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Book 5 - The Order of the Phoenix

Severus Snape's Analysis 
through each Snape moment or reference in the book!!

 

 Chapters 4 - 5 - 6 -7 - 8 - 9  11 - 12 - 13  
15 - 16 - 17 -18 - 19 - 21 - 23

 Chapter 24    Chapter 25 to 27   Chapter 28 & 29   Chapter 30 to 38  

Legend: 

  These images: Read at the same line-level in the other column (1024x768)
Long black spaces: intentional spacing to give me more space for analysis!
gold - physical description
red - personality, personal taste
white - character analysis
mauve/purple - facts
grey cells/light yellow - my personal favorites! 

 


 on all five books!!!

 Warning: In absolutely no case must this text be used for other things than evaluation, fan or inspiration purposes.  I do this only to allow other fans to appreciate the delightful work of JK Rowling and make a full character analysis of one of her creations.  
No money is being made, keep it that way! 

 

 Original text

 Analysis

Chapter 4 (July 15th, 2004)

Fred heaved a deep sigh.

'Shame. I really fancied finding out what old Snape's been up to.'

'Snape!' said Harry quickly. 'Is he here?'

'Yeah,' said George, carefully closing the door and sitting down on one of the beds; Fred and Ginny followed. 'Giving a report. Top secret.'

'Git,' said Fred idly.

'He's on our side now,' said Hermione reprovingly.

Ron snorted. 'Doesn't stop him being a git. The way he looks at us when he sees us.'

'Bill doesn't like him, either,' said Ginny, as though that settled the matter.

 

Snape is referred to as "old Snape" though we know it can't mean his age since he is about 39 or 40 in this book. It rather refers to Snape being his old usual self.

Now, who but a teenager would say "git" to someone giving out precious top secret information at the risk of his life?  Still, Hermione is always on his side though she does not reproofs the fact that he is a git. A git he is, but not because of his keeping his reports secret. What I believe is the matter here is Snape's treatment of the teenagers: he doesn't trust them and regards them as being below him.  Like Ron says, he looks at them from his git persona. That of course, gives the reader a bad perception of Snape, yet again.  Might I recall the readers that this is how Rowling decided, from the beginning of the serie, to behave towards Snape. Rowling hates his dominant, belittling and unfair attitude towards the kids and always makes sure he remains that way in the mind of her characters. However, in this case, she's not only referring to his attitude towards the kids but also towards others, like Bill Weasley.  By settling the matter by saying that Bill doesn't like him either, Ginny gives out an important point about them not being the only "victims" of Snape's mannerism. At first, you get the impression that Snape is like that with absolutely everyone, but if you think farther, you'll remember that Bill must have been one of his students, too. Hence, we are drawn back to consider Snape from the perspective that anyone he taught is therefore lower than him. This way, Rowling creates an atmosphere of "general dislike" towards Snape.  Except that with Hermione, Rowling (at least) concedes some points.  She's always done so of course, even in the first book.  She respects him for being a teacher, I reckon, and also for being so intelligent.  What's extraordinary about Hermione is that she does not allow her inner-demons towards Snape destroy his qualities or engage into this kind of hateful comments about his person. Again, this attitude as I mentioned a couple of times was essential to the spread of so many Hermione/Snape fanfictions.  Incredible how the imagination of people can be inflamed by such short retorts from Granger!

What troubles me is that however: why did Hermione said "now" as if he had been against them quite recently. I believe she refers to his distant past which of course entice that everyone knows of it within Grimmauld Place.  That is in itself a very important point.  Snape must also know that he is now not only regarded as a mean teacher, but also as an Ex-death Eater. And do we know that not loads of people ever trust ex-death eaters unless they claimed they had been under Imperio OR they started acting like sociable beings like Malfoy.  Hence, imagine the pressure Snape may be under: he's in a house full of his students, which he has no dream of getting more acquainted with, but  that means he still has to make sure they understand that he is their teacher, an authority.  If you've read my other analysis, you will remember that Snape hates one thing more than anything else: not being respected or doubted.  Book5 is THE book where my theory is more than proved exact!  Indeed, Snape gets enraged when someone doubts his authority, judgment, abilities or logic. He always reacts strongly because it's his tendon of Achilles: one small hit there and he's done for!  We know that thanks to this book because it was humiliation, utter rejection that proved to be the chink in his armor. Therefore, when Snape is confronted with a bunch of students at Grimmauld Place, do you sincerely think he would be any nicer?  Actually, he does not only have to withhold his teacher respectability, but also his respectability as an ex-Death Eater and a spy.  And how does Snape do that?  He repels people away, belittles them so as to create an air of superiority about him. That's why, I believe, Ron gives the impression that Snape feels their presence is nauseous.  Snape will not relent on his pride because he cannot bare to be belittled himself. He has had enough of that for a lifetime I believe, hence, he knows no other ways to protect himself but to "act" superior and controlled.  Imagine, mere kids are there in the center of the action while he has to go out there and risk his life.  And then, when he comes to give his report, he has these kids looking at him as though he is Voldemort himself.  How would you feel?  Snape, for his part, seems to feel hardened. Though he may not be proud of his past actions, he won't show it to his students or anyone for that matter.  It also goes back to his attitude towards "FAMOUS Harry Potter": he is a kid and should not be idolized for doing nothing but barely scrape alive from idiotic self-imposed missions. Snape doesn't like kids to be involved, even from afar, to things they cannot understand or participate in.  You can see a kind of jealousy of the attention the kids get even.  

What's sad is that this attitude is exactly what brings about more undue hate and reprimand onto Snape.  We're stuck into a kind of vicious circle: Snape protects himself from further humiliation and rejection, but by doing so, people hate and insult him the more.  

The three of them looked cautiously over the banisters. The gloomy hallway below was packed with witches and wizards, including all of Harry's guards. They were whispering excitedly together. In the very centre of the group Harry saw the dark, greasy-haired head and prominent nose of his least favourite teacher at Hogwarts, Professor Snape. Harry leant further over the banisters. He was very interested in what Snape was doing for the Order of the Phoenix...

A thin piece of flesh-coloured string descended in front of Harrys eyes. Looking up, he saw Ered and George on the landing above, cautiously lowering the Extendable Ear towards the dark knot of people below. A moment later, however, they all began to move towards the front door and out of sight.

'Dammit,' Harry heard Fred whisper, as he hoisted the Extendable Ear back up again.

They heard the front door open, then close.

'Snape never eats here,' Ron told Harry quietly. Thank God. C'mon.'

 

Again, as tradition wishes it, Snape is described as dark greasy-haired and having a prominent nose.

Carefully notice how Snape is in the very middle of the group!  Not first to get out nor the last.  In way, it means that Snape was not a mere bystander in the secret meeting. Why so?  Because knowing Snape, he would not have been found in the middle of the group had he not had to be an active participant. He would likely have chosen the far-most invisible spot in the room.  But as his reports seem to entice, he has to take a prominent role.  Hence, his position in the group of people at the end of the meeting. But...

 

 

 

Snape is also the first one OUT the door!  Makes you wonder whom he is fleeting?!  Molly's affectionate personality?  Moody's distrustful eye? Black's house and presence? Having to eat at the same table as the great Harry Potter and his croonies?  Idle chat?  All of the above would be my best guess!  ; )  

However, it may also be due to the fact that he should spend as less time as possible outside the house.  Wouldn't be good for his spying career to be caught up there, right!  But, frankly, was it not for being a spy, I do believe he would still not indulge in much chit-chat in the hallway of Black's house!!  

Chapter 5 (July 16th, 2004)

  There was something about the slightly flattened tone of voice in which Sirius uttered Dumbledore's name that told Harry that Sirius, too, was not very happy with the Headmaster. Harry felt a sudden upsurge of affection for his godfather.

At least you've known what's been going on,' he said bracingly.

'Oh yeah,' said Sirius sarcastically. 'Listening to Snape's reports, having to take all his snide hints that he's out there risking his life while I'm sat on my backside here having a nice comfortable time... asking me how the cleaning's going -'

'What cleaning?' asked Harry.

 

It's payback time for Snape!!  Oh yeah!  Well, of course he could stop acting so childish, but I guess this is one part of Snape which refuses to grow out of his grudge for what happened to him back at school at the hands of the Marauders. Black, however, does not seem to relent in his distaste for Snape either. In a way, I believe that Snape's point is this: "The tables have turned, I am the one who should get a little bit of recognition now, just as you did back in school. I am considered the "hero" now while you are worth not much more than an house-elf... exactly the opposite of our predicaments when we were young don't you think?"  Indeed, his snide hints and questions about cleaning give you that idea. It's a if Snape considered it a "normal life retribution" for his trouble now and in the past, always driven by grudge of course which is why it's not such a healthy feeling after all.

What's even more surprising is that, in front of Black, it seems Snape has no guilt of having become a Death Eater. He just won't admit it, not even a tidbit. "No place for insults from you, Black!" he seems to say. Doesn't this attitude hints you as something more?  I reckon it could even be as far as saying that Snape is secretly accusing Black of making him a perfect victim for the Dark Mark. When one shows no guilt whatsoever to someone, it usually hides something important.

Opposite Harry, Tonks was entertaining Hermione and Ginny by transforming her nose between mouthfuls. Screwing up her eyes each time with the same pained expression she had worn back in Harry's bedroom, her nose swelled to a beak-like protuberance that resembled Snape's, shrank to the size of a button mushroom and then sprouted a great deal of hair from each nostril.

 

Snape's nose resembles a beak-like protuberance

'So what does Dumbledore reckon he's planning?'

'Well, firstly, he wants to build up his army again,' said Sirius. 'In the old days he had huge numbers at his command: witches and wizards he'd bullied or bewitched into following him, his faithful Death Eaters, a great variety of Dark creatures. You heard him planning to recruit the giants; well, they'll be just one of the groups he's after. He's certainly not going to try and take on the Ministry of Magic with only a dozen Death Eaters.'

'So you're trying to stop him getting more followers?'

'We're doing our best,' said Lupin.

 

Yes! We are finally getting some glimpse as to how Voldemort got his recruits back then!!  Here is the list how he seemed to do so:

  • bullying
  • bewitching/Imperio/jinxes (as mentioned just below)
  • blackmailing
  • tricking
  • accepting dark-natured creatures
  • accepting faithful servants

Which one was used on Snape? The pale-blue coercive methods or the darker-blue unconstrained ones?   Wish we knew the answer, but as far as theories go when it comes to Snape, we have to admit that the unconstrained acceptance of the Dark Mark is the most popular bet.  That's the option which is most visited. And why is that?  Simply because Snape has this redemptive pattern about him.  We know he's been given a second chance by Dumbledore to redeem himself from Moody Mad-Eye in Book 4 (see bookmark). Had he been bullying or jinxed or blackmailed or tricked, I do not believe Snape would go to such extremes as to spy for the Order and remain right where he is. He owns something to Dumbledore ever since he saved him from the court and decided to work as a spy.  Of course, if Snape accepted the Dark Mark, it must at some point have included some tricks and illusions from Voldermort's part. Unless, no sane man would have done so. However, we know almost for sure that Snape did it on his own accord.

 When Lupin says they are doing their best, I reckon Snape must be included in the collective "we" in someway. We are either referring to potentially dangerous people whom they are monitoring or potential new victims. Frankly, I do not believe Lupin up to spotting the new victims, rather monitoring.  However, Snape's case may be totally different. I do believe he can easily find himself in the position of both monitoring and preventing. Being Head of Slytherin, a spy for the Light, an ex-Death Eater is something that counts in your relationships related to Voldemort. It has after all been often taken into account in fan-fictions because of its probability. Therefore, as expected, our dear Potions Master is indeed one of the main key to this war boiling up.

'Voldemort doesn't march up to people's houses and bang on their front doors, Harry,' said Sirius. 'He tricks, jinxes and blackmails them. He's well-practiced at operating in secret. In any case, gathering followers is only one thing he's interested in. He's got other plans too, plans he can put into operation very quietly indeed, and he's concentrating on those for the moment.'

 

Do you reckon his other plans would be known to Sirius thanks to Snape?  I believe so. There must be other informants for the Light, but no one must have a prominent place as Snape does for now.  Tonks may be able to disguise herself, but when it comes to actually meet the Dark Lord, I'm afraid her tricks are useless. Hence, Snape is left to gather as much information as possible.  Dumbledore is quite good at stratagem, apart from being forgiving.  

This, in a way, does not give reason to those fan-fictions which elaborate on the tidbits of information Snape gathers for the Light. He actually seems to be the main source of information.  And who says source of information confirms that he has indeed been accepted back within the ranks of the Dark Lord!  Indeed, later on, we will read that Umbridge was highly recommended Snape by Lucius, and in Harry's head, that Snape knows of the visions he got directly from Voldemort.

Very important and perplexing indeed!  How did he do?  Begging? Offering valuable information so as to be taken back and excused?  Prove his allegiance by performing an act worthy of a Death Eater? Being punished then forgiven? Hypothesis to which, I am afraid, we are doomed to hang on to until Book 6 or even 7!  : (

Chapter 6 (July 16th, 2004)

  'Was he killed by an Auror?' Harry asked tentatively.

'Oh, no,' said Sirius. 'No, he was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort's orders, more likely; I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death.'

 

You have got to love Sirius for the precious information he offers us! : )

First of all, as a lot of us expected, Voldemort does not usually do his dirty business. He lets others take care of lesser Death Eaters for him.  This may lead us to conclude on this: Voldemort gives orders, and his followers are not the ones who should take such decisions.  At least, that's what Rowling leads us to. She is not too specific however. She does not entail us with much about Death Eater rules. One thing is sure, you serve or you die. She's pretty clear on that one. Hence, it proves that Severus has no choice.  Which, incidentally, also leads us to understand the power of the Dark Mark as often mentioned in fan-fictions. HOWEVER, let me remind you that Snape has directly suggested to Igor Karkaroff to flee if he was so afraid of the wrath of Voldemort for betrayal. If Snape suggested to flee, it also entice that the Dark Mark does NOT bind you to Voldemort in a painful undeniable curse which, if ignored, gets worst. Snape should know as much. Hence, why would one be in danger if one chose not to apparate when called?  Because of the Death Eaters which will seek you out until you do what you've been ordered to by Voldemort or  kill you.  I do not believe they actually have to bring the recalcitrant in front of the Dark Lord himself if the latter heard of his non-cooperation by ways of not having apparated when summoned.  They may be ordered to bring him to Voldemort, but that is not certain. Therefore, if you do back up, you have to flee fast and neatly or else, you are dead!

We've all been imagining what Death Eaters were asked to perform once they were branded with the Dark Mark. We now more or less have the confirmation that the horrible unmentionable acts are to be performed AFTER taking the side of the Dark Lord. Unless, that Regulus would have chickened out before.  This passage also confirms the element of panic and horror one may experience when faced with exactly what Death Eaters are all about.  Hence, though we still have exactly no idea what Death Eaters truly like or have to do once branded with the Mark, we know they have to indulge in things so horrible one might prefer to risk chickening out than perform it. We know from Book 4 especially that such activities include killing, torturing, violence and such. No rapes were mentioned, we all know why of course, though the HP community as for long advance such ideas.

'You're related to the Malfoys!'

The pure-blood families are all interrelated,' said Sirius. Tf you're only going to let your sons and daughters marry pure-bloods your choice is very limited; there are hardly any of us left. Molly and I are cousins by marriage and Arthur's something like my second cousin once removed. But there's no point looking for them on here - if ever a family was a bunch of blood traitors it's the Weasleys.'

 

If Black is related to the Malfoys, then what about Snape?  I do believe Harry would have made a strong point of mentioning it to his godfather had he stumbled upon it while inspecting his family tree. However, he did not which leaves us to wonder... is Snape a pureblood or not?  My opinion on that is still that he is a pureblood. Why? Because we never heard of other Dead Eaters being half-bloods, then there is statistically lots of chances that a second cousin or uncle of Snape might not be mentioned in Sirius's family tree, also Death Eaters of the first generation were reputed for hating muggles so it would seem very strange to be one and be half-muggle (though I do not say it can't be, take Voldemort as the perfect example). UPDATE: please see JKRowling's interview of August 2004 here.

I also bring another hypothesis: what is Lucius is related to Snape's family?  I know there has been a lot of speculations about this in the fan-fiction world, hence I reiterate the idea because it could prove right. If so, then Snape's attitude towards Draco could better be explained.
Another update: Lucius Malfoy's student years have been confirmed as going from Sept 1965 to June 1972 (reference here) Hence, he and Severus never met at school more than 2 or 3 years which, I believe, would not be enough to allow Malfoy to convince Snape to join the Death Eater within his time at Hogwarts. So, I'm thinking more in terms of familial or friendly relationships outside of Hogwarts or simply propaganda or threats or recuiting anyone interested in the Dark Arts. All theories could apply.

There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy, until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; a heavy locket that none of them could open; a number of ancient seals; and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius's grandfather for 'services to the Ministry'.

'It means he gave them a load of gold,' said Sirius contemptuously, throwing the medal into the rubbish sack.

 

Ever had doubts why Lucius could render himself so easily?  Well here is something which will help you!!  

As far as Snape is concerned, that only means that title "Order of Merlin" must, after all, not hold a lot of significance anymore.  At least, I would not suspect him to be unaware of that. Therefore, as I mentioned at the end of Book3, after Sirius escaped, I do not believe Snape was ever so sad or angry about loosing the Order of Merlin. Just because Sirius escaped.

Snape might refer to their work as 'cleaning', but in Harry's opinion they were really waging war on the house, which was putting up a very good fight, aided and abetted by Kreacher.

Funny how Harry does not recognise Snape's sarcasm!  Of course he would not use a stronger word to describe such a menial task when talking to Sirius.  I can even imagine just how he raised one eyebrow and dramatically paused before utter the "cleaning" word to Black.  "Cleaning" is so much more affecting Sirius thanks to its relation with house-elf work. Quite a sarcastic offence!  

Chapter 7  (July 16th, 2004)

  'Mr Weasley' said Harry, as they passed a window through which sunlight was streaming, 'aren't we still underground?'

'Yes, we are,' said Mr Weasley. Those are enchanted windows. Magical Maintenance decide what weather we'll get every day.

 

The Dungeons' windows must therefore be enchanted as well. Because I refuse to believe that about a minimum of three staircases below Hogwarts, natural windows are found. However, how come Harry never talked about it when in Hogwarts?  Hum?...  Alright! Maybe Rowling had so much details on her hands that she just mentioned it now, which often happens actually.  After all, how could the dungeons be cold and damp with so much "natural" light?!  With magic maybe. But I do believe the windows in Snape's office and his classroom are magical!   

They reached the bottom of the steps and ran along yet another corridor, which bore a great resemblance to the one that led to Snape's dungeon at Hogwarts, with rough stone walls and torches in brackets. The doors they passed here were heavy wooden ones with iron bolts and keyholes.

Courtroom

Snape's dungeon resembles this: rough stone walls and torches in brackets.

Chapter 8  (July 16th, 2004)

 Harry gasped; he could not help himself. The large dungeon he had entered was horribly familiar. He had not only seen it before, he had been here before. This was the place he had visited inside Dumbledore's Pensieve, the place where he had watched the Lestranges sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban.

The walls were made of dark stone, dimly lit by torches. Empty benches rose on either side of him, but ahead, in the highest benches of all, were many shadowy figures. They had been talking in low voices, but as the heavy door swung closed behind Harry an ominous silence fell.

 

Here it is: the room where Snape was brought in to be judged for his actions as a Death Eater, but also pardoned.  Its details do give you the creep.  I would not have found myself there for all the gold in the world! Yet, Snape had to face his actions.  Must have been quite an overbearing experience, even though he had Dumbledore on his side.

Harry dropped his gaze to the chair in the centre of the room, the arms of which were covered in chains. He had seen those chains spring to life and bind whoever sat between them. His footsteps echoed loudly as he walked across the stone floor. When he sat gingerly on the edge of the chair the chains clinked threateningly, but did not bind him. Feeling rather sick, he looked up at the people seated at the bench above.

There were about fifty of them, all, as far as he could see, wearing plum-coloured robes with an elaborately worked silver 'W on the left-hand side of the chest and all staring down their noses at him, some with very austere expressions, others looks of frank curiosity.

 

Like I was saying, Snape must have found it quite frightening if not totally humiliating to be sitting right there in front of so many judges!  And I would reckon he was indeed chained up for he was an accused Death Eater after all.  Then again, we have to remember that tribunals in Europe tend to expose the suspect and his place in the court is often confined to an inferior level whether such things are not seen in America.  This is important to understand for none Europeans who are not used to it. Hence, for those of you who only know of the American justice system, you must also consider the effect of such an overpowering decor. Don't you think it must be one memory which Snape must find quite disturbing at times?  I would actually. And believe me, if you feel any such guilt as Snape seems to, being imprisoned to a chair in the middle of a courtroom full of people ready to judge you in their own corrupted ways or from their own point of view... it must be a hellish experience indeed!  For one so proud and perfection-seeking like Snape, that moment could prove a

'You are Harry James Potter, of number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey?' Fudge said, glaring at Harry over the top of his parchment.

 

Ha, ha, ha!! How funny!  Maybe I just never noticed before if Rowling once mentioned that Harry's middle name was James, but now that I know, I cannot remain mute towards its irony when it comes to Snape' snide remarks about how much the boy resembles his father. In fact, it proves that Rowling is very much conscious of it, though Harry fortunately inherited his mother's charity.

Chapter 9  (July 16th, 2004)

  From an inner pocket of his robes Moody pulled a very tattered old wizarding photograph.

'Original Order of the Phoenix,' growled Moody. 'Found it last night when I was looking for my spare Invisibility Cloak, seeing as Podmore hasn't had the manners to return my best one... thought people might like to see it.'

 

I just wanted you to notice that, as expected, Snape was not seen on the photo when Moody later named the members.  Two theories: Snape had not switched side yet or if he had, he did not wish to participate in a photo which could have turned out into the hands of the wrong people.  Not to mention that at the time, Moody must have been very wary of Snape.  Much more than right now.  

'Molly that's enough; said Lupin firmly. 'This isn't like last time. The Order are better prepared, we've got a head start, we know what Voldemorts up to -'

Mrs Weasley gave a little squeak of fright at the sound of the name.

'Oh, Molly, come on, it's about time you got used to hearing his name - look, I can't promise no one's going to get hurt, nobody can promise that, but we're much better off than we were last time. You weren't in the Order then, you don't understand. Last time we were outnumbered twenty to one by the Death Eaters and they were picking us off one by one...'

 

The circumstances of the first war against Voldemort are getting clearer.  Here's a summary:

  • The Order was ill prepared it seems and outnumbered hence, the number of casualties must have been quite high. Therefore, losing the Potters was not so much as a shock as it seemed. They were in the Order, but their lost doesn't seem as bad as it once look in the first books.  
  • The Order know what Voldemort is up to while they were not last time. Thanks to who?  Mainly Snape I reckon. But this also gives us another hint as to Snape's spying days. Though in his legal process we've learned that Dumbledore vouched for him since he had turned a spy for the Light, not only at great personal risks, but also BEFORE the end of the war. However, does that mean that Snape did not provide enough information to the Order back then if they were still falling like flies?  Not really if we consider the fact that Lupin may be talking about one point in the Order's history where such a spy was not present. When Snape became their spy, maybe things changed and escalated so suddenly that soon after, Harry had defeated Voldemort. Hence not leaving enough time for Snape to deliver more vital information so as to make up for the Order's outnumbering. Maybe. Still, at least thanks to Snape, this time, they know what Voldemort wants!  yeah!!

 

Chapter 11 (July 19th, 2004)

 (The Sorting Hat's new allegory!)

For were there such friends anywhere
As Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Said Slytherin, 'We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest.'
For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,
While the bravest and the boldest
Went to daring Gryffindor.

 

If I'm not wrong, this tells a lot about the exact nature of Slytherins and Gryffindors.  A common nature that makes me hope for the future of Snape is the last two books. How so? The sorting hat expressively addresses both houses in a kind of truce to end hostilities.  And on what grounds?  Having been the best of friends for so long!  And the hat still believes it could be so. Also, when Rowling writes: "while the bravest...", she somewhat implies that were it not for Slytherins requiring pure-bloods, a number of those accepted in Gryffindor would actually have been sorted in Slytherin. As such, the hat argues about the stupidity of house rivalry, not only because of competition, but also because friends become enemies for such small matters.

My point here is that, if you've read my small uptake on Rowling's interviews, you know that she makes me fear the worst for all Slytherins.  However, if you take into account the point of view of the sorting hat, then a whole new perspective is opened up: Slytherins are not all bad, as I always prone myself! If some of them had to be sorted in Gryffindor and vice versa while they were friends, it means that they would make a great pair. Hence, Rowling contradicts the fact that all Slytherins end up bad as she, unfortunately, often leads the readers to believe due to the absence of "good" or "nice" Slytherins. In a word, there is hope! : )

Chapter 12  (July 19th, 2004)

  'Look at today!' groaned Ron. 'History of Magic, double Potions, Divination and double Defence Against the Dark Arts... Binns, Snape, Trelawney and that Umbridge woman all in one day! I wish Fred and George'd hurry up and get those Skiving Snackboxes sorted...'

 

I've always been perplexed: does that mean they have a maximum of 6hours of class each day?  Because I can't quite understand why they say "double" Potions or DADA apart from it referring to double class-time. Then, how long are each class? 45minutes? 1hour?  If someone knows, please tell me, I can't remember if that kind of detail was provided in the books. Below, we learn that Snape, after his 5minute speech, gives the students 90minutes to complete the required potions. And that 10minutes from the end, he said they should have achieved it. That would leave time to bottle up samples and clean a bit.  Therefore, I would be tempted to say classes extend from a minimum of 45minutes to 50 or 55.  I'm also wondering if they have Potions twice a week before?  

If I'm concerned, it is only because I would like to know how many hours of teaching Snape has each week.  He has 7 years to cover.  And we know they have had Double Potions since first-year. Hence, "double" would at least refer to 14periods of teaching.  Then, unless I am mistaken, up until fifth-year, they had but one class each week.  However, below, you will see that Snape requires a homework to be handed in on Thursday while Potions is on Monday. Does it mean they have Potions that day or not?  

 Judging from the curriculum, I reckon 14hours would be enough.   In my country, teachers in high schools get about 20hours of teaching and 7 hours for office work. Knowing that Snape is Head of Slytherin, I gather that this would reasonable if only fith to seventh-year students had Potions twice a week for 2hours each because it would amount to 20hours of teaching. .  

That's the bell,' said Harry dully, because Ron and Hermione were bickering too loudly to hear it. They did not stop arguing all the way down to Snape's dungeon, which gave Harry plenty of time to reflect that between Neville and Ron he would be lucky ever to have two minutes of conversation with Cho that he could look back on without wanting to leave the country.

And yet, he thought, as they joined the queue lining up outside Snape's classroom door, she had chosen to come and talk to him, hadn't she? [...] ... and at this thought, Harry's spirits rose. Even the ominous sound of Snape's dungeon door creaking open did not puncture the small, hopeful bubble that seemed to have swelled in his chest. He filed into the classroom behind Ron and Hermione and followed them to their usual table at the back, where he sat down between Ron and Hermione and ignored the huffy, irritable noises now issuing from both of them.

'Settle down,' said Snape coldly, shutting the door behind him.

 (Lady Claudia: separated here for clarity purposes only)

 

Always finds it funny when Rowling refers to Potions classroom as "Snape's dungeon" : )  But as I was mentioning above, his dungeon is "all the way down" and therefore, I would be way surprised if those windows were not enchanted at all. If you look at the architecture of Hogwarts, you will notice that the main doors are on ground level while no windows can be seen below that.

 Some facts: looks like Snape is not the type to readily leave his classroom door opened for students to come and sit in when they see fit.  This scene gives you a different impression from his first-year speech in the movie and his DADA class in the third one, doesn't it!  In the movies, Snape  barges menacingly through the door while all already sit. However, in the books, Snape is usually there beforehand or not very far as in this scene where he shuts the door behind him. Of course, the movies have to produce more "effect" in order to best grasp Snape's character in such a short time, but in the books, the same effect is achieved through his perpetual presence in the classroom before a single student ever sets foot in it or his eerie opening of the door while he's not even in. I just wonder if the class is set up to open at the right moment?  I don't think so. Snape is very guarded and if he found himself in need of some time alone or in discussion in his office even though the bell had rang, he would not like his classroom's door to suddenly open up, right? Hence the theory that, even though it looks like he was behind the students since he shut the door behind him, he must have been the one to magically open it.

Nice how Rowling goes as far as to describe Snape's door sound as "ominous", which in a word suggests foreboding or foreshadowing evil.  She really likes to keep in canon and well defined indeed: his black clothes, his posture, his commanding voice, his coldness and the forebodingness of his environment: cold and damp classroom in the dungeons, the unearthly appearance of his Potions ingredients, his creaking door... everything is focused on Snape's character which is, in itself, a very nice and discerning feature of Rowling of course.

A quick note about the Trio: I do believe it is wise of them to sit at the far end of the classroom though it does not seem too effective in avoiding Snape's forbiddance. He still picks on them as much as possible!  

There was no real need for the call to order; the moment the class had heard the door close, quiet had fallen and all fidgeting stopped. Snape's mere presence was usually enough to ensure a class's silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Before we begin today's lesson,' said Snape, sweeping over to his desk and staring around at them all, 'I think it appropriate to remind you that next June you will be sitting an important examination, during which you will prove how much you have learned about the composition and use of magical potions. Moronic though some of this class undoubtedly are, I expect you to scrape an "Acceptable" in your OWL, or suffer my... displeasure.'

His gaze lingered this time on Neville, who gulped.

'After this year, of course, many of you will cease studying with me,' Snape went on. '1 take only the very best into my NEWT Potions class, which means that some of us will certainly be saying goodbye.'

His eyes rested on Harry and his lip curled. Harry glared back, feeling a grim pleasure at the idea that he would be able to give up Potions after fifth year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'But we have another year to go before that happy moment of farewell,' said Snape softly, 'so, whether or not you are intending to attempt NEWT, I advise all of you to concentrate your efforts upon maintaining the high pass level I have come to expect from my OWL students.

 

 

 

 

 (Lady Claudia: separated here for clarity purposes only)

 

Again we are faced with Snape's prestigious fashion of keeping a class quiet: all he has to do is be there and close the door. That, I expect, is the signal he instigated in their brains so that he would never have to call them to order ever again. Very good strategy indeed. I wish it worked with my students, but unfortunately, even the worst consequences I am allowed to impose on students for not keeping silent (and believe me, it's next to none!) are ineffective. Snape however has a lot of space left to imagination for those misbehaving in his class.  Not that I think it's always fair, but as far as keeping quiet is concerned, I wish nowadays teachers over my part of America had  a little more latitude!

Still, it says that Snape's mere presence is enough to ensure students keep quiet, so that he should not even bother to say "settle down", but that only comes from them having experienced his wrath when they did not.  However, Rowling said it was "usually" so and we must therefore leave space for the use of saying "settle down", especially at the beginning of another school year. Kids always forget how to behave in class the first day around nowadays, but in Snape's case, he won't let them misbehave or think of idle chatting for a second. They are here to learn, and learn they shall. That's very Snapish.  

Incredible as it may sound, Snape does not entice that all of them are dunderheads but that some are.  He improved did he not?  His only defense for such a "compliment": they have been his students for four full years now and therefore the number of complete dunderheads should have decreased!  Well, I do believe that is somehow what Snape could be on.  On the other hand however, he does say that there is no way some of them are NOT moronic.  Ouch!  That has got to hurt... Neville in particular.  But notice how he did not look Neville up until the point he actually said "displeasure".  That's a fine Slytherin tactic indeed: Snape must know that insults are less scary to the boy than are his threats. So he makes sure to look at the boy when he mentions that if he displeases him, Neville will not be out of his misery too soon.

Indeed, interesting point, Snape proves my theory that he often keeps his revenge for later. Revenge is a dish best served cold.   Snape is talking about end-of-year exam. He tells them that he won't accept anything below "Acceptable" in their OWLs and only accepts the very best in NEWT Potions. But chronologically speaking, the tests are after their fifth-year.  Hence, if you do not score high enough anyway, you won't end up in Snape's class. So where is the problem? Why would you fear his displeasure?  Because Snape exacts his revenge and wrath AFTER the storm has passed under his conditions. He will not readily act on the spur of the moment, he's not a Gryffindor after all. He will wait for another occasion when he will have the upper hand. That kind of situation recurs with his dealings with Potter: for example, when Snape can't prove a misdeed was Potter's fault thereafter in the story we learned how Snape punishes Harry for some obscure or trivial reasons. Those obscure reasons are of course his revenge for trying to fool him in the first place. And this scene proves it all when he clearly mentions that any failing students will have to suffer his wrath, hence in their sixth-year even though they are no longer his students. Would you call that unfair?  Difficult question!  

When Snape glares at Harry after mentioning the fact that some of them will certainly say "goodbye" as teacher/student, I believe Snape has another idea behind his head. While Harry is unyieldingly pleasured at the idea of saying goodbye himself, Snape's curled lips tells as much but also of another fact unbeknown to Harry: he needs Potions to go into Auror training. A career choice which I bet Snape is expecting in the young adventurous Potter. But, what will happen if Harry is as average as the next student in Potions?! He won't make it, and that is what Snape may be pondering at this very moment. Snape is certain, and he must know that he won't make the cut, that Harry cannot possibly achieve an "Outstanding" in his OWL Potions. Cruel?  Yes. But Snape must be happy that FINALLY after so many years a "Potter" is going to go back down to earth due to his failing mind capacities; you have to remember that Snape is convinced of Harry's conceit that he is good at everything and likes to be adored. It is not so, but still, his attitude towards Snape increases those prejudices.  What I see here is a battle of the mind.  Snape seems to find wicked pleasure in seeing that Harry won't make it, even though he is so powerful, because of a failure in Potions, a subject which requires lots of logic and precision.

I love this sentence. Happy moment indeed. And the whole paragraph also proves what I've been theorising for so long: Snape does not suffer incompetents, he expects the best from his students under all circumstances, and he favors brainpower over any other kind of magic.  He likes academics that's for sure when you ponder on the fact that he will not accept failure.  Failure of his students is his own failure therefore.  Strange how he takes it so personally but I understand him. It is a kind of professional pride you get when your students get higher marks than others. Also, Snape always expects the best from his students. And believe it or not, he does because he knows lots of them just don't try enough!  It's a common drawback of schools actually, that students do not invest themselves in their studies.  Unlike at universities for example where they HAVE TO for fear of expulsion. Snape takes it farther to high school level, that's all.

Today we will be mixing a potion that often comes up at Ordinary Wizarding Level: the Draught of Peace, a potion to calm anxiety and soothe agitation. Be warned: if you are too heavy-handed with the ingredients you will put the drinker into a heavy and sometimes irreversible sleep, so you will need to pay close attention to what you are doing.' On Harry's left, Hermione sat up a little straighter, her expression one of utmost attention. The ingredients and method -' Snape flicked his wand '- are on the blackboard -' (they appeared there) '- you will find everything you need —' he flicked his wand again '- in the store cupboard —' (the door of the said cupboard sprang open) '- you have an hour and a half... start.'

Just as Harry, Ron and Hermione had predicted, Snape could hardly have set them a more difficult, fiddly potion. (*Lady Claudia: chiefly British : requiring close attention to detail : synonym to "fussy" ) The ingredients had to be added to the cauldron in precisely the right order and quantities; the mixture had to be stirred exactly the right number of times, firstly in clockwise, then in anti-clockwise directions; the heat of the flames on which it was simmering had to be lowered to exactly the right level for a specific number of minutes before the final ingredient was added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Lady Claudia: separated here for clarity purposes only)

 

Snape: always practical is he not?  It's the first class of the year and he has be one idea on his mind: give them a taste of what exactly is expected of them throughout the year. Indeed, he will not waste a minute.  What is interesting is how he assigns a difficult "fiddly" potion without seemingly explaining anything beforehand, apart from the fact that it is a minute assignment which could have catastrophic consequences were it not brewed properly. Why then?  I believe the students are perfectly aware of how to proceed, how to perform each step, but the difference is how the order, the stirring, the timing, the heat and the quantities all have to be accounted for at the same time. While before, I assume they did not have to worry about all of those elements at the same time. Maybe one or two, but not all of them.  This is again very "Snapish" an approach: he always demands the best from his students, hence, even though this is but the first day of fifth-year, he still considers them as such and mature enough to practice it.  I do not think Snape expects many of them to actually achieve the potion, I reckon it's rather a way for him to materialize and symbolise his wish for their constant effort and vigilance until the OWLs. Failure is a good indicator to students: if they thought they could enter fifth-year Potions with as much easiness as they did before, Snape has them cornered. Hence, if students utterly or barely fail their first potion, what a better reminder that one has to study hard and be careful?  It is a pedagogical method after all.

Look how cute that is!  Hermione straightens up and turns all ears to her teacher's indications!  Nice! : )  I can recognise myself there, too!  

Well, that explains a lot about Movie3 when Snape walked in DADA class and closed the shutters on the windows with nothing but his wand.  This kind of wordless magic must actually be a swish-like magic.  No need for words, only your intent in your head and the right swish of your wand, and it does the trick.  I noticed that Snape gets to do a lot of it compared to others who use more word-magic.  Is it due to his powerfulness?  Maybe so.  After all, Dumbledore is the books' epitome of wordless magic.  So indeed, why not.  I do believe Snape is a strong wizard so it would only be logical he can do so easily.

I also just wanted to say how happy I am that my theories about the boards automatically being written were included in this book! Being a teacher, the most tedious job is the perpetual writing/erasing routine, and I would have been quite disappointed had Rowling not found a way around it! Ah.... I dream of such a board!  But maybe one day with technology.  I wish I could use a computer in class, but that's barely an occasional luxe nowadays in school.

'A light silver vapour should now be rising from your potion,' called Snape, with ten minutes left to go.

Harry, who was sweating profusely, looked desperately around the dungeon. His own cauldron was issuing copious amounts of dark grey steam; Ron's was spitting green sparks. Seamus was feverishly prodding the flames at the base of his cauldron with the tip of his wand, as they seemed to be going out. The surface of Hermione's potion, however, was a shimmering mist of silver vapour, and as Snape swept by he looked down his hooked nose at it without comment, which meant he could find nothing to criticise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Harry's cauldron, however, Snape stopped, and looked down at it with a horrible smirk on his face.

' Potter, what is this supposed to be?'

The Slytherins at the front of the class all looked up eagerly; they loved hearing Snape taunt Harry.

The Draught of Peace,' said Harry tensely.

Tell me, Potter,' said Snape softly, 'can you read?'

Draco Malfoy laughed.

'Yes, I can,' said Harry, his fingers clenched tightly around his wand.

'Read the third line of the instructions for me, Potter.'

Harry squinted at the blackboard; it was not easy to make out the instructions through the haze of multi-coloured steam now filling the dungeon.

'"Add powdered moonstone, stir three times counter-clockwise, allow to simmer for seven minutes then add two drops of syrup of hellebore."'

His heart sank. He had not added syrup of hellebore, but had proceeded straight to the fourth line of the instructions after allowing his potion to simmer for seven minutes.

'Did you do everything on the third line, Potter?'

'No,' said Harry very quietly.

'I beg your pardon?'

'No,' said Harry, more loudly. 'I forgot the hellebore.'

'I know you did, Potter, which means that this mess is utterly worthless. Evanesce.'

The contents of Harry's potion vanished; he was left standing foolishly beside an empty cauldron.

 (Lady Claudia: separated here for clarity purposes only)
 

Logically, it seems blatant that so many students were left to brew their potions to a point where about no one, except the resident know-it-all, got it right?!  It reinforces my theory that this first potion was an attempt, by Snape, to remind his students of their inabilities in potion making so as to encourage them to get better due to their utter failure the first day of school. It could also be seen as a way to evaluate just how concentrated and minute they can be and how long they can follow instructions.  If not, I would not be able to understand why Snape, the perfection-demander, would let his students do such stupid things!  We know from other books that he is always there, preying on his students like a hawk to find any fault in their potions. So why in this case would Snape only survey them around the end?  If you read below, Harry skipped something essential about step number 3.  I mean, it would appear that Snape did not come earlier so there is but one solution: he did not oversee the students progress this time. Note that Rowling did not mention what Snape told the other students about their potion. After all, if Rowling said he looked down on Granger's one and moved on so it meant he had nothing to criticise about, it also infers that he does with whomever does not present an appropriate potion. But as seen below, Snape only "attacks" Harry.  Again, due to his loathing of the boy which singles him out of the lot.

Now about Hermione: she did great, as we all expected.  We can observe from Snape's reaction that he does not praise her at all. Being wary of her know-it-all attitude (he showed it in other books) he would be damned before he did. But, not being smirked at, sneered or spat at is in itself a great compliment indeed, don't you think!  I hope Hermione knows her luck because Snape could still find it imperfect, for a Potions Master point of view of course. But no, he remains silent.  It does not account for all the bad stuff he told her, but at least, it rewards her efforts though, I am sure, she craves his approval. Snape is a perfection seeker as much as Granger, and those type of people do seek the most prominent person's approval. Hence, here Granger must in some hidden part of herself seek his approval.  

Snape's nose is referred as "hooked"

As I mentioned, Snape only stopped to fully criticise Harry's potion, even though the others' potions were as horrible. Remember, Snape exacts his revenge when HE wants and for different matters for which he has control over. What a perfect occasion in his weekly classes!! No wonder he smirks!

 This is recurrent between Harry and Snape: Snape uses a tactic to get the truth out of Potter without ever telling him what is the extent of his own knowledge. See the bold fonts. Very Slytherin!  I mentioned it on other occasions in the books. Harry is therefore cornered by his lack of knowledge, but as he is also at war with Snape, he prefers to confront him and not accept defeat.  That is where the vicious circle between those two gets dangerous.  Why not say: "It's a botched potion, Sir" instead of pretending it's the Draught of Peace as he answered? Because he cannot accept Snape's treatment of him.  That kind of situation is sad of course.  

Very important: for whom is Harry clenching his wand for?  Snape or Malfoy?  Attacking Snape would be quite suicidal, so I would say it's Malfoy. But in a way, you see how emotional Harry gets around Snape.

 Notice what I was saying about Snape not bothering to look at the potions before now.  There is a multi-coloured steam over the dungeon, so it is evident Snape saw it and that he did nothing to prevent it. But from other books, we know he usually prevents incidents rather than let them happen which reinforces my theory.

 

 

I was always impressed at the sense of calmness surrounding Snape when doing his interrogations. He can turn angelic or devilish in a matter of seconds. He is polite here though you can almost hear his sly voice when asking that question.

 At least, we know Snape is not the Potions Master for no reason!  Even though Harry went on with his potion, apart from the missing ingredient from line 3, Snape was easily able to recognize what went wrong which shows that he knows not only what good results look like but also botched potions.

Those of you who have managed to read the instructions, fill one flagon with a sample of your potion, label it clearly with your name and bring it up to my desk for testing,' said Snape. 'Homework: twelve inches of parchment on the properties of moonstone and its uses in potion-making, to be handed in on Thursday.'

While everyone around him filled their flagons, Harry cleared away his things, seething. His potion had been no worse than Ron's, which was now giving off a foul odour of bad eggs; or Neville's, which had achieved the consistency of just-mixed cement and which Neville was now having to gouge out of his cauldron; yet it was he, Harry, who would be receiving zero marks for the day's work. He stuffed his wand back into his bag and slumped down on to his seat, watching everyone else march up to Snape's desk with filled and corked flagons. When at long last the bell rang, Harry was first out of the dungeon and had already started his lunch by the time Ron and Hermione joined him in the Great Hall. The ceiling had turned an even murkier grey during the morning. Rain was lashing the high windows.

 (Lady Claudia: separated here for clarity purposes only)

 

 Maybe Rowling would oppose to me saying this, but whether she focused our attention on purpose on Harry's "unfair speech" afterwards, or she never realised someone would find out the chink of this scene.  Indeed, while Harry (see next cell) is horrified at the injustice of Snape using Evanesce on his potion while others had potions as bad as he did, the reader may have discarded these essential facts: Snape never said he was going to grade any higher any of the others' potions. Maybe Rowling did not mention it and expects us to go along the lines of Harry's thoughts, but if you look carefully on your left, you will see the highlighted words. Especially "those who managed" and "for testing".  In its own way, it proves that Snape intends to test all potions. What for if most of them are spoiled?  In order to assess their level of incompleteness, where it went wrong and/or at which step in the process maybe. Hence, in Harry's case, Snape already knows that there won't be any more "testing" needed, right?  I do that sometimes with students; instead of collecting their assignment, I look at it and mark it in my book thereafter. Of course, it could still be that Snape is only trying to exact his revenge on Harry in a malicious way, but I repeat, if this was Rowling's intention, then she should not have mentioned Harry's thoughts that "he would be receiving zero marks".  Who ever said the others would get any marks?!  Not Rowling at least. She leads us on that Harry will have no grade at all, but is that proven?  I don't think so. Especially since Snape asked those who HAD followed the instructions to sample out. He did not directly ask those who did not end up with the right potion for their samples. So why would he give different marks for Harry than for Goyle or Neville?  Goyle has got no more sample after all. Yet, Harry sulks as though he is the ONLY victim here. Refrain yourself, Harry!!  The only unfair thing that happened was Snape picking on Harry instead of anybody else. That's all. End of the discussion.  What's more, how come Harry is sure he has a zero for this class. Like I said, it could be otherwise since Snape can easily remember what went wrong, when and accord a grade nonetheless. The only reason why Harry could be convinced of receiving a zero is if it is normal for Snape to do so when using Evanesce.  But we don't know that which is why I still hold onto the theory that nobody will get any worst grades than Harry will.

That was really unfair,' said Hermione consolingly, sitting down next to Harry and helping herself to shepherd's pie. 'Your potion wasn't nearly as bad as Goyle's; when he put it in his flagon the whole thing shattered and set his robes on fire.'

'Yeah, well,' said Harry, glowering at his plate, 'since when has Snape ever been fair to me?'

Neither of the others answered; all three of them knew that Snape and Harry's mutual enmity had been absolute from the moment Harry had set foot in Hogwarts.

'I did think he might be a bit better this year,' said Hermione in a disappointed voice. 'I mean... you know...' she looked around carefully; there were half a dozen empty seats on either side of them and nobody was passing the table '... now he's in the Order and everything.'

 

 

 

 

 

'Poisonous toadstools don't change their spots,' said Ron sagely. 'Anyway I've always thought Dumbledore was cracked to trust Snape. Where's the evidence he ever really stopped working for You-Know-Who?'

'I think Dumbledore's probably got plenty of evidence, even if he doesn't share it with you, Ron,' snapped Hermione.

 (end of the scene)

  Dear Hermione!  So sweet!  But just like Harry and Ron, she believes the Evanesce episode is unfair. That's why I say Rowling tends to lead us astray, isn't she?  She likes her Snape evil and sly after all, especially from the children's perspective though Hermione is usually the counterbalance of them all.

Since when indeed?  In class, he is not fair because he likes to gloat in Harry's lack of skills in Potions. But from a different point of view, Snape is fair to his life, his protection and his friends whom he defends with as much effort as he does for the boy.

 

Sweet, sweet, Hermione!!  No wonder fan-fiction writers like to make her the heroine of Snape romance-oriented tales, though I usually prefer it to be after graduation, or even better, after university! Still, why would she say that Snape would be easier on Harry for being an Order member?  She says that as though he was not on their side until the rebirth of the Order.  She could also be saying so that Snape might have understood that there was no reasons for fighting or hating Harry, but I believe she's off mark on that subject, as we all witnessed of course. Being on the same side does not equal to everyone being "friends" or sympathise together. Of course, the other members of the Order are more readily to do so, but Snape is an exception. But so is Moody in his own way!  Maybe Hermione thought Snape would relent on his grudges but life is not so simple. Snape is still trying to get his point across to Potter about his conceit and arrogant foolishness.

You could say that, but I do not hold Snape for a poisonous toad! That would defy the fact that Snape is repented and his work for thr Light. It's still nice to observe how Ron believes Dumbledore "cracked up"!  Dear, Ron!  Of course Albus is not invincible, but I think he knows better.

Well thrown, Granger!!  Indeed, that is what we all reckon about Snape: hidden evidence that have not been shared with us, yet.

After Potions, Divination was Harry's least favourite class

Nice to know Potions is first!  Snape would be so proud...not!! Ha, ha!

'But Hermione says she thinks it would be nice if you stopped taking out your temper on us,' said Ron.

'I'm not -'

'I'm just passing on the message,' said Ron, talking over him. 'But I reckon she's right. It's not our fault how Seamus and Snape treat you.'

'I never said it -'

 

This passage does not entice much, but it still mentions Snape.  At least Ron is responsible enough to conclude that however Harry feels about Snape or is being treated by him, he should not take his temper out on his friends. Therefore, the only thing related to Snape we can gather from this is that he does affect his students' personal life even out of his classroom.  But that is not new information!

'D'you realise how much homework we've got already? Binns set us a foot-and-a-half-long essay on giant wars, Snape wants a foot on the use of moonstones, and now we've got a month's dream diary from Trelawney! Fred and George weren't wrong about OWL year, were they? That Umbridge woman had better not give us any..."

 

Is it me or is a foot or two-long essay NOT long?! In three days I could come up with much more than that for sure. Alright, I admit, I am an Hermione! I could never quite follow up directives about the length of my essays at school unless I was strictly forbidden to.  If so, I would still alter the margins, paragraphs and fonts to fit as much as possible in the page or if not, I would simply hand out 15 to 30% more than the minimum required... if not 50% in some cases.  Still, it's nice to see Snape was not the one to give the longest essay this time around!  

Being a teacher myself, I love essays!! I believe we should go back to that more in high schools nowadays, but I'm afraid I will find a lot of opposition on my way there.  Quite indeed.  However, I do believe research and essays are one of the best ways for students to be active in their studies and actually remember what they are being taught. Individual research of course. It's a good way to involve yourself in your studies. Being the little "Hermione" type, you know I enjoyed doing them myself of course!  But I do understand that this may not be most people's choice of the most thrilling way to pass one's evenings, right!  Ah!! Hermione, how come someone like you wasn't there when I was at school?!  Life is too cruel!  : )

Defence Against the Dark Arts A Return to Basic Principles

. Understanding the principles underlying defensive magic.

. Learning to recognise situations in which defensive magic can legally be used.

. Placing the use of defensive magic in a context for practical use.

 

Oh. My. God!  I am 100% sure Rowling took a look at her children's educational program when she wrote that or something related to it.  Ah! It's exactly the same over here in Canada!  The wording, the meaninglessness, empty words to express concepts the authors do not fathom enough to actually propose realistic ways to teach in real-life settings... it's all there!  I just had to mention it!  Imagine if Snape were to step upon that program!?  Oh!!!  Lockhart would have been missed even!  Of course, Snape would do something totally different from such a curriculum, he would teach the principles and then engage in the practical sides. He would do it, very much unlike Umbridge who I am sure has no methodology at all!  If you keep to what governments publish for teachers, believe me, you will be faced with nothing but a bunch of kids good at deciphering nothing from empty talks!  

'Yes,' said Hermione. 'Surely the whole point of Defence Against the Dark Arts is to practice defensive spells?'

'Are you a Ministry-trained educational expert, Miss Granger?' asked Professor Umbridge, in her falsely sweet voice.

'No, but -'

'Well then, I'm afraid you are not qualified to decide what the "whole point" of any class is. Wizards much older and cleverer than you have devised our new program of study. You will be learning about defensive spells in a secure, risk-free way -'

 

Ah! As if she were!!!  The nerve of some people!!  A Ministry-trained educational expert must mean nothing more than a mere book-reading about the laws and concepts of teaching voted by an assembly of clueless deputies!  I mean, how often do you see the Minister of Agriculture suddenly "transformed" into the Minister of Education. I don't know in your country, but in mine it happened, and will still happen I am sure! I bet this is what happened here or something like that.  It was all planned by bureaucrats in other to make a point about risk-free teaching. Gee! She must find Potions impossible!  They set Umbridge because they believed she would be forceful enough to put Hogwarts back in order.  They sent a spy that's all.  

What is incredible is that she defends those older and cleverer programme-designers!  Ah! What a farce!!  Great job, Rowling!  : )

Chapter 13 (July 21th, 2004)

 'Well, we've never had great Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers, have we?' said Harry. 'You know what it's like, Hagrid told us, nobody wants the job; they say it's jinxed.'

'Yes, but to employ someone who's actually refusing to let us do magic! What's Dumbledore playing at?'

'And she's trying to get people to spy for her,' said Ron darkly.

That would exclude Snape of course.  And what about that question of Ron indeed!  What was Dumbledore playing at?!  Or should we ask ourselves, what is the Ministry playing at?  There are two solutions: Dumbledore refused to give Snape the DADA job OR the Ministry has been behind him not getting the DADA job all of those 15years. Maybe Dumbledore did not tell Snape that the Ministry was opposed to former declared Death-Eaters teaching it. Maybe. Or, as Rowling mentioned, Dumbledore gave Snape the Potions position and see how it went. And he found it unlikely that Snape would make a "good" DADA teacher. Not in the sense of knowing his stuff, but rather knowing how to control himself around Dark Art teaching. There are lots of possible reasons why Snape never got it.  To help Snape?  To protect the students? To obey the Ministry?  Who knows! It is also funny how the rumor goes that nobody wants the job for it's jinxed, but that Snape would readily take it!  : ) What has he to fear?

One interesting point however is that Harry himself admits that they were never provided with great DADA teachers. Does it not remind you of what I said about Snape being unable to suffer incompetents?  

'Shall we do Snape's stuff first?' said Ron, dipping his quill into his ink. "The properties... of moonstone... and its uses ... in potion-making...'" he muttered, writing the words across the top of his parchment as he spoke them. There.' He underlined the title, then looked up expectantly at Hermione.

'So, what are the properties of moonstone and its uses in potion-making?'

 

Poor Hermione! Hope she does not indulge in such pre-kindergarden attitude!  I've been the victim of such behaviour all of my life, I hope she has more self-respect than that!!  At least, Snape's assignments are not pair work out of class, hence, Hermione does not have to comply to get high marks. That is nice!  I believe Snape conciously never allows pairwork unless necessary for he does not bode well with underachievment.  He wants everyone, even Neville, to perform and not get away with marks of a partner.

In a way, does this not prove Snape's point about students being lazy and such?  I think so.  He knows that, even if they have to produce essays for him so they can better retain and understand what they are studying, students will still do their best to avoid too much work. And they do, don't they!  Like Ron here.

His homework situation, however, was now desperate, and when he returned to the Gryffindor common room he did not, though exhausted, go to bed, but opened his books and began Snape's moonstone essay. It was half past two by the time he had finished it. He knew he had done a poor job, but there was no help for it; unless he had something to give in he would be in detention with Snape next.

 

Very nice! Now we know Snape gives detention to whomever does not hand in his/her homework. Still, it seems a bad essay is better than detention with Snape from the look of it!  I do not wish to ponder too long on what Snape's detentions must be like.

Harry had never before considered the possibility that there might be another teacher in the world he hated more than Snape, but as he walked back towards Gryffindor Tower he had to admit he had found a strong contender. She's evil, he thought, as he climbed a staircase to the seventh floor, she's an evil, twisted, mad old-

 

What an elogy of our dear Potions Master.  Indeed, has Harry ever mentioned the fact that Snape was evil before? I do not believe so. But he readily does for Umbridge, which of course, I agree to.  She's even described as twisted, mad and old. Of the three aforementioned traits, only one was ever used for Snape: old. Then, we are to be driven to the conclusion that Snape is neither considered mad nor twisted which is quite a compliment!  It shows that though Snape is unfair, he is not twisted or maddened when doing so. He just hates Harry and that's it. Hence, Harry still trust Snape's better judgement even though he is unfair. Wow!

'I thought you said she was just giving you lines?'

Harry hesitated, but after all, Ron had been honest with him, so he told Ron the truth about the hours he had been spending in Umbridge's office.

The old hag!' Ron said in a revolted whisper as they came to a halt in front of the Fat Lady, who was dozing peacefully with her head against her frame. 'She's sick! Go to McGonagall, say something!'

 

Continuation of what I was saying: Umbridge is far more worst than Snape will ever be.  It's nice to have her around to show Snape in a more agreeable light.  

Chapter 15 (October 19th, 2004)

 As recently as 30ih August, Educational Decree Number Twenty-two was passed, to ensure that, in the event of the current Headmaster being unable to provide a candidate for a teaching post, the Ministry should select an appropriate person. '"That's how Dolores Umbridge came to be appointed to the teaching staff at Hogwarts," said Weasley last night. "Dumbledore couldn't find anyone so the Minister put in Umbridge, and of course, she's been an immediate success —"'

The fact is disturbing and therefore supports the theory that Snape may not have gotten the DADA teaching position yet because he simply can't. Do you think Dumbledore would have jeopardized Hogwarts with an unwanted guest such as Umbridge if he could have hired Snape instead?  I doubt it. Or is it that the alternative, finding a Potion's Master, is also difficult?  In this light, I believe Albus did provide a candidate, namely Snape, but he was refused.  After all, Umbridge, later on when she asks Snape why he never got the job, confirms that the Ministry has an eye on him and may well be the ones going against his ambitions.  But then again, of course, it could only be the fact that no matter what, Albus will not allow Snape to teach it. Why, we don't know, but I would say it has to do with the protection of Snape in the first place. Albus may believe in second chances, but frankly, giving an ex-smoker a chance to work in tobacco industry may just be too much and said ex-smoker may resume smoking if you know what I mean.

"The Inquisitor will have powers to inspect her fellow educators and make sure that they are coming up to scratch.

Ha, ha, ha!! This made me laugh and pray Rowling would show us the Potions inspection!! Thank goodness for that! : )

But Professor Umbridge was not inspecting their History of Magic lesson, which was just as dull as the previous Monday, nor was she in Snape's dungeon when they arrived for double Potions, where Harry's moonstone essay was handed back to him with a large, spiky black 'D' scrawled in an upper corner.

'I have awarded you the grades you would have received if you presented this work in your OWL,' said Snape with a smirk, as he swept among them, passing back their homework. This should give you a realistic idea of what to expect in the examination.'

Snape reached the front of the class and turned on his heel to face them.

"The general standard of this homework was abysmal. Most of you would have failed had this been your examination. I expect to see a great deal more effort for this week's essay on the various varieties of venom antidotes, or I shall have to start handing out detentions to those dunces who get a "D'

He smirked as Malfoy sniggered and said in a carrying whisper, 'Some people got a "D"? Ha!'

Harry realised that Hermione was looking sideways to see what grade he had received; he slid his moonstone essay back into his bag as quickly as possible, feeling that he would rather keep that information private.

Cut here for clarity
 

Noticed how this time he used black ink?!  I have come to believe that he uses nothing past red on student copies thanks to the influence of fan-fiction, not you?  

 

I repeat: Snape expects nothing but the best and will extract the best out of his dunderheads no matter what.  I also believe that giving them back by hand serves as a powerful tool for him. It's a rather personal way of doing so and proves useful in further making a point to those he hands it back to such as a smirk or an appreciative look.  Snape's standards always start at the highest unlike most teachers who start from the average. Hence, it is no surprise that even the first essay was graded according to the standards they'll have to achieve by the end of the year.

This method may look quite harsh but it does prove effective on a long term basis. I've had such a teacher who expected the best from the start. Students in her class would truly outdo themselves instead of just writing without a purpose. As for me, I received lesser grades than what I was used to at first, but I soon understood that great for other teacher was not my full potential, and that teacher knew that. And so I gave my real best and it was quite rewarding in the end.  I therefore like this method though I'm sure I was one of the only ones to understand its underlying significance. As for handing out detentions to the dunces who get D's... well, it's worth thinking about!  I know we should not encourage punishment of bad performances because it does enduce a negative vicious circle for some students, but at the same time, not doing so encourages slacking off which is precisely what Snape hates in his students. I believe in this case detention means: "You waste my time by having me read utterly stupid essays, I'll make you waste your time in detention so that next time, you think twice before putting half-efforts into this"  

Of course Snape would smirk at that for he knew exactly who got D's of which the famous HP was a part of.  However, as much as Snape could have used this occasion to belittle Harry yet a bit more, he did not.  That reaction makes me pensive... what if Snape even though he doesn't stop Draco from commenting, he never truly allows the conversation to go on?  Isn't he supposed to be his favourite pupil?!  He smirks but he never truly started off a conversation with him after one of Draco's comments, did he? Maybe because in his Slytherin mind, a smirk speaks miles. However, I have another theory. What if each time Snape didn't care a bit about Draco?  I mean to say that Snape does not ridicule Harry for the pleasure of his Slytherins but only for himself.  That would account for the fact that whenever the two meet, alone or in public, Snape doesn't waste a chance to humiliate him though he rarely take others' comments to turn them against Harry. Snape prefers to come up with his own nasty comments, just like here. He smirks but he doesn't allow Draco's comment as a way to hurt Potter. As if he was proud to do that all alone by himself. Interesting!

Determined not to give Snape an excuse to fail him this lesson, Harry read and reread every line of instructions on the blackboard at least three times before acting on them. His Strengthening Solution was not precisely the clear turquoise shade of Hermione's but it was at least blue rather than pink, like Neville's, and he delivered a flask of it to Snape's desk at the end of the lesson with a feeling of mingled defiance and relief.

'Well, that wasn't as bad as last week, was it?' said Hermione, as they climbed the steps out of the dungeon and made their way across the Entrance Hall towards lunch. 'And the homework didn't go too badly, either, did it?'

When neither Ron nor Harry answered, she pressed on, 'I mean, all right, I didn't expect the top grade, not if he's marking to OWL standard, but a pass is quite encouraging at this stage, wouldn't you say?'

Harry made a non-committal noise in his throat.

'Of course, a lot can happen between now and the exam, we've got plenty of time to improve, but the grades we're getting now are a sort of baseline, aren't they? Something we can build on..."

They sat down together at the Gryffmdor table.

'Obviously, I'd have been thrilled if I'd got an "O" -'

'Hermione,' said Ron sharply 'if you want to know what grades we got, ask.' : -'

'I don't - I didn't mean - well, if you want to tell me -' ••-

'I got a "P",' said Ron, ladling soup into his bowl. 'Happy?'

'Well, that's nothing to be ashamed of,' said Fred, who had just arrived at the table with George and Lee Jordan and was sitting down on Harry's right. 'Nothing wrong with a good healthy "P".'

'But,' said Hermione, 'doesn't "P" stand for..."

'"Poor", yeah,' said Lee Jordan. 'Still, better than "D", isn't it? "Dreadful"?'

Harry felt his face grow warm and faked a small coughing fit over his roll. When he emerged from this he was sorry to find that Hermione was still in full flow about OWL grades.

'So top grade's "O" for "Outstanding",' she was saying, 'and then there's "A" -'

'No, "E",' George corrected her, '"E" for "Exceeds Expectations". And I've always thought Fred and I should've got "E" in everything, because we exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams.'

They all laughed except Hermione, who ploughed on, 'So, after "E" it's "A" for "Acceptable", and that's the last pass grade, isn't it?'

'Yep,' said Fred, dunking an entire roll in his soup, transferring it to his mouth and swallowing it whole.

Then you get "P" for "Poor"-' Ron raised both his arms in mock celebration - 'and "D" for "Dreadful".'

'And then "T",' George reminded him.

'T"?' asked Hermione, looking appalled. 'Even lower than a "D"? What on earth does "T" stand for?'

'Troll",' said George promptly.

Harry laughed again, though he was not sure whether or not George was joking. He imagined trying to conceal from Hermione that he had received T's in all his OWLs and immediately resolved to work harder from now on.

Well, well, well... what do you know!  Does Snape's little show last class have any good consequences?  I believe it does.  And though his potion is not perfect, surely it is better than whatever he would usually be able to come up with. And thanks to what?!  Someone pushing Harry around and forcing him to improve instead of being average. I believe this how Snape teaches and grades.

I kept this interesting part of English culture!!  My dear British friend told me more about this system, and I think it's nice how students come up with different version of these letters.  I heard from a university England student that in her school, they are used to say that getting a "U" stands for Utterly dreadful or something like that. Just like the twins propose T for troll. As for Harry's final wish to improve, wouldn't you say that Snape has achieved his goal?  The boy will try harder!  Wow!!

Think of a dream, quick,' he told Ron, 'in case the old toad comes our way.'

'I did it last time,' Ron protested, 'it's your turn, you tell me one.'

'Oh, I dunno...' said Harry desperately, who could not remember dreaming anything at all over the last few days. 'Lets say I dreamed I was... drowning Snape in my cauldron. Yeah, that'll do...'

Ron chortled as he opened his Dream Oracle.

'OK, we've got to add your age to the date you had the dream, the number of letters in the subject... would that be "drowning" or "cauldron" or "Snape"?'

'It doesn't matter, pick any of them,' said Harry, chancing a glance behind him. Professor Umbridge was now standing at Professor Trelawneys shoulder making notes while the Divination teacher questioned Neville about his dream diary.

 

How nice!!! Snape is in Harry's dream, fake or not!! Ha ha!! But really I wish we knew what kind of dreams both have about each other.  That could prove very interesting!!

'Now,' said Umbridge, looking up at Trelawney, 'you've been in this post how long, exactly?'

Professor Trelawney scowled at her, arms crossed and shoulders hunched as though wishing to protect herself as much as possible from the indignity of the inspection. After a slight pause in which she seemed to decide that the question was not so offensive that she could reasonably ignore it, she said in a deeply resentful tone, 'Nearly sixteen years.'

 

Why is this important?  Because of the date Snape was hired.  She was hired the day she had that premonition about Harry and the Dark Lord somewheren in 1980. See later on for more details

Chapter16

  and all three of them had managed to Vanish their mice in Transfiguration (Hermione had actually progressed to Vanishing kittens), before the subject was broached again, on a wild, blustery evening at the end of September, when the three of them were sitting in the library, looking up potion ingredients for Snape.

Ah!! How nice to see that some students do their homework. That's all I had to say about this.

Harry did not answer at once. He pretended to be perusing a page of Asiatic Anti-Venoms, because he did not want to say what was in his mind.

 Asiatic anti-venoms.  So Snape does not restrict his field to Britain or Europe. Good!  It's nice to know that they get such a good education on Potions!! : )

Chapter 17

They trudged down the stone steps to the dungeons for Potions, all three of them lost in thought, but as they reached the bottom of the steps they were recalled to themselves by the voice of Draco Malfoy who was standing just outside Snape's classroom door, waving around an official-looking piece of parchment and talking much louder than was necessary so that they could hear every word.

'Yeah, Umbridge gave the Slytherin Quidditch team permission to continue playing straightaway, I went to ask her first thing this morning. Well, it was pretty much automatic, I mean, she knows my father really well, he's always popping in and out of the Ministry… it'll be interesting to see whether Gryffindor are allowed to keep playing, won't it?'

'Don't rise,' Hermione whispered imploringly to Harry and Ron, who were both watching Malfoy, faces set and fists clenched. 'It's what he wants.'

'I mean,' said Malfoy, raising his voice a little more, his grey eyes glittering malevolently in Harry and Ron's direction, 'if it's a question of influence with the Ministry, I don't think they've got much chance… from what my father says, they've been looking for an excuse to sack Arthur Weasley for years… and as for Potter… my father says it's a matter of time before the Ministry has him carted off to St Mungo's… apparently they've got a special ward for people whose brains have been addled by magic.'

Malfoy made a grotesque face, his mouth sagging open and his eyes rolling. Crabbe and Goyle gave their usual grunts of laughter; Pansy Parkinson shrieked with glee.

Something collided hard with Harry's shoulder, knocking him sideways. A split second later he realised that Neville had just charged past him, heading straight for Malfoy.

'Neville, no!'

Harry leapt forward and seized the back of Neville's robes; Neville struggled frantically, his fists flailing, trying desperately to get at Malfoy who looked, for a moment, extremely shocked.

'Help me!' Harry flung at Ron, managing to get an arm around Neville's neck and dragging him backwards, away from the Slytherins. Crabbe and Goyle were flexing their arms as they stepped in front of Malfoy, ready for the fight. Ron seized Neville's arms, and together he and Harry succeeded in dragging Neville back into the Gryffindor line. Neville's face was scarlet; the pressure Harry was exerting on his throat rendered him quite incomprehensible, but odd words spluttered from his mouth.

'Not… funny… don't… Mungo's… show… him…'

 

The dungeon door opened. Snape appeared there. His black eyes swept up the Gryffindor line to the point where Harry and Ron were wrestling with Neville.

'Fighting, Potter, Weasley, Longbottom?' Snape said in his cold, sneering voice. Ten points from Gryffindor. Release Longbottom, Potter, or it will be detention. Inside, all of you.'

Harry let go of Neville, who stood panting and glaring at him.

'I had to stop you,' Harry gasped, picking up his bag. 'Crabbe and Goyle would've torn you apart.'

Neville said nothing; he merely snatched up his own bag and stalked off into the dungeon.

'What in the name of Merlin,' said Ron slowly, as they followed Neville, 'was that about?'

Harry did not answer. He knew exactly why the subject of people who were in St Mungo's because of magical damage to their brains was highly distressing to Neville, but he had sworn to Dumbledore that he would not tell anyone Neville's secret. Even Neville did not know Harry knew.

Harry, Ron and Hermione took their usual seats at the back of the class, pulled out parchment, quills and their copies of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. The class around them was whispering about what Neville had just done, but when Snape closed the dungeon door with an echoing bang, everybody immediately fell silent.

 

'You will notice,' said Snape, in his low, sneering voice, 'that we have a guest with us today.'

He gestured towards the dim corner of the dungeon and Harry saw Professor Umbridge sitting there, clipboard on her knee. He glanced sideways at Ron and Hermione, his eyebrows raised. Snape and Umbridge, the two teachers he hated most. It was hard to decide which one he wanted to triumph over the other.

'We are continuing with our Strengthening Solution today. You will find your mixtures as you left them last lesson; if correctly made they should have matured well over the weekend - instructions -' he waved his wand again '- on the board. Carry on.'

Professor Umbridge spent the first half hour of the lesson making notes in her corner. Harry was very interested in hearing her question Snape; so interested, that he was becoming careless with his potion again.

'Salamander blood, Harry !' Hermione moaned, grabbing his wrist to prevent him adding the wrong ingredient for the third time, 'not pomegranate juice!'

'Right,' said Harry vaguely, putting down the bottle and continuing to watch the corner. Umbridge had just got to her feet. 'Ha,' he said softly, as she strode between two lines of desks towards Snape, who was bending over Dean Thomas's cauldron.

'Well, the class seem fairly advanced for their level,' she said briskly to Snape's back. Though I would question whether it is advisable to teach them a potion like the Strengthening Solution. I think the Ministry would prefer it if that was removed from the syllabus.'

 

Snape straightened up slowly and turned to look at her.

 

 

 

 

'Now… how long have you been teaching at Hogwarts?' she asked, her quill poised over her clipboard.

'Fourteen years,' Snape replied. His expression was unfathomable. Harry, watching him closely, added a few drops to his potion; it hissed menacingly and turned from turquoise to orange.

 

 

 

 

 

 

'You applied first for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post, I believe?' Professor Umbridge asked Snape.

'Yes,' said Snape quietly.

'But you were unsuccessful?'

Snape's lip curled.

'Obviously'

Professor Umbridge scribbled on her clipboard.

'And you have applied regularly for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post since you first joined the school, I believe?'

'Yes,' said Snape quietly, barely moving his lips. He looked very angry.

'Do you have any idea why Dumbledore has consistently refused to appoint you?' asked Umbridge.

'I suggest you ask him,' said Snape jerkily.

'Oh, I shall,' said Professor Umbridge, with a sweet smile.

'I suppose this is relevant?' Snape asked, his black eyes narrowed.

'Oh yes,' said Professor Umbridge, 'yes, the Ministry wants a thorough understanding of teachers' - er - backgrounds.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

She turned away, walked over to Pansy Parkinson and began questioning her about the lessons. Snape looked round at Harry and their eyes met for a second. Harry hastily dropped his gaze to his potion, which was now congealing foully and giving off a strong smell of burned rubber.

'No marks again, then, Potter,' said Snape maliciously, emptying Harry's cauldron with a wave of his wand. 'You will write me an essay on the correct composition of this potion, indicating how and why you went wrong, to be handed in next lesson, do you understand?'

'Yes,' said Harry furiously. Snape had already given them homework and he had Quidditch practice this evening; this would mean another couple of sleepless nights. It did not seem possible that he had awoken that morning feeling very happy. All he felt now was a fervent desire for this day to end.

'Maybe I'll skive off Divination,' he said glumly, as they stood in the courtyard after lunch, the wind whipping at the hems of robes and brims of hats. Til pretend to be ill and do Snape's essay instead, then I won't have to stay up half the night.'

'You can't skive off Divination,' said Hermione severely.

'Hark who's talking, you walked out of Divination, you hate Trelawney!' said Ron indignantly.

'I don't hate her,' said Hermione loftily. 'I just think she's an absolutely appalling teacher and a real old fraud. But Harrys already missed History of Magic and I don't think he ought to miss anything else today!'

There was too much truth in this to ignore, so half an hour later Harry took his seat in the hot, overperfumed atmosphere of the Divination classroom, feeling angry at everybody. Professor Trelawney was yet again handing out copies of The Dream Oracle. Harry thought he'd surely be much better employed doing Snape's punishment essay than sitting here trying to find meaning in a lot of made-up dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

Malfoy senior and his influence at the Ministry.  Interesting subject, especially since Umbridge talks about him, too, later on concerning the references Lucius gave of Snape.  Strange how she seems to respect Lucius's opinion and position yet, she will try to get back at Snape have been a Death Eater in a minute from now!  But then again, she's a bitch, I will not use euphemism with her I warn you.  She's so despicable!! Back to Malfoy, he seems to have some influence, but maybe not enough to give Snape a chance to be something else in Hogwarts though, because I am pretty sure that if he got the chance to place one of his fellow Death Eater in a better situation at Hogwarts, Lucius would have. But then again, we still don't know how both men relate to each other which is depressing!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intereting: they make lines outside the Potions' classroom!  Cute!

 

 

 

Snape doesn't always open the door using magic. Whyever for?  In this case, I'd wager the ruckus was enough for his keen ears to wonder whatever was happening.  Funny how he scans the Gryffindor line first though not surprising in the least.

 Again, notice how Snape does not necessarily make a show of public humiliation out of Potter the second he has a chance.  This may be due to Snape's general mood.  In an amused mood, I would say he will make sure the fun lasts as long as possible while when in his acerbic grumpy mood (not surprising since Umbridge is waiting inside) he will cut short any disturbance.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As innocent as this may look like, preparing for class is a very important process which is instored by the teacher, hence Snape, and again, notice how Snape uses the door as a signal that class has begun.  Since I read this, I myself use this as a signal at the beginning and end of class. It's efficient!  : )  Of course I do not use an echoing bang (though I wish I could) and my students do not fall deadly silent.  Too bad!  

You can hear scorn and dislike all right!! What is impressive is that Snape is not trying to be anyone is is not. He remains himself even when faced with evaluation.  Of course he believes her to be an utter twit, so that may be why, but it is still something remarkable about Snape: he does not allow others to have any power of his conduct.  He is unpleasant and not nice and he remains so with everybody.

 

Snape, a man of few words! A few highly effective words!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe lots of people think that Snape never instructs students because of that small window we have on his Potions class, but in this example, we clearly see that Snape is there to overview the students progress, mistakes and to help... though he usually does through sarcasm !

Oh My God!! You can almost hear Snape's thought: "Are you suicidal or just incredibly stupid to tell me this?"  


 

Can you feel the tension in the air? Don't you just feel like Umbridge is a prey who just surprised a predator out of its den?  I love the way Snape straightened up, slowly. It gives him all the more power over his interlocutor.   I believe Snape is using a tactic to both intimidate and restraint from attacking her. Indeed, when you question Snape's way of teaching and his curriculum, boy are you in for a war!! In psychology, we say that by turning and looking at Umbridge like that, Snape is according her all of his undivided attention, but if I were her, I'd find that quite frigthening. But then what does she say?

Yes, now I am perfectly sure Snape's hypothetical question whether she is suicidal or just incredibly stupid has been answered: she is stupid for she seems totally clueless to his intimidation and "get-lost" look!  

About time we knew!! Now is Fall 1995. He's been teaching for fourteen years. Hum?  Let's see.  The downfall of Voldemort happened on Halloween of 1981 when Harry was still a baby.  According to the Harry Potter Lexicon class chart (which served to make the official WB timeline and which Rowling revised so I believe in its genuineness) it says that he started in the middle  (Fall presumably) of 1981 at Hogwarts while Trelawney started a year before in 1980. So why the one year difference between those two teachers?  I reckon that Snape said 14 full years though he should have said something like 14 and a half while Trelawney said almost sixteen while she should have said 15 and a half. That gives us a one year difference hence. Also, it can by hypothesized that Snape graduated in June 1977 according to the same chart though it's not certain.   About four years after graduation, he was a Hogwarts teacher. Before or after Harry survived Voldermort, October 1981, we don't know.  But we do know he became a spy before his downfall as mentioned by Dumbledore in book4.   

Nice information. So he wanted to be a DADA teacher before anything else.  He must be good at it for Snape always expects excellence, and therefore, he must surely be quite confident in his own abilities to ask for the position.  I don't reckon Snape would ever dare show his weaknesses to anybody and would never therefore, say, take on the Herbology class if he were not sure at 100% of his competencies. This is of course a very Snapish trait. In an interview, Rowling said Dumbledore had thought like this: "Let's start with Potions and see how it goes".  But then why never move on?  I touched this point above so I'm not going back on that. But let me just say that Umbridge's insistent questions about his unsuccessful attempts somewhat underlines how the Ministry's decision towards this has made a difference for him: no ex-Death Eater allowed.  At the same time, she seems to accuse Dumbledore of being the one to blame, she plays dumb (yes, I know, dumber than usual) with this, she's twisting the knife.  I mean, she knows for sure if she knows he applied for the job each year!! Come on!! And Snape is not falling for it, so of course she tried to twist the knife deeper!! Evil woman!

How incredible Snape did not hex her! However, we are able to witness another Snapish trait: biting his tongue. Not literally of course, but when he feels trapped or confronted with someone or a situation he cannot help (for if he does it will put him at a disadvantage), he remains calm yet he purses his lips so tight that when he talks his lips barely move. If in front of someone he can openly be angry at, he will. But in such a situation as this, he binds his time and swears secretly and tries to escape as best as he can. I believe he's good at answering her questions, like a true Slytherin.

If Snape had any doubts, they were cleared up by this!  There is a definite reason why he would narrow his eyes like that, he wanted to know what she was hiding, where this was heading, again like a true Slytherin.

One idea just came to mind: what if he just understood that it was the Ministry's fault if he never got the job. Maybe he was told by Albus before, that the Ministry didn't want blablabla, but what if Snape had always doubted Albus's efforts in this.  Those doubts would somehow clear out thanks to this frog-woman. That's a theory!
 

I once said that Snape had different ways of exacting his revenge. In this case, he understood Potter had been listening to his conversation with the frog instead of paying attention. Of course, I don't think Harry would still have gotten any grade for his potion if Snape had not spotted him, but since the occasion presented itself, why not take advantage of it and try to punish Potter for his innatentiveness to his potion.  It's really his own fault. I pity Potter in no way here!  Snape was right to just get rid of his potion and ask an essay out of him.  He was not paying attention, Snape knew as much, and Potter should be intelligent enough to realise the consequences of his actions. Period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See what I meant?! Potter is irresponsible of his actions which is exactly why Snape hate him so much.

But Harry could imagine how much Umbridge was enjoying holding the threat of no Gryffindor Quidditch team over their heads and could easily understand why she would not want to relinquish that weapon over them too soon.

'Well,' said Hermione, 'look on the bright side - at least now you'll have time to do Snape's essay!'

That's a bright side, is it?' snapped Harry, while Ron stared incredulously at Hermione. 'No Quidditch practice, and extra Potions?'

Harry slumped down into a chair, dragged his Potions essay reluctantly from his bag and set to work. It was very hard to concentrate; even though he knew Sirius was not due in the fire until much later, he could not help glancing into the flames every few minutes just in case. There was also an incredible amount of noise in the room: Fred and George appeared finally to have perfected one type of Skiving Snackbox, which they were taking turns to demonstrate to a cheering and whooping crowd.

First, Fred would take a bite out of the orange end of a chew, at which he would vomit spectacularly into a bucket they had placed in front of them. Then he would force down the purple end of the chew, at which the vomiting would immediately cease. Lee Jordan, who was assisting the demonstration, was lazily Vanishing the vomit at regular intervals with the same Vanishing Spell Snape kept using on Harrys potions.

...

Harry, who was making very little progress with his Potions essay, decided to give it up for the night. As he put his books away, Ron, who was dozing lightly in an armchair, gave a muffled grunt, awoke, and looked blearily into the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, at least he tried, but Harry is too upset to do anything of worth. A shame!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh! Is Snape going to be frantic or what!?

Chapter 18

Harry smiled.

'You can't help me, Dobby, but thanks for the offer.'

He bent and picked up his Potions book. He'd have to try to finish the essay tomorrow. He closed the book and as he did so the firelight illuminated the thin white scars on the back of his hand - the result of his detentions with Umbridge…

 Now really, have we ever heard of Snape inflicting such treatment to his students?  Proves who's the vilest if you ask me! I don't believe Snape would ever go to such extremes, or else he would have done so already. Not to mention that Snape may be sensible to "torture" after his Death Eater days. That's a fact we must never forget.

For a moment Harry was tempted to go with Dobby. He was halfway out of his seat, intending to hurry upstairs for his Invisibility Cloak when, not for the first time, a voice very much like Hermione's whispered in his ear: reckless. It was, after all, very late, he was exhausted, and had Snape's essay to finish.

  Yes, Harry!! Stop being reckless!  No really, isn't it obvious to the boy why Snape hates him so much?!  He keeps complaining he has no time to himself to complete his punishment assignments yet the first chance he has, he thinks of something reckless.

Chapter 19

The Death Eaters' scars. Voldemort touches one of them, and all their scars burn, and they know they've got to join him.'

 Great!! It's finally clear!  So as long as Voldemort touches one, the others will automatically know a meeting is being held. Unfortunately, we have no clue as to how they know where to apparate, but I would theorize just as most fan-authors do: the scar leads them to their Master. Oh!! Creepy!  

I would also like to know if the term "burn" is used as in to burn and hurt or to burn bright.  Snape, in Book4, mentioned that the scar had burned black. It suggests that "burn" refers to the colour, but it wouldn't be wise to not consider that both possibilities are concomitant.

Another question: what if Voldemort is alone?  Maybe he has one himself!  

As the first Quidditch match of the season, Gryffindor versus Slytherin, drew nearer, their DA meetings were put on hold because Angelina insisted on almost daily practices. The fact that the Quidditch Cup had not been held for so long added considerably to the interest and excitement surrounding the forthcoming game; the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were taking a lively interest in the outcome, for they, of course, would be playing both teams over the coming year; and the Heads of House of the competing teams, though they attempted to disguise it under a decent pretence of sportsmanship, were determined to see their own side victorious. Harry realised how much Professor McGonagall cared about beating Slytherin when she abstained from giving them homework in the week leading up to the match.

'I think you've got enough to be getting on with at the moment,' she said loftily. Nobody could quite believe their ears until she looked directly at Harry and Ron and said grimly, 'I've become accustomed to seeing the Quidditch Cup in my study, boys, and I really don't want to have to hand it over to Professor Snape, so use the extra time to practise, won't you?'

Snape was no less obviously partisan; he had booked the Quidditch pitch for Slytherin practice so often that the Gryffindors had difficulty getting on it to play. He was also turning a deaf ear to the many reports of Slytherin attempts to hex Gryffindor players in the corridors. When Alicia Spinnet turned up in the hospital wing with her eyebrows growing so thick and fast they obscured her vision and obstructed her mouth, Snape insisted that she must have attempted a Hair-thickening Charm on herself and refused to listen to the fourteen eye-witnesses who insisted they had seen the Slytherin Keeper, Miles Bletchley, hit her from behind with a jinx while she worked in the library.

Harry felt optimistic about Gryffindor's chances; they had, after all, never lost to Malfoy's team.

 

 

 

Don't you find it weird that both are trying to disguise their wish for victory under a decent pretence of sportmanship?!  From that tiny Gryffindor window through which we are allowed to have a closer look at Hogwarts, it had always seemed that Snape was not the type to hide his intentions when Quidditch was involved, yet it says that all Heads of House do try to hide their sentiment.  Great!!

 However, we have yet to see the day Snape will allow less homework for Quidditch! On the other hand, why would Snape need his team to better prepare since they use "questionable tactics"!  Somehow that is what Snape is ready to turn a blank eye on for the sake of the cup. Not homework but fairplay. Does it surprise us? No.  Also, I think the fact that all of the sudden, after 5 years, McGonagall calls off homework for the first time entails that she made a bet or just an infuriating discussion with Snape prior.   Interesting!  Snape wants the cup back!! He he!

Just as I mentioned, Snape will do all he can to avoid losing and cancelling homework.  The man has priorities after all ; )

 

 

Exactly what would have Snape rue the day!!

 

Chapter 21

'Excuse me,' said Malfoy in a sneering voice, 'but what exactly are we supposed to be seeing?'

Thestrals!  Rowling, in her last interview at the Edinburgh Book Festival, was pretty clear on the subject: those creatures will be seen by those who have experienced death or understand it's extent.  Not only those who have witness death. Here is what she said: "When you find out about the Thestrals, you find that you can see them only when you really understand death in a broader sense, when you really know what it means.[...] Anyone who has suffered a bereavement knows that there is the immediate shock but that it takes a little while to appreciate fully that you will never see that person again. Until that had happened, I did not think that Harry could see the Thestrals. That means that when he goes back, he saw these spooky things. It set the tone for Phoenix, which is a much darker book" So now we know! Does that mean Malfoy cannot appreciate the spookyness of death?  I wonder... Would a Malfoy seeing someone die be touched by the experience and appreciate to its fullest the consequences. I seriously doubt it. But if Rowling meant that, then we have no way to know whether Draco saw anyone die before.  On the other hand, if she meant for Draco to not be able to see them because he never experienced it, then it means that his father has never done any murders in front of his son.

Also from the same interview, Rowling was asked if Snape could see them. Click here to read her answer

Chapter 23

'Running away, are we?'

He looked around. Phineas Nigellus had appeared on the canvas of his portrait and was leaning against the frame, watching Harry with an amused expression on his face.

'Not running away, no,' said Harry shortly, dragging his trunk a few more feet across the room.

'I thought,' said Phineas Nigellus, stroking his pointed beard, 'that to belong in Gryffindor house you were supposed to be brave! It looks to me as though you would have been better off in my own house. We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks.'

'It's not my own neck I'm saving,' said Harry tersely, tugging the trunk over a patch of particularly uneven, moth-eaten carpet right in front of the door.

'Oh, I see,' said Phineas Nigellus, still stroking his beard, 'this is no cowardly flight - you are being noble.'

 Such a Slytherin mind!  However, this makes a strong point in favor of Snape.  Snape, contrary to lots of Slytherin, does not always think from his point of view. He tries, as much as humanly possible in his acerbic mind, to think from the perspective of a Gryffindor, proud and brave. Or in his dictionary, arrogant and reckless, especially in Harry's case. So imagine for a second that it would have been Snape there instead of Phineas. What would he have said? "Potter, what are you doing?", with eyebrows furrowed surely. He would try to guess and get the answers out of Harry before assuming anything else. Of course he would blame it on his Gryffindor recklessness and his tendency to act as a hero, but nonetheless, he would not have had this reflect of thinking Harry was trying to save his skin. I don't think so. He would automatically that stupidly, Harry was trying to be noble and save his friends... and he would add, due to his foolish belief that he's the only one able to do so!! Sounds more like Snape. But why am I making that point? See here:

This description of Slytherin is why! "Given the choice, Slytherins will always save their own necks"  Doesn't go well with Snape being a spy does it? Is this pure conceit from Phineas?  Or is this one of Rowling's warning that Snape will go back to the dark side?  As I mentioned often before, I do hope Phineas is wrong and that Rowling will not sacrifice Snape to the dark. Where would be the hope for those who made mistakes before if so? I mean, even the only Slytherin Headmaster of Hogwarts is renown as the worst of them all since the 4Founders!! Isn't that a strong message to our kids?!  So I do hope Snape is not saving his neck only for the sake of it, and that he will be proven a good Slytherin. Not a nice one, but a good one!

'So that's it, is it?' he said loudly. '"Stay where you are"! That's all anyone could tell me after I got attacked by those Dementors, too! Just stay put while the grown-ups sort it out, Harry! We won't bother telling you anything, though, because your tiny little brain might not be able to cope with it!'

'You know,' said Phineas Nigellus, even more loudly than Harry 'this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the Headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you? Have you never paused, while feeling hard-done-by, to note that following Dumbledores orders has never yet led you into harm? No. No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognise danger, you alone are the only one clever enough to realise what the Dark Lord may be planning -'

 

 

 

Well, here is something that makes sense. Doesn't that remind you of a certain Potions Master's reaction to foolishness and ignorance from students?!  Certainly does for me.  I truly like this part which could easily, very easily, have been taken by Snape to Harry. That is what he told him in a very different way during his Occlumency lessons when he said: "Yes, that's my role" when talking his own role in the Order compared to Potter's who should not have tried to get farther in his visions of the Dark Lord's dreams and actions.  In a way, Snape's silence and refusal to acknowledge Harry is his way to tell him: "The world does not revolve around your head, Potter! You have your own role, so let others perform their duties without butting in just because you have no clue!"

 

On to Chapter 24