Lily Evans: "Doesn’t your dad like magic?"
Severus Snape: "He doesn’t like anything, much."
Severus discusses his father with Lily Evans.[src]

Tobias Snape was a Muggle and a member of the Snape family. He was married to Eileen Snape (née Prince), a witch, and was the father of Severus Snape.


Little is known about Tobias, but it is clear that he lived with his wife, Eileen, in a row house on Spinner's End. The fact that the house was located near a textile mill may give some indication of his profession[1][2] and socioeconomic status.

Young Snape DH2

Tobias' son, Severus

Tobias had a son, Severus, who was born on 9 January, 1960. His marriage to Eileen was fraught with tension, according to Severus, who told his friend, Lily Evans, that his parents often had arguments. Tobias and his wife may also have been incredibly neglectful, or at least extremely poor, as their son was said and claimed not to look "well cared for."[2] The thought of leaving his father to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry seemed to enthrall Severus.[2]

It seems that Tobias, a Muggle, was aware that he had married a witch. When young Lily Evans asked Severus if his father liked magic, Severus replied that Tobias didn't ever really like anything, including magic.[2] This would seem to suggest that Tobias was an incredibly sour and very unhappy man.

Tobias' ultimate fate is unknown, but Severus Snape was shown living in the family house on Spinner's End in the summer of 1996, suggesting that Tobias and his wife were either dead by this time or possibly residing somewhere else.


Wife and son

Tobias seemed to not have a very good relationship with his wife and son. He seemed to be physically and verbally abusive towards them, like for example, during an Occlumency lesson in which his son was giving Harry Potter, Harry saw in a flashback in which Tobias was shouting at Eileen while a young Severus Snape cried in the corner.

It is also most likely that Tobias also abused his son, Severus, and was apparently very neglectful of him. This caused Severus to despise Muggles very much, with the probable exception of Lily Evans's parents Mr. and Mrs. Evans because they were the parents of the woman he had loved for his entire life. Nonetheless, he had a strong dislike of Lily's sister Petunia Evans.

Physical appearance

Tobias Snape is described as a tall man with dark hair and a hooked nose. It seems that his son - Severus - inherited much of his physical appearance.

Personality and traits

Tobias Snape is described as a sour man. He is seen to be rather argumentative, and Severus once stated to Lily Evans that, "[Tobias] doesn't like anything, much." Tobias did not seem to give a great deal of thought towards his son, since Severus did not look "well cared for" as a child.


Tobias is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Tobiah from the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, meaning "God is good". In the apocryphal Book of Tobit in the Old Testament, Tobias is assisted by the archangel in driving a demon away from Sarah, who subsequently became his wife.[3]

J. K. Rowling has said that she took the surname Snape from an English village[4], probably one in Yorkshire near Hadrian’s Wall. Snape is also an English verb meaning “to be hard upon, rebuke, snub”, derived from the Old Norse "sneypa", “to outrage, dishonour, disgrace”.[5]

Behind the scenes

  • Tobias appeared in a memory which Harry Potter saw when he accidentally broke into Severus Snape's mind during an Occlumency lesson. In the memory, a man with a hooked nose is shouting at a frightened woman, while a small, dark-haired boy — Severus — cries in the corner. This memory could be evidence that he abused Eileen, Severus's mother, by the fact that she could have been abused by Tobias may have been causing her to not give the right and proper care to Severus.[4]


Notes and references

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