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harry potter deathly
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How was Snape killing Dumbledore an act loyalty in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? |

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There are various possible interpretations.

One possibility is that Dumbledore suspected that Draco would be put in such a position, with Lucius's loyalty in question, and due to Snape's closeness with the family, it's possible that Dumbledore asked Snape to watch over him. The Malfoys, with the help of Bellatrix Lestrange, made this a permanent position by asking him to make the Unbreakable Vow. Without question, Snape told Dumbledore about this, and Dumbledore probably requested that Snape maintain Draco's innocence.

Alternatively, it's possible that Dumbledore had some inkling about the role Draco would play later--with the wand switching authority and so forth. However, it is more likely that the old wizard was concerned with maintaining Draco's innocence.

In killing Dumbledore, Snape did as was asked of him (as it can be assumed), and his murder was therefore an act of loyalty.

Additionally, outside the interpretation of the story itself, in terms of literary devices, Harry Potter's story is a quest, and in quests, the hero must go it alone at the end. It's why Harry goes to the forest by himself, without Hermione or Ron, and why the majority of the adults who helped him along the way had to die (Sirius, Dumbledore, Mad-Eye, Remus, Tonks, Snape, etc.). In effect, Dumbledore had to die, so Rowling relied on this to develop Snape's plot and provide him a role as a hero.

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