Shattered Illusions

The world has been weeping these last few weeks after the deaths of multiple iconic figures reached the ears of the public. Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey struck his last note, and David Bowie donned his last outfit as he was laid to rest. I won’t try to pretend to know these great individuals a great deal, however my heart weighs heavy in my chest with their passing.

The farewell salutation that brought me to tears was in fact the passing of British actor Alan Rickman. We, fellow students, are the “Harry Potter” generation, and when J. K. Rowling whispered the meaning of “Always” to Mr. Rickman when he became Professor Snape, she put into place one of the greatest aspects of the entire Harry Potter movie series.

These men brought things into our lives that wouldn’t have been possible before and gave people joy from watching them. Other than his role as the infamous potions master of Hogwarts, Rickman played the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” His role in that film was an entire decade before he would don the black ropes of Snape, and he filled each villain with immense life.

In “Harry Potter,” he turned a man everyone loves to hate into someone we could in fact, begrudgingly, hate to love. He was a git, slimeball and jerk, sure, but a coward? I’ll not open that can of worms, but Rickman himself was loved despite the role he played. Oftentimes peoples’ dislike of a character can slip onto the man who portrays them, but that was not the case for Rickman. Furthermore, knowing the meaning of “Always” in that first film allowed him to add more depth to Snape with small gestures and cues that would not be picked up on until fans left the final credits of the final film and rushed home to binge watch the series hoping to catch the slightest clue as to what they finally saw was the story of Professor Severus Snape. Bread crumbs. Tiny bread crumbs laid out in each film, giving a glimmer of light to the man that lay behind the sullen face. 

The world is grieving for the loss of these men. They leave behind family and friends. The internet is flooding with sorrows from fans and yet for myself it does not feel that Rickman is truly gone. Being a celebrity is its share of a curse, but since he has appeared in multiple films, one only needs to turn on the TV to watch him in action again. When Robin Williams passed away, it took me two months until I was able to watch a film he was a part of, and when I slipped in the VHS of “The Dead Poets Society,” I again experienced the feeling of hope that life would turn out okay.

These great men may be gone, but they will be remembered. Always.