Snape Prequel Duology

I’ve often thought about the events that molded Severus Snape into the stoic and seemingly soulless man he appears to be by the time Harry Potter enters Hogwarts. Surely he wasn’t always this way.

Part I

Part I delves into themes of radicalization and privilege by examining how two seemingly good kids attending the same school can ultimately turn out to be very different people based on their social circles and family backgrounds.

The tone is a blend of an early 2000s teen drama and a dark superhero origin story.

Act 1:

Snape and Lily are fifth-year students at Hogwarts who enjoy spending time together as good friends. Lily is popular and has many friends, while Snape is more of the archetypal “loner” character. Lily is the only person Snape considers a friend. It’s also established that James and Snape already know each other and don’t get along, following the stereotypical “popular” vs “nerd” dynamic seen in films of the 2000s. Although James has not yet specifically targeted Snape, he has bullied him in the past. Additionally, Snape is frequently bullied by his Slytherin peers, who often call him “mudblood.”

One day, Snape plans to hang out with Lily, but she brings James along without telling him. During the hangout, James makes snide comments and subtly belittles Snape in front of Lily. Although Snape becomes emotional and eventually breaks down in private with Lily, he doesn’t direct his anger towards her. He pleads with her to stop spending time with James, but Lily only promises to talk to him about it, without making any promises about stopping their friendship.

In potions class, Snape’s advanced knowledge and intelligence draw negative comments from classmates and admiration from his teacher, who asks him to stay after class. Unbeknownst to Snape, the teacher is actually a Death Eater. He commends Snape’s potential and encourages him to continue working hard. Bellatrix, a fellow Slytherin student, takes notice of Snape’s abilities and seeks to use him for her own gain. She invites him to a secret Slytherin dueling session (Hogwarts fight club). Snape enters the dueling session with a nervous disposition, excited to revel in the attention from the girls, but he knows that it’s all superficial. Bellatrix urges him into the dueling ring, goading him with, “Come on Snape! You got this!” However, his opponent is none other than Lucius Malfoy, who is also overseeing the session. The crowd begins to taunt Snape, calling him “mudblood,” which causes his heart to race as he frantically avoids Malfoy’s assaults, firmly on the defensive. After a while, Snape rises to his feet, ignoring the malicious jeers, takes a deep breath, and in his signature Alan Rickman monotone voice, he unleashes the sectumsempra curse. Lucius’s face erupts in a torrent of blood, and the audience watches in awestruck silence as the blood spatters to the ground. Bellatrix breaks the silence with a slow clap, and the rest of the crowd follows suit, erupting into cheers. Bellatrix rewards Snape with a kiss, and Snape proceeds to heal Lucius’s wounds before the two shake hands, acknowledging the hard-fought battle.

With newfound attention and popularity amongst the Slytherin crowd, Snape no longer feels the need to seek out Lily. They grow apart, with Snape becoming closer to the Slytherin students and Lily spending more time with James. Lily sees Snape smiling and hanging out with his new friends, which adds to their growing distance.

Act 2:

Lily, slightly jealous and concerned, approaches Snape and tells him that his new friends are dangerous. Snape responds, “They’re the only friends I have.” Lily reminds him that she is his friend too and they embrace. Lily then invites him to join her for a picnic the following day.

During the picnic, Snape and Lily discuss his new friends. Snape explains that he spends time with them because they are in his house but reassures Lily that he is not like them. They reminisce about old times and enjoy each other’s company. Suddenly, James interrupts and asks if he can join them and immediately sits down without waiting for an answer. A heated exchange between Snape and James erupts, which escalates into the canon scene where James hangs Snape upside down. As his heart-rate rises and his actions become sloppy, Snape tries to use sectumsempra on James but the cut it creates is barely noticeable. James taunts Snape, “I heard you were the best duelist in Slytherin. That’s it?” Lily tries to intervene, but in his state of frustration and anger, Snape calls her a “mudblood.” Lily begins to cry and James immediately drops Snape, “Severus, just leave.” It’s the first time James calls Snape by his actual name. Lily scolds James for his cruelty and storms off, leaving James thinking. Snape attempts to apologize, but he is too flustered to form a coherent sentence. He runs away in shame with tears running down his face.

Once Snape reaches his dorm, he still has a racing heart rate. He casts sectumsempra on his pet, but the cut is barely noticeable. He then turns to the mirror, composes himself, wipes off his tears, and casts sectumsempra, in the signature Alan Rickman monotone voice, on his own reflection. His face starts bleeding all over, and there is no emotional response from Snape. This scene can be compared to the opening scene of American Psycho, where Patrick Bateman soullessly looks into the mirror.

Act 3:

As the school year comes to an end, we witness the diverging paths of James, Lily, and Snape outside the walls of Hogwarts. James visits Lily’s house to apologize for his past behavior and offers his regret for everything that occurred. James admits that he now recognizes Snape as Lily’s friend and promises to stop bullying him. Lily accepts his apology, she but explains that she and Snape are no longer friends after he called her a “mudblood.” Meanwhile, Snape arrives at his home and is greeted by his parents arguing. He silently navigates the chaos, retreats to his room, locks the door, and begins studying his textbooks, with his parents barely acknowledging his presence.

Over the summer, Lily and James spend time together, while Snape immerses himself in his books and intensifies his studies. The passing of two years sees Snape and Lily still not speaking. Once back at school in his final year, James becomes the captain of the quidditch team. When a teammate breaks the rules, James takes the blame and accepts the punishment, earning respect from his team. In the same vein, Snape is appointed as prefect of Slytherin and becomes a mentor to students in secret dueling practices. During one of these sessions, Snape witnesses a young Slytherin student losing control of their emotions during a duel. Snape uses the immobilus spell on the student, chastises them in front of the other students, and gets right next to their face “If you fail, you fail before me. One day your opponent may not be so generous.” The student immediately improves. Both James and Snape become respected leaders in their own right.

Their graduation day arrives, and James and Lily sit together, as they celebrate their accomplishments. Meanwhile, Snape watches from across the ceremony, sitting alone and observing them. After the ceremony, James and Snape cross paths, and James apologizes for his actions. Snape responds in kind, saying “Likewise, Potter,” and they shake hands before parting ways.

Upon returning home after graduation, Snape discovers his parents dead. As he stands in the doorway, Voldemort slowly materializes behind him, placing a hand on Snape’s shoulder.

Part II

Part II of the story draws inspiration from Revenge of the Sith, both tonally and thematically. Just as Anakin fell to the dark side, we see Snape fall to the light. However, despite taking opposite paths, both Anakin and Snape are consumed by self-loathing and regret, haunted by their past actions.

A great evil looms over the land. The Dark Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters seek to establish a new world order, where the pureblood wizards reign supreme and all others are subjugated. In the midst of this chaos, a powerful masked Death Eater known as The Half Blood Prince rises to prominence, wielding spells never before seen by the wizarding world. With the highest kill count amongst the Death Eaters, he poses a dire threat to the Order of the Phoenix and their efforts to end The First Wizarding War. The fate of the wizarding world hangs in the balance, as the forces of good and evil prepare for their final showdown.

Act 1

Two years have passed since graduation, and the wizarding war has reached its climax. Snape, now Voldemort’s right-hand man, is to Voldermort as Darth Vader is to Palpatine. He stands tall at almost 6’5” in his boots, with a broad build, black robes, and a unique mask that makes him physically imposing. He is no longer the same person he was as a student.

The first scene begins with Snape leading a group of three Death Eaters in a heist to rescue Evan Rosier from the Ministry of Magic. All four are disguised in Death Eater masks. Snape jumps silently from room to room using apparate, while the others stand guard. He quickly kills everyone in each room he enters until he finally reaches Rosier’s holding cell. Snape slams Rosier against the wall as he trembles with fear, “The next time I have to rescue you, I will be coming to kill you.”. They apparate back to the group, only to find that their fellow Death Eaters have vanished, and two members of the Order of the Phoenix have appeared. Rosier and Snape cast the killing curse against the two Order of the Phoenix members, but Rosier’s spell misses, leaving only Snape and none other than James Potter in a fight. Although James manages to break a small portion of Snape’s mask, he fails to identify him. Just as footsteps approach, Snape casts expelliarmus and disappears. James is thrown down the corridor and left confused as he looks up at the black cloud left by Snape’s apparition.

James returns home to Lily, and they share a moment of happiness, highlighting their strong relationship and deep love. The scene shows a visibly pregnant Lily.

Snape returns to his quarters, a beautiful room lined with books and potions. A large window with a green tint emits an ominous light. Voldemort suddenly appears behind him and inquires about his mission and the broken mask. Snape tells him that an Order of the Phoenix member broke it, but Voldemort persists and asks if it was James Potter. Snape uncomfortably confirms it. Voldemort responds, “Pity he married a filthy mudblood. He could have made a powerful ally,” and proceeds to walk away. Snape realizes the person James married is none other than Lily. Snape grabs Voldemort’s arm and begs, “Kill James if you must, but do not harm Lily.” Voldemort shakes off Snape’s hand, outraged Snape would dare touch him, but responds neutrally, “If that is your wish.” As he is about to exit the room, Voldemort says, “Just know—anyone who gets in my way will die. Including you, Severus.”

Act 2

Lily gives birth to Harry.

The Order of the Phoenix has called for a meeting to discuss the leaked information from an insider about Evan Rosier’s upcoming location. Rosier plans to break out a prisoner from Azkaban, and Dumbledore sends James to intercept and capture him.

James intercepts Rosier at the top of Azkaban in the pouring rain, and they engage in a fierce fight. Eventually, James gains the upper hand, and Rosier loses his wand and slips off the edge, hanging onto the ledge for dear life. James offers Rosier his hand to pull him up to safety and asks him to reveal the identity of The Half Blood Prince. Rosier, aware of his impending fate at the hands of Snape, chooses to let go of the ledge and fall to his death, uttering, “There are some things far more frightening than death.” This scene can be compared to the Grand Inquisitor’s death in Star Wars Rebels.

Later, Snape leads a meeting with the Death Eaters at Malfoy’s mansion. When someone speaks out of turn, Snape uses crucio on them, but Voldemort intervenes and tells Snape to stop, “They’re no use to me if they’re dead.” The meeting ends, and Snape returns to his quarters, where a picture of Lily on his desk reveals his inner conflict.

The next day, James goes to Hogwarts to investigate the identity of The Half Blood Prince, while Snape spies on Trelawney and overhears the prophecy. James discovers an old potions and spells book, marked “The Half Blood Prince.” He briefly reads through it and comes across the sectumsempra spell, but doesn’t make the connection to Snape. James brings the book to Dumbledore to determine its owner.

That night, James and Snape both have premonitions about the deaths of their loved ones, which put them on edge—James for his son, and Snape for Lily. The following day, James suggests giving up their son to safer hands and letting him be raised as a Muggle until the time is right for him to attend Hogwarts. An argument ensues between James and Lily, and she storms off.

Snape reveals the prophecy to Voldemort. Voldemort then makes a declaration: they must begin killing everyone born in July, including innocent Slytherin children. Despite his outward obedience, Snape’s thoughts are in turmoil. Voldemort, sensing Snape’s hesitation, decides to reveal a secret to him. He speaks of an ancient ability, one that would allow the user to leave their physical body behind and become an omnipotent dark spirit. This power is the key to achieving true immortality, but it requires severing all attachments to the physical world. Voldemort then turns to Snape and names him the rightful successor to Slytherin if he prevents the prophecy from coming to pass. Snape can only nod his agreement, while his eyes reveal his inner turmoil and hesitation.

Act 3

Snape and Lily, both in troubled situations, seek refuge in a familiar place, the tree where they used to meet as children. The sun is setting, casting a golden hue on everything around them. They begin to speak, skirting around the details of their problems. Lily, a new mother still thinking about the future of her son, avoids the topic entirely. Snape, who has lied about his role as a Death Eater, claims to be studying to be a professor at Hogwarts. The two continue to talk.

Meanwhile, Dumbledore and James meet once again. Dumbledore reveals that the book in question belongs to Severus Snape. James’s eyes light up, and he quickly departs. Dumbledore calls out to him, telling him that Snape was one of his brightest students and is not a Death Eater, echoing Mace Windu’s similar comment about Count Dooku.

Back at the tree, James suddenly appears. Under the moonlight, truths are revealed. Lily has given birth to a boy in July. Snape is The Half Blood Prince. Snape realizes that the prophecy is about James and Lily’s son and tries to warn James, but he refuses to listen. James is furious and tells Lily she won’t get to save Snape this time and teleports her away. James attacks Snape, who defends himself with spells while begging James to stop. Snape insists that he can protect Lily, but this only further enrages James, who then casts sectumsempra against Snape. Swiftly dodging the attack and furious that James would use his own spell against him, Snape responds with a perfected version of the same spell, causing James to nearly bleed out. Lily eventually finds her way back and discovers James on the brink of death. She pleads with Snape to save him. With reluctance, Snape utilizes vulnera sanentur to heal James, but in turn, Lily forbids him from ever seeing her again and unleashes a powerful spell that hurls Snape into the old tree, rendering him unconscious.

After awakening, Snape rushes to Dumbledore to beg for his help in protecting Lily. Dumbledore initially attacks him, now knowing Snape is The Half Blood Prince, but ultimately agrees to help on the condition that Snape kill Voldemort. Dumbledore hands him the Elder Wand, and Snape apparates to the Potter household, only to find it destroyed and Lily dead. As he holds her lifeless body in his arms, he sees Hagrid arriving and apparates away, overcome with grief.

Several days pass, and Harry Potter becomes a household name. Snape attends a Death Eater meeting in a hidden underground location. Suddenly, aurors raid the meeting like this. As they begin capturing key members, Snape and Lucius escape into the shadows, sharing a knowing glance that neither of them is fully loyal to the cause.

Finally, Snape stands in one of the tallest towers at Hogwarts, as he does in the beginning of The Deathly Hallows: Part II. A single tear falling down his face as he gazes out over the courtyard. Dumbledore joins him, “Come Severus, we have much to discuss.”