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Severus Snape
Biographical information

9 January[1], 1960[2]


2 May, 1998[2]

Blood status


Marital status


Physical information




Hair colour


Eye colour


Skin colour


Family information
Family members
Magical characteristics



Potions Master[4]



"One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
Harry Potter[src]

Professor[4] Severus Snape[4] (9 January[1], 1960[6] - 2 May, 1998[2]) was a wizard and the Professor of Potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry[4]. After graduating from school, he became a loyal Death Eater, although he switched sides shortly before the end of the war and became a spy at great personal risk[2].

Most of this abrupt and ultimately deadly change of heart was caused by Snape's undying love for Lily Evans, whom he had met at a very young age and spent most of his life alongside[2]. When Snape learned that Voldemort was hunting Lily, he switched sides and did his utmost to protect her, even going so far as to beg Voldemort to spare her, and kill only her husband and son[2]. When Lily died, Snape almost fell apart completely; he was held together only by the knowledge and duty that he had to protect Lily's son, Harry Potter, from harm, a task he performed unfailingly[2].

Snape met his untimely end in the Shrieking Shack at Hogwarts, where Lord Voldemort interrogated him on the loyalty of the Elder Wand before finally bewitching his snake, Nagini, to slit Snape's throat open[2]. In his final moments, Severus implored Harry to look at him before his passing, so that he could see the bright green eyes he had so loved one last time[2]. He imparted his life story to Harry, demanding that the boy see him as he truly was, and not in the prejudiced and hateful way that he had been taught to see his former teacher and enemy[2].


Early life

Severus Snape was born on 9 January[1], 1960[6] to a Muggle, Tobias Snape, and his wife Eileen Prince, a pure-blood witch[3]. The birth was recorded in the Daily Prophet, and a record was left in the Hogwarts Library[3]. Snape had a very difficult childhood; his parents fought and argued often, and he was neglected[2]. His hair was unwashed and very poorly cut, and he had to wear baggy, overlarge clothes that seemed several decades out of date and very loose indeed[2]. He often left the house on his own and wandered about the town, becoming something of a fixture throughout the village, known to most of the citizens for his ill-fitting clothes and poor choice of address[2].

On several such wanderings, Severus took to visiting a local park, at which he would watch two sisters, Lily and Petunia Evans, as they spent time together[2]. After several months of doing so, Severus dressed in his best clothing - a too-short pair of jeans, smock and a shabby overcoat - he hid behind a bush[2]. As he had anticipated, Petunia and Lily were both there, and when Lily used magic to slow her descent after throwing herself off a swing, and to open and close the petals of a flower, Severus revealed himself to the duo[2]. He explained to Lily that she was a witch, at which she was highly offended, after already having been very disapproving of Snape's behaviour and appearance[2]. Both sisters stalked away after Severus insulted Petunia, calling her a Muggle in what was obviously a disdainful tone[2].

Despite this, Lily's curiosity got the better of her, and she returned to the park[2]. Much to Severus's joy, she ventured with him to a very small, shady thicket beside the river, and they sat cross-legged on the ground, facing each other, talking intensely about magic[2]. He complimented her several times, and more than once broke off in embarrassment when he felt he had gone too far[2]. When Lily's sister Petunia fell out of a tree she had been watching the pair from, Petunia and Severus got into a heated argument, culminating in Petunia asking Severus whether he was wearing his mother's blouse, and Severus causing a tree branch to snap off and hit Petunia very hard on the shoulder[2].

Hogwarts years

First year

Severus Snape began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on 1 September, 1971[6]. He learned alongside James Potter, with whom he started a bitter rivalry; the two absolutely hated each other, something that was common knowledge, until James saved Snape's life[6].



Snape was one of the professors who contributed to the protection of the Sorcerer's Stone when it was moved into Hogwarts in August 1991[7]. However, Quirinus Quirrell also contributed to the Stone's defenses, and thus the security of the Elixir of Life was compromised[6]. To combat this, Snape spent most of the year keeping an annoyingly close watch on Quirrell, and more than once engaged in battle with Quirrell whenever the latter tried to break into the third-floor corridor where the Stone was being held[6]. Because of this, many staff and a select few students thought Snape was trying to steal the Stone. He became a quiddditch referee to stop Qurrell hurting Harry Potter.Everyone thought he was trying to stop Gryffindor house win and he became very unpopular.[6].


The following year, Snape received information from the Evening Prophet that two of his students, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley, had flown a flying Ford Anglia all the way across Britain to get to school[8]. He therefore left the Start-of-Term Feast early, examined the Whomping Willow, into which Harry and Ron had crashed the car, and then found the two looking into the Great Hall to watch the Sorting[8].

Physical appearance

Snape had long, greasy black hair, a hooked nose and sallow skin[4]. His black eyes were like cold, empty tunnels[5]. He was small, sallow, stringy and skinny[2].

Personality and traits

Cruel, sarcastic and bitter[8], Snape frequently insulted his students and displayed blatant favouritism towards Slytherin, his own house[5]. He greatly enjoyed punishment, though always looked forward to the expulsion of certain individuals from school[8].

Behind the scenes

  • Alan Rickman plays Snape in the film adaptations.
  • Alec Hopkins plays teenage Snape
  • Benedict Clarke Plays Snape as a young boy


Notes and references