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Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

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Old May 29th, 2006, 10:13 am
blaqlives  Female.gif blaqlives is offline
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Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Discussion of the editorial Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason by Scott Andrew Walker.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 11:28 am
Auror Harry  Undisclosed.gif Auror Harry is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Sounds pretty reasonable.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 11:30 am
Fieval  Female.gif Fieval is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

havent read the whole thing yet, but looks good! dude, its long! so exciting!
(first!!??, god i must be really obsessed, or just nothing to do...)

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Old May 29th, 2006, 11:53 am
walt4141  Male.gif walt4141 is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

It's actually a really good idea that you have with the UV, something I had sorta had an idea about after reading a few editorials a couple of days ago, but was way to lazy to express in writing...and am sorta glad I was, because you have done a very complete job and it was very good. I agree that a UV is a 100% sure way to trust Snape from Dumbledore's perspective...one thing I was thinking about though is...in SS/PS...Snape obviously suspects Quirell of trying to steal the stone...should he not simply have to Dumbledore about this. I mean, he head Quirell off on Halloween trying to get through the trap door...just...very sneaky sneaky of snape no??? I mean, maybe he wanted to catch Quirell and get the glory, or maybe he was trying to find out his reasons to want the stone, maybe he suspected it was to do with Lord Voldemort, and just didn't want to come out and say it incase he was wrong. I mean...depending on how you read the conversations between Snape and Quirell, it could be possible...just always has bothered me...and if Snape did keep that info from Dumbledore, than I do think that sorta could be an arguement against a UV.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 12:27 pm
ExtendableEar  Male.gif ExtendableEar is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Great Editorial!

I too have always thought it was likely that Snape and Dumbledore had an Unbreakable Vow, but the idea that Snape is too good an occulmens to be wholly trusted without one is the best expression of why that I have heard so far.

One thing I'm not quite sure about. While it is well argued and certainly possible that Snape has been working the situation to his own ends and will rise into the position of power himself and The Dark Lord's fall; I think idea does underestimate the real loyalty that Snape does have for Dumbledore. I believe he does also feel a real duty and alligience to the headmaster, who after all; even though it may be because of an UV, defends him to all others, respects him and is objective towards him when no-one else is, understands that it is possible for him to be redeemed and gives him the chance, rewards him with a job at Hogwarts, and ultimatley trusts him. Remember that Dumbledore is almost certainly a pretty damn good legilimens/occulmnens himself and can be invisible etc etc. I think right through the series there is a sense that Snape is loyal to Dumbledore even when he doesn't like what he has to do (shake hands with Sirius?) because he, for want of a better term, truly likes and respects Dumbledore. Perhaps the most uninspiring but also highly important piece of evidence in this direction is the fact that Dumbledore always refers to him as "Severus" and always reminds Harry to call him "Professor", when everyone else just snapily and nastily calls him "Snape". If everyone was as close to him as Dumbledore than maybe thay would respect him enough to call him "Severus" too.

And finally on a similar point. I think the fact that Snape always refers to Harry simply as "Potter", whilst Dumbledore of course calls him "Harry", is leading to a brilliant climax at the end of the series when Snape's good intentions are revealed and he will be redeemed in Harry's eyes, when he will finally call him "Harry".

Signature Removed: No HBP Spoilers Allowed
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Old May 29th, 2006, 1:00 pm
RMH  Undisclosed.gif RMH is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Good editorial - the only thing that I would say is about the Malfoys.

The editorial said that now the Malfoys will owe Snape big time, and that this could help with the Death Eaters.

But I don't think that the Malfoys have any standing within the DE crowd anymore - or with Voldemort. Lucius has failed twice now (Diary and Prophecy) and Draco failed what was probably a test of his loyalty.

So even though Snape will be in high regard by the Death Eaters, I think that the Malfoys will no longer be in Voldemort's good books.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 1:06 pm
Redbluemel Redbluemel is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

ExtendableEar: I think you may have it backward. Dumbledore genuinely seems to like and respect Snape. Snape, on the other hand, is ambiguous. A solid arguement of his loyalties could be made for either side. That is why he is so intriguing. Just because most of fandom seems to [i]believe[i] him loyal to Dumbledore doesn't mean he is.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 2:38 pm
Maginny  Female.gif Maginny is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Wow, what a well structured and thought-out editorial - great job! It definitely raises some interesting points. However, there's one thing that bothers me big time in the Snape as Spy section:

Telling Harry he was still in Lord Voldemort’s employ on that night implies that he hasn’t yet become a spy for Dumbledore at the time he heard the prophecy, or else he may have acted differently with the information he overheard while eavesdropping. [...]

So how could Snape have “rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us” and still have been in Lord Voldemort’s employ during his downfall?
You seem to equate the time of the prophecy with the time of LV's downfall here. However, we know that the prophecy was made before Harry was born and fulfilled (i.e. Lord Voldemort attempted to kill Harry) when Harry was already 15 months old (see also the HP-Lexicon timeline).

So there are about one and a half to two years between the prophecy and Voldemort's downfall. I don't know exactly, but somehow I seem to remember that the prophecy was made quite some months before Harry's birth, in the fall, but I can't look it up right now, so I'm not 100% positive on this one. In any case - there was ample time for Snape to change sides!

"Oh, these people's minds work in strange ways, Petunia, they're not like you and me," said Uncle Vernon, trying to knock in a nail with the piece of fruit cake Aunt Petunia had just brought him. (PS/SS)

- After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. (Dumbledore, PS/SS)
- And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure. (HBP)

There can't be a connection, there just can't. Or can there?

Last edited by Maginny; May 29th, 2006 at 2:43 pm.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 2:40 pm
kaydle50  Female.gif kaydle50 is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Brilliant! An Unbreakable Vow would certainly be the one reason to trust Snape. I have always felt Snape was and is in it for himself. Of course, an UV would explain a lot of things. Also looking back at Snape's "Worst Memory", I believe it was his letting Lily down that hurt him far more than anything James could do. Thank you for an excellent editorial.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 3:01 pm
Andromeda_T  Female.gif Andromeda_T is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Well thought-out, coherent, you put across a lot of good points.

I was going to point out the gap between the prophecy and Voldy's downfall that you seemed to have missed, but Maginny has done it for me! One other little gripe - the editorial makes several references to a person's 'roll'. I think the word 'role' is what should have been used here!

"JORDAN! YOU ARE NOT BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE FIREBOLTS!" (Professor McGonagall, during the first Quidditch match when Harry rides his Firebolt, PoA)
(the funniest line of the series, in my opinion)

"Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?" Harry said, thunderstruck.
"It certainly seems so." said Dumbledore calmly, "Not something he intended to do, I'm sure..." (CoS, in McGonagall's office in the last chapter) hmmmm...
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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:04 pm
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Extremely well written essay. The possibility of an unbreakable vow between Snape and Dumbledore was something I never thought about. However there is one thing I sort of disagree with and its Harry ever trusting Snape and my reasoning has to do with a quote from Rowling. She said the relationship between Snape and Harry is now as personal if not more so than Harry Voldemort.


"Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business."

"Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git."
"Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor."

"Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball."
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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:13 pm
Gmariam  Female.gif Gmariam is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Nice editorial, you put a lot of thought and effort into it! The idea of an Unbreakable Vow makes sense, and the thought that Aberforth will fill Harry in on it all is a good one.
I'm still not sure what I think about Snape. But I think your conclusions about Lily were good.
There’s no way Lily loved Snape.
I agree 100%. It seems to me that Lily was the type of person who was kind hearted and loved everybody. I do think she loved Snape, maybe the way you love your best friends, but she had no romantic feelings for him.
In the DVD extras for PoA, JKR said:
Jo Rowling: Alfonso had good intuition about what would and wouldn't work. He's put things in the film that, without knowing it, foreshadow things that are going to happen in the final two books. So I really got goosebumps when I saw a couple of those things, and I thought people are going to look back on the film and think those were put in deliberately as clues.
Perhaps JKR is referring to the conversation Lupin had on the bridge with Harry, when he tells Harry he knew his mother, and that Lily always saw the best in people (or something like that).
Most people take JKR's comment about the PoA film to mean the moments between Ron and Hermione (which I love!) but perhaps she was also thinking of this one, because we will find out in Book Seven that Lily was indeed a kind-hearted person who saw the best in everyone, even Snape.


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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:19 pm
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

thank you! I figured right away that there had to be an unbreakable vow between Dumbledore and Snape. It's the only thing that makes sense for there to be such a trust. I also think that part of the vow was to protect Harry at all cost. That way he redeems himself from Lily's death, and keeps Harry safe from Voldemort.

Last edited by WoodsMom; May 29th, 2006 at 6:32 pm.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:34 pm
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Very often, when I read the MuggleNet Editorials I find myself agreeing with some ideas, while I disagree with others, even the best and most reasonable Editorials have points I highly disagree with.

For the very first time, every single word in an Editorial matched completely my own theories about the subject. It was like reading my own mind, to a point where it was almost scary.

My most sincere compliments and my respect.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:37 pm
NeuroComp  Undisclosed.gif NeuroComp is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

The article is well written though i am a bit confused.
JKR answered the question "Has snaped been loved by anyone"?
and the article is talking about who snapes might have loved.

So who has loved snape, would it have been lily? or possibly his mother or AD.

As for snape and lily being together in the slugclub...i don't know about that one
look at hermione/ginny and blaise. Also remember how Slug talks about
James and Sirius...surely they would ahve been in the club to

That is of course if the club existed back then.

lastly like in GoF the face tells many stories. In GoF it was ADs in HP it is Snapes...
what was with the hatred look? truly if snapes was for himself he would have enjoyed, or possibly
the hatred was for all the abuse he took in school. But if one truly wanted power than wouldn't one give a hint of satisfcation overcoming one of two obstacles.

Last edited by NeuroComp; May 29th, 2006 at 4:40 pm.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 4:59 pm
GinnyPotter71  Female.gif GinnyPotter71 is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Well written editorial...but I feel like you were assuming a lot. I mean, Lily and Snape may not have had a relationship. Therefore, Snape may not have had remorse, and without remorse, he would have had a different reason to feed to Dumbledore, which could lead to a different UV...I do agree with you that Snape is in it for himself. But there were so many grasping-for-straws moments in this article, I mean you assumed that Lily and Snape had a relationship, and assumed that he loved her, and assumed all of this because of that one moment in Snape's Worst Memory, when really, he could have done that all the time. And as for her hurt at being called a Mudblood, that could be explained away by the fact that no one would like to be called that. Also, when Snape killed Dumbledore, the look on his face could have been hatred of Dumbledore...you never know with Snape! Now, not to entirely put you down, as I said, I do agree that Snape is on his own side. I don't know what his reason is that he told Dumbledore and I suppose the UV makes sense...but isn't it dark magic? as in there is NO WAY Dumbledore would ever do that? I think it's a verbal reason, not a vow. I think your editorial was good, I just don't agree with much of the backstory about Lily or the UV with Dumbledore.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 5:11 pm
jmas1357 jmas1357 is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason


I would add one more piece to the puzzle: I believe the moment at which Dumbledore decided to give Snape a second chance was perhaps a low point in Snape's life rather than a clever ploy of Snape's to protect his own interests. Here's a thought: The reason JKR showed us Tonks and Lupins' relationships was to show us that a wizard could lose all magical powers if extremely distraught. (I means, really, why should we care about the progress of Tonks and Lupins relationship? What bearing does it really have on the story?) We are shown this reaction to emotional devastation because we need to know that this is what happened to Snape when he discovered that he (through telling V of the prophecy) had caused the death of Lily Evans.
We are also shown Harry's extreme emtional reaction at Sirius's death when Harry realizes that he is at least partially responsible for that death. This, too, will help us to see what happened to Snape, what Snape felt and thought, when Lily was killed by V.
And remember, Dumbledore does NOT trust everyone blindly. What he does is quite different -- he offers people a second chance. But he doesn't necessarily trust them. He offered Tom Riddle a second chance, but he didn't truat him and kept an eye on him at Hogwarts.
Dumbledore offered Snape a second chance, but that doesn't mean he trusted him. Whether he needed an Unbreabale Vow or not, we will soon find out in Book 7. But Dumbeldore does not foolishly and blindly trust anyone. He is very cautious.

Anyway, really great editorial. Especially the insight into why this was Snape's worst memory. Never really thought about it until reading your anaylsis. But I think you're spot on.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 5:21 pm
samlindude  Male.gif samlindude is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

I think that your idea is a good one and if it turns out to be right than you are a genious. I still can't quite buy it because of a few reasons. The first one is "Snapes worst memory" I am not quite sure that the memory we saw was his very worst. It could be if that was one of the memories used to convince Dumbledore (how else did it end up in the Pensieve). I am still talking in two minds but I still can't quite belive that Snape loving Lilly would be one of the most crucial unknowns. In the article you also bring up multple areas where a Unbreakable Vow is used. I really don't think that Snape is caught in so many unbreakable vows.
While your theory is great I think it holds to many assumptions as facts and whenever you hold too much to be true you make a mistake.

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Old May 29th, 2006, 5:36 pm
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

Overall, this is pretty well thought out. There are a couple of ideas that I think are erroneous, but the general hypotheses seem likely.

Originally Posted by Scott Andrew Walker
So how could Snape have “rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us” and still have been in Lord Voldemort’s employ during his downfall? The timing doesn’t work out. I personally believe Snape didn’t switch sides until after the prophecy, after Voldemort chose the Potters. Then he went to Dumbledore.
Trelawney's Prophecy would have been uttered some time prior to July 1980; given the weather, probably in the spring of that year or the autumn of the prior year.Voldemort did not attack Harry until October 1981. So, there is no problem at all with the timing. We have a series of events something like this:
  1. Spring 1980 or earlier: Snape hears part of the Prophecy, reports to Voldemort;
  2. 31 July 1980: both Harry and Neville are born by this time;
  3. August 1980 or later: Voldemort has narrowed down his list to one of two boys; at some point, he picks Harry;
  4. Around that time, Snape realizes that he's put Lily and James in danger (not that he would have cared about the latter, but the former.....); he grasses on Voldemort to Dumbledore and is no longer in Voldemort's employ (in Dumbledore's opinion);
  5. Some time in 1981: The Potters learn that Voldemort is after them and use the Fidelius Charm to hide from him;
  6. October 1981: Pettigrew betrays the Potters.
So, there is no problem at all with the timing: Snape was not in Voldemort's employ at the downfall, but when the Prophecy was given. That would have been about a year and a half before Voldemort's downfall. Snape could have gone to Dumbledore at any time between August 1980 and (say) summer 1981. Earlier makes more sense than later, because it does not make sense for Voldemort to wait too long to go after Harry. Important parameters that we do not know include:
  1. When Pettigrew went over to Voldemort (if it was after he became secret-keeper, then the Potter & Evans might have been hiding for some time);
  2. Whether Voldemort had a Founder's Relic handy for the making of a Horcrux

Originally Posted by Scott Andrew Walker
Snape is gravely affected when he learns that Lily is killed as a result of the info he gave Voldemort and becomes enraged. Now Snape’s return to Dumbledore is calculated.
Again, Snape would have been gravely affected when he learned that Harry was the one that Voldemort had chosen. I agree that Lily was the reason, not Harry and certainly not James. At that point, Snape's return to Dumbledore could have been calculated.

Indeed, only this really makes sense: had Pettigrew not betrayed the Potters, then Snape telling Dumbledore that Voldemort was after Harry could have put them forever out of harms way as Snape had no control over what steps they would take and who would guard those steps. This makes sense if Snape is acting to save Lily, but not if he is working for Voldemort.

Originally Posted by Scott Andrew Walker
I think what he is pleading for is Malfoy’s life.
Alternatively, Dumbledore is pleading with Snape to stick to the plan, and, if given the choice between killing Dumbledore or being killed by the Unbreakable Vow, then to kill Dumbledore: if that is to topic of the argument between Snape and Dumbledore overheard by Hagrid! Of course, the editorial posits this sort of scenario.

Originally Posted by Scott Andrew Walker
Now there are a bunch of Death Eaters who are sure to end up in Azkaban unless they find someone willing to lead them out of the mess they are in, and Snape sees his opportunity to finally slide into the position he’s craved his entire life – the power position. With Voldemort gone, who better to take his place, in their eyes, than the wizard who killed Dumbledore?
This is the one idea that I find highly unlikely. Snape's end will precede Voldemort's end. Snape simply is not the antagonist: Voldemort is. We know, for example, from JKR that the link between Harry and Voldemort will be important in the end. For JKR to switch antagonists at this late would make her the butt of literary jokes for decades to come (much the way some mystery novelists are skewered for introducing the criminals in the same scene in which they are unmasked).

Now, JKR could have used Snape in this sort of manner to set up a sequel series. (The Harry Potter serial is one of sequels, I know, but I do not know if a serial that is a sequel to another serial has its own word!) Snape would be the Sauron to Voldemort's Morgoth.

However, JKR has said 7 and out. So, my call: Snape dies a bitter death saving Harry, but not before unleashing upon Harry his hatred of Harry and all that he represents and the reminder that it is purely because there might, somewhere, somehow, be something of Lily Evans in Harry, although Snape has never seen it. A second firing of the "Lily's Eyes" gun might happen here. Harry's ability to reconcile himself with Snape's actions and to ultimately forgive Snape might be key to the mental state in which Harry will need to be in order to defeat Voldemort.

Originally Posted by GinnyPotter71
Well written editorial...but I feel like you were assuming a lot. I mean, Lily and Snape may not have had a relationship. Therefore, Snape may not have had remorse, and without remorse, he would have had a different reason to feed to Dumbledore
Dumbledore says that concern for Harry's mother and father is why Snape switched sides. This is why Snape warned Dumbledore that Voldemort was going to kill Harry, and thus what led James and Lily to hide at Godric's Hollow.

We have no reason to assume that Dumbledore is lying about this.

For this to work, there must have been some friendship of some kind between Snape and Lily, of which Dumbledore either knew or had verified. Remember, Lily Evans is alive and well at this time, and had she been surprised that Severus Snape would try to save her, then this would have come out. This does not rule out Snape having his own agenda (although that requires very convoluted explanations with no basis in the canon, and those reasons should be there at this point); however, it does mean that Dumbledore knew that Snape had at one time actually cared about Lily.

(It doubles for The Hobbit, too!)
If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there.” - A. P. Chekhov, Gurlyand's Reminiscences, and who knew why the Dog was long before the Shack!

Last edited by Wimsey; May 29th, 2006 at 5:42 pm.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 5:42 pm
Mercer  Male.gif Mercer is offline
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Re: Dumbledore's Ironclad Reason

I loved the the take on Snape's worst memory! This is a very good line of thought and well worth exploring. While the unbreakable vow does make a lot of sense, I am not sure Dumbledore would use one. As to the timing of Snape's change of sides, there is ample time to hear the prophecy and then find out it would involve Lily, before Voldemort's demise. Cannon says Snape went over to Dumbledore's side before the down fall of Voldemort.

Lastly, to comment on someones use of the JKR quote about POA foreshadowing the last books. I believe this could be when Snape jumps in front of the trio when Werewolf Lupine comes near. This could be associated with the unbreakable vow or a least show how Snape is compelled somehow to instinctively protect students or at least Harry.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Elf of Old

Last edited by Mercer; May 29th, 2006 at 5:48 pm.
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