Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love.” 

In the final installment of the series, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) return to Hogwarts. With the help of all their classmates, they attempt to destroy the final horcruxes and once and for all vanquish the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

Severus’ Problem
His name is Severus, so that doesn’t help. Snape (played by the late great, Alan Rickman) is a character whose heart’s desires have made him one of the more fascinating Hogwarts alumni. All bad from the offset, it is surprising when Harry discovers that Snape was actually in love with Harry’s mother, Lily. One criticism noteworthy in the series is that characters tend to be all bad or all good, but the point-of-view of a teenager is a limited one. In defense of Harry, teens tend to categorize people into all parts bad and good, so this might be a reflection of Harry’s maturing narration of the world than of the characters themselves.

Schizoid Personality Disorder
The name of the game here is avoidant. Classified often as loners, people with this personality disorder are hermits. They may have a few close acquaintances, but rarely do they have strong attachments to other people.

  • Lack of Relationships
    Snape doesn’t exactly have a bunch of friends. Likely, he respects his colleagues, but he doesn’t partake in holiday festivities at Hogwarts or host social gatherings.
  • Isolation
    Similar to lack of relationships, people like Snape prefer to do things on their own. They don’t usually ask for help and they could be classified as the highest levels of introverts.
  • Limited Emotional Expression
    Snape has about two settings: Mad and bored. It is not until he reveals his love for Lily that Harry gets a chance to see that there is more to this sullen man than first meets the eye.

Schizoid Personality Disorder…?
Then again…Snape’s possible personality predicament may be due to his spy work. On the one hand, allegiance lies with Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), who tried to protect the Potters, but was thwarted. On the other hand, Snape pretends to be one of Lord Voldemort’s most loyal followers. Perhaps Snape’s manifestation of few relationships and lack of emotional range are intentional. The less other people can read about him, the safer he is leading a double life.

Imposter Syndrome – The Perfectionist
Our last glimpse of a Harry Potter character with imposter syndrome lies in Severus Snape. A perfectionist type, he considers himself a failure if he does not succeed at even one of his many endeavors. There are whispers of this throughout the series: He is head of Slytherin house; he tries every year to become the Defense the Dark Arts professor; he feels a permanent sting over being discarded in favor of James Potter; he failed to protect Lily Potter; and he was the Half-Blood Prince, a wizard whose study skills in the art of potions outdid even Hermione’s.

Although he was an accomplished wizard, Snape’s failures about Defense Against the Dark Arts and Lily Potter are the things he carries closest to him, small failures when one considers how brilliant he was at potions and how both Lord Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore managed to hold him in such high regard. A complicated man to be certain, Severus Snape was still capable of getting his heart broken and this, more than anything else, was the one thing he never wanted anyone to know about him.

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