Article on Snapefans
Professor Severus Snape
"Mr. Potter, our new
Messenger owls, flying Snitches, three-headed dogs, moving staircases all that was secondary to these five words, intoned maliciously by Alan Rickman in the second Harry Potter
trailer. The way his voice rises into caustic incredulity on the last three syllables of "celebrity." The way his stringy black hair moves jerkily into his eyes. You could watch it over and over again. All right, I
could watch it over and over again. Because I've had a crush on Rickman's character, the invariably-described-as-sinister Potions teacher Severus Snape, ever since he first glared at the boy wizard on page 126 of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
I'm not a lone wacko. There are many other wackos like me. Yahoo Groups alone hosts six Snape discussion groups, the largest of which comprises 398 members. Snape fan sites
abound on the Web. But try finding a site devoted to, say, Hogwarts' eccentric elderly headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Not a one. That's because Snape is sexy.
I mean, you didn't think all those Snape fans were really just interested in discussing the curative properties of wormwood, did you? These women (and they are almost all women) rarely venture into the academic aspects of Snape's character. They've got other things on their minds. Like what he wears under those black robes. Whether he would ever permit a lover, in a moment of abandon, to shorten his first name to "Sevvie." Whether it's appropriate to write fan fiction
in which he hooks up with 17-year-old students.
Consent laws aside, why would they or, really, we be so taken with this guy in the first place? He's not much to look at. Rowling first describes him as "a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin." Later discoveries do little to improve on that; we learn that he also has yellow teeth and an unfortunate habit of spitting when he's angry. And as a teacher, he probably won't garner any Dead Poets Society comparisons
. Not only does he take every opportunity to try to get Harry expelled from Hogwarts, he also mercilessly berates the hapless Neville Longbottom and makes a cutting remark about brainy-girl Hermione's oversized teeth. "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," he tells Harry's class on the first day.
But Snape is, well, sinister
. He speaks sarcastic putdowns in a tone that Rowling describes as "silky." He's powerful, taking charge after countless crises. He has a mysterious past he's in his late thirties in Sorcerer's Stone, and no one's really sure what he was up to right before starting at Hogwarts. He's a loner, ever since his own school days when Harry's father's group of friends excluded and mistreated him. And he's honorable, saving Harry's life on more than one occasion. He's brilliant and lonely and complex and no one understands him except me and the other 397 members of "Snapefans."
So we reinterpret or even distort the character. He doesn't have oily hair and a hooked nose it's really just sort of messy hair and a noble, aquiline nose. After all, the description is probably from Harry's perspective, and an eleven-year-old boy can't be expected to appreciate Snape's unconventional beauty. And the casting of Rickman hasn't done much to discourage Snape-obsessives from seeing their flawed hero as a barely-disguised hunk
His crotchety, even cruel behavior must be mischaracterized too. He's nasty to the students in Harry's house because of a failed love affair, or a dark secret, or because he wants to convince the students in his own house, Slytherin, that he's on the dark side so he can become a spy later.
The last theory is probably the most convincing, but, not surprisingly, it's the failed-love-affair one that's gotten the most electronic ink. And most often, it's Harry's own mother, Lily, whom Snape fans like to cast in the role of love interest. After all, she's just about the only woman mentioned in the book who definitely went to school with Snape. As you'll find out on any Snape discussion list, we know from a Rowling interview that Lily's birth name was Evans, and "Severus Snape" anagrams to PERSEUS EVANS! Significant, no? OK, no. But he could have fallen madly in love with her and watched helplessly as she went off and married his nemesis James Potter. It would certainly explain why he hates Harry so much.
Of course, all we know about Lily is that she was very good-looking, sweet and maternal. Not very interesting, really. Could she satisfy a complicated man like Snape? Other theories expanded in fan fiction involving compliant students and Potions assistants don't really do much in the way of explanation either.
But what if a new teacher, maybe a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, shows up one day and catches Snape's eye? She's just been laid off from a journalism job and is doing a little Web writing on the side for an independent magazine. After a little chat over some pumpkin juice, she finds out that Snape is a huge Velvet Underground fan, just like her. Snape's never met anyone quite like this at Hogwarts.
I've got to go write some fan fiction.Julia Lipman
: I find it amusing how the author refers so some Snape ML with a meager 300-something member count as the largest whereas Snapeslash has over 500! heheheComment 2
! Ann Arbor! The author! o.o