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Why Alan Rickman Signed up as Snape, as Explained by J K Rowling

  | January 19, 2016 11:26 IST (New Delhi)
Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in a still from Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince

"I told Alan what lies behind the word 'Always'." J K Rowling was alluding to a scene in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows where Professor Dumbledore asks Snape if he has "grown to care for the boy (Harry Potter), after all" and Snape then shows him his Patronus, which is a doe, a reflection of Lily Evans Potter

British actor Alan Rickman, who was claimed by cancer last week, was adored by a generation of young fans for bringing to life Severus Snape, the dour Professor of Potions in the Harry Potter universe who starts off unpleasant but ends as a tragic hero. In a Twitter chat, Harry Potter creator J K Rowling has revealed how she convinced the actor to play the morally ambiguous role.
Ms Rowling replied to a question from a fan:

Ms Rowling was alluding to a scene in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows where Professor Dumbledore asks Snape if he has "grown to care for the boy (Harry Potter), after all" and Snape then shows him his Patronus, which is a doe, a reflection of Lily Evans Potter. (Also Read: To Alan Rickman, With Love and Respect From Harry, Ron, Hermione)
When Dumbledore asks him, "All this time?," Snape's answer is, "Always," referring to his unrequited love for Lily, Harry's mother. In that moment, invoked from Snape's memory, both Harry and fans realise that their loathing for Snape is entirely misplaced. It is an epiphany in the Potter narrative.
Long back, when the Potter films and books were in the initial stages, Mr Rickman had told the media that to convince him to play the role Ms Rowling revealed to him that there is "more to Snape than an unchanging costume."
Alan Rickman, 69, lost a battle with cancer on January 14.

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