Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling or the tragedy of Albus Severus Potter’s name

I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I didn't want to review it, but I had thoughts.

Who is Albus Severus Potter? He is Harry Potter’s youngest son. You knew that, obviously. Why am I mentioning him now when he doesn’t show up until the epilogue? Because I recently listened to the third book and the fact that he isn’t named after Lupin is a fucking tragedy. Also Albus Severus is extremely clunky. Like, dude? Albus Severus? They’re both pretty tough names on their own, and you shoved ‘em together?

When I just listened to the Prisoner of Azkaban I got more and more upset about Snape. Here’s the thing. Harry’s mother was friends with Snape, she broke his heart, he got angry about her not loving him, and called her a Mudblood. Harry’s dad was a piece of shit and bullied Snape. Snape’s natural curiosity and nosiness made him follow the Marauders around and they in turn bullied him because Snape was sort of pitiful and they were handsome, clever and popular boys. Because they were handsome and clever and popular they got a slightly [very] inflated sense of self and James in particular became an entitled prick. Snape then found power and community with the Death Eaters and Voldemort, and he probably didn’t help James and Lily. And I’m pretty sure that if Lily had survived he would never left Voldemort, he would have lived in his fantasy world where he would probably have kidnapped Lily and tried to convince her to love him. Because Lily died he decided to be a turncoat, and work for Dumbledore. He also internalized all his hate and all his victimizing in school and turned it into bullying. He saw Harry on his first day of school, saw someone who reminded him of James, and by extension Lily, and decided to turn his life into hell. He takes every opportunity he can to make Harry’s life miserable. Not just Harry’s life, but I’ll get back to that. But Harry has not done anything to upset Snape other than exist. And Snape clearly takes that to be an insult. Because he’s a jackass.

Now Harry isn’t the only student that Snape bullies. He bullies pretty much anyone who isn’t in Slytherin. His other victims include Hermione, who is easily his best student in that year, and he refuses to give her points, he doesn’t call on her, and he doesn’t actually want students to answer questions. Which seems pointless. It really annoys me that Dumbledore insisted on making Snape a teacher, because Snape; hates children. He hates his students. He doesn’t seem to like teaching, and he seems to be angry when people excel, so why Dumbledore didn’t make him do literally anything else is baffling. His other, most pitiful, victim is Neville Longbottom. Neville is an incredibly inept wizard. He’s good at Herbology, and he’s not bad at Charms, but not at much else. Snape terrifies and bullies him. To the extent that when Neville meets a boggart his deepest, most harrowing fear, is Severus Snape. Why aren’t the other teachers stopping him by the way? Anyways; other teachers berate Neville when he messes up, which is fair enough, Snape assumes that Neville will mess up and doesn’t give him a chance not to. Snape is mean, he’s cruel, and he’s a bully.

So why did Harry name his son Severus? Because Snape was a double agent and he did save Harry’s life. He did it because Dumbledore made him, and he did it because he wanted Lily. He didn’t do it out of any sympathy towards Harry. He took every opportunity to bully Harry and his friends. He took every opportunity to mock Sirius. And while he did make potion for Lupin, he did also reveal his secret out of spite. He lost Lupin his job and he suffered no consequence.

Remus Lupin - hero
Lupin on the other hand is kind, he’s sweet, and he does try to inspire his students. He gives Neville a chance. He believes in him and he boosts his confidence and never says an unkind word to him. He treats everyone the same, and he has faith in both Snape and Malfoy, no matter how often they’re unkind to him. I did notice something interesting this time, which I haven’t noticed before. When they’re in the Shrieking Shack and Harry asks why Snape hated his dad Lupin says he thought Snape was jealous of James. Lupin knows exactly what James did to Snape. He knows Sirius and James tortured Snape in school, and made his life hell. He knows Snape loved Lily and that James and Lily’s relationship hurt him. He straight up lies. And they keep lying. They never really tell Harry everything. Sirius and Lupin probably don’t want to throw James under the bus and they want Harry to be proud of his dad, and of being James’ son. But they should be honest with him. At least to a wider extent than they were. Harry should be able to deal with his dad not being perfect. And I think he can too.

Here’s the thing. Remus Lupin is unflinchingly kind to Harry, he goes out of his way to help him, protect him and keep him safe. He isn’t Harry’s dad, he’s not his godfather, but he is a decent human being, so he does everything he can. It extends to after Hogwarts, Lupin always seems willing to help. And Lupin fought against Voldemort because it’s the right thing to do, because he wanted freedom, and because Voldemort was evil. He didn’t fight him because of some selfish beef because Voldemort killed someone he was in love with. Someone who didn’t love him back. Someone who he felt entitled to. Yes Snape is brave, but he never let go of his shitty teenaged resentment and his entitled, shitty, racist misogyny, and he took it out on children. Children. Yes he protected them when he was head master, don’t care. He consistently, and cruelly bullied, and terrified them for no reason other than they were there.

Here’s the thing; as a character Snape is fascinating. He’s incredibly intelligent, angry, and troubled, he’s been bullied by his dad, by his classmates, and he manages to alienate his oldest, and only friend. He makes awful choices instead of rising above it and trying to make amends. He’s haunted, and he’s clearly in pain, and he’s relatable in that he’s been bullied, and he has this unrequited (albeit creepy) crush on Lily. It makes him fascinating. It doesn’t make him a hero, a martyr, or a good person. He’s a jackass.

Remus Lupin was kind and protective of Harry from the moment they met, he fought Voldemort from his twenties, and he died to give his son a better world. Snape was angry Voldemort killed a girl he liked and fought him while bullying children and hating Harry for no reason, and being an awful teacher. Remus Lupin deserves a namesake, Snape doesn’t.