Alan Rickman, Always

I didn’t even know that Alan Rickman had cancer until I heard the news that he had died on my local NPR station. Shock was the first emotion that passed over me. He was only 69 years old.

Then, memories of him throughout his acting career came to mind and I couldn’t help but smile. The range of his work alone is inspiring. I think of his comical role in Galaxy Quest and compare it to his depraved, distracted character in Love Actually.

But to me, to a girl from the Harry Potter generation, Alan will always be Snape. Always.

Let me be clear, I’m pretty obsessed with Harry Potter. I’ve read each of the books at least seven times, I’ve highlighted foreshadowing and delved into character meanings. My poor books look like they’ve been in a library for hundreds of years. And while I have a special connection with the well worn paper, I never warmed up to the movies.

I’ll watch them, but not without spontaneous outbreaks of “that’s NOT in the book. That’s fine, delete content for time but don’t make it up!” or “it would make so much more sense if they included that detail”. I can’t keep my mouth shut about why I don’t like them.

When I read the books, they are exactly the same as I imagined them when there were no movies. Except for Snape.

Harry is the boy with messy hair, Ron is gangly and actually has freckles, and Hermione is a bushy haired nerd. Dumbledore is a wise sage that takes on Voldemort fearlessly (hello 5th movie, you totally got it wrong). But Snape is Alan Rickman.

Maybe this is a tribute to how well he embodies the character of Snape: the dark eyes, the greasy hair, the mysterious but unyielding demeanor. He’s everything that we nerdy Potter fans could have hoped for.

When I read about Snape’s Memories, I see Alan Rickman holding the body of Lily Potter and crying into her hair. I feel my chest clinch as I realize how deeply he has loved. And how deeply he has lost. Alan taught us the greatest underlining theme in the Potter series, and I believe in life. Love conquers all.

So today, I raise my glass to Alan Rickman. An incredible actor, and the man who will always be our Snape.