Those of us who finished the series know Snape's side of the story. We know that it introduces a new and interesting perspective. I understand the main idea that was communicated with that information, but I'm asking about his feelings on a personal level.

Did Snape truly CARE for Harry, did he enjoy watching him succeed, was he worried about his possible failure, did he find him funny, enjoyable, did he love him as a surrogate son? Or was his interests merely in preserving Lily's offspring and her 'eyes'. Was it ALL an act? Or just some of it?

Edit: I'm going to add this video for some clarity.

7 Answers 7


When Dumbledore tells Snape about Voldemort being held from death by the part of the soul attached to Harry, he then says that to be able to finish off Voldemort, the Dark Lord himself must kill Harry. Snape then asks if the reason to keep Harry alive was to kill him at the right time. Dumbledore asks in response if he has finally taken a liking to Harry, to which Snape responds by conjuring Lily's doe-shaped patronous, meaning that he has and always will love Lily, and is his sole reason to protect Harry.

The reason that I suspect Snape could never like Harry is because of his father James. I don't believe there is a source that suggests that Snape ever saw either Harry or James differently (e.g. he saw them as arrogant show-offs, yadda yadda).


Snape's love for Lily was the main factor behind his drive to protect her only son, for whom she had sacrificed her life. The bitter irony for Snape was that this same boy was a living reminder of the fact that, once again, James Potter had trumped him; in this case, in a much more personal way than being better at Quidditch: James won over Lily.

So Snape had nothing but resentment for Harry from their first meeting simply because he was James Potter's son - and the fact that Harry bore so much of a physical resemblance to his father did not help, neither did Harry's apparently inherited Quidditch skills. Snape was determined to loathe him, despite Harry's virtuous personality traits.

Snape: "- mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent -"

Dumbledore: "You see what you expect to see, Severus ... Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likeable and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child." --- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chp.33 The Prince's Tale.

However, when the time came in Deathly Hallows, Snape is shown to have understood enough about Harry to know that he would follow his doe Patronus into the dark woods of the Forest of Dean. Harry senses nothing sinister in Snape's Patronus, seeing as the doe is a reflection of Lily Potter - the bridge between these two characters. Which brings me to my next point.

Now, this is mostly my speculation, but I'm almost certain that I'm right when I say that Snape probably felt some bond or relation to Harry very, very deep down. It wasn't just a favor to Lily, there was some recognition of Harry as a kindred spirit there as well; why else would Snape use his doe Patronus to lure Harry to Gryffindor's Sword? He must have understood Harry's desire to be with his mother, as well as Dumbledore's words to him.

Snape: "He [Harry] is his father over again -"

Dumbledore: "In looks, perhaps, but his deepest nature is much more like his mother's." --- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chp. 33 The Prince's Tale.

I believe that Snape must have seen Lily's personality in Harry at some point, not just his father's. I think that saying Snape's care for Harry extended only to the level of honoring Lily's sacrifice just scratches the surface. True, Snape denied that he cared for Harry at all to Dumbledore ("For him?), but I just think his pride prevented him from admitting it. Snape's choice of words, in his indignation at Dumbledore's plan to have Harry sacrifice himself to Voldemort, is very suggestive of some concern for Harry himself.

Snape: Now you tell me you have been raising him [Harry] like a pig for slaughter -" --- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chp. 33 The Prince's Tale.

Like I said above, Snape brushes Dumbledore's question as to whether he is concerned for Harry aside by casting the silver doe, but I think this is partly a denial. Just my speculation! :)

Overall, I really think Snape, despite all his resentment, anger and bitterness towards Harry over his years at Hogwarts, was not completely indifferent to Harry's suffering. I think there was a part of him that genuinely cared for Harry as much as he did for his mother Lily. There was more to Snape and Harry's relationship than Snape trying to ensure Harry's survival.


I don't believe Snape particularly LIKED Harry, but I believe he cared for him on a level that went beyond him just being Lily's son. Those who really understand Snape know he is not a cruel person. I think he cared for Harry on a personal level and learned to like him in a sense. He would have given his life for Harry and I believe that requires a liking for the person.

  • 4
    As your answer currently stands, it's mostly opinion. Not saying it's incorrect but can you provide any support for your statements. Ex - 'those who really understand Snape know he is not a cruel person'. Some references from the material that support that opinion would be helpful.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 0:41

I think that as Snape "taught" Harry Occlumency and saw Harry's treatment with the Dursleys, his opinion of Harry as a "pampered prince" a la James, probably took a hit. We had a glimpse of Snape's home life as a child, and it seems likely to me that he would have some empathy for how Harry grew up -- complicated by his relationship with Lily and his detestation of James, Sirius, etc.

  • Please see the comment posted to @Chelsey 's answer
    – Ender
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 22:23

Snape loves Lily is not the reason why he protects Harry. I suppose you wont love a kid simply because you love his mum who betrayed you. I think the reason is that Voldemort kills lily and Snape is mad about that. Snape knows that Harry can DESTROY Voldemort one day. That is why Snape protects him. Also, Lily was not killed for saving her own life, but SACRIFICING for her son. It means that she wanted to protect her son and Snape for her sake, protects her son. Of course, there is also a reason that Dumbledore persuades Snape a lot.


Something my friends and I discussed, and still discuss today, is the fact that maybe a part of Lily's soul is inside Snape. The way they explain the patronous charm, each one is specific to the person's personality. Even if Snape was that madly in love with Lily, do you think that his patronous is a doe? And Dumbledore's reaction was even that of surprise, and he exclaimed "Lily?". Which I'd always assumed was a question more than a statement.

So, in respect to Snape's behavior towards Harry. If the above paragraph is correct, then I'd assume it was all an act. Snape was behaving towards Harry the way people would THINK that he would (loathing and all that). All of this in an effort to conceal the truth that Snape was Lily.

I have no proof other than the way Dumbledore reacted to Snape conjuring the doe, and slight knowledge of how the corporeal form of the patronous charm works.

  • 6
    There's a lot of evidence against that theory, though. For a start, I don't recall Dumbledore exclaiming, or even saying, "Lily?" He instead says (paraphrasing) "After all this time?" The Patronus charm is powered by happy thoughts, so it makes sense that it would represent the person that makes the caster happiest; in Snape's case, that was Lily. There's another example, though: Tonks's patronus is a werewolf after she falls in love with Lupin, and they were both alive. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 22:30
  • True. I just re-read it. He doesn't say "Lily" like I thought I remembered. Dumbledore says "After all this time?" Snape replies "Always". Which could still be interpreted as there's a part of Lily inside him. And you do lend credence to the reason of the patronus. Still, I like my theory. :D
    – PiousVenom
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 22:49
  • 2
    I believe that Lupin explains how a patronous can change, "Sometimes ... a great shock ... an emotional upheaval"[1] and consider Harry's own stag, it's like that because he wants his father so badly (James' patronous was also a stag) [1] The half blood prince-pg 319-Bloomsbury - chapter, A very frosty Christmas
    – Siamore
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 7:11

Snape according to J.K. Rowling did have some affections towards harry if it was as strong as love we do not know, but he did start protecting harry only for lily's sake but by the end truly came to like and admire harry. Also many people make the patronus argument but one must remember that after he conjured it he sent it to harry denoting that he did do it for lily but came to do it for harry's sake as well. However one must realize that the time at which the patronus was sent to harry was when harry was looking for the sword of gryff. so snape had gone out of his way to help harry, not just save his butt. To some degree he wanted harry to succeed not because of lily but because of harry. There is also a theory that snape's love of harry is only an extention of his love of lily which is def. possible, but i like to believe that after all that time snape did grow to care for harry just a little. I mean that moment right before snape died, showed that he was truly a good person and he also made a comment that related to both lily and Harry I believe denoting a love for both. Finally, snape was never forced to do anything and yeah he wanted to protect harry for lily's sake but if he really hated him as much as some people believe he would have let harry die about book three, but he continued to save harry and teach him to defend himself. Plus by the end harry really grew to admire severus and ensured that his portrait be hung up on the headmaster's wall.

  • 5
    Interesting statement "Snape according to J.K. Rowling did have some affections towards harry". If you can provide a source for this it would be great!
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 3:07

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