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Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

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Old March 3rd, 2007, 10:39 pm
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Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

This is to discuss Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety by D.W. Hill.

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Old March 3rd, 2007, 11:37 pm
Hirayuki Hirayuki is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

What I like about this editorial is that it requires no huge twists in plot or logic. Also, if Snape is a superb occlumens despite wearing his pain and rage on his sleeve, it would make sense that he would HAVE to hate Harry; or at least cultivate that feeling as much as possible.

Because of the need to cultivate his hatred of Harry, Harry would only see the UN-subtle parts of Professor Snape. Considering that we see the wizarding world almost exclusively from Harry's point of view, we the readers are more easily fooled...well, almost all the readers! Good editorial.

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Old March 3rd, 2007, 11:50 pm
GryffinWildmage  Female.gif GryffinWildmage is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

OK, the nose thing... not a good reason. However, the rest of your editorial brings up quite a few interesting points, and I'm impressed.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 12:06 am
ori  Female.gif ori is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

I love the nose thing, but yes, I must admit it's not hard fact.

I do love your editorial, it pointed out some interesting facts which I had not considered before. However, I wish you had also brought up a few more alternative points and explained why they wouldn't work. Otherwise, good job.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:21 am
AmeliaBlack AmeliaBlack is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Stupendous effort! It has been very gratifying to read an integration of many points supporting Snape's phoenix-alliance I also had picked up but not put together so well. And, you found many more subtleties which really make it very clear on which side Snape stands. Congratulations on the link between Harry's reaction in the cave-scene and Snape's later revulsion, that was a fine catch! I guess the one thing that still needs further explanation is why Snape is able to so completely master his emotions in most situations but keeps losing his temper with Harry and other order members? Great editorial.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:42 am
phrodo  Male.gif phrodo is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Good post. I generally disagree with this take on Snape, but it is well supported. But in my opinion, too easy.

My new theory that I am working on is that the real thing we should be looking at is the relationship between Snape and Lupin. Everything else - the technicalities of the Vow, Dumbledore's trust, and all the things we've been hung up on are red herrings intended us to distract us. More on this in my new thread: "The Balance Theory" in Divination.

I'm really hoping to get feedback on this, because I think it's really good.

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Last edited by phrodo; March 4th, 2007 at 2:45 am.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:51 am
Ticci  Female.gif Ticci is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

When Harry is trying to use unforgivable curses on Snape, (HBP, p. 602) he says to Snape: "Fight back!" Harry screamed at him. "Fight back, you cowardly --" Snapes response is to bring up Harry's father attacking others four on one. No anger is noted.

However, when Harry says to Snape, "Kill me like you killed him, you coward --" Snape is outraged and replies: "DON'T," screamed Snape -- his face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the Yelping, howling dog stuck in the burning building behind them, -- "CALL ME COWARD!" (HBP, pg. 604)

It was the difference in Snape's reaction that makes me believe Snape killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's orders.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:57 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Great editorial. I really liked it, however, I'm not too big a fan of that nose theory. If size of a nose indicates goodness, that wouldn't that imply that James was better than Harry? We've learned that James shaped up in seventh year, but as a fifth year, when we see his nose, he would probably be categorized as a bully and a not-so-good person.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 3:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

I think this was a nice essay. If the "nose" thing turns out to be true, then that's very nice work. I personally think it's coincedental; but you never know...

The links and subtlety really were pulled together nicely. I'm torn b/w good Snape and free-agent Snape...but the more I think about it the more I realize that there is a lot of reasons to believe "good Snape". The teaching of how to fight, in his own way, do show this.

Counterargument: no one teacher has done more to teach Harry how to fight the DE's than the imposter Moody. So, it's been shown already that a hard-core DE will still teach Harry.

The temper may be an elaborate ruse...but I don't think so. I think that Harry does truly bring out Snape's worst memories, and that some wounds just run too deep.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 3:58 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Excellent work! It's writing like this that makes Snape's loyalty to the Order seem very obvious -- the clues have been there all along. I believe in Snape's ultimate goodness, and the part about Snape over exaggerating his anger is very compelling as well.

I laugh every time I see the Borders advertising for book 7 (i.e. "Trust Snape" or "Snape is a very bad man") because it oversimplifies one of the most complex characters in the story. Thank goodness for fan communities and fan editorials that delve much deeper into the text or, as Snape would describe it, trying to understand the fine distinctions.

My take on the nose theory: Its unlike Rowling to include unnecessary description so I suspect you may be on to something.

~ Dan

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Old March 4th, 2007, 5:39 am
Phil_Stone  Undisclosed.gif Phil_Stone is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

A very interesting editorial. I have to say it coincides with my thinkiing on several points.

Snape's treatment of Harry: It seems to me that if, as I suspect, Snape had affection for Lily, then it would be far easier for him to fool Voldemort if he intentionally inflamed and continued his hatred for James. This would serve as a smoke screen of the type that seems most appropriate given the way Snape seems to explain Legimancy. The continuation of his school boy animosity, to the next generation, seems uncharacteristic to me also. I think it is an act. The real question is whether we will ultimately see Snape with clean hair.

Snape and Harry and the coded message about Sirius: I think JKR purposely left it unclear as to whether Snape acted in a timely manner or not. But what is significant is what he did not do. While Lucius and his gang are waiting for Harry to go to the Ministry, and Dumbledore has been trying get Harry to close his mind to Voldemort for his own protection, Umbridge is holding Harry prisoner, just what Dumbledore would prefer. With all the chaos going on at the school, would anyone notice if Snape helped Harry along on his way? But he doesn't appear to do anything to help him escape. Certainly he cannot be assuming that Hagrid's brother will save him, and thus help Voldemort's plan to fruition. But leaving him in Umbridge's care puts the blame for his non-attendance upon her.

Snape's inaction during The Flight of the Prince also warrents some attention. He has the perfect opportunity to brag to HArry that he had fooled Dumbledore for years by pretending to care about Harry's (fill in the insult you choose) parents. This would have confirmed Harry's belief about the matter, and let Harry take Dumbledore's role as the voice of authority which closes the books and sorts things out. Instead he merely reminds Harry of what was supposed to be Snape's own worst memory. It seems to me that this may be a coded message from Snape to Harry that Harry will not understand till well into DH.

Ultimately there seem to be too many questions remaining about Dumbledore's last night for there to not be something going on besides what we see. With Snape being the character who has always been the largest enigma, it would not be surprising if they are in part to conceal some truth about Snape.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 5:43 am
Moiner777 Moiner777 is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Great editorial. So, Snape warns Harry to learn Occlumency. Why do I have a feeling that Draco will somehow assist him with this...

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Old March 4th, 2007, 6:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

I LOVE THE NOSE THEORY! Oh goodness, that's my new favorite theory. I don't suppose I've heard one that great since my own about HP birthdays. Don't listen to others who try to put it down - they're just jealous. ^.^

But anyway, this editorial brought together all the great Pro-Snape thoughts, and even had a few I hadn't heard before, which is nice. Parts of it seemed a bit confusing in the wording . . . perhaps I'm just tired, but there were a few bits that I had to reread a few times to understand.

Great job!

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Old March 4th, 2007, 6:07 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Because you're right on the money, Moiner! This editorial just clarifies what my mind couldn't express... Don't you love the feeling of realization?? I've always thought of Snape as tough love-personified. That just put my feeling on paper.

Did anyone else think of The Magic School Bus' DW when you read the byline?

Last edited by IchLiebeGeorge; March 4th, 2007 at 6:16 am. Reason: Added comment
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Old March 4th, 2007, 6:16 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

you've got nose

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Old March 4th, 2007, 7:26 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

The nose theory is probably just coincidence, but the rest reaffirms all my thinking of the Snape question.

The fact that JKR has deliberately inserted language that evokes sympathy for Snape is very significant. Its much more personal than they sympathy Harry feels and suppreses for Voldemort. In feeling bad for Voldemort, Harry was thinking of the infant who was given a bad lot in life from the start. In the case of Snape we feel bad, Harry included (though its quickly suppressed), for a person, not an infant that cant think. It's sadness not over lost potential as in Voldemort's case, but for the suffering of a person who isnt loved or even liked, and knows it. The description of Snape's deranged and pained expression when he yells "Dont call me coward!" is extremely unique. In Snape's other displays of his crazy side he is portrayed as just plain crazy and malevolent. This time hes compared with a dog that is trapped and roasting in a burning house. Its interesting that the imagery is of flames and heat and the fact that the dog is trapped. Snapes trapped in his own personal hell at that moment. And its important to notice also that in the descriptions of the other traitor in the series, Wormtail, JKR never gives any descriptions that would evoke any sympathy. He is portrayed even in the teenage scene as destined to become what he did.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 7:59 am
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Great Editorial! Finally - a positive essay about Snape - thanks, Mugglenet!

I especially liked your points about Healer Snape, who helped with Dumbledore's withered hand, Katie Bell, and Draco after Sectumsempra. Many fans do not want to accept that side of Snape, and dismiss is actions as somehow self-serving. In the case of Draco, he had made the Vow to protect him, so that might be true. On the other hand, Snape was worried about Draco having "scars" and suggested dittany - that doesn't sound like a Death Eater to me!!! What do they care about a few more scars when they have the "big one" on their arms?

Originally Posted by Essay
Harry, however, was saved by Snape in the first Quidditch match in Stone and Harry has never so much as thanked him. Also, in light of what we now know about Snape’s skills as a healer, I am curious about Harry’s recovery after struggling with Quirrell/Voldemort at the end of Stone. Dumbledore tells Harry that he was unconscious for three days and that the struggle almost killed him. All along, we’ve assumed that it was Madam Pomfrey who tended to him, perhaps we've been wrong.
Very interesting! This also brings up the "Skelegrow" in Book 2, which "re-grew" the bones in Harry's right arm - the same arm that the blood is taken from in GoF for the "rebirth" of Voldemort. Did Snape brew the Skelegrow? Did he invent it? What's in it?

Some of us on CoS Forum (Legillimency Studies - Snape the Hero) have a theory we call "Paramedic Snape." Snape acts like someone who has had emergency training and has perhaps take the Hippocratic Oath to "first do no harm." He also has a doctor's demeanor as early as PoA, in which he insists on watching Lupin drink his Wolfsband Potion, and then comes to "check on him" the night of the full moon. Lupin is his patient, obviously.

In the Shrieking Shack, Snape threatens to take revenge on Sirius by turning him over to the Dementors - and who can blame him? Everyone in the Wizarding World has been looking for Sirius, who has broken into the castle twice and supposedly tried to kill Harry. Even Mrs. Weasley tells her husband she is glad the Dementors are around to protect Harry.

After the kids have zapped Snape, and Sirius has treated him like a balloon in the tunnel, banging his head on rocks - and Snape must have had a slight headache from both things - when Snape wakes up, he immediately "summons stretchers" first for Ron - the boy with the broken leg - then for the other kids, and finally for Sirius. There seems to have been no "soul searching moment" when Snape considered leaving Sirius for the Dementors or the Werewolf. He just puts him on a stretcher like everyone else and brings him to the castle. We know that from Harry's own observation during the Time Turner episode - that is the canon. Snape did the right thing, as a good paramedic should.

Then we look at HBP, and while Dumbledore, Katie, and Draco all benefit from Snape's expertise, we also have Ron, the bezoar boy. Snape taught the Bezoar lesson on the first day of first year. Harry learns it again from the HBP book and wins an award from Slughorn, who thought using a bezoar as an antidote was a novel idea. When Ron is dying from poison, Slughorn just sits and watches, though the bezoar idea should have been fresh in his mind - no Paramedic skills there. But Harry really has learned something from Snape, and "shoves a bezoar" down Ron's throat, saving his life.

Great essay - thanks! I will pass on the link to all my friends who believe Snape is good.


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~ Severus Snape, OotP movie

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Last edited by silver ink pot; March 4th, 2007 at 8:12 am.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 11:00 am
Auror Harry  Undisclosed.gif Auror Harry is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Originally Posted by GryffinWildmage View Post
OK, the nose thing... not a good reason. However, the rest of your editorial brings up quite a few interesting points, and I'm impressed.
I concur.

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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:40 pm
HP_hedgehog  Male.gif HP_hedgehog is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

I also like that it simply connects fact and description and that it's less of a speculative editorial, though thought-provoking. (Just the nose-thing is a bit far-off I think) Have you read Lady Lupin's also huge V-acts editorial on Snape? There are some minor disputable things in it (e.g. regarding the Fidelius Charm) and some more assumptions, but I think you'll find it very interesting! (Or maybe you already do).

It is interesting to see how meticulously Jo plans her future books: only the three questions Snape asked during the very first Potions lesson have become very important: the Bezoar (poor Ron if Snape hadn't mentioned it) the Wolfsbane (yes... important to the PoA plot), and the Draught of the Living Dead is supposedly important in DH... (the editorial "Clear as Water" is very interesting). If not, it was also important in HBP. What if Snape deliberately gave Harry a very hard time that first lesson, so that he would remember it? Anyway...

I just thought of something: so the only person Snape actually has been honest to - is Harry. He may have chosen not to tell things from time to time, but what he DID say, was honest.... I'm too tired right now to recall whether that is fully true, but it seems plausible, right?


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Old March 4th, 2007, 2:56 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: A Portrait in Subtlety

Incredible. I've been completely on the fence about Snape, since Half-Blood Prince. Up till Snape's discussion with Bella and Cissy at the beginning of HBP I was certain of Snape's goodness. Up till the aftermath of Sluggy's Christmas party I was pretty sure he was good. Up till his murdering Dumbledore (R.I.P) I thought it possible he was bad. After Dumbledore(R.I.P)'s murder, I was completely at sea. But this editorial clarified it for me more than any other - I agree with it so much, it's as though I knew all this from the beginning.


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