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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8



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  #1321  
Old August 17th, 2008, 11:16 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

In the CoS book, wasn't Snape the one who made the Mandrake Draught for those petrified? Since you need the Mandrake root then you would need to have some knowledge of Herboloy, no? IMO, I don't think it's totally outhere to assume that he was good in that subject or any of the others.


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  #1322  
Old August 17th, 2008, 11:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehollow View Post
In the CoS book, wasn't Snape the one who made the Mandrake Draught for those petrified? Since you need the Mandrake root then you would need to have some knowledge of Herboloy, no? IMO, I don't think it's totally outhere to assume that he was good in that subject or any of the others.
I don't really see how that conclusion follows. I mean if you are an expert at making spaghetti and use specific spices and herbs in the sauce - that does not automatically make you good in the subject of herbs and spices. It just means you know what you need to expertly make the sauce. Likewise, just because Snape knows he needs the root does not automatically infer that he knows all of the properties, growth requirements, seeding techniques, etc., associated with the root - as one who was knowledgeable and good in the subject would.


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  #1323  
Old August 17th, 2008, 11:45 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehollow View Post
In the CoS book, wasn't Snape the one who made the Mandrake Draught for those petrified? Since you need the Mandrake root then you would need to have some knowledge of Herboloy, no? IMO, I don't think it's totally outhere to assume that he was good in that subject or any of the others.
Couldn't he got them from Professor Sprout though?


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  #1324  
Old August 17th, 2008, 11:55 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

I think that in Potionmaking, knowledge of the properties and functions of magical herbs is necessary. How else can Snape know which ingredient does what to a potion. So in that sense, Snape does have some skill in Herbology. However, we have no idea whether or not he can actually grow the plants he uses in potions.


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  #1325  
Old August 17th, 2008, 11:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I think that in Potionmaking, knowledge of the properties and functions of magical herbs is necessary. How else can Snape knows which ingredient does what to a potion. So in that sense, Snape does have some skill in Herbology. However, we have no idea whether or not he can actually grow the plants he uses in potions.
I'd agree with this take. He'd be poor at making potions if he had no idea what the herbs and plants did. And I can't recall any passages in canon that would suggest that he was lacking in knowledge. Ironically, it's a scene between Slughorn and Sprout (when Harry's on his was to Hagrid's cabin) that suggests to me the truth in this - Slughorn is saying that the (plants) are best when they're picked at dusk, and Sprout is agreeing. I would think this sort of knowledge is the same sort of knowledge that Snape would also possess.


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  #1326  
Old August 18th, 2008, 1:21 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I think that in Potionmaking, knowledge of the properties and functions of magical herbs is necessary. How else can Snape know which ingredient does what to a potion. So in that sense, Snape does have some skill in Herbology. However, we have no idea whether or not he can actually grow the plants he uses in potions.
Well I agree, however, as it relates to Potions. But he is not going to be an expert on soil temperatures or types and all of the finer details, imo, which a person knowledgable about herbology would be. Fred and George certainly had knowledge of transfiguration, potions and herbology too, as well as other aspects of magic, or they could not have invented all of the spells, pills, potions and devices they made. However, their knowledge extended to what they needed to know for their inventions; they didn't become knowledgable experts in all of those fields that we know of.

I believe the canon we have indicates that Snape was good at potions and he was fascinated with, and likely knew a lot about the dark arts - it never indicated he was an expert or exceedingly knowledgable in many fields any more than it did for Fred and George, Slughorn or others who specialized, in my opinion. There were people like Dumbledore who was gifted in many arts. Or like Hermione and the like who became proficient in many magical areas, but she, like James and Sirius was at the top of her class. Not everyone was that type of person - however, many were very talented in certain areas, like Snape, Fred & George and Harry, but that only means having knowledge as necessary of other arts as well, imo.

To me, this harks right back to the personality types issue. JKR didn't always go with the norms in that regard. The way Snape is characterized (intelligent, logical and inventive when young), might make one feel he would be a "know it all" - but he didn't like "know it alls" and apparently, even if he had the potential to be one, he didn't wish to be and he wasn't. Similarly, how many pranking, arrogant jocks are usually intelligent, know it alls at the top of their class? Overwhelmingly few , but James was. How many reckless, pranking, slightly dangerous individuals who eschew overstudying are intelligent, know it alls at the top of their class? Again, not many, but Sirius was. So JKR's characterizations don't always fit the norm. In other cases, like with Hermione, her entire character does seem to meld with a 'know it all type person' and Harry's personality seemed to meld well with a traditional jock, excelling in an area of interest and doing moderate to well in other courses. I think JKR's characterization may be the reason why Snape does not always meet certain expectations based on norms.


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  #1327  
Old August 18th, 2008, 1:38 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehollow View Post
In the CoS book, wasn't Snape the one who made the Mandrake Draught for those petrified? Since you need the Mandrake root then you would need to have some knowledge of Herboloy, no? IMO, I don't think it's totally outhere to assume that he was good in that subject or any of the others.
Yes, I was assuming someone with enough knowledge of Potions ingredients to improve preparation methods for Potions, and know exactly what ingredient has what effect in what quantity, and so forth, would know his Herbology. This is, at any rate, the aspect of Herbology that strikes me as most relevant to working as an Auror.


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  #1328  
Old August 18th, 2008, 6:52 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Yes, I was assuming someone with enough knowledge of Potoins ingredients to improve preparation methods for Potions, and know exactly what ingredient has what effect in what quantity, and so forth, would know his Herbology. This is, at any rate, the aspect of Herbology that strikes me as most relevant to working as an Auror.
And he apparently uses the herbology textbook as a reference book. In addition to Harry mentioning it in his very first potions class, I believe it's referred to in a later book.


  #1329  
Old August 18th, 2008, 7:18 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Knowing how to make a potion is no indicator of herbology skills. He might know which herbs to use, but not how to nurture the plants. We have no canon that he had herbology skills. And he was never an auror.

My father was a compounding pharmacist. That's someone who actually knew how to make medicines from raw materials. Doctors from all over Miami would contact him for special medications since compounding pharmacists are rare. This is exactly like potion making. He knew nothing about growing plants, since he was a inner city boy raised in New York. He just knew how to perfectly blend the appropriate ingredients to make medications. In fact, I think I inherited my black thumb from him. I kill plants by looking at them.


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  #1330  
Old August 18th, 2008, 7:39 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
Knowing how to make a potion is no indicator of herbology skills. He might know which herbs to use, but not how to nurture the plants. We have no canon that he had herbology skills. And he was never an auror.
Knowing the uses of magical plants is a part of Herbology; we know this, because Sprout discusses this in the class on that subject. I agree we have no evidence of Snape's green thumb, but the OWL and NEWT exams appear to be one-day exams, so all he would need to be able to do is identify them, harvest them, prepare them for use, and write about them, all of which, we know he or (as chparadise pointed out) Slughorn, can do. (This would make him different from a Muggle compounder, since ingredients tend to be pre-processed.) I have no idea if he had an interest - all I was sugesting is that IF he did, he could have been successful in this class/exam.

Personally, I always thought Snape's little snide remark to Harry at Slughorn's party, was something he would not say, if he himself had difficulties in Herbology (or any other subject required for Auror training), and may have indicated a bitter recognition of how different his lifr might have bene, if that were the ambition he had acquired as a student.


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  #1331  
Old August 18th, 2008, 8:03 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

hey people, just wanted to notice that i published my 8.000+ words paper on snape. i created it for school a year ago and it scored 60/60 for A-levels. it is nothing new, but it is a complete summary of the character of snape. maybe you want to check it out, enjoy!

http://learnfrom.wordpress.com/2008/...severus-snape/


  #1332  
Old August 18th, 2008, 8:23 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

GrieverPLT's EssaySecond change takes places with Snape discovering that Harry is supposed to die, he realizes that the proxy of Lily will die. He can no longer do good deeds in the name of her because protecting her son will stop once Harry is dead. Now, Snape can only act out of his free will and belief. Actions like risking his own life by taking an Unbreakable Vow for the sake of bringing Voldemort to an end are the result of his love’s new dimension. It marks the first time Snape making the right choices for the right reasons. Previously, he made the right choices for the wrong reasons with being fixed upon Lily but has now widened his field of vision.


I like your apporach of tracing the changes in Snape throughout the series. But, your very example shows that Snape has started acting out of, as you phrase it, "his own free will and belief" before his hand is forced, so to speak, by the understanding that he cannot keep Harry alive. For the decision to take the Vow, was made months before he learned Harry had to die. I would suggest that this was a change that occured gradually, and perhaps it was because of this gradual change, that he was able to make the final step when Albus told him about the soul bit in Harry.


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  #1333  
Old August 18th, 2008, 8:45 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
The way Snape is characterized (intelligent, logical and inventive when young), might make one feel he would be a "know it all" - but he didn't like "know it alls" and apparently, even if he had the potential to be one, he didn't wish to be and he wasn't.
I see his dislike of know it alls as a competitiveness in Snape ; he knows he has serious smarts - far more than some of the rich boys (as he would see them) who went to Hogwarts and didn't really have brains - and I think he sees himself as much, much cleverer than most yet not really getting a lot of kudos for it. We don't hear about him being praised as the "cleverest wizard" in his year etc ; I suspect he would rather have liked that.

There's also a class issue with regards to Snape; he comes from a working class background. That's clear from the imagery Rowling uses about Spinner's End, Snape's second hand, mismatched clothes etc. I wonder how much material ambition came into his becoming a Death Eater, as well as the emotional side of joining a group where he "belonged" ? It would have given him the opportunity to mix with wealthy people like the Malfoys, and to acquire wealth himself, had he wanted to.

Yet we never see Snape having bettered himself financially or having had a "make over" ; he still slouches around with greasy hair, wearing only black robes and retaining Spinner's End......


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  #1334  
Old August 18th, 2008, 10:43 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Yewberryblu View Post
The answer to the first is that Dumbledore has evolved into character who turns his back on the path that leads to genocide (his and Grindelwald's decision whilst young that their luck in being born wizards made them superior to Muggles) and that he then follows the path so far in the other direction, that he is integral to Voldy's downfall. I think that is moral greatness.
I agree with you, but that moral greatness came after a long time IMO. Dumbledore waited until he could wait no longer, until it would have looked more than cowardly before he faced Grindelwald and imprisoned him. So for Dumbeldore too, facing his past took time IMO.

And yes, from the time Ariana died, Dumbeldore moved away.

I think the main difference between Dumbledore and Snape was that Dumbeldore was not marked. So it was easy for him to move completely in the opposite direction openly, something Snape could not do. Also he did not need to do Snape's job ot spying, which made Snape's lot tougher. Snape too moved away, but I think it was hidden, because of who he was; a spy.

Snape also turned, not after Lily's death, like Dumbledore, who turned after Ariana was killed, but at the the moment Harry was targeted and he knew Lily would die saving her son. But he had the mark and he was part of an organization that Dumbeldore wanted to destroy and Snape also agreed to be Dumbeldore's tool to help him with his plan, which meant that he could not show his change like Dumbeldore did IMO.

That plan did not allow Snape to move away as completely as Dumbeldore could I feel. He had to stay on as a DE and from his conversation in Spinner's End, it is also obvious that the DEs were watching each other and were in contact with each other. Lucius Malfoy was also on the board of Hogwarts and had enough power in COS to remove Dumbeldore as Headmaster.

Snape had to be a death eater to the remaining DEs, even in the years Voldemort was absent.

I think had Snape lived, he too, would have finally laid his turbulent past to rest; while I don't think he would have ever got over his part in Lily's death, much like Dumbeldore who never got over Ariana's death, I think he would have been able to move away from his past (of being a DE), like DUmbeldore moved away from the plans he had helped GG to make IMO.

Quote:
The difference is that Dumbledore has an evolved moral sense ; his speech with/advice to Harry is peppered with it (eg doing what is right, not easy - a handy summary of his moral sense). He has a clear moral framework ; even his "use" of Harry revealed in Snape's memories is designed to get the vital job of killing Voldy done.
I agree; I think Snape also exhibited it; he moves from a DE who handed over the Prophecy to Voldemort knwoing that a baby would die, to a man who watched only those whom he could not save, die IMO.

Quote:
Snape....well, as I said above, I think Snape's impulse to switch sides is remorse and horror about Lily's death, not a result of a moral repulsion about Voldy stands for. I suppose his feelings might have evolved in a moral repulsion about the Death Eater code generally, but I still don't really believe that. His moral actions arise from his personal grief - Dumbledore's evolved into something greater.
But Dumbledore too switched sides because Ariana died, not because he evolved as a person. And he held off fighting Gridelwald as long as he could. He did evolve though, and I think Snape did too; evolved from a DE to a man who did the right thing rather than take the easy way out. Dumbeldore's death and handing over memories of such a personal nature shows this I feel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yewberryblu View Post
By the way, your comment about Snape having left the Death Eaters behind out of love for another person.....what kind of love does he have for her? It's a question I keep coming back to.......
It was a love that inspired IMO. It was something that was very close to his soul and was powerful enough to change him.

It could have been the love for a friend or desire and love as one would have for a lover; personally I think it was both and more; Snape had given himself to her; it was sad for him that she did not want him, but he had given so much of himself to her and so unconditionally, that even when she was not his friend and she had broken off with him, she still had the power to influence him so greatly. I think Snape's love was unconditional; it did not even require the love to return his affections IMO.

Nice essay griever PLT.


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  #1335  
Old August 18th, 2008, 1:11 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

Quote:
It could have been the love for a friend or desire and love as one would have for a lover; personally I think it was both and more; Snape had given himself to her; it was sad for him that she did not want him, but he had given so much of himself to her and so unconditionally, that even when she was not his friend and she had broken off with him, she still had the power to influence him so greatly. I think Snape's love was unconditional; it did not even require the love to return his affections IMO.
Unconditional? I personally don't think so though everyone has their opinions and are entitled to have one. Snape relied heavily on Lily and so did Lily on Snape till they went to Hogwart's. In Hogwart's both made a different set of friends but still managed to maintain friendship till their differences threw them apart. It was an one-sided love on Snape's part not unconditional.


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  #1336  
Old August 18th, 2008, 1:59 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by Yewberryblu View Post
I see his dislike of know it alls as a competitiveness in Snape ; he knows he has serious smarts - far more than some of the rich boys (as he would see them) who went to Hogwarts and didn't really have brains - and I think he sees himself as much, much cleverer than most yet not really getting a lot of kudos for it. We don't hear about him being praised as the "cleverest wizard" in his year etc ; I suspect he would rather have liked that.

There's also a class issue with regards to Snape; he comes from a working class background. That's clear from the imagery Rowling uses about Spinner's End, Snape's second hand, mismatched clothes etc. I wonder how much material ambition came into his becoming a Death Eater, as well as the emotional side of joining a group where he "belonged" ? It would have given him the opportunity to mix with wealthy people like the Malfoys, and to acquire wealth himself, had he wanted to.

Yet we never see Snape having bettered himself financially or having had a "make over" ; he still slouches around with greasy hair, wearing only black robes and retaining Spinner's End......
I am not sure who you are referring to, but Malfoy was the only person known to be wealthy that I recall attending Hogwarts with Snape in Slytherin. Based on what Lucius went on to do, I would say that he was an intelligent man; merely with subversive goals. I feel Snape realized that Lucius was intelligent and would not have considered him 'rich with really no brains.'

I could agree that Snape's dislike of know it alls might have been his competitiveness. However, I was thinking that since his enemies back at Hogwarts had been #1 and #2 in their year and were likely answering a lot of questions in class, he might have associated Hermione with his own past experience and been disgruntled and negative with her as a result. But it could be either reason or something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
Knowing how to make a potion is no indicator of herbology skills. He might know which herbs to use, but not how to nurture the plants. We have no canon that he had herbology skills. And he was never an auror.
I agree. There is no canon to indicate Snape was proficient in any thing other than potions and the dark arts, imo. While I think knowledge of other disciplines would be helpful in certain aspects, and Snape would know those aspects, I would not go as far as to say Snape was knowledgeable to the level of expertise had by those who specialized in those fields. Otherwise we could also assume that Professor Sprout was a master potion maker, but in my judgment it does not work that way. As I pointed out, some people really were very knowledgable in a number of subjects, like Hermione, James, SIrius and others at the top of their classes - too the greats like Dumbledore and Voldemort (both of whom may have been at the top of their classes too, I don't think we have canon on that). But normally, wizards specialized in certain areas and their knowledge of other disciplines reserved to those aspects they use in their specialized magics. I feel Snape was more like Harry; specializing in one or two areas and mediocre to good in the rest - based on my impression from the canon. I think JKR showed this when Snape substituted in DADA class in Harry's third year and Snape was shown not to have been highly knowledgable in that field.


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Old August 18th, 2008, 2:17 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by kaustubh77 View Post
Unconditional? I personally don't think so though everyone has their opinions and are entitled to have one. Snape relied heavily on Lily and so did Lily on Snape till they went to Hogwart's. In Hogwart's both made a different set of friends but still managed to maintain friendship till their differences threw them apart. It was an one-sided love on Snape's part not unconditional.
I don't understand how unrequited love cancels out unconditional love. The word "unconditional" is pretty straightforward: without conditions. He would love her no matter what. And the fact is, no matter what she did (leaving him, marrying James, having James' child, etc.), he still loved her even into his DE years. That's pretty unconditional.


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  #1338  
Old August 18th, 2008, 2:30 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I don't understand how unrequited love cancels out unconditional love. The word "unconditional" is pretty straightforward: without conditions. He would love her no matter what. And the fact is, no matter what she did (leaving him, marrying James, having James' child, etc.), he still loved her even into his DE years. That's pretty unconditional.
Snape may have loved Lily despite she left him, married James, and having Harry, but he didn't love her for what she did. That doesn't say "unconditional" to me.


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Old August 18th, 2008, 2:30 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
I don't understand how unrequited love cancels out unconditional love. The word "unconditional" is pretty straightforward: without conditions. He would love her no matter what. And the fact is, no matter what she did (leaving him, marrying James, having James' child, etc.), he still loved her even into his DE years. That's pretty unconditional.
That would be imply that Snape loved her inspite all these objections but it doesn't imply that Snape loved her no-holds barred. He kind of expected Lily to continue hating James (Remember DH) throughout her life and didn't like it when she got friendly with him. If the love had been unconditional he would have treated Harry honorably throughout.

One thing I would like to add here. I know that many of you adore Snape a lot but seriously even JKR admits that his character is a complex one i.e. he is good in some areas and bad in some. I feel that many of you look at him as if he is a saint. The part of his charm is his somewhat flawed character which actually makes him seem human. Just a difference of perception, I guess. And please, this not related with elections but just a discussion w.r.t. books. I will post any election related stuff in the Quibbler as I have done earlier.


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Old August 18th, 2008, 2:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.8

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Originally Posted by PerfectDystopia View Post
Snape may have loved Lily despite she left him, married James, and having Harry, but he didn't love her for what she did. That doesn't say "unconditional" to me.
I would agree. I think the term "unconditional" speaks to a lack of selfishness. If one places one's self in the picture, then there are necessarily conditions, imo. I feel that Snape's love was extremely selfish and that is exactly why - Snape retained his emotions for Lily despite what she did instead of for what she did. In Snape's eyes, he was loving someone who had done 'wrong' things. Perhaps that is why he was able to justify his wrongful treatment of Harry and James which she would not have approved of. He felt she had done him wrong and he could do the same to her? The distinction of course was that Lily didn't love him and he purported to love her. In my view, this is very in line with the possessive and obsessive nature of Snape's feelings for her because there is a high degree of selfishness that moves in tandum with those attributes in my opinion. This I feel was shown to be highly characteristic of Snape in canon.


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