by Kim Van Sickler
I almost didn't profile this character for the Secondary Characters Bloghop...because I figured everyone would choose him. His book portrayal was complicated and riveting, and his on-screen presence blew me away.
I'm talking about Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.
Here's our first glimpse of him in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Professor Quirrell, in his absurd turban, was talking to a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin.
It happened very suddenly. The hook-nosed teacher looked past Quirrell's turban straight into Harry's eyes — and a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on Harry's forehead.
"Ouch!" Harry clapped a hand to his head.
"What is it?" asked Percy.
The pain had gone as quickly as it had come. Harder to shake off was the feeling Harry had gotten from the teacher's look — a feeling that he didn't like Harry at all.
Is Snape friend or foe? Voldemort's right hand or a wizard who renounced the Dark Arts and is acting as Dumbledore's spy?
We, the readers, teeter back and forth through seven whole books. He hates Harry Potter. Look at how he picks on him in Potions class! But he's teaching him to steel his mind against Voldemort. Yes, he's hard on Harry during those classes, but isn't it so that Harry will succeed? Except that we learn that Harry's father bullied Snape! Of course that's reason enough for Snape to hate Harry and wish him harm. But Snape loved Harry's mother! That's reason enough for him to feel protective of her son!
I am going to go so far as to say that the BIG QUESTION of whether Snape is good or evil is the most suspenseful character mystery of all time!
Even when we think we know the answer, there's more information to come that turns what we thought on its head. This man has more layers than a wasps' nest.
As if J.K. Rowling's character development of Snape isn't perfect enough, along comes actor Alan Rickman to bring him to the movie screen. That oily, caressing, condescending voice of his! It sends thrills down my spine! That straight black hair! So severe, yet it frames that expressive face like a curtain. That face! Sexy, yet repulsive at the same time! OMG! I love him and hate him. One thing for sure, he steals every scene he's in.
He knew what a treasure trove he'd been given. The role challenged him so much as an actor that when it was over, he took out a full-page ad to thank J.K. Rowling for writing it.
Severus Snape...scintillating...meaty...complicated. A character study in contrasts. Bloody brilliant.