Snape has always treated Harry with pure and utter loathing during the whole Harry Potter series and always looked for a chance to put him down during class. But was his helping/saving of Harry for Harry's sake, or for the sake of helping Lily's son?


Yes, he did

The whole purpose of Snape's actions throughout the series is to protect Potter. From the first movie (where he tries to neutralise Quirrel's spell during the Quidditch game) to the agonised conversation he has with Dumbledore about Potter's fate confirm this.

It could be that he is protecting Potter because that is the only way Voldemort can be defeated but his motivation for that is because Voldemort killed Potter's mother. We could suppose that his motivation was just to get revenge for the murder of Lilly and caring for Harry was just a means to that end. But his last living act–he donates his memories to Harry so Harry can understand his motivation–suggests he wants harry to understand why he behaved the way he did towards him. Those memories also explain some of the motivation for his harshness with Harry: Harry has some of the less noble characteristics of his father (who stole the Love of Snape's life from him and who was sometimes a bully to Snape). So he loves Harry because he is Lilly's son but hates some of his characteristics because he is also his father's son. So he cares for him but also has some reservations about his character.

Moreover, for his role with Voldemort to be convincing, he has to act as though he dislikes Potter. He can pull this off convincingly partially because of his dislike for Harry's father and Harry's behaviour when he emulates his father.

Those mixed motivations show that, ultimately he cares for Harry, but not without reservations.

  • 1
    Using hate for something good, only Prof. Snape can do. – Viney Hill Jun 17 '18 at 17:10
  • Do you have any quotes that are more explicit? I think it's plausible to see everything Snape does for Harry as motivated by his love of Lily, and his trying to atone for being a part of the movement that killed her. He gives Harry the memories so that his motivations will be understood. (He also probably didn't mind showing Harry evidence of what a *sshole his father was.) – swbarnes2 Jun 21 '18 at 17:49
  • 1
    @swbarnes2 Quotes are hard when the primary language of some of the key revelations is entirely visual. Harry doesn't learn Snape's history because of Snape's exposition but because he sees it in Snape's memories. – matt_black Jul 3 '18 at 0:13
  • I don't mean quoting Snape, I mean quoting the text. It's pretty easy to show Snape's animosity to Harry, I don't think that's at all at odds with him feeling he has to protect him solely as a gesture to his love for Lily. – swbarnes2 Jul 3 '18 at 16:59

In a way, yes. Mostly, especially to start with, he only took care of Harry for his mother, Lily, the love of his life. Towards the end though, especially that last dying scene, I believe Snape did begin to show affection for Harry.Harry with Snape as he dies

  • This does not add any new information to the other answer. – Torsten Link Sep 13 '18 at 10:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .