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Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis



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  #1041  
Old August 9th, 2011, 11:03 am
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Just had a moment of enlightenment (which probably occured to you lot ages ago )

Sirius being wrongly thought to be the betrayer of the Potters for so many years is a foreshadowing of Snape being thought to be Dumbledore's killer. In both cases they do not defend themselves against the accusations, and the evidence seems to require no further explanation.

Just wanted to share that


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  #1042  
Old August 9th, 2011, 1:30 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

I thought of Voldemort's target of Lily; I believe with Snape and Dumbledore, it was not a murder or betrayal between Snape and Dumbledore, but a planned event, which was intentionally hidden from the Order, and indeed everyone else. About which I still can't seem to stop feeling that the Order came to their conclusions rather quickly, especially when they were dealing with someone of Dumbledore's intelligence.

Snape loved Lily. I think he made a terrible mistake when his action caused Voldemort to target an already in hiding Potter family who had met and defeated Voldemort and his DE three times and survived. Snape was a DE, where resignation was an unheard of thing; where any kind of betrayal was impossible and resulted in death, where to fight against Voldemort and his DE an insurmountable task. In my view, when Snape heard about Voldemort's decision to go after the Potters, he must have realised his options were less than zero; there was it would seem, nothing he could do. It must have IMO looked as if all was doomed, for who would believe a lowly death eater? Who would believe him that he came in honesty to save the life of a girl and her family, when he hated James Potter and had possibly not spoken to Lily for over four years or so. And he had after all deliberately taken the Prophecy to Voldemort knowing that it would result in the death of a baby and it's family.

Snape would have suffered knowing that there was no one he could turn to; there was no one who would believe him, take him at face value, accept his words, act on them. Plus there was always the chance that they would kill first and then ask questions because of who he was; a DE (Sirius in GOF recalls that Aurors were given powers to kill).

But Snape tried; to him Lily's life was something so important that he needed to do something, anything, even at the cost of his own, even if no one would believe him. Which agonised thoughts I feel, led him to come to Dumbledore, meet him on the hill and tell Dumbledore what he knew. Unlike an order member, who knew Dumbledore and thought him wise, powerful and kind, Snape thought Dumbledore would kill him. Snape was the enemy after all. Still, that did not deter him; he came to do what he could; Snape needed to take even that slim chance, on very little hope that he was believed, and even if he was disbelieved. He was believed and that meeting went on to offer him a chance to change himself and the world he lived in, in a positive manner. But it all happened because Snape did not allow himself to be defeated because of his fear of defying Voldemort; his fear of being Kissed or killed by Dumbledore; his fear that he may not be able to find anyone who would believe in him, because of who he was at that time IMO.


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  #1043  
Old August 9th, 2011, 5:22 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I believe with Snape and Dumbledore, it was not a murder or betrayal between Snape and Dumbledore, but a planned event, which was intentionally hidden from the Order, and indeed everyone else. About which I still can't seem to stop feeling that the Order came to their conclusions rather quickly, especially when they were dealing with someone of Dumbledore's intelligence.
The trouble is as far as I can tell, the Order had literally none of that information about Snape. They also had no idea that Dumbledore was dying from a Horcrux-related accident. Finally, I don't think any of them had a clue about Draco's plans. So what was there for them to believe other than what they did? The alternative you seem to be suggesting is that although Snape killed Dumbledore, it wasn't really Snape's fault and they should trust Dumbledore for dying on purpose? No offense, but I'm not sure any rational person would come to that conclusion in such a situation based on the information they had.


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  #1044  
Old August 9th, 2011, 5:56 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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No offense, but I'm not sure any rational person would come to that conclusion in such a situation based on the information they had.
I think this was the most important point in the war, after which everything exploded in the WW. Two powerful people were gone from the Order leaving it completely in shambles; one killing the other. Did not the Order members want more detail before they concluded that Dumbledore was fooled for 16 years by a DE who apparently remained a DE all along, privileged to work closely with Dumbledore and learn many thing that could very well mean the end of them all? I think they should have.

I am not talking about the faith or the lack of it the Order had in Snape. I am talking about the faith I feel they should have had in Dumbledore initially until they were forced to accept that he was fooled after all.


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  #1045  
Old August 10th, 2011, 8:49 am
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

I'm a big fan of Snape and how he was motivated by his tremendous love for Lily to risk his life for her and Harry's sakes.
Firstly I think their relationship was based on trust. Dumbledore only let Snape into the castle once he casted his Patronus, which was the same as Lily's, proving his love for her had never died. I think Dumbledore is incredibly forgiving, and believed that Snape has seen the error of his ways. On Dumbledore's side, it was for the sake of the war. He needed an alliance and a spy for the Order. Personally, I think Dumbledore always trusted Snape, not for HIM, but for his love for Lily and what he was prepared to do for her. That speaks louder than anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasley View Post
Just had a moment of enlightenment (which probably occured to you lot ages ago )

Sirius being wrongly thought to be the betrayer of the Potters for so many years is a foreshadowing of Snape being thought to be Dumbledore's killer. In both cases they do not defend themselves against the accusations, and the evidence seems to require no further explanation.

Just wanted to share that
You know, I never noticed this! Good point!


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  #1046  
Old August 10th, 2011, 9:11 am
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

1. What do you believe Snape and Dumbledore's relationship was based on?

Need. I think that they were forced together, and had to learn to deal with it.

2. How do you think Dumbledore felt about Snape through the course of the series? Did his views on Snape change?

I believe that Dumbledore despised Snape when Snape came to beg for Lily's life. I think that he probably thought he was scum, but as the series progressed I think Dumbledore started to see that he was a man that truly loved, and truly wanted to keep fighting for his love. I think by the end of the series, Dumbledore had truly grown to respect Snape.

3. How do you think Snape felt about spying for Dumbledore? Did he resent his job?

I think he did. I think, had he had his way, that he wold have run away the second Voldemort killed Lily. The only reason he didn't was because Dumbledore pursued him that to keep Harry alive was to keep part of Lily alive as well.

4. Did Dumbledore and Snape fully trust one another?

No. I would say that they didn't. We know Dumbledore never told Snape everything, and Snape doesn't seem like the most trusting individual to me.

5. Do you think Severus was jealous (in a sibling-type way) of Dumbledore's fondness for Harry?

I don't think he was jealous per-say. I think Snape hated Harry because he reminded him of what he had lost, and I think in a small way, Snape wanted to see Harry hurt. So it would bother him a bit to see Dumbledore fawn over Harry, but Snape also very obviously wanted Harry to stay alive as well. I don't think it ever really bothered him.

6. Do you believe Dumbledore consciously saw the parallels between his own story and Snape's?

Um, hm. I didn't see them until you just pointed them out XD Yes, I would say he did, and maybe that's why he took such pity on him. Dumbledore was a very smart man. He would have seen that.

7. Dumbledore and Snape worked together for years before Harry showed up. How do you think their relationship changed once Harry came to Hogwarts? Did it change once Voldemort returned in GoF?

I think it would have caused a little more tension between the two of them perhaps? And again when Voldemort returned, Dumbledore must have questioned Snapes true alliance.

8. How would you characterize their relationship when Severus was a student? Do you think that Albus may have been aware of Severus’ interest in the Death Eaters while he was at Hogwarts?

I think Dumbledore would have known, yes. I think the teachers would have known which students were running around and messing with the Dark Arts. It doesn't seem to have been too big of a secret, since Lily seemed to know that Snape was hanging out with them.

9. Do you think it's just a coincidence that Harry names the same son after both of these men, or do you believe that Albus and Severus are inexorably linked in Harry's mind? Does Harry see the similarities in them as well? Or is it simply that they both shaped and influenced his life - for good and bad - in so many ways?

I think it was more that they both shaped his life... they were both headmasters of Hogwarts, and I think that they do kind of go hand in hand in Harry's mind as they were both teachers for him. James and Sirius were both father figures, and thats why they went together as well.


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  #1047  
Old August 10th, 2011, 10:08 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I am not talking about the faith or the lack of it the Order had in Snape. I am talking about the faith I feel they should have had in Dumbledore initially until they were forced to accept that he was fooled after all.
While we may wish that the Order had shown more faith in DD, I think DD purposely left them out of the loop expecting them to believe the worst of Snape. I think he needed them to not trust Snape. When Snape killed DD, it was crucial that his "ties" to the Order were severed so that Snape could fulfill the most important role of all and truly gain Voldemort's trust. It was more important at this point in the war for Voldemort to trust Snape, not the Order.

I get what you are saying, that it's sad that the Order just automatically doubted DD's judgement, but honestly, I'm not sure they could have seen it any other way given the information they had. DD has shown throughout the series and admitted that he is fallible. He can make mistakes. The Order trusted Snape not because he gave them any reason to, not because DD gave them a reason to, but simply on DD's word that he was to be trusted. When Snape appeared to have killed DD, they simply believed Snape had fooled them all. It would take quite a big leap of faith for the Order to believe in someone they had never really trusted. Especially since they did not know that DD was dying anyway (even Harry did not know this).

I wish that the Order had questioned what had happened more. In fact, I think they made a mistake by not even questionning Harry more on what did happen to get every detail. Instead, they accept a single sentence: Snape killed Dumbledore. And that's that.

I have to admit, there are many times in the series that I am remarkably shocked that a great many characters believe things just off one person's say-so. One person proclaims something to be true and thus it is believed by everyone. I've always wondered how Harry ended up convincing everyone that Snape was truly a "good guy" and only killed DD on DD's orders. Did they (again) accept this truth just based on Harry's words?


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  #1048  
Old August 10th, 2011, 10:16 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think this was the most important point in the war, after which everything exploded in the WW. Two powerful people were gone from the Order leaving it completely in shambles; one killing the other. Did not the Order members want more detail before they concluded that Dumbledore was fooled for 16 years by a DE who apparently remained a DE all along, privileged to work closely with Dumbledore and learn many thing that could very well mean the end of them all? I think they should have.
Well at that exact moment, I think they were required to believe either that Snape had expertly fooled Voldemort, or that he had expertly fooled Dumbledore. It does not surprise me that they concluded he had been fooling the man he killed.


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  #1049  
Old August 11th, 2011, 1:36 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by hpfan101 View Post
I get what you are saying, that it's sad that the Order just automatically doubted DD's judgement, but honestly, I'm not sure they could have seen it any other way given the information they had.
The Order would have come to no other conclusion in the absence of information to the contrary. They could have investigated a little before that, though. Hagrid was spot on when Harry told him Dumbledore was dead and Snape killed him IMO.

HBP - The Phoenix Lament"Killed?" said Hagrid loudly, staring down at Harry. "Snape killed? What're yeh on abou' Harry?"

"Dumbledore" said harry. "Snape killed ... Dumbledore."

Hagrid simply looked at him, the little of his face what could be seen completely blank, uncomprehending.

"Dumbledore wha' Harry?"

"He's dead. Snape killed him."

...."What musta happened was, Dumbledore musta told Snape ter go with them death eaters,' said Hagrid confidently. 'I suppose he's gotta keep his cover..."


I like Hagrid's initial reaction; he had it right too; he thought it was something (he did not believe Dumbledore could be dead by Snape's hands) that Dumbledore had ordered Snape to do to keep his cover.

Quote:
DD has shown throughout the series and admitted that he is fallible. He can make mistakes.
This was not a small mistake and this was not a one time mistake based on wrong understanding or being cheated for a short while. Dumbledore had not only believed Snape had changed; he continued to believe in Snape for a very long time, making him not only part of the Order but entrusting the task of fooling Voldemort once he returned. Plus he was injured (I guess people like McGonagall would have realised that what Dumbledore sported was a curse wound that could not be cured); he could have been hurt in such a way (on the tower for instance) that it was better to have killed him. The Order did not wait for just a little while to know what happened. I am not saying they would have come to a different conclusion; they would have only concluded that Dumbledore was fooled by Snape, but for me, I would felt better if that conclusion had not been instantaneous.

Quote:
I wish that the Order had questioned what had happened more. In fact, I think they made a mistake by not even questionning Harry more on what did happen to get every detail. Instead, they accept a single sentence: Snape killed Dumbledore. And that's that.
Exactly. This is what I've been saying all along. That's all I wanted the Order to do. I feel they down Dumbledore by not doing this.

Quote:
I've always wondered how Harry ended up convincing everyone that Snape was truly a "good guy" and only killed DD on DD's orders. Did they (again) accept this truth just based on Harry's words?
I think by the end of the war not just Harry, but Dumbledore, Phineas, all the Headmasters of Hogwarts (their portraits) would have made sure that Snape's name was never associated with the death eaters or with murder, treason or betrayal. I am sure that they, along with Harry would have told the Order, the Ministry and the WW the contributions of Snape to the war, including how he killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's own orders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Well at that exact moment, I think they were required to believe either that Snape had expertly fooled Voldemort, or that he had expertly fooled Dumbledore. It does not surprise me that they concluded he had been fooling the man he killed.
I think in that exact moment they were required to ask (Dumbledore's portrait) and search for answers about how and why this happened, before concluding that Dumbledore was fooled. I think they owed that much to Dumbledore's intelligence, even if they felt they did not owe anything to Snape IMO.


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  #1050  
Old August 11th, 2011, 2:36 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Myself, I'm ok with the professors and the Order not really looking into why Snape killed Dumbledore, because I think that was the plan all along.

Snape needed Voldmort and the DE to trust him. The last thing he'd need was the Carrows at Hogwarts getting suspicious when Snape appeared to have good relationships with professors. He didn't need their trust - he had control of the school since Voldemort had taken it over, and he already knew they'd do their jobs and protect the students. I would think it would make his spying job easier if he kept them at arm's length, and therefore he didn't spend time pre-Dumbledore's death getting them to like him or trust him.

To me, it's the same with his treatment of Draco vs. Harry. Myself, I can't see him genuinely liking Draco, who tended to be a bit whiney. Draco, however, was the son of Lucius, and Snape wanted Lucius to trust him, since he was on the side of Voldemort. Trust did not seem to be an important goal when it came to his relationship with Harry. It was important that Harry trust Dumbledore, but Snape did not want to appear to Voldemort to have a good relationship with Harry. His "good relationship" would come through Dumbledore. Same idea with the staff - their trust was because Dumbledore trusted Snape.

I think Snape and Dumbledore set this up as part of their plan. Dumbledore was the trusted guy for the order/staff/Harry. Snape was Dumbledore's man, but needed to appear to be trustworthy to Voldemort and his group, and he could not show outward signs of friendliness to the Dumbledore group, to make his "Spy for Voldemort" role look convincing.


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  #1051  
Old August 11th, 2011, 11:22 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Dumbledore did not want the Order to know anything about Snapes involvement, so it was better that they never drilled Harry for enormous amounts of information. Not only did Snape not want the Order members to know why he had changed sides, but Dumbledore had to keep it a secret for Snapes own protection. If any of the Order knew that Snape was working with Dumbledore, and then they had been captured by the Dark Lord, Voldemort would have been able to see this in their minds, and Snape would have been killed instantly.

Despite the Order members trusting Dumbledore, they Never understood why he trusted Snape because Snape made Dumbledore promise not to tell. Snape had enemies in the Order in Sirius and Lupin. Because of who Snape was, I don't find it hard to believe that the Order members would question him killing Dumbledore as many had thought he was on the Dark Lords side all along.

I'm sure after Voldemort was defeated, Harry explained to everyone how he saw Snape die and how he saw Snapes memories in the Pensieve which would surely convince everyone of Snapes loyalty.


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  #1052  
Old August 12th, 2011, 1:14 am
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think this was the most important point in the war, after which everything exploded in the WW. Two powerful people were gone from the Order leaving it completely in shambles; one killing the other. Did not the Order members want more detail before they concluded that Dumbledore was fooled for 16 years by a DE who apparently remained a DE all along, privileged to work closely with Dumbledore and learn many thing that could very well mean the end of them all? I think they should have.

I am not talking about the faith or the lack of it the Order had in Snape. I am talking about the faith I feel they should have had in Dumbledore initially until they were forced to accept that he was fooled after all.
But how could they trust Dumbledore? They barely trusted Snape(and for good reason too) and the only faith they had in Snape was Dumbledore. But Dumbledore was very secretive. Yes Dumbledore was this amazing, powerful, wizard, but how can you trust someone who kept so many secrets.

And they were interested in why Snape killed Dumbledore, and what Snape told Dumbledore to trust him. I believe Lupin asked in HBP.


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  #1053  
Old August 12th, 2011, 8:21 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think in that exact moment they were required to ask (Dumbledore's portrait) and search for answers about how and why this happened, before concluding that Dumbledore was fooled. I think they owed that much to Dumbledore's intelligence, even if they felt they did not owe anything to Snape IMO.
We don't know that they didn't, in the aftermath of "The Phoenix Lament". In the immediate aftermath of Albus's apparent murder the portrait was asleep, and McGonagall and the other Order members present were understandably upset (and sleep-deprived).

If they did, in some hypothetical moment Harry, and we, never saw, Albus apparently failed to reveal Snape's loyalties to those asking. To me this seems evidently his and Snape's intent all along, since if it was not, they could have corrected the problem anytime throughout DH by having Snape summon McG for his office on some pretext or another for a conversation with Albus's portrait.


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  #1054  
Old August 12th, 2011, 9:09 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by LilyEvans13060 View Post
I'm sure after Voldemort was defeated, Harry explained to everyone how he saw Snape die and how he saw Snapes memories in the Pensieve which would surely convince everyone of Snapes loyalty.
I feel very certain of this also. Harry would do the right thing and reveal the truth about Severus to the wizarding world. Of course, with Harry naming one of his children after Severus, it would be pretty obvious that Harry felt gratitude for Snape.


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  #1055  
Old August 13th, 2011, 6:43 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Here's something I've never quite understood. Why is Snape such a controversial character, and Dumbledore isn't? Is it because DD has some really great, hilarious lines, and appears to be “nice”? Is it because he was on the “good” side, fighting against Voldemort? But Snape was also fighting Voldemort, and risking his life on a nearly daily basis.

I think Snape and Dumbledore are very similar, and in some ways very different.

Dumbledore falls in love with Grindelwald – the Voldemort of his time, and the two team up. That pairing resulted in the unintentional death of Ariana – an innocent child who loved her brother very much. DD saw the error of his ways, deeply regretted what happened, and later defeated Grindelwald. Snape joined the Death Eaters, made a mistake in telling Voldy part of a prophecy, and that had unintended consequences as well – the death of the Potters. Snape also realized his error, and joined forces to defeat Voldemort.

Snape is accused of bullying. We see few examples of DD as a teacher, but we know there was bullying going on while Snape was a student, and we see no canon of where DD intervened. When DD is asked about Snape, his response is that even harsh (I forget the exact adjective) teachers have lessons to teach (which I agree with – Snape was there to TEACH – and being harsh served as a way of toughening up Harry for the battle to come). This exchange suggests to me that perhaps DD approved of Snape's teaching methods. He certainly never intervened in any real way, as far as we know, other than one comment about Harry serving a lot of detentions after the Sectumsempra incident.

And what about all of the times DD put Harry in danger, all for the Greater Good? This is where I see Snape and DD as being different. Snape's primary goal was to protect Harry. DD's was to defeat Voldemort, at almost any cost. In GoF, when Harry's name comes out of the Goblet, DD does not challenge it, because he suspects it was done due to “dark magic” and he wants to let it play out. DD and Snape will protect Harry as much as they can. In the end, Cedric loses his life. Does anyone go back to DD and blame him for not challenging Crouch's decision to allow Harry to participate? DD is as guilty of Cedric's death as Snape is of the Potter's, IMHO. They each made a choice which they knew was potentially putting someone's life in danger, and it ended up having consequences neither foresaw. Granted, DD had never wanted anyone to die, but I believe he valued the Greater Good. Snape was hardened to anyone dying when he was 20, I think, but by the timeframe of his teaching Harry, his focus was on saving people.

And what about when DD told Snape to tell Voldy when Harry was being transferred, and DD didn't inform the order he was letting Voldy know? How many lives did he put in danger, in order to keep his spy in place – 15? Hedwig and Moody both lost their lives. Many in the order blamed Hagrid. But - once they figured things out, did anyone ever blame Dumbledore?

Snape and DD made tough decisions during Harry's years at Hogwarts, often very painful ones, and most of them turned out to be the right ones, and Voldemort ended up defeated, in a huge part due to their actions. But neither character was perfect. I think they were the two most complex characters in the series.


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  #1056  
Old August 13th, 2011, 7:00 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Wow, MerryLore, great post! You hit on something that has always bothered me as well.

Many people find Snape's utterance of "mudblood" toward Lily as "unforgivable" and then his decision to join the Death Eaters as further proof that Snape is a horrible person. His actions for the next sixteen plus years don't seem to make up for his mistakes as a teenager.

Dumbledore also made mistakes as a teenager. Although I think Aberforth resents his brother in many ways, Aberforth points out to Harry that Dumbledore was always corresponding with the most notable people of the day, sure of his own importance. When Albus returned from Hogwarts, Aberforth states that Ariana was neglected while Albus continued to try to shape his path. Again, bearing in mind that Aberforth was perhaps jealous or whatever, there is surely a bit of truth to this. Albus' focus on himself and his own great future eventually led to Ariana's death.

Then we have Albus and Grindewald's relationship. Was Albus blinded by love for Grindewald, which in turn caused him to ignore his better judgement and buy in to Grindewald's plan? Or did DD also see himself in a sort of similar light? Maybe he didn't believe in killing Muggles, but perhaps he did, at a young age, feel some superiority in his greatness.

The point is, both Snape and Dumbledore made grave mistakes as teenagers. Both then spent the rest of their lives making up for it.

I find MerryLore's contrast of Snape and DD as adults to be very interesting. Snape spent his adult life protecting Harry and watching "only those [he] could not save" die. DD also wanted to protect Harry, but at the same time, he knew all along that Harry had to die.

Both acted "for the greater good." They could not interfere with the course of events, even if some people died, because it meant that more people, in the end, would survive.

Snape and DD had a complex, interconnected relationship. Their individual and joint decisions shaped both Harry's life and the fate of the wizarding world more than any other character in the series. And in the end, if they had not worked together, I doubt the result would have been the downfall of Voldemort.


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  #1057  
Old August 13th, 2011, 8:56 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

I think DD is to an extent a controversial character, as his actions turn out to be quite ambiguous in the end. However, there's just something about Severus that inspires real emotion, hence the constant squabbling over him.

The only thing I really don't cut DD slack for is his apparent lack of recruitment/damage control during his term as headmaster. Even without his presence, Voldemort's influence was active in one of the Houses, if not more (I can easily see Ravenclaws making a faustian sort of bargain with You-Know-Who ). How about mandatory muggle studies courses for purebloods? Or-- oh, I might sound like a broken record here, but what's one more time?-- counseling? Especially during the first and second wars, when family members were dying left and right.

That said, I see DD as a general trying to do what he can to end the bloodshed that's going on around him by using all his cunning. He and the Order knew what they were doing and were willing enough to make the sacrifices needed to stop Voldemort. Contrast this with Voldemort, who murdered without consent a supposedly faithful servant to obtain his own selfish ends (in that case, the EW).

Snape himself was willing to obey even the toughest of DD's orders, even as he was dying, and the outcome was far more successful than it would have been had he kept the identity of the final horcrux to himself.

I see him as taking the same sort of strategic route DD took in his decisions, considering what courses of actions will bring him the best information, how to spin just the right story, what decisions will be most effective, etc.

As for their pasts...well, I certainly consider them culpable of their crimes at the time, but as they both do their best to make up for those mistakes and change for the better, I find myself at a loss to say anything else on the sbject but what Hermione already said in chapter 18 of DH: "He changed, Harry, he changed! It's as simple as that!" Her speech refers to DD, but much of it could easily be said of Snape.
I saw that passage on my first re-read of DH, and I was so excited to notice the similarity there.

On another note, I think maybe DD's own history with Grindelwald and Ariana made it easier for him to understand and help Severus later on. I'd love to be a fly on DD's office wall and hear their conversations during the years before Harry arrived.


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  #1058  
Old August 13th, 2011, 9:04 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
Here's something I've never quite understood. Why is Snape such a controversial character, and Dumbledore isn't? Is it because DD has some really great, hilarious lines, and appears to be “nice”? Is it because he was on the “good” side, fighting against Voldemort? But Snape was also fighting Voldemort, and risking his life on a nearly daily basis.

I think Snape and Dumbledore are very similar, and in some ways very different.

Dumbledore falls in love with Grindelwald – the Voldemort of his time, and the two team up. That pairing resulted in the unintentional death of Ariana – an innocent child who loved her brother very much. DD saw the error of his ways, deeply regretted what happened, and later defeated Grindelwald. Snape joined the Death Eaters, made a mistake in telling Voldy part of a prophecy, and that had unintended consequences as well – the death of the Potters. Snape also realized his error, and joined forces to defeat Voldemort.

Snape is accused of bullying. We see few examples of DD as a teacher, but we know there was bullying going on while Snape was a student, and we see no canon of where DD intervened. When DD is asked about Snape, his response is that even harsh (I forget the exact adjective) teachers have lessons to teach (which I agree with – Snape was there to TEACH – and being harsh served as a way of toughening up Harry for the battle to come). This exchange suggests to me that perhaps DD approved of Snape's teaching methods. He certainly never intervened in any real way, as far as we know, other than one comment about Harry serving a lot of detentions after the Sectumsempra incident.

And what about all of the times DD put Harry in danger, all for the Greater Good? This is where I see Snape and DD as being different. Snape's primary goal was to protect Harry. DD's was to defeat Voldemort, at almost any cost. In GoF, when Harry's name comes out of the Goblet, DD does not challenge it, because he suspects it was done due to “dark magic” and he wants to let it play out. DD and Snape will protect Harry as much as they can. In the end, Cedric loses his life. Does anyone go back to DD and blame him for not challenging Crouch's decision to allow Harry to participate? DD is as guilty of Cedric's death as Snape is of the Potter's, IMHO. They each made a choice which they knew was potentially putting someone's life in danger, and it ended up having consequences neither foresaw. Granted, DD had never wanted anyone to die, but I believe he valued the Greater Good. Snape was hardened to anyone dying when he was 20, I think, but by the timeframe of his teaching Harry, his focus was on saving people.

And what about when DD told Snape to tell Voldy when Harry was being transferred, and DD didn't inform the order he was letting Voldy know? How many lives did he put in danger, in order to keep his spy in place – 15? Hedwig and Moody both lost their lives. Many in the order blamed Hagrid. But - once they figured things out, did anyone ever blame Dumbledore?

Snape and DD made tough decisions during Harry's years at Hogwarts, often very painful ones, and most of them turned out to be the right ones, and Voldemort ended up defeated, in a huge part due to their actions. But neither character was perfect. I think they were the two most complex characters in the series.

I agree with everything you have said. I think that Dumbledore is seen as this almost mythical character, so people overlook all the stuff he had done, while Snape has always been seen as a bully. As well, the movies did not got too far into Dumbledore's past, so it does not change people's ideas of Dumbledore as much.

But Dumbledore ad Snape are definitely the two most complex characters of the entire series. I do not like either of them, however.


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  #1059  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:14 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
Snape joined the Death Eaters, made a mistake in telling Voldy part of a prophecy, and that had unintended consequences as well – the death of the Potters. Snape also realized his error, and joined forces to defeat Voldemort.
The only unintended consequence was that Snape cared about one of the intended victims. Snape didn't intend for his evil deeds to come back to bite him. I don't believe he realised his error at that point - his problem was with Voldemort choosing Lily's family, not with Voldemort and DEs murdering in general.


Quote:
Snape is accused of bullying. We see few examples of DD as a teacher, but we know there was bullying going on while Snape was a student, and we see no canon of where DD intervened. When DD is asked about Snape, his response is that even harsh (I forget the exact adjective) teachers have lessons to teach (which I agree with – Snape was there to TEACH – and being harsh served as a way of toughening up Harry for the battle to come). This exchange suggests to me that perhaps DD approved of Snape's teaching methods. He certainly never intervened in any real way, as far as we know, other than one comment about Harry serving a lot of detentions after the Sectumsempra incident.
I think that is something JKR said about Dumbledore's reasoning, I don't recall it anywhere in the text. Even if that were the case, the students also learned something from Umbridge, but I doubt Dumbledore approved of her methods, either.

How would Dumbledore have the opportunity to intervene? He was the Headmaster, a lot of this information wouldn't reach him. And even if he knew, perhaps, as you say, he thought harsh people toughened others up.

Quote:
In GoF, when Harry's name comes out of the Goblet, DD does not challenge it, because he suspects it was done due to “dark magic” and he wants to let it play out. DD and Snape will protect Harry as much as they can. In the end, Cedric loses his life. Does anyone go back to DD and blame him for not challenging Crouch's decision to allow Harry to participate? DD is as guilty of Cedric's death as Snape is of the Potter's, IMHO. They each made a choice which they knew was potentially putting someone's life in danger, and it ended up having consequences neither foresaw. Granted, DD had never wanted anyone to die, but I believe he valued the Greater Good. Snape was hardened to anyone dying when he was 20, I think, but by the timeframe of his teaching Harry, his focus was on saving people.
I'm sorry, I am completely at a loss as to how the two are comparable. The Triwizard Tournament was a competition, with safeguards in place for student safety. Snape was serving a murderous madman, and passed him crucial information about a threat to his safety. I cannot see the similarity.

Snape deliberately put someone in danger for personal gain by passing on the prophecy. Dumbledore participated in organising a contest.

Harry had to participate in the Tournament because it was a binding magical contract. And that was Barty Sr.'s verdict on the matter, not Dumbledore's.


[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hpfan101 View Post
Many people find Snape's utterance of "mudblood" toward Lily as "unforgivable" and then his decision to join the Death Eaters as further proof that Snape is a horrible person. His actions for the next sixteen plus years don't seem to make up for his mistakes as a teenager.
I don't think it was "unforgivable", when he tried to make amends by turning against the DEs. However, at the time he said it, it was "unforgivable", and I understand why Lily couldn't forgive him. What sensible person, with any smidge of self-esteem wants to hang out with someone who's just told them they're scum, and who hangs out with people who want to murder people of her birth? An apology is completely meaningless if one isn't willing to change the hurtful behaviour.

I'm also bothered by Snape's treatment of Harry, while he was making amends for his role in orphaning Harry. I think it cheapens his "making amends".


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  #1060  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:34 pm
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Re: Snape and Dumbledore: Joint Character Analysis

In my mind, Snape and Dumbledore aren't comparable to such a great extent. Dumbledore was a general in a war and had to take certain risks and make certain sacrifices, for the greater good. Dumbledore was a kind and sweet man to everyone and always treated everyone regardless of their station in life, or class, or race, or ability or disability with the utmost honor, dignity and respect. Dumbledore was a lot wiser than Snape and could see the long view. Dumbledore was able to see his own mistakes and readily admit them, Snape blamed others for his shortcomings. Dumbledore devoted his life to fighting back the dark arts, sprung on in many ways by his guilt. Snape served Dumbledore's cause for Lily alone. Dumbledore saw the bigger picture. War is ugly and the Ministry was largely uncooperative. Dumbledore had to take certain questionable measures to outdo the most dark, evil, dangerous and most powerful dark wizard for a hundred years, if not of all time. Comparing that to a bitter, petty man who takes his childhood grudges out on little kids is doing a great disservice to Dumbledore's character IMO. Dumbledore rose from the ashes of his failures and mistakes and became a better, wiser and more compassionate man for it, Snape was in many ways defined by his demons and therein lies the key difference.


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