Today is as dark a day as there ever was. No, there wasn’t the declaration of another World War. No, the stock market didn’t crash. No, there wasn’t the outbreak of a lethal disease. No, there wasn’t a terrorist attack on a city causing great casualties. No, today something happened which is far worse than any of these events. Today, in the truest sense of the word, a light has gone out.
The world has played host to a most unfair event today. The passing away of Alan Rickman is an event, not to be mourned, but to be violently fought against. But Death doesn’t care. It cares not for emotion or sentiment or justice. It comes to all, and comes when it wishes, and there is nothing we can do about it, except mourn. And so, death has taken the second brother for his own.
But far more than this, a light has gone out. Of course, Alan Rickman was a legend. A greatly talented actor and a very inspirational person, but the child in me doesn’t care about all that. The young boy in me knows only one thing: this is the second time we’ve lost Severus Snape. Yes, it was inevitable, and yes, it’s silly to get so worked up over the death of a person who we didn’t know personally, but emotions never been slave to logic, and they don’t intend to start now.
And yet it’s not just that. For years now, the Harry Potter generation has debated extensively over the character of Snape, arguing as to whether he should be revered as the bravest man in the Potter Universe, or condemned as petty and vindictive. None of that, however, really matters now; not today, not in this context. Alan Rickman wasn’t the “book Snape”, whose nobility is questionable at best. Alan Rickman brought the character to life in a way none of us could have believed possible. For a second, we can fathom hating Rowling’s Snape, but we have nothing but admiration for Rickman’s, because there were no flaws in him. He was perfect.
Today, the world cries as a whole. No, that is not an exaggeration; that is the final word of the child in me, whose world revolves around the Harry Potter Universe, whose life is just one train ride away from Hogwarts, who can lose this make believe world of Muggles and return, by page or big screen, to the world where we really belong. Alan Rickman was perhaps the greatest champion of that world, and that world will never, ever, be the same again.
Yes, I am foolishly emotional about this event, and no, I have no regrets. I care not for the accolades he received in theatre or in film, nor the countless characters which he brought to life, but only for the ten years of his life for which he was our Snape, my Snape. His loss will be forever a burden upon my chest for the simple fact that his was the face that made me want to return to the series again and again.
The greatest understatement of all is to say that he will be missed. You cannot miss something that you cannot live without. You cannot miss something which cannot be forgotten, and you, sir, will never be forgotten. How can we forget Alan Rickman, who has been the symbol of a hidden hero for millions across the globe, for years and years? How can we ever forget Alan Rickman, who made us fall in love with a murderer, and who we still cannot see as anything other than our beloved despicable Potions Master, anyone other than the evil Slytherin with greasy black hair parted in curtains?
The fact remains, though, that he is gone. Most of us will know of this fact already, because the Internet works faster than the Owl Post. The Potterheads will mourn this loss for days, maybe weeks to come, but then they too will get over it. But there will be those few of us, those of us for whom he was not a character, or an actor, or any other thing which people claim he was. We will never let him go, even if we were able to, because he’s an emotion to us, and we are weak and dependent on this emotion for carrying our lives.
And so, there is but one thing to do, as we wait on the King’s Cross station that is our despair. We must wait, and we must wait some more, and then, when it seems as though the fire has died and the lives of the blissfully ignorant have been restored to normal, those of us who still feel must take board a train. A train that will take us on.
If there is one thing I’ve learnt from losing myself in Harry Potter, it’s that those who love us never really leave us. Armed with this deluded sense of faith, we will hold on to the memories which make us who we are: the proud generation which have stuck by Harry till the very end.
Sir, you remain in our hearts. Always.