During Harry's Occlumency lessons with Snape in the Order of the Phoenix, Harry uses Protego in response to Snape's attempt to enter his mind. This results in the spell rebounding and consequently Harry sees some of Snape's memories.

Quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix C.26 P.591-2

Harry raised his own wand.


Snape staggered; his wand flew upward, away from Harry — and suddenly Harry’s mind was teeming with memories that were not his — a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner. . . . A greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies. . . . A girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick —


Harry felt as though he had been pushed hard in the chest; he took several staggering steps backward, hit some of the shelves covering Snape’s walls and heard something crack. Snape was shaking slightly, very white in the face.

Considering that Harry was new to Occlumency at this point and was struggling to grasp it, how could he have the ability to get into Snape's mind, even with the Shield Charm? Surely Snape would be strong and experienced enough to withstand this?

In summary, did Snape allow Harry to see his memory during an Occlumency lesson?

  • 2
    You seem to be asking a lot of questions about the Harry Potter films that want to get specific book quotes explained. Are you sure you really want a movie answer for those rather than actually asking about the books?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:21
  • Just using the books as supporting evidence. But noted
    – user82081
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


Snape was not focused on Occlumency at the time, and it is a skill which requires both control, focus and skill. Prior to that, the scene was

'Perhaps,' said Snape, his dark, cold eyes narrowing slightly, 'perhaps you actually enjoy having these visions and dreams, Potter. Maybe they make you feel special - important?'

'No, they don't,' said Harry, his jaw set and his fingers clenched tightly around the handle of his wand.

'That is just as well, Potter,' said Snape coldly, 'because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.'

'No - that's your job, isn't it?' Harry shot at him.

He had not meant to say it; it had burst out of him in temper. For a long moment they stared at each other, Harry convinced he had gone too far. But there was a curious, almost satisfied expression on Snape's face when he answered.

'Yes, Potter,' he said, his eyes glinting. That is my job. Now, if you are ready, we will start again.' He raised his wand: 'One - two - three - Legilimens!'

We can see how Snape was starting to lose control, to enjoy this, to unleash his anger in this psychological torture. Despite being a great Occlumens, right now, the only thing on his mind was the hatred and frustration he felt for Harry and James.

Snape's powerful Legilimency spell was reflected back at him before he could react, and Harry could briefly see into his mind before he gained back control and pushed him out.

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