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Always: remembering Alan Rickman

alan rickmanJust a few days ago, the Goblin King passed.

While Bowie the Artist never really had much of an impact on my life, Bowie the Goblin King certainly did. As a child, Labyrinth in equal parts delighted and terrified me. I watched it over and over, always hiding my face when the fire creature things started taking off their limbs or staring blankly at my childhood friend when she confided that, for her, the worm was the scariest part of the movie.

Today, we lost another figure from my childhood: Hans Gruber.

You see, my father had zero interest in regulating what his young children watched — if he wanted to watch it, we could watch it. I would venture a guess that I am a full-grown adult who is terrified of scary movies because my father let me watch them at waaaaaay too young of an age. (This somehow worked out for my younger sister — she loves scary movies).

So Dad and Siân watched Die Hard. And Siân proceeded to fall in love with the franchise (and Bruce Willis) and watch the movies every chance she got. And there was Alan Rickman — the ultimate bad guy, the predecessor of Jeremy Irons, the perfect antagonist. He was dangerous, devious, and smart.

Bruce Willis was my first crush. But Alan Rickman? He was (and is) the face of my very first fandom.

Then, when I was a young adult, he joined another giant fandom: Harry Potter. And even though I am one of the first people to cry and scream and moan about canon and books and what is the real Harry Potter, there is a little bit of me that feels like part of the Potter world has passed.

For fourteen years, Rickman has been our dangerous, devious, and smart Severus Snape. He was the hidden heart and secret soul of the series: the accidental protector; the moral backbone; and the devoted (and devastated) lover. Snape is the character none of us want to be. Yet Snape is the character who draws the most sympathy. We cannot help but to love him, sharp edges and all.

Alan Rickman was the face of that character for almost half of my life. For the half before that, he was the face of a beloved series.

Rickman was a glorious part of so many stories that I and so many others adore. The world is brighter because of his work. And it will remain so. Always.

wands up

Siân Gaetano About Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @KidLitChick.

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