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3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 987 times Debate No: 32579
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




1. If you accept this debate, you are to accept and follow the following rules:

2. Failure to comply will result in a automatic win for me. Voters please keep this in mind.

3. You may come up with any reasonable debate topic. You can be either PRO or CON, I don't care. My standards are somewhat lax; just don't throw me an extremely difficult or impossible position (i.e. Prove the color purple to not be the color purple). Don't make me prove God's existence, it may seem viable, but I feel unable to do so without stealing other people's arguments.

4. I am entitled to an automatic win if you troll this debate. (Example of troll debates can be found here:

5. If I don't agree to take up your resolution in round 2 (not very likely if you are reasonable), then the debate will be tied and we'll leave it at that.

6. Round 1&2 are for the establishment of some resolution, definitions and clarifications.

7. I retain the right to call 'troll' throughout the entire debate, effectively securing my 7 point victory. My troll-calling judgment will, however, be gauged by voters. If the voters decide I am calling troll unfairly, then a 7 point victory will go toward my opponent. Voters please be as objective as possible.

Please make sure you have relatively decent debate credentials/potentials ('Confidence is key' -Willy Wonka). Again, my standards are pretty lax so don't be shy. You could have low ELO and still be a shining star. The only condition being that you don't end up forfeiting like I've seen others do (my last debater's choice was a disaster). Be prepared to spend a decent amount of time constructing arguments and rebuttals. This includes, but is not limited to, research, logical musings, etc.
I really do mean it when I'm asking for a debater of decent quality. Please be relatively certain of your debate prowess (this is a very important criterion.)

If there are any changes you feel are necessary before accepting the debate, please make some indication in the comments section

Without further ado......


As per the comments section of this debate, I am offering my opponent one of two debate choices:

1) "Who Is The Better "New Who" Doctor Of The Doctor Who TV Series", for which I would vouch for the Eleventh Doctor, leaving my opponent with the choice of either defending the Ninth or Tenth Doctor. This debate would centre around the personalities of the Doctors themselves, their fashion sense, what they achieve, who their companions are, the villains they faced, and the quality of their episodes and story arcs.

2) "Even in light of what we find out about him, Severus Snape's position is still highly unsympathetic". To clarify, this refers to the revelation in Deathly Hallows about Snape's backstory as viewed by Harry Potter in Dumbledore's pensieve, which is added on to everything else we've known about him throughout the books. I would take the role of "Pro" in this debate.

I eagerly await Beginner's response as to which of these debates he will pick.
Debate Round No. 1


1. I only watched 1.5 seasons of Dr. Who (and I really liked it, but could no longer access it), so I don't know anything about these ninth, tenth or eleven Doctors.

2. I read Harry Potter as an elementary school student and have not had contact with the series in 6 years (after reading the Deathly Hallows as a twelve year old)

I might be able to take the second option with whatever elusive memories I have of Mr. Snape,
I present my opponent with two options:
A) Continue this debate with the second option as the chosen resolution
B) Terminate it due to the perceived inability of the opposition (me) to present a stimulating or satisfying debate.

If you chose option A, you may either begin establishing your premises (in which case, you are to leave round 5 empty to keep the round-count fair) or submit an approval of the choice and have me begin the debate. You may also set further clarifications, but I think that will be unnecessary. Your resolution's setup is pretty clear to me (I won't go DNA Imabench on you either).

If you chose option B (I almost hope you do..) then the debate will be tied and no more will be heard from either of us.


I have decided that I will approve the choice and let you begin the debate. I would post an opening argument right now but unfortunately college has drained me of energy today, plus I'm away at my brother's place tomorrow. Sorry about that. I think that as we discuss this topic details from the books should come back into your memory.

Incidentally, do you perhaps have access to a library? That may be useful for allowing you to rent some/all of the books which would be helpful to your side of the debate. If not, I've got no objections to you using something like the Harrpy Potter wiki for your sources of information.
Debate Round No. 2


Beginner forfeited this round.


So since my opponent forfeited, I guess I'll start this argument, and then forfeit Round 5 so that my opponent has a fair shake at this debate. Voters, do not mark Beginner down for his forfeit in this Round. Now then, as I said, I'll start this off properly.

The history of Severus Snape

For the sake of convenience, I'm going to work this in a chronological order, meaning that we'll start from Snape's early years and work all the way to his death.

So we know that Snape lives in Spinner's End, and that his parents - Eileen Prince and Tobias Snape - argue and fight with each other. We also know he gets neglected and wears ill-fitting clothes. Now, straight away, you'd think that this would be cause for sympathy for Severus, right? Not really. While it would be extremely tempting to chastise Tobias as a complete monster responsible for turning Severus into the person he becomes, I'd actually blame the mother on this one. Bear in mind, Eileen Prince was a witch, and was surely capable of defending herself. It is stated quite clearly that Snape's parents are fighting, and it takes two to tango. So where the neglect and dirty appearance is concerned, that has got to be sourced to a maternal source. And let's not forget that Severus ends up picking up terms like "Mudblood" and "Muggle-born", and you can sure as hell bet that there's no way he ended up picking up terms like that from his Muggle father. I'm not saying Tobias is a nice guy, but Eileen was no saint, and it just seems that Snape's road to becoming a Death Eater is clearly a case of him blaming the wrong person.

Next we see that Severus picks up a friendship with Lily Evans, informing her that she is in fact a witch and getting to hang around with her a lot. No real problems there, except that Severus essentially contributes to the complete collapse of relations with Lily's sister, Petunia. Look, yes, both her and the other Dursleys are really mean, however you can sympathise with the fact that Snape essentially gets away with making a tree branch fall on her and the fact that Petunia essentially gets ignored once all the focus gets driven onto Lily. Going further on, we then see Snape's desire to become a Slytherin. Okay, I know that this was before that house ended up providing Voldemort with a whole bunch of Death Eaters, and I know there are Slytherins who turned out to be exceptions to the rule of what kind of people get sorted in that house (Slughorn, the mother of Tonks, Regulus Black), but still, that whole "pure blood purity" reputation it had not to mention its apparent role in supplying an un-clarified but supposedly large amount of dark wizards throughout history is still "iffy", y'know?

We then see that Snape gets involved with conflicts against James Potter and his friends, as well as straining his existing friendship with Lily. Yes, James and Sirius are kind of a couple of jerks in their school years, but to use the trope, they still amount to being Jerks with Hearts of Gold. They actively oppose that pure blood superiority nonsense, and they're trying to protect someone who lives with a life-ruining condition that makes him turn into a werewolf. On the former, it's made quite clear that Snape quickly becomes buddies with several classmates who'd grow up to become DEs themselves, something which even Lily calls him out for. On the latter, I don't get what business it was of Snape's if Lupin kept disappearing before the full moon, because if Snape was right it wouldn't change the obvious fact that Lupin must have had an arrangement with Dumbledore to allow him to attend the school, and why on earth would Severus need to care if James et al were hanging around with Lupin, since he didn't even like them anyway and thus had no reason to care? It strikes me that Severus was an intrusive little brat with hypocritical notions of rule breaking and with one hell of a mean streak himself. This culminates in the scene where James and Sirius gang up on Snape in fifth year after their OWL exams. I will concede there's no excuse for James to just start on Snape like that, but any sympathy one might have for Snape is kind of negated when 1) he uses dark magic against James in retaliation, and 2) he lashes out at the person who was trying to defend him by calling her a "Mudblood". Understandably, both Lily and James are outraged and Lily cuts off all ties to Severus. And in a severe case of disproportionate retribution, Snape becomes a Death Eater as a result in direct opposition to Lily and James who are fighting for blood equality.

We then find out that Snape is the one who hears the prophecy foretelling Voldemort's doom, and that he then goes to Dumbledore in a panic because LV believes it refers to the Potters. There are two things seriously wrong with how Snape behaves here, and the first is venomously criticised by Dumbledore when it's revealed that Snape initially solely asked to spare Lily alone for him (wow, just wow), and it's only by Dumbledore's probing that Severus alters the plea for the entirety of the Potter family to be saved. The other thing wrong with this is that the other potential family that could have been targeted were the Longbottoms. We see no evidence that Snape even cared about the potential of that family getting targeted, simply because he wasn't all lovey-dovey with any of the family members. That is all kinds of messed up.

We fast-forward to when Snape is the Potions Master at Hogwarts, and when he starts having Harry Potter as his student. This starts a chain of instances where Snape starts deriding Harry for his apparent "lust for fame" and him being apparently "as arrogant of his father" as well as blaming Harry for things that Draco did, as well as showing clear favouritism in general towards Draco over Harry in terms of punishment process. One big problem with all of these aspects, however, is that Snape gets revealed to be a master Legelimens. This makes the implications of Snape's actions even more darker, as it becomes quite clear that Snape knew damn well that Harry was anything but a "glory-seeker", and that he had a whole lot more in common with his mother Lily than Snape gave him credit for, and that Harry wasn't responsible for things Snape was accusing him of, and that Draco was clearly using racist language against Harry and his friends, and yet Snape still carried on harassing and bullying Harry. That really does not strike me as a sympathetic character. In fact, it strikes me that Snape is near enough to being a sociopath. I can't be the only one who cheered when Harry finally told Snape to shut his mouth in Book 3, as well as the karmic justice that happens at the end when Snape's quest to send an innocent man to the Dementors gets thwarted.

We also have the point where Snape shows terrible teaching skills when he tries to teach Harry Occlumency, continually criticising him even though there's no reason why Harry should be able to master it as quickly as Snape demands he do it. He then irresponsibly stops teaching Harry Occlumency, which is a betrayal of his vow to protect Harry at all costs, and because Harry's mind doesn't get further protection, it contributes to Sirius's death. We also have Snape punishing Harry for defending himself even though Draco was clearly looking to seriously hurt Harry in their duel in Book 6. Again, all signs that really do not point towards Snape being remotely sympathetic.

Snape may be among the very most interesting characters in the Harry Potter books, but even in light of what we find out about his backstory, it is still nigh on impossible to feel any sympathy for his character.
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for this kindly allowance, and forfeiting the several exploitable advantages of my unfortunate neglect.

I think the most powerful position I can take in establishing an incredibly sympathetic position for Snape lies in the intricate tie between Snape's upbringing, life and subsequent conduct.

As my opponent mentions, Snape lived a neglected childhood. Whoever is responsible for this neglect is of another question and holds no relevance in sympathy. The possibilities of his mother being the more guilty candidate doesn't remove that fact that Severus Snape had an unhappy childhood. Furthermore, by taking my opponent's statement about tangoing, there is no indicative proving either parent above mutual responsibility. This is mostly subjective and depends on the partiality of the judge. In my perspective, the more violent aggressor, the father, is clearly more responsible due to the aggressive nature of his argument-initiating position. That Eileen chose not to attack her aggressor shows her strong will toward peace. Taken another way, Eileen could have been the aggressively abusive mother, but the simple fact is that she was not. This is, however beside the point as it is, as I've stated before, unrelated to the child's actual state of neglect. It is an undeniable fact that Snape's childhood was sad, largely loveless, and grim.

Unlike Harry Potter, Severus Snape's life did not take a happy turn upon entering Hogwarts. As perceived in the pensieve, Snape was the target of unrelenting bullying. The summative statements that can be made about his years in Hogwarts is that Snape, in light of his abusive upbringing, has forgiveable faults that were, in essence, largely harmless. He is what those around him have made him. Being surrounded in the semi-nazi nature of the Slytherin house, Snape really cannot be blamed for the development of any ideological or categorical faults and biases. The fact that Snape ends up without love, without friends, without any real connections other than the unhappy ones developed in his moral ambiguity (i.e. his decision to become a death eater) cannot be ignored.

Let us move into Harry's years in Hogwarts. Until the Deathly Hallows, both Harry and the reader are given reason to assume Snape a debateably evil character whose snide goadings and provocations give Harry justifiable incentives to harbor a deep hatred against him. The thing that really brought me to put Snape in the light of sympathy is when all the details of his life are finally revealed. Under this, Snape's actions potentially takes on a completely different shade of meaning. When Snapes was teaching Harry occlumency, he said: "I told you to empty yourself of emotion! ... 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!"

This statement potentially reveals an incredibly important fact in Snape's character analysis. Snape, a master of occlumency, has abandoned all facets of his emotions. After leading a horrible childhood & adolescent in which his emotions only served to deepen his already sad state of being, Snape yields his emotions to a mechanical life. This fact changes everything. Having abandoned his emotions, Snape cannot hate Harry. For what reason, then, does Snape bully him? Having taken Snape's emotional apathy into account, I've come to the conclusion that everything Snape does after Lily's death ultimately serves a good, practical purpose. For example, by sustaining Harry's deep hatred of himself, Snape gives Harry a driving incentive to do what is necessary toward the purpose of defeating Voldemort (includes training to become a powerful wizard). He also protects his double agent status. His position as a double-double agent is secure if no one sympathized with him or knew of his real mission (aside from Dumbledore). Remember, some wizards, especially Voldemort, can break into people's minds. If Voldemort were to read Harry's mind previous to the reversal in the Deathly Hallows, the result would, in fact, have been beneficial since Harry deeply suspected and hated Snape. This latter purpose seems much more likely and can be applied to all students in Hogwarts. This is further complimented by the fact that all of Snape's emotional expositions during his professional years in Hogwarts occur with an audience. This indicates that any and all emotion Snape seem to show are really nothing more than shows to maintain his image not only to Harry, but to all the students (including Malfoy) of a probable loyalty to Voldemort. All this can be drawn from this one fact: Snape has no emotions. Snape has no life. This alone, that Snape never had and never will taste the joys of fellowship or of life, puts him in an incredibly conspicuous light of sympathy.

The revelations about Snape's life in the Deathly Hallows were incredibly powerful. If anything hit me in this book, it was the fact that Snape was, without a doubt, a great force of good. It was sad to me that Snape has nothing. I don't even know what drives Snape to do what he does. He's like a robot with no futuristic hopes or dreams and a destitute past. Even after Dumbledore's death, Snape continues to work for the greater good. He was headmaster. He had everything material and yet he was still willing to risk his life and all he had gained from Voldemort to protect the students and help Harry defeat Voldemort, the source of his 'success'.

To say that his position does not merit sympathy is to be utterly wrong. Snape does everything, loses everything and has, emotionally, nothing; a life devoid of happiness.
Snape lived only to be 38. A sad man of great discipline (apparent in his occlumens mastery alone), Snape is, in my opinion, the best character in the entire Harry Potter series and one of the greatest characters in literature.


On reflection, Beginner's argument is something I won't be able to formulate one against. Based on the strength of his argument that has been very much persuasive, I am conceding this debate. Vote for Beginner.
Debate Round No. 4


I'd like to thank my opponent for both allowing me this chance to establish my position and for giving me this opportunity to revisit one of my favorite series. I remember why I liked HP again. :D


Vote Beginner!
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Beginner 5 years ago
I let schoolwork get better of me.. I'm sorry. This debate, unlike my others, requires a massively larger quantity of research. On the plus side, I did get my hands on all seven HP books.. I've been looking through them and, thus far, Snape is such a jerk.
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
Otherwise, something Harry Potter related would suffice, perhaps something like "Even in light of what we find out about him, Severus Snape's position is still highly unsympathetic", for which I would take the Pro side. Either way, I'll accept this debate.
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
Since I've noticed you are a fan of Doctor Who, I would be willing to debate you about which is the better "New Who" Doctor. I would be willing to take the position that the Eleventh Doctor is the best of them, and assuming this isn't already your pick, this would mean you would have the choice of either vouching for the 9th or 10th Doctor. What do you reckon?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ObiWan 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to con for forfeit of round, arguments to pro for concession.