The Real Hero of the Harry Potter Franchise

November 15, 2012 11:24 am

Severus Snape: My Hero

Until the last movie, I had never really had any feelings for Snape, he was kind of overly cruel, and yes, I had read the books and knew what happened, but still he didn’t touch me like he did in the last Harry Potter film.

First of all, hats off to Alan Rickman for an incredible performance for the entire series. But in this last film I really thought that Alan Rickman did an amazing job. At the bottom of this article I have linked a video which I recommend you watch. It more or less shows the beginning scene of the film. When the camera zooms in on Severus, look at the pain that is expressed on his face. It is almost heart breaking to look at in retrospect, and coupled with ‘Lily’s Theme’ (best track in the film) it really is a stirring moment. You can see in his eyes as he watches the students march through Hogwarts that his heart is broken.

Now, I am not much of a crier, but I can’t understand how anybody didn’t cry in the scene where we see Snape’s tale unfold. And once we know everything he has done, to think he never gets to speak out for himself, cry out that he was actually good, a hero, all along, he never gets to fight Voldemort, instead, he just has his throat slit in a brief moment because Voldemort mistakenly thinks he is the true owner of the Elder Wand.

So, let’s take a look at his life. Essentially, he falls in love with Lily Potter, can’t have her, tries to protect her by going to Dumbledore who fails to understand his real love for Lily. He saves Harry’s life again and again and his Patronus is a replica of Lily’s because he loves her so much. He has to pretend to be this evil man, he is forced to kill Dumbledore, the one man who ever gave him a chance and the only man who knew the truth. He was completely and utterly alone, and at the end of his life, he doesn’t even get to explain it himself, just a tear drop to a boy who has hated him and blamed him for everything but whom he has protected and looked after.

He is more of a hero than any of the other characters because he receives no thanks or praise, no-one likes him and he made the biggest sacrifice of all. He is tortured by the love he had for Lily Potter, and the fact that she died and he did not save her, and he has to live and pretend to be in league with the man who killed her. All of these things combined make him the very definition of a tragic hero. And what a hero he is. It’s just heart breaking when he conjures his Patronus to Dumbledore and shows him that it is a Doe. I have put the video of “Snape’s story” right at the top of this page, it unfortunately isn’t the best quality but it still shows what a hero he is.

Rowling herself has stated that she doesn’t like Severus and thinks he is a bully and an antihero, but I cannot believe that she really thinks that. Her reasons for saying this is that he shouldn’t have treated Harry in such a bad way throughout his time at Hogwarts but he was human after all, and every time he looks at Harry he is reminded of Lily, and also of James Potter who tormented him and stole the woman he love. It is probable that he only ever became a death eater because of the jealousy and anger in his heart at not being able to have the girl he loved. And he also never forgives himself for calling her a mudblood.

The character of Severus is portrayed very cleverly, you don’t see what a complex character he is until the end of the film. Rowling supposedly told Alan Rickman what was going to happen in the very beginning before she had finished writing the books so that he could portray the character of Snape even better. What a fantastic job he does, I literally could not think of anyone in the entire world who could have played that role better than he does.

Well, there you have it, those are the reasons why I think Severus Snape is the true hero of the Harry Potter films, and also one of the main reasons why I enjoyed the last film so much. I wasn’t a fan of the Potter films as a whole, but the last one really brought it together for me.

So my hat goes off to Severus Snape and any characters out there in the world like him, who die after a thankless life but really are the silent heroes amongst us. Please let me know what you think by leaving comments below, especially if you disagree with me and remember to watch the videos, both of them, they illustrate what I am saying here!

 

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  • Caroline

    I agree! Love Snape and Alan Rickman plays him perfectly

  • Cassie

    I disagree with some of your points. First off, in the books it is apparent that he showed favor to Death Eaters long before Lily rejected him- in fact, that is the real reason over the loss of their friendship and any future potential relationship they may have had. Lily calls his mudblood comment “the last straw”- the final of many blows to their relationship that largely consisted of his distain towards muggleborns and his interest in the dark arts. Snape is solely to blame for Lily never returning his affections. And while I do agree that his story is tragic and that in the end, his actions were heroic in their own way, I think that Snape was largely acting in hope of revenge toward the man who murdered his great love, rather than out of any general concern for the safety and wellbeing of society in general. He made it quite clear that he didn’t care whether or not Dumbledore protected James, or even Harry (an innocent baby), so long as Lily was kept safe. This wasn’t heroic, it was selfish. And while his loyalties were in the right place, what choice did he really have? Once Voldemort returned, he was faced with only three real options: He could truly return to Voldemort’s aid, but I think this was hardly an option considering it was Voldemort himself who murdered the only person Snape probably ever loved. Secondly, he could run and hide, and go the way of Igor Karkaroff, which I’m sure was not a pleasant thought. No doubt, as Dumbledore stated, Snape was an infinitely braver man than Karkaroff ever was (though I think Karkaroff set the bar fairly low). Finally, he could remain in Dumbledore’s good graces and play the spy. This would be his obvious choice, seeing as if everything went according to plan, he could play a role in the demise of the one whom I am sure had become his most hated enemy. Snape showed little more than distain for many of his students, often resorting to cruelty and humiliation towards not just Harry, but plenty of other students besides. I’m not arguing that in the end, Snape was vital in bringing about the end of Voldemort’s reign, but I think the motivation behind his actions really doesn’t make him especially heroic in my opinion. I see him much more as a wasted and bitter man who spent the remainder of his life after Lily’s death motivated by revenge, and blinded by old prejudices.

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