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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5



 
 
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  #81  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 7:19 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by Moriath View Post
In my view this makes him a victim of circumstance and absolves him of any responsibility for his actions. As I see it, his redemption arc wouldn't work at all in this scenario. If Snape never shared any of the Death Eaters' beliefs he couldn't have changed for the better, in my opinion.
I do think it's his fault, but I don't think he needed to share in their beliefs to cause what happened. I think that he acted as if he agreed with the Death Eaters. He went along with what they wanted. He probably terrorized mudbloods and the like, but I don't think he ever really believed in it.


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  #82  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 7:36 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ItsOnlyDallis View Post
The thing is though, that I'm not sure that Snape was really ever prejudiced against them. I think the fact that he is in love with Lily shows that. I think that the thing with Snape is that he grew up completely unloved. He had no body his entire life. When he got to Hogwarts, sure he had Lily, but they were in different houses, and Lily no doubt was very popular and has lots of friends herself. I feel that Snape probably ended up with the Death Eaters simply because they accepted him. I think he learned to play the role of a death eater, he learned to show hatred to them, maybe even to the point where he believed it himself. But deep down, I don't think he ever really meant it.
We get a few moments in TPT that show he does have some prejudice against Muggles and Muggleborns. He hesitates when Lily asks if it makes a difference that she's Muggleborn; he goes to say that Petunia is "only a Muggle" when Lily was crying over her; he calls every other Muggleborn a "mudblood", so much so that it's his knee-jerk insult to throw at Lily in his embarrassment... there might be others. Add that to his interest in the Dark Arts, too. There aren't many, but considering the amount of memories we got, that's actually quite a lot and I think it was deliberately there to show his transition over time.

Also, how exactly could one be a Death Eater without really believing, to any extent, the ideology? :/ That just... doesn't make any sense to me. It wasn't just an "I hate Mudbloods" club, it was a group of people bent on exterminating Muggleborns. That would make Snape seem very weak-willed and naive, and I don't think he was either of those. I think his story is far more poignant if he truly believed the ideology of the DEs and, over time, overcame it and became a better person as a result. I think that was the point off showing him telling of Phineas Nigellus for using the term "mudblood".


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  #83  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 9:36 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
Guys, here's another one to think about. Do you think Snape hated Voldemort? That he desired to revenge the death of Lily?
Yes, I think he absolutely hated Voldemort-not just because of Lily's death, but because of what he was doing, all the lives he was ripping apart...I got the impression in DH, when Charity Burbage was just about to be killed, the 'impassive' face Snape was wearing was the only thing he could safely manage without giving the game away; if he tried to jeer like the DEs were, I think he knew Voldemort would see through that at once. I believe the 'impassive' mask was hiding near uncontrollable, seething rage and hatred.

Just my interpretation.

Quote:
Another one I wondered about... what about McGonagall? I mean, obviously they have a wee fun moment in DH what with dueling and everything but... what about before that? Were they just rivals for show or did they generally hate each others guts? It was never really explained
I agree when others say that, of course, McGonnagall hated Snape after the death of Dumbledore (as is shown in the DH duel), before she knew the truth about him, but Snape never hated her. I think he enjoyed the almost tongue in cheek 'rivalry' that both participated in, and respected her highly. I think he would definitely be cheering her on silently whenever she had a conflict with Umbridge and I have no doubt that conversations in the Staff Room between them (particularly after a Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch match) would be-er-amusing, to say the least.


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  #84  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 10:50 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
:indyo you know what it refers to?
I thought it was a dog or goat at first but... yeah, I get it now.

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Originally Posted by SadiraSnape View Post

Personally I don't believe Snape ever killed directly (except for Dumbledore, at his request). That his actions resulted in the death of others, most definitely, and I think this was what appalled him the most. I believe he, as a 20 year old, didn't really realize what a deadly serious game he was playing by becoming a Death Eater. I think he equated it with aligning himself with powerful people who could help him become successful and, yes, powerful in the WW.
Yup, I agree with that. I think more than one person joined the D.Es and found the glory days were washed with blood. They got in and it seemed very glamorous until you got to the nitty gritty of it all.

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
I personally see little evidence that Snape had a deep-seated belief in the Death Eater cause. He was able to abandon it too readily for that. In my opinion, he thought the Death Eaters were his best hope for advancement and he opted for that route. Again, I don 't think that scenario negates but rather increases the necessity for redemption.
I don’t think there is any evidence, actually. I think part of his desire to rise up among the ranks was the fact he’d previously lived a life were he was the underling. He wanted to have some control. Kind of got that impression later on when he was teaching. It was as if he were taking advantage of his powers as a teacher and not exactly putting them to good use just because he could.


I think Snape and McGonagall were probably witty chums in the staff room. I don't think any of the teachers disliked each other particularly. I think it would be quite funny, those two squabbling over the little orthodox methods of booking the quidditch pitch for practice or trying to win the house cup. McGonagall was obviously far better behaved as a teacher but I can see her easily dishing out points to Hermoine for answering questions after learning Snape has deducted about 30 odd points for the hell of it. Then they'd probably have a witty/snarky confrontation in relation to the deduction of such points, in which case Snape would pull out the guns and would say something about awful behavior and then turn on McGonagall for not having better behaved students.

I've thought waaay too much about this.

Man, I wish there had been more of them in the books


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  #85  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:11 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by LilyDreamsOn View Post
I don't think it's unhealthy to love Lily after her death, and to use her as an inspiration--I think it's unhealthy to not ever move on, though. He never seemed to want to let anyone into his life.
That is how I see it, too. I believe it is not unhealthy to love a deceased loved one. I agree that it is Snape's inability to move on which is unhealthy.

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As Dumbledore said, "it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live". One's happiness in life should not be solely dependent on one person. He could have done all the things he did in memory of Lily, while going on and finding happiness for himself, and possibly finding love as well, like Harry. Harry definitely loved his parents and often thought of them in times of need (like his patronus), but he lived, and he loved others. I'm sure Lily would have preferred that for Snape, too.
Dumbeldore's quote is very fitting in this situation. And the example about Harry, too. I think it is possible to love someone who is gone, but to also live one's life. While Snape's responsibilities may not have made finding love a possibility, there were other ways in which he could have moved on.
Letting bitterness about the past overcome him is a sign of "dwelling on dreams", IMO. His bitterness about Lily's choices is a big part of what I find unhealthy about Snape's feelings for Lily.

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Originally Posted by SadiraSnape View Post
Personally I don't believe Snape ever killed directly (except for Dumbledore, at his request). That his actions resulted in the death of others, most definitely, and I think this was what appalled him the most.
Maybe he murdered people personally, maybe he did not. It's not shown for certain. I think its possible, though, considering what he was a member of. I agree that his actions led to the deaths of others, Voldemort would have expected him to make himself useful.

Quote:
I believe he, as a 20 year old, didn't really realize what a deadly serious game he was playing by becoming a Death Eater. I think he equated it with aligning himself with powerful people who could help him become successful and, yes, powerful in the WW.

It wasn't until he discovered that the prophecy was being used to track down and kill a family, specifically Lily's family, that it was brought home to him that this was no political/social Old Boys' Club. His beloved was going to die if he didn't do something to rectify his horrible mistake in carrying the prophecy to Voldemort.
I always got the impression that Severus Snape was intelligent. I don't think he can have possibly believed that the DEs were just some political group. People were afraid to say Voldemort's name, at the time Snape was still in school. That wasn't because he made impressive speeches to the Wizengamot, it was because people were terrified of him and what he was doing.
People lived in fear, dreaded coming home to find the Dark Mark over their homes. Wizards and Muggles were disappearing and being murdered. Regulus Black had press clippings about the DEs in his bedroom. It would be a sign of incredible stupidity to think that the DEs were just some Old Boy's Club, and Snape was certainly not stupid, whatever else he may have been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
I personally see little evidence that Snape had a deep-seated belief in the Death Eater cause. He was able to abandon it too readily for that. In my opinion, he thought the Death Eaters were his best hope for advancement and he opted for that route. Again, I don 't think that scenario negates but rather increases the necessity for redemption.
I think he did not abandon it readily. He did not abandon his life of crime until one of his crimes came back to bite him on the backside in a big way. He did something that he knew would destroy lives and leave people grieving, and he caused himself to become one of those grieving people. To be precise, when he went to Dumbledore, he knew that there was the possibility that he would experience grief because of his own actions. He didn't have a change of heart about the morality of the prejudice or the murders - not at the time he went to Dumbledore, IMO.

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Originally Posted by ItsOnlyDallis View Post
I do think it's his fault, but I don't think he needed to share in their beliefs to cause what happened. I think that he acted as if he agreed with the Death Eaters. He went along with what they wanted. He probably terrorized mudbloods and the like, but I don't think he ever really believed in it.
And it's somehow less terrible to terrorise and destroy lives if you don't really believe in the idoelogy?

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Originally Posted by LilyDreamsOn View Post
Also, how exactly could one be a Death Eater without really believing, to any extent, the ideology? :/ That just... doesn't make any sense to me. It wasn't just an "I hate Mudbloods" club, it was a group of people bent on exterminating Muggleborns. That would make Snape seem very weak-willed and naive, and I don't think he was either of those. I think his story is far more poignant if he truly believed the ideology of the DEs and, over time, overcame it and became a better person as a result. I think that was the point off showing him telling of Phineas Nigellus for using the term "mudblood".
I agree with this. There's no redemptive arc for Snape if he was just some misguided innocent, if he didn't truly make mistakes, if he was some helpless innocent who didn't know what he was doing. That's not a redemptive arc.

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
Up, I agree with that. I think more than one person joined the D.Es and found the glory days were washed with blood. They got in and it seemed very glamorous until you got to the nitty gritty of it all.
I'd like to know exactly what kind of person thinks destroying lives is glamorous?

Quote:
Then they'd probably have a witty/snarky confrontation in relation to the deduction of such points, in which case Snape would pull out the guns and would say something about awful behavior and then turn on McGonagall for not having better behaved students.
I'm sure McGonagall could say plenty about the behaviour of Snape's students, too.


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  #86  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 1:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I'd like to know exactly what kind of person thinks destroying lives is glamorous?
I wasn't saying the act was but the 'club' probably was. It had wealthy people to fund it, traditions and codeines. I suspect they'd have entertained in mansions, held dinners and meetings there. Of course, we must also remember, although the DEs were a political and terror spreading organization, it was also a group of people who had things in common, had possibly grown up together and were friends. I don't think Voldemort was involved with the newbies that much (I think you basically climbed a ladder to even get the privilege of talking to him) so it would have been a case of being taken under the wing of other DEs and taught the ways. I can imagine it would be very exciting.

You can't help sympathise with someone like Regulus Black, for example. His family were involved, it was the respectable 'to do' thing. It was only when he got deeply involved that he realized just how horrific it all was. I think a lot of people got involved, not out of the disrespect for life (although undoubtedly there are quite a few cases) but for the cause they believed in. So it's all the more frightening when you come across cases like Bellatrix LeStrange... I'd imagine many young DEs would have just nodded and got their head down, not wanting to provoke the attention of some of the DEs prone to erratic and psychotic tendencies. I think many newbs just thought it was all very normal and just got on with it, learning how to be ignorant of the feelings of others etc. etc. etc.

It's like, a lot of Nazis who worked in the concentration camps didn't approve of the actions of themselves or other soldiers but they did it because at the end of the day they were all called heros and their people celebrated them. They were taught to believe the people they were harming had no souls and were no better than animals. They could live with it at the time but its only after the war that they realized exactly what they were doing. Of course, you'd find a lot of soliders being incredibly ruthless and abusive for no reason but a lot of them just thought they were protecting their country. With that reasoning in their minds, I don't think it made them bad people, nor that all of the DEs were either. Their idea of 'right' and 'wrong' were very different from other peoples.


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  #87  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 1:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
I wasn't saying the act was but the 'club' probably was. It had wealthy people to fund it, traditions and codeines. I suspect they'd have entertained in mansions, held dinners and meetings there.
But to separate the two aspects? These people are criminals who commit "torture, murder and coercion", to quote Dumbledore, but the stylish parties and fancy houses (Malfoy Manor is the only one we hear of) make up for it? I honestly don't see Voldemort holding fine dining events. And I wonder, how many of these DE gatherings had unfortunate "guests of honour" to torture and murder, like Harry on GoF, and Charity Burbage in DH?

Quote:
Of course, we must also remember, although the DEs were a political and terror spreading organization, it was also a group of people who had things in common, had possibly grown up together and were friends.
Perhaps that's the case, but trying to overthrow the government and oppress a group in society isn't exactly an acceptable means of socialising with one's friends.

Quote:
You can't help sympathise with someone like Regulus Black, for example. His family were involved, it was the respectable 'to do' thing. It was only when he got deeply involved that he realized just how horrific it all was. I think a lot of people got involved, not out of the disrespect for life (although undoubtedly there are quite a few cases) but for the cause they believed in. So it's all the more frightening when you come across cases like Bellatrix LeStrange... I'd imagine many young DEs would have just nodded and got their head down, not wanting to provoke the attention of some of the DEs prone to erratic and psychotic tendencies. I think many newbs just thought it was all very normal and just got on with it, learning how to be ignorant of the feelings of others etc. etc. etc.
I find it disturbing that they believed these crimes were okay, as long as they benefitted from them. In that sense, they're like any common criminal, no matter how much money some (not all) of them may have had, or how many generations of pure blood they claimed to have. Believing in such a cause is an indication of a corrupt person, with a skewed moral compass, IMO. As for sympathy, I have more sympathy for Charity Burbage than for anyone bearing the Dark Mark. They chose to get into that situation, it is their own fault if it comes back to bite them, IMO. If, like Snape, the Malfoys, Regulus, they find themselves in the same situation as the victims of the DEs, it is because they chose to become involved in doing these things to others.


Quote:
With that reasoning in their minds, I don't think it made them bad people, nor that all of the DEs were either. Their idea of 'right' and 'wrong' were very different from other peoples.
I'm sure that in their minds, they were doing the right thing. However, I think that is exactly what makes them bad people - they think that murder and torture are fine, as long as they get what they want. IMO, any loyal DE is a bad person, and I think that Snape, while he was loyal to Voldemort, was a bad person.


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  #88  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 2:04 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

We're getting away from Snape a bit here. Please make sure that all posts directly pertain mostly to him. If you want to talk about the DEs generally, there are more appropriate threads to do so.


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Old July 3rd, 2011, 3:55 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

1. Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?
Yes, considering he didn’t kill Dumbledore of his own desire to murder him, but rather did so on Dumbledore’s instructions.

2. To what extent, do you think, are Snape's parents to blame for his later choices and to what extent are they his own responsibility?
I don’t think Snape’s parents are responsible for his choices. I believe their poor treatment of Snape influenced the choices he made, but the choices themselves are Snape’s responsibility.

3. 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 hesitate to say he’d try to actively meddle in her affairs, but if Lily hadn’t died, I’m not sure Snape would have moved on in the sense of finding another person to love. I don’t believe Snape would have turned to the good side if Lily had lived. He only switched to the good side when Voldemort chose to target and kill her. If he hadn’t experienced what Voldemort could do to someone he loved, I don’t think he would have come back to the light.

4. Why do you think Snape was so reluctant to approach Lily? Would he have been interested in her if she had not been magical?
I think he was socially awkward, being somewhat of a loner and being a young kid. I doubt he would have been interested in her if she wasn’t magical, because as he says of Petunia, she would be “just a Muggle”.

5. How did Hogwarts effect the friendship between Snape and Lily? We see that up until fifth year they consider themselves to be "best friends", despite the house system. Do you think they both worked to maintain the friendship?
Hogwarts probably made it harder for them to hang around, at least from Snape’s point of view. IMO this is partly due to them being in different Houses and partly due to who Snape made friends with. Lily made no secret of being friends with Snape (she mentions her Gryffindor friends wondering why she hangs out with him). But Snape, I’d imagine would not have told his Slytherin friends about why he and Lily spend time together. In regards to maintaining the friendship, I think they probably tried, but their efforts deteriorated as the two of them followed different paths. By the time fifth year came around, Lily was tired of making excuses for Snape, and Snape still wanted to have both Lily and the future Death Eaters as friends.

6. How would Snape's life have been different if he had managed to save their friendship?
In order to save their friendship, IMO Snape would have had to 1) disassociate himself from his budding Death Eater friends; 2) not have joined Voldemort; and 3) unlearned his prejudice against Muggles and stop seeing Lily as just an exception (which he does do later on in life, but it would have had to happen a lot sooner). Then it’s possible (but not inevitable) that Lily could have developed feelings beyond friendship for Snape. Assuming Lily had lived, and even if she married James, Snape would at least have been able to see her from time to time. If she still ended up dying, at least Snape wouldn’t have been partially to blame (if he wasn’t a Death Eater he wouldn’t have told Voldemort what he overheard of the Prophecy). So in short, I think Snape’s life could have been much happier.

7. Snape is revealed to have been acting throughout the series out of love for Lily, how does this effect your view of his actions in the series - his "murder" of Dumbledore, his treatment of Sirius?
I give him credit for putting his life on the line to atone for his part in killing the woman he loved (though I view his feelings as obsession rather than love, but for the sake of argument, I’ll call it love). I also can see how driven he is to do dangerous spy work because in DH his motivation for doing so are unveiled. And a strong motivation it is. Additionally, Snape’s feelings of love are what turned him from evil and what elevates him above Voldemort, who cannot even understand - much less feel - love for another human being. But as for Snape’s poor treatment of most of the people he interacts with in the story, his love for Lily doesn’t have any bearing IMO. Losing someone you love is no excuse for treating people - children, no less - the way Snape does.

8. How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
What we learn in DH about Snape really doesn’t change my view of his treatment. As I said above, I still believe his treatment of both boys was inexcusable. But I do understand why he resents Harry and Neville.

9. Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?
I believe that in the end, Snape finally saw Lily in Harry instead of James, and thus would have wanted Harry’s forgiveness as a substitute for forgiveness that Lily was incapable of offering.

10. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
In the beginning, I believe Snape saw Dumbledore as a means to get even with Voldemort for killing Lily, and as means of personal redemption. Dumbledore was the means for a second chance, to work for a positive goal and to repair some of the damage he’d done. Over time, I think Snape developed a good, working rapport with Dumbledore, but I don’t believe he considered him a substitute father. I think they were friends on some level, but I would mainly describe their relationship as colleagues who trusted each other.

11. Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?
The author has said many things about Snape. Among them are that he’s an antihero, he’s a terrible teacher, he’s a complex character, and he’s a flawed person. But she also says she wanted him to find redemption, and thus she would appear to see him in a positive light in the end. (I’m sure she’s said other things too, but those are a few I’ve come across). I agree with most of what I’ve seen Rowling say in the interviews. I may not find Snape to be an appealing character, but he’s certainly well-written and I appreciate the level of complexity Rowling created around him.

12. Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?
His role as a former Death Eater and his bullying of the students in his classroom make him controversial in my eyes. The fact that he puts his life in danger for the side of good, and yet IMO behaves in such a poor way toward other people also makes him controversial.

13. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
Snape’s major strengths are intelligence and his willingness to put his life on the line. I give him credit for being a person trying to set right his mistakes. His major flaws are his inability to let go of the past and his bullying of students.

14. 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's a character with an IMO mean disposition who focuses his life on atoning for his part in causing the death of the woman he loved by putting his life in danger for the good side.


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  #90  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 6:52 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
LilyDreamsOn: While it's true that it was likely taught to him by his mother, it doesn't excuse him at all. The fact that he's capable of thinking for himself means that he is to blame for his prejudices, not his mother. If anything, meeting Lily and loving her should have changed his view of the world; instead, he seemed to make an exception for her. To me this shows that his prejudices were very personal and deep-seated, and I think this is because of the way he viewed his father.

Really? I don't feel a child should be held accountable for being brainwashed at a young age. What happened later, however, was on his own head. I wasn't disputing this. At any rate, least he learnt his lesson, although it may have taken him time.
Snape is an adult now and he still has these feelings and ideas. There comes a point when the person has to take responsibility for things. He may have been taught something at a young age, but it wasn't like he was trapped in a house with just his parents and no interaction with anyone else. He was a Slytherin but he was also friends with Lily and the opportunity to meet people with different beliefs. To excuse him because he was a child when he learned all this is wrong. It's not fair. At some point in his life Snape, Severus Snape, has to be held responsible for his actions.

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
I can see where you're coming from here, but I don't think that the sort of work Severus did in memory of Lily made it possible for him to move on. He was a spy. It would not have been prudent to let anyone into his life.
He moved to Dumbledore's side acting as a spy and "watched" over Harry. How does that prohibit from moving on from Lily? Moving on doesn't mean he has to stop loving her or thinking about her. It doesn't mean forgetting. It means not letting it control everything about him. From what I see, his love for Lily controlled everything about him.


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  #91  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 7:18 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by leah49 View Post
Snape is an adult now and he still has these feelings and ideas. There comes a point when the person has to take responsibility for things. He may have been taught something at a young age, but it wasn't like he was trapped in a house with just his parents and no interaction with anyone else. He was a Slytherin but he was also friends with Lily and the opportunity to meet people with different beliefs. To excuse him because he was a child when he learned all this is wrong. It's not fair. At some point in his life Snape, Severus Snape, has to be held responsible for his actions.

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  #92  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 7:35 pm
Gwendolen  Undisclosed.gif Gwendolen is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by leah49 View Post
He moved to Dumbledore's side acting as a spy and "watched" over Harry. How does that prohibit from moving on from Lily? Moving on doesn't mean he has to stop loving her or thinking about her. It doesn't mean forgetting. It means not letting it control everything about him. From what I see, his love for Lily controlled everything about him.
As far as I can see, he had to stay at Hogwarts in order to spy when Voldemort returned because that was where Voldemort had ordered him to be. He couldn't have an honest relationship with another woman without revealing his loyalties, and showing he cared for someone would make them a potential hostage - that was why Harry split up with Ginny. His love for Lily may have inspired his actions, but I don't think it controlled him.

I don't think Snape mentioned Lily after she died until he showed his Patronus to Dumbledore. Dumbledore was surprised he still felt so strongly about Lily, and I'd think Dumbledore was the person who knew him best.


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  #93  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 7:51 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by Gwendolen View Post
As far as I can see, he had to stay at Hogwarts in order to spy when Voldemort returned because that was where Voldemort had ordered him to be. He couldn't have an honest relationship with another woman without revealing his loyalties, and showing he cared for someone would make them a potential hostage - that was why Harry split up with Ginny. His love for Lily may have inspired his actions, but I don't think it controlled him.
But, how does this mean he can't move on? Not loving another woman doesn't mean he has to dwell on the past and on his love for Lily. Maybe I just don't understand.


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  #94  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 8:16 pm
canismajoris  Male.gif canismajoris is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah49 View Post
Snape is an adult now and he still has these feelings and ideas. There comes a point when the person has to take responsibility for things. He may have been taught something at a young age, but it wasn't like he was trapped in a house with just his parents and no interaction with anyone else. He was a Slytherin but he was also friends with Lily and the opportunity to meet people with different beliefs.
I'm trying to follow along with the conversation here, but much of it confuses me slightly.

To begin with, I'm not sure whether he actually valued blood purity all that strongly. At most I'd say there's an inclination on his part that doesn't really constitute a mature belief system. For example, his conversation with Lily:

The Prince's Tale"But you're Muggle-born, so someone from the school will have to come and explain to your parents."

"Does it make a difference, being Muggle-born?"

Snape hesitated. His black eyes, eager in the greenish gloom, moved over the pale face, the dark red hair.

"No," he said. "It doesn't make any difference."

There is I think more than a little ambiguity here about exactly what Snape thinks. His first comment seems pretty matter-of-fact regarding her Muggle-born status, and I can't see any hint of prejudice in it. On the other hand, his hesitation along with attention on Lily's appearance suggests that his final answer isn't exactly what he would have said otherwise--he may have been hiding his feelings because he was enamored of Lily and didn't want to jeopardize holding her esteem. It should also be noted that had he answered "yes, it does matter," this would not necessarily have been a reflection of his opinion on the matter, but could have been his appraisal of wizard society at the time. In either case he appears to be lying, but I don't think it's possible to determine here what his beliefs are. What is clear is that he is attempting to palliate Lily's concerns.

Next, I would mention the two incidents where he makes remarks which suggest blood prejudice. That is to say, the incident involving James when he calles Lily a mudblood, and his conversation with Lily about Petunia. Chronologically first is when he blurts out "She's only a [something]." It's again rather ambiguous... my first impression is that he was about to say "only a Muggle," but he checks himself. I think while this does sound like something a blood-purity ideologue would say, in this context it has another plausible explanation: Lily was upset, and talking about an incident where her dear sister Petunia had called her a freak. Just like the first conversation, I think it would make sense for Snape to conclude--likely incorrectly--that by denigrating Petunia's nonmagical nature he could make Lily feel better about being a witch--something she was clearly still anxious about (earlier they had been discussing how Muggleborns fit in to wizarding society).

The other incident is pretty difficult to explain in terms of any justification, but I believe that by using the M-word Snape reflected some sort of external influence which was far more prejudicial than his natural inclinations were. I mean, of course he would apologize to Lily for it, but I still think he deserves credit for attempting to do so. A real Death Eater would not have even understood the idea of apologizing. Whether she personally felt threatened or insulted or not, she knew--and we readers can interpret--what it said about Snape's state of mind: That he was, for one reason or another, adopting the rhetoric of some pretty nasty people. I just don't believe that reason is clearly demonstrated.

(As an aside, I contend that Lily was not necessarily particularly insulted by what Snape called her, only probably disgusted that he appears to have been comfortable using it -- For an example see how Hermione reacted to the term: at first she demonstrated understanding of it as a slur, but didn't as far as I remember seem to be upset about it. Later she even coopts it in response to the increasingly bigoted Ministry activities, and utters the words "Mudblood, and proud of it." It is almost always characters who grew up in the wizarding world who find it offensive enough to respond angrily.)

So I see it like this: Young Snape believed blood status mattered, and whether or not he personally believed that pure blood was better (an important semantic distinction that I will insist upon), he signed on with a group that did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah49 View Post
To excuse him because he was a child when he learned all this is wrong. It's not fair. At some point in his life Snape, Severus Snape, has to be held responsible for his actions.
I'm not sure excusing anything is really the operative goal here. Several things he did and said were identifiably wrong, but the reality that he was so completely willing and able to abandon his loyalty to the group that exposed him to those ideas (for whatever reason--I don't think his motive matters) tells me he did not really incorporate blood prejudice into his core beliefs. This along with the passages I quoted earlier leaves me believing that the author made a point of shrouding his motives and opinions in order to distinguish them from his actions, whether good or bad. Thus I feel confident only in comparing his earlier actions to his later ones, and in leaving motive out of it... and there is only one question I must consider:

Do Snape's actions during Harry's term at Hogwarts in any way make up for his earlier ones?



Last edited by canismajoris; July 3rd, 2011 at 8:22 pm.
  #95  
Old July 4th, 2011, 1:09 am
Gwendolen  Undisclosed.gif Gwendolen is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by leah49 View Post
But, how does this mean he can't move on? Not loving another woman doesn't mean he has to dwell on the past and on his love for Lily. Maybe I just don't understand.
I think I might not be understanding what you mean by move on. I would see it as seeking other relationships. We don't know what he did between the ages of 15 and 20, because he didn't pass any memories of that time to Harry, and after that he was working for the Order. We don't actually know he had no relationships then, but if he did it's not mentioned.

I don't think we can tell whether he was dwelling on the past or not. His Patronus showed that Lily was still his happiest memory, but he could have thought about her every day or hardly at all. I assume he never talked about her because of Dumbledore's surprise at seeing his patronus, and I'd guess he didn't have a picture of her because he took one from Grimmauld Place.


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  #96  
Old July 4th, 2011, 1:26 am
ItsOnlyDallis  Female.gif ItsOnlyDallis is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by Gwendolen View Post
I don't think we can tell whether he was dwelling on the past or not. His Patronus showed that Lily was still his happiest memory, but he could have thought about her every day or hardly at all. I assume he never talked about her because of Dumbledore's surprise at seeing his patronus, and I'd guess he didn't have a picture of her because he took one from Grimmauld Place.
I think the entire reason that he is the character he is is because he is constantly dwelling on the past. He hates Harry because Harry looks so much like James. He hates him because whenever he looks into Harry's eyes, he sees Lily's.

Snape has become the person he is because of the undeniable guilt that plagues him after the death of Lily. He cannot get over her.

I don't think the Patronus shows your happiest memory either. I think it's simply an animal representation of who you are. Snape entire person is Lily. Everything about him reflects back on her. He never got over her, and even if he had lived, I don't think he ever would have.


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  #97  
Old July 4th, 2011, 5:02 am
canismajoris  Male.gif canismajoris is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ItsOnlyDallis View Post
He hates Harry because Harry looks so much like James. He hates him because whenever he looks into Harry's eyes, he sees Lily's.
With all due respect, I don't believe this could really be the whole story. There are plenty of occasions where Snape makes spontaneous and often valid criticisms of Harry's behavior and character that aren't simply resentment over his resemblance to his parents. It is often pointed out that Snape is generally mean, and hard on students. Well, if he is this way with Harry for such purely sentimental reasons, then how might we explain his treatment of all the other students?

The bottom line for me is: Whatever parallels there might be between Harry and James--and that's a topic for a different thread--I think it's a serious oversimplification to conclude that Snape had no rational basis for disliking Harry. Throughout the series he voices his opinions on the matter regularly and specifically, and I believe rather convincingly.


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Old July 4th, 2011, 5:36 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
With all due respect, I don't believe this could really be the whole story. There are plenty of occasions where Snape makes spontaneous and often valid criticisms of Harry's behavior and character that aren't simply resentment over his resemblance to his parents. It is often pointed out that Snape is generally mean, and hard on students. Well, if he is this way with Harry for such purely sentimental reasons, then how might we explain his treatment of all the other students?

The bottom line for me is: Whatever parallels there might be between Harry and James--and that's a topic for a different thread--I think it's a serious oversimplification to conclude that Snape had no rational basis for disliking Harry. Throughout the series he voices his opinions on the matter regularly and specifically, and I believe rather convincingly.
Snape disliked Harry the moment Harry stepped foot into Potions class. Who knows, he may have despised Harry before then. Regardless, I don't see automatically hating a mere child as being 'rational' or 'convincing'. I'm sorry, but for whatever meanness or cruelty Snape dished on his students, I doubt he went around tormenting those who were unfortunate enough to have deceased parents about how awful, as viewed by Snape, their parents were. My issue is not that Snape 'voiced his opinions' about Harry, and at times his opinions were correct, but in the way he chose to do so and the fact that he took obvious pleasure in tormenting Harry.



Last edited by slytherin001; July 4th, 2011 at 5:41 am.
  #99  
Old July 4th, 2011, 6:33 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I think he did not abandon it readily.
Readily = abandoned the Death Eaters on a dime the second he gave Dumbledore "Anything." "True Believers" do not typically abandon their cause for any reason - and certainly not so quickly and decisively.

I imagine that Severus Snape did, at least, possess a weak belief (or that he at least tried to convince himself that he believed in the Voldemort party line). But whatever ideological belief he may have possessed was, I think, tenuous at best.

I certainly don't find his comments regarding Petunia to be serious evidence of some deep-seated desire to harm Muggles. A variety of Gryffindors have no greater regard for Muggles than Snape exhibits in these childhood scenes.

Now keep in mind, I'm not saying this to minimize anything. I think my scenario - a scenario in which Snape joined the DEs not for ideological reasons but to gain power - actually makes him more culpable, not less.


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  #100  
Old July 4th, 2011, 7:01 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by slytherin001 View Post
Snape disliked Harry the moment Harry stepped foot into Potions class. Who knows, he may have despised Harry before then. Regardless, I don't see automatically hating a mere child as being 'rational' or 'convincing'.
Well as I mentioned before, I think this would end up being more like Harry analysis than Snape. What I will say is that your interpretation is plausible, but Harry does his part to ensure that Snape can't easily change his mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slytherin001 View Post
I'm sorry, but for whatever meanness or cruelty Snape dished on his students, I doubt he went around tormenting those who were unfortunate enough to have deceased parents about how awful, as viewed by Snape, their parents were.
I'm not sure I can really look at it this way. First, whatever his motives may have been, Snape's comments throughout this first incident revolve around Harry's fame. It is possible, certainly, to interpret this as veiled reaction to past events, but they would be events which Harry had no knowledge of. Then, we discover, Snape was directly responsible for the death of the Potters, so I would wonder that he chose to repeatedly remind himself of this while at the same time obfuscating the true nature of his feelings. Once again, it seems like a possible reading, but I don't believe an obligatory one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slytherin001 View Post
My issue is not that Snape 'voiced his opinions' about Harry, and at times his opinions were correct, but in the way he chose to do so and the fact that he took obvious pleasure in tormenting Harry.
I'm afraid I'm not convinced of this either. For all we know Snape singles out a first-year student in this manner every year, and this time he simply had a soft option in Harry. Beyond such conjecture, I would note first that Snape's pleasure couldn't have been entirely obvious, because Ron missed it completely, and that Snape clearly had a reputation for such behavior:

The Potions Master"Don't push it," he muttered, "I've heard Snape can turn very nasty."

As they climbed the steps out of the dungeon an hour later, Harry's mind was racing and his spirits were low. He'd lost two points for Gryffindor in his very first week -- why did Snape hate him so much?

"Cheer up," said Ron, "Snape's always taking points off Fred and George."


 
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