A fellow blogger, Margo Berendsen, challenged me to explain why I said Severus Snape is the most compelling character I've ever encountered. Now, let me preface this post by saying that I have many other favorite characters, and certainly characters that I've loved far more than Snape. But he is, without a doubt, the most compelling.
Because I've hated him, suspected him, pitied him, laughed with/at him, cried for him, loved him, and forgiven him (among other emotions but these are the strongest 7). I've never crossed a character whose single handedly made me feel so many different emotions - frequently, at the exact same time.
Because Severus faces everything he loves and hates in the world every single day - Harry Potter. James Potter was the leader of the group that terrorized him, making his school years awful. If you think about it - which Snape surely has - Harry could have been his. But Harry looks exactly like James - Snapes reaction is, admittedly, unfair but I get why. Lily - the love of his life - died to protect him. She lives on through Harry. To top it off, Harry being alone, Lily being dead - it was his fault. His mistake. What horrible prospects to face every time he looks at this boy. This all makes for excellent internal conflict.
Because Snape made a mistake. And he spent the rest of his life trying to make it right. Who can claim they'd do the same? Not many characters, or people, for that matter.
Because Snape is rude, sarcastic, mean, intelligent, and he's nothing but shades of grey. There is no definite good or bad in him - he's both predictable and unpredictable at the exact same time (and how many characters can both prove and disprove a label like predictability simultaneously). He is gorgeously flawed and complicated.
Because he's a Slytherin who showed more courage than any other Gryffindor when he killed Dumbledore. Could you kill the only person who really believed in you, who meant so much to you, who you respected, even if you'd save hundreds of lives by doing so? Even if, in reality, it was out of mercy because your mentor was dying anyway? Maybe I'm naive but I doubt many could. I couldn't. I'm selfish and would probably let the other hundreds of people die if it meant just a little more time with someone I cared about.
Because he's mysterious. When I first met him, heck...for the majority of the series, I never expected him to be one half to such a tragic, beautiful, could-have-been love story. He did so much for the girl he met on the playground. Not all of it good, mind you, but I've never crossed a character who's had such unwavering love and devotion for another, so long after they've gone and with nothing in return. Lily was Snape's one true love. Maybe he wasn't hers but that's okay, he loved her enough for the both of them.
It doesn't hurt that he's played by Alan Rickman....just saying.
Who is the most compelling character you've ever read? Why?