What was the last thing that Professor Snape gave to Harry as he died

"Always."
-- Severus Snape (DH33)

Memories in the Pensieve show Harry the true story of Snapes life and love

After Snape dies in the Shrieking Shack (DH32), Harry takes the vial of his important memories to Dumbledores empty office and pours them into the Pensieve. Snapes early childhood remembrances appear before him starting in 1969, the first meeting of the lonely, ragamuffin-like boy at age nine with Harrys mother Lily and ordinary Aunt Petunia on the playground in Cokeworth; the blossoming friendship of the two magical children to the exclusion of the upset Petunia; and the first train-ride aboard the Hogwarts Express in 1971, where the Half-Blood Severus and Muggleborn Lily first encounter pure-bloods Sirius Black and James Potter. Snapes fondest wish is that he and Lily will both be put into Slytherin, which he believes is a house for brains over brawn while James tells him he wants to be in Gryffindor for the brave of heart (DH33). But when Harry views Snapes Sorting Hat memory, the boy joins Lucius Malfoy at the Slytherin table, while Lily is placed into Gryffindor with Sirius and James.

Fast forwarding to their early teens, the memories show the growing rivalry between James and his friends (known as The Marauders) and Snape, who is a victim of their bullying and thus suspicious of their relationship with Remus Lupin, whom the young Snape realizes may be a werewolf. While he tries to warn Lily to be wary of the group out of both concern and jealousy of James, she is more concerned with Snapes growing fascination with Dark Magic. When the memory of O.W.L. exam days starts unfolding, Harry realizes he has seen watched it once before when he was taking Occlumency Lessons from Snape (OP28), so he hangs back from the action as James and Sirius torment Snape while Lily tries to help her friend only to be called the unforgivable word Mudblood. Although Snape comes to the entrance of Gryffindor House that night to beg forgiveness, the break between Snape and Lily is irreparable at that point, and Lily refuses to accept his apology.

The next set of memories begins on a Windy hilltop sometime in 1980, with an emotionally distraught Snape, now a Death Eater in thrall to Voldemort, telling Dumbledore that he overheard Trelawneys prophecy about a child who could defeat the Dark Lord and gave it to his Master. Voldemorts interpretation meant that he was surely going to attack the Potters and their baby, and while Snape had begged him to spare Lilys life, he was hedging his bets in seeking assurances from Dumbledore that Lily especially could be protected. The Headmaster is disgusted with Snape and asks him what he is willing to do in return for the safety of all the Potters, not just Lily. Snape replies Anything. The next memory shows Snape in Dumbledores office, sobbing like a wounded animal due to the deaths of the Potters, who were double-crossed and sold-out by Peter Pettigrew, although both Snape and Dumbledore believe at the time it was Sirius Black (PA19). At the vulnerable moment of Snapes worst grief over the dead Lily when he is nearly suicidal, Dumbledore rather manipulatively extracts his promise to keep protecting Lilys child, Harry, for years to come in case the Dark Lord ever returns. Snape agrees but makes Dumbledore swear never to tell anyone of his unrequited love for Lily.

The third set of memories begins during Harrys first year at Hogwarts in 1991, as now-Potions Master Snape expresses his opinion to Dumbledore that the boy is arrogant just like his father James. Dumbledore brushes that aside, telling Snape to keep an eye on Professor Quirrell, who was later exposed to be possessed by Lord Voldemort (PS17). Harry views Snape and Dumbledore talking at the Yule Ball in his fourth year, 1994, discussing the return of Dark Marks to the arms of Death Eaters such as himself and Igor Karkaroff, who wants to flee before the Dark Lord rises again. Dumbledore suggests that because Snape is the braver man, he was perhaps sorted too soon into Slytherin, implying he should have been Gryffindor with Lily. Harry views Snapes stricken look at the idea. The memories jump a few years more to the night in 1996 when Dumbledore returned to Hogwarts after putting on Marvolo Gaunts ring which was set with the Resurrection Stone, and which had been turned into a Horcrux by Lord Voldemort. Dumbledore does not tell Snape that he put it on hoping to summon his dead sister and mother, although Dumbledores spirit form explains that to Harry in his vision of Kings Cross Station (DH35). While Dumbledore thanks Snape for saving his life by trapping the curse in the blackened hand for one year, he also tells him the bad news that if Draco Malfoy is unable to kill him in the future, then Snape must do it himself. In the memory, a shocked Snape is reluctant to agree, worrying about damage to his soul, and unwilling to kill the Headmaster. Dumbledore convinces him to agree by explaining he doesnt want to give the Death Eaters a chance to defile his body.

Then comes a series of important memories as Dumbledore explains his plans to defeat Voldemort even after his death, telling Snape to notice when Nagini seems to have extra protection, which Harry saw previously when the snake attacked and killed Snape from inside a glowing bubble (DH32). Dumbledore reveals to Snape the bombshell fact that Harry is connected to Voldemort through a fragment of his soul embedded in Harrys scar, and that in order for the Dark Lord to be defeated again, Harry will have to die. Overwhelmed and furious, Snape laments that Dumbledore has used him all through the years to protect Harry, only to see him led like a pig for slaughter. When Dumbledore wonders if Snape is expressing love for Harry, Snape produces his Patronus instead, the silver doe which represents his love for Lily. Dumbledore seems surprised and wonders After all these years? to which Snape replies, Always.

The last memories show the aftermath of Dumbledores death on the Astronomy Tower Snape in the Headmasters Office with Dumbledores portrait discussing plans for the Battle of the Seven Potters; Snape in battle attempting to save the lives of Lupin and George Weasley but accidentally cutting off Georges ear with Sectumsempra; then Snape in Sirius Blacks old bedroom at Grimmauld Place, weeping over a letter and photograph of the Potter family, which Harry also found (DH10) after Snape ripped James from the picture, and took the signature Love, Lily from the letter (DH10). The last two memories are of Snape finding out from the portrait of Phineas Nigellus the location where Harry and Hermione were hiding in the Forest of Dean. Phineas uses the term Mudblood for Hermione and Snape chastises him, showing how much he has changed since ruining his friendship with Lily over the same word. Harry watches as Snape swings open the portrait of Dumbledore to reveal the hidden Sword of Gryffindor, which Harry now knows he left in the forest pool for he and Ron to find so they could destroy Slytherins locket Horcrux (DH19), led to the pool by the silver doe patronus which Harry also now knows represents the love Snape always had for his mother, Lily.

Timeline Notes

It is almost 4:00 AM and still dark outside when Harry finishes watching Snape's memories in the Pensieve and leaves the castle to go to the Forest (DH34).

Memories in the Pensieve show Harry the true story of Snapes life and love
Date May 2nd, 1998
Certainty Stated in canon
Location in Canon OP28: Snapes Worst Memory PA19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort DH32: The Elder Wand DH10: Kreachers Tale HBP10: The House of Gaunt HBP9: The Half-Blood Prince HBP24: Sectumsempra HBP2: Spinners End HBP27: The Lightning-Struck Tower HBP28: Flight of the Prince
Type of Event Wizarding world
Related Entries
Characters
Quirinus Quirrell
Phineas Nigellus Black
Albus Dumbledore
Igor Karkaroff
Lily Potter
James Potter
Sirius Black
Hermione Granger
Peter Pettigrew
Wormtail
Remus Lupin
Bellatrix Lestrange
Lucius Malfoy
Severus Snape
Peverell family
Locations
Windy hilltop
Heads office
Cokeworth playground
Hogwarts Express
Forest of Dean
Number Twelve Grimmauld Place
Magic
Patronus Charm
Corporeal Patronus
Patronus
Messenger spell
Offensive/Defensive Magic
Dark Magic
Dark Magic spells to create a Horcrux
Sectumsempra
Healing Magic
Canon
DH33: The Princes Tale
DH34: The Forest Again
Con: The Connection 1999
OP28: Snapes Worst Memory
HBP2: Spinners End
DH32: The Elder Wand
HBP9: The Half-Blood Prince
HBP27: The Lightning-Struck Tower
HBP28: Flight of the Prince
DH10: Kreachers Tale
Events
Severus Snape is born
Lily Evans is born
Petunia Evans is born
Things
Pensieve
Pensieve Memories
Sword of Gryffindor
Slytherins Locket
Lilys Letter
Torn photograph of baby Harry
Occlumency
O.W.L.s
The Half-Blood Prince
The Princes Copy of Advanced Potion-Making
Half-Blood
Mudblood
Saint Potter, the Mudbloods Friend
Harrys Scars
Horcrux
Beaded handbag

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Tags: bravery bullying children death deaths exams fear friendship Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry killing/killings love loyalty manipulation memories past Snape Remembrall

Editors: Steve VanderArk and Jeanne Kimsey