BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- For many Chinese fans, British actor Alan Rickman's passing was the second time they bid farewell to their favorite character Professor Snape, this time, however, he's gone forever.
The heartbreaking news on Thursday evening saw many Chinese take to microblog Sina Weibo to mourn the great actor. By Friday noon, a hashtag relating to Rickman's death had been used more than 39,000 times, with 40.9 million views of posts relating to the news.
From a sharp-tongued terrorist in "Die Hard," a ghost in "Truly, Madly, Deeply," or the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," of all the roles Rickman played in his long, varied acting career, Snape was to be the one that would cement him in the hearts of his Chinese fans.
Perhaps inspired by his sensitive portrayal of the potions professor, many chose to pay online tributes in language imbued with the magic world.
One Weibo user, "Mengmiandechuan," said, "he didn't die, he just passed into the moving pictures." In the world of Harry Potter characters live-on in photographs or paintings after death.
"Farewell, Professor Snape, you are the most exceptional wizard in my heart. Tonight every wizard will light up their wands for you," said another post on Weibo.
Written by British author J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels set in a world where magic exists. As all the novels have been translated into Chinese and the films screened across the country, many children of the 1980s and 1990s are avid fans as it has such close links with their childhoods.