severus does things

I’d like to add, in light of recent conversations going around Tumblr, that is it perfectly all right to blog about what you don’t like. If you don’t understand a ship, or a character, or a show, and you want to post about it, feel free. Because in the end, it’s your blog and you can post whatever you want. 

But

Don’t tag it. Don’t tag your anti-ship stuff with the ship name. Don’t tag your character hate with the character name. Tag it anti ~ship~ or ~character~ hate. Let people who like the thing like it. 

And people who like something–as long as those who don’t aren’t being mean about it, leave them alone. This goes for morally grey characters, too. If you’re fascinated by their complexity, that’s cool. But if other fans of the show or movie or book find them less redeemable than you do… that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the character, or that they need to read the books again. It means they view the character differently than you do, and that needs to be okay. 

bohemian-suho  asked:

On the subject of Snape teaching Harry, it often strikes me that JK always goes for the "Snape is a petty vindictive man" which, IMO, often makes me think that either she doesn't believe Snape to be a particularly bright person, or particularly complex. The moment the discussion went to question Snape's disposition a part of me said "JK would probably just say he was blinded by hatred, like always", which doesn't really paint a good light on his intelligence. (1)

The same way she said he put the sword in the lake for “his hatred”, as if the extreme danger of the situation just passed right by him on that moment of self indulgence. Or the same way he didn’t think joining the Death Eaters would certainly NOT be something Lily would like, or even more importantly, something that would put her kind in danger. For all these thing “not falling exactly into place” is because maybe one could indulge into a little bit of hermeneutics and see that (2)

Answers of hers regarding his behavior and his motivations always fall on the “he was a petty vindictive man” and that if pattern serves right, it was probably what she used to explain why he couldn’t get past his hatred of Harry when teaching him Occlumency even if it risked something important, just like she has done in the past, for other things he did.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that she stands with Harry on the “bravest man alive” thing (obvi) I just don’t think she thought Severus Snape a particularly complex character, and I’m talking about his motivations, (which sometimes are the centre of people liking him or hating him, because the why seems to make a lot of difference sometimes) rather than his actions, which we know are complex enough.

I just can’t stop getting the impression that she set the character with a finite list of “why Severus Snape does the things he does” and all those comeback to “is he acting out of pettiness or revenge” or “is he acting out of devotion for Lily” and that’s pretty much it. Hence why people that don’t bother reading into the character (and frankly they don’t have to, if the author doesn’t make something painfully clear, did they intend for it to be that way?) think Snape is “obsessive”.

Anyway sorry for the rant. I just felt more and more disenchanted when JK started explaining the why of his actions and realizing they were less complex and more into dismantling a complex inherent goodness of his actions into petty revenges, so any time I see amazing discourse and people saying “something doesn’t quite fit” for the cynical in me saying “that’s because JK probably thought he was angry and petty and that’s that” which again, goes along with previous answers of hers.



Answer:  Don’t apologise for the rant; feel free!

I have to admit, there was a moment a couple of years ago when I sighed, and walked away from Pottermore - and that was the joint reveal of Peter being a Slytherin hatstall, and Snape leaving the sword in the lake being described as: though the location of the sword was really due to a spiteful impulse of Snape’s to place it there.

Funnily enough, I studied Barthes (although I focused on Camera Lucida), and I found myself digging out The Death of the Author.  I find subscribing to The Death of the Author somewhat of a shame, because I do not begrudge JK her world, and I know fandom on the whole generally appreciates the nods and touches that she adds via Pottermore.

I also think that she adds things of genuine interest that the reader could never have known, particularly when it comes to wizarding history…but when it comes to major plot points that are dealt with in canon, I sometimes think she also undermines her own text.

I forgive it a little via interview, because she’s answering short and snappy questions off the cuff, and especially in those early interviews, she was trying not to give away her plot (so I think it’s unwise to take those as gospel, because she’s misdirecting in some).

However, her comment regarding Snape putting the sword in the lake as a spiteful impulse irritates me so much because it completely contradicts what she wrote in the book.  Dumbledore was adamant that:  it must be taken under conditions of need and valour — and he must not know that you give it!

How else was Snape meant to create a scenario in a deserted forest, without revealing himself, where Harry would obtain the sword under need and valour?  And moreover, why would a man, who has given up so much to fight Voldemort, who has murdered on his master’s instruction, who has accepted that the boy he was fighting for has to die in the process…

…why would he spitefully chuck the sword into a freezing lake, and risk Harry not surviving at that point, or risk revealing himself if he had to step in?  

It’s not often that I am lost for words, but frankly, I find it her assertion utterly ridiculous, and totally at odds to what I feel was explicit in canon.

I think this piece is long enough already without adding my Peter/hatstall rant, so I will just say that nowadays, I generally don’t adhere to her comments.  I certainly don’t with other books - I read them, interpret them, and put them down, and I never ever seek out the author’s stance.  Once the text is out there, it’s up to all of us to draw our own conclusions without being handheld by the author and pointed to her favoured interpretation.  

And frankly, if she really really desperately wanted you to read something in a certain way, then she had 7 books to make it explicit.  (And even then, people will read into the text exactly what they want to.  I’ve said it before, I read Snape as queer - but that’s because I am queer, and there’s no queer representation in the books…so as most queer kids will tell you when you read ‘all het, all the time’ stories, you simply squint and make up your own.)

So what fandom can do is push and pull canon until they find an answer that works.  I find that sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not.  Sometimes I am left holding a piece of the puzzle that undermines my interpretation - and as you say, it’s at moments like that when I remember that I am probably overthinking a character who the author placed into the text merely to serve a plot function…