Of all the characters from Harry Potter, Severus Snape is by far one of the most controversial. The way fans feel about him is very divided. While some feel he was redeemed as a character and find his love for Lily admirable, many others find him to be a horrible person regardless of which side he was technically on. There’s no denying that Snape isn’t always a good or nice guy. The way he treats Harry is one of the biggest examples of his worst moments, but he also has times where he actually treats Harry well.
Here are the five best things Snape did for Harry as well as the five worst.
10 BEST: HELPING DUMBLEDORE KEEP AN EYE ON HARRY
While through most of the series Snape seems to be horrible to Harry and possibly trying to get him into Voldemort’s hands, it’s revealed at the end of the series that Snape was actually helping watch out for Harry. He was aware of Dumbledore’s plans for Harry, and he was actually trying to help him many times instead of trying to hurt him. Now, Dumbledore’s end plan for Harry might not have been that great for him, but Snape was at least helping keep him alive for years.
9 WORST: ACTIVELY BULLYING AND SINGLING HARRY OUT
One of the biggest problems with Snape that makes it hard to see him as a good guy is that he is awful to his students. He bullies them and treats them horribly, and he should definitely be fired for how he treats them. While he’s pretty awful to anyone who isn't’ a Slytherin, he’s particularly cruel to Harry. Even on Harry’s first day in his class he was calling him names and being overly harsh with him in front of the entire class. This kind of behavior just continued the entire time Harry was at Hogwarts.
8 BEST: PROTECTING HIM FROM QUIRRELL
One of the earliest moments where readers see that Snape might not just be kind of mean, creepy guy is when it turns out that Snape was trying to protect Harry from Quirrell.
The big twist in Sorcerer’s Stone is that it was Snape trying to stop Squirrel from getting the stone. He tries to keep Quirrell’s hex on Harry during the Quidditch match from working even though Harry thinks it’s Snape trying to hex him at the time.
7 WORST: HATING HARRY BECAUSE HE HATED JAMES
Of all the things that are wrong with Snape, this is probably one of the most pathetic. Snape is a grown man, and yet he takes his issues from being a teenager out on Harry. While he and James might have hated each other, this isn’t a good enough reason to bully James’ son just because Lily chose James. Harry was literally orphaned as a baby, so he doesn’t even know his father at all. Snape’s behavior here is definitely irrational.
6 BEST: BRING GRYFFINDOR’S SWORD TO HARRY
After Dumbledore dies, Snape has to try to help Harry defeat the Horcruxes like he told Dumbledore he would. He is the one who journeys to the Forest of Dean and leaves the sword in the lake. He then produces his Patronus to lead Harry to the spot. While he might not have done this out of any affection for Harry, he did risk many things to take the sword of him, and without it, Harry wouldn’t have been able to continue forward with destroying the Horcruxes.
5 WORST: GIVING HARRY HARSH PUNISHMENTS AND LOW GRADES
Snape is objectively a pretty horrible professor, and one of the most unlikable in Harry Potter. He doesn’t seem to do much actual teaching but instead seems to spend most of his time criticizing his students and making them feel awful.
While he bullies other students, such as Neville often, one of his favorites to hate is Harry. He would often give him horrible grades when he hadn’t done that bad compared to other students. Snape went out of his way to try to punish Harry and give him unfair detentions, too.
4 BEST: TEACHING HARRY OCCLUMENCY
This one is a bit complicated because there are two sides to it. On the one hand, Snape did agree to teach Harry Occlumnecy even though neither of them was really thrilled at the idea. Doing so was necessary to help Harry kept Voldemort out of his mind, so this was a good thing for Snape to do. However, he also freaked out when Harry saw some of his memories and stopped the lessons early.
3 WORST: NEVER APOLOGIZING FOR ANY OF THE WAYS HE ACTED
Snape might end up on the side that’s fighting against Voldemort, and he might be a member of the Order of the Phoenix, but he doesn’t seem to have a lot of remorse.
At the end of the day, he’s kind of a miserable person who treats those around him poorly. He basically bullies Harry, who is a preteen and teen, for years. He never actually seems to feel bad for this, even though he claimed to love Lily so much. He’s never that apologetic about the ways he treats anyone especially Harry.
2 BEST: GIVING MEMORIES TO HARRY BEFORE HE DIED
Of all the things Snape does that help Harry the most, providing the memories to Harry as he was dying was definitely the most helpful. This is another example of Snape doing something because he felt he owed it to Dumbledore, so it definitely wasn’t out of emotion or suddenly liking Harry. But, no matter his motivations for doing so, this was key information that Harry needed to know.
1 WORST: TRYING TO GET HARRY EXPELLED
Given that Snape was often supposed to be helping Dumbledore keep an eye on Harry, it’s kind of ridiculous that Snape wanted him to get expelled so badly. He was always extremely frustrated when Harry wasn’t kicked out of school after he got into trouble. On top of that, he was always looking for any opportunity to get Harry into trouble and was always out for expulsion anytime Harry was cut.