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The Small Snape Detail You Likely Missed In Harry Potter

Few film franchises are as fertile a ground for lore, trivia fodder, and Easter eggs as the "Harry Potter" series. Over the course of eight movies — 11 if you count the first two "Fantastic Beasts" films and the forthcoming "Secrets of Dumbledore" sequel — more characters have been introduced, more stories told, and more bread crumbs dropped than in just about anything outside of the MCU. And fans have been analyzing, cataloging, and debating it all for more than two decades now.

As one might expect, Severus Snape (played by the late, great Alan Rickman) is a popular subject in this regard. The character is arguably one of the richest ever committed to celluloid and the written page: a person who is simultaneously a contemptible villain, the bravest of heroes, a maven of the mystical arts, and a tortured, fragile soul. His evolution and the backstory that unfolds from "Sorcerer's Stone" to "Deathly Hallows – Part 2" is Shakespearean in its twists and turns, and it was aided in no small part in the movies by Rickman's portrayal.

Nevertheless, even the biggest fans of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World are likely to have missed a thing or two about Hogwarts' longtime Potions Master and eventual headmaster, not to mention the actor who brought him to life. In fact, even one of the "Harry Potter" films' directors missed a key Snape detail that was right there, in plain sight, throughout the series.

Rickman shocked a director with contact lenses

Mike Newell, the BAFTA-winning director who helmed "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," was taken aback by Alan Rickman one day on set. Although he had worked with the actor previously, Newell found himself entranced by his eyes on this particular occasion. Little did he know that Rickman was wearing contacts to mimic the eyes J.K. Rowling described for Snape in her books.

"I was looking at him one day and I thought that, 'You've got startling eyes, which are such a kind of vibrant shade of brown that there's almost red in them,'" Newell said in a behind-the-scenes feature. "And I said to him ... 'I've never really noticed your eyes before.' And he said, 'Oh, uh, haven't you?' And he gave me the lenses that were in, and of course Snape has got weird eyes ... I simply hadn't ever suspected that."

Unless one had read the "Harry Potter" novels and worked to retain their words (or been extraordinarily familiar with Rickman's features), it would have been easy to overlook Snape's eyes. Nevertheless, pains were taken to ensure they evoked the character of the books. As relayed by The Harry Potter Lexicon, Snape's eyes are said to "glitter" in moments of great significance. And in Rowling's first book, they're described as being "black like Hagrid's," but lacking the gentle giant's warmth. "They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels" (Chapter 8).