( Jon Snow's Mum... )
( Jon Snow's Mum... )
If you are one of five people keeping an eye on my other Sleeper’s Den on Blogspot, you already know that I have once more entered an Arthurian phase. I really have no idea what triggered it; it’s not as though my professional activities are in any way conducive to fantasising about knights -- or maybe they actually are, by virtue of being very prosaic and pushing all my crazy creative imagination in one direction. In any case, I suddenly got it into my head to draw (short -- that is, non-epic-scale) comics about my very favourite among all knights of the Round Table, the amazing Sir Gawain.
( My history with Gawain )
The working title of my current Gawain Project is The Ladies' Knight. That is one of Gawain's 'official' titles (another one is the Knight with the Golden Tongue), and obviously the aspect of him that interests me most *g*. I will be introducing the main characters and showing pictures in coming posts. I hope you enjoy them :-).
“I felt that it would be a betrayal of the character if I showed Harry doing anything other than living, what all along, he has discovered to be true, which is that love is the strongest power there is. I thought a lot of people that had been through terrible things like wars, and having to come home and rebuild normality after seeing horrors has always seemed to me like such a courageous thing to do.Climbing back to normality after trauma is much harder, it’s much harder to rebuild than to destroy.
“In some ways it would have been a neat ending to kill him [Harry], a neater ending to kill him. But I felt that would have been a betrayal, because I wanted my hero, and he’s my hero, to do what I think is the most noble thing. So he came back from war and he tried to build a better world I suppose – corny as that sounds – both on a small scale for a family and on a larger scale.”
These words of Rowling's really struck a cord with me. The reason that they did is because this is exactly how I felt about Snape. My incentive for writing stories about Snape has always been, from the beginning, an urge to create a new and viable existence for a character who has seen too many horrors. I refused to let him give up. I wanted him to show everyone - especially those people who had hurt, despised, or used him - that he could construct for himself something new, that the talents he had used to destroy could also be used to the opposite end.
That is why I wanted Snape to live, and why I wanted him to have a family. It was not going to be a sugar and spice family, because Snape is not a sugar and spice person; but after all he had been through, he would say he'd had enough and prove that he was made for other things. For me, that scenario was even more valuable for Snape than for Harry - because Snape has simply known darker darkness and deeper lows than Harry. Harry has never done anything criminal, never hated as fiercely, never succumbed to utter evil. Harry has never at any point been tempted to become a Death Eater. Ever. So what's to rebuild? The world, yes - which will always take rebuilding - but not himself. He has made all the right choices. Just how much courage does it take to live your life after having made all the right choices? But coming to terms with all you did wrong - now that is what I wanted to see. Snape - oh boy, he has been as wrong as can be. Even when he is right, he is so bitterly and spitefully. He is a good enough person to understand what a thoroughly bad person he has been. It's him I wanted to see wrestle with life. I mean, did anybody think Harry was not going to be fine at being a daddy and a useful member of the community? I didn't. But Snape- HA! That is why he is fun to fic. He is so challenging a problem to solve. Killing him is by far the easiest way out and, in my humble opinion, a bit cheap. But then again, Harry is the hero.
It was obvious to Rowling that Snape had to die in order to fulfil his destiny. It was obvious to me that Harry had to die in order to fulfil his destiny. Ah well. It is natural: everyone wants their own hero to survive. I knew chances were slim, but hoped against hope that Rowling cared little enough about Snape not to be fussed about his end, and so pretty much to forget about him, allowing him to slink off somewhere into the mist. Unfortunately he was just that bit too important, and JKR's fictional killer instinct is stronger by far than my own.
Note: I have read the book only once, but will reread soon.
( My views on Deathly Hallows )
( Lit Crit )
( Morals, Snape, and Dumbledore, with Mucho Feeling )
One thing: I did my best not to judge the wizarding world by Muggle standards, and I tried to stray as little as possible from the information we have been given in books and interviews; I order myself to keep a strict divide between meta and fanfic.
Here goes, then.
Slytherin House, many readers of the Harry Potter books agree, is a stain on the blazon of Hogwarts. Recruiting and sequestering the cunning, the ambitious, and those of purest blood, it has a singular propensity for producing villains. Nearly all of Harry’s antagonists are Slytherins: Draco and Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, and Lord Voldemort himself are the most notable. ‘And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee…’ says the gospel of Saint Mark; and in the now infamous Mugglenet/Leaky Cauldron interview, Emerson Spartz and Melissa Anelli quite understandably ask why Slytherin House is not simply abolished and its residents dispersed over the other three houses, none of which have a bad reputation at all (Part Three). Rowling replies that Slytherin must stay, that it represents the human flaws, and that ‘if only’ they could be embraced, the result would be ‘an unstoppable force’ (ibid.). It is the same message given by the Sorting Hat in Order of the Phoenix (186-7): strength is born of unity. Besides, Rowling says in the same interview, the Slytherins are not all bad.
It seems, however, that the text does not bear out her words. More often than not, Slytherins are described as unattractive or downright ugly; they are also mean, unengaging, and morally suspect on account of their association with Dark Arts and an ideology that discriminates on the basis of blood purity. Though the other Hogwarts houses contain their share of irritating or unpleasant people – Hufflepuff House can boast Zacharias Smith, Ravenclaw has the sneak Marietta Edgecombe, and Cormac McLaggen is a Gryffindor – Slytherin House does not have a single student with whom Harry or his friends are on speaking terms. Then again, there seem to be no depths to which Slytherins will not sink; they even populate the Inquisitorial Squad for the utterly awful Dolores Umbridge. Outside of the books, too, J. K. Rowling uses Slytherin students as denominators for everything young men and women should not be – recently in a rant on her website she dubbed ‘empty-headed, self-obsessed girls’ who care too much about appearances ‘Pansy Parkinsons’ – Pansy being cast as the anti-Hermione (“For Girls Only, Probably”).
With only one more book to go, it is time to wonder whether the reader is to expect anything good from Slytherin after all, or whether we are dealing with another Crookshanks – Hermione’s cat, whose extraordinary intelligence has only ever been explained outside of the novels (World Book Day Chat). ( Read more... )
As you can imagine, my main concern with this book and the next centres on Severus Snape. The events in Half-Blood Prince blew me off my feet, to the point that I thought I had seen the last of my fanficcing fun – but I am happy to say that I have recovered my senses in the meantime and have every intention of merrily going on with my writing.
Oh yes: I trust Severus Snape. That is to say, he still makes perfect sense to me.
I have formed a somewhat rough analysis of and theory about Snape’s behaviour in Half-Blood Prince – hopefully a little dissimilar from those you will have read so far – and which, if you feel like it, you are very welcome to delve into and comment upon (please do!). It will become more refined as I reread, but I do think it has some useful points already.
Here it is, in a long (but, I like to think, not dry) essay for those who think they are up to stomaching yet another theory :-).
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hogwarts
( SPOILERS… )
Part the First: Sevvie and Cissy (*ahem* forgive me…)
( More )
Part the Second: Black Wizard, White Wizard – or, Dumbledore’s Fatal Mistake
( Spoilers... )