Harry Potter: Snape's Depression Killed Him, Not Voldemort

Harry Potter: Snape's Depression Killed Him, Not Voldemort
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Severus Snape didn’t have to die during the Battle of Hogwarts but he chose to.


  • Severus Snape was a brilliant wizard who could have escaped the Shrieking Shack if he wanted to.
  • Snape might have thought that Voldemort would win so he saw no point in fighting further.
  • Alternatively, he might have sacrificed himself to bury the Elder Wand’s allegiance with him.

For many Potterheads, Severus Snape’s death was among the most heartbreaking in the entire Harry Potter franchise. Thanks to the memories he shared with Harry before dying, many fans consider Snape’s demise untimely and brutal; but admittedly, they didn’t read into the circumstances of his death too much.

It wasn’t Lord Voldemort who killed Severus Snape. Snape knew what was going to happen, and he chose to die, for one reason or another. Dumbledore-style.

Why Was Snape’s Death His Own Choice?

Severus Snape’s personality is one of the most divisive points in the Harry Potter franchise only on par with the personalities of the Marauders. But regardless of anyone’s attitude toward Snape, one thing has always been clear: the Potions Master was brilliant in many regards, including wizardry and undercover work.

Even at Hogwarts, Snape was a prodigy student capable of inventing new spells from scratch and dramatically improving potion recipes. He was adept in Dark Arts, Occlumency, and Legilimency, too, and boasted a great understanding of magic. For all we know, Snape was the third most advanced wizard in the entire series.

At the same time, he was a phenomenal double agent. Severus Snape spent many years undercover as Dark Lord’s most trusted advisor while working for his biggest enemy; he knew exactly how to interpret people and their intentions and often turned a seemingly hopeless situation in his favor. Snape was basically a magical superspy.

All of this combined is exactly why we think Snape wasn’t caught off-guard.

Why Did Snape Die in the Shrieking Shack?

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Snape knew Lord Voldemort well and he knew how his fake master reasoned. Still, when Voldemort called him into the Shrieking Shack during the Battle of Hogwarts, the Potions Master couldn’t have anticipated the logic behind that call. But he must have caught up to the Dark Lord’s meaning pretty quickly during their conversation.

There were several ways for Snape to escape his demise at that point. He could have apparated since the defensive charms on Hogwarts and Hogsmeade territories were already broken.

He could have attempted to fight Voldemort, giving himself enough time to escape. He could have tried to even attack the Dark Lord first.

Considering his track record and impressive magical abilities, Severus Snape had all the chance to escape with his life. The only reason he didn’t was because he chose not to. Unlike Dumbledore, Snape sealed his fate not as part of an elaborate plan but as a reaction to the newly discovered circumstances. What could they be?

Why Did Severus Snape Give Up His Life?

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There are two major explanations for Severus Snape’s sacrifice in the Shrieking Shack, but only one of them paints the Potions Master as a warrior to the end.

On the one hand, Snape might have been exhausted and given up. After so many years spent on fighting Voldemort as a double agent, seeing Hogwarts on fire and besieged by the Death Eaters might have been too much for Snape. The Potions Master could have just given up because he didn’t see the point in fighting anymore.

On the other hand, despite everything, Snape was a warrior, and his sacrifice might have been meaningful. The Potions Master knew how powerful the Elder Wand was; following Voldemort’s logic, he might have wanted to die to Nagini so that the Elder Wand’s allegiance would die with him. This explanation paints him as a hero…again.

Why do you think Snape gave up to Voldemort?