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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 35)

Wow - so surprised to see this discussion is still going. Love that Snape! So, I'm re-reading Half Blood Prince and I'm noticing how Slughorn keeps commenting on what a great potioneer Lily was. Of course this is probably in there as a red herring BUT do you also think it could mean that Snape was helping her in potions in real life kind of like he's helping Harry via the book? Or would that have been after Snape & Lily stopped being friends?

Posted by Bnickel from IL, USA on December 6, 2007 07:32 AM

I'm glad you mentioned it as I was thinking exactly the same thing! No, I don't think it was coincidence, I think Snape influenced and helped Lily quite a lot. Rowling hardly ever stated anything in her books without some kind of reference to the connection of people, so I assume she was hinting at the friendship Lily-Severus, as she does on a number of other occasions as well.

Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on December 7, 2007 02:49 AM

When Harry is at Hogwarts, it seems that the Gryffindors and Slytherins have Potions together. So perhaps the same was true when Snape and Lily were in school too; it certainly seems likely that he would have wanted to impress Lily and remain in her good graces by helping her in Potions. The whole "mudblood" incident happened after the O.W.L. exams, so sometime in their 5th year. This is the last conversation we see between Snape and Lily via the pensieve, when she tells him off. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that their friendship was completely ended at that point. He may have continued to help Lily in Potions in the hopes that she might soften towards him again. Obviously Snape couldn't compete with James as far as looks, money or personality goes; I think part of his misguided motivation in becoming a Eater was to hope to impress Lily with his brilliance and great wizarding ss.

I'm really looking forward to the HBP movie next year, I hope they do justice to Snape.

Posted by Michelle on December 7, 2007 4:50 PM

Yes, Michelle, this is what I am hoping too! After all, Snape IS the Half-Blood Prince, but then again, you never know with these movie people...

Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on December 8, 2007 03:16 AM

You'd think with an awesome actor like Alan Rickman playing Snape they'd want to maximize his on-screen time. But you're right Siena, you never know what the movie folks do. I read that they want HBP to be a more lighthearted movie and focus on the humor with Ron's relationship with Lavender. Ugh.

Posted by Michelle on December 8, 2007 11:02 AM

They had better do justice to the Snape story in HBP and I wouldn't have thought it a threat before, but since I heard they aren't filming the Gaunt scene or the Hepzibah Smith scene, I'm really concerned that they won't include some of the Snape stuff. I love his character. JKR did a really good job on him and the feeling of his life and I hope they can bring that to the screen. You would think they would be able to include a larger percentage of the book stuff in this one than OotP because it's a shorter book. Like Sienna said, you never know.

Posted by camille from manchester on December 8, 2007 2:03 PM

It's interesting that the assumption is that Snape helped Lily in potions. How do we know that it wasn't Lily helping Snape? She could have been the imaginative, inventive one who inspired Snape to continue his study of potions--and wand use. We know that Lily was "gifted," so why isn't it possible she mentored Snape rather than the other way around? After all, by Harry's adolescence, Snape had had a great deal of time to perfect his abilities.

Posted by alice from milton on December 13, 2007 06:47 AM

You've got a point there Alice! I think it's because we know more about Snape's background and abilities; we learn that he was a very gifted wizard. With Lily, we don't actually learn much concerning her magical abilities until later when Slughorn talks about her talents in Potions.

Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on December 14, 2007 08:36 AM

In the movie, POA, Professor Lupin tells Harry that Lily was singularly gifted. I realize it was the movie not the book, but still mentioned under JKR's watchful eye.

Posted by Alice from Milton on December 14, 2007 12:43 PM

I love snape more than doubledore and harry

Posted by Willem on December 15, 2007 06:36 AM

I agree with alice. JKR hints at Lily being an exceptionally gifted wizard at Hogwarts, so couldn't she have helped Snape instead of the other way around? Still, JKR also hints at him being gifted at potions to... I think they were each good at parts of the class and they helped the other, so they both became equally good at all areas of Potions, or something like that.

Posted by Holly from Germany on December 15, 2007 11:26 AM

I've always believed that Snape was a good person. When I read the book six, I cried a lot because he ed Dumbledore, but I didn't changed my opinion about him. While I waited for the seventh book, I couldn't stop thinking: Dumbledore is not , and Snape didn't ed him, he could never betray Dumbledore. And look, I just finished the book seven, and my theory was not wrong! Snape is a hero, and a really good person. And the way he loves Lilian is... perfect, and so deep that he did everything for her, and for Harry. I LOVE SNAPE! One of the best characters of the book.

Posted by Olimpia from Brazil on December 16, 2007 08:27 AM

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