J.K. Rowling finally explained the logic behind this baffling 'Harry Potter' name
Knowing you’re named after two of Hogwarts’ former headmasters must be no easy burden to carry. But that’s what Harry Potter bestows on his second born son, Albus Severus Potter, naming him after Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. It’s a fine name meant to honor two of the most important people in Harry’s life, but over the years fans have questioned why Harry would chose to honor Snape in the first place.
There’s always been a divide when it comes to Snape. Yes, in the end he died a hero and we learned that all of his actions were a direct reaction to his longstanding love for Lily Potter (ALWAYS!). But, he kinda treated Harry like crap every single year, making the name an odd choice. Personally, I have nothing against Snape, since I understand why he hated Harry so much (because, James), but still stuck his neck out to protect him (because, Lily).
That’s how I personally understand the character, and I know not everyone in the world sees eye-to-eye. J. K. Rowling knows that, too, and when asked a question about her writing choices, she’s pretty good at explaining her reasoning. When asked why Harry named his son Severus, when “[Snape] was nothing but abusive towards everyone,” Rowling answered. Consider what follows the great Snape Twitter Debate of 2015.
According to Rowling, Harry acknowledges that Snape “died for Harry out of love for Lily” and Harry knew that. By giving his son the name Severus, he paid tribute to that in the sense that he forgave Snape for treating him like crap down in the potions dungeon. The name is also meant to thank him for giving his own life to save others.
She goes further into explaining — all in 140 characters or less, because she’s a wizard herself with words — that Snape was “grey” in the sense that he was, at times, both good and evil, but his actions redeemed him. Also, the death that Harry himself caused at the Battle of Hogwarts will always “haunt him forever,” and he hoped that honoring the memory of Snape would help ease that pain. If that’s still not enough backing, both family names for Dumbledore and Snape died with them, so for Harry, he was making a conscious choice to carry them on for future generations.
This reasoning makes perfect sense, but this is Twitter, so obviously there are those out there who don’t understand Harry (and by association, Rowling). She goes even further on to explain the crux of Snape himself, which eventually Harry came to understand. In the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, Harry comments that Snape “was probably the bravest man I ever knew,” because Harry knew Snape was risking his own life every day to report to Voldemort, and ally with Dumbledore, AND protect Harry. That’s a lot for one guy to do.
Well, this is some pretty heavy Snape stuff for a Friday. The debate is still currently ongoing, and Rowling herself is loving it. She loves these open chats about her characters, and how fans respond to them — both with cheers and boos, in the case of Snape.
(Image via Warner Bros.)