Spinner’s End

chapter two of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Narcissa Malfoy travels to Snape’s house in the middle of the night to ask for his help, despite her sister Bellatrix’s protests. Snape admits he knows Voldemort’s plan for Draco, and after explaining his allegiances to a suspicious Bellatrix, agrees to make the Unbreakable Vow and help Draco with his task.

by Heather Campbell

But then, with a very faint pop, a slim, hooded figure appeared out of thin air on the edge of the river.


Sliver, by Snapesforte

After a few seconds, they heard movement behind the door and it opened a crack. A sliver of a man could be seen looking out at them.


by pojypojy

Narcissa threw back her hood. She was so pale that she seemed to shine in the darkness; the long blonde hair streaming down her back gave her the look of a drowned person.


by Vizen

“Do you really think that the Dark Lord has not asked me each and every one of those questions? And do you really think that, had I not been able to give satisfactory answers, I would be sitting here talking to you?”

(by Vizen)


Narcissa, by LMRourke

“Don’t you dare – don’t you dare blame my husband!” said Narcissa, in a low and deadly voice, looking up at her sister.


I Know I'm Not Good Enough, by Katrina 'Rohanelf' Young

“If he has forbidden it, you ought not to speak,” said Snape at once. “The Dark Lord’s word is law.”


by pojypojy

“Then I am right, he has chosen Draco in revenge!” choked Narcissa. “He does not mean him to succeed, he wants him to be killed trying!”


Professor Snape, by Laurence Peguy

“The Unbreakable Vow?”
Snape’s expression was blank, unreadable…. [He] did not look at Bellatrix. His black eyes were fixed upoon Narcissa’s tear-filled blue ones as she continued to clutch his hand.
“Certainly, Narcissa, I shall make the Unbreakable Vow,” he said quietly.


Unbreakable Vow, by Sullen-Skrewt

Narcissa spoke.
“Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”
“I will,” said Snape.


Unbreakable Vow, by Heather Campbell

A third tongue of flame… shot from the wand, twisted with the others, and bound itself thickly around their clasped hands, like a rope, like a fiery snake.


about the chapter


The plot of the Harry Potter series may officially center around Harry’s relationship to Voldemort. But when Half-Blood Prince was released, this chapter confirmed what many of us had already begun to suspect – that sub-plot #1-A is whether Severus Snape is truly on Dumbledore’s side (and therefore Harry’s) or on the side of the Dark Lord. And for the two years that passed before Deathly Hallows was released, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Snape’s allegiance was the central question of the series. Both Dumbledore and Voldemort think he’s on their side; neither is likely to be fooled; both can’t be right. And so with pre-orders for Deathly Hallows books, bookstores made you choose which sticker you wanted – ‘Trust Snape’ or ‘Snape is a very bad man.’ That is the question, no? And while this chapter can certainly be read either way (or a whole host of ways in between), it makes for some fascinating speculation.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Of the many, many ways to read Snape’s conversation with Bellatrix and Narcissa, I think I find it most intriguing to read from Bellatrix’s perspective. She doesn’t trust Snape from the outset; and while he gives her a seemingly convincing story for why he is on the Dark Lord’s side, she’s smart enough to realize that he could spin an equally convincing story for being on Dumbledore’s side, too. And then, he says he knows of the Dark Lord’s plan for Draco – but the kicker is, he doesn’t ever actually discuss what the plan is. He could easily be bluffing. Until he then makes the Unbreakable Vow, and agrees to help. Can’t you just imagine her going home that night, and her head spinning trying to work out just where this guy stands? I never thought I’d be able to relate to Bellatrix, but this is certainly an area we had in common at the conclusion of this conversation.

The Power of Magic

While talking to Bellatrix, Snape at one point describes Voldemort as “the most accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen.” Which is interesting, because we’ve otherwise been led to believe that when a wizard is employing Occlumency, a good Legilimens knows that Occlumency is being used to block their intrusions into the person’s mind. It’s interesting, of course, because both Dumbledore and Voldemort use Legilimency, and Snape has to be blocking at least one of them sometimes, right? So do they know that he’s blocking them out of his mind, and trust him anyway? I think it’s more likely that when a wizard gets good enough at Occlumency, it’s possible to block others from intrusion without their knowing that you’re doing so. It’s a fascinating game, with a fascinating conclusion. After all, if Voldemort is the world’s most accomplished Legilimens, and Snape is able to block out parts of his mind without Voldemort realizing it, wouldn’t that make Snape the world’s most accomplished Occlumens?

Something to Remember

Spinner’s End seems a funny place for Snape to reside, and based on what Bellatrix says about it (“this Muggle dunghill” where “we must be the first of our kind to ever set foot”) you have to wonder why he would make this choice. We don’t know much about his background, but this almost certainly wouldn’t be the family home of pure-blood wizards. Though for that matter, it’s unlikely he’d be “the Dark Lord’s favorite” if he were a Muggle-born, either….

by Heather Campbell


48 Responses to “Spinner’s End”

  1. This is possibly my favorite chapter of the series. Besides its significance to the plot, Snape is in his element, and he’s actually *funny* here. I remember reading an interview with Alan Rickman somewhere, in which he says he doesn’t think Snape has a very developed sense of humor (or something to that effect). I think that’s true, but this is where his (sadistic) sense of humor is funny to the reader. Or at least, to me. It’s so nice to see Bellatrix getting pwned.


    Perhaps Snape is lying when he calls Voldywhatsit “the world’s most accomplished Legilimens”? We see in Deathly Hallows that Voldy thinks he’s the only person to have discovered the Room of Requirement and how he underestimates the power of ‘lesser creatures’ such as House-Elves. We’ve also seen enough evidence that Snape is an accomplished and powerful wizard. Perhaps he uses Voldywhatsit’s ego to his advantage? That is to say, Snape’s Occlumency is superior to Voldy’s Legilimency but Voldy, thinking he’s the best thing since sliced bread and unable to read Snape’s mind, assumes there’s no way he could be hiding anything from him.

  3. We don’t know very much about Snape’s mother, but we know the reaction of a pure blood’s family about his relatives when they married muggles (Sirius Black’s family) [spolier: later on will see another pure blood family and their reactions for just looking to a muggle]. Let’s assume that Snape’s mother was expelled from home and forced to live with Sirius father: that would explain Snape’s presence in that place.

  4. I have been wondering if it’s not really Snape in this scene. I read/heard somewhere, maybe even on this site somewhere, that perhaps Dumbledore took Polyjuice potion and became Snape. Snape is SO not himself in this scene, with humor and manners, that if you read it again and where it says Snape, substitute Dumbledore, and you’ll see that it mostly fits how Dumbledore speaks. My only question with this would be how Dumbledore and/or Snape knew Narcissa and Bellatrix would be coming to see Snape? Maybe I am just reading too much into this! But Snape is just not himself in how he speaks!

    And why was Snape guarding Wormtail? If it’s in the book I can’t think of it right now. I have read the books so many times but have been trying not to read them again!

  5. that’s a good point by Ozzie – we know how arrogant voldemort is about his powers and therefore it’s highly unlikely that he would think another wizard could ever be better than him at occlumency so he probably never even suspected. He had so much confidence in his legillimency ability that he didn’t even consider the possibility that Snape could be hiding something.

  6. To Jennifer C.; although you make an interesting point about Snape possibly being Dumbledore in disguise, it’s also important to remember that we usually see Snape from Harry’s perspective and since he hates Snape with a vengence it’s unlikely we’d ever see him in a good light. Plus Snape hates Harry and obviously he’s not going to be nice when the Boy-who-lived is around

  7. Ooh, Ozzie, very good thinking – I love that idea! Snape is smart enough to do it, too. Though to be fair, Dumbledore has also called Voldemort “the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen.” And while Voldy underestimates things like love, we don’t ever really see him misjudge pure magical power. Hmm… it’s a good thought.

    Irene, you made a good point, and I’d just add to it also that I can’t imagine Rowling would have written a scene intending it to be someone in disguise, yet never reveal who that was. There used to be a million Polyjuice theories floating around, but now that all seven books are out it’s pretty hard for me to fathom that she would have intended it to be so. She may have written Snape differently intentionally (or may have simply written this scene badly, though I don’t think that’s the case), but I think the odds that Snape is actually Dumbledore are just about zero. Also, we’ll later see Dumbledore and Snape talking about how Snape made the Unbreakable Vow, so….

  8. That’s interesting, Jennifer C, I’ve never thought of it that way before. I noticed there was something different about Snape in this chapter, but I figure that would just be because he is with “friends”, as opposed to in class, with Dumbledore, or with Voldemort, which is where we otherwise see him.

  9. Yes to the general concensus – Snape is freakily brilliant here. Every word he says could so easily support his being on either side. He convinces Narcissa, who is desperate, but does he ever really convince Bellatrix, who is jealous of him and frequently takes extreme action herself?

    Se-verus: the MAJOR question here is whether the truth lies.

    Spinner’s End, for the record, is almost certainly in one of the satellite towns of Manchester. I think we are supposed to assume (spoiler) that it was Snape’s father’s house. It’s interesting that Snape never moved away. People who live in those tiny two-up-two-down terraces usually rent, not buy; but don’t we have the impression that Snape is now the owner?

  10. Grace has Victory, you’re almost certainly right about Snape’s house being his father’s. Remember Petunia says in DH33 that Snape is from Spinner’s End. Doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to just move down the street… but it’s also interesting given what we know of his relationship with his parents, no? You’d think he’d want to get away from there as an adult.

  11. Wormtail, sadly for him, is one of nature’s victims. Voldemort, whether through psychology or legilimency, sees right through him and out the other side: his loyalty arises firmly from fear and weakness. He would be anxious and fearful at being placed in Snape’s home as a kind of grudging butler, knowing that he dared not put a toe out of line – and wouldn’t Lord V just love exercising his power like that? And, with the other half of his brain, Lord V might well have the usual suspicions that everyone possesses about Snape, and try to rattle him as well with the idea that PP is observing his every move too. By luck or skill, both men come out of the experience unscathed: this leads back to the question of how good a wizard PP is (good meaning accomplished). Is his bumbling-klutz appearance real or a very good cloak for a very competent, if cowardly, man?

    Snape’s address: perhaps he’d enjoy living in his father’s house because now it was his to do what he liked with (all those improbable bookcases). That could well be the explanation of his otherwise odd behaviour in this chapter as well: for once in his life he’s enjoying himself! Narcissa’s powers are unknown, though Lucius is no high-flyer; Bellatrix is probably too unbalanced to concentrate on what she’s doing (usually. She made an exception for her unfavourite cousin); so he could relax and hoodwink them without a shiver of dread. Yes, it’s a malicious way to have fun … but doesn’t that mesh with his character?

  12. Re: the ‘most accomplished legilimens’ thing… [SPOILER ALERT]

    Snape’s not the only one who kept things from Voldemort. Granted, Regulus was hardly one of Voldemort’s favorites, but you’d think Vold would be at least smart enough to keep an eye on him after sending his house elf to (in his mind) certain death. Little Reggie plotted a major coup from that event, and Voldemort had no idea–he would have moved the horcrux if he’d found out, even after Regulus’ death, or killed Kreacher for certain, the only one who could have told Voldemort.

    There IS the possibility that Snape’s saying that about Voldemort because VOLDEMORT says that about Voldemort, and you don’t disagree with your megalomaniac boss, even when he’s not around. Snape, as a talented Occlumens, would know differently. Heck, BELLA probably knows differently, since she’s skilled enough to teach Draco to a point where Snape can’t push into his mind (or doesn’t, though I don’t see why Snape wouldn’t). All the other Death Eaters, the ones without that skill, would simply see Voldemort’s ‘most powerful legilimens’ as fact, and be even more afraid of him. Most of Voldemort’s power over the wizarding world, after all, comes from the fear he wields. Even thirteen years past his ‘death,’ people still whisper about You-Know-Who. Skeeter’s certainly not libeling him like she did with another great wizard of the era. And Grindelwald, another undoubtedly powerful wizard, didn’t command that same level of fear. Tom, on the other hand, started learning how to terrify his peers from a very young age.

  13. You know how some people think that the third film of Lord of the Rings has too many endings? Well, I think this book has too many beginnings. We’ve seen before how a book starts from someone else’s point of view, but here we have two chapters before we see Harry. Clearly this one belongs in this book, so I think “The Other Minister” should have been put into a previous book.

    [Spoiler] Isn’t it ironic how Narcissa goes to Snape because “the Dark Lord trusts him” and both end up deceiving Voldemort?

    By the way, Snape states here, that he is the one that Voldemort thought had left him for ever.

  14. Do you know, I never once thought that Snape speaks differently when with his peers rather than as a teacher? LOL! I am so used to rethinking and analyzing JKR’s intentions that I latched right on to the Polyjuice potion! Perhaps, too, Snape thinks of himself as superior to Bellatrix and Narcissa and so speaks differently in this scene.

  15. I agree that we see Snape differently here because they are not in class. As much as Snape truly hates Harry because of James, I also believe even if he *liked* Harry, he would need to be horrible to him in class because he needs Malfoy to report back to his father that Snape is mean to Harry. I also agree that it’s his father’s house. I don’t think he bothered to move because he is a Hogwarts professor and only spends summer vacation there, so why bother. (He always seems to be at Hogwarts over Christmas.)

  16. Spider, your point about Regulus is interesting. My impression from the story was that the thing that tipped Regulus over the edge was Voldemort’s attempt to kill Kreacher – and that it was only a couple of days after that that Regulus died himself. I guess I always assumed that Regulus didn’t have time in the meantime to see Voldemort again, and therefore give him the chance to read his mind. From Kreacher’s description of how Regulus was “not himself,” it doesn’t seem like it would have been that hard.

  17. Regarding Snape home:

    I also think, it is in a borough of Greater Manchester and I think, it´s in a suburb of Oldham, probably in the course of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. There are a few abandoned mills, a fox was mentioned, and the Canal was blocked at some places in the 90s, so that the polluted water couldn´t escape.

    And now to Snape, Narcissa and Bellatrix:
    We know for sure, that Bellatrix was not together with Snape at Hogwarts, since she is 9 years older. But Narcissa is just 5 years older than Snape, so they were together at Hogwarts, and thy might have been close socially there.

  18. My view about Snape and Peter: they are there to spy on each other. Voldemort is not so arrogant as to blindly believe Snape is fully loyal to him. He knows Peter made a very good spy in the Order, so now he’ll have him spy on Snape and see what he gets up to. Similarly, Snape is there to keep an eye on Peter, because Voldy KNOWS Peter’s loyalty wavers, and that Peter will just help the “biggest bully,” whether that be Voldy or not. So now he has the two of them keeping na eye on each other so he doesn’t have to.

  19. Marco, it has been a subject of endless debate as to what JKR was doing with her numbers. They just don’t add up, and she has frankly admitted as much in interview. In particular, the dates on the Black family tapestry are ridiculous – too many 13-year-old parents.

    Sirius Black said that Snape knew Bellatrix at Hogwarts. He was unlikely to be wrong about his enemy and his cousin. Having said that, Bellatrix was certainly older than Snape (as he is only 14 years older than Nymphadora) so they probably weren’t close friends. It’s possible that Snape was the same age as Narcissa, thuogh she was more likely a couple of years ahead of him.

    hpboy13, I agree that Snape and Peter are spying on each other. The risk that they would team up against Voldy is practically nil because Snape would never be stupid enough to trust Peter. It does force both of them into a state of constant vigilance.

  20. Grace, Sirius said Snape knew Bella at Hogwarts, and while that does imply they went to Hogwarts together, it could just mean that Snape knew Bella while SNAPE was at Hogwarts. Bella, I believe, graduated the year before Snape and the Marauders showed up. Narcissa and Andromeda would have been at Hogwarts still. (Yes, the tapestry dates are messed up, but until JKR gives us a revised version, I hold the dates as canon. Besides, it’s fun to think Pollux Black was getting himself in trouble at such a young age. Entitled attitude, disregard for the rules, handsome, and not so mindful of protection? 13-year-olds DO get pregnant…)

    Voldemort’s growing in power while Snape’s at Hogwarts, and I’m sure Bellatrix was one of his first recruits from that generation. It would then be logical for her to turn around and recruit the younger Slytherins. Sirius also said Snape came to Hogwarts knowing more about the Dark Arts than anyone else, so young, half-blood, and greasy though he was, he was talented and learned in all the right areas. Bellatrix would have latched on to him as soon as she heard about him, I bet, coaxing him to Voldemort’s side. Also, the Lestranges… who else was he said to have known from Hogwarts? There were a few other Death Eaters. We know Bellatrix was close with the Lestranges, as she married one, but who’s to say the others weren’t younger and able to take Snape on as mentors at Hogwarts? On Hogsmeade weekends or whatever, they might meet up with their graduated classmates, like Bellatrix.

    And to Josie–the thing that’s bugged me about Regulus’ death is what Sirius knows of it. “From what I heard, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out.” Someone had to be seeing some sort of signs in order for Sirius to have heard that much, at least–but it is true, Regulus could have simply been -panicking- and not actually -plotting- his coup at that point

  21. i love this chapter we learn so much before the book even begins before we even see harry ok so we need to get on to harry the book has kept us waiting long enough but we got to see other characters
    i love scenes between villians this was perfect jkr could not have written a better chapter between voldemorts death eaters as for peter and snape voldemort probably assigned him to obey snape and for his part snape took advantage of this by getting revenge on peter for betraying the potters and causing lily’s death

  22. The parents of the Marauders and their classmates were certainly not blessed with long lives. By the time James and Lily were 21, their parents had died. We know that Peter’s mother was alive when the Marauders were 21, but his father isn’t mentioned. Sirus’s father died before the Marauders were 21, and his mother a few years after. Lupin’s parents aren’t mentioned except in Lupin’s brief reminiscences about his childhood. And here we see Snape, age 36, living in his parents’ house – and no parents in sight. It’s possible, of course, that the senior Snapes made their fortune and retired to Italy, but somehow I don’t think so…

  23. Billie, that’s a really interesting observation, esp. considering how we’ve learned in previous books how hard it is for wizards to die in accidental ways, like falls and car crashes. How did they all die so young?…Other than due to literary necessity, which is often fatal ;)

  24. Yes, I think some of those death certificates should have listed “literary necessity” as the cause of death!

  25. For the “something to remember section,” you were wondering why Snape was residing at Spinner’s End. At the end of the Deathly Hallows, when Harry is looking through Snape’s memories, Petunia says that Snape was from Spinner’s End. This meant that ha spent his summers there for the whole beginning of his life. Rowling also says that Petunia mentions it as though she wouldn’t recommend living there, so maybe, since that place wasn’t as popular, he thought it would be safe to live there.
    Just a thought.

  26. My thoughts always were that he continued to reside at Spinners End because it was the house he lived in when he met Lily, therefore being his only physical connection left to her.
    On a different note, this is my favourite chapter in the series, because it confirms what we already know- Snape is a total genius. With both Voldemort and Dumbledore being great legilimens’, and him fooling both of them, he would have had to spin a story that was 100% true, but be unable to tell which side he’s on from just listening to it. With Voldemort being so arrogant, it wouldn’t be hard to convince him that, no, Snape’s really on your side, and was working as a spy to stay out of Azkaban.
    Also… is he so mean to Peter, not because he doesn’t trust him, but because he was part of the group that bullied him so completely throughout his schooling? Just a thought…
    (Sorry for the length)

  27. Adele, I think you’re totally right about the house being a connection to Lily. I never really questioned why he lives there. I just figured since he only spends two months there it wouldn’t be reason enough to go out and get a nicer house.

    I didn’t really view Snape as being different or unusual per se in this chapter because we’ve always been used to seeing him through Harry’s perspective and now we’re seeing Snape from a – what is it? – Omniscient perspective? We’re viewing the scene as ourselves without Harry’s interpretation, and I really loved that because we get an unbiased, broader look at Snape.

  28. Ok, this is what happened when HBP came out:

    — I live in Italy (I can’t confirm or deny if the Snapes retired here, though =p) and I collected the US editition of the books: since it’s the UK edition that’s released internationally, I had to wait about a week more after the release party to actually read the book, so that Amazon could deliver; therefore, I shut myself out of all comunication and went to the beach, to’ avoid being spoiled.

    — My aunt calls me a few days after the release and without even saying “hello” blurts out (SPOILER) “have you heard that Snape kills Dumbledore?!”: I cover her with every insult I can think of and then some more.

    — Being the Snape-lover that I am, I spend the next days figuring out how this works into the Snape’s-a-good-guy theory… And get very depressed trying.

    — I finally get my hands on The Book, sweep through the first chapter, read THIS chapter (with the greatest satisfaction and hugest grins), get to the Unbreakable Vow and… I find peace!! Through my Snape-love-goggles it was clear that the Vow, wheter Dumbledore anticipated it or not, would force Snape to ultimately kill Dumbledore, that Dumbledore knew it, and that the two had agreed to it.

    All this to say: my love-goggles might make me stomp over many of Snape’s faults (especially with regards to his behavior towards Harry and Neville in Potion class), but it certainly eased the wait for DH, as I was dead sure Snape was Dumbledore’s man all along.

    Nevertheless, I cried for two hours after finishing the book and wore black for a week after that. In mid-July. In Italy.


    One of my favorite chapters because there are so many possibilities. And it is one of the very few times we see something away from Harry’s perspective. Which is always a nice change.

    It’s a curious thing how the DE’s believe Voldermort to basically be a God. They won’t even say something negative about him. I wonder if they think he is always watchig them. It is a curious thing. It also makes me wonder what the initiation process is. Because if you join a gang they beat you to near death before you can join. Because it makes you fear them. I wonder if it is a similar thing to join the DEs.

    @ Occlumency. I have AlWAYS believed very skilled Occlumist can replace their true thoughts with fake ones. If they couldn’t than there is really no point to the skill. B/c Voldermort would read Snape’s mind and find it blank. He would HAVE to know (unless he is a moron) that Snape is hiding something. So I assume he can use “new” thoughts in place of the real ones.

    @Spinner’s End. I’m sure it is his parents house. For one, why get a new place to live? He is only home for the summer. 2. This is one of the only places he has memories of Lily (Hogwarts is as well). Where does he spend all of his time? At places where he knew lily.

    Haha at cause of death as “Literary Necassary”.

    Snape is a genius. This chapter shows how great he is. I think he is a master at reading people. And he knows both D and V’s flaws. Dumblodore’s is Trust and Love. Voldermort is Arrogance.

    @Peter and Snape. I always thought Snape’s cruelty was a bit of pay back. His worst memory is still a pair if underpants. And Wormtail represents a place where he didn’t belong (as does and Harry. And Nelville for that matter). So this is his revenge.

    The Unbreakabke Vow is fascinating stuff. What I wonder is why doesn’t Voldermort make every DE pledge there eternal allegiance to him? Same goes with The Order. It’s a really intresting thing. It is similar to the Time Tuners because it causes as many problems as it fixes.

    I would love to see a list made by Voldermort that puts his DEs in order from favorite to least. It would be an interesting read.

  30. Austen-
    Snape’s worst memory: NOT a pair of underpants. Harry always interpreted it that way, because he didn’t really know Snape, so what else would be bad for him? The only logical conclusion is the humiliation. From Snape’s perspective and from what we find out later, it’s his worst memory because Lily refuses to forgive him for calling her Mudblood. It was one step to far, and he lost the girl.

  31. I loved that about “Snape’s Worst Memory” and then later we find out why it was his worst memory. We always assume it’s what Harry interprets since we see from his perspective, but it’s not. I LOVE that!!! True genius.

    I think the fact that the Death Eaters are so awed by Voldemort isn’t too hard to believe because if you think back to the Nazi regime (which has a lot of similarities to Death Eaters), or any other race or civilization that wanted to conquer a “lesser” one, the reason behind blindly following is just leaders preying on the general public’s ignorance of the “lesser” race.

  32. On your question about Occlumency: I had the opposite impression (i.e. that the point of occlumency is that the legilimens WON”T know it’s being employed against them). It was described as “shutting down all feelings and memories that contradict whatever you’re saying” (or something like that). To me it’s the difference between putting up a mental “wall” (which the legilimens would presumably be able to detect, i.e. that they can’t gain access to your mind), and allowing the legilimens to read your mind but simply “not feeling” or “not thinking” whatever you don’t want the legilimens to know. I think that whatever you are thinking or feeling when the legilimens looks into your eyes will be apparent to them.

    I just thought about this now, but in some ways it’s no wonder Snape is so immature and unable to move beyond his emotions. He never releases them, but keeps them always controlled under wraps, continually (for instance) “turning off” his love for Lilly in order that when he tells Voldemort he’s a loyal Death Eater, Voldemort doesn’t recognize any contradiction in Snape’s mind and believes it as the truth.

  33. Regarding the death eaters recruiting at Hogwarts, Lucius was a prefect when Snape started school and he may have already been dating Narcissa. He would probably know Bellatrix from going to school with her and as she is his future wife’s sister.

  34. @Adele: You are totally right. My apologize for this oversight. But it doesn’t change my point. Which is that Snape is enjoying mistreating Wormtail. For revenge reasons.

    @hazelwillow: I agree that there has to be some form of being able to hid that your using Occluamncy because if there wasn’t a way it seems sorta pointless. Because the main reason to use Occluamncy is to lie so Voldermort would always know Snape was lying b/c why would he have to hid anything. If that makes any sense.

  35. How possible is it that the title of this chapter is a double entendre, also meaning “from the story-spinner’s perspective”?

  36. Austen, perhaps the Unbreakable Vow is vulnerable to Occlumency – if a spy on the DEs says he’ll vow loyalty, the Vow doesn’t kill him unless he actually means it and then breaks his promise.

  37. Always adds another layer, Rtozier. :)

  38. I have to take issue with this quote from this chapter:
    Snape: “…when Potter first arrived at Hogwarts there were still many stories circulating about him, rumours that he himself was a great Dark wizard, which was how he had survived the Dark Lord’s attack. Indeed, many of the Dark Lord’s old followers thought Potter might be a standard about which we could all rally once more.”

    I mean, what a ridiculous ridiculous statement. How could anyone believe that Harry survived Voldemort’s attack because he was a “great Dark wizard”? He was a year old! And why on Earth would Death Eaters want to rally around the boy who had undone their master. It just really doesn’t make any sense.

    On a different note, I think it’s funny to imagine the Minister for Magic sitting in his office, talking to his own portrait of the frog-like man, receiving reports about how the Prime Minister’s amusing attempts to prise the other portrait from his wall. I can just imagine Fudge shaking his head and smiling ruefully at those ridiculous Muggles, forever trying to deny the existence of witches and wizards.

  39. And also, I think it’s interesting that Snape says, “[Harry] has fought his way out of a number of tight corners by a simple combination of sheer luck and more talented friends.”

    Though the Lestranges might not realize it, he is acknowledging Hermione’s astounding ability, revealing to us that he is not truly so prejudiced towards Muggle-borns, and warning us not to believe that he is truly loyal to the Dark Lord and not Dumbledore.

  40. What kind of irks me is the necessity of Snape being an informant for Voldemort as well as Dumbledore. He said that some of the information that he passed on to Voldemort helped him murder Emmeline Vance and Amelia Bones. Is that true? Did Dumbledore sanction that? And did the victims have foreknowledge to their doom? That always bothers me because however necessary it is for Voldemort to believe Snape, he still condemned two people to die because of it.

  41. Josiah, I don’t know that it necessarily has to be true. It would be almost impossible for Bellatrix to discover later that Voldemort had managed to kill Emmeline and Madam Bones without any information from Snape.

    However, I think it probably is true. I think that Snape, who is not a nice person, deliberately sacrificed these two innocent people in order to increase his credibility with Voldemort. Perhaps he had a personal score to settle with them. Or perhaps he simply decided that, if allies had to be sacrificed, these two were expendable.

  42. @roslinstars, it’s a case of “might makes right until greater might comes along”. Obviously (and according to prophecy) Potter possessed “power the Dark Lord knows not” or else the Dark Lord wouldn’t have been defeated. If the boy was powerful and could be molded to the darkness, he could have been a greater dark wizard than the Dark Lord himself.

  43. Lesharo, I disagree with your assertion that Harry could have been a greater dark wizard than Voldemort. I believe the “power the Dark Lord knows not” IS the power of goodness and love. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

  44. Well, yes, we know what that power is now, but they didn’t at the time (only finding out when Voldemort himself told them in the graveyard after his resurrection).

    Even those who would have known about the part of the prophecy Voldemort heard would only know that Harry was “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord”. According to Dumbledore, the eavesdropper only heard up to the description of the parents (“He heard only the first part, the part foretelling the birth of a boy in July to parents who had thrice defied Voldemort”-OoTP, Ch. 37). The “mark him as his equal” and “power the Dark Lord knows not” bits come after that.

    So, they would only know that this boy, this baby, managed to defeat their Lord and Master, not how or why. Naturally, none of the good wizards had managed to do it, so it must be something dark as, to them at least, dark magic is more powerful.

    Also, just to clarify, it’s not my assertion, per se, but I can understand where they were coming from in thinking it.

  45. Right not sure if these points have already been raised but two things about this chapter have recently struck me. Number one… And i can’t believe i never noticed it before but Bellatrix when being poked by snape almost reveals the horcrux she is looking after for voldemort. She says something like “in the past he has trusted me with his most precious”.

    Also how difficult must it have been to have Wormtail; the person who really betrayed Lily, living with him. Granted he is fairly horrible to him but were it me i’d be ready to kill him at a moments notice. Considering how he treated sirius when he thought sirius was the one who betrayed her. Anyway i’m rambling but it’s interesting to read the scene bearing this character history in mind.

    Great site by the way. Was directed here by the lexicon.

  46. While re-reading this chapter again this afternoon, I was struck by Bellatrix’s line, “The Dark Lord is… I believe… mistaken.” It’s quite amazing really that Bellatrix, who otherwise follows Voldemort with crazed devotion, is actually able to doubt the Dark Lord’s judgement. And, even though her suspicions about Snape seem mostly fuelled by contempt & jealousy, she is completely correct nonetheless. Who would have thought it would be Bellatrix that would have Snape figured out, and not Harry?

    @ Josiah & Grace Has Victory – That passage about Snape passing information on the Order bothered me too (although it doesn’t mention anything about Amelia Bones): “The Dark Lord is satisfied with the information I have passed him on the Order. It led, as perhaps you have guessed, to the recent capture and murder of Emmeline Vance, and it certainly helped dispose of Sirius Black…” I think Grace Has Victory is right that Snape’s assertion doesn’t necessarily need to be true. I can’t think of what information Snape would have given Voldemort about Sirius that he didn’t already have from other sources. We learned in OoTP that it was Kreacher who told Narcissa about the relationship between Harry was Sirius, and that this instigated Voldemort’s plan to lure Harry to the Department of Mysteries. I’m not saying that Snape is innocent here, but it’s possible that he’s reframing his contributions to Bella in light of what’s happened.

    Also, just want to say that I love Heather Campbell’s depiction of Spinner’s End! Eerie!

  47. Some Pottermore information that blew my mind a bit, is that Petunia grew up in a town called Cokeworth – so Spinner’s End is located there, if that’s the house Snape grew up in. But the Railview Hotel where Harry and the Dursleys stay in PS is in Cokeworth too. I find it interesting that they would choose to return there whilst on the run from Harry’s letters.

  48. ishisoft:
    Cokeworth? That is just a fictional town name, a bow of JKR to Dickens = Coketown in “Hard Times” by the way, another example if her brilliant Literary Alchemy.
    Coketown and Cokeworth certainly are very similar towns, if not identical. Snape’s Muggle father once worked at the mill, but then it closed. Hard Times for the Snape family indeed.

    I think we all agree that the home town of Snape and the Evan’s sisters is very probably in the Greater Manchester Area. Must be an industrial area, once great in the 19th century, now destitute,run down; old cotton mills, polluted river, also open countryside nearby to sustain wildlife (the fox, probably rabbits?) AND with rows of terraced houses around a factory with a tall chimney still standing in the mid 1990 ties.
    Someone did already mention Oldham.
    Supporting that theory is that a Mr John Evans (originally from Wales) is important for Oldham town history, he brought know how and developed coal mining. Milling industry, Engineering, Coal mines = need drills? Connection to Grunnings and Vernon D.?

    Or, in theory Cokeworth could be somewhere in Yorkshire, there are also old mill towns there that fit the description in HBP ch2.

    Now, imagine the Dursleys fleeing in panic from the storm of owls in PS.
    if we look at a map of the motorways around London, we can imagine how they drive from Surrey westward and then turn north towards Liverpool and Manchester.

    Assuming that Petunia and probably Vernon know that area well, because she grew up there (I do know they met in London, but Vernon proposed to her at her home in Cokeworth) it is plausible to stay over night in a hotel there.

    II you are afraid, you tend to seek shelter, at a familiar place if possible, don’t you? A man like Vernon might also know this hotel near a railway station from his business travels.
    Next day they continue to drive in the direction north west, they would eventually reach the coast and find a boat to their tiny rocky island of the western coast.

    Of course the whole trip is idiotic, you cannot outrun owls or wizards like this ;-) and the owls with the letters are not really dangerous, they cannot kill you; but that is narrow minded Vernon D. for you.
    Not well read, intelligent, subtle or with great strength of character like Snape at all.

    What Vernon does in PS is the opposite (Mirror chapter technique, again, JKR does that all the time) of what Snape later does in OOTP, HBP and DH He is no coward, he faces his adversaries like Bella, he plays a most dangerous game, he manipulates people, he uses his sarcastic wit to deal with them and to trick and outsmart them, even the Dark Lord.

    By the way, we can be pretty sure that in PS the Dursleys did not travelled south or south west of London, to Portsmouth or Brighton or anywhere in that direction, and not east to Harwich, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, the descriptions in PS don’t fit, and otherwise Paddington station would not be mentioned in PS.
    This gives us also a clue that Little Whinging is probably in the northernmost part of Surrey near Heathrow Airport and Staines, and not in the southern part of Surrey, near Reading or Guildford.

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