The Dumbledore-Severus relationship, was it really loyalty between them?
Summary: Throughout the entire Harry Potter series, it is said that Severus Snape is loyal to Dumbledore, but is Severus truly loyal to him? And does Dumbledore himself deserve that loyalty?
I know a number of Potter fans that will agree when I say that, even with all of his flaws, Severus Snape is a substantially loyal character. He remains loyal to Lily Evans-Potter, long after she dismisses him as a friend, and long after she has declared her love for another. He remains loyal to Albus Dumbledore despite the danger he willingly puts him through, seemingly without caring for the outcome. It does take some serious heart to remain loyal to people, even though they hurt you.
The question I pose is simply this: Is Severus Snape truly loyal to Albus Dumbledore, and If he is, does Dumbledore himself deserve that loyalty?
We see evidence in Goblet of Fire that Dumbledore has kept Severus out of severe amounts of trouble with the Ministry and Azkaban. If I was in his situation, I would be very grateful for someone who kept me out of such a horrid place. That, I believe, is THE element that fuels Snape's loyalty to Dumbledore, otherwise I don't see why Severus is loyal to Dumbledore, I only see him as loyal to Lily. In Deathly Hallows, Harry states that "Snape was never your's, he was Dumbledore's." but in that same statement (pg 740) Harry says, "Snape loved my mother nearly all his life" - This seems to create a contradictory statement.
Was Snape Dumbledore's or was he through and through Lily's? Harry also states (pg 741) That "Snape was Dumbledore's spy from the moment you threatened her, and had been ever since." If anything this answers my question; if the Dark Lord hadn't threatened Lily, and Harry, had he chosen to go after Neville instead, Severus would have never changed sides, he would not have hesitated as Voldemort struck down Neville and his parents, so he would never have been the man we know him as today.
I cannot deny however, the fact that Severus was loyal to Dumbledore, to some extent. He responded very differently to Dumbledore then he did to others. He wasn't rude, nor sarcastic, nor bitingly cruel to Dumbledore as he seemed to be to many others. He allowed Dumbledore to see a side of him that was not often seen, and goes far enough to defend him against his fellow Death Eaters.
Another question I pose, if Dumbledore deserves that kind of loyalty from him. As I've stated above, it is evident that Dumbledore got Snape out of a lot of trouble, but is that enough for everything he did serving Dumbledore?
As Severus states in "the Prince's tale" (pg 687) "I have spied for you, lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you, and for what?" For what indeed. It seems to me that Dumbledore knew what he was asking Severus to do. He knew that by the end of the war, he could potentially be dead, yet he didn't show any remorse for the fact, at least that I detected, so aside from putting him in mortal danger, and keeping him out of a prison that he could have avoided (like many of his fellows) what did Albus Dumbledore do to deserve that kind of undying loyalty?
Not much, I think, but that's only the opinion of one diehard fan. I'm sure that many others could find ways to heavily contradict me, but as for my opinion, you have it. Severus Snape was loyal to Lily Potter, and the loyalty he gave to Albus Dumbledore was far from being deserved.