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 British Muggle and the patriarch of the Snape family in the late twentieth century[1]. He was the husband of the witch Eileen (nèe Prince) and the father of Severus Snape[1].


Early life

Tobias was born sometime in the early twentieth century into the Muggle Snape family[2].


At some time in his early adulthood, he married the pure-blood witch Eileen Prince[2]. The relationship between the two was strenuous at best; he abused her frequently, and they fought often[3]. The two lived at Spinner's End, a street in a rundown, ghetto neighbourhood in the city of Cokeworth, England[1].

Young Snape DH2

Tobias' son, Severus

On 9 January, 1960, Tobias and Eileen had a son, Severus Snape[1]. The family's lives were fraught with tension and anger; Severus noted during a conversation with his friend Lily Evans that his parents fought often[1]. Several times it was noted that Severus had a rundown, uncared-for look about him, and it is thus likely that Tobias and Eileen were either neglectful, poor or both[1]. The thought of leaving his family to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry enthralled Severus, and it is thus unlikely that he had a good home life[1].

By September 1981, Tobias and Eileen no longer resided at Spinner's End, and it is thus likely they either were deceased or lived elsewhere[1].

Physical appearance

Tobias had a hooked nose and very dark hair, traits his son inherited[3].

Personality and traits

Tobias was not fond of very much of anything, but showed particular hatred towards his wife Eileen, son Severus and their magic[1]. He was very bitter and showed complete disregard for his child[1].



Tobias had a very poor relationship with both his wife and his son; when Severus was younger, Tobias frequently shouted at and hit Eileen whilst Severus crouched in a corner, crying[3]. The memory of watching his parents fighting would haunt Severus even into adulthood, as witnessed during an Occlumency lesson given by him to Harry Potter[3].

It is likely that Tobias was equally abusive or at the very least neglectful of Severus, given how much Severus despised all Muggles[1]. Even at a very young age, Severus noticed with pain how his parents fought; it caused him a great deal of distress, and he was quite happy to be able to leave the house to visit his friend Lily Evans[1].


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.[4]

J. K. Rowling has stated that "Snape" is the name of a place in England[5]. It also is an English verb meaning "to be hard upon, rebuke or snub", derived from the Old Norse "sneypa", meaning "to outrage, dishonour, disgrace"[6].

Behind the scenes

  • The fact that Tobias lived near a textile mill may have given some indication of his occupation or socioeconomic status.
  • Tobias's eventual fate is unknown, although it is likely that he had died by 1996.
  • Tobias may have been an alcoholic or drug addict, or might have been unemployed, given how he frequently abused his wife and son, lived in a slum neighbourhood and his son wore ill-fitting, dirty clothes.


Notes and references

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