7 Surprising Reasons Why Snape Killed Dumbledore (2023) (2023)

Dumbledore’s death may have been one of the most shocking moments in the Harry Potter series.

Especially since it was at the hands of professor Snape.

Just when we thought we could trust him…

He kills the headmaster.

But Snape actually had his reasons to do this.

Read on to learn:

  • 7 surprising reasons why Snape killed Dumbledore.
  • Why Snape not killing Dumbledore would make things worse.
  • How he saved Draco Malfoy’s life by killing the old headmaster.
  • And more…

Table of contents

  • Why did Snape kill Dumbledore? 7 surprising reasons
    • #1: Dumbledore asked him to
    • #2: It would save Dumbledore from an even worse fate
    • #3: He would gain Voldemort’s trust
    • #4: Dumbledore wanted to save Draco
    • #5: Snape made an unbreakable vow
    • #6: The old headmaster was already dying
    • #7: The Elder Wand would end up with Snape
  • Did Snape betray Dumbledore?
  • What if Snape didn’t kill Dumbledore?
    • Draco and Snape both fail to kill Dumbledore
    • Draco is the one to kill Dumbledore

Why did Snape kill Dumbledore? 7 surprising reasons

#1: Dumbledore asked him to

Dumbledore’s death may come as a surprise. Or maybe even as a betrayal.

But that’s not the truth.

See, Dumbledore has crafted an elaborate plan to defeat Voldemort.

And part of that plan was sacrificing his own life.

We see all of this when Harry looks into Snape’s memories.

He did so by taking one of his tears and pouring that into the Pensieve.

This was a magical item that allowed you to store and review memories.

By looking into Snape’s memories, he saw that Dumbledore actually asked this of him.

Of course, the Potions Master was not a fan of this plan.

And when we first see the murder play out, it comes as a shock.

So it’s a great plot twist to reveal that it was actually Dumbledore’s plan all along.

#2: It would save Dumbledore from an even worse fate

When Dumbledore was facing Snape and the other Deatheaters, one thing was sure:

He would die.

The only thing that was in his control was how it would happen.

Before Snape shoots the Killing Curse at him, he says: “Severus, please“.

At first glance, it may look like Dumbledore is begging for his life.

Asking the Potions Master not to kill him.

But in reality, he begs Snape to go through with the plan.

See, it wasn’t easy for him to kill Dumbledore.

But they both knew that he would have a worse fate if he didn’t.

See, the Dark Lord was one of the most powerful wizards in the world.

There really was only one other person that matched him in power.

And that was Dumbledore.

In fact, there’s a chapter in the 5th book called “The only one he ever feared“.

(Video) Why Dumbledore Pleaded with Snape Before Death - Harry Potter Explained

During that chapter, Dumbledore and Voldemort duel.

So when he finally prevailed over him, the Dark Lord would make a spectacle of his death.

No doubt that several of the Deatheaters would join in.

By asking Snape to please kill him, he took the easy way out.

There would be no torture. No humiliation.

Just a quick and painless death.

And Snape knew that. So to help Dumbledore, he had to kill him.

You can watch the scene play out here:

#3: He would gain Voldemort’s trust

Snape has played the perfect double agent for the longest time.

While he used to be a Deatheater, he came to the good side.

He did so when he learned that Voldemort wanted to kill the Potters.

See, Snape loved Lily Potter. And when he learned she would die, he begged Dumbledore to help them.

In return, he would spy on the Dark Lord.

Voldemort killed James Potter with ease. But Lily did not want to let her son go.

She sacrificed herself, which led to Harry Potter being protected.

So when Voldemort shot the Killing Curse at the poor child, it rebounded.

With the Dark Lord defeated, Snape worked at Hogwarts without worry.

Of course, when Voldemort returned, he did not forget this.

Ultimately, Snape told the Dark Lord that he now had many years of information for him.

Which was enough to spare his life. But Voldemort was never fully convinced.

While he knew Snape helped him, he never knew if he could fully trust him.

And Dumbledore knew this as well.

To help this, he knew that Snape needed to kill him.

It would cement Voldemort’s trust in the Potions Master if he did.

And that meant he could keep playing the perfect double agent. Only this time, without Voldemort doubting him.

#4: Dumbledore wanted to save Draco

7 Surprising Reasons Why Snape Killed Dumbledore (2023) (1)

This really proves that Dumbledore is a very good person.

See, Draco Malfoy has always behaved like a spoiled, racist brat.

There really aren’t many redeeming scenes for him.

Yet still, Dumbledore wanted to save him.

He knew that Voldemort had tasked Draco with killing him.

The Dark Lord did so to judge the young boy’s loyalty.

(Video) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (4/5) Movie CLIP - Dumbledore's Death (2009) HD

But Dumbledore wanted to save him if he could.

He was convinced that Draco could not do it when it came to it.

So he asked Snape to be the one to kill him.

Now, this protects Draco in 2 ways.

First, it would keep him pure and innocent.

Killing is often said to taint the soul. So if Draco did go through with it, he would be marked for life.

By having Snape kill him, he saved Draco from that fate.

This study backs that up. It shows us how good people can do bad things.

And secondly, it would prevent the blond brat from becoming the owner of the Elder Wand.

Being the owner of this powerful artifact would paint a huge target on his back.

We all know what happened to Snape, after all.

Voldemort killed him without a second thought.

Now, in the end, Draco did become the rightful owner of the wand.

But no one was aware of that.

Everyone knew that Snape killed Dumbledore. So he should be the rightful owner.

And it now was the Potions Master with a target on his back.

This once again saved Draco’s life.

#5: Snape made an unbreakable vow

It was Lord Voldemort that tasked Draco to kill Dumbledore.

However, Draco wasn’t that evil. And there was a good chance that he was not up for the task.

Fearing the worst, Draco’s mom Narcissa asked Snape for a favor.

If her son failed to kill Dumbledore, she wanted the Potions Master to step in.

Narcissa wanted this because she feared Voldemort’s anger if Draco failed.

And to solidify her wish, she asks Snape to take the Unbreakable Vow.

As the name suggests, this is an agreement that you cannot break.

If you do, you’ll die.

So when Snape took the Unbreakable Vow, he really had no choice anymore.

Either Draco killed Dumbledore. Or he would have to do it.

If both failed, Snape himself would die for not upholding the vow.

#6: The old headmaster was already dying

Something that went relatively unnoticed was the fact that Dumbledore was already dying.

See, Dumbledore put on a ring.

But what’s so significant about that?

Well, it was a Horcrux ring. Which would curse the wearer.

(Video) Why Dumbledore Said 'After All This Time?' to Snape - Harry Potter Explained

And while Dumbledore was a powerful wizard, this was not something he could fight.

With Snape’s help, he managed to treat the curse for a little more than a year.

But the effects of the Potions Masters’ efforts started to decline. .

The curse became too strong.

And it would kill Dumbledore.

However, it would do so slowly.

The curse functioned similarly to poison.

Dumbledore would slowly wither away. Dying a painful death.

So once again, Snape killing the old headmaster was an act of kindness.

And this study backs that up. It shows us that death sometimes is a kindness. Especially when someone is suffering a lot.

This also made it easier for Snape to go through with the plan. He was helping Dumbledore in a sense.

#7: The Elder Wand would end up with Snape

The story of the Elder Wand is a long and complicated one.

It’s said to be created by death itself.

And it’s the most powerful wand in existence.

Ever since 1945, Dumbledore has been the owner of the Elder Wand.

And you can only capture it if you disarm the original owner.

Now, disarming can be done in many ways:

You can use the Disarming Charm, simply grab it out of someone’s hand, or kill the person.

By having Snape kill Dumbledore, the Potions Master would be the new owner of the Elder Wand.

And that was important.

As it meant that the headmaster left this important item with someone he trusted.

In turn, Snape’s job was to give Harry the Elder Wand when the time was right.

Dumbledore’s plan took a slightly different direction, though.

Draco disarmed the headmaster before Snape could kill him. And that made the young Slytherin student the rightful owner.

However, Harry later disarmed Draco in the story.

So it all worked out in the end.

And the last time we see the Elder Wand, we see Harry breaking it.

Did Snape betray Dumbledore?

Snape did not betray Dumbledore.

In fact, he did the exact opposite.

He proved his loyalty one last time by obeying the old headmaster’s wishes.

Throughout the entire story, we come to dislike the Potions Master.

He’s often painted as a bad person. And an untrustworthy one.

(Video) Why Dumbledore Is ALIVE and How Snape FAKED His Death - Harry Potter Theory

Just look at the way he treats Harry. Or basically, any student that isn’t in Slytherin.

But actually, he was a key component in taking out Voldemort.

He played a fantastic double agent. Both sides trusted him as one of theirs.

Dumbledore often confided in him. And he made Snape an essential part of the plan.

See, the old headmaster knew that he would die. The ring had cursed him, and there was no turning back.

So he trusted Snape to bring Harry up to speed. But only when the time was right.

He would be the one that needed to hand Harry the Elder Wand. And most importantly, Snape would be the one to tell Harry that he was a Horcrux.

But first, he would have to be the one to kill Dumbledore.

And while he did the headmaster’s bidding, he took no pleasure in killing him.

In the books, he’s even portrayed as being incredibly angry after doing so.

All in all, Snape is perhaps the most loyal person in the entire series.

He never betrayed Dumbledore, even when he was asked to do something horrible.

What if Snape didn’t kill Dumbledore?

If Snape didn’t kill Dumbledore, a few storylines could play out.

And although there are several ways the story can go, most actually end in a similar outcome.

Draco and Snape both fail to kill Dumbledore

7 Surprising Reasons Why Snape Killed Dumbledore (2023) (2)

For this, we’ll assume both Draco and Snape did not kill the headmaster.

Instead, it was one of the other Deatheaters present.

In this case, Snape would also die.

Remember, he took an Unbreakable Vow. So if he did not keep up his end of the agreement, he would die.

Also, the Deatheater that did the killing would also die soon.

We all know how Snape met his end.

Voldemort thought him to be the owner of the Elder Wand, which was enough reason to kill him.

So it can be assumed that the Deatheater that killed Dumbledore would meet the same fate.

Draco would still be the one to disarm the headmaster. So Voldemort would still not be the rightful owner of the Elder Wand either.

Read also: Why did Voldemort kill Snape?

Draco is the one to kill Dumbledore

This is the ideal scenario for Snape.

If Draco kills the headmaster, the Potions Master holds up his end of the Unbreakable Vow.

This meant he would not die.

But he also wouldn’t die in the future.

If Draco killed Dumbledore, he would now be Voldemort’s target.

The only reason the Dark Lord killed Snape is because he thought him to be the owner of the Elder Wand.

But this time, it would be Draco that has Snape’s fate.

The only main difference is that the Dark Lord would most likely be the new wielder of the wand.

(Video) Snape kills Dumbledore - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Draco killed or disarmed the headmaster. And Voldemort then killed the boy. So he would now be the rightful owner of the wand.

Related posts:

  1. 5 Surprising Reasons Why Harry Potter Broke The Elder Wand
  2. 1: Why Voldemort Killed Snape (Instead Of Disarming Him)
  3. How Did Harry Potter Come Back To Life? (The Odd Truth!)
  4. The Real Reason Why Dumbledore Had To Die (Shocking)


What was the purpose of Snape killing Dumbledore? ›

He expected that the Elder Wand's power would die with him; Snape would win its allegiance by killing Dumbledore, and then the wand would rest in Dumbledore's tomb. When Snape passed, undefeated, the power of the wand would end.

Why Snape's Avada Kedavra was blue when he killed Dumbledore? ›

As for everyone's favourite child-bullying adult, Snape's Killing Curse was 'blue' due to the cyanish background of the film scene. It was actually green, but the camera and effects made a bluish overlay which overlapped the green spell.

Does Harry know Snape killed Dumbledore? ›

Harry tells Hagrid that Snape killed Dumbledore.

Was Snape's death necessary? ›

He died in an attempt to expiate his own guilt. He could have broken cover at any time to save himself, but he chose not to tell Voldemort that the latter was making a fatal error in targeting Harry. Snape's silence ensured Harry's victory.”

Why did Dumbledore allow Snape to be so mean? ›

Here's the thing: Dumbledore knew that Snape was mean to the students, but the headmaster still allowed it. It's likely that he did this because he believed that his students needed life lessons, including how to deal with mean teachers.

What did Snape tell Harry when he died? ›

In his dying moments, he told Harry to take his memories and look at him one last time. Voldemort's voice then sounded through the corridors, challenging Harry to meet him in the Forbidden Forest in an hour.

What did Dumbledore give Hermione when he died? ›

The Tales of Beedle the Bard first appeared as a fictional book in J. K. Rowling's 2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series. The book is bequeathed to Hermione Granger by Albus Dumbledore, former headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Why was Voldemort angry when Bellatrix dies? ›

His reaction to Bella's death was akin to his reaction at the loss of the Cup, which was when he realised that his own immortality was jeopardised amidst war and his own death could have been near.

Did Harry ever forgive Snape? ›

He's surrounded by mystery over whether he's on the side of the Order of the Phoenix or Lord Voldemort. JK Rowling tweeted: Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude.

Why did Snape hate Harry? ›

A Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Snape is hostile to Harry due to his resemblance to his father James Potter. According to the series, James bullied Snape during their time together at Hogwarts. As the series progresses, Snape's character becomes more layered and enigmatic.

What does Snape tell Harry before he died? ›

In the [Deathly Hallows] book, Snape's dying words to Harry were "Look at me". Right then we did not realize the significance of his words but in the very next chapter when Harry goes through Snape's memories in the Pensieve, he comes to know how much Snape loved Lily.

Who killed Fred Weasley? ›

In 1998, Fred participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, defending the castle's passageways with his twin. While fighting alongside his brother, Percy, he was killed in an explosion possibly caused by Death Eater Augustus Rookwood.

Did McGonagall not know Snape killed Dumbledore? ›

Professor McGonagall did not know. It took her by surprise just as it took Harry by surprise. Dumbledore played his cards very close to his chest and was a true believer in the tactic that “if you want to keep a secret: tell no one!”

What is Snape's big secret? ›

Warner Bros. Severus Snape is one of the most divisive characters in the entire "Harry Potter" series. He was a double agent, so many character details were kept a secret. His mother was a witch and his father was a Muggle, leading to the moniker "The Half-Blood Prince."

Why didn't Harry use Avada Kedavra? ›

Why did Harry not use Avada Kedavra on Voldemort? Using Avada Kedavra while the Elder Wand was resisting Voldemort was already a risky business, but using it against the true owner would be suicide (as Voldemort would find out when he used the Elder Wand against its true owner: Harry).

Who was Snape's first choice? ›

Originally, British actor Tim Roth was in talks to play the character. Roth is now recognizable for playing Emil Blonsky or "Abomination" in The Incredible Hulk and later in the MCU as well. But, before that, he was the studio's first choice for Snape and was on board for it.

Why did Snape bully Neville? ›

The living embodiment of his guilt. He manifested all his anger and hatred for himself onto that poor little boy. It was more likely a subconscious thing. The sight of Neville triggered the guilt and he couldn't stand it.”

Why did Snape cast his Patronus when talking to Dumbledore? ›

Severus Snape's Patronus was also a doe, which symbolized his love for Lily. Snape uses his doe Patronus to show Dumbledore that he never fell out of love with Lily, his childhood best friend. Warner Bros.

Why did Harry's scar hurt when Snape looked at him? ›

That's because in Diagon Alley he saw Quirrell's face and not the back of his head where Voldemort's face was joined. Whereas when he saw him along with Snape, Quirrell's back was in front of Harry, so technically his scar was in direct view of Voldemort which caused pain.

What is Snape's most famous line? ›

From the moment he first burst into the potions classroom and said “there will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations” Snape was cemented as an iconic character. These are the most famous and iconic lines by Snape, that people love to re-use in memes or just among friends.

What are the first words Snape says to Harry? ›

The first thing Snape asks Harry is "Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" According to Victorian Flower Language, asphodel is a type of lily meaning 'My regrets follow you to the grave' and wormwood means 'absence' and also typically symbolised bitter sorrow.

What is the saddest Harry Potter death? ›

The 10 Most Tragic Deaths In Harry Potter, Ranked Least to Most Traumatizing
  • 8 Remus Lupin & Nymphadora Tonks.
  • 7 Hedwig.
  • 6 Cedric Diggory.
  • 5 Severus Snape.
  • 4 Fred Weasley.
  • 3 Sirius Black.
  • 2 Albus Dumbledore.
  • 1 Dobby.
Feb 11, 2023

What does Ron get when Dumbledore dies? ›

Albus Dumbledore left Ron the Deluminator in his will, but besides it being useful for taking the light from a place, it was unclear exactly why he had bequeathed it to Ron…

What is Hermione secret in the Prisoner of Azkaban? ›

Towards the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione revealed to Harry just how she managed to go to three classes at once. Yes, Ron, Hermione was that good; so good that Professor McGonagall had persuaded the Ministry of Magic to give her a Time-Turner.

Where does Sirius go when he dies? ›

Upon the dais is a stone archway, covered with a tattered black veil. Sirius is hit by Bellatrix's curse, and his stunned body arcs into the air and floats through the archway, disappearing behind the veil.

Who was Voldemort's most loyal follower? ›

Bellatrix Lestrange (née Black) is the first female Death Eater introduced in the books. Aunt of Draco Malfoy and Nymphadora Tonks. She was introduced in Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix. She is the most faithful member of Voldemort's inner circle.

Why did Voldemort crumble when Harry touched him? ›

Voldemort can not comprehend love, and so it destroys him to touch Harry because Lily's love for her son runs through Harry's veins and body. ems Harry burnt Quirrell's face when he touched it.

Did Harry cry when Snape died? ›

Harry was later seen dropping Snape's tears into the Pensieve. Snape told him to. It was necessary for Harry to take his tears so that he would know what he needed to do to defeat voldemort. Especially since the only other person that could tell him was Dumbledore and he was dead.

Why did Harry name his son after Snape? ›

Harry Potter named his son after the character Professor Severus Snape in tribute to him dying for “for Harry out of love for Lily [Potter],”JK Rowling revealed on Friday.

Why do they call Harry a half blood? ›

Print. Harry James Potter holds half-blood status in Rowling's imagined wizarding world because his mother is Muggle-born and his father is pure-blood. There are three main blood statuses; pure-blood, half-blood, and Muggle-born, which are all methods of determining a witch or wizard's magical lineage.

Why did Snape sacrifice himself? ›

Snape's secrecy is revealed to have been a mask and he has sacrificed being well-liked to be able to save Harry, all because of his love for Harry's dead mother: the only friend Snape ever had.

Why did Voldemort respect Snape? ›

Voldemort trusts Snape because he's good at his job as a double spy and as an Occlumens. Voldemort is so conceited that he probably just doesn't expect Snape could be a better Occlumens than he is a Legilimens.

Why does Snape like Malfoy? ›

In short, Snape favors Draco because Lucius was his old friend and Snape has a rather difficult time separating children from their parents.

Why did Draco's mom save Harry? ›

Narcissa Malfoy's Very Dangerous Lie

But she was also a mother, which meant she was willing to risk everything to make sure her son was safe. When Harry survived Voldemort's Killing Curse for the second time, Narcissa pretended he was dead so she could get to Draco.

Did Snape use his Patronus to help Harry? ›

Yet despite the danger of his mission, and despite being hated by most of the wizarding world, Snape held on to the one thing that kept him going: the safety of Lily's son. He even sent his Patronus to guide Harry Potter to the sword of Gryffindor (a known Horcrux-killer) in a nearby lake.

Who told Snape when Harry was moving? ›

Summary: Chapter One: The Dark Lord Ascending

Snape tells Voldemort that Harry Potter is to be moved from his place of safety on the next Saturday at nightfall.

Was Snape killing Dumbledore part of the plan? ›

Dumbledore's death was planned between them! (Snape was the intended master of the wand.) Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand's last true master! If all had gone as planned, the wand's power would have died with him, because it had never been won from him!

Why didnt Snape tell Harry why he killed Dumbledore? ›

First things first, Snape was still following the orders left by Dumbledore. Dumbledore had instructed him not to reveal anything to Harry until Voldemort was at his most vulnerable.

What did Snape do after killing Dumbledore? ›

Snape hesitated, then cast the Killing Curse, killing Dumbledore. After he killed Dumbledore, Snape ordered the Death Eaters out of the school and took Draco with him.

Why doesn't Snape tell Harry why he killed Dumbledore? ›

Harry was the last thing that reminded him of Lily. Im sure Snape wanted to find another way and thats why he didnt tell Harry, he probably thought he could save him. From Dumbledore: when Voldemort stops sending nagini on missions, and is very protective of her, that I think is when it will be safe to tell harry.

What was Dumbledore's real plan? ›

In his original plan, Dumbledore was expecting Snape—the last person in the world Harry would trust—to tell a Harry who thinks he's winning, isn't in a major battle, and is not inclined to present himself to Voldemort to be killed, to do just that.

Was Snape a traitor? ›

While most people in the universe thought he was a traitor who killed Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (spoiler alert) and betrayed the Order, we find out he was just acting on the orders of Dumbledore and that this was an elaborate plan.

Was Snape really on Dumbledore's side? ›

Was Snape actually on Dumbledore's side? Knowing that Snape has been on the Dumbledore's side for all seven of the Harry Potter books reveals him as an extremely brave man and a truly skilled spy. Snape has had to face and deceive the terrifying Lord Voldemort constantly.

Why did Voldemort regret killing Snape? ›

He regretted the (supposed) necessity of losing his (supposed) most valuable servant. He felt nothing for Snape as a person — the only person who mattered to him was himself. He felt no compassion or sadness for what Snape was feeling at the moment — that would be a form of love.

Did Snape go to Dumbledores funeral? ›

In the novels and per the plan, Dumbledore is killed by Snape during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. In the following days, a funeral is held for the Hogwarts headteacher down by the lake, attended by all students and teachers (excluding Snape).

Did Snape give his life for Harry? ›

The truth came out when Professor Quirrell admitted to Harry that he'd jinxed the broom and claimed he'd have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for those meddling counter-curses. In other words, Snape tried to save Harry's life, and the only thanks he got was being set on fire. Harsh.

Why didn t Snape want anyone to know? ›

He would always resent Harry for being James' son instead of his. Snape even said that he didn't want anyone to find out that he was protecting Lily's child, “especially Potter's son” (pg. 679 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) because of his hatred for James.

Why didnt Voldemort disarm Snape instead of killing him? ›

Voldemort executed Snape by snake bite instead of his favorite curse because he believed that Snape was the true owner of the Elder Wand, and thought that the wand might not work properly if used against its owner.

Why did Snape put the sword in the lake? ›

Snape placed the Sword in the lake then cast the Patronus to guide Harry to where the sword was. Harry said the doe patronus was familiar to him and that's why he followed it.


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