In both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and the book upon which it is based, we learn that Harry Potter has named one of his sons after Severus Snape. Why did he do this? It's a point of discussion that has been debated ever since it was revealed back on July 21, 2007. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, a fan asked author and creator of this universe, J.K. Rowling, if she had a definitive answer. And she gave one on her official Twitter page.
"Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily [Harry's mother]. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude."
Of course, this has only served to fuel the debate. Fans aren't taking this answer lightly, especially considering that Snape has long been one of the franchise's most polarizing figures. In true form, J.K. Rowling didn't let her answer rest on her own laurels. She continued with a series of Tweets, explaining the following.
"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. There's a whole essay in why Harry Potter gave his son Snape's name, but the decision goes to the heart of who Harry was, post-war. This morning I've been thinking a lot about the appeal of simple dichotomies in our messy world, then you raise Snape! Highly appropriate. 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. 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."
Snape is a very complex man. And it's no wonder that so many fans stand on both sides of the fence when trying to defend his actions. J.K. Rowling had this to say about his character.
"Snape was a bully who loved the goodness he sensed in Lily without being able to emulate her. That was his tragedy. 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, 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. Harry chose to perpetuate the names of the two who had nobody in their families to do so."
Even with this definitive answer, fans don't seem to want to let it rest. And they point to all of the other characters that died to save the Wizarding World, who weren't honored in such a manner. J.K. Rowling does sum up Snape quite nicely. And it's an accurate portrayal of the man. Perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Snape had no one to carry on his name, while the others who passed away in the great final battle at Hogwarts did.