When the killing curse rebounds on Voldemort, there appears to be a snake slithering in the room.

"Avada Kedavra!"

And then he broke. He was nothing, nothing but pain and terror, and he must hide himself, not here in the rubble of the ruined house, where the child was trapped screaming, but far away... far away...

"No," he moaned.

The snake rustled on the filthy, cluttered floor, and he had killed the boy, and yet he was the boy...

(from Chapter 17 of the Deathly Hallows)

  • Where did the snake come from?
  • Did Voldemort become a snake?
  • And what does 'he had killed the boy, and yet he was the boy...' mean?
  • 3
    The snake had nothing to do with the killing... with "No" Voldemort breaks out of his vision of killing Harries parents and comes back to present tense... and there is the snake... again a question that results from bad English language understanding and has nothing to do with the background of Harry Potter...
    – Tode
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 8:53
  • 3
    I'm voting to close as "too broad", as this is technically three different questions.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 9:22
  • 2
    @F1Krazy sure, but they're all just asking for this brief few seconds over a few lines in a book to be explained. The "breadth" of this is not likely to have answers explode in size or direction.
    – user152192
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 10:54
  • 2
    @F1Krazy I'm with user133469 here, I feel like this is one question wanting to cover 3 highly related points... sort of a 'answers should cover X, Y and Z' clause.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 14:30
  • 1
    @AncientSwordRage - "What does 'he had killed the boy, and yet he was the boy...' mean?" doesn't seem highly related to the questions about the snake
    – fez
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


In the present-day, Harry was experiencing a flashback (of Voldemort's) that Voldemort was simultaneously experiencing. The snake was present in the present-day, with Voldemort. The snake was not present in the flashback. Voldemort did not yet have Nagini until he fled to Albania. It it perhaps difficult to understand this scene because the "switch" in point of view isn't explained explicitly. It just takes place: "And then his scar burst open and he was Voldemort."

"he had killed the boy, and yet he was the boy" refers to the fact that Harry just had a vision/flashback from Voldemort's point of view, in which he "killed the boy" (obviously unsuccessfully). But in the present, Harry of course "[is] the boy."


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