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Severus Snape: Heel or Hero?
Is Snape a hero? Would James and Lily be alive now if not for him? Would Harry be dead now if not for him? Did he ever care about Harry, or only Lily? At the end of the epilogue, Harry says that Severus Snape was the bravest man he ever knew. Did he feel that way only after years of reflection? How do we feel now, while it's still fresh for us?
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Reader Comments: (Page 27)
It was me who said Dumbledore betrayed Snape. Dumbledore had known that Voldemort would try to find the Elder Wand ever since the end of Harry´s fourth year at school!
In King´s Cross:
Harry: "But you expected him to go after the wand?"
Dumbledore: "I have been sure that he would try, ever since your wand beat Voldemort´s in the graveyard of Little Hangleton."
Posted by Sara from Finland on September 19, 2007 12:37 PM
You know, up until now, I've been supporting Dumbledore like crazy, because I do not believe he was cold nor heartless nor manipulative, or at least, not in a really 'bad' way, NOR uncaring about Harry, my main argument being that if Dumbledore didn't care about Harry, he might have tried to Harry himself... you know, because he was so intent on ending Voldemort... well, and many other things but I won't get into that.
But I finally just understood something that originally was confusing me, about Dumbledore wanting Snape to end up with the wand.
See, originally, in King's Cross, Harry asks Dumbledore if he meant for Snape to end up with the wand, and Dumbledore says, "I admit that was my intention, but it did not work as I intended, did it?" to which Harry replies, "Yeah, that bit didn't work out."
Then Voldemort, in the next chapter, also states that he knew that Dumbledore wanted Snape to end up with the wand... and Harry replies that, because Dumbledore's was planned between them, Dumbledore was undefeated... this confused me, originally, because I thought it contradicted the part where he said he wanted Snape to end up with the wand, but then I realized that Snape "ending up with the wand" did not mean that Snape would have the wand's POWER... the power would still , because it was as though Dumbledore was giving UP the wand...
But, backtracking to King's Cross... Dumbledore claims that he assumed Voldemort WOULD go after the wand... someone on this forum said that Dumbledore didn't know Voldemort would go after it, but actually, yes he did... or, at least, he assumed he would. I'll quote it, actually... page 721, Harry asks, "But you expected him to go after the wand?", to which Dumbledore replies:
"I have been sure that he would try, ever since your wand beat Voldemort's in the graveyard of Little Hangleton."
Right after this is the part where Harry asks if he meant for Snape to end up with the wand, and Dumbledore says it was his intention but it didn't work out... so my question is, if he wanted Snape to end up with the would-be-powerless wand (if Malfoy hadn't disarmed, and thus 'defeated', him first), wasn't he putting Snape in danger? Wouldn't he figure that Voldemort would Snape to get the wand for himself? Or did he assume that Snape would have been powerful enough to protect himself?
Because he can't have meant that he wanted Snape to have the 'unbeatable wand' because, at that point, it was no longer going to BE unbeatable, and Dumbledore and Snape knew that. So why did he still want Snape to end up with it?
Posted by Katie T from California on September 19, 2007 5:42 PM
I want to point out (some people were confused about, or seemed to have misunderstood, this)... Harry's sacrificing himself isn't what gave him the ability to choose to go back to life. The SACRIFICE was for everyone ELSE -- Harry says to Voldemort, on page 738:
"You won't be able to any of them ever again. Don't you get it? I was ready to to stop you from hurting these people --" ("But you did not!") "-- I meant to, and that's what did it (remember Dumbledore in King's cross -- "And that, I think, have made all the difference."). I've done what my mother did. They're protected from you. Haven't you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can't torture them. You can't touch them."
I was confused about that, too, originally. Hmm, but if there is another point to his sacrifice that I failed to notice, let me know.
I just posted a long one about that -- Dumbledore said he expected Voldemort to go after it, so wouldn't he realize Snape was in danger?
I can't think that Dumbledore would so easily not care about someone like that, though, because I believe he was very caring and loving in his older years, so I can only wonder if, in his mind, he was thinking more along the lines of, 'Snape can keep it safe,' than, 'The wand's power needs to , but this means Voldemort go after Snape and he'll , oh well, too bad for Snape!'
Then AGAIN... we must remember that Snape's only purpose to live was to protect Harry forever, up to the point where he'd have to defeat Voldemort... otherwise, life for him was hell... for all we know, Snape himself could have known that Voldemort would go after the wand, knowing he could , just as Dumbledore knew... and he might not have MINDED.. then again, he would have to want to live long enough to let Harry know what he had to do, so that kind of doesn't make sense... but then maybe Severus' courage plays in, here... maybe he agreed that he'd have the wand, and just take yet another chance that could result in , as he did with so many other things... think that's possible?
Posted by Katie T from California on September 19, 2007 5:43 PM
I said in my message on the 16th that Snape was ing to let Voldemort James and Harry. And I also said he wouldn´t have cared if it had been some other family. I think I´ve made myself clear.
Posted by Sara from Finland on September 19, 2007 9:43 PM
"but he still attempts to curse a Eater in order to save George Weasley"
And yet Snape missed the eater and hit George instead. But if Snape missed his intended target why didn't George take any damage from the eater?
As Dumbledore told snape...."be sure to play your roll. We don't need Voldy knowing your true intentions."
Since you also believe that Snape would not have a care in the world for the two people that Lily loved most, how can you still call him a hero? As Monkeeyshines put it, calling him an anti-hero meets the criteria better...not to mention that Jo has also referred to him as an anti-hero.
As for Dumbledore betraying Snape, do you think that Dumbledore wanted Snape to "own" the wand so he could have a better duel with Voldy? That is how I took it. That is another reason why I don't like the way Snape d. Ooh, the snake bit Snapes neck...how anti-climactic. I have said it before, and I say it again, I would have loved to see Snape with the elder wand dueling Voldy, but then we would not have had the genius wand "twist" that Jo wrote in the books.
Nicely written....way to take the middle road in this debate. You are a smarter person than I.
Posted by Cdh from www on September 20, 2007 07:48 AM
Cdh: Harry saw Snape try to curse the Eater, it was not as though Snape told Harry that he had tried to prevent George's . The fact that George was unharmed by the Eater means nothing: he could have easily missed because he was startled by Snape's curse, or he decided that George was sufficiently harmed by Sectumsempra and didn't need any more cursing. JK leaves us without a doubt that Snape was trying to curse the Eater.
Your second quote, "be sure to play your roll. We don't need Voldemort knowing your true intentions" makes Snape even more heroic because he risked being found out AND disobeyed Dumbledore's orders in order to save George's life. Dumbledore also asks Snape, "How many men and women have you watched ?" to which Snape replies, "Lately, only those whom I could not save." Snape could easily have pretended to himself that he could not save George Weasley, and watching him would be perfectly acceptable, however he did not. Instead, he risked his life to save George, not for Lily, not for Harry, but because it was the right thing to do. Yes, he made a pig's ear of it, but it was his intentions that made all the difference (if I was Freud I would say that it was his subconscious acting apart from his conscious, but I am not Freud and I happen to think that he was an idiot).
Posted by Uric the Oddball on September 20, 2007 11:51 PM
A little correction: it was Lupin Snape was trying to save.
quote: " a Eater moved ahead of Snape and raised his wand, pointing it directly at Lupin´s back-
"Sectumsempra!" shouted Snape.
But the spell, intended for the Eater´s wand hand, missed and hit George instead- "
Posted by Sara from Finland on September 21, 2007 06:57 AM
I agree with Uric who said that Snape tried to help George because "it was the right thing to do." I think many of Snape's actions were based upon his mature integrity (learned the hard way through his earlier bad decisions and his healthy relationships with good people like Lily) to do the right things. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and the other good guys of the story carried out their parts because it was the right thing to do--not because of their love for anyone. Loving people doesn't make us do the right thing, although loving and being loved is a basis for integrity. Integrity comes from everything we've learned and experienced that promotes self-worthiness, empathy, and discernment between right and wrong. Loving others is just one sign of our humanity. Integrity (wholeness of being) is one of the highest levels of humanity we can reach whether we're very lovable or not and whether we love, romantically and sexually, or not.
Posted by Alice from Milton on September 21, 2007 07:00 AM
My interpretation of Dumbledore's intent with the Elder Wand was that Dumbledore would undefeated, and Snape would end up with a wand that was now just an ordinary wand. Perhaps Dumbledore felt that Snape was cunning enough to avoid being ed by Voldemort when Voldemort came after the Elder Wand, or maybe Dumbledore knew that Snape would eventually be ed. Snape did prove over and over again that he was ing to for the cause; he put himself in mortal danger countless times.
When Voldemort and Snape were in the Shrieking Shack, Snape realized that Voldemort was going to him. He kept asking to be allowed to get Harry so that he could tell Harry about his inner horcrux. Voldemort told Snape that since Snape ed Dumbledore, Voldemort therefore had to Snape in order to be the true master of the Elder Wand. At this point Snape could have saved his own neck, so to speak, and told Voldemort that Draco actually disarmed Dumbledore, and that Draco is the current master of the wand. But Snape knew that Voldemort would Draco and then Voldemort would be the master of the wand when he faced Harry. So Snape chose to not disclose the truth, therefore to save both Draco and Harry, as well as all would would suffer if Voldemort was in power. A truly heroic act in my book. Not an anti-hero, whatever that means, but a hero. He consciously and deliberately d to help defeat Voldemort. Just as Lupin did, just as Dumbledore did, just as Fred did, and just as Harry intended to do. Sure, Snape was a nasty teacher, he was greasy, he was a loner, but none of these traits discount that he was heroic.
Posted by michelle on September 21, 2007 07:25 AM
Alice from Milton:
Regarding Snape's integrity, we all must remember that Snape was never loved, and his only love, even if it may be "obsessive", didn't want him. Harry, on the other hand, was loved by his friends and he loved many others, too. I'm not using this as an excuse for Snape's bad choices, but however we obtain it, it is important to have integrity. Snape learned to have and use integrity; without we wouldn't have the same HP series.
Posted by C.J. from Utah on September 21, 2007 12:31 PM
I think this is the main reason why Snape tormented Harry: he was a strong child, loved and cared for by his friends.
Rowling also makes sure that Snape's bullying is never actually successful; Harry always seems to be the winner anyway. Even Neville gets his revenge when he dresses the boggart that impersonates Snape up in women's clothes (in the lesson with Lupin). Rowling refers to that later on at the Christmas dinner when Dumbledore offers Snape a christmas cracker and he "reluctantly tugs" and out falls a witch in dress robes...
I think Rowling wants us to see the funny side of Snape's behaviour as well, there are several more occasions where I think Dumbledore is rather amused by Snape's outrage..
But back to the discussion I think S nape did care about others, he seemed seriously worried about Dumbledore's poisoning for example and is angry that he didn't come to see him earlier about it
Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on September 22, 2007 08:46 AM
about the love of snape to lily, quote from the princes tale. "if you love lily evans, if you truly love her, than the way forward is clear". and snape followed that way.
Posted by dk from il on September 23, 2007 1:02 PM
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