No seriously, stop it. You sound like those people that think the relationship between Christian Grey and Ana Steele is appropriate and not at all horrifically abusive and 50 shades of NOT OKAY. I don’t care how tear-jerking a video of Snape moments put in chronological order is.

Let’s talk about the toxic friendship. Let’s talk about the gross expectation that Lily Evans had to fall in love with him and be with him forever because he was such a nice guy to her. Even when he wasn’t.

Lily-and-Snape-as-children

Half-blood Severus Snape and Muggleborn Lily Evan were adorable childhood friends. Snape was enamored with the obviously talented young witch and their friendship blossomed. Much excitement was had when the two received their Hogwarts letters and began their journey of learning. Snape became a Slytherin while Lily was sorted into Gryffindor, but that didn’t deter their friendship. However, Snape soon found himself embroiled in an obsession with the Dark Arts and a group of friends who looked down on those classified as Muggleborns and would go so far as hoping to get rid of them completely. These were his housemates, yes, the people he would spend the seven years at Hogwarts working closely with, and he fell in and found that he did not find their worldview distasteful. Offensive slurs that applied to his best friend Lily began to fall carelessly from his lips, and the same hateful rhetoric became a part of his belief system. And Lily didn’t really like that. She found that she disagreed with his opinions and could not accept the decisions he was making. Although he may have been her first friend in the wizarding world, he had become a person with whom she had no desire to associate with.

The first thing we’re going to clear up concerns the “I can’t believe Lily chose the bully (James Potter) over her closest friend (Snape)!” Here’s the fact: Lily ended that friendship years before she began dating, let alone showing an interest in, James Potter. There was literally no choosing between the two boys involved. She chose to get away from a person who was once a very close friend. It doesn’t happen suddenly, either. She endures years of him changing into a twisted person with a group of friends that aim to belittle and eradicate people who are just like her. And here’s Snape, trying to justify his prejudice by telling her that he’d never think of her that way, of course she’s different. So obviously she shouldn’t worry about his views because they don’t apply to her.

I’ve made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends – you see, you don’t even deny it! You don’t even deny that’s what you’re all aiming to be! You can’t wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?

Yes, Lily Evans said goodbye to Severus Snape and a few years later ended up falling in love with James Potter. And yes, James Potter and Severus Snape had been enemies for years. Do not paint Snape as an abused victim, though, because even Remus admits that Snape gave as good as he got whenever the opportunity arose. Severus Snape continued along the path of Dark Arts and cultish thinking whilst James Potter grew out of it and became a well-rounded man capable of loving Lily fully and completely. Severus Snape never stopped loving Lily Potter, but I simply cannot understand the argument some people make here: just because Snape had loved her for so long, and they were friends before, she owed him her love? People seem to forget that she made a choice, and she chose James. People diminish the importance of her choice. She owes Snape nothing. Her choice is valid and should never be discounted. I am truly frightened of people who claim that Lily owed Snape anything.

Yes, cling to her lifeless body while a baby cries, terrified in the back.ground.
Yes, cling to her lifeless body while her baby cries, terrified, in the background.

Oh but he changed after Voldemort killed Lily! His deep, passionate, and true love for her inspired him to become a better person and dedicate his life to helping her son. Except he tried to make a plea deal with Voldy in which he got Lily in exchange for James and a one-year-old baby. Do you think Snape believed that Voldemort was, what, going to take James and Harry in with open arms and not murder them? No, he knew full well that he was trying to trade two lives in order to be given Lily Potter. And not by her choice, mind you. Lily had never shown an interest in Snape romantically, and at this point not even platonic interest is present. He is literally hoping to forcibly take her…and do what? Force her to love him? He wants to possess her, not be loved by her.

Rather Excellent Supporting Point Number One.

snape patronus thing

Rather Excellent Supporting Point Number Two

excellent supporting point two

So Lily Potter dies along with her husband, but their young child remains. Don’t ever try to tell me that Snape actually came to truly care for Harry, either. That’s a load of tripe and we (hopefully) both know it. Snape protected Harry, sometimes. And to the bare minimum. The barest, often. He does not once show affection nor does he offer any sort of mentoring that is not forced upon him. He is constantly rude, cruel, and regularly makes a point to create misery in Harry’s life. He works tirelessly to keep Harry alive (I will not say protect) due to a misguided regret over losing the woman he obsesses over.

Let’s move on from the whole Lily and Snape relationship altogether. Because it certainly doesn’t end there. And it certainly doesn’t even end with the whole Death Eater shtick. I’m just going to let this Tumblr post do the talking, because I really can’t say it any better.

snape and lupin

We have no proof that Remus Lupin ever actively did anything to harass Snape. He is likely a passive bystander to the enmity between Severus, James, and Sirius. Even had he been the one flinging curses and dangling Snape upside down by the toe, we cannot use it to justify Snape’s crusade to out Remus Lupin. It is ridiculous to excuse this behavior in any situation. Snape deliberately created an unhappy and unsafe environment in hopes of ruining Remus Lupin’s life. He spent months both during his time at school and his tenure as a teacher trying to expose a secret that he had no business exposing. This is simple cruelty and an attempt to deny basic human rights to a human being. There is absolutely no justification for his actions. Period.

 Riddikulus

Remus Lupin is not the only one to encounter abuse at Snape’s hands. Countless students are victim to his loathing. Severus Snape, a professor of Potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, mentor to students and responsible for guiding them into successful wizarding adults, torments poor Neville Longbottom throughout his Hogwarts career because he was NOT the chosen one. This is perfectly logical, of course, since had Neville been the Chosen One, Lily would still be alive. She still wouldn’t be in love with Snape and he would carry on as a Death Eater, but I think we’ve left logic behind long ago anyways.

But think about that. Really think about it. Snape treats this poor, innocent, already anxious and traumatized child like utter shit for years. He is relentless in his attacks, verbally abusive, and just all around terrible to a child who had absolutely no control over his fate. Snape is placing blame and acting out to, what, make himself feel better? At the expense of a completely innocent child. Snape creates such a terrifying and damaging environment that he become Neville Longbottom’s greatest fear, the Boggart in the darkest corners of his mind. Imagine how much trauma someone has to inflict to become your worst nightmare. Consider how Neville already lives with the knowledge that his parents were tortured to the point of insanity by Voldemort’s order. He is no stranger to heartbreak, or to trauma. Now imagine how much trauma is required to surpass that incident, how much damage Snape must have inflicted in order to win that first place position of absolute terror.

None of the motivations behind Severus Snape’s actions throughout the course of his life qualify him for a heroic role. He is selfish, possessive, and worst of all obsessive, which makes him a relentless double agent with no morals to speak of. His reasoning is flawed at best and absolutely illogical at worst, and his inability to let go of the past and the friendship that he destroyed create a lack of direction with a single focus: somehow proving that he deserves Lily Evans. His actions after her death are solely for her benefit–he betrays Voldemort because he kills the woman he “loves” and cares for Harry because he has her eyes. He does half of these things poorly, and all with a horrible attitude. I do not believe he ever truly understands why he is not deserving of her affection. His backstory may be tragic, but that in no way excuses his actions.

Writer. Cosplayer. Binge Netflix Watcher. Anime Dweeb. Book Enthusiast. Harbours inappropriately strong feelings about Shakespeare and William Blake. Once lost a whole day theorizing about Game of Thrones. The most motivated procrastinator she knows. Sometimes it works out in her favor. Mostly just causes widespread panic. It's all good though, because she never forgets her towel.

106 thoughts on “Severus Snape Is A Complete Twat and All This “Tragic Hero” Nonsense Needs To Stop

  1. The boggart thing is kind of a good point. Like you think Neville would picture his parents getting tortured or Voldemort but instead it’s Professor Snape?
    I’m with you. This guy is a huge A hole.

    1. And in not even 3 years. Neville had 11 years of emotional and sometimes physical abuse from his family in addition to what happened to his parents and it took Snape 2 years as his teacher to become his worst fear.

      1. That’s not really true. Sure, Neville was all messed up because of what happened to his parents, but he wasn’t abused. His grandmother did project high expectations onto him, and he was shy and nervous because of it, but he was well cared for. She may have been a bit crotchety but she loved him and looked after him.

          1. You’re thinking like a muggle. Think about the number of times the life and welfare of students at Hogwarts is jeopardized in the name of magical training. In the wizarding world, the ends always justify the means, even when that means abusing a child.

        1. His grandmother hung him upside down on the second floor above the ground just to force his magical potential or risk becoming a squib. Yet it’s Snape who is his worst fear. There’s a serious concern when that sort of action comes to light

          1. It was Neville’s Uncle Alfie, not his grandmother. But yeah, if Snape is more scary than his own family pushing him into a life-threatening incident, there’s something VERY wrong with Snape.

    2. Why can’t we all just accept that the point of Snape’s complexity as a character was meant to be a interesting and thought provoking part of the story and stop criticizing character’s beliefs and feelings?

  2. Great article. Snape is a great and complex character, but he’s a completely awful person. One thing I would add: the way he treated Hermione. Hermione was nothing but respectful towards her teachers, even Snape, and yes, she could go a little overboard sometimes… but there’s a moment in Goblet of Fire when her front teeth get cursed into growing down past her chin and onwards. When Snape sees her, he snidely makes a comment: “I see no difference”. Snape was very obviously mocking her for already having large front teeth. This is a little 14 year old girl! He makes fun of her appearance, which makes her burst into tears before running away.

    What’s especially awful is how a large part of the fandom finds excuses for this kind of behaviour. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard people claim he just exercises “tough love”. It’s not. It’s bullying, or even downright emotional abuse. He consistently made Hermione and Neville feel small. Calling that tough love isn’t any different than romanticizing abusive behaviour in FSoG, as you pointed out.

    While the fandom may bend over backwards to justify or excuse everything he does, at least I can take comfort in the fact that JK Rowling thinks he’s a “deeply horrible person”, and that some other fans recognize this, too!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Great point about how Snape treats Hermione. He is absolutely awful to her on several occasions, certainly, and I think that makes for a really interesting dynamic. The extent some people go to when trying to justify this kind of behavior as “tough love” as opposed to seeing it for what it truly is–emotional abuse–really does worry me. It may seem like a harmless opinion on a fictional character, but that stuff seeps into real life thinking far too easily.

    2. Sure, Snape is a bully. No one is disputing that. But open your eyes and look at the world these books take place in.

      Hagrid’s hippogriff physically attacked Draco. Dumbledore allowed a violent 3 headed dog onto the premises. A giant troll was easily led into the girls bathroom. A massive snake was turning people in to stone. The primary sport of the wizarding world regularly results in broken bones, and has been known to result in death. Dementors nearly ‘killed’ Harry on school grounds. So did the whomping willow for that matter. And let’s not forget the Mandrakes that students who are barely teenagers are handling IN CLASS, can put someone in a coma. Potions regularly go awry, resulting in terrible consequences.

      Snape put himself in front of the most dangerous wizard on the planet, day in, day out, for years. He lied to the world’s greatest legilimence, for years. He saved lives in the text alone, never mind the countless he saved by his contribution to the defeat of Voldemort. But he’s a bully! So let’s stick it too him!

      He tried to ruin Lupin’s career… I guess. But Sirius’ behaviour towards Snape is all good, right? Cuz Sirius isn’t a bully?

      PS – where does this thought even come from: “He is literally hoping to forcibly take her…”?
      No one thinks Lily owes Snape anything. And Snape was certainly not trying to gain ‘possession’ of her. He specifically tells Dumbledore to “Hide them. Hide them all!”.

      1. No one’s denying that the wizarding world is an unbalanced, physically dangerous place. Snape provides an additional form of emotional danger, but I’m not certain what this has to do with your argument. Yes, the wizarding world is a tough place in which to live. And yes, Snape is a bully. So is Sirius Black. I mentioned Sirius Black once in my original article, simply to set up the enmity between James/Sirius and Snape. This baseless theory on how I feel about his character lacks any support as I have not commented on the merits of Sirius’ actions. Nor do I feel the need to, beyond stating that the teenaged Sirius we are discussing was absolutely a bully.

        As for your PS, there are plenty of people I have encountered who feel that Lily owes Snape her love. Many people still think like this. We don’t actually know what Snape’s intentions after trying to plead for her life were. We’re never told. However, based on the conversation he has with Dumbledore, her life would be a “reward” for Severus’ service. Doesn’t sound like we’re talking about her as a person, does it? I hate the way the internet uses that final quote: “Hide them. Hide them all.” If you intend to discuss Severus Snape’s character using the context of his past and the world in which he lives, as you have done, then you must also pay attention to the context of the quotes you are using to defend your stance.

        This is the full conversation that single line comes from–page 677-78 of the American First Edition Hardcover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and I apologize, for I will be pasting this same quote to a handful of others on this post as well because context is so important):

        “The—the prophecy…the prediction…Trelawney…”
        “Ah, yes,” said Dumbledore. “How much did you relay to Lord Voldemort?”
        “Everything—everything I heard!” said Snape. “That is why—it is for that reason—he thinks it means Lily Evans!”
        “The prophecy did not refer to a woman,” said Dumbledore. “It spoke of a boy born at the end of July—“
        “You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down—kill them all—“
        “If she means so much to you,” said Dumbledore, “surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?”
        “I have—I have asked him—“
        “You disgust me,” said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Severus seemed to shrink a little. “You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?”
        Snape said nothing, but merely looked up at Dumbledore.
        “Hide them all, then,” he croaked. “Keep her—them—safe. Please.”

        The scene it its’ entirety make two things very clear: Snape’s first choice was to go to Voldemort and ask for Lily’s life as a reward for his information/service/loyalty. Had Voldemort granted his request, Snape would stand idly by and watch as James and Harry were slaughtered. Lily would be taken by Voldemort and gifted to Snape. This is, of course, where my assumption of his desire to possess her comes from. Voldemort wouldn’t just leave Lily there, free to enter back into the world and live peacefully for Snape’s to watch and love from afar. She would be angry and vengeful and a threat, especially given her level of talent and intelligence. If her life could be spared, it would have to be under strict conditions—and I highly doubt those conditions included her freedom. Just the mere act of Snape going to Voldemort with this request shows me that he has little respect for what Lily’s wishes might be.

        Voldemort obviously rejects him, and he’s devastated, frantic, and most importantly desperate. He needs another powerful man to do what he cannot: save the love of his life. Dumbledore is not a friendly contact, as we can see by the way he responds to Snape’s distress, but he is certainly in a position to help. Dumbledore is anything but sympathetic. He knows what Snape is after and has no trouble letting him know exactly what he thinks of it (You disgust me). Snape is faced with his true intentions laid bare, ones he cannot refute. But Dumbledore has made his stance very clear. So Snape changes tactics in order to get Dumbledore to help him. “Hide them all,” he croaks, so at least she’ll still live. And while I feel like Dumbledore would have left that meeting and immediately sent James and Lily into hiding without ever agreeing to do it for Snape’s sake, he presses on, because Snape is desperate and Dumbledore can use him. Thus, the double agent is born.

        1. Certainly have never been a huge Snape fan, and much of his actions are indeed beyond inexcusable. I agree with the majority of your original article. However, I take exception to a couple points. One, I feel that in the final estimation, it is impossible to not label him as a hero. This is possible while still coming up with a plethora of reasons he is a horrible, twisted, and unloveable person- which he is.
          But primarily, I disagree with a point you raised in this response- that Voldemort “rejects him.” He….doesn’t. My books are unfortunately in storage, so I can’t give you page numbers. But as the scene of the murder of Lily and attempted murder of Harry gets replayed time and again, with further clarity throughout the series- and as Voldemort/Riddle explicitly say- Lily needn’t have died. Voldemort explicitly tells her to “stand aside…stand aside you stupid girl”. He gave it a whirl. Now, obviously he wasn’t too attached to keeping his deal- he could have fired off about every other curse mentioned in the course of 7 books to move her out of the way- and killed her once she refused to comply with a verbal command she was incapable of responding to because she’s a person capable of love. And keep in mind that Voldemort- as an effectively abandoned child and a character incapable of love- probably genuinely thought that a mother would trade her child’s life for her own when it came down to it, because from his perspective- this is what his mother did.
          And in terms of the point that Voldemort would have never left Lily alive because she would have wanted revenge….I think you’ve seen too many Westerns. Nothing about Voldemort’s character lends any evidence to the fact that he- who had just about made himself borderline immortal- would have feared or felt threatened by a non pureblood witch. It’s a laughable contention. Now, if you had argued that he would never pass up a chance to kill someone, or never not kill anyone who said “no” to him- that would make more sense. But bottom line, where there are only semantic holes in your article, your defense of your article is rife with them.

          1. You pretty much answered your own question about Voldemort:
            “Now, obviously he wasn’t too attached to keeping his deal- he could have fired off about every other curse mentioned in the course of 7 books to move her out of the way”

            Whether Voldemort verbally agreed to Snape that he would spare Lily, or whether he just stayed silent when Snape talked and later on decided to give it a half-whirl…either way, Snape must have had good reason not to rely on Voldemort’s promise to keep Lily alive. That’s the only reason he went to Dumbledore: he didn’t trust Voldemort to keep his word, as would anyone with two working brain cells. Voldemort’s not known for his mercy.

            I think it’s you arguing semantics here, truthfully. For all intents and purposes, Voldemort might as well have rejected Snape’s request, for all the effort he went through to hold to it, and that’s exactly what Snape knew he’d do. It’s why he went to Dumbledore, he needed another powerful wizard as insurance to keep Lily safe. Lily’s FAMILY is the inclusion that Dumbledore himself insists on; Snape says “hide them all, THEN”, as in reluctant agreement after Dumbledore shows his disgust.

        2. All I see in that post is you ignoring the fact that Dumbledore waas not a good enough person to save Lily, James and Harry’s lives

          1. No. No, you don’t get to say that Dumbledore wasn’t a good enough person to save Lily and James. He tried. He did the best he could. The fidelius charm is very old, very powerful and extremely difficult. I can’t imagine that it’s very common, or even well known. In the end, they died because they trusted the wrong person to be their Secret Keeper. That wasn’t his decision to make. I’m sure he made suggestions, but no one suspected Peter Pettigrew of being a turncoat until it was far too late, and he thought they chose Sirius, regardless. There wasn’t much more he could do when they were both young, headstrong and presumably insisted on remaining in the country to help with the war effort. Albus Dumbledore made many mistakes in his time, but Lily and James dying was not his fault.
            As for the article, I really enjoyed reading it and couldn’t agree more! While he may have helped in the end, I still can’t stand the man. I hate the fact that so many people defend his actions as a teacher because he had to stay in Voldemort’s good graces when he eventually came back, but there were 2 other Death Eater teachers who were fair to everyone. Quirrel was annoying and useless, but he was fair to EVERY student, including Harry even with Voldemort literally on the back of his head. Barty Crouch Jr may have been trying to get Harry to the graveyard and pretending to be some else, but he was a good enough teacher and fair to all the students, even though we have no way of knowing if Moody was good with kids and likely didn’t interact with them often, so Crouch could have just been horrible to everyone and acted like he was just bad/inexperienced with children. He could have easily hurt students in the name of Moody’s paranoia. At the end of the day, I’m in school to learn to teach 11-13 year olds one day, and how Snape treats his students kills me inside almost as much Umbridge. I simply can’t condone the fact that a 13 year old boy was so terrified of a teacher that he was Neville’s greatest fear over his parents being tortured into insanity and being dropped out of a window by a family member.

      2. Love you dude!!
        I don’t fancy Snape, but you have to put everything into consideration. I think of Snape as Draco, he is from a bad family always taught that way, he was a bully, as James and Sirius. Don’t forget that James was the first to iniciate the agressions in the train the first day of school, without knowing Snape or Lilly, and at the end, even Harry was sympathized of Draco.
        We do not have to forget he was a death eater and the one who made Tom Riddle think of killing Harry, but from that moment on, he did everything in his power, even stan up to Dumbledore for him.

  3. You know the feminists have nothing to do when they have to take on a fictional character for his “abuses. What happened, run out of real men to belittle?

    1. Who peed in your Cheerios this morning? This is a purely opinion based article on a fictional character…not once was feminism mentioned. We are simply discussing whether or not Snape can be considered a hero based on his written personality and actions throughout the series.

    2. I saw nothing in the article that had ANYTHING to do with feminism or any other kind of -ism. I think you are searching too hard for something to be offended by.

    3. Huh? Where in this article does the author belittle men, fictional or otherwise? The analysis of Severus Snape was done based on his actions and quoted, textual evidence. You of course do not have to share the beliefs and conclusions drawn in this article, but please to not debase the discussion with meritless and needlessly confrontational comments. Also, you forgot a quotation mark in your comment, I would recommend proofreading before you post.

    4. Wow… Could you be any more ignorant? If the roles were reversed and Snape was a Woman and Lily was a man I don’t see how this conversation would be any different.

    5. feminist (adj.) advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

      Lily lived out her days exactly how she wanted to–what’s more feminist than that?
      Severus could never accept her choice, and hoped that there was something, anything he could do to make her love him–worrisome.

      Sometimes it’s easier to understand fictional characters than men because we have more insight into their motives. This is hardly an attack–one can appreciate the complexity of a character (or for that matter, a real person) and still take issue with some of their more glaring flaws. If a man doesn’t like me questioning the world and my place in it, that’s a problem that’s clearly his, not mine.

      ::This message has been brought to you by a feminist–one who wears lipstick and says thank you when a man holds the door for her.::

    6. Typical man, confronted with a strong opinion of any kind coming from a woman, he resorts to the overused feminist bashing line to discredit a woman’s opinion on said subject rather than actually using his brain and coming up with an intelligent rebuttal that pertains the the subject at hand.

  4. I always figured he did these things intentionally to make himself seem evil. He was, after all, trying to fool the dark lord. You can’t exactly get on his “good” side if you are not playing the part. I’ve only read the books once or twice, but seen the movies a million times, but I want to point out that in the movies Dumbledore would never had let Snape be a teacher if he thought he was a real threat to the kids. I also want to point out that when Snape was headmaster, things could have been much worse for all of the students. Another Death Eater could have been in charge. If that were the case, kids could have been murdered. As it stands they were just discriminated against if they weren’t Slytherin. Not saying he is a “good” guy, but he was a great man. Just my humble opinion.

    1. That’s a really good point about Snape doing much of this intentionally. There is definitely a certain image he would have to exude in order to remain under Voldemort’s radar. To some extent. Voldemort believes he is loyal to him, but is playing the role of one loyal fully to Dumbledore. Voldemort believes that he is acting like he is on Dumbledore’s side, which would surely excuse some nice behavior. It’s a tricky situation. Many of his actions were cruel in ways completely unrelated to how Voldemort might see him, especially in the early years when he hadn’t fully returned yet. I don’t really think the way he treated characters like Neville, Harry, and Remus was fake or even over-dramatized to play up a villainous character–I solidly believe that he would have been disdainful and purposefully damaging simply because of who they were and what kind of a person he had become.

      I’d like to say you’re right about Dumbledore not letting Snape teach at the school if he posed an actual threat, but I’m very leery of Dumbledore’s judgement. That’s a whole other can of worms, since I think Dumbledore’s isn’t exactly role model of the year either. Snape always did the bare minimum to keep the students safe, I do agree with you on that point. It was certainly better that he landed the position of Headmaster instead of any of the other Death Eaters. He was a fascinating character with so many facets to explore, but I wouldn’t qualify him as a great man–great character, sure! Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      1. I think you’re right about Dumbledore’s judgement. I think he was so consumed by his responsibility to
        “save the world” that he let things slide and allowed practices that normally would not be acceptable. He was also arrogant, but that is neither here nor there. That being said, I also think that Dumbledore was one of the few that understood what was about to take place, given that he was the one who defeated Grindelwald, and he alone new what Tom Riddle had endured and the man he had become. He understood that they were entering a time that normal, acceptable societal practices were no longer going to cut it and would cost people lives. Considering we’re dealing with Voldemort, a person who cares nothing of life or the foundations of life we hold dear, they would have to fight a little dirty, resort to less than tasteful actions in order to compete with this psychotic methods and still live.

        Snape taught his mantra well “Life’s not fair.” He had to play two roles. As has been said before, he could have done much worse when he was the Headmaster of Hogwarts. He did allow the Carrows to beat students (not Slytherin), but none of them died until the battle. People like to point out that Snape did take the unbreakable with Narcissa, but this I feel, was more for show, in order to maintain his cover and less to do with saving the life of Draco Malfoy if he did not succeed in killing Dumbledore. He did view Lily as an object to possess, he allowed his love to become an unhealthy obsession. I would also like to point out that I believe, and I might be wrong, that Neville could have been the lion in the prophecy, but it was Snape that told Voldemort that it was Harry because he was jealous and naive and didn’t comprehend what it would cost him (Lily’s life).

        1. Snape actually NEVER specified. He told Voldemort, that it was going to be a boy born in late July to parents that had thrice betrayed Voldemort that could defeat him. That was the only part of the prophecy he’d heard before being forcibly ejected from the Hog’s Head. Granted, at this point, he’s still gaga over Lily, so when he took the snippet he heard and told his big, bad boss, he freaked when Voldemort took it upon himself to go after Harry. (Voldemort was always the one that chose the prophecy to be about Harry. Dumbledore actually told Harry at one point, that it could have been Harry, but could have just as easily been Neville. And that it was Voldemort who picked the “half blood” over the “pure blood”, no matter what he was spouting to his followers. Remember, both the Longbottoms and the Potters had thrice betrayed Voldemort by that point in 1981.) Again, not for Harry’s protection, but for Lily’s. That was the whole reason he went to Dumbledore. Voldemort had let it be known he was going to kill the whole Potter clan, and I think that was when Snape was done. He wanted to protect Lily, yes, and I don’t want to believe it was as far as “possessing” her, I think it was more of “if her husband and child are dead, she’ll have to love me eventually.” So, he goes to Dumbledore for protection, granted, just for Lily, then begrudgingly for James and Harry, because he felt that at least she’d still be alive.

          In the case of the unbreakable vow with Narcissa, it was to show the sisters, (not so much Sissy, but Bellatrix) that “I’m a man of my word, so if Draco needs to be saved, I’ll do it. I’ll save him.” He probably never really wanted to, but he knew with Bellatrix that she wasn’t going to back down on her doubts of Snape being a double agent, in addition to being pushed into many of these things by Dumbledore. Remember, at this point, (Dumbledore) his hand is infected, he knows he’s going to die, and somehow, he knew that Draco was going to be the one Voldemort chose to do it, and he didn’t want Draco to do it, so Snape doing it had already been prearranged to protect Draco.

    2. That doesn’t work for several reasons. Snape wasn’t supposed to play the part of being the Evil Guy. Voldemort saw Snape’s position at Hogwarts as a useful bonus to him: Snape was trusted by Dumbledore. So Voldemort wanted Snape to keep playing that up. Voldemort pretty much trusted Snape at that point, as much as Voldemort can trust anyone. And what he needed was a spy in the Order, not someone to make Harry’s life miserable at school. The last thing Voldemort would want to see, in fact, was Snape making people believe that he was a Death Eater. What’s the point of an undercover agent if everyone thinks that agent is suspect? Nah, Snape should have actually been nicer, for Voldemort’s sake.

      It’s like Barty Crouch Jr. It’s not like Voldemort was annoyed that Barty played nice with Harry under the guise of Mad-Eye Moody. He wanted a spy, and he got an effective one, because Barty gained Harry’s trust. If Snape had been nicer to people, all Voldemort would see is his undercover agent playing his part.

      1. It’s like Barty Crouch Jr. It’s not like Voldemort was annoyed that Barty played nice with Harry under the guise of Mad-Eye Moody. He wanted a spy, and he got an effective one, because Barty gained Harry’s trust. If Snape had been nicer to people, all Voldemort would see is his undercover agent playing his part.

        Except that was Barty playing someone else – someone who was – among other things – not a Slytherin and was an Auror. Someone like that would be expected to get to know Harry (and want to keep an eye on him especially if it was known he was a parlsetongue).

        Snape was a Syltherin – and a bitter one at that. Turning nice wouldn’t fit.

        While I’ll say he was tragic, and towards the end maybe even (although very curmudgeon about it) a halfway-good/decent guy, he was no hero.

        Definitely not a complete twat as otherwise Draco would probably be dead.

    3. I liked your point that he may have been a dick to everyone throughout the series intentionally, or at least partially. Snape is my favorite character in the series, though I fully recognize that he is not a good person (or at least only a very small part of him is). Something he said will always stick with me, though. When he meets with Bellatrix and Narcissa in his house, and Bella is straight up accusing him of being in Dumbledore’s pocket, he says something to the effect of “I’ve played my part well.” This indicates to me that his love for Lily and desire to see revenge for her murder led him to obsessively and meticulously create this “character” we all got to know so well (and it wasn’t such a great leap, afterall. He was already a surly and unlikable person). If anyone caught wind of behavior supportive of Harry and his pals, it could have easily made its way back to Voldemort and his cover could have been irreparably blown. So he did whatever he could do to achieve his ultimate goal. We also know that, unpleasant or not, he was an exceptionally talented, dedicated, and motivated individual and if he really was that in love with Lily (no matter what she thought of him), he was entirely capable of a ruse that elaborate.

  5. Your title is poorly chosen.

    I’d be first in line to agree that Snape was a pretty awful person in the books. We have to remember, though, that we’re seeing the books through Harry’s eyes – and Harry didn’t like Snape at all. Kids, tweens and teens often turn people they don’t like into Pure Villains. They don’t see their teachers as human beings, and don’t care about their lives or motivations outside of class. We also never really get to see the books from Snape’s viewpoint (except for Harry’s POV of a few memories, interpreted as Harry sees them). It’s fully possible that a lot of what he did was an act (which had very real effects on the children whose feelings he hurt). But yes, a lot of what we see is nasty if not downright abusive.

    Snape as a boy is cute and sad because he’s obviously an abused/neglected child who craved approval and admiration more than anything. At the least, what we see is that he was powerless as a child to stop his father from abusing his mother, and he wanted power. He wanted to be special, and rub elbows with like company. That’s what got him in Slytherin, obviously – and eventually that was what drove him apart from Lily, even though what first drew him to her was her talent. This was also obviously something he lived to regret. In a way, he became the anti-Pettigrew. Peter Pettigrew had a similarly sycophantic personality, seeking approval of powerful figures, and eventually fell under the sway of Voldemort.

    Who, in the end, was more trustworthy? Snape was. He was an awful person who, after serious mistakes, managed to do the right thing, and for a very good reason. Compare that to Pettigrew, who had the “right” company all his life (if you can call a bunch of bullies the “right” company – clearly, the Marauders were no bunch of angels and gave as good as they got – try looking up the definition of “marauder” sometime! They took that name THEMSELVES!) and yet wound up being the true coward.

    But it does help highlight the complexity of human beings – people who wind up standing up for the right things, can have also done horrible things. Sometimes people even do the right things for the wrong reasons – many have speculated whether Snape asked Voldemort to spare Lily’s life if possible (so that he could have her?), in case the plan to save the Potters fell through (they obviously suspected there was a leak). Remember – Voldemort told this “mudblood” witch to stand aside, so that he could kill baby Harry! Why else would he bother even asking to spare the life of a “mudblood”, except as a reward for a “faithful servant” who gave him this valuable information of the prophecy (and then regretted it immediately, once he knew which family had been chosen)?

    The area where your comparison really falls down is that the Harry Potter series is not a romance series. It’s not about sex or relationships (aside from the everyday sort of relationships we all have with classmates, coworkers, enemies, friends, etc). You never see Snape have any kind of actual romance – it’s doubtful he ever even told Lily about his feelings for her, so the books certainly don’t glorify abusive “romance” as is seen in a few popular book series currently (50 Shades and the Twilight series come to mind). Also unlike in those books, you see the actual effects of hurtful behavior. You see Hermoine crying after the Tooth Incident. You see how the abuse Snape endured as a boy probably drove him to seek power. You see how the Dursleys’ treatment affected Harry and how emotionally stunted he was as a result. You see, at times, how close Harry himself comes to being abusive, manipulative, and vicious – and he’s the main hero!

    So, I really have to wonder, in your opinion, do all heroes have to be good people who make nothing but good decisions? Because if that’s the case, you’d have to concede that the Harry Potter series has NO heroes at all. Every single protagonist had their selfish moments and did horrible things. Albus Dumbledore was a terrific manipulator and a hair’s breadth from being a very bad wizard himself at one point. Harry, among many other things (and with Ron’s help), stole from professors, drugged other students, and by himself nearly made Draco die of blood loss in the bathroom. He was also pretty good at rationalizing some of this really terrible behavior. Hermoine literally took a woman captive (Rita Skeeter), and gave *permanent scars* to another girl (Marietta Edgecomb) that spelled out “sneak”. Ron, besides helping Harry in nearly every horrid thing he did, stole his dad’s car.

    Do these really sound like great heroes to you?

    In light of the fact that heroes really aren’t perfect (pretty far from it), isn’t there room for a few heroes who are downright nasty, but eventually learned how to make good choices and fight for the right things?

    Being a hero isn’t always the same thing as being nice. Nice is just icing. Nice can really hide deep horribleness too – the delightful-to-hate character Dolores Umbridge is a perfect example of a really villainous character who is brimming with nice! Even Peter Pettigrew was pretty nice. Heroism has nothing to do with that. Being a hero means doing the right thing, even when it’s really hard, even when you think it may kill you. And that’s exactly what Snape did, and why, despite his nastiness and abusive behavior, he is indeed a hero. He’s just a more-imperfect-than-usual one.

    I don’t claim to understand why so many fans cream their panties over him, though, but that’s probably more a symptom of society than anything (I imagine that many of those same people also enjoy both the 50 Shades and the Twilight series, which are chockablock with abusive “romantic” behavior, stalking, etc). But again, the strange “sex appeal” of certain dark, brooding characters doesn’t have anything to do with whether they’re a hero or not.

    1. on further reflection I probably shouldn’t be writing this late at night when I’m this tired, so I apologize for any non-sequiturs or spots where my flow of thought might have hit some rocks.

      But I think there is an element to the romance factor of the Dark Brooding Character that I missed earlier:
      Some people (women are more often guilty of it) fall in love with the idea of a broken, tortured soul who can be fixed and made happy, if the right romance is applied from the right source in the right way for the right amount of time (a form of magic all its own, see!)

      Incidentally, this wishful thinking is a source of a lot of abuse IRL where a person thinks they can fix their abusive boy or girl friend if (s)he can just do X, wait a little longer, love a little harder, etc, and meanwhile allows that person to manipulate them, tear them away from their friends, threaten them , bring them to tears about how worthless they are, or beat the daylights out of them. Not only will they often fail to leave or report the abuse, they will make excuses for and even physically protect the person abusing them, because if they’re patient and apply enough love, they think, they can fix that person or at least wait out whatever is causing this. (Of course they can’t, 99 times out of 100. It’d be lucky if they even realize that they have problems, enough to admit it to a third party.) So it really IS a symptom of society that isn’t unique to Snape fandom.

    2. I just want to say that I loved your writing – you didn’t disagree with the author of the article (I love your writing too!) but made points about how he could be a horrible person and a hero at the same time. It’s humanizing. I really appreciate reading this and finding points I agree with.

      I think Snape did heroic things, in order to make up for a horrible mistake that can never be made up for. He caused death. But he ONLY FELT GUILTY AND TRIED TO MAKE UP FOR IT because the woman he obsessed over died. Imagine if it had been Neville and his parents who died? Do you think Snape would have cared at all? Changed, at all? I don’t. I don’t think Rowling/Harry ever thought of that. It always kind of made me angry he named his kid after the two most manipulative characters in the game, after Voldemort and Umbridge, of course.

      1. I think you ALL have to think a little bit harder on what a hero means. Ithink there is no such thing, one can do heroic stuff sometimes and terrible at others. I think this book shows this really well, I don’t thin anyone in this book was a hero, but many did heroic actions.
        I think than Harry was thinking of the good stuff Snape and Dumbledore did for him and for Riddle’s fall, and than is why he name his kid after them, but also remember Albus Severus was not his first kid, not even the second, so I think he did well.

    3. Oh. My. God. I love your comment SO MUCH. I won’t say that I agree with all of it, but you have some beautiful observations in here. My favorite being that Snape is the anti-Pettigrew. Now I have to re-read the series to see what other mirrors that I can find. Right off the top of my head, the only obvious one that I can think of is Remus Lupin/Fenrir Greyback.

    4. I agree with this post. It points to the complexity of the characters, not being able to place them wholly under an easy category. It seems to me the author of this piece is overcorrecting the bandwagon opinion on how we should view Snape while also deriding the individuals who believe Lily owed herself to Snape (which is obviously false and contradicts feminist/prevalent views of women and ownership). It would be nice to see these two ideas separated and given more time.

  6. Good argument, but it misuses a key term.

    A “tragic hero” is not just a hero—a good guy—with a lot of tragedy and pathos in his life. That’s just a hero. Think of Luke Skywalker, an orphan whose heroic journey begins when his aunt and uncle are murdered by stormtroopers. Buffy Summers, struggling with her parents’ divorce and constantly losing friends to vampire attacks. John McClane, who came to the Christmas party not to kill terrorists, but to patch up his broken marriage. Harry Potter himself, suffering constant abuse from the Dursleys.

    A “tragic hero” is not really a hero at all, rather it is a character who could have been a hero, but was undone by his or her own character flaws and poor decisions. Classic examples include Macbeth, whose ambition leads to all sorts of murder and depravity. Hamlet, whose indecision stops him from facing down his murderous uncle. Oedipus, whose hubris leads him to fulfill the prophecy he was desperately trying to prevent. More modern examples include Anakin Skywalker, whose desire to save Padme leads him to embrace the dark side, or Boromir, whose need to protect Gondor leads him to try to take the One Ring for himself.

    Snape is totally a tragic hero, and a damn good one.

    1. I’m so happy I angrily read through all of the comments and ended up scrolling this far down to see this one. This and all the replies to it my precise thoughts on this blogpost’s wretchedly flawed argument.

      Snape IS a tragic hero. (Microphone drop.)

  7. I love your post! I love Snape as a tragic hero, in the way that Kyle J. mentioned, but your points are astounding.

    Another thing to add about how Snape is basically a twat—about Snape coming to care for Harry—is that the actual text from the book supports the fact that he still cares only for Lily.

    “I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s
    son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig forslaughter —”
    “But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Haveyou grown to care for the boy, after all?”
    “For him?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!”
    From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
    “After all this time?”
    “Always,” said Snape.

    I imagine Snape snarling and snapping at Dumbledore when he answers, “For him?”. It’s as if when he says, “Always,” about Lily, he’s saying, “Never” about Harry.

    Thanks for the awesome article.

  8. I was gonna make the same point as Kile J. The contemporary definition of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle is “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy.” Also those that do seek to do what’s right don’t always go about it the right way regardless of motive. couldn’t commit to being a the good guy or bad guy. That’s why I like him the most some of us aren’t born to be the destined one or the villain or the lackey or great ally. Some of us are just there dealing with feelings we have and circumstances we can’t control with people we can’t always trust and always 2nd guessing our judgement cause we’ve made so many wrong turns and it’s our personal responsibility. It’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t kind of life.

  9. As Ann Onimuss so beautifully wrote, there is no such thing as a perfect hero. Snape is, in his own right, despite everything he went through and the bad decisions that he made, a hero, but perhaps not the one in the shiniest of armors.

  10. You have totally changed my mind about Snape in one blog. I still do love his character, so perfectly flawed. But I agree, he is not a Hero. Yes, he loves Lily which motivated him to look out for Harry it didn’t cure him of his dark side.

  11. And I have a hard time believing that Dumbledore had no idea any of this was going on, with Snape being abusive to his students. It always bothered me that he, the headmaster of the school, allowed Snape to continue.

  12. I am all about anyone writing in depth about my favorite things – books, TV, and film. And you certainly did your homework. And of course, I have to agree with you, Snape was sort of a bad guy with the occasional good deed but I definitely wouldn’t call him a hero.

    And THANK YOU for saying that Lily didn’t owe him anything. It is a good thing when a man makes a statement like that. When a guy shows you kindness or love, it doesn’t make you, the woman, indebted to him. Thank you again for making that point.

    I will admit, in the end, a part of me did feel bad for him because you realized he was a miserable and tormented soul.

    Since we all know the series is through Harry’s eyes, I would be interested to read the series again through Snape’s point of view.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and opinions.

  13. Snape never had any delusions that Lily owed him her love. He loved her. End of Story. Everything good that he did, (a huge amount by the way) he did for her, in spite of the fact that she wanted nothing to do with him.

    He made bad decisions early in his life. He’s the first person that ever did that. James and Sirius never sent Snape to Lupin while he was turned into a werewolf so he might be killed/maimed. And Harry never used an unforgivable curse on anyone, which is about as dark of an art that there is. Also Hermione never blackmailed anyone into doing anything, and Ron never walked out on his friends when they needed him most. Dumbledore never did anything wrong either. He especially didn’t conspire to run off and have fun with his friend while his family struggled to make it. Or conspire to use Harry as a tool to kill Voldemort without Harry’s knowledge.

    It’s not as if Snape put his own safety at risk so he could assume the role of a double/triple/quadruple? agent so he could make sure Voldemort got what he deserved. It’s not as if he had to live lie upon lie upon lie to keep something like that going for many years. It’s not as if he had to faithfully serve the man who killed the only person in the world that he loved. It’s not as if he had to kill the one man that had any respect for him and then keep the fact that it was prearranged a secret. Or something like that.

    Snape didn’t do it because he wanted everyone to know he was secretly a big softie at heart. He didn’t do it for fame or glory. He didn’t do it because he wanted to be a good person. He did it for love and righteous vengeance (aka justice), two very basic human feelings that most people that are reading this can probably relate to.

  14. Stolen from a youtube comment that summarized it really well: ( Katie Schulte )

    ” Well, she didn’t know that he was in love with her, but if she did, she probably tried to steer clear of the topic, because she didn’t feel the same way. Also, she stopped being friends with him in fifth year, because HE insulted HER, with the epitome of all wizard insults (and a very prejudiced one, too). She didn’t “abandon” him, and most certainly not for James. She didn’t even start dating James until seventh year, and she also said to him after Snape insulted her, “You’re just as bad as he is.” So no, she didn’t abandon Snape FOR James, though she didn’t really just “abandon” him at all. It hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing before he insulted her either: she didn’t like his friends, she thought he was too interested in the dark arts, she didn’t like the path he was following, she called his friends death eaters, and later she said, “I’ve made excuses for you for years. You’ve chosen your way and I’ve chosen mine,” so obviously stuff had happened. Anyway, if Lily hadn’t ended up with James, there’s be no story, and unlike Snape, James wanted to fight against the dark arts. Snape also called all other muggleborns mudbloods, something which Lily had not failed to notice. Now I really have no hate for Snape, I love Snape and I feel sorry sorry for him, but what you said is a very biased version of what happened, antagonizing Lily and James. Lily and Snape were headed down completely different paths, so their friendship still wouldn’t have worked, even if she hasn’t married James. Sorry for that long-winded rebuttal… :) “

  15. Despite how much a person can “change”, they still have deep rooted values and beliefs that may always hold true with a person. In Snape’s case, his belief system about “mudbloods”, the Marauders, Gryffindor etc, didn’t change despite the fact that he now fought for a different side. That being said, maybe he wouldn’t have had years of pent up anger and bitterness had he not been bullied. Maybe he would have had a different belief system if James and his buddies didn’t push him farther and farther away from being a “good guy”. Why would anyone want to be like them if they acted like that? Snape probably found comfort in the Dark Arts, not just because he was in Slytherin, but it was exactly opposite of what his bully’s were about. He spent years making dark spells and hanging out with the wrong crowd, because of this and in turn, joined the Death Eaters.

    I believe Snape became a bully, because that is the only thing he ever knew. He was unloved by his parents and treated just as bad by his peers. He acted out and it carried into his adult life. The only person who influenced him to do good was the only person who showed him compassion and friendship. I believe he pushed her away, because he was pushed into a bad crowd. The only other person who showed him this after Lily was Dumbledore. In all his interactions with Dumbledore, he did not act like the same person he did towards the students/other teachers. He was devastated when he had to make the choice to kill Dumbledore too, because Dumbledore saw more in himself than other people did.

    Deep down I don’t believe Snape was a truly bad guy, just portrayed as such on the exterior. I believe on the inside he was a tortured spirit and more complex of a character than what we know.

  16. “Let’s talk about the gross expectation that Lily Evans had to fall in love with him and be with him forever because he was such a nice guy to her.” It’s a shame you had to start with that because the rest of the article was quite good.
    This certain claim is a bit of a stretch on Snape’s character. He was terrible and all, but he loved her. And NOT in this creepy, misogynic way. Snape loved her for all the right reasons, but stuck to her for all the wrong ones. In no way did he ever claim that she was his, or that she should be his. Sure, he’s resentful to James for being the one to draw her away from him even more, but that resentment lies with the fact that he was coincidentally his childhood rival.
    Snape doesn’t believe that Lily must be with him, he just wishes she would be alive. He wishes she could be there for him, there to talk to, there to be with, there to love, but never to assume that same love back. It’s a dream and we all have dreams like that in some way, shape or form. Snape loves her, and she doesn’t love him the same way back.
    HE UNDERSTANDS THIS.
    That doesn’t mean he has to stop loving her. She was the one truly good soul who stuck by him more than anyone else would, who wouldn’t love someone like that?
    As for the rest of his character, I totally agree with your claims, but let’s not make this into a “property” issue when it’s not at all. Love is different from obsession.

  17. no one suffers on screen like Alan Rickman, whether it’s ironic, comic or tragic. Check out Truly, Madly, Deeply, Close My Eyes & Closet Land. Snape being tragic in “tear-jerking ..video of Snape moments” is a tribute to this wonderful, courageous actor

  18. Wow. I never really liked Snape to begin with, even after finishing the books. I felt bad for him and all but was still like, ‘eh, he’s still kind of an asshole, though’.

    You brought many reasonable points to support the fact he’s actually a major, obsessive cunt. Never thought about it that way. Thanks.

  19. Okay I just want to adress some of the things that are said in this article and I’ll start my comment by saying that I do not think Severus Snape is a complete twat and saying he’s a hero is not just nonsense.
    First of all, I’ve never heard anyone say that Lily HAD to love Snape just because he was nice to her in early years. And also Snape didn’t try to forcibly take Lily. I mean I don’t understand this. Snape was friends with Lily and then he started to love her. He wanted her to love him, he wanted her to be with him instead of James, a guy who he hated, and he continued to love her and want all that but he didn’t do anything else, and he certainly didn’t try to forcibly take her or make her love him or whatever.

    Yes he was mean. He was not nice to any of the students and pretty much everyone hated him. He was a bitter man. He had his reasons to be and while some people get over their problems he didn’t and he chose to act like he did throughout all those years. That’s his character. He didn’t have all the characteristics that make a good man, but the things he did certainly don’t make him just a bad guy in the story, and a twat. And he was mean and all of that to the children, but he would still protect them like he protected Draco and also the trio.

    He put himself in front of them like in the prisioner of Azkaban when Lupin turned into a werewolf and when Draco in the Half Blood Prince. And I dont think all that is juts because he HAD to. Also I think in some level he did care for Harry, even if a bigger part of it was because of Lily. And while I say that what’s that thing on Snape trying to give James and Harry for Lily? seriously, where? He didn’t. As I recall, he said ‘Hide them, Hide them all’, and all means James, Lily, and Harry. Lily might’ve been the one he cared about the most, even the only one he cared about, but he asked to protect them ALL.

    And what serious thing did he do against Lupin? He wasn’t nice to him but he wasn’t nice to anyone. But despite that, I don’t think he did much to him like yes, Lupin didn’t do to Snape either. But Snape was not the one to expose Lupin, even. Why would he? Maybe he didn’t like him, but he had plenty of opportunity to do so throughout the year. And if he truly did something like that, why was he the one to prepare the potion for Lupin ? And help try to conceal his secret?

    Also, Lupin says someone found out about his secret, Snape already knew.

    No, Snape wasn’t nice, or caring or loving or whatever, and wasn’t a mentor or a friend. But he protected Harry, even if it was mostly for Lily,who he still loved after all those years, whose death he regretted. He protected the trio as well. He protected Draco. And the way he sacrificed himself being a double agent and lying to Voldemort, so he could protect Harry, probably saved many lives too. Like Neville’s, who you say he hated because he could’ve been the Chosen One. What he did does not make him a twat and he is a hero in the story in a way.

  20. tbh i really do have to agree with everything here, don’t get me wrong its pretty clear he loved/obsessed over Lilly,
    And after reading all the books i have a better understanding of his character which makes me respect him but its true just because he was revealed to be a noble-behind-the-scenes-anti-hero-type character it in no way excuses how abusive and cruel he was, and i’m not just talking about the way he was with Harry,
    Like i said, i do like Snape he’s a character with many layers but it doesn’t excuse his unnecessary cruelty through the series

  21. I *think*, and I may be wrong here, but I think if they had remained just the books, his behavior would never have been justified. BUT when you add the magic touch of an actor as great as Alan Rickman, you instantly fall in love with the character he portrays. He’s a phenomenal character full of more layers than what we are used to seeing in characters in most movies (Twilight, anyone?) played by, in my opinion, one of THE best actors of our age. I think because of that, people WANT to excuse how he acted. Not so much because he is Snape himself, but because Alan Rickman played him that freaking well. If that makes any sense.

  22. Please excuse me if others have already made these points, I don’t have time to read all the comments on my phone….

    1) yes, she owed him nothing

    2) just because he wanted her alive so badly doesn’t mean he expected her to be with him. You don’t have to be a sadistic rapist/Christian grey to want someone alive instead of dead, maybe eventually they would come to care for you again or at least you would get to see her from afar, etc…. Though, what he thought she would think of him if she knew he had been the reason her husband and child were dead….. I doubt he thought THAT through….

    3) that point about the Patronus is bull. Don’t you remember why his Patronus is a doe? It’s because of Lily, because he can’t stop thinking about her. Tonks’ Patronus did the same thing when she was in love with Remus and he wouldn’t have anything to do with her – it changed into a werewolf. One of the flashbacks Harry sees of Snape is when he is talking to Dumbledore and shows him that his Patronus is a doe – and Dumbledore asks “after all this time?” Do we know what it used to be? I can’t remember….

    4) the second supporting point is pure speculation and should not be included if you are going for an evidence based argument 🙂

    5) of course Snape doesn’t love Harry, the only thing he ever even likes about him is his eyes because they look just like Lily’s. And even then it’s torture for him to stare into them. Snape hates Harry, also because he looks just like James. The only reason he ever kept Harry alive was because Dumbledore told him that Harry would be the one to bring down Voldemort. He wanted to revenge Lily’s death, and that was his only motive.

    5) Harry names his son after Snape because, as he puts it in his own words, “he was the bravest man I know” (I may have it slightly off, but I know he said brave and not heroic). He is acknowledging that Snape was right when he ran away after killing Dumbledore and screamed at harry that he was not a coward. After all, Snape did respect Dumbledore, if not care for him some, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy to kill him, even though they both knew it was the best way. And going back into the bosom of the man you loathed more than anyone else in the world? The most powerful wizard of the day? No, Snape was incredibly brave, even if it was motivated by selfishness. And he wasn’t a total jerk, he really did try to help Malfoy, and keep his promise to Malfoy’s mother.

    Severus Snape may or may not be a hero. He’s definitely not a tragic, romantic hero. He is mostly a jerk, incredibly selfish, but not without glimmers of compassionate humanity. Dumbledore’s strength is that he allowed Snape to make his own choices, instead of condemning him by consigning him to the “bad guy pile”.

    1. The only part I’ll disagree with is about the him helping keep Harry alive part. Apparently, with the exception of Dumbledore, everyone was in the dark about the fact that Harry would have to die to be able to kill Voldemort. It wasn’t until Dumbledore was dying himself that he finally admitted that fact. That’s why when we see those flash backs, Snape tears into him about just raising him as if a pig (or is it sheep) to be slaughtered?

  23. Let’s not forget the world that Snape lived in and the nature of the dark arts which he had at his disposal. He was the potions master for a reason, and there is always the imperius curse. If he had wanted Lily in a selfish way, to own her, as a possession, and make her love him, he could have. I feel like it is an injustice to his character to suggest that his love for Lily was obsessive/selfish. Lily was the one person who was kind to him and may have turned him from his dark path, had she truly loved him in return. She cared for him, but it was not enough to save him from his own mistakes. Snape is a tragic hero in the truest sense, and his story is one of a flawed, perhaps even evil person who is redeemed by his love for another. Snape was a hero who risked his life daily as a spy, and was Dumbledore’s most trusted ally. He could have legitimately backed out of any promises made to Dumbledore after Lily died. After all Dumbledore had not protected Lily as he had promised. There is no indication in the books that he had ever forced Severus to make an unbreakable vow. Severus did everything he did for his love of Lily. He was in no small way responsible for her death, because of his jealousy and hatred of James. Even as he came crawling to Albus his concern was only for Lily. He came to devote his life, risk everything, and and die in the attempt to not only redeem himself, but destroy the evil that had taken his Love from him.

  24. THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT, INCREDIBLE THING EVER WRITTEN. I have been foaming at the most for days over this video and have had to go into all of these points individually several separate times whenever it has been linked to me or brought up because “you love Harry Potter, obviously you agree with this!”

    This is perfect and succinct and uses all the best examples and I love you for writing it.

  25. Snape is my problematic fave of Harry Potter… I can’t argue with any of this, though if you want to get technical, James was a twat, too? Especially in the context of abusive behavior, which the author seems concerned with in reference to 50 shades of Grey.

    And I know most of the fandom’s initial reaction to that statement is going to be indignant outrage, but bear with me. . . because there’s a word for making persistent unwanted sexual and/or romantic advances toward someone (in this case Lily, who tells him – I can’t remember the exact quote, so I’m paraphrasing – that she’d rather date the giant squid than go out with him), and it’s harassment.

    And there was a scene in OotP where James tells Lily that if she goes out with him he’ll never lay a wand on Snape again. And that is definitely a form of psychological manipulation, one that one could even argue constitutes abuse, depending on whether or not one interprets it as a threat (since there’s an underlying implication that if she doesn’t date him he WILL lay a wand on Severus).

    JKR also admitted in an interview (the Bloomsbury Live Chat of 2007) that jealousy contributed to James’s treatment of Snape: “James always suspected Snape harboured deeper feelings for Lily, which was a factor in James’ behaviour to Snape.”

    And I know that we’re supposed to assume that James matured up and grew out of this behavior, but in real life people aren’t very likely to just grow out of the abusive behavior he exhibited, at least not without counseling or behavioral therapy of some kind, many of which were pretty big red flags.

    The thing that is especially problematic is that JKR almost romanticizes James’s behavior since he and Lily go on to have this wonderfu Jo almost romanticizes James’s behavior since he and Lily go on to have this wonderful, happy relationship that ultimately ends in tragedy because of the war, when in real life a relationship founded on so inauspicious a beginning isn’t likely to have turned out so well.

    It’s super misleading and might do real harm, since the books were marketed as children’s literature and have been read by countless young men and women, to the point where we have an entire Harry Potter generation. I fear that some readers might have walked away internalizing some pretty messed up messages about love and relationships. As one of my good friends once said, I ship Lily Evans not with James or Snape but with “Independence/Narrative Autonomy/Not Being Used As Tool For Manpain. It’s my OT4 for HP.”

  26. If this is only a counterpoint to the “Snape is a hero” claim, then I offer no debate. But if this is an argument against the way Snape is defined in the book, then I offer this response:

    Remember that his patronus changed, which indicates that he really did love Lily rather than simply wanting to possess her. Remember that he cared for Dumbledore and for the state of his own soul, and was reluctant to kill Dumbledore, even at the big D’s own request and even though he was already dying, for both of those reasons.

    Snape wasn’t a simple character. He wasn’t perfect. Maybe you can’t simply define him as a villain, and maybe you can’t simply define him as a hero. You can certainly define him as very flawed. But in the end, he did the right thing for the right reasons knowing full well what the risks were. From a literary perspective, I think all of that combined makes him a complex and interesting character.

  27. The thing is, Rowling clearly wants you to think that Snape is a noble, heroic figure. The writers of Star Trek DS9 had to have an episode, “Waltz,” where they basically write in big, flashing, capital letters, “Stop rooting for Dukat! He is not a good guy! When he justifies he actions, he is lying!” Breaking Bad and the Sopranos did the same thing to a certain extent. But Rowling wants you to end up rooting for Snape.
    Between the scene with the Patronus and Harry’s actions and words at the end (like naming his son Severus), she makes her viewpoint clear. When I got to the Patronus scene, I said, (for all the reasons the author says), “Joanne, Snape’s obsession with Lily doesn’t justify most of his actions.” I felt the same way about Harry naming his son after him.
    That being said, although he does a lot of evil (and he is evil to a large extent), I do see quite a lot of nobility in his work as a double agent and his relationship with Dumbledore.

  28. See, I always had the idea that the reason he was so awful to the HP crew was that in addition to still having a role to play in the event of Voldemort’s return, he was under near constant observation by the children of several Death Eaters and it would have jeopardized his position as Voldemort’s trusted cohort had those children reported to their parents (and then their parents to Voldemort) that he was anything other than disdainful towards Voldemort’s mortal nemesis. And I don’t think he wanted to possess Lily, he just wanted her not to die.

  29. I think calling Snape a twat is a bit much. He certainly is a horrible person, but I think we have to remember that he was an abused child. Of course, in real life being an abused child does NOT justify being an abusive adult. But in the case of these books, I think Tom Riddle, Snape’s, and Harry’s childhoods are meant to reflect on each other. All three were abused children. Tom Riddle obviously didn’t see the point of caring for others and went the route of power/evil, until he completely lost all his humanity (which then led to his downfall in the end). Snape went the route of power/evil, but retained a spark of humanity in that he cared for one other person (I think Dumbledore’s reaction to Snape’s patronus means that it indicates a true sort of love, not a gross obsession), which then led him, a “bad guy”, to still do the heroic things required to bring dow Voldemort. Harry also could so easily have ended up like Riddle/Snape, but he CHOSE a better path. I think JKR is very concerned with personal choice and how that’s what shaped our lives, not prophesies, etc. I do think it’s a bit sad that one reason Harry avoided the bad choices was personal support from people who cared about him, including Dumbledore. It makes you wonder where the support was for all the little kids in Slytherin when Voldemort was on the rise. Clearly Hogwarts needs a team of really good guidance counsellors.

  30. Will try one more time: it sucks that you chose to use “twat”, an insult-because-it-means-female-genitalia-and-those-are-gross-amirite to denigrate Snape for this article.

  31. A bit late to the party here but here are my counter-points

    The biggest black point against Snape from the entire article would be, his bullying of the students. Yes, he is a bitter man and goes over-board. However, we are seeing a lot of things from Harry’s point of view. From a neutral point of view, he always stopped short of genuinely hurting Harry and his friend. One example of the bias in point of view is that, when fake Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret and bounces him around, Harry and the readers have a great time and consider Moody a hero. Snape is partial to Slytherin and stricter towards Griffindor. Hardly the stuff of super villains

    Snape always provided the minimum possible help? Yet he always provided more help than Dumbledore who wanted to actively put Harry in dangerous situations. Dumbledore helped Harry by proxy, Snape helped him often by putting his neck on the line. Constantly. Exposing himself to real danger. Living the life of a double agent. Being hated both by his friends and enemies.

    You call him selfish, but what is so selfish in loving a woman who is long dead and cannot reciprocate the love? What is selfish is making the ultimate sacrifice, his life, knowing full well that Harry will be the hero and he may very well be known as a despicable villain after his death (do remember, him able to transfer his memories to Harry was a co-incidence of perfect timing, i.e, Harry arriving moments before his death). What is so selfish in dedicating his entire life to living as a double agent?

    In the end, Rowling made sure we see the character the way she wants to. She made Harry honor him by having his son carry his name. There is no way a complete twat would be allowed that honor over other more deserving characters. A selfish, bitter, weak man living his entire life dedicated to a dead love and making the ultimate sacrifice is more heroic than anything anyone ever did in the books. And I think it is telling that in a book which constantly talks about the magic of love, it is his love for Lily which proved to be the trump card to vanquish Voldemort.

    1. Allow me to refute your points.

      Number one, viewpoint. Based on what we saw in Snape’s classroom there was little to no actual teaching taking place from the times we saw his lessons. Based on his very first lesson, he expected Harry, someone he knew had little contact with the magical world and who he knew lived with magic hating relatives, to know the answers to questions. Now one might say he expected Harry to hit the books, but that is hardly a good method for a teacher to take on the very first day of class.

      Number two, exposing to danger. Doubtful. His contributions to Harry’s adventures in the first five books are slim to none in terms of pulling Harry out of the fire. In book one, it appears that he was attempting to prevent Quirrel from getting the stone, but the manner he did so was confused. In hindsight the entire first book is confusing seeing as how Snape and Quirrel’s interaction makes little to no sense, and coupled with the other books in the series could be grounds for Voldemort to punish Snape for preventing him from getting the stone. In fact, why didn’t Voldemort just reveal himself to Snape there as at that point Snape was still trusted, maybe not as much as others but he was accepted back into the DE’s rather quickly. In Chamber of Secrets he attempted to get Harry punished for the flying car and that’s about it for his involvement. In terms of the Chamber itself, I saw little involvement from him. In Prisoner of Azkaban if anything one could say he acted directly against Harry’s best interests. I say this because he went down to the Shack after seeing the map, so he knew Pettigrew was there and alive. What did he do? He attacked Sirius and Remus and screwed up what was a perfect opportunity to capture the real traitor to his “love” out of misguided anger at his childhood rivals. In book four, the fake Moody helped Harry more than Snape. Snape was again sidelined throughout the majority of the book to being an antagonist, but not one with a lot of impact on the story.

      Snape didn’t love Lily. He loved the idea of Lily. He idealized her to himself and refused to acknowledge her as a person. She wasn’t a person to him but an object. Something to be desired, something to be looked at. To him she was akin to the Ring to Gollum. And when she moved on he refused to accept it. He refused to acknowledge Harry as her son, hence his constant bullying.

      Snape wasn’t a man. He never matured past his childhood. He continued to bully others into adulthood, and had it not been for the shock of Lily dieing, he would have continued in that fashion. Even with her death, he continued to bully.

      James has gotten shafted by the fandom. And for what? Not getting any flashbacks that show why Lily fell in love with him? James obviously matured into an actual man, Snape did not.

      As for the epilogue…I personally feel Rowling chose the names for an entirely nonsensical reason. James and Lily are understandable, but Albus Severus is not. Albus yes, Severus not. And I think she did it because of the complete rehash she did to his character in the last two books. But when taken with all the other books, it makes no sense.

      1. How do you know he loved the “idea” of Lily? Just because someone loves a woman for more than a few years, doesn’t make him demented. And Snape is a pretty intelligent character. This comment is funny.

  32. I agree with everything. Snape will never to the good side if Neville is the boy-who-lived. His obssesion with James wife doesn’t make him a hero.

  33. For me her first 4 books right to the point cedric diggory dies (not including the time travel plot device of course)were some of the best written stories out there. Then the 5th,6th,7th book hit and she took all the fun out of them and made them very serious. For me James potter was a great and interesting character. I felt he was the cooler version of harry potter sort of like the Weasleys twins full of pranks but well meaning. I thought his character and friends would have made a great prequel story. But instead she rubbishes them and that’s what I felt happened with a lot of the great characters in and from the 5th book on. she rubbished Dumbledore who could have joined the ranks of Gandalf and Merlyn as the greatest wizards of story kind. I think she rubbished James probably because of family issues with her father. she rubbished Ron as a character basically she made him good at chess in the first book then nothing else from that book on. His character progression could only be described as a constant down hill slope that eventually falls off a cliff as she tries to find a way to have harry and Hermione hook up in the last book. For me the Snape thing was so out of the blue it had no foreshadowing. If I was to write the last book I would have made Dumbledore a father figure to snape rather than have it anything to do with harries mother, I would have had snapes parents die and Dumbledore take him under his wing as him having no family. maybe have it so his muggle parent is killed by a pureblood supporter and that makes him realize the error of his anti-muggle ways.

  34. Severus never thought that Lily owed him anything and he was not expecting that she would return to him If he would, he would not saved Harry’s life for 17 years!

  35. I loved your article. There are far too many Snape apologists out there, that seem to ignore the first four books in their quest to show Snape as a good guy. Snape is a character like an ancient Greek tragic figure. All the angst and hubris, but none of the redeeming qualities.

    To me Snape is the absolute worst character in Harry Potter in terms of personality. While he keeps Harry safe for those seventeen years, you can tell its not willingly and had it not been for a life debt and Dumbledore its doubtful he would have put forth the effort at all. As for his actions at the end, I feel like they were more out of vengeance against Voldemort than anything else.

    Snape apologists seem to believe whatever they want about the man. I love this picture on deviantart when it comes to the differences between what’s canon in the books and what fans have deluded themselves into thinking about the man. http://zorm.deviantart.com/art/Canon-Vs-Fanon-Snape-34384180

    The fact that if you go to any fansite you can find a ton of pro-Snape fanfiction, fanart, etc. is astounding when it comes to his character. Especially the stuff pairing him with girls like Hermione or Ginny. I mean not only do these people excuse his atrocious behavior, but they also make him a pedophile. Real nice.

  36. Lol can I just add that the fact Snape asked Dumbledore to spare Lily’s life just so he could “hook up with her” is ridiculous. He was a Death Eater. He could easily kidnap her in some way and get into her pants. Snape was extremely worried and tensed and he fucking hated James and basically wanted Lily safe. When Dumbledore rebuked him, Snape said okay fine save Potter too, but his main concern was Lily. And I don’t blame him.
    I think Snape-haters are just sore Harry named his son after him and that the man got so much popularity. They don’t realise that each and every character in the series in an asshole in their own way and projecting all your hate on Snape alone comes across as hypocritical, double standarding and just being plain ignorant. This article is wrong is several places but I do not have the energy to argue with each and every point. Snape’s not nice, but he’s definitely a hero. He risked his life several times. He may be doing it for Lily, but why else should he do it? His personality is dark and you can’t change it. Also I’m pretty sure you’ve hurt someone in your life but if snape does it ALL HELL BREAKS loose. Also you say Snape was sometimes mean to Lily. I have not seen that ONCE in the entire series. Read the books fellas

  37. I absolutely loved this. I’m sick of Snape’s glorification. He really is an excellent and complex character, but also a terrible person. To all the facts you’ve mentioned I’d add that time when he tried to get Sirius’ soul sucked by dementors knowing that he was innocent (yes, Sirius bullied him and almost got him killed when they were teenagers, but still, there’s no excuse for that), or the horrible way he treats Hermione and Ron (as well as every other student who’s not a Slytherin, but specially those two).
    Maybe some people tend to identify themselves with Snape because almost everybody has suffered from unrequitted love. Also, the fact that we first see all the good things about Lily and James and the bad things about Snape, and then the last thing we know about James is that he bullied Snape and Lily rejected him (this contextualized in our very patriarchal society, where women are often said to “own” men who like them the same feelings, as you said), whereas the last thing we learn from Snape is his background story and all the “bravest man I’ve ever known”, might have turned some people’s view on the three of them upside down. Moreover, if we look at their story from a feminist point of view, Snape was very toxic and possessive, so even though James hadn’t matured and Lily hadn’t married him, she would’ve never dated Snape; as you said, thankfully, this is not 50 shades (or Twilight). I dream about the day people stop idolizing male toxic characters.
    Yes, he redeemed himself, but it was out of the guilty he felt for his blame in Lily’s death. If he hadn’t chosen to join the Death-Eaters, he would’ve never told Voldy about the prophecy, and Lily would still be alive. He didn’t want to be pitied because he thought he didn’t deserved so. I think is his selfishness and darkness is what enriches his character, and that Snape’s story could be seen as a reminder of what your bad choices might lead you to, and not how an ideal lover should be (on the contrary, get away from possessive and selfish assholes).

  38. Can I just add J.K.R’s twitter comment: Snape had his faults, but he was incredily brave
    NO ONE thinks Snape is nice. People glorify him for his other points, like talents and bravery. Please do not ruin the fandom and hurt people. I love Snape with all my life. I don’t think he’s nice, but I don’t blame him,
    James Potter was an asshole who “changed” but hexing Snape behind Lily’s back. Yet people cut him lots of slack.
    Once again, please don’t be so hypocritical. It’s embarassing

    1. You can add Rowling’s comment, but that is not going to change someone’s opinion on the matter. I highly doubt that there is any “ruining of the fandom” happening by her written opinion. Also, hurting people? That’s going a bit too far.

  39. What do you mean, “even Remus Lupin”. Lupin was best friends with James and Sirius. He’s not unbiased. He covered for them. At first he told Harry that Snape hated James, because he was skilled at Quidditch. He only mentions the bullying after Harry saw it for himself, because he’s biased.

  40. I did not read these books as an impressionable youth but rather as a Classicist training to be a high school Latin and Greek teacher. They were not required reading for my profession, but I do believe that they will be Classics in their own right. I think it is very important (as many have stated in this long and winding disagreement) that J.K.Rowling wrote these novels from an impressionable youth’s point of view for an impressionable youth audience. It is my understanding that children were to read one book a year, starting at age 11, so that they would understand not just the vocabulary and word choice of the author but also the interpersonal dynamics of the characters, the age-appropriate character development for both major and minor characters, and the emotional needs of the fandom as they grow along with the protagonist. With this being said, many children are distrustful of authority figures until they grow to the age where one can see that those same figures were simply trying to protect their innocence from a rather dark and ignorant world until they are able to see the world as it truly is of their own accord. As the intended audience grows, it recedes from the awe of Platform 9 3/4 only to accomplish understanding of the complexities of the world (Good v. Evil, Love v. Hate, Enlightenment v. Ignorance, Pleasure v. Pain, etc.). I have never taught one 11 year old who completely understood these dichotomies of life, but by the time they reach the age of 14 or 15, they are aware of their existence. J.K.Rowling allows her characters to develop as children should through the first four books. However, at some point we all lose our innocence and become aware of the world beyond our “safety zone.” This eloquently happens for all of the children at the death of Cedric Diggory at the end of The Goblet of Fire. When innocence is lost, a person must actively CHOOSE the path down which s/he will proceed. This is a troubling time for all young people, and that is why books the grow increasingly darker and longer. Making the house quidditch team isn’t nearly as important in Book 5 as it is in Book 1. Why should it be? As teenagers, we are faced with real problems: love, friendship, loyalty, danger, arrogance, pride, courage, jealousy, anger, hatred, etc. The readers empathize with Harry who is filled with so many emotions at this point that he cannot even name them all. As teenagers grasp with the idea of the futility in life, they begin to make lasting relationships with those who have seen them through this metamorphosis: true friends, mortal enemies, mentors, parental figures, and yes, teachers. Harry et al. express this the same way all do. That is why Harry willingly does as Dumbledore requests… he is the only “father-figure” that Harry has known, completely respects, and wishes to please. Finally, as teenagers reach the age of accountability (Book 7) they finally realize that they, too, must chose their own path to follow. It doesn’t matter if you are “The Chosen One.” (Let us not forget that Voldemort “chooses” two young men who are mere babes in the world of magic to sacrifice in order that he may gain eternal life and power: Harry and Draco.) We write our own story in Life, whether we are scholars (Neville), erase our history to follow our calling (Hermione), abandon true love only to find it again (Ron), follow a seemingly never-ending quest to rid the only world we know of foreboding evil (Harry), attempt to fulfill an order out of fear of death (Draco), or even give our lives to protect the future (countless characters in Book 7). And in this attempt to write our own destiny, we finally learn to accept the story that we have written for ourselves. We realize that it did not start at the age of accountability as one would have us believe: it happens with ever decision we make from the first time we step onto that platform. That is where we find the question of Severus Snape. I do not believe that his story is one that can be debated. He, as many before him, realized way too late that EVERY SINGLE DECISION he made in his life, whether it be for love, for spite, for acceptance, or repentance led to the next. and the next, and the next until he was no longer able to hold the pen and change his own ending. Life is like that Golden Snitch…we chase it until we catch it, then it “opens at the close.”

    J.K.Rowling penned this series with the end in mind. From the character names to the mythological creatures, the Latin spells to the dynamic invocation of the Hero’s Quest, nothing is out of place. These books and characters will be debated for ages, as every well-written epic should be. Let’s try, as avid readers and fans, not to question the characters, or the integrity of the author. However, let us learn from the lessons they were intended to teach to the audience for which the epic was written.

  41. This entire article is typical Snape-bashing garbage that is best ignored but this part in particular should be addressed.

    “We have no proof that Remus Lupin ever actively did anything to harass Snape. He is likely a passive bystander to the enmity between Severus, James, and Sirius. Even had he been the one flinging curses and dangling Snape upside down by the toe, we cannot use it to justify Snape’s crusade to out Remus Lupin. It is ridiculous to excuse this behavior in any situation. Snape deliberately created an unhappy and unsafe environment in hopes of ruining Remus Lupin’s life. He spent months both during his time at school and his tenure as a teacher trying to expose a secret that he had no business exposing. This is simple cruelty and an attempt to deny basic human rights to a human being. There is absolutely no justification for his actions. Period.”

    Um…. seeing that Lupin was a PREFECT, and therefore obligated to put a stop to what was happen, no he was not a “passive bystander” in those situations, he was equally if not more culpable. Mind you, this is after his best bud Sirius attempted to use him as a way to maim/kill Snape, and he STILL doesn’t have the moral courage to make his friends stop.

    Then when he comes back as a professor, he is extremely disrespectful to Snape, thoigh most peolle fail to see it because Lupin is so passive aggressive with it. First he rudely insists on using Snape’s given name when he has no right to be so familiar. Secondly there was the stunt with Neville’s boggart. Say what you will about how Snape deals with Neville but encouraging students to undermine a fellow staff member and turn him into a laughingstock is beyond unprofessional. It’s hardly a surprise Severus retaliated with the werewolf lesson. Next, there is his ungratefulness towards Snape brewing Wolfsbane. Sure, he may say he’s thankful but he doesn’t have the decency to just drink the damn thing in front of Snape so he doesn’t have to worry about a rabid werewolf on school grounds AGAIN.

    As for Severus outing Lupin as a werewolf, thank god he did because if were it up to Dumbledore, he’d have covered for Lupin AGAIN.

    Lupin absolutely deserved to be fired. Even if we overlook his negligence in regards to the wolfsbane that night in which he almost killed three students, there is still the unforgivable fact that he sat on the information that Sirius was an animagus. Let’s say Sirius actually was the killer, do you know how many opportunities he would’ve had to kidnap or kill Harry? And why did Remus refuse to share this VITAL info? Because he was scared Dumbledore would be disappointed in him.

    Lupin consistently proved himself to be incapable of holding any position of authority because he is a weak coward more concerned with being liked than with doing the right thing. He couldn’t even man up for his own wife and newborn son until Harry shamed him into it.

    Yet people have the nerve to claim Harry should have named Al after him (never mind that he already has a son to carry on his name and Snape has no one). Give me a break. Lupin may be “nice” but Severus Snape was 100 times the man he was.

  42. Well, if you think about it, Severus had a horrible relationship with his father, a muggle, which is why he grows to dislike muggles and muggle born. Severus may have said some really bad and hurtful things to Lily, but he DID love her! When James, the boy he HATES, is new comfort to Lily, he becomes outraged. After telling the Dark Lord information about where to finds the Potters, he goes to see if Lily was spared. Wellp, shes not! He finds her dead on the floor, and realizes, ‘Holy shiz! This is all my fault!’ After this, Severus knows he has to change, but he can’t if the Dark Lord finds out about his intentions. So he turns to Dumbledore. Severus agrees to help protect Harry in order to make it up to Lily. Of course, as fate will have it, Harry looks JUST LIKE JAMES! AND HAS THE EYES OF LILY! So you have one enemy, and one lover, all in one package! Severus saves Harry’s ass like, 10 Times IN THE SIRES! And if you think about it, he is very mean to Harry, but he HAS TO BE! If Harry becomes in the know that Severus is working as a double-agent, Harry’s life could get really complicated. Why? You might ask, because then Harry will trust Severus, Voldemort gets suspicious, and the whole plan falls apart! Now, if you recall, he is doing this, to make it up to Lily! You have a man here, who realizes he has done wrong things, and FIXES IT! Think about how meany people whilst taking a test (in this case LIFE!!!!) and lie, “Oh yeah, I went thought my test!” (Come on, we’ve all done it!) BUT NOOOOOOO! Severus DID go back (sort of) and FIXED IT! At the end, KNOWING THAT Harry was the one the Elder Wand belonged to, and he NEVER TOLD! Why? TO SAVE POTTER”S LIFE!! Why again? FOR LILY! We have a man here, that was PASSIONATELY in love, that he would DIE FOR HER! (Damn, I wish my boyfriend would do that! MEN THESE DAYS!) SEVERUS SNAPE IS A HERO! But… look at this….. “Snape is gray. You can’t make him a saint, he did his fair share of wrong doings. You can’t make him a devil, he risked his life for Potter, for the Wizarding World, for Lilly, For LOVE!” -J.K Rowling

  43. A hero the word, has nothing to do with good or bad, hell hitler was a hero to the nazis…now in the character of Snape altough self serving and a bully did have a huge part in the takedown of the wizarding worlds enemy lord vodemort and then of course met his demise anyway.
    But the truth behind the word HERO is the participation of an overthrow or again a takedown of an enemy…so sorry for this but yes Snape was a Hero to the wizarding world..in fact reading an excerpt of Rowling saying she would like to think that later Harry would make sure that Snapes portrait would be hung on the Headmasters office beinng that what they found of Snapes “takedown” intentions were in the greater scheme of things..

  44. Im not agree with this . die for some one is so good same as james but live and war for who leave you is better , same as severus and i think no bad person can do it!
    (if i have any mistake in my writting , im so sorry. Maybe becuse my first language isnt english!)

  45. something that gets overlooked during his whole “redemption arc” is that he didn’t really have any other option. during the trial we witness through dumbledore’s pensive, kakaroff gives several names of death eaters, one of which is snapes. dumbledore then says the council is already aware of his involvement and that he had betrayed voldemort before his attack on the potters. we later find out this is stretching the truth, and that he didn’t come to dumbledore until after he knew that lily was going to be killed. dumbledore basically said that snape was a sonofabitch for only trying to save lily and agreed to help keep him out of azkaban on the condition that he becomes a spy for the order of the phoenix. and there you have it. he turned to the side of good when his only other option was having his soul ripped out by dementors. doing bad things for bad reasons makes you a villain (which snape definitely was during his time as a death eater). doing bad things for good reasons makes you an anti-villain. doing the right thing for the right reason is what makes a person heroic. snape chose to be a death eater because he believed what they stood for. some people argue that he worked for dumbledore out of genuine remorse for his actions, but if that’s the case then why did he never try to be a better person? he didn’t become a good person after voldemort killed lily, he became a death eater that didn’t like voldemort anymore.

  46. Sure Snape’s a dick. But “50 Shades” an abusive relationship? It’s a stupid and poorly-written relationship, sure, but it’s not ABUSIVE.

    You’re taking your feminism too far. XP

  47. This post and subsequent commentary is brilliant and so enjoyable to read and think about.

    I want to just add one thing, which is that heroes are remembered for their greatest moments of heroism. Who do people call their heroes? Athletes? Authors? Actors? Musicians? Presidents? Military? Those who stopped Bin Laden? Stopped Hitler? People who do things to “rescue” others – from car wrecks, fires, etc?

    Well, how many of those heroes also did bad things in their lives? Treated their enemies like crap. Set terrible examples for the people who look up to them (think athletes or musicians who do drugs and cheat on their spouses and behave terribly in public). Were awful to other human beings. And yet, at their moments of glory, they are identified as heroes and enshrined as such based on the height of their heroism. The history books tend to distill one’s life down to the most simplistic summaries and salient moments, and there can be no doubt that Snape at his highest heights and best moments did absolutely heroic things that led to the safety of the wizarding world. So, I think he absolutely was a hero and would be considered such in our world if this were real life.

    As one final example – this is maybe a bit on the edge, but take God. God was awful in the Old Testament. Vengeful. Morally “loose” in terms of testing his faithful with terrible tests. Destructive. If you just took God’s actions at the Old Testament and took away the deity aspect and just made it a personality – one interpretation could be that the personality is immature and bitter and jealous and angry. But in the New Testament, his personality changes – and God is honored the world around despite his previous dickish actions because of His heroic highs.

  48. Feel how you want. Doesn’t change the way us Snapeheads and Snily fans feel. Were are too entitled to our own opinions.

  49. I do wonder if this is simply due to casting Rickman as Snape. I was very late to the movies and finished reading most of the books before sitting down and watching the series from start to finish. My view of Snape in the books was COMPLETELY different to the film character. I absolutely hated the book version of Snape and had zero sympathy for him. I was happy when he died at the end and found his obsession with Lily to be extreme and control-freakish. I viewed him as the sort of guy I really wouldn’t want to move in nextdoor! Then after watching Rickman I could (sort of) understand the appeal. They seemed like two entirely different characters (although I enjoyed the film version in a different way). I guess that is just a symptom of great acting; Rickman made people want to excuse Snape’s behaviour rather than see it for what it was. So I tend to assume those who argue for Snape being a not-so-terrible person are basing this perspective on their fixation with the film character. If you imagine someone less charismatic, with an annoying voice, more ugly (as the book describes him) playing Snape then the spell breaks a bit.

  50. I’d just like to say something. It wasn’t really James who kicked off their feud on the train. James stated a fact, he wanted to be in Gryffindor like the rest of his family and he’d leave if he was put in Slytherin. That wasn’t him insulting anyone. However Snape then replied “Well if you’d rather be brawny then brainy.” (False stereotyping anyway as it’s Ravenclaw not Slytherin that’s the House of the Smart) Snape insulted James’ family and James stated his opinion. Despite this James is often vilified and blamed for the feud even though he risked his life to save Snape and everyone knows Snape would’ve let him die if the positions were reversed. Snape’s abusive homelife isn’t an excuse, Sirius was abused but he dedicated himself to fighting Voldemort and keeping Harry safe. Willingly. Snape just did it because Dumbledore took advantage of him while he was grieving. Furthermore I maintain that Snape is the most disgusting character in the series, he traumatized Neville and if Neville was the Chosen One he wouldn’t have shed a tear if he was killed, in fact he’d have celebrated it. What did he think Lily was going to do by the way just fall into his arms straight after loosing her family? It’s disgusting and it drives me mad how everyone acts like was this amazing guy, he was a brave man, I don’t disagree with that. But no way in hell was he a GOOD man. And I really hate that Harry named his son for him, did Ginny get any choice in her kids’ names at all?

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