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.: Severus Snape - Vampire? :.

.: Heather Marshall - Aged N/A :.

This theory may seem slightly obscure, or far-fetched to some readers, and yet plausible to others; but in her typical genius fashion, I believe J.K Rowling has left clues and hints for us to find regarding the mystery surrounding our much-loathed Potions master, and we can all admit that there is much mystery about Severus Snape.

In my years of reading the books, it never really occurred to me, yet when I was re-reading them this time around, looking for more hints and info before Half-Blood Prince is released, I started finding some interesting passages and off-handed remarks made by characters about Snape. Most of them appear in the first couple of novels, but they are littered throughout the series. In making this prediction public so soon before the next edition is released, I hope people get a chance to read my theory and mull it over before this much-anticipated weekend.

I’ll begin at the beginning, with The Philosopher’s Stone (all of my page references made are concurrent with the British/Canadian editions).When Harry first meets Quirrel in the Leaky Cauldron, Quirrel says “‘I’ve got to p-pick up a new b-book on vampires, m-myself.’ He looked terrified at the very thought.” (p. 55) Despite what we find in hindsight as Quirrel’s putting-on of this stuttering façade, he is, nonetheless, frightened and intimidated by Snape throughout the book. Later on, J.K. describes Quirrel’s classroom as smelling “strongly of garlic, which everyone said was to ward off a vampire he’d met in Romania and was afraid would be coming back to get him one of these days.” (p.100) The key phrase here is everyone said, and we know that rumours that fly around Hogwarts are rarely to be trusted. I believe that Quirrel, in his readings on vampires in the book he allegedly bought, may have discovered Snape’s identity and was in fact trying to ward off Snape, and not some random vampire he’d supposedly met in Romania. On page 102, Rowling describes Snape eyes: “They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels.” Where do bats live? In dark tunnels. Another thing to mention on this point is that Snape’s office and classroom are in the dungeons; cold, dark places where bats would likely live. At the end of Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry makes it to the final chamber and faces Quirrel/Voldemort, he tells Quirrel that they thought it was Snape who was trying to steal the Stone. Quirrel replies: “Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn’t he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat.” I believe that this sentence is one of J.K.’s strongest hints as to Snape’s true identity, but at this point in the novel we are so distracted by the fact that it was indeed Quirrel trying to steal the Stone, and not Snape, that Voldemort is in Quirrel’s turban, etc. etc. And if there’s one thing that our dear Ms. Rowling is fantastic at, it’s the art of distraction in hiding her clues.

Moving on to The Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. Lockhart’s series of schoolbooks included one entitled Voyages with Vampires, and throughout Chamber of Secrets, particularly pages 70-71, J.K. mentions repeatedly that Hermione is reading it, (ie. Hermione having her copy propped open against the jar of pumpkin juice. Why not just say ‘a book’? Since Hermione reads all the time no one would think twice about it, but this is a specific reference) when it is really not necessary to enforce this point. But one thing we know about J.K. is that she doesn’t re-enforce points for no particular reason, and that even the most seemingly insignificant points can have great meaning. It is also obvious that Snape hates Lockhart. Possibly for two reasons: one, Snape simply hates anyone who takes a Defence Against the Dark Arts job, and two, that Lockhart, in his infinite wisdom, had written inaccurate or degrading things about vampires in his book, which I don’t suppose any of us would find particularly surprising, given that it’s Lockhart. In Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire Rowling describes Snape as having beady black eyes, sallow, pale skin (likely due to lack of sunlight) and yellowish, uneven, bared teeth. Now, she doesn’t mention them being pointed, but I think she would omit that for two reasons, one: it would be too stupidly obvious, and two: this is the wizarding world we’re talking about, I’m sure it’s easy to fix pointed teeth (remember when Madam Pomfrey shrank Hermione’s teeth?). If anyone has watched the special features sections in the Harry Potter dvds, there is an interview with J.K. and Steve Kloves (the only other person on the planet who knows how the series ends) in which J.K. says that they have included things in the movies that were either edited from the books or she thought would be prudent to include in the movies as hints regarding what is to come in the books. We see this with the Hermione-Ron romance (duh), and I think she has left clues about Snape in the movies, too. For one thing, we never see or read about Snape eating at the feasts, whereas we will occasionally hear about Dumbledore or McGonagall eating a treacle tart, for example; he is always awake at night, prowling the corridors (ie. When he semi-catches Harry on the stairs with the golden egg in Goblet of Fire, and on many, many other occasions). It should also be noted that Snape is the Potions master, and although most of us truly hate his guts, it can’t be denied that he is very good at what he does. If the wolfsbane potion exists to make werewolves’ lives easier, why shouldn’t there be one that prevents vampires from dying in the sunlight or wanting to prey on people for their blood? If one does exist, I’m sure Snape would be more than capable of brewing it for himself on a regular basis.

The last point I will make is that J.K. has included every fantastic creature in her books, including dragons, giants (Hagrid and Grawp), a warewolf who was also a member of the staff, dwarfs, elves, centaurs, unicorns, giant snakes and squid, etc. So why wouldn’t she have a vampire as a prominent character? I suppose time will tell if my theory holds true. In the meantime, enjoy Half-Blood Prince everybody.

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