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There's a great article in the Boston Phoenix about why evangelicals hate HP, but the sidebar story had me rolling. Obviously, there are a lot of people out there way too concerned with Snape's sex life.

Romancing the Snape

By Joyce Millman

READERS HAVE HAD to wait three long years between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the just-released fifth book in J.K. Rowling's saga of good, evil, and a boy wizard. Well, some readers waited. Others daydreamed, debated, analyzed, obsessed, speculated, and wrote their own next chapters in the Potter story.

You see, there is Rowling's Harry Potter, seen primarily in the mainstream media as a spectacularly successful work of children's literature. And then there is the Secret Harry Potter, the one that exists in the imagination of adult readers, particularly those who spend a lot of time on the Internet. And in this parallel Potterverse, the things that Rowling can only hint at — as well as the things that she may never have intended and which exist purely in dark fantasies — are brought out into the light of day.

Take the cult of Severus Snape, for instance. The mysterious, black-haired Potions Master is the key figure in the alternative Potter universe. And why not? With his clouded past and sadistic treatment of students, Professor Snape is a tortured soul on the order of Emily Brontë's Heathcliff, a romantic hero/villain who fits splendidly into all sorts of R- and X-rated fan-written scenarios. Of course, the fact that Snape is portrayed in the movies by "the thinking woman's sex symbol" Alan Rickman has a little something to do with Snape's popularity among female Potterheads — check out for a representative peek at what happens when Snapelust and Rickmania intersect.

Rickman's perversely alluring goth-monk get-up, the cruel curl of his upper lip, the plummy baritone, the sexual ambiguity he brings to the role (he stares at Harry as if fighting down a very untoward urge) — that's the Snape who haunts the Harry Potter stories on and, not "the greasy git" who exists on Rowling's pages.

Many of these Snapecentric fan fictions are fluffy "Mary Sue" stories, in which a beautiful young transfer student discovers the softer side of the Potions Master. But in other stories, Snape has a full-blown taste for bondage and discipline, seducing students of both sexes — including Harry and Hermione — during detentions in his dungeon. In one unrelenting bit of erotica, "The Nine Orgies: Affection" by one Kandyslasher (, Snape spends the entire first section spanking a naughty Slytherin girl with every implement at a sadistic schoolmaster's disposal. And in the luminous "Love's Labours, Paradise Lost" by Veresna Ussep (, a melancholy, Shakespeare-spouting Snape turns a prostitute into an elegant love slave, and the result is so affecting, you wish you could see this Snape on a movie screen. (I haven't even mentioned the "slash" — homoerotic — fan fiction, where Snape couples with everyone from Remus Lupin to Lucius Malfoy.)

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