“Always.” The meaning is so much more than a single word for Severus Snape. In the Harry Potter films, this one word has become almost as famous as the character played by the late great Alan Rickman. So, what does the quote mean on a larger scale?
That is what we will be looking at in this post. Now, this has nothing to do with the books. “Always” exists in the films only, though it’s been years since we’ve read the books, there might be something in there.
Anyway, the meaning behind “Always” has a few definitions if you look back and analyse it from an analytic perspective. We say this because, despite the audience not knowing about it from the jump, Snape has been behind the scenes protecting Harry Potter, against his better judgement as he’s James Potter’s son. Yet, he’s also Lily’s son too.
Severus Snape And The Childhood Obsession
When it was written in The Half-Blood Prince that Severus Snape and Lily Evans were best friends during their childhoods, it was a surprise. To see this visual was stunning in the film adaptation. What is interesting about the friendship in the beginning is that they related to each other as they are both outsiders.
Lily was the sole magical individual in a family of muggles (non-magical folk, thanks, Hagrid!). This caused her to become estranged from her older sister, Petunia, who wanted to be superior to her younger sibling. She felt threatened by this earth-shattering revelation that Lily was exceptional, and she wasn’t.
Meanwhile, Severus was the second magical person in his family. His mother, Eileen Prince, was a witch married to an abusive muggle husband, Tobias Snape. Having a magical friend so young made him somewhat happier despite his horrible upbringing of constant violence.
As Lily and Snape grew up, Severus became more obsessed with her, and his hatred for James Potter became more profound.
James v. Snape And The End Of A Friendship
James Potter was a natural obstacle for Snape. He was a bully whose number one target was usually Severus. This did not go down well with Lily, one of the few people standing up to him. He seemed to revel in getting her attention, which would cause the tensions between the boys to grow further to the point it would bubble over into their adult lives.
Eventually, Snape would find friends in Tom Riddle’s group of followers who would eventually form another faction of the Death Eaters. His friendship with Lily would suffer and end when he lashes out at her, calling her a “mudblood,” a derogatory term for muggle-born wizards and witches.
Lily, unable to handle what her best friend has called her, severs the friendship and ends up dating James.
Snape Never Stopped Loving Lily
Despite thinking he was better than James, Severus never stopped loving Lily, even after their friendship ended. This became apparent when he agreed to play double agent for Dumbledore when Voldemort marked the Potters, which now included infant Harry, for death.
It’s clear from the flashbacks that Snape was conflicted. He wanted to help because of Lily, but he also didn’t want to because of James and how much their son would be like his father.
However, what won Snape over to watching over Harry when he arrived at Hogwarts was finding Lily’s dead body in Godric’s Hollow after Voldemort had been there and tried to kill baby Harry.
We know his patronus was a Doe due to his love for Lily, also a feature in the books. This was the same in the books for Nymphadora Tonks when her original patronus changed to a werewolf due to her love for Remus Lupin.
Watching Over Harry
For the next decade, Snape is forced to wait for Harry to show up at Hogwarts. During this time, he continued to work as the potions master, but his genuine desire was Defence against the Dark Arts. However, he had to suck it up and deal with it.
Once Harry does arrive at Hogwarts, Snape has to swallow his hatred because the boy looks like James. He is always watching over the child despite Harry’s suspicions about him. Not until he sees Snape’s memories he realises Severus has been on his side the whole time.
Years later, Harry would name his youngest son after Severus due to Snape’s role in protecting him for all those years.
When you look back at the moments like Snape casting the counter-jinx on Harry’s broom during the Philosopher’s Stone, it becomes apparent that Severus has always done what he can to ensure that Harry lives long enough to stop Voldemort.