"...he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
Harry Potter talking to his son, Albus Severus about Severus Snape[src]

Professor Severus Snape (January 9, 1960May 2, 1998) was Potions master (19811996), Defence Against the Dark Arts professor (1996–1997 school year), and Headmaster (1997–1998 school year) of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Snape played an important role in the war against Voldemort, though he did so covertly and at great personal risk.

He was a half-blood wizard, born to Eileen Prince and Tobias Snape. Severus was raised in the Muggle dwelling of Spinner's End where he was in close proximity to Lily and Petunia Evans. Severus fell deeply in love with Lily at a very young age. 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 developed a passion for the Dark Arts and pure-blood supremacy, despite his love for Lily, a Muggle-born. Both put his friendship with Lily under strain. After leaving school he joined the Death Eaters along with a large group of his fellow Slytherins.

After 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, he was able to prevent Lord Voldemort from learning the truth about Severus's true loyalty. Despite the opinons of most others, Albus Dumbledore trusted Severus for reasons no one could seem to figure out. Those reasons would eventually be revealed to be Severus's deep love for Lily Evans. Dumbledore also planned his own death with Snape. After Lord Voldemort's control of Hogwarts, Severus promised Dumbledore that, after his death, he would protect the students at Hogwarts. Snape participated at the Battle of Hogwarts, and was killed by Lord Voldemort, because Snape was thought to be the master of the Elder Wand. Severus Snape's portrait still remains at Hogwarts.



Lily Evans: "They’re not arguing anymore?"
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 Snape was born January 9th, 1960 to Eileen Prince, a pure-blood witch,[1] and Tobias Snape, a Muggle,[2] making him a half-blood wizard. Severus was ashamed of his muggle father, he created a secret nickname, calling himself "the Half Blood Prince." It is implied that Severus was a loner and a victim of neglect by his parents. This neglect (and possible physical and/or verbal abuse by his father) contributed to Severus' unpleasant personality and cruel behaviour in his adulthood.

The Prince's Tale

Snape tells Lily that she is a witch while Petunia looks on jealously.

Severus's parents lived in a Muggle town near a river, at a place called Spinner's End. This was Severus's home throughout his years at Hogwarts. Spinner's End is an area of poverty, with cobbled streets, broken street lamps, disused factories and dilapidated houses. Lily Evans and her family likely lived close to Spinner's End, as she and Severus had become friends, after he had realised she was a witch. It appears that at this time in his life, Severus began a romantic interest in Lily, 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 was a Muggle, but may also be because she made disparaging comments about his clothes and residence.

Information from Snape's own memories of his first meetings with Lily suggests that he was an awkward child who had difficulty making friends, even when it was important to him to make a good impression. Snape's father didn't seem to approve of magic, while Severus expressed a dislike for Muggles, even though, or perhaps because, his father was one. The memories show that both he and Lily could perform wandless magic before attending Hogwarts.

Hogwarts years

Severus attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a student from 1971 to 1978, and was Sorted into Slytherin House, at that time led by Potions professor, Horace Slughorn. On the way to Hogwarts for his First year, Snape sat with Lily when 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 on Snape's future, as his photograph was kept behind many others.[3]

Snape 5thyear

Severus Snape whilst studying at Hogwarts.

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. Other Slytherins Sirius mentioned as being friends with Snape included Evan Rosier, Wilkes and his cousin 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's 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 was coming to Severus' defence, and Severus' subsequent lashing out at James in an attempt to recover his lost dignity — inadvertently called Lily a "Mudblood". Lily refused to forgive him for it, even after his desperate apologies. This would forever be Severus' 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. 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). But 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's hatred of his rival.

Half-Blood Prince

Severus Snape was a brilliant wizard, even in his childhood years. It is 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 contains a few spells which he specifically took credit for inventing: Levicorpus, which grabs the victim by the ankle and dangles them upside-down and Sectumsempra, which causes slashing cuts which bleed extensiveley guided by hand gestures on the victim. Levicorpus somehow escaped from Severus' secrecy, and became very popular around the school towards the end of his fifth year at school. Some other spells are Muffliato, which fills the ears of anyone nearby with an "unidentifiable buzzing sound," and Langlock, which affixes the victim's tongue to the roof of the mouth. 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. Snape's nickname combined his mother's name with ironic use of the word 'half-blood'. This nickname was apparently a secret, as Remus Lupin did not remember it ever being used publicly by Snape.

First Wizarding War

As a Death Eater

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies …"
—The part of Sybill Trelawney's prophecy that Snape overheard[src]

Snape with fellow members of the Order Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore and Alastor Moody

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 a job 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 impressed Dumbledore sufficiently to hire her). At that time it was not clear who was meant by the prophecy. Two children of prominent wizard 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.

Double Agent

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]

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 didn't, 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.

Snape: " is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters."
Harry Potter: "No — that's your job, isn't it?"
Snape: "Yes, Potter. That is my job."
— Snape and Harry Potter during an Occlumency lesson[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.

Between Wars

Potion Class

Snape's Potions Classroom in 1991.

Dolores Umbridge: "You applied first for Defence Against the Dark Arts post, is that correct?"
Severus Snape: "Yes."
Dolores Umbridge: "But you were unsuccessful?"
Severus Snape: "Obviously..."
— Professor Dolores Umbridge antagonizes Snape of his failures[src]

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 (Halloween, October 31 1981). It may be that Voldemort specifically sought a spy who could tell him about students from the Hogwarts records of all magical births.

Snape Jinxing Quirrell

Snape performing a Counter-curse to save Harry.

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 hardline 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[4], 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 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.

Umbridge inspecting Snape

High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge inspecting Snape in 1995.

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, though his grudge was not to the point that he would knowingly send an innocent man off to Azkaban. Snape later joins Sirius's side upon discovering his innocence, despite their old rivalry.) 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 War

Lord 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 reborn), 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.

Snape OOP trailer

Snape teaching Occlumency to Harry.

The mental link between Voldemort and Harry via Harry's scar became clear during Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts[5]. 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 (in the movie Harry broke through Snape's Legilimency attack to see the memory).

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 the 1996–1997 school year, 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 Vow

In July 1996, Snape was visited by Narcissa Malfoy and her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, and Narcissa begged for help for her son Draco. Snape made an unbreakable magical vow, on pain of death should he break it, to: "watch over my son Draco as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes, to the best of your 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."


Snape making an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa and Bellatrix

As it became clear in the end, Draco's assigned task was to murder Albus Dumbledore. It may or may not be the case that the vow had some wriggle room for Snape to evade it in the phrase "should it prove necessary", but otherwise it appeared to present him with a choice of either being forced to kill Dumbledore or himself.

Battle of the Astronomy Tower

In 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 mortally injured 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 a spell to paralyze 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.

Severus Snape casting Avada Kedavra on Albus Dumbledore

Snape casts the Avada Kedavra on Albus 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 dueled. Snape reacted in fury when Harry called him a coward, knocking him to the ground, but still refrained from doing any permanent damage.

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 used Godric Gryffindor's Sword to destroy the ring, and returned to Hogwarts with his injury. Snape intervened and was able to stem the curse, 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. After some persuasion, Snape agreed to the plan, and this finally took place upon the Astronomy Tower.

As Headmaster


Snape's Patronus guides Harry to the Sword of Godric Gryffindor in the Forest of Dean.

Before 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. 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.

Battle of Hogwarts and death

Although 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 gave up his silvery memories to Harry, who had been concealed nearby. The memories revealed, through the Pensieve, that Snape was motivated by his lifelong love for Lily Evans and loyalty to Dumbledore ever since Voldemort had decided to go after the Potters. After Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Severus, Snape's last 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 Snape loved Lily until the very end, seeing as how Harry 'looked so much like James, but had Lily's eyes'.

Dumbledore: "After all this time, Severus?"
Snape: "Always."
Dumbledore and Snape discussing Snape's continued love for Lily Evans in Snape's last memory, as viewed by Harry Potter.[src]

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. Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore (who was the master of Elder Wand) before Snape killed him. 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.


Snape'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.[6]

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.[7]

Physical appearance


Severus Snape

Snape 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. He had a thin-lipped, sneering mouth with yellow, uneven teeth and often spoke in a soft voice, though he often became aggressive with students he disliked. 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 traits

"Don't push it. I've heard Snape can turn very nasty."
Ron Weasley[src]

Severus Snape was considered by most to be highly unpleasant and sarcastic. He had a tendency to hold grudges and could be extremely spiteful toward those whom he disliked. Though Snape's disdain for the Marauders 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, to use his own words, "brawny rather than brainy"). Snape frequently terrorised his least favourite pupils; he often directed snide comments and verbal abuse at them. He 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 trivial reasons.


Snape's brand of class discipline.

As a professor, Snape was known for his cavalier attitude and low tolerance for cheek. He seemed to dislike most of his students, with the exception of those in Slytherin. His having been bullied so much as a child may have fueled his harshly authoritarian teaching style as an adult, and his dislike of children in general. Snape took full advantage of his power, expecting complete respect from his students, and much like Filch, took pleasure in doling out punishments.

Snape's classes were notoriously rigorous. 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. He kept his students working until the last minute and, leading up to holidays, refused to let them relax and play games.

"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 in his classroom

Severus Snape in his Potions classroom.

Snape 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 demeanor. Nonetheless, he was prone to temper tantrums, especially when it came to Harry Potter. Snape also inevitably became furious whenever he was accused of cowardice.

Ultimately, it was Snape's past and his love for Lily Evans that have defined his character and personality. After spending most of his life giving Lily his unconditional love and attention, Snape accidentally called her a derogatory name, effectively cutting off their friendship. He was then forced to watch her marry his eternal schoolboy 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.

Despite his mean-spirited demeanor, Snape was an immensely brave, courageous man and had tremendous strength of character. Everything he did was motivated by his devotion to the memory of Lily Evans, whom he loved from boyhood 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. Dumbledore even remarked upon Snape's bravery, commenting that "sometimes I think we sort too soon." Snape 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 concocting the Wolfsbane Potion every month so that he could make his werewolf transformations safely.

Magical Abilities and Skills

Snape was said to be an extremely powerful wizard, and to have been brilliantly talented while a student. Snape had numerous skills in various aspects of the magical arts.

Silver and Opals

Severus Snape and McGonagall examining the necklace

Dark Arts Mastery: Snape had a talent and passion for the Dark Arts from a young age, and was especially proficient at curses.

Master Potioneer: He specialized in Potion making, teaching the subject at Hogwarts as an adult and able to come up with innovative methods to achieve quicker and better results as a teenage student, as written in his old textbook.

Spell Creator: As a student at Hogwarts, Snape had a gift for creating new spells. Some of the spells he invented were Sectumsempra, healing spell Vulnera Sanentur, Langlock curse, Muffliato spell, the nonverbal Levicorpus and its counter-curse, Liberacorpus.

Legilimency/Occlumency Expert: Snape was accomplished in Occlumency and Legilimency; 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 could mean that in contrast, Snape was the most skilled Occlumens of all time.

Snape with Hagrid's hut burning HBP

Snape blocking Harry's spells during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.

Patronus Charm: Snape was the only known Death Eater that was able to produce a Patronus, which, like Lily Potter's, was a doe. The most likely reason for this is that Snape was not a loyal Death Eater, and that his unconditional love for Lily was stronger even than his practice of the Dark Arts.

Master Duelist: Snape was shown to be a very talented duelist, able to hold off by himself a group of three Hogwarts professors that included Pomona Sprout, former dueling champion Filius Flitwick and extremely powerful witch Minerva McGonagall. He assisted in a dueling club in 1992 with Gilderoy Lockhart, defeating and humiliating him with a single spell. He was also able to duel with both James Potter and Sirius Black, two very talented wizards, during their Hogwarts years. He easily defeated Harry Potter during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, effortlessly deflecting each spell Harry cast.

Flight: Snape could fly without the use of a broom. The only other wizard that was known to be able to do this is Lord Voldemort.[8]

Healer: Snape also seems to have had a talent for healing, or at least counter-curses, as he helped save Katie Bell after she touched a cursed necklace, and Dumbledore after his mishap with Marvolo Gaunt's Ring. He also easily healed Draco with a healing charm after Harry used Sectumsempra on him, likely being the one who invented both spells.



Lily Evans: "Doesn't your dad like magic?"
Severus: "He doesn't like anything, much."
— Severus on his father.[src]

Snape's relationship with his parents wasn't a good one. His mother was a pure-blood witch, while his father was a Muggle. His parents were extremely poor, and always argued. His father was an unpleasant man, as he shouted at (and probably abused) his wife. He also didn't like magic very much. Severus told to his friend Lily Evans that his father didn't really like anything. Severus became very happy when he learned that he would leave his father in order to go to Hogwarts. It is unknown if Snape's parents were dead at the time he became Potions master at Hogwarts, but it is more likely that they were either dead or residing somewhere else, as Snape was living at their house by 1996.

Lily Evans

Lily Potter fullcoloured

Lily Evans.

"Snape's Patronus was a doe, the same as my mother's. Because he loved her for nearly all of his life."
Harry Potter on Snape's lifelong love for Lily Evans, Harry's mother[src]

Lily Evans grew up near Snape’s childhood home of Spinner's End, and Snape soon noticed that she was a witch born to Muggles. He took to watching her covertly as she played outside with her sister Petunia, and eventually revealed himself. At first, Lily was not drawn to Snape because he treated her sister with disdain, but the two children eventually became friends, discussing various aspects of the wizarding world and their excitement about attending Hogwarts together. Snape had romantic feelings for Lily from a very early age, and although Lily liked him as a friend, his slightly obsessive love for her was unrequited.

At Hogwarts, Snape was upset when Lily was sorted into Gryffindor house, rather than Slytherin with him, and hated that his rival James Potter was also romantically interested in Lily. However, the two remained best friends until their fifth year, when Snape began associating with students like Avery and Mulciber; Lily detested that they took pleasure in using Dark magic, and suspected that they all intended to become Death Eaters. Their friendship was shattered when Snape unintentionally called her a disparaging name after being humiliated by James and Sirius Black; Lily refused to forgive him and chose to never again associate with him.

When Lord Voldemort came to believe that Lily’s son Harry Potter was the subject of a prophecy made about his possible defeat in 1980, Snape betrayed the Death Eaters by bringing the information to Albus Dumbledore. He agreed to do anything in order to keep Lily safe. When she was murdered along with her husband, Snape wished he was dead as well. To honour her sacrifice for her son, Snape agreed to join the Order of the Phoenix and to protect Harry’s life at all costs. He went above and beyond to ensure that Harry was kept safe, but extracted from Albus Dumbledore a promise that his actions and more importantly, his motivation, would remain secret. He did this because Harry's very presence forever showed him what might have been. Before Snape died, he gave Harry all of his memories, showing his devotion to Lily. Then he looked into Harry's eyes, which were identical to Lily's, right before dying, taking the memory of his love for her into the next life.

The Marauders

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]
James Sirius youth

Sirius Black and James Potter in their fifth year.

Snape first met James Potter and Sirius Black on the Hogwarts Express on their first day at Hogwarts. When Snape expressed his wish that Lily Evans be Sorted into Slytherin, James and Sirius insulted him.

During their years at school, Snape would share a deep enmity with James and Sirius that extended to their friends Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew and later to James' son Harry. Sirius claimed that Snape was jealous of James, who was popular and a talented Quidditch player. Snape's bitterness and dislike of James also stemmed from the fact that James was interested in Lily.

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 toerag. I don't need you to tell me that."
— Snape and Lily arguing[src]

In turn, Sirius and James often bullied Snape. Sirius justified his and James’ dislike of Snape based on the latter’s practice of the Dark Arts. However, it seems that he and James often bullied Snape simply for the sake of it.

Lily Evans: "Leave him alone! What's he done to you?"
James Potter: "It's more that he exists, if you know what I mean..."
Lily coming to Snape's defence [src]

On one occasion, they turned Snape’s Levicorpus spell against him to humiliate him, leading Lily to come to his defence, and Snape to lash out at her. Sirius also once told Snape how to get to the Shrieking Shack, without telling him that Remus Lupin was there during his transformations into a werewolf. Snape might have been killed if James had not stopped him — an act Snape considered to be done, not out of nobility, but to avoid expulsion.

Later in life, 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 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 also took advantage when Pettigrew, the man who truly betrayed Lily, was assigned to be his assistant by the Dark Lord, and treated Pettigrew as a servant, regularly humiliating and hurting him.

However, it should be noted, that despite Snape's strained relationship with the Marauders, he did attempt to save Remus Lupin's life when attacked during the Battle over Little Whinging.

Harry Potter


Harry Potter.

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]

Snape vowed to protect Harry Potter to honour his mother’s sacrifice. However, despite his moral obligations, Snape was filled with nothing but contempt towards Harry, who served as living proof of the fact that Lily preferred someone else. Snape also disliked Harry because he considered him similar to his father, whom he had despised.[9]

During Harry's time at Hogwarts, Snape treated him horribly. He frequently derided the boy's abilities, bullied him in class, and delighted in punishing him whenever possible. Although Snape threatened to have Harry expelled more than once, he never followed through on these threats, despite numerous opportunities to do so, presumably because it would have put Harry in danger. He came to the assistance of Harry, Ron, and Hermione many times, albeit only out of duty. When he learned that Dumbledore had apparently sent Harry to face certain death at the hand of Lord Voldemort, Severus was horrified, seeing it as a calculated betrayal of his commitment to Lily's memory.

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]
Snape in harry's memory

Snape invading Harry's memory during the Occlumency lessons.

Harry, in turn, disliked Snape, and distrusted him until he found out that the reason for Snape’s loyalty to the Order was his love for Lily. Harry was occasionally disrespectful towards Snape, though it was mainly when Snape was being provocative. He was furious with him over Sirius Black's death in the battle at the Department of Mysteries, believing that his godfather would not have felt the need to go after Harry and join in the battle if Snape hadn't taunted him about being useless. Despite the fact that Snape had come to the aid to the Order as swiftly as he could when Sirius was believed to be captured by Voldemort, Harry blamed Snape for his death, mainly to ease his own guilty feelings.

"...he was probably the bravest man I ever knew..."
—Harry Potter tells his son about Severus.[src]

Harry’s Occlumency lessons with Snape failed partly because the two were so hostile towards one another. After learning of Snape’s love for his mother and true loyalty to Dumbledore, Harry came to respect him, and ensured that his portrait was placed in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. He even gave his youngest son the middle name "Severus", who was the only of Harry's children to have Lily's eyes. Harry also called Snape the bravest man he ever knew.

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

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 Ron and Hermione in the hunt for Horcruxes. He also told Phineas Nigellus not to say the insulting word "mudblood", while he was talking about Hermione. Ron and Hermione also wittnessed the death of Snape and learned that Snape was on their side.

Albus Dumbledore

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]
Dumbledore and Elder Wand

Albus Dumbledore

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.

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 minimizing 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 never approved of Dumbledore's utilitarian sensibilities, and indeed was very shocked when he discovered that Dumbledore only considered the boy a pawn in the destruction of Voldemort.

"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]

Dumbledore clearly underestimated Snape's capacity for loving Lily, and, years later, was very surprised to learn that Snape still maintained his affections for her. He was incredibly touched to see how devoted Snape was to cherishing her memory.

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. Dumbledore also entrusted Snape with protecting the students once Hogwarts fell into Voldemort's control.

Lord Voldemort

Voldemort Cropped

Lord Voldemort

In his days as a Death Eater, Snape was one of Lord 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. 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. Voldemort learned by Harry Potter that Snape was Dumbledore's, before his death.

Malfoy family


Lucius and Draco Malfoy

"Lucius always spoke highly of you."
—Dolores Umbridge[src]

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 take 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.

Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix Lestrange and Severus Snape

Bellatrix Lestrange in conversation with Severus Snape

"I don't trust you, Snape, as you very well know!"
—Bellatrix Lestrange[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.

Igor Karkaroff

Karkaroff Close-Up

Igor Karkaroff

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. Karkaroff was scared when his Dark Mark began to burn. After Voldemort's rebirth, Karkaroff left Hogwarts and started hiding. He was later killed by Death Eaters for his actions.

Death Eaters and enemies

Mask DE

Death Eater

Severus became 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 appears to be friendly with Snape, too.

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 he 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

Neville Longbottom showed his interest in Herbology

Neville Longbottom.

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]

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 was 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".

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, after Snape was killed by Nagini, Neville killed the snake, to destroy the last reamaining horcrux; in a way, Neville avenged Snape.

Minerva McGonagall


Minerva McGonagall, his Transfiguration professor and co-worker.

Minerva 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 regreted, 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 shocked; she started to hate him, as she admired Dumbledore and believed he was the greatest wizard of all time. Furthermore, when Snape became Headmaster of Hogwarts, McGonagall tried to oppose him and the Carrow, 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; the latter was about to win, but left 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.

Hogwarts staff

Filius Flitwick2

Filius Flitwick.

Snape had many co-workers during his career at Hogwarts. Except Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall who were already mentioned, Snape knew many Hogwarts staff members.


Pomona Sprout.

Snape appeared to be on quite good terms with professors Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout. Flitwick was the Charms professor and Head of Ravenclaw House, while Sprout was the Herbology professor and Head of Hufflepuff House. When Snape killed Dumbledore, Flitwick and Sprout were shocked. In 1998, Flitick and Sprout, like many professors, tried to oppose Snape and the Carrows. They were among the professors who kicked Snape out of Hogwarts, before the battle. After the Battle of Hogwarts, they learned the truth about Snape.

Rubeus Hagrid respected Snape and trusted him, because Dumbledore trusted him too. They both became members of the first and second Order of the Phoenix. Hagrid was shocked after Dumbledore's death, but he learned that Snape was Dumbledore's, 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. However, none of them remained at school more than one year. Snape was eventually given the post of D.A.D.A. (for one year).

Snape had a hatred towards Gilderoy Lockhart, who was appointed as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor in 1992. Lockhart was a handsome wizard who claimed to have done many great accomplishments. In fact, he was a crook, who had stolen other people's accomplishments, modifying his memories and making them believe that it was Lockhart who had made all that. Snape was most likely aware of this based on him easily defeating him in the dueling club.

Snape, like the rest of Hogwarts' residents, disliked (and possibly hated) Dolores Umbridge, who was a sadistic woman who enjoyed punished students (usually using the Blood Quill). Umbridge left Hogwarts in 1996. He was also annoyed that she rubbed in the fact that he failed to acquire the position he always wanted at the school. He later refused to help Umbridge in torturing Harry and as such suspended him.

Snape seemed to like Argus Filch, the caretaker, who respected him. Filch, like Snape, disliked the most students at Hogwarts. However, it is unknown how Filch reacted when he learned that Snape killed Dumbledore.

After the Battle of Hogwarts, the other professors learned that Snape was on Dumbledore's side.

Order of the Phoenix members


The original Order of the Phoenix.

Snape's relationship with some members of the Order of the Phoenix is 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 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 some members, like Ron, Fred and George, he didn't seem to dislike them all. He appears to be on quite good terms with Arthur and Molly, as they trusted him and told Harry to call him "professor". Snape hasn't ever argued with Arthur and Molly. However, when he killed Dumbledore, the Weasley family started to hate him. Snape also accidentally cut 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 disliked 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 Mungungus Fletcher. It is most likely that Mundungus learned that Snape was on their side after the Second Wizarding War.

All the members who survived the Battle of Hogwarts, learned that Snape was on their side.


Severus means “stern” in Latin, and is the root of the English word “severe”[10]. 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.

J. K. Rowling has said that she took the surname Snape from an English village[11] in Suffolk. There is also a village called 'Snape' in Yorkshire near Hadrian's Wall, 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".[12]

Behind the scenes

  • Severus Snape is portrayed by Alan Rickman in all of the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling passed the spoiler that Snape had loved Lily his entire life on to Rickman in order for Rickman to capture the character. Rickman was the only person to know of this until the release of the Deathly Hallows.[9]
  • In the movie adaptations, Severus appears to be much older than he is in book version, 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, what makes him more than twenty years older than in book.
  • 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.
  • During his childhood, he personally knew Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it was to Snape that Petunia referred when she said "that awful boy" told Lily about Dementors and Azkaban, even though Harry assumed she was referring to his father.
  • 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.
  • J.K. Rowling has stated that Snape was loosely based on an unpleasant teacher she had as a child.[13]
  • A rumour said that Luna Lovegood was Snape's daughter because they both have dirty hair, and Rowling stated afterwards that this wasn't true. Luna's father was confirmed to be Xenophilius Lovegood.
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[15]
    • If this had been true, however, it would've meant that a remark made by one student 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.


Notes and references

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