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Old March 11th, 2016, 11:43 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I agree. That has always been my issue with Snape. In addition to having a rather unsatisfying motivation in love, I also found the love wanting; it was not believable. I think we are to understand that he believed it, but he didn't really know what love is and what it means. It didn't make a difference to him that his love was unrequited, but it should have as romantic love requires two to flourish.
The medieval tradition of courtly love was strictly a one-way affair, the troubadour singing love-songs to an unobtainable lady. Unthinkable to our 21st century mindset, but back then it was a Thing.

As someone who once experienced unrequited love, I assure you that the experience is all too real, and you don't stop loving someone even though they don't love you back. You can't just switch off deep, passionate feelings: it doesn't work like that. And, yes, it is excruciatingly painful at the time. The good news is that it doesn't last forever, and you DO move on from it, eventually. I think that JKR shows Snape as a damaged person who just couldn't. He couldn't, wouldn't, move on ... and certainly not while Voldemort was still alive.

The HP books are dark fairytales, not precise portrayals of contemporary life. For all that, I find JKR's characters psychologically realistic, or at least they make sense within their own world.

Lily is the only person in canon to ever show one bit of affection and acceptance to Severus. (I also think that Dumbledore came to both like and respect Severus, although he was clearly exasperated by him on occasion, i.e. Snape's refusal to forgive and his reflex response to Harry as James Mark Two). I'm not surprised that he never stopped loving her.

Snape is not the only character in this fantasy saga who is unable to let go of the past or is haunted by it. I think that's quite a major theme in the books, how the past overshadows and affects the present. Everybody's lives are on hold, to an extent, while Voldemort still lives.

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