Severus Snape

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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:53 pm

Solitaire - Aug 14, 2009 10:58 am (#2581 of 2988)
I think a lot of things contributed to that theory. If you're interested, it is Eileen Prince's thread. If you haven't read any of the thread, the beginning, at least, should be interesting. It isn't as long as some threads, and it's worth perusing.



Steve Newton - Aug 14, 2009 2:07 pm (#2582 of 2988)
Well, part of the theory was that Irma Pince is an anagram of I am Prince.



Solitaire - Aug 14, 2009 4:15 pm (#2583 of 2988)
As I say, I still cling to that theory. After all, Jo hasn't yet debunked it ... has she?



PeskyPixie - Aug 15, 2009 4:29 pm (#2584 of 2988)
I was just on the Slughorn thread and read some things which I must respond to here.

Spinners End is the first chapter where I acknowledged Snape as a man ... you know, as opposed to a teacher and a super-spy. I remember being quite surprised by his tenderness towards a woman when I first read it (in the days prior to our knowledge of his unrequited romance as a young man - Snape and romance still make me snicker like an idiot ). Anyhow, I wonder whether the entire thing was an act, or whether he was somewhat emotionally involved? Narcissa (for all her nastiness and selfishness) is vaguely similar to Lily in her desperation and willingness to sacrifice everything and risk the Dark Lord's displeasure, in order to protect her son.

"one of the irritating things about old teachers... that they never quite forget their charges' youthful beginnings."

Yes, I got this feeling as well when I read Snape's interactions with the other teachers (not only Slughorn, but McGonagall and Dumbledore). Just the way they talk to him give away the fact that he is not only much younger than them, but that he interacted with them as a child. I don't really see this with Lupin, though. Perhaps because Snape only really left Hogwarts for three or four years before returning to teach as a young adult? He pretty much grew up with these 'adults' since the age of eleven. By the time the timeframe of the books begins he is a thirty-one year old kid living in his parents' basement dungeon.



Solitaire - Aug 15, 2009 6:31 pm (#2585 of 2988)
Narcissa (for all her nastiness and selfishness) is vaguely similar to Lily in her desperation and willingness to sacrifice everything and risk the Dark Lord's displeasure, in order to protect her son.

Actually, I see Narcissa as willing to sacrifice Snape more than herself. I do agree that she was desperate, but she looked outside herself to get the job done. Lily placed herself between Voldemort and Harry ... very different from my perspective. I don't really see Narcissa as putting herself in significant danger until she helps Harry in the forest. JM2K, as I say ...

Do you really see Sluggy and McGonagall as treating Snape other than a peer ... well, before the AK? I never have. Except for the remark to Snape at the Christmas party, I don't recall him interacting much with Snape ... but then, my brain is a bit foggy these days. McGonagall has always seemed (to me) to respect Snape and treat him as a peer ... until DH. Of course, her feelings change completely then.

BTW, Snape's gentle and caring behavior to Narcissa at Spinner's End does suggest to me that he genuinely cares for her as a friend. Now, however, since we know Snape to be a consummate actor, maybe he loathes her as much as he appears to loathe Bella.



PeskyPixie - Aug 15, 2009 7:05 pm (#2586 of 2988)
"Actually, I see Narcissa as willing to sacrifice Snape more than herself."

Exactly. This is why I said 'vaguely similar'. Narcissa is quite willing to throw others under the bus before risking any family members.

Regarding the closeness between the Malfoys and Snape, from what we witness at Spinners End, as well as the little references thrown in throughout the series (e.g. Draco's kissing up, Lucius vouching for Snape's character to Umbridge, the memory of Lucius the prefect patting Snape the child on the back), there seems to be a pretty genuine relationship there. I could see private interactions between the family and Snape. Then again, they're all Death Eaters (at some point, to some degree). Who knows what they're really thinking!

"Do you really see Sluggy and McGonagall as treating Snape other than a peer ..."

Yes, and Dumbledore too. Just the way in which McGonagall and Dumbledore occasionally reprimand him (e.g. "Thank you, Severus ..."; "That will do, Severus ..."; "Really, Severus ... ") has always given me the feeling that they subconsciously still see him as a kid. Of course, they respect him and his abilities, but at times (particularly when he's being childishly vindictive) you can just tell that they have experienced him as a kid. I don't see it as condescending. I'm sure that others didn't interpret these instances in this way, but I did.



Solitaire - Aug 15, 2009 9:08 pm (#2587 of 2988)
I've always been treated as a peer in my work--both as a teacher and in the corporate world--even by people 20+ years older than I am. Even my former teachers have always treated me as a peer since I've been a teacher! This is kind of funny, considering I'm barely 5 ft. 1 in. tall and was carded for buying a bottle of wine until I was 40! However, it may be why I have never questioned whether Snape was seen as a peer. I've just assumed it!

I do agree that Dumbledore has frequently had to remind Snape of certain things, and he does so by making references to Snape's past.



Dryleaves - Aug 16, 2009 2:04 am (#2588 of 2988)
I'm really curious about the relationship between Snape and the Malfoys. I, too, could see private interactions between them.

Narcissa finds her way to Spinner's End through the maze of houses, so she seems to know where he lives. I often wonder why the posh, pure-blood Malfoys accept half-blood, working-class Snape and his house in a poor, Muggle neighbourhood? It also seem to me as if the Malfoys are often using Snape, but though Lucius has lost his position with Voldemort, Narcissa comes to Snape to ask for help, actually hoping that he will help, and trusting that he will not turn her in. She seems pretty certain of his loyalty.

And what do Snape think of the Malfoys? He treats Draco as a favourite from the very beginning. He starts (or something like that) when Harry tells that Lucius was present at the graveyard in Little Hangleton, as if this fact concerns him in one way or another. He is treaing Narcissa in a very gentle way at Spinner's End, but he also has other reasons for doing that, considering what he and DD have already been discussing.

So, is it a matter of genuine friendship or of mutual exploitation, or something in between, or maybe something else?

I think it has been mentioned here (or somewhere else) that working-class boy Snape changes his way of speaking and sounds more like Lucius. I have also seen somewhere that there are similarities between DD's way of talking and Snape's, suggesting that they spend quite a lot of time together. Or maybe it's just that Snape has been reading too much?



legolas returns - Aug 16, 2009 5:00 am (#2589 of 2988)
I got the impression that being rich/pure blood and donating a lot of money to good causes gave you a lot of power and influence. The Malfoy family had pots of money. I think that Snape thought it a good idea to generally keep on the good side of someone like that.

I have often wondered how Snape managed to "get away with" his relationship with Lily when she would clearly be recognised as a muggle born.

When Snape was in 1st year Malfoy was already a prefect so he must have been a 5th year or older. I am not saying that Snape probably sucked up to Malfoy but he probably showed him respect and listened to what he had to say.

I guess that Snape took part with the rest of Slytherin, never really got caught doing anything wrong, knew how to behave in the correct way in each situation and was muggle hating. As such he would get protection from Malfoy and others in his house. After he stopped being friends with Lily he probably got more "nasty". His muggle hatingness would possibly render the fact that he was halfblood fairly irrelevant. By later becoming a death eater he confirmed that he was "the right sort".

When Voldemort disappered for the first time Dumbledore was head. Malfoy was desperate to get rid of him because of his pro muggle influence. Of all the teachers Snape was most likely to change the school to something more acceptable in Malfoys eyes. The former association through the death eater would mean that he would think that he could influence things further. Malfoy was on the board of govenors so that he could try and get Dumbledore removed.

There seemed to be a good deal of rivalry in the Death Eaters. I don't think that there was real friendship. In the outside world I think that Malfoy probably helped boost Snapes position so that they had a Death Eater on site and in the best position possible. This probably was done because it was Voldemorts wishes.

Didn't Snape become the so called "closest" to Voldemort by dispatching Dumbledore. I think Narcissa was so desperate to help Draco. She was not a death eater herself but I think she might have been banking on her husbands prior "influence" over Snapes career.

So in summary I think that Snape/Malfoys helped each other out when it could benefit their end aims.



Soul Search - Aug 16, 2009 9:51 am (#2590 of 2988)
I tend to agree with the previous interpretations of Narcissa's character except for her actions at the World Cup. Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco were in the top box during the game, but Draco was alone in the forest when the Death Eaters went berserk. So, Lucius and Narcissa were among those hooded Death Eaters causing havoc and tormenting the muggles. They left Draco on his own, knowing there would be danger brewing, and joined in all the fun.

I conclude Narcissa was a true Death Eater and she placed being a Death Eater above the safety of her son. I have to keep this in mind when evaluating her interactions with Snape in Spinner's End. I also have to keep in mind that Narcissa is Bellatrix's sister; both Death Eaters, so they may be much alike.

JKR presents Narcissa in much the same way she develops Snape: with considerable ambiguity.



Solitaire - Aug 16, 2009 10:24 am (#2591 of 2988)
If she was a DE, she certainly would not be the first to become disillusioned (not the spell) with Voldemort. She would have been in good company: Regulus and Snape, at least.



Solitaire - Aug 16, 2009 12:27 pm (#2592 of 2988)
Pesky, this is a response to your post over on the Pensive thread, which was a response to my post. Please keep in mind that the post you responded to today was made back in January, and there were other things happening on other threads which, if I remember properly, prompted my response.

First, I was not declining anything, nor had I told Mona not to post. That would be not only foolish but presumptuous. At the very least, I certainly think everyone should have a chance to have his or her say. It does not matter if I or anyone else agree with anyone. Everyone has a right to his or her feelings, and everyone has a right to post them, as long as they are not offensive. More importantly, however, I have no right or authority to tell anyone not to do anything. I'm just a member like everyone else.

Let me say that I believe the post in question was the result of a kind of brouhaha that had been taking place over on the Snape thread. (I know ... hard to believe, isn't it? ) I obviously felt, at the time of the post, that I had read everything everyone had to say and still could not understand how anyone could find the character of Snape likable. I do admit that he did help Harry, in the end. I also admit that he was a faithful Order member. However, I look at the nasty things he has said and done to children, and they will always make it impossible for me to like him. I guess I find his treatment of kids throughout most of the books so hateful that I can't wrap my head around how anyone could find someone who exhibits that behavior likable or endearing. I have come to see that some are able to push that out of the way and just look at Snape apart from his treatment of others. I have been unable to do that, probably because I am a teacher who sees the effects of derisive comments on children as part of my job.

Again, as I say, I will read what people say, but, like most everyone else who has strong feelings about Snape--either positive or negative--I find it hard to believe I could change my mind about this issue. That's all.



PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 12:41 pm (#2593 of 2988)
Soli, in the little exchange that I read, you said that an explanation from mona was not necessary because you were aware of the arguments presented by Snapophiles and that you were not about to change your opinion of Snape.

Of course, you did not tell mona not to post. My apologies if that is what my post implies.

Still, I was genuinely confused as to why you felt that an explanation of the pro-Snape argument would make you feel pressured about your opinion. That was my very point. That although my opinion is different from yours, I hope you never feel that if I explain it that I want you to change how you feel. I understand why you feel the way you feel about Snape. It is a completely legitimate point of view, although I do not necessarily share it. When I read your posts about Snape I understand what you mean and realize where you are coming from, but I don't ever feel that you want me to change how I view this character. Similarly, I don't want you to feel as though you are being pressured to change your opinion. Part of the fun is all of these different points of view.

ETA: I was just going by what I read on that thread and it really confused me! I had no idea that discussion from other threads influenced it. Confunding over.



Solitaire - Aug 16, 2009 2:46 pm (#2594 of 2988)
Sorry, Pesky. I am apparently incapable of making myself clear, either in my original post or now. I'll try again ...

My original response to Mona on the Pensieve thread was made at a time when I was pretty well thrashed by all of the battling on the Snape thread--where I'd read all of the pro-Snape arguments, including Mona's, as she was also active in the ongoing discussion. Sometimes, I just get to a point where I need a Snape break. It's nothing personal, and it isn't necessarily something another poster has done. It's just how the whole conflict makes me feel.

I confess that there are times when I sometimes feel as if I'm on a jury and an attorney is beating me over the head with evidence, insisting that I decide in favor of his client. It does not bother me that some posters like Snape. I don't get it, but that's my issue. It isn't possible for each of us to understand everyone else, because we all have different filters, triggers, etc. We do the best we can.

Snape is probably the most enigmatic of all the characters in the Potterverse, and he stirs up a lot of fierce feelings in those of us who tend to get emotionally invested in our reading. What is bad for me is that eventually this kind of contention begins to affect how I feel. At that point, I need to back away from things and take a "Snape-cation"! (That's a vacation from Snape.) Given the intensity of things on the Snape thread in January, I was probably just exhausted and needed to step away from everything, until I could feel more rational. Also, this is kind of off-topic ... we should probably get back to our Potions Master.



PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 2:57 pm (#2595 of 2988)
I understand you, Soli. And as for why some people 'like' Snape, as I stated in an earlier post, we either find him interesting and want to discover why he is the way he is, or we enjoy his sense of humour. We distance ourselves from him as a person and enjoy him as a character. That's all there really is to it. Nothing deeper. Personally, I had the stupidest piano student (not really stupid, but unwilling to take the time to practice) and I lived vicariously through some of Snape's remarks as there is no way that they would fly in real life.

Back to our Potions Master.

It's a shame that his school textbook was lost in the fiendfyre in the RoR. I really hope Snape wrote out recipe cards so his inventions (an asset to the Magical world, really) are not lost forever.

ETA: "I have often wondered how Snape managed to "get away with" his relationship with Lily when she would clearly be recognised as a muggle born."

I have wondered this as well. Snape uses the "she's hot" excuse with Voldy. Is this what he tries with the Slytherins as well? Did he just get a bit of teasing from his friends?

However, in Harry's time, Zabini certainly believes that being pretty isn't enough. He obviously finds Ginny attractive, but wants nothing to do with her as she is a 'blood traitor'.



Solitaire - Aug 16, 2009 5:56 pm (#2596 of 2988)
I agree about that textbook. It sounds to me like Snape should have published his own potions textbook. Harry certainly surpassed even Hermione when using his tips and tricks. It also makes me wonder how many other spells were written in the book that Harry never even tried, that no one will ever know ...



PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 7:40 pm (#2597 of 2988)
As it may be obvious by now, I've been ferreting through the threads this weekend (I'm really supposed to be editing my latest story ).

I've already forgotten which thread I found the following on.

"What does Snape actually teach these kids in Potions class anyway? He writes the potion formula on the blackboard and spends the rest of the time randomly insulting people. They might as well enchant the blackboard and have it teach the class."

From what I can see, Snape is a fountain of knowledge for those students (hem, hem, Hermione ) who make the effort of listening to his lectures. I think his approach is what drives his students away. We see in HBP that Harry learns a lot from him when he doesn't know it's him.

Soli, I'm hoping that he did write out recipe cards for his improved potions and spells. They are with his belongings, which is why he had managed to forget about his Mommy's potions book.



Solitaire - Aug 16, 2009 10:30 pm (#2598 of 2988)
"They might as well enchant the blackboard and have it teach the class."

I hate to say this, but I've heard similar complaints about some Muggle teachers I've known over the years. I know a couple who still write out a board full of notes nearly every day and have the kids copy them, while the teachers are grading things and entering grades. There is very little discussion. No wonder the teachers leave at 3:45 with nothing but their keys or purses! I also know a couple of Binns-like teachers ... just as bad!

I would have hated being in the Gryffindor-Slytherin potions class. I might have preferred Hufflepuff-Ravenclaw, I think. I would imagine it would be less like a combat zone. I can't even imagine trying to concentrate in a class taught by Snape, all the while trying to make sure Draco doesn't set my ears on fire or cause my head to explode. It's possible that Harry's potions experiences might have been completely different had Gryffindor and Hufflepuff been grouped together. Just something to consider ...

It's too bad Harry didn't grab the Prince's potions book when he went to get the Diadem. Oh, well ... I guess he had other things on his mind!



mona amon - Aug 17, 2009 1:38 am (#2599 of 2988)
I'm about 42 posts behind on this thread, but my name leapt out at me from the recent posts, so I read those first.

I never misunderstood Soli at all. I certainly didn't think she was telling me not to post, and in fact at that time I was going to post anyway about why I like Snape, but I think I forgot, or maybe I found it difficult to explain. Anyway thanks for bringing it up again, Pesky (and no, I didn't misunderstand what you were saying, either). I'm going to think about it a bit ("Why I like Severus" ).

Now back to the unread posts.



Julia H. - Aug 17, 2009 3:19 pm (#2600 of 2988)
The word "spying" seems to have a wide range of meanings. Though Petunia does say Snape is spying, I don't think it is the same thing that Snape does when he overhears the prophecy, for example. I think little Severus watches Lily from behind the bush because he is attracted towards her but does not know how to approach her. To me, this indicates that he has had bad experiences trying to make friends - or no experiences at all. It is possible that he is waiting for a moment when Lily is alone because it would be easier then. (When Harry wants to ask Cho to go with him to the Yule Ball, he also wants to catch her alone but it seems impossible.)

Petunia's spying on Lily and Snape is slightly different, as she is Lily's sister, and Lily does not reject her at all - Petunia could walk there quite openly, but she probably wants to know what those two are doing while they are alone.

Of course, spying ultimately becomes Snape's fate, but I would not single him out as "the" nosy character even on the good side. Many other characters do quite a lot of spying and snooping. Harry does the most, probably. If he did not, we would know much less of the story, since the books are written from his perspective. Fred and George as the inventors of Extendable Ears are also quite good at these things; Moody's got a magical eye that sees far beyond everyday eyes; Dumbledore probably has a network of agents in his school (the portraits), and he can be invisible - we know he spies on Harry when Harry discovers the Mirror; Dobby, the house-elf, walks about with his ears wide open; and I guess James also did his part of the snooping in his invisibility cloak.

Interesting discussion about Snape and Narcissa / the Malfoys. I find it remarkable that Snape's behaviour towards Narcissa changes during the Spinner's End scene. In the beginning, he is (IMO) acting the cold, exemplary DE, who really does not need extra trouble (being preoccupied with advising the Dark Lord etc.). In the end, he is quite gentle toward her. I think the change of behaviour should mean that Snape cannot fully keep up the acting and betrays some of his genuine feelings.

I find it impossible that Narcissa does not remind Snape of Lily in that scene. It is an excellent observation that Lily throws herself between Death and her son, while Narcissa is ready to sacrifice others (Dumbledore, Snape). Still, I think any mother wanting to save her son from Voldemort and asking him (Snape) to protect that son would remind him of Lily. The very idea of protecting a son for the mother's sake must remind him of Lily - even if in reality he was going to protect Draco anyway, without Narcissa's request.

On the other hand, Narcissa is even more similar to Snape in the hilltop scene, as she is begging on her knees for the life of someone she loves. There is again a difference, because Snape (in the end) expresses willingness to take part in the protection and he makes a promise; while Narcissa wants Snape to do everything and makes him take a vow. Still, I think the similarity is enough to remind Snape of himself and his own desperation.

All in all, I think Snape has very good reasons to slightly forget the role he was playing at the beginning of the scene. But it is also possible that his initial severe warnings to Narcissa have a double purpose: To prove his loyalty towards Voldemort in front of Bella, Pettigrew and even Narcissa; and to genuinely warn Narcissa to be much more careful with her words and her actions. Who knows what Bella is capable of in her devotion toward Voldemort? There is also Pettigrew...

I think the initial relationship between prefect Lucius and first-year-Slytherin Severus may have been based on Snape's respect for the elegant older boy coming from an old wizarding family and on Lucius's "need" for this kind of respect, which he was more likely to get from a younger and half-blood Slytherin than from his "equals". Lucius (who could be kind when he wanted to) may have helped and protected Snape (who may not have felt instantly at home among all those rich pure-bloods) in return for some admiration. I don't think it was real friendship in those years. Later, when they were both DE's, this relationship may have changed; although, if Lucius was a close advisor and Snape a disposable spy, they were still not equal. But perhaps Lucius became aware of Snape's talent and thought it was worth having him as a sort of "friend" (for want of a better word).

Then again, Snape being startled when Harry mentions Lucius at the end of GoF is indeed interesting. Did he think Lucius would not return to Voldemort? (For someone knowing Lucius, it would be perhaps a bit naive.) It is also a good point that Narcissa expects Snape to help her despite her husband's disgrace. Does she regard him as a real friend or does she know somehow (a woman's instinct?) that Snape would be touched by the plight of a mother (woman) trembling for her son? Or is it precisely Bella's suspicion about Snape's loyalty that makes Narcissa think Snape could be an ally?

I agree with Pesky that Spinner's End is the scene where we first see Snape as a man (as opposed to "teacher" and "spy"). I also agree that the way Dumbledore and McGonagall talk to Snape is sometimes (often?) similar to a teacher talking to a student. (When I watch the CoS movie, it seems to me that Dumbledore sometimes regards Snape with the same sort of disapproving look that Snape uses to look at HRH.) We don't see them talking to Lupin in this way, but it is true that they see Snape grow up in front of their eyes with only two or three years' absence while he is away as a DE. After that, he returns as the (still very young) prodigal son, who turns into a teacher in front of their eyes.



Honour - Aug 17, 2009 4:36 pm (#2601 of 2988)
Nice Read Julia H : )



Solitaire - Aug 17, 2009 5:47 pm (#2602 of 2988)
spying ultimately becomes Snape's fate, but I would not single him out as "the" nosy character even on the good side. Many other characters do quite a lot of spying and snooping. Harry does the most, probably.

I think it is one of the threads of similarity that do connect Harry and Snape ... they are both nosy. I do believe it is important that the term "spying" is applied so often to Snape. It is used quite frequently to describe his activities. Jo wrote the books, and "spying" is the word she has chosen to use. For that reason, I think we are meant to see Snape as a spying character.

Harry is certainly nosy enough. He is forever sticking his nose into other people's Pensieves, although the first instance was curiosity more than snooping. He just didn't know what he was doing. Alas, that excuse works only once. He knew very well what he was doing with Snape. That incident, while it didn't really affect his opinion of Snape, did give him a more realistic view of his dad.



Orion - Aug 18, 2009 12:31 am (#2603 of 2988)
There is nothing genuinely warm in Snape's behaviour in the Spinner's End scene IMO. He's an actor and acts as the concerned friend towards the end of the scene while his brains are working away how he can get those two gibbering lunatics out of his house without doing anything incredibly stupid, and the Vow just slips in unplanned but it's going with DD's plans anyway so Snape ultimately knows in that scene that he is bound to die anyway. How much personal warmth can you muster in such a situation? It's harrowing and tragic. Even if Narcissa was a lot nicer and prettier and not Mrs Dungnose he wouldn't care for her. He's a dead man walking, who cares for romance being a dead man walking?



mona amon - Aug 18, 2009 1:14 am (#2604 of 2988)
On the whole I agree. Severus has his emotions as tightly reigned in as ever, and is as usual, mostly putting on an act. The only time we see him freed from all restraint and being himself is when he's alone with Dumbledore. Then, his scolding concern for Dumbledore becomes the nearest thing to warmth that we ever see.

However, I don't think that everything he did in that scene was an act. I feel his concern for Narcissa was genuine, and that he wasn't altogether oblivious to her beauty, her tears, and her flattery.



Solitaire - Aug 18, 2009 1:37 am (#2605 of 2988)
Does anyone think Snape would have taken the Vow if Bella hadn't been there? I'm just curious ... would he have done it anyway, or was he backed into a corner? I mean, if he truly was having second thoughts about doing as DD asked, then Draco would have been totally on the hot seat ... and the Vow would have been broken, wouldn't it? By taking the Vow, Snape pretty much commits himself to taking DD's life.

Of course, when Snape says to Narcissa, "I think he intends for me to do it anyway," or something like that, he is really talking about Dumbledore, but Narcissa is meant to think he means Voldemort. Sorry ... I probably shouldn't post about Snape when I'm groggy. Howling dogs woke me up, and they are still "singing"!



Julia H. - Aug 18, 2009 1:39 am (#2606 of 2988)
He's an actor and acts as the concerned friend towards the end of the scene... (Orion)

I think if Snape really wanted to "act" as the concerned friend, he would do it from the beginning. But he does not. I think he acts most of the time, but can't help being affected by Narcissa's despair - it may be because of her beauty, her tears, and her flattery (Mona) or because of the parallels with his own life - it does not have to be friendship at all. I think at least that Snape genuinely wants to soothe her in the end. He could fulfill Dumbledore's plan without making any promises to Narcissa. He could sooner get the ladies out of his house by firmly saying he cannot help at all. In this way, he could also act the faithful DE, who does not tolerate any deviation from or any criticism of the Dark Lord's plan. The only reason for Snape to make any promises to Narcissa (I'm talking about the promise he makes before the vow in mentioned) is to comfort her. He does not even have to lie, as he is going to protect Draco anyway, only he cannot tell her why.

Snape ultimately knows in that scene that he is bound to die anyway. How much personal warmth can you muster in such a situation?

He would probably know that even without Narcissa. Facing death (and in more ways than one) can result in personality changes and new insights regarding one's priorities. What Snape feels may not be anything personal about Narcissa, rather a deeper understanding of life and death in general because of what Snape is going through at the moment. I guess when this scene takes place, Snape has not had much time yet to come to terms with Dumbledore's request even if he is committed to fulfilling it, and that shows in the way he is dealing with Narcissa's request.

Does anyone think Snape would have taken the Vow if Bella hadn't been there? I'm just curious ... would he have done it anyway, or was he backed into a corner? (Solitaire)

Perhaps Narcissa could corner him on her own ... but Bella certainly helps. I don't think Snape is intending to take an Unbreakable Vow but, when Narcissa mentions it, he may think why not? He has made an "unbreakable" promise to Dumbledore anyway and, as Orion says, he probably suspects he would not come out of it alive either way.

I don't think Snape can have many second thoughts about his promise to Dumbledore unless Dumbledore changes his mind. When he tells Dumbledore that he may have changed his mind, it sounds more like a desperate cry for someone (Dumbledore) to notice what he (Snape) is forced to go through.

Edited.



Steve Newton - Aug 18, 2009 6:25 am (#2607 of 2988)
The only time when I think we see Severus show his true self is at the end of GOF when he shows Fudge his Dark Mark and is appalled that Fudge refuses to understand. I think that his outrage is very real here.

There are times when he scorns Harry for no undercover reason that I can figure, entering Hogwarts in HBP, say, but am not sure whether he is playing a role or just tormenting for fun.



mona amon - Aug 18, 2009 6:51 am (#2608 of 2988)
I forgot to mention that, Steve. Severus is very much himself when he's being mean to Harry and others!



Solitaire - Aug 18, 2009 7:34 am (#2609 of 2988)
I agree, Mona and Steve, and I think those times heavily influence my feelings about Snape.



PeskyPixie - Aug 18, 2009 8:39 am (#2610 of 2988)
He's nasty alright. But at the same time, he would protect those very students from more sinister threats. He's an absolute cream cracker, that one.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:02 pm

rambkowalczyk - Aug 18, 2009 5:26 pm (#2611 of 2988)
Of course, when Snape says to Narcissa, "I think he intends for me to do it anyway," or something like that, he is really talking about Dumbledore, but Narcissa is meant to think he means Voldemort. Solitaire

Good point. Something not easily seen even on a second read.

Does anyone think Snape would have taken the Vow if Bella hadn't been there?

no, I doubt it. I think Narcissa believed in him. If Bella wasn't there, I don't think Narcissa would have told her that she visited Snape. The Unbreakable Vow was so Bella couldn't poison Narcissa's faith in him.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 18, 2009 5:53 pm (#2612 of 2988)
IMO the Unbreakable Vow was for much more than that. It was the ultimate display of loyalty to Vold, vowing to oversee Dumbledore being killed one way or the other.



rambkowalczyk - Aug 18, 2009 7:24 pm (#2613 of 2988)
It was the ultimate display of loyalty to Vold, vowing to oversee Dumbledore being killed one way or the other.

This was necessary while Bella was there witnessing. I don't think it would have been necessary if she wasn't there. It wasn't like Narcissa was going to report back to Voldemort.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 18, 2009 7:45 pm (#2614 of 2988)
Absolutely, ramb. My comment was in response to yours: The Unbreakable Vow was so Bella couldn't poison Narcissa's faith in him. This didn't make sense to me.



legolas returns - Aug 18, 2009 11:18 pm (#2615 of 2988)
There is also the alternative way of thinking about the vow. Snape had already agreed to kill Dumbledore if and when the time came. If you were really not wanting to kill him then protection of a student with your own life at stake would be an ideal method of ensuring that you did kill Dumbledore. I hope that makes sense.



Julia H. - Aug 19, 2009 2:24 am (#2616 of 2988)
The Unbreakable Vow was so Bella couldn't poison Narcissa's faith in him.

Still, the vow was suggested by Narcissa. Bella said she did not believe him, but would Snape have said no to Narcissa's request to take the vow if Bella had not been there?



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 19, 2009 10:21 am (#2617 of 2988)
I think Severus could have reasoned with Narcissa, even in her frantic state, that he would do everything in his power to help Draco without actually taking the Vow. I do think there was a genuine affection between Severus and Narcissa.

The interesting thing about this is we don't even know if Bella ever told any of the DE's about Severus's act of (forced) loyalty. It served its purpose to keep her satisfied -- shocked is more like it -- so she would not probe into Severus's status and actions.



rambkowalczyk - Aug 20, 2009 5:12 am (#2618 of 2988)
The Unbreakable Vow was so Bella couldn't poison Narcissa's faith in him. This didn't make sense to me. MAMS

What I meant was this. Narcissa already believed that Snape would help her otherwise she wouldn't have gone to him. If Bella hadn't known about this beforehand, I don't think Narcissa would have told her mainly because I feel Snape would have given her appropriate warnings.

But Bella did know and tried to stop her mainly because the Dark Lord gave orders not to talk about it. She also knew that if Snape could help her, then that would make Snape more powerful than her and she didn't wish to lose face. So if Snape didn't make the Unbreakable Vow, then Bella could always say to Narcissa that Snape can't be trusted thus poisoning her mind.



PeskyPixie - Aug 20, 2009 8:55 am (#2619 of 2988)
I wonder if the Unbreakable Vow was also a way in which Snape prepared himself to not chicken out from the herculean task ahead of him? We know that he in no way wishes to kill Dumbledore.

Hmm, but even many months after the vow is made he threatens Dumbledore with not going through with the 'murder'. Does anyone think that Snape would seriously consider dying than kill Dumbledore? Or is this a way to coerce Dumbledore to share more secrets with him?



Dryleaves - Aug 20, 2009 9:12 am (#2620 of 2988)
It could also be a way of saying something like "See me! See it from my point of view! I don't want to do this, you tell me nothing and you just don't care!". I think he wants some sort of acknowledgement, rather than just information for information's own sake, but maybe that was what you meant when you wrote "share more secrets".



Julia H. - Aug 20, 2009 11:17 am (#2621 of 2988)
I agree with Dryleaves. IMO, Snape wants to make Dumbledore notice and acknowledge what he is going through. Knowing what lies ahead of him, he probably feels lonelier than ever before and needs to know that Dumbledore cares for him. He is speaking about "trust", but it can mean 'care', a word that he would probably never pronounce. He needs help to bear it all but he is not getting any.

I don't think he is very seriously considering disobeying Dumbledore - and let's face it, Dumbledore does not seem to worry about it at all - though Snape may actually think sometimes that a quick death could not be much worse than the consequences of AK-ing Dumbledore (and it may be one of the things that he is trying to communicate to Dumbledore). Still, he probably respects Dumbledore's wish too much to be serious about changing his mind. On the other hand, if Dumbledore changed his mind suddenly, I think Snape would probably choose death rather than fulfilling the vow.

I wonder if the Unbreakable Vow was also a way in which Snape prepared himself to not chicken out from the herculean task ahead of him?

I think it may well be a part of it. He would probably not take a vow without Narcissa and/or Bellatrix; but once he is forced to do it, he might think of it as a way of steeling himself to fulfill Dumbledore's wish. Not because he would rather kill Dumbledore than die himself; but because, by means of the vow, he gives up everything - in advance - that he holds dear and that he will lose when he kills Dumbledore. In this way, there is nothing left for him to keep but his duty and his promise - and such life that he can dedicate exclusively to these.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 20, 2009 11:28 am (#2622 of 2988)
I agree with Julia. Severus must have known or imagined fairly accurately what the fall-out of the task before him would be. And I definitely think it would have been lonely. Killing DD would not only rob him of a father figure, and likely the only person in the world who trusted him implicitly, but it would seem to declare his loyalty to Voldemort, which would alienate him from the rest of the Order. I could easily believe that in his worst moments he would have considered a kind of suicide to be preferable to that kind of a life. Besides, I don't think that in Severus's mind he would really distinguish between killing DD and "helping an old man." In his mind, he cast the curse, so he bears the blame and the responsibility.

I mean, who is Severus supposed to seek solace in after this whole tragedy or errors? DD dead, Severus cut-off from the Order, unable to show grief or remorse for fear of giving away his true feelings to the DEs, and nothing but a final desperate mission to help Harry fulfill DD's last plan to cling to. "Duty and promise" are well and good, but life would seem awfully painful and empty (to me, and I think, to him---he's still human) if those were all there were.

edited



Betelgeuse Black - Aug 20, 2009 11:42 am (#2623 of 2988)
I agree that Snape knew he was setting himself up for a long lonely time (full of quiet hatred) by following through with DD's plan. However, I'd like to point out that in OotP, Snape gave his reports to the order and left promptly. It does not seem that he had a lot of companionship with the order members. He seemed to be a loner in many respects.

I would think that the Hogwarts staff was different and they probably had good working relationships, if not friendships prior to the end of HBP. The certainly respected each other. Having Flitwick and McGonagall call him a coward in DH probably hurt quite a bit.

Betelgeuse



Julia H. - Aug 20, 2009 11:44 am (#2624 of 2988)
Making such a promise and wanting to keep it even against your own interest is one thing, but coming to terms with what it is going to cost you is quite another. The latter may take quite long, and you may have to go through several stages of a mourning process (or something similar), which may include anger, denial, guilt, despair etc.

I don't think it matters that Snape is not on good terms with Order members. (He certainly does not seem to have many close friends.) If he was only going to lose Dumbledore (especially in such a terrible way), it would be enough to drive him into despair. But he is also going to give up the most basic respect of the people he is fighting for/with, to give up his place in the society of respectable people, the right to walk among them holding his head high. Apart from that, he is bound to feel not only generally hated but guilty as well. I don't think he can avoid that.

EDITED.



PeskyPixie - Aug 20, 2009 11:47 am (#2625 of 2988)
Snape doesn't communicate very well. Whenever he feels something, it comes out as anger.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 20, 2009 12:41 pm (#2626 of 2988)
Too true, PeskyPixie. But, as with Dr. House, his anger and abrasiveness is often covering other things. And uncommunicated or not, he'd be feeling awfully lonely. I agree with Julia. He lost DD and the respect of the Order. He doesn't have friends to help him through it. Lonely, hopeless and empty, it seems to me.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 20, 2009 3:51 pm (#2627 of 2988)
But he is also going to give up the most basic respect of the people he is fighting for/with, to give up his place in the society of respectable people, the right to walk among them holding his head high. - Julia

Absolutely. This to me is the most difficult part for Severus. Not that he is alone in his task, as he seems to be a loner inherently, but that after all he is doing to make the Mission succeed he has to do it thanklessly as a villain. I cannot imagine what it must have been like in DH for him to look McGonagall in the eye, and all the other professors he had spent 16+ years working, living and dining with. They must all have had their doubts when Dumbledore put his trust in him all those years ago. Now to have them all despise him so much, when he was in actuality the most loyal of them all, must have been excruciatingly painful -- not to mention unbearable to one's pride.



Julia H. - Aug 21, 2009 5:55 am (#2628 of 2988)
Yes, that's the way I see it, too. I would only like to add that, when I say "lonely", I think there are different degrees of loneliness. Being a loner in general while at the same time belonging to a community (where one is accepted) is one thing. Losing all types of meaningful human relationships at once, ending up with no living soul to say a sincere word to and losing the respect of everyone that one wants to be respected by, however, must be the ultimate degree of loneliness.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 21, 2009 1:20 pm (#2629 of 2988)
Loners definitely get lonely, particularly when they have a horrible secret of playing the bad guy. Losing Dumbledore, his salvation turned mentor turned friend, must have been the worst since he was Severus's lifeline to the non-DE world and the only one in on the secret. Thankfully at least he had the Portrait, a lame substitute but better than nothing I suppose.



Dryleaves - Aug 21, 2009 1:24 pm (#2630 of 2988)
Portrait of Dumbledore, photograph of Lily...



Julia H. - Aug 21, 2009 3:08 pm (#2631 of 2988)
The company of the dead... while he was yet alive.



PeskyPixie - Aug 21, 2009 3:50 pm (#2632 of 2988)
Kind of like Kreacher. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)



mona amon - Aug 21, 2009 9:02 pm (#2633 of 2988)
I mean, who is Severus supposed to seek solace in after this whole tragedy or errors? DD dead, Severus cut-off from the Order, unable to show grief or remorse for fear of giving away his true feelings to the DEs, and nothing but a final desperate mission to help Harry fulfill DD's last plan to cling to. "Duty and promise" are well and good, but life would seem awfully painful and empty (to me, and I think, to him---he's still human) if those were all there were. (severusisn'tevil)

I agree. I had never thought of Severus as a particularly tragic character during the first five books, and then at the end of HBP I was absolutely electrified by the realisation of his transcendental loneliness, and I became an instant Snape fan and Harry Potter fan! It had such an impact on me that it gave me 'reader's block', I couldn't read any other book for almost two months, during which I started lurking on this forum.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 21, 2009 10:12 pm (#2634 of 2988)
Unfortunately, I feel that Severus "severed" from those feelings --for the most part -- as much as possible, long before his death. Yes, he displays outbursts when in Harry's and Sirius's presence, but this IMO is because he was so pent up emotionally. He tells Harry during Occlumency lessons and elsewhere that emotions are for the weak. It is hard to say whether he was deeply emotional (crying, for instance) when alone and simply hid it well, or if he had his own sad version of a split soul by denying his own grief and loneliness because it was "weak".



severusisn'tevil - Aug 22, 2009 12:36 am (#2635 of 2988)
Or out of self-preservation. Dwelling on all the terrible things that had happened to him in that kind of "deeply emotional" way could very well rip him apart and render him incapable of serving the Order at all. And I think there was some denial, too. But I think many people who are harsh on themselves are victims of denial to some extent. It's the "everything's fine so stop feeling sorry for yourself" argument. I could easily see Severus as perceiving weakness in a tendency to be impatient with himself for feeling awful if circumstances weren't too far out of the ordinary---or even if they were. Honestly, after that much misery, perhaps a part of him became jaded. Sort of a "So you feel like dragon dung today. What else is new?"

And perhaps his stance on emotion came out of a warped kind of wishful thinking. He wants not to feel so he tells himself not to because emotion is simply weakness. Still, I don't think he was as successful at completely shutting down emotion as he would have wished.



mona amon - Aug 22, 2009 1:21 am (#2636 of 2988)
Well, we know that he cried at least once, when he was alone. No reason to suppose that was the only time.



Julia H. - Aug 22, 2009 1:31 am (#2637 of 2988)
Yes, we see him cry once. We also know he values his love for Lily, and that is certainly an emotion. I think he said it was weakness to show your emotions to others not to have them.

Regarding the comparison with Kreacher, one difference is that Kreacher eventually got out of that situation and lived, while in Snape's case, being in the company of the dead - all those portraits as the only ones who know what his true goals are and Lily's photo (does photo-Lily smile at him?) - seems to be "foretelling" that he is to die soon.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 22, 2009 2:00 am (#2638 of 2988)
I agree, mona. He's certainly not the weepy sort, but there isn't any reason to believe he had eyes of stone. That much loss and loneliness, he'd cry occasionally. I hope. Else, he is beyond emotionally stifled.



Orion - Aug 22, 2009 4:24 am (#2639 of 2988)
I'm starting to understand why Soli ***waves*** doesn't have a good word for Snape. I saw "The Proposal" yesterday, I don't know whether anybody has seen it already, but that person Margaret Tate who's supposed to make the audience hope that young Andrew marries her left me hoping the exact opposite - don't marry the witch! - because her behaviour was so appalling and inhuman in the beginning. She doesn't even return her underlings good morning because they aren't really people to her, only furniture. So if that's what Soli sees Snape like it's no surprise that she can't change her view all through the books, sad backstory yes or no.

I guess I just can't see him that way.



PeskyPixie - Aug 22, 2009 10:40 am (#2640 of 2988)
I was watching Mississippi Burning last night and came out of it quite irritated at Severus Snape (of all 'people').



Dryleaves - Aug 22, 2009 10:50 am (#2641 of 2988)
Since I've probably at least doubled my age since I watched Mississippi Burning (and memory deteriorates after twenty), could you explain a bit more in detail, please, Pesky?



PeskyPixie - Aug 22, 2009 12:04 pm (#2642 of 2988)
Watching the young men in the KKK reminded me of the nasty reality of the hate group JKR has created in her books. The Death Eaters is meant to be just as frightening as the Muggle hate groups it is inspired from. It is pretty terrible to think that Severus Snape joins such a group, especially one in which his beloved is the most obvious target. Of course, I realize his background and his change of heart. However, during the movie I found it impossible to sympathize with any of the Klan members (although I was aware that the whole 'background' argument exists for them as well), and (as an HP fan) it reminded me of Snape and I was quite disgusted with the young man he once was. I have always said that the moment Snape loses my sympathy is the moment he actually joins the Death Eaters, however, the movie just gave me a visual I could relate to better than Fiennes and Bonham-Carter at their flamboyant best.



Betelgeuse Black - Aug 22, 2009 3:01 pm (#2643 of 2988)
I never have seen burning crosses but I have seen the racial tensions that existed, and still exist in places, due to groups like the KKK. I agree that being a DE is like being in the KKK. I will stop here since we should keep the discussion to Snape.

I'm not sure if I agree with this idea but Pesky's sojourn about "Mississippi Burning" got me thinking about Snape's cover. I wanted to see what others thought of the idea.

Snape did play favorites in his class. There are multiple examples of how he favors the Slytherin students over the Gryffindor students. We don't see direct evidence of his feelings about Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw as far as I can remember.

Maybe Snape showing favoritism is partially to keep himself in the Death Eater good books. He seems to naturally be inclined in this direction anyway. Maybe DD didn't ask him to change because he knew that it would aid his cover.

Betelgeuse (Edited)



PeskyPixie - Aug 22, 2009 5:31 pm (#2644 of 2988)
I'm sorry if I took the discussion into risky territory.

With the exception of Harry and his friends, Snape seems to get along as well as possible for a crotchety man. He's fine with Parvati and Seamus in HBP. Not nice, but alright. The fear of Snape also seems to die down with age.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 22, 2009 8:00 pm (#2645 of 2988)
Betel, I agree. I interpret Severus's favoring Slytherins as a performance mainly. I think he assumes the Death Nibblers will go home and talk about how great it is that Professor Snape does this and that. I don't think he has any love for Slytherin House. Why would he?

Regarding Severus's emotions, his feelings for Lily are unquestionable. You can't fake a Patronus. But I hope he allowed himself to release the guilt at least. My doubts are due to JKR showing us how, even after death at King's Cross, Dumbledore still "despises" himself. If an evolved-into-kindness man like Dumbledore couldn't be kind enough to himself to work through his grief and guilt I cannot help but wonder about Severus. A man who has allowed himself to cry enough times would not behave with some students in the manner Severus does, IMO. Crying softens the heart.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 23, 2009 1:16 am (#2646 of 2988)
I think Severus hated himself. He blamed himself for so many things. I think it likely he cried multiple times in the 16 years between Lily's death and his own, but I don't think he cried unless he absolutely could not stop himself. He was a "superb Occlumens." That, it seems to me, argue that he was good at repressing emotion in general and thus would only cry when he lost control.

It is also possible that Severus was taught or learned to believe early on, even before losing Lily, that crying was bad. I personally have discovered that other people are far less likely to take me seriously if I cry, and I did not live in as hostile a home as Severus's. Also, he speaks to Harry about people who allow themselves to wallow in self-pity. He would include himself in this. I have found often that people who are harsh as he is on others are also harsh on themselves and are possessive of self-loathing.



Julia H. - Aug 23, 2009 3:00 am (#2647 of 2988)
I agree that self-loathing is very possible. The way Snape is nasty reflects profound unhappiness. He seems to be angry with the world in general, and I think it is a sign of being on bad terms with himself. He can't make himself agreeable to others while he loathes himself. I also suspect that he is able to accept and perform the role Dumbledore eventually gives him because he may feel deep down that he deserves punishment.

But I don't think he often cries. Sometimes yes, he does, as we see him cry twice (not many men do that in the HP universe BTW), but my guess is that he's got too much self-loathing and (therefore) not enough self-pity to cry very often. Besides, he would be ashamed even in front of himself if he allowed himself to cry easily.



mona amon - Aug 23, 2009 8:20 am (#2648 of 2988)
I don't know, we see Harry and Dumbledore cry at least that many times, and Hagrid and Slughorn at least once. Were there any others? But I too don't see Severus crying into his pillow every night. Perhaps he repressed the tears like everything else, and the floodgates were opened only after he'd killed Dumbledore, due to the various uncontrollable emotions unleashed by that act.

As for blaming himself, I've said this before and I'll say it again, I just don't see anything to indicate this in the books. Being nasty to others dosen't necessary mean self-loathing. It could be loathing of others!



Julia H. - Aug 23, 2009 8:55 am (#2649 of 2988)
I know we see Dumbledore with tears in his eyes. I don't remember Harry really crying, but you probably do... I actually find it amazing how much Harry can bear at his age without crying. I don't count Hagrid and Slughorn when they are drunk; but I think Hagrid cries other times as well (like when Dumbledore dies). OK.

Perhaps he repressed the tears like everything else, and the floodgates were opened only after he'd killed Dumbledore, due to the various uncontrollable emotions unleashed by that act.

I see it that way, too. Sure, there may have been a few other times like that in his life, but I think he generally tried to refrain from wallowing in sad memories as well as he could.

Being nasty to others doesn't necessary mean self-loathing. It could be loathing of others!

Absolutely. Voldemort and Bellatrix are nasty without any self-loathing. So is James (when he is nasty). But there are people who are nasty to themselves as well as to others, and I think Snape looks like someone in this category. I think people who loathe only others but are pleased with themselves can be quite happy or at least satisfied with their lives. Snape is too unhappy to like himself, and even the way he ruins his own life may indicate deep problems with himself.

I know your opinion that Snape does not blame himself, and you know that I think it otherwise. However, this time I did not say he blamed himself, only that he loathed himself in general and believed himself worthy of punishment. It is not always a conscious opinion, BTW - maybe usually it is not conscious, as such feelings tend to be suppressed (especially when the person does not know how to deal with them), but it does not mean that they do not exist or that they do not influence the person's behaviour.



Steve Newton - Aug 23, 2009 9:07 am (#2650 of 2988)
Being nasty to others doesn't necessary mean self-loathing. It could be loathing of others!

This has to be one of the best lines that I have ever read on the Forum. Well done.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:05 pm

mona amon - Aug 23, 2009 9:49 am (#2651 of 2988)
Thanks, Steve! You've made my day!



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 23, 2009 6:16 pm (#2652 of 2988)
I think Severus hated himself. He blamed himself for so many things. I think it likely he cried multiple times in the 16 years between Lily's death and his own, but I don't think he cried unless he absolutely could not stop himself. He was a "superb Occlumens." That, it seems to me, argue that he was good at repressing emotion in general and thus would only cry when he lost control. - severusisn'tevil

This is what I was alluding to, SIE (Can I call you SIE?). We had an indepth discussion about Severus's emotional issues a few months back -- Julia and wynnleaf and I, amongst others -- and this was one of the speculations we came to. You might have missed it, and you might be interested. I'll try to find it and post a link.

IMO Severus has what some psyche-babblers (myself included) call "gapping". As an inherently gifted Occlumense, he can conceal parts of his feelings and portray a distance or even severance from them. There is a line in OOTP when he is teaching Harry where he explains this very distinctly, how to basically fool Vold.

Unfortunately (as I was trying to say in an earlier post) this "gift" goes along with gapping in other areas of his life IMO, severing from all of it, particularly because he has very little to be happy about. Why not chop it off?

I agree that he only visits this place of dispair when he can no longer bear the pressure of holding it in. Which is why I said in my earlier post that he is 'pent up'. IMO this is very apparent and to me is what JKR intended us to realize, but I don't want to crush people with my personal opinion.

I don't think it is truly possible to simply be loathing of others. Again, sorry but I am a fervent student of the subconscious and, IMO, when one loathes others it goes without saying that one loathes oneself. If someone is not aware of this mirror, it doesn't make it untrue. JM2K

(for instance, the Muggle equivalent of Grindelwald was a champion of the blond, blue eyed. He was the epitome of loathing others. Did he not have brown hair and brown eyes?)



severusisn'tevil - Aug 23, 2009 6:37 pm (#2653 of 2988)
I agree, MAMS. (And SIE is fine, I suppose. severusisn'tevil is a bit much to type when you're not used to it. But I joined in between books 6 and 7 and felt it was a perfect name.) But back to the topic: Anger is often, it seems, a result of what some call the Jungian Shadow---whose basic principle is that we, as people, perceive our own faults much more readily in other people than in ourselves. This is certainly true in the Occlumency scene where Severus lectures Harry about weakness.

And yes, it's the "chopping" mechanism that makes him so pent-up. AS in "This heart thing hurts too much, why not cut it out?"



Julia H. - Aug 24, 2009 1:49 am (#2654 of 2988)
Thanks, MAMS. You explained it much better than I could.

(The "champion of the blond, blue-eyed": It makes me think of Voldemort, the "champion of purebloods".)



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 24, 2009 12:13 pm (#2655 of 2988)
Thanks, Julia

severusisn'tevil, here is a link to our previous indepth discussion of Severus's emotional problems. If you're into psychology you might enjoy it. If you're not, it'll be a bunch of hooey. me and my shadow 813, "+ Severus Snape" #1506, 17 Feb 2009 11:35 am



severusisn'tevil - Aug 24, 2009 4:52 pm (#2656 of 2988)
I did enjoy the discussion of his psychology. I am an intended Psych major. Thanks!



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 24, 2009 7:39 pm (#2657 of 2988)
We also talked about his preoccupation with punishment. I can't recall when that was, though. I miss the Search function!

I don't feel that coming from a "broken" home, or being bullied by themselves would be enough to create a person like Severus. Tons of people are bullied or have parents who argue and turn out fine. Of course, everyone is different and he seems to have been particularly sensitive IMO. But the combination of the broken home, being bullied, the strange clothes and the greasy hair and hook nose, all built upon each other I would imagine. All that on top of a child who has great mental prowess, and can use that power to push away his feelings when they threaten to overwhelm him. Not everyone can do that.

We see Vold as the master of such pushing away, and Harry as the antithesis. Severus once again is the bridge between them, like a link with one foot in each world. So does Harry, but as an innocent (soul bit).



PeskyPixie - Aug 25, 2009 5:28 pm (#2658 of 2988)
I'm getting caught up on threads and finally got to a discussion (forget which thread) matching up various HP characters with their LOTR counterparts.

Here are my two knuts: Snape is Boromir! I've always thought so!



severusisn'tevil - Aug 26, 2009 12:54 pm (#2659 of 2988)
I don't think so. I think Sirius would have been Boromir, PeskyPixie. So brave, but so foolish. I don't think it accurate to pair Severus with a man who utterly lacks discretion. And Lord of the Rings, I am *not* ashamed to admit, is my favorite book of all time. What about Faramir, a sort of "younger son" with quite a lot to prove who ends by proving that he is worth just as much as so many of his rivals? Faramir is the only one in LotR with a true redemption arc. Aragorn's quest is somewhat similar---proving himself worthy of the woman he loves, but even I, designated "friend of Severus" would not be so foolish as to liken him too closely to Aragorn. Faramir also knew, as Severus did, that there were more than a few ways to skin a cat---that brute force was not always the answer and that valor had to be tempered with caution, planning, and subtlety. Boromir completely lacks subtlety, but Severus, as DD's main double agent, exemplifies it, at least "in battle." I will concede that he lacks it in his dealing with students and his predilection toward favoritism. But there again, part of his favoritism is simply his cover. I honestly don't believe he loved Slytherin House, particularly. Not like the other Heads love theirs. Although. . . much as it pains me to say, he also has some traits in common with Grima Wormtongue, who followed the darkness for a time and lusted after a woman he could not have but who switches allegiances, assists in the fall of his master, and (inexplicably, for Grima at least,)dies for his trouble. That's Severus for you, a contradiction of gold and black silver. But then, one of the themes of LotR was "All that is gold does not glitter."

And MAMS, I think that Severus's upbringing could have created in him the idea that he was somehow "bad." He was a wizard with a Muggle father. And a Muggle father who, unlike Hermione's or Lily's was not proud to have a wizard in the family, but hostile toward his magical blood. Some of his early forays in magic, of the wandless variety, hurts another person. Though he hurt Petunia out of anger, I don't think he would have derived much satisfaction from it, after he calmed down.



mona amon - Aug 27, 2009 6:12 am (#2660 of 2988)
I'm afraid I don't remember much of LOTR, so I can't comment. Was Boromir the one who tried to get the ring away from Frodo, and then died saving the other Hobbits' lives? And they put him into that boat and sent it adrift, and his brother sees his body floating by...**Sniff** Pity that Severus didn't get a similarly grand send off, but I think I understand JKR's reasons for that.

I don't think it is truly possible to simply be loathing of others. Again, sorry but I am a fervent student of the subconscious and, IMO, when one loathes others it goes without saying that one loathes oneself. If someone is not aware of this mirror, it doesn't make it untrue. JM2K

(for instance, the Muggle equivalent of Grindelwald was a champion of the blond, blue eyed. He was the epitome of loathing others. Did he not have brown hair and brown eyes?) (Shadow)


I thought that was only a myth. Is it a fact? I mean the blond, blue eyed part. Perhaps Julia's example will serve the same purpose, because Voldemort was the 'worst' sort of half-blood, one with a Muggle parent, and here he was loathing all those whose blood was not pure.

But I don't really see what connection this has to Severus. Both Hitler and Voldemort had a political agenda in singling out a race of people for mass destruction. We really have no idea how personal the hatred was.

Now, back to Severus, I would agree with you a little more, Shadow, if we were shown that Severus just loathed everyone. But that's not the case. He's mean to a lot of people, but the only ones he loathes are Harry and the Marauders, and for this he had reasons which have nothing to do with self-loathing. (I'm not counting Umbridge because she's universally loathed.)

Of course I'm not suggesting that Severus was satisfied with himself. I'm just pointing out that as far as we know, he never really faced and acknowledged his guilt.



Julia H. - Aug 27, 2009 8:10 am (#2661 of 2988)
I'm just pointing out that as far as we know, he never really faced and acknowledged his guilt. (Mona)

Self-loathing is possible without being consciously aware of the reason.

Perhaps Julia's example will serve the same purpose, because Voldemort was the 'worst' sort of half-blood, one with a Muggle parent, and here he was loathing all those whose blood was not pure.

I think this can be interpreted as a form of self-loathing. He wants to eliminate those who share an aspect of his own "shameful" origin. He also eliminates Tom Riddle Jr. for the sake of Lord Voldemort. When he has to choose his main enemy, he chooses the one who is more similar to himself.

Tom grows up hating Muggles and Muggle-borns. It goes back to his hatred toward his father, but he does not seem to be impressed with his pureblood family members either. (His mother loved a Muggle and she succumbed to the ignominy of death; and Voldemort hardly liked Morfin when he saw him.) Still, he desperately hates Muggles and Muggle-borns, but promotes the pureblood ideology. It is also conspicuous how he hates his own name. It is said that disliking one's name often indicates disliking oneself.

He's mean to a lot of people, but the only ones he loathes are Harry and the Marauders, and for this he had reasons which have nothing to do with self-loathing.

Yes, Snape loathes Harry and the Marauders, but he can be mean to those he does not loathe. So why is he mean to the latter group? If he has no problems with them, the problem must be somewhere else. He is guarding his secrets and his memories, he distances himself from most people, he does not even try to be liked by others. I can see deep dissatisfaction and unhappiness at the root of it, which he does not try to solve (as a person basically in harmony with himself could do), and it leaves only two options: He either takes it out on himself (in the form of anxiety, which is agression turned inward, - we don't really know anything about that) or he takes it out on others.



PeskyPixie - Aug 27, 2009 8:14 am (#2662 of 2988)
There is a character in most stories of epic calibre who is essentially good, but (for whatever reason) takes a walk on the darker side of the story, but they are redeemed in the end. They need not have anything else in common. These characters end up being my favourites. In LOTR it is Boromir, in the Mahabharata it is Karna, in Harry Potter it is Severus Snape.

Sirius (for all his faults) never wanders from the 'good guys'. We can not say the same for Severus, or Boromir either. The fact that Severus's contribution to his respective story is much grander does not matter.

Characters may be compared and contrasted according to many different points. (For example, in the looks category, I think that Sirius and Boromir will both come up near the top. ) However, in regards to my comparison, Severus and Boromir are parallel characters.



PeskyPixie - Aug 27, 2009 9:13 am (#2663 of 2988)
"... as far as we know, he never really faced and acknowledged his guilt." -mona

I wonder about this a lot actually. Does Severus truly acknowledge his own guilt. From what we see in Dumbledore's office, right after Lily's murder, he certainly seems to. However, if he truly understands the implications of his own actions (and not only to the extent of self-pity for having to spend his life teaching dunderheads) how can he be so horrid to Harry and his friends? Sure, he's 'playing a part', but as many of us seem to agree, Severus appears to be at his naturally nasty best when he lashes out at those he loathes. Does he ever feel guilty for the life his own actions have shaped for Harry?



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 27, 2009 9:26 am (#2664 of 2988)
mona, I've gotten into trouble talking about sociology on this thread before, so you'll have to do your own research on Hitler

But Julia covered most of what I would say to you as a response. Although we are obviously not shown Severus's inner thoughts beyond a few Memories, I personally conclude he had enormous guilt. When it is not released, as in self-forgiveness, IMO it is a form of self-punishment and self-loathing.

To me if one punishes others, it is a means to release the pain usually inflicted upon oneself. If this is an unconscious motivation it is still a motivation. For instance, Bellatrix might have turned to become a DE because she was not the "fair" sister or the "smart" sister, and did it to get attention from her pureblood parents. She was also apparently in love with Vold, which to me is obviously self-loathing to want to be with a psychopathic killer. Narcissa, I will add, does not inflict actual pain that we know of and I would say this is because she is not as tormented internally, unconsciously or consciously. Lucius might have his own self-loathing motives, such as feeling inferior to the Muggle-born cracker jacks that beat him in OWL's or Quidditch.

Of course, "passed down" hatred is a subtler form of this self-loathing concept. If a parent teaches his children to hate others, what does that say about the way this person parents? What does this parent instill in their child? Is there self-esteem and how to treat others? I doubt it. This child might grow up thinking they are one step away from no longer being in their parent's favor, which is a budding self-hatred (i.e., I might not be good enough).

Basically I do not see how a person would inflict pain onto others and be balanced internally about oneself. JM2K

edited



Julia H. - Aug 27, 2009 9:45 am (#2665 of 2988)
Does he ever feel guilty for the life his own actions have shaped for Harry? (Pesky)

Perhaps when he does not see Harry's James-face in front of him? My guess is that his unhealing wound hurts whenever he sees Harry, and he cannot help reacting to James (because of the emotions that rise in him). That does not have to mean that he does not know what his actions did to Harry, even if he may try and bury this thought in the depth of his mind somewhere.

Also, it is my pet theory that Snape, with his behaviour toward Harry, manages to make Harry hate him exactly as Harry would hate him if he knew what Snape had done - without Snape actually having to make this humiliating confession. I think it can be subconscious self-punishment (which implies guilt), where a sort of justice is served because Harry hates Snape, who deserves that, but still he can keep the real reason why Harry should hate him secret - and he does want to keep it secret. Unfortunately, in this way, there is only punishment but no forgiving or moving on, since that is impossible without both parties understanding the real reason.

I don't see the literary point in making Snape guilty and then having him atone (or at least change his allegiance and goals) without Snape feeling his guilt consciously or subconsciously, i.e., without making a causal connection between his guilt and the change.

Basically I do not see how a person would inflict pain onto others and be balanced internally about oneself. (MAMS)

I find what you say about all these people having conflicts with themselves quite convincing. (I thought it differently before, but now I think you are right and I was wrong.) I agree that a balanced individual would not want to hurt others.

EDITED.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 27, 2009 10:05 am (#2666 of 2988)
I agree, Julia. In his line "Fools who wear their hearts on their sleeve...", Severus gives us the clue that confirms what we suspect: that he internalizes everything and speaks of nothing. Why would his guilt be any different?

Does he feel guilty for mistreating Harry? No, because he is doing to Harry what he wants to do to James. And, as we've discussed, IMO he really doesn't distinguish between the two.



mona amon - Aug 29, 2009 6:27 am (#2667 of 2988)
To me if one punishes others, it is a means to release the pain usually inflicted upon oneself. If this is an unconscious motivation it is still a motivation. For instance, Bellatrix might have turned to become a DE because she was not the "fair" sister or the "smart" sister, and did it to get attention from her pureblood parents. She was also apparently in love with Vold, which to me is obviously self-loathing to want to be with a psychopathic killer. Narcissa, I will add, does not inflict actual pain that we know of and I would say this is because she is not as tormented internally, unconsciously or consciously. Lucius might have his own self-loathing motives, such as feeling inferior to the Muggle-born cracker jacks that beat him in OWL's or Quidditch.

Of course, "passed down" hatred is a subtler form of this self-loathing concept. If a parent teaches his children to hate others, what does that say about the way this person parents? What does this parent instill in their child? Is there self-esteem and how to treat others? I doubt it. This child might grow up thinking they are one step away from no longer being in their parent's favor, which is a budding self-hatred (i.e., I might not be good enough).

Basically I do not see how a person would inflict pain onto others and be balanced internally about oneself. JM2K (Shadow)


If we are talking about the reason behind Severus being 'mean' to so many people, I do agree in a way. I've always argued in favour of subconcious guilt being a factor in the way he treats people, particularly Harry and Neville. I'll try to find those posts after I finish this.

However, I do not agree that this is true for everyone. I mean, if people are warped or evil or mean like Voldemort, Bellatrix, and Lucius (and I won't exempt Narcissa. She was pretty mean to Harry that time in Madam Malkin's), it obviously means that there's something very wrong somewhere, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are full of self-loathing. That, IMO, is far too simple an explanation.

If we take Bella, for example, she probably suffers from an inflated sense of her own superiority, extreme prejudice, and an added inborn kink in the brain (extreme sadism). Is there any self-hatred in there? I'd say no. Though she obviously cannot be happy in the 'normal' sense, I'm guessing that evil people have their own brand of elation and self-satisfaction.

In short, while I totally agree with your statement, Basically I do not see how a person would inflict pain onto others and be balanced internally about oneself, I do not agree that evil behaviour is necessarily either a result or a cause of self-loathing.

However, if he truly understands the implications of his own actions (and not only to the extent of self-pity for having to spend his life teaching dunderheads) how can he be so horrid to Harry and his friends? Sure, he's 'playing a part', but as many of us seem to agree, Severus appears to be at his naturally nasty best when he lashes out at those he loathes. Does he ever feel guilty for the life his own actions have shaped for Harry? (Pesky)

This is exactly my problem with Severus's guilt as well. His behaviour can be explained by unacknowledged, repressed guilt. But IMO it is totally incompatible with concious, acknowledged guilt. If he had really faced his guilt, his behaviour towards both Neville and Harry would have been different.

But let me focus on Neville. If he had acknowledged his guilt, how could he feel absolutely no compassion for a boy whose parents were tortured into insanity by the group to which he once belonged?



wynnleaf - Aug 29, 2009 7:01 am (#2668 of 2988)
I know we covered this in excruciating detail six months ago , but I'll repeat something I said then. JKR made it pretty clear in DH that her version of "redemption" needed to include remorse. Harry even says this to Voldemort right at the end -- if only he had some remorse, which of course, he doesn't.

JKR also has said in interviews that she wanted to show Snape's redemption. Therefore it would be contrary to her own ideas about redemption and remorse if she intended Snape to not have remorse over his actions, and yet be redeemed. So she must have intended Snape to be seen as remorseful. Otherwise her comments about his redemption make no sense.

While I completely understand that some readers don't feel that the scenes that JKR wrote of Snape in DH are clear pictures of remorse, I think JKR did indeed intend Snape's remorse to be evident in The Prince's Tale. She may not have been successful, at least not successful enough to convince all her readers. But the scenes in The Prince's Tale, as well as the overall arc of Snape's story, did convince me. I felt that JKR successfully showed Snape's remorse in his anguish in front of Dumbledore, his willingness to commit to "anything" to fix the problems he helped create, and his singleminded devotion to those goals over the years. Further, his personal change, growing from a young man who was not particularly concerned about the deaths of people he didn't care about, to a man who would attempt to save anyone he could, including someone he didn't even like -- this growth may possibly occur without a person regretting their earlier stance, but generally this growth includes regret over the former, uncaring attitude and willingness to harm others.

Sure, I understand that it seems contradictory for Snape to feel guilt over his part in the Potter's deaths and yet still treat Harry badly, but, in my opinion, that's because we are thinking of it in a rational way. People, in reality, often don't act or feel based on rationality. It's perfectly possible, in my opinion, for a person to feel great loathing toward a person, all the while working to protect that person and also feeling great guilt for having caused the death of someone important to them. Many people have extremely contradictory feelings and actions and, in my opinion, it's realistic when people act and feel in contradictory ways. As objective readers, we may think that Snape ought to act better toward Harry if Snape felt guilt over his own actions that orphaned Harry. But that would mean that Snape's feelings would be rational, which, of course they aren't. Especially since, as we know, the main reason Snape dislikes Harry is because he thinks Harry is like James, and yet Harry isn't really much like James except in looks.



Honour - Aug 29, 2009 9:00 am (#2669 of 2988)
Well said Wynnleaf.

Even I find it hard to fathom the harsh judgement that is afforded to Severus compared to Wormtail, Lucius, Bella and the like, including Voldermort on this thread. Why is that? Is it because as was said in prior posts that JKR doesn't portray Severus' remorse clear enough, does he need to suffer more? Do we need to see a slobbering mess on the floor? Do we need to see Severus mindless like Nevilles parents? Or bloodied on the floor like Draco, the life slowly disappearing from his eyes, Oh, hold on, that was the exact way inwhich Severus eventually died! So what are they looking for those who bay for his blood/soul and are not content with Harry's and inturn JKR's acceptance of Severus' redemption? what?



Julia H. - Aug 29, 2009 9:09 am (#2670 of 2988)
I've always argued in favour of subconcious guilt being a factor in the way he treats people, particularly Harry and Neville... However, I do not agree that this is true for everyone. I mean, if people are warped or evil or mean like Voldemort, Bellatrix, and Lucius (and I won't exempt Narcissa. She was pretty mean to Harry that time in Madam Malkin's), it obviously means that there's something very wrong somewhere, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are full of self-loathing. (Mona)

I'm not sure I would want to equate self-loathing with guilt. I think self-loathing is a result of guilt in Snape's case - but I don't think it is true of everyone. Lupin, for example, is also full of self-loathing but it seems to originate more in disgust with his "animal-side" than in guilt, after all, he is much more a victim than a predator.

I think MAMS has a point when she says Bella admiring so much a cruel, sadistic man can be a sign of a form of self-loathing. It does not seem to come from feeling guilt about any of the crimes she has committed. Still, Bella both loves Voldemort and is terribly afraid of him. A self-respecting woman (evil or not) would stop being so fond of someone who has tortured her, too. So her continued devotion to Voldemort does indicate that she does not value herself very much unless as the Dark Lord's most devoted and most trusted servant. Now, what if her insane, sadistic personality is a result of low self-esteem, as a way of feeling more powerful and more important (by hurting other people)? (Of course, I am not implying that low self-esteem always results in a sadistic personality.)

His behaviour can be explained by unacknowledged, repressed guilt.But IMO it is totally incompatible with concious, acknowledged guilt

Unacknowledged, repressed guilt is guilt. It is not "unknown" by the person, only repressed by him. It is real and it motivates a person. It is the kind of guilt that is impossible to get over.

If he had really faced his guilt, his behaviour towards both Neville and Harry would have been different.

That's something we can perhaps expect from a relatively "normal", healthy personality, who can deal with his guilt somehow. Snape, however, is far from being psychologically healthy, and his guilt is not the only problem he has. How can we say that there is only one possible type of response to guilt? Perhaps it is the enormity of his guilt that prevents him from reacting in the normal way, perhaps it is his other personality problems, or perhaps their combination.

If he had acknowledged his guilt, how could he feel absolutely no compassion for a boy whose parents were tortured into insanity by the group to which he once belonged?

Well, we know that Snape did not wear his heart on his sleeve... and he repressed a lot. Perhaps he did feel compassion, but he was also annoyed by Neville's ineptitude and timidity, and he was able to express his negative feelings much better than the positive ones. Or perhaps he tried to "shock" Neville into being a little tougher - it may not be the most modern pedagogical approach, but in the end, what awakened the dormant Gryffindor in Neville was indeed a shock, Bella's breaking out of Azkaban. Compared to that, Snape's taunts were nothing.

In HBP, Snape still teaches Neville, but he does not taunt him any more, and IMO, it is because Neville has changed - there is no need for Snape to shock him or to bring home the idea how much is at stake out there.

Snape may not have shown much compassion toward Neville for his parents' ordeal, but Neville was the only one for whom he spoke up in sadistic, torture-loving Umbridge's office, toward the end of OotP, while he was otherwise pretending indifference in front of Umbridge.



wynnleaf - Aug 29, 2009 9:28 am (#2671 of 2988)
Even I find it hard to fathom the harsh judgement that is afforded to Severus compared to Wormtail, Lucius, Bella and the like, including Voldermort on this thread. (Honour)

I think it's because the characters you mention are all known "bad guys" and therefore their evil actions are pretty clear cut -- nasty people doing evil things, although supposedly Lucius loves Draco, so he's got a little tiny bit of redeeming qualities. But there's just not much to go over here for readers (or at least, it doesn't seem so, as no one talks about them a lot).

But Snape is on the good side and JKR wanted him to be shown as redeemed, yet he acted so badly toward some of the well-loved characters like Harry and Neville, so the ins and outs of his actions and redemption are very important to readers.

As for what readers want to see, of course it's different for everyone. But I think generally speaking, when you have a literary character that does some particularly bad things and yet is supposed to be redeemed in the book, it's more satisfying and believable if you get to see the character really address their guilt, remorse, etc. I doubt that many people want to see Snape punished; more likely they wanted to see more specific and obvious remorse and changed actions.



PeskyPixie - Aug 29, 2009 9:43 am (#2672 of 2988)
"I think JKR did indeed intend Snape's remorse to be evident in The Prince's Tale." -wynnleaf

For me, The Prince's Tale presents a man who is full of remorse and spends his life atoning for the errors of his youth.

I only have a problem with how he treats the kids whose lives have been shattered by the hate group to which he once belonged. (Although, those bits make for excellent reading!) Or perhaps he is completely in teacher-mode in class, and as such, there is no excuse for Neville being a dunderhead?



Julia H. - Aug 29, 2009 9:54 am (#2673 of 2988)
Or perhaps he is completely in teacher-mode in class, and as such, there is no excuse for Neville being a dunderhead?

I think it's possible, especially because he leaves Neville alone as soon as Neville stops being a dunderhead in his class. Could he teach at all if he focused on his guilt all the time?



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 29, 2009 4:44 pm (#2674 of 2988)
But let me focus on Neville. If he had acknowledged his guilt, how could he feel absolutely no compassion for a boy whose parents were tortured into insanity by the group to which he once belonged? - mona

I agree with how most posters responded about Neville. I agree specifically with Julia comparing Remus and Severus. Severus is dealing with overwhelming guilt and self-loathing for one's "crimes", and he finds it easy to lash out at the weak one in the bunch. No, it isn't a redeeming quality. I see it as Severus being in a perpetual state of mild hostilily, with the weak boy who reminds him of himself (the cliche target of bullying) getting it passed on to that weak student. So in a way it is self-loathing to pick on a weak child because it was done to you in the past. Abused people become abusers, they say. I hope that made sense...

Nice to see you back, wynnleaf.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 29, 2009 6:30 pm (#2675 of 2988)
Forgot to add that I agree with how Julia elaborated on what I have said earlier that it is not just one "problem" with Severus. It is watching his father's abuse towards his mother, it is possibly feeling his father didn't like him, it is probably being the weird kid in Muggle school prior to age 11, it is being bullied by James and Sirius (from even before Day One of what was supposed to be the greatest day of his life to date, something he had been looking forward to for years!), it is feeling the horrible possibility that he was slowly losing Lily to his arch nemesis (and being right, before she even realized it herself), it is being drawn to dark magic even moreso than being drawn to the girl he loved, it is being enough of a dunderhead that he thought being a dark wizard would win her love, and on and on.

I agree with wynnleaf that Severus being a walking contradiction is totally realistic -- probably one of the most realistic portrayals of redemption I have seen on paper.



severusisn'tevil - Aug 30, 2009 1:45 am (#2676 of 2988)
Even I find it hard to fathom the harsh judgement that is afforded to Severus compared to Wormtail, Lucius, Bella and the like, including Voldermort on this thread. Why is that? Is it because as was said in prior posts that JKR doesn't portray Severus' remorse clear enough, does he need to suffer more? Do we need to see a slobbering mess on the floor? Do we need to see Severus mindless like Nevilles parents? Or bloodied on the floor like Draco, the life slowly disappearing from his eyes, Oh, hold on, that was the exact way inwhich Severus eventually died! So what are they looking for those who bay for his blood/soul and are not content with Harry's and inturn JKR's acceptance of Severus' redemption? what? (Honour)

Well said, Honour. I have often wondered the same thing. And yes, those people are "bad guys" but in HP, as in real life, there are shades of grey.

And MAMS, I agree. Severus is complicated and, yes, contradictory. He has more than one emotional issue. But then, he's human. I respectfully submit that most people, even real, live ones will find facets of their personalities that contradict each other. I, for example, am capable of being highly emotional and romantic, and yet I can also be brutal and vengeful when I feel a situation calls for payback. Or, I seem to attract "strays" as favorite characters who nearly always die, which hurts, but I keep on collecting the strays, regardless. Everyone is complicated. Well, except people like Ron, with the emotional maturity of teaspoons.



mona amon - Aug 30, 2009 9:41 am (#2677 of 2988)
So what are they looking for those who bay for his blood/soul and are not content with Harry's and inturn JKR's acceptance of Severus' redemption? what?

Lol, Honour! Who's baying for his blood/soul? When? Where?

I know we covered this in excruciating detail six months ago (Wynnleaf)

But never reached a consensus, did we? Do we ever?

First of all let me say that I've never denied that Severus was a redemptive character. I mean, of course he is. How can a person who was once so corrupted by evil that he did not care that the husband and child of the love of his life were going to be murdered, but who turned right around and ended up dying so that child could triumph, be regarded as anything other than a redeemed or redemptive character?

However there are so many different types of redemption. There's the "what I did was completely wrong. Let me run back and say I'm sorry and make up" (The Prodigal Son), There's the more or less amoral (or even immoral) character who, without changing in any fundamental way, suddenly reveals some aspect of their character that redeems them at least somewhat in the eyes of the reader (Becky Sharp, Sgt. Frank Troy), those who see the light after undergoing intense suffering (Mr Rochester) and so on.

So I'm not saying Severus wasn't redeemed. I think I'm disagreeing about the type of redemption. I believe he was redeemed because he was reformed- he made a complete about-turn from DE to Dumbledore's man through and through.

But I do not agree that he was just the same as any average remorseful character, one who has thoroughly looked into himself, recognises, acknowledges, and confesses the extent of his own culpability and consciously makes amends for his past mistakes. There was also no reconcilliation with Harry or anyone, so his redemption, like everything else about him, remains tragically incomplete.

I agree with wynnleaf that Severus being a walking contradiction is totally realistic -- probably one of the most realistic portrayals of redemption I have seen on paper. (Shadow)

And I can agree with you about that!

About Neville and Severus's irationality/contradictions-

Would a Severus who is fully and consciouly guilty about joining the DEs yell "idiot boy!" at Neville? Yes, he could. At that moment Neville would have been to him not a child whose parents were tortured into insanity by the gang he once belonged to, but a dunderhead who had melted his partner's cauldron. He was, as everyone keeps pointing out, human, and an irritable human at that.

But would he have made that cold-blooded and totally unwarranted remark to Lupin, "Possibly no one warned you, Lupin, but this class contains Neville Longbottom. I would advise you not to entrust him with anything difficult. Not unless Miss Granger is hissing instructions in his ear." That, IMO, is completely irreconcilable with acknowledged and accounted for guilt about joining the DEs. Feeling consciously sorry about something automatically involves feeling sorry for the victims of your misdeeds. I can't imagine the one without the other.



Julia H. - Aug 30, 2009 10:53 am (#2678 of 2988)
But I do not agree that he was just the same as any average remorseful character, one who has thoroughly looked into himself, recognises, acknowledges, and confesses the extent of his own culpability and consciously makes amends for his past mistakes. (Mona)

Does anyone say that Snape is like that? I agree that he is a realistic remorseful character: Guilt and remorse do not make him suddenly purely good, they do not erase the original bitterness in him (on the contrary), they do not solve the original problems that resulted in his guilt in the first place. Guilt and remorse are pain and burden to him. Redemptive qualities, but nothing to make him happy and satisfied, and I think it is quite realistic. These feelings do not bring relief and happiness without forgiveness, only pain, and pain can make one "fight back". "Seeing the light" and becoming a better person is not necessarily the way to instant happiness for everyone.

Still, on the basis of the Prince's Tale chapter, I do think he is conscious of his guilt and that he wants to make amends for his past mistakes, even if remorse and atonement are not his only motivations all the time. For all his guilt and remorse, he is still human and flawed. Yes, he can be nasty, even to Neville, because besides the "great emotions" of remorse and atonement, he is motivated by other, everyday, sometimes petty feelings, quite like other people, including anger, jealousy, bad moods, antipathy etc., as well as by various personality traits. I don't think being aware of one's guilt will necessarily help one overcome these feelings on a regular basis and act nicer than he is momentarily inclined to.

As for Neville, yes, Snape was a Death Eater, but he may not feel personally guilty specifically about Neville. He did not do anything to him or his parents. Yes, I know you mean he was part of the same organization as Bella, but with the same logic, he could probably try to be nice and humble toward a number of other kids at Hogwarts (whose back-stories we don't know). I think he feels guilty for what he did, but taking the blame (psychologically) for everything any Death Eaters ever did may be too much for him. Besides, by the time he meets Neville, he has probably distanced himself from Death Eater values so that he does not define himself as a (former) Death Eater. I am not saying that he has forgotten his past, only that he identifies with a post-DE Severus Snape, a teacher or a spy, rather than with the former DE, Bella's colleague. Neville is his student, not his victim. Then again, it is Neville alone that he speaks up for in Umbridge's office. That might mean something.

The cold-blooded and totally unwarranted remark to Lupin is not necessarily cold-blooded. There is a boggart in the wardrobe, and Snape could probably tell what it would be for him. Who knows what he has been reminded of by it? BTW, he may sincerely think that Neville may not be up to facing his boggart, even if the way he warns Lupin is not appropriate.



Solitaire - Aug 30, 2009 2:12 pm (#2679 of 2988)
I do not think Snape was necessarily guilty of what happened to the Longbottoms. If Voldy did not tell the DEs about the prophecy before he was vaporized--and that is my guess--then it is likely that they went after the Longbottoms simply because they were Aurors and had probably been hunting for him and not because Neville was a potential threat to Voldy. Otherwise, Neville would have been killed on the spot.

We learned in GoF that the Longbottoms were tortured for info about Voldy's whereabouts. That suggests to me that the DEs simply thought the Ministry (or perhaps the Order) might be hiding him. I do not think the DEs learned about the Prophecy until later ... after Voldy's graveyard plan failed.

I've always wondered whether Snape would have stepped forward to help Neville, if it had been Neville in Harry's spot. Since Lily would not have been involved, would his change of allegiance have happened? If not, then I think this is why some question Snape's remorse. Was it true remorse that would have brought him to DD if anyone innocent had died, or was it just very specific personal grief because Lily had been murdered? I think some folks believe that if the remorse would not have kicked in over the death of the Longbottoms, then perhaps it was not true remorse. I'm not sure how I feel about that at the moment.



me and my shadow 813 - Aug 30, 2009 4:21 pm (#2680 of 2988)
Soli, IMO Severus would not have been motivated to approach Dumbledore, which led to Severus's change of allegiance, had it not been for Lily's endangerment. I personally see Severus's "stepping forward" caused by his fear for Lily and only later did he begin to rethink the Muggle, Muggle-born and other issues that led him toward the Dark Arts.

So, to me, all things being equal, he would not have helped Neville because it seems the only thing he cared more about than the Dark Arts was Lily's life.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:11 pm

wynnleaf - Aug 30, 2009 5:27 pm (#2681 of 2988)
I thought what JKR was trying to show was that the woman he loved being in danger is what initially changed Snape, made him see the error of his ways, and ultimately brought about his remorse. So if Lily hadn't been in danger -- if, for instance, LV had targeted the Longbottoms -- Snape might not have had any catalyst to cause him to see the truth. But just because Snape needed a catalyst, needed someone he loved being in danger for him to change, doesn't mean it isn't true remorse. The wakeup call had to come from some outer source, but that's true in many cases of remorse. I think JKR intended to show that Snape's remorse and his understanding of the error of his ways increased over time, which we see in his increasing willingness to do more and more. At first he only takes the warning to DD. Then he agrees to do "anything" to save Lily. Then after Lily dies he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect Harry. And as time goes by he wants to do whatever it takes to save anyone he can. And we also see his comment to Phineas not to say "mudblood", another indicator of changing perspectives.

Mona amon, I agree that literary redemption can take many forms and need not include remorse. It's just that JKR, both in interviews and within the text of DH, seems to put a strong emphasis on remorse as being necessary for redemption. If that's what JKR thinks and wanted to show in DH, and if she intends Snape to be redeemed, then she must also intend him to have been remorseful. Other books, with other redemption ideas, might not require such a character to have remorse in order to be redeemed, but JKR does seem to think this is a requirement, and she has her hero, Harry, state this in his final comments to LV.

So basically, what I'm saying is that reading DH and agreeing that Snape has literary redemption is certainly possible without believing that he was remorseful. However, reading DH and believing that Snape is redeemed according to JKR's and the books take of redemption does seem to necessitate believing that Snape was remorseful.

However, whatever JKR intended, I do think that what we see of Snape's redemption in DH is somewhat unsatisfying because we don't see any actual peace made between Snape and Harry.



Betelgeuse Black - Aug 30, 2009 6:51 pm (#2682 of 2988)
I've been pondering a Snape subject recently. I find the memories that Snape chose to give Harry very interesting. I don't recall this subject being discussed before. However, this thread is long so it probably has been touched before now.

Why would Snape include all the memories that we saw? The obvious answer is to show Harry the full story so he would believe what was trying to be communicated. Snape felt it was very important to tell Harry what DD asked him to say. He was bleeding to death and desperate to fulfill his task.

Snape did not tell anyone other than DD these personal secrets. It must have been difficult for Snape to show these moments of awkwardness, embarrassment and vulnerability to the son of his nemesis and childhood tormentor.

I would guess that this is why Harry was able to forgive Snape. Snape chose to show Harry all these things at a great emotional cost. Harry would eventually realize what it must have cost Snape to tell him these things.

Betelgeuse

ETA: I think Snape showing all the memories to Harry is a strong display of remorse.



Solitaire - Aug 30, 2009 7:05 pm (#2683 of 2988)
I actually think most of the memories were necessary for Harry to truly get the scope of 17 years in a few minutes. However, I also think they were the things that came flooding to the surface as Snape lay dying ... and what had probably been foremost in his mind for several months, if not years. I'm not sure he could have withheld any of them by that time, even if he'd tried. I think they truly were his dying thoughts and memories ...



mona amon - Aug 30, 2009 9:25 pm (#2684 of 2988)
I do not think Snape was necessarily guilty of what happened to the Longbottoms. (Soli)

He wasn't. At the time it happened he was a reformed DE in Hogwarts with Dumbledore. What I was saying is, if he was really wallowing in guilt about joining the DEs, as some have suggested, he would feel more compassion for the victims of the DEs, even if he didn't have anything to do with it. If he was introspective (and I feel he wasn't) he'd have made the connection, IMO.

Wynnleaf, I do believe that Severus was remorseful. I do not think we disagree about the main point. Where we differ is in the details. I just don't see any indication in the books that he was consumed by guilt, filled with self-loathing, etc etc. Not that you said that. I'm just outlining the POV opposite to my own.

Anyway, I just don't see him as someone who's always wallowing in guilt or writhing in anguish over his past misdeeds. I doubt if anyone can survive like that for long. They'll either go running to the person they injured most with a full confession in an attempt at some sort of resolution or reconcilliation, or jump off the Astronomy Tower. But this master occlumens' way of dealing with his guilt, IMO, was to repress it, to push it down somewhere deep so that he did not have to think about it.



Julia H. - Aug 31, 2009 1:44 am (#2685 of 2988)
Solitaire, I also think Snape's change and remorse were initiated by his love for Lily and by the danger Lily was in. I think it is directly connected to what is said in the book about love being the force to overcome Voldemort. It is true of Harry, but it is also true of Snape in a different way. But I don't think Voldemort choosing the Potters was the only possible way for Snape to realize certain things. Even if Voldemort had chosen the Longbottoms as his main enemies, Lily would have been his target as a Muggle-born (and as an Order member). So I think the fact that Snape loved so much (more than his life) someone whom a true Death Eater should have hated or despised was bound to lead him toward a change. Of course, the way it happens in the books is perhaps the most dramatic and painful way possible, with Snape being directly involved in the chain of events that cause Lily's death.

However, I do think that his remorse was real and true. I agree with Wynnleaf in this respect.

Snape did not tell anyone other than DD these personal secrets. It must have been difficult for Snape to show these moments of awkwardness, embarrassment and vulnerability to the son of his nemesis and childhood tormentor.

I would guess that this is why Harry was able to forgive Snape. Snape chose to show Harry all these things at a great emotional cost. Harry would eventually realize what it must have cost Snape to tell him these things... I think Snape showing all the memories to Harry is a strong display of remorse. (Betelgeuse Black)


I really like this idea. Very interesting.

Anyway, I just don't see him as someone who's always wallowing in guilt or writhing in anguish over his past misdeeds. (Mona)

Well, he says only weak people do that. I'm not sure whose ideas you are debating. I think Snape was conscious of his guilt (not necessarily to the extent of seeing the victims of DE's in general as his own victims though), but it does not mean he was wallowing in it all the time. There must have been some very painful moments connected to it, and he was an unhappy person, but that's not what you have described.

They'll either go running to the person they injured most with a full confession in an attempt at some sort of resolution or reconcilliation, or jump off the Astronomy Tower. But this master occlumens' way of dealing with his guilt, IMO, was to repress it, to push it down somewhere deep so that he did not have to think about it.

Well, Snape seems suicidal at one point. But I think atonement (or the possibility of atonement) is crucial here. He does not jump, and he does not run to the person he injured (who is a baby at the moment anyway). But who knows what would have happened to him if he had not been given the chance to atone, or at least to do something important for Lily yet? As for repressing guilt, yes, it is absolutely possible, but I do think repressed guilt is guilt, and, as for self-loathing, it can be subconscious or repressed as well, and still be real and affecting his personality and his life. What is more, repressed guilt and self-loathing are impossible to deal with (in the sense of solving them), therefore they stay with the person and cause a lot of problems which are never addressed properly.

IMO, Snape experiencing guilt and remorse is the only possible causal relationship between his mistake and his later actions and his thoroughly changed personality at the end of his life.



Honour - Aug 31, 2009 3:39 am (#2686 of 2988)
What an awesome read guys! I really enjoyed that, thanks! : )



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 3, 2009 1:29 pm (#2687 of 2988)
I was posting something about a "chronology" on another thread and remembered that we had begun a chronology of Severus's life on this thread a few months back.

I believe we got up to PS. Is anyone interested in doing a Read-Along of Severus's Life? We could pick up with CoS, I think. Will look up old posts and link the last "chronology" post here.

edit: This is going to take a while, but in the meantime I found the post about Severus and punishment: me and my shadow 813, "+ Severus Snape" #1740, 19 Mar 2009 8:23 pm

edit 2: As far as I can tell, we got as far as Severus confronting Quirrell, and that is the last time we see Severus in PS. So, for anyone interested, we could begin the discussion with Severus in CoS.



Julia H. - Sep 3, 2009 3:13 pm (#2688 of 2988)
I'm definitely interested.



wynnleaf - Sep 4, 2009 7:26 am (#2689 of 2988)
I would be interested. How did you have in mind doing it?



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 4, 2009 9:06 am (#2690 of 2988)
Nothing in particular, wynnleaf. Just looking at CoS chronologically and discussing Severus's behaviour through the book. I don't have time right now -- later on today I'll be back -- but I thought it would be a good basis for discussions.



PeskyPixie - Sep 4, 2009 9:48 am (#2691 of 2988)
Sounds great!



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 4, 2009 2:20 pm (#2692 of 2988)
The first time we meet up with Severus in CoS is right after the Whomping Willow episode

Here's a bit of text, when Harry and Ron are trying to figure out why Severus isn't at the staff table in the Great Hall:

'Or he might have been sacked!' said Ron enthusiastically. 'I mean, everyone hates him -'

'Or maybe,' said a very cold voice right behind them. 'he's waiting to hear why you two didn't arrive on the school train.'

There, his black robes rippling in a cold breeze, stood Severus Snape. He was a thin man with sallow skin, a hooked nose, and greasy, shoulder-length hair, and at this moment, he was smiling in a way that told Harry he and Ron were in very deep trouble.

'Follow me,' said Snape.

My first impressions are, 1)no matter it came from Ron, overhearing that line must not feel good and, 2)this passage and what comes after are small examples of the "punishment" thing associated with Severus.



wynnleaf - Sep 5, 2009 5:29 am (#2693 of 2988)
The year before, Snape had been watching Quirrell with the intent of protecting Harry. And here at the start of COS Snape seems to be out looking for Harry again. He already knows about the reports of the flying car and, rather than sit inside at the staff table for the Sorting, is looking out for Harry and Ron's arrival. He obviously wasn't right there when they crashed into the tree, but by this point he's learned that the car crashed into the tree and the boys have left the car. So Snape has been searching for them, not even knowing if they were injured.

And what's the first thing he hears? The boys are wishing ill upon him. So it's rather natural that his first reaction would be pretty irritated with them. And given that his opinion of Harry was low to begin with, this stunt seems to go right along with what Snape expects of Harry's behavior.

As for punishment, I really don't think there's anything unusual here at all. Harry and Ron have done a lot more than break school rules. They've broken Wizarding World laws as well. Hey, for that matter, they also broke regular British laws in driving off with a car at age 13. Snape, as a head of house, would be expected to be thinking about punishment. And DD, in a few minutes, will confirm that their actions are worthy of expulsion, except DD gives them another chance.

Snape's smile is interesting. I interpret that as Snape feeling a sense of satisfaction that his view of Harry as a flagrant and arrogant rule breaker is being confirmed.



Dryleaves - Sep 6, 2009 11:49 am (#2694 of 2988)
'Or maybe,' said a very cold voice right behind them. 'he's waiting to hear why you two didn't arrive on the school train.'

He may not like what he has just overheard, but I like Snape's line here. It is really funny, and almost has a trace of self-distance in it, although maybe it is more like Wynnleaf writes, a satisfaction that his view of Harry is being confirmed and perhaps also a conviction that Harry and Ron will not get away easily this time.



Steve Newton - Sep 6, 2009 12:00 pm (#2695 of 2988)
I thought that this scene would have been a natural for the movie. Brief and funny. It was not to be.



PeskyPixie - Sep 6, 2009 12:01 pm (#2696 of 2988)
I think that Snape thoroughly enjoys the humour of this situation. It seems to be the type of thing he finds funny.

Steve, I was disappointed at its omission from the movie as well. JKR has set up so many funny little bits. It's a shame that they get overlooked.



Julia H. - Sep 6, 2009 3:28 pm (#2697 of 2988)
Yes, this scene would have been great in the movie. I see no point in having Filch find the boys instead of Snape. (All right, they may have wanted to "establish" Filch before the scene with Mrs Norris, but still...)

Snape's "answer" to the boys' guesses is perfect; but, Hogwarts being Snape's home, the guesses must have still hurt.

The boys wish him sacked. He retorts by threatening them with expulsion, the "equivalent" of sacking in the case of students. Both sacking and expulsion would mean leaving Hogwarts for ever. Both ideas are futile fantasies at best. Snape is very close to Dumbledore (so not "everybody" hates him) and he is not sacked (instead, he is looking for the boys); while the same Dumbledore is very unlikely to expel Harry Potter even if he admits that the offence is worthy of expulsion. Still, apparently, both parties manage to upset the other one a bit, using essentially the same idea.

Dumbledore's way of dealing with the situation: He declares that the boys have done something very bad, but refuses (of course) the punishment suggested by Snape and decides on something lighter. Then he leaves the boys in McGonagall's care and walks away with Severus, back to the dinner (which Snape may not even have started) possibly with the double purpose of calming him and having a word with him.



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 6, 2009 10:23 pm (#2698 of 2988)
I agree that most of what Severus gets a kick out of is that Harry is behaving how Severus had predetermined he would (just like his father) and that he sees 'no way out' of expulsion for showboating Potter who "Wanted to arrive with a bang". Revenge is sweet on James, I mean Harry.

Regarding my punishment comment, it wasn't so much getting Harry punished that I was referring to. It was more, as I said, what comes after:

The shadowy walls were lined with shelves of large glass jars, in which floated all manner of revolting things Harry didn't really want to know the name of at the moment.

To me it seems that along with JKR's description of torturous posters all over the DADA walls in Severus's class in HBP, which is contrary to *most* other DADA instructors, we have Severus displaying "revolting things" rather than -- perhaps Slughorn's practice of keeping them in cabinets or discreetly positioned so that, if they even need to be stored in one's office, when people enter they aren't prompted to vomit. To me this reveals another facet of Severus surrounding himself with, it seems, dead or near dead things. I know you all couldn't possibly have known that was what I meant...

I've mentioned this before but I still don't understand why Severus seems so eager to get Harry expelled. Wouldn't that make his job more difficult? Or does he expect Harry will gladly sit in #4 Privet Drive until he reaches 17? I think it's just an example of Severus BLINDLY wanting revenge on James so badly that he cannot even see that it would ruin his own life if it were actually to happen.

Then he leaves the boys in McGonagall's care and walks away with Severus, back to the dinner (which Snape may not even have started) possibly with the double purpose of calming him and having a word with him. - Julia

Yes, my mind instantly went to the Memory that Severus gave Harry, when Dumbledore tells him to keep an eye on Quirrell ("determined rule-breaker, attention seeking, impertinent", etc.). I'm sure that little exchange occurred here again, and many, many times after. Dumbledore is a patient man!



Julia H. - Sep 7, 2009 3:47 am (#2699 of 2988)
I've mentioned this before but I still don't understand why Severus seems so eager to get Harry expelled. (MAMS)

Knowing what we find out in DH, I don't think Snape expects Harry to be expelled. Snape probably likes playing with the idea and he uses it as a (rather empty) threat; and in this particular case, it is Snape's response to what the boys were saying about him when he found them. It is also a serious warning: What the boys did was not only against the rules but was also very dangerous. However, Snape knows very well how important Harry is to Dumbledore - the two of them have made an alliance to protect him. I wonder if Dumbledore has ever expelled anyone - not even Sirius was expelled after the prank, and Snape knows it. But it's a great opportunity for Snape to tell Dumbledore "I told you so" (attention-seeking rule-breaker etc.) - even if Harry is not expelled.

To me this reveals another facet of Severus surrounding himself with, it seems, dead or near dead things.

It's an interesting point, especially if we see it as symbolic... in practice, however, these things are always connected to Snape's work, which is different from just having dead things around him with no apparent purpose. BTW (I wonder what others will say to that), my husband says it shows that the author is a woman when it comes across as a great punishment for boys (Harry, Neville) to be ordered to handle various gross beings (dead or alive) - because most teenage boys would not find this kind of punishment half as revolting as JKR's student heroes apparently do. I think the same goes for seeing the pickled things in the jars. (They might just find them interesting...)



mona amon - Sep 7, 2009 6:00 am (#2700 of 2988)
He may not like what he has just overheard, but I like Snape's line here. It is really funny, and almost has a trace of self-distance in it, although maybe it is more like Wynnleaf writes, a satisfaction that his view of Harry is being confirmed and perhaps also a conviction that Harry and Ron will not get away easily this time. (Dryleaves)

I thought that this scene would have been a natural for the movie. Brief and funny. It was not to be. (Steve)

I think that Snape thoroughly enjoys the humour of this situation. It seems to be the type of thing he finds funny. (Pesky)


I agree with all these statements. Dryleaves, 'self-distance' is just the word which I was groping for to describe the scene. I've always felt that Severus lacked the ability to laugh at himself, but here, I think, is the nearest thing to 'self-distance' that we ever see.

There's nothing in the scene that I can interpret as hurt feelings. As far as I can make out, he doesn't give a hoot about what the boys think of him. He's just extremely glad to have caught Harry in some James-worthy escapade.

To me it seems that along with JKR's description of torturous posters all over the DADA walls in Severus's class in HBP, which is contrary to *most* other DADA instructors, we have Severus displaying "revolting things" rather than -- perhaps Slughorn's practice of keeping them in cabinets or discreetly positioned so that, if they even need to be stored in one's office, when people enter they aren't prompted to vomit. (Shadow)

Yes, I think these are part of the devices the author employs in order to develop a cheerless, almost morbid persona for Severus.



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 7, 2009 9:51 am (#2701 of 2988)
Julia, that's funny about boys liking slimy and revolting things. This does make it seem to be a device JKR uses to show Severus's "inner self", which is why they are revolted. For instance, if Remus had the same jars in his office, Harry might have been fascinated.

Does anyone else notice how, a lot of the time, Hermione reacts to situations in a similar manner to Severus? It occurs several times throughout the series. Here, of course, most prudent people would be horrified that Harry and Ron flew the car across Britain.

We don't see Severus again until the incident with Mrs Norris. This is a classic "Snape moment":

Snape loomed behind them, half in shadow, wearing a most peculiar expression: It was as though he was trying hard not to smile.

Half in shadow, always the split/double man.



Soul Search - Sep 7, 2009 12:18 pm (#2702 of 2988)
I think we all recognize that JKR promotes mostly "bad Snape" up until "The Prince's Tale." However, with what we learned in "The Prince's Tale" and delving deeper into these early scenes, we can actually see quite a bit of "good Snape." Just knowing Snape is protecting Harry puts a different spin on most "bad Snape" scenes.

For example, Snape appears to be trying to get Harry expelled, but we know that Snape knows Harry cannot be expelled. He was out on the grounds watching for Harry, perhaps getting a little worried. When he encounters Harry he overacts a bit, from worry, and tells him he has been a bad wizard in terms that will really impress Harry.

Now, when I read the chapter, I see "good Snape," not "bad Snape."



mona amon - Sep 8, 2009 4:47 am (#2703 of 2988)
Half in shadow, always the split/double man. (Shadow)

Nice one!



severusisn'tevil - Sep 9, 2009 9:38 am (#2704 of 2988)
Yes, Soul Search, I agree. And whether you let yourself care about a person's opinion or not, it would still sting, IMO. And something I've noticed. Most of the times Severus is mentioned, has anyone else noticed that JKR makes some kind of reference to his sallow skin, or his greasy hair, or his hooked nose, or his yellowish teeth, or grey underpants, and on and on. It's like with Remus and her obsession with pointing out that Remus's robes were "more ragged and patched than ever." Why is JKR so completely interested in Severus's unattractive physical features? And, after he's been established as such, why does she keep beating the dead horse? I mean, we know his hygiene isn't the best and we know he's sallow. What's the point of beating it to death? Because she's often not mentioning his appearance because something's changed. It usually hasn't. But if I had a dime for every time she mentions the above qualities, I could buy my college books. It's like she wants us to hate him until we're "supposed" to like him, and the best way to do that is to make him unattractive. Any other thoughts, guys?



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 9, 2009 10:49 am (#2705 of 2988)
Half in shadow, always the split/double man. (Shadow)

Nice one!


Thanks, mona

Regarding Severus's description, I really think it is a way to describe his "baddie" status. JKR indeed uses physically undesirable traits to reflect someone's inner traits. So we're absolutely supposed to hate him at this point in the series, and this is her way of creating that foundation. After all, Harry is giving us this physical description, and Harry hates him. Regarding Remus, to me it is simply a reflection of his being a beast every month. It's a good way to depict that, IMO. We tend to forget that these books are in the Juvenile section of the library, and were meant to convey things to young kids with a few concise images of descriptive text. Particularly this early in the series, JKR was still writing for the children predominantly, IMO.

On another note, does anyone think that Severus is particularly cruel to Neville because he feels Neville should have been the one Voldemort chose. But, because Neville wasn't chosen, Lily is dead. I think this might be the case.



Soul Search - Sep 9, 2009 12:41 pm (#2706 of 2988)
severusisn'tevil,

Yes, appearance descriptions sure are part of JKR's "bad Snape" campaign. Yet, even in "The Prince's Tale" where we discover "good Snape" we also learn that as a boy Snape wore odd clothes and had less-than-perfect grooming. She couldn't find even one good thing to say about "good Snape's" appearance. Oh well, at least she was consistent.



wynnleaf - Sep 10, 2009 8:32 am (#2707 of 2988)
While it is true that JKR gives a negative visual picture of Snape, it has always been interesting to me that she gives so much of a visual picture of him, I think more so than any other character. She not only describes his clothing, but the way his robes look when he walks. She describes his hair, it's color, texture, the way it falls in a way that partly hides his face. She describes his eyes, their color, the expression, the way they sometimes seem like tunnels. She describes many physical gestures and expressions. She describes his nose. She tells us his skin tone, pale but possibly also somewhat greasy. We are given many descriptions of his voice. She describes his teeth. She sometimes describes the way he moves. She even gives us, if we're observant, clues to his height. And it's not all nessarily negative. But whether her physical picture of Snape is negative or not, she seems to me to have a more complete physical idea of exactly what Snape looks like than most of the characters, even most of the primary characters.



Dryleaves - Sep 10, 2009 9:18 am (#2708 of 2988)
But whether her physical picture of Snape is negative or not, she seems to me to have a more complete physical idea of exactly what Snape looks like than most of the characters, even most of the primary characters. (Wynnleaf)

Yes, sometimes I think she gives an overly negative picture of Snape (like, "yes, of course she's got to give him yellow teeth on top of everything"), but then there are also things like the clutching of the chair in CoS, the finger tracing his lips in OotP, the many descriptions of his eyes, etc. And though his facial expression is often described as "unreadable", it is very often described in ways that are readable, only perhaps in different ways to keep him ambiguous.



Julia H. - Sep 10, 2009 9:47 am (#2709 of 2988)
Interesting thoughts about JKR describing Snape in so many details. (Perhaps she can't help being fascinated with the character. ) I find the eye descriptions especially important - dark, cold and unreadable, yet Snape's eyes express an awful lot. When his eyes find Harry's (Lily's) eyes in the final moment, after years of secrets and lies, that is the moment of truth.

Now that these descriptions have been mentioned, I wonder what you all think of the silky (other times "soft") voice - is it negative or positive or neither?



PeskyPixie - Sep 10, 2009 10:05 am (#2710 of 2988)
He is described many times as having a 'glint' in his eyes. Pretty interesting for a character with expressionless eyes. I think those moments (i.e. the glinty ones) are when he genuinely feels something (whatever that feeling may be).



Orion - Sep 10, 2009 10:14 am (#2711 of 2988)
This is quite true about the lack of detail about the other characters. (LOL Snape and the "other" characters) I've never had a clear picture of Harry. The Harry on Bloomsbury DH seems quite right to me, and Hermione on the same picture is just about perfect, but it's hard to imagine them, they blur when you try. Ron has red hair and a long nose - and, what else? It almost seems as if JKR was a tiny little bit obsessed with Snape and a little bit not very obsessed with everybody else.



Soul Search - Sep 10, 2009 11:45 am (#2712 of 2988)
Very good points about the amount of physical description we get for Snape, versus other characters.

As was pointed out earlier, JKR uses negative physical descriptions to support "bad Snape" character attributes. Maybe this is why there is so much physical description: it is needed to support the deceptive character development.

There was a time, before Deathly Hallows, when some thought Snape was going move into a very major role for the series. He didn't, really, but the amount of detailed physical description sure supports the idea.



wynnleaf - Sep 10, 2009 1:58 pm (#2713 of 2988)
There was a time, before Deathly Hallows, when some thought Snape was going move into a very major role for the series. (Soul Search)

While Snape's character doesn't get much page time in DH, the actual importance of Snape to the plot grows substantially in DH. At least, we discover that Snape's actions were far more pivotal throughout the story than we had known earlier, and his actions in DH also are crucial. Given the importance of the Snape - Harry dynamic, which JKR said was even more personal than between Harry and Voldemort, and given the importance Snape's character has to the plot, and especially given the importance of Snape at the very end when JKR made him the high standard for her most important virtue of bravery, his actual page time in DH seems, in my opinion, less than satisfying.

My personal feeling is that JKR did not want Snape's story to take over DH and therefore limited the amount of time we saw his character in DH. When you really consider, we only see Snape in scenes contemporaneous to DH during the first chapter of DH and during those few scenes just before his death. The scenes in The Prince's Tale are all memories. And Snape has only slight direct interaction with Harry in the book. Considering his importance, not only to a reader like me, but to JKR (given those last few lines of the series being about Snape's bravery), I think that his character needed more in DH. My own guess is that it is JKR's own somewhat ambivalent feelings about Snape that caused her to write it that way.



severusisn'tevil - Sep 10, 2009 3:29 pm (#2714 of 2988)
I don't think JKR had particularly ambivalent feelings about him. She gave him a redemption arc and admits that she enjoys writing about the character, but I don't think she liked him at all. In fact, most of the feeling I get from her when she is interviewed is that she dislikes him and cannot for the life of her understand why so many of us, her readers, enjoy discussing him so much more than other characters or why strange ones like me actually like him personally.

But I do agree that he should have gotten more "screen time" in DH. His marked absence was one of the qualities of DH I found most irksome. I was one of the lunatics holding out for some kind of confrontation between Harry and Severus in which they yelled at each other, probably hexed and insulted each other, but ultimately came to some kind of resolution---whether it would be forgiveness or an uneasy truce or what. But alas, she killed off a score of characters instead. Perhaps she needed the room originally taken up by the confrontation to fit in all the death. But there again, we certainly would have gladly read the extra 10-30 pages or whatever if she had included something of the kind.



mona amon - Sep 11, 2009 9:48 am (#2715 of 2988)
Good points about the way Severus is described, everyone.

I think that since JKR was working under certain constraints that prevented her from revealing Severus's true character, she developed this dark persona for him instead - the preference for the dungeons, the amplifying black bat-like robes, the superciliousness, the hooked nose and the long greasy black hair. Since we usually see him from Harry's perspective, the negative qualities are stressed. But when he's alone with the two women at Spinners End, no mention is made of his yellow teeth or greasy hair.

I too do not think her feelings about Severus were ambivalent. But I think she liked him. Various factors prevented her from admitting this. First, she had to hide his true affiliations. Then, she had to stress that she disapproved of his bad points in order to be politically correct and so on.

However, I feel the overall portrayal is very sympathetic. And there's also the "deeply horrible' quote-

Q: Who's your favorite character besides Harry Potter?

A: It's very hard to choose. It's fun to write about Snape because he's a deeply horrible person. Hagrid is someone I'd love to meet.

(Abel, Katy. "Harry Potter Author Works Her Magic," Family Education website, undated (October?) 1999)


It seems like an association of ideas to me. She was asked who her favourite character was, besides Harry. And she immediately thought of Severus.

I agree that The Prince's Tale confession seemed a bit rushed. A little more interaction with Harry, even negative interaction, would have been good, even if the somewhat incomplete resolution at the end was left as it is.



severusisn'tevil - Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am (#2716 of 2988)
I don't understand how the "deeply horrible" indicates that she liked him. I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just saying that, whatever constraints she had regarding not giving away too much, when I read or hear interviews of her, particularly on the subject of Severus, it feels as though she oversimplifies him. He's not a "deeply horrible" person. I am certainly not trying to claim that Severus is an orthodox candidate for sainthood. I do believe 15 years of thanklessly guarding your lost love's son and being willing to risk everything ought to have earned him a better reward than to bleed to death unforgiven and unvindicated, but that is another matter altogether. I mean, Voldemort is a deeply horrible person; Bellatrix and Fenrir are "deeply horrible." Severus is abrasive and flawed, it's true, but since when is he so simple as to be only "deeply horrible?" It's like DD says about Harry, that there's a nature deeper down that belies what's on the surface.



mona amon - Sep 16, 2009 2:33 am (#2717 of 2988)
Severusisn't evil, I think we have to give JKR a break, as far as the interviews are concerned. She may not be able to think fast enough when she's suddenly asked a question, or be able to express herself as eloquently in speech as in writing. And trying not to give away Severus's true loyalties would have been an added complicating factor. Moreover, when you try to sum up the character in one sentence, I guess, sounding simplistic is inevitable.

So, on the whole I think it's better to analyse what she has done with him in the book, and use the interviews only as aids to understanding the character rather than as 'the ultimate truth about Severus as Jo sees it'.

I don't understand how the "deeply horrible" indicates that she liked him.

I think the words that come before, "It's fun to write about Snape", should be taken into account, as well as the question, "Who's your favourite character?". To me it seems like an automatic response to the question she was asked. Snape is one of her favourite characters. But she couldn't say that, so after it had slipped out she hastily added the "deeply horrible" part.

Of course, I could be way off the mark.



Solitaire - Sep 16, 2009 7:11 pm (#2718 of 2988)
I don't understand how the "deeply horrible" indicates that she liked him.

Face it ... flawed, morally ambiguous, and even downright evil characters can be a lot more challenging and interesting to write than Casper Milquetoast, goody-two-shoes characters. Some people actually prefer nasty characters. My dad always loved Alexis Carrington (evil Diva on Dynasty) and JR Ewing (Dallas), two of the nastiest, most manipulative 1980s TV villains. Perhaps Jo really does think Snape is "deeply horrible." I do, in some ways.



severusisn'tevil - Sep 17, 2009 2:40 pm (#2719 of 2988)
I was not disputing that they're fun to write. I have a little experience myself in that area. I'm only saying that, in general, I would not consider referring to someone as "deeply horrible" to be an indication of personal fondness, unless it were said in jest.



mona amon - Sep 18, 2009 9:51 pm (#2720 of 2988)
I think she actually has fun calling him "deeply horrible", but that is no indication that she disliked him. I know that I love to call him "nasty", and love to contemplate all his nasty points. And yet he's my favourite character. Let's face it, with all his heroic, self-sacrificing traits, his loyalty to Dumbledore and his everlasting love for Lily, if it wasn't for Severus's horrible-ness, he'd be an unbearably sentimental character.

So I think she does consider him deeply horrible, but not in a bad way. If she disliked him, I can't imagine how she'd have written that Siver Doe scene, where Harry so trustingly follows Severus's beautiful Patronus into the dark forest, to take just one example. Or had Harry name his son after him.


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wynnleaf - Sep 19, 2009 4:23 pm (#2721 of 2988)
Let's face it, with all his heroic, self-sacrificing traits, his loyalty to Dumbledore and his everlasting love for Lily, if it wasn't for Severus's horrible-ness, he'd be an unbearably sentimental character. (mona amon)

Ha! Yes, I agree. If you take away all that sarcasm, bitter edge, and a degree of spite, Snape would be so noble it would be boring. Imagine that.



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 23, 2009 6:19 pm (#2722 of 2988)
Anyone care to psychoanalyse Severus during CoS? He seems amused that Mrs Norris has been petrified. Might he dislike Filch because he's a Squib or because he's categorically mean? Sort of hypocritical if it is due to the latter.



Julia H. - Sep 23, 2009 10:32 pm (#2723 of 2988)
Everyone dislikes Filch and Mrs Norris, even Hagrid, who likes all sorts of horrible monsters. CoS is the book in which Snape is most shown as a member of the Hogwarts community, to the point of sharing their opinions and values (e.g., in connection with Lockhart). I don't see anything strange about Snape disliking Filch. I don't even see it as hypocrisy. I would be more surprised if he liked Filch. Filch is not simply mean - as we later find out, he would happily whip the students and is all too eager to assist a "Headmistress" like Umbridge. He shows no real loyalty toward either Dumbledore or Hogwarts itself. Snape must have known Filch for a while - in DH, McGonagall says something about Filch having complained about Peeves for a quarter of a century, so he must have been at the school already when Snape was a student. Perhaps teenage Snape had some issues with Mrs Norris, who is apparently able to "report" prowling students to Filch.

What I find interesting is that Snape is actually trying to hide that smile when Mrs Norris is petrified. Then again, the whole observation is presented in such a way - through Harry's eyes (who can have no idea what Snape might really think) and with Snape being half in shadow (his face probably illuminated in an unusual way) as though trying hard not to smile - that can be very well used to "deceive" the reader. The reader is given a piece of information but no one is taking responsibility for it. The narrator only tells us what Harry thinks he can see in the half-shadow. The scene can be just as much a sign of Snape disliking Filch as a sign of Harry's tendency to watch with suspicion whatever Snape is doing. (He is currently being accused - by Filch - of a serious offence, and his thoughts are still occupied with Snape's half-hidden smile?)



Orion - Sep 24, 2009 6:22 am (#2724 of 2988)
Snape and Filch are shown together in PS/SS when Filch helps Snape bandaging his injured foot, so I didn't get the impression that the two of them are on bad terms, rather the opposite.

I agree, Julia, the "as if" shows that this peculiar expression isn't what it seems to be, but sadly JKR fails to show us what's really going on in Snape's mind at that moment. Could it be that either something was cut from the book or that JKR originally wanted to clarify that later and then simply forgot about it?



Solitaire - Sep 24, 2009 7:17 am (#2725 of 2988)
He is currently being accused - by Filch - of a serious offence, and his thoughts are still occupied with Snape's half-hidden smile?

Maybe he thinks Snape is smirking, because he (Harry) is in trouble yet again. After all, isn't he still working off his Flying Car detentions?

I have a fantasy scenario for you. I began thinking about it when MPISM hit the Forum. Here goes: Filch is really Tobias Snape in disguise, and Mrs. Pince is Eileen Prince Snape. Dumbledore has hidden them both at Hogwarts to ensure their safekeeping, now that Snape has changed sides. This way, he can remain close to them. Filch's lack of magical ability is explained by his Squibbiness. His love of Muggle punishments ... well, they would make sense if he were really a Muggle in disguise. That's all!



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 24, 2009 9:35 am (#2726 of 2988)
That's awesome, Soli!

I agree that the "as if" is JKR's way of allowing us room for the usual debate about how evil Severus is. She just loves doing that to us! And we do have an instance as Orion said where the two men are walked in upon behaving perfectly friendly.

So he might be appear to be smirking because of Mrs Norris herself. Maybe she caught him doing things he shouldn't have when he was a student? Or maybe it is obvious to him she is not dead, even before Dumbledore says anything, and he is feeling smug that he figured it out so quickly.



legolas returns - Sep 24, 2009 9:37 am (#2727 of 2988)
I thought that he was smirking in anticipation of Harry getting into big trouble.



PeskyPixie - Sep 24, 2009 10:20 am (#2728 of 2988)
"I thought that he was smirking in anticipation of Harry getting into big trouble."

Good take, Legolas! I sometimes wonder whether he is smirking at Lockhart, or maybe that he is having a private gloat because he already diagnosed Mrs. Norris as Petrified, even before Dumbledore. But, it makes better sense that he is smirking because Harry is going to be in big trouble!

One part in CoS which always makes me grin is when Harry and Ron have dinner on Snape's desk (while everyone else is at the feast). I just wish we could have seen Snape's face when he returned later that night to find the remnants of their meal and their empty goblets sitting there on top of his lesson plans.



Orion - Sep 24, 2009 10:23 am (#2729 of 2988)
ROTFL!



Dryleaves - Sep 24, 2009 12:59 pm (#2730 of 2988)
Filch is really Tobias Snape in disguise, and Mrs. Pince is Eileen Prince Snape.

LOL, Soli! Now I get these nightmarish, but hilarious, pictures in my head, showing life at Spinner's End during the summer holidays...

About Snape and Filch: they do seem to get on well in PS/SS, but what becomes of this later on? Do we ever see them together again? In CoS, they don't seem that close (but alas, my memory is not what it should be...).

In PS/SS it seems to me that Snape is associated with Filch because Filch is unpleasant. They also have the interest of catching and punishing students in common. But as we see later in the series, when Filch is eager to use cruel corporal punishments, Snape actually protects the students (although he is not particularly nice to them...).



Julia H. - Sep 24, 2009 1:11 pm (#2731 of 2988)
I think someone once suggested that Snape asked Filch to help him when he was injured because Filch was not likely to recognize magical injuries, and Snape did not want to advertise his encounter with Fluffy. If it is so, they don't have to be especially close...

LOL @ Filch is Tobias Snape! It seems we could have endured even more secrets and startling revelations than we actually got in the books. I like the idea, even though McGonagall's comment about Filch's quarter of a century at Hogwarts seems to contradict it somewhat. It is also possible that he simply reminds Snape of his father - though whether this could endear him to Severus...is another question.



Julia H. - Sep 24, 2009 1:43 pm (#2732 of 2988)
Some insane thoughts about Solitaire's idea: If Filch is Tobias, then who is Mrs Norris? Eileen Prince as an Animagus? Maybe Madam Pince, Eileen Prince and Mrs Norris are all the same person... Or perhaps Mr and Mrs Snape divorced and Tobias had a new (Muggle?) wife. He took her to Hogwarts, too, but Eileen the witch, who was already there, changed her into a cat. Question: How would Snape feel about his real parents being with him at Hogwarts all the time? (On top of Dumbledore's presence, of course.)



Dryleaves - Sep 24, 2009 1:53 pm (#2733 of 2988)
Question: How would Snape feel about his real parents being with him at Hogwarts all the time?

That's what bothers me with this otherwise excellent idea.

I don't think Mrs Norris could be Tobias's new wife, as she must be married to some Norris guy... OK, it is obviously time to go to bed now...



Solitaire - Sep 24, 2009 2:24 pm (#2734 of 2988)
LOL I'm glad you like my little fantasy. I just tossed it out for some fun. I'm sure there is nothing to it ... but that MPISM theory, coupled with Madam Pince's apparently close relationship with Filch, almost makes it seem like there is something else going on there.

It would be fun to imagine them fighting (in Snape's memory) about why they have to go and live in safety at Hogwarts for some reason. Sorry ... today's been a rough day and I had a horrible night last night ... not much sleep.



me and my shadow 813 - Sep 24, 2009 6:38 pm (#2735 of 2988)
Well you all seem to have creative and entertaining ideas when tired! LOL everyone!



mona amon - Sep 24, 2009 9:25 pm (#2736 of 2988)
LOL, nice theory. And they were both standing together at Dumbledore's funeral, so if they were Tobias and Eileen, they seemed to have patched up their relationship a bit. However, Severus doesn't seem the type to run to Daddy to get his leg bandaged!

About Snape and Filch: they do seem to get on well in PS/SS, but what becomes of this later on? Do we ever see them together again? (Dryleaves)

I think there are only two Severus/Filch interactions in the series, the one in PS, and the one in GoF where Severus is in his nightshirt, complaining about his office getting broken into. In this incident he's impatient with Filch for worrying about the 'damn poltergeist' instead of his office, but he's not particularly mean to him.



wynnleaf - Sep 25, 2009 5:29 am (#2737 of 2988)
Filch as Tobias is a fun theory. I used to imagine that if Pince was Eileen, then maybe Tobias was long gone and she had something going with Filch. Since she'd been married to a muggle, a love interest with a Squib wouldn't be too far a stretch. Anyway, if Filch were just Filch, but also close to Pince (Eileen), then Snape's willingness to go to him for bandaging might make sense.

Question: How would Snape feel about his real parents being with him at Hogwarts all the time? (Julia)

Maybe it wouldn't be too much worse than having to work with all those teachers who had known him since he was 11.



Dryleaves - Sep 25, 2009 8:37 am (#2738 of 2988)
Maybe it wouldn't be too much worse than having to work with all those teachers who had known him since he was 11. (Wynnleaf)

Hmm... I don't know. To me it sounds worse and I like my parents. Teachers are different, after all, and I think it would be easier to become a colleague among other colleagues eventually, but much more difficult to become an adult to your parents. I don't know how having been neglected would affect the way you would feel about living that close to your parents, though.

I am also thinking about how young Snape just wants to get away from home, and then his parents turn up at Hogwarts for the rest of his life!

Thanks Mona, for reminding me of the nightshirt scene! How could I ever forget? I agree Snape is not particularly mean to Filch in this scene, but they don't really seem to have much in common either.

However, Severus doesn't seem the type to run to Daddy to get his leg bandaged!

LOL! And it is a nice thought that Eileen and Tobias would have patched up their relationship.



Solitaire - Sep 25, 2009 12:00 pm (#2739 of 2988)
Since she'd been married to a muggle, a love interest with a Squib wouldn't be too far a stretch.

Also very true. I think my Tobias-Filch theory (if that is what you want to call it) is better suited to the realms of fanfic.



wynnleaf - Sep 25, 2009 4:02 pm (#2740 of 2988)
I think my Tobias-Filch theory (if that is what you want to call it) is better suited to the realms of fanfic. (Solitaire)

Yes, it's not so far a stretch as the other and therefore more believable.

As for teaching/working and living in the same place as one's parents, that used to be far more common than it is now and certainly many people have done it. The Wizarding World is much like, culturally, a much earlier time period than the 1990's. I don't necessarily think it would be as odd for Snape to work and live in the same place as his parents as it would be for the typical modern person. Snape, like many of the adults in HP, doesn't really seem like a late 20th century adult. Or maybe that's just the way he and the other characters feel to me. Does anyone else feel that the adult characters seem like people out of an earlier time period?



Solitaire - Sep 25, 2009 8:57 pm (#2741 of 2988)
Does anyone else feel that the adult characters seem like people out of an earlier time period?

Absolutely, Wynnleaf. The fact that Wizards have always had magic to make their lives easier--whereas Muggles have had to develop technology to handle certain jobs more efficiently--means there has never really been a need to change and "modernize" the way we do. Just look at how enthralled Mr. Weasley is with "old-fashioned" things like electricity and telephones!

What I find equally interesting is that most of the Wizards we know seem to have married the people they met in school. Bill Weasley is unusual in that respect. Not only has he not known Fleur all his life, but she comes from another country and social "sphere." Then again, he is a bit more cosmopolitan than the other Wizards we know, having worked abroad for Gringotts. My point is that this reminds me more of dating and marriage in small towns, back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when most people had often grown up with their spouses.

I can envision multigenerational living very easily among Wizarding society. In fact, it almost seems more natural to me than having all members of a family scattered to the four winds. My aunt, uncle, and cousins lived with my grandma for most of my young life. When they did build a home, it was less than a mile from hers. All of my family live within a couple of miles of each other--far enough for privacy but close enough for convenience. The Weasley family reminds me of the Meet Me in St. Louis era, for some reason. I have no idea why!



Dryleaves - Sep 26, 2009 12:50 pm (#2742 of 2988)
I agree that the Wizarding world seems old-fashioned or from an earlier century. I don't think we see any multi-generational living, though. But if it would be the usual way of living, and Snape would not find it unnatural in itself, I think it could still be a problem for him, considering the relationship he had with his parents when he was a child.

I know nobody has claimed that Filch is Tobias, but playing with the thought, I think there is a long fanfiction novel between the "he doesn't like anything, much" from The Prince's Tale and the handing of bandages in PS/SS.



wynnleaf - Sep 26, 2009 3:58 pm (#2743 of 2988)
I know nobody has claimed that Filch is Tobias, but playing with the thought, I think there is a long fanfiction novel between the "he doesn't like anything, much" from The Prince's Tale and the handing of bandages in PS/SS. (Dryleaves)

I tend to think that a lot of Snape's "issues" have partly to do with that comment, "he doesn't like anything, much" and, like at least one other character (Harry), a need to find someone or something to fill that need for some sort of a father-figure or mentor (possibly Lucius, then LV and then DD). If that is part of Snape's issues, then if he'd patched things up with Tobias it might have gone a long way toward changing the way things turned out for him.



Julia H. - Sep 27, 2009 12:31 am (#2744 of 2988)
I agree, Wynnleaf. I see Snape's backstory at least as much as the story of a son rejected by his father as a story about unrequited, undying, redeeming love. I would even risk the opinion that a need to find someone or something to fill that need for some sort of a father-figure or mentor (which may be Lucius or Voldemort or even an illusory Salazar Slytherin at some point) is what in fact clashes with the teenage Snape's love for Lily. He wants Lily but he also needs an appreciative father figure, or a "family" where he is accepted, and he probably works frantically to find this kind of acceptance and approval (which Lily can't give him).

It is interesting that he eventually finds his true mentor and the father figure he needs when he gives up trying to win the approval of one (Voldemort in this case) and dedicates himself to helping Lily. He has recently done an important service to his current "father figure" (Voldemort), who is ready to reward him. This is the moment when Snape turns away from him and goes to Dumbledore not with the purpose of looking for a new father figure for himself or winning anyone's appreciation, just to save Lily. For her, he accepts DD's disgust and scolding, and these are the steps that lead to Snape finding the best father figure in his life, the old man who, for all his faults, will eventually accept him and trust him.

So what I mean is that, while he is looking for a father figure, he ends up in the wrong place (perhaps he is subconsciously drawn to harsh "mentors", who remind him of Tobias even in the wizarding world), but he finds his truest "father" when he gives up trying to please a father figure and starts pursuing a more "adult" goal in life.

I heard that JKR had problems with her own father. I was quite astonished, as I had long thought that a large part of HP could be interpreted as a series of case studies about problematic father-and-child (father-and-son) relationships.



wynnleaf - Sep 27, 2009 5:31 am (#2745 of 2988)
I was quite astonished, as I had long thought that a large part of HP could be interpreted as a series of case studies about problematic father-and-child (father-and-son) relationships. (Julia)

If I recall correctly, JKR commented that one reason she didn't want to kill off Arthur was because he was the only good father in the books. She was well aware, writing it, that most of the fathers were not good models of fatherhood.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 7, 2009 7:06 pm (#2746 of 2988)
Hmmm. Father issues *are* common in HP. And wizards do remind me often of people from a much earlier era. Possibly the 1800s.

But whatever else, I don't think Severus would have worked in close proximity to his father. I just can't see it. He hated his father and would have wanted to get as far away from Tobias and the past he represents as possible. If Tobias *was* working at Hogwarts, I do not think Severus would have interacted with him *at all.*

Interesting, not wanting to kill of Arthur when she kills off so many other fathers. James, Barty Crouch, Remus, Tom Riddle(s). . . I suppose Arthur was the best of them, but I don't think he was the only good one. James and Remus in particular, whatever their other faults, would have made good fathers, IMHO, if they had been given a chance.



wynnleaf - Oct 8, 2009 6:59 am (#2747 of 2988)
I think Lupin would have eventually made a good father. I couldn't help but notice Lily's comment in her letter to Sirius. James -- with a family under a death threat and in hiding -- was wishing he had his invisibility cloak back so he could get out and about and have adventures like he used to. Guess that would be leaving Lily and Harry back at home, but not to worry, they were safe, right?

Tobias is certainly among the list of bad HP fathers. It's interesting that not only did JKR create a number of bad fathers, she also had some of her major characters out seeking father figures. Snape and Harry, but were there others doing the same?



Julia H. - Oct 8, 2009 7:35 am (#2748 of 2988)
James seems to be a good (definitely loving) father, though perhaps a bit too young, who has hardly got over his teenage years, so daredevil friends and adventures are still quite important to him. I find something teenagerish in the idea of "hoodwinking" Dumbledore when they change the Secret Keeper.

I agree that Lupin would have made a good father in the long run. Good fathers are not necessarily perfect.

Still, as it is in the books, both Lupin and James represent "father problems". (Not all "problem fathers" are "bad fathers" at the same time.) James is the "dead father", who disappeared early from his child's life. He was a loving father, but Harry has to cope with his absence. We can also observe how long it takes for Harry to understand his father's real character and his heritage. At first, he hears only bad things about James, later he comes to regard James as the ideal, perfect hero, and it is painful to discover that this picture is also unrealistic. In the end, Harry comes to terms with his father's faults and virtues, just like he later does with Dumbledore's.

Lupin, in DH, is the father who is not "ready" to become a father and accept responsibility for his child. He may have a special reason for that, but the basic problem exists in real life as well. The series has another "run-away" father, Tom Riddle Sr., who can hardly be blamed very much, but that does not help an abandoned child. Lupin, however, agreed to the marriage, and knew what he was doing all along, but he gets frightened when he has to face the "consequences". Eventually, he understands that it does not matter that he is not the ideal "father material" because he is the only father his child has, and the child needs him. Alas, he has only weeks to love his son. In any case, Teddy will probably learn that his father loved him and that he died a heroe's death for a good cause and that he can be proud of his father.

Tobias, however, is a truly bad father, not just a father with some problems. He outright and finally rejects his son and causes permanent damage that his son may or may not be able to sort out in a life-time.



Orion - Oct 8, 2009 8:04 am (#2749 of 2988)
"...and that he died a heroe's death for a good cause..." That is, in my eyes, a very problematic concept as it's incredibly wrong to die for anything at all. People who are ready to work for a good cause mustn't die because they aren't there to work afterwards. Deaths must be avoided at all costs. That's what I never understand, the amount of deaths which are apparently necessary to make a "good" adventure story. Death is a matter much too serious to use it in such quantities, and in a children's book it's unforgivable.



Julia H. - Oct 8, 2009 8:18 am (#2750 of 2988)
Orion, I see your point, but HP does seem to stress that there are things worth dying for, so in the context of these books, Teddy will probably be proud of his parents in this sense, even if he misses them terribly. (Children's book? Hm...)

Anyway, my point is that Teddy has good reason to think of his parents as good people and good parents - which is more than what he would have had if Lupin had simply left him for ever because of his own psychological problems, as he had planned to do (and as some real-life fathers do).



wynnleaf - Oct 8, 2009 9:31 am (#2751 of 2988)
HP does seem to stress that there are things worth dying for (Julia)

Absolutely. And we're not necessarily just talking about war specifically. Obviously, in the HP story many of the deaths occur during battles. There are many arguments in the Real World that warfare in itself is never justified. But even pacifists realize that there are plenty of other endeavors, not just war, in which one may engage that could cost you your life. The medical professional willing to treat people with deadly and infectious diseases. People bringing much needed aid to war torn countries or places hit by huge natural disasters. Willingness to risk one's life for an important cause is a great virtue. Certainly I would consider it a good thing to be able to tell an orphan that his/her parent died attempting to bring about a better world. It doesn't make the child's loss any better, but it is something of which the child can be proud of his/her parent.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 10, 2009 11:30 am (#2752 of 2988)
I agree that there are things worth dying for, but I, like Orion, I think, resent the idea that many characters must die in order to make a series "worthy" in some way. I mean, the entire cast escaping without a scratch is hardly believable, but I kept track and in DH there are almost 15 deaths and it starts at the very beginning with Hedwig and Mad-Eye. And I suppose she thinks she's making a grand statement by killing off Remus. The whole "time does not change patterns" thing. Telling us that even though the good guys won, there's a cost, one of them being an orphaned son, as it was last time. I'll get off this topic though, since I sound (am) bitter, biased and off the general topic anyway.

But I am reminded of a quote from Lioness Rampant: "Dead's dead, Liam. You can't do anything from the grave!"



wynnleaf - Oct 10, 2009 6:42 pm (#2753 of 2988)
I agree that there are things worth dying for, but I, like Orion, I think, resent the idea that many characters must die in order to make a series "worthy" in some way. (severusisn'tevil)

Yes, I agree with this. On a similar note, and more in line with this thread, back before DH came out lots of people were saying that Snape, while probably loyal, would have to die because it was kind of demanded for his arc and the themes and so on. While, on a literary basis, I could understand that, it really bothered me that certain characters "had" to die in order to fulfill some sort of literary balance.



Julia H. - Oct 11, 2009 12:26 am (#2754 of 2988)
I also found the death rate rather too high in DH. After HBP, I was one of those who thought that Snape would "have to" die, but in retrospect, in the knowledge of his full story, I think he could have been shown redeemed even if he had survived and - for example - had consciously faced the "real" Harry Potter as well as his own prejudices, and had been known for what he really was by others.

As for Lupin, after reading about his marriage, his running away from his family, his return and his happiness when his son was born, I would have guessed (if I had stopped reading to make predictions) that the "statement" about him would be that one of the Marauders at least survived and had a happy family life eventually, after facing and conquering his demons. The Lupin character could have given readers the message that "life lives" and it is possible to find love and meaningful relationships despite his condition, despite the painfully wasted years of young adulthood, even despite the fact that he so tragically lost all his childhood friends in the war. In a certain sense, Lupin was or could have been another "redeemed" character (not like Snape, of course) if he had been allowed to live.



haymoni - Oct 11, 2009 7:59 am (#2755 of 2988)
Yes, Lupin (with Tonks) - I wish that story line was different.

However, what would Snape be doing? Hanging around Harry & Ginny like some creepy old uncle?

He has to be with Lily.



Solitaire - Oct 11, 2009 8:51 am (#2756 of 2988)
Given what we know about the Elder Wand, Snape's doom was pretty much sealed on the tower. Of course, we couldn't have known it then, but once it became plain that Voldemort was seeking the Wand and had learned about wandlore from Ollivander, it must have been a foregone conclusion. There is no way Snape would give up Draco as the rightful "disarmer" of Dumbledore--wouldn't that be a violation of his Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco?--and there is no way Voldemort would walk into what he believed would be his final battle with Harry not believing he had crossed all of his Is and dotted all of his Ts.

This is why I am not convinced that Snape knew the significance of the Elder Wand or that Voldemort was in possession of it. If he had, then going to meet Voldemort in the Shack, prior to the battle, would have been suicide. I do not think Snape would have underestimated Voldemort enough to think he would not want to make sure he had done everything to ensure his own victory over Harry. Again, JM2K.



Julia H. - Oct 11, 2009 9:52 am (#2757 of 2988)
I guess the Unbreakable Vow expired when Dumbledore died, but I agree that Snape would not have used Draco to shield himself.

While Voldemort wanting to kill Snape is entirely logical an in character, JKR could have found a way for Snape to survive Nagini's attack somehow. The reason why Snape "had to" die was a literary reason. Snape's atonement for indirectly and unwittingly - but not guiltlessly - causing the death of the woman he loved led him to having to kill (though not murder) the second most important person in his life, the one who had shown him the way to atonement, the one who had protected and trusted him all along, and the one who (I think) he cared for. It was a very different situation, still, as atonement, he was made to do again almost the same as what he was atoning for (or at least something similar). How can you make someone live happily ever after with this double burden?

It is also a good question what Snape would have done with his life when he had fulfilled all his duties.

Having said that, I think it would have been possible to find a way for Snape not only to survive but to finally live as well, only it would have taken a couple of more chapters at least (and another storyline) to give him a "new" life.



Solitaire - Oct 11, 2009 10:02 am (#2758 of 2988)
You see, I do not see Snape's dying as a literary device, just to fulfill his "redemption." By acting to save Harry, he was redeemed whether he lived or died. I see his death as a result of his actions and choices ... the good ones as well as the bad one. Obviously, the bad one was telling Voldemort about Lily. Every other choice was connected to this first one, initially in the hope of "undoing" the damage. Once he agreed to help Dumbledore die, however, I think Snape's doom was sealed, and for the reasons I stated above.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 11, 2009 12:50 pm (#2759 of 2988)
I hated that Severus died, as any of you could probably guess. In fact, I threw my copy of DH across the room and cried. And yet, in a certain way, it was for the best. One of you said that he "had to be with Lily," and I think that is completely true. He stayed alive to fulfill a desperate mission: protect the child of the woman he loves. Once the threat to Harry (and the WW) was vanquished, Severus was free of that mission. Severus had no close friends or, arguably, friends at all, after DD. And I believe he had essentially abandoned his biological family long ago. Not to mention, he was obliged to kill the one man I think actually did care for him. What did he have left to live for? It was not the nicest death, (or nice at all---bleeding to death from the neck, clutching Harry's robes---and to my mind, it was colossally unfair, but I don't think that, after the death of DD, he had much to keep him here.

I'm reminded of the V for Vendetta quotes, from the film, not the novel: "Because this world---the world that I am a part of and that I helped shape---ends tonight. And tomorrow, a different world will begin that different/ people will shape." And then "the time has come for me to meet my maker, and to repay him in kind for all that he's done." I think both of these quotes describe Severus as well. What place would he have in the world, post-Voldemort? He would have had to face Harry, and the WW in general. And he would have to find something else to do with his life. I don't think he would have wanted either confrontation, in honesty. And maybe that makes him a coward in some eyes but, sad and awful as his death was, it freed him and sent him back to Lily.

As for Remus: that was unnecessary, but at least he and Tonks were together and neither of them was left on this mortal coil to mourn the other into infinity.



Julia H. - Oct 11, 2009 2:22 pm (#2760 of 2988)
I did not mean to say that Snape had to die to be redeemed - he was redeemed in life and through what he did -, and I mostly agree with severusisn'tevil. But I also think that it would have been possible to have Snape survive in a meaningful way (and it could have been beautifully done), only it would have been more difficult and it would have required significantly more story.

Otherwise it seems JKR generally thought that the older generations were more or less "lost", and only the younger ones were able to build a new life after the end of the war. (Of course, not all of them. Tonks, for example, was hardly older than Harry.)


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Solitaire - Oct 11, 2009 7:28 pm (#2761 of 2988)
Snape's death did not surprise me, because he was more or less "cut loose" by the Order after he apparently killed Dumbledore. To the Wizarding world, at least, that is how it seemed, so he had a price on his head as far as the anti-Voldy forces were concerned. Snape was in a bad position. It required his death, I think, for Harry to find out the truth. Would he have accepted--or even listened--to what Snape had to say under any other conditions?

The death of Tonks surprised me ... and, again, it did not. What surprised me, I suppose, was that she would leave her child to fight. The deaths I found hardest to deal with were Hedwig, Dobby, and Fred. Hedwig's death was a punch in the stomach, and I cried so hard when Dobby died, I had to put down the book for a while. Fred's death just seemed unnecessary, to me. Then again, in war, people die. I think that is something Jo wanted us to see. War is never just the routing of the bad guys. War takes a toll on the innocent and the good, as well.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 11, 2009 7:44 pm (#2762 of 2988)
Fred's death seemed unnecessary to me, too. Very much so.

And Julia, I wasn't saying exactly that a meaningful life for Severus would have been *impossible*, only that I am not at all sure he would have wanted it. The quote I used was from the *character's* point of view. It was intended as a suggestion of how Severus might perceive the situation.



Honour - Oct 12, 2009 3:36 am (#2763 of 2988)
I too was surprised that JKR killed off Sev but not wholey for the reasons stated above, but more for the way inwhich he died. In the end I got the feeling that JKR actually did make Severus sound "snivelly and whiney". Severus kept asking Voldy to allow him to seek out Harry, ( we all know now that all he wanted to do was pass on his memories), and when Severus was enclosed with Nagini I thought that Severus who in my estimation was one of the most talented wizards in the series could easily have fought off the snake. The scene seemed rushed and not altogether satisfying an end. And merely a means to an end.

The comment made earlier about Severus going to Lily after death is confusing to me also, if Lily did not want Sev in life why would she choose him in death?



Honour - Oct 12, 2009 3:51 am (#2764 of 2988)
Off subject I did not agree with Fred having to die either, he was my favourite of the twins. I guess JKR created this scene so that we could witness Percy's (character) grief and sympathise with his loss especially since he was newly welcomed back into the family. Up until the moment of Fred's death I thought the Weasely family had forgiven Percy too easily, but afterward, when Perc was so broken up I sort of "forgave" him his bad behaviour.

I agree that Lupin's death was also unecessary I got the impression that JKR was clearing the decks of the "old generation" so that the next lot could start anew. Couldn't fathom Tonk's thinking either, to me it seemed that fighting for the betterment of everyone else seemed more important to her than the welfare of her child? A child would need a huge amount of reassurance from a care-giver to believe and understand such sacrifices of both his parents were warranted.



Julia H. - Oct 12, 2009 4:34 am (#2765 of 2988)
Yes, severusisn'tevil, I understood that you were speaking from Snape's viewpoint, and I can agree that there would have been very little for him to live for after the victory. But then again, precisely that is why it would have been great to make him find a new meaning in life, among the living once again - and it would have been nice to see him reconcile with his colleagues and realize that in the end he did fulfill his vow to keep Harry alive. It could have sent an important message, I think.

In the end I got the feeling that JKR actually did make Severus sound "snivelly and whiney". (Honour)

That may be what it sounds at first, but we can also understand it as the bravest thing he could do. Yes, he is merely asking Voldemort to let him go to Harry, but that is probably his only (very faint) hope to get away and see Harry. Snape is a powerful wizard, but he is no match for Voldemort and the Elder Wand in a duel. (I'm not sure if it is possible to Disapparate from the Shrieking Shack.) He could just give up (it is very difficult to persuade Voldemort) or he could try to save his own life - for example, he could give Voldemort information that might stop him at least for a while, after all, at the moment it is Snape alone who knows about Harry-horcrux, and he may know about Draco having disarmed Dumbledore. But he is not trying to save his own life, he is trying to do his duty; in fact, he is thinking about nothing else but his duty even in the knowledge of certain, imminent death. It is amazing courage.

As for not being able to fight off Nagini - well do we know about anyone who could? Yes, Neville manages to kill Nagini, but Neville has a special weapon: the sword of Gryffindor. Snape has no special weapon, he gets no special help, nor is he a Parselmouth... and Nagini is not an ordinary snake but a special snake plus a bit of Voldemort's soul (and probably power). Snape does not die in a fight, he is simply trapped and executed, but he faces death with as much courage and (despite the repeated begging) as much dignity as any defenceless victim who is trying to protect others until the end could.

Speaking about the death of various characters, it does seem that JKR wants to make the point that good people also die in a war, that parents die, leaving behind orphans; that very young people die, who have hardly started to live; that the people who die have loved ones, who will cry and mourn and miss them; and all that happens even in the event of a victory. Is it suitable for children? I don't know - but we live in an age when virtual battles are fought by teenagers on a daily basis, and death seems to be virtual or commonplace or temporary on the small and the big screen to many. They'd better learn the truth about death from literature than by paying a tragically high price, like Snape.



haymoni - Oct 12, 2009 6:09 am (#2766 of 2988)
Honour - I don't think Lily would have chosen Severus in death, but he needed to be where she was. She hadn't really chosen him at school, but he still hung around, trying to make sure she didn't choose James. I think he just needed to be where she was. Life without her was hardly bearable.

I also don't think that Severus was trying to get to Harry to pass on his memories - he still hadn't delivered Dumbledore's message about Harry having to face Voldy and making sure he had everything in order.

I don't think Snape would have given Harry all of the memory info if he had not been dying.



wynnleaf - Oct 12, 2009 6:57 am (#2767 of 2988)
Snape's death did not surprise me, because he was more or less "cut loose" by the Order after he apparently killed Dumbledore. To the Wizarding world, at least, that is how it seemed, so he had a price on his head as far as the anti-Voldy forces were concerned. Snape was in a bad position. It required his death, I think, for Harry to find out the truth. Would he have accepted--or even listened--to what Snape had to say under any other conditions? (Solitaire)

Well, of course, these were all JKR's choices for the plot, which is more or less the point. Were all these choices for character death necessary? And I agree with your point in the earlier post about after Snape killed DD, thereby supposedly mastering the elder wand, he was going to get killed eventually. The problem for me is that JKR had DD make decisions which put Snape into this position. DD perhaps hoped Snape would kill him in a less public manner (maybe?), but still, by pressuring Snape to kill him, he put Snape in a very dangerous position -- putting the rest of the Order against him and giving LV (when LV eventually learned of the wand) an excellent reason to eventually target Snape.

I guess I feel that JKR had intended from the start to kill of Snape, and therefore her plot points with DD getting Snape into this pretty deadly position didn't make any difference.

I don't think Snape would have given Harry all of the memory info if he had not been dying. (Honour)

He wouldn't have given nearly so much info probably, but Harry understood how pensieve memories worked and Snape could have given him enough to get DD's message across.



Julia H. - Oct 12, 2009 7:19 am (#2768 of 2988)
I don't think Snape would have given Harry all of the memory info if he had not been dying. (Haymoni)

Perhaps not, but he would have had to make Harry trust and believe him and, given the circumstances, some explanation would have been necessary. Of course, what he wanted was giving Harry Dumbledore's message, not the story of his sad life. Still, showing some memories at least would have been a good way to convince Harry. But then, even if he gave Harry only the memory where Dumbledore asked Snape to kill him, the memory in which Dumbledore told Snape the ultimate secret and perhaps a memory proving Snape's continued loyalty to the good side (e.g., about the unfortunate accident with George's ear), it would have revealed a few things about Snape's life, such as Snape protecting Harry for Lily's sake, and that would have raised certain questions at least. I think the memories in which Snape was so desperate about Lily's death were also crucial to Harry's deeper trust in Snape. While I don't think Snape specifically wanted to tell Harry these details about himself, I think that, dead or alive, he would have done everything that was necessary to deliver Dumbledore's message to Harry, and if the job had to involve these revelations, he would have forced himself to do it no matter what.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 12, 2009 10:46 am (#2769 of 2988)
I agree Julia. If it was necessary, he would have done so.

And I also agree with haymoni. It's not that I think he harbored any realistic thoughts about Lily "choosing" him after death. He just needed to be near her. Proximity to her was key.

And yet, Julia, I do wish he could have lived and reconciled with Harry and the WW properly. It is just that when I wish that, I feel selfish because it would prolong his pain. It feels cold-hearted to simply tell him to move on and find a new purpose in life. It's a hard question, I think. Is it better for him to die with his life's task completed but his intentions misunderstood, or better to live with all the pain and guilt, if not for Lily, definitely for DD, and try to move on? But then, what do I know?



wynnleaf - Oct 12, 2009 4:10 pm (#2770 of 2988)
It is just that when I wish that, I feel selfish because it would prolong his pain. It feels cold-hearted to simply tell him to move on and find a new purpose in life. It's a hard question, I think. Is it better for him to die with his life's task completed but his intentions misunderstood, or better to live with all the pain and guilt, if not for Lily, definitely for DD, and try to move on? (severusisn'tevil)

If I use JKR's HP-style afterlife as something to go by for what Snape could expect, I'm not sure that dying would have brought much peace. I mean, in DH it looks like Lily, James, and other friends somehow communicate in the afterlife and hang together.

Through DD's long talk with Harry, it doesn't seem to me that the afterlife endows any sort of change in perspective. DD seems more or less the same, even to the extent that he isn't even completely honest with Harry once he's dead. (I'm thinking, for instance, of his comments about borrowing the cloak just days before the Potter's deaths, when it's clear from Lily's letter that he'd had it for some time). Nor do we see a Dumbledore that has touched base with his dead sister or parents and he doesn't seem to have any further knowledge about that situation than he did when he was alive.

In other words, in the HP universe, death in itself does not appear to bring some sort of greater depth of knowledge or realization about life than what you had when you died.

So, Snape dies. Should we expect him to have a happy reunion with Lily? With James around? Should we expect James to have a changed perspective on Snape? Presumably, if James and Lily had been watching from "above" they'd not only see Snape's good actions toward Harry, but also his sarcasm, insults, etc. So I just don't see the fond welcome from Lily. Acceptance of Snape perhaps, but not warmth.

And DD? "Poor Severus" was about all he could manage when talking to Harry. I'm not sure how he'd approach Snape in an HP afterlife.

I guess that's one reason I can't ever feel comfortable with Snape's death like I can with the other "good guys" because I don't see him gaining anything in the afterlife other than a cessation of traumatic duty.



Julia H. - Oct 12, 2009 10:48 pm (#2771 of 2988)
Perhaps my main problem with the way Snape died was that he knew everybody misunderstood him and his motivations with little or no hope that his name would be eventually cleared and that his dying act had to be sending Harry to his death (as he thought) despite his vow and efforts to protect him. (Did he know at all that his task was indeed completed?) Originally, he had agreed to the "spying and lying" job to protect Harry - and he had to die for that, at the same time believing he was not able to keep Harry alive after all. Worse than that, for all he knew, he had to be actively involved in Harry's death - just as he had had to play a tragically active part in Dumbledore's death before. It must have seemed to him that he was doomed to "kill" everyone who was important to him. He could not even be sure whether or when his sacrifice would truly result in Voldemort's defeat - I know none of the war heroes could be sure of that, but Snape gave up more than "only" his life; and his death was (even in spite of Harry's Lily-eyes looking at him in the last second) a profoundly lonely one.

Now Wynnleaf's assessment of Snape's afterlife prospects makes me feel even more uncomfortable with his death.

It feels cold-hearted to simply tell him to move on and find a new purpose in life. (severusisn'tevil)

Yes, if we put it that way... What I was thinking of was Snape, having atoned and been sufficiently punished for his sins, eventually experiencing something good for the good things he had done - reconciliation, appreciation, acceptance, forgiveness ... love(???!!!) - a way of coming to terms with the past and finding peace and ... hm... wisdom? - as a reward for his sufferings. Being able to live (really live) without secrets and lies, without the DE mask and the Dark Mark, without having to watch people he cannot save die. Having a future.



Julia H. - Oct 12, 2009 11:24 pm (#2772 of 2988)
Too late to edit: Portraying death as the tragic and inevitable consequence of war rings true enough to me and I can accept it even in a novel intended for young readers. However, interpreting death as a solution to someone's problems is a completely different matter. This portrayal of death has its place in art, too (I think it usually implies that something is horribly wrong in the world depicted by the work of art in question), but it is a very disturbing interpretation and must be treated as such.



mona amon - Oct 13, 2009 12:11 am (#2773 of 2988)
However, what would Snape be doing? Hanging around Harry & Ginny like some creepy old uncle?

He has to be with Lily. (Haymoni)

What did he have left to live for? (Severusisn'tevil)

I don't think Lily would have chosen Severus in death, but he needed to be where she was. She hadn't really chosen him at school, but he still hung around, trying to make sure she didn't choose James. I think he just needed to be where she was. Life without her was hardly bearable. (Haymoni)

If I use JKR's HP-style afterlife as something to go by for what Snape could expect, I'm not sure that dying would have brought much peace. I mean, in DH it looks like Lily, James, and other friends somehow communicate in the afterlife and hang together. (wynnleaf)


I agree with Wynnleaf, more or less. Trying to imagine how souls will interact with each other in the afterlife has never been one of my strong points. I find it hard to equate Severus's death to 'being with Lily'. She was his friend for a few years, that was all. James was the love of her life, and she's with him now, beyond the veil. I don't see any place for Severus there.

IMO, the true resolution to Severus's long obsession with Lily would have been to forget her and get on with his life. The ideal resolution would be to actually find someone else.

True, if he had survived the Battle of Hogwarts, he might initially have found himself without a purpose in life. No friends, and no one to protect, no risky job to do. But the factors needed for recovery are all there. He has made a confession to Harry, which will no doubt free his mind of an enormous burden. Voldemort, the bane of his life, no longer exists. Harry is now very sympathetic to him, and surely the rest of the Order and everyone else will be influenced by Harry in his favour.

Severus has many skills and talents. Add to that his strong will, and I'm sure he would have got on pretty well, and found a purpose in life in some job. Not teaching; he had no talent for that. But I think he'd have made an excellent healer at St. Mungo's. Or he could have joined Harry in the Auror Department at the Ministry.

In short, I do not see any artistic reason why he had to die. But neither do I see any artistic reason why he shouldn't have had to die. Evidently, that's the way the Snape story played out in the author's mind. He was to be a tragic character from first to last. And she wrote it well. That's what matters to me.

However, I don't see anything to indicate that he didn't find peace in the afterlife. Surely, after life's fitful fever he sleeps well; anything less would be unbearable.

Wynnleaf, I've taken part of your last post to the Dumbledore thread.



Honour - Oct 13, 2009 3:21 am (#2774 of 2988)
I agree with Wynnleaf as well! I remember DD describing death as the "Next great adventure", sadly not so for Severus or himself?



wynnleaf - Oct 13, 2009 12:33 pm (#2775 of 2988)
However, interpreting death as a solution to someone's problems is a completely different matter. This portrayal of death has its place in art, too (I think it usually implies that something is horribly wrong in the world depicted by the work of art in question), but it is a very disturbing interpretation and must be treated as such. (Julia)

Yes, I quite agree. I totally understand portraying death as a tragic consequence of war. I also agree with the notion that there are things worth risking your life for and that if you're going to show characters risking their lives for important things, then it's reasonable to show some characters dying as well.

But it's different to me when one creates situations where characters "have" to die in order to achieve some sort of literary "balance". In HP, there's of course the very unreal magic of the series. However the tensions, personalities, ethical situations, etc., are quite real. Setting up those tensions, personalities, and so forth so that certain characters "have" to die in order to resolve the issues is, in my opinion, questionable. That's because it's like one is implying that the real issues of tensions between personalities, the knife-edge of certain ethical questions, etc., can only be resolved in death.

That's one reason I really, really, really wanted Harry and Snape to resolve their issues before death, because then the resolution to the conflict wouldn't be dependent on death. My personal opinion (I know, it's just my opinion for sure), is that JKR couldn't, within herself, conceive of a real face-to-face resolution between them (she doesn't even now think Harry would visit Snape's portrait!), and therefore had to make the resolution occur after Snape was dead. In my opinion, that's not just the "easy way out". To me it implies (especially with the bit about Harry never visiting the portrait), that JKR could only write Harry forgiving and resolving things if he never had to actually meet Snape again.

I know that she doesn't say that, but it seems to me to be implied.

So basically, what you're left with is that some things can't ever really be resolved between people. The person dies, and you can resolve it within yourself, but not actually with that other person. I realize that in fact, in the real world, you can't always resolve issues. But DH implies that Harry has resolved the issue between himself and Snape. Yet since he can't do it face to face it's not actually resolved with Snape, but only Harry resolving things in his own mind.

And as for Snape himself, he can be forgiven by Harry and memorialized by Harry (portrait, name for Albus Severus, etc.), but Snape himself cannot be directly redeemed, rescued, or forgiven. Like I said, some might imagine that happening through other dead characters in the HP afterlife, but I can't.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 13, 2009 11:45 pm (#2776 of 2988)
Well, that's bleak. JKR obviously doesn't have that much faith in her characters. I don't get anything definite from the texts that say Harry absolutely would not have visited his portrait. I mean, Harry would have nothing material to fear from a confrontation with Severus's portrait. I mean, it would almost make more sense to go to a portrait, which can speak and clarify but do little else, than to talk to a living version of Severus. A portrait can yell at you, but it cannot attack you physically. And if it irritated you, you could leave and it would not be able to follow.

But I do wonder about Harry. Once Severus was dead, Harry recognized how important Severus had been, and how furtively brave he had been as well. I would guess that Harry, who, whatever his own faults, is indeed capable of an astonishing amount of compassion, spent a fair amount of time considering Severus's point of view. I'd like to think he would have done the same had Severus lived, but I'm not sure he would have. I am not certain that Severus would have allowed it. Severus was brave, but extremely abrasive. He wanted no one's pity and made others believe he did not want their understanding either. Severus himself, if he had lived, would likely, to my mind, sabotaged it. It's his way, sadly, to reject help when it is offered.

And I have no doubt that with his skill and stubbornness that he could have had another life after the war if that was what he wanted . But I honestly don't think it was. I think he would have wanted out, and whether he were guaranteed a place beyond the veil with Lily, I think that for him a chance of it would be enough. I think, and, of course, this is only my opinion, that he would have felt trapped. I am not saying that he could have no life after, only that it would be hard to convince bitter, tired, lonely Severus that there was something worth staying for. And that's bleak too, but it seems to me to fit with his character. He's very narrowly focused: he cared about Lily. I am not trying to reopen any cans of worms. I am simply saying that Lily was what was most important to him. He worked to pay his debt to her and DD by protecting Harry and assisting against Voldemort. He also wanted vengeance against Lily's killer. But he was done after that. I mean, how much are you going to expect from one man, anyway? He was instrumental in saving the world, he suffered for fifteen years, what more do we want, anyway? Is his heart supposed to grow three sizes while he hands out roast beast to underprivileged Muggle children? And would such an action be believable?

So I guess the question I've finally come to is, Didn't he do enough to earn himself at least a chance at some peace? There are no guarantees, even beyond the veil, but doesn't he deserve a chance?

And I can imagine Lily, in light of all the protection Severus gave her son, forgiving him. Remus would understand, too, IMO. And if Lily and Remus were united in forgiveness, the others might follow suit. It'd be awkward, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine any situation involving dead people that is not.



Solitaire - Oct 14, 2009 7:11 am (#2777 of 2988)
JKR could only write Harry forgiving and resolving things if he never had to actually meet Snape again.

Don't forget that (a) Harry is a teenager, and (b) he was an actual eyewitness to Snape committing what was apparently the murder of Dumbledore. Remember, too, that Harry was not in on the little plan between Snape and Dumbledore and can, therefore, be forgiven for not trusting Snape. In his eyes, Snape's actions confirmed what Harry had always believed that he was ... a Death Eater.

The amazing thing about it all (IMHO) is that Harry was able to accept so quickly all of the information he saw in Snape's memories. Then again, he didn't have much choice. He believed he would soon face his doom, so his mind had to be clear and focused ... he had to put aside prior prejudices and pay close attention. I'm just not sure he could have done that under any other circumstances, at this particular point in time. Even so, the inevitability of Snape's death was not for Harry but because of Voldemort, IMO. Maybe it really was not possible to leave Voldemort voluntarily and survive. Perhaps he killed all who willingly left him.



wynnleaf - Oct 14, 2009 11:31 am (#2778 of 2988)
Well, LV never knew Snape betrayed him, until after he had killed Snape.

Still, I otherwise agree that Harry, as a teenager who had seen Snape kill DD, would have a very difficult time forgiving and accepting an in-the-flesh Snape.



legolas returns - Oct 14, 2009 11:48 am (#2779 of 2988)
If you look at the way Draco and Harry greet each other in the Epilogue I can't imagine that things would be better with Snape. Harry understands how Draco must have felt and he saved his life but they would never be friends.



Julia H. - Oct 14, 2009 1:30 pm (#2780 of 2988)
But still there is a big difference between Snape and Draco. Draco never protected Harry and never fought for the light side and never had been a friend of anyone in Harry's family... And I don't feel that Harry and Draco need to have a big discussion, but that is exactly what I feel was / would have been necessary between Snape and Harry.



legolas returns - Oct 14, 2009 1:32 pm (#2781 of 2988)
I just could not see it happening without each of them antagonising the other.



Julia H. - Oct 14, 2009 1:35 pm (#2782 of 2988)
How many of us could see Snape crying before we read about it in DH?



legolas returns - Oct 14, 2009 1:38 pm (#2783 of 2988)
I see what you are saying but I think if you lost the one you love you might have a touch of the waterworks.



Honour - Oct 14, 2009 2:58 pm (#2784 of 2988)
JKR showed us that Harry had already worked out his feelings about Sev by the time he was an adult and father. We see him seeing off his 11 year year old son on the Hogwarts Express (who is named for DD and Sev) and this action alone (the naming of his son)proves to me that Harry had moved on and forgiven BOTH Dumbledore and Severus for their past deeds at least 12 years before, even more.

Harry also underlined how much he had come to understand Sev's role in the story when he explained to his son that even though he was a Slytherin, that Sev was one of the most bravest men he knew and that says alot to me as well, because it also proves that Harry had grown beyond the labels of "Gryfindor", "Slytherin", "Ravenclaw" and "Hufflepuff".

So I think that if given that he had lived Harry would have made it his business to see Sev and make peace, this type of compassionate action would be inline with the character that was Harry Potter.

I think also Sev although not a "touchy feely" type would even secretly have been pleased that Harry named his son after him and maybe this would have gone a long way to heal his heart-break over Lily knowing that he is linked to her for all time through her son and especially her grandson.



wynnleaf - Oct 15, 2009 11:13 am (#2785 of 2988)
Honour,

Yes, I agree. If Snape had lived, I do think Harry would have worked hard to make peace with him. And it might even have been possible. I don't actually agree with JKR that Harry would never visit Snape's portrait. She actually didn't say specifically that he didn't or wouldn't but instead something like she didn't think he would. However, my personal opinion is that this is not so much a "what would Harry do" answer, but a "what JKR can envision" answer. I don't think she could envision writing a scene where Harry attempted to make peace with Snape, but that doesn't mean that it's outside of the personality of Harry's character to do so.



Solitaire - Oct 16, 2009 8:04 pm (#2786 of 2988)
Since she has said that Harry also represents a part of her, and she is the creator, I suppose she would know whether or not Harry would visit the portrait. I tend to believe that it would have taken something extraordinary for Harry to give Snape a hearing, had Snape not died there in the Shack.



Julia H. - Oct 17, 2009 12:08 am (#2787 of 2988)
And that really makes me wonder what Dumbledore thought about it all. Did he expect Harry to listen to Snape? I don't think he could anticipate the special circumstances in the Shack.



Honour - Oct 17, 2009 4:54 am (#2788 of 2988)
And this is what I find so confusing, that Sev if he had not died would have been beyond redemption and yet Dumbledore who as Sev inferred saved Harry only so that he could be killed at a more opportune time - like the fatted calf for slaughter, with a few tears at the railway station was forgiven outright?

Solitaire - I'm sorry, I didn't know that JKR said that about Harry. Even if Harry did try to talk to Sev's portrait after waking wouldn't Sev still be asleep as Dumbledores was after he died? Maybe later, when everything settled down at Hogwarts and the Wizarding World, maybe then if he so chose Harry could have gone to seek out an audience with Sev, although personally,Why Harry would want to talk to Sev is beyond me! I think on seeing Sev's memories and digesting their content Harry had already forgiven him and inturn so should have JKR. Proof positive of this was his naming his son after Sev and Dumbledore as I have said previously.

But to add comment to the discussion about whether Harry would (if he needed to) seek out Sev should he have lived, I think he would have, as I said before, such is the character of Harry Potter, he is kind, compassionate and as he has proved forgiving. What I think that Harry Potter is not is a Coward.

Julie H, I too thought that that was a strange thing for Dumbledore to factor into his master-plan considering how Harry felt about Sev, it's like DD manipulated not only Harry into a corner but Sev also, and that it was only due to both Sev's and Harry's natural talents and where-with-all that they both survived and completed their tasks despite Dumbledore.



wynnleaf - Oct 17, 2009 8:18 am (#2789 of 2988)
Good points.

In order for DD's plan to have any worth to it (the part about Snape sharing the crucial memories with Harry), he'd have to assume that there was a way for Snape to share them with Harry in which Harry would either listen to Snape or be willing to view pensieve memories or something where Snape could get the message across. DD couldn't plan that all depending on Snape making a kind of "death bed" confession to Harry.

Of course, I think DD set up a situation where Snape was practically bound to get killed before all was said and done, but I think JKR meant for DD to be giving Snape (when giving the direction about what to tell Harry), some instructions that could be reasonably expected to be carried out.

As for whether or not Harry would have attempted to make peace with Snape if Snape had lived, yes I think he would because Harry doesn't generally hold grudges, and the truth about Snape really increased Harry's respect for him. Now whether or not Harry would be successful in making peace with Snape would be another story entirely. I think he might have a little opening, due to knowing truths about Snape that Snape had never allowed him or anyone other than DD to know. But I'm not sure that Snape would have ever given him the chance to get close enough to make peace.

I've seen a few very believably written fan fics on that topic -- Snape living and Harry trying to make peace -- and some of those writers can imagine some extremely different, and yet all rather believable, alternatives.



Solitaire - Oct 17, 2009 8:51 am (#2790 of 2988)
Honour, I was just referring to Wynnleaf's previous post, that JKR had said Harry would not visit the portrait. I do not even remember that comment (I probably did not see that interview transcript); however, I do remember her saying in one of her interviews that she was Harry Potter. So I was just saying that if Jo didn't think Harry would visit the portrait, well, she ought to know!

In truth, I feel a lot like Pesky about some of these things: that we, as readers, should be free to put our own spin on them, whether that spin agrees with Jo's or not. I think it is important to some readers that Harry would have visited Snape's portrait. If I had not just seen Wynnleaf's mention of Rowling's comment, I am not sure how I would feel. Given everything we know now, I suppose I probably think he would have eventually visited it to thank Snape for giving him information critical to his victory. That seems honorable. Besides, I think Harry is the kind of person who likes closure. He has rarely gotten it, and now that he is in a position to get it for himself, I think he might do that.

Personally, I think it would take him a while to get there, but I can see him eventually seeking out Snape's portrait to find out more about his mother, given the appalling lack of information he has had about her during his lifetime. Snape is really in a position to give him some thoughtful and in-depth information about the kind of person Lily was, what her life was like when she was younger (it sounds like they probably talked a lot about their home lives), etc. He learned some things about his dad from Remus and Sirius, but precious little has ever been given to him about Lily, except through Snape's memories.

I still wrestle with how Snape would have gotten Harry to look at those memories, had he not died. Until Harry looked at the memories, he still believed Snape guilty of DD's murder. I think it would have been next to impossible for Snape to convince Harry that he had information that could help. About the only way I can see him doing it is putting Harry into a full-body bind, doing a Silencio! spell upon him, pouring his memories into the Pensieve, and bringing them up out of it--as DD did with the memory of Sibyll's prophecy and the one of Bertha Jorkins. And I'm not sure Harry would have been a very willing listener. He might have suspected (knowing now that it is possible) that Snape had tampered with the memories.



Julia H. - Oct 17, 2009 10:23 am (#2791 of 2988)
Snape might have cast a Patronus and Harry would have recognized the doe that had led him to Gryffindor's sword. That might have made him stop and listen. As for the suspicion that Snape could have tampered with the memories, Harry knew what such memories looked like.

I like the idea of active reconciliation between Harry and Snape, even if they don't exactly become friends. If everything had happened the way it actually happened in the book, only Snape had survived somehow after giving Harry his memories, he might have been forced to have a slightly different approach to Harry, in whose eyes he had found Lily and who would probably be instrumental in clearing Snape's name.

Apart from discussing Lily, they could also have some interesting discussions about Dumbledore and could find out a few surprising things.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 17, 2009 10:48 am (#2792 of 2988)
Yes, Julia. Especially if Severus gave Harry a chance. Because fond as I am of Severus, I think he is the one who would resist such an interaction. It is so hard for Severus to separate Harry from James. And telling Harry about Lily would make Severus vulnerable around him.



Julia H. - Oct 17, 2009 11:02 am (#2793 of 2988)
Yes, but what I'm saying is that having experienced the "Look at me" moment with Harry and knowing that Harry already now knows more about him than any other living person in the world does and that Harry had actually done what Snape had told him to do in that crucial moment could change Snape's perspective about Harry. At least I think the shock of this experience would have had an effect on Snape as well if he had survived it. Snape finds it very difficult to separate Harry from James, but the "Look at me" moment is about finding Lily in him, and that might mean (and actually achieve) something.



wynnleaf - Oct 17, 2009 9:12 pm (#2794 of 2988)
I do remember her saying in one of her interviews that she was Harry Potter. So I was just saying that if Jo didn't think Harry would visit the portrait, well, she ought to know! (Solitaire)

There's not an actual quote from that comment, but instead it's found in an article of a question and answer session where, apparently, she said she "doubted" he would ever visit the portrait. I could not find where JKR said she was Harry. Of course, as the writer, I'm sure there are probably bits of JKR in many of her characters. And she's certainly said she spoke through Hermione and DD on occasion, as well as that Hermione was like her when she was that age.

In any case, Harry is not an exact replica of JKR, nor likely her exact personality and certainly not her history , regardless of how much she may write him with her feelings or reactions. In other words, (and thankfully JKR only says she "doubts" Harry would visit the portrait), when JKR envisions what Harry will or won't do in many of his particular situations, it can't be a certain answer to the question "what would I do in that situation" because JKR -- just like most other writers -- is writing about situations which she herself has not experienced. If she wants to imagine her own response to a situation she's never experienced and use that to interpret how the character might respond, she can only guess at how she'd respond.

But I doubt that's how JKR writes (although of course I don't know). A great many fiction writers say that characters take on a certain life of their own and act in ways that fit their own individual character, and can't necessarily be forced into the whatever mold the writer wishes.

However, if Harry truly is the sort of personality who would name their child after a person, yet be somehow unable or unwilling to go and talk to that person (or portrait) -- well, that just seems kind of bizarre to me. Why would anyone name their child after someone they couldn't bring themselves to talk to?



Solitaire - Oct 17, 2009 9:50 pm (#2795 of 2988)
Why would anyone name their child after someone they couldn't bring themselves to talk to?

Actually, that makes a lot of sense to me. Sometimes such gestures are easier for a person than a face-to-face conversation. I don't think that would be Harry--he always seems willing to confront difficult situations--but I could be wrong.



mona amon - Oct 17, 2009 11:46 pm (#2796 of 2988)
Q: Is Severus Snape's portrait in the headmaster's office?

JKR: Some have been asking why hasn't the portrait appeared immediately. It doesn't. The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well was that he abandoned his post. So all the portraits you see in the headmaster's study are all headmasters and mistresses who died, it's like British royals. You only get good press if you die in office. Abdication is not acceptable, particularly if you marry and American. I'm kidding! [laughter] I digress. I know, because I thought this one through, because it was very important to me, I know Harry would have insisted that Snape's portrait was on that wall, right beside Dumbledore's. [Applause.] As for whether Harry would go back to talk to him, I think, I'm not sure he would have done. (J. K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall)


After this she goes on to talk about how pleased she was that people were still arguing about whether Severus was a good guy. She doesn't give any reason why she doesn't think Harry would have gone back to talk to Severus's portrait.

But it's different to me when one creates situations where characters "have" to die in order to achieve some sort of literary "balance". In HP, there's of course the very unreal magic of the series. However the tensions, personalities, ethical situations, etc., are quite real. Setting up those tensions, personalities, and so forth so that certain characters "have" to die in order to resolve the issues is, in my opinion, questionable. That's because it's like one is implying that the real issues of tensions between personalities, the knife-edge of certain ethical questions, etc., can only be resolved in death.

That's one reason I really, really, really wanted Harry and Snape to resolve their issues before death, because then the resolution to the conflict wouldn't be dependent on death. My personal opinion (I know, it's just my opinion for sure), is that JKR couldn't, within herself, conceive of a real face-to-face resolution between them (she doesn't even now think Harry would visit Snape's portrait!), and therefore had to make the resolution occur after Snape was dead. In my opinion, that's not just the "easy way out". To me it implies (especially with the bit about Harry never visiting the portrait), that JKR could only write Harry forgiving and resolving things if he never had to actually meet Snape again.

I know that she doesn't say that, but it seems to me to be implied. (Wynnleaf)


I feel that things could have been completely resolved between Severus and Harry in the way you imply only if Severus's attitude itself had undergone a drastic change, and it clearly wasn't in either the external circumstances, or in Severus's character as JKR imagined it, for that change to happen within the time frame of the novel.

That's why I feel that Severus's death was a tragic consequence of the war. It was all the more tragic for having taken place before he was ready to fully resolve the problems he had with himself and with others, especially since JKR has shown us (IMO) that he could have changed, time and circumstances permitting.

I definitely do not get the feeling that Severus's death was needed for Harry to forgive him. We are shown, in the Shreiking Shack chapters of POA, that Harry (unlike Severus, actually) is willing to listen to explanations and change his mind about the people he has misconceptions about.

Nor do I think that the "look at me" scene was absolutely necessary for Severus to see Harry as Lily's child rather than a replica of James. As I've said earlier, I think that the only catalysts he needed for making a dramatic change were the confession he makes to Harry, and the death of Voldemort.

So I don't feel that JKR couldn't conceive of any face-to-face reconcilliation between them ever. I just feel that it wasn't in Severus's character as she imagined it to try for any reconcilliation with Harry until there was the change in circumstances that I mentioned.

Actually, at the end he does come to some sort of reconcilliation with Harry in his own mind, after he has made his confession to him. But it is too little, too late. Tragic to the end.

Sometimes such gestures are easier for a person than a face-to-face conversation. (Soli)

I agree with this. After looking at Severus's memories, Harry realises that he was almost completely wrong about him, and that Dumbledore was right. The new Severus that emerges from the memories is someone he can admire and respect immensely. But since Severus died before there could be any resolution to their conflict, I don't see what he would have to say to a soul-less portrait that was just a sort of recording of the Severus of old. I can't even imagine him going to talk to Dumbledore's portrait. He has already made peace with Dumbledore's spirit or soul. When he talks to the portrait in the last chapter of DH, it's more to settle some technical points about what to do with the Elder Wand than anything. So I do not take his unwillingness to talk to Severus's portrait as an indication that he would not have wanted to get reconciled with a Severus who was alive and who had changed.



Solitaire - Oct 18, 2009 10:10 am (#2797 of 2988)
Nice post, Mona.



mona amon - Oct 18, 2009 11:23 am (#2798 of 2988)
Thanks, Soli!



wynnleaf - Oct 18, 2009 1:50 pm (#2799 of 2988)
As I've said earlier, I think that the only catalysts he needed for making a dramatic change were the confession he makes to Harry, and the death of Voldemort. (mona amon)

I agree with this. However, I think that it's kind of necessary to an explanation of the plot point that Snape needed to follow through on DD's order to tell Harry the crucial info, that Snape could have given that confession without it being a "death-bed" confession. If Snape could only make that confession (or at least that Harry would only listen to is), if Snape was dying, then DD's plan was an Extremely Poor Plan since it could only work if Snape died. Since I don't think JKR means us to think DD's plan for Snape to give Harry the crucial info was extremely poor, I have to assume that it was at least possible for Snape to give that confession to Harry without having to die.

The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well was that he abandoned his post. So all the portraits you see in the headmaster's study are all headmasters and mistresses who died, it's like British royals. You only get good press if you die in office. Abdication is not acceptable, particularly if you marry and American. I'm kidding! [laughter] I digress. I know, because I thought this one through, because it was very important to me, (JKR)

I realize JKR said she "thought this one through", but based on this reasoning, if DD had died in OOTP, when he was more or less fired and had to flee the castle, then he'd not have got a portrait. And it certainly leaves the question as to why in OOTP the Headmasters Office closed itself up and wouldn't open to anyone other than Dumbledore even though he'd "abandoned his post".

Well, obviously, DD didn't abandon his post. He only left because he was chased off. Ditto Snape. When did Snape resign? He only left the castle because some teachers were chasing him away. Sure they weren't the evil Umbridge with nasty motives. They were just mistaken. That makes Snape's situation radically different from DD? I never thought this made much sense. Snape continued to fight for the same causes DD was fighting for after being chased off. Yet Snape "abandoned his post", but I somehow doubt JKR would say the same of DD.

Edit: I mean, if the castle knew the difference in what DD did in OOTP and true abandonment, then why didn't it know the difference with Snape?



Solitaire - Oct 18, 2009 2:01 pm (#2800 of 2988)
I don't really think it was poor planning by DD. Draco was just the monkey wrench in the works, and he sped things up too fast. Dumbledore should have told Harry about the plan between him and Snape, so that Harry would not believe Snape to be a murderer ... but he did not have the opportunity once they hit the tower. IMO, that is the only way things could have worked out differently. Without that critical piece of information, I can't see that there is any way Harry would have given Snape a hearing, short of the methods I described above--being put in a full body-bind, silenced, and forced to listen to Snape's memories. Without knowing about Snape and DD's plan, Harry would continue to see him as a murderer and would fight first and talk second. JM2K ...


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legolas returns - Oct 18, 2009 2:15 pm (#2801 of 2988)
There is the alternative way that Harry could have seen Snape's memories. Snape could have made it obvious that he was placing some memories in the Pensieve and hope that Harry would be curious enough to look in once he had left the scene via the window. I am not sure that Harry would have wanted to have a look after what he saw the first time but he may have been more willing.



wynnleaf - Oct 18, 2009 2:16 pm (#2802 of 2988)
I don't really think it was poor planning by DD. (Solitiare)

I agree.

Dumbledore should have told Harry about the plan between him and Snape, so that Harry would not believe Snape to be a murderer ... but he did not have the opportunity once they hit the tower. IMO, that is the only way things could have worked out differently. (Solitaire)

While there may have been a way for Snape to make his confession to Harry even after the events of HBP, essentially I agree with you. Once everyone thought (for quite valid reasons) that Snape was a murderer and Evil, it would take extraordinary circumstances for Harry to ever listen to Snape.

But of course, many readers who believed Snape to be loyal, and tried to speculate on what would occur, did think that Snape was likely to die because of the precarious position he was in. And many readers felt that, after the events of HBP, the only way Harry would ever really believe in Snape's loyalty was for Snape to die tragically for the cause.

Of course, it's not like JKR woke up one day and realized that, after HBP, there was little choice but for Snape to die. She, after all, chose the events of HBP herself.

What I meant in an earlier post was that because JKR always, from the start, knew and intended Snape to die, it was no problem for her to write him into a corner due to the events at the end of HBP.



Solitaire - Oct 18, 2009 3:59 pm (#2803 of 2988)
IMHO, Snape's neck was in a noose once he agreed to help Dumbledore die. I'm sure it was meant to happen privately ... but the most carefully crafted plans can sometimes go awry. This one certainly did. The bottom line is that anyone Voldemort believed had disarmed Dumbledore was on borrowed time once Voldy was on the trail of the Elder Wand. Dumbledore had to know this.

Did he intend to tell Snape about the Elder Wand at some point? Had Snape figured it out? If he did not know about the Elder Wand, then did he really understand why Voldy killed him?



Honour - Oct 19, 2009 3:32 am (#2804 of 2988)
Actually Solitaire, I disagree I think Dumbledore had ample time to tell Harry about his master plan, infact he had the whole of the school year. He had enough meetings with Harry to tell him the truth about Sev. I find it hard to understand that DD trusted Harry so implicitly with the survival of the Magical World but could not trust him with the information about Sev, especially when for the past 6 years Dumbledore trusted Snape enough to secretly watch over Harry.

Dumbledore from the very start had been less than honest with Harry (the prophesy) and because he (DD) seemed to keep his cards close to his chest even after finding that Voldermort found it abhorent to "mindread" Harry and had stopped using their connection, why didn't he just tell Harry about Sev?

Regarding Draco, this is another example of DD not trusting Harry, Sev already knew that Draco had been set a task by Voldermort, we as readers knew this by the 2nd Chapter, Harry suspected this and told Dumbledore who brushed off Harry's accusations even though, we find that with the comments DD made to Draco up in the tower he knew all along what Draco was up to. I just find it disconcerting and felt a little 'peeved' that Dumbledore expected Harry to risk his life for Dumbledore's "Plan" but would not be truthful to Harry.

Wynleaf I agree with you both Harry and Sev were backed into a corner, that Harry survived the whole debacle was a testiment of his own skill and tenacity.

One more thing, Harry tells "Al" that he is named for two Hogwarts Headmasters, I think that Harry would not have described Sev this way if Sev's character had not been corrected in the eyes and minds of the wizarding World as a whole. I believe that Harry would have worked hard to correct any wrongs attributed to Sev, because like I said before such is the honourable character of Harry Potter.



mona amon - Oct 19, 2009 5:49 am (#2805 of 2988)
I mean, if the castle knew the difference in what DD did in OOTP and true abandonment, then why didn't it know the difference with Snape? (Wynnleaf)

I think the answer is in JKR's words, "The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well, was that he abandoned his post." Severus played his role so well that he fooled the castle and everyone in it. Of course the portraits in the Headmaster's office would have known some of the plans between Severus and Dumbledore, but I suppose they were not allowed to blab the Headmaster's secrets all over the castle.

Dumbledore never pretended he was abandoning his post as Headmaster. He was on the run only from the Ministry, not from the Hogwarts staff. His office realises this and helps him by sealing itself against Umbridge, the Ministry's representative.

I think Dumbledore had ample time to tell Harry about his master plan, infact he had the whole of the school year. (Honour)

Dumbledore could not tell Harry the whole truth because Severus himself had forbidden it ("never – never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear … especially Potter's son … I want your word!” ...), and also Severus would be in a horrible mess if Voldemort ever found out he was a traitor, so it was safer not to tell anyone, especially Harry, who had a direct connection to his mind. True, he seemed to have stopped using the connection, but who could tell? It was too much of a risk.



Solitaire - Oct 19, 2009 7:14 am (#2806 of 2988)
Because of the Horcrux connection between Harry and Voldemort, I think there were things DD felt he could not tell Harry just then. We know Harry was useless at Occlumency, and having him know too much about Snape's role in things could have been deadly for Snape much earlier in the game. Mona is also right about DD's promise to Snape not to reveal certain information. Oh, I see she has mentioned the mind connection, too. And she is right ... the risk was just too great.



Julia H. - Oct 19, 2009 8:18 am (#2807 of 2988)
It would have been risky to tell Harry about Snape's true loyalties because of the mind connection etc. I don't see though that telling Harry about Snape's true loyalties would necessarily have meant telling Harry anything that Snape had asked Dumbledore not to tell (which was that Snape's main motivation was to protect specifically Harry). For Harry to trust Snape it would have been enough if he had known that Snape was acting on Dumbledore's orders all along, even when he killed Dumbledore and accepted the Headmaster's position in the Voldemort regime.

Yes, it can be explained why Dumbledore did not tell Harry anything to prove Snape's true allegiance beyond doubt. But I still don't know how that explains that at the same time Dumbledore (apparently) thought it perfectly possible for Snape to persuade Harry to listen to him in the first place and then to trust those very suspicious instructions ("you must let Voldemort kill you") while Harry (like everyone else) was in fact supposed to believe Snape was an evil DE.

I don't think Dumbledore could foresee either the Shrieking Shack scene or the silver doe connection between Harry and Snape (sending the doe to Harry seems to have been entirely Snape's idea and it happened about half a year after Dumbledore's death). Yet, Dumbledore must have known that his whole plan would fall apart if Harry did not get his "message" in time.

So I'm still wondering how Dumbledore had imagined that happening if he never had any plans to tell Harry (or anyone else) the truth about Snape. He even set a volatile deadline (Voldemort protecting Nagini) for Snape's task. Until then, Harry was supposed to believe Snape was evil, but after that, Snape was supposed to have the means to convince Harry. Dumbledore's trust in Snape's abilities (or in Harry's willingness to watch memories in the Pensieve) must have been quite extraordinary.

I've got another, related question, though it will have to be transferred to the Dumbledore thread if you think it is worth discussing. In HBP, Dumbledore repeatedly promises that he would one day tell Harry the story of his dead hand. Do you think he really intended to do so? It would have involved explaining what the Resurrection Stone was and giving Harry at least hints about a very painful issue in Dumbledore's private life. The "story" was also closely connected to Dumbledore's request to Snape and the details about Snape saving Dumbledore's life.



Honour - Oct 25, 2009 6:45 am (#2808 of 2988)
Like I said, Harry and Sev fulfilled their tasks despite DD.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 25, 2009 10:52 pm (#2809 of 2988)
Yes, but at what cost? DD just does not take these things into account. But then, that's fairly standard for that sort of figure. Gandalf never really did, either. He left, and Aragorn and Frodo had to pick up the pieces. Ditto with Giles in Buffy. I suppose it's just a test. It'd be "too easy" if the heroes/antiheroes in question didn't have to struggle almost to the point of insanity, right?

edited



PeskyPixie - Oct 28, 2009 9:31 am (#2810 of 2988)
Severus must have gone through a period of disillusionment with Dumbledore, as Harry does in DH, but in the end he realized that he trusted Dumbledore enough to stick to the plan even after he was gone.



legolas returns - Oct 28, 2009 12:14 pm (#2811 of 2988)
Luke Skywalker is left alone after Obi Wan Kanobi is dispatched. The pupil becomes the master is a traditional part of story telling.



severusisn'tevil - Oct 28, 2009 8:25 pm (#2812 of 2988)
True enough. It seemed particularly brutal on Harry and Severus, though. All the more because both were kind of alone.



Honour - Oct 29, 2009 3:46 am (#2813 of 2988)
"the pupil becomes the master?" more like the Puppet controlled by the Puppet Master. Even after he was gone Harry and Sev still danced to DD's tune.

To what end? Perhaps Harry's life was happy, I didn't quite get that impression in the last chapter, he seemed so intense, so still? I can't even remeber reading if he smiled? That's how "blah blah" his demeanour seemed to me. Ron seemed the same, just older, Ginny I didn't pay much attention to as I was never a fan, and Hermione seemed quiet as well? So un-Hermione-ish! Mayhaps JKR deliberately wrote their characters this way, so still, so that by contrast the children stood out?

I couldn't even remember if there were any references to Harry making it as an auror? All I got from the end was Ron and Hermione had children, Harry and Ginny. Harry had forgiven DD and Sev by naming his son after them. Miss Weasley and master Lupin had "hooked up". Draco had grown up some and at least could be polite enough to acknowledge the Potter/Weasleys. That Harry was closer to his son than Ginny was, as it was he that felt bereft.

Nothing is said of Sev, whether he was a hero or remained in the eyes of the wizarding world as an evil follower of Voldy and DD's murderer. I somehow got the impression that mayhaps as before only some knew the full story. After all if Sev was such a brave man in Harry's eyes why wasn't his name used as the first name rather that as the second? ... Another book I have to go back and read again!



mona amon - Oct 29, 2009 4:02 am (#2814 of 2988)
After all if Sev was such a brave man in Harry's eyes why wasn't his name used as the first name rather that as the second?

Because he loved Dumbledore more, I guess. That's fair enough. I felt that naming his son after Severus at all was a big deal. In fact, a lot of people who dislike Severus feel it was too much. After all, he could have paid a tribute to his bravery in so many other ways. Ensure that he got a posthumous Order of Merlin, and then thought no more about it.



Julia H. - Oct 29, 2009 4:07 am (#2815 of 2988)
After all if Sev was such a brave man in Harry's eyes why wasn't his name used as the first name rather that as the second?

I think another reason was that JKR did not want to reveal this name to us until Harry's "the bravest man I ever knew" line, so Albus Severus was called 'Albus' until then. If JKR had wanted, Harry could have had four children with a separate Albus and a separate Severus, but then Severus Potter would have had to be called 'Severus' as soon as he appeared on the page, which would have spoiled the surprise. But I think uniting these two names in one person has a symbolic value as well.

I agree, Honour, I would also have liked to know more about the way Snape was remembered in the wizarding world in general, but it seems it was Harry's opinion alone that the author thought important. Apparently, to achieve true redemption, Snape had to be redeemed in Harry's eyes.



PeskyPixie - Oct 29, 2009 11:22 am (#2816 of 2988)
Alas, too bad that the character Severus Snape really took on a life of his own. He has got to be one of my favourite characters in children's literature. Hmm, make that one of my favourite characters, period.



wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2009 7:16 am (#2817 of 2988)
Throughout the books we can look at the whys and wherefores internally -- as regards how they make sense within the plot -- and we can look at them from the perspective of why JKR would want to do a particular thing. But I don't think you can combine them. For instance, if we're going to wonder why Albus Severus didn't appear to have been told anything at all about Severus Snape until he was standing on the 9 and 3/4 platform, we can either consider that JKR didn't want to divulge anything to the reader, or we can wonder why in the world Harry never mentioned anything about Snape to his son if he held Snape in such high regard. But they are separate considerations. It would be unfortunate if the only reason for why Harry does something particularly odd is that Harry did it because JKR needed him to do it.

If the only sensible answer for why Albus Severus seemed to have no knowledge of Snape is because JKR couldn't have Harry tell him anything about Snape until the epilogue, then we're basically saying that JKR had to have her protagonist act inexplicably at the last moment solely in order to pull off her "surprise" ending.

Alas, too bad that the character Severus Snape really took on a life of his own. He has got to be one of my favourite characters in children's literature. Hmm, make that one of my favourite characters, period. (Pesky)

Why is it too bad? I wouldn't have got nearly so much enjoyment out of the HP series without Snape being such an extremely appealing character. Yes, I said appealing, because his character, motives, actions, commitment, risks, etc. all draw me in more than any other character in the series.



Julia H. - Oct 31, 2009 9:34 am (#2818 of 2988)
Throughout the books we can look at the whys and wherefores internally -- as regards how they make sense within the plot -- and we can look at them from the perspective of why JKR would want to do a particular thing. But I don't think you can combine them. (Wynnleaf)

Why not? To me it seems that we very often consider both the internal and the external answers to a particular question. I don't find anything wrong in that as long as we know the difference - and I think the participants on this forum know the difference. I mentioned an external reason for JKR to have Harry give his son 'Severus' as a middle name (instead of a first name). By mentioning that, I did not say that there was no internal explanation (which had already been given in another post anyway), I simply brought a different aspect into the discussion. We have done the same thing many times on this thread and on other threads. I don't see it as off-topic, and I can't think of any reasons why various posters could not look at any particular problem from both perspectives if they want to.



wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2009 11:51 am (#2819 of 2988)
Why not? To me it seems that we very often consider both the internal and the external answers to a particular question. (Julia)

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I didn't mean that we couldn't discuss both. What I meant was that we can't answer the internal question of what Harry's motivation might be in how he named his son, or how he never seemed to have told him anything about Snape prior to Albus Severus going to Hogwarts, with the external answer that JKR needed it that way to have her surprise ending.

That is an answer, but it doesn't explain Harry's motivation, or any other internal reasons for why the story would work out that way.

What I was trying to say is that if we can only come up with an external reason for an internal question, then that particular plot point doesn't relate well to the rest of the story, characters etc. In other words, it's not internally consistent.

I agree that we can imagine internal reasons for why Harry might use Severus as a middle name. Hey, if nothing else, it sounds better with Albus first. And Harry would want to honor DD as well.

But, for instance, in the other question I brought up -- about why young Albus Severus appears to know nothing about the person he was named after -- I don't really think there is a good internal explanation that is consistent with Harry truly wanting to honor DD and Snape with naming his son after them. I mean what would be a good internal explanation? He forgot about DD and Snape? The time never seemed right to tell his son anything about them? You know, it's kind of odd and any explanations, while possible, seem kind of implausible.



mona amon - Oct 31, 2009 11:52 am (#2820 of 2988)
Throughout the books we can look at the whys and wherefores internally -- as regards how they make sense within the plot -- and we can look at them from the perspective of why JKR would want to do a particular thing. But I don't think you can combine them. (Wynnleaf)

That's a very interesting question. I mean, whether or not you can combine them. I feel that a good author has to write both characters and plot in such a way that they are consistent with each other. She cannot allow her characters to act inconsistently merely in order to 'not spoil the surprise'. Does JKR do this? I think on the whole she does not, except occasionally with Dumbledore. Both Severus and Harry are very consistent characters. In other words, I feel she almost always makes sure that her surprises and plot twists are consistent with what her characters would actually do.

If the only sensible answer for why Albus Severus seemed to have no knowledge of Snape is because JKR couldn't have Harry tell him anything about Snape until the epilogue, then we're basically saying that JKR had to have her protagonist act inexplicably at the last moment solely in order to pull off her "surprise" ending.

I don't think we have to conclude that the "bravest man I ever knew" line was the first time that Harry was mentionioning Severus Snape (or Albus Dumbledore for that matter) to his son. He was just telling him that Slytherin was okay, that he and Ginny didn't mind, and that one of the headmasters he was named after was a Slytherin, and he was the bravest man he ever knew, and not to worry.

What I mean is, the author did not want to tell us anything about Harry's changed attitude to Severus and about naming his son after him until the epilogue. But that does not mean he had never mentioned Severus to his children before this. Surely he must have told them all about the Battle of Hogwarts, and all the heroes who died fighting.

EDIT: cross-posted with Wynnleaf.



wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2009 11:55 am (#2821 of 2988)
I don't think we have to conclude that the "bravest man I ever knew" line was the first time that Harry was mentionioning Severus Snape (or Albus Dumbledore for that matter) to his son. He was just telling him that Slytherin was okay, that he and Ginny didn't mind, and that one of the headmasters he was named after was a Slytherin, and he was the bravest man he ever knew, and not to worry. (mona amon)

Yes, that's possible, although Albus seems a bit clueless about Snape, and especially about anything good ever coming out of Slytherin.



mona amon - Oct 31, 2009 12:02 pm (#2822 of 2988)
Maybe he never told him until now that he was in Slytherin? Or even if he had, I guess the anti-Slytherin prejudice that little Al picked up from the other kids outweighed anything his dad may have told him about some dead Slytherin war hero whom he was named after.



wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2009 12:03 pm (#2823 of 2988)
Could be.



wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2009 12:05 pm (#2824 of 2988)
Anyway, mona amon, I think you get my point. An internal question needs an internal answer, even if there are plenty of external reasons as well.



mona amon - Oct 31, 2009 12:08 pm (#2825 of 2988)
I totally agree with that, Wynnleaf.



Julia H. - Oct 31, 2009 12:27 pm (#2826 of 2988)
All right, I won't bring up an external explanation the next time an "internal" question is asked. (*** irons hands ***) But I did feel it relevant this time, even though I agreed that since Harry loved Dumbledore more than Snape (to put it mildly) he would logically use the two names in this order if he was to give these two names to the same son. However, it was JKR's decision to give Harry one son with these two names instead of two separate sons (James does not count, as Harry probably "had to have" a son named James before having a son named Severus), and I think the reasons for Harry having one son with these two "important" names are mainly external. If you choose a name for your son specifically because you want to honour someone's memory (and not due to some family obligation or tradition, for example), then there can't be too much difference (emotionally) between choosing this name as a first name or as a middle name. So I think Harry, logically, might have chosen 'Severus' as a first name if he had not had so many people to remember and, in comparison, relatively few children. But the number of his children was the author's decision, and I think JKR needed Harry to be "forced" to give several respected names to one child for external reasons. So once Harry has the 'Albus Severus' name to give his child, the ordering is internally logical, but the basic situation (two names for one child) was created by the author for external reasons. It may not be "the" answer to the original question (I probably did not even intend it to be) but, as I said, I felt that it was a relevant and important aspect regarding the question. I could be wrong, of course.



Orion - Oct 31, 2009 2:49 pm (#2827 of 2988)
I don't understand the problem because both names only turn up in the Epilogue. The whole child Albus Severus only turns up in the Epilogue, logically. So the secret is safe until the Epilogue and the surprise is perfect. So the order of the names isn't so important at all. The whole Epilogue is only a couple of pages anyway. Sorry to be a spoilsport! It seems totally logical to me that Harry chose Albus to be the first name because he was much more important to him. This is a perfect reason and one instance in which the internal reason flattens the external reason.

But it's really hateful if you hear the creaking of the woodwork, so to speak. IMO in a really good story it's the internal reasons which make the whole thing work so that the author doesn't need any external reasons at all. It's like in the old-fashioned mysteries when a few pages before the ending the detective assembles all the suspects in the library. It makes me angry. I want to know what the detective knows. Everything else is playing silly buggers.



Julia H. - Oct 31, 2009 3:13 pm (#2828 of 2988)
This is a perfect reason and one instance in which the internal reason flattens the external reason. (Orion)

So does that make it wrong to mention the external reason in the same discussion?



Orion - Oct 31, 2009 3:19 pm (#2829 of 2988)
Dearest Julia, you may mention whatever you like because it's always an enjoyable read. I don't see the external reason in this particular case but I agree that there are lots and lots of them in all seven volumes. It doesn't seem to me that they are in all the volumes. The first two books seem so perfect. Seamless. It's only later that it gets a bit grating, but, obviously, some of the external reasons are there in the first books, only invisible, under the surface. The fact that DD has no other choice than leaving Harry with the Dursleys, for example. Doesn't he? Oh yes, he does, but we don't learn the twists and turns until the later books. So I guess that the external reasons run through all the seven volumes like the kefir through the milk and only get apparent when all the loose threads have to be sewn up.



Julia H. - Oct 31, 2009 4:04 pm (#2830 of 2988)
You see, I don't think that the existence of an external reason necessarily means that there is no internal logic explaining the motif or event in question in a novel. For what is an external reason? An author knows where (s)he wants to get with the plot, and that is in itself a powerful external force. The plot must have its internal logic, and it is not true that the author is completely free to do anything with the plot (without giving up coherence, consistency, whatever). Yet, there must be places in the plot of a novel where the author has a choice, where the author must choose (for example) between several logical outcomes, and it is perfectly natural if external reasons are taken into consideration in these places. The author must decide which of the possible plotlines or which of the possible minor details will serve the final outcome better or which of them will have a more powerful effect etc. It is a problem when the external reason seems to be the only reason - but the fact that something in a novel has an external reason does not mean that there must be something wrong there.

I cannot tell what the author really thought or wanted but I can discover things that have a certain effect in the way they are and which would not have the same effect with certain changes, and then I can suspect the existence of an external reason. It is not meant to beat or to replace the internal reason(s). I was merely mentioning the existence (IMO at least) of a certain external reason, in the course of a conversation. We had done that before. I was a bit surprised by the reactions this time.



severusisn'tevil - Nov 1, 2009 2:46 am (#2831 of 2988)
Hmmm. I have a friend, a very sweet man, whom I just love to bits. But whenever I address a character on the screen while I am watching television (which I do frequently---it's one of my quirks. I do it at various volumes)and ask a character why something is happening, my friend's response is often "The script is on their side." Now, while that may be true, it often irks me because well, it seems to cheapen the occurrence, whatever it happens to be. Saying that something in a book or film is so simply because the writer wills it feels like cheating to me. And perhaps that's silly, but I've always imagined the canons I obsess over as being universes of their own. I try to forget that there's a man behind the curtain, so to speak. And I agree with Orion: it doesn't seem to be enough. If something is not in character, then I don't care what the writer wants---that event ought not to "happen." Writers have responsibility to the universes they create. Just my 2 knuts, as we say.

And let me just say that I love the name Albus Severus. I love what it tells me about Harry's maturation. I even like the way it rolls off the tongue. But I have to say I wonder at Harry for giving his younger son such a name. I mean, really. It's definitely no pressure on the boy, being named after two incredibly brave and powerful wizards who were instrumental in saving the world. I am reminded of Han and Leia, naming their younger son 'Anakin.' As though they're saying, "Well, we named you after your grandfather who almost destroyed the Jedi Order single-handedly but who managed to redeem himself with his dying breath. But we're sure you'll turn out just fine. Good luck."



wynnleaf - Nov 1, 2009 7:33 pm (#2832 of 2988)
So does that make it wrong to mention the external reason in the same discussion? (Julia)

No, of course not. I've been trying to make that clear, and yet I feel that you are still thinking that I (I can't think anyone else came close to saying this), don't think you should mention it at all. But that's not what I meant.

What I meant is that the external reason isn't the answer for the internal question.

One might as well ask, "why did Snape hate James?" and answer with "because JKR needed him to hate James." That's of course quite true and we could have discussion on why Snape needed to hate James in order to make the plot work. But it's not the internal answer to the question at all. The discussion, in and of itself, would be valid, but not as an answer to the internal question.

And let me just say that I love the name Albus Severus. (severus isn't evil)

Me too, and look at the initials, A.S.P.. Bet he got sorted into Slytherin.



Honour - Nov 2, 2009 12:23 am (#2833 of 2988)
Oh very good Wynnleaf, very good indeed!



Julia H. - Nov 2, 2009 12:41 am (#2834 of 2988)
What I meant is that the external reason isn't the answer for the internal question. (Wynnleaf)

I quite agree but, to be perfectly frank, I could not figure out why you felt it necessary to point it out just then unless because you thought what I had said had no place in the discussion at all. After all I did not say that it was the only reason or that it was the internal reason (yes, I know the difference between the two) or that it was more important than the internal reason or that it was an answer to an "internal' question. When putting the question "After all if Sev was such a brave man in Harry's eyes why wasn't his name used as the first name rather that as the second?" Honour seemed to be partly complaining about the way the Epilogue was written or more precisely about the amount of information we got in the Epilogue, which looked like an "external" problem, so I was not that sure that Honour meant to start a discussion focusing strictly on an "internal" problem. (It is different when we are in the middle of a discussion which is clearly about the characters' internal motivations, but even then it occurs sometimes that someone mentions a plot reason without causing a general outcry.)

Then everybody started to say how wrong and annoying it was to give external answers to internal questions and I could not help feeling somewhat "shouted down" (I know you were not really shouting, I just can't think of a better word now), when I had only tried to approach the question from a different aspect. (Like it or not, external reasons exist.)

Still on the topic of external reasons, I wonder if Albus Severus ending up with the A.S.P. initials was a pure coincidence or whether JKR took it into consideration. (The initials for Severus Albus Potter would be S.A.P.)



wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2009 6:11 am (#2835 of 2988)
Julia,

I apologize - truly. I think I answered the way I did initially, because it sounded to me as though you were answering the discussion about the internal concerns regarding Harry's choice with Albus Severus' name with JKR's need for Harry to make those choices. I shouldn't have assumed that, especially since I'm sure I have done the exact same thing at some point in the past -- that is, pointed out JKR's likely motive in the midst of a discussion about why various characters are doing things.



Julia H. - Nov 2, 2009 7:14 am (#2836 of 2988)
I see it now, Wynnleaf. I probably did not word that post carefully enough. I'm sorry about it.



wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2009 11:56 am (#2837 of 2988)
Still on the topic of external reasons, I wonder if Albus Severus ending up with the A.S.P. initials was a pure coincidence or whether JKR took it into consideration. (The initials for Severus Albus Potter would be S.A.P.) (Julia)

Oh, wow! I never thought of that! But whether she intended it or not, it's a very common tendency on JKR's part to name people according to what they are or will be -- Lupin, Fudge, Umbridge, Severus, and many more. ASP does seem appropriate for a future Slytherin.



legolas returns - Nov 2, 2009 1:31 pm (#2838 of 2988)
I would have thought that the fact that Harry told his son that if you said to the hat you did not want to be in slytherin you could ask not to be.

Severus wanted to go into Slytherin and stated as much to Lily.



wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2009 1:45 pm (#2839 of 2988)
I would have thought that the fact that Harry told his son that if you said to the hat you did not want to be in slytherin you could ask not to be. (legolas returns)

True, but Albus Severus had the whole train trip to think on what Harry had told him. And remember that he's likely especially close to his father. Who knows what he'd have chosen by the end of the day? After all, a lot of his worries over Slytherin appear to have to do with James' disparaging remarks. You never can tell.



Soul Search - Nov 2, 2009 2:18 pm (#2840 of 2988)
What we really need is a next generation set of novels that develop how Albus Severus revolutionized Slytherin House.



Julia H. - Nov 2, 2009 2:59 pm (#2841 of 2988)
Soul Search, I hope JKR is reading this.



me and my shadow 813 - Nov 2, 2009 5:22 pm (#2842 of 2988)
Soul Search, I've been writing about it a lot... Albus Severus and balancing Slytherin. If we can't get it from the source, why not make it up, eh?

Crikey, there's been a lot of action while I've been gone the past few days! You are all brilliant, that's all I've got to say. My right-brained brain can't keep up, truly. I'll reread the last 25 posts when I'm feeling a bit more awake and alert...

For now, my first question is: why do you (general "you") think it's 'wrong' for an author to have a character do something (i.e., not mentioning Severus to little Albus until Platform 9-3/4) simply because it makes for a better story, assuming it isn't total nonsense (i.e., astronomical suspension of disbelief)?



mona amon - Nov 3, 2009 4:47 am (#2843 of 2988)
That's the point, Shadow. It should not be total nonsense or require astronomical suspension of disbelief. When the author has a character do something in a certain way in order to make a better story, it still has to be consistent with what that character would actually do. She can't have her characters acting 'out of character' just so as to not spoil the surprise. That (I think) is the consensus that we reached.



me and my shadow 813 - Nov 3, 2009 12:12 pm (#2844 of 2988)
So is the consensus that Harry acted out of character in that situation? I don't think Harry would necessarily sit his children down and teach them about Severus. He probably mentioned things in the past about Severus's great deeds, his loyalty, the way he tricked the most brilliant Dark Wizard that has ever lived, etc. That scene was 19 years later, which means little Albus was born 8 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. By then I feel it is possible that the impact of Severus's actions had somewhat lessened. Meaning, I think after nearly a decade people were not speaking of the events on a daily basis, or even on a weekly basis. It becomes the norm that life is now peaceful and those who fought bravely had been honored countless times in the past. So by nearly two decades later, I think it is possible that this is the first time Harry says those exact words to his son. He might have said things like "Severus Snape turned out to be quite a hero in my mind", but he might never have told little Albus just how heroic he thought Severus was. JM2K



Honour - Nov 4, 2009 2:45 am (#2845 of 2988)
But surely if it was important enough to Harry to name his son after Sev then doesn't it follow that Harry would tell his son about his namesake? Both of my sons are named for my granduncles, like Al it is their second name, but I always talk to them about their namesakes, quite often infact. For this to be the first time that Harry mentions how brave a man Sev was to Al sounds to me for want of a better word contrived? Like someone mentioned earlier a situation thought up by the author to surprise the reader ...



mona amon - Nov 4, 2009 10:18 am (#2846 of 2988)
Honour, why do you feel this is the first time Harry talks to Al about Severus? I think what Shadow says is more likely. He had mentioned Severus's heroism to his children, but this was the first time he was using those exact words.



Dryleaves - Nov 4, 2009 11:09 am (#2847 of 2988)
I'm not sure either that this is the first time Harry mentions Snape to Albus Severus. To me it seems as if Harry is reminding his son of something they have spoken about before, and Albus Severus does not seem curious about these two headmasters he is named for, but continues his hypothetical reasoning about what will happen if he ends up in Slytherin.



Julia H. - Nov 4, 2009 11:21 am (#2848 of 2988)
Edited Nov 4, 2009 12:52 pm
Yes, Harry may have told Albus Severus about Snape. It is quite possible that Harry is now simply reminding his son of something he already knows (more or less). My impression is that Harry may not have stressed very much that Snape was a Slytherin (he had other things to say about Snape), and it is probably the first time Harry has said those exact words, but I see no reason to assume that Albus Severus has had no idea about Snape (and what he did) so far.

Edited for grammar.



Honour - Nov 4, 2009 1:45 pm (#2849 of 2988)
Thanks guys all your posts make some sense to me, well, that sort of clears up that little discussion... : )



wynnleaf - Nov 5, 2009 5:14 pm (#2850 of 2988)
Hm, just to add a bit more. In the Epilogue, I had the impression that James and perhaps the Weasley cousins, had a lot to say on an ongoing basis about Slytherin and how no one would want to be in that House, to the point that Albus Severus thinks it might be a really bad thing if he got sorted into Slytherin. Albus Severus appeared to me to even be concerned about what his parents would think. When he voices his worry to Harry, he doesn't sound like a kid who is expecting his father to come back with "hey, you know Slytherin is just as good as any other house". Instead, he seems to really be worried. For that reason, I didn't get the impression that he knew that he'd been named after a Slytherin. We're told Albus Severus' fear is "great and sincere" that he'd be in Slytherin. My impression is that none of the parents were doing much to dispel the obvious message that had been coming from syblings and cousins loud and clear for some time - that Slytherin was a bad house.

Further, we get hints in the Epilogue that, prior to going to Hogwarts, the kids didn't actually know the extent of their parent's fame. That seemed a bit unreal to me, unless the Potters and Weasleys kept their kids quite secluded. So that increased my feeling that Harry never told his son about the people he was named after.

And then there's the indicators that they continue on with the same old prejudices. James is pestering his brother about possibly getting into Slytherin. Ron's saying "you better be in Gryffindor or we'll disinherit you". Ron goes on about how Rose has to beat Scorpio at everything (presumably because Scorpio has the wrong parents). We hear that Arthur "would never forgive you if you married a pure blood". And Harry is glad to not have to speak to Percy. Sure it's "all in fun", but still it does seem to add up to an atmosphere that makes it seem unlikely that Harry has been telling his son anything at all about the brave Slytherin he's named after.

Of course, it would be extraordinarily odd if Harry hadn't told James and Lily about their own grandparents. Surely they know all about the people they were named after.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:28 pm

Julia H. - Nov 5, 2009 11:09 pm (#2851 of 2988)
That sounds very convincing, but I still think there is a chance that Harry has told his son about Snape (there is no way we can tell it for sure), only, as I have also said, he evidently has not stressed that Snape was a Slytherin. It seems obvious from the Epilogue that Slytherin House is not redeemed in the eyes of others, no matter what Snape or Slughorn did (which somewhat weakens JKR's claim that Slughorn was leading a group of village Slytherins into battle against Voldemort). Yes, Slytherin is still seen as a bad house by Gryffindors. But it is possible that Albus Severus has heard about Snape without really connecting him to Slytherin House in his mind - even if he knows that Snape was a Slytherin, he might consider him a sort of exception to the rule rather than an argument in favour of Slytherins. Harry may even have (implicitly, perhaps subconsciously) encouraged this view as he knows about Dumbledore's comment that Snape had been sorted too soon, so what I mean is that Harry probably remembers Snape as "Snape" and not as "a Slytherin". I'm quite sure that this is the first time Harry has ever made an explicit connection (to his son at least) between Snape as a Slytherin and Snape as an extremely brave - no, the "bravest" - man, i.e. an example of the number one Gryffindor virtue.

Now, whether the memory of one extraordinary (and long-dead) Slytherin would be enough to reassure an anxious child who is being teased by his very real and living brother and maybe by others is another question... The information that his choice is taken into account by the Hat is probably more effective in this respect.

Of course, it is possible that Albus Severus has never heard of Snape, but perhaps if that was the actually intended interpretation, Albus Severus would be a bit surprised to find out that he has been named after a Slytherin. He is really surprised only when Harry mentions that he has a choice, and then we are told that Harry had never told any of his children that before. (I wonder why... perhaps he did not want to tell them that the Hat had once suggested Slytherin to him...)

BTW, it is also possible that the whole argument between James and Albus started by James teasing Albus Severus about the possibility of being sorted into Slytherin because he was a "Severus", i.e. the only one in the family named after a (famous?) Slytherin. Then again, James may have simply noted his brother's initials.



Honour - Nov 6, 2009 2:36 am (#2852 of 2988)
O.K. 2 posts later now I am totally confused again! Both your comments are very well thought out.

"so what I mean is that Harry probably remembers Snape as "Snape" and not as "a Slytherin". - Julie H

I don't think Harry will ever "forget" that Sev was a Slytherin, it like saying that Harry would forget that Dumbledore was a Gryffindor?

"I'm quite sure that this is the first time Harry has ever made an explicit connection (to his son at least) between Snape as a Slytherin and Snape as an extremely brave - no, the "bravest" - man, " - Julie H

So, then you do agree with Wynnleaf and I?

"BTW, it is also possible that the whole argument between James and Albus started by James teasing Albus Severus about the possibility of being sorted into Slytherin because he was a "Severus", i.e. the only one in the family named after a (famous?) Slytherin." - Julie H

Now this sounds a more likely scenario!



Julia H. - Nov 6, 2009 3:20 am (#2853 of 2988)
I don't think Harry will ever "forget" that Sev was a Slytherin, it like saying that Harry would forget that Dumbledore was a Gryffindor? (Honour)

No, not forget. I meant that after twenty years and remembering not only that Snape was a Slytherin but also what Dumbledore had said about that, the fact that Snape was a Slytherin may not be the most important thing for Harry to recall when he thinks or speaks about Snape. I think he may have told his son who his namesake was without necessarily emphasizing that Snape was a Slytherin. It is possible to mention that Snape was a Slytherin without stressing it as something very important.

"I'm quite sure that this is the first time Harry has ever made an explicit connection (to his son at least) between Snape as a Slytherin and Snape as an extremely brave - no, the "bravest" - man, " - Julie H

So, then you do agree with Wynnleaf and I?


I think it is possible that Harry told Albus Severus about Snape, his courage and the role he had played in the war (and why the child was named after him) in a way that he spoke about Snape as an individual and not about Snape "the Slytherin". It is probable, however, that whenever they talked about Slytherin House, Harry did not go out of his way to plant a positive image of it into the heads of his children - I guess "Slytherin House" does not mean Snape to Harry in the first place, but the Malfoys, Bellatrix, Voldemort, Pansy etc. It is only his son's anxiety at King's Cross that prompts Harry to declare that house affiliation is secondary to individual merit and that his love for his son would not be affected by the Hat's decision - and that is the moment when he explicitly points out the fact that one can be brave ('good') despite being a Slytherin.

It does not mean that Harry forgot that Snape had been a Slytherin, only that it was not an important point in their previous conversation(s) - and I don't suppose that they were talking about Snape all the time or analysing him from various aspects and in such tiny details as we do . For example, I can imagine that Harry talked about Snape and Dumbledore at the same time (explaining both names), so that in his son's mind, Snape was connected with Dumbledore more than with Slytherin House.

In this way, it seems possible (to me) that Albus Severus would be horrified at the idea of being sorted into Slytherin even if he already knew the basic facts about Snape. His main concern seems to be that he would be rejected by others if he was a Slytherin.

As for James, he may know who Snape was quite as well as Albus may, but he is still a Gryffindor (meaning he is prejudiced against Slytherin) and he is also the older brother who shows certain traits of James Potter Sr. as well as certain Weasley traits (Fred would be proud), so he would be likely to tease his younger brother about (for example) his "Slytherin" name just for fun, regardless of anything else.



Honour - Nov 6, 2009 7:10 am (#2854 of 2988)
But wouldn't this also be true no doubt about Sirius being the only Black to be selected into Gryfindor? as well as Pettigrew a Gryfindor turning bad? Surely it is pretty certain that Harry would have told his sons about the "Marauders" and how all was not what it seemed to be, yet I still get the impression that Harry (JKR) only told Al about Sev's house for the first time in that epilogue chapter.

Why wouldn't Harry want to plant a positive picture of Slytherin House to his son who is named for a once Slytherin head of house, a very accomplished teacher, a Hogwarts Head and the man who consistantly watched over and saved Harry's life on a couple of occassions? After all Slughorn was fine, Tonks and her mother seemed fine, even Regulus turned out fine, why the taboo on Slytherin?



Julia H. - Nov 6, 2009 10:18 am (#2855 of 2988)
I still get the impression that Harry (JKR) only told Al about Sev's house for the first time in that epilogue chapter. (Honour)

You may be right, but does that necessarily mean that Harry has never told Albus Severus anything about Snape? Even without giving Snape's biography (and mentioning that he had been a Slytherin), Harry may have told his son that Snape had been a very brave man and had fought against Voldemort, that he had been a Hogwarts Headmaster who bravely and cunningly protected the safety of the students while the school was in Voldemort's power, a spy who did a very dangerous and difficult job, a hero who died in the war... and so on. After all, these were the reasons why Harry named his son after Snape (Slytherin or not).

I would like to mention though that Albus Severus does not ask which of the two Headmasters was a Slytherin...

Why wouldn't Harry want to plant a positive picture of Slytherin House to his son who is named for a once Slytherin head of house, a very accomplished teacher, a Hogwarts Head and the man who consistantly watched over and saved Harry's life on a couple of occasions?

That's a question Harry may better be able to answer... It's only my impression that his children are strongly prejudiced against Slytherin, so Harry either has not done very much against this prejudice or (if he has tried) has not really succeeded. But I am not too astonished. Yes, there were Slytherins who turned out all right, but the fact remains that most DE's were (apparently) Slytherins, and it is probably a well-known fact in the wizarding world, regardless of Harry's personal opinion. Besides, James is already at Hogwarts, a Gryffindor, so he may have developed his prejudice there; and a younger child can easily be influenced by his/her older sibling's opinion. As Wynnleaf has pointed out, Ron's attitude does not help much in this respect.

You mentioned Pettigrew. Yes, Harry may well have talked about him as the evil Gryffindor, but still these children know all those Gryffindors around them - all the Weasleys are Gryffindors, after all, then Harry, of course, Neville, perhaps Teddy as well (Andromeda is not, but she is just an old woman, who is probably not particularly interesting for the kids) - then James probably has Gryffindor friends etc. In this situation, it is very easy to regard Pettigrew as an outraging exception that does not very much alter the children's general opinion about Gryffindor. The same may be true about "good Slytherins" - it may be sad but perhaps not very surprising that children of the next generation (especially at this age), who have no first-hand experience of the war, tend to see these things in a more simplified way or as more black-and-white than they really were.



me and my shadow 813 - Nov 6, 2009 10:37 am (#2856 of 2988)
I absolutely agree, Julia. Ron is and has always been the example of a 'fixed' person. He is slow and reluctant to change. In the symbolism and alchemical threads it has been discussed at length that he represents something much more fixed than Harry. So, even though he had gone through much of what Harry did, Ron's basic personality is literally quite Base, and does not change. Surely posters can see this difference in how Harry subtly interacts with Draco and then Ron's little digging comments. This is no accident on JKR's part, IMO. Harry is the profoundly changed person, not Ron.

That Harry didn't impart the virtues of Slytherin is hardly questionable in my mind. We have no reason to believe the House has changed much regarding blood status and certain "attributes" one holds dear in order to join the club. So -- if we really want to read into it and speculate -- we could say that Harry is very much disappointed that, even 19 years later, Slytherin House is still operating under the same prejudices. It seems so, given Ron's comments, even if he is 'fixed'... no one contradicts him.



wynnleaf - Nov 6, 2009 6:28 pm (#2857 of 2988)
We have no reason to believe the House has changed much regarding blood status and certain "attributes" one holds dear in order to join the club. So -- if we really want to read into it and speculate -- we could say that Harry is very much disappointed that, even 19 years later, Slytherin House is still operating under the same prejudices. It seems so, given Ron's comments, even if he is 'fixed'... no one contradicts him. (MAMS)

Ron's comments, James' comments, and the comment about Arthur's bias, make much more clear that Gryffindor biases are still in place, if not getting worse if marrying a pureblood might now be considered undesirable. Certainly Slytherin's biases may be just as strong as well, of course.

In other words, I felt the Epilogue showed that Gryffindor biases were all quite as alive as they'd ever been. And for that reason, I felt it less likely that Harry had done anything to prevent that within his own immediate family, even though he'd named a son after a Slytherin.

Yes, Julia, you are correct, Harry could have spoken to Albus Severus in the past about Snape. It's just that it didn't exactly sound that way to me.



Honour - Nov 6, 2009 10:13 pm (#2858 of 2988)
Me too!



Julia H. - Nov 7, 2009 4:07 am (#2859 of 2988)
Harry could have spoken to Albus Severus in the past about Snape. It's just that it didn't exactly sound that way to me. (Wynnleaf)

Yes, I understand that, too. I don't think it can be "proved" either way. My point is that if we find it strange that Harry respected Snape enough to name a son after him, yet never spoke about him to said son during the first eleven years of his life, well, it does not have to be so. But I agree that Slytherin does not seem to be generally regarded as "redeemed" by what Snape did. Perhaps Snape (described as the epitome of courage) is perceived (by Harry at least) as a sort of "honorary Gryffindor" rather than a "good Slytherin" now? That might explain why it is (perhaps) the first time (at King's Cross) that Harry has emphasized (to his son) that Snape was, after all, a Slytherin.



me and my shadow 813 - Nov 7, 2009 10:24 am (#2860 of 2988)
I agree with Julia. We have no reason to think that Severus redeemed his House in redeeming himself. The prejudices seem to still be in place in the epilogue. BUT we are getting these comments from Ron (who I have expressed my opinion about) and little bratty James. So, I also agree with wynnleaf that in the epilogue Gryffindor seems just as prejudice as any Slytherin. But IMO **given what we know** about each House's motivations and inspiration for behavior, I feel that Gryffindors have a bit more foundation with which to criticize Slytherins than visa versa. Again, this is all based on my belief that the Houses have basically remained stagnant by the time we enter the scene of the epilogue.



PeskyPixie - Nov 18, 2009 7:34 pm (#2861 of 2988)
I am over forty posts behind, but I am peeking in to clear up something.

"Alas, too bad that the character Severus Snape really took on a life of his own. He has got to be one of my favourite characters in children's literature. Hmm, make that one of my favourite characters, period. " -PeskyPixie

"Why is it too bad? I wouldn't have got nearly so much enjoyment out of the HP series without Snape being such an extremely appealing character. Yes, I said appealing, because his character, motives, actions, commitment, risks, etc. all draw me in more than any other character in the series." -wynnleaf


Wynnleaf, I was referring to the last sentence of the post prior to mine (I think it was Julia's). It had been mentioned that JKR wrote Snape's 'redemption' through Harry's eyes as it is Harry's story. In my post I was attempting to imply that it's a shame that we don't get Snape's story arc without the Harry filter, as he did take on a life of his own. That's all.



severusisn'tevil - Nov 18, 2009 8:49 pm (#2862 of 2988)
I agree, PeskyPixie. It's the problem with third-person limitited point of view. The information we get is almost always going to be colored by the bias of the main character.



wynnleaf - Nov 20, 2009 6:56 am (#2863 of 2988)
Pesky,

Okay, I see now.

Yes, his character takes on a life of its own and from Harry's point of view, we never get to see what we'd really see him outside of Harry's filter. Except, I suppose, in the pensieve memories, and even there, it's a set of memories given especially for Harry.



PeskyPixie - Nov 25, 2009 8:48 am (#2864 of 2988)
Yup, we pretty much agree on this point, wynnleaf.

I am trying to get caught up on the discussion now. Hmmm, however, I seem to be the kiss of death on this thread as the chatting has come to a halt.



severusisn'tevil - Nov 27, 2009 5:17 pm (#2865 of 2988)
I would not say so, PeskyPixie. We just all seem to have momentarily run out of things to argue about.



me and my shadow 813 - Nov 28, 2009 9:19 pm (#2866 of 2988)
I would love to continueanalyzing Severus in the chronology we started months and months ago but I'm having sporadic internet problems. I think we were up to PoA, if anyone would like to make any astute comments about him in this book. The read-along for PoA is still going on, so perhaps if something comes up on that thread it could be transferred over here for detailing. I'd love to be the ringleader but I just never know when my computer will connect with my neighbor's wireless signal. :cheekygrin:



wynnleaf - Nov 29, 2009 7:28 am (#2867 of 2988)
I'd love to be the ringleader but I just never know when my computer will connect with my neighbor's wireless signal. (MAMS)

At the moment, since things are moving slowly, I don't think that matters. It would be nice to have something fun to discuss, so if you want to try leading it, go ahead!



Julia H. - Nov 30, 2009 2:22 pm (#2868 of 2988)
OK, I don't want to be the ringleader instead of MAMS but here are a few thoughts to continue the chronological analysis:

I think we were at the end of CoS without starting PoA yet. So it is summer, the students are gone, Lockhart has left the school, and Dumbledore needs a new DADA teacher. He must make the decision to appoint Lupin at some point during the holiday, and then he will have to inform the teachers in general (I suppose) and Snape in particular as it will be Snape's job to make the Wolfsbane Potion every month. So Snape knows that one Marauder will be back at Hogwarts soon.

Still in the summer, Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban. Certain people seem to think he is after Harry Potter although they do not reveal this piece of information to the wizarding world in general. It is known at Hogwarts though. To Snape, the news must evoke a lot of bad memories together: Black, Potter, his student years, Harry (the boy he must protect), Lily's death etc.



Soul Search - Nov 30, 2009 4:42 pm (#2869 of 2988)
My thought was: Sirius escaped first, then Dumbledore talked Lupin into taking the DADA job so he could be at Hogwarts and help protect Harry. Dumbledore might have even revealed a little of Snape's role (protecting Harry) to Lupin without giving away Snape's true level of loyalty to Dumbledore. After all, Voldemort had not returned yet.

Dumbledore would have trusted Lupin almost as much as Snape. Dumbledore did get Lupin into Hogwarts and Lupin had been in the first Order. Of any, Dumbledore would not have let Lupin's "furry problem" cloud his judgement. Lupin's concern for Harry would exceed Snape's.

Snape would have resented Dumbledore bringing anyone else to Hogwarts to help with Snape's sworn duty. He would help, like with the wolfsbane potion, but didn't have to be happy about it.



Solitaire - Nov 30, 2009 7:27 pm (#2870 of 2988)
It makes sense, Soul Search.



severusisn'tevil - Nov 30, 2009 7:45 pm (#2871 of 2988)
I agree. Although I dispute that Remus would be more concerned. Would he like Harry more? Certainly. But I think it would be hard to top the concern of a man who had made it his mission to keep Lily's son alive.



Solitaire - Nov 30, 2009 7:57 pm (#2872 of 2988)
Dumbledore knew Remus would be an adult who would establish an emotional bond--something Snape either would not or could not do--and perhaps he felt Harry would need that at this time. After all, his dad's other best friend was presumably guilty of his parents' murders and was now coming after him.

I also think it could be possible that Dumbledore expected some new information to come out in a confrontation with Sirius. After all, surely Sirius would have known Harry was at Hogwarts when he was eleven, yet he only just started the "He's at Hogwarts" talking in his sleep. Why now, all of a sudden? I'm guessing Dumbledore was more than a little curious ...



MickeyCee3948 - Nov 30, 2009 8:46 pm (#2873 of 2988)
Soul Search, I agree with your time line for the order but I wonder if DD would have let anyone know about the degree of Snape's service to him. He appeared to me to not care if the rest of the wizarding world despised Snape or not. He would keep his level of trust what ever the case. Mickey



Viola Intonada - Nov 30, 2009 9:01 pm (#2874 of 2988)
I would think that Dumbledore would have asked Lupin to teach at Hogwarts at that particular time, because he would know Sirius's knowledge of Hogwarts and how he might try to come after Harry.

Now having answers and being able to look back at the series, Snape was always so nasty to Harry because his duty to Harry constantly reminds him of the mistake he made that cost Lily her life. He still can't forgive himself. I don't think that DD would have told anyone, not even Lupin, about Snape's duty to Harry. It had to be even more difficult for Snape to have Lupin around.



Julia H. - Dec 1, 2009 4:41 am (#2875 of 2988)
It's a good idea that Lupin was invited to Hogwarts because of Sirius. In that case, perhaps Dumbledore specifically questioned him about Sirius. (Now I can see another "Is there anything you want to tell me?" moment, with Lupin thinking hard of all kinds of things that Dumbledore would be interested in and then giving the answer: "No".)

I agree that Dumbledore probably did not tell anyone about Snape's vow to protect Harry. After all, Snape asked him not to tell it, and Dumbledore was a great secret keeper by nature.

On the other hand, Snape may know or suspect that Lupin's appointment has something to do with Harry and with Sirius Black's escape.

Dumbledore knew Remus would be an adult who would establish an emotional bond--something Snape either would not or could not do--and perhaps he felt Harry would need that at this time. After all, his dad's other best friend was presumably guilty of his parents' murders and was now coming after him. (Solitaire)

It's interesting that Dumbledore needs Lupin to establish an emotional bond with Harry when Dumbledore could try to do it himself - but it may well be the case, and not only because of Sirius directly but because of the Dementors. Even if Dumbledore refuses to let them enter Hogwarts, they are still quite near and might find the opportunity to torment someone with such horrible experiences as Harry's - so some direct emotional support from an adult may be especially important.

Back to Snape, he, too, has some really bleak and tragic memories, so I wonder if the Dementors are especially interested in him as well. Of course, Snape knows how to protect himself against them, still the Dementors are able to bring back one's worst experiences in life, and that's basically the same thing that the presence of Harry does to him and the presence of Lupin and Sirius, too.



Soul Search - Dec 1, 2009 8:55 am (#2876 of 2988)
I don't think Dumbledore would have told Lupin much about Snape, but maybe just confirming that Snape was also protecting Harry. Dumbledore would suggest Lupin and Snape work together, but of course, that wouldn't really happen.

I still wonder why Dumbledore so readily believed Sirius had betrayed the Potters. It would have been in Dumbledore's nature to at least talk to Sirius. At the time, he was very busy with Harry, so maybe Sirius just slipped through the cracks and the Ministry quickly put Sirius in Azkaban so getting to him may have been difficult.

I wonder if Snape's opinion of Sirius had any influence over Dumbledore's believing he was guilty?



legolas returns - Dec 1, 2009 10:48 am (#2877 of 2988)
I would have thought that the Dementors would not have been that interested in Snape. He probably relived his worst memories frequently anyway so there was not much happiness they could drain out of him.



Julia H. - Dec 1, 2009 12:33 pm (#2878 of 2988)
Oh, you are right, Legolas, the Dementors are interested in other people's happiness, not in their unhappiness. The bad memories are the ones that remain for their victims when the good ones have been taken away. Hm... but I seem to remember Lupin telling Harry that it was his horrible memories that made the Dementors especially interested in him. Or is it movie contamination?

I still wonder why Dumbledore so readily believed Sirius had betrayed the Potters. (Soul Search)

It was probably one of those rare but big mistakes. But it is understandable if Dumbledore was convinced that Voldemort could not have found the Potters without their Secret Keeper's help and believed Sirius to have been the Secret Keeper. On top of that, there was the mass murder scene with lots of witnesses... On the other hand, Dumbledore did not have any reaction when Hagrid mentioned Sirius in the first chapter of PS. But I don't think he needed Snape to convince him about Sirius being a traitor - and Dumbledore was not easily convinced by others anyway when he firmly believed in someone's loyalty, as we see with both Lupin and Snape.



wynnleaf - Dec 1, 2009 1:07 pm (#2879 of 2988)
I still wonder why Dumbledore so readily believed Sirius had betrayed the Potters. (Soul Search)

Same reason Lupin (a good friend) believed the same thing. James apparently told people Sirius was the Secret Keeper. It was clear that the Secret Keeper betrayed the Potters. Therefore, it would stand to reason that Sirius was the betrayer. Why should that be disbelieved?

Let's put it this way. One of the Potters extra-special good friends did betray them. This was true. Why should people have disbelieved it about Sirius and transferred the belief to thinking another one of the Marauders was the betrayer?

I don't see it as "easily convinced". Sirius apparently didn't even deny it. Of course, I imagine he would have, if there had been a trial. But when he was arrested he seemed, in his laughter, to have been admitting to it. And DD said himself, later after the Big Reveal, that Sirius had acted very guilty.

Naturally, I think if DD can't be blamed for believing in Sirius' guilt, neither should Snape, or for that matter, Lupin, who also thought Sirius was guilty.

By the way, in one book -- COS I think -- DD commented about having to advertise for another DADA instructor. Was it for this year that he advertised?

Did DD expect Lupin to have a close relationship with Harry? Possibly. Lupin, while he did form a somewhat closer relationship with Harry, did not go so far as to reveal his friendship with James to Harry. Nor did Lupin keep up that contact after the year was over.

As for Snape, I think it was a rough year, although not as bad as future years. There was Lupin, a reminder of a lot of bad memories, including the Prank, Lily, James, etc. And Sirius prowling around trying to get in and Snape quite naturally thinking that Sirius was an extremely dangerous mass murderer who had served Voldemort and betrayed Lily to her death AND was attempting to kill Harry and possibly other kids.

And Snape was making the Wolfsbane potion every month which was apparently a pretty tricky potion.

And the dementors bringing bleak thoughts and feelings (like Snape doesn't have enough of those!).

So a difficult year for Snape, but not as bad as it gets, unfortunately for him.



Viola Intonada - Dec 1, 2009 8:24 pm (#2880 of 2988)
Sirius did not proclaim his innocence of Lily and James' murder, because he felt that he was guilty. He suggested that the secret keeper be Peter instead of himself. He proclaimed that he was just as guilty as Peter. What did Sirius have to lose or gain from proclaiming his innocence. His best friend and his wife were dead. His mother was the only family he had left and he didn't like her. Lupin was the only friend he had left and it sounded like they had some kind of falling out before Lily and James' deaths.

I don't know if this has been covered (into the ground) or not, I have never been able to keep up with the Snape thread for very long. I have just finished rereading the entire series and can't help but wonder if Snape loaned Lily his Potions book. Slughorn keeps going on about how Harry has Lily's knack for potions. Did Snape always tell Lily how to really make the potions and he would make small mistakes on purpose so that she looked better?



mona amon - Dec 2, 2009 5:04 am (#2881 of 2988)
I think they were both naturally good at potions. That would have been another bond between them, and Severus must have shared his improvements on Libatius Borage's recipes with Lily. Before DH I felt that the dash of peppermint in the sunshine-yellow potion was Lily's idea, but in his 6th year he had broken up with Lily, so it must have been his own.

In my post I was attempting to imply that it's a shame that we don't get Snape's story arc without the Harry filter, as he did take on a life of his own. That's all. (Pesky)

I agree, PeskyPixie. It's the problem with third-person limitited point of view. The information we get is almost always going to be colored by the bias of the main character. (severusisn'tevil)

Yes, his character takes on a life of its own and from Harry's point of view, we never get to see what we'd really see him outside of Harry's filter. Except, I suppose, in the pensieve memories, and even there, it's a set of memories given especially for Harry. (Wynnleaf)


I wonder...and I have my doubts. Would JKR have been able to carry it off? Would the Snape presented directly to us be quite as fascinating as the elusive and enigmatic Harry-filtered Snape?

Showing us Severus only through Harry's consciousness ( with the exception of the Spinners End scene) served the useful purpose of hiding his true character and affiliations from us, one of the big mysteries of the series. However, right from the first book where we see that Harry was mistaken about Severus, we treat Harry as a sort of 'unreliable narrator' and try to draw our own conclusions.

The insufficiency of Harry's information even after he's viewed Severus's pensieve memories creates gaps and silences in Severus's story, which imaginative readers (like us ) are able to fill in any way they like. The result is that each has their own version of Severus, and judging by our reactions to what she says about him in the interviews, I wonder if we'd really like JKR's version!

Of course I don't mean that Severus being a fascinating character is only due to the reader, and that JKR herself had nothing to do with it. It is enirely to her credit that she was able to create a character that she shows to us only from the outside and never from the inside, and yet makes him interesting enough for us to want to fashion an inner life for him.



wynnleaf - Dec 5, 2009 9:43 am (#2882 of 2988)
Sirius did not proclaim his innocence of Lily and James' murder, because he felt that he was guilty. (Viola Intonada)

I completely agree. I wasn't trying to say it was Sirius' fault that he was thought guilty, but that it is no surprise nor anyone else's "fault" that they considered him guilty.

Would the Snape presented directly to us be quite as fascinating as the elusive and enigmatic Harry-filtered Snape? (mona amon)

Oh I think the elusive and enigmatic aspects are very appealing to readers, who are forever able to wonder about his motivations, actions, feelings, etc. Not that a character such as Snape can't be very interesting as a protagonist about whom an author reveals quite a lot. That's certainly possible as well. It's just that in the HP series, so much mystery was set up to surround Snape that it couldn't help but grab the reader's imaginations.



severusisn'tevil - Dec 5, 2009 7:56 pm (#2883 of 2988)
I agree that Severus's enigmatic nature piques interest, but I do wish we had gotten some more information about him. His arc seems rushed at the end. But ah, well.



Viola Intonada - Dec 27, 2009 9:51 pm (#2884 of 2988)
It's so quiet here.

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape, Snape, Snape, Severus Snape



legolas returns - Dec 28, 2009 4:29 am (#2885 of 2988)
Go SNAPE! (thought I would add my own wee cheer to yours Viola .



severusisn'tevil - Dec 29, 2009 1:15 pm (#2886 of 2988)
Thank you for having a redemption arc, my dear Potions Master. You truly were the bravest man in the series. Mae govenan.



Betelgeuse Black - Dec 29, 2009 7:05 pm (#2887 of 2988)
Severus Snape frightens and confuses me. Betelgeuse



Dryleaves - Dec 30, 2009 9:00 am (#2888 of 2988)
Maybe you have got the Neville Syndrome?



wynnleaf - Jan 4, 2010 7:02 am (#2889 of 2988)
Severus Snape frightens and confuses me. Betelgeuse

Why?



Orion - Jan 4, 2010 7:08 am (#2890 of 2988)
And she's a Slytherin *snort* He doesn't even scare me old Hufflepuff. *proud*



Betelgeuse Black - Jan 4, 2010 12:31 pm (#2891 of 2988)
OK, I have to confess: (enters into dark confessional)

I sent this post to try and get some responses. The thread seemed really dead for a while.

I used to participate in an American college football usenet discussion group (I'm dating myself). One of the threads that became legendary was someone posting "(football team) frightens and confuses me!" It had a lot of responses.

I guess this forum is just too intelligent and thoughtful to start firing off posts without forethought.

It was worth a try and I got a few chuckles out of it. (Exit's confessional with penance and deep regret, hoping for absolution)

On the other hand, if I was one of Sevy's students, I'm sure he would have my attention. I would have been intimidated by the man if I were 11 years old. I'm sure I would have come to loathe the man after a taking classes from him. I had one teacher in particular that reminds me of Sev. I guess that's why I don't like him, even though I respect him and the sacrifices he made.

Betelgeuse



Lady Arabella - Jan 5, 2010 11:57 am (#2892 of 2988)
Maybe Snape's 50th birthday in a few days will generate some activity!

Actually, I have a question for wynnleaf. (And if this isn't the right thread for posting this, I apologize and will delete it.) I've been dying to ask: Do you write Snape fanfiction under a different name?



Vulture - Jan 6, 2010 8:39 pm (#2893 of 2988)
I'd like to jump back and comment on the debate over how much Harry may have said to Albus Severus. I think a lot of the comments I read seem to overlook a few things (though I raced through a lot of posts, so may have missed something): for example, Al's age (11), and secondly, Harry's general style as we've seen it in all 7 books.

I can see a lot of common-sense, un-controversial reasons for Harry not telling his son a lot about Snape before Al's 11th birthday or his entry into Hogwarts. A lot of what he'd have to describe would be extremely heavy and complex for a kid.

Harry describes Snape as "probably the bravest man I ever knew". However, if he started describing a lot of the events Snape was caught up in, the details would be fairly horrifying for a kid of 11. JKR herself seems to tailor each book as if it's being read by those of Harry's age _ making Book 1 a lot less heavy than, say, Book 5.

Then there's the whole Snape-Lily-James situation. Harry loves his father, and the son he names after James is portrayed as being very like his namesake, but Harry also faced up to James's faults as regards Snape. Then there's the whole fact that Snape was motivated to express his bravery because of his love for the grandmother of Harry's kids _ but he hated their grandfather. A bit much, I think, to put into cheery fireside chats until the kids are a bit older.

Then there's Harry's way of dealing with having to change his mind or learn something new. He tends to be a guy of few words in such situations _ unlike Hermione or this Lexicon Forum !! Hermione has the whole manifesto, chapter and verse, about house-elves' slavery _ but it's Harrry, who with much less talk, actually freed one. Again, when Harry first sees James tormenting Snape, all he can talk about is his dad. Does this mean that he gives no thought to how Snape felt ? _ absolutely not: we're specifically told that he likened the incident to his being bullied by Dudley. Yet he says little about it _ except for one brief, almost reluctant, comment about never expecting to "feel sorry for Snape".

To me, that's just how Harry is. When he speaks to his son about Snape's bravery, he says just enough _ and no more _ to make Al stop and think, and learn. Actually, it's not a bad way to do things. Most grown-ups talk too much anyway !!



Solitaire - Jan 7, 2010 7:58 am (#2894 of 2988)
Lady A, if you email me, I'll send you some links to a couple of cute Snape fanfics.



PeskyPixie - Jan 8, 2010 11:32 am (#2895 of 2988)
I agree, Vulture.

On a seperate note, I've recently been wondering whether Snape was aware all along that Sirius was not a Death Eater? When Sirius was tossed into Azkaban without a trial, then while he was serving his life sentence, did Severus know all along that he was innocent?



legolas returns - Jan 8, 2010 11:40 am (#2896 of 2988)
Would he really care because Sirius sent him down the tunnel to Werewolf Lupin?



Julia H. - Jan 8, 2010 12:26 pm (#2897 of 2988)
So our favourite professor is turning 50 tomorrow... Well, by wizarding standards he is still a kid.

Welcome, Lady Arabella!

Vulture, I, personally, don't think that Harry should have told any of the difficult things about Snape to his young son. I think what we were wondering here was whether he had told Albus Severus (in simple terms) why he was named after that particular Hogwarts Headmaster or what kind of courage Snape represented. I agree that there was no need to tell him the "he hated your granddad but loved your grandmom" type of details. Telling your child who he was named after and why is a personal matter. In this case, however, it is interesting because Harry seems to be left with the task of clearing Snape's name, and because - though we don't exactly know - it is just possible that Snape still has a somewhat controversial reputation in the wizarding world, so Albus Severus will probably ask questions sooner or later...

I've recently been wondering whether Snape was aware all along that Sirius was not a Death Eater? (Pesky)

In the Shrieking Shack, Snape seems to genuinely believe that Sirius was the traitor... Anyway, we know that someone warned Dumbledore that there was a traitor close to the Potters. Since Snape is the only spy we know about, I suppose the information came from him. But whoever gave Dumbledore this piece of information, the person obviously did not know who the traitor was. I think Karkaroff mentions that only Voldemort knew all the names. It makes sense that Voldemort did not advertise who the traitor in the Order was even among his Death Eaters - especially if he noticed that the Order was generally better informed about him than before... So the fact that Snape did not know about Sirius being a Death Eater did not prove that he was not.



Julia H. - Jan 9, 2010 4:37 am (#2898 of 2988)
Severus Snape - The wizarding world and J.K. Rowling may believe you to be dead, but I know better. Enjoy your 50th birthday wherever you are, in freedom and peace!



legolas returns - Jan 9, 2010 4:41 am (#2899 of 2988)
Happy birthday to Snape.



Dryleaves - Jan 9, 2010 5:07 am (#2900 of 2988)
Happy Birthday, Severus Snape!


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me and my shadow 813 - Jan 9, 2010 3:46 pm (#2901 of 2988)
Happy Birthday Severus -- hope you got to see Lily today



Choices - Jan 9, 2010 7:36 pm (#2902 of 2988)
I'm with Julia.....personally, I think Snape is in the witness protection program - he faked his death and is living somewhere warm and balmy.

Happy Birthday Severus!



severusisn'tevil - Jan 10, 2010 1:39 pm (#2903 of 2988)
Happy Belated Birthday. I hope you have finally been allowed some joy. You earned a lifetime's worth. Westu Hal.



Orion - Jan 11, 2010 11:21 am (#2904 of 2988)
Happy birthday, old boy. I hope we'll soon see birds from foreign parts with exotic feathers and letters with strange stamps, full of happy news, tied to their feet!



journeymom - Jan 11, 2010 5:01 pm (#2905 of 2988)
Happy birthday, Snape.

Tropical island witness protection plan: perhaps he finally got a tan.



Choices - Jan 11, 2010 6:10 pm (#2906 of 2988)
A tan might be just too much to hope for, but I can definitely see Severus in his black swim trunks and his black beach robe with his greasy black hair blowing in the tropical breeze. ***Sorry, but I can't stop laughing at that image*** God love you, Sev!



PeskyPixie - Jan 12, 2010 12:45 pm (#2907 of 2988)
Happy Belated 50th, Sev!

BTW, I know his current whereabouts as I am interviewing him for my Snapilogue. (His 50th birthday party was wonderful, the cake heavenly. He was a bit surprised by all the birthday owls coming his way, but he did seem pretty impressed in his usual Snapey way.)



Julia H. - Jan 12, 2010 12:56 pm (#2908 of 2988)
Thanks for the good news, Pesky!



wynnleaf - Jan 14, 2010 9:21 am (#2909 of 2988)
BTW, I know his current whereabouts as I am interviewing him for my Snapilogue. (His 50th birthday party was wonderful, the cake heavenly. He was a bit surprised by all the birthday owls coming his way, but he did seem pretty impressed in his usual Snapey way.) (Pesky)

Good to hear he's doing well!

Lady Arabella,

No, I've never posted any fanfiction anywhere. I have written a few short pieces, but just for my own amusement. I do read quite a bit. If you're ever looking for the best of Snape fanfiction, google:

Whitehound Harry Potter fanfic links

Click the first item that comes up on Google and you'll find the largest and best listing of Snape related stories I know of. Each listing has a brief summary and a link to the story. Whitehound only posts well-written work. There are stories for most tastes.

Vulture,

I certainly understand what you mean about Harry. Having named children after other individuals however, I'm quite aware that one doesn't need to tell the whole story to give the basics -- who the child was named after and a couple of good reasons for why you named them after that particular person.



severusisn'tevil - Jan 14, 2010 4:15 pm (#2910 of 2988)
Also, Arabella, read Grudge Match on the FFF. It's long and superb, though sadly unfinished.



Vulture - Jan 15, 2010 12:43 pm (#2911 of 2988)
I've recently been wondering whether Snape was aware all along that Sirius was not a Death Eater? When Sirius was tossed into Azkaban without a trial, then while he was serving his life sentence, did Severus know all along that he was innocent? (PeskyPixie Jan 8, 2010 10:32 am (#2895))
Hi, PeskyPixie, + thanks for agreeing with my previous post.

I don't think Snape knew all along, and I think we're supposed to assume that he refused to believe in Sirius's innocence until after Voldemort rose again and it became clear that Wormtail was definitely alive (proving that Sirius had been telling the truth in Book 3).

I have my criticisms of Books 6 and 7 (esp. Book 6), but I'll give JKR this much credit: in Book 7, she's careful to join the dots so that we look back at Book 3 and regard Snape's vehement rage against Sirius as being due to his (Snape's) belief that Sirius brought about Lily's death.

In Book 3, of course, we share Harry's belief that Snape's rage is all about the "joke" played on him by Sirius, which led to James saving his life. In Book 5, we learn a bit more, but we would still think that Snape's rage is all about being tormented by the Marauders.

The irony is _ Sirius, being actually innocent of Lily's death, would assume this too. (Unless he knew of Snape's feelings for Lily, which I doubt.)

After reading "The Prince's Tale", I changed how I saw Snape's Book 3 words "How I hoped I would be the one to catch you ..." to Sirius. I think it was all about revenge for Lily's death. (Not having liked Sirius anyway helped, of course !!)

By the way _ there has always been debate about whether Snape would, in fact, have carried through on his threat to feed Sirius to the Dementors. Now that we know how Snape felt about Lily, I would be amazed if he hadn't fully intended to do so !!



Julia H. - Jan 15, 2010 3:57 pm (#2912 of 2988)
Just as Harry, Sirius and Lupin fully intended to feed Wormtail to the Dementors.

I agree that at the end of PoA, Snape must have seen Sirius as the man who had handed Lily over to Voldemort in the first place. But I also think that his previous experience with Sirius made it especially difficult for Snape to listen to anything Sirius had to say about his innocence and to give him the benefit of doubt. Besides, it was a thirteen-year-old common "knowledge" that Sirius had been a Death Eater.

Apart from that, I don't think that (before the end of Book 3) Snape had any possibility to know that Sirius was not a Death Eater. On the other hand, there seemed to be strong evidence to support the belief that Sirius was a Death Eater. It seemed to be taken for granted that Voldemort would not have found the Potters without the voluntary help of the Secret Keeper, and James and Sirius had made everyone believe that the Secret Keeper was Sirius.

BTW, if I remember correctly, Dumbledore did not seem to know for sure just how guilty Barty Crouch Jr. had been before he was sent to Azkaban. It indicates that Crouch (like Wormtail) had also been a secret DE - or a relative newcomer - not known by all other DE's.



me and my shadow 813 - Jan 15, 2010 4:28 pm (#2913 of 2988)
I agree perhaps age has to do with "known" DE-ness. Barty was a youngster, as was Wormtail, and I wonder if all the DE's knew about Severus pre-Vold's downfall.

I don't think Dumbledore would have known of Severus's status if he hadn't apparently been a messenger of sorts, according to DD's statement in Severus's Memory. So this seems to correspond with his not knowing of Barty Jr. and Wormtail, too.



Honour - Jan 15, 2010 9:58 pm (#2914 of 2988)
I always assumed that Sev "hung out" with other Death Eaters? Certainly at school and later on they would talk amongst themselves, so he would have a fair idea. After all this was one of Lilly's pet hates about him and one of the reasons their friendship failed. So it only goes to say that if the Death Eaters were Sev's friends then Sirius would have been one of them also?

I think that such was Sev's hate of James that anyone associating with him was blanketed with that hate also - bar Lily of course. It was easier I think, for Sev to believe ill of Sirius, I think jealousy, rivalry, Sirius' bloody status, his well to do family, and his arrogance would have also contributed to Sev's dislike of Sirius and James. They had everything he didn't, they were everything he was not, the "joke" was just another issue to compound how Sev felt about the Marauders.

As for later on when Sirius was surposed to have passed the Potters whereabouts on to Voldermort, I am not sure if Sev believed this. I assumed that because Dumbledore thought Sirius was the turncoat then that was good enough for Sev. Plus I suppose,just to be a little mean spirited I think for Sev, it would have been the sweetest of revenges to think that James' best and most trusted friend was also the intigator of his own death...



legolas returns - Jan 16, 2010 4:39 am (#2915 of 2988)
Didn't Karkaroff say that they didn't know who all the other death eaters were. If they spent loads of time hiding behind a mask you probably would only know who the people were if you knew them well. I work in a lab and have to recognise people by their eyes and shoes unless they speak to you. If I know them well I can tell who they are but struggle to recognise people outside the lab if I don't know them well.



Julia H. - Jan 16, 2010 5:15 am (#2916 of 2988)
Edited Jan 16, 2010 1:04 pm
So it only goes to say that if the Death Eaters were Sev's friends then Sirius would have been one of them also? (Honour)

Wormtail was not one of Snape's friends at school, and yet he ended up a Death Eater. No one ever seems to assume that Sirius was a Death Eater in their school years. That Snape was hanging out with other future DE's at school does not mean that later on, as a real DE, he necessarily knew all other DE's. That depended, I think, mainly on Voldemort's intentions.

Snape did not know that Wormtail became a Death Eater, did he? At least I'm sure if he had known it, Wormtail would not have had a chance to betray the Potters. Even if we suppose that "regular" DE's usually knew each other (although Karkaroff says otherwise!), it still makes sense that the identity of the traitor in the Order was Voldemort's secret. (Similarly, Dumbledore must have kept the identity of his spy secret in the first war even within the Order. At least Sirius does not seem to know anything about it in GoF, and Wormtail apparently did not inform Voldemort, so he cannot have known it either.)

After Voldemort's downfall, they all knew that someone had betrayed the Potters, otherwise Voldemort would not have found them. They were betrayed by someone whom the Potters had voluntarily trusted with their lives. It seems logical that no one who was known as a DE by Snape could have had the chance to get so close to them because Dumbledore would have removed that person from the Order. After all, Snape's main motivation was to protect Lily when he agreed to be a spy, so he would not have kept that information from Dumbledore. From this, it follows that the Potters could only be betrayed by someone who was not known as Voldemort's follower by Snape. It also follows that Snape not knowing that Sirius was a DE was not evidence that Sirius was innocent. Given the actual evidence (Sirius was generally believed to have been the Secret Keeper etc.), I don't see what would make Snape of all people secretly assume that Sirius was not a traitor when even Dumbledore and Lupin seemed to fully believe it. His good opinion of Sirius Black or what?

Actually, Honour, I think Snape's hatred of Sirius and the previous history between them made it easier for Snape to believe that Sirius was a traitor - especially when even those who knew the better sides of Sirius could believe it, too. I see no reason to assume that Snape somehow (how?) knew the truth but kept it quiet.

Plus I suppose,just to be a little mean spirited I think for Sev, it would have been the sweetest of revenges to think that James' best and most trusted friend was also the intigator of his own death...

I don't think Snape found anything "sweet" in the fact that the Potters had been betrayed. He was risking his life on a daily basis trying to keep them alive. He was like a wounded animal when he heard the news about Lily's death. Even the weight of his own guilt must have been crucially different depending on whether he managed to save Lily in the end or not. The failure ruined his own life as well. I don't think he could find any comfort in James being so mistaken about his friend in this particular case. I find it more likely that - instead of Snape experiencing anything "sweet" - it was his bitterness about James that became more intense when he realized that the prat had trusted the wrong person.



me and my shadow 813 - Jan 17, 2010 4:46 pm (#2917 of 2988)
The more I read recent posts, the more it is clear to me that, (1)the DE operation was run just like "cell groups" in terrorist or mafia orchestrations, so members might know absolutely nothing of what others are up to or if they even exist... with young recruits doing grunt work and being informed strictly on a need-to-know basis, and, (2)I think the DE kids from families like Rosier and possibly Mulciber, who were second generation DE's, were more likely to be "known" young DE's. I don't think Wormtail's father was a DE to our knowledge, nor were Severus's and Barty's. Sirius, on the other hand, when DD and others were looking for a likely candidate -- no matter how close he was with James -- would seem to fit the bill because of the Blacks' support of Vold.



wynnleaf - Jan 17, 2010 7:36 pm (#2918 of 2988)
So it only goes to say that if the Death Eaters were Sev's friends then Sirius would have been one of them also?

Ditto what Julia said. Snape wasn't friends with Peter either, who was ultimately a death eater.

I think that such was Sev's hate of James that anyone associating with him was blanketed with that hate also - bar Lily of course. It was easier I think, for Sev to believe ill of Sirius, I think jealousy, rivalry, Sirius' bloody status, his well to do family, and his arrogance would have also contributed to Sev's dislike of Sirius and James. They had everything he didn't, they were everything he was not, the "joke" was just another issue to compound how Sev felt about the Marauders. (Honour)

And this breaks down over Peter as well. Since both Peter and Sirius were Marauders and if, as you say, Snape's main reason for hating Sirius was just because he was a friend of James, then it should have made no difference to Snape if the traitor was Peter instead of Sirius.

I agree that all the other things about Sirius that Snape probably hated would have contributed to his feelings about Sirius.

I think there are several extremely important points:

1. Snape loved Lily so much that if he'd had any inkling that Peter was the traitor, or that Sirius was not the real traitor, he'd have focused a lot of time and energy on either stopping Peter or finding the real traitor.

2. Everyone, including Lupin, assumed Sirius was the traitor. Snape's belief that Sirius was the traitor was no more than everyone else, including DD, believed. Snape may have had personal reasons to hate Sirius, but he doesn't need extra explanations for why he believed Sirius a traitor, because he should have believed Sirius was a traitor -- certainly everyone else did.



Honour - Jan 18, 2010 5:09 am (#2919 of 2988)
"Actually, Honour, I think Snape's hatred of Sirius and the previous history between them made it easier for Snape to believe that Sirius was a traitor - especially when even those who knew the better sides of Sirius could believe it, too. I see no reason to assume that Snape somehow (how?) knew the truth but kept it quiet." - Julie H

"It was easier I think, for Sev to believe ill of Sirius, I think jealousy, rivalry, Sirius' bloody status, his well to do family, and his arrogance would have also contributed to Sev's dislike of Sirius and James. They had everything he didn't, they were everything he was not, the "joke" was just another issue to compound how Sev felt about the Marauders." - Honour


I think Julie H we agree on the above point?

"And this breaks down over Peter as well. Since both Peter and Sirius were Marauders and if, as you say, Snape's main reason for hating Sirius was just because he was a friend of James, then it should have made no difference to Snape if the traitor was Peter instead of Sirius." -Wynnleaf

Wynnleaf I don't even think that Sev considered Wormtail to be in the same league as James, Sirius or even Lupin. I think like everyone else who thought so little of Peter and his prowess as a wizard, Sev would have underestimated Peter too!

Regarding whether Sev cared whether it was Peter or Sirius who was the traitor. I agree that to Sev it didn't matter ONLY because the end result would still be the same, Lily would still be dead and this was the only fact only that Sev concerned himself with.

Such was Sev's grief for Lily that initially he didn't care that James had been killed and Harry was left an orphan, it wasn't until Dumbledore called Sev on this that he made the deal to help watch over Harry and only for Lily's sake.

...Hey there Guys, it's really good to "read you" .....



wynnleaf - Jan 18, 2010 8:19 am (#2920 of 2988)
Honour,

Here's the distinction as I see it.

You and Julie commented on it being "easier" for Snape to believe Sirius was the traitor. "Easier" than what or who? Apparently practically everyone found it easy to believe Sirius was the traitor. Oh yes, they were surprised because Sirius was supposed to be Jame's good friend, but the evidence seemed so overwhelming that almost everyone completely believed Sirius was the traitor. Since most people also believed Peter was a good friend of James as well, those same people would have found it just as surprising if they'd learned it was Peter who was the traitor. The thing is, it's shocking when a supposedly good friend betrays their "friends" to their deaths -- whether it was Sirius or Peter.

The evidence was so convincing, including Sirius' reaction to being caught, that Snape doesn't need any excuse of it being "easier" for him to believe it, since everyone else believed it as well.

On the other hand, Snape did hate Sirius more than he hated Peter. Therefore he would have found Sirius turning out to be a traitor more fitting in with Snape's prior hatred of him. Besides that, Snape was already convinced that Sirius was capable of murder, because Snape felt the "Prank" equated to attempted murder.

When Snape went to the Shrieking Shack and the others were trying to say Sirius was innocent, the particular hatred Snape felt for Sirius, as well as Snape's conviction that Sirius had tried to murder him long before betraying the Potters would have contributed to Snape's firm belief in Sirius' guilt, even in the face of Lupin (who had deceived DD all year and was about to change into a werewolf without any apparent care in the world) and 3 thirteen year old kids saying Sirius was innocent.

Suppose it had not been Snape who had followed Lupin to the Shack. Let's say... suppose it had been a mostly objective person. Let's say Flitwick (and I think none of his really know his character enough to make a guess of his reaction based on character analysis). Okay, Flitwick would know Lupin was a werewolf. Let's say he knew (somehow) that Lupin hadn't taken his potion and for whatever reason, Flitwick follows him to the Shack.

He has no personal grievance toward Sirius, but believes with the rest of the WW, including DD, that Sirius was a Death Eater who tricked everyone including his best friends for years and then betrayed his friends to their deaths and then murdered a dozen other people. He knows that Sirius has been sneaking into the castle and apparently almost killed Ron with a knife.

He finds the invisibility cloak and sneaks in, attempting to be careful until he can scope out the situation. He listens to the conversations and realizes that Lupin has been deceiving DD all year. He realizes that every time the faculty was searching the castle for Sirius, Lupin was concealing important info from everyone about how to catch Sirius. He realizes that if one "friend" of James was a traitor, maybe two of them could be traitors and Death Eaters.

He enters the room and sees Ron (the kid that Sirius tried to knife), on the bed with an obviously broken leg and a clearly volitile and dangerous situation may be in play. Are the kids hostages? Is Lupin a traitor? Why has he been lying to DD?

He reminds Lupin that he's about to change into a werewolf with no potion. Lupin completely disregards this comment.

He sees that the kids believe in Sirius' innocence and that Lupin has given them his wand, but he also realizes that Lupin retains the upper hand because he's about to change into a werewolf and the kids having his wand will not protect them. Is Lupin just using this as a ploy to get the confidence of naive children? Lupin is the DADA professor and Sirius is a very talented wizard. The children might be confunded, or perhaps just tricked by people who could deceive even their best friends.

Would Flitwick, an objective character with no personal grievance toward Sirius, be any more likely to trust Sirius and Lupin? To believe in Sirius' innocence? Perhaps he'd want DD to hear the two of them. Surely he wouldn't have made the furious threats about taking them to the dementors. But I would imagine that Flitwick would have been just as likely to distrust the two of them as Snape was.

We might imagine that an objective person (such as Flitwick) would take them to DD, while Snape would have given them to the Dementors. But in fact, when Snape got the chance, he took Sirius to DD. So even though Snape had a lot of angry, vicious comments (typical Snape), what he actually did was probably no different from what a more objective person might have done.



Julia H. - Jan 18, 2010 9:24 am (#2921 of 2988)
Very good post, Wynnleaf.

"Easier" than what or who? Apparently practically everyone found it easy to believe Sirius was the traitor.

To answer your question: I have said Snape's hatred made it easier for him to believe that Sirius was a traitor as a response to the suggestion that Snape may have guessed that Sirius was not a DE, but hated him so much that he just would not mention it. I have tried to explain why I think Snape had no way of knowing that Sirius was innocent while at the same time, the actual evidence suggested that he was the traitor.

With regard to Snape hating Sirius, I think what this circumstance makes more likely is that Snape easily believes Sirius to be the traitor rather than that Snape does not really believe Sirius to be the traitor although the whole wizarding world does. I did not want to imply that anyone actually needed this hatred to believe that Sirius was the traitor, since Lupin and Dumbledore apparently believed it, too; although in the case of Lupin, it may have been a different kind of shock as he had loved Sirius as a friend, while to Snape, Sirius may simply have seemed to be suddenly even worse than he had thought him to be.

He sees that the kids believe in Sirius' innocence and that Lupin has given them his wand...

I think Lupin only put his wand into his (own) belt, so he was not actually disarmed. He simply was not holding the kids at wand-point.

Honour, I agree that it is good to see this thread active again!



Lady Arabella - Jan 18, 2010 5:09 pm (#2922 of 2988)
Popping in to say thank you for the fanfic suggestions and to wynnleaf for responding.

Wynnleaf, you have a Literary Double somewhere. There is an author whose stories read just like your posts on this thread - the first time I read one, I had the strangest sense of deja vu. I couldn't figure where I had read the story before until I was going back through old posts here. The "flavour" of the language, the analysis and interpretation of Snape's character, motives, actions - all are strikingly similar. Since the author isn't you, it's a little eerie.

Sorry, I know this is off-topic. You may now return to your regularly scheduled discussion. *waves*



wynnleaf - Jan 18, 2010 6:16 pm (#2923 of 2988)
Lady Arabella,

You've made me very curious. Who is the author you're talking about??



Julia H. - Jan 18, 2010 6:17 pm (#2924 of 2988)
Lady Arabella, you have made me really curious as well.



Lady Arabella - Jan 19, 2010 9:27 am (#2925 of 2988)
The author writes using the name "duj" and I've found the stories at Sycophant Hex. (Since that isn't a live link is it OK to mention the name of the site?) The "flavour" of the language comes across more in the responses to reviews, but the interpretion of Snape's character in the stories - like I said, nearly identical. One of the stories, A Bludger to the Gut shows Snape's reaction to Lupin being hired in PoA, and his feelings about Sirius, to keep this slightly on topic.



wynnleaf - Jan 19, 2010 10:19 am (#2926 of 2988)
Lady Arabella,

I wondered if it might be duj! While we do know each other and also agree on practically everything Snape, we are not the same (although we, coincidentally, have similarly large families!). I like and admire duj as a person a great deal. She has one of the highest ethical standards of anyone I've ever known. She is quite a prickly non-fiction writer when using in her own voice, and yet intensely compassionate. Her fiction writing is very strong and she catches Snape's voice quite well.

Here are some comments she has about Snape on her website at fanfiction.net:

I've noticed that my favourite fandom characters, such as Snape and Percy and Neville, are all under-appreciated and male. Perhaps they symbolise my autistic sons, and society's tendency to dismiss disabled people as being worth less than "normal" people.

What draws adults like myself to Snape is not "bad boy appeal" (I find the very suggestion ludicrous, frankly), but hurt/comfort or identification; we recognised early on that Snape was a profoundly unhappy man, trapped by duty and obligation into a dead-end job/life. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" (Henry David Thoreau) - only for Snape, despair is a more accurate word.

The books show him almost entirely through the eyes of Gryffindor students, and even the authorial voice is a Harry-echo - to the detriment of the series, in my opinion. To redress the balance, I tend to give a Snape-eyed view of events and characters. (This leads some readers to assume I'm fully in agreement with him, when all I'm really doing is presenting the opposing argument.)

She and I share the same opinion of Lupin, although duj probably actively dislikes him more than I do. And we differ on Dumbledore, who I give a lot more benefit of the doubt, while duj considers him highly culpable in his endangerment of children under his care.

Edited to add: I went back and read duj's responses to the reviews of her story "A Bludger to the Gut" on the Sycophant Hex Occlumency site. If anyone can take the time to find them, her responses -- lengthy comments on canon Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, the Prank, Snape, etc. -- are priceless. Wow, I'd hate to be opposing her in any debate!

You can find it by googling

sycophant hex occlumency a bludger to the gut

Her story is the first thing that comes up. It's G rated. When you go to the page, click "reviews" in the upper left-hand part of the page.



Dryleaves - Jan 19, 2010 11:00 am (#2927 of 2988)
I like duj's writing, too. One of my favourites is "Breaking Point", about Snape after that last Occlumency lesson.



Julia H. - Jan 19, 2010 11:59 am (#2928 of 2988)
I've read some of duj's writings, too (though not the one mentioned above). I can definitely see what Lady Arabella means about the similarity.

***Off to google certain things...***



Lady Arabella - Jan 19, 2010 1:52 pm (#2929 of 2988)
Thinking back, it was probably the coincidence of family size (duj and wynnleaf) that really started me wondering if they were the same person, after I'd noticed the similarity of viewpoint.

Well, at least I compared wynnleaf with an author she appreciates - the reverse would have been embarrassing!



mona amon - Jan 19, 2010 10:36 pm (#2930 of 2988)
LOL, I never knew you were all so knowledgeable about fan-fiction. I think I'll have to start reading some just to stay in the loop!

Plus I suppose,just to be a little mean spirited I think for Sev, it would have been the sweetest of revenges to think that James' best and most trusted friend was also the intigator of his own death... (Honour)

I can't help but agree. I bet he was horribly disappointed to discover that it was Wormtail after all.

Let's say Flitwick ... (Wynnleaf)

If we take Flitwick or any other person more objective than Severus and put him in the same situation, I can't help feeling we'd have a totally different scenario. So Flitwick enters the room and what does he see? The trio, Lupin and mass-murderer Black! So he stays hidden to observe some more, and decide when's the right time to take action. Would he be as suspicious of Lupin as Severus was? Even if he was, he sees that Lupin and Black are not armed, the trio are unharmed (Ron was on the bed and I don't know how obvious it was that his leg was injured), and listening to Lupin with rapt attention. Only someone who wanted to believe that they were confunded would have automatically assumed that they were.

There was nothing in the scene to lead Flitwick or anyone to suspect Sirius's innocence, but I think he'd definitely have listened to what the others were trying to tell him. And this is the main difference. Anyone might have suspected Black. Severus was the only one who took such vindictive pleasure in the fact that he was the traitor and that he was the one to bring him to justice.

Basically, new evidence had come up concerning Sirius Black. Severus refused to take a look at it and condemned him without a re-trial.

The end result would probably have been the same, ie. Lupin would have transformed into a werewolf and Wormtail would most likely have escaped in the ensuing confusion, but Sirius's fate would have been quite different. He had a much better chance of being proved innocent if Flitwick/Severus, DD and the trio had explained their story to Fudge.

Sirius's story is tragic, and the word 'poetic justice' springs to mind. If he hadn't caused Severus to hate him so much, he might have been a free man for at least the last two years of his life.



wynnleaf - Jan 20, 2010 9:47 am (#2931 of 2988)
If we take Flitwick or any other person more objective than Severus and put him in the same situation, I can't help feeling we'd have a totally different scenario. So Flitwick enters the room and what does he see? The trio, Lupin and mass-murderer Black! So he stays hidden to observe some more, and decide when's the right time to take action. Would he be as suspicious of Lupin as Severus was? Even if he was, he sees that Lupin and Black are not armed, the trio are unharmed (Ron was on the bed and I don't know how obvious it was that his leg was injured), and listening to Lupin with rapt attention. Only someone who wanted to believe that they were confunded would have automatically assumed that they were. (mona amon)

We need to make some adjustments to the scene. Suppose the objective person (Flitwick for instance) enters the room and watches for a bit. Why would he watch at first and not take action? Because he immediately sees that Sirius is unarmed and Lupin has his wand. While the first assumption would be that Lupin was on the good side, things look strange because Lupin isn't binding Sirius and they're all talking. Plus, some "teachers" (plural) have been concerned about Lupin being at the school and so this objective person waits a bit to see if Lupin is really a friend or if he should be on his guard with Lupin.

What does he see and hear? He sees a 13 year old kid laying on the floor with his leg at an obviously odd angle. Yes, it's clearly broken and no adult is doing anything about it. He hears that Lupin has been deceiving DD and the rest of the faculty all year. He knows that Lupin will change soon to a werewolf. He hears that Sirius is an animagus and as such, is safe from the werewolf. He sees Lupin give the kids back their wands, but keep his own wand. He knows that if Lupin changes, only Lupin and Sirius will be safe from the werewolf.

So he unveils himself. The first thing he does is, like Snape only without the vitriol, tell Lupin that he was following Lupin because he forgot his potion. (I'm assuming in this scenario an objective person with the same basic knowledge of the facts as Snape.) Lupin does nothing. This is a hugely suspicious thing because if Lupin keeps everyone chatting about whether or not Sirius is innocent or guilty, eventually Lupin will become a werewolf and no one but Sirius will be safe. (And Peter, but neither Snape nor an objective person in his place would know about that yet.)

I think he'd definitely have listened to what the others were trying to tell him. (mona amon)

Why would anyone knowing that Lupin was going to change into a werewolf do any such thing? I realize that Snape was so extremely furious that he seemed to have eventually forgot that Lupin was about to change and instead got too focused on telling off Sirius and the kids. But if we had an objective person, like Flitwick, who wouldn't be too furious to think straight, he'd be less likely to loose sight of the immediate problem of Lupin about to change to a werewolf and Lupin doing nothing whatsoever to protect those around him. I think an objective person would find that even more suspicious than even Snape, because Snape forgets about it in the heat of the argument, while another person might continue to wonder why Lupin - after 30 years or more of changing every month - should be paying so little attention to it now.

I'm not saying an objective person would be convinced that Lupin was on the bad side. But I think an objective person would realize the very strong possibility that Lupin was knowingly helping a Death Eater and mass murderer. While an objective person wouldn't be making all the nasty threats Snape made, an objective person would probably be more likely to bind Lupin quickly and perhaps Sirius as well. Would Flitwick have handed Sirius over the dementors? Likely he'd have taken him to DD, but since that's also what Snape did in the end, I tend to think the biggest difference was Snape's fury and his desire to tell off Sirius and Lupin, rather than what either man would or did actually do.



PeskyPixie - Jan 27, 2010 11:46 am (#2932 of 2988)
Since we have generally come to an agreement that Lord Voldemort uses 'cells' in his DE organization, especially among the new recruits with no obvious family affiliation, how does Dumbledore know that Severus works for Big V when he appears on the hilltop? He knows Severus was listening at the door during the prophecy, but how does this equate to him being a Death Eater? Was he on the Order's 'tag' list due to suspicious activities or his associations at school? I only wonder how secret the identities of the Death Eaters could be if the leader of the opposition is certain of the identity of one of the youngest ones?

"Sirius's story is tragic, and the word 'poetic justice' springs to mind. If he hadn't caused Severus to hate him so much, he might have been a free man for at least the last two years of his life." -mona amon

Me likey, mona! That's certainly something to think about. My mother often laments about the tragic nature of Sirius' short life. (Plus, he's the 'rebel hunk' of the series. )



me and my shadow 813 - Jan 27, 2010 2:58 pm (#2933 of 2988)
Pesky, I don't have my book with me but in the hilltop memory, Dumbledore asks Severus what message Vold is sending this time. So I gathered from that that Severus had acted as a messenger in the past between Vold and DD, and so this is how DD knows of Severus's DE-ness. Make sense at all?



legolas returns - Jan 27, 2010 3:05 pm (#2934 of 2988)
I think that Dumbledore kept track of certain of his ex-pupils. He had heard some of what Voldemort had been up to since he had left school. I am sure that he heard about other former pupils as well.



Orion - Jan 27, 2010 3:11 pm (#2935 of 2988)
HP is not so complicated at all. There's only this one big enemy, the Dark Lord. So if a young guy goes spying in the Hog's Head who'd he be spying for, except for him? Especially if the young guy is a former Slytherin. Most people aren't as stupid as Trelawney, especially DD.



Julia H. - Jan 27, 2010 5:37 pm (#2936 of 2988)
Interesting question. This is what I can deduce from the books:

1. Voldemort ordered Snape to become a spy for Dumbledore.

He must have been sure that Dumbledore did not know about Snape being a DE. Voldemort could be wrong but I suppose that he had at least good reason to be convinced of Dumbledore not suspecting Snape. We know that Sirius in GoF does not know about Snape having been a DE, and Sirius was an Order member. So even if Dumbledore had some suspicions about Snape, he probably kept them to himself.

2. Snape had a chance to eavesdrop on the conversation between Dumbledore and Trelawney, while seeking a job, i.e., no aurors were waiting for him as he entered the Hog's Head.

It is still possible that Dumbledore knew or perhaps suspected that Snape was a DE, but in that case he must have had some secret plans with him. The alternative possibility is that Dumbledore did not know at this point that Snape was a DE, he only found it out later.

3. Orion has a point when she says that eavesdropping may make a Slytherin increasingly suspicious.

It is also possible that something else happened when Snape was found eavesdropping; something that Trelawney did not notice and Dumbledore does not mention to Harry. For example, the barman who discovered the eavesdropping (Aberforth?) may have grabbed Snape by the arm and his Dark Mark may have been revealed. That would be proof in itself, although IMO it would make more sense for Voldie to choose someone not yet marked with the Dark Mark to be his spy, since the Dark Mark could very easily give the whole plot away.

3. Snape was allowed to leave, but Dumbledore changed his mind about Trelawney and decided to employ her purely for safety reasons. I can detect some contradiction here:

If Dumbledore had known that Snape was a DE now in possession of a dangerous secret, he should have captured him instead of letting him go. But Dumbledore did not capture Snape, which makes me think that perhaps he was not sure (or could not prove) that Snape was a DE. (E.g., there was no Dark Mark yet on Snape's arm, he may have received it in exchange for the prophecy when Voldemort thought that Snape could not be used as a spy any more.) However, Dumbledore realized that the prophecy being known by anyone at all was dangerous, since the news of the prophecy with that exciting content would soon spread in the wizarding community and would eventually reach Voldemort even if that young man did not work for him directly. So he employed Trelawney.

4. We know that Dumbledore knew that Snape was a Death Eater when they met on the hilltop.

He asked Snape what message Voldemort had sent him, but I'm not sure that it means Snape had been a messenger before. Snape started the conversation with "Don't kill me". If he had met Dumbledore other times as a messenger, he would not have thought that Dumbledore was going to kill him as Dumbledore had obviously not killed him before. So my interpretation of Dumbledore's question is that Dumbledore did not think that a Death Eater would come to him on his own, without being ordered by Voldemort. Snape was clearly afraid of Dumbledore, and Dumbledore also knew that Voldemort would not tolerate such visits behind his back, so Dumbledore may easily have concluded that Snape had come to him only because he had been ordered by Voldemort to deliver some message to him.

5. So how did Dumbledore know for sure that he was talking to a DE?

The meeting on the hilltop must have been arranged between them in advance. It means Snape must have contacted Dumbledore before meeting him (sent him an owl? used the Floo Network?), and I would really like to know how he approached Dumbledore. Even on the hilltop, Snape was out of his mind with worry, and he can't have been much better when he had sent Dumbledore his message, so he may have simply revealed that he was a DE who wanted to talk to Dumbledore secretly about a matter of importance.

Alternatively, it is also possible that while Dumbledore was not sure that Snape was a DE when they were in the Hog's Head, he started an investigation afterwards. For one thing, it was good to know whether Voldemort was trying to plant a spy into the school or not. So Dumbledore may have found proof of Snape being a DE at some point between the Hog's Head scene and the hilltop scene somehow, but it seems in this case he did not give this information to other Order members, or at least not to all of them. The only reason I can think of why Dumbledore would not disclose this information to fellow Order members is that he did not have time to let them know before the hilltop scene. After the hilltop scene, of course, Snape was not a DE any more.



PeskyPixie - Jan 29, 2010 11:11 am (#2937 of 2988)
Julia, you make some very good points.

I wonder whether Dumbledore would have protected Trelawney whether Snape (or anybody) had been caught spying or not. Was merely producing the prophecy enough to warrant protection?

The Dark Mark is a problem for me. (BTW, I agree that it would make sense that Severus may have 'earned' his Mark by carrying the prophecy to Voldy.) It's a secret Death Eater practice, isn't it? Even Sirius isn't aware that Death Eaters are branded with their master's symbol (GoF). I wonder when Dumbledore learned about them. Did Severus share knowledge of this Death Eater practice when he switched over? Or had Dumbledore suspected this earlier on? If so, why didn't he share it with the Order?



me and my shadow 813 - Jan 29, 2010 6:00 pm (#2938 of 2988)
I think Severus was branded immediately, because of what we know about Draco. He had the mark before he 'earned' anything, and the task was given after he was an initiate. Unless anyone recalls canon to support otherwise?

But Julia, good point that Severus's first reaction to Dumbledore was "don't kill me", which leads us to believe he'd never been in DD's presence before. So Severus contacted Dumbledore to meet on the hilltop... under the guise of giving him a message from Vold? Or would Dumbledore meet in the middle of the night on a hilltop with anyone who asked? I think it might be that Severus contacted Dumbledore with the excuse that Voldemort had a message, so DD knew Severus was a DE from that. Of course, along with the eavesdropping thing perhaps he had his suspicions.



Orion - Jan 30, 2010 11:54 am (#2939 of 2988)
It is never explained, is it? Maybe Severus sent an owl and DD thought "former student, I'm the most powerful wizard in the world, it shouldn't be too dangerous". On the other hand Voldie too was a former Hogwarts student. They all were. DD must have been very curious and very interested to appear and have a few very good curses ready.



Julia H. - Jan 30, 2010 12:58 pm (#2940 of 2988)
It is possible that Snape thought Dumbledore would not listen to him if he did not give him an "official" reason, like a message from Voldemort. But it is also possible that Snape informed Dumbledore vaguely (and perhaps not very coherently) that there was something important that he had to tell Dumbledore and that he had to meet Dumbledore alone, and it was Dumbledore who interpreted it as Snape having to tell him something on Voldemort's orders. Dumbledore must have been curious... I don't think he was afraid of being ambushed. Not even Voldemort dared to attack him. But he was quick to disarm Snape as soon as he arrived, just in case.

I think Severus was branded immediately, because of what we know about Draco. He had the mark before he 'earned' anything, and the task was given after he was an initiate. Unless anyone recalls canon to support otherwise? (MAMS)

Good point. Still, Draco was the son of a pureblood DE family, practically brought up to become a DE, and even if his parents were currently in disgrace, his aunt was Bellatrix, who may have recommended him.

The other end of the scale is Fenrir Greyback, who could not receive a Dark Mark whatever he did, because he was a werewolf, even though he was allowed to serve Voldemort.

It is also true that Greyback was already a murderer and a social outcast even without a Dark Mark, while Draco did not have a criminal record yet, so in his case, taking the Dark Mark made it even more difficult to change his mind and turn his back on Voldemort.

It seems the Dark Mark was both a privilege reserved for those closest to Voldemort and his means of control over his DE's, so the question is what it was in the first place.

Regarding his social status, Snape, as a half-blood Slytherin kid with no DE family connections that we know of, must have been in the middle between the two extremes represented by Draco and Greyback. I think Snape may have received his Mark immediately like Draco, so that he would be literally marked as belonging to Voldemort with no way to turn back. Still, if the Dark Mark was a privilege, which made one a member of an "elite" group, Voldemort's innermost circle, it also makes sense that a half-blood first-generation DE (unlike Draco) may have had to "earn" it first. Also, if Voldemort thought that spying business seriously, it was in his interest to help his spy keep his cover by not marking him immediately.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:35 pm

severusisn'tevil - Jan 31, 2010 1:17 pm (#2941 of 2988)
Well, it would make sense to me that he would brand those he most worried about turning on him. That way he could summon them and also have them, as others have said, marked as one of his. So, Severus would likely have been marked immediately. It would also make sense that Draco be marked immediately. As a Hogwarts sixth-year whose family was in disgrace and bordering on desperate, Voldemort would want to use Draco as a leash on his family but also use Draco's family as a leash on him.

And I am just wondering why Severus would never have met DD. I mean, he wasn't a Quiddich hero or The Chosen One, but he was a bright student, with a special knack for potions. He might have run across DD. And if his academics had not done it, he also was something of a disciplinary problem. And there was the whole matter of The Prank, wherein he was forbidden by DD to speak of Remus's lycanthropy. So, they have definitely met. And I think DD would have been perceptive enough to know it was something important if Severus contacted him. Also, given DD's tendency to know or suspect much of what goes on in his school, he may have had some inkling of Severus's feelings for Lily before she and James married. Just my 2 Knuts, as we say.



Julia H. - Jan 31, 2010 3:13 pm (#2942 of 2988)
I don't think anyone suggested that Snape had never in his life met Dumbledore before the hilltop scene. For one thing, we know that Dumbledore had forbidden him to reveal Lupin's secret to anyone after the Prank. We were wondering whether Snape had ever met Dumbledore as a DE (with Dumbledore knowing that he was a DE), as a messenger, for example. It has been suggested that such meeting is not likely to have taken place because of Snape's starting words to Dumbledore on the hilltop: "Don't kill me". He seemed to be afraid that Dumbledore might just kill him immediately for being a DE even though he was not going to attack him.

I think DD would have been perceptive enough to know it was something important if Severus contacted him. (sev)

Dumbledore believed that Snape was bringing him a message from Voldemort. Even if he thought that the message could be important, it had nothing to do with what he thought of Snape as a person.



Soul Search - Jan 31, 2010 7:37 pm (#2943 of 2988)
Snape's "Don't kill me" is really strange. I seem to recall JKR saying (in response to some question) that she she had written that scene very carefully, so everything must have meaning. But why would Snape think Dumbledore would kill him on sight?

We learn that Dumbledore isn't the killing type. He didn't even kill Grindlewold.

Was that a different Dumbledore on the hilltop?

Or, did Dumbledore have a particular reason why he might want to kill Snape? We do have references that Death Eaters were doing a lot of killing around that time. Moody gives us a fair list in OotP of those that had been killed. He never mentions Snape but we do get hints in GoF that they had had some runins. There is also the mention in GoF that the Ministry had indited Snape, but Dumbledore had got him off.

Any reference, before Deathly Hallows, of Snape killing would have totally spoiled the good/bad uncertainty JKR promoted. Did she just give us enough hints, but not anything conclusive?

Any concrete suggestion that Dumbledore did have a reason to kill Snape would have pushed Snape well into the Bad category. Yet, Snape's opening words on the hilltop seem to do just that.



severusisn'tevil - Feb 1, 2010 12:08 am (#2944 of 2988)
Hmm. Maybe Severus was just in an altered state when he said that. I mean, he's discovered the woman he loves is in mortal danger based on information he provided. Had I done something of the kind, I'd be a bit unhinged too, methinks.



Julia H. - Feb 1, 2010 4:20 am (#2945 of 2988)
We learn that Dumbledore isn't the killing type. (Soul Search)

Yes, we learn that, but did Snape know it as well at this point? Dumbledore was Voldemort's greatest enemy, even Voldemort feared him, and the Death Eaters may have noticed it. The wizarding world was in a state of war, and it is a common practice in wars to vilify the enemy, and I don't think Voldemort hesitated to do that.

Snape had been socialized among the DE's. If an Order member had wanted to meet Voldemort in a similar manner as Snape was meeting Dumbledore, the Order member's life would probably have been in grave danger unless Voldemort was convinced that letting the Order member live would be in his own interest. It is understandable if Snape thought that the same risk was involved in his case, too.

Any concrete suggestion that Dumbledore did have a reason to kill Snape would have pushed Snape well into the Bad category. Yet, Snape's opening words on the hilltop seem to do just that.
I think Snape's opening words can perfectly be explained in terms of what we know from the books for sure. This is what Sirius says about the situation before Voldemort's downfall (GoF):

"Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing . . ."

Death Eaters were wearing hoods when they committed their crimes, so I guess specific killings were rarely linked to the actual perpetrators but rather to the DE organization itself. Someone identified as a DE could expect to be identified as an enemy and a murderer (or a potential murderer at best). But I don't think Dumbledore would have given Snape a Hogwarts job if Snape had committed any major crimes, nor is it ever mentioned that Snape personally had ever been accused (officially or by Dumbledore in private) of more than joining Voldemort, watching others die, trying to spy on Dumbledore and taking the prophecy to Voldemort.

Sirius again, this time about the good side (about Crouch):

"He rose quickly through the Ministry, and he started ordering very harsh measures against Voldemort's supporters. The Aurors were given new powers - powers to kill rather than capture, for instance. And I wasn't the only one who was handed straight to the dementors without trial. Crouch fought violence with violence, and authorized the use of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects. I would say he became as ruthless and cruel as many on the Dark Side."

The above quote proves (I think) that DE's had a reason to be afraid of being killed on the spot where they were found. Dumbledore was not an Auror, but he was the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, and Snape, from his point of view, may not have seen much difference. (I suppose that there was a difference, but it was not necessarily obvious to Snape.) So being a DE or a suspect could result in being crucio-d, imprisoned or even killed. Snape probably did not expect to be able to go free after his meeting with Dumbledore. In that case, the only real question may have seemed to be whether Dumbledore would be satisfied with capturing him and would take the trouble to hear him out or would kill him immediately.

As soon as Dumbledore arrived (or perhaps a moment before), there was a jet of white light, and Snape was disarmed. It was probably not more than what Snape had expected. His expectations being confirmed, it is quite logical that he opened the conversation with "Don't kill me", since all he wanted was being able to tell Dumbledore about the danger threatening Lily, whatever would happen to him afterwards.



me and my shadow 813 - Feb 1, 2010 4:23 pm (#2946 of 2988)
I think if JKR said she wrote the hilltop scene very carefully then, IMO, it seems that Vold was telling his DE's that Dumbledore was dangerous. These psychopaths like to play victim, and make everyone else out to be the 'bad guy'. So I think it was just another case of creating propaganda against your opponent, particularly in the eyes of the young recruits.

Also (okay, I'm drawing a complete blank here so bear with me)...Severus never got a chance to "interview" on the night of the Prophecy at the Hog's Head, right? If this is true he never met Dumbledore on that night...? And, I'm thinking a kid like Severus wouldn't have ended up in the Headmaster's office very much...even with the Prank incident. So he didn't have a lot to go on to counteract whatever propaganda Vold was dishing out.

edit: yes, brain is unscrambled and Abe chucked Severus out on his ear before the interview, eh? So, other than a random interaction with DD during school, Severus had only reverence for the great wizard and likely Vold's brainwashing that DD was the 'evil' one



Soul Search - Feb 2, 2010 8:25 am (#2947 of 2988)
Well presented response, Julia H.

I think I can buy into the idea presented by Julia H. and me and my shadow 813 that Voldemort had instilled in his Death Eaters that Dumbledore and Order members would kill them on sight. For some, it was likely even true. This would certainly account for Snape's "Don't kill me" upon being disarmed by Dumbledore.



legolas returns - Feb 2, 2010 9:55 am (#2948 of 2988)
If you were going to kill someone why would you disarm them first? It isn't logical because in the time it takes to disarm them they could have shot an AK at you. If Dumbledore had wanted to kill him then as he apparated he could have zapped him immediately. Voldemort never bothered to disarm Harry in the grave yard he went for torture before getting bored. Mind you going by the fear that Harry felt that Snape was experiencing I don't think that he was thinking logically.



Julia H. - Feb 2, 2010 10:39 am (#2949 of 2988)
Thanks, Soul Search.

If you were going to kill someone why would you disarm them first? It isn't logical because in the time it takes to disarm them they could have shot an AK at you. (Legolas)

When I read this passage in DH, I always have the impression that the jet of white light appears maybe before Dumbledore becomes visible or at the same time as Dumbledore appears. I don't know if it is possible in the HP world to send a spell ahead of you, but that is what seems to happen, and Dumbledore is a very powerful wizard. If nothing else, it is probably possible for Dumbledore (I think) to remain invisible while Apparating. In this way, he is able to both observe and disarm Snape before Snape can see him at all. So Snape would not be able to attack in the first place, but when he is already disarmed, he is completely in Dumbledore's power.

In this situation, Snape does not start calculating (logically) whether disarming means that Dumbledore is perhaps not going to kill him. He is very much afraid of Dumbledore, he is terribly worried about Lily, he knows that he is betraying Voldemort, but he is also going to confess to Dumbledore what he has done. His speech is rather incoherent in the beginning and he is described as looking slightly mad. I think he is acting on emotion and instinct, not on logic. But perhaps that is why Dumbledore knows that he can believe him.



severusisn'tevil - Feb 3, 2010 12:28 am (#2950 of 2988)
I agree, Julia. Once people's rational defenses are stripped away and the emotion and instinct are all that's left...DD would know to trust something so completely without artifice.



wynnleaf - Feb 8, 2010 8:09 am (#2951 of 2988)
Good points about DD disarming Snape. The fact that DD did disarm him immediately points to DD knowing for certain that Snape was a DE and being suspicious of the meeting.

I think the location of the meeting is important in guessing at what led to the meeting in the first place.

If Snape had simply contacted DD as a former student and requested a meeting saying he had some important info, then surely the expectation would be, on both sides, that they'd meet at Hogwarts. Why not, after all? Of course, they couldn't because Snape was a DE and couldn't let LV know he was meeting with DD.

Instead, they met on the hill top. Why? Somehow, in Snape's initial request for a meeting or in perhaps subsequent messaging to arrange the meeting, Snape must have shown that he couldn't go to meet DD openly, such as at Hogwarts, but must instead meet in secret. In order to make this clear to DD, Snape must have revealed his being a Death Eater.

Why shouldn't we assume DD already knew Snape was a DE? In GOF Sirius had no idea that Snape had been a DE, therefore it seems unlikely that DD had known of Snape's being a DE for any length time prior to the hilltop meeting, else surely DD would have told the Order in an effort to keep them knowledgeable about all known DEs.

So that leaves several things we probably know:

1. By the time DD came to meet Snape he knew he was a DE, hence he disarmed him immediately.

2. DD had only recently learned that Snape was a DE, or he would have informed the Order.

3. Snape somehow conveyed to DD that he must meet with him secretly.

4. DD thought Snape was bringing a message from LV.

5. Snape knew DD was aware he was a DE and therefore assumed DD might kill him immediately.

The most probable explanation for all of this, in my opinion, is that Snape contacted DD for a meeting, explaining it was urgent and must be in secret due to his being a DE. DD assumed Snape bore a message from LV (or perhaps Snape had said he would bring such a message in order to get DD's attention). Snape came thinking that because DD knew he was a DE, DD might kill him immediately.



Soul Search - Feb 8, 2010 12:57 pm (#2952 of 2988)
How disappointed would Dumbledore be that one of his students had become a Death Eater? He might expect it of some, those who had Death Eater parents, but he might have thought Half-blood Snape would escape that trap. We don't exactly know if Dumbledore and Snape had any more than a headmaster/student relationship, although the "prank" suggests they had at least one meeting while Snape was a student at Hogwarts.



legolas returns - Feb 8, 2010 1:33 pm (#2953 of 2988)
I am sure he was disapointed when Snape became a Death Eater but he offered him a choice. Snape made a difficult decision (the non easy choice) and died having fufilled what he promised to do.



mona amon - Feb 10, 2010 2:12 am (#2954 of 2988)
How disappointed would Dumbledore be that one of his students had become a Death Eater? (Soul Search)

I don't think he'd have been surprised at a Slytherin student turning out to be a DE, since almost all new recruits were from Slytherin house. Neither Bella nor Regulus had DE parents, and Lucius Malfoy probably didn't, either. Which makes me wonder why he didn't try doing something about it.

I think Severus's meeting with him after the prank was his first, last and only encounter with DD prior to the hilltop meeting. He doesn't seem to know anything about DD's character since he thinks he might kill him.

Why shouldn't we assume DD already knew Snape was a DE? In GOF Sirius had no idea that Snape had been a DE, therefore it seems unlikely that DD had known of Snape's being a DE for any length time prior to the hilltop meeting, else surely DD would have told the Order in an effort to keep them knowledgeable about all known DEs. (Wynnleaf)

DD must have started investigating Severus after he was caught evesdropping during Trelawney's interview, and I feel he must have discovered, or at least strongly suspected, that he was a DE. From what we know of DD he is quite a cagey person. Probably he shared his discovery with Mad-Eye Moody and a few others, but hadn't got around to telling all the Order members before Severus requested a meeting with him.

As you say, Severus may also have mentioned, or been forced by DD to confess the fact that he was a DE during the negotiations for a meeting, but I think DD already knew.

The Dark Mark is a problem for me. (BTW, I agree that it would make sense that Severus may have 'earned' his Mark by carrying the prophecy to Voldy.) It's a secret Death Eater practice, isn't it? Even Sirius isn't aware that Death Eaters are branded with their master's symbol (GoF). I wonder when Dumbledore learned about them. Did Severus share knowledge of this Death Eater practice when he switched over? Or had Dumbledore suspected this earlier on? If so, why didn't he share it with the Order? (Pesky)

It is rather problematic. I think all DEs were branded with it as soon as they signed up, as a rite of initiation. Fenrir Greyback is the only one we know who wasn't branded, but he was a werewolf and would not have been considered worthy, however useful he may have been. Yet the Dark Mark alone does not seem to have been sufficient evidence to send someone to Azkaban, and in Sirius's case no one seems to have even bothered to check if he had one.

Isn't Sirius aware of the Dark Mark? I thought he knew about the mark but was bewildered as to why Karkaroff would want to show it to Severus, when he (Sirius) was so convinced that Severus couldn't be a DE.

He sees a 13 year old kid laying on the floor with his leg at an obviously odd angle. Yes, it's clearly broken and no adult is doing anything about it. He hears that Lupin has been deceiving DD and the rest of the faculty all year. He knows that Lupin will change soon to a werewolf. He hears that Sirius is an animagus and as such, is safe from the werewolf. He sees Lupin give the kids back their wands, but keep his own wand. He knows that if Lupin changes, only Lupin and Sirius will be safe from the werewolf. (Wynnleaf #2931)

It says that Ron was on the bed at this point, though we're not told whether he was lying down or sitting up. It may not have been obvious that his leg was broken.

As for Lupin, it's true that he kept his wand, but it was tucked away into his belt or something, while the kids had their wands in their hands, all three of them. An unbiased observer would have taken this as a point in Lupin and Sirius's favour, I think, and it would have lent credibility to the trio's version of events.

As for the werewolf thing, I'd thought of something, but I've forgotten it now I'll post it on the POA read-along as soon as I remember.

Likely he'd have taken him to DD, but since that's also what Snape did in the end, I tend to think the biggest difference was Snape's fury and his desire to tell off Sirius and Lupin, rather than what either man would or did actually do.

I think the biggest difference, or what made the biggest difference to Sirius and his chances of becoming a free man, was the way in which Severus blabbed all his convictions to Fudge. Instead of leaving it to DD, he talked to Fudge himself, assuring him that the trio were confunded by Black, etc. Severus, fuelled by his prejudices and hatred, is so vehement and persuasive that he totally convinced Fudge.

(Editted)



wynnleaf - Feb 13, 2010 5:55 pm (#2955 of 2988)
It says that Ron was on the bed at this point, though we're not told whether he was lying down or sitting up. It may not have been obvious that his leg was broken. (mona)

If his leg was at a strange angle, then it was very badly broken. Putting him on the bed wouldn't fix that and make a badly broken bone, forcing the leg into an unnatural angle, suddenly straight and looking normal again. In any case, Ron would have to be in excruciating pain - so I doubt Ron looked like he was fine.

An unbiased observer would have taken this as a point in Lupin and Sirius's favour, I think, and it would have lent credibility to the trio's version of events. (mona)

The reason it lacked credibility was because Lupin was about to turn into a werewolf, from which wands would be no protection. And Lupin was reminded about this and did nothing about it. Why would an unbiased observer care nothing about Lupin endangering all the kids? Why would an unbiased observer think giving the kids their wands, when their wands would be useless, was some big credibility thing?

I think the biggest difference, or what made the biggest difference to Sirius and his chances of becoming a free man, was the way in which Severus blabbed all his convictions to Fudge. Instead of leaving it to DD, he talked to Fudge himself, assuring him that the trio were confunded by Black, etc. Severus, fuelled by his prejudices and hatred, is so vehement and persuasive that he totally convinced Fudge. (mona)

Which remarks of DD should he have trusted? At the time that Snape told his opinions to Fudge, DD had spent the entire year having the faculty search the school for Black the mass murderer. In other words, as far as Snape knew, he and DD were in complete agreement -- Black was an evil murderer and Death Eater.

Do you fault Snape for showing Fudge the Dark Mark in GOF? Probably not. Yet he wasn't leaving everything to DD then. He was trying to add his evidence into the discussion. So here, he's had DD going all year trying to protect the kids from Sirius Black. Sirius is captured and Fudge is there. Naturally, Snape is supposed to be giving evidence. He's the one that brought Black in after all! He has to give evidence about what happened. Fudge may be silly, but he's not just some no-account fellow who dropped in off the streets. He's the Minister of Magic. Snape should give evidence. And he must have assumed that his assessment of Black was the same as Dumbledore's -- a traitor and mass murderer.

The point where Snape begins to realize that DD has a different opinion is here:

‘I suppose he’s told you the same fairy tale he’s planted in Potter’s mind?’ spat Snape. ‘Something about a rat, and Pettigrew being alive –’

‘That, indeed, is Black’s story,’ said Dumbledore, surveying Snape closely through his half-moon spectacles.

‘And does my evidence count for nothing?’ snarled Snape. ‘Peter Pettigrew was not in the Shrieking Shack, nor did I see any sign of him in the grounds.’

Prior to that, when he gave all that evidence to Fudge, he'd have thought DD believed in Sirius' guilt -- like everyone else.



Julia H. - Feb 14, 2010 10:59 am (#2956 of 2988)
Fudge, like everyone else, already believed that Sirius was guilty, it was not Snape who convinced him about it. It sounds probable that anyone else who might have been in the Shrieking Shack instead of Snape would have had to give his evidence whatever it was. I am quite sure that Snape told Fudge what he fully believed to be the truth. DD, however, had not been there in the Shrieking Shack, he only knew what others had told him.

Fudge might have wanted to listen to all the eye-witnesses, including the children, he might have wanted to wait until Lupin was able to give his evidence, too. He might have wanted to listen to Sirius's story (like DD). I don't think Fudge went to talk to Sirius, because later it was taken for granted that no one in the Ministry knew about Sirius's Animagus form - or, if Fudge perhaps did listen to him, then Sirius cannot have revealed the illegal Animagus practice to him, which must have created significant holes in his story, undermining ultimately its credibility.

Snape was a witness, who told the Minister what he had experienced and what he had deduced, but he did not force the Minister to make a decision on the basis of his evidence only. The problem is that the idea of Sirius being guilty must have seemed unquestionably true by this time to the whole of the wizarding world. (Was it widely known and still remembered that Sirius had been sent to Azkaban without a trial in the first place? Was it thought by most people that Sirius had confessed to the crime?) Fudge, of course, chose the easy way, as always - it probably did not occur to him that he could do anything else but have Sirius Black Kissed - public opinion seemed to be demanding just that. Fudge would have wanted to do the same even without Snape's vehement behaviour, even if he had just found Sirius unconscious in the street with no witnesses at all. (Just remember his nonchalance after Crouch Jr. was Kissed without Fudge hearing a word from him.) As everyone else, he was convinced of Sirius being guilty, but he was also the Minister, an authority figure in the wizarding community, which meant a special kind of responsibility.

The job of witnesses is to tell what they have seen and even what their opinions are. Those who represent the law must make sure that everyone involved in the case will be heard before a decision is made - regardless of how vehement and convincing any of the witnesses are. Even in real life, witnesses are not necessarily unbiased. In fact, they can be very emotional. In some cases, the very fact that you have to witness something may make you absolutely biased. It is the decision-makers who must be unbiased. In this case, it was Fudge.

It is remarkable that DD actually chose to talk to Sirius and listen to his version of the story at this point, when he cannot have been too interested in it for thirteen years. Has there been a discussion about why DD decided to talk to Sirius then? Was the prospect of the Dementor's Kiss a line that was not to be crossed without Dumbledore wanting to give Sirius the chance to defend himself even when Dumbledore still believed Sirius to be guilty? I think DD did what Fudge should have done, but DD did not have the power to officially make a decision.



wynnleaf - Feb 14, 2010 2:06 pm (#2957 of 2988)
Has there been a discussion about why DD decided to talk to Sirius then? (Julia)

I don't have the book in front of me, so I'm not sure if DD talked to the kids prior to talking to Sirius. If I recall correctly, he had already talked to Sirius and then talked to the kids.

Snape, however, appears to have told DD as well as Fudge the entire story (as Snape saw it). Perhaps it was in listening to the story that DD -- able to be more objective -- was curious enough to talk to Sirius. After all, Snape seemed quite up front about thinking the kids were "confunded", which seems to indicate that he told DD and Fudge that the children had somehow been persuaded to trust Sirius. It may have been this aspect of the story that caught DD's interest.



mona amon - Feb 15, 2010 9:42 am (#2958 of 2988)
The reason it lacked credibility was because Lupin was about to turn into a werewolf, from which wands would be no protection. And Lupin was reminded about this and did nothing about it. Why would an unbiased observer care nothing about Lupin endangering all the kids? Why would an unbiased observer think giving the kids their wands, when their wands would be useless, was some big credibility thing? (Wynnleaf)

IMO, an unbiased observer, ie. one who did not hate Lupin, would not have suspected him of being Black's cohort in the first place, at least not enough to completely close his mind to later explanations. So, if he'd entered the Shack and seen Sirius, the kids, and Lupin who's telling them a confessional sort of story about past misdeeds and present guilt and regrets, he'll be extremely astonished and perhaps suspicious, but he wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion "Evil werewolf in cahoots with Black, buying time until he transforms by talking."

IMO, it's much more likely that he'll think, "trusted member of the staff who's forgotten that he's not had his potion, talking to 3 students, but what on earth are they all doing, sitting so cozily with a mass murderer?"

Which remarks of DD should he have trusted?

I don't think he even spoke to DD alone, or that DD tried to tell him anything. DD knew that Severus was beyond reason. I think what happened was, he regained conciousness, magicked the unconcious kids and Sirius on to stretchers, and took them to the castle. Perhaps he meets DD and Fudge inside, and explains everything. They leave the kids in the hospital wing, and lock Sirius in Flitwick's office. DD stays behind to talk to him.

I agree with your reasons, "Perhaps it was in listening to the story that DD -- able to be more objective -- was curious enough to talk to Sirius. " Actually this is what I'm trying to say. The perspectives of an objective person and a prejudiced person differ greatly. The objective one is more likely to listen. A biased person twists reality to fit what he believes.



wynnleaf - Feb 15, 2010 8:45 pm (#2959 of 2988)
IMO, it's much more likely that he'll think, "trusted member of the staff who's forgotten that he's not had his potion, talking to 3 students, but what on earth are they all doing, sitting so cozily with a mass murderer?" (mona amon)

I'd think it would be more like, "trusted member of the staff who -- what? has been deceiving us all year?? -- and who's acting like he's forgotten he's not had his potion -- what, even though I just told him?? -- but what on earth are they all doing, when one of the kids is obviously badly injured -- doesn't Lupin care? -- sitting so cozily with a mass murderer?

Yep, I think an objective person would be pretty suspicious. An objective person wouldn't be furious and spitting mad like Snape, of course. But you've got to remember that Lupin was not objective. He was biased in Sirius' favor. And almost all the readers get to this point in the book biased in Lupin's favor because he's so likeable.

A truly objective person wouldn't be there thinking "oh, Sirius was always such a dear friend! Maybe he's been innocent all along!" Nor would an objective person be thinking, "Lupin is such a wonderful teacher! And he's always seemed so sincere! Surely he must be trustworthy."

Because that's not objective. That's biased thinking based on pre-conceived notions and liking someone who always seemed nice.

Snape is biased in a negative way. But an objective observer, while not furious like Snape, would not be swayed to think the best of Lupin just because he'd been so nice and sincere. On the contrary, I think Lupin's deception all year toward a trusting DD and staff would have a very negative effect on a truly objective viewer.



wynnleaf - Feb 15, 2010 9:27 pm (#2960 of 2988)
I guess this is the thing to me. For a non-biased person, who isn't swayed by liking Lupin, there is no particular reason to trust him at all. He doesn't actually do anything that seems trustworthy with the one exception of giving the kids wands back. But since, even when reminded, he does nothing about his near change to a werewolf - which the kid's wands would be useless against -- his whole action with the giving the wands is negated. Because in fact, the "protection" that he'd just given them was no protection at all and he would have known it if he hadn't completely forgotten about changing to a werewolf.

So the only way for an objective person to believe in Lupin is to believe that he has truly forgotten about turning into a werewolf - something he's done every month for decades and something he's only just been reminded about. In retrospect, it's not hard to believe this at all, because we all know he really did forget. But it still seems almost incredible, even knowing he forgot. An unbiased person, listening to Lupin, would be hard pressed to believe Lupin had truly forgotten. And even if the unbiased person was willing to entertain the notion that perhaps Lupin really forgot -- would that person be wise to risk everyone's lives on that hope? And in any case, whether Lupin forgot or not, standing around listening to explanations when he was about to transform was still foolish.

Other stuff that might normally gain trust -- such as being trusted by DD -- is negated by the clear evidence from Lupin's own admission that he had been deceiving DD and the rest of the staff.

What else should cause an objective person to trust Lupin?

And why would an objective person - knowing Lupin would change shortly into a werewolf - sit back and give him time to chat? Especially when the objective person must wonder why Lupin even wants to spend time in long explanations given that he's about to become a werewolf and a deadly threat to them all.

It is the biased person that would assume that Lupin had truly forgotten about being a werewolf even after just being reminded. It is the biased perspective that assumes that Lupin gave back the wands to the kids forgetting that the wands would shortly be useless. And it would be a biased perspective that would assume Lupin was still trustworthy when he had been deceiving everyone intentionally for many months.


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:40 pm

Julia H. - Feb 15, 2010 11:58 pm (#2961 of 2988)
Yes, even knowing that Lupin indeed forgot about the transformation because of some very disturbing news (Sirius having been innocent all these years, Pettigrew being alive and a traitor etc.), I still find it amazing that he was not once reminded of the danger he was soon going to be to the kids while he was talking at length about what it was like to be a werewolf and what usually happened when he transformed. (I mean this forgetfulness would be less amazing if they had been talking about the latest broomstick models, for example, but they were specifically talking about Lupin's condition and how dangerous it could be to others.)

As for DD being like an objective observer, well, he was not an objective observer. He may have been objective but he was not an observer. There is a huge difference between being objective and fair enough to hear out everyone once the danger is over (the perceived mass murderer has been captured, the werewolf is in the forest, the kids are safe in the Hospital Wing) and being ready to believe that a seemingly very dangerous pair (an unscrupulous mass murderer and a forgetful werewolf) may mean no harm at all while they are still in a position to harm several kids for whom the school and the teachers are responsible (and even the unbiased observer himself).

Probably even Dumbledore would have put safety before fairness in Snape's place. But then Dumbledore would also have had the kind of authority over them that Snape could not even dream of.



mona amon - Feb 18, 2010 10:11 am (#2962 of 2988)
Nor would an objective person be thinking, "Lupin is such a wonderful teacher! And he's always seemed so sincere! Surely he must be trustworthy."

Because that's not objective. That's biased thinking based on pre-conceived notions and liking someone who always seemed nice. (Wynnleaf)


I guess no one is truly unbiased. But members of the staff like Flitwick are more likely to be biased in Lupin's favour. After all, they'd be led by DD's example, and Lupin himself is as you say, likeable.

But it doesn't really matter. Even if the scene looked suspicious to him, and he had hidden in a corner and watched for a while and then sprung out and revealed himself just as Severus did, our observer (never mind now whether he's biased or unbiased), since he's not as spitting mad as Severus was, would probably have bound Lupin and Sirius, but he wouldn't have had a "mad glint in his eye". He wouldn't have been "beyond all reason". He'd most probably have allowed the kids to get a word in, after he had bound the other two. He wouldn't have said anything about the Dementor's kiss. He would definitely not have convinced himself that the kids has been confunded, since there was no reason to believe that.

And back in the hospital wing, he wouldn't have insisted that Black had planted a fairy tale in Potter's mind. He would not have told Hermione to hold her tongue.

As for the rest of it, it's difficult to speculate about exactly what would have happened when we substitute our 'observer' in Severus's place. It may have been one thing, or it may have been another. But with Dumbledore believing Black, and the kids telling their story, and observer telling his version which would no doubt be different from Severus's (without all the nonsense about the kids being confunded and will the kiss be performed immediately?), who knows, Sirius may have been cleared, especially if observer had got a chance to see Pettigrew.



wynnleaf - Feb 18, 2010 7:07 pm (#2963 of 2988)
One the whole, I think a level headed, mostly unbiased person would have bound Lupin and Sirius both, probably been quite suspicious of the whole thing, and taken them all to Dumbledore.

I don't think an unbiased staff member would have trusted Lupin just because DD did, because that person would have heard about Lupin deceiving DD all year. Surely an adult, unbiased and level-headed staff member would know that DD wasn't infallible. We the readers know it, because we know DD trusted what turned out to be the fake-Moody; was tricked for several years by the Marauders as they ran about the countryside and even trusted James enough to make him Head Boy all the while clueless as to James' activities; and was very sure he could trust Lupin when in fact Lupin was keeping very important info from Dumbledore. Surely, even without knowing those examples, an experienced and level-headed staff member would know that DD's trust wasn't infallibly correct.

In any case, I would agree that a level headed person who wasn't in the process of completely losing their temper would have probably heard Lupin and Sirius' comments. Nevertheless, Peter might still have escaped because once Lupin and Sirius were tied up (and surely any objective person should have done that), Peter could have run off. So Lupin and Sirius, immediately bound, would have told their story, but without the proof of Peter there as evidence.

As for what would happen when they got back to Hogwarts, I think we need to recall that DD did not seem to share his thoughts with Fudge in POA. And also recall in GOF that Barty, Jr. was kissed by dementors even with a level-headed Snape and McGonagall trying to stop it.

So if Peter escaped anyway -- and why wouldn't he as soon as Lupin and Sirius were bound? -- there'd be no way to prove the truth to Fudge. DD would probably know that Fudge was the sort who might have Sirius kissed immediately (indeed he wanted to do that in POA), so DD would probably have arranged Sirius' escape as he did in POA.

In the end, I don't think Snape's being spitting mad, disbelieving Lupin and Sirius, or having a lot of nasty things to say had much of any effect on the ultimate outcome of the situation. After all, the kids got Snape out of the way very quickly, and yet the whole thing still fell apart with Peter escaping.

The only thing that could have changed matters would be if Snape (or some outside observer) had not just been unbiased, but had actually trusted Lupin and Sirius, allowed them to stay free and even keep their wands, thus enabling them to watch over Peter and make sure he didn't escape until they could tell their story.

But letting the fellow even DD thought to be a mass murderer and the fellow who was about to turn into a werewolf, stay free and possibly even keep wands would be foolhardy. Prudence would seem to dictate binding them in some way. And so Peter would have escaped regardless.



mona amon - Feb 19, 2010 9:43 am (#2964 of 2988)
In any case, I would agree that a level headed person who wasn't in the process of completely losing their temper would have probably heard Lupin and Sirius' comments. Nevertheless, Peter might still have escaped because once Lupin and Sirius were tied up (and surely any objective person should have done that), Peter could have run off. So Lupin and Sirius, immediately bound, would have told their story, but without the proof of Peter there as evidence. (Wynnleaf)

Peter wouldn't have escaped as long as he was in the form of a rat because Ron was holding him too tightly. He doesn't escape in the book even after Lupin is gagged and bound, and Sirius has a wand pointing at his heart.

I think it's quite likely that Observer would have listened to Sirius, Lupin and the kids. It would have taken only a minute, and there was no danger if Lupin and Sirius were bound. So he decides to perform the transforming spell on Peter just to see if what they said was true, and finds that it is indeed the case.

He tackles Peter with the kids' help, and binds him too. Convinced now that they're telling the truth, he releases Sirius and Lupin and they all set out. Lupin transforms, and Peter escapes. Lets assume that everything happens as it actually does in POA after that.

Back at the castle, DD and Fudge hear the story, but the true story this time. DD takes no chances. Fudge is too biased. He's just as anxious as Severus for the Dementors to perform the kiss immediately, though for different reasons. He first arranges for Sirius's escape. Then he sets about convincing Fudge. With the word of an adult eyewitness together with the kids, DD has a good chance of convincing Fudge that Sirius is innocent because it would now be in Fudge's interest to clear Sirius's name. The public will take the news of Sirius's escape better if it's proved that he's harmless. On the whole I think Sirius would have had a good chance of being proclaimed innocent.

On the other hand, who knows? Observer may have got eaten up by the rampaging werewolf and never lived to tell the tale...Umm...not sure where we're going with this, LOL!



wynnleaf - Feb 19, 2010 9:13 pm (#2965 of 2988)
Hm...

On the other hand, listening to Lupin and Sirius' story, taking the time to transform Peter, etc., all takes time. Meanwhile the moon rises.

By the time the story was finished being told (and the part with Snape angry and then getting knocked out didn't really take but a minute or so), Lupin would still not have transformed. So then they'd have the choice of taking everyone out of the tunnel or not, or leaving Lupin in the shack. We don't know whether binding a werewolf is a temporary measure or something that could last quite a while after the transformation.

So the third adult would have to deal with: 1. Lupin bound and about to transform, so he can't help with anything and instead must be carried or levicorpused out. 2. Sirius released by this time as Peter is seen to be alive - but Sirius still the same rash person who suggested binding Peter to the 13 year old with the broken leg. I tend to assume that if he was that foolish in the book, he'd still be just as foolish with a third objective person around. 3. 13 year old with broken leg who really needed help to get back to the castle. 4. Dementors outside who will still attempt to attack Sirius. 5. Two other 13 year old kids.

So they set out. They come out of the tunnel. Lupin transforms. He's bound, but we don't know if that makes him harmless or just buys everyone time to get away fast. Dementors may attack being after Sirius. Peter being bound achieves little as he can transform (Sirius transforms without a wand). So I don't see having an objective person around necessarily solving the problem.

While I know it's easily possible to come up with scenarios where Peter doesn't escape, I think we often see opinions where Snape's hatred of Sirius and the Marauders is the deciding factor of whether or not Peter gets caught in the end. And I don't think that's true. Because there are too many other factors, especially with Lupin about to change, Peter able to escape any binding by transforming to a rat, Ron with his broken leg, and the dementors in the area wanting to attack Sirius. Not to mention everyone else they might run into -- Fudge, aurors, dementors, and even DD -- already assuming until evidence proves otherwise that Sirius is a mass murderer and Peter dead.



wynnleaf - Feb 20, 2010 6:42 am (#2966 of 2988)
"What ifs" are interesting because in this case we can think through whether Snape's hatred really caused the problems at the end of POA.

If Snape had never come at all -- never even followed Lupin -- all the same things would have occurred with Lupin changing into a werewolf and Peter escaping.

Snape's hatred and bitter threats about calling the dementors inspired the kids to use expelliarmus which knocked him out. But since his never coming at all would have produced the same ultimate result (Peter escaping), his coming did little to change the outcome.

You could say that if Snape had stayed calm and listened it might have helped. You could also say if everyone had quit arguing with Snape and just let him take them all up to the castle then perhaps Ron would have held on to Scabbers and ultimately DD and Fudge would have gotten the truth. On the other hand, Snape might have still run into the problems of Lupin transforming, dementors attacking, etc.

Snape certainly is extremely furious and his hatred, if nothing else, scares the kids into knocking him out.

What I don't agree with is the interpretation that some put on Snape's actions -- that his hatred is the primary reason for Peter's escape and Sirius staying a presumed murderer.



mona amon - Feb 20, 2010 6:54 am (#2967 of 2988)
While I know it's easily possible to come up with scenarios where Peter doesn't escape, I think we often see opinions where Snape's hatred of Sirius and the Marauders is the deciding factor of whether or not Peter gets caught in the end. (Wynnleaf)

I believe that Pettigrew would almost certainly have escaped, whether Severus (or some other adult) had heard them out or not. The scenario in my previous post included Peter escaping. ("Convinced now that they're telling the truth, he releases Sirius and Lupin and they all set out. Lupin transforms, and Peter escapes." #2964)

Even if Severus (I think it's better we bring it back to him now) had been more calm and objective, in the rush of astonishing revelations he would still have forgotten that Lupin was soon to transform. After all, everyone else including Lupin himself had forgotten.

If someone had remembered, then Lupin would have stayed behind in the Shack (That was the original purpose of the Shack anyway, to contain a transformed Werewolf), but that was not likely to happen. So I think, whichever way you look at it, Peter would certainly have escaped.

But if Severus had heard their story and seen Scabbers turn into Peter with his own eyes, then he'd have had a completely different story to relate to Fudge. He wouldn't have convinced the Minister that the kids were confunded by Black, and his evidence would'nt have been as easy to dismiss as that of the 13 year old kids.

Edit: Cross post! I don't think anyone blamed Severus's hatred for Peter's escape, Wynnleaf. As far as I know, I'm the only one here who's arguing that there may have been a different outcome (though not about Peter's escape) if Severus hadn't been so fanatical.



wynnleaf - Feb 20, 2010 8:46 am (#2968 of 2988)
I don't think anyone blamed Severus's hatred for Peter's escape, Wynnleaf. (mona)

No, you didn't. However, I have many times seen (even on this thread in the past), a general notion of "if only Snape had been willing to listen then..... " And I don't think there is a much more positive outcome that would have occurred "if only" Snape had listened.

Snape's anger and hatred did get in the way of an objective response. But even if he'd been objective, he'd have been unlikely to be calm, since he would have gone into the room needing to at least assume, until proven otherwise, that he was facing a mass murderer and his cohort and about-to-transform werewolf.

Since practically no one could remain calm in all that, Lupin's transformation would likely still have been forgotten.

In my opinion, it would be Snape's hatred of Lupin-as-werewolf that would make his remembering the transformation more likely, but that hatred keeps Snape from giving Lupin any benefit of doubt as regards his culpability.



Orion - Feb 20, 2010 11:15 am (#2969 of 2988)
Snape should/could have arrived in the Shack with a dripping goblet and "Take your bloody potion Lupin! Oh, a rat. Ugh. Avada Kedavra!" But that's fanfic territory.



Julia H. - Feb 20, 2010 3:38 pm (#2970 of 2988)
My children have recently watched the PoA movie again, and this is what my nine-year-old son said: "Why didn't they Stun Pettigrew? That way he would not have been able to transform, and they could have levitated him just as they levitated Snape." I think he has a point. Sirius and Lupin knew Pettigrew could change into a rat, therefore binding him was useless, especially when Pettigrew was being guarded by a werewolf soon to transform himself and a kid with a broken leg.

Snape at least reminded Lupin of his imminent transformation, so Snape's appearance in the Shack could actually have been useful if anyone had remembered the warning.

Besides, Sirius and Lupin wanted to kill Pettigrew in the first place, only Harry prevented them. Without Harry, they would have completely destroyed the only real evidence of Sirius being innocent. After that, they let Pettigrew escape. (With the Dementors nearby, the safest thing would have been to Stun Pettigrew and send Lupin's Patronus to Dumbledore, asking him to come.)

Anyway. In the end, it is Snape who takes the kids and Sirius into the castle. The time when Harry overhears Snape's conversation with Fudge seems to be the time when Dumbledore is talking with Sirius privately. That suggests that Dumbledore met Sirius before Snape told his evidence to Fudge. Since Dumbledore also knows Snape's version of the story when he visits the children in the Hospital Wing, it is perfectly possible (even if we cannot know for sure) that Snape took Sirius to Dumbledore in the first place, and Fudge may have been notified only afterwards, or maybe he was in the same place as Dumbledore (it is late at night but that does not usually prevent Dumbledore from working).

The difference between an objective observer and Snape seems to come down to this: It is possible that an objective observer would have seen Pettigrew because he would have listened to the werewolf and the alleged murderer. I think it is also possible that an objective observer would have insisted on getting everyone into the castle first, where they could have had Dumbledore transform Pettigrew, for example. But Pettigrew might still have escaped.

As for Snape, his main fault seems to be not having seen Pettigrew. Why did not he see him? Because he had to be knocked out. Then again, once he was knocked out and disarmed, Lupin and Sirius were in control again. What did they do about Snape?

This is what Lupin says: "Er - perhaps it will be best if we don't revive him until we're safely back in the castle."

It suggests they could revive him, but they prefer not to. Sirius apparently enjoys having Snape's head bump into the ceiling all the way. What could happen if they chose to revive Snape? They could show him Pettigrew to start with. (A disarmed Snape would not be very dangerous, but they could also bind him if they thought it necessary.) If Snape had realized that it was indeed Pettigrew who had betrayed Lily, he might have wanted to help them get him to the Dementors. But even if they did not trust him quite that much, at least Snape would have seen Pettigrew alive, and he would have seen that Sirius was going into the castle voluntarily. He still would have hated Sirius, but I'm sure he would not have deceived anyone about Pettigrew being alive, so his evidence would have been different and in accordance with the children's.

All in all, it would have been much wiser to keep Snape conscious (even if bound) and keep Pettigrew unconscious (bound or not). Unfortunately, Sirius and Lupin did their best to eliminate all the evidence that could have proved Sirius's innocence; and their short-sighted treatment of Snape is due just as much to their own prejudice as to Snape's.



wynnleaf - Feb 20, 2010 7:30 pm (#2971 of 2988)
Wow, Julia, that was an excellent post!

I had thought in the past that Sirius' desire to kill Peter, even while Peter was a rat, would have destroyed the possibility of exonerating himself.

But I have never considered what Lupin and Sirius should have done after the kids knocked Snape unconscious. And you're right. Lupin's comment shows that they could have revived him if they'd wanted to. They could have taken his wand, transformed Peter, and then woken Snape to see the evidence.

Since we know that Snape eventually did reluctantly accept Sirius' innocence and membership in the Order, it seems likely that he'd have accepted Sirius' innocence if he'd seen Peter. Sure, he'd have still hated Sirius, but he would have realized he was innocent.

Then Lupin and Sirius would have had another capable adult able to guard Peter, protect everyone against the dementors, get wounded Ron and (hopefully) unconscious Peter to the castle, etc.

But in Lupin and Sirius' own bias against Snape -- never believing that in the fight against Voldemort and Death Eaters Snape could actually be trusted -- they keep Snape unconscious while allowing Peter, the truly dangerous one, to simply be bound.

I have always thought that there was plenty of blame all around for the adults, but had always considered Lupin and Sirius' share of the blame primarily in their blatantly antagonistic attitude toward Snape, practically guaranteed to make him even more angry and less likely to trust them. Imagine if Sirius and Lupin had talked to the kids the same way, with insults and derision. Would the kids have trusted them?

But I had never considered the way Lupin and Sirius' bias kept them from showing evidence to a very capable adult wizard and getting his help.



mona amon - Feb 20, 2010 10:52 pm (#2972 of 2988)
Interesting points, everyone!

I had thought in the past that Sirius' desire to kill Peter, even while Peter was a rat, would have destroyed the possibility of exonerating himself. (Wynnleaf)

Sirius was far more interested in killing Peter than in exonerating himself. If he had succeeded, he'd have only himself to blame for his continuing fugitive status.

it seems likely that he'd have accepted Sirius' innocence if he'd seen Peter. Sure, he'd have still hated Sirius, but he would have realized he was innocent.

One cannot reason with a man who is "beyond reason". You cannot try to change the mind of a man who has only one fixed idea in his head, "get him to the Dementors for a little kiss." If they had restored him to consciousness and shown him Peter, he'd only have believed that some black magic was afoot, and they'd have had two fully conscious enemies to deal with instead of one. And anyway, they didn't know they were going to lose Peter on the way, did they? IMO, Lupin was instinctively right when he decided not to revive Severus.

But in Lupin and Sirius' own bias against Snape -- never believing that in the fight against Voldemort and Death Eaters Snape could actually be trusted -- they keep Snape unconscious while allowing Peter, the truly dangerous one, to simply be bound.

Lupin and Sirius's bias against Severus was reasonable, based on the way he was behaving at that moment, not on ancient schoolboy grudges. Forgetting about turning into a werewolf, not knocking out Peter etc are tactical errors or human errors that perhaps deserve their share of blame, but are quite different from Severus's mistakes.

I think we can come up with any number of might-have-been, could-have-been, should-have been scenarios. IMO, the one which has the most interesting philosophical implications is Wynnleaf's "If Snape had never come at all -- never even followed Lupin -- all the same things would have occurred with Lupin changing into a werewolf and Peter escaping." I agree with this, mostly. Of course in that case Fudge wouldn't have been fed the fairy tale about Black confunding the kids, but he, being biased himself, would probably have ignored the kids' evidence anyway.

So if it's all the same to the outcome whether Severus had come to the Shack or not, why do I blame him for his blind rage? Because that sort of vindictive hatred can only cause harm, to himself and others. The fact is that he was there, and there was a possibility of a different outcome if he had listened. But he did not listen to what any of those five people were trying to tell him. He did twist and distort the reality of what he saw to fit his own fanatically held beliefs. He would have behaved differently if he hadn't been so blinded by hatred which he ought to have resolved a long time back.

After this, the what-ifs are all for Severus himself to speculate about, as soon as he learns the facts, and if he's introspective at all (which I doubt ). What if I had believed the kids? What if I had listened to what they were trying to tell me? What if Sirius Black had recieved the Dementor's Kiss? What if I hadn't planted that story about the kids being bewitched in the Minister's mind? Do I need all this on my conscience?



Steve Newton - Feb 21, 2010 4:34 am (#2973 of 2988)
Julia, I think that you are right. If Snape had known that Peter was alive he would have been seriously ticked off at him. He still would not have been thrilled with Sirius. But, I wonder. In OOTP Dumbledore tells Harry that Sirius would not become angered by Snape's tauntings. (Its been a while since I have read this so I might have some of the details wrong.) Does this suggest that Snape did not hate Sirius because of any old school activities but only because Sirius was believed to have been responsible for the death of Lily?

(If this makes no sense please feel free to ignore. Its 6:30 and I was up late. The mind is a bit cloudy.)



Julia H. - Feb 21, 2010 12:23 pm (#2974 of 2988)
Steve, I think Snape hated Sirius both for the school activities (there were some pretty serious things there) and because he thought him the traitor who had betrayed Lily to Voldemort. I tend to think that while he believed Sirius to be the traitor, it was the more important reason to hate him. He still disliked Sirius later, when he knew that they were on the same side in the war, but he did not want to get him killed or captured.

Some more thoughts about the unbiased observer: It just occurred to me that an absolutely unbiased observer might not have wanted to go to the Shack at all, because he would not have seen anything to worry about after discovering Sirius and Lupin being with some students in the building. But perhaps that unbiased observer would have come from the Moon since the whole British wizarding community was strongly biased against Sirius at least.

A more likely observer, who would have been unbiased towards Lupin only, but still would have thought Sirius to be a mass murderer (without having any personal feelings towards him), would probably have remembered that Sirius was a very dangerous Death Eater and the first prisoner ever to have broken out of Azkaban, so he might have called the Dementors (or notified the Ministry, which would have amounted to the same thing) right after noticing the name "Sirius Black" on the map, and he might have arrived at the Shack with the Dementors (who were specifically stationed there to catch Sirius), with the likely outcome that a Dementor would have kissed Sirius before he would have been able to say "Pettigrew". (Lupin's wand was in his belt, so I am not at all sure that he would have been able to cast a Patronus in time.) It was probably the personal nature of Snape's hatred that made him want to catch Sirius (and Lupin) single-handedly instead of alerting the Ministry and/or the Dementors at once.

Blind rage and vindictive hatred are indeed unhealthy, but I don't think that Snape alone should take the blame for it. Sirius did and had done quite enough to fuel it (not to mention what Snape believed him to have done), and Sirius himself was feeling the same blind rage and vindictive hatred, making it even more difficult for Snape to cool down and listen to him. When Snape was disarmed and unconscious, they chose to bump his head all the way into the ceiling of the tunnel instead of trying to convince him of the truth, because they simply did not think they might need him as a witness on their side. They were wrong.



Hieronymus Graubart - Feb 21, 2010 2:03 pm (#2975 of 2988)
If an unbiased observer (or Snape) had seen the name "Sirius Black" on the map, he should also have noticed the name "Peter Pettigrew", and everything would have been changed.

The map doesn't show the Shrieking Shak, it only shows the beginning of a tunnel which seems to lead to Hogsmeade (POA 10, page 144 Bloomsbury). Remus Lupin stayed in his office until Sirius drew Ron and Pettigrew into this passage (POA 17, page 255 Bloomsbury). It is nearly impossible that Snape (or an unbiased observer in his place), who entered the office later, could still see Sirius on his way to the shak.

Snape followed Remus because he knew the history of the Shrieking Shak and assumed that Lupin would meet his old friend Black there. Snape may have seen Harry and Hermione (but not Sirius, Ron and Pettigrew) on the map, but it's more probable that he didn't expect to find kids at the Shrieking Shack.

An unbiased observer seeing only Professor Lupin disappearing in a secret passage below the Whomping Willow, or Lupin following Harry and Hermione into this passage, would not have had any reason to follow (except curiosity).



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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:44 pm

Julia H. - Feb 21, 2010 2:36 pm (#2976 of 2988)
So anyone to go to the Shrieking Shack at all, had to be suspecting Lupin of some wrongdoing in the first place!

BTW, Snape only says "Once glance at it told me all I needed to know."

So we don't know what exactly he saw, only that he did not look very long. But it is a good point that the Shrieking Shack is not on the map, so Snape could not see anyone who was already there, and since he arrived last, it makes sense that he had simply seen Lupin going into the tunnel. Hm... perhaps he went after Lupin at first only to tell him to go back and drink his potion? It seems there would still have been time to do it. Then he found the Invisibility Cloak, and realized that Potter was with Lupin, too? And jumped to the conclusion that Sirius could be there as well? Could he perhaps think that Potter had been tricked into going down the tunnel so that he would find himself face to face with an escaped Death Eater who wanted to murder him or with a transformed and dangerous werewolf (who had perhaps failed to take his potion on purpose) or maybe with both?



wynnleaf - Feb 21, 2010 7:55 pm (#2977 of 2988)
An unbiased observer seeing only Professor Lupin disappearing in a secret passage below the Whomping Willow, or Lupin following Harry and Hermione into this passage, would not have had any reason to follow (except curiosity). (Hieronymus Graubart)

Very interesting point. In other words, only someone quite suspicious of Lupin would have even bothered to follow at all. So an unbiased person wouldn't have gone at all.

Lupin and Sirius's bias against Severus was reasonable, based on the way he was behaving at that moment (mona amon)

There was nothing wrong with "the way he was behaving at that moment" other than his very high state of anger. That's it. His "fanatically held beliefs" aren't fanatical at all. He believed Lupin wasn't to be trusted (true) and that Sirius was a mass murderer which everyone else had believed up to that point. Nothing fanatical about it. The only thing extreme was his degree of personal hatred and even that isn't any more fanatical than Harry's hatred of Sirius up to that point.

Remember my comment about the way Lupin and Sirius talked to the kids versus the way they talked to Snape? I think if Sirius and Lupin had talked to the kids the way they talked to Snape - deriding Harry's opinions, acting like he was some sort of fanatical idiot -- would Harry have stopped and listened to Sirius and or Lupin? Probably not. However, Lupin and Sirius talked to the kids with respect. They did not do so to Snape.

I'm not saying that Snape would have reacted just like Harry if they'd talked to him differently. I am saying that Harry's hatred of Sirius wasn't "fanatical" either - instead it was based on his belief that Sirius had betrayed his parents to their death, a very similar reason for Snape's hatred. If Sirius had treated Harry with insults and derision, Harry's hatred would likely not have seen past that to actually listen to Sirius -- not because Harry's hatred was fanatical, but because it is a normal human response to face the supposed betrayer of a dead loved one with hatred, and to hear that person act nastily and react with even greater anger.

Now, would Snape have listened if Lupin and Sirius had used enervate and woken him up? Well, they could have bound him and taken his wand until they'd shown him Peter.

Why would he believe it was some black magic? We are never shown any magic that can raise the dead or otherwise create a living, breathing facsimile of a dead person. And later at the end of GOF -- even before he'd seen Peter alive -- Snape begrudgingly accepts that Sirius is on their side.

And remember, after Snape woke up he didn't have some fanatical hatred driving him to call dementors. No, instead he put Sirius on a stretcher (not levicorpus) and took him into the castle along with the kids.

My point is that we see Snape acting with high emotion at a very emotional moment when he thinks he's in great danger and when he thinks he's facing the betrayor of Lily, as well as having to be the sole person to take over a situation, bring the criminals to the authorities, and guard the kids as well. Through the series we do see Snape loose his temper on occasion. But he doesn't stay wildly out of temper, not does he do wild, irrational things. None of his beliefs about Lupin and Sirius were irrational. If he were calm and objective he might have listened more, but he wasn't acting irrationally in his beliefs that Sirius was a murderer and Lupin had betrayed DD's trust and helped Sirius. So if they'd shown him Peter, I don't see any reason to think he'd irrationally believe it was not Peter he was seeing.



mona amon - Feb 23, 2010 1:57 am (#2978 of 2988)
In OOTP Dumbledore tells Harry that Sirius would not become angered by Snape's tauntings. (Its been a while since I have read this so I might have some of the details wrong.) Does this suggest that Snape did not hate Sirius because of any old school activities but only because Sirius was believed to have been responsible for the death of Lily? (Steve)

Steve, maybe you're thinking about the time after Sirius's death when Harry is with DD in his office? Harry accuses Severus of goading Sirius, and DD tells him that Sirius was too old to have allowed such feeble taunts to bother him. Severus continues to show hatred for Sirius throughout OOTP (and the hatred is mutual), but only contempt for Peter.

There was nothing wrong with "the way he was behaving at that moment" other than his very high state of anger. That's it. His "fanatically held beliefs" aren't fanatical at all. He believed Lupin wasn't to be trusted (true) and that Sirius was a mass murderer which everyone else had believed up to that point. Nothing fanatical about it. The only thing extreme was his degree of personal hatred and even that isn't any more fanatical than Harry's hatred of Sirius up to that point. (Wynnleaf)

Maybe "he was fanatical about what he believed" is a better way of putting it. Or just plain fanatical. He may have believed only what everyone else would have believed, but he was the only one who was fanatical about it.

Harry hated Sirius as the betrayer of his parents, but he was willing to change his mind when he was presented with new evidence. That proves he was not fanatical. Fanatics are not those who merely have wrong beliefs, but those who refuse to change their minds no matter what.

Some phrases from the book -

...his eyes now gleaming fanatically...

...looking suddenly quite deranged...

...there was a mad glint in Snape's eye that Harry had never seen before. He seemed beyond reason.

However, Lupin and Sirius talked to the kids with respect. They did not do so to Snape.

I don't see this. They all talked to Severus in a polite and even pleading way, initially. It's only after he refuses to listen at all that Lupin calls him a fool, and Harry calls him pathetic.

Why would he believe it was some black magic?

Probably he wouldn't. That was just my suggestion as to how he'd explain away the fact that Wormtail was standing in front of him, alive and well. But I'm certain he would've found some way to convince himself that he was being tricked. He was too anxious to believe the culprits were Sirius and his cohort Lupin. Maybe he'd have thought they had confunded him as well.

And later at the end of GOF -- even before he'd seen Peter alive -- Snape begrudgingly accepts that Sirius is on their side.

By that time the information had time to sink in. And he hadn't just woken up after getting bonked on the head. But why would they want to wake up a person who refused to listen and was making difficulties just to show him Peter? They had no idea they'd be needing him as an eyewitness. They were more anxious to get Peter to the castle as fast as possible and show him to the rest of the world.

No, instead he put Sirius on a stretcher (not levicorpus) and took him into the castle along with the kids.

Yes, the bonk on the head and subsequent bonks on the roof of the tunnel seem to have cooled him down a bit. But he knew Sirius was going to be kissed and was very anxious that it should be done.

My point is that we see Snape acting with high emotion at a very emotional moment when he thinks he's in great danger and when he thinks he's facing the betrayor of Lily, as well as having to be the sole person to take over a situation, bring the criminals to the authorities, and guard the kids as well.

He was acting like one gone berserk. I'm sure that if it had been Wormtail he'd gone after, he'd have acted in a far more rational manner.



wynnleaf - Feb 27, 2010 8:06 am (#2979 of 2988)
How exactly do you make a distinction between calling Snape "fanatical" while Harry only has hatred? Yes, Harry was willing to look at the evidence.

But when Harry first comes in, Harry continues to assume Black is the traitor and hates him, even hearing Sirius tell Ron to be still so he won't hurt his leg more. And he assumes Black's comments are taunts and evidence of his guilt. Then he has Sirius on the ground and his wand pointed at him.

Sirius tries to say

‘I don’t deny it,’ he said, very quietly. ‘But if you knew the whole story –’

‘The whole story?’ Harry repeated, a furious pounding in his ears. ‘You sold them to Voldemort, that’s all I need to know.’

So here's once Sirius offers to tell the "whole story" and Harry says he knows all he needs to know. Then again...

‘You’ve got to listen to me,’ Black said, and there was a note of urgency in his voice now. ‘You’ll regret it if you don’t ... you don’t understand ...’

‘I understand a lot better than you think,’ said Harry, and his voice shook more than ever. ‘You never heard her, did you? My mum ... trying to stop Voldemort killing me ... and you did that ... you did it ...’

Sirius again tried to tell Harry that he doesn't know the truth. He asks Harry to listen. But does Harry listen? No. Once again he assumes he already knows the truth "I understand a lot better than you think."

Harry raised the wand. Now was the moment to do it. Now was the moment to avenge his mother and father. He was going to kill Black. He had to kill Black. This was his chance ...

Well, still no willingness to listen even after two pleas from Sirius.

Then Lupin rushes in and Harry loses his wand. Lupin seems to act strangly, asking Sirius odd questions about "where is he?" and Harry is mystified, but still assuming (in spite of two requests by Sirius to listen to the truth) that Sirius is the traitor and killer. Then...

Next moment, he had walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother.

Surely this will make Harry get past his hatred and be willing to listen, right? After all, in spite of twice ignoring Sirius' plea to hear the truth, Harry only has "hatred", not fanaticism. But no.

Harry could feel himself shaking, not with fear, but with a fresh wave of fury.

‘I trusted you,’ he shouted at Lupin, his voice wavering out of control, ‘and all the time you’ve been his friend!’

Nope, Harry is still full of hatred. He assumes Lupin is a traitor as well.

Lupin begs to be allowed to explain. ‘You’re wrong,’ said Lupin. ‘I haven’t been Sirius’s friend for twelve years, but I am now ... let me explain ...’

Now is where Harry looks past his hatred and listens, right? Nope.

Hermione reveals that Lupin's a werewolf and Ron is appalled. But Harry listens, right? No. He still assumes Lupin is a traitor:

‘AND HE WAS WRONG!’ Harry yelled. ‘YOUVE BEEN HELPING HIM ALL THE TIME!’ He was pointing at Black

I have not been helping Sirius,’ said Lupin. ‘If you’ll give me a chance, I’ll explain. Look –’

He separated Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s wands and threw each back to its owner; Harry caught his, stunned.

And this is what makes Harry consider listening. Not four pleas from both Sirius and Lupin.

Harry didn’t know what to think. Was it a trick?

So Lupin starts to give explanation and answers some of Harry's questions. Harry believes him, right? Wrong.

Then Ron voiced what Harry was thinking. ‘You’re both mental.’

Harry hasn't started to believe them. Harry has started to simply think they're mental.

He listens more and starts to think maybe there's something to what they're saying, right? Wrong. He still doesn't believe them at all.

Harry looked down at Ron, and as their eyes met they agreed, silently: Black and Lupin were both out of their minds. Their story made no sense whatsoever. How could Scabbers be Peter Pettigrew? Azkaban must have unhinged Black after all – but why was Lupin playing along with him?

They then listen to a lot more of the story. Now remember, throughout all this disbelieving on Harry's part -- four times where he directly refuses to listen to Sirius and Lupin, and then through much more where he listens but simply thinks they're crazy, Sirius and Lupin always speak more or less respectfully toward Harry.

Now Snape:

He enters with accusations. Lupin tries to speak:

‘Severus –’ Lupin began, but Snape overrode him.

Snape goes on and then Lupin makes the first plea for Snape to listen:

‘Severus, you’re making a mistake,’ said Lupin urgently. ‘You haven’t heard everything – I can explain – Sirius is not here to kill Harry –’

Snape, completely unsurprisingly and exactly like Harry, assumes he knows the truth already and doesn't think he needs to hear explanations. But surely Lupin keeps trying like he did with Harry, right? Wrong.

‘You fool,’ said Lupin softly. ‘Is a schoolboy grudge worth putting an innocent man back inside Azkaban?’

That's right, antagonize Snape. So Snape ties Lupin up.

Then Black, surely, tries to plead with Snape, right? Wrong.

With a roar of rage, Black started towards Snape

Great for winning Snape's willingness to listen to an explanation.

So Snape, thinking he's being attacked by a crazed murderer, points his wand and says: "‘Give me a reason,’ he whispered. ‘Give me a reason to do it, and I swear I will.’

This is clearly berzerk right? Well, no, I think anyone might try to defend themselves against a mass murderer. So now Black will try to get Snape to listen, right? Well, no.

Hermione tries to get Snape to listen -- this is the second time anyone tries to get Snape to hear an explanation. Snape tells her to be quiet. He still thinks he knows all he needs to know. (Remember, Harry was asked 4 times to listen, and each time he denied to request.) Hermione suggests maybe there's "some mistake" -- like Snape would believe this after he thinks Black just tried to rush him, a kid is laying there wounded, Lupin's about to switch to a werewwolf. So he yells at Hermione. He points his wand at Black, similarly to how Harry had Sirius at wandpoint earlier with intent to kill him.

‘Vengeance is very sweet,’ Snape breathed at Black. ‘How I hoped I would be the one to catch you ...’

How is this greater hatred than Harry had a little earlier when he had his wand out and planned to kill Sirius?

So Black tries to reason with Snape, just like he did Harry, right? Wrong.

‘The joke’s on you again, Severus,’ Black snarled.

This shows Black's overall goodwill.... yeah.

. ‘As long as this boy brings his rat up to the castle –’ he jerked his head at Ron, ‘– I’ll come quietly ...’

Naturally, given Black's show of good faith in charging at Snape and insulting him, Snape should accept this request, right? Hm.

So Snape rejects that and says he'll call the dementors instead. A crazed notion? Isn't that what the Ministry put the dementors there for? To get Black in case he showed up?

Sirius finally decides to offer up a plea that isn't antagonistic.

‘You – you’ve got to hear me out,’ he croaked. ‘The rat – look at the rat –’

But there was a mad glint in Snape’s eye that Harry had never seen before. He seemed beyond reason.

Harry thinks Snape's glint looks "mad" and he seems "beyond reason", but actually Snape is no more beyond reason than Harry had been earlier when after 4 nice requests for Harry to listen, he still refused and only listened after Lupin gave their wands back and then thought they were "mental" and didn't believe Lupin or Sirius until after long explanations.

So Snape starts to take them all out of the Shack. Harry then offers up the first actual reasonable comment to Snape -- if Lupin was dangerous why didn't he kill me wh



wynnleaf - Feb 27, 2010 8:08 am (#2980 of 2988)
How exactly do you make a distinction between calling Snape "fanatical" while Harry only has hatred? Yes, Harry was willing to look at the evidence.

But when Harry first comes in, Harry continues to assume Black is the traitor and hates him, even hearing Sirius tell Ron to be still so he won't hurt his leg more. And he assumes Black's comments are taunts and evidence of his guilt. Then he has Sirius on the ground and his wand pointed at him.

Sirius tries to say

‘I don’t deny it,’ he said, very quietly. ‘But if you knew the whole story –’

‘The whole story?’ Harry repeated, a furious pounding in his ears. ‘You sold them to Voldemort, that’s all I need to know.’

So here's the first time Sirius offers to tell the "whole story" and Harry says he knows all he needs to know. Then again...

‘You’ve got to listen to me,’ Black said, and there was a note of urgency in his voice now. ‘You’ll regret it if you don’t ... you don’t understand ...’

‘I understand a lot better than you think,’ said Harry, and his voice shook more than ever. ‘You never heard her, did you? My mum ... trying to stop Voldemort killing me ... and you did that ... you did it ...’

Sirius again tried to tell Harry that he doesn't know the truth. He asks Harry to listen. But does Harry listen? No. Once again he assumes he already knows the truth "I understand a lot better than you think."

Harry raised the wand. Now was the moment to do it. Now was the moment to avenge his mother and father. He was going to kill Black. He had to kill Black. This was his chance ...

Well, still no willingness to listen even after two pleas from Sirius.

Then Lupin rushes in and Harry loses his wand. Lupin seems to act strangly, asking Sirius odd questions about "where is he?" and Harry is mystified, but still assuming (in spite of two requests by Sirius to listen to the truth) that Sirius is the traitor and killer. Then...

Next moment, he had walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother.

Surely seeing Lupin's response will make Harry see past his hatred and be willing to listen, right? After all, in spite of twice ignoring Sirius' plea to hear the truth, Harry only has "hatred", not fanaticism. But no.

Harry could feel himself shaking, not with fear, but with a fresh wave of fury.

‘I trusted you,’ he shouted at Lupin, his voice wavering out of control, ‘and all the time you’ve been his friend!’

Nope, Harry is still full of hatred. He assumes Lupin is a traitor as well.

Lupin begs to be allowed to explain. ‘You’re wrong,’ said Lupin. ‘I haven’t been Sirius’s friend for twelve years, but I am now ... let me explain ...’

Now is where Harry looks past his hatred and listens, right? No.

Hermione reveals that Lupin's a werewolf and Ron is appalled. But Harry listens, right? No. He still assumes Lupin is a traitor:

‘AND HE WAS WRONG!’ Harry yelled. ‘YOUVE BEEN HELPING HIM ALL THE TIME!’ He was pointing at Black

I have not been helping Sirius,’ said Lupin. ‘If you’ll give me a chance, I’ll explain. Look –’

He separated Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s wands and threw each back to its owner; Harry caught his, stunned.

And this is what makes Harry consider listening. Not four pleas from both Sirius and Lupin.

Harry didn’t know what to think. Was it a trick?

So Lupin starts to give explanation and answers some of Harry's questions. Harry believes him, right? Wrong.

Then Ron voiced what Harry was thinking. ‘You’re both mental.’

Harry hasn't started to believe them. Harry has started to simply think they're mental.

He listens more and starts to think maybe there's something to what they're saying, right? Wrong. He still doesn't believe them at all.

Harry looked down at Ron, and as their eyes met they agreed, silently: Black and Lupin were both out of their minds. Their story made no sense whatsoever. How could Scabbers be Peter Pettigrew? Azkaban must have unhinged Black after all – but why was Lupin playing along with him?

They then listen to a lot more of the story. Now remember, throughout all this disbelieving on Harry's part -- four times where he directly refuses to listen to Sirius and Lupin, and then through much more where he listens but simply thinks they're crazy, Sirius and Lupin always speak more or less respectfully toward Harry.

Now Snape:

He enters with accusations. Lupin tries to speak:

‘Severus –’ Lupin began, but Snape overrode him.

Snape goes on with the accusations and then Lupin makes the first plea for Snape to listen:

‘Severus, you’re making a mistake,’ said Lupin urgently. ‘You haven’t heard everything – I can explain – Sirius is not here to kill Harry –’

Snape, completely unsurprisingly and exactly like Harry, assumes he knows the truth already and doesn't think he needs to hear explanations. But surely Lupin keeps patiently trying like he did with Harry, right? Wrong.

‘You fool,’ said Lupin softly. ‘Is a schoolboy grudge worth putting an innocent man back inside Azkaban?’

That's right, Remus, antagonize Snape. Just the thing to get him to listen. So Snape ties Lupin up.



wynnleaf - Feb 27, 2010 8:08 am (#2981 of 2988)
Then Black, surely, tries to plead with Snape, right? Wrong.

With a roar of rage, Black started towards Snape

Great move for winning Snape's willingness to listen to an explanation.

So Snape, thinking he's being attacked by a crazed murderer, points his wand and says: ‘Give me a reason,’ he whispered. ‘Give me a reason to do it, and I swear I will.’

This is clearly berzerk right? Well, no, I think anyone might try to defend themselves against a mass murderer. So now Black will try to get Snape to listen, right? Well, no.

Hermione tries to get Snape to listen -- this is the second time anyone tries to get Snape to hear an explanation. Snape tells her to be quiet. He still thinks he knows all he needs to know. (Remember, Harry was asked 4 times to listen, and each time he denied the request, assuming he already had the truth.) Hermione suggests maybe there's "some mistake" -- like Snape would believe this after he thinks Black just tried to rush him, a kid is laying there wounded, Lupin's about to switch to a werewolf. So he yells at Hermione. He points his wand at Black, similarly to how Harry had Sirius at wandpoint earlier with intent to kill him.

‘Vengeance is very sweet,’ Snape breathed at Black. ‘How I hoped I would be the one to catch you ...’

How is this greater hatred than Harry had a little earlier when he had his wand out and planned to kill Sirius?

So Black tries to reason with Snape, just like he did Harry, right? Wrong.

‘The joke’s on you again, Severus,’ Black snarled.

This shows Black's overall goodwill, just the thing to get Snape to think maybe he should hear Black out.... uh, yeah.

‘As long as this boy brings his rat up to the castle –’ he jerked his head at Ron, ‘– I’ll come quietly ...’

Naturally, given Black's show of good faith in charging at Snape and insulting him, Snape should accept this request, right? Hm.

So Snape rejects that and says he'll call the dementors instead. A crazed notion? Isn't that what the Ministry put the dementors there for? To get Black in case he showed up?

Sirius finally tries a plea that isn't antagonistic.

‘You – you’ve got to hear me out,’ he croaked. ‘The rat – look at the rat –’

But there was a mad glint in Snape’s eye that Harry had never seen before. He seemed beyond reason.

Harry thinks Snape's glint looks "mad" and he seems "beyond reason", but actually Snape is no more beyond reason than Harry had been earlier when after 4 nice requests for Harry to listen, he still refused and only listened after Lupin gave their wands back and then thought they were "mental" and didn't believe Lupin or Sirius until after long explanations. I wonder if Harry would have been as willing to listen if Lupin and Sirius had instead said things to Harry like, "You fool!" and "the joke's on you" and implying that Harry's hating the supposed traitor was just a schoolboy's "grudge"?

So Snape starts to take them all out of the Shack. Harry then offers up the first actual reasonable comment to Snape -- if Lupin was dangerous why didn't he kill Harry when he had the chance? Snape gives little credence to that argument, but plans to continue taking the prisoners out. So Harry tries to reason rationally again, right? Wrong.

‘YOURE PATHETIC!’ Harry yelled. ‘JUST BECAUSE THEY MADE A FOOL OF YOU AT SCHOOL YOU WON’T EVEN LISTEN –’

Whereupon a shouting match ensues followed by all the kids using expelliarmus and Snape getting knocked out.

Personally, I don't think Snape was acting any more "fanatical" than Harry acted, except Harry's assumptions of Sirius' guilt and his unwillingness to listen was met with patience, whereas Snape's was met with insults. Later, Snape was no more "bezerk" than Harry was. They were both simply furious and yelling at each other, not mad or bezerk.

Snape's feelings toward Sirius -- hatred, assumptions of Black's guilt, desire to kill him, disbelief of extraordinary excuses -- were the same thing Harry felt. But Harry's responses were met with patient explanations while Snape's were met with insults, accusation, and shouting.



Julia H. - Feb 27, 2010 9:10 am (#2982 of 2988)
Excellent analysis, Wynnleaf!

Yes, Harry's feelings and Snape's feelings are very similar and these feelings have very similar origins, too; but they are met with very different responses. I think it shows the various biases of the characters. Lupin and Sirius are clearly biased towards Harry and against Snape. Harry is James's son after all, and his anger and mistaken beliefs about Sirius seem to be justified. (Of course, he believes Sirius to be the murderer, after all, everyone does. Of course, he is furious when he thinks he is facing the traitor who got his parents killed. Of course, he wants to kill the supposed traitor, after all he is a Potter.) Snape, however, seems to have no right to the same things. OK, they don't know about Snape's most personal reason to hate the traitor. But they seem to think that Snape - even though everyone in the wizarding world believes Sirius to be an escaped mass murderer and even though Snape's past experience with Sirius and Lupin does not exactly encourage trust - should just be patient and trusting when they tell him to listen, without Sirius and Lupin doing anything to prove that they are trustworthy in the first place - as they did with the Trio when Lupin handed them back their wands and when they continued to treat them with respect.

What is more, while Harry (unlike Snape) receives only respect from Sirius and Lupin, Snape also knows how Sirius talked about him a few minutes ago when they did not know Snape was present. Even with the respect with which Harry is treated by Lupin and Sirius, I wonder how easy it would be to persuade Harry to listen if Harry had heard them talk about him with spite and contempt behind his back just a little while ago.

I think both Lupin and Sirius find it extremely important to truly convince Harry about Sirius's innocence for entirely personal reasons. In the case of Snape, all they want is to avoid being captured by him. They want Snape to know the truth only while he is directing his wand at them. Otherwise they do not care, because they do not respect him. I'm quite sure Sirius would have wanted Harry to find out the truth finally even without the Shrieking Shack scene. These different attitudes (really trying to convince one because his opinion is important and simply trying to shake off the other) are palpable in their behaviour.

Your analyis shows the similarity between Harry's fury and Snape's fury. Without such a detailed analysis, it is not very easy to see that - because we observe everything through Harry's eyes. No wonder he will regard his own anger as completely reasonable, and he will notice the "mad glint" in Snape's eyes only, but not in his own. Snape arrives late, when Harry is already willing to listen to Sirius and Lupin. It is quite possible that Harry would not have found anything unreasonable in Snape's behaviour a little earlier if Snape had been in the Shack then.



mona amon - Feb 27, 2010 9:48 am (#2983 of 2988)
Wow, Wynnleaf, that was some post!

I've only skimmed through it. I'll read it properly tomorrow and get back to you. Now I'm off to bed.



wynnleaf - Feb 27, 2010 9:52 am (#2984 of 2988)
It is quite possible that Harry would not have found anything unreasonable in Snape's behaviour a little earlier if Snape had been in the Shack then. (Julia)

That's interesting to imagine. If Snape had arrived only moments after Lupin and before Lupin gave back the wands, I think the outcome would have gone extremely different.

The kids would have seen Snape as correctly going after Lupin who looked to be in league with the mass murderer. And Lupin and Sirius would have been unlikely to be rational and patient with Harry because Harry's anger and Snape's, as well as their intent (both Harry and Snape wanting to kill Sirius) would have seemed very similar. They'd have likely still insulted Snape's assumptions and intentions, which would have sounded like an insult to Harry's beliefs as well. Basically, I don't think they'd have ever won Harry's willingness to hear them out, because they'd have been too busy acting antagonistic.



mona amon - Feb 27, 2010 10:53 pm (#2985 of 2988)
How exactly do you make a distinction between calling Snape "fanatical" while Harry only has hatred? Yes, Harry was willing to look at the evidence. (All italicised quotes are Wynnleaf's)

I think you're forgetting an important point. Harry didn't have a vested interest in believing that Sirius was the murderer and traitor, and that Lupin was helping him all along. Yes, he did believe all these things at some point or other, but he didn't love the thought of their guilt so much that he wasn't willing to change his mind when new evidence came up. Severus on the other hand was absolutely delighted at the thought that he'd been right about Lupin all along, and that DD was wrong. It's not easy to change the mind of a man who's gloating about something like that. That's what makes the difference.

Well, still no willingness to listen even after two pleas from Sirius.

Come on, you can't blame Harry for not listening to a crazy mass-murderer. What evidence did he have that Black was not guilty? He had dragged Ron in to the Shack, presumably to lure Harry there, had started off by expelliarmusing their wands, and nothing he said would have convinced anyone that he was an innocent man. In all this, no one can blame Harry for not being surprised at his fleeting concern about Ron's leg. That evidence is too feeble. (Severus on the other hand had the evidence of three unharmed kids who were clearly in full possession of their senses, pleading with him to listen to their story.)

After this Lupin bursts in and starts acting strangely. Hermione mentions that he's a Werewolf, and suspicion falls heavily on him as well. All perfectly understandable. Why should they trust Lupin at this point? What evidence has he offered them that he's not aiding and abetting his old buddy?

Then Lupin gives them the first bit of evidence. He returns their wands. This doesn't automatically remove their suspicions, but no one's fanatical anymore. They give Lupin a chance to talk. They even ask questions. It was nothing to do with the way they were being spoken to. It was the hard evidence of Lupin returning their wands that convinced them to listen.

"That's right, Remus, antagonize Snape. Just the thing to get him to listen."

"Great move for winning Snape's willingness to listen to an explanation."

"This shows Black's overall goodwill, just the thing to get Snape to think maybe he should hear Black out.... uh, yeah."


How they spoke to him is not relevant. Why should he trust a mass murderer and his cohort even if they were speaking to him ever so politely? It's his blindness to the other evidence I'm talking about.

So Snape ties Lupin up.

Perfectly understandable. But why does he gag him? Does he think he's going to shout for help? Or is he afraid he might offer some convincing argument about Sirius's innocence that he does not want to hear?

a kid is laying there wounded, Lupin's about to switch to a werewolf.

He had no idea Ron was injured. He seems to have forgotten that Lupin was going to switch.

Remember, Harry was asked 4 times to listen, and each time he denied the request, assuming he already had the truth.

But he was being asked by a supposed mass murderer. Not by one of his supposed hostages.

Harry then offers up the first actual reasonable comment to Snape -- if Lupin was dangerous why didn't he kill Harry when he had the chance? Snape gives little credence to that argument,

Why not? Seems like quite a credible argument.

And Lupin and Sirius would have been unlikely to be rational and patient with Harry because Harry's anger and Snape's, as well as their intent (both Harry and Snape wanting to kill Sirius) would have seemed very similar. They'd have likely still insulted Snape's assumptions and intentions, which would have sounded like an insult to Harry's beliefs as well. Basically, I don't think they'd have ever won Harry's willingness to hear them out, because they'd have been too busy acting antagonistic.

Well, if Severus had entered before Harry had been convinced, then he, like Harry, could not have been blamed for not believing the words of mass murderer and sidekick, because there was no evidence to make what they were saying believable. However, that was not the case. The fact is that by the time he entered, the kids did feel that Lupin deserved to be heard, and were pleading with him to listen.



Julia H. - Feb 28, 2010 5:13 am (#2986 of 2988)
Severus on the other hand was absolutely delighted at the thought that he'd been right about Lupin all along, and that DD was wrong.

But that goes back to how he had been treated by them earlier and also right there in the Shack. Harry had no such history with Sirius. Sirius treated Harry with respect.

He had no idea Ron was injured.

Why not? Did he have the impression that Ron was comfortably taking a nap? With his broken leg and his various worries (about themselves, later about Scabbers) Ron must have looked rather unhappy.

He seems to have forgotten that Lupin was going to switch.

He reminds Lupin that he forgot to take his potion. Later he binds Lupin (not Sirius), which may indicate that he remembers very well that Lupin is about to transform.

Then Lupin gives them the first bit of evidence. He returns their wands. This doesn't automatically remove their suspicions, but no one's fanatical anymore.

Lupin and Sirius had the chance to offer a similar gesture to Snape after Snape was disarmed. If they revived him before going back to the castle and showed him Pettigrew, proving that they wanted to convince him about the truth even when Snape was not dangerous any more, and explained that they were all going to the castle, Snape would have had a similar piece of evidence that Harry got. It would not have removed all suspicion at once, but the startling new information (and evidence) would have made Snape calmer.

Severus on the other hand had the evidence of three unharmed kids who were clearly in full possession of their senses, pleading with him to listen to their story.

Severus also had the evidence of Black breaking into Gryffindor Tower with a knife twice in that school-year. Sirius may be at the moment telling the kids (and Snape) that he is innocent but he made no attempt for months to prove his innocence to anyone. Nor has Lupin ever mentioned anything about Black all year round and now he is talking to him in a perfectly friendly manner. (There is nothing to indicate that they have not met any number of times in a similar way in the past few months.) If they have been innocent all along, why haven't they tried to prove it to anyone? If they have not bothered to prove it to any adults so far, why are they now trying to convince three children of all people?

Let's imagine a similar situation in real life:

You find three children you are responsible for in amicable conversation with an especially dangerous mass murderer and his friend (who can also be quite dangerous though in a different way). You know that this mass murderer has recently tried to commit further crimes in a student dormitory. You also happen to have known this mass murderer for a long time, and remember how he almost got you killed once, not by murdering you directly, but by tricking you into going to a place where you could easily have been killed by someone else. The mass murderer has just given proof that he definitely does not regret the trick. (Nor does he mention that he regrets anything else he has done, by the way.) You also think you have proof that this mass murderer used to be a spy, who deceived and betrayed both his own best friend and the wisest, cleverest man you know. Now the three kids seem to trust him.

What is your first thought? "Oh this must be a nice fellow after all, since he has not hurt these particular kids yet. I must have been wrong about him all along." Or: "I wonder what tricks he is up to now. The kids should not believe him, but, of course, they are not the first ones he has deceived."

Pettigrew does not kill Harry or any other kids during the many years he spends at Hogwarts as a rat, but that does not make him trustworthy. In GoF, Crouch Jr. does not kill Harry for a whole year because he wants to get him to Voldemort alive. Snape knows that Voldemort is trying to regain his power. Snape knows that Harry is a special enemy to Voldemort and Death Eaters in general. It is not at all unreasonable to suppose that the fact that the children are still alive may simply mean that Black has other plans with them. Since Black managed to hoodwink Dumbledore, tricking three kids into trusting him (for example, by telling Harry how cool his father was) cannot be very difficult. Even that the kids get their wands back may not mean much if they were Confounded first, for example, or if Black's primary purpose is not killing them but making them go with him or do something else for him.

So I think the three kids being alive is the only piece of evidence Snape has that Black is innocent, and it is rather weak when weighed against all the evidence to suggest that he is guilty. Sirius and Lupin could give him more evidence if they wanted. Instead, they further antagonize him by treating him with contempt and hostility.



Julia H. - Feb 28, 2010 5:54 am (#2987 of 2988)
The main piece of evidence against Sirius is that he was allegedly the Potters' Secret Keeper. The Fidelius Charm could only be broken when the Secret Keeper became a traitor. Snape knows that the Fidelius Charm was broken. Everything else follows from that. The only way Sirius can be innocent is if the Secret Keeper was someone else. But Sirius (and James) made others (including Dumbledore) believe that the Secret Keeper was Sirius. As a consequence, to prove his innocence and trustworthiness, Sirius has to confess to deceit. What is more, the main evidence of his innocence (Pettigrew) is also evidence of Sirius having broken the law (as an illegal Animagus). It is a difficult situation. I am not surprised that Snape is not easily convinced just because the three kids are alive.



wynnleaf - Feb 28, 2010 6:47 am (#2988 of 2988)
Edited by Potteraholic Feb 28, 2010 6:35 am
I think you're forgetting an important point. Harry didn't have a vested interest in believing that Sirius was the murderer and traitor, and that Lupin was helping him all along. Yes, he did believe all these things at some point or other, but he didn't love the thought of their guilt so much that he wasn't willing to change his mind when new evidence came up. Severus on the other hand was absolutely delighted at the thought that he'd been right about Lupin all along, and that DD was wrong. It's not easy to change the mind of a man who's gloating about something like that. That's what makes the difference. (mona)

First, I don't blame Harry at all for going through 4 different pleas for him to listen and yet still not listening and assuming he already knew the truth. But nor do I blame Snape for the same thing.

Neither has a "vested interest" beyond simple hatred. Snape's hatred is greater in the sense that he actually knew Sirius and Lupin and had personal reasons to dislike them, but one could also say that Harry's loss was greater (his parents and having to grow up with the nasty Dursleys) and therefore his hatred was greater because of what he'd suffered from the supposed traitor's actions.

The point is that the degree of hatred is the only "vested interest" and it really doesn't matter whose hatred is greater. They both actually do the same things. They both have an intense desire to kill Sirius or otherwise see him dead. They both refuse to listen to numerous pleas. They both shout and yell at the people trying to explain.

The biggest differences in the reasons for their ultimately differing responses (Harry eventually listening and Snape not), is that everyone treated Harry with respect, even when he wasn't believing them, whereas Sirius and Lupin (the people who everyone wanted Snape to believe were good guys) were insulting and antagonizing Snape.

Severus on the other hand was absolutely delighted at the thought that he'd been right about Lupin all along, and that DD was wrong. It's not easy to change the mind of a man who's gloating about something like that. (mona)

"Delighted" isn't exactly correct. Snape was not actually happy about it, he was too angry to be happy. He was satisfied that he felt he was proven correct in his suspicions. Your assumption that it would be hard to change his mind is purely assumption. We don't actually know because Snape was never actually shown the evidence. He might, as far as we know, have changed his mind in seconds if he'd seen Peter alive. We know he did change his mind even without seeing Peter alive. We just don't know when and how he changed his mind.

The assumption that Snape would never have listened even if he hadn't been insulted and antagonized, and even if Lupin and Sirius had woken him up later and shown him Peter is simply assumption based on an evaluation of his fury and actions at the time. But what we actually see in the story is that Snape responded almost exactly like Harry, except that he was being antagonized by Lupin and Sirius and got knocked out and didn't hear as much of the explanations as Harry did.

Julia makes excellent points showing that Snape, regardless of the kids comments, had very good reasons to continue to believe in the guilt of Sirius and Lupin.

Edit: This is the last post of this thread. A new thread has been started, and until it is moved to the proper place, it will be found in the 'New Threads' section near the bottom on the Main Page.



Last edited by Mona on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Vol. 8

Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:02 pm

Severus Snape Vol. 8 (posts from February 28, 2010 to August 8, 2010)


.+ Severus Snape
Potteraholic - Feb 28, 2010 6:31 am
Edited by Kip Carter Feb 28, 2010 12:29 pm
This is the eighth thread for Severus Snape, who is one of the most controversial characters in the Harry Potter series, and because of this controversy, the messages in his thread grow at a huge rate.

Please review the preceding thread for the on-going discussion. *** Do Not Post unless you are adding to the discussion! ***

The first thread Severus Snape (posts from Aug 29, 2003 to Nov 6, 2003) accumulated 644 messages in the 74 days since our return to the World Crossing (WX) system. The original thread had 620 messages on November 10, 2003 with the last message that day being Post #620 by Ovate. In an effort to consolidate some similar messages on another thread, The vacancy Snape wished to fill... was moved to the end of the original thread and the 24 messages of that thread start at Post #621 and continue to the end where I have stopped any further posts.

The second thread started on November 11, 2003 and continued to October 22, 2004 when it was closed out with 2957 messages. The second thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from Nov 11, 2003 to Oct 22, 2004).

The third thread started on October 22, 2004 and continued to September 19, 2005 when it was closed with 2980 messages. The third thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from Oct 22, 2004 to Sep 19, 2005).

The fourth thread started on September 19, 2005 and continued to August 12, 2006 when it was closed with 2969 messages. The fourth thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from Sep 19, 2005 to Aug 12, 2006).

The fifth thread started on August 12, 2006 and continued to August 2, 2007 when it was closed with 2959 messages. The fifth thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from Aug 12, 2006 to Aug 2, 2007).

The sixth thread started on August 2, 2007 and continued to July 23, 2008 when it was closed with 2617 messages. The sixth thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from Aug 2, 2007 to July 23, 2008).

The seventh thread started on July 24, 2008 and continued to February 28, 2010 when it was closed with 2988 messages. The seventh thread was renamed Severus Snape (posts from July 24, 2008 to February 28, 2010).

Note: I strongly suggest that everyone read my Jan 18, 2007 Edited Jan 23, 2007 post before adding your next message. (Kip Carter)


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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:14 pm

wynnleaf - Feb 28, 2010 8:03 am (#1 of 42)
Mona amon,

Reading back over my last post, I thought I'd better clarify something. When I commented on things being "purely assumption" or "simply assumption", I'm not trying to put that down. What I was trying to say is that Harry and Snape both were responding almost exactly the same way at the end of POA. We don't get to see how Snape would have responded if Lupin and Sirius had been as patient of his disbelief as their were with Harry. Nor do we get to see what would have happened if he'd seen Peter. We don't know that he would have responded much differently from Harry.

You are saying (I think) that Snape would still have not listened to Sirius and Lupin even if they hadn't been talking about him in a nasty way before he unveiled himself, hadn't made insults, snarled and rushed at Snape (Sirius), and instead done like Lupin when he gave the kids back their wands -- done something calm and conciliatory. But we don't actually have evidence that supports that because we aren't given any actions or responses or emotions in Snape that are any more extreme than Harry's actions, responses and emotions.

I can understand that a reader might believe that Snape hates Sirius and Lupin so much he'd never listen no matter what. But we actually have evidence that later, he did believe them. And we don't have any specific evidence that it took some extraordinary persuasion to get him to believe it.

So basically, I'm saying Snape should get the benefit of the doubt. Unless we know he wouldn't have eventually listened to them if they'd given him the same respect, lack of aggression, etc., that they gave Harry or unless we know that he wouldn't have believed them if they'd woken him up and shown him Peter, I think it's more reasonable to think he'd have the same response that Harry did. I think this is especially so because he otherwise does indeed act and respond like Harry in that situation.

On a somewhat different note, Snape and Harry have a lot of similarities throughout the book. I think we, the readers, don't notice that much because we always see things from Harry's eyes and therefore think of him differently. I don't mean their personalities are exactly the same, but they do have a lot of similarities.



Julia H. - Feb 28, 2010 8:55 am (#2 of 42)
I think it is also important that Sirius and Lupin did not simply treat Harry with respect, but their respect and benevolence towards him were genuine, and Harry's opinion was truly important to them. Therefore their respect and benevolence did not only appear in their words but in the non-verbal aspects of communication as well, lending credibility to what they were saying.

When Snape appeared, he experienced deep-rooted hostility and contempt even in those few moments when Sirius and Lupin tried to talk to him decently. If Snape had been given some strong evidence of Sirius's innocence, he might have reacted differently. (I don't think we can blame him for something that he might or might not have done in an imagined situation.) As it happened, with all the evidence of Sirius's guilt and his perceived history of deceit and this air of mutual distrust and hatred, there was very little to cast any doubt on Sirius's guilt.

Harry, on the other hand, experienced (first-hand!) credible gestures of benevolence and trust, and that was what he responded to.



Potteraholic - Feb 28, 2010 8:59 am (#3 of 42)
Wow! The thread is just under 3 hours old, and 2 posts already!

Edit: and now this makes the 3rd!



Potteraholic - Feb 28, 2010 12:51 pm (#4 of 42)
Edited Feb 28, 2010 2:03 pm
Thanks for moving this thread, Kip! And I'm going to toot my own horn here about opening up this new thread (since no one else did ). I guess folks just think (continued) threads just appear here by magic. With all the links that needed to be updated in the header and the dates that needed to be changed there, too, I didn't realize that it wouldn't be as simple as starting another thread. I think I'll leave well enough alone next time, and let someone else tackle it.

Edited.



wynnleaf - Feb 28, 2010 6:37 pm (#5 of 42)
Potteraholic,

Oh, I should have thanked you for starting it!! I know Kip does it, but I just assumed it was something you must do a lot as well. Anyway, getting it going so fast helped us to keep the conversation going -- very much appreciated!



mona amon - Feb 28, 2010 8:26 pm (#6 of 42)
Yay!!! New Snape thread! Thanks Kip and PAH!

Mona amon,

Reading back over my last post, I thought I'd better clarify something. When I commented on things being "purely assumption" or "simply assumption", I'm not trying to put that down. What I was trying to say is...


Don't worry Wynnleaf! I didn't for a moment think you were putting anything down. I'll reply as soon as I get the time.



Potteraholic - Feb 28, 2010 9:27 pm (#7 of 42)
Thanks, wynnleaf and mona.

I know Kip does it, but I just assumed it was something you must do a lot as well. ~ wynnleaf

Even if it is something that I do a lot, which it isn't, not on this Forum, anyway, a word of thanks doesn't go amiss in my humble opinion. I think that should be the case whenever anyone continues an existing thread on here, Kip or otherwise. At least, that's what I try to do, as it takes a few more minutes to do than a regular post because of the links, etc. I welcome anyone to try it next time... one doesn't have to be a Host to do so. But I don't want to belabor the point, or use up any more posts discussing this.

On to the current Snape debate, which I will respectfully abstain from!



mona amon - Mar 2, 2010 8:41 am (#8 of 42)
"Delighted" isn't exactly correct. Snape was not actually happy about it, he was too angry to be happy. He was satisfied that he felt he was proven correct in his suspicions. (Wynnleaf)

I felt his feelings about it were closer to delight than anything else, but I cannot prove it. However he was definitely not particularly angry in the beginning, when he first stepped out of the cloak. And he was definitely triumphant. He is described as such in the book. Whatever Harry felt, it was not triumph at the fact that Lupin was aiding and abetting Black, and that he was the one to catch them. Severus was also finding vengence sweet. He says so. Harry doesn't find anything sweet about it all.

What I'm trying to say is, Harry hated the betrayer of his parents, but he did not care whether the betrayer was Black or not. So he does not stop his ears when new evidence came up that the betrayer was probably not Black after all.

Severus on the other hand was getting too much satisfaction from the fact that old enemy Black was a wanted criminal and that he was the one to catch him, and that he was right about old enemy Lupin all along, while DD was wrong. He wasn't willing to give up this satisfaction so easily. So he fanatically refuses to listen to anything that might possibly prove him wrong.

Lupin's and Harry's rudeness to Severus was IMO a response to this clearly evident fanaticism. They know, from his facial expressions, that he was too focussed on avenging himself for the way they treated him in school.

They both refuse to listen to numerous pleas. They both shout and yell at the people trying to explain.

The big difference is that Harry was refusing to listen to, and shouting and yelling at, a supposed mass murderer and betrayer and his assistant, while Severus was refusing to listen to, and shouting and yelling at, three innocent kids.

You are saying (I think) that Snape would still have not listened to Sirius and Lupin even if they hadn't been talking about him in a nasty way...

I'm actually not saying he should have listened to Lupin and Sirius at all, initially. What proof did he have that they were not what he believed them to be? But he should have listened to the kids, after binding Lupin. He could have bound Black too.

So I'm not saying he should have believed Sirius and Lupin. I'm not even saying he should have believed the kids instantly and completely. I'm only saying that he should have allowed the kids to have their say, after he had Lupin and Sirius under control.



Julia H. - Mar 2, 2010 2:55 pm (#9 of 42)
Lupin's and Harry's rudeness to Severus was IMO a response to this clearly evident fanaticism. (Mona)

But how do they speak about Snape before he even appears? Sirius has not seen him for about 15 years, he knows nothing about Snape's "fanaticism", and yet:

"Snape?" said Black harshly, taking his eyes off Scabbers for the first time in minutes and looking up at Lupin. "What's Snape got to do with it?"

That is just when Snape's name has been barely mentioned. Then they talk about the Prank, with Lupin just describing it as a trick which nearly killed Snape. And right then:

Black made a derisive noise. "It served him right," he sneered.

And what does Lupin say about Snape to James Potter's son?

"Jealous, I think, of James's talent on the Quidditch pitch.

When in reality, it was more like "James was bullying Snape from day one at school," but Lupin ascribes the whole enmity to Quiddditch rivalry, making it sound as though Snape was responsible for it alone.

This is not - cannot be - their response to anything Snape is going to say or do in the coming minutes.

I'm only saying that he should have allowed the kids to have their say, after he had Lupin and Sirius under control.

Perhaps he should have. But were Lupin and Sirius really under control?

Lupin was going to transform. We know that he eventually transformed before they got back to the castle (luckily, not in the tunnel - imagine that!), but I think if they had left the Shack when Snape wanted to leave, they would have been able to reach the castle and lock Lupin up before he transformed. Still, they did not have much time to lose. Snape bound Lupin - which suggests he remembered the danger very well - but even a bound werewolf was a werewolf, and would probably be difficult to keep under control.

If I had to drag, not a werewolf (and a murderer), only a particularly fierce dog and three children across a narrow tunnel, knowing that the dog would turn really dangerous within a short time, I would be in a real hurry. Even though I'm not Snape, I might tell those children to hold their tongues and hurry up if they wanted to delay all of us right then (I do not usually speak like that).

The situation in which Snape did not listen to the children was only temporarily under control - as soon as Lupin transformed, things could easily get out of hand, and they were running out of time, which the children did not realize, but Snape probably did.

Since the Potters were dead, Sirius's guilt was seemingly proven, and not even Snape could dream that James and Sirius had been mad enough to make Pettigrew the Secret Keeper while telling everyone that it was Sirius, let alone that Pettigrew was a rat - again, without anyone ever knowing about it besides the Marauders. Then there was the werewolf, just about to transform, and there were three kids actually wanting Snape to stop and lose time when they all might have to run for dear life very soon.



wynnleaf - Mar 3, 2010 3:56 am (#10 of 42)
Severus on the other hand was getting too much satisfaction from the fact that old enemy Black was a wanted criminal and that he was the one to catch him, and that he was right about old enemy Lupin all along, while DD was wrong. He wasn't willing to give up this satisfaction so easily. So he fanatically refuses to listen to anything that might possibly prove him wrong. (mona amon)

I understand what you're getting at here and you're right, that Snape was getting a kind of satisfaction from having an old enemies proven to be (as he thought) the bad guys. While, as you say, Harry didn't care so much who the bad guys were -- he'd hate whoever they turned out to be.

On the other hand, just because Snape had always hated Sirius anyway, doesn't mean that he'd have been any less likely to see the truth if Lupin and Sirius had bothered to really show him the truth -- wake him up with an enervate and show him Peter was alive. The idea that he wouldn't have believed it if the truth was staring him in the face is not supported by canon, especially when he did believe it later even before seeing any proof.

My main point here is that the usual or conventional "read" on this scene is that Snape was being unusually blind or stubborn in not listening to the explanations, whereas Harry listened and another more objective person would have listened as well. Instead, what I tried to show is that Harry was not any more willing to listen than Snape was and it took a great deal of patience on the part of Lupin and Sirius, including an actual act of trust, to get Harry to stop shouting and really listen.

Even then, would Harry have stopped and listened if he'd been as aware as Snape of the dangers? Perhaps not. And would Snape have listened if Sirius and Lupin hadn't been so insulting (even before Snape revealed himself), aggressive, and if Lupin hadn't been on the verge of changing into a werewolf? Perhaps so.

I'm only saying that he should have allowed the kids to have their say, after he had Lupin and Sirius under control. (mona amon)

Perhaps he should have. But were Lupin and Sirius really under control? (Julia)


Very good point. To the reader, we know that Sirius wasn't the traitor and therefore wasn't going to transform into a dog and run off. We know that, after all, Lupin didn't hurt anyone in the end. But Snape didn't know these things. He knew this was a situation with a lot of danger that could come from several directions. Supposedly, Sirius was a murderer who, years before, had managed to kill 13 people at once. He had recently attempted (everyone thought) to knife a student. One student was currently injured. Lupin was close to transformation into a very powerful and dangerous Dark creature whose bite could deliver a dark curse worse than Crucio.

And in this situation, Snape was supposed to bind Lupin and then let everyone, including the fellow who had murdered 13 people at once, sit back and chat for awhile? I can hardly blame Snape for completely disregarding that notion as ridiculous.

By the way -- on a side point -- why, Mona, do you think Ron's injury was not visible? Just because he was on the bed, rather than the floor? The leg was broken to the point of being at an odd angle, meaning that it was a very badly broken leg. They wouldn't have straightened it out, even when they put Ron on the bed. You don't just "straighten out" badly broken legs. Further, Ron was in a lot of pain. Wouldn't this be fairly easy for Snape to have figured out while he was watching from under the cloak and assessing the overall situation?



legolas returns - Mar 3, 2010 11:49 am (#11 of 42)
Please don't eat me if I butt in . I have been reading this thread for a while and felt it was time to add comment.

I don't believe that any of the characters had a particularly balanced and objective viewpoint in the Shreaking Shack.

Sirius has spent weeks obsessing over Peter still being alive. He is desperate to kill him.

Lupin has spent most of the term beating himself up for not revealing that Sirius is an Animagus. He wants to take his revenge out on Peter and kill him.

Snape isn't the most balanced when he catches Sirius and Lupin. He has his "told you so moment" and is not willing to listen to argument. He is still tormented by Lilys death and still holds grudges from his school days. He threatens Sirius with Dementors but at the same time he takes everyone back to the castle. His actions speak louder than his words.

Hermione and Ron are really frightened partly because of Sirius and partly because of Lupin being a Werewolf. Harry just wants revenge and is full of rage.

Snapes unwillingness to listen, his verbal attacks on all concerned (including Lupin and James) and the doubt in their minds causes HRH to make the same split second decision which results in Snape being stunned. If they hadn't attacked Snape then the truth probably wouldn't have come out.

When Peter is unmasked he looks shifty, anxious and he can tell that he is lying. Hermione is the one that starts to question things when she gets shown some evidence. Harry finally believes the story that Sirius has been trying to explain to him when he hears and sees the truth before him. I doubt it had anything to do with people talking respectfully.

Perhaps the only way to get Snape to listen would be to use Petrificus Totalus on him.

I am far from convinced that anyone except Dumbledore would be willing to a)enter the shack alone and b)hear Sirius out. Sirius was seen as top Death Eater. Most people wouldn't be going into the Shack on their own. They would let the MOM know and probably would want to get as far away as possilbe. They would think that the chances of death would far outweigh the chances of capturing Sirius alive. They would be spooked by the potential Dark Magic. Sirius did escape from Azkaban which nobody else had done.

In the situation objectivness would be impossible.



Chemyst - Mar 3, 2010 6:04 pm (#12 of 42)
We haven't had any examples of shrinks in the Wizarding World, have we?



wynnleaf - Mar 3, 2010 7:47 pm (#13 of 42)
Chemyst,

They need some, don't they?



mona amon - Mar 3, 2010 7:47 pm (#14 of 42)
I agree!

In the situation objectivness would be impossible. (Legolas)

I agree with this. No one can be truly objective, and it was a tricky situation. But no one other than Severus twisted the reality of what they were witnessing to fit their biased preconceptions.

But how do they speak about Snape before he even appears? (Julia)

Well, there's the old adage about eavesdroppers seldom hearing anything good about themselves. But that has nothing to do with why he stopped his ears to what the kids were trying to tell him.

And if he really thought that Lupin was in imminent danger of transforming, why does he stand eavesdropping for so long in the first place? He should have sprung out fairly early, after assessing the situation. Severus, like Lupin himself, seems to have forgotten he was about to transform.

On the other hand, just because Snape had always hated Sirius anyway, doesn't mean that he'd have been any less likely to see the truth if Lupin and Sirius had bothered to really show him the truth -- wake him up with an enervate and show him Peter was alive. (Wynnleaf)

Severus has already goofed up and got knocked out due to his fanatical refusal to listen. So I don't see why Lupin and Sirius have to be blamed for Severus's mistakes. If he was the only adult eyewitness available, then I'd agree with you. But they were taking Peter to the castle, to show to the whole world. Why waste time trying to ennervate and convince someone who had threatened them both with the Dementors' kiss?

what I tried to show is that Harry was not any more willing to listen than Snape was and it took a great deal of patience on the part of Lupin and Sirius, including an actual act of trust, to get Harry to stop shouting and really listen.

But Wynnleaf, isn't there a difference? Lupin and Sirius had to win Harry's trust. Severus only had to listen to the kids. As I said in my previous post, "The big difference is that Harry was refusing to listen to, and shouting and yelling at, a supposed mass murderer and betrayer and his assistant, while Severus was refusing to listen to, and shouting and yelling at, three innocent kids.

By the way -- on a side point -- why, Mona, do you think Ron's injury was not visible?

It's from his comment , "Come on, all of you, I'll drag the werewolf..." when he's calling the kids to leave the Shack. If he'd known he was injured, he'd have gone to him and, expert healer that he was, repaired Ron's leg with a swish of his wand. This line also shows he still does not remember that Lupin is about to transform. Otherwise he'd have left him in the shack instead of trying to drag him out into the moonlight.

Whatever the danger from a murderer of 13 people and his Werewolf cohort, Severus himself seems to think he has the situation under control.



wynnleaf - Mar 3, 2010 7:53 pm (#15 of 42)
Severus only had to listen to the kids. (mona amon)

How many sane adults would stand around and listen to several thirteen year old kids who are saying they should all trust the mass murderer and the about-to-transform werewolf who has just admitted to deceiving the headmaster of the school and endangering kids all year?

I"m not saying you're crazy!! I mean that if we adults were actually in a situation with 13 year old kids telling us the mass murderer in the room wasn't a threat and we should all sit back and listen to his story -- well, how many adults would do that?

And all this with a supposedly highly dangerous murderer and his possible accomplice, both of whom had admitted to truly deceiving even Dumbledore?

Snape -- whether overcome with fury or as purely rational as possible -- would be right to not listen to the kids at all and instead take everyone to the castle.

Granted, Snape didn't say he was going to take them all to the castle. He said he was going to call the dementors and have Sirius kissed. So I don't blame the kids for the expelliarmus. But in reality, Snape did not call out the dementors. Most probably, he would have done exactly what he later did do -- take them all to DD. And that is the most wise decision, not hoping the 13 year old children were right and the supposed mass murderer wasn't really any threat after all.

If he'd known he was injured, he'd have gone to him and, expert healer that he was, repaired Ron's leg with a swish of his wand. (mona amon)

We are never told Snape is a healer, but that he was knew more about dark arts and spells than Madam Pomfrey. Ron was not injured by a dark spell.

Severus himself seems to think he has the situation under control. (mona amon)

I don't see why Snape giving directions on what he planned to do about taking them all out showed he thought he had the situation "under control" -- as though Snape thought the danger was gone. Of course any responsible adult with some ability would do something and attempt to organize the situation. That doesn't mean the adult thinks they have it all "under control". What's he supposed to do? Throw up his hands? Of course not. He'd have to start trying to make some arrangements.

Kind of like in a fire, telling everyone to exit the building in an orderly manner doesn't mean you think you've got the situation under control.



mona amon - Mar 4, 2010 1:11 am (#16 of 42)
Ron was not injured by a dark spell.

Whether he could repair the leg or not is not really the point. I'm saying, the fact that he tells Ron (along with the others) to get up and follow him shows that he wasn't aware that his leg was broken. Lupin on the other hand, who knows Ron's leg is broken, bandages it in such a way that he can stand up and walk. Wouldn't Severus have done as much if he had known?

I mean that if we adults were actually in a situation with 13 year old kids telling us the mass murderer in the room wasn't a threat and we should all sit back and listen to his story -- well, how many adults would do that? (Wynnleaf)

I definitely wouldn't stop my ears to what they were trying to tell me, just because they were 13 year olds, and I bet you wouldn't, either. What we wouldn't do is automatically believe them and say "OK let's unbind the mass murder and his cohort and sit down and listen to what they have to say", and I'm certainly not expecting Severus to have done that. What he could at least have done is tell the kids he didn't believe them, but to come along to the castle and tell their story to Dumbledore.

But what does Severus do instead? "Shut up, shut up! I refuse to listen to a word that you say. I'm taking these two to the Dementors!" Those may not be his actual words, but something like that. Add the mad glint in his eye, and no wonder the kids attacked him, resulting in his getting knocked out.

And all this with a supposedly highly dangerous murderer and his possible accomplice, both of whom had admitted to truly deceiving even Dumbledore?

Snape -- whether overcome with fury or as purely rational as possible -- would be right to not listen to the kids at all and instead take everyone to the castle.


What about later, when they try to explain in the hospital wing? There was no danger then, but Severus still refuses to listen.



wynnleaf - Mar 4, 2010 7:42 pm (#17 of 42)
What about later, when they try to explain in the hospital wing? There was no danger then, but Severus still refuses to listen. (mona amon)

In the hospital wing Snape did not appear to have heard the story directly from Sirius, nor did he appear to have heard the complete story, just the basics. He isn't presented with any evidence.

Besides, he's just woken up from being unconscious for some length of time -- knocked out by the very kids he's now supposed to think of as trustworthy? And he probably figured out that Lupin and Sirius didn't really do anything to "help" him out -- he didn't wake up on a stretcher like he put Sirius on later. And he knows Lupin turned into a werewolf and almost hurt people. So it's not surprising that he wouldn't be in the mood to trust any of their stories.

But Remember.... he does later accept that the story was true. Why? He accepted it even before he knew that Peter was alive. Was it just because he trusted Dumbledore to figure out the truth? If so, why? And why not immediately trust DD in the hospital wing (although actually DD did not at that time clearly say he definitely believed the kid's and Sirius' story)? As far as I can tell, the only thing that could have made Snape accept Sirius' story was simply giving it lots of consideration. Maybe he did that with DD explaining it to him, or maybe he did it alone, but he did not accept the story because of being given lots of evidence, because there really wasn't any evidence until he actually saw Peter alive. Harry's later affirmation in GOF that he saw Peter would, one might assume, have no more weight for Snape than Harry's first assertion of that at the end of POA. But since there is was no other evidence, Snape must have decided to believe the story through just thinking it through, with or without DD's additional input. But it doesn't matter. The point is that Snape was able to be convinced.

Legolas,

I did not mean that Sirius and Lupin being respecful and patient of Harry was what caused or motivated Harry to listen to them. What I meant was that if Sirius and Lupin had acted toward Harry like they acted toward Snape, it would have only antagonized Harry more and made him far less likely to hear them out.



wynnleaf - Mar 4, 2010 8:19 pm (#18 of 42)
I'm saying, the fact that he tells Ron (along with the others) to get up and follow him shows that he wasn't aware that his leg was broken. (mona amon)

Actually, he doesn't say "get up", he says,

‘Come on, all of you,’ he said. He clicked his fingers, and the ends of the cords that bound Lupin flew to his hands. ‘I’ll drag the werewolf. Perhaps the Dementors will have a kiss for him, too –’

He tells them to all "come on", but we don't get to see what else, beyond binding Lupin, he might have done because Harry interrupts. Clearly Snape wasn't just about to walk out with Lupin (expecting Sirius and the kids to follow along??), so Snape was obviously not finished in his comments and preparation to leave the Shack.

We don't actually know how Snape might have addressed moving Ron.

But we do see several descriptions of Ron throughout the scene where he is said to:

Then a horrible crack cut the air like a gunshot; Ron’s leg had broken,

On the floor beside him, clutching his leg, which stuck out at a strange angle, was Ron.

Ron moaned. His teeth were gritted with pain.

While he was still standing: Ron said weakly, though he was clinging painfully to Harry to stay upright.

Ron crawled to the four-poster and collapsed onto it, panting, his white face now tinged with green, both hands clutching his broken leg.

Ron’s ragged breathing came from on the bed

Ron made a valiant effort to get up again but fell back with a whimper of pain.

In order to move while on the bed Ron edged away from both of them, dragging his leg.

There are other comments as well. Snape would have seen this tense situation and a kid lying on the bed. Why would Ron be on the bed? Would he appear to be lounging there? Of course not. The whole scene repeatedly described the leg first as cracking with a loud snap, then being at an obviously odd angle, and then Ron as looking and acting in great pain. I think it would be obvious at a glance that the kid lying on the bed during a very tense situation was in great pain, gasping, grasping his leg, green, leg at odd angle.

So yes, I think the whole description of Ron is that his injury is quite obvious.



mona amon - Mar 5, 2010 9:12 am (#19 of 42)
Ouch!! But however painful Ron's leg was, Severus doesn't seem to have noticed. After all there were other things going on, and he was probably more focussed on Black and Lupin than the kids. Here's the relevant sequence of events -

1) He binds and gags Lupin.

2) Points his wand at Black.

3) Yells at Hermione with wand still pointed at Black.

4) Says "Come on, all of you" to the kids and takes hold of Lupin's cords.

His wand is still pointed at Black, because it doesn't say anywhere that he stopped pointing it. So with Lupin's cords in one hand, and wand aimed at Black in the other, how can he take care of Ron? He obviously didn't realise that the boy needed to be taken care of. He was going to walk out with Sirius at wand point and Lupin in bonds, and clearly expected the kids to follow.

But Remember.... he does later accept that the story was true. Why? (Wynnleaf)

IMO, it is as you say. After DD had explained, and given enough time, he must have realised that the kids were telling the truth. After all, he couldn't have gone about fanatically blocking his ears forever. Wonder what he felt about insisting that the kids were confunded, after he realised that they were trying to tell the truth.

And he probably figured out that Lupin and Sirius didn't really do anything to "help" him out -- he didn't wake up on a stretcher like he put Sirius on later.

Wouldn't he have been thankful that mass-murderer Black hadn't blown him to smithereens like the 12 muggles and Peter, instead of griping that he hadn't put him on a stretcher? And shouldn't he have wondered why?

So it's not surprising that he wouldn't be in the mood to trust any of their stories.

But Wynnleaf, you're trying to show why he wouldn't trust their stories. I'm asking why he refused to listen at all, either in the Shack, or in the hospital wing. Before you can decide whether to trust the evidence or not, you first have to hear it. This is what Severus refused to do.



wynnleaf - Mar 6, 2010 4:18 am (#20 of 42)
But Wynnleaf, you're trying to show why he wouldn't trust their stories. I'm asking why he refused to listen at all, either in the Shack, or in the hospital wing. Before you can decide whether to trust the evidence or not, you first have to hear it. This is what Severus refused to do. (mona amon)

I am actually not sure exactly what you are trying to say Snape should have done differently and why.

First, though, I was not clear enough when I said that after all that had happened before it was understandable that Snape didn't "trust" their stories. By the time of the hospital scenes, Snape had heard some aspects of the story and clearly no one had tied him down in order to have heard some of it. He and Fudge had both heard at least some of their story, even if not the full account. By "trust" I meant it was understandable that he was not at all in the frame of mind to give the slightest credence to their stories after waking up to find he'd been knocked out by the kids, etc.

More than that, I am trying to show that regardless of the reasons behind his not hearing out Sirius, Lupin, and the kids, he should not have taken the time to hear them out because of 1. the danger Lupin presented and 2. the likelihood that Sirius was indeed an extremely dangerous murderer who was deceiving the kids like he'd already deceived people like DD, the entire Order, and even his supposed best friend James.

So in my opinion, Snape should have paid no attention to what either Sirius, Lupin or the kids were saying and instead get everyone out of the Shack and back to the safety of the castle (remembering the dementors outside). Which is most probably exactly what Snape was going to do, regardless of his comments about taking the adults to the dementors. This is consistent with Snape's regular use of over-the-top threats and his later actions of taking them all to the castle.

As far as I can tell, you are trying to say that Snape had everything under control and therefore should have listened to everyone's story (and note in the book that the whole story took quite a bit of telling). And, by the way, if he had listened to their stories, they would have to convince him to be the one to turn Scabbers into a human again. Obviously no responsible adult would hand over a wand to the possible mass murderer who had deceived so many people, no matter how good his story sounded. And if the supposed mass murderer was saying to turn a rat into a human, how would Snape know for certain which human the rat would turn into if it was truly an animagus? Or even what spell might have been done on an ordinary rat to cause a problem if someone tried to turn it into a human? So Sirius and Lupin would have had to convince Snape that their story was likely true in order to get him to attempt to change the rat they said was an animagus back into a human.

Therefore, even if he'd spent time listening to their story -- time that Lupin could still transform or Sirius (admitted animagus) could change and escape or (as a supposed master of deceit) could find a way to harm others -- he'd still probably need to take the safest course and take everyone back to DD which is most likely what he was doing in the first place.

So what exactly are you saying Snape should have done differently? Do you think he should have listened to the whole story in the Shack? Or do you think he should have simply taken everyone back to DD -- which is what he did?

And if you think he should have taken everyone back to DD -- what is the problem with Snape in these scenes -- beyond his anger?

Yes, he is extremely furious. Yes, he hates Sirius and Lupin. But given the circumstances and his own temperament, that is very natural. In spite of his hate and fury, he actually is trying to do the very things, as I see it, that he should do. Granted, he shouldn't yell at the kids, but he's in a very stressful situation. Parents will often yell at their kids to get out of danger - like out of the way of a car. It's not surprising that he'd yell at the kids when he thinks a mass murderer and a werewolf are a potential threat to everyone.

Later, in the hospital wing, he's still extremely furious. He'd been out cold for a long time which means he'd had a concussion. And he blamed it on the kids and the deceiving adults who (he assumes) must have confunded them. So it's really unsurprising that he'd still be furious. And then he's worried that DD is going to believe them and somehow Sirius -- who had clearly deceived Dumbledore in the past -- is going to do it again and DD will let him escape.

But in the end, he trusts DD enough to listen to him -- even in the hospital wing while he's still very angry. Snape would have known about Hermione's time-turner -- all her teachers must have known. The Ministry knew as well, as they had approved it. After Sirius escaped and Snape accused Harry of somehow helping with it, DD commented that such a thing could only happen if it was possible to be in two places at once. It was at that point that Snape quit arguing. Why? Because DD had just given him a "heads up" that the timeturner was in use with DD's approval. Snape had to stop arguing immediately because if they risked the Ministry investigating the children's role in events, the Ministry would recall that Hermione had been issued a time turner.



Last edited by Mona on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:28 am; edited 4 times in total
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Post  Mona on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:24 pm

mona amon - Mar 6, 2010 9:34 am (#21 of 42)
By the time of the hospital scenes, Snape had heard some aspects of the story and clearly no one had tied him down in order to have heard some of it.

In between Severus's yelling and screaming at them to shut up, Sirius and the kids do manage to get some words in edgewise, but they are very few. Severus, not being deaf (though he tries to be), cannot help hearing them. But all he hears are some incoherent phrases, 'Ron's rat - Pettigrew - we saw him - faked his own death', which wouldn't be very convincing even to the most unbiased of persons. But does he allow himself to hear the evidence? No! As soon as Hermione starts to explain why he did not see Peter, he tells her to hold her tongue.

So it's not a question of Severus not trusting the evidence. He does not allow anyone to even give him the evidence.

So what exactly are you saying Snape should have done differently?

I'm not sure I'm saying he should have done anything differently. I'm trying to point out that if he hadn't still been in a time warp, still nursing his schoolboy grudges, so bent on avenging himself for what Sirius and Remus did to him in school, he would have done things differently in the Shack and later.

He would have realised, like Harry, that there was a possibility of a doubt, that things were not what they seemed. For Harry it was Remus returning their wands which convinced him, not of their innocence (he still felt it was probably a trick), but that he ought to hear them out. Severus had the evidence of three unharmed, clear eyed, unconfused kids trying to tell him that Sirius and Remus deserved to be heard.

If he wasn't so blinded by his grudges and vindictive feelings, he'd have bound Lupin, pointed his wand at Sirius, taken everyone to the castle. He would not have threatened them with the Dementors, so the kids wouldn't have knocked him out. He would not have insisted that the kids were confunded.

But in the end, he trusts DD enough to listen to him -- even in the hospital wing while he's still very angry.

Yes, this is DD, so he obeys his wishes because they are in the presence of Fudge, whether he trusts him or not.



wynnleaf - Mar 6, 2010 5:49 pm (#22 of 42)
If he wasn't so blinded by his grudges and vindictive feelings, he'd have bound Lupin, pointed his wand at Sirius, taken everyone to the castle. He would not have threatened them with the Dementors, so the kids wouldn't have knocked him out. (mona amon)

Well, here you are giving Snape a bigger benefit of the doubt than I would -- which is pretty unusual!

Snape makes nasty over-the-top threats all the time. He doesn't appear to have to be blind with hate in order to do it either. And the kids always believe him, too. They believe he's going to poison them, kill Trevor, expel Harry, you name it. I figure the only thing that would have prevented Snape making nasty threats to Sirius and Lupin -- or at least Sirius -- would have been full-scale forgiveness of Sirius and possibly even going to far as to actually respect Sirius, neither of which would have been at all likely even if Snape wasn't actively hating Sirius. Without forgiveness and even respect for Sirius, I think Snape would still have threatened him with dementors even if just to watch him squirm. And the kids would have believed he'd do it and zapped him with expelliarmus anyway.



Hieronymus Graubart - Mar 7, 2010 4:17 am (#23 of 42)
Snape quits to argue when Dumbledore hints that the time-turner was in use with his approval (Wynnleaf). Interesting, I didn't get this.

But why do you think that Hermione's teachers all must have known about her time-turner? Whatever comes from the DOM seems to be top secret. Even people who work at the Ministry, like Arthur Weasley, don't know what's going on down there. Hermione had to swear she wouldn't tell anyone (not even teachers).

I don't see a reason why more than three persons had to know about the time-turner: Hermione, McGonagall and the head of the DOM's time branch (would he/she escalate this issue to the head of the DOM or to Fudge? But this is probably for another thread).

Well, obviously DD was a fourth person to know (because McGonagall wouldn't do this behind his back). You may be right about Snape also knowing, if DD told him because Harry's protector had to know everything that possibly could relate to Harry, and Hermione was Harry's second best friend.



mona amon - Mar 7, 2010 4:38 am (#24 of 42)
I thought the teachers were usually told everything - protections for the Philosopher's stone, Remus being a Werewolf, and everything, so I've always assumed they'd have known about the time-turner. Hermione was supposed to keep it a secret from the other students. But of course the book doesn't say so...

Well, here you are giving Snape a bigger benefit of the doubt than I would -- which is pretty unusual! (Wynnleaf)

Well, LOL, now that you've mentioned it I'm thinking you could be right! But would the kids have taken it seriously? (I'm not going to get into a debate about whether Harry really thought he was going to poison him! ) The kids did not want to attack him. After all they did not really trust Sirius and Remus at this point and would have preferred to have the upper hand, with Severus in control. By attacking him, they were taking an enormous risk.

We have to remember that In the Shack scene, it's not just his threats, but his fanaticism, mad glint in the eye, etc, that convinces the kids that he's not going to listen, and they're right. Anyway, let's just say that if he wasn't fanatical and blinded by vindictive feelings and they had still knocked him out, then I wouldn't be blaming him for his part in it.



Hieronymus Graubart - Mar 7, 2010 5:52 am (#25 of 42)
Mona, where did you get the impression that Batsheba Babbling, Cuthbert Binns, Charity Burbage, Silvanus Kettleburn, Aurora Sinistra, Sibyll Trelawney or Septima Vector knew anything about the Philosoper's Stone? Filius Flitwick, Minerva McGonagall, Quirenus Quirrel, Severus Snape, Pomona Sprout and Rubeus Hagrid (not a teacher at this time) had to know only because they were involved.

All teachers had to know about the werewolf, because he was a potential danger and Lupin couldn't do much about it. He could only try to take his potion regularly, but if he failed...



mona amon - Mar 7, 2010 6:59 am (#26 of 42)
I actually didn't give it that much thought, Hieronymus, but now I recall Severus ranting freely to Filch about Fluffy, "blasted thing!" or something like that. So even Filch knew, at least about the first protection.



Julia H. - Mar 7, 2010 8:37 am (#27 of 42)
Wow, I'm a lot of posts behind! Here are some miscellaneous observations:

1. I agree that Snape is not objective (how could he be?), nor are the others. But I think his feelings are perfectly understandable in these circumstances (and given the history behind the present events), and I also think that he acts reasonably, considering what he knows and how he perceives the situation, regardless of his biased feelings.

I think with all the danger - perceived and real - in the Shack, Snape must have seen himself as the only adult who was single-handedly responsible for the outcome of the encounter. It means that he must have felt himself responsible for the life and the safety of three students, for keeping a werewolf at bay and for capturing a dangerous mass murderer. I was a huge responsibility, and in these circumstances, the most reasonable solution seemed to be to get the kids to safety and the dangerous ones to the authorities as soon as possible. Time was a very important factor with Lupin just about to transform.

2. Snape remembering Lupin's transformation:

This line also shows he still does not remember that Lupin is about to transform. Otherwise he'd have left him in the shack instead of trying to drag him out into the moonlight. (Mona)

I don't buy the argument that Lupin would not have transformed if he had not been exposed to the moonlight. This is what Lupin says about the Wolfsbane Potion:

"As long as I take it in the week preceding the full moon, I keep my mind when I transform ... I am able to curl up in my office, a harmless wolf, and wait for the moon to wane again.

I don't think that Lupin is exposed to the moonlight in his office, and yet he transforms. (I can't imagine either that he goes out to the moonlight, transforms, then goes back to his office to curl up.) It means he would have transformed in the Shack as well, moonlight or not. It is also often emphasized that werewolves must undergo the transformation every month - it is never mentioned that they can avoid it on cloudy nights. An already transformed werewolf would have been much more difficult to corner.

And if he really thought that Lupin was in imminent danger of transforming, why does he stand eavesdropping for so long in the first place?

Hm... "That's right," sneered a cold voice from the wall behind Lupin.

It seems Snape was eavesdropping while standing right behind Lupin, which to me is a sign that he remembered the danger very much. I think he was eavesdropping because he thought he might learn what they were up to. For example, he may have wanted proof that Lupin was helping Black and not fighting him. But even if he somehow forgot that Lupin was going to transform when he decided to eavesdrop (which I don't believe), he still remembered later, as he was actually reminding Lupin that he had forgotten to take the potion.

IMO, gagging Lupin is further proof that Snape remembered the transformation. If he simply had not wanted Lupin to speak, a Silencing Charm would have been the natural solution to a wizard. It seems Snape tried to stop him from biting when he transformed.

Snape's actions make perfect sense for someone who knew and remembered that Lupin would soon transform into a dangerous dark creature in the company of kids, who would not know how to defend themselves.

3. I can see yet another reason why the Trio eventually listened to Lupin and Sirius and which Snape did not have:

Harry, Ron and Hermione (but especially Harry) had liked and trusted Lupin very much for months. In the Shack, they did not trust him when it seemed he was helping mass murderer Sirius against them and when Hermoine revealed that he was a werewolf, but their previous sympathy still influenced them in the sense that when Lupin tried to give them proof that he was not trying to hurt them, they were probably more ready to believe the sincerity of his gesture than they would have been in the case of a werewolf who was a complete stranger or in the case of Sirius if Sirius had been alone with them all the time and had offered a similar gesture.

Snape, however, had no previous history of trust between him and Lupin or Sirius, quite on the contrary.

4. As for this:

Wouldn't he have been thankful that mass-murderer Black hadn't blown him to smithereens like the 12 muggles and Peter, instead of griping that he hadn't put him on a stretcher? And shouldn't he have wondered why? (Mona)

It is not how it works with humans directly involved in the situation. When you find that you have been knocked out, and then, while you were unconscious, some more harm must have been done to you, because your head hurts awfully (Snape may have had other symptoms as well, I don't know, but his problem was not just the lack of a stretcher), while clearly no one has tried to help you in any way, the first thing that you think of is probably not gratitude towards the mass murderer because he did not use the opportunity to kill you.

Besides, as I said before, an alleged Death Eater may have wanted to capture Harry alive - by winning his trust - rather than kill him, and in that case it would have made perfect sense for him not to kill anyone else either in Harry's presence.

5. As for listening to the kids, that should have come when everyone was safe. But it was not Snape's job in the first place. He was a witness, he had been physically involved in the capturing of the mass murderer - and as we know, he was not objective. But I don't think he intentionally twisted reality, when he said the kids must have been confounded. For example, if Snape did not realize that Ron's leg was injured, then it is possible that Ron's expres​sion(which must have been distorted with pain and worry) made him believe that he was confounded.

So I think it was others' job to be objective and listen to every witness. As far as I know, various witnesses in a real situation are not usually made to sort out what they saw and perceived among each other (especially not immediately after the events themselves), but there are other - more objective - people who do that after listening to all of them. Here, it was Fudge who should have listened to everyone's evidence - and before anything irreversible happened to anyone -, but he did not do it. Dumbledore, as a truly objective person, did.

6.

Anyway, let's just say that if he wasn't fanatical and blinded by vindictive feelings and they had still knocked him out, then I wouldn't be blaming him for his part in it. (Mona)

But he could not help his feelings, especially in that very stressful situation. Do you blame Snape for feeling like that when he thought he was facing the man who had got Lily killed despite Snape's efforts to save her, an event for which he was suffering for the rest of his life, and the man who could still be threatening various people, including Lily's son, at the moment?

IMO, it would have been absolutely wrong if these vindictive feelings had caused Snape to take Sirius straight to the Dementors or to kill him, but luckily, he did not do either (whatever he had said). (It would have been equally wrong if Sirius, Lupin and Harry had killed Pettigrew on the spot.) While Snape could not be objective, he was actually satisfied with capturing the supposed culprits; and even though he was loudly shouting his conviction that Sirius was a criminal, he did not take justice into his own hands (which a biased person should never do).



Julia H. - Mar 7, 2010 8:38 am (#28 of 42)
Edited Mar 7, 2010 9:08 am
Time-turner:

I don't see a reason why more than three persons had to know about the time-turner: (Hieronymus)

I think Hermoine's teachers had to know about her time-turner if McGonagall acted with any responsibility (which she usually did). The time-turner was a potentially dangerous object and Hermione was using it to go to classes. Therefore it anything had gone wrong while she was using it, the teacher who was at the moment nearest to her would have had to step in, and how could they have helped if they had not known about the origin of the danger?

But they were taking Peter to the castle, to show to the whole world. Why waste time trying to ennervate and convince someone who had threatened them both with the Dementors' kiss? (Mona)

It would have shown that convincing Snape was really important to them, even when they had the upper hand, not Snape (like before). It would have been a gesture towards Snape and might easily have resulted in convincing Snape. Sirius would have benefited from that even after Pettigrew's escape. Of course, convincing Snape was not really important to them (unlike convincing Harry, who had actually wanted to kill Sirius), so they did not try. On the one hand, it is understandable. On the other hand, it is also understandable that the lack of such creditable gesture resulted in Snape's continued belief that Sirus and Lupin were evil enemies.

The difference between their treatment of Harry and their treatment of Snape reflected different attitudes and resulted in different reactions. Both Harry and Snape could perfectly perceive their true feelings. (And let's face it, Sirius probably enjoyed having Snape at his mercy and bumping his head against the wall again and again.) I am not blaming Sirius and Lupin for Snape's actions (which were not so terrible anyway), I'm only showing that they did not try to do anything that could have really made Snape trust them, so why blame Snape for his continued distrust (when they were back in the castle)?



wynnleaf - Mar 7, 2010 6:41 pm (#29 of 42)
As regards the timeturner, the Ministry allowed Hermione to use it and Hermione wasn't supposed to tell anyone else about it, but that does not therefore mean that no one else (teachers) knew about it.

And teachers must have known. They would need to be told.

Why?

Simple. Teachers talk to each other (shock!). And they sometimes talk about their very best students, not just the problem ones. It wouldn't take long before a teacher said something like, "You've got Hermione in your arithmancy class? But that meets at the same time as divination!" Yes, Hermione's teachers would have to be told from the outset to avoid questions and problems. Remember, Hermione isn't supposed to meet herself, so teachers would need to know that she had a time turner in order to help her avoid meeting herself.



mona amon - Mar 7, 2010 8:06 pm (#30 of 42)
Good point, Wynnleaf. I felt there was some reason why it would be better to inform all Hermione's teachers, but I couldn't put my finger on it!



legolas returns - Mar 8, 2010 12:32 am (#31 of 42)
I am sure that Fudge didn't know that Hermione had a time turner. Dumbledore said to Snape that Harry couldn't be in two places at once. Somehow I can't believe that the teachers didn't know thaat Hermione had a time turner. I suppose that this was Dumbledores way of getting Snape to be quiet.



wynnleaf - Mar 8, 2010 4:26 am (#32 of 42)
I am sure that Fudge didn't know that Hermione had a time turner. (legolas returns)

Yes, he probably didn't know. But others at the Ministry did know and if there had been any sort of investigation about what the kid's involvement could have been, then Hermione having a timeturner would have come out and as a result, DD's likely involvement in the escape would have come out as well, because Fudge would then have been aware that DD made that comment fully aware that the kid's did have a way to be two places at once.

As for any assumptions that teachers didn't know about the timeturner, well, there is nothing in the books that actually says that the teachers didn't know, and plenty of reasons for why they should have known. Further, while Hermione wasn't supposed to tell people about the timeturner, it was not a state secret. After all, the Ministry wouldn't have approved the use of something extremely secret just so a school-girl could take a couple of extra classes. On the other hand, they might certainly approve it's use for a school-girl if the main "secret" that had to be kept was simply getting the girl to agree to not tell other kids.



Hieronymus Graubart - Mar 8, 2010 4:40 am (#33 of 42)
It seems that my attempt to understand a side issue opened a can of worms. I tried to carry this to the Time-Travel-thread so that this thread can continue on topic.



Honour - Mar 13, 2010 5:23 am (#34 of 42)
Bravo Julie H! I really really enjoyed reading your last post(s), thanks for that. : )



Julia H. - Mar 13, 2010 8:50 am (#35 of 42)
Thanks, Honour!



Chemyst - Jul 31, 2010 3:08 pm (#36 of 42)
Edited Jul 31, 2010 4:15 pm
Mona Amon had posted on the Sirius Black thread —

I think Lily and James are the only couple we know of who have related patronuses. Tonks case is slightly different because it was the shock of Remus's rejection of her that caused her patronus to change to represent him. If Remus had agreed he loved her right from the start, she would probably have retained her old patronus, whatever that was - the one Severus 'likes' better than her wolf/werewolf one. Hermione's and Ron's patronuses are not even of the same family, and neither are Harry's and Ginny's.

This relationship of Lily's patronus to James's animagus form shows, IMO, that they were soulmates, and is not a power thing.

But poor Severus! It seems like he cannot have anything of Lily's that isn't also strongly connected to James or the Marauders. He has to tear away James before he can have a picture of her. He has to tear away her signature from a letter to a Marauder. In a way it serves him right for continuing to be obsessed with a girl who chose someone else instead of trying to move on, but it's still sad.



WOMBAT 3 Question 14

If it is true that the kind of animal as well how corpreal ( brightness, substance, definition of shape, etc.) is related to strength, then is Snape's doe (rather than a buck, hart, stag) another example of emasculation by James Potter?

Or is this the "false" statement from the WOMBAT? Answer (d) the Cruciatus can be resisted, although maybe the loophole is that it is defended against and countered by strength of will to use whatever spell is appropriate instead of having one specific anti-cruciatus spell.

I am of the opinion that Snape and James were fairly equal in power while at Hogwarts, although I think Snape strengthened in power during the ten years after the Potter's murders.

I am asking if you all think that Snape having a female patronus is significant or not?



Solitaire - Jul 31, 2010 4:44 pm (#37 of 42)
Look up stag and read all of the ways in which it is used. At least one of those definitions sounds rather "emasculated," to me. I do not know whether the gender of Snape's Patronus is important or not. Do we know whether Tonks's wolf (or werewolf), Hermione's otter, Luna's hare, Ron's Jack Russell, or Ernie's badger are male or female? Does it matter? Are these issues significant, or do they simply indicate imprecision by Jo?



Chemyst - Aug 1, 2010 2:15 am (#38 of 42)
LOL. You have a point with the castrated pig definition.

I know it is presumption, but I always took for granted that the patronus was an extension of the person casting the spell and that it assumed the same gender. For me, it was just a given in the way my mind's eye filled in the story. In all the pre-DH speculation about Snape's possible patronus – bat, vulture, flobber worm – his patronus was unfailingly male.

So seeing Snape with a doe was a little weird. Except that in some way, Lily's love was protecting him too and still, even though she had moved on and passed on.



mona amon - Aug 2, 2010 4:37 am (#39 of 42)
Edited Aug 2, 2010 5:45 am
At least one of those definitions sounds rather "emasculated," to me.

LOL, never heard of that one till now.

I think, while Lily's doe patronus is prominently feminine, the gender of no other patronus is specified. Orion once wrote an excellent post on this theme - poor Severus ending up with the girlie version while James (or Harry?) has the masculine one with ginormous antlers. Pity I can't find it now. It was totally hilarious.

Anyway, I feel Severus's patronus is something beautiful and feminine in a positive way, rather than an emasculation. There's always a contrast between Harry's masculine, chivalrous, Gryffindor qualities, and the more feminine, Slytherin way in which Severus operates, and perhaps their patronuses reflect this. Yet they are equally balanced, IMO.



Choices - Aug 2, 2010 7:55 am (#40 of 42)
Mona - "I feel Severus's patronus is something beautiful and feminine in a positive way, rather than an emasculation."

Oh, I agree Mona. I always thought of Severus' doe as a tribute to Lily and his feelings for her, not a reflection of him.



Julia H. - Aug 8, 2010 4:49 pm (#41 of 42)
Edited Aug 8, 2010 5:54 pm
I don't see the "doe - stag" thing as a "power issue" between Snape and James. But I think it reflects different approaches to love. We don't really know whether James had a Patronus based on Lily's (it could be the other way round if we take it for granted that James's Patronus was indeed a stag) but we know that Snape's Patronus was based on Lily's. The doe and the stag are mates (though maybe somewhat "mismatched" mates, LOL), while Snape's Patronus reflects one-sided identification with Lily rather than a mutual relationship. This identification may appear, for example, in the fact that after Lily's death, her "dying wish" becomes Snape's life purpose.

I also absolutely agree with Snape's Patronus being "beautiful and feminine in a positive way". This Patronus as "an extension of the person casting the spell" seems to be everything that Snape possesses but suppresses in his "everyday" self, the representation of important qualities and forces working under the rough surface - the "secret Snape". The characters who more openly show their true selves to others have seemingly more "logical" Patronuses.

Some other interpretations of Patronuses (not my ideas): Severus with his Patronus is similar to a knight who carries the sign of his lady on his armour. The lady is unreachable, of course. An important difference is that this knight "carries" this symbol secretly, i.e., not on his "visible armour", but somewhere on his soul perhaps.

Another opinion I have read (I don't necessarily agree but it may be interesting) is that your Patronus is your happy thought. This would be logical but then we know that to Severus, Lily was the source of great unhappiness as well as of happiness (once upon a time); and that Tonks's Patronus began representing Lupin just when Tonks was totally unhappy because of his rejection. So, I don't know.

In all the pre-DH speculation about Snape's possible patronus – bat, vulture, flobber worm – his patronus was unfailingly male. (Chemyst)

LOL, and who would have thought that we would see Snape cry? It is another "feminine" thing but it does not make him seem any weaker (IMO).



Honour - Aug 8, 2010 11:44 pm (#42 of 42)
"Some other interpretations of Patronuses (not my ideas): Severus with his Patronus is similar to a knight who carries the sign of his lady on his armour. The lady is unreachable, of course. An important difference is that this knight "carries" this symbol secretly, i.e., not on his "visible armour", but somewhere on his soul perhaps." - Julie H

... or maybe his heart ... Julie H I like this interpretation best of all, it sounds so Sev...


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