Prisoners of Azkaban, Probationary Diaries August 2009, Prisoners #19-09-1979 and #09-01-1960
Proceed at your own risk!
An "Epilogue of doom" awaits you—
...in other words, an epilogue written in the form of academic editors' notes.
If such pseudo-historical geekery is not your thing, you won't miss anything by skipping it!
With this facsimile edition of carefully selected entries from the probationary diaries of prisoners #19-09-1979 and #09-01-1960 we honour both the 150th anniversary of Severus and Hermione Snape's release from Azkaban prison and the 30th anniversary of their deaths in 2129.
The purpose of this publication is to make accessible two of the fundamental and most poignant sources for a period of painful transformation in the wizarding world in a single, definitive volume.
Due to its sensitive and extremely personal character, this material has never before been made available to the public. That this book could be published at all we owe to the most gracious permission of the current head of the Malfoy-Snape family, Scorpius Malfoy-Snape, Minister for Magic.
The aim of this project has been to present these extraordinary sources with absolute accuracy and authenticity. In the diary entries themselves, editorial comments have therefore been kept to an absolute minimum.
At the same time one of the utmost concerns in preparing this publication has always been to not exclude the average witch or wizard from an understanding of and appreciation for this authentic evidence of—and in—troubled times. The nature of the sources as private diaries—with their limited, sometimes skewed perspectives, their natural breaks and omissions—, as well as the circumstances of their creation, necessitate further notes. For this purpose, the second part of this book offers editors' notes with annotations and clarifications of the diary entries, and with additional explanations of still not widely known or acknowledged historical facts, as well as their political context. Thus the evidence presented in the diary entries may be more easily intelligible to a wider audience.
Nevertheless, it must remain the reader's task to draw their own conclusions, and, finally, to pass their judgment based on this raw testimony of two extraordinary lives devoted to the freedom of the wizarding world and the liberty of us all. A critical bibliography has been added to this work to aid the interested reader with further investigations.
The words of the ancient wizard Tacitus summarise the ultimate goal and highest hope for this publication and its intended contribution to wizarding history:
"…to let no worthy action be uncommemorated,
and to hold out the reprobation of posterity
as a terror to evil words and deeds."
II. Arithmantic and Occlumentic obfustication in the diary entries
During the thirty-one days of their probation, Severus and Hermione Snape both developed unique methods to resist the influence of the Veritaserum in the blood-ink of their quills, what experts from the Department of Mysteries call "obfustication"—to render obscure or unintelligible by magical means.
In the course of the eleven years of her imprisonment, Hermione Snape's talent for and interest in Arithmancy turned into a fixation on numbers, figures, and counting. It was this obsession, St Mungo's experts agree, that saved her mind during her extended solitary confinement. Her probationary diary clearly shows how she harnessed this borderline-psychotic habit to suppress incriminating information that inevitably crept up again and again in her entries. Every time her quill slipped and the flow of words is interrupted by a sequence of figures—most often counting letters in surrounding words, but sometimes also lines, or days, or other items—, can be interpreted as an instance of successfully suppressed confessions.
Severus Snape, on the other hand, employed his superb skills as an Occlumens not only to build an imaginary life that helped him survive confinement in Azkaban, but also to resist the pressure of Veritaserum to provide further evidence for his and Hermione Snape's involvement in Voldemort's death. With the very rare exceptions of splodges and smears caused by fat, sweat, or tears, magical particle analysis shows that all of those marks occur during periods of full Occlusion, when he would not betray his cause by thought, speech, or written word.
Based on complex arithmantic-divinatory interpretations an attempt has been made to extrapolate the meaning hidden in these entries by Arithmancy and Occlumency. While the results of this method are generally reliable and accurate, it should be noted that, like all arithmantic and divinatory methods, the following must not be seen as the presentation of facts.
Nevertheless, it is the hope of the research team that the strictly chronological explanations of the obscured parts of these documents will further illuminate the material.
III. Annotations for the individual entries
31 July 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
This first entry in Hermione Snape's diary was added in retrospect. Written in black ink on the fly-leaf of her diary, it can be dated at some time in winter 2009/2010.
"No bears, though; just thirteen squares to a dead wall, seven squares to a locked door, thirteen squares to a barred window, and seven squares to a narrow cot." — The enigmatic comment about bears refers to a poem by Muggle author Alan Alexander Milne who was a favourite with Hermione Snape during her childhood.
For the symbolic and magical meanings of Hermione's Beltane bouquet, we recommend Bardwood's Dryads and Magical Properties of Wood and Anna Fraser's The Tree.
1 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
The probation of Hermione and Severus Snape actually consisted of five conditions, which were more or less standard probations procedure at the time of their release:
1. Within one month, they had to find a place to live.
2. Within one month, they had to find employment.
3. Within one month, they had to find a wizard or witch of good repute to vouch for each of them. This condition excluded both half-bloods and Muggle-borns, as well as anyone listed as suspect of any illegal act with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
4. During that first month, they were also kept under extremely close observation by the Ministry.
As a standard surveillance procedure, a Trace and Anti-International-Apparition wards were put on their wands when they registered them with the local Death Eaters' office.
However, they were also forced to keep the probationary diaries published in this facsimile edition.
Each day, Hermione and Severus Snape had to use Veritaserum bloodquills to write a page about where they were, and what they were doing in their blood and without being able to write anything but the truth. Each word written in the ensorcelled diaries was instantly transmitted to the Parole and Probations Office in the Department of Magical Law Enforcements, where it was read and recorded by caseworkers.
Also, with each completed page, the letter "P" was etched deeper into the backs of their hands. At the end of the month those scars could not be removed by magical or Muggle means.
The orders for this unusual method of observation have been found in the archive of the Ministry of Magic, but they are only sealed, not signed. Who was responsible for these orders remains unclear. However, it must be assumed that both the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Abbadon Yaxley and the head of the Parole and Probations Office Dolores Umbridge were at least aware of the probations conditions imposed on Hermione and Severus Snape.
5. Finally, after one year had passed, the Parole and Probations Office would review their case to ascertain that they still met the basic conditions of their rehabilitation (a place to live and a regular occupation). Only after that year, they were allowed to apply for international Portkeys, the Anti-International-Apparition wards were lifted from their wands, and they were given a password to be able pass the Dementors guarding the borders between the Muggle and the wizarding world.
We do not know why Hermione Snape left that condition off her list. It seems likely, however, that a revision date a year hence seemed simply too much for her to grasp at this point in time.
2 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
The humiliation, the pain, the blood, the sores—all in vain.—This refers to Severus Snape's frequent attempts to send word to Hermione through the Azkaban guards and how he "paid" for services they never rendered.
"Your name is in the square below the window."
"—the middle square, four out of seven—"
The placement of names in Hermione Snape's cell in Azkaban:
Hermione Snape does not seem to have followed any logical pattern when she first filled in the names of those she presumed dead in the squares of her cell's floor. When asked about it later, she said: "I started with Severus. For him I chose the one square that most often was touched by the rare rays of sunshine reaching my cell. Others, I added due to their connections—Albus, Harry, Ron, Draco. Or the Black-Tonks family. Some purely by instinct. The rest were filled in as randomly as they were killed."
"Vehemently, I flung the Portkey into the grey-black floods of the North Sea. "We fly," I announced."—Self-levitation is one of the most arcane secrets Severus Snape learnt in his time as spy. Already talented on a broomstick, he excelled at this feat. However, in this case he overestimated his strength. He only turned towards the distant shore of the Shetlands because Hermione was so very much afraid of flying. That decision saved both their lives when they plummeted from the sky on Grunay.
3 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
Hermione Snape's half-kneazle Crookshanks is an often overlooked casualty of the fight in the Shrieking Shack on 2 May 1998.
The lighthouse of Bound Skerry.
4 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"Lord Voldemort is dead.
He died—how ironic!—on 21 June 2009, after ruling wizarding Britain as "Lord Protector of Magic" for eleven years.
[Longer than anticipated; I'll have to grant him that]
Lord Voldemort died of a [curse-activated] progressive lactose-intolerance that one fine day resulted in deadly anaphylaxis.
He had one mug of Nagini's milk too many.
[Thanks to Potter's low-level lactose-intolerance; how ironic.]
…Lucius Malfoy is "Minister for Magic" now. "Minister", not "Lord Protector"."
In 1997 Severus Snape managed to acquire a sample of what Voldemort called "Nagini's milk". The magical constituents analysis the Potions Master conducted yielded a surprising result. Although the pearlescent, milky substance contained various unidentifiable magical components, its main agent were casein protein micelles and lactoglobulin—carbohydrate lactose. Or, in other words: milk.
Narcissa Malfoy—Draco Malfoy's mother—is not mentioned in this (or any other) entry because she had already passed away during Draco's seventh year at Hogwarts, succumbing to the effects of a badly cast and broken Unbreakable Vow.
Bellatrix Lestrange was killed by Nagini on 4 July 2009. (Her husband, Rodolphus Lestrange, was killed 2 May 1998.)
5 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
This first, half-dreamed sexual encounter constituted the beginning of a polyamorous relationship that lasted with more or less intensity for the rest of their lives.
6 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
"His has ink-splotches—Veritaserum— [he Occludes so he must not write the truth; but the blood and the ink keep flowing, they drip, and form those splodges, while I—I rely on numbers once more, to keep from saying too much…]"
The new wands:
Muggles believe the Holy Island of Eynhallow to be deserted. In truth it is the home of a small, secretive wizarding community. Master Manannan Lear's wands have always been rare and extraordinary. As a Selkie-sorcerer, he uses exotic materials like driftwood and cores harvested from sea-creatures, or magical flotsam and jetsam.
"Mither's hair" refers to the hair of a great sea-serpent that is revered as a sea-goddess ("mother of the sea") in Orcadian folklore. She is the benign force of the summer sea, granting life to every living thing, bringing warmth to the oceans and calming the storms.
According to Norse mythology, the first humans were formed out of two pieces of driftwood, an ash and an elm. Elm is sacred to the Great Goddess and symbolises, among other things, healing, rebirth, and the passage from one life to the next. Ash is the wood of Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, for protection, balance, justice, and the marriage of opposites.
It is undisputed that merely possessing those wands had healing effects on Severus and Hermione Snape.
Ibid., 7 August 2009
The wizarding money Severus and Hermione Snape had with them when they were sent to Azkaban was stolen to the last Knut. However, both of them also had Muggle money with them, Severus Snape a considerable sum. Luckily, the Azkaban guards never realised what those papers with those strange immobile pictures were and returned the full sums when Severus and Hermione Snape were released.
That way, Hermione and Severus could pay for room and board at the Three Broomsticks, and, after acquiring a house with the galleons from his inheritance that Draco gave them, continue to pay for food and necessities until they found paying jobs.
The Bloodmarks Legislation:
Bloodmarks were introduced in January 2000 and abolished in July 2009. Theoretically, these laws also applied to all magical prisoners incarcerated in Azkaban. The reason why Severus and Hermione Snape were never Bloodmarked has never been discovered. By now the most likely—and perhaps in its own way most devastating—explanation is that they were simply forgotten.
Ibid. 8 August 2009
On the way to Amrita Agan's house we passed the Shrieking Shack.
"Where Voldemort seemingly— [won by killing Harry, when in truth Harry's very death prepared Voldemort's own demise]
—the Shrieking Shack, where He triumphed, is now a memorial, a museum, a small café, a little shop. Postcards and souvenirs. Toy-snakes, child-sized Death Eater masks, buttons flashing the Dark Mark."
The reaction of Padma and Parvati Patil to Amrita Agan:
Padma and Parvati Patil believed that Amrita Agan was Nagini, and as human witch and snake Animagus much more than just his pet, therefore deadly and dangerous. This impression was only heightened by the instinctive reaction of their own Animagus form—the mongoose—towards snakes.
9 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"The Patils seem to be part of (or at least in contact with) [the Order of the Phoenix]. Or what remains of it today. . .
(I wonder if they know what [really] happened in the Shrieking Shack.)
. . .
Parvati Patil is an Auror now. I wonder how deeply the Ministry and Hogwarts are infiltrated by [the Order of the Phoenix]."
Padma and Parvati Patil were indeed jointly the heads of the Order of the Phoenix at that time. The Order had infiltrated both Hogwarts and the Ministry, but their number and influence was only slowly rising after Voldemort had killed or imprisoned nearly the whole Order and all its direct supporters in 1998. They also had no idea about what really happened in the Shrieking Shack—their concern for Severus and Hermione Snape's safety was based on assumptions regarding the timing of Voldemort's death and their release from Azkaban.
10 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
The Lake House, seen from the east (picture from 2158).
11 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
Natalie McDonald was a Gryffindor three years below Harry Potter. After Voldemort's victory she emigrated to the United States of America and never returned to Britain.
Ibid. 12 August 2009
"'For one night, just for one night,' you whispered, 'let us pretend.'
Let us pretend that Potter was not killed. That you did not use Potter's death to [activate components of his immune system] that [killed] the Dark Lord [eventually.]
Let us pretend we won the war."
The state of Hermione Snape's hair:
If hair has been Charmed off completely, it cannot be re-grown magically. Using a potion or a spell would have rendered Hermione permanently bald. Her shaved head set Hermione apart at first glance during her probation and made it even more difficult for her to fit back into wizarding society, which has always valued long hair of head and beard. This casual cruelty of authorities can be regarded as typical for Voldemort's reign and at least the first ten years after Voldemort's death.
13 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
The presence both Severus and Hermione Snape felt that day was Amrita Agan watching over them.
This incident serves as an excellent example of Severus Snape's heightened senses. He could not see, smell, or hear Agan. But he sensed her presence and her true nature, "alien"—not human.
14 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"I already knew they wouldn't do that. Clearly, they are much too [involved in the Order of the Phoenix] to vouch for us. And I hoped that Padma would have the sense not to cater to your obsession.
. . .
I tell myself they are wiser than Albus Dumbledore not to trust prisoners on probation with any [incriminating] details."
15 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
Inigo Pince is indeed a distant relative of Irma Pince, a cousin's son on her father's side.
Ibid. 16 August 2009
Excellent magical recipes for all soups mentioned in the probationary diaries may be found in Goody Gostelow's Sovereign Recipes and Remedies; this is also the book Eileen Snape used when she taught Severus Snape how to cook when he was a child.
Hermione saved Millicent Bulstrode's cat in the early stages of the Final Battle, shortly after the Death Eaters had breached the wards of Hogwarts and had entered the Great Hall.
17 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"Like I failed you. You were just a child when you were caught up in this war. Barely an adult when I declared my doomed love for you, when you [activated your curse on] Him. And it [worked] Just as Potter promised."
Meeting Amrita Agan:
Severus Snape remembered the Animagus form of the Patil twins from before the war. One of his suspicions concerning Amrita Agan at that time was that she was a Death Eater whose Animagus form was a snake, which would have explained the particularly fierce attitude of the Patils towards her. But the fact that he felt he knew Amrita Agan from before, although he could not remember her face at all, never stopped bothering him.
18 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment concerning a cat that is put into a sealed box wherein the cat's life or death was dependent on the state of a subatomic particle. Until the box is opened, the cat has exactly the same chance of being alive and dead: 50%.
The Kneazle Hermione Snape called Schrödinger remained her faithful companion for twenty-three years. It particularly enjoyed sleeping in boxes.
The book Millicent Bulstrode gave Hermione Snape had been her favourite book at school. However, this particular edition was Voldemort's Hogwarts, A Revised History, and Hermione Snape needed several days to be able to put her emotional reaction to this into words.
Ibid. 19 August 2009
Like Millicent Bulstrode's case, the marriage of Blaise Zabini to Gabrielle Delacour presents yet another instance of secret resistance to the ideals of Voldemort's reign. Naturally in both cases very personal interests were at stake, but the fact remains that they subverted Voldemort's laws and principles.
Amrita Agan treated Hermione's inflamed hand with "amrita", naga's milk, also known as "elixir of immortality".
Ibid. 20 August 2009
The splodges and smudges in Hermione Snape's entry on 20 August 2009 do not represent any intentional obfustication. Detailed analysis show that those marks were caused by tears and mucus dripping on wet ink.
Minerva McGonagall was the victim of numerous curses during the Final Battle that eventually shattered the connection between her mind, soul, and body. Due to her infirmity, her wealth, and her pureblood status, she was not imprisoned in Azkaban but sentenced to life-long house arrest. Annie Maddock, the house-elf that was formerly attached to the Lovegood family was assigned Minerva McGonagall to take care of her.
The Tower House (picture taken 2156)
"Limites Revelio" means "Show the Borders" (of a property). It is an obscure version of the Revelio spell used by owners of large properties.
21 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
It has never been discovered who leaked the details concerning the whereabouts and occupations of Severus and Hermione Snape to the Daily Prophet. Rumour has it that it was either Aberforth Dumbledore or Mundungus Fletcher, both of whom survived the war against Voldemort unscathed and miraculously unprosecuted.
22 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
[died at long last.]
[That my curse—made up of Muggle medical knowledge and arcane magic— was ultimately successful, that we managed to fulfil Albus Dumbledore's mission]
in the end…that doesn't seem to matter when I look at the remnants of Albus' grave."
In the anthology Memories of Harry Potter (Hermione Snape, ed.), Draco Malfoy relates Harry Potter's description of Albus Dumbledore's funeral: "Bright, white flames erupted, white smoke spiralled into the air and made strange shapes. And then I saw a phoenix fly off into the blue sky. The next second the fire had vanished and in its place was a white marble tomb."
23 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
Mithridates VI of Pontus, who fought not just one, but three prominent generals of the late Roman republic (Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey the Great), and who is legendary for immunizing himself against poisons by consuming small amounts of them on a daily basis.
"... world enough nor time" is a quote from the old magical poem His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell.
24 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"—before 2 May 1998 "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" was a euphemism for Voldemort, just as "The-Boy-Who-Lived" was a title bestowed upon Harry Potter. After Voldemort won, Harry Potter's name was decreed taboo and he became either "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "The-Boy-Who-Died".
Today, just as Hermione Snape already believed in her second year at Hogwarts, when she famously said, "Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself", both Voldemort and Harry Potter are referred to by their real names once more.
25 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"But I will not. I will not [give up without a fight no matter the cost—even be it casting an Unforgiveable]
However… the Dementors have become the prison guards of the whole wizarding world, and I cannot produce a Patronus anymore, so I [cannot simply escape into the Muggle world]
Besides, you need me."
The inability to produce a Patronus must be attributed to the effects of incarceration. Later in life, Severus Snape's Patronus turned into a Kneazle with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
26 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
Draco's interpretation is correct. The Parole and Probations Office informed the Minister for Magic as soon as Draco's name was mentioned in the probationary diaries. But Lucius Malfoy chose not to act on this information.
After eleven years of near certainty that his son was dead—spontaneous Apparitions resulting from instinctive attempts to escape emotional turmoil end, in the vast majority of documented cases, with life-threatening and often deadly Splinching—Lucius Malfoy was content to know that Draco was alive. That was more than he had hoped for a long, long time.
27 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
"Now, eleven years later, I realise that maybe he [saved us after all]
Maybe there was no other way.
At least, in the end [the curse worked and Voldemort died]
Though none of us, neither you nor I (nor Harry or Draco) thought that [it would take more than eleven years for him to die]
In any case, I have forgiven him."
Expecting that he would be sent back to Azkaban, Severus Snape briefly entertained the option of giving Hermione into Draco's care. Due to his Occlumency, Severus Snape knew that he could ensure a comfortable death for himself. However, when it became clear that Hermione refused to live without him, even though she understood his motivations, Severus abandoned that notion and devised an alternative plan of escape for both of them.
28 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
"Somehow I doubt that.
They left at noon. Draco Apparated home, I think. And Severus is making preparations for—
[our escape, should we not, through some miracle or other, both be able to fulfil the conditions of our probation]"
Severus Snape's plan for their escape was more than daring. He intended to use the Imperius curse on Minerva McGonagall to make her free her house-elf. After that, he intended to bind the house-elf to himself and to order it to take Hermione and himself to another continent, where they would abandon a magical life and hopefully remain undiscovered for the rest of their days.
Should that plan fail, he had procured a fast acting, deadly poison that would grant him and Hermione certain escape from all attempts to bring them back to Azkaban alive.
When Amrita Agan met Draco at the Lake House, she did not just introduce herself to him. She told him that he could safely return to his father, who had grieved for him for eleven years and was more than ready to forgive him all past and future transgressions.
29 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary
Hannah Abbott's offer to bankrupt her business for the sake of Severus Snape's freedom has been rightly praised as one of the outstanding examples of Hufflepuff loyalty.
Thankfully, she never went bankrupt. Today the Three Broomsticks belongs to her grandson Neville Abbott and is still counted among the top ten wizarding public houses of Britain.
30 August 2009—Severus Snape's diary
Many experts have tried to interpret the splodges in Severus Snape's entry for 30 August 2009 over the years. But to this day these marks only yield an (understandably) undecipherable emotional turmoil that cannot be put into words.
The name of the most distinguished patron who requested Severus Snape's presence in the guestroom, as well as the name of the wizard of excellent standing and impeccable repute who would vouch for him the next day, he omitted on purpose.
As Hermione Snape later said: "It was the day when he got his smirk back."
31 August 2009—Hermione Snape
This entry is written in black ink; the writing is noticeably clearer and straighter, not as cramped and frantic as the other entries.
Draco Malfoy's deed of bravery:
On 28 August 2009 Draco did not Apparate back to Bound Skerry, but to London. He met his father and they reconciled. In return Draco asked his father to save Severus Snape from Azkaban by vouching for him in person.
Lucius Malfoy—who still regarded Severus Snape as a friend—agreed. On Sunday, 30 August 2009, he Apparated to Hogsmeade. Accompanied by reporters from the Prophet and the Quibbler, he went to the Three Broomsticks where he ostentatiously enjoyed a soup for lunch.
And on Monday, 31 August 2009, Lucius Malfoy waited for Severus and Hermione Snape at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
He kept the promise he'd given Draco and vouched for Severus. Although their friendship never grew as close again as it had been in their youth, Severus Snape's and Lucius Malfoy's enmity ended that day and they remained on cordial terms until Lucius Malfoy's death on 13 April 2053.
IV. Hermione Snape's lists of the fallen
The list Hermione Snape kept in Azkaban prison was comprised of 95 names, three of which were survivors because she did not know they had lived (Draco Malfoy, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape).
[list with 95 names]
At the very back of her diary—squeezed between the back cover and the last page—Hermione Snape wrote down a revised version of her list after Padma Patil went over the first version of her list with her on 22 August 2009.
[list with 97 names]
V. What really happened in the Shrieking Shack
Although extensive Pensieved memories of Draco Malfoy, Minerva McGonagall, Severus and Hermione Snape are available and have been analysed individually, and by numerous experts many times over, their evidence remains inconclusive.
As Scorpius Malfoy-Snape wrote in My Father's Lives and Loves: "What really happened on that fateful day must, I think, remain obscure. It was too much. In a single day the history of the whole wizarding world changed forever. In mere moments some of the brightest lights of that time were forever extinguished. Such momentous events cannot possibly be reduced to a simple explanation of 'what really happened'."
Of course, that has not kept survivors or descendants, neither lay-witches nor experts, from searching for just that explanation.
The interested reader should avail themselves of the opportunity to see an abridged copy of the Pensieves of Draco Malfoy, Minerva McGonagall, Severus and Hermione Snape at the Shrieking Shack museum, as well as the reading recommendations listed in the relevant section of the appended bibliography.
Within the scope of this book, a brief summary must suffice to put the narrative of the diary entries into perspective.
On 2 May 1998 Voldemort and his Death Eaters attacked Hogwarts in order to apprehend and kill Harry Potter and thus bring about the end of Sybill Trelawney's prophecy. Among them was Draco Malfoy who had taken over Severus Snape's task as spy for the Light after Severus Snape's true allegiance was revealed during the battle on the Astronomy Tower on 21 June 1997.
The battle raged on for most of the day, until Harry Potter, Hermione Snape, Severus Snape, and Ronald Weasley barricaded themselves in the Shrieking Shack in order to set up a desperate back-up plan in motion that was developed by Hermione Snape.
Eventually, Voldemort, accompanied by Nagini and his most loyal Death Eaters broke through their defences and entered the Shrieking Shack. In this moment of crisis, Draco Malfoy dropped his disguise and joined the battle openly on the side of Light. This act, meant to provide the necessary moment of surprise to overpower Voldemort, backfired badly when Harry Potter leapt to the defence of his lover.
At this point Severus Snape was reduced to defending a now immobile Hermione Snape. Draco Malfoy and Ronald Weasley were forced to fight nearly the entire inner circle of Death Eaters, most notably, Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, leaving Voldemort and Nagini to Harry Potter.
Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that not one surviving combatant saw the debilitating curse that left Harry Potter helpless on the floor, so that Voldemort could order Nagini to attack him and end his life.
What Voldemort did not anticipate was the brilliant back-up plan that Hermione Snape had devised with the help of her Muggle parents, as well as with the assistance of Severus Snape and Luna Lovegood.
The pertinent literature concerning the creation and execution of that curse fills libraries by now. In the context of the probationary diaries the briefest of explanations will, however, serve.
Unbeknownst to himself for most of his life, Harry Potter suffered from low-level lactose intolerance. Because Voldemort had used Harry Potter's blood to regain a physical body, he shared enough of Harry Potter's genetic make-up to be susceptible to the same condition. Since—even in his regenerated form—his main source of sustenance remained Nagini's milk, the probability for Voldemort to develop serious physical reactions due to lactose-intolerance were significantly higher than for him to acquire a propensity for suffering a deadly anaphylactic shock from the sting of a wasp, for example. Based on the research of Lyra Lovegood—who had experimented with self-Transfiguration of molecular and sub-molecular structures before her tragic death—Hermione Snape was able to instill and intensify Harry Potter's lactose-intolerance in every single cell of Voldemort's new body. Once she cast the curse, Harry Potter's death activated it. After that, Voldemort's demise was just a question of time and diet.
During their probation, Severus and Hermione Snape naturally had to take pains—and literally did—to avoid mention of anything that would incriminate them beyond their recorded sentences as traitors and terrorists. Especially since they could not, at this point, know the events that had led to their release from prison.
VI. The mystery of Amrita Agan
The mystery of Amrita Agan is the unwritten story behind the diary entries of Severus and Hermione Snape. (To fully grasp the complex and tragic story of her life, the reader is urged to consult her autobiography, A Milkmaid's Tale.) But in order to gain an understanding of Amrita Agan's involvement in the release of Severus and Hermione Snape, it is first necessary to understand what she is.
That Amrita Agan is not what she seems to be, a beautiful, regal Indian witch, both Severus and Hermione Snape realised instinctively. But in August 2009 no one—not the Minister of Magic nor the heads of the Order of the Phoenix—knew what she was, although a few—among them Lucius Malfoy, as well as Padma and Parvati Patil—were aware of who she had been before she moved to Hogsmeade.
Amrita Agan is a naga.
She belongs to a rare group of magical Asian snakes that can take human form.
Naga are extremely strong and their poison is deadly. It is, therefore, not surprising that there are accounts of human wizards and witches enslaving naga in order to use them as weapons in their feuds from long before our time.
In human form they still show many characteristics of a snake: Especially their movements, and the shape and colour of their eyes, betray their fundamentally inhuman nature.
Legends tell of the naga's access to what is called "amrita", the elixir of immortality. Those accounts vary. Some stories report the snakes stealing the ambrosia, others describe them saving, or creating it. Reality is more prosaic: the legendary life-giving substance known as "amrita" is nothing more and nothing less than a naga's milk.
A naga's powers are manifold: apart from the by now well-documented properties of their milk (Milk of Inhuman Kindness by Honey Silk), they can bring rain and bestow fertility—a fact illustrated by Hermione Snape's entry for 19 August, as well as by the birth of her first child, Adriana Amrita Snape, the following year.
For the sake of her life-giving milk, Voldemort trapped Amrita Agan in her snake-form and enslaved her with a Parseltongue version of Imperius, which is infinitely more powerful than the ordinary version of this spell. He called her "Nagini"—"female naga"—and kept her at his side as pet, cattle, and weapon in one, forcing her to commit and suffer unspeakable atrocities over the years.
Apart from Voldemort (and possibly Peter Pettigrew, who was charged with "milking" Amrita) only Harry Potter ever knew what and who Nagini was.
And he discovered her secret only in the final moments of his life.
Unfortunately, his memories, which must have contained this information, dissolved on the floor of the Shrieking Shack. We are thus left with only Amrita Agan's report for this part of the story, a fact which has given rise to uncounted conspiracy theories, from claims that Amrita was Voldemort's willing lover to the idea that Voldemort turned into Nagini when he died.
The truthfulness of Amrita Agan's story, however, has been validated beyond any doubt by the famous Parselmouth and certified Indian snake-charmer Abhay Sandilya.
According to Amrita Agan, Harry Potter realised she was only Voldemort's slave when he lay helplessly cursed on the floor of the Shrieking Shack. His final thoughts were of forgiveness, of love for Draco Malfoy and his friends, and a promise.
He promised Amrita that he and his friends, first and foremost Severus and Hermione Snape, would set her free. Harry Potter knew he was about to die. Uncertain how long it would take the curse of Hermione's devising to unfold and aware of what Voldemort's apparent victory must mean, Harry asked Amrita for help.
His request was simple.
Should any of his friends survive Voldemort's death, Amrita was supposed to aid and assist them in any way she could.
To understand what happened next—after Voldemort died due to an anaphylactic shock induced by Amrita's milk—it is important to be aware of the longevity of naga. Amrita Agan was very young when Voldemort ensnared her—only a little over three hundred years old. But naga easily live 2,000 years or beyond. Therefore, it is no surprise that the local Muggle populace have long revered them as divine and immortal beings for centuries.
Thus the eleven years that passed between Harry Potter's promise and Voldemort's death appeared to be just a short span of time to her.
As soon as Voldemort was dead, she took human form—something that Voldemort had denied her throughout her captivity.
She invented a name for herself, a combination of the substance she was enslaved for and a simplistic anagram of her true nature, turning "naga" into "agan".
Then she set out to find ways to fulfil her promise and help Harry Potter's friends.
First she killed Bellatrix Lestrange—for the simple reason that she remembered seeing Bellatrix kill Hermione Snape's half-kneazle. Next she revealed herself to the new Minister for Magic, Lucius Malfoy, and forced him to release Severus and Hermione Snape from prison.
Lucius Malfoy, however, only knew that Nagini was now Amrita Agan and that she wished Severus and Hermione Snape released from Azkaban. He had no idea why. Having more than enough on his mind at that time, he simply passed the matter on to the Department for Magical Law Enforcement and the Office for Parole and Probations.
It is there that the (ultimately correct) theory was developed that Severus and Hermione Snape knew something about Voldemort's death. The conditions for their probation were drafted so they would betray their secrets and fail to meet the requirements for their rehabilitation. At this point in time—while Lucius Malfoy had already implemented first revisions and reversals of some of Voldemort's policies—there was no widespread reprobation of Voldemort's regime, nor a broad movement towards an abolition of his laws. Therefore the investigation of the circumstances of Voldemort's and Bellatrix Lestrange's deaths were still a priority for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
But the Department for Magical Law Enforcement did not know about the existence of Amrita Agan.
After murdering Bellatrix and engineering Hermione Snape's and Severus Snape's release, Amrita Agan moved to Hogsmeade and began to search for others who had supported Harry Potter in the Final Battle and who might aid her goal of helping Severus and Hermione Snape.
While in Hogsmeade, she ran afoul of Padma Patil—one of the heads of the Order of the Phoenix, and mongoose Animagus. Together with her sister, Auror Parvati Patil, who shared her sister's Animagus form, Padma Patil quickly connected the dots and realised that Agan must be none other than Nagini. However, in spite of their Indian background, neither of them suspected Nagini's true nature. Instead they assumed that they were dealing with a human witch whose Animagus was a giant snake.
The Patils' suspicions along with Agan's inability to understand the customs and culture of human witches and wizards in Britain made it much more difficult for her to keep her promise to Harry Potter and help Severus and Hermione Snape.
Nevertheless, she did her best. She would have sold them a house adjoining her own, she healed Hermione Snape's inflamed hand, and she helped her discover Minerva McGonagall's whereabouts. Faithfully, she consumed Severus' soups every day he worked at the Three Broomsticks, even though the taste of anything but fish caused her nausea and severe stomach pains. She ascertained that Draco Malfoy would not be in any danger were he to return to his father and ask him to vouch for Severus Snape. She healed the damage Hermione Snape's body had sustained in Azkaban, ensuring that she would eventually bear five healthy children.
And last but not least, she recognised the power of the core of Severus and Hermione Snape's new wands.
Hermione Snape describes how they acquired their new wands in the entry of 6 August 2009:
"This morning, Draco took us to a wandmaker on the Orkney Islands, on Eynhallow. Master Manannan Lear uses driftwood. His cores are magical flotsam and jetsam, and apparently his mother's hair. At least that's what he said when he thrust two wands at us. "Them's for ye. Mither's hair. Ye need it." Obviously he doesn't subscribe to Ollivander's philosophy of wands choosing their wizards. Severus' wand is ash, mine is elm."
As explained in the annotations for Hermione's entry for 6 August 2009, the core of the new wands was made from the hair of one of the great sea-serpents of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the wands' special properties was that Severus and Hermione Snape were able to reveal the true nature of snake-creatures, from simple garden snakes to Animagi, from naga to basilisks. They did so for the first time when they visited Amrita Agan on 1 September 2009 and finally uncovered her secret.
VII. The later lives of Hermione Snape, Severus Snape, and Draco Malfoy
The years following their release from Azkaban prison, Severus and Hermione Snape spent much as their probationary diaries already suggest: Hermione Snape worked as Minerva McGonagall's assistant, while Severus Snape stayed on as soup cook at the Three Broomsticks.
On 20 March 2010, Hermione and Severus Snape were married in a quiet ceremony on Eynhallow, and 3 May 2010 their first daughter, Adriana Amrita Snape, was born.
Apart from that life-changing event, the year after their release from Azkaban prison was spent quietly. They lived at the Lake House, with Draco Malfoy a frequent guest. Free days and holidays were spent at the lighthouse of Bound Skerry.
The review of their rehabilitation 31 August 2010 passed without difficulties.
Since Amrita Agan had yielded her secret to the power of their new wands, Severus and Hermione Snape spent most of their free time discovering and mastering the powers of their wands. As Amrita Agan had already told them, a core made from the hair of a great sea serpent creates a wand with extraordinary powers, especially for healing spells. At the pinnacle of their powers, when they had achieved complete mastery of their new wands as well as of their own talents, they were able to cast the most powerful spells of healing the wizarding world has seen since the days of Hildegard of Bingen.
(Concerning that particular area of interest, Healing the Wizarding World by Muriel Mugwort is considered the seminal monograph on the topic.)
The first task they set themselves was, of course, to heal Minerva McGonagall. It took them over a decade to disentangle the curses that had struck Minerva McGonagall and to make her shattered mind and soul whole again. Only by 2020 were they finally successfully able to heal their old teacher and friend. While Minerva McGonagall remained frail of body and fragile of mind, she was able to enjoy her remaining years in full possession of her mental faculties until she passed away, 21 March 2038.
The healing of Minerva McGonagall is often interpreted as the conclusion of both Hermione Snape's and Severus Snape's own healing processes. Certainly it was a first and vital step of a long journey of magical (self-)discovery.
Hermione Snape's primary genius lay in spell-creation. That talent, already obvious during her school-days*, even before she devised the curse that killed Voldemort, truly blossomed in the complex healing spells she invented for the sake of Minerva McGonagall. After this achievement, it is not surprising that Hermione Snape was invited to join the Department of Mysteries, where Amrita Agan had already worked since 2010.
(An excellent title to discover the young Hermione Snape is Hermione Snape—The Early Days by Rosa Bulstrode. Of Hermione Snape's time in the Department of Mysteries we naturally know almost nothing, though it can be assumed that she was involved in several sensitive and significant spell-creation projects.)
Hermione Snape's appointment as Unspeakable coincided with Padma Patil succeeding Aurora Sinistra as Headmistress of Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Under Headmistress Patil, Hogwarts was restored to its former glory. At the beginning of the new school year of 2010/2011, Gryffindor House was re-established. Once more all students with magical abilities were welcome at Hogwarts, no matter their background, be they pureblood, half-blood or Muggle-born. But in the following years, Headmistress Patil truly revolutionised magical education by adding a "special needs" programme for squibs and offering summer courses to non-magical siblings and close-blood relations.
The first new teachers she recruited in 2023 were Severus Snape, who returned to Hogwarts to teach Potions, and Draco Malfoy, who joined the staff as Professor for Magical Ethics and Philosophy.
When Padma Patil stepped down as Headmistress of Hogwarts 2049 in order to become the Headmistress of the famous Siddhartha School of Sorcery in Lumbini, the board of governors unanimously voted for Severus Snape as her successor.
Once Severus Snape took office, Hermione Snape left the Department of Mysteries to join her husband's staff as Hogwarts librarian, an occupation that allowed her substantial free time to conduct private research and write, eventually publishing an astonishing number of forty-two books and numerous articles and essays.
As Headmaster of Hogwarts, Severus Snape continued all programmes implemented by Padma Patil, and added some of his own, most notably the establishment of the Minerva McGonagall College of Magic in 2058.
What Headmaster Severus Snape is best known for, however, is his Sorting Reform. Before his 2050/2051 reform, Hogwarts students were only Sorted once—before they started their first year. Already Albus Dumbledore criticised this tradition, saying: "…I sometimes think we Sort too soon…" Severus Snape himself was convinced that the early and immutable Sorting encouraged the inflexible ideology that led to Voldemort's reign.
Since 2050/2051, students are not Sorted into their Houses once and for all, but are re-Sorted every year. Now innate talent, individual choices, and the development of skills and character determine a student's House on a yearly basis. While a few students remain in one and the same House—and even fewer are Sorted into each House at least once—most students belong to at least two different Houses during their time at Hogwarts. Additionally students may also remain Unsorted, if they are of age, or if their parents wish it. Since 2054 the living quarters of the Unsorted students have been in the attic above the Great Hall.
For more than ten happy years Draco Malfoy, Severus and Hermione Snape lived together at Hogwarts, until the death of Lucius Malfoy in 2053.
In 2054 Draco Malfoy decided to run for office and was elected Minister for Magic 19 September 2054.
Lucius Malfoy had done much to lead Britain back into the International Confederation of Wizarding Communities, but much remained to be done what a wizard of his generation and background could not achieve.
Draco Malfoy, however, turned out to be the leader the magical community of Britain had been waiting for. As the pureblood son of a Death Eater, lover of Harry Potter, hero of the war against Voldemort, and respected partner of Hermione and Severus Snape, he was the symbol of a new era in wizarding Britain, a time of reconciliation and renewal.
When asked about his motivation, Draco Malfoy always responded simply: "Harry always did what he could. I can do no less."
His new office, a burden of heavy responsibilities and many duties, inevitably influenced his relationship with Hermione and Severus Snape. Although in their hearts and minds they remained one family until the day they died, for many years the time they actually lived together diminished to just a few weeks a year.
Only in 2099, when Severus and Hermione Snape retired, and Draco Malfoy stepped down as Minister of Magic (to be succeeded by his son, Scorpius Harry Malfoy-Snape), the harmony and happiness of the early days of their polyamorous relationship revived.
Draco Malfoy and Hermione and Severus Snape spent the last thirty years of their lives where they had set out together after the Snapes' release from Azkaban prison: the Lake House in Hogsmeade and the lighthouse of Bound Skerry.
Cooking soups remained Severus Snape's hobby for the rest of his life, and he won regional and international soup cook outs with terrifying regularity, the last being the "Hogsmeade Christmas Smash" of 2127.
All her life, Hermione Snape was a dedicated Kneazle keeper. Although she never achieved the Animagus transformation, her post-prison Patronus eventually appeared as a Kneazle with tiger stripes and leopard spots—looking exactly like her husband's Patronus. This is considered a clear testament to the impact Millicent Bulstrode's gift of the Kneazle Schrödinger had on both their lives.
At the end of her life, Hermione Snape possessed the largest collection of editions of Hogwarts, A History in the world. It is now housed in a special library at Hogwarts and open to visitors on every Hogsmeade weekend.
Draco Malfoy's free time was spent either with the Snape family or at the lighthouse on Bound Skerry. Today the lighthouse keeper is Hermes Severus Malfoy-Snape.
Hermione Snape had five children together with Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy.
- Adriana Amrita Snape, born 2010Hermes Severus Malfoy-Snape, born 2015
- Minerva Luna Snape, 2020–2074 (Minerva Luna's death of cancer in 2074 was by far the greatest tragedy in the later years of Hermione and Severus Snape's lives.)
- Albus Lucius Snape, born 2020 (His daughter, Minerva Dramione Snape (born 2074) succeeded Rose Bulstrode as Headmistress of Hogwarts in 2124.)
- Scorpius Harry Malfoy-Snape, born 2028 (Minister for Magic from 19 September 2099 to 21 September 2159.)
Severus and Hermione Snape died peacefully in their bed on 1 September 2129, surrounded by their loved ones: Draco Malfoy, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchild.
Hermione Snape's last recorded words were: "Nearly 153 years or 1,833 months or 7,967 weeks or 55,769 days or 1,338,456 hours. And now, eternity."
(These figures denote the length of time Hermione Snape judged herself to be in love with Severus Snape. From 23 December 1996 when she discovered his secret efforts to cure the cursed Albus Dumbledore to the day of her death and beyond.
Severus Snape's last words were "My own Hermione", just as he had predicted in his diary 31 August 2009.
Draco Malfoy died in his sixth floor bedroom at the lighthouse on Bound Skerry 1 August 2133. As he requested, he died alone. But on the low ledge next to his bed he had arrayed pictures of all his loved ones, first and foremost photographs of Harry Potter, and Hermione and Severus Snape.
VIII. The miracle of Azkaban
What the Daily Prophet coined as "the miracle of Azkaban" is regarded by experts as the most amazing feat of wandless, wordless magic of all times. It is also widely considered the most profound tribute to those who suffered and died during the war against Voldemort.
When Azkaban finally closed as a prison in 2147, public interest led the Ministry to attempt to find the cells in which Severus and Hermione Snape spent the eleven years of their incarceration. While the exact position of Severus Snape's cell remains a secret, Hermione Snape's cell could be located—because it held a shocking surprise.
Engraved in the 91 squares of one cell's floor, the Ministry discovered the list of names Hermione Snape thought she had kept only in her mind.
While she correctly remembered that her frequent caresses had smoothed the tile where she put Severus Snape's name, she was—no doubt due to the fragile mental state caused by the long years of her imprisonment—never aware of what she had really done.
In a spectacular feat of wandless, wordless magic she carved the names of those she assumed dead into the squares of her cell-floor. Four additional names could be found chiselled into the corners of the room.
All names Hermione Snape mentioned in her probationary diary were found exactly in the square she described.
Much has been said and written about Severus and Hermione Snape, about their role in the war, their impact on the political reformation of the wizarding world post-Voldemort, their professional achievements, and about their unusual personal life-style. No doubt much is yet to be said and written about them.
With this facsimile edition of their probationary diaries we have set out to commemorate their deeds, and to ascertain that their suffering at the hands of Voldemort himself, and as victims of a system untamed by true rule of law and recognition of basic rights, will not be forgotten by subsequent generations.
But with the authentic testimony of their probationary diaries we hope for more:
We hope that in the future Hermione and Severus Snape may be seen not only as heroes, and as the icons of their time they have become, but that they may be glimpsed as human beings—struggling for their lives and their sanity, adrift between past and present, losing and holding on to hope, and never, ever, abandoning their love for each other.
"Look to this day! For it is life, the very life of life.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope."
(Department of Mysteries, Ministry of Magic),
(Professor for History of Magic at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry),
Minerva Dramione Snape
(Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry).
…oooOOO Finite Incantatem OOOooo…
Most references for this story already appear in the story itself.
However, some additional credits seem appropriate to me.
Additional notes the editors' notes
Editors' Notes for 16 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary:
The book by Goody Gostelow is from Mary Stewart's novel Thornyhold.
Editors' Notes for 22 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary:
Harry's description of Albus Dumbledore's burial is based nearly verbatim on the relevant passage in chapter thirty, The White Tomb, of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by Joanne K. Rowling.
Editors' Notes for 24 August 2009—Hermione Snape's diary:
The quote "Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself" is originally an Albus Dumbledore quote from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, chapter 17. In the movies, however, it is Hermione who gets to say this line, in Flourish & Blotts at the beginning of Chamber of Secrets.
Additional notes for "The Mystery of Amrita Agan"
A Milkmaid's Tale—the title of Amrita Agan's autobiography is, of course, an allusion to Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.
Milk of Human Kindness—is a quote from William Shakespeare's Macbeth: "Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o' th' Milke of humane kindnesse."
My naga lore is based on a variety of sources, online and offline. Wikipedia is a good starting point if you're curious.
Additional notes for "The later lives of Hermione Snape, Severus Snape, and Draco Malfoy"
Muriel Mugwort is a cameo of an original character from my story "The Apprentice and the Necromancer".
Lumbini is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
"…I sometimes think we Sort too soon…"—is a quote from Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 33, The Prince's Tale.
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Thank you again…
Writing Prisoners of Azkaban as a real!time diary!fic in August was an incredibly intense experience. Without the help and support from my beta-readers and fandom friends, I wouldn't have been able to create the complex work it has become.
I am indebted to my beta-readers, Aranel Took, Ayerf, Fliewatuet, Juniperus, Machshefa, Mia Madwyn, and Sc0ffy. Many thanks also go to Annie Talbot and Potion Mistress for brainstorming and helpful ideas.
Special thanks go to Mia Madwyn for cheerleading, extravagant compliments, critical discussions, and invaluable support throughout the time of writing this story.
Thank you once more, from the depths of my heart!
Also, a huge THANK YOU goes out to my readers—so many of whom have patiently and passionately accompanied this story. Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy the conclusion of this tale.
…and last but not least: Happy birthday, Annie Talbot!
You're responsible for some of my happiest moments in HP fandom, you're an amazing writer, and a wonderful friend. With other words, it's almost impossible to find a fitting gift for you because it should be absolutely perfect. I'm not sure about the "perfect" part…I'm certain I've missed a typo or two (or three, or four) and that some bits of code are wonky in this web-version of Prisoners of Azkaban.
However, I do know that you've enjoyed this story very much. So this is my gift to you: the final completion of the story on your birthday, dedicated to you.
Happy birthday, dearest!