Perhaps the most controversial discourse to come out of the Harry Potter series is the conversation about Severus Snape. A man who was dreadfully unpleasant for most of the series, he was revealed to have secretly been on the good guys’ side all along. J.K. Rowling called him a hero, and even Harry named a son after him (er, what?).
But the truth is, even if he was working for the right side, Snape did a lot of things that make him completely irredeemable. He may have helped win the war, but it doesn’t change the fact he was a truly spiteful man who cared exclusively about himself and the woman he was obsessed with.
8 His Grudge Against Harry
His grudge against Harry became clear when the books came to an end. He was in love with Harry’s mother, who went on to marry James Potter and ultimately reject Severus Snape for good. Harry was their son and therefore, a manifestation of this rejection.
Is it understandable that Snape felt bitter when he looked at Harry? Sure, anyone would. But Snape loathed an innocent boy and actively went out of his way to make his life miserable even though he was trying to keep him alive. Considering Harry was eleven when they met, and definitely innocent of any wrongdoing, this was pretty gross.
7 He Bullied Neville Mercilessly
Neville had done even less wrong, if possible. His parents hadn’t bullied Snape and he himself had never done anything to offend the professor, nor had his family from what we know. But his low self-esteem made him an easy target for bullying, and Snape made his life miserable to the point of the professor ending up as his worst fear; as seen when Neville had to face a boggart and ended up staring at Snape.
It was a gross abuse of power, and most likely made Neville’s entire school experience miserable. At one point, Snape even tried to poison his pet toad.
6 He Tried To Ruin Hermione’s Self-Esteem
Another student he tried to bully was Hermione. He didn’t often succeed quite as much as he did with Neville, since Hermione was very sure of herself and clever enough to get good grades in his class, but at one point, he insulted her appearance. When she was hit with a jinx to make her teeth grow, Snape said he “saw no difference”, as she’d had big teeth before.
This made Hermione cry and considering she was fourteen at the time, was unbelievably gross coming from a grown man and professor at the school. How he wasn’t fired after that one…
5 He Did Initially Join Voldemort
He did switch sides, but the Dark Mark on Severus’ arm wasn’t acquired when he was already playing double agent for Dumbledore. No, in the beginning, Snape absolutely joined the Dark Lord out of his own free will.
His reasons for doing so were never really explored, but we can assume it was for power and because he believed in their awful, blood supremacist ideals, which… is disgusting of anyone. Yes, he would later come to see that he was wrong, but he once believed in such extreme, prejudiced values that he thought this was the right thing to do.
4 And Told Him About The Prophecy
Snape was also the one who heard the prophecy from Trelawney and ran back to tell Voldemort.
He would later use the excuse to Dumbledore that he didn’t know who the prophecy was talking about, and would never have sent him after Lily. Which is probably true, but Snape was still willing to send Voldemort after an innocent person and therefore, was really the person who got the Potters killed in the first place. He was also willing to let Voldemort take down the only person who could destroy him.
Safe to say, he really did believe in Voldemort and that cause at one point.
3 He Called Lily A Mudblood
When Snape was being bullied by the Marauders, Lily was quick to step in and defend him, and he responded by calling her a Mudblood.
We’ve all said stupid stuff when hurt and embarrassed. But this word is an unforgivable slur in the wizarding world, and he used it without a second thought; implying she was lesser because of her blood. Lily rightfully discarded his friendship after that move, refusing to speak to him ever again even though he kept attempting to contact her. At that point, she saw Snape for what he was, and she was done with him.
2 He Defended Mulciber
When Lily has one final conversation with Snape, she points out that one of his friends, Mulciber, did something to one of her friends, Mary. It’s never quite specified what this was but she references it as dark magic, and seems horrified by the very idea of what he did. Snape responds that this was, “just a laugh.”
It’s horrible to invalidate whatever happened to Mary, something that was serious enough for her friend Lily to be extremely angry. It also shows he didn’t really take the circumstances of dark magic seriously, and was willing to defend his friend and brush off the incident.
Yes, he wanted to fit in and have friends, but it seems like he was taking this to the extreme by sticking around Mulciber.
1 His Reasons For Helping Were Just Selfish
So, in the end, Snape switched sides. He decided to help. He decided to protect Harry and take down Voldemort. Does this make him a hero?
Snape switched sides because he wanted revenge on Voldemort for taking away Lily. But Lily was not his property, and not even his partner. If he really cared about her, he would have looked out for Harry more than he did, not made his life miserable. His switching of sides was a revenge crusade, a bitter man who lost something he felt he was entitled to. Snape’s arc is not a redemption one. Sorry, Snape fans.