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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14



View Poll Results: Did Snape pass Voldemort the information that led to Vance's capture and murder?
Yes, he told the Black sisters the truth and acted for the greater good. 14 13.33%
Yes, I believe he did. Dumbledore's orders. 19 18.10%
Yes. He cared about Lily and no-one else. 13 12.38%
Maybe. This does not become clear in the text. 47 44.76%
It is of course possible but he had changed so much by then that I don't believe it. 11 10.48%
No, he would not have caused another woman's death, no way. 8 7.62%
No, he was lying to the Black sisters to gain their trust. That's what spies do. 28 26.67%
Something else Moriath forgot to mention. 12 11.43%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #21  
Old January 26th, 2010, 1:29 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
"Anything" could easily be "Give yourself up to the Ministry" or something worse.
Erm, like a lifetime of servitude and a bloody death?


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  #22  
Old January 26th, 2010, 1:33 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

Good point.

Of course, it totally was followed by a Lily-filled, dunderhead-free afterlife with the freshest Potion ingredients.

He's earned it.


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  #23  
Old January 26th, 2010, 2:35 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I think Snape was selfish in some ways. "Was" being the heavily emphasized operative term. His is a story about redemption: you've gotta start low and rise high.
I totally agree w/ you on that. The only reason I say that ultimately Snape's selfish is that he couldn't pull out of his own head enough to do what needed to be done himself. He needed Dd to tell him what to do and guide him.

By the end, was he selfish? Don't know. Did he know Draco disarmed Dd? I think he realized that Dd was wandless by the end of HBP before he killed him. If we assume he knew Draco had disarmed Dd, and he kept his mouth shut even though he knew Voldemort would kill him, then I'd say Snape reformed and I feel completely justified in my irrational fangirl crush on him.


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  #24  
Old January 26th, 2010, 2:52 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

I think there are a few more reasons than that to have a fangirl crush on him or to think him redeemed. Going from Death Eater to saving those people he could despite his dangerous job as spy definitely does it for me. (Although I must admit that the HBP book made its own contribution to my own fangirly crush. I love brainy guys. )

Quote:
The only reason I say that ultimately Snape's selfish is that he couldn't pull out of his own head enough to do what needed to be done himself. He needed Dd to tell him what to do and guide him.
He did need DD (being severely grieved will do that), but that wasn't the ultimate result of his story. After Lily died, he needed Dumbledore to help him find a purpose, but after that, he stuck by his duty and guarded and protected the students despite thinking them stupider than the contents of his many, many jars.


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  #25  
Old January 26th, 2010, 3:07 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by potionmistress View Post
By the end, was he selfish? Don't know. Did he know Draco disarmed Dd? I think he realized that Dd was wandless by the end of HBP before he killed him. If we assume he knew Draco had disarmed Dd, and he kept his mouth shut even though he knew Voldemort would kill him, then I'd say Snape reformed and I feel completely justified in my irrational fangirl crush on him.
First we'd have to assume he knew about 'Hallows, not Horcruxes', wouldn't we?

And if I thought for one moment that he was supposed to know Voldemort would kill him, yet died the way he did...

I'd seriously question Jo's power of characterization, and petition for his posthumous re-sorting into Hufflepuff. 'Fangirl crush', indeed...


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  #26  
Old January 26th, 2010, 3:10 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
I'd seriously question Jo's power of characterization, and petition for his posthumous re-sorting into Hufflepuff. 'Fangirl crush', indeed...
Maybe when the hat said "any means," it wasn't kidding.


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  #27  
Old January 26th, 2010, 3:33 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by potionmistress View Post
I totally agree w/ you on that. The only reason I say that ultimately Snape's selfish is that he couldn't pull out of his own head enough to do what needed to be done himself. He needed Dd to tell him what to do and guide him.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Snape is a tactician, not a strategist. That has nothing to do with selfishness, but with the way the brain processes information. Snape is about details (tactics). Dumbledore is about the big picture (strategy). Those are entirely different skillsets.


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  #28  
Old January 26th, 2010, 3:37 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
Maybe when the hat said "any means," it wasn't kidding.
Oh yes, I can just see it: "My greatest ambition is to end my life on the floor of the Shrieking Shack and I shall employ any means necessary... including an oversize Christmas bauble with a venomous reptile inside."

I blame Potter senior.... If he just let the man succeed the first time around, we'd have none of that 'Look at me' nonsense.


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  #29  
Old January 26th, 2010, 3:51 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
Oh yes, I can just see it: "My greatest ambition is to end my life on the floor of the Shrieking Shack and I shall employ any means necessary... including an oversize Christmas bauble with a venomous reptile inside."
Could explain why he took Sirius' bait all those years ago.

Back to being serious...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CC
Snape is a tactician, not a strategist. That has nothing to do with selfishness, but with the way the brain processes information. Snape is about details (tactics). Dumbledore is about the big picture (strategy). Those are entirely different skillsets.
Snape also did not have the unique position of knowing Tom Riddle the way DD did. DD was in a position to have seen Tom grow up, understand how his mind works, and what steps he may have taken on his quest for immortality. Snape is a gifted spy, but he did not know what Dumbledore knew. Had Snape acted without sufficient information (say, by AKing Voldemort when his back was turned) he would have caused far more harm than good. Snape himself probably had an inkling of this, since Voldemort hints in GoF that his DEs know their master invoked magic to become seemingly immortal.


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Last edited by ignisia; January 26th, 2010 at 3:53 am.
  #30  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:04 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Snape is a tactician, not a strategist. That has nothing to do with selfishness, but with the way the brain processes information. Snape is about details (tactics). Dumbledore is about the big picture (strategy). Those are entirely different skillsets.
I think I understand what you're saying, but being tactically inclined and unselfish aren't mutually exclusive. I file Snape's actions under selfish because he didn't stop to think "Hey, what does Lily want?"

He already accepted that she didn't want him. She told him what the fallout of his calling her a mudblood were, and he didn't take any steps to change who he was hanging out with, what he did for fun, his values, etc. He couldn't let the whole gang thing go. He made his choice and she made hers. Part of his choice was renouncing her for the dark side and the DEs. It's sad because obviously change was not beyond him - his change was catalyzed by her death.

I always felt his actions pre-Lily's death were based on "what's going to make me happy now?" The DEs filled the void of needing a gang/family, even though he knew what he saw was brutal. But he craved acceptance of the side of him that he felt was the strong worthy side - the hardened unemotional side - even though I would argue that he knew being with Lily would have made him far happier in the long run, but he couldn't let himself go. If he had the tactical foresight, he'd have acted differently. The attitude of "what's going to make me happy right now?" typically results in selfish behavior. He couldn't put aside "looking cool" for his DE friends, and nothing but the death of the person he loved for whom he couldn't sacrifice his gang in school could have pulled him out of his own head and his own desires.


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  #31  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:11 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by potionmistress View Post
I think I understand what you're saying, but being tactically inclined and unselfish aren't mutually exclusive. I file Snape's actions under selfish because he didn't stop to think "Hey, what does Lily want?"

He already accepted that she didn't want him. She told him what the fallout of his calling her a mudblood were, and he didn't take any steps to change who he was hanging out with, what he did for fun, his values, etc. He couldn't let the whole gang thing go. He made his choice and she made hers. Part of his choice was renouncing her for the dark side and the DEs. It's sad because obviously change was not beyond him - his change was catalyzed by her death.

I always felt his actions pre-Lily's death were based on "what's going to make me happy now?" The DEs filled the void of needing a gang/family, even though he knew what he saw was brutal. But he craved acceptance of the side of him that he felt was the strong worthy side - the hardened unemotional side - even though I would argue that he knew being with Lily would have made him far happier in the long run, but he couldn't let himself go. If he had the tactical foresight, he'd have acted differently. The attitude of "what's going to make me happy right now?" typically results in selfish behavior. He couldn't put aside "looking cool" for his DE friends, and nothing but the death of the person he loved for whom he couldn't sacrifice his gang in school could have pulled him out of his own head and his own desires.
Maybe I didn't understand you properly? I thought we were talking about his work with Dumbledore in bringing down Voldemort.

Of course he was selfish to become a Death Eater. I am not assuming, however, that he is defined for life by the poor choices he made as a teenager. What matters in terms of defining his character, imo, is what he did after joining forces with Dumbledore.


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Last edited by ccollinsmith; January 26th, 2010 at 4:15 am.
  #32  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:16 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

I think we've got our timelines confused! We're talking about young Snape, right?

I definitely agree that during his time as a DE, Snape was selfish...afterwards, not as much.


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  #33  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:18 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I think we've got our timelines confused! We're talking about young Snape, right?

I definitely agree that during his time as a DE, Snape was selfish...afterwards, not as much.
That's what I was thinking too! Apparently, we got timelines confused. Snape was selfish in youth as a Death Eater. He was a tactician while working for Dumbledore.


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  #34  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:30 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I don't think the two are comparable - the incident with the Marauders was bullying, plainly. However, in this situation, the Heads of House were fighting against someone they had every reason to believe was a true Death Eater. They didn't have any reason to believe he might possibly be on their side and of course they were going to fight a perceived enemy in this situation.
I did say that the reasons were different. I was simply pointing out the similarity of Snape facing his peers both the times.

I agree they had all the reason in the world; what strikes me strange is how easily McGonagall and the other Professors (and other Order members) were willing and able to believe the worst of Snape and Dumbledore (his judgement). If they really thought Dumbledore such a poor judge of people or if they thought that Snape was a DE all along and Dumbledore was unable to see through his disguise for almost 16 years, then on what basis did they join and follow the Order I wonder.

What I am trying to say here is while all of them were devoted to Dumbledore and thought very highly of him; they still thought he could be misled for 16 years by a spy, who other knew had been a DE once. I don't think they realised how their belief let down their opinion of Dumbledore.

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If the three/four against one is bullying, should we consider McGonagall/Kingsley/Slughorn against Voldemort bullying? Or Hermione/Ginny/Luna against Bellatrix?
I don't think we should; I was making a comparison between 2 incidents, not saying that 4 against one was bullying. I don't remember saying the Professors were bullying Snape? (I said they were attacking Snape)

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow View Post
I agree. And moreover, they were led to believe by Snape that he was a traitor and murderer. It was his plan that they thought such a thing, and I think that is the real tragedy, that he purposefully turned his allies into enemies. I think he could have set the record straight at any time, but he chose not to, and then it was too late.
It was not his plan, but Dumbledore's but I agree he went along with it. I am surprised though, that it took only a sentence from Harry to say Snape killed Dumbledore for all of them to believe he was a traitor. I had thought better of the Hogwarts Professors and the Order members who I believed had great respect for Dumbledore and his judgement. I don't mind them accepting it; but I would have liked them to question it a little bit before they accepted it.


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  #35  
Old January 26th, 2010, 4:59 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
First we'd have to assume he knew about 'Hallows, not Horcruxes', wouldn't we?

And if I thought for one moment that he was supposed to know Voldemort would kill him, yet died the way he did...

I'd seriously question Jo's power of characterization, and petition for his posthumous re-sorting into Hufflepuff. 'Fangirl crush', indeed...
It seems quite clear to me that Snape understood he was going to be killed by Voldemort, and for the specific reason that he was the vanquisher of the previous Master of the Elder Wand, at some point in his final conversation with Voldemort prior to Nagini's attack. (It was clear to ME, and I give Sev credit for being at least as quick on the uptake as I am...not to mention all those reminders the text includes of how pale he is getting as the conversation proceeds). I think it is this moment when he realizes what is going on, that potionmistress is suggesting Snape could have attempted to save himself by bringing up Draco.


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  #36  
Old January 26th, 2010, 5:37 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by potionmistress View Post
Part of his choice was renouncing her for the dark side and the DEs.
Did you mean in his fifth year itself? After Lily broke up with him, Snape had 2 years in School to try and make amends, if her words were true. I wonder if he made a conscious choice to renounce her, because something else was more important to him. Clearly nothing was more important than Lily and yet, Snape made no attempt to seek her and talk to her and understand her. I think there are two ways to look at this. One is like you said Snape made a choice to renounce her for the dark side as early as fifth year and possibly before the break up.

Another way to look at it (it's how I feel) is that while Snape may have been fascinated by the Dark Arts and maybe hanging out with wannabe DEs, I don't think Snape was a wannabe DE himself at the time. Seeing the love he had for her, I can't believe someone/something was more important to Snape than Lily. But, if Lily's words are true then Snape did choose Voldemort over Lily and then chose Lily over Voldemort. I don't think it worked out this way.

I don't think at that time, Snape was guilty of the things she said he was; yet sometime later, I think Snape made Lily's words come true. The reasons for that is unknown imo; I think it was a combination of his loneliness, the need to be accepted somewhere (I fear to write since he was rejected by Lily; for that could be taken as Lily was responsible; she wasn't imo); and he was also misled by what he could achieve as a DE IMO.

I don't think Snape renounced Lily, though I could say that since Lily was no longer in his life by her choice, he chose his way, or another way.


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  #37  
Old January 26th, 2010, 10:06 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I don't exactly blame McGonagall or Flitwick for their actions-- but I'll always be unhappy on Snape's behalf.
Exactly the way I feel, Iggy.

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I agree they had all the reason in the world; what strikes me strange is how easily McGonagall and the other Professors (and other Order members) were willing and able to believe the worst of Snape and Dumbledore (his judgement). If they really thought Dumbledore such a poor judge of people or if they thought that Snape was a DE all along and Dumbledore was unable to see through his disguise for almost 16 years, then on what basis did they join and follow the Order I wonder.

What I am trying to say here is while all of them were devoted to Dumbledore and thought very highly of him; they still thought he could be misled for 16 years by a spy, who other knew had been a DE once. I don't think they realised how their belief let down their opinion of Dumbledore.
But they all believed that Snape had 'murdered' Dumbledore. And the source for this information is Harry, who saw it with his own eyes.

Plus, they've all had a very stressful year at the school, putting up with the Carrows (who are, apparently, under Snape's jurisdiction) and I guess that finally something in them snaps, especially after Harry appears.

I really can't blame Minerva and the others for being fooled by Snape's extremely convincing persona as Voldemort's right-hand man ... a persona it was crucial for him to maintain, for obvious reasons.

I think it was ccollinsmith above who said that Snape had a 'little brother' relationship with Minerva. I agree, that's the way I saw it too. She must have felt devastated and betrayed by his apparent turning to the Dark side.

I feel very much for Severus because he is painted into an absolutely impossible corner by Voldemort, Dumbledore and the author.

However, something in me refuses to see him as just a pawn in these events. He has his own ideas, e.g. he devised his own method for making sure that Harry got the Sword of Gryffindor safely.


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  #38  
Old January 26th, 2010, 10:26 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
And the source for this information is Harry, who saw it with his own eyes.
Yes; I don't blame them for thinking so; as I wrote before, I thought they would have questioned that a little bit. Snape killing Dumbledore, I mean, not Harry's words.

By believing at once and readily that Snape could be a traitor, without even wondering for a minute if there was something else to this, what I feel they are doing is doubting Dumbledore's judgement; his statement that he trusted Snape completely and wholly. If they believed Dumbledore could be fooled for over 16 years, then what does it say about Dumbledore? None of them even stopped to think about it for a second, which from people like McGonagall, Kingsley, Doge and Diggle is a let down. I am not saying they should only believe Snape was innocent; only that they did not even doubt the whole thing before believing not just the worst of Snape, but Dumbledore as well.

What I am trying to say is that they are not doing just Snape an injustice, but their own leader, who meant a lot to all of them IMO.

Plus, they had Dumbledore's portrait, and the portraits of the other Heads, who were obliged to tell McGonagall if there was anything she should know. I find it very sad, she never asked. She was ready to believe the worst of a man she had known for 16 years, who was spying for the Order for sometime and was ready to believe that fooling Dumbledore was that easy IMO.

Quote:
Plus, they've all had a very stressful year at the school, putting up with the Carrows (who are, apparently, under Snape's jurisdiction) and I guess that finally something in them snaps, especially after Harry appears.
This is true at the time you are speaking of. Not so true at the time Dumbledore died IMO. They could have still asked the Portraits at the Head's office, even if Dumbledore refused to open his eyes IMO.

Quote:
I really can't blame Minerva and the others for being fooled by Snape's extremely convincing persona as Voldemort's right-hand man ... a persona it was crucial for him to maintain, for obvious reasons.
I agree. And I don't blame them for thinking so. I only wish they had not believed it so quickly.


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  #39  
Old January 26th, 2010, 10:37 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Yes; I don't blame them for thinking so; as I wrote before, I thought they would have questioned that a little bit. Snape killing Dumbledore, I mean, not Harry's words.
I suppose that Snape had backed up Harry's words because of his flight from the castle with the DEs ...

Quote:
Plus, they had Dumbledore's portrait, and the portraits of the other Heads, who were obliged to tell McGonagall if there was anything she should know. I find it very sad, she never asked. She was ready to believe the worst of a man she had known for 16 years, who was spying for the Order for sometime and was ready to believe that fooling Dumbledore was that easy IMO.
Well, yes, it really is a little bit convenient that Minerva and the others were so thoroughly duped. The other side of that is that Dumbledore's portrait could have darn well told Minerva the truth about Snape. But of course he couldn't, because that would have blown Snape's cover.

An impossible situation for Snape, really. He had a very tough job.


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Old January 26th, 2010, 12:57 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.14

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
Good point.

Of course, it totally was followed by a Lily-filled, dunderhead-free afterlife with the freshest Potion ingredients.

He's earned it.
Well-said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arithmancer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daggerstone
First we'd have to assume he knew about 'Hallows, not Horcruxes', wouldn't we?

And if I thought for one moment that he was supposed to know Voldemort would kill him, yet died the way he did...

I'd seriously question Jo's power of characterization, and petition for his posthumous re-sorting into Hufflepuff. 'Fangirl crush', indeed...
It seems quite clear to me that Snape understood he was going to be killed by Voldemort, and for the specific reason that he was the vanquisher of the previous Master of the Elder Wand, at some point in his final conversation with Voldemort prior to Nagini's attack. (It was clear to ME, and I give Sev credit for being at least as quick on the uptake as I am...not to mention all those reminders the text includes of how pale he is getting as the conversation proceeds). I think it is this moment when he realizes what is going on, that potionmistress is suggesting Snape could have attempted to save himself by bringing up Draco.
I think I agree with Daggerstone. No . . . Arithmancer. No . . . wait a minute! I don't usually have this problem!

But seriously. You are both right. I think Daggerstone is talking about before Snape went into the Shack - he didn't know he was going to die, in my opinion. And I believe he never knew anything about the Deathly Hallows.

But once he was there facing Voldemort, yes, he could have invoked Draco, but good guy that he is, he didn't do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daggerstone
Oh yes, I can just see it: "My greatest ambition is to end my life on the floor of the Shrieking Shack and I shall employ any means necessary... including an oversize Christmas bauble with a venomous reptile inside."


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