Severus Snape

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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:21 am

me and my shadow 813 - Apr 8, 2009 10:32 am (#1861 of 2988)  
I find another problem with Eileen not being in Slytherin: if she was in, say, Hufflepuff, she would be more likely to badmouth Slytherin to her son when he asked about Hogwarts. If one is in Slytherin, one would probably not describe the needed qualities as “ambitious and cunning” but something more savoury like “clever” and “motivated” and, if one was indeed an intelligent Slytherin, “brainy” would be an adjective of choice.

Regarding James saving Severus’s life, I find it similar to “thou doth protest too much”. Severus is a smart man, he knows it comes down to the fact that he’d be a werewolf or dead if not for James’s actions. To me it is just another example of his inability to say anything but horrible things about James. And, since I believe he has thought about it quite a lot, he’d want to even the score via Harry immediately so he could go back to feeling justified in hating his guts without anything to get in the way.



rambkowalczyk - Apr 8, 2009 10:53 am (#1862 of 2988)  
So to suppose Eileen was Slytherin has to pre-suppose someone not just joining Slytherin, but going all through school without any anti-muggle bias. wynnleaf

not necessarily. Eileen or anyone in Slytherin could have been exposed to the anti-muggle bias but question it. Eileen could have been somewhat rebellious against her parents and deliberately dated a muggle just to see what all the fuss was about. Also Slughorn was the head of the house. I don't think he encouraged anti-muggle behaviour. If anything he would have been very neutral towards muggles unless a muggle happened to have something of interest--then Slughorn would have been very charming towards one.

the problem of young Severus being pretty unaware of what Slytherin stands for. He thought Lily, a muggleborn, could get in Slytherin. wynnleaf

If I am not mistaken, Severus hesitated before answering Lily's question implying at the very least that there might be apossibility in Severus' mind that there was prejudice against muggleborns.

then there's the problem of young Severus thinking Slytherin was for the brainy. wynnleaf

not a problem for me as it would make sense for an 8 year old to confuse cunning with brainy.



Julia H. - Apr 8, 2009 11:28 am (#1863 of 2988)  
Did Jo directly told us that the man yelling at Eileen was her husband? (Solitaire)

No. There are two things to go by. One is that Harry assumes that the people he saw in Snape's memory were Snape's parents. Since nothing comes up later to disprove Harry's opinion, it is probable that we are meant to think he was correct. BTW, nobody "tells" us exactly that the little boy in the memory is Snape, but that is what Harry assumes and nothing implies that he is not correct. The other thing is that Lily and Snape discuss his parents, who are "still arguing".

“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 what he was doing. “But it won’t be that long and I’ll be gone.”

“Doesn’t your dad like magic?”

“He doesn’t like anything, much,” said Snape.

It seems the children are talking about Snape's parents, not some relatives. Still, the idea about a Prince relative is interesting...  But it seems his father has not left the family at the time of Snape's conversation with Lily.

Snape's knowledge of magic at such an early age suggests to me that his mother, or some other relative(s), did talk to him about it ... often enough that he seemed to have a fair amount of knowledge. Would she have done that if a magic-hating, Muggle father were present?

Tobias is present enough to have arguments with his wife, but it seems from Severus's words that Tobias does not like his son, or so the child thinks at least. This makes it possible that Tobias practically leaves Severus entirely to his mother, in an "it's her job" way. Not approving of magic does not necessarily mean that he actively wants to provide an alternative education for his son. Yelling is much easier.

Severus is a smart man, he knows it comes down to the fact that he’d be a werewolf or dead if not for James’s actions. (MAMS)

From what Snape says, it seems he blames Sirius and James for the prank and he seems to think the reason why he is not a werewolf or dead is that James wanted to save Sirius, Lupin and himself but not specifically Snape. He may not be right but nothing indicates that "James saving his life" is anything else in his eyes than a bad memory in which he was almost killed or turned into a werewolf and only escaped because saving Sirius and Lupin in this case happened to entail saving him. Worse still, people later kept rubbing it in that "James had saved his life". He does not seem to consider himself indebted to James but it is still probable that the memory is eating at him. He doesn't like to be even "quasi-indebted" to James.

If I am not mistaken, Severus hesitated before answering Lily's question implying at the very least that there might be a possibility in Severus' mind that there was prejudice against muggleborns. (Ramb)

Or that it was a question to him whether anyone not coming from the wizarding world proper would be welcome or not. Saying that only magical talent counts may be the kind of reassurance he himself needs, too.



mona amon - Apr 8, 2009 9:38 pm (#1864 of 2988)  
Why would a Slytherin even know muggles well enough to get romatically involved with one? Why would a Slytherin marry a muggle? (Wynnleaf)

I don't really see this as a complication, Wynnleaf. As you yourself have said, the anti-muggle bias (as opposed to an anti-muggleborn bias) is found in all the houses. Yet some wizards and witches do end up dating or marrying muggles. Maybe Eileen worked in Muggle Relations before she got married. Maybe she was not a pureblood herself, and had muggle cousins and friends.

Even if she did have an anti-muggle bias, love conquers all prejudice, exemplified by the fact that people of different faiths sometimes manage to fall in love with each other. I'm reminded of Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, declaring to Elizabeth that he likes her "against his will, against his reason, and even against his character". True, Tobias Snape is unlikely to have inspired a passion of that sort, but it is possible that Eilleen, who is described as being unattractive, could have self-esteem issues and accepted the first man who showed an interest in her.

I agree with Ramb's points regarding the inaccuracy of Severus's knowledge about Slytherin. The very inaccuracies sound to me like the conclusions an eleven-year-old would reach after hearing the house glorified by an ex-Slytherin.

He thought Lily, a muggleborn, could get in Slytherin. Surely his mother, regardless how neglectful, would over several years have figured out that her son had a muggleborn witch as a friend. And young Snape, all enthusiastic over Slytherin, would never have heard from his Slytherin mom about Slytherin's bias against muggleborns?

I think she did tell him that muggle-borns were considered inferior. Young Severus most probably thought so too, until he meets Lily and finds out how magically powerful she is. With no knowledge of how the grown-up world operates, I can see him believing in Lily's acceptance because of her magical abilities. Moreover, he does have a way of ignoring inconvenient facts when they clash with his desires. This is the kid who believed that muggle-born Lily would admire him if he joined a powerful anti-muggleborn gang.

I like the 'Eileen was a Slytherin' option because it fits all the facts that we are given, with some (IMO very plausible) explanations. If she wasn't, we'll have to invent sources for his Dark Arts knowledge and things like that.

but my impression from his comments in POA that James was really just trying to save his friends from getting into trouble makes me think that Snape didn't actually see this as a life debt.

I completely agree. Snape on the windy hilltop cares nothing about James's life. He would, if he felt that he had a magical obligation to save his life.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 8, 2009 10:16 pm (#1865 of 2988)  
This says it all to me, whether Severus wanted to be in denial or not, he knew and he wanted to settle the score. Why else have Dumbledore say this?

'Yes...' said Dumbledore dreamily. 'Funny, the way people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt ... I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father quits. Then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace...' (PS, chapter 17)



wynnleaf - Apr 9, 2009 5:18 am (#1866 of 2988)  
I don't really see this as a complication... (mona amon)

My point was never that the Eileen-as-Slytherin option wasn't workable, but that it does necessitate not one, but several questions being explained away, and is therefore no more a "simple" explanation than several other explanations for why Snape wanted to be in Slytherin.

I like the 'Eileen was a Slytherin' option because it fits all the facts that we are given, with some (IMO very plausible) explanations. (mona amon)

What facts does it fit in particular? Only a trend where some pureblood families, the Potters, the Blacks, the Malfoys, and the Weasleys tended to be sorted into the same houses. Snape wasn't a pureblood and therefore isn't part of that trend to start with.

It does not fit into the trends that wizards in general (not just Slytherins) are at best condescending toward muggles and Slytherins more likely to disdain them. It doesn't fit into the fact of young Severus' info about Slytherin being incorrect. Those things have to be explained away in order for this option to work.

Another option is that Eileen was in another house, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff perhaps, where muggles were not so disdained. Now we no longer have to explain away her meeting and marrying a muggle. All we need to explain is why she didn't pass along much info about Slytherin House to her son, which considering she wouldn't have been in that house, might only mean that she didn't know of his determination to be in Slytherin, never expected him to be in Slytherin, and therefore didn't talk much about them.

Severus' information about Slytherin or anything else about Hogwarts, could have come from books, like Hogwarts a History if Eileen had a copy, or at least from old schoolbooks including History of Magic textbooks.

If Severus did have info from either Eileen or books that Slytherin himself wanted to keep the wizarding world and the muggle world separate, my guess was that it was Tobias and Spinners End giving Severus a really bad impression of muggles and the muggle world and therefore Severus developed an interest in Slytherin House.

But even that doesn't explain a notion that it was for the brainy.

I know we're not told of any pre-Hogwarts precociousness on Snape's part other than in knowing more curses than half of the 7th years, but since he turned out later to be so good at potions and he was a creative and precocious kid in general, it is likely that he was reading up on all areas of magic and perhaps trying things in other areas, not just curses.

Which means an interest in potions could have made him interested in the fact that the potions master was also head of Slytherin and known for taking particular bright students under his wing and trying to promote them some.

In the end, there's no way to know what house Eileen was in. But Eileen being in Slytherin presents just as many small problems to be explained away as some other options, so that, in my opinion, that is in no way the most likely option.



wynnleaf - Apr 9, 2009 5:33 am (#1867 of 2988)  
'Yes...' said Dumbledore dreamily. 'Funny, the way people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt ... I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father quits. Then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace...' (Dumbledore)

Dumbledore was well aware that the primary reason Snape had remained at Hogwarts was to protect Harry for Lily's sake. However, he'd made a promise to Snape that he wouldn't reveal that, so in trying to explain to Harry why Snape would have tried to protect him, he used the life debt notion as an excuse.

I don't know why he couldn't just have said that any responsible teacher would have attempted to protect a student. Snape, after all, protects and saves other students over the years. And probably most of the teachers would do so, given the chance.

Maybe DD wanted to give Harry a positive story about James. It may also be that DD, still not knowing the backstory of the Prank (the animagi situation and that the Marauder regularly released the werewolf), really thought James pulled Snape back from the tunnel solely out of a desire to save a student he hated from death.

Perhaps DD truly believed it was a life debt and assumed Snape thought so as well. Perhaps he assumed Snape had forgotten about Lily and she was no longer the main reason Snape protected Harry.

By the way, not all saving of lives adds up to a life debt. JKR wasn't clear about it. If all saving of lives adds up to life debts, then Ginny owed Harry one and JKR specifically said she didn't owe one to Harry -- which really doesn't make any sense to me. Did Harry owe one to Snape for saving his life in PS? Or sending the Order members to save him in OOTP? Did DD owe one to Snape for saving his life? DD even described it as saving his life. Did Katie Bell owe one to Snape? Did Ron owe a life debt to Harry for the bezoar? My guess is that JKR would say "no" to all of those.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 9, 2009 8:20 am (#1868 of 2988)  
To me, a life debt applies when you are confronted with making a clear choice of saving someone's life that you do not care about, or deeply dislike, and you choose to help them live. It is the act of compassion. Helping someone you love or care about or who never "wronged" you is not of the same calibre of compassion or maturity (or whatever word you prefer here). I feel it is important not to get in the trap of applying one rule to all circumstances. It is a subtle difference, but a real and important one. And JKR loves her subtle differences. BTW, I wasn't saying it was in an official category called "Life Debt". I was saying it must hang over Severus's head, given how much he hates James, and he'd want to even the score so he wouldn't have to feel any type of obligation to James, that his deal was to save Harry for Lily's sake. As you can see here I put owed in quotes. I think it has been mentioned enough times in the series that it was an important part of knowing the dynamic between these two boys/men.

edited



PeskyPixie - Apr 9, 2009 8:51 am (#1869 of 2988)  
I don't get the impression that the man yelling in Severus' memory is meant to resemble Eileen. Rather, both have features which are present in Severus, and lead me to believe that we indeed catch a glimpse of his parents arguing while their tiny son looks on. Of course, it could also be another male relative, but when taken with The Prince's Tale, I think it's Tobias.

Regarding Eileen marrying a Muggle, we're given the impression that she's not a 'looker', and not the coolest kid at Hogwarts. I wouldn't be surprised if she was as unpopular with the boys as Severus was with the girls. After Hogwarts, perhaps her prospects dwindled further. Tobias isn't exactly a prize of a Muggle, and maybe Eileen felt that this was her only chance at marriage and a family. It doesn't have to be a lovey-dovey courtship. Perhaps it was just practical. Older, lonely Tobias would appreciate having a woman around to keep house, lonely Eileen (maybe in her thirties at the time of marriage) wouldn't be a 'spinster' (I'm not a fan of this word, but it's how some women feel when they don't have a husband and children by a certain age). Of course, the reality of such a life (especially once a magical baby is born), is quite different.

As for Eileen meeting a Muggle, she could have met him anywhere. Maybe he was her neighbour.



wynnleaf - Apr 9, 2009 4:22 pm (#1870 of 2988)  
If I am not mistaken, Severus hesitated before answering Lily's question implying at the very least that there might be a possibility in Severus' mind that there was prejudice against muggleborns. (Ramb)

Or that it was a question to him whether anyone not coming from the wizarding world proper would be welcome or not. Saying that only magical talent counts may be the kind of reassurance he himself needs, too. (Julia)


Good observation Julia. I think it's easy to assume that we know automatically what Snape is thinking when he hesitated in his answer. We know that muggleborns aren't accepted by all wizards, so we assume that young Severus knows what we know. But he might just as easily be affected not by knowledge of the wizarding world, but by his own worries and hopes about being accepted. And this makes just as much sense, as he is from a poor home with one muggle parent who may not like him as well as his family perhaps not accepted locally (if we're to take Petunia's view of the Snapes as a common view in the town). It would be just as natural for him to relate personally to Lily's concern as he would be to be considering the muggleborn bias the readers are so familiar with.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 9, 2009 7:16 pm (#1871 of 2988)  
My personal opinion, given the way the exchange is presented, is JKR intended to indicate that Severus knows and sort of believes that being Muggle-born would make a difference. Particularly because JKR took the time to write: "His black eyes, eager in the greenish gloom, moved over the pale face" That line, for me, is eery foreshadowing. He made an exception for this Muggle-born because he was "hungry" for her. He continued to make excuses for her (as she did for him) until their belief systems ripped them apart. Whether he was following along with others' belief systems is not the point. It is breaking away from the belief that would make the difference. He ultimately does, after the fact.

Also, had he said, "oh, yeah, your being Muggle-born is going to be a rough road", I would imagine he knew their lovely trist under the forest canopy would come to a screeching halt. I'm not blaming him, I just feel it isn't about Severus feeling insecure about the Wizarding World. As it has been hammered home time and time again, there are very few purebloods, and most half-bloods get away with just not talking about their blood status. Regarding being wealthy, I have a hard time picturing the Carrow, Crabbe or Goyle families living in a castle or manor. Muggle-born is where you run in to trouble, as Hermione pointed out in HBP. Also, Severus is obviously greatly prejudice against Muggles; again, can't blame him as his father wasn't a good model of a Muggle. But the only reason Severus's attention is drawn to Lily is because she is a witch. Otherwise, she'd be "just a Muggle" in his eyes. To me, he already had a general prejudice against Muggle-borns by the time of The Prince's Tale exchange. He learned later in life that it was wrong. JM2K

edited



Julia H. - Apr 9, 2009 10:48 pm (#1872 of 2988)  
As it has been hammered home time and time again, there are very few purebloods, and most half-bloods get away with just not talking about their blood status. Regarding being wealthy, I have a hard time picturing the Carrow, Crabbe or Goyle families living in a castle or manor. Muggle-born is where you run in to trouble, as Hermione pointed out in HBP. (MAMS)

It is not just Snape's half-blood status or poverty though the combined effects of these two things may be more than just one of them would be. The Snapes live in a Muggle neighbourhood, where they are the only wizard family (sort of) and which counts as "poor recommendation" also from a Muggle viewpoint. His father apparently does not like magic. It seems to me what Severus is longing for is the chance to really join the wizarding community. He seems to live on the borderline of the world of Muggles and the world of wizards. In itself this could even be a good thing, but he has negative experiences. Petunia is probably not the only Muggle who finds him weird, unacceptable. His own father may be another one. He is clinging to the fact that he has magical talents but he has to keep it secret in the place where he lives. (BTW, I think it can be very harmful psychologically if a child has to suppress his talents in front of other people - Snape may feel he could shine in a Muggle school if he could only reveal what talents he has, but he must not do that, and then he is nothing else but a skinny and badly dressed poor boy with a troubled home and with no friends. Worse still, his own father does not appreciate his talents either.)

He is a wizard, but we don't know how much contact he has with other wizards. He may have numerous contacts, of course, but he never mentions any magical acquaintance other than his mother. I have the impression it is possible that most of his knowledge about the wizarding world comes from three sources: his mother, books and his experience with his own magical talents. It does not have to be like that but still he seems to be on the periphery of two worlds, desperately wanting to enter the one where he hopes to be accepted. I don't think all half-bloods have the same experience. Some of them may have positive contacts with both worlds. Other half-bloods may live entirely in the wizarding world regardless of their blood-status - even though there are not very many pure-bloods, a lot of half-bloods have magical parentage on both sides. Tonks counts as half-blood because her father is a Muggle-born wizard, but she grows up in a fully magical family. If Harry had not been orphaned he would have grown up as the half-blood child of two rich magical parents with plenty of contacts with other wizards and witches. One Muggle grandparent makes one a half-blood, therefore the majority of half-bloods must be quite as well integrated into the magical community as the rare pure-bloods. True, most wizards don't live in castles but there are a lot of intermediate stages between living in a castle and being as poor as the Snapes apparently are. With his comments to Lily and his talk about being brainy, Snape seems to have resolved that he will "conquer" the magical world with his talents and his brains, having nothing else to recommend him.

Also, Severus is obviously greatly prejudice against Muggles; again, can't blame him as his father wasn't a good model of a Muggle. But the only reason Severus's attention is drawn to Lily is because she is a witch.

There is a difference between being prejudiced against Muggles and being prejudiced against Muggle-borns. Snape seems to be thrilled by the discovery that there is another child with magical abilities nearby. He does not seem to care that she is Muggle-born.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 9, 2009 11:20 pm (#1873 of 2988)  
I agree with most of your post, Julia. Severus has hardships and I empathise with him. In this case, my real conclusion stems from how JKR intended the first and last and only words on this relationship. After all, this exchange occurs in the last fifty pages of a seven part series. After Lily asked “Does it make a difference?” JKR could have said -- rather than ‘the black eyes eager’ -- something like “a confused look as he gazed down at his smock” or “her fear mirrored in his eyes”. It is a choice of words, and I feel it is acutely intentional in JKR’s message. It is anyone’s free will to make the character what they wish, but for me I find it fascinating to delve into what message JKR was sending. And, to me, she was sending us the message that is so very human and contradictory – which is the mixed feelings and, more importantly, misunderstandings, of star-crossed love stories and all the complex feelings that come into play when one falls in love with the “other side”.

Regarding Muggles versus Muggle-borns, as I stated earlier, I feel he was making an exception. I would say the only reason he is thrilled to be in the presence of a Muggle-born is because A) she is the only magical child within a considerable radius and B)he is drawn to her obvious beauty. Again, I am not judging him. I am making an observation and do not feel any less toward him.



Julia H. - Apr 10, 2009 12:50 am (#1874 of 2988)  
Still Snape talks a bit too much about being a wizard to be really confident about properly belonging to that supposedly ideal world. If we compare how he tells Lily about the wizarding world with how Ron tells Harry about the wizarding world, there seems to be a difference in attitude. Ron seems to be talking about the boring facts of everyday life, as though he did not find anything interesting in the information. Snape, however, seems to feel that there is something impressive about the knowledge that he can share with Lily, that it is something exciting and important, something beyond what they both experience - at the moment - as everyday reality.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 10, 2009 9:08 am (#1875 of 2988)  
First, to me, Ron was not trying to impress Harry. Secondly, in my opinion, no child living in the Muggle World, including Hermione, could be 100% "confident" before entering Hogwarts and the WW. From what I recall of Hermione on the Hogwarts Express she wouldn't shut up about it.

To me he talks about it so enthusiastically because he can't wait to get away from his life and begin a new one. It isn't part of his every day life yet and he is obviously eager for it to begin (just as confident/not-confident as any other first-year-to-be would be).

It also states that Harry was noting Severus "struck an oddly impressive figure". He was obviously trying to impress Lily in the only way he could, in my opinion. Ron wasn't trying to be impressive and by comparison would naturally find it a less exciting topic.

The discussion is whether Severus saying "it doesn't make any difference" was about himself and I say No. For me it is the big red flag, the first of many lies he will tell her and himself before the Worst Memory.

In this scene I think Severus was being genuine in his eagerness about the WW, more excited than anxious, no more anxious than Hermione or Dean or someone like that. But he covered up his real feelings about Muggle-borns; the seed was there for the great divide to come. It just works, for me, for the story to work and not have Severus suddenly out of nowhere decide that Mudbloods are inferior because Lucius says so in Slytherin. That doesn't make any sense. It also makes sense why he would belong in Slytherin - without himself even realising the reason why he belonged there and why he wants to be there so badly. He wanted Slytherin and I don't think it has so much to do with his misunderstanding what Slytherin represented; I just think it was an inexplicable desire to be a part of that House. Later, he had a change of heart. Perhaps in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, without the influence of Lucius's crowd, he would have been supported to go in another direction and been around more Muggle-borns to know they aren't inferior. But that's not what happened because he chose it to happen this way. And, to me, it was not because he wanted to be with "brainy" kids.

I also feel that his insisting that Lily must be in Slytherin is more due to his "love is blind" issue which will rear its head more than once. He makes exceptions for her because of his need to be with her. It just all fits when I look at it from the star-crossed love angle.  

edited for clarity



Julia H. - Apr 10, 2009 10:26 am (#1876 of 2988)  
I see your logic but I still think the reasons behind his answer may be more complicated. Not necessarily are but may be... He does not only tell Lily that being Muggle-born is no difference, he also tells her that "loads of magic" is what counts. I find it similar in spirit to his "brainy or brawny" comment. I know he wants to impress Lily but he seems to think the things he is talking about are impressive. (To Ron, they are not. I've also noticed that Ron tells Harry about things he has personally experienced, while Severus does not talk about first-hand experience in the wizarding world, instead he talks about things that he cannot have experienced, such as the letter from Hogwarts or the Dementors. It suggests that the wizarding world is quite distant to him, too.)

In this scene I think Severus was being genuine in his eagerness about the WW, more excited than anxious, no more anxious than Hermione or Dean or someone like that.

I don't know about Dean, but Hermione is a good example. She comes to the wizarding world from outside (just like Harry). I did not mean that Snape was any more anxious than Hermione, for example. But Hermione is Muggle-born, just like Lily.

Secondly, in my opinion, no child living in the Muggle World, including Hermione, could be 100% "confident" before entering Hogwarts and the WW.

That's exactly my point. Snape also lives in the Muggle world, even if he is not Muggle-born, therefore he can't be absolutely confident before entering Hogwarts. What I'm saying is that, in this respect, his position is not very different from Lily's.

I see Severus and Lily in the shade of the trees as two children discussing and dreaming about an exciting, wonderful place which awaits them somewhere, but - for the moment - is unreachable for them. One of them has more contact with it and more information about it than the other one therefore he can impress her, pretending that he is sooo well-informed and knowledgeable, but in fact he is an outsider, too, and he knows it. They both may find reassurance in each other: Lily in Snape's words, Snape in the fact that he is better informed than she is.

Snape may very well think that pure-blood wizards are "more real" wizards than those who have Muggle parents, but then he too has something to compensate for. If he makes an exception for Lily's sake but in fact knows that being Muggle-born is a problem, that does not explain, to me, how he can imagine Lily in Slytherin. Even if he could persuade Lily, how can he think that Lily would be sorted or accepted there if he knows that Slytherin House is anti-Muggle-born?

It just works, for me, for the story to work and not have Severus suddenly out of nowhere decide that Mudbloods are inferior because Lucius says so in Slytherin. That doesn't make any sense.

I don't think it comes "out of nowhere" but seven years of daily influence (and I'm not talking about Lucius alone) is a lot, especially when it is coupled with a desire to belong somewhere. As for his prejudice against Muggle-borns: I just don't know how it can really be so deep-rooted while he can make an exception for Lily all the time. I'm not saying he can't be prejudiced, but he is either "obsessed" with Lily or "obsessed" with the pure-blood mania. According to JKR, Snape at some point thinks he can impress Lily if he becomes a DE. She also describes him as "insecure". With this personality, it seems plausible that he just accepts the ideology of those to whom he wants to belong without criticism while being attached to Lily at the same time.

And, to me, it was not because he wanted to be with "brainy" kids.

I don't see why he would lie about his motivation or where he would suddenly take precisely this reason.  



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 10, 2009 11:43 am (#1877 of 2988)  
Of course every realistic character has more than one emotion occurring at a given time. To me, however, in this scene Severus’s insecurity is not any more important than knowing Hermione is insecure about her intellect or about being Muggle-born in a given scene about such subjects. It goes without saying that Severus is an insecure person, and would feel somewhat nervous about entering the unknown, as would any child or person for that matter.

For me, the significance of his statement is that it is foreshadowing, not that he is insecure. There are always many levels, but to me the primary level is foreshadowing, particularly because it is prefaced with “His black eyes, eager in the greenish gloom, moved over the pale face”. This to me is an illustration of one calculating his answer, not one commiserating with a fellow outcast/outsider. JM2K

I feel his wanting to impress Lily by becoming a dark wizard is another indication of “love is blind”. Because, once at Hogwarts, he would have to be completely ignorant not to realise that a Muggle-born would not care for a dark wizard or a Death Eater. He simply creates an exception in his mind for Lily.

Regarding his wanting to be in “brainy” Slytherin, I do feel his mother gave him all the reasons why his talents and intellect would excel in Slytherin. One reason could be Slughorn, another Riddle. Another reason, to me, is he simply belonged there, given his predisposition to prejudice. If he didn’t have such a predudice, he would have strengthened his friendship with Lily and lessened his association with Lucius. But he didn’t.

For me, it is important not to paint a picture of Severus as a victim. I need to find a balance.



rambkowalczyk - Apr 10, 2009 8:29 pm (#1878 of 2988)  
As I was reading through the last batch of comments a couple of things occurred to me.

Magical children generally speaking are only magical when under emotional distress. Lily might be the exception that proves the rule but even then although she may have done the occasional odd thing, she was not yet a freak in her sister's eyes.

Because Snape was living with his mother, she may have had to discipline him not to do magic in front of Muggles. Since this magic really isn't under Snape's control, there could be a resentment that he has to hide his talents from Muggles.

The resentment towards Muggleborns if Eileen has it, could simply be jealousy that non-magical people are wealthier than she is.



mona amon - Apr 11, 2009 7:28 am (#1879 of 2988)  
But Eileen being in Slytherin presents just as many small problems to be explained away as some other options, so that, in my opinion, that is in no way the most likely option. (Wynnleaf)

I'm not saying one option is more likely than the other. I just like the 'Eileen was a Slytherin' option better because we do not have to invent new facts to explain it. It fits with everything that we are given.

What facts does it fit in particular?

Since I feel that it does not clash with any of the facts that we are given, maybe I'd better explain it from the opposite end. If we assume that Eileen was not a Slytherin, we have to invent a completely new scenario to explain why he wanted to be in Slytherin- that he was interested in potions before going to Hogwarts (nothing in the books to support this), and Eileen told him that the potions master was head of Slytherin, and that Severus wanted to be in the house which the potions master was the head of, and so on, and once again we have nothing in the books to support this.

Then again, his pre-Hogwarts Dark-Arts knowledge becomes a problem. Where did he learn all those dark curses, if not from Eileen's books? He could have learned them from evil Grandad Prince or some other relative, but there again we have to invent a scenario that is not hinted at in the books.

[/I]Severus' information about Slytherin or anything else about Hogwarts, could have come from books, like Hogwarts a History if Eileen had a copy, or at least from old schoolbooks including History of Magic textbooks.[/I]

Yes, I think this is quite likely. But I also think he got some information from his mother. That would account for any inaccuracies. She's not likely to have told him that it was a house for cunning folks who use any means to acheive their ends.

I think it's easy to assume that we know automatically what Snape is thinking when he hesitated in his answer. We know that muggleborns aren't accepted by all wizards, so we assume that young Severus knows what we know. But he might just as easily be affected not by knowledge of the wizarding world, but by his own worries and hopes about being accepted.

No time to look it up, but wasn't he described as being brimful of confidence in his own destiny. To me it sounds like the hesitation was for his muggleborn friend. Not for himself.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 11, 2009 9:26 am (#1880 of 2988)  
I agree with mona  

"Brimful of confidence" is specific enough for me to add to why I draw the conclusions I do about the hesitation; I'm sure I made a note of it when pondering the scene. The descriptors I have pointed out also sound more like they come from the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood than two close friends sharing worries about being accepted, or even one friend simply trying to be an authority on an unknown subject. To me the words chosen carry a predatory tone rather than an "equal footing", if you will. This fits into my feeling that Severus is motivated by his desire to be with her, wanting to say things which will keep them together. His denial of the fact that she is different becomes very obvious as they enter school and he will continue to be blind to the fact that she is a part of the group he is rising against.

I think it is entirely possible that Eileen was a pureblood (or close enough as any other who claims it) who was Sorted into Slytherin because her family came from that House, nothing meaningful about a dark nature. Choosing to have her in the Gobstones Club indicates to me she wasn't intended to be seen as setting her sights on any grand schemes for magical domination. She probably had some dark magic books from school and handed down from her family. She married Tobias later in life, possibly because her options for marriage were thinning, which correlates with her being in school with Riddle yet not having Severus until 1960.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 11, 2009 11:23 am (#1881 of 2988)  
Riddle was 16 in (about) 1942. For Eileen to have given birth to Severus in 1960 is perfectly reasonable (she would have been in her 30's) if she and Riddle were contemporaries at Hogwarts - particularly if she was in a class or two behind Riddle.

Other than that, I agree that having her in the Gobstones Club does not make for a very threatening personality type. Severus may simply have had his own interests in Potions and Dark Arts well apart from any influence of his family. There may have been influences to pique his interest and curiosity about those subjects, but there don't have to be.



mona amon - Apr 11, 2009 8:46 pm (#1882 of 2988)  
Yes, somehow I don't see Eileen herself tutoring her son in the Dark Arts. He must have picked it up from the books she had in the house.

I like your 'backstory" on Eileen, Shadow. Sounds plausible to me.  



Solitaire - Apr 11, 2009 8:54 pm (#1883 of 2988)  
Having grown up in a household where he saw his mother controlled by his father, he might have wanted to learn ways to control others ... or at least prevent them from controlling him.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 12, 2009 2:05 am (#1884 of 2988)  
I agree that it could be just as easy to be "up to your ears" and/or formulate dark arts from text books (i.e., DADA standard, Advanced Potions) as it is from the restricted section. Particularly if you are determined to do it. Again, I am not blaming Severus for any of his actions. I am evaluating the complex kid, and it's fun!

I agree that when you grow up around controlling people -- and you don't have any power to change the power struggle at the time -- you might set your mind to making sure it never happens again. Motivation: exhibit A.



wynnleaf - Apr 14, 2009 11:40 am (#1885 of 2988)  
Having grown up in a household where he saw his mother controlled by his father, he might have wanted to learn ways to control others ... or at least prevent them from controlling him. (Solitiare)

Yes, and as Spinners End was described, I could see young Severus generally having a feeling that he had to look out for himself -- his parents didn't appear to do so. If Eileen let him have her books, he could have read up on any number of subjects without anyone much influencing how he was using or understanding this new knowledge.

By the way, on the whole muggle bias thing, I think it's important to keep two things clear and not use them interchangeably.

Almost all of the wizarding world is biased to one degree degree or another against muggles. Arthur, who likes muggles, still has a very parental or condescending view of them -- it's like how one might view the humorous antics and amazing thinking skills of chimpanzees. Hagrid uses the term "muggle" as thought the term itself is almost an insult. And the ministry has no problem at all routinely obliviating muggles. At the Quidditch World Cup, muggles who were terrorized are simply obliviated -- as though that takes care of anything and they have no right to even know what happened to them.

On the other hand, bias against muggle borns is quite different. We are only shown that bias among a certain segment of the Wizarding World which values blood purity. We see it slightly in a few other wizards like Slughorn in his comment about Hermione's ability even though she's a muggleborn -- as though it is surprising in a muggleborn.

Point is -- young Snape having little to no interest in Petunia, due to her being a muggle, isn't any different sort of bias than most of the wizarding world displays all the time.

When Lily asked if it made any difference that she came from a muggle family, Severus may indeed have realized that there was some bias in the Wizarding World against muggleborns. And that could explain his hesitation. However, he couldn't possibly have realized the true extent of that bias, nor that it was primarily seated within the House of Slytherin, or he'd never have thought Lily could be in Slytherin.

By the way, MAMS made a comment about Snape's many lies. I don't see Snape, even young Snape, as lying except in the "line of duty" as it were, as a spy. Offhand, I can't recall a specific definite lie that Snape makes other than as a spy. Granted, I think he says a few things that are probably not completely true, but I think that he truly believes them -- such as James being in on the Prank or that the Marauders always attacked him 4 to 1. Because Snape makes a number of comments through the books which JKR later gives us the reasons for why Snape would believe it, even if it may not be exactly true (such as the 4-1 thing, or James being so arrogant), I tend to assume that JKR intends us to discover that we can, like DD, trust Snape. And that the trust is not solely about where his loyalties are, but also in what he says. So she doesn't show him lying.

DD, on the other hand, while having many attributes, is shown in the final book to have manipulated people quite a bit. And JKR wanted us to worry about our trust of DD while we were reading DH. So she had shown us through the first six books occasionally instances of DD lying. We already knew, going into DH, that DD would directly lie, not just misrepresent, if he felt it was necessary. The reader is therefore set up to be willing to worry over DD's motives the same way Harry does in DH.

On the other hand, JKR wanted to surprise readers with Snape's loyalty at the end. We have to be able to read back through the books and see that loyalty and trustworthiness all the way back through the books. In my opinion, she never shows Snape directly lying (except as a spy), because she needed to gradually build that so that in the end, when we are given his memories, we believe them.

Anyway, MAMS, what are the many lies you think that Snape tells?



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2009 1:14 pm (#1886 of 2988)  
I was referring to lies he tells himself as in "denial", which filters into his relating with Lily. For example, when Severus responds to her with (paraphrasing) "it was just a laugh", I feel he is lying to himself and to her in the sense of being in denial. Denial is lying, albeit the person might not be conscious of it until they admit certain things to themselves and/or about themselves.

I feel that his believing Lily would be Sorted into Slytherin is another such denial. I know some posters feel that he was unaware of the Slytherin bias but even if he didn't hear anything from his mother, I can't imagine -- if he was in fact studying dark arts to any moderate extent -- that he would not run into information about Salazar, his beliefs, his falling out with Godric and the other Founders, etc. To me, if Hermione had a voracious appetite for WW knowledge prior to Hogwarts then so did Severus and, in his case, particularly about those wizards of the "dark" persuasion, such as Salazar.

In the case of the "it doesn't make any difference" I feel it was a conscious denial because JKR chose to include the hesitation, which to me infers that he thought it over and made a calculated decision to use a specific answer which would get the result he wanted. The result being Lily was happy and the moment was preserved. I do feel he was lying to himself, and thus to her.



wynnleaf - Apr 14, 2009 3:27 pm (#1887 of 2988)  
I was referring to lies he tells himself as in "denial", which filters into his relating with Lily. (MAMS)

Ah, I see now. Yes, I agree that Snape does a good deal of denial, even of his better side. The part about telling DD that he's still doing everything only for Lily is, in my opinion, a bit of denial. There's no way he tried to save Lupin for Lily's sake, unless Lily had become more of a symbol of the Good, which, if that's the case, I don't think Snape consciously recognized it.

if he was in fact studying dark arts to any moderate extent (MAMS)

We're not actually told that. Assuming, for the moment, that Sirius' memories of 11 year old Snape are completely unbiased and completely correct, what Sirius actually said was that Snape came to Hogwarts knowing more dark curses than half of the 7th years. That would mean that the other half of the 7th years did know as many dark curses. According to JKR, curses, as opposed to hexes and jinxes, are all inherently dark at least to some extent. Curses are taught at Hogwarts, where Dark Arts aren't. Harry in his 4th year knew several curses in preparation for the Triwizard Tournament. We have to assume that Cedric, a 7th year, knew a number of curses as well. Cedric and Harry probably knew more curses than most any of the Hogwarts kids, both because they were chosen as champions, and because when Harry taught the DA the following year, he still seemed to know more than most kids. And Harry only knew a handful of curses.

Eleven year old Snape knowing as many curses as the more knowledgeable 7th years doesn't show he was studying dark arts at home, but that he was studying up on curses, many of which can be found in the Hogwarts textbooks. Considering that he apparently had Eileen's 6th year potions text during his 5th year, and considering that he appears to have been a neglected child, it seems possible that he could have gained access to Eileen's textbooks even before he started Hogwarts. Plenty of precocious kids would do the same -- reading their parents books. With out anyone really watching out for him, living in a bad neighborhood, and with possible animosity between he and his father, I wouldn't be surprised that he'd be reading up on DADA, which would include curses.

Anyway, it doesn't matter where he learned the curses. My point is that knowing curses (which are all dark) doesn't necessarily equate to knowing lots of dark arts in general.

It's not the DADA texts that seem to teach about the history of wizarding Britain or the history of Hogwarts. That comes from history of magic or the Hogwarts, A History book.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2009 3:40 pm (#1888 of 2988)  
I'm not going to go into the debate about what and how much dark magic Severus knew. It has been debated enough for me and we all have our opinions which aren't going to change at this point. Regarding from which books he could have gotten information about Slytherin, it is just as likely that Severus would have access to and read Hogwarts: A History as did Hermione, in my opinion. Eileen probably had it on her shelf, and I imagine if Severus was yearning to go to Hogwarts, and interested in belonging to Slytherin, he would read it and pay close attention.



wynnleaf - Apr 14, 2009 3:56 pm (#1889 of 2988)  
I'm not going to go into the debate about what and how much dark magic Severus knew. (MAMS)

I agree that we can't really know that.

What we do know is that the only reference to what Snape knew about that as a first year was that "Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in seventh year". That's it. No mention of young Snape studying the dark arts prior to coming to Hogwarts -- Sirius didn't even say "dark" curses, just curses. It's just that some people assume that if Snape knew curses, he was studying Dark Arts, which isn't born out in what we learn about what's taught at Hogwarts, DADA curriculum, Harry's knowledge of curses, etc.

Still, it is true that we can't know how much Snape knew, whether he learned a lot about dark arts in general (as opposed to just curses) prior to coming to Hogwarts, or any of that. Beyond the exact quote of Sirius', it's just speculation.

Edit: By "some people" I don't mean you MAMS. I was referring to past discussions.



Solitaire - Apr 14, 2009 5:38 pm (#1890 of 2988)  
Didn't Sirius say he was "up to his ears in Dark Arts"? I know some feel Sirius isn't reliable, but Lily seemed to believe Snape was practicing Dark Magic.


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me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2009 5:38 pm (#1891 of 2988)  
Yes, and it's also easy to forget that Severus was probably reading books about it, but he didn't have a wand until Hogwarts so the actual act of using dark spells couldn't have occurred before he arrived at school anyway. It is clearly an exaggeration, which is how I am assuming we were to take it. On that note, I don't take anything Sirius says about Severus as the unadulterated truth but even if something is exaggerated I don't assume it is completely false. Okay, there's the extent of my debate.

What I meant by Severus reading books on Salazar's beliefs was that I see him as very similar to Hermione -- just add dark arts curiosity to it and you've got Severus. To me, Severus would likely have been absorbing everything there was to know about Hogwarts as a child. I do feel that most of what he doesn't "know" about Slytherin and his House are things he chooses to ignore. That is why, to me, his denials become so extreme that he goes from thinking Lily could be in Slytherin to Lily could be impressed with a dark wizard and even a Death Eater. That is blatant denial, which is what I meant in earlier posts about his making an "exception" for Lily. They are all connected to me, with it getting progressively worse as the years go on. This I also see from the side of Lily, where she must have put two and two together that Severus wasn't getting that she was appalled by his associations. The deterioration of their friendship didn't come out of left field and, to me, she saw all the warning signs. He must have put two and two together himself after the Worst Memory, but by then it was too late, and I would imagine after losing her he didn't care about anything and dove in the deep end.

cross-posted with Soli. *waves* Yes, Soli, that's what we're referring to exactly.



wynnleaf - Apr 14, 2009 7:09 pm (#1892 of 2988)  
Didn't Sirius say he was "up to his ears in Dark Arts"? I know some feel Sirius isn't reliable, but Lily seemed to believe Snape was practicing Dark Magic. (Solitiare)

Yes, Soli, that's what we're referring to exactly. (MAMS)


Well, not exactly, because we were talking about what Snape would have known before he went to Hogwarts. Sirius' comment about being up to his ears in the Dark Arts was made concerning Snape being into Dark Arts during their years at Hogwarts -- not about how he was when he first showed up. And Lily, who only actually accused Snape of having friends who practiced dark magic, never comments on any pre-Hogwarts knowledge Snape may have had about Dark magic.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2009 7:47 pm (#1893 of 2988)  
There were two comments made by Sirius, one about "up to his ears" and the other about "knowing more than half the 7th year kids". In any event it is splitting hairs for my personal point because whatever Sirius says about Severus cannot be completely true yet it also cannot be completely false. What I was trying to say with the following clip from my previous post...

I feel that his believing Lily would be Sorted into Slytherin is another such denial. I know some posters feel that he was unaware of the Slytherin bias but even if he didn't hear anything from his mother, I can't imagine -- if he was in fact studying dark arts to any moderate extent -- that he would not run into information about Salazar, his beliefs, his falling out with Godric and the other Founders, etc. To me, if Hermione had a voracious appetite for WW knowledge prior to Hogwarts then so did Severus and, in his case, particularly about those wizards of the "dark" persuasion, such as Salazar. - me

... is if he was studying dark arts books and was enthusiastic about Hogwarts to the degree we are led to believe and were not contradicted about, then I believe he would have run into information about Salazar's beliefs in sufficient amounts with either dark arts books or history books. JM2K



Solitaire - Apr 14, 2009 8:40 pm (#1894 of 2988)  
whatever Sirius says about Severus cannot be completely true

I don't see why not. His comments about Snape following them around and trying to get them expelled were true. Just because he didn't like Snape does not mean he wasn't being honest about him. But I haven't the stomach--literally--for that argument right now. It's also something about which we will never agree ... so I'll just leave it there.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2009 10:52 pm (#1895 of 2988)  
Sounds good.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 15, 2009 1:27 am (#1896 of 2988)  
it's also easy to forget that Severus was probably reading books about it, but he didn't have a wand until Hogwarts so the actual act of using dark spells couldn't have occurred before he arrived at school anyway. - Perhaps this is why he was so into Potions. It was something he could have started practicing straight away, long before he got his first wand.



mona amon - Apr 15, 2009 4:33 am (#1897 of 2988)  
"Snape's always been facinated by the Dark Arts, he was famous for it at school. Slimy, oily, greasy-haired kid, he was," Sirius added, and Harry and Ron grinned at each other. "Snape knew more curses than half the kids in seventh year and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters."- (Sirius in GoF)

To me, this sounds like Severus definitely had some Dark Arts knowledge even before he started school. The part about knowing more curses than most seventh years is probably an exaggeration. And he may not have got all the names in Severus's gang right. But on the whole I don't see why we are meant to disbelive the essentials of what Sirius says. There's no new information later to contradict it.

Eleven year old Snape knowing as many curses as the more knowledgeable 7th years doesn't show he was studying dark arts at home, but that he was studying up on curses, many of which can be found in the Hogwarts textbooks. (Wynnleaf)

Sirius mentions the curses in the context of being "always facinated by the Dark Arts." So I assume they must have been a bit more dark than the hexes and jinxes in general use. I'm not sure that any curses were taught to the kids at Hogwarts. As far as I can make out, they were only taught defensive spells in DADA. They seem to pick up the curses from each other and from books other than the set books.

Anyway, Draco uses a curse against Neville in first year, and by the time they reach fourth year all the kids seem to know quite a few curses. Yet neither Draco nor anyone else gets a reputation for being "up to the eyes in the Dark Arts".

I think JKR had Sirius give us this information so we'd realise that Severus's fascination with the Dark Arts was deep-seated and innate. Not something that he became interested in only after joining Hogwarts or being influenced by his fellow Slytherins.



wynnleaf - Apr 15, 2009 5:47 am (#1898 of 2988)  
To me, this sounds like Severus definitely had some Dark Arts knowledge even before he started school. The part about knowing more curses than most seventh years is probably an exaggeration. And he may not have got all the names in Severus's gang right. But on the whole I don't see why we are meant to disbelive the essentials of what Sirius says. There's no new information later to contradict it. (mona amon)

I'm not denying what Sirius said. Instead, I'm pointing out what he actually said, versus the extended interpretations.

Sirius said that at Hogwarts Snape was famous for his fascination of Dark Arts. Sirius does not say "Snape came to school knowing lots of dark magic." Sirius said that Snape came knowing lots of curses. If you look up the list of curses on the Lexicon, you can see that the kids at Hogwarts knew and used a number of them quite a bit. Even if they weren't learning them in DADA (Harry did teach some in the DA), the kids using the curses were not necessarily studying Dark Arts. That is, kids like Ginny, Harry, Hermione, learned and knew curses (all of which are dark according to JKR), without studying up on dark arts in general.

Point is that according to Sirius' remark, Snape came to school knowing a number of curses. Yes, Sirius is saying that's a bit "of a piece" with Snape being known during school for an interest in Dark Arts. When someone knows a bunch of curses as a kid, it's not surprising that they'd become fascinated with dark arts later. But the two aren't one and the same thing. And Sirius never says Snape came knowing lots of Dark Arts in general, just some curses, which, after all, many of the kids learn and use often without knowing dark arts.

Okay, I don't want to get into a big disagreement over this.

I agree that Snape probably had all of Eileen's textbooks around his home and as an extremely bright and creative kid, he probably read a lot of them. We don't know that Eileen had any more than Hogwarts textbooks, and Hogwarts textbooks don't teach dark arts. Eileen probably wasn't into dark arts (having married a muggle), so young Snape probably couldn't have been reading dark arts material, except what was in his mom's old textbooks.

Did he read Hogwarts a History? Maybe so.

Did he realize there was prejudice against muggleborns? Probably yes, but almost certainly not to the extent it actually existed.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 15, 2009 8:36 am (#1899 of 2988)  
Even if they weren't learning them in DADA (Harry did teach some in the DA), the kids using the curses were not necessarily studying Dark Arts. That is, kids like Ginny, Harry, Hermione, learned and knew curses (all of which are dark according to JKR), without studying up on dark arts in general. - wynnleaf

This is part of my "reasoning" why it is so easy for me to imagine a child learning a lot of dark arts prior to Hogwarts. It would be theory rather than acting, having no wand until school. But the incantations could be memorised. We don't know precisely what is included and discluded in books, but as pointed out, kids have access to learning these hexes/curses from somewhere. Perhaps only from their parents? For me it is apparent that, other than Umbridge's textbook, the DADA textbooks could give you a lot of information about what you are fighting against. It then just takes a kid wanting to read it from the "other" perspective. To me, it would be no different than studying a police/security manual with a fascination in eluding cops rather than becoming one. I hope that makes sense; it seemed to make perfect sense to me from the beginning.

I don't think anyone who has a lot of emotional charge around a person could give an objective report of their behaviour during the height of the animosity. In this case, I cannot believe that Sirius or Severus are completely accurate and fair when assessing the others' prior or present behaviour. Given that, I also believe that they aren't out and out liars and would base their exaggerations on a truth that might have been grossly stretched over the years. This includes Severus's accusations about James only hexing when they were 4 on 1. Obviously, we have no reason to believe that Remus did any fighting during school nor would he. Peter didn't seem to be more than a tagalong. So, although there were likely 4 kids present most of the time, it was probably 2 on 1 as far as how many were hexing. We are given the example of Worst Memory as a guide to what one could expect other situations to have been like, IMO. The 4 on 1 concept is perhaps technically correct as to who was present, yet it is distorted in Severus's mind, which I am sure comparable information is in Sirius's to some extent.

I agree with mona that even Draco isn't considered by the trio to be up to his eye in dark arts. This, again, seems to me to be a way JKR could distinguish Severus from other "normal" dark arts curiosity, including that of a DE's son. Also and however, Severus, like Dumbledore, was an exceptionally bright boy and the interest might be encouraged from the ability, partially.

But I see another side to this, as I believe Draco was much more cruel a child than Severus, and was meant to mirror James in the "bully" sense. I do not see Severus as making fun of Hermione's teeth as a child, for example, because Severus knows what it is like to be bullied and is far more re-actionary when it comes to his interest in the dark arts IMO. I think it stemmed from wanting to hurt those who were hurting someone he cared about. I wonder if he came back home on summer holiday and cursed his father a few times.



Solitaire - Apr 15, 2009 10:06 pm (#1900 of 2988)  
I do not see Severus as making fun of Hermione's teeth as a child, for example, because Severus knows what it is like to be bullied

This is why, IMO, it is so much more despicable of him. As an adult, Snape tends to pick on people who can't "pick" back. He taunts Sirius about being useless, and Sirius can't really do anything to prove him wrong without jeopardizing his life ... as he ultimately does. He rides Harry from the day he walks through the doors of his potions lab, and if Harry reacts/responds, he dishes out detention to him. His heartless comment to Hermione would probably warrant a disciplinary hearing, if he did it today in a Muggle school. Snape's menace is cold and calculating. He chooses "victims" who can't strike back without incurring punishment or danger.



wynnleaf - Apr 16, 2009 4:56 pm (#1901 of 2988)  
Sorry to be off topic, but does Julia live in Italy? I don't know whether I'm remembering that from somewhere or just imagining it. I hadn't noticed her around the past few days and was just a bit concerned.



mona amon - Apr 16, 2009 10:17 pm (#1902 of 2988)  
Wynnleaf, Julia's from Hungary.

As an adult, Snape tends to pick on people who can't "pick" back. (Soli)

I feel he's indiscriminately nasty to everyone, and those who can't fight back just get included in the deal. Tonks could have hit back. And he's extremely snarky to Bella, who can hardly be described as helpless.

I don't want to get into a big disagreement over this. (Wynnleaf)

True, it's a small matter, but with so little information about Severus, every little point becomes important to me. What I'm really interested in is whether his fascination with the Dark Arts was some sort of fatal, inborn propensity or whether it was just a Slytherin influence. I like to think it was the former, and what Sirius says confirms this for me.

And Sirius never says Snape came knowing lots of Dark Arts in general, just some curses, which, after all, many of the kids learn and use often without knowing dark arts.

But he says he's always been fascinated with the Dark Arts. If he had said that he came to school knowing a lot of curses, and "became fascinated with the Dark Arts right from first year", or something like that, then I'd interpret it differently.



wynnleaf - Apr 17, 2009 5:40 am (#1903 of 2988)  
What I'm really interested in is whether his fascination with the Dark Arts was some sort of fatal, inborn propensity or whether it was just a Slytherin influence. I like to think it was the former, and what Sirius says confirms this for me. (mona amon)

I'm very hopeful that JKR doesn't lean that way in her assessment of characters. Later, she has DD say that "perhaps we sort too soon" and I think she's trying to say, and I believe does say in interviews, that we can't judge at 11 years old what a person will be. An inborn or innate leaning toward evil would contradict that. And the Dark Arts, presumably, are an evil thing. It doesn't make everyone who uses them, or gets interested in them specifically evil (Harry uses them), but Dark Magic in itself is, I think, supposed to be evil.

I see young Snape as maybe similar to the kids who get into Goth stuff -- some teens can get really fascinated with dark things, writing all manner of dark fiction or poetry, being interested in dark sorts of visual arts or music, or wearing very dark clothing (literally and symbolically). But then they very often drift away from it by adulthood, showing that it's not something innate to their character.

Snape joined the DEs as a teen. Without LV around, would he have grown out of a "fascination" for the Dark Arts? Perhaps so. We only see one dark arts spell in the HBP potions book, but much work with potions and many other new and creative spells, leading me to believe that Snape had a number of strong interests, not just Dark Arts, and the others may have been the stronger interests as they certainly get more attention in the potions book notes. And of course, Lily never accuses Snape of actually doing dark magic, which you'd imagine she would if she knew about it. Of course, he did create Sectumsempra, but what I mean is that his use of dark magic must not have been very public or she'd have known about it.

I'm not sure the degree to which we're supposed to take what Sirius says as completely true. JKR made a point of saying that Sirius was so biased against Snape he couldn't conceive of anything good in him. So I tend to think that while Sirius wasn't lying, his personal bias would lead him to exaggerate Snape's interest and knowledge of the dark arts.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 17, 2009 9:39 am (#1904 of 2988)  
And of course, Lily never accuses Snape of actually doing dark magic, which you'd imagine she would if she knew about it. Of course, he did create Sectumsempra, but what I mean is that his use of dark magic must not have been very public or she'd have known about it. - wynnleaf

Not only that but we would have known about it, in my opinion. JKR doesn’t exclude information without intending it to deepen our understanding of the character -- just as she doesn’t include information without a reason. In the case of The Prince’s Tale Pensieve memories, the author specifically chose to have Mulciber committing the act of dark magic, with Severus as a witness. I have said it before that this, for me, parallels the role of Remus or Peter in Worst Memory. Peter fits better because Remus is clearly uncomfortable with the attack, whereas Peter seems to find it amusing. We see Peter and Severus taking similar paths: Peter’s of blatant betrayal, Severus’s is more indirect betrayal. Yet one obviously rises above their past and we do not know, and will not know, to what extent a young Severus ever relished using dark magic on people.

So regarding whether it is innate or not, I feel that JKR purposefully depicted Severus as a child who grew up with an abusive Muggle father; from this depiction, I can easily conclude the father’s actions mostly likely stimulated the boy’s interest in the dark arts. This could be compared to some “Goth” kids, yes -- for me, I grew up within the punk era in NYC so I can attest to the fact that there are many reasons why kids are drawn to things that will express anger with the focus on ‘abstract’ revenge. Frequently it is due to witnessing abuse, which so often is passed on, particularly in this case we have someone who was picked on and turns around and passes it on. A very common “valve” as I have called this abstract revenge in the past. This interpretation, of course, is a matter of opinion and whether you feel other aspects of the character are present or lacking to support that opinion.

edit: I have a lot to say about Sirius. I love the guy but I find it interesting that he died with arrogance on his tongue, whereas Severus died pleading in order to complete his mission.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 17, 2009 10:32 am (#1905 of 2988)  
But then they very often drift away from it by adulthood, showing that it's not something innate to their character. - wynnleaf

I want to add to this how it relates to growing up to be like the man you hated as a child. I do not think Severus is 'nasty' to adults without a specific reason in his mind: Tonks, about loving a werewolf and, probably, about love in general; Bella, she goaded him with the "present company" remark and he reacted. But I do see him behaving toward Neville in a way that, I think, he was treated by his father. I do not believe for an instant that Severus was a bullying child, rather a sensitive boy who tried to stand up for himself. He re-acted to Petunia's cruelty on the playground and he re-acted to James's cruelty on the train. I feel he accumulated a lot of pain from receiving cruelty and that prior to these two kids there were probably Muggle school kids. And prior to that there was probably his father.



Orion - Apr 19, 2009 12:44 pm (#1906 of 2988)  
There are things which just don't fit. Eileen taught him anything about Hogwarts? When? Did she talk to him at all? Because a child who is so neglected in appearance doesn't have parents who talk to him. In Germany - and probably other countries as well - there are children who go to school in their jammies because the parents can't be bothered to get up in the morning and fix them breakfast and help them with clothes. A child who is dressed like that, with teeth like that, has alcoholism and/or depression in the household.

Another thing which doesn't fit is that Eileen apparently never does any magic. Even if you can't do anything about money you still can do transfigurations, if you have your ears a bit open in class and manage your exams. You can do something about clothes and the state of your home. To goof around: Did Eileen lose her magic because of clinical depression? (Yes, I know, she's a fictional character.)

And I hate the argument "well, she wasn't much of a looker so she only got a muggle and a bad one as well". So many Hollywood beauties get divorced. So many women who aren't much of a looker are happily married because their husbands didn't go for looks in the first place. What if... Eileen didn't take the first man who didn't recoil at the sight of her? What if Eileen and Tobias were earnestly in love? What if Eileen just didn't realise that Tobias, just to goof around, had a problematic history, maybe an abusive father, and a record, but he was determined to be a good husband, but his past got the better of him?

What if Eileen's depression didn't have anything to do with Tobias at all? Just to goof around.



wynnleaf - Apr 19, 2009 2:00 pm (#1907 of 2988)  
Orion, your comments are similar to what I feel and think when I read the few descriptive pieces we've got about young Snape, his family, and Spinners End.

JKR describes young Snape as like a plant kept out of the sunshine. What kind of plant is that? A plant deprived of even the basic needs.

We see Snape in odd clothing, wearing his father's old coat as a 9 year old. His teeth aren't just crooked, they are yellowed. And his hair is really greasy. The impression is of someone who wasn't taught the basics of self-care as a child. Severus speaks of both parents arguing all the time, and his father not liking anything. Eileen cowers before Tobias and cowering equates with fear. Eileen, at Platform 9 3/4, doesn't look loving and caring. Severus has knowledge that you can get out of books -- info on dementors, Azkaban, curses, and seems to have access to his mothers old textbooks. But things that you might need to get from actual first-person descriptions -- like what Slytherin is really like, or how important it really is being muggleborn, half-blood, or pureblood -- Severus doesn't have this knowledge.

Add it all up and to me what is most likely is a highly neglected kid, whose parents spend most of their interactive time arguing with each other and paying no mind to their only child who at least one parent seems to dislike, and to whom the other pays little attention.

Merope couldn't do magic mainly because of depression. Could Eileen have been depressed? I do know that depression in parents often causes the parent to neglect their children. And Eileen either can't or won't use magic to improve things for her child. Since cowering strongly implies fear, Eileen was at least occasionally afraid of Tobias. Whether she feared him physically or not we don't know. But she doesn't apparently retaliate with magic, as Snape's primary memory of this fear seems to be Eileen cowering without retaliating or defending herself verbally, magically or otherwise.

So depression in Eileen makes sense. Alcoholism in Tobias? Hard to say. I don't think we're given any specific hints of that. But Tobias is not bringing in much money if any. They live in what would most likely be mill housing, in a town where the mill is described in such a way as to be probably closed.

The family and Spinners End doesn't have a great reputation. Why not? Just because they are poor?

Because marriage between wizards and muggles is rather rare (as opposed to marriage between pureblood, half-blood, and muggleborn wizards), it seems likely that Eileen probably did care for Tobias originally.



PeskyPixie - Apr 19, 2009 2:15 pm (#1908 of 2988)  
Unless JKR tells us, we will never know the story of Eileen and Tobias's courtship. They may have been in love at one point, or it may have been a marriage of convenience. Neither is more probable than the other, and there are many more stories which could have occurred before we are introduced to Eileen and Tobias in OotP. Did Eileen hide her magic in order to attract a Muggle? If she genuinely loved Tobias, could she have been in Slytherin? There are so many questions.

BTW, Orion, I was the one who proposed the 'Eileen wasn't much of a looker' theory, but I didn't mean it in the way that you have understood it. My point is that, maybe if she wasn't one of the pretty, popular girls at school, she may have developed low self-esteem and felt that she could do no better than Tobias Snape. Then again, school photos can be deceiving. Maybe Eileen was a really popular kid. Although, I'm not sure whether that's what JKR means us to interpret.



PeskyPixie - Apr 20, 2009 8:28 am (#1909 of 2988)  
Where, oh where, is our dear little Julia?  



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 20, 2009 9:20 am (#1910 of 2988)  
I had mentioned the Merope connection a while back, and I’m sure others have as well. I think JKR intended us to see these two mothers as having similarities and diminished magical ability is one of them, in my opinion. Having a crooked haircut seems to me to be the most obvious bit of evidence that Eileen was incapable of looking after her son’s basic needs. The clothes thing is not so evident for me, as we know that the Weasleys have hand-me-downs that show wear and as Severus was an only child he must wear his father’s and mother’s clothes.

The oiliness of hair and face does not reflect Eileen, IMO. There are many people who have excess oiliness no matter how many times they wash in a day, particularly when it is hot weather. The crooked teeth doesn’t really indicate it to me either, as even Hermione didn’t use a teeth-correcting Charm on herself, although we can imagine she’d easily have found it and used it if she wanted to. And there are millions of kids out there who hate brushing their teeth and pretend to do it or lie and say they did it. Once Severus got into the brushing habit as an adult, it might have been too late, or maybe he drinks too much coffee and elf-wine and they got stained. So, to be fair to Eileen, those two examples do not indicate blatant neglect for me.

But, the idea that a mother could very easily cut her child’s hair with the wave of a wand, and if she even did it was crooked, shows me just how caught up in her own “stuff” this woman was.

Regarding Tobias, I feel he was probably a mill worker and miserable and took it out on his wife and kid. Very common and alcohol doesn't need to be a factor in hostility. I'd say if JKR didn't have Severus mention it, or show us a bottle in his hand, in the Pensieve memories then we have no reason to think he was a boozer.



Orion - Apr 20, 2009 9:24 am (#1911 of 2988)  
That wasn't against you, Pesky! Oh dear, people are thin-skinned on this thread... ***hug*** It was something that I meant to say for ages, because Merope and Eileen are described the same way, they are ugly, and their marriages end up a disaster. If anybody is to blame, then it's JKR. But the whole marriage thing with Eileen and Tobias is so strange. You wonder why these two people married in the first place and there is no, exactly zero reason given. Two people don't marry if they hate each other right from the start, do they? I mean, I just don't understand it. And Eileen's looks seem like the smallest problem to me, because I know girls like that. The surly ones with the eyebrows tend to drink and smoke a lot and go out with boys who listen to heavy metal and they always have cool boyfriends even if they seem to you as if they had the social grace of a jellyfish.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 20, 2009 9:44 am (#1912 of 2988)  
LOL, Orion. It's true that even if she was sullen and cross she could find a wizard boy who'd love her for who she was.

This isn't the Eileen thread, but very quickly I'd speculate that she grew up in London (like a #12GP type scenario) and had contact with Muggles as much as she wanted to. And if she got a job after Hogwarts that had her living in London (or any densely populated area of Britain) she could easily have met Tobias on the street or as a neighbor. She might have hidden that she was a witch until after they were married and had Severus. Perhaps he was the one who wasn't a "looker" or a very nice guy, and didn't divorce her because it was better than being alone? But with three mouths to feed rather than just one, you'd think he had a motive to run out on them.



mona amon - Apr 21, 2009 6:24 pm (#1913 of 2988)  
I don't know how important it is, but young Severus is never described as having anything wrong with his teeth. I agree that Eileen must have been depressed due to poverty and a husband who didn't care for her and the child, and that would account for her neglect of Severus.

But there are degrees of neglect, and I think she did not neglect to tell him about Hogwarts and the wizarding world. Her time at Hogwarts was probably the happiest part of her life. While the description of her as "simultaneously cross and sullen" does not suggest a particularly happy girl, she was the captain of the school gobstones team, and could have shone in her own little way. Perhaps that was her hope for her child, that he would go there and prosper. We know that he was using at least one of her old school text books, but she must have got him decent school robes, because there is no mention of them looking faded or second-hand. She's also taken the trouble to escort him to platform 9 3/4.

I'm very hopeful that JKR doesn't lean that way in her assessment of characters. Later, she has DD say that "perhaps we sort too soon" and I think she's trying to say, and I believe does say in interviews, that we can't judge at 11 years old what a person will be. An inborn or innate leaning toward evil would contradict that. And the Dark Arts, presumably, are an evil thing. It doesn't make everyone who uses them, or gets interested in them specifically evil (Harry uses them), but Dark Magic in itself is, I think, supposed to be evil.

I see young Snape as maybe similar to the kids who get into Goth stuff -- some teens can get really fascinated with dark things, writing all manner of dark fiction or poetry, being interested in dark sorts of visual arts or music, or wearing very dark clothing (literally and symbolically). But then they very often drift away from it by adulthood, showing that it's not something innate to their character. (Wynnleaf)


It's quite true that 11 years is too young to decide what a person will be like in a moral sense, but people are born with certain talents, leanings, propensities, which certainly influence their choices.

When I said that Severus's fascination with the Dark Arts was a fatal, inborn propensity, I wasn't implying that he was innately evil. IMO, a person can have a prediliction for dark things without necessarily being evil, but I think Severus's case is different from kids who go through a Goth 'phase'. The Dark Arts have a life long allure for him. He talks about them with a "loving caress" in his voice in HBP. And he uses a dark curse during the Seven Potters Chase.

For instance, take a person who's fascinated by crime, and always has been. He has an untroubled childhood and no inborn or environmental reasons to desire violence against his fellow human beings. He does not turn into a criminal. But he has this morbid fascination. So he becomes a police detective or a criminologist, and is of great use to society.

Severus's attraction towards the Dark Arts could have been channelled in a more constructive direction if he had not also been attracted to the DEs. He could have become a healer specializing in Dark Arts injuries, or an auror, or a Defence Against the Dark Arts expert.



Solitaire - Apr 21, 2009 8:44 pm (#1914 of 2988)  
even if she was sullen and cross she could find a wizard boy who'd love her for who she was. Not necessarily. The "dating pool" may be considerably smaller for Wizards, unless they have the opportunity to meet people from other countries.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 21, 2009 11:18 pm (#1915 of 2988)  
I agree about the teeth thing… and also that she probably discussed Hogwarts with Severus. This, to me, seems inferred, although I know folks feel he wasn’t informed about anything “first hand”. But to me there is some evidence: in the first scene of his meeting Lily, he says enthusiastically his mother is a witch and this insinuates that he and his mother have had some sort of a connection with “magical” experiences and conversations, or at least an acknowledgement. What we can conclude from that is anyone’s guess.

For instance, take a person who's fascinated by crime, and always has been. He has an untroubled childhood and no inborn or environmental reasons to desire violence against his fellow human beings. He does not turn into a criminal. But he has this morbid fascination. So he becomes a police detective or a criminologist, and is of great use to society.

Severus's attraction towards the Dark Arts could have been channelled in a more constructive direction if he had not also been attracted to the DEs. He could have become a healer specializing in Dark Arts injuries, or an auror, or a Defence Against the Dark Arts expert. - mona


This is along the lines of my primary empathetic feelings… that Severus becomes a healer. We see this as he utilises his knowledge of Dark Arts for the “Good”. He is the person who transforms Dark Arts knowledge into a greater and “good” force and purpose. He is not Harry, is far from it. But I hope this, at the very least, comes across to people who are “Snape haters”.

On another note, although I do see Orion’s very diplomatic point, I tend to agree with Soli that it is possible Eileen was “attractive” to someone like Crabbe/Goyle or perhaps a Smith type? But the options are limited. In the discussion I was engaging, we were broadening our horizons for this girl, who seems to be limited yet not a complete outcast.



PeskyPixie - Apr 22, 2009 8:48 am (#1916 of 2988)  
(((Orion))) I wasn't being thin-skinned. The wording of your earlier post just happened to be an almost-quote from my post, so I thought that you had interpreted my ideas in a way in which I did not mean them, and I felt that a clarification was necessary.

Aside from having the ability to have become a gifted Healer if his interests had been channelled in a positive direction, I think that Severus could have become a great Auror.



wynnleaf - Apr 22, 2009 8:55 am (#1917 of 2988)  
I don't know how important it is, but young Severus is never described as having anything wrong with his teeth. (mona amon)

Correct. They are described as an adult as "yellow". Of course, oral hygiene is generally established in childhood. A person may develop better oral hygiene as an adult, but most people don't go from having been trained in good oral hygiene to quiting it in adulthood.

Snape's hair, pre-Hogwarts, is definitely described as "dirty-haired" and "poorly cut", which once again, given he's 9 at the time, tends to imply parental neglect on both sides. Eileen, at the train, is described as a "sallow-faced, sour-looking woman". A loving mom could be sallow faced, but a mom there to see her loved son off to school looking "sour-faced"? Sure, we can think up all sorts of alternatives to why Snape's teeth were yellowed, his hair as a kid dirty and poorly cut, his clothes "ridiculous" and in his father's too-large coat, and why his mother looked sour and why Snape assumed his father didn't like anything. But the most obvious reason is parental neglect on both sides.

Of course he knew his mom was a wizard and they must have talked about it some, or how would he have known about her? But this woman couldn't even be bothered to tell him to wash his hair, and she was telling him the ins and outs of Hogwarts?

I tend to agree with Soli that it is possible Eileen was “attractive” to someone like Crabbe/Goyle (MAMS)

Presumably she was attractive to Tobias. Given that wizards and muggles have the same personality types, regardless of whether there's magic or not, it would stand to reason that if she was attractive to Tobias, she could have been attractive to some wizards as well. Perhaps Tobias was her only hope of a husband, but we're not given that info anywhere. The only thing we actually know is that, unlike most wizards, she spent enough time around a muggle to get to know him and get married. That's not the sort of barely passing knowledge of muggles that most pureblood wizards are shown to have.



Orion - Apr 22, 2009 9:22 am (#1918 of 2988)  
Eileen's and Tobias' marriage is described in such an undesirable way that it reminds me of a famous pop star's marriage. His girlfriend was pregnant, back in the early sixties, and he agreed to marry her. "I didn't rebel against it." he said. But his heart wasn't in it and he cheated on her continually and divorced her when he had the first chance.

JKR's description sounds as if Eileen and Tobias had a less-than-wonderful one-night stand and she gets pregnant and Tobias has to marry her. That would explain the shouting - who wants to be trapped in an unhappy relationship? - and Eileen's sullen look on the platform, because in her imagination, Sev is the child who ruined her life, and Tobias' obvious lack of interest because he feels the same.

I'm not convinced that Eileen talks to Sev a lot. He might have learned something from books or asked a few timid questions and blown up his meagre information in front of Lily to impress her. As wynnleaf points out, there's a lot of information he gets totally wrong.



Betelgeuse Black - Apr 22, 2009 5:46 pm (#1919 of 2988)  
Hello all,

I enter into this thread with great trepidation. :-) It's probably the most interesting thread but I have never been able to keep up with it. I'm not afraid of disagreements but I may not be able to respond; hence, my anxiety of discussing, not lurking.

I feel like Eileen was one of those people who had to find the right person at the right time. Someone who is described as cross and sullen as well as not very good looking is not going to get noticed as much. If Eileen was older when Severus was born, one possibility is that she married late.

Who knows why Eileen and Tobias married? I feel like there probably was something to build on at some time. That seems to be JKR's world in these books. Maybe it was the Dean Thomas' parents situation where one parent didn't tell the other that she was a witch? That would lead to hard feelings. Another possibility is that Eileen didn't have children for many years and then Severus is born at an older age. If Tobias didn't want children, he would resent Eileen and Severus.

I also feel that this "bad marriage" is JKR's way of commenting on the importance of keeping a good marriage. If your marriage is bad, it will be very difficult to keep it from poisoning your children. I guess I feel like Eileen and Tobias' animosity contributed to the neglect of Severus.

Betelgeuse



Solitaire - Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm (#1920 of 2988)  
I tend to agree with Soli that it is possible Eileen was “attractive” to someone like Crabbe/Goyle (MAMS) Did I say that? I don't remember it, although it does seem like she would be the kind of girl those boys would finally wind up marrying ... if they marry.

JKR's description sounds as if Eileen and Tobias had a less-than-wonderful one-night stand and she gets pregnant and Tobias has to marry her

Then again, perhaps it could have been something similar to Merope's marriage ... except without the love potion. Perhaps Tobias and Eileen met and fell in love ... or at least decided to marry. Is it possible he didn't know she was a witch ... until Little Snape began exhibiting early signs of magic? That would have scared him, especially if he felt about magic like Uncle Vernon did. Anyway, if her own family life had not been happy, she might have decided it would be easier to live as a Muggle, away from her family, and could have married without telling him. (Just a guess.) Of course, once he discovered she was a witch, he could have freaked out.


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Dryleaves - Apr 23, 2009 12:11 am (#1921 of 2988)  
There are many reasons a marriage can go wrong. One possibility in the case of the Snapes is lack of money. This can bring a lot of stress into a relationship.

Maybe the situation for the Snapes was different at the time they married? Maybe Tobias had a job then but later lost it? Some men see it as their job to provide for the family and when they can't do that anymore they feel as if they lose their power and their position within the family and in society, and some of them might try to uphold this position by controlling their spouse and their children. It might have bothered Tobias that his wife and child, witch and wizard, had more power than he had himself, and therefore he would not accept magic in the house, because it would make him seem weaker, being dependent on his wife, having a position below hers in the family rank.

Of course this is just speculating...  



Orion - Apr 23, 2009 5:45 am (#1922 of 2988)  
... or they were really in love and it all went downhill when Tobias lost his job? We will never know. The one-night-stand-theory fits in my imagination because it explains the total absence of affection in this wretched family.

Hi, Auntie Betelgeuse! ***waves*** Once in another forum I had the same avatar! I used to read your earlier postings in the old threads when I joined the forum. It's great that you are back and I wish that more forumers would come back and post.  



wynnleaf - Apr 23, 2009 7:11 am (#1923 of 2988)  
Regardless of how Tobias and Eileen got together, or what caused the marriage to sour, I don't think it was a case of simply a normal happy marriage going bad and the two became unhappy with each other.

They were both neglecting their only child. If we believe what JKR has Severus say about them, they argue all the time. That means that for whatever negative reasons, they aren't ignoring each other.

Yet they are either ignoring their son, or giving him negative feedback. Severus apparently hears enough out of his father to believe his father doesn't like anything, which presumably includes Severus. Tobias is not only soured on Eileen, he doesn't convince his son of any care either. (I realize that Tobias might care, but Severus doesn't see it and given no evidence to the contrary, we can probably assume Tobias really didn’t like him.) Eileen may fear her husband ("cowering" equates to fear of some sort), but she also neglects her son, not even bothering to give him the minimum training of daily hygiene.

While we certainly can't know, my feeling about these two is that they are not only soured on each other, but their son as well. Perhaps they both are resentful of their child. It could be any number of reasons. They could both feel trapped in a marriage that they entered into because of an unplanned pregnancy. Or maybe Eileen didn't tell Tobias she was a witch and her son's emerging magic brought out the secret. Although we can't know the reasons, I do think there's evidence in the way they both act that neither was a caring parent and both may have been sour about their son - Tobias showing his dislike openly and through neglect, while Eileen shows hers through neglect and a generally sour attitude.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 23, 2009 8:39 am (#1924 of 2988)  
For me the intention of JKR including what she did about Severus’s parents is to again make us connect three distinctions between the “abandon boys”:

Harry was born of two parents who loved eachother

Tom was born of one parent who deceived the other for long enough to become pregnant

Severus was born of something in the middle, which we cannot determine

This seems to be a consistent application of JKR’s regarding the triangulation between these three boys. It is ambiguous in the case of Severus for a reason, so that those who want to see things in black and white can do so; and those who want to use Severus as a tool to read more into the story can do that if they feel it is there.

I'm not super fond of going around in circles, I feel like I'm repeated myself here more than is healthy.  So, to sum it up for my part regarding Eileen: I still feel how I did initially: that she was a cross/sullen/sour/add other unpleasant adjective girl who was Sorted into Slytherin but had a change of heart later in life and married a Muggle. I’m sure there are some former Slytherins who don’t remain staunchly opposed to non-magical people for their entire lives. This scenario makes the most sense to me. I think she loved her son but was caught up in an abusive marriage and lost magical abilities along the way so couldn’t leave, in a similar way to how we saw Merope portrayed. I feel she did what she could to encourage her child to look forward to a better life at Hogwarts, and he clung to any stories she might have told him, which I think she did.

edit: I like Dryleaves' idea that Tobias was hostile because of his feeling threatened by living with two magical people. Being a mill-worker with no money has always seemed implied to me, too. These two reasons seem entirely possible, as far as motivation for what went wrong and how their love went "sour". But I will say I see no reason to believe that either of Severus's parents were truly loving people, towards him or each other. We are given absolutely no canon to support them being people capable of it, or working towards it. That JKR didn't include any evidence of them being loving is, of course, not an accident. Also, we are shown Eileen being cross/sullen/etc as a child and not only as an adult, i.e., if Tobias turned her from lovely girl into miserable housewife. So, to me, it is quite likely that they married because no one else wanted them due to their unpleasant natures. They had a child, which might have been simply because that's what people do. She told him about being a witch after-the-fact, etc., etc. This all seems to fit fine for me.



wynnleaf - Apr 23, 2009 11:19 am (#1925 of 2988)  
Harry was born of two parents who loved each other (MAMS)

While this is certainly true, I don't think it's the most pertinent piece of what made Harry one of those abandoned boys. It was not being born of loving parents, as many other characters experienced, but being left as a baby in the care of two "parental" individuals who disdained and detested him. So the part of their upbringing that forms the triangulation, in my opinion, is that Tom's mother (as far as Tom was aware) "abandoned" him to the orphanage by dying and he was raised without parental care and love; Harry's parents were forced by death to leave him and he was then dropped off with people who raise him without love; and Snape was brought up in the technical "care" of his parents, but they show him no care or personal love either. So none of the boys grew up with true parental care and love. Harry's early life was the exception in that he experienced true parental love and care as an infant.

JKR gives a great deal of weight to the love of parents, even to the extent of having the nasty Malfoys partly "saved" by their love of their child. A huge part of the motivation in the themes of the books is JKR's love for her mother who died. Even after his parent's deaths, their love continues to sustain Harry, both through Lily's sacrifice and later through their standing by him as he walks to his death.

As I see it, this gives even stronger weight to the idea that the Snapes neither loved nor showed care for their son, because that would mean that none of the three boys grew up with any sort of true parental care.

MAMS, I'm not asking you to rehash your arguments, but I was rather struck that Eileen doesn't appear to have passed along to her son the day-to-day basic skills of life such as washing his hair or brushing his teeth, nor does she seem to give any thought to ensuring he dress in something beyond his parent's old clothes. Given that degree of unconcern over her son, I find her spending time telling him about the ins and outs of life at Hogwarts to be even less likely.



Orion - Apr 23, 2009 12:09 pm (#1926 of 2988)  
I agree, wynnleaf. If you look at Eileen, you wonder why young Sev knew anything at all about Hogwarts. The picture of her telling him stories about Hogwarts and not seeing in what a condition the boy was is so hard to imagine. Telling somebody a story means looking at them.



mona amon - Apr 23, 2009 9:33 pm (#1927 of 2988)  
I think she loved her son but was caught up in an abusive marriage and lost magical abilities along the way so couldn’t leave, in a similar way to how we saw Merope portrayed. (Shadow)

I agree with this, more or less. I feel that Eileen neglected Severus because of poverty, and apathy caused by depression, but she did love him at least to some extent, and cared about his future. We know that Tobias did not care for him, but we are not shown that Eileen didn't.

I don't exactly see her taking little Sevurus on her knee and telling him stories about Hogwarts, but neither can I believe that she didn't talk to him at all. After all, young Severus is pretty sure that he is going to Hogwarts. That's not something he could have got only from books. Not every young wizard is sent to school.

As I see it, this gives even stronger weight to the idea that the Snapes neither loved nor showed care for their son, because that would mean that none of the three boys grew up with any sort of true parental care. (Wynnleaf)

I agree that he didn't get much love at home, even from his mom, certainly a lot less than James to whom he is compared on the train, but I do not see that he was absolutely neglected. A kid from a home where the parents argue all the time will certainly want to get away, even if both parents love him. And this is what puts him in the same leauge as the other two 'abandoned' boys, they all wanted to get away from their childhood homes, and found a true home in Hogwarts. But, as Shadow says, there is a difference in the love that they each received at the beginning of their lives. Voldemort, none at all. Harry, loving care for the first 15 months or so. None thereafter. And Sevurus, no love from his father, some basic love and care from his mother.



wynnleaf - Apr 24, 2009 3:25 am (#1928 of 2988)  
We don't know that either Tobias or Eileen didn't love their son. But we do have evidence that Eileen didn't show any love or care for her son. Because we are shown that she neglected him, was sour in the one instance when we see she and young Severus together, and seemed to spend all her time arguing with Tobias, there is more weight to the idea that she didn't love him -- or at least showed him no active or noticable love -- than that she loved him.

Where's the evidence that she loved him?

Confirming to Severus that he's a wizard and that he'll go to Hogwarts isn't evidence for love. It just means she confirmed a couple of facts to him. The Dursleys sent Harry to school and told him he was going to Stonewall High, the normal avenue for a kid his age if he hadn't been a wizard. That's not evidence of any care. Eileen, who is a witch herself, tells her son he's a wizard and that he'll go to school at Hogwarts. So what? It's the normal and typical pattern for wizards. It doesn't show she loves him that she tells him this. For all we know, she's looking forward to getting rid of him and tells him in a spiteful way. I'm not saying she did act mean about it. I'm just saying that telling him doesn't mean anything about love.

But not giving him basic care and not imparting to him the most basic of life skills is at least evidence that she didn't care enough to be bothered. Yes, it may also be evidence that she was so depressed for many years that she didn't do anything, but added to the sour attitude she displays around her son, it leans more to lack of love for him.



Dryleaves - Apr 24, 2009 4:18 am (#1929 of 2988)  
There might not be any evidence for either love or lack of love, but there seems to be at least a subtle difference in attitude in Severus towards his parents. In the playground scene he uses his mother as an example of a witch and says there is nothing wrong being one, and later he calls himself "the Half-blood Prince", where Prince is his mother's maiden name. He explicitly says that his father doesn't like anything, much, and in both this scene and the memory of the child Severus witnessing his parents' argument, it seems as if it is the father who is the biggest problem.

So even if Eileen obviously neglects Severus, he himself seems to perceive her differently than he perceives his father. This of course no proof of her great love for her son, but maybe there was something?



mona amon - Apr 24, 2009 5:24 am (#1930 of 2988)  
I agree, Dryleaves. This subtle difference in Severus's attitude is what makes me conclude that there was a difference in the amount of care they showed for their son. Tobias's attitude towards his son can be inferred from the "he doesn't care for anything, much" remark, but we are not shown any such thing for Eileen. Her general demeanour is sour, even as a young girl, but she is not shown snapping at her son or anything. And JKR herself tells us that unlike Voldemort, Severus has been loved.



wynnleaf - Apr 24, 2009 5:40 am (#1931 of 2988)  
Since I think JKR would say that Lily loved Snape as a friend, I believe she was talking about Lily.

And yes, I agree that there seems to be a difference between Severus' view of his parents. But we don't see a positive view of his mother, only of the wizarding world in general. What we see is the absence of an overt negative comment about his mother, other than that she, like Tobias, is always arguing.

I'm not saying that Severus hated his mother, or even that he disliked her as much as Tobias. What I'm saying is that I don't see any evidence that he received any more love or care from her than he received from Tobias.

This subtle difference in Severus's attitude is what makes me conclude that there was a difference in the amount of care they showed for their son. (mona amon)

Most children really, really want to love their parents. Even abused children often love their parents. After all, it's all they've got. I have friends who work very closely with abused children and they often comment on the way these children love their extremely unloving parents. Even a child whose parent cares so little that they'll walk off and abandon the child without a thought will often still be loved by the child. It makes sense that young Severus would lean toward Eileen, if only because she is less overtly uncaring than Tobias, who makes his dislike known. That doesn't, however, give us any evidence that she was actually doing anything to show love or concern for Severus.



Julia H. - Apr 24, 2009 7:47 am (#1932 of 2988)  
Thanks to those who were wondering where I was. I was away from the Forum, but I'm fine.

The discussion is interesting. I see that Wynnleaf has already said what I was going to say as I was reading the various posts. Yes, even neglected children can love their parents. Actually they can be very grateful for even the small attention that they receive. (I've heard that from both teachers and pediatricians.) Children want to be loved and cling to what they get. I can easily see that Eileen is a better parent than Tobias if she is not directly abusive or violent or frightening or rejecting and that makes Severus identify with her rather than with his father. The signs of physical neglect we see do not imply any deep spiritual care on Eileen's part, though I, too, assume that she did talk to her son.

The question whether either parent loved the child or not ... We see Snape's memories and Snape does not seem to notice a lot of love on either side, while he does seem to think that his father rejects him. It does not prove that the Snapes don't love their child, but it pretty much indicates to what extent Snape feels he is loved or accepted and that perception is what influences him. It does not help him if they love him without being able to show love or care (e.g. in the case of depression).

Another reason why Snape may prefer his mother to his father despite the fact that she is not a particularly caring type is that Severus is a wizard. Since the home / environment in which he lives is not a welcoming or nice one, it is understandable that he finds refuge in the idea that he does not really belong there, instead, he belongs to another, better and idealized world and his mother is his only connection to this world. I can imagine that Eileen may think of her earlier life (among wizards) with nostalgia and her son may pick up on that. Even if there is no real warmth in their relationship, Severus may find comfort in the idea that the two of them do not belong to this bleak, sad place and that through her, he has a connection with his real "home".

I think it is an interesting idea that Severus may have been an unwanted child and that is at the root of the rejection (conscious or subconscious). It could also be symbolic of his whole life.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 24, 2009 1:11 pm (#1933 of 2988)  
Harry was born of two parents who loved each other (MAMS)

While this is certainly true, I don't think it's the most pertinent piece of what made Harry one of those abandoned boys. It was not being born of loving parents, as many other characters experienced, but being left as a baby in the care of two "parental" individuals who disdained and detested him. - wynnleaf


It is what made Harry our hero, Severus our brave/"anti-hero" as JKR called him, and Tom our villain. They all were Abandoned Boys: Harry came from parents that loved each other and him -- this is my point, along with how crucial it is to know that Tom came from no parental love for each other or him and that Severus came from one parent who loved him but not each other.

I see it somewhat similar to them all being half-bloods yet Tom had no parental security and assumed his mother was the Muggle; Severus finding security with his mother because she was a witch; Harry coming from two magical parents and having the most secure parentage.

Of course I wasn't saying or even implying that Harry's love from his parents made him an Abandoned Boy. Rather within this trio of boys, there are clear parental distinctions which made them who they are.

edit: I agree with Julia that it is easy for me to imagine Eileen speaking to Severus of the old days within the magical community with nostalgia, particularly as she is caught in a troubled Muggle-marriage.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 24, 2009 5:13 pm (#1934 of 2988)  
I've never seen this suggested before, so forgive me if it has.

Perhaps Tobias willingly married Eileen because she was a witch. He probably wouldn't have cared what she looked like, only that she could do magic. Later, the problems in the marriage came from the fact that Eileen, as a witch, was not able (according to metaphysical laws) to provide for the family by magic. Tobias may have felt she was simply holding out on him, refusing to magick up money or a decent home or whatever, when the reality was she would not be able to simply conjure money out of thin air. Tobias decides he has no more use for a witch wife if she can't just magick him up what he wants and, oh great! The kid's a wizard too. Thanks a lot!

(*shrug*)



wynnleaf - Apr 24, 2009 5:25 pm (#1935 of 2988)  
Quinn,

A pretty fascinating idea, that one. I'm guessing JKR wasn't thinking of that, but it would make a really interesting scenario, wouldn't it?



Quinn Crockett - Apr 24, 2009 5:45 pm (#1936 of 2988)  
Yeah, I agree JKR surely never intended that particular backstory. But for me it kind of makes the most sense, in a way.



PeskyPixie - Apr 24, 2009 9:32 pm (#1937 of 2988)  
Me likey, Quinn! A very different way of looking at it.  



Betelgeuse Black - Apr 25, 2009 7:25 am (#1938 of 2988)  
Yes, Quinn. I think your idea has merits. 10 points for your house.

The idea works for me because even though Eileen couldn't produce riches and nightly feasts, he might still be enjoying the comforts she could provide with a wand. That would keep some types of people around even if they didn't like it there. Eileen strikes me a person who is clinically depressed. Her husband appears to be a bully and she doesn't fight back (from one of Snape's memories we see). By the way, I think we were meant to assume the man and the woman are Snape's parents.

A controlling bully for a father and a depressed mother. Poor Snape! No wonder he couldn't wait to get to Hogwarts. I suspect he stayed at Hogwarts over holidays like Harry and Tom Riddle.

On another issue, I see Snape's desire to be a Slytherin as more of a reflection of his ambition. He is clever and he'll do almost anything to prove himself. He proved this by not listening to Lily's comments about his Death Nibbler friends. Snape's sorting may have been a lot of Harry's sorting hat experience without the Slytherin aversion. Harry had an aversion to Slytherin from his discussions with Hagrid and his meetings with Draco. Snape did not have these aversions. He just wanted power when he had been powerless all his life.

I think the other factors mentioned before, such as Slughorn having influence with people in power could contribute to his Slytherin predisposition. I just think his ambition was the overriding factor.

Betelgeuse



Quinn Crockett - Apr 25, 2009 2:32 pm (#1939 of 2988)  
Wow, you guys took to that idea surprisingly well.  

Although, I have to say that I don't agree about Eileen being depressed. There is not really any evidence for that. There is only an indication that her marriage is not ideal - which, while that could be depressing for a lot of people, we can't label Eileen as "depressed" about it or anything else since we know so very little about her.

But I think we see a somewhat similar dynamic in the spousal relationship of the Dursleys. Petunia, while a Muggle, is actually quite knowledgeable about the Wizarding World, Hogwarts and magic. Yet she says nothing about it; and it is Vernon who is the bully and who apparently decides how to handle the "unusual boy". True, Petunia does step in and speak up that one time in OP, but otherwise she always defers to Vernon. And I don't think there is anything to indicate Petunia is "depressed" or "repressed" or "pressed" in any other way.



wynnleaf - Apr 25, 2009 2:54 pm (#1940 of 2988)  
Although, I have to say that I don't agree about Eileen being depressed. (Quinn)

Quinn, while it's not a theory I'm much "on board" with, I believe that the evidence for those backing this theory is that first, Eileen was cowering from Tobias, which might mean she was afraid of him, which raises the question of why she would be afraid if she could use magic to defend herself. And the other thing was that the family was clearly pretty poor and young Severus doesn't have adequate clothing, so I think the idea is that if Eileen wasn't using magic to provide better clothing for her son or to stand up to her husband, or in other ways improve the family situation, then perhaps she was kind of like Merope who, through some sort of depression, had lost her ability to do magic.

It's kind of taking some small clues and making several suppositions on top of each other. But there is that small amount of evidence that she might not have been using her magic to improve her situation, and therefore she might have been like Merope.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 25, 2009 5:22 pm (#1941 of 2988)  
I see what you mean, Wynnleaf, and I see why people are making that connection to Merope and depression/abuse.

But it could be as simple as Eileen not wanting to use magic on someone she cared about, regardless of how horrible Tobias was being. And we don't know that Severus doesn't have adequate wizard clothing. We only know that he doesn't seem to know how to properly dress like a Muggle. His knowledge and awareness of the Wizarding world, as we have discussed, would indicate to me that he is far more comfortable in that culture. And this would logically have to come from his mother, wouldn't it?

I don't know. It's so simple, yet so complicated...



Julia H. - Apr 25, 2009 11:38 pm (#1942 of 2988)  
And we don't know that Severus doesn't have adequate wizard clothing. We only know that he doesn't seem to know how to properly dress like a Muggle. (Quinn)

Harry seems to think Severus is uncomfortable in his smock-like shirt and we also see that he takes Petunia's insult about his clothes quite seriously, which suggests that it is a sensitive issue to him. A child at this age can tell his parents if he feels his clothes are below standard, uncomfortable or ridiculous. Also, his clothes are not only described as odd but his coat is shabby and large enough for a grown-up man, his jeans are too short. It is apparently not only the style but also the size and the general appearance of those clothes, and I'm sure some of it could be helped by magic.

I can also imagine that Eileen perhaps does not use magic on her husband in self-defence because she cares for him. However, in that particular memory that we see, her little child is there, too, crying, obviously afraid and miserable. This is something that she should not let happen if she can help it, regardless of how she cares for her husband.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 26, 2009 10:34 am (#1943 of 2988)  
We have two situations (that I can recall off-hand) where a witch married a Muggle without him knowing of her abilities: Riddle's parents and Seamus's. These two couples seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum -- as far as we know, Seamus's parents stayed together. I assumed the Snapes were a "third" example, again. If Tobias was aware of Eileen being magical prior to marriage, he would definitely be upset to find them all still living in a shabby neighborhood, etc., after all those years. This would support the fact that he is hostile towards her.

On the other hand, he could just be a miserable mill worker whose marriage is falling apart due to the usual stuff compounded by resenting his witch wife and their strange son. I think both possibilities have - possibilities. It is very common for a person to be drawn to another because they are "different", only to hold it against them when the going gets tough.



mona amon - Apr 27, 2009 10:33 pm (#1944 of 2988)  
I'm not sure one can use magic to get better clothing. It must be one of the exceptions to Gamp's Law or something. Lupin's robes are also described as shabby and patched, and we know that he hadn't lost his magical abilities. Other examples are Ron's too-short pyjamas and atrocious dress robes. I think if JKR shows us magical people in shabby clothing, it only means that they do not have enough money to dress better.

I also do not see anything surprising in Eileen cowering before Tobias, even if she could use magic to defend herself. In cases of non-physical bullying, the victim isn't always the physically weaker person. Yet for various reasons, he or she submits to the other's will. Anyway, while we do see her cowering in that scene, we also have Severus telling Lily that his parents argue all the time, which implies that Eileen argued back. So she wasn't quite as passive as the cowering scene seems to suggest.

I feel Eileen must have been depressed, because she was living in depressing circumstances, but unlike Merope, she hadn't lost her magical powers. If she had, I'm not sure Severus would have announced to Lily with such assurance that she was a witch .



wynnleaf - Apr 28, 2009 11:17 am (#1945 of 2988)  
unlike Merope, she hadn't lost her magical powers. If she had, I'm not sure Severus would have announced to Lily with such assurance that she was a witch . (mona amon)

Good point. If she'd been virtually a squib, like Merope, I don't think Severus would have commented on her at all, even if he had been proud of being a wizard himself.



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 28, 2009 1:53 pm (#1946 of 2988)  
It is possible that Eileen didn't do magic in front of her husband but, for instance when he was at work, would show Severus different "tricks" for his enjoyment. Like maybe summoning things off shelves or other simple stuff. But I do feel that her magic was not used in daily life or in defense. This might have been due to being in oppressive surroundings. Merope was an extreme case, living with a crazy, demented father who treated her like a typical house elf. I don't think Tobias was that horrible to Eileen, but we have been told and shown how emotional problems can affect magic (i.e. Tonk's Patronus changing).

But we have also been shown how anger leads to inadvertent "slashing" with a wand -- Narcissa slashed Bella in Spinner's End chapter, Severus slashed on occasion due to spontaneous surges of anger: GoF The Yule Ball, HBP Flight of the Prince, OP Snape's Worst Memory are a few off the top of my head. I have wondered if Eileen accidentally "slashed" Tobias in a fit of anger during an argument, when she happened to be holding her wand, and thereafter he might have hid the wand!



Solitaire - Apr 28, 2009 5:02 pm (#1947 of 2988)  
While I agree that Tobias could have been angry if Eileen performed some magic he didn't like on/in front of him, I don't think he could effectively take her wand away indefinitely. She would have been able to either get another wand or borrow one and Accio, Wand! That just doesn't ring true, to me.



Julia H. - Apr 28, 2009 11:51 pm (#1948 of 2988)  
I agree that Eileen must have performed some magic because Severus was proud that she was a witch and he could also confidently recognize magic when he saw it. But it seems that she did not / could not use her magic to solve any of the big problems of her family: the poverty, the fights, her son's loneliness. All it gave Severus was the hope of a better life awaiting him in the distant future.

I guess we just have to take JKR's word for it that the Snape family was poor and unhappy and no magic could help that. Quite realistic actually ... Still I wonder what Severus must have thought of her mother's inability to make ends meet while she was probably the only (grown-up) witch in a Muggle neighbourhood.

Or maybe it is just me, not Severus, but I can think of a number of ways she could have used her magical talents to help her family: She could have got any Muggle job she wanted by subtly "influencing" the interviewer; she could have started a trade in which she could have used her magic, which would have given her a great advantage over any Muggle competitors; she could have looked for a job anywhere in Britain, not only in that apparently poor neighbourhood, due to Apparition etc.  I find it probable that there was something preventing her trying any of those - whether it was poor magical skills, depression, complete lack of ambition or something related to Tobias is anyone's guess.

EDIT:  LOL, I know some of these methods reflect dubious morals, still I think there must be some honest ways to use magic to help your family survive.



Dryleaves - Apr 28, 2009 11:56 pm (#1949 of 2988)  
I wish I could "influence" interviewers...  

Maybe Eileen was a just and hardworking Hufflepuff and didn't want to get a job in an unfair way..?  

Sorry for a silly post...



wynnleaf - Apr 29, 2009 5:37 am (#1950 of 2988)  
Another option is that maybe Eileen just didn't care about the situation. Some people, for whatever reason, when faced with a certain degree of problems, stop caring about even the things they could correct relatively easily.

As far as her not making sure her son had better clothing, even if we speculate that better fitting clothes couldn't be obtained through magic, we still have the problem that Eileen didn't make the child Severus wash his hair or, probably, brush his teeth regularly. Obviously those things take neither magic nor money to do, and yet Eileen probably doesn't do those things. If it's her attitude that's a problem, as well as money and/or magic, then it wouldn't matter too much if she had been able to use magic to obtain better clothing, because she probably wouldn't have bothered anyway.


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Solitaire - Apr 29, 2009 7:07 am (#1951 of 2988)
I don't think it's silly, Dryleaves. Question: Could Snape have dressed himself, because his mother was working at some sort of job and was not home? We see Wizards in some pretty interesting get-ups at the Quidditch World Cup campsite, in their attempt to imitate Muggles. Maybe Snape knew his mom had some Muggle clothes, and he just grabbed a few things and put them on, so that he could go to the park. Maybe he didn't have any Muggle fashion sense, or maybe he had not really gone out in Muggle company and didn't really realize how Muggle boys should dress.



Julia H. - Apr 29, 2009 9:20 am (#1952 of 2988)
It is quite possible that nine-year-old Severus dressed by himself but I doubt that he was not aware that his clothes were very unusual. In the Prince's Tale, it seems Harry / the narrator observes Snape's self-consciousness in connection with his clothes, several times.

Harry wondered why he did not take off the ridiculously large coat, unless it was because he did not want to reveal the smock beneath it.

...Snape, hot and uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight.

And he still does not take his coat off.

In two other scenes:

Snape had removed his coat now; his odd smock looked less peculiar in the half light.

He had already changed into his school robes, had perhaps taken the first opportunity to take off his dreadful Muggle clothes.

Snape seems to be very uncomfortable in his clothes, he seems to know that they are "ridiculous" (etc.).



wynnleaf - Apr 29, 2009 1:07 pm (#1953 of 2988)
The examples that Julia listed I think also make it pretty clear that Snape wasn't intentionally wearing his father's old coat or the smock like top in order to look kind of like a wizard, as has occasionally been speculated. Instead, young Severus is definitely self-conscious of the smock and probably the coat as well since, in Harry's point of view, he wanted to discard the entire ensemble as soon as possible.

I think it's possible to come up with all sorts of ideas for why young Severus is dressed as he is, however it's also important to consider what it is that JKR is trying to convey. Since she combines these descriptions with words like "ridiculous" and "dreadful" as well as describing clothes that don't fit and are old fashioned or otherwise inappropriate, I think it's most likely that she's trying to convey that young Snape is not wearing the clothing of his choice, but the clothing that is all that is available for him to wear. Because she also includes mention of parents arguing, a child with dirty hair, a sour-faced mother, a father who doesn't like much of anything, I think that we're meant to consider the parents as quite neglectful of their son.

The Weasley kids, in contrast, are not dressed oddly. When they first meet on the train, Harry doesn't think of Ron's clothes as ridiculous or dreadful, yet as we know, Ron's family doesn't have a lot to spend on clothing. In contrast to young Severus' family, we are shown that Ron is cared for by his parents, through Molly's manner when seeing him off on the train, to the sandwiches sent along for his lunch, and the attempt to send him with a pet, even if it's a hand-me-down pet.



Julia H. - Apr 29, 2009 2:25 pm (#1954 of 2988)
It seems Severus never has a pet...



PeskyPixie - Apr 29, 2009 2:35 pm (#1955 of 2988)
He suppresses a grin (an honest to goodness grin!) when Mrs. Norris is Petrified, and is quite casual about disemboweling little critters. Perhaps he does not enjoy the company of animals? Is this because he never has a pet, or is it just a part of his nature?

Maybe he hated Mrs. Norris in particular (rather than cats in general)? As a Dark Arts whiz perhaps he realized even before Dumbledore that the feline was not permanently harmed, so he felt the urge to chuckle at her predicament? I'm just getting silly now! (I think this is the first time I'm using this smiley on this thread!)



Solitaire - Apr 29, 2009 9:08 pm (#1956 of 2988)
Snape seems to be very uncomfortable in his clothes, he seems to know that they are "ridiculous" (etc.).

It isn't possible that he is uncomfortable in his Muggle clothes because he is used to robes at home?



Quinn Crockett - Apr 29, 2009 9:38 pm (#1957 of 2988)
Yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking, Solitaire. I agree that the other neighborhood Muggles don't dress the way is made to, and that he would be aware of it and thus uncomfortable. But I would also suggest the clothes he is wearing are all that are available, which, in turn, is because there aren't any Muggle clothes in his size at home. Why this is so could be any number of reasons. But this is what I'm going with...



me and my shadow 813 - Apr 29, 2009 9:59 pm (#1958 of 2988)
As a Dark Arts whiz perhaps he realized even before Dumbledore that the feline was not permanently harmed, so he felt the urge to chuckle at her predicament? - Pesky

This was my assumption in that scene.



Julia H. - Apr 29, 2009 10:46 pm (#1959 of 2988)
It isn't possible that he is uncomfortable in his Muggle clothes because he is used to robes at home? (Solitaire)

It is possible but if that is the only reason, then why did the author spend so many words on describing how shabby, out-of-size, ridiculous and dreadful his Muggle clothes were? Severus could wear more or less ordinary Muggle clothes and still be uncomfortable if he is simply not used to them. Also, even if we suppose that he has no idea about Muggle clothes, he must have some perception of the weather. Yet, he is apparently wearing a large coat in warm weather (and he is hot) and the suggested reason is that he is ashamed of the smock.

I also think it is probable that these clothes are the only (Muggle?) ones available for him at home, but again, what does that imply? I find it hard to believe that Severus goes out so rarely that he does not usually need Muggle clothes. They live in a fully Muggle neighbourhood, after all. (Petunia, for example, already knows him by name in the first memory scene and she also knows where they live.) I think he definitely needs Muggle clothes of his own size and if he does not have them, that is a sign of extreme poverty and/or serious neglect. Eileen must know it full well that Severus can only wear robes when he is at home or when they go to a place like Diagon Alley. All other times, he needs decent Muggle clothes and not just something - anything - that happens to be in the house. Whatever a child wears at home, it is no excuse for not buying him clothes that he can wear outside. (Even if the child needs those clothes only once a month, he still must have them.)

Maybe he hated Mrs. Norris in particular (rather than cats in general)? As a Dark Arts whiz perhaps he realized even before Dumbledore that the feline was not permanently harmed, so he felt the urge to chuckle at her predicament? (Pesky)

It is quite possible that Snape can tell the difference between dead and petrified. The people who can't tell the difference (in that particular scene) are children, a Squib and Lockhart. As for hating Mrs Norris: Everybody hates Mrs Norris. Ron, who loves his own pets, wants to kick her (or something like that) under the invisibility cloak. Even Hagrid(!) dislikes Mrs Norris, for all his obsession with animals and monsters. (Imagine that!) Snape's apparent dislike of her does not particularly stand out.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 29, 2009 11:10 pm (#1960 of 2988)
Whatever a child wears at home, it is no excuse for not buying him clothes that he can wear outside. (Even if the child needs those clothes only once a month, he still must have them.) - Well, if there's no money, there's no money.



Julia H. - Apr 29, 2009 11:27 pm (#1961 of 2988)
Well, if there's no money, there's no money. (Quinn)

This is what I said: I think he definitely needs Muggle clothes of his own size and if he does not have them, that is a sign of extreme poverty and/or serious neglect.

If there is no money, there is no money. If it's neglect, it's neglect. I agree. What I'm saying is that it can't be simply that they are wizards so they don't have Muggle clothes, because they need them. There must be another reason why Severus is so poorly dressed. Poverty and/or neglect.



wynnleaf - Apr 30, 2009 7:25 am (#1962 of 2988)
Extreme poverty and neglect. JKR does everything any normal writer would do to make that clear, especially considering that it's not the main character.

She combines dreadful, ridiculous clothes that don't fit and that Severus is clearly uncomfortable with, and the fact that his hair is dirty (not just greasy), and that his parents spend all their time arguing, and that some of his textbooks are second hand, and his mother cowers before his father, and his mother is sour looking as she sees him off on the train, and even though his mother attended Hogwarts, he doesn't have his facts correct about what really to expect.

I certainly don't think she means us to take all of that and imagine young Severus at home with a loving mum who dresses him in perfectly normal wizarding robes and just doesn't realize that what he's wearing outside is dreadful and doesn't fit, and begs him to wash his hair (it's not his mother's fault that it's dirty), and he only stopped taking care of his teeth and let them get yellow after he left the care of his concerned mum. And she taught him all about Hogwarts and the only reason she looked sour at the train was.... uh, she was so sorry to see him go?

Well, I guess one could easily write a fan fiction with that sort of scenario, and it technically it wouldn't clash with the specific things written in canon, but is that really what JKR was trying to convey? Because if she wanted us to believe that Eileen was a loving mum, she didn't leave any of the clues that we saw so clearly laid out for us regarding Molly when we first see the Weasleys in PS.



Quinn Crockett - Apr 30, 2009 11:11 am (#1963 of 2988)
Good points, Wynnleaf. But I have to say to JKR, "Yes, okay. We get it. Dude had a miserable childhood like something out of Dickens."



wynnleaf - Apr 30, 2009 6:20 pm (#1964 of 2988)
"Yes, okay. We get it. Dude had a miserable childhood like something out of Dickens." (Quinn)

Yeah, JKR's "miserable childhood" descriptions are pretty Dickensian. Think about Riddle and the orphanage. While she didn't describe it in depth, it kind of sounded like something out of the Victorian era. And the descriptions of Spinners End also sound like something out of an earlier period. I understand JKR said once that she liked the work of L. S. Lowry, the artist who was painting the Manchester and surrounding area (the area most likely to be where she was thinking with Spinner's End), mainly in the first half of the 20th century. So the whole mill town "look" that he was painting was more first half of the 20th century, and in some ways, that's the "feel" I get from her description of Spinners End. In reality, as I understand it, a great many of those mill towns had been renovated into more yuppie areas by the time of the HBP "Spinners End" chapter, but in the HP world, it's still got the rundown look of the poor, depressed mill town where the mill closed.



Orion - May 1, 2009 10:56 am (#1965 of 2988)
JKR wants to make one point absolutely clear, that is, that the most unpopular boy at school with the most problematic family background loves the most popular girl at school. It leads to a catastrophe and the next generation has to sort it out.

To create such a throughout ridiculous, insecure boy, she takes a heavy brush and sometimes the images contradict each other. For example the terrible clothes - even in the most depressed slums in Europe you won't find a kid clothed like that, and Snape has a Muggle father. I accept that we can't explain every turn in JKR's road of tale-telling. Sometimes the visual image of a scene is more important than credibility.



Julia H. - May 2, 2009 3:44 am (#1966 of 2988)
Perhaps exaggeration and the various extreme situations (the Snape family's extreme poverty, the Dursleys' extreme neglect, Voldemort's extreme evilness, Snape's extreme loyalty, Dumbledore's extreme intelligence etc.) are genre characteristics. Certain things must be made very clear. It is interesting how JKR manages to create three-dimensional characters against these backgrounds.



Quinn Crockett - May 2, 2009 1:19 pm (#1967 of 2988)
I would say that "Snape's extreme loyalty" is definitely not a genre characteristic. It's also debatable the degree to which Snape was truly "loyal". But I certainly wouldn't use the modifier "extreme".

However, I agree that there is a certain shorthand (or "exaggeration") the author uses to set the foundation for a particular character's arc.



Elanor - May 2, 2009 11:05 pm (#1968 of 2988)
The way young Snape is dressed could also be symbolic. Snape will soon become a Slytherin, the House connected to the Water element and as such, in alchemy, to the Mercury/feminine principle. A "smock-shirt" can be a woman's garment so it already gives Snape a "feminine" quality that fits his character and his fate (IMO ).

Talking of alchemy, I have thought of something about Snape and the idea of mercy that I have posted on the alchemy thread: here. I've thought I'd post a link here too.



me and my shadow 813 - May 2, 2009 11:30 pm (#1969 of 2988)
Elanor, I completely agree that wearing a smock is indicative of Severus's connection with the Slytherin/water/feminine principle. I will take it further that he is wearing his mother's clothes. I think it is important to note, although there are clear similarities to Severus and Riddle, as a child we see Severus identifying with the mother whereas we see Riddle denying the mother. This, to me, is foreshadowing of Severus being the "bad Slytherin/DE/water" who is able to eventually approach this feminine principle/quality and make efforts to right it.



Dryleaves - May 3, 2009 12:35 am (#1970 of 2988)
Interesting. Now I sense that there might be a lot of symbolism in the scene where Snape and Lily are sitting in the green shades of the trees by the river, and Snape has taken off his coat, the smock looking "less peculiar in the half-light". But I don't know enough of alchemy (well, I basically know nothing) to make a proper analysis. Is there anyone who has any ideas?



Julia H. - May 3, 2009 2:52 am (#1971 of 2988)
I didn't mean that specifically Snape's loyalty is a genre characteristic, only that certain qualities appear in "extreme" forms (and certain contrasts are very sharp) and that is what seems to be a genre characteristic to me. I don't want to start a debate about Snape's loyalty - I do think he is convincingly shown to be absolutely loyal to Dumbledore. By "extreme" I mean in this case that Snape is driven to extreme actions out of loyalty. ("Extreme" may not be the best word, but it seems to work for me at least.) I guess even brave, heroic, dedicated and well-meaning people would often draw the line somewhere between dedicating their lives (in any sense) to a cause and harming their souls (not necessarily in JKR's sense of ripping the soul and not necessarily in a religious sense) for the same cause.

Elanor, it seems more of your thoughts are needed here. It is interesting about Snape and mercy... I also like the connections you make between Snape's clothes and the feminine principle. I understand how Slytherin stands for water and the feminine principle. Still, I tend to think that a possible reason why Snape chooses Slytherin and not Ravenclaw (on the basis of "brains") is that he wants to connect (consciously or subconsciously) to a "founding father", a wizard (Slytherin), and not to a " founding mother", a witch (Rowena), because he is looking for a wizard father figure. Now, this idea seems to clash with the idea of Slytherin as a feminine House, but I like both of them... Any thoughts?



Elanor - May 3, 2009 7:21 am (#1972 of 2988)
Thanks!

When thinking of the scene you mention Dryleaves, it strikes me that it is only when he is with Lily that Snape can reveal his "feminine" side (i.e. the one connected to emotions): with her, he can remove the black coat and is seen in his feminine smock-like shirt.

In his adlut life, we only see him wearing the a complete black outfit: it is the time when his eyes are described as "cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels" (PS/SS, p.102) - the eyes of the Occlumens who hides his emotions and thoughts. He even hides behind the "curtains" of hair Jo often use to describe him.

BTW, long ago we had discussed the Prince's Tale chapter on the alchemy thread if you're interested in more alchemical symbolism connected to these scenes. It starts here: post #1967.

As for the elements versus the founders, I have just posted something on the Founders' thread.



Orion - May 3, 2009 8:47 am (#1973 of 2988)
Overinterpreters Anonymous, here are some new clients for you!

It sounds quite convincing what you say about the green shade and Slytherin, Dryleaves. If you're right and it's indeed a clever Slytherin allusion: Good catch!

But Snape with a feminine side - What???

Just because you're a weakling, body-wise, and an underachiever in the daily male testosterone-fuelled ratfight it doesn't mean you're in touch with your inner woman. Snape is completely caught up in this ratfight and can't think in other categories. It's only that he is always at the receiving end of it.

If he could connect to the wonders of the female mind a bit more, he would understand Lilys problems with his friends. His total failure at empathizing with her leads to the catastrophe, because he doesn't get out of this male pecking order thing.



mona amon - May 3, 2009 9:40 am (#1974 of 2988)
Just because you're a weakling, body-wise, and an underachiever in the daily male testosterone-fuelled ratfight it doesn't mean you're in touch with your inner woman.

ROFL! But while I agree that Severus isn't exactly feminine, he has been given some interestingly female characteristics. The way he speaks is described variously as 'silky' and 'waspish'. He has a certain (IMO) female way of being instinctively aware of people's weak spots, and knows how to hit where it hurts the most. For instance, his jibes about Sirius hiding in his Mum's house, and Ron's inability to apparate. And surely no guy other than Severus would have taunted Tonks about her 'weak' patronus, unless he was interested in her himself.

Then there's the above mentioned smocked shirt that Petunia refers to as his "mum's blouse". And we see him in a long lace-trimmed dress and carrying a handbag, thanks to Neville's Boggart- the only bit of cross-dressing in the series, with the exception of Archie in his flowered nightie.

And finally, his lovely, utterly feminine patronus!



me and my shadow 813 - May 3, 2009 10:02 am (#1975 of 2988)
I agree, mona. Add to that list he begins his life among males as on the "receiving" (feminine) end of their teasing.

I feel it is very important to note that Severus chooses to single out Neville as the student he is most irritated with. Neville is the only true introvert/feminine-principle male student we meet in any depth, as far as I can recall. Of course, Neville's love of Herbology/earth/feminine is indicative of and reinforces this strong feminine side, as well as other things. Severus the adult is not comfortable with his feminine side even though it is a strong force in his unconscious -- and I feel we are to make this connection -- he sees it as weak as an adult and takes it out on Neville, the mirror or reflection of his judgment that being passive and having sensitive emotions are weak, soft, etc., in a male.



Quinn Crockett - May 3, 2009 11:56 am (#1976 of 2988)
But Snape with a feminine side - What??

I think some people are misunderstanding the notion of "feminine" in the context of alchemy and the 4 humors. "Feminine" does not mean "female".

Slytherin House, being the Water element in the 4 Houses, allows him to be flexible when he needs to be, to conform to any situation. "Be like water, my friend" said the great Bruce Lee. He is also highly intuitive and cerebral, traditionally "feminine" (not "female") qualities.

I think in some ways he is like Mr Spock from the old Star Trek show. Spock was often considered the "feminine" element of the trio of Kirk, McCoy and Spock: aloof, mysterious, moody in his own way, the analyzer and "thinker" of the trio, etc.



wynnleaf - May 3, 2009 3:36 pm (#1977 of 2988)
I think some people are misunderstanding the notion of "feminine" in the context of alchemy and the 4 humors. "Feminine" does not mean "female". (Quinn)

Good point.

I'm not sure the degree to which JKR intentionally followed the whole 4 elements and the Houses thing. After all, even the most basic idea that they are all necessary, their unity crucial to defeat evil is only given a rather cursory nod, with only a couple of Slytherins on the good side at the end.

I'm not saying some of the elemental aspects don't fit, just that I think some are more of an unconscious fit, not something JKR necessarily intended.

Because of that, I doubt that the smock is in any way actually meant to denote a feminine aspect for Snape. We don't even know if JKR meant a smock that is actually a female article of clothing or only a blousy smoked shirt more common to an earlier period of history.



Betelgeuse Black - May 3, 2009 7:55 pm (#1978 of 2988)
It's interesting to contrast Snape's cutting, waspish words with Harry's "hot head". Snape seems to know exactly what to say to cut others (verbal sectumsempra?). Harry is a reaction waiting to happen. He jumps in without thinking at many points. I become very frustrated reading OOTP because of this. It's like watching a horror movie where you know the character shouldn't open the door but they do it anyway.

I see Snape as a very loyal person. Yes he was loyal to DD but more importantly, he was loyal to Lily, even when she stopped being loyal to him. If he had not been so driven to prove himself by any means, I believe he would have been a Gryffindor. DD implies this to Snape's displeasure. Of course, we don't know if he asked the sorting hat to be a Slytherin or not to be a Gryffindor. I think he was very much like Harry at the sorting but Harry had a bias against Slytherin while Snape did not. I can imagine the sorting hat saying almost the same things to Snape as it said to Harry.

Betelgeuse



Solitaire - May 3, 2009 8:08 pm (#1979 of 2988)
he was loyal to Lily, even when she stopped being loyal to him

I think that describing Lily's reaction to Snape's continued association with the DEs as being disloyal is off-base. Snape chose the DEs over Lily. IMO, it is he who was disloyal ... or, rather, it was he who chose to pursue a path which terminated their friendship.



mona amon - May 3, 2009 8:31 pm (#1980 of 2988)
verbal sectumsempra? (Betelgeuse Black)

Nice one!

We don't even know if JKR meant a smock that is actually a female article of clothing or only a blousy smoked shirt more common to an earlier period of history. (Wynnleaf)

I agree. In fact I think her use of the term 'shirt' instead of 'blouse' would indicate the latter. However, since smocked shirts for men would have gone out of fashion sometime in the 19th century (I think), I do not think it was a muggle hand-me-down. IMO it was a slightly outdated item of wizard's clothing (wizarding fashions seem pretty medieval) picked up second-hand by Eileen from a shop in Diagon Alley. She must have thought it would pass off as muggle clothing. In this I do not feel she was being any more neglectful than Molly, who had to get those passé dress robes for Ron.



Madam Pince - May 3, 2009 8:34 pm (#1981 of 2988)
Snape chose the DEs over Lily. IMO, it is he who was disloyal ... or, rather, it was he who chose to pursue a path which terminated their friendship. --Soli

But did he choose the DEs because they were sort of the "anti-James"-es, and he saw James as his competition for Lily? True, he did let his desire for... (what? a place to fit in with other male peers?) supercede his feelings for Lily. I personally would not label that as "disloyal" really. But that's just me.

I looked at that whole situation rather like, for example, a best friend who'd started taking illegal drugs, let's say. One might say that turning your back on a friend like that was being disloyal to the friend, right when you should be standing by them. Or, one might say that there are just some lines that simply have to be drawn. It's a tough call -- no doubt that's why JKR chose it. It makes a compelling story and there can be a compelling argument either way.

We don't even know if JKR meant a smock that is actually a female article of clothing or only a blousy smocked shirt more common to an earlier period of history. --wynnleaf

I always thought of it as an old-fashioned men's shirt in the style of an earlier period, which a modern kid might call "his mum's" style. Snape seems to me to dress in an 18th or 19th-century sort of way.

I become very frustrated reading OOTP because of this. It's like watching a horror movie where you know the character shouldn't open the door but they do it anyway. --Betelgeuse Black

Me too! It's my least favorite of the series because of that. I spent the whole book being ticked off at Harry's rotten attitude.



Julia H. - May 4, 2009 2:28 am (#1982 of 2988)
According to legend/history, Gryffindor and Slytherin had been friends, but after the argument between Slytherin and the other founders, they were friends no more. We see that there is a fierce rivalry between Gryffindors and Slytherins, which apparently does not exist between any other two houses. It does seem like a fight for dominance, which is typical between boys/men, and it appears in the plot in several examples, e.g. between Snape and James, Harry and Draco. Still, if Slytherin is essentially connected to the feminine principle (water etc.) and Gryffindor to the male principle (fire etc.), then the rivalry between them may represent a sort of gender rivalry as well, though it is not usually reflected in the actual plot, with one exception perhaps. The exception is the relationship between Snape and Lily, where the genders are "reversed", the boy is the Slytherin and the girl is the Gryffindor. They are friends first (like Godric and Salazar) but then they break up (like Godric and Salazar) and they actually fight in a "who is right" sense (like Godric and Salazar) and they grow up to be complete opposites. (They start out as opposites in several respects but their choices increase their differences to the maximum.) At the same time, there is also love between them, at least Snape loves Lily, which makes this fight more complicated than a "simple" fight for dominance, and in the end a symbolic unity is formed between them, represented by the doe patronus, as Snape "returns" to Lily's side and continues her fight. Hm...



Betelgeuse Black - May 4, 2009 4:59 am (#1983 of 2988)
"I think that describing Lily's reaction to Snape's continued association with the DEs as being disloyal is off-base. Snape chose the DEs over Lily. IMO, it is he who was disloyal ... or, rather, it was he who chose to pursue a path which terminated their friendship. " Solitaire

I was focused on Snape and not Lily when I wrote this. I agree that I don't think Lily was disloyal. She had just put up with his Death Nibbler tendencies long enough and Snape would not hear her objections.

I like the idea that Gryffindor and Slytherin's rivalry is sort of like a contest between doing the right thing to win and winning at any cost. Now I can't say the Gryffindor's are always doing the right thing since James does hex people for the fun of it (and other examples). Also, Slytherins are not always out to cause trouble but I don't have an example offhand. Generally they try to be chivalrous because that's the right way to behave. Slytherins will follow a Gryffindor after bedtime just to get them in trouble.

Betelgeuse



Solitaire - May 4, 2009 7:16 am (#1984 of 2988)
one might say that there are just some lines that simply have to be drawn. There we agree. It sounded to me, from the text, that this was not the first time Lily and Snape had discussed this issue. It wasn't a sudden turning away on her part. It was a matter of him choosing the DEs over their friendship.

If a friend of mine became involved in illegal drugs, I would first try to dissuade him from continuing. If it became apparent that he was not going to give them up, then yes, I would give up the friendship. Some things are deal-breakers for me.



wynnleaf - May 4, 2009 11:27 am (#1985 of 2988)
It wasn't a sudden turning away on her part. It was a matter of him choosing the DEs over their friendship. (Solitaire)

I agree with the first part, but not the second. Yes, Lily was turning away from the friendship for some time, probably well before the "mudblood" incident. After all, at the time of the Prank, although she had heard that her supposed friend had been through a life-threatening event, she didn't bother to even mention it to him until later when she used the subject as part of her criticism against him. If someone was truly still your friend, I doubt most people would have just passed on commenting on a life-threatening event -- you know, a "Wow, I heard what happened! How are you?" But Lily didn't do that.

As for the other comment, I think Lily saw it as Snape choosing his friends (probably not yet DEs) over her, but that is almost certainly not what Snape thought at the time. Sure, he knew she didn't like them, but I don't think he actually thought he was choosing them "over" her. He thought he could keep both his friends in Slytherin and his friendship with Lily and he was wrong. Later, after Lily told him that it was over, he does not appear to have made any attempt to drop the dark friendships and seek her out again. While Lily might have forgiven him later, even after the "mudblood" comment, if he'd clearly ditched his old friendships and the dark magic interest, I doubt that Snape would have thought she'd do it.



rambkowalczyk - May 4, 2009 2:55 pm (#1986 of 2988)
It wasn't a sudden turning away on her part. It was a matter of him choosing the DEs over their friendship. (Solitaire)

I think Lily saw it as Snape choosing his friends (probably not yet DEs) over her, but that is almost certainly not what Snape thought at the time. wynnleaf


I tend to think JKR meant this to be Snape choosing the Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. From Snape's POV, he thought that the position of power of being a Death Eater would impress Lily. He was so focused on that goal that he never actually listened to what Lily was saying. We are meant to believe that Lily had been discouraging him from idolizing the Death Eater goals but Snape always saw it as a comparison of James vs himself and he didn't see himself any worse than James.

After all, at the time of the Prank, although she had heard that her supposed friend had been through a life-threatening event, she didn't bother to even mention it to him until later when she used the subject as part of her criticism against him.

I always had the impression that Lily and Sev had talked/argued about the werewolf incident many times in the past.



wynnleaf - May 4, 2009 4:01 pm (#1987 of 2988)
. I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow and James Potter saved you from whatever’s down there –’ (Lily in The Prince's Tale)

It's pretty clear that it is the first time she's mentioned the incident to Snape. She knows James saved him from something, but hasn't bothered to ask her supposed friend about it until she uses the incident to criticize him for being "ungrateful" to James.

I tend to think JKR meant this to be Snape choosing the Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. From Snape's POV, he thought that the position of power of being a Death Eater would impress Lily. (ramb)

He is choosing the future DEs (they probably weren't DEs yet, as this is only 5th year), over Lily's wishes and her opinions, but he doesn't know that he'll lose her friendship over it, or how would he imagine it would impress her? If he actually valued the DEs over Lily, it doesn't fit with him risking his life to try to save her from them.



Solitaire - May 4, 2009 6:17 pm (#1988 of 2988)
he doesn't know that he'll lose her friendship over it

Then he isn't listening.



wynnleaf - May 4, 2009 8:06 pm (#1989 of 2988)
he doesn't know that he'll lose her friendship over it (wynnleaf)

Then he isn't listening. (Solitaire)


He definitely wasn't reading between the lines, but did she ever actually lay it out to him that blatantly? "It's them or me!" I'm not sure that she did. We are not, I think, told that Lily ever gave him an ultimatum.

Please note, I'm not saying that Lily was under any obligation to give him any such ultimatum, but if we're going to say Snape didn't listen, then I have to ask, what do we know that she told him? We know she voiced her displeasure, but we don't know that she said anything like, "I can't be your friend if you keep them as friends."

It would probably be easy for many of us to assume that anyone should be able to figure it out, without being told right out. But Snape may well have not even had any other true friends, so how would he know? After all, according to JKR, Snape and Lily's friendship was by no means a secret, and yet we're not shown that Snape's Slytherin friends were insisting he break his friendship with her (they might have been, but we're never told that), so Snape may have not had much experience with friendships to understand what seems so obvious to many of us.



Solitaire - May 4, 2009 8:38 pm (#1990 of 2988)
Interesting. I see it as a definite ultimatum.



Quinn Crockett - May 4, 2009 9:48 pm (#1991 of 2988)
I agree with Solitaire. I think when anyone says, "We are [friends] but..." that's a pretty strong indication that something is not right with said friendship. Though it may not be an "ultimatum" per se, Snape clearly was not listening there.



Solitaire - May 4, 2009 10:06 pm (#1992 of 2988)
As I say, I see Lily's words as a definite ultimatum. THen again, perhaps I am more perceptive than Snape. He still thought Lily's revulsion toward the DEs was about James, I think. I'm not going to dissect why I feel as I do. I've done that ad nauseum on this thread, and anyone who cares to can find my comments. This is one of those issues, I think, where people are always going to quibble.

Different people "listen differently." Some people hear what they expect to hear ... others hear what they want to hear. Still others are so focused on one aspect of things that they may miss important information. I think this may have been Snape.

It is clear to me from the conversations in the Pensieve that Snape's DE leanings had been the subject of other conversations with Lily. It is also clear that Lily had tried to defend Snape's behavior to her friends, possibly hoping that he would somehow come to see how damaging his DE connections were ... and that pursuing them was, in essence, making a choice between her and them. In the last conversation we see, Lily seems to realize that he has made his choice and he is not going to forsake his DE connections. I sense a resignation in her words that seems like a parting of the ways.



Quinn Crockett - May 4, 2009 10:28 pm (#1993 of 2988)
I definitely agree that their last conversation was the culmination of multiple conversations on the topic of potential Death Eaters as friends. And that this conversation revealed that, as far as Lily was concerned, Snape had indeed "chosen" the DE's over their friendship.

Did Snape literally do this? Well, not in the "mensches before wenches" kind of way. But, he certainly did not heed her repeated warnings that he could not keep company with future DE's and still remain her friend. I think that much is clear from the things she says to him in that final conversation and in that I completely agree that that conversation was an ultimatum in every sense.



Solitaire - May 4, 2009 10:33 pm (#1994 of 2988)
I just don't think Snape "got it." He kept trying to justify what he was doing by referring to what James and the Marauders were doing. Whether they were right or wrong was not the point ... but he didn't get the point.



Julia H. - May 5, 2009 12:59 am (#1995 of 2988)
As I say, I see Lily's words as a definite ultimatum. THen again, perhaps I am more perceptive than Snape. He still thought Lily's revulsion toward the DEs was about James...

I just don't think Snape "got it." (Solitaire)


I agree but that is exactly why I also agree with Wynnleaf that Snape did not choose the future DE's over Lily. He simply did not realize that he had to choose. Lily may have meant her words as an ultimatum, but Snape could only react to it if he understood that. The author could have given Lily words like "it's either them or me", but she chose to give her words that could be interpreted as an ultimatum if you read between the lines (and when you know the outcome of their story) but it is also possible not to see them as a definite ultimatum, only as an argument between friends, especially when you are inside it (not looking at it from a convenient distance) and your are distracted by jealousy. My conclusion is that Snape did not choose anyone over anyone else but thought he could keep both Lily and the Slytherin friends. That is what JKR says, too, and I think this comes through in the books. We don't know what happened after their break-up. Snape may have felt there was no way he could win her friendship back, he may have tried but with no results, he may have been too proud to keep begging her etc. I also find it possible that immediately after the Worst Memory and the break-up, he clung to the Slytherin gang even more because he did not want to be caught alone again by the Marauders for a while at least.

Now an alternative scenario: It will not be popular and is probably not what JKR intended, it has just occurred to me that the actual text makes this possible in theory:

Lily accused Snape of being friends with certain Slytherins and he did not deny that. Still, in the Worst Memory Scene, he was alone, no Slytherins came to the rescue, even though the OWL exam must have been for all of the fifth-year students. What if Snape was alone and not helped by any of the Slytherins because he had been shunning them for a while for Lily's sake (because of what she had told him) and they were angry with him? Imagine this: He thought about Lily's words after the argument, and he turned away from Mulciber et al. As a consequence, after the OWL-exam, no Slytherins came to his defence. Lily did, but in his anger and humiliation, he insulted her in the Slytherin way. Lily interpreted that as a "relapse". He tried to apologize but she was not interested. After that, he went again to the Slytherin gang, who, unlike Lily, accepted him back, told him to choose his friends more carefully next time, and since he did not want to be alone, he did everything he could to keep their friendship. Lily saw that and was even more convinced that her judgement had been correct, while Snape saw no more chance to "switch sides" again and become friends with Lily instead of Mulciber etc.



wynnleaf - May 5, 2009 5:28 am (#1996 of 2988)
he certainly did not heed her repeated warnings that he could not keep company with future DE's and still remain her friend. I think that much is clear from the things she says to him in that final conversation and in that I completely agree that that conversation was an ultimatum in every sense. (Quinn)

I agree that she probably gave Snape repeated warnings and that he didn't heed them. I also think that it is clear to us that Lily was basically trying to say that by keeping the friends he did, he was making it hard for her to be friends with him. But that doesn't make it clear to Severus, especially when you consider that he didn't "get" other things she was saying either, like her comments about James.

The only point I'm trying to make is that Snape did not directly or consciously "choose" friendships with kids that were interested in becoming Death Eaters over a friendship with Lily. Lily might legitimately have assumed he made that conscious choice, but he didn't.

For that matter, I'm not certain that he ever really "got" the specifics of what led to Lily dropping the friendship. He remembers the Worst Memory incident as, literally, his worst memory. If it's his worst memory because he insulted Lily and that was the last of his interaction with Lily, then that fits. But if he, as an adult, still thought that the "mudblood" comment is what ended the friendship, then he never really saw that Lily had ceased to be his friend prior to that comment and that it was a lot more than that one comment that caused her to drop him.

Lily accused Snape of being friends with certain Slytherins and he did not deny that. Still, in the Worst Memory Scene, he was alone, no Slytherins came to the rescue, even though the OWL exam must have been for all of the fifth-year students. What if Snape was alone and not helped by any of the Slytherins because he had been shunning them for a while for Lily's sake (because of what she had told him) and they were angry with him? Imagine this: He thought about Lily's words after the argument, and he turned away from Mulciber et al. As a consequence, after the OWL-exam, no Slytherins came to his defence. Lily did, but in his anger and humiliation, he insulted her in the Slytherin way. Lily interpreted that as a "relapse". He tried to apologize but she was not interested. After that, he went again to the Slytherin gang, who, unlike Lily, accepted him back, told him to choose his friends more carefully next time, and since he did not want to be alone, he did everything he could to keep their friendship. Lily saw that and was even more convinced that her judgement had been correct, while Snape saw no more chance to "switch sides" again and become friends with Lily instead of Mulciber etc. (Julia)

Like the notion of Eileen as the loving mum that I mentioned earlier, I think the above scenario might work as a fan fiction, since it technically fits the specifics of what's actually said in canon, but it wouldn't be what JKR intended.



Julia H. - May 5, 2009 5:36 am (#1997 of 2988)
Like the notion of Eileen as the loving mum that I mentioned earlier, I think the above scenario might work as a fan fiction, since it technically fits the specifics of what's actually said in canon, but it wouldn't be what JKR intended. (Wynnleaf)

Well, yes.



Solitaire - May 5, 2009 7:19 am (#1998 of 2988)
Lily might legitimately have assumed he made that conscious choice, but he didn't.

Lily says to Snape, "You and your precious little Death Eater friends--you see, you don't even deny it! You don't even deny that's waht you're all aiming to be! You can't wait to join You-Know-Who, can you? ... I can't pretend anymore. You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine." I do not see how this can be seen as anything other than an ultimatum. She has made it perfectly clear that she can no longer support or defend him. He still goes on with his DE business.



wynnleaf - May 5, 2009 11:51 am (#1999 of 2988)
I do not see how this can be seen as anything other than an ultimatum. (Solitaire)

Generally speaking, an "ultimatum" is when a final statement of terms is put forward. A kind of "final demand or statement of terms, the rejection of which will result in retaliation or a breakdown in relations". Or in this case, a breakdown in friendship.

But at the moment Lily makes all of those statements outside the portrait opening, it's no longer an "either/or" statement -- no "give up your 'Death-Eater friends'or I'll stop being your friend". At that point Lily had already ceased the friendship. Standing there at the portrait hole, she isn't offering Snape a final chance. She's telling him it's over, the friendship has ceased. Granted, she's giving him the reason it's over, but there's no ultimatum involved -- no final offer of terms. Nor does she stand around waiting to see what his answer will be. As he "struggled on the verge of speech", she turns away and leaves.

This is not an ultimatum, because an ultimatum basically states that there is still hope, but only if the other side abides by the final terms, and if the final terms aren't followed, then it's the end. Lily announces that the end has already occurred. She gives the reasons, but not in the form of an ultimatum, as she offers no "if/then" possibilities -- "if you give up your Death Eater friends, we can become friends again". Some may think that is implied, but I don't think it's necessarily implied and Snape should not have thought that she would necessarily restore the friendship, regardless what he did. And she was under no obligation to restore it, even if he did leave the other friends.

Nor was her ending of the friendship something that happened right there at the portrait hole. She ended the friendship even before the Worst Memory scene, and ended it formally right there by the lake. She simply reiterates that the friendship is over when Snape came to see her.

Lily dropped the friendship (although she hadn't told Snape), when she ceased to treat him as a friend. Friends don't say nothing when the other friend has been through some life-threatening danger and been rescued. A friend wouldn't automatically assume that she had gotten the truth about the Prank, when Snape, who obviously knew more about it than she did, was standing there saying she had the facts wrong.

I'm not saying that Lily was obligated to go say something to Severus when she heard he'd been through some sort of dangerous ordeal and been rescued, nor that she was obligated to listen to his side of the story regarding the Prank, nor that she was obligated to believe him. But these are things that friends would do, and Lily did not do those things. She was giving plenty of signs even before the Worst Memory scene that she'd already given up on the friendship, and this was well before her statements at the portrait hole.



Solitaire - May 5, 2009 7:57 pm (#2000 of 2988)
Well, I still see that she wants him to change ... but she has no real hope that he will. And just because we do not see her issue what you call an ultimatum does not mean there was never one issued. This conversation screams to me that they have battled this out on more than one occasion, and that she has asked him to choose between their friendship and his DE pals. He is simply unwilling to give up his DE "friends," if that's what you can call them.

Snape, who obviously knew more about it than she did, was standing there saying she had the facts wrong. You know, I had a long response to this typed, but I'm not going here anymore. We believe what we believe. Period.


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wynnleaf - May 6, 2009 5:29 am (#2001 of 2988)  
Snape, who obviously knew more about it than she did, was standing there saying she had the facts wrong. (wynnleaf)

You know, I had a long response to this typed, but I'm not going here anymore. We believe what we believe. Period. (Solitaire)


I didn't bring up the Prank incident in order to make any points about whether Snape was right or wrong in his assessment of what happened. My point was that Lily was supposed to be his friend at the time it happened. She learned he'd been through some sort of major incident that was life threatening and that James had rescued him. She did not go to him, as a friend, saying anything like, "wow, I heard you just went through something awful! How are you?" Instead, she didn't mention it at all until she heard him make a detrimental comment about James, at which point she brought up the incident saying that he should be grateful to James.

We know that Lily didn't know what happened at the time, because only the Marauders, Snape, and staff knew of it. Lily must know that she isn't in possession of the full facts, or really hardly any facts at all, yet when her supposed friend says that things didn't happen as she thinks, she won't even listen to him. Considering that she does at least know that it was a bad enough thing that he had to be rescued and bad enough that she believes he should be grateful to James for that rescue, why won't she at least be a listening ear to hear whatever of his side of the story that he can tell her? But she doesn't even want to hear it. This isn't a story about death eater interests, or dark arts interests, but a story about his life being in danger and being rescued, and she doesn't want to hear what he's got to say about it.

I don't believe if she still considered him a friend that she would have been so completely uninterested in hearing him out. I'm not talking about hearing him out about Lupin being a werewolf. He had apparently given his ideas on that to her in the past. But she won't hear him out on whatever (she does't know what happened) occurred that night -- whatever he might be able to tell her without divulging the truth about Lupin. But no, she doesn't even want to hear it, even though she knows his life had been in danger.

I'm not commenting on the rightness or wrongness of Lily's disinterest. I'm pointing out that she was no longer acting like a friend to him.

Solitaire,

I'm not sure what additional argument, beyond what we are all agreed upon, you are trying to make. Let me see if I can clarify by confusion and perhaps you can clarify what your point is.

I think we all agree that Lily felt she'd made it clear to Snape that he had to give up his "Death Eater friends" (as Lily called them - they weren't probably DEs at the time), in order to keep her friendship.

The question is whether Snape actually understood that he had to give them up or lose her friendship.

When you keep going back to comments about an ultimatum, or that the situation "screamed" that she must have made it clear, you seem to be indicating that you believe that Snape made a conscious choice. That is, that Snape consciously decided that he wanted his "Death Eater friends" even if it cost him Lily's friendship.

Personally, I think that doesn't fit at all with his choices later (willingness to risk his life to save her), his actions and comments at the time where he seems to think he can keep her friendship, nor JKR's assertion that Snape thought becoming a dark wizard would impress Lily.



rambkowalczyk - May 6, 2009 6:07 am (#2002 of 2988)  
I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow and James Potter saved you from whatever’s down there –’ (Lily in The Prince's Tale)

It's pretty clear that it is the first time she's mentioned the incident to Snape. She knows James saved him from something, but hasn't bothered to ask her supposed friend about it until she uses the incident to criticize him for being "ungrateful" to James.


Good point here.

She learned he'd been through some sort of major incident that was life threatening and that James had rescued him. She did not go to him, as a friend, saying anything like, "wow, I heard you just went through something awful! How are you?" wynnleaf

Allow me to fine tune my impressions. The 'I heard' does imply that this might be the first time she has said anything of this to Severus. But although James did save him from what ever was done there doesn't necessarily mean (to Lily) that Snape was in mortal danger. Maybe in her eyes Snape got caught by that tentacled plant that had Ron in SS. Snape panicked, and James coolly created a fire that 'rescued' Snape. The quotations around rescued means that Snape could have rescued himself if he thought a bit more logically. In her mind bringing up the topic such as to ask Severus if he was ok would have embarrassed him because he could have handled this on his own.

My point is Lily did care about Snape's feelings.



Mrs Brisbee - May 6, 2009 7:03 am (#2003 of 2988)  
Not all people are mother-hennish. Many people I know would have just said, "Wow, that was stupid, you bonehead." My age allows me to temper my response to be more sensitive, but I'm three times what Lily's age was. Still, I do think that Snape didn't get the response that he was hoping for. I think there were several reasons for this, and that there was a definite cooling of their friendship by Lily, even though she was trying her best to remain friends with him.

Lily actually demonstrates to Snape that she does have a good grasp of what went on: Snape is obsessed with the Mauraders and sneaks around after them, he suspects Lupin might be a werewolf, knowingly goes out of bounds to prove it, gets in over his head, and is rescued by James. Snape may not want Lily to know the truth, but she already knows it, and Snape himself doesn't have much to add. His only response is to provide his motive-- that he wants to show Lily that the Mauraders aren't great.

Snape is attempting to control who Lily can and can't like by targeting them. Run, girl, run fast and far!! That Lily finds this exasperating and it has cooled their relationship is a good sign, as far as I'm concerned. Snape strikes me as very jealous over having to share Lily with anybody-- just like he showed jealousy over having to share Dumbledore in later years. He has a very possessive personality, in my opinion.



Solitaire - May 6, 2009 7:21 am (#2004 of 2988)  
I like your explanation, Mrs. Brisbee. I think Lily is weary of hearing Snape enumerate the offenses of the Marauders in an attempt to justify his own DE leanings. The two things have nothing to do with each other, and Lily knows it.



Julia H. - May 6, 2009 7:51 am (#2005 of 2988)  
Snape strikes me as very jealous over having to share Lily with anybody... (Mrs Brisbee)

Show me a boy/man who does not mind sharing the girl he loves with another guy. I can't really blame Snape for being jealous of James when he realizes that he is attracted to Lily and Lily is attracted to him. Granted, he does not handle his jealousy well at all, but he is a teenager at this point, and his behaviour fits well with the behaviour of someone who is described as essentially insecure.

I think Lily is weary of hearing Snape enumerate the offenses of the Marauders in an attempt to justify his own DE leanings. The two things have nothing to do with each other, and Lily knows it. (Solitaire)

The two may have something to do with each other for Snape, even if Lily does not see it. I don't think Lily understands Snape any more than Snape understands her.

Lily has every right to be weary and impatient etc., but we were talking about loyalty and disloyalty, and the bottom line still seems to be what Wynnleaf says: Lily terminates the friendship before Snape even realizes that he can't keep both her and the Slytherin "friends". Snape does not choose others over Lily. He completely misses the opportunity to choose. In this sense, he is not "disloyal". Later he faces the same choice - Lily or the DE's - again in a much more serious form and he chooses Lily over the DE's.

Ramb, I don't get at all what you are saying about Lily caring about Snape's feelings.  



rambkowalczyk - May 6, 2009 8:54 am (#2006 of 2988)  
Lily terminates the friendship before Snape even realizes that he can't keep both her and the Slytherin "friends". Snape does not choose others over Lily. He completely misses the opportunity to choose. Julia H.

I agree with this only in the sense that Snape is clueless not because Lily never gave him an ultimatum. Although DH may not have come out and said it, I think Lily had told Severus it was a me or them situation.

Ramb, I don't get at all what you are saying about Lily caring about Snape's feelings.

This was a rebuttal to wynnleaf's comments that Lily seemed unconcerned with Severus after hearing about the werewolf incident and only brought it up to make a point in an argument.

We all agree that Lily did not know what exactly happened. I feel that she did not know that Snape was in mortal danger, (she knew he was in some danger)and she did not know that Sirius Black did try to kill him. James may have saved Snape, but it is possible that she recognized that Snape might have been embarrassed by this because it was a situation he probably could have handled on his own if the circumstances were different.

So therefore her not mentioning it to him at the time doesn't necessarily mean she was trying to distance herself from a friendship.



Madam Pince - May 6, 2009 9:52 am (#2007 of 2988)  
I think Lily saw it as Snape choosing his friends (probably not yet DEs) over her, but that is almost certainly not what Snape thought at the time. Sure, he knew she didn't like them, but I don't think he actually thought he was choosing them "over" her. He thought he could keep both his friends in Slytherin and his friendship with Lily and he was wrong. --wynnleaf

Agreed 100%. When you are challenged in the social-skills arena (as Snape was), and also when you are feeling desperate (as Snape was), and when you think you are thisclose to being able to "impress" a girl... I can see how this happened. I had the impression that Snape felt like "If only I can get Lily to see how mean they've been to me, and if only she can see me in a position similar to James' (ie: part of a group; amongst friends), then she will like me." He was so desperate for that to be the case, that he clearly didn't listen like he should've. He was trying too hard, and he made a biiig mistake. It was Lily's choice how to handle that mistake, and she made her choice also. I'm not saying her choice was wrong or right, just that her "line" was crossed, and it seems to me that Snape was unaware of exactly where that line was -- he thought he would still have her friendship. She was the only friend he'd ever had, remember. He didn't really know how to have, or to be, a friend.

I tend to think JKR meant this to be Snape choosing the Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. From Snape's POV, he thought that the position of power of being a Death Eater would impress Lily. He was so focused on that goal that he never actually listened to what Lily was saying. We are meant to believe that Lily had been discouraging him from idolizing the Death Eater goals but Snape always saw it as a comparison of James vs himself and he didn't see himself any worse than James. --Ramb

I agree with all of this as well, except the first sentence. To me, it seems like the rest of your point supports the opposite of what you state in your first sentence, but it may be just my interpretation.

Lily says to Snape, "You and your precious little Death Eater friends--you see, you don't even deny it! You don't even deny that's waht you're all aiming to be! You can't wait to join You-Know-Who, can you? ... I can't pretend anymore. You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine." I do not see how this can be seen as anything other than an ultimatum. --Soli

And I don't see how this can possibly be an ultimatum.  I'm with wynnleaf here -- this statement sounds to me like "It's over. Done and done. We're finished." An ultimatum would be "Unless A, then B." This statement by Lily, to me, has no "unless" to it. (Isn't it funny how differently people can interpret things? I'm having a big discussion on a Lost forum over the definition of "paradox"... )

I think Lily is weary of hearing Snape enumerate the offenses of the Marauders in an attempt to justify his own DE leanings. The two things have nothing to do with each other, and Lily knows it. --Soli

See, I think the two have everything to do with each other. I have always had the impression that Snape's "DE leanings" are a combination of three things: being an outcast most of his life and yearning to be part of a group; the desire to impress Lily; and the bitterness/resentment he felt against the Marauders for their teasing/bullying and also because of the competition against James for Lily. The "offenses" of the Marauders are a huge part of pushing him away towards the DEs, in my opinion.

Some recent quotes about Snape: "...then he isn't listening" = True

"...I see him as a very possessive personality" = True

I agree with both. And I think they are both very explainable by the fact that he clearly was not taught social skills in his youth.

Also, for what it's worth, I had the impression that Lily and Snape had not had numerous previous discussions about "the werewolf incident." The quote about "I just heard..." cinches that one for me.

A)We all agree that Lily did not know what exactly happened. I feel that she did not know that Snape was in mortal danger, (she knew he was in some danger)and she did not know that Sirius Black did try to kill him. --Ramb

B)...he doesn't know that he'll lose her friendship over it."

Then he isn't listening... --Soli


Two very similar statements. If Lily had been a "true, good friend" then perhaps she should've done as wynn suggested and asked with concern "I heard what happened... what's your side of the story?" instead of attacking Snape for being ungrateful to James. Likewise, if Snape had been a "true, good friend", then perhaps he should've listened closer when Lily was outlining how strongly she felt against the budding DEs. Either way... two mistakes... two miscommunications... two (dare I say it?) teenagers. The inexperience of youth. It happens... that's what makes it so tragic.



Quinn Crockett - May 6, 2009 10:55 am (#2008 of 2988)  
She learned he'd been through some sort of major incident that was life threatening and that James had rescued him. She did not go to him, as a friend, saying anything like, "wow, I heard you just went through something awful! How are you?"

Sounds to me like she knows Snape all too well. Later in the conversation she asks, point blank, "Why are you so obsessed with them?"
Sounds to me like she knows perfectly well that Snape was likely doing exactly what he did: skulking around after the Marauders, sneaking out of bounds to try to get them into trouble. Only this time he got himself into a bit of a pickle and had to be "rescued".

And, as Ramb points out, "rescued" is a pretty broad term when you don't know the specific circumstances. And Lily had no reason to believe that Snape was in any real danger, only that he had done something really dumb.

In which case, I agree with Mrs Brisbee in that I probably would have said the same thing to my friend: "That was a really stupid thing to do, you bonehead! You're lucky you weren't killed - or worse: expelled."  



wynnleaf - May 6, 2009 10:58 am (#2009 of 2988)  
Madam Pince, I completely agree with your post, in particular this part:

If Lily had been a "true, good friend" then perhaps she should've done as wynn suggested and asked with concern "I heard what happened... what's your side of the story?" instead of attacking Snape for being ungrateful to James. Likewise, if Snape had been a "true, good friend", then perhaps he should've listened closer when Lily was outlining how strongly she felt against the budding DEs. Either way... two mistakes... two miscommunications... two (dare I say it?) teenagers. The inexperience of youth. (Madam Pince)

Exactly.

One comment on Lily and Snape's prior discussions regarding the Prank. I think her comment makes it clear they had not previously discussed the Prank, but I do think their comments together strongly imply that Snape had previously given her his suspicions on Lupin being a werewolf. Lily didn't believe it before and doesn't believe it at that point either, but that's not the same as listening to his point of view of what occurred that night.



wynnleaf - May 6, 2009 11:24 am (#2010 of 2988)  
I hope it's not too long to post this DH scene. I want to analyze some of the comments.

‘... thought we were supposed to be friends?’ Snape was saying. ‘Best friends?’

‘We are, Sev, but I don’t like some of the people you’re hanging around with! I’m sorry, but I detest Avery and Mulciber! Mulciber! What do you see in him, Sev? He’s creepy! D’you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?’

This doesn't sound to me like Lily has been telling Snape, "I can't be your friend if you keep Avery and Mulciber as friends." Granted, it doesn't preclude her having told him that, or she may have said it later, between this incident and the Worst Memory scene, but her statement here just doesn't sound like she's been telling him to leave them or lose her.

Also, by the way, her question indicates that she has not heard whether or not Snape was actually there when the dark joke was done to Mary.

Lily had reached a pillar and leaned against it, looking up into the thin, sallow face.

‘That was nothing,’ said Snape. ‘It was a laugh, that’s all –’

‘It was Dark Magic, and if you think that’s funny –’

‘What about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?’ demanded Snape. His colour rose again as he said it, unable, it seemed, to hold in his resentment.

This is a pretty common adolescent thing to do. As a matter of fact, I'm repeatedly having to tell my own kids to stop doing it. I reprimand one about something, and they want to start in on some unrelated infraction of a sibling.

‘What’s Potter got to do with anything?’ said Lily.

‘They sneak out at night. There’s something weird about that Lupin. Where does he keep going?’

‘He’s ill,’ said Lily. ‘They say he’s ill –’

‘Every month at the full moon?’ said Snape.

‘I know your theory,’ said Lily, and she sounded cold. ‘Why are you so obsessed with them, anyway? Why do you care what they’re doing at night?’

Lily saying that she knows Snape's theory implies strongly that they have discussed said theory in the past.

‘I’m just trying to show you they’re not as wonderful as everyone seems to think they are.’

The intensity of his gaze made her blush.

‘They don’t use Dark Magic, though.’

In spite of Snape probably using the subject of James as a diversion from Lily's criticisms of his friends, I do think there's a legitimate point Snape is making here. Lily is starting to have a respect for James. We see in just a moment that she's willing to believe the James-as-hero version of the Prank without listening to Snape's side of it. I'm not saying James wasn't heroic, just that Lily believes in this without listening to Snape because Snape's dark leanings are influencing her opinion of Snape to the point where she doesn't trust his perspective of the event. If Snape senses that Lily's opinion of James is rising, it is legitimate for him to question her as to why her opinion of James is not seemingly affected by James' actions, whereas she is condemning Snape for his friend's actions (Lily never accuses Snape personally of dark magic). Lily never answers what I believe is an extremely crucial question -- in my opinion crucial to the whole series -- as regards why dark magic was worse than other harmful magic. One can only assume that Mary was not killed or otherwise seriously injured, else surely Snape's friend would have been expelled or even prosecuted. So what could have possibly happened to Mary that was worse than, for instance, the Worst Memory scene, and yet still, in Snape's eyes (regardless how misguided), qualified as "a joke"?

She dropped her voice. ‘And you’re being really ungrateful. I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow and James Potter saved you from whatever’s down there –’

Lily has only heard about "the other night" and this doesn't sound like she'd mentioned it to Snape before this moment. She knows it involved the Whomping Willow, which could be deadly, and her "whatever's down there" sounds as though she knows that it's ominous, even if it must remain a secret. For that matter, the fact that "whatever's down there" is a secret would imply it to be dangerous (kind of like Fluffy). And James "saved" Snape, rather than rescued, which once again implies saved from true danger.

Yes, I realize Hermione would have reacted with the, "you idiot!" kind of response. I really wish Lily had been more like Hermione. I imagine all would have turned out rather differently.

Snape’s whole face contorted and he spluttered, ‘Saved? Saved? You think he was playing the hero? He was saving his neck and his friends’ too! You’re not going to – I won’t let you –’

‘Let me? Let me?’

Lily’s bright green eyes were slits. Snape backtracked at once.

‘I didn’t mean – I just don’t want to see you made a fool of – he fancies you, James Potter fancies you!’ The words seemed wrenched from him against his will. ‘And he’s not ... Everyone thinks ... Big Quidditch hero –’ Snape’s bitterness and dislike were rendering him incoherent, and Lily’s eyebrows were travelling further and further up her forehead.

‘I know James Potter’s an arrogant toerag,’ she said, cutting across Snape. ‘I don’t need you to tell me that. But Mulciber and Avery’s idea of humour is just evil. Evil, Sev. I don’t understand how you can be friends with them.’

Unfortunately, I think the difference between the Marauders and his friends really was important for Snape and Lily couldn't or wouldn't articulate exactly what that difference was. Since I never see it spelled out in all of the series, I'm not sure that the Wizarding World knew. But I think it was a very big point for Snape. He wants someone to respect him. He thinks being a Dark wizard will gain him respect, and maybe even impress Lily. He doesn't see why his interests and choices are worse than the Marauders. Clearly, they are worse, but he doesn't see it and Lily does not make it clear. "But Mulciber and Avery’s idea of humour is just evil. Evil, Sev." Well, okay, she thinks it's evil, but she can't say why it's evil and why other nasty pranks are not evil. And the fact that Snape directly did ask her, in my opinion shows that not only did he not see the difference, but it was a major point to him.

Also, Lily's comment at the end of the conversation once again, in my opinion, doesn't sound like she's given or is giving him an ultimatum. She ends with "I don’t understand how you can be friends with them.’", which is rather different than saying, "I just don't think I can stay friends with you if you keep hanging around them." She is probably thinking that, but it's not clear that she believes that. It certainly isn't clear to Snape.

Of course, she might have given him some ultimatum in between this conversation and the Worst Memory scene, but we're not shown it.



wynnleaf - May 6, 2009 12:08 pm (#2011 of 2988)  
One more comment on this scene:

‘We are, Sev, but I don’t like some of the people you’re hanging around with! I’m sorry, but I detest Avery and Mulciber! Mulciber! What do you see in him, Sev? He’s creepy! D’you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?’

Lily had reached a pillar and leaned against it, looking up into the thin, sallow face.

‘That was nothing,’ said Snape. ‘It was a laugh, that’s all –’

‘It was Dark Magic, and if you think that’s funny –’

‘What about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?’ demanded Snape. His colour rose again as he said it, unable, it seemed, to hold in his resentment.

Is Snape actually changing the subject? Lily is saying that an example of how bad Snape's friend Mulciber is can be seen in thing he did to Mary McDonald. Snape's answer is that it was just "a laugh". Lily says that what makes it especially bad was that it was "Dark Magic." Snape, in bringing up the Marauders, is basically asking why whatever Mulciber did to Mary is especially bad, over and above what others such as the Marauders do. Of course, he uses the Marauders as the counter example because he's jealous of James and doesn't want Lily to like James, but the question is not irrelevant.

What made Mulciber's dark magic, which Snape thought "a laugh", evil, when other harmful actions aren't evil?



mona amon - May 6, 2009 12:13 pm (#2012 of 2988)  
So what could have possibly happened to Mary that was worse than, for instance, the Worst Memory scene, and yet still, in Snape's eyes (regardless how misguided), qualified as "a joke"? (Wynnleaf)

Good question. JKR really ought to have told us what Mulciber did to Mary McDonald.



Quinn Crockett - May 6, 2009 2:00 pm (#2013 of 2988)  
Well, in the culture of adolescence, the fact that a pair of boys attacked a lone girl is probably a fair enough reason to think them "evil".

Lily is not comparing James to Snape's friends. She is simply declaring her disapproval outright. It is Snape who seems to think there is anything to be compared even though James is not Lily's friend at this time. In fact, she thinks he's "an arrogant toerag". Yes, they are in the same House, and probably cannot avoid associating altogether. But to declare them "friends" seems a bit premature.

Again, it strikes me that Lily simply knows perfectly well who she's talking to. She knows what Snape is like, that he is "obsessed" with James; and that whatever happened down the tunnel, Snape is equally responsible. She is not sympathetic just because he is her friend. He did something really stupid and she calls attention to it.

But regardless of the specific details of the incident, Snape finding something "only a laugh" which his best friend finds "evil" is a pretty clear indication of how wide the gap between them has grown.



Soul Search - May 6, 2009 3:54 pm (#2014 of 2988)  
I hesitate to enter the discussion, but here goes ...

While Lily refers to James as "an arrogant toerag" I think there might be a bit of "doth protest too much." She does not let Snape steer the discussion to James etal. She seems focused on trying to tell Snape that she has not been pleased with his choice of friends, and, therefore, his implicit goal of joining Voldemort. These are words of parting.

Also note that the "toerag" recently saved his enemy, and her childhood friend. Not only heroic, but noble. If Lily compares Snape and James, Snape comes out on the low end.

Lily starts dating James sometime after this incident. Ironic if Snape's efforts to get the Marauders expelled, which James saved him from, was the event that caused Lily to see James in a better light.



rambkowalczyk - May 6, 2009 5:49 pm (#2015 of 2988)  
‘... thought we were supposed to be friends?’ Snape was saying. ‘Best friends?’

‘We are, Sev, but I don’t like some of the people you’re hanging around with! I’m sorry, but I detest Avery and Mulciber! Mulciber! What do you see in him, Sev? He’s creepy! D’you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?’

I believe that this type of conversation has happened lots of times before the Snapes worst memory. I believe at this point, Severus himself, has not participated in any Pre Death Eater activity. But Lily is implying that if Severus acts in any way like Avery and Mulciber she will detest him as well.

‘That was nothing,’ said Snape. ‘It was a laugh, that’s all –’

Snape here is trying to minimize or cover up what his friends are doing. I believe the reason that Snape hasn't done any Pre Death Eater stuff is because he knows it's wrong. Here Severus is like Remus or Peter in that he is hanging around bullys. Maybe he's afraid to stop them for the same reason that Lupin doesn't stand up to them or maybe he enjoys it from the sidelines like Peter.

‘It was Dark Magic, and if you think that’s funny –’

‘What about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?’ demanded Snape. His colour rose again as he said it, unable, it seemed, to hold in his resentment.

Here Severus is making a poor analogy. He is in effect saying to Lily 'How can you hang around Potter and his gang and criticize me for hanging out with my imperfect friends.

The analogy is poor because Lily doesn't become friends with James until 6th or 7th year. I think Lupin says they don't date until 7th year. Whereas I think Lily would shun James if he did something as heinous as what Mulciber did to Mary.

The questions that Severus raises are valid but I think that it is possible that in his heart he knows that what Mulciber is doing is wrong. On the other hand maybe being the victim of James bullying has altered his judgment at least to the point where he thinks James is getting away with something.

‘I know your theory,’ said Lily, and she sounded cold. ‘Why are you so obsessed with them, anyway? Why do you care what they’re doing at night?’

I wonder if the reason that Lily sounds so cold is not that Severus accuses Lupin of being a werewolf but that he accuses Lupin of being a vicious werewolf - a dark creature that does Dark Arts.

She dropped her voice. ‘And you’re being really ungrateful. I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow and James Potter saved you from whatever’s down there –’

Saying that Severus is ungrateful implies that she doesn't know that Sirius tried to kill Severus.

And James "saved" Snape, rather than rescued, which once again implies saved from true danger. Wynnleaf

Don't agree that Lily sees this as true danger. A beater could save a Seeker from a Bludger but I don't see this as true danger although one should be grateful for what the Beater did.

But Mulciber and Avery’s idea of humour is just evil. Evil, Sev. I don’t understand how you can be friends with them.’

Seeing as how Lily drops Sev after he uses the word Mudblood perhaps her idea of evil is the idea that Muggleborns are less than human. Perhaps it wasn't the hex that Mulciber used but the idea that it was ok to hex Mary because she was less than human.



Solitaire - May 6, 2009 6:45 pm (#2016 of 2988)  
Nice posts, Quinn (#2008 and #2013). I think you've nailed it for me.

Perhaps it wasn't the hex that Mulciber used but the idea that it was ok to hex Mary because she was less than human.

I don't think so. "Mulciber and Avery’s idea of humour is just evil. Evil, Sev." It's their idea of what is funny--hexing anyone, IMO--that bothers her. It bothered her when James did it to Snape, too, in OotP.



wynnleaf - May 6, 2009 8:17 pm (#2017 of 2988)  
Don't agree that Lily sees this as true danger. A beater could save a Seeker from a Bludger but I don't see this as true danger although one should be grateful for what the Beater did. (ramb)

If Lily thinks Snape should be grateful for it -- Snape, of all people, who she knows is at enmity with the Marauders -- then she must think it's an important "saving". Besides, this wasn't a sporting use of the word. As I said, the Whomping Willow was known to be deadly, in and of itself. And Lily expected Snape to be so grateful that he wouldn't criticize James. In my opinion, if she knows him at all, then that implies that she thinks James did something important.

And Snape argues against James as "hero", and seems to think Lily would agree with that choice of word. Heroic means that James actually risked himself to do something -- not some passing helping someone out from a bludger sort of "save".

I never got for sure whether anyone posting right now actually thinks Snape knowingly chose the friends interested in Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. That is, did Snape actually decide that he'd rather have their friendship more than Lily's friendship?

Does anyone think this? Solitaire? If no one answers, can I assume we all agree that Snape made his "choice" without actually realizing that he was going to have to give up Lily's friendship if he kept his "Death Eater friends"?



Quinn Crockett - May 6, 2009 11:45 pm (#2018 of 2988)  
I never got for sure whether anyone posting right now actually thinks Snape knowingly chose the friends interested in Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. - I think it's pretty clear that no one is saying that Snape consciously chose DE's over Lily. What seems to me to be the consensus is that Snape was ignorant of Lily's objections. Whether due to his remarkable lack of social skills, his obsession with James, or simply not taking her seriously enough (or some combination of the three) doesn't make much of a difference.

Snape, of all people, who she knows is at enmity with the Marauders - Does she? I never got the impression any of the viciousness of the rivalry started until after the prank. Either way, I don't get the impression that the one person who stepped up in defense of Snape in front of the entire school would be that insensitive if she did know the rivalry had extended into "enmity" territory.



mona amon - May 7, 2009 1:47 am (#2019 of 2988)  
can I assume we all agree that Snape made his "choice" without actually realizing that he was going to have to give up Lily's friendship if he kept his "Death Eater friends"? (Wynnleaf)

I think he did know, at some level and at some point of time, that he would lose Lily's friendship if he continued to consort with DE wannabes and had DE aspirations. If not earlier, surely he realised it when Lily broke off their friendship outside the Gryffindor common room, and gave him the reasons for doing so. Yet he doesn't make any offer, even then, to give up the things she wants him to give up. Like Soli, I see an ultimatum in that scene. True, he was not offered a choice, but no one was preventing him from saying,"Wait! I'm really sorry, and I'm not going to be that way anymore." But he's completely dumb, and his silence speaks volumes.

I never got for sure whether anyone posting right now actually thinks Snape knowingly chose the friends interested in Death Eaters over Lily's friendship. That is, did Snape actually decide that he'd rather have their friendship more than Lily's friendship?

Obviously he did not like Mulciber and Avery better than he liked Lily. For all we know he may not have liked them at all. Yet that didn't prevent him from refusing to give them up when she asked him to. The fact is that Mulciber and Avery could give him something he wanted and needed, but couldn't get from Lily. Not love and friendship, but admiration for his talents, and a boost to his confidence.

IMO, his Slytherin friends made him feel good about himself, while he felt inadequate and insecure around Lily, for he wants more than friendship from her. He wants love and admiration. His dilemma was never "Oh, I have to give up my DE aspirations or she'll no longer be my friend. What a bore, but I'd better do it or I'll lose her."

James does something like this. He stops hexing people just for the fun of it so that Lily would approve of him. Hexing people wasn't such a big deal for him that he couldn't give it up easily.

But for Severus it was a bit of a catch-22 situation. If he doesn't give up his DE aspirations, he'll lose Lily. If he gives them up, he'll have Lily as a friend, but no self-confidence, no hope of being able to impress her or win her love and admiration.

Severus's winning strategy would have been to give up the DEs, retain Lily's friendship, accept the fact that she was never going to love him romantically, and eventually find some other girl who could love him. But of course we cannot expect (or even wish for) our tragic heroes to act in such a sane and sensible manner.



Madam Pince - May 7, 2009 3:44 am (#2020 of 2988)  
While Lily refers to James as "an arrogant toerag" I think there might be a bit of "doth protest too much." --Soul Search

I agree. I definitely get the impression from these exchanges that it is sometime around this point in time that Lily is starting to look at James sideways out of the corner of her eyes... They may not start officially "dating" until 7th year, but she is definitely starting to notice him. And clearly Snape is picking up on it -- he does have that much social perception, God bless him!  

Nice scene analysis, wynnleaf and rambkowalczyk!



wynnleaf - May 7, 2009 6:21 am (#2021 of 2988)  
IMO, his Slytherin friends made him feel good about himself, while he felt inadequate and insecure around Lily, for he wants more than friendship from her. He wants love and admiration. His dilemma was never "Oh, I have to give up my DE aspirations or she'll no longer be my friend. What a bore, but I'd better do it or I'll lose her." (mona amon)

Yes, I agree with this.

As for Snape's silence at the portrait hole, we're told he was struggling to speak when Lily leaves him. If she had stayed, I don't think he would have said, "okay, I'll leave them if you'll still be my friend." My guess is that if she had stayed at the portrait and heard him out he would simply have continued to argue his case that his other friends were no worse than the Marauders, etc. As long as Lily didn't officially break the friendship, he wasn't going to believe that she really would do it.

After all, if JKR is correct that Snape actually thought his becoming a dark wizard would impress Lily, then it follows that he didn't think she'd really give up the friendship over his dark leanings.

On the flip side, I think Lily did confuse the issue.

JKR tells us that at by the Worst Memory scene Lily did like James. In other words, James didn't have to stop hexing and bullying people to attract Lily. Lily was already attracted to him, even when he was a bully. As Madam Pince points out, Snape does sense that Lily is starting to like James. He's not worried about what Lily thinks of Sirius or Lupin or Peter, only James. Why? Because he can sense the truth. She is attracted to James by that point, even though James is being cruel and mean to others. So Lily's protestations that Severus' friendships with people who use dark magic on people for laughs may seem to him like the same thing as Lily seeing and admitting to James' cruel behavior -- yet she's attracted to James anyway.



me and my shadow 813 - May 7, 2009 7:59 am (#2022 of 2988)  
Whether due to his remarkable lack of social skills, his obsession with James, or simply not taking her seriously enough (or some combination of the three) doesn't make much of a difference. - Quinn

For me it makes a difference in how I relate to the character. This is exactly why JKR left it ambiguous, because it makes a difference and each person, if they care to, is left holding the responsibility of filling in the blanks and making it what they relate to and what will give them and the story more significance to them personally. For example, if one is to conclude that Severus was *primarily* driven by a preoccupation with Dark Arts then one comes away with a very different version of him than if one concludes that he was driven by his feelings for Lily and natural competition with James. The more "cut and dry" one sees this motivating force, the less they will glean from the character and, IMO, the less realistic he will be. I personally feel JKR did a remarkable job of giving this character depth precisely because we do not know what drives him and to what degree. JM2K

Severus's winning strategy would have been to give up the DEs, retain Lily's friendship, accept the fact that she was never going to love him romantically, and eventually find some other girl who could love him. But of course we cannot expect (or even wish for) our tragic heroes to act in such a sane and sensible manner. - mona

He must be so in order to be tragic, but it is non-canonical fact that had Severus given up the DE's and retained her friendship, unbeknownst to him he would have had a chance with Lily romantically.



Quinn Crockett - May 7, 2009 11:50 am (#2023 of 2988)  
I meant it doesn't make much of a difference to the outcome of his association with Lily. It doesn't matter why he didn't listen to her, only that he didn't. ("It doesn't matter why they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" )

But on that note, personally I don't think it makes that much of a difference in how to view the character. I mean, the true bottom line is that he should have simply declared his feelings for Lily and accepted whatever happened as a result.



me and my shadow 813 - May 7, 2009 12:49 pm (#2024 of 2988)  
I disagree, but I'm not a man. While it might be some boys' inclination to simply declare feelings to the object of their affection, this is not a "should" rule in my opinion. In the HP Universe, just as an example, we have both Ron and Harry pining away for girls who took matters into their own hands and kissed them first. Severus was not so fortunate, for various reasons of course.

I disagree with the first paragraph as well...

edit: cross-posted with Madam P. I assume you are referring to my other post -- thanks! Ah, there we've cross-posted cross-edited again! heh heh

edit 2:  



Madam Pince - May 7, 2009 12:50 pm (#2025 of 2988)  
Me and my shadow, I agree with your first paragraph (of #2022) whole-heartedly. Excellent observation! I think you're clearly right on the money, based on the differing viewpoints even just here on this thread in this tiny little microcosm of society.

I mean, the true bottom line is that he should have simply declared his feelings for Lily and accepted whatever happened as a result. --Quinn

Something about this is vaguely disquieting to me. I can't nail it down without sounding Snapish, though.  Suffice to say that like M & MS, I don't agree with that one, either.

(Me and My, I'll stop editing if you will... )


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Orion - May 7, 2009 1:33 pm (#2026 of 2988)  
Now I'd like to know.  How terrible can it be to sound Snapish?



Julia H. - May 7, 2009 3:35 pm (#2027 of 2988)  
If a friend of mine became involved in illegal drugs, I would first try to dissuade him from continuing. If it became apparent that he was not going to give them up, then yes, I would give up the friendship. Some things are deal-breakers for me. (Solitaire)

I would like to extend the illegal drugs parallel a little, especially in connection with Lily's "ultimatum". I think the problem with a drug addict as well as with someone like Snape is that telling them to stop, even giving them an ultimatum ("stop or I won't be your friend"), is not likely to work. Perhaps it can work with someone who is "only" experimenting with drugs because of simple curiosity or because it is "fashionable" or something like that. However, an ultimatum is not likely to work with those who use the drugs as a (completely mistaken) response to other, primary problems. I think Snape can be compared to the latter type of illegal drug users. He is attracted to Dark Magic and the future DE group as a "solution" to his basic problems. Of course, it is the wrong kind of solution. His primary problems continue and he is accumulating new ones. An "addict", however, does not necessarily realize that (or may not be able to do anything against it). In this context, the idea that he might lose his best friend - as a consequence of his addiction - is presented as a new problem. Unfortunately, he has not learned to deal with problems in the proper way. So what does he do when a new problem arises? He resorts to the already established way of "solution": the addiction itself.

It can happen like this: The person has problems - family problems, bullying, insecurity, low self-esteem etc. - that he cannot solve. He starts taking drugs /getting involved in dark magic (in both cases with the corresponding set of people), which makes him feel better in some way, without solving his problems. The new addiction / interest weakens his earlier relationship(s). He is facing new problems. In this case, his addiction costs him his best friend's respect. He suffers from the idea of losing her and his self-confidence is further weakened. He may find "comfort" in his addiction (the drugs or the dark magic, giving him a false sense of power and importance, for example) while fellow addicts keep telling him that this is normal, "people out there" simply don't understand. In their company, the shared addiction is the basis of belonging together, and it is far easier than actually solving his problems and win respect among the others. If he is worried about losing his best friend, the "standard comfort" is the addiction. As a result, he indeed loses her. Again, the response will be clinging to the addiction even more.

I think when Snape seemingly changes the topic, he may be trying (subconsciously) to convey some of his problems to her, the ones that cause the "addiction" and need to be solved. He does not express them well, nor is Lily a trained psychologist (not even an adult) who could make the connections and help. Unfortunately, there seems to be no one around to be able and interested in helping him. The result is predictable and tragic.



Solitaire - May 7, 2009 7:00 pm (#2028 of 2988)  
How terrible can it be to sound Snapish?
I guess that depends on how you feel about Snape. If someone called me Snapish, I'd be offended.

I think the problem with a drug addict as well as with someone like Snape is that telling them to stop, even giving them an ultimatum ("stop or I won't be your friend"), is not likely to work.
I agree. In order for it to make an impact, he would actually have to love the friend (Lily) more than he loves doing the drug (in this case, doing dark magic). He obviously does not ... at least, until it is too late to do anything about it.



wynnleaf - May 7, 2009 7:21 pm (#2029 of 2988)  
I really liked Julia's analogy between the drug addict and Snape's "addiction" to dark magic and the dark magic users.

But personally, I wouldn't say the difference was between a "love" for the addiction versus a "love" for the friend. To me, that's comparing apples to oranges. Snape, we see later, loves Lily more than his own life -- or at least, he's willing to repeatedly risk his life to save hers. And we know he doesn't love dark magic or the death eaters to that degree, because he betrays them to attempt to save her.

So once it's put completely on par -- which one will he possibly sacrifice his life for -- it becomes Lily. But the problem is that Snape's "love" for dark magic and the Death Eater group isn't about "love". Indeed, I think that's a good deal of JKR's point. Those that actually love are redeemed by it. Their interest, whether Snape's or the Malfoys', in LV or Dark Magic, isn't love at all.

Snape is dependant on whatever he thinks he's getting from the dark magic and the death eater group, but he doesn't love it.



Solitaire - May 7, 2009 8:54 pm (#2030 of 2988)  
Those that actually love are redeemed by it.

I guess that's where the drug addiction analogy would break down. I know many addicts who are--or were--loved, and whose spouses and families want them back ... but only when they are prepared to give up the addiction. Sadly, some are unwilling to relinquish the addiction. Love can't always redeem an addict.



mona amon - May 7, 2009 10:56 pm (#2031 of 2988)  
I don't agree with the drug addiction analogy either. Other than that, I liked your post, Wynnleaf. Well explained!

I don't know much about addictions, but I think that with drugs the body develops a chemical dependency, the brain undergoes changes, and giving it up becomes almost a physical impossibility, and requires an enormous amount of willpower.

I feel Severus would have given up anything that Lily had asked him to give up, if it was merely a question of willpower. He had a lot of it. But the Dark Arts are different. Severus's fixation with them is the result of an inborn gift (curse?), a talent, and like all great talents it showed itself precociously. He was drawn to the Dark Arts for the same reason that James was drawn to Quidditch.

Unlike drugs, I do not feel that an interest in the Dark Arts was a bad thing in itsef. It depends on the purpose it is used for. So what Severus needed was not help and support to give up his 'addiction' but an adult guide or mentor to encourage his talent while steering it in the right direction.



Julia H. - May 7, 2009 11:29 pm (#2032 of 2988)  
Those that actually love are redeemed by it. (Wynnleaf)

I guess that's where the drug addiction analogy would break down. I know many addicts who are--or were--loved, and whose spouses and families want them back ... but only when they are prepared to give up the addiction. Sadly, some are unwilling to relinquish the addiction. Love can't always redeem an addict. (Solitaire)


I think there is a difference between being redeemed by those who love one and being redeemed by the love one feels. IMO, Snape is redeemed by the latter, i.e. not by Lily's love but by his love for Lily - eventually. In my analogy, the addict does not feel "love" for the drug, rather it is a way of "problem-solving" for him. Perhaps the analogy still holds when we think of an addict who cannot give up his addiction without proper help (Snape does not get proper help) even though he loses everything he once had. Then when he realizes that his family (he had already broken ties with them) have been or are being ruined by his addiction (in this case the closest analogy would be when a family member is targeted by the chief drug dealer), that suddenly puts everything into a new perspective for him and he wants to change at all costs. Of course, the change is very difficult for him now, because he has been an addict for a number of years, because the problems he did not solve before his addiction are still there and have probably become worse (e.g, insecurity and low self-esteem), because his has new problems to deal with due to his addiction (his complete lack of human relationships, outside the circle of dealers and addicts, for example) and because he still has to develop the proper problem solving strategies to replace the drugs. I think these apply to Snape.

In the case of dark magic, there is no chemical dependency, but I don't think that totally breaks down the analogy. The analogy works for the psychological dependency, which also applies to drug addicts. In fact, it is a very important factor. As for willpower, well, Snape finds the willpower to give up dark magic when Lily is in danger, but he apparently can't do it for himself alone. I mean when his interest in the Dark Arts has already cost him Lily's friendship, he should see that it is not good for him (at least in this form) and yet he does not give up those "friends". This looks like dependency to me. (Later he even talks about "weak people", who cannot resist the Dark Lord's power.)

I do not feel that an interest in the Dark Arts was a bad thing in itsef. It depends on the purpose it is used for. (Mona)

The same can be said about an "interest" in drugs. You don't have to be a drug addict or a drug dealer, you can be a doctor or a social worker, for example. It is the difference between using the drugs (to "solve your problems", in the case of the addict, or to earn money by harming others, in the case of the dealer) and fighting them or helping others avoid the drug trap.



mona amon - May 8, 2009 1:38 am (#2033 of 2988)  
The analogy still does not work for me. Someone addicted to drugs doesn't 'love' the drugs. Snape did love the Dark Arts. But more important, if an addict does not give up drugs for the woman he loves, it's because he can't. Snape doesn't give up whatever Lily wants him to give up because he won't. ETA: He had his reasons, and whatever they were, it was not because he didn't love Lily enough. He loved her so much that he felt he had to be something really spectacular to prove himself worthy of attracting her.

We don't see him struggling to give up his DE friends and aspirations and failing at it. He refuses to do it at all.



Julia H. - May 8, 2009 2:19 am (#2034 of 2988)  
Snape did love the Dark Arts. (Mona)

I think it can only be said in a very special sense of the word "love". It is not the same as love for a person, for example. It is a sort of passion perhaps.

With most analogies, there are points where they stop working. I have compared Snape's dark interests to drug use in one specific respect. Basically, all I have wanted to say with the drug analogy is that Snape is not just experimenting with the Dark Arts at Saturday night parties, but he uses them as a replacement for real solutions for his problems. Drugs don't solve one's problems but can create a feeling that the person has no problems and the addict wants to relive this feeling again and again instead of learning to deal with the problems. The similarity with Snape and the Dark Arts is that he hopes that when he becomes "good enough" at the Dark Arts (and of course powerful etc.), his problems will be solved - he will be respected and safe, Lily will love him etc. This is delusion, of course. But he learns to resort to this delusion when he is confronted with a problem. The idea that he has to give up dark magic and his Slytherin "friends" is another problem, losing a friend is yet another one, and his response is the same as in the case of the other problems, i.e. the very situation reinforces his "addiction".

Interest in the Dark Arts can be used for various purposes. Young Snape uses or wants to use the Dark Arts themselves, not only his knowledge about the Dark Arts, and, as I said, using the Dark Arts seems to be a mistaken "problem-solving strategy" and a "confidence booster" for him, IMO. Later, he uses his knowledge of the Dark Arts and for good purposes - to help others.

ETA: Perhaps he also "needs" this confidence booster to one day become confident enough to confess his feelings to Lily. Unfortunately, Lily wants him to give up dark magic. If he does, he will never be powerful and thus confident enough to approach her, or he will never be "worthy" of her. If he does not, he will lose her. There is no solution if he can't change his perception of himself and other things.



Quinn Crockett - May 8, 2009 1:54 pm (#2035 of 2988)  
Snape is not just experimenting with the Dark Arts at Saturday night parties, but he uses them as a replacement for real solutions for his problems. - I would say that's a huge amount of projection about the character's motivation, not to mention pure speculation.

I would also point out that Lily doesn't ever mention anything about Snape's own interest in Dark Arts. She is only concerned about the company he keeps - namely, future Death Eaters. ("That's what you're all planning to become, isn't it?") So if you want to connect the two, it's not Snape's interest in the Dark Arts per se that seems to bother Lily, but rather what he's planning to do with it.



wynnleaf - May 8, 2009 7:19 pm (#2036 of 2988)  
Snape is not just experimenting with the Dark Arts at Saturday night parties, but he uses them as a replacement for real solutions for his problems. (Julia)

I would say that's a huge amount of projection about the character's motivation, not to mention pure speculation. (Quinn)

I would also point out that Lily doesn't ever mention anything about Snape's own interest in Dark Arts. She is only concerned about the company he keeps - namely, future Death Eaters. ("That's what you're all planning to become, isn't it?") So if you want to connect the two, it's not Snape's interest in the Dark Arts per se that seems to bother Lily, but rather what he's planning to do with it. (Quinn)


Actually, believe it or not, I think both views are valid given what we see in canon itself and what JKR tells us about Snape's motivations.

It's quite true that Lily never talks about Snape doing dark arts, only that he's got the wrong friends that are headed in the DE direction. Sirius, in GOF, says that there was never a hint that Snape was a DE himself, but that he hung out with a crowd that all becames DEs. And Sirius also talked about Snape knowing lots of curses, not using lots of dark arts, although he does say that Snape was always "up to his ears" (I think) in the dark arts. Point is, we aren't shown him in school using lots of dark magic personally.

On the other hand, JKR said that it was because of Snape's insecurity that he sought something more powerful than himself to make him feel secure. He also thought that being a dark wizard himself, not just hanging out around them, would be impressive to others. That does seem that he's insecure in his own view of self, and wanted something extra to make himself seem worthwhile and impressive. Since, I would assume, your average person wouldn't need something so generally objectionable as dark arts to make them feel better about themselves, more secure, more likely to be liked by a girl, I think Julia's view that Snape is using, or desires to use, dark arts as a replacement for his problems (insecurity, etc), is also legitimate.



Solitaire - May 8, 2009 7:24 pm (#2037 of 2988)  
Harry is kind of creeped out by Snape's way of talking about the Dark Arts in 6th year DADA. Harry stared at Snape. It was surely one thing to respect the Dark Arts as a dangerous enemy, another to speak of them as Snape was doing, with a caress in his voice? Is it possible Lily felt the same?



Quinn Crockett - May 8, 2009 8:02 pm (#2038 of 2988)  
I think Julia's view that Snape is using, or desires to use, dark arts as a replacement for his problems (insecurity, etc), is also legitimate. - Except that it would imply that Snape believed or understood that he had "problems" to begin with. And from what we've seen, he never looks inside himself long or deeply enough to be that self aware. Everything is always someone else's fault. Everything is always James's fault.

Take the Prank, for instance. Sure, Sirius (*somehow*) convinced Snape to go down the rabbit hole and follow the yellow brick road. But the bottom line is, Snape himself, is entirely to blame for what transpired there. Snape chose to listen to someone who he knew full well had anything but his best interests in mind. Yet even 20 years later, he continues to blame Sirius for trying to kill him instead of acknowledging what a complete idiot he was to listen to Sirius in the first place.



PeskyPixie - May 8, 2009 8:18 pm (#2039 of 2988)  
"Harry is kind of creeped out by Snape's way of talking about the Dark Arts in 6th year DADA."

Isn't that the bit where Hermione tells Harry that he sounded like Snape when he was teaching the DA? Hermione isn't creeped out by either of them, is she? Then, is Harry more aware of Snape's nuances than others? Or is he biased in his hate for the man?  



mona amon - May 8, 2009 9:24 pm (#2040 of 2988)  
I think he's biased in his hate. He's furious that Dumbledore gave him the job, "How could Snape be given the Defence against the Dark Arts job after all this time? Hadn't it been widely known for years that Dumbledore did not trust him to do it?" and ,"Personally I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for another death..."  

But while it's his hatred for Severus that makes him react so negatively, I believe he was correct in the essentials. Severus was talking about the Dark Arts with a loving caress in his voice, and I do not think that was necessarily a bad thing.

Since, I would assume, your average person wouldn't need something so generally objectionable as dark arts to make them feel better about themselves, more secure, more likely to be liked by a girl, I think Julia's view that Snape is using, or desires to use, dark arts as a replacement for his problems (insecurity, etc), is also legitimate. (Wynnleaf)

I agree with this. The Dark Arts were Severus's great talent, and although he seems skillful in other things as well, if he was really going to shine at something the way James shone at Quidditch, this was it. Hence his attraction to the people who could give him a chance to shine.

Where the analogy breaks down for me is the "he can't give them them up because he's hooked" argument. IMO, it's the difference between 'can't' and 'won't'. An addict cannot give up drugs because of his physical and psychological dependence on them, unless he has enough willpower. In other words he can't give them up because it's an addiction. Severus won't give them up not because he has an addiction, but because he has 'reasons'.

We have to be shown that he at least tried to give them up and failed, before we can conclude that he just can't.



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 1:11 am (#2041 of 2988)  
Except that it would imply that Snape believed or understood that he had "problems" to begin with. And from what we've seen, he never looks inside himself long or deeply enough to be that self aware. (Quinn)

I don't think so. Precisely that he does not look into himself and does not analyse or even consciously realize his problems is what makes him prone to turn to pseudo-solutions, instead of real ones. The problems that people have but don't think about will still influence their lives and their choices.

For example, as JKR tells us, Snape hopes to be able to impress Lily by becoming a powerful dark wizard. Until then, he does not even try to impress her in any of the small, everyday ways a boy in love could be expected to. Lily, of course, detests dark magic, but even apart from that, Snape's answer to love is basically daydreaming. Even if he did become that powerful dark wizard he is hoping to be, Lily would find another boy long before that (as indeed she does). While certain daydreaming is inevitable when you are in love, Snape appears to "replace" reality with these dreams in his head (and that seems to be analogous with an addiction). His lack of self-confidence is taking him into the wrong direction, away from his goal, not towards it, while it is perfectly possible that it never occurs to him that his whole attitude is based on insecurity.

Another example of dark magic pseudo-solution is Sectumsempra. "For enemies" - that seems to be a more conscious "answer" to an existing problem. However, it is absolutely inadequate: If he uses it at school, he risks expulsion, and I'm sure he does not want that. If he does not use it, then inventing it does not really help him. Except perhaps that it gives him a feeling of increased security ("I could use it if I wanted to" "When I leave Hogwarts, I will be able to use it" etc.) and some satisfaction that he has been able to invent it. None of those actually solves the problem he is facing at the moment but he does not seem to try and look for something more adequate.

It is true that Lily objects to Snape's friends and not to Snape using dark magic. (Perhaps he does not use dark magic at this point, or at least not with Lily's knowledge.) But she objects to these friends because they use dark magic and she warns Snape that it is not "funny". I don't think it is a stretch to suppose that she thinks these "friends" will influence Snape in the wrong way even if he is not using dark magic at the moment. (With the addiction analogy, if you notice that a member of your family is associating with drug addicts and drug dealers, you are likely to be concerned that he will become one of them, too; and that is why you try to persuade him to drop them.)



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 2:05 am (#2042 of 2988)  
PS. Drug addicts who use drugs as a response to the problems they have are not necessarily aware of it either. They just want some relief, to "feel better", when they are confronted with "reality".



Madam Pince - May 9, 2009 3:33 am (#2043 of 2988)  
The Dark Arts were Severus's great talent, and although he seems skillful in other things as well, if he was really going to shine at something the way James shone at Quidditch, this was it. Hence his attraction to the people who could give him a chance to shine. --mona amon

I like this. Good observation.



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 4:16 am (#2044 of 2988)  
Is there such a thing as a Dark Arts gene?

To me it seems Snape is talented in a number of areas, but these talents can be used in good and bad ways alike. For example, Snape is very good at potions, and I think he is equally brilliant at making a poison and at making a healing elixir. As a student, he invents spells, which seems to be a rare talent (at this age at least), and I'm sure he does not only invent Sectumsempra, but he probably also invents the countercurse for Sectumsempra (though he may do it at a later point in his life). The Muffliato spell is neither good, nor evil in itself. Again, the talent seems to be the invention of spells, not the invention of dark magic specifically. In his youth, Snape uses his talents in dark ways, later he uses them differently. I don't think his talents alone predetermine him for dark magic. Dark magic expertise probably makes him feel stronger and safer and more important, and that is why he uses his talents in dark ways. But I can agree that this is probably what his Slytherin peers appreciate and the positive feedback (e.g. if they respect or accept the poor half-blood more because of his dark skills) reinforces his attraction to dark magic.

As for shining ... hm ... at the time of the Mary incident at least, Mulciber seems to "outshine" him in practical dark magic. Invention could be an area, however, where he can truly leave other Slytherins behind, as well as perhaps extensive theoretical knowledge (cf. the OWL exam).



me and my shadow 813 - May 9, 2009 7:45 am (#2045 of 2988)  
Good posts, Julia. As far as a Dark Arts gene, I would cite the quote made by Dumbledore after he and Harry witnessed the Gaunts. According to DD, many "purebloods" (which is also the group we see most associated Slytherin and dark wizards) are inbred and thereby increase the intensity of their common dna traits. So to me, although Severus is not a pureblood, I feel his mother would qualify for such a category (I know others don't) and also we are shown his Muggle father's genes to possibly have traits associated with Dark Arts, namely abusive hostility. For me the answer is Yes, a predisposition to the Dark Arts could have genetic ties. Growing up with the parents who gave you those genes is, of course, another layer added on top of the genetic tendencies. Unless the parents are aware of their own tendencies and consciously raise their child to be different, I feel this is how harmful behaviour is passed on through generations. To me JKR was trying to make such a point.



wynnleaf - May 9, 2009 9:19 am (#2046 of 2988)  
Personally, I think JKR is much more of a "nurture over nature" sort of person. She doesn't have Riddle come out of a horrific family, but was then raised from infancy in a nice sweet caring and nurturing orphanage or adoptive family.

Harry is born to loving parents who nurture him for more than a year before being placed in a very neglectful and even abusive home. Dumbledore says it miraculous that Harry's personality came out so well. Why a miracle if he had all the right genes? Because he was raised so badly. That's what DD was referring to -- his upbringing.

JKR could have shown us real evidence that Eileen was into the dark arts, and predesposed to pass along her bad traits to her son. JKR doesn't show us anything of the kind. Speculation is fine of course, but JKR doesn't set up a picture of Snape pursuing dark arts because he's born to that.

As for Snape's own "nature" and predelications, what his primary skills were, I think we're shown far more evidence of his skill and passion for inventing spells and being a creative and gifted potions maker. Contrast that with only one Dark Arts spell that he created, and that other students apparently didn't see him actively doing dark magic much, I think it's incorrect to say that his biggest talents and passion was just Dark Arts. Sure, he was very interested in it, but it wasn't his only interest, nor possibly even his greatest interest.

As for Snape's speech at the first DADA class, I think JKR set up a very intentional contrast in Harry's view of Snape's speech and Hermione's view, and JKR drawing a direct correlation between how Hermione views both Harry and Snape's way of talking about the Dark Arts is very important as well. I think the primarily point JKR was making was that Harry hated Snape so much at that point that he couldn't see that they actually had very similar views on Dark Arts (by that time in Snape's life). JKR brings that out repeatedly in HBP -- that Harry actually relates to Snape and likes him when he doesn't know it's Snape and when the dislike he legitimately has for Snape isn't standing in the way.



Solitaire - May 9, 2009 9:29 am (#2047 of 2988)  
Any dislike or negative feelings Harry has for Snape are purely Snape's fault, IMO. Snape intended Harry to hate him. He assured Harry's dislike from the very first potions lesson by being absolutely unfair to Harry, and he has nurtured and cultured those negative feelings into hatred over the course of six years. He has really worked on it!



me and my shadow 813 - May 9, 2009 10:02 am (#2048 of 2988)  
I do not see Riddle’s experience in the orphanage as “a nice sweet caring and nurturing orphanage or adoptive family” whatsoever. Harry distinctly makes note of the sterile environment and we are shown a Head Caretaker who is apparently an olympian drinker, according to Harry. There is a big difference between 'not horrific' and 'nurturing'. Nothing about it is nice or sweet or caring or nurturing to me. We could say Harry is misinformed, but I see no reason to question his observations.

Regarding Harry’s upbringing, I feel Dumbledore’s comment about it being a “miracle” was DD’s way of expressing his conflicting feelings and sympathy about what he’d done -- DD himself was responsible for Harry being in such a ridiculous situation to be raised in. And, we are told that Harry's dna/blood is the only reason why he is there. Harry’s dna, in my opinion, is a huge reason why he did not get crushed by Vernon and Petunia’s environment. After all, he inherited his parents’ traits and that made him who he is. His strength of character, inherited from Lily, was the impetus for his using the unpleasant environment of the Dursleys to strengthen even more, to his advantage. In contrast, Riddle’s “weak” genes made him use his unpleasant environment to corrupt even more, to his demise.

Regarding Eileen, even if she was not actively interested in Dark Arts and had no such books on her shelves, JKR showed us a woman who did not have enough of a constitution to make her own life and that of her son better. This, to me, is part of dna and “bad” or undesirable dna at that.

I am never one to see things in black and white, so of course environment is a component. I am convinced, however, that JKR is showing us what can happen when the pureblood mania and its Muggle equivalent go wrong.



PeskyPixie - May 9, 2009 10:03 am (#2049 of 2988)  
Soli, I think we're pretty much agreed that Snape instigated the animosity between himself and Harry. However, I wonder whether after years of mutual dislike (and I'll add in, it was started by Snape, who did nothing to diminish it once it had been started), is Harry so peeved with Snape that he puts a negative twist on things Snape says/does which others (who aren't on friendly terms with Snape themselves) do not recognize?



Quinn Crockett - May 9, 2009 10:22 am (#2050 of 2988)  
JKR tells us, Snape hopes to be able to impress Lily by becoming a powerful dark wizard. - I don't think so. I'm pretty sure she tells us that Snape hoped to impress Lily by becoming part of something powerful. Aka the Death Eaters.

But it doesn't really matter. The whole point is that Snape never made the connection that the DE's (or the Dark Arts, if you prefer) and Lily were diametrically opposed. Knowing this, how could anyone conclude that Snape had "looked inward" or been even remotely self-aware?


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Dryleaves - May 9, 2009 10:49 am (#2051 of 2988)  
I am convinced, however, that JKR is showing us what can happen when the pureblood mania and its Muggle equivalent go wrong. (me and my shadow)

On the other hand, too much emphasizing of DNA is what causes the pure-blood mania. Even if genes of course form part of who we are, and even if JKR may recognize this, I think she focuses much more on a person's upbringing and above all, their choices. Inheritance and/or upbringing may make some choices harder to make for some people, but she has Dumbledore explicitly tell us that it is not our abilities but our choices that determine who we really are. You may just as well argue that it is Lily's choice to die for her son that puts Harry in the situation he is in. Maybe she makes her choice mainly because of her DNA, but I don't believe it is JKR's main intention to show us that. (But of course I don't know that...  )

Knowing this, how could anyone conclude that Snape had "looked inward" or been even remotely self-aware? (Quinn)

I don't think you have to be that self-aware and introspective to feel insecure and wish to find a solution to that. Lots of people do the most peculiar things in order to solve this problem because they somewhat lack skills in self-analysis. I think you gave as an example in one of your posts that Snape blames others for his own mistakes. This could very well be a "solution" to the problem of insecurity to some people. I think Snape is perfectly able to feel insecure etc. even if he may not be that good at giving a name to it or looking at himself from the outside and analyse the problem in a proper way. Thus the bad, illogical solution.



Quinn Crockett - May 9, 2009 10:55 am (#2052 of 2988)  
I think Snape is perfectly able to feel insecure etc. even if he may not be that good at giving a name to it... Thus the bad, illogical solution. - Ah. Fair point. And this is understandable when he's still a teenager.

But he never changes his MO. To the point that he deliberately uses Harry to continue his attempts at oneupsmanship over the long-dead James. That's beyond "insecure" and well into "total psycho" territory.



wynnleaf - May 9, 2009 11:10 am (#2053 of 2988)  
Any dislike or negative feelings Harry has for Snape are purely Snape's fault (Solitaire)

I agree, mostly, but don't see what that's got to do with my point that JKR showed us in HBP the similarities between Harry and Snape, such as their speeches on the dark arts, and that Harry would possibly be far more prone to sympathize with Snape's views if he hadn't hated him so much. In other words, Harry's "take" on Snape's speech was due to his hatred of Snape. According to Hermione, their understanding and view of the dark arts by that point (Snape having changed since his teens), was actually much the same.

I do not see Riddle’s experience in the orphanage as “a nice sweet caring and nurturing orphanage or adoptive family” whatsoever. (MAMS)

I completely agree. You misunderstood my comment. I was trying to say that JKR did not have Riddle born with the wrong DNA and then placed in a sweet nurturing environment, which would make it seem that Riddle was as he was because he was born that way. Instead, she has Riddle brought up in a cold unnurturing environment, so that whether or not he's got the "bad" DNA, he's also strongly molded by his environment.

As I say, regardless what we personally may believe (and I'm probably a more nature over nurture advocate, personally), JKR in these books seems to place the burden of character's personalities far more on their nurturing or lack of it, than their inborn nature. As I said, Harry, nurtured as an infant, is still a miracle in his ability to love.



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 11:13 am (#2054 of 2988)  
I think Snape is perfectly able to feel insecure etc. even if he may not be that good at giving a name to it or looking at himself from the outside and analyse the problem in a proper way. (Dryleaves)

Ah. Fair point. (Quinn)


I'm so glad Dryleaves managed to effectively explain what I was trying to say as well. Thanks, Dryleaves!  

I'm pretty sure she tells us that Snape hoped to impress Lily by becoming part of something powerful. (Quinn)

I thought the way I put it was synonymous enough - but you are correct, that's what she said. It certainly emphasizes more Snape's need for belonging somewhere, which may be another sign of insecurity.



me and my shadow 813 - May 9, 2009 11:30 am (#2055 of 2988)  
Regarding the "miracle" comment from DD, I also remember feeling he was saying that due to the Soul Bit. Can anyone cite the quote and when it occurred?

Regarding nature versus nurture, I absolutely agree that choices are the main theme. To me this theme is reinforced by one’s genetic nature and not just a “nurturing” presence or absence.

The pureblood mania spiralled out of control due to those who had a feeling of superiority, coupled with (or as a result of) a handed down reaction to having been persecuted by the Muggle World. As backstory, it is possible that had there not been a shortage of purebloods, if they had not been the equivalent of an endangered species about to “die out”, they would not have had to marry their cousins and would have a healthier gene pool.

My opinion about “good” dna in the HP Universe has nothing to do with if one is a pureblood. I believe Lily to be the character with the “best” constitution (other than the Chosen One, of course) and she is Muggle-born. I believe that Lily is the way she is due to her inherent traits, with her choices in many ways a product of those traits. After all, Petunia was raised in the same household, yet she inherited other traits and acted them out. This, to me, shows how even within the same environment in the first years of life, two sisters can be born with extremely different traits. The same is shown to us with the Black sisters, different shades within the same family. They were brought up in the same household, we can only assume, yet they all three exhibit differing aspects of their “family tree”.

Nature and nurture go hand in hand, and it is the equivalent of a chicken and egg scenario. I, personally, see dna like an imprint one might have to work against if it carried unsavory traits that were manifesting and altering how one perceives one’s lot in life. Harry, to me, is no exception. Yes he was loved by his parents in the first year of his life and this made an enormous difference. But he is of Lily's blood, and this made all the difference, and blood is extremely emphasised by JKR.

This is not a Severus topic by now, so I'll cut here.

edit: forgot to mention -- I see wynnleaf's point now about the orphanage. I feel that unless Riddle had been raised and loved by his parents, or at least some loving figure, he was doomed to be a controlling, power-hungry man. I see your point but for me it is more important that he was predisposed genetically to be "screwed up" and the orphanage merely reinforced it. Had he been in a foster home with loving guardians, I feel he would still have become Vold. This is obviously layered with feeling abandoned and unwanted by a mother who couldn't will herself to live for the sake of her son...



Solitaire - May 9, 2009 11:39 am (#2056 of 2988)  
Wynnleaf, I think Harry (and it could just be that I am "interpreting" him) is trying to emphasize the dangers of the Dark Arts--that it is just "you and your guts." Snape seems to be "somewhere else" in his interpretations. From Jo's description of Snape's lowered voice and her use of the word caress, I received the distinct impression that she wanted us to understand that Snape was talking about the Dark Arts as he would talk about a lover. In other words, it was not the words he was saying but how he was saying them that made the difference.

We all know that tone of voice and vocal inflection make a difference in how one is understood. That is why we have to use smileys on the Net ... because we do not have the luxury of hearing voices here on the Forum (and other places).



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 1:37 pm (#2057 of 2988)  
From Jo's description of Snape's lowered voice and her use of the word caress, I received the distinct impression that she wanted us to understand that Snape was talking about the Dark Arts as he would talk about a lover. (Solitaire)

Or at least that it was Harry's impression of him. (I think the word "caress" is presented as Harry's opinion.) Jo also gives us Hermione's words about Snape sounding quite like Harry. Well, Hermione listened to both of them.

Snape was talking about the Dark Arts as he would talk about a lover. (Solitaire)

You probably did not mean it this way, but it sounds so sad to me... when I think of how lonely he must have been.  BTW, Snape talked quite passionately about his other subject - Potions - as well.

It may also be important (even if Harry perhaps does not realize it) that at the beginning of the HBP school-year, Snape practically starts teaching Harry's students! In the previous year, they learned nothing from Umbridge but a lot from Harry, and Harry enjoyed teaching DADA. Now, with Snape as a teacher, there is no reason to continue the extra DADA classes, but Harry and Snape have finally found a shared interest (teaching DADA) - only to become rivals in a way. I think this rivalry for DADA expertise comes out more openly later when Harry starts an argument with Snape about the best way to fight Dementors.

About dark genes: I asked the question whether there was a Dark Arts gene, but I did not mean it in a moral sense. (The discussion is very interesting though.) I was referring to a type of talent. To me, being talented in the area of the Dark Arts sounds a bit like being talented in crime so that the person can become an excellent criminal or an excellent policeman; or like being talented in diseases, so you will either be an excellent patient or an excellent doctor. I don't really think "Dark Arts" is a type of talent. It is possible to be interested in the Dark Arts and to know a lot about it theoretically or practically and it is possible to use certain talents in combination with the Dark Arts, but I don't think the Dark Arts can be someone's innate gift.



Quinn Crockett - May 9, 2009 2:37 pm (#2058 of 2988)  
when I think of how lonely he must have been. - But he didn't have to be. If he was "lonely" it was solely because of the choices he made - namely, not to reach out to people, not to be a good friend to people, to act from a place of vengeance instead of a place of kindness and generosity.

He has only himself to blame.



Julia H. - May 9, 2009 3:00 pm (#2059 of 2988)  
So what? It can still be a sad thing.



Solitaire - May 9, 2009 4:16 pm (#2060 of 2988)  
You probably did not mean it this way, but it sounds so sad to me ...
I did mean it, Julia ... and it is sad. Quinn is right, though ... he is lonely because of his choices. He might never have gotten over loving and losing Lily ... but he could still have gone on to have a more pleasant life than the one he has designed for himself. Choices ... Snape's came back to bite him in the back-side!



PeskyPixie - May 9, 2009 4:22 pm (#2061 of 2988)  
" ... Snape's came back to bite him in the back-side!"

Hilarious mental picture!  



me and my shadow 813 - May 9, 2009 7:27 pm (#2062 of 2988)  
Regarding the “caressing” voice we are told about, I feel it reveals both sides of what JKR was intending: 1) …that although Severus speaks of Potions with equally “poetic” words, we know it is the DADA job that he has always coveted and, we could conclude, once he accomplished this goal was probably feeling like a man who has attained something long yearned for. It is very possible that, as a lonely man isolated in this position, he has attached actual feelings (i.e., feelings associated with being fulfilled by an actual friendship/relationship) with the “beauty” of magic in general and the Dark Arts as a subset of that craft; 2) …that Hermione points out Harry’s similarity to Severus not to diminish Severus’s intensity but to highlight Harry’s intensity because, with Harry as narrator, he cannot do that for us as well as rational/factual/logical/objective Hermione.

Regarding the loneliness and his designing it, I think that at the age of 20-ish, throwing your life into another person’s hands in order to redesign your mistakes is quite a noble effort. Obviously this young man was ill prepared for and just plain ill about being a teacher, but that was part of the deal (this is a topic driven into the ground, but it seems appropriate to mention here).

Again, this was driven into the ground, but I see how Dumbledore and Severus are alike in the sense of basically having enormous regrets to the point of it being unbearable. DD was a natural teacher and thrived in his environment whereas Severus hates this “plan” of his day-to-day life, so there is a big difference in how each man can and will heal those regrets and build a future with any form of happiness or at least peace. There is no right or wrong, to me, about if a man can or cannot enjoy being a leader or a mentor or a role model. Obviously, Severus didn’t want these things, even if he wanted to become a powerful dark wizard to impress a girl. Unfortunately, no matter that one attained more humility than the other, both men left their life unfulfilled – DD says he despises himself at King’s Cross and we might assume that Severus did not get what he needed either (whatever that might be) prior to his death.

Anyway, just a stream of consciousness – thoughts and ponderings on recent posts…  



Madam Pince - May 9, 2009 8:50 pm (#2063 of 2988)  
Any dislike or negative feelings Harry has for Snape are purely Snape's fault, IMO. Snape intended Harry to hate him. He assured Harry's dislike from the very first potions lesson by being absolutely unfair to Harry, and he has nurtured and cultured those negative feelings into hatred over the course of six years. He has really worked on it! --Soli

Agreed 100%. This fits what I have contended all along about Snape (from the very first books, I think, although I would have to go back and check my posts to be sure...) Snape is the stereotypical drill-instructor. He knows what Harry may have to face someday, and he is making darned sure that Harry will be prepared for it. Snape being a "friend" to Harry would probably help him not at all, as a drill instructor being a "friend" to new recruits wouldn't help them either. Both the DI and Snape are trying to keep someone alive, not be their friend.

That said, I don't think Snape went out there with the goal of "I want the Potter boy to hate me." I'm sure he could've cared less how the Potter boy felt about him. He was doing what he could to prepare him, protect him, and keep him alive -- for Lily's sake. In memory of Lily.

I think this is the main reason I have a "soft spot" for Snape, if you could call it that. I recognized right away, from his actions, what he was doing -- he was being a DI. Thus, I thought all along throughout the series that he was going to end up being a "good guy" -- because the DIs are the good guys even if they're rude and nasty and you hate their guts... because in the end, they save your hide. And in my opinion, that more than compensates.



Solitaire - May 9, 2009 9:29 pm (#2064 of 2988)  
It speaks for itself!



mona amon - May 10, 2009 10:11 am (#2065 of 2988)  
But it doesn't really matter. The whole point is that Snape never made the connection that the DE's (or the Dark Arts, if you prefer) and Lily were diametrically opposed. Knowing this, how could anyone conclude that Snape had "looked inward" or been even remotely self-aware? (Quinn)

I completely agree with this. I never saw Severus as being introspective or self aware, and I think his wanting to join an organization that targetted Muggle-borns, and thinking that his Muggle-born friend would admire him because of it are all symptomatic of this, insecurity notwithstanding.

From Jo's description of Snape's lowered voice and her use of the word caress, I received the distinct impression that she wanted us to understand that Snape was talking about the Dark Arts as he would talk about a lover. In other words, it was not the words he was saying but how he was saying them that made the difference. (Soli)

This is what I understood from it as well. I think Severus really did love the Dark Arts. I think she adds Hermione's comment to balance Harry's negative opinion. Loving the Dark Arts need not be a bad thing. In fact, what comes across to me in his speech is both his love for the subject, as well a focus on how to fight them rather than indulge in them, which may not have been there in his earlier days.

Well, Hermione listened to both of them. (Julia)

Yes, but she does not deny the 'loving caress in his voice'. She even tells Harry in what way they are similar, but I'm too sleepy to quote it right now.

About dark genes: I asked the question whether there was a Dark Arts gene, but I did not mean it in a moral sense. (The discussion is very interesting though.) I was referring to a type of talent. (Julia)

I too meant it as a type of talent or a gift, whatever it is that makes makes people into virtuoso muscicians, brilliant scientists, gifted painters. I've explained it further in the latter part of one of my earlier posts, here.



PeskyPixie - May 10, 2009 10:40 am (#2066 of 2988)  
That's too cute, Soli!  



Julia H. - May 10, 2009 11:24 am (#2067 of 2988)  
I too meant it as a type of talent or a gift, whatever it is that makes makes people into virtuoso muscicians, brilliant scientists, gifted painters. I've explained it further in the latter part of one of my earlier posts...

For instance, take a person who's fascinated by crime, and always has been. He has an untroubled childhood and no inborn or environmental reasons to desire violence against his fellow human beings. He does not turn into a criminal. But he has this morbid fascination. So he becomes a police detective or a criminologist, and is of great use to society.

Severus's attraction towards the Dark Arts could have been channelled in a more constructive direction if he had not also been attracted to the DEs. He could have become a healer specializing in Dark Arts injuries, or an auror, or a Defence Against the Dark Arts expert. ... (Mona)


While I can agree with the analogy regarding the fascination with crime, I don't think it is in the same category as the gift that makes one a virtuoso musician etc. It seems to me that the Dark Arts can be practised through many different skills, but the same skills can be used in ways not related to the Dark Arts at all. Apart from that, while the talent for music is innate, I'm not sure that "fascination" with anything can really be innate.

So what I'm saying is that while Snape had talents that could be used very well in Dark Arts related ways (both practising and fighting the Dark Arts), the fact that Snape initially chose to practise the Dark Arts rather than fight them must have been due to some further reasons (IMO, for example, a desire to have "weapons" in his hands, which may have been due to his early experiences; or the fact that it counted as "cool" among his peers and he wanted recognition).



mona amon - May 10, 2009 11:55 am (#2068 of 2988)  
I'm not sure that "fascination" with anything can really be innate.

At the moment I'm re-reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, an account of Durrell's childhood in Corfu. He's absolutely fascinated with spiders, insects, microscopic pond life, dogs, birds, reptiles, or in short, animal life of every sort, from the time he can remember. No one encouraged him or set him an example. It was an innate fascination and he grows up to be a famous naturalist. I imagine Severus's fascination was something like that.

I'll try to answer in more detail in the morning.



Quinn Crockett - May 10, 2009 1:04 pm (#2069 of 2988)  
I'm not sure that "fascination" with anything can really be innate. - I think there are enough examples of children whose interests are completely opposite of their parents or other influences (i.e. Mona's example of Gerald Durrell) to support the idea that, in fact, "fascination with" certain areas is innate. No one really knows why we are attracted to certain objects, certain activities, certain individuals. But we certainly do not choose these. We may well choose not to act on that attraction - that "fascination" - but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Snape was attracted to, "fascinated by" the Dark Arts. Whether this led to his introduction to and association with future DE's or not is not clear, but neither is it unlikely. Like anyone else, Snape found a group where his "fascination" was shared by others. However, in Snape's case this was the kind of thing that most people did not approve of. Regardless, his "best friend", the girl he loved did not approve. Which meant Snape had to choose. Seems odd that he simply could not see that, let alone actually believing that joining up with the very organization that targeted people just like her should make him more admirable in her eyes. What a total dufus, this guy!



me and my shadow 813 - May 10, 2009 6:39 pm (#2070 of 2988)  
I agree with your post, Quinn (...except the dufus part...)



Solitaire - May 10, 2009 7:16 pm (#2071 of 2988)  
I think dufus makes him seem more human ...



Julia H. - May 11, 2009 1:18 am (#2072 of 2988)  
I can agree that Snape may have been fascinated by the Dark Arts in the same way as Durrell was fascinated by animals. (I like that book very much. ) I still doubt that the interest itself is innate. If a child's interests are radically different from those of anyone else in the family, that may make it seem unlikely that the family have influenced the child's interests but it makes it equally unlikely that the interest has been inherited genetically. That does not mean that the person "chooses" the interest. I think interest and fascination focus on areas where the person finds (happens to find?) satisfaction. It can be the pleasure of gathering knowledge or some other kind of enjoyment (e.g. the pleasure that reading gives) or the experience of success (and that is where talent may come in - people tend to be interested in areas where they can use their talents) or other pleasant associations (like sharing the interests of a peer group etc.). Durrell may have been born with strong analytical skills, which could be exercised in a satisfying way by observing insects and other animals, and he was apparently allowed to indulge in this interest, which may count for children as positive feedback.

Anyway, perhaps it does not matter that much. My main point is that I don't see the Dark Arts as a kind of "talent", which is there and you must do something with it. But I agree that Snape was fascinated by the Dark Arts, only adding that there must have been factors that directed him towards the Dark Arts or perhaps reinforced his initial curiosity (like a desire to feel "safe" and powerful, or a feeling of belonging to a certain group etc.). So while he may not have "chosen" to be interested in the Dark Arts, I do think that the circumstances (other than just innate factors) mattered.

I also agree that he could still choose his actual actions, even though certain circumstances may have made some of his choices difficult and he was probably more prone to end up with a bad choice than someone with a more fortunate background.

Seems odd that he simply could not see that, let alone actually believing that joining up with the very organization that targeted people just like her should make him more admirable in her eyes. (Quinn)

That makes me think of the addiction analogy. His judgement or his ability to act upon it seems to be impaired if (regardless of the moral aspects) he managed to choose something so counterproductive, considering his goal.



mona amon - May 11, 2009 9:22 am (#2073 of 2988)  
I don't see the Dark Arts as a kind of "talent", which is there and you must do something with it. (Julia)

It's not a talent any more than physics or chemistry are talents, yet among people who have roughly the same level of talent, one chooses to become a physicist, one a chemist, one an astronomer. The reasons why a person finds one subject more fascinating than the other are surely too detailed and subtle to analyse.

Anyway, whatever the reason, he was enamoured of them even before the age of eleven, and he continued to love them even after he leaves Voldemort.

That makes me think of the addiction analogy.

I prefer the 'dufus' explanation.  Would any person addicted to drugs hear his friend saying, "I hate drugs. I hate your addiction. And I want you to give them up." and translate it into "your addiction makes you so powerful. I just love you for it!"? He may not be able to give them up for her sake, but he's surely not going to think she'd be happy if he didn't.



Julia H. - May 11, 2009 10:20 am (#2074 of 2988)  
Would any person addicted to drugs hear his friend saying, "I hate drugs. I hate your addiction. And I want you to give them up." and translate it into "your addiction makes you so powerful. I just love you for it!"? He may not be able to give them up for her sake, but he's surely not going to think she'd be happy if he didn't. (Mona)

Hm...  Instead of a drug addict, imagine someone addicted to gambling, for example. He might think "all right, you don't like me hanging out at the casino, but wait until I hit the jackpot and ask you to share everything with me...". BTW, I am not saying that Snape is addicted to the Dark Arts, only that there are some parallels in some respects between his relationship with the Dark Arts and with Lily and the relationship of an addict with his addiction and with his family members.



Quinn Crockett - May 11, 2009 10:44 am (#2075 of 2988)  
he was probably more prone to end up with a bad choice than someone with a more fortunate background. - I don't get the connection here. His bad choices came from not seeing that he, himself, was the problem. He chose to blame others, not listen to those he claimed to care about and to just generally ignore the decision-making process and continue on his chosen path.

Even years later, he doesn't seem to recognize that, "Hm. I guess I should have done A instead of B." In other words, he still fails to recognize that he actually had the opportunity to make a choice, at that point. Instead he simply blames someone else for B not working out.

I don't see what this has to do with his background. Look at Draco. He came from a so-called "fortunate background" and his decision-making skills aren't any better.


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Julia H. - May 11, 2009 10:50 am (#2076 of 2988)  
No, I don't think Draco came from a fortunate background at all. I did not mean background as "wealth", at least not simply. I think we definitely see characters for whom it is easier to make the right choices because there is nothing (or hardly anything) to push them in the wrong direction. It is the same in real life and it is all the more admirable when someone can make the right choices in a more difficult situation. For Draco, it would have required a great deal of character to make the right choices, initially.



Quinn Crockett - May 11, 2009 11:43 am (#2077 of 2988)  
Well, what do you mean by "fortunate background" then?

Draco's parents loved him. They were not cold and distant, but were very much a part of Draco's life and included him in just about everything.
Draco's parents had money - he wanted for nothing.
Draco's parents knew the importance of a decent education and were displeased when Draco did not show sufficient effort.
Draco's parents loved each other. They did not argue or fight or compete for his attention. And Draco clearly looked up to his father and adored his mother.
Draco had friends and even girlfriends. One can even say he was well-liked, even if one does not like or approve of Draco's admirers.

We may not agree with the values and beliefs of the Malfoy family, but where is Draco not from a "fortunate background"?



me and my shadow 813 - May 11, 2009 12:46 pm (#2078 of 2988)  
To me Draco didn't have a "fortunate" background at all because his father was a Death Eater and his mother seems to have been a supporter of Vold as well. They taught him values that do not seem to be what I or JKR deem "fortunate". Perhaps Draco thought they were and Lucius and Narcissa thought they were, but that's them. I would equate it with a mob boss's son... is he "fortunate"?

I see it in a similar way that Dudley was "loved", "supported", "provided for", etc., yet Dumbledore's comment at the beginning of HBP at the Dursleys' about Dudley speaks volumes. I am not saying Draco and Dudley are similar or that their situations are the same, but there are similarities.



Julia H. - May 11, 2009 1:13 pm (#2079 of 2988)  
Exactly, MAMS. That's how I meant it. To me, considering the choices a person is likely to make, Draco's background is absolutely unfortunate because it pushes him towards bad choices. Someone of a fortunate background is Ron, who has been brought up by the Weasley parents, not only loving and caring parents but also parents teaching the right kind of values to their children. Even in this family, one of seven children has some bad choices, but in the final moment he is able to return on his own, and his family members are ready to accept him with open arms.

Snape is in need of a mentor or "at least" a real parent, and he does not have one. Another child cannot be his mentor, nor can she give him what he should have got from his parents (or from a teacher). Neglect is not only bad clothes and dirty hair, it is also the lack of proper guidance from an early age. Slytherin House is another unfortunate component in his background. He chooses to be a Slytherin when he is eleven, and I see this as an unfortunate rather than an "evil" choice, but I'm sure it also pushes him towards the really bad choices that he makes later. Lack of proper guidance, the influence of Slytherin, his interest in the Dark Arts and certain personality traits together make him more prone to choose the wrong instead of the right. Someone else might still choose the right instead of the wrong in the same situation. I'm only saying that it is more difficult for some people (e.g. Snape, Draco, Dudley) than for others (e.g. Ron).



Quinn Crockett - May 11, 2009 1:39 pm (#2080 of 2988)  
Draco's background is absolutely unfortunate because it pushes him towards bad choices. Someone of a fortunate background is Ron, who has been brought up by the Weasley parents, not only loving and caring parents but also parents teaching the right kind of values to their children.

So, you're basically basing your definition of "unfortunate background" solely on whether or not you agree with the values and belief system of the character's upbringing.

Agree/share = fortunate.
Disagree/oppose = unfortunate.

The Malfoys, the Blacks - even the Dursleys - all believed they were teaching their children "the right kind of values" too.



Julia H. - May 11, 2009 1:58 pm (#2081 of 2988)  
Hm... I thought we agreed that they were wrong about that.

BTW, I did not define the phrase "fortunate background", I was simply using it in a particular meaning in a particular context. To me, family backgrounds like the Malfoys', the Dursleys' and the Blacks' seem to be decidedly unfortunate for a child. Or bad. You needn't agree.



me and my shadow 813 - May 11, 2009 1:59 pm (#2082 of 2988)  
So, you're basically basing your definition of "unfortunate background" solely on whether or not you agree with the values and belief system of the character's upbringing. - Quinn

I would say Yes, that is how one makes discernments and "fortunate", as an adjective, is a subjective term and thus subject to the discernment of the individual.

edited to distinguish which post I am referring to.



Orion - May 11, 2009 2:35 pm (#2083 of 2988)  
The question is, what do the Malfoy want a good education for? It's not exactly as if they supported an integral idea of education with the goal of a comprehensively cultured individual. For them, education is a means to an end, a tool to worm oneself into the mechanisms of career and influence.

And I find Lucius quite cold and hard on Draco. He chides him constantly. If he loves him, he should show him. If Draco had the feeling he was loved whatever he did he wouldn't be so anxious to follow his parents' aims so religiously. Only strong children can think for themselves.



Quinn Crockett - May 11, 2009 11:05 pm (#2084 of 2988)  
For them, education is a means to an end, a tool to worm oneself into the mechanisms of career and influence. - Not sure that's much different from the view of the average person.

I don't recall Lucius being "hard on Draco" in the books. In the films he is, but in the books he is a pretty regular dad, quite the opposite of Snape's.



mona amon - May 12, 2009 1:17 am (#2085 of 2988)  
Instead of a drug addict, imagine someone addicted to gambling, for example. He might think "all right, you don't like me hanging out at the casino, but wait until I hit the jackpot and ask you to share everything with me...". (Julia)

Sorry Julia, I still don't agree with the analogy, at least on any important point. In your gambling example, there's a payoff (the jackpot that he's sure he'll get) and it's more about the payoff than the addiction. To make it closer to Severus's case, it will be more like the girl telling him, "gambling is against my religious principles. Any money that you make will be tainted. I hate it. Give it up." And the gambler persists in thinking that she'll change her mind when she actually sees the money.

Lily was basically telling him, "I don't like people who use Dark Magic against others and who call people Mudblood. I don't like Death Eaters." Yet he thought that when he actually became a dark magic-practicing Death Eater, she would change her mind and be impressed by him. To me it sounds like a clear case of turning a deaf ear to what his friend is saying because it goes so contrary to what he wants.

Sure there's a resemblance to the addict who wants to remain addicted, so refuses to listen to his friend, but then IMO, there doesn't seem to be much point in the analogy. It depends on what you are trying to prove with it?



Julia H. - May 12, 2009 2:42 am (#2086 of 2988)  
Mona, I'm not trying to prove anything. I see some similarities and I have posted my thoughts. If you don't see them, it's fine.



Quinn Crockett - May 12, 2009 11:57 am (#2087 of 2988)  
The problem with any "addiction" analogy is that it removes the element of choice. Snape was most certainly not without options; he simply chose to ignore them - or in his case, rationalize them - and continue on his chosen path. He had been advised, warned, and reprimanded by the one person for whom he claimed any respect or tenderness. Yet even she was ultimately publicly referred to as "Mudblood".

Lily was basically telling him, "I don't like people who use Dark Magic against others and who call people Mudblood. I don't like Death Eaters." Yet he thought that when he actually became a dark magic-practicing Death Eater, she would change her mind and be impressed by him.

Yeah, I have never understood this part of the backstory, even with the author's "explanations" about it. No matter how you slice it, it just doesn't make any sense.



Julia H. - May 12, 2009 1:23 pm (#2088 of 2988)  
I don't think the addiction analogy removes the element of choice. No addicts can be cured without wanting to be cured, without choosing to give up the addiction. It only highlights the difficulties that exist once you are inside it.

BTW, I was not the one to mention the analogy first, I merely took it one step further. Someone said (I'm paraphrasing) if a friend becomes a drug addict and does not stop despite being told to stop, that is a point where a lot of people would draw the line and put an end to the friendship. To this, I said, unfortunately, addicts, real addicts, are not likely to stop just because they are "told" to stop. On the contrary, the danger of losing a friend may create additional tension, which they try to ease with the drugs, as they do with other problems. I am not saying Snape is an addict, only that the psychology behind his reaction to the possibility of losing Lily's friendship is similar to the above, because - instead of trying a real solution - he clings to the problem itself, looking for a false hope, comfort or "solution" there, which is this time the idea that Lily will change her mind when Snape becomes ... whatever he hopes to become. The "logic" behind it is similar to the "logic" of the addict. It is not real, "rational" logic, of course, but something based on insecurity and inability to address the problem properly. Both the addict and Snape may feel something like "I'm not worthy of her love" - and they turn to pseudo-solutions outside the reality of the problem: The addict looks for the feeling that his problems do not exist, and Snape looks towards an imagined future in which he can become "good enough" for Lily and in which Lily understands and rewards his aspirations. Neither Snape's dreams, nor the artificial feelings of the addict have anything to do with reality, and they both lose what is real and valuable (in Snape's case it's Lily, of course) and the addiction remains.

The options are still there, only they get more difficult over time. I was trying to focus on the psychology behind his bad choices and to give a plausible explanation. It is simply a form of analysis. Trying to understand what motivated Snape's bad choices is not the same as saying that he did not have a choice - as it has been said before, many times.

I have also mentioned that once Snape does try to return to the good side, his situation is again similar to that of an addict trying to return to normal society. His old problems still exist, only they have become much worse, and he has got new problems to deal with, such as the complete lack of human relationships. Then he has to learn how these problems are handled without resorting to the old pseudo-solutions, and it is, well, difficult.



Madam Pince - May 12, 2009 1:57 pm (#2089 of 2988)  
Someone said (I'm paraphrasing) if a friend becomes a drug addict and does not stop despite being told to stop, that is a point where a lot of people would draw the line and put an end to the friendship. --Julia

***raises hand*** Guilty of being the one who started the whole analogy, which still works for me, by the by. I guess it doesn't work for everyone.

It depends on what you are trying to prove with it? --mona amon

I wasn't originally trying to "prove" anything with it, I don't think. The similarities just automatically popped up in my mind when I read some postings about how people felt about Lily asking Snape to stop being friends with pre-DEs. To me, it was very reminiscent of friends telling friends not to take drugs, or not to do "whatever" it is that the friend doesn't approve of, and how it's a tough issue for the friend to decide which is more important -- your principles, or your friend. Everyone makes that choice for themselves, and clearly some lean one way and some lean another.

But if I was going to try to prove anything with it, I'd say it has something to do with the issue of how "most people" (and I'm not singling out anyone here at all -- this is just a general societal observation) would feel at least some sympathy towards an addict (of any type -- drugs, gambling, stealing, whatever) because it is popularly considered partly a mental illness. And thus I might argue that Snape's "obsession" with being popular and/or being liked by Lily could border on that same area. And thus, I don't exactly see where the attitude comes from that "Snape is just a jerk, period, and he was wrong, wrong, wrong, and I have no sympathy for him whatsoever, and Lily was being a true friend but Snape was not." But that's just me -- everyone obviously views the situation differently. *shrugs* Personally I don't think either one of them were being stellar examples of "true friends" but as I noted in an earlier post, they were both very young. (This is not a fully-formed idea here... I've got to be somewhere in 15 minutes... but just a general reply to toss out there...)



Solitaire - May 12, 2009 7:59 pm (#2090 of 2988)  
I might argue that Snape's "obsession" with being popular and/or being liked by Lily could border on that same area.

Sometimes I'm not even sure Snape is obsessed with being liked by Lily as much as he is obsessed with the fact that James likes Lily. He is obsessed with James, and he is obsessed with Lupin and where he goes each month.

I do not have a lot of sympathy for Snape, because I do not believe this conversation with Lily was a bolt out of the blue that he did not see coming. I think the issue of Dark Arts and DEs had been canvassed frequently between them, to the point where Lily finally realized that nothing she could say was going to have any impact ... so maybe she decided to save her breath.



me and my shadow 813 - May 12, 2009 8:14 pm (#2091 of 2988)  
I do see both "sides" of this friendship having very sincere intentions. And I've been on both sides of it, in the (sorta distant) past -- I've waited a relationship out beyond its expiry date and left feeling horrified; and I've had someone tell me they couldn't handle my behaviour and left me in the dust. I don't know if anyone else posting here can fit into either of their shoes (Lily or Severus) but it sure helps when "analysing" or at least understanding where they *might* be coming from. I definitely feel, my own opinion here, that JKR has been on both sides of this chasm.



Quinn Crockett - May 12, 2009 9:56 pm (#2092 of 2988)  
Well, I think we have all "waited out" relationships that we hoped would improve - and some of us have also probably been the dumpee in these. But even if we were the one being dumped, most of the time we have at least a fair understanding of why the relationship isn't working. It's only very rarely that a person truly is completely blindsided by someone telling them, "We're through!"

Snape is not such a person. Lily had made her views known to him. She had expressed concern not just as a personal friend, but as someone who could potentially wind up on the receiving end of Snape's (or one of his cronies') wand. Snape ignored her.

There really isn't any mitigating factor here to account for this. No "addiction" or "unfortunate background". He simply wants what he wants.



mona amon - May 12, 2009 10:27 pm (#2093 of 2988)  
I do see both "sides" of this friendship having very sincere intentions. (Shadow)

Yes, I agree with this. But Severus was so focussed on what he wanted that he refused to bother about what Lily wanted. Lily on her part couldn't understand what Severus wanted. The relationship didn't have a chance, with both of them being so unempathetic to the other.

But if I was going to try to prove anything with it, I'd say it has something to do with the issue of how "most people" (and I'm not singling out anyone here at all -- this is just a general societal observation) would feel at least some sympathy towards an addict (of any type -- drugs, gambling, stealing, whatever) because it is popularly considered partly a mental illness. (Madam Pince)

Thanks for the clarification, Madam P. I did not intend to cause offense by asking what was being proved by the drug analogy. What I meant was, since the two scenarios are very similar, the analogy definitely works at some level, but doesn't work, at least for me, on other levels. I wanted to be sure exactly what I was disagreeing with.

because it is popularly considered partly a mental illness.

This is where the analogy breaks down for me. I completely agree with Quinn about this. It's a question of choice or volition. It is quite possible that the addict really wants to give up the addiction, but does not have the willpower to do so. Here ends the similarity with Severus, IMO. His fascination with the Dark Arts is not some sort of mental illness which he simply can't give up, no matter how much he tries, for which, as you say, the addict might get some sympathy. We are never shown the least bit of 'trying to give it up' on his part. Actually I do feel sympathy for Severus, but for different reasons than for the addict.



me and my shadow 813 - May 12, 2009 10:57 pm (#2094 of 2988)  
I guess a main problem I have with discussing this is the characters were 15 years old when they made "life changing decisions" as far as we the reader are concerned. This is exceedingly difficult to work with psychologically ... ? When I was 15?  Yikes.  



Julia H. - May 12, 2009 11:53 pm (#2095 of 2988)  
I suppose whether we see any mitigating factors here or anywhere else is a question of personality / attitude. I like bringing in new aspects of analysis besides the old ones, but I guess some posters see it as the rejection of the already well-established and amply discussed moral choices line.

It is true that - for whatever reason - Snape does not listen to Lily. But it is also true that Lily does not listen to what Snape is trying to say any better. I agree with MAMS that they are making some very difficult choices at that age, and I still think it is a problem that Snape is in need of guidance (real guidance) and he does not seem to receive it either at home or at school.

If I wanted to see their relationship in a tragicomical light, I would quote the aphorism that a man and a woman will never understand each other because each wants something different: the man wants the woman and the woman wants the man. While this is not true in Lily's case in a romantic sense, it is true that they both are trying very much to make the other one see their respective viewpoints without listening to the other one themselves.



wynnleaf - May 13, 2009 7:08 am (#2096 of 2988)  
I've been gone a few days and just finished reading the last 40 or so posts.

I was struck by the comments a couple of days ago about Draco versus Snape and their "fortunate" and less fortunate upbringing.

The Malfoy situation kind of reminds me of a stereotypical "mob" family situation. Lucius is wealthy and powerful, but achieves his ends through underhanded methods, intimidation, buying people off, and while a Death Eater, through very direct crime including robbery, torture, etc.

While nice that the Malfoys offer their son the benefits of wealth and they do love him, Draco is kind of like the kid raised in a criminal family. He is being raised to follow in the footsteps of his father, raised to follow the Evil leader, raised to believe torture and murder are okay, etc.

This is nothing like the kid raised by a wealthy, loving, law-abiding family that is trying to instill at least the basics of good ethics in their child.

Draco makes his choices because he's been reared to believe in those choices. It's not in spite of his "fortunate" upbringing; it's a direct result of his upbringing.

But Snape's choices as a kid are from quite different motivations than Draco's. One might compare (and it's not a perfect analogy of course), young Snape to the kid from the slums who is from a neglectful and unloving situation, no one teaching him anything worthwhile (ethically, that is), who falls for the lovely and popular girl from the "good" neighborhood and thinks that joining the "mob" and becoming a powerful person in that group will somehow win him the girl.

I'm not really trying to draw a strong correlation between Snape and the "mob" in my above paragraph. I am only trying to point out that Draco and Severus are both from bad backgrounds, albeit quite different ones, and their choices are reflective of their backgrounds. Actually, I think Draco probably had less "choice" than Snape as a kid, because his loving parents actively instilled horrific values and that would be a very powerful force for him to rebel against.



Solitaire - May 13, 2009 7:20 am (#2097 of 2988)  
I like the Malfoys/mob analogy. (Pssst! Is Voldy the Godfather? Just kidding.)



Julia H. - May 13, 2009 7:58 am (#2098 of 2988)  
Yes. Draco got bad guidance, Snape got no guidance at all.



Madam Pince - May 13, 2009 8:40 am (#2099 of 2988)  
There really isn't any mitigating factor here to account for this. No "addiction" or "unfortunate background". --Quinn

You really don't think Snape had an "unfortunate background"? I do, and I think that in the muggle world, it quite possibly would've led to him being steered toward counseling in school or something. Not really a "mental illness," but certainly some mental issues that could stand being worked through a bit.

Also like the mob analogy. Good job.



me and my shadow 813 - May 13, 2009 8:48 am (#2100 of 2988)  
wynnleaf, you're stealing my thunder. I talked about Draco being like a mob boss's son before you. *sniff*  

I agree with Madam P that Severus might have been noticed by Muggle school counselors. But, I think, it is also possible that he would simply be put in a certain category and left alone. This seems to happen all the time, as does bullying go unnoticed or unchecked.



Quinn Crockett - May 13, 2009 11:40 am (#2101 of 2988)  
It's all very well to come up with an analogy or paradigm that we consider cogent and/or valid. But the question still remains: At what point are we going to say that Snape has to be held accountable for his own decisions, his own actions?

Very few people - even fictional ones - are given the kind of "fortunate background" (or even instinct) to be able to always make the "right" choices. Very few people do not feel that they are, in some way, inadequate or inferior to someone else. Very few people ever end up with the person they first fall in love with (a major flaw in JKR's writing, as far as I'm concerned. But that's for another Thread.) But very few people believe that by joining up with a genocidal maniac they will make up for all of these.



PeskyPixie - May 13, 2009 12:17 pm (#2102 of 2988)  
"At what point are we going to say that Snape has to be held accountable for his own decisions, his own actions?"

For me, it's the moment he actually seriously chooses to become a Death Eater as an adult and goes through with the initiation. Personally, I was the 'straight as an arrow' kid and I tend to be that way now as well. However, I am lucky enough to have great parents. As such, I find myself giving those without this support system while growing up, a bit of extra compassion with the hope that when the time comes to make decisions as an adult they will hopefully make the right one. Of course, not all kids from 'bad backgrounds' go bad themselves; it is to their merit that they are able to rise above all that life has thrown at them and become upstanding citizens on their own. Still, I feel for those who weren't naturally 'good' enough to make the right choices as a teen. I feel for Severus's loneliness and neglected upbringing, however, ultimately it is his choice as an adult to join a terrorist organization which will only bring more pain and suffering into the world. At the moment he joins the Death Eaters, he loses my sympathy and he does not gain a minuscule shred back until he turns to Dumbledore - even then, it's not a lot of pity.



me and my shadow 813 - May 13, 2009 12:22 pm (#2103 of 2988)  
Personally, I'm not saying at all that he is not accountable for his decisions and actions. My reason for participating in this discussion is to find out why he made those decisions and acted the way he did. I think these two concepts (trying to understand versus letting someone "off the hook") get stuck in the same category. A judge and jury are different than a psychologist.

For me, it is a complex subject and often -- of course -- is made up primarily of guesswork, particularly because this character does not exist and we can't ask him any questions. But, in response to Quinn's post above, I am holding Severus responsible completely. I've made the analogy to Clarice Starling before: she became fascinated with a serial killer cannibal and found out a lot about him and herself and the world, I think. Some of us feel compelled to study and attempt to understand the Great Subconscious and its incredible complexity, some of us feel more inclined to simplify it. To each his or her own.

edited for clarity



wynnleaf - May 13, 2009 12:49 pm (#2104 of 2988)  
Personally, I'm not saying at all that he is not accountable for his decisions and actions. My reason for participating in this discussion is to find out why he made those decisions and acted the way he did. I think these two concepts (trying to understand versus letting someone "off the hook") get stuck in the same category. A judge and jury are different than a psychologist. (MAMS)

I agree with this. Too often, attempting to understand why a person acts as they do, make the bad choices they make, gets assumed to be "excusing them", which is not the case.

I am holding Severus responsible completely. (MAMS)

I'm not saying I disagree with this, but what exactly does a person mean when this is said? The problem with most people who do wrong is that they did have a choice, at least technically, and in the interest of legality or showing someone right and wrong, or just upholding ethical standards, they do have to be held accountable, whether we're talking about a criminal or even a disobedient child. You can't say that all those circumstances of motivation, or being from a bad family background, or whatever are "excuses".

But what exactly do we mean by "completely responsible"?

Being the person called to account for the wrongdoing? Yes, indeed, Snape was the one to be called to account for his own wrongdoing.

Liable for his own wrongdoing? Absolutely.

Answerable for his own choices? Certainly.

But is he alone the "cause or explanation" for his choices? Is it all just his own internal doings? Were his choices in no way related to the way others reared him? To a lack of mentoring? To the circumstances of being seven years in Slytherin? In other words, to weaknesses that had their root in things he couldn't choose? (yes, he probably chose Slytherin, but not the realities of the characteristics of that House).

While I agree that Snape is reponsible for the effects of his choices, for his decisions, for being the one to answer for what all he did, I don't think the cause of what made him as he was, the person who made the choices he did, is his responsibility alone. Snape's character didn't form in a vacuum of his own internal choices, but included the choices of others and circumstances perhaps no one chose.



Julia H. - May 13, 2009 1:31 pm (#2105 of 2988)  
At what point are we going to say that Snape has to be held accountable for his own decisions, his own actions?

He is accountable as much as anyone else. The HP books are about choices, yes. The question is whether the insight they provide is that characters with the right kind of mindset will make the right kind of choices and characters with the wrong kind of mindset (*substitute the synonym of your choice*) will make the wrong kind of choices or it is something more than that.

We could stop by saying that Snape was evil / stupid / something else and that was all to it. We could decide whether we think he was born to be evil / stupid / something else or whether he chose to be evil / stupid / something else. Personally, I find it more interesting to discuss the complete choice situation for him (and even for other characters). No two characters face exactly the same choice. As in real life, there are always different circumstances, different motivations. Education is about teaching children how to make the right choices at various points in their lives. I admit I'm interested in the motivations of Snape's choices: the obstacles he should have overcome to make the right choice, the forces and character traits that influenced him either way, the reasons why he ended up choosing the wrong instead of the right, the self-destructive stupidity of his choice, the motivations behind his choice, even the "what if's", which we will, of course, never know. It is especially intriguing because when he does return to the good side, the "choice situation" for him is much more difficult than it was originally and it turns out that he can be mentored towards what is right even at the ripe old age of his twenties  and despite the fact that he already has a "past".

Other characters' choices (good or bad) could be analysed in the same way. If we did that, perhaps we would not seem to want to "explain away" Snape's responsibility by discussing his "background". Also, when we discuss responsibility and accountability, I think it is relevant to discuss responsibility for others. When Snape gives the prophecy to Voldemort, he immediately becomes responsible for a family "unknown" to him. Everyone knows that. But I think the responsibility of parents (and teachers) is another interesting topic in the books. In this sense, there are people who are - to various extents - responsible for Snape. This does not mean that Snape is not responsible for his actions, only that the picture is rather complex. When Dumbledore becomes Snape's mentor, I think he voluntarily takes responsibility for him and by doing that he makes up for something that has been so far missing. Snape is redeemed - if he is redeemed - by his own actions, still I find it an important ingredient that he has to first receive something from someone (help, mercy, trust or at least attention) even before proving to be fully worthy of it, something that he can respond to in the long run.

It is true, not all characters end up supporting an evil leader as a "solution" to their various problems. Snape is, however, a case-study of one who does just that, and he does not seem to be born evil and he does not remain "dark" all his life. I find the question why, why, why absolutely valid.

EDIT: Yes, he paid the price for the rest of his life - and not only in a passive way (by suffering about Lily's death) but in a far more difficult active way as well, which I see as a form of taking responsibility for what he had done.



Madam Pince - May 13, 2009 1:41 pm (#2106 of 2988)  
A reason vs. an excuse. Just because something is a reason, does not make it an excuse. I am fascinated with reasons.

Snape made an extremely poor choice by becoming a DE, and he paid for it for the rest of his life, in my opinion. He had valid reasons why he did what he did. He was responsible for his actions, however. And paid the price. And yes, I do feel sort of sorry for him, like I would feel sorry for any kid who had a poor upbringing and a rough childhood who ended up making bad choices while still immature and unable to fully process the ramifications. But the kid is still accountable for those choices.

Snape turned himself around. He served the Order, and Dumbledore trusted him. I can find some good feelings for him because of those things. One huge mistake, made in his youth, essentially ruined (and ended) his life. Other than that, he's guilty of what... being an unpleasant person? I can understand that, and find some room in my heart for that.



Quinn Crockett - May 13, 2009 2:19 pm (#2107 of 2988)  
What confuses me is the argument that Draco came from an "unfortunate background" because his parents subscribed to a belief system not shared by people here; and because they instilled these values in Draco. Snape came to this same belief system (apparently) on his own, yet we are supposed to pity Snape but not Draco.

I find it far worse that Snape should have deliberately and consciously chosen to become a Death Eater, particularly since the girl he supposedly loved would have been a prime target, as opposed to a boy who simply grew up in that culture and was only doing what his parents had taught and expected of him. In that sense, Draco is no different from Ron or Luna.



me and my shadow 813 - May 13, 2009 2:35 pm (#2108 of 2988)  
I pity Draco very much.



Madam Pince - May 13, 2009 4:26 pm (#2109 of 2988)  
Oh, I pity Draco, too. I felt very sorry for him in DH. At least he did have parents that loved him, but oh... he was in such a bad way... I really did think that he was going to die in DH.



me and my shadow 813 - May 13, 2009 5:56 pm (#2110 of 2988)  
While I agree that Snape is reponsible for the effects of his choices, for his decisions, for being the one to answer for what all he did, I don't think the cause of what made him as he was, the person who made the choices he did, is his responsibility alone. Snape's character didn't form in a vacuum of his own internal choices, but included the choices of others and circumstances perhaps no one chose. - wynnleaf

I feel there is a danger in pursuing something to the absolute, because it doesn't exist. Of course Severus's life had external influences; every single person on the planet's life is influenced by their environment, relationships, lack of relationships, etc.

But the delving into whether someone is 100% responsible for their poor circumstance (unless they are seriously handicapped in some way) is, for me, a waste of time. Like saying that someone of a "good" circumstance didn't get their on their own -- it is obviously the case even for the most driven, intelligent, creative, "lucky", self-motivated individual -- yes, you acknowledge there were external influences that got them to that point, but the point is they are there and are responsible for being there. I am speaking of adults here, people who have had time and experience to reflect and to make necessary changes in their life and their behaviour to rectify poor circumstances or poor past choices.



wynnleaf - May 13, 2009 7:46 pm (#2111 of 2988)  
But the delving into whether someone is 100% responsible for their poor circumstance (unless they are seriously handicapped in some way) is, for me, a waste of time. (MAMS)

Well, you said Snape was "completely" responsible, so I assumed you meant completely, which, as I understood it, meant you did actually mean Snape was 100% responsible. Personally, I would consider that most people who do wonderful things, or are highly successful in a good way do not bear the "complete" responsibility for their goodness, their success, etc. On rare occasion one sees a person who appears to succeed against all odds, when truly there seems to be no one else's choices that are helping the person succeed. Similarly, there are very few people who follow evil who are solely responsible for their fall into evil -- somehow inexplicably rebelling against the best care, nurture and other positive forces. Those few do exist of course, but they are rare. I believe we do bear the burden of not only our choices to act, but also our choices to neglect to act, making parents and perhaps (depending on how you view the Hogwarts environment) even Hogwarts staff at least partly responsible as well for student's choices.

Quinn, as for Draco, I do pity Draco's situation quite a bit. It's just that he isn't nearly as interesting a character to discuss because he doesn't make the later positive choices that Snape made. I said earlier that I thought Draco's bad choices were less real "choices" than Snape's because his loving and caring parents were the ones teaching him those horrific values. Perhaps that, and of course his younger age, are the reasons we see little change in Draco. The main thing we do see is his inability to directly kill Dumbledore and perhaps others, and that may be a reflection of having been loved and cared for so much, so maybe Lucius and Narcissa's love did accomplish something positive even as they were instilling their son with the idea that a lot of people's lives are worthless.



Solitaire - May 13, 2009 8:12 pm (#2112 of 2988)  
he isn't nearly as interesting a character to discuss because he doesn't make the later positive choices that Snape made

Actually, we don't know that, do we? Draco gets quite a wake-up call at Malfoy Manor when he is under Voldy's control. We see him not really willing to give Harry and the kids over to the DEs when we all know he knew exactly who they were. Why was he hesitant? Was it admiration that the Trio had managed to stay free that long? Had he heard about how Harry and Hermione had given Voldy the slip on Christmas Eve? How they'd infiltrated the Ministry? Did he possess a glimmer of hope that Harry might really be able to put an end to the misery that was now his life? Hard to say. He does behave cowardly during the Battle at Hogwarts, but we must remember that his mettle had not really been tested as often as the Trio's had been over the years. I do think that seeing a friend--even a creep like Crabbe--die before his eyes had to be terrifying, and perhaps that helped make an impression on him.

In the epilogue, many years later, we see Draco on Platform 9 and 3/4, and he nods civilly to Harry. Does this mean he has changed his ways ... his attitudes? Maybe. If so, I'd say he got there a lot faster than Snape did.



me and my shadow 813 - May 13, 2009 8:56 pm (#2113 of 2988)  
Well, you said Snape was "completely" responsible, so I assumed you meant completely, which, as I understood it, meant you did actually mean Snape was 100% responsible. - wynnleaf

I thought I was clear about my interpretation of the difference between "absolute" (no influences) and "complete" (bearing the responsibility). I will try again: the idea that Severus is "completely" responsible as in no external influences is, as I said, impossible -- to mean he or anyone exists in a vacuum and no one / nothing had any influence. Rather, the idea is that Severus *takes complete responsibility* (hence my saying "he is completely responsible") as an adult for his past decisions and actions.

I view the word 'responsible' to equal *able to respond*. I believe Severus was emotionally ill-equipped but he is able to respond to his past actions.

edited for clarity



Julia H. - May 13, 2009 10:36 pm (#2114 of 2988)  
I, too, pity Draco in HBP and DH. (We don't discuss Draco as much as Snape, it is true.) I cannot tell what is worse: to have loving parents steering the child towards bad choices or to have neglectful parents leaving the child completely alone. Both backgrounds are rather bad.

I tried to look into myself and answer the question why I pity Snape more than Draco. I think I pity them where they start suffering for either their circumstances or their choices. (I admit I cannot pity Goyle as much as Draco, although his bad choices are also influenced by an equally bad background - but we never see him regret anything or feel guilty about anything.) Snape the child (even before making any choices) suffers from neglect and lack of love. In the case of Draco, if Voldemort did not return, he would still grow up with a rather revolting value system, but he might never find it out and could live a comfortable although perhaps in a way empty life with the Malfoy wealth and influence among other pure-bloods of similar thinking. In that case, I would not feel much pity for him. Voldemort, however, returns, and Draco suffers for his parents' bad choices and for his own bad choices (also heavily influenced by his parents). As a result, I pity him. We see Snape suffer and pay for his bad choices, too, and that is where I really start pitying him.

Another important point is that, as Wynnleaf pointed out, we also see Snape change sides and atone for his mistakes. I think Draco also begins to change - he does get to a point where he (at least deep down) rejects what his parents do (when he does not want to identify Harry). However, the story ends before we could really see some catharsis for Draco. That glimpse in the Epilogue tells us that he lives a normal life, but, apart from that, not much about his personal development.

Finally, one more reason why I pity Snape more than Draco is that I feel that Draco manages to avoid the worst in the end. I don't think his soul is burdened with the kind of permanent guilt as Snape's. We may not know it for sure - if he is a very sensitive Draco, it is possible that what he did will haunt him for ever (I'm thinking of letting the DE's into Hogwarts, almost killing a few people in HBP, torturing people on Voldemort's orders even if against his own will). In that case, he deserves even more pity, but my guess is that he does not cross the line where the damage to his psyche is irreversible. He apparently manages to live a normal life post-DH (I'm glad that it's so), while Snape never does. Now, it is possible to say that Snape's inability to live a normal life is Snape's own fault, but I still pity him for it.

All in all, I think my pity is influenced more by the consequences than by the initial bad choices. Of course, I can only speak for myself.

I find it far worse that Snape should have deliberately and consciously chosen to become a Death Eater, particularly since the girl he supposedly loved would have been a prime target, as opposed to a boy who simply grew up in that culture and was only doing what his parents had taught and expected of him.

Snape's choice is more tragic precisely because it is more of a choice than Draco's and results in more guilt. But I don't think he actually realizes (believes, can imagine, understands, whatever) that he is joining a group targeting Lily. (That does not make it any less tragic for me.) I'm saying that because the reason why Snape finally gives up the Death Eaters and Voldemort and is willing to risk his life is that Lily is targeted and he chooses to save her rather than remain loyal to Voldemort. If this is so, I can think of only two possibilities:

One is that initially Snape does not realize (believe or understand) that the girl he loves can indeed be threatened by the group he is joining - and when he does realize it, he quits.

The other possibility is that Snape the twenty-year-old Death Eater loves Lily more than Snape the teenager / student did because Snape the student knowingly chose to join a group targeting Lily, but Snape the Death Eater (who must have known the same thing ever since) suddenly realizes that he loves her more than he loves the DE's, more than his own life even. That would imply that Snape's love for Lily actually grew while he was a Death Eater and was (in principle at least) absorbing the Death Eater ideology and value system with all of its corrupting effects.

I simply find the first possibility more probable than the second one.



Julia H. - May 13, 2009 11:13 pm (#2115 of 2988)  
Too late to edit: That Snape the student does not realize that Lily is targeted by the Death Eaters (and what it implies) can perhaps mean that he is not mature enough to fully understand the realities of life and death - kind of like the Muggle teenager who has seen too many movies and computer games and experienced too little real life to understand that in real life people don't jump back to life after being killed. Or another teenager, who cannot believe that he, just like the next person, can have an accident if he drives after drinking, or starts playing a car race on the highway. He does not want to kill his girl-friend, who is sitting next to him in the car, he only wants to impress her and laughs when she screams. The teenager is responsible for the accident that he causes, but it does not mean that he starts out consciously accepting the idea that she might be killed and being OK with it. I really don't want to start another analogy with this , I just want to explain what I mean by "not mature enough". Later, when Snape is older and has "seen things", he understands the chilling and sobering reality of what it means to be targeted by Voldemort. Just a thought.



Madam Pince - May 14, 2009 5:24 am (#2116 of 2988)  
Again, have to rush  but I had a thought about Snape and Draco last night. I think one of the reasons we see Snape helping Draco is that he sees a bit of himself in the young boy -- in the sense that he's about to be making some very poor choices that he doesn't fully understand. Snape knows what it's like to make the wrong decisions when you're young and then it's too late. I think this is one of the reasons he does the Unbreakable Vow. This needs fleshing out, but I have to run and I wanted to get it down before I forgot.



mona amon - May 14, 2009 8:59 am (#2117 of 2988)  
Very few people - even fictional ones - are given the kind of "fortunate background" (or even instinct) to be able to always make the "right" choices. Very few people do not feel that they are, in some way, inadequate or inferior to someone else. Very few people ever end up with the person they first fall in love with (a major flaw in JKR's writing, as far as I'm concerned. But that's for another Thread.) But very few people believe that by joining up with a genocidal maniac they will make up for all of these. (Quinn)

Good points, Quinn.

I feel there is a danger in pursuing something to the absolute, because it doesn't exist. Of course Severus's life had external influences; every single person on the planet's life is influenced by their environment, relationships, lack of relationships, etc.

But the delving into whether someone is 100% responsible for their poor circumstance (unless they are seriously handicapped in some way) is, for me, a waste of time. Like saying that someone of a "good" circumstance didn't get their on their own -- it is obviously the case even for the most driven, intelligent, creative, "lucky", self-motivated individual -- yes, you acknowledge there were external influences that got them to that point, but the point is they are there and are responsible for being there. (Shadow)


Well said Shadow!

We are all a product of our genes and our environment. Some character traits are inborn. (And of course there's no element of choice in that either.) Yet we do blame or find fault with people, even children, real life people as well as fictional characters.

Harry with Severus's circumstances would have turned out differently from Severus, but he'd also have turned out differently from the Harry we know. Severus with Ron's home environment would have turned out differently, but he would still be different from Ron. If Voldemort had been born into a loving, caring family, he'd still be (IMO) a homicidal psychopath, but a slightly less cold and inhuman homicidal psychopath from the one we know, and so on.

That being the case, when we analyse characters, we sometimes focus on their environment, or the external things that make them do the things they do, and sometimes on their characters, or the internal things that make them act in certain ways, or even both together, depending on which aspect interests us at the moment. It is simplistic to dismiss the former analyses as merely "making excuses", (I'm not saying that anyone here is doing this). It is equally simplistic to dismiss analyses that focus on character rather than environment as "merely calling Severus evil or stupid".

I find it far worse that Snape should have deliberately and consciously chosen to become a Death Eater, particularly since the girl he supposedly loved would have been a prime target, as opposed to a boy who simply grew up in that culture and was only doing what his parents had taught and expected of him. In that sense, Draco is no different from Ron or Luna. (Quinn)

He obviously wasn't thinking of Lily getting targetted, so for me, the question is, how could he be so blind? He evidently has an enormous capacity to block out inconvenient facts. Combine that with a desperate desire to be "part of something big and powerful", ...There's also a definite lack of empathy for the people that he knows will be targetted (the other muggleborns), whether he realises they are going to be killed or not.



Quinn Crockett - May 14, 2009 11:13 am (#2118 of 2988)  
Harry with Severus's circumstances would have turned out differently from Severus - If you are referring to his childhood, I'm not sure I agree that Harry's circumstances were different from Snape's. Perhaps that was the point the author was going for?



me and my shadow 813 - May 14, 2009 11:31 am (#2119 of 2988)  
Their childhoods have similarities but for me one difference that sticks out is that Severus grew up knowing he was a wizard and apparently had access to magical studies. What would Harry have done with such access prior to age eleven?



wynnleaf - May 14, 2009 11:38 am (#2120 of 2988)  
He obviously wasn't thinking of Lily getting targetted, so for me, the question is, how could he be so blind? (mona amon)

I agree. It's really a question of why and how he didn't see that LV was targeting muggleborns and that therefore meant that Lily could likely be targeted.

Harry with Severus's circumstances would have turned out differently from Severus (mona amon)

If you are referring to his childhood, I'm not sure I agree that Harry's circumstances were different from Snape's. Perhaps that was the point the author was going for? (Quinn)


I think JKR meant their backgrounds to be very similar, yet different in the fact that Harry spent his first 15 months with very loving parents. Not only would that help in his early development in learning more about empathizing with others, it also helps Harry to know that the hateful family he lives with is not his true immediate family. He can always imagine (pre-Hogwarts), that his parents loved him and cared for him. And once he knew about Lily and James, he knew they loved him enough to die for him.

Although Snape and Harry have similarities in their pre-Howarts years, this is really a very important difference. Young Severus has to realize that his own father most likely dislikes him and his own mother doesn't care enough to see to his basic daily needs.

I think this made young Severus far more needy when his first opportunity for friendship (at least as far as we know), came up. He is almost desperate to become friends with Lily and then to keep that friendship. Harry is not nearly so insecure. The first other child he meets from the magical world is Draco and Harry immediately identifies Draco as similar to Dudley. Later, even when Harry meets a nicer kid like Ron, he's not nearly so desperate to form a friendship as young Severus had been.

JKR said, and showed in the books, that young Snape was pretty insecure. That's pretty understandable given that he can't help but realize the low regard of his own parents -- those people who are most supposed to love you in spite of anything. Harry doesn't have this hanging over him. At first he can imagine that his parents loved him, and later he learns it as a fact.

After going to Hogwarts, highly insecure young Severus wants to hang on to his Slytherin friends regardless what Lily says. He wants to join something that can make him feel powerful and secure.

Harry, who may have his occasional insecurities especially when he first went to Hogwarts, is mostly very sure of himself. Oh, he's worried about his abilities, but he's not worried about his value as a person and that's what's particularly important. Even in COS when friends are turning their backs on him, Harry is upset, but keeping those friendships is not his primary goal. He doesn't find his security in those friendships. He gets support from his friends, but that's not the same thing as his security as a person.



Orion - May 14, 2009 1:15 pm (#2121 of 2988)  
The difference between Harry and Snape, family background: Once we discussed that. We came to the conclusion that Harry always knew the Dursleys weren't his real parents so he could distance himself from them emotionally and didn't have to take them seriously, whereas Snape lived with his own parents and it's a law of nature that children love their parents and often they love bad parents more, out of despair. And that crucial first year that Harry had with his parents.

Another subject: Why should we feel pity for Draco like for Snape? Not with the snotty, unbelievably mean kid of the first books, more with the tired and exasperated Draco of HBP. I have a bit of a soft spot for Draco because I like his astute intelligence, and because the eternal stereotype "You must like Gryffindor because they're the good ones and you must hate Slytherin because they're the bad ones and the other two are just Gryffindor fan clubs" is tiring and Draco's sharp tongue is sometimes very refreshing.



me and my shadow 813 - May 14, 2009 2:14 pm (#2122 of 2988)  
I agree Orion. The posts were here in case anyone is interested. Of course there's always more to add.



Julia H. - May 14, 2009 3:08 pm (#2123 of 2988)  
It is equally simplistic to dismiss analyses that focus on character rather than environment as "merely calling Severus evil or stupid".

No real analyses should be dismissed, of course. But can we really analyse Snape's character without his experiences and his environment? In Voldemort's case, many of us are convinced that he is a born psychopath. Do we know anything similar about Snape? Sure, he was born with a certain level of intelligence and some talents that made him (for example) a good potion maker, but when we look at that character traits that truly influenced his moral choices, can anyone list the ones that are certainly not the results of his experiences or at least affected by them? Can anyone pinpoint the innate moral character traits that are as independent of his experiences as his dark eyes and his hooked nose? His insecurity? His dark leanings? His courage? His prejudice against Muggles? His loathing of James? His lack of empathy? His poor social skills? Anything else?



Betelgeuse Black - May 14, 2009 7:41 pm (#2124 of 2988)  
I find the subject of pity for some characters interesting. I really felt for young Snape and his situation. It would be a very difficult life to live with neglect, embarrassment and awkwardness everywhere you turned. I started to lose my pity for the boy when he was trying to get the marauders in trouble just to prove a point with Lily. He was trying to build himself up by knocking others down. When confronted with his friend's misdeeds, he laughs it off as nothing. I still pity the adult Snape's situation mainly because he is trying to do something about his past mistakes. If he was not trying to redeem himself, it would be hard to pity his predicament.

I like the drill instructor analogy to a point, but his uneven application of the rules ruins the picture. Drill instructors are typically hard on everyone equally. They'll pick on someone if they sense a weakness that needs to be fixed. Snape does seem to have instances where he is really trying to "fix" Harry's faults but his playing favorites undermines anything he accomplishes.

Betelgeuse



mona amon - May 14, 2009 8:36 pm (#2125 of 2988)  
[I]Harry with Severus's circumstances would have turned out differently from Severus (mona) - If you are referring to his childhood, I'm not sure I agree that Harry's circumstances were different from Snape's. (Quinn)

I was trying to illustrate the idea that both environment and inborn character traits are equally important in making us who we are. A purely hypothetical case- If a baby with all Harry's inborn character traits was born into the Snape household, with Severus's looks and everything, he'd still have turned out differently from the way Severus turned out. So when we analyse a character, it is not necessary to always focus on how his bad background made him what he is- something like that. I think today's not my day for explaining things.


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Solitaire - May 14, 2009 9:21 pm (#2126 of 2988)  
Snape does seem to have instances where he is really trying to "fix" Harry's faults but his playing favorites undermines anything he accomplishes.

I really agree with this statement. His blatant partiality and persecution really undermine his teaching abilities. This has always been a HUGE issue for me as a teacher.



Quinn Crockett - May 14, 2009 10:52 pm (#2127 of 2988)  
Thanks for explaining again, Mona. I see what you mean, now. Sorry about the confusion.



Vulture - May 28, 2009 8:30 am (#2128 of 2988)  
I think this made young Severus far more needy when is first opportunity for friendship (at least as far as we know), came up. He is almost desperate to become friends with Lily and then to keep that friendship. Harry is not nearly so insecure. The first other child he meets from the magical world is Draco and Harry immediately identifies Draco as similar to Dudley. Later, even when Harry meets a nicer kid like Ron, he's not nearly so desperate to form a friendship as young Severus had been. (wynnleaf   May 14, 2009 11:38 am (#2120))

Hello again, Wynnleaf !! Long time !!

I always felt that, in Book 1, JKR seemed to be implying that everyone , no matter what their circumstances, has choices, and that (as Dumbledore says in Book 2) it is their choices that determine what they grow to be. Circumstances seemed to take a back seat at that stage. Harry, in Book 1, came across as very self-confident even before Hagrid arrived _ despite it being clear that he had endured "ten miserable years" with the Dursleys. Both Dudley and Draco seem to be clearly disapproved of by the 'author's voice', because they make bad choices despite being given everything.

By the time of Book 7, JKR's line on this is less clear. Dumbledore, in Book 6, describes Dudley as, in fact, more abused than Harry by being spoilt, and in Book 7, Dudley does make a good choice. In Snape's first encounter with James, JKR makes a point of describing James as coming from a more loving and cared-for background. There is a hint that James is somewhat spoiled _ his "Who wants to be in Slytherin ? _ I think I'd leave, wouldn't you ?" is, I believe, deliberately meant to echo Draco's similar comment about Hufflepuff in Book 1.

Another subject: Why should we feel pity for Draco like for Snape? Not with the snotty, unbelievably mean kid of the first books, more with the tired and exasperated Draco of HBP. (Orion   May 14, 2009 1:15 pm (#2121))

Well, this should really be on the Draco thread, but I think JKR intended us all to argue for all eternity on just WHY Draco was so hell-bent on not letting Crabbe and Goyle kill Harry _ was it the reason he stated, or was that just telling Crabbe & Goyle what they wanted to hear ?

I was trying to illustrate the idea that both environment and inborn character traits are equally important in making us who we are. A purely hypothetical case- If a baby with all Harry's inborn character traits was born into the Snape household, with Severus's looks and everything, he'd still have turned out differently from the way Severus turned out. (mona amon   May 14, 2009 8:36 pm (#2125))

I agree !!

Actually, at those moments in the whole story when I was leaning towards the "Snape is on the good side" camp, I always felt that Snape was fighting himself , and a lot of his deepest inclinations, half the time. His relations with Harry are an obvious example, but _ apart from Dumbledore _ he seemed to dislike most, if not all, of the Order members on a personal level, yet went all out to obey Dumbledore's orders and protect them. I think he felt a deep loyalty to Slytherin which survived his defection from Voldemort's side, and I think the same is true of his talent for Dark Magic.

==============================================

By the way, as I haven't been back here since Book 7 _ Wynnleaf, you turned out to be so right, in such detail, on what JKR ended up doing with the story, that I'm half-convinced that you're JKR in disguise !!



PeskyPixie - May 28, 2009 10:47 am (#2129 of 2988)  
I've always loved reading your posts, Vulture. I'm so glad to see you back here.  

"I always felt that Snape was fighting himself , and a lot of his deepest inclinations, half the time. His relations with Harry are an obvious example, but _ apart from Dumbledore _ he seemed to dislike most, if not all, of the Order members on a personal level, yet went all out to obey Dumbledore's orders and protect them. I think he felt a deep loyalty to Slytherin which survived his defection from Voldemort's side, and I think the same is true of his talent for Dark Magic." -Vulture

I agree with this. However, I wonder how Snape truly feels about McGonagall. I get the feeling that he does not despise her. Perhaps it's more of a healthy respect for his former professor? He does seem genuinely happy when she is released from St. Mungo's (OotP), although he is beyond irritated when she starts dishing out points to Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.

ETA: "I was trying to illustrate the idea that both environment and inborn character traits are equally important in making us who we are. A purely hypothetical case- If a baby with all Harry's inborn character traits was born into the Snape household, with Severus's looks and everything, he'd still have turned out differently from the way Severus turned out." -mona

BTW, Mona, I keep forgetting to mention that I completely agree with this. Well put!  



Madam Pince - May 28, 2009 2:00 pm (#2130 of 2988)  
Ever since McGonnagal's comment about how Professor Snape has never let her forget it that Gryffindor didn't have the Quidditch Cup, I got the impression that the two of them got along fine. It sounded like a good-humored ribbing / rivalry somehow... just the way she said it. If it had been truly adversarial, I would've expected to see something like "... said McGonnagal, lips pressed tightly together in barely-concealed disgust" or something.



Vulture - May 29, 2009 5:41 am (#2131 of 2988)  
Oh yes, I don't think McGonagall would genuinely dislike someone over sport _ though she would be intensely into the Quidditch rivalry. At the end of the day, McGonagall always insists on being fair, to the point (as we've often seen) of exasperating her House students: e.g. she tells off Lee Jordan for taking sides over Flint's foul in Book 1, even though it clearly was a foul.

Snape's relationship with Quidditch is slightly more ambiguous. Of course, he loves it when Slytherin win _ he doesn't let McGonagall forget, as Madam Pince just pointed out, and in "The Quidditch Final", Book 3, he's every inch the Head Of Slytherin in the supporters' stands.

Nevertheless, I can't recall any scenes where we directly hear Snape talking about Quidditch itself, enthusiastically or not. What we get is second-hand reports _ McGonagall's accounts, and JKR's mentions of biases and rivalries in the run-up to major games. Quidditch is also a reminder of the "great big Quidditch hero", James _ a rival whom Snape does seem to hate. In Book 5, we find out that Snape wasn't that great on a broom _ at least when he was first learning _ a contrast with James which he can't feel too great about.

As far as I recall, we only see Snape on a broom twice _ in the match he referees in Book 1, and during the pursuit of "The Seven Potters" in Book 7. In the first, Snape nearly gets knocked off his broom by Harry, gets a Bludger hit at him, and keeps dishing out penalties to Gryffindor right, left, and centre (nervousness, perhaps ?). In the second, he aims a spell at a Death Eater and hits George, who was on the broom Snape was trying to protect. One could see these events as indicating that Snape isn't at ease on a broom _ though in the Book 1 incident, the reason could also be that he was trying to keep an eye on Harry in case Quirrell tried a second attempt on his life.

===========================================

Thanks very much, PeskyPixie !! _ very kind of you to say so.



wynnleaf - May 29, 2009 8:31 am (#2132 of 2988)  
Hi Vulture! It's great to see you back here!

I agree with your comments about JKR's gradual developing of the choices versus circumstances aspect of what determines people's lives. I think JKR wanted to make some strong statements about choice and that one's own choices are very important, but then I think she also wanted to show that many people's circumstances make those choices a lot more difficult. In other words, someone who is brought up being taught all the wrong things, or being unloved by their own parents, or in an abusive situation may have a lot more difficult time making the right choices than someone always brought up in much better circumstances. Characters are still responsible for their own choices, but we (the readers) also get to see that some of those characters, including Snape, are going to be far more tempted to make bad choices and some might not even realize at first that the choices they are making are bad.

Snape and Quidditch. Hm. I think there's supposed to be some sort of regulations in Quidditch Through the Ages for referees, but maybe I'm remembering wrong. I thought you had to have a certain level of expertise to referee.

In OOTP, the girl laughing as Snape's broom is bucking is, I think, more to show us an instance of young Severus being laughed at, than to give us info on his broom riding ability. Harry's broom bucked around when it was hexed, so maybe Snape's broom was hexed. But regardless of what we were meant to think of his ability on a broom, I think we were supposed to see another student laughing at him as something that would really disturb him and also something that would give us a picture of how he felt others viewed him.

By the way, as I haven't been back here since Book 7 _ Wynnleaf, you turned out to be so right, in such detail, on what JKR ended up doing with the story, that I'm half-convinced that you're JKR in disguise !! (Vulture)

Ha! I was right about a lot, but one thing I would never have done was have Harry forgive Snape after Snape was dead. I had really felt that forgiveness of a dead person was a kind of "easy" forgiveness. Of course, I would never have killed off Snape, regardless of how much it seemed demanded by literary themes and conventions. But I do feel that the themes of the story and the character arcs needed a more direct forgiveness than JKR managed for Harry. I can completely understand that she wouldn't have Snape ever come out with an apology to Harry. I can understand her having Snape die still disliking Harry. But I don't think it was fair to the ongoing, seven-book enmity between the two to have Harry basically forgive Snape off the page, after Snape's death, and we only find out about it when Harry alludes to his revised opinion of Snape 19 years later.

However much I think JKR should have shown Harry's change of attitude toward Snape while Snape was still alive, I honestly don't think she could do it. She said later in interviews that Harry probably wouldn't visit Snape's portrait. What??!! He would name his son after Snape, but wouldn't ever visit his portrait? Personally, I think that it would be in Harry's character to visit the portrait eventually. But I don't think JKR can envision it. Even now, after thousands of pages of writing, seven books and many years envisioning Snape's character, and about 25 years after having been in chemistry class, JKR still can't dislodge the Snape-is-the-teacher-on-whom-I-want-revenge perspective. In my opinion, it probably is still a personal thing with her. If she can't envision herself directly talking to her teacher, she can't envision Harry directly doing it either. All my personal opinion, of course.



Julia H. - May 29, 2009 1:33 pm (#2133 of 2988)  
Of course, I would never have killed off Snape... (Wynnleaf)

Wynnleaf, I'm sure you are not JKR!  



Madam Pince - May 29, 2009 7:38 pm (#2134 of 2988)  
Quidditch is also a reminder of the "great big Quidditch hero", James _ a rival whom Snape does seem to hate. --Vulture

I agree. Particularly any gifted Quidditch player (especially one with dark hair and glasses) is practically guaranteed to earn Snape's intense dislike. The whole Quidditch thing is just one big reminder of James.

Even now, after thousands of pages of writing, seven books and many years envisioning Snape's character, and about 25 years after having been in chemistry class, JKR still can't dislodge the Snape-is-the-teacher-on-whom-I-want-revenge perspective. In my opinion, it probably is still a personal thing with her. If she can't envision herself directly talking to her teacher, she can't envision Harry directly doing it either. All my personal opinion, of course. --wynnleaf

Not just your personal opinion -- mine too!  I have had people tell me incredulously that they can't believe I have a different viewpoint of Snape than that of even the author herself, (based on JKR interviews) and if the author feels that way, then clearly I am wrong.  Well, perhaps... but not if the real case is that the author herself is somewhat stubbornly blind because she's envisioning a personal situation from her past or something. It almost seems to me like that's what it has to be. Of course, she has said (I believe) that only one of her characters was based on a "real" acquaintance (wasn't it Ron? based on one of her good friends?) but naturally she would say that, particularly if she had unpleasant associations with the person.



Solitaire - May 29, 2009 9:44 pm (#2135 of 2988)  
I thought she said Lockhart was based on someone she knew. Wrong?



PeskyPixie - May 29, 2009 9:49 pm (#2136 of 2988)  
Lockhart is also based on someone she knows. She claims that this person is such a Lockhart that he wouldn't see the similarities himself, so no worries there.  

I also didn't like the way Harry's personal resolution with Snape was 'off-camera'. After the development of this elaborate story I felt denied of the culmination.



mona amon - May 29, 2009 10:03 pm (#2137 of 2988)  
Hi Vulture! So glad you're back, and hope to see you more often!  

Pesky, thanks from me also, for your kind words about my post!  

But I don't think it was fair to the ongoing, seven-book enmity between the two to have Harry basically forgive Snape off the page, after Snape's death, and we only find out about it when Harry alludes to his revised opinion of Snape 19 years later. (Wynnleaf)

I also didn't like the way Harry's personal resolution with Snape was 'off-camera'. After the development of this elaborate story I felt denied of the culmination. (Pesky)


Ah, we never could agree about that, could we?  

It would have been great to have Harry forgive Snape when he was still alive, and I'm very curious about what Severus's reaction to that forgiveness would have been if he had known. However, I do not agree that the character arcs needed a more direct forgiveness than JKR managed for Harry. Severus could have got a more direct forgiveness only if he had been (or become) more directly apologetic, more consciously remorseful, more open about his own role in Harry's parents' deaths. But this was not in Severus's character as JKR envisioned it.

JKR still can't dislodge the Snape-is-the-teacher-on-whom-I-want-revenge perspective. In my opinion, it probably is still a personal thing with her.

Unless she's suffering from the same type of arrested development as Severus , I can't believe that she still holds a grudge against her chemistry teacher. Nor do I believe she disliked Severus at all, but that's for another post.

(Editted to add quote from Pesky's post)



PeskyPixie - May 29, 2009 11:35 pm (#2138 of 2988)  
I didn't need Snape to be alive; I just personally wanted to see Harry process all of the information he gets from the Pensieve. Even a two line hint about how shocked or numb he is would have been enough for me.



Dryleaves - May 30, 2009 12:47 am (#2139 of 2988)  
I just personally wanted to see Harry process all of the information he gets from the Pensieve. (Pesky)

I feel the same way. This was something I missed in DH.

Unless she's suffering from the same type of arrested development as Severus, I can't believe that she still holds a grudge against her chemistry teacher. Nor do I believe she disliked Severus at all (Mona)

Maybe that's why she understands him so well..?  But I agree that she didn't dislike Severus. Even if it seems so from the interviews, I don't think it seems so from the books (IMO, of course  ). Maybe it's an interesting case of mixed emotions?



Julia H. - May 30, 2009 2:27 am (#2140 of 2988)  
I have had people tell me incredulously that they can't believe I have a different viewpoint of Snape than that of even the author herself, (based on JKR interviews) and if the author feels that way, then clearly I am wrong. (Madam Pince)

Think of all those authors who did not leave volumes of interviews behind them. Do we know what they would have said (off the pages of their books) about their characters? Do we know what Shakespeare thought of Hamlet? Did he like King Lear? Yet, the characters can be discussed and interpreted on the basis of the works alone. Sure, knowing about the historical-political background and the author's personal experiences may help with certain aspects of interpretation, but I prefer them to broaden rather than to narrow the scope of interpretation. As for the author directly giving her opinion about the character: It may be a very important opinion, but it is an opinion. If it happens to be contrary to what is in the books (for example), then it is certainly not more "right" than any other opinions.

I also would like to see a lot more of Harry's reaction to Snape's true story, and I would like to see the reactions of some of the other characters as well.

Of course, I would never have killed off Snape, regardless of how much it seemed demanded by literary themes and conventions. (Wynnleaf)

Perhaps it would have been a Gryffindor thing to leave Snape alive and redeemed despite those conventions... I don't know.  



Solitaire - May 30, 2009 1:18 pm (#2141 of 2988)  
Harry does mention about Snape's true loyalties and his love for Lily in the final battle with Voldemort. Maybe that is where Harry processes it ... or, at least, where he begins to turn it over in his mind, as he is talking about it. He is not allowed the luxury of time before the confrontation, and Snape's character could never have stood to have Harry know the information when Snape was still alive, IMO. It's sad, too, because he is someone in the Wizarding World who could have helped Harry know his mom in a much deeper way.



wynnleaf - May 30, 2009 1:34 pm (#2142 of 2988)  
I can certainly understand why the plot as JKR wrote it needed Snape dead in order for Harry to forgive him. After all, Snape wasn't going to turn over loads of memories unless he was extremely desperate to get the info out and it be believed, in this case for a kind of deathbed confession sort of thing.

But it's not like that's the only alternatives JKR had. The way DH works out, the reason Harry believes Snape is because first, he knows that the memories are real, not altered like Slughorn's memory in HBP, and Harry forgives Snape because he sees some of his youth and sees that Snape loved Lily. It would have been no more difficult to come up with a different plot where Harry could have learned about Snape's past without resorting to deathbed memories. A meeting with Petunia, for instance, could have included a copy of The Prophet with a photo of Snape and Petunia could have told Harry loads about Snape. Then a few other pieces of info could have come together from other sources -- a pensieve memory of Dumbledore's for instance, or even just a memory of Snape's regarding his talks with DD. Harry could have discovered who gave him the sword and that Snape's patronus was a doe. Harry could have started putting two and two together and started realizing a few things like that no one was going after Order members McGonagall or Hagrid, or that Snape alerting the Order to rescue Harry in OOTP was completely contrary to LV's plans, or that only an idiot could work at Hogwarts for 17 years and think sending Neville, Ginny and Luna to Hagrid for detention was a punishment. Lots of things could have given Harry very similar information as he got from Snape's memories and he could have changed his mind about Snape without Snape having to die right in front of him and hand over the memories.

In other words, it was JKR's choice to have Harry learn the truth about Snape after Snape was dead. Even in real life, it's generally easier to forgive someone who is dead and you never have to see again, than to forgive someone still alive who you have to interact with. In a book, making this enmity between Harry and Snape an ongoing thing from the first class at Hogwarts, it's a bit of a cop out (in my opinion) to first give Harry the easier option of forgiving Snape after he was dead and then to skip the part where Harry has to actually deal with or process the fact that he's been wrong about Snape, or that even if he's right about Snape being a git, he's completely wrong about Snape's loyalties, his motivations, or his supposed cowardliness.



Madam Pince - May 30, 2009 3:29 pm (#2143 of 2988)  
I thought JKR had said Lockhart wasn't based on anyone she knew, because everyone was trying to guess who he was because he was so awful, and she said he was nobody. But I could be totally wrong. Maybe that was Snape... Anyway...  Pesky's recollection of the "he wouldn't recognize himself anyway" does sound vaguely familiar, too.

Julia, I agree -- thanks! I have, though, had people tell me that she's the author, for Pete's sake, so surely she knows what the character is supposed to be more than me, since she created him after all!

Good thing such things are subjective, or this would be a quiet forum...  



wynnleaf - May 30, 2009 3:43 pm (#2144 of 2988)  
I thought JKR had said Lockhart wasn't based on anyone she knew (Madam Pince)

Well, around the time COS was published, JKR said that only one of her characters was based on a real person. What JKR said was that Lockhart was specifically based on one person who, she said, was just like the character. She said she had no worry that the real person would recognize himself, because he never would. In fact, she said that the real person was probably telling people either that he was the model for Dumbledore or that he was the actual author and he had generously allowed JKR to put her name to the books.

She later said on several occasions that Snape was modeled on a past teacher. After DH, during her appearance in New Orleans, she specifically said that she based him on her chemistry teacher to get "revenge". I don't think she meant "revenge" in a mean-spirited way, but just the kind of "revenge" one might want on a teacher under whom you made a bad grade. One American or Canadian teacher (can't recall which) who taught at the school for one year and taught JKR as well, recalled that the particular teacher looked a great deal like the way Alan Rickman does in the films (only younger). Added to that are the interesting facts that JKR's mom also worked in the science block, under the chemistry teacher's supervision, and that he thought quite highly of JKR's mom.

JKR has admitted to using friends names in the books, even as names for Death Eaters. And people who knew her in school have felt very strongly that some of the other characters were based on specific past teachers.

Lots of books carry disclaimers saying something about none of the characters or events in the books are related to any real person alive or dead. None of the Harry Potter books, in any printing, have any such disclaimer.



Solitaire - May 30, 2009 3:59 pm (#2145 of 2988)  
it's a bit of a cop out (in my opinion) to first give Harry the easier option of forgiving Snape after he was dead and then to skip the part where Harry has to actually deal with or process the fact that he's been wrong about Snape

Actually, for some people, it is much more difficult not to have the opportunity of asking the wronged person for forgiveness. There is always this huge feeling of guilt for having wronged someone unjustly, and it hangs like a dark cloud over one's life forever. I think Harry is the kind of person who would be emotionally strung out over such a wrong on his part. I believe it is the the way Snape treated him for so many years--badly--that enabled him to come to terms with it all, eventually, to (perhaps) finally say, "Yes, I was wrong about him ... but based on his actions, I guess he just didn't want me to know."

I'm glad Harry is able to move on with his life ... but it does not seem as though he did so in a quick, overnight way. I'm sure it took some time, after the dust of battle had settled and the dead had been buried and mourned, to come to terms with all he'd learned about everyone that night. Perhaps that is why he was able to feel that all was well 19 years later.



wynnleaf - May 30, 2009 8:35 pm (#2146 of 2988)  
Actually, for some people, it is much more difficult not to have the opportunity of asking the wronged person for forgiveness. (Solitaire)

While some might feel that Harry needed to ask Snape's forgiveness, I really don't think JKR felt that he did. And Harry was supposed to be fooled, like everyone else, into thinking Snape a traitor. So what did he have to ask forgiveness for?

No, it's the part of Harry forgiving Snape that was important. That's the part JKR had Harry consider in OOTP and HBP, when he decidedly pondered the fact that he would never forgive Snape, making it practically a literary imperative that he would forgive him eventually. And we didn't get to see the process, and he was given the easier way to forgive -- when you don't have to forgive a living person.

In my opinion, for the reader, imagining Harry going through the process isn't the same at all. JKR could have just told us after LV's death that, hey guys, don't worry, Harry survived, got married, and had kids. Is that really a good ending? Of course not. REaders needed to see that Harry survived, married, and had the family he always wanted. Ditto with the forgiveness of the series-long enmity with Snape. Readers should have seen it, and they couldn't see it, in my opinion, because JKR probably couldn't actually visualize it herself, just as she said she didn't think Harry would actually visit Snape's portrait. She can't picture it (forgive the pun).



Madam Pince - May 31, 2009 5:38 am (#2147 of 2988)  
JKR strikes me as the sort of person who does not forget, ever, a wrong that was done to her personally. So what you just said makes total sense to me, wynnleaf. She can't picture it, because she herself would never do it.



PeskyPixie - May 31, 2009 8:12 am (#2148 of 2988)  
"JKR strikes me as the sort of person who does not forget, ever, a wrong that was done to her personally."

I got this impressions of her as well, Madam Pince. From what I've seen/heard/read in interviews, she seems like a bit of a grudge-holder herself, just like a certain somebody we all know.  

Personally, I didn't need to see Harry married, or even grown-up. I would have preferred to see our young Harry for one final chapter. Maybe a bit of his thoughts, his hopes for the future, the extreme confusion, shock, hopefulness, emptiness, sorrow he's going through, but with the knowledge that he will make it. I just needed closure for the character of young Harry (which would include at least a few lines about the greasy git lying dead in the Shrieking Shack; I'm sure it would cause many contradictory reactions within him - especially with the knowledge that Snape had loved his mother until his dying moments). After that I would be able to accept the epilogue and Harry's acceptance of Snape's character. Without those final thoughts from young Harry, the epilogue (and his respect for Snape) feel awkward to me as a reader.



Julia H. - May 31, 2009 8:59 am (#2149 of 2988)  
I agree that I would have preferred seeing Harry's immediate reactions to Snape (and to some other things) to seeing his general attitude and life 19 years later. From an objective viewpoint, Harry did not need to ask Snape's forgiveness - he (as everyone else) had been meant to think Snape was a traitor; still I think, after the battle, Harry's subjective emotions concerning Snape must have been mixed and complex and would have deserved a paragraph or two. I would definitely be interested in how Harry forgave Snape - we learn the reason why he forgave, of course, but we never find out how easy or how difficult it was or how exactly he felt about Snape after that. I would have liked to see McGonagall's reactions, too: While she had done the right thing in the light of what she had believed to be the truth in The Sacking of Severus Snape; subjectively, it may not have been very easy for her to come to terms with the memory that she had almost killed Snape or that her last words to him had been "coward".



Solitaire - May 31, 2009 10:46 am (#2150 of 2988)  
I think Harry's forgiveness of Snape shows up in that final battle scene, when he tells Voldemort that Snape was always Dumbledore's man, and that he always had loved Lily for his whole life. Granted, it came too fast ... but like I said before, Harry didn't have the luxury of time. I think that saying those things to Voldemort--and before everyone else who was present (which was much of the WW)--was his way of expressing that he had forgiven Snape.



Soul Search - May 31, 2009 11:34 am (#2151 of 2988)  
I am not sure what Harry had to forgive Snape for.

All I can think of is Harry's believing Snape was on Voldemort's side, but Snape promoted that. Snape didn't trust Harry enough to tell him the truth.



Solitaire - May 31, 2009 1:30 pm (#2152 of 2988)  
I think it's really more acceptance of the truth than forgiveness ... although Snape did hurt Harry quite frequently and, I think, intentionally.



Julia H. - May 31, 2009 1:52 pm (#2153 of 2988)  
Well, there was that Prophecy thing ... Snape needed to be forgiven for that by someone even if he did not acknowledge it and even if he did not expect forgiveness.



Madam Pince - May 31, 2009 6:41 pm (#2154 of 2988)  
I think Harry's forgiveness of Snape shows up in that final battle scene, when he tells Voldemort that Snape was always Dumbledore's man --Soli

I agree, Soli. This was important in that it was done in front of everyone, too. I just wish she'd have spent a little more time on that, though. I know we were winding up to the big climactic scene of killing Voldy, but I still think something that important should've been given a little more emphasis. Maybe even just a couple lines could've done it... "The crowd surrounding the dueling duo gasped in shock... you could hear whispers rippling around...'What did he say? Snape was still with Dumbledore?'" or something. And a little stronger reaction from Voldy would've been nice, too. As Soli said, the scene as it is just went a little too fast.



wynnleaf - Jun 1, 2009 6:14 am (#2155 of 2988)  
I think Harry's forgiveness of Snape shows up in that final battle scene, when he tells Voldemort that Snape was always Dumbledore's man (Solitaire)

While I disagree that this shows forgiveness (as far as I can tell, it only shows a revised opinion about Snape's loyalties), we do see in the Epilogue that Harry must have forgiven Snape.

But that's not what I or others find a problem. Yes, we can see that at some point Harry forgave Snape, but we never saw Harry forgive him on the page. When Harry talks to LV, whether or not it indicates that he had forgiven Snape, Harry is not currently forgiving Snape at that point. He had either already done it, off the page, or he hadn't done it yet and had only revised his opinion of Snape's loyalties and was acknowledging that to LV.

The point isn't wondering whether Harry forgave Snape. He obviously did. The point is that we don't see him do it. We see Harry hate Snape, and think several times about how he'll never forgive him, think about torturing him under cruciatus, and so forth. But we aren't shown the point where Harry changes his mind. We only see it after the fact, and then only in a very oblique way, where the reader is led to believe Harry must have forgiven Snape, because he named his son after him and called him the bravest person he'd ever known. Harry never actually even says after the fact that he forgave Snape.



Madam Pince - Jun 1, 2009 6:57 am (#2156 of 2988)  
I just went back and looked at "The Prince's Tale" again, because I was thinking that the start of the next chapter would've been the ideal place for JKR to have inserted some text about Harry realizing the truth about Snape, and also forgiving him. That chapter ends with the end of Snape's memory. Then we go right into "The Forest Again," which starts off by saying "Finally, the truth." But it's not "the truth about Snape" (which is what I was thinking about at the end of that chapter.) The next chapter just delves immediately into Harry panicking because he's realized that he has to die, and that was Dumbledore's plan all along. After the end of "The Prince's Tale," Snape is dropped like a hot potato.

That's interesting. To me, "The Prince's Tale" was more about Snape's story, his history, his defense, if you will. But clearly, to JKR, "The Prince's Tale" was just a means to explain to Harry what Dumbledore's long-term plan for him had been. My focus in that chapter was on Snape; JKR's was on Harry.

You know, this is an interesting epiphany for me. I never cared for the chapter "The Forest Again," from the very first read. I even posted here that I couldn't understand why everyone got all weepy and emotional and all, talking about how powerful it was that Harry was walking beside the spirits of his parents and all. I recall actually feeling mildly irritated that the chapter was taking so long and I think I really skimmed over parts of it because I was anxious to get on to the rest of the story. Now I think I know why -- I was wanting to know about Harry and Snape. Huh. Funny the realizations you come to about yourself years later!  

I go back now and read the end of "The Prince's Tale" and the beginning of "The Forest Again," and it feels to me like there's a couple of pages missing in there. After all that was revealed in that chapter -- after all the series-long questions that were answered -- not a word about his feelings about Snape and his mother? ... not even a word about "Wow, imagine that... Aunt Petunia??? After all these years I never suspected that one!" What we get instead is just an immediate segue into "Dumbledore's betrayal." Now looking back on it, I see why I was disappointed and didn't care for "The Forest Again."

I wonder if it was the editors' decision -- hurrying the pace up to get to the conclusion of what happens to Harry -- assuming that Harry is the total focus? For us loyal readers, there are a lot more things to the story than just Harry's story, and we would've appreciated hearing about them also instead of just being rushed through them to get to the end. Or at least I would've.

This is off-topic, but I even felt that Voldemort's death didn't get the "screen-time" it deserved. It felt to me like, just *boom!* and he's dead, and the next scene is the party afterwards, with no further mention of Voldy except that they laid his body in some room. Feels to me like there's a "wrap-up" chapter that's missing there. I'd have far rather had that, than the "Nineteen Years Later" doo-doo. I really could've cared less about the next generation. If she wanted to do that, I'd have preferred that to be the first chapter in another series.  I mean, come on -- who didn't know that Ron and Hermione would marry, and Ginny and Harry would marry? Really.  



mona amon - Jun 1, 2009 10:12 pm (#2157 of 2988)  
I just personally wanted to see Harry process all of the information he gets from the Pensieve. (Pesky)

I feel the same way. This was something I missed in DH. (Dryleaves)


Am I the only snape-fan here who is satisfied with it the way she wrote it?  

I think JKR had a choice. After he defeated Voldemort she could have shown Harry getting Severus's body brought in, and saying something about him to the others, or he could have talked about it with Ron and Hermione while walking to Dumbledore's office (What we actually get is "paistakingly, he recounted what he had seen in the Pensieve and what had happened in the forest, and they had not even begun to express all their shock and amazement when at last they arrived..." DH, chapter 36), or she could have had a funeral for all the victims including Severus, with Harry saying a few words. Or she could keep us guessing till the very end, and then spring her surprise with the Albus Severus information.

Personally, I liked the surprise. It told me all that I wanted to know. But I realise that the other alternatives would have worked equally well. I would only have been upset if Severus had not got that really enormous tribute from Harry in the end.

A meeting with Petunia, for instance, could have included a copy of The Prophet with a photo of Snape and Petunia could have told Harry loads about Snape. (Wynnleaf)

I actually imagined such a scenario so vividly after HBP that I was really disappointed that it didn't happen. Petunia peeking over Harry's shoulder while he was reading a copy of the Daily Prophet with a large 'Wanted' picture of Snape, and exclaiming, "it's that awful boy!"  

In my opinion, for the reader, imagining Harry going through the process isn't the same at all. JKR could have just told us after LV's death that, hey guys, don't worry, Harry survived, got married, and had kids. Is that really a good ending? Of course not.(Wynnleaf)

Like others here, I think such an ending would have been perfectly alright. There is really nothing in the epilogue that we could not have imagined (except for Albus Severus). As for the process of Harry forgiving Severus, are we sure there was a 'process'? Suddenly he finds that he was completely mistaken about his main reason for hating Severus, ie. being a traitor to Dumbledore. So in an instant all the hatred vanishes. This is how I imagine it.

I agree that it would have been nice if it had slowly dawned on Harry that he was mistaken about Severus, finding out on his own who sent the doe and so on, rather than hearing it all in the form of a confession, but I can't find any fault with it from the artistic point of view because it fits in with Severus's character (repressed, closed, unwilling to reach out to Harry), as well as what IMO JKR had planned for him- tragic hero, utterly alone, incomplete.

After the end of "The Prince's Tale," Snape is dropped like a hot potato. (Madam Pince)

Not exactly. Of course she was building up tension for the surprise in the epilogue, but Harry thinks about Snape when he walks to his death, identifying with him as one of the abandoned who find a home in Hogwarts. And quite a large part of his 'before I finish you off for ever' speech to Voldemort is about Severus, how he possessed in abundance the quality that Voldemort did not, how he loved his mother from the time they were children, that his patronus was a doe, and that he was a total traitor to him and loyal to Dumbledore. Harry actually sounds like he is boasting about Snape to Voldemort, and in front of a hall full of people.



wynnleaf - Jun 2, 2009 6:02 am (#2158 of 2988)  
Or she could keep us guessing till the very end, and then spring her surprise with the Albus Severus information. (mona amon)

See, the problem to me is that after The Prince's Tale it became absolutely necessary that Harry forgive Snape. As soon as I read it I knew he had to forgive him. So the "surprise" of the Epilogue was no surprise at all other than that he named his son after him, which would still have been a surprise even if we'd gotten to see Harry forgive Snape earlier.

Instead, I was reaching the last few chapters actually rather irritated that Harry hadn't said anything forgiving, hadn't been shown considering Snape's sacrifice, or his love for Lily, or his incredible willingness to give up literally everything including becoming a pariah to all the good guys, just to protect Harry, no thought from any characters about Snape's body left in the Shrieking Shack while all the rest of the good guys are laid out in the Great Hall. Nothing. So the end wasn't a surprise, it was a kind of "What?? Is that ALL??? Is that all we're going to get about what Harry thinks of Snape??" in my head.

After all, after The Prince's Tale, if Harry wasn't shown somehow to have forgiven Snape, or to at least acknowledge the profound bravery of what he'd done, Harry would look kind of like a jerk, which obviously wasn't going to happen. So JKR giving us some sort of statement about Snape was, to me, a foregone conclusion at that point. The only question was what she'd actually do. Of course, by the last pages, I was afraid she wasn't even going to do that.

See the whole mystery about Snape that everyone had been wondering about -- was he on the good side or the bad side -- got solved in The Prince's Tale. The mystery was "Is Snape evil or can he be trusted?" The mystery was not "Will Harry forgive Snape if Snape is loyal and on the good side?" I mean, I imagine most people pre-DH would have figured out that if Harry discovered Snape was on the good side and loved Lily and died for the cause, that Harry would forgive Snape. No shocker there, I don't think. But I think anyone who really cared a lot about the resolution to that enmity and Harry forgiving Snape would have assumed there'd be some point where we'd actually get to see Harry consider it and forgive him.



Vulture - Jun 2, 2009 7:26 am (#2159 of 2988)  
She said later in interviews that Harry probably wouldn't visit Snape's portrait. (wynnleaf   May 29, 2009 8:31 am (#2132))

I'm surprised at that. I mean, I heard earlier (can't recall where) that she said that Snape wouldn't automatically get a headmaster's portrait (because he 'deserted his post' before he died), but that Harry would make damn sure that he got a portrait anyway. So now she's saying, in effect, that Harry wouldn't visit the portrait he made sure Snape would get ?!!

Mind you, I think JKR tends to say whatever comes into her head, outside the books.

Harry does mention about Snape's true loyalties and his love for Lily in the final battle with Voldemort. Maybe that is where Harry processes it ... or, at least, where he begins to turn it over in his mind, as he is talking about it. (Solitaire   May 30, 2009 1:18 pm (#2141))

I suppose it's obvious to say this, but I think that, for Harry, Snape having the doe Patronus was a big, big deal.

In other words, it was JKR's choice to have Harry learn the truth about Snape after Snape was dead. Even in real life, it's generally easier to forgive someone who is dead and you never have to see again, than to forgive someone still alive who you have to interact with. (wynnleaf   May 30, 2009 1:34 pm (#2142))

But I think you also have to factor in the fact that Harry's dislike of Snape was _ or maybe, became _ an integral part of Dumbledore's strategy, a part of Snape's spy cover, if you like. At least, that's what seems to be implied in Book 7, particularly when Dumbledore (in "The Prince's Tale") warns Snape against having Voldemort "look into Harry's mind and see you working for him". (I myself think that the idea of Voldemort trying that after his experience in Book 5 is unlikely, but that's what JKR writes down in Book 7.)

===============================================

As regards the general debate about whether JKR should have said more about Harry forgiving Snape _ well, I can understand the frustration, but JKR is actually very close-fisted about the amount of words she'll spare that don't (in her mind) move the general story forward. This is all the more noticeable from an author whose No.1 strength (in my opinion) is not, in fact, the general story, not plot at all, but character.

Back in Book 5 (which I personally regard as the last great book of the series), I recall that many forum members (not least in here !!) regarded Lupin and Sirius as having little or no remorse about bullying Snape _ because JKR didn't put full declarations of remorse into their dialogue with Harry. I myself felt simply that JKR was measuring every word for necessity, for realism, and for general action, and that one had to detect feelings from characters, based on what was there in the text. (For example, I made a lot out of Sirius's "I'm not proud of it" line _ but many said that that didn't add up to regret at all !!)

Not that I want to re-run that whole Sirius-Snape debate again !! _ but what I'm saying is that JKR often frustrates us by how sparing she is with words. (I, for example, would have liked to see McGonagall get a larger role in Books 6 and 7 _ a sort of co-star for Dumbledore, if you like. She was, in Books 1 and 2, maybe 3, but less so later.)



Madam Pince - Jun 2, 2009 8:12 am (#2160 of 2988)  
I was reaching the last few chapters actually rather irritated that Harry hadn't said anything forgiving, hadn't been shown considering Snape's sacrifice, or his love for Lily, or his incredible willingness to give up literally everything including becoming a pariah to all the good guys, just to protect Harry, no thought from any characters about Snape's body left in the Shrieking Shack while all the rest of the good guys are laid out in the Great Hall. Nothing. So the end wasn't a surprise, it was a kind of "What?? Is that ALL??? Is that all we're going to get about what Harry thinks of Snape??" in my head. --wynnleaf

That was me as well.

As regards the general debate about whether JKR should have said more about Harry forgiving Snape _ well, I can understand the frustration, but JKR is actually very close-fisted about the amount of words she'll spare that don't (in her mind) move the general story forward. This is all the more noticeable from an author whose No.1 strength (in my opinion) is not, in fact, the general story, not plot at all, but character. --Vulture

Agreed as well. It seems odd to be saying that about someone who typically writes 700-page books, but it's true. I know there were complaints from the "popular media" about the length of her books; I wonder if perhaps her editors were putting pressure on her to cut out what we'd consider "the good stuff" and just move on with the action already, for heaven's sake.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:34 am

mona amon - Jun 2, 2009 8:40 am (#2161 of 2988)  
Instead, I was reaching the last few chapters actually rather irritated that Harry hadn't said anything forgiving, hadn't been shown considering Snape's sacrifice, or his love for Lily, or his incredible willingness to give up literally everything including becoming a pariah to all the good guys, just to protect Harry, no thought from any characters about Snape's body left in the Shrieking Shack while all the rest of the good guys are laid out in the Great Hall. Nothing. So the end wasn't a surprise, it was a kind of "What?? Is that ALL??? (Wynnleaf)

Ah, I think I see what you mean. I think my expectations were low, so I was quite happy with what we did get.

Of course, by the last pages, I was afraid she wasn't even going to do that.

Me too. That's what I meant by surprise. In the long period of waiting for the book I thought Harry might name a child for Severus, or make him godfather to one of his kids if he was alive, such were my fantasies. But with just a page left, and Harry on platform 9 3/4 with two boys named James and Al... I'd almost given up hope when those two lines hit me with such tremendous force!



Solitaire - Jun 2, 2009 8:57 am (#2162 of 2988)  
The real truth is that no dyed-in-the-wool fan would ever be totally satisfied with how things are done ... because we didn't really want the series to end, did we? I believe the way Jo did things allows the readers to fill in some of the gaps the way we need them to be filled. JM2K ...



Vulture - Jun 5, 2009 9:36 am (#2163 of 2988)  
I think a good example of how close-fisted she is on the subject of Snape is when Harry uses the Resurrection Stone. Not a yip out of Harry about "what do ye think of Snape now, folks ?" to Lily and the Marauders. (Indeed, presumably Harry could have resurrected Snape, too _ that would have been interesting !!) I suppose JKR would say that the prospect of being shortly murdered by Voldemort tends to drive things from one's mind, but then again, it was Snape's memories that had, in a sense, put him (Harry) there.

Basically, I think JKR carefully avoids having James or Sirius give a final verdict in front of the reader, on Snape _ or on their actions toward him. This is all the more noticeable when you consider that Snape, in the end, is explicitly stated by Dumbledore (in "The Prince's Tale") and Harry, in the epilogue, to have shown that Gryffindor quality, bravery.

I don't think that this is because we're supposed to think that James or Sirius could never admit that they were wrong, or could never change their minds about Snape. (Presumably, once he has joined them in death, they now know all about him ? _ I suppose it all depends just what we think the four Harry resurrects, and the Dumbledore he meets in the other-world "King's Cross", actually are .) I just think that, as we've said, JKR is close-fisted with the words _ and likes leaving loose ends for us to debate till kingdom come.



Madam Pince - Jun 5, 2009 10:19 am (#2164 of 2988)  
I remember there being a big discussion at the time as to why Snape wasn't included in the Walk Through The Forest. As I recall, they ranged from "How dare she leave him out?" to "Well, maybe he hadn't been dead long enough yet for the Stone to take effect" to "Certainly Harry wouldn't want to walk beside him -- this scene was reserved solely for the people Harry loved!" (Personally, I didn't care for that last one because I didn't think Harry "loved" Remus. I think it should've been his father and mother only, actually, but hey...)

Who was it... was it Pesky Pixie?... someone wrote a fanfic-type hypothetical encounter between "after-life" Snape and Sirius that had me on the floor...



Madam Pince - Jun 5, 2009 10:59 am (#2165 of 2988)  
Too late to edit, alas...

I have been looking through my files for that Snape-Sirius encounter that someone wrote. I was sure I had saved it somewhere, but I can't find it, and with the "search" function disabled, I have no idea where to look. If anyone recalls who wrote it, or has it saved somewhere, I'd be eternally grateful...

It was done by a Forum member, I believe, and done shortly after DH came out. It was something along the lines of a post-death encounter between Snape and Sirius. Snape was at his best snarky self, and he "won" the exchange, getting in a killer zinger at the end. (This is killing me that I can't remember the details, because it was really funny...)



wynnleaf - Jun 7, 2009 7:54 pm (#2166 of 2988)  
I can't imagine Snape appearing during that walk. He'd likely have something snarky to say which just wouldn't suit the mood.  



Solitaire - Jun 7, 2009 9:39 pm (#2167 of 2988)  
I have to agree with Wynnleaf on this one. While Snape might have loved to walk with Harry and Lily through the woods, I doubt he'd be too happy to see James, Sirius, and Remus! I think it needed to be the Marauders ...



mona amon - Jun 7, 2009 10:43 pm (#2168 of 2988)  
LOL Wynnleaf, I have to agree.

Soli, I'm not so sure he'd have loved to walk with Harry!



Solitaire - Jun 8, 2009 12:29 am (#2169 of 2988)  
LOL Mona ... you're probably right. What was I thinking? This was the man who would have sold Harry to Voldemort if it meant he could have had Lily. I just thought, perhaps, now that he has seen that Harry can go the distance ...



Madam Pince - Jun 8, 2009 4:50 am (#2170 of 2988)  
That's what made this little "fan-fic-ish" thing that I'm looking for so funny -- it was Snape's last chance to get in some little digs at Sirius, and yes, it totally ruined the mood of the Forest Again.  



Orion - Jun 8, 2009 9:56 am (#2171 of 2988)  
They would probably have a fist-fight.  Although it would have been funny...



wolf~ears - Jun 13, 2009 12:33 am (#2172 of 2988)  
Seriously, Harry would have had no way of being sure, if he resurrected Snape, that Snape would not behave the way he had towards Harry in real life, which was the last thing Harry would need on a journey like that. But Solitaire, Snape did change a lot, I think, from the time he had been willing to sell H to LV--he came to identify more with the cause of defeating LV as his life went on, though at first he only changed sides because of Lily. I see the evidence that he might have considered three or more to be a crowd in his much more recent tearing of the photograph at 12GP. I think H did love Remus. I think friendship and the love in general (does not need to be sexual or familial, though in fact by now Remus's child is Harry's godson) is a big theme in these books.



Julia H. - Jun 17, 2009 11:28 am (#2173 of 2988)  
This was the man who would have sold Harry to Voldemort if it meant he could have had Lily. (Solitaire)

I think this is a very different man... (and even back then, he did not really have anything to "sell" when he asked Voldemort to spare Lily .. and he did not stop there).

While I understand that Snape's inclusion in the "walk" would have been problematic (for the author especially ), I would have really liked Harry and Snape to have a sincere one-to-one conversation, dead or alive.  



Solitaire - Jun 17, 2009 11:32 am (#2174 of 2988)  
I think you have misunderstood me. I realize Snape has changed. However, I'm not sure that he has changed enough to have wanted to be along on the Forest walk with Sirius and James, and I was speaking tongue-in-cheek when I said that. Then again, maybe he would have wanted to be there and receive the thanks of both James and Lily--and maybe even Sirius--for helping Harry. I don't know.



Julia H. - Jun 17, 2009 11:41 am (#2175 of 2988)  
Yes, imagine, Snape has just been forced to send Harry to his "death" (against his own will) and has just died a horrible death, and what's the first thing he has to do after his death? To walk with Harry on his "death walk" in the company of the Marauders (and Lily, yes)! We don't know how much he has changed exactly since the end of HBP, so it's difficult to imagine this scenario (as well as the thanks). ***sigh*** Perhaps Jo could have tried and written it for us... just for the sake of the challenge.  

But I really think that a one-one would be necessary between them before they could meet in any other way.



Madam Pince - Jun 17, 2009 12:46 pm (#2176 of 2988)  
But I really think that a one-one would be necessary between them before they could meet in any other way. --Julia

Agreed.

I'm certain Snape would've wanted Lily to know, somehow, that he had been protecting her son. The fact that he wanted a picture of her to carry around with him... oh yeah. He wanted another chance to talk to her.



Solitaire - Jun 17, 2009 4:24 pm (#2177 of 2988)  
a one-one would be necessary between them before they could meet in any other way. Absolutely!



PeskyPixie - Jun 18, 2009 8:13 am (#2178 of 2988)  
Madam Pince, I found it for you. At least, I'm pretty sure this is what you're referring to. The post was probably made during a discussion about whether Harry and Ginny had given their eldest child the middle name of 'Sirius' before naming a kid after their old Potions Master. Of course, we now know that the older boy is indeed James Sirius Potter.

I assume that even if James's middle name is Harry he'll also have Sirius tagged on after that. Harry and Ginny just aren't the type of people who'd ignore Sirius's importance to their lives; they wouldn't name a kid Severus if they didn't already have a Sirius. Otherwise could you imagine Snape's gloating over Sirius in the afterlife?

Snape: "Well, well, Black, weren't you labouring under the delusion that you were, ah, a sort of surrogate parent to Potter?"

Lily: "Now, Sev, that's a horrible thing to say. Apologize to Sirius!"

Snape: "Oh, give it up. You can't get rid of me this time. I'm here to stay, love."

As for the Snapilogue, I'll make the adjustments to it sometime next week and post it. I'm sorry for the delay, but things came up.

ETA: Hmm, on second thought, I don't think this is it. I vaguely remember something else I had posted, either on one of the Chat and Greetings thread (yikes!), or on the JKR's website thread.

ETA: I found the following as well: Snape in the afterlife: 'Of course Potter skipped his N.E.W.T.s and went directly into Auror training. He's broken rules and crossed boundaries since first he set foot in Hogwarts.'



mona amon - Jun 18, 2009 8:50 am (#2179 of 2988)  
ROTFL!

Pesky, that's great! I remember it vaguely. Thanks for posting it again!



Madam Pince - Jun 18, 2009 10:24 am (#2180 of 2988)  
Pesky, I don't think that's quite it exactly either, but that one is very very good also!  

The one I'm thinking of is very much along those same lines... now that you've posted that, I think it definitely had Snape goading Sirius by saying something like "So you thought you were the hot-shot because you were the godfather? If you were so great, why didn't he name his kid after you, hmmmmm?" LOL! Seems to me like it was a longer exchange than this, but I'm thinking it also had Lily contributing in there somewhere also...

We're getting there... we're getting there... you probably made both posts very close together time-wise, when your brain was all running on the same thoughts... when did you post that first one?

In the meantime, I'm definitely copying and saving this one (with your permission, of course?), because it's pretty darn funny and pretty darn close!  



PeskyPixie - Jun 18, 2009 10:51 am (#2181 of 2988)  
Copy away. I'm glad you guys like it. I made these posts in late 2007 - early 2008 ... I think.  I'm sure we'll eventually find the one we're looking for.



severusisn'tevil - Jun 20, 2009 8:34 am (#2182 of 2988)  
Yep. That was what I missed most, too, from the end of DH. (After I cried for 45 minutes because Severus bled to death.) But then, all throughout DH, I wanted/waited for a proper confrontation and inevitable uneasy truce between the two. It seemed like just the slightest cop-out on JKR's part that the two don't meet face-to-face till Severus is gushing blood from the neck.

And I honestly think it could have affected Harry psychologically. I mean, he has so much past (a lot of it, admittedly, negative, as has been well-covered on this thread) with Severus, and there is never any real reconciliation to be had. I mean, Severus dies before either of them get the chance to be properly honest with each other. And while I think that The Prince's Tale helped, I don't think it was completely sufficient. Harry must have had questions that can't be answered by anyone living. Let's just add to Harry's baggage, 'cause he sure doesn't have enough of that .

As for Severus being in the walk: I think it would have ripped him apart. Having just sent Harry to his doom, he would not, so instantly after his death, want to be around Lily, his lost love, and Sirius and James, his sworn enemies, so soon and together. I think he would have wanted to meet Lily alone, and after a little time had passed. And he would not have wanted to see Harry, either, not during his death walk. That situation from all angles would have ripped him apart.



severusisn'tevil - Jun 24, 2009 8:54 am (#2183 of 2988)  
Sighhh. . . it's a sad day when the Remus thread has a new post before this one does. Tee hee.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 3, 2009 1:33 pm (#2184 of 2988)  
Now that we're on the re-read of PA, I have to say that that book is where I started to really dislike the Snape character. Because we find out that he's not just some Is-He-Or-Isn't-He a viper in the bosom, but that he's just your garden variety, emotionally stunted creep with a twisted little agenda.



wynnleaf - Jul 3, 2009 8:00 pm (#2185 of 2988)  
Because we find out that he's not just some Is-He-Or-Isn't-He a viper in the bosom, but that he's just your garden variety, emotionally stunted creep with a twisted little agenda. (Quinn)

Speak for yourself. "We" didn't find that out -- you did. Of course, many might agree with you, but you write as though it's a universally acknowledged Truth About Snape.

On re-reads, by the way, I think POA is quite different as regards Snape. When I re-read POA, even before DH came out, I realized that Snape wasn't just being mean to some really nice teacher who was sincerely trying to be Good, but instead that Snape's distrust of Lupin was not only justified, but was in part correct. I realized that Lupin was dishonest about Snape as well as many other things and that the Lupin version of the Prank was given to us out of the mouth of a character who was lying about or concealing quite a number of things throughout the book, all for his own personal needs.

I also realize in retrospect that when Snape is angry at Harry for sneaking around to Hogsmeade, lying through his teeth, and being enabled in his lying to Snape by an obvious (even to Snape) coverup from Lupin, well... let's just say it makes Snapes increasing anger toward Harry and Lupin at least explained, even realizing that he should be above that sort of thing.

Now when I read the end of POA, I realize that Snape's fury at James' "arrogance" probably had a lot to do with Lily dying after being betrayed by James' choice of a supposedly trustworthy Marauder. And also that Snape probably didn't care nearly so much about getting an Order of Merlin as he did seeing Sirius (the guy that he thought told LV where to find Lily), dead or in Azkaban.

So reading POA now shows me far more depth and complexity to Snape's actions and motivations than anything that could be called "garden variety".



Quinn Crockett - Jul 3, 2009 8:39 pm (#2186 of 2988)  
Speak for yourself. - Hm. I thought I was.
"We" didn't find that out -- you did. - Yup.

So reading POA now shows me far more depth and complexity to Snape's actions and motivations than anything that could be called "garden variety". - Sure. If you call acting out of revenge he was never able to exact as a teenager "complex".

Saint Severus may have had his "reasons" for distrusting Lupin, but they are based entirely in his arrested development. They are not based on anything Lupin actually did. Snape didn't know Sirius was an animagus any more than Dumbledore did. So how exactly was Snape "right" to distrust Lupin? Because he was a werewolf? Dumbledore already knew that. Because Lupin and Sirius had once been friends? Dumbledore knew that too.

What Snape actually accuses Lupin of is "helping [his] old friend". But this was not the case. Lupin, too, thought Sirius was a mass murderer. It was only when he saw Peter's name on the Marauder's Map that he rushed to Sirius's defense. Not one moment before.



Dryleaves - Jul 4, 2009 12:12 am (#2187 of 2988)  
If you call acting out of revenge he was never able to exact as a teenager "complex". (Quinn)

But he also believes that Sirius is the one who betrayed the Potters, doesn't he? It is because of what "Sirius" did that Snape's attempts to save Lily's life are in vain. Sirius the bully, who thoroughly humiliated Snape when they were teenagers, and Sirius the traitor and massmurderer has probably been blending nicely in Snape's mind over the years, when he suddenly reappears in real life again.

Saint Severus may have had his "reasons" for distrusting Lupin, but they are based entirely in his arrested development. They are not based on anything Lupin actually did. (Quinn)

They are based on what Snape perceived as Lupin's character when they last met, I think. Lupin never stopped the bullying of James and Sirius. He had his reasons for that and those reasons still remain. I think most people would be suspicious when meeting a person from their schooldays, who they did not like then. To Snape it is not enough that Lupin is nice and friendly, because he probably was in school as well.

What Snape actually accuses Lupin of is "helping [his] old friend". But this was not the case. Lupin, too, thought Sirius was a mass murderer. (Quinn)

But he refrains from informing those looking for Sirius that Sirius is an animagus.

It is correct that there is no proof that Lupin is helping Sirius. But there is no proof of the opposite either, and though a person should not be forced to prove their innocence, I can very well understand why Snape, with his experiences of Lupin and the other Marauders, may need that kind of proof to change his opinion.

Snape also seems seriously convinced that the Marauders once wanted to have him killed. Dumbledore's actions may suggest to Snape that it is not acknowledged that what the Marauders did was wrong. This would be a very humiliating for most people.

Snape may not be very saintly in this book, but I think we as readers get to see something positive of both Lupin and Sirius, which is never obvious to Snape. He doesn't know they are innocent (but it probably takes some time for their innocence to reach his mind when he learns about it...).



Julia H. - Jul 4, 2009 1:33 am (#2188 of 2988)  
Snape is wrong regarding two things: He believes Sirius to be a mass murderer and the man who betrayed the Potters - but then it is a mistake that the whole wizarding world shares and Sirius did a few things to confirm this mistaken belief himself - and he thinks that Lupin has helped Sirius. The latter is his own mistake based on his own perception of Lupin (though for a while the Trio think the same in the Shrieking Shack) - but I agree that in this respect he is not completely wrong. Though Lupin did not actually help Sirius, he was still keeping their old secret (for reasons of his own), and that is in character with Lupin, and Snape may perceive the character trait, even if he does not know the precise circumstances.

As for wanting revenge: It is nothing admirable, but I have a feeling that Snape is condemned not only because he wants revenge but because his judgement about the people concerned is wrong. Sirius is not the least bit less revengeful towards Pettigrew. Even Harry wants the traitor to be dead or kissed (only he does not want his father's friends to become murderers). I know that Sirius has spent 12 years in Azkaban and lost his best friends because of Pettigrew, but then Snape thinks Sirius is the reason why the only woman Snape ever loved died and why Snape failed to correct his own mistake. Incidentally, he had very bad personal experiences with Sirius, too (and to some extent with Lupin), which probably makes all the suspicions about them more realistic in his eyes.

I have the impression that there is nothing wrong with the revengeful feelings of Sirius, Harry, even Lupin, while it is all wrong with Snape, although their reasons are very similar and the type of revenge they want is very similar, too. Why? Is it because Snape happens to be wrong regarding the actual persons, or because he does not like Harry?

I think we as readers get to see something positive of both Lupin and Sirius, which is never obvious to Snape.

Exactly.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 2:12 am (#2189 of 2988)  
I think most people would be suspicious when meeting a person from their schooldays, who they did not like then. - See, I simply cannot relate to this. I would be hard pressed to remember someone's name who I went to high school with, let alone how they had treated me. Besides: even if they had been horrible to me in high school, I wouldn't automatically assume that, after 20 years or whatever, that they were still like that. Lupin's behavior toward Snape is exactly what I would expect from two adults meeting after 20 years or so.

But [Lupin] refrains from informing those looking for Sirius that Sirius is an animagus. - Yes, but as I said, Snape didn't know this and neither did anyone else. This is not part of Snape's suspicions. He is simply still angry at the teenaged Lupin here. Based on everything he actually knows about Lupin, Snape has no reason to suspect Lupin of any wrongdoing.

I think we as readers get to see something positive of both Lupin and Sirius, which is never obvious to Snape. - Yes, this is a far more diplomatic way of putting it than I did in my earlier post  

I have a feeling that Snape is condemned not only because he wants revenge but because his judgement about the people concerned is wrong. - Interesting take. I can see that, but it also shows that Dumbledore's long influence cannot supersede Snape's own lingering adolescent prejudices. Which Dumbledore himself even comments on later.

there is nothing wrong with the revengeful feelings of Sirius, Harry, even Lupin, while it is all wrong with Snape, - Actually, I see it as them all wanting the very same sort of revenge. But while Sirius and Lupin and even Harry are all willing to hear each other out, Snape's prejudices prevent him from being even remotely objective. Sirius suffers from the same arrested development as Snape, but Sirius was at least willing to listen. Snape, not so much.



Julia H. - Jul 4, 2009 2:52 am (#2190 of 2988)  
I would be hard pressed to remember someone's name who I went to high school with, let alone how they had treated me. (Quinn)

I hope you never had quite as bad experiences with anyone at high school as Snape had with the Marauders. I have never had even similar experiences, and I really cannot say that I would not remember it very vividly if I had almost died due to someone's "joke" and would have been greatly humiliated by the same people. As for the adult Lupin's behaviour toward Snape, I can feel the continuous tension between them. Of course, it is not Lupin's fault alone (far from it), but he does contribute to the tension; and that is enough to recreate the distrust between them on an everyday basis.

BTW, all year round Harry is affected by the Dementors very much because he has very bad memories of his past. Snape also has very bad memories of his past, and it is not impossible that, besides the news about Black's escape and his appearance at Hogwarts (simultaneously with Lupin's re-appearance in Snape's life), the Dementors' presence contribute to bringing back some very bad memories quite vividly for him. Perhaps he has had to cope with Dementor-influence, too (Worst Memory, Lily's death and who knows what), although he probably knows more about dealing with them than Harry does.

Based on everything he actually knows about Lupin, Snape has no reason to suspect Lupin of any wrongdoing.

Snape knows that Lupin never risked a confrontation with the other Marauders, even when he was a prefect. Everybody is puzzled how Sirius can get into the castle, and the "inside help" theory is a plausible one, and then the old friend of the "criminal" is obviously more suspicious than Madam Pomfrey, for example, especially for someone who has never had a reason to trust that particular person.

I can see that, but it also shows that Dumbledore's long influence cannot supersede Snape's own lingering adolescent prejudices. Which Dumbledore himself even comments on later.

I don't get the impression that up to this point Dumbledore has done much about Snape's lingering prejudice concerning the Marauders. He does tell him that he trusts Lupin, but I don't think he spends any more time discussing Snape's feelings about Lupin than he does discussing Snape's feelings about Harry.

But while Sirius and Lupin and even Harry are all willing to hear each other out, Snape's prejudices prevent him from being even remotely objective. Sirius suffers from the same arrested development as Snape, but Sirius was at least willing to listen. Snape, not so much.

Yes, it is so. But it is because there is an initial trust between Harry and Lupin on the one hand and between Sirius and Lupin on the other hand. Harry does not seem to be willing to hear Sirius out until Lupin arrives. Even if his trust in Lupin is shaken, it does not disappear completely, and that seems to be a factor why he listens to him. Also, Lupin gives the children back their wands (after disarming them) and puts away his own wand precisely to gain Harry's trust. Sirius wants to urgently kill Pettigrew, but he listens to Lupin because Lupin is his friend, because he realizes that Lupin believes him now, and because Lupin says Harry has a right to know the truth, and Harry is his best friend's son.

Snape does not have the benefit of any of the above. BTW, initially he listens - not to what the others want to tell him, but to what they say to each other; and what he hears just does not increase his trust or his willingness to listen to their explanations at all.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 4:30 am (#2191 of 2988)  
I hope you never had quite as bad experiences with anyone at high school as Snape had with the Marauders. - No, but I didn't ever go looking for them like Snape did.

it is not Lupin's fault alone (far from it), but he does contribute to the tension - Really? How so?

Perhaps [Snape] has had to cope with Dementor-influence, too - So has everyone else at Hogwarts. Surely Harry was not the only person on campus with really horrible memories. But even Harry's "memories" had to be explained to him. Someone like Snape, who can conjure a patronus, who spends his free time "on the arm of Voldemort", can handle a few Dementors.

I don't get the impression that up to this point Dumbledore has done much about Snape's lingering prejudice concerning the Marauders. - Well no, not directly. But clearly Dumbledore took Snape under his wing, where Snape remained for 10+ years. While Dumbledore never helped Snape to address this specific area of his attitude, he did try to encourage Snape to act "for the greater good" at all times.

Snape does not have the benefit of any of the above. BTW, initially he listens - not to what the others want to tell him, but to what they say to each other; - Exactly. Snape doesn't ask questions or stop and listen when the trio are trying to explain the situation to him (and others). He dismisses everything completely out of hand for no other reason than that he refuses to believe that he could have been wrong about his old enemies. Plus his overhearing what they say to each other only supports Sirius's claim that Snape was always sneaking around after the Marauders trying to get them into trouble.



Julia H. - Jul 4, 2009 5:06 am (#2192 of 2988)  
I hope you never had quite as bad experiences with anyone at high school as Snape had with the Marauders. (Wynnleaf) - No, but I didn't ever go looking for them like Snape did. (Quinn)

The point is that the bad experiences are there, and the distrust is there.

Really? How so?

Well, the boggart thing and Lupin's lies about the Marauder's Map certainly did not help. I can perfectly understand Lupin's reasons, but I don't expect Snape to do the same.

Someone like Snape, who can conjure a patronus, who spends his free time "on the arm of Voldemort", can handle a few Dementors.

Of course. That is why he does not faint or need others' help. But I find it possible that his worst memories and some very unpleasant emotions come back more often and/or more vividly than usual during the year leading to the events in the Shrieking Shack.

While Dumbledore never helped Snape to address this specific area of his attitude, he did try to encourage Snape to act "for the greater good" at all times.

But acting for the "greater good" may well include capturing a murderer and a DE, regardless of Snape's personal feelings. If he is suspicious that Lupin may help Sirius, the greater good does not have to prevent him from acting according to his suspicions. When Snape finally understands that he and Sirius are on the same side, he is willing to shake hands with Sirius for Dumbledore's sake and "for the greater good", even though he still does not like him.

Snape doesn't ask questions or stop and listen when the trio are trying to explain the situation to him (and others). He dismisses everything completely out of hand for no other reason than that he refuses to believe that he could have been wrong about his old enemies. Plus his overhearing what they say to each other only supports Sirius's claim that Snape was always sneaking around after the Marauders trying to get them into trouble.

The point I was trying to make is that there is no initial or former trust between Snape and anyone else involved in the situation. The others are willing to listen because there is already some sort of trust between them. Snape refuses to listen because he does not think that Sirius and Lupin are trustworthy at all. The part that Snape overhears supports the belief that Sirius did want to kill him once and still thinks it was a good idea. While it does not directly support the idea that Sirius is a mass murderer, it does fit with the character of someone already believed to be a mass murderer, and it does nothing to build trust where there is no trust in the first place. Imagine Voldemort in Book 7 when he discovers that Harry is the Master of the Elder Wand asking Harry to stop and to listen to his explanations and his version of the whole story. I think if Lily's ghost appeared in the Shrieking Shack telling Snape to listen to Sirius, he would probably listen. As it is, he sees only people he has reason to distrust and children who must have been deceived.

The fact is that Snape is "set up" to misunderstand everything, not only because of the past, but because of the partially overheard conversation. JKR frequently uses this device: Partially overheard conversations almost always lead the listener to the wrong conclusion, at least in part. It happens to Harry several times, now it happens to Snape. Sirius and Lupin simply say the "wrong things" just when Snape listens. After that, any direct explanations seem to be twice as easy to dismiss and to distrust.



Vulture - Jul 4, 2009 8:42 am (#2193 of 2988)  
This was the man who would have sold Harry to Voldemort if it meant he could have had Lily. (Solitaire   Jun 8, 2009 12:29 am)

Well, that was, in effect, before he truly and fully joined Dumbledore's side. I don't think one can hold that over him sixteen years later.

[/I]Snape did change a lot, I think, from the time he had been willing to sell H to LV--he came to identify more with the cause of defeating LV as his life went on, though at first he only changed sides because of Lily. (wolf~ears   Jun 13, 2009 12:33 am)[/I]

I agree. Harry would have seen indications of this in the memories Snape left him: examples are Snape's attempt to defend George and Lupin from a Death Eater's spell (even though he missed and hit George), and his rebuke to Phineas about "Mudblood" (though I suppose you could argue that this, too, is about Lily, in a way).

I would be hard pressed to remember someone's name who I went to high school with, let alone how they had treated me. Besides: even if they had been horrible to me in high school, I wouldn't automatically assume that, after 20 years or whatever, that they were still like that. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 4, 2009 2:12 am)

What about how you treated them ? ;-)

Seriously, I think you'd remember if someone's bullying 'marked your card' for the rest of your life, and messed up your ability to interact with others _ as has happened, and happens, to many. (Though I realise that Snape would have had problems even if James had never existed.) In fact, I've a hunch that one reason for the massive popularity of the HP books among adults around the world is that, despite all the suffering Harry endures, Hogwarts gives many readers a positive school experience which they never actually had.

The key point for Snape is Lily, over and over again. Perhaps one can argue that his love for her is a bit obsessive and self-centred, but in any case there it is _ she is the centre for him. It is because of her that his "Worst Memory" is worst (see below). It is because of her that, in Book 3, he hopes and hopes to be the one to catch Sirius.

His "Worst Memory" is not worst because of being hoisted into the air _ in Book 6 we find out from Lupin that this was a common experience for every Hogwarts student at the time, and at the end of Book 6, Snape implies that he was attacked by the Marauders more than once. It is not worst simply because of being bullied and jeered by a crowd (though that's what Harry thinks), though the bullying and jeering pour salt on a terrible wound. Snape's "Worst Memory" is "worst" because of what he does to Lily _ calling her "Mudblood". Although it isn't spelt out, I believe he did so because (even though she was genuinely trying to help him) her slight smile showed that she just could not completely conceal how James attracted her _ and Snape saw this. What's more, just in case he hadn't noticed, James (who probably realised Snape's feeling for Lily) gloated that Snape was lucky Lily was there. The attraction between his hated rival and the girl he wanted but probably realised, even then, he couldn't have; the gloating of his rival; plus the bullying _ even though she was trying to help him, for a mad second Snape must have felt betrayed by her, and lashed out. Of course, it is this word which finally leads to her repudiating Snape completely _ another reason for this to be his "Worst Memory".

=================================================================

As the debate seems to be centring on Prisoner Of Azkaban just now, may I recommend that, if interested, ye all do a search on earlier Snape threads for arguments between me and Wynnleaf on these very points. If you do, you'll see that, while Wynnleaf largely defended Snape, and I was very much the opposite, the one factor I never considered (because we didn't know it) was Snape being in love with Lily. I think it gives everything a different angle.

Also, Snape's antipathy to Lupin partly reflects the general attitude of the wizard world _ we, as readers, never fully face this attitude until Lupin's forcible description of it in Grimmauld Place in Book 7.



mona amon - Jul 4, 2009 9:59 am (#2194 of 2988)  
On re-reads, by the way, I think POA is quite different as regards Snape. (Wynnleaf)

When I read POA for the first time, I thought of Severus as a grotesque or comic character, and although I never disliked him, I was quite happy when the joke was on him, when Hermione sets fire to his pants for instance, or when Dumbledore, Harry and Hermione outwit him and rescue Sirius. POA is set up in such a way that we can't help sympathising with the Marauders at Severus's expense. But after OOTP my perceptions underwent a change. It didn't turn me into a Snape fan (HBP did that), but it turned me against the Marauders, and this definitely affected my reaction to the events of POA on my re-reads. I think my feelings were similar to Wynnleaf's in post#2185.

But after DH and hearing Severus's whole tragic story, strangely, some of my old 'serves him right' feelings about him were revived when reading POA, even though my disapproval of the Marauders remained static. Severus in POA is so focussed on revenge that I cannot help chuckling along with Dumbledore at the sight of him thwarted.

I think most people would be suspicious when meeting a person from their schooldays, who they did not like then. (Dryleaves)

- See, I simply cannot relate to this. (Quinn)


Me neither. In school I was a sort of combination of Neville and Luna, totally uncool, and I got ragged quite a bit, especially one term in std. IX. I was unhappy, and bitter towards those kids at that time. But one's attitude soon changes after leaving school and growing up, and when it was time for the school reunion I was eager to meet all of them. I don't think this is unusual for most people. The enemies we make when we are adults may be more difficult to forgive.

I can see that, but it also shows that Dumbledore's long influence cannot supersede Snape's own lingering adolescent prejudices. Which Dumbledore himself even comments on later.

"there is nothing wrong with the revengeful feelings of Sirius, Harry, even Lupin, while it is all wrong with Snape," - Actually, I see it as them all wanting the very same sort of revenge. But while Sirius and Lupin and even Harry are all willing to hear each other out, Snape's prejudices prevent him from being even remotely objective. Sirius suffers from the same arrested development as Snape, but Sirius was at least willing to listen. Snape, not so much. (Quinn)


These are very good points. I too felt that there was a difference, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it, so I'm glad you pointed it out. And he should have been more ready to trust Dumbledore about Lupin. After all he has shown trust and forgiveness to Severus himself.

EDIT: Hi, Vulture! Cross posted with you  



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 11:46 am (#2195 of 2988)  
Julia (I think): I hope you never had quite as bad experiences with anyone at high school as Snape had with the Marauders.
Quinn: No, but I didn't ever go looking for them like Snape did.


This may be neither here nor there in this discussion, but ... I have always felt that Snape's obsession with the Marauders was really the reason for a lot of his problems with them. I always tried to steer clear of bullies in school. If I knew they hung out in a certain place on campus, I would try to bypass that spot, if possible. Snape, on the other hand, seems to deliberately put himself in close proximity to them.

In the "worst memory" incident, for example, why was he even around them? If I had been as terrorized by the Marauders as Snape claims to have been, I would have been paying attention and staying out of their way whenever I could. Yet Snape not only follows after them but sits down just about as close as he can without actually being with them. As for Sirius's "little trick"--and no, I do not mean to minimize the seriousness of it--Snape was smart enough to know that he was probably walking into a trap of one sort or another. He behaved rather stupidly, IMO. He was so obsessed with getting dirt on the Marauders that he fell right into Sirius's trap.

A victim who is sought out and hounded by bullies is one thing. From the scenes we have been shown, this does not really seem to have been the case with Snape. JM2K ...

edited



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 2:00 pm (#2196 of 2988)  
I would be hard pressed to remember someone's name who I went to high school with, let alone how they had treated me. Besides: even if they had been horrible to me in high school, I wouldn't automatically assume that, after 20 years or whatever, that they were still like that. (Quinn Crockett [/b]- Jul 4, 2009 2:12 am)
What about how you treated them ? ;-) (Vulture)

How could I remember how I treated someone I don't remember? In any case, I wasn't like that so nothing to worry about.

Seriously, I think you'd remember if someone's bullying 'marked your card' for the rest of your life, and messed up your ability to interact with others - Snape's "messed up ability to interact with others" had nothing whatever to do with James. It was precisely because of this already existing "messed up ability" that Snape was such an easy target for James and Sirius.

I think we all have a pretty good understanding of the real reason why the eponymous worst memory was "Snape's Worst Memory" by now. But to me this only serves as a prime example of Snape foisting responsibility for his own behavior onto someone else.

I have always felt that Snape's obsession with the Marauders was really the reason for a lot of his problems with them. - I completely agree with this view. In fact, I have always interpreted James's "because he exists" to be a reference to Snape the buttinski.

A victim who is sought out and hounded by bullies is one thing. From the scenes we have been shown, this does not really seem to have been the case with Snape. - Right, and we have only Snape's insistence that he was actually "hounded" by the Marauders and that "it was always four to one!". What seems more likely to me is that the foursome didn't take too kindly to Snape poking his nose in where it didn't belong and let Snape know this in no uncertain terms at the point of a wand.



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 3:35 pm (#2197 of 2988)  
I just think those who say we must believe that Snape is bullied by the Marauders, because it is shown to us must also keep in mind that the only times we see Snape being bullied (and they are his memories) are times when he has placed himself in proximity to the bullies. We are shown no examples of the Marauders trailing him around and pouncing on him. He had full choice as to whether or not to do as Sirius said. No one forced him to go there.



Julia H. - Jul 4, 2009 5:32 pm (#2198 of 2988)  
Quinn, I am totally convinced that you are absolutely different from Snape. Still, regardless of whether we can relate to it or not, Snape does seem to remember very well the humiliations he suffered as a teenager so that they still affect him emotionally when he is an adult - and I don't think he could easily change that. Bad experiences called emotional traumas are like that, obviously different in effect from normal (even "simply bad") experiences. This is what Snape has, this is what he has to "work with".

In the "worst memory" incident, for example, why was he even around them? If I had been as terrorized by the Marauders as Snape claims to have been, I would have been paying attention and staying out of their way whenever I could. Yet Snape not only follows after them but sits down just about as close as he can without actually being with them. (Solitaire)

Yes, he could have (could have?) stayed in the Slytherin Common Room all the time - but what kind of life would that have been ? He did not spend 6 hours a day at school, he was there all the time for nine months a year, every day of the week. He did not provoke the Marauders - he was simply sitting nearby. I don't think it is an excuse for bullying that the victim was careless enough to linger too close to the bullies; and I cannot agree when a victim is blamed for what happened because he/she did not hide. Snape was not a coward and perhaps he was trying to live a normal life in spite of the bullies. Saying that he only got the trouble that he had asked for because he went too close the Marauders sounds like justifying the bullying.

BTW, when Sirius says Snape belonged to the Slytherin gang - isn't it possible that he chose hanging out with the strong guys of Slytherin instead of hiding in the Slytherin Common Room - because he felt safer with them than alone? I think as a reaction to being bullied, it is just as likely as hiding and nervously avoiding the bullies all the time.

As for the Prank, Snape may have behaved stupidly, but does it justify what Sirius did? Can we really expect Snape to think - even as an adult! - "OK, I was really stupid, of course, it would have been too much to expect Sirius not to use this opportunity to get me killed, and he was perfectly right to play a dangerous trick on someone who could be tricked so easily"? Or can we expect him to understand the Marauders, thinking "Oh, yes, I went too close, they just could not resist, they did what was normal when they bullied me -"?

Even if we blame the teenage Snape for asking for trouble; after what happened, can we realistically expect him to trust the Marauders later, as an adult? The initial question in this discussion was why Snape did not listen to anyone in the Shrieking Shack. Even if we hold him responsible for having been bullied, it is still a far cry from expecting him to start trusting the bullies.

Otherwise:

"Yeah," said Harry, "but he just attacked Snape for no good reason just because – well, just because you said you were bored," he finished with a slightly apologetic note in his voice.

I'm not proud of it," said Sirius quickly."

Sirius acknowledges that the reason why they attacked Snape in the Worst Memory Scene was that he was bored. I give the adult Sirius credit for saying that he is not proud of it. Later Lupin says that James at some point stopped hexing people just for the fun of it. If he stopped, it means he had done it before - and "just for the fun of it" means without any provocation. We also know that Snape was not the only victim of their bullying. It is possible that the victims got too close, and that the Marauders bullied only those who "voluntarily" came within sight. But I really don't think that it makes the victims' feelings any less bitter.

I don't think either proximity or a "messed-up ability to interact" is excuse for bullying, and I don't think there is such a big difference between being sought out/ hounded and being "simply" denied the right to go wherever the bullies happen to be found at any given moment in the school which is practically your home.



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 5:46 pm (#2199 of 2988)  
Even if we blame the teenage Snape for asking for trouble; after what happened, can we realistically expect him to trust the Marauders later, as an adult?

No, not at all ... and the reason is that he does not recognize or admit his own complicity in some of the things that happened to him. It would have required acknowledging one's own role in things in order to forgive and move on. Snape never did that ... nor did Sirius. Lupin alone seems to acknowledge that he was at fault for not stepping in and attempting to stop whatever it was that was going on. Perhaps that is why, of the three of them, he alone was able to move on.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 6:59 pm (#2200 of 2988)  
Yeah, I just don't think there ever was any actual "bullying" going on regarding Snape or anyone else. True, the worst memory was an unprovoked attack - which even Sirius later acknowledges. But this is the one and only incident we're shown of such an encounter.

And true, James apparently had a reputation for "hexing people just because you can" (at least as far as Lily was concerned). But if the Levicorpus spell is anything to go by, "hexing people just because you can" was not exclusive to James Potter.

There is really nothing to make me think that James and/or Sirius were doing anything other than retaliating against Snape for all his nosiness.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:37 am

Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 7:15 pm (#2201 of 2988)
I'm not saying that there wasn't bullying going on. I just think it's possible that Snape may have aided and abetted it by deliberately following and seeking out the Marauders.



wynnleaf - Jul 4, 2009 8:23 pm (#2202 of 2988)
No, not at all ... and the reason is that he does not recognize or admit his own complicity in some of the things that happened to him. It would have required acknowledging one's own role in things in order to forgive and move on. (Solitaire)

This is a common assumption among many - that Snape was doing just as much to the Marauders as they were to him and that any bullying was partly his fault. This was never backed up in canon, it's basically just an assumption based on what some readers think of Snape's general character (he's not nice, therefore any enmity between them must have been partly his fault).

Yeah, I just don't think there ever was any actual "bullying" going on regarding Snape or anyone else. (Quinn)

Hexing people "for fun" "just because they can", the Worst Memory scene, their own admission of guilt, Snape's comments about attacking several to one, and so forth isn't any evidence at all? JKR was supposed to lay out a full chapters worth of bullying to be convincing?

Thing is, JKR wasn't writing The History of Snape and the Marauders. We're suppposed to take the little snippets she wrote and assume she was giving us a good cross-section of typical events and character motivations. Therefore the Marauders hung out looking for likely victims to hex "for fun" and did so, sometimes attacking just because a person exists. That's bullying.

His "Worst Memory" is not worst because of being hoisted into the air _ in Book 6 we find out from Lupin that this was a common experience for every Hogwarts student at the time, and at the end of Book 6, Snape implies that he was attacked by the Marauders more than once. It is not worst simply because of being bullied and jeered by a crowd (though that's what Harry thinks), though the bullying and jeering pour salt on a terrible wound. Snape's "Worst Memory" is "worst" because of what he does to Lily _ calling her "Mudblood". Although it isn't spelt out, I believe he did so because (even though she was genuinely trying to help him) her slight smile showed that she just could not completely conceal how James attracted her _ and Snape saw this. What's more, just in case he hadn't noticed, James (who probably realised Snape's feeling for Lily) gloated that Snape was lucky Lily was there. The attraction between his hated rival and the girl he wanted but probably realised, even then, he couldn't have; the gloating of his rival; plus the bullying _ even though she was trying to help him, for a mad second Snape must have felt betrayed by her, and lashed out. Of course, it is this word which finally leads to her repudiating Snape completely _ another reason for this to be his "Worst Memory". (Vulture)

Excellent analysis of this scene as regards Snape's possible feelings and reactions to Lily.

And he should have been more ready to trust Dumbledore about Lupin. (mona amon)

DD was only right about which side Lupin was on, but not right about whether or not Lupin was trustworthy. Snape never claimed Lupin was serving LV or a Death Eater. He thought Lupin would help Sirius and, by protecting Sirius' secrets, he was helping Sirius. Snape listened in on Lupin confessing to deceiving DD, therefore it is perfectly natural that he'd continue to consider Lupin untrustworthy and not want to listen to Lupin's claims.

As regards how Snape as an adult should feel about trusting the Marauders, I do have some personal experience with long term bullying during school. I once knew a person in high school who made several years worth of science classes quite awful for me because of the truly despicable things he would do and say to me. I have sometimes wondered how I would view him as an adult should I meet him on a visit to my hometown, or at a reunion. I am fairly certain that I would not be able to treat him as I would other adults. It's because the only personal history between us revolves around these really ugly actions on his part. I couldn't just put that behind me and assume that he'd "grown up". Nor could I possibly imagine that he'd forgotten all about it. If he attempted to treat me "nicely" as though nothing had ever happened, I would consider it fake because the past would be assumed to be like the elephant in the room, impossible to assume that he didn't realize it was there. It might be different if these incidents had occurred when we were 9 or 10 or 11, but because they occurred when we were 15, 16, and 17 I could not meet this person later and just assume they were a completely new and better person -- nor could I accept their treating me as though it was all in the past and forgotten. Because of this, I can completely understand why Snape would distrust Lupin when he met Lupin years later, after a knowing him as one of the kids who hated him and helped to bully him for years (standing aside when you have the authority to act against something is taking part).



wynnleaf - Jul 4, 2009 8:34 pm (#2203 of 2988)
I'm not saying that there wasn't bullying going on. I just think it's possible that Snape may have aided and abetted it by deliberately following and seeking out the Marauders. (Solitaire)

Thing is, even DD admitted that the Marauders must have done plenty of things for which they never got caught (when discussing the cloak), and we know they got away with a lot due to having the map. And we also know that whatever punishments they got, detention or points taken or whatever, didn't seem to stop them at all.

It seems to me that a person being bullied who had a fair degree of initiative wouldn't just sit back and "take it" or accept what was going on, but would in fact attempt to discover proof of any other bad behavior that might somehow get the staff to do something more drastic and stop the problem.

That's why I feel that Snape's attempts to discover what the Marauders were "up to" on full moon nights makes perfect sense. His attempts to find some evidence of expulsion-worthy misdeeds makes a good deal of sense to me. I can't blame a person who is bullied by uncontrollable kids to want those kids removed from the school. And McGonagall admitted in POA that the Marauders were mostly uncontrollable. And DD admitted in DH that they got away with a lot.

What happens when a kid, a teenager especially, is relentlessly bullied in a real school? Well, if it's happening a great deal the teachers and staff often aren't aware of what's really going on. Or for whatever reason, the actions that the school takes aren't working. What alternatives does the kid have? Sometimes the kid doesn't do anything but try to avoid the bullies which quite often simply doesn't work. Sometimes the kid tells a trusted teacher and the teacher becomes their advocate. Who would Snape tell? His Head of House -- Slughorn? Can we imagine Slughorn actually working to stop it for Snape? Some kids go to their parents and get their parents to advocate for them. Eileen??? Tobias???

Point is, what real alternative did Snape have but to try and stop the Marauders through finding something that would get them expelled? Especially considering that the Marauders had an invisibility cloak and the Marauders Map. It would be hard for faculty and staff to catch them at or even to know of much of their wrongdoing. Harry managed to do a lot in secret using those items, but Harry wasn't out trying to hex people just because he could or attack people just because they existed. He had better goals. Imagine what Harry and three cohorts could have achieved if they'd been wanting to bully people.



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 8:45 pm (#2204 of 2988)
This is a common assumption among many - that Snape was doing just as much to the Marauders as they were to him and that any bullying was partly his fault.

I didn't say that. I said he didn't acknowledge his complicity, by which I mean that in the only two instances of bullying we are shown, he put himself in the way of the bullies. That, I am afraid, was his doing. Sirius laid a trap for him, and he walked right into it, because he was so eager to "trap" them!



wynnleaf - Jul 4, 2009 8:48 pm (#2205 of 2988)
The incident at the lake he walked out of the exam with what appears to have been most of the kids in the class. Often, when a person is being bullied, people recommend that the person avoid the bullies, but generally one considers that a crowd of people is more safe. Snape going out where all the other kids were going is only natural. He shouldn't be considered "complicit" in his bullying when he was just doing what all the other kids were doing. What you're basically seeming to say is that Snape was complicit if he didn't take unusual efforts to avoid the Marauders at all cost, even in large groups of kids.



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 8:57 pm (#2206 of 2988)
Wynnleaf, you see things your way; I see them mine. I think that if Snape had wanted to avoid the Marauders, he could have done so.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 9:17 pm (#2207 of 2988)
Hexing people "for fun" "just because they can", the Worst Memory scene, their own admission of guilt, Snape's comments about attacking several to one, and so forth isn't any evidence at all? - Hm.... What was it you said to me the other day? Oh yeah, that's right: "You write as though it's a universally acknowledged Truth About Snape."

JKR was supposed to lay out a full chapters worth of bullying to be convincing? - Why not? She could have used the space the whole SPEW storyline took up.

Sirius only admits guilt regarding the worst memory. Snape's comments about "four to one", are meaningless since he never acknowledges his own complicity in the rivalry. Sirius says that he set the werewolf trap for Snape because Snape was always sneaking around spying on them. Since we see the adult Snape continues to sneak around spying, for me that's Sirius 1 - Snape 0.

What you're basically seeming to say is that Snape was complicit if he didn't take unusual efforts to avoid the Marauders at all cost, - I think what Solitaire is saying is that IF Snape had been bullied as much as you would have us believe, yes he absolutely would have done whatever was necessary to avoid the Marauders. Though, I don't really think choosing not to sit anywhere near them should be considered "unusual methods".



wynnleaf - Jul 4, 2009 9:31 pm (#2208 of 2988)
I think what Solitaire is saying is that IF Snape had been bullied as much as you would have us believe, yes he absolutely would have done whatever was necessary to avoid the Marauders. (Quinn)

I can speak from direct experience that sitting in the vicinity of a person who bullies you isn't evidence that they aren't really bullies. People often have other reason rather than just escape at all costs. Sometimes one's own view of self refuses to allow you to cave into the bullying and hide out, avoid being where ever the other person is, etc. all the time. Hogwarts wasn't some huge school. It's relatively small and the kids there lived there 24/7. To avoid being around specific other people would take consciously thinking of them all the time to remember to avoid them.

In any case, this line of reasoning is the kind of thing that says the person who owns a store in a crime-ridden part of town isn't just responsible for their own decision (possibly unwise, possibly unavoidable) to have a store in that part of town, they are actually in part responsible for the robbery itself. They are complicit in the crimes against them, because they didn't do enough to avoid the criminals or stop the criminals from attacking. And later, they should consider their own complicity when they deal with trying to forgive the criminals. After all, if they hadn't been in the neighborhood, those criminals would never have robbed them.

Even more, store owners retaining stores in crime-ridden parts of town is evidence that there really isn't any crime there after all!! Because surely if there was really crime there, the store owners would have closed down or moved the stores, right?

Hm, something seems wrong there. Kind of blame-the-victim for not changing their life enough to avoid the perpetrator. That makes it partly the victim's fault and may even be evidence that the victim was never really a victim.

There are, of course, people who believe this sort of reasoning even in real life situations. I don't.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 4, 2009 9:50 pm (#2209 of 2988)
sitting in the vacinity of a person who bullies you isn't evidence that they aren't really bullies. - Well, it certainly favors the "not bullies" side.

In any case, this line of reasoning is the kind of thing that says the person who owns a store in a crime-ridden part of town... etc etc - Wow, that's a pretty big stretch there.

I think.

Actually, I don't really understand what you're talking about any more. So, until soon



Solitaire - Jul 4, 2009 10:15 pm (#2210 of 2988)
Once again ...I didn't say that the Marauders didn't bully Snape. I said that if they were as bad as he claims, I should think he might have been a bit more aware of them when he was around them. Frankly, I think he was. The Worst Memory scene said he followed them, "apparently with no fixed idea of where he was going." Hm ... if the people who made my life a living hell were in my class, I think I'd want to know where they were once class was over. I think Snape did know, because when they stopped, he stopped and sat down behind a clump of bushes.

I think the word apparently is important. I think Snape appeared to be absorbed in his exam paper, but I think he had deliberately followed the Marauders because they were openly talking about the question on the five signs of a werewolf and teasing Peter by saying he ran around with a werewolf once a month. Snape was certainly close enough to have heard this, because Lupin told them to keep their voices down. I believe that, whether he actually did or not, Snape was suspected by the Marauders of having eavesdropped on their conversation. When he got up from the cover of his bushes to leave, it probably looked as though he had been hiding there. That's what I thought upon reading that scene for the first time. Perhaps the Marauders felt like I did.

Am I saying this was a good excuse to bully him? No, of course not. But I honestly do think Snape deliberately courted the abuse of the Marauders, at least in the instances we are shown. If they really did torment him every single time he went near them ... why go? Why put himself in that position if he didn't have to do so? And we know that, in these two instances, at least, he did not have to be there.

And yes, Wynnleaf ... if you really did have the option of opening your store in a more reputable neighborhood, yet you deliberately chose the worst part of town where robberies and burglaries were a nightly occurrence, well ... you shouldn't be surprised when you become a victim. Are you responsible for the burglary? No ... but you knew the odds were against you, if you had a brain in your head. So Snape knew that listening to Sirius was not wise ... yet he chose to do so. What if James hadn't found out about the prank and intervened? That was pure luck.

To avoid being around specific other people would take consciously thinking of them all the time to remember to avoid them.

Not really. If the Marauders were as bad as Snape says they were, he would have been on his guard anyway, all of the time. An alert person who doesn't like being a target is usually pretty watchful. I say this based on 23 years of observation in school hallways and classrooms and on playgrounds. Kids who truly want to stay clear of the bullies usually manage to do it. Those who insist on sitting beside them and being "in your face" about it are the first ones to howl when the bully nails them. Yes, the bully is punished ... but the "victim" keeps coming back for more. I see it happen all of the time.

Edit: It has mentioned that maybe Snape felt safe with others around. Question: Where were the other Slytherins? Surely he wasn't the only Slytherin of his year in the class with the Marauders and Lily. If there were other Slytherins around, why didn't they come to Snape's defense? Of all the people around, all of the onlookers, the only person to speak up in Snape's defense was Lily, his particular friend. The others seemed to be entertained by what was happening, other than Lily and possibly Remus. Even Harry was appalled.

I find it hard to believe that Lily was the only student in Hogwarts who was able to look past Snape's surface. There had to be some reason he was so unpopular ... some reason other than being poor and poorly groomed. In one of the Pensieve scenes, Lily says she has been making excuses for Snape "for years." Excuses for what? Was there something more than just his DE friends that made him unpopular? Lily tells James, "You're as bad as he is ..." Is she aware that Snape does his share of the hexing and jinxing?

I just think there is a tendency by some to paint Snape as a hapless, hounded victim. I do not deny that he is bullied ... but every story has two sides.



Julia H. - Jul 5, 2009 3:18 am (#2211 of 2988)
Quinn, I think there is plenty of evidence that there was bullying. There is indication in the Worst Memory Scene that this was not the first attack: While it is James who starts the whole thing, Lupin and Pettigrew seem to know exactly what is going to happen; Sirius and Lupin admit it to Harry that it was not the only time... and as Wynnleaf says, the information that JKR gives us makes sense only if it is what she means to be typical. And yes, there is also what Snape says.

You say we have only Snape's insistence that he was actually "hounded" by the Marauders and that "it was always four to one... I think Snape says he was "attacked" four on one, not "hounded"... You don't seem to find Snape's words enough, though in the Worst Memory attack we do see the four Marauders together - even if only two took part actively in the actual fight, the other two were standing by, one enjoying the scene, the other (the Prefect one) in what could well seem to be silent approval for the victim.

Then you take it as proven that Snape wanted to get the Marauders expelled and always went after them - but we only have Sirius's word for that - and Sirius later acknowledges they did attack even without being provoked. In other words, you believe Sirius's accusation of Snape (while you apparently don't believe it when Sirius acknowledges the fact of bullying) but not Snape's accusation of the Marauders. So everything that supports the bullying is either a lie or an isolated event ("not enough"); while everything that supports the idea that Snape deserved the bullying (which did not even take place, of course) is true. That is double standard and in this way it is really difficult to have a reasoned argument.

Solitaire, I understand that you agree that Snape was bullied but think that he was responsible for that because he was not careful enough. You see, I agree that Snape does not seem to be a little rabbit hiding in a hole all the time, and I can see that there is no evidence that the Marauders hounded him instead of bullying him "only" when (whenever?) they happened to see him with no teacher nearby. If it is so, what should we conclude?

Did Snape deserve what he got in the Worst Memory Scene for daring to go where everyone else went as well? Were the Marauders right to attack him once he had got too close? Is Snape expected to be understanding and trusting toward the Marauders who - after all - only bullied him when he was stupid enough to let them bully him? Is he to be blamed for not accepting the "rule" that he was not to go to certain places or that he should have fled back to the Slytherin quarters as soon as the exam was over? Is he expected to be less bitter about the bullying now or should he feel better about the humiliations that he suffered, thinking that everything was his fault?

As for Snape following the Marauders intentionally after the OWL exam - we have already discussed that. In DH, there is still the word "inadvertently", and it is the last word in the series on how Snape ended up sitting near them.

BTW, I agree that Snape was unpopular - no one tried to help him besides Lily, though it is indicated that not everyone liked what the Marauders were doing. (Some looked apprehensive.) We know that Lily was not only Snape's friend, but she was also a very brave person. If the Marauders were generally bullies, it is quite understandable why those who did not like the scene remained silent. They may have been the clever ones who preferred to stay out of the bullies' way. No one wanted to share Snape's fate. James threatens even Lily with hexing her. I can believe that he does not really mean it in this case - but he could be dead serious if someone else was there trying to stand up for Snape.

Then again, unpopularity can be due to many reasons, and it is explored quite well in HP. Being a Slytherin can make you unpopular with the rest of the school quite easily (in some cases right after the sorting). We also know about Snape's poverty, generally bad social skills, ugly looks - and we also know that even Hermione started out as very unpopular simply because of being a too good student. Being a frequent victim of bullies can add to one's unpopularity easily - think of how unpopular Harry was in his Muggle school simply because of his odd clothes and the fact that Dudley and his gang bullied him. No one seemed to want to help him even though we know about nothing Harry could be blamed for - unless it was not staying far away enough from Dudley. (Other unpopular students in HP include Luna Lovegood, who was just strange, nothing else.)

Oh, yes, I'm sure Snape did his part of the hexing as well. But the Marauders were bullies and they were still supposed to be popular - with James a Quidditch hero etc. Popularity and unpopularity may have complex reasons, and I don't think "unpopular" equals "deserving to be punished". As for Lily making excuses for Snape for years, well, she apparently found those excuses, and she knew Snape better than anyone else in the school.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 5:11 am (#2212 of 2988)
Popularity and unpopularity may have complex reasons, and I don't think "unpopular" equals "deserving to be punished" (Julia)

Absolutely. In HP there are a number of kids who at various times are unpopular through no fault of their own at all. Snape was a Slytherin and did have some bad friends, but we are never shown, nor does Lily even comment on Snape doing anything other than using the "mudblood" word. That and his friends is enough on its own for many kids to have disliked him, but it doesn't create some sort of excuse or good reason for the Marauders actions.

Julia's entire post was excellent and I want to reiterate a few points.

The fact that no one other than Lily stood up for Snape is no indicator of other kids thinking he deserved it. No one appears to have stood up for Harry either before he went to Hogwarts and Harry had no friends, not even someone like Lily. Are we to determine that Harry was so unlikeable or deserved to have no friends? No, JKR makes it clear that it is Dudley and his gang bullying Harry, and everyone else being wary of Dudley and the gang that causes Harry to be friendless and have no one stand up for him.

We are shown that the Marauders don't just attack Snape, but lots of others as well, hexing people "because they could". We're not told that their habit was to hex other people who deserved it or who were always trying to hex them, but that they hexed other kids just to do it, so we're shown that they had a habit in general of unprovoked hexing against people in general.

We got into this particular discussion over the idea of whether Snape as an adult should have been able to put all this behind him and follow DD's lead and trust Lupin and later have given more attention to listening to Sirius' explanations.

Solitaire, as I understand it, you seemed to say that Snape should have been able to consider his own "complicity" (I think that's the word you used) and his own actions and that should have somehow made him more willing to put aside the past. But even if Snape should have done more to avoid the Marauders or even if he shouldn't have acted on Sirius' Prank, why would that make the adult Marauders any more trustworthy?

In other words, if Snape had never acted on Sirius' Prank, he'd not have known that Sirius was willing to pull a Prank that could have gotten him killed, but that doesn't make teenager Sirius a different person. Sirius still pulled a Prank that could have killed Snape, whether or not Snape acted on it or not. If Snape had done nothing, Snape wouldn't have known the lengths that Sirius would go to, he wouldn't have known just how reckless Sirius could be, but it doesn't make Sirius less willing to risk other lives or less reckless. It just means that Snape wouldn't have been quite as aware of it.

Snape would still have been well aware that Sirius had been a bully willing to attack people for no reason and all the Wizarding World was aware that Sirius was convicted of betraying the Potters and killing 13 people. And everyone in Hogwarts knew of Sirius sneaking into Hogwarts, brandishing a knife over Ron who Snape later found in the Shack badly injured by Sirius' actions.

And why, if Snape had done more to avoid the Marauders because they were bullies, would it make him more able to trust Lupin later? If he had avoided them more, it would still be because of knowing them to be a gang of bullies. Intentionally working to avoid more of their bullying as teenagers wouldn't make them more easy to trust as adults.



haymoni - Jul 5, 2009 5:27 am (#2213 of 2988)
I think that the one memory Jo gives us does not offer us enough information to know for certain what life at Hogwarts was like for Snape.

Not that being given one snippet of information has ever stopped us before....

Snape reminded me of Hermione - he just took the exam and wants to go over it. He becomes so absorbed that he doesn't really know where he is. He may even feel badly about leaving himself open to such an easy attack.

It is also possible that the gang of Slytherins that he runs with is actually older (Lucius is) and, not being in this round of exams, would not have been around to rush to his defense.



Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 9:49 am (#2214 of 2988)
the Marauders were bullies and they were still supposed to be popular

This is something that bothers me about their having been the serious bullies that some posters (not Snape) imply. In all of the years I've been teaching (23), I have never known a bully to be popular with anyone outside his (or her, and yes, there are girl bullies) small, immediate circle. What's more, I've always known who the bullies are in my schools. So has every other teacher in school, because they are the subject of a lot of talk in meetings and in the teachers' lounge. I find it interesting that not one single Hogwarts teacher (other than Snape) seems to remember the Marauders as bullies. Lupin is chosen as prefect, and James is Head Boy in his seventh year. James and Sirius were certainly known to be the Weasleys of their generation, but there appears to have been a general liking of them by teachers and students alike.

How is that possible if they were so generally awful? Were the Hogwarts teachers all completely incompetent back then? McGonagall does not seem the type to allow one of her Gryffindors to pick on another kid with impunity, the way Snape does with Draco and the two gargoyles.

Snape does not seem to be a little rabbit hiding in a hole all the time Nor should he have to be. However, a smart person who actually knows who his enemies are generally has the common sense to stay out of their snares. Harry certainly learned how to keep out of Dudley's way, didn't he? Did Snape really believe that Sirius would want to do something good for him? I find it hard to believe. So why go? BTW, if Snape already suspected that Lupin was a werewolf, why would he want to get anywhere near him on a full moon anyway? That's pretty dopey!

why would that make the adult Marauders any more trustworthy?

Because if Snape had been able to admit some of his own shortcomings, then perhaps he might have been able to acknowledge that others could do the same and want to move on. Most adults who acknowledge the idiocies of their past and try to move on are able to give others the grace to do the same thing. Snape has never really let go of the past, and he doesn't really want to. It gives him his identity as James's victim. If he lets go of the past, he has to move past trying to exact revenge against James from Harry. I think that making Harry's life a living hell--particularly by trying to destroy Harry's image of his dead father--is one of the little perks of Snape's life. How sad ...



mona amon - Jul 5, 2009 10:34 am (#2215 of 2988)
Because if Snape had been able to admit some of his own shortcomings, then perhaps he might have been able to acknowledge that others could do the same and want to move on. Most adults who acknowledge the idiocies of their past and try to move on are able to give others the grace to do the same thing. Snape has never really let go of the past, and he doesn't really want to. (Soli)

I agree. Just a small admission, "they were idiots, and really cruel to me. So was I an idiot. But we were all kids back then".

It gives him his identity as James's victim.

I don't agree with this. He was never proud of being James's victim. We never see him admitting to being bullied, and he's furious when Harry sees him being victimized.

And he should have been more ready to trust Dumbledore about Lupin. (mona amon)

DD was only right about which side Lupin was on, but not right about whether or not Lupin was trustworthy. Snape never claimed Lupin was serving LV or a Death Eater. He thought Lupin would help Sirius and, by protecting Sirius' secrets, he was helping Sirius. Snape listened in on Lupin confessing to deceiving DD, therefore it is perfectly natural that he'd continue to consider Lupin untrustworthy and not want to listen to Lupin's claims. (Wynnleaf)


Whether Dumbledore was right or wrong about Lupin isn't the point. Severus should have trusted him all the same. He was right to trust Severus, who had once been a Death Eater. Why shouldn't he be right about Lupin, whose only crime was being friends with a supposed mass murderer when they were in school? If he had some actual proof that DD was wrong about Lupin, that would have been a different matter. But since he didn't, he should have taken Dumbledore's word for it that he knew Lupin wouldn't help Sirius enter the school, which was true.



Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 10:58 am (#2216 of 2988)
Me: It gives him his identity as James's victim.
Mona: I don't agree with this. He was never proud of being James's victim.


I didn't say he was proud. I do, however, believe that Snape clung to this part of his life and refused to let it go. He built a part of his persona upon it--meaning he became a bully to others--and it informed and directed his behavior toward Harry for the entire time of Harry's time at Hogwarts.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 5, 2009 12:32 pm (#2217 of 2988)
Quinn, I think there is plenty of evidence that there was bullying. - Yeah, I know you do. I don't. What more is there to say?

There is indication in the Worst Memory Scene that this was not the first attack: While it is James who starts the whole thing, Lupin and Pettigrew seem to know exactly what is going to happen; - Snape had recently, foolishly, gone out of his way to try to out Lupin to the entire school. Surely there was some kind of conversation back in the dorms about how, "Just wait till I get my wand on him..." No, Lupin didn't approve, but I imagine part of that is due to not wanting to have attention on him for any reason.

Sirius and Lupin admit it to Harry that it was not the only time... - Do they? Sirius say's he's not proud of the worst memory, specifically. He or Lupin also says that Snape "never lost an opportunity to attack James."

and as Wynnleaf says, the information that JKR gives us makes sense only if it is what she means to be typical. - Not true. Clearly it makes perfect sense to those of us who don't believe that scenes like the worst memory were typical.

You say we have only Snape's insistence that he was actually "hounded" by the Marauders and that "it was always four to one". You don't seem to find Snape's words enough. - Not when there is no corroboration.
As Solitaire points out, why does not one single other person remember this pattern of abuse toward Snape? Even when the trio are eavesdropping on the conversation between Flitwick, Hagrid and McGonagall. If events like the worst memory were supposed to be typical fare, surely the teachers - who had no idea Harry was listening - would have said so. They were discussing Sirius, who they all believed to be the traitorous murderer on the lam. Surely they would have said something along the lines of "I should have known..." as opposed to speaking of him fondly and wistfully.

Then you take it as proven that Snape wanted to get the Marauders expelled and always went after them - but we only have Sirius's word for that - We also have Lily, who asks Snape straight out, "Why are you so obsessed with them?" Obsessed. Pretty strong word there from Snape's only real friend. More importantly, we actually observe the sneaking and spying Sirius talks about in the adult Snape.

And Sirius later acknowledges they did attack even without being provoked. - He only acknowledges his responsibility for the worst memory.

So everything that supports the bullying - To you

is either a lie or an isolated event ("not enough")[i]; - Please don't twist my words around. I never once said anyone was lying.

[i]while everything that supports the idea that Snape deserved the bullying
- And again! Where did I ever say Snape deserved to be bullied?? In fact, I don't think any one person here has ever said such a thing.

That is double standard and in this way it is really difficult to have a reasoned argument. - Well, it certainly is when you post like I said things I didn't actually say, yeah. Also, I notice that you keep equating "not bullied" with "deserving to be punished". Which I just don't understand. They are two completely different concepts and are two completely different discussions.

But all this discussion of whether or not Snape was bullied as a teenager is irrelevant, in my opinion. The bottom line is he was a 35 year old man taking out his latent adolescent anger and resentments on children. There is no excuse for that. At some point you have to just grow up, man up, take responsibility for your own choices, your own actions and just get over yourself already.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 1:53 pm (#2218 of 2988)
I find it interesting that not one single Hogwarts teacher (other than Snape) seems to remember the Marauders as bullies. (Solitaire)

You said yourself that bullies are the subject of teacher's lounge conversation. What conversation regarding the Marauders between only adults do we hear in the series? We do see McGonagall talking about the Marauders when she thinks only adults are present. "Black and Potter. Ringleaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course – exceptionally bright, in fact – but I don’t think we’ve ever had such a pair of troublemakers –"

Of course, being a "gang" of "troublemakers" doesn't necessarily equate to bullying, but what kind of trouble are we typically told about? Lily speaks of them as hexing people and the detention records say the same thing. I'm sure they also did other things that weren't hexing people, but clearly McGonagall called them a "gang" and quite a bad group of troublemakers.

Lupin says he thought he was made a prefect in a failed attempt to get him to curb the bad behavior of the rest of the group. Does that mean teachers thought Lupin was wonderful? No. Lupin thinks it means that the teachers couldn't get the Marauders to stop their troublemaking and hoped that one of the Marauders could do it instead, but they were wrong.

Why was James made head boy? We really have got little evidence of what would make McGonagall go from seeing James as one of the worst troublemakers in her history as a teacher, to Head Boy material. What we do know is that in his NEWT years, James was concealing any hexing of Snape in an attempt to win Lily and had apparently quit hexing other people. He did not, of course, stop risking the lives of the general populace by running around with the other Marauders on night of full moon. Perhaps the teachers were fooled by the fact that most of James' wrongdoing by that point was hidden.

By the way, teachers in the real world aren't dealing with bullies equipped with invisibility cloaks and Marauders Maps. It was very easy for the Marauders to get away with a lot that teachers wouldn't know about. Dumbledore directly acknowledged that the cloak allowed James to get away with a lot.

The bottom line is he was a 35 year old man taking out his latent adolescent anger and resentments on children. (Quinn)

While that's certainly a discussion that we have periodically, it wasn't what was under discussion at the point that the bullying was brought up. We were discussing whether or not Snape should have put aside the past and trusted Lupin because Dumbledore said Lupin was trustworthy (Lupin, as it turned out, was deceiving DD), and whether Snape should have put aside the past and given credence to what Sirius was saying in the Shrieking Shack.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 2:02 pm (#2219 of 2988)
One other thing about the "victims" of "bullies" who are repeatedly complaining about it to teachers and not really being true victims because they are bringing it on themselves..

It is true that some people are always running to teachers complaining that they are being bullied. Perhaps these are people who want attention or perhaps (according to a middle school counselor friend of mine), these are kids who are provoking the "bullying" themselves.

But many, many kids, including myself and other people I've talked with, and including several characters in HP, are bullied and never tell teachers or any authorities at all. JKR commented that the big thing kids who are being bullied should do is tell adults. JKR was repeatedly bullied by certain kids in school as well, yet I don't think she brought it on through her own behavior. She attempted to hide out from bullies. It was a little easier perhaps for her because her mom worked at the school (in the science block with the chemistry teacher, by the way), but even hiding out in there at lunch time and having her mom at the school and being able to go home at the end of the school day didn't mean that JKR could completely avoid the bullies. She did eventually hit one the main bullies when the bully confronted her against a row of lockers. I don't recall that JKR ever said she told teachers about it. The kids in her series that are bullied generally don't tell.

Harry doesn't tell about it. Luna is bullied (not physically, but people stealing her things), for years and she never tells. And we have no evidence that Snape ever told teachers about the Worst Memory scene. We don't know how the Prank came out -- whether James or Snape or someone else told. But there's no evidence that Snape was telling on the Marauders any more than there's evidence that Harry or Luna were telling teachers.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 5, 2009 2:07 pm (#2220 of 2988)
While that's certainly a discussion that we have periodically, it wasn't what was under discussion at the point that the bullying was brought up. - Oh, I'm sorry, Wynnleaf. I didn't realize you were in charge of what we could and couldn't introduce into discussion. I'll be sure to check with you next time.

Since I am the one who actually initiated the current discussion, the above remark perfectly summarizes what I have to say on the matter.

However, you do bring up a good point about Luna. Here was have someone who takes the complete opposite tack of Snape. Luna doesn't complain, she doesn't seek revenge, or try to get even. She doesn't even carry any resentment about it whatsoever. She simply lives her life.

Of course, eventually, it does pay off for her because she does end up with a very loyal and devoted group of friends - not to mention her part in the Battle of Hogwarts.

ETA: You needn't make an argument out of everything - Right back atcha, dude!



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 2:15 pm (#2221 of 2988)
Good grief, Quinn, I wasn't trying to tell you what to discuss! I was commenting on what was currently under discussion which I thought you meant when you commented about Snape's actions towards the kids being the "bottom line" -- that is, that you meant the bottom line in the particular discussion we have been going on about the last 24 hours. Well, our recent discussion about bullying was in regards whether or not Snape should have been able to put aside the past and trust Lupin and/or Sirius. You needn't make an argument out of everything.

Talk about whatever you want. Say the moon is purple or whatever. I just thought you meant that "bottom line" comment to reflect on our current discussion regarding Snape's reactions to Lupin and Sirius in POA. You started the discussion after all. When you said something was the "bottom line" I naturally assumed you meant the topic at hand.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 2:30 pm (#2222 of 2988)
However, you do bring up a good point about Luna. Here was have someone who takes the complete opposite tack of Snape. Luna doesn't complain, she doesn't seek revenge, or try to get even. She doesn't even carry any resentment about it whatsoever. She simply lives her life. (Quinn)

Quite correct. Luna handles it all better in general. However, Luna is actually very unusual. Most kids who just take the bullying and don't do anything, and yet it still continues and continues, are being injured by it. Luna seems to have a philosophical insight to the whole thing that she seems kind of above it. Personally, I think Luna is actually one of the most mature of the all the kids in the series.

I brought up Luna in part because she's a great example of a kid who doesn't retaliate and who hasn't done anything to warrant the nasty behavior of others toward her, and yet her continuous good attitude does nothing to stop many kids from bullying her for years. Eventually Harry becomes her friend and, as he empathizes with the fact that she's being bullied, starts taking up for her and perhaps this helps stop others from taking such advantage of her, but we aren't actually shown that Harry's friendship stops the bullying.

My point is that the argument that if Snape was attacked many times by the Marauders it must have been partly his fault for not avoiding them better or for having a bad personality or some other reason, doesn't hold true with Luna.



Julia H. - Jul 5, 2009 3:21 pm (#2223 of 2988)
This is something that bothers me about their having been the serious bullies that some posters (not Snape) imply. In all of the years I've been teaching (23), I have never known a bully to be popular with anyone outside his (or her, and yes, there are girl bullies) small, immediate circle. What's more, I've always known who the bullies are in my schools. (Solitaire)

Well, Wynnleaf has already brought up evidence that suggests that teachers knew about some of the Marauders' wrongdoings - like the detention files and Lupin made a prefect in order to stop his friends. By the seventh year, James may have shown considerable change and we also know that he was a good student from an academic point of view. (BTW, a generation later, Draco Malfoy was made a prefect - if not Head Boy - in spite of being a bully.)

As for the popularity of the Marauders - it must have helped that James was a Quidditch hero, for example. We don't know how popular they were beyond that (Quidditch heroes could be very popular, that is made clear with Krum, who did not have any of the charm and easy-going air that James probably had.) I can also imagine that some students simply found it safer to be on good terms with them and laugh at their jokes to avoid being on the receiving end.

See, whatever we may experience in our world; in JKR's world, Dudley has friends while Harry does not; and what happens after Harry is bullied at school?

On the other hand, he'd gotten into terrible trouble for being found on the roof of the school kitchens. Dudley's gang had been chasing him as usual when, as much to Harry's surprise as anyone else's, there he was sitting on the chimney. The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry's headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings.

Solitaire, I'm sure you, as a teacher, would never make that mistake, but JKR strongly suggests that a victim of bullying can get into more trouble with teachers because of something that was not his fault. BTW, was there any complicity on Harry's part when he was being bullied by Dudley?

Harry certainly learned how to keep out of Dudley's way, didn't he?

I don't know. I remember that he learned to run very fast, but he does not seem to be very humble towards Dudley or the Dursleys even before knowing about the Wizarding World.

"No, thanks," said Harry. "The poor toilet's never had anything as horrible as your head down it -- it might be sick." Then he ran, before Dudley could work out what he'd said.

Harry does not exactly keep his head down.

That's pretty dopey!

It may be, but I still don't see how this knowledge excuses what Sirius did or how it could make Snape any more trusting towards Sirius.

Because if Snape had been able to admit some of his own shortcomings, then perhaps he might have been able to acknowledge that others could do the same and want to move on.

It would have been nice, of course, but precisely in the Shrieking Shack, where he should listen to Sirius and Lupin, he has just heard Sirius saying that Snape deserved the Prank. Even if Snape had been able to move on, at this moment he would probably still find it difficult to believe that Sirius has, too, moved on (which he has not, BTW) - and apart from that, the main question in the Shrieking Shack is whether Snape believes that Sirius - thought by everyone (including Dumbledore!) a mass murderer and a traitor of his own best friends -, who has recently and repeatedly broken into a school dormitory with a knife in his hand, is innocent or not. I don't see that at this point Snape acknowledging his one-time complicity in being bullied could help much.

As for trusting Lupin because Dumbledore says so - the problem is that there is the mystery of Sirius being able to get into the castle, and Dumbledore cannot explain that. Since they have no idea about Sirius being an animagus, Snape has the "inside help" theory, and Lupin is a more logical suspect than others. Not because he is a werewolf, but because he and Sirius were (are?) friends. As far as we know, no one can come up with a better explanation than that. It is quite similar to Harry in HBP, when he is being told by everyone (including Dumbledore!) that there is no reason to worry about Draco or Snape, and he still keeps suspecting them. He can't help it, because of what he had seen and heard and experienced. He is right about Draco but not quite right about Snape...

Otherwise, IMO, the fact that Lupin does not dare confess Dumbledore his teenage wrongdoings is a sign that he has not quite got over everything adolescent either.



Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 3:33 pm (#2224 of 2988)
many kids, including myself and other people I've talked with, and including several characters in HP, are bullied and never tell teachers or any authorities at all

I agree ... and yet, somehow, we usually do seem to find out about it. That kind of constant bullying just doesn't seem to stay hidden. Teachers pick up on it, whether or not you think we do. It is possible that the teachers knew about Snape being bullied and ignored it ... but I find that pretty tough to believe.

I also agree that not all kids bring bullying on themselves, especially gentle kids like Luna and Neville. I do, however, think that Snape did court some of what happened by sneaking around after the Marauders and spying on them. It doesn't excuse the Marauders' behavior anymore than Snape having been bullied excuses his horrific treatment of Harry. But it does explain it.

Edits:

Julia: BTW, was there any complicity on Harry's part when he was being bullied by Dudley? Harry talks repeatedly about learning to keep out of reach of Dudley, as much as he can.

Lupin is a more logical suspect than others. Not because he is a werewolf, but because he and Sirius were (are?) friends. As far as we know, no one can come up with a better explanation than that.
Well, not being able to think up a better suspect in a magical world where people have all manner of means for disguising themselves is certainly a reason for planning to hand him over to the Dementors!

I still don't see how this knowledge excuses what Sirius did[i] No one, including Quinn or myself, has ever said that it did excuse Sirius. What I have said, repeatedly, is that someone as smart as Snape should have known better than to trust Sirius, one of the men he considers as the bane of his existence. Snape was really foolish here.

One of the interesting things about this series is that things can be interpreted in so many different ways. I do not think we will ever agree about a character as enigmatic as Snape, no matter how many times we rehash the same old stuff. I think we must just agree to disagree and do it as respectfully as possible.



Julia H. - Jul 5, 2009 4:44 pm (#2225 of 2988)
[i]Quinn, I think there is plenty of evidence that there was bullying. - Yeah, I know you do. I don't. What more is there to say?


..er... re-read the books?

Snape had recently, foolishly, gone out of his way to try to out Lupin to the entire school. Surely there was some kind of conversation back in the dorms about how, "Just wait till I get my wand on him..." No, Lupin didn't approve, but I imagine part of that is due to not wanting to have attention on him for any reason.

And yet, that is not what Sirius tells Harry. He acknowledges that he is not proud that the attack happened because he was bored. That is in the books. Your version is not. But not even your version (if it were canon) would be proof that it was the only attack when I weigh it against Lily's comment, against what Sirius and Lupin say to Harry in OotP and against the detention files.

Sirius and Lupin admit it to Harry that it was not the only time... - Do they?

Yes: "Did I ever tell you to lay off Snape?" he said. "Did I ever have the guts to tell you I thought you were out of order?" (Lupin)

"Once James had deflated his head a bit," said Sirius. "And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it," said Lupin.

I suppose he could only stop doing something that he had done in the first place.

Clearly it makes perfect sense to those of us who don't believe that scenes like the worst memory were typical.

Especially when you choose to disregard the references to other instances of bullying.

As Solitaire points out, why does not one single other person remember this pattern of abuse toward Snape? Even when the trio are eavesdropping on the conversation between Flitwick, Hagrid and McGonagall. If events like the worst memory were supposed to be typical fare, surely the teachers - who had no idea Harry was listening - would have said so.

Would have said how Professor Snape used to be bullied? You know I would never think of sitting down in a café visited by the whole school and starting to spread embarrassing gossip about a colleague. Remember that they were telling the story primarily to Madam Rosmerta (Fudge was there, too, which makes for two outsiders). Besides, they were not only talking about the supposed crimes Sirius had committed, they were also talking about war heroes James Potter and Peter Pettigrew. Though they didn't know that Potter's son was listening, they got quite emotional about the victims - even about Pettigrew simply because he was a "war hero", too, at the moment. They were determined to speak kindly about James and Pettigrew, as it is usual in similar conversations, (because they were dead and war heroes, regardless of what they had been as students), and that is another good reason for not going into details about their wrongdoings - and it seems they could hardly speak about things that Sirius had done without mentioning James Potter's complicity.

Obsessed. Pretty strong word there from Snape's only real friend.

"Obsessed" does not mean 'going after them all the time and wanting to get them expelled'. One can be obsessed in many ways. It has been mentioned that Snape as a victim of bullying should watch out for the attackers all the time. That can result in a sort of obsession, too.

More importantly, we actually observe the sneaking and spying Sirius talks about in the adult Snape.

That makes me think of Sirius, who, after twelve years, wants to commit the murder he has been imprisoned for. If this is evidence, then we also have similar evidence of the four-on-one attacks (apart from seeing it in the Worst Memory): The adult Snape is very good at duelling against several attackers in DH, supporting the idea that he has some experience.

And Sirius later acknowledges they did attack even without being provoked. - He only acknowledges his responsibility for the worst memory.

Yes, and then Lupin backs this up by saying James hexed people for the fun of it. In the plural. He stopped doing that in the seventh year. That's a whole year after the Worst Memory.

I never once said anyone was lying.

You implied that Snape was lying:

...we have only Snape's insistence that he was actually "hounded" by the Marauders and that "it was always four to one". (Quinn) You don't seem to find Snape's words enough. (Julia) - Not when there is no corroboration. (Quinn)

If these words of yours don't mean that you think Snape is lying, then I completely misunderstood them. Could you please explain?

while everything that supports the idea that Snape deserved the bullying - And again! Where did I ever say Snape deserved to be bullied?? In fact, I don't think any one person here has ever said such a thing.

OK, let me clarify: It seemed to me you were saying that Snape deserved what he got from the Marauders and what I consider to be bullying. I realize that you deny the actual fact of bullying, but there are things in canon that cannot be denied. You seem to be saying - basically - in so many words that Snape deserved what happened. If that is not what you are saying, then I misunderstood again, and then I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Also, I notice that you keep equating "not bullied" with "deserving to be punished".

Yes, because some things happened. If we don't call them bullying and we don't call them (justified) punishment either, I don't know what else we could call them. You seem to be saying Snape was not bullied, and the Worst Memory was an isolated case, in retaliation for Snape going after Lupin (for which he had already been punished by the way). I hope you do not deny that in the Worst Memory, Snape was attacked by James and Sirius, disarmed and, while defenceless, he was physically tormented by various hexes and humiliated in front of a crowd of onlookers. You don't seem to think that it equals bullying. But whatever you call it, you seem to think that the Marauders' behaviour can be justified. If it can be justified, it would mean Snape deserved it. So, yes, if we deny the fact of bullying, we either deny that the Worst Memory took place at all, or we conclude that the Marauders were right and Snape deserved it. If you have a third interpretation, I am curious to know it.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:40 am

Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 5:00 pm (#2226 of 2988)
"Obsessed" does not mean 'going after them all the time and wanting to get them expelled'

Actually, Julia, in this case, I think it did mean exactly that. Sirius clearly believed that Snape was following them around and trying to get them expelled. In DH, Lily pointed out that Snape was obsessed, and she linked that comment with his theories about Lupin, his attempts to find out what the Marauders were up to when they went out at night, and his "sneaking down the tunnel" by the Whomping Willow.

You don't seem to think that it equals bullying.

Once again, no one has said that this was not bullying. No one has even said that it was okay for them to do it given the fact that they thought he was trying to get them expelled, which they did think. What has been said about this incident, by me, is that it looked as though Snape was trying to eavesdrop on the conversation of the Marauders, and maybe they felt that way, too ... and this is how they responded to that feeling. I never said it was right, and I didn't say it was justified. I did say that putting himself in direct proximity to the Marauders was not a smart thing to do ... yet he did it anyway in both of the bullying incidents we see.



Julia H. - Jul 5, 2009 5:04 pm (#2227 of 2988)
Well, not being able to think up a better suspect in a magical world where people have all manner of means for disguising themselves is certainly a reason for planning to hand him over to the Dementors! (Solitaire)

Snape only planned to hand over Lupin to the Dementors when he found him in a brotherly conversation with the supposed murderer. Before that, he only mentioned his suspicions to Dumbledore. For some reason, no one, including genious Dumbledore, has a good guess regarding the method Sirius uses to enter.

What I have said, repeatedly, is that someone as smart as Snape should have known better than to trust Sirius, one of the men he considers as the bane of his existence. Snape was really foolish here.

I can agree with Snape acting foolishly, but it is not a moral term. I don't know how the willingness to play an amusing but possibly mortal joke on a fellow student can be matched with the victim's being foolish. I'm glad you don't think it is an excuse for Sirius - but then what is it?

BTW, isn't it interesting that the teenage Snape once foolishly trusted(?) Sirius, which almost cost him his life, and we all agree that he should not have done that - and then there is the adult Snape who just won't trust the same Sirius, who - incidentally in the same place - is trying very much to make him believe something - and it is just wrong that he does not trust and believe him?

EDIT: "Obsessed" does not mean 'going after them all the time and wanting to get them expelled'

Actually, Julia, in this case, I think it did mean exactly that.


Oh, it may be so when we look at the general context, but it may be different when we use Quinn's method of interpreting the characters' words. You see, if Sirius's words are not evidence that the Worst Memory happened only because he was bored, and Snape's words of the repeated attacks supported by the attacks we do see is not evidence that there was bullying, (it is Quinn's opinion, not yours) then I don't know why we can't do the same kind of "interpretation" with the words of other characters.

Once again, no one has said that this was not bullying.

Quinn seems to be saying something like that - denying that there was bullying at all.

I also agree that not all kids bring bullying on themselves, especially gentle kids like Luna and Neville. I do, however, think that Snape did court some of what happened by sneaking around after the Marauders and spying on them.

What I disagree with is when Snape is "credited" with more than what we can find in canon, on the basis that there must have been some reason that he was unpopular and bullied. (E.g. that it must have been Snape who first called for trouble with the kids who were otherwise bullying others as well.) We are shown that someone can be unpopular and even bullied for far less reason than what we find with Snape in canon, even entirely without any fault of their own. As for Snape sneaking and spying, the question is what was first? That or the bullying?



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 5:28 pm (#2228 of 2988)
BTW, isn't it interesting that the teenage Snape once foolishly trusted(?) Sirius, which almost cost him his life, and we all agree that he should not have done that - and then there is the adult Snape who just won't trust the same Sirius, who - incidentally in the same place - is trying very much to make him believe something - and it is just wrong that he does not trust and believe him? (Julia)

Exactly.

Foolish, overly obsessed Snape is stupid to trust Sirius when Sirius tries whatever trick he used to get Snape to go into the tunnel -- and Snape should remember that made him "complicit" in almost getting killed and therefore he should be..... uh, what's that???

Ah yes,

more likely to trust Sirius the next time, especially when Sirius is a convicted murderer from which even DD is trying to protect the kids.

Sounds like the exact opposite of "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me."

Instead this equates to "Fool Snape once, shame on Snape; if Snape is wary of being fooled again, shame on Snape again."



Quinn Crockett - Jul 5, 2009 5:41 pm (#2229 of 2988)
Especially when you choose to disregard the references to other instances of bullying. - Dude, these so-called references are only YOUR interpretation of something another character said. "Lay off Snape" could just mean that Lupin wanted Sirius to shut up about Snape, already. And it still comes when they are discussing the worst memory. But if you're going to put such weight on that one remark, then you also need to count the very specific "Snape never lost an opportunity to attack James." So, there was bullying going on on both sides.

"Once James had deflated his head a bit," said Sirius. "And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it," said Lupin.
I suppose he could only stop doing something that he had done in the first place.
- So they hexed people for the fun of it. So did a lot of people, if the Levicorpus spell is anything to go by. Lupin talks about how the spell was "very popular" and that you couldn't walk down the hall without someone being hoisted into the air. I'm sure this wasn't the only spell like this, and that James wasn't the only one who used it.

[The teachers] would have said how Professor Snape used to be bullied?- Or anyone else. But not a peep about bullying of any kind. Just teary, fond memories.

"Obsessed" does not mean 'going after them all the time and wanting to get them expelled'. One can be obsessed in many ways - Okay then. What did Lily mean by "obsessed" if not "Why are you going after them all the time and wanting to get them expelled?"

we also have similar evidence of the four-on-one attacks (apart from seeing it in the Worst Memory): The adult Snape is very good at duelling against several attackers in DH, supporting the idea that he has some experience. - Or supporting the idea that he was a card-carrying Death Eater who has been in a few battles.

You implied that Snape was lying: - No, I did not. Again, this is your interpretation. What I actually implied was that Snape's perception of something does not make it what actually happened.

You seem to be saying - basically - in so many words that Snape deserved what happened. - You have completely twisted everything I have said into "Snape deserved what happened". This is so astronomically off base that I don't even see the point of answer it.

If it can be justified, it would mean Snape deserved it. - Well, by that line of reasoning, Harry, Neville, Hermione and others all deserved to be psychologically and emotionally abused by Snape. I mean, since we can "justify" why Snape acted the way he did toward Harry and his friends (i.e. because Snape was once hung up by his ankles in front of the whole school), then Harry must be deserving of Snape's treatment, right?

So, yes, if we deny the fact of bullying, we either deny that the Worst Memory took place at all, or we conclude that the Marauders were right and Snape deserved it. - Uh... Now what, now??

it may be different when we use Quinn's method of interpreting the characters' words. - It would help if you interpreted my words correctly instead of twisting them up into a pretzel.

As for Snape sneaking and spying, the question is what was first? That or the bullying? - I don't think James and Sirius really gave a fiddler's fart about Snape - until Snape started skulking around.

Sirius is a convicted murderer from which even DD is trying to protect the kids. - Actually, Sirius was never "convicted" of anything. He was simply picked up and thrown straight into prison without trial or even questioning. He was a scapegoat, nothing more.

ETA: But, again, I don't really care whether Snape was bullied as a teenager or not. He was a grown man. He should have acted like one.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 5:57 pm (#2230 of 2988)
As for Snape sneaking and spying, the question is what was first? That or the bullying? - I don't think James and Sirius really gave a fiddler's fart about Snape - until Snape started skulking around. (Quinn)

Yes, which came first is very important to understanding the enmity. JKR first shows James and Sirius making the first move on the train their first year, first making disparaging comments about the House Snape is interested in and then adding in a physical action in trying to trip Snape. So even though it's small, that's the first negative stuff and it's James that starts it. I know, I know, in the past Quinn has had some explanation about how really it was Snape's fault, but I doubt that JKR was trying to show it was Snape's fault on the train.

Next comes the question of motive.

Why would Snape be trying to sneak around looking for ways to get the Marauders expelled before they'd done anything to him?? What did it gain him early on? After all, in the beginning Lily wasn't interested in James, so why would Snape be so interested in them in particular?

Now if James and the rest of the Marauders started in on Snape first, what would be their motive? JKR gives us two clear motives. James was interested in Lily long before Lily was interested in James. JKR told us that Snape's friendship with Lily was known by James and was part of the reason for the enmity. Yet at first, before Lily liked James, it would only be a reason for James to dislike Snape. So James has a clear motive for wanting to get at Snape. And then James himself claimed that he didn't even need a motive, saying that he attacked Snape because "he exists" and Sirius agreed with Harry that on the Worst Memory occasion, the main motive was boredom.

So Snape, without the Marauders attacking him and before Lily showed clear interest in James, had no motive to obsess over them any more than any other kids. James on the other hand had a motive in Lily's friendship with Snape, and his admitted willingness to attack for no reason other than boredom.

Sirius is a convicted murderer from which even DD is trying to protect the kids. (wynnleaf) - Actually, Sirius was never "convicted" of anything. He was simply picked up and thrown straight into prison without trial or even questioning. (Quinn)

Correct, but it doesn't affect my comments at all as my point was that the fact that the whole wizarding world including Dumbledore thought Sirius was a mass murderer and Death Eater, AND Sirius had tricked Snape before, which Quinn and Solitaire assert was partly Snape's fault for being foolish enough to trust Sirius. So clearly, it would have been foolish beyond foolish for Snape to have believed Sirius again.



Julia H. - Jul 5, 2009 6:04 pm (#2231 of 2988)
Quinn, I think I was talking to you in a civil manner. I explained how I understood your words and asked you to clarify if I was wrong. You could have chosen to explain, though of course you had no obligation to do so. However, I absolutely refuse to be spoken to in the style that you have chosen to respond.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 5, 2009 6:44 pm (#2232 of 2988)
Quinn, I think I was talking to you in a civil manner. - Civil? You deliberately twisted things I said around and were then sarcastic and mocking about them. Yeah, very nice.

I know, I know, in the past Quinn has had some explanation about how really it was Snape's fault - Once again, this was NEVER what I said. And by the way, thanks for that tone, as well. Nice!

What I actually said, in the comment you are referring to, was that I thought that particular memory was included as an illustration of how, had Snape handled the introduction on the train differently (by taking the joke in stride, for example, the way Sirius did), he could perhaps have experienced a different outcome; could perhaps have been friends with James instead of rivals.

Why would Snape be trying to sneak around looking for ways to get the Marauders expelled before they'd done anything to him?? - Same reason he does anything related to James or Sirius: For spite. He hated James and Sirius immediately. He wouldn't have needed any kind of "motive" other than simply wanting to get back at them for some off-hand remark or pulled face.
And while Lily may not have been interested in James right away, James was interested in her. They were in the same house, which must have driven Snape up the wall. We saw the way he reacted to Petunia, who he also saw as a threat and a rival for Lily's attention and affection - and she was Lily's own sister.

Anyway, this discussion has become tiresome. I'm out.



wynnleaf - Jul 5, 2009 6:57 pm (#2233 of 2988)
What I actually said, in the comment you are referring to, was that I thought that particular memory was included as an illustration of how, had Snape handled the introduction on the train differently (by taking the joke in stride, for example, the way Sirius did), he could perhaps have experienced a different outcome; could perhaps have been friends with James instead of rivals. (Quinn)

Fair enough. So that means that James was the first to start it, but you're saying that Snape shouldn't have kept it going?

Same reason he does anything related to James or Sirius: For spite. He hated James and Sirius immediately. He wouldn't have needed any kind of "motive" other than simply wanting to get back at them for some off-hand remark or pulled face. (Quinn)

Yes, but lots of kids would make off-hand remarks or pulled face at some time or another and he wasn't obsessing over all of them. His problem was with the Marauders and it doesn't make sense that he'd just be focused on them for completely ordinary offenses that happen every day between kids, because then he'd obsess about everyone who made those ordinary negligible offenses. But he focuses on the Marauders and the question is why? James was interested in Lily, but Lily wasn't interested in James yet. And JKR says that lots of the guys would have been interested in Lily as she was a popular girl. So what was so special about James and the Marauders in Snape's eyes? Why them in particular if they weren't targeting Snape already?

See this is where the only answers are purely speculative. But JKR does give us reason for James to target Snape prior to Snape targeting him. James strong interest in Lily and the knowledge that Lily liked Snape, as well as James being quite able to attack someone out of boredom.



Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 7:12 pm (#2234 of 2988)
I am not a host or a moderator, BUT ... I think we all need to cool down before this discussion is kipendoed. It is starting to reach the same pitch as it was before Kip closed it down the last time. No one wants that to happen again. JM2K ...



PeskyPixie - Jul 5, 2009 8:19 pm (#2235 of 2988)
First of all, I really loved Vulture's post.

I may the Snapiest one of the bunch as I remember in detail the horrible things I faced as a kid (not that there were too many of them). I don't want revenge as an adult, but I also can not pretend to like those individuals now ... especially since I've never been issued an apology of any sort (BTW, I'm not talking about silly little childish misunderstandings, I'm talking about the big incidents). For some, it's difficult to get out of that mindset without closure. Perhaps most people are not like this, but some are.

"I've been teaching (23), I have never known a bully to be popular with anyone outside his (or her, and yes, there are girl bullies) small, immediate circle. What's more, I've always known who the bullies are in my schools. So has every other teacher in school, because they are the subject of a lot of talk in meetings and in the teachers' lounge."

That's really great. However, in my high school there definitely was a clique of Marauders. They were charming, nice, cool, great students, got along well with their teachers. They'd pick on others (there was a rather Snape-like boy they especially loved to harass) and teachers chose to look the other way because these kids were 'essentially good boys', simply a bit 'high-spirited'.

I understand why some of you are of the belief that Snape 'went looking for trouble'. A lot can be avoided by steering clear of potential trouble. Still, that does not justify the Marauders' actions.

"Harry certainly learned how to keep out of Dudley's way, didn't he?"

This kind of reasoning pains me. As a former timid kid this was a fact of my life as well. However, it doesn't make the situation any more savoury. We love little Harry, we hate little Severus, but neither should have to make the effort of keeping away from a group of kids that despises him. Besides, Harry does his fair share of irritating Dudley et al. He enjoys it. (Hey, I enjoy it!)

Instead this equates to "Fool Snape once, shame on Snape; if Snape is wary of being fooled again, shame on Snape again."

That's really interesting.

I think we all agree that as a grown man Snape should behave as such, especially when he is being paid for teaching children. I'm pretty sure that no one has denied that so far.

"I am not a host or a moderator, BUT ... I think we all need to cool down before this discussion is kipendoed. It is starting to reach the same pitch as it was before Kip closed it down the last time. No one wants that to happen again. JM2K ... "

I agree, Soli.



mona amon - Jul 5, 2009 10:32 pm (#2236 of 2988)
I agree as well

"I've been teaching (23), I have never known a bully to be popular with anyone outside his (or her, and yes, there are girl bullies) small, immediate circle. What's more, I've always known who the bullies are in my schools. So has every other teacher in school, because they are the subject of a lot of talk in meetings and in the teachers' lounge." (Soli)

That's really great. However, in my high school there definitely was a clique of Marauders. They were charming, nice, cool, great students, got along well with their teachers. They'd pick on others (there was a rather Snape-like boy they especially loved to harass) and teachers chose to look the other way because these kids were 'essentially good boys', simply a bit 'high-spirited'. (Pesky)


I have to say that my own experience of school life was more like Pesky's. I'd like to make a difference here between 'thugs' and 'bullies'. Thugs are those with a violent mindset and superior physical strength, which they use to intimidate other kids. They are unpopular. Teachers keep an eye on them. And on the whole kids don't find it too difficult to stay out of their way, and often complain to the teachers if they are attacked by them. Crabbe and Goyle are thugs.

Bullies like James operate differently. Hexing (or the muggle equivalent), name calling, taunting are what they use to harrass other kids, who have less social power than themselves. They are cool and popular, that's where the social power comes from. Naturally they are not popular with the kids that they pick on, but they are a very small minority. Their object is to humiliate, which is their way of asserting their dominance or displaying their power. It's not possible to avoid them. How can you avoid a bunch of boys who sit in the same class as you? And I don't see how teachers can get an accurate idea of what's going on. It's only the victims who know how they feel, and they almost never tell.

What I'm trying to say is that there are different types of bullies. I divided them into two broad types, but there are several variations of these, each with differing levels of popularity, and ability to get away with it. In short, I see no reason why James's general popularity means that he wasn't really a bully, and that his bullying of Severus was merely retaliation for something Severus started. As Wynnleaf has pointed out, JKR herself said that James 'treatment' of Snape was due to his suspicion that he harboured deeper feelings for Lily.



Solitaire - Jul 5, 2009 11:17 pm (#2237 of 2988)
Mona, I've taught in a private high school, a large junior high, and, currently, a small K-8 school (which broke into K-4 and 5-8 in 2000) which operates a lot like a private school. I have always seen Hogwarts a lot like a smaller private school rather than a large public school of 1000-2000 kids. Because of the smaller size of Hogwarts and the fact that most of the teachers have most of the kids at some point or other, I tend to believe that teachers are more aware of the rivalries and antics of their students.

In small schools, teachers tend to be aware of who the bullies are. I personally have had the experience of several students (from different schools and in different years) who have done things to antagonize the bullies and then cried fowl when they became targets. This is not uncommon. In most cases, the kid who has cried fowl has been a bully of others in his own right. I'm sure that these experiences color my interpretation of events, as I've said on more than one occasion. Given the snarly, emotionally tormenting behavior of the older Snape toward Harry and the other Gryffindor kids, I can't help applying this "template" to Snape.

I do not require anyone to agree with me. I am merely giving my interpretation, based on my own personal experiences and observations. And since my observations were real, I see no reason why my interpretation of things isn't just as valid as the interpretations of others. I do notice, however, that some posters want to force people to accept their own interpretations of things.

We all need to remember that this is not a court of law, and we don't "win" or "lose" if someone does or does not agree with how we see things. It is supposed to be a discussion forum, where we can share our different interpretations of literary characters and respect each one.

JM2K about this whole shootout ...



Julia H. - Jul 6, 2009 1:22 am (#2238 of 2988)
I do not twist anyone's words deliberately, not even Quinn's. But I still did not get the answers to my questions as to how I should interpret them instead of my own faulty interpretation, although I did ask specific questions regarding that. If you are not willing to explain, you can hardly be surprised if you remain misunderstood.

Without trying to force anyone to accept anything, I would like to point out that in JKR's world (and she may have had bad experiences in the real world), bullies can get away with a lot. No one stops Dudley in the Muggle school, instead Harry is punished; the Marauders get a lot of detention, but that does not change a thing, and many of their wrongdoings remain hidden, such as the animagus excursions - one must equally ask why nobody noticed that they disappeared for a whole night every month - and still we know that it happened, not once, not twice; and, as it is being discussed on another thread, Umbridge, too, got away with a lot.



mona amon - Jul 6, 2009 1:26 am (#2239 of 2988)
I am merely giving my interpretation, based on my own personal experiences and observations. And since my observations were real, I see no reason why my interpretation of things isn't just as valid as the interpretations of others. (Soli)

I agree with you, Soli. I too was only giving my own perspective on it, and by agreeing with Pesky I wasn't saying that your view was in any way invalid.

Evidently, both these (teachers' awareness of the bullying, as well as the persistence of bullying) do co-exist. My school was very much like Hogwarts, a boarding school with a relatively small number of students, divided into houses, etc., and the teachers definitely knew quite a bit of what was going on. I even remember three seniors getting expelled for bullying, though I forget exactly what they did. But all kinds of bullying still went on.

Based on the evidence in the book, I feel that the teachers did know about what James and co. were doing, and even punished them for it. But I don't think they could have guessed how their victims felt, so their behaviour was probably not condemned quite as much as it should have been.

I personally have had the experience of several students (from different schools and in different years) who have done things to antagonize the bullies and then cried fowl when they became targets. This is not uncommon. In most cases, the kid who has cried fowl has been a bully of others in his own right.

I agree that there are kids like that, but we have nothing to show that Severus was one of them. We never see him provoking anyone, at least until seventh year. We never see him crying foul.

Given the snarly, emotionally tormenting behavior of the older Snape toward Harry and the other Gryffindor kids, I can't help applying this "template" to Snape.

I think we really can't judge the child from the adult. How do we know that he didn't start off as a good kid, but is a bully now because of the way he was bullied as a child?



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 5:22 am (#2240 of 2988)
In small schools, teachers tend to be aware of who the bullies are. I personally have had the experience of several students (from different schools and in different years) who have done things to antagonize the bullies and then cried fowl when they became targets. This is not uncommon. In most cases, the kid who has cried fowl has been a bully of others in his own right. (Solitaire)

I completely agree that there are kids that do this. And my middle school counselor friend said the same thing. But what you're talking about are kids who are crying foul, telling on the supposed bullies. This is not the same as the kid who is being bullied and never telling teachers at all. And we are never shown that Snape, any more than Harry or Luna or others, tell teachers at all.

I am merely giving my interpretation, based on my own personal experiences and observations. (Solitaire)

Certainly, and one's observations are quite valid for observable things. The problem is that many kids never tell at all, which means that if the bully is targeting the sort of kid who won't tell, and the bully is doing is out of sight of teachers, then how is it being observed by the staff?

I went to a very small private high school and yet the teachers never knew what was happening to me, because I never told them and they didn't have some other source of knowledge about it because they certainly never seemed to do anything about it.

Nevertheless, in the Marauder's case the teachers were seeing a whole lot of bad behavior which McGonagall tells us is the worst she ever saw. However, we know that they had the ability to keep the worst of their behavior secret for years (running around the forest every month). If they could keep that sort of thing a secret, they could easily keep other activities secret as well. And DD says he knew they got away with a lot that he (DD) never knew about.

Pesky,

Yes, I think it's an unusual rationale that Snape should consider his being complicit in the Prank because his foolish trust in Sirius' as somehow making him more likely to consider what Sirius' says later, even when, in the interim, Sirius had been imprisoned as the murderer of 13 people and had, according to DD, made himself through his actions at Hogwarts, look like a very guilty man.



Solitaire - Jul 6, 2009 7:43 am (#2241 of 2988)
Mona, I didn't think you were invalidating my opinion at all. And Julia, I do not think you need to adjust your interpretation of anything. It is your interpretation, based on what you have read, and it is probably tinted by your experiences, as my interpretation is tinted by mine.

It's funny, Wynnleaf ... when I read McGonagall's comment that "I don't think we've ever had such a pair of troublemakers"--and then Hagrid chimed in and compared them to the Weasleys--I got the idea that their "trouble-making" was more of the joking type.

Well, I'm off to the eye doctor. I hope he doesn't find anything bad. **nervous**



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 10:06 am (#2242 of 2988)
It's funny, Wynnleaf ... when I read McGonagall's comment that "I don't think we've ever had such a pair of troublemakers"--and then Hagrid chimed in and compared them to the Weasleys--I got the idea that their "trouble-making" was more of the joking type. (Solitaire)

I'm sure they did all sorts of things and I'd guess they considered almost all of them jokes. But we know that they did a lot of things that aren't just jokes. We know they hexed other kids and that at least some of their detentions were for that. We know they monthly were recklessly disobeying extremely important safety rules for Lupin and endangering the countryside, in spite of "close calls" and even after Snape almost ran afoul with Lupin. We know that, just for fun, they openly would attack another student, doing the magical equivalent of tying him up and tormenting him in front of a crowd. We know that DD thought they did a lot for which they were never caught.

So we have some boys who would willingly, for fun and out of only boredom, hex other kids even to the point of tying them up and tormenting a kid in public. We know they cared little to nothing for the safety of the countryside as they recklessly ran about with Lupin. We know they did a great deal of misbehavior that teachers knew about and we know that DD thought they also got away with a lot. We know that their behavior was so bad and uncontrollable that even the almost-tragedy of the Prank didn't stop them at all.

I'm not exactly sure what we're discussing here. Is it that the Marauders didn't really bully anyone? That they only bullied Snape? That they only hexed people in fun and they only attacked Snape as a joke and he should have laughed it off? That it was all fair give and take and Snape attacked them (without cloak or map or extra friends), just as badly as they attacked him?

I do think Quinn had a point about it being important who started it.

I just don't see any reason for Snape to have targeted the Marauders in particular prior to Lily coming to like James. After all, there's general hexing or name calling, etc., all around Hogwarts. Why would Snape hate the Marauders specifically if they weren't doing anything out of the ordinary to him? Why sneak around trying to get them expelled and not every other Tom, Dick and Harry who threw a hex now and then, or gave Snape a nasty look, or whatever?

But we are given a motive for James to target Snape first -- James' liking Lily and Lily's friendship with Snape. And we know that James didn't need a reason anyway, which he admitted.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 6, 2009 10:52 am (#2243 of 2988)
many of their wrongdoings remain hidden, such as the animagus excursions - one must equally ask why nobody noticed that they disappeared for a whole night every month - Nobody except Snape. Who was not only in a different house, but that house was on the opposite end of the entire building. Now, how could he possibly have known about these little escapades if he wasn't sneaking around and spying, just as Sirius said?

I think we really can't judge the child from the adult. - We are given an entire chapter in DH that invites us to do just that.

How do we know that he didn't start off as a good kid, but is a bully now because of the way he was bullied as a child? - But we do know from that chapter that, no, Snape didn't start off as a good kid who became a bully as a result of having been bullied. He was pretty much the same sneaky little sourpuss at 9 or 10 as he was 30 years later.

Snape was possessive of Lily almost immediately. He is described as looking at her "greedily". He is so jealous of Lily's own sister that he drops a tree branch on her when he sees her watching. True, it was only "emotional" magic. But it's a pretty violent emotion that causes that strong a reaction. He also bullies Petunia in his own way, by encouraging Lily to sneak (more sneaking) into Petunia's room and poke around in there, and by reading Petunia's mail. He also derides her for being "only a muggle" whenever possible.

I just don't see any reason for Snape to have targeted the Marauders in particular prior to Lily coming to like James. - I actually agree with this. While there may have been antagonism between James and Snape (and Sirius) in the early Hogwarts years, I really don't think the rivalry, as we know it, began until about their 5th year. But even after all this time, Snape still needs direct reassurance from Lily that she is still his "best friend". And he's so selfish and possessive about it that he completely stops hearing Lily once he has what he wants from her.

Still, I have to wonder what Lily meant by "I've been making excuses for you for years." Excuses for what, exactly?



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 11:03 am (#2244 of 2988)
While there may have been antagonism between James and Snape (and Sirius) in the early Hogwarts years, I really don't think the rivalry, as we know it, began until about their 5th year. (Quinn)

Personally, I think JKR's use of their very first train ride as a venue to show James, Sirius' and Snape first confrontation was in order to indicate that their enmity started first year.

But even if it started later, when Lily speaks of Snape as obsessed with the Marauders, we know that he must have been on about them for along time, or she'd not have said "obsessed". Yet even at the point when Snape has been going on about the Marauders long enough for Lily to consider him obsessed, she still didn't show any particularly liking for James. So why would Snape have become obsessed if James and the Maraduers weren't targeting him and Lily wasn't interested in James?

Like I said, JKR gave us James' motivation to dislike Snape (James' liking Lily while Lily was friends with Snape), and then JKR also gave us clear evidence right out of James' mouth that he didn't even need a motivation at all.

So we've got Snape obsessing over the Marauders before Lily was interested in James, which means Snape had No Motive to obsess over them in particular, unless the Marauders were already targeting him due to James motive of wanting Lily's attention and to get her away from her Slytherin friend, and James' self-confessed ability to attack people without motive at all.

Then there's JKR showing James as the instigator in the original altercation on the train.

Any notion that Snape started it all and that the Marauders were simply responding to Snape's obsession over getting them expelled (for no reason in particular), isn't backed up at all with much other than adding events to canon which aren't even hinted at.

Still, I have to wonder what Lily meant by "I've been making excuses for you for years." Excuses for what, exactly? (Quinn)

Since Lily's only criticisms of Snape are having dark friends who might want to follow LV, and calling muggleborns mudbloods, I would imagine that's what the excuses were for. And you'd think she'd bring out "the big guns" regarding what she dislikes, especially when she's telling him it's over. Why imagine more when no one else ever accuses Snape of anything other than that and an interest in dark arts? Lily never even accuses Snape of using Dark Arts, although he must have occasionally in order to develop Sectumsempra.



Julia H. - Jul 6, 2009 11:13 am (#2245 of 2988)
I'm not exactly sure what we're discussing here. (Wynnleaf)

I don't know it either, and that is why I was asking certain questions ... but anyway...

And Julia, I do not think you need to adjust your interpretation of anything. It is your interpretation, based on what you have read, and it is probably tinted by your experiences, as my interpretation is tinted by mine. (Solitaire)

That makes me think of one more thing when we compare literature and reality. A "school novel" is a separate genre. While I don't think HP is a typical school novel, it certainly incorporates certain characteristics of a school novel (blending it with other genres).

Bullying is a frequent (perhaps obligatory?) motif in school novels, and as far as I can remember such stories, the problem is not usually solved by the teachers. There is always some reason why the teachers either don't know or don't care or can't do anything about it. That is because school novels do not simply recreate the realistic atmosphere of a school, but they are usually about something else, too. The school is either a miniature version of society, or a somewhat symbolic place of "growing up", enhanced with the appropriate hardships that the various characters have to overcome - and going to the teachers is just not the typical (or correct) solution in this context. The student characters have to cope with bullying on their own (in groups or alone).

HP is not quite like that; but still the teachers as typical teachers (i.e. when they are not father figures, mentors belonging to a different genre, or double agents, again from a different genre) have rather limited roles. Whether the device to remove teachers from the important events in the various students' lives is magic or something else ("no one tells them", complaining is not acceptable within the student society) is open to analysis, but the motif itself is something that HP inherits from "real" school novels.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 6, 2009 11:34 am (#2246 of 2988)
Excellent point about the "school" genre, Julia. It really does have its own rules and paradigms.

Personally, I think JKR's use of their very first train ride as a venue to show James, Sirius' and Snape first confrontation was in order to indicate that their enmity started first year. - So do I. I just don't think that, other than perhaps calling Snape "Snivellus" every time they saw him, that there was much more to it than that until they were older. James and Sirius were pretty busy little dudes, what with inventing the map, figuring out how to become animagi, Quidditch practice, etc.

However, I think for Snape, the initial meeting was something he was never able to get past. These boys had got the better of him and, more importantly, made him look bad in front of Lily. This must have really stuck in Snape's craw - particularly if they kept calling him "Snivellus" every time they saw him in class or something - which is not only annoying in and of itself, but would have been a constant reminder of that initial mild humiliation. I imagine that Snape's anger and resentment would have continued to grow and that he would have been on the alert for any possible way to get back at them, even long afterward, because it would have stayed fresh in Snape's mind until he could feel a satisfactory conclusion.



Solitaire - Jul 6, 2009 11:58 am (#2247 of 2988)
We know they cared little to nothing for the safety of the countryside as they recklessly ran about with Lupin.

Actually, I completely disagree with this. They learned to transform to be with Lupin and kind of control him. Even he has said that it helped him.

Why would Snape hate the Marauders specifically if they weren't doing anything out of the ordinary to him?

We know he was obsessed--yes, obsessed--with where Lupin went on the full moon each month. I suspect Snape was already a bit jealous of the Marauders because they were in the same house with Lily, and we know he'd really wanted to be in the same house with her. As Quinn says, he was possessive of her. That alone might have done the trick. It doesn't take much to set a person off against another one, and Snape and James hated each other from the moment they met. I suppose that, if there can be love at first sight, there can be hate-to-death at first sight, too.



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 12:12 pm (#2248 of 2988)
They learned to transform to be with Lupin and kind of control him. Even he has said that it helped him. (Solitaire)

Yes, they did want to help control the wolf part of him, but they didn't want to control him for the sake of protecting others, but so that they could join in with him and have fun with him while he was a werewolf. Lupin in the Shack wasn't a safety concern for all of Hogsmeade and the surrounding area. The Marauders released him from the shack and, regardless how much they think they controlled the wolf, Lupin commented that there were close calls when people were at risk.

I suspect Snape was already a bit jealous of the Marauders because they were in the same house with Lily, and we know he'd really wanted to be in the same house with her. As Quinn says, he was possessive of her. That alone might have done the trick. (Solitaire)

That doesn't explain why he was specifically interested in the Marauders or why he might have wanted them in particular expelled. They weren't even Lily's friends at the time. Lily doesn't complain that he's obsessed with her friends and trying to get them expelled. The rationale that Snape just decided to obsess about this boy when Lily didn't even like him, yet wasn't obsessing about her actual friends or anyone else, makes no sense at all.



Solitaire - Jul 6, 2009 12:17 pm (#2249 of 2988)
they didn't want to control him for the sake of protecting others, but so that they could join in with him and have fun with him while he was a werewolf. They did enjoy their times, but I believe they really did go with him to protect him and others from him.

Snape was still jealous of the Marauders, Wynnleaf, even if Lily wasn't particularly interested in them. You see, I do not think he believed her. Over and over again, he kept saying that James was sweet on her, or something like that. I believe he felt she was vulnerable to their boyish Gryffindor charms ... in other words, he didn't trust her. Obsessed people are not always rational.

Based on my interpretation of things--and it is only my interpretation--I think Snape believed that getting the Marauders expelled would get them out of Lily's life ... and if James were gone, Lily would be his. This isn't just some theory I've cooked up, either. Look at news stories about crazed fans men and women who believe that killing off the spouses or significant others of people they love will automatically make the person love them. Obsessed people do not think rationally. Snape was obsessed. If he got rid of James, then he would have a clear field with Lily. Of course, we all know that getting rid of those we perceive as our competition doesn't change how the person feels about us ... but that is rational thinking, not obsessive thinking.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 6, 2009 12:27 pm (#2250 of 2988)
That doesn't explain why he was specifically interested in the Marauders or why he might have wanted them in particular expelled. - Well, maybe not to you, but I'm satisfied. Snape's obsession surely began that moment on the train. Whether Lily was there or not, Snape had been made to look the fool and he wanted to revenge. I mean, look at how vehemently he turned on Petunia just because she spoke disparagingly of his background. And he never stopped from that very first insult, even going so far as to "accidentally" drops a tree branch on her just because he didn't like her watching him. Petunia was Lily's own sister, but Snape's jealousy and pride wouldn't let him do anything other than lash out at Petunia. So, I don't think it's much of a stretch to think that Snape would have done everything possible to get even with James and Sirius, to get satisfaction.

And I don't think anyone decides to obsess. It just happens. In any case, Snape was possessive, obsessive and spiteful. Not a very healthy combination.

ETA: I think Snape believed that getting the Marauders expelled would get them out of Lily's life ... and if James were gone, Lily would be his. - I agree. Even though initially Snape was probably just wanting to even the score for the insults.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:42 am

wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 12:52 pm (#2251 of 2988)  
Thing is, in order to have Snape obsessed with the Marauders prior to the Marauders targeting him, requires the invention of the idea that Snape was obsessed with the Marauders completely aside from Lily or any provocation (not supported in canon) OR the invention of the idea that Snape wanted to get rid of any boys that liked Lily. Because JKR tells us that lots of boys liked Lily, it makes no sense that Snape would only target one boy who liked Lily.

And he didn't just want James expelled, but all of the Marauders. Are we to believe that he wanted them all out because of their association with James who happened to like Lily, even though other boys who liked Lily, including those other boy's friends, were not under his obsession? Why was James a special obsession if other boys liked Lily?

Problem with the theory is: if Snape was obsessed with getting rid of James solely because James liked Lily, then why did Snape want to get rid of the rest of the Marauders? And why wasn't he obsessing over other boys who liked Lily?

Problem with the theory that Snape just randomly obsessed over James because he called him a name on the train and tried to trip him: lots of kids do that kind of thing all the time and we only see Snape obsessed with James and his friends. If the Marauders only did that one thing, it makes no sense that Snape would obsess over them. I realize that some people obsess over random people, but this is far too coincidental that it would just happen to be James and his friends.

But if we take the theory that James and the Marauders were targeting Snape first, it's easy to use directly stated canon and JKR reasons: James didn't need any excuse to target someone because he would just as soon do it out of boredom. But in Snape's case, James liked Lily and disliked Snape because he was Lily's Slytherin friend at a time when Lily disliked James. That's completely canon and it doesn't require that Snape do something first (other than be Lily's friend) in order to inspire James to target him.

Granted, it's canon that Snape obsessed over the Marauders, but not why, until such point as Lily was starting to like James. Explaining why Snape would obsess over James prior to James and the Marauders doing much to him or Lily liking James requires coming up with extra-canon motivations that aren't stated.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 6, 2009 1:13 pm (#2252 of 2988)  
I don't think he did want "all of the Marauders" expelled. I'm pretty sure it was just James and Sirius, with Lupin and Wormtail happening to get caught up in it.

Anyway, I feel that I have made a pretty solid case for Snape's obsession about James and Sirius without Lily being a factor, and I have "invented" nothing. What I have done is given examples from the text of how Snape treated Petunia, the forerunner. Who knows how bad things would have turned if Snape hadn't gone off to school. If you disagree with that interpretation, that's fine. But I'm certainly not making anything up or "inventing" anything doesn't have some basis in what I have read.

If the Marauders only did that one thing, it makes no sense that Snape would obsess over them. - Since when does obsession make sense? That's why it's called "obsession". Because it is an unhealthy fixation on something, usually completely devoid of rational thought.



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 1:28 pm (#2253 of 2988)  
Even if I agreed with your interpretation of Snape's actions toward Petunia, it still wouldn't be any support for him have similar reactions to James.

Lily and Petunia were close, so the belief that Snape's "greediness" in wanting Lily all to himself was pushing him to want to get rid of Petunia doesn't support why he'd want to get rid of one of the many guys who liked Lily, and in particular the one that she seemed to dislike.

In other words, you seem to be trying to draw a line from Snape's attitude toward Petunia while Lily was close to Petunia, to Snape's attitude toward James when he and Lily weren't close at all. Yet you have no explanation for why, if Snape is going to obsess over people who Lily is close to, why he's not obsessing over her friends at Hogwarts. Well, you do have an explanation, which appears to be "obsession is irrational" which is basically saying that this explanation is simply that Snape was acting irrationally and that's that.

The problem is that you're trying to show a pattern in Snape's behavior between Petunia and James, but can't explain why the pattern doesn't happen with Lily's friends at Hogwarts or all the other guys who liked Lily. If it's so irrational that no pattern can be followed, then the Petunia example is irrelavant to what are supposedly irrational actions. If it's really a pattern of behavior, then one has to wonder why it didn't occur with Lily's friends.

My explanation for James targeting Snape first doesn't involve James acting irrationally, and acting according to motivations that we are directly told that he had (no need to use personal interpretations as to whether he disliked Snape because Snape was Lily's friend, or whether James targeted people out of sheer boredom).

I'm kind of tired of this discussion anyway.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 6, 2009 2:23 pm (#2254 of 2988)  
Yeah, it does get pretty tiring when you keep making everything I post about how "right' you are and about how "wrong" I am - or anyone else who doesn't see things exactly the way you do. I can see now why no one else ever wants to post here anymore - not to mention that I now remember why I quit posting here.



Julia H. - Jul 6, 2009 3:28 pm (#2255 of 2988)  
Snape was still jealous of the Marauders, Wynnleaf, even if Lily wasn't particularly interested in them. You see, I do not think he believed her. Over and over again, he kept saying that James was sweet on her, or something like that. I believe he felt she was vulnerable to their boyish Gryffindor charms ... in other words, he didn't trust her. (Solitaire)

You see, I don't find it probable that something like that could go on in the first few years. In the fifth year, yes, absolutely, (and Snape's jealousy, as far as Lily was concerned, may not have been completely mistaken), but not when they were eleven and twelve. At this age, boys are not "sweet" on girls whom they like, and I don't think a boy in his early teens would notice a rival's boyish charm or could really worry about what the girl who is in practical reality playing with him might think about other boys somewhere deep down (if there are no real worrying signs). It is absolutely possible later, but I don't think it worked like that from the beginning.

On the basis of canon, several non-canon speculations are possible. Snape becoming instantly obsessed with the Marauders and starting to go after them before they could blink an eye is just one of them. It is equally possible that James and Sirius kept picking on Snape after the train incident. It would be quite in character with them. Also, the "hatred at first sight" can motivate James just as much as Snape.

On the train, James expresses his opinion about Gryffindor and Slytherin. The boy, who (despite his family's tradition) immediately accepts (not originally shares) his opinion will become his friend. The other one, who sticks with an opposing opinion, will be his enemy. James Potter's other two close friends (Gryffindors, of course) are both obvious followers: One of them is so happy to find friends at all that he does not dare to (openly) challenge whatever James and Sirius consider right, although he does not always agree with them; the other one has a completely servile attitude towards the strong boys.

James apparently dislikes everything Slytherin, and he apparently likes people who accept his leadership and his superiority. Snape is a Slytherin who does not keep his head down when confronting James, he is the first one at the school on whom James has practised his bullying skills, and James actually won on the first occasion, experiencing success in the important field of securing his alpha-male status in his age group in the new school (achieving the best possible status in a group is a very important reason why boys everywhere in the world fight). All these things together make Snape an ideal victim for further bullying (which is probably milder in the beginning and gets gradually more violent as the boys grow).

We don't get the details in canon for either of these speculations concerning what happened between the train incident and the fifth year. What we do get, however, is that, when James and Snape meet for the first time, it is James who notices Snape first and expresses his disapproval, it is James (or maybe Sirius) who calls Snape "Snivellus", and not vica versa, and it is James who tries to trip Snape, not the other way round. So all the important phases of the argument (noticing the other one, using a degrading name, making a physical attack) are controlled by Potter. That is canon, the rest is speculation and can work for different people in different ways.



PeskyPixie - Jul 6, 2009 3:33 pm (#2256 of 2988)  
"I do not require anyone to agree with me. I am merely giving my interpretation, based on my own personal experiences and observations. And since my observations were real, I see no reason why my interpretation of things isn't just as valid as the interpretations of others."

Absolutely, Soli. I believe your experiences as a teacher at your word. At the same time, I've had experiences (as a student) which are different from yours yet just as valid. By putting forth my interpretation I was in no way attempting to diminish yours.

I feel that a major problem (if you really want to call it that) with Snape is that he is as spirited as an alpha animal, but does not have the ease, charisma and social networking to pull it off properly. A kid like Neville would just avoid the Marauders until they were in the same House (at which time they would probably befriend him). However, geeky though he may appear, Severus is not the type to back down and avoid the intimidating cool kids. He wants to get even. James and Sirius begin the bad blood between the Marauders and Snape (let's not blame nasty little Severus for that one), but Snape pushes back and we know the rest of the story.



Julia H. - Jul 6, 2009 4:11 pm (#2257 of 2988)  
"See ya, Snivellus!" a voice called, as the compartment door slammed…

In this context, "see ya" may even carry a sort of threat, meaning 'we will meet again'. In that case, it might be a hint for the readers regarding the near future.



Solitaire - Jul 6, 2009 4:19 pm (#2258 of 2988)  
At this age, boys are not "sweet" on girls whom they like

Actually, Julia, they can not only be "sweet on a girl," but they can be incredibly controlling at this young age, particularly if they come from a family where there are a lot of problems. I see this weird level of possessiveness and jealousy every once in a while in the 6th-7th grade kids I teach. I had a 12-year-old this past year who was incredibly controlling and manipulative with his girlfriend. He went out of his way to interpose himself between her and other boys, and he even hung around her when she was with girls. And I was neither the first nor the only one to notice the behavior.

This kid came from a home where he felt incredibly protective of his mom at the tender age of 6. I'm uncomfortable saying more, but I will say that he was the "parent" figure in that dynamic. It was so disturbing to watch him with his girlfriend that I talked to his parents about his behavior. I'm guessing Snape may have felt similarly protective of his mother, too, given the domestic violence issues. If so, it is possible that he may have exhibited similar "protective" behaviors around Lily ... even if the only real threat was a perception that she was being slowly pulled away from him.

Again, this is just an observation based on personal experience ... but I think there are parallels.



wynnleaf - Jul 6, 2009 4:40 pm (#2259 of 2988)  
This kid came from a home where he felt incredibly protective of his mom at the tender age of 6. I'm uncomfortable saying more, but I will say that he was the "parent" figure in that dynamic. It was so disturbing to watch him with his girlfriend that I talked to his parents about his behavior. I'm guessing Snape may have felt similarly protective of his mother, too, given the domestic violence issues. If so, it is possible that he may have exhibited similar "protective" behaviors around Lily ... even if the only real threat was a perception that she was being slowly pulled away from him. (Solitaire)

Fascinating possible correlation with Snape's "protective" behavior toward Lily.

At this age, boys are not "sweet" on girls whom they like (Julia)

While I don't exactly agree with this, I do agree that boys at that age aren't generally aware of the attractiveness of other guys and their possible attractiveness toward a particular girl, especially when the girl is not even a friend of the cool and attractive other guy.



Solitaire - Jul 6, 2009 5:39 pm (#2260 of 2988)  
Kids are so different today from what I was at their age, Wynnleaf, that I never cease to be amazed. I see behavior among 12- and 13-year-olds today that did not happen among my peers until I was 15-17. Regarding Snape and Lily, I believe his obsession would have made him jealous of anyone who might get to spend time in Lily's company.



mona amon - Jul 6, 2009 9:36 pm (#2261 of 2988)  
I think there's no evidence that Severus was obsessed with Lily (until she was dead), except in the perfectly normal sense in which everyone is a bit obsessed with those they love. His falling in love with her at age 9 is a bit unusual, but he was not so obsessed that he wished to be in the same house as her, after she was sorted. If he had, the Hat would have taken his wish into account, and put him in Gryffindor. And we are not given even a single instance of abnormal jealousy or stalking, or any sort of weird behaviour.



Julia H. - Jul 7, 2009 1:12 am (#2262 of 2988)  
It sounds like a very disturbed kid, Solitaire. It is really sad. There are clearly parallels with Snape's background, and in Snape's case I have long thought that the absence of a real father figure in his childhood is responsible for a lot. If I get convinced that Snape had been emotionally disturbed on that level already before arriving at Hogwarts , I will cut him even more slack.

On the other hand, from your description (and I understand you could only tell us a tiny portion of what you had seen), it seems that very disturbed kid's "protective" actions were focused on the girl, trying to keep her away from everyone else who would have approached her (including even other girls) in physical reality rather than in the boy's fantasies. That is not quite the same as going after a hypothetical rival, who is not more interested in the girl than others, and regularly following him around, even when the girl is not near them.

His falling in love with her at age 9 is a bit unusual... (Mona)

I think it was normal "children's love" (I remember experiencing several of this type in my childhood ), which later grew into real love as they reached the appropriate age. The somewhat unusual thing is that the "love" of his childhood became Snape's real love as well.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 7, 2009 1:48 am (#2263 of 2988)  
Wheew. I stop checking for three days or so 'cause there are no posts in weeks and suddenly, there are 78 new ones. Pheew.

Well, to add my two knuts: Being both a geek who was bullied in middle school and obsessive myself, I understand some of Severus's behavior. I mean, I'm a geek but I'm also capable of being a know-it-all, like Severus. And in one particular math class, there was a group of four or five boys who harassed me daily. I believe the entire idiotic dynamic was set when my mother messed up and sent me to school with safety scissors in my pencil case: the kind for three-year-olds and that won't even cut paper. And from then on, that little mix-up coupled with my bookish and over-eager behavior, it's like I'd signed some kind of warrant for continual hazing. I tried ignoring them and avoiding them, even when close proximity made it hard. And I yelled at them. Nothing really convinced them to lay off.

The ironic and pertinent thing was that I had classes with several of them later on and in high school and they were perfectly civil. They'd finally forgotten the cursed scissors and apparently forgiven me for being a 'teacher's pet'. But the thing was, I never trusted them again. They made my life an interesting kind of purgatory for no reason and I couldn't completely let it go. I mean, I didn't attempt any kind of vengeance (although if they tried something now, I probably would, given a more recently developed vengeful nature) but I was never comfortable around them.

The point I am making at last is that I see it as natural that, after the Mauraders attack Severus, whether it was once or twice in first year and then full-blown rivalry years later, or constant taunting, or some mixture of both, Severus did not trust them. I would never expect him to. I think it would be unfair to do so. That kind of stuff cuts deep, even when the affected person tries to "toughen up."

And Soli, a word about teachers. My math teacher that year, Andrew Carle was a wonderful man. I believe to this day that he wanted to stop the taunting and help me, but nothing he did made any difference. We could argue that it was his youth and inexperience that sapped his authority (he was 24 or so at the time) but he wanted to help. He wasn't apathetic or uncaring. He never overreached his authority or gave us completely free rein, either. He never told me to suck it up. He was just powerless. Those boys were stinkers and determined to be so until they grew out of it. Something like Sirius and James who matured eventually but seem to me at least to have developed a rather un-charming reputation for mischief that, whatever their intention, could damage those they chose as prey. So it isn't always enough to simply have teachers be "aware" of what's going on. Those jerks may have been the topic of discussion in the staff room, for all I know, but all I really know is nothing anyone in authority did changed it at all. Maybe it's different at smaller schools, but my middle school only had maybe 2 or 3 hundred kids, compared to more than triple that in high school.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with those who say that it would be foolish of Severus to trust Sirius after Sirius's previous actions. Sirius hurt Severus, whether he "gave as good as he got" or not. Whether Severus wants to admit the hurt or not. And whether part of that hurt is the collapsing together of James and Sirius. And while he was not given a trial, everyone in the WW believed Sirius had sold Lily and James to Voldemort. I mean, what was Severus supposed to do? Turn to Sirius, who's got a lot of circumstantial evidence stacked against him coupled with a lot of bad personal history and say, "Gee, I bet you're awful sorry about all that crap you pulled when we were kids. It's water under the bridge, even though I believe, like everyone else , that you sold out the Potters, which causes me to blame you for her death almost as much as I blame myself for being dumb enough to join LV in the first place"? Should he have then proceeded to ask Sirius out for tea so they could reminisce about hexing techniques?

It seems unfair to expect people to act with calm rationale when they are confronted with the worst demons from their past. Those math class jerks might not have been my worst demons, but Sirius is one of Severus's.

And personally, I hope Severus gave as good as he got. I tried the passive "just-ignore-them-and-they'll-go-away approach, and it didn't get me anywhere. If you're gonna get harassed, you might as well try fighting back.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 7, 2009 2:20 am (#2264 of 2988)  
I don't think it's so surprising, Julia. He was used to being either abandoned or kicked. I mean, people he tried to trust as a young child either failed him out of passivity or weakness or they attacked him hostilely. When he finally found someone---anyone---who could be trusted, they were The One. Period. He had found the one person he trusted and so he poured forth all the love he was capable of (quite a lot, as evidenced, IMO, by the lengths he will go to to protect Harry) into this one person. It didn't even really matter that she didn't love him back on even remotely the level he loved her. Just the fact that for so long she never betrayed him and gave him some measure of affection earned her a place on a high pedestal. He didn't just love her, he worshiped her, and not in the silly, goofy, amusing way, either. She became the center of his universe. Which is why it was all the more destructive to him when she died and he blamed himself. But from ashes a fire shall be woken, I suppose.

Many people, it seems, find this stalkerish and disturbing, but he kept in reasonable bounds. He never tried to force her physically. In fact, he never even told her of his love or declared any kind of romantic intentions, as far as we know (though Lily seems pretty oblivious to me, having never picked up on it). But he needed her to give him purpose. This was doubly true after her death. Alive, she was a beacon of hope, fool's hope, perhaps, but hope. Dead, she was even more canonized. If she were on a pedestal at school, afterward, she soared above him on an adamantium kitestring. And he used her memory and all the love he bore for her as motive for fighting on the right side. (Adamantium is the indestructable metal grafted onto Wolverine's skeleton, BTW. Yes, I am a geek.)

Many people may find this sort of thing unhealthy, but sometimes, I think it's necessary. It's just intense because in that kind of case, the amount of love that might otherwise be divided among a parent, a spouse, a best friend and a sibling is focused in one person. But people need someone or something to hold onto, and without Lily, we can only speculate what would have happened to Severus's character, not to mention his soul.



Julia H. - Jul 7, 2009 2:43 am (#2265 of 2988)  
I don't think it's so surprising, Julia.

I guess, you are referring to what I said about Snape's childhood love becoming his adult love as well. I don't find it surprising or "abnormal" either. It does happen, and in Snape's case it is quite understandable. When I said "unusual", I only meant that it is not typical.



Julia H. - Jul 7, 2009 5:38 am (#2266 of 2988)  
Once we are comparing Hogwarts and real life experiences... This one is about the relationship between teachers and the Potter-type of bullies:

As a second-grader, my daughter went to a new school. In her new class, she soon found herself the target of a group of boys and at least one girl. My daughter is not the type who provokes others. She is the type who cries very easily, and those children noticed that. Most of all, she was new. Later, she watched as even newer children in the same class went through the same experience. Another of her "crimes" could be the fact, that she had a close kindergarten friend in that class, a timid, introverted girl, who had no other friends in that school yet, and herself had already been the target of the same children.

My daughter often came home crying. She was positively afraid of some of the boys, who later (about the age of ten) were known by their classmates to bring penknives to the school. The girl I mentioned above once humiliated her in front of my own eyes (at a birthday party) with no legitimate reason at all. Daughter left the party crying.

The teachers knew about these problems. (The boys also fought among themselves and used bad language.) The teachers tried to address these problems, with moderate success. Now, this school is a sort of elite school with carefully selected children, (with only about twenty children in a year), there are a lot of teachers among the parents (even in this bully group) and the social backgrounds are typically good. Moreover, the teachers I mentioned were generally good teachers, attentive and sensitive.

But:

I soon found out that even though the teachers knew about these problems, the bullies were invariably among their favourite students. Why? Because they were very bright children, quick-thinking, with very good academic results. They were active and competitive in class (much more active than some of their timid targets), they had a sense of humour that they were able to use constructively and creatively in class, and they were also good at end-of-term performances. All in all, they were considered to be brilliant children who were somewhat difficult to control outside class and had their problematic sides - but no one is perfect. They were often praised in front of the whole class. On the other hand, those who were regularly bullied by them (like my daughter) could not really appreciate their positive sides. In the end, the problems were largely solved by time, but a basic dislike remained at least in the case of some of these children. I'm quite sure that these bright bullies will be fondly remembered by their teachers.



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 6:34 am (#2267 of 2988)  
Julia's story is not really uncommon.

Up until this past year, we lived in a small town with public schools of approximately 40 kids per year. I think that might be similar to the size of the years at Hogwarts, depending on which version of JKR's math you use.  

My second daughter started there when she was 9. There was a girl in her class who my daughter always told me was excessively mean and manipulative. However, in my eyes, when I was in the classroom visiting or at school events, she always seemed popular with both students and teachers. Nevertheless, my daughter kept insisting to me that this girl was very mean to others, including my daughter, in a variety of ways. As time went on I did indeed see clear evidence of this girl's meanness to my daughter. My daughter never reported anything to teachers. This girl continued to be popular with teachers and apparently popular with kids up until high school. She was quite bright, very pretty, and always very polite to teachers. However, in the high school (still only 40 kids per grade), many of the kids participated in activities like debate and drama, which brought them into very close ongoing contact with some of the teachers who got to know kids very well in these more informal, yet "coaching" or directing situations. Because my children were active in these areas, I knew the speech, debate and drama teachers quite well and because it was a small town, I knew them on a personal basis as well. These teachers figured out within the first year that the girl known in previous years as popular with teachers and students was in fact feared by the very students who appeared in public to like her, because she was so mean and could make their lives miserable if they crossed her. I recall that at one point the debate teacher was working late with some of the students and simply asked them if people really liked this girl, because the teacher was getting the impression that in fact most kids didn't like her, no matter how popular she seemed on the surface. And it all came out. The kids present that night opened up and talked to the teacher and told her all about years and years of meanness and the sort of bullying that girls do. And for years this girl's teachers had seemed (at least from appearances) to think she was a model student and had assumed she was popular with the other kids.

Point is, many bullies, both girls and guys, are quite bright and know how to be appealing to adults and manipulative in their dealings with other kids.

Sometimes teachers know who the bullies are and really work to stop them. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to stop a bully because they can do a lot that teachers never see and because many kids either are too scared to tell or perhaps they don't want to appear a "victim" and thus don't tell. And some bullies aren't identified by teachers because they are bright and savvy and know how to act nice to adults while using manipulative methods of gaining power among their classmates and then using that power to abuse others in a variety of ways, often unseen by teachers eyes.

I can easily see how James and Sirius, as bright, talented, sporty boys who were "good at everything", could have been savvy enough to be always pleasant to teachers -- maybe a bit "cheeky" -- but always seeming fun-loving and without any malice or cruelty. As long as teachers didn't know for certain all that they did, teachers might be quite fond of James and Sirius, assuming that their bad behavior was just in good fun.

Remember that JKR has spoken of Fred and George as "cruel". Yet many readers don't see that at all. What's up? Is JKR mistaken? I think what's going on is that -- just like sometimes in real life -- the joking, humorous, and fun-loving aspect of the twins makes it easy to assume that they were doing everything all in good fun, even if some of their antics were wrong or broke rules. But JKR is more aware of their actual motivations and thus spoke of them as, in fact, somewhat cruel. Would their teachers at Hogwarts have thought of Fred and George as cruel? Certainly Hagrid spoke of them fondly, just like James and Sirius. And yet, we are told they are cruel.



Orion - Jul 7, 2009 12:37 pm (#2268 of 2988)  
Well, people like alphas. You can't overcome your instincts. That's why juvenile delinquents who kill or maim their victims usually get away with little or no punishment when they go to court.

Maybe I'm a little Snape because I come down on bullies like a ton of bricks, snarl at them if they make snide remarks about others in class, separate them from the herd, seat them widely apart in class, inform the parents and try to strenghthen the victims, but there's only so much you can do. Sometimes I think that male teachers, judges and so forth are more susceptible to admiration of alphas.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 7, 2009 2:46 pm (#2269 of 2988)  
Okay, so there were bullies and so they bullied Snape. To me this is irrelevant. It was 25 years ago. He, and he alone, is still responsible for his own behavior - which was deplorable.

I mean, sorry, Severus, but we don't all get to be the golden child. Some of us have to live with the burden of having worthless parents and greasy hair. Yeah, it sucks to be you sometimes, but it's still your problem, not anyone else's. Yeah, you had some nasty stuff happen to you as a kid, but part of that was your own doing. And anyway, that was all a LONG time ago. Nothing can be done to change it so just let it go, already. You're a grown man now. It's time to start acting like one.



shepherdess - Jul 7, 2009 4:40 pm (#2270 of 2988)  
And get some counceling to get over your sick obsession for a girl who chose someone else because he probably listened to her better.



haymoni - Jul 7, 2009 5:38 pm (#2271 of 2988)  
Or could actually articulate his feelings for her.



Julia H. - Jul 7, 2009 5:41 pm (#2272 of 2988)  
Without this "sick obsession", Harry would have been dead before long (and Snape might have remained a Death Eater for ever).

Just for the record, the whole point about which the "bullied or not" debate started concerned one specific aspect of Snape's behaviour, i.e. whether, at the end of PoA, he could have been realistically expected to trust and believe Sirius Black who was known by the whole wizarding world to be a traitor and a mass murderer and who had proved it to Snape specifically over years of bullying and by means of one deceptive and mortally dangerous trick (possibly involving Snape's own complicity by stupidly believing him) that Snape had better not trust him, and who had just voiced the adult, current(!) opinion that Snape had deserved the potentially lethal prank.

Has anyone ever wondered why McGonagall is so mean that she does not let Snape finish his sentence in The Sacking of Severus Snape in DH, but attacks him instead of patiently listening to whatever he would like to say? There are quite obvious parallels between the two scenes, but as far as I know readers tend to absolutely understand Minerva's distrust and "shoot first" attitude.



haymoni - Jul 7, 2009 6:13 pm (#2273 of 2988)  
I don't think Minerva was being mean. She had been trying to protect her students as best she could. What would Snape have said to her? He was made Headmaster by Voldy. There was no reason for Minerva to trust him.

He could have pulled her aside at any time after being appointed Headmaster and said, "Minerva, I am not a Death Eater. I am playing this role as instructed by Dumbledore. Not a word to anyone."

I think she would have believed him. Or at least she may have listened to him at that point, since she trusted Dumbledore. But Snape couldn't risk the chance of her being taken by Voldy before he was able to deliver his message to Harry.

He had to stick to the plan.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 7, 2009 7:26 pm (#2274 of 2988)  
...who had proved it to Snape specifically over years of bullying - Even if this were true - and we really don't have any evidence that it is, only our own individual interpretations of what we've read - so what?

I mean, Hello! Pot calling Kettle!
Snape, of all people, should know that people can change - not that I, personally think he changed at all, fundamentally. However, Snape, after all, was an actual, known, card-carrying Death Eater who is only breathing the free air specifically because Dumbledore spoke on his behalf and convinced the ministry, his colleagues and the Order that Snape had, in fact, changed.

Regarding Minerva, she believed exactly what Snape wanted her to believe: that he was Voldemort's right-hand man. I agree that if he had wanted to, he could have taken her into his confidence. But since he didn't, he had no right to expect that anyone would not treat him as the enemy he was believed to be.



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 8:48 pm (#2275 of 2988)  
I don't think Minerva was being mean. She had been trying to protect her students as best she could. What would Snape have said to her? He was made Headmaster by Voldy. There was no reason for Minerva to trust him. (haymoni)

Exactly. One might also say the following (pardon me while I edit your comment):

In POA, Snape wasn't being mean. He had been trying to protect Harry and the other students as best he could. What would Sirius have said to him and expect Snape to believe it? Sirius had, according to DD been acting just like a guilty person for months, was considered by all including DD to be a murderer and Death Eater, and had just finished badly injuring a student and proclaiming how much Snape deserved almost getting killed. Besides, Snape had foolishly trust Sirius once in the past and almost gotten killed for it. There was no reason for Snape to trust him.


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Solitaire - Jul 7, 2009 8:57 pm (#2276 of 2988)  
Actually, Snape had been eavesdropping outside the door, hiding under the invisibility cloak, and it was pretty clear the kids were not dead yet.



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 9:10 pm (#2277 of 2988)  
Actually, Snape had been eavesdropping outside the door, hiding under the invisibility cloak, and it was pretty clear the kids were not dead yet. (Solitaire)

Hm. I'm not sure what point you're making. Everything Snape had heard only made Sirius and Lupin both sound pretty guilty, especially with Lupin going on about having concealed info from DD. The fact that Lupin sounds sorry about it means little to nothing, since many criminals are sorry about things, but continue anyway. Snape thinks that the kids have been confunded. We know from OOTP that such a spell can be done silently and with great stealth, so the fact that the kids are listening and possibly believing Lupin and Sirius (they're not completely believing at that point), would mean little. What would be more to the point would be the serious injury of a student (the same one that Sirius had already appeared to threaten with a knife) when no one other than the Trio, Sirius and Lupin were apparently there, Lupin's own admissions of deception and helping Sirius through not revealing things to DD, the fact that Sirius had already been acting extremely guilty after his escape from prison, and the fact that he'd been put in prison for the murder of 13 people for which there had been witnesses.

The kids weren't dead yet (what, he's supposed to wait for Sirius to kill someone as proof he really is a murderer?), but since one was seriously injured, Lupin admitting to some guilt, and confunding was a strong possibility, why exactly should Snape have stood by trusting in Sirius (remember how he foolishly trust him before??), and see if maybe Sirius was telling the truth this time?



Solitaire - Jul 7, 2009 9:12 pm (#2278 of 2988)  
The point I'm making is that if he were going to kill the kids, I think he'd had ample opportunity to do so and escape while Snape was standing behind the door. I think he heard enough to realize there was no immediate danger. He just wanted revenge ... he didn't want to be bothered about the facts, or he'd have listened.

He could have kept Sirius and Lupin from leaving and still listened. He didn't care to do that.



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 9:16 pm (#2279 of 2988)  
No, because Snape knows, where perhaps many Ministry officials wouldn't, that a dedicated Death Eater wouldn't necessarily be trying to kill Harry. Snape knew more about what LV had wanted with Harry in the first place, that is, that LV wanted to kill Harry himself . Snape also knew that LV might return. Apparently other Death Eaters thought LV might return as well. Pettigrew thought so. So did Barty, Jr. And neither tried to kill Harry. If Sirius was a true DE, he wouldn't necessarily want to kill Harry. Confunding him and getting him to do his will -- yes, that's also a strong possibility.

He could have kept Sirius and Lupin from leaving and still listened. He didn't care to do that. (Solitaire)

Tying them up and bringing them in isn't really that bad an idea. He didn't know that the rat was Pettigrew, so he wouldn't know that moving the apparent villains would allow the real villian to escape.

See, in my opinion, there's a lot of blame tossed on Snape for not believing Lupin and Sirius. But no one's blaming Sirius and Lupin for having made someone distrust them to such a degree that when they needed that person's trust (I'm sure Sirius would never have believed that he'd ever need Snape to trust him!), they wouldn't be able to get it.

It's kind of like the boy who cried wolf. Who do you blame, the boy or the townspeople? The townspeople had been taught by the boy to distrust him. Sure, if they'd given him one more chance, the wolf wouldn't have eaten the sheep. But it was the boy's fault for building the distrust in the first place.



Solitaire - Jul 7, 2009 9:22 pm (#2280 of 2988)  
I seem to remember reading all of this before ... *sigh*



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 9:25 pm (#2281 of 2988)  
However, I don't recall exactly why people blame Snape for distrusting Sirius and Lupin, when they also blame Snape for trusting Sirius years before.

I also don't recall why people blame Snape for distrusting Sirius and Lupin, but not Sirius and Lupin for their part in building that distrust.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 7, 2009 9:53 pm (#2282 of 2988)  
The only thing I blame Snape for is being a grown man acting like a 15-year-old whining little Emo.

And for someone who supposedly believed that Sirius was this big, bad mass murderer, Voldemort's right-hand man, and the one who played a significant role in the murder of his (not!)girlfriend - not to mention the only person known to have escaped the dreaded Azkaban prison - Snape sure spent a great deal of time hanging around in the corridor under someone else's Invisibility Cloak while this wicked, evil person and his newly-reunited, jsut as dastardly henchman were right in the next room doing god only knew what to the boy Snape was supposed to have been protecting at any cost.

("You heard I was in a car accident and you stopped off for Jujyfruits???" )



wynnleaf - Jul 7, 2009 10:01 pm (#2283 of 2988)  
Instead, he should have barged in, firing off spells, not caring if he got hit by one (maybe Sirius and Lupin both had wands). Who cares if his spells hurt a kid? Who cares if he barged in and got hit and was completely out of commission and the Evil Murderer and his Cohort got to continue on with their plans? After all, rush in, don't think, don't plan, just be sure everyone knows he's Brave and True. At least then his motives wouldn't be questioned. Oh, forget that. People would just think he couldn't wait to kill Sirius.

Kind of reminds me when after HBP lots of people thought if Snape was really loyal he should have started firing off spells on top of the tower, regardless of the fact that it would have started a firefight with two kids caught right in the middle.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 8, 2009 12:01 am (#2284 of 2988)  
So the love that kept Harry alive was sick obsession. And Severus should have known that Sirius changed because he himself tried to. OK. . .? What? And I'm confused, I think. I don't want to twist your words, Quinn, but you seem to be saying that Severus should have given Sirius a chance based on his own search for or desire for redemption, which you don't believe he fulfilled anyway? Do I have this right? And would you mind explaining, I ask with respect. I mean, it seems odd to ask that Severus would, given bad history with Sirius, whether it was provoked, or prolonged or something else, trust Sirius, particularly given the highly suspicious circumstances in which Sirius, HRH, Remus and Severus all found themselves. Everyone in the WW believed Sirius was a murderer. That part was not some petty vengeance on Severus's part. And when Severus finds them all, Sirius is raring to commit the crime he was unjustly imprisoned for. As DD, fair as fair could be, believer in second chances, admits to Harry, "Sirius has not behaved like an innocent man." Why would Severus trust him? For all Severus knew, Sirius meant to kill them all.

Just for the record, Julia, I agree with you completely: Harry would have died. And then there'd be no series and we wouldn't even be having this discussion.  



Quinn Crockett - Jul 8, 2009 12:05 am (#2285 of 2988)  
You know, Wynnleaf, you might want to consider switching to decaf.

ETA: Quinn, but you seem to be saying that Severus should have given Sirius a chance based on his own search for or desire for redemption, which you don't believe he fulfilled anyway?

Yeah, somewhere along the line, the discussion turned into "Snape should have trusted Sirius in the shrieking shack". Not sure where that came from, but it wasn't me.

When I originally re-initiated the discussion a few days ago (because of the current re-read of PA), what I was actually thinking about was how Snape, heretofore this mysterious "is he or isn't he" character, turned out NOT to be some selfless frontline soldier, forced to sacrifice even his very smile and having to play the part of the twisted and despicable nemesis just to keep up appearances for the greater good. Snape turned out instead to be just an extremely messed up dude, filled to the top of his greasy head with spite and resentment, and stuck like a stool pigeon in cement in his own adolescence.

Now, as a person, I wouldn't want anything to do with a guy like that. But as a character, both from the standpoint of a reader and a writer, he's FAR more interesting. I think it was extraordinarily clever of JKR not to follow the cliché path. I mean, she even said that Snape went to his grave never liking Harry, even after all they had each been through. Brilliant!

So, personally, I don't understand why anyone would want to try to defend this aspect of the character, almost to the point that it completely negates what makes him so unique among literary figures. It's genius to have created someone who basically hates even the ground the hero walks on, but who, nevertheless, has sworn to protect him. I just love that!



Julia H. - Jul 8, 2009 2:16 am (#2286 of 2988)  
Just to clarify: I did not say Minerva was mean. I was merely asking if anyone had ever thought that. I was trying to point it out that Snape had no more reason to trust Sirius than Minerva had to trust Snape. As for telling Minerva the truth, I think Snape may have wanted to do just that at the moment when she attacked.

I think Snape had reasons not to confide in anyone - he may have been mistaken, but he and / or Dumbledore probably thought the plan was safer if no one knew about Snape's true allegiance. (Admittedly, it is a debatable decision but there it is.) Still, in that moment, he knew Harry was in the Castle and he knew Voldemort was coming. In other words, he knew the end was coming as well, and now his first priority had to be to tell Harry Dumbledore's message as soon as possible. At this point he may have wanted to confide in Minerva and ask for her help. Once Harry knew what he had to know, Voldemort could as well find out the truth about Snape.

Minerva did not wait for him to finish his sentence. Surprising? No. Mean? No.

Snape had no reason to trust Sirius. He was not mean just realistic like Minerva. (Both of them were wrong.) What he had just heard was nothing to gain his trust. BTW, he had not been listening in the corridor. It is mentioned that the door of the room opened, i.e. Snape was inside while he was listening, close to everyone. From under the cloak he could have intervened any moment. Actually the fact that Snape was listening could have resulted in Snape finding out the truth - but Sirius and Lupin just happened to say the wrong things in those minutes.

Yeah, somewhere along the line, the discussion turned into "Snape should have trusted Sirius in the shrieking shack".

I seem to remember that you brought up the point that Harry was willing to listen to Lupin and Sirius and that Snape could have done that much as well. To this, I said Harry had some reason to trust Lupin (he did not listen to Sirius before Lupin arrived), and Sirius was also willing to postpone killing Pettigrew because it was his friend (Lupin) who asked him to explain it to Harry first. I said Snape simply had no similar reason to trust either Lupin or Sirius, given Sirius's recent reputation (and his actions during that school-year), the words he had just heard and the history of distrust and enmity (including a deliberate deception on the part of Sirius) between them - and that was how we started to analyse the earlier events.

No one denies that Snape hates even the ground the hero walks on, but it is definitely more interesting if he has deep-rooted reasons for that. No one says that Snape loves Harry in the Shrieking Shack scene, but he is trying to protect him in his own way.



haymoni - Jul 8, 2009 4:04 am (#2287 of 2988)  
Harry had also seen Peter on the map, so the story may have been more believable to him.

I can't remember when the door moves, but I know Snape did not hear Lupin's whole saga. If he had heard the whole thing, he may have been willing to at least see if the rat transformed.



wynnleaf - Jul 8, 2009 6:51 am (#2288 of 2988)  
Had Harry seen Peter on the map? I was thinking that, and Harry telling Lupin that he was Peter on the map, was just in the movie.

By the way, I'm thinking the Remus Lupin thread is full and hopefully someone will start a new one soon. In the meantime, I started to wonder last night if we are ever told that Lupin felt ostracized as a child (prior to, in his adulthood, people knowing that he was a werewolf). Yes, Lupin says in POA that he never had friends before the Marauders and was therefore very thankful for their friendship, but has it always just been reader assumption that young Lupin had ever felt ostracized? Where is this in the books?

I know this is off-topic, but I was hoping people would think about it between now and when the Lupin thread is up again and maybe post exactly where in the books we actually learn that Lupin felt ostracized as a young person, as opposed to simply not having had friends when he was a kid.

haymoni, You're right, Snape never heard much of Lupin or Sirius' actual explanation except for the part about Lupin admitting to deceiving DD.



mona amon - Jul 8, 2009 6:52 am (#2289 of 2988)  
I just re-read the Shreiking Shack chapters of POA, and I have some questions. Why should Severus automatically assume that Lupin was Sirius's accomplice? Sure, they were best friends at school, but so was he James's best friend. Why should he think that Lupin would want to help the betrayer of his best friend, unless he was just determined to see him in the worst possible light?

Second question is, what reason did Severus have for assuming that Lupin was in on the Prank? Severus was there by accident and free will (he happened to see Madam Pomfrey escorting Lupin to the Willow, and decided to follow). He had not been lured there by any of the Marauders, and it was not Lupin who told him how to get past the Willow. So how could Lupin be 'in on the prank' even from Severus's POV?

One might also say the following (pardon me while I edit your comment):

In POA, Snape wasn't being mean. He had been trying to protect Harry and the other students as best he could. What would Sirius have said to him and expect Snape to believe it? Sirius had, according to DD been acting just like a guilty person for months, was considered by all including DD to be a murderer and Death Eater, and had just finished badly injuring a student and proclaiming how much Snape deserved almost getting killed. Besides, Snape had foolishly trust Sirius once in the past and almost gotten killed for it. There was no reason for Snape to trust him. (Wynnleaf)


I think there's a basic difference in these two seemingly similar situations, Wynnleaf. For Minerva, it was a war situation, and she reacted in hot-blood, trying to finish off an armed enemy before he could finish her off. Under the circumstances, it's not surprising that she didn't allow Severus to finish his sentence, the beginning of which reveals nothing of his intentions.

But Severus, as others have pointed out, was under the invisibility cloak, and what he was witnessing would at least have puzzled him, if he'd opened his prejudiced mind even a wee bit. Before him are the trio, alive and unharmed as far as he can see, Black and Lupin unarmed, and Lupin telling them a long and rambling story about his Hogwarts days. Now why on earth would he do that if he was in cahoots with mass murderer Black?

When he reveals himself to the little group (and why does he choose that particular moment to reveal himself, if protecting the kids was foremost in his mind? He could have acted fairly quickly, after guaging the situation, or stayed hidden to hear more), the whole scene, with Lupin and the trio, coherently and lucidly, with no unfocussed eyes or any other sign of being confunded, pleading with him to listen, and him fanatically refusing to do so, shows too clearly what's uppermost in his mind- vengence, sweet vengence.

Now I'm not saying he should have trusted Sirius. Why should he? But Severus in the Shreiking Shack in POA is so vengeful, so blinded by hatred, so gloating and triumphant at Lupin's evident guilt, so delighted that he was the one to catch them, that he completely loses my sympathy, and his demented rage when he finds he's been outwitted is totally hilarious.

But no one's blaming Sirius and Lupin for having made someone distrust them to such a degree that when they needed that person's trust (I'm sure Sirius would never have believed that he'd ever need Snape to trust him!), they wouldn't be able to get it. (Wynnleaf)

Poetic justice!

Often (not always) poetic justice seems a bit too harsh and final, leaving no room for repentence and reconcilliation. It's sad.

Now, as a person, I wouldn't want anything to do with a guy like that. But as a character, both from the standpoint of a reader and a writer, he's FAR more interesting. I think it was extraordinarily clever of JKR not to follow the cliché path. I mean, she even said that Snape went to his grave never liking Harry, even after all they had each been through. Brilliant!

So, personally, I don't understand why anyone would want to try to defend this aspect of the character, almost to the point that it completely negates what makes him so unique among literary figures. It's genius to have created someone who basically hates even the ground the hero walks on, but who, nevertheless, has sworn to protect him. I just love that! (Quinn)


Well said!



wynnleaf - Jul 8, 2009 8:34 am (#2290 of 2988)  
Why should he think that Lupin would want to help the betrayer of his best friend, unless he was just determined to see him in the worst possible light? (mona amon)

Maybe because Lupin had always had a habit of not stopping any of his friends in their wrongdoing, even when he had the vested authority and responsibility to do so. And indeed, even though Lupin believes that Sirius betrayed Lupin's good friend James, he is keeping secrets for Sirius and thereby giving him protection. So if Snape was concerned that Lupin would protect any friend, no matter what they'd done, he was close to correct.

In addition, Snape knew that the Marauders had somehow been sneaking around every month. He wondered to Lily where they went each month. But he knew they weren't getting caught, so it would be easy to surmise that all of the Marauders had some sort of secret ways of getting around the castle. And yet Lupin, who does indeed know these secret ways of entering the castle, doesn't volunteer any info to the staff on how Sirius and others got in and out of the castle as kids.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 8, 2009 10:49 am (#2291 of 2988)  
I know this is completely off-topic, and I apologize. But a lot of the people on this thread also frequent the Remus thread. Soli, Wynnleaf, Dryleaves: Do any of you know why Remus's thread was closed down? It says no more messages can be posted. What's up?



Quinn Crockett - Jul 8, 2009 11:20 am (#2292 of 2988)  
No one denies that Snape hates even the ground the hero walks on, but it is definitely more interesting if he has deep-rooted reasons for that. - Except that he doesn't, really. I mean sure, he has his reasons for hating the hero's father - as debatable as those might be. But Harry, himself, never did anything to deserve Snape's vitriol. Snape only hates him because he's so completely screwed up emotionally that he can't separate or distinguish anyone associated with "James" from James himself.
Isn't it wonderful?

Why should he think that Lupin would want to help the betrayer of his best friend, unless he was just determined to see him in the worst possible light? (mona amon)
Maybe because Lupin had always had a habit of not stopping any of his friends in their wrongdoing, even when he had the vested authority and responsibility to do so.

Or maybe because in Snape's mind they're all "James". And since the actual James isn't here, James's friends will do nicely as a target of revenge.

Snape knew that the Marauders had somehow been sneaking around every month. - Yeah, he did. So, again I put the question out there: Just how could Snape possibly have known this unless he was sneaking around spying on them, just as Sirius said? Snape belonged to a different house, the dorm of which was underground (apparently), in the completely opposite part of the castle from the Marauders.



wynnleaf - Jul 8, 2009 12:21 pm (#2293 of 2988)  
Snape only hates him because he's so completely screwed up emotionally that he can't separate or distinguish anyone associated with "James" from James himself. (Quinn)

Well, yeah, at least as regards Harry that is. I don't think anyone's ever denied that at all. In fact, many of us have tried to convince others of that, who apparently believe that Snape could have seen Harry as just Harry if only he'd put up some sort of force of will or whatever and done so.

There's a lot more to Snape than that. And a lot more as well than just the added thing of being in love with and possibly obsessed with Lily.

Snape knew that the Marauders had somehow been sneaking around every month. (wynnleaf)

Yeah, he did. So, again I put the question out there: Just how could Snape possibly have known this unless he was sneaking around spying on them, just as Sirius said? (Quinn)

I don't believe I have ever asserted that Snape didn't try to find out stuff about them that could get them expelled. He seemed to feel that they probably were doing things that, if only the staff knew about it, would get them expelled. And hey, guess what?? Snape was right! In fact, the very thing they were doing that he felt was really suspicious -- disappearing every month -- was exactly when they were involved in something so bad that they were endangering all and sundry in the community and not caring about it at all. Just think, if Snape had discovered what they were really doing, he might have earned points for helping to protect the community from the criminally negligent behavior of a gang.

See the difference is that Sirius, while he doesn't say why Snape wanted them expelled, acted as though it was totally unfair that Snape wanted them expelled. One might assume, if you only had that comment of Sirius to go on from POA, that they were just high-spirited boys who never hurt or endangered a fly and this really nasty kid, Snape, had just randomly decided to hate them and get them expelled. In fact, they actually deserved some sort of major disciplinary action, possibly even expulsion. And it makes perfect sense to me that Snape would want them Out of Hogwarts for completely legitimate reasons of self-protection. Obviously the teachers couldn't control them.

In my opinion, the greater weight of the evidence is that Snape wanted the Marauders expelled for two reasons. First (chronologically, not necessarily in order of importance), because they were bullies who attacked any number of people out of sheer boredom and just because they could, and him in particular because they'd ID'd him right off as someone fun to attack (Slytherin, said negative stuff about Gryffindor, would try to fight back which was maybe more exciting then the meek and mild type, probably didn't tell on them, friend of Lily which mattered to James). Second, after Lily started to show any interest in James, he wanted James in particular out and getting rid of the Marauders would, of course, get rid of James.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 8, 2009 12:48 pm (#2294 of 2988)  
So, let me get this straight. The Marauders should have been expelled for.... "disappearing every month"? Is there a rule against that?

Just think, if Snape had discovered what they were really doing, he might have earned points for helping to protect the community from the criminally negligent behavior of a gang. - Or, Snape would have been expelled for the same reasons. Because if Snape was chasing around after them spying on them, that would mean that he, too, was out of bed and out of bounds after lights out. And he would be just as "criminally negligent" (Wow! Really?) for not reporting this suspected behavior to someone in authority.

he's so completely screwed up emotionally that he can't separate or distinguish anyone associated with "James" from James himself. (Quinn)
I don't think anyone's ever denied that at all.
- Really?? Well, I must have completely misunderstood all those posts trying to "explain" Snape's behavior or attribute it to some completely different reason, then.

There's a lot more to Snape than that. - Not really. Snape's entire existence consists of righting the wrongs - both real and imagined - that were done to him. I mean, granted, it seems like there should be more to him - and in most any other novel, there probably would be. But that's what make him such a brilliant creation. There simply isn't any more to him. He's Captain WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get. He's a horrible, hateful, vengeful, loathsome person who just happens to be on the side of the "good guys".



Julia H. - Jul 8, 2009 12:53 pm (#2295 of 2988)  
Snape only hates him because he's so completely screwed up emotionally that he can't separate or distinguish anyone associated with "James" from James himself. (Quinn)

I think that is a reason, and a deep-rooted one. Not Harry's fault, but a reason; and I don't think Snape could really have helped it. There is a long story behind Snape's emotions and problems.

See the difference is that Sirius, while he doesn't say why Snape wanted them expelled, acted as though it was totally unfair that Snape wanted them expelled. (Wynnleaf)

Yes. I see a certain kind of desperation behind a student (admittedly not the "brawny" type), who single-handedly tries to go after (get rid of?) the apparently most formidable group (gang) of his year in the school (even ending up doing something quite dangerous/foolhardy in the process). The train scene in DH provides evidence that Snape indeed had reason to be so desperate.

Snape's entire existence consists of righting the wrongs - both real and imagined - that were done to him. (Quinn)


As it happens, he is also trying to right a wrong that he did - or, if you prefer it that a way, a wrong that was done to Lily. He still has his faults, he makes mistakes, and he is thoroughly unhappy and emotionally disturbed, yet, he dedicates his life to that goal.



wynnleaf - Jul 8, 2009 1:51 pm (#2296 of 2988)  
So, let me get this straight. The Marauders should have been expelled for.... "disappearing every month"? Is there a rule against that? (Quinn)

Oh, come on, Quinn, surely you didn't think I meant they should get expelled for "disappearing" from their rooms each month? They weren't actually disappearing, you know. Snape knew they were doing something, he just didn't know what they were doing, but he seemed to think that if he found out what they were doing, they might get expelled. And if he'd found out what they were doing... well, what were they doing???

Goodness, don't we all know that by now? Lupin tells us in POA that every month the rest of the Marauders would let him out of the Shrieking Shack and they'd run all over the place. Lupin admits that there were several close calls. Close calls of what? Tripping over the roots in the forest? No. The point was that they were endangering others by releasing a werewolf and roaming the countryside with a deadly Dark Creature.

Or, Snape would have been expelled for the same reasons. Because if Snape was chasing around after them spying on them, that would mean that he, too, was out of bed and out of bounds after lights out. (Quinn)

If they'd been discovered, by Snape or anyone else, they might well have been expelled. Not for breaking a rule about being out at night -- seriously, did you really think I was saying that? James, Sirius and Peter would have possibly been expelled for releasing a werewolf (and Lupin for agreeing to do it while in human form) and endangering all the local residents.



Solitaire - Jul 8, 2009 2:08 pm (#2297 of 2988)  
For severusisn'tevil ...

I think the threads run out somewhere close to 3000 posts. If you click on the link of post #2974, you will see that it really is #2999 (apparently some posts have been deleted). I think the current thread needs to be archived and a new one opened ... that's all.

I've called this to the attention of the hosts on the Ask the Hosts thread. I'm sure they will fix the problem as soon as possible.  



wynnleaf - Jul 8, 2009 3:09 pm (#2298 of 2988)  
James, Sirius and Peter would have possibly been expelled for releasing a werewolf (and Lupin for agreeing to do it while in human form) and endangering all the local residents. (wynnleaf)

Oh, how could I forget? There's also that trivial little bit about being unregistered animagi, apparently considered so serious by the authorities that Hermione could repeatedly blackmail Rita over it.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 8, 2009 3:43 pm (#2299 of 2988)  
he is also trying to right a wrong that he did - or, if you prefer it that a way, a wrong that was done to Lily. - Well, that assumes that Snape was introspective and self-aware enough to recognize his own part (however small it may have been) in Lily's murder. I just don't see it. It also assumes that he was able to see Lily as a real person and not just as a mere "object" of his affection. I just don't see that either. I think, for him, Lily was just another thing he thought he was entitled to have but was denied, thanks to James and his friends.

Oh, come on, Quinn, surely you didn't think I meant they should get expelled for "disappearing" from their rooms each month? - How should I know? I can only go by whatever you type.

Snape knew they were doing something - Yes, yes, but the point you are ignoring, that you have yet to provide any explanation for, is how he knew this without sneaking around and spying on them, just as Sirius said he was.
1) Snape was in a completely different house.
2) That house was on the direct opposite part of the castle from the Marauders' house.
3) Because Snape's house was "under the lake" (per CS), there is no way he could have "accidentally" spotted Lupin or anyone else wandering off toward the womping willow late at night. He would had to have deliberately been in a position to observe this.  
4) Besides: the Marauders had the invisibility cloak (though they probably didn't all fit under it by the time they were in 5th year).

So, how did Snape know what they were up to, let alone when they were doing it, if he wasn't sneaking around after them?



haymoni - Jul 8, 2009 4:34 pm (#2300 of 2988)  
wynnleaf - my movie contamination embarrasses me! POA is Hubby's favorite of the HP movies, so we watch it quite often. Scratch what I said.

Quinn - I am sure that Snape was sneaking around after them, but I wonder how far he took things. Was he just following them around the castle, trying to eavesdrop, trying to prove his werewolf theory? Or did he actually follow them out of the castle?

I could see Sirius getting fed up with Snape tailing them. I can also see him giving Snape what he wants. "He wants to know what we're doing?? I'll tell him what we're doing. Better yet, I'll show him! Hey, Snivellus! Do you see that knot over there???"


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:48 am

Quinn Crockett - Jul 8, 2009 5:37 pm (#2301 of 2988)  
Yeah, I wonder that too, haymoni. And I could totally see the whole "prank" going down like that.



mona amon - Jul 8, 2009 8:46 pm (#2302 of 2988)  
I don't remember any actual evidence in the books that Severus was always following the Marauders around. I feel it's a misconception like "Snape gave as good as he got", which came about as a result of our discussions on this forum rather than from what we are told in the books. Of course, if anyone can come up with some evidence, I'll have to change my view.  

The closest thing I can find (and this is probably the basis of the misconception), is Sirius's justification of the Prank, "It served him right," he sneered. "Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to...hoping he could get us expelled...". But he was referring specifically to what happened on the night of the Prank. There's nothing to show that Severus was always sneaking around after the Marauders.

Snape knew that the Marauders had somehow been sneaking around every month. (Wynnleaf)

- Yeah, he did. So, again I put the question out there: Just how could Snape possibly have known this unless he was sneaking around spying on them, just as Sirius said? Snape belonged to a different house, the dorm of which was underground (apparently), in the completely opposite part of the castle from the Marauders. (Quinn)


I don't think it says anywhere that Severus knew that the Marauders were sneaking around every month. All he knew was that Lupin disappeared every month. He would have noticed this because the Gryffindors and Slytherins shared some classes like Potions and Care of Magical Creatures, and Severus probably noticed Lupin's regular absenses, and was curious about it, especially if the rest of the Marauders looked more than usually excited and conspiratorial during these times.

It's also a misconception, IMO, that Severus suspected that Lupin was a werewolf. Nothing would have induced him to go down that tunnel if he had.

I can also see him giving Snape what he wants. "He wants to know what we're doing?? I'll tell him what we're doing. Better yet, I'll show him! Hey, Snivellus! Do you see that knot over there???" (Haymoni)

This is the way I see it too, but Sirius could have felt the same way even if it was only sneaking around on that particular night.

ETA: Severus is snoopy by nature, but that, in itself, doesn't prove that he was always tailing the Marauders.



Julia H. - Jul 9, 2009 1:03 am (#2303 of 2988)  
Well, that assumes that Snape was introspective and self-aware enough to recognize his own part (however small it may have been) in Lily's murder. I just don't see it. It also assumes that he was able to see Lily as a real person and not just as a mere "object" of his affection. I just don't see that either. I think, for him, Lily was just another thing he thought he was entitled to have but was denied, thanks to James and his friends. (Quinn)

I believe you see it that way, but that just does not explain why he was willing to protect Harry, the boy he otherwise loathed, at the cost of great personal risk, or what exactly he gave his life for in the end. You just don't dedicate your life to fulfilling the dying wish of a mere "object" (only real human beings can have dying wishes).

BTW, I don't think Snape ever thought he was entitled to have Lily. He never told her about his feelings, he was obviously afraid that he would lose her and it seems he did not try to win her back when Lily said it was over between them.



wynnleaf - Jul 9, 2009 3:11 am (#2304 of 2988)  
Snape knew they were doing something (wynnleaf)

Yes, yes, but the point you are ignoring, that you have yet to provide any explanation for, is how he knew this without sneaking around and spying on them, just as Sirius said he was. (Quinn)


Did I ever deny this? I have been trying to assert (repeatedly I think), that Snape probably did sneak around trying to see what all the Marauders were up to. Why would he do that? You seem to think he just did it for no reason other than some irrational obsession. I think there's more evidence that he did it because he personally was highly aware that the Marauders were getting away with a lot of wrongdoing, much of it directed at him, and he wanted the bullies out of Hogwarts, since it was obvious that the teachers couldn't stop their behavior. Further, he may well have assumed that they were already getting away with wrongdoing that he knew about for which they weren't getting caught and they were probably doing more stuff that he didn't know about. Snape doesn't appear to have been the sort to "tell" on the Marauders for what they did to him. But that wouldn't mean he wouldn't find a way to "out" them over some other particularly bad behavior if he could catch them at it.

After all, throughout the series Harry does a huge amount of "sneaking around" and we readers, while perhaps acknowledging that it's generally not right for kids to break school rules, are generally supportive of Harry in spite of the fact that he is breaking school rules.

When Harry spies on Draco in COS, I personally don't support it. Draco at that point had shown Harry no history of being out actually hurting other kids beyond being verbally nasty. Harry only targeted Draco for spying on because Harry so disliked him and assumed because of Draco's generally anti-muggleborn speech that he'd go from nasty comments to trying to get kids killed. Harry breaks lots of rules, gets innocent kids injured, drugs other kids, etc., all to spy on another kid in another House, who he suspects only because he personally dislikes him and not because he actually knows of any physically harmful behavior from Draco toward others.

However, in HBP, Harry also does a lot of spying and he's got a lot more reason to do it. He has actually happened upon Draco in suspicious circumstances and has overheard (well, eavesdropped on really) some very suspicious comments. Further, by then he knew enough about Draco to realize that Draco could indeed be up to something Really Bad.

Similarly, Snape would have known of the Marauders tendency to hex people just because they could and out of boredom. We saw in the Worst Memory scene that they were very lax about secrecy issues, completely uncircumspect in talking about their monthly outings. Snape could easily have overheard them talking about it. In fact, anyone could have overheard them talking about it. They really weren't being careful at all in the Worst Memory scene and they didn't appear to be acting in any way unusual, so they were likely often too free in talking about what they did. And if Snape saw or heard anything suspicious at all, he already knew enough of the Marauders excessive rulebreaking behavior to suspect that they might be capable of far worse things than were typically coming to light.

So having strong reasons to suspect the Marauders of Excessive Wrongdoing, and strong motivation to want them out of Hogwarts, Snape "sneaking around" spying on them seems, in my opinion, completely understandable -- just as understandable as Harry sneaking around spying on Draco.



haymoni - Jul 9, 2009 3:56 am (#2305 of 2988)  
Julia H. - I'm sure that Snape was afraid to tell Lily of his feelings - I think it is difficult for any teenager to express how they are feeling. I don't know if he was worried about losing her, though. Admitting that he loved Lily would mean that he loved a Mudblood and how would that look to Voldy and the other aspiring followers?

He knew that it mattered to some wizards - even when he was a child - that Lily did not come from a magical family. He couldn't tell her then. He thought she was beautiful, but he didn't love her enough to turn his back on Dark Magic and things that she obviously felt were wrong.

I wonder if Snape looked at Lily as if she were his own discovery. He is the one that tells her that she's a witch. He tells her about Hogwarts. I think he thought of her as his - sort of "I saw her first!"



Julia H. - Jul 9, 2009 4:30 am (#2306 of 2988)  
I don't know if he was worried about losing her, though. (haymoni)

I thought he was jealous of James? I agree that it is usually difficult for teenagers to speak about their feelings. But that difficulty coupled with jealousy and Snape apparently giving up when Lily broke ties with him are symptoms of insecurity. "She does not want me, I'm not good enough for her."

Admitting that he loved Lily would mean that he loved a Mudblood and how would that look to Voldy and the other aspiring followers?

I don't think that this was what stopped her from admitting his love. He did not hesitate to admit that they were "best friends" (or at least that he hoped/wanted it to be so), and he was willing to apologize to her (probably no genuine DE would do that). Also, they apparently spent a lot of time together.

...he didn't love her enough to turn his back on Dark Magic and things that she obviously felt were wrong.

Again, I don't think it was "not enough love". The reason why I don't agree is that later, when he realized that Lily's life was in danger, he loved her enough to turn away from Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and to risk his life for her. Even to ask Voldy to spare her was a potentially dangerous thing to do, and at that point it really had to matter what Voldemort and the DE's would say, as he was already a member.

By then Snape had been a Death Eater for a while. If the teenage Snape had not loved Lily enough to turn away from the Dark Side for her sake, then Snape the Death Eater obviously loved her much more, as he was not only willing to turn away from the Dark Side for her, but he was also willing to risk his life for her life - even though he had not even seen her for years, Lily was already Potter's wife, and Snape had been under Voldemort's direct influence for some time (i.e. potentially more "contaminated" by the DE ideology concerning Muggle-borns, concerning "them" and "us", etc.). So the question is whether Snape's love for Lily (and his willingness to make a sacrifice for her) could grow so much while he was a Death Eater or he had always felt the same love and there were other reasons why he had not turned away from his Slytherin "friends" in his teenage years.



mona amon - Jul 9, 2009 5:44 am (#2307 of 2988)  
I have been trying to assert (repeatedly I think), that Snape probably did sneak around trying to see what all the Marauders were up to. Why would he do that? You seem to think he just did it for no reason other than some irrational obsession. I think there's more evidence that he did it because he personally was highly aware that the Marauders were getting away with a lot of wrongdoing, much of it directed at him, and he wanted the bullies out of Hogwarts, since it was obvious that the teachers couldn't stop their behavior. Further, he may well have assumed that they were already getting away with wrongdoing that he knew about for which they weren't getting caught and they were probably doing more stuff that he didn't know about. Snape doesn't appear to have been the sort to "tell" on the Marauders for what they did to him. But that wouldn't mean he wouldn't find a way to "out" them over some other particularly bad behavior if he could catch them at it. (Wynnleaf)

But Wynnleaf, why do you think he was doing and thinking all this? As I said in my previous post, I don't think there's any evidence to show that he was generally sneaking around trying to find evidence to get the Marauders expelled. ETA:I'm absolutely sure he'd have loved to get them expelled. But we don't see him actually doing anything about it. How could he have even known they were doing things they could get expelled for, until after the prank?

If he actually was sneaking around in this way, then whatever the Marauders did to him is, if not justifiable, at least perfectly understandable. You can't expect a bunch of kids to put up with a snoopy kid following them around with the object of getting them kicked out of school, even if they were the ones to start the enemity, and even if they were really doing stuff that merited expulsion.



wynnleaf - Jul 9, 2009 6:54 am (#2308 of 2988)  
Mona amon,

Sirius said that he pulled the Prank because Snape was "Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to ... hoping he could get us expelled ..."

Of course, Sirius could have been speaking of a one-time occasion in which Snape, trying to figure out why Lupin was gone once a month and having seen Lupin and Pomfrey going off at night, was "sneaking around" trying to figure it out. Maybe he'd been down by the Whomping Willow. It could have been a one time occurrence and Sirius could have also have been wrong about Snape's motivation.

Still, the way Sirius said it, it kind of sounds like it wasn't a one-time occurrence. Further, in The Prince's Tale, when Snape was talking to Lily, she seems to already know that he had theories about Lupin, perhaps even a theory that he was a werewolf. It's not all that surprising since Hermione figured it out (can't help but wonder why Lily didn't get it as well). Anyway, that still isn't evidence of anything except that Snape was theorizing about Lupin, but not that he was following the Marauders around.

However, Snape asked Lily what about what they were all "getting up to" every month. This seems to indicate that Snape knew all of the Marauders were doing something, and it wasn't in their House dorm.

‘What about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?’

‘They sneak out at night. There’s something weird about that Lupin. Where does he keep going?’

Snape seemed to have made a connection between all of the Marauders sneaking out at night and Lupin's monthly problem. Snape knew that the Marauders went out at night and he seems to have known that they did it once a month.

There's several ways he could know that. He could have been sneaking around following them. However -- and I just thought of this -- it would be very difficult to follow them. When the Marauders would sneak out at night, they'd most likely have the Map along to make sure no one was around to catch them.

Snape could also have overheard some of the Marauders indiscreet conversations about their monthly fun and then started to put two and two together -- Lupin gone once a month and all of the Marauders doing something together on a monthly basis.

He must have at least done a little sneaking in order to spot Pomfrey and Lupin one month. After all, at night Snape was supposed to be in the dungeons.

But to me, it really doesn't matter. Readers are mostly fine with Harry "sneaking around" in a good cause, and I figure that attempting to find out Major Misbehavior that might finally get the teachers to take action and really do something about the Marauder's conduct is a good cause as well.



mona amon - Jul 9, 2009 8:15 am (#2309 of 2988)  
However, Snape asked Lily what about what they were all "getting up to" every month. This seems to indicate that Snape knew all of the Marauders were doing something, and it wasn't in their House dorm.

This was after the prank, so he knew all about Lupin being a werewolf, and that the rest of them (or at least James and Sirius) used to sneak out to be with him at that time. But he did not know anything more about it than that. How they managed to do it without getting bitten must have puzzled him no end!

He must have at least done a little sneaking in order to spot Pomfrey and Lupin one month. After all, at night Snape was supposed to be in the dungeons.

He might have spied them from a window, when Slughorn sent him to Dumbledore with a note, or something. The possibilities are endless.

But to me, it really doesn't matter.

What matters to me is that it completly alters the whole Snape/Marauders relationship as I see it. If he really was sneaking around trying to get the Marauders expelled, however great a cause he was upholding, I don't blame them too much for hanging him upside down and tormenting him. It provides a perfectly good reason for the bullying. ETA: Harry doesn't make a big fuss about Draco stomping on his face and breaking his nose for spying on him, and although it's sickeningly violent, that incident didn't generate a fraction of the number of posts that SWM still does.



wynnleaf - Jul 9, 2009 10:17 am (#2310 of 2988)  
If he really was sneaking around trying to get the Marauders expelled, however great a cause he was upholding, I don't blame them too much for hanging him upside down and tormenting him. It provides a perfectly good reason for the bullying. (mona amon)

What if the reason (granted this is speculation), that he was trying to get them expelled was because they had been bullying him over the long term? I mean, to me, if a group of bullies decide to "punish someone" for fighting back, that just compounds their nastiness. In fact, come to think of it, James did want to punish Snape for resisting during the worst memory scene. When Snape quite understandably starts to curse (not magic, just bad words) at James, James uses scourgify, as if to say, "you're not allowed to resist without justifying me punishing you even more."

ETA: Harry doesn't make a big fuss about Draco stomping on his face and breaking his nose for spying on him, and although it's sickeningly violent, that incident didn't generate a fraction of the number of posts that SWM still does. (mona amon)

I think the reason this incident doesn't generate so much of an outcry is because Draco is clearly depicted as one of the Bad Kids, even if he does see part of the error of his ways later. James... well, the series isn't clear about whether he's a great fellow or a cruel bully as a boy, or really whether he definitely ever truly changed. I think it's that ambiguity and the fact that lots of readers dislike Snape while wanting to consider James Good and Heroic and other readers are far more supportive of Snape and see James as a rather cruel bully that causes so much more comment about this incident. In any case, with the incident in HBP, Harry and his friends had already done far worse to Draco twice before on the train, and once for Draco just saying a lot of mean things.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 9, 2009 12:20 pm (#2311 of 2988)  
Did I ever deny this? I have been trying to assert (repeatedly I think), that Snape probably did sneak around trying to see what all the Marauders were up to. - Have you, now. Well, my mistake, then. It was probably just hard to tell what you were actually getting at through all the snark and sarcasm.

I think he thought of her as his - sort of "I saw her first!" - Yeah, that's almost exactly what I was thinking when I said that Snape felt "entitled" to Lily. Well put, Haymoni.

If he really was sneaking around trying to get the Marauders expelled, however great a cause he was upholding, I don't blame them too much for hanging him upside down and tormenting him. It provides a perfectly good reason for the bullying. - Precisely. This is, of course, a very big "if". And there are those of us who interpret the text in just this way, and there are those who believe Snape's sneaking came as a result of the taunting.

Personally, I just can't see James and Sirius going out of their way to find Snape and harass him for any reason. Oh sure, there would definitely have been occasions where they started up on him if Snape happened across their path. But to actually seek Snape out, to go looking for him, when they had so much else that was far more interesting and exciting going on in their lives? I mean, these guys were supposed to be popular, charming, jocks (at least James was) who were spending the bulk of their free time learning to be animagi and creating their Map, not to mention quidditch practice for James.

Whereas Snape would go looking for James and Sirius. He wouldn't be able to stand them getting away with even a single verbal joke at his expense. It probably did start with the meeting on the train, and every subsequent similar encounter just added a little more fuel to the fire in Snape's belly.

But that's just my take on it. I know not everyone sees it that way.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 9, 2009 12:39 pm (#2312 of 2988)  
With respect, Quinn, for someone who frequently points out others' sarcasm in a seemingly negative context, you use it an awful lot yourself. Just an observation.

And you seem to doubt that Severus blames himself, at least in part, for Lily's death. I don't understand this. Dumbledore refers to his having informed about the Prophecy as "the regret of his life and the reason he returned to us." Besides which,I see a lot of self-loathing in Severus. But I could be wrong.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 9, 2009 12:57 pm (#2313 of 2988)  
Quinn, for someone who frequently points out others' sarcasm in a seemingly negative context, you use it an awful lot yourself. - That's true, but I do try to reserve it only for certain individuals. I just get tired of being figuratively bludgeoned by certain posters every time I submit an opinion.

Speaking of which, Snape may blame himself for Lily's death, but he sure spends a lot of energy taking it out on other people. Like Sirius. Like Harry. And Dumbledore is pretty generous when it comes to second chances. He also admits that he didn't see how deep and firmly rooted the hatred between Sirius and Snape was, so I have a hard time taking what even he has to say about Snape as accurate.

ETA: Excellent point, Soul Search. One that has always bothered me as well.



Soul Search - Jul 9, 2009 12:59 pm (#2314 of 2988)  
And this part still bothers me: "... and the reason he returned to us." And the other similar reference Dumbledore made when defending Snape in the GoF trial pensive scene.

From the pensive memories in "The Prince's Tale" child Snape was firmly in the Slytherin camp and he was a Death Eater wannabe from the moment Lucius Malfoy welcomed him into Slytherin House. Sirius' and Lily's statements confirm that Snape hung with future Death Eaters during his whole time at Hogwarts. He would not even give up those relationships for Lily.

So, when was Snape ever on the "good" side so he could "return" to it?

I wonder if what we have is some abandoned bit of backstory JKR decided not to pursue where Snape does something "good," but then becomes a Death Eater anyway, or something. The fact there are TWO similar references suggests their inclusion was not just an accident, but designed to support some part of the storyline.



Solitaire - Jul 9, 2009 2:37 pm (#2315 of 2988)  
So, when was Snape ever on the "good" side so he could "return" to it?

Maybe Dumbledore assumes all are on the side of good, particularly school-aged children, until they actually take the Mark. If so, that could be why he refers to Snape as "returning to us."



Julia H. - Jul 9, 2009 3:10 pm (#2316 of 2988)  
So, when was Snape ever on the "good" side so he could "return" to it? (Soul Search)

I have always thought that (at least according to Dumbledore) anyone who is not born to be evil (like Voldy perhaps) is originally on the good side. "Returned" may refer to an abandoned plotline, but it perfectly works for me if it simply means that Snape was not the bad sort of boy originally. After all, he "returns" at the age of twenty, when he is not likely to have a long "active" history on either side.

And Dumbledore is pretty generous when it comes to second chances. (Quinn)

He is old and wise and experienced. This generosity certainly pays off.

He also admits that he didn't see how deep and firmly rooted the hatred between Sirius and Snape was...

I can't recall that one... could you help me?

Personally, I just can't see James and Sirius going out of their way to find Snape and harass him for any reason. Oh sure, there would definitely have been occasions where they started up on him if Snape happened across their path. But to actually seek Snape out, to go looking for him, when they had so much else that was far more interesting and exciting going on in their lives?

But Snape may have "happened across their path" quite often if they had to go to the same classes several times a week; when there were places (from the meals to the Hogsmeade weekends) where the whole school went together; and while Snape and Lily were friends, Snape may well have had reasons to go near Gryffindor Tower; or quite simply when they walked the same corridors and the same grounds every single day for about nine months a year. It is not like a school where the day ends at 2 pm., and then everybody can go home. They were in the same place 24 hours a day, even at weekends. In this situation "bullying only when seeing" can be quite hard to tolerate - and some people may be more sensitive than others. (Am I the only one who has heard of suicides committed in the army or other closed institutions due to the fact that the person could not tolerate being bullied?)

Since the Marauders were a strong group - and to start with, they were a group -, I find it hard to imagine that an apparent loner (allegedly not of the brawny type) would decide to "attack" them (even if only by sneaking and spying), making them want to take revenge on him, if he was not desperate in the first place. Who would attack "one-on-four" the sports hero alphas while they left him alone? On the other hand, if they were already bullying Snape anyway and he already found it intolerable, then he might just as well fight back.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 9, 2009 5:29 pm (#2317 of 2988)  
He also admits that he didn't see how deep and firmly rooted the hatred between Sirius and Snape was...
I can't recall that one... could you help me?
- Dumbledore says something like "Some wounds run too deep" in reference to the rivalry between Snape and Sirius at the end of OP.

Yes, they all lived in the same closed little community and no doubt had classes together at some point. I'm sure there were occasions when James and Sirius used those opportunities to torment Snape. However, I don't that this was anything like a daily or even weekly occurrence.

If we're using Draco as the model for James, we can see that the actual confrontations with Snape were very infrequent. The difference is that, where Harry was able to shrug off Draco's transparent attempts at inciting Harry, Snape took the bait all too easily. More like Ron, who was very sensitive about his family and his background.



Julia H. - Jul 9, 2009 5:52 pm (#2318 of 2988)  
So you mean that quote. It goes like this:

"But I forgot – another old man’s mistake – that some wounds run too deep for the healing. I thought Professor Snape could overcome his feelings about your father – I was wrong."

It is actually about Snape and James. Dumbledore does not say he did not know about the extent of hatred between them (he had already assessed that in PS), he only expected Snape to overcome these feelings during the Occlumency lessons (which Snape probably tried).

Snape took the bait all too easily. More like Ron, who was very sensitive about his family and his background.

Yes. I can very well imagine that Snape had his sensitive points as well, and if the humiliations took place in front of others, then even the ones that could seem relatively mild to others may have seemed too much to him. I think this has to do with self-confidence. Harry is often insecure and he often doubts his own abilities, but he still has a healthy amount of self-confidence. It probably helps that at Hogwarts he soon finds the field where he is the best (or among the best): Quidditch. Draco's words at least cannot affect his self-esteem (not even Snape's words, BTW). Still, not everyone is like that. If someone is already insecure, has experienced rejection in his own family, and wants to be accepted and respected, he can take even the "occasional" torment or humiliation quite badly. Snape seems to have been looking forward to Hogwarts as a wonderful place where he could leave his problems behind, where he could be really at home, and it does not happen quite like that.



PeskyPixie - Jul 9, 2009 6:36 pm (#2319 of 2988)  
While I greatly admire those who can ignore taunting or mean teasing, I also do not blame those who are more sensitive. What gives Sirius and James the right to hex or tease anyone they choose, be it Bertram Aubrey or Severus Snape or ...? Sure, usually the target doesn't fight back, but sometimes it does. The reaction of the target doesn't make the original act any more noble. Even if Severus is a nasty snoop of a kid I find it hard to support the idea that he deserved to be picked on (especially for his appearance). I blame Sirius and James for beginning the enmity and do not find Severus at fault for fighting back (even though that's not always the smartest thing to do).

The place where I get confused about the argument is Snape's Worst Memory. Prior to DH it is a horrible scene of bullying with Snape as the victim. However, as Vulture reminded us, the scene is actually more of a love triangle which puts a completely different motivation behind the words and actions of each character.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 9, 2009 6:43 pm (#2320 of 2988)  
So you mean that quote. It goes like this:

"But I forgot – another old man’s mistake – that some wounds run too deep for the healing. I thought Professor Snape could overcome his feelings about your father – I was wrong."

It is actually about Snape and James.
- Okay. But it doesn't change my original point, which was that I find that Dumbledore isn't always accurate in his assessment of Snape or his motivations.



mona amon - Jul 10, 2009 2:41 am (#2321 of 2988)  
Personally, I just can't see James and Sirius going out of their way to find Snape and harass him for any reason. Oh sure, there would definitely have been occasions where they started up on him if Snape happened across their path. But to actually seek Snape out, to go looking for him, when they had so much else that was far more interesting and exciting going on in their lives? I mean, these guys were supposed to be popular, charming, jocks (at least James was) who were spending the bulk of their free time learning to be animagi and creating their Map, not to mention quidditch practice for James.

Whereas Snape would go looking for James and Sirius. (Quinn)


I agree that the Marauders wouldn't go out of their way to harass Severus. But I don't agree that Severus would go out of the way looking for the Marauders either. It's not just the popular and charming who have limited free time. I think the attacks would have happened every now and then, when the Marauders happened to catch him when he was alone, as in the Worst Memory. I'm sure Severus wasn't a passive victim and he probably fought back, but it's unlikely that he initiated attacks against a gang when he was alone. We are given no information about how frequent these attacks were, but they did bother him enough for him to invent a particularly nasty Dark spell and label it 'for enemies'.

What if the reason (granted this is speculation), that he was trying to get them expelled was because they had been bullying him over the long term? I mean, to me, if a group of bullies decide to "punish someone" for fighting back, that just compounds their nastiness. (Wynnleaf)

What does it matter? Even if he was spying on them because they were bullying him, it still gives them a reason for continuing the bullying. Spying is rather different from fighting back. No one can reasonably be expected to tolerate it. Of course I'm not saying people have no right to spy. But they have to face the consequences if they're caught at it.

If Voldy had discovered that Severus was spying on him, would we have blamed him for being hopping mad and doing horrible things to him? We'd have been sorry he got caught, but we'd have understood LV's reasons.

IMO, the nose busting incident in HBP doesn't generate as much controversy as SWM not so much because Draco is the undebated bad guy wheras we can't agree about James, but because there's no doubt about the fact that Harry went looking for trouble, and found it. In SWM, we can't agree about whether Severus 'asked for it' or not. If Severus was always shadowing them, then I'd say he certainly asked for it.

My own opinion is that James was bullying him because he existed, and not because he was sneaking around spying on them. If he was, and let's remember there's nothing in the books to suggest this, then the Marauders did have a reason for bullying him (or continue bullying, or bullying him worse than before). I'm not saying it's justifiable even then, but as has often been pointed out with regard to Severus's own bad behaviour, a reason is not an excuse.

BTW, Wynnleaf, why are you so anxious to prove that Severus was always sneaking around, trying to get the Marauders expelled? It doesn't even prove that they were bullying him.



Julia H. - Jul 10, 2009 3:57 am (#2322 of 2988)  
Even if he was spying on them because they were bullying him, it still gives them a reason for continuing the bullying. Spying is rather different from fighting back. (Mona)

Whether he was spying regularly or just once, I see it as a possible way of fighting back - he could not exactly hope to achieve too much by means of an open attack on the four Marauders (at least not until the Sectumsempra was invented). As for your Voldemort parallel, of course, Voldy's reaction would have been quite predictable if he had found Snape out. However, we also understand why Snape spied on Voldemort rather than challenging him to a duel. We know that in the latter case Snape would not have had a chance at all. Spying, however, did give him a chance against a very powerful enemy. With the Marauders, yes, Snape's spying may have generated more attacks, but the same would have been true of any other way of fighting back. To take these risks makes sense only if the situation is already quite bad for Snape.

Dumbledore isn't always accurate in his assessment of Snape or his motivations. (Quinn)

I think Dumbledore is correct regarding Snape's motivations. With the Occlumency lessons, he simply gives Snape a task that Snape tries to do but fails.



wynnleaf - Jul 10, 2009 5:20 am (#2323 of 2988)  
BTW, Wynnleaf, why are you so anxious to prove that Severus was always sneaking around, trying to get the Marauders expelled? It doesn't even prove that they were bullying him. (mona amon)

Good question. First, I'm not trying to "prove" it. It doesn't actually matter to me either way, whether he was or wasn't spying on them.

The problem to me is that there is, in my opinion, a strong possibility from the clues in the books that he did spy on them.

Now some posters have said that Snape spying on the Marauders and trying to get them expelled would have been just because he obsessed about them and hated them for very little reason and that they would never have been particularly interested in attacking Snape if Snape hadn't been spying on them.

What I've been trying to point out is that if Snape was spying on them, there'd have to be a reason. And what would that reason be? I've tried to argue that the reasons for Snape to spy on the Marauders are based on their bullying first.

Quinn commented a while back that it was crucial who started the enmity. And it is, especially if Snape was spying on them. If the Marauders started bullying first, and then Snape spied on them wanting them expelled, then 1. it makes Snape's spying justified and 2. it makes further bullying of the Marauders a continuation of bullying they were doing anyway and Sirius' frustration over his spying as just sour grapes because he didn't think Snape had the right to stop the Marauders from bullying him.

However, if Snape started spying on the Marauders before they were bullying him, then their "bullying" looks less like bullying and more like retaliation for Snape invading their privacy and not minding his own business.

See, if they were bullying him first then spying on them was Snape's business.

If Snape wasn't spying on them at all, then the question is moot. But there's a strong chance to me, given the various comments in the series, that Snape was spying on them. And so the question of why he was spying -- just to be nosy when they'd done nothing much to him, or to defend himself against bullies -- is very important.



haymoni - Jul 10, 2009 6:49 am (#2324 of 2988)  
I'm not so sure if the spying had to do with the bullying.

When Lily asks him why he is so obsessed with them, he says, "I'm just trying to show you they're not as wonderful as everyone seems to think they are."

He says I'm trying to show YOU - not I'm trying to show everyone.

He later says that James fancies her. He is so angry about that he can hardly get the words out.

If he can't bring himself to tell Lily how he feels, he is at least going to make sure that nobody else can have her.

Again, "I saw her first."



Quinn Crockett - Jul 10, 2009 10:28 am (#2325 of 2988)  
Nice comparison, Mona, about the nose-stomping versus the worst memory. Personally, I agree 100% that Harry was pretty stupid to think he could get away with something there. In fact, as I recall I even said so out loud as I was reading it  Of course, Draco's response to it sickenly violent, but even that isn't so hard to take when you know these are people who can erase that kind of pain and damage with the casual wave of a wand.

Quinn commented a while back that it was crucial who started the enmity. - I don't think that was me, actually. Or at least, not what I meant. Because I don't really think it does matter who "fired the first shot". I mean, does it really ever matter when the result is a life- (and even after death) long obsessive hatred that drives you to do really stupid things just on the chance that you might get back at the person? And I'm referring here to both Sirius and Snape.

I also completely agree with Haymoni that the spying (and yes, I do believe there was spying. There are enough references to it, coupled with the images of Snape engaging in this throughout his life) was unrelated to the bullying and had everything to do with Lily.


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wynnleaf - Jul 10, 2009 11:16 am (#2326 of 2988)  
When Lily asks him why he is so obsessed with them, he says, "I'm just trying to show you they're not as wonderful as everyone seems to think they are." (haymoni)

I think at that moment Snape, who already knew that Lupin was a werewolf, was trying to both show that the Marauders weren't any worse than some of his Slytherin friends, divert Lily away from the Marauders, and have a come-back for her criticisms of him. We can see that he is starting to worry that Lily might like James, and she is taking the Griffindor "take" on the Prank and not even listening to Snape, so that might be a part of his concern. But if Snape was spying on the Marauders over the long term, Sirius seems to think it was to get them expelled, not just to show them up and generally discredit them.

Because I don't really think it does matter who "fired the first shot". I mean, does it really ever matter when the result is a life- (and even after death) long obsessive hatred that drives you to do really stupid things just on the chance that you might get back at the person? (Quinn)

Ultimately, it didn't make any difference once Snape and Sirius were adults. However, if one wants to figure out whose fault it is, who perhaps brought things on themselves, I think there's a lot more weight on the Maruaders being the ones that brought on the problem in the first place.

Going back to the re-read of POA, there are many posters who put a lot of emphasis on the idea that Snape should have put the past behind him, found a way to trust Lupin and/or Sirius, listened more to them, etc., without placing any emphasis on the fact that Lupin and Sirius not only were highly instrumental in creating that distrust in the first place, but as adults did nothing establish a situation where Snape could have any reasons to trust them.



PeskyPixie - Jul 10, 2009 2:57 pm (#2327 of 2988)  
I'm pretty sure that I have stated on occasion that I find 'who fired the first shot' to be a completely legitimate line of thought. Just as Snape is the one who begins the sour relationship between he and Harry, James is to blame for the enmity between the Marauders and Severus. He had every right to be angry and fight back. He only loses my sympathy when he actually joins the Death Eaters and later uses Harry as a James substitute without taking the time to realize that his nature is more similar to the great love of his life. However, when the discussion is about Sev the kid, I don't blame him for actively hating the Marauders. Hey, I don't even blame him for disliking them when they are adults. My problem is how he treats Harry. Even then, those are some of the funniest parts of the books!  



haymoni - Jul 10, 2009 7:19 pm (#2328 of 2988)  
wynnleaf - Re-read that memory and tell me if you think it is strange. Lily tells Snape that James Potter saved his life, but just before that she mentions Snape's theory about Lupin being a werewolf.

If Snape had actually glimpsed Lupin in full werewolf form, why didn't he say something to Lily right then? He just rambles on about James - nothing about what he saw.

Now he was supposed to have promised Dumbledore not to say anything, but how odd not to tell Lily...a sign of integrity?

I didn't mean to change the subject - I just thought it was strange.



wynnleaf - Jul 10, 2009 7:36 pm (#2329 of 2988)  
haymoni,

Good point about Snape not telling Lily.

Snape glimpsed me, though, at the end of the tunnel. He was forbidden to tell anybody by Dumbledore, but from that time on he knew what I was ...’ (Lupin)

Even at the moment when he could have told Lily, he doesn't. He could not only have told her about Lupin, but Sirius Prank (and James, from Snape's point of view). Even though Lily might eventually have sympathized with the Marauders over Lupin's being a werewolf, the Prank itself would surely have gained Snape a few points -- the idea the Sirius would do that. And yet he says nothing.

I know that Dumbledore had forbidden him to tell anyone, but why did he obey Dumbledore? I supposed DD could have threatened him with something or another.

You know what I find far more interesting though? It's that even after leaving Hogwarts and joining the Death Eaters, Snape didn't tell Lupin's secret. How do we know? Because even his friend in the DEs, Lucius Malfoy, didn't know about it. If Lucius had known, I think we can be sure that Draco would have known. And other DEs, who later had kids at Hogwarts, didn't know either. So even though Death Eater Snape could surely guess that Potter and his friends were opposing LV, he apparently never informed on Lupin to LV or the DEs.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 10, 2009 7:41 pm (#2330 of 2988)  
But if Snape was spying on the Marauders over the long term, Sirius seems to think it was to get them expelled, not just to show them up and generally discredit them. - Yeah, Sirius might have been wrong about why Snape was doing it, but I just don't think he was untruthful that Snape was spying.

And really, I do wonder what on earth Snape was thinking there. Discredit them how? More likely, people would have just thought they were even more amazing (even the teachers), seeing as how they had not only taught themselves to become animagi, but also invented and implemented a relatively powerful magical item in the map.

Lupin and Sirius not only were highly instrumental in creating that distrust in the first place, but as adults did nothing establish a situation where Snape could have any reasons to trust them. - What did Lupin do, exactly? And where did the adult Lupin behave in a way that Snape should immediately question his trustworthiness? Yes, he hid the fact that Sirius was an animagus from everyone, but Snape didn't and couldn't have known that. Lupin was perfectly professional and cordial, spoke well of Snape's abilities and treated him with respect.
Sirius, on the other hand, was in prison. 'nough said there, I think.

In fact, as was pointed out earlier, why would Snape even assume that Lupin, who also loved and admired James, would be "helping" Sirius? I mean, that really doesn't make any sense. Lupin was just as betrayed by Sirius's alleged acts as anyone else.

ETA: Snape wouldn't have gained anything in revealing that Lupin was a werewolf to Voldemort or Lucius.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 10, 2009 11:27 pm (#2331 of 2988)  
They would have thought the Marauders were "more amazing" for becoming unregistered animagi? They broke dozens of *laws* doing that---not just pesky school rules but *laws*. As Hermione says, "The Ministry keeps very close tabs on wizards who can turn into animals." And, as evidenced by the ease with which Hermione can blackmail Rita Skeeter with the fact that Rita is unregistered, I do not think they would have gotten away skot-free with even more hero worship. Particularly because, even if students were more impressed, teachers, especially McGonagall and DD, would start asking questions about things they would have been doing while transformed. DD would be smart enough to figure it out. And as for the map, as useful as Harry and the Marauders find it, it is quite dangerous, and Filch was probably right to confiscate it. It's a huge security problem if a map exists that pinpoints the exact location of everyone and everything in the castle, including secret passageways and necessary incantations.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 10, 2009 11:44 pm (#2332 of 2988)  
"Dozens" of laws, eh? Other than not registering themselves, I'm not sure what else would have been so illegal for underage wizards.

They would have thought the Marauders were "more amazing" for becoming unregistered animagi? - Oh yeah! Definitely. While the teachers may have publicly taken a hard line, I'm sure at least some of them would have privately admired their work. But I think the majority of the students would have thought they were pretty durn cool for being able to do such advanced and powerful magic. Look at the reaction to Harry's ability to cast a patronus. Even his detractors were impressed.

Hermione was able to blackmail Rita Skeeter mostly because turning into a beetle was what gave Rita her "inside information". Without that, her career, as she knew it, would have been over. Hermione gave her a taste of that.

Regardless of whether or not we think the map is dangerous, I can't imagine what rule there would be against making something like that and it was still a brilliant creation. I think the boys would have received recognition for that.



wynnleaf - Jul 11, 2009 6:07 am (#2333 of 2988)  
Quinn, I think you keep forgetting or disregarding that the Marauders were intentionally releasing a deadly beast every month, in order to run around the Hogwarts grounds and Hogsmeade. Snape did not know exactly what they were doing, but he did seem to assume that whatever they were doing was Very Wrong, wrong enough to get them expelled.

If Snape had caught them out on their wrongdoing, the other students might have been awed that they became animagi, but they wouldn't have been awed that they were letting a werewolf roam the school grounds and village on a regular basis. The ministry would certainly consider being unregistered animagi breaking the law, but I imagine they'd consider intentionally releasing a werewolf every month to be some of the worst kind of reckless endangerment of the public.

What did Lupin do, exactly? And where did the adult Lupin behave in a way that Snape should immediately question his trustworthiness? Yes, he hid the fact that Sirius was an animagus from everyone, but Snape didn't and couldn't have known that. Lupin was perfectly professional and cordial, spoke well of Snape's abilities and treated him with respect. (Quinn)

Snape knew the Lupin of old. As I said in the Lupin Thread:

he was also willing to subjugate his own conscious, and deal with guilt on a long-term basis for actions he personally knew and considered to be very wrong, all because he couldn't bring himself to thwart his friends (wynnleaf)

The last time Snape had been around Lupin, he was the kind of person who would never stop his friends from anything, who stood by, set aside his duty as prefect and his sense of right and wrong, and allowed them free license for anything they wanted to do. That's a perfect reason for Snape to have distrusted Lupin as an adult.

There seems to be some notion that Adult Snape should have assumed that Adult Lupin was trustworthy, when he had been highly untrustworthy as a teenager -- that he had grown out of protecting his own friends at the cost of his own conscious and his duty. Well, in fact Lupin had not grown out of that. He was still very much the same. He never wanted to displease his friends - those who liked him. He couldn't face DD's displeasure and he refused to tell crucial details about his friend Sirius, regardless of how dangerous that friend might have become and no matter how dangerous Sirius seemed to be acting breaking into the school.

Lupin was still untrustworthy. The idea that all adults are simply assumed to be trustworthy because they come across as "nice" and are now in their 30's, is maybe fine if you don't know them at all. If on the other hand you had plenty of knowledge that as a teenager the person was weak and would allow their friends any license, I think in the situation of protecting a school of kids from one of those said friends, it would behoove anyone who knew of Lupin's past weaknesses to assume he still had those weaknesses.

As it turned out, Snape was right to assume that Lupin hadn't changed.

Snape might not have actually seen direct evidence that Lupin hadn't changed, but he assumed Lupin's being "nice" and being in his 30's wasn't enough evidence to assume he was trustworthy. Snape was right.



mona amon - Jul 11, 2009 9:21 am (#2334 of 2988)  
Even though Lily might eventually have sympathized with the Marauders over Lupin's being a werewolf, the Prank itself would surely have gained Snape a few points --(Wynnleaf)

I'm not sure it would. She'd most probably have laughed her head off and called him an idiot for listening to Sirius. With the exception of the first train ride, Lily's general attitude is sympathetic to the Marauders rather than Severus. This is shown clearly in the Worst Memory, where she finds the sight of him hanging upside down in his grey underpants funny. Severus himself instinctively knows this. He never seems to have told her details of any of their interactions. Being a victim of the Marauders is not something he would have been proud of.

First, I'm not trying to "prove" it. It doesn't actually matter to me either way, whether he was or wasn't spying on them.

The problem to me is that there is, in my opinion, a strong possibility from the clues in the books that he did spy on them.


Ah, now I get it. I thought you really liked the idea of Severus being a juvenile spy, or something.  

I've tried to locate the possible clues from POA, OOTP and DH, and why I think they don't really prove or even imply that Severus was spying on the Marauders on a regular basis.

First we have Lupin's account of the prank. This is what he says-

"Severus was very interested in where I went every month." Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione. "We were in the same year, you know, and we— er—didn't like each other very much. He especially disliked James. Jealous, I think, of James's talent on the Quidditch field... anyway Snape had seen me crossing the grounds with Madam Pomfrey one evening as she led me toward the Whomping Willow to transform. Sirius thought it would be— er—amusing, to tell Snape all he had to do was prod the knot on the tree trunk with a long stick, and he'd be able to get in after me. Well, of course, Snape tried it— ..."

Being curious about a classmate's periodic absenses doesn't amount to snooping around. If he suspected that the Marauders were up to no good, it couldn't have been because he had any actual evidence. The Marauders used to transform into animals and roam the countryside with Lupin only in their fifth year, and they used the invisibility cloak and probably the Marauders Map.

Anyway, I don't think shadowing a classmate is something that can be sustained for long. Harry found it impossible, even though he was the one with the invisibility cloak and Marauders Map, and had to delegate the task to creatures who were better adapted to do it. It was almost five years before he actually caught Lupin in the act, so seeing him being escorted to the Willow was most probably an accident.

None of Severus's contemporaries, Lily, Lupin, or James, ever accuses Severus of snooping. Sirius is the only exception, but he's talking specifically of why he deserved the Prank. Lupin tells the trio Sirius played a deadly Prank on him, and he justifies himself, "It served him right," he sneered. "Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to... hoping he could get us expelled..."

Severus was sneaking around that night, trying to see what was going on with Lupin, so he was right about that. But Severus couldn't have possibly thought he could get Lupin expelled, when whatever he was up to was being sanctioned by the staff. So why did he fall so easily into Sirius's trap? Sheer nosiness of course!

Sirius never accuses him of snooping on any other occasion.

No one accuses Severus of sneaking around or trying to get them expelled during SWM, or later when Harry asks Lupin and Sirius for an explanation for their behaviour.

In DH, his talk with Lily is supposed to have some clues, but I couldn't find any. All he's trying to do is drop dark hints about what he discovered on the night of the Prank.

So I can only conclude that while Severus did snoop around the willow on the night of the Prank, It was not a habitual occurrence.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 11, 2009 10:43 am (#2335 of 2988)  
Quinn, I think you keep forgetting or disregarding that the Marauders were intentionally releasing a deadly beast every month, in order to run around the Hogwarts grounds and Hogsmeade. - No, it's just that I don't recall reading that there are any laws against that. Was it fraught with potential danger? Oh yeah! Definitely. But I guess I would need to see the official ordinance to know they were breaking any actual laws. And I don't recall it saying anywhere that they were on the Hogwarts grounds. They were in the forest and Hogsmeade, as far as I could tell from Lupin's story.

Snape was right. - Snape's accusation of Lupin was that he was "helping [his] old friend Black". But nope, he wasn't. In fact, it was just this sort of accusation that kept Lupin from coming forward about what he knew.

So I can only conclude that while Severus did snoop around the willow on the night of the Prank, It was not a habitual occurrence. - That may be, Mona. And it would fit with the idea that the worst memory was kind of the tipping point where their rivalry turned physical and more steady.

Actually, it makes sense to me that the worst memory would be retaliation for Snape trying to find out about Lupin, and that all the "Snape never lost an opportunity to hex James" would have come from there.



wynnleaf - Jul 11, 2009 11:07 am (#2336 of 2988)  
well, highly exciting possibilities were open to us now we could all transform. Soon we were leaving the Shrieking Shack and roaming the school grounds and the village by night. (Lupin)

That was still really dangerous! Running around in the dark with a werewolf! What if you’d given the others the slip, and bitten somebody? (Hermione)

'A thought that still haunts me,’ said Lupin heavily. ‘And there were near misses, many of them. We laughed about them afterwards. We were young, thoughtless – carried away with our own cleverness.’

The school grounds and Hogsmeade at night. When Hermione worries about the possibilities that the werewolf could have given the others the slip (the animagi supposedly could contain the werewolf), and bitten somebody, Lupin comments that there were many near misses. In other words, there were lots of near misses where Lupin as werewolf almost got away from the other Marauders and could have bitten someone.

Was there a law on the Ministry books that said specifically that one was not allowed to become an animagi, release a werewolf from a protected spot, and run around in public places? Almost certainly there was no such law. However, no society can come up with individual laws to cover all of the crazy, risky things people will knowingly do which knowingly endanger others. That's why there are laws against general things like reckless endangerment. That sort of law likely was on the Ministry law books.

Mona amon, that was a good argument that Snape wasn't sneaking around spying on the Marauders long-term. It's possible that it was Sirius' own realization that what they were doing could get them expelled that made him leap to the notion that Snape's snooping was intended to get them expelled.

By the way, it's very possible that Snape's interest in Lupin's whereabouts each month came from a combination of seeing Madame Pomfrey and Lupin, and from overhearing comments from the Marauders about their monthly jaunts. I was pretty amazed at how loose their conversation was during the early part of Snape's Worst Memory. If someone overheard similar comments on other occasions, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a correlation between their comments about monthly plans and Lupin being gone once a month.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 11, 2009 11:21 am (#2337 of 2988)  
Lupin comments that there were many near misses. In other words, there were lots of near misses where Lupin as werewolf almost got away from the other Marauders and bit someone. - Many = lots of. Got it.

Okay, so they were on the Hogwarts grounds. So I don't have total recall . And no, I wasn't referring to an all-encompassing law written especially for these boys. So, let me explain:

There does not appear to be any statute regarding the release of dangerous creatures, only the consequences of it. The wizarding world seems far more concerned with being discovered. So, while there may some sort of "release of a dangerous creature" law, my take is that there isn't. I think, based on what we have seen, is that the worst that would have happened to the boys is a stern warning (i.e. Harry and Ron in the flying car) and some other detentions or something. Plus they would have been registered as animagi at that point as well.



Vulture - Jul 12, 2009 8:59 am (#2338 of 2988)  
Hi, all: I wasn't in here for a while, and then it took me some time to read the 100+ posts that came in since my last one. So please bear with my reply, which may run into more than one post !!

Overall, my own actual reply isn't that long _ what will take up a bit of space is that I quote various extracts that struck me, for various reasons.

I notice that the debate got a bit heated at times _ I've been guilty of that myself in the past, so won't comment either way. However, may I just mention that a lot of the same issues (I'm thinking particularly of the debates on Snape's behaviour in PoA, and about the Levicorpus "worst memory") were gone into in the 5th thread, and I've listed a few links to my posts of those times, where I think they were relevant.

I want to emphasise that this does NOT mean that I regard MY posts from then as the best contributions. Far from it _ in fact, the passage of time made me realise that many who were arguing vehemently against me (as well as those agreeing) made excellent points. So I hope nobody minds me listing just my links _ I would stress that if you look these up, please check the posts either side of mine, to get the general context.

The one big change from the 5th thread, as I think I've said before, is the Lily factor in Snape's personality _ this didn't come into those earlier debates. However, I think that if everyone re-reads some of those posts, it'll help the current debate (hopefully). I should add that (I think) I tended to be a lot tougher on Snape in those days _ wish you'd been around to help me, Quinn !! ;-)

I list those 5th thread (and a few from other) links first, then I list some extracts from this thread in the usual way, with a few comments. If I don't seem to comment on everything, I think you'll find that that's usually because I've said it in one of those 5th thread posts. Here goes:

======================================================

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Oct 22, 2004 to Sep 19, 2005)" #2964, 17 Sep 2005 1:41 pm #2964, Sep 17, 05

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #39, 14 Aug 2006 9:56 am 5th thread _ on Slytherin mentality and on Snape being more knowledgeable about Dark Arts than the average student.

As for trying to get Snape killed _ Snape himself made a comment about this, in Book 3. Do you remember how Dumbledore reacted ? He was giving Snape his X-ray look at that point _ and said "My memory is as good as it ever was, Severus". I've always felt that that was a very powerful scene, and that there was more than a hint of reproof, if not coldness, there. Was Dumbledore suggesting that he remembered more than Snape would find convenient ? Certainly, it was on hearing that comment that Snape stormed out. Equally certainly, he had earlier tried to get Sirius made worse than dead without following wizard law (i.e. by giving him up to Fudge and Dumbledore). (Vulture  Aug 19, 2006 10:54 am (#102, 5th thread)) _ Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #101, 19 Aug 2006 10:44 am

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #112, 20 Aug 2006 10:57 am on First Voldemort War background to Levicorpus "worst memory" scene

Given all the analogies to the Nazi period in JKR, imagine if, during World War 2, there had been a school, magically protected against the ravages of war outside, where the kids of both sides were educated _ and suppose they were separated into Houses so that one House was from Nazi families and the other three weren't, and all of them were in constant contact with news from their parents. I don't think it's hard to guess what would happen: but you can bet your life that, once playground feuds had started, the kids would find lots of their own, non-war, reasons to keep them going. (Vulture [/b]- Aug 21, 2006 2:11 pm (#123, 5th Snape thread)) _ Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #123, 21 Aug 2006 2:11 pm

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #130, 22 Aug 2006 3:47 pm on 1st Voldemort War background.

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #138, 24 Aug 2006 3:10 pm _ same. In fact, was ban on corridor magic in place in those days ? _ Lupin, in Book 6, implies that Levicorpus was waiting for you around every corner.

Vulture   Sep 9, 2006 3:18 pm (#197,5th Snape thread) _ Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #197, 9 Sep 2006 3:18 pm _ Snape's threat to give Sirius & Lupin to the Dementors

"But, you may say, knowing the rat allegation doesn't mean he believed it. Ah, but I'm afraid ye all have done an excellent job of proving that Snape had heard all about the Marauders being Animagi. So he knew that Pettigrew had been able to transform into something. But, you may say, that doesn't mean he knew that Peter was still alive. Really ? _ Sirius, his arch-enemy, first ever jailbreaker from Azkaban, having eluded the Ministry for months and pulled various violent stunts around Hogwarts, suddenly makes a rat his reason for surrender, and I'm supposed to believe that one of the cleverest and most calculating wizards in JKR's books utterly fails to make any connection with what he's JUST HEARD about Animagi ?" (Vulture  Sep 17, 2006 5:33 pm (#207)) _ Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #207, 17 Sep 2006 5:33 pm

"His threat to go straight to the Dementors comes in direct response to Sirius's offer to "come quietly" to the castle. Let's ask ourselves _ what difference, in pure cold logic, is there between going straight to the Dementors and going to them (in effect) via the castle ? I can only think of one _ the direct route avoids that meddling old moralist, Dumbledore. Why should Snape fear Dumbledore, if he's sure that Sirius is guilty ? After all, Fudge can be relied on to keep Sirius in Azkaban if proof of innocence isn't cast-iron _ the wizarding public would have his head otherwise." (Vulture   Sep 17, 2006 5:33 pm (#207)) _ Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #207, 17 Sep 2006 5:33 pm

Vulture   Sep 17, 2006 5:33 pm (#207, 5th Snape thread) begins debate about Fudge observing the Dementor's attempting to Kiss the Trio and Sirius, and what it implies about Snape's decision to act against his own Dementor threats in the Shrieking Shack, and take Sirius and the others up to the castle. In short _ would Snape have refrained from having Sirius soul-sucked if there had been no observers ?

Vulture, "# Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007)" #239, 21 Sep 2006 6:46 am _ Snape and his intentions towards Sirius in Book 3.

===================================================

"Seriously, I think you'd remember if someone's bullying 'marked your card' for the rest of your life, and messed up your ability to interact with others" (Vulture) - Snape's "messed up ability to interact with others" had nothing whatever to do with James. It was precisely because of this already existing "messed up ability" that Snape was such an easy target for James and Sirius. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 4, 2009)

I wasn't saying that Snape's inability to interact with others had anything to do with James _ though I can see how my comment looked that way. I wasn't thinking specifically of Snape at that point _ I was addressing your general point, that you couldn't relate to holding a grudge years and years later. I simply wanted to explain that long-standing resentment against being bullied in one's teens is possible. As regards Snape, I accept that he had problems long before he ever saw James.

I just think those who say we must believe that Snape is bullied by the Marauders, because it is shown to us must also keep in mind that the only times we see Snape being bullied (and they are his memories) are times when he has placed himself in proximity to the bullies. We are shown no examples of the Marauders trailing him around and pouncing on him. He had full choice as to whether or not to do as Sirius said. No one forced him to go there. (Solitaire   Jul 4, 2009)

BTW, when Sirius says Snape belonged to the Slytherin gang - isn't it possible that he chose hanging out with the strong guys of Slytherin instead of hiding in the Slytherin Common



Vulture - Jul 12, 2009 9:09 am (#2339 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

"Seriously, I think you'd remember if someone's bullying 'marked your card' for the rest of your life, and messed up your ability to interact with others" (Vulture)

- Snape's "messed up ability to interact with others" had nothing whatever to do with James. It was precisely because of this already existing "messed up ability" that Snape was such an easy target for James and Sirius. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 4, 2009)

I wasn't saying that Snape's inability to interact with others had anything to do with James _ though I can see how my comment looked that way. I wasn't thinking specifically of Snape at that point _ I was addressing your general point, that you couldn't relate to holding a grudge years and years later. I simply wanted to explain that long-standing resentment against being bullied in one's teens is possible. As regards Snape, I accept that he had problems long before he ever saw James.

I just think those who say we must believe that Snape is bullied by the Marauders, because it is shown to us must also keep in mind that the only times we see Snape being bullied (and they are his memories) are times when he has placed himself in proximity to the bullies. We are shown no examples of the Marauders trailing him around and pouncing on him. He had full choice as to whether or not to do as Sirius said. No one forced him to go there. (Solitaire   Jul 4, 2009)

Good point, though I'm not sure I would go as far as you in defending the Marauders. What I feel is that there was much more open duelling between students in Snape's and the Marauders' time than in Harry's (though I wouldn't say it was as bad as the accounts of inter-House duelling in the days of the Founders).

BTW, when Sirius says Snape belonged to the Slytherin gang - isn't it possible that he chose hanging out with the strong guys of Slytherin instead of hiding in the Slytherin Common Room - because he felt safer with them than alone? I think as a reaction to being bullied, it is just as likely as hiding and nervously avoiding the bullies all the time. (Julia H.   Jul 4, 2009)

I wouldn't agree on this point _ he would have hung around with other Slytherins in any case. We know from Snape himself that he had a fervent loyalty to Slytherin House before he ever got to Hogwarts, so in effect, he was simply fulfilling McGonagall's statement that "your House will be something like your family within Hogwarts".

What happens when a kid, a teenager especially, is relentlessly bullied in a real school? Well, if it's happening a great deal the teachers and staff often aren't aware of what's really going on. Or for whatever reason, the actions that the school takes aren't working. What alternatives does the kid have? Sometimes the kid doesn't do anything but try to avoid the bullies which quite often simply doesn't work. Sometimes the kid tells a trusted teacher and the teacher becomes their advocate. Who would Snape tell? His Head of House -- Slughorn? Can we imagine Slughorn actually working to stop it for Snape? Some kids go to their parents and get their parents to advocate for them. Eileen??? Tobias???

Point is, what real alternative did Snape have but to try and stop the Marauders through finding something that would get them expelled? (wynnleaf   Jul 4, 2009 8:34 pm (#2203))

Well, this sounds as if you assume that Slughorn would have done nothing. But Slughorn regarded Snape as one of his best Potions students _ we get a hint of this in Book 6 ("I don't think even you, Severus") when Slughorn is raving about Harry's apparent brilliance at Potions. Also, Snape was friends with Lily, who was one of Slughorn's all-time favourites. So I don't think Slughorn would have ignored a complaint from Snape _ though (knowing Slughorn) he might have been lazy about it. But he might have consulted McGonagall, who certainly wouldn't have been.

But anyway, I don't think Snape was spying on the Marauders as a result of constant bullying. I think it was a mixture of the rivalry with James over Lily (even if he wasn't conscious of this), and the general Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry, intensified by the First Voldemort War. James and Sirius were the cleverest student wizards in Gryffindor, if not the whole school, in their day _ and I think that Snape's better-than-average knowledge of the Dark Arts may have made him someone whom the Slytheins looked to for information on useful spells. In fairness, his conversations with Lily leave open the possibility that while he was very interested in the Dark Arts as a subject , Lily was able to make his conscience uneasy about their actual use. Debatable, I know.

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The incident at the lake he walked out of the exam with what appears to have been most of the kids in the class. (wynnleaf   Jul 4, 2009 8:48 pm (#2205))

Wynnleaf, you see things your way; I see them mine. I think that if Snape had wanted to avoid the Marauders, he could have done so. (Solitaire   Jul 4, 2009 8:57 pm (#2206))

He, like James, may have been shadowing the group of girls Lily was with.

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I can speak from direct experience that sitting in the vicinity of a person who bullies you isn't evidence that they aren't really bullies. People often have other reason rather than just escape at all costs. Sometimes one's own view of self refuses to allow you to cave into the bullying and hide out, avoid being where ever the other person is, etc. all the time. Hogwarts wasn't some huge school. It's relatively small and the kids there lived there 24/7. To avoid being around specific other people would take consciously thinking of them all the time to remember to avoid them.

In any case, this line of reasoning is the kind of thing that says the person who owns a store in a crime-ridden part of town isn't just responsible for their own decision (possibly unwise, possibly unavoidable) to have a store in that part of town, they are actually in part responsible for the robbery itself. (wynnleaf   Jul 4, 2009 9:31 pm (#2208))

In effect, your second paragraph above is the view Harry takes of the incident when talking to Lupin and Sirius out of the fireplace.

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I find it hard to believe that Lily was the only student in Hogwarts who was able to look past Snape's surface. There had to be some reason he was so unpopular ... some reason other than being poor and poorly groomed. In one of the Pensieve scenes, Lily says she has been making excuses for Snape "for years." Excuses for what? Was there something more than just his DE friends that made him unpopular? Lily tells James, "You're as bad as he is ..." Is she aware that Snape does his share of the hexing and jinxing?

I just think there is a tendency by some to paint Snape as a hapless, hounded victim. I do not deny that he is bullied ... but every story has two sides. (Solitaire   Jul 4, 2009 10:15 pm (#2210))

I think that a Gryffindor-Slytherin friendship, lasting for most of their Hogwarts years, during the First Voldemort War, would have been pretty unique, and that Lily would have been under pressure about it from her Gryffindor friends almost from day one. I'd be interested to know how Snape coped with equivalent pressure from the Slytherin side, or if he simply concealed the whole friendship from the Slytherins. If he did the latter, I can imagine that leading to tension between him and Lily.

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(Continued in next post (sorry for the length !!) ...)



Vulture - Jul 12, 2009 9:52 am (#2340 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

... if Snape had never acted on Sirius' Prank, he'd not have known that Sirius was willing to pull a Prank that could have gotten him killed, but that doesn't make teenager Sirius a different person. Sirius still pulled a Prank that could have killed Snape, whether or not Snape acted on it or not. If Snape had done nothing, Snape wouldn't have known the lengths that Sirius would go to, he wouldn't have known just how reckless Sirius could be, but it doesn't make Sirius less willing to risk other lives or less reckless. It just means that Snape wouldn't have been quite as aware of it. (wynnleaf   Jul 5, 2009 5:11 am (#2212))

As Solitaire points out, why does not one single other person remember this pattern of abuse toward Snape? Even when the trio are eavesdropping on the conversation between Flitwick, Hagrid and McGonagall. If events like the worst memory were supposed to be typical fare, surely the teachers - who had no idea Harry was listening - would have said so. They were discussing Sirius, who they all believed to be the traitorous murderer on the lam. Surely they would have said something along the lines of "I should have known..." as opposed to speaking of him fondly and wistfully. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 5, 2009 12:32 pm (#2217))

We also have Lily, who asks Snape straight out, "Why are you so obsessed with them?" Obsessed. Pretty strong word there from Snape's only real friend. More importantly, we actually observe the sneaking and spying Sirius talks about in the adult Snape. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 5, 2009 12:32 pm (#2217))

Sirius clearly believed that Snape was following them around and trying to get them expelled. In DH, Lily pointed out that Snape was obsessed, and she linked that comment with his theories about Lupin, his attempts to find out what the Marauders were up to when they went out at night, and his "sneaking down the tunnel" by the Whomping Willow. (Solitaire   Jul 5, 2009 5:00 pm (#2226))

The whole 'Prank' thing seems odd to me. We know from Book 7 that there was dislike between the Marauders and Snape from their very first time on the train. Why on earth would Snape go down the Whomping Willow tunnel on Sirius's say-so ? The only way it makes sense to me is if Sirius "dared" him to do it.

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But all this discussion of whether or not Snape was bullied as a teenager is irrelevant, in my opinion. The bottom line is he was a 35 year old man taking out his latent adolescent anger and resentments on children. There is no excuse for that. At some point you have to just grow up, man up, take responsibility for your own choices, your own actions and just get over yourself already. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 5, 2009 12:32 pm (#2217))

Agreed. But oddly, Snape's behaviour to Harry gets integrated into DD's spy strategy (Bk 7) _ it becomes good strategy against Voldemort for Harry to see no good in Snape.

In "The Prince's Tale", I get the feeling (and before everyone starts arguing, it IS just a feeling) that Snape, in the last year, has become weary of his own grudges _ especially once he becomes Headmaster, but even before that. He is horrified at Dumbledore's plan to let Harry "die at the right moment". He snaps at Phineas for calling Hermione (whom he himself used to taunt) a "Mudblood". And he does save, and sometimes try and fail to save, lives. If 'actions speak louder than words', Snape's acts when lives are at stake (as opposed to his classroom taunts) speak loudly for him _ and Harry, by the end, sees that. What Snape can't seem to do is make the conscious choice to give up the grudge against James, and the son who resembles him _ it seems, for him, to be like giving up drink or tobacco for others. So when Dumbledore asks "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all ?", Snape reacts as if that's a taunt.

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However, you do bring up a good point about Luna. Here was have someone who takes the complete opposite tack of Snape. Luna doesn't complain, she doesn't seek revenge, or try to get even. She doesn't even carry any resentment about it whatsoever. She simply lives her life. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 5, 2009 2:07 pm (#2220))

Quite correct. Luna handles it all better in general. However, Luna is actually very unusual. Most kids who just take the bullying and don't do anything, and yet it still continues and continues, are being injured by it. Luna seems to have a philosophical insight to the whole thing that she seems kind of above it. Personally, I think Luna is actually one of the most mature of the all the kids in the series. (wynnleaf   Jul 5, 2009 2:30 pm (#2222))

This reminds me of Gandhi's comment that someone who has higher consciousness will repay oppression with non-violence, but that if one has not this higher consciousness, "it is better to fight than be a slave, since that is the choice for him". I'd say Snape is definitely someone without that higher consciousness, most of the time.

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You seem to be saying Snape was not bullied, and the Worst Memory was an isolated case, in retaliation for Snape going after Lupin (for which he had already been punished by the way). I hope you do not deny that in the Worst Memory, Snape was attacked by James and Sirius, disarmed and, while defenceless, he was physically tormented by various hexes and humiliated in front of a crowd of onlookers. You don't seem to think that it equals bullying. But whatever you call it, you seem to think that the Marauders' behaviour can be justified. If it can be justified, it would mean Snape deserved it. So, yes, if we deny the fact of bullying, we either deny that the Worst Memory took place at all, or we conclude that the Marauders were right and Snape deserved it. If you have a third interpretation, I am curious to know it. (Julia H.   Jul 5, 2009 4:44 pm (#2225))

"we also have similar evidence of the four-on-one attacks (apart from seeing it in the Worst Memory): The adult Snape is very good at duelling against several attackers in DH, supporting the idea that he has some experience." (Julia H)

- Or supporting the idea that he was a card-carrying Death Eater who has been in a few battles. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 5, 2009 5:41 pm (#2229))

As I said, Quinn _ wish you'd been around for the 5th thread debates !!

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(Continued in next post ...)


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:01 am

Vulture - Jul 12, 2009 9:56 am (#2341 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

"As for Snape sneaking and spying, the question is what was first? That or the bullying? - I don't think James and Sirius really gave a fiddler's fart about Snape - until Snape started skulking around." (Quinn) Yes, which came first is very important to understanding the enmity. JKR first shows James and Sirius making the first move on the train their first year, first making disparaging comments about the House Snape is interested in and then adding in a physical action in trying to trip Snape. So even though it's small, that's the first negative stuff and it's James that starts it. (wynnleaf   Jul 5, 2009 5:57 pm (#2230))

I don't really agree _ it's Sirius who makes the first direct attack. Sirius is much more bitter about Slytherin than James _ understandably, because turning against Slytherin means wrenching himself away from loyalty to his mother and his whole family. (We're never told in the books just why Sirius turned against the school House of his whole family, and if JKR has said something in interviews, I haven't heard it.)

In the train, James's attitude to Slytherin is roughly like Ron's _ he comes from a Gryffindor family, and Gryffindors and Slytherins loathe each other on principle. Disliking Slytherin, in James's mind, is simply something one does, if one's a self-respecting Gryffindor _ he doesn't think about it as much, as intensely, or as bitterly, as Sirius.

James doesn't, at first, target Snape for saying to Lily "You'd better be in Slytherin". His "Who wants to be in Slytherin ?" is really just surprise, and then his attention goes off Snape and back on to Sirius. It is Snape who gets his attention back by making a "small, disparaging noise" when James is flourishing "an invisible sword" and talking proudly about his dad and Gryffindor.

OK, I daresay one can (and will !!) argue ad infinitum about the interpretation above. But my real point is _ until this moment, what's going on between James and Snape is on the level of taunts between rival football fans. It is Sirius who escalates things by saying to Snape "Where are you planning to go, seeing as you're neither (brawny nor brainy) ?" _ the first direct, personal, insult. Yes, of course James roars with laughter and tries to trip Snape, etc. But I think it's Sirius who initiates the enmity _ because Slytherin, for him, is something he can't be neutral about.

Actually, Lily makes things worse for Snape by deciding to find another compartment. By fleeing the field, Snape is made to look weak, and by Lily taking the lead and him following, he is made to look weaker. Of course, if he'd stayed, there might have been a full-blown fight. But my feeling is that Snape would have done better for himself by staying and standing his ground.

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After all, in the beginning Lily wasn't interested in James, so why would Snape be so interested in them in particular? (wynnleaf   Jul 5, 2009 5:57 pm (#2230))

Because James was interested in Lily.

But he focuses on the Marauders and the question is why? James was interested in Lily, but Lily wasn't interested in James yet. And JKR says that lots of the guys would have been interested in Lily as she was a popular girl. So what was so special about James and the Marauders in Snape's eyes? Why them in particular if they weren't targeting Snape already? (wynnleaf   Jul 5, 2009 6:57 pm (#2233))

I think that Lupin hits the nail on the head in Book 5 when he says that James was everything Snape wanted to be _ and wasn't.

JKR herself said that James 'treatment' of Snape was due to his suspicion that he harboured deeper feelings for Lily. (mona amon   Jul 5, 2009 10:32 pm (#2236))

Where is that _ in the books or an interview ?

It's funny, Wynnleaf ... when I read McGonagall's comment that "I don't think we've ever had such a pair of troublemakers"--and then Hagrid chimed in and compared them to the Weasleys--I got the idea that their "trouble-making" was more of the joking type. (Solitaire   Jul 6, 2009 7:43 am (#2241))

I think that if McGonagall thought they were bullies, she'd have said so _ war-hero or no war-hero. This is the teacher who dealt a near-fatal blow to her own House's Cup chances, in order to punish Gryffindor students for being out of bed.

I just don't see any reason for Snape to have targeted the Marauders in particular prior to Lily coming to like James. After all, there's general hexing or name calling, etc., all around Hogwarts. Why would Snape hate the Marauders specifically if they weren't doing anything out of the ordinary to him? Why sneak around trying to get them expelled and not every other Tom, Dick and Harry who threw a hex now and then, or gave Snape a nasty look, or whatever? (wynnleaf   Jul 6, 2009 10:06 am (#2242))

Still, I have to wonder what Lily meant by "I've been making excuses for you for years." Excuses for what, exactly? (Quinn Crockett   Jul 6, 2009 10:52 am (#2243))

Lily and Snape were at school during the first Voldemort war. I've said before that the enmity between Gryffindor and Slytherin would have been much more open and intense than when Harry first arrived in Hogwarts, and that from day one, Lily would have been under pressure in Gryffindor House for being friends with a Slytherin. Snape's reputation as "a little oddball who was up to his neck in the Dark Arts" (Lupin, Book 5) would have done nothing to help.

Personally, I think JKR's use of their very first train ride as a venue to show James, Sirius' and Snape first confrontation was in order to indicate that their enmity started first year. (wynnleaf   Jul 6, 2009 11:03 am (#2244))

Lupin says in Book 5 that they hated each other on sight; Dumbledore, in Book 1, says "Not unlike yourself and Mr. Malfoy" to Harry. See my answer to #2230, above.

That doesn't explain why he was specifically interested in the Marauders or why he might have wanted them in particular expelled. They weren't even Lily's friends at the time. Lily doesn't complain that he's obsessed with her friends and trying to get them expelled. The rationale that Snape just decided to obsess about this boy when Lily didn't even like him, yet wasn't obsessing about her actual friends or anyone else, makes no sense at all. (wynnleaf   Jul 6, 2009 12:12 pm (#2248))

See my reply to #2233 above.

Snape's obsession surely began that moment on the train. Whether Lily was there or not, Snape had been made to look the fool and he wanted to revenge. I mean, look at how vehemently he turned on Petunia just because she spoke disparagingly of his background. And he never stopped from that very first insult, even going so far as to "accidentally" drops a tree branch on her just because he didn't like her watching him. Petunia was Lily's own sister, but Snape's jealousy and pride wouldn't let him do anything other than lash out at Petunia. So, I don't think it's much of a stretch to think that Snape would have done everything possible to get even with James and Sirius, to get satisfaction. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 6, 2009 12:27 pm (#2250))

Thing is, in order to have Snape obsessed with the Marauders prior to the Marauders targeting him, requires the invention of the idea that Snape was obsessed with the Marauders completely aside from Lily or any provocation (not supported in canon) OR the invention of the idea that Snape wanted to get rid of any boys that liked Lily. Because JKR tells us that lots of boys liked Lily, it makes no sense that Snape would only target one boy who liked Lily. (wynnleaf   Jul 6, 2009 12:52 pm (#2251))

This is forensically logical _ but unfortunately, JKR isn't !!

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(Continued in next post. Sorry about this)



Vulture - Jul 12, 2009 9:59 am (#2342 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post. Sorry for how long it's gone on for !!)

Remember that JKR has spoken of Fred and George as "cruel". (wynnleaf   Jul 7, 2009 6:34 am (#2267))

Eh ? When ? I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the books. Was it in an interview ?

Snape, of all people, should know that people can change - not that I, personally think he changed at all, fundamentally. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 7, 2009 7:26 pm (#2274))

Well, I don't quite agree, though I do suspect that Dumbledore sometimes falls into thinking of Snape as " my Death Eater" rather than a non- Death Eater. But I do think he changed a bit; however, I don't think he liked admitting it.

====================================================================

Everything Snape had heard only made Sirius and Lupin both sound pretty guilty, especially with Lupin going on about having concealed info from DD. The fact that Lupin sounds sorry about it means little to nothing, since many criminals are sorry about things, but continue anyway. Snape thinks that the kids have been confunded. We know from OOTP that such a spell can be done silently and with great stealth, so the fact that the kids are listening and possibly believing Lupin and Sirius (they're not completely believing at that point), would mean little. What would be more to the point would be the serious injury of a student (the same one that Sirius had already appeared to threaten with a knife) when no one other than the Trio, Sirius and Lupin were apparently there, Lupin's own admissions of deception and helping Sirius through not revealing things to DD, the fact that Sirius had already been acting extremely guilty after his escape from prison, and the fact that he'd been put in prison for the murder of 13 people for which there had been witnesses.

The kids weren't dead yet (what, he's supposed to wait for Sirius to kill someone as proof he really is a murderer?), but since one was seriously injured, Lupin admitting to some guilt, and confunding was a strong possibility, why exactly should Snape have stood by trusting in Sirius (remember how he foolishly trust him before??), and see if maybe Sirius was telling the truth this time? (wynnleaf   Jul 7, 2009 9:10 pm (#2277))

The point I'm making is that if he were going to kill the kids, I think he'd had ample opportunity to do so and escape while Snape was standing behind the door. I think he heard enough to realize there was no immediate danger. He just wanted revenge ... he didn't want to be bothered about the facts, or he'd have listened.

He could have kept Sirius and Lupin from leaving and still listened. He didn't care to do that. (Solitaire   Jul 7, 2009 9:12 pm (#2278))

No, because Snape knows, where perhaps many Ministry officials wouldn't, that a dedicated Death Eater wouldn't necessarily be trying to kill Harry. Snape knew more about what LV had wanted with Harry in the first place, that is, that LV wanted to kill Harry himself. (wynnleaf   Jul 7, 2009 9:16 pm (#2279))

No, no _ Voldemort only developed this policy about Harry in Book 4. I don't think it plays a role in Book 3. In Book 1, he was happy to have Quirrell do it (yes, I know _ he had no choice about this).

===================================================================

I seem to remember reading all of this before ... *sigh* (Solitaire   Jul 7, 2009 9:22 pm (#2280))

5th thread. Blame me and Wynnleaf !! ;-)

==================================================

Some of my posts appeared twice; don't know how that happened. I did my best to delete the extra ones, but apologies if any chaos has resulted. (I notice that in my 1st post, there was truncation, and I missed the chance to edit it. Also, the "More" button doesn't work in the first post.)



mona amon - Jul 12, 2009 10:52 am (#2343 of 2988)  
Hi Vulture! I've only skimmed through your posts so far, so I'm only answering the question addressed to me ~~  

JKR herself said that James 'treatment' of Snape was due to his suspicion that he harboured deeper feelings for Lily. (mona amon   Jul 5, 2009 10:32 pm (#2236))

Where is that _ in the books or an interview ? (Vulture)


She says this in the Bloomsbury Webchat, July 2007-

Rachel Nell: Jkr, thank you for such amazing books! I would like to know how come noone seemed to know that lily and snape were friends in school they were obviously meeting for chats, etc didnt james know their past

J.K. Rowling: Thank you for your thank you!

J.K. Rowling: Yes, it was known that they were friendly and then stopped being friends. Nothing more than that would be widely known.

J.K. Rowling: James always suspected Snape harboured deeper feelings for Lily, which was a factor in James' behaviour to Snape.



wynnleaf - Jul 12, 2009 11:10 am (#2344 of 2988)  
This is forensically logical _ but unfortunately, JKR isn't !! (Vulture)

Thanks. It is logical, and yet I realize that JKR often isn't. I wouldn't lay bets on JKR actually have ever decided who started the enmity between the Marauders and Snape. Nor do I necessarily think she ever really thought out why exactly Snape was spying on them. You'd think she'd have this all thought out, but on many other questions where we fans assume she's got an intricate backstory thought out, she oftentimes does not.

Vulture, your comments on the first train ride where Snape comes across as weak because he leaves "the field" (as it were) and in particular because he leaves at Lily's leading, is spot on. He might never have left if Lily hadn't wanted him to do so, but it probably helped mark him as a perfect target for the future.

Remember that JKR has spoken of Fred and George as "cruel". (wynnleaf [/b]- Jul 7, 2009 6:34 am (#2267))

Eh ? When ? I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the books. Was it in an interview ? (Vulture)


Yes, in a post-DH interview when she talked about why she killed off Fred. She mentioned that one of the twins was the more cruel (can't recall which one), and the implication was that they could both be cruel, but one more so than the other. It may have been the Bloomsbury Online Chat.

Vulture, I also found very interesting your feeling that Snape may have been weary of grudges by his year as Headmaster. You know, I think that by that time he was in such a bad position being viewed as Evil by the good side, having to act a part to everyone, have the relative safety of hundreds of rebellious kids on his shoulders, as well as trying to follow the path of Harry and take care of DD's plans, I would imagine that there wasn't much emotion to spare for anything but the most truly vital things. Snape in DH seems less emotional than in all of the books. Yes, I know there are some emotional moments like when he breaks down at Grimmauld Place, but overall his tone and manner of speech seems much more stiff.



Julia H. - Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345 of 2988)  
If we are meant to think that the Snape-Marauders rivalry was only about Lily and about the general Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry, then I have two questions:

1) Why isn't it ever mentioned that Snape wanted to get everyone expelled who ever approached / fancied Lily?

2) What was the point of including the train scene where James and Snape first met? James was not interested in Lily at all, and the scene was not necessary to remind us of the Slytherin-Gryffindor rivalry, as we have known about it for long. In fact, it does not make sense to write such a scene at all unless we are meant ot think that the enmity was personal from the start, and that the bullying started there (though obviously in a milder form than what we see in the Worst Memory).

BTW, I don't think that Snape was a kind of "Slytherin champion", who was given the task of single-handedly getting rid of a few Gryffindors.

The role of Slughorn has been mentioned: I don't think it is ever said that he ever did anything to either defend Snape (or anyone else) or to address the specific "Slytherin problem" in any way. I think he was too busy with the Slug Club to do have much time for less enjoyable tasks, besides I somehow can't imagine Snape complaining to him. We know that Harry never complains to teachers, and many readers attribute that to the fact that Harry is not used to getting help from adults. He never got help from the Dursleys or from the teachers in the Muggle school. Snape does not strike me as someone who is used to running to an adult with his problems, so it seems logical that he did not complain, instead he tried to solve the problem on his own. He invented Sectumsempra "for enemies". It strongly implies that he was dealing with his enemies without help from a teacher.

I think that by that time he was in such a bad position being viewed as Evil by the good side, having to act a part to everyone, have the relative safety of hundreds of rebellious kids on his shoulders, as well as trying to follow the path of Harry and take care of DD's plans, I would imagine that there wasn't much emotion to spare for anything but the most truly vital things. (Wynnleaf)

I would like to add that his responsibility here is really huge. He must both protect the students and stay in Voldemort's favour (and alive) at least until he can find a way to tell Harry the final secret. A lot depends on whether he succeeds or not.

He might never have left if Lily hadn't wanted him to do so, but it probably helped mark him as a perfect target for the future.

Excellent point. I agree.



Vulture - Jul 13, 2009 8:46 am (#2346 of 2988)  
Yes, in a post-DH interview when she talked about why she killed off Fred. She mentioned that one of the twins was the more cruel (can't recall which one), and the implication was that they could both be cruel, but one more so than the other. It may have been the Bloomsbury Online Chat. (wynnleaf   Jul 12, 2009 11:10 am (#2344))

Wow !! _ I hope that doesn't mean that she decided to kill of Fred because she regarded the twins as cruel. Mind you, I notice that that isn't precisely what you say.

More generally _ and I don't ask anyone to share this opinion _ this is one more example of where (despite having great respect for her) I wish to God that JKR would keep quiet about the books, outside the books. (Or at least, keep quiet about the characters _ her interviews on plot don't bother me too much.) Frankly, both in the case of Sirius, and now in the case of Fred & George, I just don't recognise in her interviews the characters I read about in the books. Now, I know that Sirius generates a lot of controversy and discussion _ possibly second only to Snape in that _ but I don't, in JKR's interviews, recognise the character which even those opposed to my view of Sirius describe.

Frankly, I think it's a case of the characters breaking loose from their creator. Again, I don't ask anyone to agree, but in her website comments about Sirius, I almost felt that he was a real person who made her nervous !! In the case of the twins, I'd certainly agree that they can be rough, but I can't agree that they're cruel. Not unless we're saying that there's one law for Slytherin and another for Gryffindor, which I don't.

Well, better say no more on this here, because it's not about Snape.

=============================================

Vulture, I also found very interesting your feeling that Snape may have been weary of grudges by his year as Headmaster. (wynnleaf   Jul 12, 2009 11:10 am (#2344))

Thanks; I think I forgot to mention a rather obvious and simple point _ nowhere in Book 7's timeline (as opposed to incidents recounted in "The Prince's Tale" which actually occurred in previous books) does Snape criticise Harry, or any of the Trio. OK, it can be objected that this is because he and Harry don't meet in Book 7 until he's dying, but I think it's significant that JKR set things up this way.

=============================================

If we are meant to think that the Snape-Marauders rivalry was only about Lily and about the general Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry ... (Julia H.   Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345))

Did I say "only" ? _ if I did, I shouldn't have. All I was saying was that (in my opinion) many contributors tend to give the Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry a smaller role than what I believe is due. Putting it another way, does anyone imagine that things would have been half as bad (or even bad at all) between Snape and the Marauders if they'd been in the same House ? (Yes, I know _ there'd still have been the Lily factor.)

Why isn't it ever mentioned that Snape wanted to get everyone expelled who ever approached / fancied Lily? (Julia H.   Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345))

Deep, deep down, Snape knew that if James (as was said in Book 5) got a dose of maturity, he would be the leading candidate for Lily to fall in love with. He would rather have been strangled by Inferi than ever admit this _ and you can bet your boots it was one of the things that gave him his fiercest feelings against James.

What was the point of including the train scene where James and Snape first met? (Julia H.   Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345))

Well, I kind of agree. I think JKR should have taken a 'less is more' approach and not tried to dot every i or cross every t, etc. I think she thought it was a great idea to have James use almost the same words about Slytherin as Malfoy used about Hufflepuff when Harry first met him.

BTW, I don't think that Snape was a kind of "Slytherin champion", who was given the task of single-handedly getting rid of a few Gryffindors. (Julia H.   Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345))

I didn't really mean it like that. I meant that I think he was a bit of a Slytherin, Dark-Arts, version of Hermione, during his schooldays. They mightn't regard him as the coolest, or as any good at Quidditch, but he'd be a great source of info about spells. In fact, I can't think of anyone else in the whole series who is shown to have invented a spell of their own _ though you'd imagine that Dumbledore must have.

And it just occurs to me _ that would be a good reason for him to get away (in Slytherin) with a friendship with a Muggle-born Gryffindor for so long.

The role of Slughorn has been mentioned: I don't think it is ever said that he ever did anything to either defend Snape (or anyone else) or to address the specific "Slytherin problem" in any way. (Julia H.   Jul 12, 2009 12:24 pm (#2345))

I agree that Snape probably never went to Slughorn. My comments about Slughorn were in reply to the suggestion that Snape spied on the Marauders to get them expelled because he was being bullied and "had no alternative".

I disagree. Firstly, I think the spying was only marginally about being bullied, and we only have Sirius's word for it (which, yes, Sirius himself believes) that the spying was mainly about getting them expelled. These may have been factors, but I think we've seen enough of the adult Snape to know that a big factor is curiosity, and finding out things which others, particularly enemies, are trying to hide. (And yes, this is similar to Harry !!)

As for "having no alternative" _ he did have alternatives. He could have gone to Slughorn _ and got Lily to come with him; Slughorn would do anything for her. Alternatively, he could have gone to McGonagall _ if she had known about the "worst memory" incident, she would have gone ballistic _ and James and the Marauders, and probably Gryffindor House and the whole school, would never have forgotten the results. Remember, this is the woman who nearly slaughtered her own House's Cup chances (and poor Harry's first-year reputation !!) simply after catching students out of bed. I don't believe for a moment that Snape didn't know that about McGonagall _ every student did. Harry knew it the very first time he set eyes on her. I know that the Marauders were regarded as uncontrollable by teachers, but I don't believe that that's because they weren't adequately punished when caught; rather, I believe that they were cunning enough not to get caught when it mattered.

===================================

As always _ all the above is just my opinion !!



mona amon - Jul 13, 2009 8:55 am (#2347 of 2988)  
Nor do I necessarily think she ever really thought out why exactly Snape was spying on them. (Wynnleaf)

But he wasn't! He wasn't! He wasn't!  

Vulture and Wynnleaf, I agree that JKR couldn't have possibly thought out all the implications of every sentence that she wrote in the way that the many-headed fandom is able to. For instance, Vulture suggests that the Snape/Marauder interactions must have been influenced by the First Wizarding War which was in its initial stage at this time. But I see no indication that JKR was thinking about the war outside when she wrote these scenes. They seem like typical interactions between kids anywhere.

However, she must have had a pretty good idea of the relationship itself. I mean, she may not have consciously planned that the Marauders would be the aggressors with Severus retaliating with aggression, but it has consistently played out this way, so it must at least have been in her unconcious. And while she seems to like the Marauders way more than I do, her general attitude in the Snape/Marauders relationship is, IMO, sympathetic to Severus.



Vulture - Jul 13, 2009 9:47 am (#2348 of 2988)  
"Nor do I necessarily think she ever really thought out why exactly Snape was spying on them." (Wynnleaf)

But he wasn't! He wasn't! He wasn't! (mona amon   Jul 13, 2009 8:55 am (#2347))


But what makes you think he wasn't ? I personally think it's pretty clear from Book 3. Is it not significant that Wynnleaf and I, who tend to take opposite views of Snape (though OK, with some changes since Book 7), at least agree that he was spying on the Marauders ?

For instance, Vulture suggests that the Snape/Marauder interactions must have been influenced by the First Wizarding War which was in its initial stage at this time. But I see no indication that JKR was thinking about the war outside when she wrote these scenes. (mona amon   Jul 13, 2009 8:55 am (#2347))

Well, I think a lot of people agree with you, but for me, the clues are there. For starters, in Harry's day, magic is forbidden in the corridors (is it forbidden everywhere outside classes ? _ I'm not too clear on that), whereas Lupin tells us in Book 6 that you could hardly walk around a corner, during his schooldays, without getting Levicorpus-ed. (I haven't quoted his exact words, but that's the gist.) Now, I guess Levicorpus is (relatively) harmless compared to other duelling spells, but it still implies a more reckless and less controlled school atmosphere than in Harry's time. If the war isn't the reason for the difference, then why ?

Secondly, we have Lily's last conversation with Snape _ rather than focus just on the incident between them , her words are peppered with references to Voldemort, Death Eaters and Slytherins joining them, and Voldemort's attitude to Muggle-borns _ and crucially, she signs off with the words, "you've chosen your side; I've chosen mine".

Thirdly, when Lupin and Sirius are trying to console Harry during the fireplace conversation in Book 5, they start off by referring to the Dark Arts as the big problem between Snape and James: that James hated them and Snape was up to his neck in them. Of course, Harry is right to brush this aside ("He attacked Snape for no reason" and "I never thought I'd feel sorry for Snape"), but I felt that it was interesting that the Dark Arts were the first thing that occurred to the two surviving Marauders, even though they remembered the incident and the Dark Arts had little relevance to it. Background again.

Fourthly _ you may have noticed that I said "little relevance" rather than none. This is because Snape attempted a Sectumsempra on James. There is no way that, in Harry's day, a Slytherin would try Dark Magic in public. Yet Snape does, in those days. Yes, I know he had great provocation, but it was still a lethal spell.

What I'm saying is that, in James and Snape's time, the conflicts between Gryffindor and Slytherin appear to have been nastier and more serious, sometimes potentially lethal. This doesn't happen during Harry's first 4 years, by and large _ but things do start to move in that direction after Voldemort returns. War again.

So basically, I think that the first Voldemort war is there, hinted at, in the background, in that incident. In fact, much of Book 5 goes in for hints and symbolism on other things as well. I've gone into a lot of this, I think, on the 5th Snape thread.



mona amon - Jul 13, 2009 10:19 am (#2349 of 2988)  
But what makes you think he wasn't ? I personally think it's pretty clear from Book 3. Is it not significant that Wynnleaf and I, who tend to take opposite views of Snape (though OK, with some changes since Book 7), at least agree that he was spying on the Marauders ? (Vulture)

Well, LOL, it did surprise me that Wynnleaf also thought so. I think "Severus was always sneaking around, spying on the Marauders and trying to get them expelled" is a misconception that has come about as a result of our discussions on this forum, rather than from what we are told in the books, and I've tried to explain why in this post (Starting from the second paragraph).

I'll reply to the rest of your post tomorrow.  



wynnleaf - Jul 13, 2009 10:23 am (#2350 of 2988)  
However, she must have had a pretty good idea of the relationship itself. I mean, she may not have consciously planned that the Marauders would be the aggressors with Severus retaliating with aggression, but it has consistently played out this way, so it must at least have been in her unconcious. And while she seems to like the Marauders way more than I do, her general attitude in the Snape/Marauders relationship is, IMO, sympathetic to Severus. (mona amon)

I agree with this. Consciously or unconsciously, it is probably significant that every time JKR showed a confrontation between Snape and a Marauder -- even between Sirius and Snape at Grimmauld Place -- the initiator of the confrontation was a Marauder. It always struck me that even when Sirius and Snape start to draw wands at Grimmauld Place, Sirius draws first.

"Nor do I necessarily think she ever really thought out why exactly Snape was spying on them." (Wynnleaf)

But he wasn't! He wasn't! He wasn't! (mona amon - Jul 13, 2009 8:55 am (#2347))

But what makes you think he wasn't ? I personally think it's pretty clear from Book 3. Is it not significant that Wynnleaf and I, who tend to take opposite views of Snape (though OK, with some changes since Book 7), at least agree that he was spying on the Marauders ? (Vulture)


Let me be clear about this. I think Mona amon makes a great argument that Snape wasn't spying on the Marauders long-term and may only have been doing his "sneaking around" once he happened to see Lupin and Pomfrey on the evening of a full moon. I think there's also a fairly good possibility that he had been spying on them prior to that, because he knew that the Marauders were all doing something after curfew. But they were so lacking secrecy that he might have simply overheard them talking about it as they did in the Worst Memory scene.

My point about JKR not thinking it through is that whether she meant to imply that Snape was just sneaking around spying on them just prior to the Prank, or for quite a long while, I doubt that she really thought through a specific backstory for why he was doing it: because they were bullying him and he wanted them Out of Hogwarts; because he was worried Lily would start to like James and therefore wanted all of the Marauders out of Hogwarts; because he just disliked all Gryffindors in general and was trying to get them in trouble, or any number of other reasons. However, I do think there's enough evidence that regardless of how much sneaking around Snape did and regardless what reasons we want to give it, JKR seems to be strongly implying in her writing that the Marauders were the primary aggressors and their main motivations were boredom, because Snape was an "oddball", and because James realized Snape and Lily were friends.

For starters, in Harry's day, magic is forbidden in the corridors (is it forbidden everywhere outside classes ? _ I'm not too clear on that), whereas Lupin tells us in Book 6 that you could hardly walk around a corner, during his schooldays, without getting Levicorpus-ed. (I haven't quoted his exact words, but that's the gist.) Now, I guess Levicorpus is (relatively) harmless compared to other duelling spells, but it still implies a more reckless and less controlled school atmosphere than in Harry's time. If the war isn't the reason for the difference, then why ? (Vulture)

You're implying that a war going on would make the school more lax about making sure rules were obeyed? I'd think if there were the heightened stress of a war, there'd be more work to keep a lid on rulebreaking at the school. By the way, we don't see more random hexing going on in Harry's sixth year compared to his earlier years. And remember in the Worst Memory scene that James gives his motivation as "because he exists" and also because Sirius was bored. If it had anything to do with the stresses of kids in different houses representing the different sides of a war, I think James' comments would have reflected something of that motivation.

One problem about the war idea is that JKR is not clear about exactly when the first LV war started. At the start of the first book, DD mentions having had little to celebrate for 11 years. But on the other hand, every person ever mentioned killed in the first war seemed to have died in the last months before the Potters died. Other clues as well seem to indicate that the actual war started after the Marauders, Snape and Lily left school.

Quinn Crockett - Jul 13, 2009 10:45 am (#2351 of 2988)  
Why isn't it ever mentioned that Snape wanted to get everyone expelled who ever approached / fancied Lily?

Obsessions and rivalries are not logical. Often they don't make one iota of sense to the people involved, let alone to the casual observer. People just find themselves caught up in them, often not even remembering how they began, or having the slightest clue why they are so passionate about them now. The obsession/rivalry simply "is".
In that way, they are very much like phobias, which also have nothing to do with logic, and can even be debilitating at times to the person who has it. I mean, I've seen a grown, 6 foot 2 inch, 240 pound man leap up onto the sofa and cover his head with a dish towel because there was a mouse in the kitchen. This was the same guy who had once picked up a garter snake that had managed to get into the house with his bare hands to put it back outside.

So, to insist that the obsession or rivalry doesn't exist because the people involved don't respond in an similar way in other situations is kind of pointless.

ETA: it is probably significant that every time JKR showed a confrontation between Snape and a Marauder -- even between Sirius and Snape at Grimmauld Place -- the initiator of the confrontation was a Marauder - Nope. Snape initiated the conflict there. And if you re-read that scene, you will also see that Snape was the one who had his wand at the ready, not Sirius. In reality it is only the worst memory where "a Marauder" is clearly the instigator. In all the other confrontations, we can argue until the sky falls in about who really started it.

You're implying that a war going on would make the school more lax about making sure rules were obeyed? - No, that's not what Vulture is saying. Vulture is suggesting that the tension, even within the school, was so high that people were ignoring the rules; that they were lashing out at each other. That the house rivalries were actually becoming part of the war, in a way.

If it had anything to do with the stresses of kids in different houses representing the different sides of a war, I think James' comments would have reflected something of that motivation. - How does "because he exists" not qualify, then?

One problem about the war idea is that JKR is not clear about exactly when the first LV war started. - I don't think there is a "problem about the war idea". Wars don't have exact start and end dates, despite what many of us learned in grade school.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 13, 2009 12:32 pm (#2352 of 2988)  
I wish to God that JKR would keep quiet about the books, outside the books (Vulture)

And I thought I was the only one who felt like that. 'Cause it seems like, a lot of the time, what she's saying doesn't square with what's in the books themselves. And then we on the Forum get tied up in knots because, on the one hand, it seems one way, but if we take her authorial intent into account as well, it can say something completely different.



Julia H. - Jul 13, 2009 12:32 pm (#2353 of 2988)  
Putting it another way, does anyone imagine that things would have been half as bad (or even bad at all) between Snape and the Marauders if they'd been in the same House? (Vulture)

Probably not in the beginning at least, when James was not interested in Lily. You see, I agree that the House rivalry was an important factor when the enmity started (on the train). But I think it had immediate personal implications. (And that is why it was worth writing this scene.) James announced that Gryffindor (where his father had been) was the best. Sirius expressed his willingness to accept this opinion, i.e., Potter's leadership. If Snape had said something similar, James would have likely left him alone as someone who had already surrendered and acknowledged his superiority. (My impression is that James would never have accepted Pettigrew as his friend if he had not wanted humble followers and "fans" around himself.) With James beginning to bully Snape, and in front of Lily, labelling him Snivellus on day one - and notice that the Marauders use the same name in year 5, which implies continuity, - I think the enmity turned personal for Snape as well, and went far beyond the general Slytherin-Gryffindor rivarly. I agree with those who notice that the confrontations we see on the pages are regularly initiated by the Marauders. This in itself could give Snape a reason to hate them on a much more personal level, than just the average Gryffindors.

As for Lily, rivalry for her probably intensified the already existing enmity - at a later point, but we don't know when. Actually, it may have been James whose loathing of Snape was first coloured by jealousy about Lily, since as soon as he became interested in Lily, he knew that Snape was her friend. The Worst Memory, for James, seems to be all about the love rivalry to me. I have already said that I think the way James humiliates Snape seems to be systematically aimed at the rival male rather than at a Slytherin or at a dark wizard or at anything else.

I don't see the Snape-Marauders enmity as based on dark wizards versus white wizards for the following reasons:

1) It is clear that the enmity started before Snape could even mention his fascination with or knowledge of the dark arts.

2) None of the scenes we see between Snape and the Marauders indicates this reason.

3) The adult Sirius indeed says that Snape was well versed in the dark arts while James hated them, but he does not mention it as the cause of the mutual dislike or the "big problem" between them. He simply wants to tell Harry that his father was a wonderful person despite what Harry saw in the Pensieve.

4) Lily does find the dark arts a problem - but she talks about Snape's friends using dark magic as a reason for Snape to drop the friendship. That is not the same as Snape using the dark arts. She accuses Snape of having dark friends, using the M-word and wanting to join Voldemort. It is true that Lily breaks the friendship for these reasons, but that does not mean the Marauders bullied Snape from the first day because they somehow knew all these things in advance.

5) You say Snape uses Sectumsempra on James: But the effect of the spell in the Worst Memory is radically different from the effect of the spell Harry uses in HBP or the one Snape uses in DH. In HBP, Malfoy almost dies, in DH, George's ear cannot be re-attached. In the Worst Memory Scene, James laughs immediately after Snape's spell, and there is no mention of even a scar that he would have for the rest of his life. It may have been a "mild", or "controlled" version of Sectumsempra, but then it was also a non-dark version of Sectumsempra. (If I understand it correctly, dark magic causes severe and/or lasting harm to a person.) Personally, I find it equally probable that Snape invented Sectumsempra after the Worst Memory Scene, precisely to have a really deadly weapon in his hands.

6) As for there being a war: Dumbledore becomes Headmaster about the time when the Marauders first go to Hogwarts. During his headmastership, Voldemort makes a visit to the school (under the pretext of applying for a job), and then Headmaster Dumbledore (I realize that he has already heard bad things about Voldemort) allows him to walk about the school alone long enough to hide Ravenclaw's tiara in the RoR. Meanwhile, as Dumbledore assumes, Death Eaters are waiting for him in the village, yet no one seems to notify the aurors and have them arrested. Imagine Voldemort and the DE's trying to make a similar appearance at Hogwarts in OotP or HBP. It does not seem to be the same political situation at all.

As for "having no alternative" _ he did have alternatives. He could have gone to Slughorn _ and got Lily to come with him; Slughorn would do anything for her. Alternatively, he could have gone to McGonagall...

Yes, and he could have tried to lie low and keep quiet, and he probably could have done a couple of other things. In this sense, Snape had alternatives. But these alternatives are not equal (and I'm not saying Snape picked the best one of them). Going to Slughorn or to McGonagall does not seem to be an effective alternative in the long run. First of all, since there are detention files featuring James and Sirius, they must have been punished perhaps quite often for various offences. Still, I don't have the impression that this stopped them the next time. Secondly, complaining is often considered anything but cool, especially between teenage boys. (I, personally, know about one who - after being freed by a teacher from three other boys who were all on top of him in a fierce fight and were close to strangling him - insisted that they had only been "playing". They were not.) Also, complaint is no less likely to provoke retaliation than any other way of "fighting back". Thirdly, Snape was probably not used to complaining to adults and getting help from them.

Obsessions and rivalries are not logical. Often they don't make one iota of sense to the people involved, let alone to the casual observer. (Quinn)

Only in this particular case, JKR goes out of her way to provide us with plenty of reasons for Snape to hate James. If she had wanted it to be a random obsession, she would have shown us that. On the other hand, if it is just a mental illness on Snape's part (one that he cannot help, like a phobia), then James seems to be even more cruel to me for enjoying torturing someone like that.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 13, 2009 12:38 pm (#2354 of 2988)  
Great post, Julia!

And, Vulture, you might be interested in this article my friend found on the internet a while back. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] html. (I entered a space so it's not a live link) The essay's about the differences between canon, fanon and authorial intent.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 13, 2009 1:02 pm (#2355 of 2988)  
Obsessions and rivalries are not logical. Often they don't make one iota of sense to the people involved, let alone to the casual observer. (Quinn)
Only in this particular case, JKR goes out of her way to provide us with plenty of reasons for Snape to hate James
. - They hated each other from the moment they met, and with (arguably) no provocation. Each subsequent meeting only re-enforced and intensified their mutual hatred, not justified it.

If she had wanted it to be a random obsession, she would have shown us that. - It's not? She didn't? The only reason Snape's "obsession" with James isn't "random" or has any meaning at all is because of its distant, tenuous meaning for Harry.

On the other hand, if it is just a mental illness on Snape's part (one that he cannot help, like a phobia), then James seems to be even more cruel to me for enjoying torturing someone like that. - Wow! Where did "mental illness" come from all of the sudden?



Julia H. - Jul 13, 2009 1:34 pm (#2356 of 2988)  
Wow! Where did "mental illness" come from all of the sudden? (Quinn)

In that way, they are very much like phobias, which also have nothing to do with logic, and can even be debilitating at times to the person who has it. (Quinn)


Perhaps you did not want to imply a mental illness, but you seemed to be talking about a kind of disorder at least. You seem to be saying that Snape's obsession with the Marauders has no logical reason and is like a phobia (and I know that phobias do not come and go at will), and it somehow got hold of him and with (arguably) no provocation. I don't know, I see the provocation there; but anyway: If it is just something that Snape cannot help (like a phobia) and occurring without any logical reason, and is so intense (with no reason) that Snape gets himself into a very dangerous situation because of it, then there is clearly some psychological problem in the background (which again probably has some cause). In this case, for James to intensify it by taunting and torturing Snape is even more cruel than it would otherwise seem to be. (It is like regularly frightening someone with the object of their really strong phobia, making the phobia even worse. Planting a spider into Ron's bed would be more cruel than planting the same spider into Harry's bed.)

If she had wanted it to be a random obsession, she would have shown us that. (Julia) - It's not? She didn't? (Quinn)

No. I quite seriously think that we are given plenty of reasons why Snape hated James and the rest of the Marauders and not someone else. Also, the loathing was mutual, and I don't think it was random on Potter's part either.

If Snape had been obsessed with the Marauders irrationally and without a reason, then I doubt he would have been able to concentrate on his OWL exam so intensely while all four of the Marauders were in the same room. I mean if it is something totally irrational, then it does not matter that at the moment there is a teacher in the room and that they are not likely to attack during an exam; and Snape would be more likely to concentrate on what they are doing rather than on what he is doing - simply because he could not help it.

The only reason Snape's "obsession" with James isn't "random" or has any meaning at all is because of its distant, tenuous meaning for Harry.

Snape's loathing of Harry, while not at all a random obsession, seems to be much more like the obsession you describe: not logical, similar to a phobia - but it is not without causes either; and at least one of its causes is Snape's traumatic experiences connected to James Potter.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 13, 2009 4:33 pm (#2357 of 2988)  
Perhaps you did not want to imply a mental illness, but you seemed to be talking about a kind of disorder at least. - Not at all. I was simply talking about people acting irrationally, or in irrational ways, even though they are perfectly well aware that they are doing so. They let their emotions carry them, even though they know that is what they are doing.

Yes, of course Snape hated James and the others. That was never in dispute. And no, of course it's not a "random" obsession or rivalry in terms the Harry Potter series. So, I'm not sure what you mean, there.

Julia, I'm sorry to single you out, but I just don't follow your thinking at all. To me, you seem to want us all to believe that Snape was just some poor, hapless victim of daily, relentless taunting and cruelty by people with no sympathy or compassion for his various and sundry "difficulties" in life. You seem not to be able to see the that Snape was not some sweet little candy apple of a boy until he had the misfortune to cross paths with dastardly little James Potter. I mean, even Snape's own "best friend" could only put up with so much from him.

As (I believe it was) Soul Search pointed out earlier, Snape was always firmly in the Slytherin camp. He was also highly prone to spying, sneaking and spitefulness. James Potter didn't make him this way, and neither did Sirius Black. It was Snape who invented potentially lethal spells "for enemies", yet Sirius is the one who is derided for having merely suggested (yes, I'm sure it was more of a dare) that Snape head into the womping willow tunnel. James may have "hexed people just for the fun of it" but it was Snape who Lily felt excuses had to be made for.

Snape was never a nice guy. Which is one of the things that I love about the way this character is written. We find out in DH that it wasn't some single, life-changing traumatic event that made Snape the bitter, resentful man he was. He was like that his whole life.



Vulture - Jul 13, 2009 6:23 pm (#2358 of 2988)  
You're implying that a war going on would make the school more lax about making sure rules were obeyed? (wynnleaf   Jul 13, 2009 10:23 am (#2350))

Not at all _ I quite agree that the school would try to crack down. But would they succeed ?

Remember that this is a school for wizards and witches , and it seems, even just from what we've seen about the Quidditch Final in Book 3, that when emotions are running high, there are limits to how completely the teachers can keep a lid on magic outside classes. There seems to me to be a relationship between how heated hostilities are between students, and how much extra-curricular magic and duelling breaks out.

Remember also, that the Voldemort wars are civil wars _ with all the bitterness that entails. Brother against brother, as in Sirius's family. Sister against sister, as in Bellatrix and Andromeda.

I would be amazed if the war outside the walls didn't affect the schoolkids. And let's remember _ Snape and James aren't just kids who haphazardly flopped down on the stool and the Hat, half-asleep after a night out on the Butterbeers, went "Oh .. hell ... toss a coin ... I'll put you ... uh ... here and maybe ... him there". Absolutely not. James is every inch a Gryffindor, and completely into it. Snape is every inch a Slytherin before he ever gets Sorted (Dumbledore's crack about sorting too soon notwithstanding). Snape says things like "only a Muggle", is into the Dark Arts, and is troubled about Lily being Muggle-born, though he tries to keep it out of their interaction. Most crucially, not even for Lily does he give up Slytherin House _ no question of him making the Hat put him in Gryffindor. So even if there were any kids who could stay neutral, you can bet that Snape and James wouldn't be among them.

(BTW, I wrote the above before seeing Quinn's comment on the war context of the Worst Memory; spot on, Quinn !!)

And remember in the Worst Memory scene that James gives his motivation as "because he exists" and also because Sirius was bored. If it had anything to do with the stresses of kids in different houses representing the different sides of a war, I think James' comments would have reflected something of that motivation. (wynnleaf   Jul 13, 2009 10:23 am (#2350))

Well, James's "because he exists" is (a) specifically in answer to Lily's challenge, "What's he done to you ?", and (b) a feeble attempt to sound cocky because it's Lily he's talking to. What for me is significant is the way Sirius goes "Excellent ... Snivellus", and how they react like a bunch of jackals when they notice Snape. Both they and Snape are very fast on the draw, suggesting to me that they're used to frequent duelling.

But OK, even if I concede that JKR, in Book 5, doesn't specifically mention the First Voldemort War during the Worst Memory scene, there's absolutely no doubt about her linking the two in Book 7. Every single thing Lily says to Snape afterwards is blistering with indignation about what Snape intends to do for Voldemort in the war, rather than what he's just done to her in the school. In fact, poor Snape keeps trying to wrench the focus away from the war, away from his budding Death Eater career, and back on to the specific Mudblood comment, so that he can apologise and get back in her good books. Lily is having none of it, and (when she says "you call everyone of my birth Mudblood") she blows to pieces the compromise Snape has always tried to keep up _ i.e. conforming to Slytherin pure-blood bigotry but making an exception for her. She specifically links the ideology with the war, by saying "You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine".

(Actually, although this is nothing to do with what I'm saying here, I felt very sorry for Snape in that situation, because he just didn't have the courage to come straight out and say "yes, I shouldn't have called you that _ but I felt betrayed and angry at you simpering away to the bully you were claiming to defend me from". Not that that's quite fair on Lily, but it would have been a stronger, more honest, answer than bleating feebly that the Mudblood comment just "slipped out".)

You say Snape uses Sectumsempra on James: But the effect of the spell in the Worst Memory is radically different from the effect of the spell Harry uses in HBP or the one Snape uses in DH. (Julia H.   Jul 13, 2009 12:32 pm (#2353))

I don't think the spell is different _ I simply think Snape didn't hit his target bang on. Also, he may not, at that stage, have been as experienced and effective with it. But for me, the clear distinction is _ no matter how badly we regard James, it is Snape , the Slytherin , whose spell draws blood.

As for there being a war: Dumbledore becomes Headmaster about the time when the Marauders first go to Hogwarts. During his headmastership, Voldemort makes a visit to the school (under the pretext of applying for a job), and then Headmaster Dumbledore (I realize that he has already heard bad things about Voldemort) allows him to walk about the school alone long enough to hide Ravenclaw's tiara in the RoR. Meanwhile, as Dumbledore assumes, Death Eaters are waiting for him in the village, yet no one seems to notify the aurors and have them arrested. Imagine Voldemort and the DE's trying to make a similar appearance at Hogwarts in OotP or HBP. It does not seem to be the same political situation at all. (Julia H.   Jul 13, 2009 12:32 pm (#2353))

But the Worst Memory scene takes place in Snape's and James's fifth year, not when they first go to Hogwarts. The Voldemort-Dumbledore meeting has very much the tone of a last-ever peacetime encounter. Also, I may be wrong, but did Dumbledore not become Headmaster shortly before Lupin went to Hogwarts, as opposed to during his first year ?

Anyway, I think that by Snape's and the Marauders' fifth year, the First War was underway, and Lily's angry remarks to Snape after the Mudblood comment make clear that Death Eaters are very much in the news.

(I'm not saying, of course, that James was consciously thinking all about the war when he Levicorpused Snape, much less that the war was some kind of justification.)

Going to Slughorn or to McGonagall does not seem to be an effective alternative in the long run. (Julia H.   Jul 13, 2009 12:32 pm (#2353))

Well, I certainly disagree in the case of McGonagall; as I said, I think she'd have gone ballistic, and James and Sirius might well have been expelled. In fact, when I first read the Worst Memory scene, I theorized that, just after the part seen by Harry, McGonagall might have caught them red-handed. I thought this up because it answered a problem I had: how was James supposed to have become Head Boy if he wasn't a Prefect, and why would Lupin be passed over ? My answer was _ what if, as a result of the Worst Memory incident, all the Marauders were punished and Lupin was stripped of the badge ? And years later, James cleaned up his act and got made Head Boy ?

===============================================

severusisn'tevil, just read that article. Good one _ thanks.

=================================================

As (I believe it was) Soul Search pointed out earlier, Snape was always firmly in the Slytherin camp. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 13, 2009 4:33 pm (#2357))

Even when Snape became "Dumbledore's man", he retained a strong loyalty to Slytherin; revelling in their Quidditch successes (ironically, given his own lack of same) and tending to favour them on a personal level. Even leaving out all the Mudbloodism, pure-blood ideology and Dark Arts, Snape would still have been a Slytherin, and would have wanted to be.

(Continued in next (short !!) post ...)



Vulture - Jul 13, 2009 6:39 pm (#2359 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

Snape was never a nice guy. Which is one of the things that I love about the way this character is written. We find out in DH that it wasn't some single, life-changing traumatic event that made Snape the bitter, resentful man he was. He was like that his whole life. (Quinn Crockett  Jul 13, 2009 4:33 pm (#2357))

At the same time, we have to acknowledge that, on the most important matter of his life, Snape lived up to Dumbledore's Book 2 remark that "it is our choices which determine what we come to be". It's just a pity (not least for himself) that he couldn't act rightly on smaller matters. C.S.Lewis used to use the analogy of someone driving a hopeless wreck of a car to depict the effort someone with a warped and wretched personality has to make to do the right thing. It's almost as if the person has to force their bag of warped instincts and bitternesses in a direction they do not want to go. I see a lot of that in Snape.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 13, 2009 7:09 pm (#2360 of 2988)  
Well, I guess I would say to CS Lewis that one doesn't have drive "a hopeless wreck of a car". That there are plenty of alternative modes of transportation.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:33 am

severusisn'tevil - Jul 13, 2009 11:54 pm (#2361 of 2988)  
Yeah, but that's a flaw in the analogy. And I'm not trying to excuse Severus's actions. I don't think it's right that he tormented Harry or that he abused his role as teacher and Head of House. But it seems to me that while there may have been numerous smaller things he did wrong, in the end he fought on the side of good. We can, and likely will, argue about his motivations till we're all blue in the face and our fingers fall off from excess typing, but he did not take the easy way out when it came to actually fighting the war.

And something I've been noticing for a while now. I think it's easy for all of us to sit and talk about what he did wrong, and what he might have almost done right, and how controversial he is, but one lesson I learned in the HP books was that magic wasn't everything. There wasn't some magic wand Severus could just wave over his problems to make them disappear and not matter anymore. His schoolboy grudges and resentment may have been immature, but they obviously caused him pain. And it seems like that's dismissed an awful lot. And it's easy to say someone should change. Heck, I'd've liked him to change into a happier, more well-adjusted person as much as the next person, but I've encountered difficulty many times in trying to change myself. Why should I, or others, assume it would be easier for him.

And a likely opposing argument is that he never tried to change. This is mostly true, about the vengefulness and the resentment, at least. But he learned the error of his ways when it came to prejudice, and he fought for a noble cause and did in fact help a great deal. The defamed spying quality came in quite handy when he informed on Voldemort's plan's and intentions. And in some ways, his own faults, as we perceive them, were partly responsible for his effectiveness in the war against Voldemort. His vengeful nature coupled with his love for Lily prompted him to switch sides and stay switched. Without his inability to let things go, he could have decided against having an active role in the second war. In some ways, he reminds me of Dr. Gregory House who, as a human being, suffers in the human department from certain faults that contribute, in a warped and backwards fashion, to his brilliance as a doctor. (In House's case, it's his tendency to distance himself and objectify people which often helps him to stay logical and see the solution. But, as with Severus and his obssessiveness, it's not a great way to live, it just comes in handy.) And maybe Severus would have eventually tried and perhaps failed to confront his past more constructively after the war was over and Harry was safe, but we can't know for sure either way since he bled to death before he could have (or possibly squander) such an opportunity.

And, just a question. Where would anyone in the WW have been without Severus's spying? Double agents are hard to come by, and I see no other likely candidates.



Vulture - Jul 14, 2009 6:50 am (#2362 of 2988)  
Well, severusisn'tevil, you seem to have stunned people into silence for several hours with that one !! Quite an achievement on the Snape thread !! ;-) Very well argued.

As I mentioned before, one factor in Snape's treatment of Harry and others was that his (Snape's) behaviour became, to some extent, integrated into his spy cover. In Book 5, when Harry criticises Snape for 'sneering as usual' when Harry alerted him to Sirius (as he believed) being held by Voldemort, Dumbledore points out that this was necessary in front of Umbridge. In Book 7, Dumbledore's portrait twice warns Snape against letting Harry see him or know what he's doing while he's delivering the sword. These warnings are surely unnecessary, and the tone of Snape's replies suggest that this is a habit of Dumbledore's, or at least a habit of the portrait's, which Snape has long since learned to put up with.

I'm not saying that Snape would have been all sweetness and light without the spy situation, but I think things would have been different. For example, after the Worst Memory incident in Book 5, there's a feeling (well, I had the feeling) that Harry may, in the long run rather than immediately, change his view of Snape. Any chance of this is blown away by Sirius's death _ and the point is, even if Snape wanted to correct Harry's desire to blame him for Sirius's death, he wouldn't, because it's great material for his image among the Death Eaters (particularly the distrustful ones like Bellatrix).

And, just a question. Where would anyone in the WW have been without Severus's spying? Double agents are hard to come by, and I see no other likely candidates. (severusisn'tevil   Jul 13, 2009 11:54 pm (#2361))

True enough. I'm reminded of the personality issues in "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" by John le Carre. Won't say more; it's worth a read.



mona amon - Jul 14, 2009 8:51 am (#2363 of 2988)  
My point about JKR not thinking it through is that whether she meant to imply that Snape was just sneaking around spying on them just prior to the Prank, or for quite a long while, I doubt that she really thought through a specific backstory for why he was doing it: because they were bullying him and he wanted them Out of Hogwarts; because he was worried Lily would start to like James and therefore wanted all of the Marauders out of Hogwarts; because he just disliked all Gryffindors in general and was trying to get them in trouble, or any number of other reasons. However, I do think there's enough evidence that regardless of how much sneaking around Snape did and regardless what reasons we want to give it, JKR seems to be strongly implying in her writing that the Marauders were the primary aggressors and their main motivations were boredom, because Snape was an "oddball", and because James realized Snape and Lily were friends. (Wynnleaf)

I think she hadn't thought out any backstory for Severus sneaking around before the prank because that's not the way she imagined it, anymore than she imagined Draco always sneaking around spying on Harry and co. Yet we do have an incident where Draco spies on the trio, and discovers the existence of Norbert. I think Severus's sneaking around on the night of the prank was similar to this. We have absolutely no evidence that "he knew that the Marauders were all doing something after curfew" (prior to the Prank). However, I agree that she imagined the Marauders picking on Severus because he was an oddball from Slytherin who dared to be friends with Lily, and that she hadn't given much thought to the background of this enemity, how it went on after the incident on the train and so on.

For starters, in Harry's day, magic is forbidden in the corridors (is it forbidden everywhere outside classes ? _ I'm not too clear on that), whereas Lupin tells us in Book 6 that you could hardly walk around a corner, during his schooldays, without getting Levicorpus-ed. (I haven't quoted his exact words, but that's the gist.) Now, I guess Levicorpus is (relatively) harmless compared to other duelling spells, but it still implies a more reckless and less controlled school atmosphere than in Harry's time. If the war isn't the reason for the difference, then why ? (Vulture)

I do not think there was much more hexing going on in the corridors in the Marauders' time than in Harry's, or at least Lupin's statement doesn't prove that there was. We hear of hexing in the corridors even in Harry's time - Draco hexes Neville in PS, Ron tries to hex Draco in COS, Draco and Harry try to jinx each other outside Snape's dungeon, Slytherins jinx Gryffindor quidditch players in one of the books, Harry jinxes Crabbe (or Goyle) with one of the Prince's spells, and so on.

I would be amazed if the war outside the walls didn't affect the schoolkids. (Vulture)

I agree that it most probably did, but there's no indication that it was common knowledge that all the aspiring DEs were from Slytherin, or that the fight outside took the form of noble Gryffidors versus evil Slytherins inside the school. I think what happened was a slow realisation that this evil dark lord was gaining influence, that he was targetting Muggleborns, and that some of their schoolmates, mostly from Slytherin, were aspiring to join the evil one. Lily knew, by the time of the Worst Memory, that Severus was one of these. But she was his friend, and would have known a lot more about him than the Marauders.

And here's where authorial intent is important. If she had intended the Worst Memory as some sort of illustration of noble James and Sirius bravely fighting the Forces of Darkness by hanging Severus upside down and tormenting him, she would definitely have made it clear to us. As it stands, a lot of us can only interpret the scene as a couple of arrogant bullies picking on a lone oddball, and humiliating him for their sport. And it is not just Snape fans who interpret it this way. Her hero, Harry, who's certainly no Snape fan, also sees it the same way, and gets no explanation to the contrary from Lupin or Sirius.



PeskyPixie - Jul 14, 2009 10:49 am (#2364 of 2988)  
Regarding Snape's little Sectumsempra in the Worst Memory scene, I don't think it's a result of him not being too adept with the spell back then. Harry just tries it once and dissects Draco. If anything, I would argue that Severus has become quite skillful with his nasty little invention and can control it quite well.

The fact that the snoopy Slytherin's spell draws blood certainly shows us a great deal about him. But then, Slytherin is the nasty House to begin with, isn't it? As a reader I was appalled by the actions of the chivalrous Gryffindors in that scene. As was Harry, I believe.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 14, 2009 10:55 am (#2365 of 2988)  
Yes, indeed PeskyPixie. It's not a very brave thing to do, pick on someone unpopular who's alone at the time. Like Dudley: "whereas you need four mates behind you to beat up a ten-year-old."

And yes, I would agree that Severus had learned to control the spell. What I always wondered was how he managed to do that without getting caught. And also, if he had written the spell for Levicorpus, how everyone found out about it and started using it.  

And Vulture, I agree that Harry would have changed his mind about Severus in the long run. But circumstances keep that from happening for quite a while. First, he blamed Severus for Sirius's death and then he see Severus kill DD. And it seems he did change his mind eventually, or he wouldn't have named his son Albus Severus and told him that Severus was "the bravest man [he] ever knew."



Quinn Crockett - Jul 14, 2009 12:48 pm (#2366 of 2988)  
Well, we don't know that Snape created the Levicorpus. We just know that he wrote it in his textbook. Since it was apparently a "popular" spell, and non-verbal, he may have written it down once he figured out an incantation that worked.

But I would like to know where people get the idea that Snape was "unpopular"? Sure, James and Sirius didn't like him and Lily's friends required "excuses" to be made for him. But I don't recall anything ever definitively indicating that Snape was universally unpopular at Hogwarts. In fact, my take is that he probably had a lot of friends, considering that he was the sort of adopted little brother of Lucius Malfoy - a relationship that lasted well into their adult life.

I think people tend to get really caught up in this overall idea that Snape was this pathetic little loser, constantly on his own and who was being relentlessly tortured on a daily basis by the wicked brutes James and Sirius. Personally, I just don't find that to be a very realistic view of this character.

ETA: I don't think every student takes every OWL exam. - Exactly. This was the DADA exam. We have been led to believe that Snape had a keen interest in "dark arts", so of course he would have taken this exam. But his friends not being around afterwards only shows that they probably didn't take the exam, not that Snape didn't have any friends to speak of.



Soul Search - Jul 14, 2009 1:10 pm (#2367 of 2988)  
Quinn, I agree.

We do have Sirius saying Snape "hung with a crowd that nearly all became death eaters." The operative part being "hung with a crowd" meaning he wasn't always alone.

The "Worst Memory" example doesn't show any Slytherins coming to Snape's rescue, but that could be just because Snape's "crowd" was not there after the exam or was older and didn't take that exam. Also, I don't think every student takes every OWL exam.

Now, I am not saying Snape was the life of every party, but I don't see him being the loner either. My thoughts are Snape would have promoted himself with those future death eaters just to have an entre to Voldemort, if nothing else. After all, he was a half-blood and would need some sort of introduction and recommendation.



wynnleaf - Jul 14, 2009 3:27 pm (#2368 of 2988)  
When Sirius mentions the crowd Snape hung out with, they are all several years older than Snape. Then in the Worst Memory scene -- a scene in which most of the students from the class appear to go out toward the lake -- no one other than Lily is shown to act in any way supportive. Neither the Marauders nor anyone else mentions Snape having any friends that help him stand up to the Marauders. For instance, Lupin and Sirius (can't recall which) says that Snape never missed a chance to hex James, but there's never any mention of him having a group that joined in with that.

For what it's worth, Rickman, having gotten background info from JKR, thought young Snape was a loner. (This was in an interview with a French magazine and hard to find although I've read it several times.) The OOTP film makers appeared to agree as the brief snippets from Snape's memories including the Worst Memory have him portrayed alone.

Yes, Snape has some friends among the worse kids in Slytherin and that's a lot of what Lily found objectionable. But we're not really shown that he was actually close to them in the same way the Marauders were close friends, or Harry, Ron and Hermione. It sounds more like they were just a group he hung out with, but not real friends.

Narcissa seems to think that Snape and Lucius were friends, to the extent that she could use that friendship to call in Snape's support in a truly life and death situation. That friendship, or whatever it was, is one of the most interesting unanswered questions about Snape, in my opinion.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 14, 2009 7:54 pm (#2369 of 2988)  
Actually what Sirius says is "Snape was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters." He does not qualify their ages. The only one we know for sure is Lucius Malfoy, who was obviously at least a few year older than Snape, as he was a prefect in Snape's first year.



Vulture - Jul 15, 2009 6:07 am (#2370 of 2988)  
If she had intended the Worst Memory as some sort of illustration of noble James and Sirius bravely fighting the Forces of Darkness by hanging Severus upside down and tormenting him, she would definitely have made it clear to us. (mona amon   Jul 14, 2009 8:51 am (#2363))

Well, I hope you don't think that I was saying that, because I never did. On the contrary, I've said several times that I'm 100% behind Harry's verdict on the incident, especially when he brushes aside talk about Snape being into the Dark Arts by saying "Yes, but he (James) attacked Snape for no reason".

What I am saying is that (in my opinion) there was a civil war atmosphere in the school, due to the war outside, which provided fertile ground for such behaviour. That doesn't make the behaviour right.

I do not think there was much more hexing going on in the corridors in the Marauders' time than in Harry's, or at least Lupin's statement doesn't prove that there was. We hear of hexing in the corridors even in Harry's time - Draco hexes Neville in PS, Ron tries to hex Draco in COS, Draco and Harry try to jinx each other outside Snape's dungeon, Slytherins jinx Gryffindor quidditch players in one of the books, Harry jinxes Crabbe (or Goyle) with one of the Prince's spells, and so on. (mona amon   Jul 14, 2009 8:51 am (#2363))

Yes, but those are each one-off incidents, except for the Slytherins jinxing Gryffindor players _ and that's the exception that (I think) favours my point: when there were important Quidditch matches, especially ones involving Slytherin, tensions would explode around the school (not, I imagine, as badly as during a war).

Lupin's statement in Book 6 is to the effect that the Levicorpus was happening to everyone, all the time.

Regarding Snape's little Sectumsempra in the Worst Memory scene, I don't think it's a result of him not being too adept with the spell back then. (PeskyPixie   Jul 14, 2009 10:49 am (#2364))

In that case, I would guess that he missed his target. So if he hadn't, James would have died, or been badly scarred.

The fact that the snoopy Slytherin's spell draws blood certainly shows us a great deal about him. But then, Slytherin is the nasty House to begin with, isn't it? As a reader I was appalled by the actions of the chivalrous Gryffindors in that scene. As was Harry, I believe. (PeskyPixie  Jul 14, 2009 10:49 am (#2364))

Well, I think that there should be one law for all. Yes, I shared Harry's reaction to the scene, but there's no excuse for Sectumsempra. I think I said this before _ I belive that it's significant that, in Harry's time, not even Slytherins do lethal spells like Sectumsempra in public before the return of Voldemort. (I don't say it would have been safe for a Gryffindor to rely on that if, for example, sneaking around Slytherin House at night or something !!)

I'm not saying that this is because Slytherins in Harry's time were that different to those in Snape's and James's schooldays. I believe that the absence of war in the former, and the presence of it in the latter, made the difference. To me, there seems to be certain hints in Book 1 of a wizard world trying to keep civil war divisions in the 'deep freeze'. Dark Side families like the Malfoys seem to have had their story, about being "bewitched" by Voldemort, accepted rather too readily. Some hints are on the symbolic rather than logical level _ when Harry arrives at Hogwarts, Slytherin has been winning Cups all around it for six or seven years and gets complimented by the Hat about it helping wizards to "greatness". Harry's arrival, in fact, seems to slowly re-open civil war wounds over the course of the first four books. (But maybe this is just me !!)

But I would like to know where people get the idea that Snape was "unpopular"? (Quinn Crockett   Jul 14, 2009 12:48 pm (#2366))

From Harry or JKR, depending on how you read it. As the Worst Memory scene develops, some onlookers were laughing at what James and Sirius were doing. The text says: "Snape was clearly unpopular".

This was the DADA exam. We have been led to believe that Snape had a keen interest in "dark arts", so of course he would have taken this exam. But his friends not being around afterwards only shows that they probably didn't take the exam, not that Snape didn't have any friends to speak of. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 14, 2009 12:48 pm (#2366))

Well, I agree that he probably had a bunch of mates in Slytherin _ in fact, Lily says "you and your precious little Death Eater friends" in "The Prince's Tale". But I think the reason none of them were around is that they and the Gryffindors would avoid each other unless they were fighting. Snape, on the other hand, was either following Lily or (as has been suggested here) was snooping for proof that Lupin was a werewolf. I tend to see the first as more likely, but if it was the werewolf thing, that would account for him being buried in a paper that included a werewolf question: suppose he was checking through the various ways to spot a werewolf outside the time of the full moon, and shooting glances at Lupin to compare points ? By the way, that might also be a reason why Lupin didn't go to his defence _ though, being Lupin, he would feel guilty about that reason !!

When Sirius mentions the crowd Snape hung out with, they are all several years older than Snape. ... (wynnleaf   Jul 14, 2009 3:27 pm (#2368))

I think I had this discussion about the ages of Snape's crowd back on the 5th Snape thread, and when I looked up all the different names, it turned out that there were Death Eaters who weren't much older, or who could have been in his year. I'd have to go back and do it all again (sigh !!), but for example, I think Narcissa isn't much older, though Lucius and Bellatrix are.



PeskyPixie - Jul 15, 2009 9:24 am (#2371 of 2988)  
"Regarding Snape's little Sectumsempra in the Worst Memory scene, I don't think it's a result of him not being too adept with the spell back then." -PeskyPixie

"In that case, I would guess that he missed his target. So if he hadn't, James would have died, or been badly scarred." -Vulture


That's not quite how I interpreted that moment. In the book, Snape points his wand directly at James and does a non-verbal spell which gives James a gash on his face. If the spell used is indeed Sectumsempra then I think that Snape has sufficient ability with the spell to control the size of the cut he wants to make. Then again, perhaps he just used a non-verbal Diffindo or some other spell.

As for the use of a spell which draws blood, I have personally never considered the civil war climate of the Wizarding World when the earlier generation was at Hogwarts. I find your argument to be quite interesting. However, would Severus have come up with and openly used something as nasty as Sectumsempra even without the heated social climate? I'm not 100% sure, but I'm leaning towards, 'yes'.

Severus has this nasty spell up his sleeve as a last resort and I think he would have created it with or without the rise of Lord Voldy. That's just who he is naturally. Of course, I have always argued that if directed properly his 'talent' and interests could have been used for good, but he would have been curious about the Dark Arts at an early age just the same. I think he would have wanted to experiment, and at such a young age, in the midst of a love triangle showdown, I wouldn't be surprised if he let one of his little inventions out of his pocket.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 15, 2009 9:26 am (#2372 of 2988)  
"Snape was clearly unpopular". Oh yeah, right. I had forgotten that passage.

Still, I don't think that really jibes with Sirius's memory that "Snape was part of a gang" or Lily's comments about his "little Death Eater friends". I mean, she obviously thought these friendships were strong enough that she needed to caution Snape about where they were leading him. And clearly he was very good friends with Lucius - so much so that, as Wynnleaf pointed out before, Narcissa seemed to think this was a valuable bargaining chip to get Snape to do what she wanted in HBP.

ETA: I agree with you, Pesky, about the Sectumsempra. Snape, being the reactionary that he is, would likely have come up with it regardless of the war.



Steve Newton - Jul 15, 2009 10:10 am (#2373 of 2988)  
In a discussion a while back about the spell Snape uses in the Worst Memory scene evidence was presented that the spell used was not Sectumsempra. Sectumsempra is used as a curse and cursed wounds do not heal. James is never described later as having a scar.



wynnleaf - Jul 15, 2009 12:07 pm (#2374 of 2988)  
In a discussion a while back about the spell Snape uses in the Worst Memory scene evidence was presented that the spell used was not Sectumsempra. Sectumsempra is used as a curse and cursed wounds do not heal. James is never described later as having a scar. (Steve Newton)

In addition, just because it made a cut doesn't make it Sectumsempra. In the cave scene in HBP, Dumbledore used a cutting spell on himself for the blood requirement to get past one of the magical spells LV had set up. Was DD using Sectumsempra? DD does use a healing spell that sounds a lot like the one Snape used on Draco, but I doubt that DD would casually use a Dark Magic spell for such a benign purpose.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 15, 2009 1:12 pm (#2375 of 2988)  
Well, there is also Lupin's "Sectumsempra was always a specialty of Snape's" in DH. Sounds like if that spell used in the worst memory wasn't the sectumsempra, it at least evolved from the spell we saw hit James in the face.

I doubt that DD would casually use a Dark Magic spell for such a benign purpose. - Except that they were in a cave full of dark magic, protected by dark magic and apparenty requiring dark magic to pass through.



Vulture - Jul 15, 2009 4:41 pm (#2376 of 2988)  
In the book, Snape points his wand directly at James and does a non-verbal spell which gives James a gash on his face. If the spell used is indeed Sectumsempra then I think that Snape has sufficient ability with the spell to control the size of the cut he wants to make. Then again, perhaps he just used a non-verbal Diffindo or some other spell. (PeskyPixie   Jul 15, 2009 9:24 am (#2371))

Well, if I remember correctly, he has just about a split second to do it before being overpowered. My guess is that he meant something that would do James enough of an injury to keep him _ and the others _ occupied, so that Snape could get away. Pointless to do Dark Magic at all for less, as doing it is bound to turn a mob having bullying "fun" into an angry mob.

However, would Severus have come up with and openly used something as nasty as Sectumsempra even without the heated social climate? ((PeskyPixie   Jul 15, 2009 9:24 am (#2371))

I tend to think not, but I have to admit that all I've got to go on is the adult Snape's attitude to the spell. Adult Snape wasn't keen to have the spell, or the book it's in, known about, and he was furious when Harry used it. On the surface, of course, fury was an appropriate reaction _ but was he furious (as McGonagall and everyone else was) at Harry using such an appalling spell, or was he furious that Harry had discovered his invention ? But in any case, I believe that, in the atmosphere of Harry's first and second years, Snape wouldn't have wanted such a spell to be widely known, when everyone was pretending as hard as they could that the divisions which had led to war were no more.

Now, would he have been as careful during his schooldays, if the wizard world was at peace ? As I say, I've little to go on. But I think it would have suited him to be.

Severus has this nasty spell up his sleeve as a last resort and I think he would have created it with or without the rise of Lord Voldy. That's just who he is naturally. ((PeskyPixie   Jul 15, 2009 9:24 am (#2371))

Oh, on that I agree. But if the wizard world was at peace, and if I'm right in what I said above, he'd keep it quiet, not from moral reasons perhaps, but just from not wanting to get in trouble. When a war is on, even if it's outside the walls, one tends to worry less about getting in trouble !!

Sectumsempra is used as a curse and cursed wounds do not heal. (Steve Newton   Jul 15, 2009 10:10 am (#2373))

Well, George's wound heals, except that he doesn't get his ear back !!



Solitaire - Jul 15, 2009 8:27 pm (#2377 of 2988)  
I always wondered why George didn't make a new ear for himself, one that had magical properties (like Moody's magical eye). Sorry, I know this isn't George's thread. It just reminded me ...



Steve Newton - Jul 16, 2009 6:34 am (#2378 of 2988)  
Well, George's wound heals, except that he doesn't get his ear back !!

That must be a use of the word 'heal' with which I am not familiar.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 16, 2009 10:23 am (#2379 of 2988)  
No, the wounds themselves heal just fine. It's that they can leave lasting effects.

Here's what the text actually says (Scholastic edition):

"Will George be okay?"
"I think so, although there's no chance of replacing his ear not when it's been cursed off - " (DH chapter 5)

I think this last part must be what Steve is referring to, and that makes sense. Look at Moody, with all his missing body parts that have been cursed away. But the wounds themselves have obviously healed, though many with deep scars. The wounds inflicted by Greyback on Bill also heal, though Bill is somewhat disfigured by the scars left behind. Arthur Weasley's wounds, from Nagini's bite, all heal. Even Harry's lightning bolt scar is a former wound that has healed.

We know that Snape was able to heal the Sectumsempra Harry used on Draco. So, no further mention of James having a scar doesn't really mean anything, in my opinion. He could have put some murtlap essence on it while it was healing.



Solitaire - Jul 16, 2009 2:16 pm (#2380 of 2988)  
The singing spell Snape used to heal Draco must have been different from whatever it was that Molly used, since Draco obviously suffered no after-effects from Harry's Sectumsempra ! Perhaps the counter-curse is able to prevent or reverse what would otherwise be permanent damage.

Then again, Snape was practically on the spot when Harry used the spell, and he was able to begin the counter-curse immediately. George was not so lucky. Not only did Molly not have the counter-curse, but quite a bit of time had also elapsed between the moment George was hit and the time Molly was able to begin her healing.

As for James ... Madam Pomfrey is an experienced healer, and perhaps she was able to counteract whatever Snape had done. Also, maybe at the time Snape hit James, the spell was yet not "irreversible." It may have been an earlier version, before Snape added the irreversible part.

I used an online Latin translator and found "to cut, hurt, wound, amputate, divide, part" for sectum and "always or forever" for sempra. So George's ear was "amputated forever." Perhaps James's face was only "cut, wounded, or hurt," but not forever.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:38 am

wynnleaf - Jul 16, 2009 4:46 pm (#2381 of 2988)  
Didn't Snape tell Draco that if he used dittany, there wouldn't be any scars? I can't recall the exact words.

A big point in my opinion is that we have no canon that tells us that the only cutting spell in the WW is Sectumsempra. We do have DD using a cutting spell. The spell Snape used on James quite clearly caused very minimal damage. When used by adult Snape, it cut off George's ear. When used by Harry as a novice user of the spell, it causes drastic damage. So the spell used by adult Snape and Harry doesn't look at all like the one used in the Worst Memory other than the fact that it cuts.

James seems unconcerned about his injury, other than being ticked off at Snape for daring to fight back.

So the spell doesn't look like Sectumsempra, James doesn't act like he's been hit by Sectumsempra, and there almost certainly exist more benign cutting spells in the WW. Therefore it's unlikely that the spell Snape used was Sectumsempra.

Added to that, OOTP was written before HBP. JKR may have invented Sectumsempra before or during the writing of OOTP and wrote the Worst Memory scene thinking Snape was using Sectumsempra, but if so, one might expect her to show the spell acting in a similar way as she uses it later in the series.

Of course, if a reader wants to think that the cutting spell in the Worst Memory is Sectumsempra, the window of possibility does exist. You just have to explain things by adding in non-canon "facts" such as "When Snape first created Sectumsempra, it wasn't as powerful" or "Snape was such an expert on Sectumsempra that he could make it just a tiny cut if he wanted," or "Snape didn't get a good shot in at James and James only got hit by a partial blow from the spell" or some other added piece of info.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 16, 2009 5:17 pm (#2382 of 2988)  
So the spell used by adult Snape and Harry doesn't look at all like the one used in the Worst Memory other than the fact that it cuts. - They look exactly alike to me. Surely the inventor of the spell can control the severity of its effects?

one might expect her to show the spell acting in a similar way as she uses it later in the series. - Just because there was less physical damage doesn't mean it wasn't the same spell. And because we do have at least 2 other known examples of its use where the effects are similar (if of varying severity) I think that it's a fair assumption that the spell used against James was the same one.

You just have to explain things by adding in non-canon "facts" - You have to do that for a lot of things in a novel, especially one set in a completely fictional world. Otherwise it would be ten thousand pages long.



wynnleaf - Jul 16, 2009 6:45 pm (#2383 of 2988)  
They look exactly alike to me. (Quinn)

Well, I did say that they both cut. How else are they alike? If they looked "exactly" alike, then they would appear alike in all ways.



Solitaire - Jul 16, 2009 8:03 pm (#2384 of 2988)  
if a reader wants to think that the cutting spell in the Worst Memory is Sectumsempra, the window of possibility does exist.

Wynnleaf, you use the single bullying scene we see to stand for an entire seven years of Snape being terrorized by the Marauders. Here we have the Sectumsempra spell, which is clearly Snape's, and is later identified as a specialty of Snape's, and we see Snape using a cutting spell on James. I think it is quite likely that this cutting spell is an early version of the Sectumsempra. After all, when one invents a spell, it probably isn't perfect the first time one uses it. I would imagine it has to be refined and improved to make it do just what one wants to do. Quite honestly, I think this is far less of a reach than using one bullying incident to stand for seven years of bullying.



wynnleaf - Jul 16, 2009 8:16 pm (#2385 of 2988)  
Wynnleaf, you use the single bullying scene we see to stand for an entire seven years of Snape being terrorized by the Marauders. (Solitaire)

Surely you are aware that I don't just use that incident, as I have written practically reams on other events such as the Prank, the train incident, Sirus and Lupins comments about the ongoing enmity between Snape and Marauders, and more, bringing it all together to "stand for an entire seven years". In my opinion, the Prank is just as much malicious intent to harm as the Worst Memory and perhaps more so, since Snape couldn't die over the Worst Memory event.

Here we have the Sectumsempra spell, which is clearly Snape's, and is later identified as a specialty of Snape's, and we see Snape using a cutting spell on James. I think it is quite likely that this cutting spell is an early version of the Sectumsempra. (Solitaire)

I did point out that the window is there to view it this way. And just as I pointed out, one must add something, in this case you said, "After all, when one invents a spell, it probably isn't perfect the first time one uses it. I would imagine it has to be refined and improved to make it do just what one wants to do." Which basically proves my point. You have to assume things about spell making, the creation of Sectumsempra, and the notion that the spell Snape used in the WM scene was a weak or imperfect spell, in order to make this explanation work. That's perfectly okay to do that if you prefer to see the spell in the Worst Memory scene as Sectumsempra. I'm just pointing out that you have to come up with non-canon explanations of the scene, spell-making, the idea that it's an imperfect or weak spell, etc. in order to make it fit.



Solitaire - Jul 16, 2009 8:45 pm (#2386 of 2988)  
I guess non-canon is, sometimes, in the eye of the beholder.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 16, 2009 9:31 pm (#2387 of 2988)  
They look exactly alike to me. (Quinn)
Well, I did say that they both cut. How else are they alike?
- Well, what else is there? That's pretty much the whole extent of the spell.



wynnleaf - Jul 17, 2009 3:57 am (#2388 of 2988)  
Well, what else is there? That's pretty much the whole extent of the spell. (Quinn)

The whole extent of the spell is that it cuts? Then why is it dark? Knives cut. Are they dark? Of course not.

Are you saying that a cutting spell = Sectumsempra? Any spell that cuts must be Sectumsempra because all that makes a spell Sectumsempra is that it cuts? Therefore the spell DD used in the cave must be Sectumsempra because it cuts? I suppose based on this assumption, the WW would have no cutting spells at all other than Sectumsempra.

We see other effects from the known uses of Sectumsempra. Draco has dramatic apparently large cuts and bleeds profusely. George's ear doesn't just get a little nick, it's completely cut off. It's almost like the spell used in the Worst Memory scene acts like a little pairing knife or for that matter, even a fist as that can also cut a person's face, but the spell used by Harry and later in DH acts more like a saber.

Saying that the spells are the same because they both cut is about like saying a pairing knife and a saber are the same because they both can cut.



Julia H. - Jul 17, 2009 4:32 am (#2389 of 2988)  
Julia, I'm sorry to single you out, but I just don't follow your thinking at all. To me, you seem to want us all to believe that Snape was just some poor, hapless victim of daily, relentless taunting and cruelty by people with no sympathy or compassion for his various and sundry "difficulties" in life. You seem not to be able to see the that Snape was not some sweet little candy apple of a boy until he had the misfortune to cross paths with dastardly little James Potter. I mean, even Snape's own "best friend" could only put up with so much from him. (Quinn)

That's your interpretation of my interpretation. No, I don't think (and I never tried to imply) that Snape ever was a "sweet little candy apple of a boy". But I don't think he was alone to blame for everything, which you seem to imply. And whatever Snape was, I don't think any of it justifies the Marauders' actions; but I do think they pushed Snape further in the wrong direction (no, not consciously, just carelessly).

About Sectumsempra: Yes, Snape invented it, and he invented it "for enemies", but the only way we see him use it (if it is indeed Sectumsempra) is for self-defence against several enemies when he is is alone and even then in an apparently controlled way without causing a serious injury. I'm not sure what makes it dark in this particular use.

As for James ... Madam Pomfrey is an experienced healer, and perhaps she was able to counteract whatever Snape had done. Also, maybe at the time Snape hit James, the spell was yet not "irreversible." It may have been an earlier version, before Snape added the irreversible part. (Solitaire)

But then again the question is where "darkness" starts. Was it a "not yet dark" Sectumsempra? Perhaps it was not a curse yet? (BTW, James does not even seem to be in need of Madam Pomfrey.) Anyway, irreversible or not, Snape did know the countercurse and healed Draco in no time, so perhaps "irreversibility" even later meant that you had to know the curse to know the countercurse.

About Snape and the Slytherin gang: Well, Snape never says he did not have friends at all, but he does say the Marauders always attacked him when he was alone. I see no contradiction between "belonging to a gang" and "being attacked alone". The fact that the victim may otherwise have friends does not make a two-(or four-)-on-one attack and the torture of an already disarmed enemy any less despicable.

But the Worst Memory scene takes place in Snape's and James's fifth year, not when they first go to Hogwarts. The Voldemort-Dumbledore meeting has very much the tone of a last-ever peacetime encounter. Also, I may be wrong, but did Dumbledore not become Headmaster shortly before Lupin went to Hogwarts, as opposed to during his first year ?

Anyway, I think that by Snape's and the Marauders' fifth year, the First War was underway, and Lily's angry remarks to Snape after the Mudblood comment make clear that Death Eaters are very much in the news.

(I'm not saying, of course, that James was consciously thinking all about the war when he Levicorpused Snape, much less that the war was some kind of justification.) (Vulture)


We don't know the exact time-line, but basically what I have meant to say is that I don't think the war was a direct factor in the Snape-Marauders enmity, as I see no indication of it at all. So I agree with your comment in brackets above.

Well, I certainly disagree in the case of McGonagall; as I said, I think she'd have gone ballistic, and James and Sirius might well have been expelled. (Vulture)

I agree that she would have gone ballistic, I just don't think that McGonagall going ballistic and giving out detentions would stop the Marauders from continuing the way they had done before. (We knew that they were punished not once and not twice.) I don't think it would have prevented them from retaliating either if Snape had complained. If they had been actually expelled, that would have been different... but we never see anyone expelled from Hogwarts, except for poor Hagrid, but in that case someone had actually died... So I think the point where the Marauders got closest to expulsion was after the Prank, when Snape could have died or been turned into a werewolf. But Snape survived and nobody got expelled, and I don't think after the Worst Memory there was a greater danger of expulsion. BTW, if there was, then Snape clearly missed it by not complaining - pretty strange if getting them expelled was his biggest goal...



mona amon - Jul 17, 2009 5:53 am (#2390 of 2988)  
Are you saying that a cutting spell = Sectumsempra? (Wynnleaf)

If the spell cuts, and it was cast by Severus, then it's Sectumsempra. Very Happy

But seriously, I don't think it was Sectumsempra because, apart from the differences Wynnleaf points out, the spell used in the Worst Memory is non-verbal, wheras in every instance where we know it's Sectumsempra, whether it's Harry or Severus who's using it, the spell is always said out loud, even shouted. When Severus notes down the incantation for Levicorpus, he writes n-vbl in bracets next to it, but the incantation for Sectumsempra is followed by an exclamation mark.

Not that it matters to me. I always judge a spell by it's effects, rather than whether it's supposed to be light or dark or a hex or jinx or curse. To me the Confundus is the same as the Imperius. Whether Severus used Sectumsempra on James or not, all it did was give James a small cut, so big deal, compared to what James was doing to him.

However, I agree with Pesky, that "The fact that the snoopy Slytherin's spell draws blood certainly shows us a great deal about him. (#2364)" In the Wizarding World (as in our own?), drawing blood is considered very bad. I'm thinking of Ron's reaction to Muggle surgeons- "those nutters who cut people up" (paraphrasing).

The blood-drawing spell, IMO, shows the appalling amount of hatred there was in his heart against the Marauders. And I also feel that the blame lies with James and Sirius for creating such a feeling. The 'knife' was in response to being always attacked two-on-one, a vain attempt at equalising the balance and feeling safer and less beleagured, as well as an outlet for his hatred.

And this is one of the reasons why I love the HP books. Quite a few authors, if they had thought of this particular plotline, would have made Severus hate James so much just because of jealousy over Lily. JKR is not willing to settle for anything so simplistic. The bullying by the supposed good guys adds a complex and fascinating dimension to the whole relationship.



Steve Newton - Jul 17, 2009 8:47 am (#2391 of 2988)  
Wynnleaf, you said "A big point in my opinion is that we have no canon that tells us that the only cutting spell in the WW is Sectumsempra."

I see this as a slippery slope and you are certainly not the first to suggest something like this. But, in a work of fiction it may well be that only the things that are in the text are there and lack of mention means that it does not exist. In a bajillion page work this may be more so. Obviously, there must be some room for conjecture. I certainly don't know where to draw the line.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 17, 2009 9:02 am (#2392 of 2988)  
About Sectumsempra: there is at least one other spell that cuts in the canon. That's "Diffindo." In DH, Hermione uses it inexpertly and causes gashes on Ron's leg. Personally, I see no difference in the descriptions of the gashes she caused accidentally (because her wand arm was shaking) and the one James got in his confrontation of Severus. Therefore, it seems to me that the spell Severus used could just as easily have been a form of Diffindo rather than Sectumsempra.

Also, I think that such a form of Diffindo would have been the spell DD would use in a blood-drawing situation. Except that in the Cave, doesn't he use a silver knife?



PeskyPixie - Jul 17, 2009 9:19 am (#2393 of 2988)  
I suggested Diffindo in one of my posts as Snape's spell reminded me of a basic cutting spell. I wasn't sure whether it could be used on a person, but good catch, Severusisn'tevil, that Hermione did accidentally injure Ron with it. This makes sense for me.

I think we get led in the Sectumsempra direction because this is Snape we're talking about, and Lupin's comment about Sectumsempra being a specialty of Snape's.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 10:09 am (#2394 of 2988)  
Okay, Wynnleaf, we get it. You don't think the spell used in the worst memory was Sectumsempra. Duly noted.
Maybe it was, maybe it was "Diffindo", maybe it was something else entirely. But people are not pulling Sectumsempra out of thin air. And until we're given the definitive answer in "The Scottish Book" nobody is right or wrong here. Regardless, a "slashing" spell is a pretty serious thing to fling at someone.

I don't think he was alone to blame for everything, which you seem to imply. - No, I am simply trying to maintain a realistic view of this character - who was never at any time completely blameless. He does do bad things. He does act out of spite, he does act out of revenge, he does obsess, he does spy, he does snoop. And he never takes responsibility for any of it.

I agree, Mona, that JKR could have let it be a simple "third wheel" sort of rivalry between James and Snape. But she gives it depth and resonance. It is a very complex relationship where neither party is innocent or heroic, neither is blameless.



Solitaire - Jul 17, 2009 10:44 am (#2395 of 2988)  
Whether Severus used Sectumsempra on James or not, all it did was give James a small cut, so big deal, compared to what James was doing to him.

Hmm ... I thought it said a gash, not a small cut. The word gash has a much different meaning to me than small cut, but I suppose that is just me. A nick is a small cut to me. A gash suggests significant bleeding. Also, I think that drawing blood actually is a big deal. Again JM2K.



wynnleaf - Jul 17, 2009 1:30 pm (#2396 of 2988)  
I see Snape's use of a cutting spell against James as similar to a teenager who, in the midst of a fight, pulls out a small knife and is willing to use it. Yes, it's a very serious thing to do. The question, in this situation, is whether or not it is understandable. Note that I don't say warranted, but whether Snape's reaction is, especially for a teenage boy, over-reacting or not, or shows that Snape is particularly a bad kid.

He's in a situation where he's ganged up on by several other teenage boys, one of whom at least had recently attempted a prank that was intended to get Snape in a very dangerous position of either being killed or permanently injured. (Sirius may not have intended Lupin to kill, maim, or infect Snape, but he did intend for Snape to come close to such danger and be scared off from spying on them.) Even though these kids (or one of them) has probably recently been seriously punished for the Prank, it is clear that school authorities can't stop this group. This gang of kids has already taken his only weapon of defense, which he got back but they will take it again as soon as possible. They have used a spell that effectively binds him and raised him in the air in order to torment him. The only known source of authority present (the prefect) is a member of the gang and won't help. The only friend who stands up for Snape is choosing to try and talk the gang out of it without any success.

If this were "real world", would it be understandable for the teenager to pull a knife, basically saying "if you keep this up I'm willing to strike back with serious force"?

Personally, I think such a response is a very mistaken direction for the teen to take due to the possible consequences involved, but it is, in my opinion, one that I can understand. We have to remember that Snape truly felt that this particular gang had recently acted together to try and get him killed.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 2:06 pm (#2397 of 2988)  
We have to remember that Snape truly felt that this particular gang had recently acted together to try and get him killed. - And yet he didn't seem to have a problem casually hanging around in their general vicinity.

I'm just sayin'....



wynnleaf - Jul 17, 2009 2:26 pm (#2398 of 2988)  
And yet he didn't seem to have a problem casually hanging around in their general vicinity. (Quinn)

Yep, he should have assumed that nothing, including being right out in public in broad daylight, previous disciplinary actions by teachers, nothing would stop this gang, even if the only provocation was "because he exists". He really underestimated just how awful and how blatantly nasty they could be.

I'm not sure what you're point is. Is it that Snape's willingness to walk out in a crowd of students in broad daylight, instead of hiding out in his rooms, indicates he would never have expected the Marauders to do something that bad? Even after setting him up to get killed or maimed? Yes, it probably does mean that, although he at least kept his wand close at hand and had quick reflexes.

Or perhaps you mean that if Snape never expected them to attack in broad daylight right out in public, that must mean they'd never bullied him in the past -- uh, because if they hadn't attacked before in broad daylight out in public that means they weren't previously acting like bullies?

What exactly is your point?

In my opinion, the more likely explanation is that Snape was not used to being attacked out in the open, in broad daylight, with loads of people all around. But that has little to no bearing on whether or not they'd been bullies in other far less public situations. After all, if they'd been that public in their attacks on a regular basis, teachers might have done even more -- although teachers clearly put them in detention quite a bit with little to no effect.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 2:47 pm (#2399 of 2988)  
Dude, seriously. Decaf.

Snape's willingness to walk out in a crowd of students in broad daylight, instead of hiding out in his rooms - You say this like these were the only two alternatives.

Personally, if I genuinely believed that someone had very recently tried to kill me, I would probably be paying a little more attention to my immediate surroundings than Snape does. I would not bury my nose in an already-completed-so-there's-nothing-I-can-do-about-it-now exam paper. I would be taking notice of where my would-be assassins were sitting and I would be sure to give them as wide a berth as possible.

But that's just me.

ETA: Oh yeah, I am totally the black coffee pot here. That's how I know.



wynnleaf - Jul 17, 2009 2:50 pm (#2400 of 2988)  
Dude, seriously. Decaf.

Come on Quinn... isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?


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haymoni - Jul 17, 2009 3:23 pm (#2401 of 2988)  
Breathe, everyone!



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 5:30 pm (#2402 of 2988)  
We're cool, Haymoni. It's all good.



wynnleaf - Jul 17, 2009 5:41 pm (#2403 of 2988)  
Quinn's right, Haymoni, it's fine.  



Vulture - Jul 17, 2009 8:42 pm (#2404 of 2988)  
So, no further mention of James having a scar doesn't really mean anything, in my opinion. He could have put some murtlap essence on it while it was healing. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 16, 2009 10:23 am (#2379))

And anyway, I think we tend to forget that Sirius and James were the best wizards of their time, in the school. I'm sure they'd have managed something.

You just have to explain things by adding in non-canon "facts" such as ... "Snape didn't get a good shot in at James and James only got hit by a partial blow from the spell" (wynnleaf   Jul 16, 2009 4:46 pm (#2381))

Well, that last one seems a pretty decent candidate to me. Am I remembering wrongly, or wasn't Sirius hitting Snape with a Disarming spell just a split second too late to stop him getting the shot off ? One would hardly expect him (Snape) to be bang on target.

In my opinion, the Prank is just as much malicious intent to harm as the Worst Memory (wynnleaf   Jul 16, 2009 8:16 pm (#2385))

Well, I've said this before, but no-one took it up _ there's something odd about our information on the Prank. Lupin, in Book 3, would have us believe that Sirius told Snape that he'd find something interesting in the tunnel. Am I the only one who finds it incredible that Snape would buy that ? I mean, this is Sirius _ quite apart from Snape-Marauder enmity, or even just Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry, there is the fact that Sirius, because of "the home he hated" (Dumbledore, Book 5), is dripping with venom towards anything Slytherin. Honestly, if Snape really bought that, like a baby sparrow taking a worm, it's going to make me think that he secretly wanted to be a Marauder. Actually, that would explain a lot :-D (runs away chortling, pursued by lynch-mob in Snape costumes who've just come out of the movie.)

Saying that the spells are the same because they both cut is about like saying a pairing knife and a saber are the same because they both can cut. (wynnleaf   Jul 17, 2009 3:57 am (#2388))

I guess it comes down to whether one believes that (a) Snape cast a Sectumsempra at James, but 95%-missed (whether from lack of practise, or heat of combat, or maybe even not really wanting to hit him full on), OR that (b) he cast a far less serious cutting spell at James, that was bang on target.

Incidentally, I don't believe Dumbledore would use Dark Magic _ and I certainly don't believe he'd use it to cut himself. I think you're probably right about that.

I'm not sure what makes it dark in this particular use. (Julia H.   Jul 17, 2009 4:32 am (#2389))

Snape himself says that Sectumsempra is Dark Magic, in Book 6. Whether or not you believe that what he used in the Worst Memory was Sectumsempra _ well, see what I said just above.

I should point out, though, as I said before, that Snape, in this scene, is the first, and only, one to draw blood with his spell. Yes, it was in self-defence, and he had great provocation, but I don't think that that little aspect just found its way in there with no thinking from JKR behind it. What James and the bullying mob (because that's what it was _ I'm 100% with Harry in his reaction) did was humiliating and appalling, and bitterly wounding of Snape's pride _ but one need only ask oneself what would have happened if a gang of Slytherins had got James on his own, defenceless (regardless of whether the Worst Memory had happened or not _ I'm not focussing particularly on Snape in that scenario, other than him being a Slytherin). I think it would have been a lot Darker and more poisonous than a Levicorpus. (And no, I'm not excusing what James did.)

We don't know the exact time-line, but basically what I have meant to say is that I don't think the war was a direct factor in the Snape-Marauders enmity, as I see no indication of it at all. (Julia H.   Jul 17, 2009 4:32 am (#2389))

But we do know that (i) the war is a factor at the time, and (ii) that it's in the students' minds. We know this because Lily angrily refers to Death Eaters right after the Worst Memory, and links Snape and all his "little friends" directly to them.

Now, we know that James is very keen on his House from the start _ and even if he wasn't, being a Quidditch star would make him so. We also know that Snape is well into Slytherin and all its works, and its mentality. Gryffindors and Slytherins loathe each other on principle _ and that's just in Harry's time. As far as I'm concerned, the Snape-Marauder thing was a subset _ perhaps a more vicious-than-usual subset, but still a subset _ of the whole Gryffindor-Slytherin hostility. Meanwhile, outside the walls, the all-time No.1 (well, since twisted old Salazar) Slytherin is fighting a war to turn the whole world into his own little Slytherin death camp (remember how he intends, in Book 7, to abolish all Houses except Slytherin, and that only for pure-bloods ?), and Snape and other Slytherin kids are planning to join him. And Gryffindors are the No.1 candidates to get it in the neck. I reckon it'd be on their minds.

So yes, I think the war is a factor. It doesn't mean that the Marauders and Snape consciously think about it all the time, but it's a factor; it seeps into everything, like an evil fog.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just don't think that McGonagall going ballistic and giving out detentions would stop the Marauders from continuing the way they had done before. (Julia H.   Jul 17, 2009 4:32 am (#2389))

I totally agree _ which is why I'm quite sure she wouldn't have done detentions. I have to totally use my imagination here, and my only excuse is my best guess based on McGonagall's character. I think she would have been utterly sickened that a Gryffindor _ and not just any Gryffindor, but the Quidditch and academic star of his year _ would so totally befoul the very things which Gryffindors are supposed to live by. Remember, chivalry means, among other things, defending the defenceless. And ganging up on one helpless individual is about as far from bravery as it's possible to get.

She would have gone berserk. Firstly, she'd have wiped all Gryffindor's points to zero _ and she'd have done it in front of the whole school with the four Marauders pointed up as The Reason. She'd have ripped Lupin's Prefect badge off with her own hand. Detentions ?!! _ she'd have them out doing the filthiest and most dangerous jobs Hagrid could come up with: or cleaning and doing all the house-elf jobs required by Slytherin House. She'd take away their wands for two months, and make sure that the father of whom James is so proud got a Howler to say that his son had befouled everything Gryffindor ever stood for.

And by the way, this is if she was being nice. By the time she had finished, they'd be wishing they had been expelled.

And I haven't even gone near how they'd feel facing Dumbledore.

A point which seems too easily ignored is that James did have a better nature _ I think it would have been torture to him to be slated to the whole school and to his family as unchivalrous and a coward.

---------------------------------------------------------

(Continued in next post ...)



Vulture - Jul 17, 2009 8:50 pm (#2405 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

I see Snape's use of a cutting spell against James as similar to a teenager who, in the midst of a fight, pulls out a small knife and is willing to use it. Yes, it's a very serious thing to do. The question, in this situation, is whether or not it is understandable. Note that I don't say warranted, but whether Snape's reaction is, especially for a teenage boy, over-reacting or not, or shows that Snape is particularly a bad kid. (wynnleaf   Jul 17, 2009 1:30 pm (#2396))

But the added dimension in the wizard world is the Hogwarts Houses. I feel that Slytherins are just more inclined to go in for this kind of method in combat.

The only friend who stands up for Snape is choosing to try and talk the gang out of it without any success. (wynnleaf   Jul 17, 2009 1:30 pm (#2396))

Not to mention that she's having to silently talk herself out of fancying one of the gang leaders.

Or perhaps you mean that if Snape never expected them to attack in broad daylight right out in public, that must mean they'd never bullied him in the past -- uh, because if they hadn't attacked before in broad daylight out in public that means they weren't previously acting like bullies? (wynnleaf   Jul 17, 2009 2:26 pm (#2398))

This makes it sound too one-sided. Firstly, we're told in Book 5 that "he never lost an opportunity to curse James"; secondly, there's the fact that Lupin says in Book 6 that Levicorpus was a common occurrence _ in all probability, both James and Sirius had often been hoisted into the air, and their reaction would be to laugh and get their own back. That doesn't excuse how they treated Snape in this case, but "in this case" is an important part of that sentence. Thirdly, there's the war background. Fourthly, there's Lily, who couldn't hide the fact that she fancied James, even when she was furious with him _ and Snape, if I'm right, saw this and lashed out _ at Lily. Fifthly, there's the fact that Snape himself _ though he felt humiliated _ wouldn't have given a damn about the whole incident (comparatively, I mean) if it hadn't been for the real reason it's his Worst Memory: it's how he called Lily something he can't forgive himself for, and lost her forever.

Personally, if I genuinely believed that someone had very recently tried to kill me, I would probably be paying a little more attention to my immediate surroundings than Snape does. I would not bury my nose in an already-completed-so-there's-nothing-I-can-do-about-it-now exam paper. I would be taking notice of where my would-be assassins were sitting and I would be sure to give them as wide a berth as possible. (Quinn Crockett   Jul 17, 2009 2:47 pm (#2399))

Yup. Spot on. Which is exactly why the whole Levicorpus thing isn't what makes it his worst memory (see above). Harry , not Snape, is the one who (naturally) focusses on the mob-and-Levicorpus aspect and thinks of himself up against Dudley's gang.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 9:38 pm (#2406 of 2988)  
Lupin, in Book 3, would have us believe that Sirius told Snape that he'd find something interesting in the tunnel. Am I the only one who finds it incredible that Snape would buy that ? - Certainly not, Vulture. There is definitely something a bit off about this whole "prank" thing.

Why did Snape think it was good idea to listen to Sirius?
Why did he keep what he saw there, if indeed he saw anything, a secret? What did Dumbledore say to make him stick to this, even with Lily?
More importantly, what exactly was he hoping to find in the tunnel? Because if he was already convinced Lupin was a werewolf (and according to Lily, he was) then it was beyond stupid for him to even think of going in the tunnel regardless of whatever Sirius said to convince him.
Assuming his "theory" was confirmed but nothing happened to him in the tunnel, what was he hoping to do with the information? Tell the other students about it? And then what?

Yeah, I just don't understand that whole thing. I do like the suggestion that Snape secretly thought it might gain him entrance into this very exclusive club.



Solitaire - Jul 17, 2009 10:22 pm (#2407 of 2988)  
Good questions, Quinn!



mona amon - Jul 17, 2009 10:36 pm (#2408 of 2988)  
More importantly, what exactly was he hoping to find in the tunnel? Because if he was already convinced Lupin was a werewolf (and according to Lily, he was) then it was beyond stupid for him to even think of going in the tunnel regardless of whatever Sirius said to convince him. (Quinn)

Severus had no idea that Lupin was a werewolf when he went down that tunnel. After that of course he knew, but was forbidden by Dumbledore to mention it to anyone. However, that did not prevent him from dropping hints to Lily about what he had discovered.

This is the timeline as I see it~ Sometime in their fifth year, an unsuspecting Severus goes down the tunnel and sees transformed-into-a-werewolf Lupin at the end of it. He starts trying to convince Lily that Lupin is a werewolf from that moment on, but without actually telling her what happened. A very short time later, Lily hears that James saved Severus's life and they have the "why are you so obsessed with them" conversation which we witness in the Pensieve.



Solitaire - Jul 17, 2009 11:10 pm (#2409 of 2988)  
Severus had no idea that Lupin was a werewolf when he went down that tunnel.

I disagree. I believe Snape's Slytherin class and the Gryffindors probably had potions and some other classes together, and you can bet that nosy Snape noted Lupin's frequent and regular absences. From that point, I suspect he became obsessed with trying to figure out why Lupin was gone so oten and where he was during those days "he was sick," since I'm sure Snape had probably managed to find out that was not in the hospital wing during those absences.

The conversation between Lupin, Snape, and the Trio in the Shrieking Shack (PoA) also gives credence to the idea that Sirius decided to give Snape a scare, because he was convinced that Snape had been spying on them and trying to get them expelled. The conversation between Snape and Lily in OotP sounds to me like it's one they have had often enough in the past to make her sick of hearing it.



mona amon - Jul 17, 2009 11:23 pm (#2410 of 2988)  
Severus did notice that Lupin disappeared every month and was curious about it ("Severus was very interested in where I went every month." Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione.). But it doesn't say anywhere that he was snooping around, spying on them except on the night of the prank. And even if he was, no reason to suppose he found out or guessed about Lupin. If he did, we have the big problem of explaining why he went down the tunnel if he knew he was going to meet a werewolf at the end of it. But my explanation makes sense without any extra explanations, or so it seems to me, LOL.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 17, 2009 11:54 pm (#2411 of 2988)  
no reason to suppose he found out or guessed about Lupin - Lupin himself says that Snape "caught a glimpse" of him just before James pulled him out of the tunnel.



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 6:35 am (#2412 of 2988)  
Vulture,

You appear to have an assumption that Slytherins, if given the chance, would tend to use much nastier actions toward the Marauders, or perhaps toward anyone their were attacking, than the Marauders.

I don't think the evidence of the series backs this up.

Of course, we don't really have any evidence from during Snape and James' time at Hogwarts. We only have Lily's comments about a Slytherin friend of Snape's using dark magic as some sort of nasty "joke" against Mary McDonald.

But in general, I don't think we're given any evidence that the Slytherins of Snape's time were any worse than the Slytherins of Draco's time. Quite a number of Slytherins in Draco's time were the kids of Death Eaters and were eventually found to be on LV's side of the war, so I'm assuming they were, by and large, about like their parents at a similar age.

And do we see Slytherins in Harry and Draco's time attacking in a more serious manner than the Gryffindors? Not necessarily.

For instance, at the end of GOF the Gryffindors attack Slytherins on the train for nothing more than verbal abuse and hex and jinx them into unconsciousness and leave them lying on the train the entire trip, stepping over their unconscious bodies as they depart the train. At then end of OOTP, Draco does attempt to attack Harry and his friends, and the DA fights back, once again hexing and jinxing the Slytherin group into unconsciousness (it appears even worse than in GOF) and leaves them in the luggage racks, once again departing the train telling no one of the Slytherin's plight.

Yet in HBP, when Draco realized Harry was spying on him, he could have kept his friends around him and, as a group, hexed and jinxed Harry into unconsciousness. Draco is actually far more mild in his response than the Gryffindors had been. He froze Harry with patrificus totalis (sp?), broke his nose, and left him on the train. It is very similar to what the Gryffindors did, except that Draco had Harry at his mercy and he didn't actually injure Harry nearly as much as he had been injured in the past.

Another example is in OOTP. Slytherins, as part of the Inquisitorial Squad, are rather nasty to the other kids. But Fred and George are equally awful to Montegue, especially when you consider that Montague was only taking points.

And throughout the books, we don't really see the Slytherins using worse spells toward Gryffindors, using dark magic against other kids, etc.

It's really only Draco during HBP who uses dark magic, and that's when he's under a threat of death to both himself and his parents.

I think that your reasoning that the Slytherins would use worse or darker actions against the Gryffindors isn't actually backed up in the series.



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 6:44 am (#2413 of 2988)  
On the Prank issue, I realize that it seems pretty odd that Snape would simply believe something Sirius told him. And really, it's so odd, that I doubt if it was simply some dare or even a direct comment of "here's how you get down there". Thing is, it was a prank or a trick, and therefore there had to be something deceptive about it. If it was simply a matter of Snape knowing what was down the tunnel and Sirius telling him how to get there, how is that a prank or trick? In that scenario, no one is tricked at all or "pranked".

It's too bad JKR didn't tell us exactly how it all fell out, but clearly Snape and even Lupin did feel Snape had been tricked into almost getting killed, so there had to be some trick involved.

As for what Snape knew before he went down the tunnel, my personal interpretation of his talk with Lily is this:

1. It's his first conversation with Lily after the Prank, because she said something like "I heard...." which sounds like she is mentioning the Prank to him for the first time and he's commenting on it.

2. He's talked with Lily about some suspicions about Lupin in the past and she doesn't believe it. If this is his first conversation with her after the Prank, then he had to have voiced his suspicions to her before the Prank. But we don't know whether he'd suggested to her that Lupin was a werewolf, or some other reason for his being sick each month.

3. It's possible Snape had, previous to going into the tunnel, other ideas for why Lupin was gone once a month. After all, in his comments to Lily he seemed convinced that this wasn't just something with Lupin alone, but something that involved all of the Marauders as they were all sneaking out at night.

My guess is that Snape guessed that all of the Marauders "got up to" something each month, and had developed theories that he'd already given to Lily. Because Snape thought all of the marauders were sneaking out each month, he may not have guessed that Lupin was a werewolf, but had simply guessed that whatever was wrong with Lupin was associated with something the other three boys were doing as well.



mona amon - Jul 18, 2009 9:28 am (#2414 of 2988)  
no reason to suppose he found out or guessed about Lupin (Mona)- Lupin himself says that Snape "caught a glimpse" of him just before James pulled him out of the tunnel. (Quinn)

Well, after he went down the tunnel, yes, he certainly found out that Lupin was a werewolf. I was saying that Severus didn't know he was a werewolf before the prank, in response to your question - "More importantly, what exactly was he hoping to find in the tunnel? Because if he was already convinced Lupin was a werewolf (and according to Lily, he was) then it was beyond stupid for him to even think of going in the tunnel regardless of whatever Sirius said to convince him. (Quinn)" The whole prank makes sense to me only if Severus didn't have the least suspicion that Lupin was a werewolf.

Wynnleaf, this is the relevant part of the conversation with Lily (I copied it from the internet, but it seems accurate)-

"What about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?’ demanded Snape. His colour rose again as he said it, unable, it seemed, to hold in his resentment.

‘What’s Potter got to do with anything?’ said Lily.

‘They sneak out at night. There’s something weird about that Lupin. Where does he keep going?’

‘He’s ill,’ said Lily. ‘They say he’s ill –‘

‘Every month at the full moon?’ said Snape.

‘I know your theory,’ said Lily, and she sounded cold. ‘Why are you so obsessed with them, anyway? Why do you care what they’re doing at night?

I’m just trying to show they’re not as wonderful as everyone seems to think they are.’

The intensity of his gaze made her blush.

‘They don’t use Dark Magic, though.’ She dropped her voice. ‘And you’re being really ungrateful. I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow and James Potter saved you from whatever’s down there –‘

Snape’s whole face contorted and he spluttered, ‘Saved? Saved? You think he was playing the hero? He was saving his neck and his friends’ too!

So the prank happened "the other night", ie. a very few nights before this conversation takes place. There's nothing to indicate that this is the first time she's meeting Severus after the prank, only that this is the first time she's meeting him after hearing about the prank. So what I feel is, Severus, sworn to secrecy by Dumbledore, has been meeting Lily as usual after the prank, but did not tell her anything about it. However, he cannot restrain himself from dropping hints to her about Lupin being a werewolf, without telling her that he actually knows this for a fact. This fits in with Severus being unaware that Lupin was a werewolf before the prank, as well as with Lily's "I know your theory" remark. But honestly, I don't know if JKR had thought it out so carefully! All I feel sure of is that she hadn't planned any elaborate trick for Sirius to lure Severus down that tunnel. After all they were all 13 year old boys, impulsive, curious, incautious. I do not think there was more to it than Lupin's account. Surely Severus wouldn't have thought a classmate, even if he was his enemy, would play a life-threatening prank on him.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 18, 2009 10:45 am (#2415 of 2988)  
Thanks for copying out that section of the book, Mona.

we don't know whether he'd suggested to her that Lupin was a werewolf, or some other reason for his being sick each month. - I think it's pretty clear that he had suggested Lupin was a werewolf and not something else.

This fits in with Severus being unaware that Lupin was a werewolf before the prank, as well as with Lily's "I know your theory" remark. - I see what you mean, Mona. But I think all it really shows is that Snape couldn't make the connection. It seems pretty clear that Snape already suspected Lupin of being a werewolf. But he also says, "Where does he keep going?" So, he is either saying this rhetorically (and we're not given any clues to the way he says this) and trying to get Lily to catch on, or he truly doesn't know.

And if he truly doesn't know, it only brings me back to the question of, since Snape had already figured out Lupin was a werewolf AND he had seen Lupin going into (or toward) the tunnel with Madame Pompfrey, how could he not have put two and two together before actually going down the tunnel himself?



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 10:47 am (#2416 of 2988)  
But honestly, I don't know if JKR had thought it out so carefully! All I feel sure of is that she hadn't planned any elaborate trick for Sirius to lure Severus down that tunnel. After all they were all 13 year old boys, impulsive, curious, incautious. I do not think there was more to it than Lupin's account. Surely Severus wouldn't have thought a classmate, even if he was his enemy, would play a life-threatening prank on him. (mona amon)

You're likely right, except that they weren't 13, but 15 or 16 and it happened in 5th year I think.



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 11:10 am (#2417 of 2988)  
And do we see Slytherins in Harry and Draco's time attacking in a more serious manner than the Gryffindors? Not necessarily.

Absolutely not! Neville is forever stepping on Draco's face and practicing leg locker curses on Crabbe and Goyle, isn't he? And Harry certainly hangs around outside the Slytherin common room and tackles Draco and the goons every chance he gets, right? And Ron and Hermione try to pull tricks during the Slytherin-Gryffindor Quidditch matches that could get Draco and other Slytherins killed, don't they? Okay, sorry for the sarcasm.

Yes, I do think the Slytherins are a lot worse than the Gryffindors in Harry's day. The stunt Draco and his thugs pull, pretending to be Dementors, was calculated to make Harry fall off his broom ... which could have resulted in death from the fall. Pretty nearly every hassle for which the Trio and Gryffindor lose points from Snape is started by Draco or his thugs, who rarely lose any points. One of the few exceptions is the diversionary tactic in CoS, when Hermione steals the Polyjuice ingredients. And think about it ... in DH, back at Hogwarts, the only kids who agree to torture other kids are Slytherins, particularly Crabbe and Goyle. The others not only refuse but get hurt trying to help out those who are being tortured.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that this is an about-face on the part of Slytherin or the other houses. I believe that during the last Voldy war, which was already underway when Snape, Lily, and the Marauders were in school, it was pretty much the same. We know from Lily ("Prince's Tale") that some of the Slytherins were apparently doing some pretty despicable things to other kids, and Snape apparently thought it was amusing. And she tells Snape to his face that she has "made excuses for you for years." Excuses for what? What has he been doing that has needed excuses?



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 11:22 am (#2418 of 2988)  
Yes, I do think the Slytherins are a lot worse than the Gryffindors in Harry's day. (Solitaire)

You completely missed what I was trying to say, although perhaps you'd have to have been following Vulture's comments to realize what I was saying.

Vulture was, as I understood it, trying to say that he thought Slytherins in Snape's time, given a similar attack on Marauders, would do worse things than the Marauders did. That is to say, they'd use darker spells, more harmful hexes and jinxes, etc. He was making this comment relating to young Snape's use of a spell (whatever it was) that drew blood in the Worst Memory scene.

I wasn't saying that the Slytherins in Harry's time don't do lots of bad stuff, more than we see out of the Gryffindors in Harry's time. But I'm trying to point out that whatever bad stuff the Slytherins did do in Harry's time, they weren't out using Dark Magic spells, or attacking people in more generally harmful ways than the Gryffindors used when Gryffindors hexed or jinxed people. In other words, they may have done more in quantity, but they didn't use more harmful spells, dark magic, etc.

I'm assuming that back in Snape and the Marauder's time, the Slytherins in that time weren't using any worse spells, any more Dark magic in attacks on other students than was going on during Harry's time.

Therefore, we shouldn't, in my opinion, look back at the Marauder and Snape period and assume that the Slytherins of that time, if attacking James and his friends, would be use any worse spells, hexes, or dark magic than they do during Harry's time. And in Harry's time all of the Houses tend to use the same basic line up of jinxes and hexes when fighting each other.



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 11:29 am (#2419 of 2988)  
They certainly used them in DH, though, didn't they? And we KNOW that the Slytherins in James's time were using Dark Magic, because Lily says it openly and Snape doesn't deny it.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 18, 2009 11:35 am (#2420 of 2988)  
Vulture was, as I understood it, trying to say that he thought Slytherins in Snape's time, given a similar attack on Marauders, would do worse things than the Marauders did. - Apparently Lily thought so too. She referred to what Mulciber did to the unsuspecting Mary McGregor as "evil, just evil"

Also, Sirius makes a point of saying that Snape was "famous" for his Dark Arts abilities. And we have first-hand knowledge that he actually invented at least one Dark spell. Perhaps this is what Lily had been "making excuses" for.



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 11:40 am (#2421 of 2988)  
They certainly used them in DH, though, didn't they? And we KNOW that the Slytherins in James's time were using Dark Magic, because Lily says it openly and Snape doesn't deny it. (Solitaire)

Well, obviously DH was a completely different situation, right? And practically no reflection on what might have been done in the hallways by kids during DD's tenure as Headmaster.

Yes, we know that the Slytherins used some Dark Magic, because Lily comments on it. My point isn't that "Slytherins never used Dark Magic", but that we have no evidence that the degree of force that they used in attacks on other students or fights between students was any more drastic than the Marauders or Gryffindors in Harry's time were using. In fact, every instance where we are shown Slytherins using some sort of hexing or jinxing during attacks on other kids, it's always the same types of spells any of the other Houses use.

The one time we see a kid actually use a known Dark Magic spell against another student is Harry using Sectumsempra against Draco and it is considered highly serious by McGonagall who says it's an expulsion worthy offense. Possibly Slytherins, who tend to have a greater interest in Dark Magic, would like to use Dark curses in student fights, but don't because they realize they could get expelled. The point is, we don't see Slytherins using worse spells in fights than the other Houses, whatever the reason may be.



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 12:43 pm (#2422 of 2988)  
Well, obviously DH was a completely different situation, right?

Was it? The Voldy war was on, because Voldy was certainly branding people while the kids were still in school, it seems (Regulus?). The difference is that there were not DEs teaching at Hogwarts. However, there were aspiring DEs at Hogwarts, and they were performing Dark Magic. So ... different? Yes. Completely different? I don't think so ... but that's JM2K.

The one time we see a kid actually use a known Dark Magic spell against another student is Harry using Sectumsempra against Draco

This is, of course, before DH. Harry didn't even know what Sectumsempra! was, and he was horrified when he realized he'd actually harmed another student. Draco, on the other hand, was plotting Dumbledore's murder. That sounds pretty dark, to me.

The fact is, we know that there were Slytherin students in the Marauders' time who were casting Dark spells at Hogwarts--based on Lily's comments--and they did know what they were doing. I even suspect that if some of the Slytherins in Harry's time had known Dark Curses, they would have used them, as illustrated by the fact that they did use them (and seemed to enjoy it) in DH.

Edited



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 5:13 pm (#2423 of 2988)  
The difference is that there were not DEs teaching at Hogwarts. However, there were aspiring DEs at Hogwarts, and they were performing Dark Magic. So ... different? Yes. Completely different? I don't think so ... but that's JM2K. (wynnleaf)

Personally, I think kids possibly using dark magic spells in the halls when the strong possibility (according to McGonagall) exists for expulsion, is FAR different a climate from a school situation where teachers sanctioned by the school are actively using Unforgiveables against students and students are forced to use unforgiveables in class.

Draco, on the other hand, was plotting Dumbledore's murder. That sounds pretty dark, to me. (Solitaire)


Yes, and it's a very exceptional situation where Draco is under a death threat to him and his parents to kill DD. Are you seriously comparing this to kids hexing and jinxing each other in the halls? In other words, the idea that Draco would attempt to kill DD when he was directly under a threat by Voldemort somehow tells us that the general trend in Slytherin would be to use Dark spells against fellow students in hexing wars? Especially when we never hear of Slytherin students using dark spells in hexing wars.

Remember, I didn't bring this up to discuss the use of dark magic at Hogwarts during DH, but to consider whether Slytherin students during the Marauders time would probably be using worse magic against Gryffindors than the Marauders did against Snape.



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 5:26 pm (#2424 of 2988)  
Are you seriously comparing this to kids hexing and jinxing each other in the halls?

No, I am not. I think plotting the murder of an innocent person for any reason is much worse. As to whether or not Slytherin students were using Dark hexes and spells during the time of the Marauders, I think it is pretty clear from Lily's statement. They were.



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 5:35 pm (#2425 of 2988)  
Are you seriously comparing this to kids hexing and jinxing each other in the halls? (wynnleaf)

No, I am not. I think plotting the murder of an innocent person for any reason is much worse (Solitaire)


Then I don't see why you brought it up. I'm trying to point out that Slytherins -- not in the exceptional circumstance of Draco attempting to kill DD while under a death threat, or during the extremely exceptional circumstances of being in a school where even Unforgiveables (the worst of Dark curses) are condoned and practiced by teachers and taught to students -- aren't shown using dark spells during the various spell battles between students.

Perhaps you could explain how Draco's action bears on this.

As to whether or not Slytherin students were using Dark hexes and spells during the time of the Marauders, I think it is pretty clear from Lily's statement. They were. (Solitaire)

Lily commented on a friend of Snape's using a dark spell on Mary McDonald and Snape commented on it as though it was some sort of prank. Yes, it was supposedly a nasty prank, although -- as Snape specifically asks -- we are never shown that it was any worse than anything the Marauders did. Lily didn't appear to be discussing any sort of attack or hexing battle. And she certainly didn't seem to have an answer about whether or not it was any worse than the Marauder's actions.

Vulture was saying that we might expect Slytherins at that time to do far worse to the Marauders if they had the chance than the Marauders did to Snape. We are not given the slightest evidence of that, and in fact are shown that the Slytherins typically use similar measures of force in altercations as the Gryffindors.



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 5:47 pm (#2426 of 2988)  
You win, Wynnleaf. Everything you say is right and anyone who has a differing opinion is wrong.



haymoni - Jul 18, 2009 5:57 pm (#2427 of 2988)  
I hate this thread.

But it's like a train wreck!



Solitaire - Jul 18, 2009 6:52 pm (#2428 of 2988)  
Yes, it is, haymoni. Every once in a while, I just scroll past it for a few weeks, until things calm down a bit. Then, instead of peeking, I hit the magic button and hope for better things to come. I think it's time to take a vacation from this thread for a while.  



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 6:55 pm (#2429 of 2988)  
There are numerous and varied interpretations on this thread that I can see are possibilities. It's not that "everything I say is right".

However, we all generally attempt to use things from the books to back up our interpretations and viewpoints. We lay out arguments complete with quotes or other citations from the books or interviews, sometimes bringing in outside information from the Real World. Almost all of us do that. My arguments, for which I realize I can be pretty persistent, are usually regarding the particular components of someone's argument. In general, I'm not saying "you're opinion is wrong", but pointing out discrepancies in a particular argument or pointing out other points that appear to contradict the argument.

I welcome other posters using more thorough explanations, pointing out where they think I'm missing something, pointing out why they believe an argument is on point, etc.

In a written format, comments or arguments are sometimes ambiguous or unclear. Often a person mentions some point and others don't understand how it relates to the discussion. I feel that clarity is particularly important and if I say I don't see how something has a bearing on a topic, I'm saying that I don't understand why the particular point was brought up.

I'm not seeking for people to accept that "everything I say is right". I just like clear, accurate and thorough discussion. I am also very, very fond of a sound argument, whether I agree with it or not.

Mona amon, for instance, believes that Snape didn't suspect Lupin was a werewolf prior to the Prank. I disagree, but I think her argument is extremely sound. At first I didn't think her argument matched what was in DH, but after a lot of questioning on my part and mona amon explaining, she did answer each of the points of books that seemed to disagree with her viewpoint. It took a lot of questioning back and forth, and maybe it looked like I just thought I was "always right", but actually I just wanted to discuss it thoroughly until all the points were ironed out. And they were. I still disagree, but mona amon was willing and able to answer any question or objection I had.

It's one of the things I like about the Snape thread. I like it that the varying opinions are very strong and that people care enough about their opinions to work very hard to support their viewpoints.

Other threads are sometimes interesting, sometimes not, sometimes going for a few days on a new thought or observation, sometimes hitting an issue that truly resonates with readers and creates a lot of discussion for a few weeks, but over all, no thread has the strength of discussion as the Snape thread. I realize people get scared off of it because of the strong views and opinions, and the intense discussion, but it is exactly those strong opinions and the emotions they generate that make this thread so active and almost endlessly fascinating.



wynnleaf - Jul 18, 2009 7:01 pm (#2430 of 2988)  
Vulture,

After the amount of discussion on what I think you meant, please jump in and point out if I totally missed your meaning.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 19, 2009 3:17 am (#2431 of 2988)  
Yes, wynnleaf. I agree. I like that things are always intense on this thread. Even when it feels like I'm all alone in my camp. The only time it gets weird is when everything being said is sarcastic and dismissive.

As for the Prank, I think it fits with Severus's character to have known or at least suspected that Remus was a werewolf as he entered the tunnel. With his fascination for the the dark and dangerous, I feel sure that by his fifth year, he would have thought to have done as Hermione did and check the lunar calendar against Remus's illnesses.

As for the Gryffindor/Slytherin debate that seems to be raging, I think that Slytherins have a bad reputation. I'm not saying the reputation is mostly undeserved. I just think that it colors our perspective. There must have been good Slytherins. Saying they're all evil is like saying all Parselmouths are evil. Some must have turned out okay. I'm also not saying they're not generally an unpleasant lot. It's just that the assumption that Slytherins are more likely to be ruthless in fights and conflicts does not seem sound. They're the ambitious house, but the Gryffindors are the "brave" one. So I see either one as being just as likely to attack aggressively. I mean, look at when Harry and his friends, comprised of all three other houses, retaliate against the Inquisitorial Squad and jinx them all to a pulp. That's fairly vicious, but no one seems to have a problem with it. I don't, particularly. I feel a certain sense of satisfaction when the Squad gets what's coming. But therein lies the issue. JKR has biased us to be positive toward Gryffindor and negative toward Slytherin. For the most part, we just don't like the Slytherins. But we like Harry and Co, so we mostly overlook the aggressiveness they display. JKR, IMO deliberately, manipulates our perception of Slytherin. She never bothers to show us any decent Slytherins except Severus. And I don't think that's because a good Slytherin is impossible. The main attributes to Slytherin House are ambition, shrewd intelligence and resourcefulness. Those traits do not a villain make, necessarily.

So, finally, my point being that I think all of our perceptions, including my own, are skewed because JKR intended it to be so.



Potteraholic - Jul 19, 2009 5:31 am (#2432 of 2988)  
... The only time it gets weird is when everything being said is sarcastic and dismissive. ~ severusisn'tevil

When I read this line, I just had to post!

I'm a big-time lurker on this thread; I've been reading this thread since I first found out about the HP Lexicon and Forum in late 2003. When I became a member with posting privileges a few years later, I was eager to post here, on this thread especially. But it was because of what severusisn'tevil describes so well above that I decided to just stay a lurker. I'm sure I wouldn't add much to the conversation, anyway!  There are issues some of you have raised that I have never even considered for a minute!

The things is, lots of folks read this thread who don't post here, and some of them are children. I teach 9 and 10 year olds and have told the HP fans amongst them about the Lexicon. I know some of them have checked it out, as well as this Forum's many threads. For that reason, I just think it's good to be mindful of our tone when debating a point with someone to show them that issues can be debated soundly without things turning sarcastic and/or dismissive. There's a saying here in the States, 'Little pitchers have big ears', which means that "children hear more and understand the world around them better than many adults realize."
(from this site: *http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/little+pitchers+have+big+ears.html)

Just thought it was a good time to put in my two knuts about something I've been thinking for a while... I'll go back to lurking now.  





rambkowalczyk - Jul 19, 2009 5:58 pm (#2433 of 2988)  
Regarding whether Slytherins fight more nasty than others.

One thing I've noticed is that it makes a difference who started it. Generally speaking in Harry's time it is the Slytherins who start it. Maybe this is why we don't like them.

At the end of the 4th and 5th book Draco and his friends start the fight with Harry. Harry has back up and he and his 'gang' stomp over the Slytherins.

However James and Sirius start the taunting in Snape's worst memory but when Snape fights back with a curse that cuts we accuse Snape of using dark magic.

Harry confronts Draco in the bathroom. Draco curses Harry, attempts a Crucio and Harry fights back with Sectumsempera. We forgive Harry for this because it was self defense.

But in the first instance I think it is a valid question to ask did Harry and his friends go too far? Was it right to leave the Slytherins like this? Had the Slytherins done the same to Harry and his friends we would not have forgiven them.



mona amon - Jul 20, 2009 2:10 am (#2434 of 2988)  
I'm not seeking for people to accept that "everything I say is right". I just like clear, accurate and thorough discussion. I am also very, very fond of a sound argument, whether I agree with it or not. (Wynnleaf)

I too love a good debate, Wynnleaf. And I agree with you about what makes the Snape thread so compelling. Well said!

But I think all it really shows is that Snape couldn't make the connection. It seems pretty clear that Snape already suspected Lupin of being a werewolf. But he also says, "Where does he keep going?" So, he is either saying this rhetorically (and we're not given any clues to the way he says this) and trying to get Lily to catch on, or he truly doesn't know. (Quinn)

But this conversation takes place after the prank, so Severus does know that Lupin is a werewolf. Or did I misunderstand what you were saying? I'm saying that he did not suspect that Lupin was a werewolf prior to the prank, and that's what makes it a prank- to send an unsuspecting Snape down the tunnel to meet a werewolf.

I should point out, though, as I said before, that Snape, in this scene, is the first, and only, one to draw blood with his spell. Yes, it was in self-defence, and he had great provocation, but I don't think that that little aspect just found its way in there with no thinking from JKR behind it. What James and the bullying mob (because that's what it was _ I'm 100% with Harry in his reaction) did was humiliating and appalling, and bitterly wounding of Snape's pride _ but one need only ask oneself what would have happened if a gang of Slytherins had got James on his own, defenceless (regardless of whether the Worst Memory had happened or not _ I'm not focussing particularly on Snape in that scenario, other than him being a Slytherin). I think it would have been a lot Darker and more poisonous than a Levicorpus. (And no, I'm not excusing what James did.) (Vulture)

I too feel that it's most likely that the Slytherins would have fought more nasty than the Gryffindors. After all Slytherin is the evil house and Gryffindor is the greatest- this is the message we've been given from the first book to the last. We've been told that the Slytherins would use any means to acheive their end, while presumably the Gryffindors would draw a line somewhere. So if the object is to bully and humiliate someone, then the Gryffindors will use non-dark spells to acheive this end, while the Slytherins, who do not care about means, would use dark magic. This is actually demonstrated in the books in the contrast between SWM and whatever it is that Mulciber and Avery did to Mary McDonald. The brave Gryffindors used only mild and harmless spells to bind and taunt their victim, while dark magic was used to bully Mary McDonald. Since the result is the same, ie. both victims are bullied and humiliated, does it make a difference whether dark or non-dark magic was used? Severus thinks it doesn't. Lily thinks it does. The readers are left to form their own conclusions.

I see Snape's use of a cutting spell against James as similar to a teenager who, in the midst of a fight, pulls out a small knife and is willing to use it. Yes, it's a very serious thing to do. The question, in this situation, is whether or not it is understandable. Note that I don't say warranted, but whether Snape's reaction is, especially for a teenage boy, over-reacting or not, or shows that Snape is particularly a bad kid. (wynnleaf [/b]- Jul 17, 2009 1:30 pm (#2396))

But the added dimension in the wizard world is the Hogwarts Houses. I feel that Slytherins are just more inclined to go in for this kind of method in combat. (Vulture #2405))


I've said this before, but I'd like to say it again. If we consider the effect of the cutting spell Severus used, it's not a big deal compared to what James was doing to him. I mean, if I put myself in their place, I'd much rather get a gash on the cheek than be hung upside down to get jeered at by a crowd of onlookers. Severus seems to have been quite in control with it, even in his rage. I guess that's the Slytherin in him.

However, we cannot judge it merely by the fact that Severus didn't cause much harm to James with it. We have to study the intent behind it. So why did he use that spell? It couldn't have been in self defence. In fact he knew that he couldn't really defend himself against the whole gang. So it was hatred, pure hatred, that drove Severus to take a knife to James, a much more evil and dark feeling than what the Marauders felt towards him, and I can only blame the Marauders for creating that feeling.

In short, while we are generally shown that Slytherins are more likely to use dark spells than Gryffindors, in Severus's case it is not shown to be a Slytherin/Gryffindor thing. Other more powerful factors are shown to be at work here.



Honour - Jul 20, 2009 3:50 am (#2435 of 2988)  
Another "lurker", Hi guys, just entering the fray,

IMO, in that whole incident both the Gryffindors and Severus had opportunities to back out. Certainly personal house bias contributed in the clash but I also think that Severus' and James' rivalry for Lily's attentions was the main factor here.

If the "brave" Gryffindors had just ignored Severus as he sat down going over his exam this painful memory for Severus would not have occurred. The fact that it was James and Sirius who instigated the bullying, and that now we are disecting as a result whose reaction was worse is neither here nor there.

The spell that Severus used to defend himself may be "equivalent" to a knife in the muggle world, one must wonder what prompts a person to think that he would need such a weapon at a school in the first place.

Was Severus' actions warranted? It seems so, for infront of a crowd he was bound (magically of course), mocked and paraded and jeered at and then the inference of being unclothed must have been soul destroying to a boy who had already been told time and again about his short comings by the "rich boys".



wynnleaf - Jul 20, 2009 5:50 am (#2436 of 2988)  
In fact he knew that he couldn't really defend himself against the whole gang. So it was hatred, pure hatred, that drove Severus to take a knife to James, a much more evil and dark feeling than what the Marauders felt towards him, and I can only blame the Marauders for creating that feeling. (mona amon)

I think I must be misunderstanding this comment. It sounds like you are saying that if a person has no hope of winning, then fighting back is not self-defense. Or, to put it a different way, if someone is attacking you and they are stronger, more powerful, or you are outnumbered, defensive actions that can't overpower the other person can't really be claimed to be done in self-defense, but only because of you dislike the other person?

This actually goes against any idea of self-defense I've ever heard. Many people get attacked in situations where actual escape or winning is highly unlikely if not impossible. Does that mean that they should just accept it? Nothing they can do would be considered self-defense?

while we are generally shown that Slytherins are more likely to use dark spells than Gryffindors (mona amon)

While I think we are expected to believe this, we are not "generally shown" this. We know that Snape created at least one dark spell. And we know that Mulciber (?) used a dark spell. I don't think that translates into something so generalized that we can say "generally shown that Slytherins are more likely to use dark spells".

As I've pointed out before, we are shown Slytherins in lots of situations where they were hexing other kids and we aren't shown any other situations where they are throwing around dark spells.

Exceptional situations like anything Draco did while under a death threat, or anything that went on at Hogwarts during DH when even unforgiveables were being used by teachers and in classes can hardly be brought in as evidence for what generally went on in other school years. Even Harry, in exceptional circumstances, used dark curses including unforgiveables. Harry's "exceptional circumstances" are quite different from Draco's, but the point is that neither should be used as evidence for what generally went on at school.

What I think is more likely is that a few students -- who yes were Slytherins -- knew some dark magic and therefore might use it on rare occasion. But most typically, students including Slytherins didn't seem to use dark magic in hexing wars at school. And why would they take that chance? McGonagall said Harry's use of a dark spell could have gotten him expelled. I would think students, even the vast majority of Slytherins, would tend to realize that and usually not use dark magic even if they knew some.



wynnleaf - Jul 20, 2009 7:24 am (#2437 of 2988)  
I read something from a poster on another site recently and it was a comparison I hadn't thought of before, but really fits here.

Lily tells young Severus that Mulciber's "sense of humor is just evil" and that Snape should give up these sorts of friends. But in the Worst Memory scene, she is trying to conceal a laugh at the actions of James and Sirius extremely humiliating treatment of Snape, which (and here's the new thought), is practically exactly the same thing that the Death Eaters do to muggles at the World Cup. I have to assume that Lily thinking this was funny when done to her supposedly good friend wasn't some utterly unusual reaction for Lily. In other words, Lily is showing us the ability to find humor in the same sort of humiliating torment of others that Death Eaters later use.

So when Snape confronts Lily with the question of what the difference is between Mulciber and James and Sirius, and Lily is able to give no effective counter to that question, it makes her objections -- however legitimate her concern about Snape's friendship with Death Eater wannabees -- seem more arbitrary. From Snape's viewpoint, Lily's objections might seem little more than a case of something being "bad" when Slytherins do it, but okay when the brave Gryffindors do it.

I don't know if JKR had some sort of thing about the idea of hanging people upside down as a particularly humiliating torment, but when she used it in OOTP, she had already had the Death Eaters do it in GOF, including having the muggles underwear exposed and in full view of a crowd.

The more I consider it, especially realizing now that JKR had the Marauders use the same torment on Snape, just for fun, that she'd had the DEs use on muggles in GOF for their DE fun, the more I'm thinking that JKR actually wanted us to ask the same question Snape did -- what really was the difference? JKR didn't have Lily come back with The Answer, which really makes me wonder if JKR isn't saying that there was no real difference.

I don't mean "no difference" between the Death Eaters and the Order. I mean no real difference in the attitudes toward humiliating others and willingness to harm others between Snape's Slytherin friends while in school and the Marauders in school.

JKR does this in other areas as well, not just Snape and the Marauders. We see many of the average people in the Wizarding World appalled at the prejudice against muggleborns, yet those same people are prejudiced towards giants, werewolves, goblins, house elves, and extremely condescending (a type of prejudice) towards muggles. It's true that the Good Side of the Wizarding World isn't trying necessarily to kill werewolves and giants or goblins, but they are extremely biased against them and make laws against them. And it's true that most of the wizarding world isn't trying to kill house elves, but they disregard the evil treatment of house elves that often goes on and have no problem with the enslavement issues.

So it may be that JKR wants us to see that, while the full-fledged Death Eaters are truly evil, on the day-to-day level the Good Guys often aren't really better than many of the people they condemn.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 20, 2009 3:01 pm (#2438 of 2988)  
So it may be that JKR wants us to see that, while the full-fledged Death Eaters are truly evil, on the day-to-day level the Good Guys often aren't really better than many of the people they condemn. - Yeah, she pretty much says this outright when she has Sirius tell the kids, "The world isn't divided into good people and Death Eaters".

Much has been made of the supposed "humiliation" of Snape at James's hand in the worst memory. But we know that any humiliation or exposed underwear or whatever had absolutely nothing to do with why Snape considers it the single worst moment of his life. But you have to wonder what the heck Snape must have done to his underwear if even the house elves couldn't get them clean. I mean, why does a 16 year old boy, whose laundry is done for him by powerful house elf magic still have "greying underwear"?

As for whether or not we have sufficient evidence in the text that the Slytherins would be more inclined to use dark spells than others, I think Draco's boasting that he had once been a candidate for Durmstrang - where, according to him, "they actually teach dark arts, not just defense" - is pretty indicative of the general attitude toward that kind of magic in Slytherin house.



PatPat - Jul 20, 2009 5:54 pm (#2439 of 2988)  
... The only time it gets weird is when everything being said is sarcastic and dismissive. ~ severusisn'tevil

When I read this line, I just had to post!

I'm a big-time lurker on this thread; I've been reading this thread since I first found out about the HP Lexicon and Forum in late 2003. When I became a member with posting privileges a few years later, I was eager to post here, on this thread especially. But it was because of what severusisn'tevil describes so well above that I decided to just stay a lurker. I'm sure I wouldn't add much to the conversation, anyway! There are issues some of you have raised that I have never even considered for a minute!

The things is, lots of folks read this thread who don't post here, and some of them are children. I teach 9 and 10 year olds and have told the HP fans amongst them about the Lexicon. I know some of them have checked it out, as well as this Forum's many threads. For that reason, I just think it's good to be mindful of our tone when debating a point with someone to show them that issues can be debated soundly without things turning sarcastic and/or dismissive. There's a saying here in the States, 'Little pitchers have big ears', which means that "children hear more and understand the world around them better than many adults realize." (from this site: *http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/little+pitchers+have+big+ears.html)

Just thought it was a good time to put in my two knuts about something I've been thinking for a while... I'll go back to lurking now PAH


I am also a lurker on this thread. I used to post here, and I left for exactly the reasons that severusisn'tevil and PAH talk about here. Unfortunately, more often than not, posts are sarcastic and dismissive. I have seen posts by hosts warning everyone to watch their tone on this thread. Kip has even shut it down a few times. Clearly, Snape is a controversial character that elicits strong emotions in people. But, one of the reasons I joined this Forum and, subsequently, became a host on the Fan-Fiction Forum, is that it allows intelligent people to discuss a great work of fiction in a positive way and to share ideas with others around the world. I have been on other Forums where the tone is consistently condescending and mean, and I have found the HP Forum different. With the exception, at times, of this thread. It is definitely possible to discuss a controversial issue in a pleasant, tolerant, and accepting way. It's difficult sometimes on a thread like this because people get passionate, and, sometimes, when you can't see someone's face, passion comes off as dismissive and mean. It's certainly possible for a post to be interpreted in a way that wasn't intended. However, clearly, many people are finding the tone here unwelcoming, so maybe we all need to be a little more careful about how we say things. I think we're missing out on some very intelligent and thoughtful posts. Just my two knuts.



Quinn Crockett - Jul 20, 2009 6:37 pm (#2440 of 2988)  
You guys obviously have never been to the Television Without Pity site.


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PeskyPixie - Jul 20, 2009 7:50 pm (#2441 of 2988)  
Hi PatPat! Haven't seen you in a while, my fine Gryffindor friend!  You've pretty much covered all that I have to say.

Still, since the discussion has been opened, I also am not in favour of heavy sarcasm and the dismissal of others' opinions, regardless of the stance of the person.

Also, I think it's safe to say that this is a thread where intelligent debates will occur. That's part of the appeal to both the participants and their lurking spectators. Any post may trigger the curiosity of another forum member and that original post may well be further examined and debated. Just as one has the right to openly state with which of the arguments one agrees or disagrees, one's own post may also be analyzed by others. When this is done respectfully (i.e. without the use of heavy sarcasm and the dismissal of another's opinions or the manner in which they present their ideas - for some of us are more Hermioneish than others), it's all good. JM2K.

ETA: BTW, 'Lurkers' , it's great to read your posts. Please keep joining in!



wynnleaf - Jul 20, 2009 8:40 pm (#2442 of 2988)  
Edited by Kip Carter Jul 21, 2009 6:10 am
You guys obviously have never been to the Television Without Pity site. (Quinn)

Don't know if that's a real site or if you're just joking, but it's true that there are far more intense discussion forums.

The first forum I ever joined was Tolkein Online and came to particularly love the philosophy forum called Counsel of Manwe or something like that. There one could expect to be challenged quite literally over every word, with even verb tense possibly coming into play as to whether or not one's argument was well reasoned. Language, direct name calling, etc. was completely against rules, but it was the intensity of the discussion that was very intimidating. People expected extremely rigorous reasoning and I got used to be challenged to back up every comment I made.

On the Snape thread, I think the question of why the emotions are so intense is important. Snape isn't just the most controversial character because of the various twists of his personality, background, motivations, etc. He's the most controversial character because so many people care very, very deeply in quite different ways. Snape is personal to many people, either because they identify with him, or have cared deeply for people that may have similar circumstances, or because they've been hurt by people like his character... any number of reasons, but it's not just because he's an interesting and intriguing character.

For some, an opinion that seems too sympathetic of Snape hits them about the same as sympathy for a truly despicable criminal. For others an opinion that seems too harsh of Snape hits them like it's an opinion about themselves or a close loved one. I think that's why the intense emotion and opinions and disagreements are part and parcel of this thread.

However, I do think some of the most fascinating discussions on in-depth topics like remorse, forgiveness, mercy, the nature of evil, and so on take place more often on this thread than any other.

This thread is temporarily closed...for how long, I have not decided. You people need to learn how to communicate! I am appalled with some of the messages, especially the tones conveyed. Do not be shocked if I decide to remove posting rights for some of you. I will not tolerate this type of discussion. 'Nuf said!



Kip Carter - Jul 21, 2009 10:27 am (#2443 of 2988)  
I have changed the status of two members from Participant to No Access. I felt that moving their status to No Access was best just in case either reacted poorly to my action and tried to delete all of their posts as some members in the past have done. I did not appreciate the rudeness, snippiness, and complete disrespect for others conveyed. I have had many complaints.

The thread is now open for discussion. Hopefully the atmosphere will improve now. I am not above adding to the No Access list those who want to tear this thread apart. Remember this thread was closed down on a few months ago due to similar situations. If you can not be courteous and respectful to others, avoid posting your comments!



Vulture - Jul 21, 2009 10:34 am (#2444 of 2988)  
The one time we see a kid actually use a known Dark Magic spell against another student is Harry using Sectumsempra against Draco (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 11:40 am (#2421))

"The one time" ?!! _ Draco had just tried to use Cruciatus on Harry: and unlike Harry, he knew exactly what he was doing.

In other words, the idea that Draco would attempt to kill DD when he was directly under a threat by Voldemort somehow tells us that the general trend in Slytherin would be to use Dark spells against fellow students in hexing wars? (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 11:40 am (#2421))

"When he was directly under a threat by Voldemort" is too kind to Draco, in my opinion. Yes, Narcissa , from the very beginning, saw Voldemort's choice of Draco for what it was _ but Draco was delighted to be given the task of killing Dumbledore, at first. Yes, it's true that, over time, he found that he liked the idea less and less _ and it was at that point that the "threat by Voldemort" came into play.

Remember, I didn't bring this up to discuss the use of dark magic at Hogwarts during DH, but to consider whether Slytherin students during the Marauders time would probably be using worse magic against Gryffindors than the Marauders did against Snape. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 5:13 pm (#2423))

I agree that Hogwarts in Book 7 is a far worse environment than either (a) during the previous six books, or (b) than during the First Voldemort War. But I stick to my belief that (b) was more chaotic for duelling than (a).

I'm trying to point out that Slytherins -- not in the exceptional circumstance of Draco attempting to kill DD while under a death threat, or during the extremely exceptional circumstances of being in a school where even Unforgiveables (the worst of Dark curses) are condoned and practiced by teachers and taught to students -- aren't shown using dark spells during the various spell battles between students. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 5:35 pm (#2425))

In my opinion (and I realise it is just opinion, though based on what I've read) the only reason why Slytherin students don't use Dark Magic in the first three years is that they aren't taught any. In the 4th Year, fake-Moody introduces the Unforgiveables, but claims that he isn't going to teach anyone how to do them. In 5th Year, we have Umbridge, then Snape as Defence teacher in 6th.

Hogwarts wasn't supposed to teach Dark Magic _ which is why the lad from Harry's year who became Slytherin Prefect wanted to go to Durmstrang: and none of his friends reproved him when he said this. As Voldemort became more and more powerful after his return, kids of Death Eaters would have had plenty of opportunity to learn Dark Magic _ and my guess is that they would.

Actually, it just occurs to me that the above adds up to a pretty tight clamp-down on Dark Magic in Hogwarts in Harry's time, even for those who wanted to do it. But in Lily's time, we know that Snape's pals were doing Dark Magic, despite all Hogwarts's authorities could do. Conclusion ? _ proof positive that the Hogwarts environment was more warlike and chaotic during the First Voldemort War than in Harry's time.

Lily commented on a friend of Snape's using a dark spell on Mary McDonald and Snape commented on it as though it was some sort of prank. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 5:35 pm (#2425))

Yes, and how did Lily answer ?!! _ I think her words are far more valid, at that moment, than Snape's.

Vulture was saying that we might expect Slytherins at that time to do far worse to the Marauders if they had the chance than the Marauders did to Snape. We are not given the slightest evidence of that ... (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 5:35 pm (#2425))

I believe that we are. Firstly, there's the fact that for a Slytherin, drawing blood is an acceptable form of self-defence (regardless of my oft-repeated support for Harry's verdict on the Levicorpus mob incident overall). Secondly, as I said above, Draco tries a Cruciatus on Harry in Book 6, simply because Harry is eavesdropping. Thirdly, there's his stamping on Harry's face. In Book 3, Draco and pals try to kill Harry during a Quidditch match. In Book 4, Draco and pals are joined in jeering Hermione by Snape, after a spell, aimed at Harry elongates her teeth. OK, it can be objected that Harry had also tried a duelling spell, but if that excuses Draco, it hardly excuses Snape. With such an example from their House Head, I would expect Slytherins to have worse standards.

Now, as for Slytherins in the Marauders' time: we know that they use Dark Magic, that they use it on kids from other Houses, and we know that drawing blood is OK by them. (Or are you saying that Snape is worse than the rest ? _ because I don't believe that.) We know that James, for all his faults (which I don't deny) hated the Dark Arts, and he was pretty much a leader in Gryffindor, so that, for me, adds up to Slytherins, at that time, doing worse magic than Gryffindors.

I have no evidence about Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff at that time, so one is free to think that they were out doing Dark Magic and drawing blood too. But somehow, I doubt it.

I hate this thread.

But it's like a train wreck! (haymoni   Jul 18, 2009 5:57 pm (#2427))


Oh, don't say that _ I'm back now !! :-D

Other threads are sometimes interesting, sometimes not, sometimes going for a few days on a new thought or observation, sometimes hitting an issue that truly resonates with readers and creates a lot of discussion for a few weeks, but over all, no thread has the strength of discussion as the Snape thread. I realize people get scared off of it because of the strong views and opinions, and the intense discussion, but it is exactly those strong opinions and the emotions they generate that make this thread so active and almost endlessly fascinating. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 6:55 pm (#2429))

Don't worry, Wynnleaf. I think one thing that causes problems is that many people aren't comfortable with admitting that they pick a side _ that what they're saying isn't just objective truth. For me, I've pretty much accepted long ago that there are, broadly speaking, two teams in here _ (1) those who are quite severe on Severus (no pun intended !!), and (2) those who strongly defend him and are very, very tough on his enemies/opponents (not sure which word ye all prefer). As you'll probably have gathered, I'm in team (1).

Before Book 7 came out, I think most people would have said that they were arguing simply because they differed about which side Snape is really on. But now that we know that he was Dumbledore's man since Lily's death, it turns out that those two teams (call them schools of thought, if you prefer) were not just arguing about, as it were, which colour hat Snape was wearing. And I think that, for some people (on both sides), that discovery isn't entirely a pleasant surprise.

Another factor is that Snape, as a topic, leads to arguments over other characters _ Sirius, James, and Harry, for example. Strictly speaking, we ought to copy some of these arguments to those characters's threads (I'm as guilty as anyone on this).

Vulture,

After the amount of discussion on what I think you meant, please jump in and point out if I totally missed your meaning. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 7:01 pm (#2430))


I'd have to go back and look, but yes, I think you pretty much got it. Well actually, I saw a post by Quinn Crockett which got my meaning almost exactly.

(Continued in next post, sorry for length ...)



Vulture - Jul 21, 2009 10:38 am (#2445 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

There must have been good Slytherins. (severusisn'tevil   Jul 19, 2009 3:17 am (#2431))

Well, I guess Slughorn is a good Slytherin _ but significantly, not one of his students stays to fight for Hogwarts, and one of them shouted for Harry to be handed over to Voldemort.

We have a grand total of three Slytherins on the good side. One, Phineas, is a portrait _ and we can't judge what he was like in life by the fact that, as a portrait, he has to obey the Headmaster of the day. Our only guidance to the real Phineas is Sirius's statement that he was "the least popular Headmaster Hogwarts ever had".

The other two are Slughorn and Snape, and maybe it's just me, but I don't think it's a coincidence that both were very fond of Lily (in different ways, obviously).

I feel a certain sense of satisfaction when the Squad gets what's coming. But therein lies the issue. JKR has biased us to be positive toward Gryffindor and negative toward Slytherin. (severusisn'tevil   Jul 19, 2009 3:17 am (#2431))

It's not simply bias _ the Inquisitorial Squad are traitors to the school, and their status (from Umbridge) is not legitimate. Everyone knows this, because the Head's office sealed itself against her. (Interestingly, McGonagall and others should have spotted that, in Book 7, it did not seal itself against Snape.)

The things is, lots of folks read this thread who don't post here, and some of them are children. I teach 9 and 10 year olds and have told the HP fans amongst them about the Lexicon. I know some of them have checked it out, as well as this Forum's many threads. For that reason, I just think it's good to be mindful of our tone when debating a point with someone to show them that issues can be debated soundly without things turning sarcastic and/or dismissive. (Potteraholic   Jul 19, 2009 5:31 am (#2432))

I agree. I try to keep this factor in mind (though I probably don't always succeed !!).

But anyway, don't lurk !! _ we need your ideas !!

However James and Sirius start the taunting in Snape's worst memory but when Snape fights back with a curse that cuts we accuse Snape of using dark magic. (rambkowalczyk   Jul 19, 2009 5:58 pm (#2433))

I've tried to be very careful about this point. I don't , at all, blame Snape for self-defence, and as he only had time to say the first spell he thought of, he can't _ in this case _ be blamed at all. However, I focussed on it to point out that, for Slytherins, drawing blood is part of their self-defence toolkit.

Harry confronts Draco in the bathroom. Draco curses Harry, attempts a Crucio and Harry fights back with Sectumsempera. We forgive Harry for this because it was self defense. (rambkowalczyk   Jul 19, 2009 5:58 pm (#2433))

Not only because it was self-defence, but because he hadn't a clue what the spell did, and thought that "the Prince" wouldn't invent evil spells.  

The brave Gryffindors used only mild and harmless spells to bind and taunt their victim, while dark magic was used to bully Mary McDonald. Since the result is the same, ie. both victims are bullied and humiliated, does it make a difference whether dark or non-dark magic was used? Severus thinks it doesn't. Lily thinks it does. (mona amon   Jul 20, 2009 2:10 am (#2434))

Well, we don't actually know if "the result is the same", because we don't know the full details about Mary McDonald.

Lily tells young Severus that Mulciber's "sense of humor is just evil" and that Snape should give up these sorts of friends. But in the Worst Memory scene, she is trying to conceal a laugh at the actions of James and Sirius extremely humiliating treatment of Snape, which (and here's the new thought), is practically exactly the same thing that the Death Eaters do to muggles at the World Cup. I have to assume that Lily thinking this was funny when done to her supposedly good friend wasn't some utterly unusual reaction for Lily. In other words, Lily is showing us the ability to find humor in the same sort of humiliating torment of others that Death Eaters later use. (wynnleaf   Jul 20, 2009 7:24 am (#2437))

I disagree. Firstly, she isn't "trying to conceal a laugh", she's trying to conceal a smile. Splitting hairs ? _ no, I think it's important.

In my opinion, what happens to Lily in that scene is that she is unable to conceal the fact that she fancies (or perhaps is only starting to fancy) James Potter. Of course, she is furious with him too. But that's what the smile is about _ not about tormenting Snape.

But of course, poor Snape, especially from his vantage point at that moment, can hardly be expected to appreciate such fine distinctions. In any case, for him, the worst thing is for Lily to fancy James.

This is why he hurls such a hate-filled insult at Lily. He regrets this for the rest of his life, and this _ not what the Marauders did _ is why it's his worst memory.

Well, it works for me !! :-)

... Snape confronts Lily with the question of what the difference is between Mulciber and James and Sirius, and Lily is able to give no effective counter to that question ... (wynnleaf   Jul 20, 2009 7:24 am (#2437))

Yes she did _ she said "It was Dark Magic".

(Just to note: I wrote, but hadn't posted, these two posts before I saw Kip's recent comments.)



PeskyPixie - Jul 21, 2009 11:02 am (#2446 of 2988)  
"... there are, broadly speaking, two teams in here _ (1) those who are quite severe on Severus (no pun intended !!), and (2) those who strongly defend him and are very, very tough on his enemies/opponents ..." -Vulture

Count me in Team 3 of the Snapers! I am harsh on Severus when he deserves it, but also defend him when he needs it.  



severusisn'tevil - Jul 21, 2009 11:10 am (#2447 of 2988)  
I'm probably not as hard on him as I could be, or maybe even should be, and I do defend him, but I grow weary of being accused of considering him a saint. I just don't see why people are so eager to pass judgment on someone who obviously suffered disproportionately.



rambkowalczyk - Jul 21, 2009 5:09 pm (#2448 of 2988)  
Remember, I didn't bring this up to discuss the use of dark magic at Hogwarts during DH, but to consider whether Slytherin students during the Marauders time would probably be using worse magic against Gryffindors than the Marauders did against Snape. (wynnleaf [/b]- Jul 18, 2009 5:13 pm (#2423))

Vulture, your arguments showing that Slytherins might be more likely to use worse (as in Dark) magic than the Gryffindors during the Marauder generation is interesting.

We know for example that Riddle was reading about Horcruxes in the library back in the 1940's. That book was no longer in the library when Hermione tried to look for it in book 6. It seems reasonable that other books that went into Dark Magic were either put in the Restricted section or removed.

We also know during the 40's there were also nasty spells done that no one could prove who did it. I suspect some books also left the library as well even before the Marauders were in school.

But the only Dark Magic mentioned was the spell done by Mulciber and Avery.

I am deliberately ignoring the spell used by Snape that cut James because that was used in the heat of the moment whereas the spell used by Mulciber and Avery was planned.

Anyway I'm willing to accept that it was more dark than just a prank and I'm even willing to accept that James even though he was a bully drew a line between what spells were acceptable to use and what wasn't.

It's just that I don't accept Lily's reasoning that just because a spell is dark that it is more intrinsically wrong than other spells.

For instance Fred and George pushing Montague in the Vanishing Cabinet may not be Dark Magic but it was reckless endangerment of a life. And for what? Because points were deducted. This is no better than Draco cursing Harry because Harry saw him crying.

In Book 3, Draco and pals try to kill Harry during a Quidditch match. Vulture

Disagree here. They were trying to distract Harry to get him to play poorly. Granted it could be considered reckless and they were messing with Harry's mind, but Harry was not in any danger.

we know that drawing blood is OK by them. Vulture

This seems to be a conclusion based on the fact that Snape invented Sectumsempera. I am not convinced that any non-Slytherin student would not use it if they were attacked by bullies assuming they knew how to use the spell.

In my opinion, what happens to Lily in that scene is that she is unable to conceal the fact that she fancies (or perhaps is only starting to fancy) James Potter. Of course, she is furious with him too. But that's what the smile is about _ not about tormenting Snape. Vulture

Well, she isn't smiling because she enjoys tormenting Snape but this happens after James uses flips Snapes showing his underwear.

Lily, whose furious expression had twitched for an instant as though she was going to smile, said, "Let him down!"

I'm one of the few dense people who didn't see Lily flirting with James here. I know JKR said there was something going on but...To me, she momentarily thought it was funny but her better nature tried to suppress it.

But I do agree that this is Snape's worse memory because he called he called her a Mudblood and not because it was the 4 on one thing.



Solitaire - Jul 21, 2009 5:28 pm (#2449 of 2988)  
In Book 3, Draco and pals try to kill Harry during a Quidditch match. Vulture

Ramb: Disagree here. They were trying to distract Harry to get him to play poorly. Granted it could be considered reckless and they were messing with Harry's mind, but Harry was not in any danger.


I have been trying to stay out of this thread and just lurk, but I did need to set the record straight, Ramb. I believe I'm the one who said that Draco and the "gargoyles" tried to kill Harry by dressing up as Dementors, and I think Vulture was just referencing me.

I stand by that statement, btw, and this is the reason: They knew how the Dementors affected Harry--they caused him to kind of lose consciousness. It had already happened once before in a Quidditch match, I believe, and if Dumbledore had not been there to slow down Harry's fall, he probably would have died. IMO, creating a situation which could have had the effect of Harry losing consciousness while he was up in the air on a broom--they didn't know Harry wouldn't freak out or pass out--is tantamount to attempted murder. Again, JMHO ... but it's how I feel!



rambkowalczyk - Jul 21, 2009 6:08 pm (#2450 of 2988)  
Regarding whether Draco and pals were trying to kill Harry.

I stand by that statement, btw, and this is the reason... Solitaire


McGonagall might agree with you, (As I recollect she was quite angry), Solitaire, but there is an argument to be made that this was a prank.

Unless you are accusing Draco and company of doing more than just dressing like dementers.



Solitaire - Jul 21, 2009 6:15 pm (#2451 of 2988)  
LOL Ramb! He is pretty demented in HBP! As I say, I still stand by my point.



mona amon - Jul 22, 2009 1:56 am (#2452 of 2988)  
In fact he knew that he couldn't really defend himself against the whole gang. So it was hatred, pure hatred, that drove Severus to take a knife to James, a much more evil and dark feeling than what the Marauders felt towards him, and I can only blame the Marauders for creating that feeling. (mona amon)

I think I must be misunderstanding this comment. It sounds like you are saying that if a person has no hope of winning, then fighting back is not self-defense. Or, to put it a different way, if someone is attacking you and they are stronger, more powerful, or you are outnumbered, defensive actions that can't overpower the other person can't really be claimed to be done in self-defense, but only because of you dislike the other person? (Wynnleaf)


The situation here is different from a fight in the muggle world where a kid pulls out a knife and threatens the kids who are attacking him, "back off, or you're going to get it!" Here, in the WW, Severus's weapon is his wand. The knife that he can conjure with it is useless as a defensive weapon because with both James and Sirius attacking at the same time, and Wormtail for backup, Severus is not going to be in possession of his wand for long.

In other words, I'm not saying that the spells (including the cutting spell) Severus was able to cast were not done in self-defence. I'm saying that the reason for choosing that particular spell was not self defence, since it was not going to defend him any better than some other spell. Petrificus Totalis or stupefy would have put James temporarily out of action. But he needed to really do something to James and his emotions were such that a bat-bogey hex would have been far from adequate. Hence the cutting spell.

And let me say once again that, if it was the evil in his heart that made him choose that spell, it was James and Sirius who were responsible for creating that evil.

... Snape confronts Lily with the question of what the difference is between Mulciber and James and Sirius, and Lily is able to give no effective counter to that question ... (wynnleaf [/b]- Jul 20, 2009 7:24 am (#2437))

Yes she did _ she said "It was Dark Magic". (Vulture)


But that’s the whole point. Some things are called ‘Dark Magic’ without any explanation about why or how they differ from what the ‘good’ guys use.

However, I focussed on it to point out that, for Slytherins, drawing blood is part of their self-defence toolkit. (Vulture)

I agree with you that from what we are shown, we can safely infer that Slytherins are more likely to use such spells. But I disagree that being in Slytherin was the main reason for Severus's use of that spell. If all other things including the Marauders attacking him two/four-on-one were equal, but he was in Ravenclaw or some other house, he'd still have used that spell, IMO.

IMO, creating a situation which could have had the effect of Harry losing consciousness while he was up in the air on a broom--they didn't know Harry wouldn't freak out or pass out--is tantamount to attempted murder. (Soli)

I don't think their intention was to actually murder Harry. It's the same as what Sirius did to Severus. He wasn't trying to murder him. Yet he lured him into a situation where he could lose his life. He didn't anticipate that James would rush in to save him. Yet I wouldn't go so far as to say that Sirius attempted to murder Severus. Draco and co. dressing up as dementers to scare Harry into losing the match is very similar, IMO.



Potteraholic - Jul 22, 2009 8:19 am (#2453 of 2988)  
Edited Jul 22, 2009 8:58 am
But anyway, don't lurk !! _ we need your ideas !! ~ Vulture, Jul 21, 2009, 10:38 am, #2445, about a comment I made in this post, in which I stated I was a lurker.

Oh my! I almost missed this comment! Vulture, please don't think that I am singling you out here. What follows is something I've been thinking about the posts on here for some time... your citation of my previous comment, and the fact that I nearly didn't see it, was the impetus for the rest of my post.

One of the reasons I am a lurker on this thread is because there are usually more posts to read on here than on any other, and because the posts tend to be be longer and more dense, I usually skim them. I just don't have the time to read them all thoroughly to understand each person's position well enough to comment.

Honestly, the posts I tend to read more carefully are the shorter ones, or ones that use bold, italics, or color to break up the text and give my eyes a chance to rest. I don't know, maybe it comes from working as the advisor for my school's yearbook and literary magazine that makes me think this way when I look at long passages of small text, in this font and size. But for me, spaces that break the text into manageable chunks and the use of some of the visual markers I mentioned above make the text more inviting to read and more accessible.

Now, for those who know me on the Five Words Writing Game thread, over on the FFF, they might be chuckling right now to themselves since I have been known to write quite the lengthy set of notes to accompany my five words, from time to time.  But I do follow my own advice about using bold, italics, color, and line breaks to make the text easier to read. Hopefully...

I offer this suggestion just to be helpful, nothing more. It was well-intentioned, and not meant to offend anyone.

And now back to the discussion...





Soul Search - Jul 22, 2009 8:22 am (#2454 of 2988)  
"Some things are called ‘Dark Magic’ without any explanation about why or how they differ from what the ‘good’ guys use." (mona amon)

This is part of the problem we have in interpreting a character's use of magic: we don't know what all constitutes "Dark Magic." We have kicked this around before, but let me give it another try.

We have seen numerous uses of "cutting" spells. For example, Molly uses magic to cut vegtables in preparing a meal. These can't be classed as "dark." Likely, Molly could use the same spells to defend herself against an attacker. We have also seen Sectumsempra used against an attacker, and have designated that spell as "dark." What is the difference?

Magic can also be used for healing; we have numerous examples. In DH Molly laments that she cannot re-attach (or regrow) George's ear because it was severed with "dark" magic. The implication is that if Snape had used a common "cutting" spell she could have mended George easily.

That is the difference that establishes a spell as "dark;" A "DARK" SPELL CANNOT BE EASILY REVERSED OR CORRECTED.

We also have Harry's use of Sectumsempra on Draco in HBP. There, Snape uses his wand and sings (or something) to heal Draco's wounds. But, Snape is an expert on dark magic. JKR well establishes this fact with the Katie Bell incident. He also invented the Secrumsempra spell. So, some dark magic can be reversed, but it takes special knowledge of dark magic and skill. Molly did not have this special skill, so could not fix George's ear.

Snape used a cutting spell on James in the Worst Memory scene. We have no reference to James having a scar, so assume the cut was magically healed. Snape would have been in big trouble if James had gone to the infirmary for treatment of dark magic, so the cut must have been made with ordinary magic and healed by a student friend of James.

I do note that the Worst Memory scene takes place in their fifth year and we see Snape's notes for Sectumsempra, "for enemies," in his sixth year potions book. Sectumsempra is "dark" not because it cuts, but because there is an added magical element that makes the cuts impossible to heal with ordinary magic. Snape may have developed Sectumsempra after failing to scar James.



PeskyPixie - Jul 22, 2009 11:00 am (#2455 of 2988)  
"... Draco and the "gargoyles" tried to kill Harry by dressing up as Dementors ... they knew how the Dementors affected Harry--they caused him to kind of lose consciousness. It had already happened once before in a Quidditch match, I believe, and if Dumbledore had not been there to slow down Harry's fall, he probably would have died. IMO, creating a situation which could have had the effect of Harry losing consciousness while he was up in the air on a broom--they didn't know Harry wouldn't freak out or pass out--is tantamount to attempted murder." -Solitaire

I am a bit tentative to bring this up, and I hope you realize that I am in no way trying to prove your opinion 'wrong' and mine as 'right'. It's just that I am genuinely curious about your point of view - I am not out to disprove it (that is never my intention when I disagree with someone), rather, I want to understand it better.

I dislike Draco and his little friends, however, I find their idea of dressing up as dementors at the Quidditch match to be similar to Sirius's idea of telling Snape to go down the tunnel (where he knows a werewolf waits). I think that both pranks are extremely foolish and anyone with half a brain could tell you that there is a high chance that they could end with a death. However, I don't think that the primary goal of either Sirius or Draco is murder. They are both so caught up in the fun of the misdeed that they haven't thought out the worst possible consequences. Now, if we were to ask either one of them (as teens) whether they would mind if Severus or Harry, respectively, were to kick the magic bucket, they may both have snottily answered that they didn't care either way. Still, I don't have the feeling that either is out to kill the kid they despise.

So, my question is, how are these two acts different? ( Please note that I am not accusing anyone of having a 'wrong' opinion. I would honestly like to figure out how those with such a different opinion from my own have reached their own conclusion.)



Solitaire - Jul 22, 2009 11:15 am (#2456 of 2988)  
PAH: Honestly, the posts I tend to read more carefully are the shorter ones, or ones that use bold, italics, or color to break up the text and give my eyes a chance to rest. ... spaces that break the text into manageable chunks and the use of some of the visual markers I mentioned above make the text more inviting to read and more accessible.

PAH, as a teacher who frequently is stuck reading 2-page essays that never have a paragraph break, I couldn't agree more! "White space" (or negative space) is critical for my eyes. In fact, I tend to skip entirely the posts that are just long, long chunks of text that have not been broken into paragraphs. I can handle long paragraphs in books and in magazine columns, because the "area" is not great. Unfortunately, posts that take up the space of an entire screen (and sometimes more than a single screen) and have few or no paragraph breaks are tough on my poor eyes. (This paragraph is about long enough for my eyes. )

About the fonts that others use ... I think you can override all of that and make fonts show up as you like them. Just go into your browser and adjust you preferences. I did that in this Mac. I have things show up as Comic Sans, as that is a favorite of mine. A few "resist" changing, but most convert.

Pesky, I honestly do believe Draco was attempting to kill Harry. Just as he figured giving Katy Bell the cursed necklace or Slughorn the poisoned mead would result in Dumbledore's death, so I believe he thought this was a nice, "hands off" way to dispose of Harry.

If Harry had died, Draco could hardly be imprisoned, as it had not been a direct attempt, like an AK or some other Unforgivable. Yes, some people would have hated him ... but he could honestly have said that it was "only a prank," and he hadn't intended Harry to die ... and he'd have gotten away with it! I can't help it. I see it as much more than that.



rambkowalczyk - Jul 22, 2009 4:30 pm (#2457 of 2988)  
If Harry had died, Draco could hardly be imprisoned, as it had not been a direct attempt, like an AK or some other Unforgivable. Yes, some people would have hated him ... but he could honestly have said that it was "only a prank," and he hadn't intended Harry to die ... and he'd have gotten away with it! I can't help it. I see it as much more than that. Solitaire

Would you consider Draco's action on the same magnitude as what Mulciber and Avery did? How does it compare with what Sirius did? (referring to him telling Snape how to get under the whomping willow.) Actually the reason I'm asking is because maybe it's possible that Lily saw something similar in what Mulciber did as what you see in what Draco did.

I do have a few more thoughts on this but I'm going to put it on the Draco thread since they are more about Draco than Snape.



Solitaire - Jul 22, 2009 4:33 pm (#2458 of 2988)  
I don't know, Ramb ... I'll have to think on it a bit. I agree that the discussion of Draco belongs on his thread.



Vulture - Jul 23, 2009 7:29 am (#2459 of 2988)  
Count me in Team 3 of the Snapers! I am harsh on Severus when he deserves it, but also defend him when he needs it. (PeskyPixie   Jul 21, 2009 11:02 am (#2446))

Hi,PeskyPixie: Well, you see, in my opinion, almost everyone in here would say that they were on your "Team 3". Or at least, I think most would.

But _ and it's just my opinion _ that doesn't really get us (I mean everyone, not just you and me) anywhere in terms of managing our differences.

Also, I think that, although most or all of us would say that we're "harsh on Severus when he deserves it, but also defend him when he needs it", it'll generally be found that each of us tends more towards one or the other. I'm happy to admit that I would tend more towards the harsh-on-Snape side, though I've changed some of my ideas since Book 7.

On reflection, I think "schools of thought" is a more accurate description than "teams", because even within one "school of thought" there will be disagreements.

But anyway, I think it's possible to see two distinct (and somewhat opposed) ways of thinking about Snape and subjects related to him.

I'm probably not as hard on him as I could be, or maybe even should be, and I do defend him, but I grow weary of being accused of considering him a saint. I just don't see why people are so eager to pass judgment on someone who obviously suffered disproportionately. (severusisn'tevil   Jul 21, 2009 11:10 am (#2447))

I think that's a fair comment, and I would also say that what I call the two "schools of thought" would even disagree on exactly how to define the two "schools of thought". So I wouldn't expect those whom I think of as "Snape defenders" (the other team, as it were) to agree precisely with my whole definition of the debate and the sides involved in it.

It's just that I don't accept Lily's reasoning that just because a spell is dark that it is more intrinsically wrong than other spells. (rambkowalczyk   Jul 21, 2009 5:09 pm (#2448))

In my opinion, "more intrinsically wrong than other spells" is exactly what Dark Magic means.

we know that drawing blood is OK by them. (Vulture   Jul 21, 2009 10:34 am (#2444))  

This seems to be a conclusion based on the fact that Snape invented Sectumsempera. I am not convinced that any non-Slytherin student would not use it if they were attacked by bullies assuming they knew how to use the spell. (rambkowalczyk   Jul 21, 2009 5:09 pm (#2448))


Well, I'm not exactly basing my comment on Snape's invention, though I suppose Sectumsempra is related. My conclusion was based on the fact that Snape drew blood in self-defence against the Marauders. (As you know, many people in here disagree that that spell was Sectumsempra, so we can't be definite.) I went on to say that I think Snape is no worse than other Slytherins in his year _ therefore, it would seem that drawing blood is part of the Slytherin defence toolkit. As for non-Slytherins, I believe that they would not actively seek out the knowledge of how to draw blood in the first place, so using it in self-defence wouldn't arise.

Do we have an example (other than Pettigrew) of a non-Slytherin deliberately, and with full knowledge and intention, using Dark Magic in any of the books ? I can't recall one. (I think we all accept that Harry had no idea of what Sectumsempra would do when he used it.)

=========================================================

Solitaire, thanks for your post #2449 _ I would agree, and I would add that Draco & Co. knew that Harry had only survived the match where real Dementors appeared, because of Dumbledore; they had assured themselves that Dumbledore wasn't around this time.  

==========================================================

But that’s the whole point. Some things are called ‘Dark Magic’ without any explanation about why or how they differ from what the ‘good’ guys use. (mona amon   Jul 22, 2009 1:56 am (#2452))

Well, I guess JKR hasn't exactly given a definition which specifies what is and isn't Dark Magic. But I believe that she has given enough examples to let us form a definition.

Let's take an extreme example _ the curse on the Gaunt ring that withers Dumbledore's hand and that was due to take his life. I think we all agree that this is Dark Magic. I think we agree that Avada Kedavra, Cruciatus and Sectumsempra are Dark Magic.

We (I mean everyone) can probably argue forever on what the exact definition of "evil" is, but I would say that Dark spells are those which are clearly designed to do evil. Of course, it is possible to do evil with a non-Dark spell _ as Harry points out, if he had cast a Stunning spell at Stan Shunpike in Book 7, the effect would have been the same as Avada Kedavra, because they were hundreds of feet up on brooms.

I disagree that being in Slytherin was the main reason for Severus's use of that spell. If all other things including the Marauders attacking him two/four-on-one were equal, but he was in Ravenclaw or some other house, he'd still have used that spell, IMO. (mona amon   Jul 22, 2009 1:56 am (#2452))

Well, in my opinion, if he hadn't been in Slytherin, he wouldn't have learned such a spell in the first place. Of course, if he hadn't been in Slytherin, James would probably not have targeted him (or not as much !!).

I don't think their intention was to actually murder Harry. It's the same as what Sirius did to Severus. He wasn't trying to murder him. Yet he lured him into a situation where he could lose his life. ... Draco and co. dressing up as dementers to scare Harry into losing the match is very similar, IMO. (mona amon   Jul 22, 2009 1:56 am (#2452))

Well, I suppose one could choose to believe that they expected Lupin or McGonagall to save Harry as Dumbledore had in the previous match, once he fell off his broom. But I don't think there's any doubt that they intended him to fall , because that's what had happened with the real Dementors. If they expected Harry to be saved again, they were taking a real risk, because Dumbledore was the greatest wizard around, and there was no guarantee (as far as Malfoy knew) that Lupin or McGonagall could repeat his magic. (Though I suppose they could, in this case.)

As others have said, this really belongs on the Draco thread. The relevance here is that there was discussion of whether Slytherin House, in general, behaves more badly than other Houses _ and how this affects our judgement of Snape's blood-drawing defensive spell.

=============================================================

Hi, Potteraholic !! _ thanks for your post #2453. No offence taken at all !! _ and yes, I know you're not singling me out.

Actually, I don't read every last word of all the posts either; I don't have that amount of login time. I just skim through, copy the bits that strike me as what I want to reply to, and take it from there. I daresay I miss replying to some really well-written stuff (though I try not to); apologies to all concerned if so.

(Sometimes it also happens that replies I might give to particular points get said by others first, so I don't comment on those at all. That doesn't, of course, mean that I've ignored those posts _ far from it.)

Anyway, just to say that I'm sure your comments would be really valuable.

================================================

(Continued in next post; apologies for length ...)



Vulture - Jul 23, 2009 7:33 am (#2460 of 2988)  
(... continued from last post)

We have seen numerous uses of "cutting" spells. For example, Molly uses magic to cut vegtables in preparing a meal. These can't be classed as "dark." Likely, Molly could use the same spells to defend herself against an attacker. We have also seen Sectumsempra used against an attacker, and have designated that spell as "dark." What is the difference? (Soul Search   Jul 22, 2009 8:22 am (#2454))

I would say that Sectumsempra is an example of a Dark spell, because it is clearly designed to do evil. There is no ambiguity about what it does. (If Molly used it on food, the food would have to be no smaller than a roast ox, and even then the results would end up all over the kitchen !!)

===========================================================================

Actually, it just occurs to me that the above adds up to a pretty tight clamp-down on Dark Magic in Hogwarts in Harry's time, even for those who wanted to do it. But in Lily's time, we know that Snape's pals were doing Dark Magic, despite all Hogwarts's authorities could do. Conclusion ? _ proof positive that the Hogwarts environment was more warlike and chaotic during the First Voldemort War than in Harry's time. (Vulture   Jul 21, 2009 10:34 am (#2444))

Just occurs to me that, in effect, this seems like a 1-1 draw for Wynnleaf's and my arguments. Wynnleaf seems to be correct in saying that we don't see Slytherins (or anyone else) using Dark Magic in Harry's time until after Voldemort's return.

On the other hand, because we know that Slytherin students were definitely using Dark Magic in Lily's time, this would seem to be a clear difference between her time and Harry's, and therefore support for my belief that the Hogwarts atmosphere was more extreme and anarchic during the First Voldemort War.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:35 pm

Hieronymus Graubart - Jul 24, 2009 1:45 pm (#2461 of 2988)  
But anyway, don't lurk !! _ we need your ideas !!

Okay, Vulture, one idea refering to some of the last somehundred posts:

Isn’t the "nerve" to "resist" a gang of bullies (not staying out of sight whenever possible) something we would expect from Gryffindor, while "using all means" should include "telling the teachers" if there is the slightest chance that this may help to reach the goal?

I don’t believe that there really was a chance to have James expelled (when Sirius was not even expelled for the potential murderous prank), but if Snape missed this chance, he did so because he was too much of a Gryffindor?

I just don't have the time to read them (all posts on this thread) all thoroughly to understand each person's position well enough to comment. Potteraholic said it for me.

Plus it takes me a lot of time to translate my thoughts in a way which is sufficently precise to be understood by everybody. And i cannot afford to be unprecise and risk to be misunderstood (which seems to happen quite often on this thread ) because explaining again would cost me even more time.

This lurker is now going back to lurking mode.



Betelgeuse Black - Jul 25, 2009 8:18 am (#2462 of 2988)  
"Are you saying that a cutting spell = Sectumsempra? Any spell that cuts must be Sectumsempra because all that makes a spell Sectumsempra is that it cuts? Therefore the spell DD used in the cave must be Sectumsempra because it cuts? I suppose based on this assumption, the WW would have no cutting spells at all other than Sectumsempra." Wynnleaf #2388

I need to point out that DD does not use a spell to make “payment” in the cave.

ETA: Sorry if someone has pointed this out already. I have a hard time keeping up with this thread. “ ‘I rather think,” said Duimbledore, putting his uninjured hand inside his robes and drawing out a short silver knife of the kind Harry used to chop potion ingredients, ‘that we are required to make payment to pass.’ “ HBP Scholastic edition, ch26, pp559

Therefore, the argument about sectumsempra’s results and DD’s injury in the cave is nullified.

I would submit that since Snape invented sectumsempra, he knew the specific countercurse. I think this has been suggested already. If Snape had been available, he could have re-attached the ear damage he did. Magical curses seem to need a specific remedy to counteract the magic. The venom of the snake that attacked Arthur Weasley needed a specific antidote. Snape healed Draco with a specific countercurse and with dittany, he prevented scarring. DD healed his knife inflicted wound with ease since it was caused by non-magical means.

Betelgeuse



Solitaire - Jul 25, 2009 11:48 am (#2463 of 2988)  
Someone earlier mentioned Diffindo as the spell Snape must have used on James. However, this seems to be a severing charm or a charm for breaking things apart, as we have seen it used.

The kids were 16, or nearly so, at the end of their O.W.L. year. Snape did not appear to have spoken the cutting spell he used on James. Is it possible that it was a Sectumsempra! that was less effective simply because it was not spoken? Remember the spell that Dolohov cast on Hermione in the DoM. Apparently it was "less effective than it would have been had he been able to say the incantation aloud," (OP, Ch. 38) and Dolohov was an experienced Wizard and DE. As such, he must surely have performed nonverbal spells frequently. If not saying the incantation aloud affected the strength of his curse, might it not also have been so for a much younger and less experienced Snape? Just something to consider ...



Betelgeuse Black - Jul 27, 2009 12:09 pm (#2464 of 2988)  
Just my luck, I enter the conversation and everyone leaves the room.

I don't think Snape used Sectumsempra in SWM. As others have said, it would have left a scar at best. Snape, in this case, was more thoughtful than Draco when it came to dueling. Draco tried to Crucio Harry, but Snape didn't do that to James, even after being bullied.

Betelgeuse.



Solitaire - Jul 27, 2009 12:50 pm (#2465 of 2988)  
In this case, I do not think it was thoughtfulness. I think he was angry and upset--not to mention he had bubbles coming out of his mouth--and I suspect he was not quite as focused as he needed to be.



me and my shadow 813 - Jul 27, 2009 3:59 pm (#2466 of 2988)  
My two knuts is Yes, it was Sectumsempra. As someone pointed out, the verbal versus non-verbal spells, and what a verbal spell's strength is when used without a verbal incantation, is mentioned in OOTP (I think). We have seen this spell used with incantation and it had extremely strong effects. It might be true that, as Severus did not use the incantation, it was less effective and (if I recall correctly) as he was casting the spell from a less-than-optimum position, it would also affect its strength, etc.

It could have been another spell, and it's not that important to me. What is important to me is that Severus felt so threatened as to use such a spell. This is similar IMO to when Narcissa slashed Bella with a burning spell spontaneously at Spinner's End, and also when Severus slashed the bushes at the Yule Ball when under extreme stress after speaking with Karkaroff.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 27, 2009 11:50 pm (#2467 of 2988)  
"Severus felt so threatened as to use such a spell" (MAMS)

Good point. Severus obviously thought he was in true danger or he would not have used any spell that drew blood, whether it was Sectumsempra or not.



Vulture - Jul 28, 2009 9:06 am (#2468 of 2988)  
Isn’t the "nerve" to "resist" a gang of bullies (not staying out of sight whenever possible) something we would expect from Gryffindor ... (Hieronymus Graubart [/b]- Jul 24, 2009 1:45 pm (#2461))

Absolutely. No argument here !!

I don’t believe that there really was a chance to have James expelled (when Sirius was not even expelled for the potential murderous prank), but if Snape missed this chance, he did so because he was too much of a Gryffindor? (Hieronymus Graubart [/b]- Jul 24, 2009 1:45 pm (#2461))

We're never told in the books whether Snape reported James to the teachers, and I myself don't know if JKR has commented on it in interviews. Too much of a Gryffindor ? _ maybe on daring and nerve, but I don't think we could accuse young Severus of chivalry !! (Well, except for Lily: I suppose he would be chivalrous towards her, if it was called for.)

But anyway, it occurs to me _ if there was a chance to get James and the others in trouble, Snape might have been reluctant to take it, for the same reason that this is his 'worst' memory: the "Mudblood" insult to Lily.

As Snape would see it, in any explanations to a teacher, it would be his word against the Marauders', unless he could get a witness _ and the only likely witness would be Lily. After the "Mudblood" comment, that would be a tense encounter, and also, I'm not sure that Lily would be pleased about the teachers being involved: she's not Hermione.

Also, Snape would expect James to bring up the "Mudblood" part of the incident, and he (Snape) probably couldn't face going into it, especially in public.

===============================

I need to point out that DD does not use a spell to make “payment” in the cave. ... ...Therefore, the argument about sectumsempra’s results and DD’s injury in the cave is nullified. (Betelgeuse Black   Jul 25, 2009 8:18 am (#2462))

Well spotted !! Never noticed that.



Solitaire - Jul 28, 2009 1:13 pm (#2469 of 2988)  
if there was a chance to get James and the others in trouble, Snape might have been reluctant to take it

I do not see this at all. In fact, I see quite the opposite.



Vulture - Jul 28, 2009 3:58 pm (#2470 of 2988)  
I only meant, for the specific reason I explained in post #2468.

After all, we do have to explain the fact that James & Co., as far as we know, didn't get in trouble, or at least, huge trouble, over the "worst memory". I don't buy the idea of Snape being too 'brave' or 'independent' _ or at least, I can't imagine him passing up the chance to get his enemies in trouble. I don't buy the idea of McGonagall being too lax about punishment, if she had known.

So _ how is it that James ended up as Head Boy ? It looks as if the incident was never reported. If that's true, then I can only think that Snape had his own reasons for not reporting it, and the most likely ones seem to me to be those I outline in post #2468.



Vulture - Jul 28, 2009 4:10 pm (#2471 of 2988)  
I thought I had posted the stuff below _ it replies to earlier posts than my last few posts do _ but it seems I somehow missed it. (I've checked through the Outline quite carefully.) Hope no-one minds me putting it up now:

-------------------------------------------

Because Snape thought all of the marauders were sneaking out each month, he may not have guessed that Lupin was a werewolf ... (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 6:44 am (#2413))

I believe it's unlikely that he didn't guess, given his rhetorical question "Every month at the full moon ?"

Vulture was, as I understood it, trying to say that he thought Slytherins in Snape's time, given a similar attack on Marauders, would do worse things than the Marauders did. That is to say, they'd use darker spells, more harmful hexes and jinxes, etc. He was making this comment relating to young Snape's use of a spell (whatever it was) that drew blood in the Worst Memory scene. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 11:22 am (#2418))

I'm not particularly focussing on Snape's drawing blood _ except to say that (in my opinion) if the positions were reversed, James would not defend himself with a spell that drew blood or did Dark Magic, even if he knew them, no matter what the provocation.

This is not to focus on Snape individually _ any Slytherin is prepared to use similar methods (though not all are as good at magic as Snape). Of course, in the context of this particular incident , the manner of Snape's feeble self-defence matters far far less, morally speaking, than the fact that James and Sirius are leading a cowardly mob attack on one person for no reason. Nor does what an equivalent group of Slytherins would do to one Gryffindor, if the positions were reversed, justify what James & Co. do to Snape.

But none of this alters my belief that Slytherin is different (to put it mildly) from the other Houses in how they think, feel, and act, and in their approach to matters of right and wrong. It's not simply about being "the nasty House" _ that's how we view them after Book 1, but in Book 2 we learn that there's more to it than that: in my view, there has been a curse on Slytherin House ever since Salazar Slytherin's departure. In Book 1, Ron doesn't want to be in Slytherin because of how his family thinks, because of the rivalry, and Slytherin's reputation for Dark wizards _ but that's about it. When he learns the full truth about Salazar in Book 2 his reaction is much stronger _ an appalled and fearful "I wouldn't be in his House if you paid me".

Slytherin House's way of seeing their world is similar to the Nazis in our world _ they see themselves as superior, and "beyond good and evil" in the normal sense. Of course, young Slytherins in Hogwarts have not consciously developed the ideology as fully as their parents, but for the most part, they seem to be willing learners. Even in the most trivial incidents, this impacts on their thoughts and acts _ and their ethics of duelling.

In my opinion, if a group of Slytherins got a Marauder on his own (particularly Sirius, who is more bitter than most about Slytherin House, and would be regarded by them as a special kind of traitor), I firmly believe that Levicorpus or the soap-in-the-mouth spells would seem like birthday presents compared to what the Slytherins would dish out.

Is Snape an exception to all this ? _ I would like everyone to think about that question, because I've a feeling (I could be wrong) that what side any of you take on most of the debates/arguments on this thread come down to whether you answer "Yes" or "No" to it.

My answer would be "No" as regards young Snape, and 80%-No as regards the adult Snape. I know that many will say that his spying for Dumbledore makes him a 100% exception as an adult, but I don't agree, because I don't think it's that simple.

What happens to Snape is that, because of Lily's death, he is brought up against a terrible choice (to join Dumbledore or not) _ and whichever he chooses, he can never be the same person as before. As we know, he chooses Dumbledore's side, but if he had not _ if he had remained as a Death Eater, swallowed his grief, and accepted his master's right to slaughter the woman Snape loved _ that choice, too, would have altered his remaining life.

But the fact that Snape chooses the right side does not, and cannot, change overnight the way he thinks, feels, and believes. He is still a Slytherin, he still views Muggles and Muggle-born wizards and witches as inferior (though we get a hint in Book 7 that his prejudices have faded), and he is still far more comfortable, on a personal level, with the people of the side he's now fighting against , than those of the side he's fighting for.

None of this matters to the war , because Snape has made, and keeps making, a deliberate choice to put aside all his personal inclinations (except of course, his feeling for Lily) when carrying out Dumbledore's orders. But it does matter to any assessment of his personality.

(As for the two Gryffinor attacks on the train _ in Book 4, the context was Draco jeering at the appalling suffering Harry had just endured in the graveyard, from (among others) Draco's dad. In Book 5, it's clearly stated that Draco and other Slytherins tried to ambush Harry on his own _ I don't think they were looking for his autograph. The only reason the ambush didn't succeed was because DA members in a compartment nearby saw what was happening and leapt to Harry's defence.)

I'm assuming that back in Snape and the Marauder's time, the Slytherins in that time weren't using any worse spells, any more Dark magic in attacks on other students than was going on during Harry's time.

Therefore, we shouldn't, in my opinion, look back at the Marauder and Snape period and assume that the Slytherins of that time, if attacking James and his friends, would be use any worse spells, hexes, or dark magic than they do during Harry's time. And in Harry's time all of the Houses tend to use the same basic line up of jinxes and hexes when fighting each other. (wynnleaf   Jul 18, 2009 11:22 am (#2418))


Firstly, we know that Snape was into the Dark Arts and James hated them _ though as Harry rightly says, that doesn't excuse what he did in the Worst Memory scene. We know that Avery and Mulciber use Dark Magic because Lily has a go at Snape about it _ and she points out that, whatever can be said against the Marauders, they don't use Dark Magic.

Now, I happen to believe that the Slytherins are quite comfortable with the idea of using Dark Magic, so by definition, the spells they use will tend to be worse than those of other Houses. I also believe that Slytherins of Snape's time behaved worse than Slytherins in Harry's first 4 years (i.e. before Voldemort's return), simply because I believe that all Houses tended to take the gloves off more in the First Voldemort War than their equivalents did in Harry's first 4 years. But in each period, I believe Slytherin House was worse than the rest.



Solitaire - Jul 28, 2009 5:31 pm (#2472 of 2988)  
I suppose I do believe the Slytherins in Snape's time were probably worse, maybe because of the times. For starters, Bella, the Lestrange brothers, and Lucius were still there when Snape was at Hogwarts. As much as I detest Flint, Crabbe, and Goyle, I do not think they are smart enough to have been quite as evil as their DE forebears.

Parkinson is a pill, to be sure, as is illustrated by her part in the Inquisitorial Squad and her behavior in DH. Zabini is arrogant and Nott seems to be sympathetic to Draco in HBP. However, we never see these two boys involved in any of the antics of Draco & Co. Either they are very discreet, or they have just chosen not to get involved in that sort of nonsense.



Honour - Jul 29, 2009 3:28 am (#2473 of 2988)  
Wow! Vulture that was some read, thank you. Talk about food for thought! My daughter and I really enjoyed reading your posts.

We personally feel that even though Severus did initially do wrong as a young death eater that he more than made up for his sins in the 16 years that he was DD's man on the outside on the inside. 16 years time served to pay for his mistake of delivering a half heard prophesy to Voldermort. Even though some conveniently forget that it was Wormtail who told Voldermort of the Potter's whereabouts.

Severus served a longer sentence than Sirius, another who paid for a crime he did not perpetrate, even Regulus another teen who initially made the wrong choice by becoming a death eater but who came right at the end, and we accept him as a fallen hero, so why not Severus? Harry forgave him.

Dumbledore said something to the effect that it was the choices we made ... Severus made a choice to side with DD and he didn't renege on that deal. Severus may not have been all sweetness and light,and butterflies and cup-cakes but he was a Slytherin and proud to be one, he never claimed to be anything but.

The whole discussion on Slytherins tendencies to embrace the dark arts no matter the consequences is all part and parcel of their characteristics, I wouldn't go so far as saying that it is genetic for we have a couple of examples to the contrary, i.e. Sirius Black, and eventually Regulus, Andromeda, Slughorn, and of course there was Pettigrew for the opposite camp, but I find that those Slytherins who truly fought against their natural instincts to be selfish, to run, to not allow the evil to envelop them were infact the real bravehearts of the piece. I think someone (I'm sorry that I can't remember your name!) had already mentioned that there were some Slytherins who exhibited this Gryfindor characteristic and my daughter and I agree with you.



Solitaire - Jul 29, 2009 8:26 am (#2474 of 2988)  
some conveniently forget that it was Wormtail who told Voldermort of the Potter's whereabouts

Who could ever "conveniently forget" that act of treachery? I think the reason it is not discussed on this thread is that it is Peter's treachery, and it is discussed on his and the Marauders' threads. This is Snape's thread.

ETA: Sorry ... I can't find the Marauders' thread, although I was fairly sure one used to exist. I guess it was either munched or archived in a way that I can't locate it.



Honour - Jul 29, 2009 8:34 pm (#2475 of 2988)  
Thank you Solitaire for the timely reminder Smile

I'm sorry Hieronymus Graubart that I could not recall your name Sad

"If there was a chance to get James and the others in trouble, Snape might have been reluctanct to take it"

I do not see this at all. Infact, I see quite the opposite.

Solitaire


Whereas I feel that JKR got Severus' reaction or non-reaction to the bullying by the Marauders exactly right.

Let's play "what if" shall we? What if Severus told for example his head of house about being bullied? Just in the re-telling of the story -"worst memory and all"- Severus would be humiliated again because he probably would have been told that he should have been able to defend himself better? As many have said, that Slytherins were suppose to know a lot more about the Dark Arts and weren't adverse to use them.

Severus himself had a reputation about knowing more about the Dark Arts than your average Hogworts student as well, and if all's fair in love and war, why didn't he trot out examples for us? Mayhaps as it is with many teenagers who "have a reputation" for something or another, that maybe Severus' was designed to give the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks a bit of mystery and seem more intimidating so that maybe, just maybe Severus' "dark reputation" could be his shield to hide behind.

Now I'm not saying that Severus didn't have knowledge about the dark arts, just that initially as an 11 year old boy, with a witch mother and what seemed like an abusive muggle father and being witness to his father's behaviour all may even have sowen the seed to his creating such a reputation.

I have witnessed also with children that they get themselves into situations that they neither have the skills nor the wherewithall to get themselves out of and possibly this could have also contributed to Severus' cultivated reputation.

Having an abusive muggle father would not have endeared muggles in general to Severus either. I guess what I am trying to say that rather than Severus being born bad, raised badly, selected into the "bad" house at school that maybe if one person had shown him proper friendship, non judgemental friendship, and by example taught Severus different ways to react then that maybe Severus could have grown up at least a little less bitter.

Just one more thing and I'll probably get told to put this onto another thread, but, when Harry was bullied/tortured by Umbridge, he didn't report the incidents to his head either, but lucky Harry had friends who supported him, even if at the time he didn't want it.



Solitaire - Jul 29, 2009 10:44 pm (#2476 of 2988)  
children ... get themselves into situations that they neither have the skills nor the wherewithall to get themselves out of and possibly this could have also contributed to Severus' cultivated reputation

I would say this is a fair assessment. Also, I will concede that if Snape's hand flew up every time a question was asked in DADA (much like Hermione's always does), it is possible for him to have gotten the DA rep at an early age. Still, there has to be a reason for his being described as "up to his eyeballs in the Dark Arts" and his knowing more jinxes and curses when entered Hogwarts than most 7th year kids. How did he get that rep? If he truly knew all of those curses and jinxes, who taught him?

I do not think Snape was "born bad." He genuinely cared for Lily from an early age. He did, however, make a series of bad choices with regard to friends and actions. **sigh**



severusisn'tevil - Jul 30, 2009 12:10 am (#2477 of 2988)  
"paid for 16 years"

Good point, Honour.

And I don't think he was born bad either. But one's childhood tends to warp one. And it's a good question as to who taught Severus. His mother? If she knew hexes and so on, would she have defended herself with them? Or did she suffer from battered woman's syndrome? And why would she teach her ten and eleven-year-old son Dark Magic?



Solitaire - Jul 30, 2009 12:55 am (#2478 of 2988)  
The idea of Snape knowing those curses and jinxes when he arrived at Hogwarts interests me. Is it possible he had a grandfather or uncle (someone like Sirius Black's father) we have not met? I could see one of his mother's anti-Muggle siblings or other relatives "coaching" him a bit ... couldn't you?



Honour - Jul 30, 2009 2:51 am (#2479 of 2988)  
No, it seems based on the only evidence we have been given by JKR, it was a muggle, Pa Snape who was hurting the family and if, and this is a big if Mom Snape did teach her son some dark art magic maybe to even protect him from said father would this have been such a bad thing? If she seems to have been unable to get herself and her son away safely maybe this was the next best thing?

It seems strange that there is no mention of Mom Snape other than Severus' memory that we glimpse through Harry, and this Severus was only a child then.

When we see Severus at the time that he meets Lily he has an air of unkemptness (is this a word?) about him, which translates to me that no one cared enough for him to fix his clothing, teach him how to behave, how to act, so I'm thinking that his Mom had either left or was dead.

This could also explain the grey underwear. Yes I know that magic could have done the laundry, but as was proved in Merope's case, if one isn't taught, one doesn't know how, and I doubt if the Snapes could afford a house-elf.

We see when we visit his home via Narcissa and Bella that he has many books, maybe he learnt some magic there. Maybe he learnt the dark arts the hard way, by being a victim of it.

If the Marauders thought Severus was an easy target, who's to say others didn't think the same?



PeskyPixie - Jul 30, 2009 8:55 am (#2480 of 2988)  
Well, at Hogwarts there are house-elves to do the laundry. Perhaps Severus didn't know when to chuck his shorts into the Slytherin hamper? Anyhow, I had assumed that the grey underpants were old more than anything else.

I don't buy that Snape is an 'easy target' for the Marauders. Perhaps he was on the day of his DADA O.W.L., however, if anything, Snape seems to be the one kid who always stands up to the Marauders. I feel that to say otherwise takes away from his character.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:38 pm

Solitaire - Jul 30, 2009 9:34 am (#2481 of 2988)  
I had assumed that the grey underpants were old more than anything else.

Or perhaps other kids wore jeans or trousers under their robes ... and he was the exception? If Levicorpus! was as popular a spell as Lupin seems to imply, I think I might have wanted to wear something besides bloomers or other undies under my robe! Or could this have been the first time Snape's spell had been used on him rather than by him? Just speculating ...

We certainly know that Kreacher was able to get his own dingy garment snowy white, once his attitude had changed! The House Elves at Hogwarts seem positive enough, so it's hard to explain it that way. Then again, Lily told him to wash his pants, so maybe they were responsible for their own laundry.



me and my shadow 813 - Jul 30, 2009 10:09 am (#2482 of 2988)  
Ugh, this is a grievous topic. Yes, I think it is possible that since Severus did not have good hygiene, he also did not know that people have more than one pair of knickers or should change them each day. This does go back to Eileen and her inability to invest time in teaching and taking care of her child IMO, but I don't know I'm up for that discussion again.  



Solitaire - Jul 30, 2009 10:53 am (#2483 of 2988)  
I don't really think we need to re-hash it, either, Shadow. It is rather a grim topic.



severusisn'tevil - Jul 30, 2009 12:12 pm (#2484 of 2988)  
So what do we talk about instead? It's been mostly my experience that the conversations proceed organically. Except that this one dead-ended.



Solitaire - Jul 30, 2009 2:35 pm (#2485 of 2988)  
I have no doubt we will be off and running shortly! I think we are just taking a breather ...



Honour - Jul 30, 2009 6:39 pm (#2486 of 2988)  
Peskie Pixie, I didn't mean to imply that Severus was gutless, I too believe that he would have stood up for himself, but rather that because he seemed to be portrayed as a loner that these are the types of folk bullies will choose to pick on.

I have been away from Lexicon for a couple of years, you know how it is life gets in the way of "fun", so I probably missed the whole discussion on Eileen Prince the first time around, sorry to have bought up an all ready discussed thread guys. :0



Solitaire - Jul 30, 2009 7:11 pm (#2487 of 2988)  
Honour, if you're interested, Eileen Prince has a whole thread where some pretty interesting theories are discussed ... including MPISM! It hasn't been visited in a while, but maybe we should resurrect it!  



me and my shadow 813 - Jul 30, 2009 8:07 pm (#2488 of 2988)  
Regarding Eileen, some of the discussion was whether or not she was too preoccupied/abused to take care of her child. We have little to go on, so there are many speculations and discord on what might have occurred in HP land.

IMO there are basic stances to establish, one being whether or not you believe that JKR gave us "all the information we need" to make an assessment. We all read things differently of course, so there is the factor of if you believe that what she gave us is indicative of neglect, or how you read between the lines, etc.

Such examples would be Pensieve memories referred to:

-- OOTP: a) woman(Eileen) being dominated by hooked-nose man (Tobias?); b)Severus with bad hygiene and grey undies in Worst Memory.

-- DH: a)a very young Severus wearing clothes even Harry in his experience considers pathetic; b)general impression of neglect "according to Harry", as well as direct 'quoted' feelings from Severus himself (mostly regarding the arguing between his parents and thus his eagerness to get to Hogwarts/WW).



Vulture - Jul 31, 2009 11:24 am (#2489 of 2988)  
Hi,Honour: Forgot to say _ thanks very much for your kind words in post #2473. Glad you enjoyed what I'd written.

(Sorry for interrupting the rest of ye !!)



Honour - Aug 1, 2009 4:19 am (#2490 of 2988)  
Hi there Vulture, it was our pleasure Smile

Guys talking about Eileen Prince? Not talking about Eileen Prince? er... in regards to Severus of course, yes? No? Smile

Might just wonder over to the Eileen Prince thread, thanks Solitaire:)



Solitaire - Aug 1, 2009 5:34 am (#2491 of 2988)  
We haven't really talked about Eileen for a while. It might be fun to revive her thread again!



PeskyPixie - Aug 2, 2009 5:59 pm (#2492 of 2988)  
I wonder how much of Dumbledore's past Snape knew about. Harry goes through his whole period of disillusionment after the publication of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. I wonder if, up at Hogwarts, Snape experiences some version of the same thing.  



PeskyPixie - Aug 3, 2009 8:23 am (#2493 of 2988)  
I remember how JKR once said that in some ways Snape is more culpable than Voldemort because he has known love, whereas Voldemort never has.

I don't completely agree with this. From what we are shown, Severus and Tom are very different children. Both spend their early childhoods without loving parents/guardians to nurture them. However, despite his many flaws, Severus thirsts for love even before he has known it, and I feel that it is this trait which sets him apart from Tom Riddle.



Honour - Aug 4, 2009 1:52 am (#2494 of 2988)  
I don't agree with JKR's statement either PeskyPixie, but for another reason.

I think that what Severus felt for Lily initailly was probably a kinship because they were both of the magical world, then attraction which graduated to a kind of "puppy dog" relationship, no that's not entirely fair, there was a friendship between them but Severus gave me the impression that he worked hard to keep the relationship exclusive.

Even after it became clear that Lily and James were a couple Severus still secretly coverted Lily.

Even years later when Dumbledore confessed to Severus that their combined efforts to keep Harry alive was so that Harry could die at a specific time, Severus was incredulous I think with the lengths that Dumbledore took to manipulate Harry and that he Severus had taken part in presenting Lily's son on a platter to Voldermort. It was all about Lily.

IMO it is only love if the feeling is returned, if not then it is friendship at one end of the scale and obsession at the other.

It seems JKR was determined to make Severus the "bad-guy" and keep him the bad guy. Yet as I have said previously he paid for his mistake, and there must have been some remorse on his part or he would not have assisted Dumbledore. As far as I could understand Voldermort did not regret anything he did in the name of "world domination"! But then, that's just my opinion? : )



Vulture - Aug 4, 2009 6:23 am (#2495 of 2988)  
It seems JKR was determined to make Severus the "bad-guy" and keep him the bad guy. (Honour   Aug 4, 2009 1:52 am (#2494))

But she kept introducing all these aspects which went against the bad-guy image. And she was aware of all the furious arguments about him _ not least on the Lexicon, which she once said was handy for her in checking data from her early books. (I'm a bit puzzled about that, but anyway.) Yet she never commented clearly on these arguments, one way or the other.



rambkowalczyk - Aug 4, 2009 8:02 am (#2496 of 2988)  
It seems JKR was determined to make Severus the "bad-guy" and keep him the bad guy. (Honour [/b]- Aug 4, 2009 1:52 am (#2494

Not sure if I agree totally. She was determined (and succeeded) to make Snape ambiguous as far as what side he was on. Snape was also made unlikable and yet unlike Umbridge, or Skeeter, she attempted to make him understandable.



Honour - Aug 5, 2009 5:19 am (#2497 of 2988)  
Very well put rambkowalczyk, very well put indeed! : )



severusisn'tevil - Aug 5, 2009 10:17 am (#2498 of 2988)  
I don't agree with JKR's claim, either. She is also quoted somewhere as having said that she loves Severus for being so "delightfully nasty." I can't argue that his demeanor is inviting or that such an ambiguous character would not be fun to write but I agree that she wants us to "keep him the bad guy." I mean, she gives him a tragic, ultimately heroic arc, and then she says that in some ways, Severus was worse than Voldemort. I don't figure how she works it out. Voldemort killed, maimed, tortured and manipulated. And he enjoyed it thoroughly. How many times does he laugh at his victims or taunt them as they stare death in the face? He also scorns love completely. We are never shown even a glimpse of him feeling pangs of loss over never having had a real friend or positive connection (although I've wondered about Bellatrix---but that's irrelevant). He is not portrayed as being miserable with the state of things. And while I wouldn't call it happiness, exactly, LV probably would.

And Honour, with respect, are you asserting that unrequited love is only ever either friendship or obsession? Is it impossible to love without being loved in return? Your comment seemed curious.



Dryleaves - Aug 5, 2009 10:30 am (#2499 of 2988)  
Did she ever say he was worse than Voldemort? I think she said more culpable (but I'm not sure), and I suppose you could ask the question who is to blame the most: the one who knows love and still chooses the dark path or the one who doesn't understand it at all and makes the same choice? I think she might mean that he is more culpable than Voldemort in this particular choice, because of the difference between them. But of course I don't know what she really meant...  And anyway, Snape makes other choices later.



rambkowalczyk - Aug 5, 2009 10:48 am (#2500 of 2988)  
by more culpable, I think she means that Snape knew Death Eaters targeted Muggleborns and Muggles. Unlike Bella or Draco who probably never even met a Muggle or Muggleborn (at least until they attended Hogwarts), Severus actually knew of many and in the case of Lily formed a friendship.

Voldemort had no friends neither Purebloods or anyone else. Also no one really loved or cared for Tom when he was younger which made him more sociopathic. Snape although neglected did experience love from his parents.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 5, 2009 11:08 am (#2501 of 2988)  
Respectfully, rambkowalczyk, how do we know his parents loved him? Other than the hope that all parents love their children?



Solitaire - Aug 5, 2009 4:55 pm (#2502 of 2988)  
I think the love she talked about was the love Lily had given Snape over the years, as a caring friend. We know she had stood up for and defended him over the years; this comes out in The Prince's Tale.

I remember when I watched PoA the first time. I was struck by something Remus said to Harry about Lily--in that conversation they have on the bridge when Harry stays behind during the first trip to Hogsmeade--how she had the gift of seeing something special, or beautiful, in others, especially those who could not see it in themselves. I'd always assumed he was talking about himself, but I now wonder whether he might not have been talking about her friendship with Snape.

Okay, I just popped in my DVD and rewatched that scene. It does sound as if Remus is talking about himself, and it seems as if Lily might have known about his "furry little problem." But I also believe he could be referring to Snape, as well.



rambkowalczyk - Aug 5, 2009 6:51 pm (#2503 of 2988)  
Respectfully, rambkowalczyk, how do we know his parents loved him?

granted in the fifth book Snape is described as a plant in need of light.

When I say Snape's parents loved him, I mean that they had more love than Voldemort's parents.

Eileen Prince didn't 'die of despair' after giving birth to him.



Julia H. - Aug 6, 2009 4:50 am (#2504 of 2988)  
After a long absence, I have read a lot of posts now - here are a few comments, and sorry if the topics are only loosely connected:

I'm not sure what makes it dark in this particular use. (Julia H. [/b]- Jul 17, 2009 4:32 am (#2389))

Snape himself says that Sectumsempra is Dark Magic, in Book 6. Whether or not you believe that what he used in the Worst Memory was Sectumsempra _ well, see what I said just above. (Vulture)


I know what Snape says about Sectumsempra, and I can see why it is dark when it is used in the HBP year and the DH year - but the one used in the Worst Memory simply does not have the same effect. If it is the effect that makes a spell dark, then I don't see how a Sectumsempra that does not stop the attacked person from laughing in the next moment and does not leave a scar can be considered dark in the same way as the spell used by Harry in HBP and by Snape in DH. Perhaps it was Sectumsempra but without that really harmful element that would make it dark... I don't know.

The suggestion that Snape could not fully hit the target is interesting, but I don't see that it would prove it was dark. After all, Snape's spell did hit James on the face. (Snape did not miss James in the way he later missed the DE.) Now, even if it was just a small cut (unlike the ones Draco got in HBP), the dark quality of that small cut could have been indicated by something (like an unhealing scar, for example) - otherwise I don't know what we should mean by "dark" in this case.

I agree with those who say that "dark" is never exactly defined in the books. Snape may have been the first to draw blood in the incident, but- since it happened in self-defence - I (personally) don't see it as any more violent than the Marauders' actions, who did not draw blood, but gang-attacked someone, initiating the whole incident, together tortured a disarmed person while he was unable to defend himself, among other things, choking him with those bubbles. If Snape had choked to his death, would it be a comfort to know that it happened without drawing blood and without the use of dark magic?

We assume that James was able to draw the line somewhere - but did Snape know where that line was? BTW, it seems to me that James did go a tad further with Levicorpus than what I suppose the usual "funny" use of the spell could be among students. Remember his last sentence