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?

  • 4
    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, 2016 at 20:06

2 Answers 2


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, 2016 at 20:14
  • @Au101 Brilliant, looks like you're right!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 10, 2016 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, 2017 at 16:35
  • 1
    @Lexible Please don't "correct" British English to American English :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 11, 2020 at 8:38
  • 1
    @Lexible I didn't notice that part of the edit - just saw the changes to the words. However, I (and lots of others) habitually use hyphens in place of en dashes in contexts like this where exact typesetting and formatting isn't so easy or vital. You're technically correct, but I hope you aren't going to go on a crusade of editing hyphens to en dashes in hundreds of posts :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 11, 2020 at 16:35

Here is the corresponding quote from the books:

Then a blinding, jagged jet of white light flew through the air. Harry thought of lightning, but Snape had dropped to his knees and his wand had flown out of his hand.
“Don’t kill me!”
“That was not my intention.”
Any sound of Dumbledore Apparating had been drowned by the sound of the wind in the branches. He stood before Snape with his robes whipping around him, and his face was illuminated from below in the light cast by his wand
“Well, Severus? What message does Lord Voldemort have for me?”

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (Chapter 33, "The Prince's Tale")

  • Please could you add the relevant chapter too? Mar 10, 2020 at 20:31
  • This comes from Snape's flashback sequence (Harry viewing his memories in the Penseive), in Chapter 33 "The Prince's Tale" Mar 11, 2020 at 2:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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