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The Hippogriff and Severus Snape - by Silver Ink Pot
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The Hippogriff and Severus Snape - by Silver Ink Pot

The Hippogriff Symbol and Severus Snape: Keeping an Eye on the Impossible

By Silver Ink Pot

Friday, 25 May 2007


“Hope is a thing with feathers.”
~Emily Dickinson

Dragons will wander about the waste places, and the phoenix will soar from her nest of fire into the air. We shall lay our hands upon the Basilisk, and see the jewel in the toad's head. Champing his gilded oats, the hippogriff will stand in our stalls, and over our heads will float the bluebird, singing of beautiful and impossible things, of things that are lovely and that never happened, of things that are not and that should be.
~Oscar Wilde





There are times in the Harry Potter books when some of the more “fantastic beasts” seem to have been invented by J. K. Rowling just for the sake of humor. We have the flobberworms, who can die from eating too much lettuce, or the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, which seems to exist only in the imagination of Luna Lovegood. Then there are the more well-known mythical creatures, such as dragons and unicorns, which the author takes much more seriously. The author has used folklore from around the world, adding her personal creative touches: the types of dragons around the world and their history; the “Twelve Uses of Dragon’s Blood” discovered by Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel; George Weasley (as in St. George and the Dragon) and his twin wearing dragon-skin pants; Ron Weasley with his wand-core of “unicorn hair”; and evil Voldemort killing unicorns in Book One so the medicinal blood will keep him alive “an inch from death.”

In the tradition of those mythical creatures is the Hippogriff, a fierce beast part horse and part eagle. It is not as well-known in modern fairy tales as the dragon or the unicorn, yet many writers have been fascinated by this unusual creature. It adds another “winged” creature to the mythical zoo of the Harry Potter books.

The stories about a hero flying around on a Hippogriff come mainly from the famous poem “Orlando furioso” ("The Frenzy of Orlando") by Ludovico Ariosto (yes, as in Ludo Bagman!) The translated text version by Thomas Bullfinch, which he called “Legends of Charlemagne,” has this description of the hippogriff: "Like a griffin, he had the head of an eagle, claws armed with talons, and wings covered with feathers, the rest of his body being that of a horse. This strange animal is called a Hippogriff." The poem has elements similar to the Greek story of Perseus and Andromeda: Hero Rogero( or Ruggiero) saves Princess Angelica from a sea monster when she is tied to a rock. Instead of riding on the Greek Winged-Horse, Pegasus, Rogero rides on a hippogriff. He has a magic shield just like Perseus, but uses it on the sea monster instead of on Medusa (much like the movie, “Clash of the Titans.”) Many great writers were influenced by Ariosto, including Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and even Lord Byron.

At one point, the hippogriff in Ariosto’s poem is tied to a myrtle tree, which begins to cry because the creature is eating the leaves. Then the tree warns Rogero to beware of a witch who is turning people into stones and animals. We are reminded of the character of “Moaning Myrtle,” the ghostly girl introduced in Chamber of Secrets, who gives Harry crucial information about people being petrified by the basilisk. She also helps Harry with the Second Task in GoF, since she is associated with water and the lake, as the myrtle tree grows by the water in Ariosto’s work.

Illustration of Orlando Furioso by Gustav Dore

[Image: Orlando_Furioso_97.jpg]

In another part of Ariosto’s story, the hero Orlando goes mad, and his friend Astolfo flies to the moon on the hippogriff to find Orlando’s missing wits, which he puts in a vial to take back to earth. Rowling introduces hippogriffs in a book with strong ties to the moon ~ in The Prisoner of Azkaban, we learn of Remus Lupin, a werewolf at the mercy of his monthly transformations, and of Professor Snape who makes the Wolfsbane Potion ease the problem. The backstory concerns the the monthly mischief of the teenage Marauders, who prowled the Hogwarts grounds beneath the full moon. When the Trio are searching for legal reasons to save Hagrid’s hippogriff, Buckbeak, they read stories of “Marauding Wild Animals” – the only other time the word “marauder” is used in all the books.

And of course, there is the Prisoner of Azkaban himself - Sirius Black - who has been locked up for years with Dementors who drive ordinary men insane. And indeed, Sirius is thought to be a crazed killer, until it is revealed that he was framed for his crimes by Peter Pettigrew. In the movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban, Director Alfonso Cuaron ends the story of Sirius Black by having him fly away on Buckbeak, the hippogriff, straight towards the full moon, in a scene straight out of “Orlando Furioso.”

Earlier stories of hippogriffs come from Persia, where the hippogriff is called: Simoorgh, Simurgh, or Senmurv - the Persian version, sometimes featured as a cross between a dog or lion and a huge bird. In Roman times, the mythical Griffon (Greek for “hooked one” as in “Snape’s hooked nose”), which had the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, was thought to prey on horses and carry them away. Griffons and Horses were predator and prey, and therefore, mortal enemies.

The Roman writer, Virgil, in his “Ecologues,” coined a famous Latin phrase: "Jungentur jam grypes equis" which means "To cross griffons with horses", indicating an impossible scenario. Thus, a Hippo-Griff, half-horse, half-griffon, was considered a symbol of anything impossible, but especially “impossible love.”

The complete phrase from Virgil may be translated thusly: “Mate Gryphons with mares, and in the coming age shy deer and hounds together come to drink.” Of course, we have the situation of James Potter, the Stag Animagus, whose friends include a couple of “hounds” – Remus Lupin the werewolf, and Sirius Black the Dog Animagus. I think the implication is that nothing in impossible in the HP world, and no friendship should be ruled out based on logic alone.

J. K. Rowling’s version of the hippogriff is a creature in it’s own right, because as she said in an interview, she’s “taken liberties” with medieval mythology since so little was written about the creature. She had the following discourse with Stephen Fry:

Quote:JKR:Although a hippogriff is quite obscure, I went looking, because when I do use a creature that I know is a mythological entity, I like to find out as much as I can about it. I might not use it, but to make it as consistent as I feel is good for my plot. There's very little on hippogriffs. I could read...

SF: It's the map, isn't it? It's the "Here Be Hippogriffs."

JKR: Exactly. "Here Be Hippogriffs," yes.

SF: Like Heffalumps in Pooh.

JKR: But they don't seem to have been closely observed by many medieval naturalists, so I could, I could take liberties.

[both laugh]

SF: I presume they are, as the name would imply, and this is to bring this onto your other love, which is language itself, at its most basic level of words and derivations that hippogriff is, of course, is a mixture of the idea...

JKR: Horse

SF: ... of the Welsh "griffin" and the Greek for horse "hippo,"

JKR: That's right.

SF: ...which is a perfect example, as you say, of the bastardization of our English folklore, like our language.

JKR: Arcane. Like our language.

SF: It's the perfect mixture.

JKR: Which is what makes our language so rich.

SF: Exactly.

In another interview, JKR was asked by a child if she invented Hippogriffs, and this was her reply:

Quote:Sean Bullardquestion - 13 : "Why is a Higgograf [sic] a half eagle and a half horse?"

J.K. Rowling: Why is a Hippogriff a half eagle and a half horse? Um ... I didn't invent the Hippogriff. The er, mediaeval European people genuinely believed they existed. We won't go into the reasons that might be, but ... um ... it's a mythical creature. It's an unusual mythical creature, it's not as famous as a unicorn or a, or a griffin. So ... um ... I don't really know, you'd have to ask the mediaeval monks who did those beautiful illuminations and they drew them on there. Um ... I, I'm very fond of my Hippogriffs. I like Buckbeak. If you've read book 3 you'll know who that is, if you haven't then that will be gobbledegook to you, so sorry.

It's very interesting that she used the word "Illumination" to describe the way the Monks embellished their texts with pictures and drawings. Harry later thinks of that same word in connection with Severus Snape's old Potions Book; when Harry looks at Golpalott's Third Law, he is disappointed that the Half-Blood Prince has not added any "illuminating" comments in the margins.

Next we come to the enlightening entry in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them:

Quote:M.O.M. Classification XXX
The Hippogriff is native to Europe, though now found worldwide. It has the head of a giant eagle and the body of a horse. It can be tamed, though this should be attempted only by experts. Eye contact should be maintained when approaching a Hippogriff. Bowing shows good intentions. If the Hippogriff returns the greeting, it is safe to draw closer.
The Hippogriff burrows for insects but will also eat birds and small mammals. Breeding hippogriffs build nests upon the ground into which they will lay a single large and fragile egg, which hatches within twenty-four hours. The fledgling Hippogriff should be ready to fly within a week, though it will be a matter of months before it is able to accompany its parent on longer journeys.

From that entry, we learn again that a Hippogriff in JKR's magical world is not a hybrid of a Griffon and a Horse, but a special creature that likes to stay wild and free. What a hippogriff looks for is "good intentions," which sounds reasonable.

We also learn an enormous amount of information about hippogriffs during Hagrid’s first Care of Magical Creatures class in PoA:

Quote:Trotting toward them were a dozen of the most bizarre creatures Harry had ever seen. They had the bodies, hind legs, and tails of horses, but the front legs, wings, and heads of what seemed to be
giant eagles, with cruel, steel-colored beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs were half a foot long and deadly looking. Each of the beasts had a thick leather collar around its neck, which was attached to a long chain, and the ends of all of these were held in the vast hands of Hagrid, who came jogging into the paddock behind the creatures.
"Gee up, there!" he roared, shaking the chains and urging the creatures toward the fence where the class stood. Everyone drew back slightly as Hagrid reached them and tethered the creatures to the fence.
"Hippogriffs!" Hagrid roared happily, waving a hand at them. "Beau'iful, aren' they?"
Harry could sort of see what Hagrid meant. Once you got over the first shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to appreciate the hippogriffs' gleaming coats, changing smoothly from feather to hair, each of them a different color: stormy gray, bronze, pinkish roan, gleaming chestnut, and inky black. (PoA, Talons and Tealeaves)

Hagrid teaches the class that the main thing to remember about hippogriffs is that they are very proud and easily offended, and he says, “Don't never insult one, ‘cause it might be the last thing yeh do." Harry, who is the first to approach Buckbeak the Hippogriff, realizes he has to look him in the eye “without blinking.”

Quote:"Yeh always wait fer the hippogriff ter make the firs' move," Hagrid continued. "It's polite, see? Yeh walk toward him, and yeh bow, an' yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh're allowed ter touch him. If he doesn' bow, then get away from him sharpish, ‘cause those talons hurt.
"Right — who wants ter go first?"
Most of the class backed farther away in answer. Even Harry, Ron, and Hermione had misgivings. The hippogriffs were tossing their fierce heads and flexing their powerful wings; they didn't seem to like being tethered like this.
"No one?" said Hagrid, with a pleading look.
"I'll do it," said Harry.
. . . "Tha's it," said Hagrid. "Tha's it, Harry. . . now, bow . . ."
Harry didn't feel much like exposing the back of his neck to Buckbeak, but he did as he was told. He gave a short bow and then looked up.
The hippogriff was still staring haughtily at him. It didn't move.
"Ah," said Hagrid, sounding worried. "Right — back away, now, Harry, easy does it — "
But then, to Harry's enormous surprise, the hippogriff suddenly bent its scaly front knees and sank into what was an unmistakable bow.
"Well done, Harry!" said Hagrid, ecstatic. "Right — yeh can touch him! Pat his beak, go on!"
Feeling that a better reward would have been to back away, Harry moved slowly toward the hippogriff and reached out toward it. He patted the beak several times and the hippogriff closed its eyes lazily, as though enjoying it.
The class broke into applause, all except for Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were looking deeply disappointed.

The symbol of Gryffindor House is the lion, though obviously the name of the house ~ “Gryffin d’Or” – means “Golden Gryffin” in French. Hippogriffs, though, have a strong association with the House, since the Gryffindor students are the first to approach the creatures and win their trust, while Draco Malfoy is injured by Buckbeak, which leads to the later "beheading" of the creature. Of course, the beheading is "reversed" by Harry and Hermione, who go back in time to rescue Buckbeack, and then use him to rescue Sirius Black. Afterward, Buckbeak becomes Sirius’s personal pet, hand fed with rats that Sirius catches himself. In OotP, Black sings “God Rest Ye, Merry Hippogriffs” at Christmastime.

Let’s say for purposes of this essay that a hippogriff symbolizes the impossible. It is impossible that two children could go back in time and rescue Sirius Black, as well as the “previously beheaded” Buckbeak in Prisoner of Azkaban. And yet it happened. A hippogriff also symbolizes the intersection of the Magical world with the Muggle world – the magical Gryffin with the common, earthly horse. In that respect, it represents the idea of the “Half-Blood Wizard” – half-human, half-magic. As JKR defines this creature, it is both of the sky and the earth. It can soar, but it also “burrows.” It hates to be “tethered,” yet it will bow and submit if there is trust.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry Potter sneaks back into the castle after using the Marauder’s Map to escape to Hogsmeade for the afternoon, he is confronted by Professor Severus Snape, who sternly asks him to tell the truth about where he has been.
“Snape’s eyes were boring into Harry’s. It was exactly like trying to stare down a hippogriff. Harry tried hard not to blink.” (PoA, “Snape’s Grudge”)

Severus Snape is one of the few characters who is literally and openly compared to a hippogriff. I believe this is significant, since the symbolism has nothing to do with Snape’s own Slytherin House, symbolized by a snake. We learn later in the series that Snape is the “Half-Blood Prince,” raised in the Muggle “dung heap” of Spinner’s End. This also goes against the “pureblood” reputation of Snape’s House. Before Half-Blood Prince was written, there was much discussion in fandom that Snape “had to be” a pureblood, since he was the “Head of Slytherin.” That has been proven incorrect, and thus, the impossible became . . . possible.

Severus Snape also has a "beak-like" nose, which obviously resembles the beak of a hippogriff. He is also seen riding a "bucking broomstick" in one of his memories seen in OotP.

In HBP, we learn that young Tom Riddle believed it was impossible for his own father to be a Muggle, and searched through the Hogwarts Trophy Room to find his magical heritage. In "Spinner's End," readers discover that Severus Snape lives in a "Muggle Dungheap" somewhere in England, and later, Hermione finds a wedding announcement between the magical Eileen Prince and the Muggle, Tobias Snape. Once again, we come back to the idea of the “Half-Blood” hybrid as a symbol of a union/connection that seems impossible.

We can analyze one famous scene from Snape’s past using the symbolism of the Hippogriff – "Snape’s Worst Memory" in Order of the Phoenix.

As we have read, if you insult a Hippogriff by not showing respect - "those talons are sharp" as Hagrid says. In SWM, Pureblood students James and Sirius insult young Snape,arrogantly taunting him about his beaky nose and his greasy hair. Snape is petrified and held down – “tethered” to the ground, we could say. Harry’s mother, Lily Evans, tries to reason with the bullies, and as negotiations continue, Snape breaks free and manages to magically cut James on the face. In the symbolism of the hippogriff, Snape’s pride has been offended, and James has felt the lash of his “sharp talons,” just as Draco felt the wrath of Buckbeak.

As Snape is hung upside down and Lily keeps begging James to let him go - and nearly smiling at Snape’s plight - Snape lashes out again, this time at Lily by calling her a "Mudblood." His pride has had enough of being the day's entertainment. He clearly does not want Lily’s pity, especially not in front of students from all the Houses, and he does not see her "good intentions." But his pride would not have been so hurt if he was indifferent to Lily.

What we have next is the simple but eloquent sentence, “Lily blinked.” She has lost whatever trust Snape had put on her by her over-interest in James, his tormentor. However, when Lily turns and lashes James with insults, Snape doesn't say anything else and seems subdued - perhaps "bowing" to Lily as an equal?

Some readers have found it “impossible” that Lily and Severus might have been friends, either before or after the incident in SWM. They are from separate Houses, and there is the “Mudblood” insult hanging between them after SWM. They seem totally opposite in everything from demeanor to magical ability. So does this mean that Snape “hates” Lily for trying to help him? I think not. Considering the wealth of hippogriff related imagery concerning Snape, it’s likely that JKR is hinting at something “impossible” in that scene – the fact that Snape might have had feelings for Lily Evans.

Something else seems impossible to Harry in that scene – the fact that his parents ever fell in love and got married in the first place, given that his father was an arrogant bully and his mother “seemed” to hate him. James was a Pureblood from a rich family and his mother was a Muggleborn. Yet two years later, they dated, later married, and then had baby Harry. Another seemingly impossible union, made possible by love.

We have no such “happy ending” so far in the canon for Severus Snape. We don’t know if he ever fell in love or married, though many readers suggest that Snape had a friendship with Lily that possibly blossomed into unrequited love on his part. Alan Rickman in an Interview with a French magazine suggested that Snape did not want Lily’s “pity” for him:
Quote
“He wasn't very sociable either. Snape never had friends. Lily Potter had tried to be nice to him, but Snape couldn't endure her pity. And then with James Potter, and his good friend Sirius Black, and their acolyte, Lupin, passing the time ridiculing him, he was even more withdrawn. Snape's life is more complex than initially appears.” (WhySnape, AR Interview)

Rickman’s comments raise more questions than they answer. Why did Lily “pity” Snape? Did he have feelings for her? Was his love unrequited because of the James/Lily relationship? Or were Lily and Severus just good friends whose relationship was torn apart by the taunts and attacks of James and his Gang? We know that as Snape became “withdrawn,” that he also began to involve himself with “darker” things. Young Snape, who called himself “The Half-Blood Prince” while rewriting and editing his Potions Book, was eventually attracted to the “employ” of Lord Voldemort, and became one of his followers, known as the Death Eaters.

A few years later, Severus tragically reported a Prophecy to the Dark Lord, which happened to involve Lily Potter and her son Harry, a mere baby. Voldemort sought to kill the child based on the Prophecy that Snape delivered to him, and thus, Snape realized that his information became the reason that Lily was hunted and eventually killed. I believe Snape did everything he could to warn Dumbledore and the Order about this matter, and Dumbledore gave testimony that Snape “returned” and acted as a spy for the good side “at great personal risk.”

However, the warnings were not enough to save Lily and James from someone in their inner circle – Peter Pettigrew - who broke his promise as their Secret Keeper, and told Lord Voldemort their whereabouts. Lily died, but not before giving her son “blood protection” due to her choice to die rather than hand over Baby Harry. Love once again did something impossible – Lily’s sacrifice out of love for her child reversed the Avada Kedavra spell onto Lord Voldemort, and he was destroyed, freeing his followers and everyone else from torment – the “tethers” were broken.

Snape, in his own difficult way, has continued the "protection" that Lily placed on Harry. He has saved Harry's life numerous times, and taught him useful life-saving magic, such as the use of a bezoar to avert poisoning, or the use of “Expelliarmus” to disarm Lord Voldemort. Yet Harry has felt the figurative "sharp talons" in dealing with Professor Snape, and the symbolism of the Hippogriff couldn't be more fitting: Harry will not bow to Snape, and “blinks” when he continually liesto his Professor, so Snape doesn't trust him. That's a simple way to sum up their entire relationship.

In OotP, we learn that Snape uses Legillimency to see into someone's mind and know when they are lying. Though Harry understands this, he continues to lie, "blinking" instead of telling the truth. In HBP, Harry has become more unwilling than ever to "bow" to Snape's skill as both a healer and a Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher. That is symbolized by Harry’s continuing disrespect in refusing to call Snape “Professor.” Constantly questioning whether Snape should be trusted, Harry breaks the patience of even the calm Albus Dumbledore, who tells Harry he still trusts Snape, but he will not explain why.

Meanwhile, Harry has become fascinated by a Potions Book from an earlier time, with inscriptions of simplified spellwork by someone named “The Half-Blood Prince.” Of course, we find out that the author is Severus Snape as a boy, who was the Half-Blood boy in the ordinarily Pureblood Slytherin House. The name Prince is his mother’s maiden name, and possibly a source of pride; on the other hand, it could just show a love for his mother. The “Prince” is the same boy who was attacked by the Marauders, and for whom Harry felt pity and sympathico after watching the memory unfold in the Pensieve. That is the boy for whom Lily stood up and defied her own House members.

The Prince in the book has become like a “bloke” or a “friend” to Harry, when Harry discovers that Snape and the Prince are the same person, it seems impossible to him. He “refused to believe ill of the boy who who had been so creative, who had helped him so much.” Yet Harry has no trouble thinking “ill” of Severus Snape, who is the same person as the Prince, yet who apparently killed Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in cold blood. How will those two sides of Snape ever be reconciled? It seems impossible to many readers and fans, and for them, Snape is the ultimate bad guy who is out to save his own neck.

But the lesson of the Hippogriff is: Never Rule Out the Impossible.

I believe the symbolism of the hippogriff can give us hope that Snape is not truly different from his younger self, The Half-Blood Prince. Inside he is still a creative thinker, and a truth seeker, who just wants to be respected. There is every reason to hope that things are not what they seem.

First, we have Albus Dumbledore with his “withered” hand that is like a claw – a reference to talons. At the same time, we are told that Sirius’s hippogriff, Buckbeak, whom Harry has inherited, is back at Hagrid’s Hut, but they have changed his name to “Witherwings” so the Ministry of Magic won’t know who he is. The repetition and plays on the word “wither” are interesting. Hippogriffs have wings on their “withers” – the area between the shoulders of a horse. To wither may also mean to dry up and die, or the feeling of grief that causes someone to pine away for someone.

Buckbeak has lost his master, and Harry has lost his Godfather, Sirius Black. Yet they are both survivors – Buckbeak of a reversed “beheading,” and Harry of the battle at the Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore is also a survivor of the horcrux curse on Tom Riddle’s family ring – something which has “tethered” Dumbledore to earth like the chains of the hippogriffs in Book 3. Snape is the one who kept Dumbledore “alive to tell the tale” after the curse injured his hand – he reversed the damage somehow and saved Dumbledore’s life, just as the children rescued Sirius and Buckbeak in PoA.

Buckbeak and Witherwings are the exact same hippogriff – the “names have been changed to protect the innocent” as they used to say on the old TV police show, Dragnet. Dumbledore is exactly the same before and after he receives the “withered” hand – only his appearance has changed.

And I would submit that the Half-Blood Prince and Professor Snape are the exact same person, internally, though the name has been changed. Harry nearly gets to that point of realization. When he first realizes how valuable the HBP book is in Potions Class, he switches a “new” book cover for the older original, thus “hiding” the book with the valuable text. Much later, after Harry uses the unknown spell, “Sectumsempra,” and nearly kills Draco in the restroom, Snape orders Harry to hand over his book. Harry cannot bear to part with it, because it has become his “friend,” so he lies to Snape despite Legillimency, and again changes book covers with Ron – or "Roonil Wazlib," as his book is inscribed.

Harry tells Snape that “Roonil” is his own nickname, though that is a lie. And we have Snape’s ironic statement: “Yes, I know what a nickname is,” referring perhaps to both the taunt of “Snivellus” and also “The Half-Blood Prince.” There again, we have the old “switcheroo” going on, books changing covers, people changing names, and people telling lies, but the truth remains the same and the people remain the same.

In PoA, as Hagrid agonizes over the fate of Buckbeak and the children try to come up with a “defense” for keeping such a dangerous creature alive, Harry makes observations about Buckbeak that give insights into the nature of hippogriffs. Seeing Buckbeak “lying in the corner, chomping on something that was oozing blood all over the floor” is repulsive, yet “there didn’t seem to be any particular harm in Buckbeak. In fact by Hagrid’s standards, he was positively cute.” (PoA, “The Firebolt.”)

[Image: 11266-2.jpg]

So if Snape symbolizes a Hippogriff, is he also less harmful than he appears? Is his appearance against him? Hermione says she has read about a case of “Hippogriff-Baiting,” meaning that people have taunted a Hippogriff into a fierce reaction. Isn’t that what happens in Snape’s Worst Memory? Snape is pushed into a corner and fights back?

And finally, when Harry and Hermione go back with the Time Turner to free Buckbeak, some interesting things occur. Even to untether the creature, Harry has to bow. And that that point, Buckbeack was saved – except for one thing. Buckbeak “dug in his feet” and would not move, almost as if it has a “death wish.” With the Fudge and the Exectutioner on their heels, Harry still has to drag Buckbeak into the forest “at a grudging trot.” I believe the word “grudge” there is a direct reference to Snape, going back to the Chapter “Snape’s Grudge” and the hippogriff comparison. When Fudge discovers that Buckbeak is gone, the creature listens in “silence,” but strains to go back to Hagrid. I think that is very much like “The Prince” who leaves the castle in a “Flight” at the end of HBP, but actually keeps coming back to talk to Harry. Snape has trouble just leaving Harry behind, though the boy keeps trying to stop him with spell after spell, which Snape deflects.

In the end, Snape is chased from the castle grounds by – what else? – a Hippogriff. Is this Buckbeak protecting Harry again? Probably not, since he states later to Ginny that he is “not” hurt? Or is this scene just another anvil-sized clue that connects Snape to hippogriffs in general?

In closing, I think the PoA movie has the best visual clues that Snape and the Hippogriff are connected, though neither scene is actually in the canon.

We see Snape standing between the Trio and the werewolf in a now famous screenshot of the Potions Master, his arms and cape thrown out like wings to protect them. Later in the film, when Buckbeak has been rescued, Lupin-Wolf appears to menace the children and who comes between them this time? Snape? No ~ Buckbeak the Hippogriff, who stands in front of Harry and Hermione with his wings spread out to protect them. Though we can’t be sure, I suspect a clever screenwriter, perhaps with help from JKR, has made the same connection I have been making in this essay.

[Image: SnapeHP3.jpg]



Sources:

Ariosto, Ludovico. "Orlando Furiouso." Gutenberg Plain Vanilla Text.

Bulfinch, Thomas. Tales of Charlemagne. Gutenberg Plain Vanilla Text.

Dave's Mythical Creatures ~ Hippogriff

Rowling, J. K. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, "Hippogriff," pg. 21.

Rowling, J. K. Books One through Six.


Transcript of National Press Club author's luncheon, NPR Radio, October 20, 1999.

Transcript: "Living with Harry Potter," Interviewer: Stephen Fry, Source: BBC Radio4, Broadcast: December 10, 2005

WhySnape ~ Quote from Alan Rickman
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2012 07:57 AM by Silver Ink Pot.)
05-11-2012 08:39 PM
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