Dumbledore’s Original Plan: Narrative Misdirection?

Lord Voldemort practices Ms. Rowling’s signature technique to perfection in Chamber when, as the Riddle-memory, he almost literally sucks Harry into his book, deceives him by restricting what he sees to exactly what he wants him to see, and leaves him convinced of something he would otherwise find hard to believe (I mean, Hagrid as Heir of Slytherin?). He does it again in Phoenix just by not showing himself. Nobody wants to believe he is back, so the *lack* of evidence that he has returned (with some active work by the Ministry and The Daily Prophet, makes the great majority of people come to doubt or lose faith with those they otherwise would never turn against, namely, Albus and Harry.

The bad guys, then, like to use narrative misdirection and they’re pretty good at it. I think, though, they may be two steps behind the good guys.

If the Red Hen is correct (and when she is wrong, even in those rare times, we learn a lot we would otherwise have missed), Albus and Severus have been working together against the Dark Lord since Severus left Hogwarts as a student. Given the shenanigans about *how* and *what* Voldemort learned about the Prophecy after Dumbledore first heard it from Trelawney AND the great likelihood that Snape and Dumbledore have been hunting Horcruxes since Tom Riddle, Jr., left his interview in the Headmaster’s office, how difficult is it to imagine the old guy writing a Rowling-like drama with the Prophecy to buy some time?

For your Comment and Correction:

PROPOSED: That Dumbledore (via Snape) released the Prophecy portion to the Dark Lord (a) to *distract* him from his “taking-over-the-world-thing” long enough for the good guys to gather and destroy his Horcruxes (and with the Potters and Longbottoms safely hidden, this could be almost an indefinite period…) and (b) to plant Severus in the inner ring of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Horcuxes found and destroyed, Severus positioned to kill the vulnerable Voldemort, problem solved.

Except for Black’s bungling, which traps Snape indefinitely in his role as double-agent, that is, until Voldemort returns, gets a body, and the last Horcrux can be safely destroyed (the one on Harry’s forehead…).

I look forward to reading your thoughts about this possible play of narrative misdirection on Dumbledore’s part.


  1. I can see a lot of merit to this line of thinking, in that it fits nicely with why Severus seems to over-react whenever the subject of James and Sirius comes up throughout the books. His whole life, first as a student at Hogwarts, then later as one who is loyal to Dumbledore, but seeming to be a Death Eater and loyal to Voldemort, has been thwarted by James and Sirius. (It also fits in with a book length fan fic that a friend wrote before HBP came out, in which she explored just that relationship. While of course, there are things that are not canon, it’ll be interesting to see how close she was on her original theory–that being that Snape’s anger at the Marauders, in particular James and Sirius, had more to do with their arrogance in thinking that they could make up their own rules in hiding from LV, not sharing the choice to switch Secret Keepers, trusting someone as vulnerable as Pettigrew, with the result that James and Lily were killed, Sirius was exiled, and Snape was powerless to stop the fiasco.) In that, I don’t think she is far off the mark, nor is it terribly far from JOdel’s view, although it all plays out differently.

    It is all narrative misdirection, in that we are constantly told that Severus hates James and Sirius, and Harry by association, because of the bullying he endured at their hands at Hogwarts. That’s only the beginning of the animosity, and we’ve all suspected that there has to be more to it than that. I can see that Severus may have been working for Dumbledore from the beginning. He is just the sort of student that Dumbledore would have taken under his wing–alone, friendless, except for a group of unsavory sorts from Slytherin, picked on by the stars of the school, and yet talented–just the sort of up and coming wizard that Voldemort would recruit.

    Then there is that master plan of Dumbledore’s, the one that he mentions to Harry but conveniently never spells out the exact details. We know the details involved trying to defeat Voldemort and that Harry is involved in it, but that doesn’t sound like an all-encompassing master plan–again it seems that there should be more to it. But we are so busy watching Harry destroying Dumbledore’s office, that we kind of forget to ask for the rest of the details.

    What I can’t go along with is all the switching and polyjuicing that you and JOdell see in HBP. It’s just too much, and there are too many instances where chance puts characters together, and the polyjuiced person wouldn’t know that was coming.

    I can see and accept that there might have been some sort of grand conspiracy with Dumbledore, Snape, Hagrid, and Slughorn all working together.

    Hagrid overheard Snape and Dumbledore arguing, and may or may not have known just what the argument was all about. But over and over, we have heard that Dumbledore would trust Hagrid with his life, and we’ve never really seen an answer to why the most powerful wizard would trust a partially educated half-giant so much–except that it becomes rather obvious to me that Hagrid’s magical education did continue after he was expelled, likely at the hands of Dumbledore, as Hagrid does quite a bit of magic, and as a member of the Order can apparently conjure a Patronus for communication purposes.

    Slughorn also has Dumbledore’s trust; there doesn’t appear to be any animosity between Snape and Slughorn, either. The idea that Snape and Slughorn together are brewing all sorts of potions is entirely possible and even probable. I can’t imagine that Snape would just walk away from his Potions brewing just because he now has his dream job as DADA teacher. And in DADA it is sometimes necessary to use Potions, certainly to understand them and to know the appropriate antidotes.

    Fitting in with this, is the odd absence of both Slughorn and Snape on the night watch at Hogwarts when Dumbledore is off to the Cave with Harry–I still think it’s Dumbledore who went with Harry.

    We have Albus specifically requesting Harry to get Severus, not just Professor Snape, but the more personal connection of using his first name with a student, when they are returning to Hogwarts. I have always found the use of Snape’s first name as very striking, though we aren’t given information to explain it. And Sluggy seems to be missing entirely until he shows up in the office after all the night’s events are done. What was he doing and where was he? I know, that’s where the explanation comes in that he’s traded places with Dumbledore, but it just doesn’t ring true to me.

    Then there is Trelawney and the idea that she is really Bellatrix on Polyjuice. I really don’t see the need for that one at all. And I’m not sure that Bella really knew who spilled the beans about the Prophecy.

    When I re-read that part, where Harry finds Trelawney being thrown out of the ROR, I just can’t see how that would work. How did Bella know that Harry would be passing by at that very moment, so she could seem to be thrown out? Doesn’t work. Nor could I see Bella actually allowing herself to be thrown out. The only suspicious part of Trelawney’s recounting of the tale is that at one point on the night she made the prophecy that she felt rather odd–a confundus charm by Dumbledore leading to a memory modification where she then sees Snape as the eavesdropper? That one I can believe. And I can believe also, that Snape never was there, and the whole idea of his telling Voldemort was part of that Grand Plan of Dumbledore’s that we don’t have all the details for.

    Now the other polyjuiced person is Pettigrew standing in for Lupin. Not buying that one either. For one thing, I don’t think anything could make Pettigrew brave enough to spend any time with the werewolves, especially Greyback. But, and this is another part of Theowyn’s story, I think it’s entirely possible that Pettigrew, as a rat, has come back into Hogwarts–either to spy on Harry or Dumbledore or Snape or on all of them. In fact, it has surprised me that Rowling hasn’t had him trying to get back into the castle. A trip to the Forbidden Forest and who would notice a rat running across the grounds–or even a rat coming from the Whomping Willow; Pettigrew could very well be spending his time there now that Snape is gone from Spinner’s End.

    That led me to another thought that Draco never named the ones who were helping him, who were better than Crabbe and Goyle–of course, it doesn’t take much to be better than Crabbe and Goyle, so even the second-rate wizards who show up on the Tower seem like they must be the ones to which he refers. But isn’t it possible that it’s Pettigrew, mascarading as a rat yet again, who is helping Bellatrix into the castle and into the ROR. Surely the Order aren’t the only ones with an Invisibility Cloak. She could very well have been the one who actually threw Trelawney out, while Draco was celebrating. It was Bella, after all, who taught Draco Occlumency, so we already have it in place that she has spent some extra time training her nephew. Being able to move about the castle also gives Bellatrix the opportunity of knowing just when Dumbledore is gone, what Snape is doing, how the security works–and all without anyone suspecting that she is there. Harry was right to suspect that Draco was up to something, but once again, he’s wrong in his assessment of just how it’s all being done.

    I do like the idea, and it makes sense, that when Snape lashed out at Harry on the grounds, that it involved some sort of Horcrux destruction or disabling. I’m still only half-convinced that the scar is a Horcrux, but it definitely has some plausibility. And that goes straight to the idea that Dumbledore is using that scar to feed information to Voldemort. Definitely, that one has merit as well, and explains why Dumbledore is suddenly telling Harry so many things. Learning that his Horcruxes are systematically being destroyed and that Dumbledore is onto what he did, would definitely serve to distract Voldemort, while Snape and Slughorn and Hagrid work on something unseen.

    That reminds me of the chapter from Order of the Phoenix, “Seen and Unforeseen”, where Harry sees various things in his dreams relating to the Prophecy, but his dream is interrupted; then an Occlumency session, where Snape learns some of the things that Harry has been seeing, is interrupted by Trelawney being sacked, and we learn that Dumbledore has been off to the Forbidden Forest to hire Firenze–which by the way–why was he doing that when Trelawney was still there? But the phrase, seen and unforeseen, seems to apply to much of what is going on throughout the books. It’s the narrative misdirection that makes us forget to persue all those unforeseen clues that I’m sure have been right in front of us all the time.


  2. OceanSwimmer says

    I have to agree with both John and Eeyore here about Professor Snape’s destruction of Harry’s Voldo-cam(scar/horcrux).
    How could the OOP NOT be acutely aware of Harry’s two-way view of their activities whilst he is at the House of Gaunt? It offers some very involved problems, as mentioned before, the majority of HBP playing out for The Dark Lord’s misdirection. The destruction of such a ‘web-cam’ is absolutely necessary if Harry is to become a true voluntary agent of change. Previous to this, he has been struggling to react in time, instead of being a fully informed equal. Fortunately,in DH he should be 17 and ready to take his rightful place among the other adults.

    Another point that occurs to me (and may be absolutely balderdash)…is the possibility of Albus’ resurrection. Of all the examples of willing victim, Dumbledore’s actions exempify the essence of harmony between the four houses: the bravery of Godrick Griffindor, the acceptance of Helga Hufflepuff, the intelligence of Rowena Ravenclaw, and the higher ambitions (towards unity and harmony!) of Salazar Slytherin.
    I can’t help but think his willingness to sacrifice himself is somehow a guaranteed free ticket to his (triumphant) return.
    Just my 2 cents 🙂

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