littleblackbow: (ginger cat)
[personal profile] littleblackbow
Here are some thoughts...

First a Rec: I'd really like people to read this. Everyone if you're willing to stomach it. It's part of HD worldcup, but it's not... I don't know how to explain it. It isn't what you might think. There's no sex, no kissing, just a discussion between HArry and Blaise on the day Harry and Draco are supposed to be married.

I won't say any more until you read it, but I have thoughts under the cut.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. We try too hard sometimes. We see things that aren't there because we need to in order to make things happy and pleasant in our minds.

It's human nature to do so. I know that from my Psych 101 class in college.

So, I'm thinking, how much of fandom is just that. How many times do we change the nature of the characters, the appearance of the characters, the overal mood of the characters, away from the book description into our own ideals so that we can marry ourselves to them?

How many Snapes have I seen out there that have thin, pointy noses, gorgeous flowing locks of silky hair, perfectly coiffed? Clean-shaven, beautiful teeth, glowing, clean complexions?

Perhaps Warner Bros. ought to have cast Fabio as Snape?


I know, it's a point of contention for me. Ever since someone rec'd a piece of anime art that had no resemblance at all to Snape or Harry other than the fact that they'd written Snape and Harry on the art, and Harry had glasses, it's been something that weighs heavily on my mind.

In that image, they both had light hair - blond, actually. Harry didn't have a scar, They weren't wearing traditonal wizarding robes, and yet were in class.

Now... a bit on how I draw them.

here's what we know:

Harry: His hair is messy, he's a little awkward as a kid, but he grows into his own. I figure he'll end up a little short because of his stunted growth when he was living with the Dursleys. He has a charming face, probably was influenced by Sirius, so I generally give him facial hair, a tender expression, glasses, a scar, and a generally fit body from quidditch.

Draco: Pointy features that will probably soften with age. He sneers and has a sideways glance that could melt rock. She gives him a receeding hairline later in life, so I start that when he's an adolescent with a little widow's peak. As he's older, I generally give him Snape's haircut. Snape was the one man who taught him useful skills and encouraged him to follow his talents rather than follow political connections. I do believe Snape was Draco's mentor, and in my mind I'm sure Draco would take after him.
(as a side note, I think people generally draw Draco pretty well).

Snape: He's taller than Harry. Imposing, proud, crooked teeth, hooked nose, deep lines in his face later in life. He's not pretty. Hair that is stringy at best, and greasy at worst. He's got a scowl most of the time, and even when he isn't scowling, he looks scary enough that the lines are probably still there. His fingers are stained from potions. That tells me that he probably has other blemishes, as well. Although I don't give him warts or pimples, I do go with blotchy and pallid skin quite often.

Other characters.... Well, to be honest, there aren't many here who are interested in the others. I'll write up Sirius,Remus, Ron and Hermione later.

For now I'm off to the con again, and more pondering.

Date: 2009-04-04 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was just having a similar conversation with someone recently-they take away Severus's imperfections thinking they are doing him a favor when in fact I think it's quite the opposite. Severus without his faults is half the character I know and love.

And frankly I think Harry ought to have more baggage. I really don't want him to be the Wizarding World's equivalent of an edgy Vietnam Vet but give the man a few ghosts at least.

One thing though-apparently Harry is as tall as his father was (I believe that scene with the Resurrection Stone in DH says that) and I also believe Snape is actually not as tall as we all like to think-he's 'noticeably' shorter than Sirius in OotP. He certainly looms, but over children (I do fault the movies for our interpretation a bit here because Rickman v Oldman in POA is back assward). Unfortunately I don't believe we ever get a good James v. Sirius comparison but when I think of post DH Snarry, I tend to put them at roughly the same height. But that's just my interpretation.

Darn, one last thought-regarding that anime art you mentioned. I always do wonder how far we can take them before they really aren't themselves anymore. I'm not sure I know yet.

Date: 2009-04-04 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, for the most part, I don't make Harry that tall. I do make Sirius taller than Snape, but I make Harry about the same height or a little shorter than Snape.

I've drawn Harry taller, and it did NOT go over well. -_- People likes their tall Snapes.

But yes, I strongly believe that the flaws are what make the characters! And the funny thing is that I'm using my Oldman doll as Snape. :P He really does make a good Snape there. ^_^

I wish I still had the link to that art I was talking about. I know it was on DA somewhere...

This isn't the one I was talking about, but it's a good example of Fabio!Snape

Don't get me wrong, the drawing is GORGEOUS!!! (if it was Sirius)

It reminds me of Pee Wee's Big Adventure - the casting of the movie at the end? Just like that!!!

Date: 2009-04-04 07:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was planning a coherent reply but when I clicked that link all of the sudden my computer went bananas and says I am under attack, have trojan horses, viruses, etc. Not sure it if was just a coincidence or not but fucking hell.

Date: 2009-04-04 08:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The last time I got a virus that wiped out my computer for days I was looking at some completely WS art of Narcissa Malfoy at DA. I just never go there anymore.

Date: 2009-04-04 08:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are not helping. :P

Date: 2009-04-04 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I know people prefer them that way. And I do generally make them equal (if I mention it at all) because yeah, if you make Harry taller, fuhgeddaboudit. ;)

Date: 2009-04-04 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sirius is taller than Snape. But I've decided that just means that Sirius is 6' 7" or something. *snicker*

Taller!Harry squicks me completely. *Especially* in art. It's just a personal preference, but I don't care how well executed the drawing, if Snape is shorter, count me out.

I love me some flawed Snape. I don't really mind the Fabio Snapes; I just assume we're looking at Snape through Harry's eyes. ;D But I prefer my characters to be the way they truly are.

Date: 2009-04-04 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, JKR went out of her way to mention that Snape was shorter than someone at least twice that I can remember. I would say that canon Snape is likely only of average height - 5' 9" or 5' 10". And although Harry was only as tall as Narcissa Malfoy in HBP, you're correct that he is the same height as James in DH. I still don't think that was very tall though and he and Snape are probably the same height in canon.

That said, tall!Snape is my only "fanon fact." Fics/art where Harry is taller than Snape (or usually even of the same height) throw me completely out of the story. And I don't care what else is good about the art, if Harry is taller, it won't work for me. (OMG! I just realized that I'm as squicked by taller!Harry as I am threesomes. Perhaps more.)

You know I love my Snape with warts and all, but since JKR didn't specifically give us enough information to know who is taller, my Snape will always be tall. Besides, I'm 5' 1". *Everyone* towers over me! ;D

As for how far can you take it before they aren't the characters, well, it really does depend on style. I'd guess that 3/4 of my drawings aren't recognizeably Snape or Harry, but I think it still works because it's cartoons so tells like the scar, glasses, and long hair are enough to make the connection. *shrugs*

Date: 2009-04-04 08:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cartoons are a completely different realm. For the most part, we accept context as clues in cartoon versions of characters. Since they're so far abstracted from the actual person or any sense of realism, we can accept more deviations.

By that argument, I think perhaps I'm a little over-critical sometimes. Anime-style is another type of cartoon.

However... you still draw Snape in his robes when he's teaching. And Harry has a scar, and they have dark hair, right... so there are a few clues we NEED to know that these are those characters.

Snape is such a sticky subject. I'm realizing that after joining that yahoo group. People have VERY specific ideas of Snape in their minds' eyes.

I guess the bottom line is that I'm realizing that I have a much more strict-to-book canon idea of what characters should be like than many people.

Date: 2009-04-04 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, this is always an interesting topic to me, because prettified or otherwise unrecognizable Snapes kill my interest, whether we're talking fic or art. Okay, maybe I have a double standard here, because [ profile] ac1d6urn and [ profile] sealcat have both produced "beautiful" Snapes, and I love them passionately. It's the cosmetic makeovers that repel me, anything that robs Severus of his physical identity in order to make him acceptable or romantic. (Although an idea for a fic just occurred to me, since I was about to add that Polyjuice fics, like The Courtship of Benjamin Jink and A Real Steal, don't count. But in those, Snape's camouflage isn't pretty, either. So now I'm wondering what would happen if Snape Polyjuiced himself into a handsome young man and experienced what it was like to be popular. [ profile] pir8fancier alludes to the rather tragic consequences of this in her fic This Boy's Life, where Snape briefly discovers what it's like to be Lily.)

When I'm writing, I'm aware that Snape and Harry's physical attributes change subtly according to the tone and purpose of each fic. These changes don't violate what we know from canon (at least, I hope not), except as regards the thorny question of height. I don't see Snape as terribly tall - maybe slightly taller than average, but maybe not. After all, he appears to have been just as undernourished in childhood as Harry was, and I tend to interpret his adult physique as skinny/wiry and his metabolism as nervous and intense. I think he relies a lot on body language and force of personality. In Harry's case, I'm skeptical of any version that's too tall or dashing, because his convenient blossoming into a studly young man in canon is simply proof to me of Sudden Hero Syndrome. JKR can't let her Chosen One remain stunted by his past; she wants to reward him. I take liberties by assuming that he's still marked both physically and emotionally by his experiences.

It's fascinating to hear how you approach the visuals, since you both write and paint. And I'm really curious to hear how you envision the other characters. The movies completely effed it up, as far as I'm concerned. I have to block movie!Hermione from my brain, for instance. Although, interestingly, Ron was one of those characters whose appearance totally eluded me while I was reading the books; I couldn't really "see" him. Rupert Grint slotted very nicely into that blank spot and provided me with an image that I've had a hard time shaking off ever since.

Whoops! Time to stop blathering and head off to work.


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