What started to seem like a cruel joke to the late actor turned out to have a bittersweet ending.
The late Alan Rickman had mixed feelings about his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. His feelings about the worldwide phenomenon and his role in it wavered throughout his time with the franchise.
In his diary entries, recently published by The Guardian, Rickman’s devotion to his character was notable, but he was also reluctant to lock himself into a long-running franchise.
After attending the premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2001, Rickman wrote, “The film should only be seen on a big screen. It acquires a scale and depth that matches the hideous score by John Williams. Party afterwards at the Savoy is much more fun.”
Rickman did have a better time at the 2004 world premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
“Arriving at Radio City was like being a Beatle. Thousands of fans screamed as we got out of cars. Mostly for Daniel Radcliffe but a rush for everyone,” Rickman wrote. “Not to mention walking out onto the stage of 6,000.”
The change of attitude was a clear sign of the things to come for Rickman’s future in the franchise, although he didn’t want that future to continue after the second installment of the series was released.
In 2002, Rickman wrote that he’d spoken to his agent after the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, writing, “Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.”
After the actor had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005, Rickman decided to see his character’s journey to its end.
“Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down,” Rickman wrote. “The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.’”
Rickman wrote that he felt pleased after reading the final book of the series and learning how J.K. Rowling brought his character’s story to an end.
“Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus,” wrote Rickman.
When recalling the 2011 premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Rickman wrote, “To Trafalgar Square—which takes an hour. Once there, red carpets everywhere. A screen, a platform, an interviewer and thousands screaming and singing, ‘Snape, Snape, Severus Snape…’ The carpet snakes into Leicester Square for the film at 8 p.m. I found [the film] unsettling to watch—it has to change horses midstream to tell the Snape story and the camera loses concentration. Audience, however, very happy.”
I remember watching Snape’s story for the first time. The tears were endless, yet I found appreciation for the character that I had deemed as the bad guy early on in the franchise, much like most fans and Harry Potter did. While Rickman’s feelings at the beginning were sour, he learned to love the character’s journey just as much as the fans did.
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