Rebloggable by request
Reasons Why I Don’t Think James Potter Bullied Snape
- “James and Snape hated each other from the moment they set eyes on each other, it was just one of those things, you can understand that, can’t you?” -Sirius Black, OOTP, p. 590
- “Well, Snape was a special case. He never lost an opportunity to curse James so you couldn’t really expect James to take that lying down, could you?” -Remus Lupin, OOTP, p. 591
- “…it was also enchanted to forever repel (as insultingly as possible) the curiosity of their nemesis, Severus Snape.” -JK Rowling, Pottermore, Marauder’s Map. The term nemesis, as defined by Dictionary.com means “an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.” Implying they were on equal footing. As in anything Snape received, he paid back in full.
- In Snape’s Worst Memory, James attacks Snape with a common jinx (that Snape himself invented) and Snape retaliates with a dark curse. What makes anyone think that Snape was incapable of using one to incapacitate James or Sirius?
- Snape had a group of friends who grew up to be Death Eaters and who harassed Muggle-borns in school. I’m sure they attempted retaliation on the Marauders. It doesn’t make any sense that they would choose not to fight against those who they most likely hate most, meaning that Snape would have just as much ability to double-team James.
- It takes a certain amount of compassion to dedicate your life to saving innocent people, and James was a member of the Order of the Phoenix. If he really harassed and tortured Snape to make him feel like shit, as is implied by many, I doubt he would have enough compassion to join an organization based on protecting everyone (read: you would have to save people you hated sometimes).
- Literally everyone who talks about James other than Snape loves him. Dumbledore, Hagrid, Sirius, Remus, everyone. Surely if he was that terrible to someone, at least one other person would hate him, wouldn’t they?
Great points that I’ve always thought were overlooked by many people. More points to consider:
- James grew up in a privileged, blessed household, yet he empathizes with nearly everyone, esp minorities. Peter was a talentless underdog, an outcast, a no one. Sirius coming from a repressing, abusive household. Lily as a muggle-born, and muggle-borns in general. Don’t even get me started on Remus and his lycanthropy issue, that is downright stunning how James handled that.
- Snape invented spells designed to hurt other people. James suspended him in the air, Snape attempted to slice his head open. One of them was intending to humiliate, the other was intending to maim or kill.
- “Well, they [James and Snape] did rather detest each other. Not unlike yourself and Mr. Malfoy. And then, your father did something Snape could never forgive.” “What?” “He saved his life.” (Dumbledore, SS/SP). This is an important parallel between James and Harry; in the end they both saved Snape’s and Draco’s lives respectively, despite their animosities towards another. The differing factor between these pair of rivals was that the Potter boys had enough capacity for compassion that they succeeded in saving the lives of their enemies.
- Sirius says in GoF that during Hogwarts, Snape was in a gang full of future Death Eaters, some of who were mentioned: Rosier and Wilkes, the Lestranges, Avery and Mulciber (GoF, Padfoot Returns). That’s a large gang, far bigger than the four Marauders, especially when you consider that James and Sirius were the ringleaders and Remus and Peter didn’t participate in most of their activities.
- Dumbledore, Hagrid, McGonagall, Sirius, Remus, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Mad Eye Moody, Emmeline Vance, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle, and Hestia Jones spoke highly of James (hell even Peter knew James had compassion enough not to kill him).
- When Hagrid gives Harry the photo album of his parents in First Year, he says that he owled all of Lily and James’ old school friends for photos of them. All of those people loved Lily and James, and kept photos of them long after school, and after their deaths.
At the end of the day, James and Snape both treated each other like shit, but they had their reasons (despite how petty those reasons were, to them it was of utmost importance, we’re not living in their shoes and experiencing the same level of animosity), and it’s unfair to say that Snape was simply an innocent victim when we canonly know that he wasn’t. You can even say that James bullied a bully. Snape was a racist bigot who felt that a minority were subhuman and not on the same standard as he was. He joined a terrorist organization whose purpose was to torture, incapacitate and kill Muggle-borns and Muggles. His greatest virtue was his ability to love a single person in his life, however his compassion ends there.
People are all too willing to judge James based on SWM alone, when in fact JKR had been building up the goodness of his character in all seven books. James was capable of showing kindness to everyone but Snape; begrudging him for that is unfair because the feeling was mutual. At least James had the decency to step in and save Snape’s life at one point; Snape wasn’t capable of doing that for him even years later.