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Pairing: Harry Potter/Severus Snape
Alternative name(s): Snarry, Snape/Harry, Severus/Harry, HP/SS, R.M.S. Illegal Substances[1]
Gender category: m/m, slash
Fandom: Harry Potter
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: popular
Archives: Walking The Plank
La Mazmorra del Snarry
I've come to play with fire by Anastasia Mantihora
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Harry/Snape is a slash pairing in Harry Potter fandom. From a slow beginning, the Harry Potter/Severus Snape pairing has grown into a huge fandom.

Severus/Harry (or Snarry) pairing wasn't initially popular in the Harry Potter fandom at large. Because Harry was underage (or just barely of age) in many stories, and because Snape was in a position of authority over Harry, many fans claimed that all Snarry stories were non-con, even the schmoopiest. Others merely complained that the Snape in the book was completely unattractive and that, therefore, Snape/Harry fans were really just writing about their attraction to the actor who played Snape in the movies, Alan Rickman. (Alan Rickman, who was much older than the character he played on screen, further amplified the perception of age difference between the two characters.) Many fans simply thought Snape cruel, and the pairing distinctly unlikely. In the hands of a talented author though, themes of unlikely attraction, shared recovery from childhood trauma, moving past old grudges onto the relationship of equals, the challenge of navigating a shifting power dynamic, freedoms from manipulation or masters, forgiveness and redemption emerged. The appeal of committing to a secret, closeted relationship with the inevitable fallout and the social condemnation of it becoming public spoke to a generation of slash readers.

From the start, many writers wrote futurefic in order to have a legal or nearly-legal Harry in a relationship with Snape. As the fandom has grown older along with Harry, and the source series has been completed, most Snarry fanworks focus on post-Deathly Hallows, adult Harry. And while perhaps not as common as Qui-Gon Jinn's almost inevitable survival in The Phantom Menace fan fiction, Snarry writers regularly save Snape. (See also Denial fic.)

Notable Works

"Wake up, Potter," by Сатанатам


The pairing is known for its large percentage of novels. Some have hypothesized that given all the reasons they shouldn't be together, it takes a novel to justify getting them into bed; others that the Tea series was largely novel-length pieces, and it set its stamp on the fandom's story types.

However, even the short stories can do wonders with a difficult pairing. Early on, The Familiar by Resonant set the pace for the unlikely post-war bedfellows stories of healing in the peacetime. Predatrix and Fuchsia's The Occasional Table is a good example of an early 2000's blend of comedy and idyllic Hogwarts-era setting before the series took a darker turn. The trope of fellow soldiers, a couple pawns in an upcoming war, was popular in the post-Order of the Phoenix era when it was known that Snape was a spy, but there was no established canon around his childhood in Cokeworth or his friendship with Lily. The Occlumency lessons were also a popular theme.

Post-HBP fics often featured matching Patronuses and assumed platonic friendship between Severus, a queer kid from a rough neighbourhood, and Harry's mother. These themes then were used to bridge the gap from enemies to friends to lovers.



Stop it puffing sound, Potter!!! by Tatarnikova






art for the Harry/Snape Fuh-Q-Fest

The first Harry/Snape fic posted was called Midnight Confessions by Majolique. It was posted October 23, 2000 to the HPSlash mailing list.[3][4]

The beginning of the popularity of the Harry Potter/Severus Snape pairing is often credited to Telanu. In 2001, Telanu posted the first installment of the Tea Series, A Most Disquieting Tea. In November that same year, around the time the first movie was released, Luthien posted Aftermath. Other influential works that year included McKay's Too Wise to Woo Peacefully, and Sushi's Civil War 'verse.[3] All of these early stories were considered major works at the time. But while Telanu's Tea series was certainly one of the more influential of early Snarry stories written, no one story creates a pairing. In fact, without a growing body of work to draw fans in, no pairing will move from rare to major as Snarry has.

The movie, too, attracted an influx of fans and fan writers to the ship. According to Luthien, an early Snarry fan, Snarry was still considered a rare pair during the first round of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q-Fest, Archived version that she and tboy ran in early 2002. But in the second round, later in 2002, Snarry had grown considerably and more stories were submitted for the pairing.[5] In the fall of 2002, 59 stories were written for the first round of the From Dusk until Dawn (backup link) Snape/Harry Fuh-Q-Fest. Several significant stories were also published during that year, including the beginning of the extremely popular WIP, Mirror of Maybe by Midnight Blue.

The Snape_Potter LiveJournal community was created in December 2002. The community, which friendslocks all adult content, continues to be a "first stop" for fans who enter the pairing, since most new Snarry authors post their work there; browsing the community gives a good overview of the various genres and tropes popular in this pairing.

In 2003, a few days before the publication of book 5, Order of the Phoenix, Telanu published the novel-length story A Wizard's Song [backup link], the fifth piece in the Tea series; the series spun off of book 4, Goblet of Fire, and took no account of later canon. The Tea series did have a major impact on the pairing. However, many other influential works were published that year, as well as the last round of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q-Fest, Archived version and a few more rounds of From Dusk until Dawn.

The publication of Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix saw a new influx of people into the ship. The new canon increased fans' attention to the pairing because of the tense and complicated interactions that take place between Harry and Snape during the Occlumency lessons. Their canon relationship becomes even more attractively complicated when Harry discovers how badly Snape was treated by his [Harry's] father and Sirius, his godfather. Because more writers were drawn into the pairing, new influential works were published, which both drew people into the fandom and kept them there, since the amount of good stories in the pairing was constantly increasing. The pairing had now achieved a "virtuous cycle" in terms of the evolving relationship between Harry and Snape in canon, the growing number of new and good writers attracted to the pairing, and the number of readers flocking to read these stories and celebrate the ship.

The continuing expansion of the ship and its fan base was reflected in the growing infrastructure for the ship, based largely (but not entirely) on LiveJournal. In February 2004, painless_j, who would become the best-known and most thorough reccer for all HP slash ships, began her rec lists. The Snape/Harry lists on painless_j's site became a gateway for many readers attracted to the pairing. The LJ community Snarry Reader was also created during this period in order to list classic Snarry stories and as a resource for incoming Snarry fans. The pairing has inspired far too many stories to be listed or linked in one place, but the Reader can act as a sort of "filter" for newcomers, since it includes links to better-known stories, and groups stories by genre or themes.

The publication of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in July 2005 brought a new wave of people into the fandom as well. As Snarry fans delighted in pointing out, the very title of the book celebrated the pairing, since the Half-Blood Prince was Snape. This new canon gave people a much richer background to play with, drawing new writers like tryfanstone, rinsbane, and pir8fancier into writing for the pairing.

In December 2005, The Detention archive shut down practically without warning, leaving hundreds of dead links in many recs and resources lists. A number of leading Snarry fen, led by Snapetoy, banded together to reopen Walking the Plank as an automated archive; the new Walking the Plank picked up the original archive's stories and most (but not all) stories that had been added to Detention. To make sure that the debacle with Detention never happened again, there are now several moderators for the website, with a clearly articulated organizational structure and policies.

Also in 2005, Everything I Am by Serpen (English translation) was published in the Russian-speaking fandom, becoming one of the most popular Russian-language Snarry fics.

In April 2006, the Snarry Olympics (later renamed the Snarry Games) held its inaugural fest. It was a 'competition,' with teams (Angst vs. Romance) competing for gold and silver medals. The Snarry Games proved to be a successful fest, and expanded to include an art competition, which alternated with the fiction competitions; each fest organized authors and writers into opposing thematic teams (e.g., Wartime vs. Postwar). The fest was retired in 2009.

The publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007 brought another wave of Snarry fans, but it also marked the departure of many as well. Some readers and writers were devastated by Snape's death in canon, while others became adroit at writing around it. The 2011 release of the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2" also brought with it a new influx of Snarry fans, and the overwhelming emphasis in more recent stories has been on a post-DH world in which Snape somehow survived the attack by Nagini, rather than Hogwarts-era stories.

The pairing has also attracted attention in East Asian Harry Potter fandoms, deriving as much (if not more) from the films as the novels. In Japan, the 2004 release of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which featured prominently the backstory of Snape and the Marauders (James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew), was the impetus for the production of yaoi doujinshi centering on such pairings as SS/JP, SS/SB, and Harry/Snape (rendered in katakana as SuneHari). Then, as today, the vast majority of Japanese doujinshi stories with an emphasis on Harry/Snape are gen or chan set within Hogwarts. Of Japanese artists, Yukipon is widely recognized for her doujinshi translation of Cybele's If You Are Prepared. More recently, Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese artists such as Somachiou and Zjackt have produced art works with a softer, more romantic Snape that derives from a Japanese yaoi aesthetic.

Today the ship sails on, undeterred by deaths, epilogues, or the end of canon as we know it.

Influential Snarry fans

Front cover of Sigma 4 by Master and Pupil LOVER

Challenges, Exchanges, and Fests



Fan Communities

External Resources

Terms used in the fandom

Slash Severitus stories are a subset of Snape/Harry where Snape proves to be (secretly or not) Harry's father. While some of these stories include incest, most Severitus stories are actually gen.

Previously used with a slightly different meaning in media fandoms such as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the term Chan started to be used in Harry Potter fandom to describe child!Harry/Snape stories. Used on its own, or as Chanslash.

EWE ("Epilogue? What Epilogue?") is a post-Deathly Hallows term that refers to stories in which Harry's canon marriage to Ginny Weasley never happened (and, consequently, his children with her were never born).