Tue
Apr 23 2013 1:00pm

Severus Snape Does Not Deserve Your Pity

Severus Snape, Lily Evans Potter, Deathly Hallows

Can I say this out loud? Well… here it goes: it really bugs me when people get all weepy about Severus Snape and his somber, torturous tale. As a Harry Potter fan I usually keep this to myself because Snape fans are a little rabid and also he’s played by Alan Rickman on film, and speaking poorly of any Rickman-played character is probably a criminal offense in most countries.

But it really does bother me. And maybe not for the reasons you would assume.

Important disclosure at the fore: I think Severus Snape is a great character and it does hurt to learn how isolated and lonely he has been his entire life. I understand why he has the following that he does, why he garners so much love and empathy. He’s tortured, which gives us an emotional investment in his progression. He was bullied in school, which we can all relate to—most kids have born the brunt of teasing at some point in their lives. And he’s an incredible double agent, toeing a line between Dumbledore and Voldemort that no one else in the books is capable of, which is outright flipping cool.

But there’s a disturbing skew in Potter fandom, one that sees Snape painted as some sort of pitiable, tormented martyr. That contingent usually also seems convinced that Harry’s papa, James Potter, should never have been given a shot at that title and ruined Snape’s chances at happiness. Which causes me to give them the side-eye and wring my hands awkwardly.

Because it makes more sense to me to see Severus Snape’s tale as a cautionary one, a list of “What Not To Do” when life deals you the bottom of the deck. He suffers a great deal, absolutely—but every time chooses to handle his pain and grief in a way that is further damaging to others.

But love! Unrequited, abandoned love! His Patronus was a doe! Yes, I do remember. And it hits home because we’ve all been there, all know what it feels like to care for someone who isn’t giving you the time of day, or at least not the kind of attention you’d prefer. But for those who are somehow under the impression that Snape had his dear love Lily Evans stolen away by that stuck up, rich boy cad, James Potter… I’m at a loss.

Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Deathly Hallows

Rowling’s use of flashback in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is meant to offer us a lot in one go, giving readers the only sequence of the infamous Marauders that we can experience in realtime. We find out that teenaged James Potter is quite the insufferable show off, that he and Sirius were cruel to Snape, and that Snape’s idea of a good comeback to the bullying was to rebuff one of his oldest, truest friends in a way that was unforgivably prejudiced. What is contained in that unhappy memory is the moment where he loses Lily forever; though they obviously were not as close at that age as they had been as small children, she was not willing to cut herself off from him until he threw the word “mudblood” in her face.

But because we don’t see the in-between, the line that runs from there to James and Lily’s happy marriage, that might read to something like: Lily got angry at Snape for shouting something awful at her and decided that the ultimate way to “show him” was to marry that guy who’d made his life a living hell as a teen. Which is clearly not what happened. James grew up a little and stopped being a jerk. Lily noticed. (We hear specifically from Sirius and Remus that Lily didn’t start dating him until their final year at Hogwarts, giving James a couple years to sort himself out.) Snape made some bad friends and started dabbling in things he shouldn’t. They went their separate ways.

Except Snape kept carrying that torch for Lily. On paper it sounds sort of beautiful, but in actuality… that’s kind of creepy. More creepy for the fact that he gave up trying to make amends, and never attempted to form a similar relationship with anyone else. He kept a specific version of her in his head, built out of childhood memories and the moments he watched her from afar, and decided that was good enough. It didn’t stop him from offering Lily and her family up to Voldemort the instant he heard a helpful prophecy regarding Harry’s birth. He backtracked, because apparently he was fine with Voldemort killing Lily’s child and husband, the people whom she loved more than anything; he was only horrified at the thought of her death. And that’s not real love—caring for someone without considering their happiness is the exact opposite of love, in point of fact. It makes them an object of your affection rather than a subject. Perhaps his feelings for Lily were the only thing that prevented him from truly going “dark side” with his Death Eater pals, and for that we can be grateful. But the damning aspects of that love show up the instant Harry hits Hogwarts.

Sure, Harry looks more like James than Lily, sure, he’s got a bit of that Gryffindor bravado, but here was the perfect opportunity for Snape to make peace with his past. It’s true in more ways than one, specifically because Harry had also come from a home where he was ignored, abused, treated like less than a household pet. If Snape loved Lily so much, you would imagine he would want to do right by her son to honor her memory, wouldn’t you? But it seems that his hatred for James was much stronger than his feelings for Lily.

Well, if it weren’t for James, Harry might have been his son! Except there is no evidence to support that belief whatsoever. Even if he and Lily had remained friends, even if James Potter vanished into thin air, there is no reason to think that Lily would have ever fallen in love with Snape. And that misdirected anger toward James leads him to use his position of power as a teacher and a guide to take out his schoolyard grudge on Harry in any way he can manage.

Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Goblet of Fire

Which brings me to perhaps my biggest peeve with Snape—he’s a terrible teacher. Rowling herself has said this as well, that on the teaching spectrum Remus Lupin was supposed to represent the absolute best experience you could have, and that Snape represented the worst. People can gripe all they want about Snape being right to give Slytherins an unfair advantage in this class when they receive no such advantages anywhere else in the school, but it doesn’t change the fact that the kids he favors most are not good students. He favors Draco at first because he enjoys Draco’s ongoing cockfight with Harry, and later (more appropriately) because he knows what Draco is going through as a result of his family’s Death Eater status. But the ways in which he constantly belittles Hermione for actually caring about the subject he teaches is reprehensible, and furthermore, damaging to the very cause he’s fighting for by potenially leaving students ill-equipped. It’s even more disappointing because Snape has the ability to be an excellent professor; he simply choses not to be out of bitterness.

Is it understandable that Snape feels the way he feels? Absolutely. Is it acceptable that his actions in response to his own feelings continually harm others? Not so much.

The point is not that Severus Snape was a monster and no one should ever think well of him. The point is that Severus Snape is not a hero, and wouldn’t want to be called one. He is a man burdened by real demons, who makes the wrong choices, who pays for it with everything that is dear to him. And he’s the one who makes that bed. He knows he has to lie in it, knows that’s what he earned for himself, and that’s why he does everything in his power to make it right.

Severus Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy, Half-Blood Prince

It’s what makes Severus Snape such a mesmerizing character in the first place. He doesn’t want to be coddled by anyone who feels for him, who wants to ease his pain. He would probably feel pretty awkward about Harry using his name to christen one of the Potter brood. Severus Snape doesn’t need pity because he’s not meant to be pitied—the owning of his failures are what make him exceptional.

And that is far more interesting than being a martyr any day.


Emily Asher-Perrin has the Marauder’s Map, and she frequently uses it to sneak out for sweets. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

176 comments
Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
THIS!

I was moved by Snape's story in Deathly Hallows, but I didn't find it to be THE GR8EST LUV EVAH! that a lot of people invested into it after the books/movies.

It was very Nice Guy, and his inability to overcome his bitterness in his treatment towards Harry and his friends is reprehensible. IMO his anger at Harry has more to do with his belittlement of Hermione than anything else, unless it's more of that unrequited love thing, and Hermione's skills at Potions remind him of Lily.

And WTH is up with that weird defense(not yours Emily, I get that) that it's ok for Snape to favor Slytherins, cuz no other teacher's will. That's completely beside the point, because(and the books aren't necessarily objective on this, centering Harry's POV) from what I've seen the other teachers don't favor their own houses at all. Hell McGonagall was harder on her house than she was on others, because she expects more. Consistently it was shown that Snape's favoritism angered many students in the school, regardless of house. That's the most backward argument I've ever heard.
alreadymadwithseverus
2. alreadymadwithseverus
And then there's the part where Harry names his son after him. Sure, in his shoes, I'd have forgiven Snape. Particularly after I found out how he loved Lily. But it's never gonna make up for 6 years of bullying and torment. Certainly not enough to name one of my children after him. The war had plenty other heroes for that singular honor.
alreadymadwithseverus
3. Jeff R.
I can understand Snape's anti-Harry grudge (His critique of the character is pretty much dead-on.), but for me it's his unnecessary cruelty towards Hermione ('I see no difference') that marks him as a truly horrible person.

That said, I'm not sure one can really call him a bad teacher. In terms of final results, at least. By the end of their terms, the main characters, and particularly Harry himself, were probably more competent at potion-making than most of their other subjects. And even when Snape wasn't Harry's potions teacher, he sort of was anyhow...
alreadymadwithseverus
4. remusismyfavourite
@2 In my headcannon, Harry's son is named after Lupin, for similar reasons to what you've given, and because he's my favourite of the marauders.

I have nothing else to add to this article, save that it articulates very well what I've always felt about Snape (well, almost. I was one of those who thought he was completely on Voldemort's side after book 6).

Although, I have never considered the fact that Snape accepts his situation in life as something which he created. That is exceptional, as you say.
Eric Scharf
5. EricScharf
I 'm in agreement with most of this article. People who think Snape is a hero have mistaken the series for a Tim Burton movie. What fascinates me is the fact that Dumbledore looked at this dark soul twisted in self-inflicted pain and said to himself, "What an ideal double-agent!" Dumbledore apologizes to Harry more than once, but I don't remember if he ever apologizes to Snape.
alreadymadwithseverus
6. remusismyfavourite
@3 He's a bad teacher if you think of a good teacher as someone whose students are proficient in the material once taught, and also someone who treats their students with respect (when they deserve it). Snape doesn't do the latter, and his treatment of students like Neville probably does affect his scholastic performance.
Constance Sublette
7. Zorra
On paper it sounds sort of beautiful, but in actuality… that’s kind of creepy.
I thought it was creepy on paper too.

As for you, the lack of any between, from then to happy marriage, felt like a story development misfire to me.

Love, C>
Mordicai Knode
8. mordicai
Mostly I just hate the Potters. So much.
alreadymadwithseverus
10. mssardonicus
I thought this was going to be just the usual Snape hate of which we see so much - but there were actually points with which I agree! I think it's a bit unfair how he (as a 21-yr-old) is judged for only being concerned because Lily was in danger and that he didn't care about James and Harry. I think that was only natural given his background and that he probably did not develop a proper sense of empathy which is reflected in his later behavior that makes people hate him so much. I think that he felt he was going to be hated anyway, so why not? Growing up as he did with an abusive father and in a Muggle environment where he didn't fit in gave him an "us against the world" mentality and that carried on when he was in Slytherin and again in his favoritism toward Slytherin students. When his teaching is criticised, people don't consider that he didn't actually want to be a teacher - not an excuse for any normal, emotionally mature person for how he behaved, but an explanation in his case. But despite being nasty to peoples' face, critics ignore the fact that he made sacrifices and helped others outside the scope of his love of Lily and vow to keep Harry safe. When asked how many people he'd seen die he answers Dumbledore "Lately, only those whom I could not save" - what does that imply?? Whether that's an extension of his guilt / quest for redemption / self-punishment - does it matter? If so, it's a case of "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." But he didn't seek pity, it's true. He gave Harry his memories to remove any (likely) doubts about what Harry would see, not to make him feel sorry for him.
alreadymadwithseverus
11. tophere
More on the terrible teacher bit: Snape's copy (the half-blood prince's copy) of the potions book indicates that Snape had tricks to make brewing potions easier than the standard book. Does he share these tricks with the class? Does he write and publish his modified potion recipes? Or does he get suspicious when a student actually succeeds making a potion with what he thought was the standard version of the recipe, demonstrating that he knew the standard recipes were subpar?
alreadymadwithseverus
12. Laurie Tom
This article pretty much sums up why I like Snape. He's an incredibly
flawed and horrible human being, but it's because he's so flawed that
he's fascinating to watch.
Ursula L
13. Ursula
I can understand Snape's anti-Harry grudge (His critique of the character is pretty much dead-on.), but for me it's his unnecessary cruelty towards Hermione ('I see no difference') that marks him as a truly horrible person.
I don't see this. Snape pretty much assigns the negative characteristics of young James-the-bully to Harry from the beginning, and never looks past his old grudges to see the actual boy.

In their very first class, Snape attacks Harry with questions he has no reason to know the answer to, and accuses Harry of being lazy and arrogant, thinking himself too good to study potions. Which is nonsense. This is Harry's first potions class ever, and he only learned he was a wizard a few weeks before. Harry has had no opportunity to learn much, yet, but he's been attending all his classes with interest and enthusiasm.

Later, when Harry is chosen as a champion by the goblet of fire, Snape insists that Harry must have rigged things so his name could go in, and he could win, because Harry is someone who is always seeking attention. Which is nonsense. First, it is factually not true. Harry didn't put his name in the cup, and Snape is using his grudge against James to jump to conclusions about Harry. And second, Harry really doesn't go out of his way to get attention. If Harry gets attention, it is because he rushes in to help others (such as Nevill with the rememberall in book one, which got Harry the position on the Quiddich team) and he doesn't think through consequences, which include the consequence of other people noticing him doing these things.

Harry isn't perfect, but his imperfections are not the ones that Snape projects onto him.
That said, I'm not sure one can really call him a bad teacher. In terms of final results, at least. By the end of their terms, the main characters, and particularly Harry himself, were probably more competent at potion-making than most of their other subjects. And even when Snape wasn't Harry's potions teacher, he sort of was anyhow...
If Harry wound up good at potions, it is because of Hermione's help, not Snape's teaching. We never actually see Snape teach. He tells them to open their books and make a potion, and then he goes around insulting the students' efforts.

From the Half-Blood-Prince notes in Harry's borrowed book, we learn that Snape is an excellent and innovative potion-maker, and that he keeps meticulous notes of his experiments. But Harry applying those notes is not the same thing at all as Snape teaching a class the things he's developed and recorded in those notes. If anything, it highlights the weakness of Snape's teaching. He could have been helping the students understand the theories behind potion making, and teaching them techniques to improve their potions beyond the book's instructions. But he doesn't do that.

If anything, Snape should have been an author, writing books about potion making. From the quality of his work in his old potions book, he would have done well, as even his private notes were good enough that Harry could follow them and brew good potions. If the class is still using the same text as the fifty year old book Harry borrowed, then surely the wizarding world is overdue for a new standard potions text, as well as more specialized books for adults to use.

And if Dumbledore wanted to keep an eye on Snape, then comissoning him to revise the potions textbook, and perhaps other outdated texts, would have been a way to keep Snape under his wing without pushing him into the role of teaching, which he was quite unsuited for.
alreadymadwithseverus
14. Laura Matthews2
While agreeing with all of the above, let's not forget how faithful Snape was to Dumbledore in his illness and how he helped Lupin with that werewolf potion the entire year he was at the school. Snape is a mixed bag, which I suppose makes him more human than most characters in fiction. From one minute to the next, he does what his internal forces demand that he do, and he's not necessarily in complete control. His final moments, though, were focused on saving Harry, even without Dumbledore's constant prodding. So perhaps he grew over the arc of the story, as any well-drawn character should.
Evan Langlinais
16. Skwid
See also: This chapter from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

What do you mean, you haven't read HPMOR yet? You're missing out!
Douglas Freer
17. Futurewriter1120
I agree with most of what you said.
@13 what makes you think he knew Harry wouldn't know a thing about potions? For all he knew Harry could've read the entire book before school, since he was probably expecting Harry to be studious like his mother. As for the whole thought its two-fold. 1. He was probably seeing if there was anything of Lily in Harry since he already assumes that Harry is like James just based on appearances and 2. He probably gets a kick out of humiliating a student on the first day.
For his belittling Hermione's talent at potions, do you like seeing someone being smarter than you at something, especially something you love doing? For Snape he probably doesn't like that at all.

All in all I neither love Snape nor hate him. I understand him better after seeing his history but it doesn't excuse how he treats the students just because of how he was treated by James.
alreadymadwithseverus
18. mutantalbinocrocodile
More on the subject of Snape's teaching--it's not just that he belittles his students, sometimes unforgiveably, but what the hell is he DOING during class period? Reading the Daily Prophet behind his desk and occasionally popping out when he thinks of a zinger? It's the same kind of excessive hands-off teaching that Rowling has a go at Umbridge for. I wonder if there was a particular rash of that exact pedagogy problem in British schools when she was that age. Too tired to do the math and get the right years.
alreadymadwithseverus
19. Muneca
I don't think Remus was the best teacher in his class he made Snape an object of ridicule you don't do that to a fellow teacher. To me it showed he was stuck on his high school persona continuing where he and his friends left off. Plus Snape goes to the trouble of brewing a complicated potion that he forgets to take there by endangering his students. Snape is many things but Remus in ways was worse.
alreadymadwithseverus
20. mutantalbinocrocodile
@19, while I agree that many of the characters are still trapped in their high school selves (I actually think that's one of the most important themes of HP--the importance and rarity of getting past your adolescent social roles), I'm not sure it's fair to Lupin to say that he actively ridicules Snape. Given Neville's answer to his question about what he was most afraid of (which he would be unlikely to have anticipated), he really could only go with it and have a laugh, or stand there looking stupid and trying to save his lesson plan. And as Hogwarts doesn't appear to have anything approximating a school counselor, you could argue that he does the best he can with the news that one of his students is terrorized by a fellow staff member.
alreadymadwithseverus
21. minkhollow
It's long been my headcanon that Snape would have been better off teaching university-level classes, if the wizarding world had such a thing. He expects people to get to his class already knowing the basics, and he really has no business teaching in the same school that was hell for him to attend.
alreadymadwithseverus
22. MarieAnne
Spot-on. Snape's love transformed into an unhealthy obsession. It's unlikely Lily would've ever fallen in love with him, but likely he would've remained in the friend zone.
Maiane Bakroeva
23. Isilel
I felt that Snape's arc was really botched in Deathly Hallows, because his being a double agent turned out to be really meaningless for victory over Voldemort and Dumbledore the great manipulator really didn't have a plan/clue and had Snape commit a murder for nothing.

As story failings go, this was right behind the whole mishandling of the wizard civil war plotline and shallow borrowing of Nazi trappings for Deatheaters, without a shred of explanation as to why anybody would want to follow Voldemort.
I mean, yea, it is a children's series, but isn't it important to show children how people can get seduced by Nazi/fascist propaganda? Even seemingly middle-of-the road people? It is very much a present problem still, after all.

Oh, an all those Muggleborn wandering around like headless chickens, when they should have been easily able to hide in the Muggle world - which Voldemort was, strangely enough, leaving alone - didn't he want wizards to rule over mundanes? or left Great Britain didn't help either.

Also, Slitherins remaining all things worthless and everybody else having token representation on the sidelines, while Gryffindors did it all.

In case you can't tell - I really hated Deathly Hollows and how the series was concluded. So shallow and far more childish than Philosopher's Stone even (leave alone books 3-5), IMHO. It is like after some attempts in the middle books, which were reset, the kids didn't grow up at all.

Re: Snape's nastiness, don't forget that he had to remain close to former deatheaters, because DD and he knew the whole time that Voldemort would return. He couldn't have been nice to Harry and Hermione even if he'd wanted to, which he didn't.
Ditto his favoring of Slitherins.

Re: Snape's teaching, he actually wrote instructions on the blackboard and as long as he taught Potions, Hermione's efforts were always perfect. She only started falling back once Slughorn took over and made them work from the book - i.e. Snape _was_ teaching his improved recipes, at least some of the time.

Re: McGonagall not favoring Gryffindors - hah! If she and DD didn't massively favor them, charming bullies like the Marauders and the Weasley twins wouldn't have had the run of the school and gotten away with near-murder.

Re: James - now that we know that making Sirius or anybody staying
outside the Potter house the Secret keeper was completely unnecessary -
yea, I'd say that he remained a jerk, who endangered his wife and little
son out of pointless pique at Dumbledore.

Re: Lupin being a great teacher - that's the guy who endangered children through sheer moral cowardice and refusal to take take his meds properly. Rowlings' moral perspective is seriously skewed, IMHO, on this and many other issues.

I mean, doesn't "We sort too soon" say it all?
Christopher Hatton
24. Xopher
I think that in the final analysis Snape is a total asshole who's on the right side in the greater war. You see that in the very first book, where he abuses Harry whenever possible, but saves him from being killed.

That doesn't mean he's a villain. It just means he's not the guy you hang out with after the war is over (if he'd lived). Certainly he's not a guy you'd name your son after; we'd have to know a lot more redeeming information than we have to go THAT far.

But it's not like Hogwarts isn't an absolutely horrible school overall. There's no math taught (how do these kids learn to measure potion ingredients?), no literature, no music, no basic spelling and grammar; what history they learn is from offhand comments in other classes. From the time they're eleven!?!?! Ridiculous; it's an after-school program in magic, expanded to full time instruction. The result would be magically-proficient but otherwise ignorant dullards. If that's the education people get at Hogwarts, it's no wonder there hasn't been a new Potions text in 50 years - there's no one with the skills to write one.

And the fact that they don't have a large, magically-protected fence around the Whomping Willow (and in fact that whole forest) is grotesquely neglectful. The fact that they "protect" the school with Dementors shows a complete lack of concern for the safety of the students, but then the corruption of the Ministry of Magic is pretty clear by that point...even using Dementors at all shows what evil slime they are. And the fact that Lucius Malfoy gets his way immediately in the matter of Buckbeak (when in fact his good-for-nothing son got hurt by stupidly violating the most basic safety precautions with a dangerous creature)...shows the same kind of sucking up to rich parents we see in schools in the real world.

So Snape isn't unusual. He's typical of the attitude of their whole messed-up "magical" society. By the end it's obvious to everyone that it has to change, but really it's obvious at least from PoA that something is very, very wrong.

Which reminds me...Rowling never tells us how they round up and kill the remaining Death Eaters (except maybe the Malfoys, who turned at the very end), who did the necessary extermination of the entire Dementor species, and in particular how they killed Dolores Umbridge. I mean, seriously, make her write "I will not abuse people under my care" until she bleeds to death. Or SOMETHING.

With all these problems largely ignored, the pity given to Snape seems to me a very minor problem by comparison.
Mordicai Knode
25. mordicai
9. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard

Naw, it started with the modern branch & the legacy branch; I was just a young Slytherin prefect, streching my cunning & talent to win the House Cup, only to watch that corrupt & doddering old fool Dumbledore outright cheat, time & time again, to give the cup to his pet Gryffindors, just because those bullies the Marauders were good at sports. Disgusting. Not to mention listening to the Potters go on & on like those racist Malfoys...oh yes, Potter, tell us again about your super long wizarding lineage, go on, brag about how your ancestors reach allllll the way back to the Deathly Hallows but then tell me how you are any different from the Deatheaters with their fixation on "pure" blood...
alreadymadwithseverus
26. Brentus
I think that there is another angle to the bad teacher part though. Under the command of Voldemort, he would have to teach these kids poorly in defending against the dark arts. It's not like Voldemort would have been all, "Oh yeah, sure, make sure an entire generation of people are really well trained to fight us."
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
27. Lisamarie
YES YES YES. I haven't had time to read all the comments, but YES.

Now, I will admit that Snape IS one of my favorite characters in the books, and I really do relate to his bullying. I really wish we HAD seen some redeeming qualities to James because to this day, I just can't warm up to him at all. To be honest, I don't care for Sirius that much either, because he still seemed a bit immature and many of his actions seriously irritated me. But digressing.

When I say Snape is my favorite character, I just mean that he is interesting, I enjoy reading scenes with him, etc. And of course Alan Rickman is pretty much TOTALLY AWESOME and is really more attractive than Snape should be. NOT that I think he is a good person (although he does perform some truly brave acts).

For one thing, the way he treats Neville is despicable. And Hermione (I also have buck teeth so the 'I see no difference' line definitely hit home for me). The way he treats Harry is awful too. And let me tell you, if I had a friend who treated either of my children the way he does Harry I would have a strong urge to RIP HIS FACE OFF and he would be dead to me. He claims he loved Lily, but it was in a very imperfect way. He certainly didn't value her happiness in the sense that he also valued what was important to her (as you bring up when you mention that he had no problem with her husband and son being killed, or with horribly mistreating her son). This imperfect love is perhaps understandable, given the upbringing he had. And perhaps his double-agency and the sacrifices he made are a start in making amends for such things and he is able to go to the Harry Potter version of purgatory (ha!) and ultimately will find peace in the afterlife. At least in my head, heh.

But yes, totally agreed that he is n0t a good example of unrequited love, but instead a kind of possessive, tainted love that does not truly value the other person's happiness in a selfless way. And his resentment towards James totally ignores the fact that Lily is her OWN person who CHOSE to be with James. Women cannot be 'stolen' away (unless they are physically kidnapped and stolen away).

One of the scenes I was really hoping for aftter the flashbacks in book 5 was some chance for Harry and Snape to really talk and come to terms with everything - for Snape to realize Harry was not his father and had endured the same experiences he did (bullying, neglect) and maybe to grow up a bit. That was not to be, of course, and I agree that this idea of Harry naming his son after him, which, while I thought was cool in a readerly way, was not quite enough.
alreadymadwithseverus
28. Lsana
The only thing I have to disagree with is the idea that Snape is the worst teacher at Hogwarts. I'd have to give that honor to Hagrid with Lockhart second and Trawlawny coming in third. Snape might be fourth on that list, though. He's the sort of teacher that criticizes and belittles you no matter what you do and that you continue to hold a grudge against for years afterwards. That being said, Harry did learn enough about potions to get the second-highest score on his exams, so Snape had to have been doing something right at least.
alreadymadwithseverus
29. etruscan
Let me jsut say, when he tells Dumbledore about the plot to kill them, he's very specific that he told Voldemort the prophecy NOT knowing it was about the Potters. He specifically states that Voldermort himself interpreted that particular way. Which is why he wants Dumbledore to intervene. Dumbledore accuses him of the very same thing you state, that it's ok if Harry and James die so long as Lily lives. But Snape's reply? "Hide them all." Furthremore, when asked to protect Potter's son, Snape agrees, so long as no one ever finds out all that happened, prompting Dumbledore to say “My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?”

Other than that I understan most of the other points you makes. Except perhaps mixed with his rage about Harry being too much like his father could be remorse, and the inability to look Harry in the face knowing he helped implement the death of Harry's parents.
alreadymadwithseverus
30. BDG91
As a sociologist-in-training I always try to apply sociology theories to ficition just because it's fun to me and usually gives me a better understanding of the character's behaviour while also making them more empathic. When it comes to Snape I think two really work here: Labeling theory and General Strain theory. He has all positive influences taking away from in the form of bullying and then the childish lashing out because of said bullying. Negative stimuli in the form of Deatheaters. And finally the inability to achieve a positive goal, in this case win the love of Lily which admittedly takes on a creepy "Nice Guy' bent in the fandom.

Along everyone labeling him a freak or other things (and I sure it happened, bully doesn't start off as bad as what was shown) probably pushed him to the path he was on. I know a lot of people think there could of been better paths but life has a way of removing our opitions through soical factors. Really who would of have helped Snape? Apparently only the Deatheaters. So yes I do think Snape does deserve my pity because as much as you think his choices were made by him, I personally think he didn't really have much choice to begin with (until adulthood that is, which then I totally agree with pretty much everything but remember his terrible childhood shaped him into the man he was).

Honestly I think James probably the person who least deserves your pity throughout the books because we only see him being a complete asshat, and then informed by the narritive that he got better while also apparently never repenting for being said asshat. Sure he turned out all right but the doesn't really take away from what a terrible person he was before if he didn't do anything about it and as Snape calling Lilly a mudblood shows even the smallest actions could have consequences that haunt you for life. Does he ever try to apologize to Snape, to become a positive force in the persons life? No probably not. To be quite honest the idea that he 'grew up a bit' is very much like the idea that 'boys will be boys' which I really don't like.
alreadymadwithseverus
31. Cats
'For his belittling Hermione's talent at potions, do you like seeing
someone being smarter than you at something, especially something you
love doing? For Snape he probably doesn't like that at all.'

Hermonie isn't smarter than Snape. Not even close.
alreadymadwithseverus
32. johnsr83
I agree with you on most points, he did have a chance to take all the bad he had done to him and turn it the better by being a good teacher. However I think the fact that he did let it ruin his life makes him the most pitiable characher in the series. Because to me their is nothing worse than letting such things as bullying and past bad decisions ruin your future.
alreadymadwithseverus
33. laram
Typo! Should be "toeing a line", not "towing".
alreadymadwithseverus
34. Gentleman Farmer
Great article and insightful comments.

My thought when reading this: Huh. I didn't realize Snape was Petyr Littlefinger.
Ursula L
35. Ursula
agree with most of what you said.
@13 what makes you think he knew Harry wouldn't know a thing about potions? For all he knew Harry could've read the entire book before school, since he was probably expecting Harry to be studious like his mother. As for the whole thought its two-fold. 1. He was probably seeing if there was anything of Lily in Harry since he already assumes that Harry is like James just based on appearances and 2. He probably gets a kick out of humiliating a student on the first day.
It is unreasonable for a teacher, any teacher, to assume that a student they have never met is enthusiastic enough about their subject to have read and understood the textbook, in its entirety, before the first day of class.

Harry had the right to be treated, by Snape, with the same respect and care as any other student. Which means, when he is a beginner, being treated as a beginner, who may or may not have read ahead in the textbook.

Heck. I am the kind of person who read the textbook in full as soon as I got my hands on it. And then not look at it again, working from memory for the rest of the year, a tactic which worked until I started working on my master's degree, but which meant that I never developed any systematic study skills. But I would not want to be put to the test on the first day of class the way Harry was, because it is quite clear that Snape didn't want correct answers from Harry, he wanted to humilate Harry as revenge for how James had treated Snape when they were children.
For his belittling Hermione's talent at potions, do you like seeing someone being smarter than you at something, especially something you love doing? For Snape he probably doesn't like that at all.
Hermione is Snape's student. It really doesn't matter whether she is smarter than him or not. And we get no evidence that Hermione is smarter than Snape (she could not match the half-blood prince's potions tricks on her own) only evidence that she studies very hard, and is very bright, and, with the right education, could probably catch up with Snape and give him a run for his money. Certainly on the first day of class Snape needed to be prepared to deal fairly for the sort of student who had already read the first-year text.

Snape asked Harry a series of questions on the first day of class which were unreasonable for a student to be expected to answer on the first day of class, because they required having done an entire year's worth of reading and study in advance.

Snape then used the fact that Harry is a typical student, not reading ahead, as an excuse to try to humilate Harry, while simultaniously using the fact that Hermione had done the reading ahead as a reason to humilate her. If the situation had been reversed, with Harry studying ahead and Hermione taking the ordinary student's task of studying as assignments are given, he'd still have no good reason to bully either of them.

And, frankly, Snape's feelings are not a major issue here. It doesn't matter if Snape feels threatened by Hermione's intellegence. He is a teacher, he has a profesional obligation to actually teach, and to teach each student as the person that they are.
alreadymadwithseverus
36. Colin R
Snape's badness is what makes him interesting. He is a bad person, but he is not a monster. He looks at Harry and he sees everything that he ever envied, and everything that he ever lost, and it galls him. He can't help but hate Harry. Defeating Voldemort is the only kind of penance Snape can make though, and whether he likes it or not, protecting Harry is important. Dumbledore uses Snape because he knows who Snape is--a rotten person, but one who is willing to be used to a better end.

Snape's redemption isn't love, really. It's that he knows that he's an awful person; he can't change that, but he's willing to sacrifice and debase himself to make up for it. At the end of the day he doesn't get any glory or satisfaction from his efforts. No one except Harry is going to remember him as a hero.
Joseph Newton
37. crzydroid
I don't feel like reading all the comments (which I'm sure are very insightful) but I just wanted to lend my support. I totally agree, and yes, you can say it out loud!
Mariela Campos
38. Monarca42188
I have to agree. I understand why most people defend him. He suffered a lot. But I never did think that his suffering excused his being such a bastard to almost everyone, specially Harry.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
39. Lisamarie
After reading some of the comments, I did forget that he may not have been specifically aware that Harry and James would be targeted and did tell Dumbledore to hide them all. So that makes him a bit better at least and not quite as creepy/possessive. Although I still feel that he should have treated Harry better at the very least out of respect for Lily (obviously, he should have done it because it's the right thing to do, but it definitely shows his love for Lily was not perfect).

Although I have sometimes wondered if part of his treatment of Harry was, in addition to the fact that Harry reminds him of James, reminds him of Lily, guilt for the death of his parents - if a part of him resented Harry because Lily died to save him (especially as Voldemort muses at one point that Lily didn't really have to die).

And actually, I do pity Snape for the reasons others have brought up - negative upbringing, bullying, etc. But pity does not mean I excuse his decisions or behavior.
Emily Asher-Perrin
40. EmilyAP
Hey everybody,

Some really interesting conversation going on here! Just responding to a few things that I've seen crop up in the comments:

On the fight between James and Snape: I would like to point out that saying Snape is nothing but a victim here is not strictly true; Remus and Sirius both make a point to Harry that this was not just picking on the uncool kid, this was an outright war between them. Snape and James hated each other and mutually took every opportunity to make each other's lives hell. Even if you're uninclined to take Remus and Sirius at their word, we know that Rowling works on a system of parellels with the generations, and the fight between James and Snape is very clearly meant to mirror the fight between Harry and Draco. Snape invented all those nasty curses for a reason in his potions book. It was to do terrible things to James Potter.

On Snape's decision to turn Lily and her family in to Voldemort: Snape didn't know the prohecy was specifically about Harry, but once he found out it was, he did make a direct plea to Voldemort that she be spared over her son and husband.

On Snape being nasty because he was working the 'double agent' angle: This one I just don't buy. First off, Snape really is on Harry's side, so he doesn't need to be awful to him. Voldemort has absolutely no way of knowing how nice Snape is being to Harry as a teacher, and even if he did, he could have easily passed that off as 'I'm getting the kid to trust me, I'm buttering him up so I can deliver him to you.' Which would have actually made MORE SENSE as a tactic. So I'm not going to believe the "mean as a cover" scenario one bit.

On James Potter's character in general: Frankly, the biggest problem with James, I agree, is that we don't see his transformation into a nicer guy. And while I agree that's a narrative failure, I find it very hard to believe that Lily Evans (who was, by the account of everyone who knew her, a pretty spectacular human being) would want to marry a guy who was basically an asshole. It's not impossible to grow out of the bad things you do as a kid, in fact, it's pretty likely. That doesn't make what James did excusable, but demonizing him without knowing who he became isn't anymore fair than demonizing Snape for his mistakes.


@mordicai:... Oh, Mordicai, you lost me on this one. I really do not see how Harry finding out that he's a descendant of Gryffindor, etc, is the same as the Malfoy's being flat out racist. That seems like saying that someone who gets all excited because their ancestors came over on the Mayflower is the same as a person who actually believes that anyone of non-European descent is less intelligent according to the fake science they just made up. The Potters have legacy, but we've never seen them look down on anyone for it, or take issue with anyone's blood status whatsoever.
alreadymadwithseverus
41. hangukeando
I guess I have to disagree. I do believe that Severus did all he did because, as mentioned, he was a double agent. All along he knew Harry wasn't the end to Voldemort, he needed to keep the trust of the Slytherins and Death Eaters, a convincing display to show them he was, like them, bidding his time until the Dark Lord rose once again.
From book one we see he does care about Harry when he saves him from falling during that quidditch game. That he did not like him completely, well, understandable as well since he looked so much like his father. We see he does "snap" when he is together with Sirius and Lupin but that is likely to be because it raises too many bad memories, looking at them, together once again.
But Snape was in Harry's side. He even gave his life so Lilly's sacrifice wouldn't be in vain. Yes, he did what he did out of, possibly, a guilty conscious for what he did to her and for the love he felt for her. But he is not the man described in this article (except for the being a bad teacher part).
Ursula L
42. Ursula
Snape didn't know the prohecy was specifically about Harry, but once he found out it was, he did make a direct plea to Voldemort that she be spared over her son and husband.
Snape knew that the prophecy was about a child. And he knew that Voldemort would target that child once he knew about the prophecy. Snape was fine with a child, and the child's family, being targets.

Any regret or remorse he had once he realized that the child in question was the child of Lily really only makes Snape look worse. He acted to protect Harry - but he did nothing to protect Nevill.

There were two children who grew up without their parents due to Snape telling Voldemort the prophecy. And Snape never took responsiblity for his actions about the second child.
alreadymadwithseverus
43. darjr
Please remeber that Snape was being watched very carefully by Voldemort and his agents ALWAYS. Every single move he made in the open was grist for a VERY dangerous paranoid jeleous powerful psychopath who had access to his very mind. Snape was always under the microscope of the evil mastermind. One little slip and he was worse than dead. Heck he was, as far as Voldemort could tell, one of his most loyal and closest allies and Snape still horribly killed him.
alreadymadwithseverus
44. darjr
oh man... typos. Voldemort killed Snape....

Anyway I think him being mean was more than a cover up. Voldemort could read his mind. Had access to his most intimit emotions and thoughts, except what he took great pains to cover up. Was he emotionally screwed up towards Harry and Hermione? Yea, but better to act on his honest emotions so it isn't one more thing he needs to explain and cover up from Voldemort. An evil that doesn't like excuses.
Chris Nelly
45. Aeryl
It was established that Snape could use legilimency(sp?) to protect his mind from Voldemort, so that excuse doesn't fly.

And Dumbledore and by extention, Snape, were the ONLY people who believed Voldemort would return. The Death Eaters weren't spying on Snape at that time, and even if they were, he could have explained his behavior as he did when he saved Harry during the first book(an act Voldemort watched firsthand, having possessed Quirell).

@ Emily, I don't think mordicai is saying that about Harry, but about James, that he was obsessed with his family's legacy and ancestors. Which still isn't all that bad, I'm related to Johnny Appleseed, and I thought that was pretty cool for awhile when I was an adolescent.
alreadymadwithseverus
46. MattS
"He is a man burdened by real demons, who makes the wrong choices, who pays for it with everything that is dear to him. And he’s the one who makes that bed. He knows he has to lie in it, knows that’s what he earned for himself, and that’s why he does everything in his power to make it right."

See, it's precisely those things that kind of make him a hero. A flawed one, but really no hero in the story isn't flawed in some way.

To an earlier point, I think it might have hurt Snape's cover if he'd been too nice to Harry at any point. He did look after him, though, so there's that. But the guy had to be abrasive and fulfill the expectations set by his public past or else word would have gotten back to Voldemort the first time Draco and Snape were in the same room as him.
Mordicai Knode
47. mordicai
40. EmilyAP

Naw, it is more like somebody finding out they have...a zillion trillion dollars because mummy & daddy, & then getting asigned to the starting team because of daddy & mummy, & then never shutting up about their stupid parent's stupid lineage all the time. Harry is code switching! You can't fool me with that "one of my best friends is a mudblood," Harry Potter!
James Whitehead
48. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@47mordicai, are you talking about James Potter or Draco Malfoy? ;-)

Kato
alreadymadwithseverus
49. Kitty
@Ursula

In book 7 we find out that he's been saving a lot more than Harry. "Only those who I could not save!" and as headmaster he was trying his best to protect the students in the castle while trying to keep cover. But I guess that doesn't count because Snape's an asshole. I'm sure that if he was a marauder or a Gryffindor then such actions would have been seen as self sacrificing, heroic, and selfless.

@EmilyAP

James and his four little cronies vs one kid. How fair. James also had a prefect on his side who conviently looked away everytime they broke a rule or bullied Snape. Oh but I forget, when someone says "it's because he exists if you know what I mean", gang up on someone, and threaten to remove their underwear (Pants = underwear in the UK) then it's not really bullying. And you can't be bulllied if you fight back apparently. Yeah, totally just like Harry vs Draco and that makes it ok.
alreadymadwithseverus
50. (still) Steve Morrison
Snape only said “Hide them all,” after Dumbledore insisted on it. At first he did explicitly intend to save only Lily and let Harry and James die:
“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. Snape 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.”
Luke M
51. lmelior
@49: Hey, if you think about it, Snape telling Voldemort the prophecy actually saved a ton of lives at the cost of the Potters' and Longbottoms'!

I think you're missing the point, though: this isn't Snape-hate. Nobody is denying that he was bullied or that he did good things. The point is: Snape doesn't deserve pity, and he wouldn't want it anyway.

Also, the secondary point is that the 15,000+ fanfictions marked Harry/Snape and an equal number that pair Snape with Hermione is quite enough, thank you (compare that to H/Hr with 23,000+ and D/Hr with 50,000+).
alreadymadwithseverus
52. akzfowl
Severus Snape is without doubt one the best characters in the series. His being 'good' became more or less a certainty before the Deathly Hallows because he's way too powerful to remain with Voldy and still allow Harry to win...

I don't think anyone can possibly defend him becoming a death eater and conveying the prophecy to Voldemort. Even if he didnt know who the prophesy addressed exactly,(regardless of whether or not it was the Potters or the Longbottoms) he was on the wrong path.

Wrt his role as a teacher, I would say his being nasty and pulicly humiliating Gryffindors was part of his role as an ex-death eater and close confidant to Voldemort(especially seeing as quite a few Slytherins students are in a good position to go back and report to their parents about his behaviour in class). When dealing with the students and Harry, he had to make sure he showcased the right amount of disdain. The fact that he saves Harry from Quirrel and moves to protect him from Sirius(when he was still thought to be a murderer) shows that when push came to shove he would do what it took...

Wrt James, as mentioned by several people already-the fact that his transformation from brat to the more subdued version was never shown, works against him. Showing him to be quite the bully
Mordicai Knode
53. mordicai
48. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard

Or Lucius or Harry...

49. Kitty

Figures of authority sure do seem to have a perchant for letting Gryffindors do whatever they want without consequence, huh?
alreadymadwithseverus
54. kitty
@mordicai

yes. yes they do. :c
Ursula L
55. Ursula
Wrt his role as a teacher, I would say his being nasty and pulicly humiliating Gryffindors was part of his role as an ex-death eater and close confidant to Voldemort(especially seeing as quite a few Slytherins students are in a good position to go back and report to their parents about his behaviour in class). When dealing with the students and Harry, he had to make sure he showcased the right amount of disdain.
Snape also had the potential of using his status as a double agent as an excuse not to torment students. "Yes, of course I'd like to get rid of all the muggle-borns and Gryffendors, but I'm undercover as a teacher and have to behave in a way that will keep Dumbledore from firing me."

Particularly in books 1-4, when Voldemort was dorment, and while Dumbledore thought he might return, there was no reason to be certain that he would. And the better his cover as a non-Death-Eater, the better off Snape would be.
Emily Asher-Perrin
56. EmilyAP
53. @mordicai - The money thing is funny because everyone seems to forget that Harry's bank account is getting close to empty by Deathly Hallows. And it's not like Harry's a big spender; his gold mainly seems like an outrageous treasure because it's juxtaposed with the Weasleys, who are effectively poor. It seems more like Harry's parents had enough money (likely from James' inheritence) to pay his tuitions fees and a little extra. Had they survived he would have likely had more to his name, but as is, he's nowhere near being a trustfund baby. And he mostly ends up talking lineage because it ties into the whole prophecy crap. I can't think of one place where he lords it over anyone, unlike the Malfoys.

As for Quidditch... I'm always sort of amused at the value placed on it in the first place. But Harry is tapped for it when he shows seeker skills - McGongall doesn't approach him and go "oh, you must be just like your dad, you should play." She goes, "Dammit, we've been losing every year and I'm tired of it - you've got talent, you should play."
alreadymadwithseverus
57. L.B. Gale
I think people ignore an important transformation. Yes, Snape does most of the things he does for Lily--but not everything.

Remember, he clearly values his relationship with Dumbledore a great deal. The fact that Snape goes on with the mission--knowing and believing it will end in Harry's death--shows that he has come to believe in the larger goals of the good guys. A Snape who was only in it because he was creepily obsessed with Lily would not let Dumbledore offer up Harry as a sacrifice; the fact that he does shows that he moves from being motivated by Lily to truly commited to Dumbledore. Like with Harry, Dumbledore is a true mentor to Snape. Moreover, the fact that Snape shows Harry his memories of the past (he could have hid more from him than he did, knowing how little he wanted Harry to know about his past) and finally sees Lily's eyes in his face shows that Snape sees Harry as more than just James by the end.

What makes Snape so great is not that we learn about his love for Lily--it's that he becomes commited to the side of good by the end and recognizes (in a small measure) that Harry is more than he ever thought he was.

This is why I prefer giving him the "you have your mother's eyes" line in the film--it expresses what he finally realizes in the book.
Alan Brown
59. AlanBrown
I think people have trouble with characters like Snape because they try to sort fictional folks into categories like 'good guy' or 'bad guy' or 'protagonist' or 'antagonist.' This doesn't match real life, where people don't fit neatly into one category or another. Snape is a great and fascinating character because he is a person whose actions are full of contradictions, sometimes petty and angry, but sometimes acting with a great deal of nobility. And Harry's parents are not always presented in the best light--they have their flaws, just like other humans. One of Rowling's strengths is the unique nature of her characters.
alreadymadwithseverus
60. AshishRathi
I would like to point out that Dumbeldore mentions that Snape had no way of knowing that the prophecy reffered to James and Lily's son. So, he does no wrong there and can say he is just a royal servant to his master. But as soon as he gets to know that the prophecy reffered to the Potters, he turns over to dumbeldore and also requests Voldemort to not kill Lily.
I mean to bring out that though he might not have been the super hero that everyone thinks he is but he is just a man who has made mistakes and repents them. His hatred to Harry is rather obvious but even then he does save him a few times (like in the first book during the quidditch match). However, it is explained out that he probably hates him because he sees the same arrogant boy that he thought James was. Also, about him favouring Draco and Syltherin, it seems much like his character because he was also like him in his childhood, picking on other students.
I would say he doesn't desever a tag of being a super hero but indeed, despite all his flaws, he does sacrifice a lot for the person he loved and we should simply appreciate that.
Mordicai Knode
62. mordicai
56. EmilyAP

You are right, that is true about the Gringot$ situation. I'm not really anti-Harry, of course (though I am for real anti-James, for the reasons enumerated above, viz we never get to seem him have his anti-bullying turn around) but I really don't like him, not until the last book. Which is the only book where he wins by being a better wizard; not by moralizing or the magic of lurve or macguffins, but by doing his research on wands, figuring out deep magics, & making a bold move. It makes me want the Harry Potter, Auror series to be real.

As for Quiddich...I mean, I would say the same thing about all school sports, in the real world, too! Not that I think they shouldn't exist, but just that the cult around them is a little...odd.

Really I think Rowling's greatest failing...actually, maybe I should write a post about that.
alreadymadwithseverus
63. AlexFS
I agree with the article entirely. But some of these comments are a bit troublesome, particularly about Snape and James as students.

Snape and James had a rivalry, it wasn't a case of bully vs. victim. Bully vs. Bully if you will. This is stated multiple times in the series, and we have evidence of this from Lily herself in The Prince's Tale.
‘Why are you so obsessed with them, anyway?'
She asked Snape why HE was obsessed with THEM. Lily was a smart, kind girl who would not ask such a question if her best friend was truly being bullied mercilessly by these other kids. The scene only makes sense if you acknowledge that Snape gave as good as he got, and Lily wanted nothing to do with this stupid rivalry.

We know he tried to follow them around to get them kicked out, like Malfoy did to the trio once. We know he was obsessed with Lupin's condition and wanted to out him (resulting in Remus' life being ruined) but was sworn to secrecy by Dumbledore. And in that very same scene Snape is defending his friends--his gang of Slytherins whom Sirius listed off in Goblet of Fire. He wasn't alone. He was part of a "gang" who bullied others. Snape was not some innocent little nerd getting picked on for being different. He discriminated against Muggleborns and Muggles at school, before ever beomcing a Death Eater. Lily pointed out how he called every other muggleborn "mudblood", so why should she be any different?

James and Sirius were compared to the Weasley Twins by the Professors. Well-liked by the students (excluding Slytherins, mostly), got on well enough with the teachers, despite being trouble makers. Overall good people with overly large egos who could take it too far. For instance with how they treated Snape that day... but Harry himself thinks that Fred and George would be likely to do that kind of thing to "someone who really deserved it--like Malfoy". Funnily enough his relationship with Malfoy was compared to James's with Snape. We also see that in how Harry saved Malfoy's life, James also saved Snape's life.

And we do see evidence that James grew up. For one, he was made Head Boy. Dumbledore may have made some weird decisions in his life, but he wouldn't have given that responsibility and power to someone who was bullying other students all the time. And Lily, who refused to date him while he was being an asshole, started dating him in seventh year as well. So James must have stopped being so arrogant and become more responsible. We don't see much, though we do see him being a responsible and loving father/husband, and we know he risked his life for years (pre-Harry) fighting in a war in which he could've remained perfectly safe, but fought nonetheless because he felt it was the right thing to do.
alreadymadwithseverus
64. studynot
Wow... great read!

Thanks for sharing a great view point and reading of a character who some love to love and some love to hate.

I love Snape, I knew he was going to ultimately play for the right team, but your reading of his obsession with Lily as an "object" of affection is spot on!

Thank you for sharing!
alreadymadwithseverus
65. ravenlunatick
Snape fan here! Unfortunately I just can't relate to a spoiled rich kid who eventually turned out ok. But a sullen weirdo who got dealt a rotten hand and thereafter keeps screwing up his own life? Yeah...
alreadymadwithseverus
66. Sybylla
Thank you! It honestly drives me a little nuts when fans make Snape the woobie of the books. His whole "love" for Lily was deeply creepy and unhealthy for all the reasons you describe, and his willingness to let James and Harry be murdered (only emphasized by his whole I'll-rip-her-out-of-the-family-photo bit at Godric's Hollow) puts him firmly beyond the pale IMO.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
67. AlirozTheConfused
Yeah, Harry is all that's left of Lily; so Snape should have tried to be much kinder to the boy. He failed Lily, she's gone; but now he can make things right with her son; who she loved so much.

Lily wouldn't have wanted Snape to be cruel to Harry.
Mordicai Knode
68. mordicai
63. AlexFS
James and Sirius were compared to the Weasley Twins by the Professors.
Yeah, because the professors are terrible judges of character who literally cheat left & right to allow the Gryffindors to do whatever they want. The marauders clearly bully Snape, "on camera" as it were...& everyone else around them tries to act like it isn't bullying. Lilly, the professors, they all blame the victim, Snape.

I do agree that we are supposed to believe James grew out of bullying...but we never SEE it. It would have made a nice moment, a way of re-casting his character as someone who made amends for their past failures...but we don't get that from James. We do, however, get it from Snape. Not easily, not perfectly, not even well, but Snape does the right thing.
alreadymadwithseverus
69. MinRei
Honestly, I understand your point. Yes, he made a ton of bad decisions. He was unremorseful about a lot of them. And yea, he's not going to win an award for best human being ever or anything. But I love Snape, and he will always have my pity.

There are a lot of factors to that which you have already mentioned, but the main point is that he knows about his mistakes. He regrets many of them though not all. He understands at as an adult how his actions as a young person were wrong. He hates himself for it. And he doesn't want my pity.

It's that he has internalized his wrongdoings to the point that he can't get past them to love himself again that makes me pity him and love him the most. If he can't love himself or forgive himself I will do it for him as a Snape lover.
Maiane Bakroeva
70. Isilel
AlexFS@63:

Maybe we should have been shown this alleged "gang of Slytherins"? Because the 2 situations we saw, it was James and Sirius bullying Snape without provocation, ganging up on him.
The first time on the train, when they knew nothing about him, just that he was a weird-looking poor kid.
And when Snape followed Lupin into his lair, it was also alone.

And yes, it is very much like Harry and Draco, except from what we were shown? James was Draco, minus the racist prejudices and brave. Which was, of course, even worse for his target.

Also, unfortunately for Snape, Lily was no Harry or Hermione. Remember how Harry didn't want to be in the same House as Draco, after Draco bullied Ron? Yea.
And the way she intervened during the pants incident? A real friend would have done it very differently and showcased James's and Sirius's essential cowardice in attacking without warning, 2:1.
Instead, she was intervening in a rather perfunctionary manner and slightly flirting with James. I mean, when Harry or Hermione defended each other or somebody else, it looked very different, no?

Frankly, Deathly Hallows really lowered my opinion of Lily. I thought that she was indeed this exceptional (for Hogwarts) girl, who befriended a Slytherin. I thought that it was mostly a secret friendship and she couldn't openly intervene without making Snape's life in Slytherin even worse. But for childhood friendship that everybody knew about? Sorry, she doesn't look good.
And it didn't help that apparently her and the Marauders' Voldywar I contribution, that I admired them for, was in reality some ineffectual dabbling along the lines of "it is the thought that counts".

Oh, and let's not forget that since DH revealed that people who hide under Fidelius can be their own Secret Keepers, Lily was also shown to be a doormat, who allowed James and Sirius endanger Harry out of senseless bravado.

Re: James "growing up" - he didn't. He continued running with were-Lupin on full moon nights and endangering everybody in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, despite "close calls" until they all graduated.
He mortally endangered his wife (who actually died) and son (who was only saved by inexpected intervention) for no reason.
His supposed heroic contribution to struggle against Voldemort turned out to be the same kind of adrenaline junky stuff that he indulged in previously.

Now, of course Snape is somebody who made some very bad choices, and was generally irascible and vitriolic. However, he couldn't just "move on" - Dumbledore locked him into a job he didn't want, in a place he hated and never let him forget about his past. All for a good cause, sure, and Snape deserved it, but it wasn't conducive to making him a nicer person.

And no, particularly given his history with Lily and his outwardly unshakeable loyality to DD, Snape couldn't have ever been nice to Harry or other Gryffindors. He had to show something to former Death Eaters and Voldermort when he eventually returned, to make them think that he was still on their side.
Nor do I think that Snape was a bad teacher in the sense of imparting knowledge - there was a whole lot of people who got Os for his subject and IIRC even Neville passed (though Snape's treatment of him was indeed atrocious). And unlike some others at Hogwarts, he didn't endanger his students lives.

I do think that Snape's case is very sad - there was a lot of potential in him. If only somebody had really cared when it counted.
In fact, nobody seemed to particularly care even in the end, except for Harry. Not even Dumbledore.
alreadymadwithseverus
71. pabkins
Oh wow you state your case VERY well! You have made a convert of me. Of course I LOVE Alan Rickman and still find him super awesome swoon for him even as the greasy Severus but now I don't find I pity or feel bad for Snape as much as I used to. Your words have been heard and given weight! Still...I do like the underdog and I can't help still loving Snape...but yes bad choices on his part.
alreadymadwithseverus
72. AlexFS
mordicai, when exactly did Lily "blame the victim"? She called out both James and Snape on their shitty behaviour. The Professors never let James and Sirius off for their bad behaviour either considering how many detentions they got. So who exactly is giving them special treatment? Lily was well aware of how James behaved and didn't like it, told him so, and refused to date him when he was like that. Over a year later, James was made HB and Lily started dating him. Almost every character other than Snape had something good to say about James as an adult. It's not like Harry was asking about what his dad was like and people tip-toed around telling him his dad was a jerk or something; these people went out of their way to tell Harry that his father was a good man. All of these people are not bad judges of character. Actually, McGonagall is one of the best judges of character (and VERY fair where the houses are involved) and she was very fond of James as an adult.

I'm not sure how that counts as "not seeing it" in canon. It's pretty expressly stated tons of times, on top of the more solid "evidence" of James getting Head Boy over someone like Remus and all the other male prefects in the year. JK Rowling backs this in interviews, and gave us little snippets of James as an adult through other means. And there's nothing to contradict this other than Snape's angry ramblings, and he wasn't even around James for the last four years of his life.

And on the topic of people giving Gryffindors special treatment... that's not even true at all. Dumbledore gave Harry a lot of leeway because of what he knew Harry had to go through. But there's no evidence that Gryffindors got an easier time at school than the others. In fact, Slytherin won the house cup seven years in a row before Harry got to Hogwarts, and Snape was the only teacher shown to give bias to his own house.
alreadymadwithseverus
73. AlexFS
The first time on the train, when they knew nothing about him, just that he was a weird-looking poor kid.
Did you also not notice how Snape insulted them just as much? Or how he had Lily on his side? He was not alone. The one time he was alone was in Snape's Worst Memory, but there are a lot of possibly explanations for why his friends weren't around. But he did have friends. He defends them when Lily called them creepy, and we know for a fact his friendship with Lucius was strong even after Hogwarts.
And when Snape followed Lupin into his lair, it was also alone.
Yes, because the one person he talked to about his theory was Lily, and she didn't approve of his prejudice against werewolves and his desire to mess up Lupin's life by outing him.
Instead, she was intervening in a rather perfunctionary manner and slightly flirting with James.
How do you consider threatning him with a wand if he didn't let Snape down, and then telling him that he mader her "SICK", to be flirting? I'm baffled by this. Lily was in no way flirting. She stepped up, made James put Snape down, got called a mudblood by Snape, and realized she was through with defending someone who discriminated against her. She was perfectly right in acting the way she did.
I thought that it was mostly a secret friendship and she couldn't openly intervene without making Snape's life in Slytherin even worse.
How exactly was his life in Slytherin bad? He was welcomed with open arms by Lucius, a prefect, and quickly made friends like Mulciber, Avery, and a few others.
And it didn't help that apparently her and the Marauders' Voldywar I contribution, that I admired them for, was in reality some ineffectual dabbling along the lines of "it is the thought that counts".
What are you talking about?
Oh, and let's not forget that since DH revealed that people who hide under Fidelius can be their own Secret Keepers, Lily was also shown to be a doormat, who allowed James and Sirius endanger Harry out of senseless bravado.
Oh, give me a break. This is a classic example of a continuity mistake on Rowling's part; it's very clearly stated earlier in the series that they HAD to choose someone else, because Dumbledore offered himself. If it worked the way it did in DH, there's no way in hell Dumbledore wouldn't have told them to make themselves the SK. James and Lily made the decision of secret keeper MUTUALLY. Lily was not being a doormat. She's shown to have been close with the other Marauders in her letter to Sirius.
Re: James "growing up" - he didn't. He continued running with were-Lupin on full moon nights and endangering everybody in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, despite "close calls" until they all graduated.
Those close calls were very likely in their earlier years when they were just starting out. Do you have any evidence that they did this in their later years? And what did you want them to do, let Remus suffer on his own and just stop helping him out?
He mortally endangered his wife (who actually died) and son (who was only saved by inexpected intervention) for no reason.
Just... no. He did not mortally endager his family. Snape, Pettigrew, and Voldemort did that.
His supposed heroic contribution to struggle against Voldemort turned out to be the same kind of adrenaline junky stuff that he indulged in previously.
What exactly is your canon to back this up? He and Lily defied Voldemort three times, fought for muggleborns and muggles, and worked like everyone else in the Order. I'm not sure how you can just write that off as "adrenaline junky stuff" without doing the same to people like Kinglsey, Moody, Tonks, and the others.
And no, particularly given his history with Lily and his outwardly unshakeable loyality to DD, Snape couldn't have ever been nice to Harry or other Gryffindors. He had to show something to former Death Eaters and Voldermort when he eventually returned, to make them think that he was still on their side.
This logic is severely flawed. Why would he want to make it obvious to the world that he was working for Voldemort? That would make his position as Voldemort's spy utterly useless. He was trying to convince Voldemort that he was on his side, and spying on Dumbledore and Harry for him. A spy plays the part. Voldemort would want him to get close to Dumbledore and Harry, not alienate them.
Nor do I think that Snape was a bad teacher in the sense of imparting knowledge - there was a whole lot of people who got Os for his subject and IIRC even Neville passed (though Snape's treatment of him was indeed atrocious). And unlike some others at Hogwarts, he didn't endanger his students lives.
He just wrote stuff down on the board and made them follow the instructions, and then shouted at them if they made any mistakes (unless they were Slytherins, in which case they could blow up the dungeon and get away with it). That's not good teaching, even ignoring all the bullying.
Ursula L
74. Ursula
I would like to point out that Dumbeldore mentions that Snape had no way of knowing that the prophecy reffered to James and Lily's son. So, he does no wrong there and can say he is just a royal servant to his master. But as soon as he gets to know that the prophecy reffered to the Potters, he turns over to dumbeldore and also requests Voldemort to not kill Lily.
It really makes no difference whether or not he knew the prophecy would lead to Voldemort attacking Lily's family. Snape knew, for certain, that the prophecy would lead to Voldemort attacking some small child and his family, and he gave the information to Voldemort anyways.

I don't buy the excuse that Snape was just a loyal follower. Americans didn't buy that excuse from my (Nazi) grandparents, and I'm not buying "just following orders" as a valid excuse from anyone. Human beings have brains, and are responsible for thinking through their own actions, no matter what their job description.

Snape had second thoughts when he found out that Voldemort would be targeting Harry who was Lily's son. He had no second thoughts about Voldemort targeting Nevill, or any of the many other people Voldemort attacked.

Snape's so-called remorse isn't remorse, it is a selfish desire to protect the one person he cares about while throwing the rest of the world away. Snape wanted Lily safe. He'd accept seeing Dumbledore protect James and Harry as well, if it meant Lily was safe. He didn't have any concerns about all of the other children born in the seventh month, or their families.
alreadymadwithseverus
75. Parzival
On the point of Snape's treatment of the various Gryffindors (and all non-Slytherins), I think one salient point is of crucial importance:

Snape was a double-agent.

He's the equivalent of an Allied spy in the heart of Hitler's government. The last thing he would do or should do is jeopardize his position of trust with the Deatheaters and particularly Voldemort by being even remotely nice to any of Voldemort's enemies or potential enemies. He can't say "Oh, well done there, Miss Granger," to a mudblood. He can't say, "Just work a bit harder, Mr. Weasley; you've got it in you," to a known muggle-lover and the son of members of the Order of the Phoenix. And he most certainly cannot be even remotely friendly to The Boy Who Lived. Nor can he risk anyone saying "Don't mind Snape. It's all an act. He's really a nice guy." If he does anything that might provoke that statement, not only is he dead, but Dumbledore's entire line of intelligence into Voldemort's operation is shot to hell— and Harry will be dead in a second.

So, is he a horrible teacher? Yes. He has to be. Is he a bully? Yes. He has to be. Is he a hero?

Yes.

Now, that doesn't mean his feelings aren't conflicted and his motivations in some cases suspect. But in the end, he is indeed the bravest man Harry ever knew. Because he had to be.
alreadymadwithseverus
76. AlexFS
Parzival, that doesn't make any sense. Snape was playing double agent. His job was to convince Voldemort that he was on his side and spying for him. Now, if you're a spy for Voldemort, what do you do? a) walk and talk like a Death Eater, bully the Boy Who Lived, and snark at muggleborns, or b) do you play the part, gain Dumbledore's and Harry's trust allowing you to get valuable information to pass on to Voldemort...

Any sane spy would go for b). That's what Barty Crouch Jr. did. He didn't waltz into Hogwarts and let everyone know he sympathized with Voldemort. That would've been ridiculous. He played nice with Harry, even Neville for god's sake, gained their trust, helped Harry out, and guess what? His plan worked flawlessly. It's the same reason Peter was an effective spy for Voldemort: no one, not even Dumbledore, suspected him because he was playing the part.

Voldemort was happy that Snape was so close to Dumbledore after all those years, even if it pissed off DEs like Bellatrix. It was useful for him. He wanted someone on the inside. If Snape could say he was also close to Harry, Voldemort would've been over the moon. Voldemort wouldn't give a shit about how nice Snape had to be to muggleborns if it meant gaining Harry's trust.
Ursula L
77. Ursula
Snape was a double-agent.
No, he wasn't.

Snape was in Voldemort's camp, firmly and unambigously, until he learned that Lily was a target.

He turned double-agent to try to save Lily. He failed.

Voldemort fell.

After that, Snape was in Dumbledore's hands. Dumbledore protected Snape, but on the condition that Snape would stay where he could monitor him. Snape agreed, not as a double agent, but as someone who was effectively a solidier on the loosing side of a war, needing the protection of someone powerful on the winning side in order to survive.

This situation continued until the en of book 4, when Voldemort returned. Snape found himself in a trap. Dumbledore knew too much, and could destroy Snape if Snape didn't continue to toe his line. Dumbldore told Snape to play along with Voldemort, to be a double agent, while retaining the power to destroy Snape, have him sent to Azkeban like the innocent Stan Shuntpank, if Snape didn't continue to play along.

This is blackmail. Dumbledore tells Snape "Do as I say, and I'll protect you from the Ministry's justice system and the horrors of Azkeban. Fail me, and you're on your own against a wizarding government looking for vengince and scapegoats."

Once Dumbledore was dead, Snape seemed quite comfortable with the new Death Eater regime, with the exception of a desire for revenge on Voldemort for Lily's death. It is a personal vendetta, not the actions of a double agent. I can't rememer anything in-text to suggest that Snape wouldn't be happy with a Death Eater regime with someone other than Voldemort as a leader, or that he had any second thoughts aside from his pecular obsession with Lily.

Someone playing for the enemy against his preferred side, out of fear and blackmail, is not the same as someone voluntarily choosing to be a double agent bcause they believe the cause is good.
Chris Nelly
78. Aeryl
"Only those I could not save."

That's all I need to know Snape had a change of heart in the years between Voldemort's fall and return.

Now, I do agree that he wasn't a double agent until the end of Book 4, so he has no excuse for his behavior.
Mordicai Knode
79. mordicai
72. AlexFS

We don't "see" it as in, there is never a moment where young James Potter goes "oh crud, I've been a real jerk to people, huh?" in the text. Which would have been nice.
alreadymadwithseverus
80. pyrefire
I thought Harry Potter was a children's book (no worry, i am a big fan and 31 years old). But all this philosophy from grown ups is fun isn't it? I wonder how Snapes behaviour towards Harry would be if Harry looked like Lily as much as he look like James..After all, as a teacher its weird to stare into a students eyes all the time...
alreadymadwithseverus
81. Alphashard
Well said and well thought out. I never liked the way Snape treated any of his students he didn't seem to know HOW to teach only belittle. Even Neville did better under Slughorn. I don't like the hero worship of Snape and your right he wouldn't like it either.
alreadymadwithseverus
82. Dianthus
I think Alan Rickman is a terrific actor. Does that mean I sympathize with Hans Grueber or The Sherrif of Nottingham? Hardly.
It takes a great actor (see also: James Marsters as Spike on BtVS and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin on OUaT) to do justice to such a complicated character. Nowhere is it written that you have to be nice to be Good. Besides, I think someone so screwed-up deserves a little pity, even if his unhappiness stems mostly from his own bad choices.
He wouldn't want my pity, it's true, but he has a small measure of it, regardless.
alreadymadwithseverus
83. excessivelyperky
Pity? Never. Respect? Forever. Just a few questions--did James Potter grow up? Sirius Black said that James still hexed Snape any chance he got while lying to Lily about it. As for Dumbledore, Snape wanted Lily saved. Funny about that--Albus kept the Cloak that might have saved all three of them, even though he had made a magical bargain to protect them. Seems to me it's Albus that fell short there. Snape risked his life many different times for the Order. Albus blew his away trying on that cursed ring, and then played the Pity Me card to avoid a nasty death (the fact that it got him martyr status while hosing any chance Snape had of surviving an Order victory was merely a bonus. And yet, Snape worked for an Order victory anyway, knowing it likely meant his death. But of course he doesn't get credit for that, either). As for Neville, McGonagall was pretty nasty to the boy, too. But I forget! If you're a Gryffindor, anything you do is right, and if you're a Slytherin, anything you do is wrong. Note that it was quite all right for Harry to use the Unforgivables like Imperio and Crucio, which were generally supposed to be bad. Unless a Gryffindor does it. Note that the Weasley twins got away with leaving a victim with permanent brain impairment, that the Marauders nearly murdered Snape, and if Snape hadn't been close, Harry would have killed Draco (ok, in that case it was pretty much incompetence. But Draco, and quite possibly Snape, would have been dead, *see* Unbreakable Vow). Obviously, these are all just cases of 'better off dead because of being Slytherin'. Sirius Black's only regret is that he didn't finish off Snape, while Ginny twits Harry for not finishing off Draco. But of course, they are the heroes, so obviously they are quite right. And Snape can't possibly be a hero because he dared to yell at Harry, while Dumbledore set Harry up to die. Tell me again who the bad guy is?
alreadymadwithseverus
84. BDG91
First, for a child who was as isolated (from what we have seen when the bullying started) to retailtate to their bullys is not something we should say 'LOOK he was doing it to, he's just as bad!". The interaction between James and his mates vs. Snape was clearly started by James and his mates, everything after that point, imo, is either self-defense on Snapes part or misguided attempts at revenge which the other boys also engaged in with more numbers.

Second the more I think about it the more I see the failing to be on the narritive rather than the characters. I've never thought Rowling was the greatest of writers in terms of mechanics or the handling of sensitive subjects such as bullying (along with the bizarre handling of Voldermorts abuse--yes people are literally born evil, oh wait that never happens, ever). I was bullied as a kid, I lashed out at others, it was a pretty brutal cycle because I can imagine the ones I bullied also lashed out. Anyways the point is I wouldn't have lashed out without being bullied first. I doubt Snape would have done so either without James and his mates. The constant bullying most likely pushed Snape toward a group where he would fit in, one of most commons responses from gang members when asked why they joined a gang is because that want to belong (I shit you not) and feel protected and the Deatheaters are little more than a gang.

That we're even having this discussion (and comparing Snape whom from what we see has very little, to Draco who has friends and beside that wealth and material goods is a very faulty argument. In the comparsion to work Harry would have to be Snape and James Draco and then the only similarities would be the house their in), I think, shows that Rowling didn't handle the topic very well. We should of never taken James side on this, because it is blaming the vicitim. Snape was first and foremost a vicitim. Before he became what he became he was a kid with one friend who was bullied, and then was continuously bullied since going to Hogwarts. He would've been a very different person I think if James and his mate first asked to be friends rather than be asshats.
alreadymadwithseverus
85. Katniss&Peeta
I hate Snape. Frankly, I hate Umbridge more, but Snape's the worst. What did Harry do to be harassed by this greasy headed jerk? Nothing. That's what. It IS out of Snape's hatred for James that he does this. But what I don't get is why he did it? Harry didn't HAVE to stay with him until he died. He didn't HAVE to "sacrifice" his life because of a memory Snape showed him! So, why did Harry do these things for the person that hated him just a tad less than Moldy Voldy? Because he saw the hatred that was for James channeled through Snape's memories to him, he saw his love for Lily and tried to help. That's why. Now I know I HAVE to give Snape SOME credit. He DID sacrifice himself to Voldemort for Harry because of the Elder Wand. He DID try to save Harry's life. But when you look at the list of pros and cons, cons WAY out rule the pros. Sorry Severus Snape, you DO NOT deserve our pity. ---Keep Calm and Win The Hunger Games
Chris Nelly
86. Aeryl
The Cloak would not have saved them. And you can't necessarily blameDD either, EVERYONE thought they were safe because of the Fidelus charm.

The Snape never would have bullied crowd seems to forget that he was pretty quick to get nasty with Petunia too. It wasn't years of sustained bullying that made Snape what he was, by the time he arrived at Hogwarts he had already demonstrated he could be cruel.

And what makes anyone sure Snape wanted to survive an Order victory? It seemed pretty obvious to me he died inside when Lily died and the ONLY thing keeping him alive was the drive to protect Harry. Do you actually think Snape intended to survive? I don't. I don't see a future where somehow Snape was acquitted from DD's death, and he just goes on with his life.

Snape and James are flawed people, in different ways, and they both grew beyond it. Both there reasons for growing are terrible(for a woman). The fact that Snape was better able to relate to mini-James, i.e. Draco, and was unable to relate to his mini-me, Harry, tells you all you need to know about how Snape feels about his younger self.
alreadymadwithseverus
87. So tired of this
@85

First off it seems that you don't know what compassion and forgivness is. The best thing Harry has ever done in these books/movies is forgive because it's the bigger thing to do. Wanna know what a person who dosen't forgive, and lets hatred consume them, look like? Snape. But wait...don't you hate Snape? well....well....

Harry had to die because he had a piece of Voldemorts soul inside of him. You would know this had you read the books. All Severus' memories did was prepare him so that he was ready and could die peacefully.

'So, why did Harry do these things for the person that hated him just a tad less than Moldy Voldy?' Again, look at the first thing I said. Because it was the bigger thing to do.

'But when you look at the list of pros and cons, cons WAY out rule the pros' Only if you're a marauder/harryfen. You also forgot: saved people while spying, did his best to protect the kids while headmaster (detention with Hagird anyone?), saved Harry once in every book (except book 4), gave Harry the Sword, etc. I'd say that's more than a 'few' good things. Especially when you take into account that he did it for people who wouldn't care if he died and hated him.

So no. The cons do not outweigh the pros. But good job completely ignoring the good he did do.

But I forget If Snape does it then it's evil and selfish but if a marauder/gryffindor/trio/harry does it? then it's heroic and selfless. Great double standard guys.


Also getting really tired of people forgetting that he was neglected and abused too and that Petunia was also nasty right back to him (actually she started it). Being neglected and abused tends to effect the brain and emotions. But again, it's Snape so he's the exception.
alreadymadwithseverus
88. The Doctor
@84, BDG91 that might be the most ludicrous thing I've ever read. If you really think no one should be seeing Snape as anything but a poor victim of BigBad James and his bully squad, that says way more about YOU than it does about Rowling's writing. Snape was giving just as good as he got from the very first meeting with James, when he said Gryffindor house was perfect for people who prize brawn over brains. He invented that cutting spell Harry is SO EVIL for accidentally hitting Draco with, and we know he invented it specifically for James and Co., because it was marked 'for enemies' and what other enemies did he have during his school years? That Prank of Sirius's which nearly resulted in Lupin killing Snape: while very immature on reckless on Sirius's part, it would've tanked all on its own without James even knowing about it if Snape HADN'T been following the Marauders around, so dead-set on exposing Lupin's lycanthropy that even his best friend was sick to death of hearing about it.

You've been bullied, so have I and I imagine many more people here have too. Tell me, did YOU go around stalking your bullies and trying to expose their private business? Because I myself figured out fast that bullies were less likely to bother me if they couldn't find me, so AVOIDING contact with them was the best way to go, not seeking out more contact and doing things that were guaranteed to annoy them, like trying to out their friend. Then there's the fact that the kid Snape was so insistent on creating trouble for was the ONE Marauder who didn't pick on him or even laugh at him. So no, Snape did not come across as a poor woobie victim, and that's without even getting into the more disgusting stuff his younger self did, like call his bf an ugly discriminatory slur, or eagerly hand over a baby and his parents to be slaughtered by his dark lord, and only have it prick his conscience when one of those parents turned out to be someone he liked.

@87, okay first, Snape's a book character, and moreover one that is written as a semi-villain. Claiming he's a jerk who doesn't deserve pity isn't 'letting hate consume us', it's little more than a statement of fact. Secondly, which books were you reading? When the HECK does Snape save Harry's life in book 2? Or 7, and if you're counting 'making a firecall' in book 5, or 'floating Harry up to the hospital wing after Harry already got rid of the Dementor threat' in book 3, I'm about to start laughing. Hard.
alreadymadwithseverus
89. OriTheScribe
@88

So what if he's a book character? if it's that important then shouldn't you feel stupid for arguing over a fictional character too?

Remember that marauders map? the one that tells you where everyone is everywhere in the castle at all times? and remember book 5 when Snape is under the tree reading a book and not doing a damn thing and James and co see fit to strip him of his underwear (pants = underwear in the UK) for not other reason then 'he exists if you know what I mean?' yeah, he was totes asking for it.

he's a semi villain? well I guess when JK called him an anti-hero then she was wrong about her own character. Glad to know that you know better than she does.

book 7 he: gives him the sword (you do remember that right?), let's him in the castle (face it: if Snape didn't want him in then he wasn't getting in), let him go on the run even though he could have given his location away at any moment and gotten him captured and then gave him his memories which allowed Harry to come to terms with his death, the piece of voldy inside him, and eventually spark a chain reaction that allowed him to win. Oh yeah, and was most likely working with Aberforth.

book 5: called the order. Remember the order of the phoenix? the same order who had to help collect his dumb ass because Harry decided he knew better and thus had to go half cocked into a trap.

book 3: Harry, Ron, Hermonie, Sirius, all unconcious and all left outside. He brought them to the hospital wing. Had he left them where they were then they would have freezed, gotten eaten, or gotten sick and died. Use your head. The dementor was not the only threat to them in that situation.

Book 2: You could say that by stopping Harry from following the basilisk's voice (after being in Lockhart's office) he unintentionally, saved him.

It astounds me; the amount of pride that you Gryffindors possess. You laugh at people when you feel that you are right and brag about it like a child. How very marauder like.

Maybe it is you that needs to re read the books again.
Mordicai Knode
90. mordicai
86. Aeryl

The fact that Snape was better able to relate to mini-James, i.e. Draco, and was unable to relate to his mini-me, Harry, tells you all you need to know about how Snape feels about his younger self.

Oh what, that is...that right there is a heckuva thesis.
Alan Brown
92. AlanBrown
Half of this argument consists of attempts to decide whether Snape is a 'hero' or 'villian.' These are two cliches that don't have much applicability to the real world. Most everyone is a mix of good qualities with bad. The more mature a piece of literature, the harder it is to differentiate between the two...
Bridget McGovern
95. BMcGovern
The Doctor @91 and orithescribe @94: This conversation is starting to get out of hand; let's step back a moment. I've unpublished your most recent comments and direct your attention to our Moderation Policy. Obviously, this is a topic that has stirred up some strong opinions and feelings, but please be civil and refrain from abuse and name calling, moving forward. Thanks in advance.
alreadymadwithseverus
96. OriTheScribe
@95

my apologies. I am sorry The Doctor for being so callous and rude. There i a better way for me to get my point accross without resorting to name calling and being mean.

It will not happen again BMcGovern.
Bridget McGovern
99. BMcGovern
Katniss&Peeta @98: As moderator, I have to ask you to tone down the rhetoric a little, here. No one's going to end up dead in a discussion about fiction--it's best to keep these things in perspective. (Edit: the comment has now been unpublished).

Everybody: just be respectful of one another. This is a conversation between fans, not an invitation to a shouting match.
alreadymadwithseverus
100. BDG91
@ 88 If you've read my other post I don't excuse Snape for what he's did as an adult, indeed he shoud've never been able to teach because he's terrible at it. All I'm saying it's pretty ridiculous to blame Snape for protecting himself against bullies which IS blaming the vicitim anyway you look at it. And if you think James and his mates didn't have a big part in forming the man, everything you dislike about the character, into what he became you don't know how humans react when they have very little opitions.

Maybe I am just more empathic towards Snape because he grew up poor like me, ran with a bad crowd because he had no where else to go like me, and eventually tried to get his life back together like me. James on the other hand reminds of people who feel they're entilted to pretty much everything in life including the right to violently bully someone because they're a wee bit different.
alreadymadwithseverus
101. Orithescribe
@98

Well that was uncalled for and incredibly rude. It's saddening that just because I support Snape, that you would be so rude and say such things.
Christopher Hatton
102. Xopher
Harry did learn enough about potions to get the second-highest score on his exams, so Snape had to have been doing something right at least.

Not at all. Some kids learn despite the best efforts of their teachers to prevent it. Also, this is just writerly fiat. You see the same thing on shows were a totally obnoxious bully character is beloved by the others, just because the writers say so (Dinozzo on NCIS, for example). Rowling says Harry learns potions, so he does, even though there's possible way that could result from Snape's "teaching" technique.
alreadymadwithseverus
103. asdfghjklas
not to metion he tormented children young as 11 - and neville! for six years, he bullied and belitted a boy who have never caused him harm. neville was more afraid of his teacher, someone who is supposed to encourage and respect, then the mad woman who tortued his parents to the point of insanity - as we saw with his boggart.

Yes his love for Lily was beautiful but it does not absolve him of his wrongdoings.
alreadymadwithseverus
104. kitty
@103

Regarding the boggart....Bealtrix wasn't introduced until book 5 and was probably still under construction when book 3 came out (not to mention in azkaban). Voldemort was dead and it's kinda pointless to fear something that's dead. If anything, he'd be angry at Bealtirx, not afraid.

Theres also the point that it was largely played for laughs. Notice how everyones fears were relatable and not too bad?: failing, spiders, clowns, fear its self, etc. How do you make a psychotic mad woman funny? you don't. So you take a mean teacher - the closest thing aviable - and put him in drag. There you go. Insta laughs.

I guarentee that by book 4, Snape was not his worst fear anymore. It was probably something like voldy or dying or any number of things.
alreadymadwithseverus
105. perlhaqr
I concur. I always thought Snape had missed a brilliant opportunity for a truly glorious and elegant revenge--after all what could possibly be a better way to get one over on James and Sirius than to truly befriend James' son (and, of course, Sirius' Godson)?

It would have made Prisoner of Azkaban a rather more twisty tale, too, if Harry was taking Severus' side against Sirius.
alreadymadwithseverus
106. Ogrepete
Snape did something no one else could do; he was able to fool the greatest Legilimens in history. And he did it for years.

Even though that may not have been heroic, it's pretty dang cool.

Without Snape, no one gets a crack at finding, let alone destroying, all of Voldemort's horcruxes. I'd say Harry owes a lot to Snape and adopting Snape's first name as his second son's middle name is scant payment.
Dave Bush
107. davebush
This is really great.

It lays out almost exactly how I feel about Snape.

For me, Snape's 'help' with the resistance and his heroic acts are like Darth Vader killing General Palpatine. It's this cool redemptive moment giving the character a comfortable resolution whilst ABSOLUTELY NOT RE-WRITING HIS NARRATIVE TO A 'GOOD' GUY.

His weird fixation on Lily (way past the point of a reasonable torch-holding situation) is more indicative of how broken he is. Which makes him a tragic character but not because of unrequited love but because of the stunted emotional growth linked to his childhood etc. stuff. In fact, imo, by FAR the most interesting thing about Snape is his relationship with Dumbledore. It trumps the weird school-boy thing with lily and his relationship with Harry is basically non-existent because he doesn't seem to ever really let himself think of harry as an actual /person/. But Dumbledore is the only constant figure we know Snape to have in his life. He goes from student to teacher at the same school, adding to the feeling of him being stunted. And Dumbledore is a guiding figure who from what we can tell, never treats Snape with warmth.

Compassion, yes but not /caring/.

Not like he does with Harry.
alreadymadwithseverus
108. The Doctor
@105 perlhaqr, Harry was never ON Sirius's side for goodness sake.

He spent most of PoA wanting to *kill* Sirius in revenge for (he thought) Sirius murdering his parents; it's safe to say he hated Sirius in that book more than he'd ever thought about hating Snape, and it's damn obvious that as a child going by which of them he hated more and which he should've been able to trust more, he SHOULD have been taking Snape's side against Sirius any day of the week. That's WHY it's such an unsettling testament to the deep nastiness of Snape and his attitude toward Harry/children that Harry (and Ron and Hermione) jumped to the defense of the *assumed serial killer* over the teacher they've known for three years and in whose care they're partially entrusted. I don't care who wants to insist on Harry and his friends being ungrateful idiot brats who just don't understaaaannnd what Snape goes through for them. There's something deeply wrong in child-authority figure relationships with that little trust on the part of the child, and it's ludicrous to think pinning it all on the child isn't a grosser example of victim-blaming than any excuse a fan of the Marauders could make.

And no, I don't think Snape forging a friendship with Harry out of revenge against a dead man would make their relationship any less creepy.
alreadymadwithseverus
109. Fernanda
Oh my god, thank youuu! I never said anything because everyone just LOVES Snape like he's god. I love the character, but the way people portray him is insane. I saw a card that said '' I love you like Snape loved Lily'' And I went ''oh, so you creep out on her and if she doesnt like you back you'll just be mad about it for the rest of your life?'' and like you said, not caring for the people that she loves. Bravo! Slow clap for you
alreadymadwithseverus
110. Fernanda
Oh my god, thank youuu! I never said anything because everyone just LOVES Snape like he's god. I love the character, but the way people portray him is insane. I saw a card that said '' I love you like Snape loved Lily'' And I went ''oh, so you creep out on her and if she doesnt like you back you'll just be mad about it for the rest of your life?'' and like you said, not caring for the people that she loves. Bravo! Slow clap for you
alreadymadwithseverus
112. Neikirk
This was amazing and well-written. I agree completely, and it is because of these things that Severus Snape is one of my favorite characters of all time.
Debbie Solomon
113. dsolo
Missed this when it first came out, but the arguments/discussion are really fascinating. re: Snapes obsession with Lily, I don't think it was just unrequited love. Lily was the first, and probably only, person who was kind to Severus and didn't want anything in return. He was not someone to trust easily, and Lily was also the first person he seemed to trust. DD was probably the second. To everyone else, he had to present a cold exterior, until that's all he had left. I think he just loved Lily from afar because he didn't feel worthy of her. He reverted to the patterns of relating to people that he was used to - abusive and cruel. I'm not saying he's a hero, but he was seriously damaged emotionally as a child and at school did not fall in with a group that fostered kindness. He was probably a Malfoy hanger on, which did nothing for his self esteem. He probably never left Hogwarts because he couldn't make it in the Wizarding world at large. DD seems to have taken on a lot of damaged souls and made them teachers (not necessarily a good thing for the students). I'm saying probably a lot, because obviously I don't know, just conjecture on my part.
alreadymadwithseverus
114. Moffetta
I loved this article. For me, it just further illustrates the brilliance of Rowlings' writing, and Severus Snape as a character.

I, for one, am a huge Snape fangirl WITHOUT the whole 'Severus + Lily' fetish. Agreed with everyone who said this is improbable above. Without rehashing any arguments, I hope I'm not repeating when I paraphrase what Jo Rowling herself said about Severus Snape: Why would anyone want him in love with them? He's a horrible person, by many standards. He's a hero as well. But that, for me, is the beauty of the character. He is a fully realised human being, represented in literature. That's why I write Snape fanfic (not SS/Hermione or SS/Lily; usually OCs...though I'd be willing to give Snape and Luna Lovegood a go, sometime. Somehow, I think that could work. ;D ). He's very real.

Regarding the Wizarding world's pedagogy, I think it's important to remember that Rowling is not a teacher; she's basing this stuff off her own experience at school and her brilliant imagination. I mean, first off, there really isn't ANY post-grad work after Hogwarts? Seems a bit inefficient, really. I'm not familiar enough with Fanon to know if Apprenticeships are common, either, though they'd have to be with the lack of higher ed. Also, I am a career teacher, and let me tell you, I don't really see ANY good teaching practices represented in any of the HP books, except perhaps the care that certain teachers demonstrate for their students. Though I probably could make an argument for Professor Sprout being excellent...we don't see her teaching enough to decide.

Anyway, I really appreciated this article and would like to give you a solid, "Hear, hear!"

Moffetta >^.,.^
alreadymadwithseverus
115. blue
@Cats
Hermione is smarter than Snape, perhaps not at Potions, but I'd say everything else, especially street smarts. She's got him beat by more than a mile.
alreadymadwithseverus
116. annap
Rowling about Snape 1. Snape is a complicated man. He's bitter. He's … spiteful. He's a bully. All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book. But was he brave? Yes, immensely. Was he capable of love? Very definitely. So he's – he's a very – he was a flawed human being, like all of us. 2. Given his time over again would not have become a Death Eater, but like many insecure, vulnerable people (like Wormtail) he craved membership of something big and powerful, something impressive. He wanted Lily and he wanted Mulciber too. He never really understood Lily's aversion ; he was so blinded by his attraction to the dark side he thought she would find him impressive if he became a real Death Eater. ->.snape is not a martyr but yet he's not totally bad
alreadymadwithseverus
117. annap
3/ (rowling)Harry forgives him – as we know, from the epilogue, Harry – Harry really sees the good in Snape ultimately. I wanted there to be redemption and I wanted there to be forgiveness. And Harry forgives, even knowing that until the end Snape loathed him unjustifiably. it's totally, totally unfair that he loathes him so much . (source)
alreadymadwithseverus
120. scarlet-riko
Snape fan here. I do agree that Snape shouldn't be pitied, not because of what is stated in this post, but because he was a strong enough character on his own, he didn't give his memories to Harry because he wanted to be pitied. Being wronged for Dumbledore's planned death for eternity would suck. I do agree that Snape's love was a bit obsessive and biased, bordering on calling every other muggleborn mudbloods but not Lily, and loving her all the way to his death, to me it's kinda noble in a sense, because using this love he made the choice to protect Harry and join Dumbledore. Sure, the love is obsessive, creepy, but you have to understand that Snape loved so deeply, from a childish infatuation to obsession. And yet in the end I believed it was really love. Even though initially he would prefer Lily to live rather than her family and taking her happiness away in the process, even though his love was always flawed (whose love isn't? Love can be twisted, flawed, good, but there is no flawless love, even for people who love the deepest-and this is extremely important to note.) he agreed to have all the Potters hide. You might say, that was to protect Lily only and he didn't care about Harry and James, and he didn't want to anger Dumbledore, but he loved, flawed may it be, enough to help Harry at the appropriate moments. I assume that his conduct was not professional, but I have to add on that he wouldn't be rewriting 50 year old potions book anytime soon. Nor would he be teaching if not for his sole mission- bring down Voldermort, watch over Harry. You can't help it if the poor guy is bloody bitter, who cares when your life is shit and you can only pull yourself together with love? Understandably flawed decisions from his years in Hogwarts all the way to adulthood contributed to it, with James being a complete arse (as well as Sirius) and god, will YOU be sitting down and taking it in like a goody-goody? You're a wizard for God's sake. Snape has to deal with this torment for all his life, in different ways though in adulthood. He may not have been wise, or clearly good, or bad, but really, who is? Each must draw a line at their "goodness" in order to analyse their flaws. Snape knows it. I'm not condoning his conduct as a teacher. Snape may have been fascinated by the Dark Arts and joined Voldermort, mistakenly believing that it would impress Lily and obviously it didn't. He liked the Dark Arts and it proves useful when Dumbledore approaches the ring. I'm not saying that it's right, but he doesn't use it unnecessarily after his "reform" by joining Dumbledore. Lily was the one he loved, obsessive and with many flaws. But love is love. To me it is not creepy. It's devotion. He took the wrong way down, and chose to made up for it, simply because he loved her. You cannot expect Snape to love James anytime soon, that git being his tormentor in school and Harry representing the fact that Lily has given her love to someone else. That's very sad. He knows how to be bitter, yet love, despite Lily being the only subject to his affection. I can't imagine him opening his heart up to anyone else, after suffering in school. Lily was a friend he made before they attended Hogwarts, and she was intelligent, much like Severus is. And no, intelligence as in academically, not like wisdom. Severus didn't have too much of it, I reckon, but neither did Lily. I seriously doubt her realisation that Severus loved her, or deeply and sincerely regretted that he ever said mudblood. It's another arrow shot in the heart when it's obvious that Severus's only friend was Lily and romantically or as friends, Severus DID love her. Romantically it was unrequited love, but he still clung on. It's obvious why he didn't open up to anyone else. Personally I don't ship Snape x Lily madly, but I do it to respect the devotion Snape shows to Lily, over half of his life dedicated to bringing down the man who killed her and protecting Harry. Don't expect Snape to be nice to Harry, grudges don't fade easily and he thinks of Harry as Potter's spawn more often than not, of course it's bitter. But he does come to the rescue, and without him as a double agent I seriously doubt that Harry/the winning faction could have won so easily. He's a cold man, and doesn't respect a lot of people, another flaw, but that's one of the many problems he had with his past and all. He even grows to care for Harry, showing a bit of anger at the idea of Harry "being raised as a pig for slaughter". Of course that may mean that he had wasted his efforts, but he presses on with his love for Lily and effectively fulfilling his duty of protecting Harry till the end. I don't feel that he cares only for Lily. Yes, his love is true, his Patronus says that, and really that's the best evidence. The Patronus, I believe, will mirror his heart. His love may be true but also slightly obsessive. But one can't blame him too much.

My point is that Severus Snape isn't truly a good guy or a bad guy, for all the flaws he has, joining the dark side, yadayada. Having really bad issues with opening up and being a tad nicer to all his students. Not making the wisest decisions. But you can bet that all he does after Lily's death is to avenge it, and what more better than protecting Harry and bringing down Lily's murderer? He isn't a bad guy, precisely for this. His famous moment will always be the exchange between him and Dumbledore. "Lily... after all this time?" "Always," Severus will reply. His love for Lily did not diminish after her death, it is proof that his love is no longer obsessive, but sadness and longing is evident in his love. He is a hero, I expect, in a way. He loved deeply and truly in the end. He died, and it can be intepreted as recompense for all his deeds. He is a perfect example of strong but bullied boy into a mistrusting adult. From making tiny mistakes with disastrous consequences, by calling Lily mudblood, to joining the death eaters, to being a double agent, to being an adult who loves somewhat compulsively, obsessively, to finally dying looking into Lily's very eyes, the eyes he loved, for very much of his life, to dying with strong love for Lily in his heart. I don't presume to sing Snape's praises here, but the point is that he is not good, or bad. Not very much of a hero either. He is just a brave man who taught us that we cannot change the mistakes we make. We must live with it, no matter what is done to try to patch up the hole. He is a normal man who, even thrown in the darkness of the death eaters, can love surely. He is redeemed as he dies. He realises his mistakes, but it's love that keeps him in check. Ultimately he is a character worth commending for being as human as possible, in the series. Harry gives his son Severus's name. What damage Snape has done cannot be undone but the name honours Severus, who was brave enough to love. His past does not define what he could do. Harry also forgives him and yes, I like it. Severus's story is powerful, it shows that love and bravery aren't that different. Selfless and bravery are not different. He is a Slytherin died like a Gryffindor. He was loyal from turning away from Voldermort to his death, like a Hufflepuff. He wasn't smart, but he was intelligent. Like a Ravenclaw. He is a perfect example of a Hogwarts student- flawed yet great. Even Dumbledore had his flaws.

My last point that Harry deserved Snape's respect and honouring Lily by doing so. Hasn't he done enough? He cannot bridge the gap in his relationship with Lily through his son. I really think being involved enough in the war is good enough, but I do feel a bit more respect is needed, not too much or Snape isn't Snape. James didn't deserve his respect for it. Snape was cold, was bitter. I doubt he would want to be on a good relationship with Harry, because I don't think it would be possible. He could try, but it would pretty much defeat the purpose of being undercover. The whole point of this is not to nitpick at Severus's faults, or show that he doesn't need pity, but that he did love and he was brave, even though his judgement was flawed. And that's what we are, aren't we? You're entitled to your own opinion, but this is mine, on Severus Snape. And obviously I don't think too highly of the Marauders.
alreadymadwithseverus
121. BW
I have gotten through 46 comments, Snape should be pittied he shouldnt be hes this hes that. In the end Harry Potter is not so much the story of the boy who lived as it is the redemption of Severus Snape.
alreadymadwithseverus
122. millioncats
@blue

you're kidding right?

When Snape was Hermonie's age he had already modified a potions text book and invented 7 spells. Spell making is dangerous and extremely rare. Hermonie only managed to tweak a protean charm.

Snape - unlike Hermonie - grew up in a poor and neglected enviroment. Not to mention he's a spy. And you're going to tell me that he's got less street smarts than a teen who grew up in a nice and loving home and only started with her adventures in the world when she was about 16?

Please, I'm begging for a laugh, prove to me how Hermonie is smarter than Snape.
alreadymadwithseverus
123. Evie
While I definitely see Snape's love for Lily unhealthy in various ways, I don't think he understood how to handle his feelings for her in part because of his abusive home environment and I think that's worth considering in addition to the points in the article. We learn what love is and how to express it when we are very young and it takes a lot to influence anything we learn at that impressionable age.
I think it's really interesting to look at the Potter books and view how characters views and actions are affected by their upbringing. You have Voldemort who couldn't understand love born from an inbred, mentally unstable woman's relationship with a man who was tricked into the union. Snape who seemed to have a very pure love for Lily that lasted his entire life, but made bad choices, didn't know how to express his feelings and was (in part) responsible for her death. Draco is taught extreme prejudice his whole life and is 16 before he seems to really question his parents' views (and that's directly because he's suddenly in deeper than he's comfortable with). Harry's home life is anything but supportive and loving, but he is fiercely loyal to his friends from the get go (probably because he appreciates having friends at all after such a lonely childhood), cares deeply for the mistreated and learns to look past appearances and see people for who they are.
I think the entire series is just an exploration of one thing Dumbledore says "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
alreadymadwithseverus
124. Wheel
I'm one of Snape's biggest fans since the first book and the reason why I like him so much is because he is the most interesting characer in the series, not because of his melodramatic love to Harry's mom.

He is spiteful, rude, biased, vindictive - yes, that's right. But he always does what's necessary, no matter how much it costs him. (Like for example Granny Weatherwax from Discworld series). He is extremly skilled and there's no wonder he feels his time and talents wasted as a potion teacher (one fact "helping" him to be even more dissatisfied)

Obout his obssession with Lilly - I don't find it strange. She was the only person in all his life, who has threated him as a person, without "using'' him.. So there's no wonder he fell for her.

P.S. Yes - Snape tells Voldemort about the prophecy, but he never thought that Voldemort would interpret it like this - untill it was too late...
alreadymadwithseverus
125. Standing up for Snape
What makes you think all of this nonsense. He had a rough life, would you say the same if it were you?! No! He does deserve pity! I love the character because it brings the most interest in the story line and he may be the reason that Harry was even chosen at Hogwarts! So don't dis because he may be a miss!
alreadymadwithseverus
126. angelflower
It takes a special kind of capriciousness and egoism to call Snape's love cheap or "creepy" (what a childish word to use, honestly). Rowling may present it in a romantic light but it is not an enviable or positive one: Snape is taken as a very tragic and close-to-real example of a life squandered, by the whims of fate and by his own engendered defeatism.

The man was deeply flawed from the start; he had a very lonely, troubled upbringing (not uncommon for British coal towns of the period, c.f. the film "Kes") and this colored his experiences all the way into adulthood, a kind of ripple effect which can make it difficult for bullied children to climb back to the normal world. His home life is assumed to have been equally poor and Evans was the sole island of light in his brief life. Snape's deeper attachment to Lily was something that developed glacially by modern standards.

Was his protracted love for Evans unrealistic and unhealthy? Yes, but was it not understandable and rather beautiful in its way? As for his jealousy, it's a human failing, and not even particularly sexual; who among us can seriously claim to never have felt jealous, for example, over the attention one of our friends lavishes on someone other than ourselves? Some of us handle this better than others, unluckily for Severus his friend or love interest happened to be his only real companion and so it was bound to end in hurt. This reading is bolstered by the obvious fact that Sev chose the wrong side and fell in with a crowd where he still didn't quite fit in, and once Voldy's fortunes waned he'd managed to alienate himself even further from a good part of the wizarding world. So his more innocent times with Lily seem even more unique as a bright aspect of his life by contrast.

However realistic Snape's carrying a 17-year-long torch may be, it's worth pointing out that Snape took the affair rather stolidly, handling it far better than many of us could hope to at that young age, myself included. Until Harry's arrival (and children can be a painful reminder of adult misgivings, as any family court will tell you) he seems to make a peace of sorts with Lily's choices, and after they drift apart in their later school years he never really attempts to contact her, knowing what's done is done.

Even insofar as his infatuation goes, Sev was not stereotypically falling in love with an idealized figment in his head, too scared or unwilling to approach the real human being behind his lust. Rather he and Lily Evans were chaste friends first, long before any more complex feeling could even begin to formulate, and when his feelings deepened he found himself too much of a mess of a soul to even begin to handle the situation properly. Even were he capable of frankly admitting his affections, he probably knew it'd put his strongest friendship in danger. So he kept mum, and waited too long, as millions of young people have done since God knows when.

I suppose I could go on, but I just find the language being used by commenters here so crass and juvenile and that it does an injustice to a really fascinating fictional relationship. For the women who seem afraid of male friends suddenly pining over them, I have to stress again that Snape's case isn't described in writing as a blameless one, and he isn't supposed to be a role model beyond the stock heroism of the whole triple agent thing. The whole point is that he's pitiable.
alreadymadwithseverus
127. angelflower
I must also point out that if, as some commenters have rather luridly suggested, Snape only performed out of pure selfishness (again, Sev is not a cartoon villain, no one in real life behaves like this), he could and would have washed his hands for good once Lily Evans was killed. If he had no nobler instincts there was no reason and nothing binding him to protect Harry, who wasn't his child and bore no relation to him. The only possible motivation was perhaps guilt, since Sev had inadvertantly drawn Riddle to the Potters by relaying Sybil's prophecy. In this case his future actions would be redemptive ones.

In fact it's rather bleakly implied that due to both the circumstances of the war and Snape's notorious privacy, he'd never receive credit or recognition for anything he'd done to protect Harry. That, I think, is where the residual heroism of Sev's character lies. (Really, if he were motivated by selfishness, what did he hope to gain with Evans gone?) The act of the reluctant pseudo-godfather who puts his life at risk for a child is an admirable one.
alreadymadwithseverus
128. cmyn43
Yeah, Snape didn't have the best life. He came from an abusive home and he was bullied at school (though he wasn't unpopular, he did have friends with whom he joined Voldemort). That doesn't mean he's excused from being generally horrible; most people who sexually abuse children were sexually abused as children, but I don't see people queuing up to defend them.

Aside from the creepy obsession with Lily--he's an Internet Nice Guy who actually isn't all that nice to her--he's horrible to Neville. He's horrible to all of his students, really, but remember that time that Neville screwed up a potion, so Snape made him brew another and then feed it to his toad, fully expecting the potion to come out wrong again? Please come up with an excuse for that, I'm dying to hear it. You can't even say he did it because he had to keep his "working for Voldemort" cover; Voldemort had been gone for over a decade by that point, I feel like Snape could have gotten away with not making a kid kill a beloved pet.
alreadymadwithseverus
129. Amna
Guys, hear my say.... I think lily was a good-looking girl. Snape fell in love with her, and she liked him too. K, as far as James is concerned, he shouldnt bully someone for that little fight on the train, that is just wrong,and if he thought snape liked lily,who HE fancied, I see that wrong he is tormenting someone on the person's "feelings". Ok, sometimes you get BLINDED by love- u do stuff u dont mean to do, u rlly, get angry. U think its "creepy", but he just felt downright sad. And I think u all should think, if u were in his place, u'd always love Lily. Lily (hate to say it) wasn't that worth it :p She was cool,but she was acting rlly jerky. I mean, if I was her, Id forgive Snape, AFTER CAMPPING OUTSIDE THE DOWN -_-. Snape should of been careful,too. Mudblood,really?? Oh idc if James changed, he always bullied Snape, never apologized-if snape would of told her, that he likes her, maybe Lily would have been more considerate.Also, she is always so sensitive, she should FORGIVE.
alreadymadwithseverus
130. Amna
His torturing wasn't that DREADFUL! James did worse! It was bearable, man. I would of named mykids after him- He loved Lily, he had a hard life, James ruined most of it, and Im sure, he'd feel SLIGHTLY bitter on Harry. He was a confused man,OK. He made MANY mistakes. He got no love, I respect the guy
alreadymadwithseverus
131. candy
@cmyn43

For Snape to be a 'Nice Guy TM' he'd have first had to have asked Lily out. Which he never did. Then he'd have had to talk poorly of her all the time and call her things like 'bitch', 'slut', etc. And he didn't do that either.

Neville is a pure blood and he knows more about magical subjects like potions, charms and the like then a muggle born would know before Hogwarts. In the magical world and IRL you never EVER bring food or pets into a class where you are mixing violital chemicals. Why? because the pet may jump into the cauldron and kill someone along with its self. Neville would know this because it's common sense.

Trevor was in no danger of dying. He's being 'poisoned' in a room filled with antidotes and a potion master who's more competent and skilled than most potions masters in the WW. So Trevor was fine. In fact he (Trevor) was in far more danger of dying every day by sticking with Neville. Travor knew this which is why he ran away.

if you want to bitch about abuse then why not talk about Filius and how he spun Trevor around the room? Toads heart's explode when excited or too scared. And last I checked, spinning an animal around a room is not ok.

Or how about the fact that non familliars hate being confined and stuffed into small spaces or that Transfiguration is literally forcing animals into different shapes and objects against their will.

Or is it only abuse when Snape does it?
alreadymadwithseverus
132. Dude9991919191911919191
Snape is awesome he was actually in some ways helping harry rather than hurting him in the sorcerors stone he prevented voldemort from killing harry and has done it repeatedly although he bullied harry many times i think it was just to get him to pay attention so he can do well even though i hardly believe that
alreadymadwithseverus
133. Kleesh
"'For his belittling Hermione's talent at potions, do you like seeing someone being smarter than you at something, especially something you love doing? For Snape he probably doesn't like that at all.'
Hermonie isn't smarter than Snape. Not even close."
Um, maybe not now, and definitely not in Potions, but throughout the books, you do see that Hermione has incredible potential. By the time she reaches Snape's age, she will almost definitely be much smarter (not to add wiser and more mature) than him.
Just sayin'.
alreadymadwithseverus
134. millioncats
@kleesh

Throughout the books Hermonie is not so much creative and inventive (could only tweak a protean charm) as she is read and do. Anyone can copy and repeat but true intelligence is being able to appy what you've learned and invent, create, and be able to belive in things even if there is little to no proof of them existing (The Deathly Hallows). When Snape was her age, he was already leaps and bounds ahead of her. As an adult he was able to brew the Wolfsbane - a potion so hard that only a handful of people could make it. Spell invention is hard, requires knowledge, and is dangerous! and yet Snape invented 7 on his own, as a student. It will take her ages before she might be able to get to that level.

Snape is the opposite of Hermonie. Which is why he's smarter because he's not a parrot. And that's why she's never going to be smarter than him, because she lacks the potential to go beyond her limits.

Also, I highly doubt she's going to have experienced most of what Snape has until she dies. Being a triple spy, a professor, saving others, growing up poor and neglected and having to raise yourself....that's nothing she's going to have to experience and those things come with wisdom she's never going to get.

Mature though? yes. She was raised in an enviroment that helped with getting her to mature. Psychology wise, snape did not.
alreadymadwithseverus
135. DevilAd
What the hell?Hermoine talent at potions superior to Snape?The debate of who the invented those spells/potion tips are long over. Snape was the one who did so and therefore his ACCOMPLISHMENTS as a student surpassed Hermoine in at least several areas.

Spell creation.
Potions.(genius?)
Dueling/Dark arts. (7th grade by 1st year)
Occulency.(block Voldermort the greatest mind reader of all time which means he's a genius level at this as well)
Indepedent Flight?

Hermoine probably does have more fields she can go to then Snape,but being a borderline genius overall is at best a genius at one field.
Since snape a genius at 2 fields(one defending against world record attackerVoldermort)...and vastly talented in several others. (past hermoine at young age)

I don't think it's gonna work out for your belief that she's superior to him overall.
alreadymadwithseverus
137. albus severus potter
snape always has loved harry from depth of his heart as he loved lily because harry is the only living memory of her.He also represents james i dont deny that fact but u also cannot deny that snapes love for lily is more than his hatred to james.I think as yrs passed snape did stop hating james because anything that was dear to lily was his also.So he did not think of james as a friend but neither did he hate him he just didnt like him for taking away lily from him,lily a true friend,his true love and his everything from him,thats all he didnt hate james to an extent that he intended to kil him,never.
Speaking whether to pity snape or no??
you should never pity him!!!yes u dont pity a great man like that you RESPECT,BE PROUD,REMEMBER HIM for what he is A BRAVE MAN hats off professor snape...got it ass u do not pity him u must respect him...
Yes he wouldnt have changed his alliance if Voldemort killed longbottoms because he didnt love mrs.longbottom.There is a saying that you never understand what you did unless it is done to you thats what happened to snape he lost his lily and realized how others felt all those time wen voldemort tried to kill somebodys someone thus he changed,he turned to the light to the good for his loss was terrible and he realized his mistake.For people say repentance or realisation is the greates gift above all and severus had that gift.
He never stopped loving lily though he was on dark side he still had love in him.He wanted her to be happy and alive somewhere if not with him for her happiness is his,he wanted her to be alive.But it turns out his information to voldemort was the very reason she s dead,he whom lily trusted and loved as a friend was the very reason she is dead.Can snape forgive himself??NO NEVER!!!
How could he??he ll never be able to see her green eyes filled with love and warmth for him.He was the reason lily is dead.Now he cannot live in world where lily is no more,he wants to kill himself but then professor dumbledore gave him a reason to live "the boy,her son survives,he has HER EYES severus HER EYES,protect him" yes yes her boy survives the person lily loved more than anything in her whole life for whom she sacrificed her life HARRY her son survives.He found a reason to live protect her lovable son protecting harry,yes.He pulled himself together and tells dumbledore that all his feelings for lily and harry and his alliance must be kept as a secret between 2 of them only even the boy must not know anything.
Then ten yeas pass HARRY POTTER arrives at HOGWARTS where snape is now potions master.When he first sees harry again after 10 years he watches him deeply in the eyes(lilys eyes) and finds same compassion,friendliness ,innocence and love he had always seen in harrys mothers eyes.Snape couldnt bear it,all that compassion and love from those gen eyes whom he killed all that friendliness NO how can he bear it he is not worth any respect at all but he could see all the same things in harrys eyes..how can he take it??according to himself he killed lily and he didnt want any love in her green eyes which her son has inherited he couldnt bear it all he wanted to see now in those green eyes was hatred and hatred only!!!
so there were 2 reasons why snape loathed harry although he loved him
1.He thought he was the reason lily was dead and he couldnt bear it so all he wanted harry to think of the same but unfortunately he couldnt and didnt want to tel harry what happened so he found his way of making harry hate him more and also because he was a redoubled agent he didnt want voldemort to think snape is not on his side.since if that happens OOP would be weaker without information and that would put harry in danger which he didnt want to happen.He didnt or couldnt see harry getting hurt or thought of him being hurt or killed,harry the only living memory of lily and her love.
2.yes he could have completely ignored harry as if he didnt exist at all to keep him away from danger but he cannot because its only in his class hours he get to see harry properly without hiding(yes he always followed and protected harry most of the time)speak to grudingly atleast if he couldnt with love.He somehow wanted to talk to harry,look into those green eyes which he inherited from his mother(filled with hatred ofcourse) and always have harry punished or put in detentions so he can be with harry for more time.This was a way of snape loving harry without harry knowing that he loved him and also with snape wanting to see hatred from harry.But harry loved him.
Snape as far as we know has loved harry as a son maybe more than that but he did not have a chance to express and also he didnt want to for sometime atleast until things were right.You can have a proof for snape loving harry in HBP Princes flight chapter:-
when one of the death eaters use cruciatus curse on harry snape shouts NO at the death eater and immediately says he is darks lords to cover up his care and love for harry.
when harry uses unforgivable curses on snape.snape tells "no unforgivable curses from u potter"(cause we did not bring u up to be a evil and your mother wouldnt love this from you,you must be a good boy)
harry called snape coward twice but snape did not react to it so painfully but when harry says "kill me then,kill me like how u killed him you coward"snapes face was contorted not with rage but with anguish and said "DONT" after a second or few he said again "call me a coward" so this shows he was in pain for harry asking him to kill him and not for harry calling him coward.The very word of harry asking him to kill him and the very thought of harry death pained him at that moment.you cannot deny that fact at all that he loved harry.He was not pained for being called coward because harry had called him coward twice before and he was neverpained that time.third time when harry called him coward he also asked snape to kill him so snape was in pain.
then when harry harms draco snape knew harry was using his spells and book but he didnt turn him in why because he wanted him to learn all those spells of his invention to make harry defend himself although he couldnt directly teach them to him.No wonder that he wantedly left his book for harry in that cupboard...
there are so many things like that if u open up your heart rather than your filthy mind to understand and respect such great love,friendship and sacrifice in HP series
the only minute harry reminded snape of james was when he was about to use levicorpus spell on snape and for that ofcourse snape threw him into air.And i also remember that was the only moment snape tried to harm harry because he reminded him of his childhood enemy james snd not lily.(childhood enemy only not adulthoods).
He also tried to save sirius in OOP and in POA he wanted to turn sirius to dementors because he thought he betrayed their friends james and lily by giving them to voldemort otherwise he didnt treat sirius as a enemy and when harry was telling truth he thought sirius confunded harry.
In HBP you can see he was treating pettigrew like a vermin for you all know that he was the one who turned in lily and james to voldemort.
Snape would have just moved on with his life as if nothing happenef b ut he didnt he felt remorse for overhearing prophecy and passing it to voldemort which was the reason for lilys death,he accepted to protected harry knowing all the risks and he loved harry though he never let harry know about it while he was alive.why did he do it when he could have walked away why???fear of askabhan NO!!he was more than willing to die so he didnt fear askhaban..it was because he loved lily his everything and there was more human in him than you can imagine...
In snapes memories given to harry dumbledore asks snape why is that boy is spending more time in detention than out??it is because snape loved harry and wanted him to be around as long as possible even after class so..
I love severus snape and albus dumbledore because for both of them knew value of life,love,friendship,sacrifice and above all their acceptance to death.For both of them harry meant a great deal,for them harry was more than a son they saw their loved ones in him and took care of him and protected him and so does sirius,dobby and lupin.
alreadymadwithseverus
138. Holy Jes
I wouldn't find it that creepy. After all it wasn't like snape stalked her or sent her constant letters or watching her sleep like in twilight, now that's creepy to me. But just loving someone and never letting go of that love without tourmenting her isn't so bad. Though most would say to move on at such an age. And he only really didn't like James because if James was really a better person and wanted them to be even he would have apologized for being such a dick to Snape. But he cared forHarry and hated the idea of having to kill him. I'm sure Lily would've been really proud of Severous for such sacrifice for her son.
alreadymadwithseverus
139. a james
Oh man, this article is a bit older, so forgive that I'm one of the people who are commenting just now. Nevertheless, one point that irks me is just a total misunderstanding of some of the story's facts. That is: Snape DOESN'T know that Lily's child is the target when he hears the prophecy. Voldemort decides it's the Potter's. Voldemort goes and kills them. Snape hearssomething that is of interest to his master, and runs off to tell him. There are other children who fit the prophecy: Neville Longbottom in fact shares the same date of birth as Harry. It's only when Voldemort decides to go after the Potters that Snape has misgivings, Voldemort assures him that Lily needen't die, only the boy....which is something of a fallacy of Snape to trust that Voldemort will show any mercy. But, anyway, the point I'm making is that Snape wouldn't necessarilly have told the prophecy to Voldemort if it explicitly said like "The Potter boy's gunna kill ya, fool!", and his pleading for Lily's life is more of a last-ditch effort to perserve the lives of people he knew and cared about, rather than a sociopathic break in failing to empathize with Lily's situation.

I also always saw his doe and his feelings for Lily less as full blown long-burning torch, and more as a constant reminder of what he chose to lose, his greatest mistakes, and what he must serve penance for. He's always cared for her, but his "Always." is more akin to "Never forget." than a verse from Lovesong.

There's also a lot we'll never know about Snape. He would fall out of favour with his old Death Eater contacts if he was seen as favouring muggle-borns, Harry Potter, and being harsh to the Death Eater children. Maybe a lot of it was his old hatered, his lack of being a kind teacher, etc. Maybe some of it was the role he was forced to play. I always respected Snape as a teacher, it's true he was not kind, most of his students hated him, and he showed favourtism based mosly on blood and money. However I always found myself rising to the challange of a very critical, harsh, mean instructor...so long as they could prove they understood their subject ...after all, Hermione doesn't suffer bad grades in his class, despite his apparent lack of interest in what she has to offer. He's a cruel, biased teacher, I will grant; but I guess I wonder about how much was an act and how much was his true face. Which is why hes' an interesting character, and I guess why people will write in what they want to be true about him.

apologies for any spelling errors, as my spellcheck will not work in this form.
alreadymadwithseverus
140. phoenixfire
I agree with all of the points made in this article. Snape was not a heroic character and was a horrible professor. There is one aspect being overlooked here though. If Snape had been friendly and kind to Harry and his friends it would have put all of them in more danger than they were already in. Imagine Snape trying to continue his double agent life with Harry trusting him and seeing him as a friend. Such a status would not likely escape Voldemorts notice particularly due to Harry's classmates, such as Draco, who would have been able to give that information. If Snapes goal was to keep his double agent status and keep Harry as safe as possible than he would have to make sure Harry didn't like him. He would have to distance himself as far as he could while remaining in the picture so he could keep an eye on things. If Snape would have been close with Harry than Voldemort would have expected him to do more things and it would have been more difficult for Snape to find a way out of doing them. While the reason for Snape's protecting Harry can be read multiple ways given Snape's dialogue, I feel that page 687 of Deathly Hallows gives insight into the fact that Snape cares for Harry but at the same time doesn't want to show it. When Dumbledore and Snape are speaking on the mentioned page and Dumbledore says "Don't be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?" and Snape responds "Lately, only those whom I could not save." I feel that this demonstrates Snape's inward care for all of those working against the dark lord. He never outwardly shows this, but in this small glimpse we get of his inner workings we can see their is a difference between his outer and inner dialogue. On the same page when Snape says "You have used me," and Dumbledore replies "Meaning?" and Snape responds with "I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lilly Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter -" this shows Snape's desire to keep Harry alive. This demonstrates Snape's care for Harry and desire to do what is best for him. Through his having such feelings it becomes clear that there is discrepancy between his outward reactions and dialogue, and his inward emotions concerning Harry. This discrepancy can be seen as being caused by Snape secretly caring about Harry but being unable to show this due to his need to keep his double agent status.
alreadymadwithseverus
141. DualDestinies
While I agree with some of the suggestions made in this post, such as Snape being the worst kind of teacher due to his bullying of students, I see this article as very judgemental of a personality type is different that the author's.

Furthermore, this article perpetuates the myth that we can fully escape our childhood upbringings. The lie that says that we can completely rid ourselves of our demons in efforts to achive greater things.
Yes, we can take command of our ships even as they face stormy waters. However, that does not negate what is and what will be once we reach the shore. Not one of us. Not one can escape our destinies which despite what western culture teaches, is instrinsically linked to our start.
Snape did the most with the cards he was dealt. I personally think he did better then most seeing that he was able to find true love after experiencing such cruelty so young.
Snape found life in Lily. Somehow, from childhood she was able to touch the core of his soul. Such finger prints are rarely if ever forgotten. Makes sense that he eventually accepted their separation (he left her alone to live her) but decided to thrive off of the love they once shared...yes shared...until his end. There is nothing creepy about that. Complex, instense, eccentric even...yes. But creepy? Most likely not.

Snape made great decision and he made terrible decision. The bulk of his decisions fell somewhere in between. That does not make him good or bad. Like most of us it makes him average. Nothing wrong with average.

The average man is to be pitied.
alreadymadwithseverus
142. GlückUndSchicksal
I think everyone will agree, that Severus Snape was a man who made a lot of mistakes, who did the wrong choices. First of all, flaws are human, aren’t they?

What makes Snape this great man and this amazing character is, that he’s able to admit that he made mistakes, to show remorse, to change his allegiance, to be able to show loyalty after all. There’s no denying, that he’s a brilliant man, highly intelligent with extraordinary bravery, risking his life everyday for a boy he doesn’t like. It’s obvious that he doesn’t like Harry much. I can’t blame him, I wouldn’t like him either, in his stead. However, it doesn’t matter if Snape likes him or how he treats him, Snape does his best to keep him alive. Isn’t that enough?

Apparently Rowling said: Who would want a man like Snape to be in love with them? I ask: Who wouldn’t? It’s a shame, that he’s just a fictive character. You can hardly find a brilliant, clever andespecially brave man with the ability to love unconditionally(!) in the real world.

No denying, his love to Lily got obsessive and yes, you could call it creepy. However, you must keep in mind: how could he has known, how to express feelings, how to show love in a (in our view) more appropriate way? He who has never been loved. He hadn’t got a lovely childhood, nor had he had the time of his life in Hogwarts, referring to relationships and friendships. Nor could he have experienced love in company with Voldemort and those Death Eaters, couldn’t he? And Dumbledore was the man Snape trusted since he changed sides, not the other way round. Dumbledore‘s never had real trust in Snape, because Snape was such a trustworthy or likable person. No, Dumbledore just knew due to blackmailing and manipulating that Snape wouldn’t dare to depart from his word. Dumbledore used Snape’s history and feelings for himself without giving him warmth, trust or love. Isn’t it admirable, that a man who has never been given love is able to give so much love though?

It’s completely understandable in Lily’s case, that she chose James, and it wasn’t a bad choice. He loved her and she loved him, perfect. However, Snape’s devotion should have been a priviledge to her and it wouldn’t have been wrong to have chosen him, either. Anyway, I could have fallen in love with him. He’s fascinating and adorbale.

‚I don't buy the excuse that Snape was just a loyal follower. Americans didn't buy that excuse from my (Nazi) grandparents, and I'm not buying "just following orders" as a valid excuse from anyone. Human beings have brains, and are responsible for thinking through their own actions, no matter what their job description.‘

Always the same.. Haven’t you learned anything about the the two World Wars? Even, if you didn’t pay attention at history lessons at school, I think you could have learned a lot from the Harry Potter books, what the people thought in those times. They're made quite well in my opinion to show thoughts in time of devotion, torture and war.

I can see so much of the World War II in this book and it's easier to follow people's intentions in this fiction than in the actual history, but the actions and theirs intentions are pretty much alike. People joined the Death Eaters, because they had a huge deficit in social aspects, seeking for accomplishment and importance, sense of their lives they never had experienced (like Snape). Those became members, where family and education suceeded to plant an opinion in their minds unlike the general accepted view (like Draco). Members were those, who were disappointed of the actual politics and wanted to revolt and change the world. One can’t blame them. Not their intentions and not their joining, because I bet it sounded great what they were offered. Of course, they had brains. The thing is, when they found out, what the leader’s intention was and how he was intended to achieve it, it was to late to say ‚no, I don’t want to do this anymore.‘ Blackmailing, torturing, murdering would have been the answer to this. And it actually was. They weren’t at liberty to use their brains, to say their opinion out loud like we can. Admitting to have an own opinion equaled death sentence. You can’t imagine such a life, because life is so much different now in Europe, thank God. However, don’t judge people for decisions you never had to make.

Given that, I think it very selfless and brave what Snape did. Risking his life everyday. Not just because of Lily. Even, when he found out, that Harry must die, that he can’t save the life of Lily’s son, he kept risking his life for fighting Voldemort. For a better world. ‚…probably the bravest man I ever knew‘ – Agreed.

What makes him so interesting is how he changed. And that he changed. No change from Death Eater to Nice Guy/Hero, but he changed his mind, his allegiance. He was one of them who dared to use his brains and acted the way he felt it was right to do. In my view, he’s an amazing character, ambiguos, but in a way adorable.

No one should pity his dead, nor pity his life. He was neither heroic, nor evil. He wasn’t flawless, nor foolish. He was honest, remorseful, brilliant, brave, loyal, selfless. He was able to trust, to love, to forgive in his way. He was different, with a different view of expressing feelings, but at least he did. That’s why I’d love to have him genuine. He did great things, he risked his life unconditionally. He didn’t get grace or pity all his life, but he didn’t want it either. How many men can say that of themselves?
There's absolutely no reason to pity him, just reasons to admire him.

People are what they are treated like. Given that, he was very extraordinary, wasn’t he?

Thanks to J.K. who created a character to admire; thanks to Alan Rickmann who gave this character a life.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
143. Lisamarie
"how could he has known, how to express feelings, how to show love in a (in our view) more appropriate way? He who has never been loved. He hadn’t got a lovely childhood, nor had he had the time of his life in Hogwarts, referring to relationships and friendships" - That's EXACTLY why I wouldn't want him to be in love with me. Just becuase it's not his fault (and I am not disputing the awful hand he was dealt, and in fact, I have quite a bit of sympathy for him having gone through bullying mself - I defintely like him more than Sirius, who in my opinion was and remained an immature jackass) doesn't make it less dysfunctional. And to say she should have considered it a priviledge? Um, no. Nobody is entitled to have their affection returned, no matter how awesome they may be.
alreadymadwithseverus
144. malpal
Snape didn't know the prophecy would be interpreted to refer to Lily until after Voldemort decided it did. he's a bad dude, and didn't care about her family, but he didn't initially know she'd be in danger when he related the prophecy.
alreadymadwithseverus
145. gotpurp
sorry if someone already stated this, cant expect me to read all those commens....

but...wrong. snape HAD to be the way he was to appear "dark" in the eyes of voldemort. he had no choice but to be cruel and evil, or it would have blown his cover to the death eaters and voldemort.

snape is an anti-hero who was bad*ss at keeping his sorrows and happiness to himself and no one else.

im sure theres alot of good things he knows he could have done, but dont you think if he was being a softy then some of the dark wizards would have noticed?

poor guy was a slave to himself but held his composure in the most brilliant of ways. so yes, i do feel sorry for snape for being trapped between a rock and a hard place (so to speak)
alreadymadwithseverus
146. P!
Snape is just the typical case of the bullied becoming the bully. Common, but it doesn't excuse his behavior in the slightest. Honestly, it's a bit pathetic that he'd bully kids that way. He does some good things in the book, but overall he's an ashhole.
Instantly hating Harry because of his past with the kid's dead dad seems rediculous to me as well. I was bullied and I wouldn't kneejerk hate their kid. The kid has nothing to do with it, especially if they weren't even raised by the bully parent. I was extra disgusted that him finding out Harry was bullied and neglected as a kid didn't seem to make him question his perspective at all. Seems like he had some cognitive dissonance when it came to Harry. Snape is so self absorbed with his own suffering that he can't even see the reality of the people around him.
Interesting character, but not a good person.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
147. Lisamarie
P!, I just want to say that I agree and feel that one of the missed opportunities in the book was for Harry and Snape to reach some kind of understanding (not necessarily becoming best buds and all) after all the Occulumency sessions, as they both realized they had similar experiences growing up. I hoped for the next few books that this scene would happen.

Perhaps it's not really a missed opportunity - perhaps JK Rowling very intentionally had it happen the way it did to show that he COULDN'T move past all of it. But I agree with you that while he is interesting and definitely does do some good things - he still has some serious flaws.
alreadymadwithseverus
148. iDestroy
You are a girl so I don't expect you to understand.

Loving someone who doesn't reciprocate is not creepy, it's unfortunate.

Snape could have... at any point killed Harry. He did not.

He was a great teacher. Strict teachers are a pain to deal with but "sweat and tears in the training ground make up for less blood in the battlefield".

Despite everything that was done to him, he turned the tie in the fight between good and bad. Despite the fact that the Deatheaters had been everything to him that normal society wasn't. If that's not sacrifice, giving up something that gives you the best for what's right... then I don't know what it is.

Lastly, you judge every one of Snape's actions harshly but not James' or Lily's or Harry's for that matter. He isn't allowed to be mistaken?

But more importantly, he is the realest character in the whole book. Like I can see how some people could be like this.
Chris Nelly
149. Aeryl
Like I can see how some people could be like this.

There are people like this. They are loathesome, not to be celebrated.

Loving someone who doesn't reciprocate is not creepy, it's unfortunate.

It's unfortunate, until the person who has those feelings doesn't take the hint, then it's creepy. And yes, carrying a twenty year torch for a woman, refusing to live your life without her, to try and find new love, to instead decide that since you can't have the woman you love, you will kill all the women and men who are like her, that's creepy.

It's not that Snape isn't "the realest" character, it's that he's too real. He is the embodiment of many attitudes people hold, and are celebrated for, that are repulsive and harmful. He is no hero, no one to look up to, he is a cautionary tale of what happens when you deny yourself the opportunity at a full life because of unrequited love.

And Harry, Lilly, nor James are held up as faultless by the fandom in the same sense that Snape is, so of course, they are not the focal point of this piece.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
150. Lisamarie
Yes, because girls can't understand anything directly outside of our experience. We CERTAINLY can't understand what it's like for somebody to question our judgment and feel entitled to us because they looooove us.

I am not saying somebody can't love somebody who doesn't reciprocate, it happens all the time. But to keep dwelling on it to the point that you are festering ill will...yes, that is creepy. (And for the record, I like Snape, I think both James and Sirius were assholes - I never was a fan of Sirius at all either, and really was not terribly moved by his death, horrible as that sounds - and think he is justified in having some residual anger for them and that he did some very brave and heroic things, especially given the hand he was dealt...but I don't think his love was as pure as the driven snow or truly oriented towards her happiness, either. And I think in general he exhibited some nasty and hurtful behavior that went above and beyond his 'cover'.).

http://www.xkcd.com/1325/
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
151. Lisamarie
I posted a comment and it went away, that makes me sad. I really wish there was some indication when a comment doesn't pass the spam filter that it isn't going to save.

I'll try again.
*
Right, because girls just can't understand ANYTHING outside of their experience, or use reason and deduction. And they certainly can't understand what it's like to have somebody criticize their judgment or feel entitled to them because they loooove them.

Loving somebody who doesn't reciprocate is one thing. And that's fine to keep on having those feelings. The problem is that he let it fester into ill will and bitterness, as if she did something 'wrong' by not loving him back - that's creepy. I was going to post an xkcd comic that illustrated this nicely (it's comic 1325) but the spam filter ate it.

And I say this as somebody who likes Snape overall, thinks he did some amazing and heroic things and was dealt a shittty hand in life. I also happen to think both James and Sirius were assholes (Sirius especially - I didn't even really like him in the books when he was alive) and that Snape is justified in having residual anger towards them. However, I don't think Snape's love was as pure as the driven snow either, or completely oriented towards Lily's happiness, and I also think that he did a lot of mean and nasty things that went above and beyond his 'cover', because he is the type of person who enjoyed belittling people. He may have reasons for that, but it doesn't make it right. Also, doing some good deeds doesn't 'cancel out' your negative deeds and excuse them.

I also think he was blind in projecting all that anger towards James onto Harry, instead of realizing that Harry had more in common with Lily (and in some ways, Snape himself) than James.
alreadymadwithseverus
152. NobodyremembersRAB
I must say I agree with the post but also subscribe the objections by etruscan and LauraMatthews2. I specially liked BDG91 comments because as a trained sociologist myself I did exactly the same reflection.
Snape is someone to be admired because he grows as no one else in the books does, precisely transforming that unhealthy, obsessive, possessive and focused love, in spite of the totally negative circumstances, into a much wider selfless love beyond Lily ("only those whom I could not save"!).

I only want to add that yes, being nasty to students isn't making Snape any better, but we all do that, spit our inner mess on people who don't deserve it at all in our daily life. And Snape has a considerable inner mess and little emotional intelligence so it had to come out one way or another... But I find it totally justified for him to be nasty with Harry but from Snape's position nasty is the nicest one can be.
Thinking that Harry behaves like his father is only the excuse Snape gives himself justify his hatred and think as little as possible on the real reason, namely, that Harry's existence is a constant reminder of his failure with Lily and James' success. Even if Harry had just sat on a chair and exhibited no behaviour at all he would have been a torture for Snape.

About James, I need to say it, for me he's a dull spoiled teenager and growing up is the least he could do.
alreadymadwithseverus
153. Vendr Fell
I am a huge Snape fan but I agree with EVERYTHING you are saying. And, for me, that's saying something when I went into this afraid that it would just be a long rant. However, it saddens me when so many people ignore this part of his character when trying to write about him (unless he is hated by the author of that fanfic). They are missing a chance to really explore his character in different ways. Is it alright to pity him? Well, he would hate you for it, but you can. I often do, but that doesn't excuse him from making bad, horrible, idiotic choices. I suppose that's why so many people change his personality in fanfictions. I am not above enjoying those, but again, it saddens me that I haven't seen very many that truely explore his character when considering the points you've made. I am new to the fandom however, so please correct me if I've missed anything but I have to say that the Phantom of the Opera fandom is much better at being diverse in showing both realitic interpretations as well as unrealistic interpretations BOTH WAYS: Both in showing him being too kind, and being unusually crule. Still, the diversities are exciting to read, unlike most of the Snape-cenetered fanfictions.
alreadymadwithseverus
154. Oddrey
Completely agree with you here. His unrequited "love" for Lily doesn't really justify his behavior towards Harry throughout the series, even if it does offer an explanation.
alreadymadwithseverus
155. Tony S
I agree with your post, and I thank you a lot for not making it another diatribe against "Nice Guys" that has become so popular on certain portions of the Internets anyway. There is this idea out there (that some of the commenters above seem to buy into) that *any* type of guy who is being nice to a friend is being insincere, and wouldn't be friends with the girl if he wasn't in love with her. The story goes that when his love is unrequited, he will flip out, call her a bitch, trash her to all her friends, etc. In my experience, nearly nobody who spends a significant amount of time around another being and is consistently nice to them could do this... If a person is nice to a friend over time, they are doing it because that's how they are... nice to people in general. If they fall in love with a friend and it is unrequited, it does not mean that ZOMG THE FRIENDSHIP WAS FAKE THE WHOLE TIME!!!

In Snape's case, I really wish we would have seen what happened between the flashback and when James & Lily got married. Because you're dead on when you say that he handled everything badly.

In my headcanon, what happened is that he became very depressed over the unrequited love (which quite clearly *deserved* to be unrequited due to how he treated Lily in the flashback), and turned to dark magic as a way to spend time doing something for which he apparently had a natural talent. They remained on speaking terms for quite some time, and she kept telling him how much she disapproved, until it became too much and she had to cut him out of her life. That probably pushed him completely under, and he remained a full-fledged Death Eater from that time until her death, whereupon Voldemort faced one of the many instances of his defeat at the hands of Love... in this case, whatever love Snape had left for Lily was enough to convince him he should turn double agent in order to atone for her death. It's in no way romantic, it is in no way a good situation at all, but it gets the job done in winning the war for the side of Love.

I like that theory because it fits with my absolute favorite part of all the books... when the Malfoys deserted the Death Eater army. The Malfoys were committed to evil all right, it's just that when all the chips were down, it turns out that they were more committed to their immediate family members' survival, and they turned tail and ran (after Narcissa fed false information back to Voldemort in repayment of Harry's kindness). Their love for each other screwed up Voldy's plans something awful.

And in a bunch of other instances, Voldemort is defeated by Love and over and over again no matter what he does, because he can't escape it... it's everywhere, and can flare up at any time. He keeps trying to pick followers who seem completely devoid of it, but even among his inner circle, he has utterly failed to purge it, and so it was always a matter of time before it finally undid him.
alreadymadwithseverus
156. Michael J D'Auben
I too have a hard time seeing Snape as a "hero" but he's certainly not a villian. He was a deeply flawed individual who made some terrible choices in his life, acted very poorly in his position of authority at school, but in the end was invaluable in the eventual victory of "the light".

I do see Snape as one of my favorite characters in both the books and the movies. He's interesting, colorful, conflicted, confusing. He's one of the few truly "grey" characters in the books. Plus in the films he portrayed by the amazing Alan Rickman who can even make telling student a page number brilliant! What more can I say!

Isilel @ 70

>Oh, and let's not forget that since DH revealed that people who hide under Fidelius can be their own Secret Keepers,

Maybe I need to re-read DH but how is that revealed? The only Fidelius Charms I remember are the ones on the Potter’s house (secret keeper = Sirius/Peter) and Sirius’ house (secret keeper = Dumbledore). Certainly Dumbledore visited Grimmauld Place while it was under the Fidelius but he never lived there. We can assume the same applied to Sirius and Peter visiting the Potter home. Who was their own Secret Keeper in DH (and I don’t think the ‘everyone’s a secret keeper because DD died’ really counts).

> Lily was also shown to be a doormat, who allowed James and Sirius endanger Harry out of senseless bravado.

I see it more as a (unfortunately mistaken) belief in their friends whom he (and arguably she) thought they could trust with their lives.

>Re: James "growing up" - he didn't. He continued running with were-Lupin on full moon nights and endangering everybody in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, despite "close calls" until they all graduated.

This is probably the one point I agree with. JKR was using this to demonstrate his dedication and loyalty to his friends, but in the end it was rather irresponsible.

> He mortally endangered his wife (who actually died) and son (who was only saved by inexpected intervention) for no reason.

Not sure where you get this? By asking one of his best friends to be their Secret Keeper? Surely he can be excused for trusting someone who had been his friend for half his life and presumable never gave him any reason not to trust them. For joining the fight against a psychotic terrorist? IMO not fighting against Voldemort would have been the cowardly and irresponsible thing to do.

> His supposed heroic contribution to struggle against Voldemort turned out to be the same kind of adrenaline junky stuff that he indulged in previously.

Again, not sure where you get this? AFAIK, all we know about his contributions to the resistance was that he AND LILY jointed the original Order of the Phoenix, and that he AND LILY “thrice defied” Voldemort. I don’t see any “adrenaline junky stuff” in any of that.

OriTheScribe @ 89

> book 5: called the order. Remember the order of the phoenix? the same order who had to help collect his dumb ass because Harry decided he knew better and thus had to go half cocked into a trap.

Yes, Snape did his job in that situation but I think you are being a bit hard on Harry.

Consider the situation from his point of view. He had been systematically cut off from adult help all year, he had no way to quickly contact any of the few adults he trusted, he was ignorant of the fact that Voldemort could be sending him a false image on purpose, he thought time was of the essence, and he tried to tell Snape but the man had constantly demonstrated a contempt and hatred of Sirius and Harry (quite reasonably) didn’t trust him to get help for a man he would happily see dead.

Sure he made a terrible mistake, yes some of that could be attributed to the fact that he thought he ‘knew better’ but given his experiences not only this year but throughout his life its hardly unreasonable that he should believe that and it had worked he *did* know better in several emergencies in the past (stone, chamber).



114. Moffetta

> I'm not familiar enough with Fanon to know if Apprenticeships are common, either, though they'd have to be with the lack of higher ed.

I think all we know from the books is that Curse Breakers and Aurors require extensive (multi-year) training/apprenticeship beyond Hogwarts. I think we can presume there are other fields that do, too, but Percy Weasley’s immediate transition from student to Ministry employee would indicate that advanced training is not a universal requirement for all wizarding careers.

> I am a career teacher, and let me tell you, I don't really see ANY good teaching practices represented in any of the HP books, except perhaps the care that certain teachers demonstrate for their students.

This is something that always bothered me. Hogwarts is described as a fantastic institution of learning but the teaching staff seems to belie this. I think that McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout are arguably shown as competent teachers, while Snape, Binns and Trelawny are respectively bullies, incompetents and frauds. How can this be such a “good school” when half the staff is so obviously subpar?
Chris Nelly
157. Aeryl
@156, Bill Weasely was the Secret Keeper for Shell Cottage, so apparently you can be SK for your own house.
Maiane Bakroeva
158. Isilel
Michael J D'Auben @156:

Maybe I need to re-read DH but how is that revealed? The only Fidelius
Charms I remember are the ones on the Potter’s house (secret keeper =
Sirius/Peter) and Sirius’ house (secret keeper = Dumbledore).

Weasley house and Bill's cottage were under Fidelius in Deathly Hallows, and Arthur and Bill respectively were named as Secret Keepers for their own homes. Which renders the whole plot of PoA rather nonsensical.

I see it more as a (unfortunately mistaken) belief in their friends whom
he (and arguably she) thought they could trust with their lives.

They were free to trust them with their own lives, but I have zero sympathy for them gambling with the life of their baby son. They knew he was the target, they knew that somebody close to James was an enemy agent. Nevertheless, they have chosen to refuse a safe option and risk the life of their son to prove a point about their trust in friends.

And I say "they", but we really heard nothing about Lily's part in this decision, only James´s. Did she even know? And if she knew and agreed - well, yea, she was a doormat. She should have known better than prioritize pleasing James's friends, who were only her friends by extension, over her son's safety.

"Adrenaline junky" stuff comes from that very short story on a card that Rowling published at some point and the fact that James snuck out of their house while they were under Fidelius.
Maybe also from Lily's letter, which certainly didn't portray them as heroic resistance fighters that I have envisioned either.
But isn't the fact that we never heard about what the Potters contributed to the first war against Voldemort damning by itself? I really thought that we'd eventually meet or hear about people they have saved, nefarious plots that they have foiled, but nope.
And, of course, the Order's complete ineptitude, inaction and insignificance during the second war didn't fill one with confidence about their performance during the first one.

Oh, well, I feel that the "civil war/nazis coming to power" plotlines were terribly botched anyway, even for a children's series.
Chris Nelly
159. Aeryl
I will say, in James' defense, that it's been established that spells evolve over time. Maybe, 16 years ago, for the Fidelus to be effective, it couldn't be put on the residents, but that someone, maybe Dumbledore, or Flitwick, discovered a way to manipulate the spell so that wasn't so.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
160. Lisamarie
I can't say I disagree about James=adrenalyne junkie, myself. I am not saying he didn't ALSO have good motives, but I think that was definitely a part of his personality. I never really got an impression that he matured, either (or if he did, we just weren't shown that).

This doesn't mean I think it was wrong for them to fight against Voldemort, even with a family - as for the Secret Keeper stuff and them making the wrong choice instead of being their own SK, I am wondering if that is an authorial misstep and not meant to say something about Lily and James themselves.

TonyS@155 - I think the diatribe against Nice Guy (note the caps) is meant to be against specifically the type of guy you describe, not all nice guys. There are nice guys out there (I know many! And throughout my life, I've always had many platonic male friends). But there are also Nice Guys, and that term specifically refers to a certain type of person who DOES seem to expect some kind of repayment for their nicety and will then complain that he's a 'nice guy', as if that should settle the matter.
alreadymadwithseverus
161. Michael J. D'Auben
Isilel @ 158

> Weasley house and Bill's cottage were under Fidelius in Deathly Hallows, and Arthur and Bill respectively were named as Secret Keepers for their own homes.

Really? I totally don't remember that. Of course, being as DH is by far my least favorite book in the series, its been a while since I read it. What about when Dobby took them to Shell Cottage after they escaped Malfoy Manner, though? How were they able to go there without Bill telling them the secret first, if it was under a Fideleus Charm? Didn't Harry actually suggest going there (I don't really remember). If it was under the Fideleus he should not have been able to do that, should he?

> They were free to trust them with their own lives, but I have zero sympathy for them gambling with the life of their baby son. They knew he was the target, they knew that somebody close to James was an enemy agent.

If we assume James or Lily couldn't be the Secret Keeper (and if DH does show this, I think its more a case of writer continuity error than evidence of "arrogance" or "bravado" on the part of James. It seems evident to me that in POA it was at least implied that someone else had to keep your secret.). They had to pick SOMEONE had to be SK and IIRC while they knew that someone in the Order was passing info, I don't think they had any evidence it was either Sirius or Peter.

> But isn't the fact that we never heard about what the Potters contributed to the first war against Voldemort damning by itself?

Not necessarily. There are *huge* swaths of the history, society, government and magic of the wizarding world we know nothing about, simply because they were never discussed in Harry's presence during the books. That doesn't mean nothing exists aside from what we *do* know.
alreadymadwithseverus
162. Marietta
Thank you. That puts a lot of my thoughts about him to the point.

And I'm sure as hell going to read the discussion here later.
alreadymadwithseverus
163. Zoey Webb
It also pissed me off how they made him this cute, innocent little kid. In the book he dropped a f***ing branch on Petunia.
alreadymadwithseverus
164. Aaron Baker
I don't get why being hopelessly in love for years is "creepy." People feel what they feel, and some of us cannot, sadly, turn off what they feel simply by wishing to. To suggest otherwise is to assume, rather smugly, that obsession is just a perverse choice that a person can make or not make. As a lifelong obsessive-compulsive myself, I'm happy to tell you: it ain't so.
alreadymadwithseverus
165. Aaron Baker
I'm not, by the way, trying to excuse his cruelty.
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166. nivedita zakhar
i dont think i am exaggerating when i say that snape's love for lily is probably the most purest , the most unconditional. the thing is , its his love who stood like a rock and couldn't be washed away by snape's "evil" . i dont think anyone can judge snape or anyone even should try . it would be wrong. its easy to sit in a cosy place and comment over the follies of others but its really hard to understand the whole process which lead to this. its hard to understand the thoughts , the true feeling of a person when he made those decesions which are supposed to be beyond bad. what i am trying to emphasize is snape's story is not a story of what is evil or what is good . its a story of how love can conquor both .
as of bullying harry , come on! he is only human after all . how can he tolerate to even look at harry , who unfortunately is a living reminder of his love being snatched and constantly reminds him of the man who he loathed. these kinds of things are trivial what matter most is what were his deepest feelings. all through the 7 books , he protected harry just like a father ! and why was that? becaue his love for lily was far above his hatred for james!
" all through this time" ?
"always"
how can somebody even think that a guy like this doesnt deserve love!! he is the most adorabale man i ever come across either in real or reel!
its childish to think that he wasnt the real hero ! i dont know the real definition of the word " hero" but i know that if its somebody we would want to be like i am not ashamed to say that snape is my hero.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
167. Lisamarie
You are contradicting yourself a bit. If Snape's love was truly pure, then having a reminder of his love around would actually make him happy. He also wouldn't treat her child (who is more like her than his father) like crap. His love was certainly steadfast - I am not going to doubt that. And I think you're right that in general armchair judgment is not always apt. But I would not call it 'pure', becuase pure love delights in the happiness of the beloved, even if it's not with you (the lover).
Chris Nelly
168. Aeryl
@167, Thank you, I didn't even want to dive into that.

As someone who's been stalked, the idea of ETERNAL UNDYING LOVE terrifies me.
alreadymadwithseverus
169. nivedita zakhar
@167 yes its true , pure love delights in the happiness of the beloved that is why he was with harry , protecting him right to the end ! that is why he was astonished at the idea that dumbeldore was using harry as a scapegoat! you know everybody has a different way of expresssing concern . i mean he never harmed harry , a little bit of rude behavious was excusable according to me . now for love he took a grave responsibility and stuck to that ! but to expect that he can even love harry out of that love is a bit too much , i suppose because in addition of being a reminder of lily he was also a reminder of james !
when he was counting his last breaths , he asked harry to look into his eyes , he did that because i am sure deep in harry's eyes , he always found lily alive!
alreadymadwithseverus
170. Moses
Thats not really my email by the way.


GOOD JOB on this post. I really enjoied it.

My question and two cents,
Is voldemort really that dumb, or was he using Snape to get info and knew he was a "double agent"
alreadymadwithseverus
171. H. M.
An absolutely amazing analysis. Honestly I have never thought of Snape in this light, perhaps because the first time I read Deathly Hallows it was about 1am and I finished it around 10am. I read it a second time, more slowly to really take in the finale to this epic adventure. However, I think that it was not Rowling's intent for this aspect of Snape's life to be so obvious to readers. Keep in mind, many of her readers were, and still are quite young.

The series progresses in such a way that it grew up, grew older, with the first wave of young fans. Sorcerer's Stone was released in the US during my 4th grade year of primary school, which means I was 8 or 9. Ten years later, Deathly Hallows came out, but it's important to remember that even as a young adult almost in their twenties, Harry Potter still captured my childish youth in many ways. Although I'm much more aware of the politics and underlying issues present in the series, it is still difficult to imagine such depth to a beloved series as this is, a series I and many others quite literally grew up with.

With all this in mind, it is not something I every really noticed in my many re-readings of the book. Looking back, your analysis makes perfect sense and I admit I've never thought of it that way. I tend to agree with you in every aspect, but still believe that it is an analysis that really isn't crucial to the understanding of the plotline. Knowing this does not change my feelings towards Snape, primarily because in my opinion he fully redeemed himself - and in a not creepy way. I think it's possible to say that Snape realized this of himself, realized his obsession, and realized the life he led was, as you said, his own fault.

One thing I agree with upon my first reading of the book is this: it was just a tad weird to see Harry's son named after the guy.
alreadymadwithseverus
172. TylerS
This may have been already stated in the above comments--couldn't Snapes poor treatment of Harry and Gryffindors in general be part of his Death Eater charade? it would seem wrong for one of Voldemort's "most loyal" servant to be kind to his mortal enemy....i think that this covers up all of Snapes mean acts
alreadymadwithseverus
173. Anonymus
Yes Snape is hated because he was mean. Yes we get it. He is not a hero and his sad sob story is not sad. I cried because Snape's story was sad but also because no one ever saw who he truly was and what his thoughts were. Also Snape saves Harry multiple times. In the first book, Harry would be dead if Snape did not mutter a counter curse! Yes and EVERY SINGLE BOOK ROWLING MADE SNAPE WAS ACCUSED OF DOING SOMETHING BAD, yet it was always someone else. Harry loved to accuse Snape of doing things wrong like Snape liked to accuse Harry of doing wrong!
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174. Jacen
This describes my exact feelings about Snape. I have never understood why people condemn an immature James Potter, but they readily forgive Snape and Dumbledore, whose mistakes got people killed. James didn't even realize what he was doing was harming anyone. The person that should be condemned for their treatment of Snape is Sirius -- Sirius nearly had Snape killed, and he never seemed to show any remorse for it. For that, I say Sirius deserved Azkaban.

But I thought of one thing you left out -- the way Snape treated Remus. Remus was nothing but nice to Snape, but Snape couldn't forgive him for something his friends did, against his wishes. Because of his infliction, Remus has a hard time finding a job anywhere, and Snape has to go and rob him ofone where he was finally happy. Not to mention, if you'll notice from Order of the Phoenix, it appears Snape and Umbridge unknowingly worked together to ensure Remus never got another job.

Both Sirius and Snape are considered heroes, but I think they both were horrible people.
alreadymadwithseverus
175. ushma
why call snape as creepy? they never showed us that snape stalked lily after her marriage right? yes he did choosed the wrong path by joining voldemort when he was hardly a teenager and he did asked voldy to not to kill lily but that doesnt mean he ever stalked her & its certainly not his fault that the potter family got killed but he lived his entire life with the same guilt.
abt his school life they had shown us that james and sirus on numerous occassion treated snape so badly and they always escaped from getting punished just becus they were dumbledore's favourite. wasnt this wrong? and obviously how can someone expect him to be good to remus when all remus did was to remain quiet when his so called best friends bullied a weak kid. when his so called grown-up sirus did nothing but what he did as a teenager. i.e create problems.
some people say why was he so rude towards the students but then he was the only one who was a deatheater in the entire school right? several students from his own house knew this, if he had not been this bad then wouldnt they had reported the same to their parents and through them to voldy?
i dont say he was the bestest but certainly he was not a bad person. he was the only character in the story who sacrificed his entire life, happiness, sorrow, pain for harry and got nothing inreturn till his last breath. I would have prefered his character getting a different end, a death after seeing respect for himself in others eyes would have been apt.
but the novel is out their, we all have read it. all of us want some change as per our likes. alas... it is not possible :P
alreadymadwithseverus
177. LoonyLuna
THIS!

I love Snape so much. I feel like he's somewhat a part of me, a reminder of who I was when I was younger and reading the HP series for the first time, wearing all black, feeling superior to everyone else and being tortured by my own James Potter, and a reminder of all I could've been had I had the wrong friends or the wrong education. His flaws, his guilt, his crimes are all part of the reasons I love him. However, I usually get really mad at both Snape stans and Snape haters. The first ones seem to think he's some sort of Han Solo, while the latter treat him like some fedora-wearer. This is the first critique of Snape's character I've read the actually recognizes everything that's beautiful about him as well as his flaws. On behalf of my 15yo self, thank you! Thank you so, so much!
alreadymadwithseverus
178. hiroi
@jacen

'James didn't even realize what he was doing was harming anyone'
how could a 15 year old boy not understand that stripping someone, bullying them, filling their mouth with soap until they choke, and dropping them, is bad?

How could James not understand that bullying someone for 7 years is harmful? how could he - and his friends - not understand that ganging up on someone for 7 years is bad?

I can't tell if you're being serious or not.

'Remus has a hard time finding a job anywhere, and Snape has to go and rob him ofone where he was finally happy.'

Then it would have been wise of Remus not to almost kill 4 people, withhold important info (like the marauders map, Sirius being an animagus, and the secret passagways), and basically act like a noodle. He's an adult and therefor has to suffer the concenquences.

'it appears Snape and Umbridge unknowingly worked together to ensure Remus never got another job.'

what fanfiction did you get that from?

Snape hated umbitch, just like everyone else. He screwed her over when he could - along with the teachers. And when she was gone, he was happy.

so much wrong with your post dude.
alreadymadwithseverus
179. DaniTheRavenclawNerd
Snape to me is one of the most realistic characters there is in the Harry Potter series.
Imagine coming from an unloving home, where you feel absolute no love and then you come to a school, where your meant to be happy and your constantly bullied by this three boys and one that just stands there doing nothing. Then you have a man come to you offering you power and respect, because that what I think Voldemort did to get followers. He offered them a world where they would be respected and the 'top dogs'.

Snape loved Lily to me it isn't creepy, I think people make it creepy. Snape did NOT know the prohecy was about Lily at first, but when he did he tried to protect her and he put his life on the line to protect her. (He became a spy for Dumbledore).

As for his treatment to Harry. Well if I had been tormented by a guy for years and then his son came and looked nearly exactly like him, a part of me wouldn't be able to take it and I would probably leave, but Snape didn't have that option. Voldemort and Dumbledore were forcing him to stay.

I also understand Snape's treatment of Hermione because in the first few movies she was an know it all and was really annoying. But she was also a muggle-born.
Snape knew Voldemort was coming back and some of the children that he taught were the children of his followers.

Imagine Voldemort coming back and he hearing that Snape was being fair to muggle-borns? I don't think he would approve, So Snape had to act a little mean towards them.

Snape shows the story of how mistakes cost you a lot and how love can never really die. He's my favourite character and a man I really look up to in a sense and I think Alan Rickman played him perfectly.
alreadymadwithseverus
181. Ronald Abi Haidar
First of all, Snape never knew he was selling the Potters out to Voldemort. He never knew which boy the Prophecy was talking about. Why do you think Neville Longbottom was also considered to be the wizard who stops the Dark Lord? Because we never knew who it really was. When Snape soon found out that it was Lily Potter's Boy who was in danger, he i
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182. Hufflepuffyyyy
Really? To me, Snape does deserve our pity. He is not popular and never was or would be. In Hogwarts as a student and teacher, he was despised. Harry did the exact same thing Snape did to him, which is accuse each other of doing things they didn't do. The first book Harry thinks Snape is evil and in cohoots with Voldemort, and Snape just thinks Harry is like his dad. Honestly James Potter was always popular and the opposite of Snape. Also, without Snape, Harry would have died. Snape saved Harry's life. But the one character I hate is Sirius because he was like the one who made James torment Snape.
Snape is incredibly spiteful, but he always remebers. He remebered that James saved his lifr and after all those years, he saved Harry's. He is extremely loyal, working as a double agent. But no one likes Snape even at the end. Except Harry who knew his story. Snape was a flawed character, just like everyone else, but Snape had feelings. Unlike Voldemort, Snape would cry. Snape could cry and feel emotion. I think snape grew bitter over the years because in the flashbacks Snape seemed happier.
And yes, Snape took his anger out on harry. But any chance Harry had to frame Snape, Harry did. Also, it hurts being bullied and seing the love of life's child with someone how was increbily mean to you, hurts even more.
Chris Nelly
183. Aeryl
@182, Yes but one of those people is an adult and should damn well know better than to act that way.

And I have one word that refutes ANY justification for Snape's behavior.

Hermione.

Hermione never did anything to Snape, nor was she related to James Potter which is why everyone seems to excuse Snape's behavior towards Harry.

Yet, he insults her and belittles her in class all the time, takes points from Harry for NOT doing what Hermione has done(read the entire textbook prior to class), yet never rewards Hermione for her dedication and effort.

And then, in year four, when she's hexed by a Slytherin that makes her(already large) front teeth begin growing, and requests permission to go to the Hospital Wing, he states, smirking, that he sees no difference.

I don't care if Snape "had to be" mean to Harry or else blow his cover, there is NO excuse for the way he treated Hermione.
alreadymadwithseverus
186. Alice001
"Except Snape kept carrying that torch for Lily. On paper it sounds sort of beautiful, but in actuality… that’s kind of creepy."

I was with you until that.
Chris Nelly
187. Aeryl
@186, Why, do you live in a world where stalking doesn't happen?

Snape's behavior has a real life analog, and the women who the "Lillys" in those cases find it creepy, because it is. It's a love that completely erases the other individual from that paradigm. It's WAY problematic.
alreadymadwithseverus
188. Alice001
@187 Calling someone creepy for loving someone who doesn't love them back is sickening. People don't generally choose how they feel about people, and sometimes they can't just move on.

What does that have to do with stalking? I don't remember the books too well, but I don't remember Snape ever stalking Lily. Are you saying that showing unrequited love could somehow lead to stalking?

"the women who the "Lillys" in those cases find it creepy, because it is."
" No, it's not. If anything, they're the creepy ones for being so repulsed by the idea of someone being in love with them.
Chris Nelly
189. Aeryl
sometimes they can't just move on

This is unhealthy behavior and should be dealt with by a licensed professional.

I don't remember Snape ever stalking Lily.

It's right there in the first memory in the Snape flashback, he'd been following her for weeks.

If anything, they're the creepy ones for being so repulsed by the idea of someone being in love with them.

This is just disturbing. No one is entitled to love. No one is entitled to have their love reciprocated.

Why should Lily NOT be repulsed by Snape's love for her? He uses his feelings for her as an excuse why it's ok to abuse other Muggle borns, he uses his affection for her as an excuse to engage in a seven year feud with a fellow student, he mistreats her Muggle sister, and gladly attempts to sacrifice her family for his own gratification.
alreadymadwithseverus
190. Alice001
This is unhealthy behavior and should be dealt with by a licensed professional.

Yeah, not being able to move on is unhealthy, but it doesn't make someone a creep and it's not some kind of moral short coming or something.

It's right there in the first memory in the Snape flashback, he'd been following her for weeks.

Oh damn, I really do have an awful memory. Sorry, my bad, that's freaking terrible, and I agree that stalking is creepy as frick. Despite this, I thought that what the author meant by "carrying that torch for Lily" was continuing to love her, and I don't think that continuing to love her was creepy and that's what I was addressing originally. Was not addressing stalking.

This is just disturbing. No one is entitled to love. No one is entitled to have their love reciprocated.

People are are "entitled" to love whoever they want. I wasn't saying that anyone was entitled to having their love reciprocated. I wasn't saying that it's creepy not to reciprocate someone's love. What I meant is that it's totally messed up for someone to consider another person a creep for loving them just because they don't reciprocate their feelings.

Why should Lily NOT be repulsed by Snape's love for her?

Because there's nothing wrong with Snape loving her.

He uses his feelings for her as an excuse why it's ok to abuse other Muggle borns, he uses his affection for her as an excuse to engage in a seven year feud with a fellow student, he mistreats her Muggle sister, and gladly attempts to sacrifice her family for his own gratification.

I agree, Snape was a horrible person, but these are all examples of the horrible things he did while using his feelings as an excuse. This doesn't make simply having the feelings wrong or creepy.

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