Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

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Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:49 pm

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Julia H.

Kip Carter - Jul 24, 2005 4:00 am
Edited Nov 17, 2005 2:55 pm
Luanee suggested this thread with, "... the story could have proceeded with no major changes had Harry not discovered HBP's Advance Potions book, so why did JKR have to introduce this to keep us guessing the identity? So what if Snape or anybody else is HBP? Does it make a difference? What is the significance of it?
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Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:59 pm

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title? (Posts 1 to 50)

greyeyesathene - Jul 24, 2005 5:57 am (#1 of 202)
It could be a reference to the only other character to have an entire book named after them: Sirius. What would the significance of a connection between the prisoner of Azakaban and Snape be, though? Could this be more fodder for the 'Snape is still good' crowd? Seeing as Sirius was mistaken for a Death Eater as well...

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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 24, 2005 6:35 am (#2 of 202)
Greyeyesathene, your analysis is indeed apt there is definitely more to both the characters of Sirius Black and Severus Snape. Additionally, I would point out that their attitudes towards Harry are polar opposites. I would argue that Sirius in his own way showed extreme love for Harry. Conversely, Severus demonstrates an extreme hatred and loathing for Harry and yet both attemptunsuccessfully to help Harry learn that, which, he needs to defeat Voldemort.

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Finn BV - Jul 24, 2005 6:38 am (#3 of 202)
The key plot point in all the books is never directly related to the title, save the Prisoner of Azkaban, as greyeyesathene said. However, I think Snape deserves ? next to Harry and Dumbledore and Voldemort ? top billing as he runs the whole story, and allows readers to say "Whoa!" It's sort of one of those ways of renaming something key but not central. I hope I'm making sense.

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septentrion - Jul 24, 2005 6:55 am (#4 of 202)
I wonder if the titles of the books are really so unessential to the plot. The philosopher's stone was the target of everyone in book 1, the Chamber of secrets was the place where dwelt the monster of Slytherin and where the 1st horcrux was destroyed, the Prisoner of Azkaban was Sirius who had such a great place in Harry's heart and life, the Goblet of Fire was the object which lead to Harry's participation in the tri-wizard tournament (will we see it again ?) and the order of the phoenix is the backbone of the resistance to LV. The HBP is Snape, although a younger Snape, and Jo herself told in her interview that Harry and Snape's relationship (or whatever word she used, I can't remember it) will be even more personal than the relationship between LV and Harry, so I don't think the title is insignificant. Maybe we'll see a link in book 7...

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Ydnam96 - Jul 24, 2005 7:14 am (#5 of 202)
I think that the important thing about the Half Blood Prince is that it gives us some insight into Snape as a child. I think that is going to play a role in book 7.

Harry will need to learn more about Snape's past and motivations as he tries to figure out where Snapes real loyalties lie.

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Boris the Bewildered - Jul 24, 2005 7:37 am (#6 of 202)
Most of Harry's education this year comes from Snape. Both from reading his old potions book and watching his final actions. Aside from horcruxes, these are the most important lessons he learns. Also, understanding the reason Snape chose the 'half Blood" name (hopefully in the future) will give him a further clue to DEs, Voldemort.

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Geber - Jul 24, 2005 7:54 am (#7 of 202)
Shape was apparently very good at potions to have been able to annotate the book as he did. Lilly Potter was also very good at potions. Surely some connection will emerge in book 7. The significance of the title is to direct our attention to the time when Snape was a Hogwarts student.

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So Sirius - Jul 24, 2005 8:34 am (#8 of 202)
I think the title is highly significant. The book is about Snape, for the most part. Not just a reference to the ongoing discussion of is he on the good side or bad said of things, when dubbing yourself, the Half Blood Prince. He doesn't call himself the Half Blood Snape (his fathers name) he uses his mothers name (the witch in the family). I think that will be significant. He, like LV have the same parentage. There is something chilling about saying Lord Voldemort and the Half blood prince. In book 7, we'll come to find what path Snape really took with his life and what choices he ultimately makes.

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Madam Pince - Jul 24, 2005 11:54 am (#9 of 202)
My first thought was that the inscription "Property of the Half-Blood Prince" was written in the book by Snape's mother, Eileen. If the book was 50 years old, it would be more likely to be a new purchase of hers, which was in turn handed down to Snape. (Of course, if one of my other theories holds and Snape is from a poor family, he may have purchased the book used, which would also explain why he had a 50-year-old book.)

We were told that Snape already knew more about the Dark Arts than any other student when he first arrived as a student at Hogwarts, so it's not a stretch to think that little 8-or-9-or-10-year-old Severus was already checking out his Mom's old textbooks and practicing and working out his own stuff.

We don't know yet, of course, whether Eileen was pureblood or halfblood, but if she was halfblood, it seems to me more likely that she would've put that inscription in originally, rather than Severus. I see Severus as just having been toying around with clever nicknames (a typical occupation of a teen-ager) and came up with Half-Blood Prince and thought it was cool. Clearly, he now thinks of himself as "the Half-Blood Prince" since he tells Harry that it was he. Anyhow, I just thought it may have originated with his mother.

And I'm betting Lily saw his book or something -- that she realized Snape is half-blood and that is why she blinked and had such a frosty reaction when Snape called her a mudblood. To her credit, she didn't say anything, but she was probably thinking "Who are you to talk?"

(Ha -- reminded me of another favorite line from HBP: Harry telling Hermione "Hark who's talking! Confunded anybody lately?" )

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So Sirius - Jul 24, 2005 2:14 pm (#10 of 202)
Snape tells Harry that it's his book and he's the Half-Blood Prince. We learn this again when Hermione realizes that Snapes father is a muggle and mother is a witch. I have books in my possession that are very old, I'm not sure why that makes a difference here. We should assume it was handed down from his mother and she probably did influence him, in lots of ways. But this is all about Snape.

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Ag Hart - Jul 24, 2005 2:50 pm (#11 of 202)
It doesn't seem all that unusual for students to buy used books when their families don't have much money. (Didn't Riddle purchase used textbooks?) I'm not certain of the Snapes' financial status. In any case, Harry takes great pains to hide his Potions textbook so that it can be relocated, so I believe it will be important in Book 7. I suppose JKR wouldn't use a book again as a horcrux, but possibly it might lead to locating one.

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jesepi - Jul 24, 2005 2:54 pm (#12 of 202)
It might not be the book that is relevant, when Harry hid the book he was amazed at the "other stuff" that was hidden. It is very possible that the RoR was used by others for more meaningful stuff.

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Ag Hart - Jul 24, 2005 3:05 pm (#13 of 202)
True, we should go back and take note of all the items that JKR described. I think Harry will return for the book since he felt that it was so important that he hid it carefully. If he doesn't use the book to specifically locate the horcrux, perhaps when he returns for the Potions book, he will notice another object that will be significant, possibly the horcrux itself. Then going back to retrieve the book might set up the "big discovery" as you suggest.

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Madame Librarian - Jul 24, 2005 3:09 pm (#14 of 202)
I finished the book a week ago and haven't started a re-read yet, so things are not firmly set in my head yet. Therefore, I ask: how much did we learn about Snape's father? (I don't have the book with me right now, can't check.)

I wonder if can draw a parallel between how Riddle Sr. treated Merope and how Snape Sr. treated Eileen.

Ciao. Barb

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Deb Zawacki - Jul 24, 2005 4:46 pm (#15 of 202)
If Snape's father was a muggle, he's even with Tom Riddle but less blooded than Harry. So much for Slytherin being for the Pure-Bloods. Salazar is probably fit to be tied--its all his half-bloods messing things up all over creation.

Also "prince" has other meanings, like the most obvious, royalty and in line for the "throne"...perhaps the new headmaster of Hogwarts...YIKES!

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haymoni - Jul 24, 2005 7:13 pm (#16 of 202)
I think it is interesting that she actually thought to use this story line in COS.

If Harry had gotten the potions book in COS, how interesting would it have been to us to find out that Snape was the HBP?

I don't really think we would have cared.

I think it was a much better story for Book 6.

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Ann - Jul 24, 2005 7:50 pm (#17 of 202)
She obviously thought so, too!

It's hard to imagine how the book would have worked in CoS--perhaps as a kind of counterpart to the Diary, as a book that can get you in trouble, but also can help. (Harry learned a lot, and the book could have been a big help to Voldemort, and even Ginny found it comforting.)

But did that mean that Snape originally became DADA teacher in CoS? (I've always thought that Lockhart, funny/scary though he is, seemed a bit pasted in--he didn't really have any role in the overall plot.)

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Solitaire - Jul 24, 2005 9:26 pm (#18 of 202)
Mandy: as he tries to figure out where Snapes real loyalties lie.

I'm not really sure that Harry will try to find out where Snape's loyalties lie. Accurate or not, I think Harry has already decided where Snape's loyalties lie. He has never trusted Snape, and I believe Snape's actions at the end of the book may have sealed that issue for good. The quest to find out the real reason for Snape's actions may fall to someone else--maybe Hermione, perhaps with the help of McGonagall. Hermione is the only one of the three clear-headed enough about Snape to bother ... and McGonagall might possibly be curious enough about the betrayal to help her.

The only thing that might change Harry's mind is going over the final words and events--as Snape fled Hogwarts--to see if there are any hidden clues in what he said. But it may take more than Hermione to bring him to the point of admitting there is more than one way to look at things.

Solitaire

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Hem Hem - Jul 24, 2005 9:27 pm (#19 of 202)
I wonder why this was the working title for CoS also. I can sort of see Snape being the working DADA teacher in COS, but why name the book after him?

Althought the HBP storyline itself isn't absolutely integral to this book, I thought that the title was very appropriate. I see it as, essentially, calling the book, "Harry Potter and Severus Snape," but with a little bit more suspense, because a nickname was used for Snape.

However, if this is the proper sense of the title, what would it have meant in CoS???

I wish Emerson and Melissa asked about this!

EDIT: I can't wait for him to return to the storehouse in the RoR and hunt around. That is, if he still has enough interest in Snape's old book to go get it back.

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septentrion - Jul 24, 2005 11:14 pm (#20 of 202)
I agree Hermione is the one who's going to look for information about Snape, she qualifies for the job, but I rather think Lupin's going involved in it and not McGonagall. Just a feeling though but Lupin seems to me more the kind of people who'd try to understand than McGonagall. Plus Lupin was the one to question the "official" reason why DD trusted Snape.

I wonder : if Harry told the others about DD's pleas, would it change their perception ? He just told Snape killed DD (which is true) and that DD believed Snape because he was remorseful. But only Harry has seen and heard everything, and his emotions and prejudices prevent him to think anything but Snape is a traitor.

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phoenix tears - Jul 25, 2005 1:10 am (#21 of 202)
Well, along the thought of "prince" being the next in line for the throne...what comes to my mind is not the next headmaster of Hogwarts but next in line after LV.

Though I cannot commit to that idea considering LV doesn't seem like the type to share or even acknowledge there could be anyone else in charge but himself.

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Madam Pince - Jul 25, 2005 2:20 am (#22 of 202)
Haymoni and Hem-Hem, I can't really see how the HBP storyline would fit into CoS either. I read the book with that point in the back of my mind, because I was trying to figure out what possible "clue" she had given us in CoS to know what HBP was going to be about, and I am still perplexed. The only thing I could think is that possibly she originally had been going to give us more of Tom Riddle's background story in CoS, but decided to save it for HBP. I don't see how Snape and Advanced Potions and DADA teacher could've fit anywhere except at this point in the story.

It almost felt to me as if JKR had written herself into a bit of a corner, storyline-wise, and needed to use HBP to straighten everything out in preparation for the final battle of Book 7 -- a lot of people have observed how HBP reads rather like she's answering our questions straight off some list she's kept somewhere.

phoenix tears, that's an interesting thought about "prince" being next-in-line after Lord Voldemort. A teenaged Snape would've been well aware of the rising power of Voldemort. Maybe Half-Blood Prince was Voldemort's pet nickname for his little protege? Perhaps being LV's "prince" is what Voldemort promised Snape to lure him over to the Dark Side? (Well, that and plus "I'll teach you some more really cool dark arts so you can hex the stuffing out of James and Sirius and Lupin!") He needn't have actually meant to do it -- I agree that Voldemort would have no concept of sharing power or of even needing an "heir" because, hey, he planned to be immortal -- but he may have just thought that an appeal to a teenager's power-starved ego would be the best route to his temptation. Oooo, I'm liking this more and more! Can I adopt it as my new pet theory?

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septentrion - Jul 25, 2005 2:56 am (#23 of 202)
Defiitely madam Pince. Your theory has much merit.

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wynnleaf - Jul 25, 2005 5:07 am (#24 of 202)
I think the potions book may tell us even more about the HBP, i.e. Snape, than the "face value" part about being good with potions and giving himself this particular nickname.

I was struck throughout the book with the personality behind the notes written in the book. Slughorn repeatedly likens the potion making "style" Harry is using to Lily's potion making. Of course, it would be natural for him to think of Lily, since she's Harry's mother, even if the potions "style" also was reminisent of Snape. But still, Slughorn was seeing what turns out to be similarities in the sort of flair for ingredients -- peppermint, for instance -- a bit of risk taking and unorthedox methods, etc.

When I was first reading the book, right after Harry gets the potions book, I thought it might have been Snape's old book. My husband once took a class in which he had an older edition of the textbook with the instructor's personal notes in it, so this notion didn't seem too strange to me. But I discarded this idea within a chapter or two because the potion making style didn't seem anything like the way we'd seen Snape teaching potions. I had previously gotten the impression that Snape was teaching the students to make potions "by the book," and not the type to encourage individualistic methods. So in my first reading of HBP, I both suspected and then discarded Snape as the author of the notes because it just didn't sound like him. I'm not sayng that now I think those notes are Snape's. I'm just saying that the personality revealed in the notes doesn't seem like the Snape we typically see.

Another interesting factor on the personality behind the notes is that Harry seemed to grow to like the writer of the notes, not just the notes, even to the point of defending the (then) unknown writer whenever Hermione would question him.

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Ann - Jul 25, 2005 5:41 am (#25 of 202)
I agree, wynnleaf; and Harry himself seems ashamed about how much he trusted Snape when he thought he was someone else. (Harry has quite good instincts.) But I suspect the adolescent voice of Snape in his potion (etc.) notes was much cheerier and more likeable than he is now, at least to Harry.

The notes (and the nickname) probably were considerably earlier in his life than his affiliation with Voldemort. I wonder if they don't date to the time when (I believe) Snape was friends with Lily--before the incident we saw in the pensieve. That may be why his potions "style" resembles what Slughorn remembers as Lily's--he was helping her. And it was presumably his loss of her friendship (his "worst memory") and the resulting anger with James, that led him to Voldemort. Except that it seems a bit strange that he should have been using that text in his fifth year, while Harry gets it in his sixth....

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greyeyesathene - Jul 25, 2005 11:26 am (#26 of 202)
I always knew that JKR would provide a reason for Harry to have to grudingly admire Snape; I just didn't know it would be accompanied by the one thing that would truly vindicate every bit of hatred Harry's ever shown the man.

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rassannassar - Jul 25, 2005 12:38 pm (#27 of 202)
when Snape said that he was the Half-Blood Prince, something made me think of The Lion King when Scar said, "No, I killed Mufasa."

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Deb Zawacki - Jul 25, 2005 2:44 pm (#28 of 202)
But that in itself is one of Dumbledore's lessons to Harry-- you must know the backstory--Harry does not know all of the Snape-saga. He does not know the total of his conversations with DD, he doesn't know about his mother and Snape or anything other than the role Snape has played.

Let's not forget that Snape is a double agent under deep cover-- would we expect our CIA or other intelligence spies to live outside of their roles becasue some people didn't like it. Now Snape has to protect Draco BUT he is also a wanted man--- Snape is responsible for killing Dumbledore as far as the MOM and the rest of the wzarding world is concerned. And Draco made it possible--so although I don't know Juvie law and underage wizards (was Barty Jr. under-age, I forget)...I am sure there is a price on their heads and a prison sentence at the very least, if they are discovered.

Harry doesn't even know his OWN backstory--about his parents--his relatives, his legacy, his connectedness to a community other than the Durseley family and even that has probably some surprses in store for him....

If the death was staged, or pre-planned-or a ruse, or a means for achieving an end--Harry has not been let in on it. The rationale for what he does will still be partially based in ignorance--and that is not fair--not to Harry, who will be the weapon used to defeat DD and possibly lose his own life in the process.

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Susurro Notities - Jul 25, 2005 6:04 pm (#29 of 202)
Humbly I offer the thought that it is not Snape who tutored Lily in Potions but Lily who tutored Snape.

This is a simple idea, yet possibly important.

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wynnleaf - Jul 25, 2005 7:32 pm (#30 of 202)
Susurro Notities, I had thought of that as a possibility, but for a few other things. One, Snape seems to be ahead of Lily in years (or at least from the "Snape's worst memory" chapter, so if either tutored the other, it would be more likely to be the older one doing the tutoring. Second, lots of the notes in the potions book are for dark stuff, which Lily wouldn't have been into. Also, we've always known that Snape was really, really good at potions, but not that Lily was.

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Madame Librarian - Jul 25, 2005 7:53 pm (#31 of 202)
Wasn't Lily supposed to excel at charms? I remember her wand was supposed to be especially good for charms.

I think it's brilliant that JKR titled the book as she did. Look, there are really two huge questions we are left with at the end--

1--Is DD really dead?
2--What's with Snape?

She wouldn't have named the book "HP and the Deceased Dumbledore" (or, "...the non-Deceased Dumbledore"), so she featured the Snape story in the title.

Ciao. Barb

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Susurro Notities - Jul 25, 2005 7:59 pm (#32 of 202)
Edited by Jul 25, 2005 9:06 pm
wynnleaf

Notes in the book would all be in Snape's handwriting and would include Snape's mussings on dark arts skills as well as potion hints Lily had given him.

"Lily Potter was born Lily Evans c.1960" (Harry Potter Lexicon) Which would make Lilly 11 in 1971.

The Lexicon says "SNAPE at HOGWARTS: First year: 1971."

Therefore Snape and Lily were in the same year. She is recognized as the potions master by Slughorn. Not Snape.

I am sure Lily excelled at charms, potions, and any number of things - the Hermione of her year.

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rambkowalczyk - Jul 26, 2005 8:18 am (#33 of 202)
Edited Jul 26, 2005 10:05 am
To go back to the significance of the title.

It is because the book is more about Snape than we realize. Consider the term half-blood. There's Harry who is good. There's Voldemort who is evil. And now there is Snape who is somewhere in between.

In this book Harry is continually telling Hermione that Snape isn't to be trusted and ironically at the same time is telling her that her conclusions about the Half-Blood Prince are not necessarily so.

On one hand this book seems to have come to a major climatic moment by stating that Snape was all along on Voldemort's side. But if this were truly the case why didn't Snape gloat about it? Why didn't he stand over Dumbledore's helpless form and do the traditional bad guy triumph speech? No one can say it's not JKR's style because she had Quirrel do it, she had Crouch Jr do it, she even had Umbridge do it. Why not Snape? Is she just saving it for book 7 when Snape will tell all to Potter?

Whether Snape was Dumbledore's man or Voldemort's he is to some extant betraying them both when he agrees to help Draco. If he is Dumbledore's man and he actually knew Voldemort's "plan", he knew he was either going to kill Dumbledore or die as a result of the Unbreakable Vow. Yes, this makes one wonder "what was he thinking?"

If Snape was Dumbledore's man and he was bluffing to Narcissa and Bella about his supposed knowledge in order to gain information, he was obviously making a tragic mistake thus allowing the curse of the DADA position a means in which to fulfill itself.

If Snape was Voldemort's man, why was he helping Draco? Snape knew Voldemort was extremely angry at Lucius Malfoy for the Ministry fiasco and because he knew that Voldemort was angry beyond reason when he discovered that the diary was destroyed. (Snape had to have known about that. How else would Dumbledore know?). If Snape were that loyal to Voldemort or even just in it for himself why go out of the way to help someone so disfavored by Voldemort?

Regardless of whose side Snape was on, he was showing what Voldemort would call major weakness and Dumbledore would call strength (somewhat misguided as it does involve killing) called love.

Consider Snape's reaction to Narcissa's presence. "What a pleasant surprise!". There is no mocking smile (he does give one to Bella). He offers them drinks. The usual adjectives describing Snape's speech are not present. (no snides, sneerings, cold (except to Bella), no silkily) For Snape this is down right friendly.

Although his words to Narcissa appear indifferent his actions betray him. He says there is nothing he can do to change the Dark Lord's mind, that the Dark Lord does not easily forgive. However when Narcissa starts to cry he turns away not because he wishes to be cold to her but because he knows her tears are embarrassing her. When Narcissa stands up to seize the front of his robes and cries on his chest, he merely removes her wrists from him. When Narcissa crumples at his feet, he merely picks her up and steers her back to the sofa and gives her a drink. If he were a true Death Eater wouldn't he have at least gloated at her lying at his feet. He is definately moved by her emotions.

For me the fact that Snape has done nothing to harm Harry (or even Ron, Hermione- he could have Stunned them as he did Flitwick- or any other student-consider how he talked Crabbe into lightening his grip on Neville in book 5) is very significant. This is why I think Snape might ultimately be on Dumbledore's side regardless of whether he killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's orders or because he was a coward and afraid to die (as a result of breaking his vow to Narcissa).

This makes Snape's statement (I AM NOT A COWARD) to Harry more ambiguous. Was he "protesting too much"? (that is was he so afraid of dying that he killed Dumbledore. Or did he feel it important for Harry to know that he wasn't a coward-- that he would have willingly died except that he was obeying orders.

Dumbledore makes it clear to Harry that he expects certain orders to be obeyed with out question. He drills Harry about this in his office. He reminds Harry again about this in the cave when he is about to drink the potion. Is it not possible he expected the same thing about Snape? That Dumbledore would tell Snape that the most important thing is for the Horcruxes to be destroyed so that Harry can defeat Voldemort. That Dumbledore need not be alive for this, that Snape can carry this out on his own. These are Snapes' orders.

Although Snape may not have known the entire contents of the Prophecy, Snape heard enough to know that Harry is the chosen one. Dumbledore of course knows this but deliberately does not tells Harry. He also doesn't tell Harry why he has absolute faith in Snape. This is because there is a risk that Voldemort could use Occlumency against Harry and discover this crucial secret.

I think that the reason Dumbledore trusted Snape was that Snape made the Unbreakable Vow to save Harry's life. But this Vow had to have happened before the Godric's Hollow deaths because Snape says he was working at Hogwarts before Harry's parents were killed. I do not think Dumbledore would have had Snape working for him unless he knew Snape had truly reformed.

But it could just as likely be that the reason Dumbledore trusts Snape is because Snape already told him about the horcruxes. No one else in the book including Death Eaters seem to know about them. This was why Dumbledore made a big production of having Harry find out about this from Slughorn-- to protect his true source. Isn't it odd that Dumbledore who is a fair Legilimens couldn't have figured out what Slughorn was hiding. For all we know RAB could be Voldemort's code name for Snape.

Now that we know Snape is the half blood prince, isn't it odd that everytime Harry used one of the Prince's suggestion that Slughorn would say how like Lily. not how like Snape. At first I thought Slughorn was lying about his admiration of Lily but Arogog's funeral made me change my mind. What I find odd is that Slughorn never publically praised Snape like he has others. Does this mean that Snape let Lily use his secrets so that she could get credit? How unSlytherin like if true. If Snape were seeking some recognition it seems it would be easiest to get it in potions and something tells me it didn't happen. Was Snape accused of cheating off of Lily? Again this is an unexpected side of Snape.

To those who look there are many relations about Snape. Unfortunately for us the reader, there seems to be more questions than answers.

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hellocello3200 - Jul 26, 2005 10:06 am (#34 of 202)
I don't think that RAB is Snape because if he was, DD probably would have known the lockect wasn't there, but besides that, Rambkowalczyk, I agree with your post.

As to the original topic of this thread, I am surprised that the title had nothing to do with DD, who I thought had a larger role in the plot, but I guess he didn't have a cool nickname unless you called it Harry Potter and the Blackened Hand or something.

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Verbina - Jul 26, 2005 11:33 am (#35 of 202)
Which would have been figured out by the time Harry saw his hand. LOL

We can't get past two things....Harry hates Snape and Harry likes the Half Blood Prince, even though they are the same person. Perhaps it is more to the idea of Harry judging Snape badly withtout knowing the entire tale.

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Ag Hart - Jul 26, 2005 2:39 pm (#36 of 202)
rambkowalczyk-- You present some interesting ideas and thought-provoking questions. Your thoughts on Dumbledore's demand for unquestioning obedience are similar to those that I have also discussed (though not so fully or so well) on another thread as it relates to Snape's choice and anger in becoming the agent of Dumbledore's death. Poor Snape-- Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

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popkin - Jul 26, 2005 10:39 pm (#37 of 202)
I thought Snape manipulated Narcissa into asking him to enter into the unbreakable vow. I think his motivation was to convince Bella and other naysayers that he was indeed loyal to Voldemort, even though he is actually patiently playing out his plan to take everything Voldemort has built up.

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rambkowalczyk - Jul 27, 2005 5:11 am (#38 of 202)
Popkin,

I suppose it's possible that Snape was manipulating Narcissa, but do you think he expected her to ask him to complete Draco's mission for him.

Aghart, if you posted on the why does Dumbledore trusted Snape it is possible your opinions influenced mine.

concerning RAB, my first impression was that it was Regulus Black, but if it were a code name for Snape, then Dumbledore may have wanted it to be a clue for Harry.

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wynnleaf - Jul 27, 2005 5:24 am (#39 of 202)
Susurro Notities, Thanks for the info on Lily and Snape being in the same year.

As to Slughorn's noting Lily as the potions expert, but not Snape -- it's to be expected that in talking to her son, he'd say stuff like "oh, that's just like your mom." Why would he mention any other great potions student in such a manner, when the context is that Harry must have gotten his ability from a parent? In other words, the fact that he mentions Lily, but not Snape has little bearing on whether or not Snape (or indeed any other past potions students) were also excellent at potions, because Slughorn's intent was not to compare Harry to past great potions students, but to his mother who was a great potions student.

Edit: rambkowalczyk, You said that Snape said he was working at Hogwarts before James and Lily are killed at Godrics Hollow. Could you tell me where that info is? Thanks.

Also, it would be worthwhile in understanding Snape to go back through the past few books and make note of everything DD knows about LV that he could only have learned from a DE (therefore possibly Snape giving him the information). Has anyone done this?

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Susurro Notities - Jul 27, 2005 3:53 pm (#40 of 202)
wynnleaf,

Your point about Lily is valid but I still think Lily may have been the potions master. Slughorn could have just as easily said that Harry must have learned a tremendous amount from the excellent potions instructor he has had for the last five years. Lily's virtues are extolled by Slughorn repeatedly - she must have been an excellent witch for Slughorn to have liked her so much as she would have had nothing but talent to attract him.

It is possible that Lily's talents were talked about by the professors but it seems more likely that her excellent potions skills are what brought her to Slughorn's attention. Additionally the peppermint comment is a specific example of what made Lily outstanding. It is unlikely that he would have remembered it as Lily's if Snape had done it too. Sort of like if Harry had given Ron a bezoar - neither of them would have made such a favorable impression.

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Verbina - Jul 27, 2005 6:27 pm (#41 of 202)
But Slughorn is the type that flatters to get what he wants. In his case, what he wants is influence over those in high position...how better to get Harry, someone well known to all in the wizarding world, than to remember his mother fondly and repeatedly talk about excellent she was in potions. That is not to say that she was not good in potions. But we have never before heard about this talent while many people commented on her talent with charms I believe.

And it would seem that if Snape was outside the door at the Hogshead awaiting an interview for a job when Trelawney made the prophecy, he could very well have been working at Hogwarts almost a year before James and Lily were killed. Unless I am missing something.

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Susurro Notities - Jul 27, 2005 7:06 pm (#42 of 202)
Edited by Jul 27, 2005 8:07 pm
Verbina,

An astute observation. Slughorn may have been flattering Lily to get to "collect" Harry.

I still think that Lily may well have been the Hermione of her era - good at nearly everything.

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josenegro - Jul 28, 2005 2:22 am (#43 of 202)
Susurro Notities,

I like your idea a lot. Though, nowhere is it stated that Snape would ever need a tutor, I could imagine that this is why Lily comes to his rescue in 'Snape's Worst Memory' from book 5.

Also, the modified potions instructions have to come from somebody willing to take chances and experiment to break away from convention as with the bezoar answer that Slughorn is so pleased with, "You've got a nerve, boy!...Oh, you're just like your mother..." Perhaps it is this 'nerve' that Harry really has inherited and has put to use several times as we know.

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Nearly Legless Mick - Jul 28, 2005 4:51 am (#44 of 202)
Please excuse me disrupting the flow a bit, but I haven't seen anyone metion that Snape is actually only a "quarter-blood" wizard.

He has more muggle than wizard in him, because his mother, Eilleen Prince, a half-blood, married a muggle, Tobias Snape. (And yet he had the cheek to call Lily a "mud-blood". He must have been a really mixed up kid.)

Assuming that Severus Snape is genuinely Tobias' s son, this lends weight to the growing evidence that muggle blood seems to actually enhance a wizard's ability rather than diminish it:

Hermione - Both parents muggles. Riddle - One muggle parent. Snape - One muggle parent, one half-blood. Harry - One parent muggle born. Tonks - one muggle parent.

Slughorn mentions an old student of his who was muggle-born but went on to a fine career at the ministry. Can anyone remember more examples?

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rambkowalczyk - Jul 28, 2005 6:07 am (#45 of 202)
Wynnleaf,

In book 5 when Harry was 15, Snape told Umbridge that he worked at Hogwarts for 14 years. He started when Harry was one. Harrys parents were killed the following Halloween.

In book 4, when Harry in looking in the pensieve at Karkaroff's trial, Dumbledore says Snape rejoined our side before Dumbledore's downfall. I take this to mean that Snape was working at Hogwarts before the murder of Harry's parents. (as opposed to the idea that it was Lily's death that changed his mind).

Also my comment as to why Lily was praised and Snape ignored by Slughorn, Verbina's comment that Slughorn was trying to collect Harry may be valid. But I still get the feeling that Snape is being snubbed. Adding the peppermint to the potion should have gotten the comment of Lily was so creative just like your former potion master. But Slughorn never praises Snape.

Nearly Legless Mick,

are you sure that Snape's mother is a half-blood? Where does it say that? Are you thinking the notes in the book were made by her? I assumed the notes as well as the property of the half-blood prince were made by Severus in his mother's book.

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Mrs Brisbee - Jul 28, 2005 7:51 am (#46 of 202)
Some earlier posts were discussing the HBP title and how it relates to CoS, since book 2 originally bore that title. I've been scratching my head over what plot line Rowling removed from CoS. So, was she planning on revealing Snape as a betrayer as early as book 2? I really can't picture book 2 ending with Dumbledore's murder by Snape as book 6 did. The story line wasn't ready for the death of White Bearded Wizard Guy, and Rowling was still very much in children's book mode with all those petrifications, instead of deaths, caused by the Basilisk.

So what would have been the big thing that happened that would have made it worth naming the book after Snape? Did Snape instead of Lucius give Ginny the diary? Or was Dumbledore's real reason for trusting Snape going to be revealed? I'm a bit baffled about how exactly the story could have played out in so early of a book.

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Verbina - Jul 28, 2005 9:46 am (#47 of 202)
I just thought of something though. Slughorn took Snape's place as potions...so he would want everyone to think he was good at his job. Why would he praise the former teacher? I know from my daughter's school, most new teachers will seldom praise the previus teacher's work. A long shot there but it could be.

As to the story line...what if it were just the story line of the potions book? Yes, that would mean there would be two books in the story line of CoS but I could see how it would have conversations like Ginny getting upset with Harry over using the book since she would know how dangerous they were...she does something similar in HBP anyway.

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Sconie Girl - Jul 28, 2005 10:18 am (#48 of 202)
Some earlier posts were discussing the HBP title and how it relates to CoS, since book 2 originally bore that title. I've been scratching my head over what plot line Rowling removed from CoS

I was wondering if instead of getting Lockhart to give permission to go to the restricted section for the Most Potent Potions, the trio would have snuck a copy of an old textbook to make the Polyjuice potion.

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Amilia Smith - Jul 28, 2005 4:11 pm (#49 of 202)
But it just doesn't make sense at all for Harry to suddenly become a whiz at Potions by following Snape's directions in CoS. To start with, while Snape was still teaching Potions, he wrote the instructions on the board. So, presumably, they would be the same instructions Harry would have found in Snape's old textbook. Not to mention that the whole reason Harry was bad at Potions in the first place was that he had trouble concentrating when Snape was badgering him.

So unless Snape was meant to be DADA teacher way back in CoS, which really puts a kink in a whole lot of other things, I can't see how the Half-Blood Prince storyline would have worked there. . . .

Argh!

Mills.

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Madam Pince - Jul 28, 2005 6:01 pm (#50 of 202)
Maybe the plotline from HBP that she removed from CoS was Riddle's backstory. She could've tried to insert it as part of the diary's entries or something.
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Re: Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:52 am

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title? (Posts 51 to 100)

Mrs Brisbee - Jul 28, 2005 6:34 pm (#51 of 202)
Madame Pince, do you mean that you think the HBP title originally applied to Voldemort and didn't mean Snape at all? I'm not sure. It would be a bit redundant for Voldemort to have a second nickname. Though you are probably right that some backstory was removed.

I was wondering if instead of getting Lockhart to give permission to go to the restricted section for the Most Potent Potions, the trio would have snuck a copy of an old textbook to make the Polyjuice potion. --Sconie Girl

Yeah, that could work. Especially if Snape had been moved over to the DADA post and left his Potions book behind. I'm still at a loss to see how the story line would have resolved, though. Something we need to ask Rowling after book 7 comes out, I guess.

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Susurro Notities - Jul 28, 2005 6:53 pm (#52 of 202)
Edited by Jul 28, 2005 7:54 pm
josenegro,

I like your ideas as well. Lily coming to Snape's rescue because she knew he couldn't cope with a spell - yes - very interesting.

I am also attracted to the idea that Harry's "nerve" came from his mother. Is that what JKR was indicating with Harry's retort to Snape "There's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor." (HBP, ch. 9, p. 180, US hardcover) Additionally Slughorn calls Lily "...cheeky..." (HBP, ch.4, p. 70, US hardcover)

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Ann - Jul 29, 2005 3:54 am (#53 of 202)
I think that in the early version of CoS that was titled HBP, Snape was given the DADA position and someone else (maybe Slughorn? maybe Lockhart? maybe someone else entirely?) was the Potions Master. Having Harry being seduced by Snape's old potions book while Ginny was seduced by Riddle's diary would make a nice juxtaposition, and I can really see it appealing to Rowling. The book couldn't have been used with Snape as Potions Master, since he would have recognized the alterations, unless it was a very different kind of book. Snape would have had to return to the Potions position the following year (since Lupin is apparently not good enough at them to make Wolfsbane).

And I think the information it was too early to give us was Lily's reputation in potions. I persist in thinking this reputation was due to Snape's tutoring/friendship, not the reverse, both because of what is said about her wand and the fact that the book belongs to Snape and the handwriting working out the corrections in the spells and the new (often dark) spells is presumably his. Although Hermione thinks the handwriting looks feminine; could it have been Lily's? Wouldn't Harry et al. have recognized Snape's since he writes all over their homework? (I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find that the writing is Lily's after all, and if so, I'd rethink the direction of the borrowing.)

But if it is the hint of a friendship between Snape and Lily that is one of the main messages of the HBP book, I can see where book two would have been far too early, and also why JKR might originally have thought it wasn't, since book three deals so much with James and his time at school.

As for Slughorn's not talking about Snape's potions brilliance--well, the man has been a master for twenty years. Slughorn is not likely to think about comparing him to his fellow student at this point. Also, there are several hints that Slughorn is in fact a great believer in heredity, if not in pureblood superiority. He is anxious to attribute Harry's skill to his family connections, which are what Slughorn values (rather than choices, for example, or application).

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Susurro Notities - Jul 29, 2005 7:24 am (#54 of 202)
The handwriting in the book might not be recognized as Snape's by the trio as his writing may have changed over the years - I know my writing does not look as it did in high school.

The book and the handwriting in it was Snape's but that doesn't mean that all the ideas were his. He may have written Lily's potions suggestions alongside his own ideas for dark spells.

I am not wedded to the idea that Lily was the more accomplished potions student. I just think the idea should not be discarded. I do like the thought, expressed by josenegro, that Lily may have known that Snape needed some assistance in the scene in the pensive.

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Deb Zawacki - Jul 29, 2005 3:29 pm (#55 of 202)
Think about the parallells to Hermione, who helps out her friends but also reaches out to those who are mistreated and rejected by others--- I bet Lily was really brilliant in potions and was either competition for Snape or maybe HE taught her some Dark Arts things in exchange--for example did she know that by blocking Harry she was protecting him for 17 years?

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Amilia Smith - Jul 29, 2005 4:29 pm (#56 of 202)
Thank you, Ann. That scenario actually makes sense. Also, it's kind of a fun idea to give Snape his dream job, but then make him give it up a year later . . .

About the handwriting: I didn't recognize it, and Harry didn't recognize it, but there are people here on this forum (can't remember who, sorry) who did recognize it. As soon as the handwriting in the book was described as cramped, they knew Snape was the Half-Blood Prince; the writing on his OWL exam was also cramped.

Mills.

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Eunice - Jul 30, 2005 11:34 am (#57 of 202)
When I finished to read HBP, I thought that the title was misleading. The Half-blood Prince thing is - it seems - not as important to the plot as the objects of the other titles were in the other books. After two weeks, however, I'm still wondering daily about Snape's act - it's clear that Snape is the core of HBP's problems.

I think that, this time, the title of HP6 would reveal its whole significance in the seventh book. I feel that book 6 and 7 would be more interwoven between them than the other books.

Ann, I agree with your explaination of HBP as title for CoS.

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RoseMorninStar - Jul 30, 2005 12:48 pm (#58 of 202)
One reason that HBP may not have worked as early as CoS is that JKR had set it up that the DADA teaching position was cursed, no one ever having lasted more than a year since Voldemort was turned down for the position. It also brings in more questions about which side is Snape really on? What connection did he have to Harry's parents? and CoS was too early for that backstory. I also like how the person who turned out to be the HBP..Harry so admired his work (in the book) but upon realization of who it was, turned out to be someone Harry despised. I think that was a lesson that Harry had to learn about trusting (or not trusting) objects of mystery.

I can't wait to find out how Lily figures into all of this!

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Madame Librarian - Jul 30, 2005 2:56 pm (#59 of 202)
I'm not taking sides here, just suggesting that if the plot line about the notes in the potions book was in CoS, Snape could still have been potions master if the book was not gotten off the bookshelf in his classroom.

Possible scenario--visit to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies. Book store scene, Ron disgusted at the used book his mum insists will do just fine. Harry, of course, has a brand new one and wishes he could get a new one for Ron, too. He feigns fascination with the old book later on the train and begs Ron to swap. Ron falls for Harry's ploy and readily agrees. This also, as someone earlier person pointed out, makes a wonderful literary parallel to the Diary/Ginny/used book plot.

Wait! Maybe that's it. It wasn't a diary that was the horcrux, but the potions book (Snape helped Voldemort make one by suggesting this old book he had). It ends up with Ginny via the same incident with Lucius in the bookstore. The mystery of the Half-Blood Prince character is more convoluted because we all end up thinking this was Riddle's old book, and that bit isn't settled until book 6. It's just sort of neatly tucked out of the limelight for the three intervening books. Hmm, not sure this really is feasible, but I'm sure if I'm even close, JKR could have devised some twisted method of working it out. Maybe the difficulty was exactly that, and that's why it became what it did--a much better and workable thing for book 6.

Ciao. Barb

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Eunice - Jul 31, 2005 12:05 am (#60 of 202)
Excellent point, Madame Librarian.

I forgot to say that I think Snape had a hand in Harry's finding his potion book - the Potion room wasn't Snape's realm anymore, with Slughorn around, so I think Snape left the book in the room on purpose. He still want to Harry confessing that he used it, but he punished Harry only mildly after hurting Draco. And in The Flight of the Prince, Snape says: "You dare use my spells against me!" (I don't have the book here, so I can't quote exacly) "I'm the Half-blood Prince!", he didn't say something like "How did you dare taking my book and read it?". I don't know if what I wrote seems logical, anyway.

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Wisey - Jul 31, 2005 3:06 am (#61 of 202)
It's ironic that Harry hasn't learnt a thing from Snape in five years of potion classes and yet in Yr6 using the HBP's potion book he has managed to out perform Hermione.

Snape honestly believes that Harry is a chip off the block and in detesting James so much has written him off as a worthless student and therefore hasn't really tried to teach him anything anyway, hence the occlumency lessons being stopped.

The prejudices between Harry and Snape have inhibited Harry's learning but Teenage HBP has got Harry up to speed in potions, which I'm guessing is going to be important in Bk7 chasing Horcruxes all over the place.

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Madame Librarian - Jul 31, 2005 7:42 am (#62 of 202)
I wonder if Snape was the first owner of that book. In the cover pic for the UK adult edition, it looks very, very old. Now, it's possible that all those "magical" textbooks have a fairly decrepit look about them, so I may be grasping at escaping garden gnomes here.

It would be an astounding twist to find out that Snape got the book somehow from a previous Hogwarts student named, say, Tom Riddle. Maybe some of the tips and tricks are from that owner. What if Snape is the third owner? Fourth? 400th? Salazar Slytherin might at some point in the past had the book, not as a student, but as a house master and founder. That would make Snape's claim as the Half-Blood Prince a dubious one. Was this a stance he takes to protect Riddle's half-blood status? Was it why he was able to convince Voldemort of his loyalty--i.e., they both knew something about the other that they wanted kept quiet? Who else is a "half-blood prince" that we don't yet realize? Remember how Ron and Hagrid tell Harry and Hermione that the whole pureblood business is nowadays bogus because the magical community would have simply dwindled away without intermarriages with muggles. Is this JKR's large hint that they're all really half-bloods? Maybe.

Oh dear, more and more reasons Snape is turning out to be the most difficult character.

Ciao. Barb

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Saralinda Again - Jul 31, 2005 8:02 am (#63 of 202)
I got the impression that Snape was using a hand-me-down book from his mother, Eileen Prince. We know that he doesn't come from a wealthy family. Used books (even the Weasleys get new ones!) might have been one more thing to set him apart from his peers.

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Madame Librarian - Jul 31, 2005 8:40 am (#64 of 202)
Saralinda, yes, your impression is probably right, but that doesn't rule out previous owners. The more, the better in a way. Could make it more convoluted as to who might be the half-blood prince, or if there is a line of them going back to ealier (way earlier, even) times.

Given the Lily-helped-Snape-with-potions theory, she might have owned the book, just lending it to Snape. Now, that's really a stretch.

Ciao. Barb

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Kazius - Jul 31, 2005 12:52 pm (#65 of 202)
The book is estimated at around 50 years old. This puts it in the realm of being around Snape's mother, possibly one more, but this book defiently never touched the hands of Salazar Slytherin or anyone beyond Snape's Grandparents, I'd say.

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Hem Hem - Jul 31, 2005 6:54 pm (#66 of 202)
Maybe Snape's mother went to school with Tom Riddle. They almost certainly were there the same decade. Perhaps they were friends.

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Paulus Maximus - Aug 1, 2005 12:10 pm (#67 of 202)
Voldemort may not acknowledge an heir, being so confident that he will never die. However, if he did, it would most definitely be Snape, after what Snape did at the end of the book...

And in any case, Snape is nothing if not cunning and ambitious. (He has to make up for not being a pureblood, or he would never have become head of Slytherin...) Even if Voldemort does not name an heir, Snape may seize the "throne" if he survives Voldemort...

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wynnleaf - Aug 2, 2005 8:17 pm (#68 of 202)
I think the questions of whose potions are whose, whether Lily helped SS or vice versa, etc., what plots would have worked in CoS and what wouldn't are maybe not so much the questions to be asking.

We know lots of big reasons why SS is important to this book, but most of them don't relate directly to the HBP part. What we don't know is why his potions book, it's relation to Harry, and the revelation that SS is the HBP are important. So what do we really learn from these things? We already knew SS was really great at potions. We already knew he came to Hogwarts well up on the dark arts. We already knew he was something of a geek in school. So what does the HBP/potions book part tell us that's new?

Here's some of the new things as I see it: 1. SS is a half-blood. By the way, I can't remember a place where SS ever personally puts down half-bloods or exalts pure bloods other than the nasty remark to Lily in OoP. 2. Harry liked the HBP when he didn't know who it was and learned a lot from him. 3. SS created a lot of spells as a student, some of which were dark arts stuff. 4. SS's ability in potions was mirrored by Lily's -- for whatever reason. His potions work displays a flair that was similar to Lily's. I'm interested not only in it's being similar to Lily's, but also the fact that it was done with such a flair. 5. SS's potions notes were not "by the book" and reveal a lot of independent and original thinking. 6. SS definitely still feels a sense of ownership with what he wrote way back in school as evidenced by his comments to Harry in the final chapters. I'm sure others find more.

What I guess I see most is that the HBP angle and the potions book reveal a lot about SS as a personality in a different way than we've come to know SS as Potions Master or member of the Order.

I don't necessarily think that JKR would have shown us the same things if she'd used the HBP in book 2. But in any case, she's waited until this book to give a fuller picture of SS. And then ends the book with his apparent betrayal. Certainly this is no black and white character. No wonder she's said he's her favorite to write!

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Star Crossed - Aug 2, 2005 8:19 pm (#69 of 202)
The book also saved Ron's life.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 2, 2005 8:26 pm (#70 of 202)
Star Crossed, that is a good a point had not Harry remembered the HBP's instuctions about bezoars Ron might well have been killed. So in way Ron has Severus to thank for his life just as Draco is indebted to Snape for saving his life.

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Eunice - Aug 3, 2005 4:37 am (#71 of 202)
Snape told about the bezoar's effect in his very first class in PS/SS. It's definitely something important for him. Clearly the book reminded Harry of the bezoar, but as Hermione always says, if Harry had paid attention to Snape's words he would have known about the bezoar since his first year. (sorry, Harry)

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Veritaserum - Aug 8, 2005 6:01 pm (#72 of 202)
And yet, it would be Snape either way who saved Ron's life.

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Madam Pince - Aug 8, 2005 8:01 pm (#73 of 202)
Madame Pince, do you mean that you think the HBP title originally applied to Voldemort and didn't mean Snape at all? -- Mrs. Brisbee

No, not at all. I was just answering the question that I thought you had asked in your post #46 about what plotline from HBP did we think had originally been scheduled for CoS.

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Kerfuffle - Aug 11, 2005 9:15 am (#74 of 202)
I think the significance of the "HBP" title is a play on words. I think as a teenager, doing as teenagers do, and trying out various personas and choosing which attributes of his parents/extended family he would emulate, he may have noted or been told he had "half Prince blood" and simply rearranged the words to give himself a grandiose "title".

Who hasn't as a teenager imagined an alternate reality for themselves? Maybe their "real parents" would come and rescue them from this hideous current existance, or a white Knight will rush in to save the day?

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RoseMorninStar - Aug 31, 2005 9:43 pm (#75 of 202)
When I take a class and someone else has an idea I had not thought of, I tend to take notes on what their good idea was/what worked best for them...what was given highest praise by the teacher. I might make notes on things I did of course, but I am more likely to write down things I had not thought of.

Snape does not strike me as a particularly 'inspired' teacher. Yes, he is a gifted potions maker, but the notes in the potions book in HBP would make one think of someone who was inspired.. even nervy in their approach to potion making. Much like the 'peppermint' comment. More like Lily. That makes me think that perhaps the notes in Snapes (handed down from his mother potion book)are notes he took in class. Notes that the young Severus took when the potions teacher praised other students for getting it just right. The 'dark spells' written in could just be his own musings & thoughts (perhaps something he would have liked to carry out on other students in class?)

One thing I find particularly intriguing is that although Snape often makes sneering comments about James (and understandably so from what we see in the pensieve) He never makes a comment about Lily. Ever. We have no clue as to what adult Snape thinks of Lily. The only hint we have is that Lily tried to stand up for Severus but he was just as nasty to her as he was to (seemingly) everyone else. But Snape hates Harry before they even meet. He also seems to hate Neville from day one.

What could he have possibly told Dumbledore that warranted his trust?

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frogface - Sep 28, 2005 4:52 am (#76 of 202)
Is it possible that Snape discovered that Voldemort had a spy in the Order of the Phoenix, and Snape alerted Dumbledore to this? That could be one of the things that made Dumbledore trust him.

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Paulus Maximus - Sep 28, 2005 8:05 am (#77 of 202)
Wormtail was a spy in the Order, and I am quite sure that Snape didn't know he was a spy until much later. On the other hand, there may have been more than one spy, about whom Snape DID know.

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wynnleaf - Oct 20, 2005 7:12 am (#78 of 202)
I don?t know if this is okay for this thread, or if it deserves it?s own thread. I hate to start a new thread if this one will do, but I?m really asking for a new direction, so hope this will be okay as no one?s posted much on here for some time.

In JKR?s July 18, 2005 interview, on Newsround, in the last part of the interview she said:

During the writing of Chamber of Secrets, the story line of the Half-Blood Prince in this book was initially incorporated into the second book and I obviously do not want an elaborate on that in case people haven't finished the book and that is why the working title of Chamber of Secrets was the Half-Blood Prince, it became clear to me during the writing of that book that I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side by side, so one had to be pulled out, it became clear immediately that.

I could have soldiered on, included that information there and that would have been messed up the later plot, as you know if you have. I will be very careful, the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, would have blown a lot of things open...

Now here we are, post-HBP, and not sure exactly what?s been ?blown open? by the revelations about the HBP. I thought a thread should investigate this from two directions. First, what did we not know pre-HBP, that we now know due specifically to revelations surrounding HBP? And second, if the HBP plot had been incorporated into COS, what essentials of the plot would have been in COS, and which would probably not, and what would have been ?blown open? after reading a COS version with the HBP plotlines?

First, the HBP as we know it.

I think most assumed Severus grew up in the wizarding world as a pure-blood, perhaps in a Dark household (like the Blacks), and was just as much into purity of lines as many other Slytherins. Post-HBP, we now know he probably grew up mostly in the muggle world. If his mom was into Dark magic, he still probably wouldn?t have been surrounded by it due to being in a more muggle oriented household. Further, the idea that he?s really into racial purity has been seriously challenged, particularly due to his use of the term ?Half-Blood? along with ?Prince.?

However, I?m not sure what else was ?blown open? by that particular plot-line in Book 6. Other information was included with the plot, particularly Lily?s talent at potions. But that doesn?t seem to be a great revelation.

So, since the revelations there don?t seem quite as dramatic ? or maybe they should seem dramatic and we?re not placing enough importance on them ? I thought it would be useful to look at how the revelations would have affected the books and readers if they had come in COS.

Some assumptions: If the HBP plotline had been in COS, JKR would still not have put Severus in the DADA position or had DD die. At that point, I?m sure she wasn?t ready for either of those characters to leave Hogwarts. If Severus wasn?t teaching DADA, then Slughorn wouldn?t have been there to give revelations about Lily?s gifts in potions. Severus would certainly not have commented on them ? he doesn?t comment on Lily and I doubt sincerely if he?d have complimented Harry.

The notes in the potions book (or they could have been in a different book, like maybe a DADA text), could have been in a 3rd year book. I don?t think it matters. JKR would probably still have had Harry keep the book the entire year, learning from it. Severus would still probably get really angry over some use Harry would make of the notes at the end of the year and reveal in some angry way that he was the HBP. But he wouldn?t be gone from Hogwarts and would not have just killed someone Harry loved.

What would have been ?blown open? then?

We?d have seen dueling books displaying the personalities of two different people. The diary would turn out to be Riddle, the HBP would be Severus. Riddle would be obviously evil, but Severus would not have killed anyone and wouldn?t be seen therefore as obviously evil. Would this create a juxtaposition that would make too definite a picture that Severus is ?good??

The reader would know early on regardless what Slytherins, the Malfoys, DE?s or LV said about purebloods, that Severus is a half-blood. How would that change our viewpoint reading Books 4 and 5? How would it change Harry?s perspective?

Would we have been guessing at Irma Pince/Eileen Prince earlier?

Harry would continue to take classes from Severus, but would he see him quite differently, having spent a year enjoying and learning from his notes? Harry?s interest in the HBP would not have been so thoroughly changed by the apparent murder of DD by Severus. So how what would have happened to the Harry/Severus relationship?

When Lupin and Sirius tell Harry that Snape came to Hogwarts knowing more Dark Arts than much older students, would Harry have wondered about that knowing Severus came from a half-Muggle household? Would we have interpreted that differently? How would he have seen the pensieve scene?

What would have been ?blown open? for us after COS, if we had discovered what we now know about Severus Snape from the HBP plotline? JKR clearly thought this was a big revelation. I?m wondering what we?re not seeing and wondering if perhaps we investigate HBP and COS together, we could understand it better.

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Paulus Maximus - Oct 20, 2005 7:35 am (#79 of 202)
I think that what would have been "blown open" was the fact that Riddle's diary was a Horcrux. That fact could have easily been incorporated into book 2, since the diary was such an important object in book 2. But it would have spoiled the rest of the series, knowing that all you need to do to make Voldemort mortal is to destroy a few items in which he had put pieces of his soul.

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wynnleaf - Oct 20, 2005 8:15 am (#80 of 202)
Um, I don't think that's what JKR was planning to put in COS. It was the HBP part that she almost put in COS.

the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, would have blown a lot of things open...

If she had put the horcrux explanations into COS, it would certainly have been a revelation, but it wouldn't have been a completely other plotline

I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side by side,

This doesn't fit the idea that the plot line she didn't put in COS was about horcruxes. Horcruxes would have been an extension of the diary plotline, not a separate plotline. In any case, she said the "revelations about the half-blood" were the parts that would have blown open things. So that's the plotline she was talking about.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 21, 2005 10:09 pm (#81 of 202)
wynnleaf, I am not sure if this answers your questions or not. I found this on JKR's website:

Section: F.A.Q. In what way is 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' related to 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'? I have been engulfed by an avalanche of questions on the subject of 'Prince' having once been a title of 'Chamber'. I am therefore attempting to answer most of them under this heading, which I think just about covers all the answerable variations (the unanswerable ones include questions such as 'who's the Half-Blood Prince?' 'what happens in the Half-Blood Prince?' and 'what does Half-Blood Prince mean?')

The plot of 'Prince' bears no resemblance whatsoever to the plot of 'Chamber', nor is it an off-cut of 'Chamber'. The story of 'Prince' takes off where 'Phoenix' ended and does not hark back to four years previously. True, mention is made to events that happened in 'Chamber,' but of course, mention is also made of events that happened in 'Stone', 'Azkaban', 'Goblet' and 'Phoenix'.

'The Half-Blood Prince' might be described as a strand of the overall plot. That strand could be used in a whole variety of ways and back in 1997 I considered weaving it into the story of 'Chamber'. It really didn't fit there, though; it was not part of the story of the basilisk and Riddle's diary, and before long I accepted that it would be better to do it justice in book six. I clung to the title for a while, even though all trace of the 'Prince' storyline had disappeared, because I liked it so much (yes, I really like this title!). I re-christened book two 'Chamber of Secrets' when I started the second draft.

The link I mentioned between books two and six does not, in fact, relate to the 'Half-Blood Prince' (because there is no trace left of the HBP storyline in 'Chamber'.) Rather, it relates to a discovery Harry made in 'Chamber' that foreshadows something that he finds out in 'Prince'.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

She must be talking about the fact that the diary was a Horcrux.

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wynnleaf - Oct 22, 2005 6:08 am (#82 of 202)
It really didn't fit there, though; it was not part of the story of the basilisk and Riddle's diary, and before long I accepted that it would be better to do it justice in book six.

The link I mentioned between books two and six does not, in fact, relate to the 'Half-Blood Prince' (because there is no trace left of the HBP storyline in 'Chamber'.) Rather, it relates to a discovery Harry made in 'Chamber' that foreshadows something that he finds out in 'Prince'.

In other words, the link that remains between the two books is the diary which turns out to be a horcrux. But the "strand" removed was the Half-Blood Prince part.

that I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side by side, so one had to be pulled out,

I could have soldiered on, included that information there and that would have been messed up the later plot,

I will be very careful, the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, would have blown a lot of things open...

That's not revelations about the diary or horcruxes, but the half-blood. So what would have been "blown open" if the revelations about the half blood had been in the 2nd book?

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frogface - Oct 22, 2005 9:35 am (#83 of 202)
I suppose it just gives us too much information on Snape, too early. I also think that Eileen Prince (some people think she may be Irma Pince, the school librarian) will turn out to be important in some way. Maybe something to do with her will help determine which side Snape is really on. The Half-Blood Prince storyline was put into the series for a reason, so I guess that reason may very well become clear by the time we have book seven.

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wynnleaf - Oct 22, 2005 12:14 pm (#84 of 202)
Right after HBP came out, a number of posters seemed to be asking ?what?s the big deal?? about Severus being the HBP. I noticed somebody mentioning earlier in this thread that if JKR had put this plot line into COS, we probably wouldn?t have cared.

I think we?re probably missing something big, because for whatever reasons many of us don?t seem to take Severus being the HBP as a Big Revelation. But JKR?s comments seem to indicate that it was a big deal.

But post HBP, it doesn?t sound like too big a revelation. However, I think if this had been in the 2nd book it would have really changed some of the ways we read the following books.

For instance, there's the effect of dueling books. If both plot lines had been in COS, there would have been an interesting parallel of two books, both helping or appearing to help Harry.

The diary: a magical 50 year old diary written by a handsome, apparently helpful teenage student named Tom Riddle who appear to give Harry the information he needs. But in the end, Harry discovers that the handsome appealing student took on the name Lord Voldemort in order to expunge his Muggle heritage. He is evil and has started a process to kill non-pureblood wizards in Hogwarts. At the end of the book, the diary is destroyed and Harry knows (as he as known before) that LV is evil.

The potions book: a 50 year old non-magical textbook with notes in it by an unknown student whose use of the title Half-Blood Prince seems to denote an emphasis on his lack of blood purity. The notes seem very helpful and give Harry information he needs. In the end, Harry discovers the HBP is Severus Snape, his completely unappealing nasty potions teacher, now head of the Slytherin house. Because JKR wouldn?t (in all likelihood) kill off DD or have Severus leave Hogwarts at the end, book 2 would end with Harry knowing who the HBP is, but without a big piece of evidence apparently pointing toward his being evil.

If JKR had left the HBP strand in COS, it would have been an interesting juxtaposition of the half-blood writer of the potions notes within the overall theme of blood-purity in the book. And at the end, the reader would probably have been struck by the fact that the head of Slytherin House (where so many of the purists are) is a half-blood.

Of course, it would have depended on how JKR wrote it, but I?m thinking that juxtaposing the two books, as well as the blood-purity theme and Severus being half-blood would place the Severus Snape character in a position thematically opposed to the evil of LV. I don?t think JKR wanted to do that in Book 2.

That?s just a piece of what I think would have been revealed if HBP had been in the 2nd book.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 22, 2005 4:14 pm (#85 of 202)
Could it possibly be that Harry finds out that the one who heard his prophecy was Snape? Could it be that Snape is also a Half-blood?

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frogface - Oct 23, 2005 1:48 am (#86 of 202)
I don't think it could be anything to do with the prophecy because that doesn't relate to Snape being the Half-Blood Prince. I think it has to be something to do with Snape's blood line or his parents. Or possibly one of the spells in the book.

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wynnleaf - Oct 23, 2005 5:32 am (#87 of 202)
This line of JKR's interests me:

I will be very careful, the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, would have blown a lot of things open...

Notice the "for instance." She seems to be indicating that a number of things in the plotline could be revelations, but she's particularly mentioning "the half-blood" as an example of something that would have "blown a lot of things open." I think that directly relates to the parentage aspect of the potions book/HBP=Severus Snape strand of plot.

I think there's something about the parentage aspect that blows things open, or maybe it only would have blown things open if put in Book 2. But whatever it is, I feel like, based on her comments, if we think it's sort of "ho hum" that he's a half-blood, we're missing something big.

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RoseMorninStar - Oct 23, 2005 12:04 pm (#88 of 202)
wynnleaf, you mention 'something big' so I will wildly throw a few ideas out there. I do wonder about one thing you have mentioned, although the Wizarding world seems to be caught up in this whole 'pure-blood' ethic problem, some of the most important wizards of the day seem to be half-bloods. Voldemort, Snape, and Harry. Although I could argue that Harry is of a more wizarding stock than Voldemort or Snape because even though Lily was a mudblood, that would have made both Harry's parents magical. Now, that may not matter to the likes of the Black or Malfoy family, but it might matter to Snape or Voldemort.

Could Voldemort have been looking to young Snape as a 'Dark Lord in training' that Snape would have been so proud of being the 'Half-blood Prince' even while he was still at school (much like Draco)? How did Snape fair during the first reign of Voldemort's terror? Is he really a spy and if so, what 'turned' him? If he is loyal to Voldemort, what role does he see himself playing? When Snape made the Unbreakable Vow he mentions to Bella,

"But there was more to it than that. I should remind you that when Potter first arrived at Hogwarts there were still many stories circulating about him, rumors that he himself was a great Dark wizard, which was how he had survived the Dark Lord's attack. Indeed, many of the Dark Lord's old followers thought Potter might be a standard around which we could all rally once more. I was curious, I admit it, and not at all inclined to murder him the moment he set foot in the castle.. "Of course, it became apparent to me very quickly that he had no extraordinary talent at all."

Would the revelations of the potions book alerted us too soon about Snapes ambitions (although I do not think his personal ambitions seem to be great)? His spying? Because in chapter 29-'The Phoenix Laments', Prof. McGonagall is distraught when she hears what Snape has done and says,

"My fault. I sent Filius to fetch Snape tonight, I actually sent for him to come and help us! IF I hadn't alerted Snape to what was going on, he might never have joined forces with the Death Eaters. I don't think he knew they were there before Filius told him, I don't think he knew they were coming."

So, does McGonagall not know that Snape was a (double)spy? Did they all think he needed to be kept away from the Dark Arts tasks? Dumbledore obviously trusted Snape with Dark Arts tasks. I mean, the reason he kept Snape away from the DADA job obviously was not to 'tempt' him to the Dark side because Dumbledore had sent Snape to the Dark Lord (to spy) previously. So he must have kept Snape way because of the curse that he suspected the job had.

Would Harry have learned too much about potions (or not enough about Defense against the Dark Arts) had Snape been exposed as the Half-blood Prince?

It is interesting that Snape calls Harry's father James 'filthy'.. a term ususally reserved for the mudbloods or half-bloods. Could the extreme hatred that Snape shows for James have been too soon in an earlier book? Would the spells, like Levicorpus been too soon..as Harry had not yet seen the pensieve scene where his father torments Snape?

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me and my shadow 813 - Nov 3, 2005 6:07 pm (#89 of 202)
Rose MorninStar, thanks for that insightful post. I particularly appreciate your pointing out that Harry is 100% magical and not half-muggle in the true muggle sense.

I think the reason JKR didn't use HBP in CoS is simply because they'd be fighting for attention. They're simply both too large a plot line to share with another.

It's probably been said many times before, but it seems like the concept of half-bloods is similar to that of uniting the houses. It's needed, should be desirable at this point in the WW. We know not many wizard families are actually pure anymore, and we've seen how screwed up the purebloods are(except Weasleys). Even Sirius was screwed up. And DD makes a comment about the problems of Gaunts marrying their cousins. As in uniting the houses...it's interesting that in OoP, the Sorting Hat didn't want to "quarter" the students anymore.

So we've got three main character half-bloods. I think the significance of the title is showing that Snape, unlike Vold, was not ashamed of his non-pure-blood status. The three are like viewpoints of the same person. How one turns out depends on self-loathing versus self-acceptance...

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Madame Librarian - Nov 4, 2005 10:36 am (#90 of 202)
Why this question never occurred to me before I can't say, but now it seems to critical to the plot development for the next book and the dénoument (who wins).

If JKR had used HBP plot-line for CoS, 3rd book in a 7-book series, wouldn't that have sort of blown away some of the mystery of the most mysterious character of all--Snape? If the fact that Snape was half-blood was openly known to all--especially to the students--what does that do to the character's solid position as the nasty professor who detests Harry and Hermione and unfairly favors his Slytherin crew with points and such so outrageously? I mean, it just isn't the same Snape we love to hate. The revelation that he's a half-blood made me whoop out loud when he tells Harry before he dashes away. In some ways the whole plot must accomodate this as well as DD's death, since these serve to be huge factors. It's been zigging along, now it just zagged. I will be very eager to read what the Wizarding World, especially how Slyths and DE sympathizers handle this news.

So, how would things have played out if we had known this before? Snape is such a critical character--the most enigmatic in my opinion--that I have to believe that major chunks of the story would have been told quite differently. Unless...Madame Author would have just used the device of the loaner potions book with its tips and tricks, but without the final "hey, it's me!" by Snape. Could have worked then, maybe.

Ciao. Barb

EDIT--Of course, it just occurred to me that maybe this is not the plot-line that JKR was referring to. Maybe this whole business with the potions book would have stayed exactly where it is in book 6, but the back story on Tom Riddle (Gaunts, his orphanage life, etc.) would have been told. And that could have been done when Diary Tom tells Harry his life story. It would have been a long scene, but not shocking or worthy of a whoop. I mean, we sort had a bare skeleton outline of his childhood and youth already. That chunk could have been lifted from HBP and put in CoS. The Snape revelation is a whole other order of magnitude. Did I glaze over when JKR was talking about this in a chat? Can someone refer me to her comments? Thanks.

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wynnleaf - Nov 4, 2005 12:18 pm (#91 of 202)
Madame Librarian,

In my post #82 I looked at several of JKR's quotes about this. It seems she speaks of several different things: 1. the plot line she removed from Book 2, which is the HBP part, which didn't really fit well with the COS plot, 2. the link that remains -- that is, the diary is a horcrux, and 3. some aspects of the removed plot line,"the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, that would have blown a lot of things open..."

Like you, I've tried to imagine how we'd have "read" the plot and characters differently if we'd known about "the half-blood, for instance" by the end of COS.

Because COS focuses so much on the blood purity and racist themes, and because all the purists were in Slytherin, the end of COS left most of us assuming that Slytherins were mostly purists and probably Severus was also a pure-blood elitist type. I think we'd have seen a lot of things differently by the end of the book if we'd seen all these purist Slytherins and then found out that their head-of-house was a half-blood -- and apparently somewhat proud of it.

Plus, I imagine COS would have been a bit about the "dueling books" and "dueling writers." In other words, we'd have juxtaposed against one another two rather personal books, with the accompanying characters of the writers, that Harry would read. The diary and it's writer Tom Riddle, Harry would meet as a helpful, handsome young man who is trying to do the responsible thing and discover who has opened the Chamber of Secrets. Tom would be convincing and apparently helpful. But eventually, as it worked out in the final COS, Harry would discover that Tom was really LV and evil. The book was a "plant" to open the Chamber. Tom was a purist and was encouraging the deaths of muggle borns. Was he the Heir of Slytherin, the reader wonders?

Then on the other side, Harry would have this potions book with notes all through it. This writer, too, was a past student of Hogwarts. The book would appear at first to be the same age as the diary -- 50 years old. This writer would seem helpful, if unknowingly, because his notes would enable Harry to learn all sorts of useful things. Eventually, Harry would discover that there were also dangerous things in the notes. But unlike the diary writer, and in the midst of all the blood-purity questions in the school, the potions notes writer would appear to be a very talented half-blood wizard, proud of his half-blood parentage. In the end, Harry discovers that this writer also has a secret identity -- Severus Snape.

Diary writer -- potions book writer

Appears personally helpful -- notes are helpful, but impersonal (no soul of the writer to speak to Harry, that is)

Handsome, pleasing Tom Riddle is really evil Lord Voldemort -- Talented Half-blood Prince is really greasy, nasty Severus Snape

Actual half-blood wizard hiding his roots -- actual half-blood wizard proclaiming his roots

How would all of this affect our view of Severus Snape? I think the juxtaposition would be more positive than negative for Severus, because we'd just naturally compare how one writer turned out to the other. Further, because it's highly unlikely that JKR would have DD AK'd at the end, or Severus leave at the end, I think we'd finish the book with a mostly positive revelation about Severus without the accompanying negative of his apparently having committed a terrible crime and killed the really Good Guy, DD.

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Madame Librarian - Nov 4, 2005 7:50 pm (#92 of 202)
wynnleaf, excellent analysis there, especially the 2 books/2 writers comparison! Take 10 points.

After reading your ideas, however, I'm even more convinced that JKR would have ended up writing a very different story had she used the HBP stuff about Snape in CoS. I think JKR realized the two story lines were strong enough to stand on their own.

The idea of a hand-me-down potions book is quite brilliant and very cleverly pulled off. I mean, it's every student's dream in a way to have a very secret, personal consultant literally giving them the answers for a difficult class. And then to blend that device with the always intriguing concept of a secret identity character--a prince, a genius, no less. Especially when that identity turns out to belong to someone you'd least expect. This kind of story line deserves its own book. It would have been terribly undermined if it had to share a book with the diary. I'm glad she changed her mind.

Ciao. Barb

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Ana Cis - Nov 4, 2005 8:40 pm (#93 of 202)
Edited by Nov 4, 2005 8:41 pm
wynnleaf: "Actual half-blood wizard hiding his roots -- actual half-blood wizard proclaiming his roots"

I would say: actual half-blood wizard secretly proclaiming his roots. Harry is the only person to whom Snape proclaims his roots. I'm sure that DD knew that Snape was a half-blood; probably Slughorn and McGonagall may know this also. We may also have a slight insight to Snape's hate for James and Sirius. They were both purebloods, and we saw them both be bullies in the same ways as other Slytherin purebloods. The difference being that their bullying tactics had nothing to do with their being purebloods; however, Snape may not have seen it that way until James married Lily.

Another point, Snape may have learned that Voldemort is a half-blood from his mother who would have been in school with Voldemort when he was known as Thom Riddle. I believe the key to this lies with Eileen Prince. JKR made sure Snape's mother stayed a mystery.

I do agree that there's something significant about Snape being the Half Blood Prince. I'm also positive that JKR double-, triple-, and quadruple checked her work to make sure we didn't any hint as its significance.



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Saracene - Nov 4, 2005 11:24 pm (#94 of 202)
I too think that there must be more significance to the whole Potions book subplot and Half Blood Prince revelations than has been revealed so far. Because as things stand now I can't really see what's so important about it that it should figure in the book's title.

Re: parallels between LV and Snape - at the end of the book Harry says bitterly how Snape is just like Voldemort in inventing a new impressive name for himself. But it's interesting that LV used his new grandiose nickname as something that he wished the whole world to know him under, and to erase his previous common "Tom Riddle" incarnation he despised. Whereas Snape seems to have kept his nickname pretty much to himself, which rather fits in with his loner nature. And if he was as ashamed of his parentage as Harry thinks he is, how hard would it have been to legally change his surname to "Prince"? Smile

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wynnleaf - Nov 5, 2005 6:57 am (#95 of 202)
Saracene,

This is where I think the AKing of DD colors what we learned through the potions book/hbp plotline. Those that see the AKing of DD by Severus as meaning Severus is definitely a bad guy, then find themselves needing to interpret the HBP title (not title of the book, but Severus' title for himself), as almost necessarily negative. So Harry -- searching for more negatives for Severus -- decides that the HBP title must mean Severus is like LV, coming up with a title for himself, using his mother's name because he hates his muggle roots, and so on. Even Hermione accepted that. But if this plotline had been in COS, without Severus doing something terrible at the end and having to flee, I don't think there'd be an opportunity for the characters to put that spin on Severus use of the HBP title.

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Soul Search - Oct 26, 2008 6:35 am (#96 of 202)
We have been discussing Half-Blood Prince as being a working title for the second book on the Chamber of Secrets series read-a-long and I found this topic to be of interest. Take a look at post #81 where RoseMorninStar presents JKR's comments on the subject. wynnleaf makes some good comments on subsequent posts. Recall, however, that these posts were made before Deathly Hallows.

As I read JKR's comments it appears that Snape was the Half-Blood Prince even in the second book plotline. I have never been comfortable with the Snape character giving himself a name like that; it just doesn't fit the child or adult Snape character. Looks to me like JKR liked the title so much she worked the plot around so it could fit Snape, but didn't change his character development so it truely fit.

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Orion - Oct 26, 2008 10:53 am (#97 of 202)
That's a very good thought, Soul Search. When the sixth book came out I automatically thought "No, not that again - another confrontation with Voldie" and then I read that it was about a very interesting book and thought it was another Diary practically till the ending. So there actually was something true about that feeling! "Prince" is really so much more Voldie than Snape - Snape may be emotionally stunted but he isn't as adolescent as that, not even as an adolescent! It just doesn't fit, whereas Voldie is totally obsessed with "blood" and "pure blood" and the unresolved problem with his muggle father.

I a way, it seems as if Voldie tries to squeeze some pride out of his ancestry, a little bit of "I'm special". Maybe this title is a tiny bow to Merope's scheming with the love potion, a little act of respect. Snape, however, couldn't care less about "blood"; he only wants to cling to the bad guys to fend off the Gryffindors and impress Lily.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 26, 2008 11:24 am (#98 of 202)
Link to post #81 as mentioned by Soul Search

Snape, however, couldn't care less about "blood"; he only wants to cling to the bad guys to fend off the Gryffindors and impress Lily.

I think Snape's comments about Muggles and filthy little Mudbloods shows that he does care about blood. The thing about Hate Groups is that they allow you to build yourself up as better than a whole slew of people without even having to work at it or prove it. All Muggles and Muggleborns are automatically beneath you in value. I think that would be the major attraction to someone who is ambitious, and wants to arrange everyone in a hierarchy with themselves near the top.

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Soul Search - Oct 26, 2008 11:29 am (#99 of 202)
When the Half-Blood Prince title was first announced I was sure it referred to Tom Riddle. It made sense that he first called himself Half-Blood Prince then upgraded to the rearrangement of his name as "I am Lord Voldemort." But, before publication, JKR revealed that the Half-Blood Prince was neither Riddle nor Harry. Since it didn't fit any existing character, I was convinced it was a new character. Maybe one Dumbledore arranged to teach Harry Occulmency. There was also the prepublication mention of the "lion-like" figure, which turned out to be Scrimgrour, a bit of a disappointment.

When the half-blood prince turned out to be Snape, my thoughts were "no way."

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Julia H. - Oct 26, 2008 10:06 pm (#100 of 202)
I think Snape's comments about Muggles and filthy little Mudbloods shows that he does care about blood. (Mrs Brisbee)

To me it seems he is using the language of his house mates, especially when he wants to insult someone, without really thinking about what it may imply. It is very bad but I don't think he would try to apologise to any muggle-borns if he understood the full significance of the ideology behind it and approved of it or considered it important for his own self-image. Also, the "half-blood" title is not really that glorious if you are truly obsessed with pure-blood ideology.



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Re: Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:59 am

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title? (Posts 101 to 140)


Mrs Brisbee - Oct 27, 2008 2:53 am (#101 of 202)
To me it seems he is using the language of his house mates, especially when he wants to insult someone, without really thinking about what it may imply.-- Julia H.

I can't say I agree with you, Julia. I know that that can happen with children, but Snape demonstrated his disdain for Muggles at an early age, and he also demonstrates his ability to pick the right slur to apply to only Muggleborns. He knows what Muggleborns are, and he chooses to treat them like dirt. His motive might even be more ambition than racism at Hogwarts, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what the name implies.

When the Half-Blood Prince title was first announced I was sure it referred to Tom Riddle. It made sense that he first called himself Half-Blood Prince then upgraded to the rearrangement of his name as "I am Lord Voldemort." But, before publication, JKR revealed that the Half-Blood Prince was neither Riddle nor Harry. Since it didn't fit any existing character, I was convinced it was a new character.-- Soul Search

I don't think I had a clue who the Half-Blood Prince would be before HBP came out. I didn't think it could be Voldemort, though, because I didn't think he would need two pretentious nick-names.

"Prince" has some interesting connotations in the Harry Potter series. The only mention prior to CoS (originally named HBP), was when Quirrell tells his class that his turban was a gift from a prince, when really he was wearing it to hide Voldemort.

I think another reference is in OotP, when Dumbledore commented that Harry didn't become a pampered little prince from living at the Dursley's, which is ironically what he would have become if the Dursley's had done what Dumbledore asked and treated Harry as they did their own son. Snape, of course, doesn't have a pampered prince background, so it's hard to fit these together unless Rowling was implying that Snape wished he was a pampered prince, which might be the case.

DH, with its emphasis on Dumbledore and the "greater good", brings up the Machiavellian Prince (although the word "prince" is never used).

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Julia H. - Oct 27, 2008 4:41 am (#102 of 202)
... but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what the name implies. (Mrs Brisbee)

I'm sure Snape knew what the name meant and that it was used against muggle-borns and that it was absolutely offensive. I'm sure he used it against Lily when he wanted to say something that hurt. But he did not want to insult Lily because of her blood-status but because of his jealousy. I don't think he cared about her blood-status any other time. He seems to be using the word his "friends" use, yet he has been friends with a muggle-born girl from Gryffindor and even after the M-word he tries to apologise and win back her friendship. That is just totally untypical of people really being obsessed with pure-blood ideology.

On the other hand, being a wizard is very important to Snape, and he tells Lily early on that it is the magic she has that counts and not her blood-status. He probably really thinks that - after all, he is half-muggle brought up among muggles and he probably tries to prove it in school that his magic / talent is as good as anyone else's - even later in his life he often emphasizes the importance of (wizarding) talent.

As for his disdain for muggles: We only know that for sure in connection with Petunia, who is not exactly kind to him. His father is abusive and Snape seems to think he does not love his son but all we know about Snape's feelings regarding his father is that he wants to get away from home as soon as possible. He may have felt general disdain for muggles but the other side of the coin is that he spent his early childhood as part of a very small wizarding minority in a muggle community, not feeling accepted because of his weirdness and having to hide his true self, his true talents and interests because of the Statute of Secrecy. I think it is comparable to a situation in which a child is forbidden to use his mother tongue outside his home and then is ridiculed regularly because he does not speak the accepted language properly and because he cannot show his real talents due to that. Then he grows up with prejudices, with identity problems and with low self-confidence, at the same time being eager to prove himself in an idealized community where he thinks he belongs.

DH, with its emphasis on Dumbledore and the "greater good", brings up the Machiavellian Prince (although the word "prince" is never used).

I mentioned it elsewhere that Dumbledore, who has a throne-like chair, seems to be a symbolic king and Prince Snape () is certainly his heir (chosen by the "king") in several respects. (The second part of The Prince's Tale is mainly about the relationship between Dumbledore and Snape.)

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 27, 2008 5:14 am (#103 of 202)
On the other hand, being a wizard is very important to Snape, and he tells Lily early on that it is the magic she has that counts and not her blood-status. He probably really thinks that - after all, he is half-muggle brought up among muggles and he probably tries to prove it in school that his magic / talent is as good as anyone else's - even later in his life he often emphasizes the importance of (wizarding) talent.-- Julia H.

This much we can agree on, anyway. I think Snape showed that he believes the greater the magical power, the greater the value of the person. People with exception magical power like Muggleborn Lily, or Half-Blood him, should be exceptions to the rule. In fact, that's what the final break up of Lily's and Snape's friendship was about, at least from Lily's point of view. She didn't buy into that value system, and was sick of being the exception.

I mentioned it elsewhere that Dumbledore, who has a throne-like chair, seems to be a symbolic king and Prince Snape () is certainly his heir (chosen by the "king") in several respects. (The second part of The Prince's Tale is mainly about the relationship between Dumbledore and Snape.)

There's definitely a lot of authoritarian symbolism around Dumbledore. I've no doubt he is the Machiavellian Prince, and Snape is chosen as his Hogwart's heir (deposing the true heir, McGonagall, if you will). But is Snape ever enough of an independent actor to get title of Machiavellian Prince? Dumbledore treats him as puppet, even after Dumbledore is dead.

Edit: Actually, if his final act-- sending harry to his death-- was done with a motive for the Greater Good and not just because Dumbledore said to do it-- then Snape might just qualify for the title of prince in that final moment. of course, Snape's motives remain obscure.

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Julia H. - Oct 27, 2008 5:33 am (#104 of 202)
No, I don't think Snape is the Machiavellian Prince - Dumbledore definitely can be though in this particular symbolism I see him as king. But I think Snape is the true heir. (Harry acknowledges that when he refers to Snape as Headmaster of Hogwarts in the same way as he refers to Dumbledore as Headmaster of Hogwarts.) Snape does not only inherit Dumbledore's title but much more than that. (He is also the king's "son" as a traditional true heir should be.) McGonagall is rather like the regent or vice-roy, who rules when the king is away (and the heir to the throne is too young ). (Interestingly, JKR does not mention who will be the Headmaster after Snape or a generation later.) King, Prince, Regent ... what is left for Lord Voldemort? It seems he is a pretender.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 27, 2008 8:20 am (#105 of 202)
Interesting. I did once call OotP "A Tale of Three Dictators" (for Fudge, Umbridge, and Dumbledore). If Dumbledore is the Ruler, and Snape is his Prince, it takes on even more significance that Dumbledore declares Harry to be not-a-prince. In OotP we also see Harry become the chosen leader of the DA. Even though he is the obvious leader, Hermione brilliantly insists that the DA members vote on it, the first time we ever get to see a leader chosen in the HP series. We see in HBP that Harry has been stuck with "the Chosen One" moniker. Not "the Assigned One". He is being differentiated from a Prince.

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Julia H. - Oct 27, 2008 9:51 am (#106 of 202)
I don't see these royal titles above as negative. From a symbolic viewpoint, a king is not at all or not necessarily the same as a dictator. In a framework of medieval symbolism, a "king" is likely to be a positive symbol. An evil despot is more likely to be some sort of "Lord", with no real title to the throne. Just think of The Lord of the Rings, in which "lord" is used with reference to a negative character, while the rightful king is a healer, among other things. There are also many stories in Europe dating from feudal times in which the rightful king is just and protective, while various lords can be evil and despotic. It would be difficult to reinterpret these stories according to the standards of modern democracy. Like The Lord of the Rings, HP uses a lot of medieval reference (Tandaradei could help me here) - the sword, the quest, then chivalry, loyalty and bravery as values, etc.

As for Harry, I don't think "the Chosen One" title refers to Harry being a democratically chosen leader, at least not on this particular level of interpretation. I think he is chosen in the sense that he did not volunteer for the kind of life and tasks assigned to him and he is chosen in the sense that there is something very important only he can do and, significantly, he accepts this task and everything it means. He is not chosen because he is so much stronger, more talented or intelligent than everyone else. He is chosen because he's got the power to love and instinctively knows how to choose what is right (and of course he is very brave).

It is interesting that these are the main questions for Snape as well: love and hatred, choosing the right or the wrong and being brave or coward. He learns to place love above hatred, learns to choose the right over the wrong or the easy and proves to be very brave. However, by the time this happens, he has lost his innocence, he is a marked man (not like Harry but literally, Dark Marked) and his sacrifice is atonement for the wrongs he once did. Yet, he is a true Prince at this time, as Dumbledore is a true king, though neither is perfect or infallible. They know their goals and their duties and live accordingly.

Harry is different: he sacrifices himself without having to atone for anything. I agree that he is differentiated from the Prince. He is not Dumbledore's heir or the Prince's peer, he is the one they both help and support and protect, central to their goals and hopes (regardless whether it is the greater good or personal redemption). Harry wins a larger "kingdom" in the end (not just Hogwarts) and he talks to Dumbledore as his equal or more and he is the one who pronounces the Prince redeemed.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 27, 2008 6:56 pm (#107 of 202)
I think Rowling must have put the juxtaposition of how leaders are picked in there with a purpose. She didn't need to show the DA voting for Harry, as he was the obvious leader. Choice is one of the big meta-themes of the series, and amongst those choices is who one will choose to follow. When someone chooses who they will follow, they also take on a responsibility for their leaders success or failure. So to me the imagery of the monarch does take on a negative hue.

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Julia H. - Oct 27, 2008 10:31 pm (#108 of 202)
I didn't mean to say that Harry being a chosen leader has no significance. It has. HP can have many levels of interpretation. But whether Harry the democratic leader is really versus Dumbledore the monarch ... I haven't thought of that. (What role would that leave for Voldemort?) I think Hogwarts Headmasters are appointed by the Ministry and the Ministry (even if corrupted) is supposed to be an institution of democracy (before it is taken over by Voldemort) unless I very much misread something. There is even a a Board of Governors to supervise the Headmaster - there is democracy but it is unfortunately corrupted. Snape is appointed by a despot (Voldemort) but when he is headmaster, there is no possibility to become a headmaster (or a minister or anything) in a democratic way. He takes this position in a crisis the way he can because if he did not, it would be letting the Death Eaters have even more power and do even more harm. Harry becomes an opposition leader, the symbol and leader of rebels (of the "people" versus politicians) if you like, in a political situation of terror and oppression. But Dumbledore, Snape and Harry all oppose Voldemort (he is the real threat to democracy) and fight against him in their own very different ways.

In my reading (and this is clearly not the only possible reading), HP is a tale about right and wrong focusing on individual choices in the first place (yes, choices are very important) set in a fantasy world decorated with wizarding and medieval motifs. When I say Dumbledore is a king and Snape is a prince, I'm thinking about symbols or archetypes rather than historical or political parallels - the archetypical king or prince featuring in folk-tales and legends for example (from whom real life kings or princes will significantly differ). I confess I find it a bit difficult to imagine "party leader" or "Prime Minister" as archetypes - I tend to think of specific persons associated with these words. But I think Harry very well represents the archetypical positive hero (poor and oppressed in the beginning, not even knowing who he really is - how many others stories are about that?), who is sent to do impossible tasks and he solves them - finding help on the way because he deserves it. He becomes a leader in a spiritual or moral sense not by gaining "political" power.

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Mrs Brisbee - Oct 28, 2008 4:33 am (#109 of 202)
I'm thinking metaphorically about "prince", not literally. I was also thinking more about Dumbledore's role as leader of the Order of the Phoenix, which does spill often over into his rule as Hogwarts Headmaster. He comes across as the benevolent dictator for the most part in the early books. We never see Dumbledore chosen as leader of the Order "on camera", as we see for Harry and the DA. I suspect that as he founded it, he lead it as the obvious leader, as Harry would have lead the DA if Hermione hadn't have insisted on a vote.

As you point out, Julia, there are good kings in myths, and even history, but it's kind of a gamble what kind of ruler you're going to get. The king is assigned, and his subjects do what he says because he says so ("Dumbledore said so" seemed to be a mantra amongst the Order and trio!) . A leader can also be chosen, and then the followers do what he says because they know they are all working on the same page.

There are shades of grey, too. Sometimes the choice might be between several leaders, none of whom you have chosen for their positions, but there they are. Like having to choose between following Voldemort, a corrupt Ministry, or Dumbledore. Of course Dumbledore is the best option out of those presented!

I look at it this way: Rowling knows she is going to call book 6 The Half-Blood Prince, so in book 5 she explores the relationship between leaders and followers, she has Harry become a chosen leader, and has Dumbledore throw in that comment about Harry not being a prince. So I see emphasis put on the difference between the two leader types.

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Julia H. - Oct 28, 2008 10:06 am (#110 of 202)
Well, Dumbledore may be this kind of leader as the leader of the Order. Although the fact that we do no see how the Order is founded and how Dumbledore becomes its leader, probably takes away from the sharpness of the contrast between the Order and the DA if such contrast is intended. To be fair to Dumbledore, JKR makes it very clear that before Harry comes along, Dumbledore is the only wizard who can successfully stand up to Voldemort ("the only one he ever feared"). I know there are others who are ready to fight him but they need a leader. We do not even know for sure that Dumbledore was not elected in a way similar to Harry. (I think even without this contrast, the fact that Harry is an elected leader can have its significance, in contrast with Voldemort, for example.) Anyway, even after Dumbledore's death, he means a lot to OP members: They use his name and a quote from him as passwords, for example.

However, the royal motifs surround Dumbledore the Headmaster rather than Dumbledore the Leader of the Order. His throne-like chair is at Hogwarts and Hogwarts itself is a castle. I would like to emphasize once more than I mean "king" symbolically, not as a king in the political sense, not even as "the good king, accidentally" (though Dumbledore is arguably a good king).

I am trying to separate different layers of interpretation. As Headmaster, Dumbledore is appointed by the Ministry and supervised by a Board of Directors. I guess the Board of Directors represent the community of wizarding parents, whose children and grandchildren attend Hogwarts. In this respect, it is very important that in CoS, Dumbledore steps down in a matter-of-fact way when he is removed by the Board even though he has good reason to suspect the Board has been manipulated. (Perhaps he thinks it is the choice of Board members that they let themselves be intimidated and manipulated by Lucius and the consequences will affect those that they represent.) In OotP, he abides by every stupid educational decree issued by the legitimate government while trying to defend the interests of the school in the continually changing circumstances. When he opposes Fudge and later Scrimgeour, he does it openly, exercising his rights as a member of the wizarding community. When he loses his titles and positions in the various organizations because he has told the truth, he does not attack the Wizengamot or the Ministry but accepts these measures and sticks with his opinion.

When the DA members are caught by Umbridge, he takes responsibility (interestingly) for the organization that democratically elected Harry as their leader and saves the students. It is true that - as a king - he ensures Snape's succession in a non-democratic way but in that situation that is the most he can do for the protection of his students. This is a situation in which it is impossible to achieve anything in the democratic way - it is Voldemort's dictatorship, the government is not a legitimate one. Snape does not "depose" McGonagall or any other legitimate successors. I am sure neither Dumbledore, nor Snape ever take any steps to ensure Snape's succession if the Ministry / school is not taken over by Voldemort. In that case, a new Headmaster would have been appointed by a legitimate government. However, Voldemort does take over the Ministry and Hogwarts, which makes McGonagall's appointment - or any other legitimate appointments - impossible. The choice is now between Snape accepting his inherited (Prince's) task / position, becoming Headmaster as Dumbledore has intended him to be or leaving Hogwarts entirely to the mercy of the Carrows. Archetypical Kings and Princes, in this interpretation, have duties and responsibilities at least as much as rights.

I can't see "King Dumbledore" as a despotic or illegitimate monarch although it is true that he has indisputable authority and I do not mean to imply that he is perfect. He does make mistakes and highly questionable decisions. Both Dumbledore and Snape fight their fights pretty much alone - Harry is indeed different in this respect, too. But it takes Dumbledore and Snape and Harry (as well as others) to defeat Voldemort the Pretender / Dictator. In the end Harry acknowledges both Dumbledore and Snape as true Kings ... I mean Headmasters ().

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 7, 2008 9:12 am (#111 of 202)
Archetypical Kings and Princes, in this interpretation, have duties and responsibilities at least as much as rights. --Julia H.

I found that the idea of Noblesse Oblige, in its broadest sense, to be a powerful theme in the HP series. Basically, those that find themselves in a position of power or possessing a talent or resource are obligated to help others because it is the right thing to do.

I think Snape's "princedom" is a dichotomy, there to showcase the different motives for using one's power. He picks his nickname in school, where his ambition is to join an organization that is repressive and violent. He bears a Muggle surname, but rejects it to emphasize the magical half of his heritage: The "Half-Blood Prince". Snape goes on to actually join this violent, repressive organization, and uses his talents and powers to further their aims-- the complete opposite of Noblesse Oblige.

When Snape realizes he's pointed Voldemort's murderous intentions towards Lily, he does what he can to protect her. But he doesn't care about the other people he's thrown into Voldemort's murderous path. Snape hurt himself, and uses his talent to make himself feel better-- still a long way from Noblesse Oblige.

Lily is murdered, and Snape wants to protect her son to ease his grief. He still doesn't care about anyone but himself-- still not Noblesse Oblige.

Snape uses his position in school to bully students he doesn't like, and has a reputation for unfairness-- definitely not Noblesse Oblige.

When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, Snape tries occasionally to protect him from danger, but takes his rage out on Harry and acts like Harry owes him. He's still self-centered, and a long way from Noblesse Oblige.

From the time Snape kills Dumbledore through his stint as Headmaster I'd say Snape was in a transitional period. He kills Dumbledore out of compassion, which must have been hard, but is still personal so not Noblesse Oblige. He's also still a complete minion, as evidenced by his reliance on the Dumbledore portrait. His move to be Headmaster to protect the students is noble, but the manner in which he acquires the job is not (why Dumbledore and Snape thought betraying and slaughtering Order members-- the very people who were fighting Voldemort's regime-- would be a good idea is beyond me).

Snape finally achieves Noblesse Oblige when he tells Harry that he must die. Snape hates Harry, but he wants Harry to live so he can feel better about helping off Lily. Snape puts his personal desires aside so he can do the right thing.

Of course, most of this is revealed in DH, but Snape's actions in HBP start with Snape making the unbreakable vow and end with him killing Dumbledore and fleeing the castle. In retrospect, the book is showing the beginning of the shift of Snape's thinking, from using his power to make himself feel better to actually using it to help others.

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Julia H. - Nov 7, 2008 10:29 am (#112 of 202)
I agree with many of the points in your post, Mrs Brisbee, but there are points on which we do not agree. I don't agree that Snape's first "noble" deed is telling Harry that he must die. I don't think he treats Harry as if Harry owed to him. I don't see it either that Snape protects Harry because he wants to feel better - he does that and other things in the name of Lily and to honour a duty that he interprets in the broadest possible sense. He does not even seem to feel better. Perhaps he would feel better if he could erase what he did - but it is impossible to change the past and the dead won't come back to life whatever he does and he knows that. But he changes his life and his actions in memory of Lily and with the purpose of atoning for what he did.

Killing Dumbledore is a great sacrifice for him - he is sacrificing more than his life, IMO, and I am quite sure it does not make him feel any better. On the contrary, it probably adds to his feelings of guilt and remorse. Even if he does that exclusively at Dumbledore's order, I find it almost impossible that he does not feel guilty afterwards. It can even be interpreted as a sort of punishment that he accepts perhaps as something that he deserves but it is not about making himself feel any better.

He's also still a complete minion, as evidenced by his reliance on the Dumbledore portrait.

That is also a question of interpretation. Remaining loyal to the dead Dumbledore can be a test of the depth of Snape's loyalty. Dumbledore expects Snape to trust him blindly and by keeping information from him, Dumbledore makes it impossible for Snape to come up with an alternative "plan" to bring about the defeat of Voldemort. However, he knows the final secret of the only way Voldemort can be defeated (by Harry's sacrifice) and this is what Dumbledore's "plan" is centred around. Dumbledore has made his own plan dependent on Snape to a large extent, making him responsible for its success or failure - if he abandons it after Dumbledore's death, he may spoil everything Dumbledore's plan might have achieved, without, as I said, the possibility of coming up with a better or even just a similar plan.

While Dumbledore is expecting a huge sacrifice and almost impossible duties from him, Voldemort gives him relatively simple "jobs" and even certain "honours", at least in DE circles. Yet, Snape is loyal to Dumbledore even though he must give up everything he still has. Not only does he have to give up his life purpose of keeping Harry alive, but he must believe that - with Harry dead - when Voldemort is defeated, there will be no one alive to bear witness to his true allegiance or motivations. In the unlikely situation that he survives the war, all he can expect is Azkaban if the good side wins. Even when he dies, he dies in the belief that Harry will take his secrets into the grave and he will for ever be remembered as "Voldemort's right hand man" in wizarding history. It is not a minion who can remain loyal in these circumstances and ready to make all these sacrifices.

In a more general sense, I don't agree with the idea that doing the right thing is noble only when it does not make the person feel better. Any person with a sense of morality can feel better by doing the right thing rather than the wrong thing. I certainly don't find it an ignoble motivation for choosing what is right. If you make a sacrifice because that is the right thing to do - you give up something that is important to you - I don't think the sacrifice will be less valuable or less noble just because you feel better for doing what you believe to be right. If Snape feels any better by protecting the students of Hogwarts or by saving a life (I don't think that is his motivation but let's suppose he does feel better as a result) - it only shows he has developed a sense of morality, which is certainly an improvement. In comparison, Lucius, for example, is extremely unlikely to feel any better or any worse because of doing something moral or something immoral.

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 7, 2008 11:01 am (#113 of 202)
In a more general sense, I don't agree with the idea that doing the right thing is noble only when it does not make the person feel better.-- Julia H.

Indeed, that is not what I mean at all. One can do the right thing, and feel good from doing the right thing. One can do the right thing, and feel terrible about it. Or one can do something simply because it makes one feel better, without regards to whether it is right or wrong. I was bringing this up in regard to Noblesse Oblige, which is something specific. It is the obligation to use power to do the right thing.

It is clear to me that when Snape named himself Half-Blood Prince as a teenager, using his talents to do the right thing was far from his mind. When he endangers Lily and goes to Dumbledore, he promises "anything". He is not interested in doing the right thing. When he feels bad that Lily is murdered, it's because he feels bad that Lily is murdered. Her value is measured by what she means to him, and only to him. Snape doesn't really care about the son, but he will protect him so he can feel better. That's the difference: Doing what is right, and feeling good about doing what is right; or doing something that makes you feel better, that happens to be right (but you really don't care that it's right, the important part is that you feel better). Intent matters-- especially with Noblesse Oblige.

HBP introduces us to the Half-Blood Prince, brilliant at potions, inventor of jinxes, user of Dark Magic, and teenage Death Eater wannabe. It also gives us the adult Snape, favorite of Voldemort and Dumbledore. Neither is exactly what they appear to be. Harry sees teenage Snape as friendly and helpful at first, but Sectumsempra proves to be a rude wake-up call. We learn later in DH that at the end of his 5th year Snape was well on his path to becoming a Death Eater, so the 6th year potions book belonged to someone who had made up his mind to follow Voldemort. In HBP the adult Snape appears to have murdered Dumbledore, but he is actually working for Dumbledore. As a teenager Snape decided on a self-serving path. By the end of HBP he is breaking away from that.

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Julia H. - Nov 7, 2008 11:18 am (#114 of 202)
Snape doesn't really care about the son, but he will protect him so he can feel better. That's the difference: Doing what is right, and feeling good about doing what is right; or doing something that makes you feel better, that happens to be right (but you really don't care that it's right, the important part is that you feel better).

I don't see that Snape protects Harry because he wants to feel better or that he does not care whether it is right or not. I don't see at all that feeling better is his motivation. It is equally possible that Lily's sacrifice teaches him how to choose what is right - by protecting lives and by fighting against Voldemort - and he protects Harry even though he does not love him because that is the right thing to do. It is certainly not the easy thing. And then he does good things that are not directly connected to Lily or Harry or to his guilt - why would he do those things if his only motivation was to feel better and did not care about right or wrong?

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 7, 2008 1:41 pm (#115 of 202)
I get what you're saying, Mrs Brisbee and I totally agree.

I don't see that Snape protects Harry because he wants to feel better or that he does not care whether it is right or not. - Oh, I do. Definitely. As Mrs. Brisbee points out, Snape says he will do "anything" if it would save Lily - and note, that he is only willing to do "anything" for Lily, not anyone else who is being threatened.

he protects Harry even though he does not love him because that is the right thing to do. - No, he does it because it's what Dumbledore tells him is the right thing to do, not because Snape, himself, sees it as the right thing to do. There is a huge difference.

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Anna L. Black - Nov 7, 2008 1:59 pm (#116 of 202)
He protects Harry even though he does not love him because that is the right thing to do. - No, he does it because it's what Dumbledore tells him is the right thing to do, not because Snape, himself, sees it as the right thing to do. There is a huge difference. - Quinn

Yes, at fist, undoubtely. But there comes a point when Snape starts to protect as many people as he could (he says so himself), without getting any appreciation. Moreover, it doesn't even seem that it makes him feel good - it probably just subdues him more, I think. (Saving Lupin during the 7 Potters chase, for example - I can't imagine he was particularly proud of himself later).

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Julia H. - Nov 7, 2008 2:34 pm (#117 of 202)
Yes, I think Anna understands what I'm trying to say. Mrs Brisbee says the first time Snape does something because that is right is just before his death. I know, on the hilltop, he is only interested in saving Lily, not in what is right, but a lot happens between the hilltop moment and his death.

On the hilltop, he wants to save Lily, which is in itself a good thing, but he wants to save only her, and it is a bad thing. That is the case of the half-empty or half-full cup, but the cup starts being filled when he agrees to protect Harry. Of course, it takes time to fill the cup. He promises "anything" without considering any moral implications, yes. (Though at least he makes this promise to Dumbledore and not to Voldemort.) But that is not the moment I was talking about.

(To be quite fair, I guess even people whose morals are high above Snape's, people without his guilt, would want to save someone they love without necessarily thinking about whether it was right or not. I mean Snape wants to save Lily because of his own feelings and not because that is the right thing. Yes. But why does Lily, a person of high moral standards, jump between her son and the Killing Curse? Does she choose that because she decides that is the right thing (of course, it is the right thing) or because she cannot bear seeing her son being killed?)

But once again, the hilltop scene is not that moment I was talking about. Yes, Dumbledore tells Snape to protect Harry but he decides to agree. I think he gradually learns to do what is right but something starts when he accepts what Dumbledore tells him to do. Even his last deed - telling Harry the last message - is not a moment's decision. He has known what he must do for more than a year.

There are several ways of learning what is right. It is great if someone is born to know that but most of us have to learn it. This is education. Some people never learn it. Slytherin House is not the ideal place for learning how to choose what is right and Snape learns is later than he should and at a huge cost - through his love for Lily and through his remorse. Yes, he is motivated by his love for Lily, but that is what teaches him what is right in a broader sense, too. These two things are interrelated rather than being opposites.

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 7, 2008 2:57 pm (#118 of 202)
On the hilltop, he wants to save Lily, which is in itself a good thing, but he wants to save only her, and it is a bad thing. That is the case of the half-empty or half-full cup, - I don't think that analogy fits here. It's the case of only being concerned with the one person who matters to him regardless of anyone and everyone else who has been or is being singled out for murder.

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Solitaire - Nov 7, 2008 7:22 pm (#119 of 202)
Doesn't he agree to save all three Potters only because DD makes him see that Lily would never willingly hand over James and Harry to save her own skin? Wasn't it kind of an "Oh, all right, then!" kind of thing?

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Julia H. - Nov 8, 2008 12:09 am (#120 of 202)
Solitaire, I think we all agree that at that moment Snape does not know about right or wrong. As for James and Harry, I don't think Snape imagines for a moment that Lily would hand them over willingly (he knows Lily a little bit) and after all if he thought that, he could trust Voldemort's promise, which he already has. But I think he does not think about James or Harry at all, he is scared because of Lily and only because of Lily and Dumbledore shames him into seeing that this is wrong.

Later, however, Snape does learn how to choose what is right and it starts when he agrees to protect Harry (after Lily's death).

It seems we have two Snape threads now.

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 8, 2008 7:21 am (#121 of 202)
Well, I was just trying to connect the title HBP, the concept of Prince as leader, and the concept of Noblesse Oblige. I still don't think I explained what Noblesse Oblige is very well (although Quinn says he gets what I'm saying, yay!).

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 8, 2008 11:12 am (#122 of 202)
The thing about Noblesse Oblige is that there is an inherent superiority. The Nobility have to act on behalf of the poor commoners because they've set up their society so the commoners have no rights of their own.

What Voldemort wants to do is eliminate this obligation by simply ridding society of the "inferior" who require it. Snape willingly follows this ideology and continues to support it ONLY until he feels personally affected by its consequences. This is extremely important because if Lily had not been targeted, Snape would have continued to follow Voldemort.

And even after he agrees to protect Harry, it's not out of any sense of obligation but merely out of being told it is his obligation.

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Orion - Nov 8, 2008 11:21 am (#123 of 202)
Sounds anally-retentive to me. Snape, I mean.

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Julia H. - Nov 8, 2008 12:49 pm (#124 of 202)
Yet, Snape becomes a true Prince in the fight against Voldemort. The title of his life-story indicates that clearly: The Prince's Tale.


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Quinn Crockett - Nov 8, 2008 1:05 pm (#125 of 202)
I'm not convinced. He is still acting on Dumbledore's orders, not his own sense of obligation. Though admittedly he has much more of a sense of obligation by DH than he did on the windy hilltop.

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Julia H. - Nov 8, 2008 1:12 pm (#126 of 202)
With Dumbledore dead, it can only be Snape's sense of obligation that keeps him loyal to Dumbledore and the cause. Loyalty is noble. Self-sacrifice is noble. Bravery is noble.

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 8, 2008 4:36 pm (#127 of 202)
Loyal to Dumbledore, yes. But not in the sense of Noblesse Oblige, whereby he is obliged simply because of his superior position to act for the good of those "lesser" mortals. In this he does not act out his own sense of obligation, but is still following Dumbeldore's instructions.

And I say again that I don't see Snape performing his duty out of any higher sense of purpose than any other character who fought against Voldemort. Certainly no greater than Lupin or Sirius or Emmaline Vance or anyone else who gave the "ultimate sacrifice".

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 8, 2008 6:51 pm (#128 of 202)
Loyal to Dumbledore, yes. But not in the sense of Noblesse Oblige, whereby he is obliged simply because of his superior position to act for the good of those "lesser" mortals. In this he does not act out his own sense of obligation, but is still following Dumbledore's instructions. --Quinn Crockett

Exactly my thoughts, too. Noblesse Oblige is something specific, and even if one could argue that someone was "noble", it isn't the same thing.

And I say again that I don't see Snape performing his duty out of any higher sense of purpose than any other character who fought against Voldemort. Certainly no greater than Lupin or Sirius or Emmaline Vance or anyone else who gave the "ultimate sacrifice".

I agree, and I think the HP world would be littered with "kings" and "princes" (not to mention "queens" and "princesses" and "dukes" and "barons") if that was "all" it took. I think then that there must be a different significance to "Prince". I think it describes the position he eventually finds himself in, with power and resources above what other characters have access to.

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Julia H. - Nov 9, 2008 3:59 am (#129 of 202)
Loyal to Dumbledore, yes. But not in the sense of Noblesse Oblige, whereby he is obliged simply because of his superior position to act for the good of those "lesser" mortals. In this he does not act out his own sense of obligation, but is still following Dumbledore's instructions. (Quinn)

I don't see why the fact that he is following Dumbledore's instructions excludes the possibility that he is also trying to do his best for the good of others because he wants the good of others. To start with, the only reason he accepts that superior position is the good of others. Dumbledore assigns him the place and the task where he can act for the good of others but it is Snape who actually does what he must do. Harry also follows Dumbledore's instructions, yet nobody doubts that he follows his own sense of obligation as well and that he wants the good of others. If Harry can follow Dumbledore's orders and his own sense of higher purpose at the same time, why can't Snape do the same? Does remaining loyal to Dumbledore automatically mean that Snape can't have a conscience of his own? Again, what about Harry? What about all those adults who simply accept that it is three teenagers who have to defeat Voldemort just because Dumbledore said so? Do they try to do anything serious on their own besides helping Harry whenever they can? Don't they all accept and follow Dumbledore's plan and instructions the best they can?

And I say again that I don't see Snape performing his duty out of any higher sense of purpose than any other character who fought against Voldemort. Certainly no greater than Lupin or Sirius or Emmaline Vance or anyone else who gave the "ultimate sacrifice".

Where did anyone ever say that Snape had a "higher sense of purpose" than the other characters you mention? I thought we were discussing whether he had any sense of purpose of his own at all. I don't see why any acknowledgement of Snape's sacrifice would lessen the sacrifice of anyone else. Not everybody is called a prince, sure, but that does not mean "if not all the good characters are named after some nobility, it means those who are named as such can't be good". Snape is the heir of Dumbledore's plan and position and that is why he is a Prince but as a Prince, he does his duty for the good of others. Even though Dumbledore happens to want him to do just that, Snape, at this point, may very well be motivated by his own conscience as well.

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 9, 2008 11:50 am (#130 of 202)
Snape does not want 'the good of others'. He wants only to feel better about having betrayed the girl he loved. He does what Dumbledore tells him he must do to achieve this. That's it. Even Snape himself acknowledges this to a degree when he says, "You have used me."

Harry also follows Dumbledore's instructions, yet nobody doubts that he follows his own sense of obligation as well and that he wants the good of others. - That's because it is clear that Harry has his own innate sense of obligation. He does not need anyone to tell him the right thing to do. Snape, not so much.

As for the other adults in the story I can't think of anyone who is accepting that "three teenagers have to defeat Voldemort". But yes, they do "try to do anything serious on their own". Lupin goes to live with the werewolves and tries to convince them that Voldemort is just using them. He is completely isolated and incommunicado for months at a time among people who openly distrust him - and totally miserable for it. Hagrid goes to the giants, Arthur Weasley does his best to provide inside information about the Ministry, as does Kingsley Shacklebolt. All of the Order take it in turns to stand guard over the Prophecy. Bill Wealsey tries to stay in good with the goblins as long as he can. Xeno Lovegood openly defies Voldemort by continuing to print his paper.

Snape is the heir of Dumbledore's plan and position and that is why he is a Prince - Is it? I'm pretty sure that's not what Snape was thinking when he dubbed himself "the half-blood prince".

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Julia H. - Nov 9, 2008 12:34 pm (#131 of 202)
He wants only to feel better about having betrayed the girl he loved. He does what Dumbledore tells him he must do to achieve this. (Quinn)

Yet, he also agrees to do things that will definitely not make him feel any better - even on the contrary.

But yes, they do "try to do anything serious on their own". Lupin goes to live with the werewolves and tries to convince them that Voldemort is just using them. He is completely isolated and incommunicado for months at a time among people who openly distrust him - and totally miserable for it. Hagrid goes to the giants, Arthur Weasley does his best to provide inside information about the Ministry, as does Kingsley Shacklebolt. All of the Order take it in turns to stand guard over the Prophecy. Bill Wealsey tries to stay in good with the goblins as long as he can.

I think most of these happen at Dumbledore's instructions. Dumbledore sends Lupin to the werewolves and Hagrid to the giants - just as he sends Snape to the DE's. They all do these things at Dumbledore's orders, not "on their own". The Weasleys and Kingsley are Order members and work for the Order led by Dumbledore. They guard the Prophecy as part of their Order work but Dumbledore is behind it all.

When Dumbledore is dead, they all accept (with the exception of Mrs Weasley) that there is something the Trio have to do and most of their work is supporting Harry - nothing else. Why? Because Dumbledore gave Harry a job to do and they all trust that it is the way to defeat Voldemort. Xeno may be different - but he does not ever seem to be in any direct association with Dumbledore and his orders.

I'm pretty sure that's not what Snape was thinking when he dubbed himself "the half-blood prince".

Of course. The starting point of the present discussion is the literary significance of Snape being called a "Prince". Whatever reason the teenage Snape had to call himself by his mother's name, his mother's name has no significance in the chapter The Prince's Tale and yet, the author still calls him a "Prince" in the chapter title, which is rather conspicuous when said "Prince" happens to live in a castle, in which the last Headmaster had a throne-like chair, and they all fight against a certain "lord".

(The author even calls the alleged after-the-war Minister of Magic "Kingsley" and "Royal". In DH, Harry also happens to meet Dumbledore at "King's Cross".)

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Quinn Crockett - Nov 9, 2008 2:52 pm (#132 of 202)
I'm not really sure what your point is any more, Julia. You seem to be reading far more into the Snape character than is ever even hinted at on the page. You say that just because Snape follows Dumbledore's orders that doesn't mean he isn't also acting out of his own sense of right and wrong. Yet at the same time you seem to be implying that anyone else who follows Dumbledore's instructions is indeed incapable of acting "on their own".

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Julia H. - Nov 9, 2008 9:45 pm (#133 of 202)
No, Quinn, you totally misunderstand me. I can't have been clear at all. The point I am trying to make is that others who - I think - follow their own sense of right and wrong (Harry, Order members) also follow Dumbledore's instructions and also trust (probably - we can only see into Harry's thoughts) that by doing so, they do the best for the good of others. I am trying to point it out that (IMO) following Dumbledore's orders does not mean that you do not have or cannot develop a sense of right and wrong of your own. I am not saying that these people are "incapable" of acting on their own, I am saying they choose to follow Dumbledore's plan - probably because they think it is the right thing to do. Snape does the same.

I don't know if I really read too much into the Snape character when I don't agree that his loyalty to Dumbledore and his plan when Dumbledore is already dead and there is nobody to reward Snape for anything good that he does should really be interpreted as a fault or a vice, a sign of selfish motivations (as some of the posts seem to imply) rather than a virtue.

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Mrs Brisbee - Nov 10, 2008 4:24 am (#134 of 202)
I am trying to point it out that (IMO) following Dumbledore's orders does not mean that you do not have or cannot develop a sense of right and wrong of your own. I am not saying that these people are "incapable" of acting on their own, I am saying they choose to follow Dumbledore's plan - probably because they think it is the right thing to do. Snape does the same.-- Julia H.

I think this goes right to the heart of the matter, and it is something we saw Harry struggle with it DH. Finally in Harry's conversation with Aberforth, Harry moved from "Because Dumbledore said so" to "Because Dumbledore said so, and I think it's a good idea". It is possible to trust in someone and follow their plan, but a true leader has to actually understand what they are doing. I pick Snape telling Harry that he has to die as the moment for Snape because I think it inarguably shows Snape acting out of what is right because he goes against his personal wishes. He tells Harry about his relationship with Lily, something he wanted to always keep secret, and he tells Harry that he needs to die, which goes against his desire to keep Harry alive. I think for Snape to actually deserve the "Prince" title he has to demonstrate that he knows what he is doing, not just that he follows what Dumbledore says.

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Julia H. - Nov 10, 2008 5:59 am (#135 of 202)
Yes, a true leader has to understand what they are doing, but Dumbledore never really lets anyone know enough to become such a leader besides himself. He keeps basic information secret from Snape and everyone else. With some help, Harry finds out things after a lot of struggle and research and by means of his extraordinary access into Voldemort's mind and, in the end, knowing what he knows, he decides to still follow Dumbledore's plan. Furthermore, in the case of Harry, we have direct access into his thoughts, something we don't have in the case of Snape, yet, I think there are signs which indicate that Snape also goes through a process of disillusionment in connection with Dumbledore and yet he remains loyal to him - despite a personal bitterness he decidedly seems to feel towards Dumbledore in the last Pensieve scene. Why? I think the answer is that he still thinks that is the best he can do in the given situation.

I pick Snape telling Harry that he has to die as the moment for Snape because I think it inarguably shows Snape acting out of what is right because he goes against his personal wishes... I think for Snape to actually deserve the "Prince" title he has to demonstrate that he knows what he is doing, not just that he follows what Dumbledore says.

But the conditions of the demonstration are a bit tricky, aren't they? Let's see: It is not enough for Snape to simply do the right thing (like protecting the students or taking the sword to Harry) because that is what Dumbledore wants him to do as well and / or because he also may want these students to be protected or Harry to succeed. What he wants may be the same as what Dumbledore wants and it may also be the right thing to do. That is not enough.

In order for Snape to demonstrate that he is choosing what is right simply because it is right, he has to do something that

1) he does not want to do and yet,

2) it must be something in essence good because it would not be noble if he did something in essence bad but

3) at the same time what he wants (but gives up) has to be something good as well, otherwise good-by nobleness again.

These conditions are satisfied by a rather extreme task: He has to send someone he wants to live to his death for the "greater good". Fortunately, people do not have to face such difficult tasks every day, not even Snape, although he has more than his fair share of them. This makes the demonstration quite difficult and absolutely dependent on the existence of a circumstance which is extreme even in war.

However, actually, I don't think this is the first time Snape has done a job like this. I am quite sure that AK-ing Dumbledore is as much against his personal wishes as telling Harry he must die. Yet, he does it, and not even simply at Dumbledore's word of command but rather at his request, after understanding (some of) Dumbledore's reasons, especially, to help an old man avoid pain and humiliation - and accepts the consequences. I also think that being appointed a Hogwarts Headmaster by the enemy, taking Dumbledore's seat at Hogwarts, which has been his only real home, while surrounded by his own colleagues, who all think he is a coward, a murderer and a traitor, cooperating with the likes of the Carrows, must be absolutely against his personal wishes, in fact, it must be rather terrible, but he knows why he has to do that: to have a chance to protect the students and he does his best to achieve that.

It is all in accordance with Dumbledore's orders BTW, but so is the task of sending Harry to his death. But again it would be rather difficult for Snape to both do something against Dumbledore's orders (or even without them since the old man keeps talking to him from the wall) and do the right thing, especially on a regular basis.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 10:39 pm (#136 of 202)
I thought I'd post this here rather than the Severus thread because it has to do with all three of the Half-Blood men. The triangulation between Harry, Severus and Vold is, to me, very strong and I'm sure it's been covered a lot but I'm making a few notes and for starters wanted to cite a few quotes:

On Harry/Vold:

Harry is trying to get the memory from Slughorn but has not succeeded. DD says to him:

?Voldemort was sent to persuade people to part with their treasures for sale by the partners, and he was, by all accounts, unusually gifted at doing this.?

?I bet he was,? said Harry, unable to contain himself.

?Well, quite,? said Dumbledore, with a faint smile.

The faint smile to me is DD's amusement at this similarity between Riddle and the special "persuasive" task DD has given Harry. Then, after Harry succeeded and they are viewing Sluggy's memory:

?It was very well done, thought Harry, the hesitancy, the casual tone, the careful flattery, none of it overdone. He, Harry, had too much experience of trying to wheedle information out of reluctant people not to recognise a master at work.

On Vold/Severus:

not a lot of quotes off the top of my head but it is important that they both reacted to their neglected upbringing by becoming drawn to the Dark Arts and compensating for their deprivation with a sense of being superior, that they were special or tried to appear so, even before attending Hogwarts.

I did note the quote about Riddle in the Slughorn memory: ?But Riddle?s hunger was now apparent; his expression was greedy, he could no longer hide his longing.

This parallels the "greedy" look young Severus had in The Prince's Tale.

I'll be looking into the Harry/Severus parallels in a bit --

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Dryleaves - Feb 11, 2009 2:17 am (#137 of 202)
But Riddle?s hunger was now apparent; his expression was greedy, he could no longer hide his longing.

Interesting that both the words 'hunger' and 'greed' are used here. I think it is mentioned somewhere that Harry watches Lily ?hungrily?.

I agree that the triangulation between Harry, Severus and Voldemort is very strong, for example when it comes to the fulfilment of the prophecy.

Harry and Voldemort are both orphans. Snape is not, but he is neglected by his parents. Harry and Voldemort gets to know that they are wizards just before it is time for them to start Hogwarts, Snape knows from early on and is the one who tells Lily that she is a witch.

There are quite a few parallels between Snape and Harry, I think, for example their appearances: small, black hair, clothes that don?t fit, etc. (Tom Riddle also has black hair.) Then there are these other connections between them, like the halves of the photo and the letter, and that their patronuses both are ?inherited? and actually are mates (whether they like it or not... ).

I guess you could make a long list of parallels between the three of them. Unfortunately, I don?t have the time, so I?ll just wait for more interesting thoughts from you, Shadow, and from other forumers.

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Soul Search - Feb 11, 2009 7:55 am (#138 of 202)
"It was very well done, thought Harry, the hesitancy, the casual tone, the careful flattery, none of it overdone. He, Harry, had too much experience of trying to wheedle information out of reluctant people not to recognise a master at work."

This narrator statement always puzzled me a bit. When did Harry get all that experience getting information out of reluctant people?

Harry does try to learn about the Chamber in PoS, but even Draco is willing to part with what little he knows. Harry quizzes Lupin about his parents in PoA, but Lupin is more evasive than reluctant.

I think the narrator overstated the situation for the sake of a parallel.

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Hieronymus Graubart - Feb 11, 2009 9:03 am (#139 of 202)
Getting information out of the Dursley's?

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Soul Search - Feb 11, 2009 9:52 am (#140 of 202)
We do have references for Harry trying to get information about himself and his parents out of the Dursleys and they were certainly "reluctant," but not very forth coming. Harry was largely unsuccessful with the Dursleys.

And, after "The Prince's Tale," we can see why. Petunia resented her sister, and Harry, and didn't want to reveal to Harry that Lily was a witch.

In spite of Harry's lack of success the narrator was probably referring to the Dursleys. That just didn't "click" for me when I first read the statement in HBP.


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Re: Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:04 am

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title? (Posts 141 to 180)

me and my shadow 813 - Feb 11, 2009 10:05 am (#141 of 202)
Dryleaves, I like your Harry/Sev similarities -- the photo I recall you mentioning on an earlier post somewhere and liked it. I love the *mate* Patronuses they had, so powerful a love-link that connected them despite all the loathing! I thought I caught a bit of fatherly flavour coming out of Severus during pre-Worst Memory Occlumency lessons. I'm sure few would agree, but I thought Severus managed to give Harry a "non-insult" somewhere in there

Certainly, DD as Guide is a connection between Harry and Severus. The quest is a big one, as they are the two on a path that is laid out for them -- one by choice the other by fate but both connected by Lily's death and love.

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Julia H. - Feb 11, 2009 1:15 pm (#142 of 202)
Good parallels.

I did note the quote about Riddle in the Slughorn memory: ?But Riddle?s hunger was now apparent; his expression was greedy, he could no longer hide his longing.

This parallels the "greedy" look young Severus had in The Prince's Tale. (MAMS)

The difference is important, too: Riddle is longing for immortality, Snape is longing for Lily, i.e., love.

We collected Harry - Snape parallels on the DH read-along thread but did not always discuss them. I will check out that thread. Some parallels are surely waiting to be discussed there.

When did Harry get all that experience getting information out of reluctant people? (Soul Search)

This is what I can think of:

The Dursleys.. yes.. not much success there.

In PS, Harry tries to get information out of Hagrid (who is not very reluctant, I know).

In CoS, Harry obtains information from Aragog (reluctant, though not really "people" ). He tries to get information from Malfoy, although not by persuasion, and also from Dobby, who is both willing and reluctant.

In PoA, Harry asks Lupin a few sensitive questions, which Lupin does not always like to answer.

In GoF: The "mad" Barty Crouch, Snape, Dumbledore, maybe others that I don't recall now.

In OotP, Harry definitely tries to obtain information kept intentionally secret from him. The person who perhaps tells him the most (except for Dumbledore in the end) is probably Snape - obviously reluctant.

I'm sure few would agree, but I thought Severus managed to give Harry a "non-insult" somewhere in there.

I agree.

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Soul Search - Feb 11, 2009 2:45 pm (#143 of 202)
Julia H.,

Good "reluctant info" citations. I guess the narrator is not wrong, but the "skills" Harry observed Riddle using in HBP were not evident for any of Harry's activity. Maybe Harry was just too subtle for the reader.

He did get better in HBP so maybe he learned from Tom Riddle. Interesting. Tom Riddle teaches Harry skills that help Harry learn about the horcruxes and, thereby, defeat Voldemort. I like it.

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Ludicrous Patents Office - Feb 11, 2009 7:01 pm (#144 of 202)
All three have very negative connections to Muggles. Snape and Voldemort despise their Muggle parents and Harry does not like the his Muggle relatives who raised him. Harry sees the three of them as "lost boys" that only found comfort in Hogwarts. LPO

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 12, 2009 12:18 am (#145 of 202)
I see what you mean about the Dursleys, but would respectfully disagree, LPO. The triangulation, in my mind, serves for certain similarities connecting parts of the triangle but not in other parts. Harry does not necessarily consider Muggles in the same way that Vold and, at least initially, Severus considered them. To me, this part would disconnect Harry from the other two. For instance, with Sluggy speaking of Lily and then Hermione:

'Funny how that sometimes happens, isn't it?' said Slughorn.

'Not really,' Harry said coldly.

It would seem Harry's not into "negative" Muggle-born talk.

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Julia H. - Feb 12, 2009 12:42 am (#146 of 202)
What about saying that all three of them have negative experiences with Muggles early in their lives? Harry is mistreated by the Dursleys, Snape is rejected and neglected by his father, while Voldemort probably learns early on that his father does not want to know about him at all. Their reactions are different.

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legolas returns - Feb 12, 2009 12:29 pm (#147 of 202)
Isn't Voldemort convinced that if his mother was magical she would not have died giving birth to him? Its only after searching that he discovers that there is no mention of his father being at Hogwarts that he switches to looking for his mothers side of the family.

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Julia H. - Feb 12, 2009 12:38 pm (#148 of 202)
Yes. But he may realize early on that his father may be alive and yet not interested in him. Later, he understands his father is a Muggle.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 12, 2009 1:27 pm (#149 of 202)
It is stated that young Tom searched every inch of Hogwarts in search of his father because he assumed his mother was not a witch, being as she died.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 13, 2009 12:27 pm (#150 of 202)
I'm in the process of organizing my thoughts on this recent topic and, after mulling over the last few posts I think LPO made a distinction that is valid IMO. I see these three as having a common foundation from which the triangulation takes on further complexity. Common to all three would be half-blood, neglected/parent-deprived, dark-haired physically, and to this we can certainly add "no positive experiences with Muggles". I would like to know more about Harry's pre-Hogwarts school years to really make such an assumption but I think it is easy to conclude that Harry didn't come across many Muggles who were especially nice to him.

I'm trying to figure out how to make a visual representation of this triangulation... but without the ability to "tab" when posting it has proved to be a challenge... More later.

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Julia H. - Feb 13, 2009 1:16 pm (#151 of 202)
I would like to know more about Harry's pre-Hogwarts school years to really make such an assumption but I think it is easy to conclude that Harry didn't come across many Muggles who were especially nice to him.

I think we are as good as told he did not:

But Uncle Vernon didn't believe him. No one ever did.

Dudley's gang had been chasing him as usual when, as much to Harry's surprise as anyone else's, there he was sitting on the chimney. The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry's headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings.

At school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley's gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley's gang.

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wynnleaf - Feb 13, 2009 1:39 pm (#152 of 202)
They are all a bit different in their lack of anyone to care for them pre-Hogwarts.

Harry did have many who loved him as a very young child, including his parents. So his first formative 1 1/2 years was spent in a very secure and loving environment. But later, as far as we're told, Harry had no one, adult or child, who showed affection or concern for him.

Snape's parents are shown as being very neglectful, his father doesn't like anything (and from Snape's manner, that definitely includes young Severus), and we also see from Petunia's comment that the Snape's and Spinners End would be looked down on by many people. Add in young Severus' very odd attire and his lack of social confidence, he likely had no one from whom to receive affection until he became friends with Lily, at age 9. From then until he went to Hogwarts, his only friend and person who cared for him was Lily.

Then there's Tom Riddle. He never had loving parents around, but while the orphanage is rather grim, I didn't get the impression that an engaging child would have been without some sort of nurturing from the adults, or receive affection from the other children. Tom however, apparently made other children afraid of him, and the adults at the orphanage didn't like him either. I got the impression that with Tom, his lack of friends or affectionate adults at the orphanage was a good deal because of his own personality, and not because he'd been neglected at the orphanage (apparently the other kids there didn't have Tom's threatening personality), or bullied, or have everyone resent him for things he couldn't help.

Still, they all three went to Hogwarts hoping for something better. They are all looking for a place to "fit in", where they really belong.

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Soul Search - Feb 13, 2009 2:57 pm (#153 of 202)
One difference was Harry was sorted into Gryffindor and Tom Riddle and Snape into Slytherin.

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mona amon - Feb 13, 2009 7:09 pm (#154 of 202)
Good point, Soul Search. The good one goes to Griffindor and prospers there. The bad one goes to Slytherin and prospers there. And alas, the one who could have turned out either way goes to Slytherin and gets corrupted.

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Solitaire - Feb 13, 2009 7:51 pm (#155 of 202)
I think Harry and Snape may have been looking for a place to belong. Riddle, on the other hand, already thought of himself as "special" and gifted. I think he went to Hogwarts looking to find a place where he could exploit his "giftedness."

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 13, 2009 7:53 pm (#156 of 202)
Good stuff everyone! So we could add to the list that they all felt Hogwarts was their home having little or no reason to want to return to what they?d left behind. We cannot for sure say this about Sev but as we?ve stated before, his mother was a witch after all and could have at least cut the boy?s hair properly.

I think an important part of the triangulation is a ?gradient? between these three, as a study in behaviour or perhaps a form of ?nature versus nurture?. For each connecting similarity, each boy reacted or took the situation/trait differently. Harry usually grew more into himself from his hardships, rarely taking them in a way as to affect his core strength and self worth. Severus?s reaction was usually in the middle ground, between Harry and Tom. And young Tom takes everything in as an attack, then seems to twist things to suit his own manipulative or at least paranoid mindset.

As recent posters suggest, there is a direct triangulation regarding Houses: Tom a true Slytherin; Severus a Slytherin who was perhaps Sorted too soon; Harry who was perhaps suggested Slytherin because of the soul bit ( ??it?s all here in your head?? ) or because of other traits we?ve discussed, but none the less a true Gryffindor. So a very nice triangle there, with Severus again holding the balance.

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Julia H. - Feb 14, 2009 2:37 am (#157 of 202)
So a very nice triangle there, with Severus again holding the balance. (MAMS)

Perhaps Snape actually swings the balance. Voldemort is permanently evil, Harry is permanently good. A strong evil force against a strong good power. Snape first joins Voldemort and helps the evil side - although in a way that does not prove to be much help to Voldemort. When Snape vows to protect Harry, it tips the balance (within the triangle) in favour of the good side.

I think Harry and Snape may have been looking for a place to belong. Riddle, on the other hand, already thought of himself as "special" and gifted. I think he went to Hogwarts looking to find a place where he could exploit his "giftedness." (Solitaire)

I agree. And I can imagine, when Riddle discovered he was Slytherin's descendant, it must have seemed to be absolute evidence to him that he already was "greater" than anyone else and he had the right to be a "lord" over the wizarding world.

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wynnleaf - Feb 14, 2009 8:19 am (#158 of 202)
I think Harry and Snape may have been looking for a place to belong. Riddle, on the other hand, already thought of himself as "special" and gifted. I think he went to Hogwarts looking to find a place where he could exploit his "giftedness." (Solitaire)

I agree. And I can imagine, when Riddle discovered he was Slytherin's descendant, it must have seemed to be absolute evidence to him that he already was "greater" than anyone else and he had the right to be a "lord" over the wizarding world. (Julia)

Yes, I agree, but I do think JKR wanted to show similarity in the "lost boys" idea and "lost boys" are looking for a home. Perhaps Riddle, instead of looking for a place to belong, was looking to kind of "come into his own".

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Swedish Short-Snout - Feb 14, 2009 8:30 am (#159 of 202)
Harry and Snape wanted a place to belong, but Riddle wanted a place that belonged to him?

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Solitaire - Feb 14, 2009 8:54 am (#160 of 202)
SSS, I think that the events of DH kind of show that.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 8:57 am (#161 of 202)
SSS, that's quite a profound little line. I must admit I go a bit soft on young Tom. I don't see him as truly believing he is special, for a few reasons in that scene. He assumes DD is a psychiatrist or someone from the mental institution. Perhaps it is simply because he knows the two children he went to the Cave with were disturbed and he was suspected there, but Tom's reaction to DD was quite marked. This says to me that he saw himself as not "special" but different, weird, not "right", which is never good for children, even one so petulant. JM2K

Julia's statement about "swinging" the triangle is nicely put and, to me, an accurate assessment of the dynamics of the plot. For a more static version of them as children, I'd say Severus was in the middle, not yet "swinging" but perhaps when he was wearing the Sorting Hat he should have swung his leg over the fence and into Gryffindor. Another sad example of what happens when you pass your prejudices on to your children. I doubt Sev got interested in Slytherin on his own. Perhaps he had Hogwarts: A History on a bookshelf at home but I tend to think Mama Prince was in Slytherin.

edit: I would add that once Tom got to Hogwarts and learned of Slytherin's ability to speak Parseltongue he felt special there. Once he found out his father was a Muggle, however, he was back to realising he wasn't really from good stock according to him. This is the irony of Sluggy's statement in his Memory: couldn't be plainer you come from decent wizarding stock His mother, although the link in the chain back to his "noble" roots, was to his estimations a "failed" witch. This could be when he vowed never to die so that he could be better than the lousy mother he had? I don't know, I can't recall the speech he gave at the graveyard about his parents.

edited a lot to try for clarity!

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Solitaire - Feb 14, 2009 10:11 am (#162 of 202)
I must admit I go a bit soft on young Tom. I don't see him as truly believing he is special, for a few reasons in that scene. ... Perhaps it is simply because he knows the two children he went to the Cave with were disturbed and he was suspected there, but Tom's reaction to DD was quite marked. This says to me that he saw himself as not "special" but different, weird, not "right", which is never good for children, even one so petulant.

Wow! You and I must have read different versions of HBP. The moment he realized that DD was not a doctor, his arrogance came shining out, IMO.

"It's ... it's magic, what I can do?"
"What is it that you can do?" (spoken by DD)
"All sorts," breathed Riddle. A flush of excitment was rising up his neck into his hollow cheeks; he looked fevered. "I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to.
"I knew i was different," he whispered to his own quivering fingers. "I knew I was special. Always, I knew there was something."
"Well, you were quite right," said Dumbledore, who was no longer smiling, but watching Riddle intently. "You are a wizard."
Riddle lifted his head. His face was transfigured: There was a wild happiness upon it, yet for some reason it did not make him better looking; on the contrary his finely carved features seemed somehow rougher, his expression almost bestial.

Everything before this exchange, when he believes Dumbledore is a psychiatrist, is still ugly. There isn't the tiniest part of a doubt in my mind that he tortured the two kids and then "made them" not tell. I suspect he was using a form of the Imperius Curse even before he knew such a thing existed. I also think he was attempting to use Occlumency (again, before he knew what it was) on Dumbledore there in the orphanage. Evil to the core, IMO ... always.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 10:48 am (#163 of 202)
Wow! You and I must have read different versions of HBP

Soli, I noticed you used the above phrase before and it comes across for me as slightly defensive. It's probably just me and this difficult form of communicating properly, and just call me Luna for being honest but stating something a bit uncomfortable. To be clear on my part, my intention is not make excuses for Tom or others, rather to hope to interpret the psychological motivations of those with dark leanings. Maybe you should just call me Clarice!

Yes I was referring exactly to that exchange between Tom and DD, and in my opinion the 'I knew I was special. Always I knew there was something' line does not say to me that this young orphan truly thought himself special -- as in superior. Why else, in a boy's eyes, would he have been abandoned? I cannot imagine any orphan feeling themselves special; quite the contrary, worthless or worse. I read it as the usual defence mechanisms we use when in alienating and isolating conditions. If a young wizard was stuck in a Muggle orphanage for 11 years, he must have felt completely alien and, as Tom says "there was something". He is shocked that what he does to the children is "magic" as he stutters in the first line you cited.

Again, I am not making excuses for an evil Dark Lord. I am reminded here of Carrie by Stephen King. She did not have dark intentions at first, as Tom did with the rabbit and the two kids, but I do not think Carrie thought what she could do would be considered "magic" but rather a destructive force, IMO. The fact that Tom revels in his ability to hurt things and people is the difference that makes him a sociopath.

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Orion - Feb 14, 2009 11:43 am (#164 of 202)
Another similarity between those three: They are especially gifted in some respects (Tom is just exceptionally good at every kind of magic, an all-rounder, Snape is good at potions and possibly DADA because he later loves the subject so much, Harry is exceptional at DADA), and they are all sort of rule-breakers (Tom already at the orphanage and later he frames Hagrid and lies to Slughorn and forms his own secret society at Hogwarts, Snape joins the Death Nibblers, Harry wanders around at night and leaves Hogwarts whenever he likes).

I'm also a bit soft on young Tom because I haven't been at an orphanage so I won't hold it against anybody if they react badly on the absence of a mother. Being fed and washed and bedded doesn't mean being loved, cuddled, cared for, having an attachment figure. Nobody who hasn't had this orphanage experience can pass judgement on a child who goes down a disastrous path after such a childhood. Modern orphanages or foster homes are much better, but Tom's childhood is in the twenties or thirties. IMO the other children round him had their "issues", too, only not that badly.

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Solitaire - Feb 14, 2009 12:18 pm (#165 of 202)
Shadow, it does seem that I've read a different version of the HP books when I read some interpretations of some of the characters. How Tom's declaration that he has always known he was special can be taken in any way other than what it says is something I cannot understand. I read and reread that chapter twice this morning, and I don't see how Tom's behavior can be taken as innocent in any way. I see absolutely no mitigating circumstances or "psychological motivations" for Voldemort's "dark leanings." I think he is evil, through and through. I believe some people just are. I do not think it has anything to do with having been at an orphanage, to be honest.

I'm not saying many orphanages aren't hellish places. In my opinion, however, the only hellishness in this place has come from the horrors perpetrated by young Tom on those around him--adults as well as children. I guess I'm a believer in the "bad seed" theory, and I think Tom is a bad seed. I'm not even sure that having grown up with Merope would have changed him. In fact, I think her weaknesses and less-than-stellar magical skills would have made him despise her even more and possibly torment her as her father had done. JM2K ...

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 12:36 pm (#166 of 202)
Thanks for responding, Soli. I enjoy trying understanding all points of view. On a personal note, it might have to do with my having had a drama/acting phase. I can get into other people's shoes very easily. The "good" people don't interest me nearly as much. I remember reading about Ralph Feinnes (sp?) doing his Method prep work for the role of Vold and he said as soon as he got into the orphan thing as motivation he was there. What can I say? Some of us are drawn to explore these things. But thanks for your post and I do enjoy reading your opinions!

Edit: I'm not trying to beat a dead horse but I thought I'd post a quote from The Leaky Cauldron from a Fiennes interview with Variety:

The article notes the actor ?worked hard to develop a convincing backstory for Lord Voldemort that would ring psychologically true, despite the fact that Fiennes is virtually unrecognizable in the role under layers of ghoulish makeup.?

Quotage: ?I hesitated for a bit before committing to the role because it sort of requires you to personify evil, and I don?t know how you do that,? Fiennes says. ?I latched onto what was maybe crude psychology in working out Voldemort?s obsession with Harry. Harry was loved by his parents, which Voldemort can?t stand. He is, of course, a rejected person. It?s quite basic: the rejected child who?s emotionally been denied affection turns violent. You have to suggest there?s more there, a life, a spirit, a mind. It isn?t just a creepy voice and makeup. I always think you can find more in something. It?s good to just keep asking questions until someone says cut.?

Pretty cool, Ralph.

Back to the discussion, of course, we have three boys here we are comparing who are coming from similar circumstances. Again the triangulation: our real hero deals with his "rotten deal" the best, our redemptive character deals with it after wrongdoing and the regret nearly crushes him, and our villain takes the bad deal and turns it on others to become the prince of darkness.

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Soul Search - Feb 14, 2009 1:46 pm (#167 of 202)
Given similar formulative years why did the three turn out so differently? Is JKR trying to make a point here?

The significant difference seems to be parents. Harry was from "good stock;" both Lily and James are portrayed that way. Snape came from "mixed" stock; okay mother, nasty muggle father (what little we know.) Riddle's father was rich and a bit spoiled, but otherwise okay. Riddle's mother was from an inbred wizarding line. We can see Marvolo and Morfin in Riddle, except without Riddle's cleverness and wizarding skills. Merope was clever, ambitious, and had little regard for anyone except herself, including her son, who shows much the same characteristics.

Each of the three was destined to turn out just the way they did.

JKR's point seems to be "make sure you pick good parents."

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Solitaire - Feb 14, 2009 4:14 pm (#168 of 202)
In most cases, I tend to believe in "nurture over nature." I think that how a person is brought up is really the key. However, I still subscribe to the "bad seed" idea. We all know of people who come from loving parents who appear to have been born without a conscience. They are manipulative from an early age, and they seem to have no regard for anyone when it comes to getting what they want. Their crimes are never committed from passion, although they may exhibit rage when thwarted in some way. Rather, they seem to be cold killing machines whose victims are "obstacles" that simply need to be removed.

Ralph Fiennes notwithstanding, I do not believe that Voldemort ever gave a thought to the fact that Harry had loving parents. Harry was an obstacle who needed to be removed in order for Voldemort to pursue his goal of dominance. If he gave a thought either to James or to Lily (other than as someone Snape wanted), I believe it was only as 2 additional obstacles to be removed, so that he could get to Harry.

As to Riddle's having been a "rejected person," well, so was Harry, for as long as he could remember. In fact, I would go so far as to say that, were it not for Riddle himself, I should think life at the orphanage might have been preferable to life with the Dursleys. Not every orphanage matron is Miss Hannigan, after all. Mrs. Cole may have been a lush, but I suspect that was largely due to living with young Tom Riddle. He would have been enough to drive me to drink!

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wynnleaf - Feb 14, 2009 7:21 pm (#169 of 202)
I'm not saying many orphanages aren't hellish places. In my opinion, however, the only hellishness in this place has come from the horrors perpetrated by young Tom on those around him--adults as well as children. I guess I'm a believer in the "bad seed" theory, and I think Tom is a bad seed. (Solitaire)

I agree that the orphanage, as described, doesn't necessarily sound horrible. There's no particular evidence that the carers are uncaring of the children or that they're over worked and under staffed. The rest of the kids, as far as we know, might be just fine. Tom seems to make even the adults feel extremely uncomfortable about him and they seem to feel he was a threat to the other kids.

JKR does acknowledge, if I recall correctly, that Tom is a psychopath. That means he was a sociopath as well, that being an over arching umbrella under which all psychopaths fall. You can be a sociopath and not be a psychopath or any sort of criminal, and certainly not a murderer. But all psychopaths are sociopaths. Modern psychology still hasn't determined what actually causes sociopaths, but they can be in more or less normal families. There's a strong tendency toward poor relationships with parents, but whether that's a cause or effect is unknown.

I guess my point is that Tom probably couldn't help being born a sociopath and he would have been one from a very early age, unable to have empathy toward others, unable to feel true remorse, unable to feel true compassion. However, sociopaths can and generally do know what is right and wrong. If they become criminals in any way, it is generally knowing that what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of society, even if they don't feel any guilt about it.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 8:43 pm (#170 of 202)
Edited Feb 15, 2009 1:32 am
I can imagine forumers shrieking with horror at your post, wynnleaf! But I enjoyed it and would like to indulge in exploring the topic.

I am going to interject another personal anecdote. I feel this is a significant conversation we are having and our own experiences eventually make their way into the mix. I do not discount anyone?s feelings or positions on the matter, just to be extra clear.

I?d like to digress a bit regarding wynnleaf?s apparent knowledge on psychosis (-es?). And I know some folks are sick and tired of those of us who *feel sorry for these sickos*. Bear with me or change the channel.

Two people come to mind when I think of Vold, and I?d like to bring them up as part of this discussion. I was a kid in Queens when the Son of Sam was on the loose. He was preying after young girls with brown hair (you might have seen the Spike Lee film, or read it in the paper back in the day). I was a young girl with brown hair. He killed a girl about three blocks from my house. We lived in terror for a while, rumours spread like wildfire and we were all crazed -- who would be next. To me, that man, David Berkowitz, was not of the same ?mindset? as someone like Tom Riddle. Tom is much more complex.

The other person who touched my life was Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon. My father took me to the vigil, which began outside Lennon's home, The Dakota by Central Park, and walked to the Bandshell where there was a period of silence. I was a kid and couldn?t help but focus on what would make a person kill their once-idol.

I bring this up because 1) now the series is done we have lots of time to discuss things, and I hope folks don?t mind a bit of back story in order to get to know each other as fellow forumers. These types of ramblings don?t belong on the Chat Thread; it is my hope that they belong somewhere, in order for our discussions to have true meaning and mutual understanding. And, 2) because I think if one has a detached witnessing of psychosis, there is the greatest opportunity to contemplate how and why such a horror exists in the world.

Edit: Looking back, we can edit hours later? okay, here goes:

As to Riddle's having been a "rejected person," well, so was Harry, for as long as he could remember

Soli, I believe you and I and hopefully all HP fans are in agreement that Harry comes out the winner in any comparison. I was admiring how JKR used Harry, Tom and Severus as markers and symbols on a scale of various hardships.

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Orion - Feb 15, 2009 11:15 am (#171 of 202)
Psychopaths aren't born but made. There is no such thing as a "bad seed". If therapists explore the memories of severely damaged persons they discover, if they are successful and have the chance to dig deep enough, horrifying events in these persons' childhoods.

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Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 11:32 am (#172 of 202)
So you believe that there is always a precipitating event ... that the person is never just "born that way"? You do not believe that there may be some neurological or congenital factor which causes this behavior?

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Orion - Feb 15, 2009 11:44 am (#173 of 202)
I have heard of autism, but autistic people are very far away from being psychopaths. There is a neurological cause in that areas of their brains aren't sufficiently joined. I don't know about people who are incapable of feeling empathy with others due to a neurological malfunction. Shouldn't we have heard about them? I mean, I read lots of magazines and stuff, but I'm not an expert. Now that you ask, Soli, suddenly I feel very stupid. Maybe I have stated something as a fact which is simply an assumption on my part.

On the other hand such a person (a psychopath with a malfunctioning brain from birth) would be not a "bad seed" but a deeply unfortunate invalid, IMO.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 15, 2009 11:50 am (#174 of 202)
I would agree that mental illness can be inherited, thus classified as congenital. I think there is "evidence" with research that such things as alcoholism can be passed on via genetics, so mental disorders certainly could as well. Let's take Marvolo and Morfin and Tom as a quick example of family "mental" traits being passed on.

Edit: I was on the Lex trying to find a quote about Muggle-borns having a recessive magical gene, and came across this quote from JKR that I thought fit into the recent discussion here...

The interviewer mentioned that Vold is a half-blood and she responds:

Like Hitler! See! I think it's the case that the biggest bully takes their own defects and they put them on someone else, and they try to destroy them. And that's what he [Voldemort] does. That was very conscious - I wanted to create a villain where you could understand the workings of his mind, not just have a 2-D baddie, dressed up in black, and I wanted to explore that and see where that came from. Harry in Book Four is starting to come to terms with what makes a person turn that way. Because they took wrong choices and he [Voldemort] took wrong choices from an early age. (Newsround)

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Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 1:57 pm (#175 of 202)
Orion, I am certainly no psychiatrist. I do, however, feel that some people are just born "tweaked," for want of a proper scientific term. From infancy they seem almost antisocial. They lie calmly and coldly about all kinds of behavior and deeds from a very early age. They hurt other kids, torture animals, etc., and they seem to get some kind of perverse enjoyment from this power they have over people. They seem less immoral than amoral. The fact that such disorders may stem from an inherited or genetic cause doesn't make either the crimes or the criminal any less terrible. If anything, such criminals seem more terrifying to me, because they are apparently impervious to any sort of rehabilitation. They do have an understanding of evil, and I suspect that many, if not most, are highly intelligent. They are masters at manipulating the system, and this is how so many of them manage to stay on "the outside." I see Voldy as such an individual.

I suspect that all of the inbreeding through generations in the Gaunt family may have contributed to Voldemort's psychological "disorders." I do not see him as a normal human being from the time of his first encounter with Dumbledore. What's more, I do not believe Dumbledore saw him as normal, either. He seemed to pick up some sort of "vibe" from Voldemort at that first meeting, and he watched him very closely at Hogwarts. Voldemort himself was aware how closely he was watched. Perhaps this awareness on the part of DD was due to having recognized similar behaviors and attitudes in Gellert Grindelwald many years earlier.

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Julia H. - Feb 15, 2009 2:14 pm (#176 of 202)
Because they took wrong choices and he [Voldemort] took wrong choices from an early age. (JKR)

The question is whether we can still talk about choices if this evil nature is inherited. Even if the person understands that what they are doing is wrong and I agree that the idea of the genetic programming does not make the evil they do any less... it still sounds terrifying. After a certain point, Voldemort does seem to be more like a dangerous evil force that must be controlled / eliminated than a human being.

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Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 2:33 pm (#177 of 202)
I agree ... and I think DD sensed this from the beginning. Having learned about Legilimency/Occlumency in OotP, I wondered if DD was employing Legilimency on Riddle and Riddle was attempting to employ Occlumency (before he knew what it was) against DD. It's interesting that, even before he knew who he was, Riddle was using his magic to hurt and control people.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 15, 2009 3:14 pm (#178 of 202)
My initial thought about psychopathic behaviour is that it is a distortion of reality. We all have a survival instinct, which "kicks in" when our life is threatened. IMO at least one form of psychosis would be a person who perceives nearly everyone and every action as a threat and, in turn, reacts violently in order to eliminate the source of it. Of course there people who are much more consciously aware of their thought processes and, as mentioned, take pleasure in violence.

My bringing up the two real life psychotics is because I see them as two very different cases: Son of Sam claimed (at least initially) to be taking orders to kill from a dog and was clearly disturbed. Chapman, on the other hand, had created an astoundingly elaborate scenario of fantasy in his head revolving around an obsession with Lennon before coming to a conclusion that Lennon was "evil" and didn't deserve to live.

By the way, the film by Spike Lee I mentioned is by no means forum-friendly.

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wynnleaf - Feb 15, 2009 4:19 pm (#179 of 202)
Psychopaths aren't born but made. (Orion)

Actually, it's very debatable within psychology. Many researchers think it's tied to genetic traits and other chemistry; others think the apparent genetic ties are really environmental (sociopathic parents tending toward parenting that is more likely to produce a sociopath). Still, either way, the tendencies often become apparent from very early childhood.

Son of Sam was, as I understand it, a psychotic killer, not a psychopathic killer. Briefly, the difference between a psychopathic and psychotic killer is that the psychotic killer is legally insane and has a psychosis, a "severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost or highly distorted" and may have hallucinations or other delusions that he/she can't separate from reality. This person can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

A psychopathic killer is not insane and does know the difference between right and wrong. The BTK killer (near where I used to live in Kansas), is psychopathic. He doesn't hear voices or have visions and he's quite sane, able to hold down a job for years, maintain a family life, etc. Psychopaths are very much in touch with reality. However, they have no conscience.

The psychotic killer may eventually feel remorse, if they become aware of the reality of their actions, however a psychopath is incapable of feeling remorse.

Tom Riddle is not insane. He is very much in touch with reality. He doesn't hallucinate, have visions, hear voices, etc. He's not delusional in the technical sense of the word. He knows that what he does is deemed "wrong" by most of the world. He has no empathy, no compassion, and no remorse. He is a psychopath.

Although he cannot change the fact that he's a psychopath, he does know that what he does is wrong and he's quite able to make choices. No psychosis distorts his reality. He is far more guilty for his crimes than a psychotic who is, after all, insane.

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Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 4:41 pm (#180 of 202)
[Riddle] does know that what he does is wrong and he's quite able to make choices
I agree with this.

We all have a survival instinct, which "kicks in" when our life is threatened.
I do not believe that this was ever Riddle. I cannot believe he ever felt threatened ... except, possibly, near the end of his life--after Nagini had been killed and when he realized Harry was still alive--and perhaps not even then. Up until that point, even in childhood, I believe he did all of the threatening.


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Re: Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title?

Post  Julia H. on Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:07 am

Significance of the "Half Blood Prince" Title? (Posts 181 to 202)


Verity Weasley - Feb 15, 2009 5:09 pm (#181 of 202)
I can't believe that Riddle did all of the threatening in his life. I find it perfectly possible, that as a baby, Riddle felt threatened. The early months and years of life are incredibly important in forming emotional attachments, and if Riddle was deprived of a safe, loving environment during those formative years, then he may have failed to develop normally empathetic behaviour.

I also find it plausible that a person may be born with a genetic defect that means they lack the ability to empathise. I imagine these people would be considered to belong in the autistic spectrum. I don't believe that anybody lacking in empathy will automatically grow up to be a psychopath. Here is where nurture takes over to compensate for any genetic deficiency.

Riddle didn't have that. And that is a clear difference between the three lost boys. Harry had over a year of loving contact with his parents before he lost them and was subjected to years of neglect with the Dursleys. We don't know much about Snape's early life but there is nothing to suggest he was rejected by his mother and so would also have had the benefit of love during those formative years.

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wynnleaf - Feb 15, 2009 5:20 pm (#182 of 202)
Riddle didn't have that. And that is a clear difference between the three lost boys. Harry had over a year of loving contact with his parents before he lost them and was subjected to years of neglect with the Dursleys. We don't know much about Snape's early life but there is nothing to suggest he was rejected by his mother and so would also have had the benefit of love during those formative years. (Verity Weasley)

JKR's version of a psychopath may not be exact in Tom Riddle's case, because I do think JKR was also trying to show Tom as having no real love and nurturing in his first few years. I think that's what's a key to Harry's nature, in that his parents loved and cared for him for the first 1 1/2 years. Snape, I think, had two parents who were both pretty neglectful, but you often have parents in real life who are quite neglectful and yet give the basic "care and comfort" to an infant so they at least learn the basics of empathy. Empathy, after all, need not be learned through real love as long as fairly consistent care is being given. Basically, the infant learns that its attempts to communicate through crying, smiling, etc., are answered with a response from others, and it learns to interpret the behavior of others around it through regular give and take. If no one is responding to the infant, or at least only responding very inconsistently, then the infant doesn't learn the basics of empathetic communication. That has to be learned very, very early or, apparently, it's never learned. It's not just communication that's learned, but empathy. From empathy stems compassion, remorse, etc.

I think that JKR wanted Riddle to have no empathy. The orphanage looked kind of grim, but she didn't exactly paint a picture of it like the Albanian orphanages that came under public scrutiny in the late 80's. Those poor children did not have the care I described above and although many physically healthy children were adopted into good homes, the children suffered high instances of attachment disorders because of their inability to empathize. The orphanage JKR described just seemed grim, but not uncaring, lacking in adequate staffing, or other characteristics that would produce children without the ability to empathize. Nevertheless, I think JKR wanted Riddle to be seen that way.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 15, 2009 9:51 pm (#183 of 202)
Thanks, wynnleaf. That's interesting. Verity, I agree. To me, one of the major themes of the series, and what makes Harry our hero, is he received that abundance of love in the first year of his life. It is hammered home to the reader via DD on numerous occasions. This love as a baby *remains with him* like an aura so that, no matter what Vernon or Severus or anyone does to make his life miserable, Harry always is surrounded by love, and feels it and it affects his every moment without him even realising it. Just as the complete absence of it affects every moment of Vold's life without him realising it. I don't care how good the staff is at an orphanage, a mother's love is crucial, priceless.

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Verity Weasley - Feb 15, 2009 10:49 pm (#184 of 202)
This love as a baby *remains with him* like an aura so that, no matter what Vernon or Severus or anyone does to make his life miserable, Harry always is surrounded by love, and feels it and it affects his every moment without him even realising it. Just as the complete absence of it affects every moment of Vold's life without him realising it. I don't care how good the staff is at an orphanage, a mother's love is crucial, priceless.

Beautifully expressed, Shadow. I agree.

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Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 11:08 pm (#185 of 202)
no matter what Vernon or Severus or anyone does to make his life miserable, Harry always is surrounded by love, and feels it and it affects his every moment without him even realising it.

I don't really believe this is true. Harry feels no love whatever during the early years with the Dursleys. He feels plenty of abandonment and loneliness. Only when Harry enters the Wizarding World at age 11 does he begin to understand and experience the real, genuine love of true friends. Had Dumbledore not given him the background of his life, Harry would never have known that it was his mother's sacrificial love that saved his life. He would simply have continued to be an anomaly in the Wizarding World--"the Boy who lived" after being hit with an AK.

Once he is informed of that sacrifice and begins to understand it and the power of love, then it does begin to give him strength and protection. It is interesting that Harry is able to accept and give love, even though his life from age one-and-a-half to eleven has been as grim as Riddle's, IMO. Riddle may have grown up in an orphanage, but at least he was surrounded with other kids like himself. Yet it doesn't seem as though he ever reached out and sought friendship with any of the other kids. Rather, he became a tormentor of both adults and children from an early age.

I am curious to know Snape's relationship with his mother. What was that like? His father is seen as cruel, but he is also a Muggle. Did his mother stay with his father at least until Snape came to Hogwarts? If he was cruel, why did she stay? Are we creating a cruel persona for him based on one or two incidents that could simply have been big arguments? Eileen Prince was a witch and could have gotten away from her husband with Snape, had she wanted to do so. Did she perhaps conceal from him the fact that she was a witch until after Snape's birth, perhaps when he began showing evidence of magic? Could that have been the basis of the first argument we see, when little Snape was crying in the corner? I would like to know more about Snape's relationship with his mom.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 15, 2009 11:58 pm (#186 of 202)
Thank you, Verity.

Once he is informed of that sacrifice and begins to understand it and the power of love, then it does begin to give him strength and protection.

This is not reflected in canon as Harry goes through PS and is not told anything until afterward. Yet it was giving him "strength and protection" without him realising it. Harry was not fully aware of the protection surrounding him, of course, until DD goes into it at the end of OOTP. It was very much there, none the less. To me it is felt by Harry on that deep level and made him who he is. DD tells Harry, when asked at the end of PS, that Lily's love is in Harry's "very skin". We are not really shown, as far as I can remember, that Harry felt abandoned by his parents. This I attribute to his knowing somehow of the love that was flourished on him as a baby. Of course he was a very lonely boy living in a very unpleasant, um, cupboard!

I don't have OOTP handy but I recall canon going into the *lingering* protection Lily's love provided Harry. This of course was a vehicle for JKR to have the "Flaw In The Plan" with Vold's rebirthing but to me it was also to show the stark contrast between a child who is filled and surrounded by this ongoing/lingering love versus a child who never got that irreplacable maternal love as an infant. The question might be, had Merope lived to raise her child, 1)would she have been a loving mother given who raised her and, 2)would it have made any difference to a boy like Tom who might be congenitally predisposed to psychopathy.

Of course we are all upset about why Harry had to go through those 10 years with the Dursley's. That he still can love others is related to what I'm saying and is what makes Harry the hero. I, too, would like to know what Severus's mother did or didn't do while raising her child. Bad clothes and a crooked haircut don't qualify as neglect but Lily's concern about how things were at the Snape house is an indication that Severus was upset by his homelife.

edited for clarity

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Verity Weasley - Feb 16, 2009 3:41 am (#187 of 202)
Riddle may have grown up in an orphanage, but at least he was surrounded with other kids like himself.

But he wasn't. He was always different. That may make an important difference in why he grew up the way he did.

I agree with Shadow that the maternal love Harry experienced in his formative year and a half served as some protection from the neglect and the loneliness of growing up with the Dursleys. Riddle didn't have that. Nor did many other children at the orphanage, I suspect. Yet I'm sure they didn't all grow up to be psychopathic killers. That feeling of difference, of never fitting in, may have contributed to Riddle's sense of not belonging and pushed him along that road towards the bad choices that he made.

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wynnleaf - Feb 16, 2009 4:34 am (#188 of 202)
As far as any of the three and their upbringing, I think we have to rely on JKR's few comments and that those few comments are meant to give us a general picture of what their caregivers were like.

We're not shown an abusive orphanage, but it is shown to be pretty grim looking. The head of the orphanage drinks alcohol (gin??) while talking to DD. If we were talking about a real life visit between two heads of institutions, we shouldn't draw too much from that incident. But it's not real life, but a piece of literature, so JKR including her drinking is to give us a picture of the character as she really is, not give us an atypical view of her character. I don't think we're supposed to assume that on most days she was a wonderful person, just perfect to run an orphanage.

Similarly, with Snape's mother, we're to take what JKR did tell us and assume it's a picture of the usual character, not red herrings or atypical events. Young Snape on a couple of occasions is described like a plant kept out of the sun. Plants don't keep themselves out of the sun; they are to be nurtured and cared for by those responsible to care for them. His clothing, hair and teeth show a high likelihood of a neglected childhood. One might generally expect the mother, especially a witch, to make sure her child has something decent to wear and cares for his basic health, but we don't see that. And we hear Snape comment on both parents arguing all the time. We don't know why she "cowers" in front of the hook nosed man (most likely Snape's father, since JKR never tells us otherwise), but "cower" equates to fear and therefore she is afraid for some reason. At the Hogwarts Express she doesn't look loving and caring, but pretty dour if I recall. And we know Snape's father, according to Severus as a child, doesn't like much of anything. Nothing JKR gives us indicates the slightest hint of a caring parent on either side.

Given the fact that JKR had Harry draw a correlation between all three as lost boys, I think we have to assume that other than Harry's first year and a half with his parents, none of the three had loving or supportive parenting.

I think it's interesting that there are two others that have some similarities to the three. Hagrid's mother left the family and he was raised by his dad, who then died while Hagrid was still at Hogwarts. Hagrid's relationship with his dad was excellent, but Hagrid does find himself a true orphan and his home becomes Hogwarts.

Dumbledore's parents may have both loved him dearly, but he lost one parent when his father was sent to prison and his mother's focus on Arianna appears to have taken most of her time, making the two brothers half orphaned and probably rather neglected by their mother. Dumbledore does not need another home at Hogwarts, as he still has his family, but he does have the problem of a parent taken from him and at least some parental neglect.

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Julia H. - Feb 16, 2009 5:53 am (#189 of 202)
I agree that Harry's first year (plus a few months) and the parental love he got then made it possible for him to grow up to be a kid and an adult capable of giving and accepting love and establishing normal human relationships. Of course, Harry grew up to be even more than that but - as Dumbledore said - he was "exceptional".

Snape was not exceptional. He was able to feel love and attachment even if he did not know how to successfully interact with people or how to establish and keep up personal relationships properly. He may have received enough care and love to develop the ability to feel love and attachment - but apparently not much more.

In the case of Riddle: I think the main problem even with a professionally good orphanage is that any care the children receive is not personal. The people who look after the children change according to work shift. This is a fundamental difference in comparison with a permanently present mother (if only for the first few months of the baby's life). That is one of the reasons why in certain places orphanages are partially replaced by "family-size" homes, in which children live in small groups under the care of one person, who permanently lives with the children. Personal attachment is very important.

That may be a significant difference between Snape and Riddle. Even though Snape's parents are neglectful, as a baby, he probably has a personal relationship with his mother, while Riddle may not experience any such relationships. The baby Harry, in contrast, experiences full love and acceptance. True, Harry does not consciously remember this love and care and acceptance, but the crucial psychological processes are in place. Besides, Harry never has a reason to doubt that his parents loved him, that his life would be different if his parents lived. Snape knows how much love he is getting from his parents and he "knows" that this is it, nothing more. Riddle probably does not learn to ever miss parental love.

Of course, not every child from an orphanage grows up to be a serial killer. Genetic inheritance, social circumstances and Riddle's special abilities and ambitions may have each played a part.

Hagrid and Dumbledore... Hagrid had a loving father for more than ten years. I am sure, Hagrid received all the psychologically necessary love and care from him - even if he missed his mother. Later, he was perfectly able to turn towards his "foster father", Dumbledore, with probably the same kind of love that he had for his real father as well.

Dumbledore also had problems in the family - but he may not have been feeling truly neglected. He was the oldest brother and an exceptionally talented child. Such children often mature sooner than their contemporaries so by the time Ariana's illness started and their father was locked up in Azkaban, Albus (a teenager) may well have been emotionally independent enough not to suffer permanent psychological damage as a consequence of parental "neglect". Of course, the illness of his sister and the imprisonment of his father must have been a huge emotional burden. (I wonder how later it influences the way he sees Draco when Draco's father is in prison.)

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 16, 2009 9:36 am (#190 of 202)
Besides, Harry never has a reason to doubt that his parents loved him, that his life would be different if his parents lived. - Julia

The last few posts reflect my thoughts and feelings as well. Except for the above line, which I think Julia perhaps meant in another way? I would have to disagree with how it is worded above, though. He has no reason to doubt they loved him but his life would have been very different had they lived! Julia, would you care to rephrase or explain your feelings on it?

As far as Mrs Cole is concerned, to me that conversation with DD (once she loosened up -- DD knew what he was doing) showed that the staff at the orphanage *always* thought Tom strange from day one. Not after he began hurting animals, or after the Cave incident. So if the staff thought him weird from infancy, they probably were drawing straws to see who had to go pick him up and feed him. I worked in Day Care at a ski mountain with children from 6 weeks to 3 years, and believe me, they were doing stuff like that regarding the "problem" kids, and that was only those on holiday and with us for a week. I can't say I blame the staff at this orphanage, I am pointing out what might have been Tom's true experience with caregivers. JM2K

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Orion - Feb 16, 2009 9:49 am (#191 of 202)
It seems that Snape is in the middle of a scale. The disastrous end of the scale would be Tom who has inherited some pretty grim genes and then abandoned at an orphanage where he is most probably fed after a time-table, where babies cry themselves hoarse in the night and where the mother who gives birth to him dies the very same day and nobody can tell me that on a subconscious level he doesn't remember that because people remember astounding amounts of facts about their lives as very small babies, for example under hypnosis.

The good end of the scale would be Harry who has a perfect, loving home with sufficiently intelligent and mature parents (loving but stupid parents can be disastrous, too, sadly) until the age of one and a half. He is the very image of resilience, of personal strength in the face of difficult life conditions, because the memory of his loving parents is in him forever. JKR apparently also believes that little children remember a lot more than the old rule "conscious memory from the ago of three onwards" states, because she gives Harry a clearer and clearer memory of the moment his parents died. The memory of his first months help him to survive this harrowing moment without any greater emotional damage.

On this scale, Snape's upbringing seems to be so-so. He receives probably enough personal contact with his mother to develop an ability to love and the desire to make contacts. He only lacks social skills. One must wonder why young Snape is so apparently normal at all, having such a grouchy, and possibly abusive, father and such a grouchy mother. Apart from his awful clothes and his lack of self-esteem, he seems to be a friendly kid. So the three boys show three degrees of reactions to three degrees of childhoods.

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Julia H. - Feb 16, 2009 9:57 am (#192 of 202)
Julia, would you care to rephrase or explain your feelings on it? (MAMS)

OK. I mean Harry may believe (even before being told) that his parents loved him. He may believe that if his parents were still alive, they would love him as Petunia loves Dudley (that's what he has for a comparison), that they would care for him and that he would receive birthday presents and cakes, he would be taken to interesting places etc., that he would not be lonely and neglected. Even if the Dursleys never talk about his parents to him, he knows the people who neglect and dislike him are only his uncle and aunt and he is free to believe that his parents must have loved him and would still love him if they were alive. In contrast, Snape cannot dream about more loving parents because the adults who neglect and/or do not fully accept him, are his real and only parents.

EDIT: Orion, I completely agree.

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Orion - Feb 16, 2009 10:04 am (#193 of 202)
I'd like to add something to Julia's post which has been discussed before: Harry doesn't take Vernon and Petunia seriously, they don't mean anything to him. So if they insult him, it doesn't get through to his bones, they can't really hurt him. They are only unpleasant, ridiculous strangers. But for Snape it was personal. The rejection by his own parents was much harder for him because motherly love is essential for a child. Lack of motherly love is life-threatening, so it is extremely important in the mind of every child.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 16, 2009 10:15 am (#194 of 202)
I agree with you both about Harry's resilience and feel it is due to that love remaining with him or lingering.

I was going to post something similar to Julia's statement, but along the lines of the idea that his unfortunate living situation made him the hero. So in that sense his life becoomes extraordinary and heroic because of all those trying circumstances. I am reminded of Batman, and I don't know the graphic novels so this is just film stuff, but the Joker killed Bruce's parents and made a hero who wanted revenge. If the Joker hadn't killed Bruce's parents he would have been able to have a happy, normal life but he would not be Gotham City's hero and fighter of evil. Thank goodness Harry is much happier than Bruce by the end of our series.

Edit: Orion, Severus being the middle ground is basically why I started pondering on this thread. The "triangulation" concept as well as "gradients" to me are important, and Severus is the balance or connector between Harry (good) and Vold (evil) -- the connector besides the horcrux of course!

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wynnleaf - Feb 16, 2009 10:49 am (#195 of 202)
I agree with what all three of you have posted recently. Even before Harry knows for a fact that his parents loved him, he can imagine it and think "my real parents would love me if they were here," so there's always that in the background no matter how nasty the Dursleys are. Snape doesn't have that because he knows that the people who are neglecting him, the man who doesn't like much of anything (including Severus, it sounds like), the woman who is dour and doesn't seem to care what Snape wears, his heath and hygiene, etc., those people are his parents.

Riddle is a bit different. He doesn't have his parents there at the orphanage, but he doesn't seem to lean on a notion that they'd love and protect him if only they were alive. Instead, he seems to have decided that his mother's death was, in itself, a rejection of him. Later, when he learns he's a wizard, he assumes his father was a wizard, so perhaps he had imagined his father as being better. Still, we don't get much sign that young Tom had any feeling that his parents ever cared about him.

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Orion - Feb 16, 2009 11:57 am (#196 of 202)
Shadow, great minds think alike.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 16, 2009 12:44 pm (#197 of 202)
Orion

Regarding this idea of similar background with differring result, I feel it's important to recall JKR's saying that the main difference between Vold and Sev is that Sev had been loved. Lily, with her pure and giving heart, responded very differently to Sev than Petunia did and this must have meant everything to Sev. I see her as that shining light on the "plant in the dark", her attention and friendship fed him when nothing else did, it seems. Tom must have been born "odd", as we are told by Mrs Cole; but it is possible that Severus was born "odd" as well. So to me Lily once again made the crucial difference in a boy not becoming increasingly hopeless and permanently Dark.

I also love it when DD talks to the Dursley's about how badly they treat Dudley. That is a funny exchange, none of them can understand what on earth DD is referring to. An example of a mother showering her child with adoration, but not the kind of love that will make her son a Good Man like Harry. I love that JKR put that line in there from DD, and it must have given Harry so much to hear it!

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Julia H. - Feb 16, 2009 1:04 pm (#198 of 202)
So to me Lily once again made the crucial difference in a boy not becoming increasingly hopeless and permanently Dark. (MAMS)

Perhaps, but I find Snape's love for Lily even more important (with regard to Snape's development) than Lily's love for Snape. It is Snape who first tries to make friends with Lily, and it seems he does not give it up after the first, disastrous attempt, because they will become friends somehow in the end. It is, of course, very important that Lily accepts him (and I can't help thinking that it has a lot to do with Snape's knowledge about magic). But, unlike Riddle, Snape actively looks for a friend, a real friend (not followers, like Riddle), even if he does not seem to know how it is normally done.

On the other hand, the love of another child does not make up for insufficient motherly love.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 16, 2009 1:13 pm (#199 of 202)
But, unlike Riddle, Snape actively looks for a friend, a real friend (not followers, like Riddle), even if he does not seem to know how it is normally done

Good point, Julia. Severus made an effort and, given his personality, that couldn't have been easy. I'm sure her being a witch made all the difference, something to have in common and something he could feel confident talking about. I guess my point was how Lily was filled with light and love and acceptance rather than judgment, and this seems to have been a major source of inspiration for Sev in his early years.

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wynnleaf - Feb 16, 2009 2:00 pm (#200 of 202)
Here's the original quote JKR made about Snape and someone loving him:

MA: Oh, here?s one [from our forums] that I?ve really got to ask you. Has Snape ever been loved by anyone?

JKR: Yes, he has, which in some ways makes him more culpable even than Voldemort, who never has. Okay, one more each!

She didn't say this was the main difference between Snape and LV. And also recall that this is a question asked and answered kind of "on the fly". She's basically saying that having known love, Snape is more culpable than LV, who has never been loved or known love. I don't agree with this, by the way, and consider this personal opinion, whether it's JKR's or the reader's opinion. Still, Snape's culpability is certainly different because he knows love and yet still does terribly wrong things, whereas Riddle has no ability to have remorse or empathize with others.

The orphanage administrator thinks Riddle was odd from the start, but as a pscyhopathic kid (and JKR said he was psychopathic), you'd see even from a very early age those characteristics of being unable to empathize, not having any compassion, and having no ability to feel remorse. Snape does have these abilities, most notably that of the ability to have remorse, which completely distinguishes him from the psychopathic Riddle. And remember, these abilities are basic to most humans and appear at a very early age, so Snape as a child might be "odd" in his lack of socialization skills. I'm sure the women at the orphanage saw that quite a bit and if Riddle had that problem, they'd have not been surprised. Riddle's personality as a child was even "odd" in the orphanage, which makes sense as the adults probably weren't seeing any signs of a developing conscience, compassion, remorse, or empathy of any kind.

By the way, remember that Riddle, by the time he was at Hogwarts, was actually pretty good at social skills. His personality seemed quite attractive by then and he was able to draw other students and teachers to himself. This is also very common for many psychopaths, particularly stemming from narcissistic tendencies. They are often known as very charming and depend on their ability to charm to manipulate others.

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me and my shadow 813 - Feb 16, 2009 2:23 pm (#201 of 202)
Yes, "main" difference might have been an error; rather, JKR is trying to impart that there is a direct correlation between complete absence of love and complete emotional detachment, if that makes sense.

Edit: to be fair to JKR, I think she said that not only on the fly but she was desperately trying to remain ambiguous to keep it going about "Snape Evil Or Not?" so she didn't want to go into just how different Sev is from Tom.

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rambkowalczyk - Feb 17, 2009 6:33 am (#202 of 202)
Although I do not subscribe to the the 'bad seed' theory of people, I do accept that this was how JKR has written Tom. I think that Tom did have a fundamental difference that separated him from other kids--it was why he never cried much as a baby. But I think his tendency to cruelty was a result of neglect meaning that if he had someone who nurtured him it's possible he would not be so evil.

Most of the things Tom does seem to be a way to control his environment. Without love Tom tries to replace it with things. He hurts others because he is afraid of being hurt.

I'm not saying that everyone who is neglected becomes cruel. Harry is the complete opposite of cruelty. And Harry doesn't have that 'flaw' that Tom has.

If Snape is considered cruel, it isn't the same type of cruelty as Tom's. (or is it but to a lesser degree???)

Snape's cruelty shows itself with Petunia because she is a rival for Lily's affections. Although Snape might want to control his environment, he realizes that he can't control Lily.

Also I think as a baby Snape cried. His parents however didn't always respond well.


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