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Former Headmaster Severus Snape, the subject of the portrait

Severus Snape's portrait was a painting that hung in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This portrait depicted Professor Severus Snape.[1]


As Headmaster of the school during the 1997–1998 school year, Severus Snape had the right to have his portrait hung posthumously in the Headmaster's office; however, since he appeared to have abandoned his post, it didn't automatically appear there prior to his death.

Harry Potter revealed Snape's true intentions and motives shortly before Tom Riddle's death, and was instrumental in ensuring that the portrait found its rightful place among the school's previous Headmasters;[2] following a private conversation with Harry, Headmistress McGonagall took the decision to add Snape's portrait to the gallery, which was met with some controversy.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • Snape's portrait was shown in a Saturday Night Live skit that featured Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry Potter. Snape was portrayed by SNL cast member Bill Hader, instead of by Alan Rickman.[3]
  • Given how short his career as the school's headmaster was and how little time its living counterpart had to educate it, it is unknown what practical purpose, if any, it would have to place a portrait of Professor Snape in the Headmaster's Office, as the portrait possessed little to no knowledge of its subject's life and experiences to draw on to advise Snape's eventual successors. It is, however, possible the portrait had gotten Snape's overall mannerisms down by the time he died and McGonagall made do with what little the portrait did know, as the decision to hang it in her office was more a symbolic gesture done at Harry's behest than anything else.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Pottermore Presents - Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 1 (Minerva McGonagall)
  2. JK Rowling Deathly Hallows Web Chat: "J.K. Rowling: However, I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape’s portrait would appear there in due course."
  3. [1]
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