The Harry Potter franchise was a monumental undertaking, condensing over 3,000 pages and one million words into eight blockbuster films. Naturally, some scenes didn’t make the final cut, and among them, one stands out as a significant loss for fans: a deleted scene featuring Severus Snape. It’s a moment of quiet introspection that speaks volumes without a single line of dialogue.
Known to fans as ‘In Noctem’ and cut from Half-Blood Prince, this scene showcases Alan Rickman’s incredible talent, highlighting why he was a cornerstone of the Harry Potter ensemble. Set in the eerily calm hours before Dumbledore’s death, Professor Flitwick leads the school choir in song, while various characters sense an unsettling atmosphere in the stormy air.
Draco Malfoy grapples with the murder he’s been tasked with, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger peer out of a window, and Snape is shown gazing ahead. Rickman skillfully conveys a range of emotions across his face, and the lighting choices underscore the hero-villain duality that defines Snape. It’s a moment of beauty and poignancy.
It’s likely that this scene fell victim to the decision to trim much of the Battle of the Astronomy Tower from the film. Without the climactic showdown, a scene of foreboding preparation might have felt somewhat flat and overdramatic.
Additionally, this scene might have been considered a bit too revealing of Snape’s true nature, with the interplay of light and shadow on his face mirroring his moral journey. The shock of Snape’s act of violence in killing Dumbledore is a pivotal moment, one where audiences collectively decide that Snape is a treacherous figure aligned with Voldemort. Dumbledore’s trust in him is seen as a grave misjudgment.
It’s only in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 when we delve into the Pensieve and learn the profound meaning of the word “Always,” that we grasp the truth of Dumbledore’s demise. Had we witnessed Snape’s contemplation prior to the battle, his violent act might not have carried the same devastating impact.
This scene epitomizes the divide between fans who had read the books and those who eagerly awaited each film to unravel the plot. For those who already knew Snape’s ultimate fate, ‘In Noctem’ would have been a moment of profound emotion.
In any case, it’s an unusual scene that doesn’t quite align with the overall tone of the series, impressive as it is. Nevertheless, with a Harry Potter TV series on the horizon, it might be worthwhile for the creators to consider incorporating a version of ‘In Noctem,’ even though it won’t be the same without the late Alan Rickman.