It’s confusing to think about initially, but Harry Potter and Snape were very similar in their upbringing. It could take people a minute or two to make this connection, but it’s true. Not a lot of people want to admit that Harry and Severus had much to do with each other.
But as it was noticed in the final movie, Snape’s life wasn’t all roses. In fact, he was raised by an abusive father, forced to wear oversized, baggy clothes, and had one good friend until it came to his time with the Death Eaters. Strangely enough, Lily was the saving grace for both of them.
Harry knew what it was to live poor while those around him enjoyed wealth that he couldn’t touch. He was bullied at one time, and yet he overcame everything. Where he and Snape diverge is how they end up. While Snape decided to pursue power and domination, Harry had friends to help and encourage him.
It’s interesting to wonder how Snape would have turned out had his life gone differently. In fact, it’s fair to say that if not for Lily, he might not have seen any sort of redemption. But he turned out as a great example for Harry that things aren’t always as they appear.
Lilly wasn’t enough to keep Snape from seeking a dark path
In all fairness, she was enough to keep Snape from descending into darkness right away. Her friendship helped Snape to balance himself at first. But as they continued to grow up and Lily chose James, Snape’s descent ran unchecked. Once he dedicated his life to the Death Eaters, it was too late.
The fact that James stood as a severe impediment to Snape’s growth as a person is hard to deny. From the look into the Pensieve that Harry was given, it was kind of obvious that James was a jerk early on. One might not want to believe it, but Harry’s father didn’t use his position and status in Hogwarts for good. He might have had plenty of friends, but it would appear that they were more like sycophants.
Harry’s father, James, had more in common with Draco Malfoy
Some fans might faint from the realization that this is far more true than they believe. But the fact is that James Potter came from a family that had plenty of influence and money. Snape came from virtually nothing. But another child came from everything and believed himself above his peers, Draco Malfoy.
Fans might want to deny this, but the facts are there. James might not have shown his aggressive streak in an obvious manner until later, but it was there. Draco made his attitude stand out more, while James ensured that many people believed he was the good guy.
Whether James came to regret his acts later on in life or not, the fact is that he and Snape did not get along, and much of it was James’ fault. The big difference here is that Draco was less successful as a bully, while James was often strong enough to do what he wanted to Snape.
Opposites attract, which could explain why Snape and Harry were so opposed
Lily and Snape were quite the opposite since she came from a family that loved her, save for her sister. Snape’s father was abusive, which likely caused his disdain toward Muggles. But together, they were great friends and could easily get along. On the other hand, Harry and Snape might not have recognized it, but they were very much alike. Both of them had known abuse and misery at the hands of others.
This is prevalent in the real world, even if people can’t explain it. Something about similar experiences can draw people together or repel them from each other. That likeness that they share can force them to see something in the other that they can’t stand.
For Snape, however, it was the fact that Harry looked so much like his father. To have to teach someone that resembled his tormentor so much brought up much hurt from the past.
Thinking of James Potter as a villain gets easier with time
The fact is that James Potter stood as a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He did all the right things as far as people around him were concerned. And yet, he started out as a bully and never had to suffer unduly throughout his days at Hogwarts. There’s likely more to say about this, but what’s revealed in the movies makes it clear that James was not the flawless hero that some believed.
He’s not a villain either, but it’s fair to say that it’s best that Harry didn’t take after him.
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