The ‘Always’ quote by Severus Snape in the final book of the Harry Potter series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a very important one.
It is a turning point not only for the character arc of Severus Snape, but a bombshell reveal for the entire story as a whole.
Snape’s response ‘Always’ to Dumbledore reveals that Severus Snape was and always will be in love with Harry Potter’s mother, Lily Potter. In doing so, he is also revealing his true intentions and allegiance.
Read to learn the true significance of this quote.
What is the ‘Always’ Quote by Snape?
To understand just how important this is to the overall story, it’s important to understand the full quote and the context in which it is revealed.
In a candid conversation between Dumbledore and Snape, Albus asks Severus if he had actually grown to become fond of Harry.
Instead of answering, Snape summons his Patronus, a Silver Doe, which was also the same exact Patronus of his late, unrequited love, Lily Potter.
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously.
“Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?” “For him?” shouted Snape.
“Expecto Patronum!” From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window.
Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears. “After all this time?”
“Always,” said SnapeHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
What Is the Context of the Always Quote?
Throughout the series, Severus Snape’s intentions were murky and questionable at best. His hatred and resentment towards Harry Potter was always overt and apparent.
It was not until Harry enters into Dumbledore’s memory of a previous conversation with Snape via Pensieve that Snape’s motivation and intentions become much clearer.
In a tense conversation, Dumbledore suggests sacrificing Harry Potter’s life in order to gain an advantage against the Death Eaters. Snape, seemingly uncharacteristically, shows hesitation and discomfort at the idea of intentionally putting Harry in danger:
I have spied for you, and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Dumbledore– surprised, (and perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek) asks Snape if this was coming from a place of concern for Harry Potter.
It is here that Snape reveals where his loyalties have been and always will be.
What does the Always symbol mean in Harry Potter?
Snape’s summoning of the silver doe Patronus (the same Patronus as Lily Potter) is a symbol and a testament to Snape’s unconditional love for and loyalty to Harry’s mother.
‘Always’ tells both Dumbledore and the reader that everything Snape had done and will do is in the name of his love for Lily Potter.
Snape, despite his resentment and seeming hatred towards Harry, had actually also been looking out for his safety the entire time. Even though Harry bore a striking resemblance to Harry’s father and Snape’s rival James Potter, Snape protected him nonetheless.
Snape felt a deep sense of guilt and shame associated with Lily and her death, and protecting Harry would in part make it up to Lily and her memory.
Why did Snape Feel Guilt Towards Lily?
Snape felt guilt towards Lily because he felt partially responsible for her death. As an up-and-coming Death Eater, Snape spied upon a meeting between Dumbledore and Sybill Trelawney.
During this meeting, Sybill entered into a trance and revealed the prophecy of a child who will come to defeat the dark lord.
Although Snape was not able to overhear the full prophecy, looking to gain favor with the dark lord, he quickly relayed everything he had overheard back to Voldemort himself.
Voldemort, based on the information Snape provided, concluded that the child was in fact Harry Potter, and proceeded to murder both James and Lily.
If Snape had known the prophecy would put Lily at risk, we can be quite certain that he would not have told Voldemort.