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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 44)

Some people call Snape a hero (which i disagree with), some call him a Villain (which is more likely) and some say hes an Anti-Hero (in which case i'd say he's VERY anti and VERY close to villain, if not on the spot of villainy).

Didn't Snape try to get Sirius and Lupin ed by Dementors merely because he held a schoolboy grudge against them and nothing else. I don't believe he thought Sirius responsible for Lily's at that time because he would have seen Pettigrew on the Marauders Map that Lupin left open when Snape took him his potion that evening. Snape would have realised truth in that case. Snape could have helped them with Pettigrew but no he chose revenge against something as trivial as school bullys that ended up being heroes of justice while he ended up being a lacku of evil over avenging Lily's .

Plus even if he did think Sirius guilty for Lily's at the time what did Lupin have to with it? Snape just accused him of helping Sirius due to his school body grudge and prejudice against Werewolves. Can't say I find this very heroic.

Its almost like Snape's choice of the Dark Arts and Eaters over his feelings for Lily when he was younger. Can't say he's changed much and the only reason he's shown any change is because Dumbledore is holding his hand the entire way and nothing else.

Posted by StarMan on July 20, 2008 1:15 PM

We all now know the consequences when you break a promise in the wizarding world i.e. Pettigrew strungled himself being in to Harry that shows that things you say nad do weigh more in Harry's world, so my guess is that Snape did all this because of his promise to Dumbledore, he only protected Harry because he felt guilty for Lilly's and i don't believe he cared to the least about Harry or James.

Posted by Prongs from Athens,Greece on July 21, 2008 09:37 AM

Okay well I would like to say that Professor Snape is Truely a Hero in my life. Thats okay if he isn't in yours. But when I started to read the Harry Potter series I just loved how Severus Snape was just so mean to him while EVERYONE (almost except Draco but he's just unimportant in Harry's opinion) else treated him like he was some big hero when he didn't even know he "Defeted" Voldemort. I liked him through all the books. In the first one, for knowing who Harry really was. In the second, way to look at the chamber. In the third one, for his ability to protect all the students from a Werewolf and a Mass er. In the forth, for being able to go and bring a House Elf up to an office where he knows the bad guy without ANY questions. In the fifth one, for him mastering the s of Occulmancy. In the sixth one, for him being the Half-Blooded Prince. And In the seventh book, for his true idenity. He is an awesome guy. and truely My HERO!

Love Snape for being able to stand up to people freely and not caring what others think when he is an adult.

I know I love him. Just the way he is.

Posted by Sarah from United States on July 21, 2008 7:50 PM

So pleased the discussion still goes on! To me a hero is not the same as a nice man but someone who does something which saves or benefits others and which involves actual or potential sacrifice. Using these criteria Snape definitely has heroic qualities but the number and degree of flaws he has are what create huge suspense in the story and fascination in his character. He was one of the most powerful wizards of his generation who was drawn to the dark side and succumbed. However, something in him drove him to spend the last years of his life as Dumbledore's man, only grudgingly accepted by the OP members and hated by most. He could have been Voldemort's right hand man but instead he let the small amount of love he had ever felt in his life dictate his path. Along the way he did save Harry's and other students' lives on a regular basis. In a crisis who did Dumbledore send for? Snape. His was not particularly special because he is not the "hero" of the books, Harry is, but he d having done his job and without blowing his cover. Those are some of the things which make him heroic, they are not about what he felt but what he did.

Posted by handmaid from Birmingham - Bournville on July 24, 2008 01:55 AM

After all that i have discovered about Severus Snape, I am completely convinced that Snape is good. I mean think about it. In ly Hallows he leaves Harry Potter hints on how to Voldemort. I mean sure he may have ed Dumbledore but in the end he gives Harry all his memories and thoughts and then Harry realizes that Snape was good all along because he names his son after Snape and Dumbledore, because he says they were the bravest men he knew. His son's name is Albus Severus.

Posted by Amie from NC on August 5, 2008 7:39 PM

Well, gee! I thought everybody's heart had broken for Snape by the end of Harry Potter and the ly Hallows. At the end of the sixth book, despite the fact that Snape had ed Dumbledore, I still wasn't sure which side he was on; my dad, who hasn't read the seventh book yet (but has finished up through the sixth) has complete faith that Snape is good. Now I see that there are a good number of people out there actually don't like him. I can't understand this. Sure, he treated Harry quite cruelly, but surely his tragic past redeems him at least a bit? I admit that I cried for Snape in the seventh book, and I'd never cried for any of the other HP characters (except maybe Fred and possibly Dobby, I don't quite remember). It may have been one of the least important, but the memory of his that touches me most is the one where Dumbledore asks him if he's going to flee like Karkaroff, and Snape says he's not. If you'll recall, Dumbledore goes on to say that he sometimes thinks that he Sorts too soon, implying that Snape should have been with Lily (and James and Sirius) in Gryffindor. Do you think that James and Sirius were merely prejudiced toward Snape because he was in Slytherin, or they envied him for being friends with Lily? Could they have been friends had he been in Gryffindor? Surely the smallest bit of reflection releases a great amount of pity and forgiveness for Snape. Harry, having actually known him (and having a loving heart), must surely have forgiven him almost immediately after overcoming the post-war shock. How interesting it would be to read a scene in which Harry and Snape could talk to each other after Harry has finished the war.

Posted by Sadly Jobless from Las Vegas, Wishfully on August 12, 2008 9:43 PM

You are raising some really good points there, Sadly Jobless! So far we've always judged things assuming that it was Snape who envied James for simply being Upper class, having a safe background, etc. But - it was Snape who was in Lily's favour for a very long time. and I think it was a really tough decision for Lily to let him go as a friend - I imagine she had put up with a lot of his dark behaviour until he finally crossed that line. And only at least two years after she and Snape split did she start seeing James, whom she dismissed arrogant until then. You are probably quite right in saying that James envied Snape as well - and he deliberately tried to sabotage Lily's regard for the latter.

Posted by Siena on August 13, 2008 08:29 AM

Snape is the real hero of the Potter books. Harry's sacrifice is completely out of self-interest. He saves people so he not feel guilt for their s. He sacrifices himself so his friends and loved ones can live free of Voldemort.
Snape, on the other hand, s fighting for a society which despises him. His life completes an arc from fall from grace to heroic redemption. Snape learns to love, which starts with a greedy and possessive obsession for Lily as a child, that extends to become the resentful protective love for her son after her , then ultimately includes selfless love for the whole human race-when he risks his life by the time of Harry's sixth year, to save all he can save.

I say he is the true hero of this series, because by book six, Snape has no net under his tight-rope (which is a part of the role he plays to Harry) and no friends or allies to aid him. He does what he does on his own also helping Harry at ever turn. What he ultimately accomplishes is not for Lily who is , nor for Dumbledore who is , nor for Harry, who (because of Dumbledore's statement) he 'knows' is destined to . He does what he does, not to save friends or for fame or forgiveness- but to save all those people who despise him and never know his sacrifice. What on earth could be more heroic than anonymously for the benefit of strangers and aquaintances who hate him? It is the difference between a spy and a solr. A great spy is just as heroic as any solr, but is never loved.

Posted by belladonnacordial on August 16, 2008 09:34 AM

Snape learned to only truely love one person and that person was Lily, though he was loyal to Dumbledore. Everything he accomplished was for Lily, even though she was . His love never extended to Harry. He only did what he did because he couldn't bear the thougth he had played a part in causing Lily's

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on August 18, 2008 3:41 PM

Severus is simply a human who is also a hero.

True, he did make some bad descisions that made the rest of his life miserable. However, what makes him heroic is that he understood that what he did was wrong, and devoted the rest of his life to making up for his mistakes. He let love guide his life and therefore trusted Dumbledore, even though he did not recieve all of the information that he deserved.

In DH, Snape showed true bravery by letting Harry see the softer, more vulnerable side of him first with the doe and then in the pensieve. He did not have to open up to Harry in that way, but he decided to take that small step toward forgiving Harry for his father's nastiness.

Posted by Michaela from Maryland on August 21, 2008 11:03 AM

Snape had to open up to Harry to make him understand that he was truly on their side and was telling the truth about Harry being the last horcrux. otherwise the hostility/animostiy between the two might have interfered between the understanding. by knowing that Snape had actually loved Lily literally the whole life, Harry believed his true position and acted accordingly thereafter.

Posted by swati from India on August 21, 2008 9:02 PM

Somehow I get the feeling that Snape merely went through with everything so that he could ultimately get revenge on Voldemort for ing Lily. I don't think he truly cared about the well being of anyone else, not even Harry and maybe even hoped that Harry would also get ed along with the Dark Lord, just as James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were beforehand. In this sense what if he just played everyone so he could get his own way.

Snape could never forgive himself for what he did to Lily and at the same time could never forgive James and Sirius for what they did.

He could neither let go of his grudges or just turn away and forget about them. Instead he chose to continue keeping them alive, opting for revenge yet again. He was ing to let James and Harry for Lily's safety, his grudge kept alive. His passion for the dark arts and his inability to forgive and/or forget his biggest weaknesses and have remained so until his .

Snape's love for Lily was obsessive and possessive, he retained his selfishness in his passion for something Lily was opposed to. If he truly loved her he would have made better choices: her over the dark arts. But we all know how difficult it is for teenagers to change because of others, so I don't think Snape would have ever had a chance with Lily in this sense.

Posted by StarMan on August 23, 2008 08:25 AM

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