In the Harry Potter universe, Severus Snape is a teacher of Potions and head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Use for questions about the character. Always use in conjunction with the [harry-potter] tag and any relevant tags. Only use the tag when specifically asking questions about the character.
Severus Snape is a major character in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Snape was a sad, lonely boy who was sorted into Slytherin House as a Hogwarts first year student. He was equally infatuated with Lily Evans (Harry Potter's mother) and the Dark Arts. He was regarded as a rival for Lily's affections by James Potter (Harry Potter's father) which caused James to bully and harass Snape while they were students. Choosing the wrong love, he became a Death Eater, and, having overheard the Prophecy regarding the Chosen One, told Voldemort about it, causing Voldemort to attack the Potters and murder James and Lily. When Snape realized Voldemort meant to murder the Potters, Snape agreed to become Dumbledore's chief mole/spy within Voldemort's ranks. After Lily was murdered by Voldemort, Snape agreed to help keep Harry safe, as a demonstration of his love for her. Nevertheless, seeing Harry as an extension of James Potter, Snape did the best he could to make Harry's life at Hogwarts miserable.
Being an extraordinarily gifted wizard, especially at Potions and the Dark Arts (even as a child while under his self-proclaimed moniker "the Half-Blood Prince", he invented novel spells and improved the potions recipes in his Potions textbook), he was granted a position teaching Potions at Hogwarts after the first Wizarding war, and was made the head of Slytherin House.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort orders Draco Malfoy to kill Dumbledore, but Snape, after offering to help Draco, instead murders Dumbledore as part of a plot he and Dumbledore have arranged, both to save young Draco from becoming a murderer and to prevent the Elder Wand from falling into the hands of the Death Eaters.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the Harry Potter series, Snape is appointed headmaster of Hogwarts, presumably by Voldemort. Keeping a promise he made to Dumbledore, Snape does his best to protect the Hogwarts students from harm at the hands of the Death Eaters. Towards the end of the book, when Voldemort erroneously assumes Snape is the master of the Elder Wand, Voldemort has his faithful snake Nagini kill Snape by slicing his throat open. As Snape's final act, he gives Harry many of his memories, providing invaluable information on how to finally kill Voldemort.
Many years later, in honor of Snape's bravery and service against Voldemort, Harry named one of his sons Albus Severus. Harry also saw to it that a portrait of Snape was placed in the headmaster's office at Hogwarts, a Hogwarts tradition.
Severus Snape in Warner Bros. production, played by British actor Alan Rickman (1946-2016).