J.K. Rowling has at long last revealed the small piece of information she had given Alan Rickman before he took on the part of Snape in the film adaptation of her Harry Potter series.

J.K. Rowling And Alan Rickman’s Secret

Rickman, who died earlier this month after a short battle with cancer, played Professor Snape with a nuance that revealed the actor’s greater understanding of his character’s complexities before any of the humanizing plot points appeared in the text of Rowling’s books or the films’ scenes. In interviews after the Harry Potter saga’s end, Rickman admitted that Rowling had told him something that greatly informed how he took on playing Snape – though he wouldn’t say exactly what it was.

“She certainly didn’t tell me what the end of the story was going to be in any way at all, so I was having to buy the books along with everybody else,” Rickman told Ireland’s RTE in one such interview.

“She gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will,” he added. “It wasn’t a plot point, or crucial in any tangible way, but it was crucial to me as a piece of information that made me travel down that road rather than that one or that one or that one.”

After a Harry Potter fan on Twitter asked Rowling if the secret bit of information would remain a mystery forever, the author decided to make the reveal.

“I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always,’” Rowling replied. “Always,” as it happens, is a famous line that Snape utters in the final installment of the Harry Potter series, which referred to his love for Lily Potter – Harry’s late mother.

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