Why Did Snape Put the Sword in the Lake?

Why Did Snape Put the Sword in the Lake?
Why Did Snape Put the Sword in the Lake?

I am sure you remember how Harry ventured into the Forest of Dean in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 when they found a Patronus in the shape of a doe. This same Patronus led him to the frozen lake where Harry found the enchanted Sword of Godric Gryffindor.

The happenings surrounding this scene are undoubtedly cast with several mysteries and interpretations. In this article, I will take you through Severus Snape’s doe Patronus, and I will also try to address some questions you might have around the same.

Professor Snape’s Patronus In The Forest Of Dean

Severus Snape, known for his complex and mysterious character, surprises both Albus Dumbledore and the audience by summoning a doe Patronus to aid Harry.

As the Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House, Snape’s actions are carefully calculated, adding layers of depth to his loyalty to Dumbledore and his unwavering love for Lily Potter.

Why Did Snape Send His Patronus To Guide Harry To The Sword?

Why Did Snape Send His Patronus To Guide Harry To The Sword?
Why Did Snape Send His Patronus To Guide Harry To The Sword?

But why did Snape send his Patronus to guide Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor? Snape’s allegiance to Dumbledore and his vow to protect Harry stem from his love for Lily Potter, Harry’s mother.

With a need for discretion, Snape utilized his doe Patronus as the only means to assist Harry without revealing his true intentions to Voldemort.

The Sword of Godric Gryffindor had to be accessed by a person who showed immense courage in the face of danger, i.e., a true Gryffindor.

The path that Ron and Harry had to take to obtain this sword was full of treacherous trails and harsh climatic conditions-snow, ice, and frozen ponds. Hence, Snape did not help them directly but sent his Patronus to lead them to where the sword was.

How Did Snape Know That Harry Was In The Forest Of Dean?

How did Snape know that Harry was in the Forest of Dean? The answer lies in the clever use of magical portraits.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione inadvertently provided information to Snape through the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, the former Hogwarts Headmaster.

This revelation allowed Snape to orchestrate the location of the Sword of Gryffindor and guide Harry indirectly.

Through Phineas Nigellus Black

Harry, Ron, and Hermione detached the portrait of the previous Hogwarts’ Headmaster, Phineas Nigellus Black when they were in Grimmauld Place, the ancestral home of the Black family, and put it in Hermione’s beaded bag.

Another portrait of Nigellus Black hung in the Headmaster’s office in Hogwarts, which had the paintings of all the previous Headmasters.

Owing to this, Black could move in and out of these two portraits. Upon reaching the Forest of Dean, Hermione was rummaging through her bag when Harry asked her where they were.

She told him that it was the Forest of Dean. Phineas overheard the name as Hermione’s bag was open, and he wasted no time delivering the information to the then Headmaster of Hogwarts, Severus Snape.

It was how Snape figured out where to place the sword, and he then sent his Patronus to lure Harry to the sword as he could not have done the delivery in person, for reasons already discussed.

Why Was Professor Snape’s Patronus The Same As Lily’s?

The Patronus Charm (Expecto Patronum) was the most famous and very powerful defensive charm that wizardkind knew.

To evoke a Patronus, an immensely complicated spell was required, and that was why the majority of witches and wizards were unable to produce them.

Professor Snape was an extremely powerful wizard who sent his doe Patronus to the Forest of Dean. But why was his Patronus the same as Lily’s – a doe?

A Patronus was a reflection of a witch or wizard’s soul, but it often changed when one fell in love. Love had the power to influence a Patronus because the Patronus is fundamentally a protective and magical concentration of hope and happiness, which go arm in arm with love.

A Patronus would change if one had strong feelings towards someone, similar to how Tonks’ Patronus became a wolf when Remus Lupin rejected her. 

It was Severus Snape’s profound love for Lily that caused his Patronus to be a doe. It was officially never known whether Snape’s Patronus changed at any point, however, his happiest memories were those of Lily Evans. Since the Patronus required happy thoughts, Severus drew on Lily’s memories.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore asked Snape if he had grown to care for Harry. Snape answered him by evoking his Patronum.

Seeing that Snape’s Patronum was the same as Lily’s, Dumbledore understood that Snape loved Lily.

Moreover, in his final battle with Voldemort, Harry explained the influence of Snape’s love for Lily on his Patronus to his adversary-: 

“Snape’s Patronus was a doe,…. the same as my mother’s, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children.”

Why Did Snape Put The Sword of Gryffindor At The Bottom Of A Frozen Lake?

Why Did Snape Put the Sword in the Lake?
Why Did Snape Put the Sword in the Lake?

If Snape wanted to help Harry find the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, then why did he place it at the bottom of a frozen lake, endangering Harry’s life? Why did he not make it easy for him to get it?

Albus Dumbledore (from his portrait) told Snape that for Harry to have the sword, it “must be taken under conditions of need and valor“. Dumbledore had tried to give the sword to Harry on his will but failed.

One could wield the Sword of Godric Gryffindor in one of the two ways- either he was the owner or it had agreed to serve him because of his courage and need.

Dumbledore did not want to rely on the sword appearing to Harry as it did in the Chamber of Secrets as the conditions might have been never met.

So he tried to engineer a situation in which Harry could valiantly get the sword, otherwise, it might not have worked for him.

Therefore, once Snape knew where Harry was camping, he needed to create the conditions of need and valor for Harry to retrieve the sword.

It was why he left the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of the frozen lake and used his Patronus to lure him.

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