“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore
The day started out normal enough. There were no dark clouds or feelings of dread to indicate that something terrible had happened. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, shock. Disbelief. Heartbreak. These are the only words that seem appropriate. Alan Rickman, our beloved Severus Snape, is gone.
The idea that you can be completely devastated by the loss of someone you’ve never met, probably never would have met, is so interesting to me. In all my life I can’t recall ever having been so shaken by the death of a celebrity that I even cried, let alone sobbed alone in my car for nearly 30 minutes. Earlier this week, following the passing of pop culture icon David Bowie, I read a tweet that made sense to me at the time but didn’t really hit me until today.
Thinking about how we mourn artists we've never met. We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.
— Juliette (@ElusiveJ) January 11, 2016
As someone who was 11 years old in 1997, the same year that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released, saying that this story had a major impact on my life would be a serious understatement. Although I didn’t begin reading the books until years later, when the fifth installment was gifted to me, I instantly felt a connection to the characters and have since been eagerly awaiting my acceptance letter from Hogwarts. I own a beautifully crafted, handmade, wand. I have the Deathly Hallows symbol tattooed on my left arm. I was thrilled when I took the sorting hat quiz on Pottermore and learned, to the surprise of absolutely no one, that I was a Slytherin. THRILLED. Snape was a Slytherin and I was a Slytherin and all was right with the world. And now I just feel broken. Almost betrayed.
Snape was, for me at least, the most beautiful and complex character in the Harry Potter series and Alan Rickman was absolutely spellbinding in the role (pun sort of intended). He was neither hero nor villain but an impressive mix of both. He was the one we wanted to teach us how to bottle fame and brew glory. He was the reason we turned to page 394. He redefined the meaning of true love, sacrifice, and bravery. We hated him. We loved him. We feared him. We trusted him. We respected him. And now, we will miss him.