In the words of J.K. Rowling herself, last week the world lost a “magnificent actor and wonderful man.” Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, died at age 69 on January 14, 2016 in London.
It was reported by The Independent that Rowling once told Rickman a “little piece of information, which [he] always said [he] would never share with anybody” about playing the infamous character. Thanks to Twitter, however, Rowling herself revealed what that information was. You can read the exchange below.
@jk_rowling Will you tell us the piece of information that you told Alan Rickman about Severus Snape? Or will that forever be a secret? 🙂
— Sarah (@sarahrosefrank) January 18, 2016
I told Alan what lies behind the word 'always'. https://t.co/NHTJ5J6kxb
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 18, 2016
In 2011, Rickman told HitFlix about how that piece of information helped shape his performance of Severus Snape and his relationship with Harry Potter. He said:
“[It] helped me think that he was more complicated and that the story was not going to be as straight down the line as everybody thought. If you remember when I did the first film she’d only written three or four books, so nobody knew where it was really going except her. … What I knew was he was a human being and not an automaton and I knew there was some sense of protection for Harry or I worked that out.”
If you had extreme feelings about the word “always” thanks to the end of Deathly Hallows, I’m sure Rowling’s tweet has you spiraling even further into emotional anguish as we speak. While her tweet isn’t extremely revealing, it’s pretty interesting that their secret had nothing to do with the Snape’s alignment to “good” or “evil,” but rather something far more personal to the character.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be dusting off my Harry Potter books and sitting down to re-read them all.