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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%
Voters: 153. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #101  
Old October 9th, 2009, 5:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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So, if we go with your view of the series... we have an evil character living to protect an unknown child and a good character living in order to get an eye for an eye?

Interesting cast, I must say.
Well if that was my view of the series it probably would be an interesting cast. Might make a darn good story. Thanks for the idea.
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Do we? Did Jo really want to say to kids "Judge people for their past wrongdoings, even if/when they come to see the error of their ways and do their best to make amends, but judge them mercifully", then left them with their own devices to come with the definition of mercy?
If I believed that for one second, I'd ban my own kids from ever reading the books.
What you let your children read is of course up to you but I don't believe anybody who can put together such an articulate post would let their child read a book and not discuss the right or wrong way to reach a decision about the charactors motives.

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Justice?!
Justice differs across ages, nations and cultures. Extenuating circumstances within the same judicial system are defined and re-defined by the decade, some by the year. And we are to attempt meting it out based on our interpretation of a fictional piece of writing?
Justice IMO never changes. People's perceptions of morals and what is considered good/bad behaviour may change, but justice never does. It is what we face when we break the laws of the society we live in. Those laws might change but not our responsibilty in upholding them. Otherwise we would live in anarchy and whether that is depicted in a book or by lawlessness on our front door steps it must be addressed.


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Only a painfully stupid selfish person would spend two decades 'trapped into doing something good'. I imagine Jo intended Snape to be many things... but I doubt 'stupid' was one of them.
But that is what a trap is. Something we step into unseen. And if you are clever it makes no differance once the trap has been sprung. Clever people who feel that they are too clever to fall into one, are sometimes the most prone to fall into one. And you know Hogwarts could have been percieved by Snape as a most comfortable trap to be in.

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What do we know of Snape's personal ideologies? He used the term 'mudblood' and expressed negative feelings of varying intensity for Petunia, his father and the Marauders. But does that translate into ideology?
I think it is a very good indicator as the views were expressed over a period of years. That would seem to be an idealogy.



Last edited by eliza101; October 9th, 2009 at 5:42 pm.
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  #102  
Old October 9th, 2009, 6:23 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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What was Snape doing in that 5-6 years? He was hexing James at every opportunity in school and he became a DE with all that that entails. It does not create for me the picture a nice young man, but that's my opinion.
The canon states a few things you've left out:

James was hexing lots of people according to Lily in SWM, the detention cards in HBP, and Snape ~ plus Sirius who says that James did it in sixth year without Lily "knowing much about it."

Sirius says Snape was also hexing James, but considering that SWM is all we have to judge by, and Lupin admits he never told his friends to "lay off" bothering Snape, then it's unclear who started what and when.

None of them are nice young men in my opinion, and three or four against one is never good odds against the "oddball." Just my opinion. I guess it depends on your definition of who is nice and who isn't nice. The question was attack or be attacked. Is a victim better or worse when they just lay there like a slug, or when they learn to fight back? It's up to each of us to decide. Harry always fought back whenever he could, even when surrounded, but luckily for him he had lots of friends.

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Originally Posted by eliza
What is important for the story and for the readers is what he did afterwards. I think that is really when Snape's story starts. When the books start.
It just seems to me we have to consider Snape's actions between the time he came back to the good side, and the time Harry started school.

It was 5-6 years from 16-21 when Snape was going bad.
It was twice as long ~ 10 years ~ between the time Snape came back and Harry came to Hogwarts.

I don't think we can dismiss that notable fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza
I don't feel that his actions showed that till much later. Yes, he said anything but did he in his heart believe that he would really be called on to do 'anything.' We don't see him doing much with a willing heart till GOF when he goes back to face LV. He does try and counter jinx Quirrellmort at the Quiddich match but honestly, Harry was almost off his broom. Hermione did a whole lot better and she was 11 years old. Why didn't Snape just 'accidently' knock Quirrellmort over? Yes Snape may not have been 100% LV's man but IMO he was far from working 100% for the good side.
Are you trying to say that Snape was allowing Quirrell to hex Harry just for fun because he was still a bad person? I don't see how that would make sense ... and the fact that Harry was "almost off his broom" isn't the point either since Voldemort was giving Quirrell some powers by then, yet Snape was still able to do a countercurse against the most powerful "undead" Wizard.

That seems pretty good to me.

Quirrell was sitting behind Snape where he couldn't see him, and if Snape had broken eye contact on Harry to turn around and look, the boy would have fallen. Hermione just happens to knock Quirrell over just before setting Snape on fire, and JKR made the two things seem simultaneous to set up the idea that Snape was still trying to hurt Harry. But he wasn't, and I believe that is the canon.

I see no reason why Snape would want or condone Quirrell to hex Harry in the context we have from DH. Snape suspected Quirrell but he wouldn't expect him to hex Harry in that public of a setting.


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  #103  
Old October 9th, 2009, 7:10 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
What do we know of Snape's personal ideologies?
Only that which he spoke of. He went from watching to not watching people die if he could save them. And he went from saying Mudblood to not wishing to hear a fellow Slytherin use it. And he went from believing that Voldemort's regime was the road to power he wanted to rejecting that idea. So I was referring to the ideologies associated with those changes (which may differ from reader to reader).


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  #104  
Old October 9th, 2009, 7:26 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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=silver ink pot;5434013]The canon states a few things you've left out:

James was hexing lots of people according to Lily in SWM, the detention cards in HBP, and Snape ~ plus Sirius who says that James did it in sixth year without Lily "knowing much about it."

Sirius says Snape was also hexing James, but considering that SWM is all we have to judge by, and Lupin admits he never told his friends to "lay off" bothering Snape, then it's unclear who started what and when.
Canon states quite clearly that Snape hexed James every chance he got in 7th year, the period I am posting about. What went on before that is immateriel to my post about this time. In SWM it is quite clear that James started the trouble, canon states in 7th year it was Snape. James was Head Boy at this time, he out ranked Lupin and it can be assumed that he had matured quite a bit as it is also stated in canon that Lily did not go out with him till 'his head had shrunk'. That is canon and no matter who said it, it is not contradicted.

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None of them are nice young men in my opinion, and three or four against one is never good odds against the "oddball." Just my opinion. I guess it depends on your definition of who is nice and who isn't nice. The question was attack or be attacked. Is a victim better or worse when they just lay there like a slug, or when they learn to fight back? It's up to each of us to decide. Harry always fought back whenever he could, even when surrounded, but luckily for him he had lots of friends.
Well if we are going to be precise it was 2 against one in SWM. The others were onlookers, when Lily comes over it evens it up to 2 against 2 as she came over to defend Snape. James was a nastly prat in SWM, I am not disputing it, but he did not cause physical harm to Snape, Snape did cut him quite badly. Snape was right to defend himself, of course he was. The point I was making was that they were all children. Older children it is true but none of them were adult, with an adult's perception of the occasion. They should all have been disiplined for their actions. I have always wondered where on earth the teachers were.

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It just seems to me we have to consider Snape's actions between the time he came back to the good side, and the time Harry started school.

It was 5-6 years from 16-21 when Snape was going bad.
It was twice as long ~ 10 years ~ between the time Snape came back and Harry came to Hogwarts.

I don't think we can dismiss that notable fact.
I do tend to dismiss the fact that Snape was 10 years at the school before Harry went there for the simple reason it is not mentioned at all in the books. If it is not mentioned in the books. it is not part of the story except as the most genral type of information that there was a Hogwarts and it had teachers. Snape's growth etc. at this time is not in the books and to my mind not important.


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huh: Are you trying to say that Snape was allowing Quirrell to hex Harry just for fun because he was still a bad person? I don't see how that would make sense ... and the fact that Harry was "almost off his broom" isn't the point either since Voldemort was giving Quirrell some powers by then, yet Snape was still able to do a countercurse against the most powerful "undead" Wizard.

That seems pretty good to me.

Quirrell was sitting behind Snape where he couldn't see him, and if Snape had broken eye contact on Harry to turn around and look, the boy would have fallen. Hermione just happens to knock Quirrell over just before setting Snape on fire, and JKR made the two things seem simultaneous to set up the idea that Snape was still trying to hurt Harry. But he wasn't, and I believe that is the canon.
I see no reason why Snape would want or condone Quirrell to hex Harry in the context we have from DH. Snape suspected Quirrell but he wouldn't expect him to hex Harry in that public of a setting.

I don't dispute anything you just said, I just don't think Snape was doing a very good job of saving Harry. I think Hermione had a lot to do with Harry being saved rather than Harry's fall being delayed by Snape's counter-curse. I don't think Snape condoned Quirrell-mort's actions, I just don't think his actios against it was very effective. Each to their own.



Last edited by eliza101; October 9th, 2009 at 7:30 pm.
  #105  
Old October 9th, 2009, 7:42 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
Canon states quite clearly that Snape hexed James every chance he got in 7th year, the period I am posting about. What went on before that is immateriel to my post about this time. In SWM it is quite clear that James started the trouble, canon states in 7th year it was Snape. James was Head Boy at this time, he out ranked Lupin and it can be assumed that he had matured quite a bit as it is also stated in canon that Lily did not go out with him till 'his head had shrunk'. That is canon and no matter who said it, it is not contradicted.
I'll agree that James outranked Lupin, and obviously outranked Snape as Head Boy. Sirius seems to contradict that James had matured enough not to hex Snape since he clearly says that Lily did not know what he was doing to Snape.

OotP "Career Advice"'She started going out with him in seventh year,' said Lupin.

'Once James had deflated his head a bit,' said Sirius.

'And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it,' said Lupin.

'Even Snape?' said Harry.

Well,' said Lupin slowly, 'Snape was a special case. I mean, he never lost an opportunity to curse James so you couldn't really expect James to take that lying down, could you?'

'And my mum was OK with that?'

'She didn't know too much about it, to tell you the truth,' said Sirius. '1 mean, James didn't take Snape on dates with her and jinx him in front of her, did he?'

Sirius frowned at Harry, who was still looking unconvinced.

'Look,' he said, 'your father was the best friend I ever had and he was a good person. A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it.'

'Yeah, OK,' said Harry heavily. 'I just never thought I'd feel sorry for Snape.'


Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza
Well if we are going to be precise it was 2 against one in SWM. The others were onlookers, when Lily comes over it evens it up to 2 against 2 as she came over to defend Snape. James was a nastly prat in SWM, I am not disputing it, but he did not cause physical harm to Snape, Snape did cut him quite badly. Snape was right to defend himself, of course he was. The point I was making was that they were all children. Older children it is true but none of them were adult, with an adult's perception of the occasion. They should all have been disiplined for their actions. I have always wondered where on earth the teachers were.
I've always wondered that too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza
I do tend to dismiss the fact that Snape was 10 years at the school before Harry went there for the simple reason it is not mentioned at all in the books. If it is not mentioned in the books. it is not part of the story except as the most genral type of information that there was a Hogwarts and it had teachers. Snape's growth etc. at this time is not in the books and to my mind not important.
Well, we can count Harry's age from 1 to 11, so I do include that as part of the canon, even if we have nothing to go by except that Snape taught the older Weasley boys. The pertinent point to me is that he stayed there waiting for Harry to arrive, and then stuck to his plan for seven more years for a total of 17 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza
I don't dispute anything you just said, I just don't think Snape was doing a very good job of saving Harry. I think Hermione had a lot to do with Harry being saved rather than Harry's fall being delayed by Snape's counter-curse. I don't think Snape condoned Quirrell-mort's actions, I just don't think his actios against it was very effective. Each to their own.
Yes, but Snape is the only adult there who seemed to be trying to save Harry. If he had done nothing maybe it would be more significant, but he did try.

And going back to your question of "where are the teachers?" in thinking of SWM - in Harry's case during the Quidditch match and many other times, Snape was there and he tried.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; October 9th, 2009 at 7:45 pm.
  #106  
Old October 9th, 2009, 7:50 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

By contrast (just letting my thoughts ramble) it is interesting to me that Snape never mentioned James until 3rd year and that his words nearly echoed Lily's in his memory. Snape too had clear bias, but we don't assume that his pov was the only one about James.

The interesting thing is- we don't have much - if anything- about Snape's school days from more than one perspective. This is necessary for the plot to keep his motives secret but also succeeds in building up a strong bias against the character.

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
Well if we are going to be precise it was 2 against one in SWM. The others were onlookers, when Lily comes over it evens it up to 2 against 2 as she came over to defend Snape. James was a nastly prat in SWM, I am not disputing it, but he did not cause physical harm to Snape, Snape did cut him quite badly. Snape was right to defend himself, of course he was..
I disagree with the "2 against 1" simply because Lupin and Pettigrew didn't use their wands. Lupin himself admits he should have done something. Bystanders are still culpable if they do nothing to help and especially if they stand there cheering-as Pettigrew did. By their audience alone they provided support to what James and Sirius were doing. Many on this board condemn Snape for "standing by" with the Dark Lord whether or not he picked up a wand and every cursed a muggle or not. He worked in the DE's service and is culpable for this.

And although Lily was "helping" Snape, she did not pay much attention to him in the process. She spent more time focused on and indeed flirting with James. "Sev" was being physically (i.e. sexually) humiliated (a treatment which may or may not be on par with a small cut on the cheek) and hanging in the air while these two flirted back and forth. So even that Lily was present here and standing up against Potter- I don't see her as on "Snape's side." In retrospect, she was clearly reaching the end of their friendship at this point and IMO, Snape was well aware of this fact. This is what IMO triggered Snape's reaction to such a degree. Lily's reaction to "Mudblood" - by insulting his underpants and calling out his poverty- in turn revealed that she herself (understandably so) was tired of dealing with Snape and divorced herself from him by furthering that humiliation.


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Last edited by Bscorp; October 9th, 2009 at 8:08 pm.
  #107  
Old October 9th, 2009, 8:02 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Bscorp: If Snape is culpable in being a bystander, then everyone is culpable. Lupin and Peter were in much less danger in SWM, yet they didn't stand up for anyone either. JKR is very clear about that, and the fact that Lupin knew he was culpable years later.

Personally, I think Snape hates watching Charity die. If someone can show me canon that he enjoyed it, please give me the text because I don't see it. I believe she is one of the people he wanted to save but couldn't because of the bigger picture of being a spy for the sake of Harry.


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  #108  
Old October 9th, 2009, 8:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
The interesting thing is- we don't have much - if anything- about Snape's school days from more than one perspective. This is necessary for the plot to keep his motives secret but also succeeds in building up a strong bias against the character.
I felt that we heard things about Snape's school days from several perspectives. We had the Memories (at Snape's start and end point edits), Sirius, Lupin, and Dumbledore. To me, they all added up to the final picture.

Quote:
And although Lily was "helping" Snape, she did not pay much attention to him in the process. She spent more time focused on and indeed flirting with James. "Sev" was being physically (i.e. sexually) humiliated (a treatment which may or may not be on par with a small cut on the cheek) and hanging in the air while these two flirted back and forth.
I feel Lily's efforts, however construed, helped Snape and at one point gave Snape the decided advantage (when he used his curse). I credit her with evening out the balance in that regard.

While I don't characterize the levicorpus in the way you do, I would add that Snape created this spell for the very purpose that we saw it used in this scene, imo. Canon advises that it was being used frequently and on a wide scale basis. So if your characterization is correct, then that is exactly what Snape had in mind when he created the spell, imo, and he was aware that many others had been and were being jinxed/hexed accordingly and some perhaps had an even more embarassing episode than Snape when his spell was used on them. I don't feel that Snape could try to be self-righteous about its use on him under the circumstances; as the saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.


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Last edited by wickedwickedboy; October 9th, 2009 at 8:36 pm.
  #109  
Old October 9th, 2009, 8:39 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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=silver ink pot;5434069
OotP "Career Advice"'She started going out with him in seventh year,' said Lupin.

'Once James had deflated his head a bit,' said Sirius.

'And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it,' said Lupin.

'Even Snape?' said Harry.

Well,' said Lupin slowly, 'Snape was a special case. I mean, he never lost an opportunity to curse James so you couldn't really expect James to take that lying down, could you?'

'And my mum was OK with that?'

'She didn't know too much about it, to tell you the truth,' said Sirius. '1 mean, James didn't take Snape on dates with her and jinx him in front of her, did he?'

Sirius frowned at Harry, who was still looking unconvinced.

'Look,' he said, 'your father was the best friend I ever had and he was a good person. A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it.'

'Yeah, OK,' said Harry heavily. 'I just never thought I'd feel sorry for Snape.'



I've always wondered that too!
The canon states that Snape started the hexing in 7th year after James had stopped hexing people for the fun of it. So James stopped and Snape started hexing when Lily and James started going out together. Sort of speaks itself really.

Quote:
Well, we can count Harry's age from 1 to 11, so I do include that as part of the canon, even if we have nothing to go by except that Snape taught the older Weasley boys. The pertinent point to me is that he stayed there waiting for Harry to arrive, and then stuck to his plan for seven more years for a total of 17 years.
Or it could be looked at like Snape had a job at the school for the interval, He did not have to worry about going out to look for work and then come back when Harry started. Also he was where DD could keep an eye on him.

Quote:
Yes, but Snape is the only adult there who seemed to be trying to save Harry. If he had done nothing maybe it would be more significant, but he did try.

And going back to your question of "where are the teachers?" in thinking of SWM - in Harry's case during the Quidditch match and many other times, Snape was there and he tried.
Kudo's to him, he did try, not very successfully but your right he was the only one.


  #110  
Old October 9th, 2009, 8:41 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
Bscorp: If Snape is culpable in being a bystander, then everyone is culpable. Lupin and Peter were in much less danger in SWM, yet they didn't stand up for anyone either. JKR is very clear about that, and the fact that Lupin knew he was culpable years later.

Personally, I think Snape hates watching Charity die. If someone can show me canon that he enjoyed it, please give me the text because I don't see it. I believe she is one of the people he wanted to save but couldn't because of the bigger picture of being a spy for the sake of Harry.
Yes, SIP. You bring up a good point of contrast. I was not referring to the Charity situation, but I know that some would paint Snape as "culpable" even in this situation where he was essentially powerless to help her. And no he took no pride or joy in watching her die.

I always found it rather remarkable that Snape looks her in the eye (I believe the text says this if not correct me) while the other DEs were afraid to look up and seemed squeamish and then mocking. The whole issue of witnessing and the words, "look at me" are multi-layered for so many reasons in this series.
In SWM, I read that James was doing this to Snape in order to catch Lily's attention and it worked. JKR says Snape became involved in the DE in order to "impress" Lily (though I read his motivations as much more complicated than such) which failed miserably.

All of these little moments add up to an over arching theme of witnessing reality vs memory and personal bias in search of the Whole truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
While I don't characterize the levicorpus in the way you do, I would add that Snape created this spell for the very purpose that we saw it used in this scene, imo. Canon advises that it was being used frequently and on a wide scale basis. So if your characterization is correct, then that is exactly what Snape had in mind when he created the spell, imo, and he was aware that many others had been and were being jinxed/hexed accordingly and some perhaps had an even more embarassing episode than Snape when his spell was used on them. I don't feel that Snape could try to be self-righteous about its use on him under the circumstances; as the saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
I concede this point.
It is also interesting to note also how much Humor Ron took in the spell when Harry did it to him- and how Hermione had to call them out on it . Then Harry remembered this spell from Snape's memory and felt a twinge of guilt. (if I recall correctly)

I find this spell pretty interesting all around. It truly flips the perspective of the character's pov upside down and back again. Like the "Hanged Man" card it imitates.


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  #111  
Old October 9th, 2009, 9:07 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza101
Although in real life I do subscribe to the tenant that we should not judge others unless we judge them as we would like to be judged, I don't think that can be applied to a book series where there is a definate split between good and evil in said books. We have to judge them and what I think Jo is saying is 'be careful and be merciful'. Judgements have to be carried out in real life and in books. People go wrong and do terrible things. Judgements have to be made and justice carried out. I also subscribe to this tenant. I feel that it is wrong just to say 'I will not judge.' Because if we all did that who would stand for us when we are wronged. And that happens in real life and the books.
I agree that judgements have to be carried out in real life but as I was saying they are judgements of actions not of the person. If someone commits murder then they are tried for murder not for being on the side of evil. Justice is achieved by punishing evil acts, but this must be done with mercy and not vengence, for the benefit of society as a whole not to fulfill a personal agenda. This as I have described is an ideal which is very far from being fulfilled in this world. Too many personal agendas are turned into laws in order to control people. When I say "I will not judge" I mean that I will not judge people - I will certainly judge their actions, and that to me should be the focus in any debate involving good vs evil. Incidentally this is also the basis for the recommendations of this site in "Shades of Grey: Character Bashing/Worship" The idea being that you can say "Snape's remark to Tonks about her patronus was really mean and nasty", but we should try to avoid saying "Snape was a really mean and nasty person"

I really think that above all else Jo is promoting forgiveness - Harry forgives Snape. He also forgives Voldemort. In the great Hall there is no talk of him avenging his parents. No - Harry gives Voldemort an opportunity to repent and feel remorse. He has seen what Voldemort has become but rather than think he deserves it for his crimes, he actually gives Voldemort a chance to change. To me it was an outstanding end to the series.

But I'm getting wildly OT

My point is really that I do not see any division within the books of "Good" and "Evil" in terms of people. There is good and there is evil - but that comes down to the choices people make - Snape's choice to join the Death Eaters was a bad choice that led him to commit evil acts (off page - we never see any of his DE activities other than him spying on DD) But his choice to go to Dumbledore in order to save Lily, led him to acts of great bravery in order to prevent further evil acts by others.


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  #112  
Old October 9th, 2009, 10:13 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasley View Post
I agree that judgements have to be carried out in real life but as I was saying they are judgements of actions not of the person. If someone commits murder then they are tried for murder not for being on the side of evil. Justice is achieved by punishing evil acts, but this must be done with mercy and not vengence, for the benefit of society as a whole not to fulfill a personal agenda. This as I have described is an ideal which is very far from being fulfilled in this world. Too many personal agendas are turned into laws in order to control people. When I say "I will not judge" I mean that I will not judge people - I will certainly judge their actions, and that to me should be the focus in any debate involving good vs evil. Incidentally this is also the basis for the recommendations of this site in "Shades of Grey: Character Bashing/Worship" The idea being that you can say "Snape's remark to Tonks about her patronus was really mean and nasty", but we should try to avoid saying "Snape was a really mean and nasty person"

I really think that above all else Jo is promoting forgiveness - Harry forgives Snape. He also forgives Voldemort. In the great Hall there is no talk of him avenging his parents. No - Harry gives Voldemort an opportunity to repent and feel remorse. He has seen what Voldemort has become but rather than think he deserves it for his crimes, he actually gives Voldemort a chance to change. To me it was an outstanding end to the series.

But I'm getting wildly OT

My point is really that I do not see any division within the books of "Good" and "Evil" in terms of people. There is good and there is evil - but that comes down to the choices people make - Snape's choice to join the Death Eaters was a bad choice that led him to commit evil acts (off page - we never see any of his DE activities other than him spying on DD) But his choice to go to Dumbledore in order to save Lily, led him to acts of great bravery in order to prevent further evil acts by others.
Well in many ways I agree with you, but I think we have to be carefull. Yes the act is evil not necessarilythe person committing the act. But if a person repeatly commits the same type of acts what do you call them? LV repeatedly committed acts of great evil as did the other DE's. More they did it knowingly. Now I don't know and you don't know what Snape did as a DE. My point is he was part of the regime and he was a clever man. He knew that the acts were evil. If you are part of an orginisation whose modus operandi is to commit acts of great evil what does that make you? I think Snape started to realise this after he took the prophecy to DD. Then I think he started to judge himself. But how harshly did he judge? It is a very hard thing to realise that you have been acting in an evil fashion. How long did it take Snape to realise this was what he was guilty of? And if you commit these acts and get pleasure from the pain and suffering caused then IMO you are guilty of being evil. I don't think Snape was ever like this. I think he thought of it as a necessary evil that he had to do. It wasn't him, it was the job so to speak. But of course rationising like this fools no one but the one doing it. So yes ?I think that Snape changed from someone who could tell himself he wasn't so bad to the person who fought the best way he could against LV, but that does not change the fact that there was something about being a DE he must have liked and enjoyed and that part of himself could be seen as evil.
But we all have that part of evil in us. It's needs to be constantly watched.


  #113  
Old October 9th, 2009, 10:26 pm
DarkLord7  Male.gif DarkLord7 is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Many on this board condemn Snape for "standing by" with the Dark Lord whether or not he picked up a wand and every cursed a muggle or not. He worked in the DE's service and is culpable for this.
But, he did more than enough to make up for it. All of his years of spying were extremely helpful to the order. He was misguided, and made a mistake. Once he saw what happened to Lilly, he realized that Voldemort had to be stopped. He did regret it, so is he still evil?

And besides, just because he didn't fight the dark lord, doesn't mean he was evil. There were plenty of people who didn't try to stop him, but they weren't evil. R.A.B. joined Voldemort, thinking it would help him, then realized how evil he really was. Regulus was much like Snape. Maybe he was a little dark, but surely not evil?


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  #114  
Old October 9th, 2009, 10:49 pm
TM_WandStick  Undisclosed.gif TM_WandStick is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasley View Post
My point is really that I do not see any division within the books of "Good" and "Evil" in terms of people. There is good and there is evil - but that comes down to the choices people make - Snape's choice to join the Death Eaters was a bad choice that led him to commit evil acts (off page - we never see any of his DE activities other than him spying on DD) But his choice to go to Dumbledore in order to save Lily, led him to acts of great bravery in order to prevent further evil acts by others.
I agree with this completely. I think that JK wanted to show that any person, no matter the stereotype that they carry, is capable of doing both very good and very bad things. The best way she does this is with Snape, and on the opposite side, James. Harry dislikes Snape for much of the series, to say the least. But then we see that Snape was actually trying to keep Harry alive and was very much in the right most or all of the time, depending on the reader's views. Then, we have James, who Harry loves and adores. And we later see him as an arrogant bully.

However, I think one problem with this is that JK does somewhat separate her characters: into the Order and the DE's. We have to be careful as readers not to use those groups to define what is 'good' or 'evil.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7
But, he did more than enough to make up for it. All of his years of spying were extremely helpful to the order. He was misguided, and made a mistake. Once he saw what happened to Lilly, he realized that Voldemort had to be stopped. He did regret it, so is he still evil?

And besides, just because he didn't fight the dark lord, doesn't mean he was evil. There were plenty of people who didn't try to stop him, but they weren't evil. R.A.B. joined Voldemort, thinking it would help him, then realized how evil he really was. Regulus was much like Snape. Maybe he was a little dark, but surely not evil?
No, he didn't remain 'evil' forever, and it could be argued that he was simply misguided at this point. But that doesn't make it right or okay for Snape to join the Death Eaters. We can and should, IMO, forgive Snape, but that doesn't mean we can pretend that he was always righteous and good in everything he did, ever. (The events prtrayed at Hogwarts with Harry are slightly different, but I'm talking about before he came to Dumbledore.)



Last edited by TM_WandStick; October 9th, 2009 at 10:56 pm.
  #115  
Old October 9th, 2009, 11:02 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza101
My point is he was part of the regime and he was a clever man. He knew that the acts were evil. If you are part of an orginisation whose modus operandi is to commit acts of great evil what does that make you? I think Snape started to realise this after he took the prophecy to DD. Then I think he started to judge himself. But how harshly did he judge? It is a very hard thing to realise that you have been acting in an evil fashion. How long did it take Snape to realise this was what he was guilty of? And if you commit these acts and get pleasure from the pain and suffering caused then IMO you are guilty of being evil. I don't think Snape was ever like this. I think he thought of it as a necessary evil that he had to do. It wasn't him, it was the job so to speak. But of course rationising like this fools no one but the one doing it. So yes ?I think that Snape changed from someone who could tell himself he wasn't so bad to the person who fought the best way he could against LV, but that does not change the fact that there was something about being a DE he must have liked and enjoyed and that part of himself could be seen as evil.
But we all have that part of evil in us. It's needs to be constantly watched.
Well I agree that if people repeatedly commit evil acts then they may be called evil my point is - why is it necessary to classify people as "evil" in real life or in literature? What does classifying people in this way actually achieve? In my experience all it does is polarise people and push those who are on the periphery (like Snape and Draco) further down a path of continuing to commit evil acts.

Ironically it is Snape's judgement of himself and his inability to forgive himself that causes so many of his problems. His bitterness and harshness are caused by self-loathing (which we see demonstrated in Snape's lack of care for his appearance and self in general), which is caused by his own knowledge of the evil he has done. He judges himself as bad and cannot forgive himself. The result is the bitter man we see on the page who is tormented by his own guilt and compelled by to assuage this torture in whatever way he can - such as focusing on the guilt of others and giving his life to right the wrong he has done (which of course is impossible because Lily is dead)

A thought has just occurred to me. Seveus is the complete opposite to Ron 'emotional range of a teaspoon' Weasley, because not only does he feel a vast range of often conflicting emotions but he keeps them suppressed both because IMO it is not in his character to acknowledge yet alone share his feelings, but also because his life depends on him hiding his emotions from Voldemort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TM_Wandstick
However, I think one problem with this is that JK does somewhat separate her characters: into the Order and the DE's. We have to be careful as readers not to use those groups to define what is 'good' or 'evil.'
I agree. I think it is morally dangerous to assume that just because someone os an Order member all their behaviour can be regarded as good or justifiable. And similarly IMO it is a mistake to assume that Death Eaters are incapable of doing any good.

Quote:
We can and should, IMO, forgive Snape, but that doesn't mean we can pretend that he was always righteous and good in everything he did, ever.
Well if someone requires forgiveness then by definition they cannot have always been good and righteous in everything they ever did. And really that is the crux of the matter which Harry grasps and exemplifies absolutely: we all need forgiveness and if we are unable to forgive others then we cannot expect to be forgiven ourselves. Again this is the problem with Severus: he thinks that he doesn't deseve forgiveness, but because he cannot forgive himself he cannot forgive others and consequently is the harsh, petty and bitter man we see in the books.


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Last edited by CathyWeasley; October 9th, 2009 at 11:10 pm.
  #116  
Old October 9th, 2009, 11:19 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by TM_WandStick View Post
I agree with this completely. I think that JK wanted to show that any person, no matter the stereotype that they carry, is capable of doing both very good and very bad things. The best way she does this is with Snape, and on the opposite side, James. Harry dislikes Snape for much of the series, to say the least. But then we see that Snape was actually trying to keep Harry alive and was very much in the right most or all of the time, depending on the reader's views. Then, we have James, who Harry loves and adores. And we later see him as an arrogant bully.
I don't see the ultimate story as Snape is doing all this good and Harry hates him, while he adores his dad who was an arrogant bully. I feel Harry hated Snape because of how Snape behaved as an adult toward him and others - (and later because he suspected him of being a Death Eater - the only part he had wrong). But I do not feel it at all likely that Harry hated Snape for his childhood antics because that would be immaterial to him, imo. Same with his dad; he loved him for being a good dad and how he behaved as an adult - a good friend to others, fighting for the Order and sacrificing himself for his family. I don't think he would hate him at all for his childhood antics either because that would be immaterial to him as well, imo. Sure he's dismayed to see his dad lift up Snape or Snape cut his dad's cheek and call his mum a mudblood - but ultimately, these things would not matter to him at all in terms of how he felt about the individuals or he would have been carrying on with grudges that neither pertained to him or mattered (and based on the acts of kids on top of it). Lupin had taught him that it was useless to hold grudges - especially inherited ones (HBP), but as Harry matured, I'm fairly certain he would not have clung to grudges formed by little kids anyway.

Snape holding onto 20+ year old grudges was not something that was considered praiseworthy in canon - when one is a child, they behave as a child, but one grows up and puts away childish things - and that is an idea I feel Snape didn't embrace, but I feel Harry did.


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  #117  
Old October 9th, 2009, 11:47 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasley
Well if someone requires forgiveness then by definition they cannot have always been good and righteous in everything they ever did.
Oh, right. Didn't think of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy
I don't see the ultimate story as Snape is doing all this good and Harry hates him, while he adores his dad who was an arrogant bully. I feel Harry hated Snape because of how Snape behaved as an adult toward him and others - (and later because he suspected him of being a Death Eater - the only part he had wrong). But I do not feel it at all likely that Harry hated Snape for his childhood antics because that would be immaterial to him, imo. Same with his dad; he loved him for being a good dad and how he behaved as an adult - a good friend to others, fighting for the Order and sacrificing himself for his family. I don't think he would hate him at all for his childhood antics either because that would be immaterial to him as well, imo. Sure he's dismayed to see his dad lift up Snape or Snape cut his dad's cheek and call his mum a mudblood - but ultimately, these things would not matter to him at all in terms of how he felt about the individuals or he would have been carrying on with grudges that neither pertained to him or mattered (and based on the acts of kids on top of it). Lupin had taught him that it was useless to hold grudges - especially inherited ones (HBP), but as Harry matured, I'm fairly certain he would not have clung to grudges formed by little kids anyway.

Snape holding onto 20+ year old grudges was not something that was considered praiseworthy in canon - when one is a child, they behave as a child, but one grows up and puts away childish things - and that is an idea I feel Snape didn't embrace, but I feel Harry did.
I apologise, I didn't make my point very clear. I didn't mean to say that Harry's perspective was always wrong, and that Snape was actually always good and James actually always bad. I meant to say that Snape could do both very bad, misgiuded things, such as joining the DE's, and very good things, such as protectiong Harry, AND James could do very bad things, like bullying, and very good things, like being very brave and an excellent friend. My point by using Harry's perspective was that Snape was for the most of the series, in Harry's opinion, a bad guy, and James, in Harry's opinion, a good guy. (to use generic, generalized terms, at least.) I was just trying to say that I think JK was pointing out that both percieved 'bad guys' and percieved 'good guys' could do very bad and very good things, which means that there really is no division between 'good' and 'bad' characters in the book, like CathyWeasley was saying. Does that make any sense?


  #118  
Old October 10th, 2009, 2:40 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by TM_WandStick View Post
I apologise, I didn't make my point very clear. I didn't mean to say that Harry's perspective was always wrong, and that Snape was actually always good and James actually always bad. I meant to say that Snape could do both very bad, misgiuded things, such as joining the DE's, and very good things, such as protectiong Harry, AND James could do very bad things, like bullying, and very good things, like being very brave and an excellent friend. My point by using Harry's perspective was that Snape was for the most of the series, in Harry's opinion, a bad guy, and James, in Harry's opinion, a good guy. (to use generic, generalized terms, at least.) I was just trying to say that I think JK was pointing out that both percieved 'bad guys' and percieved 'good guys' could do very bad and very good things, which means that there really is no division between 'good' and 'bad' characters in the book, like CathyWeasley was saying. Does that make any sense?
Yes it makes sense and I understand. I disagree that JKR was using children on the one hand and adults on the other to try and make this point. Because I feel that adults are more culpable for their behavior than children - and I feel that was adhered to in the series as well. Young Snape did bad things just as all of his contemporaries did - but as adults, these people went different ways and they are held to a higher standard at that point, imo.

In as far as the adults, I do separate the various characters in the books along lines I felt were drawn, because while everyone in the entire wizard world had flaws natural to human kind, they were not all murdering innocents like the DEs were. And others, like Snape, were doing things that I felt crossed the line of good guy/bad guy on a different level, unassociated with the ideological war. For example, his treatment of the children I felt placed him in a class with other professors that I felt also crossed that line.


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  #119  
Old October 10th, 2009, 5:55 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

I think that Snape can not be called 'bad' because of his treatment of harry. He loved Lilly. Wouldn't you be mad, if you had to teach the love of your life's kid, and you weren't the father? I'm not saying that the way he treated harry was justified. But, it's understandable.

I don't think that his treatment of students, in general, has anything to do with being a death eater or not. Perhaps the way he treated Neville was a bit unfair, but I think that's irrelevant to whether he was good or evil. I think that even if he was never a death eater, he would still treat his students the same way he does now. It's just who he is. It may make him mean, but it was nothing to do with good & evil.


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  #120  
Old October 10th, 2009, 9:39 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.13

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Yes it makes sense and I understand. I disagree that JKR was using children on the one hand and adults on the other to try and make this point. Because I feel that adults are more culpable for their behavior than children - and I feel that was adhered to in the series as well. Young Snape did bad things just as all of his contemporaries did - but as adults, these people went different ways and they are held to a higher standard at that point, imo.
Oh. I was the one who didn't understand... Oops. You have a fair point. I still beleive in what I said, but I realize that that particular example, with James, was one that doesn't really work when veiwed in that light. Perhaps an example like Sirius would work better, who we saw being arrogant as an adult as well. (Although, killing people is admittedly worse than being arrogant.)

Quote:
In as far as the adults, I do separate the various characters in the books along lines I felt were drawn, because while everyone in the entire wizard world had flaws natural to human kind, they were not all murdering innocents like the DEs were. And others, like Snape, were doing things that I felt crossed the line of good guy/bad guy on a different level, unassociated with the ideological war. For example, his treatment of the children I felt placed him in a class with other professors that I felt also crossed that line.
I concede that most death eaters could indeed be called 'bad guys.' But I still think that most people, including Snape, are more in a gray area, able to do things that classify as either 'evil' or 'good.' As far as I'm concerned, these specific actions will always be up for debate as to whether they are 'good' or 'evil.' I do feel that Snape's treatment of his students was unaccaptable in some cases. But, if we look at the whole of Sanpe, as opposed to that specific action, he seems a lot less evil. (which, IMO, does not make the specific action less evil, I'm just pointing out the difference.)



Last edited by TM_WandStick; October 10th, 2009 at 9:41 pm.
 
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