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Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero



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  #61  
Old February 10th, 2007, 8:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

The reference to Jane Eyre sleeping in a small closet came in Chapter IV, soon after Jane had talked to the apothecary (doctor) about why she fainted when locked in the red bedroom. Mrs. Reed is her aunt.

Quote:
Mrs. Reed surveyed me at times with a severe eye, but seldom addressed me: since my illness she had drawn a more marked line of separation than ever between me and her own children; appointing me a small closet to sleep in by myself, condemning me to take my meals alone, and pass all my time in the nursery, while my cousins were constantly in the drawing room.
I believe that this period of sleeping in the small closet was less than six months long. I wonder if JKR got the idea of putting a child in a closet from this book.

Here are a few more passages from this same chapter with some similarites to HP:

Quote:
“My uncle Reed is in heaven, and can see all you do and think; and so can papa and mama: they know how you shut me up all day long, and how you wish me dead.”
This reminds me of how the Dursley's moved Harry to the small bedroom when they realized that someone in the Wizarding world knew he was sleeping in a cupboard. Unlike Mrs Reed, though, the Dursleys recognized that putting Harry in a cupboard was wrong. Mrs Reed seems to have no problem with what she did.

Quote:
November, December, and half of January passed away. Christmas and the New Year had been celebrated at Gateshead with the usual festive cheer; presents had been interchanged, dinners and evening parties given. From every enjoyment I was, of course, excluded:
She was treated in a similiar manner to Harry, as a poor relation who should be grateful for the fact that a family took them in. Neither Harry nor Jane were treated as a member of the family.



Last edited by SusanBones; February 10th, 2007 at 8:40 pm.
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  #62  
Old February 11th, 2007, 4:45 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liselle View Post
I'm hoping we get some sort of resolution either way to put us out of our misery!
If not, I'll have to start thinking JKR cruel like Heathcliff!
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
The similarity there is the depth of passion felt by both Rochester and Heathcliff - "all for love." Love is the only thing reason for their actions, both good and bad, although Rochester does rise to the occasion when he tries to rescue Bertha from the burning roof, and then he suffers and is redeemed.
This is a really good description. Gothic Heroes are deeply passionate. It's hard to imagine Snape this way, since his feelings are generally hidden, especially from Harry; however, that does not mean that he isn't a passionate person. We have not really seen what his passion is, except for, perhaps, potions: "the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . ." (PS/SS, chapter 8) Of interest in this passage is that, although Snape never mentions Lily, we know from HBP that she excelled at Potions and is, therefore, associated with the subject.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIP View Post
Snape isn't "good" but he keeps trying to atone, and there are hints that Harry doesn't see him exactly right. When Ron brings up Sectumsempra later in HBP, Harry feels a little guilty that Draco would have died if Snape hadn't saved him - a heroic act on a bloody bathroom floor. Snape also saved Dumbledore, who tells Harry he wouldn't be "alive to tell the tale" if Snape hadn't done some sort of quick action. And then Snape saved Katie Bell with his knowledge of the Dark Arts. He keeps trying to do good - that's heroic. Finally, he could have handed Harry over to the DEs on a platter, but he didn't, and he stops the Crucio in the Flight of the Prince - another heroic act, because he was also outnumbered by DEs at that point.

So there isn't one great act of heroism, but alot of small actions, which is more in line with a Gothic Hero or Anti-Hero. It's someone who doesn't quite fit the Heroic mold, but has to struggle with inner demons and overcome them.
Another great explanation, SIP! Often Gothic Heroes work for good from behind the scenes and get no formal recognition, which is exactly the case for Snape. He has actually done quite a few good things, but they are enough in the background that what the reader primarily remembers about him are the negatives--his harshness toward his students and his killing of Dumbledore, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
The interesting thing about Jane and Rochester's relationship is that after he had lost some of his "power" by being blinded and crippled, this gave Jane a lot more importance. In the beginning, he was running things, while she sort of tagged along behind. In the end, they're both on an equal level.
Good point! Equality seemed of particular importance to Jane, herself, as a character. She didn't want him to bestow gifts upon her and be entirely beholden to him. She was more comfortable with the idea of returning to him after she became an heiress and would be able to provide for herself in the manner that he could provide for her. In fact, if I recall correctly, she didn't try to contact anyone from Thornfield (Rochester's home) to find out his condition until after she'd gotten her inheritance. Harry is also fiercely independent, as we have seen across the series.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanBones111 View Post
I believe that this period of sleeping in the small closet was less than six months long. I wonder if JKR got the idea of putting a child in a closet from this book.
That's very possible. I think the period of sleeping in the closet, then, was for about 2-1/2 months. The other passage you quoted mentioned November, December, and half of January passing away. That was the time between when Jane recovered from the red room ordeal and when she left for Lowood (the boarding school).
Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanBones111
This reminds me of how the Dursley's moved Harry to the small bedroom when they realized that someone in the Wizarding world knew he was sleeping in a cupboard. Unlike Mrs Reed, though, the Dursleys recognized that putting Harry in a cupboard was wrong. Mrs Reed seems to have no problem with what she did.
Later in the book, Mrs. Reed seems to acknowledge that she's wronged Jane in her treatment, but she just doesn't care and, unlike in Harry's time, there's no need for her to keep up appearances. The Dursleys' status is more precarious than Mrs. Reed's. I think the jury is still out on whether, in the end, the Dursleys will care about how they've wronged Harry.


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  #63  
Old February 11th, 2007, 3:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanBones111 View Post
Quote:
November, December, and half of January passed away. Christmas and the New Year had been celebrated at Gateshead with the usual festive cheer; presents had been interchanged, dinners and evening parties given. From every enjoyment I was, of course, excluded:

She was treated in a similiar manner to Harry, as a poor relation who should be grateful for the fact that a family took them in. Neither Harry nor Jane were treated as a member of the family.
Great Stuff, SusanBones! Those examples are quite similar to what Harry goes through, and I just thought of another parallel - Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. That's not one of my favorites, though my daughter loves it the most of all Jane Austen's books. Fanny is a poor relation who is sent to live with a rich uncle, and her room is in the attic. This is the book which gives us the name "Mrs. Norris." They never give Fanny her own bedroom, but she takes over a schoolroom which the family cares nothing about. That reminds me of Dudley's second bedroom, in which there are broken toys and books Dudley never read before.

http://www.readprint.com/chapter-367/Jane-Austen

Mansfield Park, Chapter 16

The little white attic, . . . had continued her sleeping-room ever since her first entering the family . . . (she) had recourse . . . as soon as she was dressed, to another apartment more spacious and more meet for walking about in and thinking, and of which she had now for some time been almost equally mistress. It had been their school-room; so called till the Miss Bertrams would not allow it to be called so any longer, and inhabited as such to a later period. There Miss Lee had lived, and there they had read and written, and talked and laughed, till within the last three years, when she had quitted them. The room had then become useless, and for some time was quite deserted, except by Fanny, when she visited her plants, or wanted one of the books, which she was still glad to keep there, from the deficiency of space and accommodation in her little chamber above: but gradually, as her value for the comforts of it increased, she had added to her possessions, and spent more of her time there; and having nothing to oppose her, had so naturally and so artlessly worked herself into it, that it was now generally admitted to be hers. The East room, as it had been called ever since Maria Bertram was sixteen, was now considered Fanny's, almost as decidedly as the white attic: the smallness of the one making the use of the other so evidently reasonable that the Miss Bertrams, with every superiority in their own apartments which their own sense of superiority could demand, were entirely approving it; and Mrs. Norris, having stipulated for there never being a fire in it on Fanny's account, was tolerably resigned to her having the use of what nobody else wanted, though the terms in which she sometimes spoke of the indulgence seemed to imply that it was the best room in the house.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; February 11th, 2007 at 3:59 pm.
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  #64  
Old February 11th, 2007, 5:44 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
This is the book which gives us the name "Mrs. Norris."
Yup. According to the Harry Potter Lexicon:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/bestiary/beasts.htmlThe name Mrs. Norris come from one of JKR's favorite Jane Austen books, Mansfield Park. In that book, Mrs. Norris is the busybody aunt of the main character who interferes and pokes her nose into other people's business.
How appropriate!


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  #65  
Old February 17th, 2007, 9:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Does anybody remember the song "Big Bad John"? I have no idea who sang it but it was about a misunderstood man who looked a little different from the others (he was much taller and larger than most people) and was a loner. Throughout the song, you think by the title that he's a big meany but at the end, he saves the lives of everyone in the mine (he is a miner and they have a cave-in and he dies in the process). At the end of the song, you're like, ahhh, I didn't even know the guy but I learned two things - one, I misjudged him and two, he was quite a heroic guy for not looking the part.

I picture Snape this way. At first glance, you're like, there is no way he's a good guy, but by the end, it's your actions and not your looks that make you a hero.


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Old February 17th, 2007, 10:29 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Hey Drummer!

I did a search for the song both on google and youtube. I think there are some similarities. Here are the Lyrics (according to that site, it's by Johnny Cash- another man in black )

Quote:
Big John
Big John

Every mornning at the mine, you could see him arrive.
He stood 6 foot 6, weighed 245.
Kind of broad at the shoulders, narrow at the hip.
And everybody knew you didn't give no lip to Big John.

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

Nobody seemed to know where John called home
He just drifted into town and stayed all alone.
He didn't say much, kind of quiet and shy
And if you spoke at all, you'd just said hi to Big John.
Somebody said he came from New Orleans,
Where he got into a fight over a Cajun Queen.
And a crash and a blow from a huge right hand,
sent a Lousiana fella to the promise land.

Big John
Big John
Big bad John
Big John

Then came the day at the bottom of the mine,
when a timber cracked and men started crying.
Minors were praying, and hearts beat fast
and everybody thought they had breathed thier last
cept' John.
Through the dust and the smoke of this man made hell,
walked a giant of a man that the minors knew well.
Grabbed a sagging timber and gave out with a groan,
and like a giant oak tree he just stood there alone, Big John

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

And with all of his strength, he gave a mighty shove.
Then a minor yelled out, 'theres a light up above!'.
And 20 men scrambled from a 'would be' grave
now theres only one left down there to save, Big John.
With jacks and timbers, they started back down,
then came that rumble way down in the ground.
And as smoke and gas smelched out of that mine,
everybody knew it was the end of the line, for Big John.

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

Now they never re-opend that wortheless pit,
they just placed a marble stand in front of it.
These few words are written on that stand,
'At the bottom of this mine, lies one Hell of a man, Big John'

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John.
And here's a video on youtube. I don't know about the picture (I just listened ), but the sound is nice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f2f7BnahBY

One parallel that really stuck out is that while John is rumoured to have taken a life, he later saves very many lives.


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Last edited by ignisia; February 17th, 2007 at 10:37 pm.
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  #67  
Old February 18th, 2007, 4:31 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

That's it! Excellent!! Thank you Ignisia.


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  #68  
Old February 21st, 2007, 4:47 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
One parallel that really stuck out is that while John is rumoured to have taken a life, he later saves very many lives.
You see this as a parallel to Snape or to other Gothic Heroes?


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  #69  
Old February 21st, 2007, 4:57 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Well, the part about the rumour of having killed someone and the good deed(s) that came later is kind of Snape-like, but a big difference is that John's deed is out in the open and noticed.


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  #70  
Old February 26th, 2007, 3:41 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

The other thing I notice about a Gothic hero is that their lives are never happy. The guy's either depressed or shunned or something but still manages to come through and conquer what needs to be conquered.


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Old February 26th, 2007, 1:00 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by drummer View Post
The other thing I notice about a Gothic hero is that their lives are never happy. The guy's either depressed or shunned or something but still manages to come through and conquer what needs to be conquered.
That is certainly true of both Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. Both of them seemed to have some happiness with women, for awhile, but in the case of Heathcliff, he loses his love and stays angry and revengeful about it. Mr Rochester is rather angry at life for being "tricked into" marrying an insane women. Although he does admit that his sexual attraction to her is part of why he married her. That was a pretty controversial admission back in the 1840's, too. Once Jane finally is free to marry him, he is blind and has lost a hand.

We won't know if Snape had some sort of failed romantic stoy in his past, the way the typical Byronic character does, until book 7, but he does seem to lead a rather tortured life. He carries his anger at another person with him through his life, rather than letting go of it.


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Old May 9th, 2007, 3:06 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

For me,the ultimate anti-Byronic Gothic hero is Ahab in Moby Dick , an obsessed, tortured eternal wanderer who sold his soul and made unspeakable pacts with unimaginably evil forces.

The dark eyed, dark haired, smoldering Byronic Heathcliff and Rochester set all the ladies' hearts aflutter when they entered a drawing room.

If there were any women in Moby Dick , the dark eyed, dark haired, smoldering, completely insane Ahab would make the ladies flee en masse.

And, IMHO, Snape is the Captain Ahab of the Potterverse.

"From hell's heart, I stab at thee...with my last breath, I spit at thee," shrieks the infurated Ahab at the White Whale.

I can easily imagine Snape screaming those lines in DH. But who is he screaming at? Harry? Lord Voldemort? Bellatrix Black Lestrange? Wormtail? Sybill Trelawney?

Only Jo Rawling knows for sure


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  #73  
Old May 9th, 2007, 3:28 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Snape makes ladies flee en masse? Fandom begs to differ!

Doesn't Ahab have a young wife himself? Or was she dead by the time Ishmael came into the picture? Forgive me, it's been a while, and I never got all the way through.

I never really saw the connection, though it can be seen in the perpetual watchfulness both seem to display. As for who Snape would hate with that fervor, Voldemort would be my guess. I believe that Snape has been working against Voldemort for years. That sort of dedication could have a strong hatred for Voldemort as (a? the?) driving force.


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  #74  
Old May 9th, 2007, 3:43 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Sorry to offend Fandom and the ladies

In Hollywood's 1926 silent adaptation of Moby Dick, The Sea Beast, John Barrymore's Ahab is given an on-shore love interest, Dolores Costello. Barrymore and Costello were a supremely attractive couple (no running out of rooms when they arrived!) The pair eventually married and are the grandparents of today's lovely and talented Drew Barrymore.

Beauty resides in the eye of the beholder. I am old enough to know that by now. So again my humblest appologies to Fandom and the ladies


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  #75  
Old May 9th, 2007, 3:51 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Don't worry. Fandom and the ladies don't mind.

That movie version sounds interesting (if a bit off as far as the book goes! )

Good old gutenberg.org was helpful in finding the quote about Ahab's wife:

Quote:
So good-bye to thee--and wrong not Captain Ahab, because he
happens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy, he has a wife--not
three voyages wedded--a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that
sweet girl that old man has a child: hold ye then there can be any
utter, hopeless harm in Ahab? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if
he be, Ahab has his humanities!"
Of course, there probably is harm in a man so obsessed on a single goal, but Peleg has been with Ahab on voyages before and probably has both tapped into something one does not see in Ahab, and could have a bias in Ahab's favour at the same time.


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  #76  
Old May 10th, 2007, 10:37 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

So good-bye to thee--and wrong not Captain Ahab, because he
happens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy, he has a wife--not
three voyages wedded--a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that
sweet girl that old man has a child: hold ye then there can be any
utter, hopeless harm in Ahab? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if
he be, Ahab has his humanities!"


Hmmmm

Peleg's comments about Ahab sound like our debates about Good Snape vs Bad Snape

Severus may be "stricken, blasted," but he also has his humanities, and we will probably see both sides of him in Deathly Hallows.

If I were young again and had the time, I'd reread Moby Dick and then all seven Potter novels and write a long editorial on Snape and Ahab as Gothic Heros


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  #77  
Old May 10th, 2007, 1:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

I noticed the similarity in the final passage too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrotonaPark44
If I were young again and had the time, I'd reread Moby Dick and then all seven Potter novels and write a long editorial on Snape and Ahab as Gothic Heros
You could always give it a try. I'd read it.


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  #78  
Old May 10th, 2007, 5:13 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Oh this thread is wonderful!

I have always been fascinated by Heathcliffe (perhaps because my name is Cathy ) And I certainly see shades of him in Snape. They are both mysterious and intriguing characters - and are a little scary! They are both cruel and sadistic - even or especially to the child of the woman they loved. I would say that Heathcliffe is more bitter and twisted than Snape, - and that the reason for that is that Cathy loved Heathcliffe so they could have been happy together, whereas I don't beleive Lily loved Snape.

Oh and I agree with whoever quoted Caro Lamb (was is Liselle?) saying Snape was mad, bad and dangerous to know! A perfect description of him!

Hwyla: I have always loved that theory about "making a Snape" to hide the book in. What is interesting is the quintaped - my brain keeps shooting in all sorts of directions with it. I wondered if it might be significant that the story behind quintapeds is connected to a family feud. Could the Prince's have had a feud with either the Black's or the Potter's?
The feud between the two families became so bad that they ended up destroying each other which certainly seems to be what happened with Snape and the Marauders.

Interesting comparing Snape to Ahab - I read Moby Dick - My reading of the book became and allegory of the book itself. I wasn't going to let it beat me I had to defeat it by finishing it! Snape does seem to be relentless in his pursuit of James Potter. Potter could be described as having maimed him by marrying Lily. And certainly Snape's "pursuit" of Sirius in PoA is rather obsessional.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignisia
As for who Snape would hate with that fervor, Voldemort would be my guess. I believe that Snape has been working against Voldemort for years. That sort of dedication could have a strong hatred for Voldemort as (a? the?) driving force.
Yes I think Snape has become umm... shall we say extremely focussed on bringing down Voldemort.
In fact I think Snape has a bit of an obsessional personality - by that I mean when he's into something he's really into it (If he were a Harry Potter fan he'd be on the forums - probably a staff member ) I think this is a characteristic shared by Gothic Heroes - a tendency to be obsessional.


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  #79  
Old May 11th, 2007, 3:21 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Cathy - I think the quintaped is interesting because it's basically a weapon in itself, but was made that way by it's enemies. And when the offer came to transfigure them back they didn't want it because they were better able to protect themselves after they had been changed.

The idea of people being made into what they are by someone else intrigues me. IF we look at Heathcliff for instance he was somewhat what he was made into - altho' I tend to think Snape is not too like Heathcliff - I cannot imagine him actually keeping someone from learning and while he can be a bit tough on Harry, he has never really treated any children badly that I see.


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When Dumbledore asked Snape, "If you are prepared..." he didn't mean 'Have your Death Eeater robes returned from the cleaners'.
Everything we've seen Snape do, was done knowing Voldemort WOULD return someday.

And when that day would come, that he had better have the appropriate memories that would enable him to lie to Voldy's face.

Last edited by hwyla; May 11th, 2007 at 3:27 am.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 5:13 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by hwyla View Post
Cathy - I think the quintaped is interesting because it's basically a weapon in itself, but was made that way by it's enemies. And when the offer came to transfigure them back they didn't want it because they were better able to protect themselves after they had been changed.
...Which is, of course, applicable to Snape. The relentless bullying he went through probably contributed to his abilities to eavesdrop and spy, duelling prowess, and emotional repression (Occlumency?)

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Originally Posted by hwyla View Post
The idea of people being made into what they are by someone else intrigues me. IF we look at Heathcliff for instance he was somewhat what he was made into - altho' I tend to think Snape is not too like Heathcliff - I cannot imagine him actually keeping someone from learning and while he can be a bit tough on Harry, he has never really treated any children badly that I see.
I think Snape and Heathcliff are similar in basics: haunted, bitter, and dark.
But I think a big difference is in the amount of damage they cause. Heathcliff schemes to ruin those who hurt him in even the slightest way. IMO, when Snape found out about who the prophecy was meant for and what would happen, he did not gloat. He tried to STOP lives from ending and/or being ruined.

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Originally Posted by Cathy
If he were a Harry Potter fan he'd be on the forums - probably a staff member
"ZOMG YOU FORGOT A SEMICOLON!!! PERMA-BAN!!!!"


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