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].


He married the pure-blood witch Eileen Prince[2]. He abused her mentally and emotionally, as Harry Potter saw in Severus Snape's memories during an Occlumency lesson[3]. It could be surmised that he was physically abusive as well. Why they began a relationship and got married is currently unknown. He was probably not aware of Eileen being a witch when they married, or else he might have left her.

The couple lived at Spinner's End, a working-class neighbourhood in Cokeworth, England[1].

Young Snape DH2

Tobias' son, Severus

On 9 January, 1960, Eileen gave birth to their son[1]. Severus noted during a conversation with his friend, Lily Evans, that his parents fought often[1]. They apparently neglected him during his childhood, or were poor, or both. His clothes were mismatched and did not fit properly. When he began his first year of school at Hogwarts, he changed into his uniform quickly after getting onto the Hogwarts Express, apparently glad to be rid of his Muggle clothes.

By September 1981, when Severus became the Potions master and a Head of House at the school, Tobias and Eileen no longer resided in the house. As Severus was only twenty-one years old, it is likely that they were still alive but moved away, either together or separately.

Personality and traits

According to young Severus, Tobias was not fond of very much of anything, including magic.[1] Even so, his son was was a talented young wizard before even receiving the Hogwarts letter. In 1995, Sirius Black mentioned that Severus knew more curses when he arrived at school than many of the seventh-year students did. Tobias might not have tried to ban magic from the home, or Eileen and Severus might have used it whenever he was not around.



Tobias had a very poor relationship with both his wife and his son. When Severus was younger, Tobias frequently shouted at Eileen, and possibly hit her, whilst their son crouched in a corner, crying[3]. The unhappy memories of the Snape home would haunt Severus into adulthood.


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

  • Tobias may have been an alcoholic or drug addict, given how he frequently abused his wife and son, lived in a slum neighbourhood, and his son wore ill-fitting, dirty clothes. He may not have had stable employment.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named OP26
  4. Behind the Name: Tobias
  5. 2000 eToys Interview - AccioQuote!
  6. "Snape" at
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