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Why Was Harry's Child Named After Snape? J.K. Rowling Explains

The Great Snape debate has been going on in this fandom forever, and in a series of tweets J.K. Rowling answered Friday morning, she finally weighed in.

By Karina ThyraPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

There are three types of opinions about Albus Severus Potter's name - lovers, haters, and in-betweeners, as J.K. Rowling put it. Harry naming his child after Albus Dumbledore is somewhat understandable, but after Severus Snape... What?!

Personally, I love the name and I think it's perfect. I frequently see comments in Harry Potter fanpages that question Harry's choice of name. Comments such as "Why didn't he let Ginny have a say in naming the kids?" Not that it's our business, but she named an owl 'Pigwidgeon'. Also, they probably agreed on the kids' names together. Other comments also happen to be why Harry didn't name Al after Hagrid or Arthur Weasley (the latter has other children to be fair).

The Great Snape debate has been going on in this fandom forever, and in a series of tweets J.K. Rowling answered Friday morning, she finally weighed in her thoughts about it. Though I think it was pretty self-explanatory in the epilogue, it's still a joy to see Jo answering our burning questions about the ever expanding world of Harry.8

The tweet that started it all.

@jk_rowling Why did you pick Snape to name Harry's kid after? I'm genuinely curious as he was nothing but abusive towards everyone.— Jasmine (@FrazzyJazzy7) November 27, 2015
Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude. — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

She knows all of us have been arguing about Al's name for years, and she addressed it in this tweet:

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 x— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Though she also knows that while Snape had a turbulent issue with James Potter in the past, it's not an excuse for him to be ridiculously biased. And mean towards Harry & co.

@jk_rowling Kind of strange you'd say 'in forgiveness', I mean Snape held no malice against Harry (which Harry came to knew, eventually).— Capt Planet (@CaptPlanet_) November 27, 2015
That's not true, I'm afraid. Snape projected his hatred and jealousy of James onto Harry. — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

She even said that there's a whole essay about why Harry named his son after Snape. The decision was a part of who he was after the war.

There's a whole essay in why Harry gave his son Snape's name, but the decision goes to the heart of who Harry was, post-war.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
This morning I've been thinking a lot about the appeal of simple dichotomies in our messy world, then you raise Snape! Highly appropriate.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Jo then went on to tweet the reason why the deceased Potions Professor and former Hogwarts Headmaster was chosen as Al's namesake.

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— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
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.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

We will always remember.

She also clarified that she wasn't ranting or upset. Just thoughtful.

"...Snape deserves both admiration and disapprobation, like most of us. "

How about Dumbledore?

The other name in question was Harry's choice of Dumbledore's first name. The author responded to this cryptic tweet from a fan.

@jk_rowling I'd like to see you do one of these about Dumbledore - he's the character I've had the most issues with upon reflection.— Natalie Fisher (@nataliefisher) November 27, 2015

Is the 'most issues' about Dumbledore leaving infant Harry at Privet Drive for the Dursleys, where Harry endured 11 years of abuse and neglect? Or the fact that he was raising Harry as a pawn and didn't even tell him about the prophecy?

Ah, now, that wouldn't be an essay. That would be a week-long residential course.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

J.K. Rowling took a break for a while because she needed to do some work, and went back to see that the Snape debate is still on fire!

She responded to a tweet that says Snape can be categorized as evil because of his inexcusable behavior towards his students. Even those that particularly didn't deserve it.

@jk_rowling @caitxjean well u can cuz he bullied small children and died for his obsession w lily, not to save the world— emo trash (@maddiekayray) November 27, 2015

Say what you will about Snape, but he wasn't "obsessed" with Lily. They were friends even before James was in the picture!

Snape was a bully who loved the goodness he sensed in Lily without being able to emulate her. That was his tragedy.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

The following tweets just makes the goodness in Snape's heart shine even more.

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 1/2— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
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. 2/2— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

So, if Harry chose to honor those who died in the war, why not name his child after those who aren't cruel to him in the first place?

"he died to save the wizarding world" WHAT ABOUT REMUS, BLACK, DUMBLEDORE, TONKS, FRED, MRS WEASLEY RON HERMIONE???? — THANK YOU J.K. (@Hogwartslifee) November 27, 2015

"All wizards matter" (aside from Voldemort or Grindelwald, that is.)

Harry chose to perpetuate the names of the two who had nobody in their families to do so. — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Of course these are just fictional characters, but we can't help it. They're just as human as we are.

Please could we all keep our discussion about this fictional character civil? There's enough rage on Twitter without Snape-related hate.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Snape didn't die a selfish death. Even if his death was for Lily or Harry. He knows he'll gain nothing from it, yet he still chose to do so. All his sacrifices contributed a lot to Voldemort's defeat, and to save the Wizarding world.

He stood to gain nothing personally but the triumph of the cause Lily had believed in. He was trying to do right. — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Before signing off for dinner, she thanked everyone for participating in the unplanned debate.

Well, thanks to everyone who participated in today's unplanned debate: "Snape: Good, Evil or What?" People to dinner - got to go! xxx— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015

Remember this profound advice from Dumbledore, which you can take out of context (because we're talking about Al's name here.)

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

People are fighting over Al's name like this... I guess you could say he really is a 'Cursed Child'.

Source: J.K. Rowling


About the Creator

Karina Thyra

Fangirl of sorts.

Twitter: @ArianaGsparks

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