The authors of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying have been feverishly reproducing a series of articles written by Rita Skeeter that reveal Severus Snape’s first person account of his life as a double agent. In this third installment he describes his own death and his commitment to giving Harry Potter the sensitive information he needed to defeat Voldemort.
Snape’s Last Act at the Battle of Hogwarts
When Severus Snape re-entered his frame, he looked tired. Unlike the other headmaster portraits, however, he did not feign sleep but resumed his haughty pose before special correspondent Rita Skeeter. Under his command of Hogwarts as Headmaster during Voldemort’s second rise to power, Snape allowed the Dolohovs to torture students and did little to protect his young charges from kidnappings designed to persuade their parents to assist Voldemort. The man had little to offer by way of explanation for his willingness to put these students in harm’s way.
“I was undercover,” he said, “the most important thing was to stay close enough to Voldemort to ensure his demise. And I made sure that the Carrows didn’t go too far.”
However, at the Battle of Hogwarts in the spring of 1998, Snape died well before he could do anything to affect Voldemort. His death leads many members of the wizarding community to question whether reports of his heroism are not greatly exaggerated. When asked about these accusations, Snape simply shook his head.
“What so many of you do not understand is that some things are more powerful than magic,” he said coldly, “Dumbledore would have said love is one of them, but I have not been on the receiving end of much of that. I do, however, think the truth can be far more powerful than any spell.”
The cryptic answer seems, to any rational listener, like quite the excuse for Snape’s long list of prior bad acts. Special correspondent Rita Skeeter pressed the former headmaster for details.
“In the end,” said Snape, “Harry Potter did not need me or Dumbledore or any of you. He needed to know that he had to die in order to make Voldemort vulnerable to death. That tiny bit of information made all the difference and I was the only one who could give it to him.”
As he was dying, Snape asked Harry Potter to retrieve some of his memories. By placing them in Dumbledore’s Pensieve, the Boy Who Lived Twice learned what he needed to do to kill Voldemort, which apparently involved allowing Voldemort to kill him. Many believe that this was actually Snape’s attempt to assist Voldemort in killing Harry Potter, something he struggles to deny.
“He didn’t die, did he?” said Snape scornfully, “Doesn’t that kind of imply that I wasn’t sending him into a trap?”
Snape still refuses to explain why Harry had to nearly die.
“That’s none of your business,” he said.