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The Dreaded Snape/Lily Theory

As promised. I originally posted this on Mugglenet, so when I refer to "others here" or "people here" in the text, that's the "here" I'm talking about.


There was a lot about love in this book, wasn’t there? All the silly teenage intrigue with Harry and Hermione and Ron and Lavender and Ginny and et al, the use of a love potion on Ron…even Slughorn’s comment about the power of obsessive love. And what did Dumbledore tell Harry about love? He spoke again in this book of the power of love…but, for the first time, he spoke also of revenge. As Dumbledore presented it to Harry, revenge is the flip side of love. He pointed out to Harry that love is the reason Harry wants to kill LV, not the prophecy – but only because it is love that makes Harry want revenge. Voldemort killed people Harry loved, and Harry wants to make him pay.

I believe Dumbledore trusted Snape so implicitly for the very same reason: Dumbledore knows Voldemort killed someone Snape loved (Lily)…and he knows Snape wants revenge. Indeed, as Lily may very well be the ONLY person Snape has ever loved in his entire life, his reaction would be even more violent than Harry’s, his desire to see Voldemort pay even greater than Harry’s. Don’t be surprised that if, in Book 7, someone somewhere tells Harry some version of, “Possibly the only person in the world who hates Lord Voldemort more than you do is Severus Snape.”

Revenge is a powerful motivator.

And why Lily? Well, unless DD’s completely lying to Harry, it was the Potters’ being threatened that motivated Snape to switch sides in the first place. Now, we know how Snape felt about James -- we share Lupin’s incredulity that Snape would ever be sorry at James’s death – and Dumbledore knows it, too; from book one, DD has talked about the enmity between the young Severus and the young James. If Snape expressed or even tried to show faux remorse for James’s death, it wouldn’t take a Leglimens to see right through it. As Harry says in another context, “Nobody’s that good an actor, not even Snape.” No, I believe the remorse Dumbledore witnessed in Snape (and I do believe he witnessed it, firsthand; he tells Harry “you can’t imagine the remorse Professor Snape felt,” which sort of implies he couldn’t believe it himself) was for Lily, and Lily alone.

It all fits. Rowling said she was “stunned” when someone asked, shortly after GoF, if Snape would ever fall in love, and she said we’d find out why she was so stunned when we read Book 7. She also says Snape has been loved in the past. She showed us a memory in OotP in which Snape was humiliated in front of Lily, and labeled the chapter Snape’s Worst Memory. She tells us Lily was a popular girl and won’t deny that others – specifically, Snape and Lupin – might have had romantic feelings for her just as James did.

Also, she now implies that someone else besides Voldemort was at Godric’s Hollow the night Lily died, and she tells us flatly that Lily did not have to die. LV only wanted Harry. Was Snape, as others here have suggested, present that night? Did he plead for her life? Did Voldemort punish this unseemly display of love for a “Mudblood” by making Snape watch Lily die? Perhaps this is what Snape refers to in OotP, when he tells Harry that the Dark Lord makes “easy prey” of “fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories.” Perhaps he’s speaking from hard and painful experience. And was Dumbledore reliving this memory in the cave while under the effects of the potion? Was he repeating words he heard Snape say the night Lily died? (“I’m sorry, it’s my fault, I know I did wrong…” ) Whosever they were, those were the words of someone truly anguished by something he/she had done.

The “awful boy.” Remember him? Petunia overheard him talking to Lily about Azkaban and Dementors. Did Snape, once he realized the Prophecy was about the Potters, go to Lily directly before he went to Dumbledore, to try and warn her? It would make more sense than going to DD, actually; if he and Lily did have some sort of friendship, she would be less likely to turn him in as a Death Eater. Perhaps, in the course of this conversation, it was Lily who suggested Snape go to Dumbledore, make a break with LV, and likely that Snape protested, saying he didn’t want to end up in Azkaban? (I am personally more convinced than ever that the awful boy was Severus. I am hoping that, for once, Petunia’s nosy nature will come in handy. Pensieve, anyone?)

Snape’s treatment of Harry: Since LV gave Lily the option to live, and she tossed it away to save Harry, well, then—by Snape’s twisted, desperate logic, doesn’t that make it Harry’s fault Lily died? Does it ease his own guilt even a little to blame James Potter’s son (not Lily’s, no, no, James’s) for her death? We have seen Harry use this same excuse to hate Snape in two books now, blaming Snape for Sirius’s death rather than blaming himself. I believe Rowling reiterated this in HBP for a reason.

Look, nothing in Snape’s nature indicates he gives a tinker’s tuss about humanity at large, or the welfare of the wizarding world in general (Snape is bitter, lonely, and paranoid – “What the hell’s the world done for me lately?” is practically stamped on his forehead.) Even when he turned from LV, Snape only regretted what he had done when he realized it affected people he knew—well, one person he knew, anyway (ahem). Snape started to care when Voldemort made it personal. Which isn’t noble or heroic or even very nice, when you get right down to it - but it is very human.

If the first two books were about the parallels between Harry and Voldemort, and Book Five showed us the similarities between Snape and Harry, in HBP, we came full circle: we got Snape, the self-titled Half-Blood Prince, aligning himself and patterning himself, whether knowingly or not, on the young Lord Voldemort. Harry even wonders how that old doofus Dumbledore could have possibly missed it. So now we have these three people, three generations of Hogwarts’ finest, from similar backgrounds…yet they are three very different people, and will, I believe, end up at three very different places. Voldemort has never known love, and is thus incapable of it; Harry loves freely and often despite his loveless upbringing, a remarkable feat; as Dumbledore tells him, he has “no idea how special you are.”

And where does that leave Snape? Why, in the middle, of course. Literally (old enough to be Harry’s father, young enough to be Voldemort’s son) as well as spiritually. At first blush, and especially after HBP, Snape seems a carbon-copy of LV. Like Voldemort, he let his past fill him with hate and bitterness, and he gave in to the dark side of himself - he embraced the Dark Arts, he took the mark, he became a Death Eater. He’s a bad guy. But is he nothing more? What’s the point of that? Do we really need, for the sake of our story, two Lord Voldemorts running about making trouble? No. We need something that will differentiate between the Lord and the Prince, something that, for all his darkness (and I think his most optimistic fans would have to agree, Snape is an even darker character than we ever believed) keeps him human in a way Voldemort can never be. And I believe that something is Dumbledore’s old standby. Love. Snape may not be capable of Harry’s kind of love – easy, frequent, without complication – but he is capable of having loved, and of being loved, at least once in his life. And therein lies the difference.


Well...I still like it and believe it. But, Christ, what a pompous ending that was. Like I was writing my master's thesis or something.

*ducks head and feels like a dweeb*

Oh, and before I forget...Happy Birthday, adaveen! Your present is in my icon - i.e., Paul's thighs. Do with them what you will. xP

Comments

( 26 Things We Said Today — Dear Sir or Madam )
padawansguide
Jan. 12th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
for all his darkness (and I think his most optimistic fans would have to agree, Snape is an even darker character than we ever believed) keeps him human in a way Voldemort can never be. And I believe that something is Dumbledore’s old standby. Love.

A good point -and really,love seems to be the pervasive theme. Harry lived not because of some magic trick, but because his mother loved him and sacrificed herself for him. So in the end, love, or an act of love (no, not that kind!) was what ended up defeating LV once and for all, that would make a whole lot of sense!
hb_princess
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
love seems to be the pervasive theme. Harry lived not because of some magic trick, but because his mother loved him and sacrificed herself for him.

Exactly! Rowling gave us the template with Lily's sacrifice. She was even asked why James dying trying to defend his family wasn't enough to protect Harry and Lily, and she said it was because Lily had a chance to live - Voldemort gave her the chance to step aside - and she refused. She made a deliberate sacrifice out of her love for her son.

Which, as I said above, is also (IMO) a big part of Snape's dislike for Harry - in a very real way, Harry is the reason Lily is dead. And given that his own mother wasn't exactly a tower of strength against his father, Snape probably found Lily's choice not only wrenching but bewildering. I suspect the only way Snape is finally going to understand is by making a similar sacrifice for Harry (and by default, Lily) in that final showdown with Voldemort.
padawansguide
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Which, as I said above, is also (IMO) a big part of Snape's dislike for
Harry - in a very real way, Harry is the reason Lily is dead.


That makes a lot of sense!

I suspect the only way Snape is finally going to understand is by making a similar sacrifice for Harry (and by default, Lily) in that final showdown with Voldemort.

Oh, I like that theory a lot! :-)
adaveen
Jan. 12th, 2007 11:43 am (UTC)
Hmmm... well, yes - I agree with your theory entirely. Yeah, the ending sounds pompous, but it's exactly the kind of pompous that we find in JKR's Potterverse, so NOT inappropriate.

Yes, Snape loved Lily. Did Lily ever love Snape. Maybe, almost, could have... we won't find out til book 7.

Oh and thanks for the gams. Do what I will? **rubs hands together in glee** Sure! Don't tell John, though.
hb_princess
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
Yes, Snape loved Lily. Did Lily ever love Snape. Maybe, almost, could have... we won't find out til book 7.

I think they were friends, though Snape, between his intense loneliness and normal teenage-boy hormones, could have wanted to be more. Snape had a Muggle father; it's very probable he grew up in a Muggle neighborhood. I think we're going to learn in Book 7 that Lily and Snape grew up together, had a relationship outside of and probably predating Hogwarts.

I keep going back to that Muffalato (sp?) spell that the "Half-Blood Prince" invented. Why would a kid with no friends, no confidants and presumably no siblings need a spell that prevents people from eavesdropping on his conversations? And it ties in so perfectly with nosy Petunia overhearing Lily talking with some "awful boy." I'm certain Snape invented that spell so Petunia couldn't listen in on him with Lily. It's just so Rowling.

Oh and thanks for the gams. Do what I will? **rubs hands together in glee** Sure! Don't tell John, though.

You're welcome. ;) But, um...John...John said he wanted to...to help. o_O

adaveen
Jan. 13th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Well, if he wants to help...
voodoochild9
Jan. 12th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC)
Ahhh I'll never understand hardcore Potter fans. All I do is read the books (once or twice) and wait for the movies to come out on DVD. I could say a lot of stuff but I figure its your LJ and your theory and I shouldn't impose. *still waiting for the seventh and last book*
hb_princess
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
We are a strange lot, I'll give you that. It's a hard fandom to do 24/7 because it kind of eats your life. And the shipper wars...! Aye, don't get me started.
voodoochild9
Jan. 13th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
It just seems weird to me that most (not all, I'll say that) Potter fanfiction is about sex and the books/movies are almost devoid of it. And all the implications people come up with like twincest. WTF?

XD HAHAHAHA! You're icon rules! But IMO, this picture conveys that phrase a bit better-
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Heh...weeell I'm gunna go now ^_^;
hb_princess
Jan. 14th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
OMG, what a fabulous picture. You're right, that's the perfect look on his face...You win at...everything!

*right-click-save*
abromeds
Jan. 17th, 2007 12:52 am (UTC)
....

O_O

GUH.
voodoochild9
Jan. 19th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
He's really hittin' that, isn't he? ;) *dirty mind*

Oh do you mind if I make a Paul weird bass-face spam on JHP? I feel like I don't have pics. :-/
hb_princess
Jan. 22nd, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
*confused*

How will you make a spam if you don't have any pics?
voodoochild9
Jan. 22nd, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
I meant I don't have much pics. D'oh! *facepalm*

Sometimes I forget stuff when I'm typing
abromeds
Jan. 12th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
I HEART this theory! I'm a big fan of the Voldemort/Snape/Harry continuum theory, too. :) Grrrr.... I'll come back with something interesting to say... justwanted to say Thanks for posting!
hb_princess
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Thanks, love. I'll hold you to that! ;)
abromeds
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Wheeeeeeeeee!!!

Okay. Of course I've run across the Snape/Lily theory before, but I've remained skeptical... TILL NOW. You've totally convinced me! I think it was mainly your point about Love being a major topic of conversation in HBP--specifically Slughorn's rant about the dangers of obsessive love. I mean, that's got "Rowling-style Foreshadowing" written all over it, but... it doesn't really GO anywhere in the book, so it must come in later. And to whom would obsessive love apply? Not any of the Trio, or DD... and certainly not Voldemort (JK has said so). No, Obsessive Love is TOTALLY Snape-territory. And then when you throw in JK's comment about Snape having loved "one" person, and, well. It's a natch. ;) I mean, I guess she could bring in some random hitherto-unknown character (or maybe Snape lurved Petunia! HA!!), but... nope. Don't think so.

Tangent: Do you think JK meant the "one person" thing literally, or was she responding withing the context of romantic love (wasn't that what they were talking about in the interview?). Because I would really like to think that Snape at least psuedo-loved his mother, and Dumbledore. I mean, only ever having loved one person isn't much better than never having loved anyone, you know?

Also, loved your point about Snape being in the middle of V and Harry age-wise. Never thought of that! :D As I said before, I am a HUGE fan of the V/S/H trinity/spectrum thing. I've heard lots of arguments made that Draco ought to be in there, too, between Snape and Harry, but IMO Draco merely belongs either on the spectrum of ALL HP characters, or on the "contemporary foil" list: Snape v. James, Voldemort v. DD, Harry v. Draco. Your point about age is a point in favor of this. Thanks. :)

We need something that will differentiate between the Lord and the Prince, something that, for all his darkness (and I think his most optimistic fans would have to agree, Snape is an even darker character than we ever believed) keeps him human in a way Voldemort can never be. And I believe that something is Dumbledore’s old standby. Love.

Beautiful. I agree about Snape's darkness; I am SO not buying all the "Snape is actually a NOBLE person!" theories. Especially when you consider the V/S/H thing--I mean, halfway between Voldemort and Harry ain't nothing to brag about, you know?

Also, I'm not sure about the consipriacy theory surrounding DD's death. I think Snape may have been acting on his own there, out of icy cold pragmatism (yeeesh! :P). Mainly because I have trouble accepting that DD would allow anyone to damage their soul by committing murder. Of course we have evidence that DD can be a steely pragmatist, too, so I could be wrong, but... :/
hb_princess
Jan. 15th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
I never bought it either. After HBP, however, all my sneering at the Snape/Lily people as crazy-ass "shippers" went straight out the window.

Tangent: Do you think JK meant the "one person" thing literally, or was she responding withing the context of romantic love (wasn't that what they were talking about in the interview?). Because I would really like to think that Snape at least psuedo-loved his mother, and Dumbledore. I mean, only ever having loved one person isn't much better than never having loved anyone, you know?

Um...I think you may be mixing up two different convos. After GOF, Rowling was asked if Snape was going to fall in love, and she said she was "a little stunned" by that question "and tell whoever asked that they'll find out WHY I'm so stunned when they read book 7." After HBP, Rowling was asked, "Has Snape ever been loved?" and she replied "Yes, he has...which makes him in some ways worse than Voldemort, who never has been." I think both tie into the Lily thing, but that's because I've combined them with all the other clues and things. I do believe Snape loved DD (he went a little PSYCHO there after he "killed" DD, did you notice? OMG!) and probably he loved his mother (though I've seen no evidence thus far that she deserved his love, the coward.) But given the context of both quotes I don't think that's what Rowling was referring to.

And Sluggy's going to have some info for Harry in Book 7, I think! Lily and Severus were two of his star Potions students, and Harry knows how to loosen his lips...I don't think that's a coincidence, either. Plus - I LOVE how these things carry over from book to book - Harry still has the Half-Blood Prince's old Potions book, remember? He hid it and gave Snape a dupe. I think he's going to find some interesting things in there, young-Snape-wise. (Maybe not "Sevvie loves LilyKins" doodled in the margins, but, you know...something.)

I mean, halfway between Voldemort and Harry ain't nothing to brag about, you know?

Agreed. Though if Snape's life has been half as shitty as I think it has, halfway ain't half bad.

And I'm thoroughly convinced DD was in on the lightning struck tower scenario. You remember Hagrid overhearing Snape and DD arguing in the Forest? And he said Snape didn't want to do something DD was insisting he'd have to do, and finally Snape said to DD, "You take too much for granted?" That's SO what they were talking about! And no, I don't think DD would ask anyone to commit murder, but I don't think it WAS murder. From the outset of the book, Dumbledore acted like a man on a timetable. I think DD was dying from the beginning (from the Horcrux curse that destroyed his hand) - he even said he would have died right then if Snape hadn't intervened, and I think Snape was actually keeping him alive.

And what about him finally giving Snape the DADA position? Come on! All those years Snape wanted it and wanted it and all those years DD refused -'cuz it was, you know, CURSED xP - and then he suddenly relents the same year Snape ends up having to flee the school? Uh uh. No way am I buying THAT as a coincidence! (Not that anything in these books is ever a coincidence anyway.)

Fucking Dumbledore knows EVERYTHING, you dig? Everything! ;D

And I have to change a diaper, so that's all for now. *smooch*
hb_princess
Jan. 15th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify - I don't think the LST was planned, like, down to every last detail - I just think DD knew about Snape's Vow and told him to do what he had to do when the situation arose. You know, worst-case scenario kind of thing.
abromeds
Jan. 17th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
I think you may be mixing up two different convos. After GOF, Rowling was asked if Snape was going to fall in love, and she said she was "a little stunned" by that question "and tell whoever asked that they'll find out WHY I'm so stunned when they read book 7." After HBP, Rowling was asked, "Has Snape ever been loved?" and she replied "Yes, he has...which makes him in some ways worse than Voldemort, who never has been."

Okay, cool! THANK YOU for clearing that up. Good, I feel better. Poor Snape. {:O

I love the idea about the Potions book! I can totally see Harry poring over it, trying to find something to use against Snape in his obsessive quest for revenge, and finding some girly handwriting in it! Wheeeee!

You remember Hagrid overhearing Snape and DD arguing in the Forest?

Yeah... I know... but in a way that almost feels TOO obvious, you know? I dunno... I can definitely buy DD slowly dying, though. And I see your point about it not technically being murder... but... I dunno. Just a hunch, I guess. ;P We'll see! (though not for at least a year though! GAHHHH!!!!)

All those years Snape wanted it and wanted it and all those years DD refused -'cuz it was, you know, CURSED

Yeah, WHAT'S UP with that??! Did Snape not know it was cursed or what? Why did he keep asking for it? I was completely shocked when DD said "and since then, we've never kept a DADA professor for more than one year." Like, how did THAT not get revealed before now???
hb_princess
Jan. 17th, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
Heh - you didn't read my spoilers, did you? ;)

I thought the Forest argument was pretty obvious, too, but there's tons and tons of folks over at Mugglenet who don't agree with us! They think Harry was right - that Snape was saying he didn't want to spy for the Order anymore, or to get the 411 on whatever Draco was up to! Dear GOD. I don't know about you, but it scares me to think there's real people out there as thick as Harry freakin' Potter.

And it's not as though JKR isn't obvious sometimes - how about that clumsy little exchange b/t Harry and Lupin at the end of the book?

LUPIN: "Why would Snape feel guilty about James? He hated James!"
HARRY: "He had no use for my mum either - he called her a filthy mudblood!"
LUPIN: *crickets*

(US: Uh, Jo? We GET it.)

And I'm completely baffled by the DADA job thing, too. I totally agree with you - I can't imagine Snape knew it was cursed and kept asking for the job anyway, so why didn't DD just tell him? That's not even a trust issue - what harm could come from telling him? (At the very least, it would get him off your back. xP) I'm wondering if Rowling just had a brain-fart on that one, because it doesn't really make any sense.
abromeds
Jan. 17th, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC)
True; JK can be a bit fumbly with the dialogue at times! Though it utterly AMAZES me to read the earlier books and see how much better she (or her editors--hee!) have gotten. Love the Harry/Lupin exchange! Thanks for that! :D

I dunno... I guess the only REAL reason I'm holding out on the "DD wanted/planned for Snape to kill him" is that... I just like it better the other way. :) It's just so much cooler if Snape decided to take matters into his own hands and do a HORRIBLE thing in order to gain a huge advantage against Voldemort. You know, the whole "willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause" thing. :P It keeps Snape very dark and very tragic. I like it. :)
hb_princess
Jan. 22nd, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
You are SUCH an angst-whore. ;P
abromeds
Jan. 24th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
Hee! I KNOW!! ;P
abromeds
Jan. 17th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if Rowling just had a brain-fart on that one, because it doesn't really make any sense.

Yeah, seriously. The only other thing I can think of is that maybe... maybe Snape WANTEDvto leave! It's pretty apparent he's not a big fan of teaching... perhaps he was reluctantly bound to DD and the school by some magical contract, which would be nullified by the curse. And I have no problem seeing Snape as having every confidence that he wouldn't be KILLED in the end; he's a Slytherin, after all; he can take care of himself. ;P
(Deleted comment)
( 26 Things We Said Today — Dear Sir or Madam )