Severus Snape: Villain or hero?

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There are many schools of thought when it comes to Severus Snape. But was he a villain or a hero in Harry Potter? The answer might be neither!

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Severus Snape. Back before the final two Harry Potter books came out, in the never-ending (three years, okay, fine) wait between book five and six, there was a lot of speculation about what kind of man he truly was, and I remember arguing in his favor many, many times.

Snape wasn’t a hero, I’d say, but he wasn’t a villain either. Nothing happened in the final two Harry Potter books really contradicted that conclusion, so this is still my line when everyone asks me what I think about Severus Snape.

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After all, it’s hard to argue that a man who consistently bullied Harry, Neville, Hermione, and pretty much everyone who wasn’t a Slytherin, a man who let old grudges get in the way of teaching Harry Occlumency, or basically being civil to Sirius or Remus, is a hero we should look up to.

But it’s also impossible to imagine a world where Harry actually defeated Voldemort without the help he got from Severus Snape.

Some would argue that’s enough. He was always on the right side, he meant to help the heroes, and in the end, he did, and without his contributions, it’s likely Harry wouldn’t have known how to defeat Voldemort, and might not have even been in a position to do so.

But is it that simple?

I’d say the answer to that is no. Heroes are supposed to be the ones we look up to because they do the right thing when it’s hard, and most importantly those who do the right thing for the right reasons.

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Snape arguably never did the ‘right thing’ for anything other than selfish reasons. He was in love with Lily, and when she died, he was determined to protect Harry for her sake, not out of any affection towards Harry or noble feelings about how abhorrent Voldemort’s actions were.

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No, Severus Snape chose a person, not a side, and even when that person was gone, he continued to do all he could, for her. Because of her.

But, is that wrong, you ask? Isn’t that better than him remaining on Voldemort’s side till the end? The answer to that is, of course, yes. As I stated before, this decision, and it was a decision, is what separates Snape from the other villains in this series.

It just doesn’t make him a hero either.

So, when you think about Severus Snape, when you get into the never-ending hero vs. villain argument, I’d urge you to remember this. A character can be interesting, dynamic, complex and yes, even relatable at times, without being one or the other.

Severus Snape doesn’t have to fit into one of the two categories for you to like him.

Next. Here’s why Severus Snape was never a good guy in Harry Potter. dark

Which is a good thing, because he really, really doesn’t.