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.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl

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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
33. laram
Typo! Should be "toeing a line", not "towing".
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.
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. MarielaB
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? ;-)

49. Kitty

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.


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.
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+).
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?
54. kitty

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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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...
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.
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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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?


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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
87. So tired of this

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.
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.
89. OriTheScribe

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.
96. OriTheScribe

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.
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.
101. Orithescribe

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.
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.
104. kitty

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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 >^.,.^
115. blue
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
122. millioncats

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.
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."
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...
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
131. candy

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?
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
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'.
134. millioncats

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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'.).

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
165. Aaron Baker
I'm not, by the way, trying to excuse his cruelty.
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" ?
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.
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!
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"
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.
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
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!
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.
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
177. LoonyLuna

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!
178. hiroi

'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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
191. Howard T.
First, I'd like to argue that the ideology Snape developed in his teen-adult years prior to Lily's death is not entirely his fault. He was, after all, placed in the Slytherin house and raised in an environment of extreme prejudice. The pure-blood stereotype, for example, is an idea transmitted and pushed onto him by the prejudiced Slytherin people with which he is inadvertently associated. Can you really fault him for having a disagreeable alignment with the Voldemort school of thought and actions? He is what those around him (including his abusive family, his bullies, and even his Death-Eater-to-be comrades) have made him to be. That said, he was sometimes admittedly awkward during his teen years..


After Lily's death:
I like to think that Snape's outward prejudice in favor of Slytherin was meant as a ruse to maintain his identity among not only the Death Eaters and the Voldemort community surrounding him, but also to the protagonists themselves.
Even with Snape being perhaps one of the best occlumens of his time, the minds of those around him, such as those of Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, or any wizard other than the best are less secure and much more easily exploited/exploitable.
In order to create the illusion that he is completely on Voldemort's side, Snape has to provide 'evidence' of his loyalty on all fronts.
He must give a convincing image (includes his open display of disdain toward the Gryffindors and 'mudbloods') to the students of the Slytherin house, a number of which have Death Eater parents who come in contact with the mind-reading Voldemort. He must do the same to everyone else: once a mind leaks Snape's triple agency, he would no longer be able to carry out his mission.

Thus, taking this perspective, I feel severely wronged by this article. I agree that Snape does not deserve pity, it'd be dishonoring the sacrifices he's made for everyone. Snape deserves to be honored.
Snape must have had an incredibly strong conviction and an even stronger will to have been able to withstand an entire life of severe emotional pain + zero happiness and still come away the better man.

I hope I wasn't too overt in my Snape fandom here.
192. Liliana
First of all, I'd like to say that this is a great article and I agree with the sentiment behind it, especially the last two paragraphs, about how Snape wouldn't have wanted to be pitied. However, I had a few issues with the accuracy of each point you made.

"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."
This isn't completely true—it's generally accepted (at least, in everything that I know about the Potter fandom) that Snape didn't know that the prophecy referred to Harry; he just wanted to please his master and told him about the prophecy without even knowing that it could be about Lily's family. I'm not saying that what he did was honorable, since he probably did know that Voldemort would try to kill whichever child the prophecy was talking about, but he didn't know it had anything to do with Lily.
Phil Boswell
194. NotACat
Snape didn't know that the prophecy referred to Harry; he just wanted to please his master and told him about the prophecy without even knowing that it could be about Lily's family. I'm not saying that what he did was honorable, since he probably did know that Voldemort would try to kill whichever child the prophecy was talking about, but he didn't know it had anything to do with Lily.
But then when he found the connection to Lily, he wasn't bothered that she would suffer the incalculable loss of her beloved and her child, he was only concerned that he might lose her. He even begged Voldemort to spare her in return for Harry's life and Dumbledore had to press him hard to accept help for them all, even if it turned out to be fruitless.

And then, after that failure, he took out all of his bitterness on Harry and Neville, the most innocent victims imaginable.

I can just picture him arriving at his own version of King's Cross to be met by Alice and Lily, and the two ladies taking it in turns explaining just how much he messed up by treating their sons so badly.
195. Maurizio
These are actually really good points but in all fairness Harry wasn't lily white either and probably asked for it most of the time, Snape actually helped him on many occasions (mostly the first movies) and even saved his life at one point but Harry ignored it and never thanked him (Yes he is uptight and treats him and his friends like shit in class and like you said, favouring the bad students or anyone else in his house but Potter still should of been a tad appreciative).

And then there's The Order of The Phoenix when he generously teaches Harry to block Voldemort from his mind and control his emotions (even if it was under Dumbledore's order), again instead of appreciating that he helped him, he threw it back in his face and started whinging because it was too traumatizing and uncomfortable (I know something like that would be hard but Severus still tried to teach him how to control his emotions) then he vindictively made Snape see "his worst memory" which pissed him off and stopped the lesson all together (although Snape still made unnecessary comments and was a bit impatient with Harry), with all those points I just mentioned I must say that Snape did kind of make peace with his past in his own way but didn't do it good enough.

And what about Sirius?, I love the character and he's my second favourite behind Severus but considering he also had a painful past (almost as worst as Snape's) and went through hell with his snobbish and sadistic pure blood family (which convinces me that he joined the bullying over the frustrations of his family since that is one of the main reasons of bullying) he made Severus go through the same pain as he did and If he really disliked his family and wanted to be different from them (which is what actually him an intresting character) he wouldn't of been a dick and act the same as them and would of stopped James from tormenting him and probably comforted him and told him that he knew what he was going through since Snape also had family problems, I may haven't read the books but I've done my research and read that Sirius pulled a prank on him that could of killed him forcing James to save him though they still remained enemies and if Sirius was really regretful about those things, he would of made an effort to apologise and let bygones be bygones though I understand why he didn't with the mistreatment of Harry (his godson) and with Snape's attitude, he would of threw back in his face.

So that is my point of view, I'm not saying Severus is the good guy nor Am I disagreeing with this topic because most of the things he done was wrong but I'm saying that he wasn't the only villain.

Also although he doesn't deserve a medal and shouldn't be marked a saviour for it, I actually found what Snape did to be heroic and brave and I don't blame him for his attitude.
196. Amna
Hi guys :) Speaking of the bullying thing, there aren't many scenes when Snape has bullied his students. Yes, he is unfair to Harry, but I think people are going overboard with the 'he-traumatized-Neville' thing. I mean, he WASNT going to poison his toad. He'd be fired for that and besides, it was just a way to make Neville work harder.
Also, Neville is a an idiot and EVERY teacher gets fed up with him. Oh, but I forget! It's alright if McGonagall snaps at him and punishes him and belittles him, but it's not alright if Snape snaps at him sometimes too?
Yes, Snape could be vindictive and spiteful, but it was half for his double-spy cover and half because he hated teaching.
He is not always rude to Hermione. Remember "An answer copied almost word for word from the Standard use of spells, but correct in essentials,"
that shows he was trying to tell her not to be such a parrot in his own, rude way but also admitting that get answer was correct in essentials.
When Parvati Patil and Dean Thomas ask him questions, he replies-yes, he looks bored and impatient, but he is not rude and as a teacher, fulfills his responsibility.
He only pounces on Harry when he sees him talking and the "There's no need to call me sir, Professor," stunt would have gotten him in a hell load of trouble. Admit it, Snape was lenient. McGonagall would kill Harry.
Moving on, his love for Lily isn't really strange. Maybe it's because none of us have really gone through it.
9-11 years-finds her beautiful and a good friend
12-13-Finds her a very good friend and has a child crush on her
14-15-Fancies her, but is too emotionally unstable and shy to say so, and tries to impress her, not knowing she only finds him a friend
16-young man-Joins Death eaters, but always remembers Lily.
21-31-Is reminded of his love for Lily when she dies. Works for Dumbledore for one cause-To redeem himself in Lily's eyes, even though she is dead.
31-38-Seeing Harry everyday is not easy, even JKR said that that was where most of the bitterness spawned from. He can't forget Lily because that's the only reason he is at Hogwarts. How can he forget the cause he is working for? That's not obsessing.
Yes, the taking Lily's photograph thing may seem creepy but Snape kept it as a souvenir. Everyone does that. They want a picture of those they love.
He is so brave it hurts and JKR admits it. Harry seems to have forgiven him, so we should to. I love him and yes, I find him very attractive. Ahem-in his own, dark, disturbing way.
197. Cathey
Okay I read comments 1-30+, but I'm too tired to go through the rest.

I can understand why readers liked him after the last book, "JK Rowling told a better love story in one chapter than Stephanie Meyer did in four books", but I have to agree that he's still not a hero, 0r even a nice person.

His love towards Lily was really creepy. He didn't care for her happiness and wellbeing and love at all. The only thing that he had ever done for Lily was ask for Dumbledore and Voldemort to not let her die, so pretty much he only cares that his "love" lives. Don't kids usually get mad at parents who would only protect them when they're facing danger but never care about anything else? Didn't Crouch Jr. kill his dad, even though Crouch Sr. helped him out of Azkaban? And while he agreed with Dumbledore to protect her family as well (probably because Dumbledore won't agree with such selfish requests), I don't think he asked Voldy to spare James or Harry, since Voldy didn't hesitate at all to kill James. Even after their death, when Snape found a letter from Lily to Sirius, he only kept the half that had Lily in it and threw James and Harry's half to the ground. Snape's love is more of a creepy obsession than genuine care for someone. The fact that even Sirius and Lupin were unaware of this "love" speaks enough that Snape never did much for her, but simply had this fantasy of her. In real life these people are called creepy.

Snape's memories showed that James Potter was an extremely arrogant bully, but those were Snape's memories. Alright Lily was a more lovable person, but many people commented that James was a charming and talented boy, as well as a brave and skilled wizard. Snape said that James saved him in order to save his own butt from being kicked out of school, but that was probably also Snape's biased point of view. Harry saved Draco Malfoy, too, and I assume Malfoy might think Harry did that to not be in Malfoy's debt, but I think we can all agree that Harry did that because he was a good person. So how can one be so sure that James saved Snape only because his student status at Hogwarts was at stake, and not at all because James actually intended to save his enemy's life?

I don't think it's that unforgivable that James wasn't friendly to Snape during their school years. Snape wasn't friendly to him either. Even Lily said that Snape's obsession with dark magic was making everyone view him as a freak and a future death eater. James also suspected that Snape had feelings for Lily. Do you really expect James to be nice to Snape? He's pretty much an older version of Malfoy with less family status, personal charm, popularity, more academic brilliance, plus the love enemy status. James was going to be an Auror and a member of the Order of the Pheonix, Snape was going to be a death eater. Do people seriously blame James for going against Snape? Even Lily was tired of her friendship with Snape - Lily almost laughed as well when Snape was hung upside down. She stood up for him for the sake of their childhood friendship, and probably also because she was a prefect and she should.

Yeah James was arrogant early on, but nobody's perfect, and Lupin assured Harry that James grew out of it later. James was head boy in his final year, even though he didn't make prefect. Dumbledore must have been convinced by then that James was a mature and reliable man. And seriously, are we really going to judge a person only based on his enemy's words? He wasn't all that serious at all times, but are we really going to conclude that he was a worthless lazy man just because Snape said so?

Lily was really popular back in the days. She didn't choose James because that was her only choice. She loved James, and I do think it's reasonable. James was talented and charming. He was head boy, player of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, top grades, and he loved Lily too. It's not like he brew a love potion. So people belittling James is really being too harsh. Snape came out of a bad family

Anyway, back to Snape. Snape was indeed very good in terms of academics, but Slughorn didn't even think of him as an important member in his Slug Club. In fact, Lily was the potions genius in his class. I'm not sure if he helped Lily out or if he just wrote down the ideas originated by Lily. But still, Snape was by a mile smarter than Hermione. Hermione read books and quoted books, but Snape invented and improved upon the already given. Snape would have made a great teacher if he actually respected his students and didn't make class so intense that it seemed scary. But he was too much of an asshole to be that guy.

My opinion is that Snape was a person on the good side, but definitely not a good person, and he got what he deserved. Harry naming his son after Snape is totally wrong. I'm pretty sure James would be furious at this. Severus Potter? Are you kidding me...
198. Cathey
Oops I think I didn't finish one of my paragraphs. Snape came out of a miserable family, but James was born to his elderly parents who died during his Hogwarts years. He was spoiled way too bad, and kids like that are almost always jerks. If people can understand Snape's dark nature, they should also understand James' egotism. James matured after his parents passed away, and people should stop focusing on the fact that he used to be a jerk.
199. Goultard

So it's ok to bully, strip and attempt to murder someone for 7 years out of jealously, for fun and for what might happen in the future? and you think that was the Maraduers did was normal teen behavior? wow.

I also love how you disregard canon, and also say 'he got what he deserved' because he was mean, while in the same breath - praising the marauders for being horrid little men. dunno if you noticed, but:

1. The pensive shows memories from a third person, non biased point of view. So what you see, is what happened.

2. The notes, spells and corrections in the potions book are all Snape's

3. What James and co did - was not acceptable AT ALL.

And you wonder why people don't like the maraduers and think they never grew up? gee, I wonder why.
200. Cathey
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Snape's memories were of course biased towards him, regardless of whether it's directly from his point of vision. But even in the most skewwed perspective, he wasn't this innocent victim.

Every single person in Hogwarts knew what Snape was becoming and has already become. Listen to what Lily said when Snape came to apologize. My friends don't know why I'm still friends with you... What your friends are doing is plain evil... Why are you so obsessed with them... You call everybody a mudblood... So Snape would not show Harry what he's done in the past, but from described, Snape was no innocent man. He's way beyond what Draco Malfoy ever was in school. He was just a tad better than Tom Riddle for not actually killing and framing other people to it. You think the crowd was cheering just because his pants were dirty? No, they were cheering because everybody hated him for what he actually was as well.

How do you think Snape treated James? Sirius commented that Snape never let go of a single opportunity to curse James, and from what Snape's memory suggested, the curses he launched were no ordinary curses. What do you think the spell was that missed James by a fingernail in Snape's memory? Read that again, it was obviously Sectumsempra. That curse is barely below the unforgivables, and Snape aimed for James' face/head. So Snape not only invented it in the hopes of hurting James, he attempted it. What were the top spells Harry used against death eaters and Voldemort himself when it was life and death? Expelliarmus, Stupefy, and Protego. That should be evident of how evil Snape was. And no, I don't blame James and Sirius for taunting him a single bit. Even Harry said that if Fred and George was to do that to Malfoy, it would have been okay because Malfoy deserved it. Well, in that case, I don't know how Snape would not deserve it.

By the way I don't see how James and Sirius was unforgivable in that event. Sure, they fired jinxes at Snape, but Snape was nowhere near defenseless. He was drawing his wand to curse James but James was faster and disarmed him. He was climbing back up for his wand to continue cursing when Sirius knocked him over. He was ranting dark curses without his wand when James asked him to clean his mouth. And he was firing Sectumsempra at James before James spun over and hung him upside down. Unacceptable? It was almost self defense.

If you don't trust me or the Maraduers, look at Lily. Lily made head girl and was way more mature than James' gang, so most likely Lily was prefect then, which meant Lily did not stop James simply because she wanted to help Snape, she probably did that out of responsibility. But Lily almost laughed when Snape was humiliated, she taunted him as well, and called him Snivellus. You think Lily was on Snape's side until that mudblood insult? No. Lily was on James' side. She just didn't like James being such a fool. As soon as Snape declared that he didn't need her help, she was done even mediating.

And if you don't even trust Lily, look at Dumbledore. Dumbledore spoke to Snape with total disgust just three years after his graduation. He was politer with Tom Riddle actually. That should be another evidence of how the wizarding world regarded Snape. He wasn't a respectful man at all. This isn't Harry being bullied for superficial reasons with Dudley's gang. Snape was practically a death eater already, and not a Malfoy type, a Bellatrix type. About James? McGonagall was so shocked and heart broken when she confirmed with Dumbledore about Lily and James Potter's death. From her words, they were clearly very nice people that everybody liked.

I do blame James Potter for one thing, which is Peter Pettigrew's turn about. I'll say this, James was nowhere near nice to Snape, but he still respected him as an enemy. James had no respect for Wormtail. He was kinda unaware that Peter even had feelings. He overlooked Peter's existence and personal feelings for his entire student career, and eventually that led to Peter turning dark and his betrayal.

Yes, I do think Snape deserved to lose Lily in every way possible. He deserved to lose her friendship as a teenager because of his personal choices. He deserved to lose her romantically, and specifically to James Potter, because he could never love her in a proper and right way. And I don't think Lily deserved to die, but Snape definitely deserved to lose her for good when after everything, he did not care at all that those who Lily loved would live. So he asked for Lily's life to be spared, but how would Lily live after James and Harry was killed? His so called love was only some unhealthy obsession and a desire for possession, and for that, Snape deserved to lose her for good.

I get it that Rowling wanted to make her characters real. So all the heros had flaws, and all the villains had their merits or causes, and she redeemed everyone possible. But she did make a mistake by making the plot twists overdramatic, so in the end the readers had biased judgements again. She wanted to show that Dumbledore wasn't always a saint in his life, but then people thought of Dumbledore as an old schemer who would do anything for "the greater good". She wanted to show that James Potter wasn't really this perfect man all along, so she showed us how he was less mature when he was younger, and then the readers thought Harry had a terrible dad. She wanted to show how Snape had a cause for everything he's done and become, and how miserable and conflicted Snape actually was, and then the readers took his side in everything. She made things kind of extreme and abrupt, but even if you ask Rowling herself, Snape was not a hero, and why would anyone want his love?

And by the way, did you even listen to me? Slughorn adored Lily, and said she was the best in potions in that class. Slughorn almost neglected Snape. So that means Lily had her improved version of potions that could actually beat Snape's version by a mile? Yeah those were Snape's writings, but who knows if those ideas were original, or if he wrote down what originally came from Lily? Either that or he sacrifised himself so Lily would be the star in the class for Slughorn. Ever wondered why Dumbledore hammered him to teaching potions instead of defense against the dark arts? It's probably because that would help remind him of Lily. I do acknowledge Snape's academical success in the dark arts, but potions? Well, he was brilliant, but those weren't necessarily his original ideas.
Bridget McGovern
204. BMcGovern
Comments 201-203 unpublished. Please keep our moderation policy in mind, moving forward: be respectful of other commenters even when disagreeing with their opinions, avoid personal attacks, and keep the discussion calm and civil. Thank you.
205. Goultard

Its nice to know that you can condone bullying and victim blaming, but the moment someone replies back, then its wrong. Sounds just like real life to me.

I'll write a short reply then,

What needs to be said? Not much. You buried yourself by:

. Saying the victim deserved it based on the fact that others hated him
. Saying the victim did something to make the bullies mad
. Ignored canon - like how a pensive works, and the fact that the spells and tweaks in the potions book belonging to Snape, were made by snape.
. Condone bullying

Wow. To think, the above is ok to say, but replying isn't. How cute.
Bridget McGovern
206. BMcGovern
Again: Please keep the conversation in perspective, focused on the books and ideas involved, and not make it into a personal attack on other users, in keeping with our site policy. The overall tone of this discussion is getting overheated and uncomfortable, and as a moderator I'm requesting that everyone who wants to take part keep their replies civil and avoid inflammatory and accusatory language in any further comments.
207. Random22
Personally I blame Dumbledore and Minerva. As head and dep-head they let the feud simmer (either they were aware and did nothing, or this longing running Gryffindor-v-Slytherin was something they didn't notice and are therefore incompetent) with both sides being as bad as each other until it escalated into serious assault territory (sadly this is not confined to magical schools, you can find this sort of thing in real ones too only with knifes and guns instead of wands and dark magic). By the time people are being dangled in the air or are shooting around dark magic, then its already gone too far and both sides are as bad as each other.

There is also the whole everyone-that-goes-to-slytherin-is-dark thing that Hogwarts has got going too. Once you get sorted into there the rest of the school essentially writes you off. That pretty much means if you aren't prone to dark thoughts of revenge when you go in, by the time graduation rolls around, you pretty much are coming out. That is a toxic environment that the Head and Dep-head ought to have sorted out long before Snape and Potter Sr. ever came to blows.
209. Ameena Mozaffar
That. Was. Fantastic. I've always gotten a bit annoyed when people praise snape but i could never really put into words why I dislike Severus. Now I'll just direct people to this page. You captured EXACTLY what I have thought about Snape in this piede of writing. Harry may have said Severus was one of the bravest men he knew, but he never mentioned anything about Snape being a good person. Keep it up!
210. Cathey
BMcGovern, thanks. I never meant to offend any of the viewers, and I don't think I did or said anything vaguely personal. But I had to object when the guy told me I was the worst person on the planet for a different opinion about a fictional character. Thank you for cooling it down.

About Snape, one thing that I don't agree with most viewers is that he was a victim. Victims are the people who get ambushed and beat up for no reason and didn't or was in no position to fight back. Snape wasn't. If anything, even the collision in Snape's memory had him drawing wands before either James or Sirius, and that curse that he actually got to draw at James was clearly Sectemsempra. Snape was probably the only person who knew the counter then, so I do think that Snape was more aggresive with James than the other way around. And if that's the story, then James shouldn't be blamed as hard as the readers are blaming him now.

I'm not saying people should be bullied for being unpopular. But Snape wasn't bullied because he was unpopular. Heck, I don't think Snape was bullied at all. He had his own pack of friends, which are, by Lily's words, all death-eaters-to-be, and they went around the campus jinxing weaker students because they thought it was fun. James' gang rivalled his, and while Snape used dark magic, James' gang used public humiliation. That's pretty much it. I don't like the idea of taking off someone's pants off in public, but I dislike using things like Sectemsempra on schoolmates more. And if that's what Snape was doing, then I forgive James. And to go back to the argument earlier, I don't think Snape was a victim of James' bullying, I think he was confronted by James because James hated dark magic.

Dark magic is pretty much the magic of all inhumanity. They're all designed to hurt, torture, kill, or make someone operate against their will. How can people back this up or ignore this, really? I'd hate people who practiced such things too. It's not just another time killer hobby, and though it works, it shouldn't be used as a tool to the rise of power (Grindelward, Voldy). So James challenged him, but did other people respect him? I'm talking about the times before James and Lily's death. Dumbledore and Lily are probably the nicest people with the best judgements back then, and they were digusted by that.

And I'm not saying that the pensive mispresents. I'm saying, you can pick memories to show. Sure, there's one memory of losing the fight with James (yes, I insist that it's losing. Snape raised his wand for terrible curses, but was repeatedly outsped), but there must have been hundreds of other memories of Snape practicing dark magic that Lily started to disapprove of him. You can't come to all conclusions with one memory. Everything else in the book suggests that Snape was dark and his relationship with James was rival, not bully/victim.

I know Snape is extremely popular, and I do think that he's an extremely wellwritten character (meaning well-developed, well-explained, multidimensional, and real), but just for character analysis, I think most people are terribly skewed for their opinions on Snape and James' gang.
Adam S.
211. MDNY
@210 Cathey- I'm not one of those people who thinks Snape was the most likeable guy or did nothing wrong, but I'm also not a staunch defender of James and Sirius. The truth is that they did bully Snape. Most clearly are the two examples we saw in the pensieve, with the levicorpus example after the OWLs, and especially at their very first encounter, on the Hogwarts Express their first year. They had never even met him, but James starting teasing him cruelly right off the bat.
212. kerubim

I'm a woman, first off. And secondly, you can insist that the marauders are not bullies until you are blue in the face. Doesn't mean that they arn't bullys.

They are, bullys. JK says so. 4-1 screams bullys, we have plenty of evidence, the penisve never lies and in the books snape wasn't expecting Harry to go through his stuff, so there was no 'picking and choosing' memories. I also can't help but notice, that you are claiming that certain things happened - that never happened - to justify what James did.

And the whole 'victims don't fight back' mentality is horrid. Plenty of bullying victims defend themselves, or at least try to. Do you honestly think that a victim must lie there, do nothing, and take it?

The only time that Sectumsempera was ever used in book (when snape was a student), was in that one instance where James ambushed him, hung him upside down, de pantsed him and filled his mouth with soap for daring to sit under a tree and mind his own business. It was never used again or said to have been used before, and if he had used it as often as you are claiming, then he'd have been expelled.

And being expelled means he is barred from practicing magic anymore, and his wand is snapped.

So it's in his best interest not to go around using it.

give me page numbers, book numbers and paragraphs where it shows - not tells - but shows that:

1. Snape was hexing students like James and co were
2. That he had actual friends beside Lily

Remember, Remus and Sirius are bullys and bullys will use any excuse to justify what they do. Lily also was hinted at not being perfect either, when she told no one about her friends abusive home life and smiled when he was getting depantsed.

Heck, you even gave plenty more reason why Lily's not as pure as JK tried to pass her off as. So shes a biased source.

Dumbledore, when he was younger, was ready to enslave all muggles on the drop of a hat for his boyfriend. The only thing that stopped him, was his sisters - whom he treated like garbage - death.

He then went 'good', used people, left people in abusive homes (snape and harry), allowed bullying (james and co) waved off an attempted murder (sirius sending snape to werewolf!remus) and used people.

doesn't sound like a very nice man, now does he?

In the train ride, right off the bat, James mocks him, tripps him, and laughs at him for daring to have a different opinion while talking with his friend privately.

JK also said that partly why James bullied him, is beacause of his relationship with Lily - he was jealous. the other reason was, and this was from James' own mouth: "it's the fact that he exist's if you know what I mean"

and as for Snape not being unpopular, it's in the books. Kids are cruel and will hate anyone for any reason. Like being poor, ugly, unkept, introverted, different, etc. The list goes on.

Bullys bully because they can. And that's why James and co did so. Because they enjoyed it, Snape was a good target, and they got away with it because no one cared about whom they were bullying.

And that's a lot more common - the mindset - then you think.

It also wasn't one memory. It was several, with JK to back up what we already know: James was a bully, Remus allowed it, Sirius helped and Peter helped.

I do believe this reply is in line with the rules. Or at least I hope so.
213. Random22
Bullied kids are often hypersensitive to situations, there was a point in the 90s where they were cracking down on knife crime at a local high school and most of the kids caught with knives were the victims of bullying. They were dumb, they were kids, but they had been bullied so severely, put under such stress, that they felt the only way to feel safe was carry a knife. Not nice, but most of them were the victims. Kids that are bullied often react as if every social interaction is a prelude to an attack, because so often it is.

There was an article on cracked of all places last week about why people join hate-groups. Number one reason? Fear. Hate groups (and cults like the one with the alien from beyond the dawn of time that promotes you based on a payment-plan) target the weak and the bullied because they are backed into corners and will do anything that lets them defend themselves. Sound familiar?

Snape overreacting when the Mauraders and Peter turn up is a classic sign of a kid who has been severely bullied. His over identification and easy recruitment with and by a hate group (until it suddenly affects someone he thinks of as family) is an equal sign.

Yes, Severus Snape deserve my pity. Not my admiration, friendship, or affection, but pity certainly. And as already stated upthread, it is all Dumbledore's fault. The Headmaster must carry the can for this one., the buck should have stopped there.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
214. Lisamarie
"Victims are the people who get ambushed and beat up for no reason and didn't or was in no position to fight back" - this is so wrong, on so many levels. Do you think that women who get raped by acquanitances they 'led on', or who fought back weren't actually raped? I am not making this a personal accusation, but just saying this mentality leads to really ugly things.

I was bullied as a child (and not one of the ones who was able to really fight back, either) and Snape's treatment, as well as his overreaction, rings true. I don't think Snape was a stand up guy either, especially in regards to the way his love for Lily manifested or his treatment of his students (and I know there are some reasons that his personality was shaped that way, but it's still wrong) - but James and Sirius were bullies, and Lupin was an enabler. (And Lupin is actually one of my favorite characters so I don't think he didn't change or anything).
215. MsSardonicus
I think it's a shame that dissenting viewpoints are not allowed here, especially now when it seems to be a fad to deliberately ignore Canon and then we're admonished to stick to the books? But I have to try again and say that I have to object to the argument that we should listen to what other characters like James, Sirius et. al. say about Snape in order to condemn him. As I tried to point out in one of my comments which was removed, part of the point is that, as Harry grows up, he starts to question his notions about who his parents were, the charaters of some of the people he has looked up to, and instead comes to make his own judgements. And those judgements include forgiving Snape and considering him worthy of recognition. I just don't know what people believe that the underlying message of the stories is supposed to be, if they are willing to throw Snape out altogether?
216. Cathey
Look, you people need to stop snapping back at everything and attacking people for different opinions. I've read the series a thousand times and things don't seem the same when you really start to think about them.

From Lily's words, Snape did have friends and they were all young death eaters who already started doing horrible stuff in school. If you're going to argue about that, well, we haven't been introduced to much of Lily's gal friends either. Doesn't mean Lily didn't have any.

Dumbledore was pretty childish when he graduated Hogwarts. He was kind of like Percy, and he had this obsession in "the greater good". I say he still had it even after Ariana's death, but then he had a different definition of it and he realized his mistakes in neglecting family and stopped being blinded by his love to Grindelward. I kind of feel like it's that relationship with Grindelward that enabled Dumbledore to see the nature in other people later in his life.

Dumbledore shied away for ~40 years before manning up to duel Grindelward, and he teared when Harry suggested that perhaps Grindelward didn't want Voldemort to break into his tomb at King's cross, almost a century after he fell in love. It was probably the toughest decision in his life to actually stand up to Grindelward, and I think after that, he started to believe in "whatever it takes". I kinda believe that Dumbledore's perfection in the latter half of his life was largely due to the fact that defeating Grindelward sort of emptied him and made him believe in "the world before the people I love". I mean, he had to put his love in Nurmengard with his own hands. After that, sentencing Harry to death wasn't exactly something he's never done before anymore. (But still, he had to shut his eyes and take a deep breath before saying the words)

And then there's Dumbledore's biggest regret. Albus Dumbledore sees Ariana in both the mirror of erised and a boggart. And the reason Dumbledore was dying in book 6 was because he wanted to see Ariana so bad he forgot his precautions. You can say that he was foolish when he was young, and a strategist when he was old, but Dumbledore cold blooded and biased is just ridiculous.

Now where have I even gone with this...

Anyway I still stand by the point that that's just ONE memory. The entire wizarding world had lots of good words to say about James. Nobody said he was serious - most people actually told Harry flatly that he broke rules as much as the Weasley twins did, but everyone besides Snape admitted that he was a great man. And that's just ONE memory. According to Lily, Snape and his friends had lots of history that wasn't much gloriful. Btw how is saying Lily's image of Snape wasn't good an insult to Lily? She has a right to have her opinions, you know. Just because someone loves you doesn't mean you owe it to them to feel the same way. Being a nice person doesn't mean you have to love death eaters.

And I still stand by the opinion that Snape's relationship with James wasn't bully/victim. According to all resources, it was rivalry and hatred and Snape tried to curse (not jinx, curse) James whenever he got an opportunity. How is that victim? And I don't think James' hatred towards Snape was solely because Snape liked Lily. Even Sirius had no idea about that. That by best added a bit to the rivalry. Besides, there were lots of people who liked Lily then, if James' was that jeolous, he would have never been friends with Lupin. I guess you can say that James was a fool when he was 15, and he taunted Snape pretty harshly, but I don't think it's an accurate description to make the relationship look like Scabbers to Crookshanks. And it's never like Snape didn't contribute to the tension. Even when they first met, Snape started sneering before Sirius snapped back. And if you do add in the fact that Snape was joining Voldemort and James was joining the order of the pheonix, it's pretty understandable that the two didn't get along.

About Snape, I think he was incredibly insecure and he tried to feel less vulnerable by being a jerk who needed no friends. So there you go, he's grateful that Lily helped him, but could not bear to be under her protection and spat out "mudblood" to seem independent. He switched sides but won't allow Dumbledore to ever tell anybody why because he thinks it's embarrassing. James Potter actually risked his life to save him from a werewolf (I'll trust Dumbledore), but Snape convinced himself that James only did that to not get kicked out, in order to not feel like he owed James. He agreed to protect Lily's son, but even then he couldn't help to try to hate him as much as possible. At his post, he appeared to be an unreasonable asshole because he wants to be one. This could even explain his obsession with dark magic and following the mighty Voldemort and even nicknaming himself the half blood prince. I'm pretty sure he would have jinxed Harry mute if he was still alive when Harry announced to the entire school that Snape loved Lily for his entire life. It just conflicts with everything he ever tried to appear as.

So I don't really care about all that plot twist thing. Snape was never a nice person because he always tried to be the exact opposite.

I hope this is final. I'm so tired of this debate.
217. Cathey
Also for those who love to jump to conclusions about other posters just because they had a differing opinion, I'm not saying we should all be like James and taunt the weird introvert nerd kid in class. I don't support fighting, and if you really want to know the truth, I've been beat up by classmates because I was new to the country and didn't know their language well and my parents were living off phD student income. But that's no reason to mistreat other people yourself. So I don't think Snape's awful personality can be justified just by his boyhood.

We can always look at Adolf Hitler's childhood and say that it was crucial to what he later became. But other than explaining the cause, that justifies nothing. Okay we get it, you had a tough childhood and people weren't nice to you, but then why will you try to make the world a even worse place for other people?

I do agree that the HP series matured by showing people that nobody's perfect and there's a cause for everything, and we should make our own judgements. However, I think Rowling went a bit too far. In the beginning almost everything was either black or white, and she gradually painted a grey area. But she put too much effort moving the extremes that eventually people's opinions were extremed again to the opposite ends.
218. kitty

JK called it bullying: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/80132430.html

the books called it bullying.

Other people who've commented have called it bullying, poked holes in your 'logic' and explained why he joined the DE.

Half blood prince is a mish mash of his blood status: half blood
and his mothers maiden name: prince

Just because someone is spoken highly of by many people, means nothing. My grandfather was a psychopathic sadist and tormented/abused his entire family. Everyone outside of it loved him until he died.

It's all about charm and looks.

it has nothing to do with voldemort. Especially since neither james or snape were in the order or a DE during school.

Read a psychological book. It will tell you that abuse and bullying do screw people up for life - espically without therapy. Both mentally and emotionally.

Snape only once used a curse against james - once. James and co jinxed him several times each interaction. A jinx is lite dark magic. Is it bad now? is it bad to try and murder someone, to strip them?

if Remus had succeded in biting or killing snape then he'd at best be expelled and at worst killed and dumbledore would be in a lot of trouble.

and life endangered? how was james taking a risk? he was in his animagus form, and it's been established that in that form- he's fine and not in any danger.

You said that lily strung him along, laughed while he was being stripped. She never told anyone about his abusive home life (As in: never got him help from an adult) and dropped him because he was no longer useful. that's not the action of a good person. That is a terrible thing to do to another.

Canon says that it was multiple memories.

Dumbledore is not percy. Percy was loads less terrible than he. Percy never tried to enslave people, percy never abused his siblings, percy never left people in abusive homes nor did he use people like weapons.

As for the twins? they sold date rape drugs, candies that made people sick, almost killed ron's first pet as a child, almost killed a slytherin for a giggle, tried to get ron to make an unbreakable vow- the price for breaking one is death - at such a young age that little ron didn't even know what one was.

but they still were better than the maraduers. because they didnt' go 4-1 and didn't torment and bully someone for existing. Everyone was free game.

', I'm not saying we should all be like James and taunt the weird introvert nerd kid in class.'

everything you've said, proves the exact opposite of what you just said. It's all 'he deserved it. he must've done something to egg them on! it's all his fault for (blank)' sound familliar? it should.

James and co made the world a worst place for others. And they were spoilt, rich, happy boys. what's their excuse?

'About Snape, I think he was incredibly insecure and he tried to feel less vulnerable by being a jerk who needed no friends.'

excuse me? so now it's not only his fault that the entire school hates him, that he's being abused and bullied, but now it's his entire fault that he has no one? wow.

just wow.

are you aware that no one is agreeing with your: james wasn't a bully! stuff?

should I keep going?
219. Passerby

I agree with almost all your points except the one about Lily. When people are beaten down and trampled by live the way Snape was, the other thing that they have left to them is pride. That's why a lot of people refuse to seek help even though they need it, because they don't want to seem even more pathetic than they already are. Snape was the exact opposite of James, and the only thing he had left was his pride, which the marauders had already trampled on. Having Lily, the girl he likes tell others that he had an abusive childhood would only serve to make things worse and would be removing the only thing he had left.


You say Snape set himself up to be bullied because he was hanging around with the other death eaters. Let me point out his circumstances:

- Comes from a poor family without any status
- Is sorted into Slytherin where almost everyone is from a rich family with status who hate muggle borns
- Nobody from the other schools like people from Slytherin. This is pointed out several times in the books
- Is constantly bullied by the marauders and supposedly other people as well

Given these circumstances, it only makes sense that he would join the only group that would accept him, even if it meant joining the death eaters.

You would say that "He could've just ignored everyone and just go off by himself and be alone", well in that case I would say that you have probably never been bullied before. It's difficult to be the person who has the willpower to ignore everything that the world throws at him and just be alone, especially at the age where you desire companionship. In fact, the only way that he could get them to stop bullying him was to join a group that was powerful in a sense, and even that didn't stop them from tormenting him. Studies have shown that most bullies are actually victims of bullying themselves, and only bully others because they want to avoid being bullied. Also, I don't see any reason why Snape should ask Voldemort to save James like you mentioned since he absolutely loathes James to the core.

I would also like to correct you on a point regarding Percy. Was Percy a flawed character? Yes. Was he as flawed as Dumbledore was when he was younger? No. Percy worked for the ministry of magic and the minister himself, and has always been ashamed of his father for accepting his lot in life and not having higher ambitions. When the time came for him to choose, he chose the safer option, he chose to believe in the person and the ministry he worked for. In a sense, the ministry of magic was the foundation of the wizarding world in London and it was his ambition since young to work for them. As to why he didn't go back to his family after it was revealed that Voldemort was on the loose, it all boils down back to pride. Now compare this back to Dumbledore who was influenced by his childhood friend to enslave muggles and rule the world. The severity of their actions aren't even comparable. Percy chooses not to believe in something in what he assumes is a lie, and he wasn't the only one. Dumbledore chose to enslave millions. Although he didn't do it, it was only because of his sisters that stopped him, not because of the morality behind it.
220. Cathey
This is such a headache...

Dumbledore was the most brilliant student ever at Hogwarts and the greatest wizard ever to grace that world. He was unpeered until Grindelward came along. Yeah Grindelward had little ethics or morals but Dumbledore never met an equal before him. So Dumbledore fell for him, hard. He didn't approve of Grindelward's methods but he was at a age where people want to do something to make a difference (Dumbledore had the talents to do anything), and where people get blinded by love. He grew to realize that might isn't everything, but at a young age, people do try to "reach their full potential". You factor all that in, and it's sort of inevitable that Dumbledore got into that stuff when he was younger.

But Dumbledore is not cold-blooded. He's kind of like Percy in the sense that they both took family for granted and felt that their families were weighing them down, and then they neglected family in the pursuit of building up their resumes, and didn't realize the damage until they've gone too far. But Dumbledore stopped being friends with Grindelward after the accident and spent all his life in regret. He even died because he wanted to see his family again and tell them how sorry he was. Percy pretty much had the same story. The damage is done but you got to see how much Percy regreted his early career years. Percy named his daughter Molly. That should speak.

People sympathize with ones who had a bad childhood too much... I'm telling you, I know exactly how it feels like, but you can choose to be grateful for what you do get, instead of getting all angry and negative. James hated Snape but it's nothing like what Draco's been doing to Neville. I geuss you can call it bullying if by bully you mean mistreat or disrespect. But they weren't towering over Snape (btw even in the memory, it was 2-1. Peter was a cheerleader and Lupin was just air), and Snape along with his gang did some pretty despicable things too. If you really want to call it bullying, then it's bully vs. bully, not bully vs. victim. And bully vs. bully should just be called rivalry. So that's why I don't like people saying that James and co *bullied* Snape.

I don't really know what to say in terms of "ignoring the canon". HP is one of the best written child/teen fantasy adventure series. Things are extremely well constructed and well linked. Do you really need people to spell everything out for you? James' parents were elderly when James was born. They were still alive when James was in 6th grade but were dead by the time he married. What does that say? Lily said it out loud that Snape and his friends were becoming death eaters and questioned him for their doings repeatedly in fifth year (Snape didn't disagree). Just because she answered "we are" to Snape's "I thought we were friends" means she really adored him at that time? Prefects were supposed to keep things in order and Lupin confessed that he did a bad job - by duty Lily was supposed to stop James and Sirius.

I could go on, but please, just think about it instead of simply looking at the superficial.

Oh, plus, Snape definitely didn't join the death eaters because "he had to fit in somewhere". He was obsessed with the dark arts and blood purity and didn't care for the lives that he didn't love. That was pretty much true even before he entered Hogwarts and met James. He agreed with everything Voldemort believed in when he was young. Draco joined the death eaters because he had no other choice, but Snape?
221. cats

You are ignoring that everything everyone has said and linked you to that disproves everything you say - including your instance that 'james didn't bully him'.

Where was this so called 'gang' that Snape had? they were awfully absent when Snape was being stripped.

And is JK wrong when she calls it bullying? because you seem to think so.

'You factor all that in, and it's sort of inevitable that Dumbledore got into that stuff when he was younger.'

funny how dumbledores rise to eagierly do genocide is explained away because he was 'in love' and 'brilliant' but snapes joining of the DE's and getting bullied is sin and not possible and bad because:

'love isn't an excuse' 'De's are bad' 'he did something to deserve it' 'he was a bully despite no proof' 'etc.'

'But Dumbledore is not cold-blooded. He's kind of like Percy in the sense that they both took family for granted and felt that their families were weighing them down, and then they neglected family in the pursuit of building up their resumes, and didn't realize the damage until they've gone too far.'

passerbye already gave you an indepth explination as to why Percy and Dumbledore are non comparable.

'People sympathize with ones who had a bad childhood too much... I'm telling you, I know exactly how it feels like, but you can choose to be grateful for what you do get, instead of getting all angry and negative.'

we already went over why abuse doesn't work like: 'simply forget what happened and get over it' people don't work that way. What was there to be greatful for?

greatful that his parents neglected and abused him? greatful that he was bullied, stripped and almost murdered? greatful that he was friendless and people used him until he died?

'I geuss you can call it bullying if by bully you mean mistreat or disrespect. But they weren't towering over Snape (btw even in the memory, it was 2-1. Peter was a cheerleader and Lupin was just air), and Snape along with his gang did some pretty despicable things too.'

As I said many times before: stripping, attempted murder, ganging up and tormenting and physically hurting another for 7 years is bullying.

Lupin was a prefect and it was his job to stop them. His lack of acting is just as bad as bullying.

Where was Snape's gang? show me where they ever show up or do something?

;If you really want to call it bullying, then it's bully vs. bully, not bully vs. victim. And bully vs. bully should just be called rivalry. So that's why I don't like people saying that James and co *bullied* Snape'

becuase JK calls it bullying. In that link I gave you, JK says:

"he did not approve of their relentless bullying of Severus Snape"

'I don't really know what to say in terms of "ignoring the canon". HP is one of the best written child/teen fantasy adventure series. Things are extremely well constructed and well linked. Do you really need people to spell everything out for you?'

no one who's commented is agreeing with you. That alone should tell you something.

'James' parents were elderly when James was born. They were still alive when James was in 6th grade but were dead by the time he married.'

so thats an exuse for him to be a bully to snape and others for 7 years?

'What does that say? Lily said it out loud that Snape and his friends were becoming death eaters and questioned him for their doings repeatedly in fifth year (Snape didn't disagree). Just because she answered "we are" to Snape's "I thought we were friends" means she really adored him at that time?'

and Lily also laughed when Snape was being stripped, she mocked his poverty, used the nickname snivellous, didn't tell an adult about his abusive home life and used him. Sound like lily isn't exactly the most reliable source of information, or that pure.

'Prefects were supposed to keep things in order and Lupin confessed that he did a bad job - by duty Lily was supposed to stop James and Sirius.'

which she hardly ever did. She even joined up with them after SWM.

'I could go on, but please, just think about it instead of simply looking at the superficial.'

we've been telling you important stuff time and time again. explained how abuse works, gave you links, listed canon, etc. and time and time again you've ignored it.

'Oh, plus, Snape definitely didn't join the death eaters because "he had to fit in somewhere". He was obsessed with the dark arts and blood purity and didn't care for the lives that he didn't love.'

this was discussed and covered by random22 who gave you a link I highly suggest you read.

Book 7 and all the other books disprove that:

"how many men and women have you watched die?"

"only those who I could not save"

in the books he goes out of his way to save people that have nothing to do with Lily.

'That was pretty much true even before he entered Hogwarts and met James'

incorrect and impossible.

He grew up in a poor muggle nebhourhood with a muggle father and pure blood mother. he was abused and raised a muggle until 11.

No where did it state that his mom even told him about DEs'.

'He agreed with everything Voldemort believed in when he was young. Draco joined the death eaters because he had no other choice, but Snape?'

Draco was a rich little boy who was loved. I'm sensing a pattern with the characters you choose to defend.

All rich, all pure bloods, all loved, all spoilt, all bullies, all cruel, and all 'missunderstood' even though they arnt.

Draco had plenty of choices, snape? not so much.
Katharine Duckett
222. Katharine
Moderator stepping in here, to remind everyone to abide by our moderation policy and disagree with ideas, not people. And as everyone has had a chance to voice their opinions, I'd like to ask everyone involved in this conversation to be concise and respectful in their comments, and not to overwhelm the thread with walls of text (meaning overly long comments, especially those directed toward another commenter). Those comments will be unpublished in the future. Thank you!
223. Talyn
Thank you so much! Whenever I say this I get blasted by people. It's good to hear I'm not alone in it.

My personal theory is that Snape was the beginning of the anti-hero movement we're seeing; he's the prototype of the poor, moody, misunderstood but brilliant Sherlock (who is kind only to those he deems "worthy"). The thing is, while we love Alan Rickman, his portrayal is not true to the description Rowling gives in the book. The HP Reread also pointed this out: if you were to describe Snape just from the book, you'd never get Rickman. And I think that skewed a lot of opinons.
224. Cathey
I'm so tired by all these arguments and I'm too busy to check this site all the time.

Lily mentioned Snape's friends. Every single character in the series commented that Snape and James hated each other. Nobody fed Harry anything that said it was one-sided. Everybody told Harry his parents were great people. Dumbledore told Harry Snape couldn't bear to owe James. The only piece of information that implied a one-sided match-up was Snape's pensive. And even from that memory, I can't see Snape as an innocent victim. He raised his wand multiple times and Sectumsempra should prove enough. What kind of person invents that and uses that on a schoolmate? 99% of the readers are pitying Snape and blaming everything on James. Sorry, I can't agree.

I don't think that just because there's a popular opinion, I'm obliged to agree with that. I think I'm allowed to have my own opinions after reading every book in the series for over a dozen times, right? There are the almost unnoticable little moments in the books that gives the reader a hint of the larger picture. Rowling didn't put too much effort into those minutiaes, but they're there.

And I'm getting pretty amused by the opinions here. "The Weasley twins were evil, James and Sirius and Lupin were evil, Lily was evil, Dumbledore and McGonagall were evil..." Do you really have to go that far to justify Snape? Everybody moved from black or white to somewhere on the grey spectrum by the end of the series. I'm not denying that Dumbledore had his faults, but if you look at his entire life, it makes sense, and I don't think there's any denying that he was a great wizard as well as a great person.

Lastly, yes you can be grateful for what you do have. Harry had no parents and the Dursleys were abusive. Remus was a werewolf. Sirius was burnt out of his family tree. Luna had no mother and no friends before DA. Neville's parents lost sanity. They were all infinitely grateful for the friendship and family they found at Hogwarts.

Moderator, I guess this counts as a "wall". I'm sorry, I tried to be concise but there were too many points. I'm not sure where you stand on this but thank you. If this is too long, I understand if you want to delete this.
225. FDS
I guess we can't all get along.

Whether we're talking about book Snape or movie Snape, the facts of how he treated children are incontrovertible.

The book makes quite clear that Harry (thus Rowling) thought Snape was brave. Thus, we have all these people who have been worshiping Snape all through the series stating Snape was a good guy 'all along.'

Snape was not a nice man. He was not a nice teacher. He was not a good person (whether we are talking to others, be they his fellow professors, or be they his fellow death eaters, but most significantly, to those who were under his care, and to whom he was entrusted to help mold and to serve as a guide).

In a perfect world, people would be absolutely good or absolutely evil. Even a fictional world, not matter how beloved, is far from perfect and we end up with complex characterizations.

But Snape would never get my pity (nor praise).
226. cats

Then stop responding. No one is forcing you to keep replying.

Where were his friends when he was being stripped? where were they when he almost got eaten by a werewolf? how come we never see these 'friends' of his?

Incorrect. Gryffindors, gryffindors keep commenting.

Yes they did. Hagrid, McG, Dumbledore, Sirius, Remus, Etc. It was all one sided pro James and pro Gryffindor.

No, Gryffindors told Harry that his parents were good people. Just because people sing the praises of one person, doesn't make them good people - I should know, my grandfather tormented his family and abused his children and everyone outside the house loved him and thought him a saint.

Book 1, Snape owes James nothing.

Pensives' are never wrong. And how about Harry's disgusting feeling regarding his father and his second feels over thinking that his mother was forced into a relationship with his dad (book 5)?

So he sits under a tree, minding his own business, and 4 dudes come along and knock his wand out of his hand. They hang him upside down, take his underwear off and fill his mouth with soap, and then drop him from a height, then walk away laughing. totes deserved it.

so giving a small cut on someones cheek is bad...but bullying, stripping someone and attempted murder is ok?

I'm not buying it. Canons being ignored in your replys and you're also ignoring what people are telling you.

No one's calling them evil. However, we (as in, yeah, I'm not the only one commenting to you) also acknowledge that Snape's not the only one who's done disgusting and bad things.

And be honest. you're trying really hard to justify the maraduers, so I really don't think you have any room to talk to me, or anyone else who's defending Snape, here.

This is hypocritical.

'he was loved by his family, had a brother and a broken sister, had to take care of her, fell in love, was ready to commit genocide, stopped because she died, became 'good', left people in known abusive houses, manipulated people and used greif against them and he's good'


'another is abused, neglected, bullied, friendless, becomes a DE, turns and becomes an order member/spy, puts his life on the line, has a horrible attatude, is evil'

Who did Snape have? who was there for him when he came back from spying? or who asked him is he was ok or what he wanted? who was his friend?

I'm curious.

Don't worry, mines going to be deleted too. Having a 'wall' is the only way to talk at the moment. too many points.


from JK's own mouth:

when asked if she considers Snape a hero, replied: "Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps. He is not a particularly likeable man in many ways. He remains rather cruel, a bully, riddled with bitterness and insecurity—and yet he loved, and showed loyalty to that love and, ultimately, laid down his life because of it. That's pretty heroic!"

And weather a person is good or bad is subjective. For instance, I think Dumbledore, the maraduers, and most of the trio were all bad people. oh, and btw, I liked Snape far better than anyone when I was 11 and the series was still coming out. My opinion on him has nothing to do with his actor, nor the opinions of Harry or JK.
Bridget McGovern
227. BMcGovern
Just a reminder to everyone that this is meant to be a discussion--it's not an argument or a shouting match that can be definitively "won" by one party or another. Everyone is welcome to share their opinions as long as they do so in a civil and respectful manner, in keeping with our moderation policy, but please keep in mind that not everyone is going to agree with you or come to a consensus, and once that point is reached it's probably time to agree to disagree and move on, if there's nothing new to add.
228. albus741
I just wanted to comment to say that the article is incorrect in stating Draco Malfoy was not a good student--he was canonically very intelligent and good at Potions.
229. VincentThorn
I feel like I'm way to0 late to get in on this discussion, but I read through most of it anyway, and I just want to make a couple points regardless.

First, to the article itself; I think the fact that Snape wouldn't want our sympathy is why he deserves it. He did what he did based first on his misguideded love, and later for the greater good, never with any thought of reward, sympathy, or the acolades of a hero. Incidently, I just realized this makes him a rather excellent counterpart/inverse to Lockhart; Snape works tirelessly behind the scenes, never letting the best of him be known for the greater good, all the while painting himself as a villain, contrary to Lockhart whom capitalizes on the good deeds of others for an image as a hero.

Anyway, my other point is towards all the comments regarding Snape's "creepy" affections for Lily. Now, maybe it's a matter of connotation, but I don't view Snape's love at all creepy, for the following reasons; so far as we know, Snape never tries anything to make himself the object of her affection. He didn't follow her home, plot to make her love him back, or begrudge her for not reciprocating his feelings, or guilt her for it. Despite his romantic interests, he seems content to be her friend, and once they have their falling out, he leaves her alone. Yeah, he still carries the torch, yes he fails to move on, and yes he harbors a deep resentment towards James, but he doesn't linger and make an effort to make sure Lily sees him suffer, or to make her uncomfortable or guilty. He let Lily move on even if he couldn't himself; he didn't crash her wedding, send confessionary love-letters through her sister, or try and get involved in her life in any way, he just let her be.

Whatsmore, when Snape asks, first Voldemort and later Dumbledore, to spare/protect Lily, there isn't a sense that he does it because he expects her to be grateful to him. Yes, his request is a selfish one to the extent that it's not until Dumbledore guilts him that he even thinks of James or Harry, but, at least to my reading, there is not the sense that Snape wants to be there to pick the pieces up after Lily loses her son and husband, he just wants the one he loves to be safe. Again, totally selfish, but I do not believe it's creepy.
In fact (again, this is entirely based on my interpretation of the reading, based in part by my own experiences, so bare with me) I believe that Snape had come to terms with the fact that he had already ruined his chances to even be friends with Lily long ago, and doesn't expect that will ever change, but he still cares about her well being. He doesn't do it for her gratitude, he doesn't do it to impress her with his last-minute attempt at redemption, and he doesn't do it to make her think, "Wow, Severus is risking a lot for me", he does it because he doesn't want the one person he ever loved, and the only real friend he ever had, to be killed.

Just my two cents.
230. Amna
I might be late but okay, I'm just disagreeing with some ideas, here.
Alright, first off, you can't just simply RELATE Snape with people. He is different. He's had it worse than Harry, believe me, and even worse than Dumbledore and whoever some of you mentioned.
One specific I noticed is how everyone is saying that Severus is obsessed with blood purity. If he was SO embarrassed to have Lily as a friend, why was he walking around with her in the open-the memory in which he demands her to reassure him that they are still friends.
See-he is hanging out with a Mudblood in the grounds where ANYONE can see him and be all disdainful but does he apparently care? Nope.
Then you say he was a bad teacher. Okay, okay, he was unpleasant and simply nasty but he wasn't a bad teacher. Even Umbridge-who had a problem with everything in the establishment-commented that the class was pretty advanced for their level.
Tell me a single person who supported him in his entire LIFE.
Don't say Lily:Give me ONE memory where she wasn't cold and was actually sweet and friendly.
Don't say Dumbledore: Dumbledore used him and only worked him.
Don't say his Slytherin friends: Where were they when he got hung in the air, where were they all those times? Where are they anywhere at all?
To be honest, I've never liked James, even when his greatness was shoved down our throats. Don't you think maybe in the first and second book they said noble things about him because Harry needed it? I mean, the kid was an orphan. And please-sectumsempra?
Snape isn't sadistic. That thing he did to James was so small it was insignificant. Please reflect on your words.
231. normalguycap
My goodness! This was great. I'm glad somebody finally said it! I'm probably going to share this link with many people. Especially Snape lovers.
232. amapofnewyork
I loved reading this post, I just want to say. And I do agree that Snape perhaps didn't handle his situations well at all, and wouldn't want pity. However, I don't feel that that means he shouldn't be pitied--or at least felt bad for (I do believe there's a difference between the two).

I think because of his struggles, and the childhood in which he lived (not necessarily talking about James), he handled the situations with which he was presented in the only ways he knew how. While many of his conscious decisions were bad, Severus Snape is also a product of circumstance.

This is why I care so much for his character, but it's also so difficult for me to explain. Severus is so imbibed with some sort of self-loathing that he is unable to see that he could have made a better life for himself. I feel that his bitterness is a result of the conflict between his double-agent-ness for Albus and the Death Eaters; perhaps he wants to do good, which can clearly be seen that he did at the conclusion of the series, but as been under such evil influence for so much of his life. I don't think that he was angry at James either for stealing Lily, per se, but rather angry at himself that he screwed the whole thing up and couldn't fix it.

I'm not sure whether or not he can be considered a martyr--certainly not in the most traditional sense of the word. I definitely think he made immense sacrifices to amend for his mistakes. I disagree on the hero count--he became one at the very end, letting go of his privacy to Harry and finally trying to make amends for his mistreatment of the boy, and being essentially so loyal to Lily's name and to Albus.

I could go on but honestly it's actually really hard for me to talk about Severus. He is by far my favorite character for many reasons--hopefully someday I will be able to put into concrete words why.
233. SunVesperSea
He would curse you anyway if you tried. I think he is a horrible, horrible man, and I admire every bit of it. I am not looking for a big soft lump underneath it all, I like him the way he is, and I would hate it if he had turned out to be a nice little guy. I need him cold, ruthless, spiteful and sardonic. A murderer, a torturer, a Death Eater. He rocked all that hard. No one else could pull it off, not even House MD.
234. Evie
I found it very interesting to read an article that compares all of these different sides of Snape. I did have a factual concern with your article.
In your article you wrote, "...but it doesn’t change the fact that the kids he favors most are not good students..." and then go on to explain reasons Snape favored Draco. Yet you do not mention that Draco is, in fact, a good student. It should be noted that Draco was in Harry's NEWT potions class and the book indicates that only Harry and Ron were last minute additions to that class due to the change in teachers from Snape to Slughorn. Snape had required an O on the OWLs for an student to be eligible to take this class. Therefore Draco had to have scored an O on his OWL, distinguishing as a rather good student. Of course, he may have learned more for precisely the reason that Snape favored him and the learnign environment was therefore more positive for him. Hermione (and every other NEWT student besides Harry and Ron) also got an O, which I suppose you could argue is in spite of Snape, but would mean that Snape had to be teaching something. Even Harry got an E. Meanwhile, he failed other exams where his teachers were not biased against him (Yes, I remember that there were extenutating circumstances during one of these exams). Snape is clearly not a nice teacher and because of that could clearly be destructive to some students' potentials, but it can not be said that he is completely ineffective.
235. Christine89
We do need to remember that Snape was not only bullied at school, he came from an abusive background...and this is not mentioned anywhere in this article. His father beat up his mother, and quite likely him as well. The line in the final book that haunts me is the comment that James "had an indefinable air of being well cared for, even adored, that Snape so conspicuously lacked"

I think Snape's history is tormented by the what-ifs, because it looks like the real difference between James and Severus in Lily's eyes was that Snape chose the dark arts and that decision ruined his life (basically all of her criticisms of Snape are for nastiness or dark arts). Her love for James certainly came after her fear of Snape's cruelty. But is it any wonder that such a powerless kid would seek out power? I'm not saying he is a hero, but his story is certainly a tragedy, and as Dumbledore says, a product of desperately misguided decisions.
236. Xeno
What's the best way to keep people from suspecting that you're a good guy pretending to be bad?

Make them suspect you're a bad guy pretending to be good!

That was what Snape was trying to do, and he couldn't very well be seen being nice to Muggle-born Hermione if he was to convince Voldemort and the Death Eaters that he was on their side.
237. Jax25
Why shouldn't we pity him? Whether by circumstance or by choice, Snape did not have an easy time of it. And whether you like him or not, he at least deserves pity. He wouldn't want it, but he deserves it.
Phil Boswell
238. NotACat
What's the best way to keep people from suspecting that you're a good guy pretending to be bad?
Make them suspect you're a bad guy pretending to be good!
Well, he was doing a crap job of it…for someone whose greatest regret was calling his best friend "Mudblood" he did precious little to compensate for that. If he was pretending to be good, he was doing it where nobody, especially Harry, could see him. I recall he didn't want Dumbledore to tell anybody why he was turning his coat, but I don't see why that should extend to not even showing the lining…
239. Lenarie
It really irritates me when people call Severus out for calling Lily a "Mudblood" during what was possibly the most humiliating moment in his life. Not only had he already suffered years of torment from that very group of boys, specifically James Potter, and had suffered humiliation at Lily coming to his rescue, this scene depicted him as a victim -of his own spell-, which was being used against him by his worst enemy.

So here Severus is, defeated by his foe - who is, again, using Severus' own spell - hanging upside down, his pants around his ankles, surrounded by several members of the school body, humiliated beyond all measure - all the while James Potter and his huge mouth is goading Lily into dating him, and using Severus as leverage in order to do it.

It is only human that he would react in such a hurtful way. He is vulnerable and exposed in front of Lily. He is humiliated and stripped of every ounce of dignity that he has. So he lashes out in attempt to regain it - in attempt to grasp hold of some amount of control, because he's just lost all of it.

It is probably the most human thing he could have done. I absolutely can not stand people using it against him to mar his character or somehow prove how terrible he was, while ignoring the fact that what James did was so terribly horrible, too. And James didn't just do it once. He had six whole years of douchebaggery under his belt (and not just toward Severus) leading up to that event. Six whole years of Lily loathing him, until he goes through a magical personality change during his last year and Lily decides that ... maybe six whole years of douchebaggery really isn't such a terrible thing after all. Even though in that very aforementioned scene, she stated that James was just as bad as Severus was. And James does not care. He goes right back to his old schemes and tricks, egging the crowd on some more after Lily leaves. This is in stark contrast to Severus, who repeatedly apologizes to Lily, but to no avail. "But the Dark Arts! But Severus's friends!" You're just as bad as he is!
240. atlatl

You do have a point that was an very humilating time for Snape and maybe Lily would have forgiven him for it except for the fact that he called every other muggleborn a mudblood. We find out about that in the Deathly Hallows where Lily says that "You call every other muggleborn a mudblood why sure I be any different?" Something like that I can't find the excact quote.

Another thing mudblood is basically a racial slur and I suppose one could be forgiven using a racial slur, but a black, hishanic, etc. would not be blamed for wanting nothing to do with that person. Yet Lily is held to a different standard that is not very fair.
241. Lenarie
Lily says that James is no better than Snape, which would insinuate that she doesn't find Snape's racism or attachment to the Dark Arts or his Slytherin friends any worse than James' incessant bullying.

Why did Snape attach himself to his Slytherin friends and the Dark Arts? He was vulnerable and had no control over his life, or felt like he had no control. He felt like he had no power. He was the constant target of bullying. He was -good- at the Dark Arts, and his Slytherin friends gave him a small community of people he shared common ground with, who did not constantly hex him; people who he did not need to fear. And becoming part of the Death Eaters would give him the power that he felt he did not have.

He most likely grew up in a household where those racist slurs were common (not that it excuses his actions in using the term.) Using them probably also helped him keep his footing with his Slytherin friends, which I can't blame him for wanting. We all crave to be accepted and to find people who share our same interests.

James is no better than Snape. He hexed people, not just Snape, simply because he knew he was good at it and could pull it off. He was arrogant and stuck up. How many teenagers a year commit suicide due to bullying? And that's here in real life, not in the Wizarding world where there are dozens of hexes and curses that make your life an extra bit of hell on top of regular bullying. Hexes that cause you to gag on bubbles, vomit slugs, babble incoherently, and have sardines fall from your nose, among others. ...And James specifically targeted Snape because he knew he had deeper feelings for Lily. And then he had the audacity to humiliate Snape even further by attempting to goad Lily into dating him while he was bullying him. He -knew- it would get to Snape. But still, Snape is the Big Bad Terrible Evil in this situation.

I absolutely hold Lily to a higher standard, because she was repeatedly stated to be kind, gentle, and caring. She was said to have been able to see the beauty in others that they themselves could not see. And I saw absolutely none of that Lily in that scene. None of it. I feel that someone who really did live up to how she was described would have realized how terribly Snape needed her, and would have realized that his interest in the Dark Arts and in his Slytherin friends was him grasping for the acceptance and power that he felt he did not have. That despite his interests and his friends, he continued to persue a friendship with her and continued to care for her should have been something Lily noticed. Why should she be any different from the other Mudbloods? Because to him, her blood did not matter. When we fall in love with people, their flaws either tend to become invisible or something we come to love about them. His blood did not matter to her. It wasn't until he was humiliated beyond all belief that he lashed out toward her.

No, he was not a kind person. He wasn't a gentle person. He was bitter. But he was also vulnerable, weak, and constantly humiliated. And despite his racism, he saw through Lily's blood and loved her so deeply that he would never love another woman again. So it is perhaps the case that his rampant racism isn't actually as rampant as most think. But she was "sick of making excuses" for his friends and for his interests. I feel that someone as supposedly compassionate and kind as she was said to be should have realized why he did what he did.

Rowling said that if he hadn't been attracted to the Dark Arts so much, Lily probably would have grown to love him romantically. Perhaps if she had accepted his apology and extended that compassion and stuck with him, she may have been able to pull him from that side.
Chris Nelly
242. Aeryl
@241, Snape has a Muggle father. So no, he did not grow up in a household where the slur was commonly used.

And James specifically targeted Snape because he knew he had deeper feelings for Lily.

This is assuming facts not in evidence. We see James go after Snape immediately on the train. Their antagonism was established as immediate and had little to do with Lily.

And I saw absolutely none of that Lily in that scene.

It's much more likely that Lily saw that despite being his close and devout friend for five years, Snape was never going to realize that her friendship was enough for him. Five years as her best friend STILL wasn't enough to keep him away from the racist bullies.

LILY DID NOT OWE SNAPE HER LOVE, no matter what he felt towards her. It was not her responsiblity to accept a place as his trophy achievement to save him from the Dark Arts.

she may have been able to pull him from that side.

That was NOT her responsibility.
243. Snapelover
If you can't pity him than you have no heart. He was a tortured soul who didn't let himself believe he could be anything else but what he was told he was growing up. Spare some pity for a broken-hearted victim! I don't think he was good nor bad. He was human. All these stupid people hating him because he took his pain out on others. I understand that; I don't justify it, but I understand. He was very wounded in his psyche and that's something I understand more than anything.
244. Lenarie
Actually, I'm not assuming anything. Via a chat transcript with Rowling, herself:
Rachel Nell: Jkr, thank you for such amazing books! I would like to know how come noone seemed to know that lily and snape were friends in school they were obviously meeting for chats, etc didnt james know their past
J.K. Rowling: Thank you for your thank you!
J.K. Rowling: Yes, it was known that they were friendly and then stopped being friends. Nothing more than that would be widely known.
J.K. Rowling: James always suspected Snape harboured deeper feelings for Lily, which was a factor in James’ behaviour to Snape.
James bullied people because he was bored. James did stupid crap just for the risk of it all, and because he could. James bullied Snape because "he exists," because he hated the Dark Arts, and absolutely because of Lily. In fact, Dumbledore stated he made James prefect as a means to attempt to "control" his actions.

Jaclyn: Did lily ever have feelings back for snape
J.K. Rowling: Yes. She might even have grown to love him romantically (she certainly loved him as a friend) if he had not loved Dark Magic so much, and been drawn to such loathesome people and acts.
Five years as her best friend STILL wasn't enough to keep him away from the racist bullies.
Five years (actually, more than that - they were best friends before they even began attending Hogwarts) weren't enough to keep the bullies away from Snape. He was a weak man who had nothing - nothing - aside from Lily. He came from an abusive, neglectful home wracked with poverty, entered a school as a gifted (albeit socially awkward) student whose achievements were not recognised, and was repeatedly bullied - not only by James. He was weak and clung to the only things he had that gave him control and acceptance.

James, on the other hand, came from a weathy family and wanted for nothing. He had money, popularity, good looks, and was awesome at sports and the entire school loved him for it. He had no reason to be a bully whatsoever other than the fact that he was "bored" and didn't like the Dark Arts. Let's keep in mind that even after he magically "changed" and began dating Lily, he continued hexing Snape and being an obnoxious jerk behind her back. But it's okay because he's James Potter, and he can apparently do no wrong, even when he continues to be an obnoxious jerk after apparently ... ceasing to be an obnoxious jerk. He's just doing it behind his girlfriend's back so she doesn't know, which I guess makes it okay.

No one is saying that Lily owed him anything. I simply stated that how she reacted to the situation is contrary to how she is repeatedly described as being, and went on to say that if she had acted differently, we may have wound up with a Snape who "switched sides" earlier than he had.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
245. Lisamarie
I had not seen those quotes before, and it's interesting to know. And I'll admit - I have no love for James (or Sirius) so I'm not here to defend them. I think JKR actually dropped the ball on James's characterization big time, as I never see any evidence that he's changed, but just have to take the authorial word for it.

People impact and influence others, so, certainly, Lilly's actions may have spurred him a certain way on that given day. But JKR's quote seems to imply it's primarily Snape's probem - if SNAPE hadn't loved the dark arts, etc so much, then Lilly would have seen him as more compatible. Presumably Lilly has been acting kind and understanding to him over the past 5 years and it hasn't really done anything - because Snape still is drawn to darkness. It is certainly understandable why he is, and he's a victim of some horrible things - but that doesn't totally excuse it either. In 'real life' I don't think we'd expect somebody to continue to hang around a toxic person because they have a responsiblity to 'change' them...there comes a point where you realize they have to be the ones to want to change, and Snape wasn't at that point.
246. atlatl
I pity teenage Severus Snape, but the things that he does when he is an adult make me lose any pity that I had for him. Bullying sucks, I know from experience, but that does not give anyone the right to treat others like crap. As a teacher he belittles his students, shows favoritism and threatens to kill Neville's toad. How does any of that make him a good person. Now some people say 0.that Snape had to do those things because he was a spy, but they are only thinking of him bing a spy for Dumble dore. Snape was also a spy for Voldemort which complcates how to look at things. Looking at it from Voldemort's perspective Snape was only spying on Dumbledore and the Order of the Pheonix. If I was a Death Eater spying on the Oreder of the Pheonix I would act as good as I could. Therefore Snape if he was only spying for Voldemort he should act good around the general public and when he within the Death Eater ranks act like a Death Eater. Snape was a very bad spy for Voldemort because people immediatly thought he was a spy for Voldemort. Think about Peter Pettegrew, he was never suspected to e a spy because he didn't act like a Deather Eater.
248. birdiethehuman
I like this article because it doesn't just start attacking fans of Snape for simply for being fans. I'm not so sure about the pity bad wagon, but he's always been my favorite because I honestly identify with him more than any other character, especially after his whole story came out. It's really nice to have a character that didn't always jump out of bed in the morning and go "I'm going to be a good person today." So often, the heroes in stories are indisputably good, and even their flaws are heroic and even their mistakes had good intentions or could be explained away as the folly of youth. With Snape, I can understand how he made the choices he made every step. I could never blame him for turning out to be someone I might have been in other circumstances.

Story time: I was bullied badly from elementary school onward. I had one good friend; a girl a year older than me, we’ll call her Diana. We were mostly inseparable and for a long time she was the only friend I had. I was never terribly adept socially, and the ridicule of my peers made me disinclined to adopt a more pleasant disposition. Instead, I grew claws and fangs, and after a good long while I started to forget how to retract them. The problem with being told you’re worthless or evil over that long a time is that at some point, you start believing it, little by little. And more and more, you’ll be willing to do anything to prove them wrong. Especially if you haven’t got anyone to talk you out of it (Diana and I had an awful falling out in grade 10). I’d be a filthy liar if I said I’d have done anything different in his shoes. “A powerful older wizard wants my potions genius behind him? Sign me the fuck up; they’ll have to respect me now.” I imagine Voldemort came off a bit milder in his early days too; after all, Hitler wasn’t (ostensibly) a maniac before WWII started in earnest.

Course, my story ends rather differently than his; I switched to another school, let my guard down a bit and made myself some proper friends. It also helps that there’s not a war on, but two roads diverged in a yellow wood and all the rest, you know?
249. Holladuck
Pretty much 100% agree with this article. Is Snape arguably the most complex character in the Harry Potter series, and one of the most compelling? Yes. Did J.K. Rowling truly and masterfully keep us guessing--ACTUALLY guessing--all the way up until the final reveal if Snape was good or not? Yes. Was that final reveal--the twist that Snape was in love with Lily--both shocking and unexpected, but completely sensible in retrospect? Yes. Truly, what J.K. Rowling did with Snape's character might be one of the most ingenious things about the whole series.

But you're right--he is not a tortured martyr. If he deserves our pity, it's not in the good way. He did all the wrong things, and though he turned back towards the good side and ultimately did good, he was never able to turn his own life around into something happy or positive.
250. Ben Fiux
I think you miss read his treatment of Harry. He didn't mistreat Harry because of his hatred of James, he did it because of his love for Lilly. As he said to Dumbeldore, "No one must know." He knew that if he showed any affection for Harry that his cover could have been blown (and it very nearly was on more than one occassion). The one time we see him let his true self show was by trying to save Harry in the first book until Hermione lit his cloak on fire. He wanted desperately to protect and love Harry, but he had to continue a charade of hating James until it was safe (i.e. Voldemort dead). That rancor bled into everything he did in order to fool Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Behind closed doors (and away from Harry) I can only imagine that he was different. I would wager that if not for the return of Voldemort Snape would have been a much different person to Harry, Hermoine, Ron, Draco, everyone.
251. PapaDoc
All good thoughts... great discussion.

But, I do think there is an over-abundance of dismissal of James Potter. He was not a "one-note" character any more than Harry or Snape... or even Voldemort. We just don't have much of his story. The flashbacks we do see are from Snape's viewpoint. Comments from Sirius and Lupin are dismissed as biased. But... what of comments from Hagrid, Dumbledore, McGonagald and even Rosmerta? Obviously, many characters in the series had very positive memories of Harry. Some compared him and Sirius to Fred and George. Who hates Fred and George... no matter how mischevious they are? Sirius was always welcomed at the Potters... even or especially when kicked out of his own home. So the Potters must have had some redeeming qualities.

James hated Severus. Severus hated James. You can no more judge James by Severus than you can judge Severus by James. And.... remember... Voldemort was gunning for the Potters. James must have done something right if he was singled out for killing by Voldemort himself!
252. PapaDoc
That was supposed to be "positive memories of James"!! Sorry.
253. brezo
This is the same kind of nonsense you get with Twilight, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and countless other stories. Think about those stories and the "heroes" portrayed. Edward, Eponine, Erik the Phantom, Romeo, and Heathcliff are obsessed, not so much in love.

And yet most people in "fandoms" hate the guy who "gets the girl/guy" because of the tragic-ness of these martyrs for love. People don't like Cosette because Marius is a jerk to Eponine (read the book and you find out that Marius is just a jerk in general and Eponine was a little bit crazy), they don't like Raoul because Christine was Erik's only love and redemption, they dislike Paris because Romeo was a forbidden martyr, or Edgar because Cathy was in love with Heathcliff (debatable).

It's an interesting look into our culture and state as humans that we glory in martyrdom and the long-lost love. We like feeling sorry for the outcast, the rejected, and the sad because we know what it feels like and it sucks. We like pitying someone who lived their whole life that way. Fact is though that living life like that isn't healthy. The writer of this article hits it dead on- Snape wasn't healthy. Obsession is a powerful thing and can be a legitimate mental illness. I would submit that none of the tragic martyrs I've mentioned were healthy, and their possesive, obsessive actions show it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
254. Lisamarie
@253 - right on. I've definitely seen that attitude relating to some of the other works you've mentioned. It's irritating - not to mention that it also discounts the agency of the person loved, as if they didn't make their own free choice to be with the person they ultimately end up with.

@251 - Actually I do know some people that really dislike Fred and Geroge (I'm not one of them, but I see where they are coming from). And I think it has been established that the Penseive memories, at least, are not biased. Which is not to say I completely disagree with your main point that James must also have had some redeemable qualities; if anything I think it is a slight authorial oversight that we're never really shown this and instead have to basically take other characters' words for it. Of course, the series is already long enough :)

@250 - I think that argument has been debunked several times already, so I'm just going to say 'I don't buy it'. It doesn't explain away/justify his horrible behavior to others (Hermione, Neville, etc), and I don't think we really do get any indication he is any more pleasant beyond closed doors. Also, there's something to be said for being, you know, neutral. That would have hidden his cover just as well (and, in fact, better, if he were ACTUALLY trying to be a spy).

@248 - thanks for your story. I can definitely say my own story has some similarties, which is why I really enjoy Snape as a character, even if I don't think he was a particularly good person (despite doing some good things). He was damaged in a lot of ways, and I can relate to that, although I was able to also turn my life around. I don't think that completely justifies his behavior or makes his actions not objectively bad, but it does explain it.
255. Mike from Minnesota
Really excellent read, thanks for that. I agree, Snape should not be considered a saint... but as you've pointed out, neither is he evil. Like all real people, he's somewhere in between.

Now, allow me to play devil's advocate to a couple of points in the article. Mind, neither of these arguments are something I necessarily totally believe in (although one of them I think is at least half right):

1. In the post, you said "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 hishatred for James was much stronger than his feelings for Lily."

Isn't it at least possible that Snape was so horrible to Harry in school in part because he:
(a) Wanted to toughen Harry up by giving Harry a "villian" to fight against. He probably knew that Harry didn't have any kind of parenting figure while growing up, and he also would have known that Dumbledore wasn't going to take too direct of a role in Harry's schooling. Isn't it possible that this was Snape's (hamfisted) way of parenting Harry?

(b) since Snape was a known Death Eater, didn't Snape HAVE to be a "bad guy" in Harry's eyes so that Harry wouldn't think "Well, Snape was a Death Eater, and he's no so bad, so maybe this Lucious fellow is OK too"?; and

(c) wouldn't Snape have to publicly be seen as really hating Harry to secure his status as a double agent. If Snape was kind, or even neutral, to Harry, and didn't show favoritism to Draco and the other children of Death Eaters, wouldn't the Death Eaters and Voldemort figure he was working for Dumbledore, instead of being the double agent they believed him to be? And don't just say "But nobody knew Voldemort was coming back inYear 1, and Snape was horrible from day 1," becuase that is BS. Certainly Dumbledore knew Voldemort was trying to come back before Harry started school, and thus Snape knew too... and just as certainly, the Death Eaters knew.

2. "Which brings me to perhaps my biggest peeve with Snape—he’s a terrible teacher."

Is he? You specifically mentioned how he treated Hermione, Harry, and Ron. Now ask yourself, who were the best potioning student at Hogwarts? Who was probably second best? Who was probaly 3rd best by virtue of being dragged along to excellence by the first and second best? (I'll give you Neville... his treatment of Neville seemed to serve no educational benefit at all... although Neville turned out OK in the end as well).

I feel like everyone has had at least one teacher that was incredibly demanding, and we hated him or her for it... but then we learned that his or her methods served a purpose of driving us. Isn't that Snape, but to an absurd extreme?

And as others have said before, there is no way Snape is the worst teacher at Hogwarts. That honor clearly falls to Lockhart and Trelawney, and maybe with a bit of Firenze thrown in.

OK, those are my Devil's advocate points. Now, the first one is the one I half believe (especially protecting his double agent status). The second one I don't really believe at all (Snape is not a good teacher... but he did seem to be an effective one for some students).
256. DarkTraveller
I'm gonna poke my head in here, this wildly controversial thread that has been going for years...

Snape was a bad teacher, yes, but someone made the point accurately that many of his students were great at potionmaking throughout the books. Fact is, good instruction does not make good teaching.

Then, as far as Snape's mistreatment of everyone goes, Snape is constantly in method actor mode: I think the only time that he's not is when he's meddling with Lupin or Sirius. Otherwise -- no matter what satisfaction he gets -- belittling students, Harry included, is just a convention in his double-agent act, to me. With the exception of his unwillingness to let go, nearly everything wrong with Snape is attributable to the nature of his purpose and, ultimately, excusable (after all, he did bring about the end of Magical Hitler; all flaws aside, he's a bad-ass).

As far as the love story goes, there are a LOT of things wrong with that, but... that's not the point. I've never spoken to someone who thought this was a good thing, but I can't understand how it could be seen as a good thing. But, the final outcome -- and the justification for Albus Severus Potter's name -- is that, despite the pain and wrongs and history, Snape chose not to be a product of his environment through nothing but raw courage and bravery. Whether he doesn't want to be called a hero has nothing to do with it; to be brave is one of the chief requirements of a real hero.

Case in point, whether others have said so I don't know, Snape's ugly surface is a sham and all according to Dumbledore's plan. Some say that he didn't have to be unpleasant to avoid being pleasant, but I disagree because he had to be involved, almost constantly, in order to be an effective spy. Simply being luke-warm instead of cold would not have been convincing.
257. Buspuffin
i think this is a very good, and fair article. I do have a question, I though the potions book belonged to Snape's mother originally? It was fifty years old, according to Hermione. I thought that Snape would have and added his own spells and notes too. Sirius said that Snape arrived at Hogwarts knowing more curses than the seventh years. his mother married a Muggle, and I don't quite understand why she did, as a Slytherin usually hates muggles?
258. lemonade8
I am a huge Snape/Rickman fan and I absolutely agree with you. I do, however, pity that he didn't figure out what was really important until after all was lost to him. Jo had said a comment that stuck with me that was about the power of obsessive love. I knew someone in the books was obsessed, and Snape surely is the one.
259. Marian Nieto

Totally agree! I'm really glad someone out there put my feelings towards Snape character into words. Yes, I cry out "Snaaaaape!" too when I read or watch his past, but even in my crying I can't stop thinking "You stupid bastard; you're a little bitter asshole".
Yes, he was no hero; he was an antihero at best. Someone who knew he was doing no good, but still believed it had to be done.
So he should not be pitied, alright. You can comprehend him, but never pity him.
By far one of the best characters in HP world, and that's the reason I love him, not for his sad story.
260. Meganlyn25
"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."

This is the one point I want to refute.
When Snap overheard the prophecy he had no idea that it was about the Potters. Regardless, he shouldn't have told Voldemort it, since it led to the Potters' demise, but he didn't know, and so I much defend him.

Wormtail is the one that gave away the Potter's location.
261. Dwaragesh
this is bull....someone risks his entire life to protect someone he doesnt even like just because he is a son of the love of his life.. if thats not love.. then what is? ...so ure ok when james gets to change to "not being a jerk".. but ure not when severus does the same?
262. Norma Cenva
Fascinating for Tor to publish this. Thought they'd be more savvy to character motives than this, given their general material in sci-fi and fantasy material. I'm reposting what I just posted on FB in response to this:

I see many posts on here commenting on his actions toward students, his own bullying, and that making him a bad person. Perhaps.

Or perhaps, as another said, you are all seeing him as he intended and indeed required himself to be seen, for his own safety and that of his students.

It's been years since I read the series and so I can't remember the beginning very well. But, I do recall both from the book and movie that it was known that the Dark Lord would come back. Snape had to be prepared to assume his role as spy.

Remember that in the series, it was possible to get inside another's head. The Dark Lord could see the thoughts of others, and himself got into Harry's head, manipulating him, sending him visions.

Voldemort could also do the same to his followers. Snape had to construct a realistic thought-world, and act realistically hateful and spiteful to Potter, and dwell in his own animosity, in order to fool the Dark Lord. To do otherwise would have guaranteed death for him, and most likely Harry.

If he had broken cover, appeared sympathetic...he might have been able to fool the Dark Lord himself, with his own thought constructs, as Snape was indeed powerful in his own right.

But, Harry, and likewise other students were certainly not...or rather, unpracticed, innocent. If Harry had any inkling that Snape held anything but hatred for him, the Dark Lord would have seen that, as well. Harry's own innocent thoughts would have killed Snape, and by extension, likely himself.

Snape even attempted to explain this, as best he could, while remaining in this guise as he sought to teach Harry how to block his thoughts. Sneering, contemptuous...and yet, he explained. He broke cover and put himself at extreme risk, had Voldemort bothered to give the implications of Snape's actions any thought.

That's actually one of the unrealistic parts of the story. Whatever Snape's explanations, he gave away information that Potter could have used to protect himself against the Dark Lord. He could have defended himself to Voldemort by saying his anger got the better of him, true. But, if a spy's anger gets the better of them, causing them to reveal information they shouldn't, they become useless to their movement. In the real world, as in the Potterverse, that's either a death or imprisonment sentence, and where Voldemort is concerned, more like agonizing death.

Bullying, mild physical abuse, verbal abuse in this case served to keep students at a distance, angry, resentful of him. Also wary of him. If he had to do Voldemort's dirty work at any point, the very wariness of the students would have given him ample opportunity to make more "mistakes" regarding the DL's commands, until circumstances changed.

I don't doubt he was at a minimum exasperated, and probably quite disgusted with Potter's idealism. Innocent idealism is dangerous in a war fraught with secrets and violence, and Potter's very sense of honor made him too much a lamb to the slaughter in many cases.
263. Random22
People always try to attack the Snape as eternal method actor theory with "but shouldn't he be nicer then, to try to fool Dumbledore and say he was sucking up". Which shows that these people are not as smart as Snape, but are pretty much about as bright as Lucius Malfoy. That was the defence he used for slacking off in the carrying on the dark agenda. That excuse worked out well for Lucius, didn't it. He was certainly Big-V's trusted number two, or at least he was treated like a number two. When he returned, Voldemort trusted two people Snape and Bellatrix (because he's an awful judge of character, that's why) and it was because both were still committed to the cause and could substantiate their claims to genuine evil bastard. If Snape was nicer to students, he'd have been left for dead by Lord Noseless long before the climax because Lord Volleyball was the type of villain who was an all or nothing kinda guy.
Was Severus Snape a horrible teacher? Yes. Was he a horrible person? Yes. Was he in a position to be neither? Not really. That was his punishment for voluntarily being a Death Eater in his youth, having to be an involuntary one into his adulthood and missing out on all the joys of life. Dumbledore saw to that. And it was either that or Azkaban and a cell next to Bellatrix and all the other Death Eaters from the first war who did horrible things. Snape just got the community service version.
That alone deserves pity at least. More than that, I dunno, but having to be horrible greasy Snape for all his life and to be the designated Hogwart's hate-sink, was his punishment as sure as the cells of prison. His parole was that it *might* be worth it if/when Lord Moldypants returned. Was all the insults he handed out, and endured in return worth it? I guess that is up to each reader. In the long-run, for the greater good, and looking at the bigger picture than just unhappy school days and a few traumatised kids, was his *potential* role worth it? If you think it wasn't, then don't blame Snape, blame Dumbledore because he had the power to put Snape in Hogwarts and not Azkaban and he had the power to tell Snape what his personality would be if he wanted to stay there and Dumbledore chose nasty-Snape.
264. Sophist
It seems to me that there's a flaw at the heart of the "Snape had to act that way to preserve his cover" theory. The flaw is that Snape had, at the same time, to be able to conceal from Voldemort his innermost thoughts about the fact that he was playing a double role; that he agreed to kill Dumbledore; that he protected Harry in Philosopher's Stone; that he warned the OotP about the Department of Mysteries; etc. If Snape had the ability to conceal all that, it's hard to explain how he'd have been unable to conceal other stuff as well.

I also think that some of the defenses of Snape don't address very well the fact that he often was nasty when there didn't seem to be any need for that. His treatment of Neville, for example, or his comments about Harry to Dumbledore when they were speaking privately fall into this category.

It seems to me that Snape always walked a fine line between being a double agent and actually relapsing into his worst characteristics. That's an occupational hazard for any double agent (see Wiseguy). It was only his obsession with Lily that enabled him to walk that line, and that obsession was both his strength and his weakness.
Chris Nelly
265. Aeryl
@264, The rebuttal to that, is that OTHER people saw Snape's behavior. So Snape couldn't be neutral toward Harry, because then Draco would be all, "He doesn't hate Harry, he just ignores him"

I don't buy that. It seems the bigger concern should always have been "Will my behavior cross a line that costs me my employment?" Acting with no regard for his future employment(because he knows how integral he will be in the coming fight, he KNOWS Dumbledore can't fire him) is the biggest indicator that he actually IS in cahoots with Dumbledore.
266. Sophist
Oh, I very much agree that in public (a) Snape had to be awful to Harry; and (b) Harry could never know this, even in private. My point is that Snape didn't have to be nasty about Harry in private with others (e.g., Dumbledore) and that he didn't have to be nasty to at least some other students (e.g., Neville). The fact that he was both tells us that Snape was not a nice man.

Excellent point about his employment.
267. Noblehunter
Another data point is that Snape likely didn't have a choice in telling Voldemort about the prophecy. The only way the prophecy could become true is if Voldemort knew about it and only Snape could tell him. Therefore, Snape could not refrain from telling Voldemort once the prophecy was spoken.
268. Aerynae
THANK YOU. I thought I was the only one who thought his "love" for Lily was just creepy.
269. Random22
@266 Of course he would have to be an ass in priavte too, and an ass to all the students who are not Slytherins. He has to make sure his actions come across as consistent for it to work. All it would take is one wrong comment from Harry or Neville or whoever, just saying "but he's all right in private", and it all falls apart (and you know who has a tough time keeping to opsec requirements, teenagers). You pull the thread and it all unravels. Someone might say "its not likely", but that misses the point that Snape and Dumbledore absolutely cannot even take the chance no matter how unlikely because the stakes are so high. Neville's poor hurt feelings? Well, tough to him, because they are going to be a lot more than hurt if Voldemort wins just because he needed his boo-boos kissed better.
Chris Nelly
270. Aeryl
@269, Again, there is no way to explain the fact that Snape GOT AWAY WITH HIS SHIT, except for the fact that he's in league with Dumbledore. That's the big giveaway with his behavior, is that he's perfectly aware that there is nothing he could do that would cost him his job.

That seems to be a bigger giveaway than "didn't take every possible opportunity to be a dick to children"
271. Random22
Yep. But that is the kinda thing Voldie wants to see. That is what Voldie wants to believe his troops get away with. Voldie in fact believes it is their right to pull that kind of shit. Snape and Dumbledore know their audience. As opposed to Lucius who pulled the excuse of trying to fit in and keep the flame burning in secret when he went to re-ingratiate himself back in the old gang. That did not fly so well for Lucius. Voldie is an old fashioned villain, not a post-modern "smart" villain who read The List, and Snape and Dumbledore know enough not to outsmart themselves by trying to get too clever.
Chris Nelly
272. Aeryl
@271, You are not getting my point.

What Voldemort wants from his followers is irrelevant. If Snape was "sincerely" attempting to stay in Dumbledore's good graces because that was the ONLY thing keeping him from Azkaban, as he tells Bellatrix, then he should have been acting in a way that kept him in Dumbledore's good graces. That doesn't mean being KIND to students.

But that does mean you don't do things that would get anyone else fired. Because not getting fired indicates something.
274. Mariana
This is just great!
276. Furrydice
"I usually keep this to myself because Snape fans are a little rabid and also he’s played by Alan Rickman on film"
After reading through the replies, the replies to the replies, tumblr, reddit, various blogs, I have to say this statement is FALSE. In general, I find the fans which hate Snape much more rabid. They infect the others too, using childish words like creepy, obsessive to define his love. Even this essay.

Am I the only one who thinks that we're getting a little ahead of ourselves if we try to define and categorise love?
277. Snape Is Life
To be honest, Snape was my favourite character in the films. His progression throughout was one of the most intriguing and gripping of them all, admittadly at first he may be seen to be fairly un-important in the whole scheme of things and jsut generally a fairly narcassistic, synical man but as the films go on we really explore new depths into where his loyalty lies and delve into his past. Snape is clearly portrayed to have this attitide becuase of his fairly dark past and the scene of which we see him being harassed by James Potter would really give an inclination into why he isnt kind to Harry at the start. However i feel the last two films are crucial in really bringing out Snapes character, you see his deep loyalty for Harry that has been embedded in him from the start due to his fierce love for Lilly and his death scene just sums this all up .
278. Anna Gates
I agree with you to a certain point that yes, Snape wasn't all perfect and he did sound slightly creepy. He was shunned to one side because of his family and was always overlooked at. But I hate it when people sa that they like Snape better than James Potter, because that's rather biased. Sure James was a bulky at the age if fifteen, but he grew out of it. He never actually joined the dark arts. Snape became a deth eater and would have remained so if Lily had not been threatened. The reason he switched sides is rather narrow, and he sees nothing but his love for her, risking his life. People seem to think that's brave (it certainly is) but they hate James at this point. The thing is, James never got the chance to do something brave like that, because he kept his nose clean from the start. Even when Voldemort came for them, he tried to fend him off wand less so that Lily and Harry could escape. That's brave. As for the bullying, I suppose Snape saw Harry as another version of his father, as they look so much alike and are both Quidditch players, and the fact that Harry was living proof of Lily's preference of another man didn't suit him well. Snape is a man I've come to respect, but you can't just undermine all other characters. I think JKR wasn't trying to tell us that Snape is better, she was telling us that even a villain has some good points, and someone seemingly perfect will have flaws (James, and of course, Dumbledore)
279. matrix
I think that maybe the fact that he doesn't have an impressive phisical appearance (a-la Jacob) makes superficial people less sympathetic.
280. matrix
Then again, J.K. did say that Voldemort 'newer knew love' and that other Deatheaters couldn't produce a Patronus. Now, given that one could, I think, safely assume that, for example, Draco Malfoy loved his family and his father/mother loved him, one simply can't shake off the impression that we are in the presence of an externalization of evil, rather than the inner conflict that it really is (which might explain why people are more likely to deem the bluster and rashness of the Marauders as "heroic", despite the fact that they fell on the "right side of the conflict" essentially by default, through no choice of their own -really, what would the alternative have been-, and with a bluster and certainty borne more out of lack of information than anything else -I would imagine a paria like a werewolf or giant to be faced with a much toughter decision, through self righteousness is not a good conduit to this type of discourse-). Of couse, the fact that they involve actual "choices", and hard, unpleasant ones at that, is the reason people like the depth on stories like Snape's -the right choice made despite the wrong circumstances and personal whims, not because of them-.
281. Trinity Franklin
I think you're right and have felt the same way for a long time. Most fans crown him a hero or think he is still some evil Death Eater no matter what. He is neither; he is still a bad person who has to atone for his sins. Even if he was ok with James dieing, what about Harry? He's a baby! And then bullying students just because they're in Griffindor, but favoring the Slytherins? He's doing exactly what James did to him but the other way around!
Sure Harry forgave him in the end, but what do we know about Harry Potter? He's to forgiving! And Snape was dieing at the time! It's not Harry who needs to forgive Snape. but Lily. Lily was the whole center of Severus Snape's story. And do you really think that she would forgive a man who bullied her son, and belittled her husbands memory? I don't think so.
I'm sorry I've been rambleing but I'm so glad to have found someone who agrees with me and my points.
282. UncleFred
I want to address the notion of "child abuse". -- Yes if you consider Snape's conduct in the contest of a middle/upper class suburban school system in a generally peaceful western first world nation, you can make a case for moderate non-physical abuse. So what?

Snape is a double agent attempting to subvert the goals of the most malicious evil in the magical world. Someone who already caused the deaths, in many cases horrific deaths, of thousands of wizards and muggles. If he needs to behave badly to accomplish that goal, if a few children or a few hundred children have to deal with some emotional scars, so be it.

Considered in the context of the story line, he may well not be a hero (who really knows what that means), but however he came to undertake his mission, he behaves as a determined man struggling to save the magical world, and DIES without complaint when he must.

Hero or not, few of us would ever face that and fewer would walk that road as well.

Imperfect? Yes. Flawed? You bet. Worthy of our respect? IMHO absolutely.
283. ChrisS
I'm only on the sixth book, and I never really liked Snape before, but I never hated him. But now that he killed Dumbledore, I do hate him. But my brother told me to wait until I read the 7th book, so hopefully he can at least try to make up for this.

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