When thinking about the characters of the Harry Potter books, I can not go past Severus Snape for a moment in time, it might be his snarky comments or his disregard of idiocy from everyone, that to me at least makes him my anti-hero. In this article I hope to get my opinion across about this rather hotly debated character.
When you are looking at the canon of the books, Severus does come across as mean bully with a sarcastic way with words and seems to enjoy bring everyone around him down. But when you look back at his life, even if it is in flashbacks from the later books, you can see that had a hard life of abuse both physically and emotionally.
Yes one would argue that this is no excuse for his behaviour later in life and most would be right in that regard. I would argue that he knew no better way to act and think, the one thing that gave him some different point of view would be his friendship with Lily Evans.
Hogwarts Yr 1-4
Both Lily and Severus were looking forward to going to Hogwarts, both for very different reasons, one for escape from his home and the other for a new adventure in a new world. Things went down hill somewhat even before they got the school with the meeting of James and Sirius on the train.
When the sorting was taking place, he’s placement did not help in any way shape or form with his friendship with Lily because of the rivalry between their houses. This put more pressure on him to conform to his house and to get rid of Lilly, and I have to say that it worked to a small extent. But being the stubborn person that he was, he kept his friendship and tried to a good person that Lily wanted him to be.
Things could have gone well if not for the bullying that was happening right from the first day, and thru the years it only got worse and was unchecked by anyone except for Lily standing by his side and trying to help. Pretty much my take on the canon of the first few years is this, things weren’t that bad until they all hit puberty then things went down hill in a hand basket.
Hogwarts Yr 5-7
By 5th years was when Severus’s life went from bad to worse. The trouble was that he was very intelligent and was able to keep up with a lot of people, which provided more pressure and to some degree gave the members of his house the encouragement to try to get him to see their views on everything that was wrong in the world and that the up and coming Dark Lord was the way to go. They were consistently in his ear about it but he was able to keep them at bay due solely Lily.
But by the end of the year even that blew up in his face with the werewolf incident and the breaking of his friendship with Lily. After that event and with Lily not taking to him at all, his world broke and he was left to the wolves that would lead him to making the biggest mistake of his life.
By the end of 7th year most would agree that this was when he took the dark mark, was off doing his masters in Potions whither this was at Voldemort’s request or not is up for debate, he was now for all intents and purposes a full time Death Eater. At this point his sarcastic nature was well and truly up and running maybe not so much the bullying bit yet.
While at this point things look bleak, the stubborn man would take what comes, live the best he could until that one night brought his life down around his ears. Going to the Headmaster was the right thing to do but I think Dumbledore could have handled it better but Severus was willing to do anything to make up his mistake and being true to his word, he did.
Being the Head of House, Potion Professor and Potion Master of Hogwarts would have been a trial for him, as he never really chance to be himself and try to be a better person, someone who he could have been proud of being. This and his utter lack of ability to handle idiotic behavior of the students really was not the best thing in the world for anyone.
The man spent nearly two decades trying to make up for what he had caused and I do think that he managed to accomplish that with his death at the Battle of Hogwarts.
To me Severus Snape was an anti-hero as well as a fallen one, the man never really had a chance at a happy life and yes I know that some do come out the other side of abuse to be great people that help others that are in the same place that they had been in. In his case no one stepped up to the plate to try to help and I do not mean Lily as I do believe that she could not really help him in a meaningful way out of his home life, it really needed to be an adult or a few of them to even give a crap about him as a person.
The Hogwarts teachers of his time did nothing at all and I do believe that was not just for Severus but others that they failed help. No one tried to stop the bullying of others by a certain group of Gryffindors but the isolation of one house over the other three. This is bad karma for all involved including the Slytherin students that they let down because of this disregard of not only their house, but of the students themselves. Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think:)