Remembering Alan Rickman

by Carly McDevitt

People and wizards of all ages mourned Jan 14th when actor Alan Rickman lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 69.

While Rickman starred in movies like Die Hard (1988), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), he was best known for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series. A twisted character who walks the line between good and evil, Snape was respected by all Harry Potter fans. Rickman’s acting was dark and cryptic, mysterious and enigmatic. He brought to life the character of Snape.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were always a part of my childhood. I received the first and second books of the series for Christmas in third grade and remember being instantly hooked. I rode my bike alone for the first time to the public library (a big step in my life, traveling on my bike somewhere alone) to check out the third and fourth books. And then the fifth and sixth books. And then the seventh. When I was done, I reread the series. These books traveled with me to many different places: on the flight to my grandparents house in Florida, on the beach down in Long Beach Island, and on countless late nights when I couldn’t sleep.

While the movies are quite different than the books (as it always is when a novel is recreated into a film) they are still an integral part of the Harry Potter experience. Whenever FreeForm has a “Harry Potter weekend,” my sister and I must record them. A Harry Potter movie is always the perfect thing to watch on a rainy or snowy day. What’s more, they never get old to watch, and even the most dedicated fan catches themselves noticing new details.

There was something about the way Rickman portrayed Snape that was special…and perfect. Perhaps it was his deep and eerie voice. Or maybe it was his physical appearance; strong dark eyes and a crooked nose, just as the character Snape is in the books. In a thank you letter written in 2011 to Rowling, Rickman said, “There was more to Snape than an unchanging costume.” In a Jan 14th tweet Rowling wrote: “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man…We have all lost a great talent.”

While we have lost a great talent, we have also lost a piece of our childhood. Rickman’s role of Professor Snape will always be valued by the Harry Potter community. As he once said in a conversation with Director David Yates, “The point about a great story is that it’s got a beginning, a middle and end.” I guess this is the end, Alan Rickman. Thank you for a great story.

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