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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8



View Poll Results: Snape's main feeling for James would be...
Loathing 25 15.53%
Contempt 16 9.94%
Envy 27 16.77%
Hatred 17 10.56%
Jealousy 59 36.65%
Regret 0 0%
You're evil for restricting the options and not even putting up my favourite. 17 10.56%
Voters: 161. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #441  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 9:56 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
"Powerful and visceral" is not an objective characterization of the scene, it seems colored by your personal assessment of its meaning.
Sure it is. Do any of us have a completely objective interpretation of anything in canon? Is that even possible? I'm all for fluid interpretations of what we see in the story and am willing to have my mind changed by the perspectives of others.

I agree that Snape's actions are tender in regard to Lily in that scene.

Quote:
There is a signal lack of emotional description in this passage. We are given nothing but some action verbs. Did Snape carefully tear away the bit he wanted and toss away the rest without much thought, rather as we must presume he dropped the rest of the letter, a fact that is not even mentioned? (My own visualization of what happened, based on the above description.) Or did he rend it asunder angrily and fling James and Harry away from him in disgust/anguish/fury/whatever? (Is that what you mean by powerful and visceral?)
It seemed a deliberate or a gut action to me, separating James and Harry from Lily. The sight was still painful to him. I felt for him but part of me sighed, 'Severus, I know you love her but doesn't she deserve to be with her husband and child, after all these years --???'

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Do you mean, to show that loving a person means one has to necessarily be polite and caring towards the other's love? If you do, I respectfully disagree.
Actually, I think it means precisely that, TGW. If we truly love someone else, we will respect their choices, whatever the cost to us personally. We don't have to like their new love but surely we are required, morally, to be civil to them.

Quote:
I don't think emotions can work like that, especially in cases like Snape's where there was so much enmity to begin with. For Snape to let go of his anger towards James, I think he has to fall out of love with Lily or move on, finding love elsewhere, and even then I think Snape would regard James only with dislike.
Then, heck, Severus should have fallen out of love with Lily and moved on with his life, rather than hanging onto this hatred of James, which poisoned him in many ways. Lily isn't the be-all and end-all!

Quote:
Sirius was unable to let go of his own enmity towards Snape all those years later (and he was very much in the wrong in the werewolf incident) and I don't think Remus liked Snape very much either. Both of them tolerated Snape only because of Dumbledore and they did not have the additional angle of loving Lily, like Snape did IMO.
Contrasting Sirius and Remus, Remus is much more mature in his attitude towards Severus than Sirius ever is. You say that Remus only tolerated Snape because of Dumbledore ... I think that Remus is actually a heck of a lot more tolerant and compassionate than that, he makes a concerted effort to be fair to Snape -- we see this in PoA and other places. I'm talking about Adult Remus of course.

Quote:
I think he would have to Hermione, had he loved deeply and known that for him Ginny was the only one. He would have certainly hated it IMO, and I'm sure he would not have liked the man who was able to make Ginny happy when he could not.
Maybe not, but Harry would not have slandered the other guy's reputation either. I've been in that position myself. I've watched someone I loved fall in love with someone else. I behaved decently to both parties and I didn't act like a jerk with my old love's new interest, although the sight of them together just about killed me, it was agony. It's possible to behave in a civilised manner in such circumstances. It can be done.

Quote:
Oh, I think Harry must come into the half Snape kept. And so would James's legs. And since I don't think Snape disliked, loathed or hated Harry, I think Snape would find it perfectly okay that Baby Harry would fly in and out of the old photo.
I do like the idea that Baby Harry flies in and out of Snape's portion of the photograph.

But I can't agree with your assertion that Snape never disliked or loathed Harry. His behaviour throughout the series proved otherwise. I do think we see a slight shift in DH. I'll grant you that. But I honestly don't think we can completely discount what JKR says about her own creation. I myself dispute that Snape loathed Harry in the very last seconds of his life, that does not seem psychologically possible to me. So of course my own interpretation towards what Rowling says, in canon and elsewhere, comes into play here. But for most of the series, I think we see Snape struggling with very negative emotions towards Harry -- and I don't think all of it was for the benefit of the watching Death Eaters (although in some instances that was indeed the case).


Bscorp
, that was another great post. I need no persuading on the matter of Snape's bravery. Especially as, you point out, he was the loneliest figure in the battle against Voldemort. Fighting against Voldemort was terrible for the others, and cost them dearly too (e.g. Molly and Arthur, losing one of their sons ) but they had love and support, whereas Snape had none.


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Last edited by Pearl_Took; May 23rd, 2008 at 9:59 pm.
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  #442  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:17 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

I agree with Pearl that Snape disliked Harry, but for reasons other than JKR's words.

We can certainly attribute some unpleasant classroom scenes as being colored by Snape's spy job, but there is a memory in TPT where Snape is complaining to Dumbledore about how Harry is lazy, arrogant, etc. He doesn't need to pretend in front of Dumbledore. I think that scene proves that Snape, at the very least, had a distaste for certain aspects of Harry's personality (whether perceived or real).


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  #443  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:24 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I agree with Pearl that Snape disliked Harry, but for reasons other than JKR's words.

We can certainly attribute some unpleasant classroom scenes as being colored by Snape's spy job, but there is a memory in TPT where Snape is complaining to Dumbledore about how Harry is lazy, arrogant, etc. He doesn't need to pretend in front of Dumbledore. I think that scene proves that Snape, at the very least, had a distaste for certain aspects of Harry's personality (whether perceived or real).
Yup. And the 'perceived or real' thing ... I always wonder if Snape is working hard to kid himself here. Is this really what he believes about Harry, or is it what he wants to believe?

I'm not suggesting that Snape's negativity towards Harry here and in other places isn't genuine -- I think it is. But I also think it indicates that, just as Dumble says, he is seeing what he expects, or wants, to see.

(And am I the only person who thinks that Albus should have engaged more with Snape here, rather than just burying his face in the newspaper and saying crisply, "you see what you want to see, Severus", followed by "Keep an eye on Quirrell, won't you?" )

P.S. Iggy, your new sig is hilarious.


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  #444  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Yup. And the 'perceived or real' thing ... I always wonder if Snape is working hard to kid himself here. Is this really what he believes about Harry, or is it what he wants to believe?
It depends, I think. Some of the stuff he says is a real stretch, like Harry being delighted to find himself famous. On the other hand, a lot of Harry's sneaking around despite constant admonition could look like arrogance to even an unbiased person. And then there's the fact that he and Ron sometimes have Hermione pretty much do their homework for them, which is outright laziness.
So Snape isn't always right and he isn't always wrong...

Unfortunately, there is also the fact that he doesn't get to know Harry as well as we do. Their relationship is poisoned right off the bat by Snape prejudices, the rumors about Snape that reach Harry's ears, and Snape's job as a spy. They therefore never had to chance to know each other's true natures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl
(And am I the only person who thinks that Albus should have engaged more with Snape here, rather than just burying his face in the newspaper and saying crisply, "you see what you want to see, Severus", followed by "Keep an eye on Quirrell, won't you?" )
I think Sev's complaints were just annoying him, so he kept distant so as to not humor his Potions Master.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl
P.S. Iggy, your new sig is hilarious.
I loves my sig. And it is so true.


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  #445  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
Unfortunately, there is also the fact that he doesn't get to know Harry as well as we do. Their relationship is poisoned right off the bat by Snape prejudices, the rumors about Snape that reach Harry's ears, and Snape's job as a spy. They therefore never had to chance to know each other's true natures.
I respect your view, but I believe Harry knew Snape's true nature pretty well. I mean Snape didn't really hold back. I got the feeling that everyone knew his true nature well. Snape's attitude and behavior in the classroom was a part of his true nature (negative and also his feelings about the subjects); his agreement to help resolve what poision Katie had been struck with was a part; his partiality to his house was a part; his interactions with other adults showed Harry his true nature (Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, Sirius, Tonks, the Weasleys, Fudge, etc.) and Harry got to see all of these things.

What part of Snape's true nature do you feel that Harry missed out on?


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  #446  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Sure it is. Do any of us have a completely objective interpretation of anything in canon? Is that even possible? I'm all for fluid interpretations of what we see in the story and am willing to have my mind changed by the perspectives of others.
I agree, I am not accusing you of being less objective than anyone else. It was just that you used that characterization of that scene, in challenging someone else's interpretation, in language that suggested you considered this was a fact. Now I see you meant no such thing, you were just describing how the scene seemed to you. In my mental video of what happened, there is nothing particularly visceral in that scene, for the reasons I tried to elucidate. I did not see ripping the photo, as all that different from dropping the letter to another man. The letter simply happened to have an easily detachable part, if you will.

Quote:
It seemed a deliberate or a gut action to me, separating James and Harry from Lily. The sight was still painful to him. I felt for him but part of me sighed, 'Severus, I know you love her but doesn't she deserve to be with her husband and child, after all these years --???'
Yeah, no arguing with gut reactions. It's a photograph, the people in it are not real, he is not really taking Lily away from anyone, and I don't believe he would have done so with the real Lily, so nothing like your last thought is at the top of my list of reactions to that moment. As to why the photo is still painful to him (I agree it is), we really don't know that is all about, or even mostly about, jealousy and possessiveness.

It's one step from Lily, James and one-year-old Harry, to dead Lily, James, and Harry because Snape told Voldemort about the prophecy. (And yes, by this point, Snape believes he did kill Harry as much as he killed any of them - he's just waiting for the "right moment" to tell Harry so.)

A picture of Lily, laughing, on the other hand, might be a reminder of better times, when he did not have anyone's blood on his hands and Lily might have smiled at him or laughed with him. But Sirius (so inconsiderate of him!) did not have such a thing lying about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Actually, I think it means precisely that, TGW. If we truly love someone else, we will respect their choices, whatever the cost to us personally. We don't have to like their new love but surely we are required, morally, to be civil to them.
I would agree, if Lily and Sev were still friends, and Sev's unwillingess to extend such civility to James thus caused Lily any inconvenience or distress. Given that Lily's other choice was to break their relationship off completely, a choice Snape seems also to have respected, I don't think he had any such obligation, because his failure to think nice thoughts and act nicely to him had no impact on Lily. It also preexisted Lily's interest in James.


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Last edited by arithmancer; May 23rd, 2008 at 10:50 pm.
  #447  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 11:25 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
I would agree, if Lily and Sev were still friends, and Sev's unwillingess to extend such civility to James thus caused Lily any inconvenience or distress. Given that Lily's other choice was to break their relationship off completely, a choice Snape seems also to have respected, I don't think he had any such obligation, because his failure to think nice thoughts and act nicely to him had no impact on Lily. It also preexisted Lily's interest in James.
I respect your view. But Snape's love for Lily had no impact on Lily either at Hogwarts, once she broke off with him. And in those days, I wouldn't expect Snape to show civility for several reasons. However, when you put it in terms of a man in his 30's, who still claims to love a now dead Lily, and who claims to have promised to protect her son so her death would not be in vain, then you have a problem, imo, if he mistreats her son and belittles her husband before her son.

This is because Lily did not sacrifice her life so Harry could live in order for Snape to treat him miserably. Snape caused that part of her sacrifice to be made in vain because she wanted Harry to be happy, healthy and content. Imo, Lily didn't die so Dumbledore could send him off to be killed by Voldemort either; and Snape adopting that plan caused the rest of Lily's sacrifice to be made in vain (from Snape's point of view as he didn't know Harry might live.)

Imo, Snape would have been better motivated by just 'doing the right thing' because he rather blew it when it came to honoring her sacrifice as he had promised. Imo, that is what Snape did in the end. It was still for Lily, but it became all about Lily and not about Harry at all. Snape's goal was to bring Lily's killer, Voldemort down at all costs on her behalf in retribution for the sacrifice of her life, imo.


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  #448  
Old May 24th, 2008, 2:07 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanBones
Do you think Snape believed that love was a greater weapon than hate?
I have always thought Snape as a cynic, and for that, I don't think he believed love was a greater weapon than hate. I imagine he did not regard love that highly. Yes, it was his love for Lily that turned him to the good side and motivated him to help Harry, but that love also caused him pain. He virtually lived a life without love, save from Lily. His parents marriage was fractured and unhealty. His dad didn't like anything and his mother seemed neglectful. No one liked him in school. The only experience he had with love was his love for Lily, but that reminds him of what he did to her, and in a way, I think he uses that as penance. So even the only love in his loveless-life is tainted with pain. I think Snape knew how strong hate was. He did carry a grudge for like 20 years.


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  #449  
Old May 24th, 2008, 5:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
When most people are afraid- they are able to confide in someone or something to keep them moving. Even if their faith is in God- they have a church to tell them God exists and (it) supports you. They have community.
Snape was not a people person. He didn't trust anyone else but Dumbledore. Snape does not seem to confide in anyone other than Dumbledore, and Dumbledore was indeed right by his side, all through Snape's tenure as headmaster. Snape had the support of the person he cared about, and that's what most people want, isn't it?

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Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
Snape was alone and facing the threat of a Dark Wizard who could read his mind. He had no room to breath the wrong way without being detected. He would never receive that trust or know that community as long as he lived.
Voldemort couldn't read Snape's mind - that's what kept him alive. However, all this means is that Snape had to be careful, and act well. He only had to be really careful around Voldemort.

Before Dumbledore's death, Snape was in no danger at all from either side, with both the Order and the Death Eaters thinking hm their own. After Voldemort takes over, he is well protected at Hogwarts, as headmaster, and can move about freely without fear of attack, as the Order is in hiding. He's safe till the very end.

He's even less lonelier than before, IMO, because Dumbledore is now his almost constant companion. He never was that close to the DEs or te Order members, so I doubt that he missed their company in any way.

I'm not saying that Snape wasn't brave, but he's hardly the bravest, IMO. No other person was as immune, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
With Harry I just posted a couple of pages back that the death eaters were always there in the background and with Lucius Malfoy on the Hogwarts Board. Snape was expected to kill Harry by Bellatrix and she took his inability to do so as betrayal. The other death eaters who were free would also be watching. Snape had a part to play and I think he played it well. Had Snape interacted without all this expectation, then I think he would not have treated Harry as harshly as he did IMO.
I don't think that even Bellatrix really expected Snape to kill Harry at the first chance. Bellatrix was previously Voldemort's most trusted servant, and she sees Snape as an usurper. The questions she asks are mostly irrational, IMO, and are not the real reasons for her doubt. She feels like she has been treated unfairly. As she says in the courthouse, she expected to be rewarded above all. She just can't stand the idea that Snape, the one who comfortably spent all those years as Dumbledore's servant, is now closer to Voldemort than she is. Most of the questions she asks of Snape are quite obvious IMO. It just shows how irrational Bellatrix is, to raise such questions, when most others including Voldemort himself, have accepted Snape's explanations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think he would have to Hermione, had he loved deeply and known that for him Ginny was the only one. He would have certainly hated it IMO, and I'm sure he would not have liked the man who was able to make Ginny happy when he could not.
I don't thnk that the Harry/Ginny situation can be compared to Snape/Lily, because Lily never loved Snape back, for one thing. There was never really a question of Snape losing Lily to James, because Snape was never in the running and definitely, no question of Lily choosing James over Snape. James wasn't a replacement.

I think that after so many years, Snape began to fantasize that he actually had a chance with Lily, and that James had fiendishly stolen Lily from him. We see that Harry begins to blame Snape more than ever for Sirius' death, just a few months afterwards. That could be the case with Snape as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Oh, I think Harry must come into the half Snape kept. And so would James's legs. And since I don't think Snape disliked, loathed or hated Harry, I think Snape would find it perfectly okay that Baby Harry would fly in and out of the old photo.
We're not told that magical photographs remain attached even when torn. It could just as well be that Baby Harry ended up missing his mum terribly, and that Lily missed her baby. As for Snape's feelings towards Harry, I'd rather believe the author and the text rather than fantasize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Yup. And the 'perceived or real' thing ... I always wonder if Snape is working hard to kid himself here. Is this really what he believes about Harry, or is it what he wants to believe?
I think that Snape really believes what he says about Harry, because IMO that's how he'd behave if he were in Harry's place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
(And am I the only person who thinks that Albus should have engaged more with Snape here, rather than just burying his face in the newspaper and saying crisply, "you see what you want to see, Severus", followed by "Keep an eye on Quirrell, won't you?" )
I got the idea that Albus wanted Snape to understand that he didn't think much of his biased opinions, and brushed him off deliberately. I do think that saying that he disapproved, and perhaps telling Snape that he needed to let go, would have turned out better for both of them in the long term. As it is, I think that Snape took the resentment out on Harry.


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  #450  
Old May 25th, 2008, 10:44 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Bscorp View Post
I find no reason to believe that Harry told his son the "bravest" line to humor the boy. Snape was the bravest character in the series in many respects. Yes, many people in Harry's life fought hard and faced much danger in the war. But all those people did so with support from their own team, The Order and/or their family and friends.

Snape's actions were distinctly brave in this regard. Snape had NO ONE but Dumbledore backing him up and after DD's death he was asolutely alone in the dark. He could confide in no one. He could trust no one and no one trusted him. Courage isn't just about doing something difficult. Snape did all his actions without any resource to tell him 'keep going.'
When most people are afraid- they are able to confide in someone or something to keep them moving. Even if their faith is in God- they have a church to tell them God exists and (it) supports you. They have community.
Snape was alone and facing the threat of a Dark Wizard who could read his mind. He had no room to breath the wrong way without being detected. He would never receive that trust or know that community as long as he lived.

When someone is that alone and yet that sturdy and forthright in their convictions against that kind of Evil. That is the bravest act by anyone in this series.
Excellent post - this pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WWB
Imo, Snape's existence was not made more difficult by his lacking support in that regard because it was something he'd never sought or cared to have.
Just because Snape didn't want the support and comraderie of the other Order members does not mean that he did not need it. There is a huge difference between wanting and needing, and people often want what they don't need and need what they don't want. So while Snape shunned the other Order members that does not mean that he did not suffer from an abscence of companionship. I would also add that this really was a situation where he couldn't get involved. He really couldn't afford to become emotionally involved - ie become friends with - anyone from the Order. If he genuinely felt affection for any of them it would have been harder to disguise his feelings from Voldemort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WWB
However, we were discussing Harry's statement. Does that mean that Lucius was also probably the bravest man he ever knew? He sat there longer than Snape and more often; with a true fear for his life and that of his family because they were under threat from the end of OOTP thru DH by the dangeous and disturbed Voldemort - a far more precarious position, yet Lucius kept showing up for meetings.
But Lucius was not working against Voldemort. He was working for Voldemort and suffered Voldemort's wrath for failure. He had no where to run to so he HAD to keep showing up for meetings - he would have been killed otherwise. Snape however wasn't just showing up for meetings. He was showing up for meetings and having to occlude all his "happy, warm" thoughts about Dumbledore, Lily or anyone else from the Order; he was having to lie to Voldemort's face - a man who prided himself on his ability to always know when someone is lying; and he was having to do this whist keeping his nerve knowing that one tiny slip would blow the whole thing - not just his own life, buit Dumbledore's man inside the DE's. What Snape did as a spy for the Order having to actually face Voldemort and lie to his face is IMO far braver than anything else we see in the series. I also think that HArry genuinely beleived so too - I actually believe that was one of the main reasons for Jo including the epilogue - so that we could hear Harry's opinion of Snape. There really is no other reason for writing that line or including the "What if I'm in Slytherin" storyline in the epilogue.

I would also like to add the story behind my youngest son's name as it might shed light on Harry's choice. The name we chose was that of my husband's great-great-uncle who died at the age of 20 in the First World War. I know nothing of the man's personality or character, but that didn't really matter because it was his sacrifice in dying in the war that I wished to honour. As such I can fully understand how Harry would want to name his son after Severus, even though Harry never liked Snape; it is not about personal likes and dislikes - it is about honouring courage and sacrifice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekgk
We're not told that magical photographs remain attached even when torn. It could just as well be that Baby Harry ended up missing his mum terribly, and that Lily missed her baby. As for Snape's feelings towards Harry, I'd rather believe the author and the text rather than fantasize.
Um... it was a photo of Harry not the real Harry - Harry and Lily could not have missed each other they were just images - images that moved by magic but still just images.


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Last edited by CathyWeasley; May 25th, 2008 at 10:51 pm.
  #451  
Old May 25th, 2008, 11:32 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by CathyWeasley View Post
Just because Snape didn't want the support and comraderie of the other Order members does not mean that he did not need it. There is a huge difference between wanting and needing, and people often want what they don't need and need what they don't want. So while Snape shunned the other Order members that does not mean that he did not suffer from an abscence of companionship. I would also add that this really was a situation where he couldn't get involved. He really couldn't afford to become emotionally involved - ie become friends with - anyone from the Order. If he genuinely felt affection for any of them it would have been harder to disguise his feelings from Voldemort.
I agree. I was not attempting to psychoanalyze Snape. But as you said, Snape didn't have the companionship prior to killing Dumbledore, so afterward nothing changed for him in that regard. That is why I concluded that this factor in an of itself did not make Snape 'braver' than others fighting in the war, imo. Nonetheless, not wanting companionship (for whatever reason) is not the same thing as rudely rejecting it, imo. Snape behaved in a rude manner to the Order members and that was unnecessary because he could have remained 'cool and standoffish' without having to add rudeness and still not formed affection for them, imo. (ex. With the Weasleys and Tonks.) That is why I further concluded that he didn't want their companionship, imo. Imo, Harry would not see Snape's behavior toward the Order members I referred to as brave.

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But Lucius was not working against Voldemort. He was working for Voldemort and suffered Voldemort's wrath for failure. He had no where to run to so he HAD to keep showing up for meetings - he would have been killed otherwise. Snape however wasn't just showing up for meetings. He was showing up for meetings and having to occlude all his "happy, warm" thoughts about Dumbledore, Lily or anyone else from the Order; he was having to lie to Voldemort's face - a man who prided himself on his ability to always know when someone is lying; and he was having to do this whist keeping his nerve knowing that one tiny slip would blow the whole thing - not just his own life, buit Dumbledore's man inside the DE's. What Snape did as a spy for the Order having to actually face Voldemort and lie to his face is IMO far braver than anything else we see in the series. I also think that HArry genuinely beleived so too - I actually believe that was one of the main reasons for Jo including the epilogue - so that we could hear Harry's opinion of Snape. There really is no other reason for writing that line or including the "What if I'm in Slytherin" storyline in the epilogue.
JKR said she wrote the Epilogue for Teddy (Viera Interview 2007), however, I agree she threw the part in about Harry's son's name to let us know Harry had forgiven Snape. I've never understood that part and so I cannot really comment upon it; hopefully she'll clear it up in the Scottish book.

I would respectfully disagree that Snape having to lie to Voldemort's face was the bravest thing anyone did in the series. Imo, those who confronted him directly displayed more bravery. However, all of the acts, including Snape's, were brave, imo.

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I would also like to add the story behind my youngest son's name as it might shed light on Harry's choice. The name we chose was that of my husband's great-great-uncle who died at the age of 20 in the First World War. I know nothing of the man's personality or character, but that didn't really matter because it was his sacrifice in dying in the war that I wished to honour. As such I can fully understand how Harry would want to name his son after Severus, even though Harry never liked Snape; it is not about personal likes and dislikes - it is about honouring courage and sacrifice.
That is a nice story. I too was named after some forefather from ages ago. Too, many people name their children after famed people (like Agustus) based on some great aspect of their character, even if they were known to be tyranical in other aspects.

The distinction with Snape, imo, is that he loathed Harry and displayed it directly in an overt and sustained fashion. On the other hand, those who name their kids Agustus were not hated by him and made to withstand his bullying behavior directly. Also, Snape was not someone from Harry's past that he hadn't known and wished to honor for a brave deed. So that is why I am unable to make sense of the naming in relation to Snape.


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  #452  
Old May 25th, 2008, 11:47 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

I don't know, at least those who confronted Voldemort directly knew there would be a fight, they were probably more easily prepared for it, Snape's lies were probably more risky because he would have to be quick on the defense if his lies were found out


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  #453  
Old May 26th, 2008, 1:17 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

I agree Lucy I think that it is easier for people with a confrontational disposition (like Harry) to confront someone, than to spend years pretending to be their ally and lying to them knowing that if they are found out they will be killed. As you say - in a confrontation you are psyched up to fight woith the adrenalin pumping and are ready for a fight - In Snape's position if he had made a mistake Voldemort would have most likely just killed him straight off and Snape wouldn't have even had a chance to fight back - pretty much as he did die in the end.


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  #454  
Old May 26th, 2008, 6:52 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

  • Do you interpret this scene differently after DH? A little bit. As a Teacher, he is responsible for the safety, health and welfare of his Students, especially in Potions. If anything happens, Severus is responsible. It could have looked like he wasn't in control of the situation, let things happen, etc. If a Student was sent home with long-term disabilities, Severus would have bared full blame for it. Even though he didn't do anything, somehow some Parents would say his past as a Death Eater played a part in his "letting it happen", etc. Severus isn't stupid, he knew if anything happened to the Student, especially Harry, he would be up for reprimand and possibly being suspended and removed from Hogwarts. His life would be on the line, he'd be vulnerable to the Death Eaters and even Voldemort. After reading DH, it was clear he was terrified of Voldemort and letting him down.
  • Was Snape's reaction possibly influenced by his feud with James Potter? Yes. From what we've read, it seems like James may have gotten away with more than the average Student. If he did in trouble, he probably got the "white glove treatment" in Snape's eyes. In other words, if the tables had been turned, Snape's world probably came crashing around him. Whereas James Potter probably would get nothing more than a few lines, a slap on the wrist and it was always after a Quidditch match, etc. So we now have Harry doing the same thing to Draco, who in Snape's eyes is a younger version of himself. Since nobody came down on James Potter, Snape's going to make sure Harry's put in his place and is NOT given the "Pampered Prince" treatment. Through punishing Harry, he's punishing James. Severus is standing up for the young Snape who never got a moment's peace from James. He's making James pay through Harry.


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Old May 26th, 2008, 3:12 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasley View Post

Just because Snape didn't want the support and comraderie of the other Order members does not mean that he did not need it. There is a huge difference between wanting and needing, and people often want what they don't need and need what they don't want. So while Snape shunned the other Order members that does not mean that he did not suffer from an abscence of companionship. I would also add that this really was a situation where he couldn't get involved. He really couldn't afford to become emotionally involved - ie become friends with - anyone from the Order. If he genuinely felt affection for any of them it would have been harder to disguise his feelings from Voldemort.


But Lucius was not working against Voldemort. He was working for Voldemort and suffered Voldemort's wrath for failure. He had no where to run to so he HAD to keep showing up for meetings - he would have been killed otherwise. Snape however wasn't just showing up for meetings. He was showing up for meetings and having to occlude all his "happy, warm" thoughts about Dumbledore, Lily or anyone else from the Order; he was having to lie to Voldemort's face - a man who prided himself on his ability to always know when someone is lying; and he was having to do this whist keeping his nerve knowing that one tiny slip would blow the whole thing - not just his own life, buit Dumbledore's man inside the DE's. What Snape did as a spy for the Order having to actually face Voldemort and lie to his face is IMO far braver than anything else we see in the series. I also think that HArry genuinely beleived so too - I actually believe that was one of the main reasons for Jo including the epilogue - so that we could hear Harry's opinion of Snape. There really is no other reason for writing that line or including the "What if I'm in Slytherin" storyline in the epilogue.
I love what you say here Cathy. I agree that Snape had to push people away from himself. I do not really think he wanted to be the bitter, loner that he was. I believe he longed for companionship, as you suggest. It was too hard; however, because he needed to stay clear for Voldemort. Not only did he have to maintain the aura of hatred toward the Order, he also perhaps wanted to keep them safe. Had Snape befriended or got close to anyone it could have been very dangerous to that person. Snape always walked a thin and dangerous line. If his lies were ever discovered, it would have thrust Snape and anyone who mattered to him into danger. So, I think he kept people at a distance to protect them from himself and the danger he lived under. I do not think he did this because he did not want companionship, I personally think he longed for a normal life.

In relation to the discussion of Snape's bravery or being the bravest in the series... I do think Snape's sacrifices and actions were brave. He dedicated the rest of his life to good, to saving Lily's son and to fighting for what is right. In doing this, Snape took many chances with his life, he sacrificed friendships and relationship and a life of his own to fully give himself to the Order and Dumbledore's wishes. Is all of this brave, yes I think so. Is it the bravest? I think it is right up there because he knew what he was facing. Although, I do think there was other bravery in the series, Snape was among the bravest.


  #456  
Old May 26th, 2008, 3:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

zgirnius
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I tend to think the same would have been true, eventually, if Snape had survived the war and seen Harry go on to a (relatively, I realize he is an Auror) safe and normal life. Nothing Snape or anyone could ever do would undo the damage he helped to cause, but the end of Voldemort and the consequent threat to Harry's life, was the most that could still be done after the Potters died, and while it was unfinished, I think it was his top priority, above "getting a life".
I agree completely.


I’m not sure if the questions I have belong to this thread, but they are connected to Snape, so I’ll risk posting them here.

I'm afraid I didn’t understand how this whole Occlumency/Legilimency thing works.
We know that during the Occlumency lessons with Harry Snape hid some of his memories in the Pensieve because he expected for some reason that Harry would accidentally break into his mind and see glimpses of his past. We also know that Snape used Occlumency to shield his thoughts from Voldemort, the world’s most skilled Legilimens. So, given that Harry was an inexperienced wizard and not particularly gifted at Occlumency, why on earth was Snape afraid of Harry breaking into his mind if even Voldemort himself wasn’t able to do it? How was Harry able to see Snape’s memories when Voldemort couldn’t?

And why did Snape even need to use Occlumency in his encounters with Voldemort in the first place when all he needed to do was unload all the memories that could compromise him into the Pensieve?

I know I missed something important here, but I can’t understand what it is.

And another question regarding Occlumency. When Draco attempted to use it against Snape in the 6th book, Snape immediately saw right through that and said something about Bellatrix teaching Draco to use it.
At the beginning of the 7th book we can see clearly that Voldemort is trying to read Snape’s thoughts and obviously doesn’t succeed. So how come Voldemort couldn’t tell that Snape was shielding his thoughts with the help of Occlumency? After all, Snape himself understood very quickly what Draco was doing. And if Voldemort had suddenly encountered some kind of mental block while trying to see Severus's thoughts, he would have immediately become suspicious, wouldn't he? I just don't get it.


  #457  
Old May 26th, 2008, 4:02 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Raelis View Post
I'm afraid I didn’t understand how this whole Occlumency/Legilimency thing works.
We know that during the Occlumency lessons with Harry Snape hid some of his memories in the Pensieve because he expected for some reason that Harry would accidentally break into his mind and see glimpses of his past. We also know that Snape used Occlumency to shield his thoughts from Voldemort, the world’s most skilled Legilimens. So, given that Harry was an inexperienced wizard and not particularly gifted at Occlumency, why on earth was Snape afraid of Harry breaking into his mind if even Voldemort himself wasn’t able to do it? How was Harry able to see Snape’s memories when Voldemort couldn’t?
My take on this is that had Harry at some point managed to read Snape’s memories there would be 2 main problems.
1) Given that Harry reminded Snape of James & Lily those memories are imo the most likely to be the ones Harry sees.
2) Because Voldermort had acces to Harry’s mind he may have then been able to see the memories that Harry has seen in Snape’s mind.

Quote:
And why did Snape even need to use Occlumency in his encounters with Voldemort in the first place when all he needed to do was unload all the memories that could compromise him into the Pensieve?
Well he may have stored some in the pensive, but there is no cannon either way on this question. I would imagine though that if the memory is no longer in his head then there would be a gap, so removing too much would probably show.

Quote:
And another question regarding Occlumency. When Draco attempted to use it against Snape in the 6th book, Snape immediately saw right through that and said something about Bellatrix teaching Draco to use it.
At the beginning of the 7th book we can see clearly that Voldemort is trying to read Snape’s thoughts and obviously doesn’t succeed. So how come Voldemort couldn’t tell that Snape was shielding his thoughts with the help of Occlumency? After all, Snape himself understood very quickly what Draco was doing. And if Voldemort had suddenly encountered some kind of mental block while trying to see Severus's thoughts, he would have immediately become suspicious, wouldn't he? I just don't get it.
First off Draco was a beginner, which mean’s he probably didn’t have much finesse in the way he used it (Bella being his teacher also doesn’t raise my hopes of him learning any finesse ). In Snape’s case we know he is highly skilled and subtle. Secondly I read it to mean that Snape shows him something that satisfies Voldermort’s curiosity. Zgrinius has shown this wonderfully in some of her fiction (I can’t remember which one in particular, but I’m sure she’ll tell you if you ask nicely well worth a read btw), here you see something like this with Snape focusing on particular thoughts or emotions to produce a ‘misleading picture’ in his head for Voldermort to read. The question you asked also points to why the pensive would have to be used in moderation, if at all, as obvious gaps would be suspicious.


  #458  
Old May 26th, 2008, 4:10 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Raelis View Post
I agree completely.
Thanks!

Quote:
We know that during the Occlumency lessons with Harry Snape hid some of his memories in the Pensieve because he expected for some reason that Harry would accidentally break into his mind and see glimpses of his past.
It has alternatively been proposed Snape his the memories in order to better be able to teach Harry (because the ones he hid are the ones most tied to his negative feelings. We do not actually know why Snape hid them.

Quote:
We also know that Snape used Occlumency to shield his thoughts from Voldemort, the world’s most skilled Legilimens. So, given that Harry was an inexperienced wizard and not particularly gifted at Occlumency, why on earth was Snape afraid of Harry breaking into his mind if even Voldemort himself wasn’t able to do it?
It happened, that alone proves the fear would not have been unfounded. As to why, it may be that teaching the process makes both parties more vulnerable, not just the pupil. The way Harry actually did it, was to turn Snape's own spell against him with a Shield Charm. Snape would hardly be launching spells at Voldemort, so the same circumstances would never apply.

Quote:
And why did Snape even need to use Occlumency in his encounters with Voldemort in the first place when all he needed to do was unload all the memories that could compromise him into the Pensieve?
Some of the memories that might compromise Snape, might be memories Voldemort needs to see. He speaks of the ability to fool Voldemort in those lessons, and mentions that the key is to suppress the emotions that contradcit the lie. So, for example, Snape might show a memory from an Order meeting, and simply conceal any feelings he may have had that were incosistent with loyalty to Voldemort.

Quote:
At the beginning of the 7th book we can see clearly that Voldemort is trying to read Snape’s thoughts and obviously doesn’t succeed. So how come Voldemort couldn’t tell that Snape was shielding his thoughts with the help of Occlumency? After all, Snape himself understood very quickly what Draco was doing. And if Voldemort had suddenly encountered some kind of mental block while trying to see Severus's thoughts, he would have immediately become suspicious, wouldn't he? I just don't get it.
I conclude that basic Occlumency consists of what Draco was doing, and Snape was trying to teach - simply blocking, however obviously, a Legilimens from accessing one's thoughts. Since Snape as able to get away with it, he must have been doing something more subtle and difficult. I am guessing he was able to selectively reveal his memories and emotions to Voldemort, showing enough that Voldemort thought he was seeing everything, while, of course, hiding the essential truth about himself.


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  #459  
Old May 26th, 2008, 4:18 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Some of the memories that might compromise Snape, might be memories Voldemort needs to see. He speaks of the ability to fool Voldemort in those lessons, and mentions that the key is to suppress the emotions that contradcit the lie. So, for example, Snape might show a memory from an Order meeting, and simply conceal any feelings he may have had that were incosistent with loyalty to Voldemort.
That brings us back to why Snape might have chosen to act as he did during such meetings. Perhaps it would be easier, or safer, if he was focusing on those emotions that were most consistent with loyalty to Voldemort during the meetings etc. One less thing to worry about when facing him.


  #460  
Old May 26th, 2008, 4:23 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by kittling View Post
That brings us back to why Snape might have chosen to act as he did during such meetings. Perhaps it would be easier, or safer, if he was focusing on those emotions that were most consistent with loyalty to Voldemort during the meetings etc. One less thing to worry about when facing him.
I guess the only example we really have (other than negative facts such as Snape never eating at 12 GP), is in the "Occlumency" chapter. I wonder is that is something he told Voldemort, though. Teaching Harry Occlumency successfully would have foiled Voldemort's grand plan for the year, so I tend to think he did not share that memory.


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