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. :)
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December 2006

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