Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #4: Stoppered Death

Kathy Leisner of The Leaky Cauldron speculated at what was then Barnes and Noble University just after Half-Blood Prince was published that Severus “stoppered” Albus Dumbledore’s death when he tried to destroy the Ring Horcrux and that he was a dead man walking in the sixth book (an explanation of this theory can be found in the first chapter of my Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader). Three questions: Was the golden potion Snape gave Dumbledore the potion he mentions in the first Potions class in Stone? Was this the reason that Dumbledore trusted Snape without reservation? If so, why doesn’t he ever tell Severus about the Horcrux hunt?

Comments

  1. merlin111 says:

    Think this was definitely the potion that “stoppered death.”

    Even if Dumbledore trusts people — he doesn’t trust anyone “without reservation” That was the point made in Deathly Hallows. Dumbledore keeps secrets from everyone! [ as do most of us ]

    Still trying to figure out what the Draught of Living Death is — perhaps it was the potion that was in the cave that Dumbledore drank — and Jo never wrote the name to add some mystery?

  2. If Severus was caught and made to tell the dark lord about the hunt, he would betray them. He could not let it happen. He was a double spy. No way was he going to risk that, when his plan was so fool proof.

  3. NHisSteps says:

    The book already addressed this when Harry was watching Snape’s memories in the pensieve.

  4. Yes. It was the potion to stopper death which is clear from Snape’s memory and the limitiations of the potion which Dumbledore brushed off.

    Dumbledore’s trust preceeded Snape’s giving him the death stopping potion, but Dumbledore no doubt appreciated him for that as well.

    Operations on a need to know basis would be the norm for Dumbledore and the OotP, as well. Note how Harry is kept out of the loop and for what reasons. I think they apply to Snape as well for not so different reasons.

    An excellent theory, btw, held up and vindicated by the DH. Congratulations to its author and utilizers alike.

  5. Arabella Figg says:

    It’s been said, in various ways, that the best-kept secret is the one not told. Dumbledore had to walk such a careful line, it must have been terribly burdensome at times. And we might consider that LV’s ligillimancy powers were stronger than Snape’s.

    I agree it was the stoppering death potion, but in the sense that it kept DD alive, not a “dead man walking” as proposed in the WKAD? essays. Nevertheless, brilliant and fulfilled theory.

    Kitties need chow…

  6. sleepingdragons says:

    The one thing that I didn’t want to happen in Deathly Hallows happened: It was revealed that Dumbledore had indeed asked Snape to kill him. This would have been acceptable if Dumbledore had been indeed a “walking dead man”, but it is far from clear that this was the case. In “The Prince’s Tale”, Snape asks Dumbledore, “If you don’t mind dying.., why not let Draco do it?”
    Dumbledore replies that he doesn’t want Draco’s soul “ripped apart”. Snape then asks, “And my soul, Dumbledore? Mine?”
    Dumbledore replies, “you alone know whether it will harm your soul to help an old man avoid pain and humiliation…”
    Doesn’t this sound like Dumbledore feels that it would be all right to kill him because he is going to die anyway? This seems morally impermissible to me. The only possible way to get around this is if Dumbledore means something like: “only you know if I am really a dead man held together by magic. Only you know if it would not be murder because I am really dead.” Rowling does not make it clear what she means here. It is disturbing, and has colored the ending of the book for me. I would appreciate knowing what others think.

  7. Sleeping dragons, for what it’s worth, here are my two cents: Dumbledore’s concerned that Draco Malfoy not be the one to do him in because Draco is still a boy, a student, and even though he has prejudiced, sadistic tendencies, he still hasn’t crossed over to the point of taking human life. That Dumbledore knows that Voldy expects Draco to fail and to pay the price (and Snape agrees that is the plan) is even more a reason for Dumbledore to want to protect him.

    As for what he’s asking of Snape, Snape agrees with Dumbledore that Voldy will expect him to do the deed when Draco fails. If Voldy expects it and Snape fails to do it, his faithfulness to Voldy will be in question which will jeopardize many things (not the least of which, Snape’s ability to protect the Hogwart’s students after Dumbledore’s demise.) Dumbledore knows he has limited time left in the land of the living anyway and Snape has already done all he can to maximize that. Dumbledore also knows the sport other death eaters would make of killing him. He is simply requesting a quick and painless death at the hand of a friend, rather than a painful, tortured, gruesome death at the hands of his enemies if and when the time comes. It is not anywhere close to assisted suicide. It is a major request to ask of Snape, but I don’t think it demonstrates a lack of regard for Snape that he asks it, it is simply that Snape is an adult who understands the full picture and Draco is a boy who does not…as Dumbledore says page 683 DH “I ask this one great favor of you, Severus, because death is coming for me as surely as the Chudley Cannons will finish bottom of this year’s league. I confess I should prefer a quick, painless exit to the protracted and messy affair it will be if, for instance, Greyback is involved–I hear Voldemort has recruited him? Or dear Bellatrix, who likes to play with her food before she eats it.” My take on it is that in his awareness of the situation, Dumbledore is seeking a graceful exit that will not only be easier for him but will also continue to protect those things still in need of protecting. I confess to wishing momentarily that Dumbledore could have let Harry know the situation, but then Harry’s journey would have been different, Snape’s cover may have been blown and the way it is revealed through Snape’s dying gift of memory was a powerful, pivotal moment at the climax of Harry’s journey. In the end, I’m satisfied with the way it all played out.

  8. Jayne1955 says:

    I say it was stoppered death. Definitely. But I have a lot of problems with the way we saw Dumbledore die, in relation to the explanation we got for his death.

  9. esoterica1693 says:

    Maybe the difference is that Draco doesn’t know AD’s days are numbered, so his *intent* would be murder. Snape knows that AD has only a few weeks left at most and that he is very willing to die to spare Draco, so it’s not murder in the same way. And Snape has some affection for Draco, so would want to help him too. It’s clear that in magic intent matters A LOT, and that sacrificial death matters most of all.

    Still, personally if I were JKR I’d have added a sentence in about how Snape doing the deed would also cement his cover, which could be mitigating in his favor given that the point is to overthrow V. I think AD’s asking for Snape to help him escape the tortures of Fenrir or Bella was less than he might have said.

    Though I must say AD’s line about “Bellatrix, who likes to play w/ her food before she eats it” was one of the most chilling and accurate descriptions in the book. Maybe Jo came up with that line and then needed a place to use it! 🙂

  10. sleepingdragons Says:
    _____________________________
    July 24th, 2007 at 9:29 pm
    The one thing that I didn’t want to happen in Deathly Hallows happened: It was revealed that Dumbledore had indeed asked Snape to kill him. This would have been acceptable if Dumbledore had been indeed a “walking dead man”, but it is far from clear that this was the case. In “The Prince’s Tale”, Snape asks Dumbledore, “If you don’t mind dying.., why not let Draco do it?”
    Dumbledore replies that he doesn’t want Draco’s soul “ripped apart”. Snape then asks, “And my soul, Dumbledore? Mine?”
    Dumbledore replies, “you alone know whether it will harm your soul to help an old man avoid pain and humiliation…”
    Doesn’t this sound like Dumbledore feels that it would be all right to kill him because he is going to die anyway? This seems morally impermissible to me.
    _____________________________

    Dumbledore has three choices that I can think of:
    1) He can dodge around, avoid Draco, prolong his own life to the maximum degree possible, until his fatal mistake with the Stone of Resurrection horcrux catches up with him. Result: Draco’s punished, perhaps killed, by Voldemort. Snape’s dead because of the Unbreakable Vow. The students of Hogwarts will be left at the nonexistent mercy of whichever Death Eater Voldemort sets in place.

    2) He can let Draco kill him. Draco’s soul is torn by murder. Snape is left alive to watch over Hogwarts. Draco becomes the master of the Elder Wand, which, having passed by conquest, remains active.

    3) He can have Snape kill him. Draco’s soul is left free of the taint of his murder. Since Snape is to kill him with Dumbledore’s free permission and goodwill, the threat of the Elder Wand is removed. Snape, whom Dumbledore has done his best to supply with a motive that will not damage his soul, is left alive to watch over Hogwarts.

    Choice #3 clearly is the one that does the most good, or avoids the most harm, to the world Dumbledore will leave behind him. I do not think Dumbledore’s primary motivation was to seek euthanasia at Snape’s hands– that was just, as I said, to give Snape a reason to be willing to kill him that would not involve the soul-splitting necessity of hatred-unto-death.

  11. rosesandthorns says:

    Just popping in to add a big agreement to Helen’s post. It was, really, the best choice.

    I will add that I don’t think ending Dumbledore’s life hurt Snape’s soul. Not all killing is murder. And remember the last look of revulsion on Snape’s face in Half-Blood Prince and his reluctance “maybe I’ve changed my mind” in the flashbacks in Deathly Hallows? He did not want to, but he did it because it had been ordered to. And Dumbledore would die eventually from the curse. I wish JK Rowling had revealed a little bit more of what went on (anyone else think that during Dumbledore’s death scene Dumbledore was talking to Snape?), but am happy with what happened.

    Really, just as Harry was willing to sacrifice himself to save others, so was Dumbledore, by allowing his death to have some meaning (and with Snape being the one to kill him, it cemented even further Snape’s ability to be a spy in Voldemort’s camp and save – or at least try to save – some of the people otherwise doomed to be hurt/killed by Voldemort. ) There was choice for both Harry and Dumbledore in their deaths, and they took the noble routes that saved others in the process.

    Though Snape was unable to save the person killed in the very first chapter with not only Voldemort but tons of Death Eaters around, he saved Lupin (though he accidentally maimed the Weasley twin), and he has protected the students some (didn’t he send Ginny and Luna with Hagrid into the forbidden forest as a “detention,” which was far better than being at the mercy of the Carrows?)

  12. cwestervelt says:

    To me, Snape’s memory made it clear that Dumbledore trusted Snape because he knew that Snape truly loved Lily. Snape’s patronus was still influenced by Lily after 15 years had passed. Snape lost everything he cared about to Voldemort and wanted revenge. Dumbledore was Snape’s only chance of ever getting revenge. Put in those terms, it sounds a little self centered on Snape’s part, and, especially at the begging it may have been.

    I remember when I first read “The Half-Blood Prince” coming to the conclusion that Snape must have been acting on Dumbledore’s orders when Snape killed Dumbledore. I never saw it as Dumbledore not caring about Snape’s soul, but Dumbledore knowing that Snape’s soul was already damaged by having committed murder in the past. I must admit though, after the first couple of chapters from “Deathly Hallows” I was really having my doubts about Snape.

  13. RHolton says:

    Let’s also remember that Dumbledore wasn’t only suffering from the effects of the ring hoarcrux, but was also suffering severely from the effects of the potion from the cave. For a man who was due to die soon from the effects of the former, the latter, with delayed treatment, was almost certainly fatal.

    When the crisis came, and Snape had to follow orders, executing the orders (sorry!) must have been easier than otherwise.

  14. ainsley_latimer says:

    I would have to agree with those who believe that Dumbledore was trying to protect Draco’s young soul. Just as a reminder, Snape was bound by the Unbreakable Vow he made with Narcissa Malfoy in HBP to help Draco (Spinners End chapter). Snape couldn’t go back on that vow, and he can’t have forgotten about this vow even has he has the conversation with Dumbledore where he threatens, “Perhaps I have changed my mind!” He is bound by his vow to Narcissa and his promise to Dumbledore, and in the end Snape acts honorably to both, and towards Harry as well.

  15. bubbygirl says:

    JKR also in part of the book calls the potion Dumbledore had to drink as poison. I think that was reminding us that the potion was fatal. I don’t think Dumbledore was that far from death when Snape killed him. I got the feeling when I read that sceen that Dumbledore was only just holding on waiting for Snape..

    Maria

  16. cwestervelt says:

    I don’t think the potion in the cave can be considered a true poison. On it’s own, the potion does not appear to kill anyone or cause lasting harm. The catch was that, unless you had some way of getting water, you would be forced to drink from the lake thus stirring up the inferi. The attempt to save yourself from the potions effect was what resulted in you dying. Kreacher also drank the potion. He survived because Voldemort didn’t count on House Elf magic being able to get him out of the cave.

  17. Interesting that the potion in the cave was actually countered by the present need of someone in distress. Dumbledore’s lost-in-the-past distraction is totally broken by Harry’s need for help and by the events at Hogwarts. I hadn’t thought of that before, cwestervelt. Kreacher’s house-elf magic was broken by the stronger bond to RAB. Voldemort’s potion effect was broken by Harry’s immediate danger from the Inferi.

  18. _________________
    cwestervelt Says:

    July 26th, 2007 at 3:22 pm
    To me, Snape’s memory made it clear that Dumbledore trusted Snape because he knew that Snape truly loved Lily. Snape’s patronus was still influenced by Lily after 15 years had passed. Snape lost everything he cared about to Voldemort and wanted revenge. Dumbledore was Snape’s only chance of ever getting revenge. Put in those terms, it sounds a little self centered on Snape’s part, and, especially at the begging it may have been.
    ________________________
    I had a bit of a different take on that. I think Dumbledore trusted Snape because he saw Snape as wanting to make reparation– wanting to keep Harry alive for Lily. Once we found that Dumbledore had spent his entire adult life in remorse for his selfishness and thoughtlessness as a young man, it’s feasible that he could see Snape as sharing that motivation. He knew that Lily was to Snape what Ariana was to himself.

    ________
    I never saw it as Dumbledore not caring about Snape’s soul, but Dumbledore knowing that Snape’s soul was already damaged by having committed murder in the past.
    _________
    But do we actually know of Snape having killed anybody at all except Dumbledore himself? When he’s reproaching Dumbledore for being willing to send Harry to be slaughtered, he says he has spied, lied and put himself in mortal danger– he doesn’t say he has killed or tortured.

  19. Does anyone think that Dumbledore’s words to Draco in that climatic scene apply here: “They can’t kill you if you’re already dead.” Honestly, I have no clue why he said that to Draco, how that could have helped protect Draco. But if this was at least partly an indication about himself – “I am already dead; therefore, you (or Snape) cannot technically kill me” then I think this supports the “stoppered death” rather than the euthanistic death theory.

  20. bubbygirl and cwestervelt–
    As a gardener I can tell you that not all substances that are poison are lethal. A poison is a substance that causes some damage. Onions and garlic are listed in some catalogs as “poisonous” because some people react badly to them.
    cwestervelt, you are right that what caused death was the inferi, not the potion itself.
    In Dumbledore, the potion may have hastened his death by weakening his resistance to the already lethal curse that was on him.

  21. colorless.blue.ideas says:

    I am also one who remains uneasy over morality of Snape killing Dumbledore. There is another aspect which I’ve not seen discussed anywhere, but which is something J.K. Rowling would likely have been familiar with.

    After battles of yore, it was common to go through the battlefield afterwards and kill the wounded. Not *all* the wounded, mind — nor perhaps even most of the wounded — but those who had received fatal but slow-acting wounds. A man whose abdomen had been sliced open and intestines cut might live for a day or so, in pain like the cruciatis curse. Slowly dying, food for flies in the hot sun by day, food for fly larvae in the cool of the long, lonely night, unable to eat or drink, slowly dying — and aware of it! The moral argument is that it would be an act of loveless cruelty not to commend their souls to God that day.

    I don’t necessarily buy that argument, but it is difficult to reject it fully, either, At least not within the Christian verity, which looks upon death as a gateway to God (an image used somewhat by J.K. Rowling):

    Waiting to hush our final breath . . . ..
    You lead to heav’n the child of God
    Where Christ our Lord the Way has trod

    — St. Francis of Assissi, ca.1225, tr. William Draper

    In such a view, Snape is literally assisting Dumbledore to heaven.

  22. colorless.blue.ideas says:

    Sorry, but the Assisi quote somehow omitted the first line. Here’s the total.

    And you, most kind and gentle death,
    Waiting to hush our final breath . . . ..
    You lead to heav’n the child of God
    Where Christ our Lord the Way has trod
    — St. Francis of Assissi, ca.1225, tr. William Draper

  23. Not that the original question didn’t lead to an interesting discussion, but I think that when Snape said “stopper death” in that quote, he meant brewing a death potion. The word “stopper” doesn’t mean stop, it means to seal or plug a hole. So there wouldn’t be a connection between the gold potion and the quote from Book 1.

  24. elanack–
    but in a way, Snape “stoppered” Dumbledore’s death by containing the curse in one hand.

  25. When we read the description of the “thrilling tale” of how Dumbledore’s hand was injured, it did seem to me that it was definitely a stoppered death. Snape as much as said that the curse on the ring would have killed him–he gave him some potion to drink and confined the curse to Dumbledore’s one hand, saying that it would eventually spread. At that time he told him he only had a year at best.

    After drinking whatever it was in the Cave, Dumbledore seemed likely to not even make it out. Once back in Hogsmeade, he was weak and near collapse and kept telling Harry to get Severus. He must have realized that he was as near death as he could be without actually being dead, and that his only hope was that Severus might be able to do something else to help him last a few days or weeks longer.

    So by the time he revives enough to get up to the Tower–sheer will power on his part mixed with adreniline–he is still trying to connect with Snape. Until Draco shows up, and that changed everything. Had he been able to convince Draco to back away, there might still have been a chance for Snape to help him. But then the Death Eaters–and nasty ones at that–changed the plan to one of protecting the living–Draco and Harry.

    He’d already protected Harry by immobilizing him under where he was hidden under the Cloak, so that left Draco. I, too, think that when Snape looked into Dumbledore’s eyes, there was a reminder of the promise he had made to Dumbledore that he would end Dumbledore’s life, rather than risking Draco’s soul, or leaving Dumbledore (literally) to the wolves.

    I remember when we first talked about this on the B&N class, I had the same reaction–I didn’t like the thought that it sounded like assisted suicide, mercy killing, whatever term you want to use. But the way it’s written, I think JKR has made it much more like Dumbledore’s living will–when the time comes, let me die in dignity. Snape’s use of AK was the only way for that to happen–anything else would have resulted in a cruel, tortured, humiliating death for Dumbledore.

    Not only would Snape have broken the Unbreakable Vow he made with Narcissa, Draco would have been seen to definitely fail, and Harry would have watched in horror, able to do nothing to help, as Dumbledore was cruelly killed.

    ***

    I do want to say one thing about the UV. I always saw that as something evil. It’s a promise extracted on penalty of death to the one who breaks it. I remember being very uncomfortable with the idea that Dumbledore and Snape had made some Unbreakable Vow.

    I was so pleased to see that Dumbledore never asked anyone to make such a vow; he insisted that Harry promise to obey him when they go to the Cave (and Harry does, even though he hates doing it); Dumbledore insisted that Snape promise to carry out their arrangement (which he does when he kills him on the Tower in the presence of the DEs).

    The model for it is all in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:33-37, which ends with:

    “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

    That was all Dumbledore required of someone–promise me and then do it. Just as Harry had promised Dumbledore, so had Snape. It was a mark of the kind of relationship and trust between the two men, that Dumbledore would ask him to be the one to end his life and that Snape, even though he was reluctant and hated what he was doing, would fulfill his promise.

    Pat

  26. This is my first visit, and I’ve enjoyed reading the various comments very much–you’ve all given me a lot to think about.
    I too admire and subscribe to the ‘stoppered death’ theory, so I don’t see Snape’s ‘killing’ of Dumbledore as murder. I love the way that Snape
    seems to be the Greek Moirae for Dumbledore–living at Spinners End, keeping Albus alive and cutting (both his names are forms of ‘cut’) that life off at the proper time.
    Re John’s question about Dumbledore’s absolute trust of Snape; I was convinced that Snape had been in love with Lily and so filled with despair at her death that he had attempted suicide. I thought that perhaps his remorse had been so genuine that Fawkes had come to him and healed his wounds and that is how Albus knew he could trust Severus. Oh well.
    I do think that Harry’s surviving the attack while Lily didn’t explains Snape’s hatred of him.

  27. Arabella Figg says:

    A few months later, reflecting on your three questions, after many threads/discussions here:

    1. Yes, it was the stopper-death potion. Couldn’t have been anything else.

    2. I believe DD trusted Snape because he knew Snape was repentant, that he hated LV because LV had betrayed Snape’s request and had killed Lily; also because Snape had turned his devotion to Lily (still potent, as demonstrated by the silver doe interchange) to good and had faithfully served DD and watched over Harry despite his own feelings. Snape may have been an unpleasant man, but he seems to have been pure in his loyalties unless abused by the one he put his loyalty in. By killing Lily, LV lost Snape’s loyalty. DD almost lost Snape’s loyalty in the headmaster office discussion about Harry dying. Perhaps Snape became quite conflicted at this point, but he had made a vow to DD and kept it. I’m not sure after reading DH that Snape loved DD or DD loved Snape, as I’d thought before reading the book. I think they were allies.

    3. I believe telling Snape about the Horcruxes was too dangerous, in light of LV’s desperation and Legillimens abilities. And if DD was tempted and failed with the Hallows, I’m sure he became more determined to keep both Hallows and Horcrux info from Snape, to protect everyone involved.

    Hallows, Horcruxes; the kitties would rather have their little foam balls…

  28. Arabella Figg says: “I’m not sure after reading DH that Snape loved DD or DD loved Snape, as I’d thought before reading the book. I think they were allies.”

    I’d thought so too before reading the book. Now I think Snape wanted to love DD (phileo, not eros, as I suppose we now are forced to specify) but DD kept him at a distance. Snape was capable of affection and attachment; how could he not have wanted to be able to offer that to at least one person who was still alive to requite it? But a lot of Snape’s exchanges with the headmaster (does he ever call him Albus?) have the feel of someone using humor or anger as a defense.

  29. Arabella Figg says:

    Helen, you bring up a good point. But perhaps Snape was afraid to love anyone again. His love for Lily backfired so badly on him that he hadn’t gotten over her to his last breath. When people have been badly hurt like that (and Snape’s history of attachment and betrayal was pretty sad, going back to his family) and have felt so outside and unloved, it makes them very wary of trusting themselves to love (even phileo) again.

    I’m not sure Snape wanted to love DD, and I’m not sure he could, if he had.

    I’m glad kitties love you uncritically…

  30. rosesandthorns says:

    I’m jumping into the Dumbledore and Snape discussion here. I know, at various threads, people have talked about Dumbledore being “cold” towards Snape. I actually think Dumbledore acted in the right way toward Snape. If you remember … Snape, a thoroughly nasty man in many ways, had little respect for “weakness.” For example, the weak and young Neville was bullied by him, and in the Occlumency lessons with Harry he taunts him for being weak and wearing his emotions “on his sleeve,” so to speak. Dumbledore knew, however, that Snape did respect power and strength. (For example, Snape was drawn to Voldemort, certainly, for the power he represented.) So Dumbledore would at various moments display the power he too represented (even Harry saw this). Dumbledore showed that he wasn’t weak, and I think Snape respected this. (Respect is what Snape felt for Dumbledore more than anything else.) Plus, being Dumbledore, he would not back down from making Snape feel true remorse for his actions as Dumbledore *was* trying to save Snape’s soul as well.

    However, Dumbledore still retained his heart and soul, and even shed a few tears at Snape’s patronus (potent proof of Snape’s love for Lily), and I think this show of feeling did touch Snape without making Dumbledore look weak, for Snape was showing a very personal part of himself, and so Dumbledore respected that and wasn’t cold about it.

    (Most of this “insight” comes from personal experience, as I know at least one man – a relative – who might never have become a Christian if it weren’t for being led to Christ by the type of man he could respect, as he couldn’t respect the more ‘milquetoast’ types of men as spiritual mentors.)

  31. Snape did have an appalling emotional history. But my observation was based on things like Snape’s strong reaction to the idea of his office being searched… he insisted so furiously that Dumbledore trusted him, it seemed that possessing that trust was important to him emotionally, not just strategically.

  32. elanack Says:
    Not that the original question didn’t lead to an interesting discussion, but I think that when Snape said “stopper death” in that quote, he meant brewing a death potion. The word “stopper” doesn’t mean stop, it means to seal or plug a hole. So there wouldn’t be a connection between the gold potion and the quote from Book 1.
    —————————————————————————————-

    Yes, I agree with this totally. ‘bottle fame’ ‘brew glory’ ‘stopper death’ Snape is poetically talking about being able to produce (and store) potions that bring about fame, glory, death. ‘Stopper death’ is not about stopping death at all.

  33. Of course Snape DID use a potion to delay Dumbledore’s death, but I don’t see a link to what Snape told the first year’s in book one.

  34. In my opion Snape LOVED DD – but he wasn’t able to show it in the right way, to tell it in words. His anger when he gives DD the golden potion seems to be sorrow of losing him for me. Why else should the “doctor” become angry, while DD faces his coming death with a smile? Surely, Snape doesn’t show his sorrow directly. Sorrow is a emotion that shows, that you are weak. anger is a emotion that shows that you are strong. And people who had been hurt so much like snape fear to seem weak to others, because they fear to get beaten again. So he hides the sorrow behind his anger!

  35. @Helen
    of course DDs trust was emotional important for him. You see it also at the walk between ring scene and patronus scene. I think DD was an important figure for him to get recognition an guidance. in my opinion they weren’t only allies, I think DD was a kind of mentor (not private friend) for him and Albus answered this alike. I believe as harsh as he sometimes was to him without DD snape would have been lost – emotional as well as morally. I agree with rosesandthorns that DD helped him to save his soul. He died not only having paid off lily’s death by proctecting harry – he died as hero – saving lifes, saving draco’s soul, saving the children at hogwarts, even saving lupin’s life while leaving privet drive! Maybe this was DDs love for him – he believed that there was a good core in the young Deatheater who lost his love, so he gave him a chance and didn’t let him commit suicide or go to askaban. Nevertheless DD had to keep a distance to him. In his position he coulnd’t be a private friend to him. As headmaster of hogwarts and the head of order of the phoenix he was responsible for many people, so for lupin and sirius as well as for severus. Maybe Snape was looking for a more personal love from him because DD was the only “friend” he had – but DD couldn’t give him something like that. Severus would have need a friend to say him “yeah you’re right, sirius is a dirty swine – let’s get some butterbeer!” But DD couldn’t be that. Instead I see, that he had always tried to get harry and snape together – but he failed. At last, himself was the only living confidant for him, because severus had been hurt to much to trust many people. and then he had to kill this only confident. poor severus :(.

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