Twenty-five years ago, The Philosopher’s Stone novel was first released, introducing now dedicated fans to the Wizarding World as well as to its various characters. One such character has morphed into one of the most complex and debated characters in movie history, Severus Snape, who is incredible to watch throughout the films, not least of all for his slew of memorable lines.
Snape has some of the best and most iconic lines in Harry Potterand Potterheads on Ranker have ranked what they deem to be the very best – with some surprises in the order.
The Science & Art Of Potion-Making
“You Are Here To Learn The Subtle Science And Exact Art Of Potion-Making. As There Is Little Foolish Wand-Waving Here, Many Of You Will Hardly Believe This Is Magic.
Throughout the Potter movies, Snape’s talent for potions but simultaneous bitterness that he is not a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor shines. Most scenes in his potions classroom have at least one memorable, snarky quote.
This is the original one of those as he first addresses his students, including Harry, for whom he shows a particular disdain. Snape is hardly wrong with this line, though. Potions are fine art and incredibly important for things like medicine; just because there are no wands does not mean it is not seriously impressive, wonderful magic.
“Weasley’s Wand Causes Devastation With The Simplest Spells. We’ll Be Sending Poter To The Hospital Wing In A Matchbox.”
Ron was the butt of many jokes and comments throughout The Chamber of Secrets due to his deformed wand, and it was no surprise that he was the victim of a dig by Snape when Lockhart volunteered him to duel Harry.
As is the case with all of the lines in Ranker’s list, this quote is helped by the expert delivery of Alan Rickman, who makes this such a funny line. Ron’s disheartened reaction and the actual image itself also enhance this line.
Nobody Appreciates The Wisdom Of Dumbledore Like Snape
“Has It Ever Crossed Your Brilliant Mind That I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore?”
Snape and Dumbledore make up the most complex and morally gray duo in Harry Potterand Snape is intensely loyal to the Hogwarts Headmaster, following through with everything asked of him even if he does not want to do so.
Dumbledore does ask a lot of Snape, and no matter what else is going on with his character, one of his most admirable traits is his loyalty to Dumbledore and trust that it is all for the greater good. Snape endures a lot, and the fact he does not just blindly follow but instead challenges Dumbledore makes him all the more interesting, which is what this quote shows.
Snape Pledges Himself To Dumbledore
“What Will You Give Me In Return, Severus?” “Anything.”
Snape often does not need many words for his quotes to be memorable, with three of his absolute best being one-word quotes, like this reply to Dumbledore, to whom he begs to protect the Potters.
Dumbledore would have protected them whether Snape came to his side or not. Still, the fact Snape was so willing to do anything, including joining Dumbledore as a double agent, makes clear just how deeply he cared about Lily and her safety. This exchange also shows the lengths Dumbledore would go to beat Voldemort, manipulating Snape to join his side.
“You Ought To Be Careful. People Will Think You’re … Up To Something.”
The visible disgust Snape has towards children, particularly the Golden Trio, in the first Potter movies is great, and this is one of the best of those moments in large part to the way Alan Rickman delivers it.
The shift in tone and look Snape gives Harry as he delivers the “up to something” is fantastic and is one of many unintentionally funny Snape quotes as a result. The back-and-forth suspicions between the Golden Trio and Snape is a highlight of this movie, but some may be surprised to see this quote ranked so high compared to other amazing, perhaps darker Snape lines.
The Morality Of Dumbledore’s Actions
“I Have Spied For You And Lied For You. Put Myself In Mortal Danger For You. Everything Was Supposed To Be To Keep Lily Potter’s Son Safe. Now You Tell Me You Have Been Raising Him Like A Pig For Slaughter?”
A significant cause for discourse surrounding whether or not Dumbledore is a hero or villain comes from his treatment of Harry and how Dumbledore ultimately uses him for his selfish goals, something pointed out by Snape in this passionate line.
While they are perhaps not as fleshed out as in the books, the memories from the pensive are a highlight of The Deathly Hallows, and seeing the moral gray area in which both Snape and Dumbledore reside is fascinating. This line is interesting because it does show care from Snape, but by referring to him as ‘Lily’s son’ and not just ‘Harry,’ it again shows how he views this as being all about her, and the care he does have comes from his love for her.
The Truth About Cho
“I’m Afraid You Have Used Up All My Stores Interrogating Students, The Last Of It On Miss Chang. Unless You Wish to Poison Potter – And I Assure You I Would Have The Greatest Sympathy If You Did – I Cannot Help You.”
This line to Umbridge does a lot of things, but perhaps most importantly, it tells the characters that Cho did not sell them out; veritaserum (truth serum) got used on her.
Outside of that, though, this is just pure snark and humor from Snape. Due to how funny his indirect insult to Harry is, it is easy to see why Ranker users have such fond opinions of it – even if there are deeper lines that others would argue deserve more love.
Snape Knows Better Than Anyone
“It May Have Escaped Your Notice, But Life Isn’t Fair.”
No matter any fan’s opinion on Snape and whether he is a hero or villain, there is no doubt he went through a lot in his life and lived with a lot of inner turmoil, making this quote not just relatable, but revealing.
From his treatment by his parents and lack of friends to being bullied to losing Lily to then having to live a life of lies, working both sides of a cruel war, Snape was dealt a rotten hand, and for all of his issues, performed his fair share of heroics. While he is wrong to assume Harry has it easy, nobody can say that Snape did not have it hard for his entire life.
The Iconic One Word Quote
This “Always” is not just the most iconic and memorable Severus Snape quote but may well be the most iconic line from the entire Harry Potter film series and is enough to reduce any fans to tears.
It is such a powerful singular word, and so much of its memorability and brilliance can be attributed to Alan Rickman’s continuously masterful portrayal of this conflicted character. Even if his love verges on creepy obsession, Snape is still driven by deep care from a woman he thought the world of, who he lost, making this quote, to many, totally romantic. For everything he did, he will always be remembered in the Wizarding World as a hero.
The Less-Iconic But Hilarious One Word Quote
Many fans would have “Always” as the best Severus Snape quote, and that line had more upvotes, getting bumped to second place by this line having fewer downvotes. There is no arguing how utterly brilliant this moment is, though.
Umbridge is perhaps the most abhorrent individual in the Harry Potter movies, but fans still loved seeing her take a dig at Snape. His response is so funny and delivered in such a typical Snape way that it is burned into the minds of fans. Even if it is not deemed the best by many, this quote is still fondly remembered by all Snape fans.
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