If you are a Harry Potter fan, you would be very familiar with the fan community’s love for Severus Snape. The long-lasting love Snape has held for Lily Potter–it is a relationship that has moved many readers even more between Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley and that between Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
You would have guessed from the title that I am not one of these readers.
It is undeniable that Severus Snape had an undying affection for Lily, however it takes a lot more than having love for someone for me to feel sympathetic to a character. Severus Snape has committed many crimes in his lifetime; many of which in my opinion is unforgivable. He has aided villains, being a Death Eater (i.e. a follower of Lord Voldemort, the antagonist of the Harry Potter series) for the lion’s share of his life; he has also mistreated many students who do not belong to Slytherin–his own house–during his time as a Potions Master at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Many would argue that Snape regrets deeply for what he has done during his career as a Death Eater, that his lifelong remorse should acquit him from the misdeeds he has committed, however, I would argue that the very source of his remorse is the reason why he should be condemned. Severus Snape’s deepest regret is selling a crucial piece of information to Lord Voldemort–the prophesy that revealed the characteristics of Voldemort’s potential villain. Coincidentally, Voldemort’s potential villain turned out to be Harry Potter–Lily’s son. By aiding Lord Voldemort, Severus Snape has implicitly caused the death of his lover–a decision that Snape would regret for the remainder of his lifetime.
I shudder to think what Snape would have felt if the prophecy had talked about a different person if Snape had implicitly led to the death of someone else’s family other than Lily’s. He surely would not feel as remorseful, if he would be remorseful at all. Severus Snape may have cherished his own lover more than anything, however, if he has learned anything from his devotion, sympathy is not one of them. If he truly understands what it means to love someone more than the world, then he would not have been unhesitant to hurt those who surely means just as much to their lovers as Lily does to him.
It is often said that love is blind. Normally when we love someone, we would want the best for him/her no matter what, even if it means giving up our own happiness. Severus Snape is incapable of loving anyone to this capacity, not even Lily Potter. Lily Potter considered Snape as nothing more than a childhood friend; she had never seen him as a lover, however much affection Snape had felt for her. Snape was unwilling to accept this reality. He did not let go of her and wished her happiness; instead, he lived in bitterness and jealousy, criticizing Lily’s choice of the lover–James Potter–at every arising opportunity. When his betrayal led to the death of James and Lily Potter, it was only Lily that Snape had mourned for. He may have cared for Lily, deeply even, but not deeply enough to want the best for her instead of himself.
There are many ways to love someone; Snape’s way is one of them. It is his freedom to love anyone he likes in any fashion he desires, but whether his affection should be praised remains a debate. I cannot think of any reason to support lovers like Severus Snape, who only cares for protecting his own relationship and would not hesitate to destroy those of others, and who would only keep his lover all to himself with no regard for her desires and happiness.