Guest & Contest: Cidney Swanson

Truth and Beauty

A few months ago in a dark movie theater watching the last Harry Potter movie, I remembered why I love to write. I didn’t make it for the midnight viewings because I’d promised my niece that we would watch it together. (We’re both very bookish and deeply devoted to all things JK Rowling.) When she arrived to visit, a couple of days after the premiere, we marched down to the local Cinemark.

I knew I’d be sad. I’d read a tweet by Cheryl Klein (continuity editor on later HP’s) where she compared her night at the premiere to watching your best friends getting beaten up for two hours. So, yeah, I knew it would probably be a tear-jerker. For some people. But not me, right?

Boy was I wrong.

I seriously wasn’t prepared for the effect that Severus Snape’s story would have on me when presented on a really, really big screen. From the moment Alan Rickman first walked on the screen, and without his having uttered any words, you could feel Snape’s inner turmoil. It was painful, hearing him deliver that initial warning about not sheltering Harry Potter. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. How conflicted Snape was? As he made demands of the Hogwarts students? I got shivers.

And then the pensieve scene. Oh, I so did not see my reaction coming. I think the tears started the moment I heard young Severus’ voice. So small, so earnest. So obviously over-the-top in love with Lily, his one friend in all the wide world. I shook with tears.

And Snape’s anguish when he comes to Dumbledore knowing Lily’s been killed? “They put their trust in the wrong person, just like someone else I know.” Which brings us to the on-screen moment when Snape weeps over the dead body of his best friend, his compass-star, his one true love.

That was the moment when I leaned into my husband, took his hand, and whispered, “I want to tell stories like this—the kind that make you ache because of their beauty and truth.” He squeezed my hand back. I think he might have been crying a little, too.

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Cidney Swanson is the author of The Ripple Series. She began writing at age seven; her first novel began with “Ouch,” and her characters have been suffering ever since. Cidney lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, three kids, two cats, one dog, and entirely too much rain. She loves to chat with visitors on Twitter as @cidneyswanson, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cidney-Swanson/174516512597580 or on her blog www.cidneyswanson.blogspot.com

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