Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 102

This week’s question of the week asks you to delve into the mind, and more specifically, determine what in the world Snape is thinking.

Snape leaves Harry more vulnerable to Voldemort’s mental attacks after his first round of Occlumency lessons. Is this because of Snape’s neglect, a desire to immerse Harry and force him to work harder, some twisted form of malice, or something else?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week to see if your ideas are discussed on the show!

  • I agree that Snape is the worst teacher for Harry, but I don’t think it was him specifically causing Harry to be vulnerable – I think that’s just an unavoidable by-product of Occlumency lessons. Had Dumbledore taught Harry, the same thing would have happened. Occlumency is something that can only be learned by practicing, and using Legilimency on someone – which is what weakened Harry’s defenses – is the only way they can practice.
    The only difference would be that 1) Dumbledore would definitely have warned Harry, and 2) it perhaps wouldn’t have been as intense. Instead of losing consciousness and all sense of self, he probably would have just had a sharp pain in his scar and felt the joy.
    Overall, though, I think it was unavoidable.

    • Albert Cashier

      I agree. I think Snape has to go hard on Harry. Voldemort invading his mind isn’t going to be pleasant the way it would be if say Dumbledore decided to help. Plus, Dumbledore explains later that he cares to much for Harry. I think he needed someone like Snape to do this job because Dumbledore would have been too soft and easy about it. They don’t have the luxury of taking this easy anymore. Unfortunately, Snape doesn’t exactly act too maturely but that’s another chapter.

    • SpinnersEnd

      I agree to an extent. But I think Voldemort would have used the connection between himself and Harry regardless. Voldemort may have had to work a little harder to use it to the full extent he does at the end of the novel, but he would have achieved the same outcome.

      Harry would have been a bit less mentally exhausted if Dumbledore had taught him Occlumency. It would have saved Harry a good deal of worrying about Snape’s loyalty.

  • loony_lauren

    I agree with HagridsDrinkingProblem. Hermione tells Ron to warn Harry that his defenses are going to be low after Snape had been “fiddling” with his mind. I am sure that Hermione has read about legilimency and occlumency and finds that this is a common occurrence for those learning the skills. It could be a bit like physical exercise. The first night after working out vigorously, you’re body is going to be sore and you will be exhausted and weakened. But after awhile, your body adjusts properly, and you can take more and more, it gets easier, and you get stronger. Maybe with proper guidance (someone other than Snape, such as Dumbledore), Harry could possibly adjust and learn occlumency. I think part of what stops him is that he does not want to stop having these dreams, he thinks they are to his advantage, and the others he could possibly save. If Harry had the will to block these memories and had the proper and patient guidance that is probably required, he could most likely master this skill after time.

    • BeachBadger27

      I agree completely with your statement and I really like your exercise analogy! I was trying to think of a comparison myself and you took the words right out of my mouth! I do think that the learning process of Occlemency requires great concentration and willpower and it is not something that can be learned overnight. Besides having a vulnerable mind after the lessons, I do not think that Harry is truly dedicated to the process. He really wants to know what is beyond the door he sees in his dreams and I think that is holding him back from putting 110% into his lessons. This is very simar to back in Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry was learning the Patronus Charm. There was apart of him that wanted to hear his parents voices, which was preventing him from completely learning the charm.

      • loony_lauren

        I forgot about the patronus charm dilemma Harry had, great comparison!!

  • Elvis Gaunt

    I don’t think Harry’s mental defences have been lowered due to the Occlumency classes. The increased glimpses into Voldemort’s mind are due the fact that the Dark Lord is willingly opening some of his thoughts to Harry now, namely the sights of the corridor in the Dept. of Mysteries. The vision of Rookwood being tortured could be an unintended side-effect. As for reading his emotions, Harry had been doing it sporadically throughout this book. It is just the same.

  • WizardorWhat

    While I agree with everyone that Harry was always going to be more vulnerable after occlumency lessons whomever was teaching him, I think that Snape makes things worse for two reasons.

    First, occlumency is about the ability to close one’s mind – to avoid ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’. But Snape makes matters worse by taunting and frustrating Harry, as well as initiating confrontations throughout the lessons.

    Secondly, I think Snape’s teaching method is at best geared toward exceptionally able students, and at worst downright lazy. As with potions, his approach is to give an outline, and then see whether his students sink or swim, and taunt them if they sink. In potions this is particularly striking because we learn in book 6 that he actually knows better versions of the recipes that he doesn’t tell the students! As to occlumency, I think it’s notable that in the first lesson, he uses legilimency *before* giving Harry any idea about how to resist. He also gives Harry very little instruction at all other than ‘close your mind’, despite being an expert in the field. This teaching method *might* work with brighter students who rise to the challenge and develop capacity for independent learning, but it’s no good for Harry (or Neville, or Ron, or virtually any of the students other than Hermione).

    I think this is a big part of why Harry never gets the hang of it, despite appearing to have a good aptitude for it. He’s good at fighting the imperius curse, which Snape tells us requires a similar skillset, and in his first lesson Snape concedes that he’s actually doing quite well. Notwithstanding this, he makes no progress in the lessons, and is left more emotional than ever. At best this deprives him of the opportunity to properly learn occlumency, at worst it actively undermines his defences and makes things easier than they should have been for Voldemort.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      totally agree. Snape’s teaching style, even in potions, does not fit Harry’s learning style. Great point about the imperious curse – I’d totally forgotten about that!!

  • SlytherinKnight

    I totally agree with that Snape was the worst possible person to teach Harry Occlumency, Snape is the worst teacher in all of Hogwarts. He might be a brilliant Potions Master and spy(?) but a teacher’s main responsibility is to impart knowledge onto their students, and Snape fails miserably at that. When Snape tells Harry that learning Occlumency is similar to resisting the Imperious Curse, why didn’t he expand on that comparison? I can understand that testing Harry’s shields at the beginning of each lesson is certainly the right idea, also Snape’s use of Legilmency is much like Voldemort’s but Snape doesn’t teach Harry at all. He uses this opportunity to torture Harry in the worst possible way, he is mind-raping Harry under the pretense of teaching him.

    In regards to Occlumency, and likening it to resisting the Imperious Curse, I also think that it is similar to casting a Patronus, especially in the presence of Dementors. It takes the mental fortitude to focus on a happy thought while being assaulted by your worst memories, and Harry shows that he can conjure a Patronus surrounded by roughly a hundred Dementors, so Harry’s mind and will can be extremely strong if he has the proper motivation and teaching. So this is even more of a indictment of Snape’s teachings and childish behavior that Harry can resist the Imperious Curse from Voldemort and conjure a Patronus while being attacked by a hundred Dementors.

    • PuffNProud

      I’m sorry, I’m not down with the Snape bashing on this topic. How do we know he was a terrible teacher? Snape seems to follow the same type of lessons his colleagues do – use the homework for theory and the classwork for practical. Where is the evidence that he’s the worst teacher in all of Hogwarts?

      • SlytherinKnight

        True, the Hogwarts education that we see leaves quite a bit of the imagination. But in regards to Snape being the worst teacher in Hogwarts, that is more because of the atmosphere that he allows to occur in his classroom. Potions, IMO, is one of the more dangerous classes offered at Hogwarts due to the volatile substances that the students work with but Snape allows the Slytherins to sabotage other students’ work, he berates and picks on students with quite a bit of vitriol. Trewlawney is in 2nd place for worst teacher, maybe even 1a. since she continually predicts a student’s death each class.

      • QuibbleQuaffle

        Snape is clearly very good at Potions, Occlumency, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. The bare bones if his lessons been to be excellent. If presented with a class of only high achieving students who had no personality traits or family/House connections Snape happened to dislike then I think he would be classed as a model teacher. But when you look at how he treats Hermione, (thinking of the teeth thing especially and the time he calls her a know it all when he’s covering for Lupin), the way he treats struggling students like Neville in Potions and Harry in Occlumency, it’s clear that his teaching methods don’t work on a wide range of students. If you compare Snape to say, McGonagall, who also follows the “practicals in the lesson- practise and theory for homework” and also is very strict, to the point of formidable, one immediate difference is that McGonagall’s way of controlling a class commands respect and promotes hard work from most students. Snape’s methods breed hatred, resentment and fear. He undermine’s his own good lesson structures and knowledge of his subject with unprofessional teaching style that may produce fantastic results from a minority of students, but holds back the majority.

      • BeachBadger27

        In regards to Snape as an overall teacher, I feel that he is good in some aspects, but bad in others. Yes, he is a master at potions and yes he is great at teaching potions. He also has great classroom management, however that might be due to the students being too afraid to cross him. On the other hand, there are certain characteristics to being a great teacher that Snape just does not seem to have. Here are just a few of those many important qualities of a successful teacher: fairness, respect, caring, and professionalism. It’s no secret that Snape shows favoritism and that he does not treat students equally. Snape’s classroom is not a positive learning environment, which was something that was drilled into my head as an education student. I know we only see him teaching one class, so we don’t know how he is with other students, but it does seem that most of the students in the school have some sort of negative view on him, so maybe that does tell us how he is with other classes.

  • PuffNProud

    I think that anyone would be mentally vulnerable after any Occlumency lesson- it messes with the mind. Probably the best thing for anyone is to sleep and let the mind rest afterwards. I don’t think it’s malice, I think it comes with the territory. And yet…is there some part of Snape that feels some type of satisfaction in messing with James’s lookalike? I’ll concede there just might be.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      Couldn’t agree more. Snape’s teaching itself was never what specifically hurt Harry, more his handling of the situation (and that is what I think made Harry more vulnerable in the end).

  • Hollywobbles

    I don’t agree that Snape is a horrible teacher . Hear me out. He does start by comparing what harry is going to need to do, to something similar that he has done before ( resisting the imperious curse), so that he will have an idea of what he is supposed to do. Yes, Snape doesn’t give him step by step instructions, but it seems to be that its more of a magic you ‘feel out’ rather than having a specific set of rules to follow. He compliments him (as best as Snape is ever able to compliment Harry) on this first attempt. Yes, Snape is a jerk to Harry. As a person, he is not very nice. But as a teacher? I think he is doing as well of a job as any other could. His biggest mistake seems to be that he assumes Harry will take any responsibility for himself learning occlumency. Harry does zero research on it, and doesn’t put any effort into practicing. He (as always) relys on Hermione to hand him the information that he should have been searching for himself. Harrys inability to learn is more his own fault than anything. Like every other thing in this world, you can’t learn it by just being handed the information. You actually need to try. I realize that his unwillingness to try comes from not respecting Snape, and Snape goading him, but maybe Dumbledore thought that Harry would be even more motivated to close him mind because it was Snape trying to get in, even though Voldemort getting in his mind should have been plenty of motivation.

    • loony_lauren

      That’s an interesting thought you had at the end about Dumbledore thinking Snape invading Harry’s mind would be enough motivation for Harry to try to shut him out, I had not thought of that. Harry however cannot control his anger that Snape is doing this, which is ironically a big part of why Snape is able to do this so easily.

  • Hufflepug

    I think it’s a combination of his teaching method, a desire to prove that Harry is weaker than he comes off as, his anger at having to see Harry even more often now, and the fact that Legilimency really just takes it out of you. But it’s also equally Harry’s fault. Neither of them want to be there and so Harry won’t learn if he’s not willing to put in the effort. Being with Snape just makes it harder for him to close off his mind because Snape naturally brings out that anger in Harry, which makes him vulnerable. And then when Snape reacts with anger, it makes Harry more angry, and the cycle continues until they’re both left huffing and Harry refuses to put in the work because he doesn’t want to even think about being with Snape.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      The cycle of anger is really all Snape and Harry’s relationship is. Snape doesn’t want to give Harry the satisfaction of doing something well or achieving something and Harry knows this (which makes him even angrier). Because of this, even if Snape is giving Harry appropriate information, he is not responding to the environment appropriately (and neither is Harry).

  • mollywobbles

    The whole point of these lessons with Snape is for Harry to close his mind and to keep his emotions under control. Why isn’t this lesson more like a meditation session, with pillows, scented candles, Yanis playing in the background, “clear you mind and empty yourself”. If we take this approach then maybe Snape isn’t the best teacher. Sybill Trelawney maybe or later in this book we meet Firenze, wouldn’t it be better to teach Harry what it feels like to close his mind first and then try to attack it. Build him up first before breaking him down. Maybe if Snape didn’t have such strong feelings linked to Harry and his family the session would look more like this, but his hatefulness just gets in the way. For someone who is supposed to be very good at emptying his mind and controlling his feelings he sure is letting them run all over the place in these last two chapters. I know this isn’t as good for the story line but this part of the book has always bothered me.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I also made the analogy to meditation, because as with meditation, Occlumency isn’t the sort of thing that can be explained or taught via explicit instructions, but rather a practice that is guided, one that you learn by understanding the general principles and then practicing regularly until you discern how your individual mind/emotions work and find a place that feels right for you. This is why I think Snape gives more general guidance than explicit instruction. There seems to be a range of ways to successfully practice Occlumency, which may vary with the individual. It’s also why he makes Harry go through the experience repeatedly, making him get right back up and try again when he falls. I think he actually is building him up in that way, just as one must cultivate a daily practice of meditation to become comfortable with it. Unlike meditation, though, I think Occlumency requires the kind of training that simulates the real-world environment (rather than disengaging from outside stimuli) — as others have pointed out, Snape is trying to create the actual conditions of stress and danger that Harry will experience with Voldemort, rather than give him a falsely safe, soothing, contained environment in which to learn. (Although I love the image of Snape busting out his Yanni playlist!)

  • BlameitontheNargles

    I feel like leglimens is a spell that isn’t nessacarily a spell to enter your mind as it is to just pull painful memories forward and in conjunction with occlumency allows the attacker to enter more readily. By opening a floodgate of sorts. I also feel like the only way to show someone how to save themselves from it us to first experience it. Know what they are up against, much like the moody approach to teaching. Lastly I feel like these seem to us like drastic and cruel as readers, but so is voldemort. And who better to teach than someone who has been at his cruel hands and had to learn that way too. Is there any other way to learn it that we know of? Snape didn’t assign any reading on it. The way it works it seems like a lot of the magic in this book, is instinctual and set up to interact with the caster in a fight it flight situation. Harry with lumos at the beginning, the power of his patronus, a lot of this book is focused on tackling what’s in front of you as it comes, as well as the different approaches. But as we learn there are many different ways that voldemort and his followers attack. Snape I feel is trying to teach harry how exactly the way it was presented to him. As a defense against the unwanted and unbidden thoughts and the passions of his supposedly cold heart.

  • CentaurSeeker121

    I feel like I have to agree with BlameitontheNargles. Voldemort is indeed a cruel individual who is willing to use any means necessary in order to try to achieve what he wants (the fact that he tried to kill an innocent baby is proof of this) and Snape knows this better than anyone. His so-called method of teaching may indeed seem cruel to us like BlameitontheNargles said, but it may be that Snape is trying to show Harry that an attack could come at any time and he needed to be prepared.

  • QuibbleQuaffle

    Okay so I went on a bit of a rant in the general discussion but it kind of turned out to be more relevent here so I’m gonna copy and paste it here:

    I find it interesting that just before he launched into that explanation about the mind not being a book Snape says “Only Muggles talk of “mind reading””. I think that a- in the magical world there is nothing that’s termed “mind reading” because- like you say- it’s over simplifying it. But also b- is this revealing a bit of lingering resentment of Muggles on Snape’s part? He’s basically starting off the lesson by saying “no Harry you’re stupid- like a Muggle”. Like woah there Severus, you may be the best at Occlumency, but for a subject so tied in with thoughts and feelings is this really the best apporach professionally. If we’re comparing Snape to Lupin with the whole circle theory thing, both Occulmency and the Patronus charm take a lot more than just waving your wand, but while Lupin guides Harry through it, builds up his confidence and make’s sure he’s okay after by giving him chocolate to help with the effects of the (fake) Dementor, Snape explains Occlumency in a way that Harry can’t understand it, attacks him before he was ready, outright calls Harry “weak” and afterwards just let’s him walk away when “Harry felt shivery; his scar was still aching, he felt almost feverish…. … he was very white and his scar seemed to be showing up more clearly than usual”. Surely there would have been something either Snape or Madam Pomfrey could have done to help with that. Like, this goes beyond the typical wizarding disregard for health and safety, because this is a magical threat that Snape is leaving Harry vulnerable to. Maybe he’s going for a more tough-love fake-Moody approach, but even fake-Moody took Neville aside to comfort him “like Professor Lupin would have done” and encourages his students as well as being hard on them. Like, nevermind that Lupin was a better teacher than Snape, Barty Crouch Junior was a better teacher than Snape.

    Okay so that was my little (or not so little) rant.

    So basically I think that Snape’s trying to take a tough-love approach, and probably enjoying it at least a little bit, not even because he wants to see Harry suffer, but because it proves him right. It gives him proof that Harry is a weak fool just like his father. No doubt after the first lesson he’ll go back and report to Dumbledore that the boy is a lost cause etc. etc. He knows logically that Harry has to get good at Occlumency, but no one, especially someone as stubborn as Snape, likes to be proved wrong. Harry being good at something, especially something like Occlumency, which is kinda one of Snape’s “things” wouldn’t sit well with Snape. And even though Snape doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve I do think that deep down he’s a much more emotionally than logically motivated guy. Snape’s gonna be feeling very conflicted right now, and I get that, but I don’t think I’m being too hard on him, because if he’s gonna dish out tough-love he needs to be prepared to accept some too.

  • Silverdoe25

    It’s a hands-down conclusion that Snape was the worst possible teacher for Harry. The fact that he can’t put aside his personal feelings makes him a lousy tutor. The biggest problem, however, is that Snape just doesn’t have a full understanding of the unique kind of control that Voldemort is using over Harry, namely the connection via the piece of soul. Would Harry have been able to really learn Occlumency, given that circumstance? At any rate, the training is leaving Harry’s mind open, certainly, but Snape makes it worse by taunting him over the thoughts he sees. Harry is supposed to clear his mind and be calm before bed, but Snape leaves him angry and churned up emotionally.

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    I don’t think that Snape was ever motivated enough to give Harry the appropriate attention. That said, I don’t think that Harry ever gave it his everything, either. Snape doesn’t believe in Harry and Harry only wants to prove Snape wrong. If they had only focused their anger in a better direction.
    I think it all comes back to Dumbledore. He knew that Snape wouldn’t help Harry as much as he could and he knew that Harry wouldn’t put in enough effort. I think Dumbledore did this almost as an experiment to see if he could get Snape and Harry to work together – it didn’t work. Snape could have acted differently, but Harry could have, too. At the end of the day, I don’t think Occumency lessons would have made a difference with a different teacher, all these lessons did was drive Snape and Harry further apart. Harry was never really told exactly what legilimency was, never given the tools to fully understand what Voldemort was trying to do (again, thanks to Dumbeldore), and at the end of the day, I think this is what made him the most vulnerable.

  • RoseLumos

    I may be alone here, but I never thought that Harry’s vulnerability to Voldermort’s thoughts had anything to do with the Occlumency lessons. This closer reread may prove me wrong, but from my previous readings I always assumed that Harry’s greater mind connection and the lessons were just a coincidence. We know that Voldemort is getting more powerful every day. We also know that Harry can see or feel things when Voldemort is especially emotional (like after the mass Azkaban break out) or when he is concentrating on something else (like during Mr. Weasley’s attack). I just think Voldemort is not completely aware of how to control his connection with Harry but since he is so busy with other matters he is letting more and more things slip into Harry’s mind. That is why Harry’s scar begins to prick more and why he is seeing and feeling more of Voldemort’s thoughts. I always thought all of this would have happened even if Harry wasn’t taking Occlumency lessons. The lessons are just Jo’s red herring since we all love to hate Snape and she doesn’t want us to guess that Voldemort could ever be behind the false memory until it is revealed to be a false memory. Then again, I could be totally wrong.

  • SnugglesWithNifflers

    I wonder if during these lessons, Snape was searching Harry’s mind for similarities to Lily, or even glimpses of her. Most of Harry’s memories that Snape see go against him being a James Mini-Me and paint him in a much more sympathetic light. I believe when Snape sees Harry being tormented by the Dursleys and Aunt Marge, he feels for Harry in spite of himself. In fact, after Snape’s first attempt to break into Harry’s mind, he is downright kind (for Snape, mind you).

    And Snape does get a glimpse of Lily, when he sees her through Harry in the Mirror of Erised. I feel as though it would have been difficult for Snape to resist diving deeply into Harry’s mind at the temptation of seeing Lily again.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Yes! And, after he sees Lily via Harry’s memory of the Mirror of Erised, Snape is described as looking “paler than usual, and angrier, though not nearly as angry as Harry was.” Probably from the emotional surge he felt when glimpsing Lily, right? Then, it’s immediately after that memory that he tells Harry he is handing Voldemort “weapons” by showing him what he most fears. Snape knows that Voldemort uses people’s nobler emotions (love, caring, vulnerability) as weapons; in fact, that was the weapon Voldemort unknowingly used against Snape when he killed Lily. Snape then warns Harry about not being a fool who wears his heart on his sleeve, not to “wallow in sad memories” — again, he is reacting the the sight of Lily and his own feelings and memories. I believe that Snape’s constant need to label Harry as “weak” and assert his own strength in comparison is rooted in the fact that he had to master his own feelings for Lily — almost deny himself of them, refuse to “wallow” in them — in order (paradoxically) to avenge her murder and atone for the time he spent working for her murderer. Snape is dealing with extremely complex emotions during these Occlumency lessons, and I think he is letting his anger at Harry slip out because he has such a better understanding of the larger stakes.

      I also believe that he is trying to assist Harry in controlling his (Harry’s) anger when he tells him to close his eyes (p. 535, U.S. edition) in order to let go of all emotion. Harry interprets this as Snape making him vulnerable, when in fact, I think Snape is trying to let Harry dissociate himself from Snape, by not having to look at him, because he knows that Harry despises him and that he’ll have a hard time letting go of those feelings if he’s staring at Snape. Maybe S is also trying to relieve himself of some emotion by not having to look into eyes that resemble Lily’s …

      • SpinnersEnd

        I feel like Snape is being very hypocritical. He tells Harry not to wear his heart on his sleeve. But once we learn that Snape was in love with Lily, that’s exactly what he’s doing. Snape is so upset and bitter about the whole Lily situation, that he has no way of hiding such extreme emotion. Snape has spent the last fourteen years “wallowing in sad memories” so much so that that is all he knows how to express.

        Even in the few instances we see Snape interacting with someone who is not Harry, we see him as desperate and pleading, Lily the first thought in his mind.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          You make a good point that when Snape does express emotion, it tends to be bitter. But I think it’s because he blames himself for the way his friendship with Lily fell apart and for his role in her death. I read him as a character consumed by regret, and actually, as someone with a lot of repressed emotions. He can’t let everyone know the full story behind why he switched sides, and therefore, he can’t fully gain anyone’s trust except for Dumbledore’s. The members of the Order trust him only because Dumbledore does, and I feel like he has no close relationships at all. Even though he’s clearly comfortable being a loner, he has absolutely no one to confide his feelings in. Whereas Harry, while he’s had just as difficult a life (or more difficult), has a support system: several close friends with whom he can process his feelings, and many people who care about what happens to him. Maybe I’m letting my love for Snape’s character cloud my judgment, but I read him as someone with a very complex inner life who, for various reasons, must maintain a very cold exterior. Yes, he’s nasty to students and is certainly flawed, but no one is overly kind to him either.

          I always read S and H as having more in common than either one realizes. They pre-judge each other, and I think Snape is resentful about the conundrum that he’s in with respect to Harry: Harry is ungrateful for all that Snape’s doing for him, yet how could he be, since Snape can’t be straight with Harry what he’s doing and why. So the vicious cycle of their relationship continues, with Harry disrespecting Snape and Snape acting bitter, until Harry finally learns the full story — and I think at the end of Deathly Hallows, Harry realizes that Snape sacrificed for him and expresses his gratitude by honoring Snape posthumously.

  • jessfudd

    I think Dumbledore and Snape were using Harry as bait (again) or they were using Harry as a back door for Snape to try and get into Voldemort’s mind. If Voldemort had broken in to Harry’s mind during one of those lessons, he would have seen Snape teaching Harry almost nothing as well as him making Harry’s mind into mush to make it that much easier for Voldemort to overpower it. I believe that in the greater plot where Dumbledore is forming a game plan against Voldemort, Harry is a resource to be utilized at this point, not yet a team member in the fight. If the goal was really to teach Harry to close off his mind, these lessons would have been taught better, even by Snape, and he wouldn’t have had the option of quitting.

    I don’t think they meant for Harry to get lured to the ministry and actually go, but I do think they expected Voldemort to make a move like that in that way, and planned to head it off. I’m pretty sure they underestimate how stupidly brave Harry can be.

    And it’s not part of the question, but I’m pretty sure the memories Snape put into the pensieve each session are the same memories that he gives to harry in Deathly Hallows. Those are the things that if Voldemort did break in (which I think they were expecting), he wouldn’t get the truth about Snape.

  • FeatherSickle7662

    What you have to realize is Snape is dealing with a lot of different emotions with this whole thing. He has to protect his mind from Voldy, do everything he can for Dumbledore (aka puppet master) and he is also teaching (not well I might add). Snape also has to deal with his ever so obvious resentment towards the Mauraders and his regret of Lily’s death. I believe Snape is leaving Harry quite defenseless because he generally doesn’t want to do the task because it is Harry. Perhaps if it were another student or one of his house students it would be different. Snape also probably doesn’t care if Voldemort see things that Harry sees (or hears) because according to all the adults the kids know nothing about whats going on with the order. These poor kids are highly unappreciated for their ways of finding out information they shouldn’t know. So yes, twisted form of Malice for the win. 😀

  • pignosedtonks

    When I originally read this book, I believed snape was opening Harry up for Voldemort and then came along the Snape back story, and I no longer believe snape would ever put Harry into real danger. Whether you believe Snape is good, bad or indifferent there is no way Snape would jeopardize Harry to Voldemort.

  • Olivia Underwood

    I’ve always felt that Snape and Harry were in the same boat with this one. Like, ‘hang on, why are YOU here?’ or in the case of Snape ‘Why am I here?!’ Has he even taught Occlumency before? Clearly it’s not part of the school curriculum, same as the Patronus charm, and is equally, if not, more, hard to teach. Just because you have the skill does not necessarily mean you can teach it to others.

    I have always felt that Snape was struggling just as much as Harry, because Snape feels, at the back of his mind, that it should be Dumbledore here, not himself. Also having to spend long periods of time alone with Harry is not exactly his cup of tea, and as you guys have discussed already on the podcast, their anger (both Harry’s and Snape’s) has been building up and in the end just boils over. The target happens to be the people they are facing, their old nemesis’.

    Apart from all the psychological stuff, I think Snape is actually nervous and a little wary, maybe even scared, about the whole situation, which is why he loses his cool. Like Harry, Snape feels that something is amiss because Dumbledore won’t give him the full story, and is genuinely incredulous about what he has been asked to do. Again I ask, has Snape ever actually taught Occlumency before, and has Dumbledore? And if Dumbledore has, why on earth is Snape teaching Harry?!

  • The_Potter_Dude

    Snape sees Harry like his father and is mean to him because James was mean to him. Wouldn’t you want Harry not to see inside Voldemort. Because Snape has a grudge he leads harry to do what he does later in the book. If Snape had taught Harry he would have gone in Ministry.

  • Since we see it from Harry’s point of view, and Harry “feels” he’s more vulnerable, it might not be because of Snape at all. Snape sucks at interacting with other humans, but Harry also projects a fair bit of malice onto anything Snape does. And let’s not forget the most baffling (for me at least) factor of all: Harry KNOWS he’s showing Voldemort the Department of Mysteries when he dreams about it, yet he doesn’t seem bothered about trying to make the dreams stop. He’s curious about what lies in the Department, he WANTS to know. That’s his main drive in this, despite how monstrously stupid he’s being.