Severus Snape is possibly one of the most controversial characters in the Harry Potter books, and fan biases are pretty radical. This year at LeakyCon, LeakyNews’ own Brad Ausrotas held a panel called, “Snape: Not the Hero We Deserve”. Brad’s panel directly followed a pro-Snape panel, which was either a hilarious coincidence or brilliant strategy on behalf of the LeakyCon Programming Team.
The panel filled to capacity, causing the convention center staff to close the doors and deny people entry to avoid a fire hazard. Evidently, very many people share some interest on why Snape is a terrible guy.
Here are some highlights from Brad’s panel:
“Snape is a lot of things:
- a powerful wizard
- Extremely important to the war against Voldemort
- victim of bullying
- product of an unhealthy home environment
Snape apologists, that is, those who try to justify Snape’s behaviour and actions in the books, will point to all of these features to explain away his actions. But here’s the thing… He shares all of these things with our guy HP. Here’s a few features he decidedly does not share with Mr. Potter:
- relentless bully to both adults and the extremely impressionable children left in his care
- sadistically vicious to Mr. Potter in particular, for circumstances entirely beyond Harry’s control
- Pureblood mania sympathizer (despite own half blood status)
- Lifelong fascination with dark magic
- Creator of the violent dark spell Sectumsempra
- Killer, torturer, Death Eater”
“Yes, folks, let’s call it what it is- an obsession [with Lily Evans]. Looking into the eyes of the boy you loathe as you die so that you can get one last glimpse of your schoolboy crush if you squint real hard is not normal behaviour. It is not tragically beautiful. It’s pretty gross.”
“Where JKR might be a little too forgiving with a guy who did, at one point, torture and kill people for a living, the f—ing movies tried to turn him into a saint. It culminates with the most disgusting scene- Snape holding the lifeless corpse of Lily Potter, tears streaming down his face, as a helpless one year old who just had his parents murdered cries in his crib.”
“We see the worrying way he treats Lily as an object, rather than a person. He does not care one bit that she detests his use of the dark arts- the second she insults James Potter, he’s off in space. He doesn’t care how she feels, is not interested in her moral objections- just as long as she can continue being an idealized object of his affection.”
“He reluctantly suggests that Dumbledore hide the entire Potter family … but it’s worth noting he previously approached Lord Voldemort to plead only for the life of Lily Evans. This is how delusional Snape is- he does not care that Lily would witness the murders of her husband and child, just as long as she survives, Snape is satisfied.
We see here, again, that Snape was perfectly happy to go on killing and torturing, supporting the reign of Lord Voldemort, just as long as one particular casualty was spared. He was not noble, or brave, or redeemed. He did what he should have done all along because Dumbledore used his obsession to manipulate him into his service.”
“Snape, while generally unpleasant to everyone who does not belong to his own house, was particularly vindictive to three people : Neville, Hermione, and Harry. Neville’s is the least excusable: the kid ends up with Snape as his Boggart.
Snape. Snape is the thing he fears most in the world. Not death. Not Voldemort. Not the death of his parents, already fragile. Nor any other number of other gruesome horrors that any 13 year old boy could dream up. No, Neville’s Boggart is his Potions professor. This is played off as a laugh in the books, which is pretty f—-d up, and is another reason why this is kind of easy to look over. Oh yeah, ha ha, Snape is scary and doesn’t like Neville, Neville is small and easily terrified, of course it’s Snape.
No. Snape bullies this child, who he is responsible for every hour he’s in his classroom, to the point where he becomes the embodiment of fear for that child. … Can you even imagine being Neville and having to go to that class all the time? It’s simply remarkable that Neville turns out as well-adjusted as he does, all things considered.”
“Let’s break down this whole patronus thing for a sec, because there’s been some really insightful commentary on it. First, Snape’s patronus is a doe. Just like Lily’s. Exactly like Lily’s. People see this as a sign of love, but I think it points to obsession. What’s James’ patronus? A stag. Stag and doe complement each other, fit together. Snape’s patronus exists only in imitation of hers. It shows that, like the patronus, he covets Lily for his own.”
“… remember that one time Snape lost Remus his job after Remus was basically homeless for how many years and has an incredibly difficult time earning a living due to his affliction?”
“Snape dies a hero, and thus he becomes a hero in the minds of readers. But is he? No. Snape is not the hero we deserve. We deserve better.”
Brad has promised to post his panel in its entirety to his personal Tumblr in the coming days, so if you’re interested in reading the full thing, check back here for a link.