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There were a lot of theories circulating when the Harry Potter books were still being published, among which was the idea that Severus Snape was a vampire. J.K. Rowling addressed the subject of vampires in the latest essay to be released at Pottermore today, and she puts to bed any speculation that Snape was -- or was ever going to be -- a vampire.
Today's Pottermore riddle unlocks the "Slughorn's Party" page of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince section at J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter website. If you recall from the book, the professor's very exclusive party marks the appearance of a vampire named Sanguini, who skulks around the party creeping people out. Rowling uses this installment at Pottermore to discuss the subject of vampires, including the revelation that there was almost a vampire professor at Hogwarts named Trocar, but she decided not to include him. From there, Rowling is very clear that Trocar did not evolve to become Severus Snape at some point in the character development process. When speaking of the fan rumors about Severus Snape possibly being a vampire, Rowling says:
While it is true that he has an unhealthy pallor, and is sometimes described as looking like a large bat in his long black cloak, he never actually turns into a bat, we meet him outside the castle by daylight, and no corpses with puncture marks in their necks ever turn up at Hogwarts. In short, Snape is not a re-vamped Trocar.
Re-vamped. That's a fangtastic pun. Bloody brilliant, I tell you.
Fans had good reason to speculate over the true nature of Severus Snape. It wasn't just the things Rowling mentioned about his paleness and bat-like qualities that had fans theorizing. Harry's suspicions of Snape, and fears that he could read his mind, led fans to wonder if there was more to the professor than had been revealed. Of course, there was more to Snape than was revealed. Legilimency explained the mind-reading, and the rest of the mystery surrounding Snape, including the explanation for his disdain for Harry, was later explained when we came to understand the nature of Snape's relationship with Lily Evans and James Potter.
By the end of the last book, any suspicions that Snape might've been a vampire should have been sufficiently quelled, however, Rowling's latest update suggests that at no point was Snape ever supposed to be a vampire, nor did his character evolve from an early draft vampire character.
It's worth noting that vampires had not yet hit their more recent rise to popularity when J.K. Rowling was writing the Harry Potter books. This was the pre-Twilight era, after all. Of course, Twilight wasn't the absolute beginning of vampires in literature, as anyone who's read Dracula, Anne Rice's books or any other vampire-related literature can tell you. In this new "Vampires" essay, J.K. Rowling also sheds some light on her decision not to delve deeper into the subject of vampires in the Harry Potter books, by stating simply:
"The vampire myth is so rich, and has been exploited so many times in literature and on film, that I felt there was little I could add to the tradition."
So, there you have it. Though vampires are referenced on more than one occasion in the books, Sanguini is the sole representation as far as actual appearances go. Werewolves, on the other hand, were factored fairly prominently, including Remus Lupin, Fenrir Greyback and eventually Bill Weasley, the latter of whom took on lupine tendencies after being attacked by Fenrir, who was in human form at the time.
This vampire update is the latest in a series of updates offered by Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling, as Pottermore continues to debut Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to the site. Find out who Rowling feels guilty for killing off here, and get some interesting insight about potions here.