"After all this time, Severus?"


I can't find the quote at the moment, but Albus and Severus's conversation seems to imply that a wizard's Patronus could change over time. Is this possible?

If Snape had ever properly grieved and freed himself from his love of Lily, could his Patronus have changed from a doe into something else?

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    dlanod's answer is spot on. Regarding whether Snape's Patronus could have changed if he had properly processed his love for and loss of Lily, I think so. It's not my story, but I always found a doe to be quite feminine for Snape (who is not an effeminate character) I always pictured Snape's Patronus as being, oh, a flock of bats or something like that. :) – Slytherincess Apr 23 '12 at 13:13
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    @Slytherincess - It seems that the answer is no, not unless he somehow found another eternal love... – Valorum May 23 '15 at 16:08

Yes. Nymphadora's Patronus changes to a werewolf after meeting and falling in love with Remus.

According to Rowling, this is a fairly common occurrence:

J.K. Rowling: No, the Patronus often mutates to take the image of the love of one's life (because they so often become the 'happy thought' that generates a Patronus).

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Since your question is in two parts, the answers are yes and no (in that order)

  • It's clear that a patronus can indeed change, as evidenced by Nymphadora's Patronus changing to a wolf after she falls in love with Remus.

  • JK Rowling has confirmed in a recent tweet that that change will only occur under the influence of 'eternal' love. The clear implication is that if your love is sufficiently weak that you could "get over it", then it won't change your patronus form in the first place

enter image description here

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A JKR Pottermore writing says yes, it can.

In a writing on Pottermore, JKR says that someone’s Patronus can change form due to at least three different reasons: if they suffer a loss, fall in love, or their personality changes a lot.

The form of a Patronus may change during the course of a witch or wizard’s life. Instances have been known of the form of the Patronus transforming due to bereavement, falling in love or profound shifts in a person’s character. Thus Nymphadora Tonks’s Patronus changes from a jack rabbit to a wolf (not a werewolf) when she falls in love with Remus Lupin. Some witches and wizards may be unable to produce a Patronus at all until they have undergone some kind of psychic shock.
Patronus Charm (Pottermore)

According to this, then, it wouldn’t necessarily require external circumstances for someone’s Patronus to change - a significant change in personality can be enough. So yes - a Patronus can change over time.

Valorum’s answer already covers whether Snape’s Patronus would change, specifically.

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