Watching this, Dumbledore says something like:

"... but you must wait until Voldemort is at his most Vulnerable.."

Dumbledore asks that Snape reveals Harry Potter where Snape's true allegiance lies, and also that Harry must die in order to kill Voldemort.

I think this is a reference to Voldemort's horcruxes - when they are destroyed. As far as I can remember, Dumbledore never told Snape about the horcruxes . Even so, I think they had a quarrel about Dumbledore not sharing all the details with Snape.

So, how did Snape figure out when Voldemort was at his most vulnerable?

  • 18
    Snape was in the process of dying. It could be he just thought "well, it's now or never."
    – TZHX
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:53
  • If Dumbledore never told Snape about them....I wonder why? That knowledge may have come in handy. Jun 3, 2015 at 19:00
  • 2
    @Paul probably for fear of Voldemort discovering Dumbledore knew about them. Dumbledore seems to like Telling people the absolute minimum amount of information they need for the task he sets them. Which, of course, has its pros and cons.
    – TZHX
    Jun 4, 2015 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


While you are right in saying Dumbledore never told Snape about the Horcruxes, he did tell him when Voldemort would be at his most vulnerable:

"[...]There will come a time—after my death—do not argue, do not interrupt! There will come a time when Lord Voldemort will seem to fear for the life of his snake.”

“For Nagini?” Snape looked astonished.

“Precisely. If there comes a time when Lord Voldemort stops sending that snake forth to do his bidding, but keeps it safe beside him under magical protection, then, I think, it will be safe to tell Harry.”

- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ch. 33: The Prince's Tale


He didn't really, as that moment didn't arrive during Snape's lifetime. Snape had just been attacked by Nagini on Voldemort's orders and was moments away from dying when he gave Harry the memories. He did so because there wasn't going to be another opportunity.

While Snape was told the Voldemort would start being more protective of Nagini at some point, Voldemort never actually did; Nagini died while being set upon Neville to make an example of him. Even discounting the protections Harry's sacrifice gave Neville or the Sorting Hat's ability to summon Gryffindor's Sword, making a display of your literal lifeline around several armed opposing combatants is highly risky behaviour.

  • 2
    Voldemort was being protective of Nagini right from the time he found out that Harry knew about the Horcruxes. The protection around Nagini was lifted once Harry [supposedly] died in the forest; only then Neville was able to kill it. In addition, he was celebrating the death of the only person who could kill him.
    – Shreedhar
    Feb 13, 2020 at 16:17
  • @Shreedhar That line of thinking only really works when you put far too much weight on the prophecy and believe it to be capable of overriding how any of this works (which perhaps Voldemort had done). The prophecy had no magical power of it's own and never meant that if Harry died, Voldemort was unassailable. Even with Harry's (supposed) death, Voldemort's position had been greatly and irreversibly weakened; 6 of his horcruxes were destroyed, and he was facing a large number of enemy combatants. Perhaps this can be explained by wizards canonically sucking at logic.
    – 520
    Feb 13, 2020 at 16:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.