20 Best Severus Snape Quotes From The Entire Series


  • Snape’s true colors are revealed over time, showing a more complex and nuanced character.
  • Snape’s cruel actions towards Harry have a deeper purpose – to make him stronger and ready for battle.
  • Snape’s love for Lily Potter drives his actions and ultimately leads to his sacrifice to protect her son, Harry.



Severus Snape remains the most morally gray character in the Harry Potter series, and the Snape quotes show there is always something deep underneath the words he is saying. When Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone dropped, Snape was a bully and a minor antagonist to Harry and his friends. However, as the franchise rolls on, Snape becomes much more nuanced. He still pushes Harry’s buttons, but he is also there to help the kids when needed, and it becomes clear there is more to this seemingly dark wizard than the movies wanted to reveal at the time. By the end, Snape reveals his true colors and sacrifices his life to save Harry.

Whether Snape is truly a hero is still heavily debated among fans of the franchise. He is unnecessarily cruel to his students and goes out of his way to make Harry’s life as miserable as possible. However, it seems that he means to make Harry stronger in the end. The final installment reveals Snape devoted his entire life to protecting Harry Potter. Looking back at the movies and watching them over again shows many Snape quotes that take on a very different meaning in hindsight. With a new Harry Potter TV series coming to Max, there is a chance to see even more behind the motives of Snape, the most complicated character in the franchise.

RELATED: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child Movie – Possible Cast, Confirmation Status, & Everything We Know

20 “If You Aren’t As Big A Bunch Of Dunderheads As I Usually Have To Teach.”

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

When Harry Potter movies first introduced Snape up and close, he was as sarcastic and dismissive as ever, and he was almost funny enough to like – until he took out his frustrations on Harry. When he introduces the children to his Potions class, his introduction shows he has little patience and little faith in them. He says, “I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper in death,” but he then adds a punchline that insults his past classes and shows what he really expects from this class. He never could have known this class would step up in the Battle of Hogwarts years later, but it was a nice introduction to a no-nonsense professor.

19 “Clearly, Fame Isn’t Everything, Is It Mr. Potter?”

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Snape walking up to Harry Potter.

In the first Harry Potter movie, it seems that the only purpose of Snape is to treat Harry terribly. This is the movie where Harry has to figure out if he fits in, if he has what it takes to be a wizard, and if Hogwarts is the right place for him. Snape is there to push him, test his limits, and try in his own way to strengthen him. When Snape sees that Harry has a reputation and other kids look up to him, he knows he has to put an end to that so Harry stays grounded and ready to learn. This quote lets Harry know that Snape doesn’t care who his parents are, or that he is the Chosen One. To him, Harry is just another student, or at least that is what he wants Harry to believe.

18 “The Dark Arts Are Many, Varied, Ever-Changing, And Eternal.”

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Snape looking contemplative.

“Fighting Them Is Like Fighting A Many-Headed Monster, Which, Each Time A Neck Is Severed, Sprouts A Head Even Fiercer And Cleverer Than Before.”

Snape was a Potions professor when the Harry Potter franchise started. However, he finally got his dream job when Horace Slughorn returned to Hogwarts. Snape became the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, and he had to teach the kids in his class how important it was to understand this magic, as it was just as important to defend oneself against a Dark Arts wizard as it was to know the spells at all. This speech that Snape gave his class was something he had on his mind for years, as he clearly had something to say to show his respect and fear of the Dark Arts, calling them “indestructible.”

17 “Obviously.”

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Dolores Umbridge talking to Snape.

There is one position at Hogwarts that Snape always wanted and never received. He always wanted to become the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. However, he was a double agent and Dumbledore knew that the Defense Against the Dark Arts position was cursed. Voldemort wanted it as well and when denied, he cursed every future professor. Dumbledore had to keep Snape safe and kept him away from the position.

When Dolores Umbridge took over, she made a mocking comment about Snape never getting this position that fits him so well, and this was his response, in a clearly mocking manner, back at her. It’s Alan Rickman’s biting delivery that cemented this as a great quote.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Snape was growing tired of Harry Potter always disobeying the rules and putting himself in danger all the time. At the time of the third movie, most fans felt Snape was just bullying Harry and this was another case of that. However, knowing the full truth about Snape’s past and his mission, this quote has a lot more meaning. Harry was wandering the corridors at night with the Marauder’s Map. When Harry lies and says he is sleepwalking, Snape delivers this quote. He then finishes it off with “He was exceedingly arrogant, strutting about the castle.” Harry defends his dad, but Snape clearly sees too much of James Potter in young Harry, and he doesn’t like it at all.

15 “The Mind Is Not A Book, To Be Opened At Will And Examined At Leisure.”

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Snape with Harry Potter in his office.

Snape often bullied Harry Potter, but at other times he was just very hard on him in their teacher-student relationship. He wasn’t brutal to Potter in these cases because Snape knew that if Harry skated through only half seriously about his studies and learning, Voldemort would kill him easily when the time came. Snape knew that Harry needed to be at his strongest when the final battle finally came. Snape was cruel to Harry many times, but when he made this comment, it was more about preparing Harry for the battles to come. Sometimes, Snape knew that blunt truth could hurt, but it would make Harry stronger in the end.

14 “That Is The Second Time You Have Spoken Out Of Turn, Miss Granger.”

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Snape and Minerva with Harry, Ron, and Hermione looing at the cursed necklace in Harry Potter.

“Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?”

By The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Hermione, and Ron had gotten a little too brazen at times with their lackluster attempts at following the rules. Hermione especially became much more outspoken, which was never good when speaking to a professor. She did it one too many times in Snape’s presence, and he finally let her know what he thought of it with this quote. Of course, it wouldn’t stop her for long, and she kept speaking up every chance she got in the future. However, while Snape’s delivery here was perfect, it was Ron’s response that added the punchline when he said “He’s got a point, you know.

13 “Unless You Wish To Poison Potter — And I Assure You, I Would Have The Greatest Sympathy If You Did — I Cannot Help You.”

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Snape seemed as evil as any villain in Harry Potter, but soon the movies showed people who eclipsed him at every level. One of these is Dolores Umbridge, who comes in wearing her pink suit and begins disturbing, unethical acts of punishment on the students at Hogwarts. She demands that Snape give her Veritaserum to interrogate Harry Potter since she doesn’t trust him. Snape knows this will put Harry in immediate danger and tells her he is out, using his last bit on Chang. However, he then adds this last funny bit that shows he doesn’t like Harry and allows Dolores to think he is still on her side, despite his true intentions.

12 “Tell Me What Would I Get If I Added Powdered Root Of Asphodel To An Infusion Of Wormwood?”

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Snape looking sad.

This is a Snape quote from the first movie that really had no meaning for any viewer at the time. When he first asks this question, there is just the thought that he is asking a question that none of the kids can possibly know the answer to. The fact he asks Harry Potter, who has no knowledge of magic when he arrives at Hogwarts, makes it look like he is embarrassing him in front of the class. But, the meaning of these words tells a different story. Asphodel is a type of lily and means “my regrets follow you to the grave.” Wormwood means “absence” (via MTV). With Harry’s mother named Lily, it is almost like Snape is speaking in riddles to Harry, still mourning his mother’s death.

11 “Don’t Lie To Me”

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Snape questioning Harry Potter.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, everything gets bad for Harry and his friends. Voldemort returns, he kills a Hogwarts student, and Dumbledore prepares for war. Snape knows that Harry is in danger, and he knows Harry is doing things behind everyone’s backs that could get him killed. He thinks Harry is making Polyjuice Potion because he finds the Veritaserum truth serum, which is forbidden to use on any student. He knows it was stolen from his stash, and he thinks Harry is lying to him. This was a very stern threat to Harry and one of the few times that Snape seemed very dangerous. In the end, Barty Crouch Jr. was the one who was stealing it.

10 “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

Snape at class in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Snape’s funnier comments are often overlooked, likely because his witty insults aren’t actually joking. It’s difficult to recall a time that Snape even cracked a smile, and he wholeheartedly means the things he says. However rude they may be, there’s no denying that Snape came up with some pretty smart one-liners. His stoic demeanor and the seriousness with which he delivers his lines make his dry humor even more comedic. It was evident here that he was exasperated by Harry Potter’s seemingly oblivious comments about ghosts.

9 “I Have Deceived One Of The Greatest Wizards Of All Time.”

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Snape looking angry in the Harry Potter series.

After finishing the series, Snape’s statement can be interpreted in more than one way. While Bellatrix assumed that Snape meant Dumbledore, Snape never specifically referred to him as who he was talking about. He didn’t lie when he said that he could deceive one of the greatest wizards of all time, but only Voldemort was known to rival Dumbledore’s power. The entire time it had actually been Voldemort that Snape was deceiving, and he did such an impressive job that readers were also fooled. He even started it with the cryptic line, “Over the years I’ve played my part well…”

8 “Look At Me. You Have Your Mother’s Eyes.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Snape’s love for his childhood best friend Lily was what kept him from giving himself completely over to the dark. Everything he had done was to protect Lily Potter’s son, and it was something that Harry didn’t realize until after Snape’s death. His last words were a testament to Lily and Harry, as he recognized that Harry shared many of his mother’s traits. Harry sat by Snape’s side as he died, despite all the things that he had done, portraying the same kindness and compassion as Lily had so long ago. This last quote for Snape made his death one of the most heartbreaking of the series.

7 “Well, It May Have Escaped Your Notice, But Life Isn’t Fair.”

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Severus Snape as a Master Potion Maker.

Life isn’t fair, and Snape realizes it first-hand. Lily was the only friend Snape had, and he had loved her for almost his entire life. They were separated into different houses during their first year at Hogwarts, and Harry’s father picked on him throughout the years. Not too much is known about the status of Snape and Lily’s friendship after she married James, but it was clear that Lily was still the most important person in his life. Unfortunately, Snape never recovered from her death, and while his circumstances don’t excuse his behavior, there’s no doubt that he got the short end of the stick.

6 “The Mind Is A Complex And Many-Layered Thing, Potter. Or, At Least, Most Minds Are.”

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

Snape and Harry’s banter is never light-hearted, but their comebacks are impressive despite the underlying hostility. Since Snape was made fun of by Harry’s father, he cruelly paid it forward by doing the same to his son. He often insulted his intelligence, despite the fact that Harry had grown up knowing nothing about the wizarding world. Harry claps back, even if it lands him in detention, and their feud can be entertaining at times. When it turns out Snape was a double agent, it still doesn’t discount his insults towards a child in his class.

5 “Always.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

It only took one word to answer all the questions surrounding Snape’s character. His motives were questionable for most of the series, and by the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there was no reason to doubt that he was pure evil. When Snape revealed that his Patronus was a doe, everything fell into place. Lily remained Snape’s happiest memory even over a decade after her death, and he would always protect Harry because of his love for Harry’s mother. It was another moment that showed Snape’s true soul.

4 “Has It Ever Crossed Your Brilliant Mind That I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore?”

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

“Have You Ever Considered That You Ask Too Much? That You Take Too Much For Granted? Has It Ever Crossed Your Brilliant Mind That I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore?”

It’s easy to forget how exhausting Snape’s life was. He was a double agent who split his time between Voldemort and Dumbledore, and he was forced to do traumatizing things for the greater good. Snape initially refused to kill Dumbledore at his own request, but he took on the burden despite the emotional toll. One wrong move would endanger not only him but everyone in the wizarding world. This quote is a reminder that Snape found no joy in the life he was living, and every day he was forced to carry a burden that wasn’t even his.

3 “I Have Spied For You And Lied For You, Put Myself In Mortal Danger For You.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

“Everything Was Supposed To Keep Lily Potter’s Son Safe. Now You Tell Me You’ve Been Raising Him Like A Pig For Slaughter.”

Not only did this line reveal something new about Snape, but it also revealed something new about Dumbledore. He was always seen as the hero in Harry’s eyes, but many argue that Dumbledore’s motives were up for debate. Dumbledore’s goal was to defeat Voldemort, no matter what the cost may be. However, Snape’s focus was always on protecting Lily’s son. Snape’s outrage made Dumbledore wonder if he had begun to care for Harry, but Snape would always love the part of him that was Lily and hate the part of him that was James.

2 “You Dare Use My Own Spells Against Me, Potter? It Was I Who Invented Them. I, The Half-Blood Prince.”

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape Using His Wand in the Potions Classroom

One of the biggest questions throughout Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was the prince’s identity. Everything that was written in his Potions book made Harry excel in the course, and his professor was under the impression that he was just a natural. Snape turning out to be the legendary student was a plot twist that shocked Harry beyond belief. The reveal was made more intense by the dark magic that Harry had used on Draco, and the malice with which Snape delivered the line was chilling.

1 “Anything.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Dumbledore was the only wizard who stood a chance against the Dark Lord. When Snape discovers that Voldemort is planning to kill Lily’s newborn son, he begs Dumbledore to hide the Potters. Dumbledore asked Snape what he would give him in return, and his answer was proof of how deep his love for Lily ran. Although she had married the person Snape hated most, he would still do anything to keep Lily and her family safe from harm. This was Snape’s one true moment of heroism in the Harry Potter series, and it all came through Snape’s memories of his life to that point.


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