Alan Rickman and His Issue with Dumbledore’s Death in Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Alan Rickman (born 21st February 1946) is a well-established name in the film industry, best known for his role as Hans Gruber in 1988 classic ‘Die Hard’ and again rose to new heights of fame as Professor Severus Snape’ in the Harry Potter movie series, based on the book series originally written by J.K. Rowling. He closed his eyes forever on January 14th, 2016, at the age of 69, fighting a losing battle with pancreatic cancer. Since 1992, he is said to have kept a diary, recording meticulously a detailed account of his everyday life as an actor. The diary was published in 2016 under the title ‘Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries’.
In the climax scene of the movie, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Draco Malfoy (played by Tom Felton) is seen standing with his wand pointing at Albus Dumbledore (played by Richard Harris) with a terrified look on his face. Dumbledore is defenseless and tries to tell Draco to let him help him & not to make the same choices he once knew a boy made years ago, referring to Tom Marvolo Riddle aka the infamous Voldemort.
He retorts by saying “I don’t want your help, don’t you understand? I have to do this!”. Bellatrix Lestrange (played by Helena Bonham Carter) is seen in the background, pushing Malfoy to end him. Harry is seen witnessing the events from a crack in the floor below, where he encounters Snape. Draco shivers in his thoughts, scared, and just in time, Snape commands him ‘No’, walking behind him, and Draco obeys him instantly. Snape slowly points his wand, staggering within, while Dumbledore looks at him pleadingly. Coldly, but sternly, Severus utters the Killing Curse, ‘Avada Kevadra’, killing the headmaster of Hogwarts.
The ‘Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries’ reveal that Alan was unhappy with the way Dumbledore’s death scene had played out. It quotes “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 the individual characters’ concerns to understand their issues. Or care.” Here, he basically meant that the character’s wants or desires weren’t explicitly conveyed to the audience, since they wouldn’t be able to recall any of it and hence wouldn’t really bother to care even.
Although Rickman made it clear that he was not happy with the scene, he sure was contented with the character’s final plot, which as we all know now, is quite a noble one. In the end, Severus Snape dies epically, finally breaking the misunderstood image of him to be villainous. The difference between the book version and the movie version is when in a particular scene, Snape promises Draco’s mother to watch over her son. The line was ‘I gave my word, I made a vow’, which was removed at Snape’s personal request because he felt that any interaction between Draco’s mother and him would negatively impact the flow of the scene.
This was indeed a brilliant proposal to which even J.K. Rowling had agreed. A simple, dark, and silent death of one of the most important characters of the series would raise more questions about the killer, (especially when the killer is someone portrayed as distrustful & suspicious) and therefore create an extended bubble of excitement and anticipation for the fandom.
The book is about 457 pages, with a great rating of 4.2/5 from Goodreads and a perfect 5/5 from Waterstones. It is for sale on Amazon, with the hardcover version going for $27, and about $17 for the Kindle version, published by Henry Holt & Co.