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Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Other Prophecy


Harry Potter is a great series - SPOILER WARNING: I discuss Book 6 events!
In the “high” literature reviews Jo Rowling has not received outstanding marks, probably due to many factors (among them the fact that this is viewed as children’s literature). However, the stories and most especially the characters are so compelling that I’ve been hooked since the first chapter of the first book.
Couldn’t we have educated the general public a little about alchemical history and kept the original title, Philosopher’s Stone?
One of the most compeling characters is Albus Dumbledore, and so it was a great shock to have him die at the end of Half-Blood Prince (HBP), a shock that still has me going through the grieving process. As some of the websites out there attest, some people still haven’t moved beyond the denial phase.
So I was listening to the most recent book not too long ago and developed a theory for another prophecy that Dumbledore might be aware of.
The setup:
* We know that Dumbledore trusts Severus Snape for reasons known only to him.
* We have hints that Dumbledore might know that Snape made the unbreakable vow to help Draco Malfoy kill Dumbledore.
* In the chapter I’m about to discuss, Dumbledore has just summoned Harry to go with him to recover one of the Horcruxes, as he has just discovered the location of the cave where it is presumed to be hidden.

Harry is highly agitated when he first bursts into Dumbledore’s office, because he’s just found out that Snape was the one who revealed the partial Prophecy that led Voldemort to kill Harry’s parents and attempt to kill Harry (I’m using the capital “P” here to denote “the Chosen One” Prophecy, as opposed to my hypothetical prophecy that this post is all about). Dumbledore is at this very moment highly excited - he’s just discovered the location of a Cave that he’s been looking for for some time, and it is less than one year since he’s discovered and destroyed another of Voldemort’s Horcruxes (the ring). He’s clearly ready to go get the Horcrux and is about to leave with Harry, when he notices that Harry is in an altered emotional state.

Here’s my hypothesis: Dumbledore knows of a prophecy that says that Severus Snape will not go over to the dark side, but that he will kill Dumbledore. This prophecy also says that will not happen until Severus is revealed to the Chosen one as (for lack of a better term) the snitch that led to the Chosen one’s marking by the Dark Lord.

Here’s the quote that made me come up with this theory:
(HBP, Chapter 25, The Seer Overheard, page 548 of the American Hardcover version) “Dumbledore's expression did not change, but Harry thought his face whitened under the bloody tinge cast by the setting sun. For a long moment, Dumbledore said nothing. 'When did you find out about this?' he asked at last.”
Immediately after this, Dumbledore insists that Harry has to swear to obey him immediately if he is to go along to retrieve the Horcrux. It is not until Harry reveals that he just found out that Snape was the snitch that Dumbledore requests this of Harry. His very words are: “If I tell you to leave me and save yourself, you will do as I tell you?” This all speaks to Dumbledore somehow knowing that his life would end that night.

I’m still torn, though, on where this puts Snape: irrevocably on the side of Voldemort, or still playing both sides? My hypothetical prophecy would be one of the only ways that I can think of that those in the Order of the Phoenix would ever trust Snape again, and even that might not be enough. I suppose a memory, left by Dumbledore, saying “Snape killed me on my orders” might do it. On the other hand, such a memory would place Snape in mortal danger with Voldemort should it ever be discovered, and I don’t think that Dumbledore or Snape would take that risk. I wonder if the portraits in the Headmistress’ Office retain all the memories of their living subjects, or do they merely serve as advisors?

Feel free to poke holes in my theory in the comments.

2 Comments:

  • Interesting... but what makes you think that Snape actually IS a good guy?

    By Blogger Chesty LeRue, at 5/22/2006 10:47 AM  

  • The interesting thing (to me anyway) about my theory is that it works independently of whether Snape is a good guy or not. The topic of Snape's affiliation is for another post, sometime soon...

    By Blogger Carlos, at 5/29/2006 8:45 PM  

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