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|Nicknames and aliases||Snivellus, Snivelly, Sev, Half-Blood Prince|
|Birth||January 9, 1960|
|Death||May 2, 1998|
|Parents||Tobias and Eileen Snape|
|Appearance||pallid; long greasy black hair; big hooked nose|
|Hogwarts achievements||Hogwarts Staff|
|Occupation||Hogwarts Potions master, Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and later Headmaster|
|Special abilities||extensive knowledge of the Dark Arts, Potions and Occlumency; can fly|
|Allegiance||Albus Dumbledore/Order of the Phoenix (formerly Death Eaters)|
|Portrayer in the movies||Alan Rickman (adult) and Alec Hopkins (teenager)|
|First appearance in canon||The Sorting Hat (PS)|
Severus Snape was both a Death Eater and a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He remained on Lord Voldemort's service for years working as a spy for Albus Dumbledore; he continued to be faithful even after Albus' death. Severus taught at Hogwarts for fifteen years. After murdering Dumbledore, he took on the post of Headmaster. Voldemort murdered him in May 1998.
- 1 Characteristics
- 1.1 Physical
- 1.2 Psychological
- 1.3 Skills
- 1.4 Allegiance
- 1.5 Relationship with Order members
- 1.6 Relationship with Death Eaters
- 1.7 Relationship with students
- 2 Childhood
- 3 Hogwarts
- 4 First War
- 5 Teaching career
- 5.1 Joining the staff
- 5.2 Extracurricular activities
- 5.3 First class
- 5.4 Thwarting Quirrell
- 5.5 Flying Ford Anglia
- 5.6 Chamber of Secrets
- 5.7 Duelling Club
- 5.8 Remus Lupin
- 5.9 The Marauder's Map
- 5.10 The Shrieking Shack
- 5.11 Alastor Moody
- 5.12 Karkaroff
- 5.13 Dolores Umbridge
- 5.14 Defence Against the Dark Arts
- 5.15 Advanced Potion-Making
- 6 Second War
- 7 Posthumous recognition
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Footnotes
- 10 Ships
Snape wore only black robes. He had greasy, shoulder-length black hair, sallow skin, a hooked nose and cold black eyes (CS5, PS8). A vein in his temple often pulsed when he was nervous (GF25). He had a Dark Mark on his left forearm, which faded during the years of Voldemort's downfall and started growing clearer as the Dark Lord's strength increased (GF36).
As a teenager, Severus was pale, with greasy hair and skinny legs. He wore greying underpants (OP28).
Snape's personality was somewhat mysterious. As a teacher, he was sadistic, but could control a classroom and keep his students quiet effortlessly (PS8).
He was both surprisingly cruel towards students in general and openly biased towards Slytherins. He did not miss an opportunity to offend his Gryffindor students, notably Harry Potter (PS8, GF27, OP21, OP27, HBP21), Hermione Granger (PA9), Ron Weasley (HBP21) and Neville Longbottom (CS11, PA7). He tended not to explain the method before ordering his students to act (OP12, OP17, OP24, HBP9).
Snape's students, as a rule, loathed him (PA9). His intimidation techniques hindered the children's learning experience; Harry Potter, for instance, could both brew excellent potions and perform difficult spells when away from Severus, especially after reading Severus' annotated copy of Advanced Potion-Making (OP31, HBP9, HBP12, HBP21, HBP24).
Nevertheless, both Albus Dumbledore and other staff members—with the exception of Professor Moody and Gilderoy Lockhart—both trusted and respected Severus. His mastery of the Dark Arts was acknowledged and feared by his peers, and his skills in obscure branches of magic such as Occlumency had made it possible for him to act as a successful double agent for the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix during the First and Second Wars (OP24).
Snape was an extraordinary Occlumens; as such, he undoubtedly had incredible control over his emotions, and showed disdain for "fools who [wore] their hearts proudly on their sleeves" (OP24). Few emotions other than loathing—for Harry, James, Sirius, Remus and Moody—could be discerned in his reactions throughout the years. Examples of these carefully measured reactions were when he gripped the back of a chair very hard after hearing that someone had been taken into the Chamber of Secrets (CS16) and the twitch of his hand when Narcissa made him vow to murder Dumbledore if it seemed that Draco would fail (HBP2).
Severus was extremely proud, but he seemed to have a great thirst for self-affirmation, which he satisfied in part by intimidating his students. This probably stemmed from the bullying he suffered at school at the hand of the Marauders (OP28). After he murdered Dumbledore, Harry urged him to stay and fight rather than escape, and called him a coward. Snape became inhumanely furious, as though there could be no worse insult; he undoubtedly knew that his actions as a double agent required an immense amount of courage and skill. In particular, the murder of Dumbledore—if it was indeed previously devised by the headmaster, almost against Snape's will (HBP19)—had definitely demanded much courage (HBP28).
Snape had been loved by someone, which made him more culpable than Voldemort for being such a terrible person (IME).
Snape was an excellent potioneer. Remus Lupin mentioned that he was one of the few wizards capable of brewing the Wolfsbane Potion (PA8). When Slughorn mentioned Harry's apparently natural ability in potion-making, he noted that not even Severus made that flawless a Draught of the Living Death on a first attempt—a comparison which greatly aggravated Snape (HBP15).
Snape had always been interested in the Dark Arts, from a very young age (GF27), and he had extensive knowledge on the subject (PS7). Albus Dumbledore greatly trusted his ability to deal with dark magic; Severus tended to the headmaster after the latter faced the protection curses Voldemort had cast around Marvolo's Ring (HBP23). Dumbledore also requested that Harry take him to Snape after leaving the Cave (HBP27). McGonagall ordered Filch to take the cursed opal necklace to Snape after Katie Bell was injured (HBP12).
Severus invented several spells during his Hogwarts days, some of which consisted of dark magic, notably Sectumsempra (HBP20). Snape was easily able to tend to Draco Malfoy after Harry cast the spell on the boy (HBP24).
Relationship with Order members
Relationship with Death Eaters
Snape probably viewed Peter Pettigrew with as much hatred as he does the other Marauders. Pettigrew was, however, a Death Eater, and Voldemort ordered him to remain in Spinner's End during the summer of 1996. This allowed Severus the opportunity to treat him with open spite and disdain. Snape, like the Dark Lord, called Peter "Wormtail".
When Narcissa and Bellatrix visited Spinner's End, Snape ordered him to fetch drinks and cursed Pettigrew for prying and trying to listen to private conversation behind hidden doors (HBP2).
Relationship with students
Harry Potter and Snape immediately disliked each other upon the boy's arrival at Hogwarts. Snape's loathing was chiefly due to his old animosity towards the Marauders. Harry, on the other hand, begrudged the teacher at first due to the latter's rudeness and vicious behaviour in class (PS8).
Severus claimed to treat Harry like all his other students, and felt that the special treatment and lenience that 'The Boy Who Lived' often received was detrimental to Harry's character (PA21).
The boy was surprised to feel searing pain on his scar the first time he saw the Potions master, during the Sorting Ceremony (PS7). That was due to the fact that Quirinus Quirrell was talking to Snape with his back turned to Harry, but Voldemort's presence in the back of Quirrell's head was only revealed later that year (PS17).
Severus later revealed that he, like many other Death Eaters, once believed that Harry could grow up to become a dark wizard more powerful than Voldemort himself. He quickly realised, however, that the boy had no remarkable talent at all (HBP2).
Harry was somewhat puzzled as to the reason that Snape loathed him so much. Hagrid, who was well aware of the Marauders' background, refused to tell him (PS8). Quirrell was the first to reveal that the animosity was due to Severus' history with James ("He was at Hogwarts with your father, didn't you know? They loathed each other. But he never wanted you dead.").
Dumbledore then briefly explained that, despite the hatred, Severus owed his life to James: "Funny, the way people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt... I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace..." (PS17)
In class, Severus often liked to criticise Harry's poor potion-making skills; he sometimes Vanished the boy's cauldron contents out of spite and gave him zeroes for complete ineptitude (OP12, OP17). He enjoyed humiliating Harry as often as possible: he even read the Witch Weekly article 'Harry Potter's Secret Heartache' out loud in class (GF27).
Snape also threatened to give Harry Veritaserum (GF27), to make him confess his wrongdoings, and poison, to test Harry's probably inefficient poisons. This attempt was thrice prevented by activities related to the Triwizard Tournament (GF15, GF18, GF22).
Umbridge obtained fake (OP37) Veritaserum from Snape (OP32) to question Harry for Sirius Black's whereabouts (OP28). When she later asked him for more Truth Potion, he replied, "I have already told you that I have no further stocks of Veritaserum. Unless you wish to poison Potter—and I assure you I would have the greatest sympathy with you if you did—I cannot help you. The only trouble is that most venoms act too fast to give the victim much time for truth-telling..." (OP32).
When Horace Slughorn replaced Snape as Potions master, his praise of Harry's talents surprised Severus, who was intrigued (HBP15) and later discovered that Harry had been using his own schooldays copy of Advanced Potion-Making (HBP24).
Harry eventually found out that Severus was also responsible for informing Voldemort of the Prophecy, a fact which brought about Lily and James' death (HBP25). Dumbledore's claim that that fact had been determinant in influencing Snape's betrayal of Lord Voldemort did not placate Harry (HBP26).
When Severus murdered Dumbledore, Harry's hatred and determination reached an entirely other level. He said to Ron and Hermione, "I've got to find [the Horcruxes] and destroy them, and then I've got to go after the seventh bit of Voldemort's soul, the bit that's still in his body, and I'm the one who's going to kill him. And if I meet Severus Snape along the way, so much the better for me, so much the worse for him" (HBP30).
Draco Malfoy appeared to be Snape's favourite student. The professor openly favoured and praised Draco (PS8)—whom he had taken to call by his first name (OP28, HBP2, HBP15, HBP28)—, and the Slytherin in turn never missed an opportunity to flatter Severus.
This behaviour was greatly illustrated both by Draco's suggestion—during the time the Chamber of Secrets had been reopened—that Snape should apply for the headmaster's job (CS15), and by the professor's demand of Harry and Ron's assistance to Malfoy during Potions class after the latter had his arm slightly injured by Buckbeak in Care of Magical Creatures (PA7).
However, during Draco's sixth year, their relationship changed significantly. Voldemort, angered and dissappointed at Lucius Malfoy both for being caught after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and for no longer having his old diary in his possession, burdened Draco with the task of murdering Albus Dumbledore (HBP2), under the threat he would kill the boy and his whole family should Draco fail (HBP27).
Narcissa, aware of the Dark Lord's plan, was scared and worried about the outcome of the mission. Thinking it unlikely her son would survive such an attempt, she turned to Severus. After much insistence, the professor made an Unbreakable Vow swearing to protect Draco and carry out the task if it appeared that the boy might fail (HBP2).
Draco returned to Hogwarts to find Severus as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and eager to help his pupil on carrying out the service he had been asked to do. Malfoy, however, did not trust Severus, believing that the professor only wished to be involved in order to get all the glory for himself.
Even though Draco was often foolish and careless, he rejected Snape's attempts to guide him, going to such lengths as using Occlumency to prevent the professor of accessing to his thoughts. Severus was, therefore, unable to discover his pupil's master plan (HBP15).
Despite their arguments, Snape did not neglect his duties regarding Draco. After Harry used Sectumsempra against the Slytherin, Severus quickly performed the countercurse and prevented Malfoy from suffering too much harm, fulfilling one of the duties the Vow prescribed (HBP24).
In the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, Draco faltered and was clearly unable to murder Dumbledore. Snape did so instead (HBP27) and, seizing Draco by the arm, hurried out of the school with him. When Harry approached the pair during the following pursuit, Severus ordered Draco to run ahead and lagged behind, preventing Harry from cursing either Death Eater (HBP28).
Snape took special pleasure in bullying Neville Longbottom, a Gryffindor with notoriously bad potion-making skills (CS11). The professor's repeatedly cruel tirades against Neville—including threats to harm the boy's toad, Trevor (PA7)—had made Longbottom terrified of Snape. He was Neville's Boggart (PA7).
Snape probably had a troublesome childhood. His Muggle father, Tobias, married Eileen Prince and the wedding was reported in the Daily Prophet. There was also a small announcement of Severus' birth (HBP30).
During an Occlumency lesson, Harry caught a glimpse of some of the professor's earliest bad memories: Tobias yelling at a cowering Eileen, and their child crying in a corner; a girl laughing while Severus tried to mount an unwilling broomstick; and teenage Snape alone in his bedroom, killing flies with his wand (OP26).
At Hogwarts, Severus was Sorted into Slytherin (DH33). He was famous for being interested in the Dark Arts. According to Sirius Black, "Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in seventh year."
Most of Snape's friends at Hogwarts later became Death Eaters, including Evan Rosier, Wilkes, Bellatrix Black and Rodolphus Lestrange (GF27). Lucius Malfoy was presumably part of the group as well (OP15), as were Narcissa (BFT) and Regulus Black (HBP4).
Snape loathed James Potter from the first time the two set eyes on each other (OP29). Sirius also hated Severus; Peter and Remus were, perhaps, not as actively involved in the rivalry as the two ringleaders of the Marauders, but they did little to prevent or change the situation. James and Sirius dubbed him "Snivellus" and constantly taunted him for his strange, 'slimy' appearance (OP28).
James and Snape hardly ever missed the opportunity to hex each other in the seven years that they studied together (OP29). Nevertheless, when Severus started prying to find out what the four Marauders did on full moon nights and Sirius informed him of how to freeze the Whomping Willow, James risked his life to save Snape's. He prevented the Slytherin from getting too close to Remus in his werewolf shape.
Dumbledore forbade Severus from telling anyone about Remus' lycanthropy (PA18).
The Half-Blood Prince
At school, Snape called himself "The Half-Blood Prince" (HBP28)—a pun on the maiden name of his mother, Eileen Prince—, scribbling the title on the back of his textbooks (HBP9). He invented several spells, including Levicorpus, which became wildly popular among Hogwarts students (HBP16) and was even used against Severus himself (OP28), and Sectumsempra, a dangerous and dark curse which slashes the flesh of the caster's opponent as though it had been cut by a sword (HBP24).
Severus Snape was a Death Eater during the First War (GF30).
When Sybill Trelawney went to the Hog's Head Inn for a job interview with Albus Dumbledore, Severus was also in the pub. He happened to overhear a significant portion of the Prophecy she made then. The barkeeper, Aberforth Dumbledore, caught him eavesdropping (HBP25) and prevented the Death Eater from hearing the last half of the Prophecy: "And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not..." (OP37).
According to Trelawney, after she finished making the prophecy—a fact which she, of course, does not recall—, there was a big commotion outside the door, and it flew open, revealing Aberforth and Severus. After this event, Dumbledore was more than willing to give her the job. She later said to Harry, "I could not help thinking, Harry, that it was because he appreciated the stark contrast between my own unassuming manners and quiet talent, compared to the pushing, thrusting young man who was prepared to listen at keyholes" (HBP25).
Snape therefore hurried to warn Voldemort that a child dangerous to him would be born at the end of July, to parents who had met and defied the Dark Lord three times (OP37). Severus later discovered that the parents that Voldemort was hunting were Lily and James. This filled him with remorse and, according to Dumbledore, it was "the greatest regret of his life and the reason that he returned" (HBP25).
Voldemort, not knowing the risks of attacking the Potters, attempted to murder the family in Godric's Hollow, on October 31, 1981. He was unable to cast the Killing Curse on one-year-old Harry, and was thus forced to lead a half-life for thirteen years, biding his time until he was strong enough to recover his body (GF33).
After the downfall of Lord Voldemort, Igor Karkaroff was sent to Azkaban. He offered information in exchange for leaving jail. One of the Death Eaters he named before the Wizengamot was Snape; Dumbledore interrupted the trial to voice his trust in Severus, as he had done before. Karkaroff tried to convince the headmaster otherwise, but Albus did not listen (GF30).
Joining the staff
Severus applied for a teaching post at Hogwarts on Voldemort's orders in 1981. His first choice of subject was Defence Against the Dark Arts (OP17), but Dumbledore believed that job would bring out the worst in Snape; he was given Potions to teach instead<ref>The exact quote by J. K. Rowling can be found here.</ref>. Albus possibly also realised that he would want to keep Severus in the Hogwarts staff for over a year, and he wouldn't be able to do so if he taught Defence—the post was jinxed (HBP20).
Despite this initial refusal, Snape continued to covet the Defence post (PS7). He applied for the position every year after a teacher left (OP17). Dumbledore let him teach Defence Against the Dark Arts in 1996 (HBP8).
At Hogwarts, Snape not only did private work for Dumbledore, Voldemort and the Order of the Phoenix, but was also Head of Slytherin. As such, it was his prerogative to decide punishments for students in his house (GF13), and to supervise and investigate suspicious activities therein (HBP19).
He took special interest in the Slytherin Quidditch team, and often taunted McGonagall for Gryffindor's long losing streak (PS9, PA12). He openly tried to sabotage the Gryffindor Quidditch team as much as he could, giving the Slytherins permission to use the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch when the Gryffindors were practicing (CS7), ignoring harmful action by Slytherins (OP19) and giving the team captain detention on the day of the final match (HBP24). He also refereed a match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff in 1991 (PS13); his objectives were not, however, those apparent—to favour Hufflepuff—but to protect Harry Potter from Quirrell (PS17).
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind, Two of us will help you, whichever you would find. One among us seven will let you move ahead, Another will transport the drinker back instead, Two among our number hold only nettle wine, Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line. Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore, To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four: First, however slyly the poison tried to hide You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side; Second, different are those who stand at either end, But if you would move onward, neither is your friend; Third, as you see clearly, all are different size, Neither dwarf nor giant hold death in the insides; Fourth, the second left and the second on the right Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight (PS16)
The look of intense loathing that Snape gave Harry then was correctly interpreted by the first-year, however. In the first Potions class of the year, Severus made it clear that he felt nothing other than contempt and hatred for the boy. Right from the beginning, he showed spite for the boy's fame ("Ah, yes... Harry Potter. Our new — celebrity.").
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," Snape announced to his mostly terrified first-year class. "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses — I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
Severus promptly interrogated Harry regarding the Draught of Living Death, bezoars and wolfsbane; the boy was unable to answer, demonstrating that Harry's fame clearly meant nothing. For the rest of the class, Snape criticised almost every student except for Draco Malfoy. He showed spite especially with regards to Neville Longbottom, who was exceptionally inept in potion-making and always caused accidents (PS8).
When Quirrell let in a mountain troll to distract the staff and try to enter the trapdoor guarded by Fluffy, Snape was not fooled. He, too, went to the forbidden third-floor corridor in a successful attempt to hold Quirrell off. The two wizards then went, along with Minerva McGonagall, to the girls' bathroom where the Trio had just confronted the troll (PS10).
Snape's leg was bitten by Fluffy that night; Argus Filch tended to the wound. From that point on, Severus was in an even fouler mood than usual, especially after Harry witnessed the professor's bloody injury (PS11).
Despite his dislike of Harry—and feeling guilty for the Wizard Debt bond he had once formed with James—Snape performed the counter-curse that prevented Quirrell from murdering the boy during a Quidditch match by making Harry fall off his broomstick. Ron and Hermione suspected Snape of cursing Harry's broom; for this reason, Hermione sneaked off to the teachers' stands and set the professor's robes on fire. She knocked Quirrell over on her way there, broke his eye contact with the broomstick, and thus saved Harry's life.
During the entire school year, Rubeus Hagrid attempted to convince the Trio that Snape was not trying to get past Fluffy. The students were not convinced; at first they believed that Snape wanted the Philosopher's Stone to produce gold and gain immortal life (PS13). After Harry's encounter with Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, however, they realised that the Dark Lord wanted the Stone to regain his body and acquire immortal life (PS15).
Snape watched Harry very closely during that year (PS13). He enlisted Filch's cooperation to monitor any suspicious activity around the corridors after hours. This forced Harry—who had been perusing the Restricted Section under his Invisibility Cloak at Christmas—to hide in order to escape the caretaker. The boy then discovered the Mirror of Erised, which would eventually be instrumental in his defeat of Quirrell at the end of the school year (PS12).
In order to prevent Quirrell from attacking Harry once more, Snape volunteered to be the referee in the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, and blatantly favoured the Hufflepuffs (PS13). This initiative made Severus extremely unpopular; everyone believed that he wished only to hinder the Gryffindor pursuit of the House Cup. Quirrell later revealed that he would not dare act in that match due to Dumbledore's unexpected presence in the Quidditch pitch (PS17).
Hagrid inadvertently informed Harry, Ron and Hermione that Severus had performed one of the spells that helped protect the Philosopher's Stone (PS11). Harry overheard a conversation between Snape and Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest, in which Severus questioned the apparently frightened Defence Against the Dark Arts professor about the latter's progress in figuring out how to get to the Stone. Snape told Quirrell that they would speak again soon, after Quirrell "decided where [his] loyalties [lay]" (PS13).
The Trio soon concluded that Snape had enough information to try to obtain the Stone again. One night, after unsuccessfully trying to warn Dumbledore of the teacher's intentions, they entered the trapdoor guarded by Fluffy (PS16). Much to Harry's surprise, he discovered that Quirrell was the professor procuring the Stone to aid Voldemort's rebirth.
Quirrell expressed his delight at having Snape pose as a perfect diversion—"an overgrown bat", in his words—, and mentioned that Severus had been blocking his path to the Stone all year long; about the Forest incident, he said, "He was on to me by that time, trying to find out how far I'd got. He suspected me all along. Tried to frighten me — as though he could, when I had Lord Voldemort on my side..."
Harry succeeded in preventing Voldemort from getting the Stone, aided by the timely arrival of Albus Dumbledore (PS17).
Flying Ford Anglia
When Harry Potter and Ron Weasley arrived at Hogwarts flying Arthur Weasley's bewitched Ford Anglia, the first teacher than ran into was Severus Snape, who believed their infraction would get both students expelled from the school. He led the pair to his office, and showed them the Evening Prophet report revealing that the car had been spotted by Muggles.
Minerva McGonagall and Dumbledore soon joined them, and decided that Potter and Weasley would not be expelled; Snape was thoroughly disappointed (CS5).
Chamber of Secrets
When the Chamber of Secrets Basilisk made its first victim—Mrs. Norris—Snape was among the teachers that examined her. He pondered that Harry, Ron and Hermione could have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but pointed out how suspicious their presence at the corridor in which the cat had been attacked was. Severus suggested that McGonagall should revoke Harry's Quidditch privileges, which she refused to do, with Dumbledore's approval. Gilderoy Lockhart offered to make the Mandrake Restorative Draught to heal Mrs. Norris, and Snape coolly stated that he, not Lockhart, was the resident Potions master.
During one of the Potions classes of that year, Severus mentioned the complex Polyjuice Potion, and the book—Moste Potente Potions—in which its recipe could be found (CS9). Harry, Ron and Hermione stole ingredients from the professor's private stock by wreaking havoc during class (CS11), and used the potion to obtain information about the Chamber from Draco Malfoy at Christmas (CS12).
When Ginny Weasley was taken into the Chamber, Snape seemed slightly troubled, and suggested that Lockhart—who had been boasting about knowing how to defeat the Chamber monster—face the Basilisk himself. Lockhart was compelled to enter the Chamber by Harry and Ron (CS16). Harry ended up facing the teenager Tom Riddle himself, and defeating him (CS17).
Lockhart organised a Duelling Club at Hogwarts, and asked Snape to assist him. According to Gilderoy, "[Snape] knows a tiny little bit about duelling himself and [...] agreed to help [Lockhart] with a short demonstration."
The two teachers bowed to each other; the short duel ended as soon as Severus Disarmed Gilderoy. Snape appointed Harry and Draco to duel before the rest of the class, and instructed Malfoy to use Serpensortia. Harry ordered the snake that came out of his opponent's wand not to attack Justin Finch-Fletchley, and the entire school found out that he was a Parselmouth. Snape's only reactions were to throw him a shrewd, ominous look and to make the snake disappear (CS11).
When Remus Lupin was hired for the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in 1993, Snape was furious (PA5). He believed Remus would gladly help Sirius Black, who had recently escaped from Azkaban, to enter the castle (PA9, PA19).
In a lesson about Boggarts, Remus encouraged Neville Longbottom to face the creature—which took on the shape of Neville's greatest fear, Snape—and instructed the boy to have the Boggart wear the clothes of Augusta Longbottom, with predictably humorous results (PA7). The tale spread quickly throughout Hogwarts, and Snape's mood was terrible for days.
When Sirius Black slashed the portrait of the Fat Lady, Snape was one of the first teachers to arrive at the scene (PA8). He followed Dumbledore's orders and searched parts of the castle for Black, and reminded the headmaster of his suspicions regarding Lupin; Albus dismissed his concerns (PA9).
Remus Lupin was forced to take a sick leave one morning, and Snape filled in for him. He ignored the scheduled lesson programme and taught the Gryffindors about werewolves (PA9), hoping that someone in the class would recognise Lupin as such (PA17). Lupin later cancelled the need for a long essay Severus had commanded; only Hermione finished it in time, and noticed Remus' lycanthropy (PA10). In that lesson, Snape also gave Ron Weasley a detention, during which the boy noticed that Remus was not in the hospital wing (PA11).
Severus attended the Christmas feast that year, along with several other staff members and a few students. Dumbledore encouraged him to take a cracker, which produced a witch's hat topped with stuffed vulture; Albus gladly wore it (PA11).
The Marauder's Map
When Harry sneaked off to Hogsmeade with the help of the Marauder's Map for the second time, Draco Malfoy reported him to Snape, stating that he'd seen Harry's head floating near Ron in the Shrieking Shack. The professor quickly concluded that Harry had gone to the village despite having no permission from his guardian; the fact that he found Harry recently returned from Hogsmeade and covered in mud did not help the boy's case.
He reprimanded Harry, saying, "Everyone from the Minister of Magic downward has been trying to keep famous Harry Potter safe from Sirius Black. But famous Harry Potter is a law unto himself. Let the ordinary people worry about his safety! Famous Harry Potter goes where he wants to, with no thought for the consequences."
Snape then confronted Harry, comparing him to James in the most unfavourable terms. He also revealed some of the conditions in which James had saved his life—notably, that it had been an extremely dangerous prank of the Marauders'. Suddenly, Severus ordered Harry to empty his pockets, revealing a package of Zonko's items and the Map.
Harry tried to act nonchalant about what he claimed to be a "spare bit of parchment", but Snape quickly realised the importance of the Map. He could not, however, make the parchment reveal its secrets until he stated his name and occupation. The Map then replied:
- "Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business."
- "Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git."
- "Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor."
- "Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball."
Snape called Remus to his office with the help of Floo powder and asked his opinion on the matter, saying, "This parchment is plainly full of Dark Magic. This is supposed to be your area of expertise, Lupin. Where do you imagine Potter got such a thing?"
When Lupin replied that the parchment could have been bought in a joke shop, Snape angrily suggested that Harry might have gotten it straight from the manufacterers. Lupin mildly asked Harry if he knew any of the Marauders' nicknames; Harry denied it. Remus confiscated the Map and led Harry away (PA14).
The Shrieking Shack
Realising that Remus hadn't taken his dose of Wolfsbane Potion one evening, Snape went to his office with a gobletful. He found the place deserted, with the Marauder's Map open on the desk. The Map showed that Lupin was on his way to the Shrieking Shack; guessing the teacher's intentions, Severus followed him. He found the Invisibility Cloak by the Whomping Willow, and used it to conceal his arrival (PA19).
When Sirius Black in his Animagus form had dragged Ron Weasley to the Shrieking Shack, Harry and Hermione had chased them. Remus Lupin had joined the group shortly afterwards; Snape's sudden arrival caught them all by surprise (PA18).
Severus was extremely glad to catch both Lupin and Black; he gloated about being responsible for their upcoming imprisonment in Azkaban. Remus attempted to reason with him, pointing out that Snape's grudge stemmed from his schooldays rivalry with the Marauders and that Sirius was innocent and meant no harm to Harry.
Snape used the Incarcerous charm against Remus and Sirius, enraged, lunged towards the Potions master. Severus promptly threatened Black, pointing his wand at him and saying, "Give me a reason. Give me a reason to do it, and I swear I will."
The children attempted to intervene, and Severus ordered them to be quiet. "Vengeance is very sweet," he said to Sirius. "How I hoped I would be the one to catch you..."
When Snape noted that Black would probably not reach the castle before the Dementor's Kiss was performed on him, Sirius tried to explain the full story of Peter Pettigrew's betrayal, but Snape refused to listen. Harry stood in the way of his professor before he could leave the Shack, and yelled, "YOU'RE PATHETIC! JUST BECAUSE THEY MADE A FOOL OF YOU AT SCHOOL YOU WON'T EVEN LISTEN—"
Severus interrupted him, once more accusing Harry of being as arrogant as James ("I have just saved your neck; you should be thanking me on bended knee!") and ordering him to step aside. All three students Disarmed Snape at the same time; the force of the spell threw him against the wall and knocked him unconscious. Lupin stated that there was nothing wrong with the professor, and used the Mobilicorpus spell to transport him to the castle (PA19).
The full moon rising caught the party by surprise, and Remus transformed into a werewolf. Dementors surrounded Harry and Sirius, and were warded off when Harry, with the help of Hermione's Time-Turner, cast the Patronus Charm (PA20). Snape regained consciousness and took Sirius (bound and gagged) and the three unconscious children to the castle. Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, was extremely thankful and promised to award him an Order of Merlin, Second Class—possibly even First Class.
Snape told Fudge that the three students had been under the influence of the Confundus Charm, and thus made to believe that Sirius could be innocent. The professor also mentioned that Harry and his friends were treated with far too much liberality: "Is it good for him to be given so much special treatment? Personally, I try and treat him like any other student. And any other student would be suspended — at the very least — for leading his friends into such danger. Consider, Minister — against all school rules — after all the precautions put in place for his protection — out-of-bounds, at night, consorting with a werewolf and a murderer — and I have reason to believe he has been visiting Hogsmeade illegally too..."
In the hospital wing, Snape was livid upon realising that Dumbledore may have believed Black ("Sirius Black showed he was capable of murder at the age of sixteen. You haven't forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven't forgotten that he once tried to kill me?"). After the Minister and Severus left, Harry and Hermione did their best to convince Albus of the truth; he instructed them to use the Time-Turner to free both Sirius and Buckbeak (PA21).
Sirius' disappearance drove Severus insane. He sensed that Harry had had a hand in the outcome of the evening, and violently accused the boy of doing something ("YOU DON'T KNOW POTTER! HE DID IT, I KNOW HE DID IT!"). Both Fudge and Dumbledore reasoned with Snape that Harry had been locked in the hospital wing all along. He then stormed off, and Fudge commented, "Fellow seems quite unbalanced. I'd watch out for him if I were you, Dumbledore."
The following morning, Snape offhandedly mentioned Lupin's lycanthropy to the Slytherins; Dumbledore believed that the loss of the Order of Merlin had affected Severus far too much. As a result, Remus left the school (PA22).
The following school year, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was Alastor Moody, a former Auror who once sarcastically mentioned he was anxious to have a chat with Snape—"another old friend" of his (GF13). Moody was in fact Barty Crouch, Jr., a Death Eater acting according to Voldemort's orders (GF35).
This year, too, Severus was prone to sullen, vindictive moods, probably because of the obssessive Auror's presence at Hogwarts. He was, however, wary of openly displaying his dislike of Moody. Harry remarked that Snape tried his best to avoid eye contact with Alastor (GF14). Moody searched Severus' office thoroughly when he started teaching at Hogwarts (GF25).
When the Goblet of Fire selected Harry as the fourth champion of the Triwizard Tournament, Snape immediately blamed the boy's disregard for rules ("He has been crossing lines ever since he arrived here—"), and was furious when the headmaster allowed Harry to compete (GF17).
Harry saw Barty Crouch, Jr. entering Snape's office while on his way back from the Prefects' Bathroom shortly before the second task of the Tournament. The boy mistook the marking in the Marauder's Map for Bartemius Crouch, Sr., however, when Moody pointed out that Crouch had always been obsessed with dark wizards. Snape discovered the break-in shortly afterwards, and pieced the evidence available—the fact that items missing from his private store were ingredients to the Polyjuice Potion and the stranded Golden Egg Filch had found on the stairs—to conclude that Harry had invaded his office.
Moody interrupted Snape's conversation with Filch. His magical eye could see Harry Potter standing right behind the two staff members, and he interrogated Snape, wondering whether only potion ingredients were hidden in the invaded office. The Potions master reminded Moody of Dumbledore's trust in him, and Alastor said, "Course Dumbledore trusts you. He's a trusting man, isn't he? Believes in second chances. But me—I say there are spots that don't come off, Snape. Spots that never come off, d'you know what I mean?" Snape clutched his left forearm, and Mooody laughed, sending him back to bed.
Before he could leave, Severus spotted the Marauder's Map lying on the floor, and realised that Harry had indeed been there. Moody Summoned the parchment, and stated that Potter was not present—but that it would be interesting to inform the headmaster how quickly Snape had decided to blame Harry; "Dumbledore's very interested to know who's got it in for that boy. And so am I, Snape... very interested..." Severus quickly stated that his only intention was to prevent Harry from wandering the corridors after hours, and went to bed (GF25).
During the Yule Ball, Igor Karkaroff approached Snape, worriedly mentioning that the Dark Mark on their arms had been growing stronger for the past few months. Severus suggested, "Then flee. Flee—I will make your excuses. I, however, am remaining at Hogwarts." (GF23)
Later that year, Karkaroff stated that Severus had been avoiding him. He approached the Potions master during class, and showed him the Dark Mark, which hadn't been that clear since the First War (GF27).
Severus reported to Dumbledore that both his and Karkaroff's Dark Marks had been growing clearer all year (GF30).
Snape lectured his fifth-year students about the upcoming OWLs in his first lesson of the year. He reminded them that he accepted no students who achieved less than an 'Outstanding' OWL in his NEWT class (OP12). He graded his students' homework with OWL criteria, which caused Harry to get a terrible grade (OP15).
Dolores Umbridge, after being appointed High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, inspected Severus' class. She questioned the syllabus he was teaching to the fifth-years, and asked for information regarding how he had come to the position of teacher; Umbridge claimed that the Ministry wanted thorough information regarding the professors' backgrounds (OP17).
When Harry had a vision of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort during his History of Magic OWL (OP31), he contacted number twelve, Grimmauld Place to find out if Sirius was safe. Kreacher fed him false information, and Umbridge caught him red-handed. She summoned Snape to give her Veritaserum, but he claimed to have run out after her previous request (OP28). Umbridge accused Severus of being deliberately unhelpful, and put him on probation. Just when Snape is about to leave that Harry remembers that he is a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and tries to warn the professor about his vision saying He got Padfoot. He got Padfoot in the place where he's hidden. and while the High Inquisitor asks him what the boy meant, he says he had no idea but still warned the rest of the Order after seeing that the kids had left the school (OP32).
Defence Against the Dark Arts
In 1996, Severus Snape acquired the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. The post had been jinxed since Lord Voldemort had last tried to obtain it (HBP20), a fact which led Harry to hope that Snape would leave Hogwarts at the end of the school year (HBP8).
When Harry arrived at Hogwarts that year, late due to a confrontation with Draco Malfoy aboard the Hogwarts Express, Severus received him at the school gates, and reprimanded the boy for what seemed to be yet another attempt to show off (HBP8).
Snape's first Defence class started with a monologue stressing the difficulty of battling against dark magic. "The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal," he said. "Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible. Your defences must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the arts you seek to undo."
He trained his students in non-verbal spells, and ordered them to practice in pairs. When Ron Weasley was unable to jinx Harry, Severus took over. Harry blocked his attempt with a verbal Protego (HBP9).
Later that year, Snape ordered his students to write an essay about dementors. Harry disagreed with him about the best way to defeat the creatures. During the following class, he questioned Harry regarding the difference between an Inferius and a ghost. The boy said simply that ghosts are transparent; Ron stood up for his friend and pointed out that this was the most distinguishing characteristic. Severus took ten points from Gryffindor (HBP21).
In the beginning of the school year, Harry obtained a battered-looking copy of Advanced Potion-Making annotated by the Half-Blood Prince—Snape himself—from Horace Slughorn. With the help of the book, he started making excellent potions, to Slughorn's delight. The Trio was puzzled and attempted to find out the identity of the Prince, especially Hermione (HBP9).
She believed that the Prince seemed dodgy (HBP12), and mentioned that the handwriting in the book resembled that of a girl (HBP10). She eventually discovered an old photograph of Eileen Prince in a Daily Prophet cutting (HBP25). Another Prophet clipping revealed that Eileen had married Tobias Snape (HBP30).
Harry found the Sectumsempra spell in the book (HBP20) and later tested it on Draco Malfoy. Snape was stunned to see that the boy knew such Dark Magic, and used Occlumency to discover where Harry had learned the incantation. He then ordered Harry to fetch all his schoolbooks. Harry hid his copy of Advanced Potion-Making in the Room of Requirement and then complied. Severus was furious, and gave him detention every Saturday until the end of term. McGonagall supported him, and added that Harry could have been expelled for such an action (HBP24).
These detentions caused Harry to miss the final Quidditch match of the season. Ginny replaced him, and Gryffindor won the Cup (HBP25). Severus arranged it so that Harry would organise old detention records during detentions, among which the numerous punishments that the Marauders had received at Hogwarts. Snape sneered, "It must be such a comfort to think that, though they are gone, a record of their great achievements remains..." (HBP24).
Hermione later realised that Snape hadn't accused him of using Advanced Potion-Making because that would imply his guilt in inventing Sectumsempra (HBP30).
Barty Crouch, Jr.
When Mr. Crouch broke free of the Imperius Curse that Voldemort had cast on him (GF35) and found his way to Hogwarts, Harry was the first to run into him. Snape delayed the boy's quest to fetch Dumbledore, thus giving the fake Moody time to murder Crouch and hide the body (GF28). In addition to that, Barty told the headmaster that Snape had informed him of where to find Dumbledore and Harry in the Forbidden Forest.
After the third task, Dumbledore ordered Snape to obtain Veritaserum and fetch Winky from the kitchens. When he returned, he was stunned to see Barty Crouch, Jr., and recognised him at once. Albus fed Crouch the truth potion, and the Death Eater confessed the plot that had led to the Dark Lord's rebirth (GF35).
Dumbledore then ordered Severus to bring Cornelius Fudge to question Crouch personally. Fudge insisted on being escorted by a Dementor, and Crouch received the Kiss as soon as the Minister deemed him a raging lunatic (GF36).
The return of Lord Voldemort
Fudge refused to accept Voldemort's return; he doubted the reliability of Harry as a witness, having believed the Daily Prophet's tirades against the boy. Snape showed Cornelius the Dark Mark in his forearm, which had recently burned black (GF33). The Minister is clearly frightened and leaves Hogwarts.
Dumbledore asked Sirius—who had until then remained in his Animagus form—to resume human shape. He demanded that Severus and Sirius acknowledge each other as allies; they would start fighting on the same side from then on, after all. Albus instructed them to shake hands, and they complied. Sirius was sent off to alert old members of the Order of the Phoenix. Severus was sent back to the Dark Lord, to resume his post as double agent (GF36).
Albus wished him good luck, and Snape left (GF36). He returned to the school shortly afterwards. Voldemort found the excuses for his tardiness acceptable: by remaining at Hogwarts those two extra hours, Severus ensured that Dumbledore would continue to trust him (HBP2).
Dumbledore, worried about the mental connection between Harry and Voldemort, ordered Snape to teach the boy Occlumency. The headmaster sent a letter to Sirius announcing that decision. When Severus arrived at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, Sirius insisted on being present at the meeting with Harry, and the two old rivals nearly argued to the point of duelling.
Severus mocked Sirius for being a coward, stuck inside his family home and unable to do anything for the Order. Sirius, in turn, voiced his disbelief regarding Snape's defection. The pair had their wands pointed at each other, and the duel was only prevented by Arthur Weasley's return from St. Mungo's.
The following Monday, Harry had his first Occlumency lesson. After a brief explanation of the subject matter, Snape stored some memories in the Pensieve he had borrowed from Dumbledore to prevent Harry from catching a glimpse of them by accident. He then instructed Harry to defend himself as much as possible, but the boy failed, and instinctively produced a Stinging Hex after losing control.
Snape reminded Harry that clearing one's mind of all emotion was essential to Occlumency. When Harry was unable to do so, Severus reprimanded him, saying, "[You] will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord! Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter! [...] Master yourself! Control your anger, discipline your mind! We shall try again!"
During his first Occlumency lesson, Harry realised that his recurring nightmares were about the Department of Mysteries. This disturbed Severus, who sent the boy away with instructions to empty his mind of emotions every night before sleeping (OP24). Harry did not practice at all, and grew steadily worse at Occlumency. He began suspecting that his lessons with Snape had heightened his sensitivity to the Dark Lord's moods (OP25).
Two months after the lessons began, Severus saw the dream that Harry had had about Avery in the boy's mind, and warned Harry once more that such visions made him neither special nor important: it was Snape's job, not Harry's, to discover what Voldemort had been saying to his Death Eaters.
The following week, the Occlumency lesson was interrupted by the arrival of Draco Malfoy to inform Snape that the disappeared Montague had resurfaced. Severus left to talk to the student, and Harry was alone in the office. Noticing that the Pensieve was still on the desk, Harry decided to indulge his curiosity and enter it.
Inside the Pensieve, Harry saw a memory of the Marauders taunting Snape, which seemed to indicate that James had been as arrogant a bully as Severus had always deemed him to be. The professor caught Harry in the Pensieve, and furiously kicked him out of the office (OP28). Harry had no more Occlumency lessons after this (OP29). Dumbledore later acknowledged that the lessons had been a fiasco (HBP4).
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
When Umbridge summoned Snape to ask him for Veritaserum, Harry focused hard on the dream he had had, hoping that the teacher would read his mind. Snape showed no sign of having done so. When he was about to leave, Harry shouted, "He's got Padfoot! He's got Padfoot in the place where it's hidden!"
The teacher acted like he had not understood what Harry meant, and left (OP32). He then contacted the Order headquarters and confirmed that Sirius was not in the Hall of Prophecy. Harry and Hermione lured Umbridge to the Forbidden Forest, and went straight from the grounds to the Ministry of Magic. Guessing what had happened, Snape alerted the Order at once, and several members volunteered to go help the children in the Ministry.
Severus asked Sirius to stay behind, but Black did not obey. The Order members joined Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Meanwhile, Snape searched the Forest for Harry and Hermione (OP37).
The following summer, Bellatrix Lestrange accused Severus of not taking part in the battle. After mocking her for having needed help to face mere children—and failing—, he pointed out that Voldemort had ordered him to remain behind. He also pointed out that Dumbledore would have noticed if Snape had fought along with other Death Eaters, which would certainly have damaged his position with the Order (HBP2).
The Unbreakable Vow
Narcissa and Bellatrix visited Snape's house in Spinner's End in the summer of 1996. Bellatrix prevented her sister from discussing Voldemort's plans until Severus provided significant answers to her many inquiries. Snape didn't fail to satisfy her curiosity, all the while noting that Voldemort had already asked him all those questions.
Narcissa pleaded with Severus, begging him to have the Dark Lord spare Draco of the task of murdering Albus Dumbledore. He agreed to make an Unbreakable Vow with her (HBP2).
Battle of the Seven Potters
On August 1, 1997, Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic (DH8). Severus was appointed Hogwarts Headmaster on September 1, and two Death Eaters—Alecto and Amycus Carrow—joined the teaching staff. These personnel changes were announced in the Daily Prophet (DH11). Snape was the first Slytherin Headmaster since Phineas Nigellus Black (DH16).
As per his promise to Dumbledore, Severus tried to protect Hogwarts students to the best of his abilities without giving away his true allegiance (DH33).
When Ginny, Neville and Luna broke into his office to obtain Gryffindor's sword, he refrained from punishing them with the Cruciatus Curse (the most frequent type of detention at the time) and sent them instead to the Forbidden Forest. Ginny was banned from going to Hogsmeade (DH16).
Battle of Hogwarts
Harry used the Pensieve in the Headmaster's office to see the memories that Snape had given to him. The memories revealed much about his life story, and served two main purposes: one, to explain his change of allegiance—that is, to uncover the tale of his deep love for Lily Evans—and two, to unveil Dumbledore's master plan to defeat Lord Voldemort. Harry left the Pensieve both deeply aware of Severus' loyalty and brave deeds and resigned to the fate Albus had set before him: inescapable death (DH33, DH34).
In his final confrontation with Lord Voldemort, Harry revealed Snape's true allegiance. Even though the Dark Lord gloated over the fact that Severus had died, which made his loyalties immaterial, Harry pointed this out as yet another of Voldemort's many chief mistakes (DH36).
Both after the Pensieve scene and the Dark Lord's demise, Harry went to the Headmster's office and did not see Snape's portrait among those of his fellows (DH33, DH36); this was due to the fact that Severus abandoned his post shortly before the Battle of Hogwarts and did not return before dying (DH30).
Harry redeemed Snape's name to the wizarding community later on, however, and the portrait appeared eventually. The bravery of the late Headmaster's actions was well-publicised, and Rita Skeeter wrote a book entitled Snape: Scoundrel or Saint? (BLC).
Harry later married Ginny Weasley. They named their second son Albus Severus, in honour of two great Hogwarts Headmasters. On September 1, 2017, Harry told young Albus not to worry about the possibility of being Sorted into Slytherin; he mentioned the boy's second namesake, saying, "Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew" (DHE).
- Lily loved Snape as a friend, and could have grown to love him romanticaly if he wasn't to drawn to Dark Arts (BLC).
- Snape went into Grimmauld Place as soon as he killed Dumbledore, and that's why he wasn't affected by Moody's enchantements (BLC).
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