Reflections on One Man’s Motives, Bravery, and Sacrifice

An excerpt from Chapter 53: Severus Snape – The Ultimate Double Agent

So what is left to say about Snape?
That he was brilliant, brave, and a superb double agent.

Perhaps Harry says it best nineteen years later when discussing the possibility to his son that he may end up in Slytherin:

“Albus Severus, . . . you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

Significantly, Harry is told by Snape at one of his Occlumency lessons that Voldemort – when he was attacking Mr. Weasley and Harry was seeing it – realized that Harry was there and that Harry was able to see the attack through the snake’s (or Voldemort’s) eyes. When Harry asks how Snape knows this, Snape merely states, “it is enough that we know.”

And just as significantly, at one point Snape actually admits that he is the inside agent, the person who is spying for Dumbledore!

But Harry fails to understand the significance of what Snape had just told him! (Just as most if not all of the readers of the fifth booked failed to understand the significance of these words as well!)

Snape’s admission occurs in Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, during one of Harry’s Occlumency lessons:

“Perhaps,” said Snape, his dark, cold eyes narrowing slightly, “perhaps you actually enjoy having these visions and dreams, Potter. Maybe they make you feel special — important?”

“No, they don’t,” said Harry, his jaw set and his fingers clenched tightly around the handle of his wand.

“That is just as well, Potter,” said Snape coldly, “because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.”

“No — that’s your job, isn’t it?” Harry shot at him.

He had not meant to say it; it had burst out of him in temper. For a long moment they stared at each other, Harry convinced he had gone too far. But there was a curious, almost satisfied expression on Snape’s face when he answered.

“Yes, Potter,” he said, his eyes glinting. “That is my job. Now, if you are ready, we will start again . . .”

Yes, Potter, that is my job. Wow! A clear revelation of the truth – that is instantly ignored and given no significance – until much later when we know the truth about a very good double agent named Severus Snape!

And thanks to Snape, the story ends well. Indeed: “All is well.”