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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6



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  #1401  
Old April 20th, 2014, 4:11 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by purplehawk View Post
His actions do not convince me that he had a lick of compassion for anyone other than Lily and Dumbledore. As for "protecting his students," Neville's update on how things were going at Hogwarts kind of kills that. Students were being subjected to the Cruciatus curse, manacled and chained to stone walls, and literally beaten during Snape's tenure as headmaster.
Exactly. While I'm willing to admit that Snape was somewhat hampered by his need to look like he didn't care, the Carrows are written as being rather dim-witted in some respects. Surely Snape would have been able to mitigate the Carrows' cruel actions -- if he had wanted to do so. In my opinion, Snape did not care what was happening to the students so he spent little time thinking about a way to intercede for their welfare.


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  #1402  
Old April 20th, 2014, 4:31 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Exactly. While I'm willing to admit that Snape was somewhat hampered by his need to look like he didn't care, the Carrows are written as being rather dim-witted in some respects. Surely Snape would have been able to mitigate the Carrows' cruel actions -- if he had wanted to do so. In my opinion, Snape did not care what was happening to the students so he spent little time thinking about a way to intercede for their welfare.
I feel compelled to ask... what would be your supposition about Hogwarts that year under the Carrows without Snape's supervision? Frankly I think you've argued against yourself here... Snape had two dim-witted subordinates who weren't much concerned with any particular student's life or limb. Making sure they didn't murder a bunch of people sounds like a full-time job or two, if you ask me.

I'm not saying it's the only explanation, but perhaps we might conclude that it's a miracle that wasn't worse than it appeared to be, and that Snape had a great deal of influence over the general lack of death during his tenure.


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Old April 20th, 2014, 1:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by MrSleepyHead View Post
I think the intention of my previous post was unclear. I was referring to the interactions between protector and protected. Snape was successful protecting both Draco and Harry, but we see him fail to gain the trust of either: one he sought (Draco) and the other he, in my opinion, didn't (Harry). My intention was to show that even with someone he apparently liked, Snape did not have the personality, tact, Quality X that allowed him to - going back to canismajoris's post - "control a teenage boy". I was posting more in defense of Snape's character than otherwise: his personality flaws extend from those he disliked (in my opinion) to even those he 'favored'. Granted, it still shows Snape in a slightly "negative" light, to me, in that he wasn't able to see how and why his approaches were poorly received (or perhaps didn't care). But I see it positively, too, that those flaws weren't just concentrated on those he disliked (i.e. he isn't completely biased). I apologize for the confusion, as the two responses my post garnered seem more or less unrelated to the point I was trying to make.
Oh, okay. Got it Yes, I think you're right here, Snape didn't show any talent when the deal was gaining someone's trust, especially a young boy. Of course, Draco could see Snape's actions as an intent to steal his glory if he succeeded in killing Dumbledore...


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  #1404  
Old April 21st, 2014, 6:07 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
I feel compelled to ask... what would be your supposition about Hogwarts that year under the Carrows without Snape's supervision? Frankly I think you've argued against yourself here... Snape had two dim-witted subordinates who weren't much concerned with any particular student's life or limb. Making sure they didn't murder a bunch of people sounds like a full-time job or two, if you ask me.
Sorry, but I don't see your point. Crouch Jr. managed an imperius easily as did Draco. Snape could have tricked the Carrows, changed their memories, put them under an Imperius curse to alter their behavior. Or are you saying that Draco and Crouch Jr. were more skilled/powerful than Snape?

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Originally Posted by canismajoris
I'm not saying it's the only explanation, but perhaps we might conclude that it's a miracle that wasn't worse than it appeared to be, and that Snape had a great deal of influence over the general lack of death during his tenure.
The Carrows seemed to have free range in their classes and with discipline, torturing first years under the guise of "learning", and chaining students to walls and hurting them. How can that be worse? Remember that Voldemort seemed to have the idea to convert and recruit the students, not kill them off, so the fact that students didn't die at Hogwarts isn't down to Snape doing anything.


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  #1405  
Old April 21st, 2014, 10:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Sorry, but I don't see your point. Crouch Jr. managed an imperius easily as did Draco. Snape could have tricked the Carrows, changed their memories, put them under an Imperius curse to alter their behavior. Or are you saying that Draco and Crouch Jr. were more skilled/powerful than Snape?
I think my point ultimately was that the Carrows obviously answered to Voldemort, not to Snape.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
The Carrows seemed to have free range in their classes and with discipline, torturing first years under the guise of "learning", and chaining students to walls and hurting them. How can that be worse? Remember that Voldemort seemed to have the idea to convert and recruit the students, not kill them off, so the fact that students didn't die at Hogwarts isn't down to Snape doing anything.
Well a full-on war between the Death Eaters and Dumbledore's army probably could have seemed worse.

Whatever Snape should have done differently in our various opinions, I really don't believe that the Hogwarts that existed under his tenure was Hogwarts as he'd have had it.


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Old April 22nd, 2014, 3:04 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
I think my point ultimately was that the Carrows obviously answered to Voldemort, not to Snape.
Do you recall any evidence of that on page, and would you please quote it if you do?

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Originally Posted by canismajoris
Well a full-on war between the Death Eaters and Dumbledore's army probably could have seemed worse.
As we were talking about the conditions at Hogwarts that Snape did nothing about, my question remains. Snape appears to have done nothing to change the severity of the mistreatment of students by the Carrows.


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  #1407  
Old April 22nd, 2014, 12:08 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
As we were talking about the conditions at Hogwarts that Snape did nothing about, my question remains. Snape appears to have done nothing to change the severity of the mistreatment of students by the Carrows.
Well, for plot purposes, I think it had to have appeared (for the most part, at least) as if Snape did nothing to blunt the Carrows influence, or that would have given away the plot reveal in TPT. And I think it makes more sense, from a literary standpoint, that Snape did do something to blunt the Carrows influence, after all, since JKR had Dumbledore make a big deal about how Snape must stay in Voldemort's good graces to blunt the worst of the Carrows. I think she did more of a "tell rather than show" kind of move on that subject, and it would have been better, IMO, if she'd thrown in a scene in TPT where Snape was shown to be preventing the Carrows from killing, maiming, or doing worse abuse to the kids somehow, but I still get the impression from TPT that Snape did curb them somehow (esp. since Snape didn't just chuck Ginny and crew to the Carrows for breaking into his office - if he really didn't care at all about the kids, I think he'd have chucked 'em to the Carrows*).

And I think it's important to remember that since the HP series is a work of fiction, and authors aren't perfect, and don't always think of everything or share the same logic as their readers, and sometimes leave in plot holes or write something unrealistically for Rule of Drama/Funny/whatever, that just because someone can think of a solution not carried out in the text, that doesn't mean that the author intended for the character that failed to implement the solution to be incompetent and/or uncaring. I'd say that, if JKR's intent was for Snape to have truly done his best to curb the Carrows, and she intended for him to be a particularly clever and talented wizard, then him not doing something plausible that a reader can think of that would work, is just a plot hole.

*And frankly, if I'm reading from a viewpoint of "Snape must have really been on Voldemort's side after all" (like if I hadn't been spoiled about his redemption plot arc), I find it a bit unbelievable that he'd just send the kids off to detention with Hagrid in the Forest, after they broke into Snape's office to steal the Sword of Gryffindor! I'd expect a loyal DE under the regime of Voldemort to give out a worse punishment than McGonagall did in SS/PS to First Years. Seriously.

I think JKR was walking a fine line between not giving away the reveal in TPT and not having the reveal in TPT be believed.

What do you think JKR's intent was, regarding Snape and the notion of him curbing the Carrows?

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
Sorry, but I don't see your point. Crouch Jr. managed an imperius easily as did Draco. Snape could have tricked the Carrows, changed their memories, put them under an Imperius curse to alter their behavior. Or are you saying that Draco and Crouch Jr. were more skilled/powerful than Snape?

The Carrows seemed to have free range in their classes and with discipline, torturing first years under the guise of "learning", and chaining students to walls and hurting them. How can that be worse? Remember that Voldemort seemed to have the idea to convert and recruit the students, not kill them off, so the fact that students didn't die at Hogwarts isn't down to Snape doing anything.
Voldemort didn't seem to have a problem killing people, or having them killed, to make an example of them, IMO. I'd say that the half-blood students would have been in particular danger from that happening to them, since Voldemort was using pure-blood supremacy ideology to gain power. (And Voldemort was willing to kill all who continued to resist him if they didn't stop resisting him, at the end of DH.) And then there's the possibility of maiming. I think if the students could be converted rather than killed or maimed, Voldemort would prefer that, but I don't think he'd have really kicked up a fuss if a student was killed or maimed, now and then. I think Snape could have used Voldemort's preference for conversion as an excuse to curb the Carrows, but I think Snape could have gotten away with letting the Carrows make an example of a few students with killing and/or maiming, if he didn't care about the kids at all.

And Voldemort did check up on the school, now and then, as evidenced by the time Harry was in his brain while he was walking around Hogwarts after talking with Snape, so if the Carrows weren't actually torturing the kids to a certain degree, I think Voldemort would figure that out and become suspicious.

And the abuse could have been worse than it was, even assuming that killing or permanent maiming would have been off the table. In addition to what already went on: 1) The abuse that was already going on could have been even more frequent and/or even more intense. 2) There could have been sexual abuse. 3) There could have been food/water deprivation. 4) There could have been hard labor, like in some Victorian prisons. 4) Bathroom privileges could have been taken away, with a threat of punishment for going outside the bathroom. 5) There could have been maiming with non-Dark spells so that the students could be put back together/healed and maimed again and again. 6) They could be chained up and/or locked in a room and exposed to extremes in temperature, light, and noise, at random intervals. 7) They could be given hallucinogenic drugs that would give them nightmare trips.

And I'm sure I could think of more if I kept going. I've read/seen a lot of horror stories and dramas and whatnot, where worse happens than what happened at Hogwarts when Snape was Headmaster, even only counting the things where it was short of death or permanent maiming.

I think even if I were to discount authorial intent, I think it's at the very least possible that Snape did his best to curb the Carrows as much as could be done without blowing his cover, and did as good a job as could be done with the following caveat that if he could have he would have gotten it down to the amount of nastiness he got up to as the Potions Master and DADA Professor (or maybe even less nasty if he'd had some character growth that last year that we didn't get to see). Without looking at author intent, I think the lack of information about what went on behind the scenes at Hogwarts during Snape's time as Headmaster (we only got a scene or two) and given that we didn't get to see Snape's thoughts or the Carrows' thoughts, can make the subject very ambiguous. If I'm going to weigh the author's intent in my interp (which I'm inclined to do, esp. when the author does the "tell rather than show" thing), I find that I definitely side with "Snape did his best to curb the Carrows and did the best that could be done given the circumstances and caveat that he would have at least gotten it down to his own level of nastiness from previous years, if he could have".


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I prefer Severus/Lily in an AU, in a world where Snape makes better choices before it's too late, and they stay together forever. I support canon, I just want this parallel AU with Lily not losing her childhood friend and being hurt by that, and with Snape not screwing up his most important relationship and just generally wrecking his life, and with the friendship "upgrade" that certainly could have happened had Snape dialed down the awful choicemaking.
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  #1408  
Old April 22nd, 2014, 11:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I think it is important to remember that Snape loved Lily for his own selfish reasons. He became a Death Eater in spite of his love for Lily. That is a huge red flag. He didn't love Lily because he had the capability to recognize her kindness or her loyalty. He did not understand why she resented his falling in with the Death Eaters in school. He did not recognize her compassion, or how she stood up for those whom she cared about. Snape pretty much introduced her to the wizarding world and he enjoyed that feeling of superiority over her. He is very much like Voldemort that way. Voldemort accepted Snape despite being half-blood. Why? Because Snape, a veritable genius, idolized him. It's my opinion that Snape accepted Lily for the same reasons.

Look at how Snape and Voldemort treat Wormtail. Peter was full blood (as per Voldemort's criteria), an effective spy, and very loyal. Things that you think that would Voldemort and Snape both admire him and reward him. Yet both men treat Wormtail contemptuously? Why? Because he is an idiot? The fact is it's not nearly so flattering to have someone slavishly fall at your feet. It's much more flattering and adrenalizing to have someone smart and competent extoll your "virtues". Whatever you think they may be. Dumbledore, for instance, flatters Voldemort by seeing him as a threat. Voldemort likes to see his enemies quake but much more so when a quality wizard like Dumbledore finds him menacing. It's called Narcissistic Supply. Snape provided it with Voldemort so Voldemort accepted him. Lily provided it for Snape and thus he accepted her. He could not come to grips with the fact that Lily no longer idolized him. He could not see what she saw in James or the Marauders, he could not understand her not liking his friends, and so he just chose to ignore her pleas. He assumed that she would always like him, no matter what. The truth was that he lost Lily all on his own, long before Voldemort killed her.


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Old April 22nd, 2014, 11:49 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

When do we ever see Lily idolizing Snape though? It seems to be a pretty equal friendship, not really comparable to the relationship between Snape and Voldemort IMO.

Also, Peter wasn't loyal at all, he would serve whomever was the most powerful person in the country. Voldemort knew this very well. I also wouldn't say he was an idiot at all. He manage to fake his own death and hide in plain sight for 13 years. He was a coward but he wasn't an idiot, IMO.


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Old April 23rd, 2014, 12:04 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I think it is important to remember that Snape loved Lily for his own selfish reasons.
I think I agree with your analysis of Snape's motives in general, but... I'm not sure anyone loves anyone else without at least one selfish reason or two. (I just think that while Snape's feelings led him down a lot of bad roads, I'm not sure it's really fair to say that he loved Lily for the wrong reasons.)


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Old April 23rd, 2014, 12:43 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

On the contrary, I believe we can say that Snape loved Lily for the wrong reasons. He certainly did not empathize with her mudblood status. He hated his own mudblood status and his friendship with Lily never changed that. Not once. He certainly had no care or respect for her opinions concerning his new friends. He very much treated her as lesser for the entire length of their relationship. He relished introducing her to the wizard world. She had many admirable qualities to be sure, like brains and beauty, but the stuff that made her who she was, her thoughts, opinions, and feelings, did not mean very much to him.

ETA: Certainly there is a selfishness that many people develop when they love someone. The point is that there was not an equal friendship. There was not an equal friendship between Snape and Voldemort. But Snape, because he was brilliant, was worthy to be Voldemort's go-to guy.


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Old April 23rd, 2014, 3:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I think it is important to remember that Snape loved Lily for his own selfish reasons. He became a Death Eater in spite of his love for Lily. That is a huge red flag. He didn't love Lily because he had the capability to recognize her kindness or her loyalty. He did not understand why she resented his falling in with the Death Eaters in school. He did not recognize her compassion, or how she stood up for those whom she cared about. Snape pretty much introduced her to the wizarding world and he enjoyed that feeling of superiority over her. He is very much like Voldemort that way. Voldemort accepted Snape despite being half-blood. Why? Because Snape, a veritable genius, idolized him. It's my opinion that Snape accepted Lily for the same reasons.

Look at how Snape and Voldemort treat Wormtail. Peter was full blood (as per Voldemort's criteria), an effective spy, and very loyal. Things that you think that would Voldemort and Snape both admire him and reward him. Yet both men treat Wormtail contemptuously? Why? Because he is an idiot? The fact is it's not nearly so flattering to have someone slavishly fall at your feet. It's much more flattering and adrenalizing to have someone smart and competent extoll your "virtues". Whatever you think they may be. Dumbledore, for instance, flatters Voldemort by seeing him as a threat. Voldemort likes to see his enemies quake but much more so when a quality wizard like Dumbledore finds him menacing. It's called Narcissistic Supply. Snape provided it with Voldemort so Voldemort accepted him. Lily provided it for Snape and thus he accepted her. He could not come to grips with the fact that Lily no longer idolized him. He could not see what she saw in James or the Marauders, he could not understand her not liking his friends, and so he just chose to ignore her pleas. He assumed that she would always like him, no matter what. The truth was that he lost Lily all on his own, long before Voldemort killed her.
A lot of this is debatable, for one, since we don't get to see inside Snape's head to know what he's really thinking. And while I agree that Snape lost Lily as a friend because of his own wrongheaded actions, I disagree that Snape only loved her in such a shallow way, and didn't recognize or value any of her goodness.

First of all, when they were kids and Snape was telling Lily about Azkaban and the Dementors and she expressed worry about them, he told her she didn't have to worry because Azkaban was for bad people and she was too good. (The word he said after "too" was cut off, but I think "good" makes the most sense.) And Snape seemed to consider good to be a high compliment (although one he was too embarrassed to pay) as he blushed and tore leaves after almost saying it. And although Snape seemed to have trouble understanding why Lily would care so much about Petunia, since Petunia was mean to him and he had some anti-Muggle prejudice going on, IMO, he did seem to understand that Lily was good and did seem to value that goodness, IMO.

Second, if Snape cared about Lily idolizing him above all else, then he would have told her that being Muggle-born did make a difference and that she should stick with him and he would make an exception for her and then it would be all right. If he was totally selfish in the manner you describe, I see no motivation for him telling her that being Muggle-born didn't matter, seeing as she was totally ignorant and he could have told her that it did and she would have been none the wiser (until she had more life experience, but I don't think he'd have thought of that, if he was inclined to keep her under his thumb and didn't care at all about her feelings or goodness).

Third, although Snape had anti-Muggle prejudice against Petunia and didn't like her for other reasons, IMO, he did stop himself from saying "She's only a Muggle" on the train, when Lily was upset about Petunia rejecting her. I think Lily had apparently made her feelings about why she cared about Petunia clear, and Snape at least seemed to care enough about Lily's feelings, even if he didn't fully understand them, to not want to upset her more. (And I think he may have been reconsidering the notion that it was being Muggle that was Petunia's problem. Maybe. Not that that stopped him from being blinded by the power that the DE crowd offered, if I'm right.)

Fourth, although JKR did say that Snape never really understood Lily's aversion to Mulciber and Avery and the DEs because he was blinded by his desire for power (which is not to say that he didn't understand at all, only that his desire for power was blinding him to understanding totally), when talking about why teen Snape didn't give them [and the DE dream] up for Lily, JKR followed that up by saying that if Snape could live his life over he wouldn't have become a DE. Snape got why Lily resented his desire to be a DE when he was older, after the Heel Face Turn/deciding to turn traitor to the DEs/Voldemort. And if Snape never saw why the DEs/Voldemort were bad news, then he wouldn't have gone to Dumbledore and turned traitor to begin with. Snape finally came to his senses about power not being worth all he thought it was, when Lily's life was directly and immediately threatened, IMO.

Also, Snape did seem to come to value human life in general, at some point after his Heel Face Turn, since he told Dumbledore that he no longer watched people die whom he could save, in TPT. If Snape had been a true sociopath like Voldemort, he would have only cared about his own death.

Regarding how Snape felt about Lily's feelings towards James and the Marauders (whom she was not friends with, at the time, and whom she didn't like as people with the possible exception of Remus, although she didn't hate them and saw some redeeming qualities, from what I understand), Snape expressed worry that she'd be made a fool of and became incensed at the idea that James could be a real hero, which indicates to me that Snape saw value in being a real hero and couldn't imagine someone he hated as much as James (who'd bullied him so much) being one. And Lily let it be known that although she was giving James credit for saving Snape, she still thought James was an arrogant toe-rag, at the same time. And I got the impression that Snape couldn't believe that James had really changed, later on, either, and that was due to Snape thinking it impossible that James could be good, rather than not valuing good at all, to begin with.

And while Lily seemed to admire Snape and think highly of him in some ways (and I think he enjoyed that kind of attention, although I don't think he saw himself as really superior to her other than recognizing that certain segments of society would see it that way), she wasn't afraid to call him out when he did something she felt crossed the line, so I wouldn't say she idolized him. I agree with Sereena that they had "a pretty equal friendship, not really comparable to the relationship between Snape and Voldemort IMO", although rather than "equal", I'd use the word "genuine", since there was dysfunction with Snape having his priorities out of whack regarding his desire for power and how that interfered with his friendship with Lily and her safety.

Also, Voldemort said flat out in the books that he knew that Wormtail only came back to him because Wormtail was a coward and had no where else to go. Voldemort knew that Wormtail wasn't truly loyal. Not that Voldemort had true loyalty to anyone, regardless of how loyal they were to him.

As for Snape and Wormtail, Wormtail was the spy who foiled Snape's plan to save Lily's life and was the one to actually betray the Potter's, so I think of course Snape isn't going to want to treat Wormtail well! Snape himself was not loyal to Voldemort (after his Heel Face Turn) and was working against him, so of course he's not going to value Wormtail being loyal to Voldemort (in whatever capacity), or Wormtail's effective spying (seeing as said effective spying helped get Lily killed). Also, Wormtail participated in or at least cheerleaded the bullying of Snape in school and was part of the Marauders, and Snape tends to hold grudges and not like any Marauders. I'm sure Snape would have treated Wormtail worse, if he could have gotten away with it and not blown his cover.

Finally, it's been pointed out by Harry in the books and by JKR in interviews, that unlike Voldemort, Snape has capacity for love, which Voldemort doesn't understand. JKR lists Snape's ability to love (along with his bravery) as reasons she likes him, even though she also wants to smack him (for the spitefulness, bitterness and bullying he engaged in). JKR has listed Snape's love for Lily and loyalty to it as being a redeeming feature, and the kind of redeeming feature that she values above all else (along with the bravery). I don't believe JKR would value the kind of love you're claiming Snape had, to that extent.

In conclusion, I think Snape valued goodness, he just had competing desires that he allowed to lead him away from goodness, to a certain extent and at certain times. He's morally ambiguous, IMO. He's no Lily, but he's no Voldemort, either.

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On the contrary, I believe we can say that Snape loved Lily for the wrong reasons. He certainly did not empathize with her mudblood status. He hated his own mudblood status and his friendship with Lily never changed that. Not once.
Snape was half-blood, not Muggle-born, and only Muggle-borns were called Mudblood, by the way.

And, Snape seemed to not be a true believer in pure-blood supremacy, after meeting Lily and seeing she had loads of power and thinking that implication over (as evidenced by him telling her that being Muggle-born didn't matter, after pausing to think it over), so it seems that his friendship with Lily did change his initial "true believer in pure-blood supremacy" status, IMO, although he clearly desired social power, as well, and wound up (at least) going along with pure-blood supremacy in the quest of gaining power, IMO. And finally, Snape refused to go along with pure-blood supremacy when he could get away with defying it, after his Heel Face Turn, as evidenced by him yelling at Phinneas Nigellus Black's portrait not to use the word Mudblood in reference to Hermione (and he didn't even like Hermione, personally), IMO.

I also think it's noteworthy, that unlike Voldemort, who changed his name because he couldn't bear to keep his Muggle father's name, Snape kept his Muggle father's name and privately dubbed himself (or at least privately used the nickname, possibly given by his mother, perhaps) the Half-Blood Prince, which at least recognized his half-blood status. Granted, that moniker seemed to say "I may be half-blood, but I'm at least half a Prince" (because he did value social power), but it's not like Snape used it after his Heel Face Turn, other than to tell Harry that he was the Half-Blood Prince of the Potion book Harry had been lifting spells and potions improvements out of.


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I prefer Severus/Lily in an AU, in a world where Snape makes better choices before it's too late, and they stay together forever. I support canon, I just want this parallel AU with Lily not losing her childhood friend and being hurt by that, and with Snape not screwing up his most important relationship and just generally wrecking his life, and with the friendship "upgrade" that certainly could have happened had Snape dialed down the awful choicemaking.

Last edited by sailorlum; April 23rd, 2014 at 10:07 pm. Reason: fixed a typo, fixed another typo
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  #1413  
Old April 24th, 2014, 6:53 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by sailorlum View Post

Voldemort didn't seem to have a problem killing people, or having them killed, to make an example of them, IMO. I'd say that the half-blood students would have been in particular danger from that happening to them, since Voldemort was using pure-blood supremacy ideology to gain power.
I don't think that half-bloods would have made it into Hogwarts in DH. Weren't the DE's even rounding up adult half-bloods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorlum
And Voldemort did check up on the school, now and then, as evidenced by the time Harry was in his brain while he was walking around Hogwarts after talking with Snape, so if the Carrows weren't actually torturing the kids to a certain degree, I think Voldemort would figure that out and become suspicious.
When Harry sees Voldemort walking the grounds with Snape, it's after he's broken into Dumbledore's tomb to get the Elder Wand. And after that Voldemort is pretty much obsessed with checking on his horcruxes, and I think that checking on the school would be pretty far down on his list.

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Originally Posted by sailorlum
I think even if I were to discount authorial intent, I think it's at the very least possible that Snape did his best to curb the Carrows as much as could be done without blowing his cover, and did as good a job as could be done with the following caveat that if he could have he would have gotten it down to the amount of nastiness he got up to as the Potions Master and DADA Professor (or maybe even less nasty if he'd had some character growth that last year that we didn't get to see). Without looking at author intent, I think the lack of information about what went on behind the scenes at Hogwarts during Snape's time as Headmaster (we only got a scene or two) and given that we didn't get to see Snape's thoughts or the Carrows' thoughts, can make the subject very ambiguous. If I'm going to weigh the author's intent in my interp (which I'm inclined to do, esp. when the author does the "tell rather than show" thing), I find that I definitely side with "Snape did his best to curb the Carrows and did the best that could be done given the circumstances and caveat that he would have at least gotten it down to his own level of nastiness from previous years, if he could have".
I'm not sure how one can "side with Snape" that he did his best to curb the Carrows, when we learn from Neville that everything short of death is happening to students, especially first years. The thing is, although Snape sent Ginny & company to Hagrid's trip to the forest, that's an isolated incident where it was down to Snape to set the punishment. But from what Neville reports to the trio, there doesn't seem to be the tiniest bit of intervention by Snape. And while not in the books, we have JKR answering a fan's question, saying that Snape stayed the same bitter mean person through the end of the series, and that had he not loved Lily that Snape would not have cared whatsoever about Harry's safety. And as none of the other students were connected to Lily, Snape would have no interest in helping them, either.


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  #1414  
Old April 24th, 2014, 12:12 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
The thing is, although Snape sent Ginny & company to Hagrid's trip to the forest, that's an isolated incident where it was down to Snape to set the punishment. But from what Neville reports to the trio, there doesn't seem to be the tiniest bit of intervention by Snape.
As there isn't any intervention by Dumbledore when the teachers give detentions or punish students. I don't think Dumbledore did anything about the fake Moody's treatment of Draco in GoF. We don't know what Snape can or can't do as the Headmaster withous raising suspicions. Especially considering how much of jealousy and internal fight is there between the Death Eaters.


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And while not in the books, we have JKR answering a fan's question, saying that Snape stayed the same bitter mean person through the end of the series, and that had he not loved Lily that Snape would not have cared whatsoever about Harry's safety.
Precisely, it isn't in the books, so as a reader I can just ignore this opinion.


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Old April 24th, 2014, 3:41 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I don't think that half-bloods would have made it into Hogwarts in DH. Weren't the DE's even rounding up adult half-bloods?
Half-bloods were allowed, it's just Muggle-borns that weren't. (McGonagall and Seamus Finnigan were both half-bloods, and allowed to teach and attend Hogwarts, respectively, during the time of DH.) And Snape was a half-blood, of course, and allowed to be the Headmaster (granted, I suspect Snape was passing as pure-blood to a great many people, but I think Voldemort would have known his true blood-status, if my suspicion is right).

The half-bloods who were rounded up were ones who didn't have sufficient proof of their wizarding ancestry, like Dean Thomas, who was actually a half-blood but had Muggle-born blood status.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
When Harry sees Voldemort walking the grounds with Snape, it's after he's broken into Dumbledore's tomb to get the Elder Wand. And after that Voldemort is pretty much obsessed with checking on his horcruxes, and I think that checking on the school would be pretty far down on his list.
Voldemort could have been checking up on the school before that (and it's not like he just got the Elder Wand and left, he did take some time to touch base with Snape). And it's not like Snape knew about the Horcruxes and Voldemort's distraction due to them, nor is it like Snape knew when Voldemort would pop in next for whatever reason. There was nothing stopping Voldemort from having a random visit for whatever reason, and Snape wasn't privy to all that went on in Voldemort's head. Better safe than sorry, I think.

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Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I'm not sure how one can "side with Snape" that he did his best to curb the Carrows, when we learn from Neville that everything short of death is happening to students, especially first years. ...
Well, first of all, I said that I sided with "Snape did his best to curb the Carrows and did the best that could be done given the circumstances and caveat that he would have at least gotten it down to his own level of nastiness from previous years, if he could have", as in I was siding with that theory/interp, rather than with Snape himself. If my theory/interp is right, then I suppose I "side with Snape" on this particular issue to a certain extent, given the caveat that he would have likely only gotten it down to his own level of nastiness, if he could have.

Regarding "we learn from Neville that everything short of death is happening to students, especially first years", the "everything short of death" and "especially first years" parts are your interp, which other readers may or may not share.

For one, a first-year was only mentioned specifically once (as being chained up) (I did a search with my Kindle edition of DH to double check), so it doesn't seem very apt to me to say "especially first years". First-years (or at least one) were obviously included, but there was no "especially" to it. Unless you meant, "especially since first-years were also being tortured", in which case it is still not impossible that Snape did all he could do and/or all that could be done, and I think it likely he did do all he could do/all that could be done for the reasons I've mentioned previously, above and below.

For another, Neville said that there was torture (listing it as "a bit of torture" for those with pure blood, and "quite badly tortured" for Micheal Corner when he let the chained up first-year go), and there was evidence of some beating and some skin gouging on Neville (although he didn't seem like he was just short of dying, IMO), but "torture" (and even "badly tortured") doesn't automatically mean "everything short of death". There are degrees of torture, just as their are degrees of pain, and degrees of life endangerment. No maiming (as in "permanent loss of limb or a bodily function") were ever revealed to have occurred and nothing in this list I listed earlier here was ever mentioned as having happened, either, and it's still possible for 1) The abuse that was already going on could have been even more frequent and/or even more intense. Regarding frequency, Ginny and crew could have been chucked to the Carrows and a loyal DE Headmaster could have used the portraits in the castle to catch the other teachers not sending the students to the Carrows and had them sent to the Carrows anyway, and furthermore had the Carrows punish the teachers who didn't send the students to the Carrows. Regarding intensity, the Carrows could have done the Cruciatus on the students themselves, rather than having other students do it (I bet they are better at it than even the meanest students), or they could have added anything from my list to the torture repartee or just cranked it up a notch from whatever they were doing (even harsher beating and gouging, perhaps).

Also, I think the students not being killed is better than them being killed, so even if that's all Snape could do, that's better than nothing, and it's not impossible that's all he could do. I don't think there's enough information to make a firm judgement, without considering authorial intent, which we apparently disagree on, from what I gather (correct me if I'm wrong on you thinking JKR intended for her readers to come away thinking Snape didn't try his best or even try at all to blunt the worst of the Carrows).

In addition, now that I think of it, portrait Dumbledore was in the school and had the ability to travel to other portraits and see what was going on and portrait Dumbledore was there for advice and wasn't seen criticizing Snape for his handling of the Carrows, so I think that's some more textual and meta textual evidence of Snape doing all that could be done, since portrait Dumbledore appeared to not have a problem with the way Snape was handling the school, IMO.

And even if Snape were as morally good as McGonagall and as clever as Dumbledore, I'd say that even the most competent and well meaning people can only do so much and sometimes really bad stuff can happen even with those people at the helm (like what happened in OotP when Dumbledore was ousted and Umbridge succeeded in taking over the school...it's not like Fudge and Umbridge were smarter than Dumbledore, they just managed to get the upper hand due to circumstances). At the very least, it's possible that Snape did the best he could do/could be done, IMO. If you don't want to give Snape the benefit of the doubt, and would prefer to give him the opposite of that, then that's your prerogative, but it's not the only option, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
...The thing is, although Snape sent Ginny & company to Hagrid's trip to the forest, that's an isolated incident where it was down to Snape to set the punishment. But from what Neville reports to the trio, there doesn't seem to be the tiniest bit of intervention by Snape. And while not in the books, we have JKR answering a fan's question, saying that Snape stayed the same bitter mean person through the end of the series, and that had he not loved Lily that Snape would not have cared whatsoever about Harry's safety. And as none of the other students were connected to Lily, Snape would have no interest in helping them, either.
Whether the thing with Ginny and crew was an isolated incident or not, that is inconsequential, I think, given that if your interp is right, and Snape would have no interest in helping anyone other than Harry (due solely to Harry being connected with Lily), then Snape would have had no motivation for not simply handing Ginny and crew over to the Carrows. Why bother to think of a detention himself, if he could just hand them over to the people who were supposed to be in charge of that anyway, if he didn't care about helping anyone other than Harry?

Also, again, Snape cannot seem to be intervening on behalf of the students with the Carrows, for both in-world mission reasons, and for meta plot reasons, IMO. I think the clue that "all is not as it seems" before TPT, is that Snape sent Ginny and crew to detention with Hagrid, rather than the Carrows, and after TPT, that JKR had Dumbledore make such a big deal about Snape needing to stay in Voldemort's good graces in order to blunt the worst of the Carrows. Dumbledore didn't say he expected Snape to stop the Carrows completely.

Furthermore, what JKR actually said was (in chronological order):

Quote:
"Greta, 8: If Snape didn't love Lily, would he have still tried to protect Harry?
JKR: No. He Definitely wouldn't have done. He wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened to this boy." (Today Show (NBC) , 26 July 2007)

“JKR: I knew from the beginning what Snape was. Do I think he’s a hero? To a point, I do, but he’s not an unequivocally good character. Snape is a complicated man. He’s bitter. He’s … spiteful. He’s a bully. All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book. But was he brave? Yes, immensely. Was he capable of love? Very definitely. So he’s— he’s a very— he was a flawed human being, like all of us. Harry forgives him—- as we know, from the epilogue, Harry— Harry really sees the good in Snape ultimately. I wanted there to be redemption and I wanted there to be forgiveness. And Harry forgives, even knowing that until the end Snape loathed him unjustifiably. It’s totally, totally unfair that he loathes him so much but anyway.” (Dateline (NBC) , 29 July 2007)

“Lechicaneuronline: Do you think snape is a hero
J.K. Rowling: Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps. He is not a particularly likeable man in many ways. He remains rather cruel, a bully, riddled with bitterness and insecurity - and yet he loved, and showed loyalty to that love
J.K. Rowling: and, ultimately, laid down his life because of it. That’s pretty heroic!” (Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007)


“Q: Is Severus Snape's portrait in the headmaster's office?
JKR: ...I know Harry would have insisted that Snape's portrait was on that wall, right beside Dumbledore's. …And I was so heartened to see that people on the message boards that people were still arguing about Snape. The book was out, and they were still arguing whether Snape was a good guy But that was really wonderful to me, because there’s a question there, was Snape a good guy or not? In many ways he really wasn’t. So I haven’t been deliberately misleading everyone all this time, when I say that he’s a good guy. Because even though he did love and he loved very deeply and he was very brave, both qualities that I admire above anything else. He was bitter and he was vindictive… but right at the very very end, he did, as your question acknowledges, acheive a kind of peace together and I tried to show that in the epilogue.” (Carnegie Hall, October 20, 2007)"
I think it's important to consider all the quotes together, and with the text, and to consider what the last word on the subject was, so considering all of that together....

In the first quote, I think JKR simply means that without his love of Lily to motivate his Heel Face Turn in general, and to motivate him to protect Harry in particular, Snape wouldn't have cared at all about Harry. This is not to say that Snape (after his Heel Face Turn at some point) only cared about saving Harry's life and no one else's, nor that he necessarily wouldn't care about protecting students from greater harm that he would do them, since Snape did at least have enough character growth after/inspired by his Heel Face Turn to no longer watch people die whom he could save.

And JKR didn't say that Snape "stayed the same bitter mean person through the end of the series". She said he remained rather bitter, cruel, a bully, riddled with insecurity, but not that he stayed at the same level of that throughout the whole series or through the end, because she says "until the end" and "until the very very end" Snape remained that way and loathed Harry, but at the very very end made a kind of peace [with Harry], so Snape must have had some last minute epiphanies, I figure. And Professor Snape had some positive character growth beyond loyal DE Snape, since there was redemption for Snape according to JKR, and you can't have redemption without redeeming qualities and a rise from previous levels of badness (as evidenced by Snape saying he no longer watched anyone die whom he could save, and Snape yelling at Phinneas Nigellus Black not to use the word Mudblood, for instance).

Therefore, I think, when JKR says in the second quote that "All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book. " I think she must mean that of the Snape we see throughout the bulk of the book, i.e. Professor Snape (and Headmaster Snape until the very very end), and that still doesn't mean that Professor Snape is as bad as DE Snape, since there are degrees of being spiteful and a bully and whatnot, and Snape showed at least some character growth beyond his loyal DE days, after his Heel Face Turn.

---
Finally, here's a thought experiment: Take whatever character you think is the most moral and clever/competent and pretend they are in the same situation and the same thing happened with the Carrows (they got the same result). Would you see it as a sign that they weren't as moral and/or clever/competent as you thought, or would you give them the benefit of the doubt that it was the best that could be done, because of their good reputation?

(I do not see Snape as the most moral and clever/competent character in the books, by the way. Not even close on the moral, he's like in the middle, IMO. I just see him as less bad than the Carrows, and capable of wanting to blunt the worst of what they'd do, and for meta reasons*, think he was able to do the best that could be done/blunt the worst of them, and it would have been somehow even worse if he hadn't been there.)

*-Meta reason 1) Dumbledore making a big deal of Snape needing to stay in Voldemort's good graces to blunt the worst of the Carrows, in the "Snape's Dumbledore's man after all" segment of TPT
-Meta reason 2) Portrait Dumbledore voicing no complaints about how Snape was handling the Carrows
- Meta reason 3) Evidence of Snape having at least some positive character growth from his loyal DE days in the text, and JKR confirming that Snape had redemption, since that makes the character growth necessary for him to want to blunt the worst of the Carrows, possible, IMO


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I prefer Severus/Lily in an AU, in a world where Snape makes better choices before it's too late, and they stay together forever. I support canon, I just want this parallel AU with Lily not losing her childhood friend and being hurt by that, and with Snape not screwing up his most important relationship and just generally wrecking his life, and with the friendship "upgrade" that certainly could have happened had Snape dialed down the awful choicemaking.

Last edited by sailorlum; April 24th, 2014 at 4:08 pm. Reason: added a clarifier "according to JKR" after "since there was redemption for Snape"
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  #1416  
Old November 21st, 2014, 6:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Just did my first reread of the series since DH came out.

One of the things that struck me this time was the tragedy of the Harry/Snape relationship.

If Snape had been able to see past Harry resemblance to James, and Harry's Quidditch skills. If Snape could have seen Harry as his own person, or as Lily's son they could have had a very special relationship.

Harry was basically starving for adult approval and mentors. He quickly forms strong bonds with any adult who is genuinely kind to him. Look at his relationships with Hagrid, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, etc.

Snape had the chance to really see that a very real and meaningful part of Lily lived on in Harry. But he squandered that, while he worked valiantly for Lily's memory, and to honor her sacrifice, I don't think he really ever understood what Harry was. Maybe, maybe at the very end, but in true Snape fashion only after it was to late.


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  #1417  
Old November 21st, 2014, 7:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Blackcatsmeow View Post
Just did my first reread of the series since DH came out.

One of the things that struck me this time was the tragedy of the Harry/Snape relationship.

If Snape had been able to see past Harry resemblance to James, and Harry's Quidditch skills. If Snape could have seen Harry as his own person, or as Lily's son they could have had a very special relationship.

Harry was basically starving for adult approval and mentors. He quickly forms strong bonds with any adult who is genuinely kind to him. Look at his relationships with Hagrid, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, etc.

Snape had the chance to really see that a very real and meaningful part of Lily lived on in Harry. But he squandered that, while he worked valiantly for Lily's memory, and to honor her sacrifice, I don't think he really ever understood what Harry was. Maybe, maybe at the very end, but in true Snape fashion only after it was to late.
Agreed, but the relationship was doomed from the beginning when Harry looked at Snape and his scar hurt and he grimaced, leading Snape to think Harry hated him already.


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  #1418  
Old November 21st, 2014, 11:48 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I don't think it was Harry's grimace. I think it was that he looked like James, and was sorted into Gryfindor. Followed quickly by becoming the youngest Seeker in a century.


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Old November 22nd, 2014, 1:40 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Blackcatsmeow View Post
I don't think it was Harry's grimace. I think it was that he looked like James, and was sorted into Gryfindor. Followed quickly by becoming the youngest Seeker in a century.
Well, the expression was probably one that Snape saw frequently on James's face!


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  #1420  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 6:32 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Sailorum
Regarding "we learn from Neville that everything short of death is happening to students, especially first years", the "everything short of death" and "especially first years" parts are your interp, which other readers may or may not share.

For one, a first-year was only mentioned specifically once (as being chained up) (I did a search with my Kindle edition of DH to double check), so it doesn't seem very apt to me to say "especially first years". First-years (or at least one) were obviously included, but there was no "especially" to it. Unless you meant, "especially since first-years were also being tortured",
I don't see any reason to hammer away at semantics, since as you note, we are all expressing our interpretation of the books. However, since we have Neville saying that the Carrows "don't want to spill too much pure blood" and thus wouldn't kill him, it's still saying a lot since they beat up/torture pure bloods, and require in Dark Arts that students practice the Cruciatus curse on those who've gotten detentions, how safe then are half-bloods? In my view, the only time Snape appeared to intervene with the Carrows' sadistic methods was when he gave out the punishment when Neville & Ginny tried to steal the sword, where punishment with Hagrid was a safe haven. But otherwise there's no indication that Snape tried to mitigate any of the torture meted out on students by the Carrows.

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
Well, the expression was probably one that Snape saw frequently on James's face!
I think that's correct. Snape probably had no knowledge of the effects of Harry's scar at that point in time, and it was easy enough for Snape to misinterpret that. Plus Harry talked back to him in his first class.


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