… “You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could’ve called Fawkes to you.” That’s the very first thing Dumbledore thanks and praises Harry for. Not for rescuing Ginny, or saving the school from the basilisk, or for keeping Voldemort from coming back, but for loyalty.
Dumbledore judges the people he works with based first and foremost on how loyal they are to him. Not because he thinks he’s all that, but because, as I said, he views people as game pieces, and you can’t have your game pieces acting up, can you? He values his pieces. He wants to advance and protect them. But he doesn’t want them running off beyond his sphere of influence and doing their own thing. I think there’s something very ambiguous about Dumbledore’s habit of seeking out desperate, socially outcast people and doing them one or two huge favors that leave them bound to him for life. Remus, Hagrid and Snape all fit that pattern, and Trelawney and Firenze appear to join the ranks in OOP. It kind of makes me wonder what Dumbledore has done for Fletcher, Moody and Shacklebolt.
…The problem with Sirius is, he’s not loyal to Dumbledore at all; he’s loyal to Harry. From Dumbledore’s point of view, it’s as if he’s playing wizard chess, and one of the knights suddenly decides that he doesn’t care what happens to the king, he’s just going to take care of that little pawn on the left. So Dumbledore does the only thing he thinks he can do — he sticks his recalcitrant knight into a safe, isolated corner of the board and keeps him from making any moves. Perfectly sensible and strategically sound, as long as you don’t expect your game pieces to have any pesky emotions or psychological issue that need to be taken into account.
…Dumbledore’s actions at Hogwarts are another symptom of his general approach. He doesn’t treat it just as a school, but also as an instrument in his strategy. People like Snape, Hagrid and Trelawny — all lousy teachers, in very different ways — are given their jobs as perks, because of their past of future usefulness to the Order, and because it strengthens their bonds of loyalty to Dumbledore.
OTOH, look at Lupin, who is a talented teacher. Why wasn’t he hired before Harry’s third year, especially given the difficulty of finding qualified DADA professors? My theory is that Dumbledore didn’t consider it necessary. As far as he knew, Lupin was already totally loyal simply because Dumbledore had allowed him to attend Hogwarts. There was no need to bribe him with a job. He was hired only when his familiarity with Sirius became an important factor. Once Sirius proved not to be a threat, Lupin was allowed to resign…
THIS IS SO GREAT AND SO INTERESTING AND EVEN MORE SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT SNAPE’S STORYLINE AND HERE’S WHY
Just look at Dumbledore’s behavior in The Prince’s Tale - especially at the contrast between before and after Snape agreed to help him defeat Voldemort. There’s so much emotional manipulation, so much that Dumbledore is doing to keep Snape on his side.
“That is why – it is for that reason – he thinks it means Lily Evans!”
“The prophecy did not refer to a woman,” said Dumbledore. “It spoke of a boy born at the end of July – ”
“You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down – kill them all – ”
“If she means so much to you,” said Dumbledore, “surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?”
“I have – I have asked him – ”
“You disgust me,” said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little, “You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?”
That line, the “you disgust me” line is SO IMPORTANT. Contrary to popular belief, Dumbledore doesn’t find Snape’s
obsession love for Lily beautiful; he finds it disgusting - and understandably so. Because she “means so much” to Snape that he’s willing to sacrifice her family, and therefore happiness, in order to keep her alive. And, frankly, that’s gross. Dumbledore agrees.
“Hide them all, then,” he croaked. “Keep her – them – safe. Please.”
“And what will you give me in return, Severus?”
“In – in return?” Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, “Anything.”
Aaaaaand Dumbledore gets himself the perfect soldier - someone who is willing to do anything.
“I thought…you were going…to keep her…safe…”
“She and James put their faith in the wrong person,” said Dumbledore. “Rather like you, Severus. Weren’t you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?”
Also really important. Dumbledore was supposed to protect her, keep her alive, and it didn’t work out and that greatly puts Snape’s loyalty at risk. So what does Dumbledore do? Deflect. He places the blame on Snape and Voldemort here - which, I’m pretty much with him here because Snape did tell Voldemort the prophecy and Voldemort did personally kill the Potters. But this isn’t about that. This is strategy. Keep Snape guilty and keep the blame off Dumbledore by having this whole “well there was nothing I could do” stance and thereby keep Snape both vulnerable and loyal. Make Voldemort the real enemy, someone that Snape would be willing to do anything to fight against at all cost.
“Her boy survives,” said Dumbledore.
With a tiny jerk of the head, Snape seemed to flick off an irksome fly.
“Her son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evans’s eyes, I am sure?”
“DON’T!” bellowed Snape. “Gone…dead…”
“Is this remorse, Severus?”
“I wish…I wish I were dead…”
“And what use would that be to anyone?” said Dumbledore coldly. “If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.”
Okay so Dumbledore is definitely using Snape’s love for Lily against him - I think we can all agree with that. I mean look at how he’s referring to her as “Lily Evans” rather than as her married name, “Lily Potter.” Dumbledore has a very tough sell here; he wants Snape to help him protect the child of someone Snape loves and someone he hates. So he takes James out of the equation and it’s all about Harry’s eyes and how much they look like Lily’s and Evans. And then he takes Snape’s love and gives it a purpose.
“You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily’s son.”
“He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone – ”
“The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does.”
There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, “Very well. Very well. But never – never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear…especially Potter’s son…I want your word!”
“My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?” Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape’s ferocious, anguished face.
Before it was disgusting, but now that Snape’s agreed to help him, has pledged his loyalty, Snape’s love is now ~the best part of him~
“ – mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent – ”
“You see what you expect to see, Severus,” said Dumbledore, without raising his eyes from a copy of Transfiguration Today . “Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likable, and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child.”
Dumbledore turned a page, and said, without looking up, “Keep an eye on Quirrell, won’t you?”
Snape is only seeing James’ worst qualities in Harry (which tbh first year Harry definitely did not have) so Dumbledore brings up qualities that were, actually, found in and associated with Lily to placate him. Because Dumbledore’s biggest challenge is to make Snape forget that James is Harry’s father. He then follows this up with a request.
“Karkaroff’s Mark is becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much help he gave the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell.” Snape looked sideways at Dumbledore’s crooked-nosed profile. “Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns.”
“Does he?” said Dumbledore softly, as Fleur Delacour and Roger Davies came giggling in from the grounds. “And are you tempted to join him?”
“No,” said Snape, his black eyes on Fleur’s and Roger’s retreating figures. “I am not such a coward.”
“No,” agreed Dumbledore. “You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon…”
He walked away, leaving Snape looking stricken…
Whether you believe it or not, both Sirius and Remus have said that Snape was jealous of James - of his popularity, his talents, all the glory he received, etc. And a lot of those things are perks from being a brave Gryffindor rather than an “evil” Slytherin. Dumbledore is capitalizing on that, on Snape’s secret desires. He’s manipulating Snape because wow he thinks he’s brave, he thinks he’s brave enough to even be a mighty Gryffindor - something I’m sure no one has even told him before. Something he’d never admit to secretly reveling in because he grew up unloved and unwanted. But it keeps him loyal, keeps him close to Dumbledore.
“I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, that I have you, Severus.”
The power of being complimentary, my friends, is not focused on enough. (And I’m not trying to take away from the fact that Snape is a talented wizard, because I do think that, but Dumbledore is so totally manipulating him come on. What makes me say that? Because not long afterwards does he segue into asking Snape to kill him)
“In short, the boy has had a death sentence pronounced upon him as surely as I have,” said Dumbledore. “Now, I should have thought the natural successor to the job, once Draco fails, is yourself?”
There was a short pause.
“That, I think, is the Dark Lord’s plan.”
“Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?”
“He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.”
“And if it does fall into his grasp,” said Dumbledore, almost, it seemed, as an aside, “I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students at Hogwarts?”
Snape gave a stiff nod.
Great, Dumbledore has not only a spy, but an heir.
“He is his father over again – ”
“In looks, perhaps, but his deepest nature is much more like his mother’s. I spend time with Harry because I have things to discuss with him, information I must give him before it is too late.”
Harry actually shares plenty of traits with James - and based on how he’s spoken of James in the past, Dumbledore liked him. (And why wouldn’t he? Not only is James amazing
jkalsdsalkdjasldaskdh but he was very loyal to Dumbledore) So this is for Snape’s benefit. Again, he’s keeping him under control by bringing Lily into the equation and make Harry worthy enough, in Snape’s eyes, to protect.
“Information,” repeated Snape. “You trust him…you do not trust me.”
“It is not a question of trust. I have, as we both know, limited time. It is essential that I give the boy enough information for him to do what he needs to do.”
“And why may I not have the same information?”
“I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort.”
“Which I do on your orders!”
“And you do it extremely well. Do not think that I underestimate the constant danger in which you place yourself, Severus. To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you.”
“Yet you confide much more in a boy who is incapable of Occlumency, whose magic is mediocre, and who has a direct connection into the Dark Lord’s mind!”
Dumbledore is clearly making Snape angry and I don’t think it’s necessarily intentional. But I do think he’s trying to make sure that Snape desires and values his trust over Voldemort’s. I mean, I’m sure he’s double checked that he has Snape’s loyalty before, but it’s safe to keep checking every now and then. But then this happens:
Snape looked angry, mutinous. Dumbledore sighed.
“Come to my office tonight, Severus, at eleven, and you shall not complain that I have no confidence in you…”
MUTINOUS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT WORD. DUMBLEDORE IS AT RISK OF LOSING THE BEST AND MOST ESSENTIAL PIECE TO HIS GAME, HIS MVP, SO HE HAS TO REEL HIM BACK IN.
“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 those years…that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.”
Snape is currently reevaluating his life and all of his choices. Because he thinks, if not for Lily, then what is the point of protecting Harry Potter? Why is he fighting this war? Why is he on Dumbledore’s side?
“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. “Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, a 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.
“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?”
“Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?”
“Lately, only those whom I could not save,” said Snape. He stood up. “You have used me.”
Indeed he has! And after all this time, you’ve finally caught on!
“I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter – ”
Uh-oh no longer Lily Evans - now she is Potter, now she and everything that’s a part of her (i.e. her son) is tainted by James. Still worth protecting? Still worth sacrificing and risking so much for? Apparently yes because this happens:
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”
“For him?” shouted Snape. “ Expecto Patronum!”
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.
Okay so obviously, if you hadn’t already caught on, Snape isn’t doing all of this for the cause or because he’s repenting for being a Death Eater. It’s all for Lily. The woman he helped kill. I beg you to not find that romantic. Remember Dumbledore’s "you disgust me"? That’s pretty much how I feel about Snape, and I suspect that Dumbledore still feels that way. Because, as valuable as he is, Snape has not changed. And I guess it doesn’t bother him at all if he’s risked and sacrificed so much for a child who will die anyway if it was all for her.
After all this time, you still do not see the value of protecting an innocent child? Always. After all this time you still cannot let go of a woman who never loved you romantically? Always. After all this time, you’re still fighting against Voldemort because he killed Lily and not because you believe in muggle-born rights? Always. Dumbledore had to have known this - I mean he’d been using Snape’s love for Lily against him for how long? But I’m sure it still saddened him.
Anyway, “The Prince’s Tale” is a brilliant example of Dumbledore’s manipulation and how he used it to win a war. This is where we see him really in action - and it’s fascinating. Because this is the power of loyalty - how Dumbledore could get a Death Eater so firmly on his side that he continues to do Dumbledore’s work for him after his own death. That’s powerful.
And that’s why Voldemort’s fucking scared of him. I’m kind of scared of him.(via comealongraggedypond)
James Potter accidentally shifting into Animagus shape when someone gives him a scare, and the first night Harry starts screaming in the middle of the night Lily isn’t sure if she’s still dreaming when she sees a distressed deer jumping against the bedroom door
IS EVERYONE JUST GOING TO ADD THAT GIF TO ALL MY JAMES POTTER POSTS ARE YOU SERIOUS
It’s no one else’s fault that you aren’t that