August 18th, 2011

'bring back the bastard'

I know I'm not the first person to notice the existence of a trend regarding Snape characterisation in the wake of Deathly Hallows. Many newer fic feature a mellow, attractive Snape whose hatred of Harry was but an act, whose attraction to the Dark Arts was but a misguided phase, whose cruelty is easily tamed, etc. etc. Which is not to say that such characterisations are wrong or unlovely, only that I cannot help but long for more fic that at once register the relevations of DH (Snape crying over Lily's photograph, for example) while maintaining a hold on Snape as a nasty, fucked-up, volatile, morally ambiguous, ill-tempered (etc.) bastard (not in the literal sense).

What I am about to propose is hardly original (it's presumptuous of me, more like). Nor is it directly my own idea. I am simply attempting to pick up the thread of [ profile] wandlorean's interesting post here on [ profile] snarryficfind.

[ profile] wandlorean, [personal profile] perverse_idyll and others suggested that someone start a "Bring Back the Bastard" fest to address this issue of characterisation, this theme. (ETA: By theme I mean this could be a way to encourage and challenge authors to think about the many shades of heroism, about the divergence between history books and reality, about ambiguity and its consequences.) Now, I have no idea what goes on 'behind the scenes' of fests. I have no idea what kind of work is involved or how one prevents a fest from conflicting with another fest -- in short I am talking about something I know absolutely nothing about, which endangers this project considerably. Nonetheless, I would be personally interested in seeing such a fest come to life, so I thought I would post this as a way of asking for advice, opinions, criticism.

Here is a suggestion to get started (all of this is up for discussion): The fest would take place sometime in 2012, at a time when it would not conflict with the major Snape fests (is that even possible? perhaps 2013 is more realistic?). Obviously, it would be Snape-centric. Participants could write a story of drabble to novel length about Snape in any variety of gen, het or slash relationships. The story could be based upon a prompt from a list participants had cobbled together in advance. Or perhaps it need not be prompt-based. I don't think an exchange fest format would particularly work here, but you can convince me otherwise. I have no idea whether anonymous posting is considered a benefit or a stress-inducer.

What I am most uncertain about is the approach that should be taken to defining "bastard Snape". I think this could easily become a very delicate issue. There are infinite ways to interpret Snape. Choosing one type of reading over others could be seen in the wrong light, causing misunderstandings. It would have to be made clear that the fest was not meant as an attack, but rather as a celebration. I would be most grateful for your thoughts on this issue.

Would you even be interested in such a fest?

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