Severing the snarl from severus snape
reaction by "Olivia Monteith"
This was an interesting article to read, and it is similar in ways to
some of my own ideas about Snape and why he behaves the way he does, and
gets away with it. It extends to the other teachers as well, I believe,
in that they behave to Harry and Neville (though I tend to think it applies
to all students at Hogwarts but we are more focussed on Harry and Neville)
in ways that are calculated to make them achieve their greatest potential
or to help them over stumbling blocks in whatever manner will be most
likely to be effective.
An example of this is spelled out pretty plainly in GOF with Moody and
Neville, even though it was not really Moody. There were a couple of subtle
things playing out in the hall after that first DADA class in which Moody
tortured the spider, and killed another one, and Neville was clearly rattled
by it. The book stated that it seemed to Harry to clearly be an example
of Moody thrying to boost Neville's confidence when he gave him the book.
It might very well have been if that had actually been Moody, but also,
we now know that Crouch Jr. was trying to give Neville the book in the
hopes that Harry would get a clue.
In PoA, in the Chapter 'Boggart in The Wardrobe', it seemed to me that
both Snape and Lupin were in on the same sort of thing; boosting Neville's
self esteem and confidence and getting the best results from him in the
process. We know from SS that Neville does best or is most able to produce
magic when he is afraid, his family thought he was a squib untill he was
eight and his uncle dropped him out of a window. For that matter, Hagrid
even said in the first book when he had to convince Harry he really was
a wizard, by asking him hasn't he ever made anything happen when he was
scared or angry? This could be why he grew up with the Dursley's, because
if he had grown up in the wizarding world where he was considered a hero,
he would have had so much adoration and no one would dream of ever giving
him a hard time that he wouldn't have had the fear/anger thing to help
him strengthen his wizarding muscles so to speak. So Snape being so mean,
particularly to Neville, would create an environment that is most helpful
to Neville in a way that is really hard to understand.
Also, he has made Neville fear him, now, I think he is trying to make
Neville face his fears, which is a common kind of therapy to help people
overcome crippling fears. I was afraid of spiders, so I went out and bought
a tarantula and kept him on my desk. Unfortunately it was already dehydrated
from the pet store, and tried to molt a couple of days after I got him,
so he died pretty quickly, but by the time I had spent a weekend with
him I was not at all impressed with the little spiders around my house.
But anyway, he terrorises Neville, and gets worse every year, but then
the classes are getting more complex, too. And the scariest things Neville
muight have to face outside of Hogwarts might make Snape look like Barney
By a similar token, anger seems to trigger Harry's magical abilities more
than fear, so Snape is continually making Harry furious, one sure fire
way to do that is to pick on Ron and Hermione. And Neville.Harry's getting
a magical workout, and he is also having to learn how to control it, at
the same time.
With 'The Boggart...' they had just left a Potions class where Snape not
only interrupts Draco telling Harry that Sirius Black was responsible
for his parents' deaths, but also redirects Harry's anger toward himself
rather than Draco, and at the same time, scares the living daylights out
of Neville by threatening to poison his toad. He knew Neville would produce
his best work under pressure like that, and he was setting him up for
success at the same time. Toads, at least those owned by wizards and witches,
are supposed to be resistant to poisoning, because they are believed to
have a stone in their heads called a borax, similar to a bezoir from a
goat's stomach, plus, a toad, frog, moth, butterfly or other animal that
undergoes a transformation or metamorphosis (from egg, to tadpole to frog)
would be much easier to get to respond to a shrinking solution it would
seem to me. He knew that nothing would happen to Trevor, and that Trevor
would respond well to the potion, even if it was a little bit off, without
it killing him, so Neville could feel better in knowing he did it right.
He was angry at Hermione for helping beause that keeps Neville from accomplishing
anything difficult on his own and building his confidence. Also, by taking
points from Hermione for helping, it keeps them all angry at him, especially
Harry and Ron.
Then the class went to DADA and Lupin takes thenm to the teacher's lounge,
where Snape is conveniently waiting, he scares Neville, ticks off Harry
and co., and then leaves, but not before Lupin has the chance to tell
him, in front of the class, that he has faith in Neville enough that he
will be taking the lead in helping with the boggart. Then Neville takes
on and eventually finished off the boggart, gets extra points (more than
any other student in the class) and he gets to feel good about himself.
Another example of Snape manipulating events and student to steer them
in whatever direction he wants them to go, to figure things out for themselves
is when he makes them do the werewolf essay. He wanted to be sure that
they knew, they were warned that Lupin was a werewolf, so he made them
do the essay. He also made Ron and Harry mad by picking on Hermione, because
he knew that he could provoke one or the other into losing his temper
and having to do detention, and so noticing that Lupin was not in the
hospital wing. He also knew that if no one else did the essay, Hermione
would, and she would start to put things together, that Harry, Ron and
Hermione would all three pick at whatever they don't understand till they
have everything figured out.
He used Harry and Ron's hatred of him and quick tempers again in GoF by
picking on Hermione in an effort to refocus their anger with each other
to him, and make them allies again by them having a common enemy.
With this line of thinking, by being nice to Draco, and always making
out like Draco doesn't need to work on anything, he does everything well
to begin with, and never making Draco angry and basically never giving
him anything to push him to work harder or to control his anger or anything,
which I am sure is also what Draco's homelife is like, he is probably
just as spoiled as Dudley. So Draco's 'magical muscle' never get's stretched
or worked out. Adversity builds character and I think it build's magical
strength, without it, your magical abilities and character are made weaker.
They aren't doing Dracpo any favors, they are enabling him, making sure
he never has to try or to work hard which will handicap him when he hasn't
got mom and dad or the favorite teacher or Crabbe and Goyle around later.
It's basic parenting 101. A child who is never had to find his limits
and push them will never be able to exceed them. One day Draco's pout
and whining will fail to get him what he wants, and then what will he
I think also, that Snape fears Harry, or what Harry might become, and
when Snape fear's someone or somethig, he behaves like a lot of people
do, he lashes out at it. His fear of Harry is tied into his fear for Harry.
He knows that Voldemort left something of himself in Harry, and he knows
that Harry has a great deal of potential to be extremely powerful, as
well as the way Harry's life has played out to this point being very similar
to the way Tom Riddle's life was. Voldemort charms people to his side,
a lot of the time, by putting emphasis on the similarities between them,
such as mentioning in CoS that he and Harry looked alike, and both came
from similar backgrounds, and when Crouch Jr. was talking in GoF, he listed
the similarities between himself and Voldemort, similarities in their
background. He said in CoS he had always bee able to charm those he needed,
and probably was able to get Snape to become a Deatheater in a very similar
way. So Snapre is concerned about Harry possibly joining Voldemort, or
becoming like him.
He is probably also worried about Voldemort catching Harry and finishing
what he started when Harry was a baby, and coming back to full power as
a result. Apparently Harry is safer from Voldemort at the Dursleys', so
it makes sense that Snape wants him to go back there and stay, to remove
all chance of Voldemort getting to Harry.
But as we see so often in myths, legends and history, things have to be
allowed to happen, people have to be allowed to face their obstacles,
to prove themselves, to grow stronger, to face consequences, otherwise,
as is a common literary theme, the consequences of altering or tampering
with fate will come crashing down and they are much, much worse. Dumbledore
knows this, he knows it might be easier to try to keep Harry hidden in
a cupboard under the stairs at No. 4 Privet drive for the rest of his
life, and never have him face Voldemort and risk maybe losing the battle,
but in the end, it wouldn't be the right thing to do.
By Olivia Monteith