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Okay, I've managed to collect my scattered thoughts. :)

Dumbledore: well, I think the most confusing part of the book was Dumbledore's "explanations," but other people have said more, and far more eloquently, on this subject than I ever could. I shall leave it for now.

Thestrals. Rock. That's all there is to it.

The alliance of McGonagall and Peeves.... wow. I laughed so hard at this. I loved it. The House rivalries may be coming to a head, but when the teacher who never lets her hair down and the poltergeist who lives to torment staff and students alike are working together, that's got to say something about the need for alliance against the Ministry. And yes, the entire "Have a biscuit" conversation had me giggling as well. I sincerely hope for more McGonagall fic in future, especially given the glimpse we have of her rivalry with Snape-- all that about being accustomed to having the House Cup, and not wanting to give it up to the Head of Slytherin. Hee. I want to see some writers incorporate that to a greater extent; I can see so many ways it can be done, from out and out cutting disdain to a sharp but not necessarily bitter competition.

On the slash front:

Wow, as people have noted, slash hints are everywhere! I was delighted to see my own personal preference was validated: when I got to that Occlumency private tutoring, I just sort of blinked, and went "Wow! So all those cliched, trite fics with the overused plot device were right?" Not to mention the potential for a lovely Harry/Remus bonding-- I mean, not only is Lupin now the only person left who both knew Harry's parents and with whom Harry is on speaking terms, we don't even get to see Remus' reaction to Sirius' death disappearance. Ouch. There's just so much possibility there, especially since the whole "grieving with Cho over Cedric" thing blew up. Who better to mourn with than Sirius' one surviving friend? Who else could possibly understand?

Of course, back on the Severus/Harry front, they've now got a reason to tentatively trust each other in future; whether or not he'll ever "forgive" Snape, I don't think Harry's Gryffindor honor would condone spilling Snape's memories to other people. I may be wrong, but I hope I'm not. They've got the dirt on each other, now; they've each seen that the other is human, and has suffered. They could forge a grudge to rival the one between Sirius and Severus, if they abuse the power they hold or refuse to see the bond between them (life debts, anyone?), or they could learn to get over their differences, prove Albus Dumbledore wrong, and make a truly formidable team for the Light.

Oh, and a random question has popped into my head as of about three hours ago: Since Sirius is (presumably) dead, and Harry is his godson, will Harry inherit 12 Grimmauld Place? This would place him in a position to do the Order a favor, since it's their headquarters; this would in turn give him more leverage with them, even if only subtly. He's doing something for them, after all, and he doesn't strictly have to-- he could easily claim it makes him too upset to stay where Sirius lived, and in a house Sirius hated. I don't think he'd directly say "No, it's my house and I'm in control of who lives here!", but there are more subtle ways he could toss them out if he wanted. This puts him in the technical position of doing them a favor, even if it's something he really would never consider not doing. A little leverage never hurt anyone! On the other hand, Sirius had relatives--including Narcissa and Bellatrix, both of whom would probably love to have the Order's headquarters in their hands (depending, of course, upon whether they knew it was HQ)...

Oh-- another random question: I wonder if anyone will die in Book 6? Hermione came close in OoTP, and I'm wondering if Harry will actually survive the series with his trio intact. They are, with Sirius gone, the most obvious targets for "people Harry will do anything for". Of course, for all I know, Harry himself will die in Book 7 and leave them to lead long, healthy lives after they finish mourning him. :)

What a thought-provoking book, eh?
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Or, Speculations on the Rumor that Snape is Fabulously Wealthy:

First, people tend to assume that any Slytherin is automatically pureblooded; I have actually seen people state this, publicly, as a reason Snape is pureblood, and not be corrected. However, nowhere does anything in canon state that Slytherin only accepts those of pure bloodline; in fact, the opposite is proved true by Tom Riddle's mere presence. Also, the Hat was perfectly willing to consider sorting Harry into Slytherin, despite his mixed (unless one takes the bare minimum approach to defining pureblood) bloodline. Snape could be anything.

Second, the fact that he's not on that tapestry in OoTP, considering we're told that "all" the pureblood families are interrelated, suggests that he's NOT pureblood, at least on his father's side; his mother might be, since we don't know her maiden name, but canonically there is NO evidence to suggest that Snape is either pureblood or wealthy.

Also, consider these facts: I'm pretty sure Snape has been teaching for a long time, well before Voldemort's suspected rise, so that is presumably not the only reason he was hired (I don't have OoTP here to check my timeline of events here, so feel free to offer anything you have to contradict me). Then there is the fact that, to all appearances, this is not a job Snape enjoys. How long would it take him to figure that out? A year? A term? A week? Why didn't he quit ages ago? Possibly because he doesn't have family fortune of Malfoydian proportions to support him in leisure and idleness.

Why do people assume that Slytherin=Pureblood, even when the most famous and influential Slytherin of the whole series has a Muggle in his parentage?
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Is Snape a Vampire?

This discussion topic appeared in [ profile] salazaar's Livejournal (LINK), which I reached via Telanu's, and when I went to comment, it ended up getting so long I decided to make it a journal entry instead.

While the person arguing that Snape is a vampire has some interesting points, I have to disagree with most of them, including the suggestion that the mere fact Rowling mentions vampires is proof that one will appear in the storyline:
JKR makes a special point of introducing us to vampires in her world when she shows us the unusual blood-flavored lollipops in the sweet shop. At the very least, given her predilection for logical storytelling, this shows that a vampire will at some time be important in the story.

I have to disagree. Not only does JKR drop in many details that merely add dimension to the Wizarding world, she also omits details that might hint at future plotlines: the old man in the Muggle nightgown in GoF, for instance, tells us that wizards don't wear clothes under their robes (or at least older/pureblood/etc. ones don't), but this random detail doesn't foretell anything that occurs later in the story, or in OoTP (despite the fervent wishes of slash writers). Nor does the mention of the various creatures in Remus Lupin's Defence lessons ever serve any purpose beyond telling readers that there are many kinds of magic creatures in Rowling's world. Details of this sort are called "world building," and while they flesh out the universe created by the author, they're not necessarily important to the plot. Conversely, nothing is mentioned of werewolves at all, and yet one plays a major role in PoA and beyond!

Perhaps there is a reason why Snape is not so proficient with his wand, as a Non-Wizard Part-Human. Perhaps.
I am surprised all the time at how people interpret Snape's reference to "foolish wand-waving." I always took it to be the "foolish" part he was mocking, not the use of wands. I never interpreted this statement as a potential "hint" that he's not so good with a wand, or that he dislikes wand-focused wizardry; merely that he hates the flourishy dramatics that people like Lockhart (or dumb kids trying to impress each other) use.

"In book 1, Rumour was that Snape met a Vampire in Romania, who scared him out of his wits. Can this be symbolic to Snape threatening Quirrel? What if this tale was true and he was threatened by a vampire?"
I think they meant to say, "that Quirrell met a Vampire in Romania." I also think that this supposed bit of evidence is anything but. I mean, the garlic doesn't seem to bother Snape, or keep him from getting in Q's face! That's not "symbolism" at all, that's just the person(s) at this website (yes, I've been there. There's a lot of hokey, contrived stuff as well as intriguing evidence) imposing their theory on any sort of vague mention of anything vampiric. Snape's never been to Romania as far as we know, and is not associated with it in any way. The "symbolism" lacks any logical connection.

What's more, when Harry first meets Quirrel, he is buying a book on vampires. And, later, his classroom reeks of garlic, because he is scared of that "vampire from Romania" returning.
Again, this isn't really any kind of evidence against Snape. If you read the entire book, it seems implied that, while Quirrell may or may not have met a vampire, what changed him into a stammering wreck was his encounter with Voldemort:
'I met him when I travelled around the world. ... Since then I have served him faithfully, although I have let him down many times.' Quirrell shivered suddenly. 'He does not forgive mistakes easily. ...He punished me...'(HP-PS, 211).

A page before this, we get the following conversation, which is even more telling:
'But I heard you a few days ago, sobbing-- I thought Snape was threatening you...'
For the first time, a spasm of fear flitted across Quirrell's face.
'Sometimes,' he said, ' I find it hard to follow my master's instructions-- he is a great wizard and I am weak--' "

Note that it is only when he is reminded of Voldemort and his presumed punishment that he shows fear. His startled, stammering little mouse persona is an act-- he mocks it, in fact, when he says to Harry that "Next to [Snape], who would suspect p-p-poor st-stuttering P-Professor Quirrell?" Harry notes that he is not twitching at all, and his speech is clear. Additionally, the turban he wears, supposedly to hold garlic to repel vampires, is in reality a means of covering up Voldemort's presence. Quirrell's fear of vampires really seems more like a cover-- a reason for his behavior, possibly suggested by Voldemort.

This is not to say that I think Snape's absolutely not a vampire. I don't, actually, but I'm not going to go into utter denial if JKR later says that he is. I'm open to the possibility, but I don't generally apply it to my vision/version of Snape. (Then again, I discounted all those "private lessons with Snape" plots in fanfic, and what does JKR do but go and give him private Defence lessons with Snape?)

There are very interesting bits that don't seem to fit with the whole "spy" idea that Harry has, not least of which is that Quirrell's "parasite" was there the whole time Snape was trying to persuade him away from Voldemort. Since Voldie would have heard all of this, why would he ever believe that Snape was still on his side? There are ways around this, of course: he could beg forgiveness, and say that he was merely, in true Slytherin fashion, trying to choose the winning side; he could get in thick with Malfoy and have Lucius vouch for him; he could be using Legilimency to pick up Malfoy's thoughts and such while avoiding the actual presence of the Dark Lord. Still, the fact that Voldemort knows Snape tried to persuade one of his followers to abandon him can't be good for his chances at infiltrating the circle of Voldemort's trusted servants.

So, yeah. I'm not convinced, but there are some bits that just don't seem to line up quite properly so far. I would call it a possibility, but not a pressing or an imminent one.

[[EDIT: JKR has denied that Snape is a vampire; however, this essay was--obviouslyl--written before that interview. I leave it up so that I might revel in the Slytherin joy of being right.]] :D


Aug. 11th, 2004 03:19 pm
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Okay, it's sunk in a little, and I've checked some LJ people to confirm that I'm not cracked.

It hurts. I actually liked Sirius *better* in OoTP, with his flaws and his occasional arrogance and carelessness. He was *real,* he was a person, and he was coping with not only "freedom" that wasn't anything like it, but his utter failure at being able to protect Harry, and Snape needling him, and being shut up in that awful, grim old house with his raving mother and that house-elf who obviously hated him.

I liked him for his unexpected rough edges, for the fact that he wasn't perfect-- he had prejudices, he had temper, he had sulky, "imperfect" feelings over being able to do nothing, he had rashness and impulse, he had issues with Harry and James being similar. I wanted to leap in and protect him from Molly, even though I knew she might be right. I wanted to *do something* for him, because he was chafing at the constraints on him and Harry needed him and he wouldn't be much good to the Order if he went stark raving. In short, I got to know him, and then he was killed off. Terribly, I might add-- not even a body left to mourn. I want him back.

Snape... what can I say? I wanted to yell at Harry for spying, and I wanted to yell at Snape for refusing to continue the lessons. I'm glad I'm not the only person out there who wondered if Snape wasn't protecting Harry, in a way, as well as himself-- after all, he removed a memory that obviously caused Harry grief, a memory that tarnished his image of his father, his godfather, and even Lupin. Of course he didn't want a student to see him humiliated, but could he possibly, in part, have been keeping such a memory from Harry to spare the kid more pain?

On a related subject... James. Sushi is right; James is worm food. James is dirt. That was unnecessary, uncalled for, cruel, and sadistic. Snape had not committed any offenses against him-- at least no public ones, since Lily asked what he had done. James is a skunk. That was a reaaaaallly interesting insight into his and Lily's relationship, though; that comment that she really didn't know what James did to Severus kind of shredded the illusion of the perfect happy couple. They may have been, but James was a miserable bastard to Severus, and obviously knew that Lily wouldn't approve, and therefore didn't bother to tell her. As opposed to, say, stopping in his persecution of a fellow student, he chose to deliberately omit it from his relationship rather than let her know what a slug he was, whether he was doodling her name in hearts or not. Hmm. Food for thought, that. As for Lily... Oh, I wish I had the book. I cannot now for the life of me recall why, but I remember as I was reading her defense of Severus that I thought she wasn't, under it, much better than James. (Anyone willing to type this scene up for me? Please? Or scan the page? I'll love you forever.)

So. Harry. I was impressed, really, with the fact that he's finally let himself be angry. Dumbledore, despite his protestations of love, has gifted him with a pretty high cost for that "protection," and for all his words, it's Harry who paid for it, unasked. I saw this emerging in GoF, where Harry's anger hits the Dursleys for the first time; I never understood all those fics where Harry is a whimpering little abuse victim, because really, he's not. Not whimpering. Harry started to fight back long ago, from the moment he "forgot" to tell the Dursleys he couldn't do magic over the holidays, all the way down to telling them about his godfather and "forgetting" to tell them Sirius was innocent, to his anger and his outbursts in the fourth book. Harry has a spine, and he's growing more daily.

On the other hand, I was bored by his fumbling little romance, and while I don't hate Cho the way some seem to, she doesn't really interest me, either. I'm glad she's dealing with Cedric's death, rather than just brushing it off like an adolescent crush, but watching Harry and Cho step, trip, and crash through the process of "getting together" is tedious. I wish that plotline would just be dropped-- fifteen-year-olds don't need to be falling in love. I certainly never did at that age, and while granted I am one person and should not speak for a generation, I don't believe that any of my peers did, either. It's just... fumbling, that first beginning of interest, and it's pretty darn boring to the rest of us-- it's like being told in excruciating detail about a friend's date. No one wants to sit through the play-by-play. Part of that is doubtless the slash writer in me, but that doesn't keep it from being true. Teen romance is boring.

Despite my heartache over Sirius, I can see how his death furthers the plot neatly; if you take away the one person Harry has to care about him, he'll get even angrier with Voldemort, and up his resolution to off him, and overall give him more reason to hate the Death Eaters. I mean, it already got him to the point of using an Unforgivable; it's not that far a leap from Crucio! on a DE to Avada Kedavra! on their leader.

I am more Slytherin than Harry, for sure, too, because there were places where the course of action seemed obvious to me while Harry dithered. That whole "murder or be murdered" thing, for one. I would buck up and decide, quick, that it wasn't going to be me who let a megalomaniacal snake-grafted elitist rule the world, even if it did mean I'd have to kill someone. Especially if I'd already used an Unforgivable Curse on someone twice. I kept thinking about AWS, and Harry's desire to learn, whatever was needed. That's me. There were lots of other incidents like that too, where I kept going, "but, obviously..." when Harry was at a loss, or debating moral decisions, or whatever. (Man, I wish I had the book. I need a local to borrow it from! I can't memorise 800 pages of text, even if I did just read it. I'm left with that feeling where I remember my reactions, but don't recall quite what sparked them.)

Umbridge. Harry's detention gave me major sick-up urges. The woman is... horrible. I do not believe blood should be extracted, in any way, during a detention. It was macabre and disturbing. On a more meta-ly note, I think Umbridge's flaw was that she was trying to give two different images: the fluffy-kittens-pink-cardigan-and-hairbows image, which says "I am a nice woman, really I am, and I will help you like the little babies that you are," and the bloodletting-malicious-vengeful-authoritative image, which says "I am strong and in charge, and don't mess with me." This is why she has no respect-- if I can snicker about your hairbow, I am not going to be afraid of your punishments. Angry, yes, but afraid, no. Instead, I will hate you, and try at every turn to defy you, because you are what most people hate most of all-- a hypocrite.

Then, of course, there's the fact that she's a toadying (random note: hey, I just realized the connection with her descriptions!) wimp who wants power, but doesn't know the difference between respect and fear, and doesn't understand that real power (or respect) can't be taken while you're hiding behind a pretty piece of paper.

The twins. Oh, the twins. They were wonderful, funny, and devious-- and they had a bit of a dark streak. I kept thinking of AWS, especially when they decided to leave school. Their leavetaking was not merely humourous, but had an edge to it, and it made Telanu's twins all the more canon to me. Then, of course, there's Neville, and yep, like everyone else, I'm reeling at the news that it could have been "Neville Longbottom" with his personal life written up in the papers every day, Neville Longbottom who had to hide his forehead under his fringe, Neville Longbottom, our newest... celebrity. Dumbledore's insight into the reason Voldemort chose to attack Harry were intriguing, especially the comment about being pureblood.

So yes, I want to read it again, but I don't know if I'll be able to. I know I've much more to say, and to think, so doubtless there will be more posts. Again, anyone willing to email me the scene will be appreciated forever. Anyone willing to give me the book will be apotheosized. :)


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