Severus was raised in the Muggle neighbourhood of Spinner's End, the poorer area of the midlands town of Cokeworth. His father, Tobias Snape, was a worker at the local mill and an abusive alcoholic, while his mother worked at the local grocery shop, but was a fairly depressed individual. His house was a few blocks away from the home of the Evans family, and the town park, where he would meet Lily and Petunia Evans, was exactly a block and a half away. He developed a close friendship with Lily; falling deeply in love with her, and quite the antagonizing relationship with Petunia. In 1971 he began his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he was Sorted into Slytherin. This put him and the love of his life, Lily Evans, in rival houses, but that did not dissuade them from continuing their friendship. Severus was a frequent target of bullying by James Potter and Sirius Black who were close friends with Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew; calling themselves the "Marauders".
His passion for the Dark Arts, one born from reading his mother's books about the subject, only grew as his desire for revenge against the Marauders grew. This, coupled with him getting acquainted with other boys in Slytherin, many of whom were pure-blood supremacists, put his friendship with Lily, who was a Muggle-born, under great strain, until it was finally broken in their fifth year after Severus; under incredible humiliation and emotion after yet again being a target of the Marauders, called her a "mudblood". Although he profusely apologized for weeks after the incident, Lily cut all ties with him. Seeing that the Dark Arts and his road to becoming a Death Eater destroyed his friendship with Lily, Severus wanted to abandon his quest to become a Death Eater. Going to Dumbledore for help, he was successfully convinced to continue in his efforts to get close to the Death Eaters, though he would act as a double agent. He was the first person to be inducted into the original Order of the Phoenix. After the death of his mother, he changed his surname to his mother's maiden name; Prince, and changed his middle name to Donovan, in memory of his maternal uncle.
Severus joined the Death Eaters and took the Dark Mark as part of his mission as a double agent. Using his tremendous skill in the skill of occlumency, he was able to conceal his true loyalty from Voldemort. Although technically part of the Order of the Phoenix, all dealings with the Order went through Albus Dumbledore directly, as not to blow his cover as a Death Eater. After hearing the prophecy, Albus instructed Severus to relay the prophecy to Voldemort. However, upon learning that Voldemort planned to seek out the Potter family, Severus pleaded with Dumbledore to hide them. Unfortunately, nobody was made aware that Peter Pettigrew, a secret Death Eater, was made secret-keeper instead of Sirius Black, and Pettigrew betrayed the Potters, revealing the location of their hiding place to Voldemort, culminating in the death of James Potter.
Severus was charged with hiding Lily and her son, Harry, at his home in Spinner's End. He continued to care for her and her son up until the 4th of July, 1982 when Peter Pettigrew discovered Severus was hiding Lily in his home. Lord Voldemort, backed by Bellatrix Lestrange and Wormtail, payed a visit to Severus' home. Severus managed to defeat Pettigrew and Bellatrix, and managed to invoke an ancient magic, protecting both Lily and Harry. After the Dark Lord's disappearance, Severus and Lily began a relationship, eventually marrying quietly in late-1983. Severus then fathered twin girls Eleanor Valora and Victoria Eileen Prince.
After the defeat of Voldemort and reveal of Severus' true loyalties, Severus and Lily settled down in a Muggle town, opting for a quiet, peaceful home life, away from the scrutiny of the Wizarding world. Severus took up a teaching position as Potions Master at Hogwarts. He would later adopt Sirius Black's daughter Urania Black after the courts deemed him unfit to be a parent. Severus' relationship with Albus Dumbledore remained one of unwavering loyalty and trust, so much so that Dumbledore entrusted Severus with his deepest secrets regarding the Prophecy and how to defeat Lord Voldemort. Severus participated in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of the Second Wizarding War, and would survive the war. Severus refused to return to his old teaching position, but returned to Hogwarts to serve as its Headmaster in 2008 after Minerva McGonagall retired. As of 2017, Severus is still Headmaster of Hogwarts.
Attack on Spinner's End
- Severus: "In doing what I did I invoked an ancient magic; ancient as in as old as the Earth itself. It's called Amor Vincit Omnia."
- Lily Evans: "Love conquers all? Love is what saves the other person? What saved me?"
- Severus: "...If it is strong enough, love can conquer evil."
- — Severus telling Lily how they survived their respective killing curses.
Lily begged Voldemort not to kill Harry, and willingly protected Harry from his killing curse. Being a loving sacrifice, it marked Harry with protection from her love. She did not, however, die as she expected to. Instead, she was blasted back against the wall, and saw Voldemort attempt to cast the killing curse at Harry. Instead of killing Harry, Voldemort's spell rebounded off the child, destroying his body and temporarily defeating him. It was later revealed that by willingly put himself in front of Bellatrix's killing curse in order to save Lily, he invoked an ancient magic called amor vincit omnia, or 'love conquers all', which shielded Lily from killing curse. Since Lily was protected by Severus' love, she survived the killing curse cast by Voldemort, and since she marked Harry with the protection of her love, Harry survived as well, and vanquished the Dark Lord. After learning of Severus' loving sacrifice, Lily kissed Severus, marking the beginning of a relationship between the two.
End of the war and revelation of loyalties
- Albus Dumbledore: "[...] Because Severus was never a loyal Death Eater!"
- Sirius Black: "Wh-what do you mean?! He IS a Death Eater, you told us yourself!"
- Albus Dumbledore: "I lied. It was necessary for his true loyalties to remain secret from the rest of the Order in case any of you were captured and interrogated for information. Severus was never loyal to the Death Eater cause; I recruited him in his fifth year at Hogwarts to serve as my inside source. He has been part of the Order of the Phoenix since before any of you."
- — Albus Dumbledore revealing Severus' true loyalties to the rest of the Order.
ParentsSeverus' relationship with his parents was a rocky one at best. Although he loved his mother dearly, he was frustrated with the fact that she refused to get involved when Tobias physically assaulted him or even her. She taught Severus everything she knew about the Wizarding World and even supplied reading material on various subjects both taught and not taught at Hogwarts.
- "Angry? No Tobias, I am not angry. In fact, I'm quite relieved you have shared this little piece of information with me, it gives me a reason to do this; CRUCIO!"
- —Severus' words after his father tells him he killed his mother
Severus Snape and Sirius Black have a long history with one-another, each of them hating the other immensely.
If Severus had the ability to hate Sirius any more than he did, the incident at Carina Winters' parents' cottage would have increased it tenfold. Severus returned from work to pick up Harry, who was being babysat by Sirius and his fiancee. He arrived at the edge of the property, and caught site of Harry who was playing by the lake. His toy fell in, and in a split second, Harry fell into the lake as well. Severus jumped in the freezing lake and pulled him out, declaring Sirius as unfit to be a guardian and took him home. Although Lily and Severus never stripped Sirius of his status as Harry's godfather, Remus more or less took over the role, being as he was closer to Harry than Sirius ever was.
- Severus: "Oh yea, I'm sure the mutt who shudders at the thought of comittment is jumping for joy at being saddled with you for life. If it was me I'd consider sticking my head in a gas oven."
- Carina Winters: "That's horrible!"
- Severus: "So is the thought of being married to you. You know Sirius, for the first time in my life I almost feel sorry for you...almost."
- — A conversation between Severus and Carina, showing his disdain for the Veela.