The son of Tobias Snape, a muggle, and Eileen Prince, a pureblood witch, Snape was born and raised at Spinner's End in Cokeworth. He was raised near the home of the Evans family, and as a child grew close with the family's youngest daughter, Lily Evans, who possessed magic like him. Aside from his friendship with Lily, he was a mostly lonely child, and his parents were neglectful and abusive. At the age of eleven he was sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a boarding school for young magical children, where he was sorted into Slytherin House. He was bullied in school, especially by James Potter and his friends, and fell in with a gang of pureblood supremacists, eventually displaying great affinity for the Dark Arts. This eventually destroyed his friendship with Lily, for whom he harboured an unrequited love. He graduated from Hogwarts at the age of eighteen, and joined the Death Eaters, a pureblood supremacist terrorist organization. Two years later he overheard a prophecy being given by Sybill Trelawney to Albus Dumbledore
. This prophecy foretold the birth of a child who would be able to overthrow the leader of the Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort
. Snape reported his findings to Voldemort but, upon learning that Voldemort believed the prophecy to be about Lily Evans' young son, switched allegiances and joined the Order of the Phoenix as a double agent. Despite his best efforts, Lily and her husband, James, were killed. Their infant son survived the attack, rebounding the killing curse intended to end his life and apparently killing Voldemort instead. Snape took work as Potions master at Hogwarts, where his true allegiance during the Wizarding War remained secret.
Severus Snape was originally created by JK Rowling for her Harry Potter
book series, making his first appearance in the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
He made his first appearance in comics in Mad
Major Story Arcs
The Potions master and head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts, Snape takes an immediate dislike to the newly-arrived Harry Potter
, who is equally wary of the teacher. He does little to encourage a good relationship with the boy, frequently targeting and belittling Potter, as well as his friends. Due to his cruel behaviour, Potter becomes convinced that Snape has some sinister purpose, heightened when Snape appears to have sustained a nasty wound from a three-headed dog known to be guarding a valuable artefact, the Philosopher's Stone. Potter believes that Snape is attempting to kill him, and also that Snape is attempting to steal the Stone. Both of these suspicions prove untrue, and the true culprit is revealed to be another professor at the school, while Snape is revealed to have been protecting Potter. Despite this, the pair remain at odds.
Chamber of Secrets
Snape attempts to have Potter and his best friend Ron Weasley
expelled for their arrival to school in a flying car. Later, he aids Professor Gilderoy Lockheart in starting and running the duelling club at the school, where he demonstrates ruthless skill and bests Lockheart handily.
Prisoner of Azkaban
Snape is convinced that the newly-arrived Professor Remus Lupin
, an old schoolmate and enemy, is involved in allowing escaped convict Sirius Black to the grounds. Despite this, he brews the Wolfsbane Potion for Lupin, who is a werewolf, to help ease Lupin's monthly transformations. He follows Potter, Weasley and their friend Hermione Granger
when they encounter Black in the Shrieking Shack, a building in the nearby village of Hogsmeade. He attempts to take Black into custody but is unsuccessful, and Black evades capture entirely. Snape then reveals Lupin's werewolf nature to the school, forcing his resignation.
Goblet of Fire
After Potter is entered into the Triwizard Tournament, which he is too young to compete in, Snape voices his disapproval. His past as a Death Eater is revealed to Potter by the combination of an accidental trip into a Pensieve and witnessing interactions between Snape and a fellow former Death Eater, Igor Karkaroff. Snape confirms the return of Lord Voldemort to Dumbledore and the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge. He is then sent by Dumbledore to rejoin the Death Eaters, which he does, resuming his wartime occupation as a spy for the Order.
Order of the Phoenix
Continuing to work as a double agent, Snape remains at odds with many other members of the Order, especially Black, who owns and occupies the headquarters for the Order, and Potter. He is instructed by Dumbledore to teach Potter the skill of Occlumency, with which one can guard one's mind from magical intrusion or influence. He fails to teach Potter the skill due to their hatred of one another, and halts the lessons completely when Potter witnesses memories of Snape's difficult youth, particularly involving the bullying he suffered at the hands of Potter's father. He provides fake Veritaserum, a truth potion, to Dolores Umbridge, and later denied her access to it altogether in order to prevent an interrogation of Potter. He warns the Order of the fact that Black had apparently been kidnapped by Voldemort, successfully interpreting Potter's cryptic warning and saving his life by sending Order members to rescue him.
Snape swears an Unbreakable Vow to Narcissa Malfoy, promising to watch over her son, Draco Malfoy and, if necessary, carry out the task Malfoy has been set by Voldemort. Returning to Hogwarts, he takes the position of professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts, a post he has long coveted. Later, when Potter almost kills Malfoy with a spell that he found scribbled in the margins of a potions book that, unbeknownst to Potter, once belonged to Snape, he saves Malfoy's life. He assigns Potter detention during the final Quidditch match of the year, as punishment for the attack and because he knows Potter is lying about the source of the spell which almost killed Malfoy. When Potter and Dumbledore return to Hogwarts after completing a difficult mission, they are confronted by a small group of Death Eaters lead by Malfoy. Malfoy is meant to assassinate Dumbledore, but is unable to do so. Instead, Snape, who had not been included in the gang of Death Eaters, steps in and kills Dumbledore as per the other's earlier, secret request. He is pursued from the school by Potter, whom he briefly engages in a battle which is entirely defensive on his part, and Disapparates into the night, escaping.
Snape is made Headmaster of Hogwarts by the new Death Eater regime. While still ostensibly a Death Eater, he does his best to protect the students of Hogwarts from the worst of Voldemort's forces. He later sends the sword of Godric Gryffindor to Potter, Weasley and Granger, disguising his involvement. He is forced out of the school after it is reclaimed by the non-Death Eater staff. He is summoned to the Shrieking Shack by Voldemort, who reveals that Snape is the apparent master of the incredibly powerful Elder Wand. Because of this and hoping to gain possession of the wand for himself, he kills Snape. As he lies dying, Snape releases a number of memories which are taken by Potter. These memories reveal Snape's true motivations and allegiances. After his death, he is lauded as a hero.
Powers and Abilities
Snape is a wizard of exceptional power. He can wield magic to a variety of effects, and is a notable duellist. He is notably a resourceful and innovative wizard, creating and perfecting numerous spells during his school years. He has a vast knowledge of the Dark Arts an related fields. He is also a very gifted potion-maker, and was notably innovative in this area as well. He is capable of producing a Patronus, which takes the form of a doe. He is skilled at both Legilimency, magically reading minds, and Occlumency, magically protecting his own mind. He is capable of magical flight without the aid of a broomstick or other support.
FilmHarry Potter Series
Snape has appeared in all eight films in the Harry Potter
film series. He is portrayed by Alan Rickman.
Snape has appeared in numerous game adaptations of the book series.
LiteratureHarry Potter Series
Snape was originally created for the Harry Potter
series of books. He has appeared in all seven books in the series.
Snape has featured in numerous parodies and comedic works. Notable appearances include in the web series Potter Puppet Pals
, in a sketch on charity program Comic Relief
, and in the musical A Very Potter Musical
, among a number of other appearances.