Category Archives: Harry Potter

November is Coming …

Snape

For those who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month.  While I may not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I know many are preparing for November.  I thought I would share a little inspiration.  Many participating in NaNoWriMo use September and October to plan their writing in November.

You can read my thoughts on Snape here.  He will always be one of my favorite literary characters of all-time.  I do not say that lightly.

Oh, We Have to Talk About Snape …

Snape

I never intended to fall in love with another fictional character, but I did. Over the course of the seven Harry Potter novels, Professor Snape won my heart by his courage and undying love for Harry’s mother, Lily Potter. No other fictional character, with the possible exception of Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, can hold a candle to Professor Severus Snape. As much as I love Fitzwilliam Darcy and all of his wonderful brooding moodiness, he is now a distant second. I have to ask myself why. Why, out of the hundreds of fictional characters I’ve been exposed to over my lifetime, does Severus Snape stand out?

Always

First, from the moment he is introduced in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was intrigued. Maybe it is because I am a writer, but Snape had “story!” written all over him. He obviously had a past, and I wanted to know more. If you haven’t realized it by now, I always want to know more, and secrecy is a surefire way to keep my interest. I cut my teeth on mysteries and only lost interest when they became too predictable. I argue that Snape is the final and best mystery revealed in the Harry Potter series. It is the love story – and it is a story born out of true love – that drives the action. I can’t imagine if I had lived the rest of my life without reading the entire series.

Second, Snape stands out due to the complexity of his character. It is telling that I immediately purchased and read Snape: A Definitive Reading by Lorrie Kim after I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I became so caught up in the ending that I needed to go back and read the evidence. Kim’s Snape: A Definitive Reading painstakingly chronicles Snape’s actions throughout the entire series, even using quotes and page numbers. She provides just enough commentary to keep it from becoming too dry. It did help me more deeply appreciate the most complex fictional character I have ever come across.

Ever since I finished the series, I’ve asked myself why my favorite fictional characters from childhood – Laura from the Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of the Anne of Green Gables series, and Nancy from the Nancy Drew series – seem utterly dim when compared to the complexity of Snape? The answer is unbelievably simple. With the exception of Laura Ingalls, the characters mentioned above didn’t grow much throughout the course of the series, especially Nancy Drew. They were simply the same characters who were thrown into new situations. The fictional Laura is a special case because she did grow as a character in complexity and in age throughout the series. However, I find the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder, the writer and mother who had a complex relationship with her only daughter, infinitely more interesting. Snape’s complexity is apparent from the beginning, but it doesn’t come front and center until the end of the series. I have nothing else to compare his character to at the moment. Nada.

Finally, Professor Snape’s love for Lily Potter and the courage he demonstrated in keeping both Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy safe, along with his final interactions with Dumbledore, almost defy the imagination. Yet, his entire life prepared him for and led him to the final events of the series. I can’t even begin to imagine how he managed to teach and face Harry Potter on a daily basis when all Snape could see in him was the man whom Lily Potter ultimately married. Snape felt responsible for James’ and Lily’s deaths, and he had a living, breathing reminder of that guilt and unrequited love in his classroom. Snape even managed to drill important lessons into his students’ heads outside of the classroom, knowledge that would ultimately help them survive. He may hold petty grudges and act extremely unprofessionally as a teacher, but he did get the job done.

After All This TIme

The Patronus

When I first read the scene in which Harry is led to the Sword of Gryffindor by the silver doe patronus, I knew that it was meant to be a pivotal point in the series, but I didn’t recognize just how pivotal it was until the final novel. We later learn that Snape’s patronus is Lily’s silver doe. He loved her that much. He never stopped loving her. If I were to write or describe magic, I would do so with the silver doe patronus scene in mind. So much love wrapped up in one simple, beautiful symbol. Not only is it a symbol of Snape’s undying, unrequited love for Lily, but I also see it as a symbol of Lily’s love of Harry – a mother’s love and protection. As a woman who grew up in the northern woods of Michigan, there are few things more beautiful than deer. There are few fictional scenes that leave me with goosebumps; this was one of them.

Undoubtedly I will read the entire Harry Potter series again, even if it isn’t until I have a child of my own. I am so glad that I read the entire series, even if I am not exactly a reader of fantasy. I can now fully understand why those novels will stand the test of time and inspire such a loyal following. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Professor Snape. Always.

Know It All

Is it just me, or did Hermione Granger seem to have a bit of a crush on Professor Snape?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Several months ago now, my book club decided to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There was only one problem: I had never read the original series. When the books originally debuted, I was already in high school and then college. I’d already fallen in love with what I considered to be more important literary fiction. I simply didn’t have time for what I considered to be a mere series of children’s books. The thing is that I’ve never been a reader of fantasy or science-fiction, although that is changing. I often wonder if it might have been different without the elements of magic and fantasy; maybe I would have come to the series much earlier.

In the end, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child became my catalyst to finally read the Harry Potter series. I am still in the process of reading the entire series, but two things have become increasingly clear:

1. My idea to have a protagonist of a children’s book series grow and develop throughout the series is a valid one. This entire subject deserves its own blog post soon.

2. There is simply no way I could not read the entire series, not if I want to write a series of children’s books, whether they are eventually published or not.

Even though I had only read the first two books in the series prior to reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it was enough to get a sense of the series and the characters. What I loved about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is what it says about parenthood. In the play, and it is written as a play, both Harry and Draco Malfoy struggle as fathers. Both seem eager to help their sons avoid the pitfalls of their own childhoods. The problem is that Harry’s son Albus is not the famous Harry Potter, nor is Draco’s son Scorpius exactly like him. As a result, neither father can ultimately protect his son from evil. Even though I am not yet a parent, it made me realize that one cannot base parenting solely on their own experience. Biological or not, your child is not exactly like you. He or she may be nothing like you. It is interesting to me that one of my first introductions to the world of Harry Potter took place when Harry, Ron, and Hermione were adults – and parents. I love the fact that they are supposed to be roughly my age, and if one follows the timeline during which J.K Rowling wrote the books, it works.

Frankly, if I am completely honest with myself, I cannot wait to read the Harry Potter series with my child(ren) one day, along with so many other books. Will I force it? Of course not, but I will at least try. I’ll be happy if my child(ren) finds a genre he or she (or they) love(s). I do think it is true that people who don’t like to read just haven’t found the right books yet.