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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 52)

But Snape was a hero in the memories In the Yule Ball Dumbledore says that they Sort too Soon after Snape says he has no intentions of being a coward. This means Dumbledore thought Snape should be in Gryfindor, which has �cough� the heroes �cough� of the story �cough�
Snape is just like Dumbledore,
Dabbled in the Dark Arts then converted to the good guys for a price of a loved one, then they fell endless remorse paying it up by being braver than at first glance

But I must admit he was just downright unpleasant sometimes, but I reckon the treatment he got was the treatment the students had form him

Posted by Sy on December 30, 2009 03:49 AM

You seem to be in need of one or two of Prof McGonagall's cough drops, Sy!

Have a very happy new year everyone and thank you all for contributions, they are really thought provoking - yes, it is due to Rowling's amazing writing but it's also down to your thoughts and ideas!

Severus Snape, hopefully you are resting in peace!

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on December 31, 2009 06:35 AM

By the way Sy - it's not all about heroes in Gryffindor. Think Peter Pettigrew, the slimiest coward and traitor was a Gryffindor...

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on December 31, 2009 06:48 AM

I just saw that birthday note to Snape - and was wondering, if he was born in 1958, he would have been two years older than Lily (born 1960). How come they were both going to Hogwarts for the first time in the same year then?

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on January 9, 2010 03:28 AM

Snape never cared for Harry. He said so... "For him? For him!", right before he summoned his patrones in front of Dumbledore and it leaped out of the window.

I can't help but wonder, did he really LOVE Lily? Or was it just obsession? Frankly, I don't see how. She shut him out over a mistake made in a moment of humiliation! How many of us have said something we didn't mean because we were embarrassed? I imagine being dangled upside down so that his shorts showed was pretty embarrassing... especially in front of the woman (or girl at the time) he loved.

Another question I have... when did he graduate from senstive (emotionally) to rock hard? Obviously, he had feelings at some point.

Finally, did he care for Draco? And if he did care, wouldn't that mean his occulmens walls weren't always up?

Posted by Ada from USA on February 27, 2010 8:17 PM

Well, Snape was born in January 9, 1960. Not 1958. (source:- Wikipedia: Chronology of Harry Potter series). and if Snape was born in 1958, at 1971 (the year he started his first year with Lily) he was 13. Is it really possible?

Posted by Mahin from Bangladesh on February 28, 2010 01:33 AM

"She shut him out over a mistake made in a moment of humiliation" - I don't think it was just that, Ada. It was the final drop that finally caused the cup to overflow, so to speak. I think Lily had already suffered a great deal on Snape's hands - not physically obviously because he would never have hurt her in such a way - but emotionally. Lily very strongly believed in humanity, love, respect - and Snape trampled on that by mixing with people like Mulciber and Avery. Lily was appalled by their behaviour and their use of dark magic - she called it evil - and Snape merely shrugged it off and said: "It was a laugh." Well, it clearly wasn't for Lily. Snape should have respected this and at this point he should have made his decision: Dark arts or Lily. Well, he did choose - and regretted it for the rest of his life. "You have chosen your way and I have chosen mine" Lily says. and "You call (everyone of Muggle descent) Mudblood - why should I be any different?" Even had snape replied with a love confession - I don't think lily would have liked to hear it because she despised the ideology behind "Mudblood" generally, not just in relation to her.

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on March 2, 2010 06:32 AM

"Finally did he care for Draco?" This is an interesting question I've been wondering about for quite a while too. It is another example for how ambigious Rowling wrote Snape. We see them together in the empty classroom in HBP where Snape says two sentences that can be interpreted either way, without any danger of Voldemort looking through them: " I am trying to help you, Draco." is the first and then "Where had I been all these years had I not known how to act?" The first sentence stands as a fact - and Voldemort would approve, he, after all, wanted Snape to finish off the task he set for Draco. Voldemort never expected Draco to succeed. Thus Snape was expected to help Draco. In DH the reader is then informed that Snape had actually meant it literally - he meant to help Draco to prevent him from harm.The next statement about acting is even better - it implies what Snape's been doing all his life. For Voldemort again it only meant that Snape spied on Dumbledore for him while acting his tale "of deepest remorse" as he says in HBP.
But from all this we never learn for sure how Snape really felt towards Draco and his mother. But I am inclined to say there is a difference in how he treated mother and son compared to Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, Wormtail and maybe Karkaroff: Draco and Narcissa he talked to without his usual sneering, while he clearly mocked the other Eaters. Draco and Narcissa showed vulnerability and signs that they weren't so sure about the Dark Path anymore. Maybe he felt this and engaged with their attitude.

Posted by siena from Nottingham, UK on March 3, 2010 06:30 AM

My opinion on Severus Snape is this:

Snape was a hero. Every year that Harry was at Hogwarts, every single year, he's gotten into trouble and Snape has been there. He had double motives, like saving Harry from Sirius so he could be the one to catch Sirius, but he WAS a Slytherin so you can't expect much less.
He's a mean b****** but he's a hero. His personality doesn't negate what he's done, nor his motives for doing it.
Speaking of what he's done... Can anyone tell me exactly how many people might have been ed if he hadn't taken Voldemort's plans to Dumbledore? If he hadn't alerted the Order? Another thing, in OotP, he was the one that informed Dumbledore that Voldemort had found out about the connection between Harry's scar and himself. What might have happened if Dumbledore hadn't known about that?
Regarding to his calling Lily the m-word, i can understand why he did it. His childhood enemies had just embarrassed him in front of the entire year and then the girl he loves steps in to defend him. He can't defend himself and that's going to hurt his pride but Lily makes it worse by stepping in, even if she only did it to help her friend.
That's about it, I think

Posted by Belinda from Edwardsville IL on March 24, 2010 8:03 PM

You know, you are right Belinda, she made it worse by stepping in as such as she was probably the very last person in front of whom Snape would have wanted to be made a fool of - but taken Lily's urge to step in at times of injustice, she probably hasn't thought of anything else but to put an end to that injustice.

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on March 26, 2010 06:28 AM

i realy hated snape after reading the half blood prince but after reading the ly holows i absolutely admire and love him a true hero. yes he did dark arts and was cruel to harry but and this is a big but he did the right thing always putting himself in danger and was despised by the verry peopple he was helping he got no reward for his acts of good and did it all becuase of love and becuase it was the right thing to du. in the end what greater act of kindness is there than doing the right thing no matter wat the cosequesis are to you. its a shame no one realised (except dumbeldore) what a greate man snape was before he d. in the words of harry potter "snape was probably the bravest man i ever knew"

Posted by charlie from hogwards on March 31, 2010 1:14 PM

Definitely Snape was evil. He was a coward and selfish person. He only showed bravery when he was doing something for Lily (selfish again, he worked for his love and emotion only, not others) and it was protecting Harry. The Order of the Phoenix also had same intentions, so he worked alongside them and acted spy. He did everything for Lily only. His patronus changed into a doe because it was Lily's patronus (by the time Lily learnt a patronus charm perhaps she had already united with prongs, so her patronus was a stag's female counterpart). His evil character is understandable, he had an unpleasant and incomplete youth deprived of love. Though it is a lame excuse for his evil character that made his love for a single person incomparable, perhaps making him an expert occlumens (Harry could block his mind from Voldemort when he felt love for Sirius in HP5 and Dobby in HP7 and perhaps Narcissa could block her lie about Harry's because of love for her son) and aroused redemption, which is the only good in his character (love for only person cannot always be called good). However his character was fun to read because of its complexity. This gives the plot completeness. Snape is definitely not a hero but it is for him the story evolved into such a good one.

Posted by Pavel from Shrieking Shack on May 13, 2010 11:56 PM

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