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The Harry Potter Fan Theory That Makes Dumbledore's Death Sadder

Years before the Fantastic Beasts films took over Hollywood, as the premier wand-toting fantasy series, the Harry Potter saga ruled the roost in that regard. The franchise kicked off in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, introducing moviegoers to a light-hearted and whimsical world for all ages to enjoy. However, as the story progressed and younger cast members like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint aged into their teens, the subject matter followed suit. The plot became much more serious, and the presentation grew darker — resulting in moments that range from unsettling to downright heart-wrenching becoming the new status quo.

A fine example of the latter came in 2009's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where beloved Hogwarts' Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), met his demise. Instead of leaving him to die from the infection of a cursed ring, or have the indecisive Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) do the job, Severus Snape (the late Alan Rickman) killed his longtime friend with the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra. This may have been their plan all along, and while Snape's ability to go through with it so quickly shouldn't warrant further analysis, the Harry Potter fanbase has come up with a fan theory that adds so many layers to an already emotional scene.

Killing Dumbledore wasn't easy for Snape on many levels

Devout Harry Potter fans on Reddit took on the task of analyzing Dumbledore's death down to the last detail, breaking down the struggles Snape had to endure in taking on the responsibility. "Killing your mentor and confidant must be so incredibly painful. Killing someone is difficult and impactful; more so than you could imagine. But to be forced into killing someone so important to you by that person has to be infinitely worse," user adale_50 writes, going on to mention the emotional weight of Snape and Dumbledore's plan. After all, he knew he'd have to eventually take his friend's life for some time, and the thought surely wore on him.

"...with AK [Avada Kedavra] and Crucio, you really have to mean it, for it to work. Imagine the mental willpower he had to draw up to make the curse work," replied Redditor RobbieNewton. They then add the necessity for this painful plan to go off without a hitch, no matter the difficulty, commenting "Had he not meant it, the curse would not have worked and his cover would have then been blown straight away, in front of three high ranking death eaters, and a savage werewolf."

User trixon221 piggybacks off of the previous comment, saying "In my head Snape could use AK because he hated the thought that he will need to kill Dumbledore. So the hate towards this made avada kedavra work." Although, not everyone was so convinced that Snape had a hard time trying to take his mentor's life. For example, Reddit user gasfarmer argues "Snape was a person of incredible conviction. It would've been easy for him to do, because it was something he must do." Another user in suspiciousspear0 appears to agree, stating afterwards: "This. Also Snape is amazing at occlumency, so he's experienced with controlling his emotions/willpower."

It's no secret that Snape and Dumbledore were incredibly close for a very long time. While they may not have always seen eye to eye, it stands to reason that their mutual respect and appreciation for one another shone through. With that in mind, no matter the specifics, executing Dumbledore and putting on a façade that it meant nothing to him was likely a major challenge for Snape — one that committed Harry Potter fans couldn't help but analyze further.