Essential Snarry Reader Interview with Telanu

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Essential Snarry Reader Interview with Telanu
Interviewer: Aubrem
Interviewee: Telanu
Date(s): January 5, 2005
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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In 2005, Telanu was interviewed for Essential Snarry Reader.

Some Excerpts

I started out in Star Wars: TPM slash fandom, as a writer. I’d read some Star Trek: Voyager Paris/Chakotay slash before, and when I saw the otherwise-terrible Episode I, I guess the slash idea just clicked for me. It was the way Qui-Gon touched Obi-Wan’s face, I think. Mmmm. Sorry, where was I?

Oh, right. Anyway, I read a lot of stories in that fandom before I thought to write my own. When I did, I got a moderately good response, which was cool—I’d always written for myself, before, and had been really neurotic about letting anybody but my best friend see my stories. Now I was showing them to an enormous fandom! I guess I’m glad that I had no idea *how* big the fandom was at the time, or I probably would have freaked out. (I also got into Sherlock Holmes and New Teen Titans, both of which had considerably smaller fandoms.)

To make a long story short, I began to lose interest in TPM after a while. Someone on the Master-Apprentice ML (the old one, before Yahoo Groups deleted it) asked if I’d consider writing Harry Potter slash instead. By this time, I’d read the first three HP books. I wasn’t feeling an urge to write in the fandom yet, but I did ask if anybody knew of any Harry/Snape fics. At the time there were, like, two. I hadn’t expected that, for some reason, because in TPM you could get pretty much any kind of fic you wanted. I guess I’d been spoiled. But the two fics whetted my appetite, and for the next week or so I mulled over a baby plot idea I had in my head, about Dumbledore talking to Snape about Snape’s disturbing attraction to a far-too-young Harry. Eventually I wrote it. You probably know the rest. *G*
When I thought about [slashing Snape and Harry], I realized I’d always done “buddyfic” before—slashing characters who were friends before I made them lovers. I’d never written about two enemies falling into love, or bed, or whatever. So honestly, I’m not sure what made me take that direction, except that I thought Snape and Harry had so much chemistry. They were always really into each other, although not in a nice way; always watching each other, thinking/obsessing about each other. I realized quickly, as I was writing them, that I was more *interested* in them than I’d been in any of my other favorite pairings. They were a bigger challenge to write, because it was so hard to make a relationship between them even a tiny bit plausible. I enjoyed that challenge, although I often found (and find) it frustrating, as well.

And, to be perfectly honest, I have a bit of a kink for teacher/student. I’m not really a fan of chan, it has to be said, but all the same, I find that teacher/student power dynamic titillating, and trying to find ways to circumvent that imbalance of authority is fun. I’m almost always more interested in S/H stories in which Harry’s a student, as opposed to the ones where he’s grown up and away from Hogwarts.

Plus, of course, Snape and Harry are both complex and intelligently-rendered characters. They’re definitely my favorite characters in the series. How could I go wrong, trying to put them together?
So: is the Tea series chan?

We could run around endlessly debating the terms of that question. What’s the difference between chan and shota, how young is really too young, does it depend on the country you’re in, etc., etc. And also, of course, the idea that chan is always in the eye of the beholder: what one person considers chan another might not.

The evidence against the Tea series is pretty damning, I’ll grant you that. After all, in the first story, Harry’s only thirteen (though he does not actually appear in the fic) and Snape admits to being interested in him in some vague way—I never clarified, until “Possession,” whether that was an overtly sexual attraction or not (it was not). I felt it was better to leave things vague, because it would be more in line with the weird, irrational obsession canon Snape seems to have with canon Harry. So that’s that. However, by the time Harry is fifteen in the second fic, Snape obviously *is* interested in him sexually, and that doesn’t seem much better, does it? And then they have sex when Harry’s sixteen, which is legal, but does that make it okay?

This is where I get back to your other question: what was my intent? Is the age difference between Snape and Harry merely another obstacle to overcome on the way to True Love (or whatever), or am I making a commentary on the rightness/wrongness of these kinds of relationships?

Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer that. I’d like to say that it’s obvious that I don’t condone teacher-student relationships in RL, or think sex between an adult and a child is okay, but based on comments I’ve read in other places it doesn’t seem obvious at all, to some people. What I was trying to say, in these specific stories, is the whole situation is complicated, and it’s cheating to try and wriggle out of it. Snape and Harry care for each other deeply, that much is obvious (I hope), but in order to be together they do a lot of bad stuff. Break the rules. Lie. Threaten people. Act in ways not dictated by their own moral codes. Get possessed by malevolent primeval forces. I’m not trying to hide any of that, because I think that’s what would really happen, in this case. (Okay, maybe not the primeval forces bit, but you know what I meant.) So that’s my sole commentary on it. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide whether or not their feelings justify their actions. If you think they do, that’s fine, and if you think they don’t, that’s fine too. If you think the Tea series is about the Power of True Love, or is a Cautionary Tale, or is Kiddie Porn, or is really all about the Fleur/McGonagall, any of that is absolutely, totally fine. I will write and post the story. You may interpret it however you wish. My intent as an author might not be commensurate with your interpretation, but I’m okay with that.

Now you want me to admit what my intent *was,* don’t you? I will say that I never intended it to be seen as kiddie porn (as I said earlier, I find most chan disturbing and I tend to avoid it), but if other people want to see it that way, then I have no control over that. This isn’t meant to be a cop-out. It’s just the truth.

What I *do* have a problem with is when people whose interpretation differs from my intent write to me and say things like, “You shouldn’t have written X, because it should have happened like Y!” And sadly, I’ve gotten plenty of that too. *G*