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JK Rowling Reveals the Secret “Clue” She Gave Alan Rickman About Severus Snape

Alan Rickman knew the truth about Severus Snape long before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out thanks to a secret he shared with J.K. Rowling. Today we learned the what the secret clue was.

Before Rickman took on the role of the stern Potions professor, he had a conversation with J.K. Rowling where she told him something about Snape that few others knew, even really important people during the filming of the movies. Here’s what Rickman once said that to Ireland’s RTE about playing the role of Severus Snape.

“She gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will. 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.”

How few people knew the truth? Producer David Heyman once told the L.A. Times, “It was quite amusing, too, because there were times when a director would tell Alan what to do in a scene and he would say something like, ‘No I can’t do that – I know what is going to happen and you don’t.'”

When Rickman finished his work on the Harry Potter films he wrote a letter for Empire Magazine saying goodbye to the franchise, and even then he alluded to the reason he took the role of Snape in the first place, showing how important that conversation was for him in playing the role.

After talking about watching the three young stars of the movies grow up, he wrote:

“Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.”

He never did reveal what it was she told him. Today we finally found out.

A fan on Twitter asked the Harry Potter author, “Will you tell us the piece of information that you told Alan Rickman about Severus Snape? Or will that forever be a secret?”

It’s a question that has been asked a lot this week following the sad passing away of Rickman, but Rowling finally let us all in.

Of course.


Calling that a “small clue” may have been a bit of understatement from Rickman, but nonetheless it must have made the part infinitely more appealing, although much more difficult. This means that when you re-watch the films, the weight of Snape’s life is there in Rickman’s performance from the very beginning–all the pain, regret, anger, jealousy, all of it.

It’s nice to know what that secret was. However, we just wish we could have learned about it under different circumstances.

We’re sure you are still mourning Alan Rickman as we are, so please share your favorite memories of him in our comments section below.

HT: Independent
Images: Warner Brothers

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