Harry Potter and the controversy of Albus Severus Potter

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 05: General view during "Harry Potter And The Cursed Child" Times Square Takeover at Times Square on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 05: General view during "Harry Potter And The Cursed Child" Times Square Takeover at Times Square on September 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) /

The Harry Potter franchise is no stranger to disputes. There has always been something to discuss regarding the wizarding franchise, from debates about the main and supporting characters to the controversy following series author J.K. Rowling.

However, one of the biggest surprises that led to a significant discussion was only revealed in the final moments of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” when the audience learns that Harry and Ginny’s eleven-year-old son’s name is Albus Severus Potter.

When Harry and Ginny had their first son, James Sirius Potter, it made sense that Harry wanted to honor his father and god-father, neither of whom he had enough time to get to know before their untimely deaths.

Their youngest child and only daughter, Lily Luna Potter, was also understandable, with the parents wishing to honor Harry’s mother and the couple’s close and trusted friend.

But, it is their middle child, Albus Severus Potter, that created controversy from the Harry Potter fandom. So, was that a good name for their son?

In one respect, Albus Dumbledore was the leader of the light, looked upon remarkably by the Weasley family, and could be considered a grandfather figure to Harry.  But, Dumbledore has also been seen in a manipulative way, as someone who prepared Harry to walk to his death without properly training him for war.

While Dumbledore may have wanted to protect Harry’s innocence, his reasons also could have come from seeing Harry as a weapon or a means to defeat Voldemort.

Since the books are not written from Dumbledore’s perspective, and the films don’t grant him a specific point of view either, fans have been split between admiring Dumbledore’s whimsical personality and disliking his scheming and secretive actions.

Claims could go back to Dumbledore leaving baby Harry with the Dursleys even after McGonagall had warned him against it. Although Harry was supposedly safe from Death Eaters with his Muggle blood relatives, he was not safe from their abuse inside the house.

Harry faced plenty of issues with his former Headmaster, mainly when Dumbledore ignored him throughout his fifth year. While Harry may have found it in him to forgive Dumbledore, that is different from naming a child after him.

As for the second Potter child’s middle name, Severus Snape has always been a controversial character in the Harry Potter fandom.

While some fans defend him, claiming his horrible childhood and protecting Harry as an adult were enough to redeem him and determine Snape had been a good man, others see Snape as a villain.

Severus Snape had risked his life to change sides during the first war secretly. He became a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix after learning Voldemort was willing to kill Lily to get to Harry and prevent the prophecy from happening.

When Harry became a student at Hogwarts, Snape stuck to his word and looked after Harry and protected him. In the end, it was due to Snape’s memories that gave Harry and the audience better insight into Snape’s life while also revealing the final piece of the puzzle to defeat Voldemort.

Severus Snape had loved Lily Evans, but was that enough to warrant Harry and Ginny naming their son after him?

Snape had tormented Harry and his friends during all their years at Hogwarts. He constantly picked on him and insulted Harry’s father, James Potter, to Harry’s face.

The Potions Master had had even become Neville’s biggest fear, appearing as the third year’s Boggart in Professor Lupin’s Defense Against The Dark Arts class.

But, the controversy over Albus Severus Potter’s name also comes from the weight and legacy of those he was named after. By being Harry Potter’s son, the wizarding world media already has expectations about what Albus Severus Potter will grow up to be.

By giving him Dumbledore and Snape’s names, that may draw even more attention to comparing Albus Potter to his namesakes in addition to his father. However, between all three men’s accomplishments, there are plenty of ways to associate Albus Severus Potter with those he shares a name with.

Is it fair to give a child a name with so much weight and history attached?

Harry and Ginny might have had kind intentions by naming their second child in Dumbledore and Snape’s honor, but it may always be a controversial name choice to fans of the series.

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