Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Why Snape is NOT Loyal to Voldemort
Reviewing Evidence from the First Book

For those of you that missed the introduction to this section, be sure to check it out below before reading this article. The general idea this week is to debunk the theory that Snape is a "loyal" death eater to Voldemort and that Snape was in the circle shown in Book Four. These posts are in response to the many comments I have received regarding my original article, "What is Snape Doing for the Order of the Phoenix". You should read that article before continuing.

In my article on Snape and his role for the Order, I said that Rowling has led us to believe that Snape is acting as a double or triple agent either for or against the Order. I believed, and I still believe, that Rowling has made Snape one of the most interesting engimas in the books because the evidence does not add up in the direction she would like us to think, nor in most directions that we can comprehend. Is it possible that Snape is directly spying on the Death Eaters for the Order? The evidence points otherwise, as I believe that Snape was the person Voldemort referred to as the one who has left forever and I do not believe that Voldemort would take such a promise of killing Snape lightly.

However, many people have asked me whether or not the evidence can be read in different ways. Maybe Snape was not the object of Voldemort's threat, but an agent that Voldemort believes to be working on his side. Let's go back to Book One and see why this theory is highly unlikely.

As we have all read, Snape protected Harry in Book One against Quirrell. It is not clear whether or not Snape knew that Voldemort was on Quirrell's head, only that Snape knew that Quirrell was after the stone. However, it is clear that Voldemort knew about Snape's actions in Book One. For whatever reason Snape had for his actions, it makes little sense if he is working for Voldemort to try and stop Voldemort from getting the very object that would again make this Dark Lord rise. There are only so many reasons that Snape would have taken such action and there are less responses that Voldemort would have to such treachery. Yes, I mean that it is definitely treachery as Voldemort has nothing to be served by losing his path to the Philosopher's Stone.

The expected interjection here is that Snape may not have known that Voldemort was on Quirrell's head and thought he was only acting against Quirrell. There are a number of replies to this statement, here are the top two:

First, the Dark Mark shown on Snape's arm in Book Four would probably have been a good indicator that Voldemort was near him whenever he was near Quirrell. It seems to be that this marker would be a guide to letting Snape know about Voldemort's whereabouts. Still, this is only speculation and hardly proof that Snape knew about Voldemort. It does, however, lead me to conclude that Snape suspected.

Why not tell the Headmaster then? There is evidence in the books that Dumbledore did know about Quirrell and Voldemort and was giving Harry a chance to face Voldemort on his own.

"Do you think he meant you to do it?" said Ron. "Sending you your father's cloak and everything?"
"Well," Hermione exploded, "if he did - I mean to say -that's terrible - you could have been killed."
"No, it isn't," said Harry thoughtfully. "He's a funny man, Dumbledore. I think he sort of wanted to give me the chance. I think he knows more or less everything that goes on here, you know. I reckon he had a pretty good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don't think it was an accident he let me find out how that Mirror worked. It's amost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could..."
Book One, 218-219, UK edition

Therefore, even if Snape's mark didn't give Voldemort away, Dumbledore still had a good idea and would probably have elicited some of the teachers' help, especially Snape, as Dumbledore has made it clear that he believes in Snape's loyalty. Isn't it interesting how much effort Snape put into trying to stop Quirrell, and how covertly it was handled. Amost as if Snape and Dumbledore had been watching the entire situation closely.

If this is the case, you might argue that it was then beneficial for Snape to help stop Quirrell and Snape would never be able to help Voldemort in order to keep his cover. However, where would Voldemort's priorities lie and how would he see such prudence? Which brings us to point number two.

Second, it does not truly matter whether or not Snape knew about Voldemort for it to be treachery in Voldemort's eyes. Remember the temperment of the Dark Lord. He is quick to anger and nearly, if not completely, vacant of mercy. He does not seem to me the type to say "You made a mistake, I forgive you" and rather the type to make an example out of anyone who stopped him from coming to power, for whatever reason. Yes, he does offer some consolation to his circle of death eaters for not coming to find him, but this is a far cry from actually trying to stop him from rising to power. Not to mention how forgiveness in the way he gave it to his circle was in a form of power over the death eaters. He appears merciful while treating them horribly.

In considering Snape in the first book, pay attention carefully to the words that Snape uses in Book One, especially when talking to Quirrell.
"Very well," Snape cut in. "We'll have another little chat when you've had time to think things over and decide where your loyalties lie."
Book One, 166, UK Edition

In some ways it sounds as if Snape is asking the reader where we think his own loyalties lie. At this point in the book we may be thinking that Snape is the bully forcing Quirrell to help him get to the stone, a fact Quirrell denies later when talking to Harry. If we believe Snape is waiting for Voldemort to return, or planning to return to Voldemort when he shows himself again, why would Snape ask this question to Quirrell. Does it have to do with loyalties to Dumbledore, or is Snape trying to hint at understanding exactly for whom Quirrell is working. If Voldemort trusts Snape, here they are in the Dark Forest having this conversation, why not reveal himself and enlist help? If he does not fully trust Snape, why let him back in the circle as a spy? To use him? Maybe, but would Snape fall for this with his calculating mind? Snape knows Voldemort well enough to know what would happen if he stopped him, for any reason, and then tried to come back into the circle. It would eventually mean death.

Maybe that is why Snape shivered at what he had to do? But then why believe that any information he recieved from Voldemort would be correct? There is some deep game theory happening in book one with Snape's actions, and I think his calculating mind can figure out what is going on enough to know how returning to Voldemort would be very dangerous. I will examine this more in the Book Four evidence post.

In conclusion, I claim that Book One leaves little room for Snape to not know about Quirrell and Voldemort's alliance. I also claim that Snape's actions in Book One make it nearly impossible for him to spy directly on Voldemort.