Why Snape Was So Mean To Harry
Who is hiding behind the character of Professor Severus Snape?
Analyzing his first name, which is derived from the Latin word “sĕvērus”, you’ll get several meanings of it, as severe, serious, strict, inflexible, stern, hard, etc.
Severus Snape very well fits into all of these categories, and more. When we imagine his character, whether we have seen the movies or just read the books, we would definitely describe him as such.
He didn’t have an easy childhood and was a victim of neglect when it came to his parents, particularly during his studies at Hogwarts. As the son of a witch mother Eileen Prince and a muggle Tobias Snape, he was always a regular victim of his colleagues due to being half-blooded.
Having “mixed” parents was something frowned upon, as both Voldemort and Grindelwald did not care for muggles. It was a part of the philosophy claiming muggles are inferior to wizards and witches.
Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, and James Potter, Harry’s father, frequently abused Snape because of his looks by calling him “a thin man with sallow skin, a large, hooked nose, and yellow, uneven teeth” but especially because of his half-blooded origin.
Snape also invented several spells, one of which James Potter used to turn him upside down in the air. All this abuse and neglect must have had something to do with his insecurities later in life and his cold nature. But should we call him evil at this point?
The main reason for Snape’s dislike for Harry Potter lies in Lily Evans, towards whom he nurtured special feelings, while she perceived him exclusively as a friend. Unfortunately, she fell in love with James Potter, a very popular student at the time whom she met when they were both sorted into Gryffindor, while Snape went on his own path of Slytherin.
Becoming insecure and vulnerable, Severus decided to join the Death Eaters, thinking it would impress Lily. But, he was wrong.
How did Harry Potter meet Severus Snape?
In the meantime, the little wizard with the lightning scar on his forehead, grew carefree (well, considering his aunt, uncle, and Dudley Dursley not so much…) not knowing what awaited him in the future.
Harry’s future was already pretty much determined by his origins – his parents James Potter and Lily Evans, both wizards (even if Lily’s parents were Muggles). When he was just a 1- year – old boy, he managed to survive Lord Voldemort’s attack. His parents weren’t that lucky.
Coming at Hogwarts at the age of 11, the sorting hat let him become a member of the Gryffindor, one of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry slowly stood out as one of the most gifted students and who, along with a few friends, also acquired a large number of enemies.
The young wizard thought he might even be happy in his new environment until he met Him – The Potions master, Professor Severus Snape.
When they first met, it was clear enough, that Harry had acquired his first enemy.
“Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” – these are the first words Snape ever told Harry, filled with hatred and mockery.
A very interesting thing came from one of the series fans, who tried to reveal what was the meaning of those words. According to him, this is the explanation:
“According to Victorian flower language, asphodel is a type of lily meaning ‘my regrets follow you to the grave’ and wormwood means ‘absence’ and also typically symbolizes bitter sorrow. If you combined that, Snape’s words mean “I bitterly regret Lily’s death.”
Heartbreaking, don’t you think? But, Snape’s behavior according to his student, was everything but emotional. Snape always knew how to stay calm and collected towards Harry. Well, at least until Harry unlocked his past memories.