Why Does Dumbledore Never ‘Deal’ with Severus Snape?

Well, everyone is aware, at Hogwarts, that Severus Snape, the great Potions Master is less than fair to Harry Potter and goes out of his way to penalize him and Griffindor every possible chance he gets.

He is ‘harsh’ taskmaster by Hogwarts standards. He seldom smiles or makes any effort at being friends with his class. He flaunts his dislike for some students openly, brazenly in fact. He is quick to suspect Potter of unlikely crimes.

He is hardly cordial even with his colleagues, some of whom have been his class mates. Dumbledore has been his Teacher. And yet…

McGonagal or Dumbledore doesn’t come running to rescue a student every time they are detained or snubbed. Other teachers are never caught running rabid whispering campaigns behind Snape’s back, although it might have been easy to do so – had the culture prevailed at Hogwarts, which DOESN’T seem to be the case!

The fact that he is undoubtedly one of the best Potions Master and does his best for his class seems to be enough consideration for his colleagues to leave him alone, even respect his decisions, even when they sense it might be biased – everyone is extremely courteous and careful to not start in-fighting among Teachers.

On the other hand let’s consider student behaviour : we do not find Malfoy running to his father with complaints about McGongal or Dumbledore quite as often as we would have expected. Although, he does manage to get Hagrid in serious trouble. Here again, funny thing happens. Dumbledore and Potter and company somehow manage to get him out of that scrape….

Or Griffindors running to their house mistress or the Principal, at any point of time – complaining about any of the other teachers.  Dumbledor does receive letters and even howlers from influential Wizard Parents, but the children are NEVER EVER allowed to get embroiled in any of that.

Does Hogwarts NOT LOVE its children then???

Now, my question is -is this – are these hall marks of a great institution then? What does it teach us – if at all – about “good” leadership in a school? What does it teach us about peer behaviour? About good governance at a citadel of learning?

What would have happened to Snape or Dumbledore or Lupin or MadEye Moody – had this been an Indian school for the noveau-riche?

What would have been Harry’s education like in an Indian school, with a history like he has? Would he still have had so much extra trouble as he did at Hogwarts – teachers pushing him extra hard nearly all the time – the good teachers, for his own good and safety, the malicious ones to get him down as much as was possible within the sanctimonious Teacher-Student relationship?

Those who do not know the story do excuse me. Those who do, what would you say?

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5 thoughts on “Why Does Dumbledore Never ‘Deal’ with Severus Snape?

  1. Things are too “politically correct” at schools in the U.S. for that type of situation to ever happen. Seems it would make for stronger character, but these days, it’s the “everyone must be a winner” attitude that makes it impossible. Of course, Snape is an over-the-top character. In real life he wouldn’t be allowed around children. 😉

  2. Snape is my favorite character, and he has plenty of reasons to be what he is. Harry Potter, on the other hand, hates Snape purely based on what he heard from his friends. He looked at the other point of view only in book 5.

    Talking about schools in the Indian context reminds me of the movie Rockford. There are so many variations in Indian schools because our country is incredibly diverse. Comparatively, schools in western countries are homogeneous, adequately funded and quite independent to function on their own. Ofcourse educationalists in Toronto would attack my statement out of ignorance, they should visit Indian schools sometime because I am only making a comparison.

    Our schools will focus on the personality growth of the student only after it overcomes operational difficulties (extension of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.) We might have headmasters like Dumbeldore, but his hands are too tied up.

    Trisha, just like universities today, I feel that our schools are also threatened to serve as an extension of the political system. And that will result into Umbridgification (remember madam Umbridge?) of our schooling system. What are your thoughts?

  3. Puku, u surprised me again – and thanks for giving it serious thought. You have been succinct. Yes, Umbridgification is a threat…at Riverside we are trying…

    ….trying also to keep the personality growth training in sync with the motor/operational skills as you mention. Riverside tries to address this problem by herding all school “content” under 6 Beacons of Teaching-Learning, two of which are Rational Thinking and Inter-Intra Personal Relationships. Rest in email.

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