Apparently Alan Rickman had very Snape-like ‘frustrations‘ with Harry Potter

New revelations about Alan Rickman‘s commitment to doing right by the anti-hero of our childhoods will have Snape fans everywhere saying a solemn, “Always.”

Two years after the actor‘s death, reports that a collection of Rickman‘s personal letters are now up for auction at the ABA Rare Book Fair in London. They not only reveal that he had “frustrations” with the limitations of his character‘s story line in the movies, but also how much author J.K. Rowling appreciated his portrayal.

“Thank you for making HP2 a success,” wrote Harry Potter producer David Heyman in one letter. “I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”

The letter does get more specific. But in a note Rickman wrote himself on bring “Inside Snape‘s Head” in 2009 during production of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which delved into much of Snape‘s backstory) gives more hints. “It’s as if David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”

While still vague, it‘s reasonable to assume that Rickman‘s frustrations with his character‘s film adaptation are similar to those his fans had: his disturbing backstory and darkness were short-changed for a much more kid-friendly version. 

Throughout the series, Rowling drops clues to indicate that Snape was not only abused as a child, but also committed many atrocities during his time as a Death Eater as one of Voldemort‘s supporters. 

If you didn‘t cry during this scene with Snape in Deathly Hallows, you‘re worse than Voldemort

Image: warner bros.

In the Half-Blood Prince books, for example, Snape‘s unsettling backstory attraction to the dark arts was explored far more explicitly, through notes Harry discovers in the professor‘s old potion‘s book. But the films reduce his character‘s complex arc to essentially a couple (albeit devastatingly tragic) flashback sequences in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with Lily Evans.

In another letter to Rickman, though, author J.K. Rowling thanked him for bringing as many layers to the character as possible, and “doing justice to my most complex character.” Certainly, Rickman‘s portrayal was unanimously praised by fans and critics, becoming one of the most iconic and memorable parts of the films.

It would seem, even after both their deaths, we continue to find more hidden depth to both the actor and the character. Today, we feel like Dumbledore, amazed that “after all this time,” he can still surprise us.