OK, here it is. Please don’t start flame wars over it, but this year I’d like to apologise for killing (whispers)… Snape. *runs for cover*
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 2, 2017
In July 2007, when I read Snape’s death scene and realized his author wasn’t going to give him any life beyond the unimaginable struggles of the war, and he would die without the grace of any acknowledgment from a fellow human, without rest or mercy or the sweetness of love or thanks… I was so angry that my face burned from the inside. I could feel the temperature of my cheeks rising detectably. I noticed it with wonder and a bit of detachment because it surprised me so much. It was completely involuntary. I’ve never before or since had that kind of reaction to a piece of fiction.
I was so sure that the story, the real story, would be about how this man did all of these strenuous, superhuman tasks and then survived. How could that not be the story? The tale of how he took the remainder of his time on earth to unpack from the years of unrelenting, mounting stress, the danger that had passed into supersonic levels of pressure?
His labors were harder than I had been capable of imagining. I had naively thought that there would be some reward for him. I hadn’t acclimated to the reality that this character had, himself, accepted: it’s difficult to do things knowing, for absolute certain, that you will die without your sacrifices ever being acknowledged or even recognized. To go to your grave accepting that people will wrongly spit on it, accepting that this will be worthwhile.
Please let there be someone in the current U.S. government who has the inner strength to do what Snape died doing. I accept the author’s apology for Snape’s death. She showed us what is necessary in times when mastery of the Elder Wand is at stake.