Harry versus Snape

Harry succeeds in protecting himself from Professor Snape's Legilimens spell with the Protego charm

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

He raised his wand: ‘One – two – three – Legilimens!’

A hundred Dementors were swooping towards Harry across the lake in the grounds ... he screwed up his face in concentration ... they were coming closer ... he could see the dark holes beneath their hoods ... yet he could also see Snape standing in front of him, his eyes fixed on Harry’s face, muttering under his breath ... and somehow, Snape was growing clearer, and the Dementors were growing fainter ...

Harry raised his own wand.


Snape staggered – his wand flew upwards, 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 staggered several steps backwards, hit some of the shelves covering Snape’s walls and heard something crack. Snape was shaking slightly, and was very white in the face. The back of Harry’s robes was damp. One of the jars behind him had broken when he fell against it; the pickled slimy thing within was swirling in its draining potion.

‘Reparo,’ hissed Snape, and the jar sealed itself at once. ‘Well, Potter ... that was certainly an improvement ...’ Panting slightly, Snape straightened the Pensieve in which he had again stored some of his thoughts before starting the lesson, almost as though he was checking they were still there. ‘I don’t remember telling you to use a Shield Charm ... but there is no doubt that it was effective ...’

Harry did not speak; he felt that to say anything might be danger- ous. He was sure he had just broken into Snape’s memories, that he had just seen scenes from Snape’s childhood. It was unnerving to think that the little boy who had been crying as he watched his parents shouting was actually standing in front of him with such loathing in his eyes.

‘Let’s try again, shall we?’ said Snape.

Harry felt a thrill of dread; he was about to pay for what had just happened, he was sure of it. They moved back into position with the desk between them, Harry feeling he was going to find it much harder to empty his mind this time.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling