A Collection of Snape-Theories
This was my submission some time ago for the Phoenix Files Analysis 8 at the site Darkmark.com. It wasn't accepted, so I've touched it up a bit and turned it into a column. ^_^
What was it that Dumbledore wanted Snape to do?
Most people have been saying that he's gone back to Voldemort to try and feign loyalty. I think that's the LEAST likely thing he did that night. For one, Voldemort knows Snape isn't loyal to him anymore. Voldemort may not be the brightest light on the earth (he's failed to kill Harry four times. Bad luck or not, that's a pretty lousy losing streak, especially since his target is a little kid) but he's not stupid enough to think that Snape will ever be loyal to him again. Snape switched sides when Voldemort was at his peak of power, knowing the consequences. He's not likely to go running back. As for some people saying the Voldemort doesn't know of Snape's treachery, he most certainly does. When Dumbledore said at Karkaroff's trial that Snape had been their spy, there were no less than 2-300 hundred witches and wizards present. Dumbledore would not have said that in front of so many people if it either wasn't already public knowledge, or if he had intended for Snape to go back to Voldemort should the need arise. There's also the thing with Quirrel. Snape tried to prevent Quirrel from getting the Philosopher's Stone and he protected Harry not just at the Quidditch games, but all throughout the year. Harry noticed at one point that Snape seemed to be following him all the time. Thus there were probably many more instances when Snape prevented Quildemort (hehe) from getting at Harry, either through direct interference or just by his presence. As for the possibility of Snape not knowing the Quirrel was working for Voldemort, he definitely knew, hence him telling Quirrel to decide where his loyalties lay. Plus, if he had merely thought that Quirrel was only after the stone, he wouldn't have been watching out for Harry. Finally, the last clincher against that theory, is the fact that Voldemort was in correspondence with Crouch Jr. all throughout Harry's fourth year. Crouch was posing as a close friend of Dumbledore's, who would not have had any problems with talking to 'Moody' about the old trials, etc... if only to get 'Moody' to trust Snape. Who knows what sort of information Voldemort got from Crouch during that year? Basically, I don't think Snape went back to his Lord-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Plus, at the end of GOF, Harry was speculating that Snape may have gone back to Voldie. When has ANYTHING the trio has thought was going on turned out to be true?
What I think he DID do, is one of the following. First off, whatever Snape went off to do had already been discussed with Dumbledore, hence the "you know what I must ask you to do" and it obviously had to be done that evening/night. I think it's likely that Snape used Polyjuice to impersonate Crouch Jr. He may have planned that with Dumbledore while Harry was asleep and before Crouch got his soul consumed by the Dementor. As for getting Polyjuice potion, he may have either had some in his private stores or simply used Crouch's supply. By going to Voldemort as Crouch, who V-boy thinks is loyal, Snape could have gained a lot of information for their side concerning Voldemort's next move.The risk being that Voldemort may see through his acting, since Snape's knowledge of Crouch's personality and habits is limited, or that Voldemort may already know that Crouch was given the Kiss through Fudge and the Ministry. Another possibility is that Snape went off to contact other spies of Dumbledore's to get them to become active once more. Snape wasn't Dumbledore's only spy, as so many seem to think. Fudge mentioned in POA that Dumbly-dorr had a "number of useful spies." So that one's a possibility. Another is that Dumbledore may have sent Snape to retrieve something vital to that castle's defenses or an item of the like. Perhaps something that Dumbledore knew Voldemort would be after as soon as he could. I can't think of much else that he may have gone off to do, since we're given no clues about what it might be at the end of GOF. It may have had something to do with the Dementors and Crouch's soul, or with Vampires and other dark creatures. I have no idea.
Are we sure that we can trust him on whatever he's doing?
Yep yep yep! I think it's been firmly established in the books that Snape, deserving of a swift kick in the rear though he may be, is trustworthy. The intrepid trio has questioned whose side he's on so many times that it would be repetitive for that to continue. Every time they've suspected him working for Voldie, it's been shown that not only is he not working working for Voldie, but he's doing/done something strongly against Voldie. In PS they thought he was stealing the stone for Voldie, but it turned out he was protecting it. In GOF they thought he might be working for Voldie, but it turned out he had been their spy against Voldie years ago. I think the real question now is WHY Dumbledore trusts him and not whether he is worthy of that trust. Dumbledore said that it was a matter "between Professor Snape and myself," so I'm guessing it has to do with something Snape did for Dumbledore. We'll just have to wait and see.
Do we know for sure if he's really going to stay on our side?
I think we can. As aforementioned, he switched sides when Voldemort was at his peak in power, so it's obvious he's not another Peter Pettigrew. He's not going to be intimidated into rejoining the fold. As for his choosing to return, that's even more unlikely. He has no reason to. If he wanted revenge on someone, he'd get it himself. If he wanted power, he wouldn't have become a Potions Professor. If he suddenly went completely and utterly evil he still wouldn't go back since he knows Voldemort is planning to serve his head on a silver platter to Nagini. He'd see any offerings to rejoin the fold for what they are. He knows Voldemort is not fond of him and is not likely to have a sudden change of heart.
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