Complex Characters: The Tragedy of Severus Snape

Most people who know me know I am a Harry Potter fan. This series changed the trajectory of my life. I cannot overstate the impact it had on me and my dreams for the future.

Before continuing, please watch the YouTube video below from user kcawesome13.

Now that you have been punched in the feels, let’s talk about Snape the complex hero.

So I love a complex character, be it hero or villain. It is a mark of a great writer when they can bring you fully developed complex characters. Snape is one of my favorites; next time, we will talk about a complex villain.

Snape had his flaws: he bullied kids. And I am talking straight up bullied them. It’s understandable because he came from an abusive home. Does it make it right? No. Do I feel for him? Yes. Can he still be a hero with flaws? Yes.

Snape had an extreme hatred of Harry because of who Harry’s father was. Leaving aside the fact that James ultimately ended up with Lily, the only person to ever show Snape kindness, James also tortured and humiliated Snape from the get go. Imagine if Ginny Weasley fell in love and married Draco Malfoy. I think Harry might not be so keen to be buddy buddy with the children of that union.

Snape also probably still harbored anti-muggle sentiment because of his abusive father. Everybody has issues when it comes to their parents. Even the most well-adjusted of us (and frankly, I almost want to meet that unicorn) have issues with our parents. I can fully believe that Snape looked down on muggles and muggle-born with a certain disdain, in part colored by his father.

All this is balanced against the fact that he ultimately did the bravest thing in the whole series because he loved the right woman. Snape duped Lord Voldemort the whole series, protected Harry, and died a complex hero because he loved Lily Potter.

The difference between Snape and Voldemort was the love Snape had for Lily. Snape, however, spends the whole series being hated by almost every character, and millions of readers.

The triumph of Harry Potter is tempered with the tragedy of Severus Snape.


Breathe, Annie, Breathe Review

Warning: ***Minor Spoilers***


Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Flap copy on the back cover:

“Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind-and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.”

So to be honest, I read this book on a day when I was feeling terrible about life. The week before had really been one of the worst, and I decided to have a Staycation. This book ended up being the perfect book, not only to read on a snowy day in bed, but also to improve my mood.

I really connected to Annie. She had depth; her emotions were strong and not overly dramatic. Here is someone, with the day I was having, that I could connect with. She was feeling overwhelming grief, but pushing past it to honor Kyle. She didn’t give up, even though it was hard. Annie is someone I would want to know and be friends with.

Annie’s relationships with the characters around her were authentic. Who hasn’t said something terrible to a parent and regretted it, but not known how to take it back? Who hasn’t grown apart from a friend and then awkwardly tried to move past it?

That being said, there were aspects to the story that frustrated me. Keneally took a long time to fully divulge the full story of how Kyle died. While this works, and maintains the very authentic narration from Annie and her grief, I did hypothesize a lot of scenarios that ended up worse than what happened. Did this ruin the overall enjoyment of the book? Not necessarily, but I would have liked to have the all the cards on the table so to speak.

Final Question: Would I have acquired this book if it had come across my desk? Note: Acquiring a book means you become the internal champion of a book for sometimes more than a year. You have to work with the author to get the best book and work to get great books noticed.

Yes, unequivocally. This book deserved to be published and read.