From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking,” he began. […] 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.” (PS8)
From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
“Hang on…” Harry muttered to Ron. “There’s an empty chair at the staff table…. Where’s Snape?”
“Maybe he’s ill!” said Ron hopefully.
“Maybe he’s left,” said Harry, ‘because he missed out on the Defense Against the Dark Arts job again!”
“Or he might have been sacked!” said Ron enthusiastically. “I mean, everyone hates him –”
“Or maybe,” said a very cold voice right behind them, “he’s waiting to hear why you two didn’t arrive on the school train.”
Harry spun around. There, his black robes rippling in a cold breeze, stood Severus Snape. He was a thin man with sallow skin, a hooked nose and greasy, shoulder-length black hair, and at this moment, he was smiling in a way that told Harry he and Ron were in very deep trouble. (CS5)
From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
“Longbottom, at the end of this lesson we will feed a few drops of this potion to your toad and see that happens. Perhaps that will encourage you to do it properly.” (PA7)
“Possibly no one’s warned you, Lupin, but this class contains Neville Longbottom. I would advise you not to entrust him with anything difficult. Not unless Miss Granger is hissing instructions in his ear.” […]
Professor Lupin raised his eyebrows.
“I was hoping that Neville would assist me with the first stage of the operation, he said, and I am sure he will perform admirably.” (PA7)
“That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger,” said Snape coolly. “Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all.” (PA9)
Snape’s eyes were boring into Harry’s. It was exactly like trying to stare down a hippogriff. Harry tried hard not to blink. (PA14)
“What would your head have been doing in Hogsmeade, Potter?” said Snape softly. “Your head is not allowed in Hogsmeade. No part of your body has permission to be in Hogsmeade.” (PA14)
“How extraordinarily like your father you are, Potter,” Snape said suddenly, his eyes glinting. “He too was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of talent on the Quidditch field made him think he was a cut above the rest of us too. Strutting around the place with his friends and admirers … The resemblance between you is uncanny.” (PA14)
“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.” (PA14)
“Give me a reason,” he whispered. “Give me a reason to do it, and I swear I will.”
Black stopped dead. It would have been impossible to say which face showed more hatred. (PA19)
Fudge: “Ah well, Snape … Harry Potter, you know … we’ve all got a bit of a blind spot where he’s concerned.”
Snape: “And yet — is it good for him to be given so much special treatment? Personally, I try and treat him like any other student.” (PA21)
From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
‘Mad Eye’ Moody: “‘Course Dumbledore trusts you,” growled Moody. “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?” (GF25)
“You might be laboring under the delusion that the entire wizarding world is impressed with you,” Snape went on, so quietly that no one else could hear him, “but I don’t care how many times your picture appears in the papers. To me, Potter, you are nothing but a nasty little boy who considers rules to be beneath him.” (GF27)
Sirius: “Ever since I found out Snape was teaching here, I’ve wondered why Dumbledore hired him. Snape’s always been fascinated by the Dark Arts, he was famous for it at school. Slimy, oily, greasy-haired kid, he was.” Sirius added, and Harry and Ron grinned at each other. “Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in seventh year, and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly-all turned out to be Death Eaters.” (GF27)
“What made you think he’d really stopped supporting Voldemort, Professor?”
Dumbledore held Harry’s gaze for a few seconds, and then said, “That, Harry, is a matter between Professor Snape and myself.” (GF30)
Snape strode forward, past Dumbledore, pulling up the left sleeve of his robes as he went. He stuck out his forearm and showed it to Fudge, who recoiled.
“There,” said Snape harshly. “There. The Dark Mark. It is not as clear as it was an hour ago, when it burned black, but you can still see it. Every Death Eater had the sign burned into him by the Dark Lord.” (GF36)
“Severus,” said Dumbledore, turning to Snape, “you know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready … if you are prepared …”
“I am,” said Snape.
He looked slightly paler than usual, and his cold, black eyes glittered strangely. (GF36)
From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“What’s that supposed to mean?” said Sirius, letting his chair fall back onto all four legs with a loud bang.
“Merely that I am sure you must feel — ah — frustrated by the fact that you can to nothing useful,” Snape laid a delicate stress on the word, “for the Order.”
It was Sirius’s turn to flush. Snape’s lip curled in triumph…. (OP24)
“I’ve warned you, Snivellus,” said Sirius, his face barely a foot from Snape’s, “I don’t care if Dumbledore thinks you’ve reformed, I know better –”
“Oh, but why don’t you tell him so?” whispered Snape. “Or are you afraid he might not take the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother’s house for six months very seriously?”
“Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days?” I expect he’s delighted his lapdog’s working at Hogwarts, isn’t he?”
“Speaking of dogs,” said Snape softly, “did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform… gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn’t it?” (OP24)
Snape: “It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly. The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and to utter falsehoods in his presence without detection.” (OP24)
Snape: “The usual rules do not seem to apply to you, Potter. The curse that failed to kill you seems to have forged some kind of connection between you and the Dark Lord. The evidence suggests that at times, when your mind is most relaxed and vulnerable — when you are asleep, for instance — you are sharing the Dark Lord’s thoughts and emotions. The headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.” (OP24)
Harry: “How come I saw through the snake’s eyes if it’s Voldemort’s thoughts I’m sharing?”
“Do not say the Dark Lord’s name!” spat Snape. (OP24)
Snape has just made Harry remember how Cedric died: “I told you to empty yourself of emotion!”
“Yeah? Well, I’m finding that hard at the moment,” Harry snarled.
“Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord!” said Snape savagely. “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!” (OP24)
‘Shut up, Ron,’ said Hermione angrily. ‘How many times have you suspected Snape, and when have you ever been right? Dumbledore trusts him, he works for the Order, that ought to be enough.’
‘He used to be a Death Eater,’ said Ron stubbornly. ‘And we’ve never seen proof that he really swapped sides.’
‘Dumbledore trusts him,’ Hermione repeated. ‘And if we can’t trust Dumbledore, we can’t trust anyone.’ (OP25)
“That is just as well, Potter,” said Snape coldly, “because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.”
“No — that’s your job, isn’t it?” Harry shot at him.
He had not meant to say it; it had burst out of him in temper. For a long moment they stared at each other, Harry convinced he had gone too far. But there was a curious, almost satisfied expression on Snape’s face when he answered.
“Yes, Potter,” he said, his eyes glinting. “That is my job.” (OP26)
“… suddenly Harry’s mind was teeming with memories that were not his — a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner…. A greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies…. A girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick –”
“Can you tell me something, sir?” said Harry, firing up again. “Why do you call Voldemort the Dark Lord, I’ve only ever heard Death Eaters call him that –”
Snape opened his mouth in a snarl — and a woman screamed from somewhere outside the room. (OP26)
Snape’s worst memory: And there he was, at a table right behind Harry. Harry stared. 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)
Snape’s worst memory: “This will liven you up, Padfoot,” said James quietly. “Look who it is…”
“Excellent,” he said softly. “Snivellus.”
Harry turned to see what Sirius was looking at.
Snape was on his feet again, and was stowing the O.W.L. paper in his bag. As he emerged from the shadows of the bushes and set off across the grass, Sirius and James stood up. Lupin and Wormtail remained sitting: Lupin was still staring down at his book, though his eyes were not moving and a faint frown line had appeared between his eyebrows. Wormtail was looking from Sirius and James to Snape with a look of avid anticipation on his face.
“All right, Snivellus?” said James loudly.
Snape reacted so fast it was as though he had been expecting an attack. Dropping his bag, he plunged his hand inside his robes, and his wand was halfway into the air when James shouted “Expelliarmus!”
Snape’s wand flew twelve feet into the air and fell with a little thud in the grass behind him. Sirius let out a bark of laughter. “Impedimenta!” he said, pointing his wand at Snape, who was knocked off his feet, halfway through a dive toward his own fallen wand.
Students all around had turned to watch. Some of them had gotten to their feet and were edging nearer to watch. Some looked apprehensive, others entertained.
Snape lay panting on the ground. James and Sirius advanced on him, wands up, James glancing over his shoulder at the girls at the water’s edge as he went. Wormtail was on his feet now, watching hungrily, edging around Lupin to get a clearer view.
“How’d the exam go Snivelly?” said James.
“I was watching him, his nose was touching the parchment,” said Sirius viciously. “There’ll be great grease marks all over it, they won’t be able to read a word.” […]
“Leave him ALONE!”
James and Sirius looked around. James’s free hand jumped to his hair again.
It was one of the girls from the lake edge. She had thick dark red hair that fell to her shoulders and startlingly green almond-shaped eyes — Harry’s eyes.
Harry’s mother… (OP28)
Snape’s worst memory: “LEAVE HIM ALONE!” Lily shouted. She had her own wand out now. James and Sirius eyed it warily.
“Ah, Evans, don’t make me hex you,” said James earnestly.
“Take the curse off him, then!”
James sighed deeply, then turned to Snape and muttered the countercurse.
“There you go,” he said, as Snape struggled to his feet again, “you’re lucky Evans was here, Snivellus–”
“I don’t need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!” (OP28)
Snape’s worst memory: “So,” said Snape, gripping Harry’s arm so tightly Harry’s hand was starting to feel numb. “So … been enjoying yourself, Potter?”
“N-no …” said Harry, trying to free his arm.
It was scary: Snape’s lips were shaking, his face was white, his teeth were bared.
“Amusing man, your father, wasn’t he?” said Snape, shaking Harry so hard that his glasses slipped down his nose.
“I — didn’t –”
Snape threw Harry from him with all his might. Harry fell hard onto the dungeon floor.
“You will not repeat what you saw to anybody!” Snape bellowed.
“No,” said Harry, getting to his feet as far from Snape as he could, “No, of course I w–”
“Get out, get out, I don’t want to see you in this office ever again!”
And as Harry hurtled toward the door, a jar of dead cockroaches exploded over his head. (OP28)
Lupin: “I wouldn’t want you to judge your father on what you saw there, Harry. He was only fifteen –”
“I’m fifteen!” said Harry heatedly.
“Look Harry,” said Sirius placatingly, “James and Snape hated each other from the moment they set eyes on each other, it was just one of those things, you can understand that, can’t you? I think James was everything Snape wanted to be — he was popular, he was good at Quidditch, good at pretty much everything. And Snape was just this little oddball who was up to his eyes in the Dark Arts and James — whatever else he may have appeared to you, Harry — always hated the Dark Arts.” (OP29)
Snape won’t cooperate with Umbridge: “You are on probation!” shrieked Professor Umbridge, and Snape looked back at her, his eyebrows slightly raised. “You are being deliberately unhelpful! I expected better, Lucius Malfoy always speaks most highly of you! Now get out of my office!” (OP32)
Snape had emerged from the staircase leading down to his office, and at the site of him Harry felt a great rush of hatred beyond anything he felt toward Malfoy…. What ever Dumbledore said, he would never forgive Snape … never … (OP38)
From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
To Bellatrix: Before I answer you, I say, let me ask a question in turn. Do you really think that the Dark Lord has not asked me each and every one of those questions? And do you really think that, had I not been able to give satisfactory answers, I would be sitting here talking to you?”
“I know he believes you, but…” (HBP2)
To Bellatrix: “You ask where I was when the Dark Lord fell. I was where he had ordered me to be, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, because he wished me to spy upon Albus Dumbledore. You know, I presume, that it was on the Dark Lord’s orders that I took up the post?” (HBP2)
“Yes, Bellatrix, I stayed,” said Snape, betraying a hint of impatience for the first time. “I had a comfortable job that I preferred to a stint in Azkaban. They were rounding up the Death Eaters, you know. Dumbledore’s protection kept me out of jail; it was most convenient and I used it. I repeat: The Dark Lord does not complain that I stayed, so I do not see why you do. (HBP2)
To Bellatrix: “The Dark Lord’s initial displeasure at my lateness vanished entirely, I assure you, when I explained that I remained faithful, although Dumbledore thought I was his man. Yes, the Dark Lord thought that I had left him forever, but he was wrong.” (HBP2)
To Bellatrix: “Have you not understood me? It was only Dumbledore’s protection that was keeping me out of Azkaban! Do you disagree that murdering his favorite student might have turned him against me? But there was more to it than that. I should remind you that when Potter first arrived at Hogwarts there were still many stories circulating about him, rumors that he himself was a great Dark wizard, which was how he had survived the Dark Lord’s attack. Indeed, many of the Dark Lords old followers thought Potter might be a standard around which we could all rally once more. I was curious, I admit it, and not at all inclined to murder him the moment he set fool in the castle.
“Of course, it became apparent to me very quickly that he had no extraordinary talent at all. He has fought his way out of a number of tight corners by a simple combination of sheer luck and more talented friends. He is mediocre to the last degree, though as obnoxious and self-satisfied as was his father before him. I have done my utmost to have him thrown out of Hogwarts, where I believe he scarcely belongs, but kill him, or allow him to be killed in front of me? I would have been a fool to risk it with Dumbledore close at hand.”
“And through all this we are supposed to believe Dumbledore has never suspected you?” asked Bellatrix. “He has no idea of your true allegiance, he trusts you implicitly still?”
“I have played my part well,” said Snape. “And you overlook Dumbledore’s greatest weakness: He has to believe the best of people….” (HBP2)
Narcissa: “Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”
“I will,” said Snape. (HBP2)
Narcissa: “And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”
“I will,” said Snape. (HBP2)
Narcissa: “And, should it prove necessary… if it seems Draco will fail…” whispered Narcissa (Snape’s hand twitched within hers, but he did not draw away), “will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?” There was a moment’s silence. Bellatrix watched, her wand upon their clasped hands, her eyes wide.
“I will,” said Snape. (HBP2)
To Narcissa: Snape caught hold of her wrists and removed her clutching hands. Looking down into her tearstained face, he said slowly, “He intends me to do it in the end, I think. But he is determined that Draco should try first. You see, in the unlikely event that Draco succeeds, I shall be able to remain at Hogwarts a little longer, fulfilling my useful role as spy.” (HBP2)
Snape’s Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom in the dungeon: Harry looked around as they entered. Snape had imposed his personality upon the room already; it was gloomier than usual, as curtains had been drawn over the windows, and was lit by candlelight. New pictures adorned the walls, many of them showing people who appeared to be in pain, sporting grisly injuries or strangely contorted body parts. Nobody spoke as they settled down, looking around at the shadowy, gruesome pictures. (HBP9)
Class lesson: “The Dark Arts,” said Snape, “are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. 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.”
Harry stared at Snape. It was surely one thing to respect the Dark Arts as a dangerous enemy, another to speak of them, as Snape was doing, with a loving caress in his voice?
“Your defenses,” said Snape, a little louder, “must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the arts you seek to undo. These pictures” – he indicated a few of them as he swept past – “give a fair representation of what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse” – he waved a hand toward a witch who was clearly shrieking in agony – “feel the Dementor’s Kiss” – a wizard lying huddled and blank-eyed, slumped against a wall – “or provoke the aggression of the Inferius” – a bloody mass upon ground. (HBP9)
Class lesson: “Do you remember me telling you we are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor.” The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying. Several people gasped, including Hermione. Behind Snape, however, Ron, Dean, and Seamus grinned appreciatively.
“Detention, Saturday night, my office,” said Snape. “I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter . . . not even ‘the Chosen One.'” (HBP9)
At Slughorn’s Christmas party: And to Harry’s horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. “Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!” hiccuped Slughorn happily. “I was just talking about Harry’s exceptional potion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!” (HBP15)
In private to Draco: ” . . . cannot afford mistakes, Draco, because if you are expelled —”
“I didn’t have anything to do with it, all right?”
“I hope you are telling the truth, because it was both clumsy and foolish. Already you are suspected of having a hand in it.”
“Who suspects me?” said Malfoy angrily. “For the last time, I didn’t do it, okay? That Bell girl must’ve had an enemy no one knows about — don’t look at me like that! I know what you’re doing, I’m not stupid, but it won’t work — I can stop you!”
There was a pause and then Snape said quietly, “Ah . . . Aunt Bellatrix has been teaching you Occlumency, I see. What thoughts are you trying to conceal from your master, Draco?”
“I’m not trying to conceal anything from him, I just don’t want you butting in!” Harry pressed his ear still more closely against the keyhole. . . . What had happened to make Malfoy speak to Snape like this — Snape, toward whom he had always shown respect, even liking?
“So that is why you have been avoiding me this term? You have feared my interference? You realize that, had anybody else failed to come to my office when I had told them repeatedly to be there, Draco —”
“So put me in detention! Report me to Dumbledore!” jeered Malfoy.
There was another pause. Then Snape said, “You know perfectly well that I do not wish to do either of those things.”
“You’d better stop telling me to come to your office then!”
“Listen to me,” said Snape, his voice so low now that Harry had to push his ear very hard against the keyhole to hear. “I am trying to help you. I swore to your mother I would protect you. I made the Unbreakable Vow, Draco —”
“Looks like you’ll have to break it, then, because I don’t need your protection! It’s my job, he gave it to me and I’m doing it, I’ve got a plan and it’s going to work, it’s just taking a bit longer than I thought it would!” (HBP15)
In private to Draco: Now listen to me! You are being incautious, wandering around at night, getting yourself caught, and if you are placing your reliance in assistants like Crabbe and Goyle —”
“They’re not the only ones, I’ve got other people on my side, better people!”
“Then why not confide in me, and I can —”
“I know what you’re up to! You want to steal my glory!” (HBP15)
Harry to Lupin: “But,” said Harry, “just say — just say Dumbledore’s wrong about Snape —”
“People have said it, many times. It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore’s judgment. I do; therefore, I trust Severus.”
“But Dumbledore can make mistakes,” argued Harry. “He says it himself. And you” — he looked Lupin straight in the eye — “do you honestly like Snape?”
“I neither like nor dislike Severus,” said Lupin.
“No, Harry, I am speaking the truth,” he added, as Harry pulled a skeptical expression. “We shall never be bosom friends, perhaps; after all that happened between James and Sirius and Severus, there is too much bitterness there. But I do not forget that during the year I taught at Hogwarts, Severus made the Wolfsbane Potion for me every month, made it perfectly, so that I did not have to suffer as I usually do at the full moon.” (HBP16)
Lupin to Harry: “You are determined to hate him, Harry,” said Lupin with a faint smile. “And I understand; with James as your father, with Sirius as your godfather, you have inherited an old prejudice. (HBP16)
Dumbledore, after Harry’s report: “I think you might even consider the possibility that I understood more than you did. Again, I am glad that you have confided in me, but let me reassure you that you have not told me anything that causes me disquiet.” (HBP17)
Hagrid overhears an argument and Harry questions him: “What’s Snape done?”
“I dunno, Harry, I shouldn’ta heard it at all! I — well, I was comin’ outta the forest the other evenin’ an’ I overheard ’em talking— well, arguin’. Didn’t like ter draw attention to meself, so I sorta skulked an tried not ter listen, but it was a — well, a heated discussion an’ it wasn’ easy ter block it out.”
“Well?” Harry urged him, as Hagrid shuffled his enormous feet uneasily.
“Well — I jus’ heard Snape sayin’ Dumbledore took too much fer granted an maybe he — Snape — didn’ wan’ ter do it any more —”
“I dunno, Harry, it sounded like Snape was feelin’ a bit overworked, tha’s all — anyway, Dumbledore told him flat out he’d agreed ter do it an’ that was all there was to it. Pretty firm with him. An’ then he said summat abou’ Snape makin’ investigations in his House, in Slytherin. (HBP19)
Dumbledore: “The ring, Harry. Marvolo’s ring. And a terrible curse there was upon it too. Had it not been — forgive me the lack of seemly modesty — for my own prodigious skill, and for Professor Snape’s timely action when I returned to Hogwarts, desperately injured, I might not have lived to tell the tale. However, a withered hand does not seem an unreasonable exchange for a seventh of Voldemort’s soul. The ring is no longer a Horcrux.” (HBP23)
After the Sectumsempra: “I didn’t mean it to happen,” said Harry at once. His voice echoed in the cold, watery space. “I didn’t know what that spell did.”
But Snape ignored this. “Apparently I underestimated you, Potter,” he said quietly. “Who would have thought you knew such Dark Magic? Who taught you that spell?”
“I — read about it somewhere.” (HBP24)
“This is your copy of Advanced Potion-Making, is it, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry, still breathing hard.
“You’re quite sure of that, are you, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry, with a touch more defiance.
“This is the copy of Advanced Potion-Making that you purchased from Flourish and Blotts?”
“Yes,” said Harry firmly.
“Then why,” asked Snape, “does it have the name ‘Roonil Wazlib’ written inside the front cover?” (HBP24)
“Do you know what I think, Potter?” said Snape, very quietly. “I think that you are a liar and a cheat and that you deserve detention with me every Saturday until the end of term. “What do you think, Potter?” (HBP24)
Trelawney remembers how Snape interrupted her job interview: ‘Yes, there was a commotion outside the door and it flew open, and there was that rather uncouth barman standing with Snape, who was waffling about having come the wrong way up the stairs, although I’m afraid that I myself rather thought he had been apprehended eavesdropping on my interview with Dumbledore – you see, he himself was seeking a job at the time, and no doubt hoped to pick up tips! Well, after that, you know, Dumbledore seemed much more disposed to give me a job, and 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 – Harry, dear?’ (HBP25)
Dumbledore remembers too: ‘Professor Snape made a terrible -‘
‘Don’t tell me it was a mistake, sir, he was listening at the door!’
‘Please let me finish.’ Dumbledore waited until Harry had nodded curtly, then went on. ‘Professor Snape made a terrible mistake. He was still in Lord Voldemort’s employ on the night he heard the first half of Professor Trelawney’s prophecy. Naturally, he hastened to tell his master what he had heard, for it concerned his master most deeply. But he did not know – he had no possible way of knowing – which boy Voldemort would hunt from then onwards, or that the parents he would destroy in his murderous quest were people that Professor Snape knew, that they were your mother and father -‘
Harry let out a yell of mirthless laughter. ‘He hated my dad like he hated Sirius! Haven’t you noticed, Professor, how the people Snape hates tend to end up dead?’
‘You have no idea of the remorse Professor Snape felt when he realised how Lord Voldemort had interpreted the prophecy, Harry. I believe it to be the greatest regret of his life and the reason that he returned -‘
‘But he’s a very good Occlumens, isn’t he, sir?’ said Harry, whose voice was shaking with the effort of keeping it steady. ‘And isn’t Voldemort convinced that Snape’s on his side, even now? Professor … how can you be sure Snape’s on our side?’
Dumbledore did not speak for a moment; he looked as though he was trying to make up his mind about something. At last he said, ‘I am sure. I trust Severus Snape completely.’ (HBP25)
Dumbledore is injured by Voldemort’s potion: ‘We need to get you up to the school, sir … Madam Pomfrey …’
‘No,’ said Dumbledore. ‘It is … Professor Snape whom I need … but I do not think … I can walk very far just yet …’
‘Right – sir, listen – I’m going to knock on a door, find a place you can stay – then I can run and get Madam -‘
‘Severus,’ said Dumbledore clearly. ‘I need Severus …’ (HBP27)
Draco to Dumbledore: ‘He’s a double-agent, you stupid old man, he isn’t working for you, you just think he is!’
‘We must agree to differ on that, Draco. It so happens that I trust Professor Snape -‘ (HBP27)
In the Astronomy tower: ‘Draco, do it, or stand aside so one of us -‘ screeched the woman, but at that precise moment the door to the ramparts burst open once more and there stood Snape, his wand clutched in his hand as his black eyes swept the scene, from Dumbledore slumped against the wall, to the four Death Eaters, including the enraged werewolf, and Malfoy.
‘We’ve got a problem, Snape,’ said the lumpy Amycus, whose eyes and wand were fixed alike upon Dumbledore, ‘the boy doesn’t seem able -‘
But somebody else had spoken Snape’s name, quite softly.
The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.
Snape said nothing, but walked forwards and pushed Malfoy roughly out of the way. The three Death Eaters fell back without a word. Even the werewolf seemed cowed.
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
‘Severus … please …”
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore. ‘Avada Kedavra!’ (HBP27)
“Cruc -” yelled Harry for the second time, aiming for the figure ahead illuminated in the dancing firelight, but Snape blocked the spell again. Harry could see him sneering.
“No Unforgivable Curses from you, Potter!” he shouted over the rushing of the flames, Hagrid’s yells, and the wild yelping of the trapped Fang.
“You haven’t got the nerve or the ability -”
“Incarc-” Harry roared, but Snape deflected the spell with an almost lazy flick of his arm.
“Fight back!” Harry screamed at him. “Fight back, you cowardly—–”
“Coward, did you call me, Potter?” shouted Snape. “Your father would never attack me unless it was four on one, what would you call him, I wonder?”
“Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!” sneered Snape, deflecting the curse once more.
“No!” roared Snape’s voice and the pain stopped as suddenly as it had started; Harry lay curled on the dark grass, clutching his wand and panting; somewhere overhead Snape was shouting, “Have you forgotten our orders? Potter belongs to the Dark Lord – we are to leave him! Go! Go!”
And Harry felt the ground shudder under his face as the brother and sister and the enormous Death Eater obeyed, running toward the gates. Harry uttered an inarticulate yell of rage: In that instant, he cared not whether he lived or died. Pushing himself to his feet again, he staggered blindly toward Snape, the man he now hated as much as he hated Voldemort himself –
“Sectum – ”
Snape flicked his wand and the curse was repelled yet again; but Harry was mere feet away now and he could see Snape’s face clearly at last: He was no longer sneering or jeering; the blazing flames showed a face full of rage. Mustering all his powers of concentration, Harry thought, Levi –
“No, Potter!” screamed Snape.
“You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them – I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you’d turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don’t think so . . . no”
Harry had dived for his wand; Snape shot a hex at it and it flew feet away into the darkness and out of sight.
“Kill me then,” panted Harry, who felt no fear at all, but only rage and contempt.
“Kill me like you killed him, you coward -”
“DON’T -” screamed Snape, and his face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the yelping, howling dog stuck in the burning house behind them – “CALL ME COWARD!” (HBP28)
Slughorn reacts: “Snape!” ejaculated Slughorn, who looked the most shaken, pale and sweating. “Snape! I taught him! I thought I knew him!” (HBP)
Hermione’s research: ‘No – no – Harry, I didn’t mean that!’ she said hastily, looking around to check that they were not being overheard. ‘It’s just that I was right about Eileen Prince once owning the book. You see … she was Snape’s mother!’
‘I thought she wasn’t much of a looker,’ said Ron.
Hermione ignored him. ‘I was going through the rest of the old Prophets and there was a tiny announcement about Eileen Prince marrying a man called Tobias Snape, and then later an announcement saying that she’d given birth to a -‘
‘- murderer,’ spat Harry.
‘Well … yes,’ said Hermione. ‘So … I was sort of right. Snape must have been proud of being “half a Prince”, you see? Tobias Snape was a Muggle from what it said in the Prophet. (HBP30)
‘I should’ve shown the book to Dumbledore,’ said Harry. ‘All that time he was showing me how Voldemort was evil even when he was at school, and I had proof Snape was, too -‘
‘”Evil” is a strong word,’ said Hermione quietly. (HBP30)
Primary editor: Lisa Waite Bunker.
Original page date 25 January, 2005; Last page update 21 January, 2008.