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How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?



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  #61  
Old May 26th, 2008, 9:48 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by Magi View Post
Some posts have said Snape could not have left Hogwarts long. But I disagree, because the evidence in the book suggests he was away for at least a few hours.

At the beginning of Chapter Nineteen - The Silver Doe, the timeline goes like this:
1. Hermione takes over the watch at midnight
2. Harry sleeps fitfully, and finally gets up in the darkness to join Hermione on her watch.
3. Hermione wants to move to a more sheltered place.
4. Half an hour later they Dis-Apparate to the Forest of Dean. Hermione tells Harry their location as she takes out the tent from her bag.
5. They spend most of the day in the tent.
6. As darkness drew again, Harry takes the watch.
7. Harry sees the silver doe Patronus.

So Harry and Hermione arrived in the Forest of Dean sometime at dawn, either while it was still dark, or just after sunrise. As it was mid-winter, sunrise probably occurred around 6am and sunset approximately 5pm. It was completely dark by the time Harry saw the silver doe Patronus, which means at least 12 hours must have elapsed from their arrival to the silver doe incident.

Meanwhile, we see from Snape's memory in the Pensieve that this happened:
1. Snape is in the Headmaster's study, and Phineas Nigellus hurries in the portrait, telling Snape that Harry and Hermione were in camping in the Forest of Dean.
2. Phineas Nigellus tells Snape that Hermione mentioned the place as she opened her bag. This is almost certainly when they were taking out the tent just after their arrival.
3. Snape takes the sword of Gryffindor, tells Dumbledore he has "a plan" and leaves.

Phineas Nigellus probably would have taken only a few minutes to travel from his stolen portrait to Hogwarts. Look at how fast the portraits travelled in OotP when Dumbledore sent them just after Nagini's attack on Arthur Weasley. So the delay in Phineas Nigullus' travel is negligible.

We know that Snape left Dumbledore's study with the sword of Gryffindor just after Harry and Hermione's arrival in the Forest of Dean. It seems unlikely that Snape would have dawdled with the sword in his possession (it was supposed to be in Lestranges' vault), so he would have probably set out for the Forest of Dean as soon as he could.

If my analysis is correct, Snape took at least 12 hours to travel to the Forest of Dean from Hogwarts and find Harry and Hermione. As clever as he is, he probably had a ready-made excuse if Voldemort or the Carrows questioned his absence. 12 hours is probably a sensible time for even a skilled wizard to find magically-hidden fugitives in a large forest.
Excellent timeline.

I would only add that we also have several hours that pass after Harry takes watch - he falls asleep a few times and notes how much darker it gets as time passes. So we're looking at more than 12 hours there.

When they left the previous site and went to the Forest of Dean, it was still dark - very early in the morning. I would estimate sometime between 3 am and 5 am. Snape left the headmaster's office to go to the Forest of Dean within a few minutes of their arrival. They spend the entire day with no disturbance and Harry takes watch when it gets dark - several more hours pass and he falls asleep a few times. So I'd say it was well after midnight when Harry finally saw the patronus. It's closer to 24 hours really. I'd say at least 20 hours.

Phineas Nigellis was able to tell Snape that they were in the Forest of Dean, but not the exact location in the Forest of Dean. And it's already been pointed out in this thread that the Forest of Dean is a very big place. It seems clear that Snape had to search for them because around 20-24 hours pass from the time Phineas tells him they are in the Forest of Dean until Harry sees the patronus.

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Originally Posted by MrSleepyHead View Post
Dumbledore says that "magic always leaves traces." Therefore, I am sure that Snape, being the incredibly talented wizard that he was, was able to detect the magic around Harry and Hermione. Even if this magic was meant to protect them, Snape could probably sense that a Protego or Muffliato charm had been cast around some place. Dumbledore pretty much gives us the answer to this:
HBP, Horcruxes, Ch. 23, Page 504, American, HBHe hid it... never guessing that I might one day take the trouble to visit the ruin, or that I might be keeping an eye open for traces of magical concealment.

Therefore, based on Dumbledore's statement, protective/concealment charms are detectable by advanced wizards. Thus, I am sure that Snape did the same: he was searching for traces of magical concealment, and he found them.
That's an excellent point. And we do learn near the end that Snape can fly as well. So it is likely that Snape was flying over the forest, searching for signs of magical concealment.

Another possibility there is that Snape eventually spotted Ron and used that as a point of reference - believing that Harry would be nearby. Once he was sure Harry had seen the patronus and followed it to the right place, he could disapparate and return to Hogwarts - leaving no sign that he had been there.


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  #62  
Old May 26th, 2008, 10:06 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

Sunrise in midwinter in UK is about 7:30 on the average, where I live in Scotland it can be dark till 8:00am. It gets dark at about 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon. Snape would have to have his skates on to find in them in the very short winter day. I always thought that Phineas probably went back to his portrait in Hermione's bag and Snape traced them from that.


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  #63  
Old May 26th, 2008, 11:24 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
Sunrise in midwinter in UK is about 7:30 on the average, where I live in Scotland it can be dark till 8:00am. It gets dark at about 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon. Snape would have to have his skates on to find in them in the very short winter day. I always thought that Phineas probably went back to his portrait in Hermione's bag and Snape traced them from that.
According to the World Clock - I love this website - on Dec 26, 1997, Sunrise was at 8:16 AM and sunset was at 4:03 PM. Of course, sunset does not coincide with it being fully dark so I would add some time for that - it's dark when Harry takes his watch and Hermione went to bed. And we still have to take into account the hours that passed before the patronus showed up - Harry falls asleep several times and his thoughts reflect several hours passing there.

I would still put their arrival at somewhere around 5 am though because it was noted that Harry did not sleep well the night before and they left really early because they wanted to find a location that was better sheltered against the snow and they were worried because they thought they heard someone out there - which was Ron. It's just an estimate, but I'd say we're looking at the hours between 5 am and sometime after midnight - around 20 hours or so from the time Snape left the headmaster's office and the time Harry saw the doe.

I don't think Snape could trace the portrait - once he left Hogwarts, how would he? Also, if that were possible, they would have been able to locate Harry and Hermione during any of those times they took his portrait out to talk to him. Harry notes that they were talking to his portrait every few days during the time that Ron was gone. If it were as simple as just tracing the portrait, Snape would have found out where they were weeks before that.

It still seems most likely Snape spent those hours searching the forest for them and was looking for evidence of magical concealment. The fact that he had learned how to fly would make that a bit easier, but it would still take time. It's also possible that he eventually spotted Ron and used him as a point of reference with the belief that Harry would be nearby.


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  #64  
Old May 26th, 2008, 11:34 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

It seems like a good timeline people have going. But we don't know when Hermione took out her bag and mentioned the Forest of Dean. She could have done so just before Harry started his watch. Thus, it may not have taken Snape long to find them at all. Snape would not likely fly around, imo, as that would call too much attention to himself (look mom its a bird, no a plane, no super Snape! - ok I'm a fantasy nut). But Snape could simply apparate about the forest in the night, pretty much unnoticed until he came upon them - he could do that rather quickly and it would be the safest way considering Snatchers and such were about that he wouldn't want to see him with the sword. Although thinking on it, he likely had the sword hidden within his robes anyway.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 12:28 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
It seems like a good timeline people have going. But we don't know when Hermione took out her bag and mentioned the Forest of Dean. She could have done so just before Harry started his watch. Thus, it may not have taken Snape long to find them at all. Snape would not likely fly around, imo, as that would call too much attention to himself (look mom its a bird, no a plane, no super Snape! - ok I'm a fantasy nut). But Snape could simply apparate about the forest in the night, pretty much unnoticed until he came upon them - he could do that rather quickly and it would be the safest way considering Snatchers and such were about that he wouldn't want to see him with the sword. Although thinking on it, he likely had the sword hidden within his robes anyway.
Actually, we do know that. Harry asked Hermione where they were as she was getting the tent out of the bag when they first arrived - that was really, really early that morning while it was still dark out. Really, it was practically the middle of the night because Harry had trouble sleeping and they were worried about the fact that they thought they heard someone out there - which turned out to be Ron - so they didn't wait until the sun had come up. They went ahead and moved.

Phineas heard Hermione say where they were because she had the bag open to get the tent out and he immediately reported to Snape - we see that in Snape's memories. Snape grabbed the sword, put on his cloak, and immediately left the headmaster's office saying he had a plan.

After Hermione tells him where they are, Harry notes that they spend the entire day and nothing happens and then he takes the watch that night - falling asleep several times because he hasn't slept well for the past two days. So we're looking at around 20 hours or so from the time Phineas heard Hermione say where they were and Harry seeing the silver doe.

It is feasible for Snape to have flown around the forest using the trees for cover while he looked for signs of magical concealment - there weren't going to be a lot of people in the middle of a forest on Dec. 26 after all. He could also apparate around the forest and walk around sections of it to do that. Either way, it would take time. Considering the amount of time that passed, he did have to search and it wasn't easy for him to find them - which is kudos to Hermione for her spellwork. The only real question is whether he found them by detecting magical concealment or if he eventually saw Ron and sent the doe in that direction figuring Harry would be somewhere in that area because Ron was there.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 2:18 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

I think it's possile that he followed Ron's deluninator light, surely that led him close to the right place,wasn't he just waiting for Herry or Hermione? If Snape knew how the deluminator worked then he could hae followed it and sent the doe to lure Harry or Hermione out


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Old May 27th, 2008, 3:04 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by Lucybird View Post
I think it's possile that he followed Ron's deluninator light, surely that led him close to the right place,wasn't he just waiting for Herry or Hermione? If Snape knew how the deluminator worked then he could hae followed it and sent the doe to lure Harry or Hermione out
There's no mention of any light upon Ron's arrival at his destination - just a light going inside of him before he apparated - and surely Harry or Hermione would have noticed that themselves. They had heard Ron the night before, but didn't see anything.

It's possible that Snape eventually saw Ron and figured Harry would be nearby, but it's more likely that he just searched throughout the day and into the night until he found traces of magical concealment.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 3:32 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

I was thinking,what if he cast the doe patronus and let it wonder through the forest knowing it would call the attention of the trio and allow it self to be followed,leading them to the place he needed them to find.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 4:03 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucybird View Post
I think it's possile that he followed Ron's deluninator light, surely that led him close to the right place,wasn't he just waiting for Herry or Hermione? If Snape knew how the deluminator worked then he could hae followed it and sent the doe to lure Harry or Hermione out
The blue light from the deluminator went inside of Ron, and then he knew where to apparate to. So it's not something Snape could have followed, because Ron was at the previous location (unknown to Snape) for a few hours after Harry & Hermione left for the Forest of Dean. Snape may have seen Ron after he apparated to the new location, but there was no light to follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montse View Post
I was thinking,what if he cast the doe patronus and let it wonder through the forest knowing it would call the attention of the trio and allow it self to be followed,leading them to the place he needed them to find.
I see a couple problems with that. Snape would have been drawing undue attention casting a Patronus that would wander all day around the forest, and he'd had to stay hidden himself, and 20 hours is a long time. I think he would have waited until he knew he was close. Either he saw Ron, or he was able to see a trace of magic, like Dumbledore was able to do.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 8:39 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

It is dark in those forests at night, you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. I love the thoughtof Snape looking through the forest with the magical equivelant of infra-red glasses. Does the World Clock site tell what phase of the moon it was that night?


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Old May 28th, 2008, 9:29 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

I think Snape had been following the trio ever since their journey in DH began. I think he wanted to protect Harry for Lily's sake.


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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:44 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
It is dark in those forests at night, you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. I love the thoughtof Snape looking through the forest with the magical equivelant of infra-red glasses. Does the World Clock site tell what phase of the moon it was that night?
Yes, it does - I think they have everything there.

12/27/1997 would have fallen between the 3rd quarter moon on 12/21 and the new moon on 12/29. Since it's so close to the new moon, I'd guess it would have been a crescent moon that night. And - ironically - that fits with Harry noting how dark it was. Maybe Jo looked it up?

I'd say Snape covered the bulk of his search during the day when it was easier to see. But it's pretty clear that he did not find them until much later that night - I'd say at least after midnight.


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  #73  
Old May 29th, 2008, 2:04 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by PureBloodGirl View Post
I think Snape had been following the trio ever since their journey in DH began. I think he wanted to protect Harry for Lily's sake.
No, actually he didn't. He had to wait until Hermone mentioned the location while her bag ws open - at that point Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait hears it and reports it to Snape. At that point Snape finally knows where to look for them..... and this was the actual problem!



By the way, meesha.... if the moon is so close to New moon, it won't be in the sky in the middle of the night anyway - so we can really be pretty certain that this was a very dark night.....


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Old May 29th, 2008, 2:26 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I see a couple problems with that. Snape would have been drawing undue attention casting a Patronus that would wander all day around the forest, and he'd had to stay hidden himself, and 20 hours is a long time. I think he would have waited until he knew he was close. Either he saw Ron, or he was able to see a trace of magic, like Dumbledore was able to do.
Good point!!
Well ,Snape was a great wizard,a VERY good one,so I think your second option fits better,Snape identified traces of magic.As simple as that.


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Old May 29th, 2008, 2:34 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

I bet that Harry and Hermione left some kind of trail. Snape taught them both, so he knew their styles and he was able to follow them. Voldemort, who didn't know them as well as Snape probably couldn't see it though.


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Old May 29th, 2008, 5:06 am
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

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Originally Posted by Klio View Post
No, actually he didn't. He had to wait until Hermone mentioned the location while her bag ws open - at that point Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait hears it and reports it to Snape. At that point Snape finally knows where to look for them..... and this was the actual problem!
Exactly. Knowing the general location didn't help him much because the Forest of Dean is such a big place.

Quote:
By the way, meesha.... if the moon is so close to New moon, it won't be in the sky in the middle of the night anyway - so we can really be pretty certain that this was a very dark night.....
I was wondering about that - my astronomy professor would be so disappointed in me. Well, maybe not - it has been 18 years. I still find it ironic that Jo's description of how dark it was is so fitting with the phase of the moon for that date in 1997.

I think Snape would have been able to get a lot of the area covered during the day - apparating from section to section would speed things along and he might have been able to fly with the cover provided by the trees - at least a bit. Once it got dark, he could use Lumos to help him see better - I can't remember if there was any other spell to provide light.


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Old May 29th, 2008, 2:31 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

As mentioned before
snape was a great wizard, one of the best

he would have been able to detect traces of magic, if he had not already been following them.


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Old May 29th, 2008, 3:01 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
The blue light from the deluminator went inside of Ron, and then he knew where to apparate to. So it's not something Snape could have followed, because Ron was at the previous location (unknown to Snape) for a few hours after Harry & Hermione left for the Forest of Dean. Snape may have seen Ron after he apparated to the new location, but there was no light to follow.

I see a couple problems with that. Snape would have been drawing undue attention casting a Patronus that would wander all day around the forest, and he'd had to stay hidden himself, and 20 hours is a long time. I think he would have waited until he knew he was close. Either he saw Ron, or he was able to see a trace of magic, like Dumbledore was able to do.
At first I was thinking that Snape cast a few patronuses to lure them out, but I do see your point. However, he could have cast a disillusement charm on himself, so he wouldn't be seen. I support this because I don't think Snape stumbled onto Ron. I say this because Ron states that he saw Harry following the doe, if Snape had cast the charm after he sees Ron, then Ron would have seen the doe first. That's one theory any way. So Snape (like you said) probably found traces of magic, cast the patronus, and Ron stumbled (slightly) upon Snape. Because Ron said he thought he heard/saw something behind the trees.


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  #79  
Old May 29th, 2008, 4:24 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

He might have had to have been methodical:
  • Work in a search pattern, sectioning the Forest
  • Assume they're using some basic concealment spells
  • For each section, use hominum revelio
  • Size of a section to be determined by the limits to which Snape could cast hominum revelio
  • Approach any human presences the spell reveals
  • If he can't see the humans the spell says are there, or if he detects traces of magic as he approaches, then he knows wizards are hiding in the immediate area
  • Arrange the "need, courage and valor" setting for the sword
  • Use the patronus to lure out the concealed wizards
  • If it's not the trio, let the patronus evaporate
  • If it is them, lure Harry to the pool

Of course, Snape might have seen Ron in the woods, concluded he had gone to get supplies, and decided the expedient thing would be to conceal himself (disillusion spell) and follow Ron back to their campsite. Hours later, trying to keep his socks dry and frostbite away from his nose, Snape will conclude that Ron Weasley is an idiot who couldn't find his own rear end with both hands if Hermione Granger isn't reading him instructions out of a book to say nothing of finding his own campsite - and decide Harry must be somewhere in the area and he'd better get on with it and lure him out with the patronus.


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Old May 29th, 2008, 4:34 pm
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Re: How did Snape find Harry & Hermione in the Forest of Dean?

Am I the only one who wondered if it Snape that Harry thought he saw while leaving his parents grave site? (I don't have the book to quote right now) There's a moment where Harry is startled and looks around thinking he saw something before Hermione suggest they get out and "Bagshot" shows up.

I wonder if it's possible that Snape had been trying to follow Harry's path for sometime but was waiting for the right moment and place to hide the sword?



Last edited by Bscorp; May 29th, 2008 at 4:39 pm.
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