To the bravest man I ever knew, I don't actually know you. Most of us don't, not really. But by now, everyone reading this article has heard of your death and has witnessed the traditional mourning of a celebrity: panicked caps locked texts, retweeted inspirational quotes, heartfelt statuses and maybe a bit of screaming.
Call me cold-hearted, but I don't usually feel genuinely sad when an actor dies, even one that I really admire. I'm sorry. I feel a loss, but a disconnected one. Maybe it's because I feel a bit fake if I grieve, like it's not my place to. Maybe its that I don't know him or her personally. Maybe I'm just a horrible human. But last Thursday, when I registered the headline "Alan Rickman, Died at age 69," my heart dropped a little. Maybe a lot.
Even though you've played many diverse roles, to us, you will, er...always be Professor Snape. (Can anyone use that word without cringing anymore?) And even though we might not have any personal anecdotes to remember you by, you've still touched our lives through your perfect portrayal of this complicated man. We'll leave the mourning to people who can truly reflect and reminisce on their relationship with you (1, 2), and take this time to sincerely thank you as fans for being our Snape.
Here are 11 lessons you, our favorite controversial wizard professor, have taught us (besides brewing glory and putting a stopper in death.)
1. Appearances aren't everything.
You have always proved that a person is way more than an unplanned outfit, or a head of greasy hair and that basically we shouldn't judge ourselves - or each other - too harshly for going to class in our pajamas without washing our hair for three days.
2. You have to learn to make sacrifices.
Sometimes, you'll have to risk your life and convincingly lie to arguably the most dangerous wizard of all time (for years) for the son of the woman who never returned your love. In all seriousness though, you taught us that if you truly care about someone or something, you have to be ready to make some heavy decisions and sacrifices, even if you don't want to.
3. Love is powerful.
Whether you were a heroic double agent who fought evil for love or a long-term creepy secret admirer, you showed us that true love lasts and can make a life-long impact on a person. Love can completely transform a person, and encourage them to continue to grow and improve as an individual.
4. Never take life too seriously.
Pranks are welcome, especially if you are shooting a very serious movie scene and especially if it's on your self-conscious teenage co-worker. You should always be able to pause and have a little fun. Most importantly, fart jokes are always appropriate. Watch the whole video here.
5. Be accountable for yourself.
We are past the age where we can blame our mistakes and nights of drunk crying to our best friends on teenage rebellion or hormones. We need to start being accountable for our own decisions. I guess this means thinking before acting, and not acting on impulse anymore. Even for online shopping.
6. Sometimes you have to play nice with people you don't like.
Besides the fact that Snape didn't openly like many people, you taught us that sometimes to keep a job or be successful, we have to tolerate people (even horrible, evil, worse than Voldemort people.) Also, that sarcasm is vital in keeping your sanity in life and in the workplace, especially when people consistently ask dumb questions.
7. Don't worry about what other people think.
You lived most of your life doing good and risking your life to do so with little recognition. You protected Harry, brewed werewolf potions for Lupin, and took the blame for killing Dumbledore because you knew that what you were doing was right. You've taught us that our relationship with ourselves is the most important and not to worry about what other people might think of us.
8. Don't judge based on labels.
In a world where everyone has a label or name as an identity, you proved to us that none of this really matters. You protected the Golden Trio, you made an unbreakable vow to protect Draco, you were part of the Order, you were a Death Eater, you worked for Voldemort, you worked for Dumbledore. Despite all of these names and roles, it was your actions and character that identified you in the end. You taught us that no matter what label people identify themselves, or are identified as (good or bad), we should ultimately judge others on who they are as an individual and not judge based on what group they are a part of.
9. Walk with a purpose.
Even though, in hindsight, you probably were frustrated and confused most of the time, you always carried yourself like you owned the halls of Hogwarts. Your walk and dramatic cape swooshes showed that you were confident, although you probably worried constantly about what shenanigans Harry, or worse Dumbledore, would get themselves into next. This composure demanded respect, or maybe fear, from most of your students. Either way, you always looked like you knew what you were doing, which is a tip we should take from you...as adults kind of still learning how to adult and function.
10. Mostly importantly, it is never too late to change.
I won't pretend that I can even scratch the surface of the person you were, only your magnificent portrayal of a seriously complex character. Thank you for the joy and wisdom you brought into our lives, even if it was through a screen.