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Old December 3rd, 2010, 6:22 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Join Date: 19th June 2010
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
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2. Do you think Snape would have moved on if Lily had not died? Would he have turned to the good side in that case?

Snape had already turned to the good side before Lily died. He turned to the good side when he offered “anything” to Dumbledore on the windy hilltop. And to some extent, he “moved on” at that point – i.e., to the extent that in offering Dumbledore “anything,” he acknowledged that Lily would never belong to him. I think that in those circumstances, if Lily had not died, yes he would eventually have moved on emotionally and moved on professionally. But that could only take place after the threat to Lily was removed and Voldemort was defeated.

When Lily died, though, he lived a life of guilt and remorse and the perpetual penance of continuing his job of being a protector. The alternative I think (assuming he even survived Lily's death) was to stop caring about anything, and possibly relapse into the dark arts. Dumbledore’s prodding, however, helped him stop wishing for his own death and gave him new purpose in the wake of Lily’s death.

I do believe that to a large extent he “moved on” from Lily after Dumbledore revealed that a piece of Voldemort’s soul lived in Harry. Up to that point, he was protecting Harry for Lily’s sake. After that, the mission changed, and he was charged with doing something that he could not do for Lily’s sake. He did it anyway, and I believe he did it because he realized that it was the right thing to do.

At any rate, I guess for me question is not whether or not he would have turned to the good side if Lily had not died but whether he would have done so if she had never been threatened. I think he might have turned to the good side after suffering disillusionment on the dark path... and it's not hard to suffer disillusionment when you're in Voldemort's circle. Just ask the Malfoys! Anyway, it's pretty hard to tell what exactly he would have done had Lily never been threatened. But I applaud him for what he did do once she was.


4. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?

I think they were friendly. I don’t think they were close enough that Dumbledore would reveal his deepest personal secrets to him, but then, I don’t think Dumbledore revealed those secrets to anybody – Elphias Doge and Minerva McGonnagall included. But to the extent that Dumbledore, with all his secrets, was capable of having a friend, yes, I think they were friends. I think Snape clearly looked up to Dumbledore. And I do think Dumbledore became something of a surrogate father figure to this young man who never had much in the way of a father.

So I’d say it was a bit of both – friend and father. But I think it also went beyond that. I think Snape was Dumbledore’s protégé, and Dumbledore was Snape’s mentor. People wonder where a lot of Snape’s more unique skills come from. I think the most sensible explanation is that Dumbledore taught him what he needed to know to be successful in his mission. And speaking of the mission, I think that another dimension of their relationship is that they were collaborators, and colleagues.

Dumbledore was clearly in the superior position. He was Snape’s elder, his boss, his spymaster, and his general. But I think the two forged a strong bond.

5. Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?

It depends on which version of JKR’s take on Snape’s character we’re talking about!

But basically, sure if JKR tells me that the initial inspiration for Snape’s character was a chemistry teacher she hated in High School, I believe her. That’s an objective statement about character origins. If she tells me that he’s the only Death Eater who could cast a Patronus, sure I believe her. That’s an objective statement about the mechanisms of her story.

Where I have trouble is when she starts passing subjective judgments on her characters. If after reading the text, I arrive at the completely subjective judgment that Snape is a “deeply horrible person,” that’s my prerogative. But it is equally another reader’s prerogative to arrive at a completely different subjective judgment – particularly of a character so nuanced and deeply complex as Snape is.

So basically, I resist having an author (any author!) dictate the audience’s experience of the text and the audience’s experience of the characters. It is the audience’s job, I believe, to have whatever experience they are going to have, based upon the text itself. So I just don’t give much thought to JKR’s subjective opinions of her characters. Those opinions are based on her life experience and her way of looking at the world, not my life experience or my way of looking at the world.

:
I agree with you.

We always discuss if Snape would have changed sides if Lily was not murdered, but the fact that she was murdered was only the result from the fact that she was targeted. And what made Severus react was the targeting, not the murdering, by the time of the murdering his decision was already taken.

And my personal thought is that yes, he would have felt disenchanted, but after lot of time passed and he could see that things didn't really improved as much as he had wanted. I mean, as you said, the same that happened with the Malfoys


About Dumbledore, I think you sumarized pretty good this relationship, it was a very complex one, which involved lots of different relationships in one: father-son, mentor-pupil, boss-worker, friends, and collaborators.


It is strange, the take JKR has on Snape, but I believed she created a character and later reacted to him as a reader would do, and every reader as a reaction according to their own personality. JKR has strong character herself and seems to be more fond or soft-tempered characters. Other people, would admire most the strong tempered ones. I think she is not being subjective in this topic, but merely telling us how she felt with the nasty Chemistry teacher she once had.


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