Did Snape Love Harry?

Reading books and analyzing all the information, it was rather difficult from the start to say for sure if Severus Snape loved Harry or not.

The matter of Snape’s emotions towards Harry is complicated because of the very opposite feelings he had for each of Harry’s parents. Snape loved Lily Potter, nee Evans, but hated James Potter with passion.

In the end, we think that Snape didn‘t love Harry even though Harry was the only thing left from Lily, who Snape loved almost the whole of his life.

How Snape Feels About Harry in Books

Did Snape Love Harry?

We could write about Snape’s feelings in each book separately, but that would make the post filled with mutual hatred between Harry and Snape. 

Since Snape hated Harry from book number one, you would wonder, then, where would the love come from? Would he learn how to love Harry over the years? Not necessarily. But let’s have a quick review.

We first meet Professor Snape through Harry’s eyes in chapter seven of the first book. When Harry looked across the Great Hall towards the High Table, he locked eyes with Professor Snape.

That’s when Harry got the feeling that, for some reason, Snape didn’t like him at all. By the end of the first week, we know for sure that there is no love lost between them:

At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had gotten the idea that Professor Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson, he knew he’d been wrong. Snape didn’t dislike Harry – he hated him.

At this point, we were at the beginning of the journey, and even though all the hardest fans know the reason why Snape behaved that way, Harry was still a little bit lost, and he didn’t understand why Snape hated him so much.

For a while, the trio of friends thought that Snape hated Harry so much that he tried to kill Harry during the Quidditch game. Snape didn’t make it easy on Harry at all during the school year, and Harry learned to hate Snape as well.

But at the end of the year, when Harry met Professor Quirrell in front of the Mirror of Erised, we learned from the Professor that Severus Snape tried to save Harry. 

“Snape was trying to save me? ” 
“Of course, “said Quirrell coolly. “Why do you think he wanted to referee your next match? He was trying to make sure I didn’t do it again. “

Dumbledore explained why Snape felt he needed to keep Harry safe, and that explains why Snape tried to save Harry’s life despite disliking him so much. 

And during Harry’s third year at Hogwarts, the emotions between Harry, Snape, and another teacher, Remus Lupin, are getting very negative and very intense really fast.

It was common knowledge that Snape wanted the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, but even Harry, who hated Snape, was startled at the expression twisting his thin, sallow face. It was beyond anger: It was loathing. Harry knew that expression only too well; it was the look Snape wore every time he set eyes on Harry.

The hatred continues throughout the years. Snape always blamed Harry for all the mischief (being right all the time but without solid proof – see Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter twenty-two).

And when we think that Snape died hating Harry and his father, we get a glimpse of Snape’s memories, and we learn of the depth of his feelings for Lily, the lengths he went through to make sure Harry survives to meet his destiny, and how outraged he was when he learned of Dumbledore’s intentions. 

It all comes in a big wave of emotions, but when we read into it, we can see how one could assume that he cared for the last remaining piece of his beloved Lily.

How did Snape Really Feel About Harry?

Most of the time, Snape saw Harry through Harry’s father. He called him a mediocre wizard, arrogant rule-breaker. Snape was sure Harry was seeking attention just like his father did at school.

Dumbledore often reminded Snape that Snape wanted to see Harry that way and that other teachers praised Harry for his work and found him an interesting and modest child.

Snape was very prejudiced towards Harry from the start

But when he learned of Dumbledore’s true intentions for Harry, he was shocked and upset. And we believe that when Dumbledore asked

“Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”

Our answer would be not really. And it’s only because Snape loved Lily so much, he put his hatred aside to protect her son.

Why does Snape Care About Harry?

In the first book, we get an explanation from Dumbledore as, why he thinks Snape kept an eye on Harry throughout the first year.

It is because James Potter saved Severus Snape’s life after he realized how badly his friend’s prank could end for Snape. Since then, Snape tried to save Harry to repay the debt and peacefully continued to hate James Potter.

By this explanation, we can assume he didn’t really care for Harry.

But there is more to it. And we had to wait until the end of book number seven to learn the whole truth.

Snape loved Harry’s mother and was devastated to hear about her death. And despite his hatred for James Potter, he agreed to protect Harry at Dumbledore’s request.

“If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.”
“Help me protect Lily’s son.”

Snape let us all believe he hated Harry and didn’t openly help him because Harry was James’s son, and Snape couldn’t bear the thought of it.

Final Thoughts

Even though Snape’s feelings for Harry are mixed with the bigger side of hatred, he loved and cared deeply for Lily, but apart from protecting her son, he didn‘t like Harry.

Snape couldn‘t love Harry because he reminded Snape of his most hated school enemy, James Potter.

Even though Dumbledore insisted that Harry is more like his mother, after all, Snape didn’t make an effort to get to know the boy, and therefore he couldn‘t love Harry.