Dear Professor Snape,
It’s been a shit week. First David Bowie and now? Sigh.
How am I supposed to articulate my feelings when I literally just screamed FUCK YOU at my laptop after reading the news?
I guess let’s start over like this –
Dear Professor Snape,
You don’t know me, but I know you. I know you very well.
Nine years ago we cried our eyeballs out as we read of your death for the very first time. Simultaneously we find out the trouble you took in making sure our hero would always be safe. Four years after this you made us cry again when you passed away on the silver screen. And now? A third time… This time for real. No fantasy, no magic, no script, no joke. All this after you made us fall in love with you.
Harry Potter wasn’t truly the hero. It was you and Professor Dumbledore working behind the scenes to ensure the defeat of the Dark Lord. How much have you sacrificed for Harry? For us? Not only did you help protect the Wizarding World (even if it were mostly because of a special someone), you neglected to mention you were a great muggle-metamorphagus. Who knew?
You outraged us when you shapeshifted as Sheriff of Nottingham, awed us as Rasputin, got us to sing in Sweeney Todd, broke our hearts in Love, Actually, made my young girl-muggle feelings all confused in Truly, Madly, Deeply, and won us over as who you are. The person you never wanted to become, your alter ego – beloved, enigmatic Alan Rickman.
Even when you went undercover in the muggle world as Alan, you couldn’t completely shed off some of your best qualities. You kept Miss Rowling’s plans about the outcome of the war for many years in order to give us the best print-to-screen adaptation fans could wish for. As Alan, you bravely fought your battles and never once mentioned how sick and in pain you were. Only a true Severus Snape could be so gallant.
People loved to hate you. When the first book came out, I, too, was guilty of judging your angstiness. By Chamber of Secrets, I wanted to grab a hardcopy of Advanced-Potion Making and hit that ungrateful git Harry on the head. Now we’ll never get to see you do it yourself…
Professor, whether you wanted to or not, you taught me and so many other bumbling idiots that not everything is black and white. Sometimes there is a grey area, and sometimes that grey outshines the brightest of colors.
You taught us nerds can be cool. You taught us that love is true, lasting, and that THERE IS such a thing as forever. (His patronus changed into a deer for goblin’s sake)
You taught me redemption is possible. That we are not and should not be encompassed nor haunted by our past mistakes. That we don’t need others to affirm our atonement in other for it to be real and valid. From your story I have learned anyone can be worthy of forgiveness if we only give ourselves in full.
Perhaps that is why we are so bewitched by you. Because we see ourselves in the tragic knight in you. We see ourselves as the bullied kid seduced by the darkness, falling face-first into it, and having the will to step into the light again. Professor Snape? Mr. Rickman? No one else’s kindness, generosity, charm, and bad assery could ever compare to you both.
There will never be another Severus Snape, never a better Colonel Brandon, never a talented performer such as you.
Woe is the man who has to live up to your brilliant name and legacy. You are a bloody fucking legend, and now you greet death like an old friend once more; for the last time as the curtains close.
So cheers, professor. Tonight I will hold my butterbeer high and my wand proud, despite the snot dribbling down my face, because you are my childhood hero.
Cheers for the laughter.
Cheers for the anger, entertainment, education, heartache, bittersweet nostalgia.
Cheers for the strength and hope – strength to rise like a phoenix, and hope we have the capacity to save ourselves from our demons and do some good for the world instead.
Most importantly, cheers for joining us on those nights our noses were buried in pages (394) transported by portkey into one plot-twisted adventure after another.
From your students, Slytherin, Hupplepuff, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor alike – we thank you for the magic.
Rest in peace, Professor Snape. You are loved, cherished, and will be remembered.
Sade Andria Zabala is a twenty-four year old Filipina surfer sometimes living in Denmark. She is the author of poetry books War Songs and Coffee and Cigarettes. Her work has appeared on places such as Literary Orphans, The Thought Catalog, The Rising Phoenix Review, Hooligan Magazine, Germ Magazine, and more. In her spare time she likes to eat words and drink sunlight.