ep 146

Episode 146: HBP 28 – Leader, Teacher, Soldier, Spy

The dramatic, anti-climax (or is it?) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has arrived. Join hosts Michael, Caleb, Kat, and special guest Kelly Creagh, author of the Nevermore Trilogy, for a rousing discussion on the antepenultimate Chapter 28.

On Episode 146 we discuss…

→ Episode 145 Recap: A Chance to Save Draco; Justifying Snape’s actions; Dumbledore’s Grand Exit
→ PQOTW Responses
→ Poetic justice with the Dark Mark
→ The R.A.B. mystery: worst in the series?
→ Harry’s complex stages of grief
→ The Half-Blood Prince, revealed
→ Question of the Week
→ Check out the Alohomora! store

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

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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  • lifeanddragons

    Yay! First comment! :p

    First of all great episode, simply because the chapters before and the chapters after this one have so much in them, the importance of this chapter is sometimes easily over looked (despite the big reveal of who the half blood prince is) And for the first time ever, I actually looked at this chapter for what it was, and like what was mentioned on the show, that scene, that reveal is one of the rare occasions in the entire series where we see Snape just being himself, his honest completely naked self, not being a good guy or a bad guy, not being the hero or the spy or the double agent, not behind the endless walls he’s built around himself, not the emotionless personality he has made himself into, not lying, and not manipulating, this was him talking for once about what he truly felt, about something that he alone was in control of, because let’s face it, Snape’s life spiraled out of his control long ago and he has been in the last decade living at the mercy of the big players of the game who use him at will. But his identity as the half blood prince, is something that was no one else knew, something only he was in control of. For once, Snape shows true emotion, heat of the moment anger that wasn’t calculated, didn’t have any ulterior motives. And that is really amazing. You can literally see what drives Snape’s character and his actions from those moments.

    Sometimes I feel Snape is more angry about the situation he is in more than anything else. The fact that his resentment to James comes up after so long, and after so much has happened really says a lot. James is what he chooses to bring up in that particular moment. Lily died 16 years ago, but Dumbledore does what is very close to emotional blackmail, asking Snape to save Harry just because he had Lily’s eyes. And Snape does convince himself that that is the reason he is doing everything that he is, but honestly did he have a choice in the matter? He would certainly never go back to the Dark side out of guilt, but without Dumbledore he has no place on the good side. And having Dumbledore’s protection means doing his bidding, and being of use to him. Basically, after this longer than intended monologue about Snape, I don’t doubt that Snape loved Lily (in his own weird but genuine way), but did Dumbledore push Snape too far? Did Dumbledore make Snape do all of these things using Lily’s name, simply because Snape was the only one could and Lily was the only way to make him do it? Is this anger we see from Snape a result of his life being out of his control for so long?

    • The Half Blood Princess

      I think that Snape’s biggest fear is loss of control, in a way. He uses his occlumency to give himself the illusion of control, because he can control what other people see of his mind, and it proves that he can ‘control his emotions’ even if his greatest motivation is, in fact, emotion. Does that make any sense?

    • SocksAreImportant

      This makes me think how many times Dumbledore checked to make sure that Snape was still willing to do his bidding. We know Dumbledore trusts Snape mainly because of his patronus. Every couple months or so, did Dumbledore ask Snape into his office to perform a patronus just to check? lol

    • Nina

      I completely agree that Snape’s anger here is so complex. Throughout the series, Snape is unable to form any sort of relationship with Harry as an individual and instead projects onto him his jealous hate of James, his love for Lily, as well as his own self-loathing. In this particular scene, his anger is furthermore prompted by his sense of being exploited, Dumbledore’s betrayal, the death eaters’ torture of Harry moments before, and Harry’s lack of appreciation and gratitude for everything Snape is doing for him (which, subconsciously, Snape surely craves, as evident in some of the memories he gives Harry in Book 7 (like the one of himself cursing off George’s ear, which seems only included to vindicate Snape rather than impart necessary information).

      Like Dumbledore, Snape generally attempts to suppress his feelings, to appear composed. But, unlike Dumbledore, I don’t think he’s very successful at it (tbh his skills at occlumency always amazed me). While Dumbledore is frozen beneath the surface, Snape seems to be never far from boiling point and could be seen exploding with rage on several occasions prior to this scene in HBP. What makes this scene special is that Snape’s anger is coupled with visible signs of pain and distress–his vulnerability is more evident than ever before.
      PS: I’ve always seen Snape as a Byronic hero, so the whole “good guy or bad guy” discourse doesn’t convince me. He is neither. Snape might have done horrible things before joining Dumbledore’s side, and his bullying of Hermione is abominable. But his intentions throughout the series are good and his bravery is admirable. Snape’s unpleasant behavior stems, I believe, mainly from his inability to forgive himself. His self-loathing is most pronounced when confronted with the two boys linked to the prophecy (Harry and Neville), and channelled into aggression. Who knows how he would have treated them if wizard psychotherapists had helped him deal with his many problems.

  • lifeanddragons

    Question. Did Regulus know about all of Voldemort’s horcruxes or just the one in the cave? Because, something about the tone of the note, seems to suggest that Regulus believed the locket was the only one. He says he intends to destroy the locket as soon as he can, and though he will die, he hopes that when Voldemort meets his match he will be mortal once more. I think it’s safe to assume that Regulus truly believed that sacrificing himself to destroy that one horcrux would make Voldemort a mortal? Or is there anything to suggest otherwise? I just thought, if he had the slightest idea that there were more horcruxes, he would have at least told someone about them, or maybe even tried to hunt them down himself. Any other thoughts about this?

    • MoodyHorcrux

      I believe Regulus only knew about the one Horcrux.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      That’s what I always assumed.

    • Hufflepug

      Yeah I think that’s right. I forget – do we ever learn how Regulus found out about the Horcrux and its location?

      Something that bugs me which is slightly related to this is that Slughorn was one of the only people who had all of the evidence that Voldemort made multiple Horcruxes but chose to do nothing about that and basically deny it. I think that’s pretty cowardly.

      • Eileen_Prince/Jones

        I was going to say he knew about it because of Kreacher…but he only knew the location of it and how to get to it because of Kreacher. I guess I don’t know how he found out about horcruxes exactly…didn’t some of the hosts say that voldemort boasted a lot, but just wouldn’t give details, but that the death eaters might have been able to construe some truths from that…like at the grave yard when he says he’s gone further than any other wizard to make himself immortal. hmmm, I’m interested to see if anyone does have evidence somewhere of how Regulus knew that the locket was a horcrux…

        • Hufflepug

          Yup that’s as much as we know about that! So many questions. The hosts were saying that it’s hard to tell how much people do know about Horcruxes. I was always under the impression that most people had no idea that they existed since they’re such dark magic, so it would be fascinating to know how Regulus figured it out.

          • Silverdoe25

            I feel like Voldemort hadn’t revealed his horcrux secret to anyone. I think Regulus learned of it from Kreacher, to whom he gave the order to return home from his trip with Voldemort. The RAB note doesn’t indicate that Regulus knew about multiple horcruxes. It says, ” I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.” That sounds like he thinks this is the one and only. I also never got the impression that Regulus was in any inner-most circle. He was Sirius’ younger brother, and James was about 21 max when he died. Sounds like Regulus is straight out of Hogwarts. On a side note, I remember being pretty proud that I thought of Regulus for RAB right away. Ha! Solver of the easiest Potter mystery!

      • lifeanddragons

        Yeah, when Voldemort vanished after the killing curse backfired, it should have been obvious to Slughorn of all people, of what had happened. ORRRRRR how much did the wizarding world actually know the finer details of what happened at Godric’s hollow that night? Were they all yay! you know who is dead! party! or yay! you-know-who is sort of temporarily gone for now. party anyway!

    • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

      I always thought that Regulus only knew about the one Horcrux, and the only way he put the pieces together was through Kreacher — Regulus summoned Kreacher home after Kreacher’s ‘service’ to Voldemort was complete, and Kreacher would surely have told what happened. Regulus came from a family steeped in dark magical tendencies, and he had been in Voldemort’s fold. He probably had heard of Horcruxes and started putting two and two together.

      Regulus is a fascinating character to me and I wish we knew more about him. His relationship with Sirius, and the fact that Sirius never got to know what Regulus did — that in the end, he felt remorse for siding with Voldemort and gave up his life in the hopes of bringing him down — all of that is so fascinating and tantalizing.

  • MartinMiggs

    It sounds really nice in hindsight that Snape was helping/teaching Harry by telling him to keep his mouth shut when casting spells but Harry never does this and is still successful. Voldemort dies by him shouting Expelliarmus. He knocks out Umbridge and Yaxley with Stupefy and he whispers Imperius on the goblin in Gringotts.

    • Hufflepug

      I think it does come back to bite him during the battle with the seven potters when he disarms Stan Shunpike and the Death Eaters realized it was his signature spell and that he was the real Harry. I could be wrong and correct me if I am, but don’t they notice it when he shouts it out? In all that chaos they would have hardly noticed Stan get disarmed otherwise. I guess by doing this Harry does prevent his friends from getting harmed more, but the only thing that ends up saving him is his wand.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        That’s true. The point is not that Harry learns the lessons Snape gives him, but rather that even as he flees for his life Snape is still thinking about ways to help Harry. He could have just deflected the spells and fled, but he thinks to tell Harry why it is so easy to deflect them. I think this is another scene meant to be seen differently on first and subsequent reads. The first time we see it as Snape taunting Harry at a time when he is hurting already. Once we know the whole story we can see that Snape has been working for the good side and protecting Harry all along and continues to do so here.

        • Eileen_Prince/Jones

          Protecting him for lily, always :o)

      • MartinMiggs

        in all the chaos I don’t think anyone would be able to hear what Harry said. Harry gave himself because everyone else was using stunning spells or Avada Kedavra and he chose to disarm Stan.

        • Hufflepug

          Got it! Thanks!

    • jennieisADD

      I think Snape wasn’t telling Harry to shut his mouth, but rather his mind. Snape was able to use Legilimancy in order to detect what spell Harry was going to use next and block it properly.

  • MartinMiggs

    In my opinion book 7 has been set up so well that it is not obvious if Snape is good or bad. Snape is a bad person, a jerk, he’s naturally attracted to dark magic and there’s no denying this. The only reason Snape changed sides is because of his love for Lily. We as first time readers aren’t aware of this because the only moment we see of Snape and Lily is him calling her a mudblood. We’ve been told that Dumbledore has some reason to trust Snape but up to this point we have no idea what that is and Jo (through Harry’s POV) has led us to believe that Dumbledore is just too trusting/gives too many 2nd chances and that Snape has hoodwinked him. The reaon we decide whether Snape is good or bad has more to do with whether we like him or hate him.

    • ISeeThestrals

      I would agree on how well the book positioned Snape. If you couldn’t decide which side Snape was on in the start, it was most likely shattered completely by the end here. It just makes you go back and forth with him. People say you either love him or hate him but is there not a category in there where a person can love to hate him? When it comes to loving a supposed villainous character, right away the question becomes what can anyone love about the bad guy when the bad guys is doing bad things.
      And it did make sense that Snape would fall more too the good side because of Lily, but when I first learned about this, I guess I had mixed feelings about it, because that is a bit of a cliche. It’s too easy to have the bad or potential bad guys just fall for the leading lady. Perhaps it can be seen as more of a device to show that Snape is human since he feels something for Lily. Actually I beginning to see the p.o.v of the host that said Snape’s interest in Lily is based more on his desire to possess her and at the same time, I’m not sure if it was Rowling’s intention.

  • MoodyHorcrux

    I really agree with a lot of the points that the guest host brought to the table this episode.
    The fact that Snape is “generally not very happy”, and the fact that Snape’s inner struggles with the task he’s been given were brought up in the discussion, is really important. I don’t think many people view the events that played out, through the eyes and perspective of Snape. I’m use to reading about Dumbledore’s side or Dumbledore and Snape’s plan, or Harry’s side.
    I always thought the “Don’t call me a coward!” moment was really intense.. and on the first read I was so filled with my own emotions, that I couldn’t really read the signs of Snape’s emotions properly. I was still trying to figure out what all was happening because I was still in shock from the previous chapter.
    I always thought (automatically) that Snape was taunting Harry about closing his mind, basically saying that Harry couldn’t possibly touch Snape until he mastered that.. because it was so easy for Snape to block everything. And if he couldn’t touch Snape, how on earth would he touch Voldemort? But I love looking at it in a different way, like Snape was still “teaching” Harry.

    Now that Snape killed Dumbledore, Snape couldn’t back down now. He had to follow through with the plan, alone. He had to continue his part. I believe that he definitely resented Dumbledore for making him go that far, in having Snape kill him. I’m sure Snape felt trapped, and I’m positive that that argument that Hagrid heard (correct me if I’m wrong) in the forest with Snape and Dumbledore, was about the plan, and the “what if I don’t want to do this anymore” quote from the movie when they were talking before Harry met up with Dumbledore to go get the Locket. Snape was trying desperately to get himself out of the situation, but there was really no other option.
    Both Snape and Harry now had to go on alone, without their guide there to protect them. The only difference is that Harry had NO idea, just how involved he would personally be in the grand plan, till the very end.

    (Thank you so much to the Host’s for including my comments in the episode! I was thrilled!)

  • MoodyHorcrux

    Harry and Snape are part of the same grand plan for the greater good, but are totally and completely different players in it, who can barely communicate a thing to each other without Snape revealing himself and blowing his cover, or without Harry trying to kill Snape out of hatred. How on earth did Dumbledore expect Snape to relay such important and vital information to Harry about Voldemort and what Harry had to do (and expect Harry to just sit and listen to Snape over what, tea?) … with Harry hating Snape so much for his “betrayal” after killing Dumbledore? How do you think Snape would have been able to tell or show Harry what he HAD to do after he hunted down all the Horcruxes? Do you think there could have been any other way Dumbledore would be able to inform Harry without completely relying on Snape after death? Someone who is suppose to now be on the bad side? It was almost too convenient that the Trio was there to witness Snapes death and obtain the memories. What if Snape had just died with the memories….. what then?

    • Hufflepug

      That possibility has always bugged me too. Dumbledore knew Snape was going to be Headmaster and that it would be nearly impossible to get time alone with Harry where he could give him the memory. The only thing I can think of is that maybe Dumbledore expected Harry to go to the headmaster’s office on the Horcrux hunt or after being prompted by Snape or something and there either Snape had already left a copy of the memory and there would be some signal for Harry to look at it or Dumbledore’s portrait would have told him everything, assuming that Snape told it to do that when Harry came in.

    • Eileen_Prince/Jones

      I always wondered that too. If u remember (not sure if this happens in both book and movie or just movie) when voldee calls snape to him so he can kill him for the elder wand snape keeps saying let me find potter and bring him to u, but voldee wouldn’t let him because he knew harry would come to him in the end….i always thought at snapes comment that he would find harry in the battle, incapacitate him somehow (which prob woulda been hard cause he was with ron and hermione) and force him to listen to what he had to say. Not sure harry would have bought any of it tho in that situation. I think harry had to see snape murdered like it was nothing to voldee in order for harry to accept anything, advice or otherwise, from snape.

    • Dumbledore’s through & through

      Snape is clever. He managed to get the sword to Harry without Harry knowing who it was, and that required setting up a difficult and dangerous task. The memory just has to get to Harry safely. I think he would have found a way to do it. The only problem for him is that he’s running out of time so quickly, Dumbledore must have thought there would be more time between Voldemort finding out that his Horcruxes are attacked, and him killing Snape. Maybe Dumbledore was underestimating Harry, thinking he wouldn’t be as good in hiding his aim. Or he was overestimating Voldemort in thinking he would notice earlier. But all of Dumbledore’s plans are only just work out, it’s always a rather close call.

      • SpinnersEnd

        Even if Snape managed to get the memories to Harry, Harry would still need a way to view them. It would have been almost impossible to Harry to get back inside Hogwarts until the battle. And if Harry hadn’t watched Voldemort murder Snape, I doubt Harry would have seen the significance to the memories and just put off viewing them until later.

  • They’d probably change it to Harry Potter and the Teenage Love Fest with Unessasary Added Scenes.

  • Hollywobbles

    For me, the most important thing about the HBP reveal is that it shows how serious the books have gotten. Yes, up to this point we have had death and such, but its still been a book about kids at school, and a lot of the books are based on how kids at school react/care about things. So up until the events of that night, Harry really wanted to know who the HBP is. But after shit gets really real, he doesn’t even care. And that moment where we don’t even care, that is the moment where we grow up, and what is happening in the wider wizarding world is more important than whats going on at Hogwarts. Its the moment where we leave the childish worries behind, and just grow up.

  • Casey L.

    Talking about deaths that were set up but we didn’t get – does Peter Pettigrew or Buckbeak count back in Prisoner of Azkaban? Or Barty Crouch Jr. in Goblet of Fire?

    • Hufflepug

      Maybe! But I think what the hosts were referring to was more of a shocking, out-of-nowhere death that wasn’t actually true. We knew Buckbeak was set up to die and we assumed Peter Pettigrew and Little Crouch were dead already. That’s different from unexpectedly saying “someone is dead” and leaving a cliffhanger there that doesn’t come true. It reminds me of when you’re watching TV and before the commercial break starts the announcer says “up next!” and then there’s a heavily edited trailer where it looks like something tragic happens but it’s really not that big of a deal. Not to compare Harry Potter to, say, The Bachelor or something, but the same kind of suspense is there. I think Draco saying that may have distracted some first-time readers from the possibility that Dumbledore could die right there, so when Snape killed him it was even more of a shock.

  • DisKid

    Harry’s thinking of Dumbledore weakening himself for no good reason is rather ironic given the importance of this event. While I hated seeing what happened to Dumbledore in the cave, this event helped Harry greatly even if the horcrux wasn’t there. It not only confirmed that Voldemort did indeed make a horcrux out of the locket, it gave the name of who took it (btw I agree it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who these initials belonged to). If Dumbledore had never gone here, it would have been pretty difficult for Harry to figure out where this horcrux was. Not to mention, it would have been a more difficult task as it would have been the trio going to retrieve the horcrux and we could have had a much worse outcome from this cave. Especially since by then they all would have been of age and wouldn’t have been able to all three go across.

    • Hufflepug

      I read “rocket scientist” as “locket scientist” in your post lol. And these are all good points. I don’t think Jo would ever have written that scene so Harry would have to take Dobby or Kreacher like Regulus did. Ugh, that would be too much. I wonder if Dumbledore knew anything about Regulus. Obviously he didn’t know that he replaced the Horcrux with a regular locket, but I wonder if he knew that he found out about the Horcruxes.

      • SpinnersEnd

        Worst. Dobby Death. Ever.

    • MoodyHorcrux

      Well of course at the time Harry is greiving, and automatically thinks it was all pointless and was a waist. Telling himself that Dumbledore could have lived if he didn’t weaken himself for “no reason”. He was angry and wasn’t thinking logically. The fact that Harry had Dumbledores help going into the cave is quite important and it made his task to find the rest of the Horcruxes easier. They had to go through the trouble of the cave to realize the real Horcrux was somewhere else. An easier place for Harry to obtain it without a great wizard helping. Harry was very lucky Dumbledore had found the locket and the ring which I think we’re so well protected – Harry couldn’t have done it without Dumbledore.

      • DisKid

        Oh of course I understand why he thought that. I would have thought the same thing, at the time anyway, if I was Harry. Was just pointing out that it’s ironic cause it really wasn’t for nothing at all. Just feels like it at the moment to Harry. Dumbledore sure saved helped save the wizarding world.

  • ISeeThestrals

    Quick thought that might have been brought up a while ago for this book but, I thought back when we were getting news on the sixth Potter book, they announced a possible title for it was “Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch”.

    • Dumbledore’s through & through

      Uh, I didn’t know that. Now I wonder what this ominous green torch is supposed to be. There isn’t really one mentioned, is there? The only green light I recall is the light in the cave. Or is Malfoy’s Hand of Glory burning green? I guess “Half Blood Prince” is more fitting in the end…

  • DoraNympha

    Oh my God, thank you for featuring my comment! 😀 It just would’ve been anti-climatic for Dumbledore not to have a death that matched the greatness of his life… I’ve since checked out the Dumbledore is not dead site and it’s amazing hahaha, I felt like reading a time capsule, it was great!

  • Hufflepug

    I used to be really mad about the Half-Blood Prince storyline because it was so anti-climatic but after listening to this I see the purpose of it as a McGuffin. So I still see it as a poor climax, but that’s the point I guess and I respect her writing in this scene more than I used to. Thanks, guys :) It’s also interesting to ponder why this is HP and the Half-Blood Prince rather than something else. In effectively naming this book “Harry Potter and Snape,” J.K. Rowling makes the title a lot bigger than the HBP storyline and allows it to include everything about Snape that we’ve learned so far, including these important scenes at the end. He’s a major player in this book and it sets it up well for DH.

  • MoodyHorcrux

    The only time Harry’s ever tried using an Unforgivable Curse is after Sirius dies, and after Dumbledore dies. I find it interesting that his go-to spell in those moments is Crucio, and he would never use those spells in any other situation. Twice, he went straight to the thought of “I need to make them feel the pain that I feel”, which is not very “Harry” like, but it also shows how young and immature he still is with his reaction towards great loss. Yes, with Bellatrix the spell actually hit her but it wasn’t strong enough to do anything to her, but with Snape, the spell didn’t actually hit him, but was blocked. Correct me if I’m wrong but Snape blocked everything Harry casted his way. But I do believe that if Harry had been able to hit Snape with the curse it would have been a lot stronger then with his first attempt at Bellatrix.

    • Dumbledore’s through & through

      This is a really good point! The thought of “I need them to feel as much pain as I do” perfectly explains why he jumps straight for Crucio. About whether it would have worked this time: Do we know what exactly it takes to perform Crucio? Is it just a huge amount of hatred? Or would Harry have to enjoy the pain Snape would have felt, enjoy torturing someone? In the first case, I could see him perform the spell, in the second not. I think he was imagining that it would be enjoyable, but actually performing it in the end wouldn’t.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Harry succeeds at casting crucio at Amycus Carrow in the Ravenclaw common room. By then it’s not his own pain he wants him to feel, he just wants him to be punished for spitting McGonagall in the face. A feeling of superiority may help with this particular unforgivable spell.

  • Eileen_Prince/Jones

    I know this was resolved by the hosts, and several people already commented on this, but I just wanted to say: The big deal about the reveal of who the half blood prince is is that Harry has been taking advice and listening to the prince pretty much all year, even starting to think of him as a ‘guide’ and ‘friend’, and the prince ends up being the person he hates most of all, Snape! I do get tho that it is significantly shadowed by dumbledores death and that harry learning about voldee’s past and what might possibly be horcruxes is a bigger/main plot in the book, but I wouldn’t call it no big deal. I think it’s a big deal if only because Harry was so invested in the princes book (he chose to hide it and was planning on going back for it) and then finds out that its Snape, it makes me lol :-)

    • The Half Blood Princess

      I would think that Voldy is the one Harry hates the most, at the time that he was actually taking advice from the textbook. Remember, when Harry is chasing Snape he calls him the man he NOW hates as much as Voldy. (Although I actually thought that Voldy was the half blood prince, as did many others, so that might be too obvious)

      • Eileen_Prince/Jones

        Of course he hates voldee, just meant that he was so pissed at snape when he was chasing him, his hatred for snape was at its highest point at that moment, knew someone would comment he hates voldee more 😛
        i’d say harry has a top 3 most hated people and snape, voldee and draco rotate between the positions depending on the particular moment.

    • Dumbledore’s through & through

      In the last chaper it literally says: “He could not stop himself dwelling upon Dumbledore’s inexcusable trust in Snape… but as Hernione had just inadvertently reminded him, he, Harry, had been taken in just the same…in spite of the increasing nastyness of the spells, he had refused to think ill of the boy who had been so clever, who had helped him so much… Helped him… it was an almost unendurable thought, now…”

      • Eileen_Prince/Jones

        Thanks! That goes really well with my comment 😀

  • Sian Zoe Dawson

    I’ve listened to all your podcasts and I have to say something to you about the whole Lav-Lav thing. I’m from the north-west of England, and up here we have a saying, which is: “I need to go lav-lav”, which means: “I need to go to the toilet”. I know this because there is a certain CBBC Channel, and on it there is a puppet dog called Hacker, and he uses this phrase a lot. I don’t know if Jo meant this or whether it is unintentional, but I thought that you should know.

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Thank you for telling us that! I wonder how much we Americans miss just not getting the UK inside jokes? Like when Trelawney called Firenze “Dobby” I didn’t learn until the podcast that that was a pantomime horse (or what a pantomime horse was.) Even the things I know about, I still can’t picture right because when it said the bubbles were as big as footballs, I know it means a soccer ball, but in my head I still picture an American football, pointy on both ends. When they use a torch, I know it’s a flashlight, but in my head it’s a wooden stick with fire on the end. And of course when they say have a biscuit, I don’t think of cookies, I picture those scone-like things we have here like dinner rolls. I always wondered, too, is putting Christmas presents on the foot of the bed something they only do in these books. or is it done elsewhere, too?

      • Sian Zoe Dawson

        In answer to your last question, children believe that Father Christmas (or Santa, as he is otherwise known as) puts presents in stockings or pillowcases, which are left by the foot of the bed or are hung up by the fire. I do not know if this occurs in other places, but if you want to look at Christmas traditions in other countries, just Google it.

        • SnapesManyButtons

          Actually that answers my question. I hadn’t heard of putting Christmas presents at the foot of the bed, we always have our under the tree, and I wondered if that was just something Rowling made up for the books. I always wondered if it happened in real life outside the books, and I guess it does. Thank you.

          • Sian Zoe Dawson

            You’re welcome. And just so you know, people in the UK are left presents under the tree, too. I only know this because it always used to happen with me. Not anymore, but that’s only ’cause I’m older now.

  • I’ll say my piece now on the film because I’m not gonna be there for the movie watch. I think that cutting the battle was a great idea. Makes total sense. In the book it’s not seen so much and doesn’t really hold much relevance to Harry. It doesn’t drive the plot. Like stage writers I’m sure movie writers do the same and remove things that won’t do anything to the movie, apart from enhance the visuals. They have to get to the important reveal. What is malfoy up too and even more importantly who the half blood prince is. That way movie goers won’t leave saying ‘so who was the half blood prince’. What was a mistake was cutting snapes reactions.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    I didn’t figure out who RAB was.

    The hatred that would be caused by Hagrids death would be nothing compared to the already present hatred for the death of Dobby.

    I thought that DD was dead during book 6, but in book 7, while Ron was speculating that DD was alive, I was kind of like, “he wouldn’t say that if it wasnt true would he?”.

    When I kill a character on ape, no matter who they are, I have to stand up and pace around the room and not write for a long time. I don’t feel sad, I feel guilty. But when I write it in my head, I’m fine with it.

    I think that HBP being named HBP is a subtle way of saying: “this book is all about Snape. The half blood prince isn’t important, Snape is.

    Just a thought, but in the PoA movie, Buckbeak saves Harry from a DADA teacher who has a connection to Harry’s parents. Here, he is doing the same. Jo said that the PoA movie foreshadowed books 6 and 7, that was the only possible connection I could think of.

    I can’t come to the movie watch because I’m in camp right now and I’m literally getting home that day. :(

    • Hufflepug

      *high five* I didn’t figure out who RAB was either until somebody told me. I was still too distraught over Snape killing Dumbledore.

      I never heard that the PoA movie foreshadowed those two books, but that’s really cool. Is it just the movie, or did she mean the book as well?

  • DoraNympha

    Yeah I think just one of the many MANY problems I have with Fred’s death is that, literally, who could’ve called that? For real, is there anyone who called that? Like not jokingly (oh no) but for real, as a good idea to do narratively or Potterverse-wise. :(

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Well, I suppose that Jo has to kill off some major characters during the battle of Hoywarts, and Fred was just unlucky, but I still wish it didn’t happen.

    • Hufflepug

      Still not over it :( Something similar to Michael’s story: when I went to see DH part 1 I was with my friend who has only seen the movies so she didn’t know what was going to happen. Out of nowhere she said “I hope Dobby doesn’t die!” I just didn’t know how to respond to that… :(

    • SocksAreImportant

      Another death that shook me up, was Colin Creevey. I know he wasn’t as important to the books, but his death made me realize that no one was safe. :(

  • DoraNympha

    Snape was also kind of emotional at other times but only when he was pushed too too over the edge. He was good at compartmentalizing otherwise, good at Occlumency and keeping a straight face as a spy wherever he went, except rare occasions like in his worst memory or when he last spoke to Lily and interestingly, here. I’m still confused as to whether he was just hard to get an emotional reaction out of and he was an insensitive person on a regular basis or he just constantly bottled things up and he was actually very emotional inside?

    • SocksAreImportant

      I think it is a little bit of both. I think he is an insensitive person on a regular basis when it comes to pretty much everyone except Lily and at times Lily’s son. At the same time though he does bottle his emotions up and this causes them to explode in particularly emotional times. These being in worst memory and here as well. I think he is very good at controlling his emotions, just like he kept telling Harry to learn to do in book 5.

  • SlytheriNZ

    I’m very happy to hear the date of the next movie watch has been set since I’m going to be away for the next couple of weekends. I really enjoyed the live chat last time so I’m super glad that I’ll be home for this one!! I’ll probably be super tired at work the next day, since it will end past midnight China time (and it’s right after my holiday ends, oh well…)!!! 😀 Putting it in my calendar now!

    • lifeanddragons

      How does the live chat work? sorry, first time :p

      • Michael Harle

        Through Ustream, we’ll have a chat room open at all times for viewers and hosts to chit-chat. During the movie (which everyone must have their own copy of to watch), we talk exclusively in the chat room (no audio chat) occasionally giving time stamps to ensure everyone is at or around the same point.

        After that, we take a short break before starting the actual live podcast; the hosts will go live via audio while everyone else remains in the chat room. We’ll check the chat room from time to time for opinions, while also allowing you guys to call in to the podcast to talk to us! :{ )

        • lifeanddragons

          Thank you! Sounds fun! Will definitely be there!

        • Voldemort’s Lost Nose

          I know this is completely off topic, but I must say I really like your mustached smiley :{ )

          • Michael Harle

            Thank you! While I’m sure someone else out there has thought of it, too, I came up with it all on my own. :{D

  • Voldemort’s Lost Nose

    You talked about when Snape screams “DON’T CALL ME COWARD”, and Snape’s “face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the yelping, howling dog stuck in the burning house behind them”. You said on the last episode that Snape’s pain comes from his old nemesis James Potter’s son calling him a coward while he is doing the bravest thing he has ever done.

    Obviously, it is painful to be called a coward when you’re brave, but I think that Snape’s immense pain comes from the fact that it is Harry who screams, not as James’ son, but as Lily’s son. I think the word “coward” reminds him of all the reasons Lily turned her back on him, all the reasons that lead him to the Dark Side in the first place. Had Snape been braver in his school days, he could have turned his back on his Dark Side and friends like Avery and Mulciber a lot sooner – then, perhaps, the friendship between Lily and Snape wouldn’t have fallen apart. The word “coward” reminds him of the courage he didn’t have and the courage that could have brought him and Lily together, hence his strong reaction. The way I see it, the fact that Lily’s son is the one to call him a coward is the only explanation as to why the pain could be so intense.

    • SocksAreImportant

      I love this comment so much. I understood the significance of being called a “coward” after doing a very brave thing. But I never thought about it being because it is from Lily’s son. This is very well thought out and it just adds to my love for Snape’s character.

    • Nina

      Such a good point. There’s also such an interesting link between this scene and the end of Book 4, when Snape comments on Karkaroff fleeing from Voldemort, saying “I am NOT such a coward”. While I generally see Snape as a character that is full of self-loathing, his willingness to risk his life for a good cause is perhaps the one quality that lessens his sense of guilt, the one vague promise that he might one day forgive himself.

      On another note, the “coward” accusation here also reminds me of Harry’s argument with Lupin in Book 7, when again cowardice is the ultimate insult. Like Snape, Lupin responds with extreme anger, displaying more emotions than ever before. Similarly, in Book 5, Sirius explodes with rage when Snape implies his cowardice during their argument in Grimmauld Place.
      While the entire series arguably equates bravery with goodness and cowardice with evil choices (Pettigrew!), I particularly like this link between these three scenes because it groups Snape with Sirius and Lupin as one of Harry’s most important (and most emotionally invested) protectors.

      • Voldemort’s Lost Nose

        That’s a really good comparison. I’d never thought about it like that. I like that three so different people have those similarities, and that – in the end – it comes down to their choices (“It is our choices, Harry …”). I’m sure this has been discussed before, but how would the story have changed if Snape had been a Gryffindor?

        • Nina

          Good point. Snape, Lupin, and Sirius all have such different personalities but are quite similar in terms of their motivation and core values. As regards the sorting I can’t even begin. Massive butterfly effect I’d assume!

  • MinervaLupin

    Just a quick thing on the topic of Regulus Black and how he knew about the horcruxes.

    We do learn in the last book that when Voldemort went to place the locket in the cave (or to test it out his security measures), he asked his Death Eaters to “borrow” a house-elf. Regulus offered up Kreacher as this aid and had ordered the house-elf to return to him once Voldemort had done with him and to tell him all he saw. We know that Voldemort left the creature thereafter forcing him to drink the potion, thinking it would kill him but Kreacher was able to disapparate and return to Regulus, where he told his master everything about the cave and the description of the locket.

    I do not think we know how long it took Regulus to go back to the cave with Kreacher, once armed with this information to steal the locket, but maybe with what house-elf told him, Regulus could have done some research and discovered all about horcruxes and thus decide that he better retrieve and destroy the one he knew about for sure.

    It is true that Regulus might not have known how many there were out there but he could have heard that Voldemort had entrusted Lucius and Bellatrix with some items to guard from the House-elves gossip line. He could have found this act very suspicious and maybe that is how he decided to look more closely into the workings of Voldemort.

    As for how Kreacher would have known about horcruxes; house-elves have their own brand of magic and maybe they are able to pick up on very evil objects and detect dark magic more easily than wizards. This would explain why Kreacher knew the locket was evil without, necessarily, knowing it was a horcrux, not to mention the fact of why someone would bother to hide such an ordinary item with all these security measures.

  • SpinnersEnd

    I have a question about Dumbledore’s Body Bind Curse: in this case, the magic ceases to function once Dumbledore dies. But what about something like a Permanent Sticking Charm, like the one on Mrs. Black’s portrait in Grimmauld Place? What makes it different? What makes it last after its’ caster’s death?

    • MartinMiggs

      what good is a permanent sticking charm if it’s not permanent?

      • SpinnersEnd

        Hahahaha, fair point! But what makes it permanent? Why isn’t it just a sticking charm?

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          Because it is permanent. There are ways to make charms permanent, but they are to be used with extreme care, because permanent means permanent and there is no going back. Maybe you have to concentrate on the charm for a full minute or so to make it permanent.Sticking charms are a categorie of charms where it makes sense to have some of them permanent, but they are never to be used on living beings.

  • SpinnersEnd

    I absolutely think Harry would have been able to successfully cast the Crutiatus Curse. Snape is someone that he has known for years and been forced to trust (to some extent) and grown to loathe over the course of the books. He just killed the one person that Harry thinks he needs most in the world. I absolutely think that Harry could have wreaked havoc with the Unforgivable Curse.

    • SocksAreImportant

      I agree with this, but I am so happy that his first time doing the curse successfully is to defend McGonagall. It is such a great moment.

  • What days will the hosts be at the theme park?

    • Kat

      Michael, Kristen, & I are visiting July 30 – August 3rd, likely each day! :)

      • RoseLumos

        Go on Shrek 4-D! That’s where I used to work (only because Forbidden Journey didn’t have any openings when I applied).

      • Hufflepug

        So! Jealous!!! Have fun! :)

    • Michael Harle

      I will be there July 31st, as well as August 2nd and 3rd. I’ll be dressed as either a Hufflepuff student or Owen Grady (Jurassic World). ‘Cause I take this business seriously.

  • jennieisADD

    I’ve been binge listening to Alohomora! for about two months. I am rereading the series over the summer and thought it would be cool to listen to this since I knew vaguely of its existence. I’ve listened to every chapter discussion and finally caught up and can now comment!

    Anyway, I always sort of brushed off the half-blood prince storyline and never really gave it much thought until you guys started talking about it on this week’s episode. I don’t think it’s as important to Harry’s story so much as to who the half-blood prince is as it is to us the readers. The book is essentially titled Harry Potter and Snape. Of course Jo couldn’t call the book that because of spoilers and it sounds stupid. But Snape is very important in this book, so I think she wanted to name it after him without naming it after him.

  • RoseLumos

    In a weird way, these last few chapters remind me of the musical “Into the Woods” (which is great and should be seen by everyone). The first act revolves around the storybook characters interacting with each other in a fairly standard fantasy storybook setting, with a narrator explaining things as they happen. Everyone’s problem gets solved and everyone lives happily ever after. Then in act two, the narrator is killed and the characters suddenly have to make decisions they never had to before. Going back to the “Dumbledore is the puppet-master” theory, Dumbledore really is the one leading the battle and giving answers to the hard questions. When he leaves the story, things get a little chaotic. I personally don’t support the “puppet-master” theory, but I always agreed with the idea that the characters (with the exception of Harry and Snape) are generally happy with blindly following what Dumbledore says. They like the idea that he is the smartest, most powerful person to follow. That’s why I do like the revelations we get in the next book about his earlier life. No matter how powerful or cleaver or brave someone seems, they, at their core, are just human.

    Sorry that was long and rambly. Also, if that whole Into the Woods analogy is confusing, it’s because you may have seen the movie which, like HBP, cuts out some really important and fantastic parts of the source material.

    • Michael Harle

      “Into the Woods” is actually my favorite Broadway musical and I think this is a fabulous comparison! Whether or not Dumbledore is the puppet master, he’s certainly the character who wields the most control over the others (as you said, the characters follow him almost blindly). And interestingly, as a tradition of the play, the actor who portrays the Narrator almost always portrays the Baker’s Father, who also dies within the narrative, but returns as a “ghost” to deliver encouragement for the character’s final moments. Great comparison!

      As a side note, I actually think the film adaptation of “Into the Woods” did a MUCH larger injustice to its source material than any of the Potter films did, because the film left out all the parts that make the musical function to convey a moral. The result was just a bunch of disparate moments set to music that, with major pieces missing, didn’t click. At least the Potter movies, while abandoning key moments, never abandoned the core of the stories. In my opinion.

      • RoseLumos

        I so agree. “Into the Woods” is my #2 favorite musical, behind Avenue Q! I think the film adaptation could have been much worse than it was, but I was still very disappointed. One of my favorite songs is “No More,” the song between the Baker and his father. It is such a powerful song about destiny and choices, especially relating to parents. I was really upset that it got cut. On a side note, the song reminds me a lot of Harry and Lupin’s conversation early in Deathly Hallows in Grimmauld Place.

        I also think one of the most interesting parts of the musical is the juxtaposition between Acts 1 and 2. The film meshed them together too much, so the general audience who never saw the musical completely lost the point. That is one thing the Potter films got right – if we are comparing “Into the Woods” to Potter, GoF is like the intermission between the two acts. The first three books and half of GoF are more traditional children’s literature. You have the good guys and the bad guys, and although the hero must fight the bad guys, nothing bad will ever really happen to him. The good guys will always win. Then GoF suddenly shifts – Cedric, who is a good guy, suddenly dies and the bad guy, Voldemort, isn’t defeated. Instead, he gets stronger. All of a sudden, the fairy tale qualities of the series changes. Now, good guys lose and the bad guys win. Just like Act 2 of “Into the Woods,” in which good guys die and bad guys sometimes get away.

        Another interesting comparison is Dumbledore and The Witch. The Witch even says herself that she isn’t good or bad. She is willing to hide Rapunzel away in a tower her whole life because it is safe, despite the fact it isn’t what Rapunzel wants. This is a bit like Dumbledore hiding Harry at the Dursley’s house, where he is technically safe despite the fact that he hates it and wants to leave. Also, when the characters have to bargain with the giant, she is all for finding and sacrificing Jack. He is a boy, but she knows that giving Jack to the giant will mean that the giant wouldn’t destroy the woods and kill more people in her act of revenge, just like how Dumbledore is preparing Harry to sacrifice himself to stop Voldemort from killing more innocent people. Can we say that The Witch wants to sacrifice Jack “for the greater good?”

  • SocksAreImportant

    Like probably many others, I found out who RAB was on the internet. It did not seem that obvious to me. Perhaps on the next re read of books 1-6, I would have figured out who it was. I am happy that I was spoiled on who RAB was because it made me extra cautious on looking at other HP theories on the internet before the final book came out. I avoided mugglenet forums and was able to read book 7 entirely unspoiled.

  • RoseLumos

    I love everyone’s RAB stories. I remember sitting on my friend’s bedroom floor about three days after the book came out and talking about it. I was trying to think of what characters might have those initials, when Regulus popped in my head. I was so excited because I thought I would be the first person to think of it so I rushed home to tell anyone who would listen on Mugglenet about it. But of course, a couple dozen other people already figured it out so I wasn’t the genius I thought I was.

    To be fair, I wasn’t disappointed by how easy it was. It could never be confirmed until the book came out, so in the two years between the books it was fun to consider all the other possibilities. When it finally was revealed, I wasn’t surprised but I was kind of excited that I got it right. Besides, I think the bigger reveal was how Regulus learned about the locket.

    • lifeanddragons

      Yeah, I too remember having this eureka moment only to go online and find that literally everybody else knew it too!

  • Griff

    I totally fell for Snape being a bad guy hook, line, and sinker after this book. I was devastated by his betrayal, compounding over the course of the book, from the Unbreakable Vow and his explanations to Bellatrix to finally Dumbledore’s death and Snape’s flight. Going on the Internet changed my mind a bit, but Rowling’s writing of the character in this book (in a vacuum!) was hypnotizing for me. I am a Dumby loyalist and so trusted Snape as I trusted Dumbledore– only to be crushed at the end of this book.

    Relatedly, ahh ahh ahh! We are almost to Deathly Hallows! The best book imo. I feel like I’ve seen some DH hate on the podcast, hoping that others out there love the saga of the last book like me!

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Regarding Snape’s big hurry to leave after killing Dumbledore, in a discussion on the forums (called Snape’s AK at the end of the book) Nana suggested that Snape knew Harry was on the tower top, and it does make some sense. Remember when Draco comes through the door to the top of the tower, he immediately sees the second broom and asks Dumbledore who else is there. When Snape comes through the door it says “his black eyes swept the scene.” Surely he saw the second broom too, knew Harry and Dumbledore had gone somewhere that night, and suspected that Harry was hidden somewhere on the tower top under his invisibility cloak. Snape doesn’t know Harry is frozen, though, and must be expecting him to jump out at any moment to help Dumbledore. (Though in Nana’s theory Snape does figure out that Harry is frozen, because he doesn’t come running out.) This not only gives Snape a reason to rush the Death Eaters off the tower top, but also to throw Dumbledore’s body over the wall where Harry can’t go running over to it. The topic very interesting, I recommend going over and reading it.

    You know, this would also mean that, like in the movie, Snape would know that Harry had to watch him kill Dumbledore, making an already difficult act even more so, and perhaps adding to his hatred toward Dumbledore for making him do this.

    Whether you agree with that theory or not, Snape had to get himself and Draco to safety before Harry told everyone about what they did. The only reason they were able to run through the battle and towards the gates is because both sides thought they were on their side.

  • StoneHallows

    So I have a string of questions I just thought of while listening the PQotW from last week and their responses. We know that because Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore, and Harry disarmed Malfoy, Harry now has the allegiance of the Eldar wand. But a significant amount of time goes by between these two events. So are we to believe that Malfoy hasn’t been disarmed by ANYONE in this time period? Harry also goes a while between when he disarmed Malfoy and when he realizes what it means. I can’t remember specifically at the moment, but has he not been disarmed in that time either? Obviously just a breaking of his wand doesn’t count, assumingly because it wasn’t by magic. Which leads to the question of fist fights – if someone who has the allegiance of the Wand gets into a physical fight with someone and loses, does that do anything to the allegiance, or does it go unnoticed because it’s not involving magic? Obviously most witches and wizards are going to use magic in a fight because DUH, but what if Harry and Ron had come to blows before Ron left, which I believe happened after Harry had disarmed Draco? I feel like both of them would have just thrown away their wands and gone at it. What would have happened then? Would the allegiance have gone to Ron? But even if I have my timeline messed up and Ron left before this, would Harry’s own wand have change allegiance?

    • SnapesManyButtons

      When Harry takes Malfoy’s wand, it is not by magic, he just grabs it from him. So magic doesn’t have to be involved. But I do think it has to be an actual defeat of an opponent, and not just any disagreement, to change a wand’s allegiance. Harry and Malfoy are on opposite sides, Harry and Ron are not. We know the wands don’t change just because someone is disarmed, because they don’t change during DA practice. I think we also overestimate how often people are disarmed. Harry was found out in the Seven Potters episode because he uses Expelliarmus so it doesn’t seem to be a very commonly used one. I think most people just throw a hex or curse. It’s just Harry who would rather disarm an opponent than hurt them.

      • StoneHallows

        I forgot that Harry just rips the wands from Malfoy – thanks for reminding me!

        One could argue that at the time of their fight, Harry and Ron were on opposite sides – not of good and bad (though Ron was being influenced by the locket – how would that come into play, I wonder? It wasn’t his wand, but Voldemort was in Ron’s head…) but of a major argument. I would agree that something like DA practice or the dueling club from CoS wouldn’t switch the allegiances of the wands because there is no hard feelings between the people as they fight. I would think intentions, such as when you feel betrayed by your best friend, would come into play. Also, I would think that any curse or hex that put an opponent out of commission would be considered a defeat as well – anything forceful and physical that makes them stop fighting (i.e. not if they decide to sit down and talk about it, and one wins the words fight). Though words can certainly defeat a person as well…

        • SnapesManyButtons

          Remember that the wands are semi-sentient. They don’t just change after every conflict like a switch is thrown, they have some sort of ability to decide if the winner is worthy of them or if they want to change. Pottermore describes some wands as less easily won or more loyal than others. Here’s a quote from Rowling about wand allegiance:

          “The Elder Wand is simply the most ruthless of wands in that it will only take into consideration strength. One would expect a certain amount of loyalty from one’s wand. So even if you were disarmed while carrying it, even if you lost a fight while carrying it, it has developed an affinity with you that it won’t give up easily. If, however, a wand is won, properly won in an adult duel, then a wand may switch allegiance … However, the Elder Wand knows no loyalty except to strength. It’s completely unsentimental. It will only go where the power is. So if you win, then you’ve won the wand. You don’t need to kill with it. But … almost inevitably, it attracts wizards who are prepared to kill and who will kill. And also it attracts wizards like Voldemort who confuse being prepared to murder with strength.”

          She says if won in a duel a wand “may” switch allegiance, so even then it doesn’t have to. Only the Elder Wand is ruthless enough to go with anyone who defeats its owner regardless of the circumstance.

  • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

    I want to talk about that final Harry-Snape confrontation in this chapter, because I never truly understood Snape as much as I did when he faces down Harry and screams, “DON’T – CALL – ME – COWARD!”

    If you are not an introverted person, or if you have never swallowed your own feelings and pain and lied in everyone else’s faces for what you were convinced was the greater good, Snape might not resonate with you so much. But in that moment I understood him completely. I understood that he loved Dumbledore, and hated him at the same time, resented that he had to kill the man who was closer to him than anyone else, resented that Dumbledore just assumed he would do it, basically ordered him to do it, without giving him an option. I understood that Snape knew that all of this was necessary, but that he was enraged at life for making it necessary at all.

    I understood that the one thing about Harry that drove Snape CRAZY was the thing that has, for Snape, been the greatest weakness — the fact that Harry feels so openly and wears his feelings in the open, that he has the freedom to react and emote and never think about the consequences. I don’t believe Snape has ever had that. His home background seems like it was abusive. It was never safe for him to just ‘feel’ and wear his heart on his sleeve. He tried it a few times as a young man and it only caused more problems. And now, the only way he has survived this long is by CONTROL. Hiding his feelings, hiding his hatred of Voldemort, his desire for revenge, his loathing for his role. Hiding his true motivations. Even hiding from Harry the full reasons he dislikes him — Snape constantly talks about James, and never about Lily, when he taunts Harry.

    To me, the scene in the movie version of OOTP was very effective here — when Snape is shouting at Harry to prove that he is not weak, to control his mind, that life isn’t fair, and that fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves fall victim to the Dark Lord. That is Snape’s reality at this point, and really he is doing something extraordinary that is never really acknowledged. He is performing Occlumency against Voldemort, who touts himself as the greatest Legilimens to ever live. AND VOLDEMORT DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT.

    I’ve been in a situation where I lost someone I loved more than anyone else in the world, and in circumstances where I believed that I could not let anyone know what I was doing and why I was doing it. I was in pain every day, every minute, and I did it because I knew deep in my heart that it was the right thing to do, the thing that had to be done no matter how much it hurt me. So, yes, I could see the way Harry touched a nerve with Snape. Snape has dealt with Harry, when he can barely stand to look at him. He has tried to teach him control, the only thing that has saved Snape over and over, the one thing that Harry seems unable to master, because of course he can’t control himself! And here’s Snape, who has to control his every thought and emotion, who has just had to kill his only friend, and is now fleeing into the deepest level of his very dangerous double life, and this kid who thinks he knows but understands nothing about what he just saw is coming after him, attacking him with his own spells, calling him a coward.

    I could feel Snape snapping in such a visceral way. He was not even going to do Harry the courtesy of fighting back, he was just going to block him, again and again, because Harry does not understand, has never understood and never will, and if he doesn’t learn control it will mean that everything Snape has done was for nothing.

    So, what I’m saying is… I really get Snape here, and I love this scene, because it’s so very real and true to the character.

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Great analysis! So often people just see Snape as a cold, mean bastard, and he is on the outside, but few stop to consider what his life must have been like in the cold, darkness of his mind. I was always taught that when people are mean it is usually from pain or fear. Snape lived constantly with both. This scene shows a crack in the facade he must hide behind and reveals his humanity.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      This. Thank you for acknowledging that you understand Snape, because I do, too, in many of the ways you described.

      I especially like your analysis of why he has such a visceral reaction to Harry here and throughout the series. I’ve always felt that reader discussions default to Snape’s resentment toward James, in part because (as you note), Snape usually taunts Harry by comparing him to his father. And that does seem like a very feeble reason to be nasty toward a kid. But that’s definitely not the full, or even the main, reason why Snape treats Harry the way he does. I agree completely with you that Snape loathes Harry’s lack of self control and, moreover, his over-confidence that he understands everything, when he only sees a fraction of what’s really going on. Throughout the podcast for this book, the discussion kept coming back to the fact that Harry was actually right about Malfoy all along. But is “what Malfoy’s up to” really the full story? Of course not; Harry has no clue that Dumbledore and Snape know all along, too, and that they are up to their own plan, which will supersede Malfoy’s. That’s just one of many examples of when Harry believes he has a complete understanding of things and tries to argue with Snape about what he knows or throw his “knowledge” at Snape — casting the Half-Blood Prince’s spells at their own creator unknowingly is a perfect metaphor for this aspect of their relationship.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I have a kind of obscure theory about why Snape being the Half Blood Prince is actually important. Harry has been reading this book all year, at least until he had to hide it, and has been thinking of The Prince as someone who has helped and taught him. He likes this guy. He thinks The Prince is a genius. He even trusts him and is shocked when one of the spells goes horribly wrong and injures Draco. But still he defends him and the spell. I think having Snape be the Half Blood Prince gives Harry a foundation from which he can come to understand and later forgive Snape beyond just the pensieve memories. The memories give Harry an understanding of Snape’s motivations and actions, but through the book Harry had come to think of the Prince as a person he knew and even liked. Some people wonder how Harry could come to forgive Snape from the pensieve memories alone, but maybe he didn’t. Maybe the book played a part too.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Agree. That’s how I always understood the significance of Snape’s identity as the Half-Blood Prince and Harry’s relationship to Snape as mediated through his potions book.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I think saving Draco was just actually a secondary benefit to why Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him. If Draco killing him had furthered the Greater Good, I think Dumbledore would have let him do it. The real goal Dumbledore had in having Snape kill him was to eliminate the Elder Wand as a weapon for Voldemort. If Draco killed Dumbledore, it would be a true defeat and Draco would become the wand’s master, giving Voldemort the chance to gain it by killing Draco. But if Snape kills Dumbledore with his permission, then there is no defeat and the Elder Wand doesn’t change owners. Dumbledore dies as its last master and the wand can never be wielded with the same power again. He tells Snape he wants to save Draco’s soul and avoid being killed painfully only because he doesn’t want to tell him the truth about the Elder Wand. He asks this untenable act of him and yet doesn’t even tell him the little detail that Voldemort will think Snape to be the wand’s master and will almost certainly kill him thinking he’ll gain it.

    Dumbledore’s plan was never for Snape to be master of the Elder Wand. When Harry is facing Voldemort at the end of DH, he tells Voldemort (Chapter 36 of Deathly Hallows), “Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand’s last true master!” He knew Voldemort wanted the wand and would kill whomever he had to to gain it, so he basically set it up so there was no way Snape would ever survive the war. You’d think he would at least tell him.

    • Lisa

      It makes me wonder why Dumbledore didn’t just kill himself. Suicide might not be a thing in the wizarding world but if you think about it, he had no need of Snape or anyone else to kill him. If all it takes for the Elder wand to not change owners is that he dies undefeated, well then the option of doing it himself is valid. However, one advantage to having Snape do it was that it cemented Snape’s position in Voldemort’s inner circle and helped disperse all the suspicions that he might have betrayed Voldemort.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        I’ve wondered that myself. I think the need to cement Snape’s position is indeed important, since Dumbledore was Snape’s principal advocate on the good side, and Snape killing him would (seemingly) eradicate all doubt that Snape was on his side.

        On the topic of suicide, wasn’t that idea raised in relation to one of the other characters at some point in the series (not the Bloody Baron, another non-ghost character)? Or did I hallucinate that? Maybe not an appropriate topic to discuss, just trying to work out your question in my head …

      • SnapesManyButtons

        There was so much he required of Snape, and one was that he be made Headmaster once Voldemort took over the school. Another was that Snape live long enough to tell Harry that he had to die. Dumbledore needed Snape to remain in Voldemort’s good graces and killing him accomplished that. Honestly, at this point I think Dumbledore would have done literally anything if he thought it would bring down Voldemort, even kill himself, but in this case it was more beneficial to let himself be killed.

    • Dumbledore’s through & through

      Ok this might be a stupid question, but do we know for sure Dumbledore didn’t tell Snape about the Elder Wand? Maybe he did tell him, and it just wasn’t something Snape wanted to include in the memories he shows Harry. I am aware that this scenario is very unlikely, and I see why everyone believes he doesn’t tell him. It’s just… I would like to believe Snape is the one person Dumbledore is honest with, at least at the end. Although I’m afraid everyone is right and he isn’t.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        I hoped the same thing and I tried to find something in the books to hint that he knew, but there isn’t anything. We know Dumbledore keeps things from Snape from when we he asks Dumbledore what he’s doing with Harry all those nights they are locked up together and Dumbledore says he can’t tell him. That makes sense, but when it comes to something that threatens Snape’s life directly, you’d think he’d tell him. But if he had, why would he tell Snape that the reason for killing him was to save Draco’s soul and prevent him from a painful death at the hands of the Death Eaters? No, if Snape knew about the Elder Wand and Dumbledore’s need to die undefeated, that would have been reason enough. I can only suppose that Snape’s life as a spy was so dangerous that Dumbledore knew that he’d already proved willing to give up his life for the cause and in the end, neither of them thought there was a chance Snape would come out of it alive.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    Big round of applause for the guest host, Kelly! She contributed a lot of ideas that I was hoping would be discussed.

    I very much agree with Kelly that the “revulsion and hatred” on Snape’s face are more a reflection of his feelings toward himself, and what he’s about to do, than directed at Dumbledore (although that’s certainly part of it, too). Another commenter astutely noted that the words “revulsion and hatred” echo the language used when Harry is force-feeding Dumbledore the potion in the cave, and it’s himself and his own actions — as ordered by Dumbledore — that he hates and is repulsed by in that scene, just as Snape hates himself for performing the actions that Dumbledore has ordered. In such situations, I can’t imagine that it would be possible to focus on the larger reasons for what you are doing; I imagine that you would be consumed by the knowledge that you are inflicting pain on someone you care about or eliminating them from your world.

    [Aside: I love this podcast and the community of listeners, and it’s so fun to be able to comment while the discussion is still active! I’m a binge-listener (the only thing that makes laundry tolerable), so I rarely am on track with the online discussion, but I do read and appreciate many of the comments here.]

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    One point that was briefly raised but I wish had been discussed in greater depth: Harry’s initial reaction that Dumbledore’s death could potentially be reversed. The passage reads: “Terror tore at Harry’s heart. … He had to get to Dumbledore and he had to catch Snape. … Somehow the two things were linked. … He could reverse what had happened if he had them both together. … Dumbledore could not have died.”

    Possibly these thoughts are simply a natural stage in the process of grieving, but possibly the author intended them to have a larger significance (other than as fuel for the fire of the “Dumbledore is not dead” theories). Harry often intuits connections between things; the only example that comes to mind at the moment is minor, in that it doesn’t have an effect on the central plot, but he links Griffyndor’s success in the Quidditch match with his success in getting together with Ginny. I’m reasonably sure that other instances exist in the books when Harry thinks along the lines of, “if this, then that. …. somehow these two things are linked, I just don’t know exactly how right now, but if I bring them together, I’ll figure it out.”

    I suppose his sense that bringing Snape back to Dumbledore’s body would reverse the killing comes from his recent experience of Snape’s reversal of the damage Harry inflicted when he attacked Draco with Sectumsempra. Possibly these lines are meant to recall that moment and emphasize the extent to which Harry is still subconsciously relying on the Half-Blood Prince, a subtle way of magnifying the importance of the HBP’s identity when it’s revealed later in the chapter. Maybe he’s also intuiting that there’s some larger explanation for all of this, that seeing Snape and Dumbledore “together” would explain it all in the end — even if the death can not be reversed, it will ultimately be explained and understood through Snape’s memories …

  • ISeeThestrals

    Lol, another Harry Potter weekend is here on abc. It would’ve lined up great if it was this week we were watching the sixth movie. Would’ve saved me from renting it.