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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13



View Poll Results: Snape's treatment of Neville...
was justified and reflects positively upon him. 3 1.96%
was justified but reflects negatively upon him. 5 3.27%
sits uncomfortably with me. 19 12.42%
was completely unjustifiable and should have been stopped. 49 32.03%
was completely unjustifiable but horrible teachers are part of life. 19 12.42%
cannot be judged objectively because we only get Harry's perspective. 36 23.53%
put Snape's worst instincts on display. 16 10.46%
does not justify a pony option! 6 3.92%
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  #21  
Old September 30th, 2009, 8:18 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonZephyr View Post
Defending or arguing positively for Snape is a very new thing for me - I never usually do it. And I'm not a fan of the guy. But Snape never had the chance to talk to James as an adult as far as we know. Neither of them knew how the other had improved. Even into his thirties, Snape still had that schoolboy grudge against James because that's all he ever had. He had that intense, infatuated love for Lily because that's all he ever had. Growing up, some of the kids I pushed around at age eleven ended up either becoming one of my friends or at least we ended up being civil - same with kids who used to push me around. Why? We all grew up. We realized that a person is not necessarily the same at age 11 as they are at age 18. Snape could never reconcile his opinion of James with the truth because he never knew the truth. James was killed, Lily was killed, Snape was left alone, and he clung to his comfort zone: a world where James was a ruthless bully and Lily was still his friend. Essentially, the dark side of nostalgia.

Honestly, I don't think James and Snape could have been anything more than tensely civil. Kind of like Harry and Draco much later on. If James and Lily had lived, eventually Snape would have had to accept that Lily was James's wife, not his, and that that was not going to change. But because the subjects of both his obsessions were dead, he could look at them in whatever light he wanted, without ever having to acknowledge the reality around him.
I don't really understand the basis you are using for this idea. I figure Snape was not the same person he was at 15 that he was at 35, but he still looked at the things in the same light, imo. Snape placed the worst construction possible on every single action James Potter undertook and he did the same with Harry, imo. That is, even when Harry did something good, Snape generally found away to see it in a bad light (as he did with James, imo). Why would he not do that with an older James? Snape knew James had worked for the Order, married and had a child, he knew he stayed home to protect his family when they were being hunted - those were all commonly known facts. He also knew that James together with Lily had defied Voldemort thrice because it was relayed in the prophecy. He knew when James was young, that in addition to hexing for fun, he also pranked, played Quidditch and was popular among the students who believed he was "wonderful" overall - that is not the cred a "big bully" receives, imo. Big bullies may be respected out of fear and popular for that reason, but everyone would not believe James was wonderful to the point where Snape would feel he had to prove he was not. The majority of students fearing or traumatized by the big bully would already believe he was not wonderful - and Lily for their sakes would feel the same, imo, based on her characterization. But the fact that she did like him enough for Snape to believe she felt like the majority - that James was wonderful - albeit recognizing him an arrogant toe rag for his quick to hex attitude when molested, says to me that there was a side to James that Snape was disregarding.

So in my view, Snape mischaracterized both young and older James according to his own wont and I don't think that viewing older James in action would have changed his opinion. I feel he would still place the worse construction on all of James acts, good and bad, to reinforce his opinion that Lily had chosen the wrong man and that he himself was the better man for her. I don't think your take on it is impossible, anything could happen in a lifetime, but I don't really feel it likely that Snape would be able to overcome his feelings of jealousy, fueling his dislike, enough for that to occur.


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  #22  
Old September 30th, 2009, 12:47 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by padfootmarauder View Post
He was willing to let James die so long as he had Lily.
All cannon shows us is that Severus hadn’t given any thought to James’ survival – he never says anything to indicate that he actively wants James dead when he meets Dumbledore but he does have a complete disregard for any consequences that might befall James. To me this simply shows that Lily’s fate was the only think he had thought about – nothing else mattered to him.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
he knew he stayed home to protect his family when they were being hunted
I don’t think he stayed at home to protect his family any more than Lily did – they went into hiding because the family was targeted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I don't really understand the basis you are using for this idea. I figure Snape was not the same person he was at 15 that he was at 35, but he still looked at the things in the same light, imo. Snape placed the worst construction possible on every single action James Potter undertook […] So in my view, Snape mischaracterized both young and older James according to his own wont and I don't think that viewing older James in action would have changed his opinion.
I think the point CrimsonZephyr was making, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong CrimsonZephyr , is that had Lily not died things might have been very different.

Personally I think he has a point – Lily’s death seems to have frozen certain aspects of Snape’s feelings, I think his inability to get over Lily, for example, is in part due to the fact she died.


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  #23  
Old September 30th, 2009, 1:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
That is, even when Harry did something good, Snape generally found away to see it in a bad light (as he did with James, imo).
Now, why does this type of reaction sound so strangely familiar?

I've been wracking my brain for the instance of Snape seeing Harry's good deeds in a bad light that you are referring to - can you please be more specific or, better yet, provide a quote?

Quote:
Snape knew James had worked for the Order, married and had a child, he knew he stayed home to protect his family when they were being hunted
Snape also worked for the Order and tried to protect Potter's family, for all the good it brought him... and I think we all agree the way most people treat their families is not necessarily the way they treat everyone else (see Malfoys).

Quote:
He knew when James was young, that in addition to hexing for fun, he also pranked, played Quidditch and was popular among the students who believed he was "wonderful" overall - that is not the cred a "big bully" receives, imo.
Popular among Gryffindor students, you mean. We don't get to see what Huffs and Raves - or anyone outside his friends' circle, for that matter - thought about Potter Sr, though we most certainly get to learn just how 'wonderful overall' certain Slytherins found him.

Quote:
But the fact that she did like him enough for Snape to believe she felt like the majority - that James was wonderful - albeit recognizing him an arrogant toe rag for his quick to hex attitude when molested, says to me that there was a side to James that Snape was disregarding.
And thank Merlin he did! I don't think I would've survived Snape doubling for young Gindelwald.

Quote:
So in my view, Snape mischaracterized both young and older James according to his own wont and I don't think that viewing older James in action would have changed his opinion.
I agree Snape's opinion would not have changed by 'viewing older James in action' - I highly doubt his actions towards Snape would be any different - but the amount of time he spent contemplating it would. By saving the Potters Snape would (in his opinion, at least) pay the debt he owed for delivering the prophesy and, hopefully, eventually be able to move on from the highschool drama.

Quote:
his opinion that Lily had chosen the wrong man and that he himself was the better man for her.
I agree with your interpretation of Snape's POV in the first part, but... what exactly makes you think he was so self-assured to think 'he himself was the better man for her'? The fact that he never told her how he felt?


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  #24  
Old September 30th, 2009, 1:20 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwyla View Post
I think it would have been much easier for Snape to 'move on' if Lily had not died. However he DID turn to the 'good side' BEFORE her death - apparently what I consider to be over a year beforehand. So it was not her 'death' that turned him.


Quote:
Now, if instead you mean would he have ever left if Lily had not been endangered? Then I'm going to have to answer with a gut feeling. There just isn't canon in the story to tell us. JKR insists he would not have, but I don't really see where that was indicated in the books.
I love most of your post hwyla but here I have to disagree.

Insists is a very strong word and as I recall JKR is less emphatic than that word implies. I’m sure she said something like he probably wouldn’t have changed sides if Lily hadn’t been threatened.

To me that is a very different statement – jmho


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  #25  
Old September 30th, 2009, 1:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
I've been wracking my brain for the instance of Snape seeing Harry's good deeds in a bad light that you are referring to - can you please be more specific or, better yet, provide a quote?
For example, construing Harry as 'strutting' about based on his little talent at Quidditch play (POA). I think it is possible to call a person on strutting when they raise their hand and pump the air after a major catch or win, or when they are slapping high fives and laughing with the crowd afterward while being congratulated or bouncing along with happiness with their friends after the game. But I also feel that is the worse construction you can put on those actions, which are normal to athletes playing sports - and it was something that Harry did very well - phenomenally in fact, imo. Also, Snape characterizing Harry's play as a 'little talent' would also be putting a poor construction on Harry's talent, imo.

Quote:
Popular among Gryffindor students, you mean. We don't get to see what Huffs and Raves - or anyone outside his friends' circle, for that matter - thought about Potter Sr, though we most certainly get to learn just how 'wonderful overall' certain Slytherins found him.
Well I was speaking from Snape's point of view. He said in DH that everyone thought they were wonderful (referring to the Marauders, including James) and he just wanted to show Lily they weren't. He didn't limit that to Gryffindors. So that is what Snape was thinking as opposed to what we might take away as readers. And my point was that Snape would have spoken and acted on his beliefs.

Quote:
I agree Snape's opinion would not have changed by 'viewing older James in action' - I highly doubt his actions towards Snape would be any different - but the amount of time he spent contemplating it would. By saving the Potters Snape would (in his opinion, at least) pay the debt he owed for delivering the prophesy and, hopefully, eventually be able to move on from the highschool drama.
I understood. My point was that the concerns for Snape moved beyond enemyship in school and included his feelings of jealousy over Lily, which in my opinion would remain in place even if both Potters had lived. But that is due to my take on how Snape's feelings developed for Lily from when they met through the time he learned she was targeted, which may differ from others.

Quote:
I agree with your interpretation of Snape's POV in the first part, but... what exactly makes you think he was so self-assured to think 'he himself was the better man for her'? The fact that he never told her how he felt?
Because I feel that Snape either had a sincerely low opinion of her husband (lower than he had of himself), or he refused to admit to himself that he didn't - and in either case, that would result in him feeling he was the better man for her, imo.


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  #26  
Old September 30th, 2009, 1:38 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittling View Post
I think the point CrimsonZephyr was making, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong CrimsonZephyr , is that had Lily not died things might have been very different.

Personally I think he has a point – Lily’s death seems to have frozen certain aspects of Snape’s feelings, I think his inability to get over Lily, for example, is in part due to the fact she died.
Yes, that was indeed my point. Snape had an extreme case of arrested development, and its through that lens that we as readers view his character. Snape, by his very characterization, is a damaged figure. Basically, the Potters' deaths, in my view, allowed Snape to retreat back into his shell. He could go on hating James's memory, he could go on loving Lily from the days when they were friends. He didn't have to address his old rivalry with James, nor reconcile his love of Lily with the fact that's she'd moved on. I don't say he wouldn't - frankly, that statement is beyond our scope. We only know Snape as he was, not as he could have been. But basically, he never was able to step back and realize that Lily had gone on with her life, the Marauders had gone on with their lives, and thus Snape should too. His thoughts were always defined, focused on the past. Whether he would, I don't know, but I strongly believe that Snape would be a less-damaged, though not necessarily better, man if the Potters had survived.


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  #27  
Old September 30th, 2009, 2:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonZephyr View Post
We only know Snape as he was, not as he could have been. But basically, he never was able to step back and realize that Lily had gone on with her life, the Marauders had gone on with their lives, and thus Snape should too.
But he had gone on with his life ... he did that when he changed sides in 1981 and became a spy for the Order.

And he did realise that the Marauders had gone on with theirs ... he had to interact with both Remus and Sirius when all three of them were in the Order. Granted, the interraction wasn't particularly friendly but basically, both Severus and Sirius had to knuckle down and get past their personal antagonism, as Dumbledore told them to (end of GoF). I don't claim that either of them did this perfectly.

None of this obscures the fact that Snape is a damaged man. (As was Sirius.) But his life changed direction ... that is part of his character arc.

Quote:
His thoughts were always defined, focused on the past. Whether he would, I don't know, but I strongly believe that Snape would be a less-damaged, though not necessarily better, man if the Potters had survived.
Less damaged, yes. I think he had already begun to change for the better.


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  #28  
Old September 30th, 2009, 2:12 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
For example, construing Harry as 'strutting' about based on his little talent at Quidditch play (POA).
Oh, you mean the infamous 'Your head is not allowed to Hogsmeade' incident?
Quote:
Harry stayed silent. Snape was trying to provoke him into telling the truth. He wasn't going to do it. Snape had no proof - yet.

“How extraordinarily like your father you are, Potter,” Snape said suddenly, his eyes glinting. “He, too, was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of talent on the Quidditch pitch made him think he was a cut above the rest of us, too. Strutting around the place with his friends and admirers … the resemblance between you is uncanny.”
It would appear even Harry got the gist of that one.

Quote:
Well I was speaking from Snape's point of view. He said in DH that everyone thought they were wonderful (referring to the Marauders, including James) and he just wanted to show Lily they weren't. He didn't limit that to Gryffindors. So that is what Snape was thinking as opposed to what we might take away as readers. And my point was that Snape would have spoken and acted on his beliefs.
Snape's POV?! Well, I guess there's a first for everything...

True, he said that 'everyone seems to think they're wonderful'. And your point's been taken.

Incidentally... does your claim that Snape acts on his beliefs extend to his actions as a spy for the Order?

Quote:
I understood. My point was that the concerns for Snape moved beyond enemyship in school and included his feelings of jealousy over Lily, which in my opinion would remain in place even if both Potters had lived.
We have no way of knowing that - I agree with Zephyr on this one.


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  #29  
Old September 30th, 2009, 2:26 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwyla View Post
I think it would have been much easier for Snape to 'move on' if Lily had not died. However he DID turn to the 'good side' BEFORE her death - apparently what I consider to be over a year beforehand. So it was not her 'death' that turned him.

Largely I think that if Lily had not died then Snape could have moved on because he would have succeeded in helping to save her. I think a great deal of the reason he couldn't get over her has to do with guilt he felt over how his revealing the part of the prophecy he overheard put her in danger.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
For example, construing Harry as 'strutting' about based on his little talent at Quidditch play (POA). I think it is possible to call a person on strutting when they raise their hand and pump the air after a major catch or win, or when they are slapping high fives and laughing with the crowd afterward while being congratulated or bouncing along with happiness with their friends after the game. But I also feel that is the worse construction you can put on those actions, which are normal to athletes playing sports - and it was something that Harry did very well - phenomenally in fact, imo.
I take it you are refering to this quote:

PoA, Snape's Grudge 'How exraordinary like your father you are, Potter.' Snape said suddenly, his eyes glinting,. 'He, too, was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of talent on the Quiddtch pitch made him think he was a cut above the rest of us, too. Strutting around the place with his friends and admirers....the resemblance is uncanny.'


I didn't read this comment as being about the normal high jinx that take place during or just after a game. It read to me as though Snape was accusing James of being big headed because of his skills at Quidditch and that he behaved like so around the school. We even have evidence of James enjoying showing off and playing with the Snitch, much to Peter's amusment, in SWM.



Last edited by TreacleTartlet; September 30th, 2009 at 2:56 pm.
  #30  
Old September 30th, 2009, 3:06 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
Incidentally... does your claim that Snape acts on his beliefs extend to his actions as a spy for the Order?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacleTartlet View Post
I take it you are refering to this quote:

PoA, Snape's Grudge 'How exraordinary like your father you are, Potter.' Snape said suddenly, his eyes glinting,. 'He, too, was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of talent on the Quiddtch pitch made him think he was a cut above the rest of us, too. Strutting around the place with his friends and admirers....the resemblance is uncanny.'


I didn't read this comment as being about the normal high jinx that take place during or just after a game. It read to me as though Snape was accusing James of being big headed because of his skills at Quidditch and that he behaved like so around the school. We even have evidence of James enjoying showing off and playing with the Snitch, much to Peter's amusment, in SWM.
Snape was speaking about Harry also, and that is what I was referring to (because as readers, this is something we actually know about also). Even if one includes Harry's behavior around the school, I so not feel that he ever "strutted" around with friends and admirers. (If Snape saw an uncanny resemblance to Harry's dad in this regard - then Snape was placing the worst possible characterization on them both based on their behavior, imo.)

James with his snitch reminded me of Harry with his incessant laughter at every word that came out of Ginny's mouth at the Great Hall table when he too was impacted by his romantic interest in a girl. Young guys tend to do things around girls they are interested in that in hindsight they realize were not as impressive as they might have believed at the time. But I don't see that as strutting or showing ones self to feel a cut above the rest.


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Old September 30th, 2009, 3:31 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwyla View Post
Now, if instead you mean would he have ever left if Lily had not been endangered? I think the answer lays in just how soon he comes to realize that Muggleborns were truly endangered (and therefore Lily was too, even without the prophecy info).
Great post hwyla!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Well I was speaking from Snape's point of view. He said in DH that everyone thought they were wonderful (referring to the Marauders, including James) and he just wanted to show Lily they weren't.
From Snape's point of view he was quite right at that point and was right to be concerned as well. This conversation was after the werewolf incident and I think he was saying that there were other aspects of them that was not so good or admirable. Snape and Lily are talking about the same incident; while Lily's information makes her look up James, the same incident makes Snape wary of them and concerned about her growing attraction to them, who in his opinion are not worthy of it IMO.


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  #32  
Old September 30th, 2009, 3:38 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittling View Post


I love most of your post hwyla but here I have to disagree.

Insists is a very strong word and as I recall JKR is less emphatic than that word implies. I’m sure she said something like he probably wouldn’t have changed sides if Lily hadn’t been threatened.

To me that is a very different statement – jmho
No, unfortunately JKR was more emphatic than "probably," she said "definitely," but like hwyla, I don't agree with her either:

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WWB
I don't really understand the basis you are using for this idea. I figure Snape was not the same person he was at 15 that he was at 35, but he still looked at the things in the same light, imo. Snape placed the worst construction possible on every single action James Potter undertook and he did the same with Harry, imo. That is, even when Harry did something good, Snape generally found away to see it in a bad light (as he did with James, imo). Why would he not do that with an older James?
Because if they had lived, Snape could judge by whether Lily seemed happy or not, and if she did, then he might have come to respect James in a grudging way. He might even be thankful that James kept Lily alive during the war, because he would see that as a sign that James wasn't so reckless anymore. It might still bother him to see Lily with James, but I believe he could have eventually moved on. Just my opinion.


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  #33  
Old September 30th, 2009, 3:50 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
From Snape's point of view he was quite right at that point and was right to be concerned as well. This conversation was after the werewolf incident and I think he was saying that there were other aspects of them that was not so good or admirable. Snape and Lily are talking about the same incident; while Lily's information makes her look up James, the same incident makes Snape wary of them and concerned about her growing attraction to them, who in his opinion are not worthy of it IMO.
Too much Lily. Will respond in the Snape- Lily thread. .


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  #34  
Old September 30th, 2009, 3:53 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

I don't agree with JKR either. Snape could and did turn, for whatever reason. Which for me shows he had the potential to change from a DE; to turn away from Voldemort. I think had he not turned when he did, he would have changed a little later. He like Draco and Regulus seem to have joined without knowing that the DEs had no agenda except increasing Voldemort's power and were mindlessly killing without any reason whatsoever. They also did not like the torture that real DEs like Bellatrix, McNair and other seem enjoy and revel in or the traitorous tasks that Peter seem to have no problem doing.

Everyone who was not like these people opted out and I think Snape was one of them and he would have come out sooner than later. The danger Lily was in made that change come a lot sooner IMO.


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  #35  
Old September 30th, 2009, 4:07 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by WWB
James with his snitch reminded me of Harry with his incessant laughter at every word that came out of Ginny's mouth at the Great Hall table when he too was impacted by his romantic interest in a girl. Young guys tend to do things around girls they are interested in that in hindsight they realize were not as impressive as they might have believed at the time. But I don't see that as strutting or showing ones self to feel a cut above the rest.
I don't quite see what you mean by the underlined part. Harry married Ginny, and James married Lily ~ so they must have stayed impressed with the girls. Both boys were acting infatuated. So in that light, Snape had good reason to feel threatened by James concerning his relationship with Lily, imo.

ETA: I believe the line about "strutting" had more to do with James's perceived arrogance and rule-breaking, than just about playing with a snitch. I think Harry focused on James with the snitch in Snape's memory because it was something he could relate to as a Quidditch Player himself. Obviously, Harry really is like James in his physical appearance and skills, so perhaps the way he walked - or strutted - actually did remind Snape of James. But I took that as Snape seeing Harry as a rule-breaker, especially on second reading of PoA when we know that's exactly what James and his friends were doing.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; September 30th, 2009 at 4:10 pm.
  #36  
Old September 30th, 2009, 5:02 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
No, unfortunately JKR was more emphatic than "probably," she said "definitely," but like hwyla, I don't agree with her either:

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Greta, 8: If Snape didn't love Lily, would he have still tried to protect Harry?

JKR: No. He Definitely wouldn't have done. He wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened to this boy.
This is different from saying Snape would definitely not ever change sides. It is just saying that at that point, learning that Harry Potter, the son of James and some woman Snape could care less about, was in danger, would not have provided him with the motivation to change. One presumes Snape may have by this time seen/heard about other less than good things happening to other less than awful people because of Voldemort, and he had not changed sides.

But this does not say anything about what Snape might or might not have cared enough about in a non-canon future in which the Potters were all dead and Snape continued to be a Death Eater. His blood traitor mother? The Malfoys? A favorite teacher? A work colleague? (Snape presumably would have had some job other than Potions Master at Hogwarts, in this future).

We don't even, really, know what Snape though of being a Death Eater by the time he approached Albus. I know some readers assume he was content and proud with his choice, but we don't actually know this. We are not shown his decision to join, for example, nor do we see scenes of him being a young Death Eater. The speed with which he seems to understand the basis for Albus's disapproval, and his lack of any self-justification in that conversation, inclines me to believe he was already having second thoughts. He was also, though, intelligent enough to grasp that joining up meant "a lifetime of service or death". His quick agreement to serve Dumbledore might merely reflect the depth of his desperate fear for Lily, or it might also reflect his existing disillusionment with Voldemort's service.

It did not, after all, take Draco even a year to realize being a Death Eater was not a very good deal.


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  #37  
Old September 30th, 2009, 5:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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It did not, after all, take Draco even a year to realize being a Death Eater was not a very good deal.
And Draco was at Hogwarts most of that time. If Snape spent more time actually in Voldemort's company, he may have become disillusioned much faster.


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Old September 30th, 2009, 5:31 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
No, unfortunately JKR was more emphatic than "probably," she said "definitely," but like hwyla, I don't agree with her either:

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Greta, 8: If Snape didn't love Lily, would he have still tried to protect Harry?

JKR: No. He Definitely wouldn't have done. He wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened to this boy.
With all due respect SIP Snape's feelings about Harry have nothing to do with whether or not he would have remained a Death Eater if Lily had not been targeted - they are two very seperate issues.


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  #39  
Old September 30th, 2009, 5:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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With all due respect SIP Snape's feelings about Harry have nothing to do with whether or not he would have remained a Death Eater if Lily had not been targeted - they are two very seperate issues.
I absolutely agree with you ~ that's just the only quote that I know about in which JKR talked about Snape's point of view and how he felt.

JKR was never asked whether Snape would have left the DEs, that I can recall. Maybe there's another quote I'm forgetting. But she was so emphatic about his feelings, and not leaving the usual gray areas that she gives us in the books. So I feel that statement is off the cuff and I disagree with her.

I don't think Snape was that unfeeling, and I think he was capable of great empathy. Snape is capable of caring about those with whom he has no connection, such as Katie Bell, and JKR wrote him that way so I presume she was actually aware that he could see a bigger picture than just his own feelings.

Arithmancer and Sly Lady: I agree with both of you that Snape was too intelligent and sensitive to want to be a Death Eater all his life. And indeed, he was never a killer, anymore than Draco was, and he must have become disillusioned just as quickly.


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  #40  
Old October 3rd, 2009, 7:50 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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I agree with both of you that Snape was too intelligent and sensitive to want to be a Death Eater all his life.
But this begs the question why would anyone want to be one in the first place? We can give all the rationalizations that we want about lack of friends or an abusive childhood or lack of social skills but if you are capable of love and are intelligent as, we see with Draco and Narcissa, it doesn't take a genius to look down paths of prejudice and see that the ending can not be good. Therefor people willfully blind themselves when they start down dark paths. They will themselves not to see. And that has nothing to do with how smart or intelligent you are. What would have happened if Lily was never in the picture? Would that have made Snape less of an outcast? Would it have kept him out of the dark arts? Would he never have become dissillusioned? Or what if Lily had been confunded or knocked out and never been able to sacrifice herself for Harry and she survived? Do you think Snape with his hatred for James and Harry would have understood why she didn't forgive him for giving away the prophecy? Or would he have tried to lie to her to keep her from knowing? Do we think that if Lily had survived he would have become a better man? Do you think he would have been ready to live his life in solitude knowing that she would hate him forever?

My answer to all those questions was that he probably didn't think that far ahead. And why would you not think that far ahead? Because you don't want to. You don't want to see the other possibilites.

So I think that to say that he would have stopped eventually with or without Lily is a big stretch.


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