Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Aya Radwan   Aya Radwan  

An enemy or a friend? A death eater or a prince in disguise? The man who loved Lily Evans, or the man who’s trying to kill her son? Severus Snape is introduced to us through the Harry Potter series in the most sceptical way, and as the plot evolves, the scepticism grows. However, one thing is for sure: when you first see Professor Snape appear in the first film, you simply cannot help but admire him. Whether you read the books or opted for the films only, loving Professor Snape is a given.
In this article, we will get an introduction into who Severus Snape was, his younger self, whether he sought to kill Harry Potter, and many more secrets that this character carried throughout the story.

Who is Severus Snape?

Severus Snape was a half-blood wizard, born in 1960 to his mother, Eileen Prince, a witch, and Tobias Snape, a muggle. His childhood home was close to that of Lily Evans, and he fell in love with her upon meeting her at the age of nine, and they both started attending Hogwarts at eleven. Severus’ cruel upbringing made him a shy and distant person.

The Sorting Hat placed Snape in Slytherin House, and it helped him excel in the Dark Arts. He advanced well in his studies and earned the position of Head of Slytherin House when Albus Dumbledore became headmaster. Snape filled many positions during his time at Hogwarts, including Potions Master and Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, and at some point, he served as Headmaster when Voldemort was on the verge of taking over Hogwarts.

Snape’s loyalty was the most questioned in the series; it was unknown whether he only served Voldemort or had a secret agenda. By the last part, we learn that Snape had been a double agent, helping Dumbledore keep Hogwarts and Harry Potter safe while spying on Voldemort for the Order of the Phoenix. All his life, Snape kept his promise to protect Harry Potter out of loyalty to his love for Harry’s mother, Lily.

Young Severus Snape

Unlike the initial idea we get about Severus Snape, an evil professor out to get Harry Potter, his younger self is the complete opposite. Young Severus was smart but shy and had the softest heart. Unexpectedly, we learn down the road that James Potter, Harry’s father, and Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, bullied young Severus as they were all schoolmates.

On the other hand, Severus has been in love with Harry’s mother, Lily, ever since she was Lily Evans. Truthfully, Severus knew Lily first because they were neighbours.
Young Severus was a Slytherin, and he showed impeccable skills in potions, charms, and the dark arts. He excelled at school and became one of Professor Slughorn’s favourite students. This probably explains why he grew up to be Head of the Slytherin House as well as the Potions’ Professor in the beginning and assisted in the Defence Against the Dark Arts class with the designated professors.

Severus Snape, James Potter and Sirius Black

We’ve seen that both James and Sirius mocked and bullied young Severus, with Peter Pettigrew cheering on the side. James and Sirius were both pure-bloods, and Severus was a half-blood, which is surprising enough since in many of the films and stories Severus is portrayed as if advocating for pure-bloods.

Another surprise was that Severus didn’t fight the duo back; he kept his feelings for Lily hidden and, instead, observed the entire lot from afar. It’s actually heartbreaking, and when you look back, you can almost understand why Severus was portrayed as being out there to get James’s son, Harry.

Severus Snape and Lily Potter

Harry might’ve been James’ son, but he was also Lily Evans’, and this must have created a confusing paradox inside Severus’s mind and heart. He loved Lily since they were neighbours before James came into the picture.
Despite his feelings, Severus rarely talked about Lily whenever he addressed Harry Potter; he would only mention James. This explicitly says that Severus hated James but not Lily. Young Lily sympathised with Severus when she saw the boys taunt and torture him.

However, when she asked them to let him go, Severus insulted her by calling her a mudblood, and it was at that moment that he knew he’d lost Lily forever. This particular moment in the story appears in The Order of the Phoenix, and Severus admits it was his worst memory because it cost him Lily, not because James was torturing him.

While Severus never explicitly said he loved Lily, he shows it in his actions all throughout the story. The most famous evidence was when Dumbledore asked him, “After all this time, Severus?” When he saw that Snape’s Patronus was a doe, the same as Lily’s, to which Snape replied, “Always.”
Severus even blurted out bluntly that he didn’t care for Harry Potter at all and mocked his father when he could. On the other hand, all through the story, he does everything he can to protect Harry Potter, even when Harry himself doubts that Snape planned his demise.

Severus Snape’s Wand

Severus’s wand was of unknown core, wood or length. As with most wizards, he bought it probably from Olivander’s when he was 11 as part of the school material every young wizard needed before starting the school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What was Severus Snape’s Patronus, and Why?

Severus’s Patronus was a doe, and this specific choice of creature reflected his undying love for Lily Potter. Even though he lost her to James Potter, Severus took a secret oath to protect Lily’s son, Harry, even when he was often portrayed as a traitor for serving Voldemort. All along the way, everything Severus did was for Lily.

Is Severus Snape Bad?

Yes, and no!

The answer to this question will differ according to which side you’re looking at it from. Severus Snape served both Voldemort and Dumbledore. He took young Draco Malfoy in and tried to prepare him for a better and higher position in both Slytherin House and as a Death Eater. However, at the same time, you will find that Severus had a hand in saving Harry Potter from numerous troubles.

One of the reasons many argue that Severus was a bad person was his position as a Death Eater. Because he wasn’t a regular one, he was a death eater who was in Voldemort’s innermost and most trusted circle. Additionally, he acted as a spy for the Dark Lord and informed him of the prophecy that predicted his fall.

It’s worth noting that the only time Severus was called a Death Eater was when Igor Karkaroff accused him of being one. However, Dumbledore defended Severus revealing that the former death eater had changed sides and was spying on Voldemort for him.

Perhaps the most crucial reason why many choose to label Severus as bad is that he killed Dumbledore, the beloved and most powerful headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen. Except, when you dig deeper, you will find that by this action, Snape was fulfilling Dumbledore’s wishes.

In a memory that Snape shared with Harry, he shows how Dumbledore carefully asked Snape to execute any orders Voldemort gave him in order to maintain his cover as a double agent, or everything they’d worked for would’ve been for nothing. Additionally, Dumbledore didn’t want to die at the hands of a spoiled, unskilled wizard like Draco Malfoy, whom Voldemort initially tasked with killing Dumbledore.

On the other side, Snape was living proof that love can change everything. After Voldemort killed Lily, Harry’s mother, Snape was deeply affected and switched sides. He made an agreement with Dumbledore to protect Harry Potter at all costs, and as a result, he used his position as a trusted death eater to spy on Voldemort.

As for Snape taking Dumbledore’s life, it was to save both Dumbledore and the world from falling into a darker future. Dumbledore was dying from the curse on his hand, which meant that when it killed him, the mastery of the Elder Wand would pass to Voldemort with destructive consequences. The headmaster had no one he trusted more than Snape to take his life and fulfil their agreement to protect Harry.

Why did Severus Snape kill Dumbledore?

The most important reason was that Dumbledore asked Severus to do so. The curse on Dumbledore’s hand left him a few days to live, and it made him weaker in the face of Voldemort. The bigger problem was that if Voldemort had gotten to Dumbledore before the curse and was able to kill him, this would make Voldemort the Master of the Elder Wand.

Dumbledore had an agreement with Severus to do whatever Voldemort asked him to do, even if he asked him to kill Dumbledore himself. Lastly, Dumbledore told Severus that if there was ever a need that necessitated killing him, he must do so without hesitation.

Did Severus Snape Serve Voldemort?

Yes, he did.
Severus Snape had a great interest in Voldemort’s mastery of the Dark Arts, which attracted him to follow the Dark Lord in the beginning. When Snape knew of the prophecy about Voldemort’s demise, he immediately told him. However, this resulted in Voldemort’s persecution of the Potters, and even though Snape pleaded with him to spare Lily, Voldemort killed her.

With a shredded heart, Snape decided to change sides, went to Dumbledore, informed him of what happened, and offered to work as a double agent to protect Harry Potter. It doesn’t directly show in Snape’s behaviour that he was protective of Harry because it was part of his cover.
Bellatrix Lestrange grilled Snape about his allegiance, and he admitted that he was able to gain Dumbledore’s trust, which also kept him away from Azkaban, which in turn meant he was in the headmaster’s trusted circle and allowed him to spy for Voldemort.

Is Severus Snape in Fantastic Beasts?

No, the timeline of The Fantastic Beasts is long before the time of Severus Snape. However, in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore’s brother, answers his son’s question about whether or not he loves him by simply saying, “Always.” This word reminds us of Snape’s famous declaration of love, but the comparison is futile. When Snape declared, it spoke volumes; it explained all of his inexplicable actions from the previous books/films. Such deep meaning was not matched in the Fantastic Beasts’ moment.

Severus Snape’s “Always”

Severus showed Dumbledore that his Patronus was a doe. In shock, Dumbledore turned to Severus and asked him, “After all this time?” in reference to Severus’s love for Lily, to which Severus gave his iconic and most heart-filling answer, “Always.”

Severus Snape as a Death Eater

It might sound surprising but Snape becoming a DE is understandable. Snape was a half-blood; his father was a muggle, and his mother was a witch. His father was very abusive, and even when Snape tried to get closer to his mother, she didn’t really care for him much. This instilled hatred towards muggles in Snape and would explain how he found solace with Lily, a witch, but was mean to her sister Petunia, a muggle.
When Severus and Lily started at Hogwarts, he was placed in Slytherin while she was placed in Gryffindor. This created distance between the two, more so when Lily met James and blended with his circle of friends, who frequently bullied Severus. On the other hand, Voldemort shaped his cause around hatred of muggles, and as an outcast with a broken heart, this attracted Severus, so he joined the Death Eaters.

Severus Snape as the Half-Blood Prince

Severus Snape came up with this unique title himself. He had a muggle father, Tobias Snape, and a witch mother, Eileen Prince. Snape chose the name as a rebellion against his muggle side and decided to forego that side of his life altogether.
Snape himself revealed he was the Half-blood Prince. He was a very skilled wizard and came up with many spells himself. Snape warned Harry Potter not to use the Levicorpus curse, that he was the Half-blood Prince, and that he must not use his spells against him like his father used to.

Severus Snape’s Death

When Snape killed Dumbledore, Voldemort thought Snape was the master of the Elder Wand and killed him for it. Voldemort ordered his snake Nagini to attack Snape, which bit him in the neck and killed him. Draco Malfoy was the one who disarmed Dumbledore, which made him master of the wand. However, at Malfoy Manor, Harry Potter disarmed Draco Malfoy, and the Mastery of the Elder Wand went to Harry.

Who Played Young Severus Snape?

Young Severus Snape

Actor Benedict Clarke played young Severus Snape in the second film of the last part of the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While actor Alec Hopkins played teenage Severus Snape in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Who Played Professor Severus Snape?

The late actor Alan Rickman played Professor Severus Snape in the film adaptation of the Harry Potter series. Even though we cannot imagine anyone else perfecting the role as Rickman did, Tim Roth was the studio’s initial choice for the role. We can thank the stars that they settled on Rickman in the end.

What did Alan Rickman Say About Playing Severus Snape?

Seven years after his death, Alan Rickman’s journals, “Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman,” were published. In his journals, Alan revealed how getting dressed as Snape on set made him less talkative, as if chatting with colleagues wasn’t right. He also admitted that he returned to playing Snape after his cancer diagnosis because he knew that Snape would be vindicated and would die honourably.

Severus Snape and The Marauders

This is a film from 2016 that tells the story of a duel between The Marauders, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew and Severus Snape. Snape was close to winning the duel if it wasn’t for Lily, who asked him to stop and change. In the film, Snape tells this story to a stranger in a pub, who reveals himself afterwards as “Who Must Not Be Named”!

Fans admired Severus Snape for his protectiveness and his love for Lily, her son, Dumbledore, Hogwarts, the Order of the Phoenix, the Death Eaters, and their master, Voldemort. He remains one of the most surprising characters in the series to this day. To that, we say, “Professor Snape, we will always admire you.”

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