Snape’s Best Decisions In The Chamber Of Secrets


Snape is undoubtedly the most controversial character in Harry Potter – and his decision to be cruel to Harry, despite claiming to ‘love’ Harry’s mother, is central to that controversy. Throughout the series, Snape makes choices that turn him into the villain, and never explains himself or behaves in a particularly redeeming way… until the end, of course, when it is shown that he is working for Dumbledore, and that at many points, he was actually protecting Harry (while still seeming to hate him).

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In The Chamber of Secrets, Snape has a relatively small part in the plot (at least, compared to most of the other installments in the franchise) but his part does involve some good decisions. Some of these helped Harry in the same year, others helped him in the long run, some helped everyone in the school, and one was just plain satisfying.

5 Not Punishing Harry For Stealing

Harry and Ron get scolded by Snape in Chamber of Secrets

Harry and Ron’s decision to steal a car and crash into school very nearly got them expelled – and Dumbledore made it clear that any other major transgression would do it. It’s likely because of this that Snape decided not to punish Harry and his friends for stealing from his store cupboards to make Polyjuice Potion – Snape knew that if Harry was expelled, he would no longer be able to protect the boy.

However, there is no doubt that he knew. Harry suggests that he ‘read his mind’, hinting at the possibility that Snape quite literally did this, and it’s very clear in this and other books that Snape knew who was stealing. However, he chose to stay silent, to protect Harry. This, of course, let Hermione brew their potion – one that would help them in the short term, but also become vitally important later on, in their hunt for Horcruxes. And, of course, had Harry been expelled, everything would have been different.

4 Blasting Lockhart In Duelling Club

Snape and Lockhart duelling

The Duelling Club may have been short-lived (it didn’t make a reappearance after Harry’s one scene with a snake), but it was incredibly useful – and Snape’s decision to take part was an interesting one. At the time, it seemed strange, but it may well have been an intentional choice to try and help Harry learn to defend himself. He made a few good choices here, including the decision to get rid of Draco’s snake before it hurt someone, but the most satisfying had to be the choice not to hold back – and to blast Lockhart.

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By this point in the second year, Lockhart is easily the most hated Hogwarts professor – even over Snape – and seeing him get absolutely taken down in dueling club was a phenomenal scene. However, it also showed that Lockhart wasn’t quite the man he pretended to be.


3 Teaching Harry His First Defensive Spell

The other incredible choice that Snape made in Dueling Club was to teach Harry (and the rest of the students) the defensive spell Expelliarmus, a spell that he would continue to use throughout his life – including against Voldemort himself. In fact, it is this spell that saved Harry’s life when he and Voldemort battled in the graveyard (as well as, of course, the connection between their wands), keeping him alive long enough to form the DA and start studying other defensive spells.

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Had Snape not made the decision to join the Club, or to teach this spell, it may well have actually cost Harry his life – something that would have changed everything for the series and the Wizarding World. Not for the first time, Snape was able to protect Harry – even while Harry assumed he was a villain.

2 Refusing To Brew Love Potions

Riddle Love Potion

It didn’t quite make it into the movie, but in the Chamber of Secrets book, Lockhart makes a great deal of fuss around Valentine’s Day – including joking that Snape would ‘whip up’ a love potion for students. Snape, however, makes it extremely clear that he will have nothing to do with Love Potions.

This is a particularly interesting choice as love potions are clearly legal and widely available in the Wizarding World (something that fans have called out as a particularly problematic form of magic), yet Snape will not teach them or make them. This could be seen as simple bitterness, as the woman he loved did not love him in return, but it also makes a key point about who he is. For all his (many) faults, Snape never used a love potion – not even on Lily, whom he loved his entire life. As a master potion maker, he clearly could have done so, and in a way that would have been undetectable, and presumably legal (although the legality of these potions is never made entirely clear) – however, he makes it clear that even he will not stoop to this level – clearly a positive decision on his part (if one that only the worst villains would not make).

1 Brewing The Restorative Draught

While Professor Sprout is the one who raised the mandrakes for the Restorative Draught, it was Snape and his potion skills that actually brewed it – and of course, this is the Draught that returned all the Petrified students (and ghosts, and cat) to their living state. This may seem like it’s barely even a decision, of course, as Snape would have had to be a true villain to refuse to brew this, but at the time, fans believed he was! And, of course, he could have ‘accidentally’ done something to mess it up… even for Snape, though, that’s outside of the realm of possibility. Throughout the series, he brews potions to help others, backing up his claims as a misunderstood good guy.

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