The Burrow: Snape and Veritaserum

by Daniel D

There are many things we know about the truth drug Veritaserum, and probably lots more things that we don’t. Lets recap: We know that it takes a whole month to mature; We also know that it puts the drinker into a trance-like state, and, when under its influence, you automatically answer every question you are asked correctly. I don’t know about you, but to me, this sounds pretty creepy. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone could know everyone else’s secrets or plans. Wars could be started, lives could be lost, the world could be plunged into a STATE OF CHAOS!

Okay, so maybe I’m overexaggerating. Nevertheless, I’m sure the Ministry keeps close tabs on those using or making this drug. I’m relatively sure that the Ministry isn’t going to simply hand out bottles of Veritaserum to wizard families just so they can check if their kid’s done his homework or not. The recipe is probably kept tight under wraps as well. The Ministry obviously won’t want people using this potentially dangerous potion against them. So the question remains, how did Snape get hold of some?

“…the use of this potion is controlled by very strict Ministry guidelines…”

-Snape, GoF

We know he’s making it himself, which should be no problem for him as he’s a potions expert. But how does he know how to make it in the first place?

Maybe he has some influence with the Ministry of Magic. Maybe he was just experimenting one day and came up with it by mistake. Or maybe the Ministry isn’t keeping as close an eye on these Veritaserum-makers as they should be (well, obviously not, seeing how Snape can go around threatening people with his bottle, and then use it on people without Ministry authorization). Another possibility is that the recipe for Veritaserum has in fact been displayed for the general public, and it’s simply so complicated to make that most wizards don’t bother.

There are a few mysteries surrounding Veritaserum that I would like cleared up. This is what I would like to know:

1. Is it possible to resist the influence of Veritaserum, like Harry could resist the Imperius Curse?
2. How does the Ministry oversee those attempting to make or use Veritaserum?

Veritaserum=Verify+Serum, or verification serum–basically just a very powerful truth drug. The only time we’ve actually seen it in action is at the end of GoF, when Dumbledore questions Barty Crouch, Jr. I, personally, don’t think it would be a very pleasant experience to have your mind taken over and interviewed. But hey, it proved useful to Dumbledore and important to the story; and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be a very interesting and important part of the books to come.