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Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
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Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
[Image: Dolores-Umbridge-Office.jpg]

WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge


Recently the first set of chapters from Order of the Phoenix opened on the Pottermore website, and the majority of them have to do with Dolores Umbridge. In fact, none of the chapters about Severus Snape, from the kitchen scene at Grimmauld Place, to Potions, to Occlumency, or even the all-important Snape's Worst Memory made the first cut on Pottermore. JK Rowling also included a lengthy biography of Umbridge about her sad childhood, blah blah, and the fact that she was a Half-Blood and had a brother who was a Squib, which broke up her family. Wah Wah - call in the sad trombone. Her story just isn't that different from Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape or Harry.

Oh, and she's a Slytherin, of course, in spite of all that pink, because she's evil. Why couldn't she be a Hufflepuff?

I think the emphasis on Umbridge by Pottermore made many fans scratch their heads. Are there any real Umbridge fans out there? And yet Pottermore unveiled all her carefully drawn scenes with pride, with days of announcements, games, and graphics, as if she was much more important than say, Lockhart or Barty Crouch, Jr. JKR's biography of Umbridge was touted in the press as a "new story for Halloween," even though it wasn't much of a story at all, and in some ways derivative of other characters.

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In reality and away from the influence of WB, Umbridge isn't too important to the actual plot of the books - she's just another bad Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who gets booted from Hogwarts by the one-year curse which Voldemort put on that position, no different than Quirrell, Lockhart or Barty Crouch/Fake Moody. She is attracted to Voldemort's horcrux in the last book, and we get to see her go full-Nazi at the Ministry, but she remains essentially a cartoon character.

So why does Umbridge get so much more respect from Warner Brothers? Why do they keep pushing her as significant?

I can see a pattern with WB in what they did with Umbridge in the Order of the Phoenix movie, and now on Pottermore, showcasing her character to the detriment of Snape's character.

Umbridge is supposed to be just another DADA teacher who is secretly a villain, like the DADA teachers in all the books before. And she's the worst kind of villain - a bureaucrat! - and especially detested by artistic types like movie Directors and Producers. And we know that JKR has strong feelings about any teacher who ever oppressed her, so some of the mockery is pay-back for bad childhood experiences. And Umbridge is indeed a recognizable and almost universal "type" of teacher - so kudos to the author. I had one of those myself, in fourth grade, and anyone who had that teacher (including my husband and several of my relatives) still talk about things she said or did. Obviously some people shouldn't be teachers, especially if they hate children.

But that's just the problem - she's a "type" and not that extraordinary. In a series with multiple villains, Umbridge is supposed to be just another villain who gets what she deserves. She is evil with a small "e" while Voldemort is all-caps EVIL.

But because the role was juicy with possibilities and so visual with the pink cat plates, Harry's scar, the fight with the Twins, and the centaurs at the end - WB had to spend a lot of money on her character, and they had to get a good actress. And once they had a good actress, Imelda Staunton, with all the pink costumes and funny lines, they started seeing Oscar and Bafta opportunities, and it blinded them.

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In their infinite wisdom, and lacking guidance from JKR about where the series was going, they decided that Alan Rickman had to take a backseat in OotP and sacrifice Snape's character development to that of Umbridge. And once they swept Snape out of the picture, they could suddenly add the funny scenes with Filch up on the teetering ladder, because that's more important than plot development, right?

Instead of Snape bickering with Sirius Black at Grimmauld Place in a truly important scene about fatherhood, we get voices through the door. Instead of multiple Occlumency scenes with Harry, he had the one argument with Harry in which he mentions James.

I could just as easily argue that scenes with Sirius, Gary Oldman, and Trelawney, Emma Thompson, were also sacrificed for Umbridge. Thompson's scene only exists to show more cruelty from Umbridge. If Sirius had a scene with Umbridge, it would have been in the movie, I'm sure.

The only good thing is that WB didn't cut Luna Lovegood out of the picture. But I'm sure they saw Luna as the Anti-Umbridge, anti-bureaucrat, and JKR loved the actress, Evanna Lynch. Plus, unlike Umbridge, Luna is a fan favorite, and even WB could see money-making potential with her. She's cute.

Edited to Add: And just today, the website Snitchseeker posted this picture of Evanna Lynch on Facebook, and immediately you can see one similarity with Umbridge - the pink tweed suit! But she's also got the spectraspecs and, of course, the anti-Ministry Quibbler. So I think it's correct that she is the anti-Umbridge.

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So getting back to Snape: with the rise of Umbridge as the focus in OotP, revered actor Alan Rickman was left with one powerful scene during Occlumency in which he mentions James and states the important (though non-canonical line) "Life isn't fair - even your sainted father knew that, and he often saw to it."

I'm glad they had enough sense to leave that scene in the movie, as well as the best visual, which was Snape walking into Harry's Mirror of Erised and standing between Lily and James, as if he was part of the family and a father-figure to Harry. It still amazes me that they could cut SWM but leave that part in, and my theory is that it was accidental brilliance on their part.

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They were taking the book literally, trying to show that Snape was "invading" Harry's memories and somehow being disrespectful - which is exactly the way many readers took it, and probably the way the author intended, so readers would equate Snape with Umbridge.

Here's another part of the Erised scene, with Harry hugging Sirius while gazed upon by kindly Mr. Weasley, another father figure. And right in the middle is Snape. Again, I think WB used this to contrast Harry's bad relationship with his teacher by giving Snape the sarcastic line "I may vomit," and not to show that Snape was a father-figure. So the scene became accidental movie magic.

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In fact, Snape was trying to teach Harry to block his sad and sentimental memories, not because he wanted to torture Harry but because he understood the weakness. Those same memories affected him because of his feelings for Lily, which is why he gets angry. He doesn't want to get emotional in front of the boy. Snape is also an Anti-Umbridge, but WB didn't see that until the Deathly Hallows movie, when they had a round of slapping their foreheads and saying, "OH! I get it now!"

Ironically, like the bureaucrats the despise, the movie people looked at the financial bottom line with OotP and their investment in Umbridge, and missed the big picture by leaving out most of Snape's Worst Memory and how it affected Harry. Because that scene, which is also a fan-favorite and a fan-controversy, is supposed to be the flip side of the Mirror of Erised, with Harry invading Snape's memories. And it works because the whole bullying scene with the Marauders, Snape, and Lily is devastating to Harry, and causes him to confront Sirius Black and Remus Lupin with their past sins. It's really full circle back to Prisoner of Azkaban and the question of why Snape wanted to be the one to capture Sirius and return him to Azkaban. It explains so much.

[Image: 99515625-fdb1-415d-a82e-8cc7bfe821f7.jpg]

They filmed that scene, but left most of it on the cutting room floor, relying instead on a short and confusing flashback that tells movie viewers nothing unless they slow the film down frame by frame.

Original pic from SWM not included in film

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To this day Producer David Heyman gets a pained look every time someone asks him about it. He knows it is the big flaw in the series and that it was short-sighted to cut the scene. They made up for it in part during Deathly Hallows with the beautiful "Prince's Tale" sequence.

But when they were making the OotP movie, WB blew it, and now they know they blew it, so why are they still merchandising Umbridge on Pottermore instead of Snape? That remains a mystery, although it may have more to do with the people running Pottermore, or people in the art department who haven't actually read the books. I'm not sure.

Clearly they still have much invested in Umbridge and there's no going back now. And because her character just isn't that important, she is easier to talk about and portray than a complex character like Snape, who has a history and baggage with other characters, and who drives certain fans right up the wall. JKR learned to tip-toe around such fans by pretending along with them that Snape was a villain equal to or worse than Voldemort. She wanted a big reveal at the end, and to avoid spoilers for her most stupid fans (sorry, but that's true).

But in spite of JKR's disdain for the Snape fans, he is still her character and the one upon which the entire plot rests. One would hope that when the Snape chapters appear on Pottermore, we will see bully James hanging Snape upside down in the air while surrounded by his gang. Or maybe we will see Lily standing in between and yelling at James while Harry watches. If they portray that scene differently there will be hell to pay for Pottermore, you can bet on that. Welcome to the real canon after all these years.

But the main thing WB missed with the whole Snape and Umbridge thing is that she is supposed to be someone who actually cannot teach, while Snape actually can teach. Even when Umbridge orders Snape to stop teaching the kids useful potions, he makes sure that Harry in particular will learn the Draught of Peace and the properties of Moonstone by doing extra homework and writing an essay. The way Snape handles Umbridge, defying her in plain sight, foreshadows the way he has always fooled Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He acts badass and angry, even while doing exactly what he wants to do in the first place, which is to be Harry's teacher and mentor.

That's the real story and where it was going, but WB got lost among the pink suits and cat plates.

I guess Alan Rickman's revenge is that he's the only actor from the Harry Potter series to ever get real Oscar nomination and worldwide buzz for Deathly Hallows. And he did it without fuzzy pink suits, cat plates, or a silly laugh. While Snape is dramatic, he never became a cartoon character on the screen thanks to Rickman's respect for the character. Snape has been voted a fan favorite multiple times now by worldwide fandom, and Umbridge is way down the list. They can plaster her picture all over Pottermore and it won't change fandom at all.

And those Snape chapters from OotP will appear on Pottermore eventually, and there will only be more and more Snape through Deathly Hallows. Sorry you missed that whole thing, WB. Revenge is sweet, and is best served cold. Smile

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11-25-2014 08:57 PM
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David W. Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
My scattered thought on this (because I'm blown away and because I have little free time):

This is one of those "I didn't know I needed this until it happened" things to me. Kudos on your dedication on something so utterly frustrating yet which needs to be told, not least among the Fandom;

Basically, the parts where WB (and Jo as consultant) @&$ked up was enunciating thoughts I'd had since 2007 but could never quite do so myself, thanks so much for that;

Luna's character story was still hacked to pieces by the film, though;

Film!SWM makes me ANGRY ebuiefvbivbbihefbvjksbjidvevresraawkdndsnvsdihsbibcihwhidi ;

Please tell me you're gonna post this on DTCL as well? We're right in the middle of yet another OotP sporkfest and this would fit right in. Or at least, may I have your permission to reference in the comments that @rattlesnakeroot posted this thing on this site? (Could be tough since the group now forbids direct url links)



« L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est un roseau *pensant*. Il ne faut pas que l'univers entier s'arme pour l'écraser; une vapeur, une goutte d'eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l'univers l'écraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il meurt et l'avantage que l'univers a sur lui; l'univers n'en sait rien. »

( “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a *thinking* reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” )

— Blaise Pascal



“如果你此生有幸,可以得到他的一个承诺。”

( “If you are truly blessed in this life, you might get a promise out of him.” )

— Caption on a Severus Snape splash-page from MovieView magazine, issue #412

11-26-2014 08:46 AM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
(11-26-2014 08:46 AM)David W. Wrote:  My scattered thought on this (because I'm blown away and because I have little free time):

This is one of those "I didn't know I needed this until it happened" things to me. Kudos on your dedication on something so utterly frustrating yet which needs to be told, not least among the Fandom;

Basically, the parts where WB (and Jo as consultant) @&$ked up was enunciating thoughts I'd had since 2007 but could never quite do so myself, thanks so much for that;

Thanks - I was writing a post on your thread about the movies but it kept getting longer and realized I wanted to turn it into an essay. I think Pottermore/WB putting so much emphasis (again) on Umbridge helped me realize what really went wrong with OotP.

What amazes me the most is that WB would make the same mistake again, and ignore the Snape fans. It baffles me.

I think by the time they made DH and knew how the series ended, WB tried to make the most of Snape and Alan Rickman in a last hope of winning an Oscar. That's really the bottom line for them - they wanted Oscar gold, but it never happened.

Quote:Luna's character story was still hacked to pieces by the film, though;

Film!SWM makes me ANGRY ebuiefvbivbbihefbvjksbjidvevresraawkdndsnvsdihsbibcihwhidi ;

I love Evanna Lynch, and considering how much Umbridge there is in the movie, we are lucky to have Luna to lighten the mood. Of course I see her character as a wasted opportunity for JKR, who preferred to match Harry up with Ginny, even though he has actual chemistry with Luna.

I like what they did with Luna in the films, but there again it is a happy accident. For all WB knew at the time, Harry was going to grow up and marry Luna, so they made time in the movie for her.

Quote:Please tell me you're gonna post this on DTCL as well? We're right in the middle of yet another OotP sporkfest and this would fit right in. Or at least, may I have your permission to reference in the comments that @rattlesnakeroot posted this thing on this site? (Could be tough since the group now forbids direct url links)

I don't know what DTCL is, and I'm not sure I need a "sporkfest," whatever that is. Tongue If they forbid links, you probably shouldn't do it. In fact, please don't mention my name, period.

I may post this on my own Livejournal, but I haven't made up my mind.

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11-26-2014 10:26 AM
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David W. Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Oh, DTCL is short for the LJ group "Death To Capslock". I must have misremembered thinking that your Livejournal persona was once somewhere in the comments section. My bad. So I won't be mentioning this over there if you don't want to, but in any case the group's very much worth a look. (Sporking is when somebody takes a piece of media apart with a very critical yet sober hand.)Any non-anon can comment in that group (including fic- or essay-pimping as long as theyre relevant), but sometimes people would post members-only entries if they feel it to be too sensative. In any case I strongly recommend you join this community.

Alan Rickman as Severus and Evanna Lynch as Luna are the top two "can't imagine anyone else playing them" cases for me.

Since we're mentioning that HP film thread, I'd like to go back once again to PJ adapting Tolkien: he cut off the entire "Scouring of the Shire", but didn't unhinge the overall plot. That takes some vision. WB should've tread more carefully seeing that Hp wasn't finished as a book series yet, as opposed to Lord Of The Rings being published in full some fifty years ago and already had animated film adaptions out of it.



« L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est un roseau *pensant*. Il ne faut pas que l'univers entier s'arme pour l'écraser; une vapeur, une goutte d'eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l'univers l'écraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il meurt et l'avantage que l'univers a sur lui; l'univers n'en sait rien. »

( “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a *thinking* reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” )

— Blaise Pascal



“如果你此生有幸,可以得到他的一个承诺。”

( “If you are truly blessed in this life, you might get a promise out of him.” )

— Caption on a Severus Snape splash-page from MovieView magazine, issue #412

(This post was last modified: 11-27-2014 07:45 AM by David W..)
11-26-2014 02:47 PM
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hwyla Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Just FYI - DTCL is 'Death to Capslock' and while I post there, I agree that David probably shouldn't mention this there as your essay. Unfortunately David that would probably end with a LOT of trolls ending up here. Anything by SIP/rattlesnakeroot seems to be to trolls like waving a red flag at a bull. And the trolls seem to sit and watch Death to Capslock much too often, so I'm sure they would notice.

As for the points made in the essay...while I agree that placing so much visual emphasis on Umbridge in the movies was probably irresistible to the director (and set and costume designers), I wouldn't think it was necessarily about oscars (except possibly in the art department awards). Of course, IF I recall correctly, somewhere in those years, there was a kids film that did manage a relatively undeserved oscar. I don't recall the name though. Very memorable obviously. I just remember us all being upset.

However, I doubt they were aiming for oscars as much as for box office results. The oscars they would have been aiming at (the actors or movie oscars) would have meant making better use of the great adult actors that they had. And that would have meant much more emphasis on the marauder age backstory. IF they were pulling for oscars so hard, we would have gotten a proper shrieking shack scene in PoA. That scene was rife with wasted oscar opportunities.

Unfortunately, I think it was dropped because it took away from 'Harry' and the directors/producer/powers-that-be felt that making the films focus more on the kids would bring in more money - counting on the adult audience of the books to either be forced to come by their children or too ardent of fans to consider not going to every movie they put out. I don't know how many adults they lost with the last movies, but after OotP, I didn't even watch HBPmovie after hearing how much time was spent on the 'romances'.

I suppose the adults they lost were replaced by older teens who had been watching the earlier movies anyway,

As for Pottermore, I feel a bit wrong to comment when I've never even gone there, but from everything I gather about the site, I'd say it has a lot to do with some of the folks that work there. And probably a LOT to do with JKRs apparent lack of awareness that many of her fans love Snape more than she does. Partially, I think she's been peeved that so many folks prefer him to Harry. I see it as a bit of a snit. I don't see HOW she could have been so apparently blindsided by this, but I think part of it is also that she's peeved we saw through her attempts to keep everyone believing Snape was evil until the last minute.
11-26-2014 03:21 PM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
(11-26-2014 03:21 PM)hwyla Wrote:  Just FYI - DTCL is 'Death to Capslock' and while I post there, I agree that David probably shouldn't mention this there as your essay. Unfortunately David that would probably end with a LOT of trolls ending up here. Anything by SIP/rattlesnakeroot seems to be to trolls like waving a red flag at a bull. And the trolls seem to sit and watch Death to Capslock much too often, so I'm sure they would notice.

Thanks, hwyla - I couldn't remember the name of that place. And you are sure as heck right about the trolls! Smile

Quote:As for the points made in the essay...while I agree that placing so much visual emphasis on Umbridge in the movies was probably irresistible to the director (and set and costume designers), I wouldn't think it was necessarily about oscars (except possibly in the art department awards). Of course, IF I recall correctly, somewhere in those years, there was a kids film that did manage a relatively undeserved oscar. I don't recall the name though. Very memorable obviously. I just remember us all being upset.
I think the children's film that took the limelight from Deathly Hallows was "Hugo," a film that was also about magic and directed by Martin Scorsese, a hollywood legend, so it knocked HP out of the running for an Oscar. It was also in the running for Baftas and Golden Globe awards. However it was a box office bomb, and to most HP fans seemed derivative and almost cliched. That's not to say it's a bad children's film, but it wouldn't have gotten that much attention as a story or film without Scorsese.

Quote:However, I doubt they were aiming for oscars as much as for box office results. The oscars they would have been aiming at (the actors or movie oscars) would have meant making better use of the great adult actors that they had. And that would have meant much more emphasis on the marauder age backstory. IF they were pulling for oscars so hard, we would have gotten a proper shrieking shack scene in PoA. That scene was rife with wasted oscar opportunities.
I didn't go into it in this essay, but I totally agree. The other main flaw in the series is the rushed Shrieking Shack scene. They should have put another flashback about Harry's father being Prongs, at least, so his patronus would be more meaningful. But they let the Director call the shots on PoA, and then they couldn't fix it later. I think the Dementors won out over the Marauders.

Quote:Unfortunately, I think it was dropped because it took away from 'Harry' and the directors/producer/powers-that-be felt that making the films focus more on the kids would bring in more money - counting on the adult audience of the books to either be forced to come by their children or too ardent of fans to consider not going to every movie they put out. I don't know how many adults they lost with the last movies, but after OotP, I didn't even watch HBPmovie after hearing how much time was spent on the 'romances'.

You just have to close your eyes during the Harry/Ginny scenes, which are rather cringeworthy.

Quote:I suppose the adults they lost were replaced by older teens who had been watching the earlier movies anyway,
I'm sure. Smile

hwyla Wrote:As for Pottermore, I feel a bit wrong to comment when I've never even gone there, but from everything I gather about the site, I'd say it has a lot to do with some of the folks that work there. And probably a LOT to do with JKRs apparent lack of awareness that many of her fans love Snape more than she does. Partially, I think she's been peeved that so many folks prefer him to Harry. I see it as a bit of a snit. I don't see HOW she could have been so apparently blindsided by this, but I think part of it is also that she's peeved we saw through her attempts to keep everyone believing Snape was evil until the last minute.
And I guess JKR thinks a new wave of fans are sitting there on Pottermore and reading along with the website, but I disagree. Anyone I've ever known who has read the entire series did it in a short amount of time, not over five years! I think JKR and WB are confused about that. Originally we were forced to wait years for the books, so things unfolded slowly, but fans now can read the whole series in less than a week.

The idea of "spoilers" with HP is rather ridiculous at this point, when they have shown the movies hundreds of times on TV. Yes, new book readers will find surprises that aren't in the movies, but it's also true that even people who have read the books will be surprised by the "new" information on Pottermore. They seem to want it both ways - no spoilers, but it's okay for JKR to post all this new info that has nothing to do with the books. Rolleyes

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11-26-2014 04:00 PM
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subtle science Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Even after all this time, Snape is still an issue for some of the fans--there's a core group that never understood the character and were completely flummoxed by the "reveal" of what he was truly all about.....To this day, they're upset about being wrong and insist upon finding ways to "prove" he was, nevertheless, evil all the way. It doesn't make a luck of sense, but.....trolls will be trolls, and they never were too bright to begin with. Big Grin

Umbridge is a safer character for the films and, especially, for Pottermore. In the films, she's a cartoon villain, and can be aimed, as a buffoon, toward a young audience. Nothing to think about, obviously supposed to be hissed at, and easy to laugh at--very broad, "evil" character. Since the films' apparent goal was simplicity, the decision to play her up made sense.

For Pottermore, I'm sure that whoever runs the site would prefer not to upset the troll brigade. Simplicity, plus fan adoration, appears to be the purpose of the site. I got locked out of the site when my account disappeared; it's not really a loss, because I pretty much just went there for the art: I had no interest in the games and the House point nonsense (since the House divisions in the books were one of the aspects I disliked a great deal), and the site was not designed for anything else.....Again, Umbridge falls right into the site's apparent philosophy--she's silly and no one's really going to care that much about any information presented about her.

As for the character in the books--I actually found her to be unnerving, in her icy, deliberate cruelty. She did appear to be a foil for Snape: the contrast between her, with her intention sadism and complete lack of any intellect or academic drive, as opposed to what Snape was actually doing......The showdown between her and Snape in OotP was great.......But the layers and nuances of that were far beyond either the films or Pottermore.

I did find the fall of Umbridge, with the centaurs, to be intensely disturbing; I don't like the implications of it, and I didn't like the seeming erasure of it in the later books.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
--T. S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

We have built no Temple but the CAPITOL; We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (King James Version, Matthew 25: 37-40)
11-26-2014 04:46 PM
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hwyla Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Really, the entire end of OotP was basically erased in the later books. I was appalled that we never again heard anything about the affect the battle at the DoM had on anyone other than Harry over Sirius' death - and even that was terribly 'short'. But serious injuries like both Ron and Hermione acquired with no remaining signs? No wonder the young readers couldn't understand that the Marauders never learned about consequences. Harry never had to either.

Sorry - didn't mean to derail from the subject.

I did want to mention that as an art director, I CAN understand gravitating to the fun of representing Umbridge. GoF didn't have as much 'fun' visually. It all came down to a dragon and mermaids for places for interesting visuals - and both of those were computer graphics. So, a different department having fun. Visually, the set/costume design departments probably hadn't had so much fun since PoA and Sybil's classroom, the Knight Bus and Remus' DADA office - not to mention their clothes.

I'm a bit surprised that Tonks wasn't played up more as she would have been quite a bit of visual fun as well. But she wore the same clothes all the way through and her hair wasn't even that colorful.

But I can understand a little getting overexcited by Umbridge's arrival and it getting away from them a bit. What I cannot understand is the Director allowing it to take over. Unfortunately, after the main decision in earlier movies to focus on Harry and ignore the adults (unless they show a 'better' Harry than the books - white-washed), I think they backed themselves into a corner with Snape.

If they showed Occlumency lessons as written in the books, then they would have needed to show Snape in a better light and show that Harry wasn't taking the study seriously. That would then show that Harry played a part in Sirius' death. It allows the viewers who never read the books well, to blame it on Snape - just like harry. I really think it was a bad call, since a sympathetic view of Snape would have made Albus' death in the next film even more shocking. But I think the films were determined to not have the viewers to ever feel sympathetic to Snape. Hence the lack of Marauder/Snape backstory, as well as doing away with the obvious hints of Snape's spying.
11-26-2014 07:16 PM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
hwyla Wrote:I'm a bit surprised that Tonks wasn't played up more as she would have been quite a bit of visual fun as well. But she wore the same clothes all the way through and her hair wasn't even that colorful.
Yes! That's what most fans expected in OotP, and she did have her moments, but I think she was definitely overshadowed by Umbridge.

hwyla Wrote:If they showed Occlumency lessons as written in the books, then they would have needed to show Snape in a better light and show that Harry wasn't taking the study seriously. That would then show that Harry played a part in Sirius' death. It allows the viewers who never read the books well, to blame it on Snape - just like harry. I really think it was a bad call, since a sympathetic view of Snape would have made Albus' death in the next film even more shocking. But I think the films were determined to not have the viewers to ever feel sympathetic to Snape. Hence the lack of Marauder/Snape backstory, as well as doing away with the obvious hints of Snape's spying.

Great points! The ending was too hurried, and it would have made sense for Harry to speak to Nearly Headless Nick at the end of the movie, as he does in the book. It would have been a great scene. *sigh*

That's why people often point out that OotP is one of the longest books, but the shortest movie. WB missed so many golden moments.

(11-26-2014 04:46 PM)subtle science Wrote:  Even after all this time, Snape is still an issue for some of the fans--there's a core group that never understood the character and were completely flummoxed by the "reveal" of what he was truly all about.....To this day, they're upset about being wrong and insist upon finding ways to "prove" he was, nevertheless, evil all the way. It doesn't make a luck of sense, but.....trolls will be trolls, and they never were too bright to begin with. Big Grin

Umbridge is a safer character for the films and, especially, for Pottermore. In the films, she's a cartoon villain, and can be aimed, as a buffoon, toward a young audience. Nothing to think about, obviously supposed to be hissed at, and easy to laugh at--very broad, "evil" character. Since the films' apparent goal was simplicity, the decision to play her up made sense.

Yes, and now on Pottermore she is getting the "royal" treatment. The details of her office alone are astonishing - look at that lace on the chair! - and I bet the Snape scenes will be very different - probably blurry and viewed from a distance.

It's just so wrong that WB has wasted time in the movies and space on the internet for a minor character like Umbridge, who really isn't more important than Mad Eye Moody or the others. And conversely, they skip over Snape's character, even though he is central to the story. It's weird!

Quote:For Pottermore, I'm sure that whoever runs the site would prefer not to upset the troll brigade. Simplicity, plus fan adoration, appears to be the purpose of the site. I got locked out of the site when my account disappeared; it's not really a loss, because I pretty much just went there for the art: I had no interest in the games and the House point nonsense (since the House divisions in the books were one of the aspects I disliked a great deal), and the site was not designed for anything else.....Again, Umbridge falls right into the site's apparent philosophy--she's silly and no one's really going to care that much about any information presented about her.

Did they EVER contact you about your account? I just don't understand what they were thinking in deleting these accounts, after encouraging people for months and months. People deserve answers.

If I were you I'd try to log in again and see if they've fixed it yet.

Quote:As for the character in the books--I actually found her to be unnerving, in her icy, deliberate cruelty. She did appear to be a foil for Snape: the contrast between her, with her intention sadism and complete lack of any intellect or academic drive, as opposed to what Snape was actually doing......The showdown between her and Snape in OotP was great.......But the layers and nuances of that were far beyond either the films or Pottermore.

At least they let Snape put in a good word for Cho Chang in the movie, and he did get that line "I've no idea" when Umbridge confronted him about Harry.

Subtle Science Wrote:I did find the fall of Umbridge, with the centaurs, to be intensely disturbing; I don't like the implications of it, and I didn't like the seeming erasure of it in the later books.

I agree - it's another case of two wrongs don't make a right, as when Harry does the Cruciatus on someone in HBP. The historical implications of the centaur attack is horrible, and Ron makes a joke of it at the end of the book. Sad Also, why would they put Umbridge in the same room with the kids? Shouldn't she have some privacy after such an ordeal? Just bad taste all around on JKR's part.

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11-26-2014 07:39 PM
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David W. Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
(11-26-2014 03:21 PM)hwyla Wrote:  Just FYI - DTCL is 'Death to Capslock' and while I post there, I agree that David probably shouldn't mention this there as your essay. Unfortunately David that would probably end with a LOT of trolls ending up here. Anything by SIP/rattlesnakeroot seems to be to trolls like waving a red flag at a bull. And the trolls seem to sit and watch Death to Capslock much too often, so I'm sure they would notice.

As for the points made in the essay...while I agree that placing so much visual emphasis on Umbridge in the movies was probably irresistible to the director (and set and costume designers), I wouldn't think it was necessarily about oscars (except possibly in the art department awards). Of course, IF I recall correctly, somewhere in those years, there was a kids film that did manage a relatively undeserved oscar. I don't recall the name though. Very memorable obviously. I just remember us all being upset.

However, I doubt they were aiming for oscars as much as for box office results. The oscars they would have been aiming at (the actors or movie oscars) would have meant making better use of the great adult actors that they had. And that would have meant much more emphasis on the marauder age backstory. IF they were pulling for oscars so hard, we would have gotten a proper shrieking shack scene in PoA. That scene was rife with wasted oscar opportunities.

Unfortunately, I think it was dropped because it took away from 'Harry' and the directors/producer/powers-that-be felt that making the films focus more on the kids would bring in more money - counting on the adult audience of the books to either be forced to come by their children or too ardent of fans to consider not going to every movie they put out. I don't know how many adults they lost with the last movies, but after OotP, I didn't even watch HBPmovie after hearing how much time was spent on the 'romances'.

I suppose the adults they lost were replaced by older teens who had been watching the earlier movies anyway,

As for Pottermore, I feel a bit wrong to comment when I've never even gone there, but from everything I gather about the site, I'd say it has a lot to do with some of the folks that work there. And probably a LOT to do with JKRs apparent lack of awareness that many of her fans love Snape more than she does. Partially, I think she's been peeved that so many folks prefer him to Harry. I see it as a bit of a snit. I don't see HOW she could have been so apparently blindsided by this, but I think part of it is also that she's peeved we saw through her attempts to keep everyone believing Snape was evil until the last minute.

Hence, *if* SIP were to post this on that community, I would've suggested she post under the "members only" readership access for extra protection. But at the same time, I do not wish any troll trouble on her, so forget it.

Film!PoA really broke my heart. We talk about the films getting shorter, culminating in OotP being only 133 minutes long (even shorter if we cut off the end credits), but that "rot" really started to set in since Chris Columbus left the director's chair. I'm starting to sound like a pitiful broken record here, but how dare they cut off so much from a yet-WIP series and not expect consequences? The parts laid out by Hwyla about the shrieking shack confrontation meant a LOT to the storyline in PoA, never mind the repercussions to later books. I'm not even asking for the acting to deliver all those nuances like Sirius being unrepentant, Lupin being spineless and Severus being all "I'm doing this for you, Lily" (although the latter would've still come out since Alan Rickman knew his character's driving force beforehand), no, just playing out what the plot had in the most mediocre fashion would've sufficed. Capable adults duking it out verbally and body-languagely until it all explodes with Snape being conveniently knocked out and then Peter happened and the Dementors nearly terminated everybody. And guess what, the film would still not have exceeded 160 minutes if you added that!

Re: people still not getting over Snape
I'd like to ask those who were there when the early Star Wars came out: how much of a fandom explosion had there been when "No Luke... I *am* your father" first happened? The most virtuous and pure-of-heart character of that fictional universe, the Jedi-in-training and the space cadet who singlehandedly blew up Death Star Mark I ... and his birth father turns out to be the second most evil person in the galaxy. (This was used in Stephan Law's book on Philosophy, quite brilliantly as a pop culture example: Do we commit the genetic fallacy when we are shocked that Luke Skywalker's father is not brave and good like his son, but is in fact Darth Vader?) I guess Luke really anguished on all out behalf, but then he stayed strong, sort-of settled the matter with Yoda before the latter passed away, and ended up redeeming Darth Vader's soul.

Meanwhile, Harry's incapable of handling that his dad was an A-1 school bully and that his godfather sicced a werewolf on a fellow student. And a good part of the fandom can't accept that Snape was playing the role that Leo DiCaprio played in The Departed (or Tony Leung's in the original "Infernal Affairs").



« L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est un roseau *pensant*. Il ne faut pas que l'univers entier s'arme pour l'écraser; une vapeur, une goutte d'eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l'univers l'écraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il meurt et l'avantage que l'univers a sur lui; l'univers n'en sait rien. »

( “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a *thinking* reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” )

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“如果你此生有幸,可以得到他的一个承诺。”

( “If you are truly blessed in this life, you might get a promise out of him.” )

— Caption on a Severus Snape splash-page from MovieView magazine, issue #412

(This post was last modified: 11-27-2014 08:13 AM by David W..)
11-27-2014 08:08 AM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
David: I'm not posting it over there, period, so please drop it. Honestly, I'm a grown woman who has been around fandom for years and I know all the places. And I'm a member there, but just not interested in posting there, period.

Star Wars is off-topic. I could go off onto the differences and similarities between Harry/Luke and James/Vader, but I don't have the energy after a big Thanksgiving meal. Tongue Please feel free to start a new thread for that instead of hijacking this one, thanks.

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11-28-2014 01:02 AM
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Aw, didn't know that was far enough to be hijacking. Sorry.



« L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est un roseau *pensant*. Il ne faut pas que l'univers entier s'arme pour l'écraser; une vapeur, une goutte d'eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l'univers l'écraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il meurt et l'avantage que l'univers a sur lui; l'univers n'en sait rien. »

( “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a *thinking* reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” )

— Blaise Pascal



“如果你此生有幸,可以得到他的一个承诺。”

( “If you are truly blessed in this life, you might get a promise out of him.” )

— Caption on a Severus Snape splash-page from MovieView magazine, issue #412

11-28-2014 01:55 AM
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
The film of OotP was, in my opinion, wholly incoherent. That was the logical fallout from what was done to PoA in the filmed version: without the key background information provided in the book PoA, the back story in OotP collapsed, too: the films were on the track to be simplified versions of e novels, and it was late in the game to try to clarify the muddled mess that was Cuaron's PoA.

As far as I'm concerned, he single-handedly destroyed the films.....Little or nothing made sense in his movie, from the abrupt loss of the student robes to the utter filthiness and dirt of the Wizarding World to the major editing of the actual plot. As I've mentioned before, it is unintentionally hilarious when Sirius asks about Lupin's Werewolf potion as Lupin is transforming--on several levels. It encapsulates the illogic of the entire film. To me, the only moment worthwhile is Snape's throwing out his arms to shelter the kids from the werewolf--at least that is consistent with the character, even if an embroidery of the story.

I barely recall the film version of OotP: all I really recall of it is the lack of any cohesive and coherent plot; that it was just a string of disjointed scenes, which never seemed to have any relation to each other.

An unfortunate theme that runs under JKR's work is the idea that abuse of 'bad' people is justified. It's a disturbing idea--she's not portraying actual justice; instead, she endorses a cruelty and vengeance that is equal to whatever the perpetrator did in order to be classified as evil.....Yet, when the 'good' characters mete out this repulsive revenge, it's presented as a positive. Hypocrisy--you're doing it right, JKR.

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11-28-2014 11:38 PM
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Silver Ink Pot Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
Quote: To me, the only moment worthwhile is Snape's throwing out his arms to shelter the kids from the werewolf--at least that is consistent with the character, even if an embroidery of the story.

Yes, and just before that, Snape is shown coming out of the Shack and running straight to Harry - accidental foreshadowing that Cuaron couldn't possibly have understood.





What we don't see - thankfully - is Snape being floated like a balloon with his head bumping against the top of the tunnel. It's a pity because that would be a direct parallel with Harry blowing up Aunt Marge at the beginning of the movie, and shows how much Sirius actually disliked Snape.

But there again we have JKR using rather violent means to give a comeuppance to two characters disliked by Harry - Aunt Marge and Snape. And while Marge may deserve it, there's no question that Snape didn't, since he was acting in the kid's best interest as a teacher and rushing in where he knew the danger would be just as great to himself with Lupin about to go through the change.

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11-29-2014 01:35 AM
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David W. Offline
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RE: Why WB Sacrificed Snape for Umbridge
I just want to reiterate my point that because of the sloppy way the plot of PoA as handled in adaptation (the director *had* to be partially responsible, Steve Kloves may be a hack but the scripts for PS and CoS — under Chris Columbus — turned out just fine) especially the Shrieking Shack Showdown and info-dump, I cannot possibly share the sintiment that PoA is the best in the series. Viewed on its own it's pretty shiny, but once you put it into the series it falls apart, and the bad vibe won't be corrected until HBP.

(In other news, SPAM ALERT.)



« L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est un roseau *pensant*. Il ne faut pas que l'univers entier s'arme pour l'écraser; une vapeur, une goutte d'eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l'univers l'écraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il meurt et l'avantage que l'univers a sur lui; l'univers n'en sait rien. »

( “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a *thinking* reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” )

— Blaise Pascal



“如果你此生有幸,可以得到他的一个承诺。”

( “If you are truly blessed in this life, you might get a promise out of him.” )

— Caption on a Severus Snape splash-page from MovieView magazine, issue #412

07-01-2015 10:13 AM
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