One year ago, I began my series on Alan Rickman. As I explained in the introductory post, I was inspired by Rickman’s apparent popularity, particularly within the ace community. Every month I wrote one review in which I looked specifically at one of his characters. There are few generalisations I can make about them. Of the twelve characters I examined, four are out-and-out villains, while several others are villainous, antagonistic, or just unpleasant. But he also plays characters who are noble, admirable, and heroic. I also couldn’t help noticing that fully three characters are helping to raise the child by another man of a woman they loved and lost – albeit in very different ways.
As far as aceness goes, it would be going too far to say that Rickman characters generally come off as asexual. Of the twelve I looked at, three or four are decidedly sexual. On the other hand, there are many characters whose sexuality remains mysterious, either because the evidence is equivocal or because it’s non-existent. And he even plays one or two characters who are explicitly asexual! He also has little in the way of love scenes. He gets to snog Emma Thompson in Love Actually, but that’s about it. And he skips the lust-induced self-flagellation scene in Sweeny Todd.
I’m really glad I took on this project for a number of reasons, including the fact that it allowed me to do a focused analysis of some characters I might otherwise have overlooked. The great thing about Alan Rickman is that he played a wide variety of supporting parts. Unlike heroes, supporting characters are often left sexually ambiguous, allowing for speculation – including speculation about their possible aceness. To analyse all such characters would, of course, be an absurdly big undertaking. Focusing on Rickman gave me a much more manageable sample to study. I don’t know if “How ace is Alan Rickman?” is necessarily a more productive question than, say, “How ace is Maggie Smith?” or “How ace is Chiwetel Ejiofor?” But it seems at least as good as any other.
My series on Alan Rickman is now more or less complete. I may, of course, add to it in the future (I’ve never seen Truly, Madly, Deeply, but it seems like it would be interesting to analyse). I may also review more of his movies without specifically focusing on him (I doubt I’d have much to say about his character in Eye in the Sky). If I do write more reviews, I will add links to them here.
So, here’s my roundup of Alan Rickman characters ordered, very roughly, from most “ace” to least “ace”:
- Metatron in Dogma (1999)
- Marvin in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
- Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest (1999)
- Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet (1978)
- Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)
- Obadiah Slope in The Barchester Chronicles (1982)
- Prof. Snape in the Harry Potter films (2001-2011)
- Karl Hoffmeister in A Promise (2013)
- Col. Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
- The Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
- Harry in Love Actually (2003)
- Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd (2007)