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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 4)

Think another reason Snape was so vindictive towards Harry was because in a way Harry was the reason Lilly d. Snape had asked Lord Voldemort to spare her and by the looks of things, it seems as though he might have.

If Lilly hadn't sacrificed herself for Harry then maybe she'd still be alive and Snape could have resented Harry for surviving instead of the love of his life

Posted by Charlene Gracia on August 1, 2007 6:41 PM

I love Severus Snape.

I believe that he was utterly jealous of James and everything that James had. At school he was worried because he thought that if James fancied Lily that Lily wouldn't love Snape.. and he loved her.

He disliked Harry because he saw his father so much in him. It brought back memories of unpleasantness, days of pure torture, to him. As he lay , he asks Harry to look at him, so he can see the eyes of the woman he truly loved as the last pair he ever saw, as opposed to the cruel red slitted eyes of the man who ed her.

If it weren't for Snape, yes, James and Lily would still be alive. But bear in mind: he didn't know how You-Know-Who would interpret the prophecy. Snape had no idea that You-Know-Who would take it to mean James and Lily's son, and not another boy.

Snape begged You-Know-Who to spare Lily, but in the end had to say that "there be others, ones more worthy of him."

I don't believe that he ever cared for Harry, only that he loved Lily. Here's my opinion for what it's worth: Snape loved Lily so much, and his soul was ripped apart when he heard that You-Know-Who was going to her. He felt so guilty (well duh it was his fault he should feel guilty) that he vowed to himself, and to the love that he had for Lily, that he would make up for causing her any way he possibly could, even if it meant for her son. The guilt inside of him was ripping him apart, so he had to help Harry any way he could.

I think it took Harry all of about a month to realize that Snape was one of the bravest men he ever knew. Snape was ed by You-Know-Who. He stepped out of the darkness and into the light, but on the commands of the light played spy into the circle of the dark. When Harry saw all of those memories in the Pensieve, I believe that was when he realized that Snape had done all that he had done for the memory of Lily, and that he wasn't truly a Eater.

Snape is the coolest, and I cry as I write this. He d for the Order of the Phoenix and he did not in vain.

Posted by Ashley Ross from Missouri on August 1, 2007 7:58 PM

I was among the many on Beyond Hogwarts who dared to hope that Snape was good, and believed that he was good because he loved Lily. I just simply could not believe that Dumbledore could place so much faith in someone without an iron clad reason, and what better reason than that which Voldemort doesn’t understand – love?

Snape did make the ultimate sacrifice. I believe that from the moment he betrayed the Potters, he was living purely to redeem himself. I love the fact that JRK has created such an unlikeable character, who is complex to the core and who you either love or hate, there’s no in-between.

Snape’s ultimate motivation was to avenge Lily’s – the love of his life – . Granted, everything he did for Harry was driven that motivation (not out of a hidden love for Harry) but it cannot be denied that Snape put his life on the line and he came through. He ed Dumbledore, on his orders, the courage and strength it must have taken for him to conjure that astounds me.

I would also like to pay homage to Snape’s remarkable gift of he managed to pull the wool over the red slit eyes of the Dark Lord...I think his actual dislike of Harry assisted here. Snape chose to see what he wanted to see in Harry. He saw James. If he looked a little closer, he could have seen, beyond the green eyes, the compassion and strength of Lily.

Snape is a hero, in his own way. JKR created different types of heroes in Harry Potter, she didn’t prescribe to the clichéd idea of a hero... all the heroes in Harry Potter had flaws, this was the beauty of the characters she developed, and this includes Snape. RIP.

Posted by Meredith from Sydney, Australia on August 1, 2007 8:54 PM

I must say that I think Snape was not the greatest hero in existence. He was undoubtedly brave, and he did turn out loving Harry in the end, but he was give and take, mostly take.

His surroundings and sufferings are notable, but do not make his actions forgivable. He had a right to choose, and though his transgressions made him useful, he could not get over his past and therefore making Harry describe him as Voldemort did: a faithful spy Eater.

And not everyone's must be great or of notice; the befellment of one's does not underline their works, good or bad. JK tells us this many times: Mad-Eye Moody was ed straight in the face when his companion had left him, and his body was taken away by his enemies and his magical eye ended up in the hands of Dolores Umbridge; does this mean he was insignificant? No! These were the events that befell him, he d as any mortal being should. Wormtail was unable to live in the of Harry Potter, so he d by the hand he could not control. Does this mean he was an innocent, misunderstood, and confused person who happened upon troubles and did not deserve more punishment than he received? No! He was an evil rotter who got off the hook. There are countless others, does everyone get fair treatment? Or in other words, is life really fair? Not at the present time. So Snape came upon the that fate doled out to him. That is what happened, period.

So Snape is an odd character, he made every turn in the Harry Potter saga an intersting one. I can only say that JK Rowling did a very good job creating him.

Posted by C. J. from Utah on August 1, 2007 9:49 PM

i think that snape is the best ever, he simply did what was humane... what almost everyone of us would have done... snape was definitely brave, though i agree that i dont love him.

Posted by spoorthi from india on August 1, 2007 11:07 PM

I believe, in my eyes, that Snape wasn't exactly a "hero" as he was loyal. Although some of us shook him off as a traitor & thought he was revealing secrets, the seventh book showed where his true loyalty lied. However I wouldn't say is was hero because of that.

I do though, as Harry stated in the end, believe Snape was a brave man. He was a traitor to Voldemort, meaning he was constantly risking his life.

It is without a doubt that the reason Snape was so unfond on Harry was due to the torture that James bestowed upon him. In terms, Snape took out how James treated him on Harry. Maybe it was because of his resemblance, or just bitterness buried deep inside him. But, nevertheless he protected Harry, and remained loyal to the Order.

Look at it this way, as you make up your mind about Snape's attitude towards Harry. Just as Draco and his friends, and Harry and his friends fought through these seven years, so did James, Lupin, Sirius, and Snape. In my eyes, just as Ron took an automatic disliking towards Scorpius (Draco's Son), Snape took an automatic disliking towards Harry.

It had nothing to do with Snape hating Harry, or Ron disliking Scorpius as a person, just horrible memories caused by their parents.

Still, in my eyes Snape was never evil. He followed Dumbledore's orders, and he continued to put his life at risk for the Order. Even after Dumbledore d, it would have been easy for Snape to break his loyalty and but his full trust in the Dark Lord, but he did not. He continued to stay loyal to the Order, even when they did not have faith in him. He continued to help Harry along (the doe?) even when it would have been easier to give up on him, or turn him in. Snape remained loyal, and Harry was correct in saying that Snape was a brave man.

Hero or not, that's for the wizarding world to decide, but it is without a doubt agreeable that Snape did play a large role in the of Voldemort, by remaining loyal, staying true to Dumbledore's plan, and guiding Harry along.

Snape was an amazing wizard. He has been, and continue to be, my favorite character.

Posted by LaBella on August 2, 2007 12:32 AM

Not to deter too much from the books, but a lot of the appeal Snape has for me comes from the movies. The way Alan Rickman portrays Snape definitely has something to do with his appeal (for me anyway). I have talked quite a bit with a friend of mine who not (or ever) see the movies because of this influence (subconscious or not). His take on Snape is very different than that of my own and in his mind Snape is more evil.

Just from the writing of J.K. I feel that Snape acts out of his own survival and only partly because of his love for Lily. There is one part in books 7 where J.K. herself (not the characters) describes Snape as a coward when he flees the up rise of Hogwarts and "saves" his own skin. I feel that within these hours there would have been opportunities for Snape to show his true colours to Harry and the other teachers and turn against Voldemort. The fact that he stays to the last breath with Voldy says to me that Snape always think of himself first before thinking of others (bad choice). It’s only in those last moments with Voldy that Snape wants to escape the scene to find Harry and tell the truth. To me he could have done that before.

Despite that, I love the guy.

Posted by Stefan from the Netherlands on August 2, 2007 12:40 AM

Snape was good, yes, and he was slightly heroic, but I'm sticking to what I've been saying all along: Just because he's a good guy, doesn't mean I've gotta like him!

Posted by Anonymous on August 2, 2007 01:13 AM

R.I.P Severus Snape. I am also one of those who never stopped trusting snape (being a staunch follower of Dumbledore). I think Snape WAS indeed a hero, whose love for Lily is one of the strongest emotions in HP. and what adds to it is that he could never get his love... it was not surprising that Harry named his son after Snape. when he sees his father do that to snape he identifies himself with snape and not his dad...and snape's sacrifice (lily's love) seems higher than sirius's to him. thats why he names Albus Severus when he could have named him after sirius. I really like his character (mainly only in HP7 though).

Posted by Maithri Hegde from Bangalore,India on August 2, 2007 01:27 AM

There´s just one thing I don´t get. In the pensieve, Dumbledore asks Snape if he has started caring for harry, and as an answer to that, he shows Dumbledore his Doe-patronous. Was that to say "No, I only cared for Lily and I protect Harry because I feel guilty" or "yes, I care for harry because he is Lilys son"?

Posted by ISA from Sweden on August 2, 2007 02:54 AM

i am still not sure if we can call snape a hero as all the things he done in his life to harry but he can for sure be called brave he showed alot of bravery and harry himself says this to his son.

snape is an interesting character and after reading the books you question yourself whether he is good or not trying to understand the character. snape should be seen as a brave character for what he has done but a hero to someone who is vindictive and a bully then we a muddling up what a hero is.

i like snape in the end but i was convinced he was bad because that is what i feel when someone is mean to you and if they are meant to protect them then you do not bully them although i see the point of harry looking like james and that is why he was mean to harry but he should have tried to be a nicer person.

i however cried when i read the princes tale and i must say it was beautifully written and snape is a character that always bring up debates between harry potter fans.

Posted by tonkslupin from london on August 2, 2007 04:44 AM

There is was always there in my mind when I hadnt read Harry Potter 6...and the thing was that Snape had pretty many chances to harm Harry more than one could think of...but he didnt...and this made me respect him cause apart from his hatred with Harry...I find him a very adorable man...
If we try and count the instances...some of them are...

In HP3..Snape could have told Cornelius that Harry wasnt under any spell and he was trying to help a convict..Snape could also tell that Harry attacked him...this would have let Harry end up in hearing for sure, because Harry's wand could be tested for the attack on a teacher.

Then in HP6 when Harry used the spell invented by Snape on Draco, Snape instead of aiding Draco could have easily taken Harry to Dumbledore for using dark arts on a fellow student and this was certainly a noticable thing for the ministry.

Draco and other slytherin students gave interviews against Harry in HP4...even Snape could have done it but he didnt.

and you see, I really liked Snape, but when he ed Dumbledore, I hated matter I still trusted that he be good in the end! But now after reading Harry Potter and the ly Hallows I must say...Hats of Severus! You always be remembered and missed!

Posted by Shruti from Delhi, India on August 2, 2007 05:08 AM

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