Snape, the Real Hero

So, one of my favorite things in the world is fandoms. I love so many books, movies, comics, storylines, but my ultimate favorite fandom is Harry Potter.

My friend Kathleen Ramseyer and I are taking a Critical Rhetoric class (COMM 485) at Cal State LA, and we were talking about Joseph Campbell’s monomyth wheel. The Hero’s journey was introduced by Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)” in which he describes a common template for the hero’s journey.

We completely nerded out, and picked Snape as the real hero in Harry Potter.

  • Departure – This is the call to Adventure! The hero begins in his/her mundane average life but, new information comes to light that calls the hero off into the unknown.
    • Ordinary World – Dual life as a Death Eater and professor at Hogwarts.
    • Call to Adventure – Protecting Lily no matter the consequence. Even when he learns that Voldemort wants her dead.
    • Refusal of the Call – Mistreatment of Harry as a student. Doesn’t want to accept Harry as a piece of Lily, all that remains of her love.  Often when the initial call is given the hero refuses to believe or accept it. There may  be a variety of reasons for the initial denial of the call; this may be a sense of duty, obligation, fear, insecurity, inadequacy, or lack of support.
      • “No, I can’t”; the fear comes
    • Meeting the Mentor. Also sometimes known as supernatural aid. Once the hero commits to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, their guide becomes known. This mentor aides our hero through the challenges and aid him/her through their quest.
      • Overcome the fear by meeting the mentor – When Snape officially decides to align with Dumbledore and to prove that Lily’s death was not in vain.
  • Initiation
    • Crossing the First Threshold – Snape’s first real crossing is when he protects Harry during his first Quidditch match. He is countering the spell that the Professor Quirrell was producing, in public unbeknownst to him, in the presence of Lord Voldemort. This is when the hero first crosses into the unknown, begins their adventure, and leaves the comforts and limits of their ordinary life.
    • Allies, Enemies and Tests- If you can’t name at least 3 of these off the top of your head, re-read the books!  The hero works through a series of trials, tests, tasks and ordeals in order to begin their transformation into a hero.
      • Hero begins to experiment with the new world, who’s on my side, what’s good/ what’s evil
    • Approaching the Inmost Cave – When Snape is helping Harry to keep Lord Voldemort’s thoughts out of his mind, they are working on invading each other’s memories. Harry is able to access Snape’s memories of school witnessing the tormenting by Harry’s father and the kindness of Lily learning Snape’s love for his mother. This point (in my opinion) is critical to the hero’s journey. At this point the hero shows their acceptance to undergo a metamorphosis. The hero begins the final separation of the hero’s known world and former self.
      • Struggle in the new world
    • Ordeal – Snape must kill Dumbledore to keep in Lord Voldemort’s favor and continue to fight the good fight.
      • Hero has to go through a severe test
    • Rewards – They finally learn that Snape is on the hero side after all.
      • if the hero survives there is a payoff
  • Return
    • The Road Back- Snape sacrifices himself for the cause.
      • Hero collects him or herself and starts the finishing point
    • Resurrection – In his honor, Harry names his firstborn son after Severus Snape
      • Hero has to face death one more time, but in a deeper way
    • Return with The Elixir – Snape is forever remembered as a hero, and that goodness will always prevail over evil.
      • The hero learns a lesson and brings back something good to share with everyone else.

Through using Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth Wheel, we were able to explain how Severus Snap is the real hero of this series.

Check out the pictograph that Kat made here!!!

Thanks for nerding out with us! (:

“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”

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