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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2011, 5:15 pm
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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Welcome to the fourth version of the reboot thread!


For those who need a reminder or those who are new to CoS and Legilimency Studies: Snape is a very controversial character and a lot of fans have very passionate opinions about him, which they are ready to defend at all costs. Unfortunately, this made the discussion less than amiable and we had to close the last Snape threads and turn Legilimency Studies into a HOT ZONE. So fair warning, if you mess around, you won't stay around.

There is no doubt Snape is a very complex character. He's an awful figure to many, a cruel and vindictive individual without a shred of decency or humanity. To others he's a tragic hero, complicated by a love he couldn't openly express and mourning the loss of his opportunities.

I'm allowing this debate to go ahead because it's not fair to deny newer members the chance to discuss this character. So the focus is going to be on making sure this thread can stay open, as we deal with individuals in the way our new Hot Zone policy dictates & outlined below.

A few study questions to get this thread started:

Questions
  1. Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?
  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?
  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?
  4. 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?
  5. How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
  6. Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?
  7. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
  8. Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?
  9. Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?
  10. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
  11. If you had to summarize Snape's character to someone who had never read the books what would you tell them?



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  #2  
Old February 5th, 2011, 5:36 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Cake death or Snape? ... Cake death; it sounds a totally glorious way to die, but I'll still take Snape thank you.

Quote:
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 think his home life did affect him; it probably hurt him a lot and perhaps contributed to the many thoughts over the years that went into making his mind that chose a particular path, but I think in the end the choice was Snape's. I think it was his responsibility; while I feel there may have been various factors that allowed him to drift into Voldemort's circle, the ultimate responsibility was his. If I could blame anything other than Snape for his choices, I would say he lacked guidance and help when he needed it the most.


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  #3  
Old February 5th, 2011, 5:39 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

RE: Morgoth's closing post on Reboot #3:

RE: Morgoth's Questions:

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

My personal opinion is that Snape's soul was shredded, to a certain extent, when he was between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two. I believe that he damaged his soul in his early Death Eater days, and that his years as a Hogwarts Professor under Albus' employ were slowly knitting those shreds back together. I believe that said repair was slow and partial during the years that Harry was at the Dursley's, and that Harry's appearance in the Great Hall may actually have impeded the process by reminding Severus too much of his torment at the hands of Harry's father. I think that Snape's Redemption Arc really took off after he had to kill Albus, because that is when he was truly alone with his thoughts and the Portraits of Headmasters and forced to come face-to-face with the cold realities of his life and his past and his choices. I believe that the coup-de-grac had an impact on Severus, but more a positive than a negative one in the long-term: yes, he was for a time overcome by new grief. But it was a catalyst for Snape to realize that the War against Voldemort as a whole was more important than his "Always" and his Patronus and his personal tragedy of Lily choosing James and being killed by Voldemort, when she could (at least to Severus' mind) have chosen Severus and been protected from the Death Eaters by his favor and her "loads of magic." This is my interpretation of Voldemort's thought as printed in DH, that the foolish girl need not have died, if only she'd stepped aside.

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 think Severus' parents could have done a better job of teaching him and guiding him and paying more attention to their son than to whatever problems caused them to fight and yell at eachother so much. I know it's debatable but my interpretation is not that Eileen never loved Severus, but that she was overwhelmed by certain other aspects of her life with a poor Muggle husband and failed to give him the affection and nurturing he needed to grow up with any confidence in himself and any empathy for other people. I think that Severus, as a pre-teen and a teenager, could have chosen to be influenced more by Lily and by the Professors and Headmaster of Hogwarts than by the young Slytherins who wanted to be Death Eaters when they got big. For this reason, I place more responsibility for his later choices on Severus himself than on the Snape parents. I do picture Tobias as a taciturn, under-employed, miserable man who gave nothing to his wife and son while he was at home, perhaps buried in the Muggle post, perhaps with his nose glued to the telly, unless they did something that annoyed him enough that he would start shouting at him, though. JMO

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

My reading both of canon and of JKR's interviews is that Severus would have stayed with the Death Eaters if Lily had not been targeted by the Prophecy and killed by Lord Voldemort. I'm not sure whether he would have ended up in Azkaban like the LeStranges, or out and about like Karkaroff and the Malfoys, though. My theory on what would have become of Severus if Lily had chosen to stand aside and let Voldemort kill Harry is a whole other story, and one that would probably disturb a lot of people. So I'll probably keep that story in the Social Groups.

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?

This fact definitely changes my view of the "murder" of Albus Dumbledore, because obviously it was a mercy killing and not a murder. But I don't see any change in the way I view Severus' treatment of Sirius. If anything, it makes the way he treated Sirius after PoA worse: he learned that the real betrayer of Lily to Voldemort was Peter, but he still treats Sirius like his worst enemy. I don't understand it. I understand not liking the person who bullied you when you were at school even a decade or two later, but I think both Sirius and Severus went too far with their mutual loathing in their interactions at #12 Grimmauld Place.

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

To me, most of the revelations of the Prince's Tale make Severus' treatment of Harry and Neville look even worse than they did on surface readings. I can understand a mean teacher who doesn't really like kids showing favoritism to certain students. I can understand being annoyed at children who are overly clumsy, or cheeky, or know-it-alls like Hermione. But in light of the Prophecy and the fact that it was Severus who bore the Prophecy to Lord Voldemort, I think Severus should have remembered that he was partially to blame for Harry being an orphan and Neville having parents in asylum. I think he should have tried to be fair to all the students and keep his head down, so that the entire Wizarding World would believe that he had turned from his Death Eater past and was truly Dumbledore's man. I think that all of his excuses to Bellatrix and Lord Voldemort would have worked to return him to his double agent role regardless of whether he'd been an impartial teacher or a blatantly unfair one. I think the reason for his treatment of Harry and Neville was to keep the reader (and Harry) believing that he was a bad guy until the Big Reveal of the Prince's Tale. And I think that he was, is, and remains a gray character, not a white one with a black cloak for cover.

Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?

I think he wanted Harry's understanding that the key to the plan was that Harry would have to willingly sacrifice himself in order for the unwittingly created Horcrux in Harry to be destroyed. I think the plan and getting rid of Voldemort was the most important thing to Severus, not Harry as a person. I think he continued to despise Harry and see him as a mini-James all the way to the end. I think "look at me" was about nothing more than seeing Lily's eyes as the last thing he saw before he dies.

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

I don't think Dumbledore was exactly a friend or exactly a father-figure for Severus. I think he was a mentor and a guide, and an employer. But I also think that Albus was the only person that Severus felt he could be truly open and genuine with, and therefore it was somewhat of a relief at times for him to be able to let down his guard. I also think that Severus resented the way Albus was never as open and honest with him, and therefore not a relationship of equals. I quite honestly think that Severus could have benefitted from a good psychotherapist, and that Albus was the closest thing to that he had. I think he should have listened to Albus more when he was in his Hogwarts years as a student, instead of letting Malfoy and Avery and Mulciber shape his beliefs and his choices.

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

I haven't seen much of that beyond what's quoted here on the board, but I do agree that he was deeply horrible, that he hated Harry until his dying day, and the sketch I've seen done by JKR is much closer to my picture of Severus Snape than the movie character done (brilliantly, he's an excellent actor) by Alan Rickman.

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

His shades of gray, which so many of us seem to have a hard time seeing. Somehow the flavor of these debates make it easier for me to insist that he's mostly black, and for others, so it seems to me, to insist that he was as white and shining and pure as his Silver Doe. No offense is meant by this comparison; I just think that many of us, me included, often take our interpretations too far. People who like him sometimes put a good spin on everything Severus did, and people who don't like him make even his good deeds into selfish, wicked ones.

What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?

His major strength is his single-minded drive toward achieving his purpose, bolstered by his intelligence, magical ability, and loyalty to the cause. His major flaw is the other side of the same coin: he is so single-mindedly focused and driven, that he does not see that everything (and every one) is not exactly as he perceives. He seems to me to be unwilling to alter his initial perceptions of events and of other people.

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

That depends on whether they plan to read the books and/or see the movies. But my general summation of Severus Snape is that he's a nasty piece of work that I'd never want to meet in real life. That he was the evil minion of the evil Lord Voldemort in years past, that Voldemort struck a blow against him personally that caused him to turn against his master, and that it was his quest for personal vengeance against Voldemort for killing Lily that caused him to change sides and become a key player in Voldemort's final downfall. This is my opinion, and I realize that many on this board interpret him very differently.


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Last edited by LyraLovegood; February 5th, 2011 at 6:44 pm.
  #4  
Old February 5th, 2011, 5:46 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

"Snape has beiber fever"...

Yay, new thread!

Quote:
What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
Strengths:
1) His love for Lily and how it never wavers throughout his life- even when she has died. In my eyes, it's very remarkable and poignant to love that one person so dearly for the almost entirety of your life.

2) His Occlumency skills and his ability to keep his cover in the most difficult of situations. I think this proves how courageous he was; many people would've crumbled under the immense pressure Snape had in his life (and I wouldn't blame them), but Snape usually doesn't. The situation that is the best example to prove this I think is Dumbledore's death-the only hint we are given as to how terrible he feels is the quote "...and his face was suddenly demented, inhuman; as if he was in as much pain...".

His weaknesses I feel are his inabilty to forgive and forget, his vindictaveness when it comes to treating his pupils and the grave error he made in misjudging Harry's character.

This is all my own opinion.


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Old February 5th, 2011, 7:07 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

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

Yes.

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?

We are all products of our upbringing. The baggage we carry with us into our adulthood is, in part, the responsibility of our parents. What we do with that baggage after we become adults, however, is our own responsibility. Snape carried a lot of baggage with him, and he wasn't able to unload a lot that he should have.

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

I think he would have always felt the loss of the friendship very deeply, but, I don't think he ever realistically expected to be more than friends. So, yes. I think he would have eventually moved on if she had not died.

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?

His love for Lily, as I see it, was the driving force behind all that he did after she died. He did not want the sacrifice of her life to protect Harry to have been for nothing. So, Severus continued to protect him until he died. I've never considered his killing of Dumbledore as "murder." It was a pre-planned action to save Dumbledore more pain and suffering than he needed to endure.

How Severus treated Sirius was two-fold: At first he wanted him captured and turned over to the Dementors because he thought, as did the rest of the WW, that Sirius had betrayed Lily. Once that was cleared up, though, I think their boyhood dislike for each other continued, and that is why they sniped at each other just about every time they are together. I've also wondered if Severus thought that maybe there might have been more Sirius could have done to protect Lily, as he was her's and James' closest friend.

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

We'd been shown SWM in OotP, so we knew a bit of why there was bad blood between Severus and James, and, unfortunately for Harry, he looked just like James. But, after reading DH and TPT, then re-reading the series, Severus seems the most angry and nasty to Harry after an incident when Harry has put himself at risk. Severus knew the sacrifice Lily had made to keep Harry alive, and, I think that he felt it disrespectful for Harry to be so reckless.

The only thing that I can think of for his treatment of Neville was to try to challenge him, "toughen him up," so to speak. He went about it in the totally wrong way, but, Severus also knew Neville's parents in the Order, since they were tortured after Voldemort was vaporized. He had not reason to dislike Neville, so, I think his treatment of him was partly out of frustration and partly to try to help him do better.

Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?

Yes. And that is why I think he gave Harry all of the extra memories and begged him to "Look..at..me.." I think he wanted Harry to see him, good and bad, and to understand him. Harry must have forgiven him since he name one of his sons after him. That is, to me, more than enough to show that Harry had come to understand Severus.

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

I think Dumbledore represented a lot of different things to Severus: a bit of a father-figure, as the one he had wasn't much; the one who offered him a chance to redeem himself when everyone else had given up on him; a man who trusted and respected him -- both deeply important to Severus; a friend, mentor, and confidante.

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

It depends on the interview and the time it was done. JKR did a lot of misdirection in many of her interviews before certain books were published because she didn't want to give away anything. And, in some later interviews she seems to say different things about the Snape character. I really put more reliance in how she presented him in the books.

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

His snarkniness, especially with the students. His becoming a DE. His reasons for wanting to vanquish Voldemort. Why he doesn't wash his hair more often. His manner of dress. Just about everything about him is controversial.

What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?

His ability to love was his strongest point, as far as I see. He was loyal, brave, selfless, and did everything he could to carry out what he offered Dumbledore on the hilltop: "Anything."

His major flaws were not being able to get over the problems of his childhood and carrying his animosity for James over to Harry.

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

Read the books.


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  #6  
Old February 5th, 2011, 7:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgoth
closed, pending version 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436
Thank you! Every circular topic needs more PI.

Quote:
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?
From what we see in the books, Snape's Muggle father was at least verbally abusive and hard to please. He probably frowned on magic, just like the Dursleys, and since young Snape couldn't control his power any better than Harry could, I think that caused lots of problems. Snape's mother was possibly a Pureblood who wanted him to be in Slytherin, but I don't think she explained all the background of that house to her son or he wouldn't have seen is as the "brains over brawn" house, imo. He also didn't seem to understand that Lily might not make it into Slytherin House. So I would describe young Snape as confused by his divided loyalties to his parents and to the Muggle and Wizarding Worlds.

However, I don't think he would blame his parents for his later choices. Abused children are more likely to blame themselves for trouble between their parents, and I don't think he was any different. However, I think he hoped that once he got to Hogwarts he would be more in control of his destiny than he was at home, and while he could control his grades, his social life at school turned out to be a big mess by the time he was a teenager. Some of that might be caused by low self-esteem he learned at home, but I don't think we can lay the blame for that on his parents since they had nothing to do with the school. The choices he later made were possibly a combination of depression over losing Lily, and trying once again to fit in with a peer group with sensibilities he didn't actually share. Since he regretted all of that so much to the point of remorse, I believe he took the blame himself, and eventually forgave his parents for being so limited and negative (although I believe he did love them). JMO


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  #7  
Old February 5th, 2011, 8:35 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

1. Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?
Judging by his actions in the seventh book, I'd say yes. It may have taken some time to get over it as he'd just done something that he had tried stay away from for many year, but I think that at the end of the book his soul was intact. If anything in Snape was broken after he'd killed Dumbledore, it was his heart, again.

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?

Snape's upbringing certainly didn't help him in any way and his early life most likely had an effect on the way he viewed life and how he interacted with other people. Still, as you grow up you become more responsible for the course of your own life. When Snape was a young adult, he made a horrific mistake by joining the DE's but he later also chose a different path and he stayed on it for the rest of his life. At the same time I think he was never fully able to let go of his painful past and that it haunted him in his adulthood without him wanting to realize it.

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?
T
his is just my opinion, but I have a feeling that Snape would have left the death eaters sooner or later. He reminds me a bit of Draco Malfoy in HBP who was given the task to kill Dumbledore but noticed pretty soon that being a DE really isn't all that.


4. 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 think that some of his actions, like going to Dumbledore to ask for help, his initial promise to help protect Harry, and some of behaviour in the Shrieking Shack in POA, can be traced back to how he felt for Lily. At the same time I think that Snape "grew up" behind the scenes in the story just as much as Harry did. Over the course of the series he does many good things which in my opinion can't all be explained by saying that "he was only doing it because of Lily".

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

They don't impact my view of him in any way as I never believed him to be an evil character. As a professor I think he could have treated Neville differently, but Deathly Hallows never changed the way I look at that part of his character.

6. Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?
Hmm, that's a tough one. If he did, I don't think it's something that he ever admitted to himself. Even in memories that he gives Harry he's not asking for his forgiveness but rather he's making Harry understand why he was the way he was.

7. What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
There's a passage in Deathly Hallows where Harry's running to the castle after he's just seen Snape get killed. He runs to the Headmaster's office and realizes that he doesn't know the new password, so he just blurts out Dumbledore because "it was he whom he yearned to see". I tend to read that passage as a direct link to how both Snape and Harry had a very special relationship with Dumbledore. They were friends I believe, and Snape seemed to get as close to Dumbledore as he would allow anyone to get to him.

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

I don't really read JKR interviews but from what I've understood, she hasn't portrayed Severus very consistently in interviews. In the books, Snape's "the bravest man Harry ever knew", whereas in the interviews he's "this really-nast-teacher-but-still-totally-got-that-Headmaster's-portrait-Severus". I prefer to stick to the books.


9. Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?
Snape's an easy character to hate and a hard one to love I guess. The first HP book I ever read was Prisoner of Azkaban and I have to admit that Snape was one difficult character to understand. He has his own flaws like we all do and he was never the kind of character who wanted to explain himself to anyone, least of all to Harry. As the books are written from Harry's perspective, it takes a while to connect all the dots and accept that despite his faults, Snape was still one of the coolest characters in the series.

10. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
His major strengths are his intelligence immense bravery. I most admire him for the way that he chose to turn his back to the Death Eaters and committed the rest of his life to fighting Voldemort and becoming a much better (if not less snarky) person in the end.
Major flaws: Snape's the kind of character who says whatever I would perhaps LIKE to say, but know that I never SHOULD. That is a quality which I both like and dislike, as I think that he could have toned down the snark in front of his younger students. His biggest flaw in my opinion was how he was so quick to judge people (some more accurately than others) and was later unable to change his opinion of them, especially if that person had hurt him in some way.

11. If you had to summarize Snape's character to someone who had never read the books what would you tell them?
Go read the books and then we can talk.


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  #8  
Old February 6th, 2011, 5:41 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Do you believe that Snape's soul was still intact after he had killed Dumbledore?
Probably not- I think that any act, like killing, which is so destructive, damages the soul, whether or not it's considered true "murder" or not. Snape can't have felt extremely good about himself for killing Dumbledore. I imagine he felt at least a small amount of guilt.

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 think his parents never taught him, by lectures or by examples, about good problem solving techniques, and I don't think that they ever showed him much affection, so Snape sought out that affection from his Death Eater buddies at Hogwarts. Ultimately, the choice was his, though. He could have chosen to get that affection from Lily.

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 actually think that Snape's love for Lily would have gotten worse and stronger, if Lily had lived. If you love someone that much, you are always looking for that little sliver of hope, some little sign that they love you back. And then when Lily never actually loved Snape, he would have fallen into depression. The emotional roller coaster would have been unbearable for him.

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?
The "murder" of Dumbledore: I understand why he did it, at least. I'm not quite sure how Lily falls into that, unless you count the whole, grand, master plan. Which he supposedly did for Lily.
Sirius: It's just ridiculous. They both acted like children. At the time, there was a war going on. They should have put all of their efforts into working together, not trying to one-up each other in a pathetic, drawn-out battle of wits.

How do the revelations of DH impact your view of Snape's treatment of Harry and Neville throughout the series?
It actually makes me more mad. As LyraLovegood said, Snape was part of the reason (for Harry, directly, for Neville, more indirectly) for their misfortunes. He should've felt guilty for what he did, and was at least fair to them in return. His behavior towards the two (among other students) in completely innapropriate for a person of his position, no matter what ancient grudge he had against James Potter. I personally think that he was unneccasarily cruel towards his students. For that reason alone, I do not like Snape. This, however, is just my opinion.

Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?
If he did, he did a rotten job of showing it. The reason for all of the memories was to explain to Harry that he was a Horcrux, and to back it up with evidence, explain why he did it. And the famous "look at me" was so Snape could see Lily's eyes one last time. Not for Harry's sake.

What do you think about Snape's relationship with Dumbledore? Did they become friends or was Dumbledore a substitute father figure for him?
I actually think they had kind of a mean relationship. I think that Snape rather resented Dumbledore, because his life was Dumbledore's. I also think that Dumbledore felt a kind of harsh pity towards Snape, like "Your life sucks, and that's really terrible for you, but you brought this on yourself, so i don't feel too bad for you." type of thing.

Do you agree with the author's take on Snape's character as revealed in interviews?
No, but that's okay. That's what makes JKR's writing so awesome; almost nothing is cut and dry in the series. There are a thousand ways that you can interpret characters, and events. That's probably the best part of her writing.

Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?
Three things:
1.) his behavior towards his students, and his peers
2.) his love for Lily
3.) events such as Snape's Worst Memory, and "look at me"

What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?
Strength.... probably his Legillemency skills. If Voldemort couldn't penetrate his mind... then he had some MadSkillzYo. Weaknesses would probably be his inability to move on, to get over the past.

If you had to summarize Snape's character to someone who had never read the books what would you tell them?
Snape is a cruel teacher who mistreats his students, but ends up being a double spy for the good side because he was in love with this girl, but it was his fault that she was killed, so he kinda has to spend his life making it up to her son. But he still treats him bad. (But then, if I were speaking to someone, my words wouldn't be moderated :P)


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Old February 6th, 2011, 6:51 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

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

Yes. Soul shredding occurs (in canon) when murder is committed -- cold-blooded, intentional murder which does not have remorse afterwards. It is explicated that Severus does not want to kill DD, wants no part of it, and when he's finally forced into it by circumstances it appears to almost drive him insane.

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?

Our parents lay the foundation for how we interact with other people, particularly how we love others and how we deal with disagreements. It's shown to us in canon that Severus' parents fought, and that his mother is a withdrawn shadow of a woman. Thus it's my opinion that he never learned how to have an adult relationship, didn't know how to handle the emotion of love in a mature way, and didn't understand how to relate to other people.

This led to his obsessive love for Lily, and to his apparent inability to really make friends throughout his life. I believe it also formed his personality, that of a cold, unapproachable, caustic tower of sarcasm and irritability.

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 don't think he would have moved on very quickly -- he probably would have kept the flame burning until Lily was much older and had several kids. Then he might have realized he didn't have a chance, and may have looked around for someone else.

I'm going to separate myself from others who say he would not have left the DE's if nothing had happened to Lily -- I believe he would have done what the Blacks did. Eventually he would have been sickened by the lengths to which Voldemort was willing to go, and he would have kept his head down and been a minor player, since we all know once you're a DE you're a DE to the end, whether you want to be or not... Yes, he would have turned to the good side, and probably been a spy anyway. I don't think he could have followed LV to the utter end of Muggle torture and killing, Muggleborn ostracism, and the other extremes the DE's went to. I also do not believe he ever killed anyone besides DD.

4. 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?

His killing of Dumbledore was a mercy killing -- it was planned a year ahead of time (IMO probably would have been handled with a potion, and DD would have let everyone know it was his choice) -- it was a killing done when there were no other options. Severus wasn't going to let Bellatrix or Greyback get hold of the nearest thing he had to a friend, so he gave DD his easy way out with Avada Kedavra. I think it was his love for Lily that brought Severus into the sphere of DD's influence, which had nothing but good effects on him.

As for Sirius, I think it's important to remember that Sirius almost got him killed when they were in school -- that's not something IMO it's easy or even possible to forgive or forget. Severus' love for Lily threw him into constant contact (after Sirius escaped from Azkaban) with the person he probably hated the most in the world, and with the most reason. Sirius is constantly shown as needling Severus every chance he gets -- he rarely calls him anything but "Snivellus". I don't think Severus is to blame for giving back as good as he got.

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

Not much. I think his treatment of Harry is down to Severus being constantly affronted by how little regard Harry seems to hold his mother's sacrifice -- Harry is always breaking rules, taking dangerous risks, and generally not seeming to give a tinker's dam about the life his mother died to preserve. I believe most of the rancor Severus displays towards Harry is in an effort to shame him into taking better care of his life and safety.

As for Neville, I believe Severus' attitude towards him is the same attitude he displays towards any incompetent student in his classes. He doesn't seem to suffer fools lightly, and I believe feels his abilities are wasted in trying to stuff learning into the heads of students who have no aptitude for the subject. His treatment of Neville makes me think Severus should have been teaching at university level, not in a secondary school.

6. Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?

Categorically no. Severus never wanted or needed forgiveness from anyone. He owned his mistakes and his failings; he either worked tirelessly to correct those mistakes or he said, "This is how I am, take it or leave it. I see no need to change."

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

I don't think they became friends, or that DD was a father figure. Severus likely had no use for a father figure, as his own father appeared to be such a non-starter in the role; he probably felt that, given the choice between a bad father or no father, most people are better off with no father.

I believe they became close colleagues, with a healthy respect for each other's abilities. I believe Severus respected DD as the leader of the Order, as the Headmaster, and as a powerful wizard.

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

Haven't really read them, what I believe about Snape is built on the books. It seems to me though that JKR likes Snape as a character, but wouldn't like him as a person. What I have read indicates to me that she spent a lot of time doing misdirection with him in interviews, so as not to spoil the books.

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

His poor childhood experiences, his relationship with Lily, his treatment of his students in general and Harry in particular, his having been a DE, yet his membership in the Order. He is not a black & white character, but crosses all the lines and ends up the one truly grey character in the series.

He's just a lot of fun.

10. What do you think are Snape's major strengths? What are his major flaws?

Strengths: loyalty, honor, self-possessed, intelligent, powerful wizard, calm under stress

Flaws: quick temper, less-than-pleasant personality, low self-esteem which led him to join the DE's, holds a grudge far too long

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

It's impossible to do. I'd tell them to read at least the first book, then let's talk.


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  #10  
Old February 6th, 2011, 8:14 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Love the tags.

Quote:
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 think they're very closely connected. IMHO, people make their own decisions based off what they gain from life, and that their experiences taint their PoV and make them more or less biased toward one decision over another. This does not have anything to do with how those decisions are ultimately judged, so much as it notes how likely it was for that decision to have been made.

I see Snape's decision to become a DE as very closely connected with outside experiences. I believe that one can react well or badly toward what occurs in life, and not having the sort of moral guidance most children benefit from, Snape was not as able (or trained) as other children to see the larger moral picture and properly interpret the events in his own life. In a sense, I think he only saw things from his own perspective, and so what benefitted him was good, and what hurt him was bad. Breaking from this clearly took a great shock and a great many years.

The way I see it, Snape underwent a great deal of trauma in his youth, both from neglect and harassment, and that both had an adverse effect on him and how he viewed the world. He can and did make his own decisions, but those decisions were IMHO based off both traumatic experiences and previous decisions, and did not entirely stand on their own, disconnected from his environment and his developing mindset.

ETA: I would also like to note that not all his later decisions were entirely bad. Having had the acceptance of a friend on the good side in his teen years gave him something of a rope with which to haul himself out of the abyss, IMO, and several problems in his early life that may have contributed to his bad decisions might have allowed him to climb to greater heights later in his life.


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  #11  
Old February 6th, 2011, 10:41 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
Love the tags.

I think they're very closely connected. IMHO, people make their own decisions based off what they gain from life, and that their experiences taint their PoV and make them more or less biased toward one decision over another. This does not have anything to do with how those decisions are ultimately judged, so much as it notes how likely it was for that decision to have been made.

I see Snape's decision to become a DE as very closely connected with outside experiences. I believe that one can react well or badly toward what occurs in life, and not having the sort of moral guidance most children benefit from, Snape was not as able (or trained) as other children to see the larger moral picture and properly interpret the events in his own life. In a sense, I think he only saw things from his own perspective, and so what benefitted him was good, and what hurt him was bad. Breaking from this clearly took a great shock and a great many years.

The way I see it, Snape underwent a great deal of trauma in his youth, both from neglect and harassment, and that both had an adverse effect on him and how he viewed the world. He can and did make his own decisions, but those decisions were IMHO based off both traumatic experiences and previous decisions, and did not entirely stand on their own, disconnected from his environment and his developing mindset.

ETA: I would also like to note that not all his later decisions were entirely bad. Having had the acceptance of a friend on the good side in his teen years gave him something of a rope with which to haul himself out of the abyss, IMO, and several problems in his early life that may have contributed to his bad decisions might have allowed him to climb to greater heights later in his life.
Possibly, when Dumbledore referred to "scars too deep to heal" he was not only talking about the animosity between James and Severus, but earlier scars that marked Severus' life, such as the neglect and possible abuse that we see in his youth. Those things do leave lasting effects, and while we are all responsible for our actions as adults, IMO, those actions are definitely affected by what we have or haven't learned in our youth.

But, Severus did, as you said, have a lifeline...his love for Lily. I think, after their estrangement he may have tucked that love deep inside to keep the loss of her friendship from being a constant ache in his heart. Once she was in danger, though, there was no way he could hide it from himself anymore, and he had to act -- at great risk to himself by going first to Voldemort, and then to Dumbledore to try to secure her safety.

While I personally feel that Severus would have eventually tried to leave the DEs, knowing Lily's life was in danger was the impetus that made up his mind to take action and turn to Dumbledore sooner rather than later. This, to me, is what shows that he was growing up emotionally and was taking responsibility for his actions. And, as we see him begging Dumbledore not to kill him, he was doing it, at what he thought was a risk to his life.


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  #12  
Old February 7th, 2011, 4:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
posted by Morgoth
6. Do you think he wanted or needed Harry's forgiveness on some level?
I think he needed Harry's forgiveness in his action of taking the Prophecy to Voldemort. Apart from that I don't think he needed or wanted Harry's forgiveness, but I do believe he wanted Harry's understanding very much. I think he wanted Harry to know him, to understand him, which I think was the reason for the memories that had nothing to do with Dumbledore's message. As usual, I think Snape was direct, harsh on himself when he showed Harry the memories of various incidents of his life and I think he hoped irrespective of Harry liking him or not, he would understand Snape, his motivations and his reasons for the life he led.


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  #13  
Old February 7th, 2011, 4:53 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think he needed Harry's forgiveness in his action of taking the Prophecy to Voldemort.
I don't know, I think that wanting forgiveness from someone else, especially the injured party, implies you are able to forgive yourself. I don't think Severus was ever able to forgive himself for carrying the prophecy to Voldemort.

I believe that inability to forgive himself was a large part of what drove him to work so tirelessly, at great personal risk, against Voldemort.

And of course IMO, beyond his culpability in the deaths of Lily and James, and the orphaning of Harry, Severus asked no quarter from anyone and accepted none.


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  #14  
Old February 7th, 2011, 5:11 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by SadiraSnape View Post
I don't think Severus was ever able to forgive himself for carrying the prophecy to Voldemort.
I agree. I also think that Snape never forgave himself for his mistake, but I think he at some level needed something from Harry on that. I think Snape felt his actions had taken away Harry parents and he wanted Harry's forgiveness on that, not because it would change the way he felt about it, but because it would tell him that Harry had come to terms with his parents's deaths on some level. I think Snape wanted that.

I don't think Snape ever thought his actions or Harry's forgiveness in some way could make right his wrongs.

Quote:
And of course IMO, beyond his culpability in the deaths of Lily and James, and the orphaning of Harry, Severus asked no quarter from anyone and accepted none.


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Last edited by The_Green_Woods; February 7th, 2011 at 5:34 am.
  #15  
Old February 7th, 2011, 11:46 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by SadiraSnape View Post
I don't know, I think that wanting forgiveness from someone else, especially the injured party, implies you are able to forgive yourself. I don't think Severus was ever able to forgive himself for carrying the prophecy to Voldemort.

I believe that inability to forgive himself was a large part of what drove him to work so tirelessly, at great personal risk, against Voldemort.
Absolutely!


I think a lot depends on what you mean by "needing forgiveness" - usually you "need forgiveness" because you have a relationship with someone and the forgiveness is the first step in re-building that relationship. Snape didn't really have a relationship with Harry so I don't think he needed Harry's forgiveness in that sense. I certainly don't think that he wanted forgiveness - as SadiraSnape says he couldn't forgive himself so he certainly wouldn't have wanted anyone else's forgiveness. I think he wanted to redeem himself and saw his path to redemption in performing the supremely difficult and dangerous task of spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore. It was his penance.

The fact that Harry forgave him is more about Harry - forgiving others is vital for our own happiness - and that is something that Snape doesn't do. He can't forgive Black/Pettigrew for betraying Lily; he can't forgive James for "allowing" her to be killed (as he sees it) and I also think that perhaps he can't forgive Harry for surviving when Lily did not, andfor being the reason for her demise. All this lack of forgiveness makes Snape a very bitter person, whereas Harry who forgives everyone is able to move forward with his life, despite the abuse, horrors and tragedies that have blighted his life.


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  #16  
Old February 7th, 2011, 12:07 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy Weasley
All this lack of forgiveness makes Snape a very bitter person, whereas Harry who forgives everyone is able to move forward with his life, despite the abuse, horrors and tragedies that have blighted his life.
It's sort of hard to move forward when you're dead**, so Snape's options were limited. And Harry is quite unforgiving of Snape up until the hour of his death, when Harry saw the truth about alot of things in the Pensieve and realized he had to die as well.

And the way it turned out, Lucky Harry/Unlucky Snape.

ETA: **What I mean is: Given nineteen more years, Snape might have forgiven everyone too. He just didn't have that luxury. It hadn't been 19 years between Lily's death and PoA - only about 12 years. So Snape is being held to a higher standard than Harry.

JMO


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Last edited by silver ink pot; February 7th, 2011 at 12:24 pm.
  #17  
Old February 7th, 2011, 2:25 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

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?

"Legal age" is constituted for a reason, isn't it?

"Nature Vs nurture"? I appreciate the offer, but no.

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

Forum-posting ones.

cake death or snape?

Snape. Better chances for survival.

snape has bieber fever

That's Character Bashing, love.


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  #18  
Old February 7th, 2011, 2:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

I agree with silver in pot. If Snape had time he would have forgiven. He died in the midst of all that was happening sop he never really got the chance


and he totally has a bieb feev


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  #19  
Old February 7th, 2011, 3:11 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

I think while Snape did not think much of James, I think he had already moved on. In the TPT, Snape, just after Lily's death says that James Potter's son should never know about him, and yet in the end it is Snape who is telling Harry everything he could not bear James Potter's son to know. So, I think he had moved on already; he had moved past what had happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daggerstone View Post
Which elements do you think make Snape the most controversial character of the series?

Forum-posting ones.
*dies laughing*

Quote:
snape has bieber fever

That's Character Bashing, love.
I like. Can he have an in thread please? *bites nails and fears for life*


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  #20  
Old February 7th, 2011, 5:16 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
I think while Snape did not think much of James, I think he had already moved on. In the TPT, Snape, just after Lily's death says that James Potter's son should never know about him, and yet in the end it is Snape who is telling Harry everything he could not bear James Potter's son to know. So, I think he had moved on already; he had moved past what had happened.
I don't think Snape had moved past his bitter feelings about James. Harry's very appearance -- looking just like James, but with Lily's eyes -- produces a reaction in Snape. We see him in his Pensieve memories ranting to Dumbledore about Harry being just like his father. And we see him basically losing all control of himself in the Shrieking Shack in PoA.

These three elements taken together prove to me that Snape did not move on -- perhaps not until his last minute in the Shack.

To me the contents of the Prince's Tale have the primary purpose of conveying to Harry his true role in the quest to destroy the Horcruxes, not a plea for forgiveness or understanding. They're about completing the task, I think.


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