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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12



View Poll Results: What is Snape's greatest weakness?
his vindictiveness 73 36.14%
his inability to move on 97 48.02%
his unsocial behaviour 40 19.80%
his vanity in regard to his intellect 14 6.93%
his inability to take responsibility for his own actions 29 14.36%
his love for Lily 41 20.30%
I don't see Snape having any particular weaknesses. 9 4.46%
I bet Moriath liked this poll better than the last. 28 13.86%
Where is my favourite option? 18 8.91%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 202. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #1461  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 4:29 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Great post, Sly Lady! Especially this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sly_Lady View Post
Harry is the innocent, who is never really tempted to go over to the Dark Side, so to speak. Snape crossed over and returned. Before the start of the series his battle is fought and won, and he is on the path of goodness the whole time that we see him.He knows both sides and, having fallen once, he will not fall again. Yes, he has the full range of human emotions, and no, he's not perfect. But no one is more consistently committed to defeating Voldemort and to keeping his word than Severus Snape.
That's what is so great. All those times Harry and others believed the absolute worst about Snape, it was never true, not once. Snape wasn't a real Death Eater from the time Harry was an infant. So that's the real trickery of the books.


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  #1462  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 5:13 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Very good character to fall in love with! Have to love Snape


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  #1463  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 5:19 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
Well those two statements seem to be at odds.
I enjoy Snape's snark and often find it funny. No conflict there for me.

The snark is never lost on a Snape fan, IMO.

Quote:
My take on it is that Snape (rightly) assumed that since he was there to rescue the kids they might want to be rescued, especially after hearing that Lupin really was a werewolf and a friend of Sirius Black. So he was saying thanks for the use of the cloak because he didn't expect Harry to balk at being rescued. That's why later he felt the kids must have been confunded in such a precarious situation.
OK, he can have all that at the back of his mind and still be sarcastic about it. Just my opinion, obviously. But, personally, I prefer my Severus all snarky and bitter, even in his guardian/protector role.


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  #1464  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 6:21 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

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  #1465  
Old September 24th, 2009, 10:25 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mydrgnfly View Post
He is my favorite character in the series.
Mine too. (Alongside Harry. ) He is JKR's best creation, hands down, IMO.

Welcome, by the way.

You know, it's like JKR was writing two Snapes ... the bitter teacher whom we mostly see through Harry's eyes, and then the inner Severus, whom we see most clearly in The Prince's Tale. Still bitter, still melancholy, but rather different from the persona that Harry sees.

Obviously the memories given to him by Snape made a lasting impression on Harry.


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  #1466  
Old September 24th, 2009, 11:03 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

His grumpyness and snarkyness is unique and also likeable there I agree, but still there are other aspects of this character (which over weights the positive sides for me) which in the end put him on my Dislike List. But hey there's also Dumby.

--------

Look Snape = Always mean and grumpy. I don't remember where he was being nice at all in the first books. So every word he says I am taking with a pinch of salt.
Quote:
I absolutely agree about gloating and mutual hate. But... 'all his worst enemies'?

Personally, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around Snape who sees a bunch of 3rd years as 'his worst enemies'.
It's Snape. Snape pretty much is grumpy towards almost everyone (except for his few selected favourites). Ok there are the Marauders, he hates. Potter and his fellows he doesn't particulary like either. Basically nobody of his best buddies, who he loved to have met that day.


Quote:
Tender feelings for one Mr Potter hardly qualify as a valid argument in establishing one's "goodness", Tenshi.
I have no idea what you are trying to say.


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  #1467  
Old September 24th, 2009, 1:12 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Excellent post Sly_Lady!

Snape's expressions of bitterness, anger or hatred, are expressions seen mostly through Harry's eyes IMO. It did not mean he had the same expression all the time or that he was always bitter. He was bitter about certain incidents and people with whom he had a bad history. But otherwise, I don't think Snape can be called bitter, because that Snape we saw through Harry's eyes and clearly there was more to Snape than what Harry perceived in the first six Books IMO.


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  #1468  
Old September 24th, 2009, 1:29 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

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  #1469  
Old September 24th, 2009, 1:45 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Snape's expressions of bitterness, anger or hatred, are expressions seen mostly through Harry's eyes IMO. It did not mean he had the same expression all the time or that he was always bitter. He was bitter about certain incidents and people with whom he had a bad history. But otherwise, I don't think Snape can be called bitter, because that Snape we saw through Harry's eyes and clearly there was more to Snape than what Harry perceived in the first six Books IMO.
Well, okay ... personally, I do see quite a lot of bitterness in him.

He is bitter about James Potter. He is bitter at having lost Lily to James. Harry's presence reminds him daily of that bitterness. He is bitter about Sirius a) when he believes him to be responsible for Lily's death and b) just for being Sirius, I think (Of course, the same is true in reverse of Sirius, who seems to resent Snape just for being Snape!)

He bitterly regrets having hurled that awful word at Lily and having lost her friendship. He bitterly regrets having been partly responsible for her death. I would also like to believe that he was deeply remorseful for having been partly responsible for James' death as well, and for Harry ending up an orphan. The moral growth that JKR showed in Severus in The Prince's Tale helps me believe that could be true.

All these things add to the bitterness and sadness that is Snape's life, not to mention his difficult years as a double agent. He has an awful lot to be bitter about and I am not sure he outgrew some of it, even with what we were shown in The Prince's Tale. But that is all part of why I find him so very memorable, and why I love him as a character.

Does his bitterness make him dislikable? -- not for me. I don't always like what he says, especially not to Harry, but I love his work as a double agent and I always like him as a character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mydrgnfly View Post
I just knew there was more to him, and his story.
He was definitely JKR's best kept secret.


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Last edited by Pearl_Took; September 24th, 2009 at 1:50 pm.
  #1470  
Old September 24th, 2009, 2:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
You know, it's like JKR was writing two Snapes ... the bitter teacher whom we mostly see through Harry's eyes, and then the inner Severus, whom we see most clearly in The Prince's Tale. Still bitter, still melancholy, but rather different from the persona that Harry sees.
I don't see that JKR wrote 2 Snapes as much as Harry is mistaken, due to his child's inexperienced view of the world. Harry fails to see the real Severus Snape.

To me, one of the most telling comments that Snape makes in the whole series, the one that shows us who he is in his own words, is where he snaps at Harry about fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Snape was that fool when he was young, and he hides his real self, the one he believes is so easy to mock, flawlessly. He cleverly uses every weapon in his very impressive arsenal to create his facade, specializing in negative emotions. Anger, bitterness, sarcasm, malice, but when all else fails, his expressionless mask.

We can catch glimpses of deep emotions at rare times throughout the book. For me, reading The Prince's Tale was an awe-inspiring confirmation of the real Snape, the hidden, emotional, passionate Snape. The Snape who cares deeply. All the rest is surface, and while it's fascinating to me to see the vast arsenal of defenses he uses in human interactions, it's what's underneath the mask that's the most remarkable and admirable.


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  #1471  
Old September 24th, 2009, 2:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sly_Lady View Post
I don't see that JKR wrote 2 Snapes as much as Harry is mistaken, due to his child's inexperienced view of the world. Harry fails to see the real Severus Snape.
But the 'Harry filter' is not always actually wrong. IMO.

I certainly agree that the narrowness of Harry's perspective does not allow for the Big Picture (this is true of other things in the series besides Snape's characterisation). Nowhere is this more true of the Big Reveal about Snape: Harry thought all along that Snape hated him and was trying to work to harm him, whereas Snape is revealed to have been working for Harry's good.

Where it gets more tangled and complex for me is Snape's actual feelings for Harry. I don't think he is feigning his dislike, even though he was working for the greater good and, ultimately, the defeat of Harry's own nemesis.

Of course disliking someone does not preclude you working on their side ...

Quote:
To me, one of the most telling comments that Snape makes in the whole series, the one that shows us who he is in his own words, is where he snaps at Harry about fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Snape was that fool when he was young, and he hides his real self, the one he believes is so easy to mock, flawlessly. He cleverly uses every weapon in his very impressive arsenal to create his facade, specializing in negative emotions. Anger, bitterness, sarcasm, malice, but when all else fails, his expressionless mask.
I mostly agree with this.

Where I would differ with you slightly is that I don't think Snape's negative emotions are always feigned. I think many of them are real. Sure, he uses them as a shield. But his long-fermented bitterness at James is for real: he's not faking that. IMO.

Quote:
We can catch glimpses of deep emotions at rare times throughout the book. For me, reading The Prince's Tale was an awe-inspiring confirmation of the real Snape, the hidden, emotional, passionate Snape. The Snape who cares deeply. All the rest is surface, and while it's fascinating to me to see the vast arsenal of defenses he uses in human interactions, it's what's underneath the mask that's the most remarkable and admirable.
For me personally, there is kind of a gap between what I wanted Rowling to write and what she actually wrote. I have to bridge that gap in my own mind ... because if Severus had walked into my imagination, unbidden, I would have taken a rather different attitude to him than the one she seems to. To be honest.

But I can certainly live with what she ultimately delivered.


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Last edited by Pearl_Took; September 24th, 2009 at 2:48 pm.
  #1472  
Old September 24th, 2009, 3:07 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

I believe that the scene in TPT where Snape is complaining about Harry to Dumbledore proves that he at least disliked the kid in '91, when he first arrived at Hogwarts. But I read Sly_Lady's post not to mean that he doesn't feel negative emotions, but that the emotions are there, and are used in the outside persona to lend it credibility and keep people at bay.

IMO, he does this semi-unconsciously. I think he knows that he makes himself a real pest, but I'm not sure how aware he is that it's a defence mechanism.


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  #1473  
Old September 24th, 2009, 3:21 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
But I read Sly_Lady's post not to mean that he doesn't feel negative emotions, but that the emotions are there, and are used in the outside persona to lend it credibility and keep people at bay.
Oh, yes, he certainly uses them as an offensive weapon.

Quote:
IMO, he does this semi-unconsciously. I think he knows that he makes himself a real pest, but I'm not sure how aware he is that it's a defence mechanism.
Yes, that's how it strikes me too ...


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  #1474  
Old September 24th, 2009, 3:48 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Harry's presence reminds him daily of that bitterness.
This is JKR's opinion, I don't see anything in canon to suggest this (for me).

I think Harry reminds Snape of Lily and his loss; but if Snape is bitter about anything, I think it is about his mistakes more than anything else IMO.

What I mean to say is that Snape was not a bitter man, a man who was filled with bitterness; I do think Snape was bitter about his mistakes, but I don't think it turned him into a bitter man as such.


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  #1475  
Old September 24th, 2009, 3:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
This is JKR's opinion, I don't see anything in canon to suggest this (for me).
I do.

Of course that's purely my own opinion ... which is separate from JKR's. (I don't discount her interviews, which can help shed light on stuff: I'm just not that reliant on them.)


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  #1476  
Old September 25th, 2009, 8:31 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sly_Lady View Post
To me, one of the most telling comments that Snape makes in the whole series, the one that shows us who he is in his own words, is where he snaps at Harry about fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Snape was that fool when he was young, and he hides his real self, the one he believes is so easy to mock, flawlessly. He cleverly uses every weapon in his very impressive arsenal to create his facade, specializing in negative emotions. Anger, bitterness, sarcasm, malice, but when all else fails, his expressionless mask.

I thought this remark to Harry, was a big clue that there was much more to Severus than what we see from Harry's point of view. I also thought it was interesting that Severus is giving Harry advice, and not just general advice, but he seems to be sharing with him something he has found himself personally in dealing with Voldemort.

Nice post Btw, Sly Lady!


  #1477  
Old September 27th, 2009, 5:40 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sly Lady
We can catch glimpses of deep emotions at rare times throughout the book. For me, reading The Prince's Tale was an awe-inspiring confirmation of the real Snape, the hidden, emotional, passionate Snape. The Snape who cares deeply. All the rest is surface, and while it's fascinating to me to see the vast arsenal of defenses he uses in human interactions, it's what's underneath the mask that's the most remarkable and admirable.
Awesome post, once again. I see those as Snape's real emotions, at least they were "real for me" when reading The Prince's Tale. The person I saw in those scenes were a sharp contrast to Harry's view of him as "cold" or malicious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took
But the 'Harry filter' is not always actually wrong. IMO.
True, even Harry can be right twice a day, but on the other hand he is shown to be an unreliable judge of character and circumstances over and over. I think the best example of Harry judging someone by appearances is when he snaps at Andromeda Tonks just because she reminds him so much of Bellatrix Lestrange in appearance. He discounts her feelings as a worried mother and then has to stop himself and recognize his own prejudice. If there had been more interaction with her it might have been even more effective to show the differences between her and her sister, but the fact that Andromeda has proud and haughty mannerisms doesn't mean that she is an evil villain, anymore than it does with Snape.

The point is that Harry makes the same mistake with Snape and Voldemort. They are both Half-Bloods, but Harry assumes that "Prince" is a self-made title that Snape gave himself, just as Voldemort became a "Lord" to boost his own ego. In truth, Snape is honoring his mother over his father! Harry has the facts, but he doesn't put it all together correctly.

Harry jumps to wrong conclusions about Tonks loving Sirius rather than Lupin, too. He is just a bad judge of adult behavior, in my opinion. And JKR carefully gives us those scenes to clue us in that Harry has an oversimplified view of the world and human emotions. He's not thinking outside the box very much in terms of human relationships or cause and effect, which Voldemort uses to trap him on several occasions, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGW
I think Harry reminds Snape of Lily and his loss; but if Snape is bitter about anything, I think it is about his mistakes more than anything else IMO.

What I mean to say is that Snape was not a bitter man, a man who was filled with bitterness; I do think Snape was bitter about his mistakes, but I don't think it turned him into a bitter man as such.
I also don't buy the idea that Snape's true feelings are hatred and bitterness, when he agreed so quickly to protect Lily's boy in Prince's Tale, although I think it was much harder to protect Harry than he envisioned.

I really think part of Snape's bitterness was directed at James and not Harry, and that becomes mixed-up sometimes just as it does for Sirius who has a positive reaction to Harry's similarity, but that's just my perception.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; September 27th, 2009 at 5:43 pm.
  #1478  
Old September 27th, 2009, 6:52 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
Awesome post, once again. I see those as Snape's real emotions, at least they were "real for me" when reading The Prince's Tale. The person I saw in those scenes were a sharp contrast to Harry's view of him as "cold" or malicious.
I think too much credance can be given to TPT. It is one chapter out of seven books. Yes, it shows Snape's motivations, what it does not show is his regrets over all. When he is speaking to DD after Harry first gets to school, and DD reminds him he is seeing just what he wants to see. I think the author here is reminding the reader about this danger.

Quote:
True, even Harry can be right twice a day,
Quote:
The point is that Harry makes the same mistake with Snape and Voldemort. They are both Half-Bloods, but Harry assumes that "Prince" is a self-made title that Snape gave himself, just as Voldemort became a "Lord" to boost his own ego. In truth, Snape is honoring his mother over his father! Harry has the facts, but he doesn't put it all together correctly.
Harry is a child who has to learn how to read people's charactors. Snape is a fully grown man who is constantly at the mercy of his emotions. He survives by either bottling up his emotions or blowing up like he did in POA. Neither actions is particularly adult. I just feel that Snape is a classic case of arrested development. He only begins to truly mature in my view when DD asks him to help him die.


Quote:
I also don't buy the idea that Snape's true feelings are hatred and bitterness, when he agreed so quickly to protect Lily's boy in Prince's Tale, although I think it was much harder to protect Harry than he envisioned.

I really think part of Snape's bitterness was directed at James and not Harry, and that becomes mixed-up sometimes just as it does for Sirius who has a positive reaction to Harry's similarity, but that's just my perceptio
I think he agreed too quickly to help protect Harry. He did not think it through. When DD asked him he was to put it mildly, a mess. I think it was difficult for him and the only reason he got through the first few years was that stubborn juvenile part of him that would not let go of his past.


  #1479  
Old September 27th, 2009, 8:35 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
True, even Harry can be right twice a day, but on the other hand he is shown to be an unreliable judge of character and circumstances over and over. I think the best example of Harry judging someone by appearances is when he snaps at Andromeda Tonks just because she reminds him so much of Bellatrix Lestrange in appearance. He discounts her feelings as a worried mother and then has to stop himself and recognize his own prejudice. If there had been more interaction with her it might have been even more effective to show the differences between her and her sister, but the fact that Andromeda has proud and haughty mannerisms doesn't mean that she is an evil villain, anymore than it does with Snape.
Well, yes, Harry often has a simplistic view of things but for me the Harry filter is not totally wrong when he senses that Snape resents him on some level. That's really all I meant.

Quote:
I really think part of Snape's bitterness was directed at James and not Harry, and that becomes mixed-up sometimes just as it does for Sirius who has a positive reaction to Harry's similarity, but that's just my perception.
I agree with this, which leads me back to my point about the Harry filter not always being totally wrong ... Harry sensed correctly that Snape had antagonistic feelings towards him, even though he could not have guessed that it was the image of James in him that Snape found difficult.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
I think too much credance can be given to TPT. It is one chapter out of seven books. Yes, it shows Snape's motivations, what it does not show is his regrets over all.
But TPT is the Big Reveal, and it does show us another side to Snape ... that's why people make a big thing of it. I know I did. And do.

I may have issues with how Rowling presents Snape for much of the series, but TPT is, for me, the interpretative lens.

Quote:
When he is speaking to DD after Harry first gets to school, and DD reminds him he is seeing just what he wants to see. I think the author here is reminding the reader about this danger.
I'm not sure about that, Eliza, because frankly I think the reader has the right to interpret the author's story how they wish ... Rowling does not control my reaction to her characters. That's just not the way I read fiction. I really don't want the author breathing down my neck telling me how I should or should not interpret their story.

I agree that it would have been good to see Severus actually express some verbal regret to Harry about the way he had treated him on occasion ... even if one interprets his memories (which are very private) in a confessional way -- which I definitely do. It's as if he is saying to Harry, 'look, this is me, the uncensored Snape -- it's what happened, between me and your mother, between me and your father ... I make no excuses for it, but here it is ... the truth.'

Harry, for his part, must have felt some kind of need to apologise to Snape as well -- he had thought Snape as undiluted evil, and Snape had died in the knowledge that Harry still thought of him as a traitor and a murderer. Hence Harry's vindication of Snape before the watching crowds in the Great Hall, and of course naming his son after him.

The moment of Snape's death is one of intense vulnerability -- virtually dying in the arms of the boy who still thinks of him as an unrepentant Death Eater, and looking into that boy's eyes, a final image of the woman he had loved and lost.



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Last edited by Pearl_Took; September 27th, 2009 at 8:38 pm.
  #1480  
Old September 27th, 2009, 8:59 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Well, yes, Harry often has a simplistic view of things but for me the Harry filter is not totally wrong when he senses that Snape resents him on some level. That's really all I meant.



I agree with this, which leads me back to my point about the Harry filter not always being totally wrong ... Harry sensed correctly that Snape had antagonistic feelings towards him, even though he could not have guessed that it was the image of James in him that Snape found difficult.



But TPT is the Big Reveal, and it does show us another side to Snape ... that's why people make a big thing of it. I know I did. And do.

I may have issues with how Rowling presents Snape for much of the series, but TPT is, for me, the interpretative lens.



I'm not sure about that, Eliza, because frankly I think the reader has the right to interpret the author's story how they wish ... Rowling does not control my reaction to her characters. That's just not the way I read fiction. I really don't want the author breathing down my neck telling me how I should or should not interpret their story.

I agree that it would have been good to see Severus actually express some verbal regret to Harry about the way he had treated him on occasion ... even if one interprets his memories (which are very private) in a confessional way -- which I definitely do. It's as if he is saying to Harry, 'look, this is me, the uncensored Snape -- it's what happened, between me and your mother, between me and your father ... I make no excuses for it, but here it is ... the truth.'

Harry, for his part, must have felt some kind of need to apologise to Snape as well -- he had thought Snape as undiluted evil, and Snape had died in the knowledge that Harry still thought of him as a traitor and a murderer. Hence Harry's vindication of Snape before the watching crowds in the Great Hall, and of course naming his son after him.

The moment of Snape's death is one of intense vulnerability -- virtually dying in the arms of the boy who still thinks of him as an unrepentant Death Eater, and looking into that boy's eyes, a final image of the woman he had loved and lost.

Well in many ways that is how I read it as well. What I am trying to say, (not very well), is that TPT is not the whole of Snape's story. Through seven books we have followed Harry and Snape and I do not think that TPT is Snape's entire story, condensed as it was.
What Snape did, did not do through the books counts. That means the scenes where he is frankly mean to Harry and other children, the emotions, anger and hurt showed are every bit as real for Harry and Company as Snape's anger and hurt in TPT.
I think Snape was very brave at times, I think he was a nasty git at times. One does not preclude the other. And I think that is an underlying meaning in the choice of jo's words. Yes, Snape had his reasons, but don't forget so did the other charactors, and their reasons are just as important.
I have to confess I did not feel awash with sympathy for Snape when I read TPT. It was as you said a reveal, but I felt it was the reveal of a lot of things. Lily's story was there as well, DD played a big part and so did the Marauders. When I read it I thought, 'So that was his reaon. Hmph.' I felt that what we had just had revealed to us was the waste of a life. Especially the part about the closing of the door. All I could think was that Snape's plan so very nearly failed. Harry could have died through it, would have died it it hadn't been for Ron. And that for me summed up Snape's life. Nearly there and then he blows it. Of course I know it was more than that, but you know for me that is it, condensed.


 
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