JK Rowling reveals mystery of the naming of Harry Potter's child, Albus Severus
JK Rowling has finally answered a question that has plagued Harry Potter fans since her final book was released.
The author is well known for responding to fans' questions on Twitter and duly replied when one reader asked, "Why did you pick Snape to name Harry's kid after? I'm genuinely curious as he was nothing but abusive towards everyone."
In a series of eight tweets, Rowling explained that Harry had named his middle child Albus Severus because of "forgiveness and gratitude" to former Potions teacher, later Hogwarts' headmaster, Severus Snape.
"Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude," she wrote.
In the series, Harry and Snape are pitted as enemies and readers see Snape return to Lord Voldemort's side and kill headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the penultimate book, The Half Blood Prince.
However, in The Deathly Hallows it is revealed just before Snape's death that he acted on Dumbledore's orders and has protected Harry throughout his time at school - albeit while bullying him mercilessly - because of an enduring love for his mother, Lily.
In the epilogue, Albus Severus is seen worriedly asking his father about ending up in Slytherin house, to which Harry replies: "Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
But Snape's cruelty to Harry and classmates including Neville Longbottom has long had fans questioning whether he was the right decision as a namesake and Rowling's answer did not seem to satisfy some ardent fans.
One Twitter user stated: "Kind of strange you'd say 'in forgiveness', I mean Snape held no malice against Harry (which Harry came to knew, eventually)."
She clarified: "That's not true, I'm afraid. Snape projected his hatred and jealousy of James onto Harry.
"There's a whole essay in why Harry gave his son Snape's name, but the decision goes to the heart of who Harry was, post-war.
"This morning I've been thinking a lot about the appeal of simple dichotomies in our messy world, then you raise Snape! Highly appropriate."
Rowling continued to delve into the psyche of her characters.
"Snape is all grey. You can't make him a saint: he was vindictive & bullying. You can't make him a devil: he died to save the wizarding world."
She continued: "In honouring Snape, Harry hoped in his heart that he too would be forgiven. The deaths at the Battle of Hogwarts would haunt Harry forever."
One tweet, since deleted, accused her of going on a rant, to which she wrote: "No, not a rant; I'm thoughtful, not upset! Snape deserves both admiration and disapprobation, like most of us."
The author, who now writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith, held no animosity towards fans who challenged the child's name.
"I've got to say this: you lot have been arguing about Snape for years. My timeline just exploded with love & fury yet again. Never change x"
Albus Severus will be the subject of Rowling's stage play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, opening in London in July 2016.