What I know of Snape Now

Thanks for your patience today! The app I use to publish my blog posts decided not to sync today,  Until I can figure it out, I had to re-type this post.  Also, I know I should say "spoilers" for this post, but I feel like a brief google of Snape will present you with the same ideas in this blog.  Please know that these are my interpretations of the character and all points can be debated.  If you're interested in the debate, leave a comment below - I'd love to chat about it!

Next week on Instagram, the #5FFPhoto challenge includes a discussion of villains.  This tidbit coupled with the fact that it is also #PotterMonth made me reconsider some of the "villains" from Harry Potter.  Since we recently mourned the loss of Alan Rickman at the beginning of this year, I thought this an appropriate year to bring a discussion of Snape to the forefront for #PotterMonth and today's Fandom post!

from theodysseyonline.com

When I read the books (the first time), I had a healthy distrust of Professor Snape - along with Harry.  As I grew up with the books, in both a literal sense, and in the sense that multiple readings always makes you appreciate the art more, I saw Snape from a number of different angles.  Professor Snape was one of the few professors who refused to let Harry's fame change his experience at Hogwarts.  It can, of course, be argued that this was all part of the wonderful ruse that Snape crafts throughout the series, but I'd like to think this was genuine.  Snape's relationship with Lilly shaped him for the rest of his life.  If Harry hadn't come to Hogwarts with such fame, I think Snape would have been determined that Harry have a "normal" experience at Hogwarts.  Just think of all the times you've heard someone say, "I just want you to have a real experience, a normal experience,..."  I think Snape was honoring Lilly by making sure that Harry's time at Hogwarts was about more than his fame.

Snape was also great at his job!  We can't overlook that!  He was a realist and didn't coddle any student.  I applaud the teachers who can deal with class pets, like Hermione, or who are determined to teach the unteachable, like Crab and Goyle, but once you step outside the hallowed halls of education, the class pet is met with cynicism as everyone thinks that their willingness to help or their knowledge is really just part of a larger scheme to gain popularity, dominance, or the next promotion. Snape wouldn't let that fly in his classroom! In college, my favorite professor was like this, and he was the only one who gave any advice that would actually help you land your next job.  These types of teachers are vastly under-appreciated, but needed more and more often!

‘That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger,’ said Snape coolly. ‘Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all.’
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In the first few books, the reader has a black and white opinion of many of the characters.  There are good guys and bad guys, but you really don't start developing characters who hit the gray area until the 3rd or 4th year at Hogwarts.  These characters go from fictional words strung together on a page to 3-D people that we know and love (or hate).  People are torn between honest emotions when making a decision and sometimes the right decision isn't always the easiest to see or accomplish.

When did I realize that Snape was my favorite character? I will admit that it wasn't after my first reading (or my second, if memory serves).  I had to grow up as a person before I realized how wonderful Snape was.  This is my favorite Snape quote:

‘Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!’ said Snape savagely. ‘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 so easily - weak people, in other words - they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!’Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There are so many wonderful levels to this - to him (Snape). How often did he wear his own heart on his sleeve and how often did it make him easy prey for others? Probably more times than we will ever know.  The level of things he's experienced in his life: his loss, his coping mechanisms, his passions - he's a stronger man than he's ever given credit for.

So, what's the point? The point is that many villains are just people who have chosen a different coping mechanism than you.  They have more skeletons than you can handle and they're just finding a way to make it day to day.  So, here's to a teacher, friend, and underappreciated man.

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1 comment:

  1. All excellent points - Snape was really a very deep and wonderful character.