He was a huge part of our children's lives. We read the Harry Potter series alongside our children so it's not just like one of OUR contemporaries has gone, but a big part of what shaped our children's childhood is gone as well. Don't get me wrong, I did like David Bowie but I wasn't a super fan, not like my huge love for Duran Duran. I was sad at Bowie's passing, but Alan Rickman's passing has really hit me hard.
When 18 was just 7 years old, we were in the Navy Exchange on Pearl Harbor, HI and she brought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, telling me she wanted to read it. I told her to put it back and go see if they had the very first Harry Potter book. It didn't make any sense for an 8 year old to pick up the 6th book in a series when there were 5 others to read first. She put #6 back and found #1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I am not kidding when I tell you that this child absolutely devoured the book. We'd be poolside and would try to get her to put the book down and come into the pool with us and she was having none of it. "Just let me finish this chapter, please. Then I'll come in." I was dumbfounded.
She finished that first book before we left Hawaii. She celebrated her 8th birthday on the plane coming home and when we landed, she wanted to find the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as soon as it was humanly possible. She was hooked. By the time she finished the second book and started on the third, I had to find out what the hype was about. At that time many of my friends were hooked as well. So I started reading the series and I, too, was addicted. Severus Snape was the character you loved/hated and when we watched the movies, there could be no one better in the role than Alan Rickman.
Yes, he was amazing in so many other roles: he was GENIUS as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, Harry the flirtatious boss in Love Actually, the alien Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest and even Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniels' The Butler. But none strike me so much as his portrayal of Snape. I've watched the Harry Potter movies over and over with my children and he is as much a part of their lives as he is mine.
I remember when John Wayne and Elvis died, being so sad for my mom because those were her favorites. And now, losing someone so key in my own children's developmental stages is just as hard. Reading the series gave us common interests, gave us things to talk about, and it brought us together as more than mother and daughter, but as peers working toward a common goal: finishing the books, seeing where JK Rowling was taking us. And knowing where the Snape character ends up, how much he changes, what his true feelings were, as played by Alan Rickman, it just breaks my heart that he's gone.
So RIP, Alan Rickman. Thank you for all the amazing roles you played and all the enjoyment you brought to us. But mostly, thanks for giving my daughters and I something in common. We will never forget you.