So the second week of 2017 arrived and brought with it harsh winds, frosty pavements, rainfall, snowfall, and the kind of coldness that bit at my exposed fingers and numbed them to clumsiness, so much so that I spent a good couple of minutes in front of my flat door because I couldn't turn the key in its lock. My mind & body are still in denial that I'm back to studying, a part of me wishes I'm still on my Christmas break, still in bed reading Harry Potter books, still in wordless sobs upon learning Dumbledore's death. And Dobby's. And Hedwig's. And Fred's. And Sirius'.
And the most remarkable death for me: Snape's.
I know, I know, I'm 10 years late.
Why did Snape have to die?
J.K. Rowling raised a lot of issues that sent my mind into frenetic overdrive and created unique characters that convey different life lessons each - Voldemort taught me that life without
a nose is barely breathing love is barely living - but of all kinds of stories, I didn't expect the Harry Potter series to give me a love story.
Let alone a love story from a character like Snape.
To spend what, fifteen? Seventeen? years being Voldemort's faithful Death Eater to spy on Dumbledore when he's, in fact, a Dumbledore crony disguised as a Death Eater to spy on Voldemort, maintaining his triple agent role until his final breath, without ever being under the suspicion of one of the most adept at Legilimency, is incredible. But to do that solely in the name of love for a person who isn't even alive anymore? Wow.
Time and again Snape puts his life on the line to rescue Harry, in ways that Harry can't even comprehend initially, despite Harry being the product of Lily's union with another man. Snape's unfaltering love for Lily is just refreshing for me; he loves Lily because he loves Lily, he doesn't expect his feelings to be requited, he has no benefits to reap from his affection, he just... Loves her, in the truest sense. He loves her wholeheartedly, unconditionally, irrevocably. It's one thing that he's willing to switch allegiance for her, the fact that he marches on in life without once tempted to go back his old Dark Magic ways speaks volumes of the affection he houses in his heart. Even when she passes on, his love continues to burn a passionate flame.
"After all this time?"
I think this is the purest form of love there is, love without the greed to be loved back.
Not only is Snape loyal to Lily, he's loyal to Dumbledore as well. He's so loyal to Dumbledore that he has absolute confidence & trust in Dumbledore's wisdom, that he sets up to the task of killing his confidant in order to protect everyone else. Even if it costs him to brand himself as a murderer in the eyes of the people receiving the protection. Because that's the sort of man Snape is, a man who has little care about recognition, a hero who doesn't mind to be seen as a villain, because that's the right thing to do.
But of course, you can't really call Snape a hero.
He uses his past against Harry and friends on the grounds of teenage grudge when he himself is a full-grown adult. Turns out maturity doesn't necessarily come with age. And that's not the end of it, he abuses his elevated position as a Teacher to project his hatred and years-old angst on, not all students, but a select few. I can understand his favouritism for Slytherin when it comes to Quidditch because it's a competitive sport after all, but in class? That's just wrong. I can't tolerate a teacher who doesn't put students on equal footings in pursuit of knowledge, because not only does it jeopardise the students' future, it can do more damage to their self-esteem. One would have thought that of all people, Snape knows it best how the scars of troubled childhood & teenagehood run deep, but in proving this point, he scars the teenagehood of another person.
Snape's character is not painted as either black or white, but he's the grey area of limbo in between, and that's exactly why he's my favourite character. I know all of the characters in the books are somewhat flawed, but Snape's flaws and flairs were crafted in a way that perfectly illustrates the human complexity; there's no simple binary to classify humans into good and bad.
If Snape is my ultimate favourite character, Dumbledore comes a close second. I love Dumbledore both as a character and the clever purpose of his character. Dumbledore is a character that commands respect from me as a reader, out of intuition, because he oozes a sense of calmness that I can only associate with high level wisdom. It's part of the reason why I believe in Snape; Dumbledore believes in Snape. I love how he knows when to acknowledge the wisdom that he's acquired from aging and when to acknowledge the drawbacks of aging. Too often I see old people who are too egoistic to admit to their mistakes just because they think all those years of life ought to make them right all the time. Dumbledore breaks this stereotype so nonchalantly, he apologises for his mistakes to Harry without even losing Harry's respect for him.
I think Dumbledore's wit & intelligence to meticulously dissect Voldemort with spot on accuracy is a brilliant narrative device. Without Dumbledore's character, Harry would be clueless about what to make of Voldemort. Without Dumbledore's character, Voldemort would have to divulge his motives and explain his reasonings behind his every action, just like every other typical fictional villain. I'm glad J.K. Rowling didn't go down that road because that take on evilness is horribly blase.
Oh God guys I'm such a Potterhead, okay.
It's not even funny anymore.
If my writings aren't enough to attest to that, I have photographic support, taken from my recent visit to a Harry Potter exhibition at House of Minalima.
|Why so Sirius|
|Gi mampus Umbridge -.-|
|Padfoot? You mean Snuggles?|
|There's even a corner for Weasleys Wizard Wheezes!!|