Alan Rickman Disliked How Certain Harry Potter Death Scene Was Written


Alan Rickman disliked one of the Harry Potter series’ most climactic deaths in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Rickman starred as Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter films, leaving a sizable impression on the series and its fandom as the intimidating professor and boss of House Slytherin. He died in 2016 of pancreatic cancer, and his memory is preserved by such roles as Snape, Die Hard antagonist Hans Gruber, and many more performances across film, TV, and theater.


Rickman was impactful in the role as Snape, and he was publicly grateful for his experience with the cast and crew. However, there were points of tumult, and he considered leaving the role to be recast after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Following his death, an auction of his belongings unearthed a personal letter sent to Rickman by producer David Heyman, revealing that Rickman felt Snape was still underdeveloped after two movies – fortunately, he stayed on, even while battling cancer. Rickman was the secretly entrusted with information about emerging narratives by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and it’s possible he felt the filmmakers’ vision was at odds with the reality or significance of Snape’s arc.

Related: Why Alan Rickman Was The Only Actor To Get Harry Potter Spoilers

Insider published a passage from the upcoming collection of Rickman’s diaries, Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, that touches on a sequence in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which Snape kills Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) with the unmistakable death spell, “Avada Kedavra.” Dumbledore’s death marked the start of act three of the Harry Potter saga, but Rickman wrote that the moment was not done justice. He also wrote that he successfully argued to cut one of his own pithy lines from the scene. Read Rickman’s passage below:

The scene seems oddly lacking in drama — on the page — but that is absolute cause and effect of screenplays that have to conflate (deflate) the narrative. We don’t know — or remember — enough about individual characters’ concerns to understand their issues. Or care.

How Dumbledore’s Death Scene Could’ve Been Improved

The scene is actually dense with conflict, as the thought of Snape as double agent begins to percolate in the audience’s mind when he does not expose a hiding Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) before committing the murder. This brief interaction between Snape and Harry, likely only fully understood by viewers who had read the books, doesn’t pay off until the final book and film, when Snape reveals his true, good-natured intentions. Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is simultaneously confronted with the prospect of killing in the name of dark magic for the first time, until Snape finishes the job for him, striking Dumbledore down. Rickman’s analysis, that viewer’s can’t “remember” the stakes of Snape killing Dumbledore, is reportedly a reference to the fact that the cast had grown to include too many characters.

In the books, Dumbledore’s death still comes by Snape’s hand, but Snape never appears before Harry, keeping his turncoat status secret. Also in the book, Harry is powerless at the hands of a paralytic spell issued onto him by Dumbledore. The film’s depiction of Harry backing down to Snape in this context is unlike his character. When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released as a film in 2009, the final book in the series was already available, making Snape’s true fate public knowledge. Placing a vague Easter egg hinting at Snape’s allegiance just before Dumbledore’s death serves to confuse those who were not in the know.

Next: Alan Rickman Quitting As Snape Would Have Killed The Harry Potter Movies

Source: Insider


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