If Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter ever have a cross over, Severus Snape’s new name should be Morally Grey. Get it? It’s because the audience never really knows the true nature of Snape’s moral compass. Yikes, anyway the point is that Snape is the most complex character in the entire Harry Potter series. Both the movies and books do an incredible job of making Snape’s motivations compellingly vague. Snape will sometimes do something totally mean, but in an instant he’ll also save the day. Although Snape’s actions speak very loudly, he also has some of the best lines in the entire franchise. Check out the list to see the quotes that reveal the very best and darkest parts of Snape’s character!
10 Dark Side: “How extraordinarily like your father you are, Potter... He too was exceedingly arrogant.”
Professor Snape? More like Professor Salty! There’s countless examples where Snape throws shade at Harry throughout the series, but this quote really cuts to the heart of the issue. Snape calls Harry arrogant in Prisoner of Azkaban after he catches the boy wandering around the halls. Our elementary school system should take a few notes from Snape. Every time a kindergartner needs to use the bathroom teachers should berate them for their arrogance.
Facetiousness aside, the quote reveals the motivations behind Snape’s disdain for Harry. It’s caused from his unrelenting jealousy and bitterness towards Harry’s dad, James. As any Potterhead knows, Snape had been in love with Harry’s mom, Lily. However, Lily loved James. Ergo Snape’s agro attitude towards Harry. Even though later novels reveal that Snape begins to respect Harry, his fatal flaw is that he lets his anger from the past affect his judgement in the present.
9 Good Side: “I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you...”
"...Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter."
It’s interesting to know that bacon metaphors work in the wizarding world the same way as they do in the muggle world. The final moments of Deathly Hallows are packed with incredible Snape moments, but the most crushing segment is when he reveals his softer side. At this point Dumbledore tells Snape that Harry must die if the world has any hope of defeating The Lizard Man With No Nose (Voldemort). What’s worse is that Snape has been an undercover spy for Dumbldore by pretending to be one of Voldemort’s death eaters.
Snape had been under the impression that he was living a double life so that Harry would be safe. Sadly, Harry ends up choking on a chocolate frog and dying. That doesn’t happen. In reality, Harry ends up living and defeating Voldemort. This still doesn’t change the fact that this quote reveals Snape’s goodness. It turns out that Snape actually did believe that Harry could save the world. So much so that he put his life on the line for the boy.
8 Dark Side: “Wouldn’t spy on you, anyway…you’re a Muggle.”
People’s reactions may vary depending on whose called a muggle. Calling one’s little league coach a muggle might not mean much. They might just bench the kid or make them play right field. However, the word has loaded meaning in the Harry Potter universe. Believe it or not, Lily Potter and her sister Petunia would actually play together when they were children. Snape lived up the road from them at the time and would watch the sisters from afar because he noticed Lily had exhibited witch powers. Petunia finally confronts Snape. He promptly says to her, “Wouldn’t spy on you, anyway…you’re a Muggle.”
The reason why this brief quote depicts Snape’s bad side is due to the fact that it shows his negative view of non-magic people has existed since childhood. Considering Voldemort believes that muggles are inferior, it makes sense that Snape becomes a death eater. It’s ingrained in Snape that muggles posses little value. Thankfully, Snape’s love for Lily helps him put all this aside long enough to realize that there’s bigger issues at stake than his feelings towards muggles.
7 Good Side: “You don’t want me as your enemy, Quirrell.”
If we were Quirrell, we wouldn't quarrel with Snape. J.K. Rowling even teases Snape as a morally ambiguous character in Sorcerer's Stone. This particular scene involves Harry wearing the invisibility cloak and sneaking around Hogwarts. Actually, Snape might have a point about Harry wandering the halls. Sorcerer's Stone sets up Snape to be the big bad of the story. Who can forget the infamous scene where Harry is playing quidditch and it looks like Snape is murmuring a hex under his breath?
It turns out Snape was actually trying to save Harry from Quirrell's spell. Moreover, Snape confronting Quirrell in the hallway is not villainous in the slightest. It's another example of Snape pretending to be on Voldemort's side in order to protect Harry. If we really want to dig deeper, it can be interpreted as Snape threatening to kill Quirrell for Harry's sake. Just a reminder, Quirrell ends up having an enormous face on the back of his head and it subsequently scarred every single millennial child ever born.
6 Dark Side: "That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger...”
"...Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
Maybe Snape does have a point. Hermione sometimes act like that kid who loves to tell everyone how she scored 1600 on her SAT (O.W.L. for the witch minded). Who are we kidding? Hermione rules and Snape is undeservedly cruel to the poor girl. Although it's in Snape's authority as a professor to deduct points as he sees fit, this quote is an example of how he often abused his power. Repeatedly removing points from Gryffindor is a vindictive way of getting back at Harry for his father's past sins.
It's no secret that Snape and James have a bad history, but that doesn't mean Harry should suffer. Furthermore, there's no good reason to also bring down Harry's friends because of Snape's personal vendetta. Although taking away points can be seen as a funny gag to show Snape's pettiness, it also reveals how his anger often clouds his judgment.
5 Good Side: "I wish I were dead."
No, this is not a quote from an interview with the lead singer of a 2007 emo band. Rather, it's something Snape says when he realizes Voldemort has killed Lily. Snape runs to Dumbledore when he finds out that Voldemort intends to murder baby Harry. Dumbledore gives Snape the bad news involving Lily and James. This quote articulates that Snape does in fact have a conscience. Snape would be willing to die if it meant Lily could be alive again.
4 Dark Side: “You dare use my own spells against me, Potter?”
"It was I who invented them. I, the Half-Blood Prince."
The sixth tale in the Harry Potter series reveals that Snape calls himself the Half-Blood Prince. The title derives from the fact that Snape is part muggle and part wizard. What's surprising about this information is that it makes Snape seem a bit hypocritical. Snape tends to put down non magic people, yet his own father is a muggle.
3 Good Side: "Look at me."
The entirety of Snape's dying words goes something like,"Look at me...or else I'm deducting 50 points from Gryffindor." All joking aside, Snape's request to look at Harry before passing away exemplifies some of the kindness in his heart. It's repeatedly stated throughout the series that Harry has his mother's eyes. For this reason it should come as no surprise that Snape's final request is to look into Harry's eyes and remember the woman he loved.
2 Dark Side: “I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter... not even ‘the Chosen One.”
Taking someone's cheeks sounds weird. We don't know what that is and advise that no one else does it either. However, if one is to think about this quote a little more deeply it actually means that Snape won't tolerate any of Harry's sass. The reason why this shows Snape's bad side is due to the fact that it reveals his arrogance. Snape fully knows that Harry is the world's only hope to defeat Voldemort, but he nonetheless still chooses to disrespect Harry.
1 Good Side: “Always.”
Here it is, folks. The line that has inspired thousands of tattoos and Hot Topic t-shirts for generations to come. What's so powerful about the quote is that it is able to encapsulate Snape's character in a single word. Snape will always love Lily. Moreover, Snape was always going to do whatever it took to protect Harry.