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Old March 5th, 2011, 4:49 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

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Originally Posted by ReelBigFish View Post
This argument does not work for me - it excuses what Snape did to an innocent child who had done nothing to Snape. Snape was an adult and should have been able to repress this emotions. Seeing Harry as a photocopy of James was wrong and Snape never got to know the real Harry - right until the end he belittled Harry and James which is so wrong given that whatever James did to Snape it was actually partly Snapes fault that James was dead and Harry was an orphan. I have seen no evidence that after OOTP Snape feels for Harry at all and still goes out of his way to hurt him like in HBP.
I think if you read back over the previous incarnations of this thread, RBF, you will see that all of us have agreed, time and again, that Severus is not blameless in his treatment of Harry. No one has tried or is trying to say that. We have admitted that Severus was a nasty, snarky person who would probably have been better suited to other work than teaching.

IMO, Severus was able to repress most of his emotions, and, I think the fact that he consistantly fooled one of the most powerful wizards of his time is a testament to that. However, as Dumbledore himself said, some scars are too deep to heal. The James/Severus enmity was one that Severus could not get over, for whatever reason. This does not mean that he was right in the way he treated Harry in some cases. It does not condone being unkind. It does not negate his responsibility for the things he did. But, again, my opinion, character analysis is not a matter laying blame as much as it is looking at the "why's" of a character's behavior.

I'm not sure what you mean by "right until the end he belittled Harry and James" when his dying moments were given over to making sure Harry had the information he needed to complete Dumbledore's plan, and, when he gave Harry, at the very least, memories of his mother as a child and teenager that he would not have had otherwise. Laying aside our beliefs as to why these memories were given, I think we can both agree that Harry would have never seen his mother the way he did except through Severus' memories, and that was something I think Harry would have wanted to see.

As for Severus being "part of the cause" of James' death; Severus only carried part of an ambiguous Prophecy to his boss, The Dark Lord. The interpretation of it was made by Voldemort. He chose to kill a child, not Severus. Once it was clear that Lily was in danger Severus went, at risk of his own life, to beg Dumbledore for her safety...eventually, their safety, and promised "anything" to make sure this happened. Had it not been for the betrayal of one of James' best friends, Lily and her family would have been safe, based on what Severus did to help protect them. So, personally, I do not see him as "partly responsible" for their deaths. I see him as responsible for carrying an ambiguous Prophecy to the Dark Lord, which was wrong. But, he was a much different person at that time than the Professor Snape that Harry meets at Hogwarts many years later.

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Actually given the way Snape speaks about Harry consistently and even the way he speaks to others about Harry I would have to disagree that Snape cared for Harry as this was never show. I don;t believe that because he was the one sending Phineas to check on them at all that meant he cared for Harry it just meant that he was doing what he had committed himself too. He did not run away and hide somewhere not because he cared for Harry but because he was doing all this for LILY.
We see him, durng Harry's First Year, telling Dumbledore that he's like his father and saying that he is arrogant and a mediocre student, etc. I'm not familiar with any other conversations with Dumbledore or other teachers where he criticizes Harry after he sees Harry's memories in OotP. In PoA, he suggests Harry be expelled, but, he knew it would never happen, so, IMO, it was an empty gesture, possibly for show or possibly because Harry had aided a man the entire Wizarding World thought was a murderer and the betrayer of the Potters.

If, by his mistreatment of Harry in HBP, you're referring to the detention and copying the card files, I find that, as a punishment for nearly killing another student, pretty mild. I think that we can all agree, if it had been any other student they would have been suspended or expelled.

When Severus leaves the Sword in the pond for Harry, he hides and remains there for a while -- Ron even remarks that he thinks he saw someone -- IMO, this was to make sure Harry was safe while retrieving the Sword. If he could have just laid it on the ground and left it for Harry to pick up, I think he would have done that. But, the Sword had to be "won" under some trying circumstance.

I tend to interpret Severus' actions as Headmaster, trying to keep his true purpose as a spy concealed while doing what he could to keep the students safe, shows that he had changed and that everything wasn't just for Lily anymore. I feel that there was a point when it became about saving all of those he could, and that meant helping to make sure that Voldemort was vanquished once and for all. I don't believe this was done for Lily, alone, but for everyone, magic and non-magic folk alike.

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Maybe they are but we are given no canon to accept that Snape was NOT comfortable for the DE lifestyle he signed up for until Lily was targetted. To say he would have gone down the RAB route is pure speculation and we have JKR saying that Snape would have remained a DE if not for Lily. I also persoanlly feel judging by Snapes talk with Dumbledore that he was just fine with the idea of James and Harry dying as long as he got Lily and that if it had been Neville who was the one in the prophecy Snape would not have lifted a finger to change that. Snape seemed to only understand the value of life AFTER he betrayed Lily IMO.
I think if we took all of Ms. Rowlings non-book statements about Severus and put them together, it would be pretty confusing because I've read so many things that she's said that just don't go with what she wrote, I sometimes wonder if she read her own books.

I, again, offer Bellatrix criticizm of Severus as a do-nothing DE who was never around when the action started. She complained that he ran and hid. She was shocked when he agreed to make the Unbreakable Vow to kill Dumbledore if Draco failed. IMO, this, and the criticism by other DEs that Severus mentions, seems to indicate he was not a "grab your torch and pitchfork and let'ts go roast some Muggles" kind of guy. I feel he stepped back into the shadows once he realized what he'd gotten himslef into, and that he did only what he had to do to stay alive and to win enough favor that Voldemort didn't want to use him for an example of what happens to slacker DEs.

I agree that the Severus of 21-22 did not value human life and, as long as he didn't have to actually do it or see it, was not that affected by the deaths of others. This is a totally different Severus than we see ten years later. The beginning of this, as I see it, was his meeting with Dumbledore on the hilltop, and his being shamed into realizing what he had become. Dumbledore held a mirror up to Severus and I don't think he liked what he saw. So, he promised "anything" if Dumbledore would protect them all. Did that mean he cared about James and Harry at that exact time? No. I don't think so. I do, however feel it was the beginning of his redemption and of starting to value human life, no matter whose it was.

And, it wasn't Severus who betrayed Lily and her family. It was their best friend, Peter Pettigrew. The Prophecy never stated that Harry was "the one," and, I'm not even sure whether Severus knew that Lily was expecting at the time he carried it to Voldemort. The actual "betrayal" took place about a week before the Potters were killed.

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Snape is definitley a cold and unpleasant person IMO.
I totally agree. But I don't think cold and unpleasant is the same as evil and uncaring.


__________________

I held you in my arms, although I knew that death
Had already taken you. I held you close, hoping for a faint heartbeat or breath
To prove me wrong.
But, you were still, and could not hear or see
My grief, my tears, my heartbreak knowing that the rest of my life would be
Spent without you.

Last edited by MinervasCat; March 5th, 2011 at 4:53 am.
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