He’s maybe the most complicated character in the whole Harry Potter series. Is he a villain? Is he a hero? Whatever you think of Snape there’s certainly a lot to him. Check out these magic Snape facts and see how many you already knew!
WARNING! This list contains spoilers – so if you’ve not read all the Harry Potter books or seen all the films yet, maybe best check out something else first!
1. What does his name mean?
Severus comes from the Latin for “harsh” or “stern” – which you might’ve been able to guess! Snape might be from the Old Norse word sneypa, which means “to disgrace”. Although JK Rowling says it comes from something else…
2. Snape, Suffolk
Snape is also a tiny village in the English county of Suffolk, and JK Rowling has said this is where she got the name from. Which is a bit less dramatic than “to disgrace” in Norse, but she probably knows what she’s talking about.
3. Eau de Snape
What does Snape smell like? Nope – it’s not the set up to a joke! JK Rowling once said that Snape smells like “bitterness and old shoes”. Surely Snape could’ve invented something to fix that musty hum?
4. Snape invented loads of spells as a student
Snape was a very gifted student, even if he did smell like old boots. Most Harry Potter fans will know about Sectumsempra, but did you know he also invented Muffliato (which makes a buzzing noise in people’s ears so they can’t eavesdrop) and Langlock (which glues people’s tongues to the roof of their mouth). But our favourite one of Snape’s inventions is…
5. The toe-growing hex!
Severus also invented this totally gross curse and noted it down in his Advanced Potion Making textbook. It causes the victim’s toenails to grow super fast, as Harry discovered when he tried it out on Vincent Crabbe!
6. Snape: Scoundrel or Saint?
…Was the name of a book wizarding journalist Rita Skeeter wrote about Snape after his death. Like all of Rita’s work it was pretty unfair, and would have definitely concentrated on the “scoundrel” side of Mr S.
7. But he was a hero, right?
Well, yes he was! Every Harry Potter fan knows of Snape’s heroic actions. But you still can’t quite love him entirely. JK Rowling once described him as “the colour grey” – because he’s neither good nor evil. He knows right from wrong, but is also a real bully sometimes. He’d never be your best friend, but you’d be very glad to see him in an emergency!
8. He’s one of 2 people to learn how to fly without a broomstick
The other is… Voldemort! Shhh! Which just goes to show the evil origins of this magic skill. It could even be that Voldemort taught Snape how to do it! Here’s a real life photo of Snape being spooky:
9. Snape was based on JK Rowling’s chemistry teacher!
Lots of Harry Potter characters were based on people in JK Rowling’s life, and Snape is no exception. JK Rowling’s chemistry teacher was described as having long black hair, and being EXTRA strict. Makes sense too as chemistry is basically the same as potion making. We don’t know how much of a hero the real life Severus Snape was, though!
10. He’s not a vampire
There are so many Harry Potter fan theories kicking about on the internet – and one of them reckons that Snape is secretly a vampire. But whilst he might look a bit like one, JK Rowling herself has come out and stated officially that no – he’s just a moody looking human.
11. Harry once stayed Snape’s hometown
He didn’t realise it at the time, but Snape’s hometown of Cokeworth was one of the places the Dursley’s took him when they were hiding from all those Hogwarts invite letters. Little did he know it was just the start of Harry’s relationship with Snape…
12. Snape taught Harry a very important spell
It is of course, Expelliarmus! The spell that became Harry’s signature move was also the one that he finally used to defeat Voldemort – so it’s kind of fitting that Snape taught him it.
13. Alan Rickman chose Snape’s outfits
The actor Alan Rickman who played Snape had a lot of control over the potion master’s look. He decided that Snape needed really long, close-fitting sleeves, and lots of buttons. This was so the audience would think of him as being an “uptight” kind of character. It certainly worked!
*Ok, his sleeves weren’t this long!
14. Snape had a ….beard?
In JK Rowling’s original illutrations, Snape always has a creepy short beard. This never appears in any of the films – maybe Alan Rickman just can’t grow one?
15. Cold and greasy
The 2 words most used in the series to decribe Snape are “dark” and “cold”. After that it’s “soft” and “greasy”. Sounds about right.
16. Harry Potter named his son after Snape
You may have heard of him – Albus Severus Potter. But have you heard of the next one?
17. There’s also a crab named after Snape!
Bet you didn’t know that one! It’s a pale, slighty creepy looking crab from Guam, called Harryplax Serverus. The biologist that discovered it was clearly a big Harry Potter fan!
18. Snape was so good at making potions…
He was invited to join Horace Slughorn’s slug club. But Horace didn’t like him much, so used to hide his picture behind the other more likeable students. Poor old Snape!
19. JK Rowling told Alan Rickman some Harry Potter secrets
Long before the final books were written, JK Rowling told the actor who played Snape what was going to happen later on in the series, so he could act the part better. She swore him to absolute secrecy, and he never told a soul.
20. Snape on set
When they were filming the Harry Potter movies, Alan Rickman was always in character – so he was grumpy and mean pretty much the whole time. Also, because he knew what would happen later in the series, he’d often argue with the directors – saying things like, “no, I can’t do that—I know what is going to happen and you don’t”!
Apparently he lovely off camera, though!