This morning, my sister told me about the passing of Alan Rickman, the man who played (among many other roles) Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films.
And instantly I wanted to bawl.
I did bawl.
The thing is, I never met Alan Rickman. I don’t know him personally.
But I do know his life ended way too soon (he was only 69 years old) and that his calculating, greasy voice made him sound like the ultimate ‘bad guy’.
I know, too, that he was a stellar actor. And I love what he did with Severus Snape–a character we all loathed and loved, abhorred and admired. Or did we? I know how I feel about Snape, but what about my kids?
Snape is a fab character to analyze and study, whether you have five minutes or fifty.
So to honor of Alan Rickman’s life, I thought we’d have a little after school conversation about the character of Severus Snape.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Talking About Severus Snape With Kids — In Memory of Alan Rickman:
Really, friends, when you talk about literature with your kids, you want it to be easy.
Most of our kids spend about seven hours a day at school, so they don’t want more school when they come home. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to talk to them about interesting and meaningful topics, though.
It just means we have to be careful and smart.
And if your kid comes home crying for whatever reason or is sick or just isn’t digging the convo, then do it another time.
So when my kids come home today, I’ll start by talking about Alan Rickman.
I’ll show them these two photos and ask if they know who it is:
Then I’ll ask a few questions:
- What comes to mind when you think of Severus Snape?
- What are some of his character traits?
- Let’s think about and share some proof for those character traits.
- How would you describe Snape’s teaching? Would you like to have him as a teacher?
- Would you like to have Snape as a friend?
- How do you think Snape would be as a colleague, if you taught at Hogwarts?
- What would be an ideal course for Snape to teach?
A quick short about Snape:
Then I’d talk a little bit more about his character:
- What do we know for sure about Snape? What are some facts about his life?
- How does Snape feel about Harry? How do you know?
- Who are Snape’s friends?
- Who does Snape love? Who does he respect? Who does he fear?
- What other characters in books or movies reminds you of Snape?
- If you could say anything to Snape, what would you say? Why?
After a bit of discussion, it’s definitely worth taking a look at this video compilation of all important Snape scenes in chronological order.
This one is awesome. It’s about 15 minutes, so a little lengthy:
Follow up with a few more discussion points:
- Is Snape a static or dynamic character? That is, does he stay basically the same over time, or does he grow and change?
- If Snape could have a life ‘do-over’, what do you think he would do differently? Why?
- Many people argue that Snape is a the true hero of the Harry Potter series. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Who is ‘Albus Severus Potter’? Explain the meaning behind the name.
Alan Rickman and other actors on their roles:
Then maybe, just to give the kids a look behind the scenes, check out this bit about what happened one day while filming:
And another fun bit during filming:
A little bit about how Alan Rickman got the role:
What would you add? What am I missing?
I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions. And, if you choose to talk to your kids about Snape, let me know how it goes!
Do you want the printable to download? So you can discuss with your kids?
Here it is: snape discussion _ teachmama.com
Cheers, friends. And rest in peace, Alan Rickman.
Slytherin flag is flying at half mast today. Rest in peace to the man who played one of modern day literature’s most complex characters flawlessly. Alan Rickman, we felt every emotion for your Snape, but in the end, he was the one many loved the most. Thank you. Friends, it’s a great day to talk to your Harry Potter fans about Snape’s character in both the book and the movie. #alanrickman #snape #slytherin #halfbloodprince #harrypotterforever #raiseareader #