[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Jul 20 12:34:09 EDT 2007

On Thu, 19 Jul 2007 20:45:55 +0100, Phil Boswell wrote:

>On 19/07/07, Dorian E. Gray <israfel at eircom.net> wrote:
>> Melissa said...
>> >This was the book where I felt sorry for Snape, and if you've read it,
>> >you'll probably know why:  Harry witnesses Snape's humiliation at his own
>> >father's and Sirius's hands, and it makes him question what he's always
>> >believed about his father (p. 640-649).  James and Sirius start picking on
>> >Snape--get this!--because they're BORED.  Yeah, that's a noble reason.
>> >Jerks.
>> Oh yes.  James Potter et al are bullies, pure and simple.  One might argue
>> that that was a one-off, but I don't buy that.  They're what? - about 15,
>> 16, at that point.  You don't randomly start tormenting someone for fun at
>> that age; they've probably been bullying Snape (and maybe others) since they
>> all started at Hogwarts.
>It's not random, and it's not *just* for fun: the animosity between
>Slytherin and Gryffindor is well established. 

So it's okay to bully someone because of an interhouse rivalry?  This
instance IS just for fun.  Sirius is bored, so James picks on Snape to amuse
him.  He might have chosen his victim because of the Slytherin/Gryffindor
rivalry (or the James/Severus rivalry) but his actions were not to punish
someone for evil; they were intended to humiliate.  There's simply no
justification for that.

>Look at the tactics
>wielded in this and other books in connection with Quidditch: random
>hexing in the corridors, Snape himself turning a blind eye to obvious
>and blatant abuse by members of his house.

The point is that these guys are supposed to be the heroes.  Just because
"everyone's doing it" doesn't make it right.  The random hexing that goes on
in Harry's day gets punished if the perpetrator is caught.  And it's pretty
clear that Snape is unusual in terms of ignoring the blatant bad behavior of
his own House's students.  I seriously doubt McGonagall would let a
Gryffindor get away with initiating any kind of attack on another student,
or even attacking in retaliation.

>Don't forget, Snape was also hanging out with a bad bunch..."almost
>all of whom turned out to be Death-Eaters" if i recall correctly.

Oh, right.  Because it's also okay to initiate bullying if your victim is
more of a bad guy than you.  Or do we call this a preemptive strike on the
Marauders' part?

>Also bear in mind that this was occurring during the mid-70s, when
>teenagers were wont to be somewhat rambunctious in the Muggle world.
>Little surprise if their counterparts at Hogwarts went a-rumbling
>occasionally, even given the purported separation between Muggle and
>Wizarding world: you'll observe that the younger generation always
>seem rather better informed, not to mention better dressed than their
>parents ;-)

I'm afraid I don't buy the argument that people's actions are justified
based on the time period or society they live in.  It's not like everyone in
a generation is stamped out of some identical mold.  And we're not exactly
talking about a fair fight, are we?  This is a case of four popular,
talented, cool kids picking on a single individual who was unattractive and
probably friendless.  The details of which Houses each group belonged to are
irrelevant.  In fact, if their Houses *did* matter, that's the same as
saying you're allowed to do despicable things as long as you pick the right
victim.  And I'll say again--if Harry, in essentially the same position as
his father down to his rivalry/enmity with a Slytherin, never takes
advantage of finding Draco in a vulnerable position, doesn't that say
something about the choices James might have made instead?  The primary
difference between them is that James at that age never knew fear and
deprivation like Harry had; staying arrogant under those circumstances turns
you into Tom Riddle, not James Potter.  And some of my disquiet with this
episode isn't so much the adolescents' behavior as the non-explanation given
by Sirius and Remus.  Either they don't want to criticize Harry's dead
father to his face, or they aren't willing to admit how much they were

>Even so, I don't recall any textev that the Marauders treated anybody
>else as badly as they did Snape: do you?

Is there even any evidence they treated anyone else badly at all? Everything
up to that point is about them playing harmless Weasley Twin tricks.
Still...it does point back to the bully thing; many bullies choose a single
victim to concentrate their efforts on.  And the aforementioned animosity
would explain why it was Snape.

Melissa Proffitt

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