coppertop1 (coppertop1) wrote in hp_essays,

Snape and Sirius

Cut: An analysis of Severus Snape and Sirius Black

Snape and Sirius are two of the most popular characters in HP fandom, and sometimes the debate about these two characters can get heated. So, I’m gonna do something different: I’m going to analyze BOTH of them and show how they’re actually not that different. Good thing they can’t see me say this or they’d both curse me!

First of all, Snape:
Anyone who’s read my blogs probably thinks I REALLY hate Snape. Well, that’s partly true. I hate him as a person, because he is so bitter, spiteful and cruel and I just want to smack him and yell “GET OVER IT!!”, but as a character I think he’s perfect. First of all he occupies that grey area that is more realistic but is hard to write. He’s also the wildcard. He keeps you guessing. All signs point to him trying to kill Harry in the first book, then it turns out he was trying to save Harry! Then in the next two books there’s no real reason to suspect him of trying to hurt Harry…until the fourth book and we find out he was once a death eater! It’s enough to make us go “hmmmm”, yet Dumbledore says Snape’s reformed, so that seems to enough, Dumbledore was no fool, so well we’re not entirely sure about him, we give him the benefit of the doubt… until he killed Dumbledore! I read that and thought “WHAT!! OMG SNAPE YOU EVIL TRAITOR HOW  COULD YOU!”. And all through book seven it seemed Snape had indeed fooled Dumbledore…then we find out his backstory and he WAS loyal to Dumbledore, on the good side, etc. It’s brilliant. Also, giving Umbridge FAKE veritaserum was clever. Despite Dumbledore saying we sort too soon, I think Snape is very much a Slytherin, it’s his cunning that keeps him alive for that long. He’s also VERY perceptive, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool him! I like characters that keep you guessing. I like characters that are complex. They’re realistic. As I’ve said, it’s more when he gets re-written into some woobie that bugs me, because it’s missing out on what makes him so interesting, just as painting him all black (I know lame joke) is missing out. Snape is an anti-hero, and anti-heroes are always interesting. Actually, I think if I met Snape I’d say “You really confuse me sometimes”.  That’s OK, it shows JKR’s genius.

On to Sirius Black
First off, I do like Sirius. A lot. I love him. BUT I agree with JKR, he’s not “wholly wonderful”. He can be very cruel to people. I won’t defend the werewolf incident, that was stupid. Snape could have been killed, and Lupin would have never forgiven himself. Good thing James had enough sense to stop it. Sirius was very bitter for a lot of reasons. I don’t think anyone can blame him about being bitter for going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit! However, he was stuck in the past, unable to let go and just forgive, and there were times I wanted to smack HIM and yell “GET OVER IT!!” Sensing a theme? He doesn’t practice what he preaches, telling Harry “If you want to know what a man is like take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” yet he was cruel to Kreacher. I know, Kreacher was a symbol and a reminder of the home he hated. That wasn't Kreacher’s fault. He tells Harry “the world isn’t divided into nice people and death eaters”, yet he clearly didn’t think that of that when it came to Snape. He was also incredibly reckless, which is what lead to his death. And again, like Snape, he could be unhinged when angered.  In book five, I don’t think Sirius was a good influence on Harry who was already angry and at risk of doing something stupid. Sirius did live through them. And his comment about “You’re less like your father than I thought” was hitting below the belt. I also don’t think James would want Sirius being reckless. Sirius definitely showed he was thinking like a student. But he wasn’t a student, and James was past that mentality when he died. Like Snape, Sirius is an anti-hero. Also, he could be a tragic hero.

It’s hard to take either of them at their words about the other they’re both so biased, it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle …black (sorry, bad pun). Both these characters are complex. Both are bitter and suffer from arrested development and never grew up. Neither of them could forgive, and ironically, the ones who would benefit from forgiveness are themselves. Both however, were capable of some form of love and died for it. Neither of them had happy childhood. They both acted like teenagers especially with regards to each other. Snape taunting Sirius about being forced to stay inside was low, but Sirius calling Snape “Snivellus” which he called him as a child and scoffing at the prank was also low and childish. I think both these men needed a smack upside the head.

What are your thoughts? And please don't rant or complain keep your comments reflecting this post and keep them respectful.

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