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Old October 6th, 2009, 8:56 am
eliza101  Female.gif eliza101 is offline
Join Date: 28th July 2007
Location: Bag End
Posts: 1,605
Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
What is a 'basically good person at heart'? I am not dismissing atrocities performed by DEs, and I do acknowledge it is literary characters we're talking about and therefore can afford to generalize without repercussions, but still...

How does one make such a statement about someone's character based on one faucet of the said person's life? For most characters all we get as straightforward canon is the intent to commit violence in the name of beliefs. We have no idea what kind of parents, lovers, employees and friends they make...
I just watched a very good film. It's called 'The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.' Spoiler alert' The father in the film is played by David Thewlis, he plays Lupin. He is portrayed as being a kind and loving father and husband. He is worshipped by his son. That does not prevent him from being the commandant of a concetration camp and being directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. Complaining about the smoke to him does not make his wife compassionate either, They are good portrayals of people who have compartonalized their lives. They are not bad people for what is done on the job so to speak, they are just following orders, but of course it is not nearly that simple. If it was, why would their son have ended up with the child he befreinded in that pile of bodies. In that film the evil that the parents were directly responsible for, impacted directly into their own lives and for the first time they felt the agony they had no trouble inflicting on others. This I think is a very good way to describe Snape's feeling when he discovered what had happened to Lily as a direct consequence of his action in taking the prophecy to LV. The pain he feels is very real, so are the deaths of the Potters. It doesn't matter what kind of man he was off the job, he was still the same man and his actions speak for themselves, at this point in his life.

But, back to Snape.

It never ceases to amaze me how ready people are to forget the 'What about my soul' scene and draw conclusions based on their own perception of what being a DE constitutes of.

Taking a side in an existing conflict, as most people who've actually witnessed a war will tell you, is inevitable. Even if 'taking a side' merely means siding with a certain perception of events. And more often than not, the decision on which side to take is based on personal experience with one or both sides of the conflict. Whether or not the person switches allegiance in the future also depends on personal experiences with the chosen side.

So, we have Potter&co on one side, and Lucius&co on the other. Based on his personal experiences with both.... I wonder why Snape chose the DEs at that point.

Actually, to me it indicates lack of experience to support thinking otherwise. DD (or anyone else, for that matter) has never offered Snape anything without asking something in return. Not protection, not the job, not information.
For me it is fairly simple. Snape wanted what the DE's offered. He is not a fool, far from it. He became a DE for what he could get out of it, and as I've said before he IMO must have found satisfaction in that life because he did not leave it willingly. The scene from the hilltop shows us that, and that occurred after he had been a DE for many years What did he get out of it? Well it would seem to be personal satisfaction. Something about being one made him feel good. Would it have lasted if Lily had not been tagetted. Well his creator has indicated that he would never have left if Lily had not been victimised. I know a lot of people ignore what Rowling says on this point, but I truthfully cannot see how that can be done. She created the charactor in all his facets and knew what his motivations were at all stages in his development and she knew how his mind worked because she put the thoughts there, so no I cannot dismiss her view on it, because her view is Snape's view.

Snape had to barter for everything he ever got in life - abuse for Hogwarts when he was a kid (you'll remember that parents could -and did- pull their kids out of Hogwarts), his interests for Lily's friendship, silence about the Shack for continued attendance, and allegiance for acceptance with his Slytherin friends. It is perfectly understandable that he foresaw DDs request.
If he foresaw DD's request, why did he gape at it? He was surprised by DD asking him for something in return, but after thinking it over he willing agrees to anything DD will ask of him. Life I am afraid often is a barter, we all barter everyday of our lives. We barter our time and energy to earn money at work, we then barter the money we have earned for the necessaries of life. What we don't do usually is barter stolen goods, nor do we steal said goods in the first place. Barter is not wrong what we barter can be. Snape seemed to give his allegiance freely.

There is no canon to suggest that Snape bartered with his parents to attend school, nothing like that exists in the books. The one thing that Snape is certain of as a child is that he will go to Hogwarts. Lily gave her freindship freely, she liked Severus. That is made plain by the fact that she stayed friends with him for so long. We don't know what DD said about the Shack incident to Severus, probably along the same lines as he said to James. There is no canon to suggest that James traded his silence to stay at Hogwarts either. I'm sorry but IMO these 2 points are supposition and not canon.

So, the wish to save someone's life does not count as 'light-worthy' in your books?
I never said this and I have never denied that Snape changed. I just don't believe he changed on that hilltop. For me Snape faced a long hard struggle against the toughest opponent possible, himself. He won that struggle and to me that is the most admirable thing about him. After LV's fall and the death of Lily, Snape is described as being devastated. DD saves him then and gives him a purpose in life, Harry. It is when Harry faces Lv in GOF and Snape steps up to the firing line in going back to him that for me his greatest change will occur. We see flashes of that change before, but IMO the greatest change is after GOF. That is when he realises the true cost LV will inflict on people he has over the years come to care for, and also his own soul as you rightly point out. This is where Severus realises that his soul really does matter to him and he wants to do the right thing

Last edited by eliza101; October 6th, 2009 at 8:59 am.
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