Thursday, June 14, 2007

Narrative Misdirection

Harry, Ron and Hermione are in the woods after the Quidditch World Cup. They see Winky the House-elf walking in a strange manner, as if someone invisible where trying to hold her back. Did you see that? But Harry is ready for a more plausible explanation, comparing her behavior to that of Dobby when he's punishing himself for disobeying his master. That seems to satisfy everyone, including the reader, and we go on our merry way.

Why am I bringing this up? I occurred to me that Harry has a ready-made explanation for why Snape hates him so much. Because of his father. It makes sense, but is it correct?

Things to think about:

We've never been given a satisfactory explanation for why Snape hates Neville so much.

And there are some good reasons for Snape to hate Harry that we haven't considered, though they may be equally incorrect. Snape hates Harry because Harry is responsible for the Dark Lord's downfall. Snape hates Harry and Neville because their parents fought against the Dark Lord; maybe the parents, who both thrice defied Lord Voldemort, were responsible for the death or imprisonment of someone Snape was close to. These are good explanations for why Evil!Snape would hate Harry.

Why would Good!Snape hate Harry and Neville? If he's on the same side, working for the same goal, why would he make such a point to be mean to Harry and Neville? All I can come up with is that it's probably right in front of our face (like the invisible person in the woods with Winky) yet we fail to see it because we like Harry's explanation better.


Floo_powder said...

I've always had the feeling that Snape's foul outlook was two fold. firstly, he has to keep up the illusion of "being the Dark Lords spy in Hogwarts" that if Voldemort were to break his mind all he would find is contempt for Harry and others whilst following his orders to stay at the school. Secondly, the bitterness of being place in such a dangerous spot and knowing that defeat of the Dark Lord was riding on a boy that, to him, did not TRULY grasp the the big picture. In part, it was of his own making, the sticky situation that Snape has found himself in, but still he has manuvered himself to be the one that could be a lynchpin at the correct time.

Anonymous said...

I think good snape was only nasty to Harry because his father had been mean to him and harry looked like him. Thats why he dcribe him as arrogant e.t.c. which could be considered as traits of james when he was harrys age. I think he hates neville just because he is clumsy and shows weakeness.