Yesterday my friend and I went for lunch, as we sat and chatted her phone buzzed, she glanced at the screen to see a message a friend had sent her.
“Alan Rickman died.”
In that simple sentence our mouths dropped open and we started at each other in disbelief.
After confirming online that the sad news was in fact true, that the actor had passed away at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer, we sat together recalling the great actor and both feeling a shared saddness.
For myself knowing Alan Rickman naively only came from his work as Severus Snape in Harry Potter. Though I remember a few years ago, having Love Actually playing on in the background and my head snapping up when I heard his iconic voice, though it took me a few minutes to place the voice to the face as he was unrecognisable without the greasy bop of dark hair.
It’s only after his passing that I’ve been enlightened of his other work. He was the voice for the Caterpillar in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland in 2010. He also played Eamon DeValera in the 1996 Irish film Michael Collins alongside Liam Neeson. This is only a very limited account of the actors long list of movies.
I first read Harry Potter when I was twelve, I cherished these books and felt protective of them and would argue at great lengths with anyone who questioned that they were ‘only alright.’ I loved Mrs Weasly, I shipped Ron and Hermoine like there was no tomorrow and I despised Snape.
Yet when I came to the sixth book and more was revealed about Snape’s character and why he was such a miserable soul, my heart went out to him and he officially became the ‘misunderstood character.’ (I don’t want to give away any spoilers, in case anybody hasn’t read the book yet.)
Naturally after the books I progressed to the movies and it was clear from the start that no better person then Alan Rickman could play the role of the hated Professor. It was like he had been plucked straight from the book and placed in the film. He did the character justice from start to finish and I still cry every time I re watch his final scene.
When you grow up with these characters and the people who bring them to life, you just assume they will live forever. Now that Alan Rickman has left us, it feels like a piece of Harry Potter has been torn away as well.
In a letter Alan Rickman wrote to JK Rowling, after he completed his decade long journey with her and the Harry Potter cast he said:
“It is an ancient need to be told in stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.”
Alan Rickman was also a storyteller, he was a storyteller in his acting and his words.
He will be sorely missed.