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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 25)

I give you the point that Ron and Hermione did show some love toward one another as early as the third book, but was it truly love? There are different levels of love and I cannot believe that Snape had anywhere the level of love (or obsession that he showed) toward Lily beyond curiosity at her magic ss at an early age. If Ron and Hermione were in different houses do you think they would still have found the love they had at the end of the books?

As for Snape and Lily, I do believe that there could have been love one point. But it was quite obvious that Lily had been drifting from the love (if she ever had any for Snape) before he called her a mudblood. Once again, true love is two sided. You cannot have a loving relationship with only one person that loves the other, and it is quite apparent to me that Lily chose James to love, not Snape.

Did this sit well with Snape, well it certainly didn't. That is when I say it turned into an obsession.

Snape: "I asked him to spare her....(and James and the baby)."
Dumbledore: "You disgust me"

Very nicely written, but......

"Snape was definitely a hero. I can't understand how anybody can deny that"

I guess you have not been reading my posts. Please remember at no point in any of my posts have I ever stated that Snape was not brave or fighting for the right side. It is his intentions that I question.

I believe the only (main) reason he is fighting for Dumbledore is that Voldy ed his obsession (lily). If Voldy did not Lily, as Snape requested, would he still be a eater? That is the question you have to ask yourself. If Voldy separated Lily and Harry (by force of course) and then tried to Harry where would Snapes loyalties lie? He would still be with Voldy, and Lily would have found out and Snape would still be without his obsession.

True love would not have led Snape back to Voldy to tell him what he heard about the "chosen one". Especially since he knew that Lily had a son at the end of July. True love would have kept his mouth shut in fear that Voldy would have thought it her.

A true teacher (in regards to Neville) would have help to give him confidence, as Harry did in the DA. Once someone took him aside and "helped" him, he did just fine.

on with this one, although he didn't show the same level of contempt to the other "muggle-born" or "half-bloods" that he did toward her. But then again, she was Harry's friend, but he treated her badly from the first potions class.

I guess it all comes down to the definition of Hero. I'll give the fact that Snape is a very brave man. Harry even said as much at the end of DH. But to put Snape in the "hero" category is a far stretch for me, heck even JK puts him in the "anti-hero" category when asked of Snape was a hero. What exactly an "anti-hero" is....*shrugs*.

To me an "anti-hero" would be someone that is doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons....thus the revenge for Lily's .

Posted by Cdh from WW on September 12, 2007 1:51 PM

To Cdh: I�ve read all the posts. Yes, the only reason Snape changed sides (initially) is that Voldemort ed Lily, the only woman Severus had ever loved. When he told Voldemort about the prophesy, he didn�t know it would mean her, I don�t think he even knew she was pregnant. I don�t think they had any contact with each other after school, Snape being with the Eaters. He would NEVER have told Voldemort about the prophesy if he had thought it would refer to her son. He wanted to after Lily�s . He hated himself. Dumbledore showed him that he could find a reason to live in helping to save Harry�s life: that was what Lily would have wanted.

I think you have to understand the reasons why Snape became a Eater. His father was a violent (probably drunk) Muggle who terrorised the family. The neighbourhood in which Severus lived was Muggle, and it despised him and his family. Severus learned to despise everything Muggle. He hated the Muggle-side of himself, that�s why he took pride in the wizard-side of himself and called himself a half-blood Prince. When he went to school he wanted to be in Slytherin, his mother had probably been a Slytherin. As soon as he had been sorted into Slytherin, Lucius Malfoy took him under his wing. He felt, for the first time in his life, that he was accepted, that he was part of something, he belonged somewhere. As important as Lily was to him, he couldn�t reject what he belonged to. He wanted both.

But Lily�s , and the fact that he himself had caused it, was too hard. He didn�t want to live anymore. He decided to accept Dumbledore�s offer, and make the protection of Lily�s son the purpose of his life. But his values started to change, too. It took time, but in the end he had the same values as anybody on the right side: he wanted to protect human life. It didn�t have to be his loved one any more, he understood the value of human life in general, he wanted to protect even his former enemies Sirius and Lupin. He not only fought Voldemort but at the same time he fought a fight inside himself, and won it. That�s why I think he is a Hero. Not perfect but Hero.

About Severus�s love for Lily: I think it was pure love. He admired her. In the beginning, as a child, when he was looking at her with "undisguised greed in his thin face" it was nothing creepy, it was huge admiration at her talents and huge desire to be with her. Here was at last somebody like him! He wanted to be with her! Later he either didn�t see or mind her faults, he idealised her. Oh yes, the saint Lily had faults. When they were on the train to Hogwarts Lily was crying because her sister had been angry with her (note: she wasn�t crying because she had done wrong sneaking in her sister�s room, but because she had lost her sister�s trust, that�s kind of selfish). And who did Lily blame for the situation? Not herself but Severus! "I don�t want to talk to you!" Lily was his friend only because it was Severus who had introduced the wizarding world to her. But after a few years, I don�t think she really wanted to be his friend anymore. She was popular and she had many friends. When they were talking about the "prank" (or should it be called an attempted ?)Sirius had done to Snape Lily wasn�t in the least worried about Severus, what might have happened to him. No, she only accused him of being ungrateful towards James. I think she wasn�t a real friend to him at that point anymore. I feel Lily was only relieved to get a good reason to end their relationship when Severus made his mistake and called her mudblood. I don�t think Lily could have ever become romantically interested in Severus, even if he had left his Eater friends. So, I think Severus had bad luck again, he fell in love with a girl, who wasn�t interested in him. I think Severus had strong feelings, both in bad and in good. He hated James still after twenty years, and he loved Lily still after twenty years.

Posted by Sara from Finland on September 13, 2007 01:25 AM

To Cdh: About Snape as a teacher. Yes, Snape was not one of the best teachers. Lupin was the best teacher. But then again, I don�t think it has anything to do with the question of his heroism. Even a bad teacher can become a hero, for example at war.

Posted by Sara from Finland on September 13, 2007 02:09 AM

Somebody said earlier something about Snape following Lily and James when they were on dates. I think this person had got it wrong. Sirius said: "She didn�t know too much about it, to tell you the truth" (i.e.Lily didn�t know too much about James still hexing Snape) Sirius goes on: "I mean, James didn�t take Snape on dates with her and jinx him in front of her, did he?" Doesn�t this mean that James didn�t ask Snape to come on dates with them, and thus when James and Snape met, and attacked each other, Lily was not there to see it? I don�t think he would have followed them. This man had his pride.

Posted by Sara from Finland on September 13, 2007 08:49 AM

I think that Snape is such a beautifully written character. How many of the others are being debated like this?

Snape absolutely made some bad choices. He hung around with the bad crowd, he likely helped Voldemort multiple times, and he hated Harry.
But he's so misunderstood. He loved someone as much as anyone ever could. After years of looking at Harry and seeing James, he finally realized that he had cared about Harry all along.

Cdh: I think that if circumstances had been different, Snape maybe wouldn't have turned out to be a good person. But the point is that he did. Events happened that changed his attitude, at a huge risk to himself. And no matter what the temptations, he STAYED that way. What person wouldn't be different if something had happened differently? It's called LIFE.

And to whoever said that Snape d in an ignoble way, I thought it was beautiful that Snape d trying to help Harry. How could you possibly try to compare him to Wormtail? There's absolutely no comparison.

And I think that all that about Snape being a vampire is crap. The books are over. If JKR didn't say Snape was a vampire by the 7th book, then it obviously didn't matter one way or another.

Posted by andrea from ogden, utah on September 13, 2007 2:30 PM

Andrea from odgen, I completely agree with you about the vampire thing, it's a little pointless to debate about somthing so obvious! And, well, here's the thing, we all have our opinions about Snape, everything about him has already been written, so whatever we say or do won't change that! If you think Snape's a downright old git, good for you! If you don't, that's great! Just some of you are obsessively trying to get people to share your opinion, and that's not going to work! Just enjoy the books, the characters, and be realistic: as much as we all love them, these people don't exist! Including Snape!

Posted by Sandra from Laplandia on September 13, 2007 4:41 PM


I believe you are making some assumptions about Snape, Lily and James and their feelings (and/or opinions). For instance you stated that Snape had no knowledge of Lily's you know that for sure? I don't believe they mention that in the book. They only mention that Snape told DD that Voldy is going to the Potters because of the prophesy.

There are others area that I also believe you are making assumptions about them. But from your post I can tell you are an optimist and see the good in people. Where as I am more of a pessimist and see more evil in characters like Snape.

I guess it all comes down to an opinion, and mine is that Snape was out for revenge on Lily Evans son.

As for Snape and his teaching abilities and still being a hero. Just the fact that Snape would rather torment good students other houses rather than just ignoring them shows a lot toward his character of not being a good person.

I know nothing about Snape following James & Lily on dates. It sounds a little hinky to me. But if he did follow them on dates, and knowing that Serious would be somewhere near, just seems a little to foolish for Snape. He is a very smart character and I cannot believe that he would do that.

I also don't believe that circumstances of childhood have much to do with it. It all depends on who you want to be and what your power is. I to grew up in a house with a drunk father that was mean and abusive, but I am not. Granted I have quite a bit of power, but Snape has shown the same power. This is another reason I believe he wanted Voldy out of vengeance. Revenge is a much stronger emotion that most people know.

I mentioned that Snape, Wormtail, Lupin & Tonks all d a meaningless . What I meant by that was that I found all of their s a "slow read".

Wormtail: Granted Wormtail d because he betrayed his master (only for a second), but it still was not the "salvation" of a that I expected considering that he owed Harry his life.

Tonks & Lupin: Happened away from the written scene. We don't know who they were fighting, if they were winning and got jumped from behind by more eaters, or stomped on by a giant, or buried under a stone wall (i.e.: Fred). I found their s meaningless since we didn't read about them.

Snape: Oh boy, his scene was having his neck bit by the snake. Oh, I have shivers. How anti-climatic of a . Died without even getting his want up.

I would have loved to have scene Snape and Voldy go at it.

So if it was me that said that Snape d an ignoble way, the above is what I had meant to say.

Posted by Cdh from WW on September 13, 2007 5:09 PM

We all have enjoyed the books, that is why we are here. We all have this one thing in common, the enjoyment we received from this great work by JKR.

I know I am not taking any of what other say to heart. We are just debating the issues put forth by the mod and having fun with it.

I know for a fact that I certainly know the difference between fiction and reality.

Posted by Cdh from WW on September 13, 2007 6:09 PM

Yes Cdh, I think I know for sure, Snape never meant to have Lily�s son ed. I think it is obvious if you read this scene again (quote from DH):

Dumbledore: "What request could a Eater make of me?"
Snape: "The - the prophecy...the prediction...Trelawney..."
"Ah, yes," said Dumbledore. "How much did you relay to Lord Voldemort?"
"Everything - everything I heard!" said Snape. "That is why - it is for that reason - he thinks it means Lily Evans!"

Think about how horrified Snape must have been when he heard Lord Voldemort say her name.

Posted by Sara from Finland on September 14, 2007 03:33 AM

It all boils down to we read the book with a different attitude. I dislike Snape for what he is, and what he has done, but still give him his due and say that he is brave. But I also say that he did it all for vengeance (and to protect the little that was left of Lily on this world). In my opinion he did the right things for the wrong reasons.

In your opinion, he actually liked Harry because he loved (obsessed) Lily. If this was the case, then why was he so ing to let Voldy James and Harry without a second thought?

Dumbledore said it himself....."You disgust me."

And believe me, I have read and listened to it more than most people. I work long hours in my office (all alone) and usually have a HP book on tape going.

Although you think that Snape didn't mean for Lily's son to be ed, it is just speculation. If you go a little further in the scene that you quote, Snape had no care for James of Harry. He actually asked Voldy to them but spare Lily. That is when DD said that Snape disgusts him.

Once again this is the difference between being a optimist and pessimist.

You are a lucky person because you have the outlook of an optimist. I would say that you think there is good in everyone if you look deep enough. I for one, don't believe that. Bad people can do the right thing, it's usually for the wrong reason, but they still can do what is right.

Posted by Cdh from WW on September 14, 2007 07:21 AM

Cdh: Why would Wormtail's be a "salvation"? He got stangled by his own hand!

And about Snape--imagine watching someone get torn apart by a giant snake. Kinda gruesome. He didn't even know what was going on until the last second. He was trying to get away to help Harry, and Voldemort was too powerful.
And it wasn't you that said the ignoble thing--it was rickie on the very first comment!

Rickie: I think that if you and I knew each other, we would be having some serious problems right now. If a bad teacher has cast a shadow over your entire life, I think you could solve it by getting one.

Sandra: Don't worry about us and our little arguements. We're just bored since the books are over.

Hey, did anyone know that they set up a grief hotline before DH came out, in case Harry d?

Posted by andrea from ogden, utah on September 14, 2007 2:42 PM

To Fiona from Hong Kong:

I totally agree with you about what Dumbledore did to Snape. I was appalled when I realised it. Dumbledore knew that Lord Voldemort was after the Elder Wand. Nevertheless, he asked Snape to him, which would put Snape in mortal danger. And Dumbledore didn�t talk about this with Snape, who knew nothing about the Elder Wand.

Snape was always loyal to Dumbledore, but Dumbledore betrayed him. Dumbledore is not a hero.

Posted by Sara from Finland on September 15, 2007 08:01 AM

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