Okay, Snape-fans, explain me something.

Before I get any further in, let me explain that I am specifically talking about canonical Snape, not any fanon or AU version.

What’s the deal with Snape? What is so appealing about him?

Because let’s face it. As presented, the adult Severus Snape shouldn’t be allowed within a cubic mile of anywhere with children in it. He has altogether too many issues–hell, he has the whole subscription. He’s genuinely abusive. He might be just plain evil. So I don’t get the adult-Snape thing.

We haven’t seen much of his youth, but what we’ve seen was something I understand perfectly well–the young genius suffering at the hands of the popular kids. So I won’t buy the ‘young misunderstood genius’ thing for Snape-lust. Because I was one. Ain’t nobody interested in the ‘young misunderstood genius’ in school–I have two words for anyone who tries to tell me otherwise: “Bull” and “Shit”.

Anyway, just curious.

Oh, and ataniell93–have I got a goodie for you. Think summer 1994. :)

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31 comments so far

  1. lovehotel on

    I have to ask the same. I needed a thorough acclimatising to fanon!Snape when I entered fandom to get where the great hordes of Snape fen were coming from.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Snape as a character is interesting — but certainly not what I would call appealing. I’m curious what’s going on behind those beady little eyes, but that’s about it.

      • lovehotel on

        He is, but the great hordes I am talking about were all about the sheer hotness of the dungeons (but it didn’t take me long to go from ‘You’re all perverts!’ to ‘Lemme join the fun!’). The person who got me into fandom had written an epic Harlequin Snape/Hermione, back when ff.net was still fun, that may have something to do with the company. Though I remember goodling ‘Sirius-Black’ and coming up with eight results. When I googled Snape, I got 56.000. And that was one in a long series of ‘wtf?’ moments in this fandom.

        • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

          *snrk!* The later we get into the series, the more ‘wtf?’ moments I’m finding. I suspect Our Jo thought things out in outline when she started, on the (to me, especially) perfectly reasonable assumption that she could fill things in as she went along, and now she’s hitting s few bumps in the road.
          You know what the biggest ‘wtf?’ moment in HBP was for me? The Horcruxes. First, it’s just too damn late to introduce something that big. Second, it’s unreasonable to me that only a retired Slytherin potions professor would know anything about them, and Albus wouldn’t. Just… wtf?

          • lovehotel on

            That is true. If she does manage to tie it up nicely in the last book, that would be great, but I suppose we shouldn’t get our hopes up. Dumbledore weirded me out in HBP, and the Horcruxes … if the last book is all about the Horcruxes, I don’t think it will be very interesting, but I’m hoping she’ll surprise us, and will buy it anyway.

            • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

              Seven is, in more ways than one, the magic number. :)

              See, here’s the thing: if this is the sort of task where Harry can collect and destroy the remaining six Horcruces in the course of one year (book), then it’s a job that’s easy enough it could damned well have been done a long time ago by Albus himself or his assigned delegate, and saved a lot of people a lot of grief. This is the sort of job that should be long and difficult, not handled in the course of one book.

              However, JKR has said ‘seven and done’. So what the heck’s she gonna do? The only way out of it is if the Horcruces are one big literary MacGuffin. Having been introduced so late, they have to be, I’d say.

              And I’m more than half inclined to believe that Harry’s scar is one of the remaining six.

  2. filkertom on

    Dunno. But he does seem to be doing better professionally than at his previous child-care stint in Vulgaria….

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      *snrk!* Frankly, I prefer the idea of Snape as a triple agent and being Really Genuinely Evil to Snape as Dumbledore’s pet Death Eater and Really On Our Side After All. He makes more sense that way.

      The problem, story-wise, is that the plot-goodness that comes from Snape as Really Evil After All even though we’ve been told for five and a half books that he’s Really On Our Side is counterbalanced by Harry being right and everyone else being wrong again.

      Le sigh. Yeah, I love JKR and she’s made a really cool universe, but the deeper we get into the series, the more I wish she’d made some other choices, plot-wise.

  3. chilayse on

    He’s my favorite…but I don’t lust over him or anything.

    As to why…

    He reminds me of many of my favorite teachers. Yes, I had teachers that were evil that way. As long as you behaved and did your work they tended to be some of the better teachers in school. He’s…interesting. It’s interesting to try to figure him out…

    Can’t help you on the lust thing..no idea there.

    And, since you say so… I did date the misunderstood genius once. Before his family moved away. Then again I was that scary girl that read books all the time and was willing to fight(physically) until she was left alone..so I couldn’t exactly be considered normal.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      I had a principal who was particularly Snape-like. Her education specialty was troubled kids, so she was a lot more interested in the kids that caused me grief than in doing something about stopping them from causing me grief. When something particularly nasty would happen, she’d find some way to avoid actually blaming them for their behavior. And when the class trip to Cedar Point came around, she found a way to keep me from going on a technicality. She made no bones about my being nothing but trouble in her mind. She was a nun, no less.

      Which led to one of my dad’s finest moments. After the Mass celebrating 8th grade graduation, she comes up to him, said something to the effect of ‘letting bygones be bygones’, and offered her hand. My dad gave her one Look–the kind of look that I thought was reserved for my brother, sister and I–spun on his heel, and walked away without a word. Snubbed a nun in church–back when we were all still devout, practicing Catholics, no less. Go Dad! :)

      • chilayse on

        Wow. I thought Nuns weren’t supposed to act that way. Points to your father for that.

        I’ve always faded into the background so well that I never ever got singled out by a teacher in school. Never….not even in college. Not until I went to japan..and was in a 4 student class.

  4. dragonscholar on

    Actually I think he’s fascinating as he IS flawed, and frankly one does wonder why he is allowed at Hogwarts. For me, Snape’s an interesting and complex riddle.

    Nicely said on the young misunderstood genius thing.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Hogwarts doesn’t really seem to have a lot of teachers that should be teaching. You’ve got serial abuser Snape, alcoholic Trelawney, metabolically-challenged Binns… I mean, damn. So far, only McGonagall and Firenze appear to be at all competent.

      And yeah, I know ‘young misunderstood genius’ a lot better than I’d like.

      • dragonscholar on

        There’s a story behind those, I suspect. And I wouldn’t worry about Binns, I mean face it, there’s no need to be vitalist about it.

        Though my suspicion in all of this is that, in the wizarding world, magical talent comes first, and frankly its a rather deadly environment. So Snape may be pathological, but he’s incredibly smart, and he probably won’t kill anyone == win.

        As for Trelawney, I suspect no one takes divination seriously anyway.

        • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

          Er, Snape probably won’t kill anyone? Too late. :)

          Anyway, the deeper we get into Hogwarts, the less cool it looks. Book 1, Hogwarts was just too effin’ cool for words. By book 5, I was definitely thinking Salem School sounded a lot safer, just for not knowing all the nutcases and addicts staffing it.

          Harry’s probably safer leaving Hoggy’s and spending Book 7 traipsing around hunting Voldy.

          • dragonscholar on

            My impression is the entire wizarding world isn’t safe. Remember our previous discussions on superheroes? Power is exceptionally dangerous when it’s disgused as the human body.

            The Wizards are in the X-Menish world where everyone has “mutant powers.”

            • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

              Sort of, except that they willingly and deliberately segregate themselves away from the un-powered. Which makes me wonder why it is, exactly, that they do that. I don’t believe altruism; the wizards are altogether too human for that.

              • dragonscholar on

                We may well get that answer in book 7.

                Though my suspicion is it just kinda happened. They divided themselves off, and soon had their own separate culture, and just figured everyone was better to keep it that way.

                • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

                  And that, sociologically, makes no sense to me. If there’s one constant in history it’s that those with power use their power–or, as one of my Political Science profs put it, “The only political philosopher that has had his ideas put into practice unchanged was Machiavelli.” Self-segregation is driven, generally, by being a powerless minority and/or by religious beliefs.

                  Being a powerful minority leads to apartheid.

                  Since we see members of the wizarding world being driven by all the same motivators that mundane humans are driven by, I’m at the point where I need a darned good reason for the separation of the worlds.

                  • dragonscholar on

                    I have wondered that myself, as the isolation does seem self-imposed – admittedly there’s the question if the wizards care about the muggles. A vague impression I get of the Wizarding world is it’d much rather fight among itself – people like the familiar, including enemies.

                    However, we’re also assuming deep sociology at play here . . . which may be asking too much.

                    Though an interesting essay I read noted the Horcrucxes (sp) – killing someone in the wizarding world seems to affect the slayer as well. This makes me wonder if there’s a price to pay for the exercise of magic.

                    Or then again, I’m quite possibly giving the author too much credit for cairing about this.

                    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

                      That might be part of it, JKR having made some assumptions when she started that only later turned out to be problematic. I mean, sure, at the outset it made perfect sense to assume the Wizarding and Muggle worlds were separate. And it still does make sense — but what we lack is a simple, plausible mechanism for that, and she doesn’t seem to have spent any time since Book 1 thinking of one.
                      We’re now at the point where things like that look more and more like glaring errors than simple oversights, especially when (as in the beginning of HBP) the two worlds have to briefly touch.

                    • dragonscholar on

                      Of course she’s also the kind of person to keep a detailed guide, so I suspect it crossed her mind. Or simply, this may be a case of “well this is how things work” and thus be more archetypical or an assumption.

                    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

                      At this stage of the game, I’m leaning toward the answer ultimately being a handwave: ‘Because it is that way, all right? Bloody fans…’ :)

                    • dragonscholar on

                      Harry Potter, frankly, isn’t Foundation or Lord of the Rings. It’s more akin to Discworld.

                    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

                      Wow … there are so few circumstances under which I would forgive having Foundation and LotR referenced in the same sentence. This is one of them. :)

                      Part of the problem is, yes, I am a forty-something reading a series targeted to young teens. However, I don’t think any of the objections I’ve raised are anything that a reasonably bright teen wouldn’t also eventually consider. They’re going to look at Neville and think, “You know, if I was him, I’d just leave the Wizard world and be a big fish in the Muggle pond.” (I seem to recall as a teenager that decisions were a whole lot more black-and-white back then :)) They’re going to look at Snape and Trelawney and ask why Dumbledore hasn’t sacked them yet–or they might ask why Albus is left in charge of the only Wizarding school in the UK when it’s fairly clear that he’s not playing with a full deck, either.

                      Basically, there are just more and more things each book that I just have to sigh at, shrug my shoulders, and plough through, all the while hoping for the best. In JKR’s defense, HBP was the first time that it failed to all come together by the end, and 5 out of 6 ain’t bad. But we’re in the final stretch now–5 out of 7 is bad, when it’s the final two that are the clinkers in the lot.

                    • dragonscholar on

                      I tend to think of Book 6 as the series version of B5’s first half of season 5. Of course, frankly, I really don’t worry that much about it.

                      And most arguments I see aren’t over the wizarding world, but who’se shagging who. ;)

                    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

                      Well, yeah. But I like to see how the structure all hangs together more than the interpersonal relationships… there again, I’m an old Asimov man, where it’s the ideas and not the people that are central, so that’s not surprising.

                      Although as far as who’s shagging who goes, all I have to say is this: Don’t do it, Tonks! He’s still on the rebound from Sirius! :)

                    • dragonscholar on

                      I’ve come to understand, with my wolrdbuilding obsession, that there are different kinds of worlds that get built. The Potterverse is more on the realm of Discworld, it’s got a foundation that’s a mixture of metaphor, parody, and even deconstructionism. Then there’s Foundation, where there’s a lot of ideas and some people that happen to carry them out. Babylon 5 is a mixture of hard and soft, an excellent balance. Lord of the Rings’ foundation is mythological/archetypical.

  5. sailormac on

    I once read an analysis of Snape Lust in an article about Harry Potter fanfic for some mainstream-to-scholarly online publication that stated his fangirls see him as a brooding Victorian hero, the modern-day equivalent of Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff.

    I don’t quite buy it. He may have the brooding quality, but the Brontes didn’t describe either of their heroes as being a “greasy hawk-nosed git.”

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Exactly. What’s the initially attractive trait to him, the one that lets one overlook his deliberately abusive behavior?


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