I’m going to be real with you all, when I heard that Alan Rickman had died, I was mad. I skipped right over sadness and landed squarely in anger. This was absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.
Because I’m not ready to live in a world without Alan Rickman. I’m mad because, despite fame and fortune, cancer still managed to steal yet another person from this planet. I’m furious that we spend our time and resources on so many things that don’t matter when we could be trying to find a way to preserve life – especially a life that has brought so much greatness to the world.
People may feel I’m overstating that. I mean, he was just an actor, right?
First of all, let me say it’s sad when anyone dies of cancer. I lost one of my most impactful mentors to cancer. I am good friends with cancer survivors who are constantly looking over their shoulders, forced to worry about having to do battle once again with the despicable affliction.
But make no mistake, Alan Rickman was a genuine treasure and he will always be a treasure to me.
In honor of Rickman, I wanted to take some time to write about the roles I enjoyed the most, and what they meant to me.
Dogma as THE METATRON
Kevin Smith’s Dogma came out in 1999. I was thirteen years old, and it was one of the first movies that made me question… so many things. Alan Rickman as the Metatron was a huge contributing factor to my inevitable understanding that the world operates in a gray area. As the Metatron, Rickman plays a discontented angel who wants nothing more than to get drunk and forget his worries. Because as an angel in a world where God’s gone MIA, things are stressful and there are plenty of worries to forget about.
I was instantly taken by his straight-faced humor and absolutely in love with his otherworldly, yet still somehow down-to-earth perspective on the shenanigans that unfold. I may have seen Rickman in other movies (Sense and Sensibility), but this was the movie that made me fall in FOREVER LOVE with Rickman. His point of view made me question MY point of view. And what if things COULD be different than how we’ve always been told they are?
What if, what if, what if…
Galaxy Quest as Alexander Dane aka “Dr. Lazarus”
Just when you thought Rickman couldn’t nail a more perfect comedy role than THE METATRON, along comes Galaxy Quest, released the same year as Dogma. 1999 was a damn good year. Rickman’s role in Galaxy Quest makes me wonder if, one day, someone walked up to him and asked, “Would you like to play yourself in a sci-fi movie?”
In GQ, Rickman plays a classical actor who took one role in a science fiction show in the 80s and got pigeon holed into that role for, seemingly, forever. At first glance, it would appear that he resents this kind of notoriety, but it quickly becomes apparent how jealous he is of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, played by Tim Allen.
Eventually Rickman’s character embraces his pseudo personality and, as a result, finds belonging, purpose and passion. On the surface, it seems pretty simple – and it is. The message is… embrace who you are!
This was HUGE for me. I waivered in my early adulthood sometime later where I felt like I shouldn’t be as nerdy as I wanted to be. That is made me undesirable and unmarketable to things like relationships or a career.
You might have noticed that I have, as of late, re-embraced by nerdy tendencies. And it feels great. Just like Alexander Dane recognizing how much of a part Dr. Lazarus was of him. I have all the things he did at the end of that movie – belonging, purpose, and passion!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Marvin the paranoid robot
We didn’t get to see you at all in this movie, Alan, but you were there in spirit in the form of Marvin. All we needed was your voice to know it was you – and more than that, to feel that Marvin was a person, with feelings and fears and a creeping, almost undetectable sense of humor. Marvin represented the voice in all of our heads saying we can’t do things, and the universe is a big, bad place that no sane person should want to live in.
But Marvin marches forward. He doesn’t stop. In stark contrast to his depressive mood, he is a reminder of what we’re all capable of – we all have the capacity for greatness, and for perseverance. It’s a dichotomy that Rickman pulls off perfectly, and Adam Douglas, I’m sure, would have been proud.
Harry Potter as Severus Snape
Oh, Severus. Of course, we cannot overlook the contributions of J. K. Rowling in the creation of Severus Snape, but we have to give full marks to Alan Rickman for making the character come to life in the most glorious, ominous and heartbreaking way. I had seen the first three Harry Potter movies before I started reading the books (I know, it was wrong and I take full blame for slacking on getting into this series) – so when I started reading, the image of Snape was one and the same with a black-haired Alan Rickman.
I hated Snape, I despised him, I wondered about him, I started to feel bad for him… and then I mourned for him. It was an elegant and emotional journey that both Rowling and Rickman took me on.
I will share this one, painful regret – that Snape did not get enough character exposition and progression in The Halfblood Prince and Deathly Hallows movies. We know from the books how Harry sees firsthand how difficult Severus’ childhood was, and how deeply he felt for Lilly, and the anguish in his decision to join Voldemort. Given half a chance, Rickman would have tore our hearts out countless times over if more screen time had been dedicated to his journey.
For me, Dogma and Harry Potter are bookends in my love for Alan Rickman’s work – and in both, he portrayed the perfect mixture of what it means to be human and fallible – though in both he plays larger-than-life roles. Angel and Wizzard. Still human. Still one of us. Still showing us what it means to walk this earth and navigate the trenches.
You were taken from us too soon, Mr. Rickman. You will be missed. You will be mourned. But more than anything, you will be remembered.
Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.