Back in 2011 when the last Harry Potter movie aired, my friend who had watched some but not all Harry Potter movies (insane. i know.) asked me when it was revealed that Snape liked Lily.

Was it really just in Deathly Hallows that such was revealed? I always thought that something like was revealed earlier like maybe in HP5 during the Legilimency/Occlumency parts but then such was later expounded upon in Deathly Hallows.

I might be remembering incorrectly due to having read Deathly Hallows when it came out in 2007 (the same year HP5 came out)

2 Answers 2


In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it is not revealed that Snape loved (not liked) Lily, but JKR gives a very big hint towards it. I would say that JKR begins to hint that Snape loves Lily in OotP, but such wouldn't be the case since Snape's very first line in the book is a coded way of saying he regrets her death. enter image description here

Another important thing to remember is that Snape only ever talks about James, never about Lily, especially when berating Harry. Snape hated James, but not Lily.

The hint given in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is in Snape's Worst Memory (literally, but also the name of the chapter. The memory Snape was so keen to hide from Harry is apparently one of James, with the help of Sirius and the cheering of Pettigrew, torturing Snape. But the Marauders tortured Snape on the daily. Why is this memory important?

Because after Lily forces James to put Snape down, and James tells Snape to thank Lily, he shouts

I don't need help from a filthy little mudblood like her!

This memory is not Snape's worst because he was bullied. It is Snape's worst memory because it was the day he lost Lily



In OotP, this exchange happens after Harry and Dudley are attacked by the dementors:

"How many times do I have to tell you?" said Harry, temper and voice both rising. "It wasn't me! It was a couple of Dementors!"

"A couple of - what's this codswallop?" (Uncle Vernon)

"De - men - tors," said Harry slowly and clearly. "Two of them."

"And what the ruddy hell are Dementors?"

"They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban," said Aunt Petunia.

Two seconds of ringing silence followed these words before Aunt Petunia clapped her hand over her mouth as though she had let slip a disgusting swear word. Uncle Vernon was goggling at her. Harry's brain reeled. Mrs. Figg was one thing - but Aunt Petunia?

"How d'you know that?" he asked her, astonished.

Aunt Petunia looked quite appalled with herself. She glanced at Uncle Vernon in fearful apology, then lowered her hand slightly to reveal her horsy teeth.

"I heard - that awful boy - telling her about them - years ago," she said jerkily.

"If you mean my mum and dad, why don't you use their names?" said Harry loudly, but

Aunt Petunia ignored him. She seemed horribly flustered.

So Harry assumes 'that awful boy' is James, but why would it be James? Petunia didn't know James as a boy but as a man, and she has had no trouble of speaking of James in the past. So why would she not say his name now?

"Tell me about the Dementors again" (Lily Evans)

"What d'you want to know about them for?" (Severus Snape)

"If I use magic outside of school -"

"They wouldn't give you the Dementors for that! Dementors are for people who do really bad stuff. They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban, you're too -"

He turned red again and shredded more leaves. Then a small rustling noise behind Harry made him turn: Petunia, hiding behind a tree, had lost her footing.

"Tuney!" said Lily, surprise and welcome in her voice, but Snape had jumped to his feet...

Because that awful boy was Snape. In fact, this is made clear by the fact Aunt Petunia uses the exact same wording Snape did.

  • Any other interaction between Snape and Lily pre-Deathly Hallows? Oct 11, 2015 at 19:07
  • I'm currently reading HPB so I wouldn't want to look for quotes since I kind of forgot some of the details and don't want to spoil it for myself. I think Slughorn talks about Lily being really good at potions, which is another hint at her relationship with Snape. Again, JKR works in subtle ways, planting small hints throughout the road. Oct 11, 2015 at 19:13
  • I just remembered something else so I'm gonna add it to the comment. (It's a really good one) Oct 11, 2015 at 19:14
  • 1
    "she has had no trouble of speaking of James in the past" So outright banning even the smallest mention of him constitutes "no trouble speaking" of him? Oct 11, 2015 at 20:20
  • Harry knew his parents' names... If the Dursleys didn't speak their names, how would he know what they were? I didn't mean she had no problem with the concept of him, but if she was talking about dementors and Azkaban, she would definitely say his name. Plus, would you care to remind me when exactly James name was forbidden in the Dursley household? I don't recall. Oct 11, 2015 at 20:51

Yes, it was only in Deathly Hallows. The whole section in Order of the Phoenix is too long to quote here, but the only direct interaction between Snape and Lily goes like:

"There you go," [James] said, as Snape struggled to his feet. "You're lucky Evans was here, Snivellus -"

"I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!"

Lily blinked.

"Fine," she said coolly. "I won't bother in future. And I'd wash your [under]pants if I were you, Snivellus."

Order of the Phoenix Chapter 28: "Snape's Worst Memory"

Although it is a little odd that this particular humiliation is considered Snape's worst memory, there's no actual evidence in the text to suggest Snape's true feelings.

People have come up with a bunch of little clues post facto, such as this extensive thread on an old forum, but without benefit of hindsight I don't think you can call any of them more than a guess. One of the more interesting ones is the Asphodel/Wormwood theory, which Lord Voldemort mentions in another answer, and is discussed extensively in this blog post. This theory has also been previously discussed on this site, but is no more than speculation.

However, as far as I can tell there's no direct confirmation of any interaction between Snape and Lily before the Order of the Phoenix quote above; the closest we have is one comment by Petunia earlier in Order of the Phoenix1:

"I heard - that awful boy - telling [Lily] about [Dementors], years ago," [Petunia] said jerkily.

"If you mean my mum and dad, why don't you use their names?" said Harry loudly.

Order of the Phoenix Chapter 2: "A Peck of Owls"

Of course this is a deliberate misdirection; "that awful boy" is actually Snape, but we're meant to think it's James. It's not until Deathly Hallows, again, that we learn different.

1 In fairness to Lord Voldemort, we added this bit to our answers at about the same time.

  • Any other interaction between Snape and Lily pre-Deathly Hallows? Oct 11, 2015 at 18:51
  • @RedRackham Updated. Nothing confirmed, but there are some vague hints that we can piece together with benefit of hindsight Oct 11, 2015 at 19:14
  • 1
    Oh inexplicable downvoter, why hath thou foresaken me? Oct 11, 2015 at 20:17
  • 2
    @JasonBaker *hast ;) I'd be interested to know, too, this is a very good, balanced answer - which (if I may say so), takes a more sensible line regarding the old flower language fan theory (which is the kind of thing I'm afraid I find very boring). Ah well. Sadly you've already had my upvote, but I hope that, at 40.6k rep, you won't miss the 2 points too much ;)
    – Au101
    Oct 11, 2015 at 20:25
  • @Au101 Oh I'm not fussed about the rep (I'm not Richard, or rand al'thor), but self-improvement is hard without feedback Oct 11, 2015 at 20:31

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