Snape, Snape, Severus Snape/ The potions master with the swishy black cape/ He wasn’t nice to Harry at the start of the books/ You firmly thought he was one of Voldemort’s crooks/ But then it turned out he died for Lily / And your hate for him seemed so silly/ And now it seems he was younger than you thought/ Consider this Reddit fan theory, you aught.
Sorry, Sev, we’ll stop now. But the fact still stands: Hogwarts’ most sour-faced teacher was probably a lot younger than you thought. As Redditor Cheese_Lord_Eggplant (we’re presuming that’s their Christian name) points out, Snape died at the age of 38. Which is extremely jarring as Snape was forever immortalised by the late-and-more-than-great Alan Rickman, who was in his early 60s during the filming of the last Potter film, The Deathly Hallows.
You see, Snape’s only love Lily Potter was born in January 1960, according to her gravestone in The Deathly Hallows. And seeing as the Half-Blood Prince was in the same Hogwarts year as Lily, he must have been born between late 1959 and mid-1960. That means Snape was in his 30s during the events of the books – Harry Potter is a 1990s kid, after all.
Interesting yes, but here’s where the potion gains real sustenance: according to this chronology, Snape was only 20-years-old when he begged Dumbledore to protect Lily from Voldemort. He was basically a teenager in love. It was a love that lasted for another 20 years, yes, but Snape was still incredibly young.
So far, so odd. But there’s more meaning to be unpicked from this Pungous Onion. Pour the memory of Snape’s story into your pensive and you’ll also notice he was already a Death Eater when he went to Dumbledore – Snape had joined up aged 20. And at just 20, he was already a skilled enough Occlumens to fool Lord Voldemort himself.
Nope, we’re not done yet. Remember when we celebrated Hermione’s 37th birthday the other day (better send her a card via owl now if you forgot)? Well, in two years Hermione, Ron and Harry will turn 39, thereby outliving Snape (and Lily, James, Remus, Sirius and Pettigrew).
However, does this really change a lot? Probably not. In the minds of Potter fans all over the world Severus Snape will be played by Alan Rickman. Always.