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Thread: Severus Snape - Part II

  1. #21
    Inverarity
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    I think you're proving my point, though. You hate racists. That's fine, but let's say your best friend from childhood is a racist. Do you stop associating with him before or after he says “nigger” in your presence?
    I stop associating with him after I tell him, at least once (and depending on how long and the deep the friendship is, maybe several times), that I find that word offensive and that if he wants to be friends with me, he needs to stop using it (and better yet, change his attitude).

    If I were black myself, I think being called a nigger once would be enough to end the friendship, which is essentially what Snape did to Lily.

    That's my point; Lily was already looking for a reason to dump him. Should he have said it (at any point, to any one, for any reason?) No. Do I think she was justified in cutting ties with him? Yes. Not BECAUSE he called her Mudblood, though, but because he was heading on a path she could not follow. And I still maintain that had she given him an ultimatum, he may have changed his ways.
    I think there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that Lily was "looking for a reason to dump him," and it looks rather more like she was looking for a reason to stay friends with him, and increasingly finding it hard to do so.

    Someone who goes that far down a dark path almost never comes around because the girl he's been crushing on (but he knows is never going to be "his" in the way he wants even if they do stay friends) says, "Stop this or we aren't friends anymore." I also think it's unreasonable to expect that Lily had any obligation to do more than express her feelings on the subject. It was never her job to save him.

    Part of what you're claiming he needs to be "redeemed" for is that he was never properly cared for by parents who obviously never wanted him and had no business being together in the first place. This kind of "well if the parents don't care for the child why should I" mentality makes me crazy and is brutally unfair to the child.
    Wow, that's quite a mischaracterization of my position. I certainly don't think, "If the parents don't care for the child why should I?" I have a great deal of sympathy for the young Snape, and for any child who grows up in an abusive, unloving home, and I realize all too well how hard that makes it for someone to grow up to be an emotionally healthy person. However, having lousy parents and a miserable childhood is never an excuse to abuse other people in turn.

    Snape loved and respected Lily (at least at one time), which means he was able to recognize something in her behavior that was good and admirable. That means he was able to perceive that there were other ways of treating people than the way he learned at home. Yet he chose to follow a path that he knew led towards abuse and violence.

    What I'm claiming he needs to be redeemed for, by the time he is an adult, is (1) Joining Voldemort, whom anyone not completely stupid or sociopathic could see was a sociopathic madman bent on murder, torture, and oppression, (2) Selling out his best friend and getting her and her husband killed, (3) Turning into a horrible, abusive teacher who bullies and emotionally traumatizes eleven year-old children because they remind him of people he doesn't like. Say all you like about what an annoying know-it-all Hermione was, or how Snape might have been justified in hating James: the way he treated Harry and Hermione in class, to say nothing of how he treated Neville (against whom he had no conceivable justification for animosity) was enough to make him despicable all by itself. You can't justify all that by saying, "Well, he had a lousy childhood, so he didn't know any better."

  2. #22
    Elmindreda
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    (1) Joining Voldemort, whom anyone not completely stupid or sociopathic could see was a sociopathic madman bent on murder, torture, and oppression, (2) Selling out his best friend and getting her and her husband killed, (3) Turning into a horrible, abusive teacher who bullies and emotionally traumatizes eleven year-old children because they remind him of people he doesn't like.
    I don't think that it is justified to put all three of the above actions in one row - because while (1) was a conscious choice, and (3) can be called that as well, with a stretch, (2) is not. I will not tire of repeating this. He did not 'sell out his best friend'. In fact, he did not 'sell out' anyone. Because selling someone out means directly leading the danger to them.

    To sell Lily out would mean coming to Voldemort and saying, 'My Lord, I have information that the child of Lily and James Potter is a danger to you.'

    To sell an unidentified person out would mean coming to Voldemort and saying, 'My Lord, I have information that there is a child that is a danger to you.'

    What he did was coming to Voldemort and saying, 'My Lord, I overheard a strange speech, which may or not may not be a prophecy, that there will be a child born that will be a danger to you.'

    That's not 'selling out', that's reporting of information he deemed important. The one who sold out Lily and James was Peter. Now that was textbook 'selling out'.

    To sum up, I pointedly disagree that Lily's death was part of the things that Severus would need to be redeemed for. Serving Voldemort, yes. Lily's death, no.

    Lily and James' death was caused by a number of factors, and there is, in fact, only one that was a DIRECT cause of their death, direct in this context meaning that 'if thid didn't happen, they certainly/mostlikely wouldn't have died'. And this factor is Harry, and his birthday. Had they not had Harry when they did, they would not be a prime target. The rest has indirect causality, but no guarantee.

    ~El *who finally shuts up*

  3. #23
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elmindreda
    What he did was coming to Voldemort and saying, 'My Lord, I overheard a strange speech, which may or not may not be a prophecy, that there will be a child born that will be a danger to you.'
    All right, at the time he didn't know he was specifically selling out Lily, James, and Harry. He certainly knew he was setting up some child, and its parents, to be killed. (What exactly did he think Voldemort would do with that information?) Is it less evil because he didn't know at the time that the parents would turn out to be people he knew?

  4. #24
    Elmindreda
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Is it less evil because he didn't know at the time that the parents would turn out to be people he knew?
    This raises an interesting ethical debate: whether it is 'less evil' to condemn someone you love (Lily is not just the 'person he knows') or a stranger? From a theoretical point of view, the degree of evilness is probably equivalent.

    But! While Severus' act of reporting the prophecy to Voldemort and withOUT knowing who it referred to counts as 'probably condemining someone to death', if he reported the prophecy while knowing it would mean condemining Lily, it would mean 'betraying someone he loved.'

    Dissected this way, it appears to be a debate of placing whatever goals one is pursuing over the life of a stranger or a person one loves. One would have to be quite a fanatic of whatever cause one is following to sacrifice one's loved one for the cause. I, personally, think that such sacrifice is more evil than the former case, because it demonstrates the devotion to the cause of be above human love.

    So by saying 'Severus sold Lily out to Voldemort', the speaker implies that he knowingly sacrificed her for Voldemort's cause, and therefore, cared for her life less than for his master's success. However, we know that Severus' cares for Lily's life more than his own, let alone any cause.

    I just feel the need to make the above clear.

    I think that a cruel person might call that 'poetic justice' - not caring where the metaphorical ball bounces and ending up condemning the only person one loves, as a result.

    But I believe that Lily's death and the remainder of Severus' life after it was punishment disproportionate to his crime.

    ~El

  5. #25
    Inverarity
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    So by saying 'Severus sold Lily out to Voldemort', the speaker implies that he knowingly sacrificed her for Voldemort's cause, and therefore, cared for her life less than for his master's success. However, we know that Severus' cares for Lily's life more than his own, let alone any cause.
    Her life, maybe, but not for her as a person.

    He cared less for Lily than he did for his master, when he forsook her to follow Voldemort. He cared about her only if she could be his. Remember that even when Snape went to Dumbledore, he was quite willing to see James and Harry die, as long as Lily lived. Dumbledore called him on that, and he grudgingly agreed to try to save Lily's husband and child as well. His behavior from the time he was a teenager all the way through Harry's school years indicates that whatever "love" he felt for Lily was a very self-centered kind of love. He was never willing to place her interests or happiness above his own. Guilt may have eventually forced him to do the right thing, but it was never true remorse. Hence my belief that he never fully redeemed himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmindreda
    But I believe that Lily's death and the remainder of Severus' life after it was punishment disproportionate to his crime.
    That's kind of ironic: seeing Lily's death as punishment for Snape is, I think, probably the way Snape himself saw it.

    Lily's death wasn't "punishment" for him. It might have made him feel guilty, but it was a direct result of his actions. Lily and her family were the ones who suffered, not Snape.

    I'm not sure how the rest of his life constituted punishment. He got to live fairly free of consequences, other than his well-deserved guilt. No doubt being a double-agent in Voldemort's service was unpleasant, but that was a life he chose, in an effort to make amends for his crimes. In the meantime, he continued to emotionally abuse young children, just because he could.

  6. #26
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Whilst we can agree that Snape didn't sell Lily out we don't know what his actual words to Voldemort were.

    He could easily have said option 2

    'My Lord, I have information that there is a child that is a danger to you.'
    or option 3

    What he did was coming to Voldemort and saying, 'My Lord, I overheard a strange speech, which may or not may not be a prophecy, that there will be a child born that will be a danger to you.'
    Carole
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  7. #27
    Elmindreda
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    I have to be brief (I'll be back with more later), but I must say this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Lily and her family were the ones who suffered, not Snape.
    If you lose someone you love, or need, or value, someone who is important in your life, no matter how you call the feeling, do you not suffer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    He cared less for Lily than he did for his master, when he forsook her to follow Voldemort.
    'Forsaking' her to follow Voldemort would mean Lily making the ultimatum mentioned by Cmwinters, and Severus deciding in favor of Voldemort. I beg you to be careful with the terms here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    He cared about her only if she could be his.
    If this were true, he would have not asked Dumbledore, even grudgingly, to keep them all safe. The point of view you express indicates that Severus would not care if Lily lived or died, if she were not his. This is not true - we have canon to back this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Lily's death wasn't "punishment" for him. It might have made him feel guilty, but it was a direct result of his actions.
    Are you saying that a direct result of one's actions cannot be one's punishment for said actions? Punishment is not necessarily sent from above or inflicted by other people. In fact, there are all too many cases when the consequences of our actions are a worse punishment for ourselves than any penance anyone else could devise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    He got to live fairly free of consequences, other than his well-deserved guilt.
    I think that his 'well-deserved' guilt was the worst consequence he could have had. And realizing that he probably did deserve it could only make things thousandfold worse for him.

    ~El


    EDIT:

    Carole, you make a good point. However, I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that at the age of 19, which is about what Severus was when the prophecy was made (if you disagree with the timing, I am ready to present a timeline I worked out), he was a relatively junior Death Eater and probably still low in the ranks - not high enough to draw conclusions.

  8. #28
    Inverarity
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    I think Snape pretty clearly did choose Voldemort over Lily, whether or not she ever issued an explicit ultimatum. He knew how she felt about Death Eaters, and he knew that their friendship wasn't going to survive if he joined Voldemort.

    Of course he suffered when Lily died, but my point was not that he didn't suffer, but that describing it as punishment implies that he suffered consequences for his actions and therefore doesn't deserve any additional punishment.

    If I kill someone I love in a fit of rage, I will probably regret it very deeply, and suffer guilt over it for the rest of my life. But I don't think anyone would agree that the guilt and suffering I feel as a result of my actions is punishment enough, and therefore I shouldn't go to jail. Or that the primary result of someone dying is that I am the one being punished.

    Snape's actions weren't quite as direct, but there is a definite cause-and-effect relationship, and he had good reason to know what the consequences would be, even if he didn't know who would be the victim.

    He was willing to try to protect James and Harry as well only when Dumbledore told him that he couldn't save Lily alone. He was willing to protect Harry afterwards only out of guilt. It certainly wasn't because he wanted to do right by Lily; I am sure he could not have imagined that Lily would be happy with the way he was treating her son.

    Snape wanted redemption, but he wanted it without having to actually feel remorse for anything but the specific actions that led to Lily's death.

  9. #29
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    Elmindra

    However, I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that at the age of 19, which is about what Severus was when the prophecy was made (if you disagree with the timing, I am ready to present a timeline I worked out), he was a relatively junior Death Eater and probably still low in the ranks - not high enough to draw conclusions.
    Yes you're probably right that he was fairly low in the ranks and I do not disagree at all with your timeline. Although the fact that Voldemort asked Regulus to bring him a house-elf and not Lucius shows that he didn't think age a bar to Death-Eaterism. My point was actually that we do not know exactly what Snape related to Voldemort because JK Rowling didn't write the scene.

    For all we know he could have said

    My Lord, Forsooth the aged Trelawney witch, who speaketh no sense, hath declared that a child shall beat your masterliness. I pray it is not the case and thou shalt not be smote by a mere puking and puling child.


    Of course that would mean that Snape spoke like a Tudor courtier at all times but what the hey!

    Sorry that's facetious- I've been contributing to amusing threads in Hufflepuff too much.

    Carole
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  10. #30
    The Canon Queen Hufflepuff
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    I usually stay out of the "Great Snape Debate" but as I am currently writing a fic with Snape, I can't resist adding to this discussion.

    Originally posted by Inverarity
    I think Snape pretty clearly did choose Voldemort over Lily, whether or not she ever issued an explicit ultimatum. He knew how she felt about Death Eaters, and he knew that their friendship wasn't going to survive if he joined Voldemort.
    By the time Snape joined Voldemort, he had already lost Lily's friendship and probably thought he had nothing else to lose. I think at the point he joined he may have thought that since he had already been accused (by Lily) of inspiring to be a DE, he may as well become one.

    I also believe somewhere in his scarred psyche, he was looking for acceptance and validation of his life. He had lost the one person who had always made him feel wanted and accepted. Yes, he lost her because of something he himself did, but I'm sure he was still heartbroken over it and was looking for something or someone to maybe fill the void left by Lily.

    Originally posted by cmwinters:
    Severus never had an reference for normal and for love and for how people should treat each other because nobody other than Lily and possibly Lucius ever showed it to him.
    At the risk of starting another debate, I think part of the reason Snape was so loyal to Dumbledore, was because Dumbledore trusted him and gave him respect. It would have been easy for Snape to turn against Dumbledore when Lily and James died. I am sure somewhere in his mind, he thought Dumbledore didn't do enough to protect them. But, he turned to Dumbledore, albeit at first with accusations of him not protecting them, and agreed to protect Harry. He may have agreed grudgingly, but he did agree. Granted, he knew Voldemort was the main cause of her death, along with Peter, though at the time they thought Sirius, which probably fueled Snape's hatred of him, but, he still could have blamed Dumbledore.

    Originally posted by Inverarity:
    Of course he suffered when Lily died, but my point was not that he didn't suffer, but that describing it as punishment implies that he suffered consequences for his actions and therefore doesn't deserve any additional punishment.
    Okay, picture his life after Lily died. He was suffering guilt over telling Voldemort about the Prophecy, he knew somewhere deep down some day Voldemort would return, (I have no doubt, he knew as did Regulus, Voldemort ensured some way of his not dying), he vowed to protect the child of a man whom he hated, a child of the woman he loved, a child who would be a constant reminder of something he could have had if he hadn't said one simple word, then, Voldemort returns and he risks his life to work against Voldemort and help the Order.
    I know you are thinking, 'oh poor little Snape' he had it so rough, but in reality, he did.

    Was the way he treated Harry right? NO! But, neither was the way the Marauders acted towards him, and he towards them. He grew up in a house without love, and as stated before only had a limited exposure to love and decency, it is a wonder he didn't grow up to be a Dark Lord himself.

    Okay, I think my rant is over. Not bad for someone who has never really defended Snape before and never thought she would.
    Terri Black (as in Mrs Sirius {aka Padfoot} Black)
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