The Phoenix Files: Folder #10: Severus Snape (Part One)

By Christopher Stephen

Mister Severus Snape, seen in many notable scenes throughout the series (eg. in the Shrieking Shack and with a Polyjuice Potion-ed teacher on a stairway), is the subject of this editorial!

Now, this is my tenth File, so I thought it should be slightly different in a few ways.

First, in appreciation of you, my loyal readers, I am happy to announce that there is a riddle/scavenger hunt competition in this File! The first twenty people to e-mail me at christopherstephened at hotmail dot com with the correct answer (it should be two words, please, and the title of your e-mail should say COMPETITION ENTRY) will be e-mailed a new riddle. The first ten correct replies will then be placed into a random drawing for a free copy of The Plot Thickens…Harry Potter Investigated by Fans for Fans produced by Wizarding World Press (WWP), edited by Galadriel Waters, and written by members of MuggleNet’s CoS and New Clues Forums!

I must warn you, however; the riddle will not be easy since only the first twenty correct answers will be considered. Like Jo, I have written the riddle to contain blatant clues that will lead you straight to the conclusion (properly buried, of course) along with more obvious but tougher clues and even a few total red herrings. Keep at it; you probably won’t get it on the first (or even second or third) reading. I shall say this much: it is possible for clues to be found throughout the File as well as in the riddle, you may need to use certain clues and results in combinations, and it is not necessary for you to solve every clue in order to reach the correct answer.

Unfortunately, the competition is only open to those in the U.S. (mainly because we don’t want to have to pay international shipping, but also because many of the clues, including the correct answer, are aimed toward those who live in the U.S.)

I should mention that posts in the CoS Forums or anywhere else dealing with the competition and especially with one’s progress in the riddle are strictly forbidden (and you all know I watch the forums and comments like a hawk!).

The first clue follows at the end of this segment.
The clues, riddles, and answer(s) may or may not be Harry Potter-related.
You should be able to get the correct answer without any further information from me.

If twenty people do not get it after a couple days, an additional stanza will be added, which will definitely help (but still be difficult!). Good luck!!!

(This contest is now closed. For the answer to the riddle, click here.)

Second, Snape is such a complex character that I thought I would post his File in segments. This one, the first, will deal with the whole vampire issue (is he/is he not). The other segments will be posted intermittently until the release of Book Six, so you’ll have to be on the lookout for them! As such, this first portion is supposed to act like an appetizer or teaser and make you want more!!

Third, you guys really responded to my cry of help and plea for assistance last time. As a result, my inbox was flooded with AWESOME editorials, and I’m very glad to offer you some of the very best ones. Your response proved to me that you enjoy the current format of the Files, so I will today re-open TPF #6, that of James Potter!! As always, editorials are due in my inbox by midnight on this coming Friday. Good luck, and I plan on seeing quite a few good editorials!

Finally, I thought my tenth File would be a fantastic time for me to announce my Book Six release plans. As many of you may now know from the post on the main site, MuggleNet is helping to host Spellbound! in Mt. Prospect and Prospect Heights, Illinois. For more information, please check out I am excited to say that I plan on attending this event and hope to see many of you there!!! (Since Emerson can’t go because he’ll be on his way to a certain author’s home, I figured I should take his place.)

Okay, so Snape’s File. I don’t mean to beat around the bush, but these past couple of weeks have been very exciting (and the weeks are just going to get more exciting with the impending release of Book Six looming in the distance). As stated earlier, we’re going to discuss whether or not Snape is a vampire in this portion of the File. I plan on stating evidence for it, evidence against it, tons of canon, and my point of view. I greatly value your own points of view, as well, and discussing the editorial in the forums is a great way to let me know what you’re thinking.

Now, obviously, there are refutations to each and every one of these points from both camps. It is obvious through running bits that Jo wants us to remember vampires are a part of her world (they’re even mentioned by name more than hags, etc. throughout the series) and Chamber of Secrets specifically has a load of these bits (Dobby had large, bat-like ears, and the Dursleys were afraid of waking up as fruitbats in the first two chapters alone, enough to drive anyone batty [like Mrs. Figg]).

Evidence supporting Snape as either vampire or part-vampire (more-or-less chronologically):

1. p. 126 Book One (The Sorting Hat, Ch. 7) states Snape has “sallow skin.”
2. p. 136 Book One (The Potions Master, Ch. 8) states Snape’s eyes are “cold and empty” and informs us that Snape teaches in the dungeons.
3. p. 224 Book One (Nicolas Flamel, Ch. 13) calls Snape “white-faced.”
4. p. 288 Book One (The Man With Two Faces, Ch. 17) states Quirrel says, “So useful to have him (Snape) swooping around like an overgrown bat.”
5. Movie One shows a bat at the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley folding its wings, looking exactly like Snape in his opening speech in potions when folds his arms.
6. Book Two (The Dueling Club, Chapter 11) shows Snape “gliding over like a large and malevolent bat.”
7. Book Two (The Writing on the Wall), Snape says that he doesn’t think ghosts provide food fit for human consumption – would he have inside information on other ways beings eat?
8. Book Three (Snape’s Grudge, Chapter 14), Harry says to Ron, “Snape was hanging around.”
9. p. 289 Book Three Lupin states: “Harry, Ron, come with me, I need a word about my vampire essay…” and Jo specifically writes that Harry didn’t dare look at Snape to see his reaction to this comment (and so neither do we).
10. p. 362 Book Three (The Servant of Lord Voldemort) states (after the Disarming Charm) that there was a “lifeless Snape” in the corner.
11. p. 429 Book Three Dean Thomas says, “Maybe a vampire!” when speculating about the next Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Snape applies for the job (according to Umbridge and Snape in OOTP). 12. Book Five Ron says Snape never stays to eat with them, and he does not go against this throughout the book.
13. Snape is constantly seen throughout the series wandering the corridors at night.
14. A couple of refutations to the below points.

Evidence against Snape being a vampire:

1. He is seen countless times in the sun throughout the series (Quidditch, Ch. 12 and Nicolas Flamel, Ch. 13 in Book One and the Quidditch game in Book Five.)
2. Snape is seen at meals with the staff (surely even Harry would notice if he was never eating) throughout the series.
3. p. 377 Book Three Lupin checks Snape’s pulse (does Lupin know Snape’s a vamp?? It would explain the essay…)
4. Snape is seen in a nightdress in the hallway. Why would he wear one if he didn’t sleep?
5. Many refutations to the above points.

Okay, so basically there is a lot of evidence for it, but some very good evidence against it. I know that the above list is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive from either side, but I included the things I felt were important. I don’t think that these bits were just thrown in by Jo and I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to believe that there is some sort of a connection between Snape and vampires in general. Perhaps he had a bad experience with one in his past (his mother being bitten or something)?

Right, so my point of view is that Snape is very likely either a vampire or part-vampire (no clue how that would work, hehe), or is in some other way connected to vampires (perhaps his “job” for the Order is to keep the vampires on the good side like Hagrid attempted with the giants?) but, more importantly, I don’t see it having a big impact on the plot either way. For all the discussion and debate, my question is: who cares??? So what if Snape’s a vampire? Except for minor plot points, I don’t see his being a vampire preventing Harry from stopping Voldemort in the end. Clearly, I believe that there are more important questions about Snape waiting to be answered, the first of which will be answered in the next part of Snape’s File: is he truly on the good side or not?

Thanks for reading Part One of Snape’s File; remember to send your comments to christopherstephened at hotmail dot com and look out for the remaining parts of Snape’s File as well as the eleventh folder which will be posted in two weeks, that of Luna Lovegood!!

Oh, and as promised, the hints for the contest (in limerick form!):

Ar ya ready for this special quest?
At end there is an old treasure chest!
Not full of fool’s gold,
Shiny, hard, and cold;
But a book, mateys, and them’s by far the best!
To solve the riddle, put your THINK CAPS on.
The name of God may help you if called upon.
Each clue gives another,
Another, an other;
And all of them leave you confused as Ron.

Ar, now you’re coming along quite well,
It’ll all be over after this short spell.
A “paper” or “stand”
Will help hold your hand,
And bring you closer to being quite swell.

So follow yer instructions to the T.
Ar, no one knows more words than he.
In the music we wrote,
We marked a grace note,
Now yer job: tell me who the winner B.

Last stanza added 6/16/2005:

No thing can help you like Putnam, ahoy!
But the one whom you seek is alive, a real boy.
You look and you look,
But he’s not in a book;
Winning this contest will give you much joy!