'The Dark Lord,' he said, raising his glass and draining it.

Severus Snape, HBP.

Half-Blood Prince | Ultimate Canon Severus Snape Site

 

Rowling on Snape

"All men hate the wretched; how then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us."

- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

JKR for Time by Ingel Parry

This section of the site houses transcripts from interviews with JK Rowling where she answers a question about Severus Snape, or discloses new information about and/or related to him.

The Snape interview transcripts have been sorted by year; older transcripts at the top, newer transcripts at the bottom.

For complete transcripts visit Quick Quotes Quill or JK Rowling's official site.

1999

The Connection
12th of October 1999
JK Rowling Interview Transcript

Q: What about Snape?

A: Snape is a very sadistic teacher, loosely based on a teacher I myself had, I have to say. I think children are very aware and we are kidding ourselves if we don’t think that they are, that teachers do sometimes abuse their power and this particular teacher does abuse his power. He’s not a particularly pleasant person at all. However, everyone should keep their eye on Snape, I’ll just say that because there is more to him than meets the eye and you will find out part of what I am talking about if you read Book 4. No, I’m not trying to drum up more sales, go to the library and get it out. I’d rather people read it.

Q: One of our internet correspondents wondered if Snape is going to fall in love.

A: (JKR laughs) Who on earth would want Snape in love with them? That’s a very horrible idea. There’s an important kind of redemptive pattern to Snape. He, um, there’s so much I wish I could say to you, and I can’t because it would ruin. I promise you, whoever asked that question, can I just say to you that I’m slightly stunned that you’ve said that and you’ll find out why I’m so stunned if you read Book 7. That’s all I’m going to say.

Amazon UK
ca 1999

Amazon.co.uk: Are your characters based on people you know?

Rowling: Some of them are, but I have to be extremely careful what I say about this. Mostly, real people inspire a character, but once they are inside your head they start turning into something quite different. Professor Snape and Gilderoy Lockhart both started as exaggerated versions of people I've met, but became rather different once I got them on the page. Hermione is a bit like me when I was 11, though much cleverer.

Family Education
Summer 1999
Harry Potter Author Works Her Magic
Katy Abel

Q: Who's your favorite character besides Harry Potter?

A: It's very hard to choose. It's fun to write about Snape because he's a deeply horrible person. Hagrid is someone I'd love to meet.

The Record, Northern NJ
14th of October 1999
Students Meet the Real Wizard Behind the Harry Potter Craze
By Leslie Brody

Professor Snape, she said, was based on a teacher she despised: "The great thing about becoming a writer is you can get revenge on everyone."

Press Club
20th of October 1999
JK Rowling Interview Transcript

SB: Why in the first book does Harry’s lightening scar flash, or when he gets his lightening scar flash, when Snap looks at him?

JKR: Snape.

SB: Snape.

JKR: Okay, this is a… [laughter]

SB: I have a problem as well!

JKR: He’s sleep deprived, he’s got five-month old twins. Um… *exasperated noise* If anyone hasn’t finished reading book one, would they please put their fingers really tightly in their ears now, if they don’t want the ending ruined? Really tightly now, cause this is a question about the ending. Um…Quirrell had the back of his head to Harry at the point when Harry looked at Snape, so someone else was looking at Harry through a certain turban. See what I mean? If you’ve read it, you understand, and if you haven’t read it, you’re going what? But that’s okay.

2000

Barnes and Noble Chat
20th of October 2000

Q: Why does Professor Dumbledore allow Professor Snape to be so nasty to the students (especially to Harry, Hermione, and Neville)?

A: Dumbledore believes there are all sorts of lessons in life; horrible teachers like Snape are one of them!

Q: The character of Professor Snape fascinates me. Will you reveal his back story further in the next Harry Potter book?

A: You will find out more about Snape in future books. Keep an eye on him!

AOL Chat
19th of October 2000

Q: Ms Rowling, where do you come up with those names of the characters, like Quidditch?

A: Quidditch is a name I invented. I just wanted a word which began with the letter 'Q' (I don't know why, it was just a whim). Many of the names are taken from maps -- for instance, Snape, which is an English village.

Q: Why did you make Quirrell the bad guy instead of Snape?

A: Because I know all about Snape, and he wasn't about to put on a turban.

 

2001

BBC
2nd of November 2001

JK also revealed she gave some of the actors some top secret background information that will emerge for the rest of us in later books.

She said she thought it was important to tell them so they knew their characters better:

"I did give certain information to Robbie Coltrane, the background story about Hagrid and I gave Alan Rickman a little bit on Snape," she told Newsround's Lizo Mzimba.

"But no-one should go out and kidnap them because they won't talk!"

Comic Relief
March 2001
Live Chat

Q: How old are Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape?

A: Dumbledore's about 150 years old... wizards have a longer life expectancy than us Muggles, Snape's 35 or 6.

 

2003

BBC News
19th of June, 2003
Jeremy Paxman

JEREMY PAXMAN: Are we going to discover anything more about Snape ?

JK ROWLING: Yes.

JEREMY PAXMAN: And Harry's mother? Did he have a crush on Harry's mother or unrequited love or anything like that?

JK ROWLING: Hence his animosity to Harry?

JEREMY PAXMAN: Yes.

JK ROWLING: You speculate?

JEREMY PAXMAN: I speculate, yes, I'm just asking whether you can tell us.

JK ROWLING: No I can't tell you. But you do find out a lot more about Snape and quite a lot more about him actually.

2003
Steven Fry interview with JK Rowling at the at Royal Albert Hall:

"Stephen Fry (heavily paraphrased):
Then there's characters like Snape, who are bad but there is a certain ambiguity about him. You can't quite decide because there's something quite sad about him. Something very lonely. We're slowly (after five books) getting the idea that maybe he is not so bad after all.

JK Rowling:
Yes, but you shouldn't think he's too nice. Let me just say that. It is worth keeping an eye on old Severus Snape, definitely."

"Stephen Fry:
We have another question from another competition winner, who is called Jackson Long. Let's have a look at your question.

JACKSON LONG:
Professor Snape has always wanted to be Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. In book five he doesn't get the job. Why doesn't Professor Dumbledore let him be the DADA teacher?

JK Rowling:
That is an excellent question and the reason is… I have to be careful… not to say too much. However, when Professor Dumbledore took Professor Snape onto the staff and Professor Snape said he'd like to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts please and Professor Dumbledore felt that it might bring out the worst in Professor Snape, so Dumbledore said: "I think we'll let you teach potions and see how you get along there."

Newsweek Web Exclusive 2003
JK Rowling Interview

Q: Do you have favorite characters?

A: I really like Snape. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have a dinner with him, but as a character he’s great because he’s complicated and quite nasty. I love Dumbledore. I love Hagrid. I really like Sirius because he’s a troubled adult and there may be a slight dearth in some children’s literature of adult characters who are allowed to be complex or have problems. It’s hard actually to name the characters I don’t like. Because if I didn’t like a character as a character I just wouldn’t use them.

 

2004

JK Rowling live web chat for World Book Day

Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form will Professor Snape's Boggart and Patronus take? I am very curious.
JK Rowling replies -> Well, I'm not going to tell you Ernie, but that's because it would give so much away. I wonder whether Ernie is your real name? (It was my grandfather's).

Kyla: What made Sirius decide to send Snape to the Willow?
JK Rowling replies -> Because Sirius loathed Snape (and the feeling was entirely mutual). You'll find out more about this in due course.

Ali: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape?
JK Rowling replies -> Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.

Megan: Is there a link between Snape and vampires?
JK Rowling replies -> Erm... I don't think so.

JK Rowling Official Site
June 2004, the FAQ section:

Q: Who is your favourite character?

A: I love: Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Ginny, Fred, George and Lupin. I love writing (though would not necessarily want to meet) Snape. My favourite new character is Luna Lovegood.

JK Rowling Edinburgh Book Festival Excerpts

Q: Who is your favourite character in the books?

A: I have loads of favourite characters. I really like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid and Dumbledore. I love writing Snape—even though he is not always the nicest person, he is really fun to write.

Q: How do you make up the weird names for the potions?

A: Sometimes invention gives out. I was writing the latest chapter of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and I needed to come up with another name for another potion. I sat for ten minutes at the keyboard then I just typed “X”. I thought, “I’ll go back and fill that in later.” Sometimes you really want to get on with the story. Sometimes names just come to you, which is a great feeling, but sometimes it is difficult and you have to batter your brain for a while. Sometimes it comes to you while you are washing up or on the loo or something. My husband is quite used to me saying, “Wait!” then running up stairs and writing something down.

Q: It has recently been confirmed that Blaise Zabini is in fact a male character. Will we see more of him in the next few books?

A: That’s correct. You do.

Q: Also, will we see more of Snape?

A: You always see a lot of Snape, because he is a gift of a character. I hesitate to say that I love him. [Audience member: I do]. You do? This is a very worrying thing. Are you thinking about Alan Rickman or about Snape? [Laughter]. Isn’t this life, though?

Q: Apart from Harry, Snape is my favourite character because he is so complex and I just love him. Can he see the Thestrals, and if so, why? Also, is he a pureblood wizard?

A: Snape’s ancestry is hinted at. He was a Death Eater, so clearly he is no Muggleborn, because Muggleborns are not allowed to be Death Eaters, except in rare circumstances. You have some information about his ancestry there. He can see Thestrals, but in my imagination most of the older people at Hogwarts would be able to see them because, obviously, as you go through life you do lose people and understand what death is. But you must not forget that Snape was a Death Eater. He will have seen things that… Why do you love him? Why do people love Snape? I do not understand this. Again, it’s bad boy syndrome, isn’t it? It’s very depressing. [Laughter]. One of my best friends watched the film and she said, “You know who’s really attractive?” I said, “Who?” She said, “Lucius Malfoy!”

J.K. Rowling Official Site
October 2004, FAQ section excerpt:

If a teacher is head of a house, can we assume that they were sorted into those houses when they were students at Hogwarts? Is that also true for the house ghosts? So was Snape a Slytherin?
A Mugglenet/Harry Potter Lexicon Open Letter Question (I can't promise I'll answer them all, but I'll try and work through them). Yes, if the teacher is Head of House you can indeed assume that they were pupils within that house. So Snape was very definitely a Slytherin and yes, the same is true of the house ghosts.

Do you like Sirius Black?
I've had several letters asking this, which rather surprised me. The answer is, yes, I do like him, although I do not think he is wholly wonderful (ooooh, I hear them sharpening the knives over at Immeritus [see "Fansite" section]).

Sirius is very good at spouting bits of excellent personal philosophy, but he does not always live up to them. For instance, he says in "Goblet of Fire" that if you want to know what a man is really like, 'look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.' But Sirius loathes Kreacher, the house-elf he has inherited, and treats him with nothing but contempt. Similarly, Sirius claims that nobody is wholly good or wholly evil, and yet the way he acts towards Snape suggests that he cannot conceive of any latent good qualities there. Of course, these double standards exist in most of us; we might know how we ought to behave, but actually doing it is a different matter!

 

2005

JK Rowling Official Site
9th of January

Happy Birthday Severus Snape!

JK Rowling Official Site

I've already answered this in FAQs, but as this rumour is still cropping up in fan letters I thought I'd reiterate here that there will be NO chapter called 'Lupin's Papers' in book 6, nor will there be chapters entitled 'Pettigrew's Pamphlets,' 'Sirius's Circulars', or 'The Pocket Crosswords of Severus Snape'.

JK Rowling Official Site
14th of May

"...Snape does not have a daughter."

Wizards skilled in Occlumency can use it against the effects of Veritaserum. [In other words - Veritaserum does not work on Snape.]

MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron interview
(Snape-Related Excerpts)

Note: To read the entire three-page interview, tap here.

MA: OK, big big big book six question. Is Snape evil?

JKR: [Almost laughing] Well, you've read the book, what do you think?

ES: She's trying to make you say it categorically.

MA: Well, there are conspiracy theorists, and there are people who will claim -

JKR: Cling to some desperate hope [laughter] -

ES: Yes!

MA: Yes!

ES: Like certain shippers we know!

[All laugh]

JKR: Well, okay, I'm obviously – Harry-Snape is now as personal, if not more so, than Harry-Voldemort. I can't answer that question because it's a spoiler, isn't it, whatever I say, and obviously, it has such a huge impact on what will happen when they meet again that I can't. And let's face it, it's going to launch 10,000 theories and I'm going to get a big kick out of reading them so [laughs] I'm evil but I just like the theories, I love the theories.

Note: Although the following question is not about Snape, it does explain why Snape is a 'superb Occlumens':

MA: I wanted to go back to Draco.

JKR: OK, yeah, let's talk about Draco.

MA: He was utterly fascinating in this book.

JKR: Well, I'm glad you think so, because I enjoyed this one. Draco did a lot of growing up in this book as well. I had an interesting discussion, I thought, with my editor Emma, about Draco. She said to me, "So, Malfoy can do Occlumency," which obviously Harry never mastered and has now pretty much given up on doing, or attempting. And she was querying this and wondering whether he should be as good as it, but I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged. But he's also very in touch with his feelings about what's happened to him. He's not repressed, he's quite honest about facing them, and he couldn't suppress them, he couldn't suppress these memories. But I thought of Draco as someone who is very capable of compartmentalizing his life and his emotions, and always has done. So he's shut down his pity, enabling him to bully effectively. He's shut down compassion — how else would you become a Death Eater? So he suppresses virtually all of the good side of himself. But then he's playing with the big boys, as the phrase has it, and suddenly, having talked the talk he's asked to walk it for the first time and it is absolutely terrifying. And I think that that is an accurate depiction of how some people fall into that kind of way of life and they realize what they're in for. I felt sorry for Draco. Well, I’ve always known this was coming for Draco, obviously, however nasty he was.

Harry is correct in believing that Draco would not have killed Dumbledore, which I think is clear when he starts to lower his wand, when the matter is taken out of his hands.

ES: Was Dumbledore planning to die?

JKR: [Pause.] Do you think that's going to be the big theory?

MA & ES: Yes. It’ll be a big theory.

JKR: [Pause.] Well, I don't want to shoot that one down. [A little laughter.] I have to give people hope.

MA: It goes back to the question of whether Snape is a double-double-double-triple-

JKR: [Laughs] Double-double-quadruple-to-the-power-of - yeah.

MA: …whether this had been planned, and since Dumbledore had this knowledge of Draco the whole year, had they had a discussion that said, "Should this happen, you have to act as if it is entirely your intention to just walk forward and kill me, because if you don't, Draco will die, the Unbreakable Vow, you'll die," and so on —

JKR: No, I see that, and yeah, I follow your line there. I can't — I mean, obviously, there are lines of speculation I don't want to shut down. Generally speaking, I shut down those lines of speculation that are plain unprofitable. Even with the shippers. God bless them, but they had a lot of fun with it. It's when people get really off the wall — it's when people devote hours of their time to proving that Snape is a vampire that I feel it's time to step in, because there's really nothing in the canon that supports that.

ES: It's when you look for those things —

JKR: Yeah, it's after the 15th rereading when you have spots in front of your eyes that you start seeing clues about Snape being the Lord of Darkness. So, there are things I shut down just because I think, well, don't waste your time, there's better stuff to be debating, and even if it's wrong, it will probably lead you somewhere interesting. That's my rough theory anyway.

Note: The following answer proves that 'Snape's Worst Memory' (OOTP) is an accurate portrayal of events:

MA: One of our Leaky “Ask Jo” poll winners is theotherhermit, she's 50 and lives in a small town in the eastern US. I think this was addressed in the sixth book, but, “Do the memories stored in a Pensieve reflect reality or the views of the person they belong to?”

JKR: It’s reality. It’s important that I have got that across, because Slughorn gave Dumbledore this pathetic cut-and-paste memory. He didn't want to give the real thing, and he very obviously patched it up and cobbled it together. So, what you remember is accurate in the Pensieve.

ES: Why is Slytherin house still –

JKR: Still allowed!

[All laugh]

ES: Yes! I mean, it's such a stigma.

JKR: But they're not all bad. They literally are not all bad. [Pause.] Well, the deeper answer, the non-flippant answer, would be that you have to embrace all of a person, you have to take them with their flaws, and everyone's got them. It’s the same way with the student body. If only they could achieve perfect unity, you would have an absolute unstoppable force, and I suppose it's that craving for unity and wholeness that means that they keep that quarter of the school that maybe does not encapsulate the most generous and noble qualities, in the hope, in the very Dumbledore-esque hope that they will achieve union, and they will achieve harmony. Harmony is the word.

ES: Couldn’t —

JKR: Couldn't they just shoot them all? NO, Emerson, they really couldn’t!

[All laugh]

ES: Couldn't they just put them into the other three houses, and maybe it wouldn’t be a perfect fit for all of them, but a close enough fit that they would get by and wouldn't be in such a negative environment?

JKR: They could. But you must remember, I have thought about this —

ES: Even their common room is a gloomy dark room—

JKR: Well, I don't know, because I think the Slytherin common room has a spooky beauty.

ES: It's gotta be a bad idea to stick all the Death Eaters' kids together in one place.

[All crack up again ]

JKR: But they're not all — don't think I don't take your point, but — we, the reader, and I as the writer, because I'm leading you all there — you are seeing Slytherin house always from the perspective of Death Eaters' children. They are a small fraction of the total Slytherin population. I'm not saying all the other Slytherins are adorable, but they're certainly not Draco, they're certainly not, you know, Crabbe and Goyle. They're not all like that, that would be too brutal for words, wouldn’t it?

ES: But there aren't a lot of Death Eater children in the other houses, are there?

JKR: You will have people connected with Death Eaters in the other houses, yeah, absolutely.

ES: Just in lesser numbers.

JKR: Probably. I hear you. It is the tradition to have four houses, but in this case, I wanted them to correspond roughly to the four elements. So Gryffindor is fire, Ravenclaw is air, Hufflepuff is earth, and Slytherin is water, hence the fact that their common room is under the lake. So again, it was this idea of harmony and balance, that you had four necessary components and by integrating them you would make a very strong place. But they remain fragmented, as we know.

ES: Was James the only one who had romantic feelings for Lily?

JKR: No. [Pause.] She was like Ginny, she was a popular girl.

MA: Snape?

JKR: That is a theory that's been put to me repeatedly.

MA: Oh, here’s one [from our forums] that I’ve really got to ask you. Has Snape ever been loved by anyone?

JKR: Yes, he has, which in some ways makes him more culpable even than Voldemort, who never has. Okay, one more each!

 

2006

Harry, Carrie & Garp
First Night

Question: Can Muggles brew potions if they follow the exact instructions and have all the ingredients?

JKR: Well, I'd have to say no. Because there is always a magical component in the potion. Not just the ingredients so at some point they will have touse a wand. I've been asked what would happen if a Muggle picked up a wand in my world and the answer would probably be something accidental and probably quite violent because the wand in my world is mearly a vehicle or vessel of sorts and there is a very close relationship as you know between the wand that each wizard uses and themselves. and you'll find out more abuot that in book 7. For a Muggle you need the ability, in other words, to make these things work properly but you're right and I think that's an interesting point. As Potions seems on the face of it to be the most Muggle-friendly subject. But there's normally a point ni which you need to use magic. Thank you, good question.

Carly: You said in a recent interview that Snape -

JKR: Snape!

Carly: Uh huh.

*much cheering*

Carly: Had a sort of redemptive quality about him, and I was wondering if there was any chance that Draco Malfoy might redeem himself?

JKR: All you girls and Draco Malfoy. You've got to get past this.

Carly: And if any other characters might redeem themselves?

JKR: Well, I believe that almost anyone can redeem themselves. However, in some cases, as we know from reality - if a psychologist were ever able to get Voldemort in a room, tape him down, take his wand away, I think he would be classified as a psychopath. So there are people for whom redeption is not possible. So I'd say for my main characters, yes, there's the possibility for redemption for all of them. Draco, I think - Harry's view is that even given unlimited time, would not have killed... let's just say that Draco would not have murdered the person in question. What that means for Draco's future, you will have to wait for.

Samantha: In the wizarding worl there are many wandmakers, Ollivander being the one we're most familiar with. How come Ollivander chose the three magical cores for the wands he makes to be phoenix feather, unicorn hair, and dragon heartstring? And how come he decided that these are the three most powerful cores as opposed to the others such as veela hair?

JKR: Good question. Well, it is true that there are several wandmakers and in my notes about Harry I have many different cores for wands. Essentially I decided Ollivander was going to use my three favourites. So Ollivander has decided that those are the three most powerful substances...

Harry, Carrie & Garp
Second Night (transcribed by Yours Truly)

JKR: '... my consolation is I have the most interesting shoes: snakes.... Thank you, for that. I noticed you like Snape. You just never give up hope, you people, do you?

'Anyway... I'm going to do a short reading from Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince. Um, short... short because, um, in my experience my readers like me to answer questions, and like me to hasten on to that part, so I'm going to take a few, em, questions after I've done this reading. This concerns um, a part of the story where Harry goes back in time, and watches as Albus Dumbledore, a younger Albus Dumbledore, goes to inform another famous pupil of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that he has a place at the school...'

*some cheering*

JKR: 'And you really shouldn't be cheering that particular one. Snape, I can kind of see, but... anyway...'

Audience member: '...since he [Dumbledore] is the most powerful wizard of all time, and Harry Potter is so loyal to him, how could he really be dead?'

JKR: '...I really can't answer that question because the answer is in book seven, but... I, you shouldn't expect Dumbledore to do a Gandalf, let me just put it that way, I'm sorry...'

SR: 'Hullo, we are Salman and Milan Rushdie, ah...'

JKR: 'I'm , I'm not that sure this is fair. I think you might be better at guessing plots than most, but anyway, off you go.'

SR: 'Well anyway, we are nine and fifty-nine, and, and one of us is good at guessing plots. Not me. And this is really Milan's question, and it's kind of a follow-up to the previous one.'

JKR: 'Right, okay.'

SR: 'So until the events of volume six, it was always made plain that Snape might be an unlikable fellow -'

JKR: 'Mmm hmmm.'

SR: 'But he was essentially one of the good guys.'

JKR: 'Mmm hmmm.'

Audience members: 'Yes!' 'Yeah!'

*cheering*

*JKR laughs*

JKR 'I can see this is the question you all really want answered.'

SR: 'Dumbledore himself, Dumbledore himself had always vouched for him.'

JKR: 'Yes.'

SR: 'Now we are suddenly told that Snape is in fact a villain and Dumbledore's killer. '

JKR: 'Mmm hmmm.'

SR: 'We cannot, or don't want to believe this.'

*JKR laughs with audience*

SR: 'Our theory, is that Snape is in fact still a good guy -'

JKR: 'Right...'

*cheering*

SR: 'From which it follows that Dumbledore can't really be dead. And that the death is a ruse cooked up between Dumbledore and Snape to put Voldemort off his guard. So that when Harry and Voldemort come face to face, Harry may have more allies than either he or Voldmemort suspects. So, is Snape good or bad?'

*JKR laughs evily and audience cheers*

SR: 'In, in our opinion everything follows from it.'

JKR: 'Well, Salman... your opinion I would say, is... right... But I see that I need to be a little more explicit and say that Dumbleodre is definitely dead...'

JK Rowling Official Site
29/09/06
Rumours Section

Snape was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak on the night the Potters died

No, he wasn't.

JK Rowling Official Site
Diary Section

19th DECEMBER 2006

I made another daytrip to Leavesden a few weeks ago, where I saw twenty minutes of Order of the Phoenix, which looks fantastic. Also got a chance, before they all took off in their different directions (it was the last week of live actor filming) to talk to Dan, Rupert, Emma and Evanna, which is always wonderful. Dan has changed his theory on Snape; he says he doesn't want to be like one of those people who are photographed, beaming, next to mad dictators.

 

2007

JK Rowling on The Today Show

26th of July 2007

Was Snape always intended to be a hero?

JKR: *gasp* Is he a hero? You see, I don't see him really as a hero. [They are called anti-heroes, Jo. Sincerely, Snapesforte.]

Really?

JKR: Yeah, he's spiteful, he's a bully. All these tihngs are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book. Ah, um, but was he brave? Yes, immensely.

If Snape didn't love Lily, would he still have tried to protect Harry?

JKR: No, he definitely wouldn't have done it. He wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened to this boy.

 

JKR on Dateline
July 29, 2007

Meanwhile, the seemingly villainous Severus Snape -- the wizard who killed Dumbledore before Harry's eyes -- shows a somewhat more heroic side in the final book.

J.K. Rowling: "Do I think he's a hero? To a point I do, but he's not an unequivocally good character. [Note: this beginning was cut from the official transcript. Portkey: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20001720/] Snape is a complicated man.  He's bitter.  He's … spiteful.  He's a bully.  All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book.  But was he brave?  Yes, immensely.

Was he capable of love?  Very definitely.  So he's-- he's a very-- he was a flawed human being, like all of us.

Harry forgives him--- as we know, from the epilogue, Harry-- Harry really sees the good in Snape ultimately. I wanted there to be redemption and I wanted there to be forgiveness.  And Harry forgives, even knowing that until the end Snape loathed him unjustifiably. it's totally, totally unfair that he loathes him so much but anyway.

Note: The second transcript, which appeared online at the same site [Portkey: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20035573/] on the 31st of July 2007, has had the missing first sentence added, as well as some extra information:

Is Snape good or evil?
After seven years at Hogwarts, we finally learn that Severus Snape, albeit somewhat grudgingly, has always been working to protect Harry. But is he really a good person?

“I don’t really see him as a hero,” Rowling said. “He’s not an unequivocally good character … He’s a complicated man.”

Rowling said Snape is bitter, spiteful and a bully, but he is also immensely brave and capable of love.

“As we know from the epilogue, Harry really sees the good in Snape ultimately … there’s redemption,” Rowling said. “I wanted there to be redemption and I wanted there to be forgiveness. And Harry forgives, even knowing that till the end Snape loathes him unjustifiably.”

 

Rowling Bloomsbury Interview/Web Chat
30th of July 2007

Laura Trego: Was the absence of Snape's portrait in the headmasters office in the last scene innocent or deliberate?

J.K. Rowling: It was deliberate. Snape had effectively abandoned his post before dying, so he had not merited inclusion in these august circles. However, I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape's portrait would appear there in due course.

*

J.K. Rowling: The Hufflepuff common room is accessed through a portrait near the kitchens, as I am sure you have deduced.Sorry - I should say 'painting' rather than portrait, because it is a still-life. It is a very cosy and welcoming place, as dissimilar as possible from Snape's dungeon. Lots of yellow hangings, and fat armchairs, and little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.


*


Lechicaneuronline: Do you think Snape is a hero?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps. He is not a particularly likeable man in many ways. He remains rather cruel, a bully, riddled with bitterness and insecurity - and yet he loved, and showed loyalty to that love and, ultimately, laid down his life because of it. That's pretty heroic!

*


Jaclyn: Did Lily ever have feelings back for Snape?

J.K. Rowling: Yes. She might even have grown to love him romantically (she certainly loved him as a friend) if he had not loved Dark Magic so much, and been drawn to such loathesome people and acts.


*


Annie: Does the wizarding world now know that Snape was Dumbledore's man, or do they still think he did a bunk?

J.K. Rowling: Harry would ensure that Snape's heroism was known. Of course, that would not stop Rita Skeeter writing 'Snape: Scoundrel or Saint?'


*

Natalie: Are house divisions as prevalaent in Harry’s children’s Hogwarts as in the previous generations?

J.K. Rowling: Slytherin has become diluted. It is no longer the pureblood bastion it once was. Nevertheless, its dark reputation lingers, hence Albus Potter's fears.

*


Nithya: Lily detested Mulciber, and Avery. If Snape really loved her, why didn't he sacrifice their company for her sake?

J.K. Rowling: Well, that is Snape's tragedy. Given his time over again he would not have become a Death Eater, but like many insecure, vulnerable people (like Wormtail) he craved membership of something big and powerful, something impressive. He wanted Lily and he wanted Mulciber too. He never really understood Lily's aversion; he was so blinded by his attraction to the dark side he thought she would find him impressive if he became a real Death Eater.

*


Barbara: I was very disappointed to see Harry use Crucio and seem to enjoy it. His failure to perform that kind of curse in the past has been a credit to his character why the change? And did Harry later regret having enjoyed deliberately causing pain?

J.K. Rowling: Harry is not, and never has been, a saint. Like Snape, he is flawed and mortal. Harry's faults are primarily anger and occasional arrogance.On this occasion, he is very angry and acts accordingly. He is also in an extreme situation, and attempting to defend somebody very good against a violent and murderous opponent.

*

Rachel Nell: Jkr, thank you for such amazing books! I would like to know how come no one seemed to know that Lily and Snape were friends in school they were obviously meeting for chats, etc didnt James know their past?

J.K. Rowling: Thank you for your thank you! Yes, it was known that they were friendly and then stopped being friends. Nothing more than that would be widely known. James always suspected Snape harboured deeper feelings for Lily, which was a factor in James' behaviour to Snape.

*
Hannah: Why was Snape so badly groomed?

J.K. Rowling: Hmm. Good question. Poor eyesight? Did he look in the mirror and believe he was gorgeous as he was? I think it more likely that he valued other qualities in himself!

*

Chely: James's Patronus is a stag and Lily's is a doe. Is that a coincidence?

J.K. Rowling: No, the Patronus often mutates to take the image of the love of one's life (because they so often become the 'happy thought' that generates a Patronus). [I may vomit.]

*

Samantha: Was Snape the only Death Eater who could produce a full Patronus?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, because a Patronus is used against things that the Death Eaters generally generate, or fight alongside. They would not need Patronuses.

*

Finchburg: Does the Dark Mark remain on those that Voldemort has branded after his death or does the tattoo dissapear now he is gone? Thanks for considering my question!

J.K. Rowling: My pleasure, Finchburg! The Dark Mark would fade to a scar, not dissimilar to the lightning scar on Harry's forehead. Like Harry's, these scars would no longer burn or hurt.

*

jenny: How did Snape keep his Patronus secret from the rest of the Order?

J.K. Rowling: He was careful not to use the talking Patronus means of communication with them. This was not difficult, as his particular job within the Order, ie, as spy, meant that sending a Patronus to any of them might have given away his true allegiance.

*

Lou: How did Snape get into Grimmauld Place to get the second half of the letter, if there were protection spells on the house stopping Snape getting in?

J.K. Rowling: Snape entered the house immediately after Dumbledore's death, before Moody put up the spells against him.

 

MTV

'Harry Potter' Author J.K. Rowling Meets With L.A. Students, Plots Her Next Move

But like in the novels themselves, it was the great question of Severus Snape that brought down the house. A wide grin across her face, Rowling said she delighted in the fact that, even after "Deathly Hallows," there was still some speculation as to the true leanings of the erstwhile Potions Master.

"Snape is vindictive, he's cruel. He's not a big man," she insisted. "But he loves. I like him, but I'd also like to slap him hard."

Earlier, Rowling said she was particularly pleased with how Snape's story played out throughout the course of the series, contrasting his character arc with that of Dumbledore.

"Although [Dumbledore] seems to be so benign for six books, he's quite a Machiavellian figure, really. He's been pulling a lot of strings. Harry has been his puppet," she explained. "When Snape says to Dumbledore [toward the end of 'Hallows'], 'We've been protecting [Harry] so he could die at the right moment' — I don't think in book one you would have ever envisioned a moment where your sympathy would be with Snape rather than Dumbledore."

 

New Orleans students give Rowling a rousing welcome

18 October, 2007 3:43PM

Dwayne Lockett, of Alice Harte Elementary, asked what advice Rowling could give students who wanted to write, especially if their grades weren't the best.

"If you'd seen my grades in chemistry.¤.¤." Rowling said. "That's why Snape teaches Potions."

Then, after the audience groaned, she said, "Don't say awwww! He deserved it! We can all think of teachers we'd like revenge on."

 

JK Rowling at Carnegie Hall

19 October, 2007, 09:17 PM

She also revealed that Harry himself made sure that the portrait of Snape made it into the Headmasters Office, but doubts that he ever went to speak to it.

 

PotterCast 131 JK Rowling Interview Transcript

SU: Wow, that’s so awesome. You know, you mention the movies. Somebody who’s most amazing in the movies is Alan Rickman as Snape.

JKR: Yeah, definitely.

SU: How- he’s so good. How soon did you tell him about his character? I mean, how much did he know? Did he know?

JKR: He knew very early on that he’d been in love with Lily, because I told him so. (su sighs) We needed to have a conversation early on. He needed to understand, I think, and does completely understand and did completely understand where this bitterness towards this boy who’s the living example of her preference for another man came from. (JN: Yeah.) (MA: Hmm…) Yeah, I told him that. He was the only person who knew that for a long, long time.

SU: That’s amazing.

JKR: Yep.

SU: He’s so good. You know, Snape is so amazing, was he truly meant to be in Slytherin, Snape?

JKR: Yes, God, yes, definitely, at the time that he was sorted. I believe what Dumbledore believes when he says to Snape in the very last book, “Sometimes I think we sort too soon.” To judge someone at the age of eleven, to judge them, to set their future course so young seems to me to be a very harsh thing to do. And it doesn’t take into account the fact that we do change and evolve. A lot of people are at forty what they were at eleven, having said that, so I think the Sorting Hat is shrewd, but Snape does redeem himself and (SU: Yeah.) it fails to take that into account. But then again, you could turn that on its head and say, “But maybe, with these people being sorted into Slytherin, someone who has the capacity to change themselves might also have the capacity to change Slytherin.”

SU: Yeah. Wow.

MA: Hmm….

JN: And how much is it that being sorted into Slytherin is, you know, sorted into good guys and bad guys here?

JKR: Well, they’re not all bad, that would- I know I’ve said this before, (JN: Yeah, I remember.) and I think I said it to Emerson, they are not all bad, and, well, far from it. As we know, at the end, they may have (laughs) a slightly more highly developed sense of self-preservation than other people because…

SU: Yeah, right.

JN: Yeah.

JKR: A part of the final battle that made me smile was Slughorn galloping back with Slytherins, (SU: Yes!) (JN laughs) but they’d gone off to get reinforcements first, you know what I’m saying? But yes, they came back, they came back to fight, so I mean- but I’m sure that many people would say “Well, that’s common sense, isn’t it? Isn’t that smart, to get out, get more people and come back with them?”

JN: Yeah.

JKR: It’s the old saying, (SU: Just…) “There is no truth, (JN: I believe it.) there are only points of view.”

SU: Yeah.

2008

JK Rowling

James Joyce Award

Text transcribed: April

JKR: Snape, on the other hand, I had to drop clues all the way through because as you know in the seventh book when you have the revelation scene where everything shifts and you realize why Snape was… what Snape’s motivation was. I had to plot that through the books because at the point where you see what was really going on, it would have been an absolute cheat on the reader at that point just to show a bunch of stuff you’ve never seen before, you know… "Oh by the way, in the background this was happening." So I did know. It was a complicated plotting process but by the time Philosopher’s Stone was finished, I definitely knew all the big things about Snape and Dumbledore because in many ways they’re the two most important characters in the seventh book… Well, other than the trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione.

JKR: But other than that, no, I don’t see Alan Rickman when I write Snape. You don’t like that answer! It’s not that I don’t love Alan. But no, I very much see the characters that I’ve imagined, you know. It’s been seventeen years for me, so the actors for me are a very recent incarnation. I’ve lived with my imagination for so long.

JKR: Well I haven’t always had all of them planned. You know, some of the less crucial ones did evolve. But the big ones, the Dumbledore storyline, the Snape storyline were always there because you — the series is built around those … Things I didn’t have room fo r... it’s more characters actually.

JKR: But then you have people, I had people as early as Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book. I remember a woman saying to me : "I think Snape loves Lily". I was "Oh my God what the hell did I give away ?". But so people, people got stuff very unnervingly right. Often. Yeah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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