Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling Reveals The Real-World Inspiration Behind Snape’s Name


Even in a universe jam-packed with memorable characters, Severus Snape stands head and shoulders above the rest as a true Harry Potter legend.

It’s only during The Deathly Hallows – Part II, after years of hate and contempt, that Warner’s film franchise reveals Snape to be something of a guardian angel to Harry; a guardian angel who helped protect him from the dark forces beyond the perimeters of Hogwarts, all without the Boy’s knowledge or understanding.

So when the time comes, and Harry peeks into Snape’s memory, he realizes that Severus was not his enemy – far from it, in fact. It’s a raw, gut-wrenching moment made all the more powerful by Alan Rickman’s towering performance. And over on Twitter, author and all-around franchise architect J.K Rowling revealed a little bit of trivia relating to Snape’s name – specifically his forename.

Real Harry Potter inspiration alert: I walked past this sign every day on my way to work when I was living in Clapham. Much later – post-publication – I revisited the area & suddenly realised THIS was why ‘Severus’ had leapt into my head when thinking of a 1st name for Snape.

For those unaware, Severus Road is a street in the heart of London, close to Clapham Station and seemingly even closer to Rowling’s previous employer. If you’re curious, the author’s official website has a brief biography about Rowling’s life leading up to that fateful moment in 1997, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. And the rest is history.

Even now, after seven novels and eight big budget blockbusters, the Harry Potter saga is celebrated across the four corners of the world, with numerous rides and attractions inspired by Rowling’s Wizarding World. Just don’t hold your breath for a reboot or sequel to the mainline Potter series. Or so says lead star Jason Isaacs, who famously portrayed Lucius Malfoy, a true enemy of Potter’s.