It’s no secret that Severus Snape is seen as a rather complicated character in the Harry Potter series. He was given a redemption arc by J.K. Rowling in the books, but many fans are conflicted and split on how they feel about his story. While some find him a redeemable character, others do not.
Many people have pointed out some of his more problematic behaviors in the series, and there are a lot to choose from. We’ve collected a list of some of the specific moments that prove Snape did a lot of horrible things. Here are 10 of the worst things that Snape has ever done.
10 BULLYING STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY NEVILLE
This is the most overall point on this entire list because it’s hard to narrow it down to just a couple of moments. The simple fact is that Snape is a big bully. He treats almost all of his students horribly, and it’s amazing how he is allowed to get away with it.
The only students he likes are the Slytherins, and he shows them some pretty gross favoritism. Neville—other than Harry, who Snape has a personal grudge against—is often the student who gets the brunt of his anger. Neville was so scared of him that Snape was his literal boggart.
9 TRYING TO OUT PROFESSOR LUPIN AS A WEREWOLF
Severus Snape might not have outright told the students that Remus Lupin was a werewolf, but he tried his best to do so. When he was the substitute teacher for Lupin’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class, he ignored Lupin’s curriculum and taught the class about werewolves instead.
While Hermione was the only person who truly picked up on Lupin being a werewolf, Snape was wrong to try and ruin Lupin’s livelihood this way.
8 SINGLING HARRY OUT RIGHT AWAY
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Snape clearly hates Harry right away. While fans learned the reasons for this eventually, it’s still really messed up that Snape allowed his anger towards James to determine how he treated Harry.
He made fun of Harry’s intellect and accused him of being fame-hungry, even though Harry was completely new to the wizarding world. The way Snape hated Harry was extremely immature and pathetic, especially considering Harry was only eleven years old when they first met.
7 MAKING FUN OF HERMIONE’S APPEARANCE
This is another specific instance of Snape treating his students horribly. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any punishment for professors at Hogwarts when they bully and abuse children.
When Harry and Malfoy have a duel in the hallway, Hermione is hurt by a hex which makes her front teeth grow quickly. Snape does nothing about this, and instead just insults Hermione by saying that he can’t tell any change in her appearance. He not only puts her health and safety at risk as he also insults her.
6 MAKING NEVILLE ALMOST POISON HIS TOAD
There are so many awful things that Snape does during his time at Hogwarts. He is the professor that torments his students more than any other professor, except Umbridge.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape forces Neville to use his Shrinking Solution on his toad, Trevor, expecting Neville to mess the mixture up and poison his pet. This is extremely cruel and illustrates how little regard Snape seems to have for life in general.
5 CREATING THE SECTUMSEMPRA SPELL
It’s no surprise that Snape was a messed up child and teenager. Some of this is diffusely understandable, given that Snape had a horrible childhood, but he is given many chances to go on a better path and doesn’t take them.
When Snape is in his sixth year at Hogwarts, he started inventing his own spells and instructions for potions. One spell he discovers is the violent spell Sectempura. He put in the book that this spell was meant for enemies, but it’s a spell that could easily kill people, as Harry finds out in Half-Blood Prince when he injures Draco.
4 NOT CARING ABOUT SAVING LILY’S SON
While Snape has somewhat of a redemption arc, it’s sometimes hard to take it seriously. The thing that causes Snape to go to Dumbledore and leave Voldermort is when he learns Voldemort is going to kill Lily.
While he begs Voldemort to spare Lily, he is totally fine with James and Harry dying. Being fine with a baby being murdered because you’re upset someone you loved didn’t marry you is inexcusable. If he actually loved Lily, he would at least care about her son, too.
3 CALLING LILY POTTER A SLUR
Lily and Snape are friends before they come to Hogwarts, and Lily does seem to genuinely care about him. This doesn’t stop Snape from turning on her, however.
After getting in with Sylttherins and hearing about prejudice against Muggles, he calls Lily what is considered a serious slur in the wizarding world. It’s no wonder that Lily doesn’t want anything to do with him after this, and yet he always feels sorry for himself.
2 NOT RESPECTING LILY’S CHOICE TO MOVE ON
So many of the worst things Snape has done are related to Lily. There never was much motivation for Snape to do and be good because he actually cared about being on the right side. It was all because of the debt he owed Lily.
Plus, he literally spent years not getting over Lily and accepting that she had married someone else. Time doesn't heal all wounds in this case!
1 BECOMING A DEATH EATER
While many of the things Snape did in his personal life are pretty bad, the absolute worst thing he ever did was become a Death Eater. He decided to join a group that was dedicated to wiping out and oppressing one group of people.
This shows how dark and evil he could be in that he was fine with torture and even the murder of innocent people. Even though it could be argued that he eventually served as a double agent for Dumbledore, Snape is the one who stuck with it. He stood by while the Death Eaters committed all sorts of heinous acts, choosing to simply report information rather than stop them.