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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6



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  #101  
Old November 6th, 2011, 5:27 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
So...Harry arrives at Hogwarts, and on the first day of class, Snape begins questioning him. Perhaps those Slytherin students were told by their "reformed" DE parents to get to know Harry and see if he would be a good rallying point, and Snape wanted to squash that as quickly as he could, for Harry's safety (plus Snape didn't know Harry yet - what if Harry was the type who would love the attention and want to be the new leader?) and because he didn't want another potential Dark Lord? And he wanted to highlight Neville's deficiencies as well, in case some of the students decided Voldy went after the wrong guy, when Neville was actually the one the prophecy referred to?
Why would the kids of Death Eaters know the prophecy? Even if their parents knew of the prophecy, why would they tell their kids? By then, they were busy pretending to be decent upstanding citizens, having denied their involvement with Voldemort. Why would they want to draw attention to themselves in that context again? And even if eleven year old kids knew about this, would they be able to keep their mouths shut?

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I think Snape did see a real danger in Harry letting the fame get to his head. After all, being complacent is the last thing the Chosen One ought to do. I think that Severus did later, after Harry had defeated Voldemort the first couple times, come to the conclusion that Harry would never go bad (just arrogant and obnoxious ), but could he have come to that conclusion by the first potions class? Who knows...
Arrogant and obnoxious was Snape's perception. It doesn't make it correct, especially as Dumbledore told him he saw what he wanted to see. And as for that first Potions class, Snape did not behave maturely or professionally, IMO.

And treat a child like dirt to make sure he doesn't turn to Dark Magic didn't work out too well for Snape - he had an unhappy childhood and his solution was being a Death Eater - how could he possibly actually think that humiliating a child and putting him down would prevent him from turning to Dark Magic??

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We know he makes a particular remark about Harry's fame and suggests Harry feels himself too good to study.
Which I feel was very inappropriate considering Snape's role in Harry's "fame". And instilling resentment is far more likely to turn someone towards Dark Magic than to direct them away from it, as Snape should well know.

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I would say that any aspirations Harry might have to dominate others would also be squashed along with his arrogance. You've got to be pretty self-assured to aim for the position of Dark Lord.
If this was Snape's line of thinking, then he was more irrational than I already thought he was. Being squashed didn't prevent Snape from taking up Dark Magic and having a disregard for innocent life. Why, then would he think that cruelty would prevent a child from doing the same thing he did??


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Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
I've always felt that Severus was a natural Occlumens and that his unfortunate childhood only strengthened that ability.
Is there anything to say that it's possible to be a "natural" Occlumens in the HP series?

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I may be mistaken (it happens way too frequently for my taste), but my understanding was that not everyone that followed LV was accorded the status of Death Eater. Is that incorrect?
The Snatchers were not, because they were just thugs hired to catch truants. Greyback wasn't, because he was a werewolf. However, most of those who served Voldemort were considered Death Eaters.

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Since he so excelled at potions, I've always felt that he was working in that capacity for Voldemort. That would make him very valuable, keep him behind the scenes, thus the "untarnished" reputation and make him a good candidate for Hogwarts professor. How do you make Inferi anyway?
I imagine Inferi are more to do with spells than potions - I don't think there would be much point in feeding a potion to a dead body. And in any case, brewing poisons for Lord Voldemort is hardly great practice for being a teacher. Also, the DEs hid behind their masks when they attacked - nobody knew who they were, which is why they were so dangerous, and why so many of them were able to lie their way out of prison.


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I think his suspicions of LV being untrustworthy had been building for awhile or he would never have attempted his request to DD. But I like your thought that Snape knew Lily would never step aside and allow her son to be murdered. That definitely would have added to Severus' anxiety.
Lily not stepping aside wouldn't be an issue - Voldemort could have Stunned her, if he'd intended keeping his word. What Lily wanted didn't come into it.
And I don't see Snape as recognising that Lily would refuse to step aside for her child - I don't know if he even knew that until he spoke to Voldemort after his return. IMO, Snape was covering his bases, by going to Dumbledore - if they were hidden, Lily would be safe; if they were found, his reward for the prophecy would be spared.


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Agreed! And I think he got involved with the worst of Slytherin House for protection. You surround yourself with budding Death Eaters and your bullies aren't so quick on the attack. Unless you're alone. After an exam. I suspect he was his group's Hermione.
Where were his charming DE buddies after the exam? They don't seem to have been much protection. And on other occasions, too. IMO, it's possible that Snape's DE buddies weren't in the same year as him - Lucius certainly wasn't (he'd have been gone from Hogwarts by the time of Snape's OWLs). But the others - there's nothing to say that they were in Snape's year. There's nothing to say that all of Snape's classmates were DE wannabes - just that they're the group he hung around with.


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Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
Since no one really knew how Harry had zapped LV the first time, there may have been serious thoughts that it was Dark Magic -- doubting that most of Voldy's followers would have given the power of love that much credit. So, it sounds logical that some may have been waiting for Harry as another DarK Lord to rally 'round. Possibly Severus felt by nipping the whole thing in the bud, he would be able to head that off, at least for a while.

How does ill-treatment prevent someone from turning to Dark Magic? It didn't prevent Snape from becoming a Death Eater. It really says a lot about Snape, more than it does about Harry or anyone else, if Snape was still convinced that Dark Magic was the most powerful thing there was. And even if he did, what kind of magic did he think a fifteen month old toddler was capable of? What kind of conscious awareness to do something like that did he think a fifteen month old child had??


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Originally Posted by horcrux4 View Post
I think that DEs might have assumed Harry had some power that had defeated Voldemort and therefore would have liked that power on their side, thus considering him a 'rallying point' for them. And I do think Snape would have wanted to nip that in the bud by putting Harry down in the presence of the Slytherin students so that they reported to their parents that Harry Potter was nothing special.
The DE kids were not pint-sized spies. They were just kids. And IMO, Harry's own actions would say more about him than Snape's spiteful digs.


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  #102  
Old November 7th, 2011, 1:25 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
Is there anything to say that it's possible to be a "natural" Occlumens in the HP series?
Not per se, but here's my reasoning:

1) Wizarding children show natural magical abilities at a young age which they are not taught but can exhibit. There is nothing specifically mentioned in canon that disqualifies Occlumancy from being among those abilities.

2) People tend to select and study subjects they are good at which usually (granted, not always) indicates they have a natural ability for. Students at Hogwarts excelled at different subjects showing this tendency can be applied to magical talents as well.

3) In OotP, chapter 24, Occlumency, during Harry's first lesson Snape tells him: "You must remain focused. Repel me with your brain and you will not need to resort to your wand." Snape has the meticulous focus of a superb potion maker, a talent he exhibited very early on, attested to by the improvements he made to his potions book. It seems to me this focus is one of his natural abilities and apparently critical in the practice of Occlumency.

4) Snape is giving private Occlumency lessons to Harry suggesting this "rare" magic is not a class taught at Hogwarts. So where did Snape learn it? After graduating we know he joined the Death Eaters-I really can't see Voldemort giving lessons. Yet he goes back to spy on Voldemort (age 21, 22) for an entire year and never gets caught by probably the greatest Legilimens that ever lived. How does one do that without training? My answer: he's a natural at it.


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  #103  
Old November 7th, 2011, 1:46 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
Snape is giving private Occlumency lessons to Harry suggesting this "rare" magic is not a class taught at Hogwarts. So where did Snape learn it? After graduating we know he joined the Death Eaters-I really can't see Voldemort giving lessons. Yet he goes back to spy on Voldemort (age 21, 22) for an entire year and never gets caught by probably the greatest Legilimens that ever lived. How does one do that without training? My answer: he's a natural at it.
I don't think Snape is necessarily "a natural" at occlumens. It seems to be a skill that is a discipline of the mind, and can obviously be taught (Bella taught Draco, for example). I don't see that its not being a class at Hogwarts means that it's rare. They don't teach dark magic at Hogwarts either, but that doesn't mean dark magic is rare. The founders probably thought that both Legilimens and Occlumens were on the shady side of magical skill, and chose to not teach it. Perhaps Snape's mother taught him.


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  #104  
Old November 7th, 2011, 4:01 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I don't think Snape is necessarily "a natural" at occlumens. It seems to be a skill that is a discipline of the mind, and can obviously be taught (Bella taught Draco, for example).
Don't recall that reference-would you mind sharing? Yes, I think it can be taught as Snape was trying to teach Harry.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I don't see that its not being a class at Hogwarts means that it's rare.
Sorry! The word Snape uses is obscure, when explaining to Harry at 12 GP.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
They don't teach dark magic at Hogwarts either, but that doesn't mean dark magic is rare. The founders probably thought that both Legilimens and Occlumens were on the shady side of magical skill, and chose to not teach it.
I think Occlumency would be classified as a defense against a dark art.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Perhaps Snape's mother taught him.
She seemed rather neglectful, I doubt she'd have taken the time.


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  #105  
Old November 7th, 2011, 4:30 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Perhaps he learned it from the Death Eaters? If he was a spy working for them, learning how to see into others' minds while blocking his mind from similar probing would be critical.

Voldemort probably learned it on his own, and then taught it to his original followers and it spread from there.


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  #106  
Old November 7th, 2011, 4:43 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
Don't recall that reference-would you mind sharing? Yes, I think it can be taught as Snape was trying to teach Harry.
Sure. HBP, Chapter 15, page 322 U.S.:
Quote:
"Who suspects me?" said Malfoy angrily. "For the last time I didn't do it, OK? That Bell girl must've had an enemy no one knows about -- don't look at me like that! I know what you're doing, I'm not stupid, but it won't work -- I can stop you!"

There was a pause, and then Snape said quietly, "Ah....Aunt Bellatrix has been teaching you Occlumency, I see. What thoughts are you trying to conceal from your master, Draco?"

"I'm not trying to conceal anything from him, I just don't want you butting in!"

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Originally Posted by mirrormere
I think Occlumency would be classified as a defense against a dark art.
To me, Occlumency seems more like a defense to hide things, as in when you're in the spy business, or lying, or presenting yourself in a way opposite to your true feelings. It was useful to Snape for that very purpose, and I think arguably, both before and after Lily was killed.

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Originally Posted by mirrormere
She seemed rather neglectful, I doubt she'd have taken the time.
I don't think she was neglectful, just caught in an unhappy marriage. If Snape didn't respect his mother, he would not have taken the name "the half-blood Prince" in his potions book. Perhaps she coached him in potions as well.

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Originally Posted by ShadowSonic View Post
Perhaps he learned it from the Death Eaters? If he was a spy working for them, learning how to see into others' minds while blocking his mind from similar probing would be critical.

Voldemort probably learned it on his own, and then taught it to his original followers and it spread from there.
I suppose that's possible, but I think Snape learned it on his own; having the DEs know that he practiced it would be dangerous for him. As far as Voldemort, I really don't think so....he didn't trust anyone, and I can't see him helping them to hide things from him (being paranoid, that would likely be his thinking).


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  #107  
Old November 7th, 2011, 6:22 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

JKR seemed to imply that some have a talent for Occlumency that isn't necessarily something you can teach or learn. This is what she said about Draco:

I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged.

http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/...t-anelli-2.htm

And this passage from Prince's Tale implies that Snape is extraordinarily gifted at Occlumency because he has proven he can fool the Dark Lord over and over, and seems to be the only one who can. I think this also means that Snape is extraordinarily motivated to keep his own secrets as well as Dumbledore's -- he tries really hard to do a difficult and thankless task that will eventually get him killed. But that doesn't rule out that he is gifted at Occlumency as well. Maybe only a natural could do what Snape did?

Prince's Tale“I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort.”

“Which I do on your orders!”

“And you do it extremely well. Do not think that I underestimate the constant danger in which you place yourself, Severus. To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you.”

“Yet you confide much more in a boy who is incapable of Occlumency, whose magic is mediocre, and who has a direct connection into the Dark Lord’s mind!”

“Voldemort fears that connection,” said Dumbledore.


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  #108  
Old November 7th, 2011, 10:15 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I don't think Snape is necessarily "a natural" at occlumens. It seems to be a skill that is a discipline of the mind, and can obviously be taught (Bella taught Draco, for example).
Skills can be taught, but some people do show a natural ability towards certain subjects. I teach ballet and some students show natural abilities very strongly; for example they have excellent co ordination, musicality, flexibilty etc. However, I can still teach others who don't have these natural abilities although they may never achieve the level of skill as those who are "a natural".

I do think it is very possible that Snape did possess natural ability towards Occlumency.

"Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so can utter falsehoods in his prescence without detection."( Severus Snape, OotP, Occlumency)

I think that given what we know of Snape's family life, it is possible that he began to use similar skills to Occlumency as a coping mechanism. That in order to cope with his parents constant arguing, Snape may have begun to learn to shut down his emotions much in the same way as required for Occlumency.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I don't think she was neglectful, just caught in an unhappy marriage.
Eileen's unhappy marriage may have affected her ability to take care of her son, but that is still neglect as I see it. It doesn't need to be intentional to be considered as neglect.

The outward signs we see of neglect in Snape's case are his appearance as a child as being dirty-haired and wearing unsuitable clothing.

Quotes from DH, The Prince's Tale:

His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate; too-short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smock-like shirt.


"Haven't been spying," said Snape, hot and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight.

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If Snape didn't respect his mother, he would not have taken the name "the half-blood Prince" in his potions book. Perhaps she coached him in potions as well.
I think that Snape fashioned the name "Half-Blood Prince " due to his respect of magic. And, being he inherited his magical abilities from his mother, and that it was a clever play on words I think it was natural for him to use his mother's maiden name.


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  #109  
Old November 7th, 2011, 11:46 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I don't think that Severus' being neglected would mean that he didn't "respect" his mother. He may have considered what little she did for him as the most she could possibly do under the circumstances. I think he took her last name as part of his own nickname for himself as a sign of respect for her and a slap at Tobias. Almost like, "I'd rather be a half-blood Prince than a full-blood Snape."


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  #110  
Old November 7th, 2011, 10:28 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I wonder what did happen to Snape's parents. I suppose we can consider the ghastly possibility that his father eventually beat the mother to death (or just neglected her so much she wasted away) but he was only in his early to mid 30s for the series. Plenty of folks have parents alive when they're that relatively young age.

Then again, JK seems to have an aversion to including characters' families in the plot unless it's absolutely necessary. She killed off Harry's grandparents from both sides, hardly mentions Hermione's parents except in CoS and DH, etc.


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  #111  
Old November 8th, 2011, 12:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

JKR talks in one interview about just callously discarding unnecessary characters, like parents, by killing them off, like James' parents. But, his were described as "older" when he was born. Severus' parents didn't seem that old. Maybe his father, who, as a Muggle, would have been more prone to diseases and such, died, and his mother returned to her family -- but, we don't even hear about her family at all. Did they disown her when she married a Muggle? Was that why they were so poor? Did she have any other family? Did they even acknowledge Severus, since he was a half-blood, if there were an old pure blood family? So many questions.

We know his mother is alive when he leaves for Hogwarts the first time, but after that we don't see or hear anything else about them, or, much about his school life other than what pertained to the Marauders and Lily.

I'm thinking that his home life would have had a reflection on his behavior at school, as students do "act out" when there are problems at home. But, then, he seemed to anxious to be away from it and rid of that, maybe it didn't make any difference.

If there had been some tragedy prior to or during his fifth year, such as the death of one or both parents, however, that could have had a definite effect on his emotional condition during that time, including SWM. Unfortunately, this is sheer speculation, and I wish that there had been a bit more about it in the books to give us some more idea of what he was struggling with along with his relationship with Lily during that time.

As for the Occlumency: I think he'd learned to shut off his emotions and feelings from his father at an early age, and maybe even learned to lie to him as a form of self-preservation. I think he had a natural talent for it and Voldemort may have started teaching him, since he was the one who first wanted him to spy on Dumbledore. He'd have probably wanted Severus to be able to hide his thoughts and such from Dumbledore. Then, when he truned spy for Dumbledore, I think DD kept working with him to hone his skills to the point they were when we see him in the series.

I don't think Occlumency is something that one can learn on their own because you'd have to have someone trying to pry into your thoughts to learn how to repel them. It would be like learning to box. You can punch a punching bag, but it can't punch back. Until you get into the ring and spar with another boxer you really can't learn all the moves you need to become really good. So, while Severus may have had the basics when he came to Hogwarts to teach and could work on controlling his emotions and such, I think Dumbledore helped him with fine-tuning it all.


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Last edited by MinervasCat; November 8th, 2011 at 12:09 am.
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  #112  
Old November 8th, 2011, 5:57 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I don't think that Severus' being neglected would mean that he didn't "respect" his mother. He may have considered what little she did for him as the most she could possibly do under the circumstances. I think he took her last name as part of his own nickname for himself as a sign of respect for her and a slap at Tobias. Almost like, "I'd rather be a half-blood Prince than a full-blood Snape."
I agree. Also, though, Snape giving himself such a nickname could have previously been a way to reassure Lily that being Muggle born 'didn't make a difference' as he was may have been boldly stating,"See, I'm a half-blood Prince."

On a more negative note, we can see potentially where Snape's first prejudices regarding Muggles came from. Looking at the 'half-blood Prince' from another angle, as MinervasCat says, it seems to be Snape's way of showing some form of respect or pride towards his mother and an insult perhaps towards his father. As a child, Snape, like many others, may have seen his father's abusive behaviour towards him and his mother as being a representation of all muggles and therefore his mother and all of magical blood as everything respectable. That, of course, doesn't excuse his cruel prejudices towards muggles/muggleborns when he became older and more educated but it could partially explain why he reacted so coldly to the young Petunia; "You're a Muggle."

Just my opinion.


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  #113  
Old November 8th, 2011, 6:11 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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On a more negative note, we can see potentially where Snape's first prejudices regarding Muggles came from. Looking at the 'half-blood Prince' from another angle, as MinervasCat says, it seems to be Snape's way of showing some form of respect or pride towards his mother and an insult perhaps towards his father.
Perhaps it's just me, but I don't see any prejudice with the nickname at all.

I would think if he were showing prejudice, he would have left out "Half-Blood" since it hints that only one of his parents is a wizard. Voldemort dropped the name Riddle. Snape kept his last name, acknowledged his mother in his nickname, and was honest, in a sense, when he admitted his parents were wizard and muggle.

I think he chose that nickname to write in his potions book as a nod to his mother, since potions is a wizarding subject.


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  #114  
Old November 8th, 2011, 6:17 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
I would think if he were showing prejudice, he would have left out "Half-Blood" since it hints that only one of his parents is a wizard. Voldemort dropped the name Riddle. Snape kept his last name, acknowledged his mother in his nickname, and was honest, in a sense, when he admitted his parents were wizard and muggle.
Yes, I do agree with that. I was saying that perhaps the nickname deliberately left out any mention of Tobias Snape because of his son's less than amicable feelings towards him. I meant that Snape's disliking of his father when he was young may have lead to his initial prejudices towards muggles beause he may have, as a child, simply associated everything negative about his father with all muggles; not that his secret school nickname was prejudices. Sorry, I should have explained myself better.

Just my opinion.


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Old November 8th, 2011, 9:45 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I don't really think that Severus meant the nickname as a slur against Muggles in general, even though we see that his experiences with his father and Petunia were far from positive. I think it was a protest against his father and the tyranny he'd lived under for whatever number of years and a sense of pride at being at least a half-blood wizard.

And, Petunia did insult him first, and, as most 9-year-olds, he retailated with the worst insult he could think of at the time, that she was just a Muggle, indicating that he didn't have a lot of respect for them. I think this was a definite reflection of how he felt about his father.

As, we discussed before, it is probably logical to think that, dressed as he was and looking like he did, if he did run into Muggle children in his neighborhood, or even adults, there were probably verbal insults, if not downright bullying. If it doesn't go too far into the realm of speculation, I wonder, if he'd had Muggle friends in his neighborhood if it would have made a difference in his attitude toward Petunia? Also, would he have sought Lily's friendship as fervently as he did? Or, would her being magical have overshadowed his previous friendships, since he would have known that they would be going to Hogwarts together and he would be leaving his neighborhood friends in a year or so anyway?


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  #116  
Old November 9th, 2011, 2:00 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Sure. HBP, Chapter 15, page 322 U.S.:
Quote:
"Who suspects me?" said Malfoy angrily. "For the last time I didn't do it, OK? That Bell girl must've had an enemy no one knows about -- don't look at me like that! I know what you're doing, I'm not stupid, but it won't work -- I can stop you!"

There was a pause, and then Snape said quietly, "Ah....Aunt Bellatrix has been teaching you Occlumency, I see. What thoughts are you trying to conceal from your master, Draco?"

"I'm not trying to conceal anything from him, I just don't want you butting in!"
Gem of a quote and fraught with little bits of info! Thank you.

It gives some more insight into the operation of Occlumency. Snape is able to discern that Draco is blocking his use of Legilimancy to obtain the truth. We know Voldemort was not able to break through nor detect Severus’ use of Occlumency, suggesting levels in depth or shadings of effectiveness in the craft.

It’s interesting that Snape comments (which Draco doesn’t deny) that Bellatrix is teaching him Occlumency. Not Lucius? Not Narcissa? I think this shows Draco isn’t able to completely prevent Snape’s Legilimency. And it seems Bellatrix, although knowing Snape had made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa, was trying to thwart Snape’s efforts by teaching Draco Occlumency and was plotting in the background to prevent his involvement because she still didn’t trust him and/or was jealous of his relationship with Voldemort.

Quite possibly Snape was performing Legilimency without words and probably without a wand, as Draco doesn’t mention that he has one drawn on him. And it’s probable that if Snape had wanted to force Draco, he certainly could have stepped up the intensity of the Legilimency he was using. In HBP, Sectumsempra, Snape, without wand or words, is able to make Harry’s memories of the potions book surface in his mind. And Draco’s “don’t look at me like that” is very reminiscent of the times Harry experiences that stare. Harry often comments he thinks Snape can read his mind. I’ve frequently thought that when Harry and Snape’s eyes connect for the first time after the feast, Snape culls a few feelings of happiness and satisfaction that we know is primarily Harry’s relief at being out of the Dursley’s home and that Snape mistakenly reads as self-gratification with his sudden “fame.” Snape apparently wants to put the kibosh on that right from the start, hence Harry’s difficult first potions class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacleTartlet View Post
"Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so can utter falsehoods in his presence without detection."( Severus Snape, OotP, Occlumency)
This is also an interesting comment from Severus. Only “those” skilled at Occlumency? He uses the plural, but as far as we know, there is only one person who can lie, undetected, to Voldemort and that is Severus Snape. So are there actually others that can and have deceived the Dark Lord or is he being modest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
As for the Occlumency: I think he'd learned to shut off his emotions and feelings from his father at an early age, and maybe even learned to lie to him as a form of self-preservation. I think he had a natural talent for it and Voldemort may have started teaching him, since he was the one who first wanted him to spy on Dumbledore. He'd have probably wanted Severus to be able to hide his thoughts and such from Dumbledore.
Interesting. I could see why Voldemort would want Snape to be able to shield his mind from Dumbledore, but at the same time I think he would be paranoid that his spy could use Occlumency against him. So how does he decide the cost-to-benefit ratio? He might count on Dumbledore’s goodness not to intrude on another’s mind. But then he might believe he’s so talented at Legilimency that Snape could never occlude him. The problem for me with Voldemort teaching Snape is one of familiarity. I think if they had been practicing together, Voldemort would be able to sense changes in Snape’s technique and ambient thought patterns when Snape turned against him. Or maybe not. Sixes for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
Then, when he turned spy for Dumbledore, I think DD kept working with him to hone his skills to the point they were when we see him in the series.

I don't think Occlumency is something that one can learn on their own because you'd have to have someone trying to pry into your thoughts to learn how to repel them. It would be like learning to box. You can punch a punching bag, but it can't punch back. Until you get into the ring and spar with another boxer you really can't learn all the moves you need to become really good. So, while Severus may have had the basics when he came to Hogwarts to teach and could work on controlling his emotions and such, I think Dumbledore helped him with fine-tuning it all.
I concur that theoretical v. practical can be very, very different. And as TreacleTartlet mentioned above with the example of teaching ballet, gifted students have an advantage. But there is gifted and then there is extraordinary. I taught equitation for years at a university and I had one student who was unbelievable. He went from never having been on a horse to winning blue ribbons in two regular (not novice) show classes eight weeks later. We (the staff) were stunned. I had only to explain things once to him and he adjusted immediately, without much practice at all.

Just because Snape had a natural advantage, doesn’t mean I believe he didn’t practice and learn more about the subject–that would be against his nature. I think he furiously attacked any subject he deemed valuable to learn–he would have read up on everything he could find about it and consulted and probably trained with Dumbledore at the first chance he got.


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  #117  
Old November 9th, 2011, 2:12 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

It's interesting to see the variety of opinions on Snape's moniker. Personally, I saw it as a rejection of both ends of the spectrum, pureblood and Muggle. I think he felt a bit dispossessed as a result of his fractured childhood, and he commemorated that in his nickname--a bit of "I'm neither fish nor fowl," if you will.

And yet, at the same time, a Prince. Spiritually homeless though he might have been, he did think well of himself and his abilities, and I think as a student he enjoyed the notion of himself as the leading exponent of a set of people with no collective identity. It might have been that vision of himself that led the Sorting Hat to put him into Slytherin, and that eventually made Snape at one point a Death Eater: as Dumbledore put it, "the ambitious seeking some shared glory..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
It gives some more insight into the operation of Occlumency. Snape is able to discern that Draco is blocking his use of Legilimancy to obtain the truth. We know Voldemort was not able to break through nor detect Severus’ use of Occlumency, suggesting levels in depth or shadings of effectiveness in the craft.

It’s interesting that Snape comments (which Draco doesn’t deny) that Bellatrix is teaching him Occlumency. Not Lucius? Not Narcissa? I think this shows Draco isn’t able to completely prevent Snape’s Legilimency. And it seems Bellatrix, although knowing Snape had made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa, was trying to thwart Snape’s efforts by teaching Draco Occlumency and was plotting in the background to prevent his involvement because she still didn’t trust him and/or was jealous of his relationship with Voldemort.
In security terminology, we would say that Draco achieved confidentiality, but not plausible deniability. That is to say, he was able to hide his thoughts, but not the fact that he was hiding them. We see something akin to this in Slughorn's clumsy modification of the Horcrux memory. That clumsiness was what caught Dumbledore (and Harry's) attention, and it eventually led them to obtain the true memory from him.

In Draco's case, his partial success was as good as any, since there was no chance that Snape was going to harm him. In Snape's case, that partial success would have been fatal; if Voldemort had ever caught on to the fact that Snape was hiding anything from him, even if he never learned what exactly Snape was hiding, Snape might as well have signed his own death warrant at that point.

Quote:
Quite possibly Snape was performing Legilimency without words and probably without a wand, as Draco doesn’t mention that he has one drawn on him. And it’s probable that if Snape had wanted to force Draco, he certainly could have stepped up the intensity of the Legilimency he was using.
Could he have? I'm not sure. Certainly Snape was a competent Legilimens--competent enough, at any rate, to test Harry severely. But keep in mind that Harry was able to block him at least partially with a Shield spell, and I think that would have been child's play to defeat for a truly accomplished Legilimens, as Voldemort was acknowledged to be.

Quote:
This is also an interesting comment from Severus. Only “those” skilled at Occlumency? He uses the plural, but as far as we know, there is only one person who can lie, undetected, to Voldemort and that is Severus Snape. So are there actually others that can and have deceived the Dark Lord or is he being modest?
I think he was being scientifically cautious. I don't think he would consider it modesty to acknowledge at least the potential for others to have that ability. After all, how would he be able to tell, if Voldemort couldn't?

Quote:
Interesting. I could see why Voldemort would want Snape to be able to shield his mind from Dumbledore, but at the same time I think he would be paranoid that his spy could use Occlumency against him. So how does he decide the cost-to-benefit ratio? He might count on Dumbledore’s goodness not to intrude on another’s mind. But then he might believe he’s so talented at Legilimency that Snape could never occlude him. The problem for me with Voldemort teaching Snape is one of familiarity. I think if they had been practicing together, Voldemort would be able to sense changes in Snape’s technique and ambient thought patterns when Snape turned against him. Or maybe not. Sixes for now.
What does that mean, "sixes for now"?

I point out that the problem you allude to here is present in any similar situation in the real human world; the only difference here is that it's been transported to magical abilities, Legilimency and Occlumency. But the notion of trust for spies is a thorny one in our world, too. And I imagine that the approach would be similar, too: In neither case, do you trust the spy with more information than you can afford to lose (hence Dumbledore's reluctance to "put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort"), and you are always looking for indications that the spy has been compromised. There's no reliable cost-benefit formula for that, I suspect; one has to play it by (very well-trained) ear.


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  #118  
Old November 9th, 2011, 3:20 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I reason out Snape's nickname for himself is this way:

If he is the "Half-Blood" Prince, then his mother was probably a Pureblood.

Then why not just call himself a Prince and totally reject his Muggle upbringing and his father's family? Tom Riddle went that way for sure, and hated the Riddles enough to kill them.

But Snape doesn't seem to feel that way, and he never says he hated his father, only that his father didn't like anything. Snape keeps his Muggle name and his father's house.

Well, I said to myself, maybe none of that matters and he only kept his father's house because of memories of Lily and growing up with her.

But that still leads me to think he didn't completely reject his Half-Muggleness. Lily was Muggleborn and he was the Half-Blood Prince. They had plenty in common, and he knew that. If he rejected Muggles, then he rejected Lily, and he even rejected his own mother who stayed in an unhappy marriage with a Muggle she must have once loved (just as Merope loved Riddle who abandoned her).

But I don't think Snape rejected Lily or his mother, or even his father.

Really, the whole "Half-Blood Prince" name thing is a great little twist because Harry thinks it means Snape is exactly like Voldemort when really I think that name shows that Snape had a much more balanced view, at least before he was tempted into life as a DE. And of course eventually he showed that his heart wasn't in it, which is another sign that his nickname was appropriate. JMO


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  #119  
Old November 9th, 2011, 3:57 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
In Draco's case, his partial success was as good as any, since there was no chance that Snape was going to harm him. In Snape's case, that partial success would have been fatal; if Voldemort had ever caught on to the fact that Snape was hiding anything from him, even if he never learned what exactly Snape was hiding, Snape might as well have signed his own death warrant at that point.
Heartily agree!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
Could he have? I'm not sure. Certainly Snape was a competent Legilimens--competent enough, at any rate, to test Harry severely. But keep in mind that Harry was able to block him at least partially with a Shield spell, and I think that would have been child's play to defeat for a truly accomplished Legilimens, as Voldemort was acknowledged to be.
I think if Snape had pulled a wand on Draco he could have gotten any information from him that he wanted, as wands can increase a wizard's power. Plus Snape had much more experience than Draco.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
I think he was being scientifically cautious. I don't think he would consider it modesty to acknowledge at least the potential for others to have that ability. After all, how would he be able to tell, if Voldemort couldn't?
Scientifically cautious does fit with Snape's personality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
What does that mean, "sixes for now"?
It's short for "six of one; half a dozen of the other" which is another way of saying both sides seem equal to me at the moment and I can't decide between the arguments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
I point out that the problem you allude to here is present in any similar situation in the real human world; the only difference here is that it's been transported to magical abilities, Legilimency and Occlumency. But the notion of trust for spies is a thorny one in our world, too. And I imagine that the approach would be similar, too: In neither case, do you trust the spy with more information than you can afford to lose (hence Dumbledore's reluctance to "put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort"), and you are always looking for indications that the spy has been compromised. There's no reliable cost-benefit formula for that, I suspect; one has to play it by (very well-trained) ear.
But DD trusted Snape without question because DD believed in the power of love. He never once doubted Severus. The difficulty was all on LV's part.


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  #120  
Old November 9th, 2011, 4:18 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I've always found the nickname "Half-Blood Prince" a fascinating part of young Severus. At first glance it, seems odd: why would a budding DE want to declare half-blood status? Well, consider that this is not the only time Snape has surprised us in this way. One might also ask why a DE tried to save a Muggleborn. To both questions, I would answer that something was more important to him than bloodist ideology. He could not have been blind to the views of his dorm-mates (in fact, he bought into it to some degree), but still kept this particular nickname even after the break-up with Lily. But what could be so important?

The Prince was more than just a tool to help Harry pass potions. Harry (and me ) was often amused by the comments the Prince left in the book ("Just shove a bezoar down their throats!"). Through the Prince, young Severus shows us his sense of humor. I can see him making a little pun on his mother's maiden name. And keep in mind that historically (and probably stereotypically), princes and other royalty are descended from a somewhat unvarying gene pool. A half-blood prince is something of a contradiction in itself, even without the significance the wizarding world brings the terms.

I therefore lean toward the idea that, like most teenagers, Severus wanted to show himself as something different and special. A contradiction, a new branch in an old wizarding family, etc. I can see how considering himself one-of-a-kind would help a hurt and angry kid hold on to his pride, and I think pride was something very important to him. IMHO, it was a way for young Sev to continue on in spite of multiple disappointments in his early life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirrormere
This is also an interesting comment from Severus. Only “those” skilled at Occlumency? He uses the plural, but as far as we know, there is only one person who can lie, undetected, to Voldemort and that is Severus Snape. So are there actually others that can and have deceived the Dark Lord or is he being modest?
I see that as one of those non-literal pronouns we often use, like the royal "we" or the gender-neutral singular "they" or "one." He's speaking of a hypothetical "some," with no set number, rather than an actual group, IMO.


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