Sunday, May 8, 2011


On a parenting blog, I saw a photo of someones adorable baby boy named Severus and did a double-take. If I made a list of Harry Potter names that would inspire and be used by new parents, Severus would probably not be on there.

Severus Snape is a well known character from the Harry Potter world, and when you read the books it's difficult to discern what side he's on until the last moment. You first meet him as the potions teacher at Hogwarts who has an instant dislike of the hero. Eventually, it's revealed that he and Harry's father did not get along when they were students. And I'm not going to say too much because I don't want to give anything away for the eight people in the world who haven't read the books or watched the movies.

Severus (pronounced "SEV-eh-rus") is an Ancient Roman surname meaning "stern." Septimus Severus was a little known Roman Emperor who had several ancient buildings named after him. This name was also given to several saints.

Despite it's history, anyone who hears this name will think of the book character first. And Severus Snape is not the most appealing character. He is not as good looking, or as cool, as Alan Rickman. In fact, he has all of the same physical characteristics of the old-fashioned racist portrayals of Jews. Black greasy hair, a hook nose, black beady eyes, pale skin, you get the picture. He also has more rages in the book. However, a lot of people love the character.

Even if it wasn't the name of a famous wizard, Severus sounds...well, sever. It's appropriate for the character, who never really smiles and hasn't been happy for a long time. But for a child?

Maybe I should keep my mouth closed as it is the name of at least one real life boy. And I know that he's adorable. Maybe he'll wear the name well. Maybe it'll be redefined after a few other parents use it too. Who can say?


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  1. CLASSIC!!! I'm one of the 8 people that hasn't read the last book & daughter Memphis WILL NOT TELL ME what happens to Severus!!!!! I have to read or wait (for movie) mmmmmm I know about what happens to Harry & all, but Snape????? He is my favourite character & both my babes are not letting on, come on, I won't tell ;)

  2. I think that really the parents were hoping that their child would be more like Alan Rickman instead of just the character "Severus." I mean Alan isn't the most exciting name..But Alan R. made "Severus" who he is!

  3. I realize this entry is over a year old now, but I came upon this in a search and thought I'd respond anyway.

    My son's name is Severus.

    However, before we were certain of the name, we made sure that it had a deeper history than just HP {though, no one will ever come up to us and say "Oh! The emperor!?"} our older children also have powerful names; Samara either means "guardian" or "under god's rule" depending on which book you read {I'm an Atheist, so I cling to "guardian"}. Caesar, for Julius Caesar. Mercutio, for the spectacular Shakespearean character. Severus, as not only a strong character in the series, but also an emperor, fit in perfectly.

    Sallow skinned Snape's appearance, or his personality, weren't anything we took into consideration. How he's 21 months old and is the complete opposite of what I've always imagined Snape to be, so we've lucked out for now. :)

    Just some insight from a Severus' mom, haha!


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