Episode 115 – OotP 37: In a Nutshell

In this week’s episode, we are back at Hogwarts and Dumbledore is in a telling mood – FINALLY. Join hosts Kat, Michael, and Kristen with special guest host author Cora Carmack as they discuss Chapter 37 of Order of the Phoenix!

On Episode 115 we discuss…

– Episode 114 recap: Pivotal Fawkes; Lupin’s wolfy side; A Sirius replacement; The physical Horcrux; In essence divided?
– PQOTW Responses
– Ask, and you shall maybe receive
– The humanization of Albus Dumbledore
– Great Snape Debate: Part four million and two
– Breaking down the Prophecy
– If Neville…
Question of the Week
– Check out the Alohomora! store

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Don’t forget to leave us a voicemail at our phone number: 1-206-GO-ALBUS (462-5287). Skype users can also send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below or on our Forums!

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  • Hufflepug

    Fantastic discussion of a wonderful chapter, and yay Kristen! 🙂 So excited to hear more from you!

    I agree with what Michael was saying about the prophecy working out because of people’s personality traits and predictable actions. J.K. Rowling based the prophecy on the one in Macbeth, where the question is whether Macbeth would have become king if he had chosen a different path upon hearing the prophecy. If he and Lady Macbeth had risen above their greed and desire for power then no, he wouldn’t have become king or had such a tragic ending. But that’s like Voldemort hearing the prophecy and then saying “You know what? I accept death. I’ll just let this baby vanquish me.” Not gonna happen. It seems like a Seer will make a prediction if the circumstances line up so perfectly that it would be highly unlikely for another outcome to occur because the people involved would respond predictably. Snape would panic and beg to protect Lily, Voldemort would panic and try to kill Harry before he had a chance to kill him, Lily would sacrifice herself for Harry, and Harry would grow up with a moral obligation to make everything right again. It’s interesting to think of this prophecy in relation to the one that Trelawney made in Prisoner of Azkaban (by the way – ring composition! Yay!) That prophecy was also predicted when the circumstances had aligned perfectly: the trio would be down at Hagrid’s hut where they would find Scabbers, Ron would obviously take him back because of his attachment to him, and then the events would unfold because Sirius and Lupin were already prepared to catch Peter, Harry would be too kind to kill him, and Peter would go off to help Voldemort. I feel like the magic behind Seers can’t be explained – it’s magic, after all – but it appears to take effect whenever the people involved in a prophecy are situated in certain ways that their actions are predictable which leads to a predictable outcome.

    • Saiyangirl

      So well voiced! Completely agree with you Hufflepug.

      Although the magic behind Seers cannot be explained, I’ve always wondered whether it’s somehow related to concepts we as humans are generally inclined to define as luck or fate or destiny. Sometimes certain circumstances and certain people are at the right place at the right time, things ‘click’ as was brought up on the podcast; like pieces of a puzzle falling into place. There’s a sort of inevitability about the whole thing, a sort of ‘this is too good or too perfect to be true or to work’ thing as well, which makes it feel like something bigger than ourselves is at play.

      Maybe Seer magic somehow taps into the bigger patterns existing in the universe? It tends to remind me of the Lorenz attractor; the butterfly effect and chaos theory and all that. I’m studying dynamic systems at the moment; systems wherein the initial conditions of a system tend to be essential, all components are interdependent, and seemingly random events can cause the system to self-organise into surprisingly structured patterns. The ‘systems’ I’m studying are generally people; various individuals and a set of environments these people are engaged in are all considered to be part of a system.
      Now to go back to HP and the prophecy; we have a system with Dumbledore, Trelawney, Snape, Voldemort, Lily, James, Harry and the Longbottoms, and a war environment. Some initial conditions of Voldemort’s are his fear of one day facing his equal and his circumstance of having grown up an orphan and a half-blood, and his immense narcissism. An initial condition of Snape are his love for Lily, which tears his loyalties between the dark and good sides apart. Just the initial conditions of these two people in the system alone have a drastic influence that allows the prophecy to be fulfilled; Voldemort, being a narcissist, is more likely to view someone more similar to himself (half-blood) as a threat, and is likely to act when he feels threatened (fear of facing an equal and being taken down). Snape, being in love with Lily, will try to bargain with Voldemort so she can survive. Because of this, Snape inadvertently ensures that Lily is given a choice and is able to provide Harry with the love protection.
      And with these systems that are so interdependent, every step the system takes is very important as it directly influences the next step (this is called iteration). Voldemort’s actions leave Harry an orphan with murdered parents. Dumbledore’s calculated actions leave Harry to grow up in an environment where he is physically safe, but basically taught to do what he is told and keep his head down. However sad, he does not develop much of an ego in this environment, and is therefore more selfless and more self-sacrificing. Which is another iteration again making it more and more certain that if Harry feels he needs to protect others and avenge his parents, he will chase after Voldemort no matter the cost. And there’s many iterations that I haven’t mentioned, because so many interdependent factors played a part in bringing the prophecy to its ultimate fulfilment.
      So with each iteration, each action that allows another sentence of the prophecy to come true, the certainty of the prophecy being fulfilled increases exponentially. Because that’s the thing about these systems; the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The system transitions into something else entirely; an encompassing pattern emerges that is in part dynamic (variable; people don’t stay in one state and can go all kinds of ways), in part fixed (predictable; despite individual variations, the larger pattern remains the same). These type of systems occur all the time with people, and are actually much more natural and normal than we’ve realised in the past. I’d like to think Seer magic taps into these encompassing patterns, much as the Centaurs are able to do.

      • Hufflepug

        Wow, that was a fascinating breakdown to read! Kudos to you for going so in depth, and everything you said fits nicely with what happens in the series. In these books, a lot of the most abstract forces (love, for example) have magical components but are also key parts of Muggles’ lives. This seems like another one of those forces. You may have just given the only possible justification for a class on Divination: even though nobody can train themselves to make prophecies like a Seer, people can learn to detach and look at others’ actions and relationships from a systems perspective like this.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      But what id Harry was born a day later? Wouldn’t that mess up everything?

      • RoseLumos

        It would, but in this universe that would never happen. Or the prophecy would say “born as the eight month lives” or something similar.

      • Hufflepug

        He may have picked Neville in that case. But I’m wondering if Seer magic is powerful enough to predict specific dates of birth. It might be, depending on how many outside factors contribute to when a baby is born.

        • The Half Blood Princess

          But does that mean there’s some other death eater who’s in love with Alice who would have replaced Snape if Voldee picked Neville?

          • Hufflepug

            That’s an interesting thought but I would say no. When you think about it, Snape’s role wasn’t mentioned at all in the prophecy. He ended up being integral in the fight against Voldemort because Lily’s death caused him to change his ways, but ultimately it was the love protection and the creation of the accidental Horcrux that gave Harry the unique tools that no one else had in defeating Voldemort. We can assume that Alice would do the same for Neville, since she and Frank are written as having similar values to Lily and James. How does Snape fit into the picture then? Would he still change his ways? This is a really sad thought, but maybe if Frank and Alice had been the ones to die, Lily and James would have found themselves in their position fighting Bellatrix and co. and would have ended up tortured to insanity in the same way as the Longbottoms. This is arguably worse than death and may have still caused Snape to change his ways because he would still have lost the woman he loved. Basically, I think that there are several paths for people to go down that would end up at the same final point (i.e. Snape’s redemption and the defeat of Voldemort). But that’s just me guessing about how things would work out and your questions are fantastic for digging deeper into this complex topic! 🙂

      • Snatch The Snitch

        The Prophecy would’ve likely been different

        • JILLIAN MURPHY

          I think that it would have been more specific and the prophecy would have changed

    • Snatch The Snitch

      I think predestination is definitely what’s going on in the Potterverse. More evidence that proves this theory with Prophecies is the Time-Turner in Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry and Hermione were able to go back in time to save themselves because it was already predetermined that Harry’s future self would do it. Otherwise Harry’s soul would’ve been sucked out by a dementor. They can go back and save Sirius but they can’t clear his name by catching Pettigrew because this has already been predetermined to happen in the future. Harry wants to leave Hagrid’s hut to see his father, but in doing so he saves himself. In other words, nothing changed.

      • Hufflepug

        I don’t know if I would call it predestination because Dumbledore makes it clear that the prophecy didn’t have to come true but rather Voldemort’s actions upon hearing the prophecy made it come true. With the time travel, it’s such a paradox because it was still technically their choice to use the Time Turner. In a way it’s predestined because everything happened before they made the choice to use the Time Turner, but one could also argue that their future selves made a choice that impacted their past selves and this deformity in time makes it appear to be predetermined.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          But is free will an illusion? Isn’t it possible that Voldemort was going to pick Harry no matter what? The problem with the predestined time is there will always be the predestination paradox and circular causation. I agree with your point though, you can make an arguement for another case; I just think this model fits best with the HP story

          • Hufflepug

            It does fit well and we can’t necessarily prove whether free will is an illusion or not because it’s possible to say that everyone’s choices are predetermined. Any story where time travel and prophecy exist brings up this issue. However, I still feel like it would be unlikely for fate to determine everything in the series. If that were the case, then Seers would probably be able to accurately predict far more and their prophecies may be less vague. That’s just speculation and it’s possible that Seers still would have their inaccuracies but if that predestined information was available to them then they may be able to read it, if that makes sense.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Yeah thats possible they could’ve made more accurate predictions, but it could still work even if they were vague. The problem is we don’t know exactly how Seeing works, where the info comes etc..

      • PuffNProud

        I really liked Cora’s idea that time was not linear. That really stuck with me because so much of how we understand the cycle of life is wholly dependent on the linearity of time. If time truly is non-linear, then could predestination exist? Or must it exist because of the non-linearity? MIND BLOWN!

  • So I’m typing as I listen &…

    I can think of at least once that Dumbledore did flat out lie to Harry. While it was in answer to a rather personal question it was still not an honest answer. When Harry asks what Dumbledore sees in the Mirror of Erised he claims to see himself holding a thick pair of wool socks. While I’m sure Harry realizes this is probably not true even at the time it is still technically a lie. He tells Harry later the true sight is his family unscathed.

    You guys keep saying Dumbledore would kill some rando if Voldemort possessed them so that the he could finish You-Know-Who off but you seem to be forgetting Dumbledore knows about the Horcruxes & that with them still around the Dark Lord isn’t going anywhere. So I don’t think Dumbledore would kill somebody just because they were being possessed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It would actually be pointless because all that it would accomplish is the death of the person Voldy is possessing. Dumbledore may not be the most perfect wizard around but he certainly isn’t going to kill someone pointlessly.

    Kat not only does this touch on one of your questions but I think you will appreciate my references:

    I think prophecies are all part of the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff that makes up the universe. Just like in Doctor Who there are fixed points & things in time that can’t be changed but some of the more minor moments that it takes to get you there could easily play out differently. As far as the who of it all…I think in the Wizarding World it comes down to genetics. Eventho Sybil has only ever made 2 true prophecies she is still related (however distantly) to a famous Seer so it is in her blood.

  • RoseLumos

    I’ve got a question for everyone else – the debate (mostly in the Question of the Week) is if Dumbledore should have told Harry earlier about the prophecy. Well what if Dumbledore waited even longer? What if he didn’t tell Harry about it until next year? I imagine it would be a disaster. Imagine if Harry found out about the prophecy and then Dumbledore died the next day. At least he had time to process it now. What if Harry never ever learned about it? Would Harry still do what he does?

    • Hufflepug

      It would have been pretty hard to justify giving Harry all those lessons on Voldemort and eventually teaching him about Horcruxes if Harry hadn’t learned about the prophecy by that point. Dumbledore already seems strange because of how often he allows Harry to be part of this greater fight that he doesn’t fully understand. If he were to call that sixteen-year-old up to his office and teach him the deepest and darkest secrets about the supervillain who is trying to take over the world, Harry would have to wonder why Dumbledore was telling this to him and not Kinglsey or Moody.

    • PixieDragon137

      I think he still would have done what he did. I think his own mortality triumphs the mortality of the people he cares about. It always has. Even for a random person like Gabrielle. Yes he would be angry at Dumbledore for keeping secrets. He would feel betrayed (i assume) like he did when he read the book Rita Skeeter wrote. But in the end of the day he would go ahead and do what needs to be done in order to defeat Voldemort, for his parents if not for anything else.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    I wonder what would happen if there was a prophecy that was issued before someone was conceived.

    On a mostly unrelated note, I just came up with a theory: maybe Voldemort takes Snape with tracking down the Potters? It does plug up a few holes, like how Snape knew the prophecy was about Lily’s son, and why there was apparently enough time to arrange a meeting with Dumbledore. It does add one though: how did Snape keep himself from being avada kedavrad for a year when Voldemort was undoubtedly growing more and more frustrated.

    Jumping topics (mostly) again, Dumbledore said during this chapter the order had ‘more reliable ways of communicating than sticking their heads through Umbridge’s fire’. (Or something like that.) What were they? He’s referring to Snape, so it can’t be patrons communication.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      I thought it was Patronuses. Why can’t it be?

      • The Half Blood Princess

        Because Sirius would probably be able to figure out that Snape loved Lily if he saw his patronus. With the exception of Lupin, he has the most helpful info on this. Also, for all Snape knew, Sirius could have actually been captured by Voldemort, in which case he was most likely near Voldemort. Voldemort might have been suspicious if Snape checked whether Sirius was actually captured. I don’t think Snape would risk blowing his cover for Sirius.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          Good point, I completely forgot Dumbledore didn’t know what Snape’s Patronus was in DH. Maybe all Order members have a tattoo of the London underground and it functions similar to the Dark Mark lol. Now I am curious as to how Snape notified the Order…

  • IceBender07

    I think I remember Jo discussing the ways Lilly and James defied Voldemort in the Interview she did with Pottercast at the end on 2007. I’m going to lesson to it now to find out what they were.

    • IceBender07

      Found it. Minute 32:20 in Pottercast 130, Jo talks about Lilly and James defying Voldemort. Their first time was by simple refusing to join with him. The other times she more vague about. She simply says that it’s any time that they thwarted him, escaped him, or took out one of his minions.

      • Waffles

        This quote, you mean?

        “Also, James and Lily turned him down, that was established in “Philosopher’s Stone”. He wanted them, and they wouldn’t come over, so that’s one strike against them before they were even out of their teens.”

        I had forgotten that. Is she referring to that passing remark Hagrid makes at the beginning when he wonders why Voldemort never recruited them? That’s hardly “established,” but if she says so, it is so, haha.

        • The Half Blood Princess

          Wait, isn’t Lily muggleborn? I thought muggleborns couldn’t be death eaters.

          • Waffles

            I think this was just meant to demonstrate Voldemort’s hypocrisy. He hated muggles, but he loved power more. He wanted all the talented wizards and witches on his side. The blood purity thing is, well, not an “excuse” per se, because he does legitimately hold that prejudice, but he’s a power-hungry psychopath before he’s a bigot, you know? After all, he’s half-muggle himself and doesn’t really try to deny it.

  • SlytherinKnight

    While listening to the episode, when the hosts were talking about the possible plot holes regarding Snape, I noticed they never spoke about how long it took Snape to inform the Order? I mean, depending on how fast thestrals fly, I still think the Order should have beaten the Dream Team to London, since they were already at Grimmauld Place. Also, why wasn’t there an Order guard at the DoM that night? Most likely the Death Eaters ‘took care’ of the guard to ensure that the kids reached the Ministry but still, that’s a major strike against Snape in us not knowing how quickly he told the Order that Harry and others had gone to the DoM. And Snape knew the Patronus charm, so he could have warned the Order using that spell instead of physically going to Grimmauld Place and taking up how much time. Just something I thought needed pointing out

    • RoseLumos

      That brings up a good point. In fact, if Snape could have beaten the kids to the Ministry (I imagine it would have been easier to just walk out of the Hogwarts gate and then Apperate) wouldn’t it have been a better idea to just go directly to the Ministry instead of the headquarters? I guess it would have blown Snape’s cover if he went into the Ministry to protect Harry but he could have come up with some kind of excuse. He would have been outnumbered but I could see a couple of different scenarios where it could have worked out. If the Order’s main goal is to protect Harry than Snape should have done the quickest thing possible to save him.

      Also, where the hell is Snape during this battle? Seriously was he just sitting around while everyone else was fighting?

      • MartinMiggs

        But how can Snape fight if he’s a triple agent? He would have to pick a side and then blow his cover.

        • RoseLumos

          Unless he walked in and pretended that he was doing something on Voldemort’s orders. The kids would be confused and scared but deep down, don’t they know that Snape was doing some kind of spy work? Then when Dumbledore arrived him and Snape could have worked something out like the end of HBP where he does something under Dumbledore orders while pretending to do something for Voldemort. Both Snape and Dumbledore are clever and they figured something out to get everyone out safely while maintaining their cover.

          • MartinMiggs

            But Voldemort believes Snape is truly on his side. If Snape joins the fight and is fighting the Order how is Snape going to gain Dumbledore’s trust when he is attacking the kids?

          • RoseLumos

            When had Dumbledore ever needed hard evidence to trust Snape? Seriously the whole school could complain that Snape poisoned them and Dumbledore would still say, “I trust Snape!” I think it goes back to Snape saving Lily but really Dumbledore has trusted him food the last 16 years. He’s not going to stop now.

          • MartinMiggs

            It’s what Voldemort thinks that is important. He believes Snape is on his side. If Snape is helping Death Eaters in the open it would give the appearance that he is still a death eater and that Dumbledore should not trust Snape. If you were to re-read the Spinner’s End chapter you might understand it more Snape does speak about his absence.

          • RoseLumos

            Oh I’ve read the chapter and I understand where you are coming from. I just think you are under estimating the mind of Albus Dumbledore.

          • MartinMiggs

            Dumbledore is wise that’s not the issue. Snape and Dumbledore have fooled Voldemort into thinking Snape is truly evil and is pretending to be good so he can spy on the Order and Dumbledore without their knowledge. They do this so that they can gain voldemort’s complete trust in Snape so he can help stop Voldemort from the inside. Voldemort in his mind believes he has someone secretly spying on Dumbledore and if “his spy” is doing evil things like helping steal the prophecy he risks “his spy” being caught.

      • PixieDragon137

        I think in the beginning of HBP, Snape tells Bellatrix that he was ordered to remain behind so as to not blow his cover. I *think* it was implied that it was on Voldemorts orders…I think that’s how he knew Harry and Co were headed to the DoM.. but then it would mean he knew about the plan to lure Harry into the Ministry all along.. I guess he was just bluffing to Bellatrix about being in on the plan. After all what reason would Voldemort have to let Snape in on his plans when he couldn’t leave Hogwarts..

    • Snatch The Snitch

      Well Snape probably assumed correctly that Sirius being at the Ministry was false, so why alert the Order right away? He also didn’t know that Harry and co were going to go there, last he saw they were “safe” lol in Umbridge’s office. Even when he sees them go into the forest idk if Snape knew they were going to the Ministry or how they’d even get there. I realize it’s still a stretch but I’m just trying to think of some possibilities. The part about no gaurd though, wasn’t it mentioned somewhere it was becoming too dangerous after Mr. Weasley’s attack, or the Ministry was getting suspicious?

    • PixieDragon137

      I’d been waiting for this chapter discussion for exactly this reason. As you pointed out, there seems to be a good deal of time between Harry leaving the school premises and the Order arriving at the DoM. It also bothers me that he had watched Umbridge go into the forest with Harry and Hermoine (both wandless) and he didn’t think to follow them or make sure they were alright? Also, the Order members were all at the HQ’s when Snape made contact, so it must have taken them like less than 5 minutes to apparate from there to the Ministry..so what was Snape doing all this time? Was he just staring out his window waiting for Harry and co to emerge from the forest? That seems like an unnecessary waste of precious time.

  • RoseLumos

    Talking about prophecies, what would happen if a seer said a prophecy but no one was there to listen? When we see Trelawney recite hers in PoA it almost seemed like something that was unconscious and unstoppable like a sneeze. If Harry wasn’t there, would it count? I guess it’s like that “tree falls in the forest and no one is around” riddle. If a prophecy is never heard than will it come true? Some of the previous discussions seem to say that yes, all prophecies must come true eventually. I guess this also goes back to the Department of Mysteries and the Hall of Prophecies. Are the prophecies automatically made into orbs or do they need to be reported by the receiver?

    • Snatch The Snitch

      I’d have to say they’d still matter. Who’s to say Trelawney didn’t make a prophecy about Luna buying radish earings? Regarding the Hall of Prophecies, I’d have to see it’s more likely the Ministry goes out and collects these for purpose of study, or Name Seers were required to give records to the Ministry.

      Another interesting thing is that Trelawney is sometimes correct even when not going into prophecy mode. One example is the Lightning Struck Tower card she pulls when walking down the corridor.

      • RoseLumos

        I agree, I think they would still count. But I think that Trelawney’s “lucid” predictions are just coincidence. I think they are just a bunch of Easter eggs JKR sprinkled into the text. Also, she was really drunk when she predicts the lightning struck tower so she may have just been talking at that point.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          Yup, me too. I get the impression she’s usually drunk lol.

  • Casey L.

    A few thoughts regarding your discussion on Snape:
    Is Snape Voldemort’s ‘most trusted advisor’? I’m going to go with no. Voldemort doesn’t trust anybody. Dumbledore tells Harry later that anyone who considers him/herself Voldemort’s most trusted deputy is delusional.

    On Snape teaching occlumency lessons: I had never considered that before. I can imagine at least two possible explanations: 1. Snape and Dumbledore have put together a plausible explanation if something goes wrong. 2. Dumbledore might consider Snape expendable at this point. Keep in mind – Voldemort has not tasked Draco with killing Dumbledore, and the curse of the ring has not happened yet. Right here, right now, it’s possible Dumbledore does not imagine a scenario where Snape plays the role he does.

    Why does Dumbledore constantly reply “I trust Snape’? It’s because Dumbledore knows Snape’s not a nice person and maybe not even a good person, but what matters is not what kind of person he is, but that he is on Dumbledore’s side and has proven himself unfailingly so since their meeting after the prophecy. It’s kind of like he’s telling Harry, “I know, but . . .” and only Snape and Dumbledore know what the rest of that sentence is.

    As for why Snape gave the prophecy to Voldemort, knowing it may have referred to Lily’s son, I assumed he didn’t know at the time. In my mind, the timeline went something like this: 1. Snape heard the prophecy referring to a child who would be born as the seventh month died and passed it on to Voldemort. 2. Voldemort tasked Death Eaters with finding out which wizarding couples were expecting a child to be born in late July, and only then was anybody identified. 3. Voldemort decided the half-blood wizard would be the greater threat and targeted the Potters. 4. Snape, realizing what he had done, tried to get Voldemort to spare Lily. 5. Being refused, Snape went to Dumbledore, who took measures to protect them – measures that ultimately proved unsuccessful, but through no fault of his own.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      Agree with your point on the Occlumency lessons. Dumbledore had Snape teach Harry because he’s obviously one of the best, having hid much info from Voldemort I’m sure, and I’m sure that’s more important to Dumbledore compared to how they get along. And you’re right, they probably had a plan in case they were discovered.

      I also think Voldemort doesn’t include anyone in a plan that isn’t necessary. Sure Snape is important, but how important exactly? Well, we see that in Deathly Hallows when he is killed for the Elder Wand.

  • RoseLumos

    I apologize for commenting so much in this chapter but I just realized that no one answered or even mentioned my biggest question – how long was Harry really in Dumbledore’s office?!? At the end of the last chapter Dumbledore said he would give Fudge half an hour of his time. When he arrives he tells Harry that all his friends are fine and that Tonks will need to spend time in the hospital. When does he do all of this? It seems that Harry is in the office for ten minutes. Was it really 30 plus minutes!?!

    • Luna LoveDuck

      Ha, that’s such a good point! I guess that knowing what a badass, straightforward, dominating presence he can be in conversations with Fudge, I would assume that Dumbledore stuck to his word and spent 30 minutes at the ministry, no more no less. He probably got so much info in that time because he pretty much ran the show and directed Fudge and company to address the concerns most important to him first. As for Harry’s POV, I always attributed his interpretation of that half hour in light of his crazy distressed state. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was 30 straight minutes of crying, pacing, trying to open the office door, crying, pacing, trying to open the office door, over and over. It seems to pass in the blink of an eye for him because he’s actually so wrapped up in his own thoughts.

      Meh? Maybe? That’s my two cents, anyway! I loved how you posed this question with that urgency that one only feels when it’s become a nagging Harry Potter question…!

      • RoseLumos

        It was so nagging! I know what you mean, to Harry that time probably felt really short but to us as a reader not much had happened. JKR could have put in a line about time passing but instead it really does feel like 10 minutes. I just remember reading this chapter the first few times and always thinking, “wow, that was quick!”

  • MartinMiggs

    I’m not a huge Snape fan but I still am a little surprised you don’t have a little sympathy for the guy. He’s born and raised in a broken home. He’s bullied throughout his school age years and he loses the love of his life to the person he LOATHES THE MOST. I know choices make us who we are but still bullying and abuse affect the kind of people we become. Snape has had a sad life and I do have some pity for him.

    • UmbridgeRage

      “He’s bullied throughout his school age years…” Umm, is he? I think there is a fallacy here that has been created by people expanding that one moment in 7 years and thinking that this was how it was all the time. James and Sirius (and by proxy Lupin and Wormtail) had a rivalry with Snape, it wasn’t all one way. Snape wasn’t a loner at school either. He had friends other than Lily from within his own house. Snape loved his time at Hogwats and like Harry and Voldemort he considered it his true home. It’s “Snape’s Worst Memory” not because he was bullied but because it was the moment (in his mind) when he lost Lily to his greatest rival.

      It’s this same fallacy that got James so much hate from the fandom. You can’t judge a life on one 20 minute scene.

      You’re not wrong about his early life and for that Snape gets a small measure of my sympathy

      • MartinMiggs

        But you’re forgetting other moments like their first year on the train or when Sirius tries to get Snape into the Shrieking Shack with werewolf Lupin and it is implied in the books that this happens all the time. You don’t think Lupin would defend himself and his friends by saying oh it was only that 1 time? Regardless of how often the bullying occurs it still has a traumatic impact on Snape. This is why he’s a jerk this is why he can’t sustain a relationship.

        • SlytherinKnight

          Yes the Maruaders bullied Snape, no question about that. But Snape was not the ‘white and innocent’ victim, he turned to bullying himself to gain power over others. Just after calling Lily a Mudblood, we see Snape trying to apologize to Lily, saying he didn’t mean it. Lily calls him out saying that he had been actively participating in Death Eater-ish behavior with Macnair, I believe, and others. Also, as his time as Professor, he bullied those who couldn’t even fight back, his students. While the Marauders were berks for bullying Snape for no real reason, Snape had the ability to fight back. Harry, Neville and the other students couldn’t fight back against Snape, and that is why Snape is nearly an unforgivable character in my opinion. He continued a school yard grudge for almost two decades after his main instigator had been killed (partially by his own hand) and Sirius locked up.

          • MartinMiggs

            But what I’m saying is he became that because of how he grew up. He didn’t have loving and nurturing parents where he could learn about love and kindness. He was bullied because of the fact he exists and laughed at by his peers. Now how could somebody live like that and grow up to be a kind, cheery person?

          • SlytherinKnight

            Two words: Harry Potter

            Harry was raised in a very ‘abusive’ home after his parents were killed, he was bullied and all alone growing up thanks to Dudley, and when he entered the wizarding world, he constantly faced harassment thanks to his celebrity and the fickle nature of the wizarding world, in addition to having to save the wizarding world from a megalomanic bent on killing him, yet Harry turns out pretty well. Sure, maybe Harry isn’t the most cheerful person but he is much too kind IMO. With how the wizarding world turned its back on him multiple times, if I was in Harry’s position, I don’t know if I would have been so eager to save it.

            Harry and Snape are almost mirror images of each other, and like Dumbledore says ‘it is our choices that define us’, and Snape chooses to bully schoolchildren and carry on a schoolboy grudge for nearly two decades after his main enemies were killed.

          • MartinMiggs

            I don’t think anyone in real life could grow up that way and turn out a normal person.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Well said. I’ll also add Ron Weasley given hell by the twins his whole life, is bullied by Draco for six years, and he turns out ok as well. Hermione also doesn’t have a great time of it from the Slytherin girls and even the Gryffindor ones in her first year. She doesn’t appear to get along with any female students other than Ginny, even her and Luna are at odds most of the time.

        • UmbridgeRage

          I’m not forgetting anything. I think that you are forgetting that “Snape knew more hexes in his first year than most seventh year students”. Who do you think he used those hexes on? Snape didn’t allow himself to be bullied by the Marauders, he actively perpetuated the war between them and himself. The issue is we only see memories of James from Snape’s P.O.V and never get a scene of Snape retaliating, which IMHO happened regularly. He strikes me as the type who would have sniped James from a distance to avoid being caught.

          As to Sirius trying to get Snape into the Shrieking Shack with Lupin. Well, we all realize that it was going a bit far, which is why James stopped it. Let’s not forget that Snape had been snooping around for years trying to find out Lupin’s secret in the hopes of getting them all expelled. Surely, if he was being bullied in the way you have implied, he would have tried to stay as far away from his tormentors as he possibly could have.

          I just don’t buy that the bullying was all one way traffic.

          • The Half Blood Princess

            My problem with the shrieking shack thing is Sirius was willing to put Lupin, his FRIEND, through the guilt of having eaten someone for a laugh.

          • UmbridgeRage

            I don’t think Sirius thought his plan through to that conclusion. He probably thought that Snape would get a good scare and then never bother the Mauraders ever again. Studies have shown that humans don’t really comprehend consequences until they reach adulthood and then for some not even then. Fortunately, James was a little more mature than Sirius and stopped it all.

            We all agree that this incident marks the low point of Sirius’ character.

          • MartinMiggs

            You are forgetting because you said there was no retaliation from Snape when he did during his worst memory. Anyone is capable of being bullied it doesn’t matter if they are big or strong enough to fight back (also Snape is being ganged up upon so he can fight back but he will lose and fighting your bully doesn’t change the fact you are being bullied). If someone is a jerk they can still be bullied. Bullies are often victims of bullying themselves that doesn’t change the fact that they were bullied and that was morally wrong. If you don’t believe that the name calling on the train during the Princes Tale and ganging up on Snape and using magic to abuse him and humiliate him during Snape’s Worst Memory is not bullying then I don’t know what to tell ya. If you want to argue semantics and say the bullying wasn’t happening all 7 years everyday then fine but in the books it is implied that this is happening somewhat routinely. Like I’ve argued in previous posts how could we blame someone entirely for being a terrible human being when they have been shaped that way with a horrible home and bullying at school.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Maybe it’s changed in the many years since I was in the schoolyard but I thought bullying was when a person, or group, target another person who cannot defend themselves or stand up to the bullying. This is why bulling is considered cowardly. When does a fight turn into bullying? Can someone who is bullied bully their bully back?

            The train scene shows us that Snape and James had an instant dislike for one another and Snape does call James stupid, “if you would rather be brawny than brainy”, for wanting to be in Gryffindor before James calls him “Snivellus”. “Snape’s Worst Memory” is certainly bullying, I don’t dispute that, but the books also imply that Snape routinely got back at James and that they were “at war” with one another. “Snape was a special case. I mean, he never lost an opportunity to curse James” Lupin to Harry OotP pg 591 Bloom ed. Was it Snape or James who turned it from name calling to hexing every chance they got? We don’t have enough evidence to make the blanket statement “He’s bullied throughout his school age years…” which was my original point.

  • Waffles

    The discussion about the prophecy’s reveal made me think about something. Who exactly knew what about the prophecy? In HPB, Dumbledore tells Harry that the two of them are the only two who know exactly what the prophecy says. But he must have told the Order something about it, right? They are guarding it constantly. Sirius specifically refers to it as a “weapon” earlier in this book, and a couple of chapters ago, in the Dept. of Mysteries, he tells Harry to take the prophecy with him, which makes me think that, at the very least, he knows that it is very important. (Of course, Sirius is dead when Dumbldore says that he and Harry are the only ones who know its full contents, thought the rest of the Order isn’t.)

    And also, what, if anything, did James and Lily know about the prophecy? I always used to think that Dumbledore had told them exactly what was going on, but I’ve never seen anything to that effect. Wouldn’t James and Lily have told Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew had they known (the latter of the two, who, according to Dumbledore at least, don’t know what the prophecy says)? Maybe he just gave them the general gist of what it said, or maybe he just told them Voldemort wanted them all dead, so hide now. We know Dumbledore is strategic about who he gives what information and when, and I just wonder whether he wasn’t extra secretive about the prophecy, even to the parents of its subject.

    • UmbridgeRage

      I think Dumbledore would have told the Order that Voldemort was after the prophecy and that it was about Harry and it was the reason he was targeted. He would not reveal the words spoken in the prophecy and I believe that the Order would have excepted that.

      I get the feeling that Dumbledore would have told Lily and James that Voldemort had targeted them and not even mentioned Harry except to convince them to go into hiding for the sake of there unborn child. Sirius and Lupin probably got quite the shock when DD finally told them the “truth” at the start of OotP.

      • Waffles

        This sounds entirely plausible, even probable maybe, although it seems like J & L would’ve wanted an explanation as to why Voldemort was so hell-bent on killing them in particular. But maybe not…

        • UmbridgeRage

          Everyone trusts Dumbledore’s judgement. If they asked and he lied or simply told them that he couldn’t tell them then again I think, as Order members, they would have (eventually) excepted it.

      • The Half Blood Princess

        On a similar note, how much did Voldee tell his death eaters? All the death eaters there seemed to know about it, but Voldee isn’t exactly the trusting type.

        • UmbridgeRage

          Maybe Snape told LV about what he heard at one of those table discussions that they have at the start of DH. All the main DE’s would know about the first part of the prophecy then. I doubt that if he got his hands on the whole prophecy that LV would have let everyone hear it.

          • The Half Blood Princess

            Does that mean all the main Death eaters know who the other main death eaters are? Because Karkaroff can identify very few.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Probably kept their masks on back in those days. Maybe Karkaroff isn’t considered a main DE. Just throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks. 🙂

  • PixieDragon137

    I just had a thought regarding Fawkes; Fawkes stands in the way of Dumbledore and Voldemort while the latter fires a killing curse at Dumbledore. So does that mean by sacrificing himself Fawkes had given Dumbledore the same kind of protection that Lily had given Harry? I was wondering whether the protection is applicable here, or does one need to be blood related for it to work..?

    • UmbridgeRage

      Voldemort did not offer Fawkes the chance to move out of the way and save himself. No blood protection without that offer first.

      • PixieDragon137

        Oh right, I had quite forgotten about being offered the choice. Oh well.

        But it’s fascinating how Fawkes appears when he does. I understand why Fawkes appeared to save Dumbledore but i always wondered why he appears for Harry in the graveyard. And now I’m thinking whether it has something to do with its tail feathers being present in the duelling wands. I wonder if the brother wands duelling against each other somehow compels Fawkes to be there or something.. (just thinking aloud here)

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Fawkes doesn’t really die, and I think he knew he wouldn’t die, so it wouldn’t count. I think.

      • PixieDragon137

        Doesn’t one need to die first in order to be reborn though? But either way, I guess you have the right idea as technically Fawkes cannot ‘die’ because he keeps being reborn.. Perhaps Voldemort should have experimented with 101 ways to turn into a Phoenix instead of ripping his soul apart.

        Oh, question: If one’s animagus form is a phoenix, would they too be able to cyclically regenerate you think?

        • Hufflepug

          Sorry for jumping into this conversation but that’s a really interesting question! I would guess they wouldn’t regenerate because it seems like Animagi still have the same life expectancies as humans (Wormtail lived for thirteen years as a rat) and I bet that the regeneration property of the phoenix falls under that same rule.

    • PuffNProud

      I think one has to be human or of near-human intelligence for the blood protection to work. 😉

      • PixieDragon137

        Yes, that makes sense as one has to fully understand what they are doing-that is, to understand that they are being given the choice to live if they step aside etc. But then, a lot of the creatures seem to be pretty intelligent to me. Crookshanks, for example, in Harry’s third year, had latched himself onto Sirius and wouldn’t budge when Harry was facing him with a wand. And Fawkes too is no ordinary bird as we see. And even Buckbeak seemed to know when he was being insulted by Draco. So that made me kind of wonder, would their sacrifice count or not…

  • Machiavellian Dumbledore

    On the subject of Dumbledore consistently giving any of Snape’s wrongdoings ‘the benefit of the doubt,’ we should consider this with awareness of Dumbledore’s damaged past and fractured character.

    Firstly, Dumbledore repeatedly making excuses for Snape’s behavior indicates Dumbledore’s subconscious need to validate his own personal change. Dumbledore idealizes Snape to personify an individual transformation away from a dark past in attempt to falsely convince himself of his own transformation, away from obsession with the Deathly Hallows.

    Secondly, Dumbledore’s infallible forgiveness of Snape may be the result of identifying with Snape’s emotional trauma. Just as Snape lost Lily’s affection in his teenage years partially due to his association with Dark Arts’ ideals, in his youth Dumbledore lost Ariana a result of his own alignment with ‘the greater good’ movement.

    Thirdly, Dumbledore sees the best in Snape as he craves Snape’s redemption of past mistakes in the name of his love for Lily. This would affirm the ability of unrequited love to redeem, allowing Dumbledore to forgive himself for how his own unrequited love for Grindelwald had the ability to corrupt.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      I agree, but I would like to add that he also probably feels guilty about the fact that he’s willing to sacrifice Harry, and knows how Snape will react. (I know he acts surprised in the scene where he does, but I feel that was mostly for the reader’s benefit.)

      • skgai

        There’s a lot of Book 7 stuff we will get to later here like (is Dumbledore really sacrificing Harry). Suffice it to say Dumbledore reveals himself to be critical of Snape in Book 7 claiming he’s blind to the good other people see in Harry. They clearly don’t see eye to eye and I suggest they don’t see themselves in the other at all. Snape has given Dumbledore his word to do what is asked of him and in return Dumbledore gives Snape his word to not let any of motives be known. This is why Dumbledore repeatedly says “I trust Severus Snape.” To expound on any of the topics Harry mentions in this chapter would reveal secrets Dumbledore has sworn to keep safe.

    • skgai

      I love your thoughts here. Certainly worth pondering.

      Yet I still think Dumbledore simply trusts Snape because Snape has proven himself time and time again. He is Dumbledore’s smartest, wisest and most cunning ally all in the face of Voldemort. Snape understands subordination and how to follow orders. I really don’t think Dumbledore truly understands Snape’s love of Lily as he is still surprised when Snape reveals his patronus to him in Book 7. Dumbledore believes he’s just finally seen the error of his ways and has seen ample evidence supporting that claim.

      Their relationship to me has always seemed exclusively professional. I don’t think either really cares at all about the other’s peronal life. The text certainly doesn’t offer any evidence to the contrary.

      *Note. As I write this I think the truth is somewhere in between our two comments. I’ll have to think about this some more.

  • SpectacularlyHypothetical

    The whole Dumbledore having a blind spot for Snape discussion got me thinking. I agree that Dumbledore gives Snape too many free passes, but Idon’t think the reason is the same as for Harry.
    Dumbledore both loves and pities Harry and that’s why he behaves the way he does towards him, with Snape I think the motivation is slightly different.
    I believe Dumbledore sees a lot of his own story in Snape and needs to believe that redemption is possible for him, because that way he can believe that he can also be redeemed.
    Dumbledore needs to know that Snape can come back to the light, so that he himself can also do so.
    I think he uses Snape as a sort of vicarious redemption, he forces him into extreme danger and emotional trauma in order that he might be redeemed, but the flip side of it is that he is much more forgiving of Snape’s more everyday unpleasantness.

    • Luna LoveDuck

      That is such a great observation, and you phrased it beautifully!

    • PuffNProud

      When I think about the relationship between Dumbledore and Snape it always leads me back to Dumbledore’s character. It’s hard to say that Dumbledore truly loved Snape when he lied to him (via omission or not) about Harry and that Snape goes to his death thinking that Harry will die, that Harry is truly a pig for slaughter. How could you do that to someone you would even call “friend” no less someone you loved? Dumbledore asks everyone to trust him, that Dumbledore will do the right thing. But is that right thing motivated from love or for the greater good?

      • PuffNProud

        Oh and another facet to this is the “I trust Severus Snape” comments that seem to be Dumbledore’s default. Could it be that Dumbledore knows Snape’s character enough to trust him (Snape) to do the right thing? That Snape is worthy of redemption? At a recent con, an author posited that unforgivable curses are truly unforgiveable, that is, that no one else can forgive you for their use, you must do it yourself via redemption. Snape has used unforgiveable curses and has fought his way back. “And what of my soul, Dumbledore?” Snape asks, but Dumbledore already knows – Snape IS redemption. It is something Dumbledore has seen, trusts to happen, and likely aspires to himself. So even though it is a bit of default for Dumbledore’s explanations, it is actually one of the highest compliments he can give, and perhaps creates a blind spot, but one that is totally justified.

  • SwishySycamore

    About of Occulemencey lessons, there is a theory that Snape wasn’t supposed teach Harry Occulemencey. Dumbledore considered the fact that Voldermort could see that Snape was trying to teach Harry Occulemencey through his and Harry’s horcrux connection. Thus, told told Snape not to teach Harry probably just in case Voldermort finds out. But throughout Order of the Phoenix, all of the adults wanted Harry to learn Occulemencey, to know the importance if learning Occulemencey. Dumbledore would like to think that Harry would know the importancw of practising Occulemencey, even if Snape wasn’t teaching him properly. His plan failed obviously.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Uh, then Dumbledore really doesn’t know Harry. Also, how does Dumbledore think it’s a good idea to force Harry and Snape to spend prolonged time alone together in a confined space?

      • SwishySycamore

        Because Dumbledore knew that this essentially was the only way of teaching Occulemencey. Dumbledore couldn’t teach it because he would of thought Voldermort would see him. I think Dumbledore would think for the greater good so to speak.

  • DisKid

    This chapter started my dislike of Dumbledore. I think Dumbledore really screwed up and didn’t have any good reasons for it either. I understand him not wanting to tell Harry about this prophecy until the time was right, that’s a load on Harry’s shoulders and he has enough. But why did he need to hide the prophecy from Voldemort? I don’t see any point in having any members of the order guard the prophecy. He already heard enough of it to decide Harry was his target so it was too late to save either of the boys from that. The rest of it there was no need to keep it away from Voldemort, it would have made no difference if he heard it. Voldemort wanted the prophecy because he thought there was really important information to tell him how to defeat Harry. Of course, there was, but it would not have made a difference as Voldemort does not and will not ever understand why love is powerful. I think if Voldemort knew the rest he just would have been infuriated that there wasn’t any good information in it in his opinion. I don’t think he needed to risk any order members lives by having them guard it, I think he should have had more focus on how Voldemort was going to try to get in there aka Harry.Dumbledore could have had all members of the order on alert warning them that Voldemort might give Harry a false vision to get the prophecy and he could have even told Harry this might happen as I do believe Dumbledore knew this was possible and warned him to either find an order member at Hogwarts or write an urgent owl to the order members before jumping to conclusions and taking action. Not to mention, to trust that other order members would help take care of it so he didn’t need to be the sole hero.

    In other words; when I heard this was what Dumbledore was hiding from Voldemort and the reason for having order members stand guard I was not happy. I think Dumbledore had no need to keep the prophecy away from Voldemort, put Arthur’s life in danger, and I do put some blame on Dumbledore for what happened to Sirius as he could have warned Harry or had another order member warn Harry that this may happen and not to believe it unless another order member confirmed it. This started my list of Dumbledore making unwise decisions that he should have known better than to do and caused me to not really be a fan of him any longer.

    • MartinMiggs

      I don’t think it would be possible for Dumbledore to know every bit of voldemort’s plan. It would be too easy if he did and make the books a lot less compelling. Voldemort is an incredibly intelligent wizard he deserves some credit.

      • DisKid

        I don’t by any means think he knew every little bit of Voldemort’s plans. However, if he didn’t know Voldemort could possibly manipulate Harry, why have him take occlumency lessons? Isn’t that what the lessons are for? I do think he knew something like that could possibly happen, even if he didn’t know exactly to the point what it was. Especially since I also believe he did know only certain people could lift the prophecy. He knows the department of mysteries well enough. If you know that knowledge, it’s not exactly out of the woods to think that Voldemort may try to manipulate Harry in some way to come get it. I mean heck Hermione figured it out and she had no idea that only Harry and Voldemort could touch the prophecy.

        • MartinMiggs

          Dumbledore is afraid that Voldemort is using the connection to spy on him and so he avoids speaking to Harry as much as possible. If Dumbledore is fully aware of the plan to lure Harry to the ministry then how could avoiding Harry affect the dreams he’s having. How could Harry get to the ministry when he’s safe at Hogwarts? I don’t think Dumbledore could predict a scenario when McGonagall, Hagrid and himself are gone from Hogwarts all at the same time and not able to stop Harry from leaving the school.

          • DisKid

            I don’t think he knew Voldemort’s plan to a T, I just do believe with Dumbledore’s smarts the thought could have occurred to him that Voldemort could very well put a false image into Harry’s head for some reason. If Hermione can figure it out, so can he. Same with how to leave Hogwarts. If the kids can figure out how to do that, so can he.

            I know he was afraid about the connection, that’s why I put forth one possibility that he could have another order member warn him about this and tell him be sure to have it confirmed by an order member before jumping to conclusions. Even if Dumbledore didn’t know it was going to be to go get the prophecy, that possibility could come up in several scenarios for different reasons. As said earlier, Hermione, unlike Dumbledore, didn’t know Voldemort wanted the prophecy. Just knew he wanted Harry and put two and two together. I just really don’t believe that this thought did not go into Dumbledore’s head and that really was something that needed to be told to Harry. Particularly after the incident with Arthur Weasley.

    • UmbridgeRage

      Would it make you feel better or worse about Dumbledore if I told you that guarding the prophecy was nothing more than a distraction? Dumbledore figured that Voldemort would be obsessed with hearing the rest of it and so set up the guard to both delay him and make him think it was worth guarding. Why? To give him time to hunt down horcruxes before Volde made his move on both the ministry and himself. He was trying to save lives by (hopefully) finding all of them before the 2nd war had really started. Slughorn not telling him how many there were didn’t help and they were better hidden than even Dumbledore gave Voldemort credit for.

      It’s classic wartime strategy. Make the enemy think your doing one thing while your really doing something much more devastating.

      • DisKid

        Thank you for your insightful comment!

        On one hand it does make me feel better as that strategy makes sense.

        On the other hand it doesn’t as I don’t think it was necessary to go that way about it. I do believe Dumbledore knew only Harry and Voldemort could touch the prophecy and Voldemort was not going to waltz into the ministry with their belief that he hadn’t returned so he wasn’t going to get to it very fast. Sure eventually he would have just said “Oh, who cares!” and walked right in and taken it, though that would have been after he tried for Harry which took awhile. I think he could have done this distraction by having several order members (this way if anybody got hurt, they’d have help) simply check to make sure the prophecy is there daily then leave for the night. Voldemort could have then written it off as they are too trusting of the magical protection around the prophecy and therefore don’t see need to guard it 24/7. Particularly if they don’t want to get busted by the ministry When the day eventually comes where he decides he’s just going to go take it and doesn’t care about the ministry, at least they’ll finally see he wasn’t kidding about Voldemort.

        So with your comment in mind I can feel a little better about it, though I do think he could have come up with a better idea to not have Arthur or anyone else there by themselves. So he gets more of a pass, but not a full pass. And he really doesn’t get a pass when it comes to Voldemort tricking Harry. That I’m still not too happy with him about. He should have warned Harry that could possibly happen. Not too was a really bad decision.

        • UmbridgeRage

          He trusted Snape to tell him that and, in a manner of speaking, Snape does tell Harry during their first lesson that Voldemort can use his powers to put false images in his mind. Of course, he doesn’t stress that this is why Occlemacy lessons are so important. Having Snape do the lessons was Dumbledore’s biggest mistake (this year).

          • DisKid

            Totally agree! That’s been discussed several times before and they usually agree that was a bad idea. He put too much faith in Snape and didn’t take into account the fact that Snape is sleazy.

      • Silverdoe25

        I also feel as though Harry is put at even greater risk if Voldemort hears the “neither can live while the other survives” phrase. I think that would set Voldemort a little over the edge. He may have become even more desperate to get rid of Harry.

        I do also love the idea of guarding the prophecy as a distraction. Dumbledore had to be doing some serious horcrux research by this point. It’s evident in the fight in the Ministry. Even Voldemort notices that Dumbledore does not seek to kill him.

        One final comment from me. Michael’s rendition of the Prophecy was the best performance I have heard of his to date. Chilling.

    • Luna LoveDuck

      I have nothing new to contribute, I just wanted to give all of you on this discussion thread a high five! The strategies and motivations in this book are so complicated, and you guys have all made some really cool observations about everything. Rock on!

      • DisKid

        That’s part of Harry Potter fandom! Different discussions, opinions, so many questions that JK Rowling may not even be able to answer!

    • The Half Blood Princess

      There’s a theory on mugglenet that Dumbledore was purposefully distracting Voldemort from doing other things that actually helped him. Not that it was okay to risk people’s life for a distraction, but Dumbledore definilty is not stupid.

      • DisKid

        Somebody actually said that farther down, might wanna read the whole replies 😉

        Don’t worry, I don’t think Dumbledore is stupid at all. He’s a genius. That’s why after the last 3 books I didn’t have a very good view of him any longer. I thought he was too smart to make the decisions he did. Particularly in the 6th book and his explanation for it in the 7th. It would have been a lot easier to accept if he was dumber lol

        • The Half Blood Princess

          Oh, sorry, didn’t see that.

  • Snatch The Snitch

    The new info on Draco was pretty cool from Pottermore. Wish we got a bit more about his future though

  • Luna LoveDuck

    This was the best episode ever, you guys are amazing! This podcast and the fans who discuss it make me so happy.

    I love this chapter so much, but so many feels to feel, so many problems with what happens… Others have already made similar comments, but I’m just gonna vent and get this off my chest.

    I’ve always been hung up on one of the kinks that Michael also pointed out: Dumbledore says he’ll tell Harry everything, but he doesn’t! That undermines everything he does and says. He wants to get back on Harry’s good side, so he claims that he’s leveling with him, and he spends all of book six re-establishing himself as a mentor to be trusted. But if Dumbledore really cared, he would tell Harry everything (IE, “You’re a Horcrux, hunt other Horcruxes and then sacrifice yourself, and oh yeah, you’ll also need this handy sword of Gryffindor.”) Potter has earned that kind of honesty, and he is emotionally mature enough to accept the truth and carry out the mission. Maybe this chapter, right after Sirius’ death, is not the best time. But in this scene, Dumbledore establishes a trust that he betrays all through Half-Blood Prince, when he could break the news at any time. If you really care about Harry and want him to succeed, respect him enough to tell him what he needs to do and how to do it.

    When I take a deep breath and step back from obsessing, I know rationally that the real reason the facts are revealed the way they are is simply because JKR needed the plot to unfold in a certain way. But if I interpret Dumbledore’s actions as they’re portrayed in the story, I’m left with the conclusion he reaches in the King’s Cross scene: Harry really is the better man. I don’t think we’re meant to get to the end of the series and think that Dumbledore was a master strategist who created a necessary obstacle course. I think we’re meant to assess the whole picture and realize how flawed the Headmaster was. The real revelation is that Harry was a good enough person to forgive Dumbledore for putting Harry through the hell and confusion that unfolds in book seven.

    • Casey L.

      Just don’t forget – Dumbledore doesn’t know everything there is to know about the horcruxes at this point, and truthfully, I don’t think he ever does find out until Harry shows up at ‘King’s Cross’ after the forest scene in Deathly Hallows. At this point, he doesn’t even know for sure how many they’re looking for – I think he knows of at least three and maybe all but the diadem – but he doesn’t know where they all are, and he certainly doesn’t know how much work Harry will have to do to track them down before the final battle takes place. At this point, he might be planning on tracking most of them down himself and then leaving the last (hardest) part to Harry. Everything changes once he gets cursed by the ring.

      • SlytherinKnight

        While Dumbledore doesn’t know all about the Horcruxes, he does know Harry is a Horcrux by Harry’s sixth year (remember in the Prince’s Tale chapter, Dumbledore tells Snape that Harry must die and Voldemort must do it.), he also at least suspects Harry is a horcrux all the way back in Harry’s second year, the scene when he tells Harry that Harry speaks Parseltongue because Voldemort speaks in, the transferring some of his powers line in Chamber of Secrets.

        And Dumbledore should have told Harry everything he knew once Dumbledore knew that he wouldn’t make it past the end of sixth year. He left everything up to chance when he didn’t tell Harry all he knew, honestly it was more luck than anything that Voldemort was defeated in book seven.

        • UmbridgeRage

          I think we have all had times where we have put off telling someone bad news. Dumbledore had a lot of stuff to tell Harry in his sixth year and clearly left some of the most important stuff to last because he thought he had more time. He clearly underestimated Draco’s ability to carry out the task Lord Voldemort had set for him, as did everyone, and thus did not get to show Harry how to destroy the locket with the sword (he never found out it was a fake).

          He left Snape the job of telling Harry he was a horcrux because he knew that allowing Harry to have time to think about having to sacrifice himself would lessen the chances of him being able to go through with it.

        • Casey L.

          Dumbledore may very well have intended to tell Harry everything, but even with the curse, I think he may not have truly thought he was really going to die until the very end. It sort of reminds me of the story of Peter the Great when he was on his deathbead, where he has not yet made out his will and writes on a piece of paper, “Leave it all to . . .” but cannot finish. Dumbledore does something similar, starting Harry on the task and starting to tell him what he needs to know, but he just runs out of time.
          As for the part about Harry being a horcrux, I think Dumbledore keeps that from him because, as UmbridgeRage noted, he didn’t want Harry to have too much time to think about it, and because as he notes in this conversation, he cares so much about Harry, that he wishes to spare him pain. Is it right? I’m not completely sure, but it is a very human reaction to the situation.

      • Luna LoveDuck

        That’s such a good point! I definitely get a little too worked up sometimes and forget about the actual timeline/how much information Dumbledore even has available to reveal to Harry. It’s definitely true that there’s uncertainty, and even Dumbledore couldn’t have been exactly sure of what was going to happen until all was revealed in King’s Cross. I guess it’s not that I’m upset about the info provided in this specific chapter. Rather, I’m more concerned about the fact that he establishes trust in this scene, and then fails to continue to live up to that trust. In this chapter, Dumbledore is saying “I made a mistake by keeping things from you, and I won’t do that again.” So from this point on, Dumbledore should be open about all the information or theories or resources he does have, regardless of how much he’s certain of at any given time. Harry should be privy to all the information that Dumbledore has, so he can be as well prepared as possible. I feel like book five should have taught Dumbledore how detrimental it is to keep Harry out of the loop. Especially because you’re right about how the curse of the ring is such a turning point: From that point on, Dumbledore at least knows that he has limited time, and he certainly knows that the sword can help, could have given Harry the sword at any time… Grr, just gives me frustratey sighs!

        Thanks so much for discussing this with me! Online Harry Potter chats are the best part of my day at work 😉

        • Casey L.

          It would be nice to see Dumbledore a little more open, but I think his problem is still the same one he has had up to this point – he still cares too much, and he still wants to give Harry a shot at as normal a life as possible and spare him any more pain than necessary.
          Once the curse does happen over the summer, obviously we’re talking about a much different situation, but I still think the potential help Dumbledore gives is limited. He does give Harry information about Voldemort and (eventually) a fully formulated theory about the horcruxes, and he even shows Harry just how hard finding and retrieving one can be. He could have told Harry about the sword, but I don’t think he could have given it to him. Going off my memory, it seems the sword must present itself to a worthy person or found under certain circumstances. Isn’t that what Dumbledore tells Snape in Deathly Hallows? Then again, Harry gives the sword to Dumbledore, who keeps it in his office at the end of Chamber of Secrets, so I’m not sure what to think there.

  • HPAlison

    One approach I don’t hear much in regards to Dumbledore’s confession to Harry in this chapter is that it was very calculating – whether on purpose or not I’m not sure. But Dumbledore told Harry exactly what Harry needed to hear to keep him as his pawn.

    Up until this year, Dumbledore has been a flawless hero in Harry’s eyes. In fact, he remains that way throughout the year despite Harry’s increasing frustration. When challenged, Dumbledore has Harry’s unquestioning loyalty. But here, with Sirius’s death, all that is in flux. Harry is furious and grieving and rightly or wrongly is pinning the blame on Dumbledore. It could be the end of all Dumbledore’s plans if Harry permanently breaks with him.

    Dumbledore doesn’t seem defensive or upset. Instead, he accepts Harry’s blame and uses it to rebuild Harry’s trust in him. It’s like reverse constructive criticism – where you start with a compliment to lessen the blow of the criticism. Dumbledore spends a long time explaining to Harry how he’s screwed up and why he’s wronged Harry. Dumbledore appears to make himself completely vulnerable and entirely open with Harry (when the truth is much more complicated). By doing so, Harry rebuilds his trust in Dumbledore because Dumbledore has never until this point revealed himself to be flawed. This is seemingly a big leap of trust that Dumbledore is making in Harry and is said so kindly and sympathetically that Harry can’t help but take Dumbledore at his word. It calms Harry down and makes him more receptive to hearing about the prophecy and Harry’s status as the “chosen one” and all the responsibilities that come with it.

    It even resembles Voldemort’s leadership style in a small way. One of the ways that Voldemort reintroduces himself to the Death Eater’s at the graveyard at the end of GoF is by admitting his faults. He garners sympathy and rejuvenated loyalty amongst his members (which unlike Dumbledore he holds onto by instilling fear, greed, and cruelty).

    Voldemort says ‘You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body…his mother…unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen. … I was foolish to overlook it. … I miscalculated, my friends, I admit it.’ – etc. With these admissions, Voldemort is pretending to bring his followers into his trust circle and make them feel special, because Voldemort is treating them as an equal. But it’s all very calculated to increase group loyalty.

    I’m not equating Dumbledore with Voldemort. In fact, I’m very much a Dumbledore apologist. I think Dumbledore speaks the truth when he says he cares about Harry and that impacted his actions. I also think a lot of his actions during 5th year were justified. Particularly avoiding Harry since the connection between Harry and Voldemort became overwhelming when Dumbledore was around and may have sped up how soon Voldemort was able to control the connection. But given Dumbledore’s ultimate long term plan, I think this office confessional with Harry is one step along the path of ensuring that Dumbledore’s plan works.

    It is the brilliant work of a strategic genius.

    • skgai

      This is my favorite comment this week. Well said!

  • RoseLumos

    Off topic – who has read all the new Draco information on Pottermore?!? Overall it’s nothing that new but I am happy that little Scorpius will have a better upbringing!

    • Snatch The Snitch

      I liked it mostly but I wish there was a little more on Draco’s future

      • RoseLumos

        Me too! It is hinted that he still has so much money that he doesn’t need to work but surely he has to do something besides sitting around the house all day. Sure, he collects dark objects but how many hours per week would that take up?

        • Snatch The Snitch

          I know! I’d expect him to try and wield some influence at the Ministry like his father, or perhaps teach Potions like Snape! That’d be funny. But he would do either of those trying to spread tolerance and not be a dbag like his father.

          It was cool we learned Lucius turned in Death Eaters to the Ministry.

          I’d love to read some sort of interaction/convo between Draco and Harry down the line.

        • PixieDragon137

          Speaking of sitting around the house all day, I wonder if the wizarding community has a gym (..i know, of all the things to ask..)

          • RoseLumos

            That’s a good question. We see that they have wizard sports but honestly Quidditch doesn’t seem like that physical of an activity. I wonder if Hogwarts ever had any physical education classes because surely wizard children need to stay healthy. Then again, that brings up the question of why there aren’t any mathematics or English classes at Hogwarts because even though they are wizards they still need to read and pay bills.

          • PixieDragon137

            Climbing all those stairs of Hogwarts seems to be the only workout they get (142 staircases.. i guess that sort of counts as P.E). I think there probably might be more classes at Hogwarts that we don’t know about because Harry didn’t take them. There is a mention of a school play (the fountain of fair fortune, i think) that Hogwarts once attempted. It would be interesting to know what other elective subjects as well as student clubs Hogwarts have.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            That and it seems like there are inumerable classrooms that aren’t being used at certain times. What else would all of these extra classrooms be for?

          • Hufflepug

            Maybe since they don’t have Muggle technology like TV and the Internet they’re just naturally more active than us and wouldn’t need a gym. Or maybe there is some sort of thing about their bodies that makes them not need as much exercise than Muggles. That would make sense seeing as lots of them live to be in their mid-100s. But either way, it’s so funny that their most popular sport is sitting down. So much for physical activity, haha.

          • PixieDragon137

            Hah! Yeah must be something in their genes because where they lack technology they make up for it with magic.

          • SlytherinKnight

            A popular theory on the fan fiction circuit is that magic uses excess energy to power itself and can influence the witch or wizard’s body. Maybe not make them into Olympian athletes but to make sure they don’t need as much exercise as a Muggle would. Look at how much Ron eats and yet he is skinny as all heck. It seems that magic can use itself to fix it’s hosts body, an example is how Harry, who is constantly starved by the Dursleys during the summers, and yet doesn’t suffer from any ill effects from that. Is it because his magic is fixing Harry’s body to keep him alive and fully functioning?

    • Hufflepug

      It was cool to learn more about Astoria’s personality too since before this we hardly knew anything about her. She seems like a relatively good influence on him, no matter how flawed he will continue to be.

      • Snatch The Snitch

        I wonder if she was a Slytherin?

        • Hufflepug

          Woah, I never realized that JKR didn’t release her house. I always assumed she was in Slytherin if she wanted to keep up what was presumably her family’s tradition but that would be a cool twist if she was in a different house. Draco Malfoy marrying a Hufflepuff, haha.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Yeah she just said the younger sister of a Slytherin. Why not just say Slytherin you know? Wouldn’t it be interesting if Ron’s or Harry’s daughter ended up with Draco’s son?

          • Hufflepug

            I’m not much of a fanfiction reader but I know Rose and Scorpius is a HUGE ship in the fandom because of that comment Ron makes in the epilogue. That sure would be an awkward family dinner, lol!

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Interesting! I’ve never read any fanfic

  • Keelyn Fogerty

    In regards to Snape not going to Dumbledore or telling Harry that Sirius really wasn’t in the Department of Mysteries: Snape and Sirius never liked each other or got along, even as adults. Therefore, Snape wouldn’t have told anybody that it was all a trap. He truly wanted Sirius dead because of all the pain Sirius caused Snape as a child. Even though technically, Snape’s loyalty lies with both the Order and Voldemort, and even if he did know of the plan (as I believe he does), he wouldn’t have said anything because of how he personally felt about Sirius. Snape as we’ve seen even treats Harry badly, despite his love for Lily, because Harry is so much like his father, causing Snape to remember his past. Another reason Snape wouldn’t have told Harry that this was all a trap, would be because Snape sees so much of James in Harry that he wanted Harry to feel the pain of losing someone he loves, just as James did to Snape when they were children. Harry IS James in Snape’s eyes.

    In regards to Voldemort marking Harry as his equal: The reason Voldemort didn’t wait until Harry or Neville showed potential, as it was put, to see who his equal was, he figured that it would be easier to kill Harry as a baby. A baby is obviously more vulnerable and easier to kill, so Voldemort figured the easiest way to remain in power was to wipe out the individual who would threaten his power. Obviously this threat was still a baby and couldn’t fight for itself. As it was brought up, Voldemort is very clever, anyone can see this. I feel as if this act was a mix of his cleverness and common sense in the fact that he would be able to eliminate any possible threat to his power brought on by Harry because of the fact Harry was a baby at the time.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      But how would Snape know Sirius would die? Couldn’t it have been Harry, for all he knew?

  • ISeeThestrals

    With all these discussions of the prophecy, I can’t help wondering what it would have
    been like if Harry and/or Dumbledore had told Neville that the prophecy could
    have referred to him instead, even though it’s just extra information at this
    point. I think it would be interesting to see a small scene of that and Neville’s
    reaction, because I don’t believe he ever found out. Like some people I didn’t
    give Neville a lot of notice until he was willing to step up in this book and
    go off ready to fight. I think by this point he might have believed he could be
    capable of doing what Harry would have to do to defeat Voldemort. He did openly
    defy Voldemort and take care of Nagini. Long before that, he wouldn’t have
    believed the prophecy could have ever meant him because he wouldn’t think he
    was good enough.

  • PuffNProud

    I totally agree with Kat that Dumbledore would not have hesitated to take out Harry while Voldemort possessed Harry if the horcruxes didn’t exist. Dumbledore has a warped way of loving people.

  • Healer In Training

    I was just re-listening to the episode and was thinking about the grieving process that Harry goes through in the current few chapters. I began to think of reasons why Harry’s reaction to Sirius’ death was in my opinion drastically different from his reaction to other deaths, such as Cedric’s death. Besides the obvious differences in the relationships Harry has with each individual, I believe there is another reason. In the case of Cedric’s death, while being the first major death Harry had to deal with in his teenage years, there was a physical body left behind. However, in the case of Sirius’ death there is no physical body once Sirius goes beyond the veil. In my personal experiences this can have a dramatic impact on one’s grieving process.
    I have experienced the loss of two significant loved ones in my life, my grandfather and my sister’s boyfriend. My grandfather was cremated and there was not a traditional wake and during most of my life he lived 13 hours away; my sister’s boyfriend on the other hand had two long days of wake and a funeral and lived in the same neighborhood. While both were significant losses I had a much harder time coming to terms with the fact that my grandfather had passed because I was not exposed to his dead body; also the fact that he lived so far away made it so much harder for me to come to terms with the fact that this was just another normal day and my grandfather was just lurking elsewhere.
    Similarly, while Harry and Sirius had grown close over the past two years, Sirius was not physically present in Harry’s everyday life. I therefore find that the lack of a dead body and due to the unfortunately short duration of their relationship, I think Harry has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that Sirius was actually gone, and not just lurking around the corner (possibly under an invisibility cloak). Not until I was surrounded by many grieving family members was I able to begin to come to terms with my grandfather’s death, while Harry needed to be assured by others in the Wizarding community that Sirius was in fact gone. This confirmation, as others have pointed out comes from Nearly Headless who assures Harry and helps him understand that even though there is no body left behind as “evidence” of his death, Sirius is in fact gone.
    While this idea is not dramatic or life changing and the projection of my own experiences onto Harry’s may not be universal, I thought it was worth noting as there is great diversity in the Wizarding and the muggle world when it comes to the destination of the body after one’s death and this in turn may affect how one comes to terms with the death. Also it is a great example of how Rowling is so great at capturing the true human experience and creating a world to which we can all relate to throughout our lives.

    On a similar note, while I agree that it would be hard for Harry to go to Lupin after Sirius’ death because it would be like “finding a replacement”, I don’t think this action should be expected of Harry. When my sister’s boyfriend died I never once expected her to ask me how I was handling it. I would say I relate to Lupin in the sense that while we were both close to the deceased, there was someone else, my sister and Harry, that had a more special type of relationship with the person of interest. I think we have to keep in mind that while Lupin and Sirius were close childhood friends, Lupin spent 12 years of his adult life believing that Sirius was the reason the Potter’s are dead. While I’m sure their friendship has been repaired in the past two years, I don’t believe it is as strong as it would have been without the break. Also I have always agreed with the notion that within the Marauders it was the James and Sirius show, while Lupin went along with anything they wanted because he was so desperate for friends (at least in the early years). Therefore I don’t think it is right of us to expect Harry to turn to Lupin to grieve together. However I do like to think that someone, somewhere out of scene does attempt to console Lupin, it just doesn’t happen to be Harry, and therefore we don’t see it. I don’t think it comes up again in the future because there are more pressing matters at hand, like defeating Voldemort and by the time Lupin and Harry would have time to talk about Sirius’ death, both have other matters on their mind.

  • skgai

    Rowling creates a sense of importance and profundity in this chapter by beginning the chapter with portraits. Reading it again I realized how odd it was to bring in characters we don’t really know at the end of the book. But I realized it creates a buzz in the atmosphere. Having people watch this scene with rapt attention makes the reader realize the importance of every word. We don’t want to skip a word. We don’t want to miss anything because everyone else is going to know. She’s just brillant.

  • JILLIAN MURPHY

    Thanks for the shout-out!!!

    Maybe Harry cast Lupin aside because he couldn’t handle the hurt of having someone who reminded him of his father, mother and Sirius all at the same time. Or it was the other way around and Lupin couldn’t handle it so he told Harry not to come to him for comfort, but to go to his friends or other adults for comfort instead.

    If the thing about the maker of horcruxes has to restrain from killing is true…I would think that Voldemort would have read up on that before he decided to make them in the first place. He would not be able to refrain from killing people because that’s what made him a part of the wizarding worlds history, therefor making his name a feared one.

    My answer to RoseLumos’s audio boom is simple. I think that she was right, I think Harry might have run out the door but I’m not sure if he would hurt himself. Maybe he would go to the Room of Requirement (If he knew about it) or maybe he would go to Hagrid’s cabin and talking to him about everything.

    What if Voldemort knew that Snape was working for Dumbledore? We know that Voldemort killed Snape in the Deathly Hallows, what if Voldemort was leading Snape on the entire time just to end up killing him in the end? I think that he might of and that is why Voldemort maybe didn’t tell Snape about the plan to get the prophecy from the Ministry.

    Petunia and Lily do love each other, they are sisters, they lived together for most of their lives so I think that even though she acts as though she hates Harry, I think that she likes having him around because he reminds her of Lily.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    There’s this one point in the chapter when Harry asks why it’s okay for Snape to hate his father, but not for Sirius to hate Kreacher. DD’s response was something like Sirius didn’t hate Kreacher, and neglect and indifference is worse. I disagree. I think that Snape and Sirius are actually incredibly similar, we just see them differently because we see them through Harry’s eyes. This is the perfect example of this. My response would have been more like “no, but we aren’t arguing over whether Sirius was secretly a death eater.” (Well, I’d probably have said it nicer since Harry was grieving, but with that general idea.)

  • Allyhomora

    I’m just having a post Christmas/new year podcast catch up an I’m a few weeks behind! Kat asked a question about the reason Snape would have told Voldemort about the prophecy if he knew it was about Lily. I just wanted to comment that the prophecy wasn’t about Lily, but about Harry. Snape could not have known or understood what that would mean from the eyes of a mother, or the sacrifices she would make for him. Later, he redeems himself by making his own sacrifices for her son, but at this point in time, he isn’t focused on Lily, but on her son, or more importantly, the son of James. His vengeance was aimed at James, and not Lily.