Remus wasn’t dealt the best hand in life as he was bitten and turned into a werewolf around the age of five and grew up without friends until he reached Hogwarts. His friends died around the same time (well he thought Peter was dead) and his other friend Sirius had betrayed them all (at least that’s what he and everyone thought. Of course he didn’t really but he didn’t know that). He struggled to find work and didn’t have a lot of money. Some people were mean towards him.
Remus could have easily become a very cruel and bitter. He could have given up and not even tried to help Harry or stop Voldemort. Yes, he did try and kill Peter with Sirius and I’m sure there were other things he did that were questionable or not the best decision anyway. But mostly he was a good person. And yet, despite all these things Remus didn’t do that. He dealt with the life he had, not by taking it out on others or being a bully. He tried to help Harry. He remained a good person. In the end he got the life he wanted, though briefly. He married and had a son, although life was cruel again and he didn’t get much time with him.
Snape on the other hand was rejected by a woman he loved who didn’t love him in that way in the end and also didn’t approve of him associating with the dark arts and death eaters etc and he hated James (understandable because James was mean though) so decided to bully the students he taught particularly Harry.
And that’s why Remus is one of my favourite characters.
My favorite trope in Snarry fanfics is when Severus calls Harry by his first name (versus “Potter” or some insult), subconsciously and he doesn’t realize it. It’s even better when Harry is there to hear it
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry goes to Snape for Occlumency lessons.
It starts poorly:
Snape is his usual difficult self, whilst Harry borders on impertinent. Snape is cold and malovelent, whilst Harry is terse and insubordinate.
Interestingly, despite their bitter feelings towards each other, there’s more at play in this scene. When Harry addresses Snape in a way he deems suitable, Snape answers Harry’s questions. Granted, some of his answers are laced with his usual acerbic charm, but it’s a much more pleasant encounter than the two ordinarily share.
But Harry forgets himself, forgets to refer to Snape appropriately, interrupts him, and asks a question too many:
“And Vol — he — realised I was there?”
“It seems so,” said Snape coolly.
“How do you know?” said Harry urgently. “Is this just Professor Dumbledore guessing, or — ?”
“I told you,” said Snape, rigid in his chair, his eyes slits, “to call me ‘sir.’ ”
“Yes, sir,” said Harry impatiently, “but how do you know — ?”
“It is enough that we know,” said Snape repressively.
Snape would be sweating a little at this point.
It’s a little too close for comfort; if the Dark Lord does have a connection to Harry’s mind, Snape doesn’t want Harry to be aware that he was the one who reported back from Voldemort to Dumbledore. Voldemort knows Snape is a double agent, but he wouldn’t expect him to report back something of such worth to Dumbledore. Therefore, it’s much safer for Harry to believe that it’s a lucky guess from Dumbledore.
The lesson continues, with Snape attempting to break into Harry’s mind. Snape is cool and full of contempt; Harry is bitter and angry. Snape’s barb about the dog is certainly uncalled for, but he then gives Harry a compliment (well, in Snape speak) and when Harry complains that Snape’s directions are lacking, he elaborates.
For instance, here’s Snape initially breaking into Harry’s mind:
“And what are you going to do?” Harry asked, eyeing Snape’s wand apprehensively.
“I am about to attempt to break into your mind,” said Snape softly. “We are going to see how well you resist. I have been told that you have already shown aptitude at resisting the Imperius Curse… You will find that similar powers are needed for this… Brace yourself, now… Legilimens!”
Snape had struck before Harry was ready…
Snape merely tells Harry that he’s going to break into his mind, and he needs to resist it like he did the Imperius Curse. It’s possible that Snape assumed that due to Harry’s competency in resisting the Imperius Curse, he’d be a natural at Occluding. But worst of all, he launches in before Harry is ready.
However, the second time, Snape has improved:
“Well, for a first attempt that was not as poor as it might have been,” said Snape, raising his wand once more. “You managed to stop me eventually, though you wasted time and energy shouting. You must remain focused. Repel me with your brain and you will not need to resort to your wand.”
“I’m trying,” said Harry angrily, “but you’re not telling me how!”
“Manners, Potter,” said Snape dangerously. “Now, I want you to close your eyes.”
Harry threw him a filthy look before doing as he was told. He did not like the idea of standing there with his eyes shut while Snape faced him, carrying a wand. “Clear your mind, Potter,” said Snape’s cold voice. “Let go of all emotion…”
But Harry’s anger at Snape continued to pound through his veins like venom. Let go of his anger? He could as easily detach his legs…
“You’re not doing it, Potter… You will need more discipline than this… Focus, now…”
Harry tried to empty his mind, tried not to think, or remember, or feel…
“Let’s go again … on the count of three … one — two — three — Legilimens!”
Breaking it down, we can see that Snape starts with a compliment (in Snape speak). He then explains what Harry needs to do, and tells himto close his eyes. He recognises when Harry hasn’t focused, and instructs him - and finally, importantly, he counts him in.
This is a huge improvement in his teaching style.
But then the whole thing falls apart:
“Get up!” said Snape sharply. “Get up! You are not trying, you are making no effort, you are allowing me access to memories you fear, handing me weapons!”
Harry stood up again, his heart thumping wildly as though he had really just seen Cedric dead in the graveyard. Snape looked paler than usual, and angrier, though not nearly as angry as Harry was.
“I — am — making — an — effort,” he said through clenched teeth.
“I told you to empty yourself of emotion!”
“Yeah? Well, I’m finding that hard at the moment,” Harry snarled.
“Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!” said Snape savagely. “Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!”
“I am not weak,” said Harry in a low voice, fury now pumping through him so that he thought he might attack Snape in a moment.
“Then prove it! Master yourself!” spat Snape. “Control your anger, discipline your mind! We shall try again! Get ready, now! Legilimens!”
He’s lost control. He speaks sharply, savagely and spits out his words. He doesn’t sense the irony in telling Harry to control his anger whilst ranting and raving at him in short, staccato exclaimations. He doesn’t even pause before embarking on the next bout of Legilimency - there’s barely a 'get ready’ before he launches in, let alone a countdown.
…and whilst we can understand Harry’s strong reaction to seeing Cedric’s lifeless body, it seems strange that Snape is described as:
Snape looked paler than usual, and angrier.
Why would that be? Sure, Snape would regret Cedric’s death, but would it bother him so much that he’d turn on Harry so quickly when they were getting on passably? Just a few moments ago he was much more encouraging.
Well, the answer is in the set of memories that Snape breaks into:
A great black dragon was rearing in front of him… His father and mother were waving at him out of an enchanted mirror… Cedric Diggory was lying on the ground with blank eyes staring at him…
Can you see it?
His father and mother were waving at him out of an enchanted mirror…
Snape saw Lily - happily married to James - waving to their son, as if she was still alive.
(As if this isn’t hard enough for Snape, it’s entirely possible that he’s visited the mirror himself. He may be used to seeing 'his Lily’ waving back at him, and that’s now been ruined by Harry’s vision. Try as Snape might, he won’t ever be able to see the mirror in the same way again; Harry’s broken the illusion.
Additionally, it’s entirely possible, given Snape’s actions of tearing the photograph in Grimmauld Place that he didn’t have any pictures of Lily - so Harry inadvertently destroyed the only way Snape had of 'seeing’ her.)
I also find it really interesting that everyone props up Sirius’ relationship with Harry, even though Sirius continues to recklessly endanger Harry’s life, while scorning Snape’s relationship with Harry, even though Harry is arguably safer with Snape than he is with almost anyone else. Snape, however he may compare Harry to his father, clearly knows what Harry is capable of and what he isn’t. And, more importantly, isn’t afraid to tell Harry that he’s a dumbass kid and should leave well enough alone.
In fact, I hate it when people smack-talk the Occlumency lessons, because those are actually the times when we see Snape being the closest to nice he’s ever been to Harry. For instance:
“That is just as well, Potter,” said Snape coldly, “because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.” “No—that’s your job, isn’t it?” Harry shot at him. He had not meant to say it; it had burst out of him in temper. For a long moment they stared at each other, Harry convinced he had gone too far. But there was a curious, almost satisfied expression on Snape’s face when he answered. “Yes, Potter,” he said, his eyes glinting. “That is my job. Now, if you are ready, we will start again.”
A couple of things about this scene. First, Snape (unlike Sirius!) tells Harry to his face that he’s too young and too untrained to go after DE. He says it in the meanest way possible, but he’s literally saying, “Don’t fucking go and get yourself killed dumbass, you’re only fifteen, let the adults do it for god’s sake.” He’s… stopping Harry from recklessly endangering his life? (Fat lot of good it does him, really, but he tries.) He’s telling Harry to not go out and get himself killed?
And then, when Harry shoots back “well, that’s your job” probably talking about his spying career, Snape looks SATISFIED. Why is he satisfied? Because Harry is being Slytherin-y and taking a potshot at Snape? Because Harry is acknowledging that Snape is actually doing the good work and spying and getting rid of DE? Is he satisfied because Harry is acknowledging his work in some way?
In any case, this is such a clear scene of what an adult SHOULD say to Harry ‘fifteen year old ball of rage and revenge’ Potter when he tries to go after Death Eaters and join the Order. No, they shouldn’t try to allow it, as Sirius does. Sirius allowing it is such a reckless endangerment that it amazes me that people look at that moment and say, “Look at how much Sirius cares about Harry!” Putting a teenager in harm’s way because THEY think they can handle it is stupid. Harry is a pretty extraordinary teenager, but he’s still untrained, untried, and, as OOTP shows, completely able to fuck up and put himself and others in danger. Snape’s response is the correct way to do it - and shows that Snape’s priority is not Harry’s ego or his love, but Harry’s safety. Which should be more important to Sirius as well, but clearly isn’t.
Snape always puts Harry’s safety first and clearly has no trouble realizing that you shouldn’t encourage a kid with delusions of grandeur. And yet he’s the one who doesn’t give a fuck about Harry….. Right…..
So a lot of people have wondered why Harry and Hermione couldn’t recognize Snape’s handwriting in HBP but I HAVE A THEORY.
Remember when Harry and Hermione were arguing over whether the Prince was a girl or a guy based on the writing? Harry says it’s definitely a guy, but he was probably basing that on the way it sounded rather than on the handwriting itself. A lot of abrupt statements (e.g. “just shove a bezoar down their throats”): shorter sentences, more periods etc. Those things are usually considered masculine; if you don’t believe me just try any of the “gender of your typing” tests. Harry isn’t really the type to pay attention to detail anyways. Hermione, on the other hand, would be looking at the handwriting itself. She’s looking at the way the script flows, at the curve of an o and the way the t’s and f’s are crossed, and she says it looks feminine.
I once had a friend in school who was teased because his handwriting was “girly”. He tried to change his handwriting because of it, but it always looked a bit shaky, sort of irregular, which often happens when you try to change your natural writing style. Snape’s handwriting is described as “spidery” - and that implies a certain shakiness.
So there you go, they couldn’t recognize his writing because he changed it.
So I want to talk about something real quick - when James Potter used Levicorpus on Snape and when Snape called Lily a “mudblood”.
So James and the rest of the Marauders (yet again) go and torment Snape for no apparent reason and then in front of everyone, they hang him upside down and expose his underwear to everybody on the grounds - nice. Totally not sexual harassment or anything (please note the sarcasm).
People are always saying “Snape was so terrible to Lily. He called her a mudblood!” I thought about this - Lily stuck up for Snape. He was her best friend, of course she did. No problem there, but here’s the thing. (Don’t attack me for what I’m about to say. I’m not saying all males, okay?) The Marauders and Snape are male. They have their pride. They don’t want to be seen as weak or, for this situation, seen letting a girl stick up for them. Ever hear in movies “You’re going to let a girl fight your battles for you?”? - that sort of thing. Anyway, so Snape called her a mudblood because he wanted to be seen as tough and able to fight his own battles without letting a girl do it for him. He was humiliated in front of so many people and with Lily defending him at that moment - he may have thought that people would see him as weak and a “loser”, unable to defend himself - possibly less of a man (even though they were only about 15 at the time). So in the heat of the moment he said something he didn’t mean and regretted. I’m not saying that he was right calling her a mudblood, but this explains why he did it.
Also, for the people saying Snape was creepy towards Lily - can we please remember that James said he would only stop bullying Snape if Lily dated him. That’s not creepy - per say, but it’s fucking insane. No normal human being would do something like that. I’m sorry - they just don’t.
And just in case anyone’s wondering - I don’t hate the Marauders. I like the idea of them and all, but I’m not going to sit here and deny that they were shitty kids who did some terrible stuff - unlike a lot of people.