Alan Rickman. Always.

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To me, he was Metatron, Voice of God in Dogma.

To me, he was Marvin, the depressed robot of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

To me, he was Absolem, the blue caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

But, above all, to me and so many around the world, Alan Rickman will always be Severus Snape, potions master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I woke to heartbreak this morning to hear that he was gone from this world. Far too early as far as I am concerned though no time would have been acceptable to me.

I came to the world of Harry Potter later than most. I was finishing up college when my significant other introduced me to the books. The movie was due to come out and we planned to go see it. It took me less than a day to read the first one. As I read, I pictured the characters as J.K. Rowling had described them. None had a famous face to go with it – except for one. Alan Rickman was immediately associated with Snape in my mind, and when I discovered that he was the actor playing the role, it seemed the only logical choice.

Snape was never my favorite. I was not one of the people who fell in love with him after we finally got his backstory in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But he was the character I loved to hate. The antagonist I could relate to. Everyone has a teacher that simply seemed unfair, and Snape represented that teacher.

It would have been so easy to hate Snape, but Alan Rickman gave him a soul. His performance was nuanced and subtle. Alan made me love Snape, even as I hated him. It was something with which he excelled. Many of his characters would not be considered outwardly lovable but because of the actor, you found yourself cheering for them in spite of yourself.

I never knew Alan Rickman, a fact that I am crying over today. Not one to cry over celebrities, this one is hitting me especially hard. He seemed like he would have been someone you could talk to for ages, a man who could discuss philosophy one minute and laugh over inappropriate jokes the next. But I never and will never know him, so while I mourn the loss of his art and talent, I leave the mourning for the man to those who knew and loved him best. They are probably hurting more today than any member of the Harry Potter fandom or any fan of his many films.

Albus Dumbledore said, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” Godspeed, Mr. Rickman, wherever this new adventure might take you. You are free from pain and illness now. And while you are gone from us, you will live on in the characters you played: in Colonel Bradley, in Han Gruber, in Alexander Dane and, of course, in Severus Snape. You will be in the hearts and minds of this generation, even in your absence.


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