Dear Alan Rickman,
When I woke up on Thursday, January 14th, I knew something was wrong. I had six missed texts from my family members and multiple notifications from the New York Times and USA Today. As I scrolled, I stopped short of the one notification that I didn't want to believe: "Actor Alan Rickman dies of cancer of 69." I didn't want to believe it, but the posts to you from Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and other Harry Potter actors convinced me it was true. I want to use this time to thank you for an incredible career, as well as an incredible character.
The second you first stepped on screen in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and spoke in that unforgettable, deep bass, I hated you. More specifically, your character, since I was never given the opportunity to know you outside of playing my favorite villain. You were the first bad guy I really, truly hated. The way you brought Snape to life in the movies was no easy task, but you accomplished it brilliantly. Some might say TOO brilliantly; as I spent 12 years of my life hating you, your greasy black hair and snarl.
When I went to see the last installment of the Harry Potter movies in theaters, I was prepared for what was going to happen. I packed almost an entire box of tissues to go see the midnight premiere of Hallows part 2, and promised myself I would only cry a little. Of course, I cried at the deaths of Dobby and Tonks and Lupin; but what I absolutely wept over (and still do, every time I watch it) was Snape's death scene and the flashbacks that followed. It was at that moment that I stopped hating you as Snape and came to love you for bringing him to life and making him appear human. No other words make me tear up quite as fast as "After all this time?" "Always."
So thank you, Alan. Thank you for being an insurmountably huge part of my childhood, and giving me something to hold onto in my adult life. The way you played Snape and all your other characters will live on in our hearts. Thank you for being you. Thank you for giving me a little piece of my childhood. As a shy bookworm, I found comfort and solace in the movies and books of my favorite series. Though I never wanted to thank you for playing Snape, credit is due. Thank you for bringing him to life so elegantly. Thank you for being him; no other Snape would have been the same.
Lastly, thank you for showing a shy little girl that people change. Even though to many you were just an actor playing a character in a movie, to me, you were Severus Snape. You showed me that people change and can be inherently good.
Thank you for making my childhood so magical.