Today is the anniversary of the death of one of Harry Potter’s most indelible characters, Professor Severus Snape. In recognition of the date, we’re running this piece on Snape’s softer side.
Old Snivelly is one person I’ve never expected to learn so much about love from. When I started reading the Harry Potter books, the sinister professor seemed to me like the kind of guy who does not know any single thing about love. He seemed callous and heartless. But after reading all seven books and watching all eight movies, I realized that Snape has proven me wrong. He knows a lot, and in particular he knows about the realm of the human heart. Here are some things that he taught me.
You can love people even if they don’t love you back
Severus Snape and Lily Evans, Harry Potter’s mother, grew up together in Spinner’s End and became friends even before they went to Hogwarts. Snape cared for and deeply loved Lily since their childhood but Lily fell in love with James Potter. Were his feelings for her unrequited? Yep. But he continued to love her anyway.
Feelings can be really, really complicated
Snape was repeatedly bullied by James Potter during the years they studied together at Hogwarts. This caused him to mistreat Harry Potter in every possible way he can, as Harry’s mere existence remind him of James and all the torture he suffered under in his hands. But despite his deep loathing of James, he has always protected Harry. For instance, he saved Harry from Quirinus Quirrell when he performed a counter curse to save Harry during a Quidditch match and from Dolores Umbridge when he lied by saying he does not have any supply of Veritaserum when Umbridge asked for it. So even though Snape was a bit conflicted on the subject of Harry, in the end, his intentions were to keep him safe.
Love can make you super brave
Snape put his life on the line when he decided to work as a double agent for Albus Dumbledore. His skills in Occlumency and Legilimency definitely helped, but if it’s the Dark Lord Voldemort we’re talking about, loyalty never works out.
Loving someone can make you see yourself more clearly
Snape was fascinated by the Dark Arts even at a young age, and became one of the Death Eaters after leaving Hogwarts. When Lily passed away, he realized he was on the wrong side. He joined the Order of the Phoenix and soon becamse Dumbledore’s spy to thwart the Dark Lord and protect Lily’s only son, who is, of course, Harry Potter.
Love is worth fighting for
Snape was beyond devastated when Lily was killed by Voldemort. As the story progresses, we figured out that everything he does (including making Harry Potter’s every day a difficult day to live) is actually all for Lily.
Love is a four letter word that means a whole lot of things to different people. The way Severus Snape lived his life, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the beginning, is actually full of love.