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Why Severus Snape is My Favorite Harry Potter Character

Updated on June 28, 2010

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?

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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  He is mostly withdrawn, emotionless unless he loses his temper, yet comes to Harry Potter's rescue several times.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.

Professor Severus Snape (played by Alan Rickman)

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape


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  • Melind profile image

    Melind 6 years ago

    Well written--he's my favorite character as well!

  • The Rants profile image

    The Rants 6 years ago from Canada

    It was so interesting to read! Snape is definitely one of my favorite characters (though Ron will always hold the top spot)! Alan Rickman was perfect for the role, I can't think of anyone better to have played him.

  • profile image

    Ameliawhoisaweaome 6 years ago

    I really like snape cos he's so hurt inside. I liked him the moment I read the book. He may seem mean but I know he's not really mean at all. It's just all an act he put up.

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    Josh Cole 6 years ago

    I remember watching the first Harry potter movie when i was only seven years old and loved it, ever since then i have been very interested in the series but only recently got into the books. Ever since the third movie i think that Snape has been a character that caught my attention. Reading the books he's not in them as much as i wish he was but he is defenitly a complex and tortured Character, i remember thinking to myself that Snape couldn't really be as bad as the books make him seem because he was involved in the story so much. Even while i was reading the Deathly hallows i knew that snape would shine ;) But all in all i think that Snape is by far my favorite character, and Alan Rickman plays him very well and is a very talented actor. I really enjoyed this post :3

  • profile image

    victoria  7 years ago

    hi my is victor

    I think severus snape in my personal opinion is a deatheater and he is dad because in the deathly hallowns part one he sits with the deatheaters and his boss lord voldemort

  • profile image

    Alymarie21 7 years ago

    This is a very good post! :) Of course I may be a little biased because anything with Alan Rickman in it makes me smile. XD

    Personally, I think Snape is the best character in the whole series. He's just so complex and maybe it's the tortured soul that appeals to so many but wow...he's just an amazing character all the way around.

  • wannabwestern profile image

    Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

    Snape is an interesting, troubled character. But he is also Harry Potter's antithesis. Their similarities make their differences more pronounced. I'm not sure if Snape is my favorite character, like you, but I still think Harry Potter wouldn't be half as good without him. Thanks for this great review, it was very eloquently worded.

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    @I love Alan Rickman in general, but I think he has been a genius at playing this complicated character in the films. I am looking forward to this newest movie coming out next week. :)

  • DLSavage profile image

    DLSavage 7 years ago

    Snape, especially as played by Alan Rickman in the movies, is a complicated character at least until he reveals his true self in the Half-blood Prince. I never really knew just what he was up to.

  • BevsPaper profile image

    BevsPaper 7 years ago from Central Indiana

    Just now getting around to finding this great explanation of Severus Snape's character in Harry Potter. You have made me look at him in a new light and I appreciate the character more. Rickman does play him well!

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    @Lora Palmer Snape is fascinating as a character, and he is played by a fantastic actor in the movies. I hope too that they make up for the lack of story in the Deathly Hallows by giving him a huge role which he should have in the last two movies.

  • Lora Palmer profile image

    Lora Palmer 7 years ago from Warrington, Pennsylvania

    Snape is definitely a deep and complex character. I'm not a fan of how he treated Harry, but it's understandable in a way. His character was, I think, one of the best-written of the series. I only wish the Half Blood Prince revelation had been done a bit better in the movie. Looking forward to seeing how Snape's role is handled in the Deathly Hallows.

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    Speculating is so much fun, isn't it?

  • creativearts2009 profile image

    Cecelia 8 years ago from Australia

    This is a great page. As an adult fan of Harry potter, I have loved Severus Snape. * He is mysterious, looks like a bad guy to the children at first, but may be a good guy in reality. * Seems to be strict but fair as a teacher. * Every action can be interpreted more than one way, even when he kills Dumbledorf at the end of Harry potter and the Half-Blood Prince is he merely compelled by the spell or saving Draco from descending into evil? Is the whole thing a deep ruse? I love to speculate....

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    I really love the last book. I think that I will read it again soon.

  • rosariomontenegro profile image

    rosariomontenegro 8 years ago from NEW YORK

    Those who didn't, have to finish reading the books. Severus will show the greatness of his tormented soul.

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    I know, I wanted something good to happen for Snape, but now there will be a lot for the fan fiction folks to speculate on.

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    Ceci 8 years ago

    Great post, lakeerieartists :)

    I love Snape after I read the end of the seventh book yesterday.

    So sad, so heroic !

    He is to me the ultimate example that Love is stronger than anything else

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    Snape is just interesting to me!

  • EverythingMouse profile image

    EverythingMouse 8 years ago

    Snape has to be my favorite. I am hoping to see the new movie tomorrow

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    Saw the movie last night with my husband and kids. Great special effects. They had to leave a lot of the book out to no surprise, but it was still good.

  • ethel smith profile image

    Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    I am not sure who is my favourite character. I do love the potter books and movies. We have tickets for an over 18's screening of the half blood prince on Monday. Cannot go earlier due to work etc. Can't wait :)

  • lakeerieartists profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    I am seeing the movie tonight. :D

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    I think he is one of my favorites also. I can't wait to see the finial Harry Potter movie.