I don’t know how I think I’m going to get through this blog post. Reader beware: there may be gross sobbing beneath the cut, because I’m talking about death.
Jareth the Goblin King scared me the first time I watched Labyrinth. Not because he was a scary character; I was in my teens the first time. (I know, I was slow.) It was more I thought he looked ridiculous. I didn’t need to see a dude undressed to know that they weren’t built like that, and something was clearly wrong with David Bowie’s lower half. It was weird and creepy and I didn’t like it. I boycotted everything David Bowie until I was in college.
A good friend of mine then was APPALLED to hear that I wasn’t a Bowie fan, and insisted on trying to convert me. I remember it was the video for “I’m Afraid of Americans” that won me over, watching Trent Reznor follow Bowie around like the devil’s shadow. I watched Labyrinth again later that year and decided that while he still looked ridiculous, I liked the movie now.
On the other hand, I have always believed in Severus Snape. Even before the movies came out, before I had a real person’s face to attribute to the character, I loved him. I knew there had to be more to him. And when they cast him in the movies, I was over the moon. I don’t know where I saw Alan Rickman first, but I knew that he was perfect. He was exactly who needed to be in that role. And when his final scene in the movies came up, I was an absolute wreck because he carried through every emotion flawlessly. His “Always” will haunt my dreams.
(*grabs tissues, I knew this would happen*)
When this is posting, it’s a little shy of a week since cancer stole David Bowie from us–a few days later doing the same to Alan Rickman. When Bowie died, I was sad. I hadn’t always been a fan, but he was a legend. I watched Labyrinth, I cried at “should you need us…” and I trundled on.
I’m writing this on the 14th–the day Rickman died–just before I have to try and go to work. I still can’t see his face without bursting into tears. A reference of one of his characters I love just went by on Twitter and I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day–and usually I say that in exaggeration but I genuinely don’t know today. I’ve been in tears since I woke up.
Some people wonder why we mourn the loss of celebrities. People we’ve never met, were likely to never meet, and who didn’t even know you existed…and you’re in tears over them. Why? Why do we do this?
Because these people touched me. Particularly Rickman. When Bowie died, I listened to his music in my car and then watched Labyrinth. I woke up today and couldn’t finish naming all the Rickman movies I suddenly felt I needed to watch. Die Hard. (For the first time; I know I’m terrible.) Galaxy Quest. Dogma. All of the Harry Potter movies. It just went on forever. I don’t have enough time to mourn this man who moved me so much. He was so big, so great, so everything…that I’ll be mourning him for days.
A few years ago, Peter O’Toole died–another actor who moved me greatly. I still can’t watch My Favorite Year without tearing up at the end. I can’t imagine what Rickman’s death will do for my movie watching.
I have lost a hero, an inspiration. The family has lost a beloved member, his friends a trusted companion. The world has lost an amazing actor and a brilliant man.
And when I am still in tears decades later over each and every one of his movies, and someone looks at me and says with a sigh, “After all this time?” I will only ever have one answer.
RIP Alan Rickman
February 21, 1946 – January 14, 2016