Who Framed Regulus Black?
I have an interesting theory that R.A.B. is none other than Severus Snape, posing as his former, fellow Death Eater, Regulus Black.
The initials R.A.B. are obviously the initials of Regulus Black. No argument from me. The fact that the surname Black and the initials translated differently for the different language editions of the book is strong support. For example, in the German edition, the surname “Black” translates as “Schwartz” and the initials translate as “R.A.S.” Similarly, in other languages, the same links exist.
I think this is pretty conclusive. There is no doubt in my mind that J.K. Rowling wishes us to think that R.A.B. is Regulus Black. She knows how easy it is for her fans to do a simple query of the internet to discover which characters could have the initials R.A.B. She knows that her fan base would soon work out that R.A.B. is Regulus Black and so the message in the locket was never meant to be much of a mystery.
The link between the locket and Regulus Black is even more obvious when you consider the glaring hint about the locket at 12 Grimmauld Place. J.K. Rowling is having some fun with the audience; she is letting us all think we are very clever, simply because we can use Google. We are not as clever as we think. J.K. Rowling loves to toy with her audience and use red herrings. The note does not prove that Regulus actually stole the locket. All we know is that somebody stole the locket and left a note pointing to Regulus Black and that this was possibly in an attempt to cover their tracks.
I think the most likely person to have stolen the locket was Snape, based on the following:
- Snape probably knew about Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
- Snape is a skilled wizard in both the Dark Arts and Potions and would therefore have the know-ho to steal the locket.
- Only someone very foolish would steal the Horcrux and leave a note pointing to his or herself.
- If you subscribe to the theory that Snape loved Lily and then Voldemort killed her, then Snape has a motive.
- As a Death Eater, Snape may have known that Regulus was either dying or was destined to be killed on Voldemort’s orders. This would make him a good person to frame, since he would be unable to be questioned at a later date.
- Whoever stole the locket would need to make sure Voldemort couldn’t read his or her mind.
Read on and I will expand on the above points.
- Snape is the most likely to have known about the Horcruxes. I believe that only someone who was reasonably familiar with the Dark Lord would have been able to find out about the Horcruxes. Harry and Dumbledore work out that the Horcruxes have been created from something that Voldemort says to the Death Eaters in the graveyard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Presumably, Voldemort has let other hints slip out to the Death Eaters at other points in time too, so they have good potential for working things out. Dumbledore also realized that there may have been Horcruxes when Tom Riddle’s diary surfaced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. So staff members at Hogwarts are also likely suspects for working out that Voldemort made Horcruxes. Who in the series is both a teacher at Hogwarts and was once a Death Eater? Severus Snape and only Severus Snape.
- Snape is a skilled wizard in both the Dark Arts and Potions and would therefore have the know-how to steal the locket. Remember how much trouble Dumbledore and Harry had finding the place where the locket was and then actually getting to the locket? It wasn’t a simple task that the ordinary witch or wizard could have succeeded in. So we should agree that whoever took the locket was skillful. We know that Snape is indeed a talented wizard, having taught both Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. And being the Half-Blood Prince, we have seen he is capable of creating new spells and improving upon potions that are in textbooks! He is obviously not the ordinary, run-of-the -mill wizard. This is important since the thief would need to be very skilled, particularly in the Dark Arts. A lot of emphasis has been put on the fact that whoever stole the locket would have needed an accomplice. I don’t agree. There is always more than one way to achieve something. Is it not possible that someone like Snape was able to brew a potion to counter the effects of the liquid he had to drink to get the locket? I think we need to be less restrictive in our thinking here.
- Only someone very foolish would steal the Horcrux and leave a note pointing to his or herself. Think about it. Who would be stupid enough to leave a note to the most evil wizard in the world saying, ”Hi there. I destroyed part of your soul,” and then put their name to it? The person would have to be mad. Apart from the fact that Voldemort might find out before they actually died, making their last moments on earth particularly uncomfortable, there is another consideration. Voldemort is very evil and I think if someone annoyed him enough, he would take his revenge out on all their friends and family. It is for this reason that I don’t think Regulus wrote that note.
- Snape is the only Death Eater that has a possible motive. It is quite likely that Snape is in fact a good character in the story and left Voldemort because he now hated him. This makes Snape the only Death Eater character with a motive. If you believe (as I do) that Snape may have been in love with Lily Potter (or at least very good friends with her in their youth), then he may have had motive to kill Voldemort following Lily’s death. The argument relies on the theory that in telling Voldemort about the prophecy, Snape pleaded with Voldemort to spare Lily’s life. We have no reason to believe that Regulus had motive to kill Voldemort. It sounds to me, just like it did to Sirius, that Regulus just got in too deep with the Death Eaters and wanted to get out, not that he was particularly brave or heroic.
- As a Death Eater, Snape may have known that Regulus was destined to be killed on Voldemort’s orders. If someone (like Snape) was framing Regulus for stealing the locket Horcrux, it may have been because he knew that Regulus would soon be dead and therefore, if the loss of the Horcrux was discovered, he would not be able to be questioned. This makes Regulus a suitable character to frame. Since I have already outlined that whoever wrote the note would most likely have been a Death Eater, the note-writer may have known that Voldemort was planning to kill Regulus or that Regulus was trying to leave the Death Eaters, in which case he would soon be dead. As a Death Eater, Snape may have had this sort of information, making him a suitable candidate as framer. Also, consider the scenario where Voldemort finds out about the locket and thinks that Regulus has destroyed his Horcrux, then according to my third argument, Voldemort would want some form of revenge. Voldemort would most likely try and kill Regulus’s family members, i.e. Sirius. I am sure such a notion would be at least a little appealing to Snape.
- Whoever stole the locket would need to make sure Voldemort couldn’t read his mind. The Death Eater who committed such an act as destroying a Horcrux would need to be sure that Voldemort could never be able to find out. Snape is an accomplished Occlumens and therefore fits the bill.
In short, I believe that R.A.B. does stand for Regulus Black, but the idea that Regulus actually committed the crime is nonsense.
I believe that whoever stole the locket was a Death Eater and that Snape is the most likely candidate. Furthermore, the wizard who stole the Horcrux would need to be highly skilled and Snape is the only Death Eater that I think has exhibited such skill in the series. I believe that Snape left the note pointing to Regulus Black because Regulus was the perfect scapegoat, since he would soon be dead anyway.
I also think that Snape is the only Death Eater we know of who may have had a motive deeply emotional enough to take revenge upon Voldemort, the most powerful wizard in the world.