Re: Death Eaters, Slytherin and Severus Snape
- From: wadkin2000@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: 9 Apr 2006 13:43:18 -0700
While sitting in the Acute Illness clinic at my HMO, waiting to be
seen for another case of Conjunctivitis, I started thinking about
Harry Potter. After a few hours, I started asking myself questions. I
asked myself why were most of the Death Eaters Slytherins, why were
most of the Death Eaters not his contemporaries but the children of his
contemporaries and why did some of the old, pure blood wizerding
families support him? Why did Severus Snape, as a first year, know more
dark curses than most seventh years?
After a few more hours, I started answering myself. The Slytherin
question is easy. Tom Riddle was a Slytherin so it stands to reason
that most of his associates, who became his followers, were Slytherins.
The next question was harder to answer. Children usually don't have
an in-depth relationship with their parent's friends. They may know
who they are and might have a friendly relationship with them, but as
to being their friends and followers, it is unlikely. I think the
reason Voldermort's first associates children became the majority of
Death Eaters is Riddle was practicing a powerful form of Pre-World War
II marketing. He told people what they needed to hear. Dumbledore
tells Harry Riddles friends were "the weak seeking protection, the
ambitious seeking some shared glory and the thuggish gravitating toward
a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty".
Apparently, weak, when he came to power, would be the strong, the
ambitious, would be in positions of power, and the thuggish could
practice their cruelties without fear of reprisal. Although Dumbledore
doesn't mention them, Riddle must have agreed with the old wizarding
families like the Blacks and Malfoys that their culture and very way of
life was threatened by Muggleborn and Half Bloods. These people had to
be monitored and controlled and it could be done by practicing the
Riddle was so good looking and so charismatic that they believed him.
And, even when he left to pursue his dark art studies, they waited for
him to come back, and indoctrinated their children as to how wonderful
he was and how great things would be when he came to power. When he
returned, he had an army waiting for him.
Why did Severus Snape know more dark curses than most seventh years?
Because, his mother was, if not a Death Eater, an intimate of
Voldermort's. Someone, Slugworth I think, says house placements
usually run in families. If Snape is a Slytherin there is a good
chance his mother was too. Since her picture shows she wasn't
particularly pretty or pleasant, she might have been one of those weak
ones that got Riddle's protection, and, if her protector was studying
the Dark Arts, she might have too and taught them to her son. That
might have been the cause of the violent argument that Snape
remembered. His muggle father might not have minded his wife being a
witch, but dabbling with dark magic and teaching it to their child
might be another thing.
I hope someone will join my conversation. It gets lonely talking to
First, I hope your conjunctivitis is on the mend. Second, it's when
you start answering yourself that you have to worry!
Here's my take on the above:
IMO, even though Slytherin is composed of primarily purebloods (with
some exceptions..cough>Snape), I feel that it doesn't have as much
respectability in the wizarding world as the other four houses, and
wizards have a tendancy to cast aspersions on the students of the
house. Didn't Hagrid say something that there wasn't a witch or wizard
who went bad that wasn't in Slytherin?
Tom Riddle was intelligent, handsome, charming and charismatic, a
classic snake-oil salesman or meglomaniac. I'm sure it was very easy
for him to attract many students, but I think he hand-picked his
followers from the most promising students, particularly those who had
prominent family connections.
When the 2nd generation of his followers attended Hogwarts, I don't
think it was necessary to actively recruit them, they were already
ensconced by way of familial connection; similar to occupations and
organizations running in families. This new breed already established
their dominance in Slytherin and the task then fell to them to bring to
members into the fold. I am sure that some of the pureblood families
probably agreed with Riddle's original theology.
Shrewd and calculating Lucius Malfoy is about five years older than SS
(& I think Bella is one year older than he). I'm sure that he
approached new students with an eye to the future, making silky
overtures to those he thought would be most useful to TR/LV: those with
individual skills, prominent wealthy families or politically connected
families. Snape, IMO, fell into the first group. Since we don't know
anything about his background other than what Harry saw, I don't think
we can safely make any other assumptions. Take one student with an
early aptitude and interest for dark magic and add to the mix a dose of
insecurity and alienation, and you have a 100% candidate for a DE.
Sirius told Harry that Snape hung around with a gang of Slytherins who
turned out to be death eaters. However, looking at the dates, IMO,
Snape had this "gang" around to protect him only through perhaps his
fourth year. I think that when we saw the pensieve incident (and I'm
sure there were many others), Snape at that time was pretty much on his
own. Perhaps even in the beginning, it was Snape et al who started the
incidents and the Marauders felt that it was now payback time.
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