Severus Snape… Hero or Villain? | Teen Ink

Severus Snape… Hero or Villain?

April 30, 2019
By abbyhigbee01 SILVER, Highland, Utah
abbyhigbee01 SILVER, Highland, Utah
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

There is no denying that the Harry Potter series is one of the most successful of all time. It has sold 400 million copies worldwide and been translated into sixty-eight different languages such as Latin, Azerbaijani, Malayalam, and Welsh! Most Potterheads will know that J.K. Rowling first got the inspiration for Harry Potter while delayed on a train from Manchester to London in 1990. This inspiration may or may not have been written on a napkin! For twenty-two years now, the fandom has had many ongoing debates regarding the series, but perhaps the most controversial is where a certain greasy-haired character stands; is he a hero or a villain? Severus Snape was born to a muggle father and a witch mother, making him a half-blood, and in his early childhood, he was lonely and strange, making it difficult for him to fit in when he got to school.

Snape fell in love with Lily Evans when they were children and she was struggling with her identity as a witch, he comforted her by making her laugh. She was the love of his life, and he never stopped loving her even when she married James Potter, his sworn enemy. In the hardest times, Snape found strength and solace in his love for Lily even though she had died. Because of his love for her, his patronus and protector took the form of a doe. In his last moments, he wished only to see Lily’s eyes again and drew Harry close so he could die looking into the eyes he loved so dearly.

After James and Lily Potter died, Albus Dumbledore told Snape that Voldemort would return to finish Harry off and Snape chose to protect him even though he didn’t have to. He continued to protect Harry for the next sixteen years, saving his life several times and, in one instance, sending his patronus to guide Harry to the sword of Gryffindor in book seven. Through all the time he protected Harry, Snape never sought acknowledgment or glory. When Harry hated him and was convinced he was a villain, Snape never went to Harry to try and redeem himself. He even went so far as to kill Dumbledore, his friend and mentor, in his mission to protect Harry. Snape was clearly very loyal to the Order of the Phoenix and did everything Dumbledore requested, like giving Harry occlumency lessons even when he didn’t want to, and making monthly potions for Remus Lupin, his old rival, when he was teaching at Hogwarts. He was such a successful double agent for Dumbledore that he became Voldemort’s right-hand man and was very respected, if not completely trusted, within the Death Eaters. In the words of J.K. Rowling, “[Snape was] a hero so heroic that he would cast himself as the villain - as long as it meant doing the right thing.”

Severus Snape had a difficult life, there’s no denying that, but in my opinion, he doesn’t deserve your sympathy. Simply loving somebody doesn’t redeem all the horrible things you’ve done in your life. Not only does his love for Lily verge on a creepy obsession, in some twisted way he thought she would be impressed if he became a full-fledged Death Eater which is a completely ludicrous perception of Lily. It seems strange to me that Snape claims to have loved Lily so deeply but misunderstands who she is so egregiously. There is also hard evidence that Snape didn’t treat Lily well. He canonically called her “mudblood” at least once and from her reaction, we can infer that she was used to this kind of treatment from him. Snape then took the pain of his unrequited love out on actual children: the students who depended on him to take responsibility for them and their educations. He was immature and cruel towards all his students, but especially Harry Potter, despite his being the son of the woman he apparently loved so much. Snape had the opportunity to uphold Lily’s legacy every day and completely disregarded it. He treated Harry with constant unprovoked cruelty which Harry then returned, leading to a spiral in the tension between them. Another student Snape bullied mercilessly was Neville Longbottom, whose parents were tortured into madness which led to his being, quite frankly, a cowardly and pathetic child, making him an easy target. In book three, when learning about boggarts, Neville’s took the form of Professor Snape. No student should ever be that afraid of their teachers or mentors! He also treated Hermione, “the brightest witch of her age”, terribly. In book four when Harry and Draco got in a duel, a spell backfired and hit Hermione on accident. This caused her teeth to grow at an alarming rate and when Snape appeared and sent Goyle to the hospital wing, he looked at Hermione and remarked, “I see no difference”, causing her to cry. He targeted this fourteen-year-old girl’s biggest insecurities for no reason other than to be cruel. Snape is a terrible teacher. He always discourages Hermione’s participation and takes points away from any houses that aren’t his own for no particular reason. He constantly ignores Harry’s success in potion’s class simply because he dislikes him. He doesn’t even try to teach, he is only positioned at Hogwarts for his own ulterior motives. Other than these appalling reasons why I hate Snape and think you all should too, he was basically a wizard Nazi for the majority of his life, and, quite honestly, that is reason enough for me.

The author's comments:

I am not denying that Snape was a morally grey character, and that's what makes him such a great character. I just still think he sucks!

I'm a Hufflepuff and proud of it! An avid Harry Potter reader and fan. I first read the Harry Potter series in eight days (my greatest accomplishment)!

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