Thursday, January 14, 2016
The Stories That Make Us, and Those Who Bring Them to Life
As a kid, I went through phases. I watched as many movies as I read books then. There have always been films that live in heavy rotation...a seemingly endless loop whether I reach for the DVD, catch them on TV, or they suddenly pop up in my Netflix recommendations.
I realize, for every stage of my life there has been an Alan Rickman film on replay. As a tween, when I finally had the agency to rule the VCR, I was watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for the love story...for the hero who trumps the undoubtedly, unavoidably compelling villain.
As a teenager headed off to college at a religiously-affiliated university, having lost a parent, and questioning every last thing, it was Dogma. I reveled in its irreverence and quirky intelligence. It validated my questions.
As a 20-something, and until now, Love Actually and Harry Potter took their places in my heart. In these particular roles Rickman was at his most lovable for me as frustrating, conflicted, maddening, gray-area characters.
As most of you know, I've been re-reading the Harry Potter series as of late. I chose to read them all fairly rapid-fire because there are so many connections that are easy to miss when they're spread out and read piecemeal over time. I'm on Order of the Phoenix now, and I was thinking of laying it aside to read other things because this particular installment has always been the hardest book for me to read, but it's also the one where Snape really begins to take on more dimension.
It's often hard for me to reconcile the image I have of a character in a beloved book with the actor on the screen, but I never, for one moment, questioned Rickman as Severus Snape. The match was just...perfect.
I feel this loss heavily, and the death of a celebrity is almost never something that will push me to tears, but this morning I feel like I've lost a lot. I think many of us who are readers feel this loss acutely. Tears have been shed, I find myself watching YouTube videos and remembering. I will continue my Potter re-read to reacquaint myself with Snape. I'll watch the films and feel it all over and over again.
I sincerely hope Alan Rickman lived a life full of joy and fulfillment. I hope that when he left this world he "greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and as equals."