Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Remembering Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility

How heartbreaking last week to learn of the sad news that Alan Rickman had passed away. It seemed as though I had only gotten to know him through one of his famous roles as Colonel Brandon in  Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  Alas too many hindrances blocked me from writing this memory...of being able to sit still and listen, almost as if I could hear his firm but quiet and calm direction, or even the rhythmic spell he casts while reading poetry. Nevertheless my daughter and I watched Sense and Sensibility that evening, in his memory.

This Emma Thompson version has many wonderful actors and actresses that bring the story to life with memorable performances. One of my favorites was always Colonel Brandon. Colonel Brandon's range of emotions tugged at my heartstrings. From deep adoration when he first hears Marianne play the piano forte and sing...to the ache deep within his soul as her affections swayed towards a different man...to his depth of agony as she laid near death. What a range for Jane Austen to create! What a range for Alan Rickman to bring to life! We aren't supposed to be drawn to this older, quieter, seemingly more dull man. His adventures had perhaps been lived out on the battlefield. Now his retirement did not seem to be a match for Marianne's lively personality. Yet, there was something about that range, that depth, a story to be told, which he did eventually share with Elinor. Perhaps a reason for his, mood?  

Marianne's way was to live life to the fullest. Likewise she read literature to the fullest. She expressed them to the fullest. She imagined them to the fullest. All was evidenced when she pointedly tried to explain to Edward in the first part of the movie the importance of portraying each nuance of meaning of words on a page. Stumbling along, he was not able to bring those words to life. Towards the end of the movie however, Colonel Brandon (aka Alan Rickman) evoked another time, another place, transporting hearts on wings of imagination as he read to Marianne. (you can see the scene at this link) As a result, we see his soul open in the final scenes...to joy! Exuberant joy! Generous joy! Rapturous joy!

"I must away," Col. Brandon told Marianne. As Marianne's heart fell when he said that, so did our hearts when we heard that Alan Rickman passed away after battling cancer. Many prayers extend to his family and loved ones.

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