A debate has long raged among the fandom; whether or not Severus Snape was a good person? Now objectively, the answer is very simple. You can’t make Snape be a saint; he was vindictive and bullying. Nor can he be classed as the devil; he helped save the Wizarding World. But the debate continues to this date with both camps refusing to see that the situation was deliberately meant to be grey from the get-go.
So, why is it that certain fans so eagerly defend all of his wrong actions? And why is it that some fans forget his contributions against Voldemort? I believe that Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the character made him a tad more sympathetic.
It also helps that some of Snape’s crueller actions didn’t actually make it into the films. So, as a whole, the audience perception of what Snape is as a character is a wee bit skewed.]
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So, How Did Rowling Decide On Snape Name?
Now, JK Rowling has revealed an important source of inspiration for the character. She tweeted an image of Severus Road, a street she passed by every day when she was living in Clapham. Rowling recalled that she didn’t realize until much later how the name Severus name popped up in her head when she was coming up for a name for the potions master.
Real Harry Potter inspiration alert: I walked past this sign every day on my way to work when I was living in Clapham . Much later – post-publication – I revisited the area & suddenly realised THIS was why 'Severus' had leapt into my head when thinking of a 1st name for Snape. pic.twitter.com/q5wzsQb3m9
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 23, 2020
As for the infamous Snape debate, I think it’s vital to note that while he may not necessarily be a good person, he is a very well written character. Selfish as his reasons were and petty as he could be, Snape’s story is a tragic lesson for how the mistakes made during adolescence can have long-lasting consequences.
Snape’s love for Lily but his inability to grow out of hatred and sends one timely message most of all; taking responsibility and bringing about a change isn’t all that easy. Him saving the Wizarding World and acting as a spy does redeem him of his past with Voldemort but doesn’t excuse his selfish and terrible treatment of those who had the misfortune of being an easy target.