What a week!
It’s the sort of week that only a Harry Potter movie can sooth.
First it was David Bowie, then Alan Rickman, and finally it was the death of Celine Dion’s long-time manager and husband Rene Angelil. This cancer is a real jerk.
I am a fan of some Bowie songs and I am glad Dion was discovered, but it was the news of Alan Rickman’s death, on Thursday morning that threw me for a loop. All these men were no longer young, but still it was the dreaded cancer that took them from their families and from fans around the world too soon.
Of course I did not need this sad occasion, or any occasion at all, to get me to watch a Harry Potter movie marathon. As it is fifteen years since he first played the role of Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, this time I am watching and paying particular attention to the brilliant Alan Rickman’s portrayal of one of the favourite literary characters ever created in my opinion.
This is a beautiful overview of Snape’s story.
Tributes have been pouring in, from fellow actors and fans alike, since the news broke suddenly of Alan Rickman’s passing from cancer, at age sixty-nine, on Thursday, January 14th.
Of course this isn’t really him,
in this fake guest voice spot on Family Guy,
but his voice was always so well-known. I’d like to think he wouldn’t have been offended by it.
I did not think of him as a joke. I saw only dedication in the roles he played. I just needed to smile from something since I heard he’d passed away and the clip from Family Guy came back to me.
The tributes, as I say, have been coming fast since news broke, on Twitter, Facebook, and in the media and online:
From J.K. Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe, and other British stars.
and her heartfelt post.
Then there came a statement from The Late Show’s
Rickman’s close colleague and friend Emma Thompson wrote a moving tribute of her own
I don’t remember Ricman from the role that made him famous in Die Hard or the next role, where he played the villain in Robin Hood.
I do know he came to embody the character audiences always loved to hate on screen, but who was he, as a man, in his off screen life?
I knew him in such roles, perhaps a little lesser known, such as when he starred alongside Johnny Depp and his Harry Potter co-star Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon barber of Fleet Street”. He was positively evil in that,
but Rickman and Depp sing beautifully in that together.
It was in Harry Potter that I first heard his voice. I don’t forget a voice like that. It was infused with intensity and control over the words he was saying, whatever they just so happened to be. His slow speech grabbed hold and kept hold of my attention, anytime he spoke lines on screen.
I can honestly say that not everything about the movie versions pleased me, as big of a fan of the books as I’ve been since I first read them, but Rickman’s performance as Snape was never a part of my disappointment. He nailed that character, as one of the best cast parts from the entire story.
He was absolutely, terribly mean and you couldn’t help but hate him, as cruel to Harry and everyone else as he always was, but that’s what made him so great as an actor.
He could go from the world of Harry Potter to Shakespeare and almost everything in between. His start with the British Royal Shakespeare Company must have been something to see.
But whether he was playing a Shakespeare character on stage, the Blue Caterpillar from a tale like Alice in Wonderland, a modern literary villain in Harry Potter, or the bad judge in a musical, he was magnificent in whatever he was doing.
It’s strange how the death of someone you’ve never met can get to you, but from a closer source than I ever thought I would have when I first saw him take on the role of Severus Snape, I heard it confirmed what a warm and amazing person he was in real life, not just a fact made known through the celebrity reports and tributes.
His portrayal of Snape brought something important to life for me, as in he jumped off the screen in an extension of the character I loved to hate in the books.
It was Rowling who came up with the sad tale of a life that Snape lived, but it was Alan Rickman who made it real for me. He made that sadness real and I feel that same sadness now.
Rest in peace Allan Rickman.
It will always be Alan, for me, the man who was meant to play Snape. Always and forever he will be it.