen him coming to Harry's aid while DD lived.

I'm still riding the fence on whether DD lives/died. I don't believe that Fawkes lament proves DD's death. It could have been planned for him to do that so all others would be convinced of the death. (but . . . I could be wrong!:rolleyes: )
 

foreshadower

Time Turners
Snape killed dumbledore because he had to, in order to keep Voldemort's trust. Snape is the best occulemens, thats why Voldemort has to put his trust in him, he cannot hack into his mind, because snape's too good at concealing it.:) Snape is good. he is just a good guy pretending to be bad. Voldemort thinks that Snape is a bad guy pretending to be good. (bad being voldemort follower, good being harry follower);) . Snape knew that he had to kill dumbledore, because if he did not, voldemort would not trust him, and kill him. Snape also knows the dark arts better than anyone else. He can teach harry the best. Dumbledore was trying to tell Snape to save harry, he was NOT BEGGING FOR HIS LIFE AS IT SEEMED IN THE SIXTH BOOK!! :mad: DUMBLEDORE WOULD NEVER BEG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mad: This is why snape killed dumbledore and just for future reference remember this: SNAPE IS GOOD, HE HAS NEVER DONE ANYTHING BAD THAT HE DID NOT HAVE TO DO:eek:
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I vote for Fawkes transferring his alliegiance to Harry now that DD is dead.
Fawkes and Harry have worked together in the past, and with Harry's strong ties to DD I could see Harry being able to "call" Fawkes again.

It would be an incredible bonus to have Fawkes on your side- think DD in the fight with Voldy in OotP- Fawkes pops out of the air to swallow a curse saving DD...

This would be another reason for DD to allow Snape to kill him- to transfer Fawkes' loyalty to Harry for Harry's protection.

But see this is where I to and fro on the idea of seeing Fawkes again - Harry mentions that as Fawkes stopped his lament he knew at that time he would never see Fawkes or Dumbledore again ... why is that?
I mean, do we take it as literal because JKR made him say that - I mean it seemed like a wierd thing to say right?
 

Ravenclaw

Time Turners
I think that there is the slightest possibility that Snape did not kill Dumbledore at all. I have held on to a theory that Snape needed to do something drastic to maintain Voldemore's trust in him. Narcissa and Beletrix (and a lot of other Death Eaters) seem to all have distrusted Snape at least a little bit.

Snape is perhaps one of the best legilimens in the world, he would certainly have known of Malfoys plan after an entire school year. I think Snape plays "dumb" with Draco so that Draco won't have reason to think that Snape might interfere.

I think that Snape knows of Draco's plan to let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts and try to kill Dumbledore. I think that Snape and Dumbledore worked together to #1 Remove Harry from the Castle that night so that Harry wouldn't be harmed or interfere with the plan. Second, Snape doesn't "kill" Dumbledore until there are acouple of other Death Eaters there to see it. I think that Dumbledore's death is a ruse. Dumbledore (knowing that he is being hunted) is removing himself from the School to protect the kids and also this gives him unfettered time to search for and destroy the horcruxes.

This ruse would give Snape the credibility he needs with the other Death Eaters and would certainly make him gain Voldemore's trust (Snape is also a very good occlumens). Snape returns to Voldemore with the other Death Eaters as a hero but I think that he may just be the ultimate tripple agent.

Think about it. No kids are killed or injured in the invasion of the school, this is quite lucky isn't it? Members of the Order are there pretty quick, ones who wouldn't have normally been in Hogsmead. Sort of interesting that Snape doesn't kill Harry as Harry chases him across the lawn...Sure, Bill got bitten by Graback but not much else of significance happened other than everyone thinking that Dumbledore is dead.
 

Fortescue

Totally Potterfied!
I think I'm pinning my ribbon on SM for this one - there was no need for him to beg to Snape for public show - he would have done that via occlumancy etc ..
The beg was genuine - do the job we discussed Snape - please ...
That is the only way and reason Dumbledore would have used his last words to beg in my mind - there was no merit in humiliating himself - Snape will score the biggest respect with Voldemort just by doing the job - the fact he was begging wouldn't matter given the overall result!

Okay, so I spent a very long time rereading this entire thread! Shoo!!! :rolleyes:

I blew the dust off this comment as I still feel that something more then Dumbledore's verbal pleading passed between him and Snape just before Snape shot the fatal spell.

HBP - The Lightningstruck Tower pg. 595
"Severus . . . "

The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.

Snape said nothing, but walked forward and pushed Malfoy roughly out of the way. The three Death Eaters fell back without a word. Even the werewolf seemed cowed.

Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.

"Severus . . . please . . ."

Again, we see things through Harry's eyes. He took Dumbledore's verbal words as pleading, but there was a pause there when the two of them only looked at each other. We see that Harry perceived Snape's look as one of revulsion and hatred, but has JKR once said throughout the entire series that Snape ever smiled? I don't think so! He sneared quite often, but I don't think he ever once smiled!

If during that moment of silence, Dumbledore was communicating with Snape the fact that he had to do the deed, thus the look on Snape's face. We see it through Harry's eyes, but we know how Harry has always felt about Snape.

It was all a set up! I believe the set up went on all year, thus Dumbledore's words to Harry that he was to always have his invisibility cloak on him wherever he went all year. It was quite fortunate that he had it on at the time that Draco came to the tower.

Also, remember how Snape went up on the tower. Hermione and Luna were watching Snape's office, but we never actually found out that he harmed anyone in order to get on the tower, other then Stupefying Flitwick. He didn't even seem know the Death Eaters were in the castle until McGonagall sent Flitwick down to get him.

When it was over, Snape went down from the tower after the other Death Eaters and ran out of the castle. Of course, the other teachers would not shoot at Snape unless he did something before them like shoot a spell at someone. They thought Snape was chasing the Death Eaters. Hagrid even commented on that. But to our knowledge, until Snape faced Harry on the grounds, he did nothing like that. He simply ran down from the tower and out of the castle behind Draco and the Death Eaters.

I think that moment of silence as Snape stared at Dumbledore was a time for Dumbledore to give Snape his final instructions and possibly a bit of encouragement to do what he needed to do!
 

Ravenclaw

Time Turners
Fortescue -

I agree with you100% -

Snape could have killed or injured kids or teachers if he wanted to, If he DID kill Dumbledore, he did it on Dumbledore's order. It will be interesteing to see how this plays out in book 7. I think Snape may actually come to Harry's aid in the end.

Snape loved Lilly and he see's her in Harry's eyes. He won't hurt Harry. He dislikes Harry because of James' actions toward him but I believe that this internal battle will play out in #7 - Harry's eyes are significant.
 

tobias

Time Turners
But see this is where I to and fro on the idea of seeing Fawkes again - Harry mentions that as Fawkes stopped his lament he knew at that time he would never see Fawkes or Dumbledore again ... why is that?
I mean, do we take it as literal because JKR made him say that - I mean it seemed like a wierd thing to say right?

Harry is in grief and is saying goodbye to a mentor, and the closest thing to a father he has known. Fawkes has always been associated with Dumbledore (always at the side of DD, always there when Harry shows loyalty to DD, always an extension of DD's protection of Harry...) and since he has seen Dumbledore the last time he naturally thinks "I am hearing Fawkes for the last time".

It is tempting to hold Harry's perception of events up as fact but I am constantly reminded of Harry's perceptions as being biased when I see Snape through Harry's eyes. JKR uses the "Harry thinks it so it must be true" line to distract her readers all the time. It is an excellent plot device.

Of course, it could be that I just like the idea of an eternal bird finding a new person to protect and befriend when the old one dies. Fawkes is a handy friend: able to cure wounds, able to strengthen, able to pop out of the air to protect (unsummoned as well). But one benefit to Snape's killing Dumbledore is that now that powerful friend is not tied to Dumbledore and maybe he is now tied to Harry.

The maybe in the last sentence being the sticking point in the whole arguement...
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
But one benefit to Snape's killing Dumbledore is that now that powerful friend is not tied to Dumbledore and maybe he is now tied to Harry.

The maybe in the last sentence being the sticking point in the whole arguement...

Yep - I am with you on that one - Snape is now down to the last denomintor - the one he has been trying to help in the background - hiding in the wings so to speak - now he has no-one to hide behind and thus Harry will discover to his horror that Snape has been helping him all along ... a mind trip for Harry considering his mindset now states that Snape must die on sight!
 

nymphadora

Time Turners
I think it would be interesting to see Fawkes come back as an ally to Harry, although I am not entirely convinced that he will. I believed that Fawkes died with Dumbledore. And after reading many of your arguments, I am more on the fence about why Snape killed Dumbledore than ever. I would like to believe that he is evil, but more and more I am becoming convinced that he is good because of his advice to Harry as he was running out of the grounds (Close your mind!) and also the fact as some of you have pointed out, that he did not harm any of the students or Order members as he was leaving (or was that just because he didn't want to take time away from his escape?).
Even if Harry does discover that Snape has been trying to help him the whole time, I don't believe that it will change Harry's opinion of him. There is way too much history and hatred between the two. Quite possibly Harry still might want to kill Snape if he turns out to be good.
Urg. This is so difficult! I'm currently reading HBP and will come back to this when I have it all fresh in my mind.
 

kashlie

afraid of my own shadow
at the time of Snape's escape, none of the order knew that he had killed DD, therefore they let him run through without getting in his way. they would have believed he was doing something DD had asked him to.
I suspect that if any of them had tried to stop Snape, he would have attacked them - however, JK couldn't do that, because Snape would have had to have chosen between the killing curse, or something just as awful, or a curse that would just harm the members but cause no lasting damage - depending who's side he was on, and that would have been too much of a giveaway ;)
 

nymphadora

Time Turners
Exactly, and he probably felt bad enough already, just having killed Dumbledore (whether he wanted to or not) because unless you are truely evil, like Voldemort, you will likely always have some guilt about killing another person, and he is fairly close with the other order members so he probably didn't want to harm them and make himself feel even worse. Well, that argument makes it seem that I feel he's good, but I really don't know. Maybe deep down I want him to be good, but I think on the surface I want him to be evil.
 
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