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Development of Snape's Character thru DH
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Phineas Offline
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RE: Development of Snape's Character thru DH
I hope you'll forgive me just jumping on in here, bringing over a discussion from the Snape Love thread. I'm a long-time lurker who finally joined after coming to terms with some of my own thoughts on Snape. I expect many of you will see me as toeing the old "Snater" line, but I hope you'll consider my responses with an open mind, which I will give to yours as well! Time away from the Snape Wars should, I would have hoped, calmed both parties down enough to see some reason and find some common ground, no? Or are the Snape Wars a permanent metaphor for the American political system? Tongue

(05-16-2016 04:58 PM)The Hare and the Otter Wrote:  
(05-16-2016 01:33 PM)Silver Ink Pot Wrote:  I guess the fans who misunderstood Snape on their first read are still nursing their wounds from the Snape Wars and doubling down on debunked theories. No one is going to change their minds at this point anyway.

I will say that Draco and Regulus were supposed to teach us something about Snape in the books, and that clearly went over the heads of the Snaters. Regulus couldn't save everybody, but he cared about Kreacher's suffering, and he sacrificed himself to destroy a Horcrux. Draco loved his parents, and didn't want Harry/Ron/Hermione dead even if he didn't like them. On the other hand, Ron didn't care about saving Draco and Goyle, and Harry is the one who attacked with Sectumsempra in the bathroom - a parallel with James, not Snape.

Yes. All of this. The truth is there for those who can see it.
"The truth" and "misunderstanding" are not as absolute as you suggest, I would argue.

I'm not sure Silver Ink Pot makes one-to-one comparisons here. In DH, Ron is in danger of dying himself if he risks saving Draco and Goyle (who just abetted someone who tried to kill him). Draco, while in some danger for lying, is not in the same situation as Ron when he chooses to "save" the trio (i.e., not condemn. And there is a difference - Draco is passive, choosing not to commit to either saving or condemning Harry et al. This could be seen in several lights - as Draco wanting to protect the trio to give them the chance to escape, or as Draco not wanting to get his own hands dirty, for instance.). So the two acts are not parallels.

I'm also at a bit of a loss for how Harry's use of Sectumsempra parallels James, not Snape. If referring to Snape's Worst Memory, Harry could be seen as more like Snape: Harry was reacting to an attack (the Cruciatus Curse) by a hated enemy, just like Snape reacted to an attack (Levicorpus) by hated enemies.
(05-16-2016 07:07 PM)The Hare and the Otter Wrote:  
(05-14-2016 05:02 PM)Ellen Wrote:  The prophecy Snape heard specified that someone was approaching who would have the power to vanquish the Dark Lord (Voldemort's chosen title, though there have been others). This person would have a birthday at the end of July (if we stick with the Gregorian calendar) and would be born to parents who had defied "him" (assumed to mean the DL) three times.

Snape knew this was important and passed it on.

Did he know it meant Lily's child? In his excitement, did he think what Voldemort would do with this knowledge? Did he assume he would kill the child? My guess is not.

For that matter, was Lily's due date in August?

I agree with everything you have said in your post. However, Sev actually didn't know it was about a baby about to be born. All he heard (and passed on) was: "The one with power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies."
But, The Hare and the Otter, the part Snape heard is exactly the part that refers to a baby about to be born. Sure, Snape may not have given it a ton of thought about who it actually referred to, but that was his oversight: Voldemort (and Dumbledore) interpreted what Snape relayed as about a baby boy born at the end of July.

And that is my response to Ellen: that Snape did not give the matter thought is a blame that rests solely upon Snape. Even if he had learned not to ask questions, etc. in Voldemort's service, it was still Snape's choice to follow Voldemort in the first place. So Snape is not absolved of responsibility for not realizing the prophecy could be construed as meaning a newborn child (or, for that matter, Lily's son). Yes, Dumbledore tells Harry in HBP that Snape "did not know - he had no way of knowing - which boy Voldemort would hunt from then onward." But that statement seems to suggest that Snape should have been able to realize the prophecy could refer to certain boys if he had not made the choices he had.
(06-02-2016 07:10 PM)The Librarian Wrote:  I like the theory but Snape is unpleasant to Neville many other times. Thus, I don't think it was an act by Snape, just him being him. Still, demonising him using the boggart is pretty lame and is an indicator that people are grasping straws to validify their incorrect interpretations.
Ellen's theory [Snape trying to redirect Neville's greatest fear to himself instead of Bellatrix/Neville's parents before the boggart] is interesting, and certainly possible. I tend to agree, though, that being unpleasant to Neville is just Snape being Snape - it is by far the most parsimonious explanation. In which case, I don't see why pointing out that Snape was Neville's boggart is "lame": to be a child's greatest fear as an authority figure and someone that should be teaching and protecting that student is telling of that student-teacher relationship. And the "blame" in that situation should be put on the authority figure (i.e., Snape), not the pupil.

Once again, I would like to point out that there is no "incorrect interpretation" in this situation. Snape's character towards certain students is not cut-and-tried, true or false, and painting them as such cheapens his character as well as improperly devalues other opinions (which is what we are all discussing - not facts! :coolSmile.
(06-03-2016 02:51 AM)Silver Ink Pot Wrote:  Snape is rough on everyone, not just Neville. And Lupin is terrible to Snape as well, making him a laughingstock with the boggart in an unprofessional manner. Lupin hasn't really changed much from early days with Snape.
And is that roughness entirely acceptable? In a real-life situation, would you find it acceptable for someone to be that cruel to your hypothetical child on a weekly basis (regardless of circumstance. I'm trying to get at a deeper morality argument: is it morally okay for someone to be a bully, regardless of the circumstance? Are there circumstances where bullying is acceptable as the best possible way of accomplishing a means?)? And, once again, comparing Neville-Snape interactions to Lupin-Snape interactions is a false equivalence. Lupin being unprofessional to Snape is not equivalent to Snape teasing a child. (Though I would argue against the lack of professionality on Lupin's part. Lupin did not know that Snape was Neville's greatest fear when he invited him up. Lupin did what he thought best by helping Neville overcome that fear by defeating the boggart in the only way it can be defeated. How else do you get a 13-year old to laugh at a menacing bully? I do not sense any cruelty from Lupin here towards Snape, only a teacher trying to help a student. Just as many on this forum would argue Snape was trying to help Neville by bullying him. Two different philosophies, and I'm curious why certain folks are more apt to agreeing with Snape's general philosophy/morality over Lupin's.)

Looking at Neville from Snape's point of view, he knows Bellatrix or Voldemort may come after him again someday, as well as Harry. Being sweet and sensitive is nice, but that won't help Neville or Harry survive.

There is even foreshadowing for Neville having to kill Nagini when Snape makes him "disembowel" toads as a detention. If Neville hadn't been able to overcome some of his fears, how could he have become the fighter that he was?
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But was Snape the reason Neville overcame his fears? There is a difference between helping someone overcome a fear and being the fear someone has to overcome. I do not disagree that Snape helped teach and build character in Neville and Harry. But there are still morally right and wrong ways to do such things, in my opinion. Perhaps Snape thought he was doing "right" by being tough and showing the students how the world really is, but good intentions and positive results do not necessarily justify the means. This is a values question, though, and I realize that some folks may think otherwise: do the ends justify the means? If so, I can see why Snape's methods may not be seen as reprehensible to some. But if the means are important in defining right and wrong, I would say that Snape was wrong in how he approached the situation. Again, I'm not saying he wasn't effective, just that he can still be a nasty piece of work at the same time (and being a nasty piece of work was his choice/personality rather than a facade he had to have to impress Voldemort, etc.).
(06-04-2017 08:01 PM)subtle science Wrote:  Lupin's an amazingly poor teacher--thoroughly unqualified for the job, obviously; it's actually interesting to consider that he's a foil, in some ways, for Snape. Both of them got the jobs from Dumbledore because Dumbledore was giving them shelter--and had an agenda.
I'd be curious to see a more fleshed out argument from you qualifying the statement that Lupin is "an amazingly poor teacher" and "thoroughly unqualified for the job" (and, again, that "obviously" is dangerous - anything about Snape and the Marauders is not obvious to all, as we all should recognize by now!). As Superman shows, students seemed to think Lupin was a good teacher. And he seemed just as qualified for the job (if not more so) than Lockhart, Hagrid, Moody, Umbridge, etc. And being unqualified in a technical sense does not mean one is necessarily unqualified in an applicable sense (e.g., I may not have received a Bachelor's in Education, but that doesn't necessarily mean I will be a bad teacher [or a good teacher!]). Regardless, speaking about "qualifications" for a DADA position seems to be a bit pedantic, as Dumbledore seemed to be continuously scraping the bottom of the barrel for takers! Big Grin
Ellen Wrote:But, I am led astray from actual literary analysis because my curiosity is piqued by this thing you mention: a church of Snape? Is this like the satirical Flying Spaghetti Monster? Can we get drivers' licenses? Do the High Holy Days involve chocolate? (because I'd REALLY like that religion! It's definitely a plus factor in the spring, now, when Christian Easter rolls around) Can we get a day off work? I'm not sure about the black robes, if that's the dress code--loose and flowing: check; black: err....rough in summer, especially in the warmer climates.
I think it's pretty clear that there are factions in the HP community (and any fandom) that may be blind to a character's faults in the zealousness to focus on that character's positive traits and actions. That sort of "character worship" results in readers justifying away, or not even seeing a character's negatives. (And based on the first post on this thread, I think we can all agree that there are varying degrees of this on these very forums! Big Grin.) I think we can all agree that complete, blind worship is not healthy for the reader, or a service to the character. Note that I am not accusing anyone here of being altogether blind of Snape's negatives, but I would challenge anyone who might think I am attacking them to consider deeply whether you are open to the positives and negatives of the character.

I like deeply flawed and complex characters in which their faults cannot (or should not) be rationalized away by overly complicated headcanon. If we rely too deeply on those headcanons, often we forget what the book actually tells us and that sometimes the simplest explanation is the best explanation. In the case of Snape, for me, that means that he is an overall good man that was made bitter by an overall lack of recognition of his amazing ability and intellect growing up. That bitterness sometimes manifested itself in bullying and cruelty, which I find unacceptable for an individual in a position of power with the responsibility of teaching. But at the end of the day he was motivated by generally good intentions and sacrificed himself to protect others and save the wizarding world. For that, he is more than worthy of Harry's recognition of his bravery.
06-24-2017 07:36 AM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Development of Snape's Character thru DH
Phineas Wrote:I'm not sure Silver Ink Pot makes one-to-one comparisons here. In DH, Ron is in danger of dying himself if he risks saving Draco and Goyle (who just abetted someone who tried to kill him). Draco, while in some danger for lying, is not in the same situation as Ron when he chooses to "save" the trio (i.e., not condemn. And there is a difference - Draco is passive, choosing not to commit to either saving or condemning Harry et al. This could be seen in several lights - as Draco wanting to protect the trio to give them the chance to escape, or as Draco not wanting to get his own hands dirty, for instance.). So the two acts are not parallels.

Draco knew all too well what the Dark Lord might do to him for not identifying Harry and Hermione, yet he acted the way he did anyway. Draco was in danger the whole time Voldemort was occupying the family home, don't you think? He could have been fed to Nagini at any time.

Phineas Wrote:I'm also at a bit of a loss for how Harry's use of Sectumsempra parallels James, not Snape. If referring to Snape's Worst Memory, Harry could be seen as more like Snape: Harry was reacting to an attack (the Cruciatus Curse) by a hated enemy, just like Snape reacted to an attack (Levicorpus) by hated enemies.

The similarity is this: both Snape and Draco are alone and minding their own business when someone sneaks up on them. Draco is in even worse shape that Snape was, crying to Moaning Myrtle about his family dying if he didn't kill Dumbledore (which he didn't want to do). Harry was the one who came in and started a fight with him, just as James/Sirius started a fight with Snape. And in each case, Snape and Draco were the ones who suffered the most after the attack, not Harry or James.

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(This post was last modified: 06-26-2017 11:13 PM by Silver Ink Pot.)
06-26-2017 11:11 PM
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