Severus Snape: Data
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Birth name: Severus Snape.
'Severus' has obvious connotations of severity and strictness. There are also several saints with the name 'Severus.'
'Snape' meaning: JKR says "Snape is an English village" (eT), probably the one in North Yorkshire near Hadrian’s (aka Severus’) Wall. This village also has a 'Snape Castle.' There is another Snape Village that is near Saxmundham, northeast of Ipswich near the Alde River.
snape (v.) - 'to be hard upon, rebuke, snub,' c.1300, from Old Norse sneypa 'to outrage, dishonor, disgrace.' (etymonline)
sneap: to nip; pinch; put down; repress; snub (phrontistery).
Other names: Other names: ‘Sev’ which was Lily’s nickname for him, ‘Snivellus,’ used by James to ridicule him; the 'Half-blood Prince' a pun Snape made on his mother's maiden name.
Birthdate: January 9 (JKR) 1960 (year based on James's dates-DH16).
Deathdate: May 1, 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, about an hour before the dawn (DH32).
Mother: Eileen Prince (witch --HBP30).
Father: Tobias Snape (Muggle --HBP30).
Childhood: Appears to have had an abusive father (OP26, DH33).
Location of childhood home: A brick row house on Spinner's End by a river (DH33), in what appears to be a rundown area of an industrial city in northern England (HBP2).
Relationships: Severus loved childhood friend Lily Evans faithfully, but in a possessive, obsessive way, until he died. In 1999, Rowling was asked if Snape had ever fallen in love. Here's what she said: excerpt from "The Connection" interview, October 12, 1999 [mp3 audio].
Hair: black and greasy, shoulder length.
Complexion: sallow, also described as very pale.
Distinguishing features: long, hooked nose, scowl; Dark Mark on left forearm but not always clearly visible. While Snape is repeatedly compared to a bat, he is not a vampire (WBD).
Descriptions from the books:
- At 9-years old: "sallow, small, stringy." "His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smocklike shirt." (DH33)
- "Snape-the-teenager had a stringy, pallid look about him, like a plant kept in the dark. His hair was lank and greasy and was flopping onto the table, his hooked nose barely half an inch from the surface of the parchment as he scribbled" (OP28).
- "a professor with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin." (PS7)
- "His eyes were black like Hagrid’s, but they had none of Hagrid’s warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels" (PS8).
- "uneven, yellow-ish teeth" (PA14).
SNAPE at HOGWARTS
Years: 1971 - 1978.
House: Slytherin (JKR website).
Career: Hired as Potions Master & Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts in c.1980 (OP17); made Defense against the Dark Arts professor in 1996 and Hogwarts Headmaster in August, 1997 (DH12).
Potions office: When he taught Potions it was located adjacent to the dungeon classroom where he taught the Potions classes.
Potions classroom: Cold and dark, the walls were lined with glass jars with slimy bits of some animal or plant (OP26).
Dark Arts classroom: His Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom was dark and gloomy with pictures of people "in pain, sporting grisly injuries or strangely contorted body parts." (HBP9).
Headmaster's office: When Snape became Headmaster, he did not change the Headmaster's office much (at least Harry didn't notice anything) (DH33).
Portrait: Harry made sure that Snape's abdication did not deny him the honor of having his portrait hand with the rest of the Hogwarts Headmasters (OBT/CH).
From the books:
- Sirius Black: "Snape’s always been fascinated by the Dark Arts, he was famous for it at school" (GF25).
- Sirius Black: "Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in the seventh year and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters" (GF25).
The interior is dreary too: "a tiny sitting room, which had the feeling of a dark, padded cell. The walls were completely covered in books, most of them bound in old black or brown leather; a threadbare sofa, an old armchair, and a rickety table stood grouped together in a pool of dim light cast by a candle-filled lamp hung from the ceiling. The place had an air of neglect, as though it was not usually inhabited." (HBP2) Wormtail (aka Peter Pettigrew) is living there too.
SKILLS, AFFILIATIONS, ETC.
Organizations & affiliations: Death Eater, Order of the Phoenix.
Skills: Potions (i.e.: Wolfsbane and Veritaserum), curses, Occlumens, Legilimens. Can fly without a broom (DH30).
Patronus: Doe (DH19).
Worst fear/memory: Possibly his worst memory is the humiliating episode when James Potter hung him upside down so his "graying" underwear showed, and Snape called Lily a "Mudblood." (OP28). However, Dumbledore thinks it was when Snape realized that Voldemort decided to go after the Potters because of the Prophecy (HBP25).
Punishment: Denounced as a Death Eater by Karkaroff at his trial; however Dumbledore vouched for his loyalty (GF30).
Battles: Snape was at the Battle of the Tower, where he killed Dumbledore and then hustled Draco to safety. In the Battle of the Seven Harrys (DH4) Snape fought with the rest of the Death Eaters and cursed George Weasley's ear off. He was present at the Battle of Hogwarts, but did not fight because Voldemort kept him nearby (DH32).
Contrary to the assumptions of some, Snape is not a vampire, although he does in some way resemble those creatures (WBD).
|Evidence that Snape is loyal to Dumbledore||Evidence that Snape is loyal to Voldemort|
responds to Bellatrix, and may have answered some of our questions too...
Note: not actual book quotes; these are paraphrases of the text from HBP2.
B: Where were you when the Dark Lord fell?
S: At Hogwarts where Voldemort ordered him to be, spying on Dumbledore.
B: Why did you never make any attempt to find him when he vanished?
S: He thought Voldemort was utterly vanquished.
B: What have you been doing all these years that you've lived in Dumbledore's
S: Snape claims the Dark Lord is pleased that he did not desert his post.
B: Why did you stop the Dark Lord procuring the Sorcerer's Stone?
S: Snape did not know that Voldemort had possessed Quirrell, so he thwarted Quirrell because he was "unworthy."
B: Why did you not return at once when the Dark Lord was reborn?
S: Snape did return, 2 hours later, on Dumbledore's orders thus ensuring (Snape tells Bella) that Dumbledore continued to trust him.
B: Where were you a few weeks ago when we battled to retrieve the
prophecy for the Dark Lord?
S: Snape says his orders were to remain behind.
B: And why, Snape, is Harry Potter still alive, when you have had
him at your mercy for five years?
S: Snape tells Bella that murdering Potter would have ended Dumbledore's trust and Snape's ability to gather information on the Order of the Phoenix.
Other pages on Snape: