J.K. Rowling Reveals Secret Bit of Info She Told Alan Rickman About Snape

     January 18, 2016

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While making the press rounds for the Harry Potter films, the late Alan Rickman told HitFix that, while J.K. Rowling did not explain the end game for Severus Snape, she revealed “a tiny piece of information” that helped him think about the character’s path as “a more ambiguous route.” Today, a few days after the actor’s passing from cancer, the Harry Potter writer revealed that piece of information.

Taking to Twitter in response to a fan inquiry, she wrote, “I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always.’”


At the risk of spoiling Deathly Hallows for you — though, arguably, you’ve had years to catch up — Rowling was referring to the reveal of Snape’s true loyalties. In diving into his memories, Harry learns after the character’s death that his former potions professor had been in love with Harry’s mother, Lily, their entire life. Dumbledore asked, “After all this time?” to which Snape replied, “always.” Rickman’s full response to HitFix in 2011 reads:

She gave me one tiny, little, left of field piece of information that 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. And its was important for her that I know something, but she only gave me a tiny piece of information which helped me think it was a more ambiguous route…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. It was enough to know, I didn’t know he was a double agent.

Following Rickman’s death, Rowling expressed her mourning on Twitter, writing in part, “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am.”


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Image via Warner Bros.

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