"Always" spoke Severus Snape to Dumbledore. Snape's love for Lily Potter would be just that. Forever. Always.
14th January 2016, Alan Rickman died. Cancer. Of which type I am unsure. It matters not to me which type of cancer brought the end of a life lived so well. I care that he died, and only that. He leaves behind a family. The irony is, as with David Bowie earlier in the week,that the death of Mr Rickman brought an end to his pain, yet the end of the illness and his life itself began a period of intense pain for his family. His wife. His family. A pain that will go on for months, years, always.
The family in blood that Rickman leaves behind will miss him forever. Every day. Holidays, Mondays, every day. Each type of day there is. Every day there is. He not only leaves behind his relatives, but also a wider family. The artistic family.
Rickman's artistic family spread far and wide. An established theatre actor, film director and movie star, his talents stretched far and his talent stretched wide. To many he was Hans Gruber or the Sheriff of Nottingham. He may have been Alexander Dane or Vicomte de Valmont to you. Of which the latter I had to google. But to me he was, and always will be, Severus Snape.
My obsession, my incredible and all-encompassing obsession with Harry Potter began a few years after the first book, the Philosopher's Stone, was released. It was all a bit lame to me. Wizards and Witches. No thanks. Naturally and obviously, a loved one bought me the first book as a gift. Damn them! Still, I didn't need to read it, but something about me was intrigued. Maybe it was because, at the age I was, in year 6, it was the book that the clever people got to read. They were clever enough to swerve the textbooks and go straight to the reading books. Damn them! So maybe it was that, but whatever it was, it didn't matter for long. Whatever it was, I had become hooked.
I flew through the books and seemed to fly through the years too, because film after film and theme-park attraction after theme-park attraction I was there. I was never close enough. From a memory I don't remember (I could really do with a 'pensive' about now) to a universe I will never forget, I had been well and truly stung. Stung by the Harry Potter buzz.
The problem with the films was that in my mind I had an idea. I had thoughts of who, what, and why each character was. In the films Harry was too taken-back. Too shy. Ron in the films was actually better than the Ron in my head, and the peripheral characters? Well, the films never stood a chance at matching my ideas for them. Then came Snape. Then came Alan Rickman as Severus Snape.
"This is Snape!" I must have thought. "This really is Severus Snape!"
Rickman played the part to perfection. Slow, steady, comedic. Rickman played the part to perfection.
I don't know how he did it. You won't know, either. If we did, we would all be doing it. We'd all be going around, saying "turn to page 394" in that slow, nasally voice, reserved for anyone outside of Slytherin. Maybe are all doing it? But we aren't doing it very well.
Alan Rickman played Snape like a poker player carries the winning cards. Quietly. Calmly. Delicately. He shone at the right times and stood out when surrounded by champions. Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon. He outshone, and out-played them all. Whereas they were actors playing a part, he was Severus Snape. Being incredibly Severus Snape.
"This is really Snape!" I probably thought, as he went any-which-way, bashing Ron over the head with a book, or pushing passed Potter as he was tucking into a delicious, never-ending feast.
"That is Snape!" I will have no doubt thought, when Neville Longbottom declared that it was Professor Snape that frightened him most when asked the question by Professor Lupin during the Prisoner of Azkaban.
"This is just so Snape!" I said, ask he exclaimed "Your father was a swine!" to Harry, angrily, emotionally.
Yet, the best was soon to come. The best came when character arc took a turn that many expected, but that many were not ready for. Alan Rickman knew the character like he knew himself and each and every scene was perfectly acted. Humorous or furious. Deadly or deceptive. The one character in the films that was a reflection of the book in my imagination was Severus Snape. The only one.
And when I finally found out that it was Snape that was the hero. Snape, the master deception:
"This" I will have thought. "This is really Rickman." A pure man and a good man. A great believer and a greater person. You know this from the shock felt by people who didn't utter a word to him. You know this from the sadness ingrained in the people lucky enough to know him.
"This is really Alan Rickman" I thought. For all this time? Always.
Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman.