i don’t understand why the chapter the prince’s tale has caused so many people to shed snape in a better light and paint him as this tragic character who was in love and had an awful life and deserves to be put on some kind of pitying, loving pedestal. if anything, that chapter only served to highlight his awful behavior, at least for me.
so, the first part of his memory shows snape jumping out of the bushes to tell lily that she’s a wizard after she’s performed this feat that should be impossible, and that’s all well and good. then, he proceeds to insist that lily is a witch, and petunia responds rather hautily, “’wizard! i know who you are. you’re that snape boy!… why have you been spying on us?’” obviously petunia’s not being the nicest, and so snape responds “’haven’t been spying. wouldn’t spy on you, anyway, you’re a muggle’”. right off the bat, here’s proof of snape’s prejudice against muggles. this didn’t just magically appear in hogwarts as a result of the people he was forced to spend time around - the sentiment was already there.
then, in another scene, lily and snape are underneath a tree, talking. it’s in this scene that we see the sort of weird obsession snape has with lily, when jk rowling writes “he watched her as greedily as he had watched her in the playground”. rowling wouldn’t have used this wording if she didn’t want to emphasize the way he was looking at her - how lily has become this kind of escape for him, maybe his only source of friendship and happiness. and i’m not denying him that, but treating her this way is obviously unhealthy and leads to problems.
the next scene is on platform nine and three quarters, when lily is preparing to leave for her first year at hogwarts. it’s revealed that petunia sent a letter to dumbledore asking if she could come too, and that it was snape’s idea to read the letter when he saw it, full well knowing how tense petunia and lily’s relationship is and how this could affect it.
then, once on the train, snape’s prejudices are revealed once again. lily is crying because petunia called her a freak and the two aren’t on good terms, and snape says “’so what?’”. lily replies “’so she’s my sister!’” to which snape says “she’s only a -’” obviously about to imply that petunia is inferior because she’s a muggle.
then, a few years after, lily and snape are talking in the hallway. snape calls dark magic “’…a laugh, that’s all’” and when lily calls him on it, he immediately shifts the conversation to james potter, attempting to change the subject, to which lily replies (rightfully), “’what’s potter got to do with anything?’” obviously, despite knowing the ideals and actions of people like avery and mulciber, snape isn’t able to take responsibility for being friends with them. then, when lily she knows that james is awful, but then continues to chastise snape for the company he keeps, he doesn’t take note of anything but the fact that she doesn’t like james. he treats her like something that he needs to keep a hold onto.
in the next scene, set after the fifth year incident, snape doesn’t even deny that he wants to be/his friends are death eaters. he’s come to “apologize” to lily for calling her a slur, and he doesn’t even deny he is in a group that thinks that calls people the slur and who want to kill them. lily says it best: “’but you call everyone of my biirth mudblood, severus. why should i be any different?.”
then, snape is in dumbledore’s office. voldemort has just revealed that he thinks lily’s son is the son of the prophecy, and he wants to kill the whole family. dumbledore asks “’if she means so much to you, surely lord voldemort will spare her? could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?’ ‘i have - i have asked him -’ ‘you disgust me. you do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? they can die, as long as you have what you want?’ snape said nothing, but merely looked up at dumbledore.” yeah, me too dumbledore. snape disgusts me too. the fact that he was willing to let a child die so that he could have lily is appalling. this is where his true character is revealed, because this is a grown man who claims to be in love with a woman, yet doesn’t realize that if you love someone you want them to be happy, not want to have them.
the part of the chapter that has to do with lily does absolutely nothing to paint their relationship in any sort of healthy, positive light, and honestly serves to reveal snape’s true character of being a pretty awful person.