- From : Bob Higginbotham
The first time we see Snape, he is the potions master at Hogwarts, but also rumored to want the position as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He makes comments at the expense of students, especially Harry, and quickly becomes the antagonist of the first book/movie. Harry suspects him to be after the philosopher’s stone, and also suspects him of wanting Harry dead, later it is revealed that both these things were wrong. What we get to know, is that Snape was suspicious of professor Quirrel, who was in fact, the bad guy who was after Harry. Snape also looks after Harry, which Dumbledore suggests might be because James Potter had saved Snape’s life earlier, and that he might feel responsible for Harry in return.
Later, in book/movie 2 he has a minor role, where he is helping out current Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, with the duelling club. However in the third book, he proved his skill in potions, by brewing the wolfsbane potion for the same person he was very suspicious of, Remus Lupin, the new professor in Defence Against the Dark Arts. He thought that Lupin was helping Harry Potter’s godfather, Sirius Black, escape Azkaban and enter Hogwarts. Black had been convicted of murdering Peter Pettigrew along with innocent bystanders, as well as revealing the hiding place of the Potters to Voldemort. Which was later proved to be wrong. Snape attempts to apprehend Black, who escapes with Harry’s aid. When Snape reveals this to Dumbledore, and Harry and Lupin aren’t punished, he reveals to Hogwarts that Lupin is a werewolf, forcing him to resign.
In book 4, Harry sees memories from several Death Eater trials, and at one point, Snape was mentioned as one by Igor Karkaroff. However, Dumbledore comes to Snape’s aid, and tells Harry that Snape was in fact a Death Eater, but that he switched sides and acted as a double-agent. Dumbledore later assures Harry that Snape’s reformation is genuine, but he refuses to tell him how he knows it. In the end of the book, Dumbledore tries convincing Cornelius Fudge that Voldemort has returned, and Snape reveals the restored Death Mark on his arm as proof. He was sent on a secret mission by Dumbledore, that later is revealed to be going back to Voldemort to spy on him, while pretending to spy on Dumbledore.
In book 5 Snape has a bigger role, since Voldemort is back, and he has started working as a double agent again. Dumbledore makes Snape try to teach Harry occlumency, which is ended before it was done since Harry went to the pensieve and watched one of Snape’s worst childhood memories, without permission. The memory he sees is Snape being bullied by James Potter and Sirius Black. Towards the end of the book, Dolores Umbridge asks Snape to get him veritaserum when she had captured Harry to interrogate him. Snape however claims that his supplies were depleted after he had supplied Umbridge with it before, when she was asking Cho Chang about Dumbledore’s Army. Snape then carries Harry’s message about Sirius’ capture to the Order of the Phoenix, so that they can rescue him in the Department of Mysteries. Harry still holds Snape partly responsible for Sirius' death, believing Snape's goading spurred Sirius into joining the battle.
In book 6 Snape makes an unbreakable vow, swearing that he will protect Draco Malfoy, and make sure that he completes his mission, and finish it if Malfoy can’t do it himself. When Bellatrix Lestrange questioned his loyalty, he said that he had been working for Voldemort ever since his return, and that gaining Dumbledore’s trust and protection kept him out of Azkaban, and made him able to operate for Voldemort. At the start of the semester, Snape is announced as the new DADA teacher, and Horace Slughorn starts working as potions master. Harry gets a book in potions from a previous student, going by the name of the Half-Blood Prince, and there he finds different spells, and improvements in the recipe. Later in a fight with Malfoy, he uses one of the spells in the book, and Snape comes to aid Malfoy after he got severly injured, and recognises the spell used. When Harry and Dumbledore comes back from finding a horcrux, Malfoy comes to kill Dumbledore, and is followed by several Death Eaters, including Snape. Then he interupts the assasination Malfoy was supposed to complete, and kills Dumbledore himself, blocking Harry’s attacks when he is chasing them.
In the final book, Snape is the headmaster, and he was forced to flee from Hogwarts by McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout. He is summoned to the Shrieking shack by Voldemort, who believes that Snape is the master of the Elder Wand. He then kills Snape by having his snake Nagini bite him, and then Snape releases many memories, and tells Harry to watch the memories. When Harry does this he sees Snape’s true loyalties, and why he was acting like he was.
I don’t know where I would put Snape, he did a lot of bad things, but he also did a lot of good things, but in the end he could seem good. We would like to hear what you think of Snape, and who you would like us to talk about next time.
Kind regards, Bob Higginbotham and the Social Media Team.
Edgar Thorne The eternal struggle between good and evil goes on, and Snape is a perfect example of it. You can’t cleave someone in two, you can’t judge Snape as perfectly good or evil. He was human, so with parts of both, all promoted by his past, social environement and personal inclinations. Yet, something about Snape as remained pure and absolute, and it has been the power source of his whole life: his love for Lily. Granted, he ruined everything with her in their youth. What I mean is that the memory of his bonding with Lily, of what it could have become, has remained intact throughout the years, despite the negative events, and even more so after her passing. In conclusion, I think that what truly matters isn’t whether Snape was good or evil, but that he was goaded by absolute, irremediable love. Wow, I sound like Dumbledore! And this is totally OOG, as my character Edgar would scuff and dismiss it all as nonsense!
Estelle Adams Yep. I'm going to go against everything else here. I agree with everything below that Snape is very misunderstood, in two ways. Some people think he's a mean, bad person, without knowing his background. Some people think he's good, protective guy with a sad backstory. And although Snape's memories made me sad and feel bad for him I don't think he's a nice guy, that he was 'only doing everything to protect Harry'. And I know everything he went through, the child abuse, the bullying, the loss of people he cared for. Still, he didn't have to bully people who had not much to do with Harry, Voldemort or Lily But I can't argue he wasn't a very well developed character so I like him in that sense. Ultimately, he did good things, but it didn't make him a good person. His everyday intentions didn't seem TOO pure but the noble motivation is why everyone's thinking he's a good character.
Andrea Ainsley The problem with people misjudging Severus Snape's character is that they don't care to read more about his past and life, the things which lead to him becoming who he was when Harry (and the readers) first got to know him. Tracing the path of his life back to his childhood full of abuse and bullying, it makes complete sense that Snape made some bad decisions in life. Child abuse is a serious topic and I feel like JKR only touched upon it with Snape, unlike Harry. Still, we get to see somewhat normal Harry in the epilogue (I frown upon Cursed Child, so I won't even credit it) after years of suffering intense abuse, in some ways just like Snape. That doesn't mean everyone who is abused or bullied ends up the same, thus Severus Snape's behaviour is even reasonable considering the amount of pressure he had been under since he was a child. Anyway, this is becoming rather long, so I just thought I'd say - good job on bringing this character closer to all of us. For those who are still in doubt about Snape, I definitely recommend looking into consequences of long-term abuse and bullying, then and only then it will make sense why Snape seemed like evil incarnate at times. I would like to read more about the Malfoy family next, especially Lucius. Now, that is someone I could talk about all day long... feel free to contact me if you need me to share a word or two on him.
Opal Grimblehawk Amazing article. I think Snape is a misunderstood character if you look closely at him throughout the films you can tell what all he's doing is trying to protect Harry. Amazing article once again!!
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