These past few weeks have been difficult for me, I watched one of the bravest men I knew pass away from Cancer in 2009 when I was just 24. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about my dad, but hearing about the recent deaths of Lemmy and David Bowie because of cancer, brings back lots of painful memories.
There was no disputing, that all those years ago, when JK Rowling first started penning the Harry Potter books that they’d be a hit. She created a world that was engaging and created characters that became like friends. In my opinion Severus Snape is one of the most complex characters in modern literature. His pale skin, lank hair and rich voice, the air of mystery that always surrounded him. JK Rowling left us wondering till the very last book what Snape’s true colours were. When all was revealed it was both beautiful and tragic.
When the books were adapted to films we were all, perhaps, too young to understand the importance of casting the right actors, but I know that when watching the films we knew all the right people had been selected. None more so than Alan Rickman. An actor who first came to my attention in the Die Hard film where he plays the eloquent bad guy Hans Gruber. As I grew up watching the Harry Potter films I was captivated by the subtleties he brought to the role of Snape, it was in the way he moved, the way he paused, his facial expression. Everything, that when reading the books, I could see so clearly in my mind, he was born to the play the role.
As I grew up I went on to watch Alan Rickman in other fantastic films such as Dogma, Love Actually and Sense and Sensibility. When I heard the news of his passing today, I was stopped in my tracks; I shed tears and felt like I had all the wind knocked out of me. The Harry Potter books were such a big part of my life when I was younger, they still are, and the films have kept me entertained through my teenage and adult years. He always brought a natural ability to any performance, his delivery of lines was impeccable and with Alan you could read it all in his eyes before he uttered a word. His portrayal of Snape, in my opinion, was one of his finest. It was like watching him step from the book and straight to the screen. He played the tragedy so well, that even now just typing this I feel fresh, warm tears spring to my eyes. I feel so fortunate, as a Harry Potter fan, to know that one of the finest British actors played one of the most intriguing literary characters ever to grace our lives and did it with so much finesse.
I’m finding it increasingly difficult to write, but I thank you Alan Rickman for sharing your talent with the world. I don’t share this with a lot of people but I was re-reading the Deathly Hallows when my father died, I couldn’t sleep the night before the funeral because I didn’t want time to pass till I had to say my last goodbye. I believe that book gave me strength to get through that horrific day and it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to the man who brought the literary equivalent of “the bravest man I knew” to life.
“Look…at…me” he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.”
Rest in peace Alan Rickman, and my thoughts go to your family and friends at what I know is a truly heart-breaking time.