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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 06/16/2010 :  23:39:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I absolutely believe Teddy was better off living in his fantasy world and I'd like to think the lobotomy actually helped him find peace.

As for Snape, it's hard to say because there are so many gradations of guilt and every individual responds differently, even in identical circumstances. Another man in Snape's position might have killed himself. Yet another might have learned to let it go. For myself, I know that in Teddy's place I would feel guilt that would make Snape's remorse seem nothing more than a minor, passing regret. What pushed Teddy beyond the limits of sanity was not his wife, but his children. His grief and remorse are orders of magnitude beyond Snape's.

Also, unlike Teddy, Snape had the chance to atone for his crime. He didn't actually kill anyone, after all, and so he was able to help destroy the person who had murdered his love (so was Teddy, in a perverse way). He was also able to help Lily's son, the one she died for; and Harry would have absolved him fully for his crime; no question there. Consequently, I do believe that Snape could have found peace after the war and gone on to live a life not dictated by guilt.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 06/16/2010 23:54:23
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2010 :  09:34:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Snape could attone for his crime, but to me it comes down to whose forgiveness Snape was looking for. Harry could forgive him but somehow I don't think that would have been enough. Snape was looking for Lily's forgiveness. Snape needed to forgive himself (after all was done). I'm not certain that he could do it. It would require believing deep within himself that Lily did forgive him and then letting it go. Even then, though, one is not fully absolved of self-guilt. It comes back to haunt you when you least expect it. For little things (saying something insensitve for example), it's not traumatic, but Snape's mistakes were not little things. There's a certain amount of guilt that has to be lived with and that's the catch. How much is too much? How much pushes the individual over the edge? Snape was a deeply unhappy man even without the guilt. I'm not sure that his life after Voldemort's defeat would have been much different. Snape would have to struggle to find new purpose once the guilt was addressed. He would have been praised for his bravery, but all his past would have been dragged out for everyone to go over all the sordid details (Rita would have made a fortune with that one). Doubters would still hold a grudge as probably would anyone who had lost family because of him. His "afterlife" would be tricky at the very least.

That is, assuming the course of events as JKR wrote them, ie. no coming gradually to terms with Harry.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2010 :  09:15:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Husband and I started Shutter Island (movie) last night. I say "started" because the movie is 2hrs 10min long. So far it is really well done. The music is a little overpowering at the beginning, but I think that is intended for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, the music goes straight for serious suspense before the story gets going. Almost feels like you've missed something. We'll try to finish up tonight.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2010 :  03:17:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
But think about what youíre saying, Siobhan. Do you truly believe dying is preferable to living? What if one of your dear friends or relatives made a terrible mistake that cost the life of someone they loved? Would you really say, "Well, they're better off dead."? Surely not.

What if Dumbledore had decided he couldn't go on after Ariana's death? He certainly felt as guilty as Snape did after Lily's death. And yet he survived and went on to become the greatest wizard of the modern age. He never knew if Ariana forgave him and he never completely forgave himself. He carried the guilt with him always and it shaped his life. But it didn't destroy him. He was more than the cause of his sister's death.

Before Voldemort's final defeat Snape was in no position to move beyond Lily's death. He had sworn fealty to Dumbledore which meant continuing to be a spy and he had promised to watch over Harry. He had no possibility of finding closure under such circumstances. But once Voldemort was dead and Snape's debts had been paid, there is no reason to think he couldn't have moved on.

Youíre right that some guilt cannot be born. That is the message of Shutter Island. But by the end of DH, Snape had already born his guilt for 17 years without going mad or killing himself. And once he accomplished his atonement thereís no reason to think his guilt would have gotten worse. I believe there are some rare cases where a person is so broken by life that they canít recover enough to find any measure of happiness to offset their misery, but Snape was nowhere near that point. He had plenty of fight left in him and would have wanted to stick around if for no other reason than to be a pain in the neck to everyone who had treated him badly.

Would he have forgotten Lily and been completely guilt free? Of course not. As you say, there would have always been things that reminded him of her. But as the years passed and he was no longer constantly immersed in his guilt, it would have mellowed as Dumbledoreís did. That is the way of grief and guilt. Unless they are being constantly fed, they fade. That is a natural human defense mechanism.

Of course youíre right that Snape was a deeply unhappy man. He was an unhappy child. And your picture of his life immediately after Voldemortís fall is exactly what I would imagine it to be as well Ė which is to say pretty much par for the course. Snape always had it hard; he was always distrusted and hated.

So how much would it have taken to push Snape over the edge? A heck of a lot more than the wizarding world could have thrown at him. This is a man who lived for nearly two decades with horrible guilt, risked torture and death as a spy, killed Dumbledore, suffered absolute estrangement and vilification from the only people he might have cared about for his supposed treachery Ė and didnít break.

Do you really believe a nasty tell-all by Rita Skeeter and dark gossip in the wizarding world would have devastated him? Hardly. Harry knew what he was about when he called Snape the bravest man heíd ever known. Snape would have sneered at his detractors and would probably have been far more bothered by Harryís fierce, public defense of him Ė something Harry would have given in a heartbeat.

Snape, like Harry, would have always had enemies, but he, like Harry, would have been more than capable of handling them. As for the nasty gossip, that would have faded soon enough as new scandals inevitably came along to capture the public imagination. And at least after Voldemort he would have finally had his rightful share of praise.

At 38, Snape would have had at least 100 years ahead of him and I canít believe this tough, brilliant, accomplished man couldnít have found something worthwhile to do with all that time. I also canít believe that in the course of a century he wouldnít have found fulfillment in his work and satisfaction in being recognized for his accomplishments. I donít believe he would never have found a friend, or pleasure in his life, or a reason to smile or laugh. And I donít believe he wouldnít have taken a secret, bittersweet joy in having Lilyís grandson named after him. Ha! Take that, James Potter!

I firmly believe that having those 100 years free from obligations to demanding masters and being able to pursue his own path is something Snape deserved and absolutely would have appreciated. I certainly think it would have been preferable to a tragically premature death.

PS: Let me know what you think of the movie. I haven't seen it yet and I'm debating if I should.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 06/28/2010 03:18:17
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2010 :  10:18:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
But think about what youíre saying, Siobhan. Do you truly believe dying is preferable to living? What if one of your dear friends or relatives made a terrible mistake that cost the life of someone they loved? Would you really say, "Well, they're better off dead."? Surely not.
Actually, yes, I suppose that is what I'm saying. If the guilt and regret crippled their lives, regardless of counselling etc., I wouldn't have them go through that.
Teddy couldn't live with the guilt so he created his escape. Snape would have had to try to come to terms with it as well-- and if he couldn't, it would break him.
quote:
Youíre right that some guilt cannot be born. That is the message of Shutter Island. But by the end of DH, Snape had already born his guilt for 17 years without going mad or killing himself. And once he accomplished his atonement thereís no reason to think his guilt would have gotten worse.
But while he was fulfilling his promise he had a definite purpose. Once deprived of that purpose, I'm not so sure that Snape would have held up as well. It's fine to tell oneself "when I've done this, all will be better," but the reality of this kind of promise is that some individuals cannot let it go. Once they've done their penance, some find that the guilt is still there-- it all hinges upon whether the individual can forgive themselves, not what any other group or person says or does. Sometimes that is too much to expect. As to whether I think that is Snape's case or not, I'm not sure. JKR never gave us enough of Snape's inner state to go on. It would have been great if Harry (or anybody) could have helped the man through it-- provided of course that Snape would have allowed someone to get that close.
quote:
Do you really believe a nasty tell-all by Rita Skeeter and dark gossip in the wizarding world would have devastated him?
Not at all, but it certainly wouldn't be of any assistance in the "moving on" aspect.
quote:
I firmly believe that having those 100 years free from obligations to demanding masters and being able to pursue his own path is something Snape deserved and absolutely would have appreciated. I certainly think it would have been preferable to a tragically premature death.
He definitely deserved better than what JKR gave him. A chance at a better life would have been more fitting. The bittersweet triumph would have been great, but only if he could actually move on. When we talk of being haunted by our past, the phrase sounds insubstantial. Living with guilt, lonliness, depression, and profound regret in our deepest core is anything but. It means that nothing anyone can say or do will make any difference. Snape spent a lot of time with his dark feelings. He covered them fairly well, but that is not the same as dampening their effect. All I'm saying is that JKR's ending for Snape (without any added resolution to his problems-- she does claim to understand him very well ) came down to a choice between life or death. Snape knew that his work for the Order was likely to end in his death, and accepted/expected/wanted? that. Considering the two paths, I'd rather think that she chose the better one than think Snape might have a continuing torturous century of existence.



The Shutter Island movie is very good. It does not stray from the book and is beautifully filmed (as one would expect from Scorsese). Additionally, it is the first movie I've seen Leo DeCarpio in that I've not wanted to smack him-- just one of those gut reactions.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2010 :  17:22:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

quote:
But think about what youíre saying, Siobhan. Do you truly believe dying is preferable to living? What if one of your dear friends or relatives made a terrible mistake that cost the life of someone they loved? Would you really say, "Well, they're better off dead."? Surely not.
Actually, yes, I suppose that is what I'm saying. If the guilt and regret crippled their lives, regardless of counseling etc., I wouldn't have them go through that.
Fair enough and I actually agree with you in the context you refer to; those extreme cases such as Teddyís. But I see no evidence that Snapeís case comes close to being this severe.

quote:
All I'm saying is that JKR's ending for Snape (without any added resolution to his problems) came down to a choice between life or death... Considering the two paths, I'd rather think that she chose the better one than think Snape might have a continuing torturous century of existence.
And this is perhaps what colors our opposing views. I have no reason to think JKR made the better choice here. Given that she decided at the last minute to kill Remus and Tonks off stage just so their son, a character we never get to know or care about, could grow up an orphan like Harry, again completely, irrelevantly off stage, tells me that doing right by her characters wasnít at the top of JKRís agenda. I wonít even go into Fred and George. And these were characters she liked!

She hated Snape. Saying he didnít get a portrait at Hogwarts because he had ďabandoned his postĒ typifies her contempt for the man and makes her claim that she understands him well seem absurd. You think she actually cared about doing what was best for him? Iíd bet money the other way. Snapeís death was designed to show Voldemortís brutal lack of concern for even his most faithful servants and to bring out Snape's back story without Harry having to actually talk to the man. Plus, killing people off right and left was the name of the game in DH and all that blood was just so dramatic. Thatís all there was to it. There was no deep consideration of Snapeís psyche. Absolutely none.

If we set aside the expectation that JKR was doing what was best for Snape then the man seems far more like Dumbledore than Teddy. I understand what you mean about someone hanging on long enough to fulfill their duty and then falling apart, but try as I might, I canít picture Snape doing this. If he hadnít already broken by the end of DH, I canít imagine him doing so afterwards.

To begin with, we need to evaluate Snape apart from his guilt. Snape was never an outgoing, popular person. By all accounts Lily was the only close friend he ever had. At Hogwarts he found his raison díÍtre in his studies. He was an awkward loner as a teenager and thereís no reason to think he would have ever become anything other than the reserved and private man we knew him to be as an adult. Most importantly, while he was in love with Lily, that love remained unrequited. Even if Snape had never had any part in Lilyís death, he would almost certainly have lived a solitary life of academic pursuits. Not the life most of us might choose, but one that suited him and would certainly be preferable to an early death.

This is the standard against which his post-Voldemort life must be judged. Would Snape have found an abundance of friendship and love? Of course not, but he was never going to have that in the first place. And he knew it. He was used to being an outcast and being whispered about behind his back. He learned very early to ignore the nasty things people said about him and to focus on his own achievements. He didnít join the DEs to find friendship, but respect for his considerable intellect and talents. Thatís key.

Consider Teddy and Dumbledore for a moment. Teddy couldnít see any kind of bearable life beyond the tragic loss heíd suffered. There was nothing left for him that he wanted out of life and so he fell apart. Dumbledore didnít. Even though his own brother blamed him and went so far as to attack him at Arianaís funeral, Dumbledoreís guilt didnít break him. Why? Because he could still see his life before him. All the things he wanted to be and accomplish were still open to him.

The same was true for Snape. He lost Lily when he was sixteen. She was never going to be part of his life. His hopes for his future were about success. He wanted to be recognized and rewarded for his accomplishments and he would have found exactly that post-Voldemort along with honor as a hero and a nice, shiny Order of Merlin Ė everything his teenaged self might have hoped for. Snape would have been perfectly content with this, happy even, and he would have ignored his naysayers just as he had done his entire life.

Of course this assumes that he would have had his guilt under control, so letís turn to that now. Itís true that Snape spent a lot of time with his dark feelings and they were as raw in DH as they had been seventeen years earlier. But Snape didnít need to completely overcome these feelings and forgive himself entirely. Dumbledore didnít. Instead, like Dumbledore, Snape needed to come to terms with his guilt so that it would be manageable.

That might seem impossible given the intensity of Snapeís guilt until we realize that the reason his guilt was so terrible is because he never had the chance to resolve it. So long as Snape was trapped at Hogwarts, playing his part as double-agent and continually confronted by all the old, painful memories (literally at every turn), his guilt was constantly being reinforced. But what truly damned him was the fact that he had to suffer in secret.

Snapeís biggest problem was always the secrecy. Iím sure he never had the chance to properly mourn Lily. He certainly wouldnít have attended her funeral and couldnít share his feelings with anyone save Dumbledore, who merely used his grief to manipulate him. It was the same with his guilt. He couldnít tell anyone. He had absolutely no outlet and no choice but to keep these poisonous feelings bottled up inside where they ate away at him.

Fortunately Harry put paid to that destructive behavior. Having blurted out Snapeís secrets, he opened Pandoraís box and itís a sure bet that all the details would have been public knowledge before long. I doubt Snapeís very contrite colleagues would have been able to resist expressing their sympathy and regrets and as much as Snape would have hated that, it would have ultimately been freeing. Bringing these long-buried issues to the surface would have allowed him to confront them and finally start the healing process. Harry in particular would have helped here. He might not be able to forgive Snape as Lily could have done, but he could certainly give the man permission to grieve. And grieving in turn would have helped alleviate Snapeís guilt.

We all know that a guilty secret grows to irrational proportions and that confessing such a secret can all but eliminate the guilt. If Snape survived under the absolutely worst possible conditions I cannot help but feel confident that he would have found his past a far lighter burden to bear once it was all out in the open with no more secrets.

Snape was incredibly strong, to say nothing of obstinate. He had far too much pride to let himself wallow in sorrow and despair. The very thought would have mortified him. He also had an insatiable need to prove himself and I canít believe that after everything he went through he wouldnít have seized the chance to finally live his life the way a drowning man seizes a lifeline.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 06/28/2010 19:39:35
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2010 :  17:31:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh, I'm glad to hear the movie was good. I've actually seen very few movies with DiCaprio and I'm glad to hear he did well in this. I'll definitely put it on my list to watch.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 06/29/2010 :  14:25:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
The same was true for Snape. He lost Lily when he was sixteen. She was never going to be part of his life. His hopes for his future were about success. He wanted to be recognized and rewarded for his accomplishments and he would have found exactly that post-Voldemort along with honor as a hero and a nice, shiny Order of Merlin Ė everything his teenaged self might have hoped for. Snape would have been perfectly content with this, happy even, and he would have ignored his naysayers just as he had done his entire life.
Do you think his desire for success was simply for his own benefit, then? It souned to me like his thirst for success was as much to prove everyone wrong about him, rub (especially) James' nose in it, and at a longshot win Lily's favour as it was to gain personal benefit from it. Someone who cares so little about the opinion of others would not care whether they praised him or not. Snape was sorted into Slytherin at 11. Who do you think he wanted to prove himself to?

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 06/29/2010 :  19:09:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Do you think his desire for success was simply for his own benefit, then? It souned to me like his thirst for success was as much to prove everyone wrong about him, rub (especially) James' nose in it, and at a longshot win Lily's favour as it was to gain personal benefit from it. Someone who cares so little about the opinion of others would not care whether they praised him or not. Snape was sorted into Slytherin at 11. Who do you think he wanted to prove himself to?
Himself. A person striving to prove themselves is always first and foremost trying to make themselves believe.

Also the world in general. Snape craved the esteem of society. That's why the Order of Merlin was so important to him. It provided that validation.

Snape was a poor nobody from the wrong side of town and was desperate to rise above his mean estate. Had he never met Lily that desire would have been just as strong. He absolutely wanted to prove everyone wrong about him and rub (especially) James's nose in it, but I'm not sure why you see this as something other than personal gain. To me (and I'd bet to Snape too) this would be the ultimate success, far sweeter than power or money.

It might seem paradoxical that he cared little about what most people thought of him, but it's not. That's a standard defense employed by those who have spent their lives being rejected: scorn others before they can scorn you. A person can only be hurt so many times before they learn not to expect anyone to show them kindness.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/06/2010 14:22:30
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2010 :  17:51:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Finished GoF last night. It's still my favourite. Now on to my least favourite, OotP-- DH is in a dead heat for that distinction.


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Siobhan
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USA
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Posted - 07/20/2010 :  15:33:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm over half way through OotP. Surprisingly, it's not as bad as I remember it. The teen-angsty stuff annoyed me the first few times I read it. Perhaps I'm just used to it now-- or perhaps DH's never-ending campout gives me a new perspective.

Still loathe Umbridge.

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Theowyn
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1078 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2010 :  16:44:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I loathed Umbridge too and pretty much everyone else annoyed me in OotP. I agree though that DH can make OotP seem a lot less awful.

I just got back from vacation. We took the family to Yellowstone. None of us had ever been before and the amount of thermal activity in the park is quite amazing. Old Faithful was fun to see, but it was the boiling lakes and bubbling mud that really impressed me. You can really sense that you're standing on top of a vast cauldron of lava only a couple of miles down.

The highlight of the trip was seeing several grizzly bears (a rare occurance these days). The first sighting was a mother and her two cubs. We came upon a snarl of about fifteen cars stopped in the roadway with everyone gawking and taking pictures and knew at once it had to be a bear. I jumped out of the van with the camera and ran over to have a look. As I rounded a grassy knowl and looked down the hill, I saw the adult bear munching on a plant only about 30 feet away. My first thought was, "We are way too close to this bear." Then I saw the cubs and thought, "Oh s***! We are way, WAY too close to this bear!" So I snapped a couple of photos and ran back to the van. By that time, my husband had managed to park up the road and he came back and snapped some more pictures before the park rangers showed up and chased everyone away. (The rangers always seem to manage to appear out of nowhere whenever they're needed)

The second sighting was less problematic. This time we spotted a male grizzly up a hill moving through the trees about 50 yards away. I couldn't get a good photo, but he was very cool to watch. All the grizzlies were a beautiful golden color. Quite spectacular.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
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Posted - 07/21/2010 :  08:58:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Coooooollllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I agree that's way too close to a mother bear. I think watching one on TV is close enough.

Up to Snape's Worst Memory.

Perhaps the characters aren't as annoying because I have a friend who, at the moment, is acting a lot like Harry. Reality is much more annoying.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/21/2010 :  13:56:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Up to Snape's Worst Memory.

Perhaps the characters aren't as annoying because I have a friend who, at the moment, is acting a lot like Harry. Reality is much more annoying.

Oh, that's a bother. At least you can close a book when it gets too annoying. Friends can't be so easily ignored.

I am still stunned to realize that SWM took place AFTER the shrieking shack incident. Talk about a complete lack of conscience or remorse. The Marauders would have done Voldemort proud.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/21/2010 :  16:42:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ah remember the days after OotP had just come out? So many people wanted to make excuses for the Marauders' behaviour. All those questions about the nature of the memories in the Pensieve-- objective vs subjective. I still find it impossible to excuse that behaviour regardless of any past incidents/history they had. And of course, neither Snape or Sirius could let it rest.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/21/2010 :  20:54:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Ah remember the days after OotP had just come out? So many people wanted to make excuses for the Marauders' behaviour. All those questions about the nature of the memories in the Pensieve-- objective vs subjective. I still find it impossible to excuse that behaviour regardless of any past incidents/history they had. And of course, neither Snape or Sirius could let it rest.

Yep, I remember. Snape was so easy to hate while James and Sirius were Harry's dad and godfather. Many people didn't want to have their neat expectations turned upside down.

I might have considered mitigating circumstances before DH (if there were any, which there aren't), but DH showed that the Marauders acted completely beyond the pale.

As to the adult Snape and Sirius, it's true they both despised each other, but Snape's hatred of Sirius was considerably more rational than Sirius's hatred of him.

Snape's reason: "Black tried to kill me!"
Sirius's reason: "It's because he [Snape] existed."

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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/22/2010 :  08:48:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Exactly!

If there had been (or if JKR had given us) a real reason for Sirius to hate Snape so much it would have helped. Sure Snape was interested in the Dark Arts and Sirius despised that, but even he knew how weak an argument that was for his reaction.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/22/2010 :  14:24:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Exactly!

If there had been (or if JKR had given us) a real reason for Sirius to hate Snape so much it would have helped. Sure Snape was interested in the Dark Arts and Sirius despised that, but even he knew how weak an argument that was for his reaction.

Especially since the forbiddenness of the Dark Arts got erroded pretty badly in DH. It was slightly disturbing that the Cruciatus Curse seemed to leap so easily to Harry's mind in both OotP and HBP, but in both cases he'd just seen someone he cared for murdered so this could be rationalized and he never managed to complete the curses anyway. But in DH Carrow spits on McGonagall and Harry's automatic response is, "Crucio!"? Really? And McGonagall pats him on the back for it! The Unforgivables get tossed around like candy in that book and no one seems the least bit concerned. Maybe they're only unforgivable when the bad guys use them.

In any case there is a definite disconnect between Sirius's hatred of Snape and reason. This might have worked if Sirius had emerged as a slightly deranged figure who despite being Light was also clearly related to Bellatrix Lestrange. That would have made for some really interesting introspection on Harry's part, but JKR never reaches anywhere near that deep. She never reexamines Sirius's hatred of Snape when the plot moves on to show how irrational it was. It's almost as if key elements from the first four books got lost in the last three, as though she forgot them along the way.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/22/2010 14:32:51
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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/23/2010 :  16:40:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, so I was moving along swiftly with OotP. I'd really got wrapped up in it. SWM has me slowed to a crawl. I started the chapter and got as far as Harry seeing the pensieve sitting there, trying to gauge how long Snape would be tied up getting Montague out of the toilet. Now I'm at a dead stop. Just as the first couple of times I read it, I find my mind shouting at Harry to just ignore it. I know he's desperate for some information, but it still bothers me that he looks. I'm wondering if we can attribute some of his anger and impulsive behaviour to the connection with Voldemort? V's definitely angry and highly curious about the prophecy at this time. It could just be his feelings dominating Harry's. URGH. I guess I'll have to get on with it. For all that the incident is a turning point in the story, it is still really uncomfortable to deal with.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/26/2010 :  01:00:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

I find my mind shouting at Harry to just ignore it. I know he's desperate for some information, but it still bothers me that he looks. I'm wondering if we can attribute some of his anger and impulsive behaviour to the connection with Voldemort? V's definitely angry and highly curious about the prophecy at this time. It could just be his feelings dominating Harry's. URGH. I guess I'll have to get on with it. For all that the incident is a turning point in the story, it is still really uncomfortable to deal with.
There is a fundamental problem with attributing Harry's feelings/actions to his connection with LV: We can attribute virtually anything Harry does that we don't like to LV and by doing so we diminish Harry to little more than a fuzzy, undefinable character who we can never truly know. Of course there are some occasions when Harry is clearly being influenced by LV, such as the time after Arthur was attacked when he felt such unnatural hatred for DD. But we really need to limit the LV excuse to that type of unequivocal scene. If we don't then we'll find ourselves second-guessing everything Harry thinks or does.

Consequently, I would say no, Harry's anxiety and desperation in OotP are due to LV having put out so much effort to nearly murder him in GoF. After all, in PS and CS it could be argued that Harry would never have been in serious danger if he hadn't gone looking for trouble. In GoF, LV very clearly came looking for him.

So the boy's spooked; who can blame him. Was it stupid to look in Snape's pensieve? Of course! Do I want to slap him? Absolutely! But it's typical Harry. The kid never knows when to exercise caution and it's not as though he gives a darn about Snape's privacy. It never enters his mind that what he's doing is disrespectful and wrong and that's 100% classic Harry.

Now a question for you Siobhan: Why do you find this scene so uncomfortable to deal with? Is it Snape's humiliation or the ugly revelation about how awful James and Sirius were? Or is it Harry's lack of caution or respect for Snape? Or something else entirely?

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Edited by - Theowyn on 07/26/2010 01:03:29
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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/26/2010 :  10:01:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All of the above, plus how much it hurts Harry to be disillusioned about his dad's (and Sirius's) behaviour. I know all children begin to see faults in their parents at some point, but because Harry never really knew his parents, it's harsh.

Add in my personal experiences with bullying (nothing as serious as the Marauders vs Snape), and I fully understand how much bitterness is there. BB was a toerag. He ruined school for me and for others. My reaction to his behaviour was just as important, though. Having rather strong ideas of how people should treat each other, I couldn't just let his rotten behaviour slide. When he went around the playground punching people in the arm hard enough to leave fist-sized bruises for no apparent reason, I got a group of girls together and we fought back-- for which WE got in trouble ("boys will be boys" a phrase I wish would choke the one using it). This started a war of continual insults that continued and escalated through junior high school. In some ways I was like Harry, unable to control my temper at his unkindness no matter whom he directed it at. Our relationship was a lot like Malfoy/Harry's. BB's relationship with others was sometimes like Snape/James's.

This scene is very painful to "watch" and the one that follows isn't any easier. I hate that Harry doesn't remember Sirius's gift to him and that Sirius doesn't remind him when he's in the fire! If Harry had used that, he wouldn't have had to go to Umbridge's office.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/26/2010 :  13:01:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can see how personal experience would really amplify SWM and make it painful indeed. I experienced some very mild bullying in elementary school, but by junior high it had ended and while I was never one of the popular kids, I had a comfortable niche in school. So while I sympathize entirely with Snape in the scene, it doesn't hurt.

Interestingly, I don't feel at all sorry for Harry regarding James and Sirius; maybe because I didn't have an idyllic family life. I never knew my dad and often felt as though I needed to take care of my mom as much as she took care of me. I had to be strong from an early age, so for me being disappointed by a parent, while unpleasant, is not something you fall apart over. I can understand Harry's misery, but it doesn't resonate with me personally.

I also hate that Harry forgot about the mirror especially since it makes absolutely no sense. Here's this intensely curious kid who has received so few presents in his life and adores his godfather, yet he's going to insult the man by not even opening his gift! Geez, Harry. Can't you open the gift and then make an informed decision whether to use it or not? Or don't you trust yourself to have even a modicum of reason or self-control? As for Sirius, you're right. The first words out of his mouth should have been, "Why aren't you using your private mirror instead of this public floo-network to contact me?"

This, I think, is where JKR started to lose control of her plot. When you have your characters do silly things just to make the plot work, you need to rethink your plot. That mirror was utterly pointless. It never amounted to anything in the story and only served to make Harry feel extra guilty over Sirius's death: "If only I'd used the mirror...".

But that kind of melodramatic angst is hackneyed. Harry felt plenty of genuine guilt without adding this sappy topping which does nothing to advance either the plot or character development. What did this mirror mishap tell us about Harry that we didn't already know? Nothing. Did it change him? No. It was just a cheap play on the reader's emotions without any substance.




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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/26/2010 :  13:27:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sirius could easily have said "remember my parting gift?" in the message he sent to Harry rather than instructing him to be by the GCR fire. It just makes no sense. I know Harry had to break into Umbridge's office, and then be caught there, but really. It's disappointing.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 07/26/2010 :  19:27:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Sirius could easily have said "remember my parting gift?" in the message he sent to Harry rather than instructing him to be by the GCR fire. It just makes no sense. I know Harry had to break into Umbridge's office, and then be caught there, but really. It's disappointing.

Exactly! This was pure plot manipulation on JKR's part (something we see gobs of in DH) and pointless to boot! Worst of all, it makes it difficult to determine which actions genuinely reflect the characters and which have simply been foisted off on them by the author. This weakens the characters and the story and is one of the cardinal sins of writing fiction.

There were plenty of other ways to get Harry caught by Umbridge. She could have nabbed him for some other infraction while he was on his way to get his mirror or even found and confiscated the mirror itself earlier, forcing Harry to break into her office. JKR just wasn't trying.

I blasted OotP when it first came out and time has not made me fonder of the book. It was simply not well written.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 07/31/2010 :  15:25:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, that's finished.

Now on to HBP. I really like The Other Minister and Spinner's End (which the movie did a pretty good version of). Just have to put up with Harry snooping around Draco for a while now. It's not that I blame Harry for doing it. I do understand his concern, and let's face it we know that Draco is up to something. It just irritates me that he wastes time and energy worrying about a situation that isn't really his to worry about-- especially once DD has told him to back off.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/01/2010 :  00:20:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Well, that's finished.
Lol! This has to be the best review I've ever read! It says so much in so few words.

quote:
Now on to HBP. I really like The Other Minister and Spinner's End (which the movie did a pretty good version of).
I liked these chapters too, though I felt slightly sick after Spinner's End since it was obvious Snape had doomed himself to some ominous fate.

quote:
Just have to put up with Harry snooping around Draco for a while now. It's not that I blame Harry for doing it. I do understand his concern, and let's face it we know that Draco is up to something. It just irritates me that he wastes time and energy worrying about a situation that isn't really his to worry about-- especially once DD has told him to back off.
This is classic Harry though. He can never let this sort of thing go. What irritates me is that he's so ineffectual. He never would have found the PS or managed to save Ginny if he'd been this hopeless in the first two books. He makes no progress at all here which just becomes tedious and annoying.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 08/01/2010 :  12:37:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn


I liked these chapters too, though I felt slightly sick after Spinner's End since it was obvious Snape had doomed himself to some ominous fate.
Yes, but I'd already figured that sort of thing was coming. Snape couldn't be working both sides without running such risks. By the time he and DD have their argument, I was already convinced (first time through) that they had made a similar arrangement.

quote:
This is classic Harry though. He can never let this sort of thing go. What irritates me is that he's so ineffectual. He never would have found the PS or managed to save Ginny if he'd been this hopeless in the first two books. He makes no progress at all here which just becomes tedious and annoying.

Yes he is ineffectual. He doesn't even manage to fully convince Hermione and Ron, which is part of the problem.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/02/2010 :  15:54:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

quote:
Originally posted by Theowyn


I liked these chapters too, though I felt slightly sick after Spinner's End since it was obvious Snape had doomed himself to some ominous fate.
Yes, but I'd already figured that sort of thing was coming. Snape couldn't be working both sides without running such risks. By the time he and DD have their argument, I was already convinced (first time through) that they had made a similar arrangement.
It was still awful to read though.

quote:
quote:
This is classic Harry though. He can never let this sort of thing go. What irritates me is that he's so ineffectual. He never would have found the PS or managed to save Ginny if he'd been this hopeless in the first two books. He makes no progress at all here which just becomes tedious and annoying.

Yes he is ineffectual. He doesn't even manage to fully convince Hermione and Ron, which is part of the problem.
It's his irrational distrust of Snape that undermines Harry's credibility. If he'd stuck to "Malfoy's up to something" he'd have been okay. But "Malfoy's up to something and I'm sure Snape's helping him" resulted in nothing but rolled-eyes from his friends.

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Siobhan
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Posted - 08/03/2010 :  09:13:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, its pretty early on, but Harry has not managed to get anyone to take what he thinks about Malfoy seriously. They all believe that Draco is too young to be seriously involved with the Death Eaters and too inexperienced to be a real threat. It seems like they've learnt that Harry can make mistakes, so they are not so eager to make the same jumps in deduction that he does. Which is a little ironic since in the last book no one but his friends took Harry seriously, now everyone does except his friends. The fact that Harry then goes out of his way to prove his theory makes things worse.

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Theowyn
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Posted - 08/03/2010 :  12:50:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Siobhan

Well, its pretty early on, but Harry has not managed to get anyone to take what he thinks about Malfoy seriously. They all believe that Draco is too young to be seriously involved with the Death Eaters and too inexperienced to be a real threat. It seems like they've learnt that Harry can make mistakes, so they are not so eager to make the same jumps in deduction that he does. Which is a little ironic since in the last book no one but his friends took Harry seriously, now everyone does except his friends. The fact that Harry then goes out of his way to prove his theory makes things worse.

Well, the fact that his friends are the ones who got led into a trap at the DoM and nearly died might have something do do with their wariness.

Harry blew it big time in OotP. In all of the previous books he might have led his friends into danger, but it was always for a good cause: saving the stone, saving Ginny, saving Ron/Sirius/Buckbeak. The risk was worth it. In OotP it wasn't.

But even before the disaster at the DoM, Harry's judgement was faltering and I think the main reason was Snape. In the early books there were moments when Hermione would become exasperated with Harry for suspecting Snape of every wrong-doing. But in OotP that tension jumps exponentially with Harry insisting Snape must be opening his mind to LV and Hermione insisting he has to be wrong.

Harry comes across as somewhat irrational and slightly paranoid which undermines his credibility. Harry's friends could overlook the one-time mistake of being tricked by LV. That could happen to anyone. But a year's worth of questionable choices leaves them a bit less sure of their friend. And this plays straight into the opening events of HBP.

Harry can't enjoy a pleasant day in Diagon Alley without going out of his way to spy on Draco and then jump to the worst possible conclusion. That his friends think he's gone round the bend is no surprise. They've had it with Harry's endless, unfounded suspicions.

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Edited by - Theowyn on 08/03/2010 13:04:38
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