Chapter 33: The Prince’s Tale
Wow. That was a lot of information all at once. Let’s just gloss over the artlessness of the Snape Pensieve Montage as a storytelling device and get to what we’ve learned.
A fair bit of it, I’m proud to say, we’d already guessed. Snape was in love with Lily from a very young age, they were best friends until they fell out over Snape’s Death Eater associates, and it was his remorse over exposing her to danger that led him to return to Dumbledore and turn double agent.
The Snape’s-eye view of the past seven years is quite entertaining and illuminating, but the most important pieces of information are these: Dumbledore knew Voldemort had ordered Malfoy to kill him, Dumbledore ordered Snape to kill him instead, and Dumbledore was dying anyway. It’s that last that’s the most surprising; I think we all correctly interpreted Dumbledore’s last words on the Astronomy Tower, and it really puts all of Snape’s actions in quite a different light. Though he did, in fact, hate Harry all his life, Snape was, in the end, a good guy. (Even wounding George was an accident as he was trying to save Lupin! The irony!)
The fact that Snape was still working for Dumbledore after the latter’s death, and that it was he who planted the sword and launched the doe Patronus (awww) is interesting, and Snape’s behavior in his final scene with Voldemort (staring at the snake, and insisting that he be allowed to go get Harry) is now explained. Damned lucky, wasn’t it, that Harry happened to be right there to get the memories? Hmmmm?
And we mustn’t forget the most important bit of information: a piece of Voldemort’s soul is in Harry, and so Voldemort cannot die while Harry lives. (Although, it’s important to note that Dumbledore never explicitly says that Harry has to die; he says, “While that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.”) Is Harry, in fact, the final Horcrux? Is Voldemort’s soul in eight pieces, not seven? Is Harry going to die? If Harry dies, who will kill Voldemort? Gah! Only 70 pages to go!
We shouldn’t overlook, in all the Snape information, the deaths of Lupin and Tonks. Rachel said as soon as Harry was named godfather to their son, she knew they were goners.
No spoilers for later chapters in the comments!