10 Julio 2017 10:31
Harry Potter fans are known for their literary detective skills...
Harry Potter fan theories continue to grow and evolve, even if the phenomenon is in its twentieth year. The muggle community still pore over the books, picking at loose ends and probing every line of dialogue for concealed meanings that J. K. Rowling may have hidden like treasure.
Spanish Tumblr user 'Esnapingthesenses' is in no doubt: Severus Snape is transgender. 'I can't fathom Snape not being trans. The contextual clues all point to it. The result is never confirmed, but it's also never outright denied,' he said to Broadly.
The Snape trans conjecture has even taken the form of academic investigation. In 2011, writer and actress Racheline Maltese wrote a compelling paper entitled 'Harry Potter: Severus Snape as a representation of female heroism'.
The theory has reached such heights of popularity in the Potterhead community that an annual event has been established: Trans Snape Week – seven days devoted to honouring Severus Snape as a trans woman. Activities have already been programmed for the 2017 edition, which will run from 1 to 7 August. These include trans Snape scholars reciting extracts from the books that hint at the true gender identity of Snape and fanfic illustrations of Snape as a woman being shared.
Here are some of the compelling clues that support the trans Snape theory:
This doesn't constitute proof exactly, but Rowling has already revealed certain secret aspects of her characters, including the fact that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore is homosexual, and that Hermione could well be black. So why shouldn't Severus Snape be a transgender person?
We also know that Rowling usually speaks out when she considers a theory to be false, but so far she's said nothing about this one. Why would that be?
In volume six of the saga, The Half-Blood Prince, Harry and Hermione find an old copy of Advanced Potion Making. Unbeknownst to them, Snape was the previous owner of the book, although he'd signed it the 'Half-Blood Prince'.
As the pair ponder who could have written in the margins of the book, Hermione says: 'It might have been a girl. I think the handwriting looks more like a girl's than a boy's.'
Racheline Maltese says in her essay: 'In fact, feminine references follow Snape back into his childhood. Not only does Hermione note the handwriting in the Half-Blood Prince’s book looks like that of a girl, but in the memory presented of Snape’s first meeting with Lily Potter he is described as wearing something that looks like an old woman’s blouse.'
In Prisoner of Azkaban we learnt that a boggart is a creature that dwells in the dark and transforms into whatever the onlooker fears most. It can be defeated using the Riddikulus spell to convert it into something silly and comical.
For Neville Longbottom, the boggart takes the form of Severus Snape. When the Riddikulus spell is cast, the boggart is transformed into Snape wearing female clothing.
Rowling's way of ironically hinting at Snape's real gender identity?
Everyone knows that Rowling's books borrow heavily from the English literary tradition. So it's no surprise that people have drawn comparisons between Snape and The Lady in the Lake, who, in Arthurian legend, is given the task of guarding the sword Excalibur.
Harry Potter's Excalibur is the fabled sword of Godric Gryffindor, which he is given by none other than Snape.
Linking Snape to such a markedly feminine character seems like a statement of intent.
There are those who might contend that Snape's love for Lily Potter goes some way to quashing the trans Snape idea. But proponents of the theory argue that it actually strengthens and deepens it. They contend that not only did the potion professor love Lily, but he actually wanted to be like her. Certainly, this interpretation makes sense when you consider that Snape's Patronus is the same as Lily's: a doe – a female deer.
Snape's love for, and identification with, Lily is so strong that he ends up substituting her in motherhood and sacrificing himself to protect Harry Potter.