How was the Sword of Gryffindor placed into the pool in the Forest of Dean in Deathly Hallows?

‘So how did the sword get in that pool?’

‘Whoever cast the Patronus must have put it there.’

They both looked at the ornate silver sword, its rubied hilt glinting a little in the light from Hermione’s wand.

Deathly Hallows - page 304 - UK - chapter 19, The Silver Doe

I've read the chapters The Silver Doe (DH) and The Prince's Tale (HBP) many times over and I'm still not certain whether Snape placed the Sword of Gryffindor in the pool in the Forest of Dean, or if he somehow managed to have his doe Patronus place the sword there.

Was it Snape or his Patronus that actually placed the sword in the pool?

  • Well the provided quote would seem to indicate that "whoever cast the Patronus" did. I would guess from that that Snape himself did. Don't have canon for that, aside from what you mentioned, so this is a comment. Apr 24, 2012 at 2:34
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    The Harry Potter wikia indicates that it was Snape, but without any reference. The page on the Patronus Charm also gives no indication that corporeal Patronuses are even capable of interacting with physical matter.
    – Izkata
    Apr 24, 2012 at 2:46
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    I thought the sword just appeared to Gryffindors who are worthy. Like when it was taken from the sorting hat or when Nevell got it at the end of the 7th book. Apr 24, 2012 at 5:47

4 Answers 4


I think it is semi-safe to say that Snape was at least in, or near, the Forest of Dean when the sword was placed in the lake.

"And you still aren't going to tell me why it's so important to give Potter the sword?" said Snape as he swung a travelling cloak over his robes.
"Don't worry, Dumbledore," he said coolly. "I have a plan...."
[DH American soft-cover, pg 690]

Granted Snape could have been going anywhere with travelling robes, but likely he was going to the forest. So for the argument's sake, we've placed him "at the scene," so to speak, with a plan.

The lake was seemingly quite distant from the tent Harry and Hermonie were using. Additionally, just before the Silver Doe's appearance the forest seemed to take on an unnatural darkness. I believe it is not too much to assume that Snape, between the distance and a darkness spell, covered his actions while planting the sword and he then used his Patronus to lure Potter to it.

Several times he jerked upright, his neck aching because he had fallen asleep, slumped at an awkward angle against the side of the tent. The night reached such a depth of velvety blackness that he might have been suspended in limbo between Disapparition and Apparition. He had just help up a hand in front of his face to see whether he could make out his fingers when it happened.
Snow crunched beneath his feet, but the doe made no noise as she passed through the trees, for she was nothing but light. Deeper and deeper into the forest she led him, and Harry walked quickly, sure that when she stopped, she would allow him to approach her properly.
[DH American soft-cover, pgs 365-366]

So, for alternate reasons I agree with David's answer, that Snape was the one who placed the Sword of Gryffindor in the lake in the Forest of Dean.

  • +1. If I'd remembered about the conversation between Snape and Dumbledore, I might have incorporated similar thoughts in my answer, but I'm glad you put it because it's a completely different angle to come to the same conclusion! Apr 24, 2012 at 3:36
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    I think this is a good theory. If you have a moment, read the small passage in The Silver Doe, starting with ‘You didn’t see anyone else?’ and going through ‘Anything there?’ Ron asked. ‘No,’ said Harry. Do you think this indicates that Snape was not at the scene? I'm asking this as a serious question, not trying to debunk your theory, which I think is quite solid. :) Apr 24, 2012 at 7:47
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    @Slytherincess Yes, I have to say that that passage indicates someone was there. Later, in The Prince's Tale, it leads one to believe that it was Snape who was there, when he reveals his Patronus to Dumbledore.
    – Xantec
    Apr 24, 2012 at 12:05
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    @Slytherincess Read the next two sentences: "But he hesitated, glancing at two trees growing close together some yards away. / - I did think I saw something move over there..." They saw someone at the scene, Snape was in a traveling cloak and talking about delivering the sword, and there's no evidence patronuses can carry physical objects. I think that's quite enough evidence.
    – Kevin
    Aug 25, 2012 at 0:43
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    @JohanPretorius As James says Sev did it in spite of Harry. There is a quote from Rowling somewhere where she talks about this; not sure where I saw it whether in a chat or elsewhere. But she did mention that he didn't need to do it but he did it out of spite. Of course it was almost to the ruin of the plan but the fact he could still help Harry after what his father did, and the fact he could also at his dying moment tell Harry to look him in his eyes shows his complications all the more. And I for one love his character & Harry forgives Severus and names his son after him! Shows Harry well.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 2, 2017 at 22:18

Remus Lupin to Harry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 12, Page 237 (US Hardcover First Edition)

A Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the dementor feeds upon - hope, happiness, the desire to survive...

Nowhere in canon is there any indication of a Patronus being a physical being, other than when Harry's Patronus uses its horns against a Dementor. (Expanded upon later in the answer) Otherwise, they appear to be made of light, and not of real substance, even the corporeal ones.

Intentionally being vague so as not to introduce spoilers: They have the ability to project their caster's voice, as shown in an earlier chapter of the Deathly Hallows. They have the power to fend off Dementors, and Snape was certainly able to use his to guide Harry, but none of this indicates enough substance to interact with everyday objects.

Using the movies as canon, we can see that the waves of light emitted by Harry had an effect on the dementors, and not on the trees around them, which indicates that the ability to physically push back dementors is limited specifically to dementors. They can throw a dementor, but not so much as stir a leaf on a tree.

Using the books as canon, Kingsley's patronus passed through the roof of the tent to deliver its message, further indicating that they lack physical substance.

If this is the case, then a Patronus would have no way to pick up a physical sword.

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    In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, JKR writes about the Lethifold (Living Shroud): The Lethifold is a mercifully rare creature found solely in tropical climates. It resembles a black cloak perhaps half an inch thick (thicker if it has recently killed and digested a victim), which glides along the ground at night. [SNIP] "Pointing my wand away from myself into the deadly folds of the creature, I performed the Patronus Charm. I looked up to see that deathly shadow being thrown into the air upon the horns of my Patronus." (CONT.) Apr 24, 2012 at 7:13
  • "It flew across the room and slithered swiftly out of sight." As [Flavius] Belby so dramatically reveals, the Patronus is the only spell known to repel the Lethifold. Just to clarify, the Lethifold is a physical magical creature, not a shadow. Flavius Belby calls the Lethifold "that deathly shadow" as a descriptor as he recounts his escape from the Lethifold. Anyhow, this seems to indicate a Patronus is able to interact with the physical world. :) Apr 24, 2012 at 7:22
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    Well don't that beat all. Outsmarted by Slytherincess again. ;-) Although I always assumed dementors were physical as well, and the magic of the Patronus was simply able to repel them, like the magic that lived in Harry repelled Voldemort. It would be a stretch, but what if the ability of the patronus, being made solely of good, was able to repel any completely evil creature? Yeah, I know that's weak... Apr 24, 2012 at 11:38
  • Would the Patronus have repelled Voldemort then? Or was there still good in him somewhere?
    – Xantec
    Apr 24, 2012 at 11:59
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    We're reaching out into la-la land here, but I'd say "no" because Voldemort was human being, which has the capacity for good or evil, unlike dementors and lethifolds, which are dark creatures with no capacity for good. Come to think of it, the Patronus repelled a boggart in the form of a Dementor. Is a boggart purely evil? I think this is inspiring a question of its own, but I need to leave for work. Now I'll be thinking about this all day. Apr 24, 2012 at 12:30

I don't understand the problem. Professor Snape learnt from a portrait where Harry is camping, took the sword which was hidden in Dumbledore's office. He travelled to the forest himself but has hidden really well, using magic. He melted the pool with magic, threw the sword in, then frozen the lake with magic. All this he did without alerting the sleeping Harry and Hermione from his presence. He then moved farther away from the lake and sent his Patronus to wake up Harry.

  • If Snape wanted Harry to have the sword why throw it in the Pond in the first place? I agree that Snape took it there but why throw it in the water?
    – Drmzindec
    Apr 21, 2016 at 8:57
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    @JohanPretorius: please see scifi.stackexchange.com/q/76205/4918 "Why did Snape leave Gryffindor's sword in an icy lake?"
    – b_jonas
    Apr 21, 2016 at 18:43
  • thank you! That explains a lot, this has actually bothered me for quite a while.
    – Drmzindec
    Apr 22, 2016 at 7:03

Snape placed the Sword in the lake then cast the Patronus to guide Harry to where the sword was. This gets revealed later in part 2 of Deathly Hallows after Snape dies and Harry is looking into his pensive. It shows that Snape's patronus was a doe just like the one woman he truly loved: Lily Potter. Snape was the only Death Eater able to cast patronus.

  • Do you have a quote from the book to back this up? It's been a long time since I've read the books and I don't specifically remember this revelation.
    – phantom42
    Jun 13, 2013 at 12:47
  • Unfortunately, this answer doesn't add anything to what has already been stated in the previous answers.
    – Kalissar
    Jun 13, 2013 at 13:33

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