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-   -   Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8 (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=116258)

Moriath April 29th, 2008 9:34 am

Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Welcome to the eighth version of this thread! :)

For background reading and reference:
version one
version two
version three
version four
version five
version six
version seven

This time a quotation from CoS:    


  Goyle's potion exploded, showering the whole class. People shrieked as splashes of the Swelling Solution hit them. Malfoy got a faceful and his nose began to swell like a balloon; Goyle blundered around, his hands over his eyes, which had expanded to the size of a dinner plate - Snape was trying to restore calm and find out what had happened. Through the confusion, Harry saw Hermione slip quietly into Snape's office.

"Silence! SILENCE!" Snape roared. "Anyone who has been splashed, come here for a Deflating Draft - when I find out who did this -"

Harry tried not to laugh as he watched Malfoy hurry forward, his head drooping with the weight of a nose like a small melon. As half the class lumbered up to Snape's desk, some weighted down with arms like clubs, others unable to talk through gigantic puffedup lips, Harry saw Hermione slide back into the dungeon, the front of her robes bulging.

When everyone had taken a swig of antidote and the various swellings had subsided, Snape swept over to Goyle's cauldron and scooped out the twisted black remains of the firework. There was a sudden hush.

"If I ever find out who threw this," Snape whispered, "I shall make sure that person is expelled."

Harry arranged his face into what he hoped was a puzzled expression. Snape was looking right at him, and the bell that rang ten minutes later could not have been more welcome.

"He knew it was me," Harry told Ron and Hermione as they hurried back to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. "I could tell."

Hermione threw the new ingredients into the cauldron and began to stir feverishly.

"It'll be ready in two weeks," she said happily.

"Snape can't prove it was you," said Ron reassuringly to Harry. "What can he do?"

"Knowing Snape, something foul," said Harry as the potion frothed and bubbled.
  

  • Do you interpret this scene differently after DH?
  • Was Snape's reaction possibly influenced by his feud with James Potter?
Study questions:
  1. Do you think Snape would have moved on if Lily had not died? Would he have turned to the good side in that case?
  2. Snape is revealed to have been acting throughout the series out of love for Lily, how does this effect your view of his actions in the series - his "murder" of Dumbledore, his treatment of Sirius.
  3. Why do you think Snape chose to become a Death Eater?
  4. How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
  5. What do you think of Snape's actions after learning who Voldemort had targeted with the prophecy?
  6. What do you think of Snape's actions after Lily's death. How do you think this death has affected his character?
  7. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
  8. Do you believe Snape came to care about Harry?
  9. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
  10. Do you think Snape should have been sorted in Slytherin? Would he have made the same choices if he had been sorted elsewhere?
  11. There are all kinds of bravery in this series, what characteristics of Snape's make him brave? In what sense is he a hero?

AS THIS IS STILL A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL AND SENSITIVE TOPIC WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK EVERYONE TO PLEASE BE SENSITIVE TO OTHERS OPINIONS. THIS MEANS NO GLOATING AS WELL AS NO BASHING. CONSEQUENCES WILL BE SEVERE.

Additionally please read How to have a pleasant conversation on any topic and Character Bashing/Worship: aka Shades of Gray BEFORE POSTING IN THIS THREAD


Now go on and have fun! :)

RWeasleysgirl May 7th, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pearl-took
Indeed ... and I would like to point out (and I am sure I have pointed it out before ) that it is not unreasonable to suppose that Snape sometimes did what he could to protect the students from the Carrows' cruelty. The one solid example we have of this from canon is his 'punishment' for Ginny, Neville and Luna when they try to steal the sword of Gryffindor from his office. He sends them into the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. Not much of a punishment. As Harry himself noted, but of course Harry still thought of Snape as a bad guy at that point!

I was just about to bring that up myself! He certainly did that, and likely other things as well, but he had to be sneaky about it.

wickedwickedboy May 7th, 2008 11:12 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I selected Jealousy in the poll, but as Yoda in SW so elegantly put it, jealousy (fear of losing Lily to James) leads to anger, leads to hate.... So imo, that was the starting emotion, but I feel he went through the whole chain of named emotions equally in the end.

DeathlyH May 7th, 2008 11:37 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy (Post 5017786)
I selected Jealousy in the poll, but as Yoda in SW so elegantly put it, jealousy (fear of losing Lily to James) leads to anger, leads to hate.... So imo, that was the starting emotion, but I feel he went through the whole chain of named emotions equally in the end.

I too voted for jealousy. :) At first they simply didn't like each other, just from the first train scene, but then when James started becoming the big Quidditch star and getting a ton of attention, Snape, the little unpopular oddball, started getting jealous. Then of cousre, James went and got Lily and that jealoust got even stronger, and started to form into pure hatred. Byt the main reason for their whole rivalry with each other was Snape's jealousy. All IMO. :)

Tonks May 8th, 2008 2:13 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I went the jealous route as well. It initially seems the most obvious but on top of that, there is the hatred that is cultivated when one becomes that obsessively jealous. I can see Snape going through several emotions in relation to James. I see nothing pleasant about that relationship at all.

RWeasleysgirl May 8th, 2008 3:12 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I chose jealousy as well.

PerfectDystopia May 8th, 2008 3:15 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I voted hatred. It is obvious that Snape was jealous of James when it came to Lily, but I think Snape's feelings for James even went beyond that. As JK Rowling said, James had everything Snape didn't. I can just imagine Snape fuming at the fact that James was "the golden boy" that all the students and teachers loved, and everyone thought James was so wonderful, and Snape was just this freak that no one cared about unless to torment him. To see someone shine so brightly while you are just barely seen can make anyone bitter and that bitterness just turns to hate. When you are so miserable, you just start to hate people who are so happy. And then you start to hate everyone. Everytime you see that person happy, you want to break their face because they're happy and you are miserable and you hate them for that and you hate them even more because they are the person that made you miserable in the first place.

I don't think Snape was envious of James, especially at Quidditch. When you hate someone so much, you start to hate everything that person likes or is associated with. Maybe Snape was a little envious of James' Quidditch talent at first, but as his hatred for James deepened, his hate spread to Quidditch, and he wasn't envious anymore because he had no like of Quidditch due to James' association with it.
This is all my opinion, of course.

What's with the loathing, contempt, and hatred options? I thought they all meant the same thing.

SusanBones May 8th, 2008 3:19 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I voted for contempt. I think Snape hated James for a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with jealousy, in my opinion. Snape was friends with Lily and probably very comfortable in that relationship for years. When he first met James, Lily showed absolutely no interest in him. Of course, jealousy would have developed later, when Lily started to take an interest in James, but by then the animosity between Snape and James would have been well-formed, in my opinion.

I think we see the contempt most evident in the Shrieking Shack scene in PoA. Snape was, in my opinion, extremely angry that James chose Sirius as a Secret Keeper. He saw it as a huge mistake.

I didn't vote for jealousy because it is a sign of weakness in a way, in my opinion. I think jealousy would diminish or weaken a person. Snape would want to believe that it was James who was the weak one, someone too arrogant to believe that his friends could betray him. I think that Snape constantly shows his contempt for James to Harry when he criticizes him. I think it fueled his continuing hatred of James. Contempt for James would mean that he thought he was the better person, in my opinion.

luket11 May 8th, 2008 4:20 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Jealousyy.
He loved Lily, and knew he could not have her. He was jealous because of that, and also because he was not popular and did not have many friends, he would happy to have someone. His jealousy made him hate James.

Fawkesfan1 May 8th, 2008 4:35 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I voted jealousy as well. Jealousy leads to anger and hatred... everything that Snape felt towards James.

He loved Lily, and when James got to be with her... that just stirred a lot of emotion up in Snape. Seeing James with her, no doubt made him feel a whole bunch of different emotions.

The_Green_Woods May 8th, 2008 9:26 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
This time a quotation from CoS:    


  Goyle's potion exploded, showering the whole class. People shrieked as splashes of the Swelling Solution hit them. Malfoy got a faceful and his nose began to swell like a balloon; Goyle blundered around, his hands over his eyes, which had expanded to the size of a dinner plate - Snape was trying to restore calm and find out what had happened. Through the confusion, Harry saw Hermione slip quietly into Snape's office.

"Silence! SILENCE!" Snape roared. "Anyone who has been splashed, come here for a Deflating Draft - when I find out who did this -"

Harry tried not to laugh as he watched Malfoy hurry forward, his head drooping with the weight of a nose like a small melon. As half the class lumbered up to Snape's desk, some weighted down with arms like clubs, others unable to talk through gigantic puffedup lips, Harry saw Hermione slide back into the dungeon, the front of her robes bulging.

When everyone had taken a swig of antidote and the various swellings had subsided, Snape swept over to Goyle's cauldron and scooped out the twisted black remains of the firework. There was a sudden hush.

"If I ever find out who threw this," Snape whispered, "I shall make sure that person is expelled."

Harry arranged his face into what he hoped was a puzzled expression. Snape was looking right at him, and the bell that rang ten minutes later could not have been more welcome.

"He knew it was me," Harry told Ron and Hermione as they hurried back to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. "I could tell."

Hermione threw the new ingredients into the cauldron and began to stir feverishly.

"It'll be ready in two weeks," she said happily.

"Snape can't prove it was you," said Ron reassuringly to Harry. "What can he do?"

"Knowing Snape, something foul," said Harry as the potion frothed and bubbled.
  



[*]Do you interpret this scene differently after DH?

I think I do. After OOTP it is known that Snape was a Legilimens. And in HBP, Harry realizes that Snape was looking into his mind after the sectumsempra incident and asked Harry to bring his old book.

I think Snape read Harry's thoughts at that time too in CoS. And that was why he was looking straight at Harry when he said he would expel the person who threw the firecracker if he ever caught them IMO.

But Snape never goes through with the act. It is these things that make me feel that Snape did not see Harry only as James's son, but he also saw Lily in him. He hissed and barked a lot, but never punished Harry as he might have if he had really loathed and disliked Harry until the very end like JKR says IMO.

Like in this case I think he saw in Harry's mind, Harry throwing the firecracker into Goyle's cauldron, and then he said would expel those responsible, but all the time looking straight at Harry. But what does he do to find out who did it?

Nothing IMO. Because I think he knew and he left it at that. He never does anything that could seriously harm Harry IMO.

[*]Was Snape's reaction possibly influenced by his feud with James Potter?

I don't think so. I think Snape felt a lot of contempt for James and because of the SWM and the werewolf incident, he also held James partially responsible IMO for his break up with Lily. But I don't think he ever hurt Harry just because he had no opinion of Harry's father.

CathyWeasley May 8th, 2008 11:45 am

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I couldn't pick just one option on the poll (I used to be indecisive - now I'm not sure)

On the subject of Snape trying to protect the students - When Neville says they've been sneaking out at night to write graffiti and stuff he also says that Snape didn't like it - I always thought that that was because the rebels were making it so much harder for him to protect them by giving the Carrows plenty of excuses to torture them.

The Cos quote: I just love that scene! Partly because of the comedy, but also because this is a scene when Snape knows that Harry did it but not having any proof has to live with it. I always thought it was telling that Snape didn't make Harry stay behind and tell him "I know it was you Potter and I will make you pay! Muahaahaa!" It reinforces the idea that so much of what Snape says to Harry is just empty threats.

Pearl_Took May 8th, 2008 12:30 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Oh my goodness -- the eighth Snape thread. :D :clap:

Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods (Post 5018335)
He never does anything that could seriously harm Harry IMO.

No argument from me on that one. :) And I totally agree with you about Snape being able to read Harry's mind. :D My own interpretation of Snape's behaviour throughout the series is that even when he is very angry with Harry, he never has any intention of harming the boy physically. (His verbal lashings, IMO, are something else entirely). The flash of rage we see at the end of HBP doesn't prove that (IMO), because Harry suffers no lasting effects from the "whip-like" spell that Snape uses to disable him, to prevent Harry from chasing after him and Draco.

And also ... on a different tack, although Snape is often vicious to Harry verbally, I have never taken his snide remarks that Harry should be expelled seriously. As the man assigned by Albus to protect Harry, he knows perfectly well that Harry should remain at Hogwarts, in safety, under the watchful eye of both himself and Albus! Not that Snape doesn't think Harry needs disciplining ... far from it. :whistle: But the threats to expel Harry are all bark and no bite, IMO.

Quote:

[*]Was Snape's reaction possibly influenced by his feud with James Potter?
I don't think so. I think Snape felt a lot of contempt for James and because of the SWM and the werewolf incident, he also held James partially responsible IMO for his break up with Lily. But I don't think he ever hurt Harry just because he had no opinion of Harry's father.
Here I must disagree with you, TGW. Snape's antipathy to Harry makes no sense to me if it's not everything to do with how Snape feels about James. :shrug: To Snape, Harry is James Incarnate: not only is Harry a reminder to Snape of what he lost, he is also determined to see the Boy Who Lived as a spoilt, conceited brat who disobeys rules and takes stupid risks. This view helps to explain Snape's immense anger at Harry in PoA, for example, when he accuses Harry of putting himself at risk and thus dishonouring the efforts of others to protect him from 'the murderer Sirius Black'.

But Harry, whilst reckless and often a rule-breaker, is not a spoilt brat, and his deceased father did not grow up to be a villain. So, while I completely acknowledge that Snape worked to protect Harry, his perspective on the boy is at the same time unfair and skewed and distorted. As Albus says to him, "You see what you want to see." Unfortunately, he seems determined to see Harry as the worst of James Potter reborn from the word go.

JKR says that Snape "loathed Harry to the very end". The way I see it is that Snape wrestled with his feelings towards the boy -- wanting to hate him because he was Potter's son, yet sworn to protect Harry because he'd loved his mother. But the only reason I can think of why Snape would have loathed Harry so much (for the most part) is because he had loathed his father.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SusanBones (Post 5018079)
I voted for contempt. I think Snape hated James for a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with jealousy, in my opinion. Snape was friends with Lily and probably very comfortable in that relationship for years. When he first met James, Lily showed absolutely no interest in him. Of course, jealousy would have developed later, when Lily started to take an interest in James, but by then the animosity between Snape and James would have been well-formed, in my opinion.

I think we see the contempt most evident in the Shrieking Shack scene in PoA. Snape was, in my opinion, extremely angry that James chose Sirius as a Secret Keeper. He saw it as a huge mistake.

I didn't vote for jealousy because it is a sign of weakness in a way, in my opinion. I think jealousy would diminish or weaken a person. Snape would want to believe that it was James who was the weak one, someone too arrogant to believe that his friends could betray him. I think that Snape constantly shows his contempt for James to Harry when he criticizes him. I think it fueled his continuing hatred of James. Contempt for James would mean that he thought he was the better person, in my opinion.

Perceptive thoughts, Susan. :cool: I'm torn between 'contempt' and 'loathing' myself.

I wouldn't vote for 'jealousy'. Because Snape does not start out as jealous of James --- the jealousy developed later. His contempt for James (and James' for him) is established as early as their first encounter on the train to Hogwarts as 11 year olds. :(

Tonks May 8th, 2008 12:44 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pearl_Took (Post 5018414)
Here I must disagree with you, TGW. Snape's antipathy to Harry makes no sense to me if it's not everything to do with how Snape feels about James. :shrug: To Snape, Harry is James Incarnate: not only is Harry a reminder to Snape of what he lost, he is also determined to see the Boy Who Lived as a spoilt, conceited brat who disobeys rules and takes stupid risks. This view helps to explain Snape's immense anger at Harry in PoA, for example, when he accuses Harry of putting himself at risk and thus dishonouring the efforts of others to protect him from 'the murderer Sirius Black'.

But Harry, whilst reckless and often a rule-breaker, is not a spoilt brat, and his deceased father did not grow up to be a villain. So, while I completely acknowledge that Snape worked to protect Harry, his perspective on the boy is at the same time unfair and skewed and distorted. As Albus says to him, "You see what you want to see." Unfortunately, he seems determined to see Harry as the worst of James Potter reborn from the word go.

JKR says that Snape "loathed Harry to the very end". The way I see it is that Snape wrestled with his feelings towards the boy -- wanting to hate him because he was Potter's son, yet sworn to protect Harry because he'd loved his mother. But the only reason I can think of why Snape would have loathed Harry so much (for the most part) is because he had loathed his father.
.

I so agree with this. I do not think there is any other reason for Snape's animosity toward Harry other that the fact that he is James' son. His takes all his feelings toward James and projects them onto Harry. This is why he treats Harry the way he does. I do not see any other reasons for it, imo.

CathyWeasley May 8th, 2008 12:52 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pearl Took
Perceptive thoughts, Susan.

I'd just like to second that :tu:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Susan Bones
I think we see the contempt most evident in the Shrieking Shack scene in PoA. Snape was, in my opinion, extremely angry that James chose Sirius as a Secret Keeper. He saw it as a huge mistake.

I couldn't agree more! I think this is why Snape blames James for Lily's death.

Still haven't decided on a poll option

Yoana May 8th, 2008 1:06 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I chose loathing, because it's more inclusive. Loathing could be caused by jealousy, and it includes hatred; plus it's a logical feeling to have a result of bullying, while contempt, in my opinion, is a rather arrogant feeling for those we consider beneath us, and I don't think Snape, as much as he hated Potter Sr., saw him that way. I don't think it's envy at all, because until he started dating Lily, James had nothing, I think, which Severus craved. We don't see him overexerting himself to be popular, or expressing any interest in Quidditch as a student; and seeing as how intelligent Snape was even in school, I don't see a basis for envy in the academic field either. So, in my opinion, loathing best encompasses Severus's attitude towards James.

Pearl_Took May 8th, 2008 1:20 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
And that was also a perceptive post, Yoana. :tu:

Well, darn, I've already voted. :shrug: I was torn between 'loathing' and Susan's choice of 'contempt' -- and Susan made really good points so I voted for 'contempt' but now I've swung back to 'loathing' again! Snape always hated James, even after his death, but I am not now sure, based on what Yoana said, that he saw himself as a 'better' man than James. :shrug:

I clearly needed to think it through more before voting. :D

And I agree: the jealousy only kicked in once Snape thought James was interested in Lily.

Yoana May 8th, 2008 1:49 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pearl_Took (Post 5018437)
And that was also a perceptive post, Yoana. :tu:

Well, darn, I've already voted. :shrug: I was torn between 'loathing' and Susan's choice of 'contempt' -- and Susan made really good points so I voted for 'contempt' but now I've swung back to 'loathing' again! Snape always hated James, even after his death, but I am not now sure, based on what Yoana said, that he saw himself as a 'better' man than James. :shrug:

Oh, I'm flattered :blush: But I think it's a good moment to note English is not my mother tongue, and I have lived in an English speaking country for only 3 months, so my understanding of the word "contempt" may well be inaccurate. :D

gertiekeddle May 8th, 2008 1:55 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy (Post 5017786)
I selected Jealousy in the poll, but as Yoda in SW so elegantly put it, jealousy (fear of losing Lily to James) leads to anger, leads to hate.... So imo, that was the starting emotion, but I feel he went through the whole chain of named emotions equally in the end.

I agree here and so decided for jealousy as some kind of 'first' emotion more than as I see it as the main one.

ignisia May 8th, 2008 2:45 pm

Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8
 
I couldn't choose just one. Snape changes quite a bit over the series. As do his feelings about James, Lily, Harry, Dumbledore, etc. I would consider his feelings about James at most points negative, but still an amalgam.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moriath (Post 5008460)
This time a quotation from CoS:    


  Goyle's potion exploded, showering the whole class. People shrieked as splashes of the Swelling Solution hit them. Malfoy got a faceful and his nose began to swell like a balloon; Goyle blundered around, his hands over his eyes, which had expanded to the size of a dinner plate - Snape was trying to restore calm and find out what had happened. Through the confusion, Harry saw Hermione slip quietly into Snape's office.

"Silence! SILENCE!" Snape roared. "Anyone who has been splashed, come here for a Deflating Draft - when I find out who did this -"

Harry tried not to laugh as he watched Malfoy hurry forward, his head drooping with the weight of a nose like a small melon. As half the class lumbered up to Snape's desk, some weighted down with arms like clubs, others unable to talk through gigantic puffedup lips, Harry saw Hermione slide back into the dungeon, the front of her robes bulging.

When everyone had taken a swig of antidote and the various swellings had subsided, Snape swept over to Goyle's cauldron and scooped out the twisted black remains of the firework. There was a sudden hush.

"If I ever find out who threw this," Snape whispered, "I shall make sure that person is expelled."

Harry arranged his face into what he hoped was a puzzled expression. Snape was looking right at him, and the bell that rang ten minutes later could not have been more welcome.

"He knew it was me," Harry told Ron and Hermione as they hurried back to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. "I could tell."

Hermione threw the new ingredients into the cauldron and began to stir feverishly.

"It'll be ready in two weeks," she said happily.

"Snape can't prove it was you," said Ron reassuringly to Harry. "What can he do?"

"Knowing Snape, something foul," said Harry as the potion frothed and bubbled.
  


Do you interpret this scene differently after DH?

Not really. The revelations of DH, IMO, have little to do with the scene.

Was Snape's reaction possibly influenced by his feud with James Potter?

I don't think so. Harry is a 12-year-old trying not to look guilty. Naturally, he'd fail, and naturally Snape (who has been a teacher for about 11 years) would pick up on this and try to scare him. He'd probably do that to any of the Gryffindors to frighten them into never doing it again. Scare tactics seem to be a common approach for him.

When it comes to James, I think it wasn't so much Snape's reaction that was influenced by James, but that the event later caused Snape to consider Harry yet more James-like. After all, blowing up potions would seem to him a very Marauder-ish prank.


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