Today, Harry Potter fans across the globe will mourn the death of Alan Rickman, the actor who portrayed the role of Severus Snape in all eight feature adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series. While Rickman will be remembered for other performances — including the villainous Hans Gruber of Die Hard and Metatron of Dogma, among others— Rickman holds a special place in the hearts of many Potter fans for his outstanding portrayal of one of the films’ most interesting and vital characters.

I wouldn’t be the first to nitpick the alterations and omissions of the Harry Potter films, I’m sure, but I also wouldn’t be the first to say that when it came to casting, the feature adaptations regularly nailed it with the actors selected to play the starring roles. Alan Rickman was no exception there. In fact, there are a number of reasons why Rickman was the perfect Severus Snape. Here they are (Harry Potter spoilers ahead!)

He was funny.
Though Severus Snape served as something of a nemesis to Harry Potter, thanks in large part to the grudge he held against Harry’s father, that didn’t mean there wasn’t any room for humor. We might even argue that the screen version of Snape gave us a bit more reason to laugh than his literary counterpart. And that's a credit, in large part, to Alan Rickman's ability to play up Snape's unlikable teacher-vibe, without being too goofy with it. It worked.

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