Severus Snape, one of the most controversial figures in the wizarding world, might still be alive. While Harry Potter and his friends assumed that Snape died at the hands (or teeth) of Voldemort’s slithering Horcrux, Nagini, a new fan theory posits that the contentious potions master is traveling the world, alive and well.
Reddit user DER_GOTTKAISER posted the reasoning behind Severus Snape being alive on Sunday to r/FanTheories, providing two main points: “Snape doesn’t appear when Harry uses the resurrection stone” and “Snape’s corpse isn’t found or mentioned.”
There’s a lot to unpack there, and the explanations given in the post certainly do a lot of the unpacking. The theory posits that Nagini’s venom from when she attacked Snape in the Shrieking Shack (or the boathouse in the film franchise) didn’t actually kill Snape; it just paralyzed him. Being a potions master for so long would have given Snape immediate access to antivenom. And maybe, just maybe, he was carrying it around on his person at the time of the bite. Or maybe he took it beforehand.
“I think Snape would have obviously taken some kind of prophylactic antidote beforehand,” the post says. “So Voldemort’s snake didn’t actually kill Snape, it just temporarily paralysed him and made him look like he was dead. That’s why the elder wand didn’t belong to Voldemort, cause he hadn’t really killed Snape. Snape’s body is not mentioned at all, and his ghost doesn’t appear with Lupin’s and Harry’s parents, even though it should have, so Snape obviously survived.”
It’s a nice thought. The Reddit user goes on to theorize that Snape is probably traveling the world and taking things easy after Voldemort’s defeat at the hands of Harry Potter.
And while all this is a very nice thought — because the Harry Potter series had enough death by the end of it that a miraculous recovery would be lovely — some would argue that it’s wholly unrealistic.
That Harry didn’t see Snape’s spirit-ghost-thing while using the Resurrection Stone doesn’t mean he’s not dead. It just means that Snape, despite the sacrifices he made, wasn’t all that near and dear to Harry’s heart. Harry might have respected the choices that Snape made in order to protect him and he might have thought of him as a hero, but he didn’t necessarily love Snape. At least, not in the same way that he loved his parents, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. Not in the way he loved his departed family members. And that’s totally okay. It also neither confirms nor denies this theory.
The other argument, that Snape’s body wasn’t found or mentioned after the battle, is a little more innocuous. There was a lot of death that day at Hogwarts. And Snape is, despite what many in the Harry Potter fandom believe, still more of an anti-hero than an all-out hero. Of course the wizards working against Voldemort weren’t going out of their way to track down Snape’s body, no matter what good things he’d done for them.
Or, y’know, maybe J.K. Rowling was a little busy writing about all the other dead bodies piling up. Maybe they really couldn’t find Snape’s body because he was, after all, very much alive.
The wizarding world may never know.