Harry Potter-ness is heating up this week. Today, my son and I go to see the latest movie, and next week the final installment in the series comes out. I suppose if you haven’t been reading the series or seeing the movies this is irrelevant to you, but for the rest of us the tension is mounting.
Here’s what one young friend wrote on her blog:
I have opinions. Lots of them, in fact, and many are rather strongly held. I believe that Snape is, while not a good (as in happy, mentally healthy, normal) person, he is on the side of "good" (aka: Dumbledore and the Order) in this series. I believe that the story will end more or less well, though with a few deaths. … I trust Snape. For it is Snape that is in the middle of the fears, and in the middle of the great divide in Potter fans at the moment. A majority, surprisingly enough, of the uber-fans (those with sites devoted to Potter, who discuss the books online ad nauseum, and give TV interviews and etc.) believe that Snape is good, or at least on the side of good. But the majority has been wrong before. And on my last reread of Half-Blood Prince, I finished the book with a sense of foreboding... I had difficulty trusting the Half-Blood Prince.
I have to admit, if I read [Deathly Hallows, the last installment] and Snape turns out to be Eeeeeee-vil, I will not be able to enjoy it. I will feel not surprised or shocked or saddened, but betrayed. Betrayed by JKR[owling], not Snape. I am so thoroughly convinced that Snape is good that to see him bad would ruin it for me. And I fear that.
Sincere admission: I feel exactly the same way. I need Snape to be essentially good. I want the Harry Potter community to breathe a sigh of resolution at the end of the series rather than have to weather a great disturbance in the Force. It’s fiction, I know, but it represents our collective ideals and values. That’s what storytelling is all about.
I wonder if JK Rowling thinks about the influence of her words and her story, and I wonder if she knows that she herself could be a force for good by resolving the story in an uplifting, meaningful way? It’s been ten years. She’s shaped the imaginations of countless young people who have literally grown up with Harry. My earnest wish is that she doesn’t betray that—but she’s shocked us before, hasn’t she?
In the end, Snape’s place in the story will almost certainly be eclipsed by an epic struggle between Harry and Voldemort, so perhaps it won’t matter that much. But still I yearn for goodness to shine from that troubled character.
Perhaps it sounds silly, but because of the scope and reach of the series and its eminent conclusion, I’m actually preparing for it spiritually. Don’t get me wrong—having never prayed for a fictional character I’m not going to start now. But I am praying for all the fans. Praying that if fiction betrays them, reality will still be there, concrete in its inherent goodness and strong in its ideals. And, if fiction takes the other tack and delivers an uplifting message, that the whole of this Harry Potter phenomenon will be an impulse for good in an entire generation.
How cool would that be?
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