Severus Snape is one of the most complex characters in all of the Harry Potter series. He was introduced as a bully among the Hogwarts staff, tormenting Harry and his friends. Later in the series, Snape appeared to have revealed his true colors as a Death Eater spy for Lord Voldemort, and murdered the school’s benevolent headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. Those same fans were then caught off guard when it came to light that Snape had actually been acting as a double agent for Dumbledore, and had been working to protect Harry, out of love for Harry’s mother, since the series began.
Snape heroically sacrificed himself towards the end series, but does that give him a pass for how miserable he made Harry throughout the years? Fans have been wrestling with this for a while, particularly the question of why Harry would name his youngest son, Albus Severus, after his tormentor.
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to discuss this complicated character and the reasons Harry would name a child after him. As you might expect, there’s no clear cut judgment to be made here.
Snape is all grey. You can't make him a saint: he was vindictive & bullying. You can't make him a devil: he died to save the wizarding world— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude. https://t.co/MPXBgUApa3— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
There's a whole essay in why Harry gave his son Snape's name, but the decision goes to the heart of who Harry was, post-war.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
No, not a rant; I'm thoughtful, not upset! Snape deserves both admiration and disapprobation, like most of us. https://t.co/okYVt9WFsf— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
Albus Severus will have a significant role to play in the upcoming eighth story of the Harry Potter saga, the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Could Rowling be addressing this debate now because these themes and issues will be addressed more in the play? The synopsis certainly makes it sound like a possibility.
(Just come back to Twitter to find the great Snape debate still raging)— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
UPDATE: Rowling has returned to Twitter to find that the debate is hardly settled.