Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To continue with the #PotterChat Blog Tour, I feel like I'm about to open the weirdest, smelliest can of worms out of the bunch. After reading this, please don't chuck old bananas and Rebecca Black hard copies of Friday, please (however pastries, copies of Lucky magazine, or a free apartment in my local area I will totally take!)

So from the past few days we've had an exciting series of posts. Jami touched base on how Harry Potter inspired her to write, Ava hit her too favorite Harry Potter moments, Bekah talked about Harry as a hero and how he wormed his way into our hearts, and today Kiki is talking about the magic of Harry Potter, from the setting to objects and people! All of them are shining a light of perpetual happiness and general good humor on some of the best parts of the series J.K. Rowling has crafted for us, like the ever-hilarious message to Snape from the Marauder's Map, or how Dobby proudly proclaimed that, outside of his freedom, he now received a Galleon a week for working at Hogwarts, even if he was tending to a drunken Winky much of the time.

But me, ever being the weirdo, chose to dance with my hands in the fire and show everyone why, deep down, we still have a soft spot for the evil guys in the books. Yes, you read that right. How exactly can you even consider sympathizing with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?! What about Draco Malfoy? Or the most talked about villain-playing-double-sides Snape? In the words of the shrunken head from the PoA movie, "Fasten your safety belts, clench your buttocks! It's going to be a bumpy ride!"

Let's start chipping away at Voldemort. Being the biggest honcho of the bunch on the Villain Scale (I will craft this one day but for now it's going to exist in my head >_>) we all know he's capable of doing plenty of unspeakable things. Killing Myrtle, Harry's parents, and Snape just to name a few, he holds no remorse what so ever for his actions. In no way should we feel even the slightest pinch of feelings for this guy short of anger. But think about it. He didn't turn into Voldemort overnight on a whim. From birth, Tom Riddle has been shuffled, sideswept, and abandoned like a used candy wrapper. His father conceived him under the effects of a Love Potion, an automatic bad sign. As soon as his father came out from the haze, he fled, never caring about the child Merope was carrying. His mother died after giving birth to him, from grief or complications, or both. From there he spent time in an orphanage like Annie, only there was no Daddy Warbucks to come to his aid, unless you count Dumbledore. Even there, he was shunned and stepped aside, only looked at when things went wrong.

Had those circumstances happened to any other person in the series, we'd sob. We'd grab our sleeves of our hoodies and blow into them as we wished we could hug Tom and give him a lollipop. But instead, because we only see him in his current form, a phobic of death who's trying to kill an innocent boy, we dislike him. At least Draco Malfoy had a fighting chance for redemption throughout the series.

For Draco Malfoy, things weren't the best in the beginning. He was a stuck up, snobbish boy whom Harry met and wished he could shove a pencil in his eye. For the first several books, it doesn't get much better. He constantly bullies Harry and sets him up for failure, picks on any person he can with the knowledge that his Daddy-dearest will cover his pale behind. But thankfully, by the end of the series, he seems to hold a touch of a human heart by being unwilling to kill Dumbledore and sparing Harry when he was caught and brought to Malfoy Manor. So why would we possibly like him? Just because of an ending? Why, or how could we feel for this cruel child?

Easy. His Daddy. Think about it. How would you behave if you had a Death Eater for a father breathing down your neck to be this perfect, snobby little brat and keep everyone else under your shoes? If his father had been out of the picture, Draco could have been so much more human, and realizing that, you have to feel a little bit for the boy. It was the biggest wild card in the series, Snape, that you had either the easiest time feeling for, or the hardest.

Serverus Snape was a man of many faces throughout the series. Instantly on Harry like white on rice, he left no room for the boy to breathe, least not without losing points from Gryffindor. If he wasn't subtracting points, he was demeaning Harry, constantly bringing him down for looking and behaving like his father. And then you have the big whopper of a moment: he killed Dumbledore in what looks like cold blood. Now, if he wasn't already blacklisted by most, having him kill Dumbledore certainly earned him a permanent mark on his record in the form of a large red smear. Yikes! No way could we feel any pity for this cold-hearted man. Right?

Wrong! Thanks to the lovely J.K. Rowling, we got to see a side of Snape we half-hoped for, and fueled sobbed for. While we gained insight into his tormented past and his unliked persona (very much like Voldemort, mind you) we also got to see him love, something no man who was heartless could ever do. We were granted the ability to see him hold a never-ending torch for Lily Potter, and his undying promise to protect the only remaining piece of her in the form of, you guessed it, Harry! In those few moments of his past, you probably felt the small black hole you had reserved in your heart just for him expand into a big red heart of gold, amazed that even after seventeen years, he was still carrying a torch for a woman he would never have. That, to me, earns every inch of sympathy I can feel.

That's it for today for me, but that doesn't mean the fun is over! Remember guys, this is a Scavenger Hunt, to keep your eyes peeled for those answers to the questions I posted earlier this week! They're on all the blogs and will pop up as the days go on, so keep 'em saved somewhere so when the times comes, you submit them and earn a prize! YAHOOOOO!

And with that, I leave a question for all of you readers! Have you ever had a character you hated so much, but still somewhere held a soft spot for them? Were they a bad guy or just a tragically misbehaving good guy? Leave your comments below!


  1. Well done! I keep seeing Snape there, holding Lily's body. *Sniff* Also Draco, hesitating before joining his parents. Wow. Depth of character! She is the master.

  2. Thank you for the compliment! And I know! I can picture it from the movie. It makes me want to cling to the nearest box of Kleenex and bury my face into it. She really did add a crazy amount to depth, even to the background characters. You know you've done well as a master of characters when you have fans who can still recall Susan Bones, one of the smallest background characters that comes to mind.

  3. Great post, Alivia. I think you've hit on one aspect of JKR's craft that she improved as time went on through the series. Some of her baddies did start out rather one-dimensional. But she kept molding them and weaving in their tormented backstory. Even though Voldemort was the only one she called truly evil, you still have to think about what made him that way.

    Thanks for the great insight!

  4. You mean girl!!! How could you make me cry over a bunch of bad guys?! lol

    Serious now... I see what you're saying. Though I think NOTHING that happens to us can ever excuse such things as murder and bullying, I do understand how these people have come to be so... evil. Beside, Draco was never truly evil. Being a bully doesn't make you evil, it just makes you a coward..

    Also, I'll just say this: Snape to me was never evil. Not even when he killed Dumbledore. Deep down inside (you probably think I'm lying now) I knew he was good all along. So he was always in my heart... Ick, no more sappy now!

    Anyway, I love this post. I want to eat your face, you wonderful, sweet, and bizarre Potterhead you. *hugs*

  5. @SP Sipal,

    My point exactly. Draco did start out very childish and bratty with his bullying, but he was eleven, so not much was expected. I completely forgot to add in how we know that we feel bad for him too because of how he confided in Moaning Myrtle when he was given the task of killing Dumbledore and was branded a Death Eater. But you are right; even though Voldemort was the only one truly labeled evil, you still feel a bit hearing why he turned into what he'd become. Makes you wonder if Harry had been placed in the same or similar situations (i.e. Orphanage vs. Aunt and Uncle etc.) if he would have still played out as the good guy!


    YOU WILL SOB FOR THEM! Haha! If I got you, or anyone to feel a bit for those three guys, then my mission was complete! -happy dance-

    You are fully right that nothing can excuse bullying and murdering people, trust me, people try to do it in the justice system all the time. But it does explain a lot of their behaviors, no? To think, with the proper environment, people can turn out completely different.

    -gasp- You liked Snape the whole time?! BLASPHEMY. I never liked him one bit until the last book. J.K. Rowling had me seething over this guy, wishing I could put the Cruciatus Curse on him for some laughs. But the redemption at the end did bring a touching tear to my eye. And then Alan Rickman played it in the movies and I sobbed like a baby. Haha!

    Noooo, don't eat my face! It tastes like chlorine from the local community pool! Ick!

  6. Great post Alivia! JKR was the master at making us love to hate the villains in HP. And even those we KNEW were bad, there was always a shred of doubt. For instance, with Snape, didn't we always sort of wonder? And then when Harry saw that his own father wasn't perfect through Snape's memories, JKR sort of switched the table around on us.

    As for Draco - I'm still hoping the kid can be redeemed. He was definitely wavering at the end. I guess we'll wait for the next series with Albus Potter at Hogwarts and see how Draco has raised his own child. In his own image or through lessons learned?

    Ah....the story never ends....

  7. Awesome post Alivia!

    I actually don't hate Draco...I sort of came to realize around the sixth book that he was really just a scared kid that didn't know what other options he had. By the last book I actually didn't...mind him. Even if he was a little prat.

    Snape...oh Snape. Alan Rickman did such an incredible job in the movie...the memory scenes were so emotional, I don't

    I'm glad you covered the "bad guys." We don't appreciate them enough. :)

  8. Yes, I love how they showed Draco's hesitation in the movie. I think they did a good job with both Draco and Snape in the movies.

  9. Nice to find your blog and great post. The Snape turnaround has to be one of the most powerful takes on the trope in recent history. It was very skillfully crafted. It's very easy to apply cliches and simple tropes to make a villain have depth but it takes severe skill to pull it off well.

  10. I fully agree, and have to admit to having a weakness for "bad boys" in real life too, but that's another story. I always thought Jo was a bit the same way, and she understood the truth that there is always some good in everyone. I was always loyal to Snape, even getting into a few debates about him :) From the beginning I felt some odd sympathy for him and actually thought his character was hilarious at times. Of course, I am fluent in sarcasm dripping with disdain :D He was obviously misunderstood, even if he was a big jerk sometimes. Dumbledore trusted him and that was good enough for me!
    As for Voldy, I really wish the films had delved into the whole Marvolo story more so film viewers would *get* him like we do.

  11. One of my favorite bad girl characters was Beatrice in WIDEACRE. Crazy, wild, selfish, and I loved every minute of it.