OK, I’ve read “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and enjoyed it
I have a theory about what will happen in Book 7. Potential spoilers
about Book 6 follow!.
I think it’s going to turn out that Severus Snape is still, despite
all appearances, working to destroy Lord Voldemort. And, moreover, I
think I know why. I’m expecting that revelation to be the emotional
climax of the last book.
Here is what I believe to be the central secret of Snape’s character.
It explains his general bitterness, his hostility to Harry, and his outright
hatred of Harry’s father. It also explains why Dumbledore, if he knew the
secret, trusted Snape absolutely but never explained why.
I believe that Snape was desperately, hopelessly in love with
Lilly Potter, and still worships her memory. That he hated
Harry’s father for winning her and wants to hate Harry for being
the image of his father. But he turned against Voldemort when
Voldemort killed Lilly. He snipes at Harry, but is unable to
muster the will to actually kill the boy in their last
confrontation, because when he looks at Harry’s face he sees
James’s face but Lilly’s eyes.
This would fit a continuing theme in the books, which is that
only love is powerful enough to stand against Voldemort’s will.
It sets up some dramatic final scene in which Harry and Severus,
in spite of their history, decide that they must trust each other
and act together — both in the memory of Lilly.
This culmination would also supply a motif that has been
conspicuous by its absence from the books. Amidst all of
Rowling’s exploration of morality, good, and evil, there has so
far been nothing of redemption. No instance of anyone having
walked down the path of evil and rejected it for the good.
“But…but…” I hear you say, “he killed Dumbledore!”. True
— and, I believe, a truly masterful piece of misdirection
on Rowling’s part. I think both Dumbledore and Snape knew that,
with four Death Eaters pounding up the stairs behind Snape and
Dumbledore so desperately weak, his chances of survival were nil.
So Dumbledore paralyzed Harry; and his one-word plea to Snape
was not to spare his life but to act so that his death would
maintain Snape’s cover and not be wasted.
I think the truly pivotal confrontation was the later one
between Harry and Snape on the front lawn. Killing Dumbledore
did not require Severus Snape to choose between light and darkness,
because it was done (in effect) on Dumbledore’s plea but could
always be spun as an act of loyalty to Voldemort.
But confronting Harry was different. Snape knew the prophecy that
only one of them could live; it was his report of that prophecy to
Voldemort that had moved the Dark Lord to kill Snape’s beloved
Lilly. Snape’s contempt for Harry’s attempts at throwing curses makes
clear that Snape could have killed Harry at that point. Instead, he
talks. Rehearses his reasons for hating Harry and Harry’s father,
looks into Harry’s eyes — and does not kill.
I think that is the moment at which Snape makes his redemptive
choice. It’s the exact dual of Voldemort’s attempt to kill Harry.
Lilly’s love saved Harry from Voldemort; Snape’s love for Lilly saves
Harry from Snape — and, ultimately, Snape from evil.
Further prediction: Draco Malfoy is Snape’s dual. In book six he
hesitates, never taking the step into irredeemable evil. In the
climactic confrontation of book 7 he will take that step. What will
propel him into evil is fear of weakness and the need to prove his
will is strong — strong enough to deny the bonds of love as we
saw him begin to do when he rejected Dumbledore’s offer. He will fall
as Snape rises.
Of course I could be wrong — but can anyone plausibly deny that
this is the kind of plotting Rowling likes to do?