Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Harry Potter Countdown: Snape-a-palooza

Each Wednesday until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 comes out I'm going to dedicate a post to an aspect of the series. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome, just let me know in the comments!

Today's topic is: dedicated to our favourite Potions master, Severus Snape!

I don't know many people who dislike Snape or think he's anything less than an extraordinary character which is why I've dedicated an entire countdown post to the man. I'm expecting some pretty interesting posts from other Snape enthusiasts so I thought I'd take a different path. Instead of just writing why I love, and love to hate, Snape I'm going to show you. I've accumulated a few of my favourite quotes or passages from the seven books that have always been some of my favourite Snape moments. I only got to this last night so it's in no way every great Snape line or scene but it gives you an idea.If you think of anything I've missed let me know in the comments section and I'll add it in.

1. His classroom interactions
Through all the books (except perhaps #7) Snape delivers dozens of zingers that are droll, sarcastic, often venomous and more often than not right on the money. (I mean seriously, I would have chastised Hermione for being such a painful suck-up myself.) A couple of my favourites...

* "I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach." (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)

*"That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger," said Snape coolly. "Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all." (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

* "Oh, very good....Yes, it is easy to see that nearly six years of magical education have not been wasted on you, Potter. 'Ghosts are transparent.'" (Harry Potter and the half blood prince)

* "Do you remember me telling you we are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?"
"Yes," said Harry stiffly.
"Yes, sir."
"There's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor." The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying. Several people gasped, including Hermione. Behind Snape, however, Ron, Dean, and Seamus grinned appreciatively.
"Detention, Saturday night, my office," said Snape. "I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter . . . not even 'the Chosen One.'" (Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince)

2. His confrontation with the Marauder's Map
Let's be honest, for the first three books Snape was a bit of an ass (though a lovable one) and when he was knocked down a peg or two it was always rather delicious. This scene always cracks me up.

“Professor Severus Snape, master of this school, commands you to yield the information you conceal!” Snape said, hitting the map with his wand. As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words appeared on the smooth surface of he map. 
"Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business." 
Snape froze. Harry stared, dumbstruck, at the message. But the map didn’t stop there. More writing was appearing beneath the first. 
"Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git."
It would have of been very funny if the situation hadn’t been so serious. And there was more… "Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor." Harry’s eyes closed in horror. When he opened them, the map had ad its last word. "Mr. Wormtail bids professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This is probably my favourite Snape book from the series. In this book he was no longer the sour Potions master who had a grudge against Harry Potter, but the man who had to sacrifice his life to work as Dumbledore's double agent. (And raise doubts over who he was double crossing for another 3 books.) What I noticed most in this book was how brave he was and determined not to hide from the truth.  Looking back at this book now, knowing everything we now know about his character and all the things he sacrificed and all the risks he took just make the following quotes and passages all the more compelling and him all the more incredible.

* Snape strode forward, past Dumbledore, pulling up the left sleeve of his robes as he went. He stuck out his forearm and showed it to Fudge, who recoiled.
"There," said Snape harshly. "There. The Dark Mark. It is not as clear as it was an hour ago, when it burned black, but you can still see it. Every Death Eater had the sign burned into him by the Dark Lord." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

* "Severus," said Dumbledore, turning to Snape, "you know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready ... if you are prepared..."
"I am," said Snape.
He looked slightly paler than usual, and his cold, black eyes glittered strangely. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

* "Then flee," said Snape’s voice curtly. "Flee, I will make your excuses. I, however, am remaining at Hogwarts."

4. "Always"
When Dumbledore asks, somewhat shocked, whether Snape still loves Lily, Snapes single word reply speaks volumes. His love, pain, regret, and his desperate attempts to right past wrongs and protect the one he all comes out with that single word, and to me it perhaps demonstrates more than all the rest of Snape's actions, dialogue and interactions combined how haunted a character he is, why he is the way he is, and does the things he does.

"I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter--"
"But this is touching, Severus,"said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded across the office and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"

"Always." said Snape.
Next week's topic: Between the release of the books there was always gossip and theories floating around about what was going to happen next. What was your favourite Harry Potter conspiracy theory?* 

*If you are having trouble remembering any outrageous theories floating around a couple of years ago while you waiting for a book to be released try googling 'Harry Potter conspiracy theories' and write about the one that makes you laugh or your head spin!

1 comment:

  1. I decided to use today's Countdown post as a way to prove once-and-for-all that I'm the lamest human being on the planet. Below is my link, which leads to fan-fiction-y goodness. LOL



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