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Why Harry Potter Fans Are Still Divided About Snape's Death

This major character death from Harry Potter still has fans split. Spoilers for Harry Potter ahead!

Throughout the Harry Potter series, Harry — played by Daniel Radcliffe — is antagonized by plenty of people, from bullies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to nefarious Ministry of Magic employees to outright villains, like the Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). However, one of his longest-running rivalries is with Hogwarts' Potions master, Severus Snape, played on-screen by the late, great Alan Rickman.

From the moment Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he and Snape begin their bitter rivalry, spurred by the fact that Snape and Harry's late father, James, absolutely despised one another during their own time together at school. Snape, who considers Harry to be James in miniature, hates Harry right away, and his cruel, callous attitude towards the young Gryffindor — as well as his best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) — is pretty hard for Harry to withstand.

However, in the franchise's final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Snape, who appears to be working against Harry alongside Voldemort, reveals the long-simmering truth: Snape, who once loved Harry's mother Lily, has been a double agent for years, working tirelessly and thanklessly to protect Harry from Voldemort at all costs. Ultimately, Snape loses his life in the process, and many Potter fans consider him to be an ultimate hero as a result. With that said, there's a solid argument as to why Snape may have deserved his untimely end. Here's why Harry Potter fans are still divided about Severus Snape's death.

Fans have questions about Severus Snape's behavior throughout Harry Potter

In the fifth book and film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Snape is tasked with a new job in addition to his responsibilities as Potions master when Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) asks him to work alone with Harry. Per Dumbledore's instructions, Snape tries to teach Harry the art of Occlumency so that Voldemort can stop accessing Harry's unconscious mind; if you know anything about Snape and Harry's relationship, you can roughly guess how poorly this goes.

In the process, Snape accidentally accesses several of Harry's memories, including instances of abuse at the hands of his awful Muggle relatives... and Harry manages to see some of Snape's, which depict an equally unhappy childhood. Eventually, Harry discovers a hidden memory in Snape's office where James relentlessly bullies and abuses Snape, at which point Snape abruptly ends their Occlumency lessons.

However, this raises an important question: why wouldn't Snape show a little more understanding and mercy to Harry after seeing that they both had fairly miserable childhoods? Instead, based solely on James' behavior — which isn't Harry's fault — Snape simply abuses this young boy. Ultimately, this points to a larger, more concerning trend: Snape's unwillingness to emotionally connect or develop in any way.

Severus Snape's emotional limitations make him a complex character

At first, it might seem like Severus Snape's inscrutable exterior hides a deep emotional well; after all, he is the only one of Voldemort's Death Eaters to have a Patronus, which takes the form of a doe as an ode to Lily. However, Snape's emotional limitations, as many fans have pointed out, completely stunt him and inhibit him from ever forming anything resembling a civil connection with Harry, despite their shared trauma.

Snape's absolute unwillingness to accept that Harry and James aren't identical — as well as the fact that even the good things that he does for Harry are for Lily and Lily only, as is evidenced by the fact that he's willing to let her husband and child die just to save her — makes him an emotionally closed-off person, which does end up helping him in the long run. Without a mind and heart that are so blocked up, Snape never would have been able to hide his true nature from Voldemort, an accomplished Legilimens. However, it also makes him deeply unsympathetic for basically the entire series, right up until his death.

All of the Harry Potter films — including Snape's heartbreaking death scene — are available to stream on Peacock now.