Uncovering Severus Snape: Patterns and Subtle Repetition

by Cindy Eric


J.K. Rowling has many ways of managing to make us forget something of vital importance in the books – only to have it reappear later as a major, or even minor part of the plot. The reappearance may take place in the same book (such as the Wizard Card with Nicholas Flammel in Philosopher’s Stone), or it might get mentioned in one book (the Lovegoods were first mentioned in Goblet of Fire) and make a real appearance in another book (Luna Lovegood in Order of the Phoenix).

What I have attempted to do here is to find similar connections, that J.K. Rowling may have made us conveniently forget, regarding Severus Snape, because I believe that we already know more then we think we do.

I should mention in advance that my findings have not lead me to anything conclusive – there simply is not enough information, and there are too many contradictions at this point.

Because of this, I have divided my findings into three separate categories: Severus the Death Eater, Severus for the Order, and Severus for him self.

Note: I will be cross-referencing books, and chapters etc – in an attempt to link similarities from the books, and I will be looking for patterns and repetition of similar events, or descriptions.

Severus Snape: Death Eater

Severus does not like “Mudbloods”

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. He is a Slytherin, and the Head of Slytherin House. Salazar Slytherin handpicked students of only pure magical heritage, as he thought that Muggle-borns were untrustworthy. His suspicions were not without reason as, during Salazar’s time the magical world was suffering much persecution from Muggles.

Severus was sorted into Slytherin, more for his beliefs and choices, as well as skills (we know this because of Dumbledore tells Harry so at the end of Chamber of Secrets that it is our choices that define who we really are).

2. In Chamber of Secrets, Draco Malfoy makes another “Mudblood” comment right in front of Severus during a Potions class, and Severus says absolutely nothing. At the time, Snape was swooping around the dungeon, and Draco was not whispering:

“‘I’m quite surprised the Mudbloods haven’t all packed their bags by now,’ Malfoy went on. ‘Bet you five Galleons the next one dies. Pity it wasn’t Granger…'”

And Snape does and says absolutely nothing – silence from Snape usually means consent. Harry notices this about his character in Order of the Phoenix – stating that Snape was silent whilst hovering over Hermione’s cauldron – which meant he could find nothing to criticise.

Connect this with the scene in Order of the Phoenix where Severus calls Lily Evans a “filthy little Mudblood,” which is exactly what Draco calls Hermione in Chamber of Secrets.

3. Also in Chamber of Secrets, and from the same scene mentioned above, Draco Malfoy comments on Dumbledore’s suspension from Hogwarts by saying, “…Maybe we’ll get a decent headmaster now. Someone who won’t want the Chamber of Secrets closed….” He then tells Snape that he should apply for the job.

I am more then willing to “take another character’s word for it” here – because Draco Malfoy has rarely been wrong before; he has inside information that he either obtains directly from his father or by listening in on other people’s conversations.

Severus was one of the Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup

Evidence supporting this theory:

After reading “Snape’s Worst Memory” in Order of the Phoenix, and reading about how James Potter flipped Snape over in mid-air (“…Snape was hanging upside down in the air, his robes falling over his head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and greying underpants. Many people in the small crowd watching cheered…”), exposing his legs and underwear, I remembered that I had seen that very same spell used somewhere before. Racking my brains for a while, I realised it was the Death Eater scene at the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire.

In Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling writes

“A crowd of wizards, tightly packed and moving together with wands pointing straight upwards, was marching slowly across the field… their heads were hooded and their faces masked. High above them, floating along in mid-air, four struggling figures were being contorted into grotesque shapes… The floating people were suddenly illuminated as they passed over a burning tent, and Harry recognised one of them – Mr Roberts, the campsite manager… One of the marchers below flipped Mrs Roberts upside-down with his wand; her nightdress fell down to reveal voluminous drawers; she struggled to cover herself up as the crowd below her screeched and hooted with glee.”

The thing that struck me as odd about this scene is the fact that we are clearly told “one wizard” – J.K Rowling definitely wants us to remember this supposed minor detail. It is the fact that it is only “one wizard” that makes me believe that this Death Eater is Severus Snape.

What a perfect way to get revenge on James Potter – by using a humiliating spell that James used on him to humiliate the people who James Potter felt protective towards – Muggles and Mudbloods.

Voldemort later verifies the fact that it was Lucius Malfoy who led the Death Eater’s during this ‘Muggle torture.’ Snape and Malfoy are friends, which means it would be perfectly logical for Snape to be there with Malfoy.

Severus Snape & Lucius Malfoy are friends, and Severus is friends with other Death Eaters

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. Severus clearly favours Draco, but it goes the other way as well – Draco also favours Severus. They also communicate with each other, as though they know each other on a more personal level – not just as teacher and student.

“‘Sir,’ said Malfoy loudly. ‘Sir, why don’t you apply for the Headmaster’s job?

‘ ‘Now, now, Malfoy,” said Snape, though he couldn’t suppress a thin-lipped smile. ‘Professor Dumbledore has only been suspended by the governors. I dare say he’ll be back with us soon enough.’

‘Yeah, right,’ said Malfoy, smirking. ‘I expect you’d have Father’s vote, sir, if you wanted to apply for the job. I’ll tell father you’re the best teacher here, sir…'” (CoS)

2. Chamber of Secrets – whist Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall both inspect Mrs. Norris (after she has been petrified), Severus remains in the shadows, trying with great difficulty to not to smile… Granted, I would find it difficult not to smile myself (the curiosity kills the cat), but he is trying to hide it because Dumbledore is there, and he knows it is wrong. Other questions may arise – if he is smiling… Draco Malfoy’s eyes became “alive” when he saw Mrs. Norris and the writing on the wall, and now Severus is trying hard not to smile. Does he know something that none of the other teacher’s do?

In Order of the Phoenix we find out that Severus and Lucius do indeed know each other well, so it is safe to assume that Lucius may have told Severus of his plans to open the Chamber of Secrets – Draco does not think that Snape would mind this at all, and Draco’s information about things like that is usually correct.

3. In Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy was getting rid of “poisons.” J.K. Rowling never puts anything in the books purely for scenery. Severus Snape is a Potions Master – Lucius Malfoy is getting rid of poisons. Severus and Lucius are friends; who do you think made the potions… I mean poisons?

4. Goblet of Fire:

“‘Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in the seventh year and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters.’

Sirius held up his fingers, and began ticking off names. ‘Rosier and Wilkes – they were both killed by Aurors the year before Voldemort fell. The Lestranges – they’re a married couple – they’re in Azkaban. Avery – from what I’ve heard he wormed his way out of trouble by saying he’d been acting under the Imperius curse – he’s still at large…And Snape’s certainly clever and cunning enough to keep himself out of trouble.'”

Out of all the names mentioned – Avery, Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan are all present and accounted for as of Order of the Phoenix. Bellatrix is the only one still at large, though the others will probably break out of jail again in Book 6. And they are all Snapes friends. In Order of the Phoenix Sirius calls Snape Malfoy’s “lap dog.” And Umbridge also states that Lucius Malfoy always speaks highly of Snape – which is a clear indication that they are on good terms, as is Draco’s growing respect towards Snape.

Which leads me to the next bit of evidence…

5. Goblet of Fire:

“‘Look, I saw Voldemort come back to life!’ Harry shouted. He tried to get out of bed again, but Mrs. Weasley forced him back. ‘I saw the Death Eaters! I can give you their names! Lucius Malfoy -‘

Snape made a sudden movement, but as Harry looked at him, Snape’s eyes flew back to Fudge.”

I find this ‘sudden movement’ very interesting – as I am sure it holds the key to a very important clue. Either, Snape made the sudden movement because he was afraid that Harry’s confession to Fudge would incriminate his friend Lucius Malfoy – or – perhaps Snape thought that Harry might blurt his name out next, and got worried, but when Harry did not – he quickly recovered and recomposed himself. The theory is best explained by linking Snape’s sudden movement to Voldemort’s walk around the circle of Death Eater’s in a previous chapter:

“‘…Lucius…you have disappointed me…I expect more faithful service in future.’

‘Of course, my Lord, of course…you are merciful, thank you…’

Voldemort moved on, and stopped, staring at the space – large enough for two people – which separated Malfoy and the next man.

‘The Lestranges should be here…’

He walked on. Some of the Death Eater’s he passed in silence…”

I have noticed a pattern – Lucius Malfoy, the Lestranges – and the “next man”. We are told clearly again – that it is one man (just like how we were told clearly that ‘one wizard’ had flipped the Muggle’s upside down with his wand at the Quidditch World Cup)… In a still previous chapter, Sirius Black stated that Snape hung around with a group of Slytherins who almost all became Death Eaters – this group included the Lestranges. We also know from Karkaroff that not all Death Eaters know each other – though it is obvious that Lucius, Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Snape do as they are friends. Considering that the Lestranges place in the circle of Death Eaters is right next to Lucius – it is also very likely (and logical) that the “next man” that Voldemort passed in silence was in fact Severus Snape.

It is possible that Snape made a sudden movement because he thought that Harry might have recognised him and was about to say so in front of everybody. Yes – I am aware of the fact that Snape showed his Dark Mark to the Minister of Magic; but if he is still a Death Eater, this puts him in more of a positive light than negative as it makes him seem more ‘reformed.’

Severus is still working for Lord Voldemort

Evidence supporting this theory:


“Snape had disliked all of their previous Dark Arts teachers, and shown it – but he seemed strangely wary of displaying overt animosity to Mad-Eye Moody. Indeed, whenever Harry saw the two of them together – at mealtimes, or when they passed in the corridors – he had the distinct impression that Snape was avoiding Moody’s eye, whether magical or normal.” (Goblet of Fire)

The meaning behind this quote changes depending on how you read it. At this point in the story – we do not know that Snape was a Death Eater, and Snape does not know that Moody is actually Crouch, Jr. Snape thinks that it is the real ‘Auror Moody’ and is on his best behaviour because Moody knows that Snape was a Death Eater (he was at Karkaroff’s trial with Dumbledore).

The thing that strikes me as odd about this sentence is Snape avoiding Moody’s eyes – magical or normal. The magical eye, I can sympathise with (who knows what Moody is really looking at :-)), but why avoid his normal eye? By doing this, Snape is projecting guilt or deceit. He is avoiding Moody’s all-seeing eyes because he has something to hide – the fact that he is still a Death Eater, and this Auror sniffing around and watching his every move is making him nervous.

Connect this with the scene in Dumbledore’s Pensieve –

“‘No!’ shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chairs which bound him to the chair. ‘I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!’

Dumbledore had got to his feet. ‘I have given evidence already on this matter…He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.’

Harry turned to look at Mad-Eye Moody. He was wearing a look of deep skepticism behind Dumbledore’s back.”

2. In GoF, during the Yule Ball, Snape plainly states that he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about when Karkaroff tells him that his own Dark Mark is getting clearer. Karkaroff thinks that Snape is acting this way because he is “pretending that [the Dark Mark] isn’t happening,” but could Snape simply be unconcerned because he doesn’t mind the fact that the Dark Mark is coming back? We have seen him reporting it to Dumbledore in Dumbledore’s Pensieve, but that is expected; otherwise, Dumbledore would want to know why he was hiding it.

He also tells Karkaroff to flee, and that he will make his excuses for him – does this mean that he expects to be seeing Voldemort and the old-crowd shortly?

3. (GoF)

“‘I’ll talk to you after my lesson, Karkaroff -‘ Snape muttered, but Karkaroff interrupted him.

‘I want to talk now, while you can’t slip off, Severus. You’ve been avoiding me.'”

It is likely that Severus is avoiding Karkaroff because Karkaroff turned informer for the Ministry to get out of Azkaban. Snape does not want to be associated with him at all, as it would place him under suspicion with the other Death Eaters… Now, you are probably going to think, “But everyone at Karkaroff’s trial heard Dumbledore say that Snape is working for him.” That’s fine, because the Death Eaters – and Lord Voldemort – believe that Snape is working for them – that he is spying on Dumbledore for them, whilst he feeds Dumbledore false information about the Death Eaters.

4. As of Order of the Phoenix, we know that Snape is apparently working for the Order by spying on the Death Eaters. He has resumed his old position. It is also clear that he is able to do this because the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort still believe Snape to be a loyal Death Eater. This is obvious just by looking at Snape’s friendly relationship with Lucius Malfoy. Therefore, technically Severus Snape still is a Death Eater. He obviously isn’t the person that Voldemort said would “be killed” at the end of Goblet of Fire because he is still alive and well, as well as being friends with Lucius Malfoy (both Sirius and Umbridge state this quite clearly). Might he be the “most loyal servant at Hogwarts”? Knowing how well J.K. Rowling can spin a tale – it is quite possible.

5. What is also interesting to note – and this is pure speculation – is how Snape seems to have ended Harry’s first Occlumency lesson rather abruptly – as if he had a prior engagement to get to, which he might have. The Death Eaters were freed from Azkaban that same evening, only a short while after Snape ended the lesson.

6. Why does Snape still call Voldemort “Dark Lord”? It is either because he is still working for him and he is so used to calling him that that calling him anything else never crossed his mind, or it could also be potentially dangerous to call him one name in the Order’s company and another name in the Death Eaters company – because he might slip and reveal himself as a spy… Or, he could simply still just be a Death Eater.

Severus Likes the Dark Arts

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. Apart from the fact that it is repeated at least ten times in each book…

2. In Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid (who knows a lot of secrets but isn’t good at keeping them) mentions to Harry, Hermione and Ron that Dumbledore only hired Lockhart for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position because there was literally no one else for the job. Hagrid always knows what Dumbledore is up to, so it is safe to assume that this is true. He then says something odd – people are starting to think that the Dark Arts position is jinxed. Connect this with the fact that Snape really badly wants the job (confirmed in Order of the Phoenix), Snape’s knowledge of the Dark Arts, and I am starting to wonder whether the position might really be jinxed. Perhaps Snape has jinxed it, so that when Dumbledore runs completely out of resources – he will have no choice but to give Snape the job… Notice also that Hagrid states that it has been like that “for a while,” which means pre-Philosopher’s Stone.

3. In Prisoner of Azkaban Sirius Black states that Snape knew more curses when he first arrived at Hogwarts then half the seventh years.

4. In Order of the Phoenix this is confirmed as Harry watches teenager-Snape obsessing over his Defense Against the Dark Arts examination paper.

Severus for the Order:

Severus keeps saving Harry’s life and helps Harry quite often

Evidence supporting this theory:

(Life Saving)

1. Tons! Harry owes Snape one major life-debt. Firstly, as we all know only too well, Snape spent the whole school semester in Harry’s first year at Hogwarts looking after him. He saved Harry’s life by anti-jinxing Harry’s broom, preventing Quirrell from jinxing him off it. He also insisted on refereeing the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin so that he could be closer to Harry and prevent Quirrell from attempting anything else – making himself rather unpopular with the rest of the teachers at the same time.

2. Snape attempts to save Harry’s life again in Prisoner of Azkaban when he sees Harry and Sirius on the Marauders Map together in the Shrieking Shack. He even firmly believes that Sirius Confunded Harry and says this to Fudge. He had a perfect opportunity to get Harry expelled and surprisingly did not use it. He did however state that Harry bends the rules too much – and gets away with it – which is completely true. In fact – whenever Snape has been angry with Harry – it has been because of this very reason. In Prisoner of Azkaban, the whole wizarding community is trying to protect Harry from Sirius Black (including Snape), and Harry uses his invisibility cloak to go to Hogsmeade. Snape does save Harry’s life when he takes him back to the castle on a stretcher. Snape could have just left Harry there, and the Dementors could have come back to finish him off, or Remus Lupin the werewolf could have decided to stroll past for a snack – anything could have happened. But Snape did not leave Harry there – not even after Harry, Hermione and Ron used the spell that Snape had taught them the previous year to knock him out. Snape can be very forgiving when he believes that someone has been confunded.

3. In Order of the Phoenix Snape becomes “worried” when Harry does not return from the Forest with Umbridge, and goes into it himself to search for him.

4. Dumbledore, McGonagall – and Snape – go after Crouch Junior when he pulls Harry away (after Harry returns from the graveyard) in Goblet of Fire. Snape also sees himself reflected in Crouch Junior’s Foe Glass – which means that he is on Dumbledore’s side.

5. Snape attempts to save Harry’s life in every Potions lesson by making sure that Harry knows how to make all the Potions properly – by ensuring that Harry remembers what a bezoar is used for, and where it may be obtained, etc., etc., etc.

Notice that Snape does not care so much about the state of other students potions – particularly those that are in his own House. It could be argued that he lets the Slytherins get away with everything because he favours them, but it could also be argued that he lets them get away with everything to ‘unprepare’ them. At the end ofOrder of the Phoenix it is clearly obvious that Harry is much better at everything than Draco Malfoy, who has ‘had it easy.’

6. Harry comments himself that it was Snape who taught him ‘expelliarmus’ – which saved him from Lockhart.

(Helping Harry)

1. (Prisoner of Azkaban)

“‘Nasty cut you’ve got there…Black’s work, I suppose?’

‘As a matter of fact, it was Potter, Weasley and Granger Minister…’


‘Black had bewitched them, I saw it immediately. A Confundus Charm, to judge by their behaviour. They seemed to think he was innocent. They weren’t responsible for their actions…’

‘Ah, well, Snape…Harry Potter, you know…we’ve all got a bit of a blind spot where he’s concerned.’

‘And yet – is it good for him to be given so much special treatment? Personally I treat him like any other student…'”

As Dumbledore states later on in the same chapter, it is Snape’s word against Harry, Ron and Hermione’s, and the Minister will believe Snape. This would have given Snape the perfect opportunity to slanderise Harry, but instead he defends him, by saying that he (and Ron and Hermione) was not responsible for their actions. Yes, he does go on about how they should be suspended, etc…. But this is yet again because of all the school rules (and Ministry rules) that Harry has intentionally broken – and sometimes for quite silly reasons, such as his visits to Hogsmeade when he knew that Sirius Black supposedly wanted to ‘snuff him.’ Snape wants Harry taught a lesson – so that he is less inclined to break the rules next time and can resist placing himself in unnecessary danger.

2. There is a scene in Goblet of Fire that I find most intriguing because I have read many discussions about it online and have decided to thus end the confusion by giving my own slightly detailed analysis of it here.

(Goblet of Fire pages 383-384, UK ed.)

“Harry tore up the stone steps, through the oak front doors and off up the marble staircase, towards the second floor.

Five minutes later he was hurtling towards a stone gargoyle standing halfway along an empty corridor.

‘Sher-sherbet lemon!’ he panted at it.

This was the password to the hidden staircase to Dumbledore’s office – or, at least, it had been two years ago. The password had evidently changed, however, for the stone gargoyle did not spring to life and jump aside, but stood frozen, glaring at Harry malevolently.

‘Move!’ Harry shouted at it. ‘C’mon!’

But nothing at Hogwarts had ever moved just because he shouted at it; he knew it was no good. He looked up and down the corridor. Perhaps Dumbledore was in the staff room?

He started running as fast as he could towards the staircase –


Harry skidded to a halt and looked around.

Snape had just emerged from the hidden staircase behind the stone gargoyle. The wall was sliding shut behind him even as he beckoned Harry back towards him.

And this is where I interrupt the quotation, because I feel a great need to draw much attention to the fact that Snape has indeed just helped Harry.. Harry was about to run off to the staff room, and Dumbledore is not there – he is in his office. Did Snape hear Harry shouting on his way down the spiral staircase? It is very possible. Snape actually stopped Harry from wasting more time by running to the staff room – and called him back to the entrance to Dumbledore’s office.

‘What are you doing here, Potter?’

‘I need to see Professor Dumbledore!’ said Harry, running back up the corridor and skidding to a standstill in front of Snape instead. ‘It’s Mr Crouch…he’s just turned up…he’s in the Forest…he’s asking-‘

‘What is this rubbish?’ said Snape, his black eyes glittering. ‘What are you talking about?'”

Snape taunts Harry until Harry begins yelling again – which seems to also rouse Dumbledore’s attention – for he comes down himself to see what all the ruckus is about. Some might say that Snape was stalling Harry so that Crouch Junior could murder his father, but I completely disagree. Had Snape wanted to stall Harry, he would not have called him back to the gargoyle (he would have in fact let him go to the staff room and waste much more time); he wanted Harry to find Dumbledore, but Snape, being Snape, did not want Harry to think for a second that he was helping him in any way and also had to savour the moment of being in a position of power over Potter – as only Snape can. In the end, his taunting of Harry did get Dumbledore’s attention – which I am also sure Snape suspected it would.

Dumbledore trusts Snape

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. (Goblet of Fire)

“‘No!’ shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chairs which bound him to the chair. ‘I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!’

Dumbledore had got to his feet. ‘I have given evidence already on this matter,’ he said calmly. ‘Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.'”

From this it is clear that Dumbledore thinks very highly of Snape and that he does trust him – as there is no point in having an untrustworthy spy, as it kind of defeats the purpose. I find the use of the words “rejoined our side” instead of the words “joined our side” very interesting. Does this mean that Snape was initially on Dumbledore’s side, then joined Voldemort, and then decided to go back to Dumbledore? Hmmm…

And another thing that makes me slightly uneasy – in Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry and Hermione help Sirius escape, Dumbledore proclaims to Snape and Fudge that it couldn’t have been Harry and Hermione who helped Sirius escape unless “you are suggesting that they can be in two places at once” – which is exactly what did happen – but everyone dismisses it. Here we have Dumbledore stating that Snape is “now no more a Death Eater than I am.”

2. Goblet of Fire:

“Snape strode forwards, past Dumbledore, pulling up the left sleeve of his robes as he went. He stuck out his forearm, and showed it to Fudge, who recoiled.

‘There,’ he said harshly. ‘There. The Dark Mark. It is not as clear as it was, an hour or so ago, when it burnt black, but you can still see it…'”

Snape did this of his own free will for Dumbledore – to present Fudge with concrete evidence, and to prove Dumbledore’s point.

3. Dumbledore plainly states to Snape (after Sirius’s transformation from dog to human form) “I trust you both…”

4. (OotP) “‘I trust Severus Snape,’ said Dumbledore simply.”

Severus did and is spying for the Order again

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. Apart from the fact that he admits it to Harry during an Occlumency lesson in theOrder of the Phoenix and that he also sweeps in and out of Grimmauld Place on numerous occasions, bringing the plans of what looks like some kind of house with him that everyone in the Order is excited over…

2. Goblet of Fire

“‘Severus,’ said Dumbledore, turning to Snape, ‘you now what I must ask you to do. If you are ready…If you are prepared…’

‘I am,’ said Snape.

He looked slightly paler than usual, and his cold, black eyes glittered strangely.

‘Then, good luck,’ said Dumbledore, and he watched with a trace of apprehension on his face, as Snape swept wordlessly after Sirius.

It was several minutes before Dumbledore spoke again.”

It is plainly obvious that this moment of interaction and silent understanding of what lies ahead has very prolific meaning for both men. This is the only time we have heard Dumbledore specifically wish someone “good luck” in the whole series thus far – which means that whatever Snape is willingly committing himself to is something difficult, dangerous and unpleasant. Snape himself is “paler than usual” – a sign I believe we should associate with fear. Snape was also paler than usual after witnessing a certain portion of Harry’s memory with Lily (Evans) Potter in it during an Occlumency lesson in Order of the Phoenix.

I believe the “if you are ready” question refers to Snape’s state of mind – is he ready to practice Occlumency (and block Voldemort out of his mind), to which Snape replies that he is.

The “trace of apprehension” on Dumbledore’s face is simply there because Dumbledore has realised that if Snape is not prepared, he is sending him to his death, as Voldemort will penetrate his mind with ease, and discover where Snape’s true loyalties lie.

Snape is Dumbledore’s ‘right hand man’

Evidence supporting this theory:

1. Snape is always by Dumbledore’s side whenever anything important happens in the books – or whenever there is danger lurking.

In the Philosopher’s Stone Severus refereed the Quidditch Match whilst Dumbledore sat on the benches and watched. Both men protected Harry together.

In Chamber of Secrets Severus arrives first together with Dumbledore and McGonagall to the scene of “the writing on the wall.”

In Prisoner of Azkaban Severus reports directly to Dumbledore in a militaristic fashion during the entire book.

In Goblet of Fire Severus’s behaviour becomes more that of the ‘loyal soldier following the orders of the general,’ and he is even seated closer to Dumbledore at the teachers’ table in the Great Hall.

In Order of the Phoenix Snape saves the day by alerting the Order – and Dumbledore – to Harry’s vision and possible whereabouts. He also gives Umbridge fake Veritaserum.

Throughout the series Dumbledore keeps two teachers close to him or by his side – Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape, who both follow his orders immediately and without comment.

Severus for himself

In the end, Severus Snape is a Slytherin – not just any Slytherin but the Head of Slytherin House. And as Phineas Nigellus stated correctly and with good reason, “We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks.” And I firmly believe that this is what Severus Snape is really doing, and that he also possesses both the intelligence and cunning needed to completely switch ‘sides’ if need be, to keep himself alive.