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Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6



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  #201  
Old December 16th, 2011, 10:02 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I think it should also be noted that Draco was the son of an intelligence asset that Snape needed to cultivate for the sake of his spy work. Lucius certainly expected Draco to receive preferential treatment, and it would have been foolish for Snape to antagonize someone who was so crucial for his own ability to infiltrate Voldemort's organization.

It is unknown if this is the central reason for Snape's preferential treatment to Draco, but I do find it highly likely to be a contributing factor.


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  #202  
Old December 16th, 2011, 10:27 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Narcissa mentions in "Spinner's End" that Severus is Lucius' oldest friend. He probably knew Draco from the time he was born. If so, while it would be nice not to be partial, it's very difficult. I'm not saying that's why, but it could be a contributing factor.

I tend to believe in the "protecting his cover" theory, as ccollinsmith pointed out. We know that Droco was a tattletale and was always carrying tales home to his father. Serverus couldn't affort for his cover to slip anywhere Draco, or any of the other DEs children could get wind of it because it might have endangered the cover Severus worked so many years to cultivate.


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  #203  
Old December 16th, 2011, 10:45 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
You seem to be equating anguish over the loss/absence of a loved one with selfishness. It seems to me that by this standard, no love is selfless. Consider a partner in a marriage whose wife chooses to leave him for another man. Would we counsel such a man that he is selfish for feeling sadness and anger at his wife's choice, would we accuse him of objectifying his wife, because she is clearly happy with her new lover? If you would agree that such a man could be presumed to "love" his wife rather than merely be infatuated with her - what is it that you see in the development of Snape's character within the series that distinguishes for you Snape's feelings from those of my hypothetical character?
I'm not sure it's productive to debate the definitions here, but I think one large difference would be that Snape and Lily were never a couple. She was never his to lose, even in a non-possessive kind of way. She never made a promise to love him. A husband would presumably have had that. Snape and Lily were friends. He was in love with her, and she--while she may eventually have fallen in love with him if he hadn't been objectionable in other ways--was not in love with him. What he was in anguish over losing was not her love.

And those objectionable ways are not irrelevant to the question at hand, I think. It shows that he did not fully give regard to those aspects of Lily's character that I think she would have considered fundamental--notions such as blood equality and a regard for other human beings, whether they are weaker or stronger than we are. As a teenager, Snape's participation in the proto-DEs reveals a substantive disregard of these. Of course, I agree that no (romantic) love is entirely selfless; I think being selfless would invariably lead to one being trampled upon. Nonetheless, I have a hard time reconciling a mature affection for Lily with his hanging around with the likes of Voldemort.

I realize this may sound as though I dislike Snape. Nothing could be further from the truth. I find him fascinating, a combination of the admirable and the despicable, polar opposites mixed together in a way that is eventually explained, fairly consistently, by Rowling. No wonder we are in v6! I think he did find a kind of peace in working for the Order, although I suspect he found it a bit humiliating working with and for those whom he had previously openly despised. He sacrificed a lot for it (to be sure, he put himself in that position to an extent). I would not wish his job in Year Seven on anyone. Even so, in my opinion, there was a certain immaturity to his outlook that persisted, if not right up to the bitter end (which is too ambiguous to say for sure), then pretty close to it.

Finally, I do not mean to imply that any "infatuation" is mere. It is an intense emotion, as many of us know. And I think it is sincere, too. It has different aims, though, that in general I think are more centered in oneself. Still, I think whatever else we may disagree on, we can agree that Snape's emotions regarding Lily were intense, yes?


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  #204  
Old December 16th, 2011, 11:20 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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  #205  
Old December 16th, 2011, 11:53 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by LyraLovegood View Post
While he didn't treat Draco badly, I disagree that his treatment of Draco was fair. Giving a student an unfair advantage -- for example, turning a blind eye to misbehavior such as Draco hexing other students -- is just as unfair as treating them badly.
Oh, I definitely agree that Draco should have been reined in, I'm just not sure how much Severus could do in the situation he had to cope with. It's my hope that, after all he did helping Dumbledore bring down LV, Snape served as an example for Slytherin House as to what they should aspire to be--especially being half-blood himself.

And from what I recall, he did cut Harry some slack over the very serious Sectumsempra incident. Harry's own head-of-house, McGonagall, thought his punishment was insufficent. Of course Snape knew he could better protect Harry if he was at Hogwarts, which was probably why he only got detention.


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Old December 17th, 2011, 12:18 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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Originally Posted by LyraLovegood View Post
I'm not sure what McGonagall acquiring a broom for Harry to play Quidditch has to do with Snape giving Draco an unfair advantage in Potions Class or in getting away with corridor hexings, actually.
Without reviewing the corridor scenes in the books, I seem to remember that Prof. Snape never actually saw Draco hexing anyone, only Harry and Ron striking back in self-defense.


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  #207  
Old December 20th, 2011, 10:15 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

From the study questions:

2. Do you think Snape's character development arc is complete?

Not really. His death rather cut short any development on a personal level. It seems to me that he put his emotional and social growth on hold to devote all his time and efforts to defeating Voldemort. Although, by the time of DD's death, we do see that he agrees to make personal sacrifice to protect Draco, protect Hogwarts students and prevent a nasty death for DD. But I think if he had lived past the war he would have had time and more inclination to attend to his personal growth.


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  #208  
Old December 20th, 2011, 10:38 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post
From the study questions:

2. Do you think Snape's character development arc is complete?

Not really. His death rather cut short any development on a personal level. It seems to me that he put his emotional and social growth on hold to devote all his time and efforts to defeating Voldemort. Although, by the time of DD's death, we do see that he agrees to make personal sacrifice to protect Draco, protect Hogwarts students and prevent a nasty death for DD. But I think if he had lived past the war he would have had time and more inclination to attend to his personal growth.
That's interesting! I read this question to mean not "Had Snape's character essentially fully matured by the end of the series?" so much as "Did Snape's character development arc resolve?"

In other words, although I agree that Snape would have continued to grow as a character, I thought that growth would be--more or less--that of any other adult in the HP world. That is to say, he would gradually lose his old grudges, make amends for previous injustices, etc. (although this might happen but slowly!). But the major uncertainties that made Snape such a compelling character for the last half of the series were basically cleared up, I believed, and continue to believe.

But perhaps you think differently! Do you think that there was growing left for him to do that he could not do fundamentally on his own, if he had lived?


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  #209  
Old December 20th, 2011, 11:01 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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But perhaps you think differently! Do you think that there was growing left for him to do that he could not do fundamentally on his own, if he had lived?
I do. I think Snape put off friendships and any chance of a romantic relationship, because he was a spy and could not afford to get close to anyone. He also needed to keep his memory of Lily in the forefront for motivation to keep on going down this path, I think. I also think he put off having a career he would have chosen, because he agreed to stay at Hogwarts and work with Dumbledore.

Had he lived, although it may have taken many years, I can see him mellowing, having friends he cared about and who cared about him, a wife, maybe a child, and a totally different career path - perhaps as an Apothecary at St. Mungos. A life he would have chosen, rather than a lifetime of making amends and trying to correct the mistake of joining Voldemort and carrying that prophecy.


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  #210  
Old December 20th, 2011, 11:09 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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I do. I think Snape put off friendships and any chance of a romantic relationship, because he was a spy and could not afford to get close to anyone. He also needed to keep his memory of Lily in the forefront for motivation to keep on going down this path, I think. I also think he put off having a career he would have chosen, because he agreed to stay at Hogwarts and work with Dumbledore.

Had he lived, although it may have taken many years, I can see him mellowing, having friends he cared about and who cared about him, a wife, maybe a child, and a totally different career path - perhaps as an Apothecary at St. Mungos. A life he would have chosen, rather than a lifetime of making amends and trying to correct the mistake of joining Voldemort and carrying that prophecy.
I think I was unclear. I agree that he might well have done all the things you have listed; in fact, I think it is so likely that something of the sort would have happened that I classify it more under character denouement than character development. When I answered the question, I said "yes" (that it was complete) because although I thought Snape would have matured if he had lived, the direction of his life was essentially set. I wondered if mirrormere--or you, or anyone else--would agree with that, or if there was still some mystery or at least uncertainty about what fundamental direction his character would have gone. (For instance, I don't think that most of us suspect that he would have gone and formed his own version of the Death Eaters!)


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  #211  
Old December 21st, 2011, 1:46 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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That's interesting! I read this question to mean not "Had Snape's character essentially fully matured by the end of the series?" so much as "Did Snape's character development arc resolve?"

In other words, although I agree that Snape would have continued to grow as a character, I thought that growth would be--more or less--that of any other adult in the HP world. That is to say, he would gradually lose his old grudges, make amends for previous injustices, etc. (although this might happen but slowly!). But the major uncertainties that made Snape such a compelling character for the last half of the series were basically cleared up, I believed, and continue to believe.

But perhaps you think differently! Do you think that there was growing left for him to do that he could not do fundamentally on his own, if he had lived?
Will Snape ever turn to the dark side again? DD didn’t believe so and neither do I. In that sense his character arc is resolved. But that is what makes the HP stories so fascinating! That uncertainty was resolved before the books began, we just didn’t know it.

The fact that Snape’s life was unexpectedly cut short leads me to believe his character arc was never fully completed. He never witnesses LV defeat which could have helped him resolve his guilt over Lily. JKR ends his life with Snape essentially still hating Harry–which I believe was due to putting his emotional development in stasis while he obsessed over defeating Voldemort.

I think after LV was defeated and the war was over Snape would have faced a series of crises. He would have had to face inquiries about his actions–if he isn’t killed on sight–particularly involving DD. How forgivable is an Unforgivable Curse? Does he end up in Azkaban for fulfilling DD's orders? Is he hunted down as a dangerous Dark Wizard? If Harry is alive, he can vouch for Snape--but the WW always seemed to have trouble believing Harry--would that change? There would be an overwhelming amount of witnesses against him--from both sides--and only Harry's testimony on his behalf. Does he spend the rest of his life in prison? How does that situation affect Severus? I’m not sure his guilt over Lily and the pain from having to kill the only father figure he ever knew would have completely resolved. With that weight still bearing down on him would he even try to defend himself against such charges?

Let's say he manages to gain his freedom from Wizarding authorities. He was so masterful at playing both sides, will anyone ever fully trust him? That has serious ramifications for nearly anything he attempts to do with his life from that point on. Can he pick up where he left off with his “friends”? The Malfoy’s? McGonagall and the teachers at Hogarts? Does it end up that Harry is his only supporter? That would be ironic, wouldn't it? Does that finally help Snape examine his hatred toward Harry and overcome it or not?

I've never had the feeling that Snape's love for Lily was obsessive--he just didn't exhibit the behavior that accompanies such a mentality. But after she died, he became extraordinarily obsessed with protecting her son and with bringing down Voldemort. I think that obsession kept his guilt at bay. For nearly half his life that was his sole focus. Now, suddenly, that is gone. What does he do the next morning? How does he decompress from years of such high stress? Is he still plagued by guilt?

I think Snape would have needed assistance and support to resolve any of the issues above. But his role for the previous 18 years kept him isolated and alone. How does he overcome that? We don’t get even a glimmer of his issues being resolved (unless one believes that death resolves any issue, which I don’t.) Of course, it’s not Snape’s story, it’s Harry’s. And we’re left with v.6 of the Snape character analysis and so many questions.


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  #212  
Old December 21st, 2011, 2:20 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I think the question is a bit of a tough one. It seems to me what you're asking is, "Did Snape end up doing what he was meant to do as a character?" That is, have the mysteries been solved and have we been given all the information we need to understand him? IMO, there's some disagreement between readers over what Snape-the-character was meant to do and whether or not that purpose came across to everyone.

Personally, I think he had a few purposes, but I'd single out two: to show that our snap judgements are not always correct, and to show the power of love, remorse, and redemption. IMO, Snape's purpose as a character is closely connected to the redemption story of TPT. Without redemption, Snape's purpose isn't resolved-- the redemptive power of love is not addressed and the lesson about snap judgements not conveyed. More questions spring up, rather than fewer (ex. "Why was Al named as he was?"). The problem is, there has never been full consensus on that topic (or any topic regarding Snape), and so he remains unresolved to some.

As for me, I believe those two purposes were conveyed clearly and with a good deal of skill: I see Snape as a character meant to make us stop and think on how people aren't always as they seem, and on what we're capable of when we have love motivating us. So I would say that yes, Snape fulfilled his purpose as a character, at least to this reader.


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  #213  
Old December 21st, 2011, 8:59 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirrormere View Post

I think after LV was defeated and the war was over Snape would have faced a series of crises. He would have had to face inquiries about his actions–if he isn’t killed on sight–particularly involving DD. How forgivable is an Unforgivable Curse? Does he end up in Azkaban for fulfilling DD's orders? Is he hunted down as a dangerous Dark Wizard? If Harry is alive, he can vouch for Snape--but the WW always seemed to have trouble believing Harry--would that change? There would be an overwhelming amount of witnesses against him--from both sides--and only Harry's testimony on his behalf. Does he spend the rest of his life in prison? How does that situation affect Severus? I’m not sure his guilt over Lily and the pain from having to kill the only father figure he ever knew would have completely resolved. With that weight still bearing down on him would he even try to defend himself against such charges?

I agree - after Snape's death Harry sees the Prince's Tale in the penseive, but had Snape lived would either Harry or Snape be prepared to show those scenes at a trial? - Even if they had cleared Snape and proved that he was working for the good side and killed Dumbledore because Dumbledore asked him to.

I'm not sure Snape would have wanted that.

i think his part in the story was completed by the time he died in Deathly Hallows, but I would really love to know more about him...


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Old December 21st, 2011, 12:50 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyraLovegood
I'm not sure what McGonagall acquiring a broom for Harry to play Quidditch has to do with Snape giving Draco an unfair advantage in Potions Class or in getting away with corridor hexings, actually.
It was just an example that all Heads of Houses seemed to favor their own students, just at different time and in different ways.


As for Severus' "character arc": I think it was complete by the time the story ended. He had gone from being a "damaged" child, to a troubled adolescent, to an embittered young man. That's where we pick him up in the story and see how, in protecting Harry -- initially out of his love for Lily and feelings of guilt over her death -- Severus grows to care for others and, in the end (IMO) to act for the "common good" rather than just out of devotion to his deceased love. I think we are shown this change in the memories when he tells Dumbledore that he hasn't watched anyone die that he could have saved. So, there must have been a time when he did watch someone die that he could have saved. (I wonder, was he talking about Lily's death and the failure of the plan to protect her, or his time as a DE, or possibly both? Either way, I think he was expressing remorse that he hadn't done more when he might have and was doing everything he could at the time he made that statement.)

So, as far as a "character," I think Severus journey was complete when he died, as far as his setting right all of his wrongs. As a "person," though he did have other things that he might have done if he'd lived. But, those weren't part of the story. I guess I understood the question to mean his "character arc" as it pertained to the story, itself.

I have a question: I was wondering what Severus relationship with Lily's parents might have been? He and Lily were "best friends" for about seven years. I would think she would have mentioned him to them -- and I'm sure Petunia would definitely have said something about him. We know he was in her home at least one time (when he saw Petunia's Hogwarts' letter). But, when we see them at Kings' Cross Station in the memory, there is no acknowledgement by them and we don't see that Lily has even brought him over and introduced him to them. I wonder if he knew them and was just avoiding them because he was with his mother and didn't want them to notice her any more than necessary (especially Lily). It doesn't seem he introduced them or Lily to his mother, either, which I can understand from the way she was described in the memory. She probably wouldn't have been very friendly, if she acknowledged them at all.


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Old December 23rd, 2011, 5:30 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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I have a question: I was wondering what Severus relationship with Lily's parents might have been? He and Lily were "best friends" for about seven years. I would think she would have mentioned him to them -- and I'm sure Petunia would definitely have said something about him. We know he was in her home at least one time (when he saw Petunia's Hogwarts' letter). But, when we see them at Kings' Cross Station in the memory, there is no acknowledgement by them and we don't see that Lily has even brought him over and introduced him to them. I wonder if he knew them and was just avoiding them because he was with his mother and didn't want them to notice her any more than necessary (especially Lily). It doesn't seem he introduced them or Lily to his mother, either, which I can understand from the way she was described in the memory. She probably wouldn't have been very friendly, if she acknowledged them at all.
If there were any introductions/interactions at King's Cross for Lily's first year, we don't see it because it wasn't critical to the storyline. When Lily & Petunia are arguing about the fact that Lily (and maybe Severus) had seen the letter contents, the book mentions that the Evans parents are a short distance from the girls, taking in all the sights & sounds around them at platform 9 3/4. As Severus had already been to the Evans house, it doesn't seem necessary for any introductions unless Snape's parents were there. From Snape's comments about his father, it's unlikely that he would have gone along; and while Snape's mother may have gone with him the first time, I don't think she would have been aware of Snape's comings & goings, let alone his relationship with Lily. I think it would have been the one thing that he would have wanted to protect, and not have it become a topic of discussion or disagreement at home.


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Old December 23rd, 2011, 7:06 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I have a question: I was wondering what Severus relationship with Lily's parents might have been?
...when we see them at Kings' Cross Station in the memory, there is no acknowledgement by them and we don't see that Lily has even brought him over and introduced him to them.
As HedwigOwl has said, Snape had been over to the Evans' house on at least one occassion and most likely would have spent quite a bit of time there if he and Lily were best friends. With his own father's possible verbal abuse of his mother and his mother's apparent feelings about muggleborns (likely where Snape picked up his own prejudices) I don't think he would have had Lily over for play dates.

Lily's parents might have taken pity on Snape, depending on how much of his family history they knew. Depending on the size of the town their parents might have known each other, run across each other at the market or maybe even have worked together and Lily and Snape certainly lived close enough to each other that they could meet at the same park so it's not a huge stretch to say that they might have lived in the same neighborhood or one or two streets over. Lily's parents might have deduced that Snape had a stressful homelife by what their girls would say about him and wanted to help him by letting him come over as much as possible.

Until sixth year, at least, they might have even taken Snape to King's Cross with them, offering him a ride as a way of saving resources since they're leaving the same town for the same destination. I don't, though, think Snape's mother would have been keen on this, since we are led to believe she was a pureblood supremacist, and probably insisted on taking him herself.

I think, though, that Snape's eccentricities would have begun to crop up in his early teens and Lily's parents' opinions might have begun to change about the odd boy with whom their daughter spent so much time. Snape doesn't strike me as having been an open and friendly young teenager but probably rather a sullen, observant, interoverted one and his silence and intensity of attention on Lily might have begun to strike Lily's father, especially, as a little worrisome.


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Old December 23rd, 2011, 8:10 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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I don't, though, think Snape's mother would have been keen on this, since we are led to believe she was a pureblood supremacist, and probably insisted on taking him herself.
I'm sorry - could you show me where in canon we are led to believe this?

Eileen married a muggle, which gives me the impression she didn't hold these beliefs at all. If she had, i think she would have married a wizard, and most likely a pureblood one.

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Snape doesn't strike me as having been an open and friendly young teenager but probably rather a sullen, observant, interoverted one and his silence and intensity of attention on Lily might have begun to strike Lily's father, especially, as a little worrisome.
Lily never mentions any concerns her parents may or may not have had. I get the impression they were proud she was a witch, and my guess is that they were please she had a friend who could give her information about a world in which neither they nor Lily wold know anything about. They probably initially didn't know what to think when they found out their daughter could do odd things, and Severus' ability to explain things was probably a relief. As teenagers, many have a tendency to keep things to themselves and to rely more on their peers as they're growing up, and we don't know how much Lily shared with her parents. Lily herself only seemed concerned with Severus' friends and his interest in the dark arts, rather than his introverted personality. Her parents would have only seen him occasionally, two months out of the year, i think.


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Old December 24th, 2011, 7:17 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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I'm sorry - could you show me where in canon we are led to believe this?

Eileen married a muggle, which gives me the impression she didn't hold these beliefs at all. If she had, i think she would have married a wizard, and most likely a pureblood one.
I don't recall anything that indicates Eileen was a pureblood supremist; in fact, nothing about her being a pureblood except for her son being called a half-blood, which might be like Voldemort with a pureblood mother and a Muggle father. Or on the other hand Severus could be a half-blood like Harry who has a pureblood father and Muggle-born mother! Obviously I don't mean Tobias Snape was pureblood and Eileen a Muggle-born!


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Old December 24th, 2011, 4:09 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

I don't think it's possible for Snape's mother to have been a pureblood supremacist. Pureblood supremacists view Muggles as little more than animals; we're shown in the meeting of the Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor that the idea of purebloods marrying Muggles causes revulsion. A pureblood supremacist would sooner die childless than marry a Muggle.

I think that Severus and Eileen viewed themselves as superior to Muggles because they had magic, but Eileen may have viewed it as a necessary concession to marry a Muggle if she wanted to marry and have children at all. There may have been no purebloods available that were not her close relatives. We see in the Gaunts what happens when purebloods marry their cousins: cross-eyed, misshapen Morfin and Merope. It's not a good idea. And we have -- I forget whether it was Dean or Seamus -- saying his dad was a Muggle, his mum a witch. "Bit of a shock for him when he found out," I think he said. I've always thought it was probably the same with Tobias and Eileen; Tobias may not have known he was marrying a witch, and it was that sort of thing that led Severus to say that his dad didn't like magic, and didn't like anything else much either.


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Old December 24th, 2011, 4:44 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.6

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I've always thought it was probably the same with Tobias and Eileen; Tobias may not have known he was marrying a witch, and it was that sort of thing that led Severus to say that his dad didn't like magic, and didn't like anything else much either.
That's possible. We do see instances in HP where the muggle husband isn't happy when he finds out his wife was a witch. Maybe Eileen loved Tobias. Merope used a potion. Maybe Seamus' mom waited until after they were married to tell his father about her magical abilities, but he was able to accept it. Perhaps Severus' parents were in between those two examples, with Tobias never forgiving Eileen for not telling him she was a witch before they married?

One thing I think we can tell, without too much speculation - it didn't appear to be a very happy marriage.


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