I really hope it doesn't take celebrity deaths for me to a) write on this blog and b) work on my design skills. But y'all, ALAN RICKMAN. My heart can't take it. He was, hands down, one of my favorite actors of all time. And he was in three of my all-time favorite movies: Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, and Harry Potter. Yes, all 8 HP movies count as my number one all-time favorite movie. I am listening to the 7th movie soundtrack as we speak.
It amazes me every day what a profound effect art can have on the human soul, whether it be written, visual, or auditory art. Books teach us lessons. Music makes us hope. Movies tell stories we either wish we could be a part of, or help us know we aren't alone. So when an artist that gave us all these emotions and meaning leaves us, of course we feel it. We grieve as if we knew the person; we shake our fists at the sky and say, "Why can't you just take Donald Trump instead?!" Because we feel a connection to this person, this person who created just for us.
Alan Rickman had a funny way of getting cast as the villain frequently. But he didn't just play an antagonist. He played villains we found ourselves rooting for. Villains we found ourselves defending. We waited with baited breath as we waited to see whether Rickman's villains would find a way to redeem themselves. I believe every Harry Potter fan let out a collective sigh of relief towards the end of Deathly Hallows, book or movie.
For those of us that read the HP books before the rest of the movies came out, Alan Rickman was not just Alan Rickman playing Severus Snape. Alan Rickman was Professor Snape. Every quip out of his mouth, every mention of his greasy black hair, every hook-nosed description, painted a perfect picture of Alan Rickman in our minds.
For those that watched the movies before (or GASP! instead of) the books, the same can be said. Professor Snape and Alan Rickman were one. The following is a "goodbye letter" Alan Rickman penned for Empire Magazine about finishing up the franchise.
If ever there was a time to say "I can't even", it is now.
In Love Actually, Rickman played Harry, a daft fool who cheats on Emma Thompson. No one likes a cheater. Especially someone who cheats on Emma Thompson. And yet, I found myself pulling for him. Look at his face, his sad, dumb face as his wife calls him out at HIS CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT. How can you not feel bad for that stupid idiot who cheated on Emma Thompson?
I guess I should point out before getting to the ultimate villain that Alan Rickman has a killer acting range. In Sense and Sensibility, he plays Colonel Brandon, a handsome AF military man with a killer hat and a love for poetry. Be still my freakin' heart, kids. Tell me there's an actor that looks better on a horse than Alan Rickman. Impossible. Colonel Brandon gets friendzoned probably harder than anyone in literature ever. And yeah, I know we are supposed to want Kate Winslet to get with Willoughby, and maybe I did when I read the book. But how do you say no to Alan Rickman's gorgeous flowing locks and did I mention the killer hat? I did a pretty mediocre job of drawing it in my banner at the top. I suggest googling it. Hot damn. Anyway, Colonel Brandon was the one I was rooting for throughout the whole movie, and I believe that is because of Alan Rickman and his ability to make the friendzone look like a cool place to hangout, if only so I could spend my time there running my hands through his luscious locks.
In Die Hard, he plays one of the greatest movie villains of all time. Tell me you didn't, at some point, kinda hope Hans Gruber would blow up the world and take that whiny Bruce Willis with him. The guy said:
"And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer."
And he made everyone think Hans Gruber said that super genius thing and not Plutarch, the actual philosopher who said it which I know from my philosophy class (and Google.)
Alan Rickman made these characters believable. We believed everything out of his mouth. Because Alan Rickman was not a man playing a part. He was the character. He was Hans Gruber; he was (hell, I'll say it, IS) Professor Snape. So yes. When a celebrity, like this amazing man, leaves us, we grieve. Because we aren't losing just the person. We are losing all the potential they still had. All the characters they still had to play; all the art they still had to create.
And, on a personal note, I'm not only losing one of my favorite actors, a man who made acting look so effortless, so easy, so attainable. I'm losing a tiny bit of the Professor, too. I've said goodbye to Snape many times. In print, on screen... over and over, each time I reread or rewatch. And now, I feel like I have to say goodbye to him again.
But maybe that's the beauty in it. I get to say goodbye over and over. I get to spend a night with greatness as often as I want.
Whether it's Bowie or Rickman, or maybe all these goodbyes have reminded you of your favorite artist you've had to say goodbye to, just know that they will never be truly gone. They left behind a legacy. And it was all for us. It was all for you. Always.
PS. I fully believe in this whole celebrity death in threes thing so I'm gonna need y'all to check on Julie Andrews. Make sure Maggie Smith has been to the doctor recently. And for god's sake, someone tell Ian McKellen he SHALL NOT PASS.