|GryffindorJ (gryffindorj) wrote in loveandwar,|
@ 2008-03-21 11:00:00
|Current music:||King of Pain|
torino10154 is sick and gryffindorj is
hung over babysitting so this is our quick attempt at meta. Below the cut is a discussion of JKR's misunderstanding of her own characters.
Many of us believe we know Severus Snape well. His personality, his motivations, what sort of tea he would drink-certainly without sugar. In October, Melissa Anelli of the Leaky Cauldron participated in a webchat with the Washington Post. Torino asked her this . . .
Torino: Is Rowling's opinion of the characters the only one that matters or are they open to interpretation by the readers?
To which she replied:
Melissa Anelli: I think that her opinion matters more than any other reader's does, but that doesn't mean we aren't free to imagine the characters in the ways we wish. As long as we don't insist she's wrong about her own characters, you know? It's fun to imagine them in different ways.
Of course, the meat of the answer is that we can't insist she is wrong about her characters. We think she is. We use Severus as an example but in actuality it is Lily we are questioning. JKR said Lily could have grown to love Snape if he hadn't been so obsessed with Dark Magic.
Perhaps we are alone on this but what exactly are young Canon Snape's selling points?
Lets discard his physical attributes as clearly a person can be greasy haired or ill dressed and still be a pleasant human being. So lets focus on his personality.
He loves Lily which is all well and good for a forward moving relationship, but she was a "popular girl" so his affections were not the only ones. Based on some of his sarcastic lines he probably does have a wicked sense of humor. His dealings with people who aren't Lily do seem to suggest an anti-social nature. Or if not then just a very large personal space.
As for talent, he is a most talented potions master. Based on his DADA OWL he was also very concerned with doing well. We hesitate to say he was gifted. There were certainly other more celebrated minds at Hogwarts the same time as him. We admit a fair bit of confusion over the altered Potions book-whether it was entirely his work or not. But even so, Slughorn prattled on to Harry about what a natural Lily was. Which came first then, Snape's love of Potions or his ability to keep up with Lily?
He knew Lily from the time they were both about 10. He apparently was already practicing quite a bit of magic by the time he got to Hogwarts, if Sirius is to be believed when he said Snape knew more curses and hexes than most seventh years. So shouldn't Lily's opinion of Snape have already been turned against his darker side long before the scene in Snape's Worst Memory? She is clearly already amused with James at Snape's expense in that scene..
Lily's opportunity to fall in love with Snape possibly came and went by their second encounter, when he caused the branch to fall on Petunia. Their first meeting was clearly just a misunderstanding: she didn't know what his calling her a witch meant to him. But even accidental magic as we believe is the case with the branch (oh, he thought about it falling all right, but we don't believe he intended it to happen) suggests his darker nature.
They are separated into two different houses. Not just any two houses but houses that have a rivalry as old as the founders. This means they have one class together the first two years of their education. This also means they do not share so much as a single meal together. Lily lives in a house where by definition alone a Slytherin is not worth the time of day.
So which of his charms was she meant to love? He has not money, charm, or a pleasant appearance.
It seems a real life example of the lines from Much Ado About Nothing, Act V, Scene II:
Benedick: And, I pray thee now, tell me for
which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beatrice: For them all together; which maintained so politic
a state of evil that they will not admit any good
part to intermingle with them. But for which of my
good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Benedick: Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love
indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Of course, if one brings James into the equation, the scales are tipped extraordinarily in his favor. Popular, handsome, moneyed, talented and always around. James was an incredible bully and Lily informs him that he and Snape are equal in that regard.
We would suggest Snape had little with which to win Lily, only her friendship. An appreciation for Snape generally comes with more mature audiences not adolescent girls, which Lily is an adolescent in the majority of those memories. How Rowling could suggest Lily would ever fall in love with Snape is astounding. And for us proves that she really doesn't understand her characters as well as fandom does.