Why didn't Dumbledore tell Harry that Snape was going to

kill him?

I do realise that this would be a very harsh thing to say to Harry, however, wouldn't it have made it easier for Harry in the end to know that Snape

was on his side?

Did he not tell Harry because Severus asked Dumbledore to not reveal the best of him? Did he not speak of it because he didn't want that information falling into the wrong hands? Other reasons?

  • 6
    I think J.K. Rowling describes Snape as incredibly flawed -- remember, this is the man who was willing to see Voldemort kill James AND Harry in order to save Lily. That is not something a "really good person" would even entertain. Snape, in my opinion (which is only my opinion) is not a likable, overly sympathetic, or particularly nice man, but he is a fabulous and complex character. He's an example of how a character doesn't have to be sweet and nice and likable to be well written and intriguing. But, yeah, Snape = Not so nice, really. :) Jan 25, 2015 at 19:48
  • @Slytherincess - fixed that up for you :) Jan 26, 2015 at 3:26

5 Answers 5


I think we can take a hint from something else Dumbledore wanted to keep hidden from Harry. From Deathly Hallows (emphasis added)

“Now, Severus, the sword! Do not forget that it must be taken under conditions of need and valor – and he must not know that you give it! If Voldemort should read Harry’s mind and see you acting for him" Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33, The Prince's Tale

Dumbledore had to keep certain things hidden from Harry just in case Voldemort read his mind. He did not want Harry knowing that Snape brought the sword of Gryffindor for that reason, it is very likely that he did not want Harry knowing that he planed to have Snape kill him for the very same reason.

  • If only Harry had learnt Occlumency as he was asked.
    – sudhanva
    Apr 6 at 6:09
  1. Because Dumbledore was a secrecy-addled old man with deep inability to trust anyone.

    "I knew my brother, Potter. He learned secrecy at our mother's knee. Secrets and lies, that's how we grew up, and Albus... he was a natural." (Aberforth Dumbledore, "Deathly Hallows", Chapter Twenty-Eight, The Missing Mirror)

  2. Because he knew Harry had a "Saving People Thing" and would be expected to NOT calmly accept that Dumbledore engineered his own death, but to charge in gunswands blazing to try and save him.

    "I am afraid I counted on Miss Granger to slow you up, Harry. I was afraid that your hot head might dominate your good heart" (Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35, King's Cross. This was in reference to the Hallows, but is applicable in general to Harry's character)

  3. Snarkiness of my point #1 aside, it's possible that Harry would have behaved differently towards Snape - and therefore, endangered Snape's double agent position. As it was, he publicly got into a duel with Snape, which definitely didn't hurt Snape's cover.

  • 1
    yep the "harry is kinda stupid" thing tops my list haha, he would have tried to stop snape over and over again like the hero he is.
    – Himarm
    Jan 26, 2015 at 14:11
  • 2
    I definitely have some issues with Harry's lack of self-control. Couldn't ever get past the feeling that Hermoine deserves the main character role, rather than just that of Harry's babysitter.
    – Misha R
    Jan 22, 2016 at 23:36
  • 1
    In hindsight, the fact that Harry had a direct connection to Voldemort and no known history of Occlumency probably played a part, as well.
    – user40790
    Apr 6, 2016 at 18:55

Because Voldemort can get inside of Harry's mind so if Harry knew about Snape then Voldemort could possibly find out and blow Snape's cover.

  • As it stands, this answer adds nothing new to mikeazo’s answer from a year ago. Do you have any additional information that would justify this being a separate answer? Apr 6, 2016 at 22:42

BS Answer:

So Voldemort doesn’t read his mind? That is quite weak because he told him about all the hocruxes. Which is a bigger risk, Voldemort could have read Harry’s mind when harry and Dumbledore went destroying them in book 6, at that point Voldemort could have just made more or hidden the rest better.

Real answer: Good plot twist.


The only answer I can imagine is, that the plan was too critical to risk its discovery. Information tends to leak out faster when its known by more people. The dark wizards were seeking that information ruthlessly and would not, in fact did not, hesitate to torture and kill to discover it.


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