At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
- "Competition makes us better. Cooperation makes us weak."
- —Merula Snyde's competitive ideology[src]
Merula Snyde (born c. 1973) was a witch who began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1984 and was sorted into Slytherin house. Merula often antagonised Jacob's sibling during their time in Hogwarts and remained a persistent rival to them throughout the years.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Magical abilities and skills
- 5 Possessions
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Etymology
- 8 Behind the scenes
- 9 Appearances
- 10 Notes and references
Merula's mother and father were Death Eaters who supported Lord Voldemort. At some point, Merula witnessed them in an "incident" with an Auror which led to the death of the latter or a bystander, which allowed her to see Thestrals.
During her tenth birthday, Merula received a broom as a present from her parents, for which she was thrilled. Since she was still a bit young to ride a broom on her own, her parents took turns taking her on the broom, with Merula clinging to their backs whilst she flew and joyfully laughing. Merula considered this the happiest memory she had and used it to attempt to cast the Patronus Charm.
After the Dark Lord's demise in 1981, Merula's parents were captured and sent to Azkaban between 1983 and 1984; Merula witnessed their trial, which greatly upset her. Her mother, being a member of the Frog Choir in her youth, frequently sang to her until her arrest, though she would keep this a secret out of insecurity. Afterwards, Merula was raised by her aunt, who forbade her from owning any pets, much to her chagrin. Victims of her parents sent threats to their house, resulting in her aunt spending as little time with her as possible and Merula almost entirely staying indoors.
Hogwarts years (1984-1991)
Merula began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1984. On 1 September, 1984, during the journey on the Hogwarts Express she tormented Ben Copper the entire time, by threatening him and calling him a "Mudblood."
Once they arrived at the school, Merula and the rest of the first years were greeted at the Great Hall by the rest of the students and the staff. Professor McGonagall proceeded to provide them with a short explanation of the four Hogwarts Houses — Gryffindor, the brave and chivalrous, Hufflepuff, the kind and diligent, Ravenclaw, the witty and wise, and Slytherin, the cunning and ambitious — voicing her hope that all of the newcomers would make fine additions to the ranks of great witches and wizards that each House had produced in the past. Eventually, Merula was sorted into Slytherin, becoming the fourth generation of her family to be sorted in that house.
As a result of her constant bullying, Ben Copper spent his first days at Hogwarts following Merula around, hoping this would prevent her from sneaking up on him, or give him a chance to run away if she did. One day, before the start of a Potions class in the Dungeons, Merula was bullying Rowan Khanna by forcing them into saying that she was the most powerful witch at Hogwarts. However, Jacob's sibling stood up for Rowan and Merula started teasing them by making fun of Jacob. When Rowan mentioned that Professor Flitwick said Jacob's sibling cast the best Wand-Lighting Charm of any first-year in years, Merula resolved to be nothing but trouble for them and to show that she was more powerful than them.
She then sent Jacob's sibling a fake letter from Professor Snape and locked them in a room full of Devil's Snare, but they were able to escape, thanks to Hagrid's timely intervention. Afterwards, Merula reappeared as Rowan and Jacob's sibling were playing gobstones and began to taunt the two. She insinuated that Jacob's quest for the Cursed Vaults led him down a dark path that resulted in him joining Voldemort. Jacob's sibling retaliated by bringing up Merula's Death Eater heritage and how her parents are in Azkaban in response. As a result, Merula challenged Jacob's sibling to a duel, and ended with Merula using the Knockback Jinx on them.
After receiving training from their prefect, Jacob's sibling found Merula in the Clocktower Courtyard, bullying Ben Copper by expressing her distaste for Muggle-born and half-blood wizards in Hogwarts. Jacob's sibling intervened to defend Ben and challenged Merula to a duel, in which they won. Shocked at Jacob's sibling's mastery over the Disarming Charm, Merula refused to acknowledge her defeat or apologise for her behaviour and she proclaimed herself to be the greatest witch in Hogwarts, who was free to do what she wanted. Professors Snape and Flitwick approached her from behind during her tirade, much to her surprise and they began to question what happened here. Ultimately, Jacob's sibling was blamed for the duel and was forced to lose points from their house.
Immediately after this, Merula followed Snape and Filch into the fifth-floor corridor, with Jacob's sibling following after her. Together, they spied on Snape and Filch having a conversation about the cursed ice and sealing a room within the corridor to contain it from spreading. Jacob's sibling and Merula briefly discussed the nature of the cursed vaults, before going their separate ways. Jacob's sibling later met Merula in another potion's class and she asked whether or not they divulged the vault's existence to anyone. Merula then taunted Jacob's sibling and then they both focused on their lesson for brewing a Herbicide Potion. At the end of class, Jacob's sibling attempted to assist Merula by giving her tips on how to correctly brew the potion, to which Snape awarded them both with house points, much to Merula's chagrin.
Towards the end of the year, Jacob's sibling, along with Rowan and an unidentified student, investigated the fifth-floor corridor where the cursed ice was supposedly spreading from. Initially, the trio investigated a door leading to a small room where the ice originated from, only to be ambushed by Merula casting the Knockback Jinx on Jacob sibling's and their friends. After declaring that only she can claim the power and treasures of the vault for herself, Merula entered the small room alone, while the trio followed after her. Upon entering the room, they discovered Merula partially encased in a block of ice from the waist down and she demanded Jacob's sibling to help her. After being freed from the ice and escaping the small room, Merula declared the whole expedition to be a waste of her time and left the area. Merula was not seen again by Jacob's sibling, except briefly in the End-of-Term Feast.
During the 1985–1986 school year, Penny Haywood warned Jacob's sibling that Merula was eager for a rematch after being defeated by them the previous year. During a potions class, Jacob's sibling attempted to reason with Merula, citing that nobody cared about what happened last year. Merula points out that, whenever duelling was mentioned, their duel was often brought up and how strong Jacob's sibling was compared to her. As a result, Jacob's sibling had no choice but to accept Merula's challenge but was helped by Penny in preparation for their second duel. Jacob's sibling then met with Merula in the Clocktower Courtyard at night, emerging victorious from their duel. Merula was confounded by her second defeat, but stated that, while their duel was concluded, the rivalry between them would never be over.
Merula was next seen in Potions class, asking what Jacob's sibling had been up to. Merula boasted about working with someone in order to unlock the secrets of the vault before Jacob's sibling could. Snape then interjected, warning Jacob's sibling of potentially being in dire trouble, which was discussed once the class was over. After class, Snape accused Jacob's sibling of stealing potion ingredients from his storeroom, as his stolen ingredients were found by their bed's drawer. With a sufficient fact check, Jacob's sibling pinned the blame on Merula, pointing out her previous attempts at sabotaging them, along with being capable of duping another student into planting the ingredients in their room.
Snape promptly asked Merula if what Jacob's sibling said was true, but she denied it, stating that she only wished to see Jacob's sibling expelled for being a danger to Hogwarts. Snape, however, pointed out that she was an atrocious liar, due to her constantly darting her eyes in multiple directions whenever she lied. As a result, Merula was punished by being forced to maintain Snape's storeroom for the rest of the year for attempting to frame Jacob's sibling.
Merula was last seen by Jacob's sibling in Flying Class, where she sarcastically asked how their friends are doing after a failed excursion into the Vault of Ice. Jacob's sibling angrily retorted to Merula to not pretend to care for their friends, to which she replied that she did not, but only about the Cursed Vaults themselves. Merula then claimed to know what happened to Jacob, to which his sibling desperately demanded Merula to tell them what happened to their brother. Merula replied that she would, after flying class was over.
After class, Jacob's sibling immediately asked what Merula knew about Jacob's whereabouts, to which Merula attempted to force them into swearing that any future information they learn about the vaults should be relayed to her. Merula then ominously stated that Jacob does not have much time left. After this exchange, Merula was not seen by Jacob's sibling for the rest of the year.
Around Hallowe'en this year, Merula helped Sir Nicholas and Jacob's sibling sabotage Erling's deathday party by preserving the food that was intended to be spoiled. The act however was discovered by Professor Sprout.
Merula returned in the third year, this time with a gang of her own to help her seek out the remaining vaults. Merula introduced them as Ismelda Murk and Barnaby Lee to Jacob's sibling during the lesson on Wideye Potion. The former threatened Jacob's sibling to keep away from Merula this year, while the latter expected them to be taller. Exasperated, Jacob's sibling urged Merula to not start another argument with them, to which Merula agreed, since she planned on focusing her efforts on finding the next cursed vault, with the help of her new associates.
After their lesson is over, Merula's gang discussed what sort of power the next vault might hold. Ismelda gleefully hoped that it was something that could resurrect the Dark Lord, while Merula taunted Jacob's sibling that it may hold the power to bring back their brother. Jacob's sibling responded and prompted Merula and her gang to leave, but not without Barnaby threatened the sibling with a bone-vanishing spell. After a short discussion about why Barnaby was working with Merula, the burly student left to follow after Merula.
Merula went to the Frog Choir audition. Later, she duelled Jacob's sibling, her competitor, and told them she had been wanting the place in the choir because her mother had been in the choir and had prepared her for her audition before she got arrested. Jacob's sibling won the audition, but it is unknown whether they gave the place to Merula.
At some point, Jacob's sibling met with Tulip Karasu, who told them that she used to be Merula's only real friend during the first years at Hogwarts, due to her taking a liking to her rebellious and free-spirited personality. Together, they made an effort to search for the vaults and they eventually stumbled upon Jacob's old room, where he kept his notes and information he found on the vaults away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, as time went on, Merula and Tulip would had a falling out, due to both girls becoming greedy for power and purposely withholding information from one another. As a result, the two locked Jacob's room with a lock, which was immune to the unlocking charm, that could only be opened with a key each girl had.
Jacob's sibling and Tulip later went to spy on Merula and her cohorts in the Clocktower Courtyard. Merula loudly proclaimed her frustration at finding clues to the next vault, while Ismelda insisted on using the Cruciatus Curse on Jacob's sibling to torture the information out of him, much to Merula's disgust. Tulip devised a plan with Jacob's sibling in order to acquire the key from Merula, which involved the use of a Jumbo Dungbomb, to scare away Merula's allies so they could confront her alone. After acquiring the Jumbo Dungbomb from Zonko's Joke Shop in Hogsmeade, the pair found Merula and her gang hanging out by the Clocktower Courtyard again, making small-talk. Ismelda claimed that she would use the Killing Curse, on the next Gryffindor she saw, to which Merula replied that Ismelda did not know how to cast the spell.
Barnaby chimed in by mentioning how he once killed a bowtruckle by accidentally sitting on one, which confused Ismelda for having nothing to do with their conversation. Eventually, Merula proclaimed she hated them both equally. While they were distracted, Jacob's sibling strengthened the bomb with the Hardening Charm before launching it in-between Merula's gang with the Banishing Charm. Initially confused by the object, Ismelda and Barnaby quickly retreated once the Jumbo Dungbomb released its foetid payload, while Merula seemingly withstood the stench.
Jacob's sibling and Tulip revealed themselves to Merula, who had a feeling they were behind this prank. Tulip demanded Merula surrender the key to them, which caused Merula to angrily retort at how Tulip betrayed her to work with Jacob's sibling instead. Jacob's sibling and Merula then duelled for the second key, which Merula lost causing her to forgo her key to her rival, but not without she uncharacteristically warned Jacob's sibling to watch out for Tulip potentially backstabbing them.
Merula next confronted Jacob's sibling in the hallway where Jacob's old room resided. She questioned what they were doing in the library, and following their response Merula responsed accordingly and threatened to do something far worse to the student when the time comes.
Merula went to the courtyard to spy on Jacob's sibling and Talbott Winger invisibly (possibly under the Disillusionment Charm), expecting them to divulge information about the Cursed Vaults. She instead heard that they were unregistered Animagi, and was soon discovered by Talbott. During a conversation with Jacob's sibling, she didn't express interest in reporting them, but didn't promise to no do so either. Soon, Jacob's sibling and Talbott used Obliviate on her, so she didn't remember anymore.
True to her word, Merula, along with Ismelda, intercepted Jacob's sibling and friends in the library as they are about to enter the Restricted Section to find the Vault of Fear. Merula chastised Jacob's sibling for seeking the power of the vaults for altruistic reasons and engaged with them in another duel. Jacob's sibling emerged victorious from their duel, but Ismelda launched a surprise attack with Everte Statum, which caused Barnaby, now working with Jacob's sibling instead, to take the hit for them.
Barnaby faced off against his former allies in a two versus one duel and managed to defeat Merula and Ismelda, while Jacob's sibling entered the restricted section to investigate the area for the entrance to the second vault. Barnaby later said that Merula attempted to tell Professor Snape of what had happened in the library, but nothing would come of it due to a lack of proof from her and Ismelda.
At some point during Merula's third year, Rita Skeeter visited Hogwarts in order to hold a contest, in which the winner would be given the opportunity to be on the front page of the Daily Prophet. Naturally, Merula entered to win the competition, but, as usual, came into conflict with Jacob's sibling who was also competing in the contest, only to learn what they could about Jacob's disappearance from Rita. During a potion's class session, Rita forced the pair to, not only to compete against each other in creating the better potion, but to also divulge each other's darkest secrets. Merula eagerly admitted that Jacob went mad and nearly destroyed the school in the process, while Jacob's sibling told Rita of Merula's parents being locked away in Azkaban for being Death Eaters, much to Merula's chagrin. Merula was last seen in the Great Hall by Jacob's sibling, as Rita was about to announce the winner of her competition. Rita later said that, should Merula be the victor, the article would be about Merula's troubled upbringing due to her imprisoned parents, which was something her readers would very much enjoy reading about.
Merula encountered Jacob's sibling in their first Care of Magical Creatures class. Immediately, she attempted to stir trouble with her rival, first by insulting Charlie Weasley and then by taunting Jacob's sibling about the fate of their brother. Jacob's sibling asked Charlie to talk Merula down on their behalf, prompting her to storm off. Sometime later, Patricia Rakepick called a meeting at the Training Grounds between Jacob's sibling and their group of friends, along with Merula and Ismelda to discuss the Sleepwalking curse currently affecting students this year at Hogwarts.
Rakepick then taught the group of students the Blasting Curse as a defensive measure against the threats lurking in Hogwarts. Merula mentioned she wished she knew this spell during her first duel with Jacob's sibling. Later on, Rakepick tasked her apprentices in duelling each other for combat experience. Merula decided to duel against Jacob's sibling, which she inevitably lost, though not without declaring to her rival that she will never give up until she wins.
Jacob's sibling was able to deduce that the next location of a cursed vault must be within the forbidden forest, where all sleepwalking students have been magically drawn to. Charlie Weasley and Jacob's sibling devised a plan to enter the forest via flying. However, Jacob's sibling did not have a broom of their own, due to their mother forbidding them use for their own safety. As a result, Jacob's sibling had no choice but to borrow a broom from someone else.
Choosing to borrow Merula's broom, Jacob's sibling met her at the Three Broomsticks Inn to discuss borrowing her broom to venture into the forest. After talking over some butterbeer, Merula agreed to let them borrow her broom, as Rakepick ordered Merula to comply with Jacob's sibling in his investigation of the vaults anyway, but not without also hoping they would suffer serious injuries or expulsion as well.
Later on, Tulip invited Jacob's sibling to their brother's old room, but was surprised at Merula also being there. Drawing out their wand, Jacob's sibling demanded to know why Merula was in Jacob's old room, to which Tulip explained that Merula had examined the contents of Jacob's room far more than anyone else has, thus asking for her help seemed like a logical option. All three of them then searched the room together for any clues on the location of the next vault. In the end, Jacob's sibling found what they were looking for.
Afterwards, Jacob's sibling decided to take Merula with him into the forbidden forest. Jacob's sibling then encountered Torvus in the grotto and will have no choice but to fight him, while they protected Merula in the process. Merula became timid in the presence of the centaur and refused to help Jacob's sibling. After the fight, Merula nervously introduced herself to Torvus, while she was simultaneously warned by the centaur to not trust Jacob's sibling.
At some point under Rakepick's tutelage, Merula was ordered by her to spy on Jacob's sibling and to demand reports from them.
Merula entered her fifth year, still as an assistant to Madam Rakepick. During one evening at the start of the semester, Rakepick gathered her favourite pupils, which included Bill Weasley, Merula and Jacob's sibling. Rakepick told her pupils that they are now a team and should be willing to work and help one another in their quest to find the cursed vaults. She then taught them the Incarcerous Spell, and asked Jacob's sibling to demonstrate the spell on Merula, who was initially reluctant at first, but came around after being convinced by Rakepick. For awhile, Jacob's sibling marvelled at the utility of the spell after it tied up Merula, before Bill quickly points out that Merula was struggling to breathe, while Rakepick told Jacob's sibling to undo the ropes to free her, prompting Jacob's sibling to ask if Merula was alright, to which she responded positively.
Sometime later, Merula invited Jacob's sibling and Bill Weasley to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, to discuss the second red-robed assailant who attacked Jacob's sibling and Ben in the Clocktower Courtyard and as an attempt to build bridges with her rival. Merula, however, considered the attempt to be a failure, as unresolved enmity exists between the pair. Bill suggested that the two take this opportunity to vent their frustrations out on each other to help them overcome their differences. After arguing about the infamous Devil's Snare prank that Merula subjected Jacob's sibling to and Merula's cruel jokes about Jacob being dead, the two are interrupted by Penny who told them that her little sister, Beatrice Haywood, had gone missing.
Jacob's sibling suggested that they should search around the school, while they search the Forbidden Forest, in case Beatrice may have wondered there looking for adventure. Jacob's sibling chose to take Merula with them, who offered snarky spoken commentary throughout their search for the younger Haywood in the Red Cap's Hole and the Acromantula lair. During their excursion into the lair, Jacob's sibling encountered the same Acromantula they defeated in their fourth year. It demanded to know why they had entered its abode again and remained uncooperative while being questioned by the duo, prompting Merula making a grisly threat in what they will do to it if it refused to assist them. The Acromantula attacked the two students in response, but Jacob's sibling was able to defeat and banish the spider with arania exumai spell once again.
Jacob's sibling decided to return to Hogwarts with Merula, and then met with Penny in the potions classroom, after Bill informed them that Penny was brewing a mysterious potion to help her find her sister. Unfortunately, the potion failed to perform its intended effect, which was to allow Penny to locate and read Beatrice's mind through a Legilimens-like effect. Despite her failure, Merula quickly rushed into the class to tell Penny that she found Beatrice in the Grand Staircase. Merula led them to a part of the staircase and told everyone she found Beatrice trapped in a painting while wandering the school. While everyone pondered on what to do about Beatrice's predicament, Filch abruptly appeared to inform Jacob's sibling that they are to carry out their detention in the kitchens with a house-elf named Pitts.
After receiving advice from Badeea Ali and serving detention with Jae Kim, Jacob's sibling met with Merula at the Three Broomsticks in order to ask for her assistance in freeing Beatrice from the painting. Merula made note of Jacob sibling's unusual chipper attitude, but nonetheless wondered why they needed her help. Jacob's sibling's reposne prompted Merula to stroke her ego over some butterbeer, by admitting she was the best at everything in order for her to cooperate. Once Merula was satisfied, Jacob's sibling explained to her that rescuing Beatrice is the key to finding the next Cursed Vault, as the curses may be linked. Merula told Jacob's sibling to look for the Marauder's Map, as it may help them in seeking the location of the fourth vault, before the two went their separate ways.
After finding out through Peeves that Jacob's old friend Duncan Ashe may know where the map is, Jacob's sibling enlisted the help of the ghosts of each house in Hogwarts to search for his whereabouts. Eventually, Jacob's sibling's search led them to the potions classroom where the Slytherin house ghost, the Bloody Baron, was residing. Merula and her fellow Slytherins gathered around to gain the nerve to speak with the unruly ghost. Merula offered to speak to the Baron on Jacob's sibling's behalf, but the ghost revealed that Duncan Ashe is deceased, but his reclusive spirit still haunts Hogwarts. Jacob's sibling deduced that Duncan's spirit may be hiding in the Prefects' Bathroom, while Merula teased Jacob's sibling for being frightened of the Bloody Baron, much to their chagrin.
Later on, Jacob's sibling met with Tulip and Merula in Jacob's old room to find any information about Duncan Ashe and his relationship with Jacob. Despite Tulip's and Merula's differences, they assisted Jacob's sibling in searching the room, while warning them to watch out for the other as a potential traitor. After a while, Jacob's sibling found a letter addressed to Jacob and makes mention of R and their intentions, and among other things. Eventually, Rakepick has Jacob's sibling, Merula, Bill and Jae Kim gathered in the training grounds to prepare for their excursion into Knockturn Alley, by having them train amongst each other in order to be ready for anything they may encounter.
Merula was one of the students called by Rakepick to enter the portrait vault. However, Rakepick double-crossed the group and blasted them, revealing that she only needed Jacob's sibling's Legilimency to open the door and the rest were merely "dragon bait", and proceeded to torture Merula with the Cruciatus Curse. Outraged, the rest of the group attacked Rakepick and overwhelmed her with Snape's Garrotting Gas and a barrage of spells, forcing her to flee. After being transported to the Great Hall with the others using the Portkey in the vault, Merula collapsed and was helped up by Penny or Charlie (depending on who was chosen before going to the vault) and transferred to the Hospital Wing, although she was not happy to be kept there. During her stay, Jacob's sibling visited her and they had an emotionally conflicted conversation about the nature of their relationship.
Sometime during the school year, Merula, along with Jacob's sibling and Ben Copper, went into the Forest Grove to intercept a possible meeting between Jacob and R, unknowingly being followed from a close distance behind them by their friend, Rowan Khanna. During the search, a swarm of dementors showed up and circled the group. The three began to cast Patronuses but they were outnumbered. The Dark Witch Patricia Rakepick then apparated into the vicinity and cast a powerful Patronus Charm, which warded off all of the dementors. She then engaged in a duel with the students, which was watched by Rowan. At some point in the duel, Rakepick cast a Killing Curse at Ben but Rowan sacrificed their life by jumping in front of Ben, ending their life and saving that of their friends. Merula greatly grieved over the loss, prompting her vengeance, causing her to want to cast the killing curse at Rakepick. She, together with Jacob's sibling and Ben Copper, took part in the founding of the Circle of Khanna, a group devoted to avenging Rowan by fighting "R" and locating the final Cursed Vault.
Merula had short and messy dark brown hair, with one area an orange colour; she smoothed down her hair in rare occasions, including the Celestial Ball, and once changed her orange patch to pink for Valentine's Day. She had violet eyes and thick furrowed eyebrows. Merula also smelled like cloves, nail polish, and some other elusive scent. Her stockings have a hole around her left kneecap and she wore Slytherin robes as well as black combat boots. In their third year, Jacob's sibling privately described her as "strangely cute".
Personality and traits
A strong-willed yet mean-spirited and cruel girl, Merula Snyde was a talented young witch who exemplified many of Slytherin's traits, such as cunning, determination and ambition, though also the negative stereotypes of Slytherin, such as prizing pure-blood supremacy, as well as extreme arrogance. Merula was also highly rebellious, sadistic, and petty, and was prone to bullying those around her, especially wizards from Muggle or half-blood families. Her greatest trait, however, was her ambition to prove she is the best, which was her primary motivation for seeking out the Cursed Vaults and the major reason for being in constant conflict with Jacob's sibling. Merula's parents being imprisoned in Azkaban, an experience that very much hardened her feelings, may have contributed to this need for attention. Another curious quirk to her personality was her irreverence towards the Dark Lord, as she often referred to him as Voldemort, much to everyone's chagrin.
Merula's hatred for Jacob's sibling pushed her to go to great lengths to sabotage her rival, by either attempting to get them expelled or badly injured. Indeed, Merula often went out of her way to seek out Jacob's sibling in classes, either to taunt them about Jacob or to generally be a nuisance. Merula was always eager for a fight with Jacob's sibling and never backed down from a challenge.
Unlike a lot of bullies, Merula was used to getting her hands dirty and usually did moderate-to-major tasks herself, instead of leaving it to her cronies. In her fourth year, Merula even expressed a fondness for getting potion ingredients stuck under her fingernails.
Despite her aggressive nature, Merula did demonstrate a strong work ethic and could often be seen studying alone in the library and was noted to be a competent student by many of her peers, especially in potions class. She didn't share her friend Ismelda Murk's obsession in the Unforgivable Curses and told her to shut up about it. Merula was also not so cruel as to be willing to completely ruin someone else's life.
As the years went by, Merula was also described by her classmates as 'not all bad', hinting at a softer side, which she demonstrated from showing concern at Beatrice Haywood's predicament, while working tirelessly on finding a way to free her. Over time her relationship with Jacob's Sibling also mellowed, her once cruel taunts becoming more like friendly jabs. By her Sixth Year, she was more or less on good terms with Jacob's sibling and their friends and formed close cooperation with them.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical aptitude: Merula was often described as a talented witch by her Hogwarts peers and faculty. Indeed, her skills had been personally praised by Severus Snape and Rita Skeeter, despite her boorish personality. Patricia Rakepick took interest in Merula for her skills and took her on as an apprentice during her fourth year, along with a handful of other highly skilled candidates, such as Jacob's sibling and Bill Weasley.
- Nonverbal magic: Merula appeared to be accomplished in nonverbal magic, with her attempting to attack the incredibly powerful Patricia Rakepick without uttering a single incantation, although she was still swiftly subdued. Nevertheless, her proficiency in nonverbal magic is a further testament to her magical prowess.
- Dark Arts: Merula showed a keen interest and skill in the dark arts, mostly in utilising jinxes and hexes on her enemies. She was quickly capable of using the Knockback Jinx in her first year to bully her fellow classmates. Merula also claimed to be knowledgeable of various unpleasant hexes during Defence Against the Dark Arts class in her fifth year, such as the Knee-reversal hex. Merula Snyde was also knowledgeable of the Unforgivable Curses, specifically the Killing Curse, as it was taught to her by her parents before they were taken to Azkaban. She was even able to produce Fiendfyre, extremely destructive cursed fire, but she lacked the ability to adequately control it; despite this however, she was surprisingly and disturbingly proficient with dark magic.
- Care of Magical Creatures: Merula appeared to have a general interest in magical creatures and in Magizoology, as she decided to enrol into this class as an elective in her third year. Throughout the various lessons, Merula gave her opinion on different creatures brought in for lessons, such as regarding kneazles as 'handsome creatures' while being disgusted with murtlaps.
- Potions: Merula was formidably skilled and knowledgeable in the art of potion-making, as she achieved an 'Outstanding' in her O.W.L. exam to be able to advance to the N.E.W.T.-level Potions class taught by Severus Snape. Hence, she was able to discreetly sabotage Jacob's sibling's Cure for Boils with Bulbadox powder, to brew a Wiggenweld Potion that Professor Snape deemed "flawless" and to swiftly identify that the particular brew the Potions Master was concocting was Veritaserum.
- Duelling: Merula was known to be a fierce and resourceful duellist. Even during her first year, she showed her impressive martial magic abilities whilst duelling Jacob's sibling. While she bested them, she was defeated during their rematch, lamenting that she had yet to master the Disarming Charm. In all their other altercations, she was defeated always by Jacob's sibling, although they did note on her improvement, having struggled before besting her.
- Charms: Merula was shown to be highly gifted with charm-work, given how she capable of casting the rather advanced Disillusionment Charm to disguise herself. Merula was also skilled enough to cast an incorporeal Patronus Charm when confronting a Dementor in the training grounds of Hogwarts, a mark of exceptional magical ability, particularly for a Hogwarts student.
- Astronomy: Merula was proficient in Astronomy, as she achieved an O.W.L. in the subject and studied it further at N.E.W.T.-level, thus displaying aptitude in the subject.
- History of Magic: Merula was proficient in History of Magic, as she achieved an O.W.L. in the subject and studied it further at N.E.W.T.-level, thus displaying aptitude in the subject.
- Flying: Merula showed an aptitude for flying and was often seen capable of mastering advanced flying techniques. However, she initially had difficulties with raising her broomstick and sometimes struggled during other techniques in Flying class.
- Singing skills: According to Rowan Khanna, Merula was a good singer, partly because her mother was in the Frog Choir, meaning she would have learned how to sing well from her.
- Wand: Merula Snyde owned a wand, which was of an unknown length, wood and core material. She most likely purchased it from Ollivanders in Diagon Alley, before starting her first year at Hogwarts in 1984.
- Celestial Ball dress robes: Merula wore these dress robes to the Celestial Ball.
- Weasley jumper: Merula received a green jumper with a snake on it as a Christmas present from Molly Weasley when she visited The Burrow.
Merula met Draco Malfoy in her second year when Lucius Malfoy and Albus Dumbledore wanted her to babysit him. Despite calling him "spawn", she actually bore some similarities to his older self, with Lucius himself citing that he wanted the eight-year-old to become more like her: both eventually became Slytherin students and Pure-Blood supremacists with Death Eater parentage who frequently go out of their way to antagonise the main character alongside a gang they lead throughout their years of schooling. However, the two were also quite different in other ways: where Draco was an elitist blue blood who used his prestige to get himself ahead and was popular within his house, Merula had no such privileged upbringing and has had to work hard for everything she had gotten. Furthermore, Merula was a fairly isolated individual and unpopular it seems, even among her fellow Slytherins.
- Jacob's sibling: "We're starting to become friends. We've gotten closer after Rakepick asked us to work together."
- Merula Snyde: "You have a problem?"
- Tulip Karasu: "No. I'm just surprised that [Jacob's sibling] is willing to trust you and forgive you after everything you've done."
- Jacob's sibling: "Merula has changed. She isn't nearly as horrible as she used to be...."
- Merula Snyde: "(sarcastically) My best friend [Jacob's sibling] is such a sweet talker...."
- — Jacob's sibling, Merula Snyde, and Tulip Karasu[src]
Merula Snyde became the arch-rival of Jacob's sibling almost immediately upon arriving at Hogwarts. Merula came from a supremacist family and desired to surpass all others, thus she considered herself superior to virtually everyone. She bullied Jacob's sibling for allegedly being cursed, though they did not truly hate Merula and merely wished she would leave them alone. They first met when Merula tried to force Rowan Khanna into claiming she was the most powerful witch in the wizarding world, and she baffled them by already knowing who they were. Jacob's sibling learned she was born of two Death Eaters, and while it made them realise why she was a bully, it did not soften their mutual enmity at all.
They were forced to resort to violence when Merula antagonised them and again when she antagonised Ben Copper. During their first round, Merula bested them with a Trip Jinx, but they bested her the second time via the Disarming Charm. They were forced to challenge her a third time in their second year, and while Merula agreed to no more duelling, she refused to stay off his tail. They were also enemies because they both sought to find the Cursed Vaults, albeit for different reasons. When Jacob's sibling arrived with Rowan Khanna and another friend, she used the Trip Jinx against all three of them, confusing Jacob's sibling who did not understand why she wanted to solve the mystery as much as he did. She believed they were going to meet a sticky end someday.
However, over time their relationship warmed with their shared experiences and the general mellowing of Merula's personality. By their fifth year, their relationship was notably friendly with hints of a possible romantic attachment.
- "Merula" is a Latin word that means "blackbird".
- "Snyde" comes from the Danish word for "cheat". Her surname could also be a play on words to "snide", which means "slyly disparaging".
Behind the scenes
- In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, when Rita Skeeter hosted a small duelling club to see Jacob's sibling's magical prowess, the player got to choose between Merula, Penny Haywood, and William Weasley to be their opponent. Challenging any of them will eventually lead to their defeat; if picking Merula, after she lost, she declared her disinterest in being on Rita's news article anyways.
- In her second year, Merula boasts to Jacob's sibling that she's working with someone on finding the Cursed Vaults. That someone is likely Tulip Karasu, as the two were still working together during their second year and only ended their partnership before their third year.
- As both her parents are in Azkaban, it's currently unknown who takes care of her. If Merula's claims about attending the Quidditch World Cups are true, it's likely she's being raised by a family member.
- Merula later confirms having an aunt that is raising her, as Merula mentions her refusing to allow her to own any pets.
- Merula owns a broom she considers to be far superior to the brooms provided by Hogwarts during flying class, claims to that the Snyde family vault in Gringotts contains "jeweled shells", and that her mother owned a unicorn a long time ago. Because of these claims, it can be assumed that the Snyde family was quite wealthy in its prime.
- If Jacob's sibling is sorted into Slytherin, Merula will appear in additional side-quests revolving around plotting revenge against Gryffindor for defeating their house in Quidditch.
- During the Year 4 Prefect sidequest, Merula will appear, along with Rowan and Barnaby, as Jacob's sibling's group of friends, where Merula admits to constantly pushing Barnaby into the fountain with the Knockback Jinx.
- Tulip Karasu's boggart appears to be a distorted version of Merula wearing a torn school uniform, runny makeup and glowing violet eyes. The boggart reminds Tulip over how she betrayed Merula and how she will never have any friends, which Tulip later admits is her greatest fear.
- Starting in year five, Merula can be seen to be noticeably less antagonistic towards Jacob's sibling. During the Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, including the Hex-Deflection class, as well as the Hair-Raising potion class, Merula can be observed having casual, and sometimes even friendly, dialogue with Jacob's sibling. Most notably, in the Hair-Raising potion class, Rowan is seen to say "is it just me, or is Merula being friendlier lately?"
- Merula also became more tactful towards Jacob's sibling in year 4 when searching through Jacob's old room, when she realised that there is still a chance for Jacob to be alive. She also didn't take offence if/when Jacob's sibling picked her to travel to Forbidden Forest to talk to Centaurs again, due to her fearless and scary attitude. The change in attitude was later due to Tonks and Jacob's sibling saving her from a Dementor, or insisting her to try and cast a Corporeal Patronus Charm, which she failed.
- Interestingly, Merula in some ways is a dark reflection of each member of the Trio:
- Like Harry Potter, she lost her parents as a result of the First Wizarding War and has had to live with an aunt with whom she is not close. Both also have a loved one in Azkaban as a result of the First Wizarding War, and are something of an outcast at Hogwarts. But where Harry is able to make friends and is mostly benevolent, Merula is largely friendless and is a mean-spirited bully.
- Like Hermione Granger, she's had to work hard for everything due to lacking any connections or advantages upon arriving at Hogwarts. Both have a strong work ethic and a desire to become successful witches. But where one is a Muggle-Born whose parents are loving and supportive, the other is a Pure-Blood supremacist whose parents are convicted Death Eaters.
- Like Ron Weasley, she suffers from feelings of insecurity and inadequacy born from being in the shadow of another student (in Ron's case his brothers and in Merula's case Jacob's sibling). But where Ron is the best friend of his story's protagonist, Merula is the arch-rival of her's (though she can eventually become more friendly to Jacob's sibling).
- Merula bears some similarities to Draco Malfoy, though ironically, Merula could also be said to resemble a young James Potter; like James, Merula was talented but arrogant and something of a bully. But also like James, was loyal to her few friends and over time became more mature and friendly. Should Jacob's sibling choose to romance her, the comparison is strengthened (as both would be pairing off with a fellow student who they initially did not get along with).
- Merula is one of the four characters (along with Penny Haywood, Andre Egwu, and Barnaby Lee) available as romance options in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery for all four dating side quests: Celestial Ball, First Date, Valentine's Day, and Festival Fun. As with all other options, this can be done regardless of Jacob's sibling's gender.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (First appearance)
Notes and references
- Both Merula's parents were wizards, so she was evidently not a Muggle-born. She called Penny Haywood a filthy half-blood, suggesting she's likely a pure-blood.
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery - Unleash your Patronus
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, "The Frog Choir" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, "WELCOME TO THE SPHINX CLUB" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 20 (A Circle of Friends)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 45 (The Messenger)
- Should the player prompt Jacob's sibling to use Legilimency on Merula in the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, "Conjure a Patronus" Achievement - Part 3, Side Quest "Patronus Practice Makes Perfect", this snippet of information would be revealed.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1 onward, Flying Lessons in general
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 3 (Dealing With Trouble)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 2 (Welcome To Hogwarts)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 2 (Welcome To Hogwarts) - Potions Lesson "Cure for Boils Potion"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 3 (Dealing With Trouble)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 7 (Class Matters)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Side Quest "Merula's Revenge"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, "DUELLING DEATHDAY PARTIES" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Care of Magical Creatures class
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 2 (Boggarts and Butterbeer) - Potions Lesson "Wideye Potion"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, "The Frog Choir" Achievement
- Frog Choir | Jam City Support
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 5 (Tulip Karasu)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 6 (The Letter from No One)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 8 (Barnaby Lee)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, "Birds Of A Feather" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Side Quest "Wizarding World Famous"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 3 (Mixed Message) - Potions Lesson "Wound Cleaning Potion"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 3 (Mixed Message) - Care of Magical Creatures Lesson "Glumbumble"
- In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 5 (Wherefore Art Thou, Weasleys?), Bill Weasley noted that Merula and her class had a useless teacher for that year, with this revealing that Merula had proceeded to take N.E.W.T.-level Defence Against the Dark Arts.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 25 (Written in the Stars) - Astronomy Lesson "Lunar Phases"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4 onward, Care of Magical Creatures Lessons in general
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 32 (Quest for Polyjuice)
- During his tenure as Potions Master, Severus Snape only accepted students who achieved an 'Outstanding' on their O.W.L.s into his N.E.W.T.-level Potions classes. Since Merula was able to advance to N.E.W.T.-level Potions, she must have achieved an 'Outstanding' in her O.W.L. exam.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, "Christmas at the Burrow" Achievement - Part 4, Side Quest "Christmas with the Weasleys"
- "Snide" at Merriam Webster Dictionary
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 10 - Potions Lesson "Deflating Potion"