How Do You Like Your Heroes?

The adorable Jackie at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests are hosting this Heroes & Villains blogfest, in which we get to talk about our favorite heroes & villains...

Me, I like the ambiguous type, so I have an affinity for the villains who are also heroes...and the heroes who are also villains. Today, I have only one name for you: Severus Snape. Of Harry Potter fame for those who don't know (is it possible there's anyone out there who doesn't know?). Throughout the series we learn that he is a man capable of both intense cruelty and profound, unselfish courage.

What I love most about Snape is that he kept us guessing throughout the entire series. Even by the end, the answer isn't entirely clear as to whether or not he was good or bad. ***SPOILER (sort of) ALERT*** He certainly did good, even heroic, acts, but that doesn't erase the fact that he was a total arse to Harry and the other students for all those years, no matter what the backstory was on his motivation.

My fascination with Snape is actually what led me to write my first novel-length fiction, a  Harry Potter fanfiction titled Professor Burbage and the Potions Master. He was very fun to write, precisely because of that duality in his character, especially when the intelligent and talented hero/villain was paired with an entirely sweet, fluffy-headed innocent. 

There are many great Snape quotes, but my favorites are his condescending remarks to the students. I said he was an arse, but that doesn't mean he didn't crack me up.

I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”
-Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling)

“That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger,” said Snape cooly. “Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all.”
-Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)

Alan Rickman did a marvelous job portraying the sinister wizard in the movies, but considering Snape was supposed to be the same age as Harry's parents, he was a little elderly for the role. If my fanfic were being made into a movie, this is who I'd pick to play him:

Jack Davenport (as the ex-Commodore Norrington in Dead Man's Chest)

So who is your favorite Hero who's also a villain?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

He played his role well. I thought Snape was a good guy.

Dani said...

Yes, yes! I love the heroes who are villains who are heroes too! They are complexed characters who are written and played well. And we love them. I love your fanfic pick!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I totally adore Severus (I cried when he... well, you know). He made everything look so realistic that you couldn't think that he was nothing but himself.

Currently, my favorite hero who is also a villain is Tyrion Lannister. I do enjoy a character who knows how to play his cards.

Mark Means said...

Snape is a great ambiguous pick for Hero/Villain.

I also think Magneto..the villain from X-Men fame...is another good example. In the comics, especially, he's portrayed as both hero and villain for various reasons.

Kittie Howard said...

I also think Snape's a great pick! There's something fascinating about a character's duality that pulls the reader more deeply into a story, perhaps because aspects of a reader's character can also have a dual nature. There was a really good first person story about a couple who were vegans but sent lobsters by unknowing friends and had to decide what to do with the lobsters.

But, umm, as to my fav character, I'm going to have to give that some thought while I do my morning walk in a sec.

Sophie Duncan said...

You're right about Severus, he did do good things, mightily heroic things, but, deep down, he was an arse and he was horrible to many people. Definitely a grey hero.

AR was a little old, but he did do a great job. He was also responsible for a lot of women fancying Snape ;P

I never focused on Snape in my HP fanfics, I was more interested in Harry and Draco, but I can see Snape's ambiguousness being appealing to a writer.

Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Snape is an awesome choice! My favorite heroes and villains are the ones who are complex and not one or the other - when good people do "bad" things for good reasons, etc.

Also, I read/heard somewhere that villains think they're the stars of their own movies, their the protagonist of their own stories. Interesting spin when you look at it that way.

Timothy Brannan said...

Snape is such a great choice.

I remember right before book 7 came out everyone was still guessing, but not me! I knew! I knew Snape was a rotten, stinking villain of the worst sort.

Imagine my surprise. ;)

Great post.

The Other Side

Janie Junebug said...

I'll join you in choosing Snape. Can you believe I've met some people who think the Harry Potter books are crap? They should be locked up for their own protection.


Carrie-Anne said...

I've never read HP and have no interest, so I'm unfamiliar with this character. I do like heroes who have a bit of villain in them.

Suze said...

I like my heroes Good.

Nice post, V.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

Snape was definitely one of the more interesting characters. Pure genius.

Jackie said...

Awesome choice with Snape, Nikki.

Thanks for participating in the blogfest and for the compliment. You're adorable yourself! ^_^

SA Larsenッ said...

Hmm...Jack would have been a nice choice!

Feather Stone said...

Ewww, I'd never turn my back on old Snape. Mean through and through. As far as heroes go, I like to see a flaw or two, something that makes them human; add to the risk the flaw may turn them into a villan.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I can't think of a hero who's also a villain that I like, but I do like multi-dimensional MCs. It always annoys me when the MC is too perfect, because then I end up rooting for the imperfect characters instead; it's easier to relate to them.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Very good choice - Snape was a bitter man who held grudges, but he was also a hero to the cause. That made him very human.

A hero who is also a bit of a villain that I like is Paul Atredes from Dune - in the first book he's all hero, but by Dune Messiah he is a bit lost and his troops are killing millions.

Tasha's Thinkings

Tyrean Martinson said...

Snape was a great villain/hero who definitely kept us guessing throughout the books and movies. I actually really liked the casting.

Susan Oloier said...

He would likely be my choice, too. Do you really think Rickman seemed elderly?

Milo James Fowler said...

Ambiguously dualistic characters are fun to write, too. Snape's a great choice. I also like Long John Silver from Treasure Island.

Misha Gericke said...

Great choice. Mmm... I actually liked Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean. :-D

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Nicki,

How about your former Gov., "Blogo."

I lived in ChiTown for a year and I noticed there are a lot of hero/villains there, (and I'm not even talking about the Cubs :)

I also wanted to say thanks very much for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post. (I'm still working through all the comments!)

CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support and a HUGE *Thank you* goes to DL Hammons - and all the Blitzers :)

PS: Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciated all the personal comments directed his way :)