In the film version of Half-Blood Prince, Harry enters the Astronomy Tower as Dumbledore and Snape are talking. The conversation he overhears has Dumbledore telling Snape that

when the time is right, Snape should kill him.

If so, why didn’t Harry realise that Dumbledore had planned the events of that night?

  • I don't remember anything like this happening until the 7th book. Where are you getting your information? In both the movie and book Dumbledore just said "(Severus…) Please". Also please add spoiler tags.
    – BitNinja
    Jul 15, 2014 at 0:12
  • Can you provide the exact quote here?
    – Zoredache
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:07
  • If what you are saying was only in the movie, then the answer is Harry did not find out because it was not canon for him to find out. And the reason why it was inside of the movie was to make things simpler as the movies do not take directly from the books. You should try adding a clip of what happened or maybe even direct dialogue to make your question more answer friendly.
    – Pobrecita
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:34
  • 1
    There are several cases where Harry uses his head, but they're pretty dam rare. He's kind of a dumbass. Hermione woulda pieced it together better.
    – Misha R
    Jun 21, 2015 at 3:24
  • 2
    Because movies suck..
    – user931
    May 2, 2017 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


Although Harry overhears Snape and Dumbledore talking, they don’t mention Snape killing Dumbledore. It’s clear that Dumbledore has asked Snape to do something he doesn’t want to do, but specifics aren’t mentioned.

Here’s an extract from the script for the scene:


As Harry trots up the spiraling exterior stairs, he hears VOICES coming from the topmost level and pauses, peering up through the grid-like floor above: Dumbledore and Snape.

Snape: Have you ever considered that you ask too much? That you take too much for granted? Has it ever crossed your brilliant mind that I don’t want to do this anymore?

Dumbledore: Whether it has or hasn’t is irrelevant. I will not negotiate this with you, Severus. You agreed. There’s nothing more to discuss.

Harry stands poised, peering upward, where Dumbledore squints toward the dying sun and Snape glares at his back. Finally, Snape turns away and – before Harry can react – is descending the stairs. Seeing Harry, Snape falters briefly, then continues on without a word. As his FOOTSTEPS fade, Harry ascends to the upper tier. Dumbledore turns. Smiles.

Nowhere does Snape explicitly mention killing Dumbledore. With hindsight and knowledge of the final book/film, it’s clear to us what Snape is referring to, but Harry can’t work that out yet.

Could Harry have guessed that Snape was innocent from this fragment? I think not.

He’s predisposed to dislike Snape, and emotionally distraught. He’s not casting around for reasons to defend or indemnify Snape. If anything, he may find a way to interpret this scene as extra evidence that Snape really did betray Dumbledore.

You might be able to deduce from this overheard conversation that there is a possibility that Dumbledore’s death was planned between the two, but even this requires a level of calm that is far beyond Harry at this point. Hindsight makes this easy, but I think it would be impossible for Harry.

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