It seems a strange thing to be writing about a man who I never knew personally, especially because now with the advent of social media, so many personal friends and acquaintances of celebrities can take to the internet and share their thoughts and memories in honour of such a person’s passing. Still, I could not help but share a few thoughts on a man who’s on-screen presence was such that his death leaves a hole for those who appreciated his talents and work.
For me, though the above comic references his role in the Harry Potter films, Alan Rickman first became familiar to me as the ruthless and slightly comical Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (also one of the first films which introduced me, as a child, to a more adult version of a world of swords and shields–or bows and arrows, if you will). I loved the film and Rickman in the role of the antagonist, and was not disappointed when later in life I saw his first turn as a big-budget film villain in Die Hard.
Yet despite his talent for portraying cold, slightly snobbish bad guys, I’ve heard, seen and read much about Rickman’s gentle soul and good-natured demeanor off-camera. Those who have worked with him have very kind things to say, and even direct quotes or interviews with the man kind, solicitous of his fans and relatable. As such, he was not limited to portraying memorable cinematic villains.
I haven’t seen all of Rickman’s films, but of those I have, the types of characters he could portray were manifold: the sarcastic, burnt-out Sir Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, a down-to-earth, Voice-of-God in Dogma and the enigmatic and tragic Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. Though, of course, when he returned to the stage (as it were) as a villain in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, he was just as memorable as in the aforementioned films, and proved his ability to sing, no less–an intimidating thing for some actors, from what I can gather.
That said, despite his ability to portray such a vast array of characters, I decided to go with a Potter-themed comic for two reasons. For one, a wizard seemed to fit the subject matter of Gentleman Cthulhu rather better than any other (with the exception, perhaps of Sweeney Todd, but it would be difficult, perhaps, for Judge Turpin to come across to the reader in three panels). Second, from everything I can gather (and this is a summation based on my own perception), Rickman seemed to regard his role as Severus Snape rather fondly. And, really, though I knew him as so many other characters first, as a Potterhead myself, I’d have to agree that Professor Snape perhaps was one of his most iconic roles.
It’s a shame there will never be another Alan Rickman film (save Alice Through the Looking Glass later this year; a sequel to the Tim Burton film), but more that the world has lost such a distinguished actor and man. Here’s to you, Alan Rickman.