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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3



 
 
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  #21  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 12:36 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
I myself find it very difficult to cast Snape in the role of a Byronic hero. For one thing Snape is neither charming or attractive to women and before I am jumped on, Snape is not Alan Rickman either. Alan Rickman is both charming and attractive and he is not Snape. Charm and attractiveness is part of the characteristics of the Byronic hero. Yellow teeth, greasy stringy hair and bad manners are not.
I think Snape fits the role of Byronic hero very well. Physical attractiveness is not a necessary attribute for a Byronic hero.

Jane Eyre
Description of Rochester,

"with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw—yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in squareness with his physiognomy”


For the record like, Minervascat I was also a fan of Snape long before Rickman was ever even cast in the role.



Last edited by TreacleTartlet; December 3rd, 2010 at 1:02 am.
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  #22  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 12:59 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

1. I thought Snape's soul was still intact after he killed Dumbledore. But,I didn't think that until I read DH.
2. I always thought Snape's mother loved him. She was just having a difficult time dressing him. His father played a role in this, either Tobias didn't supply Eileen with enough money to dress Snape properly, or Eileen dressed him inappopriately because she she was a pure-blood witch and she wasn't aware of how muggles dressed.
3. I realised he had very high standards for his students to follow, however, I don't appreciate how he treated Harry, Neville, and even Hermione. Teachers could be firm but fair. He didn't have to be so nasty.
4. As for Snape's relationship with Dumbledore, I thought Snape looked up to Dumbledore, but not as a father-figure. Rather, I think he admired him, up to a point. Dumbledore had lived a long time, he knew a lot of magic and I think Snape admired him for that. Having Lupin, Sirius and Harry showing up kind of push Snape's buttons and he regressed to what his childhood was like. Was this right? Not in my opinion.


  #23  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 3:04 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacleTartlet View Post
I think Snape fits the role of Byronic hero very well. Physical attractiveness is not a necessary attribute for a Byronic hero.

Jane Eyre
Description of Rochester,

"with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw—yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in squareness with his physiognomy”
Thank you for this.

Quote:
For the record like, Minervascat I was also a fan of Snape long before Rickman was ever even cast in the role.
Even though I saw the first couple of the movies before I read the books, it was book Snape that I found fascinating. IMO, with each book he became more and more interesting.


  #24  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 3:15 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

There is a thread in The Pensieve called: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero in which you can discuss whether or not this character is a Byronic Hero,

And Alan Rickman as Snape belongs in the movie threads, and I believe there is a social group dedicated to the topic.


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  #25  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 4:44 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Thanks, Morgoth for the new thread! And we got through an entire Snape thread without a single closure!

So now we're at what? The "Snape ate my hamster" version?

Anyway, since these are the same questions from the last version of the thread, I thought I'd be lazy (after a long day of bullying my students ) and give some slightly revised versions of the same answers I gave last time:

1. Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?

Yes. Slughorn’s comment about killing splitting the soul is made in the context of a discussion of murder. Not all killing is murder. Murder involves “malice aforethought.” Dumbledore’s death did not. In actuality, the killing was part of Dumbledore’s Elder Wand strategy imo.

Even if all killing – including killing done in the line of duty during a war - splits the soul, and even if Slughorn’s initial comment about murder should be collapsed into a discussion of killing in general (rather than a discussion of murder specifically), Snape was quite a reluctant killer. He argued with Dumbledore about the task as late as March 1996, and Dumbledore had to plead with him to accomplish it (“Severus, please”) three months later in June. I think we can infer from this that he would have had sufficient remorse to mend his soul even if killing Dumbledore had caused it to split.

Finally, it seems to me that Snape is at his best in his final year. We see none of his former petulance – another factor that indicates to me that his soul was not split. He got the Sword to Harry without so much as an argument. And he protected the students of Hogwarts as best he could under terrible circumstances that he did not control. I believe that he fulfilled his promise to Dumbledore.

2. Do you think Snape would have moved on if Lily had not died? Would he have turned to the good side in that case?

Snape had already turned to the good side before Lily died. He turned to the good side when he offered “anything” to Dumbledore on the windy hilltop. And to some extent, he “moved on” at that point – i.e., to the extent that in offering Dumbledore “anything,” he acknowledged that Lily would never belong to him. I think that in those circumstances, if Lily had not died, yes he would eventually have moved on emotionally and moved on professionally. But that could only take place after the threat to Lily was removed and Voldemort was defeated.

When Lily died, though, he lived a life of guilt and remorse and the perpetual penance of continuing his job of being a protector. The alternative I think (assuming he even survived Lily's death) was to stop caring about anything, and possibly relapse into the dark arts. Dumbledore’s prodding, however, helped him stop wishing for his own death and gave him new purpose in the wake of Lily’s death.

I do believe that to a large extent he “moved on” from Lily after Dumbledore revealed that a piece of Voldemort’s soul lived in Harry. Up to that point, he was protecting Harry for Lily’s sake. After that, the mission changed, and he was charged with doing something that he could not do for Lily’s sake. He did it anyway, and I believe he did it because he realized that it was the right thing to do.

At any rate, I guess for me question is not whether or not he would have turned to the good side if Lily had not died but whether he would have done so if she had never been threatened. I think he might have turned to the good side after suffering disillusionment on the dark path... and it's not hard to suffer disillusionment when you're in Voldemort's circle. Just ask the Malfoys! Anyway, it's pretty hard to tell what exactly he would have done had Lily never been threatened. But I applaud him for what he did do once she was.

3. How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?

Well, the revelations in DH were not a big surprise to me because (like lots of other fans) I anticipated them. For me, the biggest revelations were in GoF, OotP, and HBP. Consequently, the revelations in DH didn’t really have much impact on how I viewed Snape’s treatment of Harry and Neville during the series.

I have never liked his treatment of Harry and Neville, but I do think that some of it (though clearly not all, imo) was due to a need to present a credible story to Voldemort – whether from second hand reports or from being Legilimensed – when the Dark Lord returned.

I also think that part of his treatment of Neville stemmed from just outright frustration. Despite Neville's being a sweet kid who demonstrates later in the series that he totally rocks , I do think that he initially possessed some pretty intense learning disabilities (or an anxiety disorder) that rendered him incapable of functioning at level in most of his classes. Most professors, in my experience as a professor, don't do well with students who can't function in their class. I actually find it very strange that Snape seems to be the only professor on staff who experiences so much frustration with Neville. But I guess that's why they call it fiction!

4. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?

I think they were friendly. I don’t think they were close enough that Dumbledore would reveal his deepest personal secrets to him, but then, I don’t think Dumbledore revealed those secrets to anybody – Elphias Doge and Minerva McGonnagall included. But to the extent that Dumbledore, with all his secrets, was capable of having a friend, yes, I think they were friends. I think Snape clearly looked up to Dumbledore. And I do think Dumbledore became something of a surrogate father figure to this young man who never had much in the way of a father.

So I’d say it was a bit of both – friend and father. But I think it also went beyond that. I think Snape was Dumbledore’s protégé, and Dumbledore was Snape’s mentor. People wonder where a lot of Snape’s more unique skills come from. I think the most sensible explanation is that Dumbledore taught him what he needed to know to be successful in his mission. And speaking of the mission, I think that another dimension of their relationship is that they were collaborators, and colleagues.

Dumbledore was clearly in the superior position. He was Snape’s elder, his boss, his spymaster, and his general. But I think the two forged a strong bond.

5. Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?

It depends on which version of JKR’s take on Snape’s character we’re talking about!

But basically, sure if JKR tells me that the initial inspiration for Snape’s character was a chemistry teacher she hated in High School, I believe her. That’s an objective statement about character origins. If she tells me that he’s the only Death Eater who could cast a Patronus, sure I believe her. That’s an objective statement about the mechanisms of her story.

Where I have trouble is when she starts passing subjective judgments on her characters. If after reading the text, I arrive at the completely subjective judgment that Snape is a “deeply horrible person,” that’s my prerogative. But it is equally another reader’s prerogative to arrive at a completely different subjective judgment – particularly of a character so nuanced and deeply complex as Snape is.

So basically, I resist having an author (any author!) dictate the audience’s experience of the text and the audience’s experience of the characters. It is the audience’s job, I believe, to have whatever experience they are going to have, based upon the text itself. So I just don’t give much thought to JKR’s subjective opinions of her characters. Those opinions are based on her life experience and her way of looking at the world, not my life experience or my way of looking at the world.

6. Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?

Snape has a dark past, and he is not very nice, particularly to students from Gryffindor. For readers who equate goodness with niceness, that creates a big problem. Other readers see a deep goodness beneath the harsh exterior. These conflicting views of the character create controversy. Overall, I think JKR did a great job of painting a complex character who does not look like a hero but who is a hero, however flawed he may be. The disjunction between those flaws and his heroism is, I think, at the crux of the controversy.

Additionally, some readers have indicated that they were disappointed that Snape was not the villain they wanted him to be. Other readers foresaw (or were happy about) the DH revelations of his loyalties. This disjunction again creates controversy - largely about whether or not JKR made mistakes in drawing his character.

Finally, I think a lot of readers are unhappy that Snape gets so much fan attention when this is Harry Potter's story. Personally, I think Harry's and Snape's stories are inextricably intertwined and that the reason Snape gets so much attention is that he's just so well written (I think) from start to finish, and to many HP fans he is just an endlessly fascinating character. Not to mention that Harry gives him so much attention!

At any rate, I think there as many facets to the controversy as there are to Snape himself!

7. If you had to summarize Snape's character to someone who had never read the books what would you tell them?

I’d say he was a complex and deeply flawed hero with a dark past and a tragic life story who ultimately overcame his flaws and his dark past and made a major contribution to the defeat of Voldemort.

Oh, and btw, everything I just wrote is in reference to Book!Snape.


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  #26  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 7:37 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

[staff edit: ignoring in-thread]

I think what I like about Snape is how human he is. He is this person who made awful mistakes, learnt from them at a great cost, refused to justify those mistakes by saying he had a poor home life or that his only friend (Lily) left him forever. It's fans who at times try to delve deep into Snape's psyche to understand the whys and whats of who he was and see if various incidents that happened in his life had something to do what he became, like his childhood, Lily's friendship, her breaking away from him, his hanging out with the Slytherins, becoming a DE and then turning away from it all to become someone who Dumbledore trusted and someone who Harry felt was the bravest man he ever knew. Snape himself in the Books gives no indication that his childhood or that Lily in any way contributed to what he became and neither does he excuse his actions by saying that Lily left him high and dry and what was he to do.

For every single action of his Snape takes responsibility, from the Mudblood word he uttered to Lily in the SWM, to becoming a DE and then for handing over the Prophecy to Voldemort. Likewise it is his own insight that makes him understand that he has joined the wrong side and it is his soul that brings forth the strength from within to turn away from Voldemort and work against him.

He never in all his life imo felt he had made amends for his mistakes and I really, really like that about him; he never felt that he could actually make amends for his part in the Potters deaths. He did not think that something could be done to justify those actions. That makes him stand apart imo and in that too, I believe he was like Dumbledore.

Snape never justifies his mistakes in the Books. His memories are about incidents that took place in his life period. He leaves it to Harry to judge them and him. The reason I like the fact he could not justify his mistakes to himself, (in that he was like Dumbledore who cried after a hundred years for Ariana); is because I believe the pain in such instances, when one like Snape or Dumbledore truly regretted what they had been, imo never goes away. It did not for Snape and it did not for Dumbledore.


Quote:
But, the reason that I really love the character is his complexity.
I agree. There are so many layers to him that make him very interesting imo.


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Spotlight on Snape and Molly

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Last edited by Moriath; December 3rd, 2010 at 9:26 am.
  #27  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 8:47 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

[staff edit: ignoring in-thread]

I don't think he tried to make amends with Lily over the 'Mudblood' because he never said he was sorry for using the word, he was sorry he called her one. There is a gulf there in motives and Snape simply never saw it, but he was 15. I'm going to cut him a little slack. He offended Lily hugely, but he was only 15, What does he do when he is older? He had to be at least of age, 17-18 when he joined the Death Eaters. I think that in the interim Snape would have continued to hang out with the Death Eaters wanna be's in Slytherin and that would simply have confirmed to Lily that the friend she loved so much had died and a bigot was now in his place.
One of the thing that makes my feel like Snape is extremely morally grey is the fact that he does not change his allegiance to Voldemort till Dumbledore makes him. It is this flavour of coercion and Rowling's clarification that Snape would never have changed if Lily had not been targeted, that makes me look squinty eyed at Snape. I am not impressed all that much by the fact that he is supposed to have loved Lily all that time and did it all for her. He very likely did love her as far as he seems to have been able to love. I am simply not terribly impressed by that love. It smacks too much of obsession for me. I understand that others see him differently but I cannot.



Last edited by Moriath; December 3rd, 2010 at 9:25 am. Reason: spelling
  #28  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 9:22 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I've also wondered if he saw her almost smile during the time he was hanging upside down. Although the text seems to imply that his robes were covering his head, we don't know exactly where Lily was or whether he could see her from where he was suspended. If he could, and did see that, I would imagine he would have been deeply hurt. For his best friend to be amused at the things being done to him would have been a hard thing to take.
If he did see Lily's almost smile, I agree Snape would have been deeply hurt, even though by that time the friendship was almost over. I've wondered whether whether Snape the almost smile later in a Pensieve, even if he did not at that time.


Quote:
Posted by Eliza101
I don't think he tried to make amends with Lily over the 'Mudblood' because he never said he was sorry for using the word, he was sorry he called her one.
He did say Sorry.

DH - TPTThe scene changed…

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not interested.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Save your breath.”

It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

“I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here.”

“I was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just ---“


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  #29  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 9:30 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Just to be clear, if a moderator asks you to drop a subject and/or to discuss it elsewhere this does not mean that everyone should feel welcome to make a concluding statement and thereby continue the discussion. It means that you must drop the subject and/or discuss it elsewhere, effective immediately!


  #30  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 9:30 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGW
Snape himself in the Books gives no indication that his childhood or that Lily in any way contributed to what he became and neither does he excuse his actions by saying that Lily left him high and dry and what was he to do.

For every single action of his Snape takes responsibility, from the Mudblood word he uttered to Lily in the SWM, to becoming a DE and then for handing over the Prophecy to Voldemort. Likewise it is his own insight that makes him understand that he has joined the wrong side and it is his soul that brings forth the strength from within to turn away from Voldemort and work against him.

He never in all his life imo felt he had made amends for his mistakes and I really, really like that about him; he never felt that he could actually make amends for his part in the Potters deaths. He did not think that something could be done to justify those actions. That makes him stand apart imo and in that too, I believe he was like Dumbledore.
I think those are just excellent points. Snape makes a moral choice NOT to blame anyone for his predicament. Dumbledore is the only person he nearly blames because he feels he has been used under false pretenses to protect a boy who was doome to die - but that just sort of reinforces Snape's character as someone who almost always tells the truth and hates it when others don't. He has veracity - which is why JKR beats us over the head with the Veritaserum and Snape's similarity (eyes, nose) to the hippogriff who will attack someone who lies - but not in the same way that Umbridge does it.

Did you know the word or name "Griffin" literally and linguistically means "hooked nose" (from the Greek for "bird of prey"). So every time Harry is staring at Snape and his nose, Harry is actually staring at the symbol of his own house, LOL.

ETA: That's also rather funny in terms of the name "Griphook" - the goblin who wants the Sword of Gryffindor, but can't have it. Snape does carry the sword of Gryffindor at least as a steward of it, although he has to pass it to Harry and Ron so the real Gryffindors can use it, I guess.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; December 3rd, 2010 at 9:33 am.
  #31  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 12:55 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
If he did see Lily's almost smile, I agree Snape would have been deeply hurt, even though by that time the friendship was almost over. I've wondered whether whether Snape the almost smile later in a Pensieve, even if he did not at that time.




He did say Sorry.

DH - TPTThe scene changed…

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not interested.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Save your breath.”

It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

“I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here.”

“I was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just ---“
Yes, that was my point. He never meant to call Lily a Mudblood. He did not say,
'I would never call anybody a Mudblood. I was very upset.'

That was where he messed up IMO. Also when Snape says his famous
'Always' accompanied with his Patronus, I think it is made very clear that his only motive for his actions was his feelings for Lily. For some this is an entirely worthwhile motive, but I feel differently. For me it is a selfish motive that serves his feelings alone. I know I'm being tough on him but I think he's just not a nice man. He was brave but so was Macbeth.


  #32  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 1:23 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Intent isn't magical, and that goes for both parties in the stories.


  #33  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 1:34 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Can I just say that 'Snape ate my hamster' would be the best thread title ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krums_Girl View Post
4.)What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?

Neither, I think; I think Snape viewed Dumbledore with contempt because Dumbledore was making him throw his life away for some kid he didn't even like, and Dumbledore viewed Snape with perhaps a mixture of pity and disgust, for the reasons I stated in earlier questions.
I disagree with this. In The Prince's Tale, we see quite a few interactions between Dumbledore and Snape:

- We see Dumbledore back in 1981 react coldly and with disgust to Snape because it seems that Snape is only interested in saving Lily, and not James and Harry as well. And that is the only incident in the entirety of canon where we see Dumbledore react to Snape 'with disgust'.

- Once Snape is installed as a teacher at Hogwarts, we see Dumbledore mildly rebuke Snape for 'seeing what he wants to see' in eleven year old Harry.

- We see Dumbledore say to Snape that he is a braver man than Karkaroff.

- We see Snape react with exasperation, almost affection, when he reproaches Dumbledore for not coming to him for help when his hand was fatally poisoned by the Horcrux Ring.

- Dumbledore is moved to tears when he realises that Snape still loves Lily, or at least the memory of her, 'after all this time'.

So to my mind there is no evidence in canon that Snape and Dumbledore felt a mutual dislike/contempt for each other. I wouldn't argue that they had a friendship, nor am I convinced that Snape saw Dumbledore as a father figure ... but the text clearly shows that both men often interacted cordially and respectfully.

Dumbledore, to my mind, believed that Snape could be redeemed and placed a great deal of trust in him ... trust that was justified because Snape followed DD's orders very closely, right down to delivering the crucial information to Harry that would ensure Voldemort would be defeated.


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Old December 3rd, 2010, 2:19 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?
I don't think it was intact to start with, although Snape being concerned with it shows signs of growth.

I do not think Snape killing Dumbledore damaged Snape's soul, as his intention wasn't murder. Intent counts for a good deal in the Harry Potter universe, in my opinion. On the off chance that it did damage his soul in some way, remorse would heal it. Since I believe that Snape did care for Dumbledore, I think he would feel remorse for his actions in Dumbledore's death.

Quote:
Do you think Snape would have moved on if Lily had not died? Would he have turned to the good side in that case?
I think Snape thought he was getting what he wanted from being a Death Eater, so he would have just continued on being a Death Eater.

Quote:
How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
Before DH, I had thought Snape was actually sorry for the things he had done to people while a Death Eater-- but was just really, really bad at making ammends. After DH, the "for Lily" thing made it seem to me that he was really only sorry for himself, so I now see his treatment of Harry and Neville as much worse, because the intent behind it changed for me from someone who was bitter and grumpy and sorry, to someone who was bitter and grumpy and selfish. I've never liked his treatment of Harry. But if he was sorry for what he had done to Harry, at least his intent would have been good in my pre-DH view. It seems to me, from what was shown in DH, that Harry was just a means for Snape to make himself feel better about Lily.

Quote:
What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
I think Snape became a special project of Dumbledore's; Dumbledore became his moral mentor, and I think they grew fond of one another over time.

Quote:
Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?
I think Rowling knows her characters best, but whether she conveyed her intent successfully on page is up for the readers to decide. Truthfully, I've read all the books but not all the interviews, so I don't know whether her intent 100% matches my interpretation.

Quote:
Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?
Ambiguity. The things about Snape that can be interpreted several different ways have been Big Things, like morality and remorse. He did not become a clear cut figure in the end-- and it's not just that he exists in shades of grey (many characters do), it's that he exists in shades of mud.

Quote:
If you had to summarize Snape's character to someone who had never read the books what would you tell them?
"Read the books."


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"UNTIL THE VERY END"
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Last edited by OldMotherCrow; December 3rd, 2010 at 2:23 pm. Reason: clarity, I hope.
  #35  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 2:21 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krums_Girl View Post
Neither, I think; I think Snape viewed Dumbledore with contempt because Dumbledore was making him throw his life away for some kid he didn't even like, and Dumbledore viewed Snape with perhaps a mixture of pity and disgust, for the reasons I stated in earlier questions.
When Dumbledore gave him that charge, Snape did not believe he had a life. He wanted to be dead. Dumbledore's charge to protect the boy gave him reason to live.

As for Dumbledore's perspective:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albus_Dumbledore
"I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, that I have you, Severus."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliza
I think it is made very clear that his only motive for his actions was his feelings for Lily. For some this is an entirely worthwhile motive, but I feel differently.
And then, he goes on and carries out a mission that cannot be carried out for Lily's sake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliza
I know I'm being tough on him but I think he's just not a nice man. He was brave but so was Macbeth. He was brave but so was Macbeth.
Macbeth was a man who killed his way to the top and then found that he had to keep on killing. The only real difference between him and Voldemort, I think (aside from the magic), is that Voldemort seems to kill because he likes it. I honestly don't see that there's any comparison with Snape.


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Last edited by ccollinsmith; December 3rd, 2010 at 2:36 pm.
  #36  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 2:32 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

I absolutely LOVE this character. Severus is Jo's magnum opus. It's not hard to create a character that's loved, such as Harry or Dumbledore, any book series does it. It's just as easy to create a character that's universally hated, like Voldemort and Lucius. The truly hard part is creating a character that is equal parts loved and hated.

He armed Voldemort with the information used to kill Harry's parents, abused Harry and his friends emotionally, and was a truly hateable character in all available senses of the word.

On the other hand, he was a seriously complicated figure, one whose heart was torn apart when Lily died at his word, who still harbored an unrequited obsession. He couldn't ever get over the fact that his Lily had fallen into the hands of James, his enemy. It's an interesting form of vengeance that Jo exacts on Severus, in that the only reminder he can find of Lily is encased in James' exterior.

I'm not sure what it says about me, but I find that while I read the books from Harry's point of view, and see the scenes in my head from his eyes, it is he who was hated by Harry to whom I most relate.

See, as humans, we are not perfect. We are not good, and also not bad. We are good at times, and bad at times, and oftentimes must be satisfied with walking the middle road, as life is so complicated that we never really can figure out which is right or wrong. Each decision, for the most part, includes a little of each, because in this mixed up crazy world, there aren't any pure decisions to be made.

For example:

Snape's decision: Whether to join the death eaters or not.

At the age of eleven, or so, Severus got to Hogwarts with his lone friend, and was sorted into a house that was generally held in contempt by the other students. To make matters worse, his only friend was sorted into the practical opposite house, the natural, bitter rivals of his house. Additionally, she was sorted into the house of his biggest enemies, and became friends with them. As an 11 yr old, what is he supposed to do? Ignore the advances of his death-eater prefect Malfoy, who was well on his way to converting the other males in his year? We know that Avery, Mulciber and Dolohov, from Severus' year, were death eaters. The decision came down to acceptance, which is really all that matters to a young child, or ignorance, backlash, and the feeling of knowing you did the right thing. In severus' mind, he probably wasn't planning on joining Voldemort after school at that point, he was just looking for friends. A kid that age can't possibly be held responsible for his mistake, and yet... It was a mistake. Led to the deaths of Lily, James, and most certainly several others, including his own. A bad thing, but can you really blame him?


My thesis is that he was neither solely good, nor solely bad, but both at the same time, and also neither. It's a convoluted situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
Yes, that was my point. He never meant to call Lily a Mudblood. He did not say,
'I would never call anybody a Mudblood. I was very upset.'

That was where he messed up IMO. Also when Snape says his famous
'Always' accompanied with his Patronus, I think it is made very clear that his only motive for his actions was his feelings for Lily. For some this is an entirely worthwhile motive, but I feel differently. For me it is a selfish motive that serves his feelings alone. I know I'm being tough on him but I think he's just not a nice man. He was brave but so was Macbeth.
Are his motives relevant? Are anyone's motives pure at any time?


  #37  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 2:53 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Are his motives relevant? Are anyone's motives pure at any time?
In a character analysis thread? Of course motives are relevant! Especially when "intent matters" is a big theme of Harry Potter, in my opinion.


__________________
".... You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine."
I love Lily because she chooses a path to match her convictions, and chooses to live her life fighting for what is right. It is our choices that show who we truly are.

"UNTIL THE VERY END"
-- JK Rowling to Harry Potter fans at the beginning of Deathly Hallows, and James Potter to his son at the end of Deathly Hallows.
  #38  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 2:59 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow View Post
In a character analysis thread? Of course motives are relevant! Especially when "intent matters" is a big theme of Harry Potter, in my opinion.
Interesting... And, yet, Harry doesn't seem to begrudge Snape's bravery, which is a simple product of a rage built from Snape's providing information leading to death of Harry's mother.

Would you care to answer my second question, about whether anyone ever has pure motives or not?


  #39  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 3:12 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by giftedkid527 View Post
Interesting... And, yet, Harry doesn't seem to begrudge Snape's bravery, which is a simple product of a rage built from Snape's providing information leading to death of Harry's mother.
I don't think your description comes close to capturing Snape's motives within the timeline of the series, and especially not in the final year and a half.(And I think that's an additional reason for Harry's admiration of Snape, that he sees it the way I do).

First of all, I do not see any evidence of "rage" being the main emotion Snape feels over the death of Lily. Remorse, emotional pain, and deep sadness seem closer to the mark, as suggested by this passage:

DH, "The Prince's Tale"Harry stood in Dumbledore’s office, and something was making a terrible sound, like a wounded animal. Snape slumped forward in a chair and Dumbledore was standing over him, looking grim. After a moment or two, Snape raised his face, and he looked like a man who had lived a hundred years of misery since leaving the wild hilltop.


And second - later in the scene I cited, Snape agrees to help Albus protect Harry from Voldemort. ("For Lily"). Yet many, many actions undertaken by Snape later, within the main body of the series rather than flashbacks, go beyond that charge. These include actions I find pretty unambiguously good, which contribute to Voldemort's downfall and/or save lives, such as the killing of Dumbledore, the giving of his memories to Harry, the attempt to interfere with the killing of Lupin by a Death Eater, etc.

It seems to me that the threat to Lily was what it took to make Snape realize he had been making a serious mistake with his life, but that over time, he adopted the cause and motives of the side he served so loyally. So I do not find it odd that Harry found this worthy.


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  #40  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 3:19 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

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Originally Posted by giftedkid527 View Post
Interesting... And, yet, Harry doesn't seem to begrudge Snape's bravery, which is a simple product of a rage built from Snape's providing information leading to death of Harry's mother.
Sorry, you've lost me. Could you clarify what you mean, and how you feel this relates to the belief that motive doesn't matter, because I honestly don't understand what you are trying to say.

Quote:
Would you care to answer my second question, about whether anyone ever has pure motives or not?
Probably, just like I think it probable for someone to have completely "unpure" motives. I'd say the vast majority of people will have motives that are complex or somewhere in between, though. For example, Order members might have joined up to protect their family, friends, perfect strangers, Wizarding culture, the Muggle world, the sense of right, justice, truth, etc. They could have many motives, and probably do. I don't see how multiple or complex motives don't matter, though. All motives matter a great deal to me in the interpretation of Harry Potter, because I feel that "intent matters" is a major running theme of the series.


__________________
".... You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine."
I love Lily because she chooses a path to match her convictions, and chooses to live her life fighting for what is right. It is our choices that show who we truly are.

"UNTIL THE VERY END"
-- JK Rowling to Harry Potter fans at the beginning of Deathly Hallows, and James Potter to his son at the end of Deathly Hallows.
 
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