J.K. Rowling Just Revealed a Secret About Snape That Alan Rickman Never Did

January 18, 2016 Updated: January 20, 2016
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Last week, longtime actor Alan Rickman died of cancer, and many of his fellow Harry Potter alum paid tribute.

However, there was one secret that Rickman would not reveal about his character, Professor Snape.

The Independent reported that in a prior interview, Rickman said series author J.K. Rowling gave him a major clue about Snape early on.

“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,” Rickman said in an interview with RTE, according to the Independent.

This week, a fan asked Rowling whether she would reveal the secret. “Will you tell us the piece of information that you told Alan Rickman about Severus Snape? Or will that forever be a secret?” a fan asked, to which Rowling replied:

“Always” is in reference to a scene in the final Harry Potter book where Snape says he was in love with Harry’s mother, Lily.

On several occasions, Rickman had to hide knowledge from reporters about the Harry Potter story. In the prior interview, he said he had a “little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will.”

“Certainly, I did say I needed to talk to her before I could get a handle on how to play it, and we did have a phone conversation,” he added. “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 to find out, ‘And now what?'”

Rickman in 2011 said it was crucial to learn this information, as it helped shape his acting of the character.

“[It] 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,” Rickman told HitFix at the time. “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 it 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.”