Harry Potter’s Snape Was a Better Headmaster for Hogwarts Than McGonagall Ever Could Be
Many fans don’t understand why Severus Snape was able to use the Headmaster’s office in Hogwarts while Dolores Umbridge couldn’t — and we have the answer.
In Harry Potter, the Hogwarts castle was famously protective of its secrets.
When in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge was appointed the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, she couldn’t gain access to the Headmaster’s office no matter how hard she tried. This was largely explained by the fact that the castle didn’t recognize her authority — and saw her ill intentions that went against the values of Hogwarts.
However, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Lord Voldemort effectively took over Hogwarts and appointed his people to control it, Severus Snape was able to use the Headmaster’s office just the same as Albus Dumbledore. Now, Snape was a Death Eater who allowed other Death Eaters to torture the students, so why did he have this access?
Shouldn’t the castle have recognized Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress, as the rightful owner of the office after Dumbledore’s death?
Logically speaking, it should have, since McGonagall was the successor to the previous Headmaster. However, it all comes back to the way Hogwarts recognizes someone’s authority and legitimacy — and the castle approved Severus Snape.
First and foremost, Snape was most likely the previous Headmaster’s personal choice. Dumbledore approved of Snape and would have wanted him in charge of the castle in such times. Hogwarts valued the predecessors’ opinions.
Second, despite his being a Death Eater, Snape’s sole purpose of staying in Hogwarts was to protect the students. While he couldn’t go against Voldemort or the Carrows directly, he did all he could to minimize the damage, and the castle knew it.
Third and final, Snape was the most adequate choice for the role of the Headmaster. While it’s true that McGonagall would’ve normally inherited this position as Dumbledore’s Deputy, she would’ve quickly been eliminated as an obstacle to Voldemort’s control over the school.
Snape, on the other hand, boasted the perfect balance of noble intentions and having Voldemort’s trust, so with him in power, less harm could be done to the students.
All of that combined, it makes sense why Hogwarts recognized Severus Snape’s authority and allowed him access to the Headmaster’s office.
Either all that or it was simply Dumbledore’s doing. The previous Headmaster was notorious for planning everything in advance, and he could’ve easily arranged the transfer of power to Snape in the case of his death — which, as we know, he also planned in advance. So this option arguably makes even more sense.