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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5



View Poll Results: Which of Snape's actions do you see in a new light post-DH?
Snape's treatment of Harry. 66 37.50%
Him becoming a Death Eater. 39 22.16%
Snape telling Voldemort about the prophecy. 24 13.64%
His teaching methods. 15 8.52%
His feud with the Marauders. 59 33.52%
His work for Dumbledore. 106 60.23%
Other. 48 27.27%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 176. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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  #1  
Old September 24th, 2007, 12:38 pm
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Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Welcome to the fifth version of this thread!

For background reading and reference:
version one
version two
version three
version four

I'd like to make this version somewhat different from the last ones, since discussion has begun to be repetitive. Why don't we look at different passages in canon and discuss Snape's actions anew, now that we know where his loyalties lie? I suggest starting with this excerpt from PS/SS. It is not Harry's first encounter with Snape but his first lesson with him. We are all familiar with this scene but maybe we come to new conclusions, now that we know everything.

excerpt from PS/SS, chapter eight:    


  At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had gotten the idea that Professor Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson, he knew he'd been wrong. Snape didn't dislike Harry -- he hated him.

Potions lessons took place down in one of the dungeons. It was colder here than up in the main castle, and would have been quite creepy enough without the pickled animals floating in glass jars all around the walls.

Snape, like Flitwick, started the class by taking the roll call, and like Flitwick, he paused at Harry's name.

"Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new -- celebrity."

Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle s******ed behind their hands. Snape finished calling the names and looked up at the class. His eyes were black like Hagrid's, but they had none of Hagrid's warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels.

"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape had y caught every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

More silence followed this little speech. Harry and Ron exchanged looks with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was on the edge of her seat and looked desperate to start proving that she wasn't a dunderhead.

"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced at Ron, who looked as stumped as he was; Hermione's hand had shot into the air.

"I don't know, sit," said Harry.

Snape's lips curled into a sneer.

"Tut, tut -- fame clearly isn't everything."

He ignored Hermione's hand.

"Let's try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"

Hermione stretched her hand as high into the air as it would go without her leaving her seat, but Harry didn't have the faintest idea what a bezoar was. He tried not to look at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were shaking with laughter.

"I don't know, sit." "Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming, eh, Potter?" Harry forced himself to keep looking straight into those cold eyes. He had looked through his books at the Dursleys', but did Snape expect him to remember everything in One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi?

Snape was still ignoring Hermione's quivering hand.

"What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching toward the dungeon ceiling.

"I don't know," said Harry quietly. "I think Hermione does, though, why don't you try her?"

A few people laughed; Harry caught Seamus's eye, and Seamus winked. Snape, however, was not pleased.

"Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment. Over the noise, Snape said, "And a point will be taken from Gryffindor House for your cheek, Potter."

Things didn't improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lesson continued. Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a simple potion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak, watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs, criticizing almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. He was just telling everyone to look at the perfect way Malfoy had stewed his horned slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissing filled the dungeon. Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus's cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes. Within seconds, the whole class was standing on their stools while Neville, who had been drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs.

"Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion away with one wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?"

Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.

"Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at Seamus. Then he rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

"You -- Potter -- why didn't you tell him not to add the quills? Thought he'd make you look good if he got it wrong, did you? That's another point you've lost for Gryffindor."

This was so unfair that Harry opened his mouth to argue, but Ron kicked him behind their cauldron.

"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. Can I come and meet Hagrid with you?"
  


  • Has your interpretation of this scene changed since DH?
  • How does the revelation of Snape's friendship with Lily influence the way you interpret this scene?
  • Why does Snape act the way he does? What is his motivation?

But of course there will also be the usual study questions:
  1. 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.
  2. Why do you think Snape chose to become a Death Eater?
  3. How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
  4. What do you think of Snape's actions after learning who Volemort had targetted with the prophecy?
  5. What do you think of Snape's actions after Lily's death. How do you think this death has affected his character?
  6. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
  7. Do you believe Snape came to care about Harry?
  8. Do you think Snape should have been sorted in Slytherin? Would he have made the same choices if he had been sorted elsewhere?
  9. There are all kinds of bravery in this series, what characteristics of Snape's make him brave? In what sense is he a hero.
  10. Did Snape fully redeem himself in your eyes? In Harry's?


AS THIS IS STILL A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL AND SENSITIVE TOPIC WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK EVERYONE TO PLEASE BE SENSITIVE TO OTHERS OPINIONS. THIS MEANS NO GLOATING AS WELL AS NO BASHING. CONSEQUENCES WILL BE SEVERE.

Additionally please read How to have a pleasant conversation on any topic and Character Bashing/Worship: aka Shades of Gray BEFORE POSTING IN THIS THREAD


Now go on and enjoy the debate!


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  #2  
Old September 24th, 2007, 5:20 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

The new poll could use a 'none of the above' option. My pre-DH guesses about Snape proved correct in sufficient detail that my opinions on the poll subjects have not changed as a result of reading DH.

Also, Moriath? Ignisia has been at random intervals posting all the Snape scenes for discussion on this thread. So we have in fact discussed this scene already. We're at the end of CoS, at present, having discussed the scene in which Snape and the other teachers tell Lockhart to go get the monster.

However, personally I find the repetition works because new people come in and express their views, so although every conceivable topic had been discussed, we do generate some new arguments and ideas. In that spirit...

Quote:
Has your interpretation of this scene changed since DH?
No. Post-HBP, I actually considered this scene the first clue in the series that Snape had loved Lily Evans, and my personal favorite. The quote in my signature is a one-sentence statement of Snape's life story in symbolic terms. Asphodel, a Lily Family plant, is associated in mythology with the dead. Wormwood is a plant known for its bitterness. So as I see it, Rowling is telling us here that Snape loved and lost Lily (asphodel), and the bitterness of his knowledge that he bears responsibility for that (wormwood) has made his life like a living death.

Quote:
How does the revelation of Snape's friendship with Lily influence the way you interpret this scene?
I think it is possible Snape hoped that Harry would prove a natural at Potions, as we learned in HBP his mother was. But I think the scene is as much about the love triangle with James Potter as it is about the friendship.

Quote:
Why does Snape act the way he does? What is his motivation?
I still subscribe to old theory that Snape customarily asked similar questions, and similarly put down a victim or victims, on the first day of every first year Potions class. Snape seems mostly a teacher who motivates his students negatively, by pointing out their errors and shortcomings. This tactic would fit right in with Snape's approach. It establishes that there is a lot students don't know about his subject, lets them know his expectations (come to class prepared), and demonstrates to them that if they don't, they can expect him to come down hard on them.

Why did he pick Harry as the victim, of the 20 students available? Partly, as his comments indicate, his fame. But mostly, I think he's curious about Harry like everyone else. (And for far more personal reasons - the son of the woman he loved, a man he hated, and the boy he has sworn to protect from Voldemort). And when Harry responded with his comment about Hermione, that set a pattern of Snape seeing the James in Harry, rather than the Lily. I think this was a combination of things. Harry looks like James. Snape and Harry already got a negative imperssion of one another the previous night (that Snape did, is a supposition, but this is how I think he would have reacted to seeing Harry make a pained grimace at him across a room, because they looked at one another as Harry was affected byu Voldemort's presence). Finally, Harry responding with hostility made it harder to see Lily in him - Snape does not want to see a hostile Lily, I would imagine it is the stuff of his late-night insomniac dark thoughts.


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Last edited by arithmancer; September 24th, 2007 at 5:50 pm.
  #3  
Old September 24th, 2007, 5:22 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

I included an "other" option.


  #4  
Old September 24th, 2007, 5:30 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Version 5. Oh m goodness. I'm still trying to catch up with what I missed in 4

The excerpt you quote, Moriath, I cannot but connect with Severus' first 'entrance'. While he looks into Harry's eyes, the back of Quirrell's head looks at Harry, too, and Harry experiences a pain in his forehead that will from now on be inevitably associated for him with Snape. I believe it's important to keep that in mid, because the misunderstanding is so utterly mutual.


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  #5  
Old September 24th, 2007, 6:03 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

I guess because from the moment in book 1 when Quirrell admits to trying to kill Harry...I figured Snape was on the good side. DH just provides the motivation for me. So I had to go with "other" in the poll.

I guess for me reading the scene now as opposed pre-DH, I see it as the first interaction Snape has with Harry since the death of Harry's mother. And he's got to be torn...he see's Lily's eyes but the rest of Harry is the man Snape hates. Harry would always the physical representation of what Snape feels he lost.
So I suspect it was easier for Snape to decide that Harry is more like James and would need to put in his place by difficult questions in class.

And maybe there was a slight curiosity working there as well....let's just see what the Boy Who Lived has.


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Last edited by lorna; September 24th, 2007 at 9:28 pm.
  #6  
Old September 24th, 2007, 7:22 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

I think it's not unlikely that both Severus and Lily would already have known what Severus asked Harry, when they came to Hogwarts. Both knew about their being a wizard/a witch long before getting the letter. Potions is one of the few subjects that one can practise without having a wand yet. And both seemed to have slight doubts of 'fitting in' with the other kids in school (Lily asks him about it; and it's in Severus nature as a child to be rather diffident), so their trying to be as advanced as possible seems likely enough to me.

So when Harry, who in Severus' mind must have been raised similarly like Lily, and who had no reason to assume that Petunia would blatantly lie to her nephew about his own identity, about his parents and their death, when Harry came to Hogwarts not knowing anything that his mother would have known, his great visual resemblance to his father must have blended in with Severus' perception of James - rather brawny than brainy.


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  #7  
Old September 24th, 2007, 7:51 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleur du Mal
So when Harry, who in Severus' mind must have been raised similarly like Lily, and who had no reason to assume that Petunia would blatantly lie to her nephew about his own identity, about his parents and their death, when Harry came to Hogwarts not knowing anything that his mother would have known, his great visual resemblance to his father must have blended in with Severus' perception of James - rather brawny than brainy.
Excellent point!
I love this scene - I think JKR put a lot of work into it to get it just right. I certainly think that Snape is assessing Harry here - and comes to the conclusion that Harry hasn't opened a book prior to coming. We know that isn't true, but Harry doesn't seem to have paid as much attention to the books set for potions as he does some of the others. In fact I'm not sure that an actual potions "recipe" book was set - just a book about ingredients.(I'll have to get my book to check) Snape I think had an interest in the subject which Harry doesn't. As such Snape expects him to have dome the same as he had/would have done and thinks he's a dunderhead when he hasn't.

I actually think that Snape's speech about potion brewing is quite seductive - although Alan Rickman voice might have something to do with that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by zgirnius
I still subscribe to old theory that Snape customarily asked similar questions, and similarly put down a victim or victims, on the first day of every first year Potions class. Snape seems mostly a teacher who motivates his students negatively, by pointing out their errors and shortcomings. This tactic would fit right in with Snape's approach. It establishes that there is a lot students don't know about his subject, lets them know his expectations (come to class prepared), and demonstrates to them that if they don't, they can expect him to come down hard on them.
I agree. I think Snape is a hard teacher because of his insecurities. McGonagall seems to have a natural authority which keep the class silent and attentive, whereas Snape seems to rely more on intimidation.
Incidently on my first day at secondary school I got an absolute tongue lashing in front of the whole class - I was late for my very first lesson -because me and my friend (who also got the tongue lashing) got lost. This was from a teacher reknowned for being hard on the pupils. So while I can sympathise with Harry I can also understand that it wouldn't have done him any lasting damage. In fact after two years on the forums discussing Harry's first potions lesson, I have only just remembered it!


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  #8  
Old September 24th, 2007, 9:49 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

I think Snape's comment "our new celebrity" when going over the roll was more descriptive of his real intent than the questions he asked Harry. The malice was unmistakable.


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  #9  
Old September 24th, 2007, 9:51 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
The new poll could use a 'none of the above' option.
I agree, but it's a bit late now. The only real revelation for me about Snape's motivation was that it really was only for Lily's sake. I had hoped that his change of heart had been motivated by a true sense of right and wrong, and by having witnessed dreadful things done by Voldemort and the Death Eaters, so for me it was a disappointment when Jo said that if Lily hadn't been targeted Snape would have remained a Death Eater. So I chose "His work for Dumbledore" in the poll, since this is as close as I could get.

The only real surprise was that Harry's forgiveness of Snape was so complete that he named his second son after Snape - it took me a while to understand why Harry did that.


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Old September 24th, 2007, 9:52 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasly View Post
I actually think that Snape's speech about potion brewing is quite seductive - although Alan Rickman voice might have something to do with that!
It was definitely seductive, without Rickman's help. I had said in some past post how creeped out I was when first reading it.
Something else I noticed. As much as we know Snape thinks Harry is too much like his father, with Snape heckling Harry about not "bothering to open a book" and no knowing about potions, I wonder if part of his resentment for Harry not knowing enough also had something to do with Lily being great in potions. Like another subtext in his resentment could also have been "You'll never be as great as your mother."


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  #11  
Old September 24th, 2007, 9:55 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleur du mal View Post
So when Harry, who in Severus' mind must have been raised similarly like Lily, and who had no reason to assume that Petunia would blatantly lie to her nephew about his own identity, about his parents and their death, when Harry came to Hogwarts not knowing anything that his mother would have known, his great visual resemblance to his father must have blended in with Severus' perception of James - rather brawny than brainy.
But Snape knew Petunia - both through their pre-Hogwarts contact, and through his friendship with Lily. He knew she hated magic. He must also have known that she would not be able to teach Harry about Potions ingredients. I agree with Purp here - Snape was motivated by malice alone when he humiliated Harry in front of his new classmates.


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  #12  
Old September 24th, 2007, 10:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyWeasly View Post
Excellent point!
I
I actually think that Snape's speech about potion brewing is quite seductive - although Alan Rickman voice might have something to do with that!

I agree. I think Snape is a hard teacher because of his insecurities. McGonagall seems to have a natural authority which keep the class silent and attentive, whereas Snape seems to rely more on intimidation.
Incidently on my first day at secondary school I got an absolute tongue lashing in front of the whole class - I was late for my very first lesson -because me and my friend (who also got the tongue lashing) got lost. This was from a teacher reknowned for being hard on the pupils. So while I can sympathise with Harry I can also understand that it wouldn't have done him any lasting damage. In fact after two years on the forums discussing Harry's first potions lesson, I have only just remembered it!
Actually I seem to recall an interview with Rickman where he stated took notice of Rowling's writing that Snape seemed to keep a class in check without raising his voice.

"He spoke in hardly more than a whisper but they caught every word.....like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort."

Now at this point in the class all Snape's done is call Harry "our new celebrity"
He's an imposing figure but he hasn't done anything overtly intimitating quite yet so I disagree that Snape uses intimitation primarily to control students. I think that's just how Snape always presents himself. Seen from a post DH perspective....that forbidding demeanor would be useful to keep one slightly isolated, useful if one is waiting for the day he must return to spying.

And I think loners like Snape tend to naturally be a bit intimidating. Compare with Lockheart, he was't at all scary until he demonstrated had no compunction about altering memories for personal gain. It was only Ron's broken wand that prevented him from doing real damage.


I also find it interesting that Rowling puts makes a positive comparision with McGonagall re: Snape's classroom manner. McGonagall is considered a very good teacher.

Again, compare with Lochheart, a completely contemptible teacher....we don't see his classes full of out of control student behavior as much as we see them being completely useless. You could say the same about Quirrell another teacher with "authority issues"

I agree, Snape has his insecurties but I actually don't think you see it the classroom. I think he's actually very confident about his potions (he did "write the book" so to speak) and just being at the boarding school gives him authority.

I think Snape's just has lousy personal skills and it shows primarily in the classroom.


Cathy, I like your story. I would hazard a guess there are very few posters who haven't had a teacher beak off at us or dislike us or not be on the same wave length.


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  #13  
Old September 24th, 2007, 10:16 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

I agree. In fact many things that we see in Snape we can also see in other teachers that Harry doesn't hate at all. Primarily McGonagall. They were both authority figures and they took no nonsense. The biggest difference is that Snape often took advantage of his authority position. That's definitely not an endearing quality, but I see it as little more than a human flaw.


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  #14  
Old September 24th, 2007, 10:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorna
that forbidding demeanor
I think that sums it up perfectly!
McGonagall has it to a lesser extent, but I think with Snape it is something he has deliberately cultivated.


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He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.


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  #15  
Old September 24th, 2007, 10:59 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by anabel View Post
I agree, but it's a bit late now. The only real revelation for me about Snape's motivation was that it really was only for Lily's sake. I had hoped that his change of heart had been motivated by a true sense of right and wrong, and by having witnessed dreadful things done by Voldemort and the Death Eaters, so for me it was a disappointment when Jo said that if Lily hadn't been targeted Snape would have remained a Death Eater.
The way I see it is Lily being targeted is what motivated Snape to be motivated by what was right and wrong. The dreadful things done by Voldemort and the Death Eaters (Snape included) hit home; he was able to turn his back on Voldemort because of Lily, but he decided to move forward and do 'anything' to help because he knew it was the right thing to do.


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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:16 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by anabel View Post
But Snape knew Petunia - both through their pre-Hogwarts contact, and through his friendship with Lily. He knew she hated magic. He must also have known that she would not be able to teach Harry about Potions ingredients. I agree with Purp here - Snape was motivated by malice alone when he humiliated Harry in front of his new classmates.
Exactly, he knew that Petunia once craved to go to Hogwarts as well, and that she didn't get that well along with her sister in her youth. I, as a reader, still have great difficulties to understand the first thing about aunt Petunia in her performance as Harry's aunt though. No one right in their mind could assume that she would turn out the way she did.

Severus knew the Evans family, and from the little we hear, they were a loving family (we hear Petunia say in PS how delighted her parents were with Lily's Hogwarts letter, for example, and I don't suppose that they were glad to be rid of her ). After Lily's sacrifice, why should he have thought that Petunia wouldn't be proud of her, too, if not for being a witch, for being a courageous mother? How that child whose story every child would know (in the wizarding world) should be treated, by a woman who had the background of loving and caring, in such a fashion?


Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeasleysgirl View Post
That's definitely not an endearing quality, but I see it as little more than a human flaw.
And thank goodness for the human flaw. What would literature be without it?


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Last edited by Fleur du mal; September 24th, 2007 at 11:19 pm.
  #17  
Old September 25th, 2007, 12:20 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriath View Post
I suggest starting with this excerpt from PS/SS. It is not Harry's first encounter with Snape but his first lesson with him.
[excerpt from PS/SS, chapter eight]
  • Has your interpretation of this scene changed since DH?
  • How does the revelation of Snape's friendship with Lily influence the way you interpret this scene?
  • Why does Snape act the way he does? What is his motivation?
Thinking back to my original interpretation of this, which would have been superficial and brief, as I carried on reading the story I would merely have been surprised that Harry concluded that Snape hated him, rather than was just in a foul temper, why did it have to be personal? Throughout PS/SS I was irritated by Harry's jumping to conclusions about Snape when his actions belied his words. Its not DH that has changed my view, rather the extended discussions I have recently found in fandom. Even if I accept the 'this is Snape's normal firstie class protocol', it is still clear that chosing Harry as target for his questions to demonstrate the need to come to class prepared, is personal for Snape.

The particular questions selected are equally clearly personal to Snape and his feelings about Lily, himself and his task, as described in DH and illuminated above by zrginius. The middle section of the lesson describes a well run and interesting lab class, Snape as competant teacher. The final section has Neville messing up, in a way dangerous to himself and others and his banishment to sickbay. Apart from being called 'idiot boy' he is well treated, there is is nothing at this point to suggest that Snape bullies Neville. Given the discussions about that matter, this passage would not support the theories that Snape reacted strongly to Neville because of his connection to the prophecy, he does not react in a personal way. Whereas the final deduction of a point from Harry, is again personal. The general message for the class, to intervene if you spot a dangerous mistake, could have been equally addressed to Ron who also stood alongside, but its Harry's failure that aggravates Snape.

Snape ends the lesson dissapointed in Harry's knowledge and potion skills, and beginning to assume that his character is one that will ignore others mistakes in order to laugh at or benefit from them. Harry just sees a teacher who hates him without cause and is therefore mean to him. Both take the first steps on a long path of misunderstanding and miscommunication.


  #18  
Old September 25th, 2007, 12:20 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

*peeks in and takes deep breath*
I just wanted to make a comment on the poll - I think that the confirmation of his love for Lily and the resulting change of loyalties definitely sheds light on his reasoning for working for Dumbledore and his relationship with the marauders in general. I also saw the fact that he became a death eater differently because I felt it was tied up so emotionally with the loss he felt over Lily and his need to prove himself in something.

I didn't feel any difference about Snape's treatment of Harry - mostly because I think his treatment of Harry resulted much more from his dislike of James (which we knew about prior to DH) than his relationship with Lily.

As for his teaching methods - I never did like them, and I don't think that Snape was really meant to be a teacher and was forced into the teacher profession because of the work he needed to do for Dumbledore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Also, Moriath? Ignisia has been at random intervals posting all the Snape scenes for discussion on this thread. So we have in fact discussed this scene already. We're at the end of CoS, at present, having discussed the scene in which Snape and the other teachers tell Lockhart to go get the monster.
I think that out of all the scenes featuring Snape, that this is one of the most enjoyable. I don't think that Snape had a great relationship with the rest of the staff, so it was interesting to see how they worked together when confronted with someone they all found mutually aggravating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeasleysgirl View Post
I agree. In fact many things that we see in Snape we can also see in other teachers that Harry doesn't hate at all. Primarily McGonagall. They were both authority figures and they took no nonsense. The biggest difference is that Snape often took advantage of his authority position. That's definitely not an endearing quality, but I see it as little more than a human flaw.
The biggest difference I see between Snape and McGonagall is that Snape does not seem to like children and McGonagall does. (this is just my impression ) As I said before, I doubt that Snape ever wanted to be a teacher and deal with children on a regular basis, and I think this dislike really shows through.


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  #19  
Old September 25th, 2007, 12:44 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriath View Post
excerpt from PS/SS, chapter eight:

"Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

Has your interpretation of this scene changed since DH?
How does the revelation of Snape's friendship with Lily influence the way you interpret this scene?
Why does Snape act the way he does? What is his motivation?
No, my interpretation hasn't changed at all.

We've actually talked about that scene many times, but I'll post what I think again.

The mention of Asphodel and Wormwood is symbolic, because Asphodel is a lily, and Wormwood is a bitter herb called artemisia which is used to make the emerald green drink "absinthe." I think Snape had Lily and her famous eyes on his mind that day. Harry notices that Snape keeps staring at him - it's obvious why.

Asphodel is a plant that the Greeks believed grew on the fields of the brave in the afterlife, and that has to be foreshadowing for Deathly Hallows, and also for Harry's line about Snape being "the bravest man I ever knew."

Though Snape didn't know about Wormtail at the time time of that speech, it is foreshadowing in the book for Wormtail's betrayal of Lily

The fact about the bezoar comes in handy later on, so that is foreshadowing for HBP and "just shove a bezoar down his throat" as a way to save someone's life, as Harry saves Ron's.

Clearly the aconite/wolfsbane is foreshadowing for Lupin's role throughout the series.

Snape's motivation on that day, in my opinion, was to show the other kids that Harry was no different than they were. I don't believe Snape really expected Harry or anyone else to have read their books over the summer.

I also agree about Petunia. How could Snape know she would still be so anti-magic after taking care of Harry for ten years? I think he would expect Petunia to be as loyal to Lily's memory as he is, and I think it shocks him when he sees Harry's real memories during Occlumency.

The Poll: I voted "Other" in the poll because none of my opinions of Snape changed due to Deathly Hallows.

"My Other" would be the depth of Snape's love for Lily - JKR gave Snape much more depth of emotion than I expected her to, and made sure we knew that Lily was his childhood friend. So my "other" would be the fact that there was no one else for him and that his love was pure.


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Last edited by silver ink pot; September 25th, 2007 at 12:48 am.
  #20  
Old September 25th, 2007, 1:23 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rell View Post

The biggest difference I see between Snape and McGonagall is that Snape does not seem to like children and McGonagall does. (this is just my impression ) As I said before, I doubt that Snape ever wanted to be a teacher and deal with children on a regular basis, and I think this dislike really shows through.
That's definitely true, too.

Snape is not a child-person either. Again, let's call him a Lily-person and leave it at that! lol.


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