Alan Rickman had played many characters in his almost 40-year career, but none have been as beloved, as well as misunderstood as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.
The raven-haired Potions Professor and former Head of Slytherin House (more or less the semi-evil true blood students/profs at Hogwarts) was, up until the final film in the series, The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, considered a villain and threat to Harry Potter's ultimate goal. (His constant belittling and haranguing of students definitely didn't help.)
However, in this video, which has been making its rounds online for a few days, we get to see Snape's
scenes life play out in chronological order, which, sure, takes away a bit of the mystery behind his past and source of his animosity towards Harry, but it reveals his true nature as not only the one appointed by Dumbledore to protect "the boy", but as a caring, selfless, and complicated character.
Even though this video by YouTube user kcawesome13 was published on January 9th, it has risen to over 13M views since the actor's passing on the 14th. It's difficult to think of anyone else playing a character like Snape -- cold, sarcastic, and bitter, but also heroic, loyal, and loving. In fact, despite Snape's incredible ability to be so hated and adored at the same time by the audience, primarily because of his aloofness and near-childish rivalry with/bitterness toward Harry, we have to remember that Snape gave everything, even his life, to the very thing that saved Harry's life: love. (It gets deeper the more you think about it -- so many people died to save Harry's life -- essentially his mother Lily and Snape died doing the same exact thing.)
The character that Rickman embodied has gained such a powerful following, and the formally trained actor (he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), brought an incredible nuance to the troubled boy, the bitter professor, and ultimately, the loyal guardian -- a bit of Shakespeare at Hogwarts. We will never have another character quite like Severus Snape -- probably because we will never have another actor quite like Rickman.