The North Tower #16: Snape vs. Time

by Maline

Hi, everybody, I hope you all had a nice week. Firstly, I want to admit to a mistake I made in last week’s article, about Professor Flitwick being in the Order. I thought that he was on the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix that Moody shows Harry in Book 5, but I was wrong; he’s not, so there’s no knowing whether he is in the Order or not (although he probably isn’t or Harry would have been told). My mistake, sorry.

Secondly, I got some mails putting forward the following candidates for “the one who’s left forever” instead of Fudge: Lockhart, Bagman and (of course) Snape. (I also got Percy, but since he would have been about four or five at the time he was an active Death Eater and even younger when he joined Voldemort, I won’t even discuss that. :-)) Today, I want to discuss these three characters (Lockhart, Bagman and Snape) and try to shed some light over that ominous scene in GoF when Voldemort assembles his followers and leaves us readers in the dark about the identity of most of them.

Let’s start with Snape. I believe that Snape was in the circle of Death Eaters around Voldemort at the time of his return, which leaves “the one who’s left me forever” position vacant (for Fudge, in my opinion). I have received many mails arguing against this (and some of them are excellent, I might add, very convincing) and the main arguments seem to be:

1) There isn’t enough time for Snape to get to Voldemort and back since you can’t Apparate inside the Hogwarts grounds.
2) Dumbledore would have noticed that Snape went missing and this would have been highly suspect; Snape wouldn’t take that risk.

Okay, number one. No, you can’t Apparate inside Hogwarts, which we are reminded of all the time in the books. I went back and checked the passage of Voldemort’s rebirth and this is what it says happens (since I don’t feel like quoting the whole passage I’ll just sum up the action; you can read it by yourselves if you want, p. 560-561 UK version):

Voldemort presses his finger to the Mark, Wormtail screams, the Mark turns black, Voldemort looks at it and then looks up. Voldemort looks around the graveyard and asks himself how many of his Death Eaters will come back. He paces around for about “a minute or so.” He talks to Harry, then again paces the graveyard, looking at the snake on the ground. He speaks some more to Harry, paces some more and speaks again. The Death Eaters start to Apparate around him.

This seems to be a quite short scene. The parts where Voldemort speaks to Harry take about one and a half minutes (I’ve counted :-)); then he’s pacing for about a minute that we know of and then two more times of undetermined length. I’d estimate the time from the touching of the Mark to the arrival of the DE to about five minutes, not more. This is not a lot of time for Snape to get outside Hogwarts, I agree (changing his clothes will only take an additional 30 seconds, he could easily have summoned them to him while walking towards the gates for example.) Four and a half minutes to get outside the gates. It is possible, as they’re already down at the Quidditch pitch and not all the way up in the castle (In PoA, the Dementors, stationed at the gates, are attracted by the excitement at the pitch, so it can’t be that far). What is more realistic, though, is that Snape started to make his way towards the gates the moment the mark came into clear focus at Voldemort’s rebirth. It would make sense, he’d know what that meant and that his (former) master would soon call him to his side. If this is the case, he would have had an additional couple of minutes to get off the grounds. It is possible.

It’s even more so for the return. Assume that Snape was at the graveyard. When he saw Harry disappear he could have said a quick goodbye to Voldy and the guys and Disapparated to the Hogwarts gates. Voldemort, thinking that Snape still works for him as a spy against Dumbledore, understands that he has to get back before his absence is noticed by the returning Harry and doesn’t try to stop him. Snape should thus arrive at the gates at about the same time as Dumbledore and Fudge find Harry and Cedric. In the chaos which follows (p. 582-589) Harry lies on the ground for a couple of minutes before being led away by Moody. Harry can’t really use his leg and Moody has to support him up to the castle, so we can assume it takes quite some time for them to get up to his office. In the office, Moody/Crouch, Jr., then takes the time to tell Harry about the whole scheme of making him champion and asking him about Voldemort’s return. This part will have to take at the very least ten minutes, probably more like fifteen or twenty. This would give Snape ample time to get back and join Dumbledore and McGonagall. Also, Dumbledore says: “the moment he took you, I knew – and I followed” (p. 590), but he waited quite some time before following (or he would have caught up with them on the way back to the castle). What was he waiting for? Snape perhaps…

Considering the time frame, it thus seems like it would have been possible for Snape to be with the other DE at the graveyard. A bit tight, but he could have made it. (He’s a fully trained wizard, after all; he can probably speed himself up quite a bit.)

Concerning the other argument, about risk-taking and Dumbledore noticing his absence, I don’t really see it that way. Personally, I believe that Snape is working as a double agent, which means that Dumbledore knows that he’s seeing Voldemort and the other DE and that he’s giving information to them about Hogwarts and the Order while Voldemort knows that Snape’s giving information about him and the DE to the Order. Both Voldemort and Dumbledore think that Snape’s really working for them, though, and that they receive the good information while the enemy gets less significant things. Dumbledore would thus know that Snape went to see Voldemort when his Mark burned and understands why: if he didn’t, Voldemort would grow suspicious and Snape would be of no more use as a spy. Snape is therefore risking absolutely nada by joining the DE; quite the contrary – he’s protecting himself.

Okay, those are my additional arguments for Snape being in the graveyard as one of the cloaked and masked DE. I’m aware of the fact that they aren’t irreproachable, the timeframe is quite slim and Snape would really have had to hurry to get to the scene in time, but it’s possible. It all really depends on how you look at Snape. If you believe that he’s a double agent, then it makes sense that he should have been at the graveyard; whereas, if you believe that he’s fully abandoned Voldemort to work for the Order, it makes sense that he should be “the one who’s left me forever” (meaning that Fudge is out of the picture as he couldn’t possibly be one of the still active DE, being at Harry’s side when he returns to Hogwarts and thus not in the graveyard). Although, if Snape’s abandoned the DE, how come Malfoy is still so friendly, and what would Snape’s job in the Order be?

Regarding the other two characters suggested for “Fudge’s position,” Bagman and Lockhart, we first need to outline the number of DE a bit better:

The DE are:

1) the DE present around Voldemort (Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Avery, Nott, Mcnair, Wormtail and the ones he just passes in silence, how many we do not know)
2) the DE imprisoned in Azkaban (the two Lestranges, Dolohov, Rookwood and five others)
3) the six missing ones that he mentions [three dead, the coward (= Karkaroff), the deserter (= Fudge, if I’m to guess) and the faithful (= Crouch, Jr.)] For those of you who think that Snape and not Crouch, Jr., is the “most faithful one,” I recommend a re-reading of pages 565-570 (Voldemort’s description of the most faithful) and a comparison with the pages 585-589 (Crouch’s confession to Harry) and 593-600 (Crouch’s confession under the influence of Veritaserum). For those who think that Bellatrix is the one referred to, I’d like to point out that she’s already been mentioned by Voldemort and that she couldn’t have been at Hogwarts because she was in Azkaban at the time. Theories carry a lot more weight if you base them on the actual text instead of on wild speculation. Just a tip. 🙂

This means that there are more DE than we know of, (all the unnamed ones) and we don’t know who they are or how many they are. Bagman might be one of them; we don’t know. Lockhart, on the other hand, is far less probable because he couldn’t possibly have been in the graveyard (because he was in St Mungo’s at the time); so unless he’s the “one who’s left me forever” instead of Fudge, there’s really no way. I find Fudge a lot likelier a candidate for that position (as argued last week). As for the DE remaining to be found, we’ll find out sooner or later, so feel free to form your own theories on who they might be. Just keep in mind that they have to be old enough to have been DE last time around, too (they’ll have to have the Mark), so anyone younger than 30 is not a possibility (for the DE at the graveyard; more could have joined during Book 5).

I think I’ll finish here for today. I know that this is mostly a continuation of last week’s article and therefore not incredibly fascinating, but things needed clarification so I decided to do just that. Next week, though, I’ll do the piece that I had planned for today but didn’t happen since those things above grew too long: a literary analysis of the Pensieve’s function in JKR’s story. See you all next week.