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Severus Snape

Severus Snape is a fictional character in the Harry Potter series of novels. He is the Potions master and Head of the Slytherin house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a principal setting of the novels. He seems to hate Harry Potter, and his checkered past breeds distrust of him in the main characters; nonetheless, the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore seems to trust him without question.

In the Harry Potter movies, the character of Severus Snape is played by Alan Rickman.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers.

The enmity between Harry and Snape begins in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, from the moment of their first laying eyes on each other. Though Harry is repeatedly reassured that Snape is one of the professors guarding the stone, his view of events leads him to believe that Snape is attempting to steal the stone.

Much of Severus Snape's dislike of Harry Potter seems to stem from a rivalry between Snape and Harry's father, James Potter[?], when they were both attendees at Hogwarts. At first, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is told that this dislike may be due to James Potter saving Snape's life, when, as a "prank", Sirius Black sends Snape to the Shrieking Shack where he would surely have been killed by Remus Lupin in his werewolf form. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we discover that Snape's worst memory was one of being teased greatly by James in their fifth year at the school. Severus was obsessed with the Dark Arts, which seemed to put off James' clique; his "nerdy" exterior did nothing to endear him to the "cool" kids.

When Lord Voldemort rose to power the first time, Snape served him as a Death Eater; his left arm still bears the Dark Mark that showed his allegiance to his evil master. At some point, however, it seems that he changed sides, and became some sort of informant. Since the resurrection of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Snape seems to have continued this role.

Despite Snape's intense dislike of Harry, he has saved the boy's life on more than one occasion; he is a member in good standing of the Order of the Phoenix, as is revealed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and as such has misdirected Dolores Umbridge in her attempts to discredit Harry. Despite this, he invariably gives Harry poor marks in Potions and harangues him verbally, and even attempted to have Harry (and Ron) expelled in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when they were seen by muggles in a flying car.

For a time during the course of the fifth book, Snape gave Harry lessons in a branch of magic called Occlumency[?], having to deal with protecting one's mind from intrusion. This is undoubtedly a useful skill for his undercover work in the Death Eaters; the classes were cut short when Harry used Dumbledore's Pensieve and witnessed Snape's most hated memory. Viewing this memory was unpleasant for Harry, who had dismissed Snape's charge of arrogance against his father as jealousy. It seems that Harry's best strategy in dealing with Snape would be to emphasize the difference between himself and his father. Only time (and Joanne Rowling) will tell if the two ever reach any kind of reconciliation.


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