Thursday, July 26, 2007
Deathly Hallows: SPOILERS!
Throughout the entire series of books Snape, more than Dumbledore, or Voldemort has been the biggest mystery to me. The one thing I was certain of was that Snape disliked Harry and never had his best interests at heart. J. K. Rowling in a recent interview on NBC's Today Show Meridith Vieira both reflected my thoughts about Snape and simultaneously shot down my theory about him.
Since I've already written my bit about Snape prior to reading the book, I was curious to see that my thoughts about Snape were justified. This is an exerpt from the interview:
Meridith: Was Snape always intended to be a hero?
J. K. Rowling: Is he a hero? You see, I don't see him as a hero. Really, he's spiteful, he's a bully, all these things are true of Snape, even at the end of this book. Um, but was he brave, yes, immensely.
Greta, Age 8: If Snape didn't love Lily, would he still have protected Harry?
J. K. Rowling: No he definately wouldn't have done. He wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened to that boy.
I'd figured that he didn't like Harry (genuinely), and the only reason he saved Harry was to repay his debt to James Potter (who saved his life when they were teenagers). What I didn't see was the dynamic between Lily and Severus-- that he felt something akin to love for her. I also didn't see the promise made between Severus and Dumbledore, to kill Dumbledore in the 6th book. While reading Half-Blood Prince, I rationalized Snape killing Dumbledore somehow (I'm still not clear what I was thinking but was sure that it was all legit). After all, Dumbledore trusted Snape.
Later when I had a chance to listen to the book on tape (CD actually) I was more sure than ever that Dumbledore trusted Snape right up until the moment before his death. In that scene, when Harry is immobilized under the invisibility cloak and Snape approaches him, Harry says that he'd never heard fear in Dumbledore's voice before. Having read the 7th book, I now understand that he was pleading with Snape to do the job he'd promised to do, rather than allowing him to die a victim of Fenrir the Werewolf, or Belatrix, or Voldemort himself.
I admit I'm still not okay with asking a friend to kill you. Especially when you know ahead of time that you're going to die whether it be from a curse or some other way. Dumbledore had several options available to him, including going to St. Mungos, or retiring to place where Voldemort would never find him, and dying in peace away from the action. In either of these instances he wouldn't have put Snape in a compromising position.
In any case, it's been a wild ride. Trying to figure Snape out was a challenge, and I guessed wrong, but I at least figured out that Snape probably would have continued to be a Death Eater if Lily hadn't died.