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Regarding Severus Snape

Rather than repeat what others are saying, I simply want to take a moment and applaud some of the fine new analyses appearing about the Severus Snape scenario in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. To these I can only add my agreement.

"Theories (and Spoilers)" by garlandgraves

"The Martyrdom Has Begun - did we not see this coming?" by logospilgrim

"Dumbledore's Man" by emily_anne

The Case Against Evil by sunnysky

"HBP Initial Reactions" by penfold_x

"More HBP Thoughts" by katiescarlet

Of course there are many more out there, but I believe these are some of the earliest and best.


And now, shamelessly stolen from logospilgrim, rather appropriate quotes for the day:

My enemies say of me in malice,
"When will he die and his name perish?"
And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst of me.

Psalm 41:5-7

Do not condemn. Not even if your very eyes are seeing something, for they may be deceived.
St. John Climacus

"It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open, but done good deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes."
St. John Climacus

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
alicambs
Jul. 19th, 2005 10:20 pm (UTC)
You know, I really don't understand this hero worship of Snape, and of course the constantly stated Harry's prejudiced, and stupid! Of course Harry's prejudiced! Snape's been a complete and utter bastard to him from the moment he set eyes on him, plus he's just killed his mentor and father figure in front of him. Does anyone really think that a 16 year old boy is going to pick up all the subtle nuances and think back on Dumbldore's assurances at a time like this!

I hate Snape, and I have a have a horrid feeling he's going to be redeemed and become the big hero in the last book. I find it difficult to feel any positive feelings towards any adult that can treat a child/ren like Snape does.

How's that for a gut reaction. *g*
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 19th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
LOL! I don't know about hero worship, myself, but I really like Lupin's handling of it all over Christmas at the Weasley's when he explains how he neither likes or dislikes Snape, but recognizes he owes him. Since Dumbledore - and, I believe, J.K. Rowling - is all about second chances and redemption, I think Snape's behavior and ultimate [I think] martyrdom plays into that. Or, to "go all Tolkien" on this, I think it's mercy - Dumbledore's, as he himself points out in the Tower to Draco - like Bilbo's, that will in the end decide the fate of many.
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 19th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
PS. And although Snape, who has known meanness himself, is now mean to Harry, he has also saved Harry's life repeatedly, helped him tremendously (especially in this case, throughout the novel, during which Harry thought of the wise "Prince" as a friend), and after this last encounter, he refuses to fight Harry and even gives Harry the exact formula for defeating Voldemort ("learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed"). Rowling also emphasizes trust and the need to look beyond the surface in her books, and Snape is the poster child for both. I find it particularly poignant that Dumbledore trusts Snape with the most difficult of tasks - tasks that will make Snape even more of a stranger in a strange land, hated by all sides. I appreciate the fact Rowling allows her heroes to have faults (Lupin, for example) and her faulty characters to be heroic (Snape). But that's just my two cents. ;)
alicambs
Jul. 20th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
Umm, but it seems that her hero, Harry, is jumped on at every corner when he makes mistakes, and being a child, he's made a number.

I don't think Snape has made much effort to help Harry, nor can Snape expect Harry to take a blind bit of notice of anything that he says, so why bother. He's been such a bastard that Harry dismisses everything he tells him, plus were he really concerned about him he would have made some effort to help Harry with Occulmency rather than belittle and berate him at every turn. I also think that discovering that it was Snape who told Voldemort of the prophecy and was therefore responsible for his parents deaths, totally cooked his goose with Harry. Harry is never going to believe that someone who evidently hated his father, and himself, as much as Snape so obviously does can feel the slightest bit of remorse for his actions.

I'm already writing my rebuttal to the 'St Snape' posts I've read, and having fun. *g*
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 01:10 am (UTC)
Aw! :) I don't agree with you about Harry being jumped on when he makes a mistake - it seems to me that Dumbledore, Lupin, and many others have warned him repeatedly about his tendency to jump to conclusions and read things only through the coloring of his misconceptions, giving him lots of chances to rethink his perspective (as Dumbledore and Lupin, and Arthur Weasley, and Hermione, and Ron all did this time about various things). I'm also not sure how being a child comes into this, as this is a coming of age story about a young man less than a year from his majority, who must learn the hard lessons -- literally, the disillusionment, to use the spell as a metaphor -- before he is, truly, an adult capable of defeating evil on his own. In fact, one of the things I like is that Rowling doesn't pull punches in his coming-of-age story. But we may be talking past each other. I don't see myself in the "St. Snape" category; I'm just happy to see complex, multi-dimensional characters who challenge the simplistic white hat/black hat sense of storytelling. And I'm also happy to see an author deal with the inherent limits of the point of view she's chosen, so we must engage our own analytical tools to see what Harry might be looking past: or, to put it another way, to agree with Dumbledore that we might just understand more than Harry does at times. Clever author!
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC)
Re: the "St. Snape" thing, one of the reasons I like Rowling's perspective is that there are no saints. Even Dumbledore is flawed. Snape is an intriguing character because he is not what he appears -- at least, if we trust Dumbledore's judgment based on information he knew and we don't, that is the case -- but even the "good guys" (Lupin, Black, Moody, etc.) have real failings. And she does not shelter her characters from learning this, just as she doesn't shelter them from learning that sometimes things just aren't fair. Yet she challenges them fight the good fight anyway, despite these facts (and, often, each other).
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
This essay - here - goes a long way toward explaining why I am in fact fascinated by the Snape character, FYI.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:50 am (UTC)
Well, now I've finally finished the book, I'm reading thru all this. Really good postings. I agree with you on the joy of JKR's dimensional characters. I love them in that they are more "real" than many, especially those found in "children's" lit. Good and evil are not black and white in the real world. Yes, Snape is mean and ugly, but we are shown WHY. No, not an excuse, but a reason. I don't believe he is evil - mean, of course, but not evil. As you say, he has saved students many times. One of the most touching/telling scenes, which I recall whenever thinking on Snape, is how quickly and utterly he places himself before the kids as Lupin changes into the werewolf in POA. Yes, Harry was mistreated as a child as well, and did not end up like Snape, but all people are not of the same stuff made. This be a life lesson I've harped to my own child for 14 years, and thanks to Rowling, have been able to discuss again.
lizzieausten
Aug. 3rd, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
Sorry, didn't mean to post as "anonymous" previously :-)
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC)
PS. Glad to hear you're writing about this, too. If nothing else, this is a great springboard for discussion!
fungus_files
Jul. 20th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
totally agree re Snape's martyrdom - makes my chest hurt to think about it too much but, yes, I also think that Severus will end up crispy (and, for me, truly heroic). it's odd reading all the stuff that's flying around about 'is Snape a hero or anti-hero?' - maybe my definitions are dodgey but I never thought of Snape as Hero but he is definitely heroic.

I find it particularly poignant that Dumbledore trusts Snape with the most difficult of tasks - tasks that will make Snape even more of a stranger in a strange land, hated by all sides.

yes - this was my reaction, too. SS was already on the outer of so many social circles, ridiculed by his school peers, (I suspect) tolerated but not liked by his adult ones, etc. the bleakness of what is to come gives all his earlier interactions additional sharpness.

and, so that this comment isn't all doom'n gloom: I don't blame Snape for treating some of the Gryff kids the way he does at all. gads. all that self-righteous goodness would get any cynic worth their salt down. :-P
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
I never thought of Snape as Hero but he is definitely heroic.

Nice distinction. I agree completely.

the bleakness of what is to come gives all his earlier interactions additional sharpness.

Beautifully put! And speaking of bleakness, am I the only one who found the description of his home in the second chapter particularly poignant?

I don't blame Snape for treating some of the Gryff kids the way he does at all. gads. all that self-righteous goodness would get any cynic worth their salt down. :-P

LOL! Well said indeed.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 23rd, 2005 02:17 am (UTC)
Snape's early life
And don't forget the description from "Order" of Snape as a child cowering while his mother is abused by his father. He was so angry when Harry saw that memory!

gmonk
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 24th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Snape's early life
Excellent point about Snape's early life! By the way, along those lines, you might want to check out a great essay by zoepaleologa: "So Where Is Spinner's End?".
syredronning
Jul. 20th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
Amen, sister. I read the book and was SHOCKED at first, but all those postings made a lot of sense. And I hope we're reading it (quite) right, because otherwise I would be really frustrated.

And funny, I didn't realize how fascinated I was by Snape until that scene...
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
I agree 100%! :) Glad to know we're on the same wavelength! By the way, I just added a new one to my list.Check out his lovely essay here for more good stuff.
syredronning
Jul. 20th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
I read that one already, I think.

I just found this interesting Assassin!Snape theory, which IMO is proven now by HBP:

http://www.hpfgu.org.uk/faq/hypotheticalley.html#as

It's funny to participate in a fandom that is still in the works :)
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Wonderful. Thanks so much!

It's funny to participate in a fandom that is still in the works :)

Isn't it? :)
fungus_files
Jul. 20th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
ps: and your quotes - *loves*. excuse my gross ignorance but who is St John Climacus? obviously, he's a savvy dude but beyond that, I'm unfortunately clueless...
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 20th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! St. John Climacus was a Syrian who lived roughly 525-605/606 CE. He was, if I understand him correctly, a learned scholarly monk who lived in the region of Mr. Sinai and wrote two important works in particular: the "Scala Paradisi," which describes the "ladder" we must follow to virtue and religious perfection, and was apparently hugely successful in its day, and the "Liber ad Pastorem." He was the Abbot of Mt. Sinai before his death, and he was known as a wise, contemplative figure who spent much of his time in solitude and study. And that's about all I know.
fungus_files
Jul. 23rd, 2005 04:15 am (UTC)
thanks for this! I'm v glad to have him on my radar now.
aelfgifu
Jul. 22nd, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
i have a Snape theory too- but you have to go an entry back on my LJ - as it was before everyone read the damn book! :) It's funny how the very first to finish the book were adult academic (geeks) because we read so damn fast!
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 24th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
It's funny how the very first to finish the book were adult academic (geeks) because we read so damn fast!

LOL! So true, so true. *puts hand dramatically to brow* It's a blessing and a curse! ;)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )