I thought I'd drop by and read and review. Only when I started to read, I realized I'd already read. How is it that I read your story and didn't leave a review?! What can I possibly have been thinking?
This is brilliant. I love the idea of Snape being frustrated with Dumbledore and taking it out in a letter. You handle it so elegantly. And your description of Azkaban is poignant and, I think, utterly appropriate. Well-done!
Author's Response: Aw, you're sweet, Amanda! I get frustrated with DD myself sometimes, so I'm glad that didn't offend. ;o
I know it is only one chapter long, I know that it remains unsatisfactory unfinished, I know that it is meant to end this way, and I know that one chapter is not enough to describe every thought of Severus Snape. But I also know that this is easily one of the best pieces of writing I have seen in a long time, and one of the satisfactory when it comes to writing Severus. None that I have seen so far has managed to capture that calculated intelligence of Severus Snape, except you, and I highly agree with you winning this competition. No one could be as good at writing Snape as you are, excepting J.K Rowling herself, of course.
As you can probably tell, I greatly enjoyed this fic, and I am also going in search of more fics by you. Also, I would like to say:
Nooooooooooooo!!!! Not Snape!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!
Thankyou and again a deserved "well done!!!"
~Ermine the One
Author's Response: Thank you for your generous review: I feel very flattered that my portrayal of Snape worked so well for you! He's such a fascinating character, and I've loved reading all the great fan fictions that treat his character, so I'm happy that my version has pleased you. *Grins from ear to ear while hitting submit!*
Wow. This story was amazingly powerful and deep. I absolutely loved it...that was a side of Snape we don't see much and I love seeing different sides of people like Snape or Draco Malfoy. I hope you'll write more stories, because you've obviously got a lot of talent. Snape is my absolute favorite Harry Potter character and I was sad to see him die, but this was such a great story that it almost didn't matter. You are such a good writer!! I wish I had your talent! Wow, wow, wow, that's like all I can say but I certainly hope it's enough. This was such an amazing story, absolutely incredulous! I LOVED IT!!
Author's Response: I really appreciate your words of encouragement! I never thought of myself as a "real" creative writer before this last summer, so it's nice to see people express such faith in my abilities (and it definitely inspires me to keep writing!). Thank you!
This is a very good fanfic. I love the letter. It showed your perspective on how you thought why Snape killed Dumbledore, and I liek it. I would totally believe that if I didn't already believe that Snape is, and always will be a deatheater. Either, it was really good. Personally, I am glad to see him killed in the end, I hate him that much. Bloody briliant job!
Author's Response: Thanks for your thoughts on my story and on Snape's character in general; it's always so interesting to discuss the different ideas we all have about such a character!
that was really powerful really emotional and really good, but i can see u r one of those poeple who think dumbledore chose 2 die. he did not chose 2 die; if he did, why would he leave harry? it was really well written though and it almost makes u feel bad for snape- but not really i would have liked 2 c something about him overhearing the prophecy and going after the potters thought
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, Lilypudding! I hope you're right about Dumbledore not choosing to die (and I can't wait to see what we will learn in book 7 about all this!), but it's fun to explore the other possibilities, isn't it? Maybe I'll write another story about him overhearing the prophecy someday; that might be fun. Thanks again!
That was absolutely wonderful -- so very insightful and very close, I feel, to what we will see is the true reason behind Snape's actions at the end of HBP. I thought you portrayed his state of mind so well and it made me admire the man, even though I have never been his geatest fan! The ending gave me shivers. There was a nobility in his acceptance of what was to happen, and the fact that a dead man was the only other person who knew the truth apart from him was so terribly ironic. Absolutely beautiful and poignant! Well done!
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing! And, if I recall correctly, you're not much of a Snape fan, are you? That makes me especially happy that you like my story!
wow. incredible fic. wish you would write like a prequel or suumthing. that was really good!! :) very powerful!
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'll definitely think about writing a prequel, but there are so many other good stories that already touch on his actions right after book 6 that I feel kind of intimidated by the prospect of doing it myself. lol!
It was a powerful fic with an original story line which I enjoyed. I like that you have Severus going to his death without really finishing the letter, thought I would've liked to see some mention of Harry in the letter. Just a little thing- I noticed that in the third paragraph, the second time Severus is writing it says mine enemies, and I thought that my enemies would be better. I liked the story thought, I just wanted to give a little bit of constructive criticism. Well done and I hope you write something else!
Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing, Kerian! Yes, I couldn't resist that little biblical allusion in "mine enemies." (In archaic English, "mine" was the correct form of the first person possessive before words beginning in a vowel, like "mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" or "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." Considering the circumstances, I hate to get rid of it, but I appreciate your suggestion all the same. As far as Harry...well, I don't know exactly why I had so little for Severus to say about Harry. Maybe I was wondering what it would be like if he did't obsess over Harry half as much as Harry obsesses over him. :) Thanks again!
Wow..... that was a really powerful fic. My compliments. I really like the last paragraph. Dunno why. I just liked it. :)
Author's Response: That's very kind of you to say, especially since I really worried about whether or not that ending would satisfy. I'm glad to hear it works for you!
I can say only 3 words. Oh My God. this is soo good go on and right more, I hope you are, this is just totally great...You have skills and you use them well. Great great job, Plz write more!
Author's Response: Thank you! I wish I could add to this story, but, alas, I wouldn't want to spoil that dark ending. But I am working on another Snape/Narcissa story--from Snape's perspective this time--if you're interested. Unfortunately, it will probably be another month or so until I can get back to serious writing, as I have a ton of real life work to do first.
Wow. Beautifully written. Since HBP, I've reread the books to try and get some insight into Severus's character... and you did a brilliant job of capturing that...well, Snape-ly manner is the only adjective I can think of. Wonderfully done. 10/10.
Author's Response: "Snape-ly"--hmmm...I like that. Thank for that and your other kind words!
So wonderful, Lunafish! Perfectly 'executed'. Snape was very much in character--grudingly giving in to himself to actually write the letter. I love what you reveal about what happened between Snape and Dumbledore. Such insight! Absolutely wonderul! Congrats of the 'Featured Story" status! - SIW
Author's Response: Thank you! "Perfectly 'executed'" indeed--lol! Seriously, though, it means a lot to me that you've reviewed my story and like my characterization of Snape. He's such an intimidating figure, and I wanted to make him as true to form as possible. So, again, thanks for the vote of confidence!
Wow, writing a review right after "Insecurity" did certainly makes mine look really stupid. However, I really liked your story and the theory that went with it. I really don't mind Snape dying, but I do like the "killing Dumbledore to save Draco" part. Congradulations on having this story featured!!!
Author's Response: I don't think your review is stupid at all; I appreciate your taking the time to respond! Thank you especially for accepting the idea that Snape is not necessarily all bad. I like the possibility that he and DD planned what happened on the tower that night for the greater good. Yes, DD will be missed, but there are definitely worse things than death. Snape knows that; hopefully it's a lesson Draco can now avoid. Thanks again!
You killed him! Oh my… You actually killed him! *Falls out with Neta forever* You are the first author who actually killed him, and I have read countless of Snape stories. I really can’t believe you did it… *sits and sulks*
Despite my perpetual condemnation of your story, I am going to give you a review on all the things I like about it because, as a story, I really enjoyed reading it (until you sent him to his doom in the last sentence). I was going to do this exact challenge myself, a letter from Snape to Dumbledore, but my studies and other plot bunnies took over. I think you settled many matters and said many things that needed to be said, through the irate but brave voice of my hero. You tackled the issues maturely and gave a sound overview of his feelings about his duties to Dumbledore and how they compared to serving Voldemort. I especially liked how you spoke about freedom and how Dumbledore deprived him of it just as much as his other master, showing that from his view serving one is no more fulfilling than serving the other.
Snape could only congratulate himself for being thought so reprehensible, so universally loathed that the Ministry had reinstated a punishment that in almost all other cases was considered inhumane and utterly unacceptable.
This line, whilst being horrific to all Snape fans, is actually very interesting. He mocks his own position as a criminal and he mocks his own virtue, as ironically he is being served this harsh punishment even though he is innocent. The hate he feels for himself transcends any fear or bitterness he may feel for the punishment. From this you show that he may, indeed, believe himself to be inhumane. You do not want your reader to feel sympathy for him because he does not feel sympathy for himself, but I do feel appalled at the way he is treated, especially because he is innocent. It is very true also, in History we study the inhumane punishment of criminals, how they were stripped of all rights and not given a fair trial. You identify with this very well. Furthermore, I like how you do not tell us exactly how he must die, only its horrific nature, leaving us with our own imagination and allowing it to be relevant to any martyr.
It was unpleasant, to be sure, and bone-torturingly cold, of course.
I like your phrase “bone-torturingly” you’ve used writer’s license here to elevate the eerie atmosphere. However, I think the sentence could do with either “to be sure” or “of course” removing as they mean the same thing and so cause repetition.
I shall endeavour to avoid recrimination and declarations of sorrow. This exercise is ridiculous enough without dramatics.
You show his pragmatic side here very well, he is still thinking things through logically, and emotions obscure logic. He’s always been an unfeeling character and so to ask for sympathy now would be hypocritical of him. I like how you don’t turn him into a hypocrite; you keep his character true. He resigns himself to this fate, like how in the end of HBP he had to resign himself to the fate of killing Dumbledore. The word “ridiculous” is intriguing, you are maintaining the theme of pointlessness and maybe he sees his life in this way, as well as the morons who had sentenced him to death. It is a heavy use of irony, of course, because his death is far from ridiculous, it is both unjust and brutal.
I am still only a man, after all, and one perhaps more flawed than most. I have often let my baser nature get the best of me, and people have suffered and even died for it.
Oh the tragic hero! I certainly feel more sympathy for him than I do Othello at the moment. His honesty here is respectable, I like how you force him to admit his crimes and not cower away from the truth. You do not mask his crimes in anything, nor do you try and justify them, which is true to the character. I believe Snape would own up to it and not blame anyone else; he would carry his own cross. By telling us this, you give us the opportunity to forgive him, which I will wholeheartedly do.
Granted, I eventually found acceptance in your world, even if it was grudging at times(and even if that, too, would be stolen away by the last act you demanded of me).
I am not too sure whether Snape ever wanted acceptance in society. He has never made any effort to be sociable or blend in with the Wizarding World. Rather, he has kept himself hidden, even after he was promoted to DADA he chose reside in the dungeons. In this way, I don’t think he’d brood over society’s view because he has never accepted society. I like your use of the word “stolen” though, like Dumbledore has committed an act of thievery that is fitting of his counterpart, the Dark Lord. I think maybe stressing how DD stole his freedom from him rather than his comfortable position within society.
The language you use is very sophisticated and appropriate to an adult audience, however, I believe with the title as “An Exercise in Pointlessness” you should use more simple language so as to connect to your teenage readers. Words such as “Assuage” “tutelage” and “reprehensible” I would have to look up in the dictionary in order to understand. Sometimes using easier words conveys the message more clearly without taking away the effect. I understand that Snape is a mature and well-worded man (and it irritates me no end when people make him talk like a kid!) but JKR still manages to portray him in a way more accessible to the younger readers.
No, you wouldn’t, would you?
I just love this rhetorical question! You stand it aside from the rest of the letter as a way of highlighting Snape’s frustration. You expose the fact that Dumbledore is not omnipotent and possibly show how it was wrong of him to force Snape into the position. Through Snape only receiving “distrust and dislike” from society, you show a stark contrast to the way people respected Dumbledore. Dumbledore could never understand the position Snape is in because he was always in one of glory. You also, with this question, force the reader to stand in Snape’s shoes for a moment. It challenges us, makes us realise that we would not cope any better than he did in his position.
He heard a flurry of activity outside his cell.
Just a nitpick here, I don’t think “flurry of activity” upholds the gloomy mood that you have created throughout the story. I always read/write the phrase when creating a busy but friendly atmosphere, a buzzing one. However, here it’s a very melancholy event, even for those who have sentenced him to death, and so maybe using slower, more careful, movement would have worked better.
Swiftly, he rolled up the parchment on which he’d written his letter and shoved it down his shirt.
I like how you “sent” the message to Dumbledore, rather than having it fly out the window in a pansyfied fashion. You uphold his character by having him pragmatically tuck it away in his robes. Symbolically, Snape is sending it personally to Dumbledore as he passes through to death himself which I think is very appropriate. I just wish one of the guards had found it or something, so that he could be set free!
This is probably one of the longest reviews I have ever done and I am sorry if I have analysed your story like I would a scene from Othello. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I think you well and truly deserve your position on the featured section. It is a very well thought out and balanced insight into the most ambiguous character in the books. I love it when stories uphold his ambiguity, and you are have done that perfectly. Good job!
*Resurrects Snape and gives him a huge hug*
Author's Response: Insecurity! First, I want to apologize for taking so long to respond, but I wanted to do it when I had a decent amount of time on my hands since you obviously put so much effort into reviewing (thank you!). I actually still have lots more grading to do before I turn in my grades, but no classes to prep for, so I feel I can finally take a little breather before going back to what I’m supposed to be doing. :) So, concerning your comments, here goes:
“You killed him! Oh my… You actually killed him!”
Well, not really. I just left you with the expectation of death. But if you’re as hopeless as I am, you can easily insert a happy, last-minute save. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t have made for a believable story, so I kept it in my head and off the page/screen:(
Concerning Dumbledore’s influence in Snape’s life: I often find myself agreeing with those words that Hagrid overheard about DD presuming too much—and not just with our dark hero. DD expects so much of people, but really I wonder if it isn’t too much. He wants us all to act heroically, but most of us aren’t hero material. Most of us are just trying to get by; if we happen to add a little goodness to the world in the process, we consider ourselves lucky. So, no, I don’t think DD can ever truly understand Snape position because DD—with his maddening twinkle and unrealistic propensity always to see the potential good in people—stands as an almost a saintly figure in these books (regardless of his mea culpa at the end of Book 5—even his confessions of flawed humanity are saint-like), whereas Snape represents the common man, with all the ill humor and petty resentment that entails.
”You do not want your reader to feel sympathy for him because he does not feel sympathy for himself, but I do feel appalled at the way he is treated, especially because he is innocent. It is very true also, in History we study the inhumane punishment of criminals, how they were stripped of all rights and not given a fair trial. You identify with this very well. Furthermore, I like how you do not tell us exactly how he must die, only its horrific nature, leaving us with our own imagination and allowing it to be relevant to any martyr.”
On the contrary, I totally want you to feel sympathy toward the Snape in my story—just not pity. My Snape here is a man condemned by circumstance and political maneuvering. Not to get too political here myself, but I’m a strong opponent of the death penalty for just the reasons you mention here. How can we ever know for sure that someone is guilty? But, beyond that, don’t we commit the crime of murder ourselves when we murder the murderer (or stand by and allow the murder of the murderer)? Why do we risk our own souls for…what?, revenge? (But, truly, I don’t mean any offense to those who have lost family or friends to a monster; I admit that I have no idea what else could possibly act as payment for such a crime.) At the same time, I think that for Snape death might be the lesser evil. After all, what life can he possibly have after the act he committed in book 6? As Socrates says, death is not necessarily something to be feared.
”…I think the sentence could do with either “to be sure” or “of course” removing as they mean the same thing and so cause repetition.”
Good point. I think I’ll remove the “of course.”
”Oh the tragic hero! I certainly feel more sympathy for him than I do Othello at the moment. His honesty here is respectable, I like how you force him to admit his crimes and not cower away from the truth. You do not mask his crimes in anything, nor do you try and justify them, which is true to the character. I believe Snape would own up to it and not blame anyone else; he would carry his own cross. By telling us this, you give us the opportunity to forgive him, which I will wholeheartedly do.”
Lol! Of course you do, you Snape lover, you! He is such a great character to write in this respect, though. He’s so full of resentment, but I think he would indeed be hardest on himself once he were to recognize himself deserving of blame (which unfortunately he never does with regard to his treatment of Harry). BTW, thanks for the Othello reference: I sat up taller in my seat when I saw that!
”I am not too sure whether Snape ever wanted acceptance in society.”
Perhaps you’re right, but he’s much more tragic if he secretly does want it….
”Sometimes using easier words conveys the message more clearly without taking away the effect. I understand that Snape is a mature and well-worded man (and it irritates me no end when people make him talk like a kid!) but JKR still manages to portray him in a way more accessible to the younger readers.”
I see your point here, but I think I’ll keep the words you mentioned as a challenge for other readers to do as you did: open the dictionary. It’s not a bad habit to get into. Concerning the word “flurry”…hmmm, that’s a little more difficult. I kind of like juxtaposition of the brooding tone of the rest of the story with this sudden moment of activity at the end. “Sudden confusion or commotion” is the definition in my dictionary, and I think that conveys what I’m trying to express here. Anyway, I’ll think about it.
”I like how you “sent” the message to Dumbledore, rather than having it fly out the window in a pansyfied fashion.”
I’m very relieved to hear you say this, as I was worried readers would feel I was taking the easy way out! And what else could he have done with such a letter, with no ally in sight?
”This is probably one of the longest reviews I have ever done and I am sorry if I have analysed your story like I would a scene from Othello.”
Don’t apologize! I’m flattered!
Now I’ll end as you did: *Watches Laura resurrect Snape and stands in line to give him a huge hug* :D
As a Death Eater, I relinquished that which I held most dear: self-determination. It is interesting to think about the fact that it was joining up with Voldemort that was the turning point for him. Still, even after everything that happens, he blames Dumbledore for his fate, rather than Voldemort or himself. I think you've hit the nail on the head for Snape, though. The concept that he feels like he's being forced to go through all these motions, when he could have said "No" so many times: to Voldemort, to Dumbledore, to Narcissa, etc, and then would have been free. He would have had the opportunity for self-determination if he had done so. Part of me thinks that he's still in this for himself, to gain power or control or prestige in some manner. I think he's on the right side, in the end, but I'm unsure as to his motives. I doubt they are purely for the greater good. You've portrayed his inner mind quite accurately, in my opinion! Congratulations on being "featured!"
Author's Response: Thank you, RVC! I now know how hard it is to try to figure out the mind of Snape. Before I started reading all the Snape fanfics, I think I saw him as sort of your stereotypical bad guy. Now...well, let's just say there are no easy answers with this character. On the one hand, he seems to view himself as something of a martyr and it does seem he's sacrificed a lot for the various causes he's stuck with. On the other, he is so completely disagreeable (at least through Harry's eyes) that it's hard to excuse him for much of anything. After all, regardless of what he suffered in his youth at the hands of his father (possibly) or at the hands of the Marauders (certainly), he himself chose the path he's walked. All the same, I can't believe that JKR would let him be exactly what he's seemed to Harry from the very beginning. It just seems too easy to dismiss him as the simple villain. Anyway, thank you again for reviewing and for the congratulations!
At last I see what the hype is all about! I've heard a lot about your writing in passing, but I've never actually read a fic of yours. This is incredibly well done, though, and it's one of the first times I've ever enjoyed reading a Snape fic. The idea of him steeling himself for his execution is very moving, and his letter only enhances that. It reminded me a lot of A Tale of Two Cities for some reason. But yeah, wonderful job on this!
Author's Response: Aw, that's so cool of you to say! It took me awhile to discover the possible depth and beauty of Snape, but when I did--thanks to a lot of great writers on this site--I really hoped I'd be able to do him justice. After all the revelations in the last book, he's turned into quite an intriguing character to write about. And I haven't read The Tale of Two Cities, but I'm flattered all the same that my story could remind you of that celebrated work. Thanks so much for reviewing!
Your Snape is wonderful. *tear*
Author's Response: Thank you!
Starting from the title and moving on down everything about this fiction echos Snape's personality. The part I enjoyed most about your fiction was that Snape asked for no forgiveness. He didn't beg nor did he seem overly concerned with his fate. His wistful retelling of his actions are completely in character. No excuses are made and he faces the reality of his actions. The saddness that you touch upon, that I hadn't thought about Snape, is his loss of choice and self. Once a man give himself over to Voldemort there is no way to be free again. Even if Voldemort no longer directly controls his actions he no longer lives by free will. I do believe you have written one of the best Snapes I have had the pleasure of reading.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for saying such kind things! I have to admit that I was so intimidated by the idea of trying to capture Snape in this introspective moment that I kept the darn story under wraps and unfinished for a couple of weeks after writing the first half. But he just kept demanding to be heard. Seems like Snape's not too happy about the way he's been written into canon. Unfortunately, I can think of no way to save him. On the other hand, he doesn't really care to be saved, does he? I think he does feel resentment, but he's probably the proudest character in the entire story; all he has, after all, is his facade.
Hey luna, that was such an interesting character study of my very favourite misanthrope. You've really captured a backstory for Snape that I would love to believe in. The tone was perfect for him, especially during the letter parts. I just don't want him to die in ignominy! I want Harry to know what he sacrificied for all of them! But if wishes were horses... Anyway, back to your fic. I loved it, and it made me sad. What more can you ask?
Author's Response: It IS very angsty, I know, and it's going to be very hard waiting until book 7 wondering what will become with our favorite Potions Master. I still have hope; however, to be completely honest, it's just easier to write the misunderstood Snape than the redeemed version. Thank you especially for your comment on tone. This was my first attempt at capturing Snape's "voice" and I dreaded accusations of OoC-ness. It was so sweet of you to review!
This was good. A little scary, but in a good way. How was Snape going to die?
Author's Response: Good question. How can you kill a wizard without resorting to an Unforgivable? Not to get too political here, but this is the problem with the death penalty period--to carry out the sentence, you have to lower yourself to the level of the offender. Anyway, there are no easy answers. I was originally thinking beheading, but I don't know if you can kill a wizard that way any more than by fire. Sorry to evade your question, but thanks for reading and reviewing!