Why Severus Snape is My Favorite Harry Potter Character
Harry Potter Book Series
I finally just finished reading the Harry Potter series of books last week. I had read Harry Potter 1 through 5 as soon as they came out, but when Harry Potter 6 and 7 came out, the rest of my family read them, but I didn't.
With the movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, opening here tomorrow, I decided that I needed to finish at least the sixth book to keep up. This is one series of movies that is better if you read the book. I happen to really like the movies. I think that they have done an excellent job staying true to the story without bogging us down with too many details. Although the next two books will be a challenge. Both Harry Potter books 6 and 7 are extremely complicated, with lots of plot twists, and characters.
What do you think of Severus Snape?
Enigmatic Severus Snape
Severus Snape is my personal favorite character in the entire series and has been from the beginning.
Now, these books were written for adolescents, and I am an adult, so that skews my opinion. But I am very much drawn to Professor Snape throughout the series. Snape's character is the most mysterious of all the characters in the books. He is mostly withdrawn, emotionless unless he loses his temper, yet comes to Harry Potter's rescue several times.
We never know what Severus Snape is thinking and can only judge him by his actions. Judging him is tough to do because we only see glimpses of his character, and those glimpses are confusing. Alan Rickman plays Snape extremely well in the movies, and I am looking forward to seeing him in the newest movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, tomorrow evening.
Snape is Clearly Tormented
Professor Snape is clearly a tormented character. Without knowing his thoughts, you can tell that he is a loner, and even though we don't know why, you can tell that he has probably been a loner most of his life. Although he seems dark on the outside, as readers we can not trust what we see in front of us. That theme is made clear throughout the series, as character after character is shown to have hidden secrets that make them more human, yet flawed.
Severus Snape is a character that can be identified with many of us. We find out in Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows that he has lived a difficult and lonely life, and has made some bad decisions. Yet ultimately he chooses an even more difficult path to help honor what Lily Potter would have wanted him to do.
How ironic it is that Severus Snape must decide to help Lily's child who looks like one of his worst tormentors. And of course Harry Potter's existence is the evidence that Lily chose James Potter over Severus Snape. But Snape becomes the hidden hero of the books.
Severus Snape, Hidden Hero
Severus Snape is a hero despite his desires, hopes, and wishes. He loves Lily from the time he is a child, but due to his insecurities does not know how to convey that to her. Lily, however, likes him enough to call him best friend for years, before she is forced to give him up because he joins the Death Eaters.
Snape, himself, is the ultimate cause of Lily's death, and because he knows that, is willing to help Albus Dumbledore work to protect Harry from Voldemort.
When I think about Severus Snape, I also think that in another world, or in a world with no Voldemort, Snape's life might have turned out very different. He is extremely intelligent, and magically talented. As he grows to adulthood, he becomes more confident. He might have earned Lily's love. Most people get second chances.
How many people in real life make bad mistakes? Most of us do, and have hidden secrets, and complexities to our lives. Snape really represents many people with his character. He is a child of a poor and neglected upbringing, and learns how to love from Lily. There are many Severus Snapes in the world whose lives can go any direction.
Severus Snape is Lonely in his Heroicism
Professor Severus Snape is a tragic hero in a series of books full of heroes of one sort or another. Many of the characters sacrifice themselves and protect others throughout the entire series of Harry Potter books, so what makes Snape stand out?
Severus Snape is lonely in his heroicism. He goes about what he must do to redeem himself in silence. Only one person knows Snape's true courage in his role as a double agent. And Snape's pride will not let Dumbledore tell anyone. Although Harry Potter is heroic and pure at heart, it is almost easier to understand Snape's heroics because he is so much more conflicted.
Alan Rickman plays Snape Excellently in the Movies
I have always loved Alan Rickman as an actor. And his portrayal of Severus Snape is superb. In a face of no emotion, he shows Snape's emotions with a simple raise of an eyebrow, and turn of a lip.
Rickman's Snape meshes very well with the Severus Snape character from the Harry Potter books. I look forward to seeing how he plays Snape in the movies to come.