R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the fandom

So there I was getting the baby ready for bed tonight, not thinking about anything in particular, tra la la, when all of a sudden I was mugged by two humongous HP plot bunnies. Did you think I'd pretty much forgotten about HP for the time being and was just sitting here waiting for Book 7? I bet you did. I know I did.

The premise of the first and lesser bunny was this: set between Book 6 and 7, an HP remake of The Fugitive in which Snape is hunted all over England by a relentless Tommy Lee Jones Mad-Eye Moody, hell-bent on bringing him to justice for the murder of Albus Dumbledore. Way back after GoF I used to want to write Snape and Mad-Eye tag-teaming it on some top-secret mission, but man, this would be even better.

However, the second one really freaked me out when I thought of it, and the more I thought about it from various angles the more fearfully plausible it became, until I began to think that if JKR doesn't do something along these lines in Book 7 I won't just be disappointed, I'll actually be surprised. I ran it past lizbee and cesario and they agreed that it was definitely worth posting for public consumption, so here it is, the plot bunny that ate the fandom:

You know how we've all been wondering why Dumbledore would allow Snape to be so unkind to Harry -- in effect, to give Harry every reason to hate him? And you know how everybody keeps telling Harry that in order to cast one of the Unforgivables... say, maybe Avada Kedavra... you have to really mean it. Now, given that Harry is not exactly the cerebral type, nor is he the best or most powerful wizard around, what would be the simplest and most reliable way to ensure that when the time came, he would be both able and willing to kill one Severus Snape, under similar circumstances and for ultimately the same reasons as Snape was called upon to kill one Albus Dumbledore?

Now don't get me wrong, here -- I am not saying that Snape is really all sunshine and fluffy bunnies, and that his maliciousness toward Harry is all or even mostly an act. In fact I doubt that the idea of bullying Harry to such an extreme degree would have occurred to Snape at all, much less struck him as foolproof, if he didn't already have lots of reasons to want to be mean to the misbegotten offspring of James and Lily Potter. And, of course, we've seen that Snape is quite capable of being nasty to people other than Harry as well, so in that respect the fanonical idea of Sekritly!Sensitive!Snape just doesn't wash no matter how many logical reasons you come up with to try and explain his behaviour. I'm afraid that Severus Snape, dare I say it, has Issues.

However, I do think there's some merit to the idea that Snape might be deliberately singling Harry out for specially nasty treatment, and refusing to encourage Harry's sympathy or pity toward him in any way*, because he's preparing the boy to kill him when the time is right. It's a ruthlessly expedient kind of plan, very much in line with what we know of Snape's character and behaviour to date. I don't think it would be nearly as appealing to Dumbledore, but I could see him reluctantly allowing it because there doesn't seem to be any viable alternative and it is, after all, Snape's life that's the issue here. Better he die by Harry's hand and strike a telling blow against Voldemort in the process, than die a slow and agonizing death by horcrux-poisoning (similar to how Dumbledore would have died without Snape's assistance) and perhaps fail to complete the task of wholly destroying that piece of Voldemort's soul (the latter is my theory: I think Dumbledore had to die not only because he was already fatally magically injured but because he was infected with part of Voldemort's soul, and only by dying could he ensure its ultimate destruction).

Mind you, even if Dumbledore felt he had no choice but to permit Snape to bait Harry in this way, I can't help but think that he would have been secretly thinking and hoping all the while that Snape was underestimating Harry's capacity for love and forgiveness. I'm sure his dream would be that Harry would refuse to AK Snape when it came down to it -- and that together they might somehow find another, happier way to deal with the situation and destroy the horcrux(es) in question before all was lost. And if Jo does write something along these lines, I'm sure that's exactly what will happen -- Harry will want to kill Snape, and Snape will do everything in his power to goad Harry into using the Killing Curse against him, but in the end Harry won't be able to do it. Snape may very well still die in some heroic fashion before all's said and done, but not by Harry's hand.

But anyway, getting back to the main point -- if this was Snape's plan, right from the time that he and Dumbledore first discussed the issue of the horcruxes and the desperate need to destroy them all before Voldemort could be defeated, then you can see why he would be so enraged, even hellishly tormented, at Harry's infamous accusation near the end of HBP. Because a coward is someone too weak and frightened to face the risk of dying, while Snape (like Dumbledore before him) has not just chosen to sacrifice his life for the greater cause, but has been moving all the necessary pieces into place for months, even years. Every time he looks at Harry he knows he is looking his own death in the face, he's groomed and prepared the boy to become his executioner, and yet the wretched brat has the nerve to call him coward?

I'm sure Snape has to be involved in the destruction of the horcruxes somehow. Harry is simply not powerful or knowledgeable enough on the subject to know where to begin, and seeing that the destruction of just one horcrux ultimately claimed the life of the greatest wizard of the age, it's hard to imagine that Harry could get rid of the remaining horcruxes without a whole lot of powerful help and some terrible sacrifices along the way. And with Dumbledore gone, who is more knowledgeable on the subject of horcruxes, of ensuring their destruction and healing or at least limiting the injuries caused in the process, than Severus Snape?

I had a few more thoughts about other possible casualties of the horcrux-destroying process, as well as what Snape's Patronus might be and why Jo doesn't want to tell us what it is until Book 7, but those can wait because they're not really important to the theory.

* Is this another reason why Snape might be enraged that Harry had pried into his Pensieve memory? Not just because it was humiliating or because Harry had shamefully violated his privacy, but because he feared it might cause Harry to pity him and so ruin everything?

So there you have it. Fire away.
Tags: hp, hp book 7, plot bunnies, snape, theories
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