"Always." It's a word that fans of Harry Potter love to invoke as a romantic refrain, remembering their favorite anti-hero with fondness and respect for his many years of servitude to the Order of the Phoenix, pivotal role in the Order's success, and of course, his devotion to one Lily Evans Potter. Even those of us who remained skeptical about Severus Snape following the books, particularly after witnessing his involvement in the Potters' demise and Dumbledore basically blackmailing him to be a double agent at his own risk, had to admit that Snape was truly a hero after reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in which the potions master chooses the safety of the world over his own life.
Doubt remains, however, for those found Snape's pursuit of Lily less than romantic. He explicitly chose the Dark Arts over his friendship with Lily after she made it clear to him that she wanted nothing to do with him if he chose to lurk down that path, yet he continued to care for her, and even protected her son, long after he lost her. "It's complicated" doesn't even begin to describe what's between Lily and Severus, but that's definitely what Snape would click as a relationship status if he had a Facebook page. Between their shared interests and their surprisingly awful behavior toward one another, there's a lot still to be learned about the bond between Severus Snape and Lily Evans Potter.
From being old friends to a lifetime of atoning for past sins, here are Harry Potter: 20 Crazy Revelations About Snape And Lily’s Relationship.
20 Snape And Lily Were Neighbors
Lily Evans and Severus Snape were best friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is confirmed in the text when Snape demands, "Thought we were supposed to be friends? Best friends?" and Lily replies, "We are, Sev." That all began, however, because the two were originally neighbors, with Snape hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, and Snape obviously had a crush on Lily long before they met.
Petunia even accused him of spying on them when the sisters played together, although she also exhibited enough jealousy and priggishness to condemn anyone who might wish to take her sister away from her. When Lily found herself accidentally practicing magic, Snape emerged and the two soon became friends.
19 Lily Only Ever Saw Him as a Friend
As much as people romanticize Severus Snape's infatuation with Lily Evans, the fact that she did not love him back, at least in a romantic fashion, seems to go ignored by many fans of the series. The fact that Lily only ever saw Severus as a friend changes a lot in terms of his refusal to respect her boundaries, ongoing obsession with her long after she perished and sullen insistence that James Potter was to blame for everything wrong in the world.
Had he mourned Lily because she was a dear friend to him when no one else was, it would be much more palatable.
However, it's obvious that Snape harbored unrequited feelings for Lily for many years.
18 Snape Taught Lily About Magic Before Hogwarts
Young Lily Evans seemed to hail from a normal family of muggles and never knew that a wizarding world until Snape explained things to her.
This means that Snape was Lily's Hagrid.
He was her first wizarding friend and her introduction into the magical world that became her home. Like Harry, she entered the world with no knowledge about magic, believing it to be pure fantasy, and Snape educated her about the ins and outs of what it meant to be a witch. Lily is often hailed as one of the brightest witches of her age, and some of that may be due to knowledge she received from the bright, if sullen, half-blood prince.
17 Snape Never Insulted Harry About His Mother, Only His Father
As Harry Potter's professor, Severus Snape took merciless enjoyment in tormenting the Boy Who Lived, mocking everything from his fame to his scar and everything in between. One of Snape's favorite jabs to make, which obviously hurt Harry the most, was regarding the arrogance and insufferable nature of Harry's father, James. Harry had no way of knowing that his father was a rival of the potion master once upon a time, and even if he had known, it wouldn't have made it any more bearable on a young boy who barely even knew his parents.
Snape never insulted Harry regarding his mother, which was a huge clue to foreshadow why he bothered to ever help the boy in the first place.
16 Snape Only Cradles Lily's Body In The Movie
Film-only fans may not know that Severus Snape did not arrive at the Potter's home in Godric's Hollow in the book, which means that the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows --Part 2 where he cradles Lily's lifeless body and sobs is only in the film, making Snape appear both more sympathetic and possibly darker at the same time.
Snape likely abandoned Harry as a baby if this memory is accurate.
We know that he doesn't raise him or deliver him to the Dursleys, although it's possible that he helped in some way. While the picture points toward his guilt and regret, giving Alan Rickman an incredible scene, it also uses Lily's demise to further his development and demonstrates that while willing to protect young Harry, he sure isn't willing to raise another man's child.
15 Snape Called Lily A Slur
When you love someone, you put their own happiness before your own, as many lovers, parents and caregivers know well. Snape, however, took only seconds to hurt Lily Evants, calling her the hated wizarding slur "Mudblood" when she came to his defense in Chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Likely fueled from her rejection and his own embarrassment, it would be the first major step in his movement toward Voldemort's side.
In retaliation, Lily shot some harsh words back, calling him Snivellus and telling him to wash his pants.
Her words may have been spoken in anger toward her friend in a heated moment upon being called such a harsh term, but neither should have said what they did and both likely regretted it later.
14 Lily Is A Part Of Snape's Worst Memory
For all her role as the love of Snape's life, Lily Evans Potter also remains a pretty huge part of Snape's worst memory in chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, mentioned above. Whether or not that memory is the worst because Lily witnessed Snape being bullied (and his discolored underpants) or because he resorted to calling her a slur, we'll never be certain, but his humiliation is certain to play a part in it.
Many a worst memory involves a love interest and this simply further illustrates how human our favorite characters are, despite their magical abilities.
13 Lily Was the reason Snape protected Harry
For years, Snape spent endless amounts of time secretly protecting The Boy Who Lived while openly despising him, going as far as bullying him in class and grading him poorly, sometimes due to things Harry had little control over. For Harry to give his child with Snape's name after all of those years, he had to really admire the man he knew Snape to be, and much of that admiration comes from Snape's protection.
From counter-cursing Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to feeding Voldemort false information, Snape worked hard every day to ensure Harry's safety, perhaps more than any other individual. Even as Voldemort seemed to be winning and Dumbledore passed on, Snape maintained his secrecy and devotion to the child he'd helped become a target, forgoing his own safety to ensure Harry's.
12 Dumbledore Used Lily's Eyes to Manipulate Snape
Many of us recall the moment when, after years of being taught to respect and honor our teachers, we discovered that teachers might not be so respectful or honorable themselves. Whether you catch a teacher make a mistake, blame someone who doesn't deserve it, or otherwise act just as human and imperfect as the rest of us, it's such a jarring realization. Albus Dumbledore is not immune to this.
Realizing that Dumbledore held Snape's past over him, reminding him to remember Lily's green eyes and manipulating him into serving the Order out of guilt, was difficult for many fans, but Rowling is a master storyteller who understands human nature and gives us real, relatable characters. Harry, who also realized that all people make mistakes, in turn named his child after both Severus and Albus, opting to recognize their goodness.
11 They Stayed Best Friends Until 5th Year
Lily Evans and Severus Snape were presumably inseparable friends who only parted ways in 5th year when we know, per Snape's memories, that he took a turn down a dark path, opting to pursue the Dark Arts against her wishes.
That may also be the year Lily responded favorably to James Potter's advances, perhaps after schooling him on what it meant to be a decent human being.
That's a long friendship to discard after so much time invested in one another, which points to not only how seriously Snape must have taken the Dark Arts, but also how strongly Lily objected to them. Friends typically don't give friends ultimatums, but in the case of good versus evil, we can see why Lily cut off someone who was sure to be a toxic friend at the time.
10 Snape Tried To Get Voldemort To Spare Lily
As soon as Severus Snape discovered that the information he passed on to his beloved Dark Lord led to the woman he loved, he begged his master to spare her life.
After reading the books, it makes sense: there's a moment where Voldemort tells Lily to step aside as he attempts to take out baby Harry.
This is the moment that saved Harry's life, where Lily chose instead to sacrifice herself to protect her infant. Snape's request, although ultimately ignored by Riddle, is important not only because it points toward how much he cares about Lily-- despite not giving a whit about whichever other family, or any baby, Voldemort might destroy-- but that in those few seconds of giving Lily a chance, he also inadvertently helped to save Harry's life.
9 Lily Married Her Best Friend's Bully
It's a bit startling, to say the least, when Harry discovers that James Potter had been every bit as arrogant and mean as Severus Snape claimed-- or, at least, as Snape remembers, given that James was one of Snape's bullies. Hogwarts was also, as most recall, a wizarding school for adolescents who are prone to ridiculous behavior as they learn and grow.
While we're meant to believe that Lily eventually knocked some sense into her future husband before marrying him, it doesn't change the fact that she married the person who bullied her best friend. We're also reminded that Snape never apparently got over high school, becoming one of the infamous bitter teacher bullies that many of us can recall in our own youth.
8 Snape And Lily Were Both Aces At Potions
If fans wonder why Snape and Lily were friends at all, especially given her usual kindness and his cruelty toward students, they can look beyond the proximity of being neighbors and recall that both Hogwarts students were fantastic at potions. Snape, the famous Half-Blood Prince, created many amazing potions of his own, in addition to tweaking existing potions to improve them.
Horace Slughorn, who adored Harry's mother, frequently and fondly recalled Lily's extraordinary potion-brewing abilities.
Perhaps they had Potions together, as Gryffindor and Slytherin still seem to do, and maybe they even helped one another in their shared interest.
7 Snape Wouldn't Take No For an Answer
Not only did Snape ignore that Lily didn't return his feelings and resent her choice even after he was emotionally abusive to her, but he also blamed James Potter instead of himself and his own behavior. This lack of personal responsibility and tendency to cling to everything being someone else's fault (or the idea that only the "alpha" men get the beautiful women) is an unfortunate cliche.
Should Snape be pitied?
Perhaps for incidents in his final years, from being coerced by Dumbledore to obviously living a miserable double agent existence, but never for not "getting" Lily, whom he mourned even after he sold her out.
6 Petunia Remembers Lily's Relationship With Snape
Many readers miss the fact that Petunia recalls Severus Snape. Regarding Azkaban Prison in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she jerkily says, "I heard – that awful boy – telling her about them – years ago." This may reference James Potter, whom she certainly deemed to be awful simply due to his wizard status, but given how Petunia felt about Severus, it may prove that she remembers Lily's relationship with Snape after all these years.
Some fans even theorize that Harry could be Snape's child given how Lily hated James at one point, was close friends with Severus, and could have been involved with him at times, but between Harry's looks, which are the spitting image of his own father, and their shared patronus, the theory doesn't hold much water.
5 Snape Chose The Dark Arts Over Lily
No matter how much Snape has done for Lily Potter, from protecting her child (whom he helped render motherless) to sacrificing his life to serve the Order in a very precarious position, he still ultimately chose the Dark Arts over the woman he loved. Those who feel Snape could do no wrong forget this, while those who despise him ignore that he spent over a decade of his life attempting to rectify what he'd done.
He's a complicated man who points toward the humanity in all of us.
In the end, we cannot forget that no matter how much he wanted to see Lily's eyes as he shuffled off this mortal coil, he did refuse to give up the evil she hated, choosing Voldemort over her.
4 Dumbledore Only Trusted Snape Because Of Lily
Over and over again, Harry questions Dumbledore's trust for Snape, but it was actually because of Harry's own mother that Dumbledore fully trusted his spy. Dumbledore, a character just as flawed and human as Severus Snape, used his love of Lily to make Snape a ready double agent for the Order of the Phoenix.
Had Harry known why Dumbledore trusted Snape so completely, however, it likely would have made him hate the man even further until he became fully aware of his professor's sacrifice in the end. The real question is whether or not Lily would want her grandson named after the man she'd befriended so long ago.
3 Snape Hated Lily's Family
"That awful boy," is what Petunia called Snape. While James Potter served as the red herring of the comment, it was Severus whom Petunia loathed as a child.
Likely partly due to her own jealousy, Petunia would taunt Lily and Snape, demanding that Lily not be Snape's friend.
Snape, who found Petunia and presumably other muggles (and squibs) repugnant, given his propensity for the Dark Arts, despised her and instructed Lily to not care about what her sister thought. Petunia even told her sister that there was no such thing as a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but Snape confirmed that it was real for them, but not for Lily's envious sister. Lily, for her part, told him that she still wouldn't be unkind, and most of what we know of Harry's mother points toward her upholding these ethics.
2 They Have The Same Patronus
The sign of love is the sharing of a patronus, right? Even though we don't know what the patronus of Remus Lupin was, we know that Nymphadora Tonks had a wolf patronus before she was taken out by her cousin in the Battle of Hogwarts, and James and Lily Potter presumably shared a deer patronus, given that Severus Snape had a doe as his own and it was used as an homage to Lily in the book. Harry, of course, shares a patronus with his beloved father.
This is ironic since it also means that Snape's patronus was not only the same as James Potter's, the bully he'd hated, but Harry's as well.
1 Snape Is The Reason Lily Passed Away
When it all comes down to it, no matter what he's done to atone for his mistakes and how many times he's bailed Potter out of trouble, Severus Snape remains one of the reasons why why Lily Potter is no longer alive, and why Harry Potter is an orphan.
Had Severus not eavesdropped and reported to Voldemort about the prophecy regarding the Potters, Voldemort would never have gone after them and used the Unforgivable Curse on all three members of the Potter family. While Snape obviously regretted it and begged Voldemort to spare Lily at the very least, he still spied and passed on the prophecy to begin with. Snape's loyalty to the Dark Arts ultimately won over his loyalty to woman he loved in his youth, and he spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it.