Severus Snape kept us guessing over his loyalties but there’s one thing we can all agree on – he wasn’t the most cheerful of sorts, was he?

Perhaps he needed a hobby, like Gobstones (his mother was president of the Hogwarts club, after all) or maybe Dumbledore could have taken him ten-pin bowling. Still, there are a few activities out there that never failed to put a smirk on that solemn face of his.

Giving Harry a hard time

Mister Potter wasn’t universally loved in the wizarding world – just ask Filch or the Slytherins – yet Snape took anti-Potter sentiment to a whole new level. He constantly berated the ‘Famous Harry Potter’ and never missed an opportunity to put the Chosen One firmly in his place. It all came down to some bad blood: everyone told Harry he was just like his father, but only Snape meant that as an insult.

Anything to do with Slytherin

Snape was quick to pick his favourite pupils and they all had one thing in common – they looked good in green. Though each Head of House enjoyed seeing their own students succeed, Snape tended to overlook most of his pupils’ bad behaviour. It didn’t matter if a Slytherin started the fight; whoever else was involved would be the ones losing house points.

Snape headshot from the Order of the Pheonix

Potion-making, obviously

‘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.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The poetic, almost romantic way he described the art of potion-making to his first-year class expressed a genuine love for the craft. Understandably so, as his old Potions book revealed an unsurpassed talent for the subject – it’s not every student who can correct the textbook.

Slughorn's potions classroom

Casual Dark Arts usage

Potions tips weren’t the only things scribbled in the Half-Blood Prince’s old school books. Snape had been dabbling in the Dark Arts since his school days and came up with many choice curses, including the vicious Sectumsempra. According to Sirius, Snape knew more hexes when he arrived at Hogwarts than most students learned by seventh year, so it’s no wonder he fell in with a bad crowd.

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Taking points from Gryffindor

Snape loved punishing Gryffindor students so much he’d use almost any excuse. Hermione knew this unfairness all too well. She got points deducted for such crimes as helping her classmates (usually Neville) and for answering questions correctly, or in Snape’s words ‘for being an insufferable know-it-all’.

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Avoiding shampoo

You’d think that a talented potion-maker such as Severus would be able to brew up a batch of magical ointments to treat oily complexions. Or how about a shampoo charm to sort out those greasy black locks? Oh well, he must have been happy enough.

Snape telling Harry to be quiet at the Tallest Tower


Every teacher knows when a pupil is up to no good, but there are one or two at Hogwarts who had an extra special gift. Snape’s talent for sniffing out troublemakers worked on more than just a hunch – it was a formidable magic skill that allowed him to read and interpret people’s memories. Any student foolish enough to tell fibs had better not look this Professor in the eye.

Snape in his potions class room from the Order of the Pheonix

Embarrassing Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers

Snape relished those moments when someone he disliked got their comeuppance, especially when that person had taken his dream job. He gave the buffoonish Gilderoy Lockhart a right showing-up at the duelling demonstration but let’s be honest, who didn’t enjoy that? Snape also thwarted Dolores Umbridge’s plan to interrogate Harry with Veritaserum. This might have looked slightly more heroic had he not offered to poison Potter as a compromise.

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Being sarcastic

‘Longbottom causes devastation with the simplest spells. We’ll be sending what’s left of Finch-Fletchley up to the hospital wing in a matchbox.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Forget hexes – Snape’s sarcasm was the real Dark Art you’ll wish you could defend against. Cold, condescending and sharp as a tack, Snape’s subtle but dread-inducing tone was brilliantly delivered by Alan Rickman in the film adaptations. Anyone who considers sarcasm the lowest form of wit had better not mention this during Potions.


There were many things Snape actually liked, but probably only one he ever truly loved. Look no further than his Patronus, which remained a doe even after all those years. Though she left this world, Lily Evans never left Snape’s heart. For many, it was proof that he had one to begin with.

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