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Severus Snape: Heel or Hero?

Is Snape a hero? Would James and Lily be alive now if not for him? Would Harry be dead now if not for him? Did he ever care about Harry, or only Lily? At the end of the epilogue, Harry says that Severus Snape was the bravest man he ever knew. Did he feel that way only after years of reflection? How do we feel now, while it's still fresh for us?

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Reader Comments: (Page 2)

Severus Snape is, without a doubt, the most tragic literary figure I have ever had the pleasure to read. Poor, poor Severus. He loves from afar, but is not loved. His life is torn in two as double agent. The words he speaks to Voldemort about the prophesy ultimately causes the of the love of his life. He can never treat Harry remotely nicely for to do so would jeoparidize his standing with Voldemort and the Eaters.What an unhappy existence only to be ended by a painful and gruesome in the jaws of a snake. Rest in peace.

Posted by Karch from Laguna Niguel, CA on August 1, 2007 10:30 AM

I agree that Snape was brave. Snape is also an excellent example of how some people never mature, never go on in life. Snape is a poster boy on why a person should learn how to forgive others.

Even if you ignore how he treated Harry, Snape is a bully in the way he treated Neville, Ron, and Hermione. I could understand Snape's attitude if he was trying to get better work out of Neville or Ron in class. What I can't forgive is how he treated Hermione. What kind of teacher or adult would tell Hermione that he sees no difference in her appearance after her teeth grew extremely large. He is deliberately cruel to her.

In the end, Snape was a Heel who made a heroic sacrifice. Hopefully, Rowling's readers learn something from him.

Posted by Linda from Fort Wayne, IN on August 1, 2007 10:45 AM

Snape had to make harrys life miserable to keep up his disguise to voldy's supporters, because if he was nice to him, it would seem a little odd, would it not?

Posted by Jack from Oxford on August 1, 2007 10:51 AM

Ah! But the question, Jack, is that perhaps did Snape enjoy playing his role just a bit too much?

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on August 1, 2007 10:52 AM

I think Snape was brave....its not black and white...he did some awful things, and let his past get the better of him but he is not evil or good. Throughout the series we go from thinking good guy, bad guy, wait no good guy and are constantly kept wondering until the end. We dont know a whole lot about his family life as a child....Lily asks if they're (his parents) still arguing, indicating his home life was probably not the best(his father being very unsupportive of Snape). He was put through humiliation that no one should have to endure. Harry was a constant reminder of everything he hated about James yet everything he loved about Lily.

Dumbledore tells Snape that sometimes he thinks they sort too soon....showing that perhaps Snape is not the eater Slytherin he tries to appear to be. We are also shown this in the way he feels about "mudbloods"...he makes the mistake of calling Lily a "mudblood" and it completely ruins their sure this left him feeling guilty and angry with himself for the rest of his life. He tells Lily that it does not make any difference if someone is muggleborn, and tells Phineas Nigellus not to use the word "mudblood". Though i believe he is mostly against this because of Lily and the mistake of calling her a "mudblood" it is still very unSlytherinlike the way he avoids the word.

I do not think that Snape ever really loved Harry...he did what he had to do...what Dumbledore asked...and he did it for Lily. Even so long after Lily's , his patronous still takes on the form of a doe. He kept Harry safe so Lily's would not be in vain, and because its what Lily wouldve wanted, despite the fact that Harry reminds him of James, who humiliated him, and married the girl he loved. I think after Harry saw Snapes past he understood more about him....It made Snape look better, but theres no denying that Snape was neither bad or good. I really like the complexity of Snape. It gives the books depth, and shows a major flaw in character. Personally i think that Snape taking responsibility and doing what he was asked shows that he was extremely brave. Yay Snape! (although i still wouldnt mind if he took a shower!)

Posted by Natalie from Minnesota on August 1, 2007 11:06 AM

I don't think Snape was all good or all bad.

I think that yes, he only cared that Voldemort spare Lily's life, in the beginning. I think he felt an immense guilt and regret for his part in her . And although it was only because of her he felt the pain, I also think that he did in his heart take it on to (not just because he told Dumbledore he would) watch out for Harry. And in his heart he always knew it was Harry he'd been after.

I don't think he was just a jerk to Harry for fun (although he did have to play his part too). But he always wanted to push Harry. He knew more than most that Harry would ultimately have to be prepared enough to face Voldemort.

But I don't think he cared too much of some of the abuse that happened at Hogwarts under his eye. Although part of that would be to play his part as well, part of it I think was that Snape didn't care for much besides himself. But I truly think he cared for Dumbledore and Harry (despite himself).

Posted by Kelley from Lansing, MI on August 1, 2007 11:21 AM

So, does Snape's doe patronus represent Lily and his love for her, or Harry and his love for him because of Lily?

Posted by earthangelcf from Miami Beach Florida on August 1, 2007 11:30 AM

i dont think snape did everything for love, if Dumbledore told him to get lost and didn't help him, he would have ended up in azkaban with the other eaters, and would have come out of there when they all broke out, and as he was so cut up of what he did and hated everything, he would of been with Voldemort.

It was Dumbledore that helped him and i think he grew to repect Dumbledore, and he became Dumbledore's man through and through... and he d knowing he helped Dumbledore until the end, and of course loving Lily until the end.

Posted by draco malfoy on August 1, 2007 11:32 AM

I think also that Snape is a very interesting character. I like to think more about him as a hero and I really think he was, although he was often mean to harry and Neville, Ron, Hermione. I found it very very sad when he d, because when I finished book 6 I was sure he is a good guy. But now I understand that he was neither-good nor bad-he just wanted to keep his promise, because he felt guilty about lily and do not get himself into troubles.

Have some of you here heard that JKR said somewhere that Snape wouldn't care about Harry if he hadn't been Lily`s son? I dont wanna think about it, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't.

Posted by awww from North on August 1, 2007 12:09 PM

I am in two minds when it comes to Severus Snape. Goff Morgan, wow, you took all the words right out of my mouth, for that is how I feel about Snape as well. I don't think he is a particularly nice character, but he went through a lot in his childhood, constant bullying, his parents arguing and maybe even peer pressure from the Slytherins. I can see how he would have reacted when his Slytherin peers spoke of the Dark Arts; it would have enticed him that he could make people hurt the way they had caused him pain.

It is hard to decide whether to call him a hero or not. Being the complex, many-layered character that he is, there is so much that we haven't seen from Snape. When Harry saw him in the Pensieve as a child talking to Lily, he seemed quite innocent, who knew that he would be the one to relay vital information to Voldemort?

I think he probably regrets Harry being born in July, otherwise the prophecy wouldn't have concerned him! But that only leaves Neville, and it disturbs me that Snape probably wouldn't have felt guilty for handing Neville over to Voldemort.

Posted by Rashida from Northants, England on August 1, 2007 12:29 PM

To me, I say Snape was a hero, but in different ways. He was also probably better then Dumbledore in some ways. Like for instance, he might have been rude to Harry, yes, but he never lied about everything like Dumbledore had. In the end though Snape, in my opinion proved not to be a bad guy, but just someone misunderstood.

Posted by Dumbledore from Flordia on August 1, 2007 12:49 PM

Snape was only ever good to harry either on dumbledore's orders or because and because he loved lily, like someone mentioned before. snape sees harry like a mini james. harrys godfather was also hated by snape and lupin who was also close to harry wasn't exactly liked by snape.

my part in this debate is that i cant belive that harry named the middle name of the son most like himself severus. its like him naming his son peter after womtail just because he helped harry in book 7 when harry had already helped him.

Posted by Alex B. from London on August 1, 2007 12:54 PM

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