"I think that you can use the leeway JKR has given to argue for a somewhat more lenient Snape, and you could make it work without contradicting canon. However, you can't swing the "Snape would never have HURT them on PURPOSE and if he did he'd have cried all NITE cuz he was GOOD!" that I see so often. And for the record, I don't think that's what you're arguing here.
As I said, you could take the path of, no pun intended, less resistence, but that is where you have to look at your options as a writer. This is something I brought up on the old ff.net forum, but it's still true. A story is only as compelling as its conflict. The tale of a man walking a block in a warm summer cloudburst that makes his clothing uncomfortable and his sandwitch soggy is not an interesting read in itself. The tale of a man crawling, wading, struggling his way down the same block in the teeth of a hurricane is gripping.
If all canon gives is us "Joe looked again at the growling dog, wondering whether or not the chain-link leash was just for show," it could be anything from a teacup Yorkie to a rabid Mastiff-wolf hybrid.
I chose the wolf hybrid because, simply, it makes a better story. More dramatic, more compelling, better tension, higher stakes, better opportunity for character development and unexpected twists. This post was really about how it couldn't be a friendly dog, and why the wolf-hybrid was not "against canon." Not that it couldn't possibly be another kind of dog."
Here we go. Found it.
It's not the best explanation, but, eh, I enjoyed the fic, and didn't care that Snape was a bad guy. It worked in context.
Apparently I can't link to the post due to being a new account. Well, there's a link in the Article's discussion page.
edited 19th Sep '11 8:07:10 PM by SantaMariaRemark