Friday, April 07, 2006

The Cold November Rain

Yes, it’s April 7th, but it’s so dark and miserable that it might as well be pre-Thanksgiving and just above freezing. It’s one of those days where the cars’ tail lights and even the traffic lights are reflecting off the rain-soaked roads—at 9:30 in the morning! Okay, yes, it’s kind of pretty. But it’s killing my sinuses and making me want to hug my mug of tea close to me and doze a little while I inhale the steam. Back to bed with a book, anyone?


I am reading Prisoner of Azkaban with Teddy (we’re in the Shrieking Shack right now), so I admit to having Harry Potter on the brain, but am I the only person who heard about the Judas papers and thought of Professor Snape?


I’m looking forward to making dinner for two of my library school friends tonight. One has graduated already, and is working as a Reference and Teen Services librarian, and she’s so young (23) that this is her first “real” job! She’s adorable and enthusiastic, and I can’t wait to hear what she’s been up to. The other is still slogging through school as I am, but she’s full-time and taking Education classes as well, because she wants to be a school librarian. I used to think I wanted that, too. And then I realized that wanting those sweet school-day hours and summers off isn’t a good enough reason to work with kids if you don’t like them all that much.

And that’s pretty much that for me.


BabelBabe said...

The Gnostic gospels are fascinating. Elaine Pagels just spoke at the university where I work, and a coworker of mine who is getting her PhD in theology took the time to explain the Gnostic belief system to me a bit. They believe in denial of the body, much like the Shakers - and look where that got them (although with better furniture). Their views on women and gender are crazy but interesting.

I admit - please forgive me - a bit of tender spot for Judas, probably predicated on multiple viewings of Jesus Christ Superstar. I always felt he got a bum rap - he didn't have a choice, did he? He had to do what he did.

Hmmm. But if we peg that to Snape - then we get into all sorts of religious allegory nonsense for HP, like that in Narnia, and I am not willing to do that. I don't want Harry or Dumbledore to be a Christ figure.

and yes, it's a disgusting day outside. and Segundo is clamoring to go play outside. Sigh.

Gina said...

I don't see Harry or Dumbledore as Christ-like. I see them as perfect examples of characters in all hero myths. They're Frodo and Gandalf, and Luke and Obi-Wan, and even Superman and Jor-El (that's his name, right?).

Comparing Snape to the Judas of the gnostic gospels comforts me.

BabelBabe said...

I have the saem weakness for them both : )

Have you read any Joseph Campbell?

Peg said...

This is the best comment thread ever.

I am wondering if either of you read (or, sigh, saw the movie) The Last Temptation of Christ? The book, of course, is better. The movie is still worth seeing if you haven't. But the book! The writing is gorgeous. I wish I could read Greek, because the preface goes into great detail how hard it is to translate properly. If it's half as beautiful as it is in English...

I love the idea that Snape did what he did because he had to. That it was, in fact, the loving and righteous thing to do. It goes against every grain of textbook villainy, and I love that. BB, I get your point about not wanting to religious-ize Harry Potter, but it's a wonderful idea to contemplate. JKR will tell us eventually (I was going to write "soon enough" but deleted it).

Jeez Louise this comment is long and I haven't even mentioned Joseph Campbell... the idea that so much of modern organized religion depends so much on belief in the literal, which then sadly robs it of its real power and beauty... that changed my whole way of thinking.

Gina said...

I read a wee bit of Campbell in college, but nothing since. And I read The Last Temptation of Christ right after Teddy was born, as one of those bids to retain my brain despite having an infant. I rememebr that it blew me away, but not all that much else.

One of my fears for the 7th HP book is that Harry will find and kill Snape, and then find out Snape was really only doing what he had to do--and that he *didn't* betray Dumbledore. You know? How devastating would that be?

andrea said...

more importantly, what are you making for dinner tonight?

jess said...

Thanks for the link to that article - I hadn't heard about that. I think the gnostic gospels are fascinating because they present such a flip side - a sense of what modern Christianity might look like if things had turned in a different direction. But Pagel's little comment about it still being practiced in Eastern monasticism just made me roll my eyes because we're always hearing (at least us non-monastics in the church) about wiping gnosticism out. There's an element of denying the body, no doubt, but in terms of how we view Jesus as man & God...gnosticism doesn't fit at all.

The papers do make Snape sound very Judas-like, I agree. Gina, don't even suggest that Harry will kill Snape. That would be horrific.

Gina said...

Baked ziti. You're welcome to head over for leftovers after Avi goes to bed.

And, yes, Jess, it *would* be horrific if Harry killed Snape. I don't want Harry to kill anyone, and I think I'll get my wish, considering that destroying Voldemort wouldn't actually be killing him. You know?

Joke said...

I wouldn't Harry to kill Snape. I'd like Werewolf Lupin to do it, instead. Not too tidily, either.

Or better yet, Neville, with only a toothpick and a rubber duck.


P.S. Blame my Y chromosome if'n y'wanna, but I UTTERLY LOATHE Snape. It is my belief he is playing LV and HP against each other.

Katya said...

No -- because I have a soft spot for Snape that my husband thinks is insane, I think that what Snape did was something he and Dumbledore agreed upon in advance. Plus there is so much phoenix imagery that surrounds Dumbledore and when he was buried, didn't his tomb become the color of ash?

Joke said...

I don't care what Dumbledore may or may not have agreed with Snape. I want him dead, preferably from gout, pleuresy or consumption.


P.S. But I am adamant SS is in it for himself AND I have evidence to prove it. (What? You think I'd date a platoon of English majors and not pick up some skills?)

BabelBabe said...

Joke, that reminds me of what H often says: "Anyone who wonders what is wrong with the public school system in America has clearly never dated an education major."

Gina said...

Don't tease us with evidence and then not present it, Joke--what kind of savage *are* you?

All kinds of talk of the hero myth here this evening. P, the younger of the library school friends, is very bothered by the fact that women don't star in these hero myth novels. I offered up Wrinkle in Time and (which she accepted) and His Dark Materials (rejected because she feels it becomes more Will's story than Lyra's). Island of the Blue Dolphins was accepted as well.

Othe suggestions?

BabelBabe said...

I disagree with her about His Dark Materials. It is Lyra's story through and through.

I can't think of any others off the top ofmy head. I suppose Anne and Emily don't count? What about Katherine Paterson's novels? Will you guys jump all over me if I dare suggest that the hero archetype is more a guy thing whereas girls prefer empathic characters, like Anne, Emily, or Paterosn's Leslie. And so authors lean one way or the other...

Joke said...


Briefly. We know Snape has done things--even recently--to hurt Voldemort. That's a given. But he has also, quite subtly, done things recently to undermine the Order.

Example: The occlumency lessons. Voldemort needed Harry to go to the Dept. of Mysteries and when the lessons started that was not a particularly likely thing. However, those lessons made Harry's mind MORE (not less) open to going to the Dept. of Mysteries.


Joke said...

P.S. That whole "hero myth" thing, reminds me of the Great Epics. That means...that's right: descent motif. Harry will cross the veil and meet up with Dumbledore and Sirius and basically go all Orpheus-in-the-Underworld on us.