The Problem with Redeeming Severus Snape

I love amateur literary analysis. Love reading it, love writing it. Here’s some pondering on a very well known character of an extraordinarily well known series.

Severus Snape is a complicated character

Severus Snape, of Harry Potter fame, has gained many followers.

I understand why.

He’s a complicated character and there’s much to explore and much subtext to read. He joined the Dark side in his youth, returned to the Light after he realised the love of his life (married to someone else) was in danger. After her death he swore to protect her only son, who was the spitting image of his childhood nemesis. He worked as a double, triple agent, ultimately on the Light side, yet spending much of his time working with the Dark. He was anti-social, unpleasant and held tightly to the grudges of his youth, killed the ‘greatest wizard of all time’ and the only one who knew his secret, yet died himself before he could see his side win.

He was the only character who didn’t receive his just deserts. He didn’t receive acknowledgement for the work he did. Many characters died, but he was the only one who perished without everyone knowing who and what he died for.

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The Lays of Ancient Rome

I’ve always been interested in how literature reflects and affects society. Perhaps that’s why I am fascinated by the Lays of Ancient Rome. On the other hand, it could just be because they sound cool.

The Lays are a collection of poems by Thomas Babington Macaulay. They are Roman ballads, set in Ancient Rome about Roman heroes, yet were written in 1842 by a Victorian gentleman.

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I idolize Bravery – a realisation and defence

“Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity.” (Sherlock BBC)

I am attracted to bravery

I have often wondered what it is that causes me to dub some fictional characters as ‘my favourite’ even if I do not necessarily admire their inherent goodness.

Recently I have come to a conclusion, which is to be my working hypothesis until disproven: I admire brave characters.

I have long known that bravery is one of the traits I admire the most. It is the reason I feel drawn to the “Invictus” poem even though I disagree with its theology.

It’s the reason I was obsessed with the television series Merlin as a teenager even as I rolled my eyes at the suspension of disbelief required, read the ‘Pagan’ chronicles under my bedsheets even though I flinched at the anti-Christian elements, and the reason I find myself at the age of 23 coupling drawings of Severus Snape with suitable quotes to post on DeviantArt.

I am invariably attracted to bravery.

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A Year in Reading 2017

Following the tradition, I thought I’d share the books I enjoyed reading this year – my tiny contribution to the online world of books and reading, of which I am mostly a silent consumer (but pay my dues once a year in the form of a blog post!)

Books read 2017: 67 (my goal was 57, so this was exciting)

Ratio:

48 Fiction/18 Non-fiction

21 audio books/38 paper print/8 kindle digital

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2017 taught me that timing is not always my strong point...

2017 taught me that my timing is not always right (and that’s okay)

They say you never stop learning. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you’re learning while you’re learning it! Often I come away from a season in my life with the sense that I’ve just learned something. That my character has been shaped, that my knowledge has grown… but am unable to put into words exactly what.

That’s why I Iove reflection. Over the last few months there’s been an increasing pressure on my soul because I learnt something in 2017 that is important, and I don’t want it to dissipate as the calendar flips over. Instead I want to cradle this truth close  as I march out into 2018. So here’s my attempt to put it down in letters on a white screen, so that the lesson might be worth the learning.

What 2017 taught me

2017 was full of projects

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5 Ways I prepared to travel as a Christian

I recently went on a short holiday overseas with a few friends. It was relaxing, eventful, and a good break, plus a chance to step back a bit from the everyday and gain a wider perspective.

I really think however, that there is a way to holiday with God, and a way to holiday without Him. Life was created to be lived in step with our Creator. I fail at this all the time in day to day life, and because holidays present a unique mixture of challenges, it was something I wanted to think about beforehand.

This is neither a perfect nor an exhaustive list… but it was helpful for me, so perhaps it might be helpful for you.

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Do you laugh at misfortune?

“Just laugh or you’ll go mad.”

It’s advice I hear in hospital corridors and grocery stores. In this era of ‘political correctness’ there are a surprising number of opportunities to snigger at the antics of dementia patients, our children’s disobedience, or someone else’s misfortune. So where do we draw the line?

I recently posted over at Paradigm Shift, so head on over to continue reading this post!

 

How to hold onto COMMUNITY lightly

‘Community.’ In certain circles (or communities!) the word ‘Community’ is a ‘buzzword’. I think as the years go by and technology gives us the freedom to be more isolated, Western society is beginning to realise the importance of community.

In one sense none of us can escape ‘community’. We all belong to one, even if it’s online or our membership is involuntary (ie. the community of our neighbourhood). We’re all part of wider bodies of people outside of our nuclear family, with which we have something in common (ie. location, gender, race, nationality – to name the obvious ones).

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“Rhapsody on a Windy Night”

I recently finished reading an encyclopedia on C. S. Lewis, and I am overtaken with love for all things literary at the moment. Words are so beautiful – I could talk about their beauty all day long. I am forever grateful that God chose to reveal Himself through writing as well as in person. Because words lend themselves to pondering, to images, to thoughts and to creation.

C. S. Lewis was not a fan of “modern literature” so it is rather ironic that what I am about to share is my love for one of T. S. Eliot’s poems. T. S. Eliot was a very modern poet, and when I use that word, I mean ‘modern’ style, not that he is a contemporary writer. The modern style can be jarring. It puts onus on the reader to interpret, to come up with meaning, and to analyse.

But look at these words friends, and the liquid pictures they create! What is not to love?

Below are excerpts only – I encourage you to read the entire poem. It greatly influenced the song ‘Memory’ from the musical CATS.

 

RHAPSODY ON A WINDY NIGHT – T. S. ELIOT

Twelve o’clock. 

Along the reaches of the street 

Held in a lunar synthesis, 

Whispering lunar incantations 

Dissolve the floors of memory 

And all its clear relations, 

Its divisions and precisions, 

Every street lamp that I pass 

Beats like a fatalistic drum, 

And through the spaces of the dark 

Midnight shakes the memory 

As a madman shakes a dead geranium… 

The memory throws up high and dry 

A crowd of twisted things

A twisted branch upon the beach 

Eaten smooth, and polished 

As if the world gave up 

The secret of its skeleton, 

Stiff and white. 

A broken spring in a factory yard, 

Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left 

Hard and curled and ready to snap… 

The lamp hummed: 

“Regard the moon, 

La lune ne garde aucune rancune, 

She winks a feeble eye, 

She smiles into corners. 

She smoothes the hair of the grass. 

The moon has lost her memory. 

A washed-out smallpox cracks her face, 

Her hand twists a paper rose, 

That smells of dust and old Cologne, 

She is alone 

With all the old nocturnal smells 

That cross and cross across her brain.” …

The lamp said, 

“Four o’clock, 

Here is the number on the door. 

Memory! 

You have the key, 

The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair, 

Mount. 

The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall, 

Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life.” 

The last twist of the knife. 

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How to hold onto (your) BODY IMAGE lightly

Body image. It’s an ‘in’ word, and means different things to different people. It’s also an easy word to pin onto someone else. They struggle with body image because they are… a teenager… female… overweight… underweight… single… In reality, however, we all struggle with body image.

Body image is (wait for it!) how we view our body. And as we all have opinions about the image we present to others and to ourselves, this post is applicable for all of us.

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