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Old July 10th, 2008, 1:10 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
I agree with you to some extent. I agree that Snape's act of delivering the prophecy to Voldemort is unforgivable - there was nothing he could do to atone for that, IMO because - as you said - he did not have any regrets for what he did to James and Harry. However, I believe that Snape's primary motive in helping Dumbledore was to get revenge against Voldemort because he broke his word and killed Lily. As Jo said, if it had been anyone but Lily, Snape would never have gotten involved. He would have remained a loyal Death Eater to the end in that event. According to Jo, Snape turned on Voldemort because he felt that Voldemort had betrayed him when he killed Lily - and I feel that is demonstrated in the text as well.
Actually I believe we agree to a full extent on this. I agree that revenge became Snape's primary goal with respect to Voldemort due to his having killed Lily.

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have to disagree about Lily though. I don't think Lily would have been happy with either Snape or Dumbledore for what they did to Harry. I think it is important to remember what Dumbledore's plan actually was - he kept Harry safe so he could be killed at the right time. It wasn't until after Voldemort returned that Dumbledore even had a glimmer of hope that Harry might be able to survive. And, even then, he wasn't completely sure that Harry would survive. And he never told Snape about that possibility at all. He lets Snape believe that Harry is the only one who can kill Voldemort until some time near the end of Harry's sixth year. And then he tells Snape that Harry's death is actually the key to defeating Voldemort - Voldemort must kill Harry himself and then he can be defeated. And Snape willingly goes along with Dumbledore's plan - following every order - believing that the end result will be permanent death for Harry.

So I think Lily would have been furious with both of them.
Disagree? We couldn't be more in agreement. . I have always felt that Lily (and James) would be furious - absoluely livid at Snape (and Dumbledore) both for the plan devised/adopted concerning Harry. Lily, I believe would be especially so because she'd attempted so hard as a teenager to pass her values onto her friend, Snape and he Voldemort's plan of becoming a DE to gain stature and importance anyway. I feel Snape's decision threatened her as an Order member and within the course and scope of his work, resulted in her and her husbands deaths. However, I feel Lily would consider Snape's adoption of Dumbledore's plan, his version of the greater good, in an even worse light. That is because in my judgment, she would feel that Snape intentionally chose to adopt the plan this time around, knowing this time around that it would result in the death of her son.

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She gave up her life so Harry could live - not so Snape and Dumbledore could use him as a pawn in their game against Voldemort and lead him to his death. I do think she could eventually forgive Dumbledore because he didn't actually want Harry to die and he was happy when he found out there might be a way for Harry to survive - the gleam of triumph. And I think - since she was watching over Harry - she probably knew that Dumbledore's suspicions were right and Harry would survive. However, Snape never knew about any of that. As far as Snape knew, he was sending Harry off to permanent death. And this is after Snape had spent years bullying and tormenting Harry - generally making Harry's life even more miserable.
I feel that Lily (and James) knew for certain that Harry would live; however, I don't feel that would have any bearing on how she saw the actions of Snape in this regard because Snape didn't know that Harry might live.

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I don't believe Lily would have felt that was justified either. I think she would have been horrified at the way Snape treated Harry - her only child - as well as the fact that he helped Dumbledore believing that he was sending Harry to a permanent death - particularly after she had given up her life so Harry could live. I think she would have been grateful that it worked out that Harry was able to survive, but the fact remains that Harry's survival didn't have anything to do with Snape. Harry was able to survive because Voldemort used his blood - not because of anything Snape did. Snape believed he was sending Harry off to die - permanently.
I agree; I don't feel that Lily would see it as justified either on Dumbledore's part (and to be fair, at Kings Cross he didn't feel it was justifiable either). I agree that Harry's survival had nothing to do with Snape - he thought Harry would die. I feel Lily would definitely note that and she would be furious at Snape for adopting the plan for that reason.

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So I honestly don't believe that Lily would have been very forgiving towards Snape. I know I would be furious at anyone who did things like that to any of my kids.
This is where I think you read something distinct in my idea. I feel that for Harry to have forgiven (which he was shown to have done in the Epilogue), he would have to know that his father and mother too would forgive. And the thing is, we know James would have forgiven Peter along these same lines (POA) as Harry did - and since Lily and James were soulmates, Lily would also likely forgive. Harry, even if he forgave, would not dishonor his mum and dad if he felt they would not have forgiven Snape, in my judgment.

I believe here that JKR was attempting to show the large amount of compassion, capacity for forgiveness, messiah like qualities of Lily (Harry and James) in their ability to overlook all that Snape had done and honor him where many others would not - even though I feel he did not merit it due to the things we spoke of above (and I feel Lily (and her family) also recognized Snape did not merit it). But this is not to be confused with Lily regarding Snape positively, in my view. JKR also said Harry would never go and speak to Snape's portrait if one was made which is how Lily (and James) would react toward Snape as well, in my view. This is because it would be important for Snape to understand that Lily was not a grudge-holding person (like her son and husband) and like them, had a huge capacity to forgive and all of that, but also that she recognized his actions and behavior had been highly negative and inappropriate and more importantly, Snape would have to recognize that.

So rather than holding on to fury, I feel Lily (and James) would show forgiveness in the same way as Harry, and not be opposed to her son honoring the good Snape did (bravely spying, etc.). However, like her son, Lily would not whitewash Snape's past to the extent where Snape felt she had no self-respect in accepting his past behavior with a shrug. That is the point I feel JKR wanted to make and it gave me a new understanding of the Epilogue. I feel Snape's version of honoring Lily's death was disrepectful and deeply flawed and that is something that would be important for Lily (and James) to ensure Snape understood she felt (Harry couldn't do this because he was still in the wizard world - he could only act from his side of the equation - thus not speaking to the portrait).

This is kind of difficult to explain, so I hope I was clear. . In my judgment, JKR went over the top in the naming to make this point, showing the deeply understanding and compassionate nature of the Potter's, including Lily, again, almost god like in their capacity in this regard - it makes them outstanding in this light, imo. But I feel Lily's abilities in this regard (and James) also include rejection of Snape on an interpersonal level (akin to Harry not speaking to the portrait). To do otherwise would be to show disrespect to one's self, imo, which is why JKR wanted to clarify that aspect.

Personally, not having the huge capacity I feel JKR portrayed in Lily, I cannot be as forgiving, etc., however, that is how she wished to paint Lily (and her family) in my opinion in her final attitude toward Snape.


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Last edited by wickedwickedboy; July 10th, 2008 at 1:17 pm.
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