I know that Dumbledore asked (more like coerced) Snape to

kill him,

but when did he ask? Like was it before the Sixth Year of Harry’s school or sometime in the middle of the year or over Christmas break or something?

I’m writing a paper and would like a more accurate time than “at some point in the year...”.

  • 46
    I think it was some time during one of Lockhart's speeches. Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


I addressed the timeline of the summer between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince at length in My answers here and here. The conclusions derived there are as follows:

  • The school year in Order of the Phoenix probably ended with about a week remaining in June.

  • Dumbledore picked up Harry two weeks later, so about a week into July.

  • Dumbledore injured his hand several days prior to picking up Harry, so around the very beginning of July.

In Snape’s memories at the end of Deathly Hallows we see that Dumbledore’s charge to Snape to kill him occurred the very night he received the injury.

Thus, Dumbledore’s charge to Snape would have been made at the very beginning of July, prior to Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts.

  • 3
    I bow to your superior researches. This should be the accepted answer.
    – Orlahm
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 12:17
  • THANK YOU! This helped me so much! I'm quite proud of the paper I wrote, and, although this was a relatively minor detail, it was very important to me, as Snape is my favorite character & I have written and will continue to write character analyses of him. I'm extremely grateful to you!
    – Jami Johns
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 10:44

Dumbledore asked Snape during the first two weeks of July '96

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we learn that Dumbledore got a black hand he did not have by the end of Order of the Phoenix:

As [Dumbledore] replaced his wand in his pocket, Harry saw that his hand was blackened and shriveled; it looked as though his flesh had been burned away.

"Sir - what happened to your - ?"

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, ch.3 Will and Won't, p39, First American Edition

We also learn that good ol' Albus came to fetch Harry in the beginning of July :

It just seemed too good to be true that he was going to be rescued from the Dursleys after a mere fortnight of their company.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, ch.3 Will and Won't, p36, First American Edition

This is confirmed by the narration stating that Harry

remained within the confines of the Burrow's garden over the next few weeks. [...] To Mrs Weasley's displeasure, Harry's sixteenth birthday celebrations were marred by grisly tidings [...]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, ch.6 Draco's Detour, p78, First American Edition

Since Harry's birthday is the 31st of July, and the narration stating "few weeks", he must have arrived at least two weeks before that.

In Deathly Hallows, during the trip in Snape's memories, we learn that Dumbledore asked Snape to mercy-kill him right after Severus saved him from the curse the Ring of Gaunt carried.

His right hand dangled over the side, blackened and burned. Snape was muttering incantations, pointing his wand at the wrist of the hand [...].


Snape raised his eyebrows and his tone was sardonic as he asked, "Are you intending to let him kill you?"

"Certainly not. You must kill me."

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, ch.33 The Prince's Tale, p481 - p483, First American Edition

Thus we can infer that the question came between the Ending Feast of Harry's fifth year and the end of the second week of his holidays.


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