Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Spinner's End
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|Permanent Residents||Severus Snape|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince|
The house at Spinner's End, a gloomy house with a book-lined parlour, is the home of Severus Snape.
We first see this house when Narcissa Malfoy, followed by Bellatrix Lestrange, her sister, visit Snape in an attempt to get Snape's promise that he will help Narcissa's son Draco with the mission that has been set for him by the Dark Lord. We find Snape in residence, along with Peter Pettigrew, who has been sent to Spinner's End to assist Snape, and is most annoyed that Snape treats him as a servant. Pettigrew does try to listen in on their conversation, but Snape, knowing he is there, fires a spell through the bookcase and into the secret staircase where Pettigrew is hiding, sending him away.
We later find out that Snape is not the only character from the books in this particular down-at-its-heels mill town. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn that Snape had been friends with Lily Evans (who later became Harry's mother), and had known Petunia Evans (Harry's Aunt Petunia) as well.
We never learn much beyond the fact that Spinners' End is overshadowed by a large factory smoke stack, and that the entire neighbourhood is very run-down. From Snape's memories in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn that Snape grew up in an impoverished family; the descriptions of this, his childhood home, seem to be of a piece with this. It is uncertain whether Snape's childhood home was planned out in any detail before we are first introduced to it in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as it could have been as easily sketched in to fit Snape's character, as his character could have been designed in part to have sprung out of this background.
One fan site has put together a reasonably compelling argument that Spinner's End is actually located in the north of England, near Manchester. Factors contributing to this argument are the winding river (suggesting plains), the fact that the river is polluted and evidently has a tow path or similar flat area alongside, stated distance from London, lack of gentrification, cobblestone streets, and brick terraced houses. They further point to Snape's word use (describing Mundungus Fletcher as "smelly", and use of the term "dunderhead"), and his abrasive character as being characteristic of the North, where rudeness, called "being blunt" is considered a sign of honsety.
It is uncertain how completely Snape's childhood was defined when the first few books were written. We do know that Snape's childhood was mapped out to some extent as early as the start of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as Petunia refers then to a conversation that she had with Snape; and we believe that it had been planned, to some extent, even earlier than that, as the relationship between Lily and Snape is a critical part of Snape's personality and relationship with Harry in particular, and Gryffindor House in general. While it is clear that Snape and the Evans family must have lived in the same town, given Snape's early and unrequited love for Lily, we cannot know when the environs of Spinners' End were finalized; it is, however, reasonable to guess that Snape's character would have to be at least partly shaped by poverty, which would require that the necessary frame for Spinners' End be in place from the beginning of the series.