My Duty Forbids It: The Historical Context of Professor Snape

One of the first things that struck me about the character of Professor Severus Snape as portrayed by Alan Rickman in the Harry Potter film series was how in sync it tended to be with the militaristic teaching styles of real British boarding schools well into the second half of the 20th century. He made a perfect stereotypical black-cloaked, pale-faced, long-nosed schoolmaster, who did not suffer fools lightly, took no “cheek” from his students, and would not wear his emotions on his sleeve. When I found out J.K. Rowling did base him on her real-life chemistry teacher, the whole mystery … Continue reading My Duty Forbids It: The Historical Context of Professor Snape