Alderton – Snapewives and Snapeism

‘Snapewives’ and ‘Snapeism’: A Fiction-Based Religion within the Harry Potter Fandom

by Zoe Alderton

[ Alderton, Zoe. 2014. “‘Snapewives’ and ‘Snapeism’: A Fiction-Based Religion within the Harry Potter Fandom” in Religions, No. 5. Pg. 219-267 doi:10.3390/rel5010219 ]

Points & Quotes:

Intro

“In this article, I explore two main features of the religion ‘Snapeism’ . The first feature is its context within fandom and the negative reception it has received from this group of people. The second is the manner in which the Snapists themselves have articulated their faith structures. When considered together, these elements of Snapeism reveal how online, popular culture-based religions are forming and the strong notions of what is ‘properly religious’, which abound both in fandom more broadly and within the Snapist community itself. […]
As this article will demonstrate, Snapeism is usually interpreted as a ludicrous—and therefore invalid—religion. This anxiety towards fiction-based religions and the behaviour of their adherents is based upon a general fear within fandom of being excessively outrageous and pushing the boundaries of ‘good taste’ too far. By policing extreme manifestations of the Harry Potter fandom, other eccentricities can be placed in the more neutral category of ‘ironic’ or ‘playful’, as opposed to ‘insane’.” (220)

“There are a variety of problems inherent in approaching a belief system such as Snapeism through a methodological obsession with veracity. This is a problem found both in fandom and within scholarly projects that seek to find some kind of ‘true’ definition for what religion is and is not. I aim to demonstrate a more objective exploration of Snapeism, exploring the genuine power that a filmic narrative can possess in the imagination, and even religiosity, of a devout fan. It is vital that both scholars of religion and scholars of popular cultural products such as film advocate either the seriousness with which we need to treat any religious viewpoint, or the ludicrous and invented elements of all faith-based systems.” (220)

“The internet has helped the Jedi religion to flourish, and Matrixism to gain an international audience. Fandom adoration of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films also seems to be a contributing factor to a rise in Tolkien-inspired faiths.” (221)

“Even though elements of Snapeism are overtly anti-Christian, … Much is borrowed from the idea of a reciprocal covenant between human and divinity, and the moral codes required are remarkably similar to those of Christianity. As will be explained, Snapeism prohibits homosexuality, limits polygamy, and configures the core divine figure as a jealous god who rewards servility and punishes disobedience. Sexual metaphors for divine unity with Snape are also likely to have come from Christian mystical traditions.” (221)

“This is not, however, an excuse to engage in a discussion of their theological legitimacy or debate the validity of a fictional text as a source of divine inspiration. Rather, it is an exciting opportunity to objectively observe the very particular manner in which fandom employs the religion category as a means of delineating territories of insanity or describing the ecstasy garnered from deep adoration of a narrative and its characters.” (222)

Understanding ‘Snapewives’ and Snapeism & Canon Skepticism

“it seems fairer to describe the wives and their faith as ‘Snapists’ and ‘Snapeism’, as this lacks the misleading and pejorative denotations of ‘Snapewives’, even though it is a retrospective term.
In this article, I will focus on the three main wives: Conchita, Rose, and Tonya . Each of these women has dedicated numerous online journals to their discussions of Snape as a supernatural figure and his role in their lives. They all acknowledge each other as fellow Snape devotees, fandom companions, and spiritual spouses.” (223)

“The idea that Rowling was somehow wrong in her portrayal of Snape or the decisions she made for him is surprisingly common. Because there was a large gap between the publication of books (the largest being from July 2000 to June 2003) and a very active fandom awaiting new material, speculation about the future of almost every character abounded. Each book left many unanswered questions—a major one of these being whether or not Snape was on the side of evil
[…]
When his expected rewards did not eventuate, a more extreme wing of fandom began to see Snape as something of an objective reality with Rowling as a flawed scribe who does not ‘own’ him.” (224)

‘Snapewives’ and ‘Snapeism’: A Fiction-Based Religion within the Harry Potter Fandom

“please, Ms. Rowling, stop telling lies about this character, and admit he is a Good Guy”

Rattlesnakeroot on Livejournal
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“by this logic, Rowling can be viewed as someone who was able to write Snape’s character after being influenced by him— perhaps via some kind of channelling—as opposed to an author who created Snape from her own imagination.” (225)

Fandom Policing

“A recurrent anxiety within fandom is the conception that long-term fans are more serious, committed, and rational; in opposition to the waves of new fans who are delivered due to increasing pop-culture awareness of a text, the creation of movies, merchandising, et cetera … For example, fans whose enthusiasm for Harry Potter arose from the movies and whose enthusiasm for Snape is derived from their attraction to actor Alan Rickman.” (226)

“I mean, if you’re married to Snape on an astral plane, okay, I’m going to think you’re fucking weird and possibly not want much to do with you, but whatever. I think this of, like, Mormons, to be honest and I live in a city full of them. Have you seen their holy underwear? But people aren’t suggesting we call CPS [Child Protective Services] on Mormons who aren’t the fringe cultists living in compounds and shit, yeah? How is a relationship with Snape so much more damaging? Because it’s not as common, basically. And because it’s fannishness and, we really must be certain to police how people are fannish. Because god knows, we’re already off the charts weird! We can’t be seen as ~crazy~!”

quoting Niqaeli, (226)

I BELIEVE THAT SEVERUS SNAPE EXISTS INDEPENDENTLY OF JKR! HE IS A LIVING, FEELING SPIRIT. I BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE AND THAT SEVERUS DOES VISIT THOSE HE CHOOSES TO

quoting Tonya (230)

“In regard to her online channelling, Tonya specifies “it is never role play.” She also states that she has no control over Snape or when he might choose to appear. Tonya’s ability to channel has allowed her to introduce new codes of conduct and beliefs into the group. For example, she announces that Snape despises “annoying, giggling fangirls whom think they understand [him] as being a ‘cute fluffy funny’ being.” As Snape, she also makes clear “I only give audience to those women that are strong and able to withstand my fierce temper and do as I say. I coldly ignore those vain, simpering females that hold a thought like a leaky sieve.” (232)

Marriage

Rose and Tonya celebrate and proclaim their marriage to Severus Snape

“Rose and Tonya have opted to conduct their marriage with Snape in a very traditional way as concerns power and dominance. Tonya and Rose “know our place. Yes, Severus is the head of our homes and we do defer to him and we OBEY him. We do as we are told and we are most happy for it” [100]. Tonya explains, “I am to behave like a lady and lavish my attentions upon him. Focusing upon him daily, is required (248)

“The physical bodies of these husbands do have benefits. Rose is also able to have sex with Snape via her husband. She proudly explains, “Master would ‘take over’ for my Hubby and have fun ;o) Basically my Hubby would do things in ways that only Master can and could! ;o) :-D” Nevertheless, Snape only uses his body as a vessel.
[… but] Snape is able to provide an additional level of sexual fulfillment when the earthly husbands fail to satisfy … Snape’s spirit form is able to procure a range of sensations within her. Tonya can feel his fingers across her body. She confesses, “It might be lucky that I can’t see him or grab him…cause…I would be on him in the floor behind me. Going wild on him!” (238)

Fanfiction & Disagreements

“Rose is forthright in her belief that Snape fanfiction has been a deeply impactful element of her life. She explains, “I used to be a shy wall flower, backwards and had a hard time talking about things, over time Severus Snape helped me to explore me, he helped me write two very in depth and sexual ladened Fan Fictions, and through them I discovered myself” (247)

Conchita’s writing betrays that she wants to be Snape’s only love:

“Make me a serum
To make me a ghost
Still not feeling numb
I want you the most
You get me on my knees
Losing the fight within me
PotionMaster, please
Please just love me ” (245)

“[Conchita’s] style and intentions are notably different from those of Tonya and Rose. The various fights between the central wives are revealing moments, demonstrating core community values and also points of strong disagreement. In regard to the latter, erotic fanfiction has distanced Conchita from Rose and Tonya who both feel that their sex life with Snape is appropriate material for salacious literature. Conchita believes that her fellow wives need to be “more RESPECTFUL to Severus, as he likes his privacy” (245)

Snape’s “Death”

“The death of Snape in the canonical Harry Potter books had a significant impact upon his wives and their communities, but it was not as devastating as may have been predicted.

A poem [Conchita] wrote to mark the occasion reads,

Our love
A humble tribute to you
Unconditional and endless
Regardless of what Mrs Rowling might do.

Tonya’s reactions were equally passionate, albeit somewhat contradictory. Before the release of the final book, Tonya wrote: “I can’t deny I am a nervous wreck and it is getting worse daily. I just don’t know how I will react if she killed him. Yes, I do know. I will scream and cry. It will ruin the books for me, too”
[…]
After the release of Deathly Hallows on July 21, 2007, the wives slowly retreated from their online presences. … Conchita deleted most of her online accounts prior to the release of the final book in order to mimic the conclusion of Snape’s public appearances via Harry Potter releases. This was prior to the publication of his death. There is also the gradual morph of Livejournal from an English-language platform with significant fandom presence to a primarily Russian-language blogging site with far less active fandom content.” (249-250)

Conclusion

“The Snapists are a small and specific group who have now disbanded, but their community and belief systems provide a fascinating template for broader issues of fandom, religion, and the intersection of the two. The Snapists have combined traditional with non-traditional belief structures— something that seems to be an inevitability of online religions where technological advances lead to new forms of practice (such as fanfiction and chatroom channelling), but older forms of worship (such as shrines and sacred images) remain socially relevant. Their more traditional beliefs and practices draw heavily on Christian culture as a source of legitimacy, whilst their internet channelling and fanfic ecstasies have earned them mockery and scorn for being fraudulent and insane.” (256)

“I think it is very likely that we will see an increase in explicitly fiction-based religions as technology brings online identities and communities in greater harmony with everyday life. It is important for scholars to examine the manner in which these intersections manifest, and the politics behind them. The internet also facilitates the sharing of ideas to a far greater degree than was previously available to the average person. This idea sharing can help to spread material with mythical potential, and feed a passionate obsession with popular cultural texts.” (256)

“What has been clear throughout my research on this topic is the seriousness with which the Snapists take their beliefs, and the sacrality of Snape as their central figure of worship. Davidsen notes that fiction-based religions are often treated as though they lack substance and sincerity (p. 380). To treat the Snapists in this manner is to ignore a vast quantity of evidence that shows the time and attention that has gone into their theology, and the emotional investment that they have in Snape as their erotic leader.

Abstract

The book and film franchise of Harry Potter has inspired a monumental fandom community with a veracious output of fanfiction and general musings on the text and the vivid universe contained therein. A significant portion of these texts deal with Professor Severus Snape, the stern Potions Master with ambiguous ethics and loyalties. This paper explores a small community of Snape fans who have gone beyond a narrative retelling of the character as constrained by the work of Joanne Katherine Rowling. The ‘Snapewives’ or ‘Snapists’ are women who channel Snape, are engaged in romantic relationships with him, and see him as a vital guide for their daily lives. In this context, Snape is viewed as more than a mere fictional creation. He is seen as a being that extends beyond the Harry Potter texts with Rowling perceived as a flawed interpreter of his supra-textual essence. While a Snape religion may be seen as the extreme end of the Harry Potter fandom, I argue that religions of this nature are not uncommon, unreasonable, or unprecedented. Popular films are a mechanism for communal bonding, individual identity building, and often contain their own metaphysical discourses. Here, I plan to outline the manner in which these elements resolve within extreme Snape fandom so as to propose a nuanced model for the analysis of fandom-inspired religion without the use of unwarranted veracity claims.”

theory referenced

Kirby, Danielle L. “Between Synchromysticism and Paganism: Tracing some Metaphysical uses of Popular Fictions.” Culture and Religion 14, no. 4 (2013): 396–410.

Cusack, Carole M. Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010.

Davidsen, Markus A. “Fiction-Based Religion: Conceptualising a New Category Against History- Based Religion and Fandom.” Culture and Religion 14, no. 4 (2013): 378–95.

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “‘Snapewives’ and ‘Snapeism’: A Fiction-Based Religion within the Harry Potter Fandom Zoe Alderton

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “1. Introduction”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In this article, I explore two main features of the religion ‘Snapeism’1. The first feature is its context within fandom and the negative reception it has received from this group of people. The second is the manner in which the Snapists themselves have articulated their faith structures. When considered together, these elements of Snapeism reveal how online, popular culture-based religions are forming and the strong notions of what is ‘properly religious’, which abound both in fandom more broadly and within the Snapist community itself. As this article will demonstrate, Snapeism is usually interpreted as a ludicrous—and therefore invalid—religion. This anxiety towards fiction-based religions and the behaviour of their adherents is based upon a general fear within fandom of being excessively outrageous and pushing the boundaries of ‘good taste’ too far. “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “By policing extreme manifestations of the Harry Potter fandom, other eccentricities can be placed in the more neutral category of ‘ironic’ or ‘playful’, as opposed to ‘insane’. This boundary policing is a virulent and under-researched manifestation of fandom communities.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “This fandom was at its most powerful during the release of the original books (1997–2007), and underwent resurgences as the movies slowly caught up with their source material (2001–2011). This led to a substantial amount of creativity amongst fans as they attempted to predict future plots, fill in gaps in the canonical texts, and criticise areas in which they felt Rowling was lacking.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “There are a variety of problems inherent in approaching a belief system such as Snapeism through a methodological obsession with veracity. This is a problem found both in fandom and within scholarly projects that seek to find some kind of ‘true’ definition for what religion is and is not. I aim to demonstrate a more objective exploration of Snapeism, exploring the genuine power that a filmic narrative can possess in the imagination, and even religiosity, of a devout fan. It is vital that both scholars of religion and scholars of popular cultural products such as film advocate either the seriousness with which we need to treat any religious viewpoint, or the ludicrous and invented elements of all faith-based systems.”

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “is vital that both scholars of religion and scholars of popular cultural products such as film advocate either the seriousness with which we need to treat any religious viewpoint, or the ludicrous and invented elements of all faith-based systems. There are a variety of problems inherent in approaching a belief system such as Snapeism through a methodological obsession with veracity. This is a problem found both in fandom and within scholarly projects that seek to find some kind of ‘true’ definition for what religion is and is not.”

Page 2, Stamp (c_A4659461-3314-40C2-A8CD-56CF6AE081EF_quote_)

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “To methodologically explore the Snapists’ relatively common metaphysical approach to fiction and film, I will employ Danielle Kirby’s classificatory system of metaphysical uses of popular fiction. Her taxonomy delineates the category of ‘text as reality’, in which “the text is constructed as a reality in itself, not simply within the internal logics of the narrative, but owning some form of extra-textual ontological status” ([1], p. 403). “

Page 3, Underline (Red):
Content: “Danielle Kirby’s ([1], p. 403).”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Under this schema, Snape exists as a being with thoughts and feelings independent of Rowling as author. Of additional consideration will be the veracity of any given religion, including the scriptures of Christianity—used by the Snapists as an example of another possible system of beliefs with equal validity to theirs. This question lends itself to Carole Cusack’s Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (2010) in which she concludes that fictive faiths are an inevitable part of a society where identity is garnered from the consumption of products [2]. Markus Davidsen’s definition of ‘fiction-based’ religions, as distinct from fandom itself, will also be explored in order to discuss this milieu. “

Page 3, Underline (Red):
Content: “Carole Cusack’s Markus Davidsen’s”

Page 3, Underline (Red):
Content: “Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (2010)”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “He argues that fandom is a self-aware zone of imagination and experimentation, in which players are always aware that they are in a game. When this imaginative play ceases to be a game and fictional narratives are taken and authoritative, the line is crossed into that which is a fiction-based religion [3]. These methodologies demonstrate that religion and popular culture are not, by definition, separate worlds. Fandom experimentation and imagination can be a very real source of metaphysical belief and even transcendent experience.”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” The internet has helpedthe Jedi religion to flourish, and Matrixism to gain an international audience [1,2]. Fandom adorationof Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films also seems to be a contributing factor to a rise inTolkien-inspired faiths [3]. “

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Even though elements of Snapeism are overtly anti-Christian, Much is borrowed from the idea of a reciprocal covenant between human and divinity, and the moral codes required are remarkably similar to those of Christianity. Snapeism prohibits homosexuality, limits polygamy, and configures the core divine figure as a jealous god who rewards servility and punishes disobedience. Sexual metaphors for divine unity with Snape are also likely to have come from Christian mystical traditions. To this end, this article explores interest in channelling Snape for new wisdom and a feeling of closeness to him, the rigorously-controlled and meaningful marriage that binds the Snapists to him on a metaphysical level, the many proofs offered for his manifestations on the physical plane, and also seminal debates that reveal the seriousness with which orthodoxy and orthopraxy are discussed. “

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “This is not, an excuse to engage in a discussion of their theological legitimacy or debate the validity of a fictional text as a source of divine inspiration. Rather, it is an exciting opportunity to objectively observe the very particular manner in which fandom employs the religion category as a means of delineating territories of insanity or describing the ecstasy garnered from deep adoration of a narrative and its characters. “

Page 4, Underline (Blue):
Content: “This is not, an excuse to engage in a discussion of their theological legitimacy or debate the validity of a fictional text as a source of divine inspiration. Rather, it is an exciting opportunity to objectively observe the very particular manner in which fandom employs the religion category as a means of delineating territories of insanity or describing the ecstasy garnered from deep adoration of a narrative and its characters.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “2. Understanding ‘Snapewives’ and Snapeism”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The term ‘Snapewives’ is an etic descriptor—primarily pejorative—which nonetheless reflects a serious and long-term commitment to Snape. “

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In 2008, two of the wives coined the term In 2008, two of the wives coined the term ‘Snapists’ to describe themselves. ‘Snapists’ to describe themselves.”

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Thus, it seems fairer to describe the wives and their faith as ‘Snapists’ and ‘Snapeism’, as this lacks Thus, it seems fairer to describe the wives and their faith as ‘Snapists’ and ‘Snapeism’, as this lacks Thus, it seems fairer to describe the wives and their faith as ‘Snapists’ and ‘Snapeism’, as this lacks the misleading and pejorative denotations of ‘Snapsleading and pejorative denotations of ‘Snapewives’, even though it is a retrospective term.ewives’, even though it is a retrospective term. In this article, I will focus on the three main wives: Conchita, Rose, and Tonya 3. Each of these In this article, I will focus on the three main wives: Conchita, Rose, and TonyaIn this article, I will focus on the three main wives: Conchita, Rose, and Tonya women has dedicated numerous online journals to their discussions of Snape as a supernatural figure women has dedicated numerous online journals to their discussions of Snape as a supernatural figure and his role in their heir heir lives. lives. lives. They They They all all all acknowledge acknowledge acknowledge each each each other other other as as as fellow fellow fellow Snape Snape Snape devotees, devotees, devotees, fandom fandom fandom companions, and spiritual spouses. Rose and Tonya both have vivid experiences of Snape within their companions, and spiritual spouses. Rose and Tonya both have vivid experiences of Snape within their companions, and spiritual spouses. Rose and Tonya both have vivid experiences of Snape within their lives, frequently experiencing clues as to his presence and intentions for theming clues as to his presence and intentions for them (see Figure 1). Tonya ing clues as to his presence and intentions for them even channels Snape and has assisted others to hear his voice. Conchita seems to have the greatest ven channels Snape and has assisted others to hear his voice. Conchita seems to have the greatest ven channels Snape and has assisted others to hear his voice. Conchita seems to have the greatest trouble in terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Snape in a supernatural trouble in terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Sntrouble in terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Sn manner. terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Snape in a supernatural trouble in terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Sntrouble in terms of her inclusion within the group and her ability to encounter Sn manner. Despite personal schisms and differences in spiritual experience, there is a very coherent isms and differences in spiritual experience, there is a very coherent isms and differences in spiritual experience, there is a very coherent theology of Snape shared between the wives. To examine this manifestation of religious fandom, I will theology of Snape shared between the wives. n of religious fandom, I will first discuss the canon scepticism and antim and anti-Rowling sentiment that helps to contextualise the wider Rowling sentiment that helps to contextualise the wider belief in Snape as a character who extends beyond book and film. I will then explore fandom reactions to belief in Snape as a character who extends beyond book and film. I will then explore fandom reactions to belief in Snape as a character who extends beyond book and film. I will then explore fandom reactions to the Snapists, primarily characterised by an overwhelming belief in their madness and unsuitability as the Snapists, primarily characterised by an overwhelming belief in their madness andthe Snapists, primarily characterised by an overwhelming belief in their madness and parents. Although their views are indeed quite striking, I aim to subsequently demonstrate that these beliefs parents. Although their views are indeed quite striking, I aim to subsequently demonstrate that these beliefs parents. Although their views are indeed quite striking, I aim to subsequently demonstrate that these beliefs are not as unusual as they are portrayed to be when viewed within a wider schema of religious adherence. “

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “3. Rowling was Wrong: Canon Scepticism as a Context for Snapists”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The idea that Rowling was somehow wrong in her portrayal of Snape or the decisions she made for him is surprisingly common. Because there was a large gap between the publication of books (the largest being from July 2000 to June 2003) and a very active fandom awaiting new material, speculation about the future of almost every character abounded. Each book left many unanswered questions—a major one of these being whether or not Snape was on the side of evil after the penultimate Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005).”

Page 6, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “The idea that Rowling was somehow wrong in her portrayal of Snape or the decisions she made for him is surprisingly common. Because there was a large gap between the publication of books (the largest being from July 2000 to June 2003) and a very active fandom awaiting new material, speculation about the future of almost every character abounded.”

Page 6, Underline (Blue):
Content: “When his expected rewards did not eventuate, a more extreme wing of fandom began to see Snape as something of an objective reality with Rowling as a flawed scribe who does not ‘own’ him. Each book left many unanswered questions—a major one of these being whether or not Snape was on the side of evil”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Fans had two full years between the ambiguity of Snape’s allegiance at the end of Half Blood Prince and his arguably disappointing death and redemption in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). When his expected rewards did not eventuate, a more extreme wing of fandom began to see Snape as something of an objective reality with Rowling as a flawed scribe who does not ‘own’ him.”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “On the whole, this does not manifest in the belief that Snape literally exists, but it can be seen as a logical precursor to this attitude.”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “precursor to this attitude. For example, after a long polemic on why Snape is a ‘Good Guy’, Livejournal blogger ‘Rattlesnakeroot’ concludes with the plea “please, Ms. Rowling, stop telling lies about this character, and admit he is a Good Guy” [10].”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Dreamwidth blogger ‘Severusinvictus’ celebrates “the wonderful Snape-centric corner of HP fandom with its gifted writers and artists that take so much better care of him than JKR ever could and, indeed, did” [13]. This care includes efforts to rescue Snape through the creative re-writing of canon. The ‘Severus Snape Rescue Squad’, or SSRS, was an attempt to do just this [14].”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “For example, Rattlesnakeroot writes “I, for one, am glad to see “Lames” or “Jily” fall from grace and crash to pieces like the plaster saints they are. I’m so sick of the romantic picture of them that keeps permeating the various sites. gag” [11]. She has also put together comics that attempt to simplify Rowling’s glaring mistakes. See, for example, “Marauders Bullying~A Child Can Understand” [12].”

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “by this logic, Rowling can be viewed as someone who was able to write Snape’s character after being influenced by him—perhaps via some kind of channelling—as opposed to an author who created Snape from her own imagination. Nor are her words in the canonical texts by any means final so far as more extreme Snape fans are concerned. “

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “4. Internet Mockery and ‘Fandom_Wank’”

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Commonly dubbed as ‘Snapefen’—a pluralised contraction of Snape Fans—these extreme devotees of the sullen professor have formed the basis of many jokes and fandom wars [17].”

Page 7, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “The Journalfen community ‘dedfromsnake’ is dedicated to mocking Snapefen who are thought to have ‘taken things too The community was formally established to house “Snapefen/Snapewives gibberish” [19]. Even though the Livejournal/Dreamwidth/Journalfen communities have dissolved over the years, Tumblr is now host to a ‘#snapefen’ hashtag, which carries”

Page 8, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “on the mockery (see Figure 3).”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Fandom_wank is not the only place where the wives are”

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “discussed, but other locales of discourse are no less scathing. The wives have been deemed as “signs of the apocalypse” [25] and “batshit motherfuckers” who “aren’t far from running mad and naked on a moor in a thunderstorm” on other online forums [26].”

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Interestingly, there has been a small amount of commentary theoretically justifying the behaviour and passions of the wives, or pointing out that excessive criticism of their enthusiasms may have an unpleasant gender bias. In the Harry Potter fandom, there is a general suspicion that ‘hormonal’ female devotees are overly invested in the potential romantic elements of the story. For example, fans whose enthusiasm for Harry Potter arose from the movies and whose enthusiasm for Snape is derived from their attraction to actor Alan Rickman have been placed in this category. “

Page 9, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “A recurrent anxiety within fandom is the conception that long-term fans are more serious, committed, and rational; in opposition to the waves of new fans who are delivered due to increasing pop-culture awareness of a text, the creation of movies, merchandising, et cetera.”

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Dreamwidth user ‘Seperis’ suggests that the seriousness of the wives’ dedication and their investment in Snape is no worse than the seriousness with which football fans approach their sport. Seperis notes that a ‘serious’ football fan is more socially acceptable than an extremely enthusiastic female Harry Potter fan (if he is male and has no romantic interests in the players), even though people in this category have often caused public riots or streaked across fields wearing nothing but body paint in team colours [27]. “

Page 9, Underline (Blue):
Content: “The idea that a woman is obsessed with a hobby—without irony, and with a dimension of sexual attraction—seems to be far less palatable than a serious male fan or an ironical female one. Dreamwidth user ‘Seperis’ suggests that the seriousness of the wives’ dedication and their investment in Snape is no worse than the seriousness with which football fans approach their sport.”

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The idea that a woman is obsessed with a hobby—without irony, and with a dimension of sexual attraction—seems to be far less palatable than a serious male fan or an ironical female one.”

Page 9, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘Niqaeli’ makes a similar argument for equality in the treatment of religious groups with which one disagrees: “

Page 9, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “I mean, if you’re married to Snape on an astral plane, okay, I’m going to think you’re fucking weird and possibly not want much to do with you, but whatever. I think this of, like, Mormons, to be honest and I live in a city full of them. Have you seen their holy underwear? But people aren’t suggesting we call CPS [Child Protective Services] on Mormons who aren’t the fringe cultists living in compounds and shit, yeah? How is a relationship with Snape so much more damaging? Because it’s not as common, basically. And because it’s fannishness and, we really must be certain to police how people are fannish. Because god knows, we’re already off the charts weird! We can’t be seen as ~crazy~!” [27]”

Page 10, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “There is no more concrete evidence for the existence of the Christian God, or for the possibility of communing with spirits, than there is for the astral manifestation of Snape. The primary difference here seems to be that the fandom community has not chosen to legitimate the Snapists’ channelling experiences as the Medieval Christian Church did with some of its female mystics. “

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “5. Snape Theology and the Reality of Snape I BELIEVE THAT SEVERUS SNAPE EXISTS INDEPENDENTLY OF JKR! HE IS A LIVING, FEELING SPIRIT. I BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE AND THAT SEVERUS DOES VISIT THOSE HE CHOOSES TO [34].”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The basis of the wives’ belief system is the existence of Snape as a spiritual force who resides outside of the Harry Potter book series.”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The Snapists are keen to testify as to Snape’s holy and powerful nature. Conchita informs us that “Everything Severus related is sacred to me” [38]. He is also omniscient. She notes that “he can see what I do, and what I don’t” [39], “he knows me better than anyone, than I know myself” [40].”

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “By far, the most talented channel is Tonya. In a self-insert fanfiction 6, Snape announces that she is “the vessel” and that he prefers to write to his wives through her [58]. In regard to her online channelling, Tonya specifies “it is never role play.” She also states that she has no control over Snape or when he might choose to appear [60]. Tonya’s ability to channel has allowed her to introduce new codes of conduct and beliefs into the group. For example, she announces that Snape despises “annoying, giggling fangirls whom think they understand [him] as being a ‘cute fluffy funny’ being” [61]. As Snape, she also makes clear “I only give audience to those women that are strong and able to withstand my fierce temper and do as I say. I coldly ignore those vain, simpering females that hold a thought like a leaky sieve” [61].”

Page 14, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “In regard to her online channelling, Tonya specifies “it is never role play.” She also states that she has no control over Snape or when he might choose to appear [60]. Tonya’s ability to channel has allowed her to introduce new codes of conduct and beliefs into the group. For example, she announces that Snape despises “annoying, giggling fangirls whom think they understand [him] as being a ‘cute fluffy funny’ being” [61]. As Snape, she also makes clear “I only give audience to those women that are strong and able to withstand my fierce temper and do as I say. I coldly ignore those vain, simpering females that hold a thought like a leaky sieve” “

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “7. A Broader Religious Context for this Behaviour Although these beliefs have struck Harry Potter fandom as laughable, the Snapists have much in common with other contemporary fiction and fandom-based religions. Kirby provides a classificatory system of metaphysical uses of popular fiction, which helps to categorise the particular approach to Harry Potter taken by the Snapists. She delineates the category of ‘text as reality’ in which: the text is constructed as a reality in itself, not simply within the internal logics of the narrative, but owning some form of extra-textual ontological status. This may include the text as a whole, or particular textual elements such as characters or worlds […] It should be noted that this position should not be assumed to simply constitute a failure on behalf of participants to understand fiction as a category, but rather that, through specific and articulable logics, the text is reframed as owning reality beyond its fictional status ([1], p. 403). “

Page 16, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “the text is constructed as a reality in itself, not simply within the internal logics of the narrative, but owning some form of extra-textual ontological status. This may include the text as a whole, or particular textual elements such as characters or worlds […] It should be noted that this position should not be assumed to simply constitute a failure on behalf of participants to understand fiction as a category, but rather that, through specific and articulable logics, the text is reframed as owning reality beyond its fictional status ([1], p. 403).”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Kirby also explores ‘soulbonding’, which, in its more metaphysical form, refers to “a relationship with a character from a fictional source that occurs outside of the immediate experience of the text” ([1], p. 404). She describes this as an attribution of a higher degree of ‘realness’ to a character, as said characters exist beyond books films or games. Kirby outlines several possible planes of existence “such as the ‘astral’, or externally in the world in an intangible form, as a spiritual being” ([1], p. 404). Jediism and the Star Wars universe are included within this example. Although she does not mention Snapeism in her research, these planes of existence correlate perfectly with the Snapist belief system. “

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The collaborative encyclopaedia TV Tropes describes a subgroup found in several fandoms who believe that the events, characters and places depicted in the object of fandom are, in some form or another, real. This is often Handwaved [excused] by taking alternate universes into account. After all, if there are infinite universes out there, at least one of them must resemble the one from the TV show/movie/book/video game, right? [77].”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Daydream Believers as:”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In terms of this invented religions milieu, Snapeism is most akin to Cusack’s case studies of Jediism and Matrixism ([2], p.131), as these faiths have been spawned from cinematic texts that are considered to contain more meaning and better values than supposed ‘real life’ religions ([2], p. 2).”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The most suitable category for Snapeism is that of ‘fiction-based religions’ as developed by Davidsen. He differentiates between fiction-based religions and fandom itself, because fandom is engaged with a “fictional play world rather than making assertions about the actual world” ([3], p. 378). “

Page 18, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Fiction-based religions differ from this model of fandom as they employ fictional narratives as “authoritative texts for actual religious practice” ([3], p. 378). This definition does not quite work for Snapeism, as the Snapists tend to deny the absolute authority of Rowling, but it is a good definition for the representation of difference between ‘normal’ fandom and the ‘extreme’ experience of fandom as religion. It also extends the argument that Snapeism is not a lonely aberration. Davidsen is a scholar of the Elven community and other scattered devotees who base their religion on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and associated texts from this universe. These believers see Middle Earth as a real place, and ritually interact with the characters therein ([79], p. 187). As Davidsen explains, Tolkien credited himself only as a translator of pre-existing material—either Elvish lore or Hobbit tales ([79], p. 189). Although this was only in jest, these claims set up a system under which the creator of these texts can be interpreted as being in a lesser position of scribe rather than author. T”

Page 18, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “Fiction-based religions differ from this model of fandom as they employ fictional narratives as “authoritative texts for actual religious practice” ([3], p. 378). This definition does not quite work for Snapeism, as the Snapists tend to deny the absolute authority of Rowling, but it is a good definition for the representation of difference between ‘normal’ fandom and the ‘extreme’ experience of fandom as religion. It also extends the argument that Snapeism is not a lonely aberration. Davidsen is a scholar of the Elven community and other scattered devotees who base their religion on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and associated texts from this universe. These believers see Middle Earth as a real place, and ritually interact with the characters therein ([79], p. 187). As Davidsen explains, Tolkien credited himself only as a translator of pre-existing material—either Elvish lore or Hobbit tales ([79], p. 189). Although this was only in jest, these claims set up a system under which the creator of these texts can be interpreted as being in a lesser position of scribe rather than author.”

Page 18, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “8. Dynamics of the Marriage”

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The physical bodies of these husbands do have benefits. Rose is also able to have sex with Snape via her husband. She proudly explains, “Master would ‘take over’ for my Hubby and have fun ;o) Basically my Hubby would do things in ways that only Master can and could! ;o) :-D” [57]. Nevertheless, Snape only uses his body as a vessel. “

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Male homosexuality within the polyamorous marriage is distinctly ruled out. In a statement channelled by Tonya, Snape states “I will not tolerate the so-called Slash movement” [90], presumably because such stories are seen as either real or deeply disrespectful to the character of Snape.”

Page 23, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “9. Life With Snape”

Page 24, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Snape is also a healer for his wives. He helps to relieve Rose’s period pain with his enchanted blanket [111]. This same blanket and a corresponding pillow help her by warming up and soothing her knee and leg pain in the cold weather, and have a similar effect on Tonya [112].”

Page 27, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “10. Disagreements over Writing and Channelling”

Page 28, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Conchita writes poetry and non-sexualised stories as a means of forging a bond with Snape in lieu of any amorous spiritual contact with him. She explains, “I write FANFIC sigh to get him closer to me” [131]. For example, Conchita wrote a long fanfiction in which she and Snape were united in their dreams, realised their deep mutual love, and then crossed the barriers between their worlds via Conchita’s brewing of a potion [132]. “

Page 30, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Interestingly, Rose and Tonya have opted to conduct their marriage with Snape in a very traditional way as concerns power and dominance. Tonya and Rose “know our place. Yes, Severus is the head of our homes and we do defer to him and we OBEY him. We do as we are told and we are most happy for it” [100]. Tonya explains, “I am to behave like a lady and lavish my attentions upon him. Focusing upon him daily, is required.”

Page 31, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “11. Belief After the Books”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Before the release of the final book, Tonya wrote: “I can’t deny I am a nervous wreck and it is getting worse daily. I just don’t know how I will react if she killed him. Yes, I do know. I will scream and cry. It will ruin the books for me, too” [145].”

Page 36, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “12. “Tonya was my Lily”: The End of an Era”

Page 36, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The most finite end to the original Snapists is the eventual falling out between Rose and Tonya. It is difficult to know exactly what occurred between the two due to a lack of publically available journal entries documenting the schism. “

Page 36, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Rose’s growing interest in the NCIS character Jethro Gibbs as portrayed by Mark Harmon. Rose writes, “Sure I have now another interest, but oddly enough, Jethro Gibbs from NCIS, reminds me a lot a lot of Severus!” in an entry containing the most detail about her split from Tonya [160]. She also increasingly favours the actor Richard Dean Anderson, which would pose similar problems for Tonya if she felt only one preeminent love was justifiable.”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “13. Conclusions”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The Snapists are a small and specific group who have now disbanded, but their community and belief systems provide a fascinating template for broader issues of fandom, religion, and the intersection of the two. The Snapists have combined traditional with non-traditional belief structures— something that seems to be an inevitability of online religions where technological advances lead to new forms of practice (such as fanfiction and chatroom channelling), but older forms of worship (such as shrines and sacred images) remain socially relevant. Their more traditional beliefs and practices draw heavily on Christian culture as a source of legitimacy, whilst their internet channelling and fanfic ecstasies have earned them mockery and scorn for being fraudulent and insane.”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” I think it is very likely that we will see an increase in explicitly fiction-based religions as technology brings online identities and communities in greater harmony with everyday life. It is important for scholars to examine the manner in which these intersections manifest, and the politics behind them. The internet also facilitates the sharing of ideas to a far greater degree than was previously available to the average person. This idea sharing can help to spread material with mythical potential, and feed a passionate obsession with popular cultural texts. For example, in regard to Lord of the Rings religion, Davidsen notes that there was a dramatic increase in adherence to these groups after the Peter Jackson film trilogy was released ([79], p. 186). The Lord of the Rings fandom is prolific, and has catapulted interest in these texts far beyond the reach of pre-internet communities. It has also brought together likeminded devotees who are separated by previously problematic physical distance. Interestingly, Davidsen does note some suspicion felt between those who are influenced by the original books and those who have come to the faith via the movies ([79], p. 186). “

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The latter-generation Tolkien religious groups, emerging after the release of the films, have been seen to have a far greater focus on attributing historicity and intrinsic reality to the Tolkien texts ([79], p. 198).”

Page 39, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Davidsen notes that fiction-based religions are often treated as though they lack substance and sincerity ([3], p. 380). To treat the Snapists in this manner is to ignore a vast quantity of evidence that shows the time and attention that has gone into their theology, and the emotional investment that they have in Snape as their erotic leader. “

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