J.K. Rowling Reveals The Secret She Told Alan Rickman About Snape

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Harry Potter fans are familiar with the story on how J.K. Rowling got Alan Rickman to play Severus Snape, but we never knew what Rowling said to get him to do it—until now.

Fans had speculated for years that Rickman had kept a secret about Snape that no one else knew, right before the publication of Deathly Hallows. Harry Potter producer David Heyman once said that Rickman would sometimes object to what a director asked him to do in a scene because he knew what would happen. The actor revealed in 2011 that he spoke to Rowling before filming started to understand his iconic role and that she told him an important piece of information.


"[Rowling] gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will," he told RTE. "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."

Rickman later clarified that Rowling didn't tell him that Snape wasn't a true villain.

Empire Magazine published a letter reflecting on the end of the Harry Potter films, and Rickman noted that it was the piece of information that convinced him that "there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume."

Fans mourned Rickman's death last week, and one of them asked J.K. Rowling on Twitter what she told Rickman about Snape.


Rowling responded, and as Rickman said, it had nothing to do with whether he was good or bad. It was something more meaningful to his character:

The quote came from the final act of Deathly Hallows in a scene that reveals Snape's true allegiance as well as the one thing motivating him through the entire saga. After seeing his Patronus—a silver doe—we learn that his love for Harry's mother Lily was the reason behind what he did for Harry and Dumbledore.