“Can’t believe you’ve never read a Harry Potter book”
“What you haven’t even seen the films?”
“So, you’ve been to both Universal Studios parks and don’t care and I looove Harry Potter and haven’t even been once?!”
“How can you work in a Library without reading Harry Potter?”
These are just a few of the many comments I was subjected to, and I ignored all of them for a REALLY long time. The truth is, I was never interested in Fantasy and Wizards. Even when I was younger I wanted realism and stories I could relate to, which then transitioned into reading about killers and murder and making myself paranoid. “Maybe someone’s been watching my house and then disguised themselves as that postman to kill me, because why wouldn’t they?”. So, at 27 years old, which was 21 years after the first book was published, I started my pilgrimage to Hogwarts. Board the Express guys, it’s going to be a long trip!
With my penchant for fiction I can connect with, I was slightly sceptical about how I would feel, but I was pleasantly surprised on all fronts. I wasn’t expecting it to be relatable in any way, and by the last book I was so tense I flip-flopped between ‘please for the love of all that is hallowed make it stop’ and the emotion that girl felt after watching the last ever Twilight trailer. I joined her in power crying because I would never read a new Harry Potter book again. Up until now I had never cried so much as welled up at a book before, but learning about Snape’s back story in the pensieve was heart-breaking. I will say but one thing (okay, some things):
‘After all this time?’
‘Always’, said Snape.
Nope, still fresh. I know, I know it’s so predictable, but that doesn’t stop the fact that I have to refer to it as the ‘you-know-what’ part because I can’t say it without weeping then shuddering. It was so perfectly timed, and even though I had half figured that the Doe Patronus had to have been Lily , I had absolutely no idea how that would have been possible. Going through a whole series with these characters you no doubt get largely attached, and it’s perfectly normal to cry after finding things out about people that aren’t real, in a universe that doesn’t exist (right guys!). The way MOST of the students (ahem Slytherin) stood up in a ‘Captain my Captain’ moment of dedication nearly got me officially ‘going’. Even though I had stayed virtually spoiler free for as many as 21 years, there’s only so much my HP ignorance shield could keep out. I did accidentally look at the start of the play, and saw within the first line that they all survived. Saying that though, I was under no impression that they would have been killed off anyway. I had seen a lot of Snape inspired paraphernalia and in a way, seeing all the merchandise around kept me reading on. I wanted to find out what they meant (although I did think the ‘you-know-what’ part was only quoted so many times due to Alan Rickman’s sad passing, and didn’t connect anything at all). When it was first revealed he was a villain, I was initially shocked. Even though I generally wasn’t interested in any of the Quidditch moments due to my largely waning interest in sport even in the real world, I remember reading the counter curse he put on the broomstick Harry was riding, and thought that would be a turning point straight away…wrong! He proceeded to act more like a baby than any of the actual children, deducting points from their house and then took out his frustrations on an 11 year old. Way to go Snape, must be so damn proud of yourself for outwitting an 11 year old! It’s even funnier because most of the time, he actually didn’t. Pretty embarrassing. Being totally honest I totally forgot all that the minute Harry dropped in to that milky white substance they call Snape’s ‘memories’. By the way I do still remember that he was only helping Harry for Dumbledore’s sake, he can’t pull the wool over my eyes on that one! I do still remember, Snape, in your time of anguish after Lily’s death you promised you would do anything!
The Prince’s tale chapter was one of the most interesting to me as it showed a lot of parallels between Harry’s pre-magic life and Snape’s Hogwarts life. Both outcasts who were treated badly, and got rightfully angry about it. While we’re at it, I personally think that Harry gets what I’m calling ‘acceptably angry’. Unpopular opinion coming apparently, but even though he may come across as irrational, when you think about it he had lived under stairs, been pretty mistreated by the only people he had left, proceeded to live in misery, then all of a sudden found out he was a Wizard by a giant. And it didn’t get better. He was then told his parents had died because of him, and finally that he was going to have to die to save the world. If you sum it up so bluntly, that teenage boy really didn’t handle it too badly! I’m 28 now and I still cant work out how much juice to use from a double concentrate. Imagine if I had to save the Wizarding World by working out how to get those Horcruxes. The maturity of the other characters also meant that his sudden outbursts of sass didn’t do too much irreparable damage and they all cut him a nice bit of slack.
At first, it’s plain to see that Harry’s rebel behaviour towards Snape irritated him, but later I’m sure he realised that they had commonalities. Probably why he didn’t want Harry to investigate his mind. In my naivety, I had the idea that during the Occlumency lesson he was only scared of Harry knowing he was constantly being made a fool of, but it was a way of shielding him from his love towards Lily. It wasn’t only Harry who was mourning Lily, and they had a bigger connection to each other than either of them knew about. To be fair, I was more upset about the fact that Snape killed Dumbledore than I actually was about Dumbledore dying, and I MIGHT HAVE BEEN WRONG ABOUT SNAPE ALL ALONG AND WHY DID I HAVE TO BET MY LAST GOLD ON HIM WITH THAT LEPRECHAUN!
All of these little things added up and by the end of the series, Snape was by far my favourite. He had to deal with such pesky kids and their pesky behaviour, but he didn’t give up his position even once. I would have blurted the whole thing out in their sorry faces just to shut them up. I do always have a thing for an intimidating character though, so that’s probably why I had been rooting for him all the way. I would just NOT BELIEVE that he was bad. Like a stubborn little mule, I kept going on about it, and by Jove I was right in the end! It paid off…