|Born|| 9 January, 1960 |
|Died|| 2 May, 1998 |
Shrieking Shack (aged 38)
|Blood status|| Half-blood |
|Marital status|| Single |
|Also known as|
|Species|| Human |
|Gender|| Male |
|Hair colour|| Black |
|Eye colour|| Black |
|Skin colour|| Pale |
|Wand|| Unknown length, wood and core materials |
|Patronus|| Doe |
|House|| Slytherin |
Severus Snape was a half-blood wizard, the son of the witch Eileen Prince, and the Muggle Tobias Snape. Despite Severus Snape's wizarding heritage, he was instead raised in the Muggle dwelling of Spinner's End, which was actually in close proximity to the home of the Evans family. He met Lily and Petunia Evans when he was nine, and fell deeply in love with Lily, becoming a very close friend of hers. In 1971 he began his first term at Hogwarts where he was sorted into Slytherin. Severus became the immediate enemy of James Potter and Sirius Black and was a frequent victim of their bullying. Snape had developed a passion for the Dark Arts at a young age, and had followed the pure-blood supremacists in Slytherin House, despite his own marred pedigree and his love for Lily, a Muggle-born. This put his friendship with Lily under great strain. After leaving school he joined the Death Eaters along with a large group of his fellow Slytherins.
Shortly before Lily Evans was killed by Lord Voldemort, Snape changed sides and became a member of the Order of the Phoenix and double agent during the Second Wizarding War. With tremendous difficulty, Snape was able to prevent Lord Voldemort from learning the truth about his loyalties. Despite the opinions of most others, Albus Dumbledore trusted Snape for reasons that were kept between them both until their deaths. Upon his death, it was revealed that his deep love for Lily Evans caused him to redeem himself, joining Dumbledore's cause at the prospect of her protection from Lord Voldemort. The relationship between Dumbledore and Snape would be one of an unusually strong loyalty, so much so that Snape agreed to kill Dumbledore upon Dumbledore's own request. Before Dumbledore's death, Snape promised to protect the students of Hogwarts from the Death Eaters, who would inevitably take control of the Ministry of Magic, as well as the school. Snape later participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, but was killed by Lord Voldemort who mistakenly believed that Snape was the master of the Elder Wand, a powerful wand that Voldemort wanted. After his death, Harry Potter ensured that Severus Snape's portrait remained at Hogwarts, honouring him as a hero, despite their significant personal differences.
Severus Snape was born 9 January, 1960 to Eileen Prince, a pure-blood witch, and Tobias Snape, a Muggle, making him a half-blood wizard. Severus, whose father was emotionally vacant, began to identify with his mother's family and created a secret nickname from his mother's maiden name, calling himself "the Half Blood Prince." His unhappy relationship with his father may have been the origin of his contempt for Muggles. It is implied that Severus was friendless and uncared for by his parents. This lack of care largely shaped Severus' unpleasant personality and cruel behaviour later in his life.
- Lily Evans: "They’re not arguing any more?"
- Severus Snape: "Oh yes, they’re arguing. But it won’t be that long and I’ll be gone."
- Lily Evans: "Doesn’t your dad like magic?"
- Severus Snape: "He doesn’t like anything, much."
- — Severus and Lily discussing his family.[src]
Severus' parents lived in a Muggle town near a river, at a place called Spinner's End. This was Severus' home throughout his years at Hogwarts. Spinner's End, located in Cokeworth, is an area of poverty, with cobbled streets, broken street lamps, disused factories and dilapidated houses. Lily Evans and her family likely lived in the same town, close to Spinner's End. After watching her for some time, Severus noticed her evident magical abilities and began making friendly overtures. The two bonded quickly and it appears that he was very interested in Lily right from the beginning, which was never returned though she regarded him as a friend. During this time he also developed a strong enmity towards her sister, Petunia. This was most likely because she made disparaging comments about his clothes and residence, but may also be because she was a Muggle.
Information from Snape's own memories of his first interactions with Lily and Petunia suggests that he was an awkward child with poor social skills. Even when it was important to him to make a good impression, he always seemed to have trouble doing so. Snape's father did not seem to approve of magic, while Severus expressed a disdain for Muggles, even though, or perhaps because, his father was one. The memories show that both he and Lily had powerful talents for magic before attending Hogwarts.
Hogwarts yearsEditSeverus attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a student from 1971 to 1978, and was Sorted into Slytherin, at that time led by Potions professor, Horace Slughorn. On the way to Hogwarts for his first year, Snape sat with Lily on the train, where they met James Potter and Sirius Black. This hostile first encounter, during which James and Sirius came up with the derogatory nickname "Snivellus," would set the tone for Snape's enmity with the two Gryffindor wizards for the rest of his life.
Snape was made a member of the Slug Club, presumably because of his brilliance at potion-making, and Horace Slughorn kept a picture of him as a student, clutching his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. Despite this, Slughorn did not have many hopes for Snape's future, as his photograph was kept behind many others.
According to Sirius Black, Snape excelled at the Dark Arts from an early age; while still in his first year, he knew more curses and hexes than most of the seventh year students. He reportedly was friends with a gang of Slytherins who later became Death Eaters, including Avery and Mulciber. Severus created quite an amount of spells like Langlock, Levicorpus, Liberacorpus, Muffliato, Sectumsempra, and the Toenail Growth Hex . Other Slytherins that Sirius mentioned as being friends with Snape included Evan Rosier, Wilkes and his cousin Bellatrix Black (later to become Bellatrix Lestrange). Severus also had contact with Lucius Malfoy, who was a prefect during Snape's first year and who greeted him with a pat on the back when he was sorted into the Slytherin House, suggesting that he treated him kindly at Hogwarts (which could also be a reason why Snape seems to favour Draco Malfoy during his later teaching years). Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were also classmates of Severus. James Potter and his group of friends were constantly at war with Snape throughout their school years. Snape's memories, recorded in the Pensieve, suggest that he was an introverted and studious individual, whereas James was cocky, popular, and athletic. Immediately upon meeting him, Potter disliked Snape for expressing a desire to be in Slytherin. Potter's crush on Lily and Severus' close friendship and unrequited love for her also heightened the tension between the two.
One recorded memory in the Pensieve bears witness to James' bullying of Severus with the spell Levicorpus, turning him upside-down to reveal his underwear in front of many students, including Lily. Lily came to Severus' defence, but this only made things worse: in a subsequent lashing out at James in an attempt to recover his lost dignity, Severus inadvertently called Lily a "Mudblood." Lily refused to forgive him for it, even after his desperate apologies. This would forever be Severus's worst memory.
Sirius Black fell out with his own aristocratic, pure-blood-supremacist parents, and disliked other wizards of that same philosophy. Sirius became firm friends with James, and together they bullied Severus. In one instance in particular, Sirius decided it would be fun to trick Snape into visiting the Shrieking Shack at a time when Remus Lupin, afflicted with lycanthropy, would be there during his transformation into a werewolf. Severus had noticed that Remus kept disappearing during the full moon, and Sirius told him how to get past the Whomping Willow to follow him. This act could have cost Severus his life or his humanity (he could have been turned into a werewolf by Lupin's bite) had it not been for James. When James found out what had happened, he went after Severus and managed to save him just before he got to the Shrieking Shack while Remus was in his wolf-form. Albus Dumbledore, who swore Severus to secrecy, later reasoned that, as a result, Severus owed James a debt for saving his life. Severus persisted in believing that James had only acted out of fear of punishment for his part in the trick.
By their seventh year, James had grown out of his immaturity and arrogance to the point that Lily agreed to start dating him, even though he never grew out of his hatred for Snape — according to Sirius, Snape had always been a "special case" with James. Lily ended up falling in love with James, which only strengthened Severus' hatred of his rival.
Half-Blood PrinceEditSeverus Snape was a brilliant wizard, even in his childhood years. It was apparent through the notes and scribbles in his Potions textbook that he made time during classes to invent curses, charms, and brilliant potion innovations, while simultaneously learning the required textbook lessons.
Severus Snape's potions textbook contained a few spells which he specifically took credit for inventing: Levicorpus, which grabbed the victim by the ankle and dangled them upside-down, and Sectumsempra, which caused slashing cuts which bled extensively, guided by hand gestures on the victim. Levicorpus somehow escaped from Severus' secrecy, and became very popular around Hogwarts towards the end of his fifth year at school. Some other spells are Muffliato, which filled the ears of anyone nearby with an "unidentifiable buzzing sound"; Langlock, which affixed the victim's tongue to the roof of the mouth; and a hex that caused toenails to grow at an unnaturally fast rate. Snape's book later fell into the hands of Harry Potter in 1996. Harry used the Half-Blood Prince's tips and earned praise with that year's Potions master, Professor Horace Slughorn. Harry considered the Half-Blood Prince to be a better teacher than Snape, unaware at that point that Snape was the Prince in question.
The potions textbook has an inscription indicating it is Property of the Half-Blood Prince. Hermione Granger's research revealed that Prince was the maiden name of Snape's mother and so the nickname was revealed to be a combination of his mother's maiden name and his blood status. This nickname was apparently a secret, as Remus Lupin did not remember it ever being used publicly by Snape.
First Wizarding WarEdit
As a Death EaterEdit
Severus Snape eventually joined the ranks of Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters, and was the spy responsible for informing Voldemort about the prophecy foretelling his downfall. In early 1980, Snape eavesdropped on an interview for Divination Professor between Sybill Trelawney and Albus Dumbledore at the Hog's Head Inn. In the course of the interview, Trelawney prophesied that at the end of July, a child would be born who would cause the destruction of Lord Voldemort (which prompted Dumbledore to hire her, partly for her own safety). At that time it was not clear who was meant by the prophecy. Two children of prominent wizarding families were born that year at the end of July: Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom. Dumbledore reported at the Wizengamot trial of Igor Karkaroff that Severus had come to him and explained that he had been the one to overhear the prophecy, and reported it to Voldemort. However, Snape did not hear the entirety of the prophecy, as the barman caught him eavesdropping and threw him out.
Severus suffered terrible remorse when Voldemort decided that Harry Potter was the subject of the prophecy, and that Lily was now in danger as a result of his actions. He begged Voldemort to spare her in exchange for the lives of her husband and son. He also approached Albus Dumbledore to ask for his help in saving Lily. Dumbledore agreed, but insisted that Severus serve him as a spy among the Death Eaters. Severus secretly defected from the Death Eaters and joined the Order of the Phoenix, under Dumbledore. When Voldemort went to kill the Potters, he did give Lily a chance to step aside, but when she did not, he killed her anyway. When Severus learned of Lily's death, Dumbledore persuaded Snape to help him protect Lily's son, Harry, reasoning that it was the best thing he could do for her.
- Severus Snape: "Hide them all, then! Keep her — them — safe. Please!"
- Albus Dumbledore: "And what will you give me in return, Severus?"
- Severus Snape: "In — in return? Anything."
- — Snape switches sides.[src]
Snape then dedicated the remainder of his life to protecting Lily Potter's son, Harry Potter, the boy who was often said to strongly resemble James, the very man he detested. Distrusted for his past as a Death Eater by those on Albus Dumbledore's side, and hated by other Death Eaters for living as Dumbledore's stooge for 10 years, Snape continued living on to complete Dumbledore's plan to protect Harry and defeat Voldemort.
Severus Snape applied for the position of professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, acting under Voldemort's instructions. The timing of this application is of interest. Severus' application came after Sybill Trelawney's prophecy, but before the Potters' deaths (31 October, 1981). It may be that Voldemort specifically sought a spy who could tell him about students from the Hogwarts records of all magical births.
- Dolores Umbridge: "Now… how long have you been teaching at Hogwarts?"
- Severus Snape: "Fourteen years"
- Dolores Umbridge: "You applied first for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, I believe?"
- Severus Snape: "Yes"
- Dolores Umbridge: "But you were unsuccessful?"
- Severus Snape: "Obviously"
- — Professor Dolores Umbridge antagonises Snape of his failures[src]
Snape was not given his requested position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, but rather the position of Potions master and head of Slytherin House, following the retirement of Horace Slughorn in 1981. Following Voldemort's fall, Snape made no attempt to find his master, for he, like other Death Eaters, thought Voldemort was dead, and he could use Dumbledore's protection to avoid being sent to Azkaban. This brought him later into conflict with more hard-line Death Eaters like Bellatrix Lestrange, but Snape was forgiven by Voldemort, because he could provide him with thirteen years of information on Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix.
As a teacher, Snape was a ruthless disciplinarian, with little patience for foolishness, yet effective in his job and well respected by other professors. His deep understanding of potion brewing, as shown by his expert concoction of Wolfsbane Potion, transformed the knowledge of potions from mere chemistry to an art.
Harry Potter became a student in Snape's classes in 1991. Harry remarked on a pain in his scar and a sensation of being disliked the first moment that he exchanged glances with Snape in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. However, Quirinus Quirrell was speaking to Snape at the time, and unknown to anyone had been possessed by Voldemort. Harry's scar always reacted to Voldemort's attention and gave him an insight into Voldemort's feelings. On this occasion, most probably Harry blamed Snape unfairly for the feelings being expressed by Voldemort. Harry's resemblance to his father and his acquired "celebrity" caused Snape to jump on the defensive in their very first Potions lesson. Once again, Snape's role as a double agent required him to hide his real feelings and views, and this may have affected his public reactions to Harry.
On several occasions Snape rescued Harry, despite his public detestation of Harry and while maintaining his position as a Death Eater. When Harry was attacked by Professor Quirinus Quirrell, who attempted to jinx Harry's broomstick during a Quidditch match, Snape performed a counter-curse. He tried to protect Harry from Sirius Black when Sirius was believed to be on the hunt for Harry. (Snape was also eager to get revenge on his old enemy, and was willing to send Sirius, an innocent man, off to Azkaban, because of his hatred for Sirius. Snape later joined Sirius's side upon discovering his innocence, despite their old rivalry, although only at the insistence of Dumbledore.) While he sometimes threatened to have Harry expelled from the school, Snape never followed through. He also claimed to be unaware of Voldemort's plans, to avoid being held responsible for allowing Harry and his friends to foil them.
Second Wizarding WarEditLord Voldemort was eventually reborn in 1995, with the help of Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch Jr. Snape went to the Little Hangleton Graveyard, where Voldemort was waiting, but he delayed a few hours, "managing not to be suspected by Dumbledore". In fact, he became a double agent again, and a member of the second Order of the Phoenix.
The mental link between Voldemort and Harry via Harry's scar became clear during Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Snape was instructed by Dumbledore to teach Harry Occlumency to keep out Voldemort's influence. It was during these Occlumency lessons that Harry uncovered the source behind Snape's hatred for his father, when he went into Snape's Pensieve and saw into his memories of being bullied by James and the breaking up of Snape and his mother's friendship.
In 1996, Snape was appointed to his desired post of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, and Horace Slughorn returned as Potions master. Snape was no less strict and rigid in teaching Defence than he had been with Potions, although he did allow students who achieved below "Outstanding" at O.W.L. level to enter his N.E.W.T. classes. During 1996-1997, Harry Potter obtained Snape's old Potions book and the quality of his Potions work improved greatly in Slughorn's class, causing Snape to investigate the source of this apparent new brilliance. Snape eventually discovered Harry's secret after Harry struck Draco Malfoy with the Sectumsempra curse.
Unbreakable VowEditIn July 1996, Snape was visited by Narcissa Malfoy and her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, and Narcissa begged for him to help her son, Draco. Snape made an unbreakable magical vow, on pain of death should he break it, to: "watch over [her] son Draco as he attempts to fulfil the Dark Lord's wishes, to the best of [his] ability, protect him from harm, and should it prove necessary, if it seems Draco will fail, carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform."
As it became clear in the end, Draco's assigned task was to murder Albus Dumbledore.
Battle of the Astronomy TowerEditIn June 1997, Dumbledore and Harry went in search of a Horcrux, which they believed to be a locket formerly the property of Salazar Slytherin. Dumbledore was left weakened after drinking an unknown potion in the process of obtaining the locket. He and Harry returned to Hogwarts to discover that it was under attack from Death Eaters. Dumbledore asked Harry to fetch Snape, but before he could do so they were surprised by Draco at the Astronomy Tower.
Harry was already hidden under his Invisibility Cloak, but Dumbledore's first act was to use the Full Body-Bind Curse to paralyse him and thus stop him taking part in events. Draco used the moment while Dumbledore did this to launch his own spell, the Disarming Charm on Dumbledore. Draco and Dumbledore then talked, and Dumbledore seemed to convince Draco that what he had been doing was a terrible mistake. At this point more Death Eaters arrived, together with Snape. Snape and Dumbledore exchanged a glance, before Snape took control of the situation, and used the Killing Curse to kill Dumbledore.
Snape's next action was to order the Death Eaters to leave Hogwarts before the Ministry became aware of the Death Eaters in the school. Harry was freed from Dumbledore's spell and tried to give chase, but Snape warned the Death Eaters not to harm him and refrained from doing so himself, even warning Harry what he was doing wrong as they duelled. Snape reacted in fury when Harry called him a coward, knocking him to the ground, but still refrained from doing any permanent damage, although that may have been due to an enraged Buckbeak attacking to protect Harry, or it gave Snape an excuse to run.
It was finally revealed to Harry during the Battle of Hogwarts (1998) that Dumbledore's hand injury, caused by Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, was only the outward sign of a fatal curse. Dumbledore located this ring at the former Gaunt residence, and put it on when he returned to Hogwarts, in hope of making use of its powers as a Hallow. He used Godric Gryffindor's Sword to destroy the ring, cracking it down the line representing the Elder Wand. Snape assisted Dumbledore and was able to stem the curse with a golden potion, but only temporarily. After Snape gave an estimate of a year for Dumbledore to live, Dumbledore requested that Snape kill him when the right time came to take the pressure off of Draco, as well as to spare himself from an otherwise painful death, and, by making the master of the Elder Wand die by another means than defeat in a fight, to try to end the line of Masters of the Elder Wand and the killings of its successive masters. After some persuasion, Snape agreed to the plan, and this finally took place upon the Astronomy Tower.
On the runEdit
While Snape had gone on the run for murder, the wizarding community still had no leads on his whereabouts. Harry learned that the Half-Blood Prince's textbook, which had helped him throughout the year, was in fact Snape's old book. It was Hermione who told him the meaning of the "Half-Blood Prince" nickname.
- Harry Potter: "He knew when I used Sectumsempra. He didn't really need Legilimency... he might even have known before then, with Slughorn talking about how brilliant I was at Potions.... shouldn't have left his old book in the bottom of that cupboard, should he?"
- Hermione Granger: "I don't think he wanted to associate himself with that book. I don't think Dumbledore would have liked it very much if he'd known. And even if Snape pretended it hadn't been his, Slughorn would have recognised his writing at once."
- Harry Potter: "I should have showed the book to Dumbledore. All that time he was showing me how Voldemort was evil even when he was at school, and I had proof Snape was, too —"
- Hermione Granger: ""Evil" is a strong word."
- Harry Potter: "You were the one who kept telling me the book was dangerous!"
- Hermione Granger: "I'm trying to say, Harry, that you're putting too much blame on yourself. I thought the Prince seemed to have a nasty sense of humour, but I would never have guessed he was a potential killer..."
- — Harry Potter and Hermione Granger upon finding out Snape was the owner of the textbook, Advanced Potion-Making.[src]
As Snape had left the book behind after graduation, Harry was given it by Slughorn because Harry had not bought his own book for Potions class. Using Snape's old book consequently led to Harry becoming a much better potioneer during that year. When Snape got wind of this, he suspected Harry to be in possession of his old textbook; Harry later used the Sectumsempra curse on Malfoy, confirming Snape's fears. When Harry attempted to use Sectumsempra and Levicorpus against Snape during their duel before Snape's departure, Snape became furious and revealed his identity as the Half-Blood Prince - all of which shocked and hurt Harry, as his "trusted friend" was the man he assumed to be his most hated enemy.
In the summer of 1997 he joined the Death Eaters for a meeting at Malfoy Manor. He gave out his information that Harry was to be moved from his relatives' house four days before his birthday.
Snape fought in the Battle of the Seven Potters that summer, and struck George Weasley with a curse in the ear while aiming for another Death Eater.
As HeadmasterEditBefore Dumbledore died, Snape promised that he would do all in his power to protect the students at Hogwarts once Voldemort decided to infiltrate the school. In 1997, Snape was appointed headmaster after the Ministry of Magic was taken by Voldemort and Pius Thicknesse was appointed Minister for Magic. Death Eaters Alecto and Amycus Carrow were appointed as his deputies. Snape's memories show that during his time as headmaster, he consulted with the portraits of the previous headmasters, and continued to receive instructions from Dumbledore's portrait. A subterfuge took place whereby Godric Gryffindor's Sword, displayed in its glass case in the headmaster's office, was seized by Rufus Scrimgeour for examination, along with the other items Dumbledore left Harry in his will. However, this sword was a fake. The real sword had been hidden in a hole in the wall behind Dumbledore's portrait. When the counterfeit sword had been returned to Dumbledore's office, Snape passed it along to Bellatrix Lestrange, who stowed it away in her Gringotts vault, thinking that it was real. Upon being informed of Harry Potter's whereabouts, Dumbledore's portrait instructed Snape to give Harry the real sword without Harry knowing that it was Snape. Not only would Harry not have taken kindly to Snape's appearance after his attack on George Weasley, it would have been dangerous if Voldemort were to use Legilimency on him and look into his mind and see Snape helping him. Snape then took the real sword and hid it in a pool of water near Harry's camping spot, and used his Patronus to guide Harry to the sword. As a headmaster, Snape was thoroughly disliked by the students who attempted to rebel against him and the Carrows.
The revolt was led by the members of Dumbledore's Army, recruited two years earlier by Harry.The Army was led by Neville Longbottom Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley who attempted to rebel against him and the Carrows . Snape following up on his promise to Dumbledore to keep the students safe, subtly undermined the violent, sadistic attempts of the Carrows to keep control by doing things such as sending students to help Hagrid as punishments rather than the Carrows' more dangerous alternatives. During Snape's tenure, the Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four was re-enacted.
After Harry returned to the school and defeated the Carrows with the help of Luna Lovegood and Minerva McGonagall, the Heads of House rose up against Snape in rebellion. Snape, having felt his Dark Mark burn due to Alecto using it to summon Voldemort, approached McGonagall looking for Harry, but McGonagall duelled him and when Professors Sprout, Flitwick and Slughorn joined her, Snape fled the castle, using the ability to fly without a broom, which he presumably learnt from Voldemort.
Battle of Hogwarts and deathEdit
Although Lord Voldemort obtained the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave, he was unable to use it properly. Believing that the only way to wield the Elder Wand was to kill its master, he ordered Nagini to kill Snape, whom he assumed to be that master. Fatally injured, Snape then gave up his silvery memories to Harry, who had been concealed nearby. The memories revealed, through the Pensieve, that Snape was completely motivated by his lifelong love for Lily Evans and loyalty to Albus Dumbledore ever since Voldemort had decided to go after the Potters. After Lord Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Severus, Snape's last and final request to Harry was simply "look at me" because he wanted the last thing he saw before he died to be Lily Evans's eyes. This proves that Severus Snape loved Lily until the very end, seeing as how Harry 'looked so much like James, but had Lily's eyes'.
- "Look... at... me..."
- —Severus Snape's last words to Harry.[src]
Snape left a vial of memories for Harry to see in the Pensieve -- from Snape's childhood and his life at Hogwarts, his conversations with Dumbledore, and even from when he visited 12 Grimmauld Place. Also, Snape wanted Harry to see where Snape's true allegiances had always lain, for Harry had hated Snape throughout his many years at Hogwarts. He also showed Harry the memory where Albus Dumbledore had told him about Harry's scar being a Horcrux (although he didn't understand it) as Dumbledore had asked him to pass that along to Harry when the time was right.
During the final duel between Harry and Voldemort, Harry revealed to Voldemort that Snape had been, in fact, Dumbledore's man. Harry also revealed that Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand, because Snape never defeated Dumbledore; the two had arranged his death. Before Snape killed Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore (who was the master of Elder Wand), while Dumbledore was distracted freezing Harry Potter, who would likely have upset the planned events by defending Dumbledore to the last. Therefore, Draco was the true master of the Elder Wand, not Severus Snape. However, Harry had overpowered Draco at Malfoy Manor, so in actuality, Harry was master of the Wand. Snape's true loyalties remained hidden due to his skills as an Occlumens and the fact his actions were motivated by love, which Voldemort neither understood nor cared about.
Post-mortemEditSnape's portrait was not automatically put into the Headmaster's office since he had essentially abandoned his post during the Battle of Hogwarts. However, Harry, in one of his acts of showing reconciliation towards Snape, made sure that his portrait was placed there.
Albus Severus Potter, the second son of Harry, and the only one of Harry's children to have inherited Lily's eyes, is named after Snape. When Albus was worried that he may be sorted into Slytherin, Harry responded that Albus was named after two headmasters, one of whom was a Slytherin and who was "probably the bravest man I ever knew."
Rita Skeeter published a book about Snape's life, entitled Snape: Scoundrel or Saint?, sometime after his death.
Physical appearanceEditSnape was a thin man with sallow skin and a large, hooked nose. He had shoulder-length, greasy black hair which framed his face in curtains. His cold, black eyes resembled dark tunnels; their colour looked similar to Hagrid's, but contained none of the half-giant's warmth. Snape was average height, with a thin-lipped, sneering mouth, and often spoke in a soft voice, though he often became very aggressive with students he disliked (such as Harry Potter). Like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the ability to keep students quiet without effort. He preferred to wear black, flowing robes, giving him an appearance sometimes likened to a bat.
Personality and traitsEditMarauders can be understood in terms of the history they shared, he disliked Gryffindor students in general, considering them to be arrogant and attention-seeking, with no regard for school rules (or in his own words, "brawny rather than brainy"). Snape openly treated his least favourite pupils with scorn. He often directed snide comments and verbal abuse at them and was not above hounding and bullying students and making a spectacle out of them in his classroom if he thought they deserved it. He also had a tendency to treat his students unfairly; he looked for excuses to punish students he personally disliked, but overlooked any rule-breaking done by students in his own House, such as Draco Malfoy. He often docked House points from Harry for no reason.
As a professor, Snape was known for his cavalier attitude and strictness. Snape took full advantage of his power, demanding complete respect from his students and, much like Filch, took pleasure in doling out punishments to people he held grudges against. He seemed to dislike children in general, probably in part because of how much he was bullied during his schooldays.
Snape was notorious for being the most rigorous teacher at Hogwarts. He held his students to a high standard, therefore he refused to take any student into his N.E.W.T.-level Potions classes except the select few who did receive a score of "Outstanding" on the O.W.L. exam. However, when he took over Defence Against the Dark Arts, he allowed students who had scored at least "Exceeds Expectations" on their O.W.L. to attend his N.E.W.T.-level classes, thus lowering his standards, though this may be due to the fact that the students that year had had many diferent teachers. He kept his students working until the last minute and refused to let his students relax even leading up to the holidays.
Severus was an intensely private man who viewed emotional display as a sign of weakness. As an Occlumens, he was adept at concealing his thoughts and feelings, which allowed him to maintain a cold, collected demeanour. Nonetheless, he could have a vicious temper, especially when it came to Harry Potter. Snape also became furious whenever he was accused of cowardice.
- "Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against his powers! You will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!"
- —Snape tries to get Harry to empty himself of emotion[src]
Severus also had a passion for Dark Arts, and in his youth, viewed Muggles with disdain. However he made an exception for his close friend Lily Evans. He had been practising Dark Arts since his youth, and when returned to school as a professor, he continually applied for the job as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for his entire career there, leading him to hate any other teachers who managed to get the job before him and treat them with minimal respect. Dumbledore refused to give him the job because he didn't think it would bring out good qualities in Snape, but relented after fifteen years. Severus also nicknamed himself "Half-Blood Prince", a tribute to his pure-blood mother, Eileen Prince whilst also admitting that Severus himself was not a pure blood because his father was a Muggle. His passion for Dark Arts and blood purity strained his relationship with his beloved Lily Evans, which led him to drop his notion of blood-based beliefs soon afterwards, but he maintained his love for the Dark Arts.
- "He'd play up the pure-blood side so he could get in with Lucius Malfoy and the rest of them... he's just like Voldemort. Pure-blood mother, Muggle father, ashamed of his parentage, trying to make himself feared using the Dark Arts, gave himself an impressive new name — Lord Voldemort — the Half-Blood Prince — how could Dumbledore have missed —?"
- —Harry Potter describing Snape's reason for loving the Dark Arts and the Half-Blood Prince nickname.[src]
As the Half-Blood Prince, Severus had invented many spells and shortcuts for potion-brewing. He remembered them all by the heart and was furious when someone took his ideas without his consent. He was especially furious when his creations were used against him, as the Marauders did, and later Harry Potter attempted. When the latter happened, Snape was so angry that he forgot his promises to not hurt Harry.
- "You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them — I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you'd turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you?"
- —Snape's fury at his own creations used against him.[src]
Ultimately, it was Severus' past and his love for Lily Evans that defined his character and personality. After spending a large part of his youth giving Lily his unconditional love and attention, Severus accidentally called her a derogatory name, cutting off their friendship. He was then forced to watch her marry his arch rival and worst enemy, James Potter. Upon overhearing The Prophecy, he immediately informed his then-master Voldemort of its contents, not knowing it would lead to the murder of Lily and her husband. He later claimed that this was the biggest mistake he ever made. He was devastated by Lily's death and devoted the rest of his life to protecting her son Harry in her memory. Though he never liked Harry, he did it for Lily.
Despite his shortcomings, Severus was a very brave man and possessed tremendous strength of character. In fact, Dumbledore once stated that Severus was Sorted too soon into Slytherin in the latter's first year, acknowledging his courageous demeanour befitting those belonging to Gryffindor House. Everything he did was motivated by his devotion to the memory of Lily Evans, whom he loved from childhood to death. He was a brave and loyal ally to the Order of the Phoenix and in his role as a double agent took great personal risk in ensuring Harry's safety at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Severus also proved himself capable of putting aside, or at least suppressing, his grudges in extreme situations, such as when he attempted to save the life of Remus Lupin during the Battle Over Little Whinging and dutifully concocted the Wolfsbane Potion every month so that Remus could make his werewolf transformations safely.
Magical abilities and skillsEdit
Severus Snape was an extremely powerful wizard and was talented in many different branches of magic.
- "Snape knew more curses when he arrived at Hogwarts than half the kids in seventh year."
- —Sirius Black, on Snape's proficiency for the Dark Arts.[src]
- Love: Severus was one of the few people, if not the only person, in Voldemort's inner circle who could feel pure and true love. Severus fell in love with Lily Evans at about the age of nine and would maintain his feelings all his life. Despite there being several differences between them such as blood status and supremecy, Hogwarts Houses, views on the Dark Arts and opinions of Voldemort, Severus felt nothing but absolute love for Lily even though she did not reciprocate (though she could have, had he not been so drawn to the Dark Arts). Severus' feelings for Lily before and even after her death were so strong that not only was he brave enough to (secretly) defect from Voldemort's ranks, but also to work against him while seemingly remaining on his side. Severus' determination to defend Lily's honour was enough for him to protect her son regardless of loathing him, do everything Dumbledore asked of him without explanation no matter how dangerous, accomplish Occlumency to a degree that not even Voldemort could see through and produce a Patronus the same as Lily's.
- Dark Arts: Severus had a talent and passion for the Dark Arts from a young age, and was especially proficient at curses. He invented the Sectumsempra curse and it became one of his specialities. He had enough knowledge about Dark magic to know how to save some people from its effects, even from the most advanced curses cast by Lord Voldemort himself. His view on the Dark Arts was so deep in fact, that when he spoke of them to his students in 1996 he made it seem like an art. Snape also used a Killing Curse to kill the great wizard Albus Dumbledore (though the murder was already planned between them).
- Potioneer: Severus specialised in potion making, able to come up with innovative methods to achieve quicker and better results as a teenage student, as written in his old textbook, and serving as Hogwarts' Potions master as an adult. Snape was shown to have known how to brew very complicated potions as an aside like Veritaserum, the Wolfsbane Potion and an unknown golden potion that he used to save Dumbledore's life (temporarily) in 1996. He was also able to identify Polyjuice Potion by smell.
- Spellcraft: As a student at Hogwarts, Severus had a gift for creating new spells. Some of the spells he invented were Sectumsempra, healing spell Vulnera Sanentur, Langlock curse, Muffliato spell, the non-verbal Levicorpus and its counter-curse, Liberacorpus. Sectumsempra, in particular, became one of Snape's specialities.
- Occlumency and Legilimency: Severus was a master of both Occlumency and Legilimency and he was able to both protect his own thoughts and access the minds of others. In particular, his skill in Occlumency is very noteworthy, as he used it to hide his betrayal from Lord Voldemort, who was regarded as the most skilled Legilimens of all time. This implies that Snape may be the most skilled Occlumens of all time, though Gellert Grindelwald was also able to resist Voldemort's Legilimency. However since Severus was in Voldemort's presence far more often than Grindelwald, he may have had to use Occlumency more frequently, though Voldemort's trust in Snape may have caused him to feel that he didn't need to read his mind.
- Patronus Charm: Severus was the only known Death Eater who was able to produce a Patronus, which, like Lily Potter's, was a doe. The most likely reason for this is that Severus was not a loyal Death Eater, and that his love for Lily was stronger even than his practise of the Dark Arts.
- Duelling: Severus was shown to be a master duellist, as he was able to hold his own against extremely powerful witch Minerva McGonagall and (briefly) against Pomona Sprout and Filius Flitwick as well. Though instead of continuing the fight, he fled, possibly to avoid incapacitating those fighting against Voldemort. He assisted in a duelling club in 1992 with Gilderoy Lockhart, defeating and humiliating him with a single spell (though Lockhart was a rather weak wizard). He also easily defeated Harry Potter during his escape from the battle of the Astronomy Tower. Severus was proficient at blocking spells and effortlessly deflected every single one of Harry's spells during their duel and reacted with incredible speed to defend himself from Minerva McGonagall. Snape was also capable of blocking the Cruciatus Curse. He had an unpredictable duelling style since he often used the spells he created to catch his opponents off guard. Additionally his skill in Legilimency gave him an advantage because he was able to anticipate other people's spells as shown when he saw into Harry's mind and realised he was about to use Levicorpus. Severus participated in the battle of the Seven Potters, still pretending to be a Death Eater, and attempted to protect Remus Lupin by severing a Death Eater's wand hand using Sectumsempra. His spell missed and severed George Weasley's ear but it should be noted that he was flying at the time and it was more difficult to aim spells while manoeuvring a broomstick.
- Transfiguration: Severus was able to conjure ropes, vanish potions and Transfigure a lasso of fire that McGonagall used against him during their duel into a giant serpent.
- Charms: Another of Severus' great talents was his ability to use simple and advanced charms without fail, such as levitation, disarming, shields, the Mending Charm and he was able to write instructions on a black board with a single flick of his wand.
- Flight: Severus could fly without the use of a broom or any other visible materialistic support. The only other known wizards that were able to do this were Lord Voldemort and Quirinus Quirrell (though Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort when he used this ability). Voldemort most likely taught Snape the method to do so. However, Snape appeared to prefer using a broom.
- Non-verbal and wandless magic: In a Potions class in 1991 Snape cleaned up a huge mess that Neville Longbottom had made with a wave of his wand without saying anything. During Harry Potter's first ever Quidditch match, Snape fought against a curse that was affecting Harry's broom by mouthing incantations silently and without the use of his wand. In 1994, Snape caused some binds that were holding Remus Lupin to extend to his hand with a snap of his fingers and during his duels with Harry and Minerva McGonagall it was not stated that he said any incantations. Also, in his youth before he had even purchased a wand, he caused a branch to snap loose from a tree and hit Petunia Evans on the shoulder, however, this - like the experiments of under-age magic, caused by Harry Potter - might have been an accident brought on by anger. In his last moments, he was seen being able to extract from himself his memories for Harry to obtain without the use of a wand, after Voldemort departed.
- Counter-curses: Severus was also skilled at using counter-curses, as he helped save Katie Bell after she touched a cursed opal necklace, and Albus Dumbledore after he touched Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, though he was unable to actually stop the ring's curse, merely slow down its effects. When Harry Potter used Sectumsempra on Draco Malfoy, Snape easily healed Draco with a healing charm he invented. He also mouthed a counter-curse in an attempt to save Harry when Quirinus Quirrell tried to throw him off his broom, although it didn't seem to work very well, though it should be noted that Quirrell's power was augmented because he was possessed by Lord Voldemort. Also Severus was not using his wand at the time.
- Logical thinking and intelligence: Snape devised the sixth obstacle that protected the Philosopher's Stone, a logic puzzle, that was the final obsticle to overcome before the Mirror of Erised . As a student he made improvements to his Potions textbook and invented his own spells at the same time.
Snape was similar to Harry in that he didn't grow up in a happy, loving family. His parents appear to have had a dysfunctional, even abusive relationship, which was probably why they were so emotionally absent in his life. It is unknown what happened to his parents, as he was seen living in their empty house in 1995. This troubled childhood is strongly suggested to have accounted for his severe demeanour, bitterness, and bouts of rage, as seen later in his life.
Snape met Lily Evans at a young age, recognising her as a witch one day as she and her sister Petunia played in the park near his house. He befriended Lily, telling her of Hogwarts and the wizarding world and eventually falling in love with her. In 1971, both Snape and Lily began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They continued a close friendship up until around their fifth year, despite the negative opinions on this relationship expressed by Lily's friends. During this time, Snape befriended a group of Slytherins who were pure-blood supremacists, putting a huge strain on his friendship with Lily, who was a Muggle-born and wasn't happy with his new friendship developments. After Snape called her a "Mudblood", Lily broke off their friendship, despite Snape's pleas that it was an accident.
After discovering that Lily's young son, Harry, was Lord Voldemort's next target, Severus appealed to Albus Dumbledore, and defected to the Order of the Phoenix in exchange for her protection, knowing that Voldemort would kill her too. Despite Snape's efforts to prevent her death, Lily died protecting her son. Snape was stricken with grief by her death and momentarily expressed his desire to die as well. To honor Lily's sacrifice, Snape vowed to protect Harry from Voldemort, and assisted him in defeating the Dark wizard. Snape's patronus had always been a doe, the same as Lily's. Harry was described as looking exactly like his father, James, but having Lily's almond-shaped green eyes. Upon his death, Snape asks Harry to look at him, so that he could gaze into Lily's eyes for the last time.
The Marauders were a group of four Gryffindor boys, with whom Snape began a relationship of enmity almost immediately after meeting them. The group consisted of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, and it was their delight to bully Snape because of his unattractive appearance and interest in the Dark Arts. Snape first encountered the Marauders on the Hogwarts Express on their first day at Hogwarts, when Sirius insulted Snape for sneering at James's hopes of being Sorted into Gryffindor (though it was the Marauders who started the enmity first, when James overheard Snape aspiring that he and Lily should better be sorted to Slytherin), after which both Sirius and James dubbed him "Snivellus."
- James Potter: "'Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!' Like my dad. Got a problem with that?"
- Severus Snape: "No. If you'd rather be brawny instead of brainy —"
- Sirius Black: "Where are you hoping to go, seeing as you're neither?"
- — James Potter, Snape, and Sirius Black on the Hogwarts Express[src]
During their years at school, the Marauders would bully Snape relentlessly, even using his own Levicorpus charm to humiliate him. Despite this bitterness between Snape and the Marauders, James Potter ended up saving his life when Sirius told Snape how to get into the Shrieking Shack, a building in the neighbouring village Hogsmeade, without telling him the Remus Lupin used the abandoned building as a place to hide while he transformed into a werewolf. Snape caught a glimpse of transformed Lupin before James pulled him back through the tunnel. Snape did not believe this to be a noble act on James's part, but more of an act performed in order to avoid expulsion from Hogwarts, and the incident only served to make him resent James more than ever.
- Severus Snape: "I just don't want to see you be made a fool of — He fancies you, James Potter fancies you! And he's not…everyone thinks…big Quidditch hero — I'm just trying to show you they're not as wonderful as everyone thinks they are."
- Lily Evans: "I know James Potter's an arrogant toe-rag. I don't need you to tell me that."
- — Snape and Lily arguing[src]
Snape's continued bitterness toward the Marauders became apparent in 1993, when Remus Lupin was given the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, despite Snape and Dumbledore both knowing that he was a werewolf. During the time that Harry Potter attended the school, Snape delighted in telling Harry that his father was not the great man he liked to believe he was, and maintained his grudge against Sirius and Remus. Although the latter showed him nothing but friendliness and respect during the year they both taught at Hogwarts, Snape never treated Remus with anything more than thinly veiled anger and scorn, and took to dropping hints about his lycanthropy in the hopes that the students would catch on and Lupin would be sacked. As it turned out, only Hermione Granger completed Snape's assignments, and though she realised what Lupin was, she kept it quiet out of respect for his privacy. Later, when Snape had Remus in his power in the Shrieking Shack, he showed malicious pleasure in hurting and humiliating him. He held an especially strong enmity towards Sirius, however; not only did Snape hate Sirius because he bullied him at Hogwarts, but he also believed that Sirius was the one who betrayed Lily to Voldemort. He was eager to be the one to hand Sirius over to the receive the Dementor's Kiss after he broke out of Azkaban, and was furious when he managed to escape yet again.
After Sirius's innocence was proven, Snape later took to taunting him about how he was useless to the Order while confined to 12 Grimmauld Place. He also exposed Remus as a werewolf in 1994, forcing him to resign as professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Snape was filled with nothing but scorn towards Pettigrew, the man who truly betrayed Lily. Pettigrew was later assigned to be Snape's assistant by the Dark Lord, and he treated him like a servant.
However, it should be noted that, despite Snape's strained relationship with the Marauders, he did attempt to save Remus's life when attacked during the Battle over Little Whinging.
Snape vowed to protect Harry Potter to honor his mother's sacrifice. However, Harry being the son of James Potter, the arch-nemesis of his school days, Snape refused to treat the boy with respect. Indeed, Snape was filled with nothing but contempt towards Harry, who served as living proof of the fact that Lily had loved another man, and wasted no time in comparing him continually with his father.
- Severus Snape: ". . .mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent. . ."
- Albus Dumbledore: "You see what you expect to see, Severus. Other teachers have reported that he is modest, likable and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child."
- Severus Snape: "He is his father all over again."
- Albus Dumbledore: "In looks, perhaps. But his deepest nature is much more like his mother's."
- — Snape and Dumbledore differ in their assessments of Harry[src]
During Harry's time at Hogwarts, Snape treated him horribly, both in class and out. He frequently derided the boy's abilities, bullied him in class and delighted in punishing him whenever possible. He was also envious of Harry's popularity, which he also equated with Harry's father. Although Snape threatened to have Harry expelled more than once, he never followed through on these threats - presumably because it would have led to nothing but Harry losing the protection surrounding him. He came to the assistance of Harry, Ron, and Hermione many times, albeit only out of duty.
Never, however, did Snape forget that Harry was also Lily's son, and much beyond bureaucratic rules, this led him to put the boy's safety in the most critical situation. When he learned that Dumbledore had apparently sent Harry to face certain death at the hand of Lord Voldemort, Severus remained horrified, seeing it as a calculated betrayal of his commitment to Lily's memory. This was also the episode where Dumbledore asked him if he did end up caring for the boy after all, to which Snape responded by conjuring his Patronus, which took the form of a doe, representing Lily.
Since his very first day at Hogwarts, Harry and Snape loathed each other. During the first years, Harry associated his dislike for Snape with his bullying ways. During his first year, however, Harry learned from Dumbledore that his father James had once saved Snape's life, which meant that the latter was in James' debt. Two years later, in the Shrieking Shack, after Harry confronted Lupin and Sirius and learned the truth about his godfather, Severus let the school-day grudge with the Marauders take over, and had Lupin resigning from his job and Sirius almost killed. This did not go unnoticed by Harry, who now had another reason to back up his hatred of the Potions teacher. In the following two years (particularly in 1995), Snape and Sirius confronted each other frequently. When Sirius died, Snape never showed any remorse or sense of guilt whatsoever (he even raised his glass to Bellatrix Lestrange, his killer, later, and gave her full credit for the assassination, albeit during his double-agent Death Eater disguise). During the brief period in which Snape taught Occlumency to Harry, he took pleasure in reliving Harry's worst memories and did little to try and help him close his mind. Harry, however, has to admit that Snape was right about his father James all along when he experiences a particularly nasty memory of Snape being bullied by James. Only once did Snape truly see Harry as Lily's son - just before he died at the fangs of Nagini. Following this, Harry relived all of Snape's concealed memories, which brought the former Potions master's true intentions to light. When Harry learned of the love Snape had for his mother Lily, his entire opinion of him changed. He later named his son Albus Severus after him.
- Severus Snape: "You have used me. I have spied for you, lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter—"
- Albus Dumbledore: "But this is touching, Severus. Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
- — Snape and Dumbledore discuss Harry Potter's fate and Snape's promise to Dumbledore[src]
Ron Weasley and Hermione GrangerEdit
Snape criticised Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger whenever possible, most likely due to the fact that they were friends of Harry, as well as being Gryffindors. Although Snape often could not find anything wrong with Hermione's potions work, he frequently accused her of being an "insufferable know-it-all". Snape embarrassed her about an article in Witch Weekly. Despite this, Snape continued to assist the threesome in the hunt for Horcruxes (without them being aware of it). He also told Phineas Nigellus not to say the insulting word "Mudblood", while he was talking about Hermione, though this was likely due to the fact that it reminded him of certain painful memories regarding Lily, rather than genuine fondness for Hermione. Ron and Hermione also witnessed the death of Snape, and later learned that Snape was on their side.
- Snape: "That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger... Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
- Ron: "You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don't want to be told?"
- Snape: "Detention, Weasley... and if I ever hear you criticise the way I teach a class again, you will be very sorry indeed."
- — Snape punishing Ron after he defended Hermione[src]
Snape's relationship with Dumbledore was one of close, but not completely implicit trust. After indirectly and accidentally sending Voldemort after Lily, Snape turned to Dumbledore to keep her safe. In return for Dumbledore's protection, Snape willingly offered him anything he wanted. This led to Snape's acceptance into the role of double agent for the Order of the Phoenix.
- Dumbledore: "I prefer not to put all my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort."
- Snape: "Which I do on your orders!"
- Dumbledore: "And you do it extremely well. Do not think that I underestimate the constant danger in which you place yourself, Severus. To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you."
- — Dumbledore and Snape on the latter's espionage[src]
As a spy for the Order, Snape silently kept his place within the ranks of the Death Eaters, while informing Dumbledore about their movements. He also adopted the role of secret agent for Voldemort, and supplied him with strategic scraps of information about the Order. The content of these reports was often dictated by Dumbledore. It is implied that Snape withheld little, if any, information from Dumbledore that was relevant to the Order's success, while Snape deliberately did the opposite for Voldemort.
It is notable that Dumbledore did not confide completely in Snape, thereby minimising the potential damage that might occur if Snape was compromised. Snape was offended by this lack of faith in his abilities, but understood Dumbledore's pragmatism. However, Snape was very shocked when he discovered that Dumbledore acted as though Harry Potter was a pawn in the destruction of Voldemort.
Dumbledore clearly underestimated Snape's capacity for love, and, years later, was very surprised to learn that Snape still maintained his devotion to her memory
- "I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter —""
- —The Prince's Tale[src]
In 1996, Dumbledore became aware of Voldemort's plan to kill him. Knowing Voldemort expected Draco Malfoy to fail, and assuming Snape to be Draco's successor, Dumbledore assigned Snape the task of killing him when the situation arose, despite Snape's numerous attempts to persuade Dumbledore other wise, he did complete his assignment. Dumbledore also entrusted Snape with protecting the students once Hogwarts fell into Voldemort's control.
Petunia EvansEditSnape first met Petunia Evans during their childhood. She was the sister of Lily Evans, but Petunia was a Muggle, unlike her sister. Snape and Petunia strongly disliked each other, from the first moment they met. Petunia disliked him because of his poor economic status and for his friendship with Lily. She was also jealous that Snape told Lily she was a witch, something that Petunia was not. Petunia also called Snape and Lily "freaks," during their first day at Hogwarts. While on Hogwarts Express, Snape expressed his disdain for Petunia, making Lily angry with him. Even when Petunia was an adult, she still disliked Snape, calling him "that awful boy," when she remembered him, although they shared a common hatred toward Harry.
Lord VoldemortEditLord Voldemort's most trusted and devoted servants. In 1980, Snape overheard part of a prophecy foretelling Voldemort's downfall. After being caught, Snape hurried to tell Voldemort what he had heard, unaware that his information was incomplete. However, he turned against the Dark Lord the moment he decided to target Lily Potter.
When Voldemort returned to physical form in 1995, Snape ostensibly returned to him as a spy for the Order. Using Occlumency, Snape was able to close his mind, hide his true allegiance and maintain his cover as a faithful Death Eater. Snape was one of the rare Death Eaters to have the Dark Lord's complete trust and, after he murdered Albus Dumbledore, he became Voldemort's most trusted adviser. He was held in such high regard that Voldemort accepted to make him Headmaster of Hogwarts after seizing power.
However, Voldemort coldly had his pet snake kill Snape in 1998, believing it would make him the true master of the Elder Wand. Although he claimed he regretted its necessity, he felt no grief over murdering a Death Eater he considered one of his most trusted and useful servants. After Snape's death, Harry Potter revealed to Voldemort that Snape had managed to deceive him for years, and that his true loyalties had lain with Dumbledore since 1980, being dictated by his immense love for Lily Potter.
It is possible the reason Voldemort put so much trust in Snape is because they had a similar background; both half-bloods with a muggle father who resented or neglected them and saw him as a trusted Death Eater who shared the same hatred for for his father as he had for his own. Another possible reason was the fact that both hated Harry Potter for personal, albeit different, reasons.
Snape possessed the ability of flight which, we must assume, was taught to him by Lord Voldemort as he was shown possessing the same ability during the Battle of the Seven Potters. This shows that Lord Voldemort had a great deal of trust in Snape as he taught him a very unique ability, something he would never dare to do with any Death Eater.
Snape appeared to be on good terms with the Malfoy family. Lucius Malfoy was a Slytherin prefect when Snape began attending Hogwarts, and the two ran in the same social circles, which included other future Death Eaters. Lucius continued to think and speak highly of Snape later in life, including to Ministry officials such as Dolores Umbridge. Perhaps because of this, Snape also seemed to favour Lucius's son Draco, although this fit in to his favouring of Slytherin students in general. Draco seemed to look up to Snape, once sycophantically saying that he would make a far better Headmaster than Albus Dumbledore. However, after his father's imprisonment in Azkaban following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Draco came to resent and mistrust Snape, suspecting that he was trying to usurp his father's place in the Death Eater ranks. He refused Snape's repeated offers of help with the task Lord Voldemort assigned him in his sixth year. Narcissa Malfoy, on the other hand, begged Snape to assist Draco in his task to assassinate Dumbledore, fearing that her son was being set up to fail. She ignored the warnings of her sister, Bellatrix Lestrange, who did not trust Snape, and had him make an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco and take over the task should he fail. This speaks highly as to the trust and respect the Malfoys had for Snape.
- "Lucius always spoke highly of you."
- —Dolores Umbridge[src]
Unlike her Malfoy relatives, Bellatrix Lestrange invested none of her faith in Snape. She saw right through his spying for Albus Dumbledore, even though Lord Voldemort could not; part of the reason for this may have been Snape's half-blood status and his avoidance of imprisonment in Azkaban, while she was incarcerated there for years. Given Bellatrix's obsessive, slavish love for Voldemort, she may have envied the trust the Dark Lord put in Snape, whom she considered her inferior in both blood and service. She was suspicious when Snape did not immediately return to Voldemort after his rebirth, and why he never took an opportunity to kill Harry Potter when, as one of the boy's professors, he had easy access to him. Bellatrix was uneasy speaking openly about things around Snape, and tried to discourage her younger sister from asking him for help with Draco's task. She was shocked when he agreed to make an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco in the plot to kill Dumbledore. However, everyone learned that Snape was Dumbledore's, right after Bellatrix's death.
- "I don't trust you, Snape, as you very well know!"
- —Bellatrix Lestrange[src]
Snape was also a friend and comrade of Igor Karkaroff in the First Wizarding War. Karkaroff was captured by Aurors, after Voldemort's first downfall. During his trial, he gave to the Ministry many names of Death Eaters, including Snape's. However, he learned that Snape had joined the Order of the Phoenix before Voldemort's defeat. Snape met Karkaroff again in 1994, for the Triwizard Tournament, when the latter was Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute. Karkaroff was scared when his Dark Mark began to burn. It seems that, despite their acquaintance, Snape held Karkaroff in some contempt for his lack of backbone, saying (though not to his face) "I am not such a coward [as Karkaroff]." This stance was vindicated when, after Voldemort's rebirth, Karkaroff left Hogwarts and went into hiding. He was later killed by Death Eaters for his actions.
- Snape: "...don't see what there is to fuss about, Igor."
- Karkaroff: "Severus, you cannot pretend this isn't happening! It's been getting clearer and clearer for months, I am becoming seriously concerned, I can't deny it—"
- Snape: "Then flee. Flee, I will make your excuses. I, however, am remaining at Hogwarts."
- — Snape and Karkaroff discussing their Dark Marks[src]
Death Eaters and enemiesEditSeverus became a member of the Death Eaters after Hogwarts. During his time at school, he was member of a "gang of Slytherins that would later become Death Eaters". This gang included Avery, Mulciber, Evan Rosier and Wilkes. Lily Evans couldn't understand how he could be friends with them, as they had an "evil sense of humour". Rosier and Wilkes were killed by Aurors after the First Wizarding War; Mulciber was captured (but later escaped), while Avery managed to defect. However, it is possible that none of them was able to die or be imprisoned for Voldemort; it is possible that they wouldn't search for him, if they were all free.
Other Death Eaters Snape knew were Amycus and Alecto Carrow, two siblings. Amycus and Alecto were Deputy Headmasters at Hogwarts, at the time Snape was Headmaster. They were both sadistic, and they liked to torture the students who opposed them. They also ordered the students to practise the Cruciatus Curse on punished students. Death Eater Yaxley appeared to be friendly with Snape, too. Along with Fenrir Greyback, they seemed to fear Snape's abilities, as they instantly stood down when he approached to kill Dumbledore, despite Draco being tasked with the job.
Furthermore, Snape knew the extremely loyal Death Eater Barty Crouch Jr.. Crouch tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom into insanity, and was sentenced to life into Azkaban. For many years, it was believed that Barty Crouch was dead. However, he escaped from Azkaban and planned to send Harry Potter to Voldemort, who would be reborn. Snape, along with Dumbledore and McGonagall, saved Harry from Crouch while he was trying to kill Harry. Snape was surprised that Crouch was still alive. Later, the Death Eater was given the Dementor's Kiss.
Other known Death Eaters were Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle, Walden Macnair, Jugson, Thorfinn Rowle, Gibbon, Rosier, Avery, Mulciber, Lestrange, Travers, Selwyn, and Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange. Rodolphus and Rabastan were the only ones who tried to search for Lord Voldemort after the first defeat, along with Bellatrix and Barty Crouch Jr. During the Second Wizarding War, all those Death Eaters were either killed or imprisoned, after Voldemort's final defeat.
Neville Longbottom was perhaps one of the worst Potions students Snape ever taught. As such, Snape was especially cruel to him, and often made a point of ridiculing his failures in class. On one occasion, Snape threatened to test Neville's Shrinking Solution on his pet toad, despite the fact that the potion would be poisonous if not brewed correctly. Even outside of his own classroom, Snape did not hesitate from offering harsh opinions of Neville, advising Professor Lupin not to trust him with difficult tasks unless Hermione Granger was "hissing instructions in his ear".
- Remus Lupin: "Right, Neville. First things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you most in the world?"
- Neville Longbottom: "Prof-..-ape.."
- Remus Lupin: "Didn't catch that, Neville, sorry."
- Neville Longbottom: "Professor Snape."
- — Remus Lupin introduces Neville to Boggarts during a DADA class[src]
This treatment made Neville extremely nervous to be around Snape, and further contributed to his poor performance in Potions. Neville admitted in 1993 that Snape was his greatest fear, and, predictably, Snape was the form Neville's Boggart took at that time.
Soon Snape heard about Neville's boggart and treated him, if possible, even worse than he usually did. However, in 1996, Snape alerted members of the Order of the Phoenix, in order to save Neville, Harry and their friends from Death Eaters. Although Snape helped save Neville's life, he continued insulting him during his lessons. Neville was surprised that Snape killed Dumbledore, but he did learn the truth later. Snape also attempted to protect the students' lives from the Carrows, while he was a headmaster at Hogwarts.
However, after Snape was killed by Nagini, Neville killed the snake, to destroy the last remaining horcrux; in a way, Neville avenged Snape.
Minerva McGonagallEditMinerva McGonagall was Severus' professor of Transfiguration during his time at Hogwarts. After he left Hogwarts and became the Potions master, he and McGonagall became co-workers. Snape also became the Head of Slytherin House, while McGonagall was the Head of Gryffindor House. That made them have an antagonistic relationship, as Snape usually teased McGonagall when Slytherin had more points than Gryffindor. Furthermore, McGonagall knew that Snape was a Death Eater in his youth; however, she trusted him and believed that he had truly regretted, because she knew that Dumbledore trusted him, too. McGonagall, like Snape, was very strict, but much more fair, as Harry Potter noted.
After Snape killed Dumbledore, McGonagall was horrified and, like all of Dumbledore's supporters, turned against him. Furthermore, when Snape became Headmaster of Hogwarts, McGonagall tried to oppose him and the Carrows, without knowing that Snape was trying to protect the students from the Carrows, too. Right before the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall had a duel with Snape, but Snape fled when Professor Flitwick interrupted them; while he was leaving, McGonagall called him a "coward". Snape was killed by Voldemort in the same battle. McGonagall learned that he was on Dumbledore's side, and that Dumbledore had asked him to kill him. She also learned that Snape always loved Lily Evans. It is unknown how she reacted when she learned of this, but she permitted his portrait to be hung in the Headmaster's office, under Harry's request.
Snape was respected professionally by his colleagues at Hogwarts. When Snape killed Dumbledore, however, the entire staff was shocked. In 1998, Flitwick and Sprout, like many other teachers, tried to oppose Snape and the Carrows, and they were among the ones who chased Snape out of Hogwarts before the battle.
- "NO! You'll do no more murder at Hogwarts!"
- —Filius Flitwick to Snape in 1998.[src]
Rubeus Hagrid wasn't crazy about Snape but trusted him, mainly because Dumbledore trusted him. Both Hagrid and Snape became members of the first and second Order of the Phoenix, and Hagrid, like Flitwick and Sprout, was shocked after Dumbledore's death, though all three learned the truth about Snape's loyalties after the Battle of Hogwarts.
Snape disliked most of the Defence Against the Dark Arts professors, such as Quirinus Quirrell, Gilderoy Lockhart, Remus Lupin, and Dolores Umbridge. Though this was at least partially out of his own desire to become D.A.D.A professor, he had legitimate reasons to dislike all of them, as Quirrell was an agent of Lord Voldemort, Lockhart was a fraud, Remus had been a party to, without actually participating in, much of the bullying Snape faced in his school days, and Umbridge was obviously an evil woman who was not acting on the school's best interests. During her review of the staff, Dolores Umbridge rubbed in the fact that Snape failed to acquire the position of D.A.D.A. professor that he had always wanted, and when he was later unable to provide Umbridge with Veritaserum to use on Harry, she suspended him. The only D.A.D.A. professor Snape refrained from displaying disrespect to was Alastor Moody, a former Auror who expressed skepticism about Snape's reform and of whom Ron suspected Snape was partially afraid.
Snape seemed on good terms with Argus Filch, the caretaker, who respected Snape, and like him, disliked most students at Hogwarts. It is unknown how Filch reacted when he learned that Snape killed Dumbledore.
Snape was not popular among his students at Hogwarts. His having been bullied so much as a child may have fuelled his harshly authoritarian teaching style as an adult, and his dislike of children in general. He especially enjoyed punishing and taking points from the Gryffindors.
- "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper on death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
- —Snape talking to the students at his first lesson[src]
Snape appeared to favor the Slytherin students, such as Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and Marcus Flint. He let them relax during their Potions class, and never punished them. However, he was somewhat irritated when Crabbe and Goyle didn't pass their Potions exams.
Although he disliked most students, Snape did everything he could to protect them from Voldemort's control of Hogwarts, while Alecto and Amycus Carrow were appointed at the school.
Order of the Phoenix membersEditSnape's relationships with some members of the Order of the Phoenix are already known: Lily Evans, the Marauders, Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Minerva McGonagall.
Snape didn't seem to like fellow member Nymphadora Tonks. He mocked her when he met her in 1996, telling that she "looked depressed". Tonks was shocked when Snape killed Dumbledore, but never learned that Snape was on their side, as she was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of Hogwarts.
He also seemed to dislike Alastor Moody. Moody might have had an unpleasant past with Snape, as he was an Auror in the First Wizarding War, while Snape was a Death Eater. Furthermore, when Barty Crouch Jr was disguised as Moody and became the Defence Against the Dark Arts in 1994, Snape spoke to him angrily when Crouch broke into Snape's office. Snape believed that Moody still thought him as a Death Eater, without knowing that he wasn't the real Moody. The real Moody fought in the Second Wizarding War. He also never learned the truth, as he was killed by Voldemort during the Battle over Little Whinging.
Snape had a mixed relationship with the Weasley family. While he disliked their children, he seemed to be on civil terms with Arthur and Molly. However, when he murdered Dumbledore, the Weasley family turned against him. Snape also accidentally cursed off George's ear, during the Battle over Little Whinging, while he was trying to hit another Death Eater. The Weasley family learned that Snape was on their side in 1998; except Fred, who was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts.
He also didn't much care for fellow member of the Order Mundungus Fletcher, who was also a thief. In 1996 he was arrested for impersonating an Inferius. When a student asked Snape about it, he answered that the "Inferius" was, in fact, a smelly sneak thief named Mundungus Fletcher. It is most likely that Mundungus learned that Snape was on their side after the Second Wizarding War.
It is likely that the members of the Order who survived the Battle of Hogwarts were told by Harry of Snape's true loyalties.
EtymologyEditSeverus means “stern” in Latin, and is the root of the English word “severe”. It was a Roman cognomen, common to members of the Severan dynasty of Emperors, including one notorious for his harsh persecution of the early Christians.
Septimius Severus, also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the generals Pescennius Niger (possibly Phineas Nigellus Black) and Clodius Albinus (Albus Dumbledore). Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul.
J. K. Rowling has said that she took the surname Snape from an English village in Suffolk. There is also a village called 'Snape' in Yorkshire, which was rebuilt by the aforementioned emperor, Septimus Severus. Snape is also an English verb meaning "to be hard upon, rebuke, snub", derived from the Old Norse sneypa, "to outrage, dishonour, disgrace".
If you rearrange the letters in "Severus Snape" you get "Pursues Evans". This could be a relation to the fact that Snape is in love with Lily, Harry's mother, whose maiden name was Evans, and made many attempts to make her love him in return.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Severus Snape is portrayed by British actor Alan Rickman in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2 and so is one of the 14 characters to appear in all 8 film adaptations. He was also one of only two people (the other being J.K. Rowling) to know the complete storyline of the Harry Potter series before Deathly Hallows was released. Rowling stated this was done so Alan Rickman could better portray the character.
- Severus went from being the most hated character in the series after the sixth book to the most adored after the seventh.
- Alec Hopkins plays a young Snape in Order of the Phoenix and Ben Clarke will play an even younger Snape in Deathly Hallows: Part 2. 
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Snape's death will take place in a Boathouse, instead of the Shrieking Shack. The art director of the series, Andrew Ackland-Snow, said in an interview with Cine Premier Mexico: "We wanted to change a bit where Snape dies. In the book, he dies in the Shrieking Shack, and we wanted to get him out from, not a conventional interior, but from that kind of box, to do it in a more dramatic atmosphere. We asked J.K. if she agreed for that to happen in there [...] and she loved it. Besides, it's a very romantic place to die. Snape dies in a extremely good way, I gotta say."
- Actor Tim Roth was initially offered the role before Alan Rickman was cast, but Roth could not combine it with his work in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001), and eventually decided to not act as Snape. Only then did Rickman receive a formal offer.
- In the film adaptations, Severus appears to be much older than he is in the book versions, being only thirty-one years old at the time of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. During the shooting of the film version of Philosophers' Stone, Alan Rickman was fifty-four, which makes him twenty-three years older than Snape was in the book.
- Moreover, Snape is one of the youngest teachers to be recruited at Hogwarts school. Having taught at Hogwarts for fourteen years in Harry's fifth year, Snape has been teaching Potions since he was twenty-one. (It is to be noted that when Tom Riddle applied for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post when he was eighteen, Armando Dippet, then Hogwarts' headmaster, rejected him on the basis that he was too young, although he invited him to reapply in a few years' time.)
- The chapter illustrations by Mary GrandPré in the American editions depict Snape with a thin goatee. Rowling's own drawing of Snape, which she held up to the camera in Harry Potter and Me, showed him with a full beard and thick moustache. However, it is nowhere mentioned within the text that Snape has facial hair, nor does Alan Rickman sport any in the films. Ironically, in the novel illustrations, Sirius Black is clean shaven, while in the film versions he wears a beard.
- J.K. Rowling has stated that Snape was loosely based on an unpleasant teacher she had as a child.
- Harry Potter gave one of his sons the middle name Severus, and this son had Lily Evans' exact eyes.
- J.K. Rowling secretly revealed to Alan Rickman that Snape had loved Lily his entire life in order for Rickman to capture the character. Rickman was the only person to know of this until the release of the final book in the Harry Potter series, the Deathly Hallows.
- During his childhood, he personally knew Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it was Snape that Petunia referred to when she said "that awful boy" told Lily about Dementors and Azkaban, even though Harry assumed she was referring to his father.
- J. K. Rowling referred to Snape as an anti-hero because while he was incredibly brave, he bullied many of the students, particularly Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Neville.
- A rumour said that Luna Lovegood was Snape's daughter, because they both have dirty hair, but Rowling stated that this was not true. Luna's father was confirmed to be Xenophilius Lovegood.
- It was speculated among some fans that Snape was a vampire, as his appearance was often likened to that of a bat. However, JK Rowling dismissed the theory.
- If this had been true, however, it would have meant that a remark made by Dean Thomas at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, sarcastically suggesting that one of their next D.A.D.A. teachers would be a vampire, would have proven accurate.
- Snape was one of the few wizards capable of wandless magic, attempting to break Harry's broom free of Quirrell's hex without a wand and with a click of his fingers, made the ropes binding Lupin fly to his hands.
- Coincidentally, Snape attended Hogwarts exactly twenty years before Harry Potter.
- It is said by J.K. Rowling that Lily Evans may have grown to love Snape romantically if he wasn't so drawn to the Dark Arts.
- J.K. Rowling said that Dumbledore allowed Snape to be horrible to certain students because "Dumbledore believes there are all sorts of lessons in life... and horrible teachers are one of them."
- There are clues in the first-six Harry Potter books that shows that Snape loved Lily. While he always compared Harry to his father, he never compared him to his mother.
- In the book's Hungarian edition, Snape's name is Perselus Piton.
- In the book's French edition, Snape's name is Severus Rogue.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone are the only films where Snape smiles. In Philosopher's Stone, he smiles briefly after wishing Harry Potter good luck in his upcoming Quidditch match. In Order of the Phoenix, he smiles when suggesting that Umbridge poison Harry in lieu of using the unobtainable Veritaserum.
- In the book, Nagini kills Snape with a snake bite after having been released from her protective cage. In the film adaptation, Lord Voldemort slashes Snape's throat with Sectumsempra, then orders Nagini (who was never in a cage) to finish him.
- Also in the book, Snape's memories gushed from his mouth, ears and eyes (kind of like an "essence", or parts of his soul). In the film, Harry takes Snape's tears, which can be seen in the vial to look just alike to normally begotten memories for Pensieves.
- In the film, a scene is added when Harry is viewing Snape's memories: He sees Snape standing outside the Potter's Cottage in Godric's Hollow after the deaths of James and Lily, passing James's dead body in the hall after entering the cottage and collapsing when he finds Lily's body in Harry's nursery. He cradles her lifeless body in his arms, crying, while one-year-old Harry cries in his crib behind him.
- Phineas Nigellus Black was cut from the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Hence, it is unclear how Snape located Harry and Hermione in the Forest of Dean. Since Harry was looking at the Two-way mirror before Snape's Patronus appeared, and the inside of the Hog's Head was seen, the most likely explanation is that Aberforth Dumbledore was working with Snape, and that Albus may have told him of Snape's true allegiance prior to his death.