Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman

by Ana West, Editor

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“Even though he has gone I will always hear his voice”.

“…undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with…one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry.”

“…above all things, a rare and unique human being…we shall not see his like again.”
English actor Alan Rickman passed away at the age of 69 on January 14, 2016, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August. Since his passing, celebrities and actors who knew him and worked with him – such as Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Thompson, respectively – have taken to express their grief and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the man.

alanrickmanharrypotterBorn in 1946 and trained in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Rickman’s film career spans decades. He has graced our screens and won critical renown for his performances in such famous movies as Die Hard and Love Actually, but members of the millennial generation have grown up watching him in one role – the sinister, deep-voiced, occasionally villainous, and ultimately heroic Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.

As the actors who knew Alan Rickman mourn his loss, so do his legions of fans across the globe – including fans who live here in Spring Lake. “Snape is honestly one of my favorite characters, and I feel like the reason for that is because of Alan’s portrayal of him,” says Morgynn Reedy, junior at Spring Lake High School and fan of Harry Potter since 3rd grade. Indeed, anti-hero Severus Snape was one of the most complicated characters in the series, standing out as a morally ambiguous man in the classic struggle between good and evil, and Rickman brought him to life in the film adaptations in a special way. “Rickman seemed like a great, versatile actor who left a piece of himself in every character he played, and he will be missed.”

To say that Harry Potter had a major impact on this generation of teenagers would be something of an understatement. The franchise – books, movies, theme parks – has grossed over $24,000,000,000 worldwide since the publication of the first book in 1998, and one would be hard pressed to find a teenager today who hasn’t encountered the books or movies. The millennial generation was raised on Harry Potter, and academic research from Johns Hopkins University has suggested that fans of Harry Potter “… are more open to diversity and are more politically tolerant than non-fans; fans are also less authoritarian, less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture, more politically active”, etc.

“It definitely taught me a lot about judging people before you actually know them, and that you are the person you try to be,” Morgynn Reedy said of the lessons the series has taught her. Harry Potter has raised a compassionate, thoughtful generation of individuals, largely because of characters such as Snape who taught readers that there is good in everyone, and the world owes Alan Rickman a great debt of gratitude for making millions of childhoods and bringing Professor Snape to life.

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