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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5



 
 
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  #21  
Old July 1st, 2011, 5:17 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Morgoth!!! I love:

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(not to mention the gertie tags!)

And yes. May cooler heads prevail.

I've answered most of these questions a few times before, so this time I'd like to focus on one from the middle of the list:

Quote:
Why do you think Snape was so reluctant to approach Lily? Would he have been interested in her if she had not been magical?
I think he was reluctant to approach her because he was socially awkward and afraid of rejection. The kid was dressed in ill-fitting clothes - rather like Harry - and according to the text it seems he was dressed poorly as the result of an adult's intent (just as Harry was). The attire alone would be enough to give even an extrovert pause in introducing himself to a new kid. But little Sev was no extrovert.

Plus, he seems to have had a good bit of emotional investment in the situation. Here was another kid like him! So no, I don't think he would have been interested if she didn't have magic. Rather, it seems that the reason he wanted to approach her was that she was seemingly the only other kid in town that he could share magic with. I don't think he was in love with her at the age of 9. I do think he was emotionally invested in her because he really had no one else his own age that he could turn to.

He was an automatic outsider. A Wizard in a Muggle neighborhood. But Lily was a Witch. I also don't see anything wrong or abnormal about this. Nearly everybody wants to find other people that they feel a sense of belonging with. He didn't belong in the neighborhood. He doesn't even seem, as a child, to belong in his own home. I think he was hoping he could at least belong with this other magic kid.


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  #22  
Old July 1st, 2011, 10:59 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
=ccollinsmith;I think he was reluctant to approach her because he was socially awkward and afraid of rejection. The kid was dressed in ill-fitting clothes - rather like Harry - and according to the text it seems he was dressed poorly as the result of an adult's intent (just as Harry was). The attire alone would be enough to give even an extrovert pause in introducing himself to a new kid. But little Sev was no extrovert.
What intent did the adult have in dressing this kid like this? It's always puzzled me. I have a young son a bit older that 9 now,but I know that I couldn't have just dressed him in any old rags to go out. If I had done that, he wouldn't have gone out. Now I'm cutting Snape a lot of slack. Different country from where I was when my son was 9, different time in history, different customs I can't put myself in his parent's place because it is just so foriegn to me, but I know my kid had input into what he wore at 9 and that is the only thing I can really relate too. This kid did go out, he had some interaction with the other people in the nieghbourhood. Did he never just tell his Mom that the other kids laughed at him because of his clothes?

Quote:
Plus, he seems to have had a good bit of emotional investment in the situation. Here was another kid like him! So no, I don't think he would have been interested if she didn't have magic. Rather, it seems that the reason he wanted to approach her was that she was seemingly the only other kid in town that he could share magic with. I don't think he was in love with her at the age of 9. I do think he was emotionally invested in her because he really had no one else his own age that he could turn to.
Yeah, I think he really wanted to be friends with Lily. Petunia he could have cared less about. But he is just a little kid, and this little kid didn't have a clue how to approach this little girl.

Quote:
He was an automatic outsider. A Wizard in a Muggle neighborhood. But Lily was a Witch. I also don't see anything wrong or abnormal about this. Nearly everybody wants to find other people that they feel a sense of belonging with. He didn't belong in the neighborhood. He doesn't even seem, as a child, to belong in his own home. I think he was hoping he could at least belong with this other magic kid.
I don't know about being an automatic outsider. Not all magical children were outsiders in their neighbourhoods. I think Snape was an outsider because he kind of anted to be. He does show prejudice to Petunia because she is 'Just a Muggle.' I think Snape told himself he was better than the Muggles around him and I think he used his magic to protect himself. That branch dropping on Petunia seemed very well aimed. So we have this kid, lonely, somewhat neglected, but very capable of warding off any queries about his condition. I think that Snape must have kind of liked being the'outsider' that people were wary of.


  #23  
Old July 1st, 2011, 1:05 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
Morgoth!!! I love:

Tired of Drama:    


    


(not to mention the gertie tags!)
Yep, I love that and the tags as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
What intent did the adult have in dressing this kid like this? It's always puzzled me ... Did he never just tell his Mom that the other kids laughed at him because of his clothes?
In canon, we are never told ... We don't know whether Eileen dressed him like that because she had no clue as to how a wizard child might appear to Muggle eyes.

Quote:
I don't know about being an automatic outsider.
From JKR's vivid description of young Severus and his behaviour in TPT, I got the clear impression that he was a lonely child desperately wanting to find another magical child to be friends with. He is plainly very suspicious of Muggles and seems to actively dislike them ... this is an attitude I imagine Eileen had inculcated in him, since children are not born prejudiced. Also, young Petunia expresses clear disdain for his appearance and, it is very strongly implied, his social class. She and Lily are well-spoken middle-class girls ... Severus is from the 'wrong side of town'. All this adds up to a vivid picture of a little wizarding boy who does clearly seem to be lonely, an outsider, and socially awkward.

Quote:
Not all magical children were outsiders in their neighbourhoods.
Are there any examples from the series where this is the case? i.e. magical children who integrated happily and seamlessly with their Muggle surroundings? I have to say that no-one springs to mind ... but I'm happy to be enlightened.

Quote:
That branch dropping on Petunia seemed very well aimed.
I know opinions differ as to whether the branch-dropping was deliberate or accidental. I won't say what I think, as it's been discussed so much in previous threads but I do think that young Severus felt very threatened by Petunia ... as she did by him.

Quote:
I think that Snape must have kind of liked being the'outsider' that people were wary of.
That might apply to Teenage Severus in his 'flirting with the Dark Side' stage, or to Adult Severus in his Super-Spy role, but I'm not convinced that applies to nine-year-old Severus. In my experience, nine year old children don't want to be outsiders that people are wary of! They want desperately to find friends and to 'fit in'. Nine year old Severus is plainly ill at ease around non-magical people, thus making him even more isolated. That's my take on it, anyway.


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Old July 1st, 2011, 1:15 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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

It is quite possible Snape had killed before! In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the Harry Potter cast are indirectly related to somebody’s death. The way I view it, as long as it isn't done in cold blood, I feel it's unlikely to do any damage. I think the view of believing you have the power to 'take' life, to control it and disrespect it has more influence than actually doing the deed. I don't know whether Snape has tortured and killed before, I can't say for certain but the death of Dumbledore was not Snape's choice, but the owner of the life so... no, I think it would have been intact.

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 Snape's choices were all his own but it's undeniable that his parents would have had a great impact. It's obvious he came from a family suffering domestic abuse, that he was a neglected child and a lonely one. I think to some degree they are responsible for the way Snape turned out but not for Snape's own actions.

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?

Well, wait. There are two scenarios to that one!

A) The Potters were targeted. In that case, I'm sure he'd have gone on with his wicked ways and just made a miserable old man of himself (if he lasted that long).

B) Voldemort killed James and Harry Potter, gifting Lily to Snape. In that case, I think Snape would have been even MORE miserable. Of course, there is a chance Lily might have persuaded him to go to the 'good' side but... it seems unlikely. At any rate, the guilt, drama lama and possible care of a potentially suicidal woman (I think I'd be suicidal if my family perished only to be handed over like a sex slave to someone I don't even like!) would have had some wear on him.

4. Why do you think Snape was so reluctant to approach Lily? Would he have been interested in her if she had not been magical?

I don't think he would have approached her had she not been magical. In Lily, Snape saw a kindred spirit. He saw someone just like him in a world full of loneliness. However, just like any shy boy (and probably one with a crush), he didn't want to approach just yet. I wouldn't be surprised if Snape had noticed Lily months ago and had just been spying, trying to gain the courage to speak to her but failing every time.

5. How did Hogwarts affect the friendship between Snape and Lily? We see that up until fifth year they consider themselves to be "best friends", despite the house system. Do you think they both worked to maintain the friendship?

I think they probably did work to maintain their friendship, especially trying to ignore each others differences. I'm sure their friendship, would in Snape's case, been a secret affair from the start. Lily on the other hand, being more open, would have been aware that Snape was ashamed for being friends with a muggle born and perhaps in her own way, made efforts so not to embarrass him. I got the impression that Lily was coming round to the idea of 'being' with Snape by 5th year, which is why it makes it all the more heart breaking when he openly rejects her and she realizes that degrading her worth to keep their friendship is a one-sided affair, not at all to her benefit.


6. How would Snape's life have been different if he had managed to save their friendship?

Well... on one hand, yes. It would have been tough for him had he decided to break away from all of his friends and leave the DEs. It may well have even been suicidal. I think he would have been happier though.

7. Snape is revealed to have been acting throughout the series out of love for Lily, how does this affect your view of his actions in the series - his "murder" of Dumbledore, his treatment of Sirius?

I think Snape, being an introverted and lonely being, was certainly capable of being selfish. I think Dumbledore gave him a nice reality check and he certainly did change his tune. He was, by no means reformed though... but it does explain his behaviour toward Sirius, who in the third book, he was livid about escaping from execution. Still, clearly by no means reformed. Completely OK with being cruel to Harry (although saving his life countless times probably makes up for this), being down right nasty toward various people etc. without any remorse. As for Dumbledore, Snape was no match. Dumbledore's manipulative powers always seemed to put Snape in his place. At any rate, nearing the end you get the impression Snape really has developed and matured, even surprising Dumbledore with his attitude and determination.

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

In the case of Neville, I think you get the impression Snape acted out the way he did toward Snape, because it gave Snape a chance to be the bully. Snape was probably that Neville kid, getting mocked about his hair and his clothing, his sour scowl and his foul mouth. The difference however, which leads Snape not to be pitiful, is the fact Neville is almost the opposite of what a child Snape was. Neville isn’t vengeful, he is good natured and sensitive and caring. He's also a little clumsy and forgetful. Snape being sharp and on the ball would despise these traits. Snape empowers himself by taking the role of the bullies who tormented him as a child, doing his best to belittle Neville and mock him.

I think we have a similar thing going on with Harry, the ability for Snape to be the one in control but... of course, we have the case that not only is Harry the son of James Potter, he is also the son of Lily Potter and that combination between despised foe and 'love of life' is obviously a very cruel reminder for Snape. It's funny, because if Harry was a girl or took more after Lily, I'm sure Snape wouldn't have been... well, he'd have eaten him/her alive but not perhaps with the same 'bite'. It’s just the mocking reminder of a James Potter replica with green eyes which is so unbearable for Snape.

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

I think on some level he did. He wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of showing him ALL his memories if he didn't. Had Snape truly hated Harry, he'd have died without anyone being allowed to know his life story and relations with Lily, only the bare facts. However, Snape didn't. He desperately wanted Harry to know the truth, not to be remembered as a hero but to try and explain his actions and behaviour. I think Snape did recognise Harry took after his mother but refused to accept it... leaving some level of guilt there for giving an orphan such a hard time.

10. 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 by any means a father figure. I think Snape despised Dumbledore on some level because he was so right and so 'holier than thou art'; difficult things to stomach for someone like Snape. Snape also had to submit to Dumbledore but I think over the years that became quite a comfortable thing and Snape was very happy to act out agent, as long as he had his say before going off to do his work. I think despite their differences, however, they did become friends and when you think about it, they probably were the only people they were close friends with at the time. I think it was quite a complicated relationship, bordering on business and close, personal experiences but... yes, I think they were friends, although it was probably a 'secret' friendship. I don't think Dumbledore was ashamed but I think Snape was a pretty complicated guy when it came to relationships. I don't think they'd have sat down with a butterbeer very often but they definitely would have discussed things on a weekly basis, to some degree.

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

She is the author... why on earth would I argue? I think you'd have to be a fool to say differently.

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

I think his cruelty toward children pretty much sums it up. I mean, he's got to be a combination of all of the worst teachers you had through out your life in one manifestation. Also, I suppose the fact he was... some what a tragic hero (although really, that is a little too romantic for Snape) was a big shock. It's like... the worst teacher in the world... meets Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. I can't see it in my classroom.

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


Er, well, I think I've covered enough of his flaws. However, I think Snape is, on reflection, quite an intelligent and to some degree, wise man. He has experienced a lot in his life and although his emotions run rampant, if you tear it all away, he has learned from life and gained from it. He's also a seriously determined person... I mean, fancy spending 17 years of your life mourning a woman you could never hold and during that time spend it risking your life, being put in very dangerous situations. All for what? Not for any personal gain of his, although perhaps he knew it was for his redemption. He's also very witty, well, snarky but you need a brain to do it well.

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

Heathcliff becomes a wizard/teacher in the 20th century, grows some brains but isn't allowed to use the cane. Spare the rod, spoil the child.


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Last edited by ecardina; July 1st, 2011 at 8:05 pm. Reason: made one massive error
  #25  
Old July 1st, 2011, 1:31 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
What intent did the adult have in dressing this kid like this? It's always puzzled me. I have a young son a bit older that 9 now,but I know that I couldn't have just dressed him in any old rags to go out. If I had done that, he wouldn't have gone out. Now I'm cutting Snape a lot of slack. Different country from where I was when my son was 9, different time in history, different customs I can't put myself in his parent's place because it is just so foriegn to me, but I know my kid had input into what he wore at 9 and that is the only thing I can really relate too. This kid did go out, he had some interaction with the other people in the nieghbourhood. Did he never just tell his Mom that the other kids laughed at him because of his clothes?
I agree that from our perspective it's very odd. Two explanations occur to me - firstly that Eileen might have suffered from the traditional complaint among wizards of not understanding Muggle clothes and making a hash of reproducing them. Jeans, shirt and coat sound OK in theory, they were just very badly chosen. Secondly, if Tiberius was an abusive husband, as seems possible, he might have kept her so short on money that she couldn't afford to buy new jeans when Sev outgrew them, or had to make do with cast-offs. His coat sounds as if it might have been an old one of his father's. So his mother might have been doing the best she could and his father indifferent.

Quote:
I don't know about being an automatic outsider. Not all magical children were outsiders in their neighbourhoods. I think Snape was an outsider because he kind of anted to be. He does show prejudice to Petunia because she is 'Just a Muggle.' I think Snape told himself he was better than the Muggles around him and I think he used his magic to protect himself. That branch dropping on Petunia seemed very well aimed. So we have this kid, lonely, somewhat neglected, but very capable of warding off any queries about his condition. I think that Snape must have kind of liked being the'outsider' that people were wary of.
I find it interesting that Petunia knew who he was. I'd assumed they lived in a small town, but she says he lives at Spinner's End, implying that the Evanses don't, and that Spinner's End was the poor end of their town. Either he attended the same Muggle school as Lily (in which case I'd have expected her to have recognised him rather than Petunia) or he had achieved some sort of local notoriety. Maybe early magic showing through which was misinterpreted by the local children? He may not even have gone to school but been home educated by Eileen. Pity we don't know. We get the impression that he had no friends but whether that was his choice or it was forced on him by his circumstances we can't really tell.


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  #26  
Old July 1st, 2011, 1:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Welcome to the discussion, ecardina.

A few points caught my eye ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
I don't think Dumbledore was by any means a father figure. I think Snape despised Dumbledore on some level because he was so right and so 'holier than thou art'; difficult things to stomach for someone like Snape.
I agree that DD wasn't a father figure to Snape -- Snape is far too proud and self-sufficient a person for that -- but I don't agree that Snape ever despised DD. I don't see that anywhere in the text, personally. We see in TPT a gruff sort of cordiality, even affection, from Severus towards Dumbledore, IMO.

Quote:
She is the author... why on earth would I argue? I think you'd have to be a fool to say differently.
It is not intrinsically foolish to disagree with an author on their take on one of their own creations, IMO. I guess it depends on how skilfully you think said author has conveyed their intent in the characterisation! Readers who dislike Snape are not best pleased with JKR's avowal that he was a hero, and 'very brave'. Readers who love the character can be miffed by her insistence that he could be a bully.

I think you can see his character from various angles. To me, he is darkly heroic. And I still think she gave him some of the very best lines in the series.


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Old July 1st, 2011, 2:29 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith
The kid was dressed in ill-fitting clothes - rather like Harry - and according to the text it seems he was dressed poorly as the result of an adult's intent (just as Harry was). The attire alone would be enough to give even an extrovert pause in introducing himself to a new kid.
Here is what we learn about Sev's clothes in the first memory of "The Prince's Tale":

DHHis black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smocklike shirt.


So I agree with your point. The first quote describes the clothing in terms that makes it clear they are inappropriate. Two of the three items (the coat and the jeans) are not his size. The third, "odd" item is either very, very old-fashioned, or is also inappropriate, as it is intended to be worn by a girl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
What intent did the adult have in dressing this kid like this? It's always puzzled me. I have a young son a bit older that 9 now,but I know that I couldn't have just dressed him in any old rags to go out. If I had done that, he wouldn't have gone out.
Your son (I presume) does not need to leave the house to avoid constant quarreling (or worse) between his parents, as Sev apparently does:

DH“How are things at your house?” Lily asked.
A little crease appeared between his eyes.
“Fine,” he said.
“They’re not arguing anymore?”
“Oh yes, they’re arguing,” said Snape. He picked up a fistful of leaves and began tearing them apart, apparently unaware of he was doing. “But it won’t be that long and I’ll be gone.”


Yet, it would seem Sev does share some of the attitude you believe your son would exhibit, were you to dress him badly. He leaves the house, and I think we are shown he has good reason to, but he does avoid being seen - he hides behind bushes rather than playing in the park, and he takes off the coat (which hides the "odd" smock)only when he and Lily are alone in a wooded area where he may have some confidence he will not be observed by others. The wearing of the coat at all, actually, suggests to me that he is trying to mitigate the odd appearance of the rest of his outfit in what little ways he can, as it would have the effecgt of covering up the "odd" smock. A coat is not an article of clothing one would need or want to wear on a sunny summer day (as both days we see him outside as a child wearing that coat, are.)

In addition, we see this:

DHSnape was hurrying along the corridor of the Hogwarts Express as it clattered through the countryside. He had already changed into his school robes, had perhaps taken the first opportunity to take off his dreadful Muggle clothes.


Another indication he does not like the way he is dressed in the Muggle world.

So it seems clear to me he does not have input into his dress. You are a good parent who provides for her son - the evidence suggests that in this regard, Snape's parents were not good.


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Last edited by arithmancer; July 1st, 2011 at 2:35 pm.
  #28  
Old July 1st, 2011, 2:37 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
What intent did the adult have in dressing this kid like this? It's always puzzled me. I have a young son a bit older that 9 now,but I know that I couldn't have just dressed him in any old rags to go out. If I had done that, he wouldn't have gone out. Now I'm cutting Snape a lot of slack. Different country from where I was when my son was 9, different time in history, different customs I can't put myself in his parent's place because it is just so foriegn to me, but I know my kid had input into what he wore at 9 and that is the only thing I can really relate too. This kid did go out, he had some interaction with the other people in the nieghbourhood. Did he never just tell his Mom that the other kids laughed at him because of his clothes?
I think the Snape family might have been in a similar position to the Weasleys. Ron was upset about having to wear hand-me-down clothes, and getting Percy's old pet and Charlie's old wand, but had to live with it.

I think if Severus had kicked up a fuss Eileen Snape would have reacted like Molly Weasley did when Ron refused to wear his dress robes ("Fine. Go naked") My guess is Eileen Snape didn't have much muggle dress sense, and Severus realised his parents couldn't afford anything better, so he wore the clothes because it was that or stay indoors all day.


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  #29  
Old July 1st, 2011, 3:06 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
[/b] Voldemort killed James and Harry Potter, gifting Lily to Snape. In that case, I think Snape would have been even MORE miserable. Of course, there is a chance Lily might have persuaded him to go to the 'good' side but... it seems unlikely. At any rate, the guilt, drama lama and possible care of a potentially suicidal woman (I think I'd be suicidal if my family perished only to be handed over like a sex slave to someone I don't even like!) would have had some wear on him.
I doubt Lily would have had any interest whatsoever in persuading Snape to the good side if her family had been murdered, and she was brought along as a prisoner. I think Snape would have been in for a nasty shock, as she would either have been desparing, as you suggest, or else, out for revenge for her family.

Quote:
I think they probably did work to maintain their friendship, especially trying to ignore each others differences. I'm sure their friendship, would in Snape's case, been a secret affair from the start.
I wonder - how did Snape balance his friendship with Lily and his friendship with the DE wannabes? Did he perhaps keep it a secret, or did he lie to them, that he was using her for homework help, or something? I doubt he would have just told them she was his friend, so drop it.

Quote:
Well... on one hand, yes. It would have been tough for him had he decided to break away from all of his friends and leave the DEs. It may well have even been suicidal. I think he would have been happier though.
But would he have pulled away from them? If Lily had put up with his interest in a life of crime, I think he would have had no motivation to leave them. Saving their friendship would have required Snape to stop hanging around with budding DEs who considered Muggleborns scum. It doesn't seem to me that he had the strength or the inclination to do that.

Quote:
I think Snape, being an introverted and lonely being, was certainly capable of being selfish. I think Dumbledore gave him a nice reality check and he certainly did change his tune. He was, by no means reformed though... but it does explain his behaviour toward Sirius, who in the third book, he was livid about escaping from execution. Still, clearly by no means reformed. Completely OK with being cruel to Harry (although saving his life countless times probably makes up for this), being down right nasty toward various people etc. without any remorse. As for Dumbledore, Snape was no match. Dumbledore's manipulative powers always seemed to put Snape in his place. At any rate, nearing the end you get the impression Snape really has developed and matured, even surprising Dumbledore with his attitude and determination.
I think Dumbledore did try to give Snape a reality check, but I also think that Snape got a lot of leeway from Dumbledore. And I don't think saving someone's life gives anyone the right to treat them cruelly, or makes up for it.

Quote:
It's funny, because if Harry was a girl or took more after Lily, I'm sure Snape wouldn't have been... well, he'd have eaten him/her alive but not perhaps with the same 'bite'. It’s just the mocking reminder of a James Potter replica with green eyes which is so unbearable for Snape.
It's a pity Harry couldn't control how his DNA worked out for him, then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by horcrux4 View Post
I find it interesting that Petunia knew who he was. I'd assumed they lived in a small town, but she says he lives at Spinner's End, implying that the Evanses don't, and that Spinner's End was the poor end of their town. Either he attended the same Muggle school as Lily (in which case I'd have expected her to have recognised him rather than Petunia) or he had achieved some sort of local notoriety. Maybe early magic showing through which was misinterpreted by the local children? He may not even have gone to school but been home educated by Eileen. Pity we don't know. We get the impression that he had no friends but whether that was his choice or it was forced on him by his circumstances we can't really tell.
Petunia knew of him, she recognised him, but she didn't know him. It's hardly surprising that she was startled when he jumped out of the hedge at the two girls. Would Tobias, a Muggle, have accepted home-schooling? On the other hand, if Snape had attended a Muggle primary school, he would know more Muggles, and would have less grounds to despise Muggles. But that does leave your question, how did Petunia know of him if he didn't attend the same school? If he had gained a reputation for doing strange things, Petunia would probably have mentioned it at that first encounter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
It is not intrinsically foolish to disagree with an author on their take on one of their own creations, IMO. I guess it depends on how skilfully you think said author has conveyed their intent in the characterisation! Readers who dislike Snape are not best pleased with JKR's avowal that he was a hero, and 'very brave'. Readers who love the character can be miffed by her insistence that he could be a bully.
But, then, depending on one's view of Snape, does a reader get to pick one of those statements to believe and say the other is just JKR's opinion? In that sense, I agree with ecardina. I think JKR knows her characters better than any reader does.


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Old July 1st, 2011, 3:18 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Let's not get into the discussion of "What JKR says is law so I am right in my opinion" versus "I think I am allowed to disagree with JKR and I am in the right". We all now that discussion will lead nowhere.

So discuss Snape himself please.


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  #31  
Old July 1st, 2011, 3:30 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Regarding adult intent in dressing Snape poorly:

According to the text, "his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate." (DH, 665 - US edition).

As others have pointed out, the text also indicates elsewhere that he is ashamed and embarrassed by his clothes. So if the mismatch was deliberate, it is quite unlikely that he is the one who made it so.

Regarding automatic outsider status:

Snape is the only "only child" in the entire series who meets all of the following criteria: a) he is aware of the fact that he has magic, b) he lives in an exclusively non-magic neighborhood, and c) the audience sees him in his home environment.

Harry meets two of the above criteria, as does Riddle. Of the three "abandoned boys," Snape is the only one who grows up fully aware of what makes him different from those around him. He has magic. His neighbors don't. And judging by how Muggles typically react to magic throughout the series, his neighbors would not be at all happy if they did know.

In addition, there is no one his age to share his magic with... until he sees Lily.

So yes, I think there is a good case to be made for the notion that he is an automatic outsider. He is different. And judging by his hiding behind a bush afraid to approach these girls, I would say that his difference isolates him.

Regarding the tree branch...

I think it's every bit as deliberate as Harry blowing up his Aunt Marge. Petunia had just taunted Little!Sev about his clothes. He was very angry. Magic happened. The tree branch fell. He knew his magic caused it to happen, just as Harry knew his magic caused Aunt Marge to blow up. When asked, Little!Sev lied... but he also looked "scared."

The fact that he looks "scared" indicates to me that he is afraid of what his magic power can do. (Why be "scared" if he was in full control of it?).

I find the "uncontrolled magic" scenario the most plausible because at this point in the narrative, JKR appears to be deliberately creating parallels between Harry and Little!Sev in order to show how Harry ultimately comes to empathize with Snape. The parallels are shown, in my opinion, through uncontrolled magic and through descriptions of Little!Sev that read almost exactly like descriptions of Cupboard!Harry.


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  #32  
Old July 1st, 2011, 4:40 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Pearl_Took: I agree that DD wasn't a father figure to Snape -- Snape is far too proud and self-sufficient a person for that -- but I don't agree that Snape ever despised DD. I don't see that anywhere in the text, personally. We see in TPT a gruff sort of cordiality, even affection, from Severus towards Dumbledore, IMO.


Well, you have a point with that one. It’s just my own theory but I don’t think he would have liked Dumbledore at all when they first got together. Of course, at that point Snape was desperate and Dumbledore was very much in for getting as much information and use etc. out of Snape as possible (a fact I think Snape would have been well aware of). I think he may also have been intimidated by Dumbledore at first. This isn’t, to say, that didn’t wear off. I do believe as time went on they grew to like each other greatly. I agree about the cordiality and affection though… and they must have been very close to speak so openly about their emotions and experiences.


FurryDice:I doubt Lily would have had any interest whatsoever in persuading Snape to the good side if her family had been murdered, and she was brought along as a prisoner. I think Snape would have been in for a nasty shock, as she would either have been despairing, as you suggest, or else, out for revenge for her family.


Well, it's an interesting view... of course, it depends entirely on whether or not Snape decided to truly stick to Dumbledore's part of the arrangement, or whether he told Lily he was to some degree involved in the order at that point. Still, I think the whole point of Lily is she is a good and kind person. I'd imagine though, under the circumstances, she'd try and manipulate Snape into helping her bring about Voldemort's downfall. It's an interesting situation, I'm even writing a fic on it.--- Also, I don't think Lily was a prisoner. I think she was considered a 'gift' to a loyal servant. Now, we all know Snape to be noble but... er, that's the reality of it.


FurryDice: I wonder - how did Snape balance his friendship with Lily and his friendship with the DE wannabes? Did he perhaps keep it a secret, or did he lie to them, that he was using her for homework help, or something? I doubt he would have just told them she was his friend, so drop it.


Wait, what? I wasn’t implying for a second their friendship was an open affair! I think Lily would have attempted, at the beginning, to go about doing little things like waving to Snape on seeing him etc. but I suspect she’d have got the cold shoulder and soon realize he was embarrassed by her. I suspect this must have hurt a lot considering how close they were on the years building up to Hogwarts. He probably made up some excuses when they first joined school, like ‘oh she’s just some girl from my neighbourhood’ etc. and ignored her when around his friends. After that, I couldn’t possibly say but he’d probably have met her in private places. I think the only people that might have suspected were Lily’s close friends and the Marauders.



FurryDice: And I don't think saving someone's life gives anyone the right to treat them cruelly, or makes up for it.



Of course it isn’t justified. Still, maybe it’s my way of seeing things but I’d rather someone was snarky to me now and again and saved me from a mass murderer than not bother at all.


  #33  
Old July 1st, 2011, 4:42 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post

Snape is the only "only child" in the entire series who meets all of the following criteria: a) he is aware of the fact that he has magic, b) he lives in an exclusively non-magic neighborhood, and c) the audience sees him in his home environment.

Harry meets two of the above criteria, as does Riddle. Of the three "abandoned boys," Snape is the only one who grows up fully aware of what makes him different from those around him. He has magic. His neighbors don't. And judging by how Muggles typically react to magic throughout the series, his neighbors would not be at all happy if they did know.

In addition, there is no one his age to share his magic with... until he sees Lily.
Knowing that he is a wizard puts Snape at an advantage that Harry did not have, IMO. Snape knew exactly what was different about him, Harry only knew that he was different and unwanted. There's nothing that says Snape was unwanted in his home. Unhappy, yes, but nothing says that he was unwanted. Harry's difference also isolates him - he had no friends at primary school, because Dudley frightened people away.
Riddle's lack of awareness of the wizarding world is also more of a problem than Snape's knowledge of it - if he had been aware when he was younger that there were many other witches and wizards, he might not have gained such an ego at the age of eleven about being magical. IMO, Snape's awareness that he was a wizard, and that there was a magical community puts him at an advantage, rather than a disadvantage.

Quote:
So yes, I think there is a good case to be made for the notion that he is an automatic outsider. He is different. And judging by his hiding behind a bush afraid to approach these girls, I would say that his difference isolates him.
I think young Snape doesn't do himself any favours, either, jumping out of the hedge as he did. It's little wonder that Lily and Petunia didn't react well.

Quote:
I think it's every bit as deliberate as Harry blowing up his Aunt Marge. Petunia had just taunted Little!Sev about his clothes. He was very angry. Magic happened. The tree branch fell. He knew his magic caused it to happen, just as Harry knew his magic caused Aunt Marge to blow up. When asked, Little!Sev lied... but he also looked "scared."
Personally, I don't think mocking someone's clothing is on the same level as calling someone's murdered mother what Marge called Lily. And while I'm aware that Marge didn't know Lily had been murdered, she knew that she was saying those cruel things to a dead woman's child.

Quote:
The fact that he looks "scared" indicates to me that he is afraid of what his magic power can do. (Why be "scared" if he was in full control of it?).
Scared, perhaps, that Lily isn't happy with what he has done? Interestingly, Lily's voice showed "surprise and welcome" when Petunia was discovered behind them, whereas Snape was accusing. It seems to me that Snape wanted to keep Lily to himself, even at that age.

Quote:
I find the "uncontrolled magic" scenario the most plausible because at this point in the narrative, JKR appears to be deliberately creating parallels between Harry and Little!Sev in order to show how Harry ultimately comes to empathize with Snape. The parallels are shown, in my opinion, through uncontrolled magic and through descriptions of Little!Sev that read almost exactly like descriptions of Cupboard!Harry.
While there are similarities between Harry, Snape and Voldemort, I think the differences are more prominent. Harry comes to empathise with Snape, but not excuse the things he has done, IMO. He never, ever suggests that the things Snape did were understandable, just as he doesn't with the things Riddle has done. I think the similarities between their childhoods show even more the differences between the people they became.


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  #34  
Old July 1st, 2011, 4:46 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
I find the "uncontrolled magic" scenario the most plausible because at this point in the narrative, JKR appears to be deliberately creating parallels between Harry and Little!Sev in order to show how Harry ultimately comes to empathize with Snape. The parallels are shown, in my opinion, through uncontrolled magic and through descriptions of Little!Sev that read almost exactly like descriptions of Cupboard!Harry.
I agree, and would add that these parallels don't entirely end with Snape's childhood memories. I find it interesting that Harry twice compares an action in the Snape-Dumbledore scenes with his own relationship with DD.

TPT...but his blue eyes pierced Snape as they had frequently pierced Harry...


TPTSnape sat down in the chair Harry had so often occupied, across the desk from Dumbledore.


And it doesn't end there. In The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, Harry has a complaint quite similar to Severus' in TPT.

Life and Lies etc."Look what he asked from me, Hermione! Risk your life, Harry! And again! And again! And don't expect me to explain everything, just trust me blindly, trust that I know what I'm doing, trust me even though I don't trust you! Never the whole truth! Never!"


TPT"Information," repeated Snape. "You trust him...you do not trust me."
[DD responds that HP needs the info]
"And why may I not have the same information?"
"I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort."
"Which I do on your orders!"


I think these parallels are somewhat significant: both Harry and Severus are subordinates of DD, both trusted DD (Sev's feelings may be up for debate, but I personally believe he trusted him), both were asked the impossible, both began to question DD, and both ultimately overcame this mistrust enough to carry out the old Headmaster's final orders. I wonder if Harry saw this similarity as well.

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  #35  
Old July 1st, 2011, 4:47 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
Well, you have a point with that one. It’s just my own theory but I don’t think he would have liked Dumbledore at all when they first got together.
Oh, I agree with that. Snape was still officially a DE at that point, albeit a DE on the point of rejecting the whole DE agenda, so no, I don't think he had very warm feelings for Dumbledore at that point although of course a healthy respect for Dumbledore's power as a wizard.

Quote:
Of course, at that point Snape was desperate and Dumbledore was very much in for getting as much information and use etc. out of Snape as possible (a fact I think Snape would have been well aware of). I think he may also have been intimidated by Dumbledore at first. This isn’t, to say, that didn’t wear off. I do believe as time went on they grew to like each other greatly. I agree about the cordiality and affection though… and they must have been very close to speak so openly about their emotions and experiences.
Yes, I see their relationship developing in that way too. It's what I see in TPT.


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  #36  
Old July 1st, 2011, 5:08 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
[Well, you have a point with that one. It’s just my own theory but I don’t think he would have liked Dumbledore at all when they first got together. Of course, at that point Snape was desperate and Dumbledore was very much in for getting as much information and use etc. out of Snape as possible (a fact I think Snape would have been well aware of). I think he may also have been intimidated by Dumbledore at first. This isn’t, to say, that didn’t wear off. I do believe as time went on they grew to like each other greatly. I agree about the cordiality and affection though… and they must have been very close to speak so openly about their emotions and experiences.
Snape may or may not have felt that Dumbledore was using him at first. But he was also getting something out of it - he was keeping Lily safe, as he wanted, and also, Dumbledore wasn't having him sent to Azkaban, which was probably also a plus for Snape. Would he prefer a cell in Azkaban, or being "used" to spy on Voldemort?

Quote:
Well, it's an interesting view... of course, it depends entirely on whether or not Snape decided to truly stick to Dumbledore's part of the arrangement, or whether he told Lily he was to some degree involved in the order at that point. Still, I think the whole point of Lily is she is a good and kind person. I'd imagine though, under the circumstances, she'd try and manipulate Snape into helping her bring about Voldemort's downfall. It's an interesting situation, I'm even writing a fic on it.--- Also, I don't think Lily was a prisoner. I think she was considered a 'gift' to a loyal servant. Now, we all know Snape to be noble but... er, that's the reality of it.
I don't think Lily would care if Snape was part of the Order or not, if she had survived, and her family were murdered, she would not want anything whatsoever to do with the people who were in any way responsible, IMO. Also, if Voldemort had killed Harry and brought Lily to Snape as a "reward", I think she could be considered a prisoner, as she wouldn't be there of her own free will.

Quote:
Wait, what? I wasn’t implying for a second their friendship was an open affair! I think Lily would have attempted, at the beginning, to go about doing little things like waving to Snape on seeing him etc. but I suspect she’d have got the cold shoulder and soon realize he was embarrassed by her. I suspect this must have hurt a lot considering how close they were on the years building up to Hogwarts. He probably made up some excuses when they first joined school, like ‘oh she’s just some girl from my neighbourhood’ etc. and ignored her when around his friends. After that, I couldn’t possibly say but he’d probably have met her in private places. I think the only people that might have suspected were Lily’s close friends and the Marauders.
I was just wondering aloud whether Snape kept the friendship secret, or lied about why he was hanging around with a "filthy little Mudblood". I'm not too sure which course of action he chose, but they did meet up on the grounds. He may have met her when he hoped his friends wouldn't see, or he may have told them some lies about why he was meeting with Lily. I don't think he was open to them that he was friendly with her.

Quote:
Of course it isn’t justified. Still, maybe it’s my way of seeing things but I’d rather someone was snarky to me now and again and saved me from a mass murderer than not bother at all.

But why does it have to be one or the other? Snape could have kept Harry safe, and also refrained from humiliating and belittling him.


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  #37  
Old July 1st, 2011, 5:24 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ecardina View Post
Of course it isn’t justified. Still, maybe it’s my way of seeing things but I’d rather someone was snarky to me now and again and saved me from a mass murderer than not bother at all.
But Snape wasn't just snarky to Harry 'now and again'. He took every opportunity to torment Harry. I wouldn't call what he did to Harry during his years at Hogwarts to simply be snarky behavior, either. JMO.


  #38  
Old July 1st, 2011, 5:43 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
Knowing that he is a wizard puts Snape at an advantage that Harry did not have, IMO.
IMO, his knowledge puts him at a distinct disadvantage, only increasing isolation and alienation because he knows that there is nobody his own age that he can reach out to with his secret.... until, of course, he sees the only other magic kid in the neighborhood.

Harry and Riddle do not have a specific secret that they have to keep hidden from everybody in the neighborhood. They just know that strange things happen sometimes. Harry is perplexed. Riddle takes advantage of his abilities. But Little!Sev has to hide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
I think young Snape doesn't do himself any favours, either, jumping out of the hedge as he did. It's little wonder that Lily and Petunia didn't react well.
His excitement got the better of him, sure. This happens with kids. However, the issue I was addressing was a sense of isolation even before making his presence known... not whether or not Little!Sev was socially adept in making his presence known. He wasn't.

Quote:
Personally, I don't think mocking someone's clothing is on the same level as calling someone's murdered mother what Marge called Lily. And while I'm aware that Marge didn't know Lily had been murdered, she knew that she was saying those cruel things to a dead woman's child.
The question was whether or not the magic was deliberate, not whether or not the anger was warranted. IMO, Petunia and Marge both found precisely the sorest spot they could hit and hit it with force. The angry reaction of the magical child was, I think, entirely predictable.

Quote:
Scared, perhaps, that Lily isn't happy with what he has done? Interestingly, Lily's voice showed "surprise and welcome" when Petunia was discovered behind them, whereas Snape was accusing. It seems to me that Snape wanted to keep Lily to himself, even at that age.
That might be a fair assessment if, at this point in the narrative, the magical child had other magical children to play with. However, he did not. And unlike Lily, he was an only child, with no experience of sibling relationships (not even with difficult siblings).

I personally find little surprise in an isolated magical child wanting to spend time with the only other magical child he knew... and not wanting to spend time with the Muggle sister who always seemed to make a point of reminding him of his inferior social class.

Harry, in the end, not only empathizes with Severus; he respects him, whether he fully understands him, or ever "excuses" him, or not. This respect is indicated in the name he gives his second child and in the epitaph he gives his former Potions Master when speaking to that second child. JKR prepares the audience for this sea change in Harry's perceptions, IMO, by writing in the parallels that I and Iggy mentioned above.

And yes, Harry empathizes with Voldemort, as well... but he never shows any respect for him. Harry is well aware, I think, that there is a vast difference between Voldemort and Severus Snape.


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  #39  
Old July 1st, 2011, 6:23 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
IMO, his knowledge puts him at a distinct disadvantage, only increasing isolation and alienation because he knows that there is nobody his own age that he can reach out to with his secret.... until, of course, he sees the only other magic kid in the neighborhood.

Harry and Riddle do not have a specific secret that they have to keep hidden from everybody in the neighborhood. They just know that strange things happen sometimes. Harry is perplexed. Riddle takes advantage of his abilities. But Little!Sev has to hide.
Snape knew what he was hiding, and why. Harry was isolated, without a clue about why strange things happened. And he was warned not to cause any "funny business", even though he did not have any idea why any of it was happening - he was expected to hide things, without knowing how to hide it, or what it was. Snape's mother seems to have told him about magic, and he at least knew what he was, and the reasons for the strange things that happened, and why he had to hide them.


Quote:
His excitement got the better of him, sure. This happens with kids. However, the issue I was addressing was a sense of isolation even before making his presence known... not whether or not Little!Sev was socially adept in making his presence known. He wasn't.
And I was making the point that Petunia was not the only one who responded badly in that situation. However, I think hiding behind a bush to watch other kids, and jumping out at them is quite unhealthy behaviour. His surprise that Lily does not react well, and that Petunia doesn't go off and leave her superiors alone suggests that he really has no idea about how people behave.

To come back to an earlier question, how does Petunia recognise Snape if he didn't attend school? And if he did attend school, why did he and Lily not already know each other?

Quote:
That might be a fair assessment if, at this point in the narrative, the magical child had other magical children to play with. However, he did not. And unlike Lily, he was an only child, with no experience of sibling relationships (not even with difficult siblings).

I personally find little surprise in an isolated magical child wanting to spend time with the only other magical child he knew... and not wanting to spend time with the Muggle sister who always seemed to make a point of reminding him of his inferior social class.
Snape was quick enough to let Petunia know she was inferior as far as he was concerned, because she was "only a Muggle". Also, Lily was not some object to make Snape feel happy, she was an independent agent with her own feelings - and she wanted to spend time with her sister.

Quote:
Harry, in the end, not only empathizes with Severus; he respects him, whether he fully understands him, or ever "excuses" him, or not. This respect is indicated in the name he gives his second child and in the epitaph he gives his former Potions Master when speaking to that second child. JKR prepares the audience for this sea change in Harry's perceptions, IMO, by writing in the parallels that I and Iggy mentioned above.
Harry respects Snape, and he forgives him, but he never condones what Snape has done, nor does he ever say it was justified or understandable.


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  #40  
Old July 1st, 2011, 7:54 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.5

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Originally Posted by FurryDice View Post
However, I think hiding behind a bush to watch other kids, and jumping out at them is quite unhealthy behaviour.
May I ask why? He did not jump out at them with a view to frighten or harass them, and he immediately realized he had made a poor decision by appearing in such a manner.

Personally, I see this as a situation easily within the set of normal childhood interactions. (Though for a more objective point of view, I've asked two people I know about this, using your exact words but leaving the source and context unidentified, and neither one has agreed that it describes anything unhealthy.) If it helps at all to convince you, I would point out that the person here who felt scandalized, disapproved of Snape from the outset, and accused him of spying was Petunia. Generally I would do what I could to avoid agreeing with her regardless of the context.


 
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