With the end of Potterthon nearly upon us, we've been saving the best till last! Yes, it's the Team smackdown of all team smackdowns--the one you've all been waiting for! In the pink corner (yes, that's glitter), represented by none other than our very favorite Hufflepuff, Sonia of the Story Queen, we have Severus Snape. Grease up your hair, and don your black robes, Team Snapers!
Meanwhile, in the the black corner, the one covered with--wait, what's she done to the walls?!--is James Potter, represented by our very own Ravenclaw-turned-Evil Overlord (who said all the bad wizards were Slytherins?), Brodie Ivashkov of Eleusinian Mysteries!
Grab your wands, potions and invisibility cloaks, witches and wizards, and tell us: are you Team James or Team Snape? And guys, to quote Sonia: "This whole post is SPOILER CITY if you haven’t completed the Harry Potter series."
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good...
Freshly married and beaming the proud smile of a first-time father, James Potter was a charasmatic 21 year old with his whole life ahead of him. But because of a cause that Severus Snape supported, for a snake-eyed man Snape pledged his loyalty to, James lost his life to evil. He fought the good fight, he risked his life to ensure safety to the world, but the man Sonia is backing? He was dreaming of becoming a Death Eater while revising for his O.W.L's.
In his youth, did James Potter act immature? Arrogant? Entitled? Cocky? Like a bully? YES.
Does this make him a bad person? NO.
Many of these memories we see of James as a boy are tainted with bias from Snape. It's like knowing Harry only from Draco's perspective, he'd be painted as a pampered little prince who always plays the hero. I won't deny that James acted like a prat in his youth, but he was young! Not to mention an only child to elderly parents who spoiled him rotten. You can't tell me you weren't a total Blast Ended Skrewt at least once while growing up. He matured by his 7th year at Hogwarts, considering Lily started dating him and he was made Head Boy. While his actions at times were harsh, it's easy to understand how a boy who hated the Dark Arts with a passion could hold prejudice over another boy so disturbingly obsessed with it.
Snape, Snape, Selfish Snape:
James is a damn good a wizard. Voldemort himself attempted to recruit James and Lily at one point, and he only accepts the best. But, unlike Snape, James refused because he believed in fighting for the Order. Fighting against evil and not just changing sides for selfish reasons. Romantic and heartbreaking as Snape's tale is, he didn't choose the Order because he initially disagreed with Voldemort's plans for pureblood hierarchy and mudblood eradication. He acted on accord of his own desires and not because it was the moral thing to do, not because he believed in fighting for justice, but because he discovered the dark and twisted goals he was supporting might hurt the one thing he loved in the world. James Potter dreamed of wielding the sword of Godric Gryffindor and slaying the bad guys from the mere age of 11.
If you were on a deserted island...And it all comes down to this: If you were stuck on a muggle island with no magic (no wands or potion making, so don't try to create loopholes!), who would you rather have accompany you? A striking Quidditch star, with the athleticism and intelligence to hunt and find shelter; who can easily occupy the lonely days with his charm and mischief, and do so because hey, he actually LIKES PEOPLE - OR - the surly man who'll shoot you down with his snide remarks and likely leave you to be eaten, rather than slay the acromantula stalking toward you?
Don’t forget: this is a man who was all too willing to poison Trevor when he knew, he knew Neville would not have prepared that potion properly (thank heavens for Hermione!). It’s one thing to join the Death Eaters, but it’s a whole separate ball game when you try poison Neville F*cking Longbottom’s toad.
Still not convinced?Merlin, you're a tough nargle to squish. Time to pull out the big hippogriffs now:
- Severus Snape does not use shampoo. As confirmed by his regularly greasy haired appearances, and by Fred Weasley on an installment of Potterwatch (really, are you going to argue with a dead boy? That is low). James, however, has beautifully ruffled, windswept hair that begs for your fingers to run through.
- James was a chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and his Patronus was a stag. Now imagine this was an R rated blog and we could go down all sorts of naughty avenues involving riding things.... For now we'll leave it at: Save a Broom, Ride a Chaser <3
- Unlike Snape, Snape, Severus Snape, you won't have annoying songs stuck in your head when thinking of James.
- HE CO-INVENTED THE FREAKING MARAUDERS MAP! Where would Harry and Ron and Hermione and Fred and George and Pretend-Moody and US be without the Marauders Map?! We owe James for every scene we poured over when Harry whipped out his map and invisibility cloak to stalk the Hogwarts grounds after hours.
- He has the bestest friends EVER (well, except for the one who got him and his wife killed, and made an orphan out of his son, but let's forget about that rat). Padfoot and Moony <3 Who was waiting for Harry when he greeted death? That’s right. His mummy, his daddy and his daddy’s two BFF’s.
THE VERDICTThe Prince's Tale redeemed Snape and broke my heart, and I will never argue that he is one of the most brilliant characters in fiction. He is a hero. A hero, but not a nice guy. Was he the best thing for Lily? I don't think so. They were best friends, but Snape let his ambitions overpower the friendship they shared. James was an equal to Lily: someone she could laugh with and share a mutual desire to protect the world. James made mistakes as a youth, but he grew out of that and become a well-respected member of wizarding society, fought the greatest evil known to magic-kind and was the bestest friend a down-and-out werewolf or dog with a swagger to his paw could ever ask for.
Severus Snape may win my vote for most tragic story of the century, but James Potter wins my vote for the best man for both Lily and you, dear Potter nerd!
- Mischief Managed!
I'm sure that a lot of us here are pretty big romantics. I mean, we read YA which is full of True Love and Soulmates and all of that beautiful, amazing stuff. So how can you not appreciate Severus Snape, the man that loves with his entire being like no other? How can you not support the man that dedicates his entire life to protecting his loved one’s legacy, even after she’s dead? Snape’s love for Lily wasn't just childhood infatuation or exaggerated affection. It was the kind of love that can change a person and shape them into something better. It was the kind of love that surpasses house rivalry and mockery and separation and even death.
So, I've outlined just a few of the possible reasons one might find Snape the better man.
- Does the mention of a beautiful and graceful doe trigger any memories? Severus’ love for Lily was so strong that it manifested itself into the form of her patronus in the place of his own. And this is what, 17 years after her death? That’s what I call devotion.
- Snape was SMART – a true Slytherin. Despite what Dumbledore might imply, I think Snape is a true Slytherin at heart. How else could he have fooled one of the most powerful sorcerers of all time into believing him to be his right-hand man? Snape throws himself into this dangerous, potentially fatal, and frankly insane (ah, there’s the Gryffindor side!) life and because of this sacrifice, so many lives are saved. (Don’t believe me? Helpful Snape = Alive Harry = Dead Voldemort = HAPPY EVERYONE ELSE! … except for the Death Eaters…)
- He fulfills an old man’s dying wish. Dumbledore’s request for Snape to kill him was visibly not one that he appreciated. There is a real, beating heart inside of Severus and killing the man he had begun to look up to was not the way he wanted to go. However! He admirably puts aside his own wants and desires so that Dumbledore can carry out his plans, even if he doesn’t bother to share those plans with Snape.
- And those dark and haunted eyes… I think it’s clear for all to see that Severus Snape is still tortured endlessly by his grief and agony at Lily Potter’s death. Wouldn’t your eyes look like dark tunnels too if the only thing you had ever loved was gone forever and you thought it was ALL YOUR FAULT?
- And yes, okay, his hair is a little greasy, I’ll grant you that. But give the poor guy a break! He spends all day working on magical potions… Of course that’s going to affect his hair with all those questionable ingredients and fumes floating around. (Disclaimer: I do not actually know how or if potion making affects the greasiness of one’s hair. That is something you will have to discover for yourself.)
Both teams make excellent cases, whether you fancy Snape as a tragic, romantic Byronic hero, or love the cheeky, mischevious marauder who won the girl. But there can be only one: who's your man?