Archive for the ‘review’ Category.

Severus Snape is still evil!

I reread bits of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the other day. I can’t believe Harry is dumb enough to name his son Albus Severus. Leaving aside that Dumbledore wasn’t actually super great himself, how can he name his son after Snape? Because he was brave? So what!

Snape is a bigot. He is prejudiced. If you like Snape, then you like a deeply, truly prejudiced person. He treated Harry like trash the minute he met him, because he looks like James, who Snape hated.

James was apparently a bully and a jerk. That’s fine, but that doesn’t somehow make Snape sympathetic, just because his rival is a scumbag. Harry isn’t a bully, so he isn’t like James. But Snape hates him from Day One.

He also treats Hermione, Ron, and Neville like trash and favors the kids from his own house. And no, that’s not all just an act as part of the Bigger Plan. Dumbledore even admits that these are Snape’s own personal hangups.

So Snape was originally fine for James to die, okay, I can accept that, even though if he really loved Lily he probably shouldn’t be okay with her husband’s death, since that would obviously hurt her, and if you love someone in a way that isn’t just selfish and possessive, you generally don’t want to hurt the one you love.

But he also didn’t care if Harry died, as long as Lily was spared. That’s pretty calloused. And then when Lily dies anyway, he does agree to help protect Harry. Not because it’s right, but because he wants (a) to do something for Lily and (b) revenge on Voldemort.

And finally, when Dumbledore tells him Harry must die, Snape is devastated, as he thought all his sacrifice was to protect him. Dumbledore asks if he has begun to care for Harry. “For him?” Snape exclaims. He doesn’t care about Harry. He never cared about Harry. Harry can suffer, Harry can hurt, that doesn’t bother him. All he cares about is Lily, but not her son, only because he’s a tool that through protecting him, he can feel good about doing something for Lily.

So then when he learns that he can’t protect Harry any more, that he is for the slaughter, he continues his secret work for reason (b), revenge on Voldemort.

So yeah, Snape is brave. You have to be to play both sides for so long like he did, to risk his life so many times… but is bravery enough? And I believe he did come around from his Death Eater ways, he eschewed the use of Mudblood in private (or was that merely because he had called Lily that and the word reminded him of his worst memory?) and he did try to save George from a Death Eater. When Dumbledore asked him how many people he’d seen die, he said “Lately, only those I could not save.” So sure, he retreated from his evil.

But does dialing back the evil make him good? The thing to remember is, if he’d lived, then once Harry knew the truth about his life, they’d still have been enemies. Snape hated Harry, because he reminded him of James, and that wouldn’t have changed. In his death, Harry found forgiveness to bestow, but if Snape was alive and well and sneering and insulting as ever, would he have?

Snape did what he did for his own purposes. His sick fascination with Lily drove his life. He was a loyal servant of Voldemort, if James and Harry had died but Lily had lived, wouldn’t he still be? If he could have turned Lily into a Death Eater, wouldn’t he have?

It’s like the broken message in Return of the Jedi: Darth Vader murdered so many people (including children), but when he saves the life of his own son, suddenly he’s redeemed? As if, unless you are 100% full-stop evil, you must be Good?

Yes, Snape was not as evil as he could have been, or as he had used to be, or as everyone thought. That doesn’t make him good. He was prejudiced, until the end of his days, and content in his prejudice. He was an awful teacher, abusive, and petty. He probably helped corrupt Draco Malfoy and gang; after all, he was their influence for so many years… was he honest about fostering their ambition for power, or was their corruption part of maintaining his status as a spy? Either way, it’s pretty horrible.

He should have moved on and tried to find someone else to love. His obsession with Lily was unhealthy.

And worst of all, for as obsessed with her as he was, why did he join the Death Eaters in the first place? That’s what drove her from him, not James. He did it. He chose power over her. But did he ever own up to that? He preferred to blame James for that, I guess.

How about the sorting? Harry chose Gryffindor, although the hat might have put him in Slytherin. Why didn’t Snape? He chose Slytherin over being with Lily… okay, that’s maybe not his fault. The whole Sorting concept is deeply flawed.

And on reflection, the wizarding world if full of horrible prejudices and irrationality, so perhaps Snape is not to be judged quite as harshly…

But he’s still not a good person. Brave, yes. Valuable and instrumental in Voldemort’s downfall? Yes. Protected Harry? Physically, anyway, though he had no problem with psychological tortures extraordinaire. But it takes more than that to make a good man. Snape remains a villain in my eyes. Dumbledore states that the world is made up of more than Good Guys and Death Eaters.

It’s true. Snape did good things, and bad things, but remains a bad person.

Dr. McNinja is now in colour… and it’s awesome!

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is one of the greatest comics of all time. He’s a doctor. And a ninja.

And it’s now in colour! And the current story is one of the most exciting and hilarious yet. I wish my friends all read this comic. They don’t. I hate them so much.

One thing I like about the comic is that the hero is competent. I am sick of fiction where the hero bumbles around or wins by luck because the villains are idiots. So many writers think that since conflict is necessary for a story, that the hero has to have things be really difficult for it to be good. Well, sometimes having a hero who is genuinely excellent beyond all reason at what he does is exciting, and it means the villains and obstacles have to be that much more impressive.

I mean, start with a terrific hero, a doctor that cures all sorts of diseases, can get past TSA with ease, that can tell his office is rigged to explode just by looking at the outside of the building, that can singlehandedly defeat an entire ship of pirates or Ronald McDonald. Then to be interesting, the villains have to be just that much more impressive, right?

Or take something dumb like Star Trek: First Contact. The good guys only win because the Borg are IDIOTS. Result? Lay-mizzle, for shizzle.

Anyway, Dr. McNinja is awesome.

Giant Microbes, and Persistance of Data

I just got an e-mail from the folks at www.giantmicrobes.com. It wasn’t spam; I’d bought a couple things from them as gifts about 4 years ago.

My contact information has sat in their system since then, and now that they have rolled out a new product (mini Giant Microbes in a petri dish!), they let me know.

I don’t get paid to review stuff on this site (especially since no one reads this site) but these are pretty cute little toys or gifts or whatever they are. I won’t be buying any more because I have no where to put them, but they sure are cute.

I don’t mind when a company I do business with keeps my e-mail and sends me marketing stuff. As long as it’s in moderation. I don’t need an e-mail per week with new products and sales and junk. That gets irritating.

But awww, how cute the little microbes are. Maybe I’ll get one after all. I could pretend it was for my daughter. How about the one for Kissing Disease? Because my wife and I kiss the baby so often. She’s got such little cheeks. My wife says kisses are what makes babies grow. No wonder the baby is so fat.