3

When Harry looked into the Pensieve in the last movie to see Snape's vision, you could see a lot of light and Snape saying "Don't kill me" to Dumbledore and Dumbledore saying "the prophecy spoke of..."

Why did he say "don't kill me" - why would Dumbledore kill Snape? And where was that light coming from?

  • 2
    Dumbledore might well have fought Snape, given that Snape was, at that point, a fairly high-ranking Death Eater and Dumbledore was the leader of the Order of the Phoenix ... Snape met Dumbledore in order to ensure that Dumbledore protected Lily, he had not defected until that meeting. The light, as far as I know, was probably just a visual effect for the movies – Au101 Mar 10 '16 at 20:06
15

Snape was Dumbledore's enemy at the time.

Snape said "Don't kill me" because at that point he was a Death Eater, while Dumbledore was the leader of the Order of the Phoenix. If the situations had been reversed - if Voldemort had met a lower-ranking member of the Order of the Phoenix - the outcome would most probably have involved the words "Avada" and "Kedavra" coming from Voldemort's lips. Of course Dumbledore would have been less quick to jump to the killing option, but it's questionable whether Snape would have understood this: hanging out with Death Eaters for so long, he might have forgotten how decent people behave.

Later on, of course, Snape turned to Dumbledore's side and became a member of the Order himself, and a spy in Voldemort's ranks. But at the time of this scene, he hadn't yet defected - in fact, his defection is in this scene - so he was merely a Death Eater, meeting the enemy leader.


The light comes from Dumbledore Apparating.

You're right: it is certainly a strange-looking effect! The best explanation I could think of was that it was meant to represent either Snape's passage through time from one memory to the next or Snape travelling to his rendezvous with Dumbledore (doesn't look quite like Apparition normally does in the films, but then Snape has means of transportation that most wizards don't, such as flying).

However, @Au101 came up with a much better idea: the light comes from Dumbledore Apparating. At the moment when it first appears (just after Voldemort's face disappears and the word "Severus" is spoken), it does look a bit like a tall white-bearded figure just coming into focus:

enter image description here

And when we get our first clear glimpse of Dumbledore, the light is just fading from his clothes and body. The fact that Snape appears to be travelling through a tunnel of light in the intervening moments is just an artefact of the way the camera moves: he's actually standing in one place as the light of Dumbledore's arrival bursts around him.


The scene in question is at 2:45 through this video (direct link):

  • 3
    I think the light is actually supposed to be Dumbledore Apparating. The moment we first see Dumbledore materialised the glow is still fading from him – Au101 Mar 10 '16 at 20:14
  • @Au101 Brilliant, looks like you're right! – Rand al'Thor Mar 10 '16 at 20:22
  • I think it's the same Apparation we see in the fifth movie when the members of the Order of the Phoenix come to Harry's aid in the Department of Mysteries imgur.com/a/hwOcV. (in addition to Au101's answer) – Iarwain Feb 8 '17 at 16:35
  • An even more likely scenario, the way I see the scene (which is of course only found in the movie), is that the words “Don’t kill me” don’t belong to that time and place at all. They’re said just before Dumbledore appears and Snape sits before him. I don’t think we know why Voldemort says “Severus…” just before, but it seems just as likely that it is to him Snape is saying “Don’t kill me”, or indeed that it’s a dislodged memory the Pensieve passes by on the way to the Snape/Dumbledore scene, possibly connected to the hyperspace tunnel that also comes before Dumbledore’s Apparation light. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 29 '18 at 7:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.