Book 5 - The Order of the Phoenix

Severus Snape's Analysis 
through each Snape moment or reference in the book!!

 Chapters 25 - 26 - 27

   Chapter 4 to 23    Chapter 24     Chapter 28 & 29   Chapter 30 to 38    


These images: Read at the same line-level in the other column (1024x768)
Long black spaces: intentional spacing to give me more space for analysis!
gold - physical description
red - personality, personal taste
white - character analysis
mauve/purple - facts


 on all five books!!!

 Warning: In absolutely no case must this text be used for other things than evaluation, fan or inspiration purposes.  I do this only to allow other fans to appreciate the delightful work of JK Rowling and make a full character analysis of one of her creations.  
No money is being made, keep it that way! 


Hogwarts High Inquisitor Educational Decrees:

"the High Inquisitor will henceforth have supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions and removal of privileges pertaining to students of Hogwarts, and the power to alter such punishments, sanctions and removals of privileges as may have been ordered by other staff members." (OP19)

"Teachers are hereby banned from giving students any information that is not strctly related to the subjects they are paid to teach." (OP25)

 Chapter 25

Harry would have given a great deal to be making as much progress at Occlumency as Neville was making during the DA meetings. Harry's sessions with Snape, which had started badly enough, were not improving. On the contrary Harry felt he was getting worse with every lesson.

Before he had started studying Occlumency, his scar had prickled occasionally, usually during the night, or else following one of those strange flashes of Voldemort's thoughts or mood that he experienced every now and then. Nowadays, however, his scar hardly ever stopped prickling, and he often felt lurches of annoyance or cheerfulness that were unrelated to what was happening to him at the time, which were always accompanied by a particularly painful twinge from his scar. He had the horrible impression that he was slowly turning into a kind of aerial that was tuned in to tiny fluctuations in Voldemorts mood, and he was sure he could date this increased sensitivity firmly from his first Occlumency lesson with Snape. What was more, he was now dreaming about walking down the corridor towards the entrance to the Department of Mysteries almost every night, dreams which always culminated in him standing longingly in front of the plain black door.

'Maybe it's a bit like an illness,' said Hermione, looking concerned when Harry confided in her and Ron. 'A fever or something. It has to get worse before it gets better.'

The lessons with Snape are making it worse,' said Harry flatly. 'I'm getting sick of my scar hurting and I'm getting bored with walking down that corridor every night.' He rubbed his forehead angrily. 'I just wish the door would open, I'm sick of standing staring at it -'

That's not funny,' said Hermione sharply. 'Dumbledore doesn't want you to have dreams about that corridor at all, or he wouldn't have asked Snape to teach you Occlumency. You're just going to have to work a bit harder in your lessons.'

'I am working!' said Harry nettled. 'You try it some time - Snape trying to get inside your head - it's not a bundle of laughs, you know!'

 At least, Harry tried and seemed to be putting effort and faith into his lessons at first. The first sentence is proof enough.  But why are the lessons not working?!  Either because Harry isn't closing his mind while dreaming and/or the fact (proven by Snape in chapter 24) the Dark Lord is trying to reach out to Harry more often now.


There you have it: his scar hurt most at night or while directly connected to Voldemort. Isn't that a sign that something was on even before and that Occlumency has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, it would surely be worst now if he were NOT studying the skill. That's why they urged him to start the lessons: they had just realised the Dark Lord had understood his connection with the boy!  So they knew he was likely to try to have his ways no matter what, hence the lessons. But no, Harry didn't understand this simple piece of logic. He had to blame Snape for making it worst! Oh please!  His prickling scar only meant Voldy was trying almost all the time to get in!!



Sure he could date it from his first lesson, that's why they began!! Duh! Sorry Harry fans!




I'm surprised Hermione didn't figure it out, but then I believe Harry forgot to mention what he learnt from Snape in his first lesson about his connection with Voldemort. But then she would have spoilt the plot, wouldn't she have?! ; )




Go for it, Hermione!  Listen to your personal Jimini Cricket, Potter!  I'm glad she figured it out about Albus's trust in Snape, the need for him to have no dreams at all, and for his not working hard enough since it's not working.



I admit it must not be the most wonderful feeling on earth, but knowing what's coming, Harry's excuses aren't good enough. He's still sitting in front of that door every night AND he does not confine in Snape about it! Or any adult as a matter of fact!


 'Maybe…' said Ron slowly.

'Maybe what?' said Hermione, rather snappishly.

'Maybe it's not Harry's fault he can't close his mind,' said Ron darkly.

'What do you mean?' said Hermione.

'Well, maybe Snape isn't really trying to help Harry…'

Harry and Hermione stared at him. Ron looked darkly and meaningfully from one to the other.

'Maybe,' he said again, in a lower voice, 'he's actually trying to open Harry's mind a bit wider… make it easier for You-Know—'

'Shut up, Ron,' said Hermione angrily. 'How many times have you suspected Snape, and when have you ever been right? Dumbledore trusts him, he works for the Order, that ought to be enough.'

'He used to be a Death Eater,' said Ron stubbornly. 'And we've never seen proof that he really swapped sides.'

'Dumbledore trusts him,' Hermione repeated. 'And if we can't trust Dumbledore, we can't trust anyone.'


Hihi!! Rowling must have been happy to call him Snape in the end ; )







And people wonder why I don't love Ron?!  

Youhoo! She was in splendid shape that night! Tell him off, girl!! She says exactly what I would have.  I mean, please Ron, don't fall for the evil-Snape plot again!!  He could get rid of Harry in a split second, why wait?!



Exactly!  And you know what I think? I think Snape has to do just that as well: trust the old man! Must be hard, but I believe he's able to do so because he puts his life on the line for him!

With so much to worry about and so much to do - startling amounts of homework that frequently kept the fifth-years working until past midnight, secret DA sessions and regular classes with Snape -January seemed to be passing alarmingly fast. Before Harry knew it, February had arrived, bringing with it wetter and warmer weather and the prospect of the second Hogsmeade visit of the year. Harry had had very little time to spare for conversations with Cho since they had agreed to visit the village together, but suddenly found himself facing a Valentine's Day spent entirely in her company.


No mention of his pain?! At least we know he's keeping up his regular classes with Snape even though he seems to think more of Cho Chang than anything else.

Chapter 26

Umbridge had been sitting a few rows below Harry and Hermione. Once or twice she had turned squatly in her seat to look at him, her wide toad's mouth stretched in what he thought had been a gloating smile. The memory of it made him feel hot with anger as he lay there in the dark. After a few minutes, however, he remembered that he was supposed to be emptying his mind of all emotion before he slept, as Snape kept instructing him at the end of every Occlumency lesson.

He tried for a moment or two, but the thought of Snape on top of memories of Umbridge merely increased his sense of grumbling resentment and he found himself focusing instead on how much he loathed the pair of them.





 Bravo!! Applaud everyone!! This is the saviour of the Wizarding World!  Now don't tell me Snape didn't do his job!  See how Harry is acting? He remembers that he's supposed to do something! After many classes of Occlumency it's not a habit yet. That's how often he's been doing it.  

Unhealthy loathing on top of that! Great! Now we're really in deep trouble!  I remember having a teacher I hated once. However, my energies were always focused on outdoing myself, being so good that she would award me a 90% or more, or concentrating so she wouldn't get to me by calming myself down.  That's Occlumency, muggle version.  Is Harry even trying that?! Nope! I rest my case.

[Lady Claudia: Finally some more substantial descriptions of the Dark Lord and what Snape has to face if he has to meet the maniac! Purple are about Voldemort; red is how his Death-Eater may react to him (though I doubt Snape would be so panicked, he still has to do the same kneeling, etc)]

He was standing in a dark, curtained room lit by a single branch of candles. His hands were clenched on the back of a chair in front of him. They were long-fingered and white as though they had not seen sunlight for years and looked like large, pale spiders against the dark velvet of the chair.

Beyond the chair, in a pool of light cast upon the floor by the candles, knelt a man in black robes.

'I have been badly advised, it seems,' said Harry, in a high, cold voice that pulsed with anger.

'Master, I crave your pardon,' croaked the man kneeling on the floor. The back of his head glimmered in the candlelight. He seemed to be trembling.

'I do not blame you, Rookwood,' said Harry in that cold, cruel voice.

He relinquished his grip on the chair and walked around it, closer to the man cowering on the floor, until he stood directly over him in the darkness, looking down from a far greater height than usual.

'You are sure of your facts, Rookwood?' asked Harry.

'Yes, My Lord, yes… I used to work in the Department after -after all…'

'Avery told me Bode would be able to remove it.'

'Bode could never have taken it, Master… Bode would have known he could not… undoubtedly, that is why he fought so hard against Malfoy's Imperius Curse…'

'Stand up, Rookwood,' whispered Harry.

 The kneeling man almost fell over in his haste to obey. His face was pockmarked; the scars were thrown into relief by the candlelight. He remained a little stooped when standing, as though halfway through a bow, and he darted terrified looks up at Harry's face.

'You have done well to tell me this,' said Harry. 'Very well… I have wasted months on fruitless schemes, it seems… but no matter… we begin again, from now. You have Lord Voldemort's gratitude, Rookwood…'

'My Lord… yes, My Lord,' gasped Rookwood, his voice hoarse with relief.

'I shall need your help. I shall need all the information you can give me.'

'Of course, My Lord, of course… anything…'

'Very well… you may go. Send Avery to me.'

Rookwood scurried backwards, bowing, and disappeared through a door.

Left alone in the dark room, Harry turned towards the wall. A cracked, age-spotted mirror hung on the wall in the shadows. Harry moved towards it. His reflection grew larger and clearer in the darkness… a face whiter than a skull… red eyes with slits for pupils


Hermione nodded, apparently still lost in thought. Then, quite abruptly, she said, 'But you shouldn't have seen this at all, Harry.'

'What?' he said, taken aback.

'You're supposed to be learning how to close your mind to this sort of thing,' said Hermione, suddenly stern.

'I know I am,' said Harry. 'But -'

'Well, I think we should just try and forget what you saw,' said Hermione firmly. 'And you ought to put in a bit more effort on your Occlumency from now on.'

Harry was so angry with her he did not talk to her for the rest of the day, which proved to be another bad one. When people were not discussing the escaped Death Eaters in the corridors, they were laughing at Gryffindor's abysmal performance in their match against Hufflepuff; the Slytherins were singing Weasley is our King' so loudly and frequently that by sundown Filch had banned it from the corridors out of sheer irritation.

The week did not improve as it progressed. Harry received two more 'D's in Potions; he was still on tenterhooks that Hagrid might get the sack; and he couldn't stop himself dwelling on the dream in which he had been Voldemort - though he didn't bring it up with Ron and Hermione again; he didn't want another telling-off from Hermione. He wished very much that he could have talked to Sirius about it, but that was out of the question, so he tried to push the matter to the back of his mind.

 How I love her quick spirit! Indeed, he shouldn't have seen anything at all!!




Exactly : But - !  Do you think Snape does not know of Harry's lack of efforts even though he does not confine in him?  I think he has a clue if not a confirmation thanks to Harry's lack of progress, Harry's general attitude about all of this, and the fact that as Head of Slytherin, Harry can't hide guilt so easily.  


They say Truth hurts! Indeed!





Of course he can't tell it to anyone else! If it had happened due to his incapacity at blocking his dreams, then he would have been able to inform Snape of it. But since it occurred because Harry had put no efforts into this, he could not tell his Occlumency master.  It also proves that Harry considers Sirius less 'adult-like' concerning such matters. He knew he would not have berated Harry for not trying hard enough.  

Unfortunately, the back of his mind was no longer the secure place it had once been.

'Get up, Potter.'

A couple of weeks after his dream of Rookwood, Harry was to be found, yet again, kneeling on the floor of Snape's office, trying to clear his head. He had just been forced, yet again, to relive a stream of very early memories he had not even realised he still had, most of them concerning humiliations Dudley and his gang had inflicted upon him in primary school.






That last memory,' said Snape. 'What was it?'

'I don't know,' said Harry, getting wearily to his feet. He was finding it increasingly difficult to disentangle separate memories from the rush of images and sound that Snape kept calling forth. 'You mean the one where my cousin tried to make me stand in the toilet?'

'No,' said Snape softly. 'I mean the one with a man kneeling in the middle of a darkened room…'

'It's… nothing,' said Harry.

Snape's dark eyes bored into Harry's. Remembering what Snape had said about eye contact being crucial to Legilimency, Harry blinked and looked away.

'How do that man and that room come to be inside your head, Potter?' said Snape.



'It -' said Harry, looking everywhere but at Snape, 'it was -just a dream I had.'

'A dream?' repeated Snape.

There was a pause during which Harry stared fixedly at a large dead frog suspended in a jar of purple liquid.


Which is why he should try harder! But NOOOOO!!


A couple of weeks!! They've been at it for months!! No wonder Snape is so hard on the boy, he knows he's not been practising.  Actually, I'm even wondering if he's not bad with him so Harry will finally try to get rid of the lessons as soon as possible!

  This is an important fact: Snape cannot blame Harry for being an overgrown strutting boy as a child anymore. We know from former books that Snape took it against him, his popularity, as he would have for James back in the old days. However, it seems Snape did not alter his ways with the boy at all after witnessing so much humiliating moments of Harry's childhood. I must come to the conclusion that it didn't weight so much in the balance after all. Lots of us thought Snape bullied Harry because he looked like his father and was instantly arrogant with Snape, and that Snape must have concluded that he was and must have had a quality childhood with lots of people to adore him. But now, Snape cannot blame his education anymore, if he ever did. It does not change his relationship with the boy as we could have expected though. No. It seems Snape's ways towards Harry are now (or were always) rooted thanks to his looks (like his father) and his manners (arrogance). If he had thought Harry was like he was thanks to his education, the Occlumency lessons would have changed his views of the boy. So my conclusion is that Snape only refers to what he saw and experienced first hand from Harry and James in dealing with the former.





Softly! Oh! Be afraid when a Slytherin asks you a question 'softly': they want something and will do all the cuddling they need to get the answer : )  

Of course the matter at hand here is Snape's knowledge of the darkened room which is by far the most direct clue to his actions as a spy.  We've known about Dumbledore asking him to "be ready and to do what he must", we've seen Snape give reports, but we had yet to know that Snape actually saw anything first hand. If he recognised that room in Harry's head through all of the other memories, he must have recognised it for having been there himself. This couldn't be some recount of what a Death-Eater must do in front of the Dark Lord by some third person. No! Snape was there in that room because he emphasizes "that man" and "that room". If he had only recognised the man, then he wouldn't have mentioned the room again. Therefore, my dear Watson, he's been there. Hence, he is acting as a spy with first-hand intelligence!! Go Snape!

Give the man some credit, Harry!! He's the Head of the Sly-therin House!! You know, the one renown for being full of lying little snakes?!"  Of course Snape knows when he's lied to, he's proven it to you again and again even though you never got caught!! (Okay, I'm done berating the boy now ; )

I imagine "A dream?" being said in a very flat-tone.  And I imagine he may look like that, too:

'You do know why we are here, don't you, Potter?' said Snape, in a low, dangerous voice. 'You do know why I am giving up my evenings to this tedious job?'

'Yes,' said Harry stiffly.

'Remind me why we are here, Potter.'

'So I can learn Occlumency,' said Harry, now glaring at a dead eel.





'Correct, Potter. And dim though you may be -' Harry looked back at Snape, hating him '- I would have thought that after over two months of lessons you might have made some progress. How many other dreams about the Dark Lord have you had?'

'Just that one,' lied Harry.



And this is how I imagine him 'reminding' Potter exactly why they have to suffer each other's company. I think it says it all:

Snape: 1 Harry: 0  What is the BEST way to get a teenager to look at you? Insult him! (Though I do believe it was a backhanded compliment in a way, saying that as dim as he is even he could manage to make progress ; ) And why would he want Harry to look him in the eye?! To know whether he's lying or not of course, along with that 'intimidation' thing of course.  Snape is so good at that! But seriously, I do not believe he's doing it just to spite Harry in this case: he wants to impress on the boy the extreme importance of his Occlumency lessons!! Again though, Harry misses the point. And this is where comparing this scene to Dumbledore's reaction in Chapter 27 (last passage on this page) gets interesting.  Be it fear and intimidation of Snape or the softness and trusting eyes of Dumbledore, Harry simply won't do it!  And why do I make sure you notice? Because I don't want people shouting obscenities at Snape in Chapter 28 for forbidding the boy to ever come back for his lessons. Even Dumbledore couldn't impress the boy enough so he would take this business seriously, so why would Snape put up with it when he knows the boy has not even tried to not dream and is happy doing so as you shall see just now.  Remember: after over two months of 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.'

This is how I see the cold eyes narrowing slightly and Rickman gave us a perfect example:



And the second picture: "That is just as well, Potter"  It's almost a declaration of love! Almost! This is rather what Snape thinks, not what the rest of the world thinks of course, but the way he says it is also aimed at those who consider Harry like a God or Merlin himself. It's a hidden message somehow, something like: "Don't believe what you hear and do not believe that if Dumbledore lets you have your ways mean anything at all. ...

I'm sick of you being the hero without having to raise a finger while others like me have to risk their neck!" It sounds more like he wants to say: "I would like you to be neither special nor important and it unnerves me to no end that you are!"  

Then again, there's also a warning in there: "Stop thinking you can solve everything, Potter. Your nosiness may soon cost some people their lives, mine included!"  Remember that Severus loathes those who think themselves superior to others. Yes, sounds strange from a man who exudes confidence like he does, but I don't buy it. He is rather a hurt child deep down inside, hence his need for recognition.  I know lots of you think so, too, however. That is he not so confident and that is why he looks down on those who do because he was on the receiving end of such people's bullying. Namely the Marauders, though I doubt Lupin helped that much. But the others have been harsh on him for the sole reason of "Because it's Snape" and because James hated Dark-looking wizards no matter how little facts he had to prove it, as in Severus' case I reckon.  And so Snape always does his best to make sure no one gets away with over-confidence (except Draco, for obscure yet surely political reasons).  He knows what that leads to and I must say in Harry's case he is right: the boy puts his nose in other people's business and saves the day all the time though no one asked him to.  Therefore, Snape is again trying to warn Potter of the dangers of being nosy. And I do believe he is right doing so, no matter how loathsome of the boy he may be. If he didn't care about the boy's well-being, then he would never have lifted a finger for him in the past and keep doing it.  In a way, it's no wonder Snape is fed up with the boy: he's babysitting him as much as he can yet the boy is a constant nuisance for he won't stop doing the opposite of what Snape would like the boy to do. It's a vicious circle.

I believe our poor Severus has a lot on his heart. He tries to use his cold voice, as if he was not emotional about this at all, but knowing the Slytherin, he is and this is mainly a diversion. That's why I chose those two pictures above from the third movie when Snape confronts Sirius whom he loathes just as much as Harry.  But the point here is this quote: "it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters."  Snape is making a statement, a warning and a reprimand all at once.  He states that Harry's job is not to spy and that others are doing it; he warns him that his nosiness and recklessness could lead to trouble; and he reprimands the boy for the latter.  And what does Potter find to say in return?!

 '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.'


 Not meant to like all the other dreams he has not meant to have maybe?! Give me a break! Proves that Snape is right to never indulge the boy's whims because he knows that if he can't control his emotions, then he won't be able to fare long in front of the Dark Lord unless 'sheer dump luck' saves his arse yet again.

So why is Snape almost satisfied?!  You would think he'd have shredded the boy to pieces by now, but no. Slytherin, that's all there's to it: Snape will not volunteer secret information he wish he could tell the boy for his own good or just to prove Severus is also worth something.  As I mentioned before, he may be forbidden by Albus to do that unless the boy asks. That is for me the logical answer to this puzzle: Snape is happy to be given this south after opportunity to inform the boy about HIS job. And if Albus did not forbid Severus from saying it, then I say Snape's Slytherin cautiousness is at work then. Slytherins do not offer information readily, they're not ones for chit-chat.  They'll offer it if the right questions are asked and they'll do all they can to make it worthwhile. In this case, Severus is offered a golden opportunity to inform the boy of HIS job and how proud he is of it, too, somehow. For all this arrogance thrown at him by Harry who tends to make this a personal case, Snape is finally able to put things right here. Maybe he also does it out of spite and glee, as if he wanted to have a bit of glory even.  That would be a bit childish yet so human! Very basically human.  

It's official though speculations were not so hard in this case: Snape's job as a spy is to find out what the Dark Lord says to his followers.  See the glinting in his eyes?!  This is how 'proud' Severus is. Of doing the spying or proving Potter right or a mixture of both, we don't know for sure, he is happy and grasping at this glory right then.


 He raised his wand: 'One — two - three - Legilimensl'

A hundred Dementors were swooping towards Harry across the lake in the grounds… he screwed up his face in concentration… they were coming closer… he could see the dark holes beneath their hoods… yet he could also see Snape standing in front of him, his eyes fixed on Harry's face, muttering under his breath… and somehow, Snape was growing clearer, and the Dementors were growing fainter…

Harry raised his own wand.


 The fact that Snape would drop the subject entirely without any more retaliation proves what I just said: he had been waiting for a long time to acknowledge his role as a spy to Harry. Now that's it's over, all that's left to do is resume the lesson.

Finally!! Some effort to actually stop being affected by Legilimens!! Do you think Snape's speech helped in any way?! I think so.  He's been able to convince Harry to try. But why now?  What's new?  Harry has just been put back to his rightful place, as in not being the one to gather intelligence about the Dark Lord. AND he's been pressed by Snape to consider why they were taking these lessons to begin with again. Be it the first or those two options, it's evident Harry somehow took upon himself to try for once!  

Some info about Occlumency: when one concentrate, one can see both what the Legilimens caster is seeing AND reality. Once the one submitted to Legilimens, if one concentrate enough, reality will become clearer while memories will fade.

I would like to bring your attention upon Snape. Why is he muttering under his breath?! Because the boy still hasn't stopped his intrusion, he's weary of this lesson, he's seen those memories countless times or was he still muttering about what had just occurred?  Maybe a mix of all those, but I'd wager on the first explanation.


 Snape staggered - his wand flew upwards, away from Harry -and suddenly Harry's mind was teeming with memories that were not his: a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner… a greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies… a girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick -


 The much speculated about scene of Snape's misc. memories! I loved this intrusion in our dear Potions Master's head : )  So Snape staggered (tottered, swayed or reeled), I would say as if he weighted more, then his wand flew away from him. Not into Harry's hand but far from him in fact. I wondered why she mentioned that, maybe 'Protego' will come back later on and we'll know why its victim's wand will not fly towards the caster.  And then Harry's mind was teeming (overflowing, abounding) with Snape's memories. All right!! Give us some more Mrs Rowling!!  So now we know that Legilimens repelled  will cause the spell to bounce back on its caster. That's why Snape makes sure his memories are out of his mind and into his Pensieve BEFORE the lessons. On the other hand, right after this incident, he will castigate the boy for using Protego. So I'm wondering if he's just angry or if it means that once Legilimens is repelled in certain ways (Protego included), it will bounce back on the caster?! If so, then Snape must have known it could happen. Maybe he wasn't prepared and that's why he did not use Occlumency right away.  He was too surprised of Harry's spell to do so and we saw snippets of his memories. Not a lot, mind you, but for Snape who is so privy, it was way too much!! Therefore, either Snape was angry at Harry for using Protego to blame the boy for his own failure at using Occlumency right away or he was angry the boy used a spell he didn't expect. In either case, I believe Snape is angry at himself for lowering his defences so.  I don't believe Snape was angry that the boy finally got it, on the contrary, that's why I support the self-anger theory!

List of memories: here's the fun part!

  1. Of course, I think it is obvious Harry saw Snape's father or if not, a male Snape thanks to the hook-nosed man.  Severus' nose is a paternal heirloom then! The woman is, I suppose, his mother or in charge of Severus, but then I don't believe this would rank high in Severus' memories if it had been anyone. That's why I say it's most possibly his mother. And Harry later thinks of them as "his parents", so that's got to be a clue!  Now a cowering woman being shouted at tells you what?! Especially a witch supposing Snape truly is pure-blooded as Rowling hinted before. I think the woman is afraid of the man because she knows from experience that when he shouts, he also hits, with a wand or not. And she seems to have no way to defend herself or she won't because of the "beaten woman" syndrome. That's a simplistic explanation, but then again, remember this book is intended for younger readers and therefore, such unessential-to-the-plot scenes should not be very cryptic.  And this is Severus' memories!  Harry's been showing all his bad memories as well, not good ones, thus it must be the same for Snape. Severus was there, hence, the boy with dark hair crying in the corner.  The fact that this little boy would cry is proof of the violence of the scene taking place. Maybe it's the first time Severus saw it, or maybe he is in that corner because he's used to them and knows he should not dwell long around the male Snape.  Also, if he cried, then I bet he wasn't very old. Lots of kids, especially boys, will learn not to cry under such stress because most violent men hate it.  That's just an hypothesis, don't owl me saying I'm being too general.  All I can say is this: I think Rowling wanted us to understand how Severus' childhood was miserable and violent. Strangely like Harry even!
  2. Memory two! A greasy-haired boy: now tell me if that means he didn't have greasy hair in that first memory?! Oh!! Have we found the answer to the Sphinx's riddle?!  Is Severus simply not taking care of his appearance?!  Or is he not allowed and then it's an habit that stuck?  Or does he have ultra groomed parents and he is revolting against them that way? (I'm suggesting it because my grandfather was like that! Too much posh and nice clothes as a kid!) Or does he have naturally greasy-hair which usually don't show on youngsters?  I don't know, it's impossible to know but I know this: Snape is always well dressed, he's no Filch! So why would he keep his hair like that?! I don't think it's a case of "a teenage boy not wanting to take a shower".  Nah!  Rowling is either using this description of his hair in the second place instead of the first for one of these two reasons: to show that Severus was still pretty young when the first memory occurred (still having non greasy hair happens in toddlers and young kids) or she wanted to show that Snape began not taking care of his hair at one point.  What more? Severus the teenager is sitting alone in a dark bedroom. His occupation: shooting down flies with his wand. What does this tell us?  First of all: Snape has one (apparently) room all for himself. Not a cupboard nor a Weasley multiple generation room. Next comes the position: he's sitting, so there's a chair or a bed.  He's alone and shooting down flies. Isn't that the picture of perfect happiness!! Yeah right! For Voldemort killing flies would be something, but for Severus, I don't think so. Most importantly: Severus isn.'t seen loving killing flies, he's seen 'casually' shooting them down.  Had this been Tom Riddle, he would have found a way to make them writhe under his spells. Remember that Severus knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, yet, Mrs. Rowling did not choose to show us his using them.  That is an important point to me! He doesn't seem to have anything else to do with his time but he doesn't use it for mischief.

    Why is he there? Either because he is stranded in his room, but with a wand, it's unlikely that it is due to a punishment.  Therefore he seems bored beyond anything else. A teenager would not readily choose this activity unless they were part of the Adams family. And even then, they'd try to breed them.  No, Severus sounds bored and has nothing to do. Simply. I don't think he was stranded like Harry, far from his books during summer. If he had not been encouraged to study, then he wouldn't have known so much about the Dark Arts as a first year student. That's actually one reason why I believe Severus to have been encouraged to learn and perform well in school, either by or a combination of his parents' encouragements and his natural thirst for knowledge.

    He is allowed magic, so it proves he doesn't live near any Muggle neighbourhood.  That is a wizarding home.  This is according to Wizarding Laws : "violation under paragraph C knowingly, deliberately, in full awareness of illegality, to do magic in a Muggle-inhabited area and in the presence of a Muggle" (HP Lexicon - Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery 1875)
    The dark bedroom now. Kind of gloomy. I would like to know if this was due to Severus' dark thoughts and moods or his house's general disposition. Since he was shooting down flies however, I tend to think it has much to do with a mixture of both, sort of a vicious circle actually: he's sad and miserable thanks to his parents and/or education, therefore he feels gloomy and not likely to be the one to open up the curtains once morning sets in (you know, the blue sky and happy blue birds image!).  It may also have to do with his being somewhere and/or with people he doesn't want to, an eerie house maybe, but a boring house surely. And since this is intended to give us a grasp, however small, of Snape as a teenager, I think we must remember these key words: dark, alone, bored, gloomy.  That's what this memory is all about.  
  3. Last memory: a girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick  Oh dear! This is why I am pretty certain Severus was not good at Quidditch or sports ever. He is the intellectual type, too, as we'll see in chapter 28, and as we know from anyone who doesn't hand in a perfect homework!  This single memory brings back loads of them for me! Poor put on swot that I was! And doesn't Severus strike you as the 'swotty' type?! He does to me. Poor Severus! His flying lessons must have been so hard on him! Showing such vulnerability, especially when faced with James and Sirius must have been hell. Sports is where most bullies take their revenge on swots. I remember I had to watch out myself against that when I was young. The prats were always trying to get revenge on me in the only field I wasn't excelling at. Bouhou!  So, well yes, I can understand why this specific memory ended up here after his fear of his father and his boredom.  


Harry felt as though he had been pushed hard in the chest; he staggered several steps backwards, hit some of the shelves covering Snape's walls and heard something crack. Snape was shaking slightly, and was very white in the face.

The back of Harry's robes was damp. One of the jars behind him had broken when he fell against it; the pickled slimy thing within was swirling in its draining potion.

'Reparo,' hissed Snape, and the jar sealed itself at once.



'Well, Potter… that was certainly an improvement…' Panting slightly, Snape straightened the Pensieve in which he had again stored some of his thoughts before starting the lesson, almost as though he was checking they were still there. 'I don't remember telling you to use a Shield Charm… but there is no doubt that it was effective…'

Harry did not speak; he felt that to say anything might be dangerous. He was sure he had just broken into Snape's memories, that he had just seen scenes from Snape's childhood. It was unnerving to think that the little boy who had been crying as he watched his parents shouting was actually standing in front of him with such loathing in his eyes.

 Wow! He's exuding so much power now! And anger, too, of course. Note that in Snape's case, he repelled Harry with the sheer force of his will. Thus, we know when one expels a Legilimens from his mind, the latter will also be physically pushed away. Also, the result of such an effort may include shaking slightly, and two paragraphs later, panting slightly. Then again, it could also be that he's very angry but I highly doubt it!

Important matter: surely the Dark Lord would not tolerate being expelled in such a fashion out of his followers' head.  So when he probes their mind, surely one has nothing to do but to wait until it's over unless they're good at Occlumency. Then again, it sounds as though the person will have to act being exhausted if Occlumency does not mean one is as physically tired as Harry is each time Snape uses Legilimens. This would therefore  be one more appearance Snape has to keep up when meeting the Dark Lord.  

Snape's office includes some shelves covering its walls, low enough for Harry to bump into them. And it seems a simple 'Reparo' can take care of that particular broken pickled potion ingredient, unless Snape simply thought he'd repair the mess right away and fix the ingredient later.

 Either he doesn't want the Pensieve to drop on the floor and allow his memories to escape or he's contemplating adding some more.  But since Rowling gives us the clue "almost as though he was checking they were still there", I'll go with that. However, if Snape is suddenly worried about his Pensieve while he never was before now, it may entails that he was as much surprised as Harry of having to share his memories. He's afraid Potter will see the worst ones, I would also be if I had not expected a simple Shielding charm to backfire like that!

Yes, ladies!! A compliment from the Potions Master himself!  "an improvement ... no doubt that it was effective" Well, kind of ; ) The 'but' makes the whole difference!  However, for once, Potter has some sense of self-preservation because he was immediately aware of the danger of saying anything at all after that episode. That's another pattern of Snape I believe: when you hear such a backhanded compliment, beware!  Or if you see anything you shouldn't, that Snape was hiding from you, be even more cautious. When both happen at the same time: pray!

 I love this part!! Poor put upon Harry faced with poor put upon Severus.  What are they to do?  Harry suddenly seems the probable reasons why Snape is such a sour person. Unnerving or is it that Harry suddenly feels a bit of guilt and understanding?  Seeing a small boy crying in a corner can change his perspective of Snape forever. It's a great opportunity. However I'm sad neither will for now, and maybe they won't later on.

If not some guilt, at least understanding however difficult it may be to attach both loathing figure and crying figure to the same person.  But isn't that how it's supposed to be?  That a crying boy would emerge into such loathing!  I know I'm not the only one who sees it.

 'Let's try again, shall we?' said Snape.

Harry felt a thrill of dread; he was about to pay for what had just happened, he was sure of it. They moved back into position with the desk between them, Harry feeling he was going to find it much harder to empty his mind this time.

'On the count of three, then,' said Snape, raising his wand once more. 'One - two -'

Harry did not have time to gather himself together and attempt to clear his mind before Snape cried, 'Legilimens!'

He was hurtling along the corridor towards the Department of Mysteries, past the blank stone walls, past the torches - the plain black door was growing ever larger; he was moving so fast he was going to collide with it, he was feet from it and again he could see that chink of faint blue light -

The door had flown open! He was through it at last, inside a black-walled, black-floored circular room lit with blue-flamed candles, and there were more doors all around him - he needed to go on - but which door ought he to take -?


 Or let's not dwell on my memories for too long!  Somehow that's what this sentence expresses for me. Also, I wonder if Snape wants to resume right away as a mean to show he's capable of taking anything the boy throws at him (male ego!), that he's not affected by what he knows Harry saw, or for many of these reasons.  I don't believe Snape was going to make Harry pay for what just happened though, not after it took so long to get results.  Snape would be at a disadvantage to be harsh on the boy now that he finally got it once.   On the other hand, Snape did not allow Harry much time to empty his mind but that is not new, we've seen it before in the other chapter.

 Snape was behind the desk and Harry in front of it, so the potions shelves Harry bumped into earlier must somehow be facing Snape's desk, unlike in the movie where the shelves all stand on either side and behind the desk.


Harry opened his eyes. He was flat on his back again with no memory of having got there; he was also panting as though he really had run the length of the Department of Mysteries corridor, really had sprinted through the black door and found the circular room.

'Explain yourself!' said Snape, who was standing over him, looking furious.

'I… dunno what happened,' said Harry truthfully, standing up. There was a lump on the back of his head from where he had hit the ground and he felt feverish. 'I've never seen that before. I mean, I told you, I've dreamed about the door… but it's never opened before

'You are not working hard enough!'

For some reason, Snape seemed even angrier than he had done two minutes before, when Harry had seen into his teacher's memories.




'You are lazy and sloppy, Potter, it is small wonder that the Dark Lord -'

'Can you tell me something, sir?' said Harry, firing up again. 'Why do you call Voldemort the Dark Lord? I've only ever heard Death Eaters call him that.'





No wonder he's furious! Harry's not supposed to have dreams nor he is supposed to let these thoughts run free like that. Much less wonder "which door to take"!  I'm also wondering if Snape does not know, somehow, of the Dark Lord's plans at the Department of Mysteries?!  


I wonder if Snape knows of this door and what lies behind.  How could he have seen it unless?!  Because he had just gotten memories from Snape who was there once? Because Voldemort showed him because he was there once?  Because of Harry's powers? Because of the snake that attacked Arthur?!  I wish I knew!!  

For some reason, Snape is angrier and says Harry's not working hard enough. Why? Because Harry actually got to open the door and he just admitted he had never been able to open it prior to now!  Well duh!! He just incriminated himself about not trying hard enough to close his mind to EVERY thought!! He made absolutely NO effort trying to stop Snape from entering his mind. On the contrary, he wondered where he should go next!  Oh dear! I believe Snape 'heard' Harry's thought or deducted he was letting his mind wonder off to where he wanted to be and he got very angry.  It's a huge step back in fact! Even worst, he's again been where he should not be. And if Snape knows of the Dark Lord's plans about the prophecy, it will explain why he's even angrier than before.

The boy does deserve it! Lazy because he makes no effort; sloppy because he'll let his mind wander here and there.  

 Very important!! I think he was going to say: "it is small wonder that the Dark Lord - wants to penetrate your mind" or "wants to spy through your head to meet his ends".  I do believe Snape's got a point, a hurtful one because Harry retaliates with an insult of his own. Why would he do that?  Truth hurts they say, in this case, I say Potter can't digest the fact that Snape is right.  

 Snape opened his mouth in a snarl - and a woman screamed from somewhere outside the room.

Snapes head jerked upwards; he was gazing at the ceiling.

'What the -?' he muttered.

Harry could hear a muffled commotion coming from what he thought might be the Entrance Hall. Snape looked round at him, frowning.

'Did you see anything unusual on your way down here, Potter?'

Harry shook his head. Somewhere above them, the woman screamed again. Snape strode to his office door, his wand still held at the ready, and swept out of sight. Harry hesitated for a moment, then followed.

The screams were indeed coming from the Entrance Hall; they grew louder as Harry ran towards the stone steps leading up from the dungeons. When he reached the top he found the Entrance Hall packed; students had come flooding out of the Great Hall, where dinner was still in progress, to see what was going on; others had crammed themselves on to the marble staircase.

 Oh no!!! It would have been such a nice diatribe!! ; )   My question however is: how did they ever hear her from the dungeons?! Seems kind of far fetched.

 Ah!! Don't you love a Snape in action!  Full spying skills at the ready!  Head jerked upwards where the sound came from, then he forgets everything, frowns at Harry and asks if he saw anything unusual on his way down there. Nice! He doesn't lose a second.  






And there he is, wand at the ready like a feline out on a hunt!! The puerile battle of will they had been playing at a minute ago is all forgotten, Snape is ready to strike!! He won't be caught by whatever is going on up there, he will be ready for anything. That's what I like about him, he's all business when it's time to be. He won't let his feelings or incertitude get the better of him... for now!

 From this whole scene. We are shown some more details of his office and its position in the school:  

  1. the dungeons are situated close enough for someone to humanly shout loud enough to be heard all the way down there.
  2. Snape's office has a ceiling (Well, it could have been a magical ceiling !)
  3. Snape strode to his office door, therefore his office is not so small, which correlates with the movie.  It also gives you the impression that the door is facing him, too.
  4. The entrance to the dungeons is in the Entrance Hall, the marble staircase can be seen from it, and the steps are made of stone.
  5. It seems as though there is a corridor before reaching the steps leading to the Entrance Hall because the text mentions that Harry ran towards it. Not immediately up the steps.



'You c - can't!' howled Professor Trelawney, tears streaming down her face from behind her enormous lenses, 'you c - can't sack me! I've b - been here sixteen years! H - Hogwarts is in - my h - home!'

'It was your home,' said Professor Umbridge, and Harry was revolted to see the enjoyment stretching her toadlike face as she watched Professor Trelawney sink, sobbing uncontrollably, on to one of her trunks, 'until an hour ago, when the Minister for Magic countersigned your Order of Dismissal. Now kindly remove yourself from this Hall. You are embarrassing us.'

[... Dumbledore burst through the main door]

'Yours, Professor Dumbledore?' said Umbridge, with a singularly unpleasant little laugh. 'I'm afraid you do not understand the position. I have here -' she pulled a parchment scroll from within her robes'- an Order of Dismissal signed by myself and the Minister for Magic. Under the terms of Educational Decree Number Twenty-three, the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts has the power to inspect, place upon probation and sack any teacher she - that is to say, I - feel is not performing to the standards required by the Ministry of Magic. I have decided that Professor Trelawney is not up to scratch. I have dismissed her.'

To Harry's very great surprise, Dumbledore continued to smile. He looked down at Professor Trelawney, who was still sobbing and choking on her trunk, and said, 'You are quite right, of course, Professor Umbridge. As High Inquisitor you have every right to dismiss my teachers.
You do not, however, have the authority to send them away from the castle. I am afraid,' he went on, with a courteous little bow, that the power to do that still resides with the Headmaster, and it is my wish that Professor Trelawney continue to live at Hogwarts.'

At this, Professor Trelawney gave a wild little laugh in which a hiccough was barely hidden.

'No - no, I'll g - go, Dumbledore! I sh - shall - leave Hogwarts and's - seek my fortune elsewhere -'

'No,' said Dumbledore sharply. 'It is my wish that you remain, Sybill.'  [...]





I'm sure Snape would never do something like that! Oh no!! Or he wouldn't have last that long under Dumbledore if he did!  I'm glad Rowling came up with Umbridge because she's such a good way to contrast a real 'monster' to someone who's being a git like Snape. And even though he is a git, I don't believe he's being a cad without any manners like Umbridge. He will respect his fellow colleges and other adults as long as they prove worthy while she will either lick other people's boots or be disdainful of anyone else. Yuck!! Snape will also take care of his students' well-being, he never gave Umbridge-like detentions to anyone. Filch would however. I've known women like her, believe me, the toad face is a recurring facial feature!! They enjoy being horrible and powerful, making sure to embarrass and threat you like dirt!




As silly as this may seem to write it down, Snape did pass her inspection!  ; ) Surely he'll put that on his résumé! "Was approved by Professor Umbridge" Ha ha!






Interesting: so if Snape wasn't able to teach anymore, he could be provided with a place to stay in by Dumbledore.  Nice to know he wouldn't be homeless! We don't know if he has another home but it is his 'home' since he's stayed there for 10months for 15years. That has got to count!


 Where is Snape?!  Harry says the Hall was packed with students and that he followed Snape not long after he swept out of his office. Did he take a secret passageway?! I think that would be the most reasonable spying thing to do! Then again, maybe Rowling didn't want to focus on him at all or forgot him! But I'm pretty sure he took a hidden corridor on his way to the Entrance Hall, especially since Dumbledore was still away when it happened.  Remember that Death Eaters are active and even though he should have known threw his Dark Mark, there is still a chance he is not informed of any attack on the castle. Therefore, the best strategy would be to hide himself! All the other professors (McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout) were there after all!

The Ministry has the right to appoint a suitable candidate if -and only if- the Headmaster is unable to find one,' said Dumbledore. 'And I am happy to say that on this occasion I have succeeded. May I introduce you?'

 This is so sad for poor Snape!  Only if the Headmaster is unable to find a suitable teacher. That makes Snape unsuitable for the DADA position.  : (  Again however, I believe it has all to do with the Ministry, not with Dumbledore directly though I suspect he's tried to allow Severus his chance.  Such a shame!! Who would be better to teach the kids how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts but someone who's been studying it and has experienced it first hand!?  It's like asking a reformed and intelligent drug addict to teach a course about preventing drug intakes compared to having the same course dictated by someone who's studied it.  I always thought such courses should be given by reformed drug addicts because it makes such a great impact. They've been there, they know what it was like, they've known heaven and hell and they can talk about it.


Chapter 27

'Listen to me, Harry,' he said urgently. 'You must study Occlumency as hard as you can, do you understand me? Do everything Professor Snape tells you and practise it particularly every night before sleeping so that you can close your mind to bad dreams - you will understand why soon enough, but you must promise me -'

The man called Dawlish was stirring. Dumbledore seized Harry's wrist.

'Remember - close your mind -'

But as Dumbledore's fingers closed over Harrys skin, a pain shot through the scar on his forehead and he felt again that terrible, snakelike longing to strike Dumbledore, to bite him, to hurt him -

'- you will understand,' whispered Dumbledore.

 Dear Dumbledore! You've got to love the man, but his secretive ways may cause his fall! Or rather, Rowling may cause it since she needs him to be so secretive so Harry will be led by his curious reckless attitude once again and give us a thrilling end!  Did it take a 20 by 100feet banner with the words "Learn Occlumency for your own good and all of ours, and close your mind Harry" written in red colour for the boy to get the point or what?!  Even then, I doubt he would have gotten the point!

One should  admire the trust Dumbledore has in Snape. In this passage, he's on the verge to leave the 'known world' so they don't put him in jail or whatever other silliness they could come up with, and he has to impress the importance of Harry's learning Occlumency before departure,  therefore leaving the faith of the wizarding world in his hands.  In a way, he's leaving their well being up to Harry's willingness and efforts to learn the skill.  Oh dear!  On the other hand, Albus proves to think Snape quite an adequate master and he trusts him with Harry, one of their last hopes.  He even commends Harry to do ALL Professor Snape asks.  That's a lot of trust for one ex-Death-Eater, but Albus does it! And I love it!

However, many will say Snape let them down (especially Albus's trust because it allowed the Dark Lord to enter Harry's mind) by refusing to teach. But if you ask me, Snape's ultimate decision had NO consequence at all: Harry had not closed his mind, he was not trying his best, he was not closing access to his dreams and he was encouraging them though he was told by everyone to do otherwise, he kept being selfish and not listen to Dumbledore's orders (surely the most powerful guy in the world!! That's surely not an old man's whim!! So why not obey?!).  So when Harry will be found in Snape's pensieve, Snape did something that would solve both problems: 1-Harry didn't try enough and was even doing the opposite of Occlumency, so where's the point of these lessons?!  None! 2- Harry looked into my most private thoughts instead of  practising Occlumency in the meantime.  Conclusion: Snape refused to see him anymore.  

This will come back in more details later on by the way, once we reach that chapter!