In her annual apology to commemorate the Battle of Hogwarts on May 2, J.K. Rowling tweeted she was apologetic for killing Severus Snape.
However, it’s worth pointing out that it was Snape’s death that made him a hero, and it was also the thing that made it possible for Snape apologists to ignore how he was throughout the entire series.
Because, when it all comes down to it, Severus Snape was nothing more than a vicious bully.
Rowling tried to write off Snape’s actions by penning an unreciprocated love story between him and Lily Evans, but all this proves is that Severus Snape called “best friend” and “love of his life” Lily a “Mudblood,” was friendzoned and then lashed out at her son for Harry Potter’s entire school career.
Lily Evans didn’t owe Severus Snape anything just because he was her friend, and she certainly didn’t owe him anything after he talked to her like any other Death Eater. When Lily died, Snape stepped over her dead husband and ignored her crying baby to hold a woman he once called Mudblood. Then, he proceeded to steal the second page of a letter she had written to a dear friend so he could pretend she had written it to him and ripped her out of a photo with her family, an action that is very much a stalkerish move.
Yes, James Potter wasn’t the nicest guy to Severus Snape. Yes, James Potter was a bit of a bully. But, he, however, grew up, and matured, joining the Order without question and fighting Voldemort until it cost him his life.
Snape, on the other hand, a grown man, not only made Harry’s life hell for the mere reason that Harry existed, but also Neville’s and Hermione’s.
He constantly berated and undermined Neville, smashing his self-confidence. He threatened to feed Neville’s poorly concocted potion to the boy’s frog, worrying Neville that something would happen to Trevor. He constantly threatened, taunted and verbally assaulted Neville, in a way that would make Miss Trunchbull proud – which fandom explains away by claiming Neville could’ve been the boy in the prophecy instead of Harry and Lily would’ve lived – which still doesn’t really excuse his actions.
Neville was so afraid of Snape that his Boggart – a creature that takes on the appearance of the thing you fear most – took the form of the Potions professor.
Neville, whose parents were tortured to the brink of insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange, the woman Snape willingly joined as a Death Eater until he realized that Lily was targeted by Voldemort.
Because, if Lily hadn’t been in the line of fire and Voldemort hadn’t believed Harry to be the baby in the prophecy, Snape would’ve never switched sides. It was already an issue between he and Lily that he hung around with future Death Eaters and sympathized with them. Snape very much had a Death Eater mentality even growing up, and would’ve willingly stayed a Death Eater if Voldemort hadn’t targeted Lily.
The man who invented the dark Sectumsempra curse that, when spoken, allowed Harry to accidentally inflict gaping wounds in Draco Malfoy, was not a good guy just because he tricked Voldemort.
Snape only joined the Order because he believed Dumbledore could protect Lily. He did act as a double-agent to keep Harry safe because he knew that was what Lily would want, but Lily also would not want Snape to bully her son, which he blatantly ignored.
And yet, even while he was saving Harry’s life, he still felt the need to make Harry’s every waking moment a nightmare, simply because he was James’ son. James, whom Lily chose as the man she had planned to spend the rest of her life with, instead of Snape.
Someone in fandom once said Snape hated Harry, Ron and Hermione because Harry had Lily’s eyes, Ron had her hair and Hermione had the audacity to be Muggleborn like her.
Which totally makes it okay that when Draco Malfoy accidentally shot a teeth enlarging spell at Hermione and her teeth grew at an alarming rate, Snape told a young teenager he couldn’t see much of a difference.
Except it doesn’t.
Hermione was already teased relentlessly by her peers because of being ridiculously smart and because of her looks. She didn’t need a grown man to join in on trying to lessen her self-confidence, but Snape did, and he didn’t see any problem with doing so.
Furthermore, Snape wasn’t just a bully to children. Because Remus Lupin had the gall to be a Marauder and the nerve to be James’ best friend, Snape also ensured that the werewolf would be exposed and would have difficulty getting a job.
Because Severus Snape couldn’t let things go, and held on to a memory of a young James Potter pantsing him in front of everyone so long until it festered and he took out his childhood humiliation on mere children.
Despite the fact that James also saved Snape’s life when he discovered Remus was a werewolf, and therefore, Snape really should’ve let the possibly one time James was a bully to him go.
Snape is a complex, fascinating character, and beautifully written. But he is no hero, no matter what ending Rowling gave him.
Or what Harry named his son.