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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6



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  #1481  
Old January 15th, 2016, 4:58 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Just came across this article via Tumblr and the Huffington Post. Thought you guys might want to read it. It surprised me.

RIP Mr. Rickman, thanks for the memories.


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  #1482  
Old January 15th, 2016, 6:01 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Fawkesfan1 View Post
Just came across this article via Tumblr and the Huffington Post. Thought you guys might want to read it. It surprised me.

RIP Mr. Rickman, thanks for the memories.
Ah yes. The Asphodel and Wormwood theory.

I'm pretty sure you'll find it discussed and debated at length in some of the older LS Snape threads. I know I first heard it on this forum, and probably in here.


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  #1483  
Old January 15th, 2016, 6:11 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
Ah yes. The Asphodel and Wormwood theory.

I'm pretty sure you'll find it discussed and debated at length in some of the older LS Snape threads. I know I first heard it on this forum, and probably in here.
Cool.

It's good to see that the mainstream media picked up on it .


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  #1484  
Old January 15th, 2016, 4:39 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Fawkesfan1 View Post
Just came across this article via Tumblr and the Huffington Post. Thought you guys might want to read it. It surprised me.

RIP Mr. Rickman, thanks for the memories.
Good find. Thanks for the link. Seems vaguely familiar. Did JKR ever comment on it?


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Old January 15th, 2016, 10:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by TrelawneyEyes View Post
Good find. Thanks for the link. Seems vaguely familiar. Did JKR ever comment on it?
You're welcome. Not sure on that.

Just came across this via Tumblr.

Source: usatoday.com

Thoughts?


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Last edited by Fawkesfan1; January 18th, 2016 at 10:31 pm.
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  #1486  
Old February 15th, 2016, 4:15 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by TrelawneyEyes View Post
Good find. Thanks for the link. Seems vaguely familiar. Did JKR ever comment on it?
I am fairly sure that she never has commented on this book moment, specifically. She has made more general comments that she put hints to Snape's story throughout the earlier books, and that she researches Potions ingredients.


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  #1487  
Old February 23rd, 2016, 4:48 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I don't know, I think that the fact that Snape's motivation was largely love takes away some of his complexity for me. It's the same thing with Dumbledore, which is why I maintain that Dumbledore wasn't entirely motivated by love but also had ambitions and other motivations which led him to do what he did. It's a matter of taste of course, but I don't find love very compelling as a motivation for a character. It makes sense and it's realistic that people will do crazy things when in love, but I would prefer it if a character's motivation didn't boil down to just that.

It would have been great if Snape first decided to change because of Lily but then also discovered other reasons for why he shouldn't be on the dark side. Yet even this recent Twitter discussion says Snape never had any idealistic motivations.

I respect his desire to redeem himself but love as a drive force just isn't very interesting to me. Voldemort seems like a much more interesting character.
I agree. That has always been my issue with Snape. In addition to having a rather unsatisfying motivation in love, I also found the love wanting; it was not believable. I think we are to understand that he believed it, but he didn't really know what love is and what it means. It didn't make a difference to him that his love was unrequited, but it should have as romantic love requires two to flourish.


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Old March 11th, 2016, 12:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I agree. That has always been my issue with Snape. In addition to having a rather unsatisfying motivation in love, I also found the love wanting; it was not believable. I think we are to understand that he believed it, but he didn't really know what love is and what it means. It didn't make a difference to him that his love was unrequited, but it should have as romantic love requires two to flourish.
The medieval tradition of courtly love was strictly a one-way affair, the troubadour singing love-songs to an unobtainable lady. Unthinkable to our 21st century mindset, but back then it was a Thing.

As someone who once experienced unrequited love, I assure you that the experience is all too real, and you don't stop loving someone even though they don't love you back. You can't just switch off deep, passionate feelings: it doesn't work like that. And, yes, it is excruciatingly painful at the time. The good news is that it doesn't last forever, and you DO move on from it, eventually. I think that JKR shows Snape as a damaged person who just couldn't. He couldn't, wouldn't, move on ... and certainly not while Voldemort was still alive.

The HP books are dark fairytales, not precise portrayals of contemporary life. For all that, I find JKR's characters psychologically realistic, or at least they make sense within their own world.

Lily is the only person in canon to ever show one bit of affection and acceptance to Severus. (I also think that Dumbledore came to both like and respect Severus, although he was clearly exasperated by him on occasion, i.e. Snape's refusal to forgive and his reflex response to Harry as James Mark Two). I'm not surprised that he never stopped loving her.

Snape is not the only character in this fantasy saga who is unable to let go of the past or is haunted by it. I think that's quite a major theme in the books, how the past overshadows and affects the present. Everybody's lives are on hold, to an extent, while Voldemort still lives.


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  #1489  
Old April 17th, 2016, 6:04 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Love has many faces, I've found it's extremely versatile. In this specific case I think it's believable because Snape was a boy who'd always been a misfit - even in his own family, where his father's rules applied. That he would get very attached to the only person who was open and accepting to him seems natural to me. We all crave acceptance. I think he came to associate Lily with goodness, with everything beautiful and worthy. It may not be very grounded, but unrequited love usually requires some degree of filling in the gaps because it only goes one way. I think Snape's kind of love was very believable, psychologically. His motivation, though, wasn't just love, it was also remorse. He seems to me like a person desperate to make amends (even though that's impossible). I've always had a soft spot for the tragedy of characters who see they've been wrong only when it's too late, and they have to love with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. I think this is why I love Snape's character after all seven books.



Last edited by Yoana; April 17th, 2016 at 6:08 pm.
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  #1490  
Old April 18th, 2016, 3:54 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
I've always had a soft spot for the tragedy of characters who see they've been wrong only when it's too late, and they have to love with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. I think this is why I love Snape's character after all seven books.
Making a more general comment now, not referring specifically to you Yoana, I think that Snape's love for Lily is an important reason for his popularity. Some of us might think it makes him less complex, but I think that had things turned out differently, if he'd been evil or if he'd been good but for another not love-related reason, he probably would have lost some fans. The thing about Snape is that he is the embodiment of that old stereotype which girls unfortunately learn very early in their lives: a man might seem cruel or malicious but deep down he has a heart of gold and is capable of great, death-defying love. That's Snape in a nutshell, IMO, and for some women this is enough reason to be a fan of his. I don't mean that they're consciously thinking: "Oh finally the stereotype is true", but rather that they are subconsciously drawn to this type of character for this reason. It's the same as with Heathcliff, I think, and possibly even Mr Darcy.

I'm not saying all female fans love Snape for this reason, of course not. I'm not trying to cheapen the love and admiration many women feel for him simply based on his complexity, and I know he has plenty of male fans. But I do think his love for Lily is a factor for many women. In my experience, these women also bash female characters who display feelings similar to Snape's (Ginny, Bellatrix, and some others) yet find Snape's feelings for Lily very endearing. Like I said, not trying to generalize but I think it's interesting to see how cultural stereotypes and notions affect a reader's relationship with a character.


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  #1491  
Old April 23rd, 2016, 11:13 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

That's an interesting point, Sereena. Snape's always been my second favourite character, long before the 7th book was out. I did suspect (was certain, actually) that there must have been some relationship with Lily, because his complete silence about her, when he didn't miss an opportunity to bash Harry's father, was deafening. My theory, however, was that they'd known each other since they were kids, had been friends and I even thought they'd discovered the Horcrux plan and started working on dismantling it. I was a bit disappointed that it turned out to have been merely unrequited love. Though I admit I thought it was romantic, in the old-school meaning of the world (as in, the kind of love found in the literature of the Romantic period).

What I always really loved about him though was that he was neither good nor evil, and he had this air of remarkable power (magical and intellectual) lurking underneath his unpleasant appearance and caustic demeanour. He was horrible to students, vindictive, prideful at times, carried traces of his painful teenage insecurity and shame well into adulthood, and at the same time he had almost superhuman power of endurance, loyalty and perseverance in his penance. Not many YA characters that can compare to this level of complexity and psychological depth.

I tend to agree there's a double standard with Snape and Bellatrix's obsessive loves, but that's unfortunately a consistent reflection of the way we see obsessive love in a wider cultural context when it's a woman versus when it's a man.


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Old May 19th, 2016, 10:29 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Oh look, a semiactive thread in old CoS. I've been wrestling with my feelings about Snape since reading book 7. The only thing that helps heal my feelings against him is distancing myself from the books and rewatching the movies. Because Alan Rickman IS Severus Snape the way Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss Everdeen, I think that movie Snape has been able to make the character softer and more forgivable. There are several places where I think the movies smoothed over some writing weakness, and this is one of them. I've decided that blending the two mediums in my head to make sense of the whole thing is okay because they made a complete experience for me. And now I get to go to Wizarding World Hollywood in less than two weeks and relive it all for the first time--sort of!
The complexity of Snape is one of the displays of Rowling as a great writer, IMO.


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  #1493  
Old November 13th, 2016, 9:06 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
The medieval tradition of courtly love was strictly a one-way affair, the troubadour singing love-songs to an unobtainable lady. Unthinkable to our 21st century mindset, but back then it was a Thing.
I know. Imo, Snape was not written to be a troubadour tho. Our first knowledge of him was via a severe pain that spiked in Harry's head, which signaled evil things throughout the 7 books. Come to find out he is tied to Slytherin, Voldemort and the enemy of the hero's father. So Snape was not introduced as what I consider a classic lovelorn individual, pining for the love of his life and otherwise likeable. Maybe a twist on that? Perhaps, but it is a fairly dark twist.

Quote:
As someone who once experienced unrequited love, I assure you that the experience is all too real, and you don't stop loving someone even though they don't love you back. You can't just switch off deep, passionate feelings: it doesn't work like that. And, yes, it is excruciatingly painful at the time. The good news is that it doesn't last forever, and you DO move on from it, eventually. I think that JKR shows Snape as a damaged person who just couldn't. He couldn't, wouldn't, move on ... and certainly not while Voldemort was still alive.
I absolutely believe it exists. I just don't think that is what was portrayed in the books when it comes to Snape. There was the dark magic element involved which aligns more closely with our stories about love lorn individual with pathological issues - joining up with dark forces, not minding if the object of their affections loses everyone she loves as long as she is made available to him, etc.

Quote:
The HP books are dark fairytales, not precise portrayals of contemporary life. For all that, I find JKR's characters psychologically realistic, or at least they make sense within their own world.
Agreed. That is my point. It is not a classic tale of unrequited love nor a classic evil being trying to capture the beauty. Rather it is like a combination of both, with the individual evolving in some ways and not in others.

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Lily is the only person in canon to ever show one bit of affection and acceptance to Severus. (I also think that Dumbledore came to both like and respect Severus, although he was clearly exasperated by him on occasion, i.e. Snape's refusal to forgive and his reflex response to Harry as James Mark Two). I'm not surprised that he never stopped loving her.
True. I think JKR built a pretty strong rationale for his character.

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Snape is not the only character in this fantasy saga who is unable to let go of the past or is haunted by it. I think that's quite a major theme in the books, how the past overshadows and affects the present. Everybody's lives are on hold, to an extent, while Voldemort still lives.
Agreed - that was a big theme in the books. I think JKR took pains to show how various individuals dealt with their past and the inability to let go. I think Snape was one of the extreme cases - but to me, unlike some, he was not successful in dealing with it.


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  #1494  
Old January 9th, 2017, 9:42 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I know I'm practicing a bit of thread necromancy, but...

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
[BIG OL' SNIP]
I think JKR took pains to show how various individuals dealt with their past and the inability to let go. I think Snape was one of the extreme cases - but to me, unlike some, he was not successful in dealing with it.
I think this notion of Snape's being "successful" or not is an interesting one. Who gets to decide? In his dying moment (whether pounced to death by a snake, as in the movie, or encircled by a silvery globe, as in the book), I think it's rather appealing to look to Snape as the final arbiter.

It's impossible to know for sure, of course, but I think he would have made peace with his choice, ultimately. He was always fairly surly about it (having to live up to his oath to protect Harry)—but that was when he was alive and well, and could afford to be fairly surly about it. I imagine that as he was dying, he gave himself a moment to wallow in his feelings for Lily, and to fancy himself a martyr for her son. Pretty selfish...but also pretty human, too. (I don't mean to suggest that you implied otherwise.)

Snape is interesting to me because he is a mass of contradictions. I know that some folks here are (were) all one way about him, or all the other, but that to me drains the fascination out of him. The same quality that probably made him a good Occlumens—his ability to compartmentalize—also made him capable of maintaining aspects of his personality that others would have found mutually unsupportable.


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