Today is Professor Snape’s birthday. If he had survived the Battle of Hogwarts (and the intervening years), he would have been 51 years old today.
Last year, when I inserted the Silver Doe graphic for the Professor’s 50th birthday, I was still excited about discussing the Harry Potter series, and still very excited about talking about Severus Snape.
In the year since, I have participated in debates on the Chamber of Secrets forum and have grown weary of being told that if I like Snape, it means that I am confusing him with Alan Rickman. If I like Snape, it means that I hate Harry or I hate Neville or I hate… (the list continues onward). If I like Snape, it means that I think everything is all about Snape all the time. If I like Snape, it means that I am an immoral, delusional loser.
I have learned that Harry was correct about Snape throughout the series and only wrong at the end, that Snape was lazy for not writing a Potions text, that Snape had it coming to him when James Potter assaulted him in Snape’s Worst Memory. Most importantly, I have learned that every objectively good thing Snape ever did was actually something evil.
I have never witnessed such a systematic skewing of a literary text or a literary character. Harry’s final judgment could not have been clearer when he named his son “Albus Severus.” Yet I have learned that Harry’s final judgment is actually either muddy, irrelevant, or just simply delusional.
I have no idea why it’s so important to spend hours and hours locked behind closed doors dreaming up previously undreamt-up reasons to hate a character, or why anyone would want to boast about being less forgiving than Harry. All I know is that the Snape discussion often feels like an assault by Dementors, attempting to steal all the joy (or suck the soul) out of the Harry Potter universe.
I have learned that my only defense against being sucked into that world of hate is to cast a Patronus and shield my mind.
At any rate, this is no time for depressing ruminations. This is Professor Snape’s birthday. So…
Happy Birthday, Professor, Sir!