Alan Rickman Fans Turn Platform 9 3/4 Into A Memorial To Celebrate His Magical Life — PHOTO

Generations of Harry Potter fans, among many, many others, found themselves in mourning on Thursday when the news began to spread that Alan Rickman had passed away at the age of 69 after a struggle with cancer that few, if any, fans were aware of. Rickman, best known to millennials for his role as Professor Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter movies, brought even more depth on screen to a character that was already one of the most complex ones in the entire book series, so it comes as no surprise that he should have such a high association with the potions master that is still the subject of fan debates to this day. It should also come as no surprise that Rickman fans erected a memorial at Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station in England, because, like Harry Potter, and even like Lord Voldemort himself, Snape was one of those wayward souls for whom Hogwarts was his true home.

There are still fans, like myself, who are despondent over the idea that they never received a Hogwarts letter at age 11, and the symbolism of that school and that castle as a safe haven and a place of belonging for so many different kinds of people, some good, some bad, some in between, is something that lasts in the heart of every fan to this day. Snape was a more uneven example than most, because Hogwarts was the place where he fell in with the dark crowd that would lead to him permanently severing ties with his one true love, Lily, and it would also be the place where he would be a walking target to people like a young James Potter and Sirius Black. (James grew out of the bullying before he'd even graduated; Sirius not so much.)

However, it was also the place where Snape found true friends for the first time in his life — if you can call the proto-Death Eaters friends — as opposed to only having one friend in Lily, a childhood friendship with the tinge of unrequited love attached. It was where he found a sense of purpose and a true appreciation for his talents as a potioneer. It's where he was taken under the wing of Albus Dumbledore, the one person who always believed in him even despite the atrocities that Snape committed or inadvertently set into motion. And the first step to Hogwarts — unless you have a flying Ford Anglia and lot of nerve — is to cross the boundary into the wizarding world through the wall at King's Cross that leads to Platform 9 3/4.

As Muggles, we can't even see the station, let alone walk through that wall. (I know Harry Potter is fictional, all right? Work with me here.) And Severus Snape died in 1997, long before we had to deal with the tragedy of losing Alan Rickman, too. However, that's exactly what makes this particular tribute such a poignant one. Laying lilies and other flowers at the site of Platform 9 3/4, on the Muggle side of the wall, honors Rickman's contribution to this role and to this fictional world, Muggle man though he may have been. Not only did he bring the books to life for all of us, he also guided and mentored the other Harry Potter actors, from Daniel Radcliffe to Matthew Lewis. As horrific as his character could be on screen, Rickman was twice as kind, humble, and generous off-screen.

If there was any Muggle man who deserved for Hogwarts to bend the rules and send him a Hogwarts letter, I think Alan Rickman would be that person. I love that fans have erected a tribute in King's Cross Station. As we know from life and from Harry Potter, it's impossible to bring back the dead. However, as Albus Dumbledore himself put it, "You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us?" The same can be said of Alan Rickman, whose memory remains through these tributes, through his films, and through the lives he has touched throughout his own.

Image: Warner Bros. Studios