“But somebody else had spoken Snape’s name, quite softly.
“Severus . . .”
The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
“Severus . . . please . . .”
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.” Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Although the Harry Potter series is centered on the life, struggles, and triumphs of Harry Potter, was he the real hero of the book? After further review of the definition of a melodramatic hero, I would argue that Severus Snape was the true hero of the series. Throughout the novel, Snape is misunderstood. He is a paradox, portrayed as both good and evil relative to the other characters. The melodramatic passage above describes the climatic moment when Snape makes an irreversible jump from good to evil. His action is utterly monstrous, especially in context as he is killing Harry’s father figure in front of his eyes. Harry is forced to watch in silence as someone he looked up to falls into an abyss “like a great rag doll”.
The passage is dripping with melodramatic themes as someone who would be considered a “black hat” and supporter of an oppressive state government kills the leader of the opposition. It seems clear at this point in the novel that Snape represents evil and Harry is the hero, who is pure and good. Yet, at the end of the series, it is revealed that Snape was living a façade all along in order to protect Harry and was completely unaware of the facts of the prophecy. It was Snape’s sacrifice that allowed Harry to slowly become the hero that he is at the end of the novel.