Monday 1 August 2011

"Always." ~Severus Snape

"When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, “After all this time?” And I will say, “Always."
-Alan Rickman

         I repeatedly talk about my love and devotion towards anti-heroes. I also talk about my love and devotion towards Harry Potter films. Severus Snape was the anti-hero of the Harry Potter you can imagine.

         From the first film itself, I was doubtful of Snape. I don't exactly remember if I had ever seen an Alan Rickman film before Sorcerer's Stone so he did look, and sound, rather interesting. A bit scary even. I felt, quite like Harry and the gang, that he was "upto something". But then we find out that he was protecting Harry all along, and this roused my suspicion. But I quickly dispersed that thought, and Snape just proved to be a hard, punishing, mocking teacher over the next few films. Obviously watching back, one can notice all the little hints that have been left for everyone to see. One of the funniest things about Snape for me was the music that they played for him...and his drone-y voice that accompanied it so well. Snape's apparent dislike for Harry and the running gag of hitting Ron on the head was both amusing and well, hate-worthy because no one likes a teacher like that.

        Then came the fifth film and Occlumency lessons with a hot-headed Harry and a James-hating Snape. It is at this time, when Harry taps into Snape's head in a burst of anger and we see how Snape was regularly ragged by James during their school days. Harry starts to get why Snape hated his father so much, and my initial intuition that Snape is really upto something returns. Now I had read the sixth book before watching the film obviously, so I knew the entire Half-Blood Prince plot. But still, Rickman never ceased to amaze. From being condescending to Bellatrix and making the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa, to constantly trying to help Draco in his dark endeavour, he manages to maintain the level of mystery that surrounds Snape at all times. One of the things that they chose not to focus at all in the film was that he had become the professor of Harry's favourite subject- Defence Against the Dark Arts. Still, it's the last scene that counts...when Snape kills Dumbledore, and the shot of Snape's face, all pale and dark and sorrowful still, against the similar atmospheric sky. He becomes totally elusive after that...just throwing away the Aurors from his path and leaving Hogwarts, but not without a confrontation with Harry about his apparent treachery. Then again, in true windy cinematic fashion, he reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince, leaving everyone perplexed and angry. My original suspicion thickens.

          Finally the last two films. In the first film, he is barely there- a great flaw, but his minute scene is very cool and impactful. Voldemort is shown to have complete trust in Snape now, and Snape, more dreary-voiced than ever, reveals even more secrets about the Order's plans. It is after that, when Voldemort is about to kill Charity Burbage, and she pleads to Snape to save her, that we see a nano-second of despair in his permanently stoic face. The last film ofcourse, is a whole another story. He has small scenes, but they are just brilliant. First we see him looking on at the strict fascistic running of Hogwarts under the Death Eaters, and he is again shown in dark lighting as the cloud of mystery around him thickens. Then there is him asking all the students, in the middle of the night, about the whereabouts of Harry. God, the way Rickman can extend every syllable he speaks is amazing. Then there is the Harry confrontation and the Prof McBadass duel. For those who haven't read the book, did you not wonder how in him trying to deflect her curses, he manages to hit the Carrows and knock them out? Because I thought that was especially clever of him and the filmmaker. And then, the scene of all scenes- his memory, his back story: The Prince's Tale. This is a chapter in the book that is my most favourite of all. First there is him looking at Harry right before he dies...looking into his Lily eyes. And then the memory. Yes this was a lot to do how David Yates made it look, but the final emotions of Rickman...him crying and begging and falling down at the sight of the dead Lily, and his "Always"...beautiful.

        So my final thoughts on Snape- noone but Rickman could have played him. I love Tim Roth, but I prefer him writhing in blood or standing up a diner. Rickman's stoicism, his mocking, funny, sad, dreary voice, his final redemption, and the fact that he knew Snape all along, is what helped him make the character so damn good. He is one of the best literary characters according to me, and Rickman made him one of the best film characters, at least in the series. I love unrequited love, and Snape had the epitome of that for Lily, to the point that he devoted his entire life in trying to protect her son who looked so much like a bullying classmate of his. As I said, looking back, we understand how much Harry's looks hurt him and annoy him, but despite all that he cares for him because he knows that Harry is quite a lot like the girl he loved since he was a little boy. His anger and meanness are all part of the act...his permanent veil forever hid the best of him. He was smart and talented and a great wizard throughout. Also, as Harry tells Albus Severus in the end, he is the bravest man ever, and also the most selfless, who did more for the great cause of love than almost any other character in the series.

         In short, I will love Snape, and love the love of Snape, always.

1 comment:

  1. Anti-hero? Sanpe was a hero!
    I cried when he died in The Deathly Hallows... :'( ... now, i just can't wait to finish watching the movies...
    Always... ♥