There are some characters that remain close to the heart of any Harry Potter fan. Harry, Hermione and Ron, for the friendship they have, Neville, for the change from pushover to hero, Luna, for the quirkiness, Dumbledore, for the wisdom etc. Even Voldemort would be a favorite for some fans. A character that I admire a lot, and so do most, if not all fans, is Severus Snape.
Professor Severus Snape was the Potions master at Hogwarts. He’s portrayed as this serious teacher who can be cold, cynical, sarcastic, and bitter and as a teacher, very strict and straightforward. He was also the head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts, and as such, more favorable to his house, docking points from Gryffindor and not very helpful to them even during the Potions classes. However, his teaching style meant that every student listened to him carefully and Potions was, along with Transfiguration, one of the classes that was a bit serious in tone, and which the students took seriously. Even among the teachers, he doesn’t really have any close associates or friends, only making conversation with the Headmaster when needed.
Severus Snape is admired by Harry Potter fans because of the twist in the final book which explained a lot about his character. For me, personally, that changed the way I looked at him through the series. And I don’t know if others would feel the same. When Alan Rickman, who portrayed Snape in the movies, passed away at the start of the year, one of the media sources here reported that as the death of the Harry Potter ‘villain’. Most fans, including me, were livid at that statement. It made me wonder what kind of a character Professor Snape was. He wasn’t a hero, not till that last book. He wasn’t a villain either.
Till the last book, and the Pensieve scene, Snape was not my favorite character. He seems to have a grudge against Harry Potter, and favors whatever seems to go against Harry. He docks points from Gryffindor when Harry or the other Gryffindors are involved, but doesn’t show the same strictness for rules when Slytherin is involved. His obstinacy and pride makes Harry lose a chance to get away from the Dursleys and go live with Sirius at Grimmald Lane. He doesn’t seem to be helpful when Harry tries to say Sirius is in trouble at the Department of Mysteries. He kills Albus Dumbledore and joins with the Death Eaters at the Battle of Hogwarts in the sixth book. Going from book to book as a newbie to the world of Harry Potter, Snape would definitely seem like a villain, especially with Voldemort half-dead for the first three books. The closest thing Harry seems to have for a nemesis in the first few books and till the last one is Snape.
Only after the last book does Snape’s character seem deeper, more complete, and more admirable in every sense of the word. If not for that turn of events, even Harry wouldn’t have named his son for Snape. Thinking of Snape’s character as a Potterhead who has read each book twenty times, I admire him. He’s a double agent who works silently to screw the evil side while pretending to work for the good side. He’s one who is loyal, not just to Dumbledore and the cause against Voldemort, but to his one true love too, for his Patronus doesn’t change even ‘after all this time’. His love for Lily, Harry’s mother and his one-time best friend meant that his Patronus was the same as Lily’s – a doe. It also showed why he was protecting Harry as well.
Writing this post, typing ‘was’ instead of ‘is’ has been difficult, for the character is one that has moved me. To change every reader’s idea of a character with one chapter, with one scene… that’s another feather in Rowling’s cap.
Does that scene move me close to tears?
After all this time?
(© 22nd April 2016)