Severus Snape was as surly as he was shrewd and as snarky as he was skilled. From Potions to Occlumency, let’s dig in and explore the many abilities of Severus Snape...

He’s a Potions pioneer

We couldn’t talk about the skills of the Potions Master without mentioning his aptitude for, well, Potions, could we? If you needed a seamless Shrinking Solution, a flawless phial ofFelix Felicis or a valuable vial of Veritaserum, Snape was your guy. There was no concoction that he couldn’t pull together – which is as handy as it is terrifying. He also knew how to make a potion the best it could be, even if it meant deviating from the instructions. It certainly helped Harry when he got his hand on Snape’s (or should we say the Half-Blood Prince’s) copy of Advanced Potion-Making. Who knew that a crushed, rather than chopped, Sopophorous Bean would make such a difference to a Draught of Living Death?

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

His Half-Blood Prince creations

Speaking of Snape’s creations, his ingenuity as the Half-Blood Prince went far beyond tinkering with potion recipes – he created spells of his own. Not any witch or wizard would have that capability. But for Snape? He didn’t just stop at one spell. No, he made multiple. Some were useful, practical and even exhibiting Snape’s lesser-seen sense of humour – such as Levicorpus which hoisted the target into the air by their ankle. Though after Snape’s run-in with the Marauders, we saw a darker side to that spell. Others played into his obsession with the Dark Arts. Sectumsempra was a particularly violent spell, and it is rather troubling that a teenager came up with it. When Harry used it against Malfoy, he almost killed him. So yes, Snape had the power to create his own spells, but great power should always come with great responsibility.

Veritaserum Fact File Image veritaserum_3_1800x1248

Did we mention he can fly?

We’re not talking about Snape’s skills on a broomstick here – although we’d be fascinated to see how that played out… We’re talking about the fact that he could transform into a bat-like creature and seemingly take off into the sky, unaided. It came in handy when faced with an irate McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout – why face consequences when you can, quite simply, soar off into the night? But it also showed just how well learned a wizard Snape was. There was only one other wizard who had been known to be able to fly without a broom: Voldemort. While Snape was a famously complex figure, he often used his set of magical abilities for manifold reasons.

He’s an unreadable book

Snape projects an aura of mystery – he’s an impenetrable fortress. An island. Some might say really great at maintaining boundaries. Good luck trying to find out who the real Snape is – arguably only Dumbledore had that honour. Snape’s air of mystery wasn’t just down to his secretive personality: he also happened to be a very talented Occlumens. Nobody was going to break into his head and steal his secrets. Well… except that one time. You know, when Harry accidentally ended up in there, witnessed Snape’s most humiliating moment and made their relationship even more tense than usual. That time.

His sarcasm

For cutting remarks and scathing putdowns, you need look no further than Severus Snape. His ability to wound with words was unparalleled. Hermione was dubbed the ‘insufferable know-it-all’, while poor Neville was callously re-named ‘the boy with the thick skull’ – ice cold sentiments, always. Snape had no kind words for Ron, Sirius, James, Lupin, Harry either – well, any Gryffindor come to think of it. While Snape’s put-downs could be devastating to the extent he became Neville’s Boggart, sometimes, when faced with a worthy adversary (such as Professor Umbridge) his deadpan delivery and excellent timing also revealed his secret funny side. Who can forget his response when Harry gave a less-than-pleasing answer to his question about the difference between a ghost and an Inferius?

‘Oh, very good,’ interrupted Snape, his lip curling. ‘Yes, it is easy to see that nearly six years of magical education have not been wasted on you, Potter. Ghosts are transparent.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


His fashion sense

Ok, so when you think of fashion icons, Snape might not spring to mind. Your Lockharts and your Dumbledores are more likely to take centre stage with their celebration of eccentricity and colour. But we are prepared to die on this hill: Snape was a fashion icon too! For those who favour a dark and gloomy look, think it would be cool to resemble an overgrown bat and recoil at anything other than the colour black, then Snape’s your fashion guru. From his long black robes to his long black hair to his long withering stare, he had his aesthetic perfected – minimal yet dramatic, repetitive, yet classic. His vibe might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it takes skill and confidence to stick to one specific look so adamantly like Snape did. Not to mention a great deal of stubbornness.