So I was rewatching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I noticed something I had never seen before- Harry Potter is a lot like Elizabeth Bennet in the way he treats Snape in the first movie.
Rewatching this film I noticed that the only reason Harry hates Snape and is convinced he is the one killing unicorns, trying to bring back the dark lord, and after the philosopher’s stone is only because Snape embarrassed Harry in front of the whole class.
Yes, in the film Harry has had very few interactions with Snape. Prior to class he was very neutral about Snape, noticing Snape in the Great Hall but nothing thinking much on him. When looking at Snape, Harry gets a headache (from Professor Quirell/Voldemort), but he never attributes that to Professor Snape. He only starts disliking Snape and believing Snape is the behind all the terrible things at Hogwarts after Snape calls him out in front of the whole class and embarrasses him for his lack of magical knowledge.
Professor Severus Snape: Who possess, the predisposition… I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death. [notices Harry scribbling on his paper] Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not pay attention! [steps over to Harry] Mister Potter. Our new celebrity. Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood? [Harry doesn’t answer] You don’t know? Well, let’s try again. Where, Mr. Potter, would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?
Harry: I don’t know, sir.
Professor Severus Snape: And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?
Harry: I don’t know, sir.
Professor Severus Snape: Pity. Clearly, fame isn’t everything, is it, Mr. Potter?
What Snape did was rude, I mean as a teacher he has a new student who has never been to class before and grew up in the muggle world, so he shouldn’t be so harsh with him, Harry really doesn’t garner that kind of derision-but at the same time while rude, Snape isn’t cruel or evil. But after this it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, Harry continues to believe Snape is the evil one, even when Quirell is in the the dungeon. AND even after Harry finds out that Snape was protecting him in the Quidditch match and had been trying to keep him alive all along, does his opinion of Snape change at all? Nope, he still constantly believes Snape is working with Voldemort and against him, all because Snape wounded his pride.
I was sharing that with my sister when it hit me, Harry is just like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The only reason Elizabeth was so hard on Darcy and believed Wickham’s lies was that he embarrassed her when he called her tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt her.
If you think about it, her belief of Wickham is completely against her normal behavior as she is always prudent when judging someone’s character. Yet she finds nothing odd about a total stranger who decides to offload a lot of emotionally charged information (emotionally manipulating her and the community) about how Darcy mistreated him. Even the hypocrisy of him “not wanting to speak bad about the son because he wants to honor the father”, while speaking bad about the son doesn’t even register with her. Elizabeth chooses to ignore that warning of something is not right as she is so angry at what Darcy said and so eager to have another reason that isn’t so vain, a “real reason”, to dislike him.
I always thought it was interesting how Mr. Darcy’s very close friendship with Mr. Bingley refutes some of the things Wickham is saying about Darcy’s character, and the fact that Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley are wary of Wickham doesn’t push Elizabeth to be more cautious in her trust of him. After all, she has known the Bingley’s much longer and would Mr. Bingley really be such close friends with someone who was so cruel? People can pretend for so only so long before their real character comes out. Not to mention you only met Wickham a few days ago and knows nothing about him other than what he told her, while she has spent time with the Bingleys and know them and where they come from.
But it is completely relatable as her anger blinds her to the troubling behavior of Wickham.
Both characters let one rude incident color all other interactions with the person, letting their personal feelings overshadow logic. At both points of the story, neither Snape nor Darcy have done anything truly villainous, yet not only do Harry and Elizabeth believe this without a shadow of a doubt, they also try to convince others that it is true.
Although, Elizabeth has an advantage over Harry, as she is older, when she realizes her mistakes she changes her actions and point of view; while Harry, being a child, doesn’t realize how wrong he was until the very end of the series.
For more Pride and Prejudice, go to L.A. Theatre Works Pride and Prejudice Audio Adaption
For more Harry Potter, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen
For more comparisons, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?