His son grew to the age of 11 in a wizarding household of a member of the Order of Phoenix in the Deathly Hallows Epilogue.

Yet, the fact that he was named (middle name) after a Slytherin Headmaster of Hogwarts is something he needed to be explained by Harry at King's Cross before going to school.

Shouldn't that have been old news to him? (And, by extension, the fact that Harry held at least one Slytherin in high esteem, and the fact that Snape was brave)?


4 Answers 4


There's no canon answer for this, so I will give a subjective answer in the spirit of canon.

I don't see Harry as telling Albus Severus about his namesake for the first time at King's Cross. I think he was reiterating what he had already told Al probably multiple times. Anyone who has kids knows that they tend to ask repetitive questions, even at eleven, and they express their worries by seeking repeated reassurance (ad nauseum sometimes). The movies are not canon, but if you examine the inflection in Harry's voice as he talks to Al at King's Cross, it's clear they've had the discussion before, and that Harry is reassuring Al about Slytherin and using Al's namesake to drive the point home.

Regarding Slytherin, J.K. Rowling has stated that Slytherin became more diluted and was "not the pureblood bastion that it once was." There were more Muggleborn Slytherins than ever before by the time Albus Severus went to Hogwarts. However, Slytherin's dark reputation persisted, although it wasn't as hardcore as it was during Harry's era, thus Al's resistance to being Sorted to Slytherin. Harry clearly tried to work with Al about Slytherin fear and prejudice while he was talking to Al at King's Cross. I would posit a guess they probably had the Slytherin conversation before as well.

  • 2
    They are gonna ask repetitive questions until 11??? I did not wanna hear that! :( :) Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 23:04
  • Sorry to break the news to you :)) Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 23:10
  • 3
    @DVK: Kids will ask the same questions again and again, but on a higher level, and they will also expect answers on a higher level — according to their increasing ability to understand the world. So you will have to explain over and over, but you will have to simplify less and less, so doing this keeps being satisfactory. IME this is especially true for questions not about hard facts, e.g., questions about social aspects. (for example, initially all beings will be sorted into either the "good" or "bad" basket. Grasping that one can be both, depending on circumstances and POV comes much later.)
    – sbi
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 11:11
  • @sbi - Excellent points all around. :) Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 12:34
  • the movies are not cannon?
    – zipquincy
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 15:25

I feel that the explanation wasn't meant as imparting new information (that Albus was partly named after Snape), as much as it was stressing that the house you're in doesn't really matter (Snape was Slytherin, yet was the bravest man Harry knew). Basically, Harry was just giving his son a lesson about preconceptions.

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    I agree. I don't see anything in that passage that implies that Albus didn't know who he was named after.
    – Dason
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 22:53
  • Yes, if it was new information I doubt Harry would have given it in a fleeting moment before being whisked off to school. The statement was reassurance that the house he was sorted in wouldn't matter. Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 23:28

I'm thinking that this is likely a literary trick, essentially exposition.

It allows J.K. to wrap up many, many years of happenings in a single scene.

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    The Deathly Hallows epilogue is the most condensed instance of exposition insanity I've ever read. I don't mind the information contained in it, I just think it was poorly executed. Just my two cents, though! :) Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 23:19

Severus Snape had been dead for nineteen years at the time. Technically, Albus Severus didn't ask his father, Harry. In the book, Albus's brother, who, like the Weasley twins and Harry's own father, was a prankster, decided to tease Albus and tell him that he was going to end up in Slytherin. Albus had no idea where Harry got the name from, and because Harry now knew about all the things Snape did in his life to make sure Harry was safe, regardless of the fact that Harry was physical proof that the only woman he had ever truly loved preferred somebody else who was his school bully, Harry truly appreciated Snape and gave his son the name Severus as a middle name. Albus Severus was scared to go to school for the sense of doubt that he was filled with that he might end up in Slytherin, and Harry reassured him that, even if he did, not all Slytherins are bad people, and Snape was one of the bravest men he had ever known.

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