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Manifesto

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago

This Snape/Lupin manifesto was originally written in September, 2004, for the ship_manifesto community on Livejournal. It will be revised and updated to reflect current canon for this wiki.

 

Title: Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

Author: McKay

Spoilers: through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Notes: All quotes come from the US hardback editions.

PoA = Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

GoF = Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

OotP = Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

ETA: Belated thanks to everyone on my f-list who helped me with the resource list!

Disclaimer: While I've tried to give a general overview of the characters, their canonical interaction, and some fanon conventions, I'm writing this from the perspective of someone who enjoys happy endings and romance; there are other takes on the pairing than those I'm representing here, and I don't claim to speak for all Snape/Lupin shippers.

 

 

He is touched by Darkness; he hides a dark secret from his youth that has shaped the man he has become; he wears a mask to protect himself from being further hurt after all the scorn, fear, and derision he has suffered in the past.

 

The question is, which man are we talking about: Severus Snape or Remus Lupin? The answer: both.

 

There is a dual appeal to many of those who ship Snape/Lupin; not only is there the charged heat of decades worth of anger between them that offers a challenge -- a tangled history that must be unraveled to help them tumble into bed or head-over-heels for each other -- but there is also an inherent rapport between the two men, certain fundamental similarities that can be used to bring them together and help them understand each other well enough to become friends or lovers or, ideally, both.

 

"I was a very small boy when I received the bite. My parents tried everything, but in those days, there was no cure." (PoA, pg. 352)

 

Remus John Lupin has a secret: he's a werewolf. Not many people know the truth, but Snape does. He's seen Lupin's other form up close and personal thanks to a pivotal event that occurred while they were attending Hogwarts together: "Severus was very interested in where I went every month... We were in the same year, you know, and we -- er -- didn't like each other very much... Anyway, Snape had seen me crossing the grounds with Madam Pomfrey one evening as she led me toward the Whomping Willow to transform. Sirius thought it would be -- er -- amusing, to tell Snape all he had to do was prod the knot on the tree trunk with a long stick, and he'd be able to get in after me. Well, of course, Snape tried it -- if he'd got as far as this house, he'd have met a fully grown werewolf" (PoA, pg. 357). Fortunately for Snape, James Potter came along to get him out before he could be bitten or killed; however, Snape has blamed both Sirius Black and Remus Lupin for trying to kill him ever since, although Lupin is in fact blameless, having not known Sirius' intentions prior to his transformation.

 

Snape strode forward, past Dumbledore, pulling up the left sleeve of his robes as he went. "There," said Snape harshly. "There. The Dark Mark. It is not as clear as it was an hour or so ago, when it burned black, but you can still see it. Every Death Eater had the sign burned into him by the Dark Lord. It was a means of distinguishing one another, and his means of summoning us to him." (GoF, pgs 709-10)

 

Severus Snape also has a secret: he's a former Death Eater who now acts as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. We don't know why Snape decided to join the Death Eaters or why he decided to switch sides during the First War (there is speculation based on hints in the books that he is the one who warned that Harry's parents were in danger), but we've been given glimpses into his past that reveal he hasn't had an easy life. In PoA, we learn that Sirius Black sent him off to face a werewolf. In OotP, we learn that Sirius and James Potter habitually attacked him without provocation because they didn't like him, although his attitude certainly didn't do anything to smooth things over. He calls Lily a "mudblood" (an insulting and hurtful derogatory term in the wizarding world) and refuses her help even though he's outnumbered two to one and disarmed, and no one else is rushing to his rescue, not even Lupin, who is a prefect and has the authority and responsibility to put a stop to it.

 

This scenario, which occurs in Chapter 28: "Snape's Worst Memory", is indicative of how these men are two sides of the same coin. Having suffered prejudice ever since being bitten, Lupin just wants to be liked and accepted, and he's willing to turn a blind eye to his friends' behavior, even when he disagrees with them, for the sake of avoiding conflict and not risking the friendship which for him is rare and precious.

 

Snape, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care about being liked; he is distrustful and fiercely independent, continuing to fight Sirius and James to the bitter end rather than admit defeat. The reasons for this could stem from the glimpses of his childhood that Harry sees during an Occlumency lesson: "a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner... a greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies... a girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick." (OotP, pg. 592). Some writers have speculated that Snape's father was an alcoholic, abusive, or both, and while we don't have conclusive proof of this, it does seem that Snape had a difficult home life, and that he has always been unpopular, a regular target for ridicule and humiliation.

 

As a teacher, Lupin is as loved as Snape is hated; even two years after his resignation, his former students still consider him one of the best teachers they've ever had, and during his year-long tenure at Hogwarts, he quickly becomes the most popular, well-liked teacher in the school, contrasted to Snape, whom every student save those in his own House loathes. However, during that year, Snape and Lupin are connected in a way unknown to all but a few: Snape brews the Wolfsbane potion, which allows Lupin to retain his rational human mind after he transforms during the full moon.

 

For a fanfiction writer, this pairing is ripe for exploration. On the surface, these two men are opposites, their tragic and complex history providing a natural source of drama and conflict wherein Snape's temper crashes into Lupin's polite calm with potentially explosive results. There's no need to create angst for them; it's built in, ready to be used straight from the pages of the books themselves.

 

Dig a little deeper, however, and the writer soon realizes that they have a lot more in common than it initially seems: both of them are tainted by Dark Magic, both of them are outsiders, both of them face fear and hatred because of what they are, both of them share an interest in the Dark Arts, both of them are intelligent, both of them are inclined to be loners (albeit more by necessity than nature, at least in Lupin's case), neither of them have had easy lives, and neither of them are capable of being emotionally unguarded or honest. They're both too accustomed to hiding their respective secrets to trust anyone easily, especially considering they know the potential consequences of telling the truth about themselves. The only real difference is how their masks manifest: Snape's is made of bitterness and anger, while Lupin's is created out of calm politeness. But they stem from the same source: fear of rejection. Both masks are firmly in place, and both serve to keep the wearer safe and to keep others at arm's length.

 

Both of them also use words as weapons and as shields; Snape uses insults and vitriol, while Lupin uses courtesy to keep people at a safe distance. Lupin is, in fact, one of the (very) few characters who can interact with Snape without losing his temper or getting ruffled, which annoys Snape to no end, considering he counts on being able to rile people and make them lose control -- and control is a very big issue for both men. Lupin exerts control over himself, because of his inner beast and the fear it can create in others, but Snape seeks to exert control over others rather than himself -- one reason why he's considered to be a tyrant in the classroom -- which frequently results in people around him getting flustered or irate, or in Snape's behavior devolving into a snarling, spitting rage when he finds he isn't in control of a given situation.

 

At this point in the series, Snape and Lupin are the only ones who remain of the group of six who were connected by the war and by fate; James, Lily, and Sirius are all dead, and the Peter Pettigrew whom Remus once called a friend is as good as dead, replaced by Wormtail, the Dark Lord's right hand man. For a writer, that's an ideal reason for these two survivors to draw together. Lupin, who still craves acceptance and friendship, might seek to make peace with Snape, or a joint mission might help them lay old ghosts to rest and forge a new bond.

 

Some writers even theorize that there was something going on between the two of them back in school. Certainly, there is little canonical evidence that Lupin hated Snape, at least not as much as Sirius and James did. Although he tells Harry that, "We were in the same year, you know, and we -- er -- didn't like each other very much", in the context of his explanation, it can be argued that Lupin was using "we" to refer to the Marauders (James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter) and Snape collectively, which is not the same thing as Lupin saying he didn't like Snape very much or using "we" to refer only to Snape and himself, especially since his pattern seems to be to put an "er" in front of things he says which may be hedging or downplaying on his part, or something that he doesn't necessarily agree with. In OotP, he's described as "still staring down at his book, though his eyes were not moving and a faint frown line had appeared between his eyebrows" (pg. 645) when James and Sirius decided to harass Snape because they were bored. Later he admits, "Did I ever have the guts to tell you Sirius and James I thought you were out of order?" (pg. 671) when Harry asks him and Sirius about the event.

 

Thus there's wiggle room for writers who want to see Lupin's sympathy as a sign of something more, or at least a potential springboard to something more. Snape, on the other hand, clearly does hate Lupin; he forces Lupin to resign by letting Lupin's secret slip so that everyone in the school knows about it, and he even threatens to turn Lupin over to the Dementors along with Sirius at the end of PoA, having gone a little mad at the prospect of having his revenge on Sirius at last. But having the hatred one-sided makes things a little easier, and there's always the idea that hatred isn't always just hatred to play with. But even if Snape really does hate Lupin at first, there are myriad ways of getting him past that hatred.

 

They could resolve their differences after a knock-down, drag-out fight during which they finally clear the air between them once and for all, which paves the way for hatred to be replaced by a more tender emotion. Remus could decide to pursue Severus, wooing Severus and eventually winning him. Some life-altering event could give Severus a change of heart that causes him to see his life and everyone he knows differently, including Remus. They could be brought together by necessity -- stuck together after being captured by Death Eaters or forced to go on a mission for the Order together -- or by a magical bond or by a potions accident or a curse. With magic an integral part of the canon universe, it gives the writer all kinds of mystical ways of bringing them together.

 

Also fun for writers to play with is the idea that both men have passionate natures hidden beneath their masks. We know canon!Snape is passionate; he flies into furies, especially when it comes to Harry Potter's latest exploits. His passion is channeled into anger, but, asks the writer, what if someone helped him channel it in a different direction? Lupin has a more literal beast within than the rest of us. What if he's hiding a wellspring of simmering passion beneath that mild-mannered exterior? What if he let the beast come out to play in bed? The thought of a Lupin who demonstrates wolfish characteristics with those he trusts and who wants to mark and claim his mate is often an appealing one to writers and readers alike.

 

Unlike a lot of Lupin pairings, this pairing isn't easy to work with. They don't begin their relationship grounded in friendship (Remus/Sirius, Remus/Tonks) or in mentorship (Remus/Hermione, Remus/Neville) or in shared grief and a sense of bonds from the past (Remus/Harry), and there is little on the surface of their canonical interaction that says they can put aside their animosity and become friends, much less lovers. To get these two together requires effort; it's a challenge for any writer who likes the idea of tackling their adversarial relationship and turning it in another direction. Unlike most other Lupin pairings, writing Snape/Lupin established relationship stories isn't a wide-spread practice, because readers generally can't take it on faith that these two got together on their own without effort -- which usually means lots of patience and perseverance on Lupin's part and lots of shouting and snarking on Snape's -- which they want to be shown. Seeing is believing in this case.

 

But for the writer who enjoys complexity and the chance to heal old wounds, and for the reader who likes tangled emotions, drama, and a course of true love that definitely does not run smooth, this pairing is ideal. I've been writing Snape/Lupin for three years, and I'm still not tired of the pairing. When I arrived in the HP fandom in fall, 2001, I shopped around to see which pairings interested me most, and I found myself drawn to this one because I liked the canon characters so much. Lupin has been my favorite HP character ever since my first reading of PoA, and Snape has always been a close second. Snape is just the kind of good-but-not-nice guy with a checkered past that I'm drawn to in fiction, and Lupin is, for me, just plain likeable. Their dynamic is fascinating to work with, the possibilities are wide and varied, and process of taking them from being two lonely outsiders to lovers who have found what they needed in each other is endlessly enjoyable.

 

For me, these two belong together. I write a lot of different pairings, especially Lupin pairings, but Snape/Lupin always has been and likely always will be my favorite. They're two outsiders who fill each other's empty spaces, alike enough to get along once they resolve the conflicts from their past, yet different enough to be intriguing to the writer, the reader, and each other. For me, no one else fits with them as well as they fit with each other, Lupin's patient humor balancing out Snape's grumpy snark as they find their way to forgiveness, acceptance, and eventually love.

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