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My very first impressions:

My first reaction was merriment because I was unlucky/lucky enough to stumble over the spoilers in the last chapters while only skimming to know whether Snape were still alive or not. It was an accident that I randomly chose the page which spoiled it all! Yes, randomly!! It was on p.594 (no, not 394; ) "'Well ... yes,' said Hermione. 'So ... I was sort of right Snape must have been proud of being "half a Prince", you see?"

I was ecstatic Snape would be the Half-Blood Prince and that I was right about guessing the Adult cover edition represented his Potions manual.  And then I caught what was slightly above that sentence: "called Tobias Snape, and then later an announcement saying that she'd given birth to a - ' '- a murderer,' spat Harry. Talk about a cold shower!!  From that moment, I couldn't keep myself from skimming the pages furiously in search of the one Snape apparently killed until I read these words p. 574 "'Snape killed Dumbledore,' said Harry."  x_x  Can you imagine my shock and indignation!?!  I was flabbergasted and I swear it takes a lot to confound me as such!  I skimmed the book and read part of the three last chapters in search of clues to not incriminate Snape wholly. When I found enough, I was able to rest and relax. Phew! Then I began reading the book as I should have! To think I was horrified that he would die ... this is worst in a way!! Not that I don't believe in Snape anymore, more like everyone may truly hate him now unless they also don't buy Rolwing's plot.  Indeed, having her 'pseudo-evil character' kill Dumbledore bluntly was almost too obvious for our dear Rowling. It's like saying: "In the end, Harry Potter killed Voldemort after a good fight, end of the story" That's too obvious and beneath Rowling.  HP fans (many of which are non-Snape fans) would have seen it coming from the first book on and there wouldn't have been so much speculations going on.  Snape's betrayal looks too obvious for HP fans, at least I hope they think so as well!   

While reading the book:

Still, after the first chapter, I was already happy having spied into the book because I was able to note down lots of things and facts while reading the book. It will  speed up my response to the book and to your questions about it, which I'm sure you now have loads of! HP7 will be the first book ever for which I would almost die for! EVER I'm usually extremely patient and I bide my time like a good little Slytherin, but not this time I admit. Not now that the story has been left on such a cliff hanger.   So while I didn't rush to the bookshop this time, I'm sure I'll be the first one next time since I now find myself desperate to get my hands on Book7 to  prove my theories.  The whole book, the title, even the cover (Adult Edition) were all in Snape's honour... but Rowling made him into a betrayer, murderer, evil bastard, DADA teacher, genius dark inventor and half-blood prince all at once!! So much to process all at the same time!  I will need some order here, so first I'll lay down the facts (from the books and any official information provided directly by Rowling) and then we'll be able to see more clearly into all of this.   

Preliminary Analysis:

Here's on what my theories will be based in this preliminary analysis: from my (maybe too hopeful) point of view, Rowling pulled yet another  'pseudo-evil Snape plot' to bring all the attention on Snape and his apparent betrayal so she could keep us at bay from her real intent and the truth. I don't believe we've truly seen what really happened: the facts are too contradicting or too incomplete. And I know already from the e-mails I've been getting that I am not the only one to think so. She has always done it in past books, why not now when the thrill is at its peak?  That's my hope but it's more than wishful thinking, I read this book while underlining many clues and facts to prove my point that this is all an act and that circumstances will prove that there can be a totally different point of view to what Snape is now believed to be. Just as with Pettigrew and Sirius: there were 15 witnesses, yet nobody uncovered the truth because of information nobody was privy to.  Snape's case will be the same, I believe.

However, to be fair with you, I will of course concede any mysterious and contradicting points with you as I go along. Facts, actions or words that do not forebode well for our dear Severus. I am not going to simply say: "He's not bad and I don't want to hear about your counter-argumentation." Not at all, that would be beneath me. Therefore, I will think of a way (once I analyse the book chapter by chapter, line by line) to separate all possible outcomes so as to analyse it from the point of view that Snape truly never turned his back on the Dark side or he simply decided to switch back lately.  My opinion is that he never turned back from the Light after coming to Albus 16 years ago, but as I just mentioned, only defending this position would be too narrowed and I will be my own opposing counsel.  On both sides, I will bring forth arguments for and against those possible outcomes for Snape in Book7.  That's why if you see that I forgot a fact, and I may through all of the books and hypothesis I have drawn before, please tell me about it. It will be of great help to me. Of course, there is also the possibility that Snape thinks neither Good or Bad and that he's just on his own as a free agent. That's another possible ending I will explore.


Why Snape killed Dumbledore
Very preliminary version!! Beware! I'm publishing this because so many of you can't wait for it. I've thought a lot about this, and I elaborated this short and simplified version of why I think Snape is not evil! Please enjoy while awaiting the longer version of my theory! Also thanks for those who sent me their opinions, it helped me to remember all the essential facts and make my mind clearer about all this!! Thanks a million!!


The best and most plausible reasons why Severus killed Dumbledore and is NOT EVIL: (in chronological order)

  1. Fifteen years ago, Severus turned back to the Light (that's my shipper, but the story of his Death Eater days could have started and ended otherwise, please see below for more details. Also, this is from the point of view that Snape is NOT EVIL. I will come back on the possibility that he is at another time and in a separate page.) after he informed the Dark Lord of the prophesy.  He felt guilty of his actions leading to tipping off the Dark Lord about his future enemy, yet a baby, Harry.
  2. Short afterwards, though still a couple of months following Trelawney's interview and prophesy, the Dark Lord had sent him to acquire a teaching position at Hogwarts so as to become the Death Eater spy of Hogwarts. Whether Snape took this opportunity to turn his back on the Dark is unknown but probable. After all, Severus sought a job, he went to Dumbledore and not the opposite. Maybe Severus saw his chance at remption when he was offer to go to Hogwarts by the Dark Lord. It saw a way to escape if he could prove he could become a spy for Dumbledore. OR when he sought after the job, his interview with Albus made Severus give in and admit his crimes.  I imagine that would sound like what Albus told Draco at the end of Book6.
  3. In any case, Snape admitted his faults to Albus. HE PROVED DUMBLEDORE HIS REPENTANCE (and I'm not talking about simply admitting his wrongs, I'm rather convinced Dumbledore himself made an Unbreakable Vow with Snape or something as strong as that. But that's another story). Let it simply be said that Severus was to be trusted from then on.
  4. He requested the DADA job, but was given Potions.  He remained there for 15years.  'Comfortable' as he mentioned it, but unhappy to teach Potions.
  5. Book1 - Protected Harry and the Philosopher's Stone
  6. Book2 - Protected Harry and investigated on the Chamber of Secrets
  7. Book3 - Protected Harry and his friends from Sirius Black since he thought he was a murderer and out to get Potter.
  8. Book4 - Protected Harry because he smelled something fishy, but never saw Mr Crouch coming with the Goblet of Fire. In the end, Voldemort called back all his Death Eaters. Severus said he came back 2hours later to not look suspicious to Albus.  But we know they had already discussed that since Dumbledore asked Snape if he was ready?  Ready to go back. Severus went back, explained his actions and became a spy for the Light while faking to have remained a faithful DE.  He also agreed to work with Sirius.  
  9. Book5 - Protected Harry and worked for the Order constantly. Gave Occlumency lessons to a boy who wouldn't focus nor make any efforts and gave up in the end because Harry betrayed his trust by looking into his Pensieve AND not even trying to work at Occlumency although everyone had told him that this was to be his top priority!   
  10. Book 6
    1. Severus wanted to protect Draco and/or prove his loyalty to Bella and other DE so he made an Unbreakable Vow. He may also have a soft spot for Narcissa, not romantically speaking, but as a 'friend'.  After all, why would Severus be happy to sacrifice the boy and mother to the Dark Lord?!
    2. The vow: when Narcissa added that if Draco failed he would be the one to do it, Severus's hand twitched. Big clue! He waited a moment, then said that he'd do it. He was thinking hard!!!
    3. Why? Because he had already said to Narcissa that he had a feeling the DLord would ask him to finish the job if Draco didn't succeed. So he was already facing penalty of being discover as a spy for not wanting to kill Albus. So why not make the UVow and take advantage of his last months as a spy with renewed confidence from his fellow Death Eaters!  That's why he accepted. I think he simply thought that if he were given the occasion to kill Albus, then he would not do it and die for breaking the UVow. If not by the UVow, then by his fellow DE of course!  And that is what I think was Snape's decision when he made the vow!
    4. Then, I believe he informed Dumbledore which led to their argument later in the book (the one Hagrid witnessed) where they were discussing something Severus refused to do. A lot like Harry wanted to refuse Albus's orders at first about their trip to the cave, but he made Severus promise in the end like he convinced Harry later on. What promisde? That if Severus had to kill Dumbledore to maintain his cover, he would need to do it and not allow himself to die as well. I believe that Dumbledore think he's less important and knew his days were number, he was getting weak after all, and that it would cost the war too much to lose someone like Severus. Snape knew the health status of the Headmaster, and he cur him when he came back from the Ministry in Book5. A curse which would have killed him had Severus not been there. That has only be known by very few people, maybe even only by Snape at the time. That's another big clue: why not fake it and let the man die. After all, he told Bella the only reason he never touched the Boy-who-lived was because of Dumbledore. Why not get rid of him then?! Doesn't make sense at all! But back to the promise Albus requested of Snape: he decided for Severus' sake and role in the war as the best spy ever (indeed, being the DLord's favourite has got to be good!!) that he would die if it came to that. He didn't want Snape to die in his place either for not fulfilling the UVow or blowing up his cover.  And that is what he made Severus promise while Hagrid was listening!
    5. When Severus came out to meet the DE, Draco, Albus and a hidden Harry, he already knew it was hopeless for Albus. It was either blowing up his cover (because the other DE didn't look ready to overstep Snape's privilege - he was the favourite of the Dark Lord, so that ought to be a good reason for allowing Snape the fatal blow!) or die from the Unbreakable Vow he made to Narcissa!  In both cases, he was a goner!! But that's not what Albus wanted, and he knew Severus didn't feel inclined to do the dirty job.
    6.  Dumbledore knew what was coming: it was either his being killed by one of the remaining DE or Snape.  Better be Snape since he was going to die anyway, so Albus couldn't gain anything from his killer. However, by killing Albus, Snape would again strengthened his reputation as a Death Eater.  So why let slip that opportunity?  Albus is a wise and logical man no matter how much he loves sherbet lemons!
    7. So to make sure Snape did not hesitate any longer (to avoid suspicion), he pleaded Severus. Do you think Dumbledore would plead for his life?! Ha ha!!  Right!  No, he was pleading Severus to do it, not to mention that a man who supposedly has an ironclad faith in someone would  worry for his life if he saw someone he trusted barge in to save him. When he saw Snape outside all of the sudden, he didn't 'realise' he had been duped. Nothing gave indication of that because Snape was a spy and he knew it. He knew the other Death Eaters there would refer to him as a leader. It's not like Albus had just realised that by addressing him, the other DE has blown up Snape's cover as a Dark agent.  If Snape had said something like: "Poor old coot! Don't rejoice yourself, I'm not here to save you. Yes, they know me and they're my fellows. You've been fooled all this time", then yes, that would have been enough for Albus to plead Severus not to turn back to the Dark or to kill him. But there was no time for that at all! There was no time to doubt Snape's loyalty nor indication that he had remained a Voldemort follower either.  No! Dumbledore immediately understood that Snape was thinking of either dying there or try an impossible rescue attempt even if there were less than a 0.01% chance of survival.  There was no time to lose: Albus pleaded Severus. Not Snape, he pleaded Severus.
    8. And so came the moment when they looked into each other's eyes: Legilimens surely! Eye contact makes it very potent!! Dumbledore confirmed his wish I believe. And Snape said: "All right, I'll do it for you, Albus. Farewell!"  (sniff, sniff)
    9. And Snape did fulfill his promise: he killed Dumbledore. Remember his look of loathing: could be the same as when Harry had to give Albus the whole potion in the cave. Harry loathed himself for having to do it. Snape hated himself for having to do it and he used the hate to cast the blow that would kill Albus.
    10. When Snape escaped, he did all but hurt Harry, make sure he was still giving him advice about focusing his mind and how to make it through.  He also stopped someone from using Crucio on the boy on the pretext that the Dark Lord wanted him in one piece. We know the guy didn't want to kill the boy, he just wanted him to suffer. But Snape saved him. Then he escaped with Draco. He evaded all Harry's attempt. And though Snape is quite an excellent dualist, he DIDN'T do anything to the boy but give him advice.
    11. One more thing before he disappear: he's beyond enraged when Harry calls him a coward. That's got to be a HUGE clue!  Why would he be so insulted by that?!  Because he's just given up everything he owned dear, his home and safe place by killing the man who made him into a better one! (sniff sniff).  Imagine how Snape must have felt the day after!! Oh dear!! Wouldn't want to be in his shoes, not to mention he had to appear normal if he were still not alone.  x_x   Poor Severus!!
So there you have the main points of my theory!  Sure there are some darker points I need to work out, but already, solutions are available to me ^_^