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March 4th, 2006

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11:36 pm - My remedial "History of Hogwarts" course is over
I've finally gotten around to reading all the books in the Harry Potter series.

A few weeks ago I decided to start reading them all in order, starting with the the first one. I'd already read the first two books in the series and had seen all four of the movies as they had come out, so I already knew some of the storyline. I'd heard that unlike the first movie, the later ones diverged more from the books, leaving out quite a bit along the way, and was rather curious to find out the missing bits for myself.

I've finally finished the last, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", and I've a few thoughts on the series as a whole -- at least as written so far.

First off, I like the character development that I've seen for the most part. There are a few characters that have quite a bit of subtlety to them, although there are also quite a few that seem fairly one-dimensional.

Unfortunately one of the one-dimensional ones is the protagonist of the series, Harry Potter.

He started out as an arrogant twerp and has basicly remained so throughout the series, from what I see. He is self-satisfied, smug and in his own way as much of a know-it-all as Hermione Granger. He makes constant assumptions about others, often based on his own prejudices, many of which are later proved wrong. He also shows astoundingly little empathy for others, being constantly wrapped up in himself. During the course of the series he amply demonstrates that every character fault that Professor Snape has accused him of having he does indeed possess in abundance -- and that even when these flaws are brought to his attention, he does little or nothing to correct them, often preferring instead to attack those who seek to correct his ill manners and bad behavior. He does this with friends such as Hermione as well as teachers such as Snape -- particularly with the latter, who he seems to take great pleasure in treating with disrespect. He seems utterly incapable of fathoming that he might actually be WRONG.

Snape, however, is a very well-drawn character -- quite complex, with layer upon layer to his personality. I freely admit to finding him fascinating. His double-agent role and what he must do to maintain it while dancing on the knife's edge of danger and the circles within circles within circles of his personality and motivations are a joy to behold. He is easily my favorite character of the series, even moreso than Neville Longbottom, another well-drawn character with hidden depths who unlike Potter has grown through the course of the books.

One of the more fascinating parts of the series to contemplate is exactly why Severus Snape does what he does. There are glimpses into his past in "The Order of the Phoenix" -- stolen insights into his character and the events that shaped him into the man he grew to be. Given their shared history of being the victims of bullying, one might think that Harry might have more empathy for his teacher and try to understand better his very-well-justified dislike of Harry's father and god-father, but Harry seems incapable of even saying "sorry" after he deliberately snooped into Professor Snape's memories -- ones that he specificly did NOT want Harry to know about. Harry didn't even have the good manners to apologize for his trespass, for that is EXACTLY what it was. Instead he continued to dislike and belittle publicly a man who had repeatedly tried to protect him and teach him and behaved honorably towards him at all times, despite little gratitude from Potter, much less respect.

It takes a strong man to put up with a rotter like Potter, yet Snape did so, protecting him again and again and again, even at the end of "The Half-Blood Prince". I would not be at all surprised to learn that part of this behavior had something to do with the relationship between Severus and Harry's mother Lily, due to a few interesting things tossed in, seemingly at random. Given that even the events at the end of "The Half-Blood Prince" may not be what they appear to be from a surface reading, I can't help but wonder how Rowling will get Professor Snape out of the corner she seems to have painted him into . . .

The way I see it, Snape is soooooooooo NOT a coward . . . OR a traitor . . .

He may in fact be the bravest damn person in the entire book.

I can't wait for the last book in the series, for then I think Severus Snape will finally get the respect I believe he so richly deserves.

"The name's Snape -- Severus Snape . . . "

severus Snape Fan

I ♥ Severus Snape

(The fact he's also a brilliant chemist has nothing to do with my fangrrrrl-ishness. Nothing whatsoever. Really.)
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: "A Window to the Past" -- Harry Potter & the PoA soundtrack

(53 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:March 14th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
If Harry changed his ways to Snape because of the memory, it would have been too feel good, and that doesn't happen in real life.

Here we will have to agree to disagree, since things like that do happen in real life. Maybe not often, but attitudes can change once more background information is known. I've seen it happen.

While he might be looking out for Harry and be on the right track, in reality, he's not a very pleasant person. He is nasty to mostly everyone, belittles people, is close minded just like Harry, holds grudges, and thinks he's ALWAYS right too. Like Harry, he has his good qualites. He's protective, logical and intelligent, powerful, and he does have a heart, though it is often masked. But all in all, he's not a saint, especially because there's so much we don't know about him.

Well I've never said Severus Snape was nice -- nor am I blind to the flaws in his character by any means. I simply think many people don't give his good qualities and kind acts sufficient credit. And it takes a lot of courage to withstand whatever punishment Voldemort gave him for not coming immediately to Voldemort's re-birthday party. ("You're LATE! Crucio for you! And no ice cream either!")

I've also seen him be right far more often than he is wrong, particularly when it comes to Harry. And some of his grudges have very good foundations, unfortunately. But even there he doesn't let them prevent him from doing what he believes he should and trying to work with those he believes tried to have him killed, like Sirius. That's an awfully big thing to try to overlook . . .

It's possible and I don't deny this could be true, but I don't see Snape as being the kind of person to be that selfless and carry out an unrequited love for so long.

I do. I think he's very altruistic and selfless. Maybe not all the time and to everyone, but for a select few he can be completely self-sacrificing. Witness his Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa -- including the third part of it. He didn't have to agree to that -- but he did. Sure seems selfless to me . . .

And we also don't know that any feelings he may have had for Lily were unrequited. Lily was certainly willing to stick up for him. To me that indicates that there was some regard and caring on her end -- but to what extent is unknown.

I doubt Lily would have Snape, a man her husband loathes, make an Unbreakable Vow with her. It wouldn't really make sense, and from what the books say, Lily and Snape didn't remain friends after Hogwarts, if they were even friends at all.

You seem to forget that they were all members of the original Order of the Phoenix. Snape included.

And just because Snape and James Potter had issues with one another does not preclude the possibility of an Unbreakable Vow between Severus and Lily, especially if she did it secretly, as Narcissa apparently did.

As I mentioned in this comment, I consider an Unbreakable Vow between Snape and Lily to be only a possibility, not a probability. If there was one, it was most likely due to an excess of maternal anxiety, as occurred with Narcissa -- a "just to be on the safe side" type of thing.


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