Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ode to Severus Snape

Spoiler Alert: If you do live under a rock and are just now re-emerging to experience the fantasy masterpiece that is Harry Potter, then don't read this because it's a hell of a spoiler to one of the deepest parts of the whole series. You know...just covering my bases here.

It had been my theory for a long time that Snape was a good guy. I think it was obvious to a lot of people who counted themselves in with the Harry Potter following. He was too easily disliked to be a bad guy.

He emerged as one of the best righthand men ever. Also one of the most devoted lovers. The root of his love for Lily Potter was deep and impossible to destroy, even when he failed romantically and was forced to surrender her to somebody he despised. One of the most tragic parts of his whole persona was the fact that he led to his own downfall when he elected to join the Death Eaters. And yet, every human being on the planet can be accused of following the wrong crowd at a certain point in his or her life. Snape was only of these, who would end up turning back to Albus Dumbledore and becoming one of the most invaluable allies Harry Potter had.
My biggest fear in watching this final movie was that it would cheapen Severus' death and value. Sometimes when book movies are trying to cover all of their bases, they skip over the parts we personally hold on a pedestal.

I was not disappointed, however, and I am one of the harshest cinematic critics I know, especially when it comes to literary movies. The theater was silent as we were given a touching flashback to Severus' painful history. How much he suffered, how little he was rewarded and the intensity of his loyalty to Dumbledore even after the failure in protecting Lily Potter. Also, how he had to begrudgingly protect Harry, who resembled James even more than Lily. Harry, who represented Severus' painful shortcomings and served as a reminder that Servus A.) Did NOT get the girl B.) Chose the wrong side and C.) Will have to act as a malicious, dark, oily worm when he's really one of the bravest allies Harry has had.

So complete was Severus' painful act of protection and allegiance that he was forced to destroy the very man who was his leader. More so, he had to act as an ally to the villain who murdered his purest love.

J.K. Rowling weaved a beautiful character in Severus Snape. I could only someday hope to mimic that perfection the slightest bit in my own work. He's my favorite character in the Harry Potter series because of his complexity and how fiercely JK herself knew him inside and out. He is more proof that characters make good fiction.

RIP Severus. You did not die in vain, my friend. And kudos to Alan Rickman for doing a brilliant job. I wept more during his movie moments than any of the others.