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The Damnation of Severus Snape
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: A great essay on Snape Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
I read it and I agree with the Snater from our group: it's excellent. ten

I finally read it myself and I, too, agree. It's excellent. Well thought-out, well reasoned, well stated out, rational, logical, respectful of canon. ten

This is someone who, while feeling for Snape, doesn't make him either a martyr or a character who's been unfairly robbed of happiness. Someone who sees how Snape contributed to his own unhappy state by making the wrong choices. I also like how the poster shows how his love for Lily was a selfish kind of love, not real love at all.

I'd like to see the Snapefen's reaction, which reportedly are not enthusiastic. Can someone give me a link to the Live Journal entries on the debate? Thanks. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Snape essays Reply with quote

Linkie:

http://rattlesnakeroot.livejournal.com/234997.html

Sadly, the linkies to mugglenet's essays on the damnation and deification of Snape from earlier in this thread~don't work anymore.

The essays must have been moved, archived, or deleted. I think I read them over a year ago, but I don't remember exactly.

Anyone have mad skills and enough time and interest to research where they might be found, and post new links? Please? angel
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Snape essays Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
Anyone have mad skills and enough time and interest to research where they might be found, and post new links? Please? angel

The links posted earlier by Asteria still work, including this one:

Comments on the damnation of Snape

The link to the CoS discussion still works too.

Next time, though, maybe whoever finds an interesting post should copy and paste it. Then it'd be on AV for good. I don't have the time to do it now, but will try to find the time later for this latest essay.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject: The Damnation of Severus Snape Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
Anyone have mad skills and enough time and interest to research where they might be found, and post new links? Please? angel


Kerowyn wrote:
Next time, though, maybe whoever finds an interesting post should copy and paste it. Then it'd be on AV for good.

Here you are, Kerowyn and Laurelluin. Sorry this copy-and-paste effort didn't copy the italics and other font options in the body of the post. Also, some rather cabalistic signs appeared without my meaning them to. But the text is generally legible. It's the best I can do.

My Damnation of Severus Snape

Summary: hpboy13 responds to a recent quibble of the week, "The Deification of Severus Snape."

I have been thinking about Severus Snape a lot lately - ever since I'd come home from a Lauren Fairweather concert where she performed songs from her brilliant Prince's Tale album and reduced me (and the rest of the audience) to a sobbing wreck. And I may cry for Snape, because he is such a tragic character. However, I still do not like Severus Snape. [Feel free to take a minute here to exclaim over my blasphemous words. I'll wait.]

Now, most of my dislike for Snape comes from the same reason that the fandom fawns over him: his unrequited love for Lily. Because every decent thing that he ever did, every small act of redemption, was done for her. In other words, the only good Snape ever did was because of an unhealthy obsession over another man's dead wife. He was willing to let her husband and infant son die so he could have her. He spent six years mercilessly tormenting a likable boy who already has the weight of the world on his shoulders, just because he is a reminder that he lost Lily to his biggest rival.

I could go much more in depth about this, but I was beaten to the punch. Glovebox recently posted an essay titled "The Deification of Severus Snape," that you should really go read right now. She does a fantastic job explaining why Snape is not a good person just because he loved Lily - it's a wonderfully written piece that I agree with 110%.

No, what I would like to do is go back through the series and remind the legions of Snape fans why we all hated him before we read "Prince's Tale." Because he truly is a despicable character, and kudos to Jo for making us almost forget that.

Neville

Okay, let's ignore the fact that Snape is wreaking his vengeance on eleven-year-old Harry Potter. Can we talk about the fact that he traumatizes poor Neville? And what has poor Neville ever done to him? He regularly humiliates Neville in front of his peers, destroying any shreds of self-confidence that Neville has. He even goes so far as to belittle Neville in front of other teachers (Prisoner of Azkaban, 132). He picks on Neville relentlessly - the poor boy already had a tough upbringing with his frightening grandmother and a bunch of great-uncles and great-aunts who'd drop him out of windows. After everything Neville has been through - after knowing his parents were tortured into insanity by Death Eaters - the thing that he fears most of all at age thirteen is Snape.

"Right, Neville," said Professor Lupin. "First things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you most in the world?"
[…]
Neville looked around rather wildly, as though begging someone to help him, then said, in barely more than a whisper, "Professor Snape." [POA 134-135]


Now yes, we all had a great laugh when Neville's boggart turned into Snape, and ended up dressed as Neville's grandma, and Lupin turned out to be the coolest teacher ever. But after reading Order of the Phoenix, and realizing the horrors that Neville has in his past, the comedic scene from Prisoner of Azkaban takes on a much darker meaning.

Neville's boggart should have been Bellatrix Lestrange. Or perhaps it would be losing his mind like his parents did. Or being a Squib (since we know Neville has a lot of issues with that). Or even something less serious like a mummy or a spider. Now imagine how terrified he must be of Snape, that Snape scares him more than Bellatrix. This isn't just being scared of a teacher, this is being traumatized.

Earlier in the chapter, Snape actually went so far as to poison Neville's toad, Trevor:

The end of the lesson in sight, Snape strode over to Neville, who was cowering by his cauldron.
"Everyone gather 'round," said Snape, his black eyes glittering, "and watch what happens to Longbottom's toad. If he has managed to produce a Shrinking Solution, it will shrink to a tadpole. If, as I don't doubt, he has done it wrong, his toad is likely to be poisoned." [128]


This is just low - attempting to poison Neville's pet. Neville doesn't have many friends, so he's very fond of Trevor. What ends up happening is that Trevor turns into a tadpole in Snape's hand. This is very symbolic - what happens to pets in the HP series usually reflects what happens to their owners, and this shows that Snape belittles Neville and makes him feel completely inadequate. It's just very fortunate that Harry comes along to turn Neville into the badass he becomes in Deathly Hallows.

Hermione

While Snape's dislike for Neville can never be excused, it's at least explained by the fact that Neville is an abysmal student. Why Snape has it in for Hermione, on the other hand, is perplexing. Hermione starts off the series by being just as insecure as Neville is - shown in moments of vulnerability - she's just much better at hiding it. Whereas all the other teachers (sans Trelawney) reward Hermione for her brilliance and hard work, Snape either sneers at it or refrains from commenting when he's feeling generous. In fact, he goes so far as to punish Hermione for it.

"Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
Hermione went very red, put down her hand, and stared at the floor with her eyes full of tears. [172]


Okay, can we take a step back and think about this situation if it were real. I appeal to the adults out there: how would you feel if a teacher called your thirteen-year-old daughter an insufferable know-it-all and reduced her to tears? What kind of adult, teacher or not, would stoop to insult a child like that? This is clearly something Hermione struggles with among her classmates, who have a reason to resent her academic prowess. To be insulted for it by a teacher is probably the worst thing that could happen to her emotionally.

But Snape stoops even lower to humiliate Hermione (and Harry as well): he actually reads aloud a gossip article about them in class.

"'Harry Potter's Secret Heartache'... dear, dear, Potter, what's ailing you now? 'A boy like no other perhaps…'"
Harry could feel his face burning. Snape was pausing at the end of every sentence to allow the Slytherins a hearty laugh. The article sounded ten times worse when read by Snape. Even Hermione was blushing scarlet now.
"'... Harry Potter's well-wishers must hope that, next time, he bestows his heart upon a worthier candidate.' How very touching," sneered Snape […] "Well, I think I had better separate the three of you, so you can keep your minds on your potions rather than on your tangled love lives." [Goblet of Fire, 515]


This situation is so absurd I can't even pretend to consider it as a real situation. Snape is taking a slanderous gossip article that could severely hurt Hermione's reputation, and reads it aloud in his class as an open invitation for Hermione's fellow students to abuse her. This is sadism so impressive that Umbridge would be proud. Because that's really all Snape is: a sadist who psychologically destroys children to make up for his own miserable existence.

But perhaps the worst thing he does to Hermione is actually earlier in Goblet of Fire, where he mocks not her mind, nor her love life, but her appearance. To provide a bit of context, Harry and Draco try to curse each other, and their curses ricochet off each other and hit Goyle and Hermione. Goyle gets covered in boils and is sent to the hospital wing by Snape. Hermione's large teeth are now growing at an alarming rate, and Ron calls Snape's attention to this.

He forced Hermione to show Snape her teeth - she was doing her best to hide them with her hands, though this was difficult as they had now grown down past her collar. Pansy Parkinson and the other Slytherin girls were doubled up with silent giggles, pointing at Hermione from behind Snape's back.

Snape looked coldly at Hermione, then said, "I see no difference."

Hermione let out a whimper; her eyes filled with tears, she turned on her heel and ran, ran all the way up the corridor and out of sight. [299-300]


Wow. Just wow. Now, let's keep in mind that this is fifteen-year-old Hermione - before she became a confident adult, before she had Viktor Krum ask her to the Yule Ball, before anything ever happened to make her feel pretty. She is a teenage girl - and we know how vulnerable teenage girls are where their body-image and self-perception are concerned. All she knows is that she isn't very attractive, the guy she likes isn't aware that she's a girl, and no guy has ever looked twice at her.

And then an adult, a teacher, insults her appearance in front of everyone. This must be more emotionally scarring than anything else Snape ever did. And it was completely uncalled for! No one was interrupting him or reading magazines in his class, he just chose to lash out at Hermione. I'm a guy, so thankfully I never went through this, but I vividly remember my female friends' crazy diets and whatnot, and how upset they were over their less-than-perfect appearance. Poor Hermione.

Sirius and Lupin

Lest we think it only children that Snape abuses, Jo ensures that we are privy to how awfully he treats his fellow adults. Now, I will ignore Snape mocking Sirius in Order of the Phoenix, because both of them hated each other and acted like sixteen-year-old shmucks. Snape deriding Lupin in front of his class is more serious. But the truly appalling stuff doesn't happen until Snape actually has power over Sirius and Lupin, and (as usual) abuses it to the fullest. This happens when Snape stumbles onto the two of them and the Trio in the Shrieking Shack in Prisoner of Azkaban (for a very in-depth analysis of Snape's behavior and motivations in this scene, check out my essay "Snape's Anger").

"You fool," said Lupin softly. "Is a schoolboy grudge worth putting an innocent man back inside Azkaban?"
[...]
"Up to the castle?" said Snape silkily. "I don't think we need to go that far. All I have to do is call the dementors once we get out of the Willow. They'll be very pleased to see you, Black ... pleased enough to give you a little kiss, I daresay..." [...]
"I'll drag the werewolf. Perhaps the dementors will have a kiss for him too -" [POA, 359-360]


Here, my feelings toward Snape go from contempt to alarm - he is willing to condemn two men to having their souls sucked out because one bullied him as a teenager, and the other didn't stop it. I don't know whether Snape believes they are innocent or guilty - the alarming thing is that Snape doesn't care. He doesn't care if he sentences innocent men to a fate worse than death, as long as he exacts his petty revenge for deeds done twenty years ago.

Here is where we see Snape the Death Eater at his worst - the man who will kill innocents with no regard, the sadist who abuses his power at any given opportunity, and a man whose own agenda is more important that anything else. If Voldemort had not killed Lily, I'm sure Snape would have been a top Death Eater like Bellatrix Lestrange or Malfoy.

Snape's Loyalty

I know that some of you are still crying that yes, Snape was deeply unpleasant at times, but he was still on the good side! Doesn't that, along with his unrequited love for Lily, prove he's a good guy.

Well... no. Just because someone is working against Voldemort does not mean he is a good guy - a wonderful example would be Cornelius Fudge. But there is proof that Snape considered working for Dumbledore a secondary goal compared to that of making Harry miserable.

Let us recall the instance in Goblet of Fire where Mr. Crouch shows up while Harry and Viktor Krum are talking, and Harry runs to get Dumbledore so the latter can attend to the insane Mr. Crouch. And while outside Dumbledore's office, Snape happens on by:

"Mr. Crouch!" Harry shouted. "From the Ministry! He's ill or something - he's in the forest, he wants to see Dumbledore! Just give me the password up to -”

"The headmaster is busy, Potter," said Snape, his thin mouth curling into an unpleasant smile.
"I've got to tell Dumbledore!" Harry yelled.
"Didn't you hear me, Potter?"
Harry could tell Snape was thoroughly enjoying himself, denying Harry the very thing he wanted when he was so panicky. [Goblet of Fire, 558]


Let's consider this. Snape has just run into a frantic Harry trying to get into Dumbledore's office (which Harry probably wouldn't do without good reason). Harry yells that a vanished Ministry official has shown up on the Hogwarts grounds and is crazy, and this high-ranking crazy Ministry official is running amok with a Triwizard champion. Snape decides to completely disregard all of this for the simple joy of tormenting Harry for a little bit.

It's a rather interesting way to prioritize. Snape ignores his duty to Dumbledore and whatever is happening in the wide wizarding world, all to pettily spite a fourteen-year-old. It's really just pathetic. So Snape is on Dumbledore's side... when it suits him.

So after remembering all of these choice Snape moments (and I'm sure there are plenty more, and we have only scratched the surface of what he's done to Harry), I just can't think of him as a good guy. Yes, Severus Snape was technically on Dumbledore's side, and he has a beautifully tragic unrequited love for Lily Potter. However, he is still an awful, spiteful, petty, vindictive, and cruel human being. He is not fit to interact with children, much less teach them.

So while I love Snape as a character, and think of him as one of Jo's crowning literary achievements, I still hate him as a person. And perhaps the fangirling would be better directed towards Alan Rickman.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:01 pm    Post subject: The Deification of Severus Snape Reply with quote

Here's the second piece requested. Here also copy and paste didn't come out perfectly, but good enough for our purposes. Very Happy

The Deification of Severus Snape
By Glovebox

ABSTRACT: The essay discusses the many flaws of Severus Snape and how the fandom has disregarded these because of his extreme love of Lily Potter. It discusses how his actions were often selfish and childish but also how these many flaws create such a brilliant and interesting character whom we should love for the moral questions he raises not for his obsession with Lily Potter.

While deification as such may be a vast overstatement, the point stands that the fandom has become utterly and blindly obsessed over the years with a man by the name of Severus Snape. If I had a dollar for every Snape and Lily reference on the internet, I would be a very rich woman. But how many people actually look back on the first six and three-quarters books and go wow, if I had Snape for a teacher, I would drop that subject, burn all the books related to it, and never return? Snape as a character demonstrates how brilliantly flawless and magnificent J.K. Rowling is as an author, because Snape himself was completely flawed. As readers, we could completely believe that he was really on Voldemort’s side for the whole series, despite Dumbledore’s ardent belief in him - because, quite simply, he was not a nice guy. J.K. Rowling managed to fool us again and again into thinking Snape was evil, because to the world, that was the face he presented - and this seems to have been forgotten in the midst of this Snape and Lily obsession.

Snape was a Death Eater. While obviously he changed sides later on, the fact remains that Snape in his younger years believed in Voldemort’s ideals and wanted to advance them. Even Lily points this out - she notes that "[he] can’t wait to join You-Know-Who" (DH, p.542). He was friends with both Avery and Mulciber, called everyone of Muggle-birth a Mudblood (aside from Lily - though as we later see, this does change), and described the unnamed piece of dark magic used on Mary Macdonald as, "a laugh" (DH, p.540). Snape, in his crucial teenage years where ideals and beliefs are formed, found that he believed in death, prejudice, and sadism - and it cannot be denied that he rushed to fulfil these ideals as soon as the opportunity arose. If it had not perhaps been for Lily and the threat Lord Voldemort posed to his heart, Snape may never have changed. He may have continued to live a life of servitude to the most evil wizard of all time, and it was only by some twist of fate that he did change sides. If events had played out differently - if Voldemort had chosen Neville instead, for example - then Snape probably would have remained a Death Eater, and this cannot be ignored.

When Snape did eventually convert to Dumbledore’s side, he did not do it for moral grounds, as Regulus Black did. He did it because the life of the woman he loved - who had rejected him years previously - was threatened. He had no wish to save Harry or James, or even the countless other people dying around him. He converted for purely selfish reasons - and as Dumbledore points out to him, "they can die, as long as [he has] what [he wants]." (DH, p.544). Snape is glorified for his never-ending, unrequited love for Lily Evans, and yet we fail to realise how this blinded him to the sufferings of others, and tainted his love into something selfish and cruel.

While I initally found the scene in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 where Snape cradles Lily’s body to be deeply moving and symobolic of his complete and utter love for her, despite her rejection - in hindsight, it seemed disrespectful. Lily clearly chose James over Snape. She chose the Head Boy over the Death Eater, and I think Snape should have respected that and moved on. What Snape felt for Lily is something that many of us may have experienced in lesser or equal forms over the years - a love that is unbelievably strong, and yet completely unrequited. While we may have harboured this love within us over the years, and may have been filled with jealousy, eventually we would have moved on. While this is a considerably less romantic ideal then the "always"(DH, p.552) of Snape’s love, in my mind, it is a healthier option. There are people whose spouses have died, who have worked though their grief and moved on to new love after years have passed - so why is Snape so incapable? Cradling and crying over Lily’s dead body - and yes I know it is the movie, not the book, but the point still stands - whilst her husband lies dead metres away seems rather disrespectful of Lily’s life and love choices, if you ask me.

I recognise the fact, however, that Snape devoted the next 15 years of his life into protecting Lily’s child - yet while he risked life and limb for Harry’s protection, Snape remained thoroughly unpleasant to Harry at every possible opportunity. Snape remained condescending, sarcastic, needlessly cruel, and a completely terrible teacher - and especially so to Harry. Can you imagine the level of parental complaint that would result from Snape teaching this way in a school in the real world? At every possible opportunity, he aimed to make Harry’s life miserable. If he was going to fight against Lord Voldemort because Lily, he was going to make life a living hell for Harry because of James. After 20 years, Snape was unwilling to forget or forgive James Potter for the bullying he suffered at his hand - bullying, might I add, that he himself probably committed through the use of dark arts on a number of less capable students across the school. Was Snape seriously so hypocritical that he was completely incapable of growing up, forgiving James, and not tormenting his son when all the evidence suggests that he conducted similar behaviour towards other students during his schooling years? Did you see Mary Macdonald’s mother making his life a misery? Snape completely ignored the fact that Harry was raised by a family of muggles who made his life hell, and not by James - and thus Harry is far more likely when he first arrives at Hogwarts to be a boy completely unsure of himself and uncomfortable with fame then one who possesses the same arrogance as his father. Snape, in all his childish anger, was completely incapable of seeing this and thus saw a boy like his bullying father rather than the "engaging child" (DH, p.545) that Harry really is.

JK Rowling creates characters that are flawed. Harry is flawed, Dumbledore is flawed, Sirius is flawed and above all, Snape is flawed. While he did change sides, join the Order of the Phoenix, and die in the fight against Voldemort, Snape is, despite the revelations at the end of Deathly Hallows, very much a character who is neither good nor evil. Instead, he is located firmly in the grey area in between. And I like him that way; I like his snide comments, and the moral enigma that surrounds him. I love how Alan Rickman portrays him so perfectly, in the sarcasm of his comments and how he fooled us again and again and again. I do not love him for how he loved Lily, or for how he treated Harry. I think he is brilliant because his character is so interesting, and not because he is a good person - because villains and good guys are always so stupidly predictable these days, and he is an exception to this rule. Snape is a brilliant character, but he is not a brilliant person - and as a fandom I think we would do well to remember that. May the death threats commence.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Snape essays Reply with quote

Thanks for finding and posting the two previous Snape essays, Asteria. They're great. ten

Here, as promised, is the latest one:

Quote:
Severus Snape Does Not Deserve Your Pity
Emily Asher-Perrin

Can I say this out loud? Well… here it goes: it really bugs me when people get all weepy about Severus Snape and his somber, torturous tale. As a Harry Potter fan I usually keep this to myself because Snape fans are a little rabid and also he’s played by Alan Rickman on film, and speaking poorly of any Rickman-played character is probably a criminal offense in most countries.

But it really does bother me. And maybe not for the reasons you would assume.

Important disclosure at the fore: I think Severus Snape is a great character and it does hurt to learn how isolated and lonely he has been his entire life. I understand why he has the following that he does, why he garners so much love and empathy. He’s tortured, which gives us an emotional investment in his progression. He was bullied in school, which we can all relate to—most kids have born the brunt of teasing at some point in their lives. And he’s an incredible double agent, toeing a line between Dumbledore and Voldemort that no one else in the books is capable of, which is outright flipping cool.

But there’s a disturbing skew in Potter fandom, one that sees Snape painted as some sort of pitiable, tormented martyr. That contingent usually also seems convinced that Harry’s papa, James Potter, should never have been given a shot at that title and ruined Snape’s chances at happiness. Which causes me to give them the side-eye and wring my hands awkwardly.

Because it makes more sense to me to see Severus Snape’s tale as a cautionary one, a list of “What Not To Do” when life deals you the bottom of the deck. He suffers a great deal, absolutely—but every time chooses to handle his pain and grief in a way that is further damaging to others.

But love! Unrequited, abandoned love! His Patronus was a doe! Yes, I do remember. And it hits home because we’ve all been there, all know what it feels like to care for someone who isn’t giving you the time of day, or at least not the kind of attention you’d prefer. But for those who are somehow under the impression that Snape had his dear love Lily Evans stolen away by that stuck up, rich boy cad, James Potter… I’m at a loss.


Rowling’s use of flashback in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is meant to offer us a lot in one go, giving readers the only sequence of the infamous Marauders that we can experience in realtime. We find out that teenaged James Potter is quite the insufferable show off, that he and Sirius were cruel to Snape, and that Snape’s idea of a good comeback to the bullying was to rebuff one of his oldest, truest friends in a way that was unforgivably prejudiced. What is contained in that unhappy memory is the moment where he loses Lily forever; though they obviously were not as close at that age as they had been as small children, she was not willing to cut herself off from him until he threw the word “mudblood” in her face.

But because we don’t see the in-between, the line that runs from there to James and Lily’s happy marriage, that might read to something like: Lily got angry at Snape for shouting something awful at her and decided that the ultimate way to “show him” was to marry that guy who’d made his life a living hell as a teen. Which is clearly not what happened. James grew up a little and stopped being a jerk. Lily noticed. (We hear specifically from Sirius and Remus that Lily didn’t start dating him until their final year at Hogwarts, giving James a couple years to sort himself out.) Snape made some bad friends and started dabbling in things he shouldn’t. They went their separate ways.

Except Snape kept carrying that torch for Lily. On paper it sounds sort of beautiful, but in actuality… that’s kind of creepy. More creepy for the fact that he gave up trying to make amends, and never attempted to form a similar relationship with anyone else. He kept a specific version of her in his head, built out of childhood memories and the moments he watched her from afar, and decided that was good enough. It didn’t stop him from offering Lily and her family up to Voldemort the instant he heard a helpful prophecy regarding Harry’s birth. He backtracked, because apparently he was fine with Voldemort killing Lily’s child and husband, the people whom she loved more than anything; he was only horrified at the thought of her death. And that’s not real love—caring for someone without considering their happiness is the exact opposite of love, in point of fact. It makes them an object of your affection rather than a subject. Perhaps his feelings for Lily were the only thing that prevented him from truly going “dark side” with his Death Eater pals, and for that we can be grateful. But the damning aspects of that love show up the instant Harry hits Hogwarts.

Sure, Harry looks more like James than Lily, sure, he’s got a bit of that Gryffindor bravado, but here was the perfect opportunity for Snape to make peace with his past. It’s true in more ways than one, specifically because Harry had also come from a home where he was ignored, abused, treated like less than a household pet. If Snape loved Lily so much, you would imagine he would want to do right by her son to honor her memory, wouldn’t you? But it seems that his hatred for James was much stronger than his feelings for Lily.

Well, if it weren’t for James, Harry might have been his son! Except there is no evidence to support that belief whatsoever. Even if he and Lily had remained friends, even if James Potter vanished into thin air, there is no reason to think that Lily would have ever fallen in love with Snape. And that misdirected anger toward James leads him to use his position of power as a teacher and a guide to take out his schoolyard grudge on Harry in any way he can manage.

Which brings me to perhaps my biggest peeve with Snape—he’s a terrible teacher. Rowling herself has said this as well, that on the teaching spectrum Remus Lupin was supposed to represent the absolute best experience you could have, and that Snape represented the worst. People can gripe all they want about Snape being right to give Slytherins an unfair advantage in this class when they receive no such advantages anywhere else in the school, but it doesn’t change the fact that the kids he favors most are not good students. He favors Draco at first because he enjoys Draco’s ongoing cockfight with Harry, and later (more appropriately) because he knows what Draco is going through as a result of his family’s Death Eater status. But the ways in which he constantly belittles Hermione for actually caring about the subject he teaches is reprehensible, and furthermore, damaging to the very cause he’s fighting for by potenially leaving students ill-equipped. It’s even more disappointing because Snape has the ability to be an excellent professor; he simply choses not to be out of bitterness.

Is it understandable that Snape feels the way he feels? Absolutely. Is it acceptable that his actions in response to his own feelings continually harm others? Not so much.

The point is not that Severus Snape was a monster and no one should ever think well of him. The point is that Severus Snape is not a hero, and wouldn’t want to be called one. He is a man burdened by real demons, who makes the wrong choices, who pays for it with everything that is dear to him. And he’s the one who makes that bed. He knows he has to lie in it, knows that’s what he earned for himself, and that’s why he does everything in his power to make it right.

It’s what makes Severus Snape such a mesmerizing character in the first place. He doesn’t want to be coddled by anyone who feels for him, who wants to ease his pain. He would probably feel pretty awkward about Harry using his name to christen one of the Potter brood. Severus Snape doesn’t need pity because he’s not meant to be pitied—the owning of his failures are what make him exceptional.

And that is far more interesting than being a martyr any day.

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RavenStar



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 680
Location: RavenClaw House

PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Snape essays Reply with quote

Quote:
As a Harry Potter fan I usually keep this to myself because Snape fans are a little rabid and also he’s played by Alan Rickman on film, and speaking poorly of any Rickman-played character is probably a criminal offense in most countries.

wacko

It isn't quite true, though. You can speak ill of Valmont (Dangerous Liaisons), that's not a criminal offense that I'm aware of. It's speaking ill of the shampoo-challenged Potions Professor that could get you drawn and quartered.

It's good to know that there actually are people who like Snape as a character without going all bananas about it.
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Strawberry07



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:36 am    Post subject: Re: Snape essays Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the essay, Wildflower! Very Happy It makes some very good points.


Quote:
He was bullied in school, which we can all relate to—most kids have born the brunt of teasing at some point in their lives.


And yet, he bullies students. Something I think a lot of people can relate to. And yet, this is glossed over and excused by many of those who claim to have empathy with him because he was bullied, and those who depsise the Marauders for bullying.

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That contingent usually also seems convinced that Harry’s papa, James Potter, should never have been given a shot at that title and ruined Snape’s chances at happiness. Which causes me to give them the side-eye and wring my hands awkwardly.


These are generally the creepy ones, who see Lily as an object, as Snape's rightful property. Misogyny at its finest, in the 21st century, and sadly, coming from women, for the most part.

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Because it makes more sense to me to see Severus Snape’s tale as a cautionary one, a list of “What Not To Do” when life deals you the bottom of the deck. He suffers a great deal, absolutely—but every time chooses to handle his pain and grief in a way that is further damaging to others.


Yep. I wonder at the people who see Snape's love for Lily as amazing and wonderful. If someone "loved" me like Snape lived Lily, I would get a restraining order. I would do my darnedest get my loved ones in a witness protection programme or some kid of hiding.

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But for those who are somehow under the impression that Snape had his dear love Lily Evans stolen away by that stuck up, rich boy cad, James Potter… I’m at a loss.


Misogyny and entitlement all rolled into one.

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He backtracked, because apparently he was fine with Voldemort killing Lily’s child and husband, the people whom she loved more than anything; he was only horrified at the thought of her death.


Yes, and if the Longbottoms had been chosen. Snape would have continued on his career as a bigoted terrorist.

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And that’s not real love—caring for someone without considering their happiness is the exact opposite of love, in point of fact. It makes them an object of your affection rather than a subject.


I agree. Snape did not care how Lily felt. He did not care about the pain she would suffer if her family were murdered. That is not love. It's all about how Snape felt, not one fig was given about Lily's feelings.

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Perhaps his feelings for Lily were the only thing that prevented him from truly going “dark side” with his Death Eater pals, and for that we can be grateful.


I disagree with the essayist, here. I think that joining the DEs at all is incredibly dark and twisted. I think that passing on the prophecy was evil. I don't think it's a cause for gratitutde that his obsession with Lily prevented him from continuing down the path of evil. I think that it's disturbing - [i]"I won't kill and destroy lives any more because of Lily"[/i] is a far cry from a normal attitude of "I won't kill and destroy lives at all, because I have a conscience". However, I think Snape lacked a conscience.

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But it seems that his hatred for James was much stronger than his feelings for Lily.


Certainly looks that way to me.

Quote:

Well, if it weren’t for James, Harry might have been his son! Except there is no evidence to support that belief whatsoever. Even if he and Lily had remained friends, even if James Potter vanished into thin air, there is no reason to think that Lily would have ever fallen in love with Snape. And that misdirected anger toward James leads him to use his position of power as a teacher and a guide to take out his schoolyard grudge on Harry in any way he can manage.


Yeah, Lily seemed pretty clear that she wanted nothing to do with scumbag DEs. Even if she hadn't chosen James, she most certainly would not have chosen one of Voldemort's despicable followers. Because, you know, she had a conscience.

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Which brings me to perhaps my biggest peeve with Snape—he’s a terrible teacher.


I agree. Which is why it perplexes me when Snapefen insist he is, because some of his students get good grades. He is an adult who bullies children under his authority. Now, if anyone thinks he's a good teacher, despite that, then I sincerely hope that person is not a teacher and does not have any kind of authority over children.

Quote:
Is it understandable that Snape feels the way he feels? Absolutely. Is it acceptable that his actions in response to his own feelings continually harm others? Not so much.


This is what the Snapefen fail to realise, when they justify everything Snape did with "poor sad Severus loved Lily" and "poor sad Severus never wanted to be a teacher". ( Rolling Eyes !!! No, he wanted to be a lowlife criminal instead, at least in my copies of the books.)


Ravenstar
Quote:

It isn't quite true, though. You can speak ill of Valmont (Dangerous Liaisons), that's not a criminal offense that I'm aware of. It's speaking ill of the shampoo-challenged Potions Professor that could get you drawn and quartered.

It's good to know that there actually are people who like Snape as a character without going all bananas about it.



I don't know, some of them squee over his Sheriff of Nottingham, too. But yeah, the extreme nuttiness is saved for Snape. Some people just like characters who treat others like dirt, and Alan Rickman is an actor who has been typecast as a villain/unpleasant character. He does it very well, but he has been typecast in that kind of role.
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