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In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald we see a character with scars from an Unbreakable Vow. As Fantastic Beasts is canon, I was really puzzled - does an Unbreakable Vow always leave visible marks? Snape and Narcissa apparently didn't get those as that would be pretty suspicious for Voldemort, wouldn't it?

  • (I have not watched FB:TCOG yet, so let me ask: does the movie show what this particular unbreakable vow was about?) – Mikasa Nov 17 '18 at 18:41
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    @MikasaPinata yes, it does – Shana Tar Nov 17 '18 at 18:56
  • Adding tCoG tag as both the question and answer are based on a scene in that film. – Skooba Nov 20 '18 at 21:35
  • In the film at least it does show faint lines on their hands even after the magic flames have gone – RedCaio Dec 7 '18 at 3:27
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There’s no scars mentioned, but the Vow does use magical flame.

In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, both Newt and Tina connect the scars on Yusuf Kama’s hands with him having made an Unbreakable Vow.

TINA
Mr. Scamander, have you got anything in your case that might help revive this man? I need to question him. I think he knows who Credence really is. The scars on his hand suggest an unbreakable vow—

NEWT
(eager, overlapping)
-unbreakable vow. Yeah, I noticed that too—
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (The Original Screenplay)

When they make the Unbreakable Vow, neither Snape or Narcissa are mentioned as having any scars on their hands. However, the binding done when making the Unbreakable Vow is a sort of magical flame that wraps around the hands of those making the Vow.

“Will you, Severus, watch over my son Draco as he attempts to fulfil the Dark Lord’s wishes?’

‘I will,’ said Snape.

A thin tongue of brilliant flame issued from the wand and wound its way around their hands like a red-hot wire.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner’s End)

Though it’s not mentioned as leaving any scars, their hands are bound with a magical flame, which could theoretically leave scars on their hands - where Yusuf Kama had his.

“Bellatrix’s astounded face glowed red in the blaze of a third tongue of flame, which shot from the wand, twisted with the others and bound itself thickly around their clasped hands, like a rope, like a fiery snake.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner’s End)

As for why the Dark Lord didn’t become suspicious if the Unbreakable Vow does indeed produce scars, there are two possibilities. The first is that Snape gave the Dark Lord an excuse, since he was capable of lying to him without the Dark Lord realizing he was being lied to, and the Dark Lord wouldn’t know what they made the Unbreakable Vow for from their scars, just that they did make it. The second is that the scars might not “show up” until a certain period of time has passed since making the Vow and not completing it, so Snape and Narcissa didn’t have visible scars yet.

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    Why would Snape need to lie to Big V? If I recall correctly he vowed to help Draco anyway he could, not to take over the task. This would be quite easily explained in my opinion, since Snape was a long time family friend of the Malfoys. – 11684 Nov 20 '18 at 10:46
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    @11684 Narcissa coming to Snape for help behind V's back, trying to interfere with V's decisions, showing how reluctant she is to faithfully serve him if her own interests are at stake... And Snape supporting her in all this. V would not be happy. – Shana Tar Nov 21 '18 at 6:00
  • @ShanaTar That makes a lot of sense too. On the other hand, Bellatrix is the one who casts the required spell and I can’t imagine her going so blatantly against the will of her master/desperate love interest. – 11684 Nov 21 '18 at 13:37
  • @11684 Bella is unstable. She didn't like Snape and didn't believe he would go through the vow till the end. She tested him, she wanted him out of her way. At the moment she would not just walk away from the scene without witnessing the outcome and she obviously wasn't going to tell V about his sister's behaviour anyway. So yes, she participated. If V would find out about the vow, Snape probably would be able to get away with it, but V would not be happy anyway. I'm pretty sure they didn't tell V about the vow. – Shana Tar Nov 21 '18 at 14:42
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If you look closely you'll see the marks from the spell on Narcissa's hand in the bottom pic

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