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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5



 
 
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  #701  
Old August 18th, 2011, 3:40 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
I was under the impression that Snape joined the Death Eaters because of his love for the Dark Arts as well as his need to be accepted in a group. By joining the Death Eaters, he would be able to hone his abilities in Dark magic, as well as be accepted by a powerful leader who recognized his worth.
His favorite subject was actually Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's Sirius who calls him a "Dark Arts Oddball."

That's one of the differences between Snape and Voldemort and the Carrows - they want to teach Dark Arts, while Snape is actually more interested in the opposite.

But even Bella in HBP calls DADA Snape's "favorite subject."


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  #702  
Old August 18th, 2011, 3:46 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by TreacleTartlet View Post
I did not intend to give the impression that I thought she should have stayed friends with Snape. Just that if she had, there was the possibility that he may have realised that she was more important to him than Mulciber and the DE gang.
I don't think he needed to realize that. I think she was the most important thing for him, and that is why he was standing outside the Gryffindor Common Room door. What he did not know until it was too late, in my opinion, was that he had to choose between them. And once it was too late, he believed they were all he had left.

And, general comment directed at the thread, because I am an insufferable know-it-all and everyone getting this wrong bothers me ...neither was 15. They were both almost sixteen and a half. The scene occurred probably in early June (last week of school, when OWLs are taken) and both had turned 16 that January.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveAlways View Post
But then again, could he have? If Voldemort has no qualms about killing even his most loyal servants, I highly doubt he would let a deserter, even a child, get off easilly...
We have no evidence that Snape was a Death Eater at the time he insulted Lily at school. We know he was by the time he heard the Prophecy, but that seems likely to have happened after Lily was pregnant, which was after they had both finished school.


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  #703  
Old August 18th, 2011, 3:52 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
And, general comment directed at the thread, because I am an insufferable know-it-all and everyone getting this wrong bothers me ...neither was 15. They were both almost sixteen and a half. The scene occurred probably in early June (last week of school, when OWLs are taken) and both had turned 16 that January.
Insufferable!!! (Not really, LOL)

I think the confusion comes from Harry's line in OotP about being fifteen when he took the Owl Exam, and when he saw Snape's memory of the Owl Exam in the Pensieve. But Harry's birthday is later in July, so you are definitely correct that Snape/Lily would have already turned 16 before exams.


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  #704  
Old August 18th, 2011, 3:56 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I think "filthy little Mudblood" was quite enough, I think it was all Lily needed to hear about what Snape was becoming.




IMO, all of those make Snape (and Slytherin House) seem even worse. Slytherins were not all fanatical bigots - I doubt Snape would have been hexed if he didn't use the worst racial slur. And the second one - did he think it was okay to use that "disgusting" word as long as Lily didn't hear him use it? It was okay to lie to Lily about how he viewed people of her birth?



Whatever the situation, throwing that word at anyone was unacceptable, IMO. That word carried the weight of bigotry and the evils that the DEs were trying to perpetrate because they believed in that prejudice.





It is clearly stated in the series that "Mudblood" is the worst thing anyone can say to a Muggleborn. It is far, far worse than dropping "ordinary" swear words, because of the meaning attached to "mudblood", especially considering what the DEs were doing at the time.





I think that fifteen year old girl had the sense not to be a doormat and an enabler for a wannabe DE. There was no excuse for what Snape said, IMO, and a DE wannabe was not a safe person for a Muggleborn to have anything to do with.





It was Lily's decision to end the friendship, but it was Snape's decision to hang around with people who looked down on people like Lily, it was Snape's decision to pursue a dark path, and an interest in the Death Eaters. I think it was selfish and irrational of him to expect Lily to support his interest in becoming a Death Eater, and to expect that he could have both in his life.




I'll bring that up in the Lily thread, as I think it has more to do with Lily's choices.
So, do you believe that Snape never redeemed himself in the end?


  #705  
Old August 18th, 2011, 4:06 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
But then I consider the question "what makes Snape happy". I'm sure other readers would be glad to help me think of things, but all I can come up with at the moment is:
  1. Lily
  2. Not James
I'll help you out here...it seems plausible that the list might include:

3) Stirring a softly shimmering cauldron as steam rises slowly above a potion he has just made. (That was a very poetic speech, to be about something that gives him no pleasure).
4) Sitting down in his old armchair with one of the (numerous) books lining his home and a glass of elf-made wine at its side (though the latter may have just been on hand to get his unexpected guests tipsy ).
5) Winning the Quidditch or House Cup, especially from McGonagall. (Judging from his reaction to losing the latter to her in Book 1).
6) Turning Sirius Black, the man who betrayed Lily to Voldemort (he thought) in to the Ministry to face justice.


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  #706  
Old August 18th, 2011, 4:13 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
I'll help you out here...it seems plausible that the list might include:

3) Stirring a softly shimmering cauldron as steam rises slowly above a potion he has just made. (That was a very poetic speech, to be about something that gives him no pleasure).
4) Sitting down in his old armchair with one of the (numerous) books lining his home and a glass of elf-made wine at its side (though the latter may have just been on hand to get his unexpected guests tipsy ).
5) Winning the Quidditch or House Cup, especially from McGonagall. (Judging from his reaction to losing the latter to her in Book 1).
6) Turning Sirius Black, the man who betrayed Lily to Voldemort (he thought) in to the Ministry to face justice.
I'll add one: If he could have known that Harry wouldn't die after facing Voldemort - that would have made him happy.


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  #707  
Old August 18th, 2011, 4:13 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by FurryDice
It was Lily's decision to end the friendship, but it was Snape's decision to hang around with people who looked down on people like Lily, it was Snape's decision to pursue a dark path, and an interest in the Death Eaters. I think it was selfish and irrational of him to expect Lily to support his interest in becoming a Death Eater, and to expect that he could have both in his life.
I am sorry, can't recall what you are talking about. When did Snape express a belief that Lily should support him in his interest in becoming a Death Eater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
I'll add one: If he could have known that Harry wouldn't die after facing Voldemort - that would have made him happy.
AAARGH. But of course he didn't know because Dumbledore could not let either of them know of his guess.


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  #708  
Old August 18th, 2011, 5:09 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Here's a little question I thought of in the shower (where I sometimes do my best thinking)...

Given that:

1. Snape created the Muffliato spell (we know this because it was in the HBP Potions Book); and

2. He spoke with Dumbledore's portrait after he (Snape) became Headmaster, regarding various things about Harry and the Horcrux Hunt,

Therefore:

Why do you think Snape never called McGonagall into his office, Muffliato'ed the room except for DD's portrait, and explained the whole deal to her, with the portrait backing him up? That would have taken a load off his shoulders, made his tenure that last year easier for him with a confederate, and possibly have saved his life somehow (at least he wouldn't have had to "do a bunk"). What in the character would have kept him from taking this simple, obvious, very human step?

Thoughts? Criticism? Opinions? Shrieks of outrage?

And yeah, Arithmancer, my oops on the ages. I just couldn't remember, and couldn't be bothered to count... still, 16 year olds are probably even less articulate and thoughtful than 15 year olds, if that's possible...


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  #709  
Old August 18th, 2011, 5:11 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlytherinZolf20 View Post
So, do you believe that Snape had redeemed himself at the end of his life for what he said to Lily and did when he was young. Did Snape's years of service for Dumbledore and spying on Voldemort redeem him or did he die a man without redemption and sent to the Wizarding version of Hell if there is one.
I really want to know what people think about this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlytherinZolf20 View Post
So, do you believe that Snape never redeemed himself in the end?
Since you've asked this twice, with no response, I'll chime in--even though I already have a history of sticking up for Snape.

Yes I believed that Snape was redeemed by the end of the story. And I'll take it a step further with a couple related assertions:
  1. Redemption was the most important theme in Snape's story.
  2. Snape's is the most important redemption story in the series.

Okay can we all agree on those? Speak now or forever hold your peace...okay then, I'll continue.

As a symbol of redemption, the magnitude of Snape's failings and transgressions is, in the big picture, not that important. If anything, the seriousness of his failures is of benefit to the redemptive theme (in as far as everything stays within the realm of believability). If Snape never really did anything that bad or never meant to, it wouldn't mean very much for him to turn the trajectory of his life around and make sacrifices for good and finally be given the chance to honor well the memory of Lily and endear himself to her son.

That said, I often find myself wanting to defend Snape, primarily for a couple of reasons. First, I wholeheartedly believe that there are reasons, many of them external, for people doing bad things. I don't believe that anyone is innately bad--beyond an inherent selfishness and shortsightedness I think we all possess--and consequently there is hope for us when we slip, even deeply, into darkness. Of course, Lily distancing herself from Snape did not make him into a Death Eater and what-ifs and blame-games typically don't accomplish much. But cumulatively, I think it's fair to ask if things might have been much different if Snape had stayed friends with Lily and not been bullied for being "weird" or a geek and had felt acceptance from more people outside of the future DE's gang. Yes, we know that he made conscious choice along his path into evil. But I think we do an injustice to those faced with dire choices in the past and those who will face them in the future, if we are not mindful that many choices are largely shaped by circumstance and often have consequences of unseen direction and magnitude.

My second reason for defending Snape is that I feel what we know about his character gives us reason to show caution in attributing sinister motives to all his morally ambiguous actions. The books make clear that his most significant actions after Lily's death, though they were meant appear evil to the other characters and readers, were in fact actions designed to help the cause of good (and they worked too). Is it strictly possible that Snape was mean to his students only because he really wanted to be? That his interaction with Harry and revelation of memories before his death was shaped by selfishness and manipulation? Yes, but I don't think it's fair to infer all these things given that we have cause to believe that Snape really came to possess moral character, self-sacrifice, and even compassion that extended beyond Lily.

I meant to say something about grace too, but perhaps that fit better at another time.


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  #710  
Old August 18th, 2011, 6:28 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by SadiraSnape View Post
Therefore:

Why do you think Snape never called McGonagall into his office, Muffliato'ed the room except for DD's portrait, and explained the whole deal to her, with the portrait backing him up? That would have taken a load off his shoulders, made his tenure that last year easier for him with a confederate, and possibly have saved his life somehow (at least he wouldn't have had to "do a bunk"). What in the character would have kept him from taking this simple, obvious, very human step?

Thoughts? Criticism? Opinions? Shrieks of outrage?
Because knowing the truth would endanger her, him, Harry, the Order, and the mission. She needs to hate him, imo, in order for the mission to succeed.

McGonnagall is not an Occlumens. If she were captured, she would easily be compromised, and any knowledge she possessed would quickly be in Voldemort's possession.

In addition, the more people hate Snape after Dumbledore's death- i.e., truly hate him - the more convincing his role as Voldemort's right hand man becomes. IMO, it makes no sense at all to take McGonnagall or anyone else into his confidence (regardless of his facility with the Muffliato).

I suppose this is less a "character" issue to me than a "strategy" issue. Snape, quite simply, is being a good spy - protecting the mission and protecting those his work authentically serves (as opposed to those whose work he pretends to serve).


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  #711  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:44 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

I'm not at all happy with the general tone in here. I advise you all to take a deep breath and read your posts before hitting 'submit reply' and check for snark, alluded or explicit accusations and assumptions and character worship/bashing.


  #712  
Old August 18th, 2011, 7:19 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlytherinZolf20 View Post
So, do you believe that Snape never redeemed himself in the end?
I didn't say that. However, sixteen year old DE wannabe Snape was a far cry from Snape in his late thirties. At sixteen, Snape wanted to join a group that the wizarding community lived in dread of. At sixteen, Snape gave Lily no good reason to continue their friendship. Severus Snape's actions when he discovered Lily were in danger do not change what he had been, and I don't see what they have to do with Lily's decision, nor do they change the wrongness of becoming a DE or buying into the prejudices of the DEs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
I am sorry, can't recall what you are talking about. When did Snape express a belief that Lily should support him in his interest in becoming a Death Eater?
Snape's response to Lily's criticism of his DE wannabe friends "I thought we were supposed to be friends? Best friends?"
IMO, this suggests Snape seems to think friendship means blindly following and agreeing with everything one does. Disagreeing with someone doesn't make a person less of a friend, telling someone when they're headed for trouble is not an act against the friendship, it's the act of a true friend.

Also - Snape seems to have been convinced he could have both the Death Eaters and Lily in his life. This would require Lily to either support him in his venture to become a feared criminal, or to turn a blind eye to what being a DE entailed.


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  #713  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:04 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
But didn't he also enjoy the dark arts? I know his favorite subject was Defense Against the Dark Arts, but didn't Harry say that Snape spoke about the Dark Arts with such admiration in his voice? Or something like that, I don't really remember the line.
Harry did say that. However, Hermione replied that in her opinion Snape's comments about the Dark Arts during that class sounded just like Harry's own statements about the Dark Arts while he was training the DA.

So Harry's comment cannot, in my opinion, be taken as an objective statement about Snape's relationship to the Dark Arts. Hermione has quite a different opinion of what Snape said and the way he said it.


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  #714  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:13 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
But didn't he also enjoy the dark arts? I know his favorite subject was Defense Against the Dark Arts, but didn't Harry say that Snape spoke about the Dark Arts with such admiration in his voice? Or something like that, I don't really remember the line.
I think this is the quote you mean:

"Did you hear him talking about the Dark Arts? He loves them? All that unfixed, undestructable stuff -"

"Well," said Hermione, "I thought he sounded a bit like you."
"Like me?"
"Yes, when you were telling us what it's like to face Voldemort. You said it wasn't just memorising a bunch of spells, you said it was just you and your brains and your guts - well, wasn't that what Snape was saying? That it really comes down to being brave and quick thinking?"
(HBP, The Half-Blood Prince)

So Hermione didn't get the same impression of Snape's DADA speech as Harry.


  #715  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:23 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

I understand what you are saying, but I think Snape was also quite fascinated with the Dark Arts. Not just in defending them, but using them and exploring Dark Magic. I believe he had a genuine passion for it, and it was this attraction that drove Lily away from him.


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Old August 18th, 2011, 8:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
I understand what you are saying, but I think Snape was also quite fascinated with the Dark Arts. Not just in defending them, but using them and exploring Dark Magic. I believe he had a genuine passion for it, and it was this attraction that drove Lily away from him.
That's at a much earlier point in his life, though, than when Harry made his comment - about 20 years earlier.

There's no evidence I'm aware of showing that Snape maintained a desire to practice the Dark Arts (rather than Defense Against them) after turning to Dumbledore on the windy hilltop. In fact, Dumbledore tells Harry in GoF that Snape had not been suspected of any "dark activity" since turning spy in the first Wizarding War.


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  #717  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:45 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
That's at a much earlier point in his life, though, than when Harry made his comment - about 20 years earlier.

There's no evidence I'm aware of showing that Snape maintained a desire to practice the Dark Arts (rather than Defense Against them) after turning to Dumbledore on the windy hilltop. In fact, Dumbledore tells Harry in GoF that Snape had not been suspected of any "dark activity" since turning spy in the first Wizarding War.
Well, just because he does not practice the Dark Arts does not mean that he is not still interested in them. The Dark Arts are only truly "dark" if a person uses it in a harmful way. I think Snape's passion for them has not vanished, but he does not pursue them because of Lily. His guilt about Lily's death and his dedication to bringing down Voldemort are his main driving forces, but this does not mean that his attraction to the dark side has completely vanished. I think the opposite actually, that it is still very much present. Snape will never be a "white" wizard, he will always be a "grey" one.


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  #718  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:49 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
I understand what you are saying, but I think Snape was also quite fascinated with the Dark Arts. Not just in defending them, but using them and exploring Dark Magic. I believe he had a genuine passion for it, and it was this attraction that drove Lily away from him.
There isn't much canon about that actually, unless you believe everything that certain other wizards say about Snape (and those wizards don't like him anyway). However, Sirius says that Snape stayed out of trouble and no one would ever assume that he was a Death Eater. So . . . it's kind of hard to sift out the truth there.

If we look at the progression in the HBP potions book, Snape started out making practical and inventive changes to potions recipes (press the soporphorous bean with a silver knife & just shove a bezoar down his throat), then advanced to what Harry saw as "imaginative little jinxes and hexes," then eventually advanced to darker spells such as Levicorpus and Sectumsempra.

I think that progression is supposed to reflect Snape's state of mind as he grew up and his life at Hogwarts was more combative and unhappy. One could even assume he taught himself jinxes and hexes in self-defense, much like the members of Dumbledore's Army. Chances are, Snape's generation didn't have a very good DADA teacher either due to the curse on the job.

Since other wizards in the books copied Snape's spells, and Harry even used them, we can't say they are uniformly dark. Levicorpus is used by the Death Eaters in GoF, but also by Harry who turns Ron upside down twice, once accidentally and once for his own safety. Lupin seemed to think Levicorpus was sort of a joke at Hogwarts back in the day, and Harry even supposes that his father might be the Prince!

Since there is no real definition of what is dark magic and what is not, then we have to look at intent. Ginny thought Sectumsempra was "something good" to use against Draco, and Snape does use it against a DE to save George and Lupin, so I guess it depends on where people are standing (or flying). Talk about shades of gray!


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  #719  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:50 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohanT View Post
I understand what you are saying, but I think Snape was also quite fascinated with the Dark Arts. Not just in defending them, but using them and exploring Dark Magic. I believe he had a genuine passion for it, and it was this attraction that drove Lily away from him.
You say you think he was fascinated by the the Dark Arts and exploring Dark Magic... "a passion for it." Could you cite anything from canon that gives you this impression, other than non-objective statements by characters like Sirius?

Dumbleddore was also fascinated by the Dark Arts as a young man, but he turned out to be a pretty good guy. Wanting to study and understand something does not mean that you want to use it negatively. There is a quote, I don't have by DH book right at hand, but it pretty much said that many wizards through the ages studied the Dark Arts but only a very few of them used them in a negative manner. i'll have to find that quote. I think it was Dumbledore's friend when Harry was talking to him at the wedding, but I can be sure. I do know that the quote is in the books. Maybe someone can recall the exact quote and the person who said it while I'm shuffling through my book.


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I held you in my arms, although I knew that death
Had already taken you. I held you close, hoping for a faint heartbeat or breath
To prove me wrong.
But, you were still, and could not hear or see
My grief, my tears, my heartbreak knowing that the rest of my life would be
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  #720  
Old August 18th, 2011, 8:57 pm
JohanT  Undisclosed.gif JohanT is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
You say you think he was fascinated by the the Dark Arts and exploring Dark Magic... "a passion for it." Could you cite anything from canon that gives you this impression, other than non-objective statements by characters like Sirius?

Dumbleddore was also fascinated by the Dark Arts as a young man, but he turned out to be a pretty good guy. Wanting to study and understand something does not mean that you want to use it negatively. There is a quote, I don't have by DH book right at hand, but it pretty much said that many wizards through the ages studied the Dark Arts but only a very few of them used them in a negative manner. i'll have to find that quote. I think it was Dumbledore's friend when Harry was talking to him at the wedding, but I can be sure. I do know that the quote is in the books. Maybe someone can recall the exact quote and the person who said it while I'm shuffling through my book.
Being a "good man" does not necessarily mean that you stay away from the dark arts. Dumbledore stayed away because he knew where his weaknesses were, and I think Snape had the same problem. I am not suggesting Snape wanted to use Dark Magic to harm others, if you read my other post, I state that dark magic is only truly "dark" if a person uses it to harm others.

True that Sirius has a biased opinion, but it was J.K.R. who made Sirius say such a thing. Now the question is, was she trying to show how Sirius and the rest of the Marauders were prejudiced against Snape, or was she literally trying to tell the readers that Snape was indeed a practitioner of Dark Magic?
Practicing Dark Magic does not make someone a cruel person, it is merely how it is put to use that defines what sort of person you are. In Snape's case, I would say that he was just interested in it from the pure magical perspective. He wanted to learn and explore, but not necessarily to harm others.


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Last edited by JohanT; August 18th, 2011 at 8:59 pm.
 
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