ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

We all know that J.K. Rowling is very deliberate in her words. Whether they're the ingredients in a potion or the Latin roots of a spell, nothing written in Harry Potter was done without careful consideration.

Redditor fuckityfuckfuckf_ck (whom I commend on their profane choice of username, ha ha) noticed something pretty interesting and subtle while re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and built a pretty interesting theory off of it.

In the chapter 33 of Deathly Hallows, "The Prince's Tale," Harry is watching a conversation between Professor Snape and Dumbledore through Dumbledore's Pensieve. Fans of the series know that this was an integral plot point in which Dumbledore reveals the truth about Harry's nature and that, since he inadvertently became one of the Horcruxes, he must die for Lord Voldemort to be destroyed.

In case you've forgotten, this clip from the movie sums up the conversation pretty well:

The theory posits Dumbledore had to keep his eyes closed when telling Snape this because he was afraid Snape would be able to use Legilimency to see whether or not this was all Dumbledore knew.

Dumbledore couldn't risk Snape's skills at Occlumency getting in the way of his plan. Harry feeling that he would have to die and voluntarily sacrificing himself was necessary to destroy Voldemort, and if Snape knew the truth ultimately Harry would, too. Since eye contact is important for Legilimency to work, Dumbledore purposefully kept them closed to keep the truth about Harry's fate from him.

Fuckityfuckfuckf_ck's (hilarious to me that I keep including this profane username) points really speak for themselves:

- Dumbledore may have been especially vulnerable to slipping up his Occlumency while emotions were running so high. Snape might have also made a more powerful attempt to penetrate Dumbledore's mind in trying to understand his horrifying plan. Dumbledore was also pretty weak at this point from the curse.
- Notice the timing of when he opens and closes his eyes—it is when he is describing the mechanics behind why Harry must die. He will likely be thinking of how Harry has a chance of survival, and while this detail is on the forefront of his mind, Snape would have a good chance of seeing it
- In the scene just before, Dumbledore emphasizes to Snape that he's not putting all of his knowledge eggs into one basket—if Voldemort ended up finding out why it was so essential that he kill Harry, he would have found a way around the blood tie
- It was also crucial to Harry's success that he believed he was making the ultimate sacrifice. If he'd somehow found out that there was a good chance he could survive (as he would have ended up seeing through Snape's memory), the magic wouldn't have worked

As fuckityfuckfuckf_ck noticed, J.K. Rowling wrote specifically wrote when Dumbledore closed his eyes, that he kept them closed, and when he finally opened them after telling Snape, Harry would have to die (without unveiling that he would likely survive, of course)

"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."
"Tell him what?"
Dumbledore took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
"Tell him that on the night Lord Voldemort tried to kill him, when Lily cast her own life between them as a shield, the Killing Curse rebounded upon Lord Voldemort, and a fragment of Voldemort's soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself onto the only living soul left in that collapsing building. Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort's mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die."
Harry seemed to be watching the two men from one end of a long tunnel, they were so far away from him, their voices echoing strangely in his ears.
"So the boy...the boy must die?" asked Snape quite calmly.
"And Voldemort himself must do it Severus. That is essential."
Another long silence. Then Snape said, "I thought...all these years...that we were protecting him for her. For Lily."
"We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try is strength," said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. "Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, as parasitic growth: Sometimes I have thought he suspects it himself. If I know him, he will have arranged matters so that when he does set out to meet his death, it will truly mean the end of Voldemort."
Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified.

Initially this might seem like this fan theorist is reading too far into the text, but considering Rowling's penchant for including small, yet significant details into her work, and the way in which Dumbledore's eyes were written so deliberately, it seems pretty plausible to me.

The saddest part of this all is that it just reminds me that Snape died thinking that Harry would have to as well. Not only did he die without having been able to save Lily, the love of his life, but he was also unable to save her son. Pretty heartbreaking.

Huge thanks to (here we go, one last time) fuckityfuckfuckf_ck for putting this whole theory together which proves, once again, that J.K. Rowling is one hell of an author.

Of course, without J.K. Rowling confirming it herself it's impossible to know whether or not this was intentional, but it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility in the slightest. What do you guys think?

(Source: Reddit)


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