As we all now know, Alan Rickman has passed away.
To say a light is gone from this world is an understatement. And although I didn’t know him in the way his friends and family did. I like to think I knew him well enough.
For those of us of the Harry Potter generation, Alan Rickman was Severus Snape. For me, although I grew up with the books, I truly grew up with the movies. I was eight when the first movies came out—it was that movie that gave me the courage to stand up to quite literal bullies—and I saw the last Harry Potter movie the summer before I went to college. I remember the tears, the sighs, the cheers. It was the midnight premiere so of course the theater was packed with friends, strangers, fear, and love. And when Snape died… when Snape was brutally murdered, I remember thinking now there’s a hero. And for his dedication, his loyalty, his service, he paid the ultimate price so Harry, so others could live.
I have always been a Snape fan. I remember being teased by friends when I claimed in the lunchroom that Snape was good. No one believed me then. Heck, there are still those who question why Harry named his son after him. Dumbledore, they get. Snape, why him?
Alan Rickman brought Snape to life. He breathed life into a character, making my love turn to adoration and respect. I imagined him not only as Harry’s guardian angel and teacher but as mine too. I mimicked his cool sarcasm, I took on his stoic persona. With his help, I made it through middle school and high school, too. He expected excellence and would accept nothing less. He told me to never be afraid to stand up to bullies and what I believed in. He held us the highest of standards; he taught us that, in the end, staying true to our values and our character must always be worth the sacrifices required.
Alan Rickman embodied Severus Snape, a man who was a hero, who made a mark on the lives of others, yet never gets the thanks he deserves. I like to imagine him being offered the part of Severus Snape and thinking children around the world will hate me for years but one day they’ll love me and it’ll be worth it.
So today I raise my wand to you, Mr. Rickman. Thank you for changing my life and for showing me that a hero isn’t defined by how well liked they are. A hero is defined by their willpower to stay the course even if it means they’ll never be honored for the good they have done.
Thank you for my childhood. Thank you for giving me strength when I needed it most. Thank you for being my light in the darkest of times. Thank you for touching the lives of so many, including my own. You were the best of role models. You shall always be remembered.
Rest in power, Alan Rickman. Rest in peace.