Essay: A Very Bad Year for Albus Dumbledore (and it’s all Snape’s fault)

by Josie Kearns, September 2009.

When Mad-Eye Moody takes Harry Potter away from the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Albus Dumbledore knows immediately that Moody is in fact an imposter. Once the imposter Moody has been Stunned, however, Dumbledore does something interesting – he sends Snape to fetch Winky before the imposter is revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr. In other words, Dumbledore is one hundred percent certain, before he ever sees it for himself, that this person is Barty Crouch. Why else would he send for the man’s house-elf?

I’ve suggested elsewhere that during Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, Dumbledore knew – and was most likely engineering – just about everything that Harry did in going after the Philosopher’s Stone. Dumbledore is such an incredible character, and he so often comes across as just knowing everything, that it was easy for me to assume a similar scenario this year: it seemed likely (with the Winky scenario as Exhibit A) that this time he once again knew what was going on, and let it all happen toward his own ends, again very much below the radar.

But then I realized something that gave me pause.

Because disguised as Moody, Crouch Jr. was patrolling the outside of the maze during the Third Task. And casting Unforgivable Curses on the other champions to ensure Harry’s victory.

There is no way Dumbledore would have given a Death Eater that much latitude. Those curses could just as easily have been Avada Kedavras as Imperios or Crucios. Given the fact that Cedric almost ended up winning, from Crouch’s perspective, they probably should have been. And Dumbledore never would have allowed that to happen so easily.

And yet Dumbledore has clearly known all year that Voldemort has been planning something involving Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament. Yet in nearly eight months, he simply did not manage to figure out what it was.

Which means Albus Dumbledore must have had a very, very bad year.

So what, exactly, was he thinking?

At the start of the year, of course, it’s clear to Dumbledore that the signs are pointing in a dangerous direction. Bertha Jorkins has vanished in Albania; Frank Bryce has disappeared at the Riddle House; Harry’s scar is hurting; and oh yes, there’s that little matter of a prophecy predicting Voldemort’s imminent return to power. As Sirius says, Dumbledore “reads the signs,” assumes Voldemort is on a comeback trail, and brings on Mad-Eye Moody to teach for the year.

Meanwhile, Dumbledore knows better than anybody that if Voldemort is indeed on the road to recovery, he almost certainly has a Plan. Voldemort always has a Plan. And since the day Voldemort was vanquished by an infant Harry Potter, Dumbledore has known that Voldemort’s next Plan would involve that boy.

But Harry is very well protected, and Dumbledore can’t see any way Voldemort could get to him. So he sits back, keeps his eyes and ears open (as well as the eyes and ears of Moody, Snape, and McGonagall), and waits until he gets a hint of what this Plan might be.

And boy, does he ever get a hint.

Harry Potter’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire.

Which means that not only does Voldemort have a Plan, but that his Plan – whatever it is – is working.

The moment he reads Harry’s name, Dumbledore instantly begins running through possibilities in his mind. He realizes immediately, of course, that Harry’s name couldn’t have been entered under Hogwarts, as he’s already announced a champion for Hogwarts. And so, whoever did enter Harry’s name would have to have used a pretty strong spell to get the Goblet to recognize a fourth school.

Dumbledore checks with Harry to make sure, but it’s quickly obvious that Harry had nothing to do with this. And if Harry didn’t put his name in, then why was his name in there at all?

There’s nothing else for it. Voldemort is behind it. And somebody at Hogwarts is working for him.

Of course, the million dollar question is, Who? Because when you think about it, there really aren’t all that many possibilities.

There are lots of students around, but Voldemort isn’t strong enough to be recruiting new followers yet. His Death Eaters clearly don’t know he’s returned. There’s almost no way a student could be responsible – and besides, precious few could have managed to Confund the Goblet anyway.

Dumbledore trusts his staff. He’s confident none of them are working for Voldemort.

Barty Crouch is hanging around, but he’s spent his life fighting Death Eaters.

It’s unclear what Dumbledore’s relationship with Madame Maxime was prior to this year, but given Dumbledore’s statement at the end of the year that he “no more suspects her than Hagrid” (and the fact that he then recruits her into the Order of the Phoenix), it’s safe to say he has some reason to rule her out pretty quickly, too.

Which really only leaves two possibilities – Igor Karkaroff and Ludo Bagman. Of course, neither of these two seems all that likely, either. Both are inherently weak people who simply don’t seem bright enough to convincingly pull off a scheme like this. Nor would either seem to have a motive. But one is a former Death Eater, and the other was at least accused once of working for Voldemort as well. Rest assured that Dumbledore is now watching them both very, very closely.

Oh yes, and there’s one other possibility, too. We are, after all, talking about people who can perform magic.

The other possibility, of course, is that some form of magical control or concealment is at play. Given the flaws of Bagman and Karkaroff, Dumbledore would probably conclude that it almost has to be in play. The difficulty, of course, lies in finding out exactly what form.

There are several possibilities that we know of, and of course it’s possible that Dumbledore is considering other forms of magic we aren’t familiar with as well. But from what we do know, the list basically boils down to four options:

  • Somebody could be under the Imperius Curse.
  • Somebody could be using Polyjuice Potion (or be a Metamorphmagus) and impersonating another person at Hogwarts.
  • Another animagus could be sneaking in (remember, Rita Skeeter is pulling it off).
  • Voldemort could be actively possessing/controlling somebody.

The last possibility seems unlikely; after all, there are distinct signs when a person is controlled by Voldemort (think Quirrell), and nobody around is showing those signs right now. Besides which, Dumbledore probably has a pretty shrewd guess that Voldemort is laying low with Wormtail and getting his health back – after all, he doesn’t seem surprised when Harry describes seeing Voldemort holding a wand – and this would most likely preclude Voldemort from possessing somebody else. So Dumbledore probably rules that possibility out.

The possibility of an animagus is a little disturbing to me, I must admit. Wouldn’t Dumbledore have thought to put up protections against this, especially given Sirius’s sneaking into the school the previous year, not to mention Wormtail’s ability to, you know, turn into a rat? Clearly Dumbledore misses something here, or Rita Skeeter wouldn’t be able to get in (and continue getting in all year!). Perhaps Dumbledore actually knows that Rita is sneaking in and chooses not to do anything about it; perhaps he can’t do anything about it given the need for owls to fly in and out; perhaps he is confident that his short list of people who could be working for Voldemort doesn’t include an animagus (more on that later); it’s hard to say. But regardless, for whatever reason, the possibility apparently isn’t high on his radar. (Though it probably is safe to assume he’s actively doing something to check for rats.)

As far as the Imperius Curse and Polyjuice Potion go, there’s a challenge here, too: there really aren’t very many people around who could conceivably be impersonated or controlled, either. After all, no Death Eater could convincingly play the part of a student or teacher for long without that person’s friends picking up on it; even Karkaroff and Maxime have to know their students, and even the first years (who might not know anyone at Hogwarts) still have to be able to write home. So the only real possibilities for this would seem to be Barty Crouch and, again, Ludo Bagman.

So with these possibilities in mind, Dumbledore begins keeping a close watch on Karkaroff, Bagman, and Crouch, as the year begins to pass. Before long, though, the case against each of these three begins to lose its footing. Snape is reporting that Karkaroff fears the Dark Lord’s return and intends to flee if it happens – and given Snape’s powers of Legilimency, it seems as though Karkaroff is probably being truthful. Meanwhile Bagman is certainly acting fishy, but in a completely different way; either way, it becomes increasingly clear that this guy has never had anything to do with Voldemort. And while Barty Crouch is acting very strangely, he also stops showing up to events. And if Voldemort is using him as his puppet, this makes no sense whatsoever.

Dumbledore is missing something. And it’s clearly something big.

So with his search for Voldemort’s front man going nowhere fast, Dumbledore temporarily diverts his attention to figuring out who’s acting behind the scenes – that is, who really is Voldemort’s “faithful servant.” After all, Dumbledore does know virtually every wizard in Britain, given that he’s taught them all. Perhaps looking at the possibilities for this person will provide him with a critical clue.

Of course this list, too, is surprisingly short.

Almost all of Voldemort’s Death Eaters are either dead, in Azkaban, or – like Lucius Malfoy – out in the wizarding world, continuing to live their lives. Given the size of the wizarding world, not to mention Dumbledore’s connections, it wouldn’t be hard for him to confirm that all of these slimebags are in fact still leading their lives. Lucius Malfoy, check. Macnair, check. Avery, Yaxley, Nott, Carrows, Crabbe, Goyle – check check check. None of them are hanging around Hogwarts; after all, to do so they would have to have been missing from their regular lives for months.

There’s one exception, of course: Wormtail. He’s able to stick with Voldemort full time because he’s presumed dead. But Dumbledore knows that Voldemort would need Wormtail close by; it wouldn’t make much sense for him to be spending his days at Hogwarts, either.

But: what if there’s another one? Another presumed-dead-but-still-alive Death Eater, that is?

Most deceased Death Eaters, of course, can be confirmed as such. For instance, Mad-Eye Moody personally confirmed years ago that Rosier and Wilkes were killed by Aurors. That’s rock-solid. Others have died in Azkaban, also confirmed by the Ministry, which is probably reliable as well.

There is one former Death Eater who was presumed dead, though, without it being confirmed by anybody: Regulus Black. Perhaps Dumbledore considers this a potential lead, or perhaps not; if he does, though, he would simply enlist Sirius’s help and ask Kreacher. Kreacher keeps his oath to Regulus and doesn’t divulge any details, but one thing he can tell Sirius and Dumbledore is that Regulus is definitely dead. And Kreacher isn’t able to lie. Another dead end.

And who else is there? The only other person who seems to have gone missing is Bertha Jorkins – but Bertha, a Death Eater? I don’t think so. And neither does Dumbledore.

So with that, Dumbledore is left with essentially nothing. For months. According to Hagrid, he’s “more worried” than ever before. Voldemort is winning this battle, and there’s nothing Dumbledore can do about it. Like a stalled murder investigation, he’s pursued all of his leads to dead ends and come up with nothing.

Until the end of May. When Barty Crouch shows up on the Hogwarts grounds. Raving about his son.

Dumbledore wouldn’t have had any idea how Crouch Jr. could have managed to escape from Azkaban, but given his father’s strange behavior over most of the year, he certainly would have had a hunch long before this that the family was somehow involved in whatever was going on. Perhaps he even guessed that Junior had somehow escaped Azkaban and was really alive; who knows. Either way, this incident all but confirms that the boy is almost certainly the mystery Death Eater involved. What other information could Crouch possibly have been trying to give Dumbledore about someone who’s been dead for a decade, except that he’s actually alive?

Unfortunately, it turns out this knowledge isn’t the critical clue Dumbledore was hoping for, in terms of figuring out who Crouch is impersonating or controlling. So Dumbledore has nothing else left but to resign himself to looking through old memories, watching four people for clues to their current behavior: Ludo Bagman, Igor Karkaroff, and the two Barty Crouches. They don’t seem likely, but nothing else seems to make sense.

These, of course, are the scenes Harry stumbles across when he falls into Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Sadly, they don’t seem to provide Dumbledore with much more insight than they provide us. And he goes into the third task suspecting that Crouch Jr. is around somewhere; but he doesn’t know where until he realizes Moody has taken Harry away. Then, out of nowhere, it clicks in his brain – Moody is Crouch Jr. – and he sends Snape to fetch Winky. But it’s too late; Voldemort has returned, and Harry is very lucky to be alive.

And while Dumbledore gives chase to Moody and Harry, just one question is whirling through his mind: how did Crouch Jr. pull this off – without Dumbledore suspecting – for an entire year?

On some level, we have to give Crouch Jr. credit for a superb acting job. There can’t be many people who could pull off impersonating one of Dumbledore’s friends, right under his nose for a year, without arousing suspicion. It’s a bit of a stretch that Crouch would be able to pull it off, especially given that it’s likely he’s hardly even met Moody before. But he’s a very smart guy – remember, he got twelve O.W.L.s, a la Percy Weasley – and clearly he pulled it off.

But the tragedy of the year for the good guys doesn’t lie in Dumbledore’s failure to recognize Moody as the imposter. It lies in one of his most trusted allies – Severus Snape.

It always comes back to that guy somehow, doesn’t it?

From the start of the year, it’s obvious even to the students that Snape despises Mad-Eye Moody. But as the year goes on, without even realizing it, Dumbledore compounds the problem by handing Moody Snape’s usual role of “most trusted advisor.” If you think about it, during Harry’s five other years at Hogwarts, every time Dumbledore is having a one-on-one conversation with a teacher in his office, it’s Severus. But this year, it’s Moody that Harry runs into in Dumbledore’s study, and when Crouch Sr. turns up, it’s Moody that Dumbledore summons – even though he’s just left Snape fuming inside the castle. So on top of Snape’s dislike of Mad-Eye (not to mention the fact that the guy’s got the job he craves anyway), he’s now bent out of shape that he’s been displaced from his prized role in the Order, as well.

And we know that if there’s one thing Severus Snape can’t get over, it’s a jealous grudge.

Besides Snape’s general animosity this year (and he really does crank it up a notch, from taunts about Rita Skeeter articles, to threatening Harry with Veritaserum, to his “I see no difference” comment on Hermione’s teeth), we get another view of his bitterness when we see him run into Moody in the middle of the night. His response to Moody’s taunts – “Dumbledore happens to trust me…. I refuse to believe that he gave you orders to search my office!” reveals not only his attitude towards Moody, but also his attitude towards Dumbledore; after all, wouldn’t Snape generally just ask Dumbledore if he suspected Moody was lying?

It’s possible Snape doesn’t bring it up to Dumbledore because he’s afraid Dumbledore really did give Moody permission to search his office and doesn’t want to hear it from the source; or perhaps he’s simply angry with Dumbledore over his attitude towards Moody in general; more likely it’s a combination of the two. But regardless it’s certainly telling that he doesn’t have the conversation with Dumbledore to figure out what’s going on. Just as we see him with Harry over the years, he’s blinded by bitterness and not acting rationally.

Which is too bad. Because he’s the one who ought to realize that Moody isn’t actually Moody at all.

After all, boomslang skin has gone missing from Snape’s private stores as well. If Snape had reported this very suspicious occurrence to Dumbledore – coupled with Moody’s prior unauthorized “office searches” and the fact that Moody is roaming the halls the night the boomslang is stolen, too – well, I think that’s enough information right there to arouse Dumbledore’s suspicions. It should really be enough to arouse Snape’s suspicions all on his own. Remember, all Dumbledore needs is a quick paradigm shift – a mere suggestion that it could be Moody behind all this – and he’ll be on the lookout for more clues. But Snape doesn’t mention either incident to the headmaster, and Dumbledore is left without the thought of Moody’s guilt so much as entering his mind.

(By the way, we can guess that Snape didn’t mention the boomslang skin to Dumbledore because, months later, Dumbledore is still watching Karkaroff in his pensieve – and Karkaroff couldn’t be impersonated by someone with Polyjuice as he has to know his students. It’s true that we don’t know how many potions boomslang skin is in, and perhaps it’s common. But given that it’s in Snape’s private stores, it must be pretty rare/powerful, and with Polyjuice already on the table as a possibility, I have to imagine Dumbledore would have concluded it was being used by Voldemort’s servant.)

Sadly, though, Snape is blinded – by his hatred of Moody, his bitterness towards Dumbledore, and his confounded notion that the Potter kid was actually the one breaking into his office. So he doesn’t mention anything to Dumbledore. And he himself, too, fails to see the forest for the trees and realize what’s going on.

By the end of the year Crouch has clearly learned he can play Snape off of Dumbledore to his advantage. We don’t know how many other times he does it, but it’s certainly a convenient excuse when Crouch Sr. disappears and he arrives on the scene without being notified, explaining that “Snape said something about Crouch” and told him what was going on. It’s not hard to imagine this story coming up in a conversation between Snape and Dumbledore and arousing their suspicions, but by now they aren’t having many of those types of conversations.

And as a direct result, a few days later, Voldemort is able to return.

Which means Dumbledore – and Snape – really have their work cut out for them now.


42 Responses to “Essay: A Very Bad Year for Albus Dumbledore (and it’s all Snape’s fault)”

  1. “So Dumbledore has nothing else left but to resign himself to looking through old memories, watching four people for clues to their current behavior: Ludo Bagman, Igor Karkaroff, and the two Barty Crouches.”
    Brilliant reasoning, Dumbledore was looking through those memories just days after Crouch was found. I had never thought of them as more than much needed exposition until now.
    You have seriously changed the way I’ll think about this book.
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Interesting, very interesting and very well thought out.

  3. Just so you know, this essay kind of blew my mind. (In a good way!)

  4. This essay was absolutely brilliant, and I agree with just about everything. A few additional points to consider: in regards to the Animagus question, I think there are protections available, but due to Rita’s size she was able to get in. There are probably many enchantments stopping an Animagus getting in – I envision a web-like thing that Rita can squeeze through. If it’s like a bubble instead, that’s that theory gone. Also, not sure what to make of it, but at no point is Rita actually in the building. She’s on windowsills, by the lake, at Hagrid’s hut, on the grounds, but never inside the building.
    My other (more substantial) point is about why Dumbledore stopped confiding in Snape. I think it has to do with Snape’s behavior at the end of PoA. That is the only time we see Snape completely unbalanced, and DD sees that as well. Seeing Snape totally lose it, not to mention seeing his willingness to give innocent people to Dementors, and seeing that he has it out for Harry (not in a deadly way, but trying to ruin things for him through expulsion, etc), might have told Dumbledore that maybe Snape wasn’t the perfect guy to trust when it came to protecting Harry. I’m guessing after GoF they had a heart-to-heart, DD apologized, and things went back to normal.
    I also have to wonder, what was going through Snape’s head when he felt the Dark Mark burn – which master should he go to, since he felt little loyalty to either one at the point.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    hpboy13, your point about Rita Skeeter hadn’t occurred to me before, but I’m sure you’re right that she can’t get into the actual building; otherwise why wouldn’t she just come in? So that right there rules out Animagi as one of the possibilities, since they couldn’t access the Goblet.

    Your point about Dumbledore trusting Snape is interesting, too. Because if you’re right that this is why he’s now confiding in Moody, then Dumbledore’s probably the one to blame for this mess. The answers were there, but he didn’t ask the person who had them; once again playing his cards too close to his chest.

  6. Sweet. Great essay, and nice point hpboy13 about Rita.

  7. This is an excellent essay – your essays always seem to be good though. :)

  8. wow…. I loved this essay, as well as the additional notes from hpboy. So many things in my head clicked in a way they never clicked before! I love looking at the books from DD’s pov!
    Especially the part where you put the POA things together blew my mind hpboy. And I love the way that you combined the flaw snape has (holding a grudge against everyone who has done him wrong in the past) with his reaction to not telling Dumbledore. It would have been a pretty hard decision that way to still choose for Dumbledore at the end of GOF.

  9. A note to the theft of boomslang skin by Barty Crouch jr.:

    Snape had good reason to accuse Harry as the perpetrator. As Harry was in his 2nd year, he was involved in a theft of ingredients from Snapes stores, including boomslang skin. Snape had used Legilimency on Harry at that time, and know at once, that he was the perpetrator of the diversion with the firecracker, and that this was for the purpose of stealing ingredints from him. He might have also checked his store afterwards and found something missing. So he assumed, that Harry was also the perpetrator that time.

    A further evidence to Snape was the use of Gillyweed by Harry in the 2nd task of the Triwizarding Tournament.

    Gillyweed is not freely aviable to students in Hogwarts, Harry had no opportunity to purchase it in Diagon alley and Snape realized, that Harry must have used it to perform the task and he found also, that Gillyweed is missing from his store, so he figured out, that Harry must be the thief also that time.

  10. Fantastic essay–but I think it’s not quite logical to blame Snape. Not entirely–it was Dumbledore who decided having conversation with Snape was fruitless, for whatever reason. “I have my dear friend Alastor, who is far more pleasant to chat with than my poor miserable potions master–why bother with Severus, who is only a Slytherin after all, and who is only good at these conspiracy theory things insofar as I’m to blame?”

    Of course, that is the catchy hook that drew me into the essay.

    Anyhow, just had to have a few cents’ worth on behalf of our poor Potions Master.

  11. I love your reasoning and how you put it all in this logical order.

  12. Dumbledore is not likely to lose his trust in Snape even slightly. After all his reason for trusting in Snape is revealed to be Snape’s love for Lily. This also makes Snape’s decision quite easy in regards to Voldemort. He hates him! Nice analysis once again.

  13. This is a very interesting essay, you made very good points. I particularly enjoyed the part about the animagi(I would never have thought about that!) but I have another interpretation for Snape’s behaviour.

    I think that he avoids Moody mainly because he feels guilty (after all we know from his memories that he regrets what he has done) and he feels probably threatened-of course, the fake Moody takes every oportunity to threaten him, as we see in “The egg and the eye”, even if he hates Snape for a different reason.

    By the way, in that chapter, during their confrontation, it is said that Snape looks as he is “angry with himself”, when he suddenly touches his left arm, before practically running away from Moody.
    I see him more on the defensive and nervous than angry and vengeful (not that he isn’t, of course!); I can say that he despises Lupin, whom he considers more as an equal, while he sees in Moody the Auror someone that has power over him and that is clearly waiting for the first occasion for letting him have a nice stay in Azkaban.
    Before DH I thought that confrontation and Snape’s reactions were one of the main proofs that he wasn’t a faithful death eater anymore.

    Yes, he probably could have done more and avoided a lot of trouble, but his strong emotions-mainly guilt, I think- prevented him to do so.

    Even Dumbledore did somethig similar: because of his grief for Ariana he wore the Peverell ring, even if he knew that it was cursed; both Snape and him were blinded by their emotions and made fatal mistakes

  14. Excellent point Arianna! If this essay and many of the additional comments are true, GoF shows a very odd side of Snape. He shows more emotion than usual. Maybe that is why he is so adamant about Harry not showing emotion during the Occlumency training in OotP. Snape is being critical of his own “failure” in the previous year. Though his advise is very useful for facing Voldemort as well. After all, Snape must have been one hell of a Occulmest if he managed to keep the master of Legilimency out of his head without Voldemort even having a clue.

    One can argue that Snape takes the approach of dropping helpful hints to Harry throughout the rest of the series. Remember when Snape continues to advise Harry during their duel after Dumbledore’s death? That in its self was a indicator to me that Snape was very possibly acting under Dumbledore’s own orders by killing him. Snape takes the opportunity of dueling Harry as a teaching moment. That and Dumbledore’s pleading Snape to kill him were subtle hints in my mind (they could just as easily be used to shed Snape in a more cold, narcissist light). I never caught on to the smaller indications in GoF. Thanks Arianna!

  15. I’ve always thought that perhaps Snape upped his animosity towards Harry, or perhaps let more of it show, during GoF, because he knew that if Voldemort were to come back at any point, he would be being watched very, very closely, and given that most of the Slytherins seem to be Death Eater children, it’d probably help his image if kids reported back to their parents that he truly despises Harry, and the children of the Order.

    He’s also under a lot of stress this year. He’s just about carved himself out a niche in Hogwarts, with the help of Dumbledore of course, and now, he’s worried he’ll have to return to Voldemort, and take up the role of spy ‘at great personal risk’.

    I’ve always thought Snape, Harry, and Dumbledore are very similar; a sort of trio of lost boys. They all had difficult childhoods, and they all lost loved ones in ways that shaped their lives, and they all feel a lot of guilt. What makes the difference for all of them seems to be their friendships. Snape had Lilly, whom, in a fit of rage, he completely lost. His other friendships also contributed, and it was these friends that lead him to the Voldemort. I feel that had Lilly forgiven him, he may have managed to escape that particular fate. Her death, however, shaped the rest of his life

    Harry has Ron and Hermione, whom he forms a family with. They remain loyal to him despite his various faults, and this stabilizes him. Despite his guilt over the death of Cedric, Sirius, and those in the final battle, he makes it through and settles down into the ordinary life he has longed for.

    Dumbledore’s guilt is obviously tied into Arianna. This really does change his life. His influencing friendship is Grindelwald, and, like Snape, it was the sudden loss of this friendship that affects him, albeit in different, though similarly tragic circumstances.

    I’ve noticed that with a lot of characters actually. You can usually pick out several that have something of a ‘there but for the grace of god go I’ quality, in respect to others.

  16. As far as the animagus wards go, I don’t recall anything like them ever being mentioned, so it is possible that JK never envisioned them as existing in the first place. If they did however, Dumbledore would also have the trouble of already having an animagus on the staff.

  17. I liked Lizzie’s point; I think that all people in the books have their lives shaped by the lives and death of other people. I think that George Weasley was changed the most by a death; (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) when Fred died, he must have changed forever.

  18. Also great great essay, Josie! it really went into depth.

  19. This essay is amazing, Josie. You give me more things to think about the next time I’ll read the books through. This is one of the reasons why the HP books are so good; there is so much left unspoken, and if you’re interested in detective work, you can create almost any theory you feel like. If you’re not, you can just read them as they are and that works just as well. Me, I’m all for making theories.

    And I want to lay out one of them here. It’s about the acting skills of Barty Crouch Jr.
    The man probably was a decent actor; after all he managed to keep his identity as a Death Eater hidden from his father, who made a living CHASING those guys. Given that his father barely spent any time with him that maybe wasn’t too hard, though.
    But he spent a year disguised as Moody and he fooled everyone, including some of Moody’s closest friends. How did he do that?

    I’ve actually never found that very strange. I’ve always thought that Moody was the one who caught him. Granted, it could have been anyone of the Aurors, but there is a big possibility that Moody was at least among the captors. He was, after all, one of the best in his profession. And even if he did not catch them, he could have been around when they were taken to the trial, or some possible questioning. Maybe Barty didn’t think about it then, because he spent that time being frightened to death, but still that must have been one of the most terrifying and humiliating moments of his LIFE; don’t you think that would be exactly the sort of thing the Dementors would make him relive when he was in Azkaban? And spending a year or so reliving the same memory over and over again, I think it would remain in his mind after that. He would not have to dig very deep to find images of Moody interrogating him to see how he acted, moved and so on. Barty Crouch Jr. was, after all, very intelligent. He could use his experiences to his advantage. And thus, he put out an acting show that would have earned him an Oscar had he been in that profession.

  20. On the animagus note, Dumbledore couldn’t have wards stopping animagi from entering the castle as McGonagall is an animagi.

  21. @ Ailish: I think the previous posters meant that Animagi cannot enter the castle when they are transformed. Also, it is quite possible that they set magical boundaries preventing Animagi after the 3rd book.

  22. I’ve been wondering about Dumbledore’s thoughts in GoF for a very long time, and I finally came across this essay! Thanks. Some great insights.
    But it seems like DD was so positive that the tournament placed Harry in danger. Why didn’t DD try to advocate for Harry not to compete? I know it was a “binding magical contract,” but Crouch Sr. said rules are rules and DD simply went along with it? Was there anything he could have done? The other Heads of Schools were against Harry competing. Could he have tried to get Harry out of it, and later explained why to Harry?
    Also, after Harry’s name is chosen, Moody basically gives a spin on how and why the Goblet would have been hoodwinked. DD could have attributed this to Moody’s brilliance of understanding & catching Dark wizards, and probably didn’t even consider Moody as a suspect, but still…he could have picked up on that, or remembered that later.

  23. Great essay, nice job.
    I just have one question. Couldn’t have someone taken a look at the Marauder’s Map (as Lupin did before) to see if there was a weird name or someone missing?

  24. Oscar Rosales: I’m not sure what you mean. Who would have looked at the map? Harry looked and saw Crouch Jr., but didn’t understand it – that’s why he went out searching in the first place. Then Crouch Jr. looked at it, saw *himself*, and immediately confiscated it. Nobody else, as far as I’m aware, ever even knew what the map was (unlike Lupin, since he designed it). So, who are you thinking could have looked, and when?

  25. I would suggest another reason Snape might not run to Dumbledore wuith vague suspicions or complaints of unfairness about Moody in GoF. What happened the previous year? He spent the whole year complaining incessantly to Dumbledore about the latter’s choice of an (in Snape’s opinion) unreliable old Order member as DADA teacher, and it turned out at the end that Lupin had nothing to do with the problems at the school.

  26. Ooh, arithmancer, that’s a fantastic point, and one I hadn’t considered. Perhaps I should find a way to work it in somehow.

  27. well of course he can’t cast a spell keeping all animagi out… mcgonagal is one! He’d have to get rid of her… I’m guessing spells like that are a sort of all or nothing deal!

  28. Sarah Davis, I don’t mean so much a spell that prevents Animagi from being anywhere in the castle; more just an extension of Hogwarts’s existing defenses so they work against animals as well as people, if that makes sense. The current defenses keep all people out, but people are still able to be in Hogwarts; it just seems they’d want the same thing for animagi in their transformed states as well. The previous year, Sirius had no trouble getting into the grounds, either, which would have been a major problem if he’d actually been after Harry (actually, it almost was anyway).

  29. @Oscar Rosales and Josie: The Marauder’s Map is made in the mid-seventies by Lupin, James, Sirius and Pettigrew. It’s then confiscated by Filch, who doesn’t know what it is. Then it goes to Fred and George, then to Harry, who tells only Ron and Hermione of its existence. These, then, and perhaps Lee Jordan, although there’s no evidence for that as far as I recall, are the people who could have come up with the idea to check the map for weird names. James is dead, Pettigrew’s a traitor, and the Weasley twins aren’t aware that anything weird is happening. Who does that leave? The trio, Lupin and Sirius. HRH don’t seem to realise that they could use the map as a solution, but Lupin and Sirius, at least the latter of whom was in contact with Dumbledore, could have suggested to Dumbledore that he use Harry’s map to check for Polyjuicers.Sirius is known to be talking to Dumbledore about it all by letter, and he knows Harry has the map, because Lupin mentioned it in the Shrieking Shack the previous year. If Dumbledore was thinking of trying to root out someone using Polyjuice Potion, Sirius or Lupin could have suggested Harry’s map to him, but obviously didn’t, as the first Dumbledore hears of the map’s existence is when Crouch Jr is confessing: “I used the map I had taken from Harry Potter.” “Map? What map is this?” So, aside from Snape, it might be possible to lay some of the blame for Dumbledore’s bad year at the feet of the surviving good Marauders, who perhaps perpetuated the excuse to themselves that Lupin gave last year: not wanting Dumbledore to be ashamed of them, to feel he’d abused their trust. Perhaps Snape was not the only one to carry his Hogwarts-days trauma into his adulthood. Josie, this is a fantastic essay, thank you. It highlights so many of the reasons why GoF is quite possibly my favourite book of the series.

  30. Just a point about the map…in your PA essay you said DUMbledore knew about the map. Surely he doesn’t know about it … Otherwise he could have checked it to see who was Polyjuicing who!

  31. Yeah, you’re right Babibell – also, when Crouch mentions the map under Veritaserum Dumbledore is clearly confused. There are a couple of problems with that essay that I’ve since discovered… perhaps I’ll rework that one next. ;)

  32. As far as Snape’s decision to stay with Dumbledore after feeling his Dark Mark burn, it’s quite possible that Voldemort (unintentionally) made Snape’s decision easier. I mean, if Snape’s brooding bad feelings towards Dumbledore have been building for a while at this point, then it’s possible that had Snape not been given such a stark reminder of exactly what the alternative is, those feelings would have slowly become more and more pronounced. But Voldemort’s call came before Snape’s ill-will towards Dumbledore could grow to the level of outright mutiny, and by inadvertently presenting Snape with this choice too early, Voldemort accidentally pointed Snape in the right direction.

  33. Josie, I loved this essay, but you sort of contradicted yourself. It starts off with being DD’s worst year, and finishes with Snape at fault. Personally, GOF is my favorite of the series. I love DD’s character in this book. Not too sly, not too slow. He knows exactly what is going on in it’s entirety. As you semi-alluded to, Albus just wisely sits, watches, and waits for the proper time to act. That time presented itself after the third task, but in no way do I think he was ever in limbo about the entire goings on at Hogwarts. There is magic, I’m sure, that was never spoken of in the school that permits the HM to see everything that is going on.

    As far as Snape, he is one of the bravest characters in the entirety of the septology. Without a blink of an eye, he is ready to assume his old post as spy. I think in GOF, Snape was trying to feel out his own position in the whole spectrum of the situation. Sometimes I think we sort too soon…

  34. As for a way of protection against Animagi, I remember a spell in Gringotts that wiped any magical concealment away (If I remember correctly, it was a waterfall) when the concealed person passed through it. Why not set up a similar defense around Hogwarts? Obviously a waterfall may cause problems, but another form of the same spell maybe? That would stop Animagi, those under the effects of polyjuice potion, and other forms of concealment. Just a thought.

  35. Oh arnt you cute. First off we don’t know for 100% sure if snape was detained in azkaban or not; even for a very breif period of time. Since the books are from potters view we only see what he sees and the very rare outsiders view from the narrator (JK) when potter isn’t there to describe whats happening.

    Second we know that moody and snape HATE each other and for some reason snape really doesn’t want to be around him even for a bit. As to why, we don’t know. I’m quite sure moody is not above hurting others for information. After all, there are many ‘good’ characters who have no problem hurting others for revenge or other things. Hell, he didn’t even have to torture in azkaban, he could have just done it one on one, one day. Maybe he found snape with lily’s body and jumped to conclusion’s like any ministry official, auror, or general Gryffindor would do. I would love JKs word on this.

    I’m sure he had many other things to worry about then the possibility of a fake moody. Albus is Moody’s friend and the rest of the order at Hogwarts also knew him better then snape. Its like telling me to make sure someone I barely know isn’t who they say they are. Its hard and unfair.

    I didnt have the time to go through each and every post on your site. I was having a bad and extremely busy day. But I’ll try and make a day for it.

    What book version do you have? I have the British version. There is an american version that has parts changed, things removed, words changed, and books longer or shorter in length to the ones I read. So if I use the books then I need to make sure we use the same one. Plus it’s very hard to copy and paste on the I pad since it has re loading problems that wipe the whole screen when I switch screens.

    Anyways if they want apologist then they should take a look at ‘snapedom’ I cant even stand that place. Snape is very flawed and they are just ugh. You really don’t come off as an apologist, far from it since I mistook you as a snape hater in my anger. (you try talking to whitehound (massive snape apologist to the insane degree and adult idiot) and coming away chill)

  36. Great Essay . Though , there is something which irks me about Snape . Snape suspected Harry behind the stealing of boomslang skin but he could have his leglimency power to find out if Harry really did the crime . I mean , he always uses leglimency on Harry . Why didn’t he do it ? If he had done it, I guess he would have guessed someone else was involved in this whole thing .

  37. Vandy. You know that leglimency is not taught in schools and is generally regarded as a forbidden craft in the eyes of the ministry (or so we can assume) if he did so, and caused potter pain. He would be technically breaking the law if the above is true and I’m sure dumbles would not be too happy. Plus potter would know about the reading minds one book early, which is not good.

  38. Something JKR let us discover for ourselves.

  39. Snape probably didn’t use Leglimency on Harry simply because he was already certain Harry was the guilty party. No need for mind reading.

  40. What an insightful essay! Although I feel as though Snape’s reluctance to tell Dumbledore his suspicions if he had any would have mostly been due to the fear of rejection. As Moody is an Auror is is undoubtable that at some point he has tried to capture or knows someone whom has accused Snape of working for Voldemort. Sirius says “And no one. No one stops being a Death Eater” when speaking to Harry through Floo Powder network it is possible that Moody shares the view and so Snape feels it is best to avoid Moody out of fear of being dubbed a Death Eater even after “all this time”. So his suspicions about Moody stealing from his cupboard or being an imposter may have been pushed aside due to the fact that Dumbledore may have regarded them as simply revenge theses for when Snape was openly a supporter of Voldemort and persued by people of Moody’s nature. He obviously jumped to the conclusion that is was Harry who stole from his private stores due to the fact that he had done it in his Second Year for Polyjuice Potion. In my opinion I feel that Snape would have thought that this was evidence enough and didn’t need to use Occlumency to prove Potter guilty.
    It is interesting that somehow Dumbledore is to blame for perhaps knowing what is going on yet being unsure until the very last moment yet the blame is certainly not all his. Or even close. It is interesting to spectulate whether the Headmaster has some kind of priority is relation to the goings-on at Hogwarts for example in Half-Blood Prince Harry asks Dumbledore that people canot apparate in and out of Hogwarts yet Dumbledore replies that being him has “its privledges” sop perhaps in relation to Animagi, they never enter the castle because somehoe Dumbledore would be aware. Sirius did not enter the castle in his dog form as far as i can remember, Lupin’s tranformation into a werewolf was accounted for and Rita never actually does enter Hogwarts building. The theory of a net like web or waterfall similar to Gringotts would be ideal for the castle!
    It seems fairly obvious to us to consult the Marauders Map yet I feel that if Harry saw Barty Crouch Jr as somewhere in Hogwarts he would’ve dismissed it as a mistake meant to be Snr. It is true that Harry in PoA doubted the map in relation to Peter Pettigrew and he says to Lupin “I’m just telling you what I saw” & later Lupin declares that the “map neber lies” however nothing is mentioned in relation to the map perhaps havin an erroe. However, this is the only possible excuse I can logically come up with in relation to the Map.
    Very interesting insight into the novel! Thank You!

  41. Leglimency is illegal to use on srudents.This does not count in year five as it was allowed by dumbledore.

  42. What an insightful essay and (mostly) insightful comments! Definitely gonna see GoF in a new light now!

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