Professor Snape is the REAL Hero of Harry Potter
I just came to this realization today. Professor Snape, Harry’s direct and visible protagonist is the real hero of the entire series of books. First off, I agree totally with this editorial on Mugglenet: http://www.mugglenet.com/
I believe that as much as Snape hated James Potter, he had a huge crush on Lily Potter. Simply because she was the first person to show any real kindness towards him. Add in the fact that she was pretty much perfect and he didn’t have a chance but to fall in love with her. As such Snape both loved and hated Harry as a physical manifestation of his parents. Harry inherited his father’s abilities, but his mother’s eyes and personality. Snape finds himself utterly torn between his feeling between the two and as a major personality flaw, takes it out on Harry. We see this many times when Snape looks into Harry’s eyes, almost lost. But then gains his composure back and walks away, stiffly and formally, most likely mentally berating himself yet conflicted over his emotions.
The critical component here is that again and again, Snape was at the center of Harry’s life. Even more so that Sirius or Dumbledore. I believe that a lot more of that was intentional then the books or movie show. For instance, Snape knows that Harry’s biggest failure had always been potions. It would have taken a simple spell to make sure that his own potions book with his own notes made it’s way into Harry’s hands “by chance.”
Snape’s constant pushing of Harry to do better was at first punishment for James’ treatment of him. But this later became him trying to push Harry to live up to what Snape thought his mother was. Snape felt that he owed Lily a debt and as such deep down wanted to keep Harry safe. In his unique position, he was extremely aware that eventually Voldemort and Harry would meet and have a show down. Snape simply could not fail Lily by letter Voldemort kill her son too, especially after she did so much to save him.
In addition he greatly reduced Harry’s energies and gave Harry’s frustrations an outlet. This kept Harry from concentrating upon the bigger threat of Voldemort until he was ready to take him on. The extra home work, catching him after curfew, his extreme disapproval over the Wizard’s Cup Championship and the subsequent episode regarding the gillyweed was all Snape trying to protect Harry because he knew that Harry was not ready to take on Voldemort.
In the last book we see this all come to a head. Snape has done everything he can for Harry directly. He has finally become at peace with himself. He doesn’t like Harry still, but he no longer hates him either. He may soon begin actually liking Harry on some level and even worse for his own turmoil, Snape is extremely proud of what Harry has accomplished.
After that, his last act is to continue hoodwinking Voldemort in order to get Harry in position to finish him off permanently. By this time we see that Snape is no longer really “on” Harry any more. He’s no longer out to make Harry’s life miserable any more and take his frustrations with Harry’s father out on him. Instead, he is helping in the only way he has left. He risks life, limb, and painful torture beyond imagine… for Lily’s memory.