Snape is my new crush. There. I said it out loud. Well, I put it in writing anyway. Like many readers, I feel an intense connection to Severus Snape every time I read through the second half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I just wasn’t prepared for the effect that his story would have on me when presented on a really, really big screen.
I wasn’t one of those who made it for the midnight viewings. I’d promised my niece that we would watch it together. (We’re both very bookish and deeply devoted to all things JK Rowling.) After I made the promise, it was a bit hard to keep, as she wouldn’t be coming to visit ‘til July 18th, and the rest of the family were too sick to go until the 20th.
But this past Wednesday, taking advantage of cheaper matinee pricing, we all marched down to the local Cinemark. I knew I’d be sad. I’d read a tweet by Cheryl Klein (continuity editor on later HP’s) where she compared her night at the premiere to watching your best friends getting beaten up for two hours. So, yeah, I knew it would probably be a tear-jerker. For some people.
But I wasn’t prepared.
Oh, my goodness, from the moment Alan Rickman first walked on the screen, and without his having uttered any words, you could feel Snape’s inner turmoil. It was painful, hearing him deliver that initial warning about not sheltering Harry Potter. Okay, you know what? I’m just going to break every rule I learned in school about reviewing a film and full-on talk about Snape like he was a real person,. But didn’t you feel it? How conflicted he was as he made those demands of all of the Hogwarts students? I got shivers.
And I kind of wanted to slap Harry’s face and tell him to behave when he accused Severus of the wrong crime moments later. (Didn’t you want to shake Harry by the shoulders?) I love Rowling’s Harry Potter deeply, so I’ve got to admire the directing behind a scene that made me want to give Harry a wake-up slap.
And then the pensieve scene. Oh my. Oh I so did not see that reaction coming. Liquid just started gushing from my eyes and nose. I was shaking with tears. And, of course, trying to do it quietly so as not to disturb other people near me. But I couldn’t stop. I think the tears started the moment I heard young Severus’ voice. So small, so earnest. So obviously over-the-top in love with Lily, his one friend in all the wide world. And Snape’s anguish when he comes to Dumbledore knowing Lily’s been killed? “They put their trust in the wrong person, just like someone else I know.” (Thanks, Dumbledore. Here’s some salt and lemon juice you can throw in there while you’re at it.)
Which brings us to the moment when Snape discovers the dead body of his best friend, his compass-star, his one true love. I can’t bring that scene to mind without tearing up. Which would not be good because I’m not a great typist to begin with. So, ku-dos to you-dos, Hollywood, for taking those unbelievably painful pages from Rowling’s masterpiece and turning them into something even harder to bear. Because like Aristotle pointed out, a good cry can be a good thing. Even if you end up with a crush on Severus Snape.