Saying Goodbye to a Legend

A Tribute to Alan Rickman

Abigail Guadnola, Ad Manager

How do you say goodbye to a legend? Or anyone for that matter? With the emergence of a legend or even a best friend, comes the knowledge that they will die, as all humans do. But it hurts when it happens.

On January 14, 2016 news broke that Alan Rickman died of cancer at 69 years old. Rickman starred in multiple well known films such as Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, “Love Actually”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Die Hard” and perhaps most notably every movie in the world famous series, “Harry Potter”. Rickman was known for more than just his portrayal of Severus Snape, however where his acting most affected a generation was in “Harry Potter”; he wasn’t an actor portraying a character, he was Professor Snape.

Snape as a character is an emotional mess and especially at the end of the series is incredibly confusing, Rickman portrayed Snape down to his snarky attitude and his complex detest of Harry Potter. I remember when I was younger and watching Rickman I could not watch anything he was in because he was Snape. Rickman touched lives through his performance as Snape. He portrayed all of the real emotions Snape felt such as loss, anger, blame, jealousy, rage, hurt and depression. Somehow he became the character we as a fandom felt for most of all, because we’d all been through something like Snape, and Rickman gave us someone to identify with. From the first moment we met him in the Great Hall in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” he was Snape. I will forever sit my children down to watch Harry Potter and tell them all about how Snape is truly one of the most genius characters ever created and how Rickman took acting to a new level.

I think what many do not understand about the mourning of Rickman inside the “Harry Potter” fandom is this, people like Rickman who take on the persona of our favorite characters have seen us through the darkest of times. If a character helped us through something like depression, the actor is that character. Those people we mourn were our rock, they were the people who though they did not know us personally, they were our best friends. When we were kids sitting alone with just our imaginations they were the ones who helped us take flight, they took care of us when no one seemed to have time to, and when we’d struggle to press on it was as if they stood by us and took each step with us towards smiling. Rickman was one of those actors who did more than just portray a character on screen, he was our shoulder to cry on and our hand to hold when we felt lost. That is why Rickman is so lifted up within the fandom, we lost a friend, not an actor.  

We know we can’t keep our favorite people by us for long, but the day they are gone it hits us just how much they meant to us. Rickman helped to create a generation of dreamers, of people who are inspired by the struggles they watched Rickman portray as Snape. Rickman was captivating, he was someone you could watch for hours, and we did. We still will. The dreamers will sit down with our children, and our grandchildren and we will tell of Harry Potter. We will tell them of snape, we will tell them of the man who made one of the most complex characters created come to life. We will speak of the incredible man that Rickman was, and we will smile at his memory. Rickman will live on in the memory of every potterhead, his legacy will not die, and he will be remembered, “Always”.

So if this is saying goodbye to the legend Alan Rickman, I suppose all I have left to say is this-

Rest in Peace Alan, you are missed, thank you for everything.