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In the Philosopher's stone, Dumbledore tells Harry that his father once saved Snape's life. Is this event described in any of the later books, when and how did this happen?

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    Read the books. Yes. An event is described in Prisoner of Azkaban.
    – Möoz
    Feb 19 '14 at 22:19
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Yes, it's explained at the end of the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Relevant details below in spoiler tags, continue reading if you wish or simply wait until you read about it in the book itself.

In the book, it's revealed that:

Remus Lupin, the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher that year, is a werewolf. Lupin was bitten before coming to Hogwarts as a child, but was allowed by Dumbledore to attend provided certain safety precautions were taken.

Also that:

The Whomping Willow was planted in the grounds over a passage to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade, and every month at the full moon Lupin would be taken through the passage to the Shack where he could transform without any risk of attacking anybody.

And finally:

Sirius Black (the titular Prisoner of Azkaban), a schoolfriend of both Lupin and James Potter, told Snape how to de-activate the Whomping Willow to gain access to the passage, with the intention that he'd be attacked by the transformed, werewolf Lupin. James Potter, after finding out about that, managed to stop Snape before he disturbed Lupin, but not before Snape discovered Lupin's secret.

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    Just as a general FYI, the Lexicon lists the incident as having happened in September 1975 . Just thought I'd throw that out there. :) Feb 21 '14 at 0:17
  • Wait. Was it really Sirius that's told Snape how to freeze the tree? I thought that was also James.
    – b_jonas
    Feb 21 '14 at 7:44
  • @b_jonas It's possible I'm misremembering, but I thought Sirius was mainly responsible for getting Snape to the Shrieking Shack, and James simply went to stop him. If I remember I'll add quotes when I have access to the books, assuming I can get them to play nicely with spoilers (which caused me no end of hassle when writing the answer). Feb 21 '14 at 9:35
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Yes it is, basically the Marauders (primarily Sirius) misled Snape and fooled him into wandering towards the Whomping Willow. James basically told Snape and stopped him from being killed by the Lupin in werewolf form.

I have tried to reveal as little of the story as possible so you can enjoy the rest for yourself!

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    Not quite, the thing that may have killed him was Lupin as a werewolf.
    – AlasdairCM
    Feb 19 '14 at 13:49
  • Suppose, but <spoiler> he actually makes it to the haunted house (can't remember the name) and catches a glimpse of Lupin </spoiler>
    – AlasdairCM
    Feb 19 '14 at 15:47
  • Not entirely sure about that edit... The Marauders were introduced in the third book, so if they haven't read that they're not going to know who that's referring to. Feb 19 '14 at 16:15
  • Spoiler tags in comments don't seem to work. :) @AlasdairCM
    – bzlm
    Feb 19 '14 at 20:05

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