Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Posting at HogwartsProfessor: I had initially put up this quote at BabyBlueOnline.org from Wuthering Heights:

“Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you. ” -From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

But the more I think about Snape’s love for Lily, the more it seems to me to be more than “unrequited” love - though he did suffer greatly. But it seems to me that Snape’s love for Lily was an example of agape love, that he put his own suffering aside (though most often just barely), to protect her son at all costs. In that way, he is more like Sydney Carton - who sacrificed his life for the woman he loved. Heathcliff never does that. Snape is a brooding Heathcliff who does not let his love consume him (though it could have done that), but instead focuses outside himself to protect and help Harry to the very end.

Now we will read the first six with new eyes, as Harry has new eyes in the end. All those times that Snape was staring in to Harry’s eyes may not have been about legimency, but looking at the eyes of Lily - which had to be extremely painful for him. His last dying request to have those eyes look at him and that is the last thing he sees are Lily’s eyes.

Snape has to hide any affection he might feel for Harry from Snape - and so he channels all his hatred of James into that cover. We never, ever, hear from Snape how Harry might be like Lily (and is like her very much). That would just completely give him away. And the fact that Lily was excellent at potions (one wonders if Snape became excellent as well to impress her) and Harry didn’t take it seriously was so frustrating to him. In Potions Class Harry did behave like James - though Snape could never give him room to be any different because to do so, to talk as Slughorn did would have completely give him away. Voldemort never suspected - even after he killed him - that Snape was a spy. Snape successfully carried out his mission - he saved Lily’s son and he never betrayed Dumbledore.



RSchllnbrg said...

Rowling has impressed me over the years as using very subtle Christian themes within her works, reminding me of the discussions between Lewis and Tolkein over each's approach. Tolkien thought allegory to be a lesser means for getting the message across than his process. I've certainly gained much from both authors, but enjoy the process of seeking through Tolkien, and discovering ever deeper truths.

Always wondered whether Rowling was being subtle or simply was staying far from the Christian narrative. Have not heard much about her connection to God in the media, and that's fine ... otherwise there would be more of a sense of expectation from her books, less surprise at the themes as they pop up.

I enjoyed the Kings Cross imagery. It did steal a bit (or mirror perhaps) from a similar part of the Matrix trilogy where Neo is between life and death in a train station where trains do not arrive (or is that more of a Sartresque touch for us moderns?)... but then Lewis would have enjoyed how myths all reflect the one truth of Christ in their own way. I know the less subtle Christian churches will never pause long enough to appreciate Rowling's work, but the finale should allow the rest of us to discuss the nature of agape, of sacrifice, and my personal favorite, how the imagery of Harry not fighting in the forrest sounds a lot like the image of the tiny lamb in Revelations. That's the tiny lamb who is slaughtered, only to rise up and win over the devil. In some little read works on Revelation (such as Power of the Lamb, printed by Cowley) a central theme in the finale of the Bible is the struggle between the power of the lamb and the power of the beast. The latter is manipulative and controlling, seeking to dominate. The power of the lamb is instead vulnerable and self-less, and in the end, it triumphs. As does Harry.

There's much more to do here, and yes, it will now be imperative to go back and reread the previous books to understand. Much as the apostles did not understand until after Easter all that the Lord had spoken to them ...

Blessings and best to you all.

BabyBlue said...

You're really hit on it, Roger. The Christian imagery is just all over this final book - as well as biblical themes of the wilderness journey, temptations in the wilderness, sacrifice, resurrection, redemption. She's just given herself away.

Imagine, all over the world millions are reading this book, introducing a new generation to Christian imagery. Harry is like "Christian" in Pilgrims Progress - the Christian disciple following Christ to the cross - to King's Cross. "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live."