by Tess Adair
I’m just gonna come right out and admit something: one time, I had a sex dream about Snape.
It made me feel pretty weird at the time, since I was like 15 or 16, and despite being a fictional character, he was logged in my mind as a teacher, and not a particularly swoon-worthy one.
But by the time I had the dream, Alan Rickman had already been playing him on the big screen for a few years, and I’d long had...confusing feelings about Alan Rickman. Mainly they were confusing because he was, you know, old--to a teenager at least. And with the lank Snape hair in his face, he didn’t look particularly dashing.
A few years later, I stumbled across a picture of him from when he was younger. And...yeah, all the funny feelings weren’t so funny anymore. Alan Rickman was a fucking fox. With this understanding now firmly in place, I looked on the current, older Rickman with new eyes--and he was still a fucking fox. Just a fox with a little more wisdom, a little more life experience.
I loved Alan Rickman before he was Snape, of course. It’s difficult to remember how long by now--it feels like I’ve always known who he was. But I’m pretty sure the first film I ever saw him in was Galaxy Quest, and I fell in love. I think that might be part of why I’ve never thought of him as a villain guy, even though his most well-known performances were villainous (or potentially villainous.)
I’ve actually always kind of imagined him as most similar to his Dogma character, The Metatron--aka the Voice of God. The Metatron is a little dry and sarcastic, but deeply moral and empathetic, burdened by the too-often necessary job of delivering onerous truths to young people. So sad but hopeful, he struck me like the soul of kind wisdom. And that’s about how I’ve seen him since.
Of course, I did love him as Snape. By and large, the Harry Potter film franchise was not exactly what I wanted it to be--except for him. (And Richard Harris as Dumbledore, but of course he died after the second.) He was the right amount of brooding, the right amount of surly. He was perfect.
And the best part? He seemed to have a deep respect for the source material. It’s something of a pet peeve of mine when “good, respectable” actors take a role in something for children, or something you might otherwise deem “silly,” and then go out of their way to distance themselves from it or shit on it. (Here’s looking at you, Ralph Fiennes.) But he understood the value of storytelling, be it aimed at children or no. I love that.
I’m not quite ready to accept this. I have a feeling that for a few years yet, I’ll still expect him to come out with a new movie. I’ll still see roles in other movies and wonder, Why didn’t they cast Rickman for that?
Ah well. Goodnight, lovely. You were wonderful.