Towards the end of HP6 (Half Blood Prince), we see Dumbledore atop the Astronomy Tower, together with Harry. His condition was rather pitiable from drinking the potion, and he asks Harry to call Snape.

Now, why didn't Dumbledore simply use the "patronus" method to call Snape? (We have seen that the Order members sometimes communicate via their patronuses). It would have been much simpler- and there was no guarantee that Potter was going to call Snape. (Harry himself wanted to call Madam Pomfrey).

One possible reason could be that drinking the potion deranged Dumbledore. However, it's stated in the book that the sign of the Death Mark on the top of the Astronomy Tower steeled Dumbledore. He didn't lose his ability to do magic-he undid the protections around Hogwarts, so that they could reach the Astronomy Tower on their broomsticks, and he also put a body-bind curse on Harry.

So, if he didn't lose his power to do magic, or the power to think (his conversations with Draco and other death eaters later show that Dumbledore had a clear head towards the end too), then why did he not use the tried-andtested method of communicating with Snape via his Patronus?

  • Welcome to SFF.SE! Try to stay away from speculative questions, or questions which will end in opinions. Consider this: How can we answer a question about a scenario which didn't happen?
    – Möoz
    Oct 20, 2014 at 3:31
  • 1
    @Mooz: I am asking about in canon answers- sorry if I didn't specify that in my question. Since I am fairly thorough with the books, I am sure there's nothing in the books that answer my question. However, there might be answers by interviews by JKR herself, or some other sources. These are the ones I am mainly interested in.
    – voldemort
    Oct 20, 2014 at 3:33
  • @Mooz: Something in lines with this answer of yours: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/56807/…
    – voldemort
    Oct 20, 2014 at 3:34
  • 3
    Great, now we have TWO voldemorts? I wonder if that's good or bad... they would either join forces or battle each other like Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah. Oct 20, 2014 at 3:38
  • @DVK: I am the original Dark Lord :).
    – voldemort
    Oct 20, 2014 at 3:39

1 Answer 1

  1. Your assumption that he didn't lose his power (as in energy level, not ability) seems to be contradicted by the book: he WAS exausted and severely underpowered:

    'I've been better,' said Dumbledore weakly, though the corners of his mouth twitched. 'That potion... was no health drink...'
    And to Harry's horror, Dumbledore sank on to the ground.
    'Sir – it's okay, sir, you're going to be all right, don't worry –'
    He looked around desperately for help, but there was nobody to be seen and all he could think was that he must somehow get Dumbledore quickly to the hospital wing.
    'We need to get you up to the school, sir... Madam Pomfrey...'
    'No,' said Dumbledore. 'It is... Professor Snape whom I need... but I do not think... I can't walk very far just yet...'

    Note here that Dumbledore barely manages to speak, with pauses. It's pretty clear that he would have trouble doing what is considered to be a difficult and advanced spell (Expecto Patronum) in this condition; when he could barely stand or talk.

    'Right – sir, listen – I'm going to knock on a door, find a place you can stay – then I can run and get Madam –'
    'Severus,' said Dumbledore clearly. 'I need Severus...'
    'All right then, Snape – but I'm going to have to leave you for a moment so I can –'

    Seeing the Dark Mark made him reach for his reserves, however, which implies why he managed the last-gasp magic like castle defenses and body-binding Harry:

    'We need to return to the castle at once,' said Dumbledore. 'Rosmerta,' and though he staggered a little, he seemed wholly in command of the situation, 'we need transport – brooms –'

  2. A second reason would be that he was simply conserving his energy on stuff he DID have to do (which acting like a messenger wouldn't be).... for he then asked Rosmerta to communicate as well:

    'Rosmerta, please send a message to the Ministry,' said Dumbledore, as he mounted the broom nearest him. 'It might be that nobody within Hogwarts has yet realised anything is wrong... Harry, put on your Invisibility Cloak.'

  3. A third reason - for sending Harry while on the Astronomy tower - was to protect Harry. Dumbledore knew that Death Eaters would be coming for him because of Malfoy's work:

    'Go and wake Severus,' said Dumbledore faintly but clearly. 'Tell him what has happened and bring him to me. Do nothing else, speak to nobody else and do not remove your Cloak. I shall wait here.'
    'But –'
    'You swore to obey me, Harry – go!'
    Harry hurried over to the door leading to the spiral staircase, but his hand had only just closed upon the iron ring of the door when he heard running footsteps on the other side. He looked round at Dumbledore, who gestured to him to retreat. Harry backed away, drawing his wand as he did so.

    The door burst open and somebody erupted through it and shouted: 'Expelliarmus!'

    Harry's body became instantly rigid and immobile, and he felt himself fall back against the Tower wall, propped like an unsteady statue, unable to move or speak. He could not understand how it had happened – Expelliarmus was not a Freezing Charm –

    Then, by the light of the Mark, he saw Dumbledore's wand flying in an arc over the edge of the ramparts and understood... Dumbledore had wordlessly immobilised Harry, and the second he had taken to perform the spell had cost him the chance of defending himself.

  • But he did manage to do some complex spells after drinking the potion: he undid the protections around the castle- and these spells were marked in the book as "complex". Body bind curse might be an easier spell though.
    – voldemort
    Oct 20, 2014 at 3:38
  • Also of note is that the Patronus seems to take energy or causes physical exhaustion: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/8528/21267
    – Möoz
    Oct 20, 2014 at 4:37
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    It's worth noting that the potion is implied to make you relive the worst moment of your life. Undergoing such a traumatic experience is probably the WORST thing that could happen before you cast a spell requiring happy thoughts. Oct 21, 2014 at 2:06
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    @TenthJustice - THAT should be its own answer! Oct 21, 2014 at 11:28
  • @TenthJustice: I agree with your answer- and that seems very reasonable to me. Are there any interviews or other "canon" sources that mention it too?
    – voldemort
    Oct 21, 2014 at 15:30

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