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Thread: Severus Snape

  1. #1
    little_kitty
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    Severus Snape

    I checked every page in this forum, and I didn't see anything about Snape, so I figured I'd start this thread. If I happened to have missed the existing thread for Snape, please let me know.

    So I have a question about Severus Snape. We know that his mother, Eileen Prince, was a witch, and Snape made himself a nickname based on her last name. Snape was probably ashamed that his father, Tobias, was a Muggle. I'm not under the impression that he was an abused child - it seems more like his father just abused his mother. Do you think that Snape loved his parents when he was about sixteen? Do you think he would love his mother more than his father? If his mother sent him a letter and told him that she was very ill and going to die, would he cry? Would he feel sad at all? Oh, and please do correct me if any of my assumptions are wrong.

    --Little Kitty

  2. #2
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    I know there is a thread in the General Fanfiction Forum, but seeing as this is a character question, I think (hope) its probably just fine discussing it here.

    I have several questions about Snape. First of all, do you think he killed anyone before HBP? Would it seem out of character for a young Severus Snape to refuse to kill someone?

    My second question is when do you think Snape learned Occlumency? I think he had to be relatively powerful Occulemns by the time he turned spy for Dumbledore. How long did it take him to develop his skills?

    My last question is how powerful do you think Snape truly is? If someone he cared about were injured or killed, would it seem out of character for Snape to be violently and powerfully upset?

    Thanks much for the help looking into our enigmatic potions professor!
    ~Gina

  3. #3
    cmwinters
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    There's an extensive discussion on Snape here: http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/foru...ead.php?t=2018 and while I do recommend reading it, it won't answer all your questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    We know that his mother, Eileen Prince, was a witch, and Snape made himself a nickname based on her last name.
    We know *A* nickname was made for him. Whether it was made for him by his mother, by his father, by a friend, by himself or by an enemy (to taunt him), we don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    Snape was probably ashamed that his father, Tobias, was a Muggle.
    Pure inferrence. Not entirely unfounded given that he's A) a Death Eater; B) head of Slytherin house (and was sorted into Slytherin himself) and even C) because he called Lily Evans a Mudblood in a moment of extreme duress, but then again, most people thought he was a pureblood by virtue of those same qualifications. And we all know how well that worked out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    I'm not under the impression that he was an abused child - it seems more like his father just abused his mother.
    We can look at that scene in a number of ways. First off, we don't know *for sure* who the players are. Even if we assume one is Eileen, there's no guarantee that the other is Tobias. It could be her brother, it could be her father, it could be someone else entirely. Two, even if it was Eileen and Tobias, we don't know the context. He may have just found out they were magical and been shouting in fear, Severus may have done something with his display of magical ability that broke something valuable (like, say, the roof, or the car, or killed the family pet), or perhaps they just found out the Death Eaters were pursuing them and he realised his son was in danger - who knows.

    I think it's important to realise that Snape didn't see that scene as pivotal enough to protect it by putting it in a Pensieve, so whether it's a routine occurrence or a one-time event is purely up for speculation.

    As are, quite frankly, the players, but the age of the child would seem to indicate that at least one of those people is PROBABLY a relative or caregiver.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    Do you think that Snape loved his parents when he was about sixteen?
    I think Snape is an intense and very emotional man, and he keeps his emotions under a vise-like grip. I don't think he actively disliked them or hated them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    Do you think he would love his mother more than his father?
    Hm. Not necessarily. It may depend on how well he knew them. If, for example, Tobias left them when he was very young, he might not be as attached to his father - if his mother died when he was young,

    I do think it's probable that he felt *DIFFERENTLY* for them. He may well have idolised his witch mother but loved his father all the same, but not in the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    If his mother sent him a letter and told him that she was very ill and going to die, would he cry?
    It may depend on how old he was. Older than about 13, not publically (maybe privately in his quarters or something) - older than about 19, maybe not at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Kitty
    Would he feel sad at all?
    Sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    First of all, do you think he killed anyone before HBP?
    Yep.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    ould it seem out of character for a young Severus Snape to refuse to kill someone?
    Hm. I think that depends on how you qualify "refuse". Would he refuse outright? I doubt it. Would he smooth-talk his way out of it? Possibly, if he thought he could get away with it. I can see him, say, for example, having a Muggle girlfriend, and then the Dark Lord finding out and ordering him to kill her, and Snape saying "pfeh, why bother, but if you insist, but I really have more important things to do and I already Oblivated her besides so it's really a waste of time" or whatever, but if he were ordered to kill, say Caradoc Dearborn, I can see him doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    My second question is when do you think Snape learned Occlumency?
    We have straight from Jo that to some people this is a somewhat natural talent. I think Snape is one of them. The ability to compartmentalise your emotions is not something everyone can do (I can, but most people I know can't), and I think if you have that ability to start with, the ability to extend it to visualising yourself concealing specific memories and thoughts or whatever is probably fairly simple. Further, Snape seems at a COMPLETE LOSS when trying to explain to Harry how to do this during Harry's Occlumency training, and I think this is because beyond "Just do it" he doesn't really *understand* how it's done, because Snape's brain and Harry's brain are not wired the same way, and that's not necessarily a bad thing or indicative that Snape doesn't possess the academic fortitude to understand or instruct.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    I think he had to be relatively powerful Occulemns by the time he turned spy for Dumbledore.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    How long did it take him to develop his skills?
    I think he was BORN able to compartmentalise, and that his being a working-class half-blood in Slytherin house really perfected this ability, and by the time he joined the Death Eaters, he was probably quite good at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    My last question is how powerful do you think Snape truly is?
    Well, he killed Albus Dumbledore, widely renowned as the most powerful wizard of the age . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by gmariam
    If someone he cared about were injured or killed, would it seem out of character for Snape to be violently and powerfully upset?
    Not in the least.

    HOWEVER.

    Depending on the situation, he'd play his cards close to the chest.

    Let's just say that he were *best friends* with Evan Rosier. I can see him being TRULY devastated at Evan's death - but I don't think he'd let the other Death Eaters see it. I don't think Snape is married or has children, because he can't currently afford himself the luxury and he wouldn't make his wife and kids a target like that, but if at the end of the car and he's still alive and he gets married and has kids and lives happily ever after and his kid gets hit by a bus or whatever, I can see him coming COMPLETELY (and dangerously) UNGLUED.

  4. #4
    Potions Mistress Hufflepuff
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    Gina -

    I have to believe that Snape likely killed someone prior to Dumbledore. I don't think he killed for sport or anything, and I don't see him wandering about torturing and killing Muggles, but I would bet that he has been in a situation where his options were kill or be killed.

    As far as refusal to kill someone, that's tricky. I could see the Dark Lord requiring him to kill someone to prove his loyalty and him doing so, but if some random Slytherin dared him to kill, I don't think it would be OOC for him to refuse. There would really have to be something in it for him.

    I think that as an Occlumens, he probably was educated at home. There's a line somewhere about him being rather immersed in the Dark Arts prior to his arrival at Hogwarts, and based on what we have seen of his home life, I would guess he had at least the basics down as a young teen. Given his personality and nature, I do agree that he was probably somewhat of a natural.

    Do you know the quote about there being a fine line between genius and insanity? To me, nobody embodies this more than Snape. If someone were able to get through that rough exterior enough that he really cared for them, it would most certainly not be OOC for him to grieve, and to do so violently. I can see him throwing things, destroying the potions lab, attempting revenge on the murderer or any other outward rage which would keep him from dealing with the actual hurt inside him.


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  5. #5
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Thanks so much for the replies!!
    cmwinters - I have read a bit of that discussion, as well as your great posts on Snape. I believe you are the one who referenced the Red Hen essays? They have influenced my current story, in a most delightful way. Thank you for your indepth answers about Snape.

    Phoenix5225 - thank you for your answers as well! I am tempted to continue with them but I think I would be better off posting in Skele-Gro in that case, as it would relate more directly to my story.

    The problem is, I've already written the chapter, and I'm rather happy with it. I'm not sure if I want to lose that and go back to the drawing board. I'm reasonably confident it works, but keep an eye out for me in Skele-Gro just in case.

    I will ask a more general question . . . when it comes to Snape's background, particularly his early years post-Hogwarts, what sort of history would you consider completely out-of-character??

    *hopes she hasn't already written it into her story*
    ~Gina

  6. #6
    GreyLady
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    Hi, Gina! Well, that's a bit too general for me to give a very good answer. Could you maybe give us a more specific scenario? Or would that completely spoil your story? *feels bad* I promise to come back if you give me more to work with.

    But I'll attempt an answer anyway. I really think that Snape had joined the Death Eater ranks before or shortly after he graduated school. He seems like he would have been easy prey for the Dark Lord; an intense, angry, highly unpopular adolescent who seems to have had an unpleasant home life with a muggle father to blame and an unacknowledged brilliance to boot. I don't think he would have spent a long amount of time out of LV's employ.

    As his home life wasn't the best, it can be reasonably assumed that he did not go back to his parents. Snape seems like a very independent person, so he wouldn't go to them for help of any sort. I also can't see him seeking reconciliation with his father or coming back to say goodbye to his mother. His philosophy would be "It's the past, it's over with, move on." Spinner's End is probably a house he bought or is renting himself, rather than the home he grew up in; he wouldn't want a constant reminder of his childhood.

    As for his lifestyle outside of Death Eater activities, Snape would have sunk deeper and deeper into the Dark Arts as Voldemort had done, reading clandestine books and experimenting more and more, and spending time in the company of the more dangerous low-lifes in search of information. He doesn't seem to hold other people very high in esteem, so I can't picture him spending much time with anyone on a consistant basis.

    And that's all I have...if you find it sufficient, you don't have to post with more info, but I'd love to continue this if you decide to.

  7. #7
    Vindictus Viridian
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    Quote Originally Posted by little_kitty
    I'm not under the impression that he was an abused child - it seems more like his father just abused his mother.
    Actually, the level, emotionless stare that Severus tends to use on people is one of the signs teachers and social workers are supposed to watch for as a real tell of an abused child. If he never outgrew it, that says something. He does have odd moments of extreme childishness -- which is another sign of an adult survivor. So there's a pretty good chance that in that scene we glimpse where Tobias is beating Eileen, Severus was either first to be struck or is about to be next.

    This sort of thing would leave Severus in a real bind on that love question. A child is dependent on his parents for so much that the sense of needing them is very deeply ingrained, and love tends to go with that. On the other hand, he'd be justified in hating one or both of them as well. There are several ways that can play out in a character, but one would be a deep mistrust of any feeling of love for someone else -- that sort of thing leads to pain in past experience, so he won't want to try it again. Dare I suggest that if someone stirred a protective or fatherly impulse in him in any way, he would be torn between that and an impusle to push that person away before he did something his own father would have done? He might or might not, but if it helps your plot you're probably safe in going for it.

  8. #8
    spottedcat83
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    I'm not under the impression that he was an abused child - it seems more like his father just abused his mother.
    Vindictus Veridiansaid: So there's a pretty good chance that in that scene we glimpse where Tobias is beating Eileen, Severus was either first to be struck or is about to be next.
    I agree with Vindictus Veridian.

    In addition, watching parents fight, or listening to them fight, harms children. I know adults who were forced to listen to their parents scream and shout at each other. This still affects them today, as adults. And even if a parent did not strike a child (which is unlikely; if the parent is striking the other parent, the child often comes in for his or her share too), when there is enough anger going back and forth between parents or other people in the household, the child will suffer deeply. There is always that lurking question in a child's mind: "Is this my fault?" Then the comb through what they have done and said, and ultimately, who they are. Is their very existence the reason so much hatred is in their home?

    This is a horrible burden for any child to cary. Make no mistake, when this kind of stuff happens in a home, the child WILL suffer. The damage will be permanent. Even if the parent never so much as spanks the child, the fact that the home has a poisonous atmosphere makes scars. This follows the child around into adult life.

    Fictional characters like Snape are based on real people and actual problems. I came to like Snape when JKR wrote about his past, because then he became a real person.

    I know people who have come from homes like this, and trust me, they have been abused. They were abused children. There past is still following them. They are now hurting adults.

  9. #9
    Madame Marauder
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    Question: How do you think young Severus would have spoken with his mother?

    I'm writing a story involving Eileen telling seven year old Severus stories about family history and I'm not sure how his language would be... He's obviously not the suave professor we see today. Nor do I know how to make their relationship. I see them kind of being close (a side affect from a negligent, abusive Tobias) and seeking refuge in eachother's company. Does that sound reallistic?

  10. #10
    nuw255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vindictus Viridian
    Actually, the level, emotionless stare that Severus tends to use on people is one of the signs teachers and social workers are supposed to watch for as a real tell of an abused child.... So there's a pretty good chance that in that scene we glimpse where Tobias is beating Eileen, Severus was either first to be struck or is about to be next.
    Although what you say about the "level, emotionless stare" is true (as far as I know, although I'm no social worker), I have to disagree with the idea that Tobias must have beaten young Severus just because he beat Eileen. You see, when my wife was little, her father abused her mother. He did not beat his daughter (who I later married), but that doesn't mean she doesn't still carry the emotional scars from the situation she grew up in. I guess what I'm trying to say is that just watching his dad beat up his mum would be enough to make Snape qualify as an abused child, regardless of whether or not his father ever hit him personally.

    Next question:
    Quote Originally Posted by Madame Marauder
    How do you think young Severus would have spoken with his mother? ... I see them kind of being close (a side affect from a negligent, abusive Tobias) and seeking refuge in eachother's company. Does that sound reallistic?
    I actually have a really hard time making children's dialogue believable because I always end up making them talk like adults. Assuming his father has been beating his mother (and possibly - though not necessarily - him as well) since Severus was born or very young, I think the young Snape would be pretty reserved. I see him as a child with sort of a dark personality - keeping everything bottled up inside, and such.

    I don't really think he would be close to his mother. On the contrary, I think he might resent her for not leaving Tobias (or hexing the %$@& out of him). Again, I'm basing this on my wife's experience, and it's not necessarily the same for everyone. In her case, she spent a fair chunk of her childhood resenting her mother for not leaving her dad (and again later for taking him back after she did leave). Thankfully, my mother-in-law did finally get out of that situation, and she and my wife became very close. Somehow, I don't think that happened with the Snape family, though. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Severus was a member of the "I killed my father" club along with Lord Voldemort and Barty Crouch, Jr.

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