1999 ~ The Connection

October 12, 1999

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

2000 ~ Barnes and Noble Chat

October 20, 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!

2001 ~ BBC

November 2, 2001

JKR 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! »

2001 ~ Comic Relief

March 2001

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 ~ Steven Fry Interview with J.K. Rowling at the at Royal Albert Hall

Stephen Fry:
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 Defense 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 Defense 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. »

2003 ~ Newsweek Web Exclusice

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 ~ World Book Day

March 4, 2004

Q: I wonder if you can let us know what form will Professor Snape’s Boggart and Patronus take? I am very curious.

A: 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).

Q: What made Sirius decide to send Snape to the Willow?

A: Because Sirius loathed Snape (and the feeling was entirely mutual). You’ll find out more about this in due course.

Q: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape ?

A: Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.

Q: Is there a link between Snape and vampires ?

A: Erm… I don’t think so.

2004 ~ J.K. Rowling Edinburgh Book Festival

August 15, 2004

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: 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 pure blood wizard ?

A: Snape’s ancestry is hinted at. He was a Death Eater, so clearly he is no Muggle born, because Muggle borns 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! »