Shanna Yarbrough, the hostess over at Don’t Turn It Off, and I have been emailing about a whole bunch of things lately: Glee, the New York real estate market, a secret project or seven, and Harry Potter. And, in one of those emails, where we were talking about going from being Harry Potter fans (and specifically Snape fans) to Glee fans, I said in an offhand way, “Well, Severus Snape is the guy we’re all praying Kurt doesn’t grow up to be.” And, even though I hadn’t consciously gone through the list on it at the time, it turns out, it’s sort of really true.
There’s an external perception of gender variance that follows Snape his whole life if you buy the reading in my post of the other day; I doubt Kurt’s apparent gender non-conformity is going anywhere soon.
There’s Kurt’s incredibly sharp tongue, a trait certainly shared with Snape.
There’s the history of being bullied, and the working hard to seem like something other than what he is: Mechanic’s son? designer clothes? trying to fit in at Dalton? Kurt’s perceived status and choices regarding that status can certainly be read as fairly similar to those of the “Half-Blood Prince.”
And, of course, there’s also the obsessive love and the self-restricted sexuality.
Which is sort of why I’ve just got to hope this Blaine thing works out, because a wounded Kurt is a scary thing. And I have to think, even if only from having been such an obsessive HP fan, that if this boy gets his heart broken, or, rather, blows everything up with his own sharp tongue and natural, reasonable distrust of other people, he’s far too likely to go down the road of someone like Snape, or, to keep it in Glee terms, Sue Sylvester. We’ve already seen Kurt have a surprising rapport with Sue on more than one occasion. Arguably, that’s Kurt’s very real generosity and kindness; or it’s Kurt seeing his own nature and seeing the person he’s trying desperately not to become.
There’s always a temptation, I think, in large swathes of Glee fandom to address Harry Potter. The teen protagonists are the right age to care, and once Darren Criss was cast as Blaine, the opportunity for boy wizard references became ridiculously difficult to ignore. Often, this seems forced. And, in particular, Harry Potter seems like a poor fit for Kurt’s pop-culture interests, which, outside of Broadway, largely seem taken from the lives of queer teens in the 1980s.
But now I can’t help wondering if Kurt did read the Harry Potter series and if they even do midnight screenings of the films in places like Lima. I wonder if he read those books and felt like Harry (Shanna recently summarized the plot of the series on Twitter as “Closeted boy must defend himself and those like him from violence and oppression. Do not despair, Harry: It Gets Better.”) or recognized himself in Snape. Did he think of the man’s spying as he went to snoop around Dalton? Did he smile in the dark at the films every time he noticed all the buttons on Snape’s clothes speaking softly to a love of detail and a pride in confinement? If any or all of these things are true, what does it feel like for Kurt every time he looks at Blaine and realizes he won’t become quite the man he always thought, or perhaps feared, he would?
Certainly, especially during this fandom old home week, I am always fascinated by the way fandoms sometimes migrate collectively to new interests. For example, it seems a large contingent of the broken-hearted over Torchwood‘s third season moved to White Collar en masse: No aliens, but the pretty suits and good banter have made a certain amount of sense as a new focus.
So I have to wonder now if there’s a fair portion of us who somehow migrated from Harry Potter to Glee or rather, from Severus Snape to Kurt Hummel, because after the tragedy of Snape’s end (Snake bubble to the head? Really?) it just feels so damn good to watch this very difficult, talented, wounded, and vicious boy who just might be able to save himself.