It’s been a rough month for celebrity losses. For “Harry Potter” fans (and movie fans in general), the passing of Alan Rickman from cancer at the age of 69 was particularly difficult. His career as an actor was incredible and I’ve loved everything he’s done. But as a geek and a lover of all things “Harry,” I’ll always think of him first as Professor Snape.
I think there is something that is undeniably compelling about a character that is hated or feared, revealing something that makes them sympathetic. I think that’s why we love them so much. We’re waiting for the villain to show us their soft underbelly. Snape had that. He loved Harry’s mother Lily. It affected everything he did. It was why he protected Harry. It’s why he did what he did for Dumbledore. When Snape produces his Patronus charm and it’s the same as Lily’s, Dumbledore says, “After all this time?” Snape replies, “Always.”
Rickman has revealed in the past that “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling gave him information about the role that no one else had to convince him to take the job. This week, she revealed what exactly she told him on Twitter. She tweeted, “I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always.’”
There was a quote attributed to Rickman where he says he’ll be reading “Harry Potter” when he’s 80 in his rocking chair and that when his family asked, “After all this time?” he’ll reply, “Always.” Though there is no evidence that he actually said that, I think most of us will be doing that ourselves.
Knowing that Rickman knew Snape was in love with Lily and that it informed every bit of his performance is the perfect reason to go back and watch the “Harry Potter” films again.