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Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3



View Poll Results: Did Snape take Lily's concerns about his Slytherin friends seriously?
Yes, he just covered it up because he had no choice. I blame the sorting. 19 6.91%
Partly. He seemed to have been convinced that he was right and Lily wasn't. 68 24.73%
No, his (re)actions show that he did not listen to her. He was too busy being jealous of James. 119 43.27%
He became a Death Eater to impress Lily, which shows that he misjudged her character severely. 36 13.09%
I disagree with all options and will explain my opinion in a post. 13 4.73%
I think this poll should have a pony option. 20 7.27%
Voters: 275. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #121  
Old September 14th, 2008, 9:23 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
The issue is dispute was that Snape's request in and of itself caused "magic" to be issued "from him". That was the only thing I was refuting. No magic came from Snape.
I keep trying to point that out too. Snape's request was ordinary. It was the impetus for Voldemort's offer, but that was it. All the magic happened at Godric's Hollow between Voldemort and Lily.


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  #122  
Old September 14th, 2008, 9:49 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
I keep trying to point that out too. Snape's request was ordinary. It was the impetus for the Voldemort's offer, but that was it. All the magic happened at Godric's Hollow between Voldemort and Lily.
Exactly. And the thing is, Snape asked Voldemort to Spare Lily and we know Voldemort thought it was because he "desired" her. So Voldemort also took Snape's request to mean kill the husband as well as the child, imo, so the wife was left for him.

We don't know what Voldemort was thinking because canon does not say. However, I presume Voldemort saw it in his interests to spare Lily and hand her over to Snape and kill her husband to free her up. And of course Voldemort had his own interest in killing Harry.

Snape made a murderous request, imo, and that is why Dumbledore was disgusted. Based on Snape's mentality at the time and his emotions for Lily as shown throughout the series (albeit in back view after DH); imo, his plans for Lily were also part of Dumbledore's overall disgust with him.

Snape's request to Voldemort was not honorable in any sense of the word, to me. I feel it was altogether nefarious and so even after realizing what he had done (got Lily targeted), his new plan continued to entail the destruction of a family. In my view, Snape held onto that hope even after speaking with Dumbledore, which is why Dumbledore ultimately told him he'd placed his trust in the wrong person, imo. Snape still felt that Voldemort might spare Lily, or in the alternative, Dumbledore would place extra protection on her which would ensure her survival. I think Snape was intelligent enough to realize that if Dumbledore was responsibile for her sole survival, there was less of a chance that Voldemort would be able to turn her over to him directly; but in the long term, I feel he still believed there might be some chance of being with her (he was afterall still batting for both sides theoretically and could reap benefits whereever they might fall). This type of thinking matches that I feel Snape displayed in canon; pretty much contrary to what any realistic outcome would be, imo. Because, beyond the fact that he'd colluded in the act to kill her family (and then tried to save only her), Lily would not have ever decided to be with a person of Snape's character, imo, even in the long run.


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  #123  
Old September 15th, 2008, 10:40 am
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

Voldemort would have killed the husband and child regardless of what request was made to him. So Snape's request did in no way make those murders more probable, or acted as an incentive for Voldemort to kill the Potters, or in any way influenced the already taken decision about murdering James and Harry. Therefore, I see now way in which the request can be called "murderous".


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  #124  
Old September 15th, 2008, 11:19 am
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

We don't really know that Voldemort had decided to kill James. He only wanted to kill Harry, which was why he assented to Snape's request to let Lily live. Voldemort probably figured he would have to kill James to get to Harry, but I doubt he would have sought out James to kill him if he wasn't home. Voldemort was very goal-oriented in this effort. He was worried about the prophecy.


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  #125  
Old September 15th, 2008, 11:43 am
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
We don't really know that Voldemort had decided to kill James. He only wanted to kill Harry, which was why he assented to Snape's request to let Lily live. Voldemort probably figured he would have to kill James to get to Harry, but I doubt he would have sought out James to kill him if he wasn't home. Voldemort was very goal-oriented in this effort. He was worried about the prophecy.
Even so, Snape's request had no influence over Voldemor's decision to kill James, or the act of killing him, which was my point.


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  #126  
Old September 15th, 2008, 2:13 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by violator View Post
Voldemort would have killed the husband and child regardless of what request was made to him. So Snape's request did in no way make those murders more probable, or acted as an incentive for Voldemort to kill the Potters, or in any way influenced the already taken decision about murdering James and Harry. Therefore, I see now way in which the request can be called "murderous".
I agree. His previous action, reporting the prophecy to Voldemort, could be described as "murderous" (at the very least, as displaying a callous indifference), but his request for Lily's life? That does not work for me.


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  #127  
Old September 15th, 2008, 4:33 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

I have to strongly agree with the above two posts. Snape's request had to do with saving a life and actually saving the only life he could realistically bargain for when it came to Voldemort. He could work an angle for Lily (which I think he did... I don't think he begged or simply requested) that had the potential for getting through to Voldemort. I don't think Snape was convinced, or perhaps didn't want to leave Lily's fate at the hands of Voldemort's whims, and went to Dumbledore knowing full well (IMHO) that if Dumbledore did decide to help then he'd be helping the whole family.

As for the magical protection... I think Lily invoked it by willingly sacrificing herself for her son. Snape and Voldemort set it up to be possible.


  #128  
Old September 15th, 2008, 4:44 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

'You can kill the son and husband, but spare the wife for me' is not a murderous request? I feel that it definitely is. Taking the prophecy was a murderous deed in my opinion, because Snape knew the child (and likely its parents) would die. This is why Dumbledore was disgusted; he said (paraphrase), 'you do not care then about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, so long as you get what you want'? (DH TPT.)

The fact that Snape would ask Voldemort to spare Lily at all, as a good idea, understanding she alone would live and the son and father be killed is completely disgusting, imo and speaks to his mentality at the time which I feel was quite criminal and degraded in nature. Snape did this first, and that is all I am speaking about. It has nothing to do with Snape being unable to ask for Harry and James to be spared; he did not wish to ask, imo, which is how Dumbledore understood it as well, hence he made the above statement, imo. JKR said if Lily wasn't implicated, Snape wouldn't have cared less - well that is how he felt about James and Harry because they were not "Lily".


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  #129  
Old September 15th, 2008, 4:54 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
'You can kill the son and husband, but spare the wife for me' is not a murderous request?
No, because firstly, the first part of the request as you've presented it here is only inferred by the reader - it can just as easily be "Under this horrid distress I have quite forgotten about anything else and cannot spare anything else in the world a though BUT KEEP LILY ALIVE!!!!" - depends on speculation and personal interpretation of the whole scene; and secondly, since Snape's request had NO bearing on whether Harry and James would have been murdered, and did not prompt, and Snape and Voldemort both knew it would not prompt, those murders, the request is not murderous.

"Kill them" would be a murderous request. It does convey a desire for murder.

"Spare Lily" has no murder in it anywhere at all. At best I can infer indifference to their fate. Not desire for their murder though, and definitely no request for it (which after all needs to be expressed, and not implied, in order to be considered a request at all).


  #130  
Old September 15th, 2008, 5:05 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
"Spare Lily" has no murder in it anywhere at all. At best I can infer indifference to their fate. Not desire for their murder though, and definitely no request for it (which after all needs to be expressed, and not implied, in order to be considered a request at all).
Exactly.


  #131  
Old September 15th, 2008, 7:44 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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No, because firstly, the first part of the request as you've presented it here is only inferred by the reader - it can just as easily be "Under this horrid distress I have quite forgotten about anything else and cannot spare anything else in the world a though BUT KEEP LILY ALIVE!!!!" - depends on speculation and personal interpretation of the whole scene; and secondly, since Snape's request had NO bearing on whether Harry and James would have been murdered, and did not prompt, and Snape and Voldemort both knew it would not prompt, those murders, the request is not murderous.

"Kill them" would be a murderous request. It does convey a desire for murder.

"Spare Lily" has no murder in it anywhere at all. At best I can infer indifference to their fate. Not desire for their murder though, and definitely no request for it (which after all needs to be expressed, and not implied, in order to be considered a request at all).
If Dumbledore inferred it, then would not it be logical that Voldemort did as well? Thus I don't feel it is unreasonable for readers to infer it either and to hold the belief that Voldemort also inferred it. Respecting the view you suggest also as a reader interpretation; what I have written is mine. And under my interpretation, Snape was bascially saying, kill Harry, which is your plan, and kill the husband so he is out of the picture (and out of the woman I desire's thought stream as a viable option), and spare the woman.

To me that is the reasonable basis for Dumbledore's disgust, so I see it as canon. But that is because to me personally, it is not disgusting at all to merely "forget" to mention those you are not as concerned about, because you would have the underlying desire to save them if you were asked about it - and I feel Dumbledore would see it the same because that is a fairly reasonable construction, imo. When asked about it, Snape's response confirmed to me that he had not had, and still did not have that underlying desire. (*silence*; "Hide them all, then"... just keep her - them safe." DH TPT) There are too many "uh's", "er's", and "I means" in that phrasing for me to understand otherwise. Together with the silence, the phrasing speaks to concession, imo.

Finally, it is important to note that I am reading Snape as having the mentality of a Death Eater at that time. He himself said that he changed and stopped watching those die he could save. That means he changed from having that type of thought stream. In futher evidence of this is his original deed of delivering the prophecy to Voldemort that he knew would result in the death of a baby and possibly its family as well. Additionally, he was not in conflict, according to JKR, about being a Death Eater, whose belief systems and desires saw them readily murdering, torturing, kidnapping and maiming others (that is, he would have remained a Death Eater if Lily was not implicated - this is not similar to a conflicted Regulus or Draco over the basic Death Eater values, imo). That is the type of person I am deriving a mentality for and that is why my construction of Snape's thoughts regarding his activities associated with asking Voldemort to spare Lily (and later asking Dumbledore) is as I have indicated to me. It makes no sense to me to construe Snape as a saint or conflicted soul, when he was not written as one (and my comments are restricted to this period of his life)


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  #132  
Old September 15th, 2008, 7:48 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
If Dumbledore inferred it, then would not it be logical that Voldemort did as well? Thus I don't feel it is unreasonable for readers to infer it either and to hold the belief that Voldemort also inferred it.
What, and had a lightbulb moment: "I know! I'll kill the husband too, and the boy, which I already had decided to kill! Thanks for giving me this idea, Severus!" To me the dialogue: "Keep her alive!" - "Yes, I will grant your wish and kill them" obviously lacks a logical link.

To imply that James and Harry died because Snape requested Lily to be spared makes no sense to me. They're logically disconnected. As if they wouldn't have died if Snape had made no request.

Give me one reason why "Kill the man and boy and let the woman live" is a more plausible probability than "I don't care about the man and boy, let the woman live." Or just "Let the woman live!" without even a thought of the other two.



Last edited by Yoana; September 15th, 2008 at 7:52 pm.
  #133  
Old September 15th, 2008, 7:52 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
'You can kill the son and husband, but spare the wife for me' is not a murderous request? I feel that it definitely is. Taking the prophecy was a murderous deed in my opinion, because Snape knew the child (and likely its parents) would die. This is why Dumbledore was disgusted; he said (paraphrase), 'you do not care then about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, so long as you get what you want'? (DH TPT.)
It's not first degree murder. It was more that Snape simply didn't care about some random family dying, so long as it got him into Voldemort's A-list. Typical terrorist mentality, IMO. Thus, Snape does have a clear part in their deaths, and it was wholly intentional.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
The fact that Snape would ask Voldemort to spare Lily at all, as a good idea, understanding she alone would live and the son and father be killed is completely disgusting, imo and speaks to his mentality at the time which I feel was quite criminal and degraded in nature. Snape did this first, and that is all I am speaking about. It has nothing to do with Snape being unable to ask for Harry and James to be spared; he did not wish to ask, imo, which is how Dumbledore understood it as well, hence he made the above statement, imo. JKR said if Lily wasn't implicated, Snape wouldn't have cared less - well that is how he felt about James and Harry because they were not "Lily".
Completely agree.

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
"Spare Lily" has no murder in it anywhere at all. At best I can infer indifference to their fate. Not desire for their murder though, and definitely no request for it (which after all needs to be expressed, and not implied, in order to be considered a request at all).
However, when Snape asks Voldemort to spare Lily, he's basically giving his approval for the murders of James and Harry. Assuming that Snape said more to Voldemort than just two words, It's "You can kill them, but please spare Lily". That sort of makes it murderous, IMO. The fact that he doesn't care does not absolve Snape of the responsibility.


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  #134  
Old September 15th, 2008, 7:59 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by vivekgk View Post
However, when Snape asks Voldemort to spare Lily, he's basically giving his approval for the murders of James and Harry. Assuming that Snape said more to Voldemort than just two words, It's "You can kill them, but please spare Lily". That sort of makes it murderous, IMO. The fact that he doesn't care does not absolve Snape of the responsibility.
In order to give an approval you need to be in a position to do so. Obviously Snape wasn't. His only position was to beg, not to agree or diagree or object or reason. "You can kill them" sounds ridiculous in this situation, because I very much doubt that Voldemort ask about his consent, or that Snape felt in a position to give it. It was more like "I know you're going to kill them, but please spare Lily."

And can you really see him ask for their lives as well? "Spare the child which will be your demise and which you are intent on murdering because it's immoral to kill"?! He knew he could do nothing. So he did what he could - went to Dumbledore. And if he had really wanted James dead (which is what murderous intent is), he wouldn't have taken Dumbledore's deal at all, and relied on his "murderous" request to Dumbledore - which was his best hope if dead husband and son and alive Lily was what he specifically had asked for.

Or perhaps he shouldn't have begged for anyone's life to be fair? Really, what should he have done?


All in all, Snape was completely powerless in this situation. He was in no position to do anything. The definition of murder requires intent.



Last edited by Yoana; September 15th, 2008 at 8:03 pm.
  #135  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:12 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
In order to give an approval you need to be in a position to do so. Obviously Snape wasn't. His only position was to beg, not to agree or diagree or object or reason. "You can kill them" sounds ridiculous in this situation, because I very much doubt that Voldemort ask about his consent, or that Snape felt in a position to give it. It was more like "I know you're going to kill them, but please spare Lily."

And can you really see him ask for their lives as well? "Spare the child which will be your demise and which you are intent on murdering because it's immoral to kill"?! He knew he could do nothing. So he did what he could - went to Dumbledore. And if he had really wanted James dead (which is what murderous intent is), he wouldn't have taken Dumbledore's deal at all, and relied on his "murderous" request to Dumbledore - which was his best hope if dead husband and son and alive Lily was what he specifically had asked for.

Or perhaps he shouldn't have begged for anyone's life to be fair? Really, what should he have done?

All in all, Snape was completely powerless in this situation. He was in no position to do anything. The definition of murder requires intent.
I agree that intent is required; in my judgment, Snape had it in spades when he originally took the prophecy to Voldemort and nothing in the story as written, imo, changes that with respect to James and Harry. It only changed with respect to Lily, imo. My point was that he made the same request to Dumbledore and that it why Dumbledore was disgusted (Snape didn't frame it in those terms, but Dumbledore did, specifically: "the husband and child can die as long as you get what you want?") Further, Snape did retain his trust in Voldemort, imo, because Dumbldore accused him of having done so after the fact and Snape did not deny it was true. I believe Snape was working all angles to ensure Lily would come out alive, but at the same time knowing Voldemort would kill Harry and James (likely sparing Lily unless things went wrong) and would never give up until he had, based on the prophecy together with his request, imo. The parenthetical, 'if things went wrong' is what sent him to Dumbledore, imo, in order to create a secondary saftey net for Lily. This is why Dumbledore made his statement of disgust, imo.


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  #136  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:18 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I agree that intent is required; in my judgment, Snape had it in spades when he originally took the prophecy to Voldemort and nothing in the story as written, imo, changes that with respect to James and Harry. It only changed with respect to Lily, imo.
Yes - which means to his handing the prophecy to Voldemort was murderous, and I agree. At the very least it was manslaughter-ous. But the request to spare Lily was neither. It changed a part of his previous murderous act, but not to add further degree of murderousness. That's why I can't see the request for Lily's life as murderous.

Quote:
My point was that he made the same request to Dumbledore and that it why Dumbledore was disgusted (Snape didn't frame it in those terms, but Dumbledore did, specifically: "the husband and child can die as long as you get what you want?")
In my opinion, Dumbledore was disgusted with his indiference to their lives - not with his active desire to have them murdered.


  #137  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:32 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

And why would he even bother saying, "You can kill them, but spare Lily." It isn't like Voldemort is asking his permission or approval to kill the other two. If Snape did say something like that I don't know if Voldemort would take it too kindly. Snape would be implying that he has some sort of power in telling Voldemort he can kill them. Voldemort would find it disrespectful, I would assume. To me it's more likely that if he had to do any convincing for Voldemort to spare Lily, he worked the angle that he was the one that brought the prophecy to Voldemort and in return he requests that Voldemort spare Lily because he desires to have her. These would be plain terms that Voldemort would understand. He doesn't understand love or compassion. So there would be no need to bring up James and Harry at all, even if Snape considered them, which he didn't. He was indifferent, which isn't much better, but it isn't murderous intent either. He had no control over what happened to them once he told Voldemort the prophecy. None... until he went to Dumbledore.

And when Dumbledore says the line about the husband and child dying as long as Snape gets what he wants, Snape responds with "Hide them all then." Keep her - them - safe." Something close to that, I believe. If he is willing to protect them all then he isn't about killing James and Harry. He just didn't factor them into the equation (which is why Dumbledore is disgusted...). That's isn't a good thing, but it is different than wanting them dead. I think he just had tunnel vision when Lily was placed into danger. He cared about her and didn't want her to be killed. However, he had a lack of concern for the lives of others in general. This scene was the beginning of a turning point from this philosophy, IMHO.

As for the prophecy. He was relaying something to Voldemort that would have resulted in the death of someone or several someones. He'd be an accessory or aiding or something, but he didn't relay that prophecy for the sole purpose of having someone killed. He relayed it because it was his job at the time and to gain favor with Voldemort. Is it still wrong? Yes. I'm just not sure that murderous intent really goes here either. What was he intending to gain or accomplish from this? The death of others or points with Voldemort? I'm figuring points with the big guy and not really thinking much beyond that because causing death was nothing to these Death Eater types, and for Snape, until things hit home when Lily (Harry) was targeted. He started on the path to understanding what was wrong with the Death Eater philosophy, ect... IMHO, anyway.


  #138  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:37 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
In order to give an approval you need to be in a position to do so. Obviously Snape wasn't. His only position was to beg, not to agree or diagree or object or reason. "You can kill them" sounds ridiculous in this situation, because I very much doubt that Voldemort ask about his consent, or that Snape felt in a position to give it. It was more like "I know you're going to kill them, but please spare Lily."
Still, that's acknowledging their murders. He knows of it, he does not disapprove of it, and he does nothing to prevent it, till he is called on it by Dumbledore, and basically bullied into taking a deal.

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
And can you really see him ask for their lives as well? "Spare the child which will be your demise and which you are intent on murdering because it's immoral to kill"?! He knew he could do nothing. So he did what he could - went to Dumbledore.
Yeah, he goes to Dumbledore, and tells him that it means Lily Evans. It's not until Dumbledore plays dumb that Snape reveals anything more.
DH, TPT“Ah, yes,” said Dumbledore. “How much did you relay to Lord Voldemort?”
“Everything—everything I heard!” said Snape. “That is why—it is for that reason—he thinks it means Lily Evans!”
“The prophecy did not refer to a woman,” said Dumbledore. “It spoke of a boy born at the end of July—”
“You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down—kill them all—”


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
And if he had really wanted James dead (which is what murderous intent is), he wouldn't have taken Dumbledore's deal at all, and relied on his "murderous" request to Dumbledore - which was his best hope if dead husband and son and alive Lily was what he specifically had asked for.
Accepting the deal was the only way he could hope to leave the place alive. It's not like he can refuse the deal and walk away, he thinks Dumbledore might kill him otherwise. Or at least, capture him and stick him in prison.

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
Or perhaps he shouldn't have begged for anyone's life to be fair? Really, what should he have done?
Maybe, if he didn't have to be coaxed into service twice by Dumbledore, I'd have a bit of respect for him. IMO, he should have offered to switch sides without being bullied into it by Dumbledore.

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
All in all, Snape was completely powerless in this situation. He was in no position to do anything. The definition of murder requires intent.
Not really. Here's what I got from Wikipedia:
WikipediaCommon law murder is defined as the: 1. unlawful 2. killing 3. of another human person 4. with a state of mind known as "malice aforethought."

The first three elements are relatively straightforward; however, the concept of "malice aforethought" is a complex one that does not necessarily mean premeditation.

The following states of mind are recognized as constituting the various forms of "malice aforethought":
(i) Intent to kill;
(ii) Intent to inflict serious bodily harm short of death;
(iii) Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart");


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  #139  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:38 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
Yes - which means to his handing the prophecy to Voldemort was murderous, and I agree. At the very least it was manslaughter-ous. But the request to spare Lily was neither. It changed a part of his previous murderous act, but not to add further degree of murderousness. That's why I can't see the request for Lily's life as murderous.
Well, I wasn't attempting to be technical, . I meant in terms of his continuing intent which was that only Lily remain alive - that still sends two people to the afterworld, and in that light it is still in line with a murderous request (i.e., his intent is that two people will still be murdered.)

In my opinion, Dumbledore was disgusted with his indiference to their lives - not with his active desire to have them murdered.[/quote]

I respect your view Yoana, but even seen in that light; what did that indifference pertain to? Not to their losing all of their money; not to their losing their ability to obtain food or some basic necessity of life. The indifference bore directly on their deaths - on the fact that they would be murdered. While I feel Snape was desirious of their deaths; let us put that aside. How much distinction is there between wanting someone murdered and uncaring whether or not they are murdered? To me there is no distinction at all.


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  #140  
Old September 15th, 2008, 8:44 pm
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Re: Snape and Lily: Joint Character Analysis v.3

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Originally Posted by vivekgk View Post

Accepting the deal was the only way he could hope to leave the place alive. It's not like he can refuse the deal and walk away, he thinks Dumbledore might kill him otherwise. Or at least, capture him and stick him in prison.
I think he was just trying to do whatever it took to keep her safe.


 
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