“Snape wants the stone for Voldemort . . . and Voldemort’s waiting in the forest . . . and all this time we thought Snape just wanted to get rich . . .”
“So all I’ve got to wait for now is Snape to steal the Stone,” Harry went on feverishly, “then Voldemort will be able to come and finish me off.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote in “Sudden Sinister Snape” about Harry’s suspicions passing themselves off as facts. Well, Harry kicks his Snapespicions into high gear after meeting Voldemort in the Forest.
The bits of conversation recounted above occur just after Harry gets back to Gryffindor Tower. Harry, of course, is wrong about everything – wrong about Snape wanting to get rich, wrong about Snape wanting the Stone for Voldemort, wrong about Snape wanting to steal the Stone. But at least Harry’s wrongness gets him into action, and that action will ultimately prevent the right suspect from stealing the Stone.
Harry’s Snapespicions are pretty much how we close “The Forbidden Forest” chapter – except for one seemingly small detail. Harry’s Invisibility Cloak is mysteriously returned to him, along with the note: “Just in case.”
Oddly, JKR does not indicate that the note is written in the same thin hand as the note that originally came with the Cloak. But since the text uses the same script font for the note, we should infer that it does. And this means that Dumbledore has given Harry the Cloak for the second time.
Remember the significance of Dumbledore returning the Cloak to its rightful owner? Now, raise that significance to the next power of 10 and you can catch the significance of Dumbledore’s returning it once again. This is a man who, at this point in the tale, truly has given up his Quest of uniting the Hallows.
Now, back to those Snapespicions. As I mentioned above, they actually kick into high gear after the encounter in the Forest – carrying all the way through the chapter preceding the big reveal. From just one Snapespicious comment here to another Snapespicious comment there, the penultimate chapter (“Through the Trapdoor”) is full of them:
“Harry, relax. Hermione’s right, the Stone’s safe as long as Dumbledore’s around. Anyway, we’ve never had any proof Snape found out how to get past Fluffy. He nearly had his leg ripped off once, he’s not going to try it again in a hurry.”
“We’ve got to go to Dumbledore,” said Harry. “Hagrid told that stranger how to get past Fluffy, and it was either Snape or Voldemort under that cloak – it must’ve been easy once he’d got Hagrid drunk.”
“Professor, I think – I know – that Sn – that someone’s going to try and steal the Stone. I’ve got to talk to Professor Dumbledore.”
“It’s tonight,” said Harry, once he was sure Professor McGonnagall was out of earshot. “Snape’s going through the trapdoor tonight. He’s found out everything he needs, and now he’s got Dumbledore out of the way. He sent that note. I bet the Ministry of Magic will get a real shock when Dumbledore shows up.”
“I’m going out of here tonight and I’m going to try and get to the Stone first.”
“You’re mad!” said Ron.
“You can’t!” said Hermione. “After what McGonnagall and Snape have said? You’ll be expelled!”
“SO WHAT?” Harry shouted. “Don’t you understand? If Snape gets hold of the Stone, Voldemort’s coming back!”
A few seconds later, they were there, outside the third-floor corridor – and the door was already ajar.
“Well, there you are,” Harry said quietly, “Snape’s already got past Fluffy.”
“That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me – that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!”
“But – ”
“Do you want to stop Snape or not?”
“Ron – ”
“Look, if you don’t hurry up, he’ll already have the Stone!”
There was no alternative.
“… go straight to the owlery and send Hedwig to Dumbledore, we need him. I might be able to hold Snape off for awhile, but I’m no match for him, really.”
Well, with that last bit, at least, Harry speaks the truth. He is definitely no match for Snape!
But snark aside, there really are bits of truth mixed in with all this fantasy about the Potions Master. Someone did find out how to get past Fluffy. Someone is going to try to steal the Stone that night. Someone did attempt to get Dumbledore out of the way by sending a note purporting to be from the Ministry of Magic. Harry is right about the essentials of what he and the Trio are up against. He’s just wrong regarding his suspect.
In other words, his suspicions are right. It’s just his Snapespicions that are all wrong.
Okay, comments are open! Have at it!