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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%
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  #1461  
Old August 21st, 2008, 6:16 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by boushh View Post
Yes, but it's the prior research, experimenting would still take some time... and to me if he didn't meet Harry's wand again, then he wouldn't have gone on such an earnest search for the Elder Wand, or pressed Ollivander to tell him more about it, so quickly. Yes, I do. I also remember Voldemort thinking Lucius's wand would work for him, so some wands must work decently if not great for him to think that he would have been able to use that wand as good as any other.
I see what you are saying and I suppose it would just come down to our differing interpretations on Voldemort and how he would respond.

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I think you can read that passage more than one way. For the most part, I agree with you, but I have recently been looking at it a different way. That bit could be read as if he knew about it and was putting on an unreadable mask. The paleness of his features could indicate his knowledge that the time has come and his desperation to get to Harry. He keeps staring at Nagini and he keeps trying to let Voldemort let him go and get Harry. He seems almost distracted by it, until Voldemort brings up the Elder Wand, and then the death mask reference, which could in addition be foreshadowing his death, and is once again followed by:

"My Lord - let me go to the boy-"

You might say why didn't he raise his wand sooner if he knew that Voldemort was going to come after him, but I feel as though he's so used to just talking his way out of things that he doesn't take that course of action until the last moment, which is too late by that point.

Even so I'm still leaning towards him not knowing about the Elder Wand, but am open to the other possibility. However, I still don't see him feeling foolish or even betrayed. Feeling like he failed... yeah, that I'd buy.
Well I would go for the idea if Snape knew if JKR had shown Dumbledore telling him. Why the mystery? Why not show us that? It would be no surprise to us in the Prince's Tale because that came afterward. If she wanted Dumbledore in the clear on that, she should have specified. For us to have to go through loops or conclude that Snape must have known, for me is like writing the story. . Between not having Dumbledore tell him when he was doing all the talking in TPT and the expression she caused Snape to have - I can't really accept the idea that Snape knew myself. But I respect your view if you do.

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Oh and I don't see Voldemort having spelled things out for Snape. Voldemort's line "Perhaps you already know it? You are a clever man, after all, Severus." Pretty much indicates that he hasn't spelled out the answer, since he's pointing out that he thinks Snape is clever enough to figure it out. The thing he hasn't mentioned is that he isn't the wand's master, and yeah maybe Snape has figured it out... perhaps figured it out or knew about it the moment it was brought up, the page before when his face looked like a death mask with blank eyes, perhaps even closing himself off from giving anything away.
That is what I meant. I guess I wasn't clear on that. Voldemort had said enough for Snape to figure it out.

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Ah, I missed your edit. Sorry. I still don't really agree though. I don't think he was betrayed, nor do I think he felt foolish. I know not everyone will agree with me, but that's OK. From what I see, Snape agreed to do a job and he kept on doing it until the end, and he knew he was being kept in the dark on certain things and kept on doing the job he was asked to do. And he even knew that he could very well die doing this job, because if he didn't know this then he really was being foolish, which I don't think he was. I just don't see the betrayal. I see a plan that didn't quite go as well as it could have because it was so far reaching that it would have been difficult for it to go well, but still there was a chance and a hope for it to go better than it did. Also, soldiers die all the time without expecting to or knowing what went wrong in the chain of events to cause it. And if one looks at it as Snape knowing about the Elder Wand or figuring it out at the last moments, he technically would know what his death was all about, even if it did end up not serving the purpose Voldemort thought it would. It still sucks for him because for a moment he probably thought he failed, but once he saw Harry at least he knew he could accomplish his mission, even if he couldn't keep his promise of protecting Harry from harm.
I agree that Snape should have expected he might die. I just think he'd feel betrayed because that was an "unexpected" avenue of danger coming from Dumbledore, someone who was supposed to be his ally.

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Ah well, we probably aren't going to agree on a bunch of things so I'm just going to let this go for the moment. Thanks for the discussion, though.
It was a good discussion.


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  #1462  
Old August 21st, 2008, 7:31 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I agree that Snape should have expected he might die. I just think he'd feel betrayed because that was an "unexpected" avenue of danger coming from Dumbledore, someone who was supposed to be his ally.
It was a good discussion.
Sorry to jump in at the end but there is something that I am going to pick up on Wicked. You say that 3rd years know that borrowed wands don't work well for those that borrow them. I don't think that something like that is widely known. When Harry is using the blackthorn wand and he is complaining about how it is not working well for him and and how he does not like using it Hermione is rather sharp and tells him he just has to practice more. Draco borrows his mother's wand to fight in the battle and LV does indeed borrow Lucius' wand to use in th 7Potter's. When the Trio speak to Ollivander he makes a comment about how they are questioning him deeply about wandlore and how it is not something that he is asked about very much. Also it is not known that Dumbledore's wand was the Elder Wand. As far as people knew it was just a wand like any other and Dumbledore was just a powerful wizard. The search for and battle for the Elder wand seems to me to be a way that JKR has entered chance into her plot. It was unforseen that Draco would disarm Dumbledore and when he asked Snape to end him on top of the tower Dumbledore knew what had happened but it was too late to change the plan at that late date. The fact that Snape had to flee before he could take possesion of the wand was unfortunate. He could have in different circumstances been able to present the wand to Voldemort, but things did not work out that way. Then came the fiasco of 7 Potters and Voldemort starts to think about how he cannot defeat Harry. He goes back and questions Ollivander, starts to think and then starts to search for the wand. It is totally unforseen that Harry would defeat Draco and become master of it. Dumbledore's plan was that no one would become master of it and it's power would die. It's like you said, there are too many variables for the plan to have been that A. Snapekills Dumbledore-the world thinks he's the master of the wand. B-Voldemort kills Snape at the right time to go against Harry and be defeated by the true master of the wand. I don't think JKR is that poor at plotting. I think she was showing how chance can step in and throw a spanner in the works and something like Harry being at the right place and time to defeat Draco was something that no one could have predicted. I hope that makes sense.


  #1463  
Old August 21st, 2008, 1:57 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
Sorry to jump in at the end but there is something that I am going to pick up on Wicked. You say that 3rd years know that borrowed wands don't work well for those that borrow them. I don't think that something like that is widely known. When Harry is using the blackthorn wand and he is complaining about how it is not working well for him and and how he does not like using it Hermione is rather sharp and tells him he just has to practice more. Draco borrows his mother's wand to fight in the battle and LV does indeed borrow Lucius' wand to use in th 7Potter's. When the Trio speak to Ollivander he makes a comment about how they are questioning him deeply about wandlore and how it is not something that he is asked about very much. Also it is not known that Dumbledore's wand was the Elder Wand. As far as people knew it was just a wand like any other and Dumbledore was just a powerful wizard. The search for and battle for the Elder wand seems to me to be a way that JKR has entered chance into her plot. It was unforseen that Draco would disarm Dumbledore and when he asked Snape to end him on top of the tower Dumbledore knew what had happened but it was too late to change the plan at that late date. The fact that Snape had to flee before he could take possesion of the wand was unfortunate. He could have in different circumstances been able to present the wand to Voldemort, but things did not work out that way. Then came the fiasco of 7 Potters and Voldemort starts to think about how he cannot defeat Harry. He goes back and questions Ollivander, starts to think and then starts to search for the wand. It is totally unforseen that Harry would defeat Draco and become master of it. Dumbledore's plan was that no one would become master of it and it's power would die. It's like you said, there are too many variables for the plan to have been that A. Snapekills Dumbledore-the world thinks he's the master of the wand. B-Voldemort kills Snape at the right time to go against Harry and be defeated by the true master of the wand. I don't think JKR is that poor at plotting. I think she was showing how chance can step in and throw a spanner in the works and something like Harry being at the right place and time to defeat Draco was something that no one could have predicted. I hope that makes sense.
Yes it does. . That is a very good point - there was a lot of chance involved. I would agree that Dumbledore may have truly felt that Snape had a very good chance of surviving, thinking that 'chance' as you put it and 'timing' as Boush put it would work out in Snape's favor.

Understand that this is the only tiny string of sympathy I have for Snape in the entire saga - without this, the character as written would likely become completely estranged for me. I will be honest; I have not bought into any of the other possible sympathy points related to Snape's character. In my judgment, he ruined many lives, attempted to ruin others, was given a spying job that was so up his alley as to discount most of the bravery I would attach to it and did next to nothing related to his promise to protect Harry. I also feel he ruined his own life and lacked respect and remorse.

So I kind of see this as the one circumstance in canon where Snape truly looked bravery in the face and embraced it. With so much evidence against Dumbledore (in my view), I felt that JKR included this for people like me in order to allow us to latch onto something relative to this character. If I agree that Snape knew about the Elder Wand or that Dumbledore felt there was a very good chance that Snape would live, then Snape would become the most destable figure portrayed in canon for me - even beyond Voldemort.

My impression was that Dumbledore was on such a high pedastal character-wise, JKR felt she could sacrifice a bit of his character in this regard to help Snape's. For me it worked that way - it is the only act I saw on Snape's part in the entire series that I felt was very close to selfless. Over time I have been able to reconcile with Dumbledore and I like him a lot more. So pehaps that is why I am not so ready to allow myself to believe that Snape was acting with Knowledge, or with the same threat of death over his head as everyone else. I will think about it, though, because both of you have raised a very good point - one that another knowledgable poster has raised as well and since then I've been considering the issue. So I am not dead set on this issue either way.


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Last edited by wickedwickedboy; August 21st, 2008 at 2:01 pm.
  #1464  
Old August 21st, 2008, 2:28 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
If I agree that Snape knew about the Elder Wand or that Dumbledore felt there was a very good chance that Snape would live, then Snape would become the most detestable figure portrayed in canon for me - even beyond Voldemort.
Er, why?

(My favourite detestables are Umbridge and Peter. Voldemort is too one-dimensional as a villain but Umbridge is really, REALLY nasty.)

My own interpretation is what Snape didn't know about the Elder Wand (Albus keeps that secret, based on my reading of canon) and that Voldemort's revelation about the wand comes as a complete and utter shock to him.

I am open to other interpretations but I would just like to know why Snape's knowing about Albus's ultimate plan (personally, I don't see how he could have done, since we don't see Albus telling him) would make him 'detestable'.

Quote:
My impression was that Dumbledore was on such a high pedastal character-wise, JKR felt she could sacrifice a bit of his character in this regard to help Snape's.
Actually, Dumbledore had already fallen off his pedestal, as far as I was concerned, before I began reading DH. Buuuut that's for his own thread.

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For me it worked that way - it is the only act I saw on Snape's part in the entire series that I felt was very close to selfless.
The fact that he appeared to have been duped (by Albus) is the thing that makes him selfless?


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  #1465  
Old August 21st, 2008, 3:42 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
My own interpretation is what Snape didn't know about the Elder Wand (Albus keeps that secret, based on my reading of canon) and that Voldemort's revelation about the wand comes as a complete and utter shock to him.
I am still leaning toward this belief too - I mean why wouldn't JKR tell us if Dumbledore told him? Why keep it a mystery? But I am remaining open minded about it, there are a lot of good arguments the other way.

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Er, why? (My favourite detestables are Umbridge and Peter. Voldemort is too one-dimensional as a villain but Umbridge is really, REALLY nasty.)

I am open to other interpretations but I would just like to know why Snape's knowing about Albus's ultimate plan (personally, I don't see how he could have done, since we don't see Albus telling him) would make him 'detestable'.
Well this is a very personal opinion, so I would not think anyone would agree with me. My impression, as I stated above, was that Snape ruined the lives of many (permanently or temporarily), including his own. In the wake of that, he had nothing whatsoever to redeem himself on as written in canon, because his acts, every single one of them, were tainted by self interest (shown either by his words or behavior or subsequent behavior). And JKR wrote in not one bit of legitimate payback for Snape; it was as if he was free from the consequences of his abominable behavior.

So we get to the end of his life and finally, he is written to show that when he is legitimately treated in a despicable manner (much like he's been treating everyone else), he finally does not get vindictive, but rather accepts it as his lot - or his due - which for me saved him from becoming the most detestable character in canon (a man who did real harm to many others and in return received only "perceived" payback).

*example of perceived payback for clarity: Snape hands over the prophecy eager to help Voldemort kill some baby to stay in power. Turns out to indicate Lily, who Snape loves and she is killed. This could be perceived as a "payback" for what he has done and Snape is so overwrought and filled with remorse he wants to die - so he truly is suffering. But I have absolutely no sympathy for Snape here, none at all. I do not see this as payback in any sense of the word. I find all the pain and suffering he feels to be completely shallow and selfish - and his remorse entirely hallow. It is like the greatest farce to me and I despise the character for it on a deeply personal level. But keep in mind I have an extreme amount of reverence and respect for "family" - and Snape destroyed one in this instance and has not a smidgeon of thought space for that - let alone remorse, respect, etc. - and he never changes in this regard, imo, shown by the ripping of the photo late in life.

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The fact that he appeared to have been duped (by Albus) is the thing that makes him selfless?
No, his reaction/response to finding out he'd been duped is the thing that makes him act in a manner I felt was close to selfless.


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Last edited by wickedwickedboy; August 21st, 2008 at 4:15 pm.
  #1466  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
his acts, every single one of them, was tainted by self interest
Ok - as everyone's action are at all times guided to some extent by self interest I don't get why any one person should be singled out here?


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  #1467  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I am still leaning toward this belief too - I mean why wouldn't JKR tell us if Dumbledore told him? Why keep it a mystery?
As someone who cannot make up her mind on this point...my question is how would she tell us? She would have had two options available to her. Either have Snape include that conversation in TPT after the memory of Snape leaving with the Sword, or have Albus go into the whole deal in King's Cross.

Option 1 seems off, because this is, as far as Snape knows, entirely irrelevant to Harry. Snape has no clue, whatsoever, that Harry might be Master of the Elder Wand. All the other memories touch on Harry or Lily. And Albus is too busy talking about himself. He does address this point, but in language so vague that I'm not even sure what he is trying to say!


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  #1468  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:21 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Well this is a very personal opinion, so I would not think anyone would agree with me. My impression, as I stated above, was that Snape ruined the lives of many (permanently or temporarily), including his own. In the wake of that, he had nothing whatsoever to redeem himself on as written in canon, because his acts, every single one of them, were tainted by self interest (shown either by his words or behavior or subsequent behavior). And JKR wrote in not one bit of legitimate payback for Snape; it was as if he was free from the consequences of his abominable behavior.
Even assuming what you said was true (of JKR writing his redemption this way I mean), even though I respectfully disagree with this, using an imperfect man, who was still struggling towards his own redemption to hand Snape his, makes the whole thing false IMO.

Dumbledore was not God, and neither was he perfect that he could decide about Snape's redemption in any manner. Having shown Dumbeldore to be less than perfect, I really don't think JKR could hand out Snape's redemption through Dumbledore IMO.


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Last edited by The_Green_Woods; August 21st, 2008 at 4:36 pm. Reason: changed Snape to Dumbeldore :D
  #1469  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:22 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
As someone who cannot make up her mind on this point...my question is how would she tell us? She would have had two options available to her. Either have Snape include that conversation in TPT after the memory of Snape leaving with the Sword, or have Albus go into the whole deal in King's Cross.

Option 1 seems off, because this is, as far as Snape knows, entirely irrelevant to Harry. Snape has no clue, whatsoever, that Harry might be Master of the Elder Wand. All the other memories touch on Harry or Lily. And Albus is too busy talking about himself. He does address this point, but in language so vague that I'm not even sure what he is trying to say!
- totally agree. I do think you have a very good point; but on the other hand, wouldn't it make the majority feel that Snape was walking to his death "knowingly" - much as he was telling Harry that Dumbledore said he had to do? Wouldn't that be pertinent to Harry? And I say the "majority" because it would backfire with people like me with deep "family" issues; but I would not assume numerous people attach the same value I do to family - first over everything else. (Note on the other hand it is still relevant because then it is more like Snape was sacrificed by Dumbledore, so I don't mean to say the "knowing" is the better or worse option - just different)


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  #1470  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I am still leaning toward this belief too - I mean why wouldn't JKR tell us if Dumbledore told him? Why keep it a mystery? But I am remaining open minded about it, there are a lot of good arguments the other way.
I have an open mind on this too. I'm always willing not to believe the worst of Albus, believe me! Although I can never regard him as 'the epitome of goodness', as JKR claims ... it's just not the way she portrays him.

Quote:
Well this is a very personal opinion, so I would not think anyone would agree with me. My impression, as I stated above, was that Snape ruined the lives of many (permanently or temporarily), including his own. In the wake of that, he had nothing whatsoever to redeem himself on as written in canon, because his acts, every single one of them, were tainted by self interest (shown either by his words or behavior or subsequent behavior). And JKR wrote in not one bit of legitimate payback for Snape; it was as if he was free from the consequences of his abominable behavior.
I absolutely cannot agree with that assessment. JKR gives Snape an unbelievably bleak life which is virtually without love. Really, I'm hard pressed to think of another author who puts a character through as much misery as Rowling puts Snape through! (Sirius gets a very rough ride too -- for me he is the other most tragic character in the story). She's a bit like Thomas Hardy when it comes to her characters, sometimes.

Not all of JKR's baddies get payback (which is realistic, of course) but even if I were to believe, as you do, that Snape was a wholly despicable character, then his horrible and agonising death at the hands (or, rather, teeth ) of Nagini would be more than sufficient payback.

Not that I would want my worst enemy to die like that.

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So we get to the end of his life and finally, he is written to show that when he is legitimately treated in a despicable manner (much like he's been treating everyone else), he finally does not get vindictive, but rather accepts it as his lot - or his due - which for me saved him from becoming the most detestable character in canon (a man who did real harm to many others and in return received only "perceived" payback).
I don't agree that the manner of his betrayal or death equate 'legitimate' treatment. And we will have to agree to disagree on how much harm Snape did to others, since I believe he worked to rectify that. (I do realise he probably did some terrible things as a Death Eater and, of course, his greatest crime, in literary terms, is to be indirectly responsible for the Potters being targeted by Voldemort.)

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I find all the pain and suffering he feels to be completely shallow and selfish - and his remorse entirely shallow.
Hmm. Well, we see the character literally howling in agony when he learns of Lily's death. I have a hard time seeing that as 'shallow', myself.

His reaction to James's death is certainly lacking, I agree. But of course one of his character flaws is never being able to forgive James (but I must point out that exactly the same is true of Sirius, in reverse, who hardly shows tons of emotional maturity regarding Snape. Frankly, they should have both got over themselves).

I see Snape as a deeply, deeply flawed character but I certainly don't despise him as you do. Especially as I believe he does the right thing in the end.

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No, his reaction/response to finding out he'd been duped is the thing that makes him act in a manner I felt was close to selfless.
Well, his reaction is clearly one of deep shock ... well, that's how I read it anyway. I don't see a reaction of deep shock as any particular indication of selflessness.

My own interpretation of the scene would allow for Snape to realise that the moment of his death had come and trying to defend himself as best he could ... but in vain.


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  #1471  
Old August 21st, 2008, 4:51 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
I absolutely cannot agree with that assessment. JKR gives Snape an unbelievably bleak life which is virtually without love. Really, I'm hard pressed to think of another author who puts a character through as much misery as Rowling puts Snape through! (Sirius gets a very rough ride too -- for me he is the other most tragic character in the story). She's a bit like Thomas Hardy when it comes to her characters, sometimes.
I don't know if anyone would agree with my personal take on it. As I said, I have a very deep compassion for family, I can't overlook that; I need deep remorse from those who destroy them. I see Snape never recognizing what he has destroyed as wrongful. I see him only seeing Lily's destruction as wrongful. To me, any suffering is selfish and shallow when seen in that light. In other words, he should be suffering even more, but he doesn't because he doesn't see anything more to suffer for.

Perhaps too, we are not looking at the same points of misery. I speak of Lily's death, Dumbledore's death and other times we saw Snape go ballistic/over emotional in canon (shrieking shack in PoA, End of Occlucmency lessons, Sirius' escape, #12 G stealing the photos, etc.)

All that is misery sure, but brought upon himself completely and what Snape is miserable about always incompasses a devastatingly incomplete picture - so his remorse is incomplete, hallow and extraordinarily selfish in nature in my opinion. I feel it is behaving in a very despicable manner and not misery of the sort I can sympathise with.

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Peter Pettigrew gets payback. And if I really believed, as you do, that Snape was a wholly despicable character, then his horrible and agonising death at the hands (or, rather, teeth ) of Nagini would be more than sufficient payback.
Not if he chose it, which was my point. (And I am not settled on that belief as I mentioned)

Quote:
I don't agree that the manner of his betrayal or death equate 'legitimate' treatment. And we will have to agree to disagree on how much harm Snape did to others, since I believe he worked to rectify that. (I do realise he probably did some terrible things as a Death Eater and, of course, his greatest crime, in literary terms, is to be indirectly responsible for the Potters being targeted by Voldemort.)
That is not what I meant by legitimate. I meant in terms of Snape truly being treated as he had treated others in the past. Many times Snape perceived he was being treated that way, but he actually wasn't, imo. I feel either he'd brought the circumstances upon himself or misconstrued the circumstances.

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Hmm. Well, we see the character literally howling in agony when he learns of Lily's death. I have a hard time seeing that as 'shallow', myself.
I specifically said that he was "truly suffering" because I wanted to make it clear that I was not suggesting he was faking it. I knew "shallow" could be understood to mean that. What I mean by "shallow" is that Snape is merely in agony when he should have been in double agony.

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I see Snape as a deeply, deeply flawed character but I certainly don't despise him as you do. Especially as I believe he does the right thing in the end.
If he didn't know about the Elder Wand, I would say he did achieve what I would call a right act in the end. It doesn't help much, but I would not despise him completely.

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Well, his reaction is clearly one of deep shock ... well, that's how I read it anyway. I don't see a reaction of deep shock as any particular indication of selflessness. My own interpretation of the scene would allow for Snape to realise that the moment of his death had come and trying to defend himself as best he could ... but in vain.
This is not what I was referring to. I meant that he didn't blurt out the truth mixed with lies in the wake of being duped and attempt to save himself - merely because Dumbledore had duped him. He wanted Voldemort dead (possibly because he'd killed Lily), but he was willing to die to see it happen. That is what I am referring to. You see, this was not something studied and thought about, so it could not have been something Snape had decided was "worth it for Lily". Unless he knew about it ahead of time.


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  #1472  
Old August 21st, 2008, 5:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

OK, I said I was done, but I'm back.

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
I think this is what Harry appreciates the most in retrospect, and where his evaluation of Snape to little Al comes from. What you just wrote, describes Harry's experience in DH to a T. And the last lie of Albus to both of these men, that Harry must die, is what enables them both to succeed. Harry lives and triumphs, which has been Snape's goal as well since the conversation after Lily's death.
At least he did eventually help Harry succeed in staying alive. Too bad he didn't know that before he died, but it just wasn't in the cards. Not knowing helped Harry succeed. And yeah, reading what I wrote last night does fit well with "the bravest man I knew" line. I hadn't thought of it before.



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I take Snape's paleness and other reactions here, to be fear that he will die before he completes his mission.
Yeah, I think it's that and that he may have figured out he might be done as soon as Voldemort mentioned the Elder Wand and where he got it from. He would have to know that Voldemort is going somewhere with his statement and it can't be anywhere good. That's where the fear of not completing his mission would be coming from, IMHO. So he's desperately trying to convince Voldemort to let him get Harry.

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I have to say that for me, this is the single saddest thing in the series. That for all his efforts, he dies believing that he has just brought about that which he worked all those years to prevent (Harry's death). And that's the "good" outcome for him. Argh.
I know. It's especially sad when you put it that way.


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One could also say, that Snape's murder was bad luck. If Snape had seen Nagini with Voldemort before the battle, for whatever reason, he might have surrendered and passed on his information at Hogwarts, and never made it to the Shack.
Yes, that's true as well.

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WWB said:
Well I would go for the idea if Snape knew if JKR had shown Dumbledore telling him. Why the mystery? Why not show us that? It would be no surprise to us in the Prince's Tale because that came afterward. If she wanted Dumbledore in the clear on that, she should have specified. For us to have to go through loops or conclude that Snape must have known, for me is like writing the story. . Between not having Dumbledore tell him when he was doing all the talking in TPT and the expression she caused Snape to have - I can't really accept the idea that Snape knew myself. But I respect your view if you do.
As I said, I lean more towards the idea that Snape didn't know about the Elder Wand prior to Voldemort bringing it up. I'm just open to the idea that he may have.

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That is what I meant. I guess I wasn't clear on that. Voldemort had said enough for Snape to figure it out.
I guess the term "spelling it out" is what I took objection to. I think it's possible Snape figured it out the moment it was mentioned or at the very least before Voldemort got to his eventual point. So Snape didn't need it to get it spelled out for him to figure it out. It's likely why he got pale and his face looked like a death mask, if one believes he didn't know about the wand before that point.

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eliza101 said:
I think she was showing how chance can step in and throw a spanner in the works and something like Harry being at the right place and time to defeat Draco was something that no one could have predicted. I hope that makes sense.
Yes it does. I like the way you put it. That's how I feel as well.

And about whether Snape is despicable, selfless, redeemed or not I think I agree with Pearl_Took's response.


  #1473  
Old August 21st, 2008, 5:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
As I said, I have a very deep compassion for family, I can't overlook that; I need deep remorse from those who destroy them.
I completely empathise with that, since I greatly prize family too. And the destruction of even one family is unbearable for me to contemplate.

I agree that this is a side of Snape I find problematic, including his refusal to forgive James, even when his actions indirectly led to James being killed (of course Voldemort and Peter were even more culpable).

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That is not what I meant by legitimate. I meant in terms of Snape truly being treated as he had treated others in the past. Many times Snape perceived he was being treated that way, but he actually wasn't. Either he'd brought the circumstances upon himself or misconstrued the circumstances.
I disagree with this. Very often we do see Snape suffering from self-inflicted misery but certainly not in every single instance.

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I specifically said that he was "truly suffering" because I wanted to make it clear that I was not suggesting he was faking it. I knew "shallow" could be understood to mean that. What I mean by "shallow" is that Snape is merely in agony when he should have been in double agony.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this. I don't know what the guy could do, really, to prove that he is in 'double' rather than 'mere' agony.

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This is not what I was referring to. I meant that he didn't blurt out the truth mixed with lies in the wake of being duped and attempt to save himself - merely because Dumbledore had duped him. He wanted Voldemort dead (possibly because he'd killed Lily), but he was willing to die to see it happen. That is what I am referring to. You see, this was not something studied and thought about, so it could not have been something Snape had decided was "worth it for Lily". Unless he knew about it ahead of time.
OK, now I understand what you mean. In which case, this jives completely with my understanding of the scene. I never once imagined that Snape would blurt out the truth mixed with lies to Voldemort because that doesn't tally with how I think of the character, particularly Adult Snape in 1998. I think he meets his death bravely and that, along with his courage as a double agent, is what makes Harry call him "probably the bravest man I ever knew".


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  #1474  
Old August 21st, 2008, 5:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
I completely empathise with that, since I greatly prize family too. And the destruction of even one family is unbearable for me to contemplate.

I agree that this is a side of Snape I find problematic, including his refusal to forgive James, even when his actions indirectly led to James being killed (of course Voldemort and Peter were even more culpable).
Well Snape hating James and Harry isn't a problem for me. You know, I can't tell a person (or character in this case) who to like and dislike. I think jealousy is the emotion Snape needed to overcome in this situation - that was what was the crux of his problem to me. So I am not sure what you mean by "forgive James" - forgive him for marrying Lily? For childhood behavior? I don't see that as a forgiveness issue, but one of letting go of the past like most people do when they mature.

I don't even see it in this case as forgiving someone in your heart - because forgiveness is for wrongs and James marrying Lily was not wrong - that is what Snape needed to see. Not to think it wrong and then forgive it, imo. And childhood behavior - something no one apologizes for normally (including Snape, specifically) - cannot be construed as a wrong in the same sense either, imo, because if Snape didn't go around apologizing for everything he'd done wrong to others as a child, he could hardly expect others to do so. So the wrongness there it is expected by reasonable people to be something one lets go of rather than forgiving in the traditional sense, imo, as children are given some leeway in this regard. As Snape apparently forgave Lily for any perceived wrongs she may have ever done (and because she was not perfect, she must have done at least one) - I assume he believed in this reasonable idea as well, but merely did not extend it to the Marauders. But I don't see it as a forgiveness issue at all and even if other in-book characters saw it that way, they were wrong in my judgment.

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I disagree with this. Very often we do see Snape suffering from self-inflicted misery but certainly not in every single instance.
For example?

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We'll have to agree to disagree on this. I don't know what the guy could do, really, to prove that he is in 'double' rather than 'mere' agony.
Because he couldn't care less that James was dead or that Harry survived - but was left an orphan. His agony was incomplete for the devastation he'd help to cause for this family. That is what I was trying to say.


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  #1475  
Old August 21st, 2008, 8:24 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
As I said, I have a very deep compassion for family, I can't overlook that; I need deep remorse from those who destroy them.
Would your compassion for "family" include compassion for Snape's lack thereof? His parents were clearly deficient - from the little we know of them, we know that his father was a bully (there's an implication of domestic violence in that description of Eileen "cowering" from him, I think) and his mother is ...well, a void, in the story. His youth, apart from time with Lily, seems to be one of profound loneliness, perhaps subject to abuse at home (witnessing domestic violence is a form of abuse, and there are other, more subtle forms of abuse).

As well as pitying the ruination of Harry's family, I'm curious to know if you think Snape's personality is also the result of "family ruination" - of a different kind? And whether that might not be cause for compassion?

I'm not saying yea or nay to that - I happen to think too many people blame their past for not dealing with their present - but I do think that childhood pain moulds a character. It's not impossible to change it - just tough.


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  #1476  
Old August 21st, 2008, 8:40 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

I would like to think that Snape does change over the years and does come to terms with his childhood; I think his continuing to stay in Spinner's End is an indication of that; of coming to terms with his childhood and his need to live in a place where he spent what were probably his happiest days; with Lily.


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  #1477  
Old August 21st, 2008, 8:49 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Yewberryblu View Post
Would your compassion for "family" include compassion for Snape's lack thereof? His parents were clearly deficient - from the little we know of them, we know that his father was a bully (there's an implication of domestic violence in that description of Eileen "cowering" from him, I think) and his mother is ...well, a void, in the story. His youth, apart from time with Lily, seems to be one of profound loneliness, perhaps subject to abuse at home (witnessing domestic violence is a form of abuse, and there are other, more subtle forms of abuse).

As well as pitying the ruination of Harry's family, I'm curious to know if you think Snape's personality is also the result of "family ruination" - of a different kind? And whether that might not be cause for compassion?

I'm not saying yea or nay to that - I happen to think too many people blame their past for not dealing with their present - but I do think that childhood pain moulds a character. It's not impossible to change it - just tough.
If I understand you correctly, you are addressing two separate issues. I have deep compassion for family unity - and it being destroyed by an outside party is abominable to me.

I also have compassion for individuals who are from families that should have been broken up by some authority because members within that family are mistreating other members. But this type of household has nothing to do with family unity - on the contrary, it seems to be a disfunctional family, destroyed from the inside by one or more of its own members. That too is abominable.

Nothing in my above statements however, can be construed to mean that I have any compassion whatsoever for a person who destroys a family - whether they do it from the inside (like Snape's father) or the outside (like Snape). The fact that Snape happens to also be from a family like that in my second paragraph is immaterial - just as it would be immaterial if his father was from a family of that type - or of the type in the first paragraph.

Being from a dysfunction family or one that was destroyed by a third party does not give an individual the right to go out and destroy another family or his own. It does not provide an excuse or justification either, in my opinion. Moreover, I am not in the least bit 'understanding' of a person who behaves in such a manner and I make no concessions or allowances for either Snape or his father for their actions in this regard. It is abominable behavior in my opinion and both should have recognized it, felt deep remorse for it and attempted to correct their behavior, imo.


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  #1478  
Old August 21st, 2008, 9:10 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
If I understand you correctly, you are addressing two separate issues. I have deep compassion for family unity - and it being destroyed by an outside party is abominable to me.

I also have compassion for individuals who are from families that should have been broken up by some authority because members within that family are mistreating other members. But this type of household has nothing to do with family unity - on the contrary, it seems to be a disfunctional family, destroyed from the inside by one or more of its own members. That too is abominable.

Nothing in my above statements however, can be construed to mean that I have any compassion whatsoever for a person who destroys a family - whether they do it from the inside (like Snape's father) or the outside (like Snape). The fact that Snape happens to also be from a family like that in my second paragraph is immaterial - just as it would be immaterial if his father was from a family of that type - or of the type in the first paragraph.

Being from a dysfunction family or one that was destroyed by a third party does not give an individual the right to go out and destroy another family or his own. It does not provide an excuse or justification either, in my opinion. Moreover, I am not in the least bit 'understanding' of a person who behaves in such a manner and I make no concessions or allowances for either Snape or his father for their actions in this regard. It is abominable behavior in my opinion and both should have recognized it, felt deep remorse for it and attempted to correct their behavior, imo.
Another way of putting it would be to say you feel sorry for the abused child, you loathe the actions of the adult. I do feel for Snape when he is a child, his actions as an adult I am more ambivilant about. I recognise his repentance and I acknowledge his bravery but I loathe and despise many of his actions beginning with his decision to become a DE. To me there is no excuse for embracing such a philosophy. But there is something about Snape, that cold bitterness juxaposed against his futile love for Lily. His longing for her, even when he is doing everything to turn Lily against him. His complete blindness to her feelings. He is truly tragic.


  #1479  
Old August 21st, 2008, 9:42 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
But there is something about Snape, that cold bitterness juxaposed against his futile love for Lily. His longing for her, even when he is doing everything to turn Lily against him. His complete blindness to her feelings. He is truly tragic.
I disagree. I think the tragedy was self-induced. Jo said that if Snape had not gone down the Death Eater path, she may have returned romantic feelings for him, so the love was hardly futile. He made it so that she didn't return it. He decided to join the Death Eaters, and I don't see that decision as being okay because he had a tough childhood at home. At school he has very strong feelings for a girl who is his friend, but he is planning to join an illegal organization when he leaves school and already is hanging around people who are clearly headed down a bad path. In the end it was his own ignorance of her that led to the end of their friendship, and even after that he still continued to be involved with the activities that drove her away from him.

As for Lily's death, and how that affected him, that was also his fault. He of course gave Voldemort the crucial information to finding Harry and allowing him to be killed. The argument can be made that he didn't know it was going to be Lily, but still, he was participating in something he knew was illegal, and he decided to give Voldemort information so that he could go kill a baby. I'm still not seeing any tragedy. It's not like it was a horrible mistake, where he didn't realize what he was doing. He was well aware that the child in the prophecy would be killed, and he also knew well that Voldemort would kill anybody that gets in his way. Yet he still goes along with his plan.

I don't think the fact that he didn't know it was Lily makes it any better. He was still allowing lives to be ended when he overheard the prophecy and relayed it to Voldemort. It wouldn't have been okay if he had given Voldemort information about some other person, and he had gone and killed them, would it? I'm not feeling any pity for him.

And the way he acts the rest of his life, being generally nasty to everybody he's around, and making two of his students completely miserable because one he had a grudge against his father, and the other no one even knows why (Neville). He doesn't act like a man who should be felt sorry for. I think he could have redeemed himself slightly if he had just acted a little better towards everybody after Lily's death, but he doesn't so he's still negative in my book.

That's all IMO.


  #1480  
Old August 21st, 2008, 10:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
His longing for her, even when he is doing everything to turn Lily against him. His complete blindness to her feelings. He is truly tragic.
I think Snape was confident that he could "convince" her, not realising that she had already made her choice.

This also makes me think that Snape, while he guessed that Lily may have fallen for James and that James liked Lily a lot, he never doubted their friendship; I think that the werewolf incident was the first time Snape began to suspect that Lily was moving away from him, that was why his whole frame relaxed when Lily called James an arrogant toerag and he walked with a "spring in his step"; Snape must have felt that his friendship was safe again. But the cracks which I feel started to form from the werewolf incident, continued only to grow and widen.


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