Where does the author stand in respect to Canon?
Recently, on another HP fanfiction site, I've read a fiction with a critical eye(because the writer had reviewed my story and I felt obliged to return the favour) Anyway, it was about Ginny's seventh year, and, dear, that fic is just a perfect example for what you've said about physical makeovers :rolleyes: . I mean, Ginny is already a popular girl, she's beautiful, she plays Quidditch, etc. What's the point in pushing her too hard to make her perfect?
Conclusion: Even if we have good reasons for character physical makeovers, they often end up morphing the characters' personalities more than they morph their appearance.
This issue is closely related to Mary-Sue/Billy-Joe. Because the physical makovers, no matter how well justified (I didn't see any convincingly justified yet), are originated from the urge to create perfection. Let's be honest: how many of us are perfect like we morph the characters? Then if we're trying to write realistic stories, why should our characters be? What I'm trying to say without going off-topic is that pushing canon characters too hard sometimes result not only simply in OOC-ness, but also turning them into Mary-Sues.
Our major flaw, is flaw. We forget - or "unintentionally" ignore giving them flaws.
As for major characters, yes, it is harder. While respectfully sharing most of your ideas everyone, I still think that we must also give the author some place to pactice their own talent. If not, to have their fun. So far, we've generally demonstrated what we all understand from OOC, and I had my share as well. But I still think that the author, simply in the name of being the author, has the right to morph the characters to a certain degree. Where is that degree? That's the limits I tried to explain in my first post.
Snape is a very complex canon character. While we gather tiny bits of information about him from here and there in all the six books, and while we have a rough idea about his general manners, he's still a mysterious character - there's too much we don't know about him and thus we have difficulty imagining how he would react in certain events that take place in out plot. But I think this is fun. As far as the author wanders within those little known about him, why shouldn't they own him as their own a bit? A lot of people may disagree with me about this, but I've always come to belive that once I have the pen in my hand, it is my world. Anything that comes out from the tip of my fingers is mine. Even if I'm using someone else's characters - JK in this point - I still have a kind of autonomy over them - to a certain degree, of course. Simply because they're in the tip of my pen right then, not JKRs or someone elses. Because I believe, otherwise, every single fiction we read from all different writers would not be unique as their own. What I tried to say before was that using our flexibility right is what makes it all fun and signs our name under our work. If this is the case, I don't think the canon characters' behaviour should be percieved as OOC.
I also want to note that even over Harry, the main character, whom we know the most about, whom we (can) know better than the other canon, everyone has a different idea. Perception changes from person to person. How the canon character we use comes out is not solely dependent upon the canon, but upon the writer as well. Thus I believe there'll always be a little OOC-ness, simply because we are not JKR. (OOC-ness in this sentence is used in its general meaning; don't think I'm conflicting with what I said in the previous paragraph;) )