janegraddell: (Snape)
[personal profile] janegraddell
Dammit. Now I wish I did have time for the Classic Canon Challenge. For weeks I've avoided looking at the rules because I know I'm hopeless at deadlines, but today I got curious and went over to see what was on the list.

While I'm hardly a Shakespearean scholar, I have done a lot of work on the Sonnets, and when I saw the challenge to use Sonnet 35 for either a Snape/Lupin or Snape/Black story, I knew I was in trouble. Everybody and their dog has talked about the Sonnets and what they might or might not say, and I'm no different. But at that moment it suddenly dawned on me what a perfect model the Sonnets (the young man sonnets, anyway) were for exactly the kind of screwed-up and twisted relationship I'd love to write about Snape and Black or Lupin. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to write the story.

So, here's a rambling stream-of-consciousness of my "might-have-beens" instead.

The first issue, of course, is who would be who, which character will be the "speaker" of the sonnets, and which the subject. I'm sure there are plenty who will disagree, but there's no question for me that Snape is the speaker. Frankly, I wouldn't be able to put any of them in the position of an actual lovesick poet anyway, but the emotions I see in the speaker seem to me to be more Snape-like, and very much so in Sonnet 35 (Gee, could it be that's why it's part of a Snape/Black or Snape/Lupin challenge? ;)):

No more be grieved at that which thou has done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this.
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense--
The adverse party is thy advocate--
And 'gainst myself a lawful plea commence.
Such civil war is my love and hate,
That I am accessary needs must be
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.


Now, the obvious problem for me is that I'd have to imagine a scenario in which Snape actually *would* forgive Black or Lupin for their sins, ever, but if he ever did this is pretty much how I'd imagine he'd do it. Not only does the speaker get in a few digs at his subject, there's a very irritating matyred nobility in the speaker's forgiveness that is Snape all over. Plus, there's the fact that the speaker, even while playing the martyr, seems helpless to stop from blaming himself along with the person he's accusing. Now, I know that overt guilt isn't exactly an outstanding feature of the strictly canonical Snape, but I'm willing to risk postulating that it's there nonetheless.

That said, what kind of story could this sonnet tell? In the context of the whole young man sequence, this one is fairly early, and if feeble memory serves is the first time the speaker admits to feelings of betrayal. It's not the first time he's felt disappointed, though. He's admitted his attraction, and wrestled with desire, and pretty much forgotten his whole initial purpose, which was to get the subject to have children to carry on his line (and if that isn't a lead-in to some pure-blood angsting, I don't know what is). It's before the rival shows up, and well before the beautiful harmony in Sonnets 108 and 114 (which I feel, personally, is the pinnacle of the relationship between the speaker and the subject).

So, sticking strictly to that sequence it would be a story early in Snape and Black or Lupin's relationship, before all the bad blood between them. I'm not sure that really works though. It would probably be most appropriate as a post-Shrieking Shack story, but frankly I'd rather stick flaming-hot bamboo splinters under my nails than write the 10,000th explanation for that incident....

Moving on. I can't help but notice that the next sonnet is 36, the "we must be twain" poem, which might be a good place to suggest the separation of 13-odd years between Hogwarts and the present day of the books. And now I'm thinking that maybe Lupin might be the best subject. There just isn't the same degree of vindictive bitter hate between them as between Snape and Black, and while I don't, obviously, think that's an impossible obstacle to Snape/Black fiction, the requisite level of vitriol is, for me, absent from the emotions of the Sonnets. Plus, if Lupin is the lover then Black would fit in nicely with the "rival poet" sequence and all the images of death that end that sequence.

From there on, of course, it would be AU all the way, and it'd be so nice bringing things up to that lovely unity in 108 and 114. Then, of course, there's the problem of the relationship slowly disentingrating over the next twenty poems.... Well, no law saying I couldn't just end on the high note. If I ever wrote it, that is, which I probably won't. Sigh.

Anyway, it was fun to play with it for a while. :)

Ooo, such a beauty

Date: 2004-03-15 04:18 am (UTC)
ext_7651: (Default)
From: [identity profile] idlerat.livejournal.com
I'd actually have said sonnet 35 would have to be an older Snape. Maybe Snape/Harry? I can definitely see it as Snape/Sirius, but I feel like we've seen too much of Snape's Grudge about the Shrieking Shack for it to apply to that incident, to a process that's already been gone through at the time of the HP books.

The sonnets in general seem to indicate a relationship in which the beloved's misconduct is an ongoing problem. (Which of course Sirius' and James' behavior has been revealed to be). For some reason I've never read this poem as alluding to one Big Crime. Certainly it starts out with reference to some specific thing... and yet it feels to me like twisting and turning in a habitual situation. Which is exactly why it does seem like it could be about Sirius, a chronic fuck up, just not about the Shack.

Just my very subjective impressions. Did you ever read Auden's "introduction" to the sonnets? He has a line about someone who is determined to love even though the beloved insists on throwing dirt all over it. (He said it more like Auden and less like a tired dweeb who can't think straight...)

Re: Ooo, such a beauty

Date: 2004-03-16 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
I'd actually have said sonnet 35 would have to be an older Snape.

That was my first impulse, then I started thinking about it too much and trying to fit the story into the sequence as a whole. :) One of the most important things about the Sonnets is that it's an older man speaking to a younger one, and I really like the possibilities of trying it as a Snape/Harry dynamic instead of one where Snape and the beloved (ah, much nicer term than "subject" :)) are peers.

Which is exactly why it does seem like it could be about Sirius, a chronic fuck up, just not about the Shack.

Exactly. I wasn't very clear on this point, but you've pretty well nailed what I think this particular poem is saying, that the speaker knows he's over-forgiving of the beloved. And I completely agree about it not quite fitting with the Shack incident, for several different reasons. Much more sensible to see it as a more, as you say, chronic problem. And even though Harry doesn't quite have the track record of Sirius in making Snape's life difficult, I think that reading could also work in the context of the other pairing.

Embarassingly enough, if I ever read Auden's introduction I've forgotten what it says, but that seems a pretty fair summary of the young man sequence. The speaker knows it's foolish to love the young man, he knows he's setting himself up for grief, and he also knows that the young man isn't exactly an ideal beloved, but he does it anyway. Ah, yes, slash angst just waiting to happen. :)

Date: 2004-03-15 04:56 am (UTC)
ext_1611: Isis statue (Default)
From: [identity profile] isiscolo.livejournal.com
I'm going to point [livejournal.com profile] sparrohawk here, because she's doing #35 as Snape/Lupin. (And if you haven't read her Snape/Lupin stories...mmmm.) All the people doing sonnets, though, are doing single sonnets - your post makes me think that it would be really nifty to do a story covering the span of a range of sonnets.

I'm delighted at all the Shakespeare!fic coming out of this fest. My own is up to act IV; I've seen preview bits of several other of the play-based stories, and it's so much fun to read them (maybe because I'm very familiar with most of Shakespeare's plays, where I'm not so familiar with many of the other stories that have been used as sources for this fest).

And hey, welcome back to lj.

Date: 2004-03-16 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
I'm going to point [livejournal.com profile] sparrohawk here, because she's doing #35 as Snape/Lupin. (And if you haven't read her Snape/Lupin stories...mmmm.)

Please do! And if she sees any useful ideas or directions, she can help herself because I'm sure not going to be writing it any time soon. :) And no, I don't think I've read anything of hers. Where is she archived?

All the people doing sonnets, though, are doing single sonnets - your post makes me think that it would be really nifty to do a story covering the span of a range of sonnets.

That would be really neat. There's a lot to be said for removing a sonnet from the context, because it gives a writer a lot more freedom to make up the surrounding circumstances, but I think that, for instance, the rival poet sequence would make a heck of a story. I'm kind of torn, because there's so much tantalizing backstory in the surrounding sonnets, but at the same time it's not always a good thing to try to take *everything* into account.

I'm delighted at all the Shakespeare!fic coming out of this fest.

So am I! It's too bad nothing by my boy Marlowe was on the list, but I'll take Shakespeare as a substitute. And I'm with you on the sources. I'm comfortably familiar with pretty much everything on the list that was written before 1700, but after that it gets spotty. I mean, I've read Tess of the D'Urbervilles, for instance, but blasted if I can remember a whole heck of a lot about it other than the end.

My own is up to act IV

Who-hoo! I'm looking forward to that one. That's a play that's dying for some fanficcin' fun.

And hey, welcome back to lj.

Thanks! It's gotten even easier to keep up now that I have my little computer nest set up. Our new bedroom is *huge,* and I've got room for a comfy chair and footstool where I can sit with my laptop and dial up in comfort. The biggest danger is staying up *too* late....

Date: 2004-03-15 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] threeoranges.livejournal.com
"Such civil war"? I wonder if that's where Sushi got her title.

And, reading this, I see it as more a Snapledore relationship; I hear Dumbledore forgiving Snape for his past transgressions, admitting that Snape's turning to the Dark Side is partly his (Dumbledore's) fault, with a tacit confession that his forgiveness is not untinged with physical attraction for the sinner before him. Also, I can see Snape "sourly" robbing from Dumbledore - abusing the trust which Dumbledore places in him - with Dumbledore fully aware of it but unable to prevent it.

That's not to say that a Snape/Lupin version couldn't work, and if you've got a plot bunny running around in your head PLEASE write it; I'm sure that Canon Challenge would accept late entries, and even if it didn't it would still be very interesting to read.

Date: 2004-03-16 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
"Such civil war"? I wonder if that's where Sushi got her title.

I wondered about that, too. Shakespeare's a great title maker.

And, reading this, I see it as more a Snapledore relationship; I hear Dumbledore forgiving Snape for his past transgressions, admitting that Snape's turning to the Dark Side is partly his (Dumbledore's) fault, with a tacit confession that his forgiveness is not untinged with physical attraction for the sinner before him. Also, I can see Snape "sourly" robbing from Dumbledore - abusing the trust which Dumbledore places in him - with Dumbledore fully aware of it but unable to prevent it.

Wow. Wow, that's...frighteningly workable. I've never really thought of doing Snape/Dumbledore before, but as I mentioned above when responding to [livejournal.com profile] idlerat, the older man/younger man dynamic is very important, and putting Dumbledore in the shoes of the speaker opens up a lot of interesting speculation.

Hm. That would also make a lot of sense in the first part of the sequence, if one imagines Dumbledore urging a younger Snape to marry and have children, to have a "normal" life instead of joining the Death Eaters. One reading I came up with for the first 20 or so poems involves the speaker gradually being seduced by his own image of the beloved, falling in love with his own poetry--his own perception of the beloved, as it were--until he forgets all about what he initially set out to do. That could really work in the context of a Dumbledore/Snape relationship where Dumbledore begins to invest too much into Snape's redemption because of a personal attraction.

I'm sure that Canon Challenge would accept late entries, and even if it didn't it would still be very interesting to read.

It would be an interesting story, either the Snape/Lupin or Snape/Harry or, now that you've got me thinking about it, Snape/Dumbledore. But I really am the world's slowest writer, as evidenced by the fact that I've been active in Harry Potter fandom for something like two years and have yet to complete anything! :) But you're right, there's nothing keeping me from writing it in my own time and crediting the Canon Challenge. Possibly three or four years later....:)

Date: 2004-03-18 09:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] threeoranges.livejournal.com
You've nailed it: it is about the older man/younger man dynamic, the subtle sense of patronage inherent in the forgiveness. If addressed to someone of equal age and status it becomes patronizing instead, loses a bit of the sincerity.

And, I like Marlowe too!

and in his sportive hands an olive-tree
To hide those parts that men delight to see...
:-)

My favourite is DR FAUSTUS though, I saw a terrific production with Faustus as a little bookish fat man, inherently comic, who has NO idea of what he's getting into until it's far too late. Wrung my heart, it did.

And, erm, you're not alone in the pronounced writer's block! At least you haven't let people down like I have. (Damn.) Good luck with any creative writing you choose to embark upon however, if you need a beta I'm here :-)

Date: 2004-03-20 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
If addressed to someone of equal age and status it becomes patronizing instead, loses a bit of the sincerity.

Exactly. So, the more I think about it (which may or may not be a good thing ;)), the more I see that it would almost have to be a inter-generational story. I've been thinking about it quite a bit as a Snape/Dumbledore story, mostly trying to figure out how far the Sonnets stretch. I'm almost thinking that the last young man sonnet sounds like a warning from Dumbledore to Snape about his involvement with Voldemort, so maybe it would work as a story about the years between Snape's leaving Hogwarts and his return. I'll have to double-check the math, but I know there's a gap of at least four or five years, so that gives some wiggle-room.

I saw a terrific production with Faustus as a little bookish fat man, inherently comic, who has NO idea of what he's getting into until it's far too late.

Ooh, that's an interesting take. I know there was a fairly famous production where Mephistopheles was played by a woman, and she and Faustus played their parts with a lot of sexual tension between them, making the seduction a physical thing as well as a spiritual thing.

And, erm, you're not alone in the pronounced writer's block! At least you haven't let people down like I have. (Damn.)

Hey, these things happen. And at least you were writing a *good* story. :) I haven't wanted to ask about "Weakness and Power," because, obviously, if you were still writing on it you'd have been updating, and I know how irritating it must be to get the constant repetitions of "when are you going to finish?" I'll just say that even if you never do finish it, it'll still be one of my favorite stories. :)

That said, I do know how it is, to go great guns on a story--a good story--and then suddenly fizzle out. I've been stuck at the same point in a Snape/Lupin story for almost two years now, there's a Snape/Black story that's been jammed at one spot for over a year and a half, and there's another story that I've written about ten jillion false starts for that I've only just now got outlined properly.

I don't normally write detailed outlines, I just start at point A and write to point B, but I had this odd and unexplainable impulse to write not only a good hurt/comfort Snape story, but a good hurt/comfort Snape mpreg story (I'm so embarassed). I honestly don't know what happened. But I just got stubborn and said, "Okay, this *will* work," and kept plugging at it until I had it hammered out. Now all I have to do is write the darn thing.

Good luck with any creative writing you choose to embark upon however, if you need a beta I'm here :-)

Be careful, I'll remember that offer. :) And if you think it might help you to talk out some of your ideas--old or new--that are blocking you, please feel free to e-mail me (janegraddell at yahoo dot com). Sometimes I find that just laying out an idea for someone can jump-start the process. :)

Profile

janegraddell: (Default)
janegraddell

December 2006

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17 181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:26 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios