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Harry Potter's first Golden Snitch

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DH1 Golden Snitch 'I Open at the Close'
Harry Potter's first Golden Snitch
Object information
Made

1991 or earlier

Usage
Owners
"To Harry James Potter, I leave the Snitch he caught in his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts, as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance and skill."
—Rufus Scrimgeour quotes from Dumbledore's will on this Snitch.[src]

This Golden Snitch was the Snitch used in the first match between Gryffindor and Slytherin during the 1991-1992 season, where it was caught by Harry Potter. It was later used by Albus Dumbledore to posthumously ensure that Marvolo Gaunt's ring would be safely delivered to Harry, while at the same time ensuring he could not access the Resurrection Stone set into it until he was ready.

History

Creation

Like all Golden Snitches, this Snitch was crafted by a metal charmer, who enchanted the ball with several spells, including giving the Snitch a "flesh memory" so it could identify the first human to touch it with their bare skin. It was sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to be used for their Quidditch matches, and was designated to be used in the first match of the 1991-1992 season, between Gryffindor and Slytherin.

1991

"He didn't catch it, he nearly swallowed it."
—Marcus Flint protests Harry's accidental Snitch capture.[src]

During the match, the Snitch was sighted fairly early on by both Harry Potter and Terence Higgs. Harry was almost able to catch it, however, he was fouled by Marcus Flint before he could get close enough, and the Snitch vanished in the confusion.

Harry Potter and Snitch

Harry Potter attempting to catch this Snitch.

Later on in the match, Harry's Nimbus 2000 was put under a jinx by Quirinus Quirrell, who was attempting to murder Harry. Though he managed to stay on his broom through a combination of his own skill, Severus Snape casting a counter-jinx, and a distraction provided by Hermione Granger, Harry was still swung wildly through the air in the ordeal. As a result of this, Harry accidentally "caught" the Golden Snitch in his mouth. Despite the unorthodox method of capture, this was considered a valid catch, and Gryffindor won the match.[1] As a result of this, the Snitch acquired the flesh memory of Harry's lips, ensuring that the Snitch would react to him in the future.

1997-1998

"A Snitch is not touched by bare skin before it is released, not even by the maker, who wears gloves. It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in the case of disputed capture. This Snitch will remember your touch, Potter. It occurs to me that Dumbledore, who had prodigious magical skill, whatever his other faults, might have enchanted this Snitch so that it will open only for you."
—Rufus Scrimgeour correctly assumes what Dumbledore had done to this Snitch.[src]

Sometime prior to his death on 30 June, 1997, Albus Dumbledore assumed that Harry Potter would need the Resurrection Stone set into Marvolo Gaunt's ring at some point in his quest to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes. He also assumed that Harry would be tempted by the stone if he was able to access it before he was fully ready to accept that he would have to let Voldemort attempt to kill him. To remedy this, he obtained this Snitch and cast further spells on it, encasing the ring within the Snitch, and causing two effects to trigger when it recognised Harry's lips. The first, which would activate at any point when Harry placed the Snitch to his lips, would make the Snitch display the inscription "I open at the close". The second effect, alluded to by the first, would activate when Harry voiced his willingness to die to the Snitch, and would cause the Snitch to open.

Scrimddwill

Scrimgeour presents this Snitch to Harry.

To ensure that Harry would get this Snitch, he entrusted it to him in his will. Like the other items in the will, the Snitch was first heavily tested by the British Ministry of Magic on order of Rufus Scrimgeour, who was suspicious of the odd nature of the items that Dumbledore had left. Unable to find anything suspicious with the Snitch in the maximum allotted thirty-one days, Scrimgeour interrogated Harry about it directly, even going so far as to assume that Harry's Snitch-shaped birthday cake was a direct reference to the Snitch he was receiving.

Once the Minister left, Harry made an attempt to divine the reasoning for Dumbledore leaving him the Snitch. Harry was able to work out that it needed to be pressed to his lips, and thus discovered the first of its effects.[2] Unable to work out any meaning to the inscription at the time, he kept it his mokeskin pouch along with other artefacts that he felt had no real worth, but merely kept for intrinsic purposes. Though he would examine the Snitch several times more during his hunt for Voldemort's Horcruxes, he was unable to come to any further conclusion for quite some time.

Resurrection Stone

Harry receives the Resurrection Stone from this Snitch.

"I am about to die."
—Harry makes his dying declaration to the Snitch so it can open.[src]

Almost a year later, at the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry witnessed the dying memories of Severus Snape, and thus learned that he was a Horcrux as well, and thus must be killed by Voldemort in order for Voldemort himself to die. Walking into the Forbidden Forest to his death, he realised the meaning of the inscription on the Golden Snitch, and made his intention to die clear to it. At his words, the Snitch opened and presented him with the ring inside it. Harry used the Stone set in the ring to commune with his lost loved ones, and thus give himself the courage needed to accept his death. The Snitch, now broken and of no use to Harry, was presumably discarded into the forest and lost.[3]

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)

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