So I suppose that the Harry Potter series isn’t an obvious choice as a romance. I’m not talking about Harry and Ginny or Ron and Hermione or even James and Lily. No, I’m talking about the unrequited love of Severus Snape for Lily Evans. I know it’s not a romance per se, as Lily did not reciprocate Snape’s feelings….or maybe she secretly did, who knows…but the love, devotion and dedication that Severus showed towards Harry’s mother, even after her death, was beautiful.
We see a whole different, softer side to the seemingly cold and spiteful Snape when Lily is mentioned. For the first few books I was confused as to why he hated Harry so much. It became clear though, that it was because Harry looked so much (apart from the eyes) like his father, James Potter. And what did James have that Snape could never have? That’s right…Lily Evans. James even took Lily’s friendship from Severus, not just her (potential) love. How could Snape not resent Harry when he was reminded every time he looked at him about James’s winning Lily from him and Lily’s lifeless body next to Harry’s cot? Snape even says to Dumbledore that, “He is his father over again” (referring to Harry). But Snape’s utter devotion to Lily drove him to protect Harry, even laying down his life for him in the end. Harry, though Snape hated him, was his one last connection to Lily. Just before Severus died, however, he gives Harry his memories to put into the pensieve to show him how he felt about his mother and that he had, in fact, been on Harry’s side all along. This, coupled with the fact that with his last breath, Snape tells Harry he has his mother’s eyes, makes me question if deep down somewhere, Snape did actually care somewhat for Harry. To compare Harry to his mother when we are shown how highly Snape thought of her may indicate a level of affection. I might be reading too much into that, I don’t know.
There is a wonderful exchange between Snape and Dumbledore in ‘The Deathly Hallows’ that literally made me cry over how sweet and romantic and sad Snape’s feelings for Lily are.
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”
“For him?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!”
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”
This is the same scene from the film.
In this exchange, Snape conjures up Lily’s patronus – a doe – for 2 reasons. Firstly, he knew Harry would follow it and find the sword to destroy Salazar Slytherin’s locket. Second, so Dumbledore would see that even after all those years, Snape still loved Lily. Yes, I totally cried during this conversation both reading the book and watching the film. Nobody could have played Snape better than Alan Rickman. He captures Snape’s pain and agony over Lily’s death perfectly.
So, yep. Even though Harry Potter isn’t a romantic, sappy series. The love that Snape had for Lily is my ultimate romance (closely followed by Jasper and Alice from Twilight).