My daughter has been reading all the Harry Potter series lately.
One afternoon she stood outside her doorway, looking like she was about to cry.
The tears began to fall as she blurted out, “Dumbledore died!”
I hugged her. How touching that my daughter had loved a great book as much as me and risked being vulnerable to show her feelings about it.
Professor Dumbledore is the patriarch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the headmaster. He is a father or grandfather figure to all the students, and a trusted colleague to the other professors.
Professor Dumbledore also is the owner of the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world.
Movie after movie, you see him “be there” for Harry for whenever he reckons with evil forces.
What bothered me in the next moment though, was my daughter telling me that Professor Snape was the murderer. Snape?
I asked her to help me find the chapter in Book 6 where Dumbledore dies, and indeed Snape did it.
I was flabbergasted.
Something here didn’t add up from my memory of reading the books myself when they came out.
So, at the end of 6, Dumbledore’s dead, and at the start of 7 Snape is the new headmaster.
Near the end of book 7, part 2, the epic battle between Hogwarts staff and student wizards vs. Voldemort and his army had been raging for hours. The Hogwarts castle stands, but barely. Bodies and debris everywhere. It’s a war zone.
Meanwhile, high in the castle, Snape and Voldemort are having a conversation about the Elder Wand.
The wand, Voldemort says, belongs to the person who killed the last person with it. So, he can’t let Snape have it. And Snape must die.
Ron, Harry and Hermione are on the outside wall listening to it all.
Snape retains his calm as always even as Voldemort has his snake bite him to death a couple of times. There are a couple of awful whomps! against the wall from the inside that Harry, Hermione and Ron hear from the outside.
Then, as soon as Voldemort clears, they run in and indeed Snape is dying with a massive wound to his neck. He is half lying/sitting in near repose up against the wall, dying. Harry bends down closer to see him.
Snape begins to cry. More than one tear runs down his cheek.Harry goes to him, this man that he’s had this despicable relationship with pretty much the entire book and movie series.
And in an instant, all is forgiven. He loves Harry.
Snape’s pale big face looks warmly, compassionately at him, as if he’s seeing him without judgement or disdain for the first time in their lives.
“Take them,” Snape tells Harry (his tears).
Harry turns to Hermione, yelling “Give me a flask! Anything!”
So Harry holds it up to Snape’s cheeks and gets the tears.
Snape’s last words to Harry: “Look at me,” he says firmly, adding “You have your mother’s eyes…” then he dies.
So then Harry must take the flask with Snape’s tears to the old pensieve in Dumbledore’s office. Harry pours in the contents of the vial.
And Snape’s most important memories are revealed! Highlights of how he always had a special interest in Harry because he was deeply in love with his mother, Lily, when they were children. And he was still in love with her!
Also the time and energy he and Dumbledore put into protecting Harry was unbelievable.
Snippets of conversation between Dumbledore and Snape are shown. One of the first bits is Snape’s plea to protect the Potters at all costs from Voldemort, which must’ve been at least approximately 30 years prior to current day at the end of Book #7.
Then, when Dumbledore was unable to do so, Snape is furious that both parents were killed. ‘You said they’d be safe!” he yelled at Dumbledore.
During this flashback, there is an intense scene of Snape wailing and reacting horribly to Lily Potter’s death.
After the Potters’ deaths, Dumbledore tells Snape that we must now protect the boy at all costs. “He has her eyes,” adding “… if you truly loved her- ”
Snape says “Fine, but no one can know.”
Dumbledore: “That I shall never reveal the best of you, Severus?”
Why did Severus want no one to see him be nice to Harry? From the first movie, we see Harry being interrogated by Snape as a young child. Did he take out his resentment and hurt about not getting to marry Lily, his one and only love, on her only child with another man?
Did he expect Harry to have some of the same magical talent that came naturally to Lily?
Why hide displays of kindness and compassion?
My only guess would be he just couldn’t get over losing Lily. And he must’ve taken heart in the fact of her sole existence, which once she was murdered he didn’t even have that.
Is he silly to hold onto a first love?
Why hold back the best of ourselves?