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Expecto Patronum
By Vizen   |   Watch
398 69 10K (1 Today)
Published: November 4, 2012
© 2012 - 2019 Vizen
Yes, I know, I know, I know. I have an obsession with the Silver Doe chapter. And I even don’t know how to draw a doe (seriously.I.hate.drawing.does)

This is an entry for the “Tribute to the fandom” challenge on :iconspinners--end: (deadline: Jan 9): spinners--end.deviantart.com/j….

And my personal tribute to perverse-idyll for her Snarry fic ” The White Road”: www.fanfiction.net/s/7404358/1… or perverse-idyll.livejournal.com… , for giving me food for thoughts, in her striking stories, with her insight on canon and fanon.


I’ve been wanting to illustrate this particular moment since I read it. It is what I love in literature and in the fandom: a few words, a few lines can make you visualize something powerful so strongly, that you just want to tame and capture in a definitive image (and never can…).


*****

"Expecto Patronum."

The doe forms shimmering at the end of his wand, and the lake turns molten silver. This is dangerous. Snape seems driven by something he can't control, now that it's only himself at stake.

Brilliant and unearthly, the Patronus soars into the air and twists back on itself, touching down again directly in front of him.

Snape holds utterly still, bathed in the luminous magic of remembered happiness.

Lily wonders how it feels; if it's like immersing one's existence in a gigantic pensieve. He doesn't turn silver like the overhanging cypress. If anything, his contrasts grow more pronounced, his hair and clothes a deeper black, the pallor of his skin so pure, so identifiably him in shape and angle, that it's like a spiritual portrait. His eyes are dense, hot, the air in front of them warped as if by a heat mirage. Shafts of light strike their black surfaces and refract below. When he blinks, colours fly out in minuscule, vanishing sparks.

The glow dims, condenses, and Snape darkens into near-silhouette, his face eerie with reflected magic. His eyes squeeze shut, and Lily's alarmed that Severus Snape - spy, Dark wizard, Death Eater, tongue-lasher of negligent fools - would drop his guard so completely. The doe arches her neck. She's like the scratch of light from a shooting star, caught in recognizable shape. The outline of her muzzle brushes Snape's cheek. She licks twice, thrice, her tongue a passing glitter, like tinsel on his skin. His face tilts, as if raised for a kiss or a blessing.

She vanishes, like a candle flame snuffed out of existence.

Snape jerks, pulled out of memory and plunged back into winter. Darkness flows over him, the darkness of the present moment. He gathers himself. It's mesmerising, like watching the black and white shadows of two decades race over him, fast-forwarding from youth into age, from hope to despair. Lily sees him gather his anger, his stubbornness, his cold brilliance and remorse, his bitter devotion, sees him spin them around himself and pull the net tight. The lines eat into his face as he grows spidery again, fugitive, too subtle for even the Dark Lord to catch.

In “The White Road” by Perverse Idyll


***
Image size
1783x1200px 3.19 MB
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Comments (64)
Madlove2000's avatar
Feeling sentimental?
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alltimeart's avatar
alltimeart|Hobbyist General Artist
wow ,,beautiful,,
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Vizen's avatar
Thanks!
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currently-doing-that's avatar
currently-doing-that|Student General Artist
Amazing!
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AntoniaTonks's avatar
AntoniaTonks|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really beautiful!
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droxy's avatar
droxy|Hobbyist General Artist
so emotional.
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LostGryphin's avatar
LostGryphin|Hobbyist Photographer
Lovely!
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Venturous1's avatar
I wish there were a favorite favorites click! this is so wonderful, so dense with feeling, sweet with lyrical line
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Vizen's avatar
Oh, thank you. Much appreciated...
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TheDamndestCreature's avatar
TheDamndestCreature|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I saw this and a Gypsy saying I'd read somewhere popped into my head; "Bury me standing, I've spent my life on my knees." Snape's not the most attractive man, but he's quite impressive even when kneeling. The doe is so gorgeous and otherworldly. In short: Love it, and I'm :+fav:ing!
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Vizen's avatar
Thank you. This is such a warming comment for my heart :)
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KatjaFin's avatar
oh my god. beautiful.
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Vizen's avatar
Thank you.
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perverse-idyll's avatar
This is so magical, Vizen. The atmosphere and color palette imbue the scene with so much privacy and intimacy, the kind of deep, silent chill of woods locked in ice. It's penitential and rather lonely and beautiful. The exquisite tint of light only heightens the sense of cold. Whether or not it happened by accident, the doe is exactly right -- she should be an idea of a doe, an embodiment of painful, hoarded happiness, insubstantial, more abstract than real. I love how affectionate she looks, nuzzling Snape's face, and how parts of her blend into the snow. Also, the outlines of gnarled trees in the background suggest a frozen surface laced with cracks, very delicate and brittle, like thin ice. The icy underwater shimmer of darkness haloes them with peaceful solitude, and yet there's something heartbreaking about it.

Of course I love that you put Snape on his knees. It adds to the sense that a blessing is being bestowed, and Snape on his knees always resonates with complex emotion. The stylized pattern of his robes and the way his hair falls around him like a monk's hood is striking. His robes flow with light, yet you've managed to capture the intensity of blackness. It's hard to stop staring at them. He stands out so clearly from the background and yet also seems to belong there, in the dark and the winter. And you caught the curve of his body, the bowing-forward of a supplicant, which is so poignant and hopeful and so alone. I love how his face is the same color as the snow under him, and his raised hand is almost skeletal and not quite daring to touch, and how the tail end of his robe seems to be melting the snowy ground while he kneels with his back to the deep cracks behind him.

I don't often re-read my own fics, so the excerpt makes me squirm a little, partly because I'm always seized with the mad urge to revise and partly because your painting captures the stillness, the breathholding quality of Snape's submission so beautifully, whereas it feels like I'm always adding new words or changing old words or repeating myself in an attempt to pin down something that inevitably escapes. (Witness this comment.) But I suppose visual artists feel this way, too, the frustration of adding layers in search of something elusive, until the layers end up burying the very thing you're struggling to convey.

Thank you so much for this, Vizen. It's amazing to have an artist pay tribute, and this is such a gorgeous work. I'm sorry it's taken me so many days to respond -- my job utterly exhausts me right now, but I've looked at this several times a day since you posted it. The mood of the painting is -- well, I hope it's not ridiculous to say it's got a spiritual quality, a life of its own entirely separate from the fic.

Also, in case you weren't aware of it, the inspiration and food for thought go both ways. :) I adore your Snape, how true you are to his character, how you can show him at his worst, sneering and sly and almost malevolent, and yet he's still mesmerizing. And sometimes, as here in this painting, even beautiful.
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Vizen's avatar
Thank you.

There was no way I wouldn't put Snape on his knees. As you certainly know, the idea fascinates me and this was the perfect occasion. He struggles for control eternally, under his emotions, for his life; and then there is this utter moment when he would let go and accept to be submitted. I am not very happy with the whole banally romantic side of his love for Lily. I see in this love a stronger need and sense of devotion that is disembodied, emotional and spiritual; the cast of the Patronus is a strong symbol of it. And there, you know, what I visualize is not what I was able to capture on the screen. I am left frustrated, feeling that words are, anyway, more powerful. So, the squirming reflex is also mine... But of course, to help your own reflex I can remove the quote from the artist's comment, if you prefer. But I'd rather let the image be an illustration to your fic, than to the book -that's the way I thought of it. And you can be proud of what you wrote.

Because your fic is a rich source of inspiration. I cheated, when I extracted only these words. What was before and what comes after them was equally inspiring; and to be faithful to your spirit I should have added a hint of Harry, instead of letting it be a Snily scene. I was stopped by the next lines: they mentioned Tom and Harry and who didn't read the story wouldn't have understood.

I must tell you how much I feel better when I read such thoughtful fics as yours. It gives me a sense of "sharing", of mutual understanding (beyond the differences) and for that I feel grateful and happier. Please keep on writing, it will keep on feeding my inspiration; and as long as real life is disappointing and heartless, I do need it. :)
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Lhi-am's avatar
Lhi-am|Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful scene! :-)
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FantFant's avatar
FantFant|Hobbyist Writer
<3 This... is amazing o3o
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Vizen's avatar
Thank you.
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Andharian's avatar
Andharian|Student General Artist
wow!
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snazzie-designz's avatar
Beautiful, and bitter-sweet.
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Allyrah's avatar
Allyrah|Hobbyist Writer
This is so gorgeous, so dark and captivating. And it really is an excellent illustration to that fic, you really captured the essence of it, I feel. Beautifully done!
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Vizen's avatar
Thank you.
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Gryffgirl's avatar
You've been featured: [link]
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anonymous's avatar
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