Have you ever been so impacted by just one word? One word that set the pace for everything you have ever wanted something to live up to? One word that made you think about the universe and how it spins, how the world could change at the drop of a pin? One word, to change everything.
When I was younger first flipping through the pages of Harry Potter and marveling in a world that was so close but yet so far, I never truly grasped the meaning being Always. One word that changed the pace of everything prior and everything to come after. It was that one word that changed everything for me when I reread the books, for the 10th or maybe 20th time – I never really kept track of how many times I read through them. It was when it finally dawned on me that Snape was the hero of this story, that Snape was such an iconic character, that Snape sacrificed his entire moral compass for his love for Lily. There was nothing wrong with the way he carried himself, there was nothing wrong with him except for the fact that his hatred for the one that took away his one and only love. Can you really blame him for that? Can you blame him for creating a life to protect, to serve, to unite? No, you really can’t. You can’t because in a reality where you were faced with the same obstacle, finding the love of your life, death in her eyes and in your arms with her child in the background crying, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same things. You would try and protect that child that had her eyes, the eyes that you fell in love with. The eyes that changed the world for you, the world that was there only to out you down and all she wanted to do was pick you up. His Always was her, his Always was finding the ways he could make her proud, his Always was protecting Harry to the very end.
Snape was never my first choice for my favourite character, it took me years of fighting with myself and losing battles with myself to come to the realization that he is the best reflection of what we are as humans. Snape is our best, our worst and everything in between. Our best attributes are only made apparent when our worst attributes are taken into consideration. Our flaws, imperfections, quirks, the monster within – Snape never hid any of these. He never failed at anything he went out and tried to do: yes, he was a Death Eater who killed the only other person he ever came to love but he did that out of that love, he promise it would be him to do pull his want and utter, “AVADA KEDAVRA,” he kept his word. Yet, he was still that warm person Lily knew under it all, the one was a courageous protector of her son which risked his own life in the meantime. Snape was also a jealous man, a man that was so spiteful over the loss of Lily to James, spiteful that he would never be the Professor of the Dark Arts but he was Always the first one to sacrifice himself to protect others (whether they knew it or not). It is in his imagine that I strive to be the best and the worst of myself because without both sides combating to be the most dominant in this crazy world we live in, are we really truly going to be our best selves? Can we be the best at something without failing at it a few times? Of course not, you have to be the one to pick yourself back up, be your encouraging words when your worst self is telling you to stay down. We have to be picky, we have to be arrogant, we have to fail in order to be successful, to be independent, to be honest. We have to be our best and our worst to be capable of the most basic of human emotions.
Losing faith in Snape was easy at first, reading through the pages where he kills Dumbledore without knowing the promise, because it was then that reality of the words set it, that this man really is horrible. I was shaken, taken aback by tears that wouldn’t stop, breathing that was ragged. In those moment I gave up hope, a hope that was never really mine to give up. I put the book down, let the crying stop and took a long breath. Was this really happening? Did J.K. Rowling just let one of the most powerful wizards die? Did she really hate us all? The questions kept coming, the answers hung in the air. It was impossible feeling going through the rest of the book without Dumbledore there, without the constant that held the trio and Hogwarts together. I finished it. I thought for a few days, weeks, months, I don’t remember how long and read it again. It all clicked. BOOM, just like that; I realized that Snape, this man that was so dark and transfixed within a jealousy and sadness so deep was the hero in this story, my hero.
“Look…at…me…” he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
It was in his darkest moments and in his most honest moments that Harry saw in the Pensieve that I realized Dumbledore was right all along, hope should never be lost on Snape. I felt it all, the boy who was bullied and antagonized by James, Sirius, Lupin and Wormtail along for the ride. The man who did the very same thing to Harry just in spite for everything that his father had done. It was a conflict of emotions so profound that they, to this day, have never left me. They are the reason for me falling for Alan Rickman as Snape and as every other character he portray prior. They are to blame for the tears that fell when a man I had never met but felt I knew through the characters he played and the interviews he gave, died. Every emotion, every word. Alan Rickman brought Always to life for me, I will forever thank him for that.
“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.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Let Always be your forever.