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Why Did Snape Kill Dumbledore? Reasons Discussed

Why Did Snape Kill Dumbledore? Reasons Discussed

In the penultimate chapter of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” fans across the world gasped as they witnessed one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the series – Severus Snape, the enigmatic Potions master of Hogwarts, killing Albus Dumbledore, the beloved Headmaster.

This monumental event didn’t just mark the demise of a key character but also served as a tipping point that catapulted Severus Snape to the forefront of the series’ most controversial figures.

Snape’s act of killing Dumbledore, a man who had been a beacon of wisdom and guidance throughout Harry’s journey, left fans grappling with a flurry of emotions. Was Snape truly a loyal servant of the Dark Lord, or was there something more to his action than what met the eye?

This article aims to shed light on this perplexing question that has continued to stir debates among the Potterheads even years after the series concluded. We delve deep into the intricate dynamics of Snape and Dumbledore’s relationship, the circumstances leading to this tragic event, and how it all weaves into the grand scheme of the wizarding world.

Dumbledore’s Plan That Involved Snape Killing Him

In the tumultuous world of “Harry Potter”, the truth is often hidden behind layers of magic and mystery. Such is the case with the tragic demise of Albus Dumbledore. A closer examination of the events leading up to his death reveals that Dumbledore was already on borrowed time.

The usually careful and prudent Dumbledore had put on a cursed ring, one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, in a moment of eager desperation to see his deceased family. The curse from the ring was lethal, and despite Snape’s best efforts to contain it, the curse was slowly killing Dumbledore.

But Dumbledore, a wizard of extraordinary wisdom and foresight, had a plan. Aware of his impending death, he hatched a plan that was designed to achieve multiple ends – to spare Draco Malfoy’s soul from the act of murder, to strengthen Voldemort’s trust in Snape, and to maintain the loyalty of the Elder Wand.

The crux of this plan involved Snape killing him when the time was right. Dumbledore’s instruction was not a random plea made in the face of death, but a calculated strategy, devised with a deep understanding of the implications it would have on the unfolding war against Voldemort.

Snape’s Double Agent Role

Snape Killing Dumbledore
Snape Killing Dumbledore

Severus Snape, often viewed through a shroud of ambiguity and mistrust, was indeed a pivotal figure in the great war against Voldemort.

His role as a double agent placed him in a uniquely precarious position, torn between his allegiance to Dumbledore and the deceptive show of loyalty he had to maintain towards Voldemort. The act of killing Dumbledore was instrumental in fortifying his cover, convincing Voldemort and the Death Eaters of his ostensible treachery towards the Order of the Phoenix.

Voldemort’s trust in Snape was paramount to the eventual downfall of the Dark Lord. By keeping Voldemort’s faith, Snape was able to gather crucial information and manipulate events to favor Harry and the Order. Killing Dumbledore was a grave task, but it allowed Snape to keep his position within Voldemort’s inner circle, thus enabling him to continue his clandestine assistance to the Order.

It’s a testament to Snape’s bravery and loyalty to Dumbledore’s cause that he carried out this task, knowing full well the hatred and disdain he would earn from those on the side he was truly fighting for.

The Unbreakable Vow

The Unbreakable Vow, an irrevocable pact of magical intent, was another key factor that led to the fateful event at the Astronomy Tower. Narcissa Malfoy, fearful for her son Draco’s life, implored Snape to take an Unbreakable Vow, promising to assist Draco in his mission to kill Dumbledore and to complete the task himself if Draco was unable to. This Vow was sworn in the presence of Bellatrix Lestrange, further cementing Snape’s perceived loyalty towards Voldemort’s cause.

The Vow put Snape in a precarious situation. Refusing to take the Vow could have exposed his double agent status, endangering both himself and the Order’s cause. Conversely, agreeing to it placed him in the inevitable position of having to kill Dumbledore or risk his own life.

This was a pivotal moment that highlighted the complexity of Snape’s character and the lengths he was willing to go to protect the greater good, despite the personal moral and emotional cost.

Indeed, Dumbledore was not oblivious to the Vow Snape had made. When informed about this precarious situation, Dumbledore, understanding the circumstances, gave his consent and even instructed Snape to proceed with it. Dumbledore’s foreknowledge of his impending death, due to the curse from the Gaunt ring, allowed him to strategize and use the situation to further the cause against Voldemort.

Snape’s Personal Feelings Toward Dumbledore

Snape’s relationship with Dumbledore was undoubtedly intricate, yet it was marked by an underlying loyalty and respect. Snape, once a Death Eater, was taken in by Dumbledore when he turned away from Voldemort, moved by his love for Lily and guilt over her death. Dumbledore gave Snape a second chance, a decision that was not without controversy within Hogwarts.

This act, however, garnered Dumbledore Snape’s unwavering loyalty. Despite their disagreements, Snape admired Dumbledore for his wisdom, his power, and his unflinching stand against the Dark forces.

This respect didn’t waver even when Snape was tasked with the impossible – to end Dumbledore’s life. It was a moment that tore Snape apart internally, as he was forced to kill the man he deeply respected, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make for the greater good, a testament to his complex character.

Dumbledore’s faith in Snape and Snape’s unwavering loyalty towards Dumbledore form one of the most pivotal relationships in the Harry Potter series. It highlights the lengths Snape was willing to go to honor his commitments, protect the son of his beloved Lily, and stand up against the darkness he once embraced.

Read more: 30 Best Severus Snape Quotes


Snape killed Dumbledore to protect Harry, honor his agreement with Dumbledore, and keep Voldemort’s trust. He had also made an unbreakable vow with Narcissa Malfoy to protect her son from killing Dumbledore.

On the surface, Snape’s act of killing Dumbledore seemed to cement his place as a villain in the eyes of many, including Harry and his friends.

The sight of him standing over Dumbledore’s lifeless body, wand in hand, was deeply distressing and seemingly irrefutable evidence of his allegiance to Voldemort. However, as the series progresses and more truths are unveiled, it becomes clear that Snape’s actions were not born out of malicious intent, but were a key part of a larger strategy aimed at Voldemort’s downfall.

Therefore, while Snape’s act was horrifying at first glance, it was a necessary move in a larger game of chess, one that was instrumental in ensuring Voldemort’s defeat. The real tragedy, perhaps, lies in the fact that Snape had to bear the hatred and mistrust of those he was secretly protecting until the truth was finally revealed in his last moments.

Read more: Why did Snape Hate James Potter?