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Characters > Snape a Hero?

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message 1: by Vaish (new)

Vaish Raman | 1 comments Why did people start liking Snape? Yes he did one decent thing, but that in my opinion made him a gray character and not a hero.

He was equally rude to James and Sirius but he was not a victim at all. Was he really great enough that Harry named his son after him?


message 2: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments hm. Maybe it was because he did it for 16 years, as hard as it was? he was completely loyal to dumbledore after. and as much as he hated it, he worked entirely for the right side until he died. that's got to count for something, no? maybe especially because it was so against his nature.

Also, for whatever reasons he did it, he always protected harry. I think that snape was such a good actor that we fell for his act too much. But in the first book, he saved harry from falling off his broom, and no one was prompting him to do it. Even after he kills dumbledore, he stops the other death eaters from hurting harry and only breaks after harry calls him a coward for what he did, when it was the hardest thing for him to kill dumbledore. I think his hatred and revulsion for what dumbledore made him do counts for something, dont you?

and all those times that harry accused him of things that he never did, that sometimes he did the exact opposite... like when harry says that snape didn't care about his mother at all - and that was the farthest thing from the truth.

whatever snape was, he genuinely cared about dumbledore, and was almost more important than harry was in defeating voldemort. i mean, voldemort was supposed to be the most accomplished legilimens - but snape fooled him every time.

and just saying - the truth is that james was conceited and arrogant and deserved a lot of what snape said about him. and snape was the victim often enough - sirius and james attacked him enough times without provocation. even their first interaction showed more vulnerability on snapes part, and obnoxious arrogance from james.

What i really dont understand is how james is seen as such a good character. he seems like a real jerk, and im still trying to figure how lily ever loved him. She was smart enough to know how he felt about snape even if james didn't curse him in front of her... and it never said that james changed at all, except that he seems like a different person when trying to save his wife and child.

I just find it easier to feel for snape than james, easier to understand him than James.


message 3: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Farshaw | 120 comments B wrote: "like when harry says that snape didn't care about his mother at all - and that was the farthest thing from the truth. "

If Snape REALLY cared about Lily, then he wouldn't have become a Death Eater. She warned him multiple times until it was too late. It's like thinking it's perfectly normal to become a Nazi while your dreamgirl is a jew!


message 4: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments i dont think so... it was something snape was good at, one of the only things snape was good at, and he already saw lily drifting away from him and into James's arms. Im sure that caused a lot of bitterness and self-hate within snape.

Also, his love for Lily was also selfish - he was willing to let her family die if he could have her. So people aren't good or evil... i just think that in light of everything he did, despite everything, makes him a hero.

Snape didn't exactly have great self-esteem or a strong support to turn to. He hated his life, hated himself, and im sure when he found something he was good at, he clung to it like a lifeline. Even though Lily hated it, Snape could see how she didn't need him anymore, like she did when he told her she was a witch. So I doubt Snape really thought about what he was doing as something that could hurt her - it wasn't even as if he thought she still cared about him. Once he called her "mudblood" and she refused to forgive him, i think it sealed his self-hate, and he didn't really care that much about anything anymore, except what could push away those horrible feelings he carried around with him.

I doubt he ever saw lily in danger from any of his subversive activities. I don't think he imagined that anyone could hurt her until Voldemort threatened he would, and that woke him up like nothing else, and was the thing that turned him to the good side.

His love for Lily sort of rescued him... I don't think he ever thought he was putting Lily in danger, and when he realized that her life was in danger, that pulled him from the edge forever.


message 5: by Marija (new)

Marija (marija3396) Anthony wrote: "B wrote: "like when harry says that snape didn't care about his mother at all - and that was the farthest thing from the truth. "

If Snape REALLY cared about Lily, then he wouldn't have become a D..."


Vaish wrote: "Why did people start liking Snape? Yes he did one decent thing, but that in my opinion made him a gray character and not a hero.

He was equally rude to James and Sirius but he was not a victim at ..."


Anthony wrote: "B wrote: "like when harry says that snape didn't care about his mother at all - and that was the farthest thing from the truth. "

If Snape REALLY cared about Lily, then he wouldn't have become a D..."


I absolutely agree that his love was selfish and i agree that people aren't good or evil. He is a gray character, I personally love him because of his complexity, but I don't agree that he is a hero.

I get his life was hard, he was bullied and he had low self-esteem, but that does not excuse all of the horrible things he did. He can't be a hero, when he bullied 10 year olds when he was an ADULT. He was Neville's biggest fear. Because of him a lot of people suffered, not just the Potters, but the Longbottoms as well, yet he only was sad beacause of Lily. If that does not scream self-centered and selfish I don't know what does.

Being loyal to Dumbledore and dying so Harry can win the war, only make him a descent person and not a villain, but it does not make him a hero either.

btw James is seen as a good character, because in the end he grew up, he joined the good guys from the start and was loyal to them, he wasn't selfish like young Snape(who only started being selfless when he realized that he was the reason Lily died) and gave his life to protect the people he loved. He did not bully kids at the age of 30. James made a lot of mistakes he was arrogant and he bullied yes, but he never killed anyone.


message 6: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija wrote: "btw James is seen as a good character, because in the end he grew up, he joined the good guys from the start and was loyal to them, he wasn't selfish like young Snape(who only started being selfless when he realized that he was the reason Lily died) and gave his life to protect the people he loved. He did not bully kids at the age of 30. James made a lot of mistakes he was arrogant and he bullied yes, but he never killed anyone. "

How do you know that James grew up and was not a bully when he died? He was still bullying Snape while he was going out with Lily. Sirius and Lupin both admit that. Look at the way his best friend Sirius treated Snape in the books. As far as I can tell, Sirius never felt any contrition for his part in the bullying and, in fact, continued to call him by the same derogatory term. Yet he's considered a good guy.

While James joined the good guys from the start, this was not a difficult thing for him to do: family tradition and his house preference made it the simplest choice. In some lights, you could fault James for helping to drive Snape into the Deatheaters. James had no good reason to bully Snape, and when he continually did, a gang that was powerful and could protect him would seem that much more attractive to Snape. When Harry came to Hogwarts, he also saw it as a refuge from home like Snape did, but Harry found friendship and loyalty at Hogwarts, something that James's actions denied to Snape.

Snape did not become selfless when Lily died. He was working for Dumbledore at least a year before her death.

We really don't know that James never killed anyone. We know Dumbledore killed people, is he not a good character?

I don't think that James is a totally awful person, but he was very flawed. Snape is the same way. Both men at different times did indefensible things and heroic things. There doesn't have to be "teams".


message 7: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments I don't think Snape gets enough credit for what he did when he gave Dumbledore that blank check in exchange for protecting Lily. Snape made a deal with the head of the opposition, an act which would have meant instant death if Voldemort had even thought it possible. He turned his back on any friendship, any connection he made with his group in order to save a woman that had rejected him and married his greatest enemy. He gained nothing from this deal but her safety. That's unselfish.


message 8: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments Mickey wrote: "I don't think Snape gets enough credit for what he did when he gave Dumbledore that blank check in exchange for protecting Lily. Snape made a deal with the head of the opposition, an act which woul..."

Mickey, I completely agree with you.

Just a question: do you see Dumbledore as a hero? He did some terrible things too. He also did great things, but terrible things as well. I think that if you examine anyone too closely there would be no heroes. Someone cannot be completely good or completely evil; that is the nature of the human condition.

I do not know what defines a hero, though i have seen many definitions. But for Snape have given his life for such a cause seems to make his death noble, at least.

I find it interesting that Harry named his son for the two men that he was perhaps the most conflicted about: Albus Severus. It seems that he had judged them and found it within himself to forgive them for what they did to him and admire and love them for the sacrifices they made, for what they gave for the greater good.

I love what you said about James and how he affected Snape's attraction to the dark side, and also how James did undeniably commit some great actions.

I think one of the major points that the seventh book centered around was that Harry had to make peace with the fact that the world is not black and white, good and evil. The man that he revered turned out to have a dark past, and the man he hated so passionately turned out to have done noble things in his most painful moments. This shook Harry's world and the foundations of his faith. But at the end, he was able to believe in flawed men, the ultimate sign of maturity.

I can't say that either James or Snape were completely good or bad men; but at the end of both of their lives, they died for the light. Not to put down dying for your beliefs, but it seems to me that it is sometimes easier to die for your beliefs than to live for them. Snape not only died for his noble actions, but lived an excruciatingly painful life solely to protect the son of the woman he loved and the man he hated.

James may have died as a hero, but it seems that Snape lived as a hero as well.

Heroes aren't perfect, and Snape definitely wasn't that; but for all his faults, he made an extremely difficult decision when he switched over to the good side, and had to live with this every day for the rest of his life, while everyone around him hated him for something that he had forsaken long ago. Honestly,I don't blame Snape for what he did to Harry after Harry called him a coward for killing Dumbledore. It was one of the hardest decisions he had to make, and called on all the courage and honor and faith he had within him. Harry didn't know any of this, and couldn't have been expected to, but even so, Snape led a life protecting the boy who loathed him the most. Harry only realized Snape's sacrifice after Snape gave his life for him. And Snape never once changed his mind, as much as he may have hated Harry for all of his father that he saw in him.


message 9: by Sarina (new)

Sarina (syedah) | 5 comments wow. The analysis within the last comment....just wow. You put to words what I understood in my heart. These discussions... are so insightful for those who have read till the last book... and I can't express what a joy it gives me to see such passionate discussions on a book series that gave us all so much to think about! :D


message 10: by Marija (last edited Dec 11, 2015 06:31AM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) Mickey wrote: "I don't think Snape gets enough credit for what he did when he gave Dumbledore that blank check in exchange for protecting Lily. Snape made a deal with the head of the opposition, an act which woul..."

"Snape is all grey. You can't make him a saint: he was vindictive and bullying. You can't make him a devil: he died to save the wizarding world" - J.K. Rowling

In my opinion a grey character can't be a hero. A great example of a hero is Neville. Even though his life was hard and sad, he did so many amazing things without turning to hate and hurting other people. That is the definition of a hero. Not Dumbledore not Snape not James.

"In honoring Snape, Harry hoped in his heart that he too would be forgiven" - J.K. Rowling

Harry only named his child after him, because of the *one* selfless thing Snape ever did in his life. Not because Snape was a decent human being. The "faults" you say he has aren't JUST faults, they are CHOICES. He chose to be a bully, not just to Harry (who kind of deserved it) but to ALL the students who did nothing to him. And no matter how many reasons you throw to excuse this behavior, he was a grown adult who bullied children for NO reason. I can't call someone a hero knowing he did that, but I can call him honorable and noble for being loyal for all those years, but not a hero.

"Snape didn't die for 'ideals'. He died in an attempt to expiate his own guilt. He could have broken cover at any time to save himself but he chose not to tell Voldemort that the latter was making a fatal error in targeting Harry. Snape's silence ensured Harry's victory." - J.K.Rowling.

Even J.K.R. says that his reasons for dying weren't selfless, the very opposite they were selfish. He did a noble thing by choosing to not break cover, but being a hero is doing a selfless act to save or better something. He did no such thing, he only was courageous and noble enough to wash away his guilt for killing Lily. If Lily hadn't died I doubt that Snape would have died for the greater good, or even give a damn about the many lives he ruined with his mistakes.

All I'm saying is that there are so many other characters that deserve the title of a hero a lot more than Snape and Dumbledore do. (examples: the Weasleys, Longbottoms, Tonks and many more who didn't get a whole chapter that glorified their deaths/suffering *cough*Tonks, Fred, Alice and Frank Logbottom*cough*) They were a lot of characters that died to save the world just like Snape, suffered just as much losses (brothers, sons, mothers, fathers) only they were kind and brave and compassionate, but I don't see them being idolized for it.

I'm not saying you don't have valid reasons to think of him as a hero, you have. And I totally respect your opinion. But hopefully you see why some of us don't see Snape as a hero as well.

P.S great arguments, also really admire your talent for writing, your discussion is amazingly well structured.


message 11: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments i love the quotes you brought - I've never read them before.

I find it interesting that JKR says that Snape died with remorse. Obviously he can't be forgiven for bullying children, but the fact that he felt guilt later is also a sign of character. Even if it's way too late. Snape made a lot of awful decisions, and he made many good ones too. They don't cancel each other out, but they do give context to the man he was.

I don't know if I think everyone's a hero, or no one. Perhaps both. Everyone definitely makes many heroic decisions, in my opinion.

Everyone who fought for the good side could be called a hero, but on the other hand, they fought for what they knew was right. We shouldn't have to praise someone when they do the right thing, stand against blatant evil; isn't that a responsibility we hold each other to? So all those people who fought for the right side - I'm not trying to downplay their actions, but I don't know that I'd call them heroes either.

People who die for what they believe in - are they heroes? It definitely shows character that they so staunchly believe in their ideals that they'd die standing up for them, but I don't know if that makes them heroes. Maybe it's what they die for? Maybe it depends on the ideals....

But I don't know, I've never seen Fred as a hero; Alice and Frank Longbottom, definitely. The Creevey brothers, maybe. They were stupid to hang back, but they were kids, and you can't blame children for stupidity.

I feel like the more we learn about someone the less willing we are to call them a hero. Isn't that sort of sad? Everyone has done things we'd rather not know about, but just like good decisions don't erase the bad ones, someone's bad decisions shouldn't have any negative bearing on his good ones. Possibly they have a positive bearing on them in my opinion - the more evil someone does, the more remarkable the good they do is. Is this flawed thinking too? Probably. But the world is built on the struggle between good and evil; it's a given that we often fall, but the question is always if we choose to get up again. We all do things we regret, but do we follow these regrets with actions we can be proud of? We can't stop making mistakes, but we definitely do choose to do good.

I guess it depends on how badly someone slips up, and what lengths they go to try to fix it.

I guess I feel that because Snape was entrenched in darkness, but managed to redeem himself in a remarkable way, he deserves a certain recognition beyond others. It's remarkable when people do good, but good is often harder for some than for others. Personally I feel that the harder it is to do good the more laudable it is. I don't know that Fred found it so hard to stand up for what he believed was right; but I do know that Snape definitely chose the hard way, because of guilt - remorse is not evil, as Harry proves to Tom Riddle - because of love, because he knew in his heart that it was the right thing.

People aren't perfect; even heroes aren't perfect, because they are people.

But the lengths that Snape went to redeem himself, the struggle of good and evil within himself that he ultimately and undeniably won - doesn't that seem sort of heroic to you?


message 12: by Gwen (new)

Gwen Hendrickson | 72 comments B wrote: "But I don't know, I've never seen Fred as a hero..."

One word UMBRIDGE they are heros to all of howarts.


message 13: by Mickey (last edited Dec 13, 2015 06:20PM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments If a hero is to be defined as the absence of any awful behavior (as opposed to the performing of heroic acts), then I don't think anyone in the books can be classified as a hero unless they are so peripheral to the action (like Neville) that we simply don't know them that well. If a category like "hero" ceases to contain any people in it, it becomes a meaningless word in a practical sense.

I don't know whether I believe in heroes. I've been reading a lot of books about Abraham Lincoln lately and I admire certain characteristics of his (namely, his ability to rise above pettiness and his lack of personal ego), but these aren't really heroic attributes or, at least, there have been many heroes who have not had those particular attributes.

I think part of the reason for this push to vilify Snape has to do with Voldemort never actually having the right stuff to be hated. This being a children's book, I think that it is too easy to focus on the "unfair teachers" (Snape and Umbridge) than on the fantastical Dark Lord. To have one of them redeemed at the end is difficult to take for people who need a target to hate.

To me, the story of Snape is very central to the series. Dumbledore always predicted that Voldemort would be defeated because he did not know about love. I know that Harry himself was supposed to be a part of that, but Harry's love was always a bit removed for me because it was not something he learned but something that was given to him by his mother. I'm not denigrating his sacrifice of allowing himself to be killed without a struggle, but Snape's story was much more affecting to me. Snape loved only one person his entire life. His love for Lily took hold of him as a child and was with him every day of his life and changed him fundamentally. He was defined by his love of Lily because of the power it had over him. It literally effected every relationship he had. He selflessly gave up everything to keep her safe when they had already been estranged for several years. It was Snape's love for Lily that thwarted Voldemort from succeeding from his mission over and over again. Snape's burning hatred of James, Harry, Sirius, and probably dozens of other people on the "good" side was trumped by his love of Lily. That was his central motivation in turning to Dumbledore's side. Since it was the central motivator in his life, I think it's only fair that he be judged by it and not by things that were more peripheral.

I think in resisting the message behind the character of Snape, people who are so set on keeping him in the "bad" column do themselves a disservice, because they can't see the range of such a character. Snape is the clearest example of the central theme of the whole series, which is that love (human and inadequate as it is) will defeat evil.


message 14: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments There is a passage in a book that reminds me of what we are talking about. I thought I would share it.

Losing My Faculties: A Teacher's Story is about a new teacher's experiences in the Boston area. He is rather judgmental of his more experienced colleagues, as this passage will show:

"My opinion of Olivia [another teacher at the high school] and by extension, Newcastle High, is not helped by the end of each school day. After my last-period class with the juniors ends, I stand by the windows and look at the parking lot. It is a rare day when Olivia and Hope don't beat all the students out of the parking lot at two o'clock. I really don't know how they do it-they must stand by the door waiting for the bell to ring, or else they've been doing it for so many years that they just have an instinctive sense of when the bell will ring, and they can start walking at the perfect pace to be crossing the threshold of the school at the exact second when it starts. Why the hell, I think, is this lump just taking up space here? She is obviously just going through the motions, she obviously doesn't care about kids, why doesn't she pack it in?
Then one day, Janice tells me the story of the Suicide. Last year at Newcastle High, a fourteen-year-old ninth-grader blew his head off in the lunchroom. Many of my sophomores watched it happen. Janice tells me how Tom stood there ineffectually passing out tissues all afternoon, how for a whole week afterwards, the kids just drifted in and out, talking to crisis counselors, and rarely going to class, how the kid's friends couldn't decide between grief and anger, how they walked around saying, "Why did he want me to see that?" and how the minute it happened, the minute the shot went off, while the rest of the lunchroom was paralyzed or screaming, Olivia, whose husband had died only a few months earlier, had run to the table and cradled the dying boy in her arms, saying softly, "It's okay, honey, it's okay, it's going to be okay," and stroking his bloody hair until he died.

So maybe Olivia doesn't fit too neatly into the box I made for her in my mind. Neither does Bob, a science teacher, recently divorced, who eats lunch every day surrounded by a gaggle of teenaged girls to whom he talks about his love life. He's not hitting on them or anything, so it's not like it's illegal or even immoral-it's just creepy and kind of sad. I hear him in the hall one day calling out to a fifteen-year-old female student, "Will you marry me when I grow up?" Then one day he brings his son to school. His son has autism, and this guy is so affectionate and patient, and the very idea of having any kid at all, much less an autistic one, fills me with terror at age twenty-four, and I am really impressed with Bob. But I still think it's creepy that he talks to teenaged girls about his love life."



message 15: by Marija (new)

Marija (marija3396) Mickey wrote: "If a hero is to be defined as the absence of any awful behavior (as opposed to the performing of heroic acts), then I don't think anyone in the books can be classified as a hero unless they are so ..."

Gwen wrote: "B wrote: "But I don't know, I've never seen Fred as a hero..."

One word UMBRIDGE they are heros to all of howarts."


Most readers don't "villify" Snape, we just think that he is a GRAY character. Neither a villian, nor a hero. I LOVE Snape's character, but I don't think of him as a hero.

A hero doesn't need to have a perfect life or be perfect. BUT a hero has ideals, and makes sacrifices for the greater good, a hero isn't selfish or INTENTIONALLY horrible to people that did NOTHING to him.

Snape didn't follow ideals, he only did what he did for Lily, he didn't give a sh*t about anyone else. His guilt made him do a "heroic" act. Even J.K.R. confirmed it. He is a character filled with grief and love, I get it, but it's not enough to call him a hero. If he made an effort to not bully students and be the man Lily wanted him to be, then I would have called him a hero. Because he would have honored her memory, by not spreading hate to generations of students and not having them go through the same horrible situations like he did. The only thing he did with his grand finale was atone for his past mistakes.

"Snape didn't die for 'ideals'. He died in an attempt to expiate his own guilt. He could have broken cover at any time to save himself but he chose not to tell Voldemort that the latter was making a fatal error in targeting Harry. Snape's silence ensured Harry's victory." - J.K.Rowling.

Snape wasn't the only character that did a "heroic" act, just because they weren't in the spotlight doesn't mean their suffering and sacrifices were any less. Alice and Frank Longbottom were tortured to the point of insanity (which in my point is a lot worse than dying), yet they aren't seen as big of heroes as Snape because they didn't have a whole chapter glorifying their HEROIC ACT.

All I am saying, look around the minor characters they did just as heroic things, maybe you'll find an actual character more worthy of the title "hero".

P.S. everyone has different definitions for heroes. But if you give the title hero to just ANYONE who did a noble and brave thing, doesn't that make us all heroes at some point in our lives? Like idk standing up to a bully who's hurting someone else etc. If a category of "hero" contains 80% of the population that did a heroic act, wouldn't it make the title meaningless? Then what do we call Mother Theresa? or other heroes like her? Just saying the title Hero should be reserved for extraordinary people who are selfless and kind and passionate.


message 16: by Mickey (last edited Dec 14, 2015 04:02PM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments I don't recall saying that I thought that Snape was the only one who did heroic acts. Perhaps it is too ambitious a thing to call anyone a hero. Perhaps it would be more precise to speak of heroic acts to keep the focus less on the person and more on the action. I think people can have personal heroes in that they look to that person and seek to be like him.

In the series, Snape is wholly redeemed by his love of one person. I think that's a powerful message. His love for Lily truly guided his actions all his life. That was his ideal. What other ideals could he have had? What ideals do the other Order of the Phoenix members have? James and Sirius bullied him and Lupin stood by and watched. Do you think Snape turned to their side because he realized what great guys they were? Did he come to the realization about how all creatures have dignity and innate equality by watching how Sirius treated his house elf? The people he knew in The Order of the Phoenix were not the perfect representatives of their own philosophy and didn't meet the obligations of their ideals. The Ministry of Magic wasn't an easy institution to idealize, either. He turned sides to keep Lily safe. He loved her so much that he put his own life in peril to protect her. He betrayed every ideal he'd had in doing so, but it was not because he suddenly had the epiphany that the other side was so marvelous and he was totally convinced of its ideals. The way the other side acted had a lot to do with that. Saying that Snape "didn't die for ideals" does not mean he didn't die selflessly or heroically. That's something that you'd need to massage out of that quote.

Snape was bound tightly to his love for Lily. He certainly was not acting in self interest or for his own pleasure or for ideals (whatever they were supposed to be). He acted out of love for one person and this redeemed him. Harry understood this when naming his son for him and calling him the bravest man he's ever known.


message 17: by Marija (last edited Dec 14, 2015 10:06PM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) Absolutely agree with everything you said, but honestly it wasn't just love it was guilt that made Snape do the things he did. And again if Lily hadn't died, I doubt he would have made the same choices. He didn't care about the wizarding world, he only did it for Lily, that is selfish, doing it out of the guilt he felt towards Lily. Doing something out of GUILT or "love" (which lets face it was obsessive) is selfish, not selfless, Lily was already dead, he just wanted to stop feeling guilty for her death.

Unlike him, Lily was selfless. She joined the Order for no selfish reasons, she joined to help people she did not know so they can live a better life. That is selflessness, she had everything to lose and nothing to atone for, yet she still chose to do something dangerous.

All I am saying is that Snape did all of his actions with the reason of "his love towards Lily", but it mostly was the guilt he felt. He did it to be forgiven for his past mistakes, which in it self is selfish, he did it for himself.

P.S comparing him to people that aren't heroes, doesn't make him any more a hero than they are.

P.P.S. He was not just "rough" on Harry(who kind of deserved it), but on Hermione, Neville, Luna, and every other student that wasn't in Slytherin for NO reason. They did NOTHING to him, yet he was so horrible to them. He spread hate and pain to generations of children, that is not what a hero does. Please someone tell me how can you excuse his behavior?


message 18: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments Marija wrote: "Mickey wrote: "If a hero is to be defined as the absence of any awful behavior (as opposed to the performing of heroic acts), then I don't think anyone in the books can be classified as a hero unle..."

You know, maybe the idea of a hero itself is a fallacy. I don't think that there's anyone who has done great things that haven't done unforgivable things as well. That is the nature of a powerful person, and anyone who has accomplished great things, in my mind, can be considered a powerful person. Powerful means to me to be able to affect change.

hero: noun he·ro \ˈhir-(ˌ)ō\
: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired
: the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc.

There's no part of the definition that says that a hero can't be human. All humans make mistakes, and heroes are no exceptions. A virtuous act is only commendable if there was thought and purpose involved. If there is no struggle involved in the decision process, then even a virtuous act is not remarkable. Things are remarkable when they are unusual; when they defy nature. If the nature of a being is to do good, then it is not particularly noteworthy when it does good. It is always praiseworthy, on the other hand, when humans do good, because this goes against human nature, which is to be selfish. Not that humans are innately bad, but as part of the survival instinct humans are naturally selfish. And this spills over into parts of our lives where we would like to be more selfless than selfish, but struggle desperately with it every day.

Any act of goodness that was done with intent and thought behind it, that carried a struggle along with the decision, is a heroic act in my mind. Does this lessen the meaning of heroic because many people manage to do acts of goodness every day? I'm not sure; it goes back to whether we expect good and nothing less of people, or if every act of goodness is a pleasant surprise.

I think maybe it's a combination: we expect children to tell the truth, but we still reward them when they do. We want people to do good, and we have expectations of others, but that doesn't we don't admire acts of goodness as well. I think that recognizing the struggle and acknowledging the responsibility of making the world a better place that every person has can bring us to greater understanding of the human race and how we interact.

Heroes are human; heroes are fallible. It is their fallibility that make them heroes. So how can we take a man who has performed exemplary acts and deny him the term hero because of his great mistakes? Is it a weighted scale - do his good deeds outweigh the bad?

Often people own the term hero because of one act that stands out to everyone as heroic. But what about the rest of their life? What of the mistakes that he made? Calling someone a hero is somewhat one-dimensional, because it is nearly impossible to be a hero 24/7.

So do we attribute the word hero to everyone, or no one? It's true; I do believe that people do heroic acts every day. Does that lessen the meaning of the word? I don't know. Do we admire the fact that someone stood up to a bully less because another has done it the day before? Not if we are being fair. So I don't think that saying people do heroic acts every day dilutes the title. It just seems to me that we ought to appreciate people a lot more than we currently do.

I don't know if heroic acts make a hero. I can't imagine that there's a quota of heroic acts that one has to reach before being awarded the title hero. But on the other hand, can we call someone a hero because of one heroic act he has done in his life?

Disregarding all the mistakes that someone makes every day, if someone lives their life life for a singular, general, altruistic purpose, and each day takes them closer to their goal, then they can be considered a hero. But mistakes don't include places where their actions are in clear opposition to the core values that they live, or profess to live for.

Going back to Snape - he lived his entire life for Lily, for protecting her son, for safeguarding the boy who would end a reign of terror and kill the man who committed unspeakable acts of evil. And throughout every time he slipped up, every time when he gave into baser instincts and abused children, taunted vulnerable men, he never betrayed his single purpose - to protect Harry and to end Voldemort. For all the awful acts he committed, he never once reneged on the promise that he made Dumbledore that desperate night.

Such unswerving devotion that he had for this goal seems heroic to me. I'm not trying to excuse all the bad he did and all the damage he caused; but the guilt and remorse he felt, as Dumbledore told Harry, healed even the most broken soul and brought back together pieces of a man that were long ago forsaken.

The fact that he felt such guilt, and the way he lived for this one great purpose, notwithstanding the great struggle he went through each and every day to maintain this devotion, makes a hero in my mind.

When Slughorn told his class "never underestimate the power of obsessive love," Rowling was most definitely hinting to the love that Snape had for Lily and the impact on the entire wizarding world it had. This love, albeit obsessive and unhealthy, was not an easy thing for Snape to contend with. It never gave him any excuses or easy ways out. This love that overtook him so strongly and held him so tightly was not something he controlled; but he changed his entire life because of it, made the most difficult decisions because of it. He chose the hardest way possible, because of his love for Lily, yes, but also because he knew it was right. Just because love was driving him doesn't seem a legitimate reason to dismiss the difficult life he accepted because of it. Just because he made certain decisions out of love does not dismiss the tremendous sacrifice he made when he dedicated his life to destroying Voldemort.


message 19: by B (last edited Dec 17, 2015 02:50PM) (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments Sorry if i was rambling! That wasn't a particularly well laid out argument.


message 20: by Mickey (last edited Dec 20, 2015 08:13PM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija wrote: "Absolutely agree with everything you said, but honestly it wasn't just love it was guilt that made Snape do the things he did. And again if Lily hadn't died, I doubt he would have made the same choices. He didn't care about the wizarding world, he only did it for Lily, that is selfish, doing it out of the guilt he felt towards Lily. Doing something out of GUILT or "love" (which lets face it was obsessive) is selfish, not selfless, Lily was already dead, he just wanted to stop feeling guilty for her death.

Unlike him, Lily was selfless. She joined the Order for no selfish reasons, she joined to help people she did not know so they can live a better life. That is selflessness, she had everything to lose and nothing to atone for, yet she still chose to do something dangerous.

All I am saying is that Snape did all of his actions with the reason of "his love towards Lily", but it mostly was the guilt he felt. He did it to be forgiven for his past mistakes, which in it self is selfish, he did it for himself."


Your definition of selfish is very broad; if a person benefits from an organization or if they face discrimination, they are being selfish. Also, to do something because you love someone as opposed to everyone, this is also selfish. If applied to everyone and not just Snape, James was selfish when he told Lily to run. Lily, far from being selfless in joining the Order, was being incredibly selfish. She did not, after all, come from a wizard family and her inclusion into the wizarding world was not looked on favorably by many people, Death Eaters included. She wasn't doing it for nameless people out there. She was included in that category. Therefore, it was selfish, by your definition, not selfless. James, because his wife was affected, was also acting in self-interest. Dumbledore's torment over his sister's death and his refusal to become Minister of Magic left the leadership spot open for a bungler like Cornelius Fudge. That was selfish, by your definition. Extending outside of the books, the Polish Jews who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in WWII were selfish (as they were fighting a power that sought to dehumanize them) as were any Russian who died in that war (as they were seen as lesser beings as well). Discounting heroic deeds because they are "selfish" isn't a position that's defensible and lacks an internal logic. It's also rather insulting.

As far as love needing to be perfect in order to impact a person, no real argument has been made for it applying in this case. Snape put his life on the line and switched sides while Lily was alive, so it could not have been guilt for her death that motivated him. However, I certainly don't think feeling guilt is a bad thing. It certainly doesn't strike me as "selfish" to feel guilt, particularly if the guilt leads you to act in ways that are unselfish and heroic (such as protecting a life).

I've had this discussion before(https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...), it's already been mined and I don't see a repeat to be of any further interest (at least to me) unless there is a different viewpoint or argument.

The character of Snape is one of my favorites, because there is such a very interesting question that is explored with him: whether loving one person (and pretty much hating everyone else) is enough to redeem someone. That one bright spot in a person's life can provide enough illumination to see clearly enough to follow the right path without any other advantage or encouragement. I think that's absolutely beautiful.

I don't know why a section of the fanbase wants to dispute this part of the book. It's obviously in there-Harry names one of his sons after him. If Harry can get over the animosity between them and view him for his virtues, I think the reader should be able to. I don't know what the advantage is for refusing to.


message 21: by Marija (new)

Marija (marija3396) Julia wrote: "derp :P"

Let’s talk about his beautiful love towards Lily a little bit. I see it being glorified, but I like to point out that you are only seeing it from Snape’s perspective. Now let me show you the perspective of a person who does not want that love. Since I assume that most of you haven’t felt this “Obsessive” love (it ruins the reciever’s life, Snape ruined Lily’s life).

I dated a boy that I liked, and long story short I ended the relationship. He then decided to prove his love to me by calling me in the middle of the night, telling me how he can not live without me. He left flowers, teddy bears, cards filled with love lyrics. He would come to my university to see me. He would text my friends telling them how he truly loved me. And many people who did not know me, said that I was a bitch to break up with such a boy who obviously loved me so much. They saw his actions as romantic, but to me his actions were selfish. His point was “I want to prove my love”, my point was “Stop that I don’t want it”.

Now let’s see, my side. All those phone calls and romantic things he did, weren’t romantic to me. He did it for six months straight, him coming to my uni was stalking. Him calling me at night was harassment. If Lily wanted his love, she would have picked him, not James. Therefore his love for Lily was unwanted. If his love for her was true and healthy he would have let her go. He was bitter about Lily’s choice, he did not care that she didn’t love him back, his love was in itself selfish. He hated Harry because he was bitter about Lily not loving him back.

Now do you see that from Lily’s perspective, his love was selfish? All his guilt and all the things he did was not “because he loved her”, it was because “he wanted to prove his love, he wanted Lily to love him back for his actions”. That is selfish. If we remove his love for Lily we are left with an awful and bitter human being. And we can debate it back and forth, but this topic is a gray one.

Both of us have points and arguments to prove our views. And I respect yours I get why you see him as a hero, and I am not here to change your opinion. Hopefully you get why some of us don’t see him as a hero as well. I am not saying you are wrong, nor am I saying that I am right. Both sides are right, and this is just so we can see all perspectives. My point is to show, that there are solid reasons why some of us don’t see him as a hero.

P.S. I don’t hate him, he is my favorite character out of all of them. I love him because he is twisted and bitter and filled with hate towards James. I love him because I haven't read about a character like him before. We both love him, but for different reasons and that is completely OK.


message 22: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments There isn't any evidence that Snape stalked Lily or that he even ever told her that he loved her. It's strange to me that this is brought up. James is shown to be more stalkerish than Snape. He does tell her that if she'll go out with him, he'll stop bullying her friend (a promise he does not keep). This isn't exactly a great phase in their relationship, but then again, they're young and inexperienced. Love is expressed through imperfect beings, but this does not mean that it should be discounted. That's not a realistic way to think about it.

To put one's life on the line (which Snape did) in order to keep another person safe is by definition unselfish. It is preferring the safety of someone else over your own. To call it selfish does not mean it's selfish. Snape's love for Lily was real, even if it was not perfect. According to what Rowling did in the books, love does not have to be perfect in order to be transformative. It does not need to be perfect to bring about the downfall of evil. Snape's love for Lily didn't "ruin her life". Voldemort killed her to get at her son. I don't know how Snape is being blamed for this. He literally couldn't do anything more to ensure her safety than he did.


message 23: by Marija (last edited Dec 22, 2015 05:31AM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) Marija wrote: "Julia wrote: "derp :P"

Let’s talk about his beautiful love towards Lily a little bit. I see it being glorified, but I like to point out that you are only seeing it from Snape’s perspective. Now le..."


Look lets take the same action of giving someone a card with a love poem, if the girl likes the person she will think of it as romantic. If the girl doesn't like the person it will give the complete opposite result. It is the same with Snape and Lily, from Snape's view it is romantic his undying love, but to Lily I doubt that was the case.

1. Lily for sure knew how Snape felt about her. Like all of us girls know whether our BEST FRIEND has a crush on us. Maybe she didn't know he loved her to death, but for sure she knew that he liked her.

2. If she saw Snape as more than a friend, even a little bit. She wouldn't have chose James. The fact that she married James, tells us she loved James a LOT more than Snape.

3. His jealousy and bitterness for not being loved by Lily. Led him to ruin her life. He was selfish, his love was selfish, and it resulted in Lily's death. He didn't think of the consequences of his actions, he only felt pity for himself and didn't care about Lily's well being. SO at the very start his love was unwanted, and destructive.

he didn't ruin her life? She was a muggleborn, and because of his bitterness he joined the Hitler of the Wizarding world. How the hell didn't he know that she was gonna suffer? He supported Voldemort who had on his agenda to kill all mugleborns? are you kidding me? He knew that by supporting Voldemort Lily was eventually going to suffer. That is selfishness. What did he think would happen after supporting Voldemort? You're just making his character an idiot, duh, if he supports the movement to kill/enslave muggleborns, he is eventually going to hurt Lily.

It depends on the reason, weather he was selfless or not. Just by doing a heroic act does not make you a hero. Sure I can give my kidney to an unknown person, but my reason will determine whether I am a hero or not. If I do it just so I can help someone, sure I'll be selfless - because I don't think about my self. But if I do it with the sole reason to atone for some of my sins, or just for the sake of the title, it does not make me selfless, because my reason will center on MY NEEDS and MY REDEMPTION.

Selfless - concerned more with the needs and wishes of OTHERS than with one's own. Really? does that sound like Snape? He wasn't concerned about Harry or anyone. Snape's motive wasn't JUST his love for Lily, another more POWERFUL motive is GUILT. He still loved Lily when he joined Voldemort, but the guilt made him to join the Order. Power of Guilt is a lot stronger than the power of love. If he didn't feel guilty he wouldn't have done the right thing. That is why his love isn't selfless because it isn't JUST LOVE that motivates him. Selfless love is the love Lily had for Harry, she didn't have any other motives aside from love to give up her life for him.


message 24: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija wrote: "It depends on the reason, weather he was selfless or not. Just by doing a heroic act does not make you a hero. Sure I can give my kidney to an unknown person, but my reason will determine whether I am a hero or not. If I do it just so I can help someone, sure I'll be selfless - because I don't think about my self. But if I do it with the sole reason to atone for some of my sins, or just for the sake of the title, it does not make me selfless, because my reason will center on MY NEEDS and MY REDEMPTION."

So, you are basically making the distinction that if someone gives their kidney to an unknown person, then this is heroic, but to give your kidney to a person you know (and presumably have feelings for) is a selfish act. I think this is a silly distinction. I say anytime you are preferring someone over yourself, this is selfless. It has to do with you thinking about another person over yourself.

To say that Lily had a selfless love for Harry violates your own rules that you set up, and I think this is my major problem with your whole argument: You make special disclaimers for Snape that do not apply to anyone else. His sacrifice doesn't count because it's "selfish". His actions are more vile because of this, that and the other. It's all smoke and mirrors. There are no "heroes" in Harry Potter's main roster, so how they act doesn't matter. Frankly, your problem isn't with "fans who love Snape", but with the story itself and the author, J.K. Rowling.

Rowling created the character of Snape. Most fans see the story correctly and understand what happened. Those that still cling to hating Snape do so at the expense of understanding and appreciating the story Rowling wrote. Rowling wrote the story whose theme was about love, not guilt. To say this:

" Snape's motive wasn't JUST his love for Lily, another more POWERFUL motive is GUILT. He still loved Lily when he joined Voldemort, but the guilt made him to join the Order. Power of Guilt is a lot stronger than the power of love. If he didn't feel guilty he wouldn't have done the right thing. That is why his love isn't selfless because it isn't JUST LOVE that motivates him. Selfless love is the love Lily had for Harry, she didn't have any other motives aside from love to give up her life for him. "

simply tells me that you don't understand the story. One of the main themes is about the power of love. Dumbledore says many times that the power of love and Voldemort's lack of understanding it will be his downfall. The power of love, not the power of guilt.

The story clearly describes how Snape loved Lily so much (a woman in whom he received no affection or warmth in several years) that he changed sides, betraying everything else he believed in and effectively severing every tie he's made, in order to keep her safe. He did not join the order out of guilt, but out of love- unselfish love. Lily was not his wife, they did not even speak to each other. They were virtual strangers to each other as adults. But that tie was still so strong, and it was because it was love. Not because of guilt. (Guilt over what? Joining the Deatheaters? That makes no sense!) He joined the Order and continued to work for the Order until his death many years later out of love for her. Voldemort, not understanding love, couldn't conceive of his continuing devotion to a dead woman, and so never suspected him of betrayal, but he had lost Snape the day he threatened Lily and he couldn't understand this, leaving him vulnerable time and again.

All these actions you attribute to guilt (and so discount) actually have a deeper message. Snape's actions can't be understood if you can't see the motivation behind it, like Voldemort, it will be incomprehensible to you. The main ingredient wasn't guilt. Let's face it-Snape has probably been responsible for more heinous things in his life than his part in what happened to Lily. Why was his reaction so different? Because he loved Lily. Love was the difference, not guilt. Love made him care what happened to Lily in a way he didn't care about the rest of humanity. And perhaps it's sad that he only cares for one person, but given the family life he was given and his school experiences, it's less an indictment on his character than an indictment on abusive environments.


message 25: by Marija (last edited Dec 27, 2015 06:51AM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) Mickey wrote: "Marija wrote: "It depends on the reason, weather he was selfless or not. Just by doing a heroic act does not make you a hero. Sure I can give my kidney to an unknown person, but my reason will dete..."

Ok.. How mature are you seriously? I am stating my opinion, and here you are calling me Voldemort? Really? Did you even read my WHOLE comment?

I explained SEVERAL times that I LOVE Snape.
"Frankly, your problem isn't with "fans who love Snape", but with the story itself and the author, J.K. Rowling. "
No I don't have problems with the fans, nor the story, nor J.K.R, since I am one of the fans. I AM NOT SAYING THAT HE DIDN'T DO A BRAVE AND NOBLE THING. But do you actually think that the only reason for everything he did was JUST LOVE? You obviously are the one missing out on the complexity of his character. A real person doesn't do such acts just out of love, and Snape is one of the rare characters that I can see as a real human, that actually has the main human attribute which is SELFISHNESS. ALL HUMANS SUFFER FROM IT.

The difference between you and me. Is that you love Snape, because of him being a "hero". You love him because of his "glorified" love, that makes you blindly defend HIS MISTAKES. You think of him as this hero that needs to be looked up to. But I see him for the character he truly was. Bitter, jealous, who has an obsessive love that makes his life worth living. I see him as a complex and beautifully written character. You don't need to love a character's actions, to actually love a character.

1. He joined the deatheaters KNOWING, that by supporting them mugle borns will suffer. Therefore he knew that by supporting Voldemort he will eventually hurt Lily. Proving that after Lily technically rejected him by dating James, he stopped giving f***s about her and joined the Deatheaters. THAT IS SELFISH. He did a selfish thing even though he loved her. After some time when he actually came to his senses that what he was doing wasn't right. He joined the Order. His love for her was the same, when he joined the Deatheaters and joined the Order, the only difference was that he felt guilt. HE FELT GUILT THAT BECAUSE OF HIS ACTIONS LILY WAS SUFFERING / WAS GOING TO SUFFER / SUFFERED.

2. You are twisting my words so I will say it more CLEARLY. hopefully you will actually read this to the end. If i give my kidney to someone(it doesn't matter if you know them or not), with the sole reason concentrated that I WANT TO HELP THE OTHER PERSON, then it is selfless. But previously if I hurt that persons parents or I don't know hurt someone else (made a terrible mistake that I regret, and thinking that by doing a "selfless" thing will redeem me), then the reason for giving my kidney will be TO REDEEM MYSELF, TO ERASE THE MISTAKES THAT I REGRET. Which makes it very selfish. Snape REDEEMED himself, which is a hard thing to do, THAT IS WHY I LOVE HIM. I LOVE HIM FOR HIS MISTAKES, FOR THE SCREWED UP THINGS HE DID. I don't make silly excuses for his actions that made A LOT OF CHARACTERS MISERABLE.

Snape's actions were done TO MAKE HIMSELF FEEL LIKE HE DESERVED LILY'S LOVE. His main motive was TO ATONE FOR HIS SINS, loving Lily was part of it sure(I AM NOT SAYING HE DID NOT LOVE HER), but it wasn't THE ONLY REASON WHY HE DID IT. He died knowing that he made one thing in his life that was good, he died knowing that he redeemed himself. He died knowing that Lily would FORGIVE HIM.

Lily saved Harry because SHE LOVED HIM, THERE WERE NO OTHER REASONS ASIDE FROM LOVE. That is selfless love. A mother's love towards her child is the truest most selfless love. THAT IS THE MAIN MESSAGE J.K.R. IS TRYING TO SPREAD.

Snape is a complex character. Saying that only his love for Lily was why he did all those things, is making him like all the other heroes that do everything for the one that they love(which are all the main characters of every book). What makes Snape amazing is ALL OF HIS HORRIBLE MISTAKES, AND THE SHEER WILL TO ERASE THEM. His obsessive love helped him to do all of that, but the path to redemption is what should be admired about Snape. Not just his idolised, unwanted, tragic, "so romantic" love for Lily.

For me Snape doesn't need to be a hero, a glorified saint for him to be my FAVORITE character. HE IS A GRAY CHARACTER J.K.R. said it her self. You can't make him a saint nor a devil. That is what I am saying also. He did an amazing thing by staying loyal to Dumbledore, BUT he also did some stupid s*** that shouldn't be excused.

WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS, AND WE SHOULD RESPECT EACH OTHERS. I see why you see him as a hero AND I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU ARE WRONG.

We have different definitions of a hero. You believe that a hero is someone that even though he made horrible mistakes one heroic act makes him a hero. I think that to be a hero, sure you can have mistakes, as long as those mistakes aren't a lot bigger that the heroic act (If a person lived his life being an a** and making hundreds of people miserable, one act of braveness for me redeems the person, but does not make him a hero).

I RESPECT YOUR OPINION. I AM NOT SAYING YOU ARE WRONG. hopefully this time around you'll see (MY OPINION) and why I see him as a GRAY character (not an evil character, but not a hero as well). And maybe you'll respect my opinion and the opinions of other fans that don't consider Snape a hero, instead of assuming that all the fans that "hate" Snape don't get the story. We see that his love for Lily was great and should be admired, but not enough to make all of his mistakes go away and make him this tragic idolized hero. And maybe even hopefully you will realize that the opinions that are different from yours are just as right?


message 26: by Mickey (last edited Dec 27, 2015 07:16AM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija, I find your increasingly frequent use of all caps irritating and rude. You do know that using all caps is the equivalent to shouting, don't you? If you wish to emphasize a word or words, italicize them by using <> with an i in the middle of it and to end it, put a slash like/ before the i

like this. This is how you emphasize words

This is not the only issue I have with your posts. I don't mind talking about Snape, but the name-calling is uncalled for. You seem to wish for me to say that your reasons are valid, but there are many inaccuracies and inconsistencies in what you are saying, and I am pointing those out. This is hardly surprising, because I disagree with you.

I will deal with the actual content of your post later, but I wanted to put you on notice as to the unacceptable tone.


message 27: by Marija (last edited Dec 27, 2015 09:25AM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) Look every single post I said that I didn't hate Snape. And every reply of yours stated that you taught I did. Several times I have explained that I am not trying to change your opinion, and that I am stating my own.

Sorry for making you irritated, by emphasizing my statements. But do you know that your constant misreading and not reading my whole comments irritates me?

I never insulted you EVER. When did I name call you? Because last time I checked you were the only one comparing me to Voldemort. The only thing I did was correct your arguments that misread mine.

And if you can't accept that people who have different opinions than yours might also be just as right as your, then sorry, that is not a discussion. There are good arguments for both sides, that is why this is called a discussion, there is no right or wrong opinion. I was doing the same thing you were. I was disagreeing with you. But unlike you, I respected your opinion.

So don't bother reading my comment. If you are going to take my statements and opinions personally, and get butthurt which results in you insulting me. And to make you happy, I'll even say this. You have changed my opinion, you are right and I was wrong.


message 28: by Emily (new)

Emily | 14 comments Not really he's mean and sellifish he made a effort to save lily and James potter in the Harry Potter books


message 29: by Mickey (last edited Dec 27, 2015 10:27AM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija wrote: "No I don't have problems with the fans, nor the story, nor J.K.R, since I am one of the fans. I AM NOT SAYING THAT HE DIDN'T DO A BRAVE AND NOBLE THING. But do you actually think that the only reason for everything he did was JUST LOVE? You obviously are the one missing out on the complexity of his character. A real person doesn't do such acts just out of love, and Snape is one of the rare characters that I can see as a real human, that actually has the main human attribute which is SELFISHNESS. ALL HUMANS SUFFER FROM IT."

I don't see Snape as being particularly selfish. I don't think you've made a convincing case that he is. Snape prefers another over himself many times in the book: Lily (because he loves her) and Harry (because of Lily). I think Snape's main faults are bitterness, vengefulness, anger, and hatred. These are what we see most of the time in Snape, through Harry's experience. That there is another side to him and another motivating factor is only seen intermittently throughout the first six books and explained in the seventh. When we see the entire man and understand him, we realize that this secret side of him is the key to understanding him. We see his bravery, his willingness to sacrifice, his rock-solid nerves, and his absolute devotion.

We come to see that there was an internal war within him: the side that hated James, Harry, Sirius, that remembered their taunts and behavior; the angry, hateful side and the side that loved Lily and was devoted to her. When it mattered and he had to choose between them, he choose Lily. Over and over again. This couldn't have been easy: constantly saving a boy who reminded him so much of his former tormentor and who idolized his father and threw it in his face. Protecting his former bully (Sirius) while working on the same side as him and while the bully is constantly questioning his loyalty and bringing up the painful past. Yet he continued to do it.

There is an old Native American story about two wolves. It goes like this: Inside each of us are two wolves. One is evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. One is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. Which one wins? The one you feed the most.

This reminds me of Snape. Both wolves are fed in his case, but one wolf is fed in secret and very few people (even the people very close to the action) know about it. That's how good Snape is at hiding (which definitely helped him survive as a double agent). When we do realize the existence of this good wolf and realize that it is bigger and stronger than the evil wolf, some aren't processing this information. I can think of several reasons for this:

As I've said before, the Voldemort character is hard to really hate. He is a bit out of the normal realm of most readers' experience (especially children). His ambition would resonate more with an adult audience than with children. In the vacuum of a really nasty villain, the "mean teachers" become more of a focus. Not that Umbridge isn't a fine character, but you have to think about why she is so much more "hate-able" than Voldemort.

With the emphasis on reader preference that is prevalent today (Do you like this story? Do you like this character? What "team" are you on?) it is difficult to absorb a major twist far into a series. If readers decide that they "hate" a character and that he is mean and nasty, they will more likely resist a twist that shows that there is more to him. Already locked into their opinion that he's mean, they will seek to discount the new information in order to continue on their original trajectory. Instead of further enriching the story, new chapters are only to confirm what is already known and felt. They don't want surprises, they want confirmation of their opinions.

Children are not known for their ability to make fine distinctions (brain development and all) and the series feature some the very fine distinctions, especially in the later books. All evilness is not contained in the Death Eaters. All goodness is not contained in the Order. Many of the heroes are gray (Dumbledore, Snape, James), and many of the villains are gray, too (Lucius Malfoy), but they have problems seeing this, and so they go on about how the heroes aren't heroes or make odd points about how this situation was not their fault. It's a process of maturing and realizing that people are, first and foremost, human.


Marija wrote: "The difference between you and me. Is that you love Snape, because of him being a "hero". You love him because of his "glorified" love, that makes you blindly defend HIS MISTAKES. You think of him as this hero that needs to be looked up to. But I see him for the character he truly was. Bitter, jealous, who has an obsessive love that makes his life worth living. I see him as a complex and beautifully written character. You don't need to love a character's actions, to actually love a character. "

I actually don't think of him as a hero that needs to be looked up to. When did I say anything of the sort?

Marija wrote: "He joined the deatheaters KNOWING, that by supporting them mugle borns will suffer. Therefore he knew that by supporting Voldemort he will eventually hurt Lily. Proving that after Lily technically rejected him by dating James, he stopped giving f***s about her and joined the Deatheaters. THAT IS SELFISH. He did a selfish thing even though he loved her. After some time when he actually came to his senses that what he was doing wasn't right. He joined the Order. His love for her was the same, when he joined the Deatheaters and joined the Order, the only difference was that he felt guilt. HE FELT GUILT THAT BECAUSE OF HIS ACTIONS LILY WAS SUFFERING / WAS GOING TO SUFFER / SUFFERED."

Your reasoning makes no sense. He loves her and then he doesn't care about her and then he joins the Death Eaters, and then he feels guilty about that. If you look back to the scene in which he is with Dumbledore, you can see how surprised he is about Lily being targeted. I think you are playing with semantics because the timeline doesn't match. To claim that Snape joined the Order because of feeling guilt about Lily's death is problematic since it's clear he joined it some time before her death. So, to save face, you decide him joining the Death Eaters made him feel guilty, which makes no sense. It's simply a way to discount any actions by Snape because it's motivated by guilt.

Marija wrote: " If i give my kidney to someone(it doesn't matter if you know them or not), with the sole reason concentrated that I WANT TO HELP THE OTHER PERSON, then it is selfless. But previously if I hurt that persons parents or I don't know hurt someone else (made a terrible mistake that I regret, and thinking that by doing a "selfless" thing will redeem me), then the reason for giving my kidney will be TO REDEEM MYSELF, TO ERASE THE MISTAKES THAT I REGRET. Which makes it very selfish."

Just face it. You are trying way too hard to vilify a person. So, I can make Lily selfish right now if I say that she obviously regretted putting Harry in danger (her defenses were obviously not enough) and so refused to give up her son, not for love but out of guilt, suddenly her sacrifice is tainted! If I say James was obviously lax in the defenses to keep his family safe (even Voldemort marveled at it) and he told Lily that he would hold him off, this sacrifice was not out of love, but guilt. Dumbledore, since his sister's death, did nothing out of the motivation to "do right" or for any other reason but to selfishly redeem himself. I can go through the whole cast of characters. No one apparently did anything for any reason than for their own selfish skins. I can create guilt and totally shove aside any other feeling or motivation and call them selfish. Even if someone gives me a kidney, I don't have to be thankful, because there is some guilt-inducing act in the past of that person sure to relieve me of the need to think this person behaved selflessly.

Does that make any sense at all?

Marija wrote: "Lily saved Harry because SHE LOVED HIM, THERE WERE NO OTHER REASONS ASIDE FROM LOVE. That is selfless love. A mother's love towards her child is the truest most selfless love. THAT IS THE MAIN MESSAGE J.K.R. IS TRYING TO SPREAD."

Her main message was actually about something that happened before the start of the story? I doubt that. And remember, Lily must have felt guilty for putting Harry in danger, so her sacrifice is actually pretty selfish (trying to rid herself of her own guilt).

Not that I actually believe that, but I'm hoping to show you how this type of reasoning is faulty.

Marija wrote: "We have different definitions of a hero. You believe that a hero is someone that even though he made horrible mistakes one heroic act makes him a hero. I think that to be a hero, sure you can have mistakes, as long as those mistakes aren't a lot bigger that the heroic act (If a person lived his life being an a** and making hundreds of people miserable, one act of braveness for me redeems the person, but does not make him a hero)."

You aren't stating my position correctly. In fact, what "one heroic act" did he perform that I think makes him a hero? I haven't the slightest idea what you mean.


message 30: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Marija wrote: "I never insulted you EVER."

Marija wrote: "Ok.. How mature are you seriously? I am stating my opinion, and here you are calling me Voldemort? Really? Did you even read my WHOLE comment?."

This is insulting to me. Particularly when I've been nice enough not to point out your obvious immaturity. I mean, you actually used the word "duh" in one of your posts. Seriously?

If you don't know how to have a civil discussion on the internet, let me give you a few tips:

1. Don't insult people. This includes making really silly arguments. Respect people's intelligence enough not to just throw any stream-of consciousness rant at them. Formulate your views and make them consistent and well thought out.

2. I think we've covered that all caps is considered shouting. Not emphasizing; shouting. There are plenty of marks to use to emphasize. It's always better to use emphasizing sparingly, as you sound more hysterical the more you rely on it.

3. Unless you are positive you can do a good job of it, I would avoid trying to summarize other people's points. If you can't get it right, it makes you look foolish, like you are shadowboxing with some imaginary opponent.


message 31: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments Can I just interject something?

We all obviously have strong feelings about Harry Potter, and it's natural that discussions get heated. But can we try to keep this a civilized argument? Everyone has a right to state their opinion, and to have their opinion respected. From reading the posts, it doesn't seem like it's an argument over Snape anymore; it's become a personal attack. We're all allowed to think that someone else is wrong, but can we please be considerate in the way we express it? I love this thread, and I've been trying to follow it, but I keep getting put off by the animosity going on here.

I think we're missing the point here: instead of getting hung up on who's wrong and who's right - and i do think that is what's going on, in my honest opinion - can we all just simmer down a little and try to learn a bit from each other? From reading all of your posts, I've learned a lot of new things, and both of you have given me stuff to think about. I'd love to think that's what the point of GR is about.

Also, can we refrain from cursing on this thread? That would be lovely. =) I'm sorry, but it's really bothering me.

Thanks, guys! Sorry to interrupt. =D


message 32: by Mickey (last edited Dec 27, 2015 11:02AM) (new)

Mickey | 52 comments B wrote: "Can I just interject something?

We all obviously have strong feelings about Harry Potter, and it's natural that discussions get heated. But can we try to keep this a civilized argument? Everyone ..."


Frankly, I would be more curious to hear your views on the matter (of Snape). I think it would be more interesting to have a big conversation about the topic on hand with several people participating than to always feel paired off with someone from the opposite side of a question.

What strikes you as interesting about the topic?


message 33: by Marija (last edited Dec 27, 2015 12:42PM) (new)

Marija (marija3396) I agree I love hearing everyones opinions. And I would enjoy seeing different opinions. Like I have stated in most of my comments.

Mickey I am truly sorry that because English is my second language, it tends to be really difficult for me to express exactly my opinion using pretty words. Sorry I can't make it consistent enough to your liking, but I do have I slight handicap when using a foreign language.

This is a debate where both sides have great arguments. Since it is a debate it means that both sides aren't wrong. And that it all depends on perspective. We were both stating ours. And I never said that I disagreed with you. I have multiple times said that I agree that Snape isn't a villain. Hence why I can't be "vilinizing" him. Just because I don't see him as a hero, doesn't mean I see him as a villain. Which even in your last comment you persistently disregard. (which irritates me a lot, not your opinion, but your lack understanding, and stating the total opposite of what I have stated dozen of times).

I used "duh" as an expression to express my annoyance at your lack of understanding for a thing that I have explained several times. "Duh" is not an insult. If you see me frowning will you get offended? Because it is the same thing it is an expression not an insult. Unlike you who compared me to Voldemort. But still I am sorry if I hurt your feelings with my opinions.
Which now I will explain again.
A boy supporting Hitler, knows that by supporting him he is putting his love that is Jewish in danger. The followers were the ones that gave Hitler the actual power. Snape knew what he was doing, that by choosing Voldemort, he is giving him power to achieve his goal. Which is to kill/enslave muggle borns. Making excuses such as "he did not know" is rather silly when everyone knows what Voldemorts end game is. It is rather silly to say that Snape didn't know Voldemort was going to kill mugleborns, while he knew that Lily was a mugleborn. I don't get your excuse for this. That is why I used the only word I knew for something that to me seemed as a weak argument and far fetched. Sorry if I insulted you by not using a pretty sugar covered word.

Each statements I used "My opinin" "I think" I never used "You are wrong" or anything like that. I am sorry you felt that I am forcing my opinion on you. I am just explaining why some of us don't see him as a hero. Which is the point of this discussion.

This whole debate is about what we consider the definition of hero to be. It is natural that we all have different view of a hero. I said that I assume that both of us have very different definitions. And that it is absolutely OK. I said that your definition and opinions are valid. And tried to explain my definition which you so arrogantly and aggressively tried to shoot it down as completely wrong. You are not wrong for considering Snape a hero, hoplefully you get that I am also not wrong for not considering him a hero. And that it is all just a matter of perspective.

I agree and tell you constantly that your opinion is right, which is the mature thing to do, rather than thinking that only my opinion is valid and that everything else is wrong. I don't know what to say to prove to you that, your opinion even though right, isn't the only right opinion. I am honestly sorry and I will stop stating my perspective since it obviously bothers you. You can now have a one sided debate where everyone agrees with you.

P.S. A little advise, do not take arguments in a debate personally, we are talking about a character. It is the reason a lot of other fans are scared to write their opinion. And don't get so easily offended by words such as "Duh" and "Silly" because they are not insults. It is rather childish to get offended by everything. BTW being childish isn't an insult, we are all childish even when we are adults.


message 34: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments mickey -

I agree with you pretty much on what you've said about Snape. You've said it so eloquently and expressively that i don't know i have anything to add. :)

I was actually interested in what you said about Lucius Malfoy being a gray villain. How do you see him as such?


message 35: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Hmmmm. I've never really thought much of Lucius Malfoy.

In the end he was more concerned with keeping his family safe than pursuing favor with Voldemort. I think the "saving grace" of most people shows up when they have to make a choice about what is truly important to them. I don't think it was some profound change like Snape and didn't lead to any redemption, but it is at least a mitigating factor.

I liked that Rowling fleshed the Malfoys out a bit to show them out of favor with Voldemort so we could see past their privilege. I think this is another case of Voldemort's downfall being his inability to understand love. The Malfoys' concern with each other trumped their allegiance to him and that cost him.


message 36: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments I agree with you. I don't remember seeing as much of Lucius, but definitely Narcissa was portrayed in a different light in the 6th book, particularly in the second chapter, Spinner's End.

I find it fascinating that no matter who you look at, you can trace them back to the main theme and find out how they fit in.

I think my favorite piece is the part where Harry gave himself up for everyone and so nothing that Voldemort did to them could hold for too long. I think it's because it amazes me that Harry's sacrifice really represents the love that he had for all of them, for people he didn't even know, and how this love that he had for them, love that these people didn't know existed, had the power to protect all of them.

I guess it just amazes me how the bond that was formed between harry and everyone fighting for him was so strong. You know, everyone talks about uniting against a common enemy, but it's really fascinating to think how deep, how binding that connection can be.

Also, i feel like its a prime example of how even though we find it very hard to think how my one action can affect someone across the world, it truly can. Harry, who knew he had to defeat Voldemort, walked straight to his death because he felt he had no other choice, because he knew it was the right thing to do. Do you think he was imagining the impact it would have on everyone he was protecting when he decided to give himself up? I doubt it. I don't know that he realized how his actions mirrored lily's when he acted. But nevertheless, it had this huge impact - Voldemort couldn't touch them, couldn't curse them; none of his spells would hold. Harry effectively gave them ultimate protection just by finding the courage and strength to do what he knew was right. It's just sort of breathtaking to really understand the far reaching consequences our actions can have on others. And when we choose to do the right thing, especially when it's the hardest thing to do, even when we think no one will know, we have no idea the people it could be affecting in so many positive ways. It's scary to think about for too long....


message 37: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments B wrote: "I think my favorite piece is the part where Harry gave himself up for everyone and so nothing that Voldemort did to them could hold for too long. I think it's because it amazes me that Harry's sacrifice really represents the love that he had for all of them, for people he didn't even know, and how this love that he had for them, love that these people didn't know existed, had the power to protect all of them.

I guess it just amazes me how the bond that was formed between harry and everyone fighting for him was so strong. You know, everyone talks about uniting against a common enemy, but it's really fascinating to think how deep, how binding that connection can be."


It reminds me a lot of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, although Aslan knew about the "deep magic" that would rescue him in the end. Harry thought that he would die in those woods, and was prepared to do that in order to get rid of the last Horcrux (well, second to last). I agree that was a deeply affecting part: Harry going alone into the woods to his death with only ghosts of people he knew with him, asking them if it hurt to die and to stay with him.

The idea that there is a hidden strength and power in absolute vulnerability is interesting to think about. To stand by and knowingly give up the most basic survival instinct (to defend yourself from death) seems to free the hero more than restrict him or limit him. It reminds me of the confrontation between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi when Kenobi lets himself be killed after warning Darth that killing him would only make him more powerful.


message 38: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments lol so the last time i read the lion the witch and the wardrobe was ages ago, and i have to confess that im not really that familiar with star wars, but i'm sure the comparisons are apt. :)

and the whole idea of restraining yourself to find freedom is fascinating, but not anything new. Religion is like that - in order to find true freedom, you refrain from doing certain things that trap you and distract you from the true purpose of life. When you're free of distractions, you're free to spend your time however you like.


message 39: by Reggie (new)

Reggie Shanala | 249 comments Vaish wrote: "Why did people start liking Snape? Yes he did one decent thing, but that in my opinion made him a gray character and not a hero.

I think you're missing the fact that Snape didn't just do "one decent thing". That's like saying Draco was a hero because he didn't immediately give up Harry to the Death Eaters when he had the chance to. Snape was a hero, a gray character, sure, but a hero nonetheless. All heroes have their strengths and their shortcomings and Snape had plenty of both. He's a great character and an integral part of why Harry was able to survive as many times as he did.

And his rivalry with James and Sirius, to me, matched that of Draco and Harry's. Nothing but jealousy fueling their battles.



message 40: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Speaking as a fan of the character, I don't think that many people find him to be a "hero to look up to". On the contrary, part of the reason for his popularity might be the "gray-ness" that other people find disqualifying. Snape had faults throughout the books, and continued to have them throughout. Nothing was ever "worked out" for him, nothing was resolved. He still hated many people and was spiteful and mean and this was established early on in the series. With the revelations in the last book, you finally pin him down and learn who he was to the very core, and that's the real measure of him. Although he was my favorite character since the 4th book. I always knew he would turn out good, although I didn't think it would be because of Lily.


message 41: by antique (new)

antique ana (antiqueana) | 8 comments He is one of my favs becouse last book near the end


message 42: by Anny (new)

Anny (annyreads) I don't consider Snape a hero, and I absolutely do not understand why Harry would name his son after him. I get why J.K wrote it lie that, who doesn't need a sappy ending to this rollercoaster. But in reality, it would never have worked out like that.
Snapes only sacrifice was that he worked for Dumbledore. Then again, if he was not an evil bastard, he would've done that willingly.

He was perfectly happy sacrifing a family and their newborn son to Voldemort.
He was perfectly happy doing Voldemort's bidding from a VERY young age (there are mentions of his death eater contacts already when he was at Hogwarts).
He was actually perfectly happy being a death eater until his ~*high school sweetheart*~ was in danger.

Then he begged for their protection, and in return, he worked for Dumbledore.

He was not happy that Harry survived, on the contrary he made sure to abuse, threaten and bully him at every given chance, even long before Harry had time to make a bad impression on him. Snape detested James but could never take his anger out on him, so he did it on James' son instead.
A teacher who bullies a child because of his surname is not a hero. He's pathetic.


message 43: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Anny wrote: "I don't consider Snape a hero, and I absolutely do not understand why Harry would name his son after him. I get why J.K wrote it lie that, who doesn't need a sappy ending to this rollercoaster. But in reality, it would never have worked out like that.
Snapes only sacrifice was that he worked for Dumbledore. Then again, if he was not an evil bastard, he would've done that willingly."


There could be a lot sappy ways to end the series. Why do you think Rowling put Snape in the mix, if she thought he was so bad? Does the fact that Harry himself obviously forgave him his faults and admired him for his bravery not give you pause?


message 44: by Intrigued (new)

Intrigued by Romance | 2 comments Let me just say that Snape has passed away in real life at the tender age of 69. it is a sad day for all of his fans!

It is true that heroes come in many forms, I will miss him. A hero doesn't have to do unbelieveable things all the time....a hero could give something of themselves for the better of the next person. That is exactly what Snape did in the end.


message 45: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments This thread has been pretty dead recently, and I don't know if anyone is still on it, but I've been thinking about something recently, and was wondering about others' opinions on the matter.

Do you think it's appropriate that Harry named his child after Snape? Was it the particular combination of Albus Severus that Harry felt drawn to? I'm feeling very conflicted over the fact that Harry chose to name his son after a man that he did not truly like and never truly appreciated. It seems almost... presumptuous of him to do such a thing. Would Snape really have appreciated it? Or does that not really matter; Harry was just expressing his gratitude for the man?


message 46: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Farshaw | 120 comments There's something that I never see anyone mention, so I will do it now: I don't get why Harry named his son after the man who at the end of book 3 deliberately told lies to the Minister of Magic just to make sure that Sirius Black would receive the Dementor's Kiss. (The lie being: Telling the Minister that Harry and Hermione were Confounded by Black when they said he was innocent.)


message 47: by B (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments I think that there are a lot of things that we don't really remember when we think about Harry naming his child after Snape. He did a number of despicable things even when he was on the good side. Your point is a good one - that's a great example.

Now that I'm thinking on it, nothing's coming to mind, but I remember having the same thought in other places....


message 48: by Anthony (last edited Nov 26, 2016 02:54AM) (new)

Anthony Farshaw | 120 comments B wrote: "I think that there are a lot of things that we don't really remember when we think about Harry naming his child after Snape. He did a number of despicable things even when he was on the good side. ..."

Well, the most important one: ALL HARRY'S MISERY STARTED BECAUSE OF SNAPE! Snape was the one who told Voldemort about the prophecy. If that hadn't happened, Voldemort wouldn't have come to Godric's Hollow to kill the Potters, Harry wouldn't have to endure all the abuse of the Dursleys, no, he'd have a happy youth with his parents. So why would Harry name his child after one of the three persons who took away his happy youth?


message 49: by B (last edited Dec 08, 2016 08:39AM) (new)

B (deathandchocolate) | 94 comments Well, I think part of what was so great about Snape was that, acting against all his instincts and personal feelings for Voldemort's agenda, he protected Harry with his life. It wouldn't be nearly as amazing if he was already a good person. But the fact that he came back from Voldemort and lived out the rest of his life spying on a movement he initially supported, and living a constantly dangerous life for the sake of a person he truly hated, is what makes his character so remarkable. Harry didn't expect anything more from Snape - he accepted, even if he could never understand, that Snape was on Voldemort's side. This was his assumption. So the revelation that Snape truly lived his life for Dumbledore, and for him, Harry, was staggering. Snape was willing to be hated by all the teachers, practically everyone who knew him; willing to live his life as a spy, constantly putting himself in danger for a boy that reminded him daily of how he lost the only person he had ever loved to a man he profoundly hated; willing to live a hard, lonely dangerous life to protect what the person he loved died protecting so many years ago.

That he made such a great sacrifice, and had such a great hand in the triumph over Voldemort, and in such a way that he was not lauded for it but cursed and hated, makes his actions a lot more remarkable. He performed many deeply difficult tasks for Dumbledore, and not only was he not recognized for any of it, he was hated for all of it. That is partly his fault, as he swore Dumbledore to secrecy about his part in the plan, but nonetheless he never got any recognition for the immensely difficult and dangerous life he led for the sake of Dumbledore and the triumph of good.

Snape was a mean-spirited, spiteful, embittered, and disillusioned man. If he had been properly given credit for the good that he had done, then his great actions would not overshadow his despicable ones. But the fact that no one recognized the good in him, and despite this that he remained faithful and indeed died for a cause he didn't necessarily believe in, creates a deep sense of appreciation and wonder when his actions are finally revealed. I think that part of the difficulty we have with Snape's character is that because we didn't recognize the good in his actions when they happened, the great reveal comes to mean perhaps more than it really should.


message 50: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 52 comments Anthony wrote: "Well, the most important one: ALL HARRY'S MISERY STARTED BECAUSE OF SNAPE! Snape was the one who told Voldemort about the prophecy. If that hadn't happened, Voldemort wouldn't have come to Godric's Hollow to kill the Potters, Harry wouldn't have to endure all the abuse of the Dursleys, no, he'd have a happy youth with his parents. So why would Harry name his child after one of the three persons who took away his happy youth? "

Harry didn't blame Snape for his parents' deaths. Snape didn't kill his parents, Voldemort did. Harry blamed Voldemort for killing James and Lily. For the role he played in it, Snape was less responsible than Trelawny even without the revelations of the last book.

If you look back at what Harry says to his son, he tells him that he was named after a man who was "probably the bravest man [he] ever knew," which is in keeping with his character as a Gryffindor. They are supposed to prize bravery over every other attribute. It seems like he was honoring Snape for his extreme bravery and hoping that his example would inspire his son to be brave as well. This is what generally happens when people name their children after others. It's a way to honor someone and to connect the past to the future.


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