As the world mourned the loss of the great Alan Rickman this past week, many reflected on and revisited the roles that defined his illustrious career. However, most fans will forever remember him as Severus Snape, the ultimately tragic professor from Harry Potter. As Snape, Rickman fully embodied the deep loss and anger that author J.K. Rowling had infused in the character on the page as he trod the path to redemption.
It was known that in order to fully inhabit the potions master and double agent, Rickman had sought out the advice of Rowling herself, who had reportedly given him inside information about Snape’s true allegiance before the final books were even published. He claimed that while he didn’t know the entire plot, Rowling had given him a little clue, telling RTE:
“No, 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.”
In the wake of Rickman’s passing, Rowling decided to share the hint with fans on Twitter, and while it isn’t a particularly surprising revelation, it is an emotional one all the same.
Fans know that the “Always” that Rowling is referring to Snape’s unwavering and all-consuming love of Lily Potter, which would ultimately be his impetus towards redemption. With a single word, Rowling had managed to fundamentally change readers’ long held beliefs about Snape, and Rickman perfectly captured that moment on screen.