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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Redemption of Severus Snape

Severus Snape fooled us all.
Those who actually finished reading the entire Harry Potter series would know what I am talking about (or writing about, if you want to be literal). Snape is one of the series’ bravest and noblest characters.
Yes indeed—in fact, I would name my next dog Severus in his honor (If it’s a female, I think… Hermione?—Here, Hermione! Come, Hermione! Nah, I don’t see it. But I digress).

Of course, until the last part of the last book, most readers think Snape is a hateful toad, and would gladly cast a Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra!) in his direction, given the chance. J. K. Rowling (the author) neatly ties up all the loose ends (well, almost all the loose ends), and, in my opinion (which admittedly is as sought-after as a Blast-Ended Skrewt), provides a very satisfactory ending.
The Deathly Hallows unravels Dumbledore’s strategy in defeating Voldemort, which explains his previous actions, and also answers Harry’s doubts. Snape, as I have intimated, is the biggest surprise; a Shakespearian-like figure with his conflicted and tragic life, he finally reveals where his loyalty lies. Harry, Ron, and Hermione find out that the Invisibility Cloak is now too small to hide all three of them, which makes me wistful—I still remember the time when they used to sneak out of Hogwarts to visit their friend Hagrid, hiding under the same Invisibility Cloak. Neville Longbottom, their bumbling classmate, finally overcomes his lack of self-esteem and emerges as one of the heroes of Hogwarts. Also notable is Luna Lovegood, Harry’s endearingly eccentric friend, and a member of Dumbledore’s Army. Indeed, the series is filled with many fascinating and memorable characters.
There are few in the literary world that are as fleshed-out, as rich, as complex, with as colorful characters, and as--well, magical-- as the Harry Potter universe. Miss Rowling may not be among the world’s literary giants, but the universe she created is one of the most unforgettable.
The first time I saw the movie “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” I was not as taken in as I was with “The Lord of the Rings” (the movie), which was shown in cinemas at around the same time. However, I’ve always thought that the Potter book, surely, is better than its movie adaptation. That turns out to be the case.
But I never got to read a single Harry Potter book—until recently. I started at “Philosopher’s Stone” and five days later, I finished the entire series—all seven books. I read the series voraciously, feverishly; it was as if I was making love, savoring every precious second, dreading the time when it will all be over, but couldn’t stop, the idea of stopping too terrible, couldn’t wait for the end, hurrying, rushing, frantic, to get there.
The climax of the book (The Deathly Hallows) and of the entire series, is cathartic; the epilogue a post-coital cigarette.
I don’t know if the movie would do justice to the story, but however great the movie version turns out to be, it would not be as awesome as what you, the reader, see in your head as you read the book. I am, however, particularly interested to see the epic Battle of Hogwarts on film.

So if you still hadn’t read the Deathly Hallows, go and read the book first before watching the movie.
Or better yet, read the entire series, and don’t mind the literary snobs who raise a supercilious brow at the mention of J. K. Rowling’s books.
A little magic in our lives would not hurt—unless the magic is one of the Unforgivable Curses, that is.

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