Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snape

"‘Look...at...me...’ he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more."


The affect of chapter 33 of this book on the series as a whole is Earth shattering. In a single brilliant move, Rowling shows us why Dumbledore placed such faith in such an unworthy man. It is not just one of those big reveals with little clues placed along the way either. Snape is amazing as a character.

He shows a truly flawed and corrupt individual who, for the sake of love, has found the ability to devote his life to good. He still struggles with his evil nature throughout the series. He is a man full of hatred and pettiness. He is a bad teacher, even if he manages to teach the subjects he is assigned. Dumbledore may think that a certain amount of “bad teaching” is good for students, but that just makes Snape a “necessary evil” at best. However, in the end we see that the love he possessed for another has affected everything he has done since she died.

That “everything” is no small thing either. He has had perhaps the hardest job of anyone working for Dumbledore. Everyone who worked against Voldemort lived in constant danger, but imagine working against him right under his nose! He really earned the title of “bravest man I ever knew.”

Then think about his final act. He exposes every embarrassing and shameful memory about his love to Harry. He had to do this so that Harry would connect the dots and believe the last bit of crucial information from Dumbledore. Yet these were the very things he did not want anyone, least of all Harry, to see. He made Dumbledore promise to never reveal his secret for fear that James’ son would find out. With all the hate he had for Harry, he truly protected him his whole life. In the end, when he found out Harry had to simply die in spite of all that protection, Snape still did everything he could to help Harry accomplish his mission.

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