What became of Moaning Myrtle when the whole Voldemort vs. Hogwarts things went down?
Nearly Headless Nick?
Were there phantasm casualties?
Did anyone care?
I recently had the opportunity to watch all of the HP films, and there’s something bothering me. Now, my being bothered isn’t particularly special or unusual… there’s usually something bothering me… on any given day, there’s probably something bothering me… but I noticed in the films that the two major heroes (Harry and Dumbledore) were, in point of fact, not necessarily the heroes.
I warn you, I’m going to get a skoch spoilery, so if reading spoilers for films that came out years ago will bother you, I suggest that you stop here.
It could be said that Neville Longbottom and Severus Snape were the real heroes of the tale.
Neville… mistreated, put-upon, stuffed-full-of-awesome Neville… was consistently brave and honorable, and consistently the over-looked, buffoonish plant-lover.
Neville does not get a love interest.
Neville rules the underground Hogwarts roost toward the end of the films, and little is said about his leadership.
Neville fronted off Voldemort. In public. With a bloody ear and a bad leg.
Neville saves two lives in one fell swoop… and is there a moment where the world stops and everyone says, “Good on ya” or “You’re amazing” or “My goodness, you’re attractive” because it’s about time that we all stopped pretending that Neville was an ugly kid?
The film rolls on, desperate to find Harry who was off being the chosen one while Neville held down the fort.
I ask you… is that fair?
Out of all of the deaths we were privy to witness, was there any death more horrifically violent than Snape’s?
Up until that point in the films, I had actually believed that Snape lived to receive his heroic propers before the closing credits, so to see him die… not a quick, sanitary death like all of the others (except Dobby… poor thing, that was rough), but an absolutely brutal, nightmarish death… just about killed me.
The others watching the film probably did not see me cry.
I cry very discretely.
The trick is in not touching your face and letting the moisture evaporate, and for heaven’s sake DON’T SNIFFLE LIKE YOU’RE A KINDERGARTENER WITH A HEAD COLD.
Snape was a very nuanced “villain” in my opinion… I never 100% believed that he sided with the dark, simply because, despite the everlasting snark, he always somehow managed not to actually wound Harry in any way, and as it turns out, Snape is revealed to be responsible for saving Harry multiple times.
Post mortem, of course.
Do we, the film goers, get to watch everyone that remained at the ruined Hogwarts tip their caps to Snape, who did everything Dumbledore did, just backwards and very pale and as the object of everyone’s scorn?
Did we get to see a funeral for this tormented, chronically misunderstood and perennially unloved warrior?
Did we even get to see a finally at peace Snape (perhaps with a bit of a tan) in the afterlife (which apparently resembled a rather disappointing train station)?
Because Harry and Dumbledore were the golden ones.
I enjoyed the movies, but I have to confess that if I ever needed a fictional example of the real life tendency for good to go unnoticed and unrewarded, I received it here in spades.
Never mind spades… there were an entire BACKHOES OF INJUSTICE.We overlook people who aren’t handsome… who are quiet and a bit clumsy… who don’t come from famous (or infamous) stock and don’t have the charisma to command scores of followers. We ignore the plodders, who do the work while the shiny stand up front and shine. We ignore the gloomy who never smile because they’re gloomy and never smile, and it wouldn’t occur to us that their depressive nature and pained expression is because they’re doing the dirty work that we’re too good for.
I found myself almost disliking Harry and Dumbledore for their consistent ability to be the most important person in the room, despite the blood, sweat, tears, and intelligence of scores of others who tried harder.
By “almost”, I mean that I totally disliked them and I’m not sorry.
Shouldn’t the measure of a hero not be that they were born with a destiny, but that they out-tried and out-fought everyone else and toiled behind the scenes in ridicule?
Is it possible that we often miss who the story should really be about?
Maybe those of us who stand out front are less deserving of praise that those who are consistently overlooked and undervalued.
Maybe Snape should have lived to see his name cleared, and Neville should have been sending a tiny Longbottom to school with Harry’s child.
I have succeeded in taking a film with a “happy ending” (not for Longbottom and Snape, of course) and turned it into a distressing treatise on the seedy underbelly of hero worship.
You may proceed with your day.