ep-224

Episode 224: The Great Snape Debate – Dangerously Interesting

The most debated character in the Harry Potter series continues to incite controversy, even 20 years after his first appearance and 10 years after his death on the page. Join Katy and Michael, along with long-time Alohomora! listeners David (daveybjones999) and Jessica (MoodyHorcrux) as they reopen the Dumbledore on the “always” intriguing Potions Master, Severus Snape.

On episode 224 we discuss…

→ How do you feel about Severus Snape?
→ Rowling’s post-Potter thoughts on Snape
→ “Sectumsempra’s not a nice spell.”
→ The enigmatic Eileen Prince
→ Snape’s sorting
→ Loving and listening to Lily
→ Dumbledore’s Potions Poking Stick
→ “By the way, I’ve loved your mother forever.”
→ How Snape changed and how we change
→ Alan Rickman’s tight grip
→ Even in Cursed Child, Snape just can’t win
Join us in Diagon Alley on September 1st!

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Skype users can send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below!

Listen Now: | Download


RECAP: EPISODE 223

On this recap we discuss…

→ Not everyone loves CAPSLOCK HARRY
→ Is the worst character… Arthur Weasley?
→ What makes Grimmauld Place so great?

Listen Now: | Download

  • DoraNympha

    On the recap: I think Fred and George following their passion by going into business is exactly the same thing as Percy going into politics! We don’t get a sense he wanted money. Power, status, credit, recognition? Sure. But it’s Fred and George’s plotlines that are much more money-centered, from being cheated by Bagman, the 1000 Galleons, the testings, the dragon hide jackets, to the actual shop. Just because joke products and being fascinated by quirky Muggle things seem more fun and funny to most readers, it doesn’t mean Percy sacrificed some less profitable passion of his that we don’t know about for the sake of a boring office job that’s secure and offers better pay. People like different things, and Percy likes researching cauldrons and sitting in on meetings about flying carpet sales. From what we’re supposed to think from the narration, he’s genuinely just interested in that as opposed to Quidditch or pranks or dragons. Moreover, if his job is really what happens to be his passion, then he’s being made fun of for following his passion – if the same thing happened with a fun profession, it would be more jarring how crappy that is, I think. Imagine Ginny coming home to talk about her amazing win that she’s proud of but be greeted by “Yeah, yeah, this team won against that, blah-blah, who cares, Quidditch is boring, do us a favour and shut up, Gin”?

    • travellinginabluebox

      To that point, just a little comparison to muggle politics. Politicians in the muggle world are not paid super high wages! In fact, if you are after making a lot of money you should go into economy, and creating your own business, whilst meaning a lot of hard work, also means making a lot of money if you are successful. So in terms of money I would certainly agree that Fred and George (later George and Ron) were the most successful of the Weasleys.

      • DoraNympha

        Ooh good point! Yup, Percy, and Hermione once she’s working on elf rights, were civil servants – more secure than entrepreneurship but you can’t break the bank with it like you can with business. We don’t get a sense that Percy’s wearing super expensive robes or anything (I guess I remember Chris Rankin joking in an interview about the character spending half his wages on work robes because, you know, appearances, which I can imagine). And UK representatives (at least seemingly) have a more modest image than US ones, I mean the PM doesn’t live in a huge palace like the POTUS in the White House. Even Bagman couldn’t get out of debt and he was Head of a Department AND a former Quidditch star. (Albeit that could just reflect on the magnitude of his tough luck with betting.)

        • travellinginabluebox

          Absolutely. Being a politician, whilst coming with some amount of power does also come with a lot of pressure from society and the constant fishing for mistakes from the press. And even for the power aspect, at least in muggle life, there are companies influencing political decisions all the time. Prominent example in Germany is the car industry and the beer industry. They are so strong that they can basically demand anything and politicians have to allow it. There is after all a reason why the legal age of drinking is so low in Germany. (Beer, wine and champagne are available to buy and consume at age 16 and you can even legally consume those at age 14 if your parent or guardian are with you and allow it. All the rest is available at age 18)

          • DoraNympha

            Yes! Lobbying, interest groups are everywhere, and JKR made sure to let us know the wizarding world is no different. That’s why we can have Lucius whisper into Fudge’s ear and have Dumbledore and Hagrid removed and Harry tried by the full Wizengamot and why Muggles and Muggle-borns or those dealing with Muggle-related issues are looked down upon. Also, you can fail and try again with a business but if politicians fail, they can’t come back from it because it’s such a public job. There was that World Cup writing in 2014 with Ginny’s and Skeeter’s live correspondence and Skeeter’s only comment on Percy was that he’s getting old and you can blame him for the busy Floo network.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Exactly. Another point against that New York Times article. JKR taught us readers more about real politics most schools do.
            Thanks for digging out that article, sadly it only confirms that he is still working at the ministry. But anything else would have surprised me, after all it was his conviction to work there in the first place and I am sure he wanted to keep working there under Minister Shaklebolt and later Minister Granger-Weasley.

          • DoraNympha

            *whispers inwardly* cursedchildisntcanon *runs away*

            Yeah I think he genuinely loved his job too and played the game – Hermione wasn’t interested in “networking” or pursuing Law (which makes me think she wouldn’t have wanted to be the Minister): she just had one mission, civil rights for oppressed creatures like house elves, whereas Percy is overheard talking about his suggestions to improve Law Enforcement as early as at the end of PoA. He didn’t just swallow a rulebook so he can sass Scrimgeour but actually had ideas on how to make a difference in a variety of fields. If about 19 years later he’s “only” advanced to be the Head of Transportation, I don’t buy that Hermione’s the Minister.

            However, regardless of whether CC is canon or not, you said “sadly” and yeah, isn’t that a bit… Well, I’d never trust a single brick of that building if my first years had been like that at the Ministry. But what else could he do? You’re right, he was genuinely passionate about that “boring” job, and, I mean, what could he do, go teach Muggle Studies? Be the Muggle PM’s secret-wizard-secretary? When the war was finally over he was probably like “YES time to forget Dementor attacks and go back to the important things: regulating broom handle thickness and trying to stop flying carpet smugglers!” I bet he couldn’t wait to go back to his (to most of us) boring job!

          • MartinMiggs

            You’re giving politicians way too much credit. They can build connections during their political career so they can land safely on their feet

          • DoraNympha

            Sure, but they can’t come back from a real public blunder, it’s expected of them to resign if they fail too big. You can always establish a new shop if the previous didn’t work out.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I’ve already forgotten most of what I said on the recap (lol) but I agree with you that Percy didn’t start working for the Ministry because he thought it would be lucrative. And I also agree that working for the Ministry was his passion and it was unfair that his family made fun of him for that.

      But perhaps I didn’t convey properly that the twins’ motivations for their joke shop did include monetary gain – not just passion for their craft. But we never see them feeling sorry for themselves that they were brought up poor (as opposed to Ron). And though they get themselves dragon skin jackets and give a few gifts to family members, we don’t see them going overboard with their profits. I’m not sure what the wizarding equivalent to buying lamborghinis to show off would be, but they don’t do that…lol. They stay true to themselves. They don’t turn into Malfoys.

      • DoraNympha

        ‘Ear, ‘ear!

  • Lisa

    Just for the record, I never said Arthur was the worst father one could have, of course he isn’t! What I meant is that he’s hardly the ideal father the fandom often makes him out to be. My interpretation was that Molly wasn’t at all happy and satisfied with the family finances and neither were the kids. I’m not saying Arthur should become the Minister or something if he doesn’t want to but I think there were things both him and Molly could have done to improve their economy. If everyone had been portrayed as happy and satisfied then I wouldn’t have had such a big problem with Arthur. But they’re not. Not Molly and not Ron at least. Parents often strive to do their best for their kids and feel bad if they can’t give them everything their peers have. I’m not saying it’s right for them to feel bad but it’s natural and kind of weird for Arthur to not have those concerns at all.
    Look I might have ooverreacted about somenthings in my comment but I stand by the geist of what I said. Weasley just ain’t my king!

    As for Snape: I think a lot of the controversy surrounding him is about people’s values. Either you can get over the fact that he bullied children or you can’t. Either you accept his definition of love and accept what he felt for Lily as love or you can’t so you call it obsession or whatever. He’s a complex character but he’s also pretty straightforward if that makes sense. We probably know more about him and his motivations than about almost any other character. The reason for the ongoing controversy is not so much his character per se as about readers’ own personal values and what constitutes a good person/hero/redemption to them.

    • travellinginabluebox

      Joining the Arthur debate late here:
      I have to agree with Lisa, that Molly was not super happy with Arthur’s job. And once Arthur does move up in the ministry in HBP she is so happy and almost boasting immediately to Harry when he enters the kitchen, after Dumbledore drops him off. Harry even notices that she clearly had wanted to talk about this.

      Still I think Arthur is, of all the fathers we get to see, a good example and overall the Weasleys are meant to show, that money doesn’t mean your quality of life is better or worse. Especially the love between the Weasley family members and the loyalty is something every family could learn from.

      • Minerva the Flufflepuff

        Of course she’s proud of him when he gets promoted, but we never hear her complain about the family’s finances or even see her get a job when the children are all at Hogwarts to contribute to the finance. I’d say both Molly and Arthur were very happy with their very traditional family set-up.

        • MartinMiggs

          “That lot won’t come cheap,” said George, with a quick look at his parents. “Lockhart’s books are really expensive….”

          “Well, we’ll manage,” said Mrs. Weasley, but she looked WORRIED. “I expect we’ll be able to pick up a lot of Ginny’s things secondhand.”

          • Minerva the Flufflepuff

            What’s your point?

    • DoraNympha

      Yeah, we know Molly says she wishes she had a house elf (is she serious, I wonder). I grew up quite poor too, like having to wait for a state-funded coupon to buy basic school supplies once a year and wearing 2 pairs of shoes (one for winter, one for summer) for 3 years, I had about the same austerity experiences as the Weasleys, like, the hand-me-downs and my father doing night shifts and my mum’s a teacher, which is a ridiculously disrespected and underpaid profession BUT reading about the Weasleys wasn’t comforting, it was, is IS, frustrating. This’ll be mean: don’t have kids if you’re not going to be able to afford the things they need for school, I’m sorry. I don’t buy this lovechild thing at all. Jo’s depiction of the Weasleys doesn’t make me think money doesn’t matter as long as there’s love, it just makes them seem very irresponsible. (And it makes me believe Percy when he claims they were poor because of Arthur’s lack of ambition even if it’s at least partly because of the anti-Muggle bigotry of the top position leaders and their lobbyists.) It IS constantly stressful on kids, who don’t even understand the complexity of why there’s stress about money in the family. I would say it’s bordering on glorifying Dickensian squalor. Why?

      I do think the Weasleys are better, no question, than the Malfoys, that’s no contest, but still… And I love their moments (Mollywobbles… adorable) but it’s frustrating and stressful to read, far from wishing to be in that family even if they at least had love, which is enviable but it would still be stress on a kid, no matter how much love there is. (Haven’t listened to the episode yet but my poor childhood with arguing parents will factor into the Snape debate because wowww you still don’t have to be a crappy person, Snivellus.)

      • UmbridgeRage

        These comments seem to be pointing the finger at Arthur’s lack of ambition but ask yourself. Why do the Weasleys have so many children? I’ll give you the answer: Molly. It’s no secret in the series that the Weasleys keep reproducing because Molly was desperate for a girl. They had 3 boys and kept trying, had twin boys and kept trying, had another boy and yes kept trying. Had Ginny been born a boy then I’m willing to bet that there would have been an 8th child. Molly knew her husband, knew he wasn’t ambitious, yet pushed him to have 7 children they couldn’t afford out of her selfish need.

        Well, that’s one way to look at.

        • DoraNympha

          Well, at worst it’s selfish, at best they simply wanted a big family but didn’t plan well enough financially, which happens even with the best intentions… If the thing about trying for a girl is a real reason umm.. ohgodpleasedontdothat. I’m alive because my parents wanted a sibling to my sister. Really messes with one’s head, not the hand-me-downs but it’s existentially problematic. And don’t even get me started on the WHAT DOES GENDER MATTER ANYWAY issue when people try for a boy/girl. Sorry be the baddie in this comment section, we’re going to need some Weasley love to counterbalance my utter meanness. And the thing is, maybe Arthur didn’t lack ambition, it’s hearsay, it’s filtered through layers of narration, we don’t know if Percy wasn’t just brainwashed, lying, exaggerating, or just wanted to hurt Arthur in that row. Maybe it’s like, Arthur did try but when he failed to advance, Molly stuck by his side? That’d be a story I can get behind 100%. But we don’t know.

          • UmbridgeRage

            I know that the Horcrux locket goads Ron with the idea that Molly had been desperate for him to be a girl. I feel that it is elsewhere in the series but I don’t feel like searching all 7 books and Google has been no help.

            I love the Weasleys! Sooo much love for the Weasleys. Their money troubles are born out of J.K’s own time of being what she called “welfare poor”. As they said in the recap: they are deliberately juxtaposed against the Malfoys to show that material wealth isn’t nearly as important as love and that being poor should not be a shameful thing.

          • DoraNympha

            Yeah, don’t worry about that, I remember the Horcrux thing :) But, hey, what about other families like the Diggorys, the Lovegoods, the Dursleys, the Crouches, the Edgecombs, the Blacks, the Lupins, the Longbottoms, the Finnigans, the Creeveys, etc. that are all different shades and colours on the matrix (not scale) of love and money in families. By asking us to consider the Malfoys and the Weasleys the two opposite ends of a scale, each other’s foils, it’s as if the poorer you are the more genuine family love is, and vice versa, which is not true. There are wealthies families with genuine love and poorer families with a lack thereof, obviously.

          • UmbridgeRage

            I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. It’s not that the less money you have = more happiness. It’s that at the end of the day money and status don’t bring you real happiness by themselves. As the old saying goes: nobody on their deathbed says “I wish I had spent more time at work”. A tight, loving family who have little are better off than the lonely man/woman in their mansion surrounded by gold.

          • DoraNympha

            No but that’s what I’m saying, that it shouldn’t be a Weasleys to Malfoys spectrum. Love and wealth are independent from each other yet the juxtaposition of the Weasleys and the Malfoys makes it seem like those two things are related when they’re not. It’s a whole palette of colourful patches of paint on a canvas, the kinds of families there are, not a poor but happy vs. rich but loveless scale. (That said, I’m sure Narcissa loved Draco like Molly loved her children.)
            I’d doubt about the work thing, though: I think unproductive days are wasted time. I’d like to look back on the days I was doing work I was passionate about as much as on days I was just hanging out with someone I love. And there are, in fact, people like Hepzibah Smith or Lockhart or Muriel, who like themselves or stuff more than people. Whether they have got it wrong or not is not for me to judge, I guess!

          • Michael Harle

            Perhaps another element of this discussion is not just *being* rich or poor, but what one does with the money they have. The Weasleys use their money to get by, for the most part, and to keep their family unit intact. The Malfoys use their money to further their power, influence and materialism (as do previously mentioned individuals they were compared to, like Lockhart and Hepzibah); specifically in Lucius’s case, he puts his money towards things that allow him to push his social and political views.

            As another example that blurs the lines, the Potters are quite well off and, for the little time they have together, would likely be cited as a happy and loving family.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Oh thanks Michael, for bringing up PoA where the Weasleys do have money and spend it to do a family vacation. So yes absolutely agree that it comes down to choices once more :-)

          • SpinnersEnd

            I LOVE this. Thank you, Michael. This is a wonderful point.

          • BloodCharm

            Oh, the Malfoys definitely loved each other- I think JKR has stated that officially? Anyway, it’s clear that they do.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            now I’m imagining the Malfoys with seven children. and yes, if you’d like, you can take that as a fan art prompt. :-)

      • Lisa

        Thank you DoraNympha for saying what I wanted to say in a much nicer manner. I felt a bit like I was cussing in church for criticizing the Weasleys. They are a great family in so many ways but the way they handle their finances (not even affording a new wand for Ron which is definitely more important than say an iPod for a muggle child) and raising their children (comparing the twins to Percy for example) is not going to resonate with everyone.

        • DoraNympha

          I was nice?? I felt super mean! Yeah, a great family, I do envy the love! But it’s healthy to be able to criticize – I probably criticize my favourite characters a lot harsher than the ones I don’t care for. I turn into a grumpy, cussing Speagol when talking about Fred, George and Percy lol. I love them all and will defend AND citicize them equally fiercely anyday!

      • RIP Florean Fortescue

        *whispers* maybe capitalism is the problem, not Mr. Weasley’s ambition/salary or lack thereof

        • DoraNympha

          Well, that’s debatable: we cheer on Fred and George to succeed and they very much represent the optimistic potentials of capitalism, the chance to work your way up from rags to riches by talent, hard work, and a bit of luck. And they do exploit people on the way (those first years who tested their products, Dudley).

          Mr Weasley’s problem isn’t so much capitalism, I think, but the lack of a welfare state. Maybe they could have taken benefits and the school funds to buy books, robes, wands, but since those are financed by the Malfoys, it would be like accepting charity from them and I think that’s not something the Weasleys were comfortable with and I don’t blame them for being too proud for that. However, if there were impersonal, tax-funded state benefits and state funding for education and Mungo’s and alike… Fudge was certainly more of a Tory on that front, maybe post-war ministers like Kingsley reformed that a bit? Are there political parties paralleling the Muggle ones in the wizarding world?

          P.S. I agree with your username. :'(

      • All I have to say is this. The books are all about love. You don’t need money to have love. The Weasleys are a beautiful example of this.

    • Michael Harle

      I’m surprised you didn’t mention one of the most glaring examples in the series (for me) of the Weasleys’ mismanagement of money: when they blow their prize winnings on a trip to Egypt.

      Trips are great and all, and it’s nice that they got to see Bill, but man alive, that was a lot of money that should’ve gone into savings.

      • BloodCharm

        Yeah, I somewhat agree, although maybe they just wanted to treat their family, who knows? It seems as if they shared some of their money with their children. Didn’t Ron buy Harry a sneakoscope and payed for a rat tonic for Scabbers? But yeah, they should have saved some of it. But a vacation like that is pretty fun and they get by, so why begrudge them for it?

      • RIP Florean Fortescue

        I mean, the Weasleys have seven kids. They had probably never been on a family vacation before. I imagine if I were a parent in that situation, I would jump at the chance to finally give that experience to my children after years of not being able to. It’s not like the Weasleys ending up starving because they went on this trip. I don’t think it’s very kind to police the way that poor people spend their money…they deserve to enjoy life just like anyone else.

      • Phat Albus

        Wait, why didn’t they just disapparate to Egypt and back home again? Why waste the money. Even if it’s too far away you could use cheaper forms of transport to get close enough then use a series of disapparition to get close enough to your destination. Or use a port key.

        Why go hole hog and pay for a hotel which is presumably where the expense went to.

        • Kathrin ‘Lily’ Franke

          Because at least two of the children couldn’t Apparate on their own yet (Ron and Ginny, not sure about Fred and George). What if one of them got lost or splinched during side-along apparition? And I imagine there maybe some paperwork involved which may take time to process, it’s not like they had forever to wait for permits – they needed to be back at least in mid-August to get everything ready and buy the new books. The same issue – I.e. paperwork and time – probably applies to Portkeys, which would need to be autyhorised, esp if they were used to Apparate to a different country. Besides they’re both described as making people feel sick and dizzy (as is Flooing), even when only used for relatively short distances.
          I think the Knight Bus only serves the UK and Ireland, so that’d be no use for getting out the country.
          And who’d really want to floo or fly a broom all the way to Egypt?
          If I ever was in that situation and had the time and the money I would much rather use boats and trains to travel than flying. It’d be a once in a lifetime thing, so I might as well make it a proper adventure, including all the things that mighyt’t go to plan.

      • SpinnersEnd

        One thing that I would like to throw out here: people need something to look forward to, to be happy about. Saving money is great and all, but if everyone is miserable, it hardly matters.

        I certainly can’t hold it against the Weasley’s for wanting to do something purely for the sake of enjoyment. When you have to think about every knut you spend, it weighs on you in a way that’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. But sometimes, for your own sanity you need to spend money on something that might seem frivolous or silly or impractical, something that you can truly enjoy.

      • There is no better experience and education to be had than TRAVEL! It’s wonderful that they spent the winning money to do something they would never have been able to do.

    • Minerva the Flufflepuff

      The thing is, Molly chose to be a housewife when her youngest child went to Hogwarts, leaving no kids to look after for nine months of the year. She was happy with that position, and if she had truly been bothered by the low family income I’m sure she would have been happy to contribute to it. But she didn’t.

      The children were, as you pointed out, less happy with the situation. I sympathise. I was usually the poorest child in my own group of friends when I was at school, and I hated that I couldn’t buy all the things I wanted or go on all of the student exchange trips and holidays, because my parents just couldn’t afford it. But I never resented them for it. If anything, I reacted like Fred and George, with an ambition to not make the same financial mistakes my parents made.

      The Weasleys love their dad/husband. There is nothing in the books to suggest that they don’t (Percy being the exception). Ron is embarrassed about not having any money, but he never blames his parents for it.

      • DoraNympha

        Percy literally was the only one wanting to follow in their father’s footsteps, though. You always see him talking to Arthur at the dinner table, making sure he brags about having successfully apparated to the World Cup campsite, etc. I bet he couldn’t wait to make Arthur super proud with that promotion, only to find he wasn’t and be accused of spying or something. Percy loved their dad. (That’s also probably why tensions ran so high when they had a bit of truth time.)

        • Minerva the Flufflepuff

          Good point, he definitely needed his father’s approval more than the other children.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      In addition to personal values determining whether or not one likes Snape, I think personality type and what kind of people you vibe with is a big factor. I find many of Snape’s snarky comments funny (I draw the line on some of them, but my tolerance is higher than most) and I find his brooding, dark, and private nature sort of appealing. Yet I can see how it would turn off people who like to surround themselves with more upbeat personalities and feel uncomfortable around people who have a lot going on inside that they won’t share.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Re-reading COS now and legit forgot that Arthur got into a fist fight with Lucius…LOL. The movies have definitely watered down my image of Arthur and his temper.

  • UmbridgeRage

    Is it just me or is the idea that Lily was Snape’s only friend just not supported by the text at all and something invented by “Snape Lovers” to make him seem even more pitiful. We see very little of Snape’s time at Hogwarts. Yes, he is alone after the DADA exam (where I think this idea comes from) but that might be by choice not because he doesn’t have friends. No Sytherin jumps in to help Snape during this attack either, however, Sytherins notoriously “look out for no.1” and may not have wanted to be on the hit list of James and co. There is also this idea that Snape wasn’t fully accepted in the Sytherin common room, that he had to “go along” with the pure-blood views and antics of his housemates to be accepted. Where is this in the text? Snape clearly has anti-Muggle views before Hogwarts. Lily names his friends in “The Princes Tale” and at no point does Snape say “they aren’t really my friends”. He sticks up for them. It is pure assumption that his fellow snakes looked down on him for being poor and a half-blood. The Pottermore welcome letter talks about how loyal Sytherins are to one another and that being sorted there makes you “part of the club”. His wizarding skills would have more than made up for his lack of money and family.

    In short, unless there is something I’m missing can we please refrain from calling Lily Snape’s only friend like it’s a well accepted fact.

    • Michael Harle

      I think this speaks to the section in the episode where we talked about Snape’s “friends” in Slytherin being more akin to a gang; my personal view is that, even if that’s the case, Snape joined willingly and without having a proper understanding that these people weren’t “friends” in the most positive sense of the word. He’s absolutely prejudice and acting knowingly on those views at the time. And if you asked him at the time if they were his friends, he’d probably say yes.

      But the text does seem to imply that Lily is the only person Snape had the potential to find a proper friend in, as far as we’re permitted to see. But he screws that up, too, after multiple times to change things, so there you go.

      • UmbridgeRage

        Yes, I wrote this comment while still listening and you hadn’t gotten to the “gang” part of the podcast. I still somewhat disagree agree with you. Lily was certainly his best friend but I think it’s dismissive of his relationships with his fellow Sytherins to say she was “his only friend”. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes and no one in the fandom would be prepared to to say that Ron and Hermione were Harry’s only friends. He and Neville were friends, he and Luna were friends. We get almost all of Harry’s 7 years of Hogwarts (and not Hogwarts) and about an hour of Severus’ time there. We get none of the time when he was “a true Death Eater” and around people with whom he seemed to share the most values with. Let us not forget that Snape only defected to the other side because Voldemort targeted Harry (and thus Lily) instead of Neville. Had Voldemort chosen the pure-blood boy then Snape would have remained a DE till the end and would be spoken about exactly as we do the rest of them. I wouldn’t even say Lily was a friend “in the proper sense of the word” considering he seemingly had an unhealthy love/obsession with her as well and likely didn’t share his DE aspirations with her or how he truly felt about muggles.

        In any case, my OP was railing against the idea that Sev was all alone without Lily and only joined the DE because of this. He believed in their ideals and doesn’t deny them even when it’s his last chance to keep Lily as a friend. He didn’t “just go along with” anything or a least that’s what the text suggests to me.

        • Michael Harle

          Paralleling Harry to young Snape doesn’t really compute for me, seeing as Harry is shown to be many things that Snape is not (sporty, charismatic, sympathetic and – on the surface – similar to James; in short, attractive to others). Harry’s also got the added element of fame that gains him attention (for better or worse). That said, Harry’s circle of close friends is not terribly large (he has more acquaintances than friends).

          The minimal evidence of the books, I’d say, leaves it just as open to interpretation that Snape had a substantial group of friends or he didn’t. But yes, I agree with the notion that Snape believed he’d found friends with the burgeoning Death Eaters (how many individuals that was is moot); if he wasn’t so attached to them, I assume he would’ve maybe made more of an effort with Lily. I don’t think Snape was completely alone, but the picture Rowling paints of him is definitely not of a boy with healthy influences or good company.

  • travellinginabluebox

    The notes in the HBP book cannot be a collaboration, because it is the 6th year potions book and Snape and Lily have fallen out after OWLs which is year 5 at Hogwarts. So I suppose the notes are just purely Snape.

    • UmbridgeRage

      Good catch!

    • Michael Harle

      I think the theory partly takes into account the idea that Snape found inspiration in Lily’s work, or worked with her prior to that. I’m inclined to think he did it himself, but you’re right that it most likely wasn’t written by both of them.

      • travellinginabluebox

        I am partially backtracking on my own comment now, because I just realised that the spells Snape scribbled in the potions book were all used in the scene after the DADA OWLs, which is 5th year. So at least the spells must have been around before 6th year. However, I still think the adjustments to the potions is purely Snape’s work, as him and Lily are not friends anymore by that time.

        Another thing, we should keep in mind is just because the Gryffindors and Slytherins in Harry’s time are always having potions together that must not have been the case for the Maurauder’s timeline. So maybe, whilst Snape and Lily where friendly enought to be at least partially invested in each other’s life before 6th year, that doesn’t exactly imply that they studied together or worked together on potions during class etc. So much that we do not know…

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Why do you say it must not have been the case for the Gryffindors and Slytherins to have Potions together during the Marauder years? I certainly think it’s possibly that they did not have the class together but I’m curious why you think they definitely did not.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Oh I wasn’t certain of this, just throwing out the idea. Sorry, if my wording suggested otherwise. It would definitely been better for everyone involved to split Gryffindors and Slytherins for Potions, and really any class, but that’s a whole different story.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Gotcha :)

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Good point. I see no evidence in the text to support the idea that Lily inspired or collaborated with Snape on the spells and alterations to the potions. However, it is possible — and I suspect likely, although again, no textual evidence! — that Snape had the book prior to sixth year, as a hand-me-down from his mother (they are implied to have little money, and Eileen is brought into the novel in connection with the book — although that would make it a very dated version of the textbook …). He was definitely smart and eager enough to start reading ahead and notating his ideas prior to sixth year when he actually used the book in class.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Yeah, I came to that conclusion as well. Suppose we won’t know until Rowling confirms it.

  • UmbridgeRage

    Finally finished listening to the entire podcast. Wow guys, that was an impressive discussion. Agreed with so much and disagreed with plenty that was said too. While I’ve already made one comment I will no doubt have more once I have the chance to re-listen and gather my thoughts. This one is just to say kudos and that I don’t think we will ever tire of discussing the most dangerously interesting character in the series.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Though didn’t I say Deadly Interesting? Where did Dangerously Interesting come from? Though both are applicable 😉

      • UmbridgeRage

        The title of this podcast: EPISODE 224: THE GREAT SNAPE DEBATE – DANGEROUSLY INTERESTING

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Oh I know. I’m just saying, within the episode, we said Deadly Interesting, so I’m wondering why it was titled as ‘dangerously’ 😉 But I don’t know who’s in charge of titling. That’s got to be a tough job 😀

          • Michael Harle

            “I don’t know who’s in charge of the titling.”

            Probably some sleep-deprived guy named Michael who forgot what he heard immediately after he heard it.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            LMAO!!! Fear not Michael. You are forgiven 😀 You do SO MUCH for this show. I hope the fans realize that :)

  • travellinginabluebox

    I think the reason, why Snape is teaching Potions (aside from liking the theory of daveybjones999) he was good at potions, Slughorn wanted to retire and Dumbledore didn’t want to waste this asset on the DADA position, which at this time he must have known was cursed.

    In my opinion Dumbledore lets Snape have the DADA position in HBP for various reasons:
    1. He wanted Slughorn back, to get the memory, so the potions position was taken.
    2. Dumbledore knew he was going to die by the end of the year and that Voldemort was on the forefront. He must have known or at least guessed that Snape would either not return to Hogwarts the next year (Hogwarts might have been closed) or would step up as headmaster for Voldy.
    3. Snape was the best option for DADA and a convenient choice.

  • Susan

    Thanks for the great and thoughtful Snape debate!

    One thing I missed in the discussion was (in my opinion) the second betrayal of Lily by Snape: him telling Voldemort the prophecy. Why was Snape in the Hog’s Head and listening into the selection interview anyway? Could Snape have decided NOT to tell Voldemort, knowing that it could mean Lily or was she not pregnant at that moment? Also, what about his plea to Dumbledore, to save Lily but not caring about either James or Harry? Where was that attitude coming from?

    • Michael Harle

      We’ve touched on that a bit in the previous discussions of Snape. Unlike what most fan fiction would have us believe, the text suggests that Snape and Lily were not in contact at that time. Thus, Snape would very likely not have been aware of Lily’s pregnancy when he gave the information to Voldemort.

      Which, in turn, links (I think) perfectly with your question about his derision towards Harry and James. As Rowling said in the Dateline interview we cited, Snape would not have cared at all about Harry’s well-being were he not Lily’s son, and I think that speaks to Snape’s apathy. He’s not particularly sympathetic to the plights of others, something that Dumbledore catches on to and is notably disgusted by in their first substantial interaction from The Prince’s Tale. In some way, you could read that Dumbledore is attempting to unlock a sense of sympathy/empathy in Snape. Whether he ever does so or not is probably debatable. ^_^

      • Susan

        Thanks for the answer Michael! I still wonder why Snape thought listening in to a job interview would be a good idea, though…

        Regarding the second part of your answer: I’d like to enter that debate: does Snape in his adult life ever show any empathy towards someone else? It may be one of the reasons people do not like him…

        • UmbridgeRage

          I believe it’s part of Snape’s DE duties to spy on Dumbledore during this time. He didn’t go to the Hog’s Head just to spy on a job interview but any interaction Dumbledore was having as the job interview may have been a cover for Order work. It’s pure luck/fate that both Dumbledore and Snape hear the prophecy during the interview.

          As to the second part: I believe Snape has empathy a least for Draco during HBP. I think he really wants to help him but is stuck between his both of his spy jobs.

          • BloodCharm

            I agree, although it would be interesting to know if the Potions Master position was open at this time or Snape was trying to apply for the Defense Against The Dark Arts Position? I was never clear if this was in the fall of 79(Which I’ve seen claimed) or in 1980. Anybody can clear this up?

          • UmbridgeRage

            I would assume it was in the summer of ’80 since I also assume Dumbledore is interviewing before the start of a new school year and the Potter’s are apparently in hiding for about a year before their death on October 31st 1981

          • BloodCharm

            But why “born as the seventh month dies”? That reads to me that it there was more time in between the prophecy being made and Harry’s birth. Why not say “born as the next month dies”? Although that isn’t as cool lol.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Yep. Purely cool factor.

  • SlytherinKnight

    First off, excellent episode!!! The fact that we are still discussing Snape ten years after the end of the series (Cursed Child doesn’t count) shows how amazing a character Snape was. For me, and I think one of the hosts also said, Severus Snape is the best character in the entire series, with Dumbledore in second place, and as a character he is amazing but as a person, Snape is a major piece of work. I for one, do not think Snape is a hero, he performs heroic acts (spying on Voldemort) but he does not do them for the ‘right’ reasons. To me, Snape agrees/is forced to spy on Voldemort because he is trying to assuage his own guilt for his own decisions rather than because it is the right thing to do.

    There was one thing that I think the episode missed in discussing about Snape was the fact that he had completely agreed with Voldemort and the Death Eaters’ philosophy by the time he heard the Prophecy. As was stated, he did not know the Prophecy would refer to Lily but remember, in the Prince’s Tale memories, Lily says that he (Snape) calls muggleborns Mudbloods all the time, except for Lily, she is the exception. This tells me that Snape has fully embraced the pureblood philosophy by the time of his fifth year and it is only after he learns that Lily might be targeted due to the Prophecy that he begins to change. That’s where the obsession really kicks into gear, I don’t think he truly ‘loved’ Lily, he loved the idea of her, the smart, funny, attractive and powerful witch who he could mold in a sense.

    The hosts discussed how Snape wanted to control Lily, he lied to her about the Hogwarts’ Houses, he was the only font of information about the wizarding world until they both went to Hogwarts. I think if Snape hadn’t been Sorted into Slytherin, but say Ravenclaw, he and Lily would have stayed friends for a bit longer but they would still have drifted apart over time because she would have found new friends and new ways of information. Lily latched onto Snape when they were kids because he could tell her about the wizarding world when no one else could. But the main thing about that was, was that Snape was selfish, he wanted Lily all to himself because it made him feel better, feel stronger, feel smarter than someone else. That power of information control over Lily gave Snape a rush, and I think that is what drew Snape to the Dark Arts as well because he didn’t want to give up that power. I think that JK has said that Snape could have had a good relationship (whether friendly or romantic) with Lily if he had been willing to give up studying and practicing the Dark Arts, but he never did. Snape wanted both, he wanted power and he wanted Lily, he wasn’t willing to go up something of his to make Lily happy. He wanted to be the one who was happy in that relationship, and no one else.

    • BloodCharm

      Thanks for mentioning me in the Recap Michael! I really appreciate it!

      Snape really did hate Harry unfairly and only because he was a living reminder that the love of his life picked his nemesis over him and that she died due to his actions in reporting the prophecy to Voldemort and joining the Death Eaters in the first place. A part of him blames Harry’s existence for her death which is partly true, but again because of Snape’s actions. When reading the Harry Potter Wiki, it seems as if the writer or writers of that article seem to make Snape’s character trait of hating Harry as a more of a way of maintaining his status as a double-agent so Voldemort would not have suspected Snape’s true motivations. That might be somewhat true in regards to some of his actions such as trying to get Harry and Ron expelled in the second book, but overall, I feel this is somewhat wishful thinking because I think Snape’s hatred of Harry is quite genuine for the reasons stated above. I’ll ponder this more though.

      As for the curses thing, Sirius states that Snape KNEW more curses, not that he was proficient in casting them. I don’t have the book with me at this moment, but I know that Sirius did say that “Snape’s always been fascinated with the Dark Arts” within the same chapter. Snape probably had a lot of knowledge and interest in the Dark Arts from a young age simply because they held an attraction for him, possibly because of Voldemort’s anti muggle crusade attracting Snape because of his most likely strained relationship with his father who was a Muggle. Or because he had a natural human fascination with them. BTW, Sirius’s curses comment was in Goblet Of Fire after the 2nd Task was over when they came to visit him up in the cave, either in late February or early March of 1995. I personally believe Sirius on this one.

      • BloodCharm

        On the Weasley’s: Yes, their decision to have seven children is a reckless thing to do without really great financial support, but my impression from what Auntie Muriel said in book 7 was that the Weasley’s always have a lot of children and are a big family. I highly doubt that Molly was so determined to have a daughter that she just kept on having children. I’m sure after having all those sons, especially after Fred and George, she wanted a daughter, but I doubt she was conceiving all those kids just because she wanted to get a girl. I think that she wanted a big family as did Arthur and who knows? Some or more of her pregnancies may have been accidental and abortion(however it is in the wizarding world) doesn’t strike me as something Molly would do.

    • BloodCharm

      How did he lie to her about the Hogwarts Houses? All he said was that you should be in Slytherin.

      I think Snape did enjoy his role in influencing Lily and having her be dependent on him for knowledge of the Wizarding World, but I think he legitimately did value her as a person and loved her immensely for her personality. But yes, the world’s rejection of him made him more attached to the Dark Arts and his muggle-born hating friends because he wanted to be a part of something bigger then himself, to fit in with people. Lily was his best friend from childhood and the love of his life, but she is still is only one person.

  • BloodCharm

    hanks for mentioning me in the Recap Michael! I really appreciate it!

    Snape really did hate Harry unfairly and only because he was a living reminder that the love of his life picked his nemesis over him and that she died due to his actions in reporting the prophecy to Voldemort and joining the Death Eaters in the first place. A part of him blames Harry’s existence for her death which is partly true, but again because of Snape’s actions. When reading the Harry Potter Wiki, it seems as if the writer or writers of that article seem to make Snape’s character trait of hating Harry as a more of a way of maintaining his status as a double-agent so Voldemort would not have suspected Snape’s true motivations. That might be somewhat true in regards to some of his actions such as trying to get Harry and Ron expelled in the second book, but overall, I feel this is somewhat wishful thinking because I think Snape’s hatred of Harry is quite genuine for the reasons stated above. I’ll ponder this more though.

    As for the curses thing, Sirius states that Snape KNEW more curses, not that he was proficient in casting them. I don’t have the book with me at this moment, but I know that Sirius did say that “Snape’s always been fascinated with the Dark Arts” within the same chapter. Snape probably had a lot of knowledge and interest in the Dark Arts from a young age simply because they held an attraction for him, possibly because of Voldemort’s anti muggle crusade attracting Snape because of his most likely strained relationship with his father who was a Muggle. Or because he had a natural human fascination with them. BTW, Sirius’s curses comment was in Goblet Of Fire after the 2nd Task was over when they came to visit him up in the cave, either in late February or early March of 1995. I personally believe Sirius on this one.

  • BloodCharm

    On the Weasley’s: Yes, their decision to have seven children is a reckless thing to do without really great financial support, but my impression from what Auntie Muriel said in book 7 was that the Weasley’s always have a lot of children and are a big family. I highly doubt that Molly was so determined to have a daughter that she just kept on having children. I’m sure after having all those sons, especially after Fred and George, she wanted a daughter, but I doubt she was conceiving all those kids just because she wanted to get a girl. I think that she wanted a big family as did Arthur and who knows? Some or more of her pregnancies may have been accidental and abortion(however it is in the wizarding world) doesn’t strike me as something Molly would do.

    • travellinginabluebox

      Yes, I think we have to consider the fact that maybe Molly just wanted to have a big family. My mother wanted to have 6 children and I consider myself lucky she then decided 3 was enough anyway, because 2 siblings are already nerve-recking at times 😉

      And another point here might be, that Rowling just wants to point a finger at the people who claim that poor and badly educated people go for having big families, to just show us that while the Weasley’s are poor they are also a family of very adept wizards and witches:
      – Arthur certainly is good when it comes to inventive stuff (flying car, adding the spells to Sirius motorbike etc.)
      – Molly is very adept at household spells and basic healing
      – Bill is a curse breaker and I am sure they have to be super skilled at DADA and Ancient Runes
      – Charlie works with dragons, so I would guess he has to be somewhat adept at magic to defend himself
      – Percy seems to be good at school otherwise he would not have been awarded as a headboy, plus he achieved a lot of OWLs and NEWTs
      – Fred and George show their skills in the series with their inventive magic for their joke products
      – Ron whilst mostly overshadowed by Hermione and Harry is still not a poor wizard
      – Ginny is always described as fierce and master of the bat-bogey-hex and seems to be an overall adept with as well

      • frumpybutsupersmart

        Just wanted to add that Molly also defeated Bellatrix, who was regarded as Voldemort’s most talented and devoted follower, so she’s also incredibly gifted at duelling. It’s a good thing she never decided to take over the world, because she probably could have done it.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          #MollyForMinister! 😉

  • BloodCharm

    We have no idea if Snape’s childhood was worse then Harry’s or Voldemort’s. There is not enough details about it to make a final call on that decision. However, Snape was bullied intensely at school and highly likely at home as well. Harry endures some goosip and ridicule from students throughout his Hogwarts career, but he has his friends behind him most of the time and plenty of people still like him throughout a lot of it. Snape really only has Lily and possibly some of his Slytherin friends, who possibly make in fun of him as well much like how James and Sirius treated Pettigrew when he was part of their gang. So, in some way, his childhood and adolsecense were more difficult then Harry’s and definitely Voldemort’s: Tom Riddle had a group of people who he had great power and control over and enjoyed that immensely. He was praised by his teachers and extremely well liked by nearly all of them and was highly arrogant and full of himself. Snape does not meet this criteria.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Those are very good points about Snape’s adolescence that I hadn’t considered. We almost need a bar chart for each of the three characters, and a bar for each year of their life to show how sucky it was. Though, Voldemort tried to kill Harry almost every year he was at Hogwarts (and succeeded in killing people he cared about), so that might skew Harry’s results a bit 😉

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I doubt the other Slytherins bullied Snape – they’re a very exclusive bunch and will always protect their own. Probably what they did was manipulate him, which is, in a way, worse.

  • BloodCharm

    It’s nor that ambiguous that Snape hurt Petunia: Rowling writes in that part of the book “But the lie did not convince Lily”. Whether it was accidental or not, I’m sure he meant to hurt her in some way, although perhaps not intentionally making the branch crack and fall on Petunia.

    • UmbridgeRage

      In much the same way Harry didn’t mean to “blow up” Aunt Marge, he still meant to harm her in that moment.

      • BloodCharm

        Yes, I agree.

  • Only ever a mouth organ

    Wow, I got a shout out on the recap! Thanks! There seemed to be some confusion about my screen name. It’s from this passage (one of my favorites):

    Page 278 US Edition, Chapter 13 “The Secret Riddle”

    “The ring’s gone,” said Harry, looking around. “But I thought you might have the mouth organ or something.”

    Dumbledore beamed at him, peering over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

    “Very astute, Harry, but the mouth organ was only ever a mouth organ.”

    • travellinginabluebox

      Yep I caught that as well, but I just relistened to HBP so it was fresh in mind. And also love old Dumbles 😀

    • Silverdoe25

      Recognized it immediately! :)

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I knew I had heard that somewhere before but couldn’t put my finger on it. Thanks for the reminder and the good laugh 😀

  • DoraNympha

    I think Srius was exaggerating or wrongly assuming that Snape knew curses before he set foot at Hogwarts but I definitely think he was thinking about that when his parents were arguing. He is on his mother’s side, the self-chosen name of Prince and his bias towards wizards rather than Muggles shows that, but he wasn’t standing up to his father because he was just too weak yet but I bet he was sitting there thinking he’s going to learn all the spells to use against his father one day. I think he was drawn to spells that could hurt and he couldn’t wait to get to Hogwarts and find the resources. It’s quite a Slytherin-ish thing too, if he did this: he’s only attacking when he’s powerful enough, until then he’s quiet and withdrawn into himself. The “just you wait” mentality.

    I don’t doubt that we can’t really blame little Snape for being the way he was, spiteful, jealous and deprived already, because he had no exposure to a loving home. However, he did have Lily, whereas Harry didn’t even meet decent kids until he got to Hogwarts so he had an advantage on that front, he just wasted it. Another argument against his childhood justifying his being a generally unpleasant person. Many feel or are abandoned, abused, lonely. Still doesn’t explain why he was that way.

    • UmbridgeRage

      Are you allowed a wand as soon as you turn 11 or do you have to wait until just before the start of your first year? If it’s the latter then Snape would have had time to practice some spells before he got there, since The Trace would register a witch’s home. I agree he would have waited to be “strong enough” before attacking his father but which spells do you think he would have looked up first.

      • Michael Harle

        We know that, with exceptional individuals, you don’t necessarily have to be able to practice spells beforehand to get a good hold on them; Hermione simply reads up on theory and has a strong grasp on them by the time she’s got a wand and is allowed to use it.

        If we’re thinking Snape had a motivation to use magic before he had a wand (be it his father, or whatever other theories one can think of), if he had access to, say, his mother’s old schoolbooks or other such things, he may have been lapping up the theory. We know Snape was exceptionally bright, as well as well-informed on Wizard culture before he went to school, so that might explain his advanced knowledge in spellwork.

        • DoraNympha

          I agree, Snape was bright and he probably even used his mother’s spellbooks as escapism from the grim place he lived in. You’re not supposed to do magic during summer breaks but it seems like children are not called out on using their wands before they enter Hogwarts for the first time, be it Hermione or the toddler at the World Cup who was prodding that slug his mother stepped on. And Jo’s original site stated that Hermione’s birthday is in September. If she got all her school supplies almost a year before boarding the Hogwarts Express, and it’s legal, she had had a lot of time to read and practice.

          • frumpybutsupersmart

            I just wanted to point out that Hermione probably wouldn’t have got her letter until the July or August before she started Hogwarts, as the letters only arrive in the summer. It was just a coincidence that Harry got his on his birthday, but the idea that your Hogwarts letter arrives on your eleventh birthday seems to be a very popular misconception.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      Honestly I was surprised that this sentence got as much discussion as it did – I always assumed that Sirius didn’t mean it literally. It sounds like the sort of casual exaggeration that people speak in. Of course Snape didn’t really know that many curses; Sirius was just using the hyperbole as a way to illustrate just how into the Dark Arts young Snape was.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        I tend to always take things literally unless proven otherwise and I think Jo meant for us to take it literally at that time – to build even more negative bias against Snape. But I’m glad some readers saw through it :)

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    Wow, 51 comments already! I can’t wait to dive into these 😀 I just wanted to post a bit of a retraction. I knew I had read about Snape being in the Slug Club but couldn’t remember where. I just went back to investigate and it turns out that that was movie script canon (not even movie canon), so unless Jo states otherwise in the future, I wouldn’t take his being in the Slug Club as canon. Here is the excerpt from the HBP movie script that WB released online years back:

    “INT. SLUGHORN’S OFFICE – NIGHT (MOMENTS LATER)
    Slughorn, with practiced ease, mixes a concoction of
    powders and potions into a goblet while Ron peers into a
    mirror. As he paces, Harry passes “the shelf” and finds,
    front and center, a PHOTOGRAPH of himself and Slughorn —
    the one taken at the Christmas party. In deep b.g. is
    photograph of Snape, as a young student, clutching his
    POTIONS TEXTBOOK.”
    -location 98

    And now I want to re-read HBP again to pay attention to the conversations between Slughorn and Snape (or conversations of Slughorn’s about Snape) to see if he thought of Snape as a very accomplished potion maker while he was a student. That is all for now. Carry on! :)

    • travellinginabluebox

      Just re-listened to HBP and no mention of Snape by Slughorn, so in my books this is not canon information.

      • Michael Harle

        The only mention I found was in The Unbreakable Vow on page 319 of the U.S. edition:

        “‘But I don’t think I’ve ever known such a natural at Potions!’ said Slughorn, regarding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. ‘Instinctive, you know – like his mother! I’ve only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybill – why even Severus -‘”

        And later on the same page…

        “‘You should have seen what he gave me, first lesson, Draught of Living Death – never had a student produce finer on a first attempt, I don’t think even you, Severus -‘”

        • BloodCharm

          He mentions him after Snape’s killed Dumbledore something along the lines of “Snape?! I taught him! I thought I knew him!”

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Thanks travellinginabluebox, BloodCharm and Michael! According to those quotes Michael, I would assume that Slughorn did, indeed, think Severus very accomplished. And if Snape wrote all of the notes in his textbook by himself, I’d say his talent was very close to Lily’s at the very least, but not equal to. I would not be surprised if he tried harder in that subject than most others in an effort to impress her.

          • Silverdoe25

            From some of those books quotes, it could be inferred that Snape was in the Slug Club. We see how Slughorn pretty much disregards students who aren’t in his inner circle, as evidenced by the way he treats Ron (and Neville).

          • frumpybutsupersmart

            I’m not sure why, but I still don’t think Snape was in the Slug Club. Snape just doesn’t strike me as the type of person that Slughorn would collect. I know that Slughorn knew how talented Snape was at potions, but that doesn’t mean he was included. Slughorn goes for talent, yes, but he also goes for charisma, and teenage Snape had none. On the other hand, I have no textual evidence, so it’s just a gut feeling.

          • Silverdoe25

            I definitely agree with you. After Slughorn’s experience with Tom Riddle, I’d almost bet he’d be avoiding kids who had any connection to to Death Eater families and their associates. The kids that Snape hangs out with in Slytherin is documented.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            That’s possible, but Slughorn also tried to stay neutral. I feel like, if he’d shown preference to non-Death-Eater-connected students, that Voldemort and the Death Eaters would have targeted him as an enemy. Honestly, I’m surprised that Voldemort allowed Slughorn to live for long after their conversation about Horcruxes. He could have given away Voldemort’s secret at any time.

          • Silverdoe25

            I think he was mostly scared. He always struck me as the nervous type.

          • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

            He did try to appear neutral, but he also did not invite Draco into the Slug Club nor to his Christmas party, and isn’t the implied reason that Lucius is a Death Eater and Slughorn wanted to distance himself? The Malfoys had bigger worries that year, of course, but otherwise I think that would not have gone over well. You raise a great question about why Voldemort allowed Slughorn to live with that secret! Are we to assume that Slughorn was such a powerful wizard that Voldemort preferred to recruit him than to eliminate the risk to his Horcrux secret? Could he have wanted Slughorn alive for some other reason? I’m now very intrigued by this question …

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I was referring to his apparent neutrality during the Marauder years. I think Draco didn’t make the cut because he wasn’t a very talented wizard and Slughorn didn’t view the Malfoys as the great family Draco thought them to be. He did let Slytherin, Blaise Zabini, into his Slug Club during Harry’s time there. So I think he was still trying to play Switzerland as it were. It wasn’t until the final battle that he picked a side and fought.

            I don’t have it in front of me, but apparently, according to the Pottermore short story, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Chapter 3 (Horace Slughorn):

            “He continued to teach during the 1997–1998 school year under Voldemort’s regime, and was surprised to learn that Voldemort meant to recruit him only to teach the young wizards that Voldemort would deem suitable to attend Hogwarts.”

            I need to reread that chapter. But I suppose he was as surprised as we are that Voldemort didn’t want him dead. Perhaps because Slughorn kept Voldy’s secret for so long, he assumed he was on his side.

          • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

            Thanks for clarifying, and thanks for the additional Pottermore information! I still need to get those short stories. Yes, it’s probably safe to assume that Voldemort perceived Slughorn’s weakness for power and his instinct for self-preservation, and decided that he could be counted on to remain silent and be persuaded to join his side, or at least remain neutral.

          • travellinginabluebox

            I stand corrected 😀

  • Minerva the Flufflepuff

    (note: I’ll be talking about domestic abuse)

    Snapes familial background is absolutely crucial in his development as a character. Especially how his parents’ relationship shaped his personality. We know Eileen was abused by her husband. We know many victims of domestic abuse are trapped in those relationships when there are children involved, and that abusers use children to exert power over the victims. Did Eileen subconsciously resent her son? What effect would that have had on him? And did Severus’s disdain of muggles come from watching his father abuse his mother? Maybe his ambition to prove himself, which drove him into dark magic circles at Hogwarts, came from a desire to make his mother proud of him. He is reclusive and untrusting, he sees the worst in people, and even his unhealthy obsession with Lily (which I in no way condone) can be understood as him clinging to the one happy aspect of his early childhood.

    I think Rowling very cleverly showed us just glimpses of such a dysfunctional family, with images that are very familiar to many of us. Snape’s early backstory has so much depth, so much tragedy but is still entirely relatable. I feel like she wanted to point out that families like Snape’s exist in the real world, and how much damage abuse can do in children.

    • Silverdoe25

      Kids who feel powerless often seek the protection of a group with power (like the Slytherins at Hogwarts). I also think we see glimpses of the effect of that dysfunctional family on Snape right away. Whether it was deliberate or done subconsciously, I believe Snape caused that tree limb to hit Petunia. The lesson he has been taught is to lash out.

  • MartinMiggs

    I disagree completely with whoever said if Snape had been nice to Harry it would’ve blown his cover. It would’ve done the opposite. Snape could just tell Voldemort the reason he was nice to Harry was just to maintain his cover. Nobody ever suspected that Professor Quirrell was trying to steal the Philosopher’s stone because he seemed like an ok guy but because Snape is such a d-bag all the time Harry always thinks Snape is the bad guy. Also if Snape was somewhat close to Harry Voldemort would’ve probably seen that as an asset. Doesn’t Voldemort rely on Snape to tell him Harry is a good flier so he should attack the one of the Harrys on a broomstick in DH? If Snape had a good relationship with Harry he would have more information to give about Harry.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      That is a fair point! I was just thinking too, as I just re-read PS, that Voldemort (as Quirrel) witnessed Snape protecting Harry throughout his entire first year and that didn’t raise a red flag.

      • BloodCharm

        That’s not entirely true: Voldemort says in Goblet Of Fire “One who I believe has left me forever” and this is definitely Snape as Snape repeats the statement in Half-Blood Prince by saying “The Dark Lord believed I had left him forever. He was wrong”. Also in the same chapter, Bellatrix asks him about the evens in the first book and he responds to her with the question of does she actually think he would be alive if Voldemort had asked all of these questions and not received truthful answers. This implies to me that Voldemort WAS suspicious of Snape’s actions in preventing Voldemort’s plans from working and protecting Harry. Of course, Snape told him that he was unaware of his control over Quirrel and his cover with Dumbledore would be spoiled if he let Harry die. So after that, Voldemort believes him.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Are you saying that Snape’s conversation with Voldy stating he was unaware of his control over Quirrel was implied, or was that stated? I don’t remember it but that doesn’t mean it’s not there! Either way, thanks for the reminder :) I suppose I always took the “one who I believe has left me forever” line to be referencing Snape staying at Hogwarts with Dumbledore instead of coming to Voldemort the second he got his body back.

          • BloodCharm

            He says “As it was, I saw only greedy and unworthy Quirrel attempting to steal the stone” and before that he talks about how Voldemort felt that his loyalties had changed and did not reveal himself to Snape for fear of being discovered. It’s all in Chapter 2: Spinner’s End.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Ahh, now it sounds familiar. Thanks again :)

        • frumpybutsupersmart

          See, this could just as easily have gone the other way. If Snape had decided to put his emotions aside and not loose his bitterness on a child, all he would have to have done is be a good teacher. He doesn’t even have to be nice, he just has to not be horrible. He could easily have justified that to Voldemort by saying that he was being a good little teacher for Dumbledore’s sake.

          Besides that, Snape had no proof that Voldemort was ever going to come back. I’m sure Dumbledore had his hunches, and Snape was intelligent enough to have them too, but there was no reason for him to continue spying for Voldemort when the latter hadn’t shown his face for over a decade.

    • UmbridgeRage

      The whole “not blow his cover” argument is the worst case of “Snape Lovers” trying to make Snape a far better man than ever was. Snape only needed to be trusted by Dumbledore to maintain his role. How he treated the kids was of little consequence other than to show slight favoritism to DE kids since he would be dealing with their parents very soon.

  • LumosShadow

    Can we all just remember that childhood abuse and neglect leaves horrible emotional scars and can lead to social and behavioral problems well into adult life. Harry is not normal in this regard, Harry is incredibly well adjust from a very young age which is not normal. Using Harry as an example of why children who have suffered abuse from a young age should be able to ignore that as teenagers because Harry can is not a fair comparison.
    That said, while it is possible to grow beyond these problems it takes time which is not really something Snape had before Lily’s death, after all they were only in their early 20s.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I concede that Harry is a special case and most children brought up in the same situation would not be as well adjusted as he is. But we honestly don’t know the extent of Snape’s childhood neglect. I’m not sure he was abused. He and his mother may have had many conversations about magic (as speculated on the show). She seemed to love him and was there to put him on the train to Hogwarts. But since we only see small chunks of his memories, we can only speculate.
      I agree as well that he didn’t have much time to grow after leaving Hogwarts before Lily’s death. But if Voldemort had tried to kill Neville instead of Harry, would Snape have ever changed sides? I think his change was entirely situational and not time-sensitive.

      • LumosShadow

        Oh I agree with almost everything you said. But my comment was mostly referring to when it was said, paraphrasing here, that no matter how bad Snape’s childhood was, because again you’re right we don’t know the full extent, that Harry is proof it’s your personal choices that matter.
        While personal choice obviously matters I don’t think the possible abuse should just be brushed off because Harry did it. It reminds me of when Harry claims Dumbledore should have know better because he was the same age as the trio but I disagree there to because once again Harry is the perfectly groomed, book hero powered, exception.
        Regarding where I disagree however, I don’t think Snape’s pure-blood mania runs as deep as some people think. While I agree that he came to school with some bias against muggles thanks to Petunia and his father I think that easily 75% of Snape siding with the Death Eaters was an over whelming sense of wanting to belong. While unpresentable he’s not evil and when confronted with having to kill dumbledore he’s upset. I imagine once the Voldemort started asking him to kill, not just spy, Snape would chicken out and start having second thoughts about his “friends”. Not enough to change sides but enough to back out.
        I hope that made sense, sorry.

        • UmbridgeRage

          While I would agree with you about Harry being the exception rather than the norm in regards to normalcy after abusive childhood, I disagree with you over his willingness to kill or not. Trophy Wife is correct: Snape’s change is entirely situational and he was (as far as we can tell) all in until Lily was targeted. He may not have been as pure-blood obsessed as say the LeStrange’s and the Malfoy’s but believed wizards should rule muggles strongly enough to join Voldemort. Once in the only way to “back out” would have been to switch sides since Voldemort didn’t seem to allow you to quit being a DE

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          “While personal choice obviously matters I don’t think the possible abuse should just be brushed off because Harry did it.”

          I absolutely agree with your statement and regret not putting more emphasis on his abuse in my comments on the show. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’ve opened my mind even further on the topic :)

  • Phat Albus

    Posted this on the wrong ep d’oh!

    What I find very curious is how Snape is to my observation held in a lot more sympathetic regard by fandom than Dumbledore.

    To me whilst Snape is divisive the people who are sympathetic towards him are incredibly numerous.
    In contrast once the series was done Dumbledore (whilst being recognized as a well written and complex character) was really not very well liked.

    This is kind of interesting to me because when you really think about it Dumbledore realistically wasn’t as bad of a person as Snape.

    Being brutally honest no matter where you place Snape on the good/bad spectrum he was a bitter, mean spirited bully of children for 15 years who previously willingly worked in the inner circle of…well the equivalent of Hitler, going so far as to condemn an innocent baby to death to further ingratiate himself.
    In contrast Dumbledore’s crimes are briefly considering subjugating people when he was 17, frustrated and in love and never actually acting upon that and setting up a child to die to save countless lives whilst having a strong belief that the kid could still survive anyway (and being proven 100% right).

    In terms of what’s worse condemning a baby to death so Magical Hitler will like you more is WAY worse than manipulating a teen to sacrifice himself so Magical Hitler can be stopped and thus preventing mass genocide.

    Objectively speaking Snape was a far worse person than Dumbledore and yet Albus gets thrown the much more shade.

    I’m not quite why this is but if I had to throw out a theory…

    It’s often said that the ending of a story is what you remember. The Prince’s Tale is such a potent chapter in the last book that I think it’s arguably the most memorable moment for many readers. It is a chapter presented from Snape’s point of view and therefore makes him seem far more sympathetic, especially since t climaxes with the heartbreaking reveal that he was motivated by a lifelong love.

    But in the same scene we learn of Dumbledore’s manipulation of Harry and by extension Snape. And since it’s from Snape’s point of view Dumbledore is himself painted in a far more negative light.

    The impact of that negative light is also more damning because Dumbledore was built up for a long time as a quintessentially good and infallible person so to see he had if not a darkside but a morally grey aspect to him probably exacerbated people’s reactions. Especially since for many people who began reading when they were younger he came across as the wise kindly old grandfather figure.

    On the flipside Snape had been presented as at best a colossal jerk and at worst downright villainous before we learn he wasn’t quite as bad as we all thought.

    I guess people gravitate to the redeemed bad guy more than the guy who turns out to still be on the side of good but isn’t as clean cut as he first appeared.

    For myself I think Snape and Dumbldore are both brilliantly complex. Dumbledore was definitely a good guy at the end of the day who had to get his hands dirty for the greater good (needs of the many and all that) whilst Snape was a bitter man who happened to be on the side of good and could do things no one else could. He was a man who lived in the grey space wherein he was on the side of the good but for selfish reasons.

    In war though, often such people are vital.

    In a weird way you could compare him to Han Solo from most of the first Star Wars movie. Before his change of heart at the end of the movie Han Solo is a pirate and career criminal who’s helping the good guys not because he believes in their cause but because he gets something quintessentially selfish out of it. In Snape’s case though that something isn’t money it’s a kind of emotional fulfillment to his lost love/revenge on Voldemort.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      *claps again* 😀

      • UmbridgeRage

        *stands with you and also claps*

        • travellinginabluebox

          *claps*
          Also thanks for putting my love of Dumbledore in much better words than I ever could :-)

          • Phat Albus

            imo Dumbledore in the grand scheme of the fandom is second only to James in the “We liked this character well enough at the start but then THAT thing happened and now he’s the worst” olympics. Maybe Sirius is on there too though I think a lot of people go easier on him for varying reasons e.g. he is pretty cool in a rebellious sort of way.

          • travellinginabluebox

            You should guest host for the upcoming Sirius debate. Seems like you could give some great insights into that :-)

          • Phat Albus

            Oh I dunno about that. Putting aside the audacity of presuming I’d be allowed on I feel a little too intimidated by the idea.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Oh don’t be! It is just like chatting to really awesome friends who love Harry Potter just as much as you do. You will forget that you are recording within the first couple of minutes, trust me. Plus we all love each other here on Alohomora, so don’t be scared :-)

          • Phat Albus

            Maybe i will try out at some point. Although my headset is literally held together by a rubber band right now so…

          • Crystaclear91

            Can we form an ‘Albus deserves some love’ club please? haha

          • travellinginabluebox

            Absolutely!

    • Crystaclear91

      Could not agree more with your characterisation of both Albus and Severus. While I agree that the main reason there are more pro-Snape individuals than pro-Dumbledore individuals is because people like redeemed bad guys more than humanised good guys; could it also partly be because of both characters’ ages?

      Most Harry Potter Fans are young and us young people find it much harder to relate to and understand someone who is over a 100 years old than someone who is in his 30s. Many just rather not see someone that old as a human being or even try to understand such an ancient person because he is so past our point in life.

      “Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” Albus Dumbledore (Couldn’t resist haha)

      I think if a character is able to be romanticised successfully by fans his or her popularity will increase. Slash or Male/Male Fanfictions are very very popular online but Isn’t it interesting that there are far more fanfictions depicting a male romantic pairing with Snape than the actual gay character in the series, Albus Dumbledore? Snape is easily romanticised by especially teenage girls because he is still young while it is far harder to see the romantic side of an ancient wizard like Albus. I wonder if Jude Law’s depiction of Albus in the Fantastic Beasts films will change that?

      • Phat Albus

        I don’t agree in regards to the relating more to someone in their 30s vs someone in thier teens or below 30 might as well be 100. It comes under this broad umbrella of ‘adult’ or ‘old’ or ‘passed it’.

        But I think the romantacization idea has something to it. I’m reminded of all the fan love for Tom Hiddleson’s Loki from the Marvel movies.

        It cuts all ways though. See every femme fatale ever.

        I guess the idea of someone who’s bad but like…not too bad and has a softer side to them has a lot of pull for a lot of people.

        But I think though there is also a massive segment of the fandom who feel more favourably towards Snape than Dumbledore regardless of stuff like that.

        • Crystaclear91

          Oh I agree there are many reasons as to why Severus is liked more than Albus.

          A possible reason (other than the more valid reasons you put forward) why they are regarded differently, fighting for the greater good vs fighting for the woman you love? I would think most people who love Harry Potter are from the Western World and therefore, very few would have really encountered war, starvation or the fear of a tyrannical government. My family and I migrated from a country that was engulfed in a civil war, where both sides were very ruthless and tyrannical. So I greatly subscribe to the fighting for the public good worldview. I have no idea what its like to not grow up in this situation. Maybe Its easier to understand than I think. Can you fully comprehend or relate to fighting for the greater good when you have never experienced war and the devastation of that? Maybe fighting for the love of your life is so much more relatable to some? I don’t know. That is a question you will have to answer if you have never really encountered war on an intimate level before. (Its a question I am curious about though so please share).

          Albus’ actions also tend to be very parental in nature. I’m going to keep this secret till you’re ready to hear it because you are too young or inexperienced. ‘Why is Albus shutting Harry down instead of explaining things properly to him?’ etc. I was watching the new Spider-man movie and the Iron Man/Spider-man relationship reminded me slightly of Albus/Harry and it was very amusing. Fictional parental figures are ruthlessly judged by the young who have never parented before or those parents who may think very highly of themselves (haha). There have been so many instances where I have kept something from children to stop them from getting into situations that would end badly for them or others and have used the dreaded ‘because I said so’ (at times you don’t wanna give them too much information or validate any dangerous opinions. That could backfire lol). Plus parenting methods have changed dramatically in 10-20 years which is when these books were written.

          Albus is also just very hard to understand. He is a genius whose head sometimes outweighs his good heart and that just isn’t that engaging to many. Whereas Snape, at least, seems to let his heart dictate his actions through his love for lily and that is very romantic for many. (Although I am nowhere near a genius) I personally relate to Albus more than Severus but I can understand why people do not.

          I know that many people have reread Prince’s tale constantly yet skip King’s Cross and Albus’ backstory so when they look at Snape they see the tragic man with a fascinating backstory (where he personally depicts Albus in a very unfavorable light purposely choosing moments where Albus is in his mind over heart periods so people presume that’s all there is to Albus) but know nothing of Albus’ story (other than a vague recognition that he was once seduced by the dark-side). Its, therefore, just so much easier to overlook Albus’ inner struggles and tragedies without even attempting to understand the reasons behind his actions. So he becomes, to many, a worse person than he actually is.

          I also feel like in people’s defense of their fav characters they usually use Albus as a scapegoat to make them feel better about their fav’s actions. ‘My fav would not have done this if Albus had only just done that’. An argument i dislike because it absolves other characters of self-reflection and inner complexity. He is also used in fanfic in particular as a plot device more than an actual character mainly because I feel like that’s kinda how Rowling used him. He is her fav character but many of his decisions were crucial to the plot (placing Harry with the Dursleys) and that’s kinda why he came across as a chess-master. One of the reasons why I don’t judge Albus so harshly from his actions alone.

          All I am saying is that maybe Albus being less ancient would make people a little more likely to try and understand him and see him as a highly intelligent flawed human being (like every other character) not an all-powerful god-like figure (God is famously depicted as an ancient bearded old man). I just think that Albus gets blamed for far more than he deserves.

        • Crystaclear91

          The original comment I posted was marked as spam so let’s try again! I think I meant more that Albus is seen as an all powerful god-like figure and god is famously depicted as an old bearded man so I think people might be able to see him more as a flawed human being (like every other character) if he didn’t look like the representation of ‘god’. I agree. There are many reasons as to why Severus is liked more than Albus. A possible reason (other than the more valid reasons you put forward) could be the whole; fighting for the greater good vs fighting for the woman you love? I would think most people who love Harry Potter are from the Western World. Therefore, very few would have really encountered war or the fear of a tyrannical government. My family and I migrated from a country that was engulfed in a civil war, where both sides were very ruthless and tyrannical. So I greatly subscribe to the fighting for the public good worldview. I have no idea what its like to not grow up in this situation. Maybe Its easier to understand than I think. Can you fully comprehend or relate to fighting for the greater good when you have never experienced war and the devastation involved? Maybe fighting for the love of your life is so much more relatable to some? I don’t know. That is a question you will have to answer if you have never really encountered war on an intimate level before. (Its a question I am curious about. So please share.). Albus’ actions also tend to be very parental in nature. Fictional parental figures are ruthlessly judged by the young who have never parented before or those parents who may think very highly of themselves. There have been many instances where I have kept something from children to stop them from getting into situations that would end badly for them or others and have used the dreaded ‘because I said so’ line (at times you don’t want to give them too much information or validate any dangerous opinions. That could backfire). Plus parenting methods have changed dramatically in 10-20 years which is when these books were written.

          Albus is also just very hard to understand. He is a genius whose head sometimes outweighs his good heart and that just isn’t that engaging to many. I know that many people have reread Prince’s tale yet skip King’s Cross and Albus’ backstory so when they look at Snape they see the tragic man with a fascinating backstory (where he depicts Albus in a very unfavorable light purposely choosing moments where Albus is in his mind over heart periods so people presume that’s all there is to Albus) but know nothing of Albus’ story (other than a vague recognition that he was once seduced by the dark-side). Its, therefore, just so much easier to overlook Albus’ inner struggles and tragedies without even attempting to understand the reasons behind his actions. So he becomes, to many, a worse person than he actually is. He is also heavily used a plot device by rowling which is why I dont judge him very harshly on his actions alone.

        • Crystaclear91

          I agree but think I meant more that Albus is seen as an all powerful god-like figure and god is famously depicted as an old bearded man so I think people might be able to see him more as a flawed human being (like every other character) if he didn’t look like the representation of ‘god’.

        • Crystaclear91

          I agree. Sorry I did not articulate my argument well. I meant more that Albus is seen as an all powerful god-like figure and god is famously depicted as an old bearded man so I think people might be able to see him more as a flawed human being (like every other character) if he didn’t look like the representation of ‘god’.

  • BloodCharm

    Just because the Potions book was N.E.W.T level doesn’t mean Snape didn’t have it before then- As we see, he’s very bookish and nerdy and I think it’s clear that he has a passion for the subject. He could have bought the book as early as a fourth year and used it as his own personal notebook per se. I’m sure Hermione bought a lot of books during her time at Hogwarts for the same reasons, although if they were ever textbooks, that remains unknown. In Hermione’s case, I’d say no, since the library has free access to all this information as do other non textbook books, but still- it shows that students who are passionate about their subjects will buy books in order to feed their passion. I could see Snape, young and ambitious, purchasing the Advanced Potions Making book in order to fuel his talent and curiosity in Potions.

    • travellinginabluebox

      Good point. And seeing as Slughorn was a longtime professor at that time it would probably be easy to find out which books he requires from upper years to purchase. Aside from that it is his mother’s copy of the book, so they definitely had it lying around somewhere.

  • Huffleclaw

    Loved this episode guys!

    I was taken by the brief discussion of Snape vs. Dumbledore and how the fans reacted to the backstory each received in Deathly Hallows. One point I would bring up is that Dumbledore’s story is for the majority of the book told to us by Rita Skeeter – a character who we have been conditioned to distrust. So for the reader there is a disbelief associated with Dumbledore’s backstory. Even characters we trust like Hermione attempt to persuade Harry away from listening to Rita Skeeter’s tales of a young Dumbledore. Even when we are given Dumbledore’s confession (for lack of a better word) there is still a bit of lingering doubt, at least for me, for Rita’s version of events. More importantly, we find that Dumbledore seeks redemption for the choices he made as a teenager and young man. Does it excuse some of Dumbledore’s actions? No, but for the reader Dumbledore’s redemption and confession are immediate. For Snape, his confession is a “slowburn” and it takes both The Prince’s Tale chapter and Harry’s own coming to terms with his relationship with Snape. Indeed, in order to redeem Snape one has to reread the whole seven book arc with a new understanding for the reader to begin to forgive Snape.

    • SpinnersEnd

      I always thought about the stories of Dumbledore and Snape like Benjamin Button. Dumble starts on the good end and we learn about the things that make him not so good. Snape starts on the bad and and we learn things about his that make him not so bad. They pass (probably…?) somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

      We are taught from the beginning that Dumbledore is this great, good, benevolent figure for the first 4ish books. And we as the reader struggle with the revelations about Dumbledore’s past and his poor choices, along with Harry. I don’t think Harry ever truly believes that Dumbledore is “not good”.

      We are taught from the beginning that Snape is bad. We are conditioned to think that for almost all 7 books.

      I think part of the reaction readers have with Snape is that it’s much harder to shake the idea that someone is bad, that we cannot trust them, that they will hurt us (e.g. negative reinforcement) that it is that someone is good and will treat us kindly (e.g. positive reinforcement)/

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Yes! Negativity bias is totally a thing. If any of you have never heard the term, do some googling. It’s quite fascinating and does go a long way to explain why so many have a hard time finding the good in Snape.

        • BloodCharm

          Yeah, Snape is almost a sadist in the third book- Wanting to poising Neville’s toad Trevor? Trying to kill a Hogwarts student’s pet? WTF. And threatening to give Harry Veritaserum? Way too far!

  • Roonil Wazlib

    Forget which host said this, but to answer your question… How could Snape ever have a healthy love? THERAPY.

    • Roonil Wazlib

      These books would be so different if wizards had access to mental health services haha.

      • Phat Albus

        Well presumably they do as evidenced by the Longbottoms in Saint Mungo’s. But like…why isn’t there a school counselor? The closest thing is like Hagrid and Dumbledore.

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          my question exactly. Magical lessons can be dangerous and potentially traumatizing even when it’s not a year with Harry Potter at the school. Why is there no school counselor?

          Why is there not a single person who can help families with a child like Ariana? (at that time)

          Why are there no counselors for witches and wizards who are in a long-term relationship or start a family with a muggle spouse?

          Why ist there no responsible person who makes sure that muggle parents who have a magical child but also other children are prepared for the problems that might arise?

          Where are the magical orphanages?

          Who cares for elderly persons like Bathilda Bagshot living alone, uncapable of coping?

          Where can a young person go when they are grieving, pressured by people in power to do things they don’t want, when they are not equipped to find a way out of a really bad situation?

          Who can give advice to caregivers when the children they tend to seem to be always in trouble?

          Why is the werewolf registry so useless in helping families like the Lupins?

          Why does Askaban with the dementors torturing the inmates exist at all for such a long time?

          Why is there no programme for students addressing racism, bullying and sexism?

          Magic does not solve all problems. Prevention and therapy don’t solve all problems. But combining both should help to make sure that some problem don’t arise at first or are solved faster.

          • Phat Albus

            Remember on JKR once said of fashions and stuff like watches and newspapers and radios are exemplary of how the wizarding world is ‘old fashioned’.

            Maybe they are like that in regards to the stuff you spoke about above. Like there is a kind of 1930s-1950s feel to a lot of the Wizarding world to me.

            And back then I don’t think there were school counselors. Especially for the boarding schools where what we’d call traumatic behaviour and experiences was probably regarded as ‘character building’…Which explains way too much about a lot of British politicians now I think about it.

            I mean a lot of the stuff you cited to be arose from psychology and psychiatry being treated as legitimate disciplines and their findings being applied in a wider context.

            But psychology is as far as we know (much like plumbing) a purely muggle invention, and one that arose relatively speaking within recent memory of when the series takes place.

            Given how segregated the wizarding world is from the muggle world such things like psychology or the work of Freud and Jung might have escaped their notice or else been dismissed out of hand.

            After all whilst wizards live longer than muggles they mature more or less the same way. They come of age at 17 instead of 18 yeah but you are still considered a senior citizen once you hit 80, just not AS senior presumably. With this in mind between the advanced ages of those in power and the pure blood prejudices they probably held there is all likelihood that social advancements of muggles went as unobserved as fashion/technological advancements.

            This would be even more exacerbated when you consider new muggle blood entering the wizarding world would be indoctrinated at about age 11 and as such wouldn’t be able to grasp concepts like the ones we’ve been talking about. And even if their parents hear about their kids’ problems they might just think that’s normal or aokay because it’s part of this world they don’t really understand.

            On a tangential note though the Dementors don’t seem at all unreasonable.

            For centuries there has been a debate as to whether prison exists to punish or reform. It’s pretty obvious when you look at the roots of prison it began for the former more than the latter and many of it’s practices and philosophies in that regard are still prevalent in many prison systems around the world.

            I the wizarding world is stuck in the past generally and broke ties with muggles back when prisons were seriously meant to aggressively punish people it makes sense they’d regard the use of dementors as acceptable by and large.

            “They deserve it!” I imagine is the common defence.

            I mean in all seriousness is the use of dementors as guards THAT much different to solitary confinement which has been documented as dealing incredible damage to prisoners’ mental health?

            Charles Dickens himself in not so many words acknowledged that solitary confinement as corrosive for mental health but it’s still used to this very day in real life.

            So I don’t find the use of demontors at all unbelievable.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            We’re pretty much on the same page. My own answers to my questions above are quite similar to yours. Thank you for contributing so many details!

            There may be several reasons why Jo designed her magical world like this, old-fashioned, with little regard for the progress made by muggles. One of the reasons in my opinion is, that by reading about a world that lacks attention for people who need help, a world that leaves their most vulnerable alone and is unable to stop racist tyrants from gaining power twice in one century, we as readers can realize how important it is to pay attention to the circumstances children grow up in, to help guide people out of toxic relationships and to stand up against prejudice and hate.

          • Phat Albus

            If I am honest I think the old timey aspects are more Romantic in nature. It’s just more quaint and somehow ‘traditionally British’ in many ways than the UK of the 1990s. Although there is a lot of 90s political issues present in the series.

            I mean the financial struggles the Weasley’s face are a pretty scathing critique I think of many social welfare practices going on in Britian in the 1990s especially under the Conservatives.

            JKR herself I believe was so screwed over by that sort of stuff she’s a hard supporter of the Conservative’s primary opposition, the Labour party.

            In fact I’ve always suspected that Fudge is this vague hybrid commentary initially on Prime Minster John Major (who’s historical reputation, rightly or wrongly, is that he was basically soft, out of touch and kind of useless, not dissimilar in his reputation to (again rightly or wrongly) to President Jimmy Carter…except more of a geek) and real life witch (but not of the cool Hermione variety) Margaret Thatcher.

            I especially see the former more in the first half of the series where Fudge is mostly just bumbling about and asking Dumbledore for help and the latter in Order of the Phoenix, though the Neville Chamberlin analogies are probably stronger.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            Yes, I see your point. As I’m not from the UK I don’t know as much about the 1990s in the UK, but I’d agree with what you’ve just described. Especially that Jo had her own experiences with the British welfare state and they were not pleasant.

            The good thing is, Jo can now fund more charity than the Malfoys because of the stories she wrote about rich people funding stuff and how that’s not entirely selfless.

        • Silverdoe25

          Is that therapy or just basically maintaining them in an institution?

          • Phat Albus

            Well I don’t think they ever went into specifics.

            Now I think about it we know wounds caused via dark curses can’t be easily healed if at all (George’s ear).

            What if the same applies to injuries to the mind?

            Like in theory had a muggle form of mental torture been used on Neville’s parents they would have had a better chance of recovery than their current circumstance wherein dark magic tortured them into the states we saw in Order of the Phoenix.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        Magical therapy!
        confronting your past in the pensieve and your fears with a boggart
        talking to your psychiatrist through the floo or a two-way-mirror
        Showing someone your memories in the pensieve if you’re not able to talk about them
        potions that ease anxiety and calm panic attacks
        Charms that cheer you up when right now there’s not the time to be down
        taking your family portraits with you when you visit your psychoanalyst so your ancestors can tell their own story
        Kneazel pet therapy
        caring for your dangerous magical plants can take your mind off things
        gathering strength to deal with a bad situation through mastering your patronus
        moving and talking motivational banners

        • frumpybutsupersmart

          Quick note: potions that ease anxiety are definitely a thing. In HBP, Katie Bell’s friend Leanne was in hysterics after Katie’s incident and McGonagall sends her to the hospital wing for a Draught of Peace. And there’s always Cheering Charms and that bright yellow potion Harry makes, the Essence of … something. Anyway it makes people happy. Maybe after the second war, some muggleborns put their heads together and start magical support groups.

        • Roonil Wazlib

          Omg I love all of these 😀

    • I’m sorry. Snape NEVER could have had healthy love. I think you are addressing love too broadly. Snape loved only one woman. Lily. She ended up with a different man, a man who Snape hated. There is nothing healthy there.

      But there is on denying that it was love Snape felt for Lily.

  • RIP Florean Fortescue

    People cut white men soooo much slack lol. Can you imagine how people would feel about Snape if he were a woman? A woman who bullied children and was obsessed with some dude from her childhood for her entire life? She would be a “crazy bitch,” not a sad misunderstood fellow whose crappy childhood made it impossible for him to be anything but a bitter, abusive adult.

    • DoraNympha

      Ohh we could compare Snape and Merope so much, though! I don’t even know where to begin. And there’s potions involved too. Parallels! PARALLELS!

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Nice point DoraNympha! There really are a lot of parallels between Snape and Merope now that you mention it. *mind blown*

    • SpinnersEnd

      Does anyone have an example of a story where we get a female character that is similar to Snape? I can’t think of a reference for this and would love to be able to a solid compare/contrast.

      • Michael Harle

        My reference to His Dark Materials somewhat answers that, for at least one example. :{ )

  • Roonil Wazlib

    Here is my hot take on Snape: Bad people can do good things.
    The end byeeee

  • Phat Albus

    Sorry I comment on these as i listen because I rarely get time to listen to whole eps straight through (and I need something to keep me sane on the work commutes).

    On comparing Snape and Harry’s upbringing, I have to somewhat disagree with the panel.

    I think it’d be more accurate to say Snape, Harry and even Voldemort (the ‘three brothers’) all had horrible childhoods but in different ways rather than one any being worse or better than one another.

    Snap grew up with an angry and verbally abusive father. I always took it that he was also physically abusive to but I might’ve been extrapolating.

    Even if his anger wasn’t directed at Snape himself growing up in such an environment can be very damaging.

    Voldemort meanwhile was neglected to a large degree, devoid of love or true compassion.

    Harry sort of got neglected and deliberately abused simultaneously.

    All things are damaging but Harry wound up healthier than all of them. I’m not quite sure what that says about him or human nature though.

  • Phat Albus

    You guys were mentioning the idea of the eyes being the window to the soul in regards to Snape.

    Now I’m thinking of all the occlumency classes Snape and Harry had in Book 5. Remember a requisite of practicing in those lessons was eye contact.

    Could that be why he was especially mean to him back then?

    If nothing else I’d love to read a fanfic from Snape’s POV during those lessons.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Could you, if time allows, elaborate on your question? I love the Occlumency lesson chapters and am curious to explore ( a fanfic from Snape’s POV would be fantastic, agree!). Do you mean that Snape may have reacted to being compelled to maintain prolonged, repeated eye contact with the eyes that reminded him so powerfully of Lily? Or that he had to look more deeply into Harry’s soul than he had ever done before, and saw something there that angered or distressed him?

      • Phat Albus

        I mean he had to essentially look at Harry’s eyes which were effectively Lilly’s eyes during those lessons hence he was such a asshole. I even think there is a scene either in the movies or maybe in the books where they make mention of Snape looking at Harry weirdly when he locks eyes with him during occlumency.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          I see, thanks. There is *a lot* going on in those occlumency lessons — which probably doesn’t get examined enough in discussions of Snape and Harry — and I definitely think what you’re talking about is part of that.

  • SpinnersEnd

    I am so excited for this 3 hour episode!

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    Thank you, Michael, Katy, Jessica, and David, for an excellent, fair, open-minded, and understanding exploration of Snape! I am impressed. And a little moved by it all :) I have so much “time” for Snape.

    Jessica conveyed essentially how I’ve come to feel about Snape: He is someone to be understood. To think deeply about why he made the choices he did. Really, I believe that we are not meant to judge Snape in terms of good/bad, redeemable/unredeemable — when discussions of Snape happen on these terms, they miss the point entirely. To dismiss him outright as a horrible person is to fall into the trap that Harry did initially. If, by the end of the series, we haven’t had a “Half-Blood Prince’s book moment” where we really get close to Snape and experience the world through his perspective, and through that experience some kind of sympathy with him, then I’m afraid we’ve missed a huge aspect of what these novels are about.

    The way Snape was explored on this episode is how those of us who love Snape in a mature, thoughtful way *want* to discuss him. We don’t want a panegyric. We don’t want to gloss over his faults — we love him because of those faults. Because like Jessica said, it’s “part of the beautiful tragedy of his story.” It’s worth it to try to simply see that.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    I’m going to humbly disagree with JK Rowling (!) on two of the things she’s said about Snape that were quoted on the episode.

    First, while I do read Snape’s dislike for Harry as a projection of his feelings toward James, I think it’s more importantly stemming from a subconscious and irrational sense within Snape that Harry is partly to blame for Lily’s death, because Voldemort specifically sought her out as the mother of the child in the prophecy. Again, he may not be consciously thinking of this, or if he does have this thought, it’s more of a spiteful impulse that he probably recognizes as false but still entertains as a satisfying relief from blaming and being eternally angry with himself, as I believe he truly knows his own guilt. But I definitely don’t think his treatment of Harry is coming only from the fact that he sees James in Harry. That seems like an over-simplified explanation to me.

    Second, I find it interesting that JKR has said Snape did not die for ideals, when so much of the text shows that he did. Lily’s death at the hands of Voldemort was, at its root, the consequence of an ideology — on the surface, it was a matter of expedience for Voldemort, but in a deeper sense, every death at Voldemort’s hands can be traced back to his ultimate goal of a regime built on his ideology. Even though Lily’s death was primarily a personal loss for Snape, he still would have recognized that Lily fought for an opposite ideology from that of Voldemort, and after her death, he would have seen his role in the war as partly a fight *for* the ideology that Lily represented, the “good he saw in her but was never able to emulate.” The fact that Snape *could* see that good and desire it for himself is a testament to the fact that he believed in an Ideal that transcended his own specific situation, that his motives went beyond expiating his guilt. I think he wanted to carry on Lily’s fight on her behalf. Maybe he even resented Harry’s role in that carrying on her fight, because Snape wanted to do so himself.

    • Crystaclear91

      Hi! I get where you’re coming from but I think you slightly misunderstand JK Rowling here. :)

      Firstly, I think she meant that MOST of Snape’s hatred for Harry was about James and I am sure you would agree with that. (Remember this was on twitter where you have to simplify every explanation).

      Second, when Rowling mentioned ideals she was talking about Voldemort’s ideals of Wizard Supremacy and Dumbledore/Harry’s fight against that ideology. Lily’s goodness is not an ‘ideology’. That’s just treating people with kindness and respect and from Snape’s viewpoint both sides of the war fail miserably when it comes to treating people well. I think Snape really didn’t care about ideology at all. He wasn’t for or against Wizard Supremacy. All he knew is that his views of Wizard Supremacy as a teenager resulted in him losing Lily forever but that does not necessarily mean he wanted to actively fight against this ideology. His experiences with muggles had been very negative and that had not changed. All he wanted (in Half-Blood Prince/Deathly Hallows anyway) was for the man who killed Lily to be destroyed. I think if the war had gone on longer he may have developed his views in favour of actively fighting for ideological purposes but mostly from the viewpoint of fighting for the ideology Lily died for.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Oh, I think I understand her very well, although it would’ve been better to say that I’d like to investigate and expand on her comments because her text supports additional interpretations. :)

        I can’t agree that most of Snape’s hatred for Harry is a projection of his feelings about James. One can certainly choose to read it that way, but I read that as the surface explanation Snape is hiding behind because it is too painful to confront the real reason — that every time he sees Harry, he is reminded of Lily’s death and the previous loss of her friendship, all the painful feelings of guilt, blame, and regret surrounding those events. How much easier is it to think, “The kid is exactly like his father, and I have every right to hate him because of that.”? I find places in the text that seem to support this reading, the main one being from The Prince’s Tale, during the conversation between Snape and Dumbledore immediately following Lily’s death. Dumbledore says:

        “Her son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evans’s eyes, I am sure?”

        “DON’T!” bellowed Snape. “Gone … dead …”

        “Is this remorse, Severus?”

        “I wish … I wish *I* were dead. …”

        In this exchange, we see Snape’s anguish at the memory of Lily’s eyes; yes, this is immediately following her death, but given the fact that Snape devoted the entire remainder of his life to making sure her death was not in vain (“Always” and all that), I believe the power of his feelings in this moment never really diminished. Plus, immediately after this scene, we get the scene during Harry’s first year, when Snape is complaining to Dumbledore that Harry is “arrogant as his father” etc., and Dumbledore replies, “You see what you expect to see …” To me, Dumbledore’s remark, and the juxtaposition of these two different reactions Lily’s son, suggests that Snape is trying to shut down feelings of remorse and pain at finding the eyes he loved in this child by choosing to see Harry’s resemblance to James instead. Snape empties himself of feelings, compartmentalizes and shuts down emotions that might weaken him or make his job as a spy difficult. I think that’s what’s happening with the way he treats Harry.

        Now, the second point that I made was confusing because I merged two concepts that definitely are meant to be considered separately, although they are linked in the character of Lily: the ideology that she fought for as a member of the Order, and her goodness as a person, which Snape loved. Two different things, as you said, that I did not mean to conflate (but seemed to do!). My argument can be made more clearly without reference to “the goodness he saw in her.” It is just that, I think, Snape did want to actively fight for the ideology Lily died for. I can also see it from your perspective, that he might not have reached that point by the time of his death, that he was neutral ideologically and just in the fight to avenge Lily’s death. It’s very hard to decipher from the text, because Snape’s reactions in his conversations with Dumbledore are so subtle, and a lot depends on how the reader interprets them. (I had a really great conversation about this with another commenter during the last Snape debate, which I will try to dig up and see if their comments can help me clarify my thoughts.)

        The reason I brought in her goodness and Snape’s love for her is because Rowling, I believe, aligns the side of Dumbledore and Harry with the idea of “love” being the ultimate source of power that helped them to victory in the war. That was the overarching ideal of their side, and it was the side that Snape fought and died for.

        • Crystaclear91

          Sorry, I really should not have made that presumption. :) I understand where you are coming from but my point was that she said that on twitter where you can only deliver a simple explanation in 120-140 characters. You provide a valid point but there is more to it than that. How I see it is that he projected his feelings for James onto Harry because Harry is a living embodiment of Lily choosing not only another man but his rival at school and a man he has bad blood with. I mean, that’s got to hurt. He does not want the production of Lily’s choice and her love (their son) to be a good one. He would rather see Harry as James (who he sees as an awful human being) because deep down he knows harry is a good person but he doesn’t want to see any good in any part of Lily’s choice of James as her husband and lover. I am not a huge fan of people who disagree with the author who created these characters so I seek to understand Snape through what she says. That’s just me personally though. I know people disagree with that viewpoint and that is understandable. :)

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    Dear hosts and guest hosts, thank you! I knew you could do it! This episode really has the balance of the sources, the consideration and the right amount of listening to each other that was needed for debate that leaves us all feeling better than before!

    Publishing a new episode every two weeks seems to be a good idea, because it gives everyone more time to prepare, discuss and debate before the next show and the next topic come up. Not that I would not like a new episode each week, that was wonderful, but you keep on improving with each new show and I love it! So excited for the next topic, I’m literally bouncing in anticipation.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    we might never know more about them, but the backstory of Eileen Prince and Tobias Snape could be very interesting, tragic, realistic and shocking. I’d like it if there was more about them, or about Seamus’s parents and other couples in which one person is magical. Most of the magical population could be described as half-blood, so there must be more families who have to balance both worlds on a daily basis.

    • travellinginabluebox

      Added to the questions – if that helps 😉

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Maybe we should start mailing a copy of our questions list to her agent/publisher/whoever on a monthly basis until she finally starts answering some 😉

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          answers from Jo would be fantastic.
          in my opinion, the characters we know very little about are the most interesting. Not those who have long arcs of development or those who are discussed often and with delight. For me, Madam Pince, Andromeda Tonks and Mrs. Diggory, Madam Marchbanks, Professor Binns and Doris Crockford are some of the most interesting characters, and there are many more.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          lol. Omg, it’s pages long now, and I still have my half to finish. I’d love to see her face opening that piece of mail.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Well we are not completely done with the list yet but it is already 11 pages long…. We will be done soon though.

  • Alison

    *slides in, not to necessarily comment on things but to offer something*
    So, we all know how I feel about Snape so I’m not going to bring it up. HOWEVER, I am going to share a link to this beautiful “what if” fanfic that I just read (I totally cried, mostly at the end). I will say, though, and I think in the tags the author makes clear, the Snape in this fic is NOT the Snape we get in the books, but a Snape who made some different decisions and therefore landed somewhere else. In any case, it’s beautifully written (despite some canon discrepancies) and nice to read: http://ink-splotch.tumblr.com/post/162845519204/i-have-a-prompt-for-you-what-if-snape-hadnt

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      This made me cry so much :'(

  • BloodCharm

    What will the next topic be BTW?

    • Michael Harle

      Did you miss my excitement at the episode’s end? LGBTQIA+ in Potter! :{D !!!

      • BloodCharm

        Oh, wow, that’s cool!!!

  • Lord_Trolldemort

    I haven’t been this jazzed about a character assessment since you announced that you were doing a Tom Riddle episode. You guys did FABULOUSLY! I really enjoyed the episode so much!

    I wanted to point out one extra point that no one had actually touched on within the episode about Severus. The subject of his relationship to Voldemort never really became a subject here, and being the insane Voldie fangirl that I am here, I just had to jump in and rectify this situation. From the looks of how Snape was raised, he never really had a supportive father figure within his life. He received support and acceptance to a certain degree from his Slytherin friends, as far as we can tell, but I feel like the camaraderie that he must have felt in being part of a whole must have happened a great deal off-screen.

    In relation to Tom and Severus, I think that Severus saw within Tom a possible figure to look up to. Not necessarily a ‘replacement father’, but rather someone whose power he respected and wished to emulate. It’s hard to tell from the context, but I think that he really would have made a particularly good Death Eater in the time that he had belonged completely to Voldemort’s ideals. On the other hand, it may be strange to think of it this way, but I think that Tom saw something within Severus that he recognized within himself at a young age: a passion for power, a thirst for knowledge and a sharp wit. There’s also the undeniable fact that they both came from similar blood-purity status backgrounds and had to overcome that particular obstacle using only their knowledge and skill. I believe that, in a sense, Severus was the closest thing to a friend that Tom ever had.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I’ve wondered about what Snape’s Death Eater experience was like once he was more established in that circle but not yet a double agent. Although I agree that he respected Voldemort’s magical powers and ability to rise to power through skill and cunning, I’m not sure that he would have been such a good, obedient DE after awhile. Once he had gotten past the initial awe of being in the inner circle of such an impressive figure, I think he would have gotten restless with being a servant to Voldemort’s master, and irritated with having to share credit for any accomplishment with the man in charge. Snape seems to me like a lone wolf at heart, loyal to the pack but with a primary need to determine his own path. Fortunately for him, he was probably given the highest position possible under Voldemort, but I think he resented spending his whole career at the mercy of Tom and Albus.

      • SpinnersEnd

        I think his loner nature is exactly why he has the Death Eater position that he does. I think he dove into Death Eater life head first. I think he found people who tolerated him and latched onto their values and internalized them in a way that was all consuming. He ate, slept and breathed these values.

        I think he sailed up the Death Eater hierarchy, partly because of his skill, but mostly because he worked for it obsessively. I think what he wanted more than anything was Voldemort’s praise, to be “better” than the other Death Eaters and have someone validate him. I think his loyalty was to Voldemort first, his own ambition second and the cause third.

        I don’t think he became restless or disillusioned with it until Lily’s life was in danger. If Voldemort hadn’t threatened Lily, I think he would have kept right on being the Death Eater of the Year.

        • Lord_Trolldemort

          I feel like this envisioning of him seems to align a great deal with what we’ve been told of Snape in the past. It’s also incredible to believe that someone who was so focused on the dark arts the way that he did, was able to eventually change his ways later on in life (albeit for a rather obsessive reason, Lily).

          I just feel like it’s so important to note that the dichotomy of seeing someone like Tom influence someone like Snape is fascinating. They’re both extremely strong willed, driven and ambitious. Their similarities are striking. It would be hard to think that someone like young Severus would not look to Tom for guidance and approval.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          Well said! After I posted my comment, I reflected on it and remembered that the timeframe during which Snape was a full-fledged Death Eater (post Hogwarts and pre conversion to helping Dumbledore) was very brief, probably two years if I’m calculating correctly, and Snape was so young during that period, just 17-19 years old. At that age, he was still prey to the gang mentality, the brainwashing, the need to be accepted. I believe that his overwhelming need was for recognition and validation, as you said. To feel significant. And he wanted that recognition from Voldemort, because his was the highest possible praise a Death Eater could obtain.

          Had things remained status quo, though, and he continued life as a DE beyond his teen years into adulthood, I do believe that he would have become frustrated as his needs shifted. Once he had the acceptance and approval, he would have felt the need for a larger sphere in which to exercise his powers. Older Snape doesn’t seem the Lucius type, content to kiss up to Voldemort as long as it secures him favor. He might have continued to go along with the act for the sake of self preservation, but I think he would have resented it and maybe replaced loyalty with his own ambition at the top of the hierarchy you mentioned.

    • StoneHallows

      I’ve always wondered if he didn’t see anything wrong with how Voldemort treated his followers because that was how he was treated for most of his life. An abusive childhood, 7 years in Slytherin where I’m sure the upper classmen hazed, tortured, and controlled the underclassmen, seventh year when he was top dog of the house… it would seem natural to flow into that controlled/controller relationship once again.

  • Crystaclear91

    Why doubt Sirius’ statement that Snape knew Dark Magic from a very young age? What I don’t understand is how Snape, a poor half-blood, could have become ‘friends’ with or infiltrated the ranks of teenagers who wanted to join a dark wizard hell-bent on pureblood supremacy without him being INCREDIBLY good at Dark Magic. I mean what other use is half-blood Snape to the death eater cause? I just don’t feel like a poor half-blood with no connections would have been let in to a pureblood supremacist group without him being so incredibly better than all other Pureblood Wizards at the Dark Arts (who would have grown up learning it). And for him to be INCREDIBLY good at dark magic he would have had to learn it from a very young age.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Eh, remember they did let in Peter Pettigrew who was a cowardly, untalented, disloyal jerk. I’m not so sure that the Death Eaters were too picky about who they let in. They were trying to recruit as many people to Voldemort’s side as possible. Lucious Malfoy pats him on the shoulder as soon as he’s sorted into Slytherin (and I feel sure he looked just as poor as he was, like the Weasleys do).

      • Crystaclear91

        Oh i disagree, Peter did not seem to be recruited until after school when he WAS of use. He was a member of the order and was easily manipulated by fear. Peter had connections and we do not know of his background. Plus Voldemort would have recruited him and we know Voldy was a half-blood. The group in school recruiting for Voldemort had not joined him yet. They were mostly from pureblood families and were major Voldemort sympathisers. Its very different being recruited by the hypocritical half-blood leader than the sycophantic pureblood followers. Weak Peter was not accepted into that crowd as a teenager and I seriously doubt he ever would have been. Plus we know he was damn good to even manipulate James and Sirius against Remus. He went undetected by many very powerful wizards in the order for sometime so maybe he wasnt as weak as you think?

        There is a HUGE difference in a prefect welcoming a new student into his house than someone accepting a poor half-blood into a elite pureblood supremacist group. I didn’t say they weren’t nice to Snape but i know how these types of groups work. Can you imagine a white supremacist group allowing a biracial teenager into their ranks? I mean he would have had to have been VERY VERY GOOD. He would have had to prove he was of use. These teenagers were bigots, who were taught they were superior from a young age, remember? To join these sorts of groups, you go through an initiation ceremony where each member as to prove their worth. I seriously doubt Snape would have been seen as a catch. Peter, when he was recruited was a catch, Severus (with no connections, wealth or pureblood status) was clearly not.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          You may be right that there was some type of initiation Snape had to go through to be accepted into the group. That would make sense. But perhaps Peter would have been accepted as a teen too if he’d been sorted into Slytherin?

          • Crystaclear91

            Maybe. We will never know. haha But I think that would depend on what Peter’s background and connections were. If he were a half-blood with connections or was rich then maybe. If he had no connections and was not wealthy, without his connections to the order and the Marauders I seriously doubt he would have been accepted into a elitist pureblood group regardless of his Slytherin Status. But ironically i think Snape would have been a better recruit than Peter if they were both poorly connected, non-pureblood Slytherins. :)

            I seriously doubt Peter, even though he was far stronger than he comes across, would have been able to be strong enough in what the Purebloods value the most (the dark arts and mannerisms/attitude/pride) for them to see him as worthy.

  • Phat Albus

    Something of a tangental point on the main debate at hand with this episode.

    I love comic books (as I’ve mentioned before) and I actually work a lot with them int he course of my job.

    As such i often think and phrase things through the lens of comic book stories.

    With that in mind something occurs to me regarding Snape and Dumbledore’s characters.

    Not sure how many of you are aware but there is a certain amount of joking within some circles wherein Harry potter is actually compared a lot to the X-Men. It was actually a whole segment on a non-fiction book called War, Politics and Super Heroes. The idea is there are a bunch of people who are born with abilities beyond mere mortals who don’t know what they are most of the time until they get older and then they go to a special isolated school where a very wise and powerful older man teaches them to use their abilities and believes in equality between ‘their kind’ and ‘normal’ people. He is placed in opposition though to someone who doesn’t believe there can really be co-existence between these 2 groups of people and that in fact ‘their kind’ is by virtue of their beyond human abilities superior to normal people and should dominate them, gathering a band of devoted followers to his cause.

    Also there is a phoenix involved.

    Running with that analogy we could say Dumbledore is an Professor X figure wherein he initially seems poweerful, all knowing and morally upright, but then you learn there is a darker and manipulative side to him. In contrast we could argue Snape is (a little) like Wolverine. A guy who lived through horrible experiences and has done reprehensible things in his past but has changed. However he is still capable of not being the most morally upright guy, which is actually an asset as he can get his hands dirty and go to places the other characters can’t.

    Not a 1:1 comparison in either case (Dumbledore is way nicer than comic book Xavier and Wolverine is way nicer than Snape ever was, including being a better teacher) but food for thought.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I’ve thought about this parallel so many times! I love it! I even have the mashup shirt to prove it 😉
      http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2011/12/2012-12-17-dunbledores_school-533×503.jpg
      (And am wearing it in my avatar photo – just hard to see with my hair in the way…haha)

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      love it!
      Can we come up with more characer comparisons?

      I’ve only seen the X-Men movies and don’t know the comics, but from what I know I’d compare Flitwick and Hank, McGonagall and Storm, and now I’m trying to find a HP character who is similiar to Mystique, but she’s changing so much through the different movies, right now I can’t point someone out.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Mystique would have to be Tonks!

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          they have the same ability, basically. Their story arcs are different, but there are similarities. for example when they have to figure out who they will be loyal to, when both sides want them to work with them. For Tonks it is easier, I guess, because she choses the Order over the ministry and becomes a mole in the auror office.

  • SpinnersEnd

    My own personal head canon: That time Snape called Lily a mudblood and she reacted negatively was the last time he used that slur. I like to think that would be enough of a negative outcome that he would never say it again.

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    It doesn’t happen often, but Pottermore just stirred my thoughts on something…lol. So Snape was nasty to most of his students but he was particularly nasty to Neville. So much so that Neville’s Boggart was Snape. Do you think Snape consciously or subconsciously blamed Neville for not being The Chosen One and took it out on him?

    • SlytherinKnight

      I think consciously Snape does blame Neville for not being the Boy-Who-Lived. I am pretty sure that JK Rowling has confirmed that. And that’s why I believe Snape is a ‘bad guy’ because he just never grew up from the angry, bitter and sad teenager who joined a KKK-type cult because he was bullied and his own choices. Also that’s why I get so annoyed when people claim that Snape is more of a hero than James is. Snape only performed heroic acts in order to get revenge on Voldemort for killing Lily, and to try to assuage his own guilt, while James attempted to fight off the darkest wizard of the age WITHOUT a WAND in order to give his wife and toddler child time to escape.

      • Michael Harle

        I wanted to get more into James vs. Snape. But that could take up an entire episode on its own, really. . . .

        • SlytherinKnight

          Please let it become a episode in the future, or at least something like how people’s perceptions of certain characters have changed from the beginning of the series til now.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Click on “Submit a Topic” at the top there and submit away! 😀

          • SlytherinKnight

            Oh I have

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Excellent 😀

      • Miss.X

        Well, whatever his reasons were Snape saved more people than James and those weren’t even his own family, I don’t find particularly incredible that James tried to save Harry and Lily, I guess it’s what most decent fathers and husband would do. The fact that he was wandless? You see it as a great act of courage I see it as something incredibly stupid, you know a madman is after you, you keep your wand with you always. That said, I am still wondering why Snape saved, even if he involuntarily injured George, Remus during the battle of Little Whinging if he only wanted revenge for Lily. Why risking his cover for Remus of all people? Why trying to protect the students as best as he could when he was headmaster? See there’s so many whys and I wonder why people keep always forgetting things that would put Snape in a different light. People hate Snape so much that can’t even analyze his character without bias. Sad.

        • BloodCharm

          I thought that was stupid too of both James AND Lily. Why didn’t they keep their wands on them? Still, I had an idea that James was planning on transforming into his stag form in order to take Voldemort by surprise and buy Lily a little more time. I wonder where she left her wand? Downstairs maybe? It’s pretty stupid of her. Given that she was a witch, I think she should have taken a chance and jumped out of the window with Harry in her arms and run away and hopefully her magical blood would keep her from getting hurt.

        • SlytherinKnight

          Well hold on, as I said earlier, I believe that JK Rowling has confirmed that if Neville had been the Boy-Who-Lived, Snape wouldn’t have cared about Harry. To me, that says he still would have been a Death Eater. Because the only reason Snape changed sides was because Voldemort went after Lily, due to Snape’s own information. And besides, James trusted the wrong person in Pettigrew. He thought they were safe under the Fidelius Charm and had put his wand down to help put Harry down to bed.

          One could also make the case that James deserves some of the credit for saving the wizarding world, his sacrifice on Halloween I think added to the sacrifice of Lily’s life to protect Harry, which then saved Harry’s life and destroyed Riddle for the first time, ending the first wizarding war. Then in Deathly Hallows, it was his words along with Lily, Remus and Sirius, that gave Harry the strength and courage to sacrifice himself which extended the protection over the rest of the wizarding world. Plus, we don’t know how many people James might have saved during the first Wizarding War when defying Voldemort three times.

      • StoneHallows

        This, this, and always this! He certainly had moments of “good guy actions” and I think that maybe, given more time, he would have allowed himself to mature past the selfishness that ruled his memory of Lily’s love, but he wasn’t there yet. He was showing the signs, which is promising, but it was still coming out of a selfish place, even if that was starting to change.

  • BloodCharm

    I just found a major flaw! As we know in Order Of The Phoenix, Umbridge states that Snape originally applied for Defense Against The Dark Arts, but was obviously declined. And if we think that Snape’s claim in Half Blood Prince is true, that he was told by Voldemort to teach at Hogwarts to give information on Dumbledore and if we are right in thinking that him hearing the prophecy was part of that mission, WHY DIDN’T VOLDEMORT TELL HIM THE DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS POST WAS JINXED? Thoughts on this? Do you think the timeline was a little different with Snape perhaps not acting on Voldemort’s orders when he was in Hogsmeade, listened in on Dumbledore and Trelawney, and heard the prophecy?

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Or maybe Voldemort would have lifted the jinx for Snape if he’d been given the position?

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Does Voldemort know that the post is jinxed? so far I’ve interpreted the story in a way that he does not actively curse the DADA teacher post, but his feelings about being declined influenced the magical universe in a way that no teacher could stay longer than a year. Kind of the opposite of the magic Lily envoked to protect Harry.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        I’ve always assumed he did it intentionally but it could have been accidental magic. Though the jinx dies when he dies and Lily’s protection lives on after her death. So, to me, that seems to suggest that it was intentional magic.

        • BloodCharm

          No, I’m pretty sure it was intentional. It just seems too far-fetched if it wasn’t. I wonder how he did it- Wrote down a piece of paper with the words Defense Against The Dark Arts teaching post and jinxed it? I guess it could be accidental though.

    • StoneHallows

      I don’t think Voldemort would have cared. Snape was always just a pawn to Voldy, and if he got information before the year was up, that was alright with him!

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    when you said on the show that the movie scene with Snape crying in the Potter house after Lily was murdered was probably somehow based on the book scene with Snape cyring in Grimmauld place over Lily’s letter and the photograph, I want to agree, the idea is similiar.

    But the two scenes happen at different points in the timeline, and the basic feeling portrayed is different. The movie scene shows Snape in acute grief, desperate, tormented, broken. The book scene shows Snape in chronic grief, holding on through the years of guilt, still broken, but determined to do his part in making sure Lily’s death was not in vain.

    • SlytherinKnight

      That scene really messed up the timeline regarding Halloween 1981. We know that Hagrid and Sirius arrived at Godric’s Hollow within maybe an hour of the actual attack, perhaps even minutes after. The only way Snape could have been there quicker would be because he went along with Voldemort. There is no evidence that Snape and Lily had any conversations after Hogwarts, so how could he know where the Potters were hiding?

      I believe that the scene was only added to the film to dramatize and humanize Snape’s character, to show how he still ‘loved’ Lily. To me, its a creepy scene because you have a screaming child who just witnessed his mother being murdered in the background and a fully grown man cradling a dead body. In a different context it would have been all right, but we know that Snape and Lily had been estranged for around 4-5 years before this, and that makes it creepy to me. I would have liked to have seen the filmmakers stay true to the book scene, having Snape rummaging through Grimmauld Place and tearing off Lily’s signature in the letter. Maybe it wouldn’t have had the dramatic effect that the cradling scene did but it still would have been good.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Just wanted to point out that the books do a fine job of messing up the timeline of that “missing day” without the movie’s help 😉

        • BloodCharm

          Do we know that Hagrid and Sirius arrived an hour after the attack? Because it takes Hagrid a whole day to get to Number 4 Privet Drive, unless he stopped to sleep or something. Obviously, they met at the same time or so, but still. Any evidence of that?

          • BloodCharm

            Oh and I had a question: Didn’t Sirius tracking down Pettigrew occur on November 2nd 1981 instead of November 1st 1981? Remember that the first chapter of the book takes place on November 1st and even if the Wizarding World was celebrating at that time, they surely would have heard about the murders of those muggles wouldn’t they? Especially if it was broad daylight. I think it must have took Sirius about a day and a half(32 Hours at most) to track Peter Pettigrew down and the incident happened on November 2nd.

          • frumpybutsupersmart

            That’s a good point – Pettigrew’s attack on those dozen Muggles (explained as a gas explosion) should at least have made the news that Vernon watched that night.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I’m inclined to agree with you that it took Sirius at least a day and a half to track down Peter but I don’t believe we’re ever specifically told.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            We don’t know when they arrived or left, which is part of the problem. I looked for a good synopsis online but this was the best I could find:

            “It is very unclear how much time goes by between certain events on 31 October and 1 November. Sirius arrived on the scene at Godric’s Hollow the night James and Lily died, and Hagrid arrived there a short while later. When Hagrid picks up Harry from Godric’s Hollow early in the morning “right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around” he borrows Sirius’ motorcycle. However, Hagrid arrives on the motorcycle late to Privet Drive when it is “nearly midnight” the next day, having not spoken to Dumbledore since he went to go pick Harry up. As the chapter depicts a whole day between when James and Lily died and when Hagrid arrives at Privet Drive, Hagrid and Harry are missing, or unaccounted for, for nearly 24 hours.”
            – from the HP Wiki

          • SlytherinKnight

            My timeline for that Halloween is this:
            October 31st, 1981 just before midnight: Voldemort arrives in Godric’s Hollow and attacks the Potters
            Dumbledore and those who knew the Secret are alerted to the attack when the Secret falls (we still don’t know what the Secret actually was)

            Sirius is already en route to Godric’s Hollow, having found Pettigrew’s apartment abandoned without a fight

            Sirius arrives at Godric’s Hollow between 12:15am and 1am on November 1st with Hagrid arriving just after Sirius does

            Sirius hands Harry over to Hagrid, along with motorcycle so that Hagrid (who can’t Apparate) can leave

            Sirius then goes after Pettigrew (finds him a day or so later) and is then sent to Azkaban on November 3rd/4th

            Hagrid brings Harry to Hogwarts for reasons

            Dumbledore dispatches McGonagall to Privet Drive early morning hours of November 1st

            Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive around midnight of November 1st, where McGonagall is waiting and then Hagrid arrives

            Trio then dumps Harry on the doorstep like the morning milk with just a letter

            And then we know how the story goes

  • frumpybutsupersmart

    When I think about Snape, I prefer to divide his life into two sections: Snape as a child/teenager, and adult Snape. Young Snape deserves sympathy and hugs. It can’t have been easy coming from an arguably abusive home life into a school where he’s the odd one out and he’s bullied by the popular kids. He was used to feeling powerless, and he grew up desperately craving power. I imagine that was why he couldn’t let go of his obsession with the Dark Arts – it allowed him to control other people, to kick a world that had always been kicking him. I even get why he stayed “friends” with Avery and Mulciber, and the other budding Death Eaters – he needed to belong, so he espoused their toxic beliefs (much like Kreacher with the Blacks, really). He never had the courage to stand up to them and say, ‘no, this is wrong, muggle-borns are not inferior,’ and, at least as a younger person, this is slightly understandable.

    However, I feel very little sympathy for adult Snape. There comes a certain point as you mature that you have to start thinking for yourself, and Snape never really reached that stage. He never actually stopped and thought, ‘Hey, everyone I know thinks that murdering certain groups of people is A-OK! Maybe I should rethink my life choices!’ Despite professing to love Lily, he never tried to stand up to the people who were murdering people like her. It was only when that racism affected him personally that he decided to take a stand (and even then, he clearly didn’t care about Lily’s happiness – he couldn’t care less about the lives of her family, so long as she wasn’t dead).

    And even after all this happened, after he changed sides to save the one person who mattered to him, he was still unable to put his past behind him. He was so desperate for an ounce of power that he started bullying children. Even before Harry arrives at Hogwarts, Snape has a reputation of strongly favouring the Slytherins and just being unpleasant in general. He projected his own emotions and biases onto innocent kids, and say what you will about not being able to help it – that’s no excuse. He was a 30-year-old man who was in complete control of his actions (he was excellent at keeping his feelings in check, in fact, otherwise he could never have been a spy), and he chose to take it out on the children that were placed in his care. You can’t control how you feel, but you can control your own actions, and Snape made some very poor choices indeed.

    • UmbridgeRage

      “He never had the courage to stand up to them and say, ‘no, this is wrong, muggle-borns are not inferior,’ ” Did he believe that tho? I think it could be argued that Snape only made an exception for Lily in this regard. From The Prince’s Tale:

      “Does it make a difference, being Muggle-born?”
      Snape hesitated. His black eyes, eager in the greenish gloom, moved over the pale face, the dark red hair.
      “No,” he said. “It doesn’t make any difference.

      “So she’s my sister!”
      “She’s only a – ” He caught himself quickly;

      “No – listen, I didn’t mean – ”
      “- to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?”

      There is a case for Severus trying to hide his true self from Lily because he knows she wont like what she sees if he does. He wears a mask for her and removes it for his wanna-be Death Eater friends because he truly believes that Muggles, like his father, need to be put in their place. That Muggle-borns cannot be as good as those with magical parents (except Lily because Lily is pretty).

      • frumpybutsupersmart

        This is a good point. I think he was probably raised with that kind of prejudice, in a similar way Draco was. He managed to outgrow it, but not soon enough. Also, it illustrates that the argument ‘I can’t be racist, my best friend is*insert ethnicity*’ is complete rubbish.

        Side note: Thank you so much Katie for being so open about your experience outgrowing bigotry – it was pretty similar to my own. I was raised in a similar environment and it’s not easy to start questioning things you’ve been raised believing. But it’s nice to have proof that people really can change for the better :)

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          You’re welcome! I’m not proud of my bigoted youth but I am proud of my overcoming it, so I have no problem talking about it. And I hope that being open about such things can help others evaluate which bubbles they may still be living within that need to be popped. I’m glad to hear that you were able to “outgrow your bigotry” (I like the way you phrased that) as well :) You’re right, it’s not easy questioning things you’ve been told your entire life, but it’s worth the effort. Change is definitely possible :)

    • StoneHallows

      This is precisely how I feel. It’s understandable that young Severus behaved they way he did – he was raised in an abusive home, thinking that control meant love, hearing that Muggle-borns were inferior, etc. But as an adult, regardless of the horrors and pains of his past, HE STILL HAS A CHOICE AND HE CHOOSE WRONG. When he decides that Lily’s life is the only thing that matters, not her family, he chooses wrong (and incredibly selfish). When he decides to take it out on kids that aren’t even vaguely related to his past, he chooses wrong. When he decides to let his feelings about James override human decency, he chooses wrong. When he and Sirius both decide to live in the past and let it affect how they work together, they are both wrong. They both have arguably similar childhoods; then they make different choices in school, and yet still make that one bad decision, because each decision is its own entity and has it’s own consequences.

  • ILoveLunaLoveGood

    I listened to the episode and realise that a lot of people have strongly informed opinions on Snape etc but I think we often confuse our reading of him because of the character we first get to know 1-4 then OotP HBP and the revelations morph and cloud it somewhat.
    We should start with what we know.
    He has a Troubled childhood.
    Has he really learned dark magic before school? probably not, he doesnt seem to have similar exposure to Death Eater ideology from his parents. So we don;t really know for sure but its clear that quite soon after arriving he has started to pick up some things. Maybe he got into a lot of self study and maybe he was exposed to things from kids in his house. Now people like to discuss Lily’s influence on him but surely we can all agree that it was minimal at best. He continued to hang out with people she clearly described as “evil”. The panel argues that there may have been elements of gangwashing going on but he stayed with them after school and became a Death Eater. Yes. His “love” for lily takes over when he realises his actions may have lead to her death and becomes a double agent and saves Harry etc but pretending like that means he was a good person all along distorts what we know about his life.

    Now we know that James and Sirius are arrogant dicks. But we also know that they were intelligent and excelled at magic but far as we know their magic never goes Dark. They learn to become animagii for their Friend. They invent the map which is at worst an annoyance for teachers/caretaker but not malicious. Snape clearly impressed the other “evil” death eaters enough to let him into their gang.
    Like if he was really this awkward, weird, sitting in a corner-dweeb, they would hardly have taken a liking to him?

    We all wold love to see the transition that lead to Lily falling in love cos as Harry says at the moment we’re stuck with this image of her hating him… But the fact is Lily fell for him, married him and built a happy(?) family with him. She chose him. She chose to alienate Snape after so many chances because he was consorting wth “evil” people, insulting her and clearly on a path to the dark side and nothing she did seemed to stop him…

    We all know the instances where Snape as an adult is evil and we sometimes put that on the resentment of the way his life turned out but he must have had a malicious side of him in his childhood for Lily to give up on him and for the other death eaters to include him etc..
    Lupin compares him to malfoy which is probably fair, Malfoy also redeemed himself when push came to shove but mostly cos he was still a kid i feel. He still made the right choice.

    Snape made choices in Hogwarts and after Hogwarts that we need to confront and stop pretending were products of his surroudings or bad luck…I suppose Snape is what we have if Malfoy had taken the “easy” choice 😉

    I dont think Snape is evil, he def redeems himself ad clearly Rowling used him as one of her most nuanced characters bt people need to stop ignoring certain facts about his childhood and consider these questions.
    He was in a gang of Death Eaters. If he is this awkward, loner of a kid How? why?
    He was inventing spells, at least one of which we consider quite “dark”.
    He left Hogwarts and became a Death Eater. How? why?

    • BloodCharm

      Snape may have been an oddball, but Sirius and James go out of their way to bully him- Yes, Snape may have insulted and scoffed at James and may have instigated some of the magical fighting between them, again we don’t know, but the kind of bullying, the incredibly mean humiliation of him in public is a lot crueler and vicious then duels between them and should not be tolerated.

      • UmbridgeRage

        No, it shouldn’t. However, we get only a tiny glimpse of those years at Hogwarts and have no idea how Snape retaliated against James. Can you say for certain that Severus never did anything as cruel and humiliating? Sure, the outside effects of the humiliation would not have lasted long on a popular Quidditch player but would that justify it? Do you really think “good and virtuous” Snape only dueled James? He seems the type to me to have hexed from a distance so not to get caught in any wrongdoing. Can I prove that happened? No, just as you can’t prove it didn’t. Too often the fandom take “Snape’s Worst Memory” and expand it to say: “This is James Potter: nothing but a bully, no redeaming qualities. This is Severus Snape: a poor boy who never did anything wrong to anyone and was a hero in the end. Then why does every character who knew him speak of James as a great guy? Who battled the evil taking over the WW while Snape joined that evil, only turning when that evil affected him personally.

        Edit: Please don’t take this comment as some sort of justifying of James in SWM. He was cruel and a bully in this moment.

      • ILoveLunaLoveGood

        We all agree (that the act of humiliation we see def (and presumably deiberately since Harry himself alludes to it) paints James in a “Malfoy/Dudley” light and Snape comes across in that scene as an oddball or loner who is in the wrong place at the wrong time (Sirius was bored).

        However, I think we have to consider that we see that from Snape’s memories and we see it contextualised in Snape’s other memories. We don’t really get to how James changed/evolved something we have to accept happened for Lily to fall *in love* with him. Like we can imagine that there was a time where Lily and Snape might have got together but She *chose* someone else. Why? we can never really know for sure, but probably because Snape *didnt* change or went down a dark path and didnt seem like coming back while James *did* change ie She clearly saw through his arrogance but somehow fell in with his crowd later on…

        Again we dont really get all the info in terms of timelines etc but its hinted that the Death Eaters were already forming and Snape ultimately chose to stay with them etc. James and his gang were presumably more and more disgusted and enraged by whatever things Voldy was doing in the lead up to the war…and presumably Lily was in that camp…

        So no, James’ bullying should not be tolerated but what we know about Snape outside of these memories is that he was clearly colluding with Death Eaters, showing off with some amount of knowledge of the Dark Arts and making choices to defend/stay with this crowd rather than keeping his distance and after school made the choice to commit pretty strongly to Voldy’s case etc..

    • UmbridgeRage

      Great questions. “Snape made choices in Hogwarts and after Hogwarts that we need to confront and stop pretending were products of his surroudings or bad luck…” This! So much this!

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Vulnerable loners are precisely the kind of kids that are ripe for gang influence. They are seen as malleable and easy to manipulate into doing things that most people would object to because they are desperate for acceptance. We can’t assume that the gang of budding Death Eaters that Snape joined was this posh, exclusive group that only let in popular, attractive people. They could see that Snape was a talented wizard, and yes, were impressed by his knowledge of the Dark Arts. In the conversation we see, Lily never accuses Snape of partaking in their “evil” deeds. I believe his participation was probably more along the lines of discussing dark magic with them.

      But from Snape’s perspective, it was that ability to impress someone that gave him the feeling that he mattered. I’m sure Lily made him feel that he mattered to her (while they were still friends) but she doesn’t seem like the type to be overly impressed, and she’ll definitely call you out when you’re wrong. Maybe they even had a somewhat competitive relationship when it comes to magical advancement and grades. I think she was his true peer in the realm of intellect and talent. Whereas the gang might have been a place for Snape to feel important and maybe slightly better magically (think of why Draco keeps Crabbe and Goyle around — he always feels superior. Although I don’t think Snape was the leader of that group, nor do I think he even agreed with all of their thinking deep down.)

      • UmbridgeRage

        And here is where “Snape Defenders” and “Snape Detractors” reach an impossible pass. We just don’t have nearly enough data on his Hogwarts years to come to any real conclusions. My comment below shows that an argument can be made that Snape wore a mask for Lily and not for his “gang”. That he made an exception for her and experienced cognitive dissonance over his beliefs about muggles and muggle-borns and how he viewed her because she had been kind and a friend to him. We never get inside Severus’ head other than The Prince’s Tale which is a limited view (presented to us through Harry’s eyes) designed to have Harry trust Snape in this moment because he has important info that Harry must believe. I would further argue that he only truly and completely switched sides when Voldemort did not honor his request and spare Lily. Her death changed everything and that Snape did not fight “on the side of good” for muggles or muggle-borns but to ease his own guilt and get some measure of revenge against those who had taken away his love/friend. Short of J.K writing a story on those years that clears up what Sev actually believed during those years we will always have a difference of opinion.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          Pretty much true, ha. My interest in defending Snape comes partly from a conviction that it’s worthwhile for readers to try to understand him, and see the text as it might be read through a lens that is more sympathetic to Snape, regardless of whether they change their final opinion in the end (debating him also helps me understand for myself why I like his character so much!). I have examples from the text and interpretations thereof to support an argument about his beliefs and how they evolved, which I will hopefully get to post later. But they are just one among many possible readings, and I hope we never get more backstory, because it would sort of ruin the original intent of the character, don’t you think?

          Quickly on the two examples you’ve cited below – the first occurs when they are very young, not yet in school. He probably didn’t know any Muggleborn children prior to Lily, and his father looms large as a horrible representation of a Muggle. His views were not yet fully formed or informed, I would say. The second example is an instance of a pattern I’ve noted, which is that important characters have a habit of putting words in Snape’s mouth, Lily and Dumbledore specifically. This happens in several key moments where the reader is poised to make a judgment about Snape, but we don’t actually get his explanation in his own words. And in these moments, Snape chooses for whatever reason not to argue with them — maybe because the beliefs they’ve attributed to him are accurate, but maybe because he doesn’t feel he’s in a position to argue or doesn’t know how to say what he needs to say or there is some other aspect of the story he doesn’t want to admit to, so he stays quiet and accepts it. I’ve been in situations like that myself. Therefore, we have to ask here whether Lily is just assuming based on what his “friends” in the gang say (guilt by association), or if she is trying to prompt the truth out of him, or if she’s just angry, or if she has in fact heard him call others that word. To me, the scene is unclear. He doesn’t deny it, but he didn’t admit to it either.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Yes, I hope J.K never writes that story. It would change forever one of my favorite Harry Potter discussions. Would love to read your post about his changing beliefs, though I will no doubt have counter-arguments. I will always come back to Alohamora for a Snape debate, always generates some much great discussion and debate.

            Kinda confused since I gave 3 examples but your views on the first apply to the second so I wont dwell on that. As to J.K putting Snape’s words in other characters mouths: Is it safe to assume that these characters are saying the truth without the sugar coating or venom that Snape might put on it? Should we not read it that in the mentioned quote Snape meant to say Mudblood but Lily beat him to the punch. I think it would be quite hard to argue the opposite. Since this slur comes so easily to Snape against Lily would it not also be safe to assume he had used it before? Lily is by far and away the most “good” character in the entire series (some would argue too good) and appears to be a straight talker. I’m not sure J.K wants us to doubt anything she is saying during The Prince’s Tale, that if this character said Snape had used the term Mudblood before then he did.

          • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

            And would love to read your counter-arguments, although I’ll probably already have anticipated many of them myself! I enjoy looking at all sides of a question and have really enjoyed reading all of your contributions on this episode. Last year’s episode generated some really rich discussion as well. I almost wish we could re-post some of those comments here, because they deserve consideration, and a lot of people lost the will to keep making arguments in support of Snape after the first episode was so emotionally charged. I almost lost the will, too, and wasn’t sure I’d participate this time, but just could not resist.

            Sorry for misunderstanding your previous post — I wasn’t looking at the book and thought the first two quotes were excerpted from the same scene. But yes, same argument applies. I actually agree with you that we are supposed to view Lily as the trustworthy character, whereas Dumbledore, I would argue, is a character who — by this point in the series — we are meant to question and view with suspicion when he seems to be potentially manipulating others. In the scene where Lily accuses him of calling every Muggleborn a Mudblood, the stronger interpretation is that Lily’s statement is true. (My initial reading was more along the lines of what I’d argued about Lily putting those words in his mouth, but my opinion has changed over time.) He probably did use that term freely and often around his gang, but whether or not that reflected his considered beliefs is debatable. I doubt he had forced himself, at age 15-16, to dig deep and reckon with why he could really make an exception for Lily and think about whether that meant he should reconsider his prejudice. Like David said on the episode, Slytherin house in that time period was likely an environment in which those pure-blooded views were taken for granted and any thinking to the contrary discouraged. I think part of the reason why he is at a loss for words during that conversation outside the Gryffindor dormitory is that he really hasn’t figured out how to reconcile his feelings for Lily, and by extension, her principles, with his ambitions and attraction to the Death Eaters’ power and ideas.

            N.B. I think the memories Snape gives in The Prince’s Tale are his honest release of all his life’s actions and experiences, both good and bad, not just a carefully edited selection of memories designed to make Harry trust him. What reason would he have to hold back at this stage? After more than ten years of repressing emotions and calculating every move, isn’t it possible that he wanted to be known for who he really was? Even though he hated Harry, protecting this kid consumed the better part of his life for seven years. I think he desired some final connection and understanding with him before he died. Yes, it’s possible that he maintained his secretiveness until the bitter end, but I think it’s more generous to read his tale as the most open and honest Severus was ever able to be.

      • ILoveLunaLoveGood

        This is where we differ. I *do* think he agreed with alot of their thinking. He joined the Death Eaters, He worked with Voldemort, He agreed to spy on Dumbledore, He gave Voldy information that he must have known was going to lead to people (including children) dying. His choices from school all the way up to that night were his own and lead to the death of at least the potters who knows what else he was involved in. We get no indication that he was manipulated (he was clearly well able to manipulate Malfoy and Voldy when it mattered). While it is possible to imagine some amount of manipulation of a vulnerable odd ball in school etc he is clearly confident enough and self aware enough to waIt outside the portrait to speak with Lily, he clearly had a positive influence/role model in Lily who he refused to listen to… He enjoyed the power he was getting in Slytherin. He enjoyed the power he got when he became a Death Eater… He enjoyed the power he got when he became a teacher etc.
        While we can discuss whether his intelligence warranted Ravenclaw, clearly the sorting hat disagreed and saw his thirst for power/ambition.

        I think Snape himself has a sort of congnitive dissonance or split personality in that there is Snape, the Slytherin & Snape with a crush on Lily. When Lily asks him whether being muggle born makes a difference, he hesitates; there is a clash between Snape the Slytherin who otherises Muggle borns and Snape who has a crush on a girl so tries to make her happy.
        In school Snape the Slytherin starts to embrace the Dark side of things among his peers, something which doesnt go unnnotices by James.
        This Snape gets humiliated by James and calls Lily a Mudblood… clearly one side is winning, while he does come to apologise, Lily emphasises that the crowd he is hanging out with are Evil. Here Snape has a choice, renounce Evil, renounce Slytherin, renounce Power, embrace Lily, embrace Love or try to win her by becoming a Good Person etc. He chose the former.
        While we can agree that watching Her fall for James probably cant have helped his descent I still think we are ignoring his thirst for power, his clear interest in the Dark arts and the chances he had to change his choices.

        Snape chose the Easy option and Lily died. James chose the Right option, tough as it might have been to swallow his pride/arrogance and become a better person but it worked, he won the girl and he died for the cause…

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          I agree with, or at least understand and appreciate, so many of the arguments you’re making. This is why I love discussing Snape and reading thoughtful critical comments by people like yourself!

          I agree that Snape feel in love with power — but that desire for power grew out of a childhood in which he was powerless, and in which he witnessed his mother relinquish her power in a relationship with an abusive man. This is a very realistic scenario; most of this world’s problems are rooted in humans’ desire for power. I don’t doubt that James, too, enjoyed the power that enabled him to torment a guy that he disliked, and to show off in the hopes of attracting Lily.

          But James enjoyed that power as a matter of privilege. This is why I disagree that he took the “hard road” while Snape took the “easy road.” How hard could it really have been for a confident, rich, popular guy from a nurturing family to stop bullying a person less fortunate than himself who lacked those advantages? The text doesn’t show us that James’ change, any more than Snape’s, involved any introspection, self-critique, and a desire to do the right thing. Yes, he died for that cause but so, ultimately, did Snape. And Snape spent years willingly placing himself in the riskiest position possible, lying to Voldemort, Bellatrix, and the world in order to protect Harry. SnapesManyButtons has laid out the extreme difficulty of what Snape did in her comment above. Yes, Lily’s death was the instigator of his change, but it still couldn’t have been easy given that he was in so deep at that point. He could have simply fled and cast a memory charm on himself, or something else that would truly have represented “the easy choice”; instead, he helped Dumbledore and Harry to see the fight through.

          I don’t think it would even have been as easy as you imply to renounce his Slytherin friends and the feelings of power and possibility that he got from those relationships. Again, this is where I agree with you that Snape has cognitive dissonance, but I trace that back to his need for security and control over his life, and a feeling of significance, which he never had as a child. Yes, a friendship with Lily could have fulfilled those needs to some degree, and he made a bad choice, but I am not trying to excuse his choices, just to understand them and acknowledge that they may have been hard choices for a teenage boy to make in a mature, selfless way.

          • ILoveLunaLoveGood

            I would point out that many of the motivating factors you point to in terms of Snape’s inclination towards power are also the case with Voldemort. His fear of death comes from his disgust at his own Mother’s death etc. His desire for power coming from his lack of power at the orphanage etc.

            James was never seduced by power, this is the difference. He had privilege and therefore some amount of power. He did use that power as you rightly point out but he did also reject it, or at least we assume he did by Lily’s acceptance of him (juxtapositioned by her rejection of Snape who was being seduced and eventually succumbed to The Dark Side/power).
            I mean the seduction of the dark side is def something worth considering, when we look at Peter we see something similar, a vulnerable kid/person who desires more power etc. Emp
            James has/had power and so wasnt as easily seduced by it but he also did turn away from that arrogance and privilege which wasnt that easy.
            We all agree that Snape did decide to do what was right rather than what was easy when Lily was killed but His choices up to then were towards power…

          • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

            The seductions of dark magic and the power it confers are absolutely at play in these books. That’s what I was trying to say in my initial comment about the gang question: Snape was seduced by the power of dark magic — which, at the time, just happened to be represented in its ultimate form by Voldemort. He came of age at a time when the main power struggle was being played out over wizard supremacy, and he followed his search for power down that path — by choice, yes, but not because he was really seduced by the ideology itself. Of course, any latent ideas he had about Muggles (based on the experiences with his father) and the obvious fact that having magic gives you certain powers would have been activated and reinforced by the group mentality of his gang at school. But the real seduction, I’d argue, was dark magic itself because it would give him the power to defend himself and fight back and achieve significance — all of the needs he was trying to fill from a childhood of neglect and feeling insignificant. That’s just my reading of the very specific scenes presented in the text and what I think it’s trying to show us. It’s nuanced and open to many interpretations, but yes, the seductions of power and dark magic are clear.

  • IWillBeTransferredToPigfarts!

    I always find it difficult to follow nature vs nurture discussions, because from how I understand it, there is no “or”, only an “and”. There are some traits that come out in most environments (that is probably what is commonly understood as “nature”) and there are some traits that need some very special circumstances to come out (“nurture”). But in all cases, you need both – the trait to be present and the matching environment. And the concept completely disregards choice. You can choose how to act and react, and there are some choices that “come naturally” (I view them like an autoresponse), but you CAN always choose differently, but that might take a lot of work. For example, Snape did not care for Harry himself, but he could have chosen to care for him and Dumbledore regularly appeared to give him incentives to think about it, but Snape chose “what is easy, not what is right”, because “what is right” would have taken a lot of work. But then, I don’t think there is right or wrong, and Snape’s choice brought about a satisfying end ..

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Well said :)

    • SnapesManyButtons

      What’s easy is to protect the people you love and care for. What would have been easy would have been for Snape to just do nothing and bemoan the fact that Lily was being targeted. Instead of going to Voldemort and Dumbledore, both of whom could have killed him outright. It would have been easy to not be a spy when the smallest slip of his occlumency or hint of his betrayal would see him killed. It would have been easier not trying to protect a boy whose first instinct is to run headlong into danger. Personally, I’d rather have a teacher be mean to my child to their face but be willing to risk their own life to keep them safe, than a teacher who would be kind to them but not lift a finger when they were in danger. Snape was a teacher for a few hours a day, but he was always a spy whose life was at risk if his betrayal should ever be discovered. So yes, he didn’t make a conscious choice to be nice to Harry and be among those who constantly let him get away with actions that endangered himself and others. He was mean and bitter and not a nice person. But he certainly wasn’t someone who took the easy way out.

  • DisKid

    Despite the fact that I don’t care for Snape, I can actually relate to him. I was a lovesick teenager myself who made impulsive decisions thinking my actions would keep my crush by me, even draw them closer to me, when really I was doing exactly what I needed to do to drive them away. I can relate to how Snape honestly thought Lily would become impressed with his dark magic. I completely understand the argument that if Snape had loved Lily, he would have given it up for her. But Snape was a lovesick, impulsive teenager. He wasn’t thinking anymore than I was in that situation which lead to the consequence of losing that person. I look back on myself thinking how much of a stupid kid I was being so lovesick to think my actions were a good idea when they were not at all. I’d never take those actions now.

    I do wonder something though. I matured with age and now think very differently when it comes to falling for somebody. Snape was awfully young when Voldemort began to target Harry Potter and hunt Lily down with him. He was barely out of the teen years. Still had maturing time ahead of him. Had Harry Potter not been targeted, would Snape have always remained a death eater faithful to the Dark Lord? Or would he have matured and because he still loved Lily; he would have became a spy regardless because he would have began to realize the thing he could do to get Lily to at least forgive him would be to turn against Voldemort. Course, he probably also would have to have been a nicer professor for her to think good of him again and I don’t know if his personality would have gone that far! But I do wonder, if Harry had not been the target, would his love for Lily have made him become a spy regardless. Possibly even with false hope that she’d become impressed with him.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      thank you for sharing your experiences!
      If I may ask, do you remember what made you realize that your actions were not a good idea?

      I’m asking because I think that maturing is not only tied to time, but to the opportunities to learn, grow and change your perspective. More time can bring more opportunities, but some experiences can have a very big influence and make a person mature much faster than they might have done in a longer time period.

      • DisKid

        In my case, I do think it was mostly maturity. For the longest time, I justified my actions and maintained the ones who left were at fault because they were being unreasonable, weren’t listening, didn’t understand me ect. I would even see other impulsive teenagers doing similar things and I would justify it saying I was different.

        It wasn’t until a few years later, when I was reminiscing with my best friend, that I finally admitted I was in the wrong and the way I was thinking was immature. It was really just a sudden click when I was asked exactly what happened. That was the first time I admitted that, were the situation reversed, I’d have left too.

        Didn’t really have too many experiences in between my lovesick, impulsive teenage years and the next time when I fell for somebody. The next time I fell for somebody after my last blow in the impulsive teenage years, thought didn’t even occur to me to take impulsive actions. I began thinking/analyzing “What is this person like? What would they want me to do? Is this definitely something they would want?” instead of impulsively thinking “This makes me feel good, so it’ll keep them around! They may protest at first, but I’ll show them it’s ok.” Which is basically what Snape was thinking with Lily. Dark magic made him feel good, so he figured it would keep her around. If she didn’t like it, he was sure he could get her to change her mind instead of thinking “Lily doesn’t like this. If I keep doing this, I may push her away.”

        I do agree that experiences mature a person as well, no doubt about that. It can definitely bring maturity faster. In my case though, I do believe I just needed some time to grow up.

  • StoneHallows

    I am one of those people that don’t like Snape as a person, but concede the fact that he is a fantastically written character. He’s real and gritty and touches parts of life that a lot of us would just like to forget.

    As a kid, the only “love” that he saw was an abusive relationship between his mother and father. His father might have been one of those abusers that was a terror, then a switch would flip and he would be all lovey-dovey. If this is the only “love” that Young Severus had ever known, it makes sense that he would begin any new relationship that way – it was the only thing he knew, and kids always imitate what they know. (Also, I see it as completely possible that he learned all that “dark magic” as a defense against his home life.)

    However, while I can see where this would have come from, once he was out of the house, saw Lily’s situation, saw that what he always knew wasn’t actually love, I would think that would make him pause. It could be that he thought Lily would accept him exactly as he was without wanting him to change – and there is an argument for that, up to a certain point. But once it was clear that Lily was expecting so much more of him as a person, that should have been another time that he stopped and thought about why that might be. As he got older, the excuse that he grew up not knowing what love really looked like becomes invalid. By this point, he knows what it looks like, even if it was never given to him. From now on, it’s the choices that he makes that come into play, and it is therefore entirely his fault.

    I’ve never thought that it was nature OR nurture. Some people are given a bad deal and have a rough life. But you ALWAYS have the choice (with the possible exception of a mental disorder) to be a good or bad person. Snape chose to let him circumstances make him bitter and hard and mean. It emotionally stunted him and left him acting as a jilted teenager for the rest of his life. We’ve talked before about how Sirius seems stuck in the past over James and how that is detrimental to him, and Snape is the same over Lily. He could have chosen to let her go. It would have been a hard road, and a very difficult choice to not let that lose embitter him to the world, and I’m sure the constant reminders all around him every single day didn’t help. But it was still a choice nonetheless, and it’s one that he should have owned up to.

  • I really have no comments on this episode. I feel like the Snape conversation has been talked to death. I really don’t even see “sides” on this Snape debate. There is no argument.

    Snape was a horrible person who did a bad thing. THAT is a FACT. It doesn’t matter WHY he was horrible. It doesn’t matter WHO he was horrible to. He WAS horrible. That’s it. But he did a good thing.

    The world isn’t made up of good people and Deatheaters.

  • When Hermione’s teeth were jinxed to grow overly large, Snape took one look at her and spoke the words, “I see no difference.”

    WHAT! You don’t say that!

    Cynical people like Snape

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    You were such a great guest host! And even though it’s not apropos of Snape, may I wish you “merde” in your ballet career! I’m a dancer (not professional but pretty serious ballet and modern student) and have such appreciation and respect for what you do and how much hard work it takes. Hope things keep going well for you.

    • MoodyHorcrux

      Thank you so much! That’s so sweet and I truly appreciate it. :) I’m glad you liked the episode too! I wish you all the success in your studies and future adventures xoxo

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Thank you!

  • sortedpriorities

    I think the nature vs. nurture gets too much sway in these Snape discussions! I work with foster youth of all ages, and in my experience, kids from abusive/neglectful homes are a lot more resilient and malleable than we give them credit for. How a kid is going to turn out is a lot more nuanced than whether they came from an unhealthy home or not. Even if Snape didn’t know how to treat people kindly based on his home life (which he did know to some degree, because he treated Lily kindly), he would have picked up on that kindness option as soon as he got to Hogwarts, whether or not he was sorted into Slytherin. Hogwarts becomes the foster family in this scenario; students are generally expected to be respectful and kind by their professors and are held to a certain standard of behavior (until Snape himself becomes a professor of course). Kids who were locked in bedrooms with their siblings for days at a time or physically abused by their parents aren’t automatically mean kids when they come in to foster care, the same as Harry was not mean after coming out of the Dursleys. Many of my foster youth have delays or knowledge gaps that improve and are filled in gradually when they are placed in a safe and stable foster home with parents who are invested in their well-being. The majority of them are going to improve their behaviors and be relatively okay. Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story and I would argue that Snape had several at Hogwarts. The crappy confusing teen years where you are bullied don’t have to define the rest of your life and neither does an abusive childhood. I have a foster youth who was prostituted by her mom for drugs and she is going to college and working at an animal shelter. In the majority of circumstances, when you become an adult you CHOOSE, no matter what trauma you’ve been through, no matter who bullied you, YOU get to make the choice to not do the same thing to others and Snape makes the wrong choice every time. Snape knows that bullying hurts and chose to bully. Snape saw how Lily loved and chose not to do the same. This does not honor her memory or whatever love he *may* have had for her. We cannot blame his childhood experiences for every adult choice that he makes that is damaging towards others. His childhood can help us understand aspects of personality but it does not define who he is or make all of his adult choices suddenly acceptable.

    • What a great comment! Fantastic point!

      I remember watching a short documentary about a man who was horribly abused as a child. He grew up, married another man, and adopted foster children to try to give them a better life than he had. He is a beautiful person, very much unexpected based off his youth. The way he was raised made him a better person.

      But at the same time people who are raised in a great household can also grow up to be great people.

      “It’s our choices the define us,” not the way you were raised.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      *applauds*

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I would LOVE for you to audition to be on the show! Your background with foster children gives a perspective that few people have and is so in line with what Jo is passionate about with her Lumos foundation. I’m not sure what the show’s topic should be…”Before Hogwarts: How different characters dealt with tumultuous childhoods” or something like that. Everyone, please chime in with ideas. But I feel like this is an important piece to the puzzle that many fans are missing (myself included).

      • sortedpriorities

        That is so kind! I loved the mental health episode and think Harry Potter is really relatable for kids who have been through trauma in so many ways. I’ve only been in this job a little over a year but there is SO much I didn’t know about foster care and trauma informed care/trauma reactions. I will keep an eye on here for more input and I will be thinking about it! My wedding is coming up (September 2…scheduled before the 19 years later event was…) so I may have to wait until after all the hoopla dies down to send something in!

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! I vividly remember how crazy the months leading up to my wedding were, so I don’t blame you at all for waiting. But I do hope you will when you have the time :)

    • MartinMiggs

      The problem is Snape is never removed from that situation as a child because he returns to a broken home every summer and Hogwarts is not a place that takes care of their students psychologically. Remember, Hogwarts used to hang students from the ceiling for a few days according to Filch so i don’t think that’s a great enviroment for kids to grow up in.

  • Frodo Weasley

    I thought the discussion relative to the Sorting Hat was fascinating for the implications that it made. Let’s assume that when Snape put’s the Sorting hat on he was, at least, partly conflicted. His sole friend has just been sorted into Gryffindor and he has these feelings for her. So does he waver? Let’s assume he does and he and the hat have “the talk”.
    Let’s remember what happened when the Hat and Harry had “the talk”…
    —-
    “Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, A my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting…. So where shall I put you?”
    Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
    “Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you’re sure
    — better be GRYFFINDOR!”

    We know that Snape had courage (brave- yes, good person- no). We know that he had a good mind. We know he had talent and, very likely a thirst to prove himself. That means that Snape chose the “way to greatness” over Lily.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      In my opinion, the difference between Snape’s courage and the courage of a Gryffindor is that Gryffindors tend to be courageous simply for the sake of it. They honour bravery and chivalry – that is, doing the right thing *because* it’s the right thing to do (or sometimes, for the sake of showing off *couch*McLaggen*cough*). A Slytherin, on the other hand, can always be brave, but that bravery comes from a different place. Snape chose to be brave out of selfish reasons: his guilt over Lily’s death and his role in it, and the desire to protect her child as a kind of personal redemption. I don’t think Snape could ever have been a Gryffindor, because just being brave isn’t enough – it has to be for the right reasons.

      (In a similar way, Hufflepuffs might be excellent at, for example, Transfiguration, because they value working hard; on the other hand, a Ravenclaw would be good at Transfiguration because they like learning for knowledge’s sake.)

      PS – I LOVE your username!!

      • Frodo Weasley

        Thank you!
        The premise discussed in the episode was the extent of “choice” in the sorting. And you make an excellent point. So I guess the real question is, to what extent can you “choose” your house?
        We’ve always wondered just how the hell Peter Pettigrew ended up in Gryffindor. He had none of the characteristics associated with the house and never developed any latent characteristics associated with the house. And so that that, I would posit a theory. I think the Sorting Hat chooses your house ABSENT your willingness to choose where you want to go. Since most people don’t realize they have the ability to choose, the Hat does it for them. I don’t think it is beyond the realm of possibility that a coward like Peter would have imagined himself to have courage he did not, in fact, possess. And as such, when he was sorted he chose to be in Gryffindor because it validated his need to “be brave”.
        If we continue into the area of Cursed Child, Albus “chose” to be in Slytherin as evidenced by his alternate reality placement in Gryffindor.
        So I think there is a certain level of choice that goes into the sorting and, thus, had Snape chosen to, he could have ended up in Gryffindor to be with Lily. He did not, and thus betrayed her again.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          I think it’s too far to say that Snape “betrayed” Lily by not choosing to be in Gryffindor. What if his mother and all of his family had been in Slytherin, would it then have been a betrayal to them to choose Gryffindor? Did Sirius “betray” his family in like manner? These are 11 year old children, plus one would hope that they could still remain friends despite being in different houses — we know that their respective houses made that difficult in the context of war when they were growing up, but in an ideal world, to choose a different house than your friend is not inherently to reject your friendship.

  • BloodCharm

    Off-topic, but anybody else notice the problems in Prisoner Of Azkaban with Lupin’s werewolf transformations? He only transforms into a wolf when he is in the moonlight that night (When Harry sees him come out of the castle when he and Hermione come back in time, he notices how cloudy the night is), but he tells us that he was taken to the Shrieking Shack every month where all the windows are presumably boarded shut so nobody can see him. So how would there be any moonlight for him to be in to transform? Obviously it’s just a plot convenience so Lupin can transform at the wrong moment, Pettigrew can escape, and things get dangerous for all parties involved. Still, it’s a problem lol.

  • daveybjones999 .

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all of the comments for this episode and like I suspected there’s a lot of angles of discussion that I’ve never even thought of being discussed. I just wanted to make one final comment on Snape, with some of it being things I already said on the episode and a few clarifications on my feelings for Snape. Most of my sympathy for him is reserved for Snape as a teenager and as a kid. I feel that a lot of the time people allow what type of person Snape eventually became color their opinions on him as a child and misattribute negative aspects to him, that I don’t think he develops until much later in life.

    I see Snape as a child as mostly lonely and misunderstood by most of his classmates, and that’s why it became easy for him to fall in with the wrong crowd, despite the positive influence that Lily had on him. When Lily asks him about whether being muggle born makes any difference in magical ability, I think the reason why he pauses before answering isn’t because he believes that it does and is just saying it doesn’t to get Lily to like him, but because he just never really thought about it before. My interpretation is that most of his prejudice against muggle born witches and wizards didn’t really start until after he got placed into Slytherin. I also agree that we shouldn’t take what happens during Snape’s Worse Memory completely at face value, as we don’t really get any outside context. I see the James and Snape rivalry to be in actuality much more equal than we see in that chapter.

    Also while I definitely agree that the main reason why Snape had changed sides was because Voldemort targeted Lily, and that if Voldemort did not target her, Snape likely wouldn’t have changed sides, or if he did it would take a few years. However, I don’t believe that reason invalidates the change that he goes through. It can be easy for people to not care about certain issues unless it affects them directly, and I think this is what happens with Snape. Lily being targeted makes it impossible for Snape to be able to rationalize his siding with the Death Eaters. Finally on whether or not Snape is redeemable, for me while he can’t be redeemed for the way in which he treats his students, the mistakes he made when he was young, and all the people he gets killed as a spy are completely redeemable. Also since in the movie he’s never as nasty to the kids as in the book, Snape is completely redeemed for all of his action, but only in the movies

  • Evie Bond

    I really hate Snape. I know heaps of peole don’t, in fact, my best friend ships Snily. hahaha cause that will happen.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the episode after the way the last one went, but it is encouraging to see that there aren’t over 700 comments like there were last time, so maybe it wasn’t as controversial. Can anyone who is a bonafide Snape fan tell me what they thought of the episode? Or did all the Snape lovers avoid it like I did?

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      I’d say you could give it a try. Hosts and guests really made an effort to be considerate and have a balanced discourse.

    • MartinMiggs

      you’re not gonna want to listen to the recap

      • MartinMiggs

        you’re REALLY not gonna want to listen to the recap then lol

      • MoodyHorcrux

        Yeah I was excited to listen to the recap but was disappointed. Pretty annoyed.

    • There wasn’t any Snape hate in this discussion. The episode explored aspects of Snape’s character instead. Why is he the way he is? What was his early life like? How much of an impact does Lily truly have on his life? Did he love Harry?

      Things like that. There isn’t any real hare. Hosts will share their opinions but the episode is not bashing Snape at all.

      That said, how could you love such a horrible man who verbally abuses students of whom he is supposed to be caring for? Inexcusable.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        I could wax poetic on why I love Snape for pages, but you don’t really want to hear that so I’ll just say this: If Harry Potter, who actually was on the receiving end of Snape’s supposed abuse, can see past the mean teacher to the brave man whose true loyalty and actions made him worthy of naming his son after him… then I think I’m in good company.

        • Snape was a jerk. Horrible person. He did a good thing and helped Harry. He’s still a horrible person. I suppose one could like a horrible person though

    • MoodyHorcrux

      Hey SnapesManyButtons :) I was a host on this episode and I’m a snape fan so I made sure certain things were said. It was definitely not all Snape bashing like before. It was a really well rounded conversation about him and I think you’d appreciate it! At least I really hope you will!! xox

    • Michael Harle

      As others have already said, I really hope you do give it a shot. I purposefully sought out a diverse panel for the discussion.

      I hope any of my contributions to Alohomora! never lead someone to stop listening, especially to episodes about topics they’re passionate about. That’s never my goal, and I’m truly saddened to hear that you felt so strongly as to avoid an episode. If you happen to reconsider and give it a chance, I look forward to your thoughts.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Have you still not listened?
      I’m firmly in the Snape-was-a-pretty terrible-person-who-did-some-awful-things-for reasons-but-also-great-things-He’s-all-gray-so-why-are-we-still-arguing-about-this camp, so I think I’m fairly objective about it? My take was that it was much more well rounded than previously. I’d encourage you to give it a shot.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        No. I keep avoiding it and I think I’ve realized why. Even though Snape usually comes in 1 or 2 on “Favorite HP Character” polls, there is a lot of outright hostility toward him and his fans on the internet. To the point where people go out of their way to post hateful comments on any post that doesn’t outright disparage him and send anonymous messages calling his fans terrible things. I innocently came online to talk about Snape and was just shocked at the rabid hatred for him and his fans, so much that I was afraid to even post anything about him at all at first. Alohomora has always been my one respite from all that negativity. Even when people here hate him, they at least seemed to listen to my responses and act rationally about the topic. Then with that first Snape episode all that hostility suddenly invaded my oasis and it felt awful. Not that anyone here attacked his fans, thankfully, but I heard anti-Snape rhetoric here that I hadn’t even heard on tumblr, where Snape Hate is practically a religion. I was happily defending him when I first came here, but I’m just burned out and don’t have the energy for it these days, so I think I’d rather just enjoy the topics that are less stressful for me.

        I absolutely understand that this is all my own problem and not anything that the hosts or listeners have done. I appreciate that others can enjoy the discussion and believe whatever they believe. I just don’t have the heart for it, so I think I’m better off skipping it. But thank you everyone who gave me their perspectives. I might just listen to it at some point since it sounds like it was fairly balanced.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I’m very sorry to hear that has been your experience within the online fandom. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. I’m all too familiar with the behavior you’re talking about. People get can get really ugly when it comes to differences of opinion, which is so stupid, tiresome, pointless and mean-spirited. Your hesitancy is definitely valid. It can get to the point where you just have nothing more to gain in engaging in these kinds of debates, and it’s probably better to refrain. I agree about Alohomora! being a respite from all that, in general. I can’t speak to everyone’s experience but I appreciate that even the most heated of debates I’ve taken part in have remained thoughtful, well-reasoned discussions rather than personal attacks. I think that it is partly due to the hosts and that they do an excellent job of leading by example in this. But they are also aren’t perfect, so a misstep here or there is to be expected. That first episode was definitely too one-sided and I’m glad they tried to remedy that. However, I too have grown tired of The Snape Debate, though that’s probably because I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other. I’m happy to leave it behind with the knowledge that really, despite how everyone feels about Snape the man, we all seem to agree that Snape is a great character.

          I hope your experience is otherwise positive here; I for one always enjoy reading your comments. You and the other listeners here are my favorite group of people to talk about this stuff with! That’s the nice thing about these topic episodes and separate recaps, you can pick and choose without really feeling like you are.

  • I agree with the Katy or Jessica (around 1 hr 15) who explained Snape’s version of love was the best he could do. Just from my own experience, sometimes you don’t know what to do, and you do the best you can at the time. His “saving” Harry .. though treating him like a pest is Snape’s version of love & torture. :/

  • RavenPuff

    OMG! Just listening now and realized I share a birthday with Snape!

  • I agree with some of the Potterheads also in the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fandom that if Harry had been born a girl who looks like Lily, the dynamic with Snape would be a lot like the one between Littlefinger and Sansa.