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The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 11th, 2006, 8:35 pm
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The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Thus begins another attempt to discuss spects of Snape's character from different points of view. Working together doesn't quite do it, so let's break up the debate, give each of you with opposing viewpoints the chance to discuss your Snape and the theories you believe make him who he is

Snape the Obscure

This thread is the doozy. You may think Snape is a working for the order, but still remains a nasty piece of poop! He's got a foul past that has made him all bitter and angry, but he hasn't lost sight of the greater picture and this thread is for you to discuss aspects of his character with this in mind, referencing all those pieces of information that point to him being the way he is. Evidence, people!


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  #2  
Old September 11th, 2006, 9:46 pm
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Well, this thread is starting off slowly, so I'll kick it in gear.

Snape can be a very infuriating individual. He can be rude, sarcastic, unfair, and in many ways, behave like a cad and appear to enjoy it. And he has a dark past. JKR has not said that he murdered anyone himself, but that he definitely stood by while people were killed.Yet he is on the good side.

So, what do you think motivates Snape to help the good side rather than join the Death Eaters? Is it conscience and moral belief? Loyalty to Dumbledore? Carrying a torch for Lily? Repaying a 'life debt' to James? Simply that he believes they will succeed in the long run and wants to be on the winning side? Fear of Voldemort as a long-term boss? Or some other reason?


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Old September 11th, 2006, 10:03 pm
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkwolf
So, what do you think motivates Snape to help the good side rather than join the Death Eaters? Is it conscience and moral belief? Loyalty to Dumbledore? Carrying a torch for Lily? Repaying a 'life debt' to James? Simply that he believes they will succeed in the long run and wants to be on the winning side? Fear of Voldemort as a long-term boss? Or some other reason?
It could be any of those things. I find it hard to imagine Snape as the conscientious type, simply because he doesn't seem to have a lot of conscience about the way he treats Harry. But despite his demeanor, Snape has consistently done the right thing when it really matters. Yes, there was some debate about the delay in alerting the Order to Harry's little jaunt to the Ministry to save Sirius, but basically, the first time we see Snape do something really dreadful is when he kills Dumbledore. This, in itself, is reason enough for me to think things were not as they first appeared.


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Old September 11th, 2006, 10:08 pm
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkwolf
Well, this thread is starting off slowly, so I'll kick it in gear.

Snape can be a very infuriating individual. He can be rude, sarcastic, unfair, and in many ways, behave like a cad and appear to enjoy it. And he has a dark past. JKR has not said that he murdered anyone himself, but that he definitely stood by while people were killed.Yet he is on the good side.

So, what do you think motivates Snape to help the good side rather than join the Death Eaters? Is it conscience and moral belief? Loyalty to Dumbledore? Carrying a torch for Lily? Repaying a 'life debt' to James? Simply that he believes they will succeed in the long run and wants to be on the winning side? Fear of Voldemort as a long-term boss? Or some other reason?
First, thanks to Morgoth for starting a new series of Snape Threads.

What motivates Snape? I think part of it is guilt. I think that he did like Lily (as a friend) and when he found out that his actions had led to her death, he had guilt about it. I think another part of it is loyalty to Dumbledore. Dumbledore knew what Snape had done and still gave him a chance by allowing him to teach at Hogwarts.
I think fear of Voldemort also comes into play. It would be hard, even for the most loyal of Voldemort's followrs, to not have fear of him. Voldemort is cruel. He harsly punishes his followers who make mistakes (Avrey in OotP, and the Malfoys in HBP). He doesn't fully trust anyone. Anyone who abandons him can expect death (Karkarof, Regulus). It would be hard to not fear him.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 12:08 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I think JKR's writing of Snape is masterful. She's given us a character who is neither consistently "evil" nor consistently "good" ; in a book about Good v Evil, I think that ambiguity is very important. It gives us a complexity we might otherwise not have.

Snape is a great character ; one who acts out of self-interest most of the time, it appears - and yet who can put his own feelings aside when it really counts (ie keeping Harry on that broom in PS, not finishing him off in HBP). I

If all the characters were firmly stuck in one camp or another, that would be rather dull. There would be no moral battle at all, then - just a physical one. And it's the moral battle (or if you prefer, the struggle between choosing what is right over what is easy) which is by far the more interesting.


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  #6  
Old September 12th, 2006, 12:13 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I'm neutral on the Snape/Lily ship, but I do think that she treated him better than most people did, and he appreciated it on some level or other.

I also recall Dumbledore's lecture on how hard it is to kill for the first time. We know Snape had almost certainly witnessed violent death, but this may have been the first time he felt personally responsible...and that it would be the one person who had treated him decently would be worse. So he ran to Dumbledore (either in guilt afterward, or--as I believe--beforehand to warn him) and was more or less trapped into playing spy at that point.

After Voldemort was 'killed' he may have stayed with Dumbledore in anticipation of the return (in which case he knew about the horcruxes) or because, once again, there was only one person who trusted him and believed in him, and he had enough need for that that he wanted to stay close, or even just because it was a steady job, and he had the satisfaction of a job where he could use his mind (and harass kids to get vicarious revenge for all his own torments. )

After Voldemort's return, though, I think his motives are complicated and a lot harder to pinpoint. I like to think loyalty to Dumbledore was/is a big part of it. I also like to think that his aversion to committing murder made a lasting impression, he realized that he was not truly evil and didn't want to be, and he was determined never to be in that position again (a moral resolution.)

But I can't help also thinking that he really loves being a spy, knowing what others don't, hoodwinking Voldemort, carrying on in secrecy, indulging in every form of skulduggery, and feeling generally smug about being smarter than everyone else. Yes, I've never seen the theory posted anywhere, but I think intellectual challenge and smugness are big motivators for Snape...he's having his own weird and exhilarating sort of FUN. Well, not when he's killing Dumbledore, obviously. (And now he's lost his favorite audience, if you'll excuse the description.)

And in the end, (assuming he survives) I think that the simple knowledge that he's helped save the ungrateful and undeserving world from the depredations of a dark lord won't be half so important to him as a big, shiny Order of Merlin to gloat over whenever he thinks of all the people who've treated him badly and who don't have one. Mua ha ha. (Or, more charitably, just to make him feel like he's a worthwhile, appreciated human being after all.)

Well, actually, that's only one of the many visions of Snape that lurk in my mind and make me wonder what he will really turn out to be like. I waffle between lots of different Snapeviews. I wish we had more clues to what goes on in his head.


  #7  
Old September 12th, 2006, 12:20 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I definitely fall into this category when it comes to Snape. I do not find him to be an irredeemable character. I do think in the end, somehow, it will be another PS and he was working with Harry all along. However, I also think he's a nasty character and it comes from his childhood and his apparently abusive upbringing. Snape is no sweetheart. I think he's a disgusting person but I also think he's working for the good/Dumbledore/Harry. I know there's probably a lot of evidence to the contrary that I have not read but this is my instincts despite what we are led to believe.

I give absolutely no credit to Snape/Lily in a romantic relationship. This is an impossibility as far as I'm concerned but they could have had another relationship. They could have been study partners for some reason or Snape could have assisted her in potions. Slughorn kept on comparing Harry's work in the HBP to Lily's brilliance when he was actually using Snape's brilliance so that is a little suspect.

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  #8  
Old September 12th, 2006, 12:59 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkwolf
But I can't help also thinking that he really loves being a spy, knowing what others don't, hoodwinking Voldemort, carrying on in secrecy, indulging in every form of skulduggery, and feeling generally smug about being smarter than everyone else. Yes, I've never seen the theory posted anywhere, but I think intellectual challenge and smugness are big motivators for Snape...he's having his own weird and exhilarating sort of FUN. Well, not when he's killing Dumbledore, obviously. (And now he's lost his favorite audience, if you'll excuse the description.)
Yes, I think Snape does enjoy spying somewhat (though obviously not when he's invoked the wrath of the Dark Lord and is being Crucio'd).
I mean, a lot of his life has been building up to it. Deception and hiding and all that. The treatment he received from the Marauders at Hogwarts first caused him to close his mind off, which gave him skill at Occlumency. And, of course, hiding from them now allows him to hide and lurk in general, since he's developed a skill for it. So yes, I think part of it just comes naturally to him.


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  #9  
Old September 12th, 2006, 1:05 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkwolf
After Voldemort was 'killed' he may have stayed with Dumbledore in anticipation of the return (in which case he knew about the horcruxes) or because, once again, there was only one person who trusted him and believed in him, and he had enough need for that that he wanted to stay close, or even just because it was a steady job, and he had the satisfaction of a job where he could use his mind (and harass kids to get vicarious revenge for all his own torments. )

After Voldemort's return, though, I think his motives are complicated and a lot harder to pinpoint. I like to think loyalty to Dumbledore was/is a big part of it. I also like to think that his aversion to committing murder made a lasting impression, he realized that he was not truly evil and didn't want to be, and he was determined never to be in that position again (a moral resolution)

But I can't help also thinking that he really loves being a spy, knowing what others don't, hoodwinking Voldemort, carrying on in secrecy, indulging in every form of skulduggery, and feeling generally smug about being smarter than everyone else. Yes, I've never seen the theory posted anywhere, but I think intellectual challenge and smugness are big motivators for Snape...he's having his own weird and exhilarating sort of FUN. Well, not when he's killing Dumbledore, obviously. (And now he's lost his favorite audience, if you'll excuse the description.)
I'm with you on this assessment, but I'd like to add to it a bit if I may...... I'm thinking that the arguement between Snape and Dumbledore could fit in here (as many other places as well....) He 'doesn't want to do it anymore' up until GOF his spying was focused on DE's and lets face it, most of them are not the brightest bulbs on the tree, so convincing them he ws still loyal to Voldemort was pretty easy. With Voldemort return the danger factor increases ten fold, I could see why he would be apprehensive about facing him again after 14 years. His skills of Occlumency would really be put to the test.


Quote:
And in the end, (assuming he survives) I think that the simple knowledge that he's helped save the ungrateful and undeserving world from the depredations of a dark lord won't be half so important to him as a big, shiny Order of Merlin to gloat over whenever he thinks of all the people who've treated him badly and who don't have one. Mua ha ha. (Or, more charitably, just to make him feel like he's a worthwhile, appreciated human being after all.)
This is where I think a lot of his anger stems from,
I really think that out of everybody who has gone against Voldemort, Snape has sacrificed the most, but up to now, he hasn't been able to get credit for anything he has done. I agree he would LOVE to flaunt an award, but I think recognition would be big too, and to have everybody know his true allegence once and for all.
Quote:
Well, actually, that's only one of the many visions of Snape that lurk in my mind and make me wonder what he will really turn out to be like. I waffle between lots of different Snapeviews. I wish we had more clues to what goes on in his hea
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Old September 12th, 2006, 1:12 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I was reminded of occlumency which just seems to reinforce the idea that Snape helps the right side "but still remains a nasty piece of poop!" He actually told Harry to do the same things Dumbledore did, practice at night before bed etc but Snape didn't seem interested in how much Harry actually learned. He seemed much more focused on gloating and protecting himself from intrusion (the protego spell, the pensieve).

A big obscurity I want to know about is what goes on in Snape's head that sends him into a rage at being called a coward? He certainly deals with name calling enough, why does that strike a nerve?


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Old September 12th, 2006, 1:21 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I'm pretty sure this is the thread where I belong. Since I have accepted DIATSSISE, I am convinced that Snape is 100% on the side of the order and Dumbledore was 100% correct about Snape when he said he could trust Snape. I also think Dumbledore was correct to believe that Snape could be tempted by the dark arts. After the end of the war I can see Snape turning to the dark arts, especially without Dumbledore to guide him in his choices. I also cannot personally disregard Snape's behavior towards mainly Harry and Neville. I just cannot like him as a person, but that doesn't mean he can't be trusted in the war.

Moderators if I'm not on the correct Snape thread with the above views, please direct me to the correct thread before I go any futher.


  #12  
Old September 12th, 2006, 1:31 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

You sound acceptable for the thread, Paintball.

I agree that while he is focussed on the right motives now, there's really no knowing what he might turn to when the war is well past and the glory has faded, and he's become....BORED. But that's not really part of the debate for this thread...



Last edited by Inkwolf; September 12th, 2006 at 1:33 am.
  #13  
Old September 12th, 2006, 1:31 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkwolf
And in the end, (assuming he survives) I think that the simple knowledge that he's helped save the ungrateful and undeserving world from the depredations of a dark lord won't be half so important to him as a big, shiny Order of Merlin to gloat over whenever he thinks of all the people who've treated him badly and who don't have one. Mua ha ha.
Yes, Severus does seem to want an OoM pretty badly. First Class, especially. And if he helps Harry bring down Voldemort, I'd say he'd deserve it, too (at least Second Class, he's worth far more than Lockhart with his Third Class).


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Old September 12th, 2006, 4:47 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole
Yes, Severus does seem to want an OoM pretty badly. First Class, especially. And if he helps Harry bring down Voldemort, I'd say he'd deserve it, too (at least Second Class, he's worth far more than Lockhart with his Third Class).
Since I believe Dumbledore took the vow in Spinner's End, I don't believe there was any vow obligation to carry out Dumbledore's orders to frame himself for Dumbledore's death. I envision Snape thinking for a split second of stunning all the deatheaters on the tower and becoming the hero of the battle of Hogwarts. However, being the trustworthy soldier he was, he followed Dumbledore's orders and framed himself for Dumbledore's death and went into deep cover.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 4:55 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I posted this in a past Snape thread and I'd like to repost it here, with some additions.

And I want to look back to Spinner's End. Either Voldemort really told Snape about his plan to use Draco to kill Dumbledore, or Snape was very slyly fishing for information. I'd think that Voldemort really did tell Snape.
Looking ahead of this, to the actual school year...Dumbledore seemed to know that Draco was plotting to kill him the whole year. The news that he recieved from Harry was not new news then. Snape had to have told Dumbledore, at some point, what Voldemort's plans were. And, Snape stated at Spinner's End that he thought Voldemort meant for him to do it all along.

Voldemort is not trusting of people. Why would he plan to use Draco to kill Dumbledore when he really intended for Snape to do it all along? It could have been a test of loyalty for Snape.
Voldemort, who is afraid of death, would never think of sacrificing himself. Therefore, I do not believe that Voldemort would think that another person would sacrifice themself. Voldemort puts Draco up to a task that he more or less knows Draco won't be able to accomplish. This could be the first part of the loyalty test. Will Snape try to stop Draco from doing the deed or not? If Snape would stop Draco, it would prove Snape to be a traitor. If he allows Draco to proceed, he is loyal. At the end, on the top of the tower, Draco can't kill Dumbledore. As Dumbledore says it is hard for someone who is innocent to committ murder. Snape shows up. He has two choices. He can kill Dumbledore, proving his loyalty to Voldemort, or he can save Dumbledore, exposing his allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix. Snape kills Dumbledore. But, all along Dumbledore knew it would come to his Death. If he ordered Snape to kill him, it would both fulfill Snape's unbreakable vow to Narcissia and it would keep Snape in Voldemort's confidences, protecting Snape.
Dumbledore chooses to sacrifice himself for the greater good of protecting Snape.
Snape in this instance was working for the good side.
However, there are examples from the books that show that at times, Snape is not the nicest person in the world. One example that comes to mind deals with Neville.
In Prisioner of Azkaban, Neville's boggart becomes Professor Snape, showing that Neville's greatest fear is Snape. Instead of trying to rectify himself with Neville, and show Neville that he's not really out to get him, Snape becomes even nastier when the story of the Snape-boggart in Gran's clothes reaches him. In fact, Jo even tells us this in the next chapter.
Prisoner of Azkaban page 142, US Edition]
The story of the boggart assuming Snape's shape, and the way that Neville had dressed it in his grandmother's clothes, had traveled through the school like wildfire. Snape didn't seem to find it funny. His eyes flashed menacingly at the very mention of Professor Lupin's name, and he was bullying Neville worse than ever.

Now, granted, even in real life there are teachers who are viewed as nice, and those who are viewed as not so nice. However, I have yet to encounter a teacher who, upon finding out that a student was absolutely terrified of him or her would continue to bully that student, and in fact, make the bullying worse. I think that Snape sort of likes students being afraid of him.
You don't necessarily need to be a nice person to be on the good side. There are some people who are just mean, but it doesn't mean that they can't make the choice to do the right thing. I think Snape is a good example of this type of person.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 6:22 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

The conversation between Dujmbledore and Snape by Hagrid in the forrest is offered by most of us as a clue that there was a plan between Snape and Dumbledore that Dumbledore was ordering Snape to perform against his will. Here is the quote:

Quote:
Well - I jus´ heard Snape sayin´Dumbledore took too much fer granted an´maybe he - Snape - didn´t want ter do it any more-".
"Do what?"
"I dunno, Harry, it sounded like Snape was feelin´a bit overworked, tha´s all -anyway, Dumbledore told him flat out he´d agreed ter do it an´that was all there was to it." (HBP, page 380, UK Hardcover
I see this under DIATSSISE as Dumbledore insisting that when the time comes and Dumbledore starts to die from the vow, that Snape frame himself for his murder and go into deep cover where he can assist in Voldemort's defeat. I have a hard time in making this conversation be consistant with Snape not wanting to avoid death by killing Dumbledore, but Dumbledore insisting that he do so. Dumbledore was taking too much for granted in assuming that Snape would not want to die from the vow. Snape's words just don't fit with the reply of someone whose life is being saved. If Snape's life is not in danger from the vow, then it is consistent with Snape taking on the unpleasant and dangerous mission of deep cover spy and framing himself for muder.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 8:48 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

I feel a little torn about where to post. I think Snape is a jerk, but I also think he is a hero.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 9:01 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

Quote:
Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm
I feel a little torn about where to post. I think Snape is a jerk, but I also think he is a hero.
Exactly my same problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FirefightingMuggle
You don't necessarily need to be a nice person to be on the good side. There are some people who are just mean, but it doesn't mean that they can't make the choice to do the right thing. I think Snape is a good example of this type of person.
I agree with this. I think Snape is a nasty person (the way he treats Neville for example and the fact he joined the DE's the the first place), but I still think he's on the "good side." It's very much what Sirius said - "the world isn't divided into good people and Death Eaters." (atleast, I think that's what said - I don't have the book with me to quote exactly )


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Old September 12th, 2006, 9:08 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

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CBW wrote
I think Snape is a jerk, but I also think he is a hero.
I have an interest in military history and it's absolutely littered with succesful generals who were truly awful people. I think Churchill said of Montgomery 'In defeat indefatigable, In victory unbearable.' Snape is an utterly unlikeable person with severe personal hygiene issues in my opinion. He abuses his power as a teacher to tyrranise Harry and Neville but that doesn't make him all bad. Dumbledore trusted him and if he is in fact on the side of darkness that diminishes Dumbledore.

It is perfectly possible to construct a canon based theory that says that Snape is still fundamentally on the side of right.


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Old September 12th, 2006, 9:46 am
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Re: The Snape Triumvirate: Snape the Obscure

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm
I feel a little torn about where to post. I think Snape is a jerk, but I also think he is a hero.
This is probably the best thread to post that in. You can discuss his heroic qualities here, but still discuss his-less-than-favourable side at the same time.


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