"It goes without saying that he was a master of the mind. This cliche term is one we affix to nearly everyone who successfully manages the business of Occlumency and Legilimency, and in his case he turned these arts on the very creature that first introduced them to him — no small feat.
"But what does that mean: to master the mind? Does it make one a champion of rational thought? Does it allow one to understand every spark of emotion, every odd flicker which can light up a temperament with the electrical awakening of the synapses? I think in some ways the mind, that great, dark engine crammed inside our paltry craniums, is not meant to be mastered. Certainly not if he was the result of such an endeavor.
"Consider this: he had one of the most coveted positions in our world, where Hogwarts — particularly Hogwarts under Albus Dumbledore — is as prestigious as the Ministry, as Gringotts. He was, for someone in such a role, surprisingly young. He had very clever colleagues, if few friends, and he lived in an area that, while to magical eyes was crumbling and ordinary and ugly, very Muggle, to Muggle eyes was ripe for gentrification, for promise, for new blood to come in search of cheap housing. Within three years of his death, it was a revitalized town, and before then it was an artist’s paradise, a place for free thinkers, a place that might have suited him if he’d let it.
"For he was a free thinker, in his way. An intellectual. For all his flaws, he must have had a massive brain. His articles are brilliant, even by the standards of today, and, with Dumbledore’s backing, they were always published straightaway. He had the backing, too, of several very prominent names who regarded him as the cleverest among them, as a survivor, as one who slipped away from punishment; and who ought to have been commended for it. He had the support of Lucius Malfoy, of Yaxley and Baddock, and in those days that meant quite a bit.
"But I say this as one who knew him: he was a miserable man. If he was brilliant, then it sparked frustration and cruelty when his students were not. If he was admired for escaping Azkaban, then it meant nothing to him; and if he was derided for it by some, then surely the derision grew in his mind and dominated his thoughts. He never forgot a slight. If he ever longed for forgiveness, then probably it was because he could not comprehend receiving it. He had Occluded against it, blocked his mind so that he himself could not forgive.
"One wonders if he looked at the walls of his reclaimed Northern town, and saw, despite some very real successes even at a very young age, there written a story of failure, of living and dying without any growth whatsoever, frustrated.
"Skeeter paints him as a romantic and intellectual hero, cruel only for the Cause, and cruel only in the way spurned lovers are, who still somehow deliberately thought out every action and methodically brought us to victory. I think he did have good qualities — he must have; most do. I think he did help us on our way to victory.
"I also think he was trapped inside his mind. It made him horrible."
- Hermione Granger, Senior Undersecretary to the Department of Mysteries, on Order spy Severus Snape
(via youdummkopf)Source: livesandliesofwizards