Is there any canonical mention of the form taken by a boggart in Snape’s presence? One would assume that Lily’s dead body would be the most likely answer, but I’m just curious if JKR has ever explicitly mentioned it.

  • 3
    One would assume that Lily's dead body would be the most likely answer There's some dark stuff in the HP books, but I think that may be going a bit too far.
    – phantom42
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:04
  • 51
    @phantom42 Molly Weasley's Boggart kept cycling through different members of her family being dead, in "Order of the Phoenix".
    – Brian J
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:08
  • 2
    @BrianJ, but Lily is already dead.
    – Wildcard
    Feb 7, 2017 at 8:47
  • 8
    @Wildcard I know. I was just clarifying that her dead body is not "too dark" for HP books.
    – Brian J
    Feb 7, 2017 at 14:45
  • I guess it would be Lily telling him that she doesn't accept his retribution, that saving or helping Harry hadn't been enough. A.J.
    – A.J.
    Mar 27, 2018 at 9:44

5 Answers 5


Per J.K. Rowling's interview, "Telling us Professor Snape's patronus and boggart would give too much away", over at Accio Quote:

Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form will Professor Snape's Boggart and Patronus take? I am very curious.

JK Rowling: Well, I'm not going to tell you Ernie, but that's because it would give so much away. I wonder whether Ernie is your real name? (It was my grandfather's).

Emphasis mine

Since Snape's Patronus is a doe, as a reflection of his love for Lily, and since the Patronus would "give too much away" along with the boggart, we might suggest the latter to be several things:

  • Dead Lily. For obvious reasons - Snape thinks he failed her, since he pleaded with Voldemort to spare her, and the latter didn't.

  • Dead Harry - less likely, but still possible. Snape sees Harry as his ways of retribution for Lily's death, and a homage to her. Thus, Harry failing his great mission and dying would strike Snape hard.

  • Shampoo, as suggested by a Reddit user

  • Neville being a Potions professor. Oh, wait...

  • @Barranka - it ain't me, it's the Reddit user Feb 7, 2017 at 14:53
  • 20
    Lilly laughing at how inadequate his wand is Feb 7, 2017 at 15:30
  • 3
    I would even consider just Harry alive. Looking into Harry's eyes would at once be his greatest shame and his greatest desire. But does shame equal fear? Or perhaps more so he would be afraid to see pity and apathy in Harry's eyes. Often, when we love someone unrequitedly, it's not their anger we fear, but their lack of caring and perhaps even pitying of our love. Feb 9, 2017 at 8:23
  • Neville being a Potions professor would be terrifyingly amazing. +1 Dec 19, 2022 at 22:28

We don't know, but we can guess.

Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form will Professor Snape's Boggart and Patronus take? I am very curious.

JK Rowling: Well, I'm not going to tell you Ernie, but that's because it would give so much away.

World Book Day Chat

Up to the moment of her death, it was almost certainly Lily's death. After that, it was probably everyone finding out his secret shame (e.g. that he caused Lily to be killed) or possibly Harry's death (e.g. the destruction of his last link to Lily).

As Edlothiad has already pointed out, according to Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4) it was Voldemort.

  • Ninja'd me! Good find, that Lego bit Feb 6, 2017 at 16:24
  • 7
    Regarding Lego Harry Potter, I believe everyone's boggart was Voldemort if the story didn't have another one for them (i.e. pretty much everyone except Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort (although Voldy's is more like an Easter Egg)).
    – Brian J
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:07
  • @BrianJ - Indeed. It seems to have been set as the default. That being said, none have been contradicted yet (as far as I'm aware).
    – Valorum
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:28
  • 15
    @Valorum - Lupin implies in PoA that none of the other students in Harry's class had a Voldy Boggart.
    – ibid
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:27
  • @ibid - I stand corrected
    – Valorum
    Feb 6, 2017 at 21:54

Although probably not a very good canonical answer, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 had a lot of the characters have Lord Voldemort as their boggart, including Snape.

However on another note, a very interesting essay on Quora suggests although it's likely to be Lily's corpse immediately after her death, aftr it may have been:

the faces of all of Hogwarts, the students, faculty and staff (and "...especially Potter's son...") all having discovered that James’ death had been Snape's greatest wish and it had come true at the cost of Lily Potter's life.


At this point, this is probably just a superfluous answer, but could it also have been himself?

As he was when he had been a teenager and tormented by James Potter and company.

How many of us possibly hated our formative years as a teenager, especially if we had been tortured and tormented as he had?

As he was when he realized he had caused Lily's death.

That scene seen in his memory when he comes upon Lily's body and realizes what he has done.

How many of us have mistakes for which we wished we had a time turner?

If we could only go back in time and change that one thing? Not the mistake, but everything leading up to it.

As he was when he called Lily a mudblood.

It is, in canon, his worst memory.

Anyway, I'm just throwing the possibility out there since we don't know the canon answer, but at times, we are our own worst enemy, and in the case of Snape, this may be truer for him than it is for most.

  • Or conversely, Lily herself. The expression on her face when he calls her a mudblood, something that irrevocably damages their relationship that he may never take back. Apr 13, 2017 at 8:05

My guess: Voldemort.

What we know about boggarts is that they are more likely to represent perceived dangers, rather than things that happened in the past. And that they do not necessarily represent morbid phobias - in fact, judging by Lupin's moon boggart, Hermione's McGonagall, Harry's dementor, Ron Weasley's spider, etc., they are likely to represent specific dangers (although there are exceptions).

As for Snape, I think it's easy to see what the shape of his specific danger might be. He is one of the few people who knew Voldemort - probably enough to have been terrified of him - and rejected him. In fact, he considered him such a threat that he put his life on the line in a thankless attempt to stop him. So, I think it's a fair guess that his boggart would take Voldemort's shape.

Of course, it would be kind of lame for a boggart to have the shape of the main villain. Plus, as per Rowling's quote in a couple of the other answers, it would give so much away. So we never see it.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.