To My Harry Potter Family, Re: Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman :'(
This is the text message I woke up to this morning. My heart sank as I watched Katie try to convince Tiffany, Ashleigh, and our friend Kristin that she was not kidding and that Alan Rickman had passed away. A quick search told me that Katie was right and that Alan Rickman had indeed passed away. I immediately thought of all of the Harry Potter fans, myself included, that would grieve today, and then scolded myself for not thinking first of Alan Rickman’s family. However, I realized that I thought of my family, my Harry Potter family, a family that Alan Rickman was very much a part of.
For a few years now I have been trying to write a post that expressed how much Harry Potter has meant to me over the years, but always stopped due to a nagging voice in the back of my mind saying, “No sane person feels this emotionally invested in fictional characters, the writer who created them, the actors who portrayed them, or the fans who love them, Michelle. Pull yourself together and live in the real world.” It wasn’t until this morning, until I read this very sad news that I realized my emotional connection to Harry Potter and the Harry Potter family is completely sane, and the grief we all feel today is very real.
On Sunday, I attended a brunch with 50 of my fellow Harry Potter fans some I knew, most I did not. It didn’t matter. Crowded together drinking mimosas and eating pizza, we were fast friends, bound together by our shared love of a world that has embraced us since we were awkward teenagers. These fifty women were family. I know that the news of Alan Rickman’s passing is affecting each of these women just as it is affecting me. Today, we lost a fellow fan, an incredible actor who brought to life a beloved character, and a member of our Harry Potter family.
Just as I don’t know most of the people who will read this post, I did not know Alan Rickman, but the loss we feel is no less real. I will admit that I’ve never really understood how people get so worked up over news involving someone that they’d never met, but today I understand. I understand because today my heart aches for a loss and for all of us who feel that loss. Our grief may not make sense to a lot of people and there will probably be some who think we are crazy, claiming that we are blurring the lines between fiction and reality. We are not. We, all of us, share something special, something we also shared with Alan Rickman. We share a love of a world that taught us about love, hope, compassion, and acceptance. We are a family, and today our family is mourning a most great loss.
J.K. Rowling, of course, said it best:
The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
As Katie, Tiffany, Ashleigh, Kristin, and I plan a Harry Potter marathon for this weekend, I have never felt so comforted by the fact that Hogwarts is there to welcome me home.