You are viewing drinkingcocoa

Previous Entry | Next Entry

snape and sherlock
Huh.  Interesting.  This morning, I was thinking with pleasure about things I like to do, thoughts I like to think and how they light up my brain with pleasure, and how this makes me want to leap out of bed in the mornings.  I got an image of happy Sherlock as I thought this, his quiet absorption at the microscope, his feral leaps when his brain is running.

Ah.

Sherlock has made me value this pleasure more and appreciate myself for having the same pattern of intellectual enjoyment that this character embodies.  It's worth it in itself.  It makes life worth living.  It's the solution to the final problem.  This isn't just a hobby or a self-indulgence; this IS life.

HP, and Snape in particular, did not make me like myself more.  It was focused on the grimness of being stuck being me, on the unrewarding slog that is the daily work of life, on the ways we embarrass ourselves and hurt others and have to make amends whether we like it or not.  And this was an empowering message to live by in those first years of motherhood.  I couldn't have enough happy moments of intellectual joy to even think about them anymore except as a desperate longing that I was keeping in a cupboard under the stairs until some kids got older.  If I dwelled on this for too long, I would get angry.  I had to channel my energy into caring for someone else.

I love having both of these stories to keep me company as I live.  They are both good.  I'm glad that Snape had so many private moments with his softly simmering inspirations, in addition to the relentlessly unrewarding life-or-death trials he endured, even if JKR's story was wary of intellectual pleasure being the defining pursuit of life.  I understand now, I'm mature enough to understand finally, why it was absolutely 100% right of JKR to make sure the castle didn't give him a portrait.  Are there things so deeply meaningful to us that we must and will do them, even when nothing could be more certain than the assurance that we will never be thanked or recognized? Yes. That, too, is a solution to the final problem.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowfireflame
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
This is so very fascinating. I love both these characters as well and see definite similarities in them, but I never reflected that they might make me feel differently about myself. You're totally right.
pennswoods
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
I like that my quickly roving eye meant I read one of your tags on this as Snapelock. I adore Snapelock in the thinky sense and not in the slushy sense.

LOL! I realize I typed slushy instead of slushy. Or maybe that was auto-correct. Either way, I'm leaving it and amending here. I meant s l a s h y. Snapelock is about the brain and not the romance.

Edited at 2014-03-04 04:11 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen
Mar. 4th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
I understand now, I'm mature enough to understand finally, why it was absolutely 100% right of JKR to make sure the castle didn't give him a portrait. Are there things so deeply meaningful to us that we must and will do them, even when nothing could be more certain than the assurance that we will never be thanked or recognized? Yes. That, too, is a solution to the final problem.

Ah. Ah. I see. I see it now. (nod nod)

Oh my. I just realized that this means that Snape falls into a particular class of character that I love, one that I hadn't conciously associated him with: the silently faithful. One of my favourite fairy tales is that of Faithful John. Unlike Snape, Faithful John does come back to life, sending the message that faithfulness is rewarded, while for Snape, he didn't get a reward - but he does get vindicated. And in any case, both Faithful John and Snape went to their deaths without expectation of reward.

This reminds me of one reason why I love Blake's 7; you have this bunch of characters who are fighting against impossible odds against an evil dictatorship, and they know that they have no hope of winning, but they fight anyway, because fighting and failing is better than not fighting at all. And in the end they do fail - they all die. There is no reward, there is no vindication - but the inspiring thing is that they knew that going in, and they did it anyway. It is the opposite to the kind of attitude that says "I did the right thing, now give me a cookie!", that says "I am fighting for Justice, therefore I deserve to win."

I remember someone telling me once - I'm not sure of the validity of the statement, but it's interesting if it's true - that the attitude of the USA towards returning Vietnam veterans was resentment because they didn't win. As an Australian, that attitude baffles me, because one of the keystones of our cultural heritage is... the celebration of a defeat: Gallipoli. The Aussie attitude is that the sacrifices of the soldiers have value whether or not the campaign as a whole succeeded; a lack of victory does not render those sacrifices worthless(*); to lay down one's life in the defence of others is always worthy of honour.

(*) It may render the sacrifices pointless, but not worthless.
drinkingcocoa
Mar. 4th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
Squee! You related this to B7! I'm not in the B7 fandom, but my friend oracne (as you can guess from the name) was massively into B7 for ages and she's the one who got me into all my fandoms, come to think of it! She's the one who showed me figure skating, lent me her Sherlock DVD, made me listen to Queen, lent Husband her copy of OotP... :-)
kerravonsen
Mar. 4th, 2014 05:55 pm (UTC)
\o/

As you can tell from my username, B7 means a lot to me. 8-) It's the first show I was ever fannish about, even before I discovered what fandom was. I haven't been very active in it for the past decade or so, but it will always have a place in my heart. ♥
kerravonsen
Mar. 4th, 2014 06:01 pm (UTC)
I just realized why I love Snape and Avon more than I love House. All three of them are brilliant snarky bastards, but only Snape and Avon are silently faithful; only Snape and Avon are willing to suffer in the name of a lost, dead, loved one.
delphipsmith
Mar. 5th, 2014 02:35 am (UTC)
Interesting distinction between "pointless" and "worthless" -- subtle, but very important. America has the dubious distinction of firmly believing that victory is proof of worth/moral superiority. (The modern version perhaps of trial by combat?) The corollary of course is that losing is a sign of moral inferiority. Complete bollocks, but there it is.

...Snape falls into a particular class of character that I love, one that I hadn't conciously associated him with: the silently faithful.

Ah yes. The unremarked, the unrewarded, the unrecognized, the unacknowledge (except, perhaps, too late). The heartbreakers...
kerravonsen
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:01 am (UTC)
America has the dubious distinction of firmly believing that victory is proof of worth/moral superiority. (The modern version perhaps of trial by combat?) The corollary of course is that losing is a sign of moral inferiority. Complete bollocks, but there it is.

Might is Right? But that's so... medieval!
But I suppose it's part of the same mindset that declares that natural disasters are a sign of moral inferiority also; God punishing sinners. *facepalm*
delphipsmith
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
*facepalm* indeed :P
lookfar
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
I do like the way your mind works. I doubt there is another Sherlock/Severus fan out there who derives this particular lesson from the two.
drinkingcocoa
Mar. 5th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
It's funny how your comment makes me conscious that every time I have a thought, I feel like it's glaringly obvious. Maybe there are others who think this...

Sherlock totally became Snape by the end of the just-concluded Series 3. He's in a tough place during his second chance at life.
delphipsmith
Mar. 5th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC)
...even if JKR's story was wary of intellectual pleasure being the defining pursuit of life...

What an interesting and perceptive observation. This is true. I think of Hermione saying, "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things--friendship and bravery..." I suspect that Snape had those moments of "quiet absorption at the microscope...feral leaps when his brain is running" but we never got to see them, did we? Perhaps that's one reason the Snape fandom is so lively: because he was sort of cheated in canon of any joy at all.

I'm mature enough to understand finally, why it was absolutely 100% right of JKR to make sure the castle didn't give him a portrait.

Ooh, expand on this please?
drinkingcocoa
Mar. 5th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC)
JKR strips away every support from Snape. He had to Occlude his real self from Voldemort. He was a double agent and had to throw everybody off. It hurt him terribly to hide his true goodness and let people believe he could relapse into Dark Magic. He couldn't even spit out that lie when Umbridge challenged him about it; he said for her to ask Dumbledore. He worked himself to the bone as a teacher, a Death Eater, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix, knowing that nobody would appreciate his work or his sacrifices, only revile and mistrust him. The only person who knew the purity of his heart, who saw his Patronus, ordered Snape to kill him, and that left nobody who believed he was good. McGonagall believed it and he had to hurt himself further by convincing her otherwise. JKR was making the point, by stripping him further and further, that YES, being a parent or otherwise good caregiver means doing EVERYTHING without expectation of reward or recognition; the only reward is the hope that the people you're trying to protect have a chance at a decent life. I used to think that killing Dumbledore meant Snape was breaking his last mirror, but now I realize that even the castle believed Snape was not good inside; the castle was Snape's last mirror, and he pulled a curtain over that, too. He had to *truly* be sure of what he wanted to do with his life. He wasn't going to get reinforcement from anyone else, just from himself.
kerravonsen
Mar. 5th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
That's what I thought you were getting at, yes. No reward, no recognition, and still sacrificing oneself.

I think Snape's ending confused and/or angered many fans (or possibly parents of fans) because it was unfair and unjust and didn't Follow The Rules of fairy tales, where good is always rewarded at the very end. I admit, I was angry myself. In some ways I'm still angry at the way he died; it upsets me, anyway.

But... if I haven't misunderstood you, what you're getting at is that JKR was deliberately unjust and unfair to drive home the lesson that a true hero will carry on with no expectation or hope or even possibility of reward, with only duty and bare will to sustain him. Snape didn't even know whether he had succeeded in his mission when he died. He didn't even have that tiny fragment of comfort. And yet he still held true. That moves me to tears when I think about it.
delphipsmith
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see! It had never occurred to me that the portraits came from the castle. I always assumed they were created by the Wizengamot or commissioned by the next Head or something. Very intriguing interpretation -- thanks!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

drinking chocolate
drinkingcocoa
drinkingcocoa

Latest Month

October 2014
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow