January 14 marks the three-year anniversary of the death of beloved actor Alan Rickman. Rickman, who graced both the stage and the screen during his spanning career as an actor, suffered a minor stroke which led to his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer – that proved to be terminal. The actor has been remembered by adoring fans for his portrayals in Love Actually and Dogma, but it was his recurring performance as Professor Severus Snape that was perhaps Rickman’s most revered role of all time.
Though Rickman’s version of Snape in every scene of the Harry Potter films was iconic, below are the top five scenes starting Alan Rickman as Professor Snape.
1. The very first potions class (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
Rickman’s Snape was introduced slowly in the first film, but watching him bash into the room — robes flying about as he does so — gave fans a chill down their spine. He immediately starts firing off directives and singles out Harry, asking him a handful of difficult questions on his first day of school. Anyone who had first-day-of-school jitters could relate, and it set the tone for the tumultuous relationship between the two.
2. His stint as a substitute teacher for Defense Against The Dark Arts class (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Robes flying about yet again as Rickman slammed the door upon his arrival, shuttering windows with a flick of his wand and stomping through the classroom until he reached the podium. He delivered the famous line, “turn to page 394,” before ripping points from Gryffindor for questioning his teaching methods and calling Hermione an “insufferable know-it-all.” He perfectly executes the “394” line yet again, letting the students know he means business.
3. Saving Harry and the gang’s life from the werewolf (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Professor Lupin, who we learn is part werewolf, does his very dramatic change into the beast and immediately begins to inch toward Harry, Ron, and Hermione. When Snape arrives with his usual dramatic flair, he sees the three students and instantly reacts in anger toward them before noticing that they were under attack. He protectively puts the youngsters behind him, shielding them with his arms. His protective nature toward the kids, even when he holds Hermione back from chasing after Harry, warmed fans’ hearts — especially those who read the book and knew what was to come.
4. Forcing Harry and Ron to pay attention during study hours (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
In a scene where Rickman needed to use no words to flex his acting chops, he still comes across as one of the finest actors of our time. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are embroiled in a typical teenage conversation about who they are taking as dates to the Yule Ball, and every time Snape catches them amongst whispers, he uses several tactics to get the teens to pay attention. From whacking the boys on the top of their heads to peering out from behind a book to eavesdrop on them, and rolling up his sleeves just before pushing their heads forward toward their lessons — Rickman’s stoic yet comedic performance showed the late actor’s versatility in his craft
5. Giving Harry his memories just before his death, and the revelation that Snape loved Lilly Potter thus protecting Harry from any harm (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
In perhaps the most remembered, sprawling scene in the entire series, Rickman’s Snape is near death as he quietly asks Harry to collect his tears, and thus, his memory. In a tear-filled performance by Rickman, fans of the series get to see the softer side of Snape, who it is revealed has spent his time at Hogwarts silently protecting Harry. Rickman softly delivered the line, “you have your mother’s eyes,” to Harry. In a second scene, Harry sees the lengths that Snape went through to honor his mother, who Snape loved, and the wishes that she had for her child before her death.
In the accompanying flashback scene, we see a meeting between Snape and Dumbledore where the Hogwarts’ headmaster advises Snape that, in the end, Harry must die. Between Snape’s shocked reaction and his throwing of the doe patronus, Dumbledore realizes that every move Snape has made was in tribute to the love of his life, Lilly Potter.
“After all this time,” Dumbledore said to Snape, watching him through narrowed eyes.
“Always,” Snape responded sadly.
The duo of gripping scenes is so delicately performed by Rickman that fans where left blubbering in their seats, and the tribute of “always” on social media in regards to Rickman’s passing has been shared by fans of both Rickman and Severus Snape, even three years later.