J.K. Rowling explains why Harry Potter names son after Severus Snape

By Karen Butler
Author J.K. Rowling revealed why character Harry Potter named his son after Severus Snape. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
Author J.K. Rowling revealed why character Harry Potter named his son after Severus Snape. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Author J.K. Rowling spent much of Friday hosting an unexpected Twitter debate about why her iconic literary character Harry Potter named his son after his off-on nemesis Severus Snape.

It all started when the scribe answered a simple fan question.


"Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude," Rowling tweeted to her nearly 6 million followers, referring to Harry's late mother, whom Snape had loved as a youth before she married Harry's late father James.

The reply prompted discussion among other fans with differing opinions to which Rowling initially replied: "I've got to say this: you lot have been arguing about Snape for years. My timeline just exploded with love & fury yet again. Never change."

She later expanded her explanation by responding directly to a few of the fan tweets.

To the writer who told her, "Kind of strange you'd say 'in forgiveness', I mean Snape held no malice against Harry (which Harry came to knew, eventually,)" Rowling countered: "That's not true, I'm afraid. Snape projected his hatred and jealousy of James onto Harry."


"Snape is all grey. You can't make him a saint: he was vindictive & bullying. You can't make him a devil: he died to save the wizarding world," one of Rowling's subsequent posts read. "In honouring Snape, Harry hoped in his heart that he too would be forgiven. The deaths at the Battle of Hogwarts would haunt Harry forever."

Rowling tried to disengage from the conversation with the message: "See what you started, @FrazzyJazzy7? I need to get back to work. Have a good day, Snape-lovers, haters and in-betweeners all," but on the discussion raged and Rowling eventually returned to the chatter.

"Snape didn't die for 'ideals'. He died in an attempt to expiate his own guilt. He could have broken cover at any time to save himself," she remarked, "but he chose not to tell Voldemort that the latter was making a fatal error in targeting Harry. Snape's silence ensured Harry's victory."

Her last words on the matter were: "Well, thanks to everyone who participated in today's unplanned debate: "Snape: Good, Evil or What?" People to dinner - got to go!"

The characters of Harry Potter and Severus Snape appeared in all seven of Rowling's Harry Potter fantasy novels, as well as the eight movies they inspired. The wizard and his Hogwarts teacher were played respectively in the blockbusters by Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman.

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